David Thompson
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November 05, 2008

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Ob1Kn00b

I am terminally confused by the left right dichotomy, and through the inevitable smoke and mirrors of political rhetoric, what does the difference amount to other then The Theory and Practise of Oligarchical Collectivism? One group vying for power with another, using any conceivable mechanism available to attain and maintain it? Sure, academia is a place in which politically off-centre, and sometimes barmy people can congregate at this time, and inevitably enough ignore the successes, and accentuate the failings of the dominant power sector. So, if people with one belief system end up in one place, sure enough, people with another end up somewhere else, plotting, probably.

At this point, I think democracy relies upon the various factions being so willing to put the boot into one another, and please their supporters, that with the constant oscillation from left to right, civil society can thrive, here. The effect that all this thrashing about has elsewhere is another matter.

Change, he says, and I'm tearing up like a little girl, but five minutes in I'm wondering what it means to the Banking Establishment, to the Military, and what they will be willing to tear up if conditions are unfavourable for them, but then, that doesn't look too likely.

There's nothing more collectivist than giving a blank cheque paid by the public to the banks, surely, and once again it's collectivism for my lot, and austerity for yours.

So I reiterate, and there are so few commentators that aren't so full of shit you can seeing it swilling round the whites of their eyes: is there an actual operational difference between left and right? Or is it just no bugger can be trusted to be sensible AND powerful for more than a few years?

georges

Morning, David

I oppose positive discrimination. Black people manage to excel in the most competitive activities in society - sport, pop music, acting, TV hosting & now US Presidential politics. Successful black businessmen like Jay-Z never expected nor got any sympathy help to get them to the top.

There are just a few areas where positive discrimination may be justified. One is the police. If you wind up with, say, a completely white police force patrolling a completely black neighbourhood, it's going to exacerbate racial tensions. In such a situation, any sensible Chief Of Police would work extra hard to recruit black police officers. Does that count as positive discrimination?

(Actually, maybe it's the whites who are being let into the police too easily. Whenever I go to the US, I see white police officers who are so absurdly obese, it seems unthinkable they could chase a fleeing felon down an alley.)

If the American people can elect a black President, when might they elect a gay President, or an atheist President? I've read a post somewhere in which an irate commenter described Obama, without irony, as an Atheist Muslim. So maybe we've already broken two more taboos, without even realizing it!

As to how Obama's Presidency will turn out; well, he might be terrible. But I don't think he'll rule America as a Revolutionary Marxist in the spirit of William Ayers. Look at how Joschka Fischer turned out - and his background was far more radical than Obama's.

David

Ob1Kn00b,

“Or is it just no bugger can be trusted to be sensible AND powerful for more than a few years?”

That’s pretty much axiomatic, isn’t it? It’s also why democracy is much better than the alternatives. I suspect the electorate vote parties out at least as much as they vote parties in, and I don’t see that as necessarily being a problem.

Georges,

Morning.

“There are just a few areas where positive discrimination may be justified. One is the police.”

It’s the example I hear cited most often, for the reasons you suggest. It is, I think, a fairly particular example, though, and the arguments one might make in favour of it shouldn’t be taken as a justifiable template for other areas of life.

“But I don’t think he’ll rule America as a Revolutionary Marxist in the spirit of William Ayers.”

No, I don’t imagine he will. If pressed, I’d guess something more along the lines of Jimmy Carter with lots of guff about “social justice”. Though I’m not in the prophesy business and circumstance and events, as much as ideology, will determine what follows. It’ll be interesting to see if Obama’s “post-racial” persona rings true and has a desirable effect. As I’ve said before, my concern is the apparent mismatch between that persona, which I’m all in favour of, and Obama’s associations with people who prey on grievance and cartoonish identity politics.

Franklin

Ironically, grievance and cartoonish identity politics were brought to us by the Republicans this year - McCain running against liberalism rather than for anything recognizably conservative, while Palin made disgusting appeals to the "pro-American" portions of the country and "small-town values," and otherwise rhapsodized about underinformed, rural, white Christians as the very perfection of man. It was gratifying to watch the strategy fail. I'm hoping at this point that people in favor of small, Constitutional, secular government will regain a voice within the Republican party, now that neoconservatism has been so soundly routed.

Trimegistus

So basically we're all hoping that Barack is a cynical opportunist who has lied to his closest supporters.

Because if he's sincere, well, things are going to get really bad really fast -- possibly even before he takes office.

carbon based lifeform

"If the majority of American voters are "tolerant" enough to elect a man like Obama, perhaps they're ready to say race has no place in American life or law. I don't mean to be a spoil-sport or a pessimist, but I am not hopeful that an Obama presidency will do much to improve race relations in this country, nor will it signal the end of preferences. People will always look for the easy way out and put as little effort into improving themselves as possible. It's much easier to point fingers, blame third parties, make excuses, and demand unearned benefits."

http://www.acri.org/blog/2008/11/04/will-obama-presidency-signal-end-of-preferences/

gaffee

"A victorious socialist revolution cannot happen unless the independent working-class movement understands that the issue of race is central. Racism is not simply about colour. It is a power relationship… In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and other opponents of affirmative action and civil rights shifted "race" politics to the right under the guise of supporting a "colour-blind society" and "equality and fairness". For the right, 30 years of "trying to amend" for crimes of their white ancestors is enough "time served" for 400 years of inequality. It promotes the myth that we live in a "colour-blind society" based on "equal opportunity"."

http://www.greenleft.org.au/1998/336/20185

So white folk must atone for at least 400 years?

David

Gaffee,

“So white folk must atone for at least 400 years?”

For some people guilt is part of their role-play and practically a fetish; even vicarious guilt will do. And as it’s so arousing, for some people at least, the guilt must never end. In the formulation above, Martin Luther King should presumably be seen as part of some sinister rightwing plot. But for all the self-righteous bluster it’s not obvious to me what that line of thinking will achieve. I don’t see how fixating on identity politics and discriminating based on possession of the approved pigmentation will help anyone get past a preoccupation with race. But as I said, getting past it isn’t what such people probably have in mind. They’re much too busy touching themselves, at least metaphorically.

Steve in San Diego

I've done nothing wrong. I have nothing to feel guilty about.

I'll just sit here quietly now and be supreme. How is that done? Where to start?

newbie

"They're much too busy touching themselves, at least metaphorically."

That's what I come here for. Turn of phrase.

clazy

They "touch themselves" looking for proof that they exist.

DMoss

Those who support affirmative action will not see this as a reason to abandon affirmative action. They will see this as a success of affirmative action. A dismally unqualified black man ascended to the Oval Office on the coat tails of white guilt and essentially unanimous black support. This success will in no way temper their desire for affirmative action; like any success, it will encourage the behavior that resulted in that success.

clazy

...and mistakenly believe that their orgasm was experienced by everyone else. (Sorry, just had to continue elaborating on that metaphor.)

David

I’ll get your coat. Don’t worry about the glass; you can take the drink with you.

georges

I'm with Franklin. Ron Paul was the only candidate arguing for a small, secular, libertarian republic. But most Republicans don't want that, apparently. In the election, the Republicans could hardly argue against Obama's stealth socialism when Bush had just nationalized the commanding heights of the economy.

Lovernios

I touch; therefore I am.

For the first time in my adult life I'm ashamed of my country.

Steve in San Diego

Too bad Ron Paul is a crank who is overly friendly with white supremacists. He is a fringe candidate who never had a chance.

I'm thinking of how to profit under our new overlords. Maybe set up a pool to wager on how long before The Big O gives his first Jimmy Carter style "malaise" speech ("I'm not a serial fuck-up. The problem here is that the American people are fuck-ups. Currently, you are not worthy of my leadership. I am not floundering. You are floundering. Improve yourselves or face the consequences.")

Maybe a line of President and First Lady Obama affirmative action figures. (The real profit is in the accessories.)

Anna

"affirmative action figures." :D

pst314

"perhaps they're ready to say race has no place in American life or law"

Judging by the liberals that I know, sadly no: The left will continue to call anyone who dissents on policy or ideology a racist, fascist, sexist, etc, etc. The left can no more give up demonization and bullying than an drunk can give up liquor.

carbon based lifeform

This sounds about right:

"There is such a large vested interest in maintaining the politics of grievance that getting rid of reverse discrimination will not be easy. But I think one welcome aspect of Mr Obama's election is that he will emphatically knock down the image of America as closed to non-whites. It has been nonsense for years of course, as a prominent, black economist like Thomas Sowell has been pointing out. Condi Rice and Colin Powell's advancement to the summit of government hardly squares with the idea of a bigoted Republic, although having served under Republican administrations, they do not get much of a pass from the MSM."

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2008/11/unintended_bene.html

I don't like the "reverse" discrimination bit though. It's just racist discrimination.

David

The justifications for PC racial discrimination have never been entirely convincing or morally sound, and the negative fallout of such policies has generally been ignored by those who defend them. See, for instance, this by Gail Herriot:

“It didn't seem to matter that… students admitted with lower academic credentials would end up incurring heavy debt but never graduate.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120934372123648583.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

And this, by Heather MacDonald:

“In 2004, a groundbreaking study of affirmative action in law schools blew away every rationale for racial double standards ever put forth. UCLA law professor Richard Sander found that law schools that admit black students with lower GPAs and Law School Admissions Test scores than their nonblack peers—almost all law schools, in other words—actually lowered those students’ chances of passing the bar. Because of the ‘mismatch’ between their academic preparedness and the academic sophistication of the school that has bootstrapped them in, the preference beneficiaries learn less of what they need to pass the bar than they would in a school that matched their capabilities. Far from increasing the supply of black lawyers, affirmative action actually decreases the diversity of the bar.”

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_1_prop209.html

Both of those articles are worth reading in full. And note how proponents of “diversity” often reacted to the data in ways that were disingenuous, glib or blatantly dishonest. So I’m inclined to wonder how much inconvenient reality it will take to alter the convictions of people who seem quite proud of having the fashionable kinds of prejudice and are willing to lie about how well it works. As Heather MacDonald argues in the article above:

“Yet for the [racial] preference lobby, a failing diversity student is better than no diversity student — because the game is not about the students but about the self-image of the institution that so beneficently extends its largesse to them.”

AntiCitizenOne

The whole thing is based on the silly idea that being discriminating is a bad idea.

During WW2 there was the first all black fighter squadron (Tuskegee Angels). The funny thing was that because of racism only the absolute best (black) people were picked for it. Because of this it was probably the best air fighter squadron in the air and they didn't lose a single bomber on air escort missions. Not surprisingly bomber pilots noticed their skills and they became highly requested.

Anna

"They've lost the ability to process non-Obama-related information…"

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/obama_win_causes_obsessive??utm_source=tv.theonion.com

bgc

"So I’m inclined to wonder how much inconvenient reality it will take to alter the convictions of people who seem quite proud of having the fashionable kinds of prejudice and are willing to lie about how well it works."

No amount I suspect. For a lot of people these seem to be such bedrock convictions that to alter them requires a road to Damascus experience.

boqueronman

It always pays to follow the money. Politics is an industry. Thus, it, in its many individual manifestations, seeks to achieve permanence and grow. One would have to conclude that since WWII (since FDR in the U.S.) it has been the fastest growing industry in the global economy, no matter what the party label. One of the subcultures of this industry is Diversity, LLC, promoting the idea of bias and the need to overcome it. Now that it is well established in both the public and private sectors, there is almost no chance that any facts which might preclude a future of increased growth and income for its practitioners will be allowed to gain traction. Can libertarian ideas of shrinking government, individual decision making and free markets be re-established? Hard to think of how that would happen. But the demographic collapse in ethnic European birthrates and the coming welfare state/entitlement bill may present the required systemic crisis. The fore-shocks are being felt now. Don't have much hope, though, that the eventual outcome will be freer societies.

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