Tuesday, March 18, 2014

That Old-Time Whistle

New Krugman: 

So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle? Why, he even cited the work of serious scholars — people like Charles Murray, most famous for arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Oh, wait.

Just to be clear, there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist, and his dog-whistle may not even have been deliberate. But it doesn’t matter. He said what he said because that’s the kind of thing conservatives say to each other all the time. And why do they say such things? Because American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.

Indeed, race is the Rosetta Stone that makes sense of many otherwise incomprehensible aspects of U.S. politics.

More here.

Probably the WORST thing you can call a white American is "racist."  Or, at least, among the worst things.  I mean, I hate it, too.  It really pisses me off on those very rare occasions that someone has insinuated or said that I'm being racist in some way.  After all, racism is, virtually everyone agrees, totally awful.  No one, or mostly no one, wants to be thought of as a racist.

And that puts me into a bit of a dilemma when I try to talk about race, politics, and ideology.  I'll just cut to the chase here: modern American conservatism has multiple racist notions philosophically embedded deeply within it, almost across the board.  This is undeniable, although all conservatives deny it, anyway.  They HAVE to deny it.  Otherwise, it must necessarily mean they're racists, and nobody wants to be thought of as a racist--I mean, I don't think it necessarily makes you racist just because you're a conservative; it's just that so much conservative philosophy is tainted both by basing itself on racist foundational assumptions, and by arriving ultimately at racist conclusions, and you may very well be unaware of these origins and end-points in logic.  At any rate, it makes discussion about it all problematic, at the very least.

If the inherent nature of racism within conservatism is a new concept to you, or if you just don't see how it's possible, click through and read Krugman's essay.  Or look up "Southern Strategy" on Wikipedia.  Personally, I've grown tired of explaining what's fairly obvious, so I don't feel any need to "prove" here that which is as plain as the nose on your face.  But then, that's essentially the whole point.  I must "prove" something which needs no proof, and even when I do, such proof will never be accepted.  Instead, it just pisses conservatives off all the more.

In short, we can never publicly discuss how racism has driven conservatism for AT LEAST the last three decades.  It's kind of like that Monty Python sketch where the couple tries to buy a bed, but if they say the word "mattress," the bed salesman puts a bag over his head.  And he doesn't take it off until they stand in a box and sing the English hymn "Jerusalem."  Yes, that absurd.