"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Donald Trump And The Welcome End Of Race, Gender, And Ethnicity

While the legacy of the Civil War is is still inescapable; and while de jure segregation ended only in 1965 and not 1865, racial equality is still in the far distant future.  Yet despite the prominence race is given in the news, it is not the only or certainly not the defining issue of America.   It is the popular focus on race that perpetuates the same distorted myth of the African slave of 200 years ago.   Quakers, abolitionists, and early progressives claimed that slavery and segregation were all about race, and in so doing ignored the fundamental properties of ‘the peculiar institution’.  Slavery existed for millennia before America,  and was a thriving business in Africa for centuries. Slaves were captured in tribal warfare, traded through Arab middlemen, and sold to European enterprises who shipped and sold them in the Americas.


Slavery was common in ancient Greece, Rome, Persia, China, and Japan.  Just as our Capitol and White House were built with slave labor, so were the pyramids and monuments of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the royal palaces of Assyria.  Slaves were commodities of especial value because they represented both labor and capital, were self-reproducing, and therefore prized on both national and international markets.

Image result for images hanging gardens of babylon

Slavery was no different in the Americas, and the New World’s labor-intensive plantations required intensive cultivation and farming, and the importation of slaves was logical, predictable, and considered an ordinary act of commerce and business.

In other words, slavery was an essential component of agriculture in early 18th century America as it had been in Asia, Europe, and Africa.  The institution, however, had nothing to do with race, but all about labor. 

The American Civil War was indeed fought over slavery, but less as a moral issue than an economic one.  The economic competition that characterized the hostilities between  North and South was complicated but not dominated by philosophy.  The North was the land of The Free Labor, religious moralism, Puritanical parsimony and individual responsibility while the South was built in the Cavalier tradition of Old England.   It was no surprise that the clash of cultures and economic systems ended in war.

Image result for images southern cavalier history

The legacy of slavery in the United States is no more a function of race than the original institution was.  Jefferson and his slave-owning patrician landlords of the Upper South understood that as the demand for slaves diminished in over-cultivated Virginia, the prospect of freeing uneducated, unsocialized, and in the strictest sense of the word uncivilized Africans would be disruptive if not destructive.  He and other leaders debated sending slaves back to Africa or settling them in the Caribbean.  At the very least slave owners of the Upper South sold them downriver to meet the demands of cotton planters in the rich Mississippi Delta.

Without a doubt, Africans were considered inferior and had been for centuries.  The Africans that Mungo Park and Rene du Chaillu discovered in the 18th century were indeed far removed and different from the cultured English of the day; and that the conclusion of racial disparity was not surprising given the culture and tenor of the times.   However, this European sense of racial superiority did not create slavery but simply made it more morally justifiable.  

However, given the economic imperatives of the day, and the historical economic nature of slavery, it would not have mattered if the slaves had been white or of any other racial group.  Marx was right when he said that man is an economic animal, and that all human actions can be traced to economic motives.  Slavery was no different.

By focusing on race and color rather than economics; and by championing a racial equality based on little more than civil rights and moral principles, progressives are doing no good.  By featuring and celebrating racial ‘diversity’, they have forced minority communities into a latter-day enslavement of race-based entitlement.  Rather than consider race as only one factor in economic disability they have made it the be-all and end-all of the struggle for racial equality.

What progressives ignore or refuse to consider are the historical factors that have led to economic progress – the same achievements in education, the same rigorous adherence to social norms and religious precepts, the same valuation of individual enterprise, and the same willing acceptance of both individual and social responsibility.

In other words, once one grants that the descendants of slaves are just as naturally capable, intelligent, creative, and inspired as any other race; and once one concludes that the factors which contribute to social and economic success are constant and universally applicable, then the focus on race, entitlement, and politically correct ‘protection’ are counter-productive, illogical, demeaning, and ultimately wrong.

This is not to say that race cannot be used as a descriptor and guide to private and public investment.   Inner-city black neighborhoods have the highest rates of crime, social dysfunction, and poverty; and the lowest rates of education and health.   Focus on them not because they are black but because of those factors socio-economic factors which are impeding them. 

Insisting first and foremost on race, racial justice, and racial equality denies black Americans the same advantages that other earlier minority Americans had.  To assume that they do not have the same wherewithal as first immigrant Italians, Poles, Irish, and Jews is racist and retrograde.   European immigrants to the late 19th and early 20th century American cities policed themselves.   Family, church, and community worked together to promote the social and educational attributes needed for success in the American mainstream.  They valued ‘getting ahead’ more than anything else.  That was why they were here and why they came.
There is no way that minorities can succeed as others have before them without subscribing to the same values, attitudes, and mores that have guided them.  Conservative calls for such adherence to universal middle-class values are not racist or dismissive of African Americans’ plight.  Just the opposite.  They see fifty years of failed progressive social programs, inefficient government programs, resultant indifference and welfare mentality in poor neighborhoods, and a downward spiral into violence; and know that it is indeed time for a change.

Donald Trump has been the most outspoken on this issue, but is by no means alone in the conservative camp calling for radical reform in both policies and social outlook.  Most conservatives are in lockstep concerning the need to end entitlement and return individual responsibility, accountability, and enterprise to its proper place in democratic America.   As mentioned in a previous article Donald Trump is no less of a social revolutionary than Ronald Reagan.  Both are active in the lee of weak, progressive presidents who have ignored the universal principles enunciated above and who have acted on moral idealism rather than on historical insight and practical action.

The issues of gender and ethnicity are secondary to race and fading fast as political issues.  Women have risen high and fast and are now in relatively equal positions in business, family, and legislation.  While the progressive Left ignores this fact and continues to demand protection for what they ironically characterize as a weak, vulnerable species; most sensible Americans understand women’s intelligence, power, savvy, and enterprise. 

As with the case of civil rights, there is no doubt that legislation opened previously closed doors to economic and social access; but women, once they saw opportunity took it.  Progressives continue to deny that for blacks.  The door has long been open, but by perpetuating myths of inferiority and inability to take advantage of opportunity, it is open nowhere near as wide as it should be.

The howls over illegal immigration are less to do with ethnicity than with economics and increasingly terrorism.  Those on both the Left and Right who want to shut our borders care less about the race or ethnicity of immigrants per se but what they represent.   A terrorist is only that.  A Mexican immigrant who ‘takes American jobs’ is only an unwanted economic opportunist.

The  issue of non-black minority groups has taken care of itself.  Washington, DC is a good example.  Almost all painters, landscapers, housekeepers, restaurant workers, and construction crews are Latino.  Hispanics have understood the elements of success in America and have been notably enterprising and willing to work at low-end jobs for little to get an economic leg up.   Latino gangs do exist, and California is one of the few states where public expenditure on illegal immigrants outweighs (although by very little) the economic return they provide.  In every other state, Latinos have contributed more than their fair share.

Political correctness is a corrosive, disabling, and profoundly un-American trend.   It clotures debate, stifles free expression and scientific investigation, artificially ‘protects’ the able, and spreads an insularity and fear of individualism.

Donald Trump has been a loud, insistent, and demanding critic of Political Correctness and sees it for the social disease that it is.  Although the Left shakes its collective head and wonders what’s going on, the thousands of Americans that flock to Trump’s rallies get it perfectly.  They do not simply want a roll-back of politically correct policies and programs.  They want the structural change that he promises – no free rides, accountability and individual responsibility, a profound respect for religion and religious principles, and a more decisive and muscular foreign policy.  The Carter-Reagan transition could not be more relevant.  Both Trump and Reagan are true social revolutionaries out to restructure and not just reform America.

Image result for images donald trump

Is this possible?  If one looks at how quickly Ronald Reagan’s initiatives to privatize the public sector, to free private enterprise from asphyxiating laws and regulations and to take decisive action in world affairs were enacted; and how soon conservatism, long underground, emerged to the fore; then the probability of a similar revolution under Trump is distinctly near.

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