The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who They Think We Are

Posted on | June 25, 2023 | 1 Comment

The editor of Iowa’s Quad Cities Times has apologized for publishing the cartoon above, after being called out on Twitter by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who lamented the “shameful” cartoon and said: “It’s sad that this is how the MSM views Republicans. I’ve met with grassroots conservatives across America & never *once* experienced the kind of bigotry that I regularly see from the Left.”

Several commentators have described the cartoon as “racist,” but that’s not really the point. Rather, it is the libelous attribution of hateful bigotry to Republicans which is so offensive. What this illustrates is the assumption of liberals that they are morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, especially in regard to racial issues, but really on every subject imaginable — economic policy, climate change, gay rights, you name it. “Hate” is now defined as disagreeing with liberals.

Thomas Sowell’s 1995 book The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy remains the definitive analysis of the psychology of liberalism, and if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for? There is a tremendous irony, by the way, in my having been branded a “white supremacist” by the SPLC, in that it was Sowell’s book that really opened my eyes to one of the false premises that informs liberal beliefs about race, i.e., that white “racism” is to blame for every ill suffered by black people. Sowell doesn’t address this specifically in The Vision of the Anointed, although he has elsewhere. Rather, one sees the point in Sowell’s criticism of the liberal “anointed” as assuming that their own good intentions are sufficient to justify any policy, from which they derive the belief that the opponents of their policies (the “benighted”) must be motivated by bad intentions. When liberals advocate some policy intended to help the homeless, for example, their rhetoric will seldom address the questions about the efficacy or necessity of the specific policy; rather, liberals will routinely portray themselves as caring about the homeless, while accusing opponents of selfish greed or cruel indifference to the plight of the homeless who, as Sowell observes, function as “mascots” for the liberal crusade.

In this way, the “anointed” liberals transform every policy question into a test of moral virtue, attributing malicious motives to anyone who fails to support the liberal agenda. They are intelligent and educated; you are stupid and ignorant. They are generous; you are greedy. And, as always, liberals conceive of themselves as the enlightened benefactors of oppressed racial minorities, while their opponents are hateful racists. In other words, the disagreement is not about the pros and cons of any particular policy, but rather about giving the anointed another opportunity to display their moral superiority, hence Sowell’s subtitle, “Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.”

What I deduced from Sowell’s argument is this: It doesn’t really matter what your opinion is about race, in terms of whether any particular policy helps or hurts black people (or Hispanics, etc.). And as Sowell has demonstrated in several of his books, including Discrimination and Disparities, “racism” (however you may define it) is simply insufficient as an explanation for the problems affecting black Americans. Political arguments ought to be about policy, not mere sentiment, and policies ought to be evaluated with the kind of rigorous inquiry that includes examination of alternatives, including the alternative of doing nothing. Liberals are always running around pointing to some kind of “crisis,” insisting that we must do something about whatever problem they’re focused on, and whatever this something may be, it almost always involves more taxation, regulation and/or deficit spending.

Something else: Liberals never acknowledge that the problem they’re calling a “crisis” today may have been caused by the “solutions” they imposed decades earlier to address some previous “crisis.” If you ever feel neglected because you haven’t been called “racist” lately, try pointing out that many (perhaps most) of the problems now afflicting black America may be direct consequences of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because it is seen as the signal victory of the civil-rights movement, the details of the 1964 bill — the final bill was 18,000 words long — are considered to be beyond criticism. Yet the bill was such a vast expansion of government authority, and subjected so many areas of life to supervision of federal courts, that its potential consequences were nearly infinite in scope.

Sen. Barry Goldwater voted against the 1964 act, specifically citing Title II and Title VII as unconstitutional, and likely to lead to the government mandating racial quotas in employment decisions. Beyond the specific problems with the bill, anyone can see with the benefit of hindsight that 1964 marks a dividing line — a historical fulcrum — in terms of race relations and the situation of black people in urban areas affected by “white flight.” Whether or not any of the opponents of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 predicted every harmful consequence of that legislation is beside the point. Because it represented The Vision of the Anointed — the good intentions of its sponsors — the possibility that the bill in some ways hurt black Americans is never even considered. To suggest that some of the provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act need to be repealed or revised is to invite denunciation as a crypto-Nazi, as if you were advocating a return to Jim Crow segregation or worse. Emotion rules the day.

Thus we return to Vivek Ramaswamy and this insulting cartoon for which the Quad Cities Times was forced to apologize. Readers will recall how, at CPAC this year, I praised Ramaswamy as “an outspoken and articulate critic of the religion of ‘Wokeism,’ but more than that . . . an enthusiastic proponent of American exceptionalism.” And I suppose that any conservative who has paid attention to Ramaswamy feels the same way, whether or not they support his presidential campaign. Conservatives still believe America is, and always should be, the land of opportunity, where anyone willing to work hard can have a shot at the American Dream, and we are sick and tired of how Democrats depict America as a wicked oppressor, crammed full of helpless victims.

Vivek Ramaswamy isn’t buying any of this victimhood narrative, and conservatives applaud him for standing up in defense of a pro-America, pro-liberty worldview. Yet liberals evidently think GOP voters would respond to Ramaswamy’s message by shouting, “Get me a Slushee, Apu!”

Because liberals are anointed, and think we are benighted.

There is so much cause for discouragement about America’s future. And yet Vivek Ramaswamy dares to express hope. Were I asked to help write his speeches, I’d encourage him to quote a great American:

“My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor indisposed me to serve them; nor in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or of the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future. The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”

Deo vindice.




One Response to “Who They Think We Are”

  1. FMJRA 2.0: No Joy In Philly : The Other McCain
    July 1st, 2023 @ 11:18 pm

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