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Democrats and Race

by Christopher Chantrill
March 24, 2008 at 9:27 pm

ONE OF THE things we conservatives constantly try to do is step out of the default liberal mindset.

It’s hard to do, even as a conservative, because liberalthink defines reality in America. To think another way requires real effort, especially for a social animal like homo sapiens.

Liberals all seem to think that Barack Obama’s speech last week was at the least a fine and principled contribution to America’s conversation on race and maybe much more. Conservatives tend to be disappointed. We wonder if Obama couldn’t have seized the opportunity and really declared for a post-racist America.

But maybe the big issue is what Obama’s candidacy is doing for race relations within the Democratic Party. The Washington Post’s Krissah Williams writes about veterans hanging out at two American Legion posts in Pennsylvania, one predominantly black, and one predominantly white.

[I]n the two worlds of these veterans, Obama’s speech was one more dividing point. Rather than bringing the men in Post 733 and Post 420 closer together, it seemed to highlight the gap between them.

White Air Force veteran Dan Dowett talks about Obama backing “a preacher that to me sounds like a treasonous person.” Black Army veteran Ross Mounds says “the controversy over Wright is just the excuse some whites are looking for not to vote for a qualified black man.”

Then there’s the view from other voters. Victor Davis Hanson asked several non-black voters what they thought of Obama’s speech last week. The reaction was significant.

“Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright.” In some cases, the reaction was not mild disappointment, but unprintable outrage.

The question is whether the liberal narrative on race really matters any more. Obama’s speech, to one liberal acquaintance, was

the best from a politician on race in a generation. He dispansionately [sic] examined interiors and exteriors of both whites and blacks.

As a conservative I would say that Obama mouthed liberal pieties, trashing the white working class and excusing black racism.

It is, of course, the white working class that has been asked to pay the most for the liberal race politics of the last half century, whether it was forced busing, integration of ethnic neighborhoods, or affirmative action at the firehouse. Educated whites might get knocked around a bit by the lefty profs in university, but they could always escape from liberal race politics by going into business and living in white middle-class suburbs.

Suppose that Rev. Wright turns out to be the last straw for the white working class?


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill