Monday, May 01, 2006

LEFTIST RACISM



By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)



A good short introduction to this article is a brief tract written by Dennis Campbell in the run-up to the 2004 U.S. Presidential election:

Four decades ago, Congress passed landmark legislation mandating equal rights for all races--the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Today, there is a political party that vigorously opposes the principles espoused in that legislation. When you enter the voting booth in November, you would do well to consider whether you want to support such an organization.

One of the most prominent senators in this party once said of the racist Ku Klux Klan: ''The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth'' in his home state. This same politician said that he would never go to war ''with a Negro by my side. Rather, I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongers, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.''

The chief spokesman of this party paid tribute to his political mentors, both of whom were hard-line Southern segregationists. A political cartoonist for this party referred to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as a ''house nigger.''

This party has systematically destroyed black families and culture through policies that keep blacks dependent on government support while stifling the growth of the black middle class.

The party? Democrat. Those cited above? Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, former President Bill Clinton, and virulent cartoonist Ted Rall of the liberal newspaper, The Washington Post.

One of the wonders of American politics has been the ability of Democrats to portray Republicans as racist, even as they support racial quotas in our colleges and universities, deny black parents the ability to take their children out of horrendous big-city schools through vouchers, and make disgusting TV commercials such as the one by the bigoted and racist NAACP blaming President Bush for the brutal killing of a black man in Texas.

Jesse Jackson, one of the left's most prominent spokesmen, called New York ''Hymietown,'' and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown once boasted that ''We beat those white boys..'' (Of course, there was no media outcry over these bigoted statements. No liberal media bias here!)

The education policies of the left have decimated our public school system, particularly in big cities such as Washington, D.C., where per-student spending is among the highest in the country and the academic performance of students the lowest.

And is it not interesting that while they deny poor black families access to vouchers to allow their children to receive a decent education, liberal politicians send their own children to private schools? It seems that they do believe in school choice--for those who can afford it.

It was not conservatives but liberals who attempted to limit the number of Asians admitted into the University of California system, because through hard work and parental support they were disproportionately represented in relation to the population in general.

If you would like to be a mail carrier or firefighter or police officer, you should know that conservatives believe your ability to do so should be based on character and merit--while those on the left believe it should be based on the color of your skin.

And when it comes time to vote, remember this: It was Republicans who enabled passage of civil rights legislation--more Democrats than Republicans voted against it. Among the opponents: Sen. Albert Gore, Sr., of Tennessee, father of last election's Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore.

The Democrat Party is jammed top to bottom with bigots, outright racists, and race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Do you really want to put more of these guys into power?


I think that establishes that there is something to discuss. So let us do so:


Verbal magic: The Nazi example

Leftists will grudgingly allow that one can be both a Leftist and a Nationalist -- Gough Whitlam, the great hero of the Australian Left, certainly was an unashamed nationalist, as were those great champions of the Argentinian "descamisados" (shirtless ones), Juan and Eva Peron, and as is the Communist Kim dynasty in North Korea with their catastrophic doctrine of "juche" (national self-reliance) -- but to allow any significance for race means automatically these days that you cannot be a Leftist. Any Leftist who does allow that race might have some significance in some way is immediately relabelled as Rightist. Being racist is enough in the current Left lexicon to make you Rightist regardless of anything else you might believe or advocate.

This is however utter nonsense. Take this description of a political programme: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative!

Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.

The Nazi phenomenon is however a very large topic in its own right and there is much more to show how Leftist it in fact was. It was to the Right of Communism but that is about all. Even Hitler's antisemitism and eugenics were not unusual in the Leftists of his day. For further details see here.

More magic: Fortuyn

The Leftist character of Nazism is however only a small part of the evidence of racism on the Left. Even in quite recent times the "Rightist" character of racism can be little more than a journalistic fabrication. Take the example of Pim Fortuyn -- the homosexual Dutch political leader assassinated by a Green activist in May, 2002. As Brunton and many others have pointed out, the late Pim Fortuyn advocated gay marriage, gender equality, liberalized drug laws and criticized a religion which he saw as intolerant and homophobic -- which sounds an awful lot like the Leftists of his era -- but because he also wanted to stop further immigration into his already densely populated country he became, "Hey presto!", a "Right-wing extremist"! Brunton also points out that there is much in the rhetoric of prominent French anti-immigrant politician Jean-Marie Le Pen which would get him described as a Leftist were it not for his racial views.

So Fortuyn and to some extent Le Pen are Rightist only by arbitrary definition. Even today, Left-wing racism does not exist only insofar as it is DEFINED out of existence. As with Hitler, so called "Rightist" racism turns out to be in fact Leftist. Most modern-day Leftists are just dishonest about acknowledging it, that is all. They think that by relabelling it they perform some sort of magic trick that makes it go away.

It might be noted, moreover, that Leftists seldom seem to live among the minorities that they ostensibly champion. They are "limousine liberals" in Spiro Agnew's memorable phrase. What most Americans really think of at least some minorities is shown graphically by the phenomenon of "white flight" (US whites normally abandon suburbs that acquire more than a 5% Negro population) but we do not seem to see Leftists rushing to fill the houses left vacant by that. If deeds speak louder than words, this would tend to point to the Leftist's anti-racist advocacy as being mere empty rhetoric.

Leftism and racism in history generally

There is much more in history that shows anti-racism to be a cloak that Leftists have only recently donned:

Before World War II, anti-racism was certainly NOT the mainstay of Leftist doctrine that it is today. Who was it who said: "What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money."? No. It was not Adolf Hitler but Karl Marx himself (Marx, 1844). See Blanchard (1984) for a full discussion of Marx's antisemitism.

And who was it who wrote this?

"Not until my fourteenth or fifteenth year did I begin to come across the word 'Jew,' with any frequency, partly in connection with political discussions.... For the Jew was still characterized for me by nothing but his religion, and therefore, on grounds of human tolerance, I maintained my rejection of religious attacks in this case as in others. Consequently, the tone, particularly that of the Viennese anti-Semitic press, seemed to me unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation"

Some kindly liberal wrote that, no doubt? Some anti-racist? Some Leftist? The sentiments are certainly ones that anti-racists could only applaud, are they not? But those words are actually the words of Adolf Hitler, writing in the early part of "Mein Kampf". And we all know what he ended up doing!

And Hitler's contemporaries in the U.S. Democratic party were very nearly as racist as Hitler was. The Ku Klux Klan was a Democrat organization and the infamous "Jim Crow" legislation was the work of Democrats. Famous diehard segregationists such as Orval Faubus and George Wallace were also Democrats. You can hear the race-relevant history of the Democrats via the words of their own spokesmen here. Following is a quote from a Democrat President of the USA (Andrew Johnson, President, 1865-69):
"If blacks were given the right to vote, that would "place every splay-footed, bandy-shanked, hump-backed, thick-lipped, flat-nosed, woolly-headed, ebon-colored Negro in the country upon an equality with the poor white man."

And from 1901 to 1966 the Australian government had an official policy known as the "White Australia" policy -- a policy which forbad non-white immigration into Australia. In other words, for most of the time that "slegs blankies" ruled as the guiding policy in South Africa, its English equivalent ("whites only") ruled in Australia too. And who were always the most ardent supporters of that policy? The Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party.

Even an article here which is generally sympathetic to the Labor Party admits that the most passionate advocate of racism in Australia a century ago was its leader, Chris Watson. Excerpt: "McMullin doesn't deal with Watson's role in the creation of White Australia but it is revelatory. After Edmund Barton, as inaugural PM, introduced the bill in 1901, Watson led the attack seeking not a dictation test but, on Labor's behalf, a direct racial ban. He told the house his objection to the mixing of coloured and white people "lies in the main in the possibility and probability of racial contamination". And all Australia's Leftist honchos were still energetically celebrating Watson's government in 2004! And note that it was an Australian Labor Party leader (Arthur Calwell) who became famous for his remark that, "Two Wongs don't make a white". The white Australia policy was eventually abolished by a conservative government under Harold Holt. So Leftists can be as racist as anyone else if it suits them.

This is also shown by the way Jews were heavily oppressed up until quite recently in Russia under the Soviet system. The Soviet Gulag may not have been as regularly fatal as Hitler's concentration camps but that is about the best that one can say of it.

It is also a matter of historical record that, after the Nazi-Soviet pact, Communists worldwide immediately became vigorously pro-Hitler. So Leftist "principles" are obviously very flexible. It is reasonable to conclude therefore, that, if Hitler had won and Stalin lost the war, Leftists would now be justifying their constant clamour for change and their bids for power as furthering Nazi ideals rather than "humanitarian" ideals.

Nonetheless, the way contemporary "Western" Leftists constantly hurl the labels "Nazi" and "Fascist" at anybody they disagree with suggests almost an obsession with Nazism. Such an obsession is also suggested by the way TV programs about Hitler and Nazism always seem to be available from our Left-dominated media. Programs about Stalin's Russia are as rare as hen's teeth by comparison.

This continuing Leftist obsession with Nazism might make some sense if Nazism were uniquely evil but, horrible and massive though the Nazi crimes were, they were anything but unique. For a start, government by tyranny is, if anything, normal in human history. And both antisemitism and eugenic theories were normal in prewar Europe. Further back in history, even Martin Luther wrote a most vicious and well-known attack on the Jews. And Nazi theories of German racial superiority differed from then-customary British beliefs in British racial superiority mainly in that the British views were implemented with typical conservative moderation whereas the Nazi views were implemented with typical Leftist fanaticism and brutality (cf. Stalin and Pol Pot). And the Nazi and Russian pogroms differed mainly in typically greater German thoroughness and efficiency. And waging vicious wars and slaughtering people "en masse" because of their supposed group identity have been regrettably common phenomena both before and after Hitler (e.g. Stalin's massacres of Kulaks and Ukrainians, the unspeakable Pol Pot's massacres of all educated Cambodians, Peru's "Shining Path", the Nepalese Marxists, the Tamil Tigers and the universal Communist mass executions of "class-enemies"). Both Stalin and Mao Tse Tung are usually "credited" with murdering far more "class enemies" than Hitler executed Jews.

It seems an obvious conclusion, then, that the constant Leftist excoriation of Hitler and the Nazis stems not from the unique horribleness of Nazism but has as its main aim an effort at camouflage -- an effort to disguise or hide from public awareness the real kinship that exists between Nazism and other forms of Leftism. Modern-day Leftists do not want people to know that Nazism is their ugly twin. They just cannot afford to have people realize that ALL the great mass-murders of the 20th century were the product of Leftism.

Only a few fragments of the history of Leftist racism have been given here but in any case a typical Leftist response to what has been shown would be: "So what? History is history. It has no relevance to Leftism today." There are many possible answers to that but any claim that modern-day Leftism is somehow different, that it is not and cannot be racist is of course being given the lie right now with the upsurge of Leftist antisemitism as a response to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the problem of Muslim terrorism.

As just one instance of that, note this from a U.S. Democrat congressman:

At times impassioned, at times resigned, Moran blasted the Bush administration for its rush to war but saved some of his harshest criticism for Jewish leaders in the United States. "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this," he said. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going and I think they should."


Rep. James Moran said those words in March 2003 but it could just as well have been Dr. Goebbels in the 1930s. The view of Jewish control over the larger society is the same.

And some Leftists who are active and prominent in Left-wing politics right now also have a history of anti-black racism. Senator Robert Byrd, for instance, is such a favourite among US Democrats that he has even served as Chairman of the US Senate --- yet in his 20s he was an active and vocal member of the Ku Klux Klan! You can hardly get more racist than that.

And also note that the famously racist George Wallace WON Democrat primaries for US President in Michigan (1972), North Carolina and Florida (1976) and came close in Maryland and Wisconsin in 1964. So Leftist racism is no mere historical curiosity. Even prominent modern-day Leftists are perfectly capable of it.

There is a more detailed coverage of racism among U.S. Democrat politicians here. Excerpt:

"Democrat opposition to the Civil Rights Act was substantial enough to literally split the party in two. A whopping 40% of the House Democrats VOTED AGAINST the Civil Rights Act, while 80% of Republicans SUPPORTED it. Republican support in the Senate was even higher. Similar trends occurred with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was supported by 82% of House Republicans and 94% of Senate Republicans. The same Democrat standard bearers took their normal racists stances, this time with Senator Fulbright leading the opposition effort.

It took the hard work of Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and Republican Whip Thomas Kuchel to pass the Civil Rights Act (Dirksen was presented a civil rights accomplishment award for the year by the head of the NAACP in recognition of his efforts). Upon breaking the Democrat filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Republican Dirksen took to the Senate floor and exclaimed "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!" (Full text of speech). Sadly, Democrats and revisionist historians have all but forgotten (and intentionally so) that it was Republican Dirksen, not the divided Democrats, who made the Civil Rights Act a reality. Dirksen also broke the Democrat filibuster of the 1957 Civil Rights Act that was signed by Republican President Eisenhower....

The most famous of the school desegregation standoffs involved Governor Faubus. Democrat Faubus used police and state forces to block the integration of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The standoff was settled and the school was integrated only after the intervention of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Even the Democrat Party organization resisted integration and refused to allow minority participation for decades. Exclusion of minorities was the general rule of the Democrat Party of many states for decades, especially in Texas. This racist policy reached its peak under the New Deal in the southern and western states, often known as the New Deal Coalition region of FDR. The Supreme Court in Nixon v. Herndon declared the practice of "white primaries" unconstitutional in 1927 after states had passed laws barring Blacks from participating in Democrat primaries. But the Democrat Parties did not yield to the Court’s order. After Nixon v. Herndon, Democrats simply made rules within the party's individual executive committees to bar minorities from participating, which were struck down in Nixon v. Condon in 1932. The Democrats, in typical racist fashion, responded by using state parties to pass rules barring blacks from participation. This decision was upheld in Grovey v. Townsend, which was not overturned until 1944 by Smith v. Allwright. The Texas Democrats responded with their usual ploys and turned to what was known as the "Jaybird system" which used private Democrat clubs to hold white-only votes on a slate of candidates, which were then transferred to the Democrat party itself and put on their primary ballot as the only choices. Terry v. Adams overturned the Jaybird system, prompting the Democrats to institute blocks of unit rule voting procedures as well as the infamous literacy tests and other Jim Crow regulations to specifically block minorities from participating in their primaries. In the end, it took 4 direct Supreme Court orders to end the Democrat's "white primary" system, and after that it took countless additional orders, several acts of Congress, and a constitutional amendment to tear down the Jim Crow codes that preserved the Democrat's white primary for decades beyond the final Supreme Court order ruling it officially unconstitutional.



Leftist Racism: "Affirmative action"

There is one form of racism that Leftists do to this day openly and unashamedly allow themselves. As mentioned previously, a great Leftist cause for the last 30 or more years has been "affirmative action" -- which normally translates into deliberate discrimination against whites both in hiring practices and in admissions to universities and colleges -- a policy which is as blatantly racist as any policy could be.

The policy is normally justified as needed in order to restore "balance" or "diversity" and so to reverse the discrimination of the past but if that were the motive such a policy would also be used to restore political balance in the social science and humanities schools of our universities and colleges -- given the huge preponderance of Leftists teaching in such schools and the virtual barring of Rightists there (Kramer, 1999; Horowitz, 1999; Redding, 2001; Sommer, 2002). Needless to say, no affirmative action policy leading to the preferential hiring of conservatives exists in any major "Western" university. Voltaire's famous declaration that: "I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it" obviously has no place in modern Leftist thinking. Clearly, then, affirmative action is a simple claim of righteousness and moral superiority for Leftists, nothing more. A Leftist will happily be racist if it enables him to make THAT claim!

A good reply to the Leftist arguments for "affirmative action" might be some very famous words:

"I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today".

To their shame it is the Leftists today who favour people on the basis of the colour of their skin rather than on the content of their character. The chief obstacles to the realization of Martin Luther King's dream today are America's so-called "liberals".

Affirmative action advocates assume, of course, that all ethnic groups can produce equal outcomes given equal opportunities, but they cannot remotely prove it. Black economist Thomas Sowell wades through the empirical evidence.

"The reality...is very different. In fact, for a host of reasons, some of which we know and some of which we do not know, some of which spring from malign oppression and many of which do not, ethnic and racial groups behave differently, perform differently, learn differently, and exhibit greatly different talents and temperaments. That is not crude stereotyping; it is plain fact. Justice will not be done if this fact is denied or goes unrecognized."

The truly poisonous and destructive effects of affirmative action and its underlying false assumptions are pointed out at greater length here and here.



Group identity obsession and "categorizing"

At one time Leftists (and others) would condemn racism because it "categorized" people. Treating people as instances of some group to which they belonged rather than as individuals was widely seen as a VERY bad thing. Today that seems to be all turned around. Some of the categories Leftists are now allowed to hate are: Americans, "Zionists" (Jews), dead white males, any males, any whites, rich people, middle-class people, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, conservatives, "red-necks" etc. Why?

One one level it is easily understood: Hitler was a socialist so it is surely no surprise that modern-day socialists should share his group-oriented approach to the world.

It goes deeper than that, however. Leftists now LOVE categorizing people -- as long as the category is one that can be seen as at a disadvantage in some way. It does not even have to be a minority category. In most countries there are slightly more women than men but almost every Leftist will tell you that women everywhere are "oppressed". Middle-class white males of Anglo-Saxon ancestry living in the "Western" world seem to be just about the only category that cannot be classed as "oppressed". THEY are the universal ENEMY!

Enormously crass and silly though this all is, it seems to be taken as gospel by many members of the selfsame "enemy" class -- as long as they are also Leftists, journalists, university professors, mainstream clergy etc. Such people seek credit for themselves by treating all others outside their own self-proclaimed group as being especially privileged. Yes. Being in an "oppressed" class is seen by such people as earning the "oppressed" ones great advantages. It is, for instance, a "hate crime" to speak any ill of any member of such a class, but if you say exactly the same thing about any member of the "enemy" class, that is NOT a "hate crime". THAT is fair comment!

Such Leftist gyrations would once have been called double standards, prejudice and discrimination. Leftists are such moral and intellectual dwarfs that they simply replace hatred of blacks with hatred of whites.

Needless to say, this apparent self-loathing (that it is only apparent Jack Wheeler shows -- see later) tends to be greeted with considerable glee by most of those upon whom it confers advantages. Why would it not? So we have a modern-day equivalent of a class-war or race-war which, as usual in such wars, is focused on just one enemy. But unlike most such wars, most of the attacking is being done by people within the "enemy" ranks! Fortunately, however, it is so far only a verbal and financial war. If it were a hot war the traitors would have to be shot!

It probably would be helpful, however, if the war-mongers concerned were seen for what they are -- People who foster intergroup hatred to serve their own self-glorifying ends. They are the modern world's equivalent of the racists of the past.

They would of course totally reject any parallel: They would say that racists sought the destruction of others whereas they want to foster harmony and help others. But hatred, prejudice and discrimination are strange tools to use if you really want to help others and foster harmony. Welfare programs, for instance, do not require those helped to be members of some "victim" class. Welfare can be targeted simply at need (e.g. level of income). So in the absence of any need for all the hatred, prejudice and discrimination, its widespread use by Leftists surely tells us yet again what is really in their hearts.

And, after all, Leftists have always loved "groupthink" (to use Orwell's famous term) and rejected the primacy of the individual so it is rather surprising that they ever rejected racism at all. That phase in their history would now however seem to be coming to an end -- showing that their opposition to it was only ever yet another attempt to gain kudos for themselves.

Shelby Steele has an interesting explanation of why identity politics excludes straight, middle class, non-Hispanic American white males -- who are undisputably one of America's many minorities -- and who are a much smaller group than (say) American women. Everybody else can celebrate their "identity" and campaign hard for extra privileges for their group but just THAT particular group may not campaign for and pursue its own particular interests.

I think Steele is right to say that the exclusion of that group occurs because they are perceived as already ruling the roost -- but that perception is utter garbage. I doubt that most of the members of that group even rule their own households (not that I am saying that they ought to). And the relatively comfortable material circumstances that members of the group enjoy are almost invariably the result of hard work and saving. So hard work and saving should be grounds to exclude and discriminate against people? It's a diseased view of how the world works that says so.

Steele and many other conservative commentators say that the problem is identity politics itself and that we should all try to abandon our tribal loyalties -- but I know too much of the psychological research (from Sherif onwards) on how easily group identities are formed to think that group identity will ever fade out of significance. And Nazi Germany showed us how VERY important group identity can become under some circumstances. So group identity has to be MANAGED somehow. It cannot be suppressed. And surely the Nazi experience shows us that in general the best way to manage it is to MINIMIZE it where possible --- via government policies that treat each case on its individual merits and which treat all people as equal before the law. "Equality" is a fantasy but "equal treatment" is a powerful public policy tool for dealing with group rivalries and antagonisms. And it is exactly that tool that the Left have abandoned by their PROMOTION of identity politics. No good can come of it.

American identity and civil peace was founded on a principle of equal treatment ("created" equal in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is a religious way of saying that people are NOT equal but should be treated that way) and it is exactly that principle that Leftists are now destroying in their egotistical and irresponsible pursuit of the feel-good slogan.


Current Leftist "Anti-Zionism"

The very considerable upsurge of antisemitism (sometimes thinly disguised as anti-Zionism) among some US Leftists in very recent times -- particularly on university campuses -- seems amazing and incomprehensible to many. Excerpt:

The universities of the new millennium have turned into hotbeds of anti-Semitic propaganda. Each and every day they churn out some new tidbit of hatred against the Jewish State of Israel. I was shocked to see that even my old university - Columbia - is leading this offensive drive by divesting itself of all Israeli products and businesses. How dare the universities allow themselves to be used in such an offensive manner. The anti-Semitic leaders of the movement for divestment don't even try to hide their academic dishonesty. Their cause is totally one-sided. There is no mention of the daily violence coming from the Arab-Palestinian homicide bombings. Where is their compassion for the horrors heaped daily upon the children of Israel? Columbia isn't the only one. The University of Michigan recently sponsored a 'hate fest' against Israel, which drew a nice crowd.


And just listen to this bit of poison from Yale university:

But does the prevalence of Jews in American media, business and politics help explain America's steadfast support for Israel, whose 35-year occupation of Palestinian lands is an affront to human decency? Of course.


It's Hitler's "National Socialism" all over again. That a decent person of any religion might support a people trying to defend itself against persecution, outside military attacks and internal terrorism is obviously beyond the ken of the hate-filled writer (Sahm Adrangi). And the similar views expressed by Democrat Congressman Moran have already been referred to above.

Feisty Italian Left-wing writer, Oriana Fallaci, is also horrified at the antisemitism of the modern-day Left:

"I find it shameful that almost all of the left ... forgets the contribution made by the Jews to the fight against fascism ... I find it shameful that in part through the fault of the left--or rather, primarily through the fault of the left (think of the left that inaugurates its congresses applauding the representative of the PLO, leader in Italy of the Palestinians who want the destruction of Israel) -- Jews in Italian cities are once again afraid ...

I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth.

I see it, yes, and I say the following ... I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews ... And disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates.


Source. Oriana Fallaci (aged 73 at the time of writing) was a Resistance fighter in her youth.

So how can people who have been beating the anti-racist drum so loudly and for so long suddenly turn into the very thing that they have always opposed? How can ferocious Leftists suddenly start advocating something that was until recently the preserve of the extreme Right? Why do many Leftists (including that great Leftist hater, Noam Chomsky) now seem to think that it is OK to have Jews being blown up left, right and centre but wrong to attack a murderous antisemitic and Fascist dictator such as Saddam Hussein? Why in fact does Chomsky have links with neo-Nazis? Can these be the same people who have been proclaiming their "compassion" for so long?

As an Australian Maoist and former Vietnam peacenik Barry York put it:

"It is too late for the so-called Left in Australia to stand anywhere but condemned for its failure to support the successful war to liberate Iraq. It stood on the side of reaction, and the history books must place its leaders alongside the British pacifists of the '30s who, as George Orwell pointed out, gave comfort and objective support to Hitler. The pseudo-Left proved not just that it can be wrong but that in the name of anti-Americanism it can support fascism."


The mystery of Leftist support for Arab antisemitism and Fascism will be no mystery at all to anyone who has been following my argument here. I argue that all causes are a means to an end for most Leftists. They have fixations from time to time but few have any deepseated beliefs. Power and personal glorification is their only end so they really have no time for complex ideas. Simplistic slogans are about all they stretch to. And anti-racism is a perfect example of that. It has never been a historic Leftist cause and was in fact adopted by Leftists only after World War II, simply as a means of gaining kudos. Hitler's enormous racist excesses had made any suggestion of racism obnoxious -- and Leftists simply jumped on that bandwaggon.

And as I have pointed out at length elsewhere, Hitler was a Leftist too. So the antisemitism of modern-day Leftists is nothing new. When the greatest antisemite of all time was a Leftist, why should we be surprised at Leftist antisemitism today? There have ALWAYS been Leftist racists and even Marx himself was an antisemite (Blanchard, 1984). Conservatives can of course be racist and antisemitic too but I will show below that conservative racism is generally innocuous by comparison.

Another element in Leftist antisemitism is pointed out by the excellent "Theodore Dalrymple" (2002):

"Socialist and anti-Semite alike seek an all-encompassing explanation of the imperfection of the world, and for the persistence of poverty and injustice: and each thinks he has found an answer. There are other connections between left-wing thought and anti-Semitism (usually believed to be a disease of the Right alone). The liberal intellectual who laments the predominance of dead white males in the college syllabus or the lack of minority representation in the judiciary uses fundamentally the same argument as the anti-Semite who objects to the prominence of Jews in the arts, sciences, professions, and in commerce. They both assume that something must be amiss -- a conspiracy -- if any human group is over- or under-represented in any human activity, achievement, or institution".


Covert Leftist prejudice

But one of the most unfailing indications of the prejudiced assumptions that lurk in Leftist minds and form their judgments is the way better behaviour is always expected of those "like us" -- generally successful groups such as Americans and Israelis. There seems to be an assumption that those who have not done well in life in various ways cannot help it and cannot therefore have much expected of them.

Eric Hoffer made a good comment on that in connection with the Leftist attitude to Israel. It was written in the Los Angeles Times of 5/26/1968 but is still highly relevant today:

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese-and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis
.

That racism lurks just beneath the surface in Leftists is also shown vividly by their constant adoption of double standards when speaking of populations of European and non-European origins. There is always an acceptance of barbarity among non-Europeans and a corresponding expectation that people of European origin "should know better". Let us look at just a few examples of the vast number that could be given:

There could be few things more disgraceful than the vast Leftist support that was mobilized in an effort to keep Iraq's Saddam Hussein in power. Saddam was terminally brutal and undoubtedly Fascist -- which Leftists are supposed to hate. But he was an Arab and Arabs are "not like us" so anything is excused in them. As the National Review said:

The left's neglect of Saddam's lengthy track record of hate and intolerance is baffling. Indeed, Saddam is a racist by the truest definition of the word: He hates certain groups, and even tries to murder people in those groups, precisely because of their mere race. Saddam is not a bigot because, say, he opposes racial profiling at airports. He is a bigot because he tries to exterminate entire groups of people based solely on their race. Some of his frightening actions constitute genocidal racism. Nowhere has Saddam's racism been more apparent than in his actions against Iraq's Kurdish minority, where his personal hatred of Kurds achieved horrific dimensions.


And, as Richard Pollock says:

Embedded reporters have filed stories of Iraqi soldiers shooting civilians and forcing teenagers at gunpoint to fight the war. Also, there are published reports of Iraqi women and children being executed by the Saddam-loyal Fedayeen. Such evidence (and more) reveals Iraq's human rights violations and continual breach of international laws that govern warfare. But you wouldn't know it if you listened to the "mainstream" human rights groups. They apparently can find abuses everywhere except in Iraq.


And below are two headlines from Agence France Presse which came up juxtaposed on the Australian News Corporation website on the same day:

Media deaths spark outrage

AFP - The killing of three journalists in two separate attacks by US forces fighting for control of Baghdad triggered a torrent of criticism from international media watchdogs and officials.

Congo war claimed 3.3 million lives

AFP - The war in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has claimed 3.3 million lives and was "the deadliest documented conflict in African history," a US-based refugee agency said.


Note: 3 deaths versus 3 million deaths! An accident or misjudgement of war is an outrage if the U.S. is responsible for it but blacks can do ANYTHING without it being an outrage.

Further, Leftists constantly cast up the undoubted evils of (European) Nazism so that there can hardly be anyone in the Western world who is unaware of those evils. But how often do Leftists excoriate the simultaneous and arguably greater Japanese atrocities against the Chinese? I have never heard a single Leftist do so. And Western countries are often criticized by Leftists for their "harsh" treatment of illegal immigrants (treatment which rarely leads to any deaths) but we hear hardly a word about the mini-holocausts that are occurring all the time in Africa. Certainly no Leftist that I have ever heard condemns such holocausts. If they do it is nothing compared to the attacks that they mount on the much more benign countries of European origin. Clearly, Leftists have an underlying view of the difference between the "civilized" and "lesser" races that is little different from the views of such heroes of past British Imperialism as Rudyard Kipling.

Radical Feminism -- not racist but still discriminatory

Cynical though I certainly am, I still find it hard to get used to the way those who claim to oppose discrimination so often practice it themselves. I find it quite breathtakingly hypocritical. The way those who fought to end discrimination against blacks now routinely practice discrimination against whites ("affirmative action") is the most obvious instance of the phenomenon but feminists are not far behind. I am sure we all know of various instances where private clubs and organizations that were once "men only" were subjected to enormous pressure, legal and otherwise, to force them to abandon their exclusiveness. Yet where I live there is now a "women only" golf club that is allowed to continue on its merry way with only token protests and there are also large billboards up around the place advertising a "health club" which appears to have its main claim to fame the proud boast that "No Toms, Harrys or Dicks" are allowed there. Where are the street marches and demonstrations protesting against this blatant and contemptuous discrimination against men? There are none. Even a lady I know remarked on it and said: "I don't know how they get away with it". But get away with it they do. Equality before the law is obviously not even attempted where groups favoured by Leftists are concerned.

But for a really extreme example of feminist rejection of equality before the law see this:

The Canadian government recently published a report that recommends monitoring and prosecution of gender equity advocates under federal hate crime laws.

Titled "School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculist Discourse", the report takes on the growing awareness of the problems of boys in schools. Indeed, the report shows that boys are lagging behind girls on the full gamut of educational indicators. But nowhere does the report sound a clarion call for teachers to pay more attention to the educational needs of boys. No, the disparities that affect males should not concern us. Instead, the report makes the argument that the real problem lies with the gender equality advocates who aim to "challenge the gains made by women and discredit feminism."

The report's coup de grace is found in its chilling proposal that "consideration be given to whether legal action can be taken under section 319 of the Criminal Code" against gender equality advocates and organizations. Section 319 is Canada's hate crime law.

Appendix II of the report fingers the prime suspects -- over 90 gender equity groups like Fathers for Justice and the Canadian Committee for Fairness in Family Law. Groups with subversive-sounding names like Children for Justice and Kids Need Both Parents also made the list.



Obviously, not all feminists are "radical". The idea, for instance, that women should receive equal pay for equal work seems to me to be no more than simple justice and is now generally accepted across the political spectrum. But, when it comes to the man-hating feminists, that would suggest to me underlying personality characteristics such as frustration, bitterness, envy and hostility: Motives which would also seem to underly much of Leftism.

Anti-Americanism

Another perhaps amusing exception for the poor old modern-day Leftist is that one of the hatreds he is allowed to express is ALMOST racist: He is allowed to be anti-American. It might be objected that anti-Americanism is not racist because Americans are not a race but the essential point surely is that group prejudice and hatred is group prejudice and hatred, however the target group is defined. Anti-Americanism is however a considerable topic in its own right, so I refer readers here for more about it.


Racism normal?

It might nonetheless be argued that, whatever their motivations, modern-day Leftists do some good by their vocal condemnation of "racism" -- and that could well be so. Racism can undoubtedly be a great and ignorant evil. But is it ALWAYS a great and ignorant evil?

Edmund Burke (1790) has some claims to being the founding theoretician of conservatism and he claimed that loyalty to one's group, tribe, nation etc is a basic human instinct. And the famous military theorist, Von Clausewitz (1976) noted over 150 years ago that "Even the most civilized of peoples, in short, can be fired with passionate hatred for each other" (p. 76). So what does modern social science tell us?

Let us look initially at the literature of academic psychology in particular: Brown (1986) surveyed the large body of extant psychological research on the question and concluded that group loyalty and group identification are rooted in "universal ineradicable psychological processes". In other words, group loyalty is not only normal but universal. And another psychologist particularly active in research into feelings of group identity concluded: "Not only is ingroup favouritism .... not related to outgroup dislike, it also does not seem causally dependant on denigration of the outgroup" (Turner, 1978, p. 249). See also Brewer & Collins (1981, p. 350) and Brown, Condor, Mathews, Wade & Williams (1986).

And this is moderate compared with what can be found elsewhere in the social science literature. For instance, Hechter (1986) claims that all racism is rational while the prominent French anthropologist Levi-Straus (1983) not only claims that ethnocentrism is universal and inescapable but also claims that it is desirable -- on the grounds that it promotes cultural diversity. And the sociobiologists, of course (e.g. Mihalyi, 1984/5; Van den Berghe, 1981) regard ingroup favouritism as universal not only to man but to all social animals. Perhaps most extreme of all, Volkan (1985 & 1988) says that we all actually NEED group enemies and allies.

But few Leftists are interested in such findings and therefore often carry their condemnation of people's thinking about groups to a ridiculous and unfair degree. They tend to characterize as racist almost anyone who is honest about his or her perfectly normal feelings of group identity -- however harmless and non-malevolent those feelings may be. In other words, present-day Leftists tend to find racists under every bed. They are so wedded to exorcising the demons in the world about them that an imaginary demon will do if a real one cannot be found.

They do so because it is in fact just a ploy for them -- a ploy to obtain kudos. The reality that we all like our own group and our kind best (Park, 1950) is simply ignored by Leftists. A simple blanket condemnation of all manifestations of group awareness is the usual limit of their intellectual prowess. Leftists must need all of their talent for denying reality to avoid condemnation of the vast passions generated worldwide by international soccer matches!

So are Rightists and Leftists both equally racist?

It would seem to follow from the view of racism as innate and universal that both Left-leaning and Right-leaning people in the general population would be equally likely to be racist. And survey research conducted among the general population in Australia, Britain and the USA does indeed show that the correlations between overall ideology and racist attitudes are negligible (Ray, 1984; Ray & Furnham, 1984; Ray & Lovejoy, 1986; Raden, 1989, Table 2). Both Leftists and Rightists are equally likely to express racist attitudes. Most research on the question has however been conducted among college students (e.g. Adorno et al, 1950; Duckitt, 1993) and, among students, those with racist views are highly likely to be non-Leftist (i.e. centrist or conservative).

A paper by Sniderman, Brody & Kuklinski (1984) is therefore interesting and unusual in that it relied on U.S. general population sampling and separated people out in terms of educational level. These authors did indeed find the association between racist and conservative attitudes described by Adorno et al (1950) and others but found it only among well-educated respondents. Among those with only a basic education the association was not to be found at all. This is consistent with the view that any association between the two variable is produced in the educational system by teachers (both secondary and tertiary) who tend to be both Left-leaning and anti-racist. People who acculturate best to the educational system will therefore show both Leftist and anti-racist views and will thus produce an overall association between the two variables.

Further evidence that such a social context is crucial for any such an association to emerge is the fact that in Northern Irish samples (Mercer & Cairns, 1981) the association is found for Protestants only (not among Catholics). Conservatism, therefore, may be associated with negative racial attitudes under some particular circumstances and in some particular places but there is no reason to say that political orientation is related to racial attitudes in general. See also Weil (1985) and Gaertner (1973).

Weigel & Howes (1985) did report a strong relationship between conservative and racist ideology in a U.S. general population sample but their "conservatism" scale was more a Leftist caricature of what modern-day conservatives believe than anything else. Most of its items would be more accurately described as measuring "Jingoism" (exaggerated nationalism and contempt for foreigners) so the correlation found was largely artifactual ("built-in").

Vote and racism

Conservative or Leftist attitudes often do not translate well into the political party one votes for. Conservative Southern Democrats are of course well-known (though waning) in the US. So let us look at vote directly and ask what attitudes characterize Right-voting and Left-voting people. And in general population samples, the relationship between racial attitudes and vote in the USA has been shown to be weak to non-existent (Williams & Wright, 1955).

Some more recent research reported by Eisenman & Sirgo (1993) is also of some interest here. They reported principally the responses of U.S. voters to a single survey question concerning the degree of help that the government should give to blacks. They found that more Democrats than Republicans thought that the government should help blacks more and it is this aspect of their findings that the authors themselves concentrate on. Another aspect of their findings that should be noted, however, is that although the most extreme anti-black response was endorsed by 43 Republican voters it was also endorsed by 49 Democrat voters! See Table 2 of Eisenman & Sirgo (1993). So is it Republicans or Democrats who are the racists? There seems to be no clear tendency either way. George Wallace Democrats are obviously still alive, well and easy to find.

Racist behaviour

So far attitudes only have been mentioned: not behaviour. If attitudes may not translate well into vote, they may not translate well into behaviour either. Regrettably, studies that examine behaviour as distinct from attitudes are rare. So a finding of some interest was by Gough & Bradley (1993). These authors were unusual in that they used a properly constructed scale to measure rated racist behavior. They correlated it with a form of the California "F" scale (usually described as measuring authoritarianism but perhaps more informatively referred to as measuring a type of simplistic or old-fashioned conservatism. See Ray, 1988 & 1990). They found a correlation between the attitude and behavior measures of essentially zero (.08). Leftists and Rightists were then equally likely to behave in racist ways. Racism is then universal and Leftists are no more exempt from it than anyone else.

So are we doomed to more racist evil?

The message here so far must sound like a dismal one. If we are all racists, does that mean that mankind is doomed to suffer forever from hate crimes and mass outbreaks of racist evil?

To answer that we need to realize that racist attitudes and racist behaviour are NOT automatically connected. Quite aside from the evidence from psychological research which shows that (La Piere, 1934; Stephan, 1985) there is the evidence of history.

To start our look at that, who knows that the first national leader to declare war on Hitler (Neville Chamberlain) was himself an unapologetic antisemite? Does that not require a doubletake? It surely shows that there is a long and winding path between racist attitudes and behaviour. And there are therefore lots of points where people can be led OFF that path.

The British Empire is the best case in point. Britons of that era regarded it as blindingly obvious that they were a superior race especially blessed by God and destined to rule (sound familar?). Yet did they therefore perpetrate pogroms or holocausts against anybody? Far from it. As Christians, they actually saw their superiority as giving them a duty to care for the "lesser" races (Kipling's famous "white man's burden").

Note also that both the Nazis and the 19th century British had antisemitic laws but, where the Leftist Nazis massacred Jews wholesale, the British Conservative party actually made a Jew (Benjamin Disraeli) their Prime Minister! It would be hard to think of a starker example of the difference between Leftist racism and Conservative racism.

Some will of course quibble that the Disraeli family "converted" from Jewry to Anglicanism when Benjamin was aged 13 but that was just a legal convenience and was almost universally regarded as such. The very surname of the family (D'Israeli) continued to proclaim their origins. Under Hitler, of course, the entire family would have been exterminated without hesitation. Comfortable British conservatives, by contrast, were satisfied by a formality, recognized Benjamin's brilliance and made him a Lord. Rather nicer?

And those naughty British imperialists were even so dastardly as to have two Indian members of Parliament representing them in the British House of Commons at the height of the empire (Dadadhai Naoroji 1892-1895 and M.M. Bhownagree 1895-1906)! It was not only Jews who could attain popular acceptance if they had the ability.

Looking further back in English history we find another interesting contrast. The powerful Plantagent King and despot, Edward 1st expelled all Jews from England in 1290 AD. And it was the champion of Parliamentary government and democracy, Oliver Cromwell, who invited them back again in 1655 AD. And Jews have lived relatively unmolested in England ever since.

As I argue elsewhere at greater length, the Parliamentarians who went to war against the Stuart despot in 1642 under the able leadership of Fairfax and Cromwell were England's first systematic conservatives. Conservatives can fight wars for their causes too. So it was a despotic and centralized authoritarian government that was responsible for expelling the Jews and an anti-centralizing and anti-despotic conservative government that invited them back. Once again we can see that it is the individualistic conservatives who are infinitely more tolerant than the exponents of unlimited government power.

There can be no doubt, of course, that there were some ugly episodes under British imperialism. The tragic slaughter at Amritsar of men, women and children by General Dyer still makes me grieve. And there was also the awful death from disease of Boer women and children in British concentration camps during the South African war. But let it be noted that General Dyer was cashiered over his actions. He did NOT act with British government approval. And the death of the Boer women and children was both unintentional and widely decried in Britain at the time. The whole South African war was in fact vigorously opposed at the time by such influential figures as Lloyd George (later to become Britain's Prime Minister during World War I).

So if we compare the Leftist racism of Hitler and the racism of the very conservative British, what is the obvious conclusion? The conclusion is that feelings of racial, national or group superiority are natural, normal and healthy and can as easily lead to benevolent outcomes as evil ones. It is only those racists who harbour hate in their heart generally who are to be feared.

So racism of some kind is just about universal but some forms are much more malign than others. And the contrast continues to this day. Britain at the beginning of the 21st century is full of antisemitism -- so who did the "racist" British Conservatives appoint as their new leader in late 2003? Another Jew -- Michael Howard. And note the environment in which they did so. As Melanie Phillips described it:

For Britain is where the veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell claimed a 'cabal' of Jews was controlling Tony Blair and George Bush - and was then promptly excused as a lovable eccentric. Where the following day, the BBC TV current affairs show Newsnight concluded that Dalyell had a case, and a 'tightly-knit' group of Jews really did control US foreign policy.

Where Israel is repeatedly dehumanised and delegitimised as an apartheid or Nazi state. Where almost two thirds of the public believe it is the biggest threat to world peace. Where attacks on Jews have increased


So who are the racists now? Let us look at deeds, not words. As far as Disraeli was concerned, his greater ability was what mattered when the Conservatives chose him as their leader in the 19th century and exactly that happened again with Michael Howard in the 21st century.

And that's the sort of racist I am. I am realistic about group differences and have always refused to be silent about them but I am nonetheless happy to recognize merit in anyone of any background when I see it. And in the "deeds not words" category, perhaps I should mention that at the time of writing in 2003 I DO have two Asians and one very brown person living in my own house with me. How many Leftists could say the same?

{I can foresee that Leftists might mock that last statement as a variation on the "Some of my best friends are Jews" statement. That rather well-known statement is perversely said by Leftists to indicate antisemitism. But what philosemitic people (and I am one) are supposed to say we never seem to be told. Do Leftists assume that philosemitism is an impossibility? It would seem so. Pretty racist! And in any case the whole point is that I am describing my deeds, not my attitudes. And in terms of the famous Bogardus scale of social distance (a very practical measure of racism) living in the same house with people of another group would have to be one of the highest degrees of tolerance}.


Multiculturalism

The usual "alternative" that Leftists offer to racial, ethnic or national consciousness is multiculturalism. Though what is inadequate about awareness of oneself as being simply an individual rather escapes me.

Leftists have undoubtedly given multiculturalism a bad name but I would argue that moderate versions of the idea are perfectly reasonable. There is surely a middle way between rejecting everything that is "foreign" and regarding Western civilization as little better than a criminal conspiracy. Multiculturalism is firmly entrenched in Australian politics as just such a middle way. There is general agreement that other cultures should be generally accepted and that we should all be open to whatever good might be in them.

And I fully accept that. What I do NOT accept is the claim that all cultures are equal or of equal value. I believe it to be pretty obvious that modern Western culture does best at delivering generally desired outcomes to those within it. And it is also historically undisputable that, from early roots in the Mediterranean area, that culture has mainly been developed by a small group of interrelated peoples with origins on the fringes of North Western Europe. And those of us who are part of one or more of those peoples have every reason to celebrate it. And I am and I do. I am happy with who and what I am. Though some of my ancestry is distinguished for rather the wrong reasons!

Critics of multicultural excesses are often portrayed as uneducated redneck yokels by the Left. But are Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr or Harvard's Samuel P. Huntington rednecks? Huntington sums up rather well the excesses that the chronic anger of the Left leads to:

"Historically American national identity has been defined culturally by the heritage of Western civilization and politically by the principles of the American Creed on which Americans overwhelmingly agree: liberty, democracy, individualism, equality before the law, constitutionalism, private property. In the late twentieth century both components of American identity have come under concentrated and sustained onslaught from a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists. In the name of multiculturalism they have attacked the identification of the United States with Western civilization, denied the existence of a common American culture, and promoted racial, ethnic, and other subnational cultural identities and groupings. They have denounced, in the words of one of their reports, the "systematic bias toward European culture and its derivatives" in education and "the dominance of the European-American monocultural perspective." The multiculturalists are, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., said, "very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes." Their "mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusions from non-Western cultures."


"Multiculturalism" once stood for tolerance of unimportant differences and appreciation of beneficial ones. Now it often seems to stand for denigrating and tearing down all the standards and values that have made Western civilization the tremendously successful phenomenon that it is. Clearly, there is absolutely no need for multiculturalism to be so negative. Only the chronic hatred of Leftists for the ordinary people around them can explain such negativity.


Summary

Some form of racism seems to be virtually universal. Therefore it should be no surprise that Leftists have in the recent past been fierce racists. Anti-racism was however adopted by the Left in the second half of the 20th century as a temporary expedient for gaining kudos. As it was never wholehearted, however, it is now being steadily abandoned. Racist attitudes are not the same as racist deeds, however, and in terms of deeds not words, conservative racism has historically been hugely more benign than Leftist racism.

Note: Full citation details for all references used above can be found here


ADDENDUM:

(Reproduced from American Thinker)

The Republican Party and blacks

Too often the Republican attitude toward blacks in the Nineteenth Century is presented as the position of Abraham Lincoln or the position of Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln famously said during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 that if he could save the Union without freeing slaves, he would do so; he also spoke out against racial intermarriage.[1] Because of his reputation as the Great Emancipator, it is often assumed that Lincoln expressed the Republican position regarding blacks. Neither Lincoln nor Grant was a strict abolitionist, although Grant did much to end the first incarnation of Ku Klux Klan terrorism.

Lincoln, the frontier lawyer from Illinois, was not nominated because of his strong opposition to slavery, but rather because he had a chance to win the election. He understood those immigrant voters in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky who cared little for slavery but who cared much for someone who understood their concerns and talked their language. Lincoln did win the general election and he won it because he carried Ohio, Indiana and Illinois - states that only a candidate who played the abolition issue with finesse could have carried - which with New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts would give the Republican ticket electoral victory.

How out of synch was Lincoln with the rest of the Republican Party? His principal rivals at the 1860 Convention were Samuel Chase and William Seward. Chase, who later served as Secretary of State under Lincoln, began his anti-slavery career long before Lincoln and as a lawyer defending runaway slaves earned the nickname "Attorney General of Runaway Slaves." When he was made Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of his first official acts was to allow John Rock to be the first black attorney allowed to argue cases before the Supreme Court.

William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, was also an unrelenting opponent of slavery long before Lincoln. Consider his words to the jury when he was defending two black men accused of murder in 1846 - fourteen years before the Republican convention that nominated Lincoln:

"The color of the prisoner's skin, and the form of his features, are not impressed upon the spiritual immortal mind which works beneath. In spite of human pride, he is still your brother, and mine, in form and color accepted and approved by his Father, and yours, and mine, and bears equally with us the proudest inheritance of our race - the image of our Maker. Hold him to be a Man."

Thaddeus Stevens, the powerful Republican congressman who pushed the Reconstruction Act and the impeachment of Democrat Andrew Johnson through Congress, is often portrayed as a mean, deformed man. Someday history may be kinder to him. When the Pennsylvania State Constitution was re-written in 1838 to deny blacks the right to vote, Stevens was the only member of the legislature who refused to sign it. He fought for blacks without cease his entire life, and at his death he chose to be buried in a cemetery for blacks only, with the short epitaph: "I have chosen this that I might illustrate in my death the principles which I advocated through a long life, Equality of Man before his Creator."[3]

All of the Republican presidents elected in the Nineteenth Century after Grant served in the Civil War. All of them were strong supporters of full equality for blacks. Rutherford B. Hayes, as Governor of Ohio, successfully won for blacks the right to vote in state elections. He served one term as president and then devoted the rest of his life to helping poor young blacks in the South.

James Garfield was a general during the Civil War and was elected after Hayes. When the question of arming blacks to fight was hot, said: "It is not in my heart to lay a feather's weight in the way of our black Americans if they choose to strike for what was always their own."[4] And on March 4, 1881, Garfield said: "The elevation of the Negro race from slavery to full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution in 1787."[5]

James Blaine, Republican Speaker of the House and unsuccessful candidate for president, not only supported emancipation but spoke out for "equality and freedom" for blacks and he condemned the disenfranchisement of blacks. Blaine largely wrote the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equality of all persons before the law as well as due process of law.

Benjamin Harrison, the next Republican president, when he was Senator Harrison said: "The colored race in the South has been subjected to indignities, cruelties, outrages, and repression such as find no parallel in the history of civilization."[6] Whether that is hyperbole or not, Harrison's comments show just how fiercely Republicans felt about equal political and social rights for blacks in the South.

The last Republican president of the Nineteenth Century was William McKinley. As Governor of Ohio before being elected president, he supported black civil rights in Ohio; he fought against lynching of blacks; and he appointed blacks to state offices. Every single Republican president - except Lincoln and Grant - and every important Republican leader was a supporter of much more than just emancipation of blacks from slavery. This did not gain the Republican Party votes - it was estimated to have cost the Republican Party at least one million votes in every national election - but the Republican Party was not founded to gain votes, but to stand for moral principles.

Blacks and Republicans in the South

Working together, white Republicans and black Republicans were able to elect fourteen black members of the House of Representative during Reconstruction and two blacks Senators. Significant numbers of black Republicans were also elected to state offices.

While black and white Republicans competed with white Democrats in the South for political power, the death of Lincoln caused a similar conflict in Washington. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's Vice President, was a Democrat and a supporter of slavery. During the 1860 Presidential Election, Johnson had supported Breckenridge, the racist Democrat candidate from the Deep South.

Almost as soon as Johnson took office, he clashed with his anti-slavery Republican cabinet. Democrat Johnson spoke of the need for "White man's government," and he told Governor Fletcher of Missouri: "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men. Everyone would, and must, admit that the white race is superior to the black."

While Democrats in the South and in Washington were fighting to keep blacks down and Republicans were fighting to elevate blacks to full equality, the Ku Klux Klan began to terrorize Republicans as a way of breaking the political stalemate. A federal grand jury in North Carolina in 1871 found that: "The operations of the Klan were exercised in night, and were invariably directed against members of the Republican Party by warnings to leave the country, by whippings and by murder."[7]

Whites as well as blacks were victims of Klan violence and Klan terrorism, but the only whites who were terrorized by the Klan during this period were Republicans and, to a large extent, blacks who were Republicans were terrorized by the Klan rather than blacks who were Democrats. Why was the Klan, the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party, so intent upon wiping out the Republican Party in the South?

Contrary to what many people think now, the South had a very vigorous two party system in the years following the Civil War. Democrats and Republicans had rough parity in political power. I have studied the congressional election returns from the South during this period: elections were often won by very close margins. As long as black and white Republicans could stand together, Democrats could never establish the sort of one-party state necessary to enact Jim Crow and the utter debasement of blacks.

The coming of Uncle Tom

The political stalemate in Washington meant that when Republican congresses would pass legislation to grant equal voting rights to blacks, like the Lodge Federal Election Law, it was either blocked by Democrats in the Senate or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Cruikshank and in U.S. v. Reese.

But there was one way to disenfranchise blacks: Turn the South into a region in which only the Democratic Party held any political power at all. This is why the Ku Klux Klan focused on the extinction of the Republican Party so much. Blacks could have whatever theoretical rights Washington and Republicans wanted to give them, but if the South was a one-party state and that one party of the Democrat Party, it did not matter.

Political parties were private associations and could make their own rules. Blacks were welcome to join the Democrat Party, but they were not allowed to participate in the caucuses or selection process at all. When the time came that winning the Democrat Party nomination was tantamount to election, then the disenfranchisement of blacks was complete - so that became the goal of Klan terrorism.

And it worked. There was a vigorous two party system in the South in 1876, but by 1896 there were hardly any Republicans elected to any state or federal offices at all. Why? Republican whites left the South and Republican blacks joined the Democrat Party instead. Many black men, supported by strong black women who could not vote but who could speak, resisted as long as they could, but when medical care for their families and purchasing supplies at stores was even denied to them, they relented. Black women had a name for men who quit the Republican Party and became Democrats - this process was known as "Crossing the Jordan" - and that name was "Uncle Tom."

Will we ever reach a time when Dixiecrat politicians like Bill Clinton cease to own black voters? Perhaps we will, if enough people know the truth about the history of Uncle Tom. Perhaps then Democrats will lose their stranglehold on black America and blacks will begin to see that the party founded to make them free is their friend.

FINIS

1 comment:

Tony Grieco said...

No discussion of the "Reconstruction" era in the south can be considered complete or accurate without mentioning the "Union Leagues", which one scholar called "the terrorist arm of the Republican Party"! Too many people who expound on post-War Between The States history do so only after looking at the period through a lens which casts the southerners as "pure evil" and the northerners as "pure good" (based, of course, on a 21st century definition of good/evil). This approach is not only an injustice to all those who lived, died and fought during that period, but it also prevents any real insight into or understanding of the people and the time, and blinds the 'student' from learning anything that might aid in the understanding of the prresent.