Blacks Hate America?
Damn Right they do indeed, yes sir, they do!
Blacks Hate America?
Damn Right they do indeed, yes sir, they do!
Black militant or ‘race transcender’
Steve Sailer, America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance,” VDare.com, October 2008, 252 pp., free download.
reviewed by F. Roger Devlin
Who is Barack Obama? Despite the avalanche of reporting about him, Internet journalist Steve Sailer finds that virtually no one has bothered to read a key document about our next president that has been hiding in plain view since 1995: his own autobiography, Dreams from My Father. In America’s Half-Blood Prince—his first book—Mr. Sailer analyzes some of the remarkable things Mr. Obama reveals about himself.
First, Mr. Sailer finds much to admire in Mr. Obama’s writing, even calling him “a creative literary artist by nature, a politician by nurture,” and describes his prose as subtle, mellifluous and carefully-wrought. “His characters are vivid and he has an accurate ear for how different kinds of people speak,” writes Mr. Sailer.
None of this necessarily makes Dreams from My Father a pleasure to read. Mr. Sailer reports that the sentences are long and elaborate without always being clear, and the book’s “acres of self-pitying prose” can be eye-glazingly tedious. This, Mr. Sailer thinks, is the best refutation of rumors that the work was ghostwritten: “a professional hack would have insisted on punching it up with more funny stories and celebrity anecdotes.”
Mr. Obama’s fanatical commitment to the theme announced in his subtitle—race and inheritance—also dulls the book. Nothing is allowed to distract us from what he himself calls his “racial obsessions.” The man we meet in Dreams is no “race transcender” working to “bring people together,” as his campaign palaver would have us believe. He wallows in race, wholly absorbed in his own blackness. He speaks disapprovingly of a mixed-race classmate who declined to identify exclusively with his African side, and is preoccupied with proving himself “black enough.”
The source of this fixation, Mr. Sailer contends, was indoctrination by his white mother between his sixth and tenth years, the period during which they lived together in Indonesia with her second husband.
Stanley Ann Dunham (her father named her Stanley because he had wanted a boy) was a high school atheist, leftist and feminist smart enough to be offered admission to the University of Chicago when she was 15. However, she ended up attending the University of Hawaii where, shortly before her eighteenth birthday, she became pregnant by Barack Obama, Sr., a Kenyan student then 24. He was already married to a Kenyan woman, but she followed tribal custom and agreed that he should take a second wife. Stanley Ann was three months pregnant when she married her Kenyan lover. Two years later, he was offered two scholarships. One, to the New School for Social Research in New York, included an allowance for his wife and child. The other, to Harvard, would pay only for him. Viewing Harvard as more prestigious, he simply abandoned his family. He never paid a cent of child support, although he did visit his son for one month in 1971. He eventually fathered children by four women and died in an automobile accident in Kenya in 1982. He was drunk.
Obama’s mother soon took up with Lolo Soetoro, a “heroic-sounding anticolonialist Third Worlder with whom she imagined she could fulfill her dreams of making the world a better place.” His brothers had joined the Indonesian revolutionary army and been killed, he told her; the Dutch had burned down his family home. But now the Dutch were gone, a progressive, anti-American government was in power, and he would return to help build the new Indonesia.
|Papa and Mama Obama.|
Before Stanley Ann Obama could join her new husband in Jakarta, however, a coup d’état brought a pro-American right-wing government to power. Soon Lolo was contentedly working for Mobil Oil, and she came to despise him as a sellout to capitalism.
She began teaching her young son how much finer a man his own father had been. Mr. Obama describes her telling him how his father “had grown up poor, in a poor country; his life had been hard, as hard as anything Lolo might have known. He hadn’t cut corners, though. He had led his life according to principles. I would follow his example, my mother decided.” “Your brains, your character, you got from him,” she told him.
Over time, writes Mr. Obama, “her message came to embrace black people generally. She would come home with books on the civil rights movement, the recordings of Mahalia Jackson, the speeches of Dr. King. She told me stories of schoolchildren in the South who were forced to read books handed down from wealthier white schools but who went on to become doctors and lawyers and scientists. To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.”
Mr. Sailer comments wryly that Mr. Obama’s mother sounds “like Obi-Wan Kenobi instructing Luke Skywalker in the glories of his Jedi Knight Heritage.” He summarizes her message to her impressionable son as “1) Being a politician, especially a politician who stands up for his race, is the highest calling in life, far superior to being some soulless corporate mercenary like her second husband; and 2) What blacks need is not more virtue, but better political leadership.”
Young Barry Obama — the name he went by until he decided to use the more alien Barack — fully believed his mother’s ludicrously inaccurate portrayal of his father: “The brilliant scholar, the generous friend, the upstanding leader — my father had been all those things.” He imagined Obama, Sr. standing over him, saying “you do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people’s struggle.”
Young Barack with the Soetoro family.
A reporter managed to track down some of Barry Obama’s Indonesian schoolmates, and learned that he had been badly treated because of his race: “He was teased more than any other kid in the neighborhood—primarily because he was so different in appearance.” He was sometimes attacked by three Indonesian kids at once, and on one occasion they threw him into a swamp. None of this is mentioned in Dreams from My Father; discrimination by Malays does not fit into Mr. Obama’s literally “black and white” worldview.
When he was ten, his mother sent young Barry back to Honolulu to live with his grandparents. About a year later, she left Lolo and took the daughter she had had with him back to Hawaii. Some time thereafter, she and the daughter returned to Indonesia—though not to Lolo—and again left Barry with his grandparents. She worked in various development-related jobs in Indonesia and died in 1995 of ovarian cancer.
We are particularly well informed about Mr. Obama’s years in Hawaii, Mr. Sailer writes, thanks to the many journalists who selflessly volunteered to spend the winter of 2007-8 on expense account in Hawaii hanging out with his old friends.
In Dreams, Obama’s Hawaiian years are portrayed as a long nightmare of racism. His ordeals included a curious fellow student asking to touch his kinky hair, a woman asking him if he played basketball (a racial stereotype, you see), and his grandmother’s fear of an aggressive black beggar. The beggar provided the basis for Mr. Obama’s notorious “throw grandma under the bus” speech of March 18, 2008, in which the candidate equated his grandmother’s entirely rational fear with Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-white screeds.
Shortly after his grandmother told him about the beggar, a black friend explained to him that whites were right to fear black strangers: “that’s just how it is, so you might as well get used to it.” Mr. Obama’s reaction to this common-sense observation? “The earth shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment. I stopped, trying to steady myself, and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone.”
Much of the appeal of Mr. Obama’s depiction of himself as a victim of racism, notes Mr. Sailer, depends on readers’ ignorance about Hawaii. It is the most racially diverse state, and has the highest degree of racial mixing. Many residents are the product of several generations of mixed marriages. Such racial discrimination as occurs is often against whites. Mr. Sailer reports a “charming local custom of calling the last day of school ‘kill Haole day,’ on which white students are traditionally given beatings.” Such circumstances go unmentioned in Dreams from My Father, since they do not fit the story Mr. Obama wishes to fashion from his experiences.
Friends from Mr. Obama’s Hawaiian years have disputed the accuracy of Dreams. A black militant Mr. Obama called “Ray” turns out to be one Keith Kakugawa, half black and half Japanese. “[The book] makes me a very bitter person,” he complains; “I wasn’t that bitter.” Mr. Kakugawa also questions Obama’s portrayal of himself: “Barry’s biggest struggles then were missing his parents, his feelings of abandonment. The idea that his biggest struggle was race is bull.”
Barack Obama went on to attend Occidental College in California, trying to prove himself as a militant. “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and feminists and punk-rock performance poets. At night in the dorms we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy.” After two years at Occidental, where he could not find enough “racism” with which to do heroic battle, he transferred to Columbia, on the edge of Harlem. A recurrent theme in Mr. Obama’s career, notes Mr. Sailer, is Power-to-the-People gestures with Ivy League outcomes.
During his senior year, Mr. Obama decided he would become a community organizer in the tradition of Saul Alinsky, but after graduating in 1983, he worked for a year to save money. In Dreams he describes himself as “a spy behind enemy lines” in “a consulting house to multinational corporations” where he hobnobbed with “Japanese financiers” and “German bond traders.” “I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. As the months passed, I felt the idea of becoming an organizer slipping away from me.” A former colleague from those days has perceptively noted that Mr. Obama is retelling the story of the temptation of Christ: the world’s riches are offered to him, he wavers for a moment, and then “an angel calls, awakens his conscience, and helps him chose instead to fight for the people.” The reality, we learn, is that Obama was “a copy editor at a scruffy, low-paying newsletter shop.”
Mr. Obama says he had a white girlfriend while he was living in New York. Readers are free to make what they will of his account of how things ended, which Mr. Sailer quotes at length:
“[O]ne weekend she invited me to her family’s country house. The parents were there, and they were very nice, very gracious … The family knew every inch of the land [and] the names of the earliest white settlers — their ancestors … The house was very old, her grandfather’s house. He had inherited it from his grandfather. The library was filled with old books and pictures of the grandfather with famous people he had known — presidents, diplomats, industrialists … Standing in that room, I realized that our two worlds, my friend’s and mine, were as distant from each other as Kenya is from Germany. And I knew that if we stayed together I’d eventually live in hers. Between the two of us, I was the one who knew how to live as an outsider.
“I pushed her away. We started to fight … She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough.”
The Obama presidential campaign told us that Mr. Obama moved to Chicago to help unemployed steelworkers, conjuring up an image of beefy Catholic guys with names like Kowalski, but once again, his motives were racial. In Dreams, his Chicago job interviewer asks him “What do you know about Chicago, anyway?” He answers: “America’s most segregated city. A black man, Harold Washington, was just elected mayor, and white people don’t like it.” As Mr. Sailer explains, “after six years of looking, Obama had finally found a home where at least some whites reciprocated his antagonism.” Chicago was then the site of the “council wars” between Harold Washington and the white majority of city aldermen, the most blatant white vs. black conflict in the nation at the time.
As a community organizer, Obama’s job was to wring more tax money and government services from the city government for the black underclass. He never betrays the slightest suspicion that unearned money demoralized the blacks he was supposedly trying to help. His proudest achievement during these years was inducing the lazy Chicago Housing Authority bureaucrats to remove some asbestos from a housing project. As Mr. Sailer points out, “asbestos would fall comically low on any ranking of problems plaguing inner city African-Americans.”
|Mr. Obama says he had a white girlfriend while he was living in New York. Readers are free to make what they will of his account of how things ended.|
Mr. Sailer does full justice to what he calls “that rip-snortin’ American comic character,” Rev. Jeremiah “God-damn-America” Wright. Mr. Wright is from the light-skinned black upper-middle class of Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, which used to be notorious for snobbish standoffishness toward their darker brethren. To be invited to social events, girls had to pass the “paper bag test”—be at least as fair-toned as a brown paper bag. When black was proclaimed beautiful during the “Civil Rights” movement, Mr. Wright’s social set suffered an identity crisis.
“The most obvious thing about Wright has gone largely unnoticed,” writes Mr. Sailer, “like Obama, Wright has always had to deal with the question of whether he is black enough.” One way of resolving it was to take the lead in denouncing whites.
Mr. Wright therefore became a disciple of James Cone, a “theologian” who advocates worship of an exclusively black God. This God does not want his followers to turn the other cheek, commanding them instead “to destroy their oppressors by any means at their disposal.” Mr. Cone even presents the Almighty with an ultimatum: “Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject God’s love.”
Mr. Wright outcompeted every other minister on the South Side of Chicago, building a black megachurch with 8,000 members. With his sermons denouncing white greed, he milked enough from this congregation to afford a Porsche and a huge house in a gated community whose residents are overwhelmingly white. He met his wife when a couple came seeking marriage counseling; he decided the solution was to take the woman for himself. More recently, he was reported to be involved in an adulterous affair with a married white woman.
Barack Obama chose this man carefully to be his “spiritual advisor.” His hesitations are recorded in Dreams, and all revolve around whether the Reverend was uncompromising enough about race.
This should be compared to Mr. Obama’s campaign brochures designed for the Bible Belt. There, the candidate solemnly declared that Mr. Wright “introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him,” etc., etc. This traditionally Christian, race-transcending Obama is not found anywhere in the 1995 autobiography.
Mr. Sailer believes Mr. Obama’s reorientation away from obsessive blackness followed his humiliating defeat by former Black Panther Bobby Rush in a 2000 bid for Congress. Some time afterwards, Mr. Obama came under the influence of political consultant David Axelrod. Mr. Axelrod specializes in “packaging black candidates for white electorates: he got Deval Patrick into the governorship of Massachusetts in 2006 using many of the same themes (and even some of the same words) as Barack Obama has used in his Presidential bid.” Apparently, Mr. Axelrod taught Mr. Obama that if he could only learn to make nice to white people, a far bigger prize than Illinois’ First District Congressional seat was within his grasp. Together, they came up with the “Half-Blood Prince” strategy of Mr. Obama running as a man born and bred to unite black and white. And the public bought it. Yet despite Mr. Obama’s apparent ideological shift, when Dreams from My Father was reissued in 2004, he told readers: “I cannot honestly say that I would tell the story much differently today than I did ten years ago.”
Now that Barack Obama is in the White House, will we be governed by the militantly black author of Dreams from My Father, or by the Axelrod-crafted, focus-group honed chameleon served up during the campaign? Will he be able to maintain his Chicano-Marxist-Franz Fanon contempt for America after it has laid so much power and adulation at his feet? The next four years will be the ultimate test of whether Mr. Obama really is “black enough.” There could be no more compelling lesson for whites than to discover that after all this country has done for him, Barack Obama is still the angry black man whose hatreds were honed in the church of Jeremiah Wright.
F. Roger Devlin, PhD, is the author of Alexandre Kojève and the Outcome of Modern Thought.
How Africans may differ from Westerners
by Gedaliah Braun
I am an American who taught philosophy in several African universities from 1976 to 1988, and have lived since that time in South Africa. When I first came to Africa, I knew virtually nothing about the continent or its people, but I began learning quickly. I noticed, for example, that Africans rarely kept promises and saw no need to apologize when they broke them. It was as if they were unaware they had done anything that called for an apology.
It took many years for me to understand why Africans behaved this way but I think I can now explain this and other behavior that characterizes Africa. I believe that morality requires abstract thinking—as does planning for the future—and that a relative deficiency in abstract thinking may explain many things that are typically African.
What follow are not scientific findings. There could be alternative explanations for what I have observed, but my conclusions are drawn from more than 30 years of living among Africans.
|A public service billboard in South Africa. Note old tire and gas can.|
My first inklings about what may be a deficiency in abstract thinking came from what I began to learn about African languages. In a conversation with students in Nigeria I asked how you would say that a coconut is about halfway up the tree in their local language. “You can’t say that,” they explained. “All you can say is that it is ‘up’.” “How about right at the top?” “Nope; just ‘up’.” In other words, there appeared to be no way to express gradations.
A few years later, in Nairobi, I learned something else about African languages when two women expressed surprise at my English dictionary. “Isn’t English your language?” they asked. “Yes,” I said. “It’s my only language.” “Then why do you need a dictionary?”
They were puzzled that I needed a dictionary, and I was puzzled by their puzzlement. I explained that there are times when you hear a word you’re not sure about and so you look it up. “But if English is your language,” they asked, “how can there be words you don’t know?” “What?” I said. “No one knows all the words of his language.”
|I have concluded that a relative deficiency in abstract thinking may explain many things that are typically African.|
“But we know all the words of Kikuyu; every Kikuyu does,” they replied. I was even more surprised, but gradually it dawned on me that since their language is entirely oral, it exists only in the minds of Kikuyu speakers. Since there is a limit to what the human brain can retain, the overall size of the language remains more or less constant. A written language, on the other hand, existing as it does partly in the millions of pages of the written word, grows far beyond the capacity of anyone to know it in its entirety. But if the size of a language is limited, it follows that the number of concepts it contains will also be limited and hence that both language and thinking will be impoverished.
African languages were, of necessity, sufficient in their pre-colonial context. They are impoverished only by contrast to Western languages and in an Africa trying to emulate the West. While numerous dictionaries have been compiled between European and African languages, there are few dictionaries within a single African language, precisely because native speakers have no need for them. I did find a Zulu-Zulu dictionary, but it was a small-format paperback of 252 pages.
My queries into Zulu began when I rang the African Language Department at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and spoke to a white guy. Did “precision” exist in the Zulu language prior to European contact? “Oh,” he said, “that’s a very Eurocentric question!” and simply wouldn’t answer. I rang again, spoke to another white guy, and got a virtually identical response.
|Kikuyu women do not need dictionaries.|
So I called the University of South Africa, a large correspondence university in Pretoria, and spoke to a young black guy. As has so often been my experience in Africa, we hit it off from the start. He understood my interest in Zulu and found my questions of great interest. He explained that the Zulu word for “precision” means “to make like a straight line.” Was this part of indigenous Zulu? No; this was added by the compilers of the dictionary.
But, he assured me, it was otherwise for “promise.” I was skeptical. How about “obligation?” We both had the same dictionary (English-Zulu, Zulu-English Dictionary, published by Witwatersrand University Press in 1958), and looked it up. The Zulu entry means “as if to bind one’s feet.” He said that was not indigenous but was added by the compilers. But if Zulu didn’t have the concept of obligation, how could it have the concept of a promise, since a promise is simply the oral undertaking of an obligation? I was interested in this, I said, because Africans often failed to keep promises and never apologized—as if this didn’t warrant an apology.
A light bulb seemed to go on in his mind. Yes, he said; in fact, the Zulu word for promise—isithembiso—is not the correct word. When a black person “promises” he means “maybe I will and maybe I won’t.” But, I said, this makes nonsense of promising, the very purpose of which is to bind one to a course of action. When one is not sure he can do something he may say, “I will try but I can’t promise.” He said he’d heard whites say that and had never understood it till now. As a young Romanian friend so aptly summed it up, when a black person “promises” he means “I’ll try.”
The failure to keep promises is therefore not a language problem. It is hard to believe that after living with whites for so long they would not learn the correct meaning, and it is too much of a coincidence that the same phenomenon is found in Nigeria, Kenya and Papua New Guinea, where I have also lived. It is much more likely that Africans generally lack the very concept and hence cannot give the word its correct meaning. This would seem to indicate some difference in intellectual capacity.
Note the Zulu entry for obligation: “as if to bind one’s feet.” An obligation binds you, but it does so morally, not physically. It is an abstract concept, which is why there is no word for it in Zulu. So what did the authors of the dictionary do? They took this abstract concept and made it concrete. Feet, rope, and tying are all tangible and observable, and therefore things all blacks will understand, whereas many will not understand what an obligation is. The fact that they had to define it in this way is, by itself, compelling evidence for my conclusion that Zulu thought has few abstract concepts and indirect evidence for the view that Africans may be deficient in abstract thinking.
Abstract entities do not exist in space or time; they are typically intangible and can’t be perceived by the senses. They are often things that do not exist. “What would happen if everyone threw rubbish everywhere?” refers to something we hope will not happen, but we can still think about it.
Everything we observe with our senses occurs in time and everything we see exists in space; yet we can perceive neither time nor space with our senses, but only with the mind. Precision is also abstract; while we can see and touch things made with precision, precision itself can only be perceived by the mind.
How do we acquire abstract concepts? Is it enough to make things with precision in order to have the concept of precision? Africans make excellent carvings, made with precision, so why isn’t the concept in their language? To have this concept we must not only do things with precision but must be aware of this phenomenon and then give it a name.
How, for example, do we acquire such concepts as belief and doubt? We all have beliefs; even animals do. When a dog wags its tail on hearing his master’s footsteps, it believes he is coming. But it has no concept of belief because it has no awareness that it has this belief and so no awareness of belief per se. In short, it has no self-consciousness, and thus is not aware of its own mental states.
It has long seemed to me that blacks tend to lack self-awareness. If such awareness is necessary for developing abstract concepts it is not surprising that African languages have so few abstract terms. A lack of self-awareness—or introspection—has advantages. In my experience neurotic behavior, characterized by excessive and unhealthy self-consciousness, is uncommon among blacks. I am also confident that sexual dysfunction, which is characterized by excessive self-consciousness, is less common among blacks than whites.
Time is another abstract concept with which Africans seem to have difficulties. I began to wonder about this in 1998. Several Africans drove up in a car and parked right in front of mine, blocking it. “Hey,” I said, “you can’t park here.” “Oh, are you about to leave?” they asked in a perfectly polite and friendly way. “No,” I said, “but I might later. Park over there”—and they did.
While the possibility that I might want to leave later was obvious to me, their thinking seemed to encompass only the here and now: “If you’re leaving right now we understand, but otherwise, what’s the problem?” I had other such encounters and the key question always seemed to be, “Are you leaving now?” The future, after all, does not exist. It will exist, but doesn’t exist now. People who have difficulty thinking of things that do not exist will ipso facto have difficulty thinking about the future.
It appears that the Zulu word for “future”—isikhati—is the same as the word for time, as well as for space. Realistically, this means that these concepts probably do not exist in Zulu thought. It also appears that there is no word for the past—meaning, the time preceding the present. The past did exist, but no longer exists. Hence, people who may have problems thinking of things that do not exist will have trouble thinking of the past as well as the future.
This has an obvious bearing on such sentiments as gratitude and loyalty, which I have long noticed are uncommon among Africans. We feel gratitude for things that happened in the past, but for those with little sense of the past such feelings are less likely to arise.
Why did it take me more than 20 years to notice all of this? I think it is because our assumptions about time are so deeply rooted that we are not even aware of making them and hence the possibility that others may not share them simply does not occur to us. And so we don’t see it, even when the evidence is staring us in the face.
Mathematics and maintenance
I quote from an article in the South African press about the problems blacks have with mathematics:
“[Xhosa] is a language where polygon and plane have the same definition … where concepts like triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon are defined by only one word.” (“Finding New Languages for Maths and Science,” Star [Johannesburg], July 24, 2002, p. 8.)
|Apartheid-era sign post.|
More accurately, these concepts simply do not exist in Xhosa, which, along with Zulu, is one of the two most widely spoken languages in South Africa. In America, blacks are said to have a “tendency to approximate space, numbers and time instead of aiming for complete accuracy.” (Star, June 8, 1988, p.10.) In other words, they are also poor at math. Notice the identical triumvirate—space, numbers, and time. Is it just a coincidence that these three highly abstract concepts are the ones with which blacks — everywhere — seem to have such difficulties?
The entry in the Zulu dictionary for “number,” by the way — ningi — means “numerous,” which is not at all the same as the concept of number. It is clear, therefore, that there is no concept of number in Zulu.
White rule in South Africa ended in 1994. It was about ten years later that power outages began, which eventually reached crisis proportions. The principle reason for this is simply lack of maintenance on the generating equipment. Maintenance is future-oriented, and the Zulu entry in the dictionary for it is ondla, which means: “1. Nourish, rear; bring up; 2. Keep an eye on; watch (your crop).” In short, there is no such thing as maintenance in Zulu thought, and it would be hard to argue that this is wholly unrelated to the fact that when people throughout Africa say “nothing works,” it is only an exaggeration.
The New York Times reports that New York City is considering a plan (since implemented) aimed at getting blacks to “do well on standardized tests and to show up for class,” by paying them to do these things and that could “earn [them] as much as $500 a year.” Students would get money for regular school attendance, every book they read, doing well on tests, and sometimes just for taking them. Parents would be paid for “keeping a full-time job … having health insurance … and attending parent-teacher conferences.” (Jennifer Medina, “Schools Plan to Pay Cash for Marks,” New York Times, June 19, 2007.)
The clear implication is that blacks are not very motivated. Motivation involves thinking about the future and hence about things that do not exist. Given black deficiencies in this regard, it is not surprising that they would be lacking in motivation, and having to prod them in this way is further evidence for such a deficiency.
The Zulu entry for “motivate” is banga, under which we find “1. Make, cause, produce something unpleasant; … to cause trouble . … 2. Contend over a claim; … fight over inheritance; … 3. Make for, aim at, journey towards … .” Yet when I ask Africans what banga means, they have no idea. In fact, no Zulu word could refer to motivation for the simple reason that there is no such concept in Zulu; and if there is no such concept there cannot be a word for it. This helps explain the need to pay blacks to behave as if they were motivated.
The same New York Times article quotes Darwin Davis of the Urban League as “caution[ing] that the … money being offered [for attending class] was relatively paltry … and wondering … how many tests students would need to pass to buy the latest video game.”
Instead of being shamed by the very need for such a plan, this black activist complains that the payments aren’t enough! If he really is unaware how his remarks will strike most readers, he is morally obtuse, but his views may reflect a common understanding among blacks of what morality is: not something internalized but something others enforce from the outside. Hence his complaint that paying children to do things they should be motivated to do on their own is that they are not being paid enough.
In this context, I recall some remarkable discoveries by the late American linguist, William Stewart, who spent many years in Senegal studying local languages. Whereas Western cultures internalize norms—“Don’t do that!” for a child, eventually becomes “I mustn’t do that” for an adult—African cultures do not. They rely entirely on external controls on behavior from tribal elders and other sources of authority. When Africans were detribalized, these external constraints disappeared, and since there never were internal constraints, the results were crime, drugs, promiscuity, etc. Where there have been other forms of control—as in white-ruled South Africa, colonial Africa, or the segregated American South—this behavior was kept within tolerable limits. But when even these controls disappear there is often unbridled violence.
Stewart apparently never asked why African cultures did not internalize norms, that is, why they never developed moral consciousness, but it is unlikely that this was just a historical accident. More likely, it was the result of deficiencies in abstract thinking ability.
|Public service message, South Africa.|
One explanation for this lack of abstract thinking, including the diminished understanding of time, is that Africans evolved in a climate where they could live day to day without having to think ahead. They never developed this ability because they had no need for it. Whites, on the other hand, evolved under circumstances in which they had to consider what would happen if they didn’t build stout houses and store enough fuel and food for the winter. For them it was sink or swim.
Surprising confirmation of Stewart’s ideas can be found in the May/June 2006 issue of the Boston Review, a typically liberal publication. In “Do the Right Thing: Cognitive Science’s Search for a Common Morality,” Rebecca Saxe distinguishes between “conventional” and “moral” rules. Conventional rules are supported by authorities but can be changed; moral rules, on the other hand, are not based on conventional authority and are not subject to change. “Even three-year-old children … distinguish between moral and conventional transgressions,” she writes. The only exception, according to James Blair of the National Institutes of Health, are psychopaths, who exhibit “persistent aggressive behavior.” For them, all rules are based only on external authority, in whose absence “anything is permissible.” The conclusion drawn from this is that “healthy individuals in all cultures respect the distinction between conventional … and moral [rules].”
However, in the same article, another anthropologist argues that “the special status of moral rules cannot be part of human nature, but is … just … an artifact of Western values.” Anita Jacobson-Widding, writing of her experiences among the Manyika of Zimbabwe, says:
“I tried to find a word that would correspond to the English concept of ‘morality.’ I explained what I meant by asking my informants to describe the norms for good behavior toward other people. The answer was unanimous. The word for this was tsika. But when I asked my bilingual informants to translate tsika into English, they said that it was ‘good manners’ …”
|An all-too-common problem.|
She concluded that because good manners are clearly conventional rather than moral rules, the Manyika simply did not have a concept of morality. But how would one explain this absence? Miss Jacobson-Widding’s explanation is the typical nonsense that could come only from a so-called intellectual: “the concept of morality does not exist.” The far more likely explanation is that the concept of morality, while otherwise universal, is enfeebled in cultures that have a deficiency in abstract thinking.
According to now-discredited folk wisdom, blacks are “children in adult bodies,” but there may be some foundation to this view. The average African adult has the raw IQ score of the average 11-year-old white child. This is about the age at which white children begin to internalize morality and no longer need such strong external enforcers.
Another aspect of African behavior that liberals do their best to ignore but that nevertheless requires an explanation is gratuitous cruelty. A reviewer of Driving South, a 1993 book by David Robbins, writes:
|Victim of Rwandan violence.|
“A Cape social worker sees elements that revel in violence … It’s like a cult which has embraced a lot of people who otherwise appear normal. … At the slightest provocation their blood-lust is aroused. And then they want to see death, and they jeer and mock at the suffering involved, especially the suffering of a slow and agonizing death.” (Citizen [Johannesburg], July 12, 1993, p.6.)
There is something so unspeakably vile about this, something so beyond depravity, that the human brain recoils. This is not merely the absence of human empathy, but the positive enjoyment of human suffering, all the more so when it is “slow and agonizing.” Can you imagine jeering at and mocking someone in such horrible agony?
During the apartheid era, black activists used to kill traitors and enemies by “necklacing” them. An old tire was put around the victim’s neck, filled with gasoline, and—but it is best to let an eye-witness describe what happened next:
“The petrol-filled tyre is jammed on your shoulders and a lighter is placed within reach . … Your fingers are broken, needles are pushed up your nose and you are tortured until you put the lighter to the petrol yourself.” (Citizen; “SA’s New Nazis,” August 10, 1993, p.18.)
The author of an article in the Chicago Tribune, describing the equally gruesome way the Hutu killed Tutsi in the Burundi massacres, marveled at “the ecstasy of killing, the lust for blood; this is the most horrible thought. It’s beyond my reach.” (“Hutu Killers Danced In Blood Of Victims, Videotapes Show,” Chicago Tribune, September 14, 1995, p.8.) The lack of any moral sense is further evidenced by their having videotaped their crimes, “apparently want[ing] to record … [them] for posterity.” Unlike Nazi war criminals, who hid their deeds, these people apparently took pride in their work.
|Where Amy Biehl was killed.|
In 1993, Amy Biehl, a 26-year-old American on a Fulbright scholarship, was living in South Africa, where she spent most of her time in black townships helping blacks. One day when she was driving three African friends home, young blacks stopped the car, dragged her out, and killed her because she was white. A retired senior South African judge, Rex van Schalkwyk, in his 1998 book One Miracle is Not Enough, quotes from a newspaper report on the trial of her killers: “Supporters of the three men accused of murdering [her] … burst out laughing in the public gallery of the Supreme Court today when a witness told how the battered woman groaned in pain.” This behavior, Van Schalkwyk wrote, “is impossible to explain in terms accessible to rational minds.” (pp. 188-89.)
These incidents and the responses they evoke—“the human brain recoils,” “beyond my reach,” “impossible to explain to rational minds” — represent a pattern of behavior and thinking that cannot be wished away, and offer additional support for my claim that Africans are deficient in moral consciousness.
I have long suspected that the idea of rape is not the same in Africa as elsewhere, and now I find confirmation of this in Newsweek:
“According to a three-year study [in Johannesburg] … more than half of the young people interviewed — both male and female — believe that forcing sex with someone you know does not constitute sexual violence … [T]he casual manner in which South African teens discuss coercive relationships and unprotected sex is staggering.” (Tom Masland, “Breaking The Silence,” Newsweek, July 9, 2000.)
Clearly, many blacks do not think rape is anything to be ashamed of.
The Newsweek author is puzzled by widespread behavior that is known to lead to AIDS, asking “Why has the safe-sex effort failed so abjectly?” Well, aside from their profoundly different attitudes towards sex and violence and their heightened libido, a major factor could be their diminished concept of time and reduced ability to think ahead.
Nevertheless, I was still surprised by what I found in the Zulu dictionary. The main entry for rape reads: “1. Act hurriedly; … 2. Be greedy. 3. Rob, plunder, … take [possessions] by force.” While these entries may be related to our concept of rape, there is one small problem: there is no reference to sexual intercourse! In a male-dominated culture, where saying “no” is often not an option (as confirmed by the study just mentioned), “taking sex by force” is not really part of the African mental calculus. Rape clearly has a moral dimension, but perhaps not to Africans. To the extent they do not consider coerced sex to be wrong, then, by our conception, they cannot consider it rape because rape is wrong. If such behavior isn’t wrong it isn’t rape.
An article about gang rape in the left-wing British paper, the Guardian, confirms this when it quotes a young black woman: “The thing is, they [black men] don’t see it as rape, as us being forced. They just see it as pleasure for them.” (Rose George, “They Don’t See it as Rape. They Just See it as Pleasure for Them,” June 5, 2004.) A similar attitude seems to be shared among some American blacks who casually refer to gang rape as “running a train.” (Nathan McCall, Makes Me Wanna Holler, Vintage Books, 1995.)
If the African understanding of rape is far afield, so may be their idea of romance or love. I recently watched a South African television program about having sex for money. Of the several women in the audience who spoke up, not a single one questioned the morality of this behavior. Indeed, one plaintively asked, “Why else would I have sex with a man?”
From the casual way in which Africans throw around the word “love,” I suspect their understanding of it is, at best, childish. I suspect the notion is alien to Africans, and I would be surprised if things are very different among American blacks. Africans hear whites speak of “love” and try to give it a meaning from within their own conceptual repertoire. The result is a child’s conception of this deepest of human emotions, probably similar to their misunderstanding of the nature of a promise.
I recently located a document that was dictated to me by a young African woman in June 1993. She called it her “story,” and the final paragraph is a poignant illustration of what to Europeans would seem to be a limited understanding of love:
“On my way from school, I met a boy. And he proposed me. His name was Mokone. He tell me that he love me. And then I tell him I will give him his answer next week. At night I was crazy about him. I was always thinking about him.”
Whenever I taught ethics I used the example of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French Army who was convicted of treason in 1894 even though the authorities knew he was innocent. Admitting their mistake, it was said, would have a disastrous effect on military morale and would cause great social unrest. I would in turn argue that certain things are intrinsically wrong and not just because of their consequences. Even if the results of freeing Dreyfus would be much worse than keeping him in prison, he must be freed, because it is unjust to keep an innocent man in prison.
To my amazement, an entire class in Kenya said without hesitation that he should not be freed. Call me dense if you want, but it was 20 years before the full significance of this began to dawn on me.
|Death is certain but accidents are not.|
Africans, I believe, may generally lack the concepts of subjunctivity and counterfactuality. Subjunctivity is conveyed in such statements as, “What would you have done if I hadn’t showed up?” This is contrary to fact because I did show up, and it is now impossible for me not to have shown up. We are asking someone to imagine what he would have done if something that didn’t happen (and now couldn’t happen) had happened. This requires self-consciousness, and I have already described blacks’ possible deficiency in this respect. It is obvious that animals, for example, cannot think counterfactually, because of their complete lack of self-awareness.
When someone I know tried to persuade his African workers to contribute to a health insurance policy, they asked “What’s it for?” “Well, if you have an accident, it would pay for the hospital.” Their response was immediate: “But boss, we didn’t have an accident!” “Yes, but what if you did?” Reply? “We didn’t have an accident!” End of story.
|South African AIDS education poster.|
Interestingly, blacks do plan for funerals, for although an accident is only a risk, death is a certainty. (The Zulu entries for “risk” are “danger” and “a slippery surface.”) Given the frequent all-or-nothing nature of black thinking, if it’s not certain you will have an accident, then you will not have an accident. Furthermore, death is concrete and observable: We see people grow old and die. Africans tend to be aware of time when it is manifested in the concrete and observable.
One of the pivotal ideas underpinning morality is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. “How would you feel if someone stole everything you owned? Well, that’s how he would feel if you robbed him.” The subjunctivity here is obvious. But if Africans may generally lack this concept, they will have difficulty in understanding the Golden Rule and, to that extent, in understanding morality.
If this is true we might also expect their capacity for human empathy to be diminished, and this is suggested in the examples cited above. After all, how do we empathize? When we hear about things like “necklacing” we instinctively — and unconsciously — think: “How would I feel if I were that person?” Of course I am not and cannot be that person, but to imagine being that person gives us valuable moral “information:” that we wouldn’t want this to happen to us and so we shouldn’t want it to happen to others. To the extent people are deficient in such abstract thinking, they will be deficient in moral understanding and hence in human empathy—which is what we tend to find in Africans.
In his 1990 book Devil’s Night, Ze’ev Chafets quotes a black woman speaking about the problems of Detroit: “I know some people won’t like this, but whenever you get a whole lot of black people, you’re gonna have problems. Blacks are ignorant and rude.” (pp. 76-77.)
If some Africans cannot clearly imagine what their own rude behavior feels like to others—in other words, if they cannot put themselves in the other person’s shoes—they will be incapable of understanding what rudeness is. For them, what we call rude may be normal and therefore, from their perspective, not really rude. Africans may therefore not be offended by behavior we would consider rude — not keeping appointments, for example. One might even conjecture that African cruelty is not the same as white cruelty, since Africans may not be fully aware of the nature of their behavior, whereas such awareness is an essential part of “real” cruelty.
I am hardly the only one to notice this obliviousness to others that sometimes characterizes black behavior. Walt Harrington, a white liberal married to a light-skinned black, makes some surprising admissions in his 1994 book, Crossings: A White Man’s Journey Into Black America:
“I notice a small car … in the distance. Suddenly … a bag of garbage flies out its window . … I think, I’ll bet they’re blacks. Over the years I’ve noticed more blacks littering than whites. I hate to admit this because it is a prejudice. But as I pass the car, I see that my reflex was correct—[they are blacks].
“[As I pull] into a McDonald’s drive-through … [I see that] the car in front of me had four black[s] in it. Again … my mind made its unconscious calculation: We’ll be sitting here forever while these people decide what to order. I literally shook my head . … My God, my kids are half black! But then the kicker: we waited and waited and waited. Each of the four … leaned out the window and ordered individually. The order was changed several times. We sat and sat, and I again shook my head, this time at the conundrum that is race in America.
“I knew that the buried sentiment that had made me predict this disorganization … was … racist. … But my prediction was right.” (pp. 234-35.)
Africans also tend to litter. To understand this we must ask why whites don’t litter, at least not as much. We ask ourselves: “What would happen if everyone threw rubbish everywhere? It would be a mess. So you shouldn’t do it!” Blacks’ possible deficiency in abstract thinking makes such reasoning more difficult, so any behavior requiring such thinking is less likely to develop in their cultures. Even after living for generations in societies where such thinking is commonplace, many may still fail to absorb it.
|A trash pile in Sudan.|
It should go without saying that my observations about Africans are generalizations. I am not saying that none has the capacity for abstract thought or moral understanding. I am speaking of tendencies and averages, which leave room for many exceptions.
To what extent do my observations about Africans apply to American blacks? American blacks have an average IQ of 85, which is a full 15 points higher than the African average of 70. The capacity for abstract thought is unquestionably correlated with intelligence, and so we can expect American blacks generally to exceed Africans in these respects.
Still, American blacks show many of the traits so striking among Africans: low mathematical ability, diminished abstract reasoning, high crime rates, a short time-horizon, rudeness, littering, etc. If I had lived only among American blacks and not among Africans, I might never have reached the conclusions I have, but the more extreme behavior among Africans makes it easier to perceive the same tendencies among American blacks.
Gedhalia Braun holds a PhD in philosophy and is the author of Racism, Guilt, Self-Hatred and Self-Deceit. Anyone interested in reading his book can purchase it in PDF format at the AR website, AmRen.com.
Facing Economic Crisis, Bitter Debate, Survey Finds Immigrants Hold Fast to American Dream, Public Agenda Press Release; 2 comments
72 percent want amnesty.
Survey: Undocumented Immigrants Could Benefit From Health Care Reform, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California); 4 comments
Illegals would get medical treatment because there is nothing to stop them.
83% Say Proof of Citizenship Should Be Required to Get Government Health Aid, Rasmussen Reports; 1 comments
Nobody likes freeloaders.
African-American Churches in the East Bay Give Immigrants Voice, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, California); 0 comments
Black pressure group tries to get black support for immigrants.
Out-of-Work Undocumented Migrants Seek End to Crackdown, Hispanic Business; 2 comments
Company making “immigration reform” T-shirts lays off 1500 illegals.
Visa Sham As Just 29 out of 66,000 Applicants From Pakistan Interviewed Despite Supposed ‘Crackdown’, Daily Mail (London); 1 comments
Britian let in just about everyone who wanted to come.
Irish Mayor Who Met Muhammad Ali Warns of ‘Black Ghetto Warning’, Belfast Telegraph; 10 comments
Mayor wants to move blacks into white neighborhoods.
Muslim Tensions Run High After Ramadan Raid by Police, The Australian (Sydney); 1 comments
Australian mayor is “sick of a trouble-making minority.”
Pigeon Transfers Data Faster Than South Africa’s Telkom, Reuters; 1 comments
In fact, 25 times as fast.
New Gang Czar: History Key to Improving Black-Brown Relations, Frank Stoltze, KPCC (Pasadena Public Radio); 26 comments
Reminding Hispanics that blacks are their historic allies.
Descendants of American Slaves Forge New Lives in World Premiere Ten Square, in Chicago, Playbill (New York); 19 comments
Slavery reparations agit-prop.
11 Accused of Faking Voter Registration Cards in Miami-Dade, Miami Herald; 5 comments
ACORN throws canvassers under the bus.
Lovestruck Robber Held After He Returned to Scene of the Crime . . . To Ask His Victim Out on a Date, Daily Mail (London); 20 comments
Love and crime just don’t mix.
More Race Embarrassment for Obama As Gaffe-Prone Adviser Says ‘Only Suburban White Kids Carry Out Columbines’, Daily Mail (London); 23 comments
More reasons Van Jones had to go.
Violent Race Riot Flared After Mosque Chief Urged Muslims to Confront Right-Wing ‘English Defence League’ Protesters, Daily Mail (London); 12 comments
Another clash in Birmingham between English Defence League and muslims, socialists.
‘Immigrant Baby Boom’ to Cost Taxpayers £1bn in New Primary School Places, Daily Mail (London); 6 comments
Health, housing, and other services not included.
Why Has the Press Ignored Hate Crime Against a White Teenager?, Norfolk Examiner (Virginia); 84 comments
White man gave offense by dating a black woman.
Hispanic Appointments to High Office Made by Obama, Arizona Republic; 6 comments
Rainbow coalition against whitey?
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Report: Blacks in the Federal Work Force, Adversity.net; 36 comments
Court Services and Offender Services agency exceeded its quota for blacks by 800 percent.
Hate Speech Law Unconstitutional: Rights Tribunal, National Post (Toronto); 4 comments
Important blow to Canada’s censorship laws.
The BNP Will Have to Adapt or Die, Warns Party Leader, BNP News; 40 comments
British National Party will have to accept non-white members.
New School Year Puts French on Forced Marriage Alert, Reuters; 11 comments
How I spent my summer vacation . . .
In Pakistan, 97 Percent of Marriages Take Place to Attain Foreign Nationality, ANI; 1 comments
And only 11 percent take place outside the family.
Rangel-ing: Charlie Pays ‘Angels’ in Ethics Probe, WCBS-TV (New York); 11 comments
Tax-chiseling congressman lines campaign war chests of his investigators.
College Chief Denounces ‘Vicious Attack’ on Credibility, Washington Post; 17 comments
Black college president disappointed that faculty won’t excuse his mismanagement.
500 Groups Urge Obama to Halt Immigration Police Program, Los Angeles Times; 12 comments
Enforcing immigration laws leads to civil-rights violations and racial profiling.
Muslim Teen Fears for Life After Changing Religion, CNN; 16 comments
Note: This isn’t happening in India or Pakistan; it’s in Ohio.
Southern Poverty Law Center Says Suffolk County Executive Fuels Hatred, New York Daily News; 15 comments
It doesn’t take much to “fuel hatred” these days.
Muslim Community Leader Arrested for ‘Making Up BNP Story’, Daily Mail (London); 5 comments
So who is “inspiring hate”? The BNP or those who lie about it?
Hate Speech Law Unconstitutional: Rights Tribunal, National Post (Toronto); 12 comments
Ruling protecting freedom of speech in Canada called “shocking decision.”
Was Atlanta’s ‘Black Mayor First’ Memo Racist—Or Just Blunt?, Christian Science Monitor; 18 comments
It would be “absurd” to expect black leaders not to advance the political interests of blacks.
Sorority Suspended Over Allegations of Starving, Abusing Pledges, lemondrop.com; 9 comments
News account refrains from saying that the sorority is black.
Oops! Charlie Forgot This $1m House: Realty Bites Tax-Them-Not-Me Rangel, New York Post; 3 comments
Black congressman has trouble with large numbers.
LA Fashion Designer Gets 59 Years to Life Sentence, Yahoo! News; 12 comments
Indian-born designer convicted on 14 counts of preying on underage girls, young women.
George Washington Bridge Security Guards Fired After Being Photographed Sleeping on the Job, New York Daily News; 17 comments
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
South African’s Refugee Case Causes Backlash Against ‘Racist’ Canada, Globe and Mail (Johannesburg); 47 comments
South African government “disgusted” by Canadian asylum decision.
Justice Department to Recharge Civil Rights Enforcement, New York Times; 34 comments
Get ready for more government intrusion on racial matters.
Dallas Leads Nation in Repeat Teen Births, Study Finds, Dallas Morning News; 18 comments
Only 6 percent of teen-age births are to whites.
Head of English Language School Sentenced to Federal Prison for Immigration Fraud Conspiracy, FBI; 2 comments
Used school as a front for selling fake immigration documents to hundreds of illegals.
Nationwide Manhunt for Illegal Alien Accused of Raping 4-Year-Old Girl, Norfolk Examiner (Virginia); 7 comments
Lots of serious crime in “sanctuary city.”
Invisible Immigrants, Old and Left With ‘Nobody to Talk to’, New York Times; 14 comments
Why are they even here?
Obesity Is Not Just a Weight Problem, It Is a Health Crisis, Buffalo News; 42 comments
For black women, a waist is a terrible thing to mind.
Robbers Pretended to Sell President Obama Health Insurance Policies to Invade Long Island Home, New York Daily News; 8 comments
They were just a little ahead of their time.
Kennedy and Immigration: He Changed the Face of America, Christian Science Monitor; 60 comments
Amid all the fluff about Kennedy, a hint of the truth.
Should Whites Direct Black Plays, and Vice Versa?, Los Angeles Times; 8 comments
If whites direct black plays, what will black directors direct?
Naomi Campbell Attacks Companies for ‘Dropping’ Black Models in Recession, London Telegraph; 38 comments
She as much as concedes that black models are money-losers.
Calls Grow to Scrap ‘Potentially Racist’ Form 696 As Music Industry Suffers, Awaiting a Western Renaissance; 8 comments
Sensible police measures criticized.
There is a widespread supposition that Obama, being black and a member of an oppressed race, will imbue US foreign policy with a higher morality than the world experienced from Bush and Clinton. This is a delusion.
Obama represents the same ideology of American “exceptionalism“ as other recent presidents. This ideology designates the United States as The Virtuous Nation and supplies the basis for the belief that America has the right, indeed the responsibility, to impose its hegemony upon the world by bribery or by force. The claim of American exceptionalism produces a form of patriotism that blinds the US population to the immorality of America’s wars of aggression.
Nothing is any different under Obama. Obama has escalated war in Afghanistan; started a new war in Pakistan; tolerated or supported a military coup that overthrew the elected president of Honduras; is constructing 7 new US military bases in Colombia, South America; is going forward with various military projects designed to secure US global military hegemony, such as the Prompt Global Strike initiative that intends to provide the US with the capability to strike anywhere on earth within 60 minutes; is working to destabilize the government in Iran, with military attack still on the table as an option; supports America’s new military African Command; intends to encircle Russia with US bases in former constituent parts of the Soviet Union; has suborned NATO troops as mercenaries in US wars of aggression.
How should Europe react?
Europe should disassociate from the United States and go into active opposition to US foreign policy. Europeans should demand that their governments withdraw from NATO as it serves no European interest. The two aggressive militarist powers, the US and Israel, should be sanctioned by the UN and embargoed.
Instead, Europe is complicit in US and Israeli war crimes.
Because of the Cold War, Europe is accustomed to following US leadership. The financial convenience of the shelter provided by US military power negated independent European foreign policies. In effect, Western European countries became US puppet states.
How does Europe escape from a subservient relationship of many decades? Not easily. The US is accustomed to calling the shots and reacts harshly when it meets opposition. For example, French opposition to Bush’s invasion of Iraq brought about instant demonization of France by the US media and members of Congress.
The US government uses financial sanctions and threatened leaks of sensitive personal information gathered by its worldwide spy networks to discipline any independent-minded European leader.
Europe is essentially captive and forced to put US interests ahead of its own. Consequently, unless Europeans find their courage and discard their servile status, Europe will be badgered into more wars and eventually led into a devastating war with Russia. One European country can do little, but concerted action would be effective. For example, why do not Europeans protest that the war criminal Tony Blair was given a post in the EU?
The Obama administration’s attitude towards self-determination and the sovereignty of the people is that these grand-sounding concepts are useful platitudes with which to mask the hegemonic interests of the US government. US money and propaganda foment “velvet” or “color” revolutions that turn more countries into American puppet states.
During the Cold War era, one of the mainstays of US propaganda against the Soviet Union was the inability of Soviet citizens to travel within their country without the government’s permission. This indignity has now been inflicted upon US citizens. As of September, 2009, US citizens can no longer travel within their country by air without the permission of the Transport Security Administration.
The Obama administration has adopted the Bush administration’s search procedures. Under these rules travelers’ computers, cell phones, and other devices can be seized for searches that can take up to 30 days. If you are on your way to a meeting and your presentation is on your computer and your contacts’ numbers are on your cell phone, you are out of luck.
“Terrorist threat” is the excuse for these Gestapo practices. However, there have been no domestic acts of terrorism in 8 years. The few “plots” that led to arrests were all instigated by FBI agents in order to keep the nonexistent threat alive in the public’s mind. Yet, despite any real terrorist threat the police state continues to gain ground. Considering the extent of America’s oppression of peoples abroad, one would expect much more blowback than has occurred, assuming that 9/11 was not itself an inside job designed to provide an excuse for America’s wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Europe must look beyond the empty American political rhetoric about “freedom and democracy” and recognize the emerging Brownshirt American State. Democracy is slipping away from America. Its place is being taken by an oligarchy of powerful interest groups, such as the financial sector, the military/security complex about which President Eisenhower warned, and AIPAC. Political campaign contributions from interest groups determine the content of US domestic and foreign policy. A country in which political elites are above the law and can violate with impunity both laws against torture and constitutional protections of civil liberties is not a free country.
American political leaders and the American people need Europe’s help in order to avoid the degeneration of the American political entity. American freedom, as well as sovereign independence elsewhere in the world, require criticisms of US foreign and domestic policies. The US media, which was concentrated into a few hands during the Clinton administration, functions as a Ministry of Propaganda for the government. It was the New York Times that gave credibility to the neoconservative propaganda and forged documents that were used to sell the invasion of Iraq to the public. It was the New York Times that sat for one year on the evidence that the Bush administration was committing felonies by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was not until after Bush was re-elected that the reporter was able to force his story through editorial opposition.
Americans need criticism from Europe to compensate for the absence of an independent American media. Americans need outside help in order to reach an understanding of the immorality of their government’s policies, because they receive no such help from their own media. Without Europe’s help, Americans cannot regain the spirit of liberty and tolerance bequeathed to them by their Founding Fathers. America herself is a victim of the neoconservative and liberal internationalist pursuit of US hegemony.
We in America need to hear many voices telling us that it is self-defeating to become like an enemy in order to defeat an enemy. As Germans learned under Hitler and Russians learned under Stalin, it is the internal enemy—the unaccountable elite that controls a country’s government—that is the worst and most dangerous enemy.
If America has enemies who are against “freedom and democracy,” then America herself must make certain not to sacrifice her own civil liberties, and the sovereignty of other peoples, to a “War on Terror.” Acts of terror are a small cost compared to the cost of the erosion of civil liberties that took centuries to achieve. Far more people died to achieve liberty than have died in terrorist attacks.
The United States cannot pretend to be a guarantor of liberty when the US government takes away liberty from its own citizens.
The United States cannot pretend to be a guarantor of peace and democracy when the US government uses deception to attack other lands on false pretences.
Europe, whose culture was wrecked by 20th century wars, Europe, which has experienced tyranny from the left-wing and from the right-wing, has a right to its own voice.
America needs to hear this voice.
Hon. Paul Craig Roberts was educated at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Virginia, the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College. Dr. Roberts has held numerous academic appointments, including Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University. Dr. Roberts served in the Congressional Staff in the House and Senate and was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Treasury by President Ronald Reagan. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1987. Dr. Roberts is author of ‘Alienation and the Soviet Economy’ and ‘The Supply-Side Revolution’. He is coauthor with Matthew Stephenson of ‘Marx’s Theory of Exchange, Alienation, and Crisis’. He is coauthor with Karen LaFollette Araujo of ‘Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy and ‘The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America’. He is coauthor with Lawrence Stratton of ‘The New Color Line’ and ‘The Tyranny of Good Intentions’. His latest book, ‘How The Economy Was Lost’, will be published by CounterPunch in October 2009. Dr. Roberts is a columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles.
Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
Flying home from London, where the subject of formal debate on the 70th anniversary of World War II had been whether Winston Churchill was a liability or asset to the Free World, one arrives in the middle of a far more acrimonious national debate right here in the United States.
At issue: Should Barack Obama be allowed to address tens of millions of American children, inside their classrooms, during school hours?
Conservative talk-show hosts saw a White House scheme to turn public schools into indoctrination centers where the socialist ideology of Obama would be spoon-fed to captive audiences of children forced to listen to Big Brother—and then do assignments on his sermon.
The liberal commentariat raged about right-wing paranoia.
Yet Byron York of The Washington Examiner dug back to 1991 to discover that, when George H.W. Bush went to Alice Deal Junior High to speak to America’s school kids, the left lost it. [When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings, September 9, 2009]
“The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props,” railed The Washington Post. [TV Technique 101 With George Bush; Private Company Produces Coverage of D.C. School Visit, By John E. Yang and Lynda Richardson, The Washington Post, October 2, 1991|]Education Secretary Lamar Alexander was called before a House committee. The National Education Association denounced Bush. And Congress ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate.
Obama’s actual speech proved about as controversial as a Nancy Reagan appeal to eighth-graders to “Just say no!” to drugs.
Yet, the episode reveals the poisoned character of our politics.
We saw it earlier on display in August, when the crowds that came out for town hall meetings to oppose Obama’s health care plans were called “thugs,” “fascists,” “racists” and “evil-mongers” by national Democrats.
We see it as Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, “You lie!” at the president during his address to a joint session of Congress.
We seem not only to disagree with each other more than ever, but to have come almost to detest one another. Politically, culturally, racially, we seem ever ready to go for each others’ throats.
One half of America sees abortion as the annual slaughter of a million unborn. The other half regards the right-to-life movement as tyrannical and sexist.
Proponents of gay marriage see its adversaries as homophobic bigots. Opponents see its champions as seeking to elevate unnatural and immoral relationships to the sacred state of traditional marriage.
The question invites itself. In what sense are we one nation and one people anymore? For what is a nation if not a people of a common ancestry, faith, culture and language, who worship the same God, revere the same heroes, cherish the same history, celebrate the same holidays, and share the same music, poetry, art and literature?
Yet, today, Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a skirmish in a French-Mexican war about which most Americans know nothing, which took place the same year as two of the bloodiest battles of our own Civil War: Antietam and Fredericksburg.
Where we used to have classical, pop, country & Western and jazz music, now we have varieties tailored to specific generations, races and ethnic groups. Even our music seems designed to subdivide us.
One part of America loves her history, another reviles it as racist, imperialist and genocidal. Old heroes like Columbus, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are replaced by Dr. King and Cesar Chavez.
But the old holidays, heroes and icons endure, as the new have yet to put down roots in a recalcitrant Middle America.
We are not only more divided than ever on politics, faith and morality, but along the lines of class and ethnicity. Those who opposed Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and stood by Sgt. Crowley in the face-off with Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates were called racists. But this time they did not back down. They threw the same vile word right back in the face of their accusers, and Barack Obama.
Consider but a few issues on which Americans have lately been bitterly divided: school prayer, the Ten Commandments, evolution, the death penalty, abortion, homosexuality, assisted suicide, affirmative action, busing, the Confederate battle flag, the Duke rape case, Terri Schiavo, Iraq, amnesty, torture.
Now it is death panels, global warming, “birthers” and socialism. If a married couple disagreed as broadly and deeply as Americans do on such basic issues, they would have divorced and gone their separate ways long ago. What is it that still holds us together?
The European-Christian core of the country that once defined us is shrinking, as Christianity fades, the birth rate falls and Third World immigration surges. Globalism dissolves the economic bonds, while the cacophony of multiculturalism displaces the old American culture.
“E pluribus unum”—out of many, one—was the national motto the men of ’76 settled upon. One sees the pluribus. But where is the unum? One sees the diversity. But where is the unity?
Is America, too, breaking up?
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Patrick J. Buchanan needs no introduction to VDARE.COM readers; his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, reviewed here by Paul Craig Roberts.