Is Fighting for Smaller Government Racist?
by Daniel Greenfield
When the NAACP allowed itself to be used by the Democratic party to try and smear a grass roots movement for smaller government as racist, the resulting controversy shone a light on more than just racism by individuals associated with the NAACP, but with the organization’s inability to delink class warfare from racism. If there is one thing that both the white media elites at Jornolist and the NAACP leadership agreed on, it’s that fighting for smaller government is racist.
The peculiar notion that reforming government by reducing its size is racist originates from the marriage of racial equality with class warfare to create the 40 Acres and a Mule politics covering everything from wealth redistribution to affirmative action to social welfare programs – all under the aegis of the federal government. And yet this same brand of 40 Acres and a Mule politics underlies the particular tragedy of the black community, whose leaders traded in aspiration and equality for government handouts, forcing them to make the argument over and over again that there can be no social justice without total government control.
When the Democratic party was forced to make the transition from a party of Northern businessmen and Southern plantation owners, after two Republican Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, put a severe dent in their Southern plantations and the Northern business offices that had formerly given the party a death grip on the country’s economy—it did so by redefining the “Company Store” to mean the Federal government. The Republican notion of individual rights and free labor met the new Democratic notion of ward boss handouts at the Federal level in a battle for the soul of the Black community, and the Democrats won. Not immediately, not conclusively and not absolutely—but they won, and the NAACP’s leadership demonstrates why.
The black leadership has gained distinct advantages for itself as a separate class, while disadvantaging the black community as a whole. Civil rights leaders who made their money on lawsuit shakedowns and diversity training seminars, corporate executives and business owners who got where they were through affirmative action programs that encouraged companies to hire one black executive for appearance not merit, and rewarded minority business owners for the color of their skin, rather than for results—helped create a black leadership that owed its position and power to government intervention, rather than ability. And in the process that same leadership marginalized more qualified people within the black community, while teaching the lesson that aspiration and ability did not matter, only connections and politics did.
Affirmative action politics closed far more doors than it opened
Affirmative action politics closed far more doors than it opened, but those who got through the open door knew exactly what they owed it to. Creating racial quotas as a way to select leaders was an effective tool for perpetuating the same system over and over again, marginalizing black candidates and business owners as a whole, while rewarding a select few who would then be in a position to praise and maintain things the status quo.
The racism charge leveled against the Tea Party is the doing of a leadership that sees itself as completely dependent on the Federal government, so much so that it finds any talk of reducing it to be dangerous and threatening. And as the Democratic party has identified itself closely with the domestic expansion of government and wealth redistribution politics, it has been able to manipulate the black community, to appropriate its decision making powers and use it as a political tool, while virtually eliminating its actual political clout. The sad state of affairs in which the official black leadership damns anyone who doesn’t toe the Democratic party line as Uncle Toms and “not real black people” reveals just who really calls the shots in this arrangement. And it is not the black leadership, which gets trotted out when the Democratic party needs them, and gets told to go home when it doesn’t. Which is no different than the treatment accorded to women’s or Jewish groups.
Tea Party is an attempt to salvage the financial viability of the Middle Class that has traditionally been America’s only reliable bastion of political and social equality
The attacks hurled at the government reforms advocated by Tea Party groups rely on invoking sixties racist boogeymen about States’ Rights, but the Tea Parties are not fighting to resegregate schools or lunch counters, as many times as liberal political bloggers may try and market that particular smear. Instead the Tea Party is an attempt to salvage the financial viability of the Middle Class that has traditionally been America’s only reliable bastion of political and social equality. And their targets are not Eisenhower’s forced desegregation and challenges to States’ Rights, a Republican President, but the out of control government expansion that began with FDR’s New Deal, which enforced racial segregation and plunged the country deeper into the depression.
Wealth Redistribution will never solve the black community’s problems, only worsen them. Which may be why most of the greatest African-American inventions took place before it, not after. All that spending has not helped the black community, in part because while the spending may use social welfare as a justification, it is mostly directed at building up the size of government itself. The gargantuan bureaucratic structures that form as a result only perpetuate poverty for everyone, while feeding money to a small group of insiders who are politically connected enough to benefit from it. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disasters in which black homeowners were saddled with debt, that was then resold worldwide by bankers and brokers, is a typical example of what happens and where the money really goes.
Investing more money and power in the Federal government is short-sighted and unwise. Before the Federal government was forcing open schoolhouses, it was forcibly segregating Northern neighborhoods. Before it was filing lawsuits on behalf of black homeowners, it was demanding that Northern states return escaped slaves. Like all centralized power, Federal power is not moral, it serves the interests of those who wield it, who in turn use everyone else. To see such a system as dangerous and unstable is not racist, it is common sense.
The same system that has marginalized black politics to a few handpicked candidates running in gerrymandered districts, has done the same thing to the voice of the black community as a whole. Just as it has done to other groups across the United States. This plantation politics that promises protection in return for fealty is not only degrading and undemocratic, it is dangerous to everyone involved. And as the current escalation of Federal power threatens to destroy the Middle Class for good, it is important for everyone who believes in individual achievement and aspiration to join together and protect their present and their future from out of control spending and big government.
In the Court of Tyrants
Moral Mazes is an account of life in the corporate management suite by sociologist Robert Jackall. At bottom, it’s a description of life at court. The desires of the powerful are what matter, responsibility exists to be shifted, an Act of God (recession, change in management, public relations issue, whatever) might change everything overnight, and whatever happens has to be presented as part of a rational and controlled system in which one was right all along and nothing could ever interfere with the steady increase in earnings quarter to quarter.
Such a situation naturally leads to amoral self-seeking and endless manipulation of illusions in which the original purpose of the activity disappears. Rational management, it seems, isn’t so rational. In the twentieth anniversary edition of the book that just came out the author tacks on a discussion of the recent meltdown of the financial system that applies the same general analysis to explain why the people running the show were so irresponsible, self-involved, and generally clueless. What he says might have come out of Chronicles or any paleoconservative publication–he even gets into immigration as an example of our rulers’ fecklessness.
It occurred to me that I should try to combine Jackall’s analysis of the ultimate effects of the separation of management and ownership in large business enterprises with the analysis of the managerial state I put in my book The Tyranny of Liberalism.
So here are some thoughts toward a Grand Unified Field theory of the present situation:
- To understand what’s going on today we have to combine an analysis of business corporations with an analysis of the arrangements that supposedly act as watchdogs and limitations–government regulators, political overseers, professions like journalism, “civil society” institutions, and so on.
- Steve Sailer used to complain about the “marketing major postmodernism” of the Bush administration, and universities today have become much like other big self-aggrandizing institutions. Everywhere you look there’s spin, self-seeking, and lack of concern with reality behind a facade of rationality and concern for the public good. Everything has become like everything else in basic ways, with postmodern relativism an accurate reflection of important aspects of what’s going on.
- Differences of course remain between business and other sectors. Government is much more comprehensive than business in its organization and interests, and makes more of a distinction between the bureaucratic/rational and the political/factional aspects of its functioning. (As Jackall points out, those aspects tend to merge in business hierarchies.) The civil society sector (journalists, academics, NGOs) is more miscellaneous in nature and organization than the other two. It seems much weaker, but the appearance can be deceptive. The pen is mightier than the sword, and civil society has most of the pens.
- Such differences are no doubt important but I’m not sure how they play out. With respect to purposes the situation grows clearer. Business stands for getting the job done, delivering the goods, and making money. It believes in the bottom line. Government stands for the public interest. That’s why it’s into PC, which counts as the public interest because it stands for the interest of those who constitute the public in receiving an equal share of every possible benefit of society.
- So business vs. government is efficiency vs. equality. That’s no surprise, since it’s the same as the contrast between market-oriented right liberalism (usually called conservatism) and state-oriented left liberalism. To extend the analysis, the civil society sector (journalists, academics, NGOs) is supposed to provide ideas, analysis, and general informal oversight. Business, government, and civil society acting together are therefore supposed to provide the Good (efficiency), the Just (equality), and the True (information and expertise).
- In fact, of course, the internal politicking and external positioning Jackall describes play a dominant role in all three sectors. He points to that as a reason the connection between success and producing good results gets attenuated in business, and the same applies in government and the civil society sector.
- The usual argument is that each sector acts as a check on the others and no doubt that’s true on many points. One problem though is that collectively they constitute the ruling class. As such they have an obvious common interest over against the people at large. They claim collectively to constitute the best possible system but that’s doubtful so they undermine and discredit possible competitors.
- In particular, they hate it when people try to act independently (e.g., the TEA parties) and they don’t like the arrangements (e.g., functional cultural traditions and moral institutions) that make independent action possible. So they get together and establish the tyranny of liberalism. Anything outside rationalized egalitarian technocracy, family and religion for example, is at war with the Good, Just, and True–that is, with the condominium of business, government, and civil society. Such external powers have to be wiped out in the name of efficiency, enlightenment, protecting the weakest among us, whatever. The business of the people is to do and believe what they’re told, make the choices allowed them, approve what the ruling class has decided, and signal when there’s been a failure of public relations.
- Separation of ownership and management is always a problem. In the old days it was absentee landlords, today it’s the sort of thing described in Jackall’s book. That’s only one example though of the separation of functions that defines modern society. There’s also the separation of actor and expertise and regulator and beneficiary. The managerial state, in which the state becomes an overall system that takes care of us and supposedly knows better, is the sum of all such separations.
- So what to do? The idea of subsidiarity–let the people live their own lives!–seems the right idea in principle, but it’s basically just a way of restating the problem. It doesn’t tell us how to put that principle into effect except in bits and pieces here and there (e.g., “hooray for family values”). Still, saying there really is a problem is important and may be the most important single thing we can do at present.
- We can also say why there’s a problem. Carrying division of labor too far leads to the kind of irrationalities Jackall describes. Also, efficiency, equality, and expertise aren’t really the same as the Good, Just, and True. They’re what those things reduce to when bureaucratically rationalized. As such they certainly have some use, but if you always insist on them you’ll squeeze out the fuller versions that are your real interest.
France Declares War on al-Qaida
After Aid Worker Beheaded
The declaration and attack marked a shift in strategy for France, usually discrete about its behind-the-scenes battle against terrorism.
“We are at war with al-Qaida,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau. The humanitarian worker had been abducted April 20 or 22 in Niger by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and was later taken to Mali, officials said.
The killers will “not go unpunished,” Sarkozy said in unusually strong language, given France’s habit of employing quiet cooperation with its regional allies – Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria – in which the al-Qaida franchise was spawned amid an Islamist insurgency.
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat formally merged with al-Qaida in 2006 and spread through the Sahel region – parts of Mauritania, Mali and Niger.
Officials suggest France will activate accords with these countries to stop the terrorists in their tracks.
“It’s a universal threat that concerns the entire world … not just France or the West,” Defense Minister Herve Morin said Tuesday on France-2 television. “We will support local authorities so these assassins and (their) commanders are tracked, judged and taken before justice and punished. And, yes, we will help them.”
Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger in April opened a joint military headquarters deep in the desert to respond to threats from traffickers and the al-Qaida offshoot. U.S. Special Forces have helped the four nations train troops in recent years.
Fillon refused to say how France would act. “But we will,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.
And perhaps it already has. On Thursday, the French backed Mauritanian forces in attacking an al-Qaida camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists.
Experts confirmed it was the first attack outside Algeria on an al-Qaida base, and the first known time France has taken part.
France said it was a last-ditch effort to save its citizen, while Mauritania said it was trying to stop an imminent attack by fighters gathering at the base. For the French, the move may have backfired. The al-Qaida group said in an audio message broadcast Sunday that it had killed Germaneau in retaliation for the raid. However, French officials suggested, however, that the hostage, who had a heart problem, may already have been dead. Even now, “We have no proof of life or death,” Morin said.
“We can expect an increase in the French riposte,” said Antoine Sfeir, an expert on Islamist terrorists who has traveled in the region.
An estimated 400-500 such fighters are thought to roam the Sahel region, a desert expanse as large as the European Union.
Despite meager numbers, the region’s al-Qaida fighters pose a clear threat. Among the more recent victims, a British captive was beheaded last year and two Spanish aid workers were taken hostage in Mauritania in November. Spain is working to free them. Mauritanian soldiers also have fallen in numerous attacks.
The head of the French Institute of Strategic Analysis suggested the French government’s rhetoric was normal.
“It’s important to make that kind of announcement,” Francois Gere said. “I think it’s made of the same stuff” as former U.S. President George W. Bush’s tough line on al-Qaida.
But “a government has to make clear it must respond strongly” while maintaining the discretion needed to ensure cooperation, Gere said. In the past France has been cautious because those governments don’t want the appearance of interference from the West, he said.
Spain has maintained a low profile as videos by the al-Qaida franchise regularly call for the conquest of “al-Andalus” – a reference to the period of Muslim rule of much of Spain in medieval times.
The whole point of Nationalism, is that the economic, socio-cultural, socio-economic, national religion, and institutions of the country, are completely protected from outside influences. In addition of course, any nation governs itself, from within, and by only those with its best interest at heart. Our enemies have a plethora of English and Latin words to choose from, with which to attack us, and ensure that the cattle (public) all head towards the stunning shed, ready for their long, slow racial and cultural execution.
Geert Wilders has now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that, as excellent Green Arrow writer, supporter, and technical advisor, ANJIM-SAMA, rightly pointed out: Geert Wilders, What Are You Up To? in his current article, and in articles by myself, both agree he is no friend of the British people. Along with others on the world stage, he continues to justify his political existence by bemoaning simply only one of the tools in the toolbox of our ancient, wealthy, and dangerous enemy. According to one media source quoted:
Geert Wilders International Freedom Alliance, would try to occupy the space between the Conservatives and the BNP, which he said was “racist” and “not my party”. Wilders is often described as far-right but frequently stands up for gay and women’s rights.
It is also an unfortunate case of ‘‘jumping the gun” that, recently our own Chairman, stated that Mr Wilders should be given an award for recognition of his fight to keep Europe free from Islamification. Millions could now be fooled into jumping ship, and being played like fools as he extends his philosophy, which by the way, this Author knows by active experience, was promulgated by this party as long ago as nearly a decade. If our chairman was astute enough to see this problem that long ago, then why has it only been relatively recently that, other supposed ”Nationalists” have used this option now?
Our collective enemies, use our own ancient languages to berate us, deride us. To this end, we are so-called proponents of ”Fortress Britain’‘. Exactly, just like Fortress China, Fortress India, Pakistan and Israel. Obviously, after the recent World Cup, in which the internationalist media could not wait to show African independence, and prowess, and self-government, we did not hear any of the name calling about African nations becoming a Fortress did we?
So, if Mr Wilders is to become ”accepted”, and it looks as though he is, are we now being potentially accepted? Of course not, otherwise our Chairman would have been gracefully accepted by the Monarchy and establishment at the Palace. Ultimately, we must strengthen our commitment politically to British Nationalism, and because our enemy is embedded within, and also attacks us frequently from the outside, we must strengthen our commitment to genuine Nationalist groups around the world. It is not only the political aspects of our fight we must strengthen. Our cultural ties, and heritage, languages, and ancient rights and freedoms must also be solidly protected.
Never mind pathetic, child-like name calling, smears, and brush-off’s such as us wanting a ”Fortress Britain”, of course we want that. But, we also want a ”Fortress Nationalism”. That way, we’ll protect ALL friendly and open Nationalists in their fight to free their collective nations from the shackles of subtle Marxist politicising. The proposed United Nationalist Nations (UNN), has already ensnared those who would spoil it immediately, and those institutions who have already found ”legal problems” with it.
The UNN, http://theunn010.wordpress.com/about/ will most certainly use the Founder’s knowledge and experience in underhanded enemy tactics, to it’s own advantage well before it’s numbers swell to one hundred. And so my friends, let us continue here, and with our current Chairman, and connect with the groups who do give a damn, and not a Global establishment ”safety valve”, who resembles a typical Civic Nationalist at best, and an agent of internationalism at worst.
Politically, Mr Griffin has done us all far more good by becoming leader in ‘‘Nationalist Fortress Europe”, of groups such as the Front National of France and Belgium, Jobbik of Hungary, and others in Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Ukraine. Mr Wilders of course, has said he will not join such a group, thus making himself an automatic enemy of all true Nationalists. This is our land, but Europe is our continent. Around the world are our brothers and sisters, and each of their respective nations of old are still here, just. Let’s ensure the collective lands of our fathers are protected, and let’s stop pretending we have friends who are simply enjoying a one way, and rather lucrative benefit.
As this Author stated recently in another article, there are no groups called ‘‘Friends Of Britain”, as there are Friends Of Israel. There are no major names, or well known people openly supporting our movements here, or in Europe. The only ones openly supporting our Chairman, this party, and Nationalism in general, are the ones mentioned above. It is I’m afraid, a simple case of Fortress Nationalism.
The British Obama
Meet Diane Abbott
When the Labour Party lost the May 2010 election, I did not exactly share their sadness. This was not because I saw the incoming government as representing fundamental change; rather, this was because the Labour government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had already proven so fantastically destructive that it was difficult to imagine anything topping five more years of Labour inferno.
The electoral repulsion of Gordon Brown triggered a leadership contest within this wretched party, an event about which Derek Turner has already written very amusingly for Taki’s Magazine. Absent evidence of complete disarray, crisis, depression, despair, tiffs, quarrels, clashes, faction, division, schism, disunity, schizophrenia, paranoia, catatonia, paralysis, and radical soul-searching, a Labour leadership election is a potent soporific. Who wants to listen to a freak show of fossilized Marxists pontificating about fairness and equality? Life is too short.
But when the electorate holds back from crushing them into oblivion, when the government ends up being a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives, the prospect of a Labour comeback cannot be dismissed: their next leader might well end up being our future Prime Minister.
What, then, is Labour offering its supporters? At one end of the spectrum stands the current favourite, David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary. He is followed by a succession of yawns. At the other end is the outsider candidate, Diane Abbott, the MP for the London borough of Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
David Miliband is the son of Ralph Miliband. The Belgian-born Ralph immigrated to Britain in 1940 to escape the Nazis, and went on to become, during the 1960s and 1970s, “one of Britain’s most celebrated intellectual disciples of Karl Marx.” He was an iconic figure of the Labour Left, “who famously frowned on the concept of ‘private property,’” and “whose writings influenced two generations of Socialist leaders.” Based in the highly fashionable London district of Primrose Hill, “once a popular haunt with radical intellectuals,” which “hosted a strong community of Jewish émigrés,” David is the classic Champagne socialist, a species that sees no contradiction between applying a Robin Hood ethos with other people’s money and indulging a personal lifestyle of Oriental opulence: the 22 April 2007 article in the Daily Mail, “How David Miliband Avoided Inheritance Tax on Marxist Father’s £1.5million House,” provides an educational overview of the Milibands’ attitude to property and taxes. (Hint: they are not entirely harmonious with what they prescribe for you and me.)
Also (arguably) educational were claims made in the Russian newspaper Tvoi Den in 2007, when David Miliband, then Foreign Secretary, angered Putin’s government through his handling of the Alexander Litvinenko affair.
The newspaper said that in the Twenties the Foreign Secretary’s grandfather, Samuel, then Shimon, Miliband, a native of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, had fought under the command of Trotsky ‘eliminating’ white Russians opposed to Communism.
Miliband’s glittering tenure as Foreign Secretary reached unprecedented heights in September 2008, when he obtained the full benefit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s industrial-strength candor. It was reported in the British press at the time that during a telephone conversation between the two men, Lavrov asked Miliband, “Who the fuck are you to lecture me?” Following a long-standing tradition among disgruntled government employees, a Whithall insider also told the press that Miliband had experienced a lengthy tirade, complete with a generous sprinking of four-letter words, in response to his comments about Russia’s operations in Georgia. Miliband’s visit to Russia a year later was a similarly resounding diplomatic success.
Thus, we have some indications as to how Britain’s prestige in the world would be elevated under a possible David Miliband premiership later in the decade.
Yet, before we can relax, we need to take a look at the “outsider” contestant: Diane Abbott, the main topic of this article. With bookies assessing her chances of victory at 50/1, an Abbott premiership might seem a distant possibility. But if you dismiss her out of hand you have already forgotten that at one point in the not too distant past there was one Barack Obama, who appeared out of nowhere and transitioned from non-entity to world leader in a matter of months. Not unlike Ms. Abbott, he added colour to an otherwise dreadfully vanilla selection of candidates, and was said to represent fundamental change -– a profound and historical transformation of the political landscape. Ms. Abbott has sustained some criticism in the media, where she has earned accolades such as “the stupidest woman in Britain,” but it is particularly auspicious for the Black MP that her entering the leadership contest afforded immense relief to the lilly-white consciences of her fellow party members: these worthy servants of the people, you see, were very uncomfortable with the (until-then) uniformly fair complexion and monotonous maleness of the contestants. (Hint: this might have resulted in accusations of racism and sexism, and therefore of hypocrisy and Champagne socialism.)
Born of Jamaican parents in 1953, Diane Abbott earned her place in the history books by happening to be Black and female in 1987, when she was elected Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Since then she has remained popular with her constituents, who have re-elected her with comfortable majorities on every election. Her borough is ethnically diverse (25% Black, 41% non-White in 2006) and one of the most economically deprived in the country, occupying the bottom 5% nationwide. Jo Dillon of the Independent on Sunday has described her as “an icon of the Left”.
Her various campaigns, outlined on her website, cover wide range of issues. A common denominator in not a few of them, however, is a strong identification, combined with an acute preoccupation, with the interests and concerns of her racial brethren: both foreign and British-born Blacks (also known here as “West Indians,” or “Afro-Caribbeans”). Witness, for example, Ms. Abbott’s motive for opposing the changes in Air Passenger Duty introduced by the last Labour government:
Government proposals within the Bill are to charge passengers higher Air Passenger Duty the further the distance they fly out of the UK. But rather than being based on the exact destination the passenger is flying to, the Duty will be based on the capital city of the country the passenger is flying to. This means that flying to the Caribbean will always incur a higher Air Passenger Duty than flying to the USA, even though many places in the USA are further away from London than the Caribbean is.
Or her reasons for being active in the civil liberties campaign:
When I first came to Parliament in 1987 I spoke out against Stop and Search laws which infringed on the civil liberties of young Black men. […]
I am concerned that anti-terror laws brought in since the September 11th attacks will have the same detrimental effect on relations between the police and Muslim communities.
Or her thoughts on the current approach to the fight against crime:
[G]un crime is not just about tough sentencing. Sadly 80 per cent of gun crime in London is ‘black on black,’ often involving boys in their teens. As a black woman and the mother of a teenage son this is frightening and wholly unacceptable. A fundamental and persistent problem is the continuing educational underachievement of black boys in particular.
Or her efforts in the battle for education:
I have campaigned for many years on educational issues. In particular I have researched, organised and spoken out on the way in which the education system fails children of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. In the mid-nineties I began organising events in Hackney under the title “Hackney Schools and the Black Child”. […]
Most recently I held debates in the House of Commons on the disproportionately high rate of school exclusions of Black boys and the lack of diversity in London teaching workforce.
Or her objections to, and actions against, the proposed reforms to legal aid:
They are aimed at value for money, but in reality mean that many smaller firms will be run out of business by factory-like law firms that can afford to take on legal aid cases for less money. Black and ethnic minority-run firms are more likely to be new or small firms, and are more likely to be dependent on legal aid work and therefore are hugely threatened by the reforms. Whilst I welcome the Government’s wish to get value for money in legal aid spending, it is clear that among other flaws the legal aid reform will decimate black and minority ethnic solicitors.
Many black and ethnic minority legal firms were set up as a reaction to the institutional racism that prevented ethnic minority lawyers from progressing in their careers. […]
In May I tabled a number of written questions to the Ministry of Justice to try and gage what could be done to halt the reforms. Following this I held a Westminster Hall debate arguing that the reforms were indirectly discriminatory against black and ethnic minority solicitors, firms and clients.
Or her issues with the national DNA database, created by Labour, and currently holding 4.5 million profiles:
In 2007, Lady Scotland confirmed that three-quarters of the young black male population would soon be on the DNA database…They had generally been arrested because they fit the physical description of a suspect — the suspect being described as a young black man.
My, if Ms. Abbott is as sturdy a bulwark for the race-specific interests and concerns of her White constituents — 59% in her borough — as she is for those of her Afro-Caribbean voters, I would imagine that they feel no need at all for a party like the BNP. (Well, if they do, the Left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research has an ingenious solution: more immigration.)
Ms. Abbott’s preoccupation with negritude is, like Obama’s, fully integrated with far Left credentials. After Labour came to power in 1997, a secret conspiracy was hatched at the highest levels of government to make Britain more multicultural. This led to previous legal immigration averages to quintuple, reaching figures in excess of a quarter of a million people per year. Most of these came from impoverished, Third World countries. And among them were 1 million Muslims, who added themselves to the 1.5 million accumulated over the previous centuries. According to a questionnaire published in The Guardian newspaper, however, Ms. Abbott disagrees strongly with the statement “[i]mmigration levels are too high” (in the United Kingdom). This is perhaps not entirely surprising, as the former Labour Home Secretary, David Blunket (who is White), said in 2003 that there was “no obvious limit” to the number of immigrants that could settle in the United Kingdom.
Indeed, being a citizen of the world, Ms. Abbott’s generosity extends well beyond this green and pleasant land. The last Labour government transformed the British economy, tripling the national debt, septupling government borrowing, and turning the Conservative’s 3.3 percent economic expansion of 1997 into a 5.0 percent economic contraction in 2009. It also managed to give away 60% of the nation’s gold reserves at $275 an ounce. Eventually, with Britain facing a downgrade in its credit rating, harsh spending cuts and tax rises had to be implemented, including an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), which is hoped will bring in an extra £13,000 million a year. Ms. Abbott is pleased, however, because the foreign aid budget, which in the 2008/2009 year spent £5,500 million helping the poor in Africa and South Asia, has been increased to £7,800 million for the 2010/2011 year. In fact, even though half of Britons want less money spent on foreign aid and more spent relieving domestic poverty and improving our under-funded public services, she strongly disagreed with the idea that Britain spends too much money on foreign aid. Ms. Abbott must have failed to notice that the VAT increase — which disproportionately affects the poor, since it increases prices on nearly all goods and services — could have been cut to less than half by suspending foreign aid.
And as no far Left politician is complete without punitive tax proposals, Abbott has bold plans of her own. On 16 July the BBC reported
As well as introducing a financial transaction tax and increasing the coalition’s bank levy, she said she would create a new “wealth tax.”
“I am working on the details of it but it would be a wealth tax directed at assets rather than income,” she said.
In other words, if your house is too large, Abbott will ask you please to move out, sell it, and hand a big chunk of your money to the government. And if you are one of those doomsday eccentrics who hoard gold in case of a currency crisis, she will want you to share your stash with the government. So, if you are intelligent and industrious, if you have prospered in life, Diane Abbott has her eye on you.
Of course, none of this represents an electoral barrier to a committed Marxist supporter: they love these political positions, irrespective of race, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation — and they know how to guilt ordinary people into supporting them, or at least not criticizing them.
There remain, however, a few minor problem areas that would need to go into the memory hole before Diane Abbott is ready to storm into 10 Downing Street.
Firstly, there is the matter of her refusing to pay her own evening taxi fares. Ordinary folk traveling to and from work are expected by their employers to pay for their own transport. But Diane Abbott expects the long-suffering taxpayers to fund hers to the tune of £1,100 per year, even though she already claims £142,000 annually in expenses, and is paid the largest allowable income supplement for living in London.
Secondly, there is the matter of her thinking that “blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls” are unsuitable for working as nurses in the National Health Service, because they “may have never met a Black person before.” Fortunately, however, on this occasion Marc Wadsworth, executive member of the Anti-Racist Alliance, came to the rescue by pointing out that that year’s Miss Finland was Black, of part Nigerian descent. And, all the same, Ms. Abbott still commanded support from fellow Black MPs: Bernie Grant, MP for a neighbouring constituency, said “She is quite right… Scandinavian people don’t know black people — they probably don’t know how to take their temperature.”
Then there is the matter of her parallel career as a BBC pundit. Instigated by a complaint from a fellow MP, the Committee for Standards and Privileges found in 2004 that Ms. Abbott had failed to declare her earnings (£17,300) from her appearances in the BBC programme This Week in the Register of Members Interests, as per the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Members and paragraph 54 (c) of the Guide to the Rules. Ms. Abbott, who accepted full responsibility, was required to apologize to the House of Commons. Fortunately, however, Ms. Abbott emerged unscathed from the 2009 expenses scandal, where MPs of all stripes were found to have been dipping into the public purse to the tune of many thousands of pounds to fund their lifestyles. Here she has an advantage over her fellow contestant, David Miliband, who was found to have illegitimately claimed £30,000 over five years in repairs, decorations, and furnishings for his private residence (he apologized went found out, but did not return any of the taxpayers’ money).
And then there is the question of whether Ms. Abbott will, like Obama, succeed in ushering in a new era of post-racial politics. Statements like the one below, recorded in the Daily Mail, suggest it may be too soon yet to get our hopes up:
I never encountered any overt racism at school, though I do occasionally wonder whether the attempts made to dissuade me from applying for Oxbridge were linked to my colour.
And, finally, there is the matter of her snubbing public education for her son, in favour of a £10,000-per-year selective private school (Note: Marxists are supposedly against private education and selecting students for ability). The matter generated considerable media attention in 2003, not least because our far Left politician had previously savaged Tony Blair and Harriet Harman for also sparing their children from the public school system. It seems she instructed her former husband to keep quiet about her choice, aware that it was “indefensible” and “intellectually incoherent.” Worse still, her explanation (“West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children”) renewed accusations of racism, which for some implied that White mothers loved their children less than Black mothers. Indeed, many found it rather puzzling that Ms. Abbott could take this view yet dread the thought of her child being schooled alongside others raised by West Indian mums, just like her.
We will have to see how this exciting contest unfolds. Will the best man win? Will subterranean racism influence the decision? Is Britain ready to transform its political landscape? For the time being, Ms. Abbott thinks she has fair chance, despite the odds:
I’m not comparing myself to Barack Obama because he’s a once in a life-time figure but two years ago no-one could have imagined a black man as US President. If that was possible in the US, I think people can change their ideas in Britain as well.
Olbermann on Obama’s assassination program
(updated below – Update II)
There are many legitimate criticisms voiced about Keith Olbermann, but he deserves substantial credit for his coverage last night of a story that is as self-evidently significant as it is under-covered: Barack Obama’s assassination program aimed at American citizens. He not only led off his show with this story, but devoted the first two segments to it, and made many of the key observations and asked virtually all of the right questions. The videos of those two segments, worth watching, are below.
What’s most striking to me about all of this is that — as I noted yesterday (and as Olbermann stressed) — George Bush’s decision merely to eavesdrop on American citizens without oversight, or to detain without due process Americans such as Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, provoked years of vehement, vocal and intense complaints from Democrats and progressives. All of that was disparaged as Bush claiming the powers of a King, a vicious attack on the Constitution, a violation of Our Values, the trampling on the Rule of Law. Yet here you have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping on or detaining Americans without oversight, but ordering them killed with no oversight and no due process of any kind. And the reaction among leading Democrats and progressives is largely non-existent, which is why Olbermann’s extensive coverage of it is important. Just imagine what the reaction would have been among progressive editorial pages, liberal opinion-makers and Democratic politicians if this story had been about George Bush and Dick Cheney targeting American citizens for due-process-free and oversight-less CIA assassinations.
Republicans are not going to object to any of this. With rare exception, they believe in unlimited executive authority and denial of due process. They see Obama’s adoption of the core Bush/Cheney approach as a vindication of what they did for eight years (and also see it, not unreasonably, as proof that progressive complaints about Bush’s “shredding of the Constitution” were not genuine but rather opportunistic, cynical and motivated by desire for partisan gain). As a result, even the most Obama-hating right-wing extremists will praise him and cheer for what he’s doing. At the same time, the people who spent eight years screaming about things like this (when Bush/Cheney were doing them) are now mostly silent if not finding ways to justify and defend it (we don’t need due process because the President said this is an American-Hating Terrorist). As White House servant Richard Wolffe said in the second Olbermann segment below (and Wolffe’s commentary was actually fairly good), the White House is “very proud” of its presidential assassination program, which is likely why they decided to leak it to the NYT and the WP yesterday.
Here again, we see one of the principal and longest-lasting effects of the Obama presidency: to put a pretty, eloquent, progressive face on what (until quite recently) was ostensibly considered by a large segment of the citizenry to be tyrannical right-wing extremism (e.g., indefinite detention, military commissions, “state secrets” used to block judicial review, an endless and always-expanding “War on Terror,” immunity for war criminals, rampant corporatism — and now unchecked presidential assassinations of American citizens), and thus to transform what were once bitter, partisan controversies into harmonious, bipartisan consensus:
Where is the Debate on Obama’s Assassination Program?
The revelation last week that the president authorized the assassination of a US citizen created a surprisingly small splash. I try not to engage in speculative “imagine if” games, but if the president had done such a thing in 2005 it is hard to think there would not have been near apoplexy on the left. It is a nakedly thuggish act, and I can easily envision pictures like this with the faces of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales superimposed on them. It would have raised an enormous outcry.
Writing on the relative quiet from liberals Avedon Carol wrote “early on when people asked, ‘Would you rather McCain had won?’ someone said, ‘At least then you’d know you were in a fight.'” Do progressives truly care that the president has made such an expansive claim? Do they realize that their silence does not just make them look hypocritical, but will completely cripple any argument they make against a future Republican president who does anything even remotely that provocative? Conservatives are already happily batting around the idea and soberly debating the pluses and minuses of executive hit squads. Some on the right are already gleefully noting the apparent abandonment of principle among Democrats and their supporters.
The response from the right has been largely muted, though. In a way it makes sense that all sides would rather the issue go away, because it does not run on established political fault lines. Democrats do not want to take a hard line against a Democratic president; they already have enough of a self-destruct narrative to want to avoid high level internecine conflict.
Republicans, meanwhile, would have an equally hard time coming out forcefully against the president. Aside from the fact that Obama’s actions are very much in the strong, decisive and brutal approach towards foreign enemies that they seem to gravitate to naturally, they have to know any investigation would likely reach back into the Bush years very quickly, a chapter in their history they would just as soon not revisit.
Still, this is an election year, and even though their numbers look good right now that may just be a mirage. If they base their electoral strategy on reflexive obstructionism and pandering to the base (neither of which, you’ll note, has anything to do with addressing the problems facing America) it is hard to see how they sustain any kind of momentum through campaign season. They might get some traction running against health care, though, particularly if voters do not see enough meaningful, tangible benefits before election day.
(I cringe whenever I hear Democratic leaders talk about the need to educate voters on the new law; aside from the whiff of elitism it carries – which has been a useful club to beat them with in the past – it raises the question of why the huge reform they are touting cannot be directly felt. If it is so great, why does it have to be sold? Just step back and let people begin enjoying the wonderfulness!)
The GOP seems determined to not get any advantage whatsoever on financial reform, however. On what may the the biggest issue of all – unemployment – there is radio silence from the party. Presumably they just want for us to wait for the invisible hand to stop giving us the finger and start working its magic again. Democrats may not have a much greater sense of urgency than that, but the minority party needs to distinguish itself if it hopes to not remain the minority.
Executive power may not be a sexy peg for Republicans to hang their hats on, but since they are already ceding the most popular issues to the Democrats, they may as well make as much hay on this one as possible. The Democrats’ refusal to stand up to Obama is depressing but not really surprising. It would be nice to see them stand on principle and to put institutional obligations over party objectives. That most likely is not in the cards, though. The Republicans’ reluctance to make this an issue is a little more surprising. At least, it is surprising to the extent that I am still amazed to see a major political party continue to show no instinct for self-preservation.
What Obama has done is a dangerous and outrageous precedent. One of the reasons the GOP has been unable to sway the public for the past year is because it is clearly lying on big issues like health care and financial reform. If it directed that same energy and persistence in the service of truth it might start to bring the electorate along, provided it has retained some vestigial interest in such a thing.