Robin of Berkeley: Will the real racist please stand up?

“Robin of Berkeley” reflects on the aftermath of the Oakland riots,. Read the whole thing, but this passage is particularly salient:

A colleague said this to me the other day. “That police officer should be found guilty. But if he’s not, they have every a right to riot.”

She was simply expressing the typical liberal view. But let’s pick this apart.

If thousands of Jews or Chinese or white males looted stores and burned cars, would the public be so tolerant? I don’t think so. Are we really talking tolerance here, or something else entirely — a colonialist, superior attitude?

Put bluntly, when liberals say that “they” have a right to riot, what’s the implication here? Is it that blacks are primitive, out-of-control Neanderthals? Those Jews, Chinese, and white males are expected to have self-control. No such expectations exist for designated victim groups like blacks and Latinos.
By treating blacks as a special class, liberals marginalize and infantilize. Liberals also set the bar insultingly low.

Obama and his handlers knew that white liberal guilt could be exploited to their advantage. They realized that Obama would be insulated from scrutiny.

But it’s not just guilt; it’s also a white feeling of superiority. Because you have to see yourself as on top to offer special treatment to those on bottom.

Obama has been the Teflon President because of the color of his skin. Liberals are giving him a free ride.

We see it every day when criticism of Obama evokes cries of racism. But who are the real racists here?
Are the racists those conservatives who hold everyone accountable to the same standards? Who believe that people should be judged by their character and their behavior, not their race, creed, or color?

Or are the racists those white liberals who treat Obama like some delicate flower? While liberals still eviscerate George W. Bush, any judgment of Obama is off limits.

It’s not just whites who are enabling Obama by acting like his protectors. Blacks voted en masse for Obama. Sadly, what has he offered them?

From the start, it was obvious that Obama, though half-black, had never done anything for the black community. In Chicago, his actions hurt blacks.

Obama was a huge supporter of Tony Rezko, a notorious slumlord, now a felon. When Obama served in the state senate, black residents picketed Rezko’s offices to protest their rat-infested, unheated apartments.

And what has Obama done to help blacks since he’s been president? One of Obama’s first actions as president was eliminating the DC school voucher program that offered poor black kids the chance for a better life.

Obama and the Democrats have created record debt and crushed the economy. A depressed economy hits minority groups especially hard.

And then there is Obama’s push for amnesty for illegals. How is giving jobs to millions of illegals going to help blacks, who have unconscionably high unemployment rates?

But there is one perk Obama has afforded the black underclass — the right to behave brutally. Obama’s Justice Department dropped charges for those New Black Panthers who allegedly threatened and harassed people at election sites.

This encouragement to act out is deeply cynical and manipulative. It’s designed to control racial minorities and promote social unrest.

Although Obama has only agitated, not uplifted, Americans, most liberals regard him as their icon. To them, Obama is the Great Black Hope.

Liberals handle Obama with kid gloves. In the meantime, they turn a blind eye to his dangerous policies, like flirting with radical Islam. Liberals make excuses for the plummeting economy, blaming their usual bogeyman: conservatives.

They refuse to see Obama without the rose-colored glasses. Why? Because when it comes to Obama, liberals see a black man deserving of special treatment.

Will the real racist please stand up?

One black intellectual, Thomas Sowell, saw through this liberal conceit decades ago. He refers to the minorities on which these extremely dubious (for ultimately toxic) blessings are bestowed as “mascots of the anointed”.

The Alien in the White House

No, don’t worry, I haven’t gone “nirther”, and neither has Dorothy Rabinowitz, who thus entitled her latest WSJ op-ed. She refers not to his place of birth, but to a state of mind.

The deepening notes of disenchantment with Barack Obama now issuing from commentators across the political spectrum were predictable. So, too, were the charges from some of the president’s earliest enthusiasts about his failure to reflect a powerful sense of urgency about the oil spill.

There should have been nothing puzzling about his response to anyone who has paid even modest critical attention to Mr. Obama’s pronouncements. For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans’ leader, a man of them, for them, the nation’s voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn’t lacking in concern about the oil spill. What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.

Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.

A great part of America now understands that this president’s sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.

Read the whole thing.

1863: Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

2010: Government of the people, by the New Class, for the New Class and its anointed mascots.

The Harvard-Yale Supreme Court

Via a guestblogger at Insty, a prime example of the New Class sense of entitlement:

WELL, THAT’S ALL RIGHT THEN:  Dean Chris Edley (now of Berkeley, formerly of Harvard) explains why we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about a Harvard-Yale lock on the Supreme Court.  You see, any worries about elitism and a narrow vision of American values have been solved, by affirmative action:

The gatekeeper power of such institutions is why it was so important to desegregate them (using affirmative action, among other tools) and why virtually all leaders of great universities talk about diversity and access.

For about 40 years now, all the top law schools have tried to pick students who are not just brilliant but who have the potential to be outstanding leaders from and for all of America’s communities. Today, “elite” doesn’t carry the old-boy, classist, midcentury sense.

He’s right; it definitely carries more of a new-boy, classist, end-of-century sense of elitism.  Which must be why Dean Edley doesn’t even notice it.

Ouch. For the French version of this phenomenon, BTW, see “enarques” in Wikipedia.

Thomas Sowell: Race and resentment

Thomas Sowell has a “read the whole thing” article on race and resentment. The salient grafs:

Recent stories out of both Philadelphia and San Francisco tell of black students beating up Asian American students. This is especially painful for those who expected that the election of Barack Obama would mark the beginning of a post-racial America.[…]

Those who explain racial antagonisms on some rationalistic basis will have a hard time demonstrating how Asian Americans have made blacks worse off. Certainly none of the historic wrongs done to blacks was done by the small Asian American population who, for most of their history in this country, have not had enough clout to prevent themselves from being discriminated against.[…]

Resentments and hostility toward people with higher achievements are one of the most widespread of human failings. Resentments of achievements are more deadly than envy of wealth.

The hatred of people who started at the bottom and worked their way up has far exceeded any hostility toward those who were simply born into wealth. None of the sultans who inherited extraordinary fortunes in Malaysia has been hated like the Chinese, who arrived there destitute and rose by their own efforts.

Inheritors of the Rockefeller fortune have been elected as popular governors in three states, attracting nothing like the hostility toward the Jewish immigrants who rose from poverty on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to prosperity in a variety of fields.

Others who started at the bottom and rose to prosperity– the Lebanese in West Africa, the Indians in Fiji, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, for example– have likewise been hated for their achievements. Being born a sultan or a Rockefeller is not an achievement.

Achievements are a reflection on others who may have had similar, and sometimes better, chances but who did not make the most of their chances. Achievements are like a slap across the face to those who are not achieving, and many people react with the same kind of anger that such an insult would provoke.

In our own times, especially, this is not just a spontaneous reaction. Many of our educators, our intelligentsia and our media — not to mention our politicians– promote an attitude that other people’s achievements are grievances, rather than examples.

When black school children who are working hard in school and succeeding academically are attacked and beaten up by black classmates for “acting white,” why is it surprising that similar hostility is turned against Asian Americans, who are often achieving academically more so than whites?

This attitude is not peculiar to some in the black community or to the United States. The same phenomenon is found among lower-class whites in Britain, where academically achieving white students have been beaten up badly enough by their white classmates to require hospital treatment.

These are poisonous and self-destructive consequences of a steady drumbeat of ideological hype about differences that are translated into “disparities” and “inequities,” provoking envy and resentments under their more prettied-up name of “social justice.”

Asian American school children who are beaten up are just some of the victims of these resentments that are whipped up. Young people who are seething with resentments, instead of seizing educational and other opportunities around them, are bigger victims in the long run, whether they are blacks in the US or lower-class whites in the UK. […]

People who call differences “inequities” and achievements “privilege” leave social havoc in their wake, while feeling noble about siding with the less fortunate. It would never occur to them that they have any responsibility for the harm done to both blacks and Asian Americans.

I have for a long time wondered why the Tenth Commandment is “thou shalt not covet” (לא תחמוד), as “coveting” something is not an act but an intent. However, it is covetousness that will lead to violating all of the others.

0bamacare: not “for the children” after all? + Word of the day: 0bamaklatura

Oops: Deemocrats [sic] forgot to cover preexisting conditions for children.

But… it’s for the children?!

Yes, apparently only when they can be dragged out for purposes of emotional blackmail.

In related news, James Taranto draws attention to this item in the Chicago Tribune:

[A]nother story, broken yesterday by the Chicago Tribune, illustrates why “equality” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Unlike medicine, elementary and secondary education in the U.S. is already almost completely under political control. Defenders of this arrangement justify it in the name of equality. They do not claim the current system achieves that ideal, but they do insist that efforts to reduce political control via vouchers and other forms of privatization would make inequality worse.

But the Tribune story shows that political control introduces its own kind of inequality, to benefit the political class:

While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.
Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.
The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune.
This is “the aristocracy of pull,” in Ayn Rand’s memorable phrase. Its existence is probably inevitable inasmuch as government’s is, but its extent can only increase with the power and reach of government.

If you and Larry Summers both get sick and need a treatment that the Medicare Advisory Commission (dysphemistically known as the Death Panel) deems too expensive, what are the odds that you’ll find a way to get it anyway and he won’t? How about the other way around? In the Soviet Union, those privileged by political connections were called the nomenklatura. Here, we can call it the Obamaklatura.

Heh.

1883: Government of the People, by the people, for the people

2010: Government of the people, by the New Class, for the New Class and its clients and mascots

VDH: Reflections on the revolution in America

Victor Davis Hanson: has another “read the whole thing” piece, reflecting on the 0bamist revolution. A teaser or two:

Some of the revolutionaries are guided by genuine noblesse oblige. Others act out of guilt and can justify their own consumption if they “care” for a distant poorer other. Still more explain their own privilege through using government to redistribute income. A few are driven by genuine hatred — stemming from the fact that the highly educated academic or artist makes far less than the doctor, lawyer, CEO, or — heaven forbid — tire store owner, family orthodontist, or owner of a half dozen Little Caesar pizza franchises.

How can that be that the PhD who reads Old English, or the painter who emulates Pollock, or the writer who is the next Fitzgerald, or the AP teacher is given so much less by society than the crass, smug captain of industry, who reads less, has no real taste, and hardly understands his own existential dilemma? Should not salary and capital be predicated on good intentions, high education, rhetoric and argumentation, and a bit of necessary sarcasm?

Only a professor could puncture New Class envy so devastatingly.

[W]e are witnessing  a quiet but insidious revolution. At home, if successful, the state and its vast array of newly hired employees, will administer our health care system, as well as education loans (and that will need a sort of new agency like the Postal Service or DMV). We now take for granted take-overs of much of the automobile industry and financial organizations. Should cap and trade pass, the administration would be dictating energy use. If you add it up — going to the doctor, driving a car, stopping by an ATM, flipping on the lights, taking out a student loan — you could run bump into a lot of new federal bureaucrats. And that’s the point, isn’t it after all?

I doubt anyone in the administration believes that these new public sectors of the economy will be better run.[…] So the point instead is I think fourfold:

a) those who profit from running these new agencies will be our new anointed class, at the top, Ivy-League technocrats, and lower down among the ranks, the politically deserving: power and patronage; b) the resultant cost increases will require more taxes on those whose ill-gotten gains should be properly redistributed to the commune; gorge the beast; c) in political terms, a constituency that either administers or receives federal larges (think of an ACORN/SEIU hybrid) will prove a predictably loyal base in future elections: dependent future voters; d) federal and state wages and pensions will remind us all during tough times that government “service” is the only steady, reliable, and fair employer: we will all end up the same.

[…]I’m sorry — I don’t take seriously much of anything from this wannabe revolutionary bunch.

Who bears the cost of moral vanity?

This question is asked by Eric S. Raymond. Go read the whole thing.

A high-ranking Taliban commander is captured in Pakistan, and the (now entirely predictable) dance begins. Says the Guardian:

Mullah Barader has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with US and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials. Though Barack Obama has banned US agencies from using forms of torture such as waterboarding, Pakistani questioning techniques are frequently brutal.

That’s right. Because the American chattering classes have their panties in a bunch about acts of “torture” that don’t do any permanent damage to the victim, Barader is in the hands of Pakistanis who are likely to [fornicate] his [excretions] up the old-school way, with knives and cattle-prods and blowtorches. And yet, this is supposed to count as a moral victory.

All the manufactured indignation about Guantanamo Bay has similarly perverse effects. When you tell U.S. troops that every enemy combatant they accept a surrender from is going to be made into an international cause celebre that will be used to damage their war effort, the effect will be — count on it — that they stop accepting surrenders. This means that all the soi-disant “innocents” swept up in these operations will become innocent corpses. Instead of being stuck in a facility that’s a resort hotel compared to any prison in the Mideast, they’ll be dead — victims of someone else’s moral vanity.

I was born and educated into the class that produces “gentry liberals”, but I’ve come to loathe them. This is why. It’s always someone else who pays the cost of their posturing. Very often, it’s the people they claim to be helping[…]

They’re so very, very convinced of their moral superiority, they are. The pious anti-torture crusaders, the “economic-justice” cod-Marxists, the no-growth environmentalists, the gun banners, and all their kin in the tribe of wealthy white left-liberals. Armored by their certitudes and their sheepskins and their class privileges, they sail serenely above the deadly consequences of their meddling. Not for them any need to worry about second-order effects or process costs or who actually pays the cost for their delusions, oh, no. They are the anointed, and lofty intentions are their sovereign excuse however much damage they do.

Truly, I hate them all. Perhaps I hate them more intensely because I so narrowly escaped being one of them. But it’s really the invincible stupidity and myopia that gets me, and the way their “compassion” stinks of narcissism. Some days I think if I could have just one wish, it would be this: let their folly come back on their own heads.

I understand. All too well.

UPDATE: Make sure to read this related post: On being against torture.

And relatedly, in “Marginal devolution”, ESR discusses how unintended consequences of morally vain employment policies cause structural unemployment.