Monday, May 9, 2011

Isn't it strange for conservatives to hate the federal government?

Conservatives are our Tories. They revere law and order, authority, orderliness, respect for tradition. So you'd think, being the closet monarchists they are, that Conservatives would adore the majesty and puissance of our Federal Government.

They usually say well, it's the state governments they revere, but whenever they gain control of the federal government they invariably work to expand its authority over our lives--running roughshod over "States Rights" in the process--in all those areas social conservatives care about--homosexuality, abortion, gun rights yada yada.

So the question remains--whence this hatred of the Federal Government. What group of American conservatives has such an intense grievance against our Federal Government that it overrides their respect for authority?

Southern Whites, that's who. For many of them, the Federal Government is still seen as a foreign occupying force, much as Iraqi Shiites might look upon American troops in Baghdad.

Especially since the South won the Civil War after one of their own assassinated Lincoln and he was replaced with a Southerner who hated Reconstruction. The South was able to replace slavery with virtual serfdom until the late 1960s--so it was only in the 1970s that the Union actually won the Civil War. Meaning the wounds are fresh, and the gutter triumphalism of the rap culture rubs salt in those wounds daily, despite the balm (for Southern Whites) of putting so many Black males in prison that it has practically become a rite of passage for a significant portion of American black males.

This, finally, makes sense of the apparent paradox of Conservative hatred of Federal gummint.

This also makes the Libertarian stance (the Soviets confiscated Ayn Rand's parents' lands, therefore all government is evil) nothing more than convenient window dressing for the real reasons most anti-Federal government Conservatives harbor. It gives them ideological cover. Then they don't have to talk about Blacks.

At the recent Fox News Presidential Debate in South Carolina, the winner of the debate among the audience and the South Carolinan focus group was a Black libertarian businessman. And no wonder. The 1% of American Blacks who are Republican are treasured by Southern Whites, because they give them plausible deniability for their racism.

The Antebellum South had its House Negroes--Blacks who got to dress nicely and live near Massa and his family instead of living in dirt floor shacks with the field hands.

If the shoe fits...

And who gives these Southern revanchists their giant bullhorn in the media?

The other group that hates the federal government: billionaires. For them as a group, every cent the Feds spend on social services is stealing from them to give to the undeserving poor. And every federal regulation is seen as an attempt to enslave them. So they're delighted to give their fake thinktanks and sock puppet pundits marching orders to provide ideological cover for their Southern voters.


Sean said...

In reality, I think the South isn't quite as evil as you attempt to paint them. Please define what you consider to be the "South."

And at this point, I don't think that racism (specifically against blacks) is significantly more prevalent in the South

Ehkzu said...

Well, I'm certainly speculating here. And it's true that no part of the country is homogeneous any more. The whole "Red State-Blue State" thing obscures the fact that the reddest and bluest states are at least a third the other.

But this fact is itself obscured by our winner take all system that leaves the Democratic and Republican minorities in every state voiceless.

So even if every Southern state (meaning the states that took up arms against their own country in 1861) were 49% liberal, non-racist, moonstruck hippies with flowers in their hair, it wouldn't make a bit of difference in national elections. Whatever 51% of a state's population is like might as well be 100% when it comes to electing Senators and Presidents.

So to start with I'm only talking about 51% of those states' voters.

And of course the voterate represents only, what, about half of elegible Americans? Which means I'm talking about a quarter of each Southern state.

Don't you think it would be fair to guess that a quarter of every Southern state's adults are racist? That's all that's needed.

I should add that racism is a subset of tribalism. The fact that these states were conquered militarily still smarts in some circles. So racism, while an element, isn't everything. Tribalism is if anything more important.

And in the South demagogic politicians have been bad-mouthing the Federal Gummint for over a century and a half.

Try this is you don't believe me: loudly declare that General Robert E. Lee was a traitor--as he was, of course--in a variety of bars across the South and see what happens. Lemme know if you survive this experiment.

I wouldn't be surprised if a quarter of the voters in other states were also racist. However, apart from white emigrants from the South, those racist voters don't have this added, powerful tribal element of military conquest added to the stew.

Many liberals like to race-bait and act as it it explains everything. Many conservatives like to race-deny and act as it it explains nothing.

I think reasonable people can agree that both sides' partisans are making more and less of it than is the case.

And I'll ad that if a staunch Black conservative ran for the Presidency--someone with the stature General Colin Powell once had--he'd have a good chance of carrying the South, albeit probably by a slimmer margin than would someone of equally conservative credentials...just white.

That probability doesn't mean the South isn't still racist in the way I've described it here, however. A House Negro in the White House can be relied on to do what Massa tells him to from behind the curtain, after all. But even someone obviously less subservient--like Powell (or Kane, today)--would have an aspect of racism going for them: racists could claim that nominating such a candidate would prove that they weren't racist, even if they'd pop a blood vessel if Colin Powell's son wanted to marry their daughter.

Sean said...

It's interesting how easily North-South or Liberal-Conservative comparisons polarize the outlook on racism. And the fact that slavery only became a prominent issue near the *end* of the Civil War and yet is remembered as its cause reinforces the effect that racism has had on our country's history.

Perhaps the most telling statistics on racism in today's society is the extent of white-flight that's present. Or maybe it's the number of interracial marriages. Perhaps a black/non-black ratio in prisons would also be a good benchmark. It's telling to consider that racism is present in any country you look at.

Race-baiting is a tactic used to entice the uneducated masses. Calling Civil War Generals a traitor in a Southern bar would only rowl up uneducated drunks. Would this prove anything other than reaffirming a stereotype?

I agree that a winner-takes-all approach destroys a truly representative government. Thinking people are too often drowned out by enticed masses (see previous paragraph), and the topic of racism is often nearly impossible to rationally approach.

The next time a prominent issue is raised that threatens to seriously disrupt our current corporate-overlords, keep an eye out for some diversion in the media about racism/illegal-immigration/pop-star-meltdowns. The problem in society isn't something like racism vs. non-racism or Dream-Act-supporter vs. Arizona.... Rather, it's about people not engaging in rational discussions. The line between left and right wing becomes blurred (if not invisible) when the discussion is between rational thinkers.

I'll end on that note. Next time I'm in a bar, I'll refrain from inciting a riot of idiots, and rather raise a glass to the thinking people of this world. Keep up the commentary.