Shirley Sherrod’s speech to the Georgia NAACP Chapter, and the accompanying furor, along with LeBron James hour long special about where he’ll play Basketball in the NBA for the next few years, signal the end of Racism. Well, not really. But if not the end, or even the beginning of the end, then certainly, the end of the beginning. With apologies to Winston Churchill. The whole affair signals an end to White guilt, and a discussion of how racist Whites in ways large and small mistreated Blacks (both undeniably true, and in the distant past). In some ways this is healthy, the Civil Rights Era is as distant to us now, as the Jazz Age was to the end of the Civil Rights Era (if you count that as the year 1968). All things must end. But it quite likely that the end of White guilt, or at least the end of the beginning phase of the Civil Rights Movement, will restructure America and how it governs itself in entirely predictable ways, that the elites, commentators, and casual observers will have to actively will not to see.
The full video of the speech is here. You may also find it at the NAACP’s website. To be clear, when the NAACP accused the Tea Party Movement (without any documentary evidence) in formal resolutions that the Tea Party Movement was “racist,” Andrew Breitbart was sent an edited copy of the video (via mail, on disk) of the Sherrod speech. He asked his source for the full speech, did not get it, and ran the copy that he had, on his website. Making the point that the audience (NAACP members) applauded the bits about discriminating against a White farmer. Andrew Breitbart DID NOT EDIT THE VIDEO, he merely ran the only video copy he had, and next to the video asked for members of the public to send him a copy of the full speech so he could post it. Which indeed, he has.
Meanwhile, Cleveland fans found little reason to live once LeBron James announced (in a one hour national TV special) that he was playing for Miami’s Heat:
… it is clear the the Tea Party is a mostly White, middle aged, and female led organization. Not the type to stage street brawls, as its average participant is a White woman in her fifties, a small business owner or middle class professional such as a real estate agent. But one clearly seeing a big fat target painted on them for “spread the wealth” along racial lines, and wanting to stop and indeed roll back the growth of government. Not the least of which is the economic threat “I did just enough so he couldn’t say I didn’t do anything to help him” presents.
The middle class, middle aged, mostly female Tea Party, is not comprised of fanatical sports followers. Members of the Tea Party don’t stay home from work, on NFL Draft Day, for example. But like sports fans of the NBA and NFL, they don’t harbor racist, or racial supremacist views about Whites being somehow “superior” to any other group or race. Any such belief would not be only morally but aesthetically repugnant to them. But the lack of racism, or any personal connection or responsibility for it, also means they don’t feel guilty. The fifty-five year old real estate agent, the 46 year old accountant, the 58 year old small business owner do not feel as though they or anyone in their family benefited from past racial oppression of Blacks, or even had a hand in it. The extraordinary social mobility and personal mobility that helped break regional and local traditions for good and bad, also left with it a “history-less” amorphous group of Americans, mostly White, who do not feel any special guilt or shame over past racism.
If you moved from Dallas, to Phoenix, to Kansas City, to Minneapolis, to Nashville, to Denver, in your lifetime, a series of moves by no means unusual, what is your personal connection to beating of civil rights protesters in 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge? None. Nor is it your concern, as a middle class White voter. The only concern is, how do you hedge yourself against disaster? Against “I did just enough so that he couldn’t say I didn’t do anything?”
The answer the Tea Party came up with, is roll back government to a point where it is so small, and distant from people’s lives, that it does not matter if the federal and local agencies are disproportionately non-White. Again, the job growth and wage growth would be in the private sector, free from Affirmative Action, and quotas, for the most part. This is the Tea Party agenda.
The other, more likely outcome in the end, will be forcing proportional quotas relative to the demographic strength and unity of White voters, who are moving towards Black and Hispanic patterns of bloc voting.
Because shrinking the federal, state, and local governments will be almost impossible. First, far too many commercial interests are tied up in all three types of government. Not just utilities, banks, and broadcasters, highly regulated, semi-monopolies, that help construct barriers to entry with the help of friendly, “captured” regulators, but the Big Three Auto companies, two of them owned by the Feds themselves, and likely to remain with significant government ownership for decades to come. Also embedded in government are various construction companies, home builders, manufacturers, the media (angling for their own bailout), computer companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Google, Oracle, IBM, and even E-bay and Yahoo. Also included in this embedded interest group marriage in government would be unions, from SEIU, to the AFL-CIO. Practically speaking, these groups combined have such financial, political, and organizational power that they can and will block any roll-back of government.
Not the least of which is that a Big Government helps make them permanent winners and other players forbidden even to enter.
But secondly, the temptation to “fight fire with fire” and simply put your own thumb on the scale is likely to overwhelming, and borne out by human history. In Indonesia, in Malaysia, in every other nation with significant amounts of multicultural, multiracial, and multi-religious populations, the dominant groups have dealt themselves the dominant, winning hand. Not the least of which is the widespread (and generally, true) perception that smaller groups, being insiders, have rigged the game. Thus government even after the Asian Crisis of 1998, has not grown smaller. It has grown marginally less corrupt in South East Asia, and also South Korea and Japan, but that corruption has been the turnout of one set of majority group, allied mostly with the Chinese diaspora business empires, in favor of another group of majority populations. So in Indonesia, the reformers are still Indonesians, you won’t find many ethnic Chinese (who are periodically purged from business and political influence, not allowed in government at all, and the subject of informal anti-Chinese riots) in the corridors of power, officially anyway. The same is true of Malaysia which has formal quotas for the minimum amount of majority Malays and the maximum amount allowed for Chinese. In Singapore of course it is the other way around.
No one believes the government in America is anything less than corrupt, among the majority of White voters. Nor is there any trust that if the government was “rolled back” it could be managed as a sleeping dragon, providing useful cooking fire. All fear that the dragon will simply wake up and burn the entire place down with massive racial transfers and indeed, demographic transformations designed to create a permanent Democratic voting majority by importing the majority of Mexico. With the economy failing under no-growth, or anti-growth policies, punishing small business, promising carbon taxes through EPA regulations if nothing else, the engine of employment, small business, is tempted to grow by the only means available — capture of government. Which not only hedges downside risk of another Shirley Sherrod, but also massive wealth transfers to favored political and racial groups, and critically, allows the small businesses that help “capture” government to jigger things so they are the winner.
A bank that is viewed as corrupt will have few citizens willing to die to prevent its robbery. They might even stage their own pre-emptive robbery.
America is not what it once was. The private sector job and wage growth that led to social peace while non-Whites, particularly Blacks, found stability in employment in the governmental sector is gone. Now Government is expanding to pick every bit of winning and losing. Prof. Russel K. Nieli, University of Princeton, Lecturer in the Politics Dept. has calculated that for the most highly competitive public and private colleges, that provide “winners” by producing tomorrow’s leaders:
To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550.
And that moreover, students participating in 4H, Boy Scouts, or Junior ROTC might as well not apply. That “poor Whites need not apply” to any of the elite colleges. The Gates Foundation, in conjunction with this, has no scholarships or aid available to poor Whites at all, reserving all of it for people of color.
The fundamental unfairness of this, as Whites feel they don’t deserve to be “punished” for wrongs done decades ago by people mostly long dead, will not in my opinion lead to the Tea Party dream of a limited, color-blind, fairly irrelevant government.
In my considered view, America will morph into some version of Malaysia, or Indonesia, with a threatened, demographically fragile majority taking every step to protect and preserve its jealously guarded, hard-won spoils. With the devil taking the hind-most.
This is entirely foreseeable. If something is impossible to continue, it won’t. Bernie Madoff had a long string, but it eventually ran out. So too, did the housing bubble. “US Housing prices haven’t crashed in unison across the country in 70 years,” housing market bulls announced. Until it did, utterly predictably. People don’t want to see the obvious. That hard choices are the general mark of the human condition. That as Machiavelli says, when the poison is not obvious, it is easy to treat, but almost impossible for the patient to recover, when the malady is seen by everyone. This is mostly due to the hard choices involved. Affirmative Action, White Guilt, racial quotas and preferences that punish Whites (and Asians) to enable others, is a bubble, just like the Housing Market.
America has become a reverse Indian casino, with White voters moving to the position to “cast members out of the tribe” to make the money, always shrinking, go farther. Stasis and stagnation bring with it ugly choices. Including the end of racism and White Guilt. For that, Shirley Sherrod and LeBron James are at least partly responsible.