Friday, May 21, 2010


Discrimination is a word that has taken on a super-charged meaning. At some point in time, it used to indicate a certain sort of sophistication: She has a discriminating taste in music, it's too bad about her taste in men.

Now, it almost always has racial or oppressive connotations, and it carries the same sort of guilty charge that "rape" does.

The good news is that at least in the United States, we still have the free speech to talk about these things. Not every Western nation does. Germany for years outlawed any debate or vocal skepticism over specific claims against the Holocaust. Canada outlaws "hate" speech, where you can't even say anything that might be contrued as hateful -- it's a crime, even if there's no action associated with it. By contrast in America, the KKK can optain a permit to hold a rally and as long as it is peaceful and doesn't incite violence, it will unfold and happen unhindered. I don't mean to single out a white supremecist group, there are plenty of minority-based hate-filled groups too, who all may say whatever they want.

Here is a different example of discrimination. Apple has a policy of not selling iPads to customers with cash. Their purpose is to monitor how many each person buys (via credit card) so that the units can't be smuggled to Europe before their release date there. This story might bother some people to never buy Apple again. Or it might have been staged. Or it might just be too bad. That's up to you to figure out for yourself.

But in a nation dominated by a technically free but mostly homogenous mainstream media and academic institutions, complexity and debate over racial issues is not effectively tolerated, even if they involve other issues as well. Here is an example of a video debate between Rand Paul -- the recent GOP primary winner in KY -- and Rachel Maddow. It's an interesting clip. I had written off Rachel Maddow long ago as a female version of Keith Oberman, but she at least showed some restraint here as she continually bumped her head against the limits of her narrow understanding of what was being talked about. She is definitely going above and beyond what most talk show hosts are capable of, but she finally just ends by shaking her head in disappointment that someone else could possibly allow for a different view or a different solution to an agreed upon problem.

So what do you think? Is Rand Paul a racist because he doesn't exactly support the federal government dictating the terms of business for private companies, even if that discrimination is on racist terms? How would Ms. Maddow vote on a bill (not to mention a 45 year old law that is not really up for debate) that she agreed with 90% but disagreed with 10%?


Coovo said...

I had a whole email written that took you to task about comparing the KKK to some lady buying an ipad. Then I reread it. Reread it again. Whoops.

Now I needed to watch the video. Yes it's 3am but I almost accused one of my best friends of being a racist because I couldn't read straight.

No one can accuse Maddow of being a shoddy journalist. She prefaced the issue with background stories and her deft vocabulary made most of her questions seem friendly to someone who she disagreed with. Her persistence on the issue is something we don't see often because interviews rarely last that long.

Do I think rand paul is a racist? At face value, no. But I've never met the guy (or seen any other interviews...or even heard of him before this). He seems to be trying to tie the 1964 bill of civil rights into the second amendment when, in my mind, they don't really intersect. Maddow wanted to know if he believed private business owners could ban black patrons. He tried to say, or implied I think, that if owners can ban blacks then they can ban anything, specifically guns (which will not play in KY). I know I'm always comfortable when I know the booth next to me is packing.

I don't buy it. You can refuse a customer if they smell, if they're naked, if they're loud, if they pee everywhere, but you can't do it because of they're color, race or even religion. Any one of those people (smelly, naked, etc.) could be carrying a weapon. This is where the discussion begins anew.

I do think its possible that paul could be hiding his racism behind the 2nd amendment but I think its more likely that hes trying to appeal to gun owners and 2nd amendment advocates.

Aaaaand I'm spent.

Coovo said...

Now that Ive reread my comment. I'm not sure I phrased it right after "He tried to say . . " (im kind of drunk). Paul implied that the decision to serve whoever you wanted was on the same level as to whether you allowed guns into your business. Now you can rejoin the previous comment at, "I don't buy it."

kevin said...

i tip my hat to maddow on this interview. she was fair, tough, articulate, and i think she's within her rights to disagree with paul.

ultimately, paul failed this interview badly, no matter how many valid points he made. he never said "i would have voted for the act" or "i would never try to repeal the act". he had to say that via memo the next day, which will be viewed far less than this interview (and any next-day memo lacks a bit of believability). now, in blogs like this, people are debating whether he's racist or not! such an odd debate IMO.

i like paul in that he talks about 'what is the role of government', which is one of the most important questions, and it rarely is discussed on such a high level. looking at our national debt alone and certain insane parts of our bloated federal gov't will win him immediate support from many.

i agree with him on the high level about the role of government, but i still think the feds should certainly ban racial/sexual/etc discrimination. i do think that's logically inconsistent, which i'm fine with (and paul apparently wasn't). i like the idea of having the market dictate operating procedures for business, but you just can't have "whites only" restaurant, even if a "all people welcome" restaurant was opened next door and put the other one out of business.

i'm worried about paul as he seemed determined to have an academic, political theory discussion (even if interesting and important), but the questions asked were not academic (at least at the end), but real world, politically relevant, and he didn't seem able to mix the two. now, people are talking about if he's racist or not, and not talking about how much can the government force behavior from a private biz?

i heard he still has a double digit lead over his opponent. this will be an interesting race to follow. he canceled his 'meet the press' appearance on sunday which was disappointing but understandable. every reporter who talks to paul from here on out is going to hound him with every conceivable hypothetical now. (i would have loved to have been next to his campaign manager while he was watching that maddow show for the first time).

(also, that apple story doesn't strike me as unfair in the least bit)

Ryan said...

"i agree with him on the high level about the role of government, but i still think the feds should certainly ban racial/sexual/etc discrimination. i do think that's logically inconsistent, which i'm fine with (and paul apparently wasn't). i like the idea of having the market dictate operating procedures for business, but you just can't have "whites only" restaurant, even if a "all people welcome" restaurant was opened next door and put the other one out of business. "

K, this paragraph doesn't make a lot of sense. So, you basically think the federal government should be able to make laws that define who we are as a people while not letting us be people?

The ends don't justify the means, but to get a better sense for why the CRA was a dumb law (perhaps similar to more recent ideas about hate crimes legislation) is that in spite of this law, discrimination has not been vanquished from our soil, not in the least. What has happened instead, is that we now pit smaller, specialized groups of people against one another and force them upon each other. It's just silly at best and dangerous and harmful at worst.

It's just difficult for people to admit that the government's moral compass is totally random and governed by political whim. No-fault divorce is far worse for our society than is racism, yet the government fully supports that. Gotta be careful about backing the federal government, even in matters you think you agree with.

I agree with you that Paul didn't look great during the interview. This was for at least two reasons, one, this whole CRA thing was mostly an ambush, and two, he may not have the strongest grasp on why the CRA was a bad piece of legislation (hint: it can't all be about property rights).

"i'm worried about paul as he seemed determined to have an academic, political theory discussion (even if interesting and important), but the questions asked were not academic (at least at the end), but real world, politically relevant, and he didn't seem able to mix the two."

Not sure what you're saying, because they were precisely theoretical and academic. The CRA of 1964 is not up for debate or repeal now, so how could it have been anything else?

Not saying that's a bad thing, just seems to contradict what you said about him getting to talk about what the role of the government is.

Maddow can be forgiven because she was honest and representative in her shallowness and maintained her civility. She kept harping at the end that this was a real world, practical debate but seemed oblivious that nothing real was at stake, except in the fantastic imaginations that drive liberal ideology (usually, away from reality). She just wanted to put RP in the extremist box, it would have made her feel better.

Liberals are so predictable.

Ryan said...

Coov, no one can accuse Maddow of being a shoddy journalist because that would be a wasted word.

I am grateful you did not drink and post. It is bad enough when we (I'll speak for myself) try to express ourselves dead sober.

But your confusion over the issue in reference to the smelly, racist, religousist, peeing people is actually the only honest and consistent reaction to this situation. It really is not consistent!

Anyone who's ever walked into a bar where they could instantly tell they weren't welcomed should have no problem walking right back out and just leaving it at that. How that is a matter of "human rights" , or even "property rights", is beyond me. Just be life. And the gubment don't own life.

kevin said...

the best way to respond is my patented red text reply to your text, but i am limited here unforch.

"So, you basically think the federal government should be able to make laws that define who we are as a people while not letting us be people?"
Your paraphrases/conclusions are hilarious sometimes. You generalize my point to level where it seems ridiculous. I think the Feds had the right to enforce the CRA, even though in general, I want the free market to prevail. That's it. Not confusing, and definitely not to be confused with letting the government define who we are as a people...

But to your larger point, the government has outlawed murder, and the urge to murder is a natural, human impulse, and I'm fine with that law.

CRA was a dumb law? I guess I'm surprised to hear that. The fact that a huge portion of our country's culture condoned segregation, Jim Crow laws, 'no black allowed', etc, is pretty horrible, and no response from the Federal government would have been even worse. 50 years later, the Church is still getting ripped for its inaction against the Germans. You gotta do what can do.

You say: 'in spite of this law, discrimination has not been vanquished from our soil, not in the least.'
I think that's untrue, and that our country has taken enormous leaps forward in the last 50 years in race relations, despite the fact that it's obviously not all gone today.

"the government's moral compass is totally random and governed by political whim."
It's random to think we needed to get rid of the Jim Crow laws? To think those were wrong was not a whim and not random.

"No-fault divorce is far worse for our society than is racism"
I disagree. When a quarter million people march on Washington trying to overturn the divorce law, I will agree with you.

"The CRA of 1964 is not up for debate or repeal now"
I agree, but Paul is also not a Senator now either, so it's a legitimate concern that if elected, he may attempt to overturn if he were so inclined. (He's not, but he had to say that the next day).

Coovo said...

Lets get a few things ironed out here. One, I was extermely hammered when I wrote both my first and second entries. Second. I was also drunk when I watched the interview. The only reason I posted at all was because i had this huge commment written because I misread the first paragraph and thought you were using the KKK as someone who was having their rights taken away.

Because of this I am going to watch the interview and then get back to your comment. I don't understand the middle part of your comment though. Am I consistent or not?

G. Smith said...

I have to echo both Kevin and Coovo's point, that the civil rights act was a good idea.

Ryan, I may just be out of the loop, but I'm interested to hear why you think the civil rights act was a bad idea. All ten chapters, or just the one that deals with private business? Should government be able to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin? What would have been a better result of the civil rights movement? Was that movement a political whim? What social movements in our country's history would you not consider a political whim?

It seems to me that Paul is playing the libertarian ideologue here, and it's making him sound silly, and racist. I don't think he's necessarily a racist, but his ideas are. They would lead to a country in which racism is normal and tolerated and where those who have the social power and economic clout are able to rig the game in their favor. Sort of like the America before the Civil Rights Act.

I would bet that the CRA has very wide approval across the country, so it seems reasonable that Maddow, as a journalist, would make an effort to clarify his position on the legislation. It's not purely academic because institutional racism continues today, and he's running for the Senate - they make laws, often on matters that affect people of color.

He should have answered the question and then tried to defend himself through the libertarian lens. As is, he hemmed and hawed because he was afraid of being called a racist - and ended up sounding like one anyway.

He seems to think private businesses should be able to for decide themselves who they wish to include, or exclude. And that even though he really doesn't think that anyone should exclude people on the basis of race or gender or anything, if they do, there's nothing that we as a society should do about it."

But we've been down this road before. The minute police forcibly remove someone who is refusing to abide by a "whites only" rule (or "blacks only" for that matter, the CRA does not discriminate), that private policy becomes public policy. Our public dollars are then spent maintaining a clearly racist policy. It sounded like Paul would even say that's not what he would want.

"Anyone who's ever walked into a bar where they could instantly tell they weren't welcomed should have no problem walking right back out and just leaving it at that."

If every bar you walk into treats you like that, it's tough to just walk away. Again, I think we've been down this road before, and it led to the civil rights act.

G. Smith said...

"No-fault divorce is far worse for our society than is racism"

That sounds like something the pope would say.

Gene said...

stupid Pope.

Ryan said...

Coovo, I just thought in your honest drunkeness that you were showing how difficult it is to draw a line in the sand as to what we should be able to do in our lives, even imperfectly, and what the federal government should make us do.

Nothing is more intolerant than today's demand for tolerance.

Rather than plucking each little argument out of this scraggly eyebrow of a debate, let me just say that even laws that are far more important, like murder laws, are still handled at the local level without federal intervention. It's not a federal crime to commit murder, but it is a federal crime to discriminate. Am I really the one trying to defend my position on this one? The counter position seems so strange, but then again that generation bore strange fruit.

And a word to the wise and to a friend, it is a dark and destructive road to take when sarcastically and shallowly criticizing a tradition and people whose wisdom and civilization goes back far beyond our own lives and is rooted in Creation itself rather than just fleeting social movements.

I hope everyone had good weekends.

Coovo said...

Thanks Ryan. My weekend was okay.

I think this is another example when arguing through the comment forum leads to misinterpretation and confusion. If we were all at a bar, one we all felt comfortable at of course, I think it would be able to get a the core of the discussion.

In simple terms Ryan, you don't believe the Federal government has the right to tell private entities what to do. Whether its smoking or hiring or whatever? Right?

It is a fine line with what any government, fed state or local, can levy against private buisness. I wasn't referring to it, but you're right and I believe it is there. I was referring to more my support of our country to rid itself of discrimination. It's sad that our country had to draft legislation to
bar discrimination, but because racism and sexism was truly preventing this from becoming the land of the free, I think something needed to be done.

Ryan I think your bar comment is correct, but what about restaurants, supermarkets and other private companies (question: is a public traded company still considered private in that it is not state owned?) What if wal-mart (today's modern woolworth) came out and said it was going to have separate shopping areas for blacks and whites. I don't want to live in a country where that can happen.

I'm guessing your cryptic last paragraph is aimed at G's comment. I didn't think G's comment was shallow (nor was maddow) and I'm surprised you took so much offense to it. The problem to me is marriage itself. I think of it as a religious sacrament or rite that in my mind has no place government. I'm not sure why you think no-fault divorce is the problem, but I would argue that its not, marriage is.

Coovo said...

Oh and your last paragraph, not the one about the weekends, definitely sounded like something the Pope would say. Except he's not friends with G. Or is he?

Ryan said...

Coov, in simple terms, that is what a Libertarian thinks, and I'm not a Libertarian. I think there are times where intervention of some level of government is necessary to prevent tyranny and maniacs from destroying things. FOr example, I would love it if the government would intervene on itself and stop its steady march deeper into our lives while also shirking its duties at our borders.

My problem is that I don't believe in the strange concept of "social justice". You mention Wal-Mart discriminating and say you don't want to live in a country that allows that. Well, do you really mean that? Would you move to Canada? Or would you be content to simply not shop at Wal-Mart? That all-or-nothing approach to politics and governance is part of what is destroying our country. For example, Wal-Mart does plenty of destructive things to areas surrounding its many locations in accordance with and supported by the law. That doesn't make it right either.

It is a sham to think that modern Americans have somehow devised a way to get rid of discrimination with one fell swoop. Discrimination doesn't just exist in our country, it exists in every country. It's part of our human condition, whether we like it or not. Making a federal law against it is not just a complete waste of time, but it has set the stage for further division and malfeasance in our country, like hate crime legislation, pushes for reparations, further splintering our nation along multicultural lines (nation-wide rather than just some places in the South), forced busing and desegregation, forced quotas.

I mean, these things are all so damaging and are being funded by federal taxpayer dollars. The example by G doesn't hold, since police forces are funded locally, and only local residents would be sponsoring the enforcement of discrimination in their own localities. When those people, in those places, decided enough was enough, they would change the laws. It is a self-aggrandizing position that a person in liberated Minneapolis is particularly responsible for a person in segregated Mobile.

I grew up in a relatively segregated neighborhood. THere were lines, usually by streets, where the white neighborhood ended and the black one began. It caused no problems. For the most part we all got along, played ball together, etc. Imagine if some liberal activist declared this unequal and passed a federal law saying we had to mix our neighborhoods over night. Is that justice? Equality by fiat?

As for G's comment, it was entirely snide and based on ignorance. Anything that attacks the family structure, undermines it completely, is extremely damaging to our country's culture. Perhaps only abortion has hurt our nation more than no fault divorce. Discrimination falls fairly low on that list somewhere.

Coov, let me gently say that marriage is most certainly not the problem. Marriage has been around for a very long time and has shown itself to be the best way to rear children and help cultivate people. To the extent that marriage in America is crumbling, you are correct, and the point you make that it is a religious, not a state, institution is of course accurate and a point of departure and destruction for many in our culture.

And it's not just that I'm tired of hollow snipes at the Church and Her leaders, it's that I'm tired that so many Catholics don't know what they believe or don't have the constitution to defend it.

Marty said...

bananas suck...wait...wrong post??

G. Smith said...

Thanks for the reasoned response, Ryan. I see where you're coming from.

If you don't believe in social justice, then social justice legislation like the civil rights act will not look very helpful. I heard Glen Beck take on social justice recently - is that where you're coming from?

I think it all comes down to what kind of a country do we want to live in. I think in the 50s and 60s a large and powerful body of people from across the country galvanized around the opinion that rampant institutional discrimination based on race, gender, national origin and religion was inconsistent with what they felt America represented. Led by people of faith, this movement shifted the public dialog to realize that this discrimination was also immoral.

I'm with Coovo and MLK, I would not like an America that accepted and supported enclaves of racist, sexist, or xenophobic communities or states. I’d organize against it, and try to get everyone I knew to do the same. This isn't to say these sentiments don't exist, and may even be the majority sentiment in any particular community, but protections like the CRA are a step in trying to keep these sentiments from becoming law at any public level. In some places it is certainly a big brother move, but one based on our own history, knowledge of human nature, and vision of what America stands for.

I don't think I buy the "we're all one big happy segregated family" story of St. Louis. I’m not convinced people on the other side of the racial lines would always agree either. Also, to me, segregation begs the question of why the racial lines are so often the economic lines. Is it because black people aren't as good at business, or somehow are inherently different than white people? Or are there broader, more structural, historical issue at play? What about to a kid living on It sounds like think the libertarian may argue - "who cares? just let me and my community do what we want with our blacks."

It's not surprising that libertarians are often accused of being racist, even if, like Rand Paul, they say over and over how much they hate racism.

Until the lines of race do not overlap with the lines of economic opportunity, I will not be satisfied that America is living up to its promise of opportunity.

I disagree that the CRA has led to more divisions among people. At the very least it leads to more exposure between races, which, if we’re going for no more racism, can be a very good thing – there’s a great story out of South Africa that is close to relevant here:

As for my comment about the pope; it comes from irreverence, not ignorance. If ever interested, I have direct praise and criticism of the catholic church, and the pope in particular. But that's another topic. Ryan, your reverence of the catholic church and it's teachings go a long way in explaining why you think the destruction of marriage is "worse" than racism. I'm not even sure how helpful it is to rank societies problems. Regardless, I just disagree, and I stand by my claim that it is indeed something the pope would say (and, anyway, it was Geno who called him stupid - he's the bad catholic! Why do I have to say the hail marys?).

Also, despite my habit of stepping into fiery waters here on TLATL, I usually enjoy the discussion. But, it's disappointing to me when people pull out the god card. To me, it has all the effect of "because I told you so." I hope this doesn't mean there can't be reasoned discussion about faith, catholics, or christianity here.

Coovo, I actually think the pope and I would get along great. I'd have some big questions to ask him.

G. Smith said...

oops - there's an extra hypothetical random clause in my last response - ignore it..

Gene said...

Wow! This conversation has clearly taken a turn. For my involvement, let me explain: I am like many others in that there are times when I overuse a joke, even a bad joke, well past its "expiration date." One can go back over the months and years here on TLATL to see a pattern of mine to call anything and everything stupid. I know, it's really not that funny.

I thought my name calling of the Pope would be so ludicrous that no one would take me seriously. I continue to hope this, with my presumption that Ryan's frustration "that so many Catholics don't know what they believe or don't have the constitution to defend it" has nothing to do with me and my comment. If it doesn't have anything to do with me, however, it does beg the question why he brings his frustration up in this setting.

I will stay out of the original argument for now, but enjoy reading along.

Stupid Gene

Ryan said...

Geno, I understood your comment due to a long and happy history with your sense of humor. My comments were directed at G's, who took an attempt at a then serious and respectful discussion and spat on it.

I should be less surprised and offended by G's comments, which continue down a nasty path.

The problem with social justice is that it is often synonymous with socialism. Catholics, for example, believe in some form of limited social justice in the sense of paying people a decent wage and being neighborly and upholding a duty towards family, etc.

But that is not what socialists want. Socialists want the duty of individuals to be expanded to include the whole world, or in this case, we are temporarily talking about the whole nation (until it expands to the whole world).

You are just as responsible for the economic status of some starving kid in Namibia as you are for the economic status of your own kid. You are just as responsible for the racial relations in parts of the South that you've never even been to and don't understand as you are for the way you treat the many real people in your daily life.

It is not enough that Gene treats his patients with equal respect, he is not allowed to tolerate a country where discrimination exists in any form!

These sorts of insane principles lead the socialist into the tantrums that often guide federal policy. The same spoiled thinking often guides our foreign policy. Why are we still occupying the Middle East? It doesn't take long for some irate feminist to come on TV and explain that there are women in Afghanistan who aren't allowed to go to school!

But for as offensive as those things may be, the reality of any solution eventually must come into play based on the fact we're still just people, not abstract ideas. Socialists -- ultimately forced to realize that their control is very naturally limited to their merely human abilities at reason and wealth -- tend to try to suck others into their mess. The feminist on TV ultimately is saying, "I want you to send your sons over there to fight for my ideas of how life should be for those people." All or nothing. Whatever the cost. Whatever the side effects.

Ryan said...

This is essentially what G is saying about CRA. He cleverly invents straw men to bash in order to try to score points in a scattered way, but he has neither challenged nor defended anything of substance.

His rant about a happy segregated St. Louis is a great example. It is unclear where this comes from, since he is the first to make a statement about it. Is he referring to my comments about my neighborhood? This would be in fitting with the socialist tradition, to assume to know more about the neighborhood I grew up in than I do. Or maybe he is making a general statement on his own about segregation in STL? In which case, I think it's incredible that anyone could know so much about all the people in STL.

In either case, it is not long before the contradictions start to reveal the inversion of historically tested values and principles. In the limited black sub-cultures I have worked in in STL and been exposed to through various experiences, the main source of problems those poor people have had were not financial but moral. Not to say poverty doesn't suck, but poor boys have been learning how to become porro men since the beginning of time without destroying their communities in the process.

So discrimination holds a young man down but that lack of a father is no biggie. (When faced with obvious truths, all a sudden, let's not rank anything, let's stick to fantasies and ideas from recent books.)

But then again, what can be expected from a thought process that would show more respect to MLK than the Pope? From someone who dishonestly claims to want a discussion on "christianity" or an audience with the Pope yet can't bear to capitalize God.

G, I would disagree with many of the things Jews believe, for example, but I wouldn't take their religious leaders lightly. Time to buck up, buddy, or back out.

Or perhaps socialists just become lazy typers. Maybe we should pass a federal law against bad typing. Actually, I take responsibility for everyone's bad typing.

Ryan said...

Actually, this might be a good point to insert a quote I read recently that I think might be as fitting as it is poignant.

"Finally my summary. I scratched this piece out not in order to attack either of the Pauls, whom I wish well in their efforts and for whom I would probably vote, if given the opportunity. In titling the piece “Unprincipled hero” as opposed to unprincipled scoundrel, I meant to suggest, most obviously, that political leaders without a coherent point of view would find themselves in trouble and end up betraying the causes they represented, but also that a free man should beware of lionizing his “leaders.” Some of the Pauls’ defenders have said things so manifestly foolish and false that one can only believe that they have sunk into hero-worship. But reverence for politicians is exactly what they, on their own principles, should be rejecting. See how quickly belief in limited government is replaced by worship of the leaders who claim to be working for limited government. If you really wish to restore the republic as you say you do, then give up this worship of Goldwater, Reagan, Buchanan, the ridiculous Palin, the Pauls or whoever comes along to claim your loyalty and your money.

There is a very evil energy in this country that centralizes authority and diverts our attention from our own lives and communities to the national and international level of celebrity. People who will not attend a local talent show at their kids’ school will follow eagerly the contests on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. People who will not bring soup to an old lady, will send money to a telethon filled with rock stars who want to save the unfortunate victims of–well, you fill in the blanks. And, people who might be working in their neighborhoods and towns, where they can actually make a difference, instead are sending money to Rand Paul or talking about him as if he were the Messaiah sent by the Father. Stay home and pick up trash from the street, turn off the TV and practice the piano or read a book or play Scrabble with your wife and kids, stay away from wicked people who wish you and everyone else ill but do not waste your energy and moral credibility by denouncing them; throw away your teabags and pictures of dead babies and cultivate your own garden, your life, your friendships. Heed the words of one of America’s greatest poets: “Why don’t you mind your business, cause if you’d mind your own business, you won’t be minding mine.""

- from Thomas Fleming

G. Smith said...

I thought this was a post about the civil rights act, and what justification one would have to not support it. How did we slide into the abstract slippery slope to socialism? I suppose I brought up libertarians abstractly, but that was because we were talking about Rand Paul, who is a libertarian.

Ryan - in one swoop you lumped social justice in with socialism in with me. And then you started the name calling - that's a classic Glen Beck move, was that on purpose?

I got your point about the CRA and why you question it's usefulness. I disagreed, laid out my arguments why, and was hoping for a more reasoned response than name calling.

I love STL. (BTW - has anyone been following the urban art of Pete Wollaegher - STL is a relatively segregated city. I'm not pulling this out of thin air - I grew up there too, and Ryan, you yourself said that your neighborhood was relatively segregated.

So, the black folks you know in poverty in STL are there because of a lack of morals? Sounds great - never mind then - I guess that there are no problems with race or racism in STL.

"poor boys have been learning how to become porro men since the beginning of time without destroying their communities in the process."

This is called systemic poverty. I think it's a problem. Of course family structure plays a large role. Of course parents should take responsibility for their kids. But, if we're serious about combating systemic poverty, we need to do more than blame the victim.

"My comments were directed at G's, who took an attempt at a then serious and respectful discussion and spat on it."

Ryan, I'm honestly shocked at how thin skinned you are about this. I have to assume it was my papal comment that was the "spitting," which, I don't think was at all offensive. It was a wholly accurate statement that you reaffirmed. I've had far more frank discussions about the pope, the church, and their failings with catholic priests that didn't upset so many feathers. Buck up indeed.

Or is it just the capitalization?

I also think you understate the work that Catholics do on behalf of Social Justice. Many of the Catholics I know "live their faith through charitable works, serving those in need with material assistance, spiritual enrichment and unconditional love." I also know a lot of Catholics working tirelessly for a path to Citizenship for all the Undocumented folks already here, and I know a ton of Catholics campaigning against the Death Penalty - using a Race frame.

"what can be expected from a thought process that would show more respect to MLK than the Pope?"

I'll put my hero up against your hero any day. That would be a great South Park episode.

I enjoyed your final quote from Thomas Flemming - I read it from a community meeting on school closings in my small town. I'm a fan of acting locally and thinking globally.

G. Smith said...

Oh, also, unless there's someone else that weighs in, that'll be my last comment on this one.

Roller said...

Look for TLATL T-Shirts coming soon!

"I'm with Coovo and MLK"
"Varsity Porn Squad"
"Stupid Gene"

Ryan said...

Well, it appears G has made his decision to back out. Fair enough.

To be clear on why socialism is a relevant part of this discussion, when socialism spread all over Europe -- paving the way for the massive destruction through genocide, tyranny, and WWII -- and then invaded the U.S. as well, the three main goals of this activist system were to undermine:

the family
private property

In a very Libertarian sense, we should always be wary of any federal initiative. But for people who recognize that the Libertarian view falls short by basing almost everything on personal property and/or the individual good, there is the recognition that most of us truly like and cherish our families, our religions and our private property, and that any attempt to undermine these things should be prevented.

The CRA of 1964 had a great intention that I think everyone here agrees with. However, it was a fallacy from the start, since the human heart is not infinite nor equal nor universally scalable, but rather it is by nature biased towards what we hold dear. Federal laws cannot change these things, perhaps not even local laws can, they can only incrementally destroy our ability to take care of what we can and should take care of.

The great acts of charity and compassion to people outside of our own areas of concern needs to be a voluntary act for it to have any meaning whatsoever, for either party. Christianity has proven this for 2000 years, and was built on thousands of previous years of pagan culture that had similar cultural tendencies. (National) Socialism has proven its effects as well for almost as long, but especially over the past 70 years. There are also, of course, many misguided Catholic Socialists who have made up their own tango by misrepresenting mainstream, traditional Catholicism. But that is a truly confusing area.

Ryan said...

Roller, I'll take one of those t-shirts.

Surprise me.

Roller said...

So I just swallowed the post and all the comments in the last 30 minutes or so. Ryan, I give you credit, you can draw a crowd!

The path this discussion has taken can only be summed up by a Shannonism, "Well, folks, this game began as a tiny worm and is blossoming into a large cobra!" I'm not sure that trying to dive in right now would add anything to the discussion, but there was one thought nagging in the back of my mind while reading the comments.

If laws regarding discrimination were left to local legislation, I feel the South would use that to essentially legalize racism.

Ryan said...

Well, that's one of the issues at the center of the debate, isn't it?

I suppose it's necessary to distinguish between "racism" and "discrimination", the former being a condition of the heart, the latter being a function of action.

Both have negative connotations, but they don't have to. I gotta run, but if you're interested in this, define what you are worried about the South doing and we'll go from there.

Roller said...

Yes, I realized after posting the comment that I should have used "discrimination" where I used "racism".

I'll try to lay out my argument:

I believe that in the South, in the middle of the 20th century, there was a lot of discrimination based on race. Whites had most of the economic and political power, and used it to maintain the status quo.

If legislation regarding civil rights were local, what incentive would those in power have to change things? Besides the financial incentives afforded to them by maintaining the status quo, there were deep-seeded beliefs about racial superiority. I don't see how things would have changed without federal legislation.

Ryan said...

I've been trying to figure out a good way to approach this idea, since it's easy to run off in any direction.

First off, I find it fascinating that baseball broke down the color barrier about 10 years earlier, and without a overhead law. They had to wait for the right time, the right man (JR) and the right opportunity to do it in a privatized way. That certainly didn't integrate clubhouses, as racial lines (at least in baseball) still starkly exist today.

Second, although probably all the things you say about the South are mostly true (we should all try to guard against over-simplifying or vilifying any people we don't know much about though), it begs the question, isn't it still true?

This is not to say we should use the ends to justify the means, but it is worth noting the approach matters. The world, our nation, our own state, are all full of discrimination and racism.

I don't think it's about incentivizing anyone. Also, by keeping things at a more local level, it's not that I think magically rainbows will fill the sky in Selma, it's that when the locals there get a sense for enough is enough, they will overwhelm whatever stubborn minority is holding out. Or, they would have recognized that segregation happened naturally, without laws, and there's no need for a law change.

Although there is still segregation in many places (North and South), I do wonder how long it would have taken, for example, for public universities to have officially desegged.

Finally, segregation can happen for mutual benefit, not just because of hatred. Two groups who don't get along but live together usually find a balance. India has a complex caste system not mired in race or hate but that has suited them well for maybe thousands of years.

Pretty much all we've gotten from the 60's are more attempts at forced quota systems/aa and superficial attempts at voluntary diversity by institutions.

And ultimately, these types of race-based or "protect the poor minority"-based, grand sweeping laws serve to sooth the consciences of people who tend to live far away from the actual problems. It gives social voyeurs the chance to claim success, that they've done something positive, when there's no way to tell if that's even true.

If the CRA of 1964 hadn't passed, I'm betting the South and the rest of the country would look about the same.

Ryan said...

"Or, they would have recognized that segregation happened naturally, without laws, and there's no need for a law change."

Don't usually change stuff, but I wrote the opposite of what I meant. Should have said they would have recognized that integration happened naturally, without laws...