Monday, March 16, 2009

Why The GOP Can't Win With Minorities

by Shelby Steele - March 16, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

Today conservatism is stigmatized in our culture as an antiminority political philosophy. In certain quarters, conservatism is simply racism by another name. And minorities who openly identify themselves as conservatives are still novelties, fish out of water.

Yet there is now the feeling that without an appeal to minorities, conservatism is at risk of marginalization. The recent election revealed a Republican Party -- largely white, male and Southern -- seemingly on its way to becoming a "regional" party. Still, an appeal targeted just at minorities -- reeking as it surely would of identity politics -- is anathema to most conservatives. Can't it be assumed, they would argue, that support of classic principles -- individual freedom and equality under the law -- constitutes support of minorities?

Mr. Steele goes on to explain why white guilt is justified and must be dealt with. He continuously cloaks his assumption in the argument that because some in America felt we lost moral authority, the grievances are justified to them. He bases this on the assumption that everyone who loves America is guilty of the actions of a white minority from hundreds of years ago because they got their way for a while and slavery remained legal as a result. They even extend that guilt to a claim we are guilty for actions of whites that took place outside our borders and hundreds of years before our nation came in to being. Meanwhile their position ignores moral actions by the white majority that ultimately ended slavery in our nation. The only actions which can be looked at are actions for which we must be guilty, according to the white guilt proponents.

A little historical reminder. The majority of nations in the world practiced slavery at the time it was practiced here in America. Does anyone think that the blacks in every other nation in Central and South America came here as free immigrants? However even in those days, there was a moral outrage against it here in America. There was not a majority consensus in favor of slavery. The unity needed to assure the United States did not have British colonies and armed forces both to our North and to our South, meant that the newly forming nation accepted slave states as a compromise. The slave states had within their individual borders a majority backing slavery, but not within the nation. Even within the slave states it was not universal and a significant minority opposed it. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but did not think it was moral. It was legal, and so he accepted it, but he did not think it was moral. This is well documented as was the opposition of other founding fathers (see article here). He was not alone among Southerners ready to end the institution at the time our nation was formed.

More than half our nation opposed slavery and supported the abolition movement. When it was clear that opposition was growing and slavery was ultimately going to be abolished here in America, the slave states pulled out to maintain their evil institution. Who can forget the prescient observation of Abraham Lincoln that America "cannot endure premanently half slave and half free" in his great "house divided" speech. the concluding sentence in that speech is what the slavers feared. Lincoln correctly said "Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay, but sooner or later the victory is sure to come." Our nation fought a Civil War for unity, because Abraham Lincoln and his supporters in the Republican Party believed that the minority of United States citizens who were in those states should not be denied our freedom. The promise of freedom inherent in our unique form of government was considered more important than the lives of our citizens. Hundreds of thousands of white Americans died to end slavery so that unity could be restored.

Nothing of this is included in Steele's arguments. Honkey hating blacks never admit that any of this is true. To them whites are evil. To them, no white has ever stood up to end slavery. Period. End of discussion. Their next thought is now let's talk about why blacks deserve to take everything that any honkey owns. That is justice to most blacks today. Unfortunately a great number of whites have bought in to this attack whose sole intention is to create white guilt.

For thousands of years, ethnic grievance has been the driving force in wars. The idea that all whites will accept this concept of white guilt for actions by a minority of whites from hundreds of years ago is ridiculous. When you combine this demand for white guilt with a demand for socialism, the political alignment currently ruling our nation, you are asking for a new form of slavery. Socialism is slavery and has been resisted wherever it has been attempted. It represents a repudiation of "freedom" and individual liberty on which our nation was founded.

I do not believe it is possible to ever persuade most blacks alive today that their demands are immoral. The self righteous belief that ALL whites owe ALL blacks is too intertwined in black culture. Even most blacks among those who usually support conservatism are not immune to the self interest it justifies. The overwhelming majority of black Republicans abandoned the Republican party and voted for Barack Obama. They chose "black" over "freedom". With that example in mind, who seriously believes that the Republican Party can stay a party of freedom if it abandons its principles?

I believe that Steele is right, even if it is for reasons he did not express. Conservatives will not feel this illusory "innocence" by abandoning our belief in individual liberty. Conservatives are wasting their time in reaching out to blacks when we have to embrace socialism to satisfy their demands.


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