While people are out in droves screaming that small-government conservativism is racist, David Kramer notes what could be called racist if not for the fact that the only thing that seems to matter in today’s society is intent. “I intend to help blacks, so who cares if I destroy their family life, livelihood, or lives!” Right?
Since the Establishment media is running a smear campaign against Ron Paul by implying that he is a racist, I would like to point out who the real racists are in the United States: White liberals.
Here are some of the wonderful things that White liberals have thought it necessary to give to Black people in the United States in order to help them out after centuries of slavery and discrimination:
Welfare (Why should poor Black people have a sense of self-esteem when they can have miserable lives being dependent on “superior,” condescending white liberals taking care of them like they are children? While it’s true that many poor White people are on welfare too, White liberals make sure that anyone who talks about ending welfare “in general” is really a code for being a “racist act against Black people.”);
Anti-Discrimination Laws (The government owns everyone’s minds and bodies—except, of course, for abortion—and tells everyone what to think and who everyone can associate and contract with. While it’s true that Black people can no longer be fired or not hired by somebody else’s private property firm because they are Black, it is also true that now the government can tell Black people what they can and cannot do with their private property either.);
The War on Drugs (Hey, something has to keep the crime rate up in poor Black communities so that they can kill each other off. Of course, White conservatives have a hand in this too.);
Gun Control (We wouldn’t want those poor Black people—especially Black women—in Black ghettos protecting themselves with an inexpensive Smith & Wesson .38 caliber airweight Centennial. It’s important for poor Black people to wait for those “loving,” predominately white city government cops—who we all know how “welcomed” they are by poor Black people—especially 18–35-year old Black males—when they show up in Harlem to protect them);
And last, but not least:
Government Interference in the Market (Interference that not only hurts poor Black people, but everyone else as well.)
MLK may have been great in many ways (and flawed in others, like his marital fidelity or economics), but I think that Malcolm X understood the black plight better. X maintained that for blacks to rise, they need to throw off government “aid” and move up economically with the use of the market. Money talks, and what money from the government is saying is “Depend on us, and we will keep your dignity in our office.” X is one that we should still be listening to, because he was right (Plus, we share a birthday, he and I.):
From time immemorial—from Etienne de la Boitie to David Hume to Ludwig von Mises—political analysts have noted that because the number of those in the ruling elite amounts to only a small fraction of the number in the ruled masses, every regime lives or dies in accordance with “public opinion.” Unless the mass of the people, no matter how objectively abused and plundered they may appear to be, believe that the existing rulers are legitimate, the masses will not tolerate the regime’s continuation in power. Nor need they tolerate it, because they greatly outnumber the rulers, and hence whenever they become subjectively fed up, they have the power—which is to say, the overwhelming advantage of superior numbers—to oust the regime. Even if the regime possesses a great advantage of coercive power, its employment avails the rulers nothing if they must kill or imprison 90 percent of the population, because such massive violence would reduce them to the status of parasites without hosts.
This consideration long seemed to make sense as a critical element of political analysis, and even today one often encounters it. Something akin to it seems to motivate the current Occupy Wall Street movement and its spin-offs in other venues when they represent themselves as members of the (exploited) 99 percent, in opposition to the (exploiting) 1 percent.
Certain long-established trends in the welfare state, however, have progressively weakened the force of this analysis. The main element of these trends is the tremendous growth in the number of people (and in their proportion in the population) who are directly dependent on government benefits to a substantial degree. Researchers at the Heritage Foundation have been tracking this development for several years and have pushed their analysis back for several decades. An index of dependency based on this research increases from 19 in fiscal year 1962 to 272 in fiscal year 2009.
The Heritage index uses information on almost three dozen important federal programs on which Americans depend for cash income and other support—including housing assistance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance benefits, educational benefits, and farm-income supports—but it is scarcely a comprehensive measure, inasmuch as the total number of federal programs with dependents is gigantic at present. Of course, each such program has government employees and contractors who run it and hence depend on it to earn much, if not all, of their income. Government civilian and military retirees add millions more to the ranks.
The Heritage researchers found that in 1962, 21.7 million persons depended on the programs they included in their index for benefits. By 2009, the corresponding number of dependents had grown to 64.3 million. Adding dependents not included in the Heritage study might easily increase the number to more than 100 million, or to more than a third of the entire population. Thus, the parasites verge ever closer to outnumbering their hosts.
It would be a mistake, of course, to lump all of these dependents into the ruling (exploiting) class. The elderly recipients of old-age pensions, the recipients of unemployment insurance benefits, and the beneficiaries of temporary assistance for needy families are, as a rule, as far from the ruling class as one can get. However, to the extent that those who depend on government programs for substantial parts of their income enter the calculus of ruling and being ruled, they are likely to become, in effect, cyphers. They have approximately zero influence on the real rulers, yet they exert virtually no weight in opposition to those rulers, either. Fear of losing their government benefits effectively neutralizes them in regard to opposing the regime on whose seeming beneficence they rely for significant elements of their real income. Of course, for whatever voting may be worth, they vote directly or indirectly in overwhelming proportion for the continuation and budgetary enlargement of the government programs on which they depend. Hence, they help to produce seeming legitimacy for those at the top of the ruling hierarchy—a token of their appreciation for the crumbs their political masters drop on them.
As the ranks of those dependent on the welfare state continue to grow, the need for the rulers to pay attention to the ruled population diminishes. The masters know full well that the sheep will not bolt the enclosure in which the shepherds are making it possible for them to survive. Every person who becomes dependent on the state simultaneously becomes one less person who might act in some way to oppose the existing regime. Thus have modern governments gone greatly beyond the bread and circuses with which the Roman Caesars purchased the common people’s allegiance. In these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the only changes that occur in the makeup of the ruling elite resemble a shuffling of the occupants in the first-class cabins of a luxury liner. Never mind that this liner is the economic and moral equivalent of the Titanic and that its ultimate fate is no more propitious than was that of the “unsinkable” ship that went to the bottom a century ago.
That isn’t, of course, to say that the “small government conservativism” of mainstream Republicanism has no racist undertones. This is especially true of the million-plus brown Iraqi people killed at the hands of U.S. forces and U.N. sanctions for oil, including 500,000 or so children. If it happened in Europe, what then? Ugh. May God have mercy on me for every dollar I have given to the machinery of state that perpetuates war for naught but misery and greed…
On a related note, as those with a conservative economic outlook have understood for years, charity will not survive if government takes it over. Not only does government charity rob men of personal responsibility for each other, it destroys the moral good of the money given, as well as being a theft in the first place from those that are taken from to finance the “charity.” Government can only temporarily help the poor, while destroying morality for a lasting period of time…