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The Expansionist
Friday, May 02, 2014
 
Silent Revenge of the Majority?
Long post, some 3,800 words.

Tuesday, April 29th was a sad and alarming day for Americans who believe in freedom of speech and see extreme dangers when minorities contrive to oppress the majority. A man who made a few trivial remarks about blacks has been punished with a $2.5 million fine and an attempt to take away his property rights. Will there be hell to pay in November? Perhaps I should rephrase that as either "Won't there be hell to pay in November?" or simply "There will be hell to pay in November."
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Let us examine very briefly what Donald Sterling did and did not say that caused the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association to attack him so viciously. Sterling did NOT call anyone a "nigger". No, the only people who nowadays publicly throw around a version of that word are blacks themselves. Nor did Sterling devalue, much less deny black people's humanity.
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Nor did he issue any public remarks on this topic. His remarks were to his girlfriend, not to the media. Someone in media, I forget who, said, in essence, how would any of us like to have every single thing we say in private released to the media? Donald Sterling is Jewish and extremely rich. Has none of the black players in the NBA ever said anything about the combination of those two things? And if they have, and those anti-Jewish remarks were to come to lite, would the NBA come down like a ton of bricks on him? "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
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(There's an old joke about that, by the way. Jesus was intervening to stop someone from being stoned to death, and tried to bring home how almost anyone can be condemned if everything they do becomes known. So he issued his glorious instruction, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Instantly, a stone comes flying out of the crowd toward the pit, and Jesus says, in great frustration, "Mother, please!")
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What did Sterling DO? He took a failed basketball team and put it in contention for the NBA championship. He hired many, many blacks, at high positions and high salaries. As Sterling himself put it: "I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?" And this is the thanks he gets.
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He also took as girlfriend a woman who is half-BLACK and half-Hispanic. That is very peculiar behavior for an anti-black bigot, is it not?
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Nothing Sterling said has anything to do with the real problems of the black community of the United States. Indeed, nothing any white person has said in years has had anything whatsoever to do with the ever-worsening state of Black America, which is produced not by white people's attitudes nor acts but by BLACK people's attitudes and behaviors risen from self-hatred, self-subversion, and a culture of laxity and, yes, laziness.
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There is a historic block of townhouses in Harlem called "Strivers' Row" that recognizes the nobility of striving, that is, working hard and smart to achieve success against adversity. Where is the striving among ghetto blacks today?
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Black society is too gutless to confront its own problems and to "call a spade a spade": that is, to lay the complete and absolute blame for the destruction of the black family, first, and then, of necessity, black society second and as an inescapable consequence, at the door of a culture of stupidity, laziness, dependency upon drugs and welfare, and disowning personal responsibility for ANYTHING. When 72% of black babies are born out of wedlock; fathers are absent (and even, all too often, unknown; see the odious TV show Maury, in which paternity tests may be run on as many as six different men without finding the father of a black child!); relationships between parents are unstable and tumultuous, even violent; the proportion of all black students who drop out before graduation from high school, thus subverting their lifetime financial and social future is some 9.6% (compared to 5.2% for whites, and 2.1% for "Asian American[s]", but, appallingly, 17.6% for Hispanics, 20.7% for foreign-born students, and 13% for the children of the foreign-born); despite being warned by EVERY responsible adult that drugs can not just ravage their future but also literally kill them, huge numbers of blacks choose a zonked-out present over a successful, responsible future; and on and on thru the litany of black ills, it is insane to talk trivia about what some white billionaire says. What has that got to do with ANYTHING of importance? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
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Whitey is not responsible for homey.
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And whitey cannot save the black community from appalling self-destructiveness. But, then, one of the lessons that almost everyone eventually learns is that only the self can fix the problems that arise from self-hatred. All else is futile. It doesn't matter where self-hatred originates. You can't take it back to the store. And it usually has more than one point of origin. You can't root out where self-hatred came from. At best, you can, by yourself or thru the help of others, reject it, re-evaluate your life in view of your changed attitude, and move on.
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The Oppressed Majority. The Donald Sterling controversy shows, in starkest, black-and-white contrast, the conflicts that have so many white, Christian, heterosexual, and English-speaking Americans feeling actively oppressed, forced into a corner from which they now feel they must fite back to regain their traditional rights and freedoms, or, as is so often heard, take back their country.
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Let us review. Donald Sterling (who was, interestingly, attacked by a man named Silver), said a few hostile and condescending things about black people. That is, under the First Amendment to the Constitution that we are all supposed to be dedicated to, his RIGHT. But free speech has long been under attack in this country, and now applies only to commercial speech — you know, the daily ugliness of extreme, sadistic violence and nearly pornograffic sexual fixation of the Nation's major media. They can hide their degeneracy, which has undermined the general public's sense of decency and morality for some 50 years, behind the holiness of Free Speech. Never mind that images are NOT speech, and are thus NOT protected by the First Amendment, but the appalling images that burn themselves into the brain of people unfortunate enuf to have been lured into viewing them ("you can't unsee") are represented as speech, and thus untouchable according to what we might have thought our most cherished principle, Free Speech. The First Amendment was never intended to cover such things.
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What it was intended to cover is exactly what is now completely unprotected: unpopular political speech and writing, for which people can be hit with crushing, astonishing fines — more than the typical American will ever make in an entire lifetime — and assaults upon property rights. Mind you, GOVERNMENT cannot do such things, but we have a private police state in this country, so the NBA is acting as tho it were a government and inflicting totalitarian oppression on the utterly helpless citizens of its own little fiefdom.
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NO ONE in the Nation's political nor opinion leadership has defended Sterling's right of free speech! And popular opinion is wildly enthusiastic about suppressing Sterling's (supposedly) unpopular opinions (tho there is very good reason to believe that the majority of Americans actually SHARE at least some of Sterling's views, which makes his mistreatment all the more outrageous, for being hypocritical).
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What happened to the spirit of Voltaire and other defenders of free speech? Oh, that's right. Voltaire is a dead French man, not a live American.
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People who are unwilling to stand up for other people's rights are not entitled to rights of their own. How many lynchings might have been prevented if ONE courageous dissenter in the crowd had stood against the mob?
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Let's reverse things for a moment. What if, in the civil-rights era, the owner of an athletic team had been fined $2.5 million for speaking out against segregation?
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The base problem is that the popular wisdom is seldom wise. And the mob is even less reliably sane and sensible than the 'unwashed' considered separately.
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We should have taken Sterling's remarks as an opportunity to discuss what people in this country actually feel about blacks and the disgrace that all too many of them bring upon themselves in their contemptible behavior. We have now a chance to examine and criticize behaviors that have brought blacks low. But instead of asking hard questions as to why so many Americans still have extremely hostile and contemptuous views of blacks, we have shown that we don't want to talk about these things. That elephant in the room must never be discussed.
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Why is it that some large immigrant communities make a success of their entire group within a single generation, but blacks, who have been present in (what became) the United States since 1619, are perpetually at the edge of abysmal failure after 13 generations? You must not ask.
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Implicit in the question of why Koreans, Chinese, and Indians/Pakistanis are doing so well, despite not being, or not being regarded as white, is of necessity the equal question of why blacks are doing so badly.
Poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics greatly exceed the national average. In 2010, 27.4 percent of blacks and 26.6 percent of Hispanics were poor, compared to 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12.1 percent of Asians.
There is, fortunately, a black middle class, in which middle-class values and dedication to preparation for success proved instrumental. But the black middle class is not growing. Quite the contrary, it is being eroded by a number of trends that need to be addressed.
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But you are not to ask why some groups are doing well, while others are doing badly. God forbid you might actually discover some unpleasant truths, things that blacks might learn from.
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In refusing to talk about the SUBSTANCE of Mr. Sterling's remarks, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to face hard facts and teach hard lessons. This is the practical justification for free speech: you don't learn from what is not said, but only from what IS said.
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The NBA today does not want people to think. It wants people NOT to think. It does not want a meaningful discussion. It wants to STOP discussions and impose a single opinion upon everyone, even — no, especially — upon the unwilling.
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Let's not mince words: the NBA is a fascist organization that presumes to exercise powers reserved to Government. In the exercise of its duly authorized powers, Government is subject to the restrictions of the relevant constitution, be it Federal, state, or both. The NBA, however, asserts the right to exercise Governmental power without any restrictions by any constitution. That must end. The NBA, homeowners' associations, and every other fascistic private organization in this country should be STOPPED by Government from usurping Governmental powers. All fines, forfeitures, etc., meted out by such private, fascist organizations must be undone by Government intervention. The dictators guilty of these crimes against free citizens must be PUNISHED. NBA Commissioner Silver should be ARRESTED and made to feel the power of Government to crush HIM and all other fascists parading as pseudo-Governments. Subject him to "extraordinary rendition" for a month or two, moving him from one secret Government installation to another, from which he has no way to reach a lawyer, so he experiences what it is to be stripped of his rights by an arbitrary power. Keep him in solitary confinement, in total darkness, all that time, and allow him no interaction with any other human being, even his jailers, in person or via private or public media (no telefone, postal mail, email, Internet; TV, radio — anything). Let him and every other would-be dictator be reminded that the power of actual Government to crush them is irresistible, so they have to STOP trying to be dictators in their own little worlds or we will DESTROY them.
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NO private entity should be allowed to operate in defiance of the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment MUST apply to the NBA, and if the NBA defies the Constitution, it must be legally dissolved, broken up; and rebels against Government should be JAILED, literally FLOGGED, and/or EXECUTED until the notion that private organizations can defy the Constitution is completely driven from everybody's head.
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'Righting' Things. The world is upside down. White people increasingly feel they have no rights in this country anymore, and they are getting ready to get even, in November.
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Before Tuesday, April 29th, I had hoped that a Republican reconquest of the United States Senate was a dopy pipedream of the Radical Right. Now, however, in significant part because of the outrageous mistreatment of Donald Sterling, it seemslikely that the majority will strike back, and it will hurt bad. Because the majority doesn't have to say a thing to accomplish a historic rollback of many, many developments of the past 50 or 60 years! All they have to do is go to the polls, when the minorities stay home, et voilà! The actual power will shift from a demograffic majority that includes minorities, to a political majority that excludes them, and indeed despises them.
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The minorities will have brought this upon themselves, but will of course accept no responsibility for their own defeat. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" has been a maxim in political science since it was first stated by Britain's Lord Acton in 1870. "What goes around, comes around" has been an equally well-understood maxim of life, as expressed in the Hindu concept of karma, going back thousands of years, or in the pop-culture version above (goes around, comes around), which gained widespread acceptance round about 1974.
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"Moderation in all things", the Golden Mean, is an impossible demand of the immoderate and irrational human creature. So we overdo, first on one side, then the other, then on another, and another, and another, so that there is rarely a time when society is in a happy stasis because everybody does justice to everybody else.
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Instead, we are constantly working a balance of power as in the shifting alliances in European political and military affairs in the 18th thru early 20th Centuries. One group/country gets too powerful, and others join together to hem it in and keep it from abusing them. Then the power shifts too far in a different direction, and the alliances shift to hold the next big danger in check. Alas, sometimes a threat of economic or even military war is not always enuf to hold ambitious and aggressive people in check, so actual economic or military war must ensue.
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In the United States today, a hugely diverse Nation at one and the same time both strengthened and ravaged by voluntary and involuntary immigration from myriad sources over the course of centuries, all political alliances are shaky and shiftable. And please, let us stop pretending that "diversity" is an unalloyed good.
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What might Republican control of both Houses of Congress mean in terms of social and fiscal policy? It's fritening to think about, but it could mean regressive economic and tax policies; draconian cuts to social welfare programs, not just Food Stamps, WIC, and Aid to Dependent Children, but even to the once-sacrosanct Social Security and Medicare systems; "right-to-work" laws at the national level to finish off already enfeebled labor unions; abolition of minimum-wage laws; the eradication of all forms of "affirmative action" at the Federal level, as regards legislation, regulations, and hiring and promotion practices of Government agencies; outrite repeal of this country's one grotesquely misconceived attempt to achieve universal healthcare without single-payer simplicity; and laws to punish people who install solar power on their own property (yup, that's part of the agenda of the Rightwing organization "ALEC", the American Legislative Exchange Council. ("In December 2013, The Guardian reported that ALEC seeks to push legislation that would weaken state clean energy regulations and penalize homeowners who install their own solar panels as "freeriders".) That's just for starters.
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How would immigration laws and administrative proceedings be impacted? That depends on whether Tepublicans want to crush the poor, in which case they will open the floodgates to immigration by abysmally poor and desperate Third Worlders; or if Tepublicans want to try to restore the racial profile of prior eras, in which case they will cut off immigration from almost all Third World sources, which might actually benefit U.S.-born blacks and Hispanics, by ending the undercutting of American wage rates by a massive invasion of starving foreigners. Plainly, Tepublicans could sow dissension between Latinos who want to bring in their relatives from Latin America, on the one hand, and American blacks, who want to protect their own jobs and expand opportunity for their own relatives in a better-paid domestic economy on the other.
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How long might Tepublican control of both Houses of Congress last? At least six years, I should think. The breakdown depends in some measure upon the particular Senators, from which states, that are up for election every two years. It also depends upon the outcome of Presidential contests. A strong Democratic Presidential win would likely reduce, but not end, the Tepublican majority in the Senate, thru the "coattails" effect. Conversely, however, if all the energy in American politics should be seen as originating in the Republican-dominated Congress, Democrats might be trounced even in contests for the White House, in which case all three branches of Government (Congress, Presidency, and Supreme Court) will be dominated by Republicans. That Rightwing domination could last a generation.
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And all because minorities pushed too far and too fast, and abused the majority. The majority is not powerless.
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Politics vs. Culture. Would Republican control of Congress stop or even reverse changes in the national culture? That's hard to say, because the culture shifts not according to the number of people who advocate a change, but as the result of how activists influence society. The "Counter-Culture" of the 1960s, for instance, was at the time a relatively small and politically powerless minority phenomenon. But its values — civil rights, civil liberties, gender equality, environmentalism, women's rights, gay rights, abortion on demand, etc. — have, in intervening decades, come to permeate and dominate the national culture.
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In a split between the culture and the politics of the Nation, which will matter more to daily life? Again, that's hard to say, because if the politics produce/s economic disaster — more tens of millions of jobs sent overseas, as produces permanent depression in at-risk populations at home; rapacious behavior by employers who no longer feel any concern that abusive practices will result in unionization of their businesses; blacks and Hispanics losing ground in college admissions and Government hiring, as renders bleak the future of tens of millions — progress in the culture toward greater fairness seems unlikely, doesn't it?
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A sidebar of interest to me in this cultural connection is that the remarks that came to public attention were made by Sterling to his MISTRESS, a woman with whom he was having an adulterous affair. Where is the indignation, the outrage at his adultery? Racism is bad but adultery is good? What kind of culture are we living in? Altho the "girlfriend" denies that she was involved in a sexual dalliance with Mr. Sterling, things Sterling said in a prior affair about not giving money without sex makes that very hard to believe, even if Sterling is 80 years old. But is emotional infidelity not adultery?
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Fending Off Disaster. The only way Tepublicans can take the Senate is if overall voter turnout is very low, in which case highly motivated Rightwing Republican voters will outnumber apathetic Liberal Democratic voters. That is not democracy. We need MANDATORY VOTING if we are to have truly representative Government. But you don't hear anybody, not even the Democrats who face electoral catastrophe in November, talking about requiring every eligible voter to vote, do you? Never mind that some other democracies — real democracies — require everyone to vote. "American exceptionalism" means that we don't pay attention to any other country's ways of doing things.
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One of the first topics we discussed in Poli. Sci. 101 when I entered City College/CUNY in 1968 was who tends to vote as against who doesn't. Today's breakdown goes something like this: the elderly, women, middle-class, rich, well-educated, white, and Oriental people tend to vote at high participation rates. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor, the poorly educated, young people, and men have depressed participation rates. The actual electorate thus bears only passing resemblance to the general population, so we get a Government that is very little like us.
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The largely alien nature of that Government is also a function of who runs for office, which means people who tend to be driven, self-important, and self-obsessed who think they know better than most people about everything.
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Put these two things together, who votes and who runs, and you end up with a Government that is extremely different from the Nation it controls. When that semi-alien Government cracks the whip on a populace that did not really elect them, the populace becomes resentful, and looks for ways to stop the oppression. That results in another electoral phenomenon: highly motivated people vote far more often than poorly motivated citizens, which further distorts the results of elections in which important questions are seen as being at issue.
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We could have a Government that is far more representative and much less subject to radical swings if everybody were required to vote. We apparently want a Government that is unlike us, because we do nothing to make voting compulsory. So why are we so bitter about the Government we get? You get what you vote for. More to the point, you get the Government you DON'T vote for. And then you lose the right to complain.
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How can I make plain how unequal the votes of people of different groups are? Imagine a system in which everyone actually was required to vote, but each type of person was assigned a different voting value. For instance, what if a sign to this effect were posted in every polling place? Government would not dare do anything so blatant (forthright), but it has created a voting system that has in fact produced inequality of exactly this sort. The numbers are illustrative guesses, not the result of an actual calculation.



The poster is fictitious. The voting inequality it suggests, however, is entirely too real.



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