When the chief executive of a government that is $17 trillion in debt decides that it is worth his time to weigh in on the name of the Washington Redskins or on a self-defense case in Florida the nation is right to wonder if its political leadership has its eye on the wrong ball.
But anything that fans the flames of racial division runs up the political score, not only for Barack Obama, but also for the entire political left.
Liberals have long claimed the rhetorical high ground on any issues having to do with race. But rhetoric that is contradicted by reality is as old as humanity, and long ago we were cautioned that, in discerning rhetoric from reality, we would “know them by their fruit.” And there is little question that the political fruit of liberal policy for the last 50 years has been racial division, alienation, mistrust, and deterioration of families that have fallen under the spell of liberal rhetoric.
There is no need for an extensive recap of the evidence. Suffice it to say that the deterioration of black families and the attendant legal, academic, and economic consequences that result have been well documented by Ann Coulter and a host of conservative analysts.
The liberal theory – derived from early Marxist thinking – that the dominant class suppresses minorities has been shattered by the academic and economic success of Asian minorities who outperform the white majority in areas ranging from academic achievement to approval for mortgage loans.
[sharequote align="center"]The left’s mantra of “majority privilege” and racial oppression is drowned out by the evidence.[/sharequote]
In fact, Thomas Sowell has made the definitive case that it is commonplace for minority populations to outperform majority populations not only in America, but also around the world. The determining factor seems to be “cultural capital” such as self-discipline, commitment to education, and hard work. The left’s mantra of “majority privilege” and racial oppression is drowned out by the evidence.
And it is well known by both liberal and conservative politicians that the surest path out of poverty is behavioral, not political: Finish school, get and keep a job, don’t get into drugs, and don’t have children until after marriage. And yet liberal politicians continue to push the same old snake-oil government solutions to racial tensions, and conservative politicians are surprisingly hesitant to call them on it.
President Barack Obama talks to a class of pre-Kindergarten school children at Moravia Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., Friday, May 17, 2013, during the his second "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour". Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP
How do we explain the left’s continued pursuit of policies that are demonstrably damaging to the people they profess to care about? And how do we explain the continued loyalty of minorities to a political movement that continues to isolate them from the mainstream of American life?
The left’s continued pursuit of policies that keep minorities isolated and alienated could at one time be explained by the law of unintended consequences, that well-intentioned tampering with complex social systems will always produce new problems. That explanation might have had merit in the 1960’s, but the evidence of social damage, especially with black families, is now so overwhelming that even hardened leftists have no excuse for not seeing it.
So now we have to consider the likelihood that, when politicians pursue a path that produces predictable results, then those results are intended and not accidental. To put it bluntly, liberal politicians are so dependent on winning huge majorities of minority voters that those politicians cannot afford for minority voters to believe that they are full citizens in a land of opportunity. Following this analysis, Joe Biden’s lie that the GOP wanted to put black Americans in chains was not intended to break the chains of racism but to impose the chains of alienation and dependency.
So what keeps minority voters from seeing the damage done by the liberal politicians that they continue to put in power?
A strong possibility lies in what psychologists call locus of control: one’s tendency to believe either that events are caused by one’s own behavior or that they are caused by external factors beyond one’s control. Belief that one has some degree over control over one’s circumstances can be painful at times – it is far more comforting to believe that a test was unfair than to believe that one didn’t study hard enough.
But the belief that one can influence one’s circumstances is a first step towards changing those circumstances. And the uniform message from liberal politicians to minority Americans is that the system is stacked against them, and that their only hope is through electing liberal politicians and not through personal effort.
[sharequote align="center"]Helplessness, and not hope, is the left’s real message.[/sharequote]
Eric Holder may have been right that Americans are cowards on the subject of race. But instead of giving the standard mea culpa that the Eric Holders of our political world expect, maybe we should offer an honest discussion about the fruits of fifty years of liberal policy.
Maybe it’s time for conservative politicians to stop running like scared rabbits from the race card and to start calling the left on their message of helplessness. Maybe the truth will set us all free.
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