Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Is Your City Left, Right or Center?

Here is a study that ranks America’s most liberal and conservative cities. Check it out: see how your metro area scores.

Discussions - 56 Comments

As I have said repeatedly on this blog, it is difficult to distinguish between the values of the conservative right, and what is beneficial for those who identify with (or as)white men. These two paragraphs support my belief:

"The list of America’s most liberal cities is dominated by cities with large African American populations that are concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest and California.

Conversely, the study found that the staunchest conservative cities are clustered in the South and interior West and have extremely low numbers of African American residents. "

So conversely, it is difficult to distinguish between the values of the liberal left, and what is beneficial for those who identify with (or as) black men?

The one problem with that paragragh, Fung, is that the number one liberal city, San Francisco, has a fairly small African-American population. I haven’t look at SF’s demographics in detail lately, but I know it is way different than Detroit or Philadelphia. I think it’s something in the Hetch-Hetchy water (which is only one reason I’m for taking down that dam).

Dominick-While it is probably true that no Black men are White men, it is NOT necessarily the case that the class "not(white men)" = the class "(all Black men)". A "not white man" could be a white woman, or it could be a Hispanic man, or a Native American woman.

Plus, I stated (quite carefully)"what is beneficial for those who identify with (or as)white men," since many white men (such as myself, for instance) would prefer to identify with a larger group, such as human beings, or as Americans.

And so, Liberal concerns are often easily distinguished from the concerns of people who identify themselves with (or as) White men. Yes.

But, Fung, the passage you quote doesn’t say anything about the prevalence of non-white-men, whether they be white women, Hispanic men, or Native American hermaphrodites--it only mentions African-Americans. It seems that what determines whether a city is liberal or conservative is the number of blacks who live there. It seems like Dominick’s view is therefore closer to the mark.

Well, John, that’s a pretty good point. So, here is my response:

1. The report DID say,"“Detroit, MI, and Provo, UT, epitomize America’s political, economic and racial polarization,” says Peter Thai, a BACVR researcher. “As the most conservative city in America, Provo is overwhelmingly white and solidly middle class.

So, if Provo is the epitome of the conservative city, it is not only low in Blacks, but also high in Whites, thus low in ALL non-whites.

Second, you are both right, the study certainly phrased it in terms of Black v White (instead of Red and Blue). So, my answer to Dominick is based on my own reasoning and observation, and not on the results of this study. But, my answer stands. Liberals and their parties are more attractive to nonWhites because Liberals care about more than their own membership group (as opposed to reference group)interests.

Let me stick in here that I’m not sure how seriously this study should be taken--I posted it more for fun and discussion, and look, it worked!!--and one reason I say this is that if the survey were extended somehow to include rural African-Americans in the South, who tend to be conservative (as opposed to right-leaning) churchgoers, then the racial divide in the results might not look as . . . um, black and white. Ditto with Hispanics in many pockets of the country.

I reject the notion that the policies of the Republican Party specifically or conservatism generally are race- or gender-specific. Conservatism advocates a market economy that allows anyone to thrive with hard work and creativity. I don’t think that has anything to do with race.

It is ridiculous to say that conservatives hold the positions that we do for the purpose of promoting whites over blacks. It’s tantamount to saying that conservatism is equivalent to racism. If that is what you are saying, I’d like to hear your evidence.

And, as Steven alludes, the study isn’t terribly accurate either, in the grand scheme of things. There is Vermont, that is almost entirely white, yet has consistently elected a self-described socialist to Congress and there are rural Southern communities that have high black populations that still vote conservatively because of moral issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.

I’ll stick with Ludwig von Mises view of distinguishing between ’conservatives’ and ’progressives’ when he says, "Who is “reactionary” and who is “progressive”? Reaction against an unwise policy is not to be condemned. And progress towards chaos is not to be commended. Nothing should find acceptance just because it is new, radical, and fashionable."

Dominick- Please give us a short (or long, if you can!) list of issues that are BOTH embraced by conservatives, and also can be argued to benefit primarilly a group other than White Males.

Dominick- I’m sorry, I ignored your invitation to provide evidence, and asked for yourse at the same time: (1)Regressive taxation hurts the poor more than the rich, and therefore proportionately more non-whites than whites, (2) Efforts to abolish Affirmative Action have already had the effect of sending more non-Whites to second-and-third tier schools, and out of 1st-tier schools, (3) English as the Official Language makes early participation in the American Dream more difficult for non English speakers, many of whom are not White, (4) more Black and Hispanic children are paddled in states that allow paddling in schools, most of these are the states that are described in Steven’s cited article as "Conservative" (5) proportionately more Blacks and Hispanics are arrested, and after arrested, spend more time in prison than their White counterparts. (6) Without socialized medicine, non-Whites continue to fare worse than Whites. They tend more to be underinsured and non-insured. (7) More conservatives than liberals are opposed to the recent Native Americans’ efforts to reclaim their own land, and to retain tax-exempt status. (8) More conservatives oppose instituting hate crimes laws.

I’ll find more.

Fung--

I’ll give it a quick try.

1. Low inflation. (Inflation hurts the poor more than anyone. Just cuz we don’t have much right, don’t forget 1979-1981. Rich white people can do just fine with inflation, and usually profit from it.)

2. WalMart. I remember when consumer advocates liked low prices. Look who shops at WalMart; my perception is that its customer base skews away from wealthy white males. (Actually, there are a few anti-WalMart conservatives out there.)

3. Ending slavery. Remember: this is NLT/Ashbrook, where Lincoln is understood to be the greatest American conservative.

4. Now I’ll try something you’ll surely object to: Affirmative action. Whatever merit it once had, I think it is arguable that it now does more harm than good for minorities.

Steven: Don’t you sleep?

(1) I would argue that low inflation is a liberal goal, as well as a conservative one (remember 1992- 2000).

(2)This one is a tougher one: I could say that Wal-mart benefits non-Whites the way Virginia Slims benefit women. That is, the jobs that have been lost to China, where all of Walmart goods are made, could go to many Americans, both White and non-White. The choices that Walmart has taken away (or successfully competed for) might have been enjoyed by Whites and non-Whites, too. Put another way, "voting with the checkbook" is only available to those with money in the checkbook. The poor have no choice but to take what Walmart offers them. But, I will concede that cheaper goods are a benefit.(3) We have had this conversation before, regarding the changes that the parties have gone through over the centuries. I firmly believe that, if Lincoln were around today, he’d be BOTH against slavery and a Democrat and a liberal. Most of my conservative southern friends are still trying to sell me the bit about the Civil War being all about States’ Rights.(4)I disagree about AA. You predicted that one!

You should go to sleep, and I should, too, and we should see tomorrow what Dominick can generate.

Sorry, Fung, but your list is pretty weak. How many of these are really live political issues? I don’t recall school paddling showing up anywhere in the GOP’s platform. And I don’t recall hearing anything about the Indians from either party in years (for the record, I’m in favor of giving the Indians a great deal of federally-owned land).

Affirmative action? As Steve said, the primary victims of this policy aren’t white; he didn’t mention that those who are hurt most by it are Asians. Affirmative action strives for proportionate representation at places like universities. Every quota designed to provide minimum representation by one group necessarily sets maximums on the others. Well, whites aren’t overrepresented; Asians are.

I’m also a little surprised that you didn’t mention illegal immigration, as you have elsewhere. Could it be because you’ve remembered that the two most prominent advocates of cracking down on illegals today are Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson--both of whom are vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party?

One last point--you seem to think that conservative opposition to socialized medicine (glad to see you have the guts to call it what it is, rather than using mushy terms like "single-payer") has something to do with race, since nonwhites are more likely to be poor. In other words, you’re trying to turn an economic issue into a racial one. It doesn’t work, because what it means to be "white" is always changing. Two hundred years ago the term would’ve applied only to Anglo-Saxons; it wouldn’t have been used to describe my German immigrant ancestors, the descendants of Christopher Columbus, or even the Irish. Heck, as recently as fifty years ago Jews wouldn’t have been included among whites. The term has become much, much, more inclusive, and I have no reason to believe that it will not continue to do so. In other words, if nonwhites are more likely to be poor than whites, it is only because once minority groups start to succeed, they tend to be classified as white.

Fung:

Just two comments. Low inflation may be a liberal goal, but they were not very good at dealing with the problem back when it was bad. The liberal answer to inflation was price controls (insert obligatory nod to Nixon here, but at least he realized it was a mistake, while Ted Kennedy was still advocating wage and price controls in 1980), and "incomes policy." The success of 1992-2000 you point to has mostly to do with finally getting a conservative monetarist (Saint Alan of Greenspan) at the helm of the Fed (thank you, Ronaldus Maximus), though I do give Clinton considerable credit for resisting the siren song of his party’s Left to do stupid things economically.

About 3# (Lincoln): Nope, nope, nope. He couldn’t be a liberal Democrat today; sorry Gov. Cuomo. Although you are right to see that Lincoln had a large measure of classical liberality in his character, which is not unrelated to aspects of modern liberalism, his core philosophy of natural rights would keep him estranged from today’s Democratic Party, for exactly the reason liberals find Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown so objectionable.

This could go on, but let me just add that the "southern conservatives" who continue to make the states’ rights argument are wrong wrong wrong. Make note of the fact that the recent bestseller, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to U.S. History", got panned in many conservative journals for its southern/confederate outlook.

I’ll leave WalMart and affirmative action for another time. Those battle lines are fairly well laid out by now.

Fung,

You will probably call this a cop out, but I don’t think I can generate such a list because conservative policies are generally designed to benefit everyone equally. The goal of most conservatives that I know is to avoid the race-, gender-, class-, group-based politics that the left seems to embrace and treat everyone equally under the law. That is why I do not support affirmative action (at least the quota based variety) because it only seeks to change the discrimination, not eliminate it. That is why I support a flat tax because, in addition to simplifying a maddening process, it would treat everyone the same regardless of class or income. That is why I support school vouchers because they would allow any student to go to any school that their parents deem worthy. That is why I oppose hate-crime legislation because I believe a murder is a murder is a murder and the reasons for the murder matter not so much as the fact that someone is dead (or raped or physically assaulted, etc.)

For that reason, I can’t come up with a list of conservative positions that benefit some group other than white males, because I believe most conservative positions would benefit everyone equally -- and that’s why I’m a conservative.

Methinks Fung has an obsession with race.

The survey is very interesting to a demographics nut like me. However, Hayward is probably mostly right that it is not all that great or realistic a survey. The one that jumped out to me was Columbus being rated more conservative than Cincinnati. I don’t think many would agree. Also Dallas being more conservative than Houston, and Salt Lake seemed oddly liberal. I think many more oddities would jump out to someone better traveled.

To all y’all,

We can disagree, and we do! First, my list is stronger than ANY answer to my challenge: Steve gave me the "issues" of Wal-Mart and ending slavery, for instance. Not exactly current, burning platform issues. Dominick gave no list (and did NOT cop-out, but explained it).

Dominick’s response underlies a good bit of what I read here: to be color-blind is to ultimately help everyone: Whites and non-Whites alike. This strikes me a similar to "trickle-down theory," If Blacks and Hispanices can just wait for conservatives to help the wealthy, and take care of the White agenda, then their turn will come. Second point: Helping people weakens their group. Sort of like hunting should be welcomed by the White-Tail deer, becasue it strengthens the herd. Strange, how we don’t hear a chorus of thank-yous!

I am reminded of the slave master who truly felt that running away was not in the slave’s best interests. It also coincidentally is not in the slave master’s best interests.

The proof may be in the numbers. How many of your NLT group are women? How many are African American? How many Republicans are African American? Is this because they are too stupid to realixe how good your party is for their group? Or, because they don’t trust the slave master when he advises them to submit for their own good?

I repeat my challenge, and declare your collective responses weaker than mine.

Fung,

You can pat yourself on the back for your list, but I think your apparent pride is misplaced because the exercise is faulty. Should any of us be proud of a list of policies that benefits one group over another? You seem to imply that you don’t think being color-blind is a good thing. Isn’t a color-blind society what the civil rights movement advocated?

The conservative "agenda," as you call it, isn’t the "White agenda", it’s what conservatives think is right. It isn’t based on our race no matter how much you wish it to be. If all humans truly are equal, and I believe that they are, as I suspect you do as well, then what is good for whites should also be good for blacks and hispanics and everyone else. It isn’t a matter of waiting for anyone’s turn. It’s doing what is right for people in general and allowing society to reap the benefits.

Your apparent comparison of conservatism to slavery is just sickening and over-the-top. Nothing in the conservative platform even vaguely resembles slavery and your invocation of it is, to me, nothing more than grandstanding.

As for your list, I have some comments:

(1)Regressive taxation hurts the poor more than the rich, and therefore proportionately more non-whites than whites,

As I stated before, I advocate a flat tax which treats everyone equally in terms of their taxation. Most proposals for such a tax that I have seen allow a healthy standard deduction for everyone of $20-30,000 off the bat that would mean that our poorest citizens wouldn’t pay a nickel. I support a flat tax with or without the deduction, but I do not think that such a tax would be at all regressive. In effect, eliminating the myriad of tax breaks and loopholes that exist in the maddening, pork-laden system we have now would probably force more of the extremely wealthy to pay their fair share instead of dropping their money in innumerable tax write-offs.

(2) Efforts to abolish Affirmative Action have already had the effect of sending more non-Whites to second-and-third tier schools, and out of 1st-tier schools,

Others have already made the case, but let me lend my voice to those who have said that they believe affirmative action harms minorities more than it benefits them. The thing I find most despicable about it is that it contributes to the myth that minorities are incapable of succeeding without special assistance so that every successful minority is burdened with the common belief that their success may not be because of hard work, but because of special treatment. How incredibly condescending. Not to mention John’s point that often minorities that manage to successfully overcome this myth tend to magically cease being considered minorities any more.

(3) English as the Official Language makes early participation in the American Dream more difficult for non English speakers, many of whom are not White,

This isn’t a big issue for me, but I do think that it is reasonable to create the expectation that immigrants learn to speak English. Learning English is important to the success of immigrants in this country and creating a situation where learning the language is not stressed is just setting them up to fail. I don’t see how that is any benefit to immigrants at all.

(4) more Black and Hispanic children are paddled in states that allow paddling in schools, most of these are the states that are described in Steven’s cited article as "Conservative"

I don’t see how this is relevant to the discussion in any way. Paddling minorities isn’t exactly a plank in the conservative platform. I don’t think corporal punishment generically is even something that could strongly be tied to the conservative movement. And this is #4 on your list?

(5) proportionately more Blacks and Hispanics are arrested, and after arrested, spend more time in prison than their White counterparts.

Again, I don’t see how this is a conservative v. liberal issue. It stands to reason that since blacks and hispanics are, on average, poorer than whites that they may not be able to afford qualified legal council as often. Also, their relative economic status means they will probably be more prone to breaking the law. I don’t see how conservatives or conservative policies are to blame for this phenomenon.

(6) Without socialized medicine, non-Whites continue to fare worse than Whites. They tend more to be underinsured and non-insured.

Another instance where I don’t see the relevance of race. Explain how conservative policies have caused non-whites to be underinsured. And how exactly will socialized medicine, a system that lowers the bar for health care standards across the board by taking away much of the financial incentive that draws highly capable people into the profession, make their health care situation any better?

(7) More conservatives than liberals are opposed to the recent Native Americans’ efforts to reclaim their own land, and to retain tax-exempt status.

Like John said, I haven’t exactly heard a lot of conservatives making much hay of this issue. As a conservative, I have very little opinion on the matter.

(8) More conservatives oppose instituting hate crimes laws.

I think I explained my opinion on this fairly well, but I would like to add that I don’t see how minorities can see much benefit from a criminal getting slightly more jail time for a crime because of the motivation for the crime (which is extremely difficult to determine any way).

In looking at your list, I don’t think it’s anything to be all that proud of and I don’t mean that in a snippy way. I just mean that most of the issues you bring up either have a dubious effect on minorities or they are extremely low-priority issues for either side (paddling? reservations and tax exempt status?).

I’ll stick with the side that is trying to eliminate race-based standards over the one that is trying to draw new lines in a never-ending race war of its own creation any day.

Re Fung #19:

Well let’s see: There’s Ken Blackwell, an Ashbrook Center trustee and perhaps the next governor of Ohio (if the Taft stench clear by then); on the blog there’s Julie Ponzi (and formerly my wife, but she now has her own blog, skepticseye.com--shameless plug); Lucas Morel; Peter’s and my former teacher William B. Allen, blah blah blah. Two can play this bean-counting game: how many conservative white males get hired at university humanities departments these days, and why not? (Of course, this has been one of the Left’s biggest blunders: as Harvey Mansfield says every time one of his Harvard students can’t find a teaching job, "Oh well, I guess they’ll just have to go off to Washington and run the country. . ." Back in the 1980s, the Left was initially delighted when Reagan appointed so many conservatives from law schools to the judiciary, because it got them off the campus. They changed their mind when they realized these judges would actually rule on cases.)

Dominick- I’ll get to a point-by-point in a while (today is my 21st anniversary, and my wife wants me away from the computer!).

Let me restate my original point: It is difficult to distinguish between what is good for conservatives and what is good for White males. So far, you have all had more fun picking on MY list than you have proving me wrong about my original point. Show me a right wing value that primarily benefits women and nonWhites!

Happy anniversary Fung. Spin some cool Jerry on me.

You seem to keep missing my point. I don’t think anything on the so-called conservative agenda is designed to benefit anyone more than it benefits anyone else. If it was, I wouldn’t support it. I think conservative positions benefit non-whites just as much as they benefit whites. That’s my whole point. Political positions shouldn’t be designed to help one group more than another. Ever.

Fung, let me counter your list by asking this: To what extent has our society crippled members of other groups, such as Asians, Jews, and women? Has the Great WHITE GOP consipiracy actually hurt everyone that wasn’t a white male, or has it simply benefited those who are willing to work hard to improve their lot? Hell, there are even rich blacks and Hispanics (e.g., Oprah)...how did THAT happen in WHITE America?

Here’s the deal, Fung. You suffer from equallitarianism, or radical leveling. You can’t conceive of a legitimate difference between cultural groups, and yet they exist. How do you explain the Chinese in Malaysia? Heck, there are "affirmative action" programs for the majority (Malay Muslim) in that country...yet even with political shackles, the Chinese leave them in the dust. Can you explain that, or why the Jews (who were not exactly welcomed in America) rose to the top of the income distribution?

And let me turn this around...can you distinguish what is good for the Dems and what is (supposedly) good for everyone BUT white males? And then explain why any white male would vote Democratic, please.

it is difficult to distinguish between the values of the conservative right, and what is beneficial for those who identify with (or as)white men.

Fung, this has been bothering me all day, so let me try to explain what is so offensive about your reasoning here. Suppose I said the following:

it is difficult to distinguish between the foreign policy views of the liberal left, and what is beneficial for Saddam Hussein and his supporters.

In a certain sense that might be true--the liberal left (with some exceptions) opposed a war to remove Saddam and his cronies from power. But no doubt you would protest that such a characterization is unfair. Liberals have no love for Saddam, you’d say, and our reasons for opposing the Iraq War had nothing to do with a desire to keep him in power. And you’d be right--it is an unfair charge. I’ve said all along that reasonable people can disagree on the subject of the war. Yet this is the same kind of accusation that you’re making against conservatives. Maybe you want to stick with that kind of reasoning, but if you do don’t start whining when people like Ann Coulter accuse you of being anti-American.

Okay, first of all, I worded my claim quite carefully and purposefully. I am not saying that the right is necessarilly racist or sexist. I am saying (right or wrong) that it is male and white-centered. Being self-centered is not the same as being against others, though it may (MAY) lead to that.

I think my characterization of your party is consistent with the tenets of capitalism and competition. That is fine for a business, or for a group of businesses, but I feel very strongly that the coporate model should not and cannot be successfully mapped onto evey human issue. I have mentioned family, love, and freedom as examples. (That was in the post on "rubbish,") If my child fails to mee quarterly expectations, I do not hope that he is successfully squeezed out of the race by my other child, or by my neighbor’s child.

Similarly, when freedom is at stake, we may have to make economically disastrous choices, and when love is the issue, I think that we should make our choices based on love, instead of on financial outcomes.

Now, we can introduce matters of "outgroups." In my view of the two parties, Dominick’s characterization of the right is accurate. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and what’s good for whites is good for nonWhites.

That sounds good -- to those who identify with/as Whites, but it doesn’t sound good to all of us, because it is based on an assumption that has not proven true. If it WAS true, then the Republ would be brimming over with Jews, Black, Hispanics, women of all ethnicities, but they are not!

You can make your ideas SOUND good and rational, but the litmus test may be your membership, and "ours."

So, if I am correct, then Republicanism can attract people on a number of levels: (1) the elegance of the corporate model, (2) valuing competition over cooperation, (3) mere selfishness with unintended outgroup discrimination, and (4) intentional selfishness with intentional outgroup discrimination.

On the other hand, as a lefty, I value (1) keeping the corporate model in its place (out of education, for instance and with restrictions on outsourcing, etc.) (2)valuing cooperation as much as, or more than competition, (3) strengthening America by uniting outgroups while valuing ethnic and cultural difference, (4) avoiding and abhoring intentional or unintentional discrimination.

So, my careful wording reflects my acknowledgement that there are plenty of non-discriminatory reasons to be a Rebulican, and that many Republicans are not at all racist and sexist. At the same time, your model does allow intentional and unintentional discrimination, while "ours" really only allows unintentional discrimination, but legitimizes neither one.

I’ve had a closer look at the original city study that prompted this thread, and a couple of data jump out that I think scramble Fung’s rigid racial matrix. Two of the conservative cities identified are Garden Grove and Huntington Beach. These are places I know well. Garden Grove is overwhelmingly nonwhite--it is mostly Asian (esp. Vietnamese) and Latino; Huntington Beach is a broad mix, but has a lot of Hispanics and Asians, and a minority of whites (most of them are surfers--I expect the whites in Huntington Beach lean left). False consciousness? That’s a dead-end street.

I think the authors of this study went too far in pushing the black white angle; more precisely what could be said is that a handful of majority or near-majority black cities are very liberal (this would be news how?), and then there is everybody else, where there is more diversity than can be reasonably generalized about in a serious R-squared constraint.

One more comment, re Fung #27. I find it ironic that it is liberals who are championing evolution just now against criticism from the right (but please, let’t not now have a full-blown ID thread started), while saying that "competition" is not a good principle outside of economic matters. Isn’t competition a core aspect of evolution?

This is why I have always thought the phenomenon of "social Darwinism" was ultimately much more at home on the left than the right, and, if you read Woodrow Wilson carefully, you’ll see that it is. Or are liberals now against evolution, or think that we can somehow control it? (That would be the liberal version of Intelligent Design, I guess.)

Competition really is NOT a core aspect of evolution. First, evolution is not forward-thinking, and competition is. We compete for a goal, or for a portion of it. Evolution has no goal, but rather, just IS, based on how past characteristics happened to fit the environment, and thus, get selected or not.

By the same token, cooperation is goal-centered, as well, and so really is not a component of evolution.

But, if you mean that we should evaluate the natural existence of comp and coop, then we can find evidence of both: little tick birds ride around on hippos and rhinos, cleaning them off, while they eat. Lions kill the weak zebra (Republicans love that part!) then the hyenas eat the big leftovers (which is allowed by the lions,) then the buzzards get the smaller leftovers, then the bugs get the rest, which keeps the savannah floor clean. Then, they all meditate cross-legged and share their feelings. It’s quite astounding.

Steven, we had a nice anniversary, and we DID listen to Jerry. Also, some Aztec Two-Step, and Nancy Griffin and Murray Head.

Finally, I am happy to agree that the study has some fundamental problems. But, it was nice to talk with you all!

Murray Head??? The same guy who did "One Night in Bangkok?" I love that song, but never really thought that he might’ve done much else. Album recommendations?

Fung, your comment #27 is pure crap. The Democrat party has been hemorrhaging white people for the last 40 years, primarily because it took a sharp turn to the cultural left. If we judge a party by its constituency, the Dems look pretty bad...relatively unsuccessful minority groups, deviant groups (e.g., gays), union members, government bureaucrats and civil ’servants’, college students, and public school teachers. What do these groups have in common? They all live off government either directly (e.g., government employees), indirectly through government coercion(e.g., unions and AA basketcases), or simply parasitical on the capitalist system (e.g., college students). These aren’t people who’ve been discriminated against...they are lazy losers or foolish idealists who are sheltered from the real world. In short, when a Democrat says "social justice," they really mean "looting."

As for all that happy horsesh.. about family and love being outside of market imperatives, I suppose that’s why the Left supports abortion, easy divorce (or no marriage at all), the dilution of parental authority, destruction of community standards, etc. No, Fung, you aren’t fooling anyone. The Left is totalitarian...you do believe other institutions should be exempt from the marketplace, but NOT from the government. Indeed, the whole goal of people like you is to remake society in your own image...so spare me the sanctimonious BS.

As for cooperation/competition not being a part of evolution, you need to stop writing...your ignorance is becoming impossible to ignore. Animals that fill a niche better than its previous inhabitants necessarily replace them (a part of natural selection, which is direct competition). Cooperation is also integral to evolution because it improves 1) individual survival, and 2) thereby promotes higher reproductive success. This is why we are rather poor individuals (slow, no fangs or claws) but pretty good pack animals (just like the wolves, which is why we get along with dogs so well). Since you obvious know nothing about evolution or natural history I’d advise you to remain silent on these topics.

Ashland Voter- His best is (I think) his earliest, called "Say it ain’t so, Joe." That is the title cut, and the Who covered it. the cut, "When I’m Yours," was our wedding song. He also sang the part of Judas in the original album of J.C. Superstar.

Dain- I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot.

Gee, Fung, that must be the pseudo-intellectual’s version of "Oh, yea?"

You’re pathetic, and I doubt you could find your own butt with both hands in broad daylight. Just keep teaching that psycho-babble you call "knowledge" to ignorant (but compliant) freshmen at that middling college you "teach" at.

Dominick- I will try (finally) to address your earlier pts (#20). Sorry it took me so long.

1. Flat tax. I think I agree. When people explain to me why this is a bad idea, my eyes roll back in my head, but I think I agree with you. I am talking about regressive taxes like the "sin" taxes, which take a big chunk out of the little salary, and a tiny chunk out of the huge salary.

(2)I hear you on this, but I disagree. I think that AA confronts the "fact" that the playing field is not level, and attmpts to level it so that players of EQUAL skills can have a fair game.

(3)English as official language- Okay, but why legislate it? If it is such an advantage for "them," why not simply wait for "them" to realize it? Why make it a law? Don’t Republicans want government off peoples’ backs?(4)

(4)punishment is big on my list for a number of reaons. It is a research specialty of mine, and it embodies hierarchical abuse of power, and also feeds the illusion that the punisher is accomplishing something. We could add capital punishment to the list, as well, for similar reasons. But, punishment often happens to the Black kids, the Hispanic kids, and the boys, over and over again, which means that it doesn’t work. It is also embraced by jerks like "Doctor" James Dobson, who tries to link inflicting pain with God’s will.

(5)Conservatives like punishment! also, they like harsher sentences, Zero Tolerance, and so on. They also like putting people in prison for possession of marijuana, and then building more prisons because the prisons are full of harmless potheads.

(6)Attacking socialized medicine makes health care competitive, which means someone loses. Guess who? The poor, who are not as likely to be White men, as they are to be something else.(7)In my neck of the woods, "Heritage Association," Heritage Club," etc, basically means "White guys opposed to Indians taking back their land, and they tend to be conservatives.

(8) Hate crime laws. I see your point, and I might even agree with it. But, I think that, sybolically, enacting a hate crime law might means something. I could be persuaded otherwise, perhaps.

Basically, Dominick, I don’t think that it is up to White males to decide when to become colorblind. I don’t think that we have yet achieved that level playing field. BY THE WAY, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM WOMEN OR PEOPLE OF COLOR ON THIS. IF I AM WRONG, AND I SOUND LIKE A LOVE-GOD-BLEEDING HEART, I WANT TO KNOW!

Dominick, I haven’t completely answered every point, but I am, once again, in a hurry, and wanted to answer you before you gave up.

One of your basic problems, Fung, is your assumption that "victims" are somehow on a higher moral plane, and that they are victims through no fault of their own. Both aren’t likely to be true, you know.

I think my characterization of your party is consistent with the tenets of capitalism and competition. That is fine for a business, or for a group of businesses, but I feel very strongly that the coporate model should not and cannot be successfully mapped onto evey human issue.

I would agree that capitalism should not be extended to every aspect of human life. I think it would be a rare conservative who would think it should. I’m curious to know which aspects of conservatism you are referring to here.

Similarly, when freedom is at stake, we may have to make economically disastrous choices, and when love is the issue, I think that we should make our choices based on love, instead of on financial outcomes.

Again, I agree. I suspect the difference between us is that liberals often seem to think that government is somehow capable of expressing love or being compassionate (and even Bush seems to think it is capable of the latter!) I, and I think most conservatives, think that in situations where love or compassion is required, government ought to be absent or minimal because love is a human emotion, not a governmental policy.

That sounds good -- to those who identify with/as Whites, but it doesn’t sound good to all of us, because it is based on an assumption that has not proven true. If it WAS true, then the Republ would be brimming over with Jews, Black, Hispanics, women of all ethnicities, but they are not!

This presumes that everyone votes (a) in their own interest always (and not just what they perceive to be in their interest), (b) does not vote for one party out of habit or peer pressure, (c) knows each party’s platform and that the party that they vote for closely matches their own views in almost all issues. I humbly submit that the basis for the vote of a significant portion of the country is on a level that many of us political nerds would find to be highly trivial. Many people vote for one party or the other out of habit without doing a lot of research on the views of particular candidates. Many people vote for one candidate because they seem nicer than their opponent. Many people are single issue voters who may agree with one guy on 9 out of 10 issues, but the 10th is the deal-breaker. I don’t think you can make the assumption that because most blacks vote Democratic that the platform of the Democratic party is somehow uniformly pro-black while the Republican platform is utterly unappealing. School vouchers, for instance, poll extremely high in the black community. Similarly, and I’m going on memory here so someone is bound to prove me wrong, but I believe same-sex marriage is even less popular in the black community than in the general populace. I think you are using circumstanial evidence to make your point here (i.e. most blacks don’t vote for the GOP, thus the GOP is completely unappealing to blacks).

(2) valuing competition over cooperation,

I think this is a false depiction of conservatism. Conservatives value cooperation a lot. Valuing a market economy does not mean that we think everything should be dog-eat-dog, fight, fight, fight. Conservatives are generally very supportive of efforts to streamline government and make the various branches work together more effectively and efficiently. That’s cooperation. While both parties have shown great ability at creating new bureaucracies, I think the conservative score is overall much better in this regard.

(3) mere selfishness with unintended outgroup discrimination, and (4) intentional selfishness with intentional outgroup discrimination.

You seem to have this notion that conservatives are out to drive wedges between the races and promote one group over another. Since most conservative efforts are to treat the races as equals in all aspects (i.e. no affirmative action because it just moves the discrimination from one group to another, etc.) I don’t see where you get this.

(3) strengthening America by uniting outgroups while valuing ethnic and cultural difference,

I’d be interested to know which liberal policies you believe do this.

(4) avoiding and abhoring intentional or unintentional discrimination.

This suggests that you believe conservatives do not avoid or abhor intentional or unintentional discrimination. Certainly there have been some Republicans who have made racially insensitive remarks, but then there have been more than a few liberals who have done the same. Need I remind you that Robert Byrd is a member of your party? I don’t think either party can make any claim to being perfect in this regard.

At the same time, your model does allow intentional and unintentional discrimination, while "ours" really only allows unintentional discrimination, but legitimizes neither one.

I just don’t see how you arrive at this conclusion. How does conservatism legitimize discrimination at all? And do you really think that government can somehow eliminate all discrimination through the policies of your party? I’m all for reducing discrimination to the extent that we can, but I think that it’s something that has to occur over time through education not through heavy-handed government regulations that often do little but breed resentment which is decidely not helpful in the overall battle.

1. Flat tax. I think I agree. When people explain to me why this is a bad idea, my eyes roll back in my head, but I think I agree with you. I am talking about regressive taxes like the "sin" taxes, which take a big chunk out of the little salary, and a tiny chunk out of the huge salary.

I think both parties are probably guilty of creating "sin" taxes, so I don’t see how you attribute this to conservatives. Liberals seem to like such taxes because of the ever-so-important social control they think it will exert by encouraging people to cease whatever particular sin they are taxing by making the sin more expensive. And I’m surprised that you would think that conservatives, who are so often presumed to be in the pocket of "Big Tobacco", are the force behind "sin" taxes.

(2)I hear you on this, but I disagree. I think that AA confronts the "fact" that the playing field is not level, and attmpts to level it so that players of EQUAL skills can have a fair game.

I understand the concept behind affirmative action but I just don’t think effectively discriminating against whites and minorities like Asians, who now seem to be too successful to be considered minorities any more, is acceptable. The Constitution guarantees each person equal protection of the laws. Even if it seems like a good idea to favor one group over another for a while, I don’t think the Constitution allows it and I don’t think it can be justified.

(3)English as official language- Okay, but why legislate it? If it is such an advantage for "them," why not simply wait for "them" to realize it? Why make it a law? Don’t Republicans want government off peoples’ backs?

As I said, this isn’t a big issue for me, so I’m not going to spend a lot of effort defending it. I think the main idea is to make the government operate in English so that if people want to vote, get a drivers license, etc, they have to learn English. This makes it clear that learning English is necessary, which I don’t think is all bad. Again, not a big issue for me.

(4)punishment is big on my list for a number of reaons. It is a research specialty of mine, and it embodies hierarchical abuse of power, and also feeds the illusion that the punisher is accomplishing something. We could add capital punishment to the list, as well, for similar reasons. But, punishment often happens to the Black kids, the Hispanic kids, and the boys, over and over again, which means that it doesn’t work. It is also embraced by jerks like "Doctor" James Dobson, who tries to link inflicting pain with God’s will.

I understand your reasons for feeling passionately about it, I just don’t see how you can attribute this sort of thing to conservatism. I guess if you get away from the corporal punishment aspect and shift to the death penalty, then maybe we have a liberal v. conservative issue, but even that is somewhat dubious as there are a lot of pro-death penalty Dems and anti-death penalty Repubs. But, as to your corporal punishment issue, if boys get punished more than girls, how is this an issue that benefits white *males* over other groups?

(5)Conservatives like punishment! also, they like harsher sentences, Zero Tolerance, and so on. They also like putting people in prison for possession of marijuana, and then building more prisons because the prisons are full of harmless potheads.

I’m all for hefty punishments for serious crimes. I’m pro-death penalty, in favor of life imprisonment for violent sex offenders, etc. But I do dislike the GOP’s tendency to favor mandatory sentences and zero tolerance. I think that the Right’s distrust for judges has caused them to overreact and attempt to take as much control away from judges as possible. I tend to think that for every publicized "horror story" where a judge inexplicably allows some violent criminal off with a slap on the wrist, there are probably hundreds of examples of judges making good decisions. On this, perhaps we agree. But I do think that your tendency to inject race into everything is unfounded here as well. There may be statistical differences in the punishment of criminals in different races, but I think the reasons for those differences are more complex than simple discrimination. Also, if this disparity in sentencing is, in fact, evidence of racism, it would seem that it must be a problem for both parties, as I suspect that, nationwide, the party affiliation of judges is probably roughly equivalent.

(6)Attacking socialized medicine makes health care competitive, which means someone loses. Guess who? The poor, who are not as likely to be White men, as they are to be something else.

The competition in health care, ideally, is among insurance companies and health care providers, as they are the ones who stand to make the profit. Eliminating competition by socializing the industry will likely make it a less profitable enterprise which will cause people who might make very good doctors less likely to pursue the profession. It may also make drug companies less likely to expend the vast amounts of R&D necessary to create new drugs to fight disease and other afflictions. Profit is a great motivating force. Removing that force rarely improves the quality of anything.

(7)In my neck of the woods, "Heritage Association," Heritage Club," etc, basically means "White guys opposed to Indians taking back their land, and they tend to be conservatives.

Okay. Don’t know anything about those groups. I still don’t think it’s a very big issue. And, again, racial insensitivity isn’t a quality unique to one party.

(8) Hate crime laws. I see your point, and I might even agree with it. But, I think that, sybolically, enacting a hate crime law might means something. I could be persuaded otherwise, perhaps.

It is a symbolic thing and it is a symbol that liberals have undoubtedly used to score points with minority voters. I acknowledge that while I am proud that my party as tended to take a principled stand against such laws. I mean, how many murders are committed without hate entering into the equation? Why is racial hatred more evil than other forms?

Basically, Dominick, I don’t think that it is up to White males to decide when to become colorblind. I don’t think that we have yet achieved that level playing field.

I don’t think it is level yet either, but I think government should always be colorblind. Who should decide when government should become colorblind? You seem to be suggesting that we should let minorities decide when government should start acting colorblind. The problem with this is that you are expecting a group of people to some day decide to act against their own interests. At some point, you seem to think that minorities will willingly give up the benefits that AA provides them. Why would they do that? History suggests that humans almost never act against their own self-interest, particularly in large groups. A colorblind government should be our ultimate goal. I am shocked that you think we should not enforce that policy right now. How can we ever expect the playing field to be level when we make our government tilt in in various directions?

Sorry to be so windy. I’ll be shocked if many of you have read all of this...

I read it all, and agree with most of it. Your lackadaisical attitude about English does both me...it’s the glue that holds our country together. Without it we will fall apart, just like Yugoslavia (or like Canada, which keeps trying to fall apart).

Fung is conflating libertarians with conservatives when he accuses us of reducing everything to market calculation. What he fails to realize is that, for us social conservatives at least, the moral order is our primary consideration. We favor market economics because that is the best way to ensure 1) a thriving society, and 2) a balance of power with our government. The reason social conservatives are so anti-government in recent decades is because that political machinery has been turned against our own culture. Unacceptable, and very dangerous.

I can’t help pointing this one out:

"Your lackadaisical attitude about English does both me...it’s the glue that holds our country together"

Well, it boths me, too, darnit! I guess you could say it boths both of us! I can feel the glue ripping right now.....

Dominick-I appreciate the chance to hash this one out as we have. I must confess that, due to the sheer weight and length of the simultaneous arguments I’ve got going, and the impending semester, I must give up. I’ll dip my colors, and admit that you have won the war of attrition, though I won’t give up my position, you and the others have given me a great deal to think about.

Thanks y’all.

Dain,

I guess I just don’t see English as being in much danger of ceasing to be the de facto language of the country any time soon. Maybe I would feel differently if I lived in the Southwest. But I don’t. I simply think that it is a mistake to delude immigrants into thinking that learning the language isn’t all that important to success in America.

As for Yugoslavia, that area of the world has been fighting amongst themselves for eons. The term "balkanization" was coined for a reason...

Fung,

Understandable that the colors had to be struck, though I was enjoying the discussion. Perhaps we can do it again in the future at a less hectic time of year.

Tell me, Dominick, have there been exceptionally peaceful cultures living side-by-side? People need little enough excuse to hate each other, but not sharing a language is particularly dangerous. I can’t think of a single example of a truly multicultural civilization that stayed together voluntarily.

I can’t think of a single example of a truly multicultural civilization that stayed together voluntarily.


Well, since there have been so few civilizations in history that were held together "voluntarily" in the first place, I think the jury is still out on that one. Rome was a classic case of a multicultural society that lasted a long, long time, however. That it eventually fell apart is hardly evidence that such societies cannot stay together, because ultimately all societies fall apart.

John, Rome is a particularly bad example...it was one of the first ones I considered. What held Rome together, really the only thing that held Rome together, were its legions. Rome was an urban empire...it ruled through its cities. They were always putting down revolts of one kind or another (e.g., Sparticus, Boudicca, and of course the Jews in A.D. 69). Another main source of their stability was, upon conquest, to cleanse the land of original inhabitants and grant it to their legionaries (a far more loyal citizenry). Hardly a model of multicultural bliss.

Dain, I notice that you seem to be an expert on nearly every subject. Now we can add Roman history to that ever-expanding list. (Maybe you know a lot about it because of your ancestors who were Roman slaves!)

Remind me, Phil...did we have an agreement not to insult one another? I don’t remember, but your last post 1) verges on ad hominem mockery and 2) is utterly irrelevant because it doesn’t contradict anything I said.

Sometimes, Phil, it would be appropriate to have something to say.

Don’t get in a snit Dain, I was just messing with you because you talk so authoritatively on so many subjects- you’re all but lecturing to Moser on Roman history in comment 45.

Surely Dain must be aware that there was a significant cultural difference between the predominantly Latin-speaking western half of the empire and the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern portion. Most educated Roman citizens simply learned both languages.

Or perhaps a more recent example of a multicultural society is Belgium, where the French-speaking and Dutch-speaking halves tend to get along without too much trouble. Or, for that matter, Switzerland, where French, German, Italian, and Romansh coexist fairly successfully.

Come on, John, the absence of active warfare doesn’t mean that either Belgium or Switzerland are multilinguistic melting pots (much less paradises!). Both have pretty obvious geographic and political segregation, and both have suffered periods of ethnic tension. So, even civilized, wealthy peoples have problems with multicultural nationalism. Sure, they muddle through, particularly given the compensators of affluence and small size. Nonetheless, I still can’t think of a sizeable society where ethnic/linguistic diversity didn’t cause pretty severe problems.

Here is the Belgian page...mea culpa.

Okay, we started here:

I can’t think of a single example of a truly multicultural civilization that stayed together voluntarily.

And now we’ve arrived here:

I still can’t think of a sizeable society where ethnic/linguistic diversity didn’t cause pretty severe problems.

Well, sure, diversity brings with it certain challenges, but I would argue that the alternative is stagnation. The fact is that it is monocultural societies that are extremely rare in history; virtually every sizeable community has some degree of cultural heterogeneity. The choice is whether to use the government to protect the dominant culture (basically the French approach, trying to ban foreign words from their language) or to let people’s individual choices shape the culture’s evolution. The latter has been the American way, and I think our culture is better for it.

For more on this I would refer you to the work of George Mason economist Tyle Cowen, particularly his book Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’s Cultures.

Yea, John, those stagnant homogeneous societies like Japan, China, and Korea. Just languishing! As for your Libertarian approach to cultural hegemony, that’s very simple-minded in my view. One of the reasons we have a red/blue America is that cultural drift. As for France, there approach would probably work better if they had had such faith in cultural assimilation (regardless of color, language, religion, or national background, all could become good Frenchman). Stupid, and now they are paying the price. And let’s look at all those successful multicultural societies...the Soviet Union, The Hapsburg Empire, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Canada...and I’d add the U.S. Oh, we’ve become rich enough, sure. But Libertarians can worship the dollar all they want to...what holds a population together is culture and language, and when these falter so does the economy.

Dain, if you think that China is culturally homogeneous, and that the reason the Soviet Union failed was because it was too multicultural, it’s not even worth continuing this conversation.

China is over 90% Han Chinese, and most minorities are in the far west of the country. The dynamic parts of China are pure Chinese. The USSR failed for many reasons, but you’ll notice that it split along racial/ethnic lines. There never was a "Socialist Man," just a bunch of folks dominated by European Russians and held together by the Red Army. This little place called Chechnya comes to mind.

We are very down-blog at this point. Catch you on another thread, John.

John, just consider yourself lucky that Dain didn’t resort to calling you names or deem you to be a "crappy" historian for the sin of disagreeing with him, as he has done with more than a few of his fellow commenters.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/7096