Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Best Comments On The Sherrod Affair

are by Carl Scott in this thread over at Postmodern Conservative.

On a related note, while I think that it is perfectly predictable for conservatives who feel offended by cynical accusations of racism to seek to respond in kind, I don't think it is effective except as a form of therapy.  The cries of racism (to the extent they are insincere) have two purposes.  The first purpose is to change the subject.  This excerpt from Journolist gives some idea of the mentality at work.  Even if it doesn't totally work, it creates a kind of secondary conversation that puts the Left's critics on the defensive.  It is designed to produce news programs structured  like this: "Up first tonight, why is Obama's health care plan not popular? And later, exactly how racist are President Obama's opponents?"  The second purpose is to reinforce Democratic margins among African Americans (and to a lesser extent other nonwhites.) 

Responses that accuse liberals, Democrats, Obama supporters etc of racism just don't work.  They are mostly aired on conservative-leaning media so the target audience for the original racism accusations don't really hear them.  It doesn't lead to deterrence.  Cynical liberal activists and organizations would much rather be talking about who is and isn't racist than about how Obamacare (based on the experience of Massachusetts) will tend to increase premiums. Conservative accusations of liberal racism don't hurt the feeling of liberals, don't make it less likely that they will engage in this behavior in the future, and don't win over new people to center-right politics.  It does seem to make some people feel better.

The idea isn't to stop these kinds of accusations.  It isn't up to us to stop them.  It isn't our choice to make.  The idea is to defeat the people who make them and then let them rant as they please.  The best way to defeat them is to stigmatize those accusations as defenses for policies that hurt Americans of all races, as defenses for politicians who are hurting Americans of all races, and to offer specific alternative policies that offer real life improvements to people of all races.  And find ways to make those arguments to people who don't consume much right-leaning media.  Of course this means (as a necessary but insufficient condition) that you have something real to say - so don't look at the folks running in Arizona Republican senatorial primary for guidance. 

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 5 Comments

Gotta disagree, Pete. While this whole Breibart thing was ill-conceived, if/when clear examples of racial double-standards escape into the MSM then real damage is done. For instance, look at how the Cambridge police incident hurt Obama.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. We should continually point out the Left's racial/gender double-standards. Some of them will be mainstreamed.

That's not to say that we shouldn't talk about health care, taxes, and other important policy issues. The point about double-standards is we have to neutralize the Left's diversionary tactics.

Redwald, if accusations of racism are justified then fine, but we should keep in mind Carl's warnings to not be too hypersensitive in making those accusations (even if the Left is.) Thats a game we shoulnd't be playing for ethical reasons and is not a winning game besides.

I think that the best disinfectant to those double-standards is too point out how cynical and/or hysterical accusations of racism are covers for lousy policy that does crossracial harm.

I agree that we shouldn't be too hypersensitive. Nonetheless, I think it is very important to point out racism on the Left. We need to constantly remind people that "those people" use it as a tool -- they are not sincerely concerned with eradicating racism at all, but using it as a sledge hammer to break down resistance to their political agenda.

Redwald, sure, but we should also be careful not to stretch the definition or adopt the low standards of others. I'm all for explaining how accusations of racism can be cover for, or subject changer from bad policies that hurt people. But I think it involves a great deal of emphasis on what the bad policies are and the harms they are or will be doing - and doing to people of all races.

I have no disagreement with that. Thoughtful analysis is always important, even if only a sliver of the electorate actually listen to it.

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