Thursday, April 20, 2017

Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: The Question of South Africa

Defending the indefensible.

For more information about this program, see:

For more information about the Firing Line broadcast records at the Hoover Institution Archives, see:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gerard Robinson ― Dear President Trump: afterschool learning matters, too

Gerard Robinson is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on education policy issues including choice in public and private schools, regulatory development and implementation of K-12 laws, the role of for-profit institutions in education, prison education and reentry, rural education, and the role of community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in adult advancement.

(The American Enterprise Institute) - I voted for Donald Trump in the March 1 Virginia primary and November 8 election. I think his entrepreneurial mindset is a breath of fresh air for American politics. But while an entrepreneurial mindset is important, it will not solve all of the challenges facing American education overnight. Nor will it guarantee every Pre-K-20 proposal is good public policy. The administration’s proposal to eliminate all federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (afterschool CCLCs) that serve 1.6 million students in 50 states is one such example.

On March 16, President Trump released his proposal for the Department of Education’s (ED) fiscal year 2018 budget. The proposed budget is $59 billion in discretionary funding, which amounts to a loss of $9 billion, or a reduction of 13 percent, from federal spending in 2017. With a $559 billion budget deficit this year—2.9 percent of the nation’s GDP—cuts to federal programs are inevitable. The proposal to cut ED’s $1.2 billion investment in CCLCs stemmed from this overall rationale. But what is the deeper rationale for this program cut?

A sentence used to justify the cut says it all: “The programs lack strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.” Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, echoed this when he replied to a reporter’s question about the elimination of a successful Pennsylvania afterschool program during a White House press briefing. “They’re supposed to be educational programs, right?” he asked. “There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re …helping kids do better in school.”

Based on my own research on afterschool programs, and the work of dozens of other researchers over the last decade, that simply is not true.

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Michael David Cobb Bowen — The Palm Springs Phenomenon

The malls are the soon to be ghost towns
So long, farewell, good-bye. -- Modest Mouse

There are two ideas that come to mind when I think of Palm Springs. It's nice to be my age, because I have two ideas and three stories. One of the stories involves dirtbikes and golf bunkers, but that's another story. This is about one of the two ideas, that I am naming the Palm Springs Phenomenon. It is prompted by a headline I read off Facebook. The whole story is here

The song 'Teeth Like God's Shoeshine' asks the question "Do you have a lot of what you need to survive?" We do, for the time being. We also have a lot of stuff we don't need. It's rather odd to think that there are people on the planet who will never have a garage, much less enough junk to have a garage sale. But when you're rich in America, you have an estate sale when you get low on cash and you don't want to sell the vacation house. Or maybe the vacation house itself is part of the estate sale. When I had money to burn and a house less than chock full of requisites, the Spousal Unit and I would go hunting for garage sales and estate sales. I'm not ashamed to say that it took over 30 years of working in my career before I had enough credit to afford the furniture that all the marketing in the world made me lust after. Now I have the big leather sofa and love seat. Thanks Synchrony Bank! 

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Maxwell - Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)

“Scientific racism” is on the rise on the right. But it’s been lurking there for years.

Students at Middlebury College turn their backs on Charles Murray. They drowned out his talk with chants; later one of his hosts, a female political science professor, was assaulted.
Lisa Rathke / AP

(Vox) — Scientific racism was certainly not new to America in the 1990s: The Bell Curve tapped into a long and ignominious tradition. Its roots wend back to the 19th century, when scientist Samuel George Morton produced works like Crania Americana and Crania Aegyptiaca, in which he assiduously measured skull sizes of members of different races, then correlated those measurements with alleged intelligence.

Its heyday spanned the late 19th and early 20th century, when the fad for cataloguing differences blended with empire-building and mass migration. And in the 1910s and 1920, at the dawn of the modern era of genetic science, it resulted in eugenics research and policy.

The science of eugenics, literally “good stock,” found favor among many white progressives in America, who saw it as a neat solution for social problems. If qualities like ignorance and vice were heritable, the long-term solution was not better schools and better jails — though progressives wanted those, too — but rather a tidying up of the gene pool.

Jacob A Tennessen ― Does DNA cause racial differences in test scores?

I got a lot of feedback from Race, Genetics and Taboo. Mostly positive, believe it or not. One particularly engaging e-mail conversation was with Jonathan Tweet, author of the fantastic evolutionary children’s book Grandmother Fish. A lot came out of these dialogues worth sharing with the world. In any case, it’s my responsibility as a geneticist. Just as educators need to speak openly about safe sex despite it being an uncomfortable topic, so it is with race. Thus, even though I maintain that other species are more interesting, here I am writing again about (human) race and genetics.

It has often been noted that black people perform worse than white people, on average, on various standardized tests. Naturally, racists love to jump on this statistic as evidence for genetic interracial racial differences in cognitive ability. And of course, their logic is faulty. The scientific method says that you can’t infer a genetic effect between two groups when you haven’t controlled for environmental factors. I’m not even going to get into whole question of what IQ is, or whether IQ tests actually measure important neurological characteristics accurately.

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Rhiannon Giddens- "Julie"

Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and "Nashville" based her lyrics for this song on a 19th-century slave's memoir.

Greg Thomas ― Reading Albert Murray in the Age of Trump

(New Republic) In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison’s protagonist asks: “Could politics ever be an expression of love?” Our current climate of division, fear, anger, recrimination, and even resignation clearly points to an answer in the negative. However, the writings and ideas of Ellison, and his close friend of fifty years, Albert Murray, should caution citizens of the United States to keep in view how and why we’ve come so far, and to hold on to the vision of possibility within our democratic principles.

As members of the Greatest Generation, Murray and Ellison lived through the Great Depression under Jim Crow, the global threat of fascism during World War II, and the revolutionary 1960s, when Martin Luther King Jr.’s ethic of Christian love and tactic of non-violent resistance moved the nation closer to a democratic ideal. The Civil Rights Movement itself is proof that politics can be an expression of love as well as struggle. Where do we go from here: chaos or community?

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Albert Murray on Black Nationalism

The conservative scholar and cultural critic Albert Murray, once mocked black nationalism "as a yearning for Indian-style reservations".

Russell White - Pass me not, O gentle Savior

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by. Refrain:
Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.
Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.
Thou the spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee,
Whom in Heav’n but Thee.

Ryan McMaken — How Unions Used Licensing to Crush Ethnic Barbershops

(Mises) — For far too long, historians who wrote on inter-racial and inter-ethnic relations focused almost exclusively on the victimization of various groups while ignoring the entrepreneurship and mutual aid that took place within those same ethnic groups. 

Fortunately, the situation has been changing in recent decades. In my article "The Trouble With Public Accommodation," for example, I looked at how some relatively recent scholarship has chronicled the economic importance of ethnic enclaves and small business development in increasing entrepreneurship among non-Anglo ethnic groups and among immigrant groups in general. Works of note on this topic include An American Story: Mexican American Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation by Mary Ann Villarreal, and a collection of essays called Landscapes of the Ethnic Economy.

Now, a new book by Douglas Bristol examines how barbershops became an economic fixture for black business owners and black entrepreneurs during the 19th-century, both before and after the Civil War. Bristol's book, Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom,  examines  not only how barber shops formed both a social and economic function within the black community, but also how barbers were able to build barbershop-based capital into other ventures such as insurance firms. 

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Katelyn Beaty ― Christians have lost the culture wars. Should they withdraw from the mainstream?

The most glaring omission of the Benedict Option: its utter lack of engagement with the African American church.

(The Washington Post) — To be sure, the Benedict Option encourages Christians to show hospitality and charity to those outside the faith. But in many cases, vulnerable people need more than charity — they need advocacy. They need not a handout but a hand up toward a life of economic and cultural flourishing. And they need traditional Christians investing in national politics, not just to protect their own rightful freedoms, but also to protect the livelihoods of those who cannot speak up for themselves.

 And this leads to the most glaring omission of the Benedict Option: its utter lack of engagement with the African American church. (Of note: Throughout the book, Dreher quotes only one person of color, an Indonesian monk living in Italy.)

 White traditional Christians who have lost cultural power can look back through history for models of resistance. But they also have models in their very midst: black Christians, who have lived for hundreds of years under state-sanctioned violence, who have their houses of worship vandalized, who continue to be victims of racially motivated shootings — and who attest to the enduring power of the gospel to heal divisions, forgive and live with counter-cultural hope.

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Chris Ladd ― Evangelicals and White Supremacy

There is still today a Southern Baptist Church. More than a century and a half after the Civil War, decades after the Methodists and Presbyterians reunited with their Yankee neighbors, America’s largest Protestant denomination remains defined, right down to the name over the door, by an 1845 split over slavery.

Southern states have never supported multi-party politics. From their founding, their white majorities have channeled virtually all “legitimate” political expression through a single, racially-aligned party. Over the past fifty years as the overt defense of white supremacy has become politically problematic, maintaining that monolithic political control has been a greater challenge. Religion has played a critical role in allowing white communities in the South to continue to wage a “culture war” that was lost under a different banner.

In 1956 there may have been no more influential figure in the Southern Baptist Convention than W.A. Criswell, the pastor of the enormous First Baptist Church in Dallas. The Supreme Court had recently struck down racial segregation in schools in the Brown v. Board of Education case. A conflict was building between the Eisenhower Administration and the Governor of Arkansas over a plan to desegregate Little Rock’s public schools. Dr. Martin Luther King was organizing bus boycotts in Montgomery. It was not certain where Baptist congregations would line up on the emerging movement for racial justice. Criswell took the opportunity to clarify the matter.

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The Benedict Option: Then and Now

This coming Tuesday is the traditional day for remembering Saint Benedict, who died in 547. (Paul VI's calendar transferred his feast from March 21 to July 11.) Benedict is the patron of Western Monasticism and a patron saint of Europe, deservedly so. He is in the news again now, however, mainly thanks to Rod Dreher's new book The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. The book develops a theme that Dreher has been arguing, at least ever since his encounter with Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, which famously ended by recalling Saint Benedict's monastic response to the collapse of Roman civilization as a model for a renewed relationship with our contemporary culture as Western Christian civilization continues to collapse.

 In honor of the imminence of Saint Benedict's traditional day and conscious of contemporary political and cultural chaos, I read Dreher's new book this week. The Benedict Option is obviously not a call to everyone to drop everything and become a Benedictine, but it does propose salutary lessons from Saint Benedict's Rule and the Benedictine way of life. Benedict's Rule, Dreher rightly recognizes, proposed a way of life "for the ordinary and weak, to help them grow stronger in faith." That is what makes it perennially relevant - not just for monks who live a celibate community life vowed to stabilitas loci and conversio morum. All people in whatever state of life who desire to live a morally and religiously serious life can draw from the deep well of Benedictine wisdom, suitably adapted to the distinct circumstances of the varied vocations and states of life Christians are called to live in the world.

 True to the historical analogy underlying his argument, Dreher begins with a somewhat apocalyptic analysis of contemporary civilization and how it got to where it is today.  All such analyses - even the best one ever, Saint Augustine's The City of God - necessarily generalize and somewhat oversimplify. That said, Dreher does present a coherent and cogent account of our "long journey from a medieval world wracked with suffering but pregnant with meaning" to today's "place of once unimaginable comfort but emptied of significance and connection."

 So - to quote Chernyshevsky and Lenin - what is to be done?

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Ayo Sogunro — What to teach the children


We should teach the children History, because we cannot determine our destinations if we do not know our origins. We should teach children what we know of history and not what we wish it were.

 We should teach them not just our personal history but also the history of all humanity: because everyone’s story matters and we can learn even more from the journeys of others.

We should teach the children to value the sufferings and pains of the past so that they do not repeat the causes of damage; to value the sacrifice and strength of those who laboured — so that we do not nullify their efforts.

We should teach children not to fear the past. The past never changes and acceptance of the past does not diminish the present.

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Joseph C. Phillips ― My last conversation with Bill

 Joseph C. Phillips is an American actor, writer, and conservative Christian commentator. He is best known for his role as Martin Kendall on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, and as Justus Ward on the soap opera General Hospital.
I will never forget my last conversation with Bill; it was the last time I saw him. Over the years, I have thought about that brief interaction. I wish it had come sooner. I wish it had played out in a more significant way and had ended in an invite to the townhouse. 
An invitation to Bill’s townhouse was a big deal – not everyone received one. I came close during my first year, but my big mouth and an ill timed joke ruined it. Bill and I were back stage talking when I said something witty. Bill laughed loudly and then commented that he was going to have to have me come up to the townhouse. I tried not to betray my excitement, but I was jumping up and down inside. Not satisfied with success, I immediately made some silly comment about feminist or something. Bill just shook his head and smiled. “No,” he said. “You’re not ready. Mrs. Cosby would toss you out on your ear.” That was the last I heard about the townhouse.
I do, however, wish that I had managed a deeper relationship with Bill. Although I wanted to, I never got to really know him and he didn’t know very much about me. Not much of a relationship at all, which is why I was a bit surprised at the offer Bill extended to me soon after the show ended.

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Chris Ladd ― There Is Never A 'Free Market' In Health Care

“Where it is impossible to create the conditions necessary to make competition effective, we should resort to other methods of guiding economic activity.”

-Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p.37

(Forbes) — Republicans still struggle to promote a credible ownership culture largely because they refuse to wrestle honestly with the hard cases; the situations in which market forces fail to allocate value effectively. Medical care is probably the most frustrating example since it stubbornly resists market solutions and affects everyone deeply.

Health care is not a market. It lacks any of the vital features of a market. Treating health care like a market means living and dying without modern medicine. To advance a culture based on opportunity rather than government dependence, we need an alternative to state-owned health care that keeps key decisions in personal hands, preserves market triggers where appropriate, and rids us of the strangling influence of the massive federal bureaucracy. Republicans cannot do this without abandoning some cherished fantasies about the unquestionable, divinely-ordained righteousness of markets.

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Glenn Loury — Should a Renewed “Conversation About Race” in the US Be Allowed to Touch on the Race-IQ Debate?

 Glenn Cartman Loury is an American economist, academic and author. He is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University.
Donald Trump has recently been trying to talk about the social disadvantage of African Americans. He is, given his background and to say the least, far from an ideal vehicle to encourage a productive discourse on this issue. The fact that some white nationalists who traffic in racist rhetoric support him doesn’t help. One of these nationalists is Jared Taylor — notorious for his advocacy of the position that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites, and that this explains the poor socio-economic position of African Americans. Taylor supports Trump, of course…

As it happens, I ran into Jared Taylor at a Manhattan Institute event in DC some months ago. I was on a panel dealing with race and poverty; he was in the audience. True to form, he stood during the Q&A and asked me the “Bell Curve” question: doesn’t the genetic IQ gap account for black poverty? And, isn’t there a taboo on talking about this? (CSPAN recorded the event, but I can’t find the link now.)

With all the talk about “free speech” and political correctness now in the air, and with the problems of struggling black communities in America getting renewed attention, I think it is important to share publicly how I dealt with that question.

I responded to Jared Taylor directly, immediately and (I’m told) artfully, to the effect that:

1) There IS a racial gap in the US in measured IQ;
2) There IS strong evidence of the partial heritability of measured IQ;
3) There is weaker supportive, and much contradictory evidence that this racial gap is due to genetic inheritance;
4) There is overwhelming evidence that measured IQ is also powerfully influenced by environmental factors;
5) The clear burden of the evidence (Flynn effect, e.g.) supports the view that, over time, environmental effects on measured IQ in human populations (like those in the United States) are more than large enough to account for currently observed racial differences;
6) The evidence of IQ’s independent causal impact on relevant social outcomes (earnings; anti-social behavior; health and wellbeing, etc.) is not that strong, with environmental influences apparently more important;
7) While policy interventions intended to raise IQ directly have not been shown to be particularly effective, many other interventions (e.g., early childhood education; nurse home visitation; etc.) have been shown to produce beneficial results, and such beneficial effects are of a magnitude that swamps the observed IQ effect in accounting for racial differences in these relevant socio-economic outcomes…

In short, I concluded that what I presume to be Herrnstein’s psychometric chapters in TBC, though not beyond criticism, stood on firmer ground than did what I presumed to be Murray’s socio-economic policy chapters, but that the narrative — “blacks are inherently less intelligent so there’s no point in trying to narrow the racial income/wealth/employment gap through social policy” — is just plain wrong. (I didn’t call that narrative “racist” — but only because I didn’t want to distract attention from a reasoned engagement with the question based on evidence…)

I acknowledged to Taylor that this issue has been shrouded in PC taboos, and I agreed with him that this is an issue that should NOT be beyond debating in respectable policy-intellectual circles. I declared that the standard in such debates should be reason and evidence, and I insisted that I had absolutely no reluctance to meet him, and all other comers, on those terms…

Here’s my bottom line: this race-IQ debate, too, is a “conversation about race” that I am ready to engage in. As we used to say back on the mean streets of Chicago’s South Side where I was raised: “You know where to find me. I ain’t runnin’ and I ain’t hidin’.”

Indeed, I regard the popular alternative (avoiding and denouncing any such race-IQ discourse, attempting to preempt such discussion by labeling it as presumptively “racist”) to be a mistake for black folks and for the country: it just invites an underground, whispered discourse of innuendo, and racist contempt that is precisely what Jared Taylor and his ilk would welcome…

Will Pflaum ― In short, there is no evolutionary reason to expect genetic differences between races and classes

 Will Pflaum, an anthropology professor at Brooklyn's CUNY responding to The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray.

"Until about 150 years ago the vast majority of all people on all continents were illiterate subsistence agriculturists. Before 10,000 years ago, we were all hunters and gatherers. The modern era has not existed long enough to cause genetic damage...Furthermore, evidence from mitochondria DNA suggests that the line leading to present-day Asian populations split from the line leading to Africans and Europeans before Africans and Europeans split from each other. So if Europeans and Asians are more intelligent than Africans, increased intelligence would have had to evolve independently on two occasions, which is highly unlikely and very hard to explain...In short, there is no evolutionary reason to expect genetic differences between races and classes...Don't give me statistics to prove something is true (and don't give a book cataloguing these statistics a positive review) until you convince me that the point you are trying to prove is within the realm of scientific possibility."

(Source: The Bell Curve & Racism)

As regards the question of whether or not #WeWuzKangz, the answer is clear: Some of us Wuz Kangz.

Evangelical Pastors, Not Politicians, Turned Dixie Republican

“White Democrats will desert their party in droves the minute it becomes a black party.” Kevin Phillips, The Emerging Republican Majority, 1969

(Forbes) — Crediting the Nixon campaign with the flight of Southern conservatives from the Democratic Party dismisses the role Southerners themselves played in that transformation. In fact, Republicans had very little organizational infrastructure on the ground in the South before 1980, and never quite figured out how to build a persuasive appeal to voters there. Every cynical strategy cooked up in a Washington boardroom withered under local conditions. The flight of the Dixiecrats was ultimately conceived, planned, and executed by Southerners themselves, largely independent of, and sometimes at odds with, existing Republican leadership. It was a move that had less to do with politicos than with pastors.

Southern churches, warped by generations of theological evolution necessary to accommodate slavery and segregation, were all too willing to offer their political assistance to a white nationalist program. Southern religious institutions would lead a wave of political activism that helped keep white nationalism alive inside an increasingly unfriendly national climate. Forget about Goldwater, Nixon or Reagan. No one played as much of a role in turning the South red as the leaders of the Southern Baptist Church.

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The Conscience of A Muslim Libertarian

Muslims 4 Liberty's Hesham El-Meligy explains Islam's compatibility with libertarian principles and shares his perspective on current events as a Muslim liberty activist.

The Black Church and Civil Rights

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Philip Rose — White Genoicde Myth

White genocide conspiracy theory is a white nationalist conspiracy theory that mass immigration, integration, miscegenation, low fertility rates and abortion are being promoted in predominantly white countries to deliberately turn them minority-white and hence cause white people to become extinct through forced assimilation.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Yvette Carnell — Y'all Roasted Ben Carson, but Obama Thinks We Are Immigrants Too

Stephen L. Carter — The Ideology Behind Intolerant College Students

Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

(Bloomberg View) Here’s what’s scariest about the last week's incident at Middlebury College, where protesters shouted down the social scientist Charles Murray and injured a professor who was escorting him from the venue: It felt like an everyday event. So common has such odious behavior become that it's tempting to greet it with a shrug.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2016 saw a record number of efforts to keep controversial speakers from being heard on campus -- and that's just in the U.S. To be sure, not all of the attempts succeeded, and the number catalogued, 42, is but a small fraction of the many outsiders who give addresses at colleges and universities each year. The real number of rejected speakers is certainly much higher, once we add in all the people not invited in the first place because some member of this or that committee objects to their views, or because campus authorities fear trouble. But even one would be too many. 

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De-globalization and the arrival of Trump | Dambisa Moyo

"Maybe Trump is the shock we need so we can make more equitative decisions and not favor just a little group of people". Dambisa Moyo, renowned global economist and WOBI speaker, explains Trump's triumph in the light of de-globalization. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The GOP’s Long History With Black Colleges Could President Trump actually win over the leaders of historically black colleges and universities

(Politico) Just hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as America’s 45th president, the tricky political relationship between Republican presidents and historically black colleges and universities was already on display.

Talladega College, one of the 105 black colleges dotting the United States, seized on the rare opportunity for its marching band to participate in a presidential inaugural parade, raising nearly $700,000 in the process. Its presence also served as a symbolic gesture of inclusion for a newly elected president who has faced persistent accusations of racial intolerance. On campus and beyond, Talladega’s decision was deeply controversial—even alumni were overwhelmingly opposed to the school participating—and spurred a debate over whether the exposure and experience was worth being viewed as a political prop.

In the tenuous relationship between Republican leaders and historically black schools, this is the way it has been for a long time. Politics makes for strange bedfellows—as is undoubtedly true of Trump and Talladega—but the blend of political expediency and areas of ideological overlap have proved a strong enough elixir to bring the two together and sustain a relationship over time. Together, they march to their own beat.

Of course, relationships forged out of expedience do not often lead to lasting bonds of friendship. But, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, it’s not about friends, but interests—both political and financial.

A Young Cuban-American Speaks Out on Castro's Death & Cuba's Future

In which an old law school friend schools me about where Cuba's been and where it's going now that "The Beard" is dead.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Black Conservative Intellectual Civil War

There is a civil war occurring between the intellectual, solution-driven black conservatives and the fame-oriented, pseudo-intellectuals on the black right. The winners of this war will determine the political future of black America.

The leftist assessment of the black conservative is that such a person is angered and frustrated at being born black, which leads to the adoption of conservative views in order to compensate for this perceived “congenital deficiency.” While this is a preposterous accusation to make against all black conservatives, it is intellectually dishonest to pretend as though this characterization of the black right came into existence wholly out of left field. Indubitably, there are some black conservatives whose proclamations and behaviors lend credence to the stereotypical leftist view of black conservatives.

Black conservatives are not intellectually monolithic, and we certainly do not read from the same script of talking points. Essentially, black conservatives can be divided into two groups: solution-oriented black conservatives and fame-oriented black conservatives. Solution-oriented black conservatives prefer to use their platforms to intellectually engage with people and offer serious ways to move black people forward. Inevitably, this encompasses astutely criticizing both the left and the right when criticism is required.

By contrast, fame-oriented black conservatives feign interest in issues regarding black progress, when, in reality, popularity among white conservatives and profit are their fundamental goals. Fame-oriented black conservatives never see an opportunity to bash black people and black liberal leadership that they do not take, but they conveniently manage to turn a blind eye to every shortcoming and malfeasance of white conservatives. Fame-oriented black conservatives are the right-wing versions of the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons. They are people who care more about their bank accounts than bettering the lives of black people.

There is a civil war occurring between the intellectual, solution-driven black conservatives and the fame-oriented, pseudo-intellectuals on the black right. The winners of this war will determine the political future of black America. If the black conservative continues to be identified as a self-hating person who is simply a puppet for white conservatives, black people will never associate with the Republican Party or American conservatism. However, if this war is won by black conservative intellectuals who are truly about black elevation—and not the elevation of their personal bank account balances—black conservatism has a chance of truly permeating the inner cities and changing the voting behaviors of black people.

The most identifiable feature of fame-oriented black conservatives is their absurdist addiction to the inconsequential issue of whether or not blacks choose to identify as African American or just American. They call this the “unhyphenated American” movement. While this issue is unimportant to regular people, it is deeply important to pseudo-intellectual, fame-oriented black conservatives, because it is the key issue that they use to ingratiate themselves with white conservatives.

When “Rev.” Jesse Lee Peterson—a darling of the white right and “unhyphenated American”—argued that blacks being carried on slave ships is equivalent to traveling on coach airplanes, before earnestly thanking white people for slavery and removing his forefathers from Africa, he was not making an argument to reach out to other blacks. Rather, Peterson was talking to a certain white conservative audience that enjoys such rhetoric—particularly coming from a black man. It is no wonder why Sean Hannity comfortably sits on the board of Peterson’s organization dedicated to the supposed “advancement of black men.” 

Similarly, E.W. Jackson is another black conservative whose fundamental goal is to be seen as a black hero by white conservatives, rather than to be a serious thinker articulating ways of bettering the lives of black people. His political proclamations are more geared towards bashing President Obama and liberals with vituperative and exaggerated language. Jackson’s slash-and-burn approach to political rhetoric is not designed to appeal to the human capacity for ratiocination. It is designed to get headlines, which, in turn, will endear him to the white right.

Liberals are quick to promote black conservatives like Jesse Lee Peterson and E.W. Jackson, because they fit the stereotype of black conservatives that is beneficial to the left. When men like Peterson and Jackson are held up as the black conservative standard, liberals do not need to offer counterarguments. Rather, all they need to do is point and laugh. White conservatives, too, promote these black conservatives, primarily because they say the outrageous things that white conservatives have in their minds but dare not say. Meanwhile, solution-oriented black conservatives are marginalized because such black conservatives do not exist for the sole purpose of making white conservatives feel good—and the arguments from solution-oriented black conservatives are often too logical for leftists to refute.

There is a tendency on the right to unwaveringly support every person who claims to be a conservative. It is almost as though a good conservative has the duty to be less critical of other conservatives’ shortcomings and only focus on attacking people who hold different ideologies. This is incredibly damaging, inasmuch as it allows people to go under the radar and use the cloak of conservatism for all sorts of nefarious goals. Solution-oriented black conservatives need to understand that the fame-oriented black conservatives are not on our side. Whenever and wherever possible, we must expose them in order to protect the intellectual health and reputation of the black conservative movement.

Fame-oriented black conservatives will win the intellectual civil war if they are not exposed for their use of black conservatism as a means of personal enrichment. They are the people who allow the leftist caricature of black conservatives to have believability. Creating an unmistakable distinction between solution- and fame-oriented black conservatives is an important step to improving the image of conservatism among black people. Once this occurs, black people will be more receptive to hearing about the superiority of conservative ideas to the dull liberal ideas that have failed black America for many decades.

Chidike Okeem is a writer. Born in Nigeria, raised in London, England, and now living in California, he writes about race, culture, religion, and politics. You can find contact information and read more of his writings at