I am posting this as it is posted over at The Last Refuge. Nothing has been changed or altered
Sundancecracker does an excellent job is eviscerating a comment made by a reader named Cheryl who is most likely NOT a regular reader over at The Last Refuge. Maybe she should be. She would learn a lot from those who post at the Refuge.
If you have not checked out The Last Refuge, please do so. Trust me, you will not regret your time spent over there one bit. If you do not like what you find there then just blame it on me. What else is new!
On Critical Race Theory, Collectivism, Equality, and Foundational Principles
The following comment was dropped on the Understanding Derrick Bell thread by a recent visitor. It presents, perhaps, a perspective of many people just engaging themselves in the understanding of Critical Race Theory, and to a larger extent the foundational principles of our great nation. First the comment in full:
Cheryl von Tress - I view your linking of CRT to Marxist-Freudian ideological propaganda as over-reaching. What’s your evidence for such a link. I also think it’s impossibly to frame your views so distinctly while walking in the shoes of a white person. I also walk in those shoes and do not share your views expressed here.So, granting Cheryl the benefit of belief, lets dig into the rationale and logic with a response:
Professor Bell’s relationship to President Obama does not automatically result in a bad outcome. I believe it is the role of government to raise the question and to promote the standard of equality for all, especially within a democratic republic.
If a government structure is “of the people, by the people, for the people” how and when does it become socialistic and flawed to address the needs of people? Why is it socialistic to balance wealth? When greed and chicanery are allowed to run rampant at the top levels of business in a capitalist economy, isn’t it the role of government to address the injury to its citizenry? Shall the government sit idly by and allow an oligarchy to rule and reign. How would that be “of the people, by the people, for the people”?
Our nation’s founders survived those formative years with a deeply rooted sense of “the community good”. The “Go West, Young Man”, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “every man for himself” mentality that has been a part of our nation’s expansion and development become injurious and work against the initial founding concept of community good.
The life of a person of color in a light-skinned nation has been and is a challenge that is faced lifelong by them. Minorities and disenfranchised people of any color face challenges that light-skinned and people of means cannot begin to imagine. Most of the people within these aforementioned populations live their lives with grace and dignity amidst, and possibly arising from, the disparate resources and opportunities made available to them.
I view your linking of CRT to Marxist-Freudian ideological propaganda as over-reaching. What’s your evidence for such a link.Rather than attempt to deconstruct what the believers of Critical Race Theory espouse (would take too much time), lets just look at who advances the belief, and what prior opinions have been shared by people who have previously embraced CRT prior to Soledad O’Brien totally distorting the truth in her now famous blow up on CNN. People like Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, Khalid Muhammad and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Go HERE and Here, and listen to Thomas Sowell HERE.
I also think it’s impossibly to frame your views so distinctly while walking in the shoes of a white person.Now that sentence is a central component to CRT itself, and is the nucleus of what’s known as “white guilt”. According to Derrick Bell, not all racists are white, there are many more ethnicities that are also racist. However, according to Bell “all whites are racist”. CRT does not advance a belief that racism can be originated ‘from blacks’ to other races. They do not see genocide as racist. According to their beliefs racism is an impossible trait to exist within blacks. It is a central tenet that I completely and utterly disagree with.
Racism, in its purest form is the advancement of one race in superiority to another. When you have a black person saying to another black person that they are not “black enough” they are racist by judgement. That is EXACTLY what Derrick Bell espoused. “we’re gonna have to kill us some cracker’ babies”, is another expression of racism toward whites.
I also walk in those shoes and do not share your views expressed here.Nor do you have to. However, it is intellectually dishonest not to define racism as superiority. The easiest way to think about it is thus: Are you racist? If you feel the answer is no, then you are arguing against your own statement. Because in the central belief of Critical Race Theorists you cannot avoid being a racist.
Perhaps you agree with that premise. I do not. However, I digress (in the interest of time).
Professor Bell’s relationship to President Obama does not automatically result in a bad outcome.Certainly not. If President Obama was saying ‘here is something you might find of interest, however I do not hold the same opinion’, then a substantive argument could be made that Mr. Obama does not necessarily hold the same belief system. However, that is not what happened. President Obama said then as a student, “open up your hearts and minds” to professor Bell. Quite an advocate no? Then he retained a relationship with Professor Bell after Harvard, up to and including visits to the White House when President Obama was in office.
I believe it is the role of government to raise the question and to promote the standard of equality for all, [...]“Equality in Opportunity”, or “Equality in Outcome”? That is the central distinction between those who believe in self-reliance, and those who believe in the collective. That definition must be made in order to consider an appropriate response.
[...] …especially within a democratic republic.Perhaps that is the most alarming portion of the entire statement. We are not a democratic republic, we are a Constitutional Republic. HUGE DIFFERENCE, as in totally opposite forms of governance.
If a government structure is “of the people, by the people, for the people” how and when does it become socialistic and flawed to address the needs of people?The line of quotation is from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The reference was a follow-on to the larger statement … “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom”… the construct of the principle “freedom” was individual freedom and liberty. Your INDIVIDUAL freedom, everyone’s individual freedom, and the right of the individual to be considered equally. Freedom for blacks, freedom for whites, freedom for everyone; and most importantly freedom to strive forward, in a manner of their own choosing, toward their own needs and aspirations, with equality in opportunity to succeed. It is not the role of government to define individual needs, nor provide for them. It is the role of the individual to determine for themselves, as an outcome of their effort, what they desire and need. The individual must then be free to pursue, or strive, toward that end.
Why is it socialistic to balance wealth?Because wealth, if you speak of monetary wealth, within a free society, is a measure of effort, risk, and individual contribution. Balancing implies “re-distribution” which does nothing to empower self-reliance, a core and central tenant of our founding. The essence of what is wrong with it is best described in the writings of Governor William Bradford, head of the Plymouth Colonialists during our nations beginning:
The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent in their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.
As Governor Bradford explained in his old English (though with the spelling modernized):
“For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could husbands brook it.”
Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.
Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.
As Governor Bradford put it:
“And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end . . . This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would a ledge weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms. When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.
In Governor Bradford’s words:
“By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their planting was well seen, for all had, one way or other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”
Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism. As Governor Bradford expressed it:
“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst the Godly and sober men, may well convince of the vanity and conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; — that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”
Was this realization that communism, or socialism, was incompatible with human nature and the prosperity of humanity to be despaired or be a cause for guilt? Not in Governor Bradford’s eyes. It was simply a matter of accepting that altruism and collectivism were inconsistent with the nature of man, and that human institutions should reflect the reality of man’s nature if he is to prosper. Said Governor Bradford:
“Let none object this is man’s corruption, and nothing to the curse itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”
The desire to “spread the wealth” and for government to plan and regulate people’s lives is as old as the utopian fantasy in Plato’s Republic. The Pilgrim Fathers tried and soon realized its bankruptcy and failure as a way for men to live together in society.
When greed and chicanery are allowed to run rampant at the top levels of business in a capitalist economy, isn’t it the role of government to address the injury to its citizenry?It depends. There are contracts, laws, rules, and regulations that govern conduct within business associations. To the extent the judiciary is available as a recourse for the injured, then “government” should allow the individual process to engage for redress of grievance. The “government” in general, and the “federal government” specifically, should have a very limited role, subject only to interpretation of existing law.
Shall the government sit idly by and allow an oligarchy to rule and reign. How would that be “of the people, by the people, for the people”?Again, you define “people” as a collective. Within the document you quote the “people” were described as individuals, not part of a collective in rule or reign. Freedom is the central distinction.
Our nation’s founders survived those formative years with a deeply rooted sense of “the community good”. The “Go West, Young Man”, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “every man for himself” mentality that has been a part of our nation’s expansion and development become injurious and work against the initial founding concept of community good.Again, as above, our nation was NEVER founded upon “community good”. Everything, was constructed for the individual freedom of man. (refer back to Gov. Bradford above) And also reference the federalist papers which were most certainly drawn to create bold distinctions between individual and collective ideologies. Democracy, was considered during the Constitutional Convention to be the lowest, and least appealing, form governance to be created. Even a monarchy was considered preferable to a Democracy, because our founders understood that Democracy was prone to emotion and short-sighted mob appeal.
The life of a person of color in a light-skinned nation has been and is a challenge that is faced lifelong by them. Minorities and disenfranchised people of any color face challenges that light-skinned and people of means cannot begin to imagine. Most of the people within these aforementioned populations live their lives with grace and dignity amidst, and possibly arising from, the disparate resources and opportunities made available to them.You sell person(s) of color short. Indeed you disparage all individual effort and accomplishment with your broad strokes of victimization. Don’t diminish people within the box you’re framing. Empower and celebrate their freedom. Tis’ far better to say “pull up your bootstraps young man, and head west”…. You are free to strive, seek, and pursue your goals with the same opportunity as all free men. Think about it.
Original source is here.
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