In a widely quoted book entitled The End of History, Francis Fukuyama wrote about the intellectual and practical triumph of democracy as a system of government. No further political paradigm shifts would be required. Democracy was the omega end point of the historical process of human sociopolitical evolution. Great reading, perfect for the 1990s when American triumphalism and the Washington Consensus reigned supreme. But Fukuyama seems to have overlooked the tendency of modern democracies with universal suffrage to glacially move towards bankruptcy by promising their voters entitlements that these governments cannot afford.
Democracy is the rule of the popular, not necessarily the just. And voting yourself goodies from yourself the public purse will always be popular.
At least four high-profile attacks involving blacks and Asians have occurred since January in San Francisco and Oakland, including the beating death of Tian Sheng Yu, 59, last month. Two 18-year-old men have been charged with the murder.
Rongshi Chen, 64, was assaulted last fall in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley by a pair of men Chen could only identify as “young and black”. They kicked his ribs, broke his collarbone and made off with $200, credit cards and Chen’s identification. No one caught the attackers.
When I lived in Berkeley a while back, I moved in to a sublet where my roommates were predominantly Asian. Growing up a good liberal in Seattle, I didn’t have any stereotypes and was very open to them. In return, I got treated like a second-class citizen with all of them giving me stares and ignoring me. The landlord even refused to take my rent money and wouldn’t answer my requests to see my mail. He evicted me with a bunch of made-up claims, saying that I had failed to pay rent and literally threatening me with violence if I didn’t leave.
Once I got out of that scary situation, I told the police. They said they’d keep tabs on it but said I didn’t have enough for an arrest or anything like that.
I think stories like mine and the one above go to show that racism is a recurring facet of human society, not caused by whites in the south, reclusive Asians or angry blacks but what I believe is our shared tribal nature with primates.
WASHINGTON — Political novice Rand Paul rode support from tea party activists to victory in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary Tuesday night, delivering a jolt to the GOP establishment and providing fresh evidence of widespread voter discontent in a turbulent midterm election season.
Paul had 59 percent of the vote — with returns counted from 29 percent of the precincts — to 37 percent for Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who had been recruited to run by the state’s dominant Republican, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Howard Zinn passed at the beginning of this year, and I will admit part of me was saddened at his passing. My mother owned his People’s History of the United States, and my fellow students at college seemed to adore his work. My best friend is a Zinn fanatic, bringing him up nearly every time politics comes up.
Now that months have passed since he died, the second-hand positive notions are gone and the real nature of Zinn’s career can be assessed. Reason wrote an appropriate article following his passing, concluding that Zinn was “a master of agitprop, not history.”
The absolute worst of Zinn came on his deplorable misinformation regarding the totalitarian state in Cuba and the rise of political Islam, both of which placed Zinn on the wrong side of history. That Zinn’s nonsense is regularly repeated by fairly intelligent people is sad phenomenon, indeed. From Reason:
Just how poor is Zinn’s history? After hearing of his death, I opened one of his books to a random page (Failure to Quit, p. 118) and was informed that there was “no evidence” that Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya was behind the 1986 bombing of La Belle Discotheque in Berlin. Whatever one thinks of the Reagan administration’s response, it is flat wrong, bordering on dishonest, to argue that the plot wasn’t masterminded in Tripoli. Nor is it correct to write that the American government, which funded the Afghan mujahadeen in the 1980s, “train[ed] Osama bin Laden,” a myth conclusively debunked by Washington Post correspondent Steve Coll in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Ghost Wars.
Of Cuba, the reader of A People’s History is told that upon taking power, “Castro moved to set up a nationwide system of education, of housing, of land distribution to landless peasants.” Castro’s vast network of gulags and the spasm of “revolutionary justice” that sent thousands to prison or the executioners wall is left unmentioned. This is unsurprising, I suppose, when one considers that Zinn recently told an interviewer “you have to admire Cuba for being undaunted by this colossus of the North and holding fast to its ideals and to Socialism….Cuba is one of those places in the world where we can see hope for the future. With its very meager resources Cuba gives free health care and free education to everybody. Cuba supports culture, supports dance and music and theatre.”
ZINN:Not much alone, individually. The only time citizens can do anything is if they organize, if they create a movement, if they act collectively, if they join their strengths. The trade union movement, of course, is an example of that. The trade union movement is weak, and the trade union movement needs to become stronger. Citizens need to organize in such a way that they can present the members of Congress with demands and say, “We are going to vote for you if you listen to us,” or “We’re not going to vote for you if you don’t listen to us.” In other words, people have to organize to create a citizens movement. We have to think about the 1930s as a model; people organized in the face of economic crisis—organized into tenants’ movements and unemployment councils and of course they organized a new trade union movement, the CIO. So we need people to organize. Of course, this is not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. Because it’s not easy the tendency is to throw up your hands and not do anything, but we have to start at some point, and the starting point is people getting together with other people and creating organizations. For instance, people can get together to stop evictions. Neighbors can get together. This is something that can be done at a local level. This was done in the 1930s when neighbors got together to stop the evictions of people who weren’t able to pay their rent and the 1930s were full of such incidents. Tenants’ councils had been formed and when people were evicted from their tenements, their neighbors gathered and put their furniture back in the house.
That sort of nonsense about collective action being the only means of change is just that: nonsense. George Orwell alienated many of his friends on the left, who he made in his criticism of colonialism and fascism, by taking on Stalinism in Animal Farm and 1984. Malcolm X was murdered by his former friends at the Nation of Islam when he revealed the hypocrisy of its leader, Elijah Mohammed, and renounced extremism in favor of racial reconciliation. Oskar Schindler saved 1200 Jews by employing within his own factories. The list goes on, as does the list of those who were manipulated due to their unwavering allegiance to a collective of any kind. Fresh-behind-the-ears college students who take Zinn’s words to be the truth run the risk of becoming exactly what Zinn was: a tool of propaganda.
I had a chance today for the first time to read about the highlights of the first day of the “Obama trial.” I found myself uncomfortable being involved or associated in any way with the wild charges, claims and conspiracy theories that have been publicly aired by this mock trial. I believe these wild charges and claims actually damage any future legitimate opportunity to question President Obama’s background. This forum has an agenda and I have come to the conclusion it is not my agenda. I called Pastor Manning personally this morning to explain why I’ve decided not to participate. He understood completely. We wished each other well.
I believe any association with this trial would discredit the opportunity to have a fair, open and balanced discussion or debate in the future. I want to be part of any such future opportunity. I have much to say about President Obama, and many questions about his past and present actions, but I’m more comfortable airing them in a mainstream media forum. More importantly, I’d rather spend my time discussing, debating and questioning Mr. Obama’s current policies that I believe are toxic to America, the U.S. economy and capitalism, than spending my time debating his past. I’d rather spend my valuable time in the media on educating voters about the dramatic expansion of government under Obama; the nonstop violations of the Constitution; the deadly expansion of deficit and national debt; the political payoffs disguised as stimulus and bailouts; the lack of transparency of this administration; Obama’s pro union agenda at all costs- no matter what damage is done to the economy. All of these are far more important to America’s future than Obama’s past. We cannot change the past, but we can change the future direction of this country away from Obama’s dangerous agenda- if we are not distracted by wild claims and conspiracy theories.
I’ve got to agree with Jason Pye, that this sounds mostly like Root got caught doing something stupid and is now trying to backtrack like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Jason also makes another point:
The Libertarian Party at the national level is broken. It has been for some time. Whenever we gain a sliver of success we tend to do something in another area that messes it up.
Jason has a lot more experience with internal LP politics than I do, but he’s absolutely right, and it’s something I’ve seen for years now, and it really started with the internal squabbling that erupted after the 1980 Presidential campaign, which still stands as the high watermark for Libertarian candidates nationally.
It seems pretty clear to me that Root, who seems more interested in self-promotion than much of anything else based on my observations of the man, would represent another one of those mistakes.