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Works and Days

On the Horizon

December 27th, 2009 - 11:59 am

1) It is not “odd” for any college professor to conclude that campuses operate in large part on the basis of race/class/gender politics. Just pick up a course catalogue, review the career of a fraud like Ward Churchill or the Duke rape case, and read some memos from campus administrators. Sorry, there is really no other conclusion to draw about current campus politics.

2) After quoting me on how race, not salary, predicates assumed victimhood, Yglesias claims “this, according to Hanson, is the essence of “Obamaism,” a view that can be summed up by the idea that “Michelle Obama could make $300,000 and she will always be more a victim than the Appalachian coal miner who earns $30,000, by virtue of her race and gender.”

Here Yglesias is simply disingenuous and deliberately falsifying. I did not write “this is the essence of Obamism.”

Instead I listed three catalysts that might explain his present agenda: one, historical sympathy with progressive statism; two, multiculturalism (“But there is another element to Barack Obama besides progressive statism”); and three, rough-and-tumble Chicago politics. Yglesias simply took the second argument, claimed that it was the entire argument, distorted it, and played the race card—a tactic we will increasingly witness in 2010 as Obama stays below 50% in the approval ratings.

3) I wrote not a word about health care, the basis for Yglesias apparent argument that I am racialized. Rather, in section two, I explained why the affluent Obamas have for decades had opportunity to appeal to past victimization for redress, and that such distinctions no longer really apply in a world where many other factors other than race determine salary and status.

My point was not to demonize them, but simply to show that racial preferences, gender preferences or supposed class preferences do not necessarily explain poverty or real need for redress. Michelle Obama herself has written (cf. her senior thesis) and, recently in 2008, spoken about her sense of unfairness at an elite Princeton. And she has repeatedly evoked the ‘raising the bar’ metaphor for her own travails, despite her high salary, and accoutrements of wealth.

After Obama’s own comments about rural Pennsylvanians, there is no need to review my point that the affluent like the Obamas see themselves in ways quite differently from the rural poor who cannot claim racial or gender compensation.

4) Yglesias ends with the now accustomed race card:

“Hanson’s heavily racialized view of what’s happening in American politics seems about 99.9 percent projection. And yet it’s apparently a popular one on the right.

Let me get this straight: one writes that Obama’s foreign policy, health care plan, appointments, rhetoric, and fiscal policy reflect 1) a traditional statist approach to politics; 2) the multiculturalism found in our elite universities; 3) a tough Chicago way of business—and therefore one is a racialist (”heavily racialized view”).

A personal note: as for Yglesias’s flippant “apparently a popular one on the right”–I have lived most of my life outside of Selma, a rather poor community, somewhere between 70-80% Hispanic, with a large population of illegal aliens, many of whom are my immediate neighbors.

My three children went to the public schools. Except for a weekly commute to Palo Alto, I don’t see or deal much with those outside of Selma. As for the fairness of health care, the last time I went into the local emergency room for a broken arm, everyone there was receiving good care regardless of income (I was the only one of about 40 with health insurance who was speaking English). Outside of treatment for emergencies: In the local area, I have had both oral and kidney surgery the last four years, and another procedure scheduled this month:  the majority of patients I see in the specialists’ offices and at the lab are the non-white, the apparent non-wealthy, and often the non-English speaking.

I can attest that the bills for surgery and lab work are substantial, so I assume that before Obama arrived on the scene to alter the protocols of 1/8th of the US economy, there was good medical care afforded the poor, the non-English speaking, and in many cases the non-citizen (somewhere around $25 billion was sent to Mexico this past year in remittances, so there is such a thing perhaps as discretionary income not applied first to health care insurance costs in the US). I have had long hospitalizations in the past abroad as well as surgery; my impression is that the American medical system provides better care for its indigent than most countries afford their wealthy.

There are plenty of ways to improve our system (private health care accounts, tort reform, the infusion of cash payments, more competition, incentives for fitness, a safety-net for the poorest, public awareness to use discretionary income to purchase catastrophic health care plans, etc.), but the present socialization of the system in not the answer—as the stealth and corruption surrounding the bill’s passage attest.

On a final note, I invite, in sincere fashion, Mr. Yglesias to visit my farm, stay a bit, tour the environs and compare it to his own neighborhood and past surroundings. We can visit various clinics, emergency rooms, and private doctor offices that I use, and  through autopsy adjudicate the level of medical care for the poorer in attendance.

Such a strange phenomenon—as Obama’s polls dive, and the voters begin to see that the centrist moderate, whom they thought in 2008 that they were voting for, is in truth an ideologue, his supporters are reduced to calling critics “racialists.” That is the blueprint for 2010.

A final, final note: As a rule, I believe in unfettered free speech, and so don’t monitor the comment sections. I welcome both those who agree, and, as is often the case, vehemently disagree, to post what they want. But the site coordinator cannot always keep up with the volume to ensure its civility. So please, try to avoid slurs, extreme language, racist epithets, and false accusations of racism, whether from left or right. Again, thank you for the well-informed postings and have a Happy New Year!

And let us pray for a 2010 better than 2009.

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