The New Reactionaries
The UAW and the Big Three—Forever
And the economy? We know statism, whether the Soviet and Chinese brand or the softer European socialist sort, did not work. And as the rest of the world flees from state-controlled and command economies, we in America look back fondly toward them, as if the U.S could be run perpetually in peacetime as it was for four years during World War II or that we could have an endless 100 Days of the first three months of FDR. We can make the unionized Postal Service work (as if there is no FedEx, email, or text messaging) like GM or, better yet, turn a doctor's visit into a brush with the TSA. When the president scoffs at capitalism with “we’ve tried that,” one wonders whether he means “yes, we did and that’s why the U.S. per capita income and per capita GDP are among the highest in the world, and the poor have appurtenances, housing, and 'stuff' unmatched by the middle classes in most countries abroad.” In reactionary fashion, we measure poverty only in terms of relative worth, never by an absolute standard, as if Americans do not have access to televisions, hot water, appliances, and cell phones and do not suffer more from obesity than malnutrition. Our new regressive template for the economy dates from about 1950, when our grandfathers in the AFL-CIO and UAW worked in big unionized factories to supply a war-torn world with almost everything, at a time when China, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia had been flattened and Taiwan and South Korea did not exist as manufacturers. Solyndra and the Volt are to be like Ford circa 1946: assembly lines buzzing with endless solar panels and cars, built by 100-new-rules-a-day unions, without much competition, and products all backordered by a war-wearied and materially deprived world.
Freedom Riding Forever
On matters racial, we are endlessly back in the 1960s with more Bull Connors and Lester Maddoxes, with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson fighting them on Freedom Marches, not a half-century distant from the “I have a dream speech,” in a troubled era where over 90% of African-Americans who die violently at the hands of another are not lynched, but shot by other African-Americans, and where blacks are 30-40 times more likely to commit some sort of violent crime against whites than vice versa. Without more of the Great Society, there is always said to be the threat of another "resurrection" like Watts, not periodic flash mobbing to rip off iPhones and iPads. In the world of Eric Holder, affirmative action is yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as if we are Old Confederates who measure non-white lineage by a 1/16 drop standard, as if blond Elizabeth Warren, candidate for senator in Massachusetts and one-percenter Harvard professor, really is a “native-American” as she and Harvard claimed for purposes of minority status. In the real world, the problem is not the absence of civil rights, but an absence of courage to discuss the causes of racial disparities in categories beyond income, from rates of illegitimacy to crime. For the new regressives, someone like John Foster Dulles, the old white guy, is still secretary of state, rather than the truth that a white male has not held the office in over fifteen years. We live in a suspended animation world of To Kill a Mockingbird where the Duke Lacrosse players are still guilty by the fact of their association with a black stripper, Trayvon Martin is a martyred hero (and even if a court proves it is not so, he still will be), and the members of the Black Caucus are given exemptions to utter racist and inflammatory rhetoric, given the burdens they shoulder of a segregated society peopled by George Wallaces and Strom Thurmonds everywhere.
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