Free Markets, Free People

Walter Williams

More blacks running as Republicans

More blacks are running for Congress as Republicans this year than at any time since Reconstruction.  32 in fact.  And, as the article notes, these aren’t the “fringy” types , but experienced legislators or military veterans, etc.   Almost all of them attribute their desire and possibility of success to the fact that Barack Obama was elected president:

Princella Smith, who is running for an open seat in Arkansas, said she viewed the president’s victory through both the lens of history and partisan politics. “Aside from the fact that I disagree fundamentally with all his views, I am proud of my nation for proving that we have the ability to do something like that,” Ms. Smith said.

Democrats, of course, are skeptical:

But Democrats and other political experts express skepticism about black Republicans’ chances in November. “In 1994 and 2000, there were 24 black G.O.P. nominees,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic political strategist who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign and who is black. “And you didn’t see many of them win their elections.”

Tavis Smiley, a prominent black talk show host who has repeatedly criticized Republicans for not doing more to court black voters, said, “It’s worth remembering that the last time it was declared the ‘Year of the Black Republican,’ it fizzled out.”

And of course there’s the little problem of race – not necessarily from the right as Democrats would like to portray, but among blacks themselves. Walter Williams has a few words to say about that:

What about blacks who cherish liberty and limited government and joined in the Tea Party movement, or blacks who are members of organizations such as the Lincoln Institute, Frederick Douglass Foundation and Project 21? They’ve been maligned as Oreos, Uncle Toms and traitors to their race. To make such a charge borders on stupidity, possibly racism.

After all, when President Reagan disagreed with Tip O’Neill, did either charge the other with being a traitor to his race? Then why is it deemed traitorous when one black disagrees with another, unless you think that all blacks must think alike?

What about these candidates relationship with Tea Parties? Again race is brought into the question:

Many of the candidates are trying to align themselves with the Tea Partiers, insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown. Videos taken at some Tea Party rallies show some participants holding up signs with racially inflammatory language.

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 25 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters think that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, compared with 11 percent of the general public.

The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,” said Mr. West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. “There is no violence or racism there.”

However, the media will continue to try to make them “racist” events despite all evidence to the contrary.

The Obama election was signficiant in many ways, but one of the ways least anticipated was seeing conservative blacks empowered to run as such and be considered serious main-stream candidates. It also demonstrates that the black vote is maturing and becoming both more sophisticated and a more fractured vote – no longer a single bloc that will unquestionably vote for the candidate with a “D” by their name. Again, Walter Williams points out that if any group ought to be distrustful of government and want a smaller and less intrusive one, it should be blacks:

Having recently reached 74 years of age, if one were to ask me what’s my greatest disappointment in life, a top contender would surely be the level of misunderstanding, perhaps contempt, that black Americans have for the principles of personal liberty and their abiding faith in government.

Contempt or misunderstanding of the principles of personal liberty and faith in government by no means make blacks unique among Americans. But the unique history of black Americans should make us, above all other Americans, most suspicious of any encroachment on personal liberty and most distrustful of government.

[…]

The most serious injustices suffered by blacks came at the hands of government, at different levels, with its failure to protect personal liberty. Slavery was only the most egregious example of that failure.

Williams points out that government aided and abetted slavery – the Fugitive Slave act of 1850, Dred Scott, Jim Crow Laws, and Plessy v. Ferguson as only the most egregious examples. But, as he further notes, perhaps the biggest and most damaging government failure has been the public schooling blacks have been delivered which, for the most part, has failed to deliver on its promise for decades.

Then there’s the grossly fraudulent education delivered by the government schools that serve most black communities. The average black high school senior has a sixth- or seventh-grade achievement level, and most of those who manage to graduate have what’s no less than a fraudulent diploma, one that certifies a 12th-grade level of achievement when in fact the youngster might not have half that.

If the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan wanted to sabotage black academic excellence, he could not find a more effective means to do so than the government school system in most cities.

This new crop of black political hopefuls represent a change in thinking that black voters should welcome and support. They represent an awakening and a rejection of the situation that past bloc support of blacks has enabled. They represent a group which are saying no to the Democratic plantation and the “government is the answer” crowd. They’re pushing self-reliance and individual liberty over dependence. And let’s face it – that’s the way our of poverty or a disadvantaged situation – not depending on nameless and faceless bureaucrats to lift you out or change your circumstances.

So I see this as an important and welcome change among black voters. Whereas Barack Obama’s election did indeed signal the fact that America can and would look beyond skin color for the highest office in the land, the election of a number of black GOP candidates this year would be similarly significant and help shatter a very carefully crafted and decades old myth about the GOP.

~McQ

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The “right” to health care

One of the things I most admire about Walter Williams is his ability to succinctly state a point. In this case the point is about the false assertion that health care is a “right”. The primary argument against such a “right”:

True rights, such as those in our Constitution, or those considered to be natural or human rights, exist simultaneously among people. That means exercise of a right by one person does not diminish those held by another. In other words, my rights to speech or travel impose no obligations on another except those of non-interference. If we apply ideas behind rights to health care to my rights to speech or travel, my free speech rights would require government-imposed obligations on others to provide me with an auditorium, television studio or radio station. My right to travel freely would require government-imposed obligations on others to provide me with airfare and hotel accommodations.

This is the argument that the left tries to wave away. They do so on various grounds. “Well, it’s the humane thing to do”. Or, “we’re a better society than one which lets people go uninsured”. Or, ‘we owe it to the less fortunate”. Always the imperial “we” in which they decide to force an obligation on others using the power of government. And it all stems from a basic misunderstanding of “rights”.

No “right” as defined by the Constitution (a statement of law) or Declaration of Independence (a statement of philosophy undergirding our country’s law) impose obligations on others for their exercise. What they do impose is a responsibility of non-interference which allows others to exercise their rights. But, as Williams points out, the “right” to health care does impose an obigation on others for that person to exercise their “right”:

Say a person, let’s call him Harry, suffers from diabetes and he has no means to pay a laboratory for blood work, a doctor for treatment and a pharmacy for medication. Does Harry have a right to XYZ lab’s and Dr. Jones’ services and a prescription from a pharmacist? And, if those services are not provided without charge, should Harry be able to call for criminal sanctions against those persons for violating his rights to health care?

You say, “Williams, that would come very close to slavery if one person had the right to force someone to serve him without pay.” You’re right. Suppose instead of Harry being able to force a lab, doctor and pharmacy to provide services without pay, Congress uses its taxing power to take a couple of hundred dollars out of the paycheck of some American to give to Harry so that he could pay the lab, doctor and pharmacist. Would there be any difference in principle, namely forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another? There would be one important strategic difference, that of concealment. Most Americans, I would hope, would be offended by the notion of directly and visibly forcing one person to serve the purposes of another. Congress’ use of the tax system to invisibly accomplish the same end is more palatable to the average American.

Disguising it doesn’t change the fact that an obligation is being forced on others for the exercise the “right” of health care. The point, of course, is calling something a “right” doesn’t make it a “right” simply because one wishes it to be – not if you understand what a right is and what it means. Instead of a “right” it should be called what it is – a coerced obligation imposed by government. Calling it a “right” is simply an artifice used to try to make the coercive use of force more palitable.

~McQ

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