Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Something to Ponder

Barack Obama, still fresh from his victory in Iowa last week and confident of another in New Hampshire tonight, has as his signature campaign theme the promise to "end the division" in America. Notice the irony: The scale of his Iowa victory, in a state that's 94% white, is perhaps the clearest indication so far that the division Mr. Obama promises to end has largely been put to rest.

Meanwhile, in Kenya last week a mob surrounded a church in which, according to an Associated Press report, "hundreds of terrified people had taken refuge." The church was put to flame, while the mob used machetes, Hutu-style, to hack to death whoever tried to escape. The killers in this case were of the Luo tribe, their victims were of the Kikuyu, and the issue over which they are bleeding is their own presidential election.

When foreigners assail Americans for being naive, it is often on account of contrasts like these. A nation in which the poor are defined by an income level that in most countries would make them prosperous is a nation that has all but forgotten the true meaning of poverty. A nation in which obesity is largely a problem of the poor (and anorexia of the upper-middle class) does not understand the word "hunger." A nation in which the most celebrated recent cases of racism, at Duke University or in Jena, La., are wholly or mostly contrived is not a racist nation. A nation in which our "division" is defined by the vitriol of Ann Coulter or James Carville is not a truly divided one--at least while Mr. Carville is married to Republican operative Mary Matalin and Ms. Coulter is romantically linked with New York City Democrat Andrew Stein.

(more here)


Blogger Miri said...

That's nice. But so what?

January 09, 2008 11:34 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


January 10, 2008 7:14 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

Excellent post.

The reason we're told these things which aren't true is not because they might be or anyone is afraid of them becoming that way, but that when you believe they are, you'll be more willing to sell your self-determination to other people in return for them taking care of the supposed problem. The people you sell to: not coincidentally the same people who convinced you of the problem.

If Orkin told you there was a major bug infestation in your house needing immediate attention you'd say no way, what are you smoking. You can see whether it is true or not. These social issues people sell to us... we don't know outside our little personal world and we take them at face value. And we've heard of minor things here and there and we're a naturally dubious and cynical species in many respects to we extrapolate in our heads and assume it is so elsewhere we weren't.

The point of selling you the idea of a massive underclass is to one, create that underclass to some extent as a prop via the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy, and two, to get you to vote for people who will tax you and claim it's for welfare. In reality, the majority of your taxes don't go to help anyone, and what is earmarked for welfare... maybe 10% goes to the recipients. The rest is paychecks for administrators, payments to people to invent studies to justify the system, etc.

If we gave all welfare money directly and equally divided to those who qualify, in one year each man, woman, and child would receive a cash income far exceeding most middle class people. Clearly, they're not getting any such thing.

Sorry to splurge on the reply but you get the picture. People telling you the sky is falling usually want to sell you a remedy for the crisis that involves your freedom and money.

January 10, 2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


I am so disillusioned with politics, I don't even know where to begin...

January 10, 2008 1:49 PM  

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