Rebirth of Reason


Machan's Musings - Race Card Out, Class Card In!
by Tibor R. Machan

Awhile back Bill Cosby made news with chiding black parents for not being responsible enough with their kidsí education. Stop buying them huge speakers, start buying them books. This made sense because it does appear that when one is surrounded with even a modest library in oneís youth, oneís more likely than not to get used to books, even read some of them, without parents having to badger one about this. Worked in my youth - I was never told to read, unlike I was constantly forced to do sports - but the apartment where we lived had a substantial library. I fell in love with the books but rebelled against the relentless push to be athletic. While one swallow does not a springtime make, this is more than just one case - I have found my own and most other children responding much better to gentle or subtle than to harsh or fierce urgings.
Alas, the idea that there is anything poor blacks could do other than what they are actually doing is anathema to modern liberals. They love the idea that the poor, black or white or whatever, are simply helpless and in desperate need not of mustering initiative but, you guessed it, government programs. So Mr. Cosby had to be silenced..
Ah, but Mr. Cosby is black, so charging him with the vice of racism would not work too well. It could carry no punch with which to silence what he suggested, namely, that black parents can and ought to straighten up their parental acts. Had his words been spoken by some prominent white commentator, that ploy would still have been appealing to the modern liberal establishment. Call the messenger a racist and thus squash the truth about what parents can and should do for their kids.
But what to do now, when a prominent black figure delivers this piece of sensible insight? How can it be squelched, neutralized so we can keep going to government to answers?
Come to the rescue The New York Times, via the ďEditorial Observer,Ē and one Brent Staples (5/29/05). The problem with Bill Cosby isnít that he is white - no, itís that he belongs to the upper black classes. The class card, thus, takes the place of the race card.
Mind you ever since the 19th century, the class card has been a potent weapon by those who loved the state, who would have government resurrected to its previously prominent place of the ruler and the caretaker of the realm. That used to be the role of benevolent monarchs - or so the story was told to rationalize the monarchy. But monarchs had become discredited by too obviously drifting toward despotism, with not much benevolence in what they did as the top-down rulers of countries. So the new idea was that all the oppression perpetrated by the upper classes against the lower classes didnít simply require busting up the entrenched, legally protected class system. No, instead it became fashionable to promote the notion that some kind of benevolent peopleís government could bring about the process of equalization.
That this simply made that government grossly unequal and perpetuated the institution of a ruling class - this time consisting of politicians and bureaucrats - didnít phase the advocates. After all, they were going to be the ones who made up this new class. They were going to be the intelligentsia in service of the people, via the state.
Once again this reactionary nonsense is dished out for us in The Times that hopes our envy of the well-off will bring us on board and get us to join in the class warfare. Bill Cosby, who clearly cannot be charged with being a racist, can now be dismissed because he is part of the upper black class and that, of course, fixes his mind in a way that isnít worth any of our attention. And the class-card gambit may help continue the notion that the poor, especially the black poor, cannot fend for themselves, cannot become better parents, cannot help with the improvement of the childrenís future. So, goes the refrain, ďWe need the government, after all.Ē
Letís not fall for this new trick, please. And let us not accept the insulting notion about poor blacks but heed Mr. Cosbyís idea that black folks - any folks - can and ought to do something about what ails them.
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