Sunday, May 29, 2005

Column on Race vs. Class Card

Race Card Out, Class Card In!

Tibor R. Machan

A while back Bill Cosby made news with chiding black parents for not
being responsible enough with their kids? 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 one?s youth,
one?s 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 placated.

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 ?Editorial Observer,? one
Brent Staples (5/29/05). The problem with Bill Cosby isn?t that he is
white?no, it?s 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
didn?t simply require busting up the entrenched, legally protected class
system. No, instead it became fashionable to promote the notion that some
kind of benevolent people?s government could bring about the process of

That this simply made that government grossly unequal and perpetuated the
institution of a ruling class?this time consisting of politicians and
bureaucrats?didn?t 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 isn?t 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 children?s
future. So, goes the refrain, ?We need the government, after all.?

Let?s not fall for this new trick, please. And let us not accept the
insulting notion about poor blacks but heed Mr. Cosby?s idea that black
folks?any folks?can and ought to do something about what ails them.

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