Movie Review: America: Imagine the World Without Her

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 8 Comments »

la-la-et-0701-america-03-jpg-20140702 A still shot from one of the many pointless reenactment scenes in this soporific film.

Earlier today, since the World Cup is on a two-day break, I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie that has been relentlessly raved about by so many in the mainstream conservative media. This film by D’Souza is unmistakably one of the worst documentaries I have seen in many years—and I watch a lot of documentaries. It was dreadful.

D’Souza’s movie starts out by making you believe that he is about to deliver a monumental counterfactual history movie. From the onset, one would think that D’Souza was going to deliver a Niall Ferguson-esque look at the history of the world without America. The thesis of the documentary is supposed to be “What if America didn’t exist?” The movie did not answer this question. The movie essentially tries to answer “leftist” (read: historically accurate) claims such as: the enslavement of Africans existed and their stolen labor built the American empire, the extermination of Native Americans actually occurred, and California and Texas once belonged to Mexico. These are not controversial or disputed historical facts. Perhaps D’Souza’s documentary would be more appropriately titled Trying to Dispute Historical Facts.

D’Souza fulminates against Howard Zinn’s infamous historical work A People’s History of the United States. He points out there are many inaccuracies in the book (without ever telling us what any of those inaccuracies are). However, regardless of whatever anyone thinks about Zinn’s left-wing politics or his books, his work is inestimably better than the “scholarship” that led to this shambolic movie. America: Imagine the World Without Her packs the intellectual heft of an average troll video on YouTube. Unlike D’Souza who just tells you to hate books while using ad hominem attacks against their authors, I will tell you why D’Souza’s movie is nonsense.

D’Souza starts by pointing out the arguments that leftists make about America. He then says he is going to refute them. The problem is that he never does. His idea of refuting historical facts is by providing alternative facts that have little to no bearing on the facts that he is trying to refute. For example, to “refute” the claim that Native Americans were systematically destroyed by Christopher Columbus, he points out that Christopher Columbus predates America and was not American, ergo there is no way any of his actions can be an indictment against America. What D’Souza craftily omits to deceive his credulous audience is that Christopher Columbus is a national hero in America today. We are indoctrinated into believing the risible and fictitious history of Columbus being a great explorer who “discovered” the “New World” (despite the “New World” already having inhabitants). We still have a day devoted to Christopher Columbus. Trying to distance Christopher Columbus from America should also mean the jettisoning of Columbus Day. I doubt D’Souza would think that is a good idea, but he blithely dismisses Columbus as someone who predates America, while ignoring the unmerited god-like worship he receives in American society today. This nonsense from D’Souza is not scholarship or logical argumentation that can appeal to anybody with a triple-digit IQ. This is casuistic jingoism that appeals to unlettered rubes.

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An Honest Conservative Analysis of Affirmative Action

Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 3 Comments »

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After the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of citizens in a state to ban race preferences in college admissions, there has been much legal discussion surrounding affirmative action. However, there hasn’t been enough discussion of the sociopolitical framing of the affirmative action debate. While affirmative action was a necessity in days of yore at the very height of institutionalized discrimination, the policy presently does significantly more harm than good for black Americans. Affirmative action has been a powerful mobilizing force for white supremacist groups. In the informative book of interviews with white nationalists called Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America, Reno Wolfe, leader of the hate group National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), points out that the NAAWP was formed primarily because of affirmative action for blacks. Additionally, affirmative action has become a talking point that is used to put a condescending question mark on all the achievements of blacks. This can be seen by looking at the treatment of President Obama. White supremacists ignore the inconvenient fact that Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School; rather, they strenuously maintain that he was a beneficiary of affirmative action who did not deserve his spot in the first place. Another argument is that affirmative action leads to higher dropout rates due to academic mismatch, which would not occur if people are put in colleges and universities that best match their skills and test scores.

Opposing affirmative action is often incorrectly viewed as solely a conservative argument, but people who read widely and carefully understand that there are also non-ideological and liberal arguments for opposing affirmative action. After Thomas Sowell popularized the term ‘mismatch’ with respect to affirmative action admissions, the most recent and prominent proponents of the ‘mismatch’ argument are Richard Sander, a liberal economist and law professor, and Stuart Taylor, Jr.—also a liberal writer. More intriguingly, in her widely celebrated book on currently existing racial disparities in the criminal justice system called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, liberal law professor Michelle Alexander argues against affirmative action as a policy. She writes:

Racial justice advocates should consider, with a degree of candor that has not yet been evident, whether affirmative action—as it has been framed and defended during the past thirty years—has functioned more like a racial bribe than a tool of racial justice.

Clearly, there are many creative and valid arguments that scholars of various ideological stripes have posited in opposition to affirmative action. It is simply wrongheaded to assume that the only arguments against affirmative action come from the right side of the American political divide.

Unlike the mainstream conservatives who only oppose affirmative action when the recipients are non-white, I oppose affirmative action with no caveats about the recipients. Mainstream conservatives largely oppose affirmative action when they can make the sophistical white nationalist case that it harms whites. In point of fact, many mainstream conservatives would struggle to conceive of affirmative action in any other way than undeserving minorities taking the spots of deserving whites—except when they occasionally throw Asians into the mix to “prove their argument isn’t based on racism.” The sociopolitical debate regarding affirmative action is framed in such a way that it is ludicrously seen as a phenomenon that only benefits ethnic minorities. If one is opposed to affirmative action for reasons of equality, there are a smorgasbord of social preferences that must be addressed and eradicated. The fact that there is no uproar about many other preferences that whites have been the beneficiaries of demonstrates the tendentious framing of the affirmative action debate.

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Cliven Bundy, Racism, and Artificial Black Conservatism

Posted: April 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 10 Comments »

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It is fair to say that the mainstream conservative movement has fast become a refuge for racists who help to promote right-wing narratives. Sometimes the right even support racists for fun. Paula Deen, a registered Democrat, became an honorary conservative because she called black people racial slurs and wanted her brother to have a slave-themed wedding. George Zimmerman, also a Democrat, became an honorary conservative and a right-wing “Second Amendment” idol because he racially profiled, approached, and unnecessarily killed a young black boy. It is simply impossible to argue that, in the last three years, the mainstream conservative movement has not stepped into the territory of overt, despicable racism. That is not to say that everyone within mainstream conservatism is racist, but the comfort and succor that racists are provided on the right is simply indisputable. There are almost no prominent mainstream conservative figures with the courage to call the racists out, because they are too busy promoting the childish, idiotic, and tendentious fiction that all racists reside on the left-wing of American politics.

As I have pointed out previously, artificial black conservatives are puppets for the mainstream conservative movement, and they simply regurgitate talking points they are fed. It’s not surprising that many artificial black conservatives came to Bundy’s defense, or tried to reason with his disgusting antediluvian racial bigotry.

First, here is Bundy’s remarks (From The New York Times):

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

The reaction from serious black conservatives ought to be outrage at the racism demonstrated by Bundy. However, artificial black conservatives are more interested in keeping racists sweet in order to make sure their pockets never run out of checks, and their heads never stop receiving pats from white supremacists on the right. So rather than seriously condemn Bundy, their instinctive reaction is to sympathize with his point and call it “poorly stated” as opposed to vehemently racist. It’s ironic, then, that these black conservatives are the same people who have the temerity to accuse black people who vote Democratic of being on a political plantation—all while defending someone who wonders whether they belong on a real plantation. Who are the real slaves?

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50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: Don’t Let Partisan Frauds Rewrite History

Posted: April 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 1 Comment »

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“The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.”—Joseph A. Schumpeter

Earlier today, President Obama gave a speech at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, TX in order to mark 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Naturally, both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have chosen to proclaim themselves as heroes on civil rights, while casting the opposing side as villains. The truth, as expected, is somewhere in the middle.

While the Republican Party has a long history of passing civil rights legislation, it is also true that the mainstream conservative position on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to oppose it. This can be confirmed by looking at the position of the ideological godfather of modern mainstream conservatism, William F. Buckley, Jr. He vociferously opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 using all sorts of sophistical “conservative” arguments—the main one being the pathetic “discrimination is good in a free society” argument. To make the case, then, that the mainstream conservative position was to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just because there are a number of Republican politicians who did, is arrant casuistry. In all arguments that try to paint the mainstream conservative movement as perfect on race, you’ll see the amateurish conflation of Republican politicians with ideological conservatives. You don’t ascertain the mainstream conservative position on issues by looking at the actions of Republican politicians. You ascertain the mainstream conservative position by reading the flagship ideological publications of the mainstream conservative movement—The National Review being the most prominent. As I said in my essay, The End of Artificial Black Conservatism:

Simply pointing out that Republican politicians supported civil rights bills in the 1960s is not a refutation of the fact that many ideological thought leaders in the mainstream conservative movement did not.

Similarly, Democrats pretending as though Lyndon Baines Johnson was an anti-racist hero because he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law are delusional partisans.

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New Essay at Hip Hop Republican

Posted: March 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Outside Essays/Articles | No Comments »

Can Black Conservatives Support Stop-and-Frisk?

By Chidike Okeem

Stop-and-frisk is perhaps one of the most controversial issues in American policing today. The fundamental basis for the controversy regarding stop-and-frisk is the concept of racial profiling. There are two schools of thought in defining the term ‘racial profiling’: Race-incorporated profiling and race-reliant profiling. Race-incorporated profiling is the use of race as one of many factors while making law enforcement decisions. By contrast, race-reliant profiling is the reliance on race as the principal and essential basis upon which law enforcement decisions are made.

READ FULL ESSAY HERE!