Change You Can’t Believe In

     We’re 2 years into the Presidency of Obama. That’s cool and all, but I thought that when we elected the nation’s FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT that things would be slightly different now. Things are pretty much the same. It’s like Bush never left office. I’m not entirely blaming the president. I know that there’s a bit to be upset about, and there are still more than a few people who think that he shouldn’t be in the office at all — but my problem, for the record, has more to do with the politics than my problem has to do with the president himself. I have a real bug up my keister when it comes to the political Left.
     Let’s be straight here, I don’t have a problem with the run-of-the-mill Joe or Jane liberal; afterall, I still call myself a Liberal. Unapologetically so. My beef, if you will, is with a smaller segment on the Left side of the political spectrum. They tend to call themselves “progressives”. I remember hearing Marilyn Manson talking about his experiences on the Ozzfest tour. He said that sometimes dealing with goth and metal fans was worse than dealing with people who weren’t into the metal scene. The problem was dogma. If you’re on the Ozzfest tour, there’s a certain aesthetic that you’re supposed to have. The music is supposed to sound like this or that… whatever set of rules had been approved by real metal fans. If you in any way deviate from that set of characteristics, you won’t get a warm welcome.
     Same goes for politics. If you say that your politics are on the Left, out come the referees with their rule books ad scorecards ready to tally your score. They have to see if your politics are in line with the pre-approved philosophy of what a Leftie is supposed to think (like). Since I like to think that I am a Liberal, I fancy the idea that I use my sense of reason to independently arrive at my own point of view. This is the way that I think that most Liberals think. This is the genesis of the problem.
See, when you come out to any group of supposed like-minded people, those people tend to get the feeling that they own you. If you’re hanging out with fellow Liberals and you don’t read Noam Chomsky, or you’re not with the save Darfur crowd, or that you’re having second thoughts about this whole global warming thing, you’re likely signing your own ideological death warrant. You probably won’t be invited to the next PDA rally. I’ve heard many Liberals say that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter have turned Lberal into a 4-letter word, but I say that the Left has done plenty of tarnishing on its own. You don’t gain too many fans to your point of view when one of your idols refers to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks as “mini Eichmanns”. It doesn’t help you if the perception of your point of view isn’t “America first”, but “blame America first”.
      Look, I’m not a vegan. I’m pro death penalty. I’m for tighter borders and I’m a capitalist. Sometimes saying these things around my fellow Liberals isn’t a good idea. To some, my well-reasoned choices are a sign that I’m not a Liberal, but a neo-con knuckledragger. But I think this is exactly what Marilyn Manson was getting at. You can come up with your own take on what you believe — you can be as big a fan of Ozzy as anyone else out there, but because you’ve decided to go your own way you don’t belong. Liberals can bitch and moan about how much Conservatives have smeared them but you can’t complain when there are more than a few of you who mantain the Americans are nothing more than greedy, fat, uncultured, Walmart-trolling idiots. Portentious fingerwagging does not gain fans. You can’t win friends and influence Republicans if the same workers of the world you’re urging to unite are the same workers you’re saying are fat and stupid and the reason why things have gone wrong in the developing world.
      I’m not saying that all Liberals are always wrong. I like Thom Hartmann, and Jim Hightower. I listen to Ed Schutz and Stephanie Miller. I think that Dennis Kuchnich and Bernie Sanders are probably the only two members of Congress who are worth a damn. I lamented when Russ Feingold was unelected, but for pete’s sakes, you gotta realize that Liberals absolutely do not have to think alike! I hear Lefties say that they’re all into tolerance and diversity until your ideas diverge from theirs. I was talking to an Amy Goodman listener some time ago, and I said that I highly suspect that Mumia is in fact guilty of murdering the police officer (for which he was sentenced to death row). You would have thought that I had confessed to personally killing Anne Frank. I tried to explain that I thought that, even if he did do it, the crime did not warrant the death penalty, but the fact that I had insinuated the possibility the Mumia had committed murder was enough to end the conversation right then and there.
     I understand that to have a particular ideology you have to have some beliefs that adhere to a certain set of principles. But I also understand that I don’t have say that I’m into Arundhati Roy or yoga and recycling to prove to someone that I am what I say that I am. Although I am kinda glad that Olbermann left MSNBC.

Sucks To Be You

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt: 19:24)
“Don’t give me that dogoody good bullshit” Pink Floyd, “Money”.
Despite my Liberal inclinations and my Leftist fantacies, I am painfully aware of this one thing: THE UNITED STATES IS A CAPITALIST COUNTRY. No, really, I get it. It is. We love money here. And one of the great things about being here is the fact that there are opportunities to make money. Lots of money. Oprah money.
Although I took econ in high school, and I remember something about the objective in our culture is to “make money”, I don’t remember learning very much beyond that point, nor do I remember learning much about the creator of capitalism, the Scottish economist, Adam Smith.
Honestly, I didn’t read Smith until I got to college — in a philosophy class.
I also know that I am not the only American who has had this experience.
What I had learned in school is that being a capitalist means that, if I made a shitload of money and other people didn’t, that the appropriate response to their misfortune is “sucks to be you!”. I had plenty of teachers on this kind of capitalism, mind you. I learned from the media that “greed is good”, and that if I made a whole lot of money that I could get on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous ( I guess it’s getting on something like Real Housewives now). I learned that pursuing one’s interests above all is not only the key to success, but the only truly American way to do it.
Funny how sometimes you learn that you didn’t know what you thought you knew when you actually read something.
Like the American Founders, Smith was a product of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment emphasized science and reason, which was meant to counter the prevailing belief in stuff like superstition and the diving right of kings — stuff that told people that wherever they found themselves was their lot in life, and that if you were born poor, you were consigned by God to be poor. The Enlightenment threw all those old ideas out and relpaced them with new ideas like, any one can be as rich as a king (and if you really know how to play the game, even richer). The idea was that man could improve on himself. He could be inventive and that by using the skills of an entrepreneur, he could make himself rich. This sounds ok so far. But here’s the deal…
The Enlightenment stressed reason as it’s primary motivator. That is, reason was vaulted as paramount among the virtues. So far so good. But, this thinking led to the idea that there are some people who just can’t ( for some reason or another) reason like other people. And if this is so, there must be some sort of explanation. This of course led to the idea that some people were naturally inclined to think better, and since thinking was a virtue and virtues are a sign of excellence, people who were better thinkers were not only better thinkers, but better people. This notion got a big help from Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which was, by way of the likes of folks like Herbert Spencer, turned from the natural world, to the social world. So, societies that were better thinkers were better societies. Those better societies were superior to other less-thinking societies. So, if you couldn’t think, using Darwin’s theory (as applied to people) you had inherited a set of bad genes. Not just you, mind you, but your entire culture had done so. And people who are stupid don’t succeed, and if you don’t succeed, you can’t get rich. So, if you’re poor, your biology made you poor. You’re not “fit” as Spencer would say.
This ethic was best expressed by Dicken’s Ebeneezer Scrooge. When Scrooge is asked if he will give to charity, he says he is not in the business of making idle people merry and that the poor will have to do with what they have . When Scrooge is told that thre poor will die if they do not get help, he says (rather famously) that they had better get to it and “decrease the surplus population”. Scrooge is merely repeating the capitalism-meets-Darwinism vibe of the latter half of the 19th century. He believes that not only are the poor to blame for their condition, but that they are taking up room and worse yet, sponging off of hard working capitalists like himself.
It’s by no mistake that we are supposed to be outraged by Scrooge’s comment. What he says isn’t only cruel, it’s not capitalist philosophy, either.
Although Smith wrote that self-interest is the prime motivator for acting in the market, he believed that men would automatically also benefit the whole. Men, Smith believed, had an intuitive sense to work toward the common good. In benefitting ourselves, we also benefit society as a whole. Smith writes that no society can flourish if a part of its people are poor and miserable. Smith writes that with the improvement of the “lower ranks” of society, the entire society is likewise improved. He says that we should not think of tis as troublesome but as an advantage. The pursuit of capital is not a free-for-all, nor should wealth be gained while the greater population suffers. Business, Smith observes, is not to go unregulated. Smith wrote that business should be conducted as if all transactions were conducted under the watch of an “impartial spectator”. Smith wrote that the spectator is, in reality, the watchful eye of the individual over his own actions (this is tied to the oft mentioned idea of the “invisible hand”. The supposedly invisible market forces that influence the behavior of capitalists and capitalism). However, Smith recognized that actual government regulation of markets is necessary to ensure that business is conducted in a manner that does not harm the greater society.
Smith knew that, given the ability to collect large sums of personal wealth, greed can impede one’s ability to regulate what one consumes. That is, Smith recognized the fact that rich people tend to be greedy and will consume more than their fair share of resources. We need regulation to ” restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections…”. Smith wrote that we need regulation to make” nearly the same distribution of the necessities of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among its inhabitants”. For Smith, unlike what we hear in the popular discourse, being a capitalist didn’t mean that we should, or even that we have the right to allow others to fall by the wayside while others clearly make and consume more than they will ever need.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that Smith was nearer to Socialism than he is to the “capitalism” that we practice here in the U.S. I don’t think he’d be a fan of any sort of socialistic distribution of wealth scheme. What I think that Smith is saying is that when we value money over other people, we are bound to get into trouble. That trouble, unfortunately, tends to affect more than just the handfull of greedy people who may have thought that they can, or should get more than everyone else.
You don’t have to watch TV for long to see that unobstructed greed isn’t just wrong in some sort of abstract, moral sense. It’s wrong in that people die and nations are brought to the brink of collapse when we think of capitalism as a “take what you can when you can” (that’s a line from The Secret Of NIHM) way of running markets. Adam Smith wanted us to have the opportunity to get rich, but he wanted us to be cautious about what we may put on the line in our pursuit as well.
I’ll end here with another Smith quote,
“People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”.
Gee, it’s not like that’s happened recently.

The Trouble With Democrats

President Obama is supposed to address the nation tonight about “health care reform”. I cannot say quickly enough that I do not care. I used to be all jazzed up for the prez. I used to be for the Democrats in general, as I was and still am an unapologetic Liberal. I started to not care right around the time that Al Franken was finally seated as the senator from Minnesota. I think if I hadn’t been in a state of I-don’t-care-dom, I would have been more upset when Senator Kennedy passed away (you know what’s kind of odd? Kennedy was in the senate longer than any of his brothers had lived. Food for thought). The Dems have the White House (which has made watching Glenn Beck all the more interesting), and both houses of congress. They say that there are more registered Democrats than Republicans nationwide. So why do I feel like I’m part of a loser party? I’ve noticed that even when the Republicans lose, they win. Even when they’ve been soundly trounced, they absolutely will not admit defeat. It’s kind of like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He’s there, with his arms and legs cut off, but he’s still talkin’ smack to Arthur. He won’t admit that he’s been defeated, even when it’s clear that he can’t fight. He believes that he can win — and in a way, he does. The idea being that so long as you don’t admit that you’ve lost, you haven’t. Kind of like our strategy in Afghanistan. The strategy of non-admission is also a Repbllican strategy — and an effective one at that. The idea to being successful, politically, even when you’re on the losing end of the debate, is to “frame” the argument. You may have the lousiest argumen, but as long as it’s taken up on your terms, you’re halfway to winning the debate. Framing sets the tone. It says what language that we’re going to use and how. Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, (and author of Propaganda!, Crystalizing Public Opinion, and The Engineering of Consent), said, “You have to know your public and figure out how to make it respond”. Everything, Bernays and his brethren believed, is a matter of public relations, whether the poor folk out there know it or not. Bernays and his PR buddies invented the miracle of spin. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, used his uncle’s methods of psychoanalysis (that all human action was governed by unconscious desires) to sway the public’s tastes and opinions. Here’s a little on how Bernays thought: He believed that the public was a “herd to be led”, and that “those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country”. Bernays believed that the crowd (that’s you and me) isn’t ruled by reason, but by the spinal cord. People, Bernays believed, are moved by appeals to the emotions, and not by rational arguments. Bernays believed that people were like herds of animals and therefore most responsive to leadership (that leadership, of course, that specializes in manipulation of the people’s emotions). A perfect example of Bernaysian thinking is “The Mindmaker Song” from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. No Kidding. Of course, the most successful spin artist never admits that he is spinning (which is why Bill O’Reilly calls his show a “No spin zone”). A true bullshitter calls himself a straight-talker, who is going to tell it like it is, because he knows that his audience will stand for nothing less than the truth. The Republicans have become especially good at pulling this off. Strangely, the Democrats have not. Democrats, unfortunately, seem to come off as a bunch of Barton Finks when they attempt this strategy. That is, they come off as fakers. Although Obama won the election and the Democrats have both houses, when polled, this country tends to trend to the center, if not towards the Right. We’re a fairly conservative people. They say that Reagan appealed to Democrats during the 1980 presidential campaign by appealing to values instead of issues. That is, Reagan used appeals to the spinal cord rather than to the intellect to win against Jimmy Carter. Reagan appealed to the hard-workin’ everyman, the blue-collar workers and the regular housewives of America. These people were the “silent majority” that Nixon courted when he was president. The majority of Americans who were plain folk who believed in down-home values and the simple life. They weren’t a part of the, as the Conservative Club for Growth said of Howard Dean in 2004, “tax-hiking, government expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show”. Reagan’s Democrats were the people forced to accept Affirmative Action giving their jobs away. They were forced to pay for welfare queens, and to support gay rights, and white, heterosexual, male-hating feminists who wanted to promote abortion and an anti-Christian agenda. They were forced to accept God-hating atheists, tree huggers, bleeding-heart liberals, freedom-hating socialists of all stripes, activist judges, bureaucrats, overpaid government workers, illegal aliens, and unions. See how I framed that? How can you possibly carry on a sensible debate with anyone who says you’re a man-hating anti-American socialist, who wants to open the borders and let anyone from anywhere come in and destroy this great land, what’s left of America? It doesn’t matter if you have a sensible plan for actually solving any problem ( a weak economy, rising crime, illiteracy, etc), if you lack the proper values, your argument is dead in the water. Values matter most. Reagan, and every Republican since, is a warrior in the “culture war”. It’s those who love God and country against all who wish to destroy this great union. They must defend family values (which are never quite defined — I suppose for fear that many Republicans will be descovered as having violated them) against the culture-destroying influences of multiculturalism, diversity, and political correctness. The issues don’t matter because no matter the issue, people who lack American values will always undermine liberty and democracy. Try as they might to stick to the issues, Democrats will always lose out. First, these issues are boring when you discuss them in terms of numbers and formal, logically sound arguments. Second, Republicans are not at all squeemish about wringing the arms of anyone who strays from the party line. They will betray their own. The Democrats, because they do things like thinking, are often subject to things like forgiveness and the ‘let’s give the guy a chance’ way of thinking (which explains why Dems have been so nice about Joe Libermann).To get a good hear of what I mean, listen to Democracy Now!, then listen to Laura Ingraham. It won’t take long to tell the difference. It seems that the Democrats have perfected a losing strategy. And this is the strategy: Democrats try to give reasons for what and why they believe. By reasons, I mean they attempt to give legitimate, rational, perhaps logically valid reasons for taking up or rejecting any position or point of view. This fatal flaw is rooted in the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Back in the 18th century or so, some dudes thought it would be really nifty to drop all that medieval thinking and actually use reason to discover things like truth and such. Kant said that the motto of the age should be “dare to know”. This is the beginning of the problem — knowing things, and encouraging other people to “know” things. All that knowing requires (all the epistemologists speak up) Truth. Truth is a necessary condition for knowledge. This is what the Dems do, they appeal to truth. The idea is, that given the right education (information or methodology for finding knowledge), a person would “arrive” at truth. They will decide wisely because they are thinking rationally. This is where they screwed up major. Allow me to demonstrate: the enlightened Liberal comes up with an argument somewhat like this: there are some premises, one of which will say something like, ” people are reasonable”. This will lead to a conclusion which will say something like, “therefore, people will make good judgments”. But there’s something wrong with this argument. Run the reductio! The problem premise is the mone I just named, that is, the assumption that people are reasonable. People aren’t. In fact,people tend to be highly irrational (it’s true, I looked it up). People often rationalize what they are doing, but are often highly irrational in what they do. By running the reductio, we’re supposed to find the bad premise that forces us to doubt, if not throw out whether our argument is true. The bad premise leads us to conclude something that isn’t true. But the Republicans don’t even go that far. They don’t bother with the argument at all. That’s why the Republicans win. They know that relying on something like reason is impossible, so they go straight for the emotions. They know that if they scare the bejezus out of you (like telling you that your African-born president wants to indoctrinate your children to do his bidding) , that you will react in a certain way. You can construct all the pretty arguments you want, they’d say, but as Freud observed, anatomy is destiny. Preying on the public’s psychological disposition will always yield the more sure-fire result. So what are the Democrats to do, ’cause what they’ve been doing isn’t working. I’m sure that Obama will lay out some very good reasons for supporting whatever plan he lays out. But as long as he’s competing with an opposition that merely yell “death panels” to win their side of the argument, he will never win. And winning is the point, isn’t it? So what should they do? Whenever the Dems try to act like Republicans, they come off wrong. It always backfires. When they’re sincere, they’re bullshitting, and when they lie, it just makes things worse. Actually, I do have a solution. But to reveal it would peg me as an operative of the New World Order. No, I’m joking about that. Here’s what I think, the Democrats should be doing. They should use the Republicans’ favorite guy against them. If the Reps love capitalism so much, then we Dems should get into using their favorite dude, Adam Smith. Smith said in Wealth of Nations, ” he will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favor, and show them that it is for his own advantage to do for him what he requires of them… it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages”.

OMG! I’m White!

I’ve held, until this point, the idea that my blog posts would not become some sort of online diary. I didn’t want my posts to end up sounding like Go Ask Alice. It is. The very nature of a blog makes it so. The fact that I choose to write about stuff that, in reality, matters to no one but me makes it the kind of self-indulgence that people like me complain about whenever we (I) look at other people’s blogs. There’s something a little funny about self-indulgence. The funny thing is, is that those who are prone to doing it often think that they’re not self-indulgent at all. We tend to say that we’re “reflective”, or dare I say, “philosophic”. Claptrap. Since I think I’m the only person that I know that will openly admit that some steroetypes are true, I was looking some time ago at the blog “Stuff White People Like”. I realized, while I was looking (and laughing quite loudly, or LOLling), that alot of the stuff on the blog described me perfectly. I came to the horrific realization — OH MY GOD, I’M WHITE! The fact that I am here, writing this blog post only serves to confirm the fact that I am indeed a white person ( #149 self-importance, which is just the same as self-indulgence). The problem is, though — I’m not white. I had a conversation with a professor (who, if this list is anywhere near correct, may be the whitest person that I’ve ever met) about a year ago about “stuff white people like”, and he maintained that the blog is more indicative of class than of race. Meaning, that if a person makes a certain amount of money and has a particular level of education, they are more likely to be a certain way, no matter the race. I actually expected him to answer the way that he did. You see, as the list suggests, white people like diversity. They also like the idea (and they will tell you at the drop of a hat) that all humans belong to the same race (i.e. the “human” race), so I expected that he would say that the list was about something other than race. Of course, given the fact that I was talking to a professor, if not race, then class. (What that meant is, that there is, as I see, an unwilingness among the “educated” to not tie any social problem to economy. This is a result of listening to too much Pacifica, I think). But, really, I am white. I mean, I like tea, I sport a “save Darfur” bracelet and a bracelet of coffee beans supporting free-trade coffee, I own 4 David Sedaris books, I like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (and yes, in some strange way, Stephen Colbert is my ideal man), I listen to public radio and love “This American Life” (for the record, “Wiretap” is pretty good, too). I have a Liberal Arts degree (political science) and I have a degree in that Liberal Arts degree in disguise, philosophy. I’m crazy about recycling (I rinse, too). The only reason why I want to move to Canada is for the universal health care. Most disturbing is that I know who Noam Chomsky is. I’ve heard that there is something out there called gender dysmorphic disorder. If I’m not wrong on the name, as I am often wrong about a great many things –I know it’s when a person feels that they were born the wrong gender. It’s the classis Glenn or Glenda — a man trapped in a woman’s body (or as we’ve seen recently, a Chaz Bono trapped in a Chastity Bono’s body). I wonder, could it be that it’s possible for someone to be a white person trapped in a black person’s body? I don’t mean those kids who hang out at the mall with the sagging pants listening to Asher Roth. I’m talking about something that, if race is more than a social construct, and is (at least to some degree) biologically rooted, is it possible that nature, as in the case of gender, got something wrong? I was really trying not to bring Michael Jackson into this, but maybe instead of jesting at his becomming white, we should have recognized that he may have been sufferring from a real disorder. It may be possible that he was merely correcting a mistake — he really was white. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe I should send a letter to David Duke and ask him what he thinks about it. LOL.

I Truly Hate the Well Intentioned

I usually try to stay away from political discussions. That’s an odd thing, considering that I not only have a degree in political science (which, does not in any way qualify me to speak with authority about anything), but I truly get off watching politics and the political process. As a matter of fact, I’ve made it my habit to avoid any serious discussion about anything that I love or enjoy doing. I suppose there’s some head shrinker’s couch waiting for me somewhere. But what’s got me, is the fact that everyone else seems to have an opinion about what’s going on out there in Washington, and are freely expressing themselves — for better or for worse — all over talk radio, web logs, and at bus stops. I’m the weirdo who dodges political conversations (for god knows what real reason). Which , by the way, is why I haven’t really said anything about our new Commander-in-Chief. If asked my opinion, I give my standard agnostic “we’ll have to see”. Meanwhile, I’m screaming a mile a minute inside my head all sorts of madness about Right-wing conspiracies, failed economic policies, and whether Plato had the right idea when he said that the rulers should lie to the public. As so many of my thoughts are motivated by conversations, I was thinking about how I felt — not about whether I think that Obama will solve our economic troubles ( it sounds so trivial to call an impending global depression “troubles”), but about the man himself. A few days ago, I was watching “the View”. Ann Coulter was on (god knows why) expressing her confusion over half-black notables who, despite being abandoned by their black fathers, seem to claim their black heritage while also abandoning their white parentage. I’m not going to say anything about Ann Coulter here, as there are lany people who rattle on about her in a negative manner. But, she did give a little food for thought. The food for me, it seems, wasn’t why halfsies only claim one side, but the idea of half-whatevers at all. I thought of an email I sent to a friend not too long ago that brought up the topic of race mixing. Let me say now that I’m not against the mixing of races. I don’t care who anyone marries as long as they are past the age of consent and the marriage wasn’t some sort of forced marriage deal. That said, there are times when the well-intentioned can say things that… well, make you stop wondering why there are Ann Coulter’s out there. A few months back, when the primaries were going on, I had a discussion with two other people about, which was at that time, the Obama candidacy. Ever the pessimist, I said that I was worried that some yahoo out there might want or attempt to do “something” to prevent Obama from taking the presidency. My conversation mates and I lamented the fact the the thought that someone may be so disturbed by having a black president to take up violent action had crossed each of our minds — a sign that we are not as far from racism as we may like to think that we are. Somewhere, and I forget who, someone mentioned something about Obama’s half white parentage. Now that I think about it, I think I mentioned the fact that hating Obama because he is black is sort of stupid because he isn’t a fully black person. (I know, liberal drivel about we’re all mixed anyway, blah, blah, blah…). I mentioned that I have several “goobacks” in my own family. (“gooback” is a term from the show South Park. It was used to describe people from the future who had interbred racially to the point that everyone had a tannish hue to their skin). Now, I consider myself a liberal. I’m into acceptance, not tolerance. I have no problem with the fact that my brother has chosen to create his own colony of goobacks, and as an American keenly aware of our past, I know that my own bloodline isn’t “pure”. But, there’s a sentiment that I just cannot stand, and I heard it out of the mouth of one of my conversation mates. It’s this: WE SHOULD ALL INTERBREED SO THAT WE GET SO MIXED UP RACIALLY THAT THERE WOULD BE NO WAY TO DISTINGUISH ONE RACE FROM ANOTHER AND SO WE’D END RACISM. Huh? You know, I’ve only heard this sentiment from the mouths of people who, although they express this truly endearing sentiment, never seem to live by the statement themselves.Or, worse yet, are the most racially isolated people that one would find. Now, I’m not saying that my conversation mate fits into either one of these categories, but from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they did. It’s not even that the idea is wrong-headded or immoral. It’s a perfectly good solution for a problem. In the absence of specific breeds, we can’t discriminate against something that does not exist. I wanted, at that time, to ask that person who suggested that we all interbreed ( as that individual was a different race than I) if that person wanted to get down an start muddying up our gene pools right then and there. But, what overrode my sense of taking that person seriously was my disgust at what they had said. Sure, the sentiment seems like it’s from someone who is anti-racist. But that’s just it — it’s a sentimental, but ultimately meaningless statement. It’s empty in the face that it’s just not practicable. Unless you have some sort of forced reproduction program, my email friend wrote to me, people won’t voluntarily interbreed with anyone. What about those who are “pure” ? Will they become some sort of social outcasts? Will they be illegal? There’s this Dr. Seuss story called “the Sneetches”. There are two groups of sneetches, one who have stars on their stomachs, and those who do not. The ones with “stars on thars” are the superior sneetches and those who do not are inferior. As with life, those who do not have want, and those who do have don’t want the have-nots to have what they have. It all goes to shit when this dude comes around with a machine that can put stars on the non-starred sneetches. Pretty soon, no one can tell who is who. In the end, they realize that the stars don’t matter. Unfortunately, people don’t learn like Dr. Seuss characters do. Given a world of sameness, the inventive human will always find something. If not your race, then it’s your height, or weight, or you’re too cute, or not cute enough — always something. That’s why I found my conversation mate’s remark so offputting. It’s a cya thing to say. The worst of political correctness. Saying that we should breed out race sounds like you’re one of the ones who isn’t secretly carrying a confederate flag in his pocket, but, in turn, it reeks of the worst ersatz naivete well-meaning liberals often express. The kind that solves the problem by ignoring the problem. Instead of really confronting the reason behind something like racism, the response is to pretty up the situation by suggesting some kind of well-meaning, but unobtainable solution, that could happen, if people would only enlighten themselves or, more to the point, reject conservativism and become pacifica-listening progressives. I think I’m done with this one.