Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama and Race

Yahoo! carries an AP piece on a Stanford University poll that found that 1/3 of Democrats harbor racial stereotypes. The pollers estimate that Obama loses 6% because of race. On the other hand, we Republicans are not opposed to Obama because of race but rather because of ideology. As well, Obama has virtually 100% support among blacks, which is also a racial preference-based phenomenon.

Overall, the poll gives a fair assessment. There is a percentage that will vote against Obama because of race, and six percent sounds too low. However, the article omits discussion of the possibility of cognitive dissonance. There are many people who are likely to vote for an African-American even though they are racist because confronting their own racism causes cognitive dissonance, which they resolve by voting for the candidate. Cognitive dissonance is a famous psychological cause of much unpredictable behavior. "Liberal guilt" may work as a kind of reverse racism.

Racism is an unfortunate phenomenon that goes back to the same tribal impulses on which feudalism, collectivism and socialism are based. Some variants of "international" socialism attempt to assert socialism without emphasis on race or nation although (a) nationalist socialism is the variant that has succeeded most often (to wit, the USSR's "socialism in one country" and Germany's "national socialism"); (b) in its post-modern form, socialism has tended to devolve into identity politics, which is inherently racist, and this includes Barack Obama's new left ideology (Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright and friend Rev. Michael Pfleger have made remarks that were racially distasteful, for example); and (c) by its own nature socialism assumes win-lose or distributive conflict, and one of the key categories through which this occurs is ethnic or racial, so despite claims of internationalism, internationalist socialism has often devolved into racism and anti-Semitism.

Candace de Russy did a great job of analyzing Barack Obama in National Review. There are many unanswered questions: the circumstances of his birth; his upbringing in Indonesia; his relationship to black liberation theology; his ongoing involvement with radical causes; the unusual support among Wall Street employees and his connection to George Soros and Warren Buffett; his George Bush socialist-style economic orientation; and his lack of understanding of elementary aspects of Middle Eastern issues.

I do believe that he is cut from the same cloth as George W. Bush, and Wall Street's enthusiasm for him is the same as its recent enthusiasm for bailouts and subsidies to Wall Street's incompetent schnorrers.

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