Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conservatism Is, Conservatism Ain't: Black Folk and the Republican Party

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. –Edmund Burke

On Tuesday, November 6, 1984, I had finally come of age and had the occasion of voting in my first presidential election. I cast my ballot for Ronald Reagan. But before you castigate me or congratulate me, whatever your political leanings may be, please allow me a moment to explain my choice.

I did not make that choice blindly, but I made every plausible effort to assure I made the right choice. Perhaps I was a bit naïve, and certainly I had not yet developed a critical eye, but I read whatever literature I could find, and I spoke with representatives of the various political parties. However, it was the Republicans who presented their ideas most clearly, most concisely.

I don’t ever remember hearing the word conservatism used, but the Republican message of God and family, of working hard to get ahead, of self-determination, of personal responsibility, sounded very familiar to me. These were the same values extolled by my family since my earliest consciousness. So when I entered the voting booth on that day, I pulled the lever for Reagan.

However, over the next few years I did my due diligence to familiarize myself with the party and with the party’s beliefs. And at some point during this period, I even began to refer to myself as a conservative, and consumed a wide range of reading material by conservative thinkers. Edmund Burke, William F. Buckley, and Whittaker Chambers are a few names that come to mind.

I did not agree with everything I read. I did not even understand everything I read. But one thing became abundantly clear: the conservatism I was reading about and the conservatism as it was being practiced were not the same thing. While the intellectuals and thinkers defined conservatism in one manner, bigots interpreted conservatism in another and hijacked it in pursuit of power.

Around the mid 1960’s, those calling themselves conservatives saw an opportunity. With disgruntled southern Democrats upset with Kennedy’s and Johnson’s civil rights stance, they quickly shaped a message which would appeal to the nativists, the racists, the anti-Semites, the anti-communists, and the religious zealots all worried about the subversion of white, Anglo-Saxon Christian culture, and united them against a common foe—liberalism.

The Republican Party effectively became a haven for reactionaries and bigots. They, in Edmund Burkes words, “became bidders at the auction of popularity.”

And this is where conservatism and the Republican Party find themselves now. The two are inextricably entangled in their own past, dependent on racist, discriminatory rhetoric and divisive cultural and social issues to remain in the good graces of its most ardent believers; but as the scales fall from the eyes of the nation, this group is ever-dwindling .

Furthermore, while once conservative ideas and beliefs were articulated by respected intellectuals and thinkers, they are now represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Joe the Plumber and others of that same ilk.

And when I speak to black Republicans, they always cite those values I articulated earlier—God, family, hard work, self-determination, and personal responsibility—as reasons why they remain in the party as if one must be a conservative and one must be a Republican to also believe in these values. But they seem to blindly not to recognize that the Republican Party and conservatives gave up on that agenda a long time ago.

Every woman or man has the right to believe what they want to believe. Every woman or man has the right to choose to belong to whatever organization they wish to belong to. But in choosing what to believe and who to align themselves with, they also should think critically enough to know when they are being insulted, being denigrated, being debased.

19 comments:

Von said...

Max,

I am a conservative who has yet to declare myself a Republican. At the moment I identify myself as an independent.

This is not a diss to you but I will never understand why African Americans concern themselves with the political affiliation of other African Americans. Why is it anyone business who these individuals choose to vote for or identify with??

I never hear black republicans dissing blacks who identify with the Democratic party. However, I am constantly hearing black democrats diss black republicans. They even resort to childish shaming tactics such as calling these black republicans Uncles Toms, Slave catchers and other bullshit names.

It seems to me that black democrats don't know the history of the democratic party in this country. They don't have a clue why they typically vote democrat. The only thing they know is that Bill Clinton was the first "black" president so the democrats must be cool. Any black person who stands for something different is nothing short of a "sellout" and "race traitor." So, to add to your post perhaps black democrats should also research their party.

I won't call the fat sloppy idiot out but there is a blogger who needs to check himself. Black Republicans have a right to their beliefs. They have a right to their ideology. Who they vote for is not anyone's fucking business. What party they choose to identify with is not anyone's fucking business.

Max Reddick said...

@ Von

Perhaps I should go back and reword this piece to make myself clear. I am not concerned with the political affiliations of other African Americans. People have the right to believe what they want and to associate themselves with whom they want.

And I would not ever refer to another person of color as an Uncle Tom or a sellout or a slave catcher or any other derogatory term in that vein. Those were your words not mine, and I have had those words hurled in my direction enough on many occasion.

Nor am I advocating that all blacks become democrats or independents or liberaratians or members of any other political party.

But what I am attempting to articulate first is the angst I feel when I hear those identifying themselves as black republicans or black conservatives get up and repeat the same old hackneyed, patently untrue lines in support of a party or a movement who looks upon them with nothing but disdain.

Secondly, I am attempting to dispel the notion that conservatives or republicans have corner the market on morality and values. They continue to posit the notion that if you are not a republican or if you are not a conservative and if you do not believe just as they believe, that somehow you are reprobate.

But before I finish, allow me, please, to ask you a question. And I am not trying to diss you or appear morally superior, but I have never read anything you have written that was not replete with profanity. Why do you see the need to rely so heavily on profanities and vulgarities to get your point across.

RainaHavock said...

That's true that blacks don't exactly have a home with the two main parties because both of them one way or another screwed us over at one point and time. It's just most recently has been the republican party. Well in my eyes that is. I have no problem with blacks being repubs or whatever. One of my good friends is a black republican and identifies herself as such. We were discussing the health care issue last night. I personally like to hear both sides of the issue before I make a decision. Hence why I consider myself a moderate because about two years ago I would have said I was a liberal. I prefer to be Civil about it though.

Max Reddick said...

@ RainaHavock

It's been a while since I have heard from you. How is school going?

But let me first say, I am like you. I have many friends on either side of the political spectrum, from the far right to the far left. And if I were to choose a label, I would label myself a moderate, though on some issues I lean right and on others I lean to the left. And I too value fruitful, civil dialogue. I have never known anything to come from screaming and yelling but anguish and resentment.

And allow me, please, to work to clarify my case even further. You are right in your assessment that both sides have used black folk to their own ends. And they will continue to do so until we begin to assert ourselves on the political stage and listen and see with a critical eye and ear.

Looking forward to coming up your way for homecoming. Take care.

Von said...

Max,

Anyone who reads my blog knows I believe in calling a spade a spade and a son of a bitch a son of a bitch. I don't sugarcoat my rants or opinion. The profanity I use online has NOTHING to do with my personal beliefs or morals or even how I conduct myself outside of the internet. I rant online...I make no secret about it. Perhaps I could find better ways to express myself but what fun would that be??? I use my blog as a media to express EXACTLY how I feel. There are a number of black people feeling me on my opinion. They email me often to tell me as such. However, because of this "fear" of conservatism or being called a "sellout" they choose not to say anything. That won't ever be me. Profanity and all....I call it like I see it.

You do realize that the Democrats only turn to the "black" vote as a LAST RESORT right? Democrats have never worked hard for your vote. In fact, it wasn't until after the civil right movement that they changed tactics (thanks in part to so-called progressive blacks like Jesse Jackass) in appeasing the black community. How exactly did they do that? Oh they helped to put in place socialist policies (that helped to keep the black man out of his home) and they made the black community completely dependent upon government, the race card, and policy.

White liberal democrats acting as a "friend" to black folks has shown themselves to be as racist as those who hold "disdain" in the Republican party. How? He or she has a notion that minorities are indeed inferior in all walks of life. This is why he/she "helps" them by lowering the standards in order for them to compete. Black people are idiots to this fact. It hasn't hit most of us that we have an individual in office that is PROOF of SOME African American advances in this country. No to most of us it's so much better to continue to expect help from these white liberals and accept them as friends.

In the years following the civil right movement black people have voted for the Democrats in swarms. In that time the black community has fallen to an all-time low. Thanks to so-called progressive blacks and white liberals such as Ted Kennedy socialism and government have become a crutch. We depend on them for jobs. We depend on them for some of our financial needs. We depend on them to support our race card. Meanwhile they continue to be seen as "good" guys and are reward our vote.

Let's talk about the black democrat. Most black democrats look at the Republican party as the party for white folks (you have done this yourself though you might not know it). It's probably escaped your mind that the Republican party was originally the party for black folks. It wasn't until after the civil rights movement that the KKK leaders of the Democratic party jumped ship. Does that mean there are no white haters in the Democratic party? No, clearly we saw that hate from Democrats when the race was between Hilary and Obama. Did you not see the hate put forth by white democrats? I saw it...and I will never forget it.

Stop thinking the Democratic party is any better than the Republican party because I'm here to tell you...IT IS NOT. Stop thinking you're not viewed with equal disdain in the democratic party because I am here to tell you...YOU ARE. Your vote is the LAST to be appreciated....need I remind you of FL.

Max Reddick said...

"Democrats have never worked hard for your vote."

But you assume I am a democrat. You assume I vote democrat? But I never mentioned any party affiliation. Why?

But the core assertion of this argument was never about democrats. It was never about republicans. It was about people thinking, thinking for themselves and cutting through the rhetoric from both sides. It was about people not allowing themselves to be used; as long as we don't think for ourselves and allow others to think for us, we will remain dependent on somebody, something, some party.

If you read closely, if you read between the lines, and if you remove the assumptions, we are basically saying the same things, only articulating it differently.

RiPPa said...

Hi Von,

Your lagorreah once again exhibits just how much you know - which is very little I might add. I suggest you do some reading rather than rely on silly YouTube videos to gain your political knowledge.

First of all, the passing of the Civil Rights Act lead to a significant increase in the Black middle class. Are you aware that the shift in the political party known as the Republican Party was due in large part to the passing of this act?

You mentioned Jesse Jackass as you called him. But what do you know about Goldwater, or McCarthy? Or even Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy"?

Listen here child...

in the interest of self respect, do yourself a favor and educate yourself beyond what you THINK you know. I may be a fat sloppy blogger as you expressed, but I damn sure don't use the internet to make myself look as foolish as you have been.

Oh, and for the record...

there are numerous Black Republicans who have a disdain for BLACK PEOPLE IN GENERAL like yourself. If you were "conscious" I'm sure you would know that.

Von said...

Hello #%@!,

I knew you and your selective reading would pop up at any minute.

"Are you aware that the shift in the political party known as the Republican Party was due in large part to the passing of this act?"

Perhaps you missed this statement which I thought at least HINTED that indeed I do know of this FACT."It wasn't until after the civil rights movement that the KKK leaders of the Democratic party jumped ship." So, yes...to answer your question I do know my history.

Sloppy, you've just proven that you can't even have a conversation without coming at individuals sideways. You get no respect here because you're clearly blind in one eye and can't see jack shit out the other. It's amazing how many people have written me laughing and criticizing your and your race card. I love it....It's entertaining to me. And no...I just have a disdain for race card ambulance chasers non-progressive blacks like yourself. HOLLER!


Max, I'm out of here. Suddenly your blog is too crowded with fat asses. I'm sorry if I disrespected your space. If you need to delete this comment I will understand. Hopefully you will delete the one above me which deserved this response. Email me or hit me up on Twitter if you like. We can continue this conversation without the audience.

joe said...

So Max are you Rep. or Dem.? I recently decided to switch from Republican to Independent, so I could vote for whoever I want in the primaries. However, they won't let me change my registration until sometime in november (i forget why).

joe said...

Don't go Von! I still love you!!!

RiPPa said...

Awwman, Von left?

Anyway...

Max (or Von as she still lurks here like a coward), I think you'll find this post interesting that I did last week. It highlights just how idiotic the divisive socialism meme by members of the Republican party really is. I don't know if you had a chance to check it out. But it's worth hearing what Noam Chomsky had to say on it. Ironically, you'll see that true socialism is almost akin to conservatism. But don't tell that to people like Von - I'd hate to see her on suicide watch. Other than that, another important clip is one from Paul Krugman as he breaks down just what Reagan did after he was elected in the name of conservatism. I think it's funny that his policies were responsible for the widening of the income gap through Union busting etc.

Oh yeah Von, if you click the link you might learn that Socialism isn't about Welfare and Section 8 as you told me a little while back.

LOL!

LINK: http://rippdemup.blogspot.com/2009/09/since-nobody-wants-to-listen-to-smart.html

Max Reddick said...

@ joe

At first I listed my party as NPA (No Party Affiliation), but later I changed my party to independent. It was some crazy rule about voting in the primaries like you ran into.

Daedalus said...

Thanks for clarifying the perversion of the neoconservative movement.

I have read Burke and felt his take on freedom and democracy repugnant. I've written about him before and he was no true fan of democracy. Still, he was light years from what passes for conservatism today.

As a Latino, I find it extremely difficult to understand the cognitive motivation behind black and brown people aligning themselves with a movement that was on the wrong side of the civil war, the wrong side of the civil rights movement, and, today, on the wrong side of the right to health care.

The neoconservative movement, rising as it did from the ashes of the bitter 1964 electoral defeat, was partially predicated on white fear and a tenuous coalition of two groups that historically despised one another: social and economic conservatives. Today, as a result of decades of failed economic policies, that collaboration has fractured, and I don't see a charismatic leader, or a coherent ideology that will bring those two factions back together.

And if that movement dies, then good riddance! They are a perversion of conservative ideals at a time where the center has shifted to the right.

These fools calling Obama and Clinton liberals have no historical grounding. At best, Clinton and Obama are Eisenhower conservatives.

Still, to call yourself a republican today, is to side with a party that for the last 40 years has actively fought to curtail any civil rights advancements made by blacks and other people of color.

THAT'S a FACT.

RainaHavock said...

@Max: Hi there. Yeah school started in back on the 24th of August so I've been busy but so far school has been going great. I'm now a Pre-law major and by the looks of things will be graduating a year early. I'm heading to a convention in Atlanta this weekend. It will be great for you to be at Homecoming. :) You take care also. Anyways I totally understood what you're saying and I agree with it.

Max Reddick said...

@ Daedalus

Hey, Daedalus. Did anyone ever tell you you look like that blogger Eddie Blues?

But anyway, thank you for your input. You are exactly right. Before 1964, conservatives were an incoherent group of fractious factions. However, they were able to appear united only by coalescing around their bigotries.

@ RainaHavock

Pre-law major graduating early? You bad! Keep up the good work!

RainaHavock said...

@Max: Thank you. Thank you very much. :)

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]But what I am attempting to articulate first is the angst I feel when I hear those identifying themselves as black republicans or black conservatives get up and repeat the same old hackneyed, patently untrue lines in support of a party or a movement who looks upon them with nothing but disdain.[/quote]

Max Reddick:

The Executive summary of my post:

Black Stultification (Inferiority) is the same coin as White Supremacy

You say above that the Republican Party looks upon Black people with disdain?

You need to consider how the Democratic Party looks at us. Not only looks at us but the damage of their polices.

Since Ted Kennedy's death I have heard the words "The Least Of These" used to describe Black people and his focus upon our issues. As I looked at the (ignorant) Black leaders repeating these words I thought to myself "What exactly are they doing to make us the UN-least of these?".

It is my view that Ted Kennedy was the most destructive elected official to BLACK CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS in the past 50 years.

I am about to write a blog post about how the Black community paid "Protection Money" (our votes) to the Liberal democrats from White terrorists.

They worked so well to protect us from White folks that today - BLACK PEOPLE are the unmitigated killers of most Black people. In as much as the Civil Rights/Democratic Party establishment is focused upon fighting White Racist/Corporations/Police - now that our gross assailant has changed THEY ARE RENDERED INEPT.

The real question that you need to be focused upon is "What ORGANIC system of governance has the Progressive Dogma that dominates Black America built up to STRENGTHEN US as a People?"

Here is where you will find the CONTEMPT of Black people through stultification.

They have set up a CONSUMER mindset.

Black Folks NEED Health Care?

* Quadruple the # of Black Doctors? - NO

* Get Black folks to match our use of our own Financial Resources to our NEEDS? - NO

* MAKE IT A "RIGHT" that no American should fall below!!!! - YES

WHERE DO WE SIGN UP????

Max - Could you identify the COMPETENCIES that have been developed WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY as we have accepted this protection racket?

Despite having more favorable people in control over the Institutions that provide us with our civic services:

Are we able to Employ ourselves?
Is the education system that we now control spitting out a highly educated Black kid?
Are we able to leverage the seat of mayor to keep law and order on the streets?

My frustration with brothers who think like you is that you focus so much about the "contempt" of the Republican Party that you fail to look at the "Snarling Fox" who you have allowed into the "consciousness of your racial nucleus".

Worse than "White Democrats" are the "DEMOCRATS who are Black" that work untethered for their party while inside of the fort of our consciousness.

Their INCUMBENCY and the GOP's expulsion from our nucleus means to me that THE RESIDENT DEMOCRATS AND THE LARGE NUMBER OF NEGROES THAT IT HAS ENSNARED should be your greater concern.

Constructive Feedback said...

Max: RiPPa has just forced me to focus upon him rather than you.

[quote]First of all, the passing of the Civil Rights Act lead to a significant increase in the Black middle class.[/quote]

RiPPa:

Think about the Protection Racket that the Progressive have arraigned. (You are causing me to trickle out my latest blog post before I have finished it).

The Black community needed:

* Protection from assault by Racist White people (I realize that in your vernacular every White person who has ever attacked a Black is a conservative.)

* We asked for fairness in the distribution of Educational Resources

* We needed Jobs within our communities

* We needed health care services

It appears to me, RiPPa that you and others are more interested in MAINTAINING THE BLACK LOYALTIES based on who came to our rescue in the PAST rather than:

* Noting that WE GAVE THEM OUR VOTE
* We put their forces into POWER
* We charged THEM with running our institutions to deliver these benefits that THE WHITE RACIST had derailed from us

Despite this exchange (our votes for protection) WE STILL HAVE MASSIVE GRIEVANCES!!!!

RiPPa why is it that the Black Establishment is more vested in having CURRENT BLACKS fearful of HOW THINGS MIGHT REVERT BACK TO if they think INDEPENDENTLY rather than to note 3 things in a pro forma manner:

1) The Active ASSAILANT upon our interests today are the Pirates who is violating our safety and stealing instruction time from our students

2) The Passive ASSAILANT to our interests are those who have FAILED to roll out an economic order that can EMPLOY US and have us FUND OUR OWN HEALTH CARE SERVICES using Black people who have been educated in this field

3) That those in power NOW should be HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

RiPPa - I have identified previously how Black folks "Look past the LOCAL DEMOCRATS that are failing us as we LOOK TO DISPLACE THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS". It is my view that the national political consternation is that the PROGRESSIVE - after failing at the local level are seeking to NATIONALIZE and control the resources of those who LEFT YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER THE CORE CITIES TO RUN THEM AS YOU DAMNED WELL PLEASE. Having failed - the Progressive needs to garner control at the taxing district FROM WHICH NO AMERICAN CAN "fly" from.

You seek to keep Blacks unified as an appreciation of what that order has done in the PAST.

I am looking forward at a nominally free Black people who culture has not been oriented toward ORGANIC PRODUCTION and ORDER AMONG THE PEOPLE.

The most frequent CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS happening in America today is happening WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY by other Blacks.

Do you need for me to show you the number of BLACK PEOPLE SHOT IN THE BACK this summer alone? "Getting shot in the back" was a mark of the treachery of White Terrorism upon Blacks BEFORE the "Civil Rights Act" RiPPa. When did this act become less treacherous?

Constructive Feedback said...

Maxx Riddick:

Do you see any heightened expectations and accountability upon the forces that are INCUMBENT over the forces that have been EXPELLED?


If one was put out and the other accepted in based on some ASSUMPTIONS that we would receive certain benefit - Isn't there a need to occasionally do a "True Up" to confirm that the estimates remain intact?

We need a TRANSPARENT entity within Black America who makes above board analysis of where we stand. An entity that is non-partisan as the "Congressional Budget Office" operates to translate claims of benefit into dispassionate analysis.

Today one ideology dominates all of the Black Establishment and they are no more willing to be transparent as is the billion dollar Wall Street brokerage firms are.

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