Lott Goes South


So Trent Lott is packing it in as grand poobah of the Senate, telling the world that:

"In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as majority leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress."

We can all be excused for figuring that the guy who led the charge to restore Jefferson Davis' U.S. citizenship would have fought a little harder for his own personal Lost Cause, but go figure.

The real challenge for the Republican Party starts now. As any number of liberal commentators have pointed out, Lott's policy positions on affirmative action and related issues are "indistinguishable" from those of any other conservative pol.

If the GOP is serious about changing the widespread perception that it doesn't give a rat's ass about the condition of blacks in America, it needs to make its case for a truly colorblind society in front of darker-skinned audiences than those it has courted at least since Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign.

An America in which people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin is a powerful one–indeed, it gave the original civil rights movement the moral high ground over segregationists. It also stands in stark contrast to the corrosive identity politics that the Democrats tend to traffic in. Yet if the Republicans–and conservatives more generally–want credibility on the issue with both blacks and whites, it has to prove that its invocation of "colorblindness," states rights, and all the rest aren't covert ways of playing to reactionary whites.

One key issue that may be an early indicator is education. Increasing school choice at all levels and in all ways is exactly the sort of "conservative" reform that would help all Americans, but especially those stuck in ailing inner-city systems, which tend to have disproportionate numbers of minorities. If the Republican leadership at national, state, and local levels moves on that quickly, it may well be a sign the GOP is serious about regaining its "Party of Lincoln" status.

NEXT: Still Bigger Than Adam Smith...

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  1. Expect the opposite…the GOP will cave and support “affirmative action” and other types of politically correct racial politics.

  2. I left the Republican party bitterly disappointed by the dominance of the southern flank and their policies. As a Lincoln/TR Republican, it is hard for me to see their vision in the current configuration of the Republican party. I am watching though–the resignation of Trent Lott gives me hope that the party got a wake up call and will go back to its roots.

  3. If the GOP does cave to the left on affirmative action, is there anything remaining (except possibly gun control and abortion) that will distinguish them from the Democrats?

  4. Chris:
    Most likely not, and yes the GOP will also cave on abortion and gun control eventually.

    How weird is it that in today’s world of Racially Correct politics it is OK for a Sentator to tell a group of high-school students that a mass murderer such as Osama is really a cool guy — but a fuddy-duddy who makes an off-hand remark about an event 60 years in the past is the Biggest Ogre Since Adolf Hitler(tm).

  5. Nick, aren’t you late for your luncheon with Carville and Begala?

  6. As a Democrat, and 100% completely perfect person I have never said anything racist and I thought I’d add to the cockle-doodle-dooing by saying he should have to quit the senate and crawl back to his home on his knees, apologizing for nine hundred years of repression and other white things, like Disco music.

  7. David,
    You should read CATO’s recent report on T. Roosevelt. There has hardly been a president who was worse for the cause or limited government, individual liberty and free markets. Are you sure that you’re at the right web site?

  8. It’s amazing how alleged “libertarians” of the Gillespie-ite tendency like to pretend that “civil rights” laws are not gross violations of property rights — perhaps the most invasive and dangerous, given the way they have been used to undermine the market economy in the past half century.

    Reason sticks to defending drug dealers, would-be cloners, and other “edgy” and waaaay cool forms of libertinism, but the property rights of someone who just so happens to be a bigoted asswipe are easily sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, neocon-style.

    Upholding states rights and opposing “anti-discrimination” laws will now be admitted as hard “evidence” of “racism” in the court of public opinion — but, don’t worry Nick old boy, you and “Reason” will never wind up in the docket.

    By the way, doesn’t anybody fact-check your articles? The piece by Charles Freund on the Dixiecrats links to the smoking gun website, where what appears to be the States Rights Democratic platform is reproduced. This, however, was an error, as the document there was produced by the Oklahoma branch of the States Rights movement (which didn’t even achieve ballot status in that state). The real platform of the national group is published in the reference book National Party Platforms, is much longer, and sounds much like a libertarian polemic against the rise of the Leviathan State, inveighing against a “bureaucratic centralized police state” and speaking the language of “individual rights.” Segregation is mentioned exactly twice, once in passing and the other affirming that the segregation of the races is the “natural order” — a view that only reflected the general social consensus circa 1948, among liberals as well as conservatives, shared by both blacks and whites.

    Well, pardon me for hitting and running, as they say, but the smug complacency of the supposedly libertarian “blogosphere” — which is taking credit for this horrific show trial — is really too much to bear.

  9. David,
    If you’re curious, you can read the article by clicking on my name.

  10. David,
    I almost forgot. The article points out that TR was a horrible bigot. Care to restate what type of Republican you are?

  11. Justin, so if I read your response correctly, Trent Lott, Strom Thrumond, Geroge Wallace, the Klan and every other inbred cracker in the South that opposed civil rights legislation were really doing it to oppose big government, huh? It had NOTHING to do with their sick view that blacks were somehow inferior to the white and didn’t deserve the same liberties?

    Somehow, I’m not buying it.

  12. Pity he won’t stay around to read our responses.

    But he should know that that Oklahoma document may not *be* the platform, but it *represents* the platform, translating it into language even Joe Bob can understand if his cousin reads it aloud for him.

    I see two reasons the real platform didn’t mention legal segregation. The first is that it did not need to. White Southerners lived in a caste society of whites and blacks. The details – blacks having to dock their caps for whites, etc – were never written; they were implicit. Segregation was only the most visible aspect, the legally-codified part of the caste system. The important thing for whites – and what State’s Rights promised them – was that they remain the top dogs in the caste system.

    Second, using the actual word “segregation” would force the white population to look around at the society as it really was. Couched in code, about “preserving our way of life” and “leave us be”, the platform reassured whites their way of life was worth keeping, while hinting that they might be ill-treated should the caste system be abolished (or inverted…).

    Third, it tricked people who wanted to be tricked about the South, like Justin himself, into taking the document at face value. Its authors wished it put across that the States Rights folks really weren’t so bad, the messenger is no reflection on the message, etc etc.

    That’s right, folks, the official platform was a steaming pile of obfuscation and propaganda. Sometimes cultures choose to lie to themselves as well as to others, and under that cover commit heinous evils.

    In that event, what should one do? I would agree with Justin that the first thing one must do is to read the culture’s literature. The second one must do, though, is to look at its setting.

    But I have no idea why Justin chooses to ignore the latter and ADOPT the former.

  13. Sheesh, Justin! Calm down! Nick wasn’t calling for the abolition of property rights, just suggesting that the GOP make the case for a coloblind government, i.e., no affirmative action/government mandated racial preferences.

    And cut Reason mag some slack. I think its coverage and commentary about the current warmongering have been pretty decent, even if it’s not 100% pure paleolibertarianism.

  14. I’ll calm down when people stop watering down libertarianism. To not even mention that libertarians oppose anti-discrimination laws — most especially the 1964 Civil Rights Act — is not only unforgivable, it is ridiculous. And to stand by while someone is crucified for APPEARING to agree with this view, and practically driven out of public life, is an act of unparalleled cowardice. Bring back Bob Poole!!!!! How’s THAT for “paleo-libertarianism”?!

  15. Ross, calming down is not something flamers do. They function constantly in the “fight or flight” mode, with the emphasis on fight. Prediction: as long as Justin sees his name in this thread, he’ll never leave.

    Anyway, my take is that property rights are as alive and well as they ever were in this country, which is to say they are in mortal danger. In some ways they are stronger, others weaker; a white man’s right to own a black slave is definitely weaker, for example. In contrast, the same black man has stronger property rights, in that he now possesses the right to his own life. Fetuses (feti?) may have lost some ground.

    In any event, I don’t agree that the issue of segregation, which is a property rights issue, is necessarily a moral one. Even when the races are totally free to associate, work, and live with one another, they often choose to segregate themselves. It is force, one way or the other, that violates libertarian principles — that’s the whole issue. And make no mistake, Jim Crow was enforced against whites and blacks alike who disagreed with it. I was there, I know.

  16. Oh, please! Lott has lost his position as Majority Leader, but is still a U.S. Senator. That’s hardly “practically driven out of public life”.

    And it’s quite a stretch to say this has anything to do with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In all the commentary on this episode, I have yet to see anyone else bring it up. Perhaps people just think Lott’s an idiot and have “taken private action to rectify the situation: boycotts, social disapproval, ostracism.” That’s OK with you, right?

  17. Yes, inbred “crackers” also have property rights. People we don’t like have property rights. According to libertarianism — not the Reason-Gillespie-ite version, but the actual original version — people with all sorts of bad motives and sinful predilections have property rights. All God’s chillun’s gots property rights. People have the RIGHT to discriminate: that is what owning property is all about. You may not LIKE it: it may not be NICE; it may be downright UGLY. But, you know what? In a libertarian society, the only way to express your disapproval of such behavior is NOT to call in the government, but to take private action to rectify the situation: boycotts, social disapproval, ostracism, whatever is non-violent.

    Mark S. goes on about the terrible MOTIVES of these “crackers”. But, so what? Their motives are none of your damn business. In a libertarian society, only property rights matters — period.

    As for Mr. Ross: a “caste system,” privately enforced, without state sanctions or laws to codify it legally, is entirely permissible in libertarian theory. Again, it may not be nice, or moral — but the whole idea is to separate government and morality. You don’t like the “war on drugs”? That’s an easy one. Separate government and the enforcement of “morality.” Now here’s something a little bit harder, but no less necessary: also get rid of the “war on segregation.” If someone wants to send their kids to an all-white “academy” of inbred “crackers” — what’s it to YOU, bud? As the author of a much-quoted left-libertarian tome put it; “Ain’t nobody’s business if I do!”

    Put that in your politically correct pipe and smoke it!

  18. God, I am so SICK of self-righteous little twits who know nothing — NOTHING! — about libertarianism, and, what’s more, could care less about it. Political correctness and the herd instinct — infesting the libertarian movement! Who woulda thought….?

    Oh, and the *real* States Rights Democratic platform doesn’t matter, eh? Don’t bother you with the facts — you’ve already made up your closed little mind, right?

  19. This has nothing to do with Political Correctness, it has EVERYTHING to do with right and wrong. The notion that libertarianism in only concerned with “property rights” sounds more like leftist sterotyping than anything else. I would think that a real libertarian would be concerned with BOTH the social and economic freedom of others. A legal code that ignores, and indeed completely nullifies, the rights and liberties of a group of other reason than something as arbitrary as RACE would in my mind by intolerable to anyone who claims to care about freedom. That’s the sort of system that existed in the South.

    If it were just the bigots exercising their property rights, then I would be forced agree with you. However, that was not the case. Segregation and discrimination were the LAW imposed by the states that practiced such policies. If the states weren’t going to recogize the constituional freedoms of Black citizens in the South, than who, pray tell, should?

    Yes, the present Civil RIghts affirmative action is wrong, as are “hate-crimes” laws and “hate-speech” policies in academia. However, to write off the entire civil rights agenda as a manefestion of leviathan government is to entirely ignore the horrors that occured in the South.

    Justin, in all fairness, I am interested in how you think Libertarians SHOULD have handled the situation?

  20. Whoops… Typo there. Let me revise, if I may:

    Yes, the present Civil Rights movement of today has overstepped its bounds in many areas. Affirmative action is wrong, as are “hate-crimes” laws and “hate-speech” policies in academia. However, to write off the entire civil rights agenda as a manefestion of leviathan government is to entirely ignore the horrors that occured in the South

  21. What a surprise. Justin Raimondo, finished his day’s work adapting his version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the 21st century, is now speaking up for state’s rights. And pretending he speaks for libertarianism.

    Strom Thurmond, of course, was not a libertarian. The State’s Rights party was not libertarian. It stood not for individual rights, but for the rights of states to force people to segregate, whether they wanted to or not. As Jonah Goldberg noted the other day:

    “Here’s what the 1948 sample ballot put out by the Mississippi Democratic Party had to say about the race between Thurmond and Truman: “A vote for Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen and Senators from Mississippi to vote for passage of Truman’s so-called civil rights program in the next Congress. This means the vicious, anti-poll tax, anti-lynching and anti-segregation proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life in the South will be gone forever.”

    But you know, why worry about lynching when you can support the rights of states to force segregation on everyone? Still, we ought to forgive Raimondo for not knowing this; if it doesn’t involve conspiracy theories about J-E-W-S, he doesn’t have time to read it.

  22. One sort of racial victimology deserves another, and here come more whiners to give a little “diversity” to the Reason crowd — fresh from cheering on the murder of a few more Palestinian teenagers by IDF helicopter gunships, no doubt.

    Not that you’re interested in what the States Rights platform says, but here it is anyway, in the only section that so much as mentions segregation:

    “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race, the constitutional right to choose one’s associates, to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to earn one’s living in any lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation in private employment called for by the misnamed civil rights program. We favor home rule, local self-government, and a minimum interference with individual rights.”

    Never mind what Jonah Goldberg said. That’s the platform of the States Rights Democrats, which goes on at great length attacking the “bureaucratic centralized state” and attacking civil rights laws as requiring a “police state.” Not a bad prediction.

    Of course, David, the same segregationist policies are practiced in Israel — where Palestinians not only had their land stolen from them by a militaristic theocracy financed by U.S. tax dollars, but are also kept penned up in “Palestinian-only” reservations while their Israeli overlords crack the whip. Sound familiar? It should. Your outrage is sooooo selective: Trent Lott must go, but what about Ariel Sharon?

  23. Why is the Dixiecrat’s support for segragation considered “worse” than the culture of poverty in African-American communities fostered by Truman’s social engineering? Or the wage & price controls that did untold damage to the poor?

    The Dixicrat’s platform included a lot more than support for segragation. As ususal, those with their “racial blinders” on tight can not see the forest from the trees.

    The goosestepping Political Correctionists have succeeded once again in replacing rational discussion of a historical event with ironfisted conformity. “Those who control the past own the future!”

  24. EMAIL: draime2000@yahoo.com
    URL: http://www.enlargement-for-penis.com
    DATE: 01/26/2004 08:21:06
    The truth is outhere

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