Barack Obama

"Socialist" Is Not A Racist Smear

And no, Paul Robeson And W.E.B. DuBois weren't 'socialists'

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Is there anything more tedious—or perhaps pernicious—than the confident, outraged, and half-educated political pundit? Thank goodness for the Drudge Report, without whom this latest manifestation of racial cryptography would have likely passed unnoticed. One Lewis Diuguid (pronounced 'Do-good,' I suspect), editorial page columnist for the Kansas City Star, is horrified to note that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a "socialist." Now let me, as a card-carrying member of the libertarian establishment, say from the outset that while the prospect of an Obama presidency and large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate stimulates my acid reflux, I am optimistic that our presumptive leader will govern more in the style of L.B.J. than Eugene Debs. Thank heaven for small mercies. So yes, I expect the next four years to be pretty grim, but those who foretell massive grain collectivization, the requisition of SUVs, a liquidation campaign against the kulaks, would be advised to take a deep breath.

But buried in these charges of socialism, Diuguid, the Star's in-house racial cryptographer, finds clear racist intent. He explains that "J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality." Indeed, "freedom fighters" like "W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1909 helped found the NAACP which is still the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization [and] Paul Robeson, a famous singer, actor and political activist who in the 1930s became involved in national and international movements for better labor relations, peace and racial justice…"

This is a sort of reverse McCarthyism; the presumption that because an activist was denounced as a 'socialist' he was obviously no such thing. But here Diuguid is, whether out of luck or ignorance, partially correct. Du Bois and Robeson were most certainly not socialists—they were Stalinists.

Du Bois, who renounced his American citizenship and formally joined the American Communist Party in 1961, five years after Khrushchev's secret speech, two years after being awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, made no secret of his "socialism." Indeed, here is a representative selection from his bootlicking obituary for Josef Stalin: 

"Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity…He was attacked and slandered as few men of power have been; yet he seldom lost his courtesy and balance…His judgment of men was profound…Such was the man who lies dead, still the butt of noisy jackals and of the ill-bred men of some parts of the distempered West. In life he studied under continuous and studied insult; he was forced to make bitter decisions on his lone responsibility. His reward comes as the common man stands in solemn acclaim."

A one-off mistake, perhaps? Three years later, in June 1956, tens of thousands of Poles took to the streets of Poznan demanding democratic reform. As was customary in occupied Eastern Europe, the occupation army was dispatched to quell the demonstration, leaving 60 protestors dead (some estimates put the number in the hundreds). In a letter to a friend, Du Bois admitted that "Not even the upheaval in Poland disturbs me," for the demonstrators were likely "landlords" and members of the "military clan" in the pay of the United States.

Or how about this: Confronted with Khrushchev's secret speech, in which the Soviet leader broadly revealed the institutional terror of his predecessor, Du Bois protested that the revelations were "irresponsible and muddled." In a letter to a supporter, he explained that while perhaps "probably too cruel" at times, he nevertheless "regard[ed] Stalin as one of the great men of the twentieth century." And Stalin's brutal purges of 1936-38, during which over a million class enemies were murder, he argued, were entirely justified:

From the testimony I read at the time, I believe that justice was done to these men on the whole. In the critical struggle then going on, some innocent men might have suffered, but as to the general fairness of these trials, even reliable American observers like Raymond Robbins (sic) testified.

These were, Diuguid might be interested to learn, views shared by Paul Robeson, the great campaigner for "justice," and 1952 winner of the Stalin Peace Prize. It should suffice here to briefly excerpt Robeson's eulogy for Stalin:

"Forever [Stalin's] name will be honored and beloved in all lands! In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable."

After Robeson beseeched his fellow African-Americans not to fight against the Soviet Union, whom he argued viewed race relations through a progressive lens, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson told a reporter that if he ever crossed paths with Robeson he would "punch him in the mouth."

But there is a surface stupidity in Diuguid's piece too; the very modern usage of the phrase "racial code." Perhaps his historical illiteracy is forgivable (I was taught the same thing about Du Bois and Robeson, and my alma mater named its library after him), but does he truly believe that, in the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover, those wished to speak ill of African Americans were forced to revert to some sort of secret language?

Michael C. Moynihan is a reason associate editor. This article originally appeared in Jewcy.

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141 responses to “"Socialist" Is Not A Racist Smear

  1. But is accusing Barack Obama of being a “socialist” actually a racial code word?

    Of course it is. You never hear us call anybody white a “socialist,” do you?

  2. It is the political equivalent of “uppity”.
    McSame is more racist than Rep Lynn Westmoreland.

  3. OMG! I suspected that it was only a matter of time . . .

    This is more rediculiouser that the Leftoid 2600 Magazine and Off the Hook personality who termed my usage of “urban urchin” in Manhattan around 2002 (maybe 2004) was “racism”.

    Referring to citydwellers as urban urchins has no racial component at all, unless one is under the impression that filthy, crowded cities are composed of nothing but ‘certain’ races.

    But is accusing Barack Obama of being a “socialist” actually a racial code word? No, but it does reveal a lot about the person making the accusation that it is some sort of “codeword”.

    BTW, the person termed an “urban urchin” was whiter than the background on this www. thingie page.

  4. I am optimistic that our presumptive leader will govern more in the style of L.B.J. than Eugene Debs.

    Isn’t that sort of like saying he’s more of a Kim Il-sung than a Kim Jong-il?

  5. “Isn’t that sort of like saying he’s more of a Kim Il-sung than a Kim Jong-il?”

    Perspective. Get some.

  6. The potency of the word “racist” continues to decline by the hour.

    When it becomes a standard-issue campaign epithet, you know that it’s pretty much finished as a usable term.

  7. The potency of the word “racist” continues to decline by the hour.

    When it becomes a standard-issue campaign epithet, you know that it’s pretty much finished as a usable term.

    We can only hope. If everything is racist, than nothing is.

  8. What is next? Mentioning someone’s vehicle prefrences will be “racist”?

    No, wait, heard that one before too. Some guy in Crystal City, when asked about his Escalade got all hot and bothered and accused the asker of “stereotyping” because the driver is Black. Turns out the man drives a Navigator or Expedition.

  9. Under normal circumstances, I would say, no, the word “socialist” isn’t a racial epithet.

    However, when I consider that our current president and the republican presidential candidate pimped for the bailout, criticizing Obama for being a socialist has to have some other meaning.

  10. “Is there anything more tedious-or perhaps pernicious-than the confident, outraged, and half-educated political pundit? Thank goodness for the Drudge Report,”

    You’re a caution, Moynihan.

  11. “New at Reason: Is ‘Socialist’ a Racist Slur?”

    Well you have to admit, socialist and racist DO share a lot of the same letters.

  12. “The potency of the word “racist” continues to decline by the hour.”

    How sad!

  13. “Our presumptive president will govern more in the style of L.B.J. than Eugene Debs”

    So Obama will govern more like Bush? (since Bush has governed much like LBJ – massive new gov’t entitlements, exploding budgets, and leading the US into foreign entaglements based on, at best, untruths)

    Note to America: don’t elect presidents from Texas.

  14. Racist Socialist anagrams to “Satirical Stoics.”

  15. “What is next? Mentioning someone’s vehicle preferences will be “racist”?”

    I find “preferences” to be a racist code word.

  16. “Racist Socialist anagrams to “Satirical Stoics.””

    I’ll kiss you any place you want! Just name it.

  17. “What is next? Mentioning someone’s vehicle preferences will be “racist”?”

    My secret shame is that I am driven by Guy Montag. Does this make me racist?

  18. Perspective. Get some.

    It’s an analogy, not a direct comparison, you douchebag.

  19. I argued on Ta-Nahesi’s blog that given that Carter was called a communist, Mondale was called a communist, Dukakis was called a communist, Clinton was called a communist, Gore was called a communist, and Kerry was called a communist that it wasn’t likely to be particularly racist that Obama was called a communist.

    I still hold that position, for the record.

  20. After beseeching his fellow African-Americans not to fight against the Soviet Union, whom he argued viewed race relations through a progressive lens, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson told a reporter that if he ever crossed paths with Robeson he would “punch him in the mouth.”

    He who, goddammit? He, Robeson, or he, Sugar Ray Robinson? It makes a difference, you know.

    ****

    Mentioning someone’s vehicle preferences will be “racist”?”

    You’re not from around here, I guess.

  21. “I argued on Ta-Nahesi’s blog that given that Carter was called a communist, Mondale was called a communist, Dukakis was called a communist, Clinton was called a communist, Gore was called a communist, and Kerry was called a communist that it wasn’t likely to be particularly racist that Obama was called a communist.”

    Which Clinton?

  22. I think they prefer to be called “Socialist Americans.”

  23. Hey, if you want to see a great anti-Obama ad, check this out:

    http://cdn.valueclick.net/ad.s/0115/a0115884.jpg

    I saw it over on Human Events.

    Too bad it didn’t say he wanted PILOT’S licenses for illegals.

  24. Aw, Jeez. I slaughtered his name.

    Ta-Nehisi.

    http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/same_old_racebaiters.php

    That’s the post. It may provide some additional info that you may dig.

  25. ‘Cause I immediately thought George.

  26. Would “half-honky” be a racist slur?

    And to whom?

    “It’s an analogy, not a direct comparison, you douchebag.”

    Uh, I thought it was a JOKE, myself…

  27. BarryD – that too.

  28. This morning on NPR they said “cosmopolitan” was a kind of racist code word. I turned the channel.

  29. This morning on NPR they said “cosmopolitan” was a kind of racist code word. I turned the channel.

    Those Car Talk guys are so funny!

  30. “This morning on NPR they said “cosmopolitan” was a kind of racist code word. I turned the channel.”

    NPR, the other N-word.

  31. “cosmopolitan” How so? Just curious.

  32. A few points: (1) It was Reason’s headline, not the original column, that used the term “racist”; (2) Mr. Moynihan focuses his argument on DuBois and Robeson but conveniently omits King and Randolph who were also used as illustrative in the original column but don’t conform to his narrative quite as well; (3) outside of the deep south, outright racial epithets were almost always eschewed in favor of the kinds of code words referenced in the original column. I agree with Mr. Moynihan’s impatience with “confident, outraged, and half-educated” political pundits. It is a class with which he apparently has some first-hand familiarity.

  33. “NPR, the other N-word.”

    That is great. Can’t everyone just admit they are racist and move on?

  34. For the record, Robeson was a full fledged communist and Stalinist. I think it is pretty unfair to socialists to call Robeson one.

  35. You sound fat, George.

  36. I loves me sum fried chickens ‘n’ watermelon.

  37. Jaybird, that’s hilarious and awful. You destroy their position, and they don’t notice. I like the one who whines about your simplistic logic.

  38. Haven’t checked in for a couple of weeks. No improvements observed. Later, gators.

  39. obituary for Josef Stalin”

    eulogy for Stalin”

    Boot-licking doesn’t begin to describe that material. I need to move quickly or I’ll be stuck with this as the only new thing I learned today.

  40. I used to own a copy of the infamous Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music. A good portion of the book was devoted to denouncing the Civil Rights movement with claims that “We Shall Overcome” and other hymns associated with the movement had been rewritten by communist operatives.

    The author never once says that racial equality is a good thing; instead, his thesis seems to be that if it weren’t for communist infiltrators in the music industry, these uppity minorities would be satisfied with their lot in life and it would have never occurred to them to ask for a seat at a Whites Only lunch counter.

    Whenever I hear someone branded a “socialist”, I assume they’re one of those “everyone should make $30,000 a year, from doctors to ditchdiggers” utopians. Race never enters the picture.

  41. Jaybird,

    That thread is depressing. Good for you for kicking their ass but most of the people on that thread or just hopeless.

  42. “It’s an analogy, not a direct comparison, you douchebag.”

    Uh, I thought it was a JOKE, myself…

    If you’re going by framer’s intent, it was meant as both. A funny analogy.

  43. you have a 401(k) or equivalent retirement plan, you’ve probably been watching nervously the past few weeks as your nest egg has shrunken owing to the current turmoil in the markets.

    Well, it could be worse. But don’t take heart, for what we mean is it could get worse. The market turmoil has some politicians on Capitol Hill eyeing the end of the 401(k) as we know it. Workforce Management reports on a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month:

    A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. . . .Under Ghilarducci’s plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated.”I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break.”Ghilarducci outlined her plan last year in a paper for the left-liberal Economic Policy Institute, in which she acknowledges that her plan would amount to a tax increase on workers making more than $75,000–considerably less than the $250,000 Barack Obama has said would be his tax-hike cutoff. In addition, workers would be able to pass on only half of their account balances to their heirs; presumably the government would seize the remaining half. (Under current law, 401(k) balances are fully heritable, although they are subject to the income tax.)

    Sounds pretty unappealing, doesn’t it? But in her congressional testimony, Ghilarducci offered a sweetener:

    Short-term I propose . . . that the Congress allow workers to swap out their 401(k) assets, perhaps at August levels, for a guaranteed retirement account–just a one-time swap. . . .How would this work? You go back to your districts and meet up with a 55-year-old who had had $50,000 in his account last month and now has $40,000 in the account. He can swap out that $50,000, valued in August, for that guarantee of what would become, if he retires at 62, a $500 a month addition to Social Security.A 55-year-old who lost 20% of his 401(k) because of the recent stock market decline was investing more aggressively than he should have, given his age. Ghilarducci proposes to reward this imprudence in exchange for dramatically limiting everyone’s ability to take risks (and enjoy the corresponding rewards) and for greatly increasing government control of Americans’ retirement funds.

    It is by no means a certainty that Congress or a President Obama would embrace such a proposal, but this is a direction in which things may move if the Democrats make big gains next month.

  44. Has anyone else noticed most socialists drive Dodge Magnums or Datsun Maximas?

  45. Charles Heuter,

    Wow. Those things are horrible. From DeBoise

    “Three great decisions faced Stalin in power and he met them magnificently: first, the problem of the peasants, then the West European attack, and last the Second World War. The poor Russian peasant was the lowest victim of tsarism, capitalism and the Orthodox Church. He surrendered the Little White Father easily; he turned less readily but perceptibly from his ikons; but his kulaks clung tenaciously to capitalism and were near wrecking the revolution when Stalin risked a second revolution and drove out the rural bloodsuckers.”

    That guy is rotting in hell right now for that. What an asshole.

  46. Datsun=Nip

  47. “Has anyone else noticed most socialists drive Dodge Magnums or Datsun Maximas?”

    I thought late model Renault’s were the vehicle of choice for Joe Socialist – no relation to Joe Six-Pack or Joe the Plumber.

  48. Datsun = went head on into a semi

    his guitar’s all that’s left now

  49. Only Datsun’s got a truck for only fifty eight ninety five.

  50. LOL

    DuBois praising Stalin for how he handled the Peasant Problem. That’s rich.

  51. Oddly enough, the National Review bolstered the case with this piece of garbage re: Obama’s parents:

    But, for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.

    Political correctness was invented precisely to prevent the mainstream liberal media from persuing the questions which might arise about how Senator Obama’s mother, from Kansas, came to marry an African graduate student. Love? Sure, why not? But what else was going on around them that made it feasible?

    But sure, there’s no racism behind the accusations at all*.

    * Note: Not all people accusing Obama of socialism are using it as a racist code word. However, it’s interesting to note, how few the people throwing the term around completely ignore the most socialist acts ever going on right now, i.e. the nationalization of our banking system, over tax credits.

  52. “That is great. Can’t everyone just admit they are racist and move on?”

    You make it sound like a bad thing, John.

  53. I argued on Ta-Nahesi’s blog that given that Carter was called a communist, Mondale was called a communist, Dukakis was called a communist, Clinton was called a communist, Gore was called a communist, and Kerry was called a communist that it wasn’t likely to be particularly racist that Obama was called a communist.

    Were they called Communists by their opponents directly? I dunno if “socialist” is some sort of code word, but I do know that unless Bush the Greater was calling Clinton a Communist (&c. &c.) then your comparison fails the “apples=oranges” test.

  54. Wierd. I cannot remember ever hearing or reading anyone use “socialist” as a racial code word.

    Seriously. Not once.

    When I hear “socialist”, I don’t think of black people, I think of lily white people in a Manhattan loft or a Georgetown townhouse. But that’s just me.

    Same with “cosmopolitan.”

    I find “preferences” to be a racist code word.

    We have a winnah!

    The market turmoil has some politicians on Capitol Hill eyeing the end of the 401(k) as we know it.

    Count on Our Masters to turn back the clock from defined contribution plans to defined benefit plans.

  55. DuBois was a real piece of work. There were few crackpot murderous regimes he couldn’t find common cause with, even Imperial Japan.

    Du Bois became impressed by the growing strength of Imperial Japan following the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Du Bois saw the victory of Japan over Tsarist Russia as an example of “colored pride”.

    Hikida Yasuichi ran Japan’s “Negro Propaganda Operations.” After traveling to the United States to speak with students at Howard University, Scripps College and Tuskegee University, he became closely involved in shaping Du Bois’ opinions of Imperial Japan. In 1936, Hikida and the Japanese Ambassador arranged a junket for Du Bois and a small group of fellow academics.[22] The trip included stops in Japan, China, and the Soviet Union, although the Soviet leg was canceled because Du Bois’ diplomatic contact there, Karl Radek, had been swept up in Stalin’s purges. While on the Chinese leg of the trip, Du Bois commented that the source of Chinese-Japanese enmity was China’s “submission to white aggression and Japan’s resistance”, and he asked the Chinese people to welcome the Japanese as liberators. Du Bois joined a large group of African-American academics that cited the Mukden Incident to justify Japan’s occupation and annexation of the formerly European-held southern Manchuria.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.E.B._Du_Bois#Imperial_Japan_and_Nazi_Germany

  56. Why are Socialists ashamed of the name?

    Obama is more of a collectivist than Hillary, and Google finds eleventy billion instances of Hillary + Socialist.

  57. “That guy is rotting in hell right now for that. What an asshole.”

    I don’t know. “The Souls of Black Folk” was a great piece of work. If one is going to judge another, one must consider the judgee’s entire life.

  58. I find “code word” to be a racist code w…ah, hell.

  59. “But sure, there’s no racism behind the accusations at all*.”

    I’d say you prove NR’s theory.

  60. Socialist may have been used as a racist code word. But that was BEFORE Obama was 8 years old, so by his own standards, it’s just a distraction, something meant to divide us, to keep us from doing the important work we need to do.

  61. “I don’t know. “The Souls of Black Folk” was a great piece of work. If one is going to judge another, one must consider the judgee’s entire life.”

    True. But most of his good work was done early in his life. Also even in regard to race, while he rejected the idea of racial supremacy, he was unrepentant in his support of ugenics. Yes, he stood up against oppression of blacks. But he was black, not like he had a choice and it is not like doing so was any great moral delima. I think he was a bad guy who due to circumstances ended up supporting one very good cause, the end of white supremacy.

  62. “But sure, there’s no racism behind the accusations at all*.”

    I’d say you prove NR’s theory.

    Why because some person that’s never met either of the people involved, hasn’t read about how they met and assumes that the two people were communists based solely on the skin color of them? Last I checked, presuming behavior because of someone’s skin color is the dictionary definition of racism.

  63. WEB DuBois, just a rotten guy caught at the right place at the right time.

    This is all getting too funny — which, to me, indicates how silly the assertion that “Socialist” is a racist code word any more than “Libertarian”, “Economic Conservative”, “Marxist”, or “Centrist” are.

  64. Joe, Hitler and Mussolini are all socialists…and they are all white men.

  65. You leave out the high praise that DuBois had for Mussolini. Shame.

  66. Then again, maybe he retracted said praise later in life. I don’t know.

  67. “Why because some person that’s never met either of the people involved, hasn’t read about how they met and assumes that the two people were communists based solely on the skin color of them? ”

    Because you imply that NR has no right to even look into the matter because in doing so, they are de facto racists.

    PC bullshit, pure and simple.

  68. “Joe, Hitler and Mussolini are all socialists…and they are all white men.”

    Italians ain’t white.

  69. “Then again, maybe he retracted said praise later in life. I don’t know.”

    Later in life he was probably too busy praising Stalin to have gotten around to it.

  70. The ‘socialist’ label played a huge part in discrediting the civil rights movement after end of WWII. Many of the movement’s elites were wiped out of public politics when it suddenly became treasonous for people to have left-wing views in America. This included many, many folks who did not identify with the Soviet Union. It’s very unfortunate, because it set back the civil rights movement for a good decade and caused great suffering to blacks who were systematically deprived of their constitutional rights as Americans.

  71. Biff,

    I never said they shouldn’t look into it, it’s the baseless accusation based solely on race. Also, she has her time line off. PC bullshit was an 80s and 90s phenomenon. What she’s talking about preceded that by a couple of decades. Throwing out the PC card is the right’s version of the race card. “How dare you call me racist! You’re just being overly PC.”

  72. “After beseeching his fellow African-Americans not to fight against the Soviet Union, whom he argued viewed race relations through a progressive lens, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson told a reporter that if he ever crossed paths with Robeson he would “punch him in the mouth.””

    Say what you will about Robeson, The man sure could sing and dance.

  73. outside of the deep south, outright racial epithets were almost always eschewed in favor of the kinds of code words referenced in the original column.

    People who hear racial code words have a problem with decoding. Don’t put the blame on the speakers.

  74. Randall,

    If Suger Ray Robinson didn’t want people to fight against the Soviet Union, what was his beef with Robeson?

  75. “Say what you will about Robeson, The man sure could sing and dance.”

    Racist.

  76. The whole “socialism equals civil rights” thing happened 50 years ago. No one thinks that way anymore. If they did people would call Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton communists instead of calling them race baiting morons.

  77. Clinton was called a communist, the ‘first Black president’ . . . Kerry was called a communist and he wanted to be the second Black president . . .

    Humm, there may be something here, but not anything mentioned in the article or the thread . . .

  78. John,

    Actually, that was the general thrust of the anti-apartheid movement. Granted, that was 20 years ago, but those folks, like Falwell, are still around and influential. The reason that Jackson and Sharpton aren’t called socialists anymore is because it lost its sting after the fall of the Berlin Wall. No Soviet Union, no red threat.

    I do agree w/ you that they’re race-baiting morons though.

  79. I suspect that it was Robeson, not Robinson, who did the beseeching.

  80. Mo,

    NR wrote: “But, for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.”

    And I’m saying that in 1958, or 60, perhaps that was true. Especially since they met at Columbia or some such place. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But to summarily dismiss the possibility is to embrace ignorance for fear of being labeled a racist.

    As En Vogue sang, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.”

  81. Gorgeous Gus the Wonder Dog | October 23, 2008, 3:55pm | #

    “cosmopolitan” How so? Just curious.

    they seemed to be sayign that when people say Obama is too “cosmopolitan” or “latte sipping” that it is a racist code word….but that it was back firing because many people also find these things appealing.

    That was the teaser…I turned the channel because I thought it was purely insane to say that “cosmopolitan” was racist.

    I guess anyone who is critical of Obama over the next years will be called racist…might as well get used to it…kind of like when you critically talk about monetary policy even Reason will call you a anti-semite.

  82. “”Say what you will about Robeson, The man sure could sing and dance.”

    Racist.”

    No. He sang and danced. He did it well. Read his bio:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Robeson

  83. Yeah, Robeson could sing, but I feel like I need a shower after listening to his stuff.

    I’ve found that Screamin Jay Hawkins’ version of “Ole Man River” is an acceptable substitute.

  84. Robeson was also an excellent athlete who might have played professional football or baseball had that avenue been open to an African American. And, of course, he was a better actor, dancer and singer than most white libertarians could ever be.

  85. Of course it is, everything is a racist slur. That’s what keeps Jesse Jackson fed and clothed.

  86. “Joe, Hitler and Mussolini are all socialists…and they are all white men.”

    Italians ain’t white.

    Not only are Italian Americans now considered white, so too are the Japanese and Chinese Americans. South Asian folk (Indian Americans*) will be white in 20 years max.

    * Damn Columbus for not knowing where the fuck he was. Look at the language snafus.

  87. Mister DNA,

    I will take Screamin Jay and Muddy Waters over Robeson and Harry Bellafonte any day.

  88. “Robeson was also an excellent athlete who might have played professional football or baseball had that avenue been open to an African American. And, of course, he was a better actor, dancer and singer than most white libertarians could ever be.”

    That is right. And Ty Cobb was a better baseball player than most black civl rights activists could ever be? That doesn’t excuse the fact that Cobb was a lunatic Southern Racist anymore than the fact that Robeson was a talented guy excuses his communism.

  89. The Dodgers never should have fired Al Campanis. CBS never should have fired Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder and Don Imus should never have been let go.

    OTOH, I am so sick and tired of Hannity, Ingraham, O’reilly, Lavinn, Limbaugh, Reagan(Michael), Boston 96.9’s Jay Severin, Michael Graham and Michell Mcphee ranting about Jeremiah Wright. That man is so much more of a hero than any public employee.

  90. “but those folks, like Falwell, are still around and influential”

    I didn’t like the real Falwell much, but I DID suspect that his name had become synonymous with “bogeyman” in cultural leftie circles (and it seems some libertarian circles as well).

    While “Falwell” may still be around and influential, the literal Falwell has been stone cold dead for a year and a half.

  91. Stop hating on Eugene V. Debs! Frankly, I think libertarians might have preferred him to either Wilson or LBJ. At least Debs was firmly committed to free speech, and some of his more radical ideas weren’t off what we have now, or at least had after LBJ, if not FDR. If he ran today on the same platform he did in 1912, then he might be considered a moderate Democrat with some Mike Gravel thrown in.

    http://www.sagehistory.net/progressive/SocialistPlat1912.htm

    I also tend to have more sympathy for the Socialists of the really early 20th century than I do of those a bit later; a true free market cannot be maintained if rule of law is enforced at the pleasure of any class, which in the late 19th early 20th centuries, it was. Clearly their solution was an overreaction, but an understandable one.

  92. Robeson’s political views may be wrong in your view, but what happened to him because of them is far more disgusting. Free thinking began to die in America in the 1950s.

  93. In eschewing Jeremiah Wright, Obama revealed that he is not the type of guy in whom one should place much trust. What a pussy!

  94. “That man is so much more of a hero than any public employee.”

    Wright is a piece of shit jive ass preacher who made millions ranting and raving and conning his parish out of money. Forget the “God Damn America” stuff. Just realize that he is supposed to be a minister yet he took millions in compensation from his parrish and ran around banging any number of women. He is no better than Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Baker.

  95. “Robeson’s political views may be wrong in your view”

    May be wrong? That is like saying Ezra Pound or Lord HawHaw’s views may be wrong. In Robeson’s defense he wasn’t nearly as loathsome as Dubois. He really did do a lot for civil rights and I think he was just a dupe for Stalin. It is not like he was the only dumb Westerner to visit the Soviet Union and buy into the propeganda. Yes, he didn’t deserve what happened to him, but that doesn’t excuse his praise of Stalin.

  96. Just realize that he is supposed to be a minister yet he took millions in compensation from his parish and ran around banging any number of women. He is no better than Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker.

    WTF?

  97. Elemenope

    Check out the good reverend’s 1.6 million dollar home for his retirement

    http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/27/obamas-former-pastor-builds-a-multimillion-dollar-retirement-home/

    And his 37 year old married girlfriend

    http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/09/report-jeremiah-wright-has-affair-with-another-mans-wife/

    He is a piece of shit con artist preacher. I fucking hate big money big church ministers black or white.

  98. “That man is so much more of a hero than any public employee.”

    Can libertarians be moonbats? I guess we DO need to guard against our own moonbattery.

    The belief that Wright, who has grown wealthy by teaching poor people not personal empowerment, but learned helplessness, is a “hero”, whereas the efficient, professional, upbeat woman who processed my driver’s license at the DMV a couple weeks ago is some sort of villian, is hardly the product of sane thinking.

  99. John-

    Me thinks that you are asserting facts not in evidence. Has Wright been convicted of any crimes of dishonesty relating to his handling of church finances? Has he been sued by church members for conning them out of their money? And lost?

    Sure, I am not denying that he could have, in fact, done the things of which you accuse him; however, I think we should be careful about those sort of allegations.

    But, I would submit that he is better than Swaggart and Baker in that he has not espoused the continuation and expansion of imperial America-i.e., military installations all over the world, interfering in the internal governance of sovereign nations, aggressive war-making, etc. Whatever one thinks of Christianity, Reverend Wright’s conception of the same is more in line with Jesus than that of Swaggart, Baker, Graham, Falwell and DObson.

  100. You also forget, Wright was a medical assistant during one of LBJ’s surgeries. For that he should be public enemy #1!

  101. BarryD-

    The woman who processed your driver’s license is feeding at the public trough. She is not making or producing anything-but she is an albatross around the necks of the taxpayers who have their property confiscated in order to pay her salary and retirement benefits.

  102. “Me thinks that you are asserting facts not in evidence. Has Wright been convicted of any crimes of dishonesty relating to his handling of church finances? Has he been sued by church members for conning them out of their money? And lost?”

    No he was very honest about the fact that he is a theif. He just built a huge church on the backs of his mostly poor parishioners and then just took a little of the gravy for himself. While he was telling his parishioners not to be middle class, he was making out quite well for himself. He is a hypocrite of the first order. To my knowledge Swaggart never stole, he just banged loose women and got rich preaching the gospel to his guillable followers. That sounds like a pretty good description of Wright.

  103. >>ran around banging any number of women. He is no better than Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Baker.

    Or John McCain. Ba-zing!

    (Hey, his wife had become unattractive. I’m sure the bible forbade her to do that.)

  104. Mike you are a troll and you should not be fed. Stop highjacking the thread.

  105. May be wrong? That is like saying Ezra Pound or Lord HawHaw’s views may be wrong. In Robeson’s defense he wasn’t nearly as loathsome as Dubois. He really did do a lot for civil rights and I think he was just a dupe for Stalin. It is not like he was the only dumb Westerner to visit the Soviet Union and buy into the propeganda. Yes, he didn’t deserve what happened to him, but that doesn’t excuse his praise of Stalin.

    I concur. I can overlook and justify Robeson’s communism all day long. It’s his apologetics on behalf of Stalin that make me nauseous.

  106. “Or John McCain. Ba-zing!

    (Hey, his wife had become unattractive. I’m sure the bible forbade her to do that.)”

    His wife also had multiple affairs on him while he was in a Vietnamese prison. It is a long and sorted story.

    If nothing else this shows how wierdo leftist many libertarians are. Wright is a con man preacher. In any other context, he would be loathed by libertarians. But since he speaks out agains the man once in a while, he is some kind of a hero. Pathetic.

  107. BarryD-

    Besides, a real libertarian recognizes that there is no need to have a Registry of Motor Vehicles. Only a moonbat would support the licensing of drivers and registration of automobiles. Its okay-you can break the chains, slave.

  108. Some readers would appreciate if you “sorted” the “sordid” details for us.

    -Weirdo Baby-Eating Leftist

  109. John-

    You know that I am just a hard core individualist, free markets, free minds libertarian. The troll comment was lame. Admit it.

  110. John-

    McCain has fed at the public trough almost his entire adult life. Shouldn’t he be hammered for being such a parasite? Lefties would not use such language. They do not think in those terms and, as you know, public sector employment is a great and noble thing for lefties.

  111. “The woman who processed your driver’s license is feeding at the public trough. She is not making or producing anything-but she is an albatross around the necks of the taxpayers who have their property confiscated in order to pay her salary and retirement benefits.”

    I’m perfectly familiar with the party line, thank you very much.

    Now some people believe that driver’s licenses are a necessary thing. I have little doubt, myself, that hypothetical private companies operating private roads in a society without any tax-funded infrastructure would STILL require some sort of certification of driving skills to use their highways. If they didn’t start out that way, their customers and their customers’ lawyers and insurance companies would see to it that such a certification would be required of drivers.

    So, while the DMV may not be our favorite institution, and while I also would like to see government’s power and role minimized, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the DMV’s role would be filled by some entity, whatever the greater context.

    Hence, this woman, doing the best job she can, is working for a government entity that would likely exist privately if not a government role. It is hardly productive, nor rational, for “any public employee” to be the target of the level of spite you show here.

    This is what I mean by libertarian moonbattery. And this sort of hyperbole sure won’t help to spread libertarian ideas to the open-minded.

  112. “Its okay-you can break the chains, slave.”

    Grow up.

  113. As En Vogue sang, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.”

    The quote is from George Clinton and it is

    “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

    http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p190/epochshot/GeorgeClintonAutographFramedReduced.jpg

  114. NR wrote: “But, for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.”

    NR aren’t the only ones who think so.

  115. No he was very honest about the fact that he is a theif. He just built a huge church on the backs of his mostly poor parishioners and then just took a little of the gravy for himself. While he was telling his parishioners not to be middle class, he was making out quite well for himself. He is a hypocrite of the first order. To my knowledge Swaggart never stole, he just banged loose women and got rich preaching the gospel to his guillable followers. That sounds like a pretty good description of Wright.

    Book of Matthew
    19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    Preachers can be quite hypocritical, can’t they?

  116. BarryD-

    You were the one who initiated the name calling, no? That does not mean that I should return the favor, I confess.

  117. “Moonbat” is no more intended as “name-calling” than “socialist” is racist.

    I made the mistake of believing that people posting at Reason had some interest in rational discussion, as opposed to parroting what amounts to libertarian demagoguery. My mistake.

  118. BarryD-

    IMO, spreading the good news of liberty should include an appeal to eschew government employment.

    I agree that there are many ways to spread the good news of liberty and that shouting vile insults at current entry level public employees is not going to yield the best harvest. I have learned that some folks might get offended and that not everybody is going to have a sudden Rothbardian ephiphany.

    However, I do think that libertarians should do more than shrug their shoulders, accept that government employment, in general, and ever increasing levels of public employment, in particular are, well, inevitable and immutable, and that questioning the moral underpinnings of government employment is the stuff of moonbat libertarians like LibertyMike.

    I am not saying that your exact position is what I just described. I am not trying to offend any of my less truculent friends of liberty. I am just expressing the view that there is a place in the liberty marketplace of ideas for the proposition that the very notion of government employment should be examined from a moral position.

  119. BarryD-

    You did not make a mistake. Sometimes, I get caught up in my own demagoguery.

  120. If he [Eugene V Debs]ran today on the same platform he did in 1912, then he might be considered a moderate Democrat with some Mike Gravel thrown in.

    And John Kennedy would be an unelectable, foaming-at-the-mouth libertarian wacko.

  121. And some days, the beer gong makes a noise which sounds a whole lot like “libertarian demagoguery”.

  122. No. Everyone knows ‘the’ is a much bigger slur.

    How DARE you use the word ‘the’! It’s three letters are an insult to idiots everywhere.

  123. “Neu Mejican | October 23, 2008, 5:47pm | #

    As En Vogue sang, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.””

    It’s both.

    I wear tight clothing and high heel shoes it doesnt make me a prostitute
    I like rap music wear hip-hop clothes
    That doesnt mean that Im sellin dope
    Oh my please forgive me for having
    Straight hair
    It doesnt mean theres another blood in
    My heirs
    I might date another race or color
    Doesnt mean I dont like my strong
    Black brothers

    Chorus:free your mind and the rest will follow, be colorblind, dont be so shallow(before you read me you gotta learn how to see me)

    So Im a sista
    Buy things with cash
    That really doesnt mean that all my
    Credit is bad,
    So why dispute me and waste my time,
    Because you think that the price is too
    High for me
    I cant look without being watched
    You rang my buy before I made up my,
    Mind
    Oh now attitude why even bother
    I cant change your mind you cant
    Change my color

    Repeat chorus two times

    http://www.lyricsfreak.com/e/en+vogue/free+your+mind_20050308.html

  124. WEB Dubois is a lot more complex than and exculsive focus on the last few decades of his life would inidcate. There’s no doubt he went off the deep end (to put it mildly) at the end with his Durante-esque fandom of communist dictators – the weirdest part being he was somewhat of a fan of 1930’s imperial Japan and had some good things to say about Nazi Germany as well. (but all these stances make some sense in the context of his ‘talented tenth’)

    But in his ‘prime’ (i.e. the turn of the 20th century) he was one of the most important thinkers around.

  125. Wendy | October 23, 2008, 7:02pm | #
    “Neu Mejican | October 23, 2008, 5:47pm | #

    As En Vogue sang, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.””

    It’s both.

    Yes, it is true, En Vogue punk’d out and made the George Clinton allusion in a more family friendly manner.

    I feel like you should quote the original rather than the diminished copy…but that is, of course, a matter of taste.

    excerpt:
    Open up your funky mind and you can fly
    Free your mind and your ass will follow

  126. You must be kidding.

    Racial slurs are spoken by those who like them; otherwise, people just use the public terms.

    Socialist means socialist means subsidizing the stupid and confused at the expense of the middle class.

  127. You guys just get to be called racists. Try being black and anti Obama. But at least I have plenty of practice past comments:

    Clinton is a race baiting pig (’92), OJ is guilty as hell (’94) Bush is an infamnia, but New Orleans was a disaster before Katrina (’05)

    But being against B O brings looks of disbelief. Calling him a socialist or moronic brings gasps. And saying McCain isn’t any better only adds confusion.

    Free markets, free minds. What a novel concept.

  128. That’s some nappy headed ho-cialists, man.

  129. if he is a socialist, which he’s not, it would be his right as an american. Michael Moynihan needs some historical perspective. in the 1930s or so the communist party supported the civil rights of black people when dems and reps didn’t. Obama is far from a socialist unless being a socialist means bailing out wall street. the rich get subsidized left and right at the expense of everyone else. subsidize a poor person, and one is an evil socialist. i guess that’s because in america if you’re poor it’s your fault, right?

  130. I thought socialist was an old-fashioned code word for Jewish. Or was it communinist? No, I think it was cosmopolitan. I’m so confused.

    I am now officially unable to recognize actual racism when I see it b/c the term has been so abased. I had already become desensitized to cries of “misogyny” or “sexist”, so that when the press savaged Hillary Clinton and, currently, Sarah Palin, in what is, I suspect, truly sexist form, I almost didn’t recognize it.

    Whatever.

  131. Oh, and scotth797 – bless your heart. You have some major cajones. I admire you, I agree with you, I do not envy you.

  132. soulrebel,
    Nice try, Edweirdo.

  133. Disagree on one very small point. When MLK’s moral authority was too great for racial slurs he was frequently slurred as a communist. Otherwise, you’re right to call out this idiot columnist. Calling Obama socialist is ridiculous and ignorant but definitely not racist.

  134. In American electoral politics, socialists usually don’t like to be called socialists because the word spooks the rubes proletariat and oppressed. The mask must remain on until power is secured.

    It’s not unfair to call Obama a socialist, because he generally votes with, or to the left of, fellow senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT).

    Actually, in 20th century political invective/code word history, “socialist” and “cosmopolitan” usually meant “Jew,” not “black.” (E.g. “rootless cosmopolitans.”) These days, it’s a poor code word for “black” because almost nobody associates socialism and blacks. And I doubt if half of today’s population even knows what the word “cosmopolitan” means, making it even more useless as a code word.

  135. I do love the fact that the word socialist is a slur in the states

    As a Brit living in continental Europe,
    when I say I’m a libertarian most people think its something to do with the organization of books
    and when I say that I think socialism is utterly retarded people look at you as if I just said I want to kill babies

  136. If McCain were ONLY using “socialist” to smear Obama, I might agree with the author’s premise.

    However, McCain couples his accusations of socialism with frequent announcements that Obama’s tax plan would “turn the IRS into a welfare agency.”

    That, to me, has racial overtones.

    Racist code words work best when they are only decoded as such by their target audience. People who are racially paranoid, who are suspicious that Obama secretly hates white people and will take care of black people at the expense of white people, will likely hear the welfare business, along with the socialism business, and think, “Aha! suspicions confirmed–John McCain says so!” (Cuz every decent racially paranoid person knows that only black people are on welfare.)

  137. valkyrie607: So objecting to Federal welfare is just code for racism?

  138. RE: So objecting to Federal welfare is just code for racism?

    Do you know what a “welfare queen” is? Quick! What race is she?

    (Hint, she is from “Chicago’s South Side”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_queen )

  139. seriously. kill yourself.

  140. Hopefully Reagan was suffering when he was a spoon fed vegetable for those years. He should have for all the people he killed. what a waste of space.

  141. So, I couldn’t find that Sugar Ray Robinson quote on the internet. It’s mentioned elsewhere, but the paper trails all lead back to here; what’s the source for that? What reporter did he tell it to?

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