Racism

The War on Drugs: What's Race Got to Do With It?

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Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg argues that there is something "unlibertarian" about pointing out the racially disproportionate impact of the war on drugs:

The classical liberal is supposed to see people as autonomous and sovereign moral actors, not identity politics groups. I'm hard pressed to think of another area where libertarians are so willing to talk about racial or ethnic groups as a class….

Unlike other government policies that discriminate…on the basis of race, the drug war's much lamented racism is more of a byproduct than anything else….The drug war—despite the many authentic tragedies it produces—doesn't set out to punish blacks because they are black. It sets out to punish people who sell (and to a lesser extent buy) drugs and use violence to protect their trade. That blacks are disproportionately in this line of work is certainly lamentable.

It's important to remember the racist roots of drug prohibition, not least because this history shows how easy it is to demonize intoxicants associated with unpopular groups. But I agree that contemporary drug warriors generally are not motivated by racism. The fact that blacks are disproportionately arrested and punished for drug offenses is nevertheless legitimate cause for concern from a classical liberal perspective. Such uneven treatment undermines the rule of law and creates a perception that blacks are being targeted either out of racial animus (which usually is not true) or because busting street dealers in poor neighborhoods is practically and politically easier than going after less conspicuous white dealers catering to the middle and upper classes (which is more often the case).

Goldberg assumes that blacks are disproportionately arrested for selling drugs because they are "disproportionately in this line of work." That is not at all clear. Considerable research, including studies by the National Institute of Justice, indicates that drug users tend to buy from people of the same racial or ethnic group. (This report [PDF] includes a quick summary of the research.) Given this pattern, since whites are about as likely as blacks to use illegal drugs, they should be about as likely to sell them. Yet blacks, who represent 13 percent of the general population, account for about 40 percent of drug offenders in federal prison and 45 percent of drug offenders in state prison (PDF). 

Further evidence that blacks' disproportionate share of drug arrests cannot be explained by disproportionate involvement with drugs comes from New York City's little-noticed crackdown on pot smokers under Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Survey data indicate that among 18-to-25-year-olds, the age group where these pot busts are concentrated, whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to smoke marijuana. Yet a 2008 study by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that in the Big Apple blacks and Hispanics are, respectively, five and three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. These are cases where simple possession is the most serious charge, and the arrests typically occur after police trick the defendant into producing concealed cannabis, thereby placing it "in public view" (which converts what would otherwise be a citable offense into a misdemeanor). The NYCLU report suggests these low-risk pot busts are motivated not by racism but by a desire to pad arrest figures and generate overtime pay. If blacks and Hispanics suffer disproportionately, it's probably because they are easier targets. Yet that in itself is disturbing. Police seem to be targeting poor black and Hispanic men for treatment that would not be tolerated if it were aimed at affluent whites.

Here is one more example of how a racially disproportionate outcome can be troubling even if it's not deliberate: Federal sentences for crack cocaine are much harsher than sentences for equivalent amounts of cocaine powder, even though these are simply two different forms (smokable and snortable) of the same drug. The mandatory minimum sentences established by Congress in the 1980s treat crack as if it were 100 worse than cocaine powder—i.e., it takes 100 times as much powder to trigger the same sentence as a given amount of crack. Since the supporters of these sentences included black politicians who believed the crack trade was destroying the communities they represented, it would be hard to argue that the policy was intentionally racist. But because the defendants in federal crack cases were overwhelmingly black, the upshot was that blacks were punished much more severely than whites for morally (and chemically) equivalent offenses. Troubled by this outcome, and gradually coming to realize that the arguments for treating crack and cocaine powder differently did not hold water, many of the people who originally supported this sentencing scheme, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, turned against it.

From a libertarian perspective, the war on drugs would be unjust even if its victims were a statistically precise cross-section of the American population. But the fact that it disproportionately harms members of a racial minority that was long subject to official discrimination in this country is additional cause for concern, especially since the laws it enforces grew out of explicitly racist anxieties.

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  1. The classical liberal is supposed to see people as autonomous and sovereign moral actors, not identity politics groups. I’m hard pressed to think of another area where libertarians are so willing to talk about racial or ethnic groups as a class.

    What utter horseshit. According to Jonah, it would have been unlibertarian to complain about Jim Crow laws. Libertarians have always objected to THE STATE beating up on people because of their racial/ethnic background, regardless of the pretext used.

    But I agree that contemporary drug warriors generally are not motivated by racism.

    I don’t. I think the disproportionate enforcement of drug laws at the retail level has everything to do with racism.

  2. I would note that most of what you’ve argued doesn’t make it any particularly more racist than, for example, laws prohibiting speeding (since cops have a lot of freedom to arrest blacks disproportionately, and apparently do). And yet I don’t see people going around saying that “the interstate speed limit is racist.” Particularly when, as you note, black communities have generally supported and even originated the laws.

    It may be racist in effect, but nearly all government policies end up being so so long as racism exists.

  3. I’m kinda with Goldberg on this one. I don’t think his perspective is unreasonable.

    I’m glad you included the disproportionate sentencing of crack vs. powder cocaine. This harsh sentencing was done to save black inner city youth– as it was perceived at the time that crack was destroying their neighborhoods and hence their opportunities.

    Given this pattern, since whites are about as likely as blacks to use illegal drugs, they should be about as likely to sell them.

    Again, this is about environment. Which drugs, how was the purchase made? From a stranger, or from a friend? Do whites use drugs in the streets or in the alleys? Or do they use them in their living rooms and at a friends house?

    To be sure, race comes into play, but the drug war is not inherently designed to be racist. Even if the outcome is, admittedly racist.

  4. What utter horseshit. According to Jonah, it would have been unlibertarian to complain about Jim Crow laws.

    What an utter horseshit straw man. That doesn’t follow at all.

    It’s possible to point to many, many governmental actions that have disproportionate effects on blacks for similar reasons as alleged here, from speed limits to the minimum wage. Some of them, like the minimum wage, were specifically adopted to punish blacks and help whites. Some of them, like speed limits, the purpose of the law was not, I believe motivated such but the implementation is uneven. But many people use “racist war on drugs” in a way that they wouldn’t use with the other government actions.

  5. When Radley Balko discusses the horrible actions of those frauds Michael West and Steven Hayne, he rarely says that it’s all a racist plot. Yet I would certainly imagine that in effect their crimes certainly hit black men the worst, just because of poverty if nothing else. (And there is something else when it comes to prosecutions.)

  6. Again, this is about environment. Which drugs, how was the purchase made? From a stranger, or from a friend? Do whites use drugs in the streets or in the alleys? Or do they use them in their living rooms and at a friends house?

    To be sure, race comes into play, but the drug war is not inherently designed to be racist. Even if the outcome is, admittedly racist.
    __________________________________
    While the law may not be inherintly racist. the way it is enforced can be. but i will say i see blacks standing on the corner slanning. and the whites meet at libaries university, malls bookstores friends house etc etc. which makes enforcemnt harder than yanking a guy standing on the street.

  7. While the law may not be inherintly racist. the way it is enforced can be.

    Most certainly. The law is a tool. And unfortunately, so are the people enforcing it.

  8. I dunno, it seems to me a common theme for libertarians is that when the government coerces it is going to sting “the little guy” the most. Big corporations can deal with regulation, the little businessman has more trouble. The wealthy contractor can easily deal with the licensing board, the little one not so much. And so to the extent that blacks have less power, wealth and such on average than whites it stands to reason that government coercion in this area would be expected by a libertarian to fall heavier on them.

    But of course you would have to accept that blacks on average have less tools for dealing with adversity than whites on average do, and I’ve seen folks here that seem less than eager to embrace that idea…

  9. Don’t people like Goldberg know that libertarians are out there fighting tirelessly for the rights of teen-age black youths to work for below minimum wage?

  10. I mean, black people know that libertarians are out there fighting for their rights to work for below minimum wage, among other things. They get it.

    Which is why there aren’t many at Libertarian Party meetings…

  11. the drug war is not inherently designed to be racist

    Bullshit. Look at the history of CA anti-opium laws. The drug war was inherently disigned and announced and supported as OVERTLY racist.

  12. Please, MNG, there aren’t many white Libertarians, either. And I can only put so much stock in popularity.

  13. I would have to say, if the Drug Warriors have to resort to the anti-anti-racist argument, it’s a good sign…

  14. Didn’t read Goldberg’s post, but what point is he trying to make? That libertarians have collectivist sentiments, and therefore are more like conservatives than they think? Or just that libertarians are wrong on the Drug War? Either way, stupid.

  15. “It sets out to punish people who sell (and to a lesser extent buy) drugs and use violence to protect their trade. That blacks are disproportionately in this line of work is certainly lamentable.”

    Close, but no cigar.

    It’s all about one’s cultural orientation vis-?-vis methodology.

    I would contend that there are more white drug dealers than black drug dealers. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of white drug dealers have more common sense (business smarts) than do black drug dealers.

    White drug dealers seldom shoot people (in fact, none of the white dealers I know carry guns. Yet, every two-bit punk black dealer not only carries, but will shoot most anyone for no reason at all, often into a crowd. That’s just bad business smarts.

    That is why our jails are filled with black dealers/users. They are at once culturally violent and business model stupid when compared to their white counterparts.

  16. I mean, black people know that libertarians are out there fighting for their rights to work for below minimum wage, among other things. They get it.

    Which is why there aren’t many at Libertarian Party meetings…

    You’re not really going to deny that this is trolling, are you?

    I don’t know why we’re listening to Jonah Goldberg anyway. Yeah, he opens up with “I’m kind of against the Drug War”, but the party for which he carries water hasn’t done us any favors. I mean, really, Jonah, why should libertarians give a damn what you think anyway?

  17. Jonah, why should libertarians give a damn what you think anyway?

    Bingo. He’s basically a troll someone gave a column to. That he is fixated on libertarians still doesn’t make him worth paying attention to.

    And just ignore MNG, he’s still a little tipsy from the Ward Churchill Glorious Vindication party.

  18. “””or because busting street dealers in poor neighborhoods is practically and politically easier than going after less conspicuous white dealers catering to the middle and upper classes (which is more often the case).”””

    Many drug deals in poor neighborhoods happens on the street. Elsewhere you may drive to someone’s house, or have it delivered. Dealing on the street corner is far more visable to cops then going to someone’s house, making them an easy target.

    “””I mean, really, Jonah, why should libertarians give a damn what you think anyway?”””

    Agreed

  19. He’s basically a troll someone gave a column to.

    I can’t believe he and Ann Coulter get paid. I’m so jealous.

  20. Goldberg knows all about libertarians. We’re liberal fascists, right? I get so confused.

  21. “He’s basically a troll someone gave a column to.”

    “I can’t believe he and Ann Coulter get paid. I’m so jealous.”

    “Goldberg knows all about libertarians. We’re liberal fascists, right? I get so confused.”

    Ad hominem is often used at H&R to compensate for for a lack intellectual effort.

    Sad, that.

  22. Ad hominem is often used at H&R to compensate for for a lack intellectual effort.

    There’s a whole thread about irony downpage. Y’know. Just saying.

  23. I mean, I’m assuming you were being ironical. Or facetious.

  24. You just can’t ignore race when it comes to the drug war. Seemingly arbitrary distinctions between “good” intoxicants and “bad” ones have everything to do with race, and you can pile disproportionate punishment based on race on top of that.

  25. apparently, according to Gibby, H+R is SRS BIZNES.

    No more smiles, you people! Look at all the intellectual effort Gibby expended to enlighten you!

  26. Wow, interesting points in this post. If you don’t mind me going on a bit of a tangent, I would like to explore them further. Today, we think of race as just a group with the same skin color, but in the 19th, century, biologists thought of race as a group of people with a collection of similar characteristics. The scientific literature at that time was full of descriptions comparing ear shape, hair type, and a plethoria of other congenital traits. Now that we understand how traits are inheritted, I think it makes sense to say legal discrimination based on DNA differences is unconstitutional even if the gene in question does not code for skin color. With the medicalization of drug use and ease of DNA testing, it possible the government might allow mind altering drugs only for people who have specific “genes for addiction”. In my view, this would violate the constitutional ban on discrimination by race.

  27. “I mean, I’m assuming you were being ironical. Or facetious.”

    I man what I said. When ideologically threatened, the H&R fall-back position is to attack the messenger.

    I was once called a wigger here, because it was easier than debating my position regarding a racial issue. Pretty weak.

  28. I “meant” what I said.

  29. Wow, Gibby once got called a wigger? Holy shit! What’ll you do if someone calls you a thin-skinned drippy pussy?

  30. “Wow, Gibby once got called a wigger? Holy shit! What’ll you do if someone calls you a thin-skinned drippy pussy?”

    Probably just keep shittyng in your mother’s mouth. I does seem to keep her happy.

  31. OK, to be fair to Goldberg, his NRO article was all right even though there are points I don’t agree with. It’s way better than what I remember his (weekly?) column being like.

    I man what I said. When ideologically threatened, the H&R fall-back position is to attack the messenger.

    OK, since H n’ R is one monolithic hivemind with a standard protocol, how can I disagree?

  32. Probably just keep shittyng in your mother’s mouth. I does seem to keep her happy.

    That’s weird, she told me the only guys she lets shit in her mouth are guys who can spell “shitting”. Like NutraSweet. She has to draw the line somewhere.

  33. To be fair, I only shit on her chest. That she eats it later is really her business.

    Calling Goldberg a troll is not an ad hominum, but merely a statement of fact. Saying his wife looks like a blown-out radial tire with eyes… now that’s an ad hominum.

  34. Look, man, I don’t want the details, ok? It’s bad enough that she has intimated that you’re my dad.

  35. “Please, MNG, there aren’t many white Libertarians, either.”

    Art, do you think the % of libertarians that are black is near the % of the general population that are black?

    “You’re not really going to deny that this is trolling, are you?”

    No more than this:

    “like the minimum wage, were specifically adopted to punish blacks and help whites.”

    Which it was a reply to.

    “he’s still a little tipsy from the Ward Churchill Glorious Vindication party.”

    SugarFree, in your mind does everyone who is to the left of you live in a tree, dig Native American art, write poetry, wear sandals and love Ward Churchill? You need to read less bullshit blogs and get out more…

  36. Very good, SugarFree. Quickly H-N-R! To the Fallback Position. The Phalanx!!!!

  37. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart”

    In your heart, you know the truth, Epi.

  38. In Libertopia young black men are not imprisoned at a high rate.

    They’re too busy working jobs for less than the minimum wage.

    When they are’nt turned away by employers exercising their “associational rights” that is….

  39. Art, do you think the % of libertarians that are black is near the % of the general population that are black?

    No, but it doesn’t seem like the % of black dance-punk musicians or particle physicists is quite right, either. And yet there are black indie rock musicians and black physicists.

  40. But I agree that contemporary drug warriors generally are not motivated by racism.

    Maybe that fuckhead John Walters isn’t, but the cops who make the arrests, the DAs who decide what charges to bring and the judges who are resposible for disparate sentencing are.

    They deny it. Maybe they even believe it. But they are.

  41. There was good in you once, NutraSweet. I can feel the good in you. With my greased up fist.

  42. Grrrr

    eeek eek eeek

    What the fuck would a classical liberal be doing defending the drug war?

    eeek eeek eek

    Classical liberalism is ours and if you don’t get it

    fuck off and stop pretending to be one of us

    grrrr eeek eeek eeke

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=132371

  43. MNG,

    You constantly portray yourself as a lefty academic. Are you not overjoyed that academic freedom to plagiarize has been defended? That a jury won’t hold a professor up to the minimum standards of research and honesty that you expect from an undergraduate?

    Yes, I’m the one ossified in my opinions, the one that needs to get out more. Anything else you’d like to transcribe back to us from NPR this morning about the glories of card check?

  44. Man, Epi, you’re taking the gay jokes to a [Keegan Michael Key voice] whole…’nother…level.

  45. The problem is lack of motivation caused by racism: lack of motivation to give a shit that the drug war has a disproportionate effect on black people.

  46. They’re too busy working jobs for less than the minimum wage.

    Oh, “they” are, are “they”?

    Wow.

    Look, MNG, if you want to mess around with the hand grenade that is race-baiting, be my guest.

  47. Man, Epi, you’re taking the gay jokes to a [Keegan Michael Key voice] whole…’nother…level.

    Gay? What’s gay about a little fisting between friends?

  48. It appears I arrived long after this discussion fell apart.

    But, I’ll still ask the question.

    Abortion disproportionately impacts Blacks. And, Planned Parenthood was founded by a Eugenicist for the purpose of reducing undesirables.

    Does that inform the Libertarian position on Abortion?

  49. One argument (the one about minimum wage) is an historically factual one; the other (that black people aren’t libertarians because we don’t have that groups’ best interests in mind) is shit-slinging.

  50. “They’re too busy working jobs for less than the minimum wage”

    Strange that

    I come from the UK that had the good fortune to vote for Thatcher

    she served up a cold hard slice of capitalism

    30 years later

    we look at the breakdown of average salaries with regard to race in 2006

    No significant variation depending on ethnic origin

    http://wpeg.group.shef.ac.uk/documents/drinkwater.pdf

    France and Mitterrand served up some minimum wages and
    lots of socialism

    and they have

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68072V5iEx4

  51. Does that inform the Libertarian position on Abortion?

    I forget; when did having an abortion become imposed by law and the State on people?

    Oh yeah, never.

  52. Damn it, TAO. You were too fast…

    Hypothetical: If abortion was outlawed only for white women, what percentage of the opposition to it would dry up?

  53. getting deeper into the minimum wage thing

    Say if you’ve got the EU

    you could impose a state minimum wage or a EU wide minimum wage

    If you set a EU wide minimum wage the basically if its any higher than the mimimum wage in the the poorest state (Romania) the basically you would destroy industry in the poorest state
    as they would no longer be competitive

    If you set a minimum wage for each state

    then if you try to increase the average salary by increasing the minimum wage for a satte then industry will migrate to a state with the lower minimum wage

    If you can’t increase the salary of the working classes with a minimum wage

    what is the fucking point?

  54. “You’re not really going to deny that this is trolling, are you?”

    trolling is the most noble achievement that a webizen can accomplish

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSl3NzW62iw

    I am the fly
    I am the fly
    fly in the
    fly in the fly in the
    Ointment

    ah yeah

    trollers run tings!

  55. Go MNG

  56. If you can’t increase the salary of the working classes with a minimum wage…what is the fucking point?

    Too feel good about yourself without actually doing anything? Just spitballing, here

  57. “You constantly portray yourself as a lefty academic.”

    WTF? I have a doctorate, yes, but I’ve said a million times I made a direct decision NOT to work in academe. I work in (gasp) a private consulting firm.

    As to the Ward Churchill thing I have the following positions:
    1. He should never have had his job in the first place, and his work was goofy (I had heard of him way before this stuff came up and thought that when I read some of his stuff)
    2. He was most certainly targeted because of his speech, which is what tenure is supposed to protect (this mind you is what a jury of his non-academic peers found), and so that is a bit of a problem

  58. C’mon, Thacker. Goldberg is saying that, because libertarians are philosophically individualists, they shouldn’t be heard complaining about the disparate racial impacts that laws have.

    As if racial discrimination under the law, whether overtly or merely in application, isn’t an abuse of state power that should be opposed, which, more than individualism, is what libertarianism is all about.

    I still stand by my assertion that, according to Jonah Goldberg, libertarians shouldn’t have complained about the Jim Crow laws on the grounds that they were racist.

  59. “Anything else you’d like to transcribe back to us from NPR this morning about the glories of card check?”

    I studied labor law in graduate school, that is where I get my info on this subject thank you.

    But I do enjoy NPR. I guess you’re recycling the mythology about NPR being the left wing media. I’ve heard two stories on card check on NPR. On one they had a guy from the AFL-CIO and from the US Chamber of Commerce debate it, and the other was a story that had both sides speak on it as well.

  60. “One argument (the one about minimum wage) is an historically factual one”
    bullshit

    “the other (that black people aren’t libertarians because we don’t have that groups’ best interests in mind) is shit-slinging.”

    I didn’t say libertarians don’t have the groups’ best interests in mind, but that blacks are aware that Libertopia would be disportionately bad on them. I don’t think most libertopians are racist at all btw, though I do think many, though in a literal sense they do not “have [blacks] best interests in mind because they either “don’t see race” (this is your tack usually) or don’t think fighting present bad conditions created by past wrongs is a priority, possible, or desirable.

  61. Still, I think the real issue is being dodged here. [arms akimbo] OK, who called Gibby a wigger? I can wait here all night, mister.

  62. but that blacks are aware that Libertopia would be disportionately bad on them.

    Just not buyin’ it. Many, many people aren’t even politically astute enough to distinguish between Libertopia and Anarchville anyway.

  63. I get inundated with NPR all fucking day. It is left wing media. I wish everyone would just admit this and go about their day. No one has a problem pointing out that Fox is right-wing hackery, but NPR being left is not some myth. It may not be left enough for the Marxist on my campus, but don’t piss in my boot and call it a passing rain shower.

  64. Material Simian
    You do know that Mitterand had been out of power, and the Conservatives in power, for over a dozen years before the rioting France faced, right?

    And that the Labor, yes the LABOR Party has been in power in the UK for over a dozen years too?

    Which kind of makes your “point” really stupid, right?

  65. Sugary One
    Youre on some other planet. NPR regularly has both sides of every story. They don’t have anything remotely like O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, etc.

  66. “but that blacks are aware that Libertopia would be disportionately bad on them”

    Richest country with the highest standard of living in Africa

    Botswana

    Most right wing free market country in Africa

    Botswana

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

    Hmmmm

    But off course if you keep people in a state of government supported dependency

    you can use them to expand government power

    (WTF? I have a doctorate, yes,)
    what was the title of your doctoral thesis?
    what was the university?
    what year did you defend it?

  67. “I still stand by my assertion that, according to Jonah Goldberg, libertarians shouldn’t have complained about the Jim Crow laws on the grounds that they were racist.”

    I’ve been having some fun with the point you and Goldberg are making RC, but I think libertarians have an honest answer to your and Goldberg’s point: there is a difference between policies which do not involve force and fraud that then result in disparate racial impact and policies that are based in force and fraud and have a disparate racial impact. A libertarian can lament the disparate impact in either case, but in the first would look to non-coercive (as they use the term) ways to address it while in the latter case they can deplore both the policy (because it involves force and fraud) and the impacts.

  68. “what was the title of your doctoral thesis?
    what was the university?
    what year did you defend it?”

    WTF, do you want a date or something?

    Try Match.com or EHarmony.

  69. Libertopia would be hard on people of any race that’s been told for the last 50 years that they are systemically prevented from succeeding so they shouldn’t even try.

    I think black people would do just fine if the government and the left stop infantilizing them and the right stopped spinning lurid fantasies about them straight out of Amos and Andy.

    But just like the woman who wants to cut off aid to Africa and is pilloried, there is an industry in America based on keeping black people permanent victims. Everyone wants to forget the thriving black middle class of the 30s, 40s and 50s. How did they do it with Jim Crow and much more racism? Because they didn’t have a government that constantly told them they couldn’t do it.

  70. Nope its just if youre trying to big your self up by saying that you have a qualification that is dependent upon a peer reviewed document that is in the public domain

    you should at least be able to indicate what the document is

    if not why mention it?

  71. Gay? What’s gay about a little fisting between friends?

    I suppose nothing as long as neither of you guys (fister or fistee) enjoys it.

  72. Art, as long as no balls touch, everything is hetero as can be.

  73. “if not why mention it?”

    For the same reason that most people here do not post by their real names and with their street addresses and phone numbers?

    Shit, you don’t need a PhD to figure that one out MM…

    “as long as no balls touch”

    Dude, I’m cooking dinner here!

  74. “Everyone wants to forget the thriving black middle class of the 30s, 40s and 50s. How did they do it with Jim Crow and much more racism?”

    Dude, blacks had as a group about half of their population in poverty back then.

  75. Dude, I’m cooking dinner here!

    What are you and Stalin having?

  76. Sugarfree,

    There is something to the hypothesis that black Americans are among the most “institutionalized” people in this country if you measure this sort of thing along ethnic lines.

    The middle class, the black middle class seemed far less so than many or even most of the poor people I met. Maybe it’s because the middle class didn’t need assistance, etc., but perhaps their psychology was more the reason they didn’t need assistance in the first place. It’s pretty complicated, I’ll admit.

  77. In 1959 the black poverty rate was FIFTY-FIVE percent!

    Oh those halycon days for black folks before the left and their victimization schemes…

    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov2.html

  78. “For the same reason that most people here do not post by their real names and with their street addresses and phone numbers?”

    fair enuff!

    but like let me guess

    “on why peple is like well poor and the injustices of the capitalist system”!

  79. One crazy reason we on the left talk about the victimization of blacks as a group is, well, because of the victimization of blacks as a group (you know, this thing called Jim Crow, the lynchings and all that).

  80. Or…

    How many generations of gov’t assistance does it take before you go hmmmmmmm…this family doesn’t seem to be going anywhere?

  81. this is poltics 101

    but didn’t MLK pay a bunch of economists to calculate the GDP of the African American community in the mid sixties

    they came back and said that if the African American community was a country they’d be in the top ten richest countries on the planet in the mid sixties

    I have no link for that but will do some googling right now!

  82. MNG, you’re right we should all be aware of historical injustices, but sometimes I can’t even construe a logical connection between these past injustices and current conditions. Sometimes, historical racism can be merely tangential to an individual or a family’s problems.

  83. I didn’t say libertarians don’t have the groups’ best interests in mind, but that blacks are aware that Libertopia would be disportionately bad on them.

    Are aware of or mistakenly believe.

    How’s that 45 year old war on poverty coming? The ground troops have been reporting taking horrible losses for decades, so I was just wondering what the strategic planner view was.

  84. To conclude, I know I’m not going to change your mind, MNG, but I will say that I think the libertarian philosophy has merit for people from all walks of life.*

    *No, it’s obviously not a panacea but I guess it doesn’t claim to be.

  85. So how does he leap from “The classical liberal is supposed to see people as…” to, “I’m hard pressed to think of another area where ,libertarians…”

  86. Bingo. He’s basically a troll someone gave a column to. That he is fixated on libertarians still doesn’t make him worth paying attention to.

    Oh, please. Goldberg is more libertarian than about 99% of the MSM.

    I’m more often going to agree with Gillespie than Goldberg, but he is more of an ally than most conservatives.

  87. Wait, by all walks of life, I meant like black people, women and gays. Y’know. Women and minorities.

  88. Art,

    A lot of it is my job. We have a lot of material on downtown Lexington (KY) and in 1932, in a border state that went crazy for The South and race-hate, there was a large black middle class. Yes it was segregated, but there was a “black” downtown with doctors and dentists and professionals of all stripes. We’ve got lots of pictures of them with their businesses and they are so proud of what they’ve accomplished, just beaming. Life handed them a bucket of shit and they rinsed it out and got to work. Even in the segregated high school, everyone is bright-eyed and eager in their yearbooks, persevering with a healthy measure of dignity.

    MLK wasn’t the beginning of any change in the black community, he was the last gasp of a self-sufficient black middle class. What changed was the conspiracy fantasies of The Nation of Islam and the professional victim industry. If you tell people that their failures, their weakness, any set-back they face is the fault of someone else, you are doing them a disservice. If you tell people the deck is forever stacked against them, don’t profess shock when they refuse to play.

    This a sore spot for me, obviously.

  89. As a New Yorker…and latino…I can tell u it really sucks.

    The police ONLY target us. Even Black/Latino Police officers ONLY target us Blacks/Latinos.

    We are a very very easy target.

    I’m suprised to hear this article though. I always thought most white people (especially in NYC) are very supportive of the ‘Stop and Frisk’ programs and the arresting latinos/blacks for a $5 bag of weed…since it would (and clearly proves to) lower crime.

    But, I wonder how many white people would support being frisked on the street while they boss, mother-in-law, neighbors drove by.

    Believe you me…it’s very demoralizing to have that happen to you. And the police in NYC are extremly disrespectful while they do this.

  90. Everyone wants to forget the thriving black middle class of the 30s, 40s and 50s. How did they do it with Jim Crow and much more racism? Because they didn’t have a government that constantly told them they couldn’t do it.

    I just love this: Black people can’t “thrive” in America because the government tells them they can’t. Another reason why they won’t do well in Libertopia … the land of personal responsibility, eh?

    And I have always thought that not using your real name online had less to do with security and more to do with the strength some people get from thinking that they are anonymous. It helps some of us post things we otherwise would be too fearful or uncertain of to say in public.

  91. “I have no link for that but will do some googling right now!”

    hmmm

    couldn’t find shit but

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_mA2Z5DisA

  92. The Angry Optimist | April 6, 2009, 6:11pm | #
    Does that inform the Libertarian position on Abortion?

    I forget; when did having an abortion become imposed by law and the State on people?

    Oh yeah, never.

    Well there is this quaint little progressive State called CHINA.

  93. Black people can’t “thrive” in America because the government tells them they can’t.

    A) There’s a difference between can’t and don’t. Are you saying they are thriving and somehow I’m just missing it? Been to Detroit lately? How about Baltimore?

    B) How do you explain the collapse of the black middle in the late 60s? Did the Jim Crow laws get so much stronger in the Civil Rights era? Telling people they had no responsibility for how they live their lives couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it, right?

    Good night, America. Know that you have once again vanquished those horrible racist libertarians who hold the radical notion that black people shouldn’t be permanent wards of the state. God forbid, they might not vote Democrat anymore!

  94. “Well there is this quaint little progressive State called CHINA”

    Is that actually true?

    The Chinese people I speak to say its a pretty lapse rule

  95. Raaaaaaaacist!

  96. “How do you explain the collapse of the black middle in the late 60s?”

    How do you explain that the % of blacks that live below the poverty line fell dramatically from 1959 to 1969 (from 55.5% to 32.2%), a time when government assistance and protection extended to said group increased dramatically? That would seem to be a cog in your theory that government assistance and protection has been so bad for blacks…

    “I will say that I think the libertarian philosophy has merit for people from all walks of life”

    Art
    I see your point. My point is simply that I honestly believe that were we to have Libertopia now, or in 1965, many black people would be worse off than if we did not have Libertopia. Gains in some areas (ending the WOD and its disparate impact) would be more than offset by the many hits they would take (discrimination, lower worker protections, less assistance, and other things that disparately protect blacks as a group).

    As I said upthread, I certainly do NOT think most libertarians are racists. And I think libertarianism has some recommendations that would help many black people, and even the ones that would overall hurt more blacks than they would help would help some of them.

  97. I certainly do NOT think most libertarians are racists

    You certainly aren’t afraid to imply it, though.

  98. The drug war may or may not be racist in its intent. But it is profoundly discriminatory in its execution.

    That’s not really an opinion.

  99. “I mean, black people know that libertarians are out there fighting for their rights to work for below minimum wage, among other things.” – MNG

    While those same black people may not understand that intellectual class liberals like MNG are fighting to deny them the right to offer their services at the price the market will bear. Hence, they will not have opportunity for learning the job skills to earn higher wages, leaving them chronically unemployed. Better joblessness than to earn a wage MNG considers demeaning.

  100. TAO
    Where did I imply that above? Saying that libertarian’s ideas would, in my judgment and opinion, be harmful to blacks overall is not implying libertarians are racist.

    “While those same black people may not understand that intellectual class liberals like MNG are fighting to deny them the right to offer their services at the price the market will bear. ”

    Yeah MJ, like I said, fighting for their rights to work at jobs with pay below the minimum wage. I mean, you guys are really going the extra mile for them there, it’s a wonder they aren’t reporting to LP functions in droves with that kind of stand!

  101. MNG, implicit in what you’re saying is that there is a massive bloc of black voters who will stay where they are (the Democratic Party) unless pandered to.

  102. That blacks are disproportionately in this line of work is certainly lamentable.

    Just got home; that’s how far I got.

    Fuck Jonah Goldberg.

    Period; the end.

  103. I studied labor law in graduate school, that is where I get my info on this subject thank you.

    So, you have a JD, then?

  104. or, you studied outside the United States?

  105. It’s just horrible that we advocating classical liberalism want people to be able to make the decision of what wage to accept for themselves. The progressive liberal’s denial of the right to choose for oneself is so much better.

    Or it makes the progressives patronizing pompous asses who are actually damaging the opportunities of people on the low end of the wage scale.

  106. Political science. We do some law too. Heck, my buddy has a PhD in history and wrote his dissertation on the Wagner Act, so I’m not sure why you would assume only JD’s get to study labor law.

    Many colleges have Labor Studies centers or departments. Very few of their profs are JDs. Many are economists actually. JD’s can’t have all the fun 🙂

  107. MNG,

    Just a short distance down the page, one of the Reason writers provided indisputable documentary evidence that the legislators who wrote prevailing wage laws did so specifically to stop blacks from competing in the marketplace. There’s just no room for debate about that particular area of labor law – the sponsors of the laws openly stated their beliefs and their motivations.

    Other than your snark about “fighting for your right to work below minimum wage”, do you have any response to this? At all?

    Or is any effort made for “da workin’ man”, regardless of its naked racism and open guildism, get a free pass from you because it’s part of the struggle for those noble folks with grimy hands?

    Abortion disproportionately impacts Blacks. And, Planned Parenthood was founded by a Eugenicist for the purpose of reducing undesirables.

    An abortion is a benefit for the person who obtains one, and in some instances for her family and peer group. So if abortion “disproportionately impacts” blacks, then it disproportionately benefits them.

  108. “Just got home; that’s how far I got.

    Fuck Jonah Goldberg.”

    he is a baffling dude, for sure. i’m not entirely sure if he genuinely thinks that or if he’s just sick of hearing about disparate impact because he’s a dick.

  109. Even with joe gone we still get our recommended daily requirement of smarmy self-righteous pomposity from MNG.

    Good to know we won’t go with out.

  110. An abortion is a benefit for the person who obtains one,

    Not always, though, I’m sure.

  111. An abortion is a benefit for the person who obtains one,

    I seem to remember reading that having an abortion is decision often regretted later in life, and women who have abortions are more likely to be depressed, suffer from anxiety disorders, etc.

    So, sometimes, sure. But I wouldn’t make that blanket statement, myself.

  112. Not always, though, I’m sure.

    As with any product or service, I’m sure some people get buyer’s remorse.

    But I would think that it would be noncontroversial that people who seek out services in the marketplace are doing so because they believe, at the time of purchase, that the service is something they want.

    That makes the sentence “Abortion disproportionately impacts blacks” a lot like the sentence “Baseball tickets disproportionately impact baseball fans” or “Massages disproportionately impact guys with sore backs” or “Gasoline disproportionately impacts people who want to drive someplace”.

  113. Did somebody assume Jonah Goldberg was actually interested in the truth?

    Silly you.

  114. Although anecdotes differ from statistics, I cannot be alone in personally witnessing large sums of suburban white kids smoking pot. Heavy cocaine use by Wall St. traders is an open secret in NYC. And, the basic stereotype of a “pot smoker” is your hippie/deadhead/Phish fan, etc. I’ve known high level people at top publishing companies that were heroin addicts and Harvard kids doing meth. Yet, despite the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve met throughout my life that regularly buy or sell drugs, I can only think of one instance of a white person being arrested on such charges. The simple truth is that the police for the most part aren’t going to bother with the college kids, the ones at the concert, or the traders at a Wall St. firm. They aren’t going to bother with the otherwise lawful suburban kid with a backpack full of pot who gets high with his friends while the parents are out.

    I once interviewed for a serious gov’t agency and the first thing they asked was if I had done drugs in the last year (it was made clear this question would be asked again using a polygraph), and when I said, “no” the interviewer let out a sigh of relief and said it was getting increasingly difficult to find candidates who could truthfully answer no.

    Yet, by arrest and prison records, you’d think none of these people even existed.

  115. Federal sentences for crack cocaine are much much harsher than sentences for equivalent amounts of cocaine powder, even though these are simply two different forms (smokable and snortable) of the same drug.

    My old cokehead roommates were functional. My old crackhead roommates were not. The cokeheads had been cokeheads longer. Both groups were evenly split racially. Take that for what it’s worth,–simply an anecdote.

  116. “That makes the sentence “Abortion disproportionately impacts blacks” a lot like the sentence “Baseball tickets disproportionately impact baseball fans” or “Massages disproportionately impact guys with sore backs” or “Gasoline disproportionately impacts people who want to drive someplace”.”

    Except that the people who wish to make baseball tickets, massages, and gasoline available are not desiring the elimination of baseball fans, people with sore backs and people who want to drive. A significant number of the people desiring to make abortion available wished to eliminate blacks and other genetically undesirable elements from society.

  117. “The fact that blacks are disproportionately arrested and punished for drug offenses is nevertheless legitimate cause for concern from a classical liberal perspective.”

    Cause for concern, perhaps. But the classical liberal perspective is to abolish the drug war, and that would be true regardless of disparate impact. Disparate impact would be significant if you were someone who would otherwise support the drug war, but disparate impact causes you to no longer do so. Or if you still support it, but support tweaks, reforms, or safeguards to reduce disparate impact.

    And so it is in general with disparate impact claims and libertarians. While libertarians may appreciate the nature of disparate impact and discrimination, it’s difficult to impossible for me to point to any policy where libertarians, in general, say “I would support policy X, but because of disparate impact and discrimination, I don’t.” To the degree that libertarians do hold such beliefs, that does tend to make them modern liberals (or conservatives, if it’s about immigration or abortion or such), and it does tend to invite claims of not being a “true” or “pure” libertarian.

    When disparate impact is a “cause for concern” that’s somehow never necessary nor sufficient for changing one’s preferred policy, I think it’s only nature that some people consider it at best irrelevant to your philosophy, and at worst think of you as someone who only uses the arguments without really believing in them. Just as people think of libertarians and conservatives when they bring up disparate impact and vouchers or education tax credits, or conservatives that invoke disparate impact when discussion immigration.

  118. The War on Drugs is the one issue where I side with the Left on the racial angle…I’ve known people back home who would be doing 8-to-10 in Angola if their ass wasn’t white.

  119. Please remember that all people alive share certian functions of living. It is not that we are all alike, but we are all humans.

    When mislabeling of humans happens, we get racial issues. I am a “white” guy, my people came from Germany, and I’m called an American, NOt a german-American, that would be someone born in Germany and then moves to America. SO really there are no African-Americans born in the United States, only Americans. Until the government embraces not labeling people we will allways have race problems.

    Where except America do African-Americans live? They can’t be kicked out and sent back to Africa, because they don’t belong there, they are Americans. Period.

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