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How Liberals Put Black America Behind Bars

A surprising new history about race and prison

The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, by Naomi Murakawa, Oxford University Press, 280 pages, $24.95

Oxford University PressOxford University PressThe United States is the undisputed world champion of incarceration. According to the latest accounting by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, close to 2.3 million adults are held in federal and state prisons and county jails in the United States, which is roughly 1 percent of the country's adult population and 25 percent of the world's prisoners. The U.S. incarcerates a greater percentage of its total population than any other country in the world, including Cuba, Russia, Iran, and, according to some estimates, North Korea. In addition, 4.8 million Americans are on probation or parole, which means that a total of more than 7 million are under correctional control-some 3 percent of the adult population in the United States. Nearly 60 percent of prisoners are black or Latino and roughly half of all prisoners are serving sentences for nonviolent offenses.

Conventional wisdom holds that mass incarceration of American blacks and Latinos is a result of the "scientific racism" that was established as the dominant racial ideology in the 19th and early 20th centuries and which underlay the Republican "law and order" policies of the 1970s that brought us to our present condition. But in her new book, The First Civil Right, Naomi Murakawa upends that narrative, locating the roots of America's "prison state" instead in the progressive reformism that gained ascendancy during World War II. Progressive thinkers overthrew scientific racism as a respectable belief system and replaced it with a set of ideas that were modern and sophisticated but also a more effective rationale for locking up large portions of the population. What Murakawa calls "racial liberalism" was born out of the discourse of ethnic and racial "tolerance" and "equality," which promised liberation but contained a carceral logic.

In prewar America, it was entirely respectable to believe that black people were biologically inferior and inherently prone to criminal behavior. Students in elite universities were assigned Ulrich Bonnell Philips' American Negro Slavery, the leading scholarly text on the subject through the first half of the 20th century, which argued that the plantations were "the best schools yet invented for the mass training of that sort of inert and backward people which the bulk of the American negroes represented." Policy makers and intellectuals generally accepted as fact the claim made in Frederick Hoffman's The Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro that "crime, pauperism, and sexual immorality" among blacks were biologically determined. Scientific racism was even extended to many Europeans. The National Origins Act, which severely restricted immigration from southern and eastern European countries as well as from Africa, Asia, and Latin America from 1924 to 1965, was chiefly informed by the work of Madison Grant, an anthropologist who argued that Jews, Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, and northern Africans belonged to an inferior "Mediterranean race."

Murakawa, a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, argues that during the war against the genocidal Axis this ideology was supplanted by "racial liberalism," an attempt to reform both white racism and black disloyalty with rational, efficient, and coercive state institutions.

The foundational text of racial liberalism was Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma, published in 1944, which argued that black "pathologies" were the product not of biology but of slavery, segregation, and discrimination and could be corrected by treating blacks with "scientific social engineering" instead of scientific racism. Myrdal's study was commissioned by the progressive Carnegie Foundation, whose trustees wished to pre-empt the race wars they feared would result from the influx into Northern cities of "untidy" Southern blacks whose habits "were better adapted to cabin life in the palmetto swamps." Understanding that the application of scientific-racist principles to urban blacks would only provoke an unmanageable rage, Myrdal argued that centuries of brutal exploitation and exclusion caused "American Negro culture" to become "a distorted development, or a pathological condition" that was not only debilitating for blacks but also dangerous for whites: "Not only occasional acts of violence, but most laziness, carelessness, unreliability, petty stealing and lying are undoubtedly to be explained as concealed aggression. ... The truth is that Negroes generally do not feel they have unqualified moral obligations to white people. ... The voluntary withdrawal which has intensified the isolation between the two castes is also an expression of Negro protest under cover."

By forcing blacks to live in "Negro slums" and excluding them from the civilizing influence of white schools, Myrdal argued, racists had created a population of criminals. Myrdal saw black city dwellers "walking the streets unemployed" and "standing around on the corners." Forced into a hostile relationship with whites, barred from assimilating into the dominant culture, and left festering in their social pathologies, blacks had been made to lead lives of lawless danger: "They have a bearing of their whole body, a way of carrying their hats, a way of looking cheeky and talking coolly, and a general recklessness about their own and others' personal security and property, which gives one a feeling that carelessness, asociality, and fear have reached their zenith."

To Myrdal and a generation of liberals who followed him, the answer was to modernize, centralize, and enlarge the criminal justice system. In 1947, Harry Truman's President's Committee on Civil Rights reported that by following "practices which preserve white dominance," the police and the courts had led blacks to reject the whole system.

"Out of the discriminatory administration of justice has grown a disregard of the law," the Committee declared, echoing Myrdal's claim about the cause of black criminality.

"People who live in a state of tension and suspicion cannot use their energy constructively. The frustrations of their restricted existence are translated into aggression against the dominant group. ... It is not at all surprising that a people relegated to second-class citizenship should behave as second-class citizens. This is true, in varying degrees, of all of our minorities. What we have lost in money, production, invention, citizenship, and leadership as the price for damaged, thwarted personalities-these are beyond estimate."

The solution the Committee recommended became the blueprint for the American criminal justice system we know today, including "increased professionalization of state and local police forces" and higher salaries to "attract and hold competent personnel." From this came a flood of Democratic legislation that was intended, as Murakawa puts it, to "build a better carceral state, one strong enough to control racial violence in the streets and regimented enough to control racial bias in criminal justice administration." Discretion was taken from potentially racist judges and police and replaced with rational, consistent, and severe rules.

The Boggs Act of 1952 and the Narcotic Control Act of 1956, both of which passed with overwhelming support from Northern liberal Democrats, imposed uniform mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses. "Little Boggs" laws then spread across the states, instituting mandatory and often lengthy minimum sentences for trafficking and possession of narcotics. The numbers of prisoners serving time for drug offenses increased geometrically over the next two decades. More importantly, the 1950s laws established crucial precedents for the later massive escalation in the war on drugs.

National Democratic legislators of the 1960s are well known for the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, which did serve to equalize treatment of the races under the law. They are less well known for a slew of federal crime laws that put record numbers of black and brown people behind bars. The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 and the Gambling Devices Act of 1962 cracked down on interstate gambling, and the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act of 1968 authorized block grants that enhanced the states' abilities to incarcerate youth. The cornerstone crime law of Lyndon Johnson's administration was the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which is rarely discussed in textbook accounts of Johnson's "Great Society" programs. It established the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), which "swelled the flow of federal funds to state and local police departments" for recruitment and training of officers and began what we now know as the militarization of the police. The LEAA funded the purchase of helicopters, gas masks, infrared cameras, riot gear, smoke and gas grenades, projectiles, launching cartridges, and flares by police departments.

All this, says Murakawa, was "part of a long-term liberal agenda, one that reflected a belief that federally subsidized police recruitment and training could become racially fair." Ironically, it also followed from the assumption that federalized policing would give blacks reason to identify with law enforcement authorities. Democratic Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana argued for the creation of the LEAA by declaring that "at no time in our history has disrespect for law and those who administer and enforce it been so general and widespread." Similarly, Sen. Joseph Tydings, a Democrat from Maryland, believed that professionalizing the police would correct the "deep-seated belief amongst our Negro citizens that equal law enforcement in police practices does not exist anywhere in our land" and would teach "slum children [to] have respect for the law."

In 1966, a memo from the Office for Law Enforcement Assistance, another "Great Society" crime agency, explained that the "Purpose and Definition of Good Police-Community Relations" was "To encourage citizens to report crime" or "at least, not interfere with arrests and other police work"; "To achieve adequate financial and other support from legislative bodies"; "To improve recruitment"; "To improve respect for law and law enforcement which has a direct relationship to the amount of crime"; "To remove the incidents which can lead to riots"; "To assist in giving the public confidence that the police will enforce the law and provide effective protection without discrimination"; and "To make the police responsive to the public which is essential in a democracy even aside from other pragmatic advantages." As we know from the record of black distrust and antagonism toward police that followed the 1960s, these dreams of socially engineered assimilation did not come true.

Murakawa acknowledges that conservative Republicans did their part to build the prison state, in particular by prosecuting the war on drugs. She details Reagan's astonishingly punitive Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which nearly eliminated federal parole and allowed for preventive detention of defendants, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, which instituted more mandatory minimum sentences and created the notorious 100-1 disparity in sentences for crack vs. powder cocaine trafficking. But Murakawa shows that most of the intellectual and legal scaffolding of the contemporary American carceral system was erected by Democrats.

The greatest push to criminalize and incarcerate came under Bill Clinton, who oversaw more expansions of mandatory minimum sentences than any other president. His signature crime bill, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, funded state prison construction and the hiring of 100,000 new police officers, increased mandatory minimums, and applied the death penalty to 60 crimes. Clinton triumphantly declared that the law was "the toughest, largest, smartest Federal attack on crime in the history of our country."

Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware used the law to respond to the common and erroneous criticism that liberals were soft on crime: "Let me define the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties. That is what is in this bill. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party has 70 enhanced penalties. ... The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 100,000 cops. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 125,000 new State prison cells."

By the time Clinton left office, the number of people under correctional control was seven times greater than at the beginning of the Johnson administration, and the black-to-white ratio for incarceration rates had risen from 3-1 to 6-1.

As Murakawa says, "there is no master narrative of conservative ascendance" in the rise of the American prison state. Indeed, it is a classic story of progressive ascendance: of modern efficiency applied to social problems and errant populations more effectively controlled. Progressives are simply better at getting the job done.

Photo Credit: Andrew Bardwell

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  • Almanian!||

    Typical, coming from a white male.

    Oh, wait...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Effective central planning depends on laws and law enforcement that facilitate pacification of the masses. What good liberal would give up such mechanisms for control?

  • ||

    Effective central planning depends on unicorn farts.

    FIFY

  • SQRLSY One||

    “…discourse of ethnic and racial "tolerance" and "equality," which promised liberation but contained a carceral logic.”
    “Carceral logic”… Is that most closely related to “Cereal logic” from the “Cereal Girl”, or “Canceral logic”, from the “Canceral Girl”, who might be of the Cancer sign of the Zodiac? Ah dunno, just askin’…
    All that I do know, is this: Government Almighty has blessed us with many-many-MANY-MANY, laws, including laws against blowing on a CHEAP PLASTIC FLUTE w/o a doctor’s prescription… See www.churchofsqrls.com to see that I am not fibbing… See “ling flute” as search string… If you cough, with the assistance of a cheap plastic flute, to knock lung boogers loose, in the USA, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, without blessings by a Morally Superior Government-Almighty-Blessed Physician of the Magical Prescription Powers, in the USA today, you are a SCUM CRIMINAL!!!
    And I for one, say, criminals know the laws! If they do not, ignorance is no excuse! Putting them in jails? Excessive, just perhaps… Maybe we need more tons and tons and tons upon tons, of therapists, to CURE us of our addictions to un-prescribed, complex medical devices, like cheap plastic flutes… All those therapists can make WAY more money that jailors, it will stimulate our economy…

  • SQRLSY One||

    Ooooops, "lung flute", not "ling flute", so sorry... Too much gnog of the egg, Xmas eve and all...

  • BigT||

    [MORE] Xmas cheer to you!

  • faeriemama||

    "Is that most closely related to “Cereal logic” from the “Cereal Girl”, or “Canceral logic”, from the “Canceral Girl”, who might be of the Cancer sign of the Zodiac?"

    You forgot about "Barbie Logic" from the "Barbie girl".

    Come on Barbie, let's go party... Just as soon as we lock up these black people for non-violent possession charges. We have to confiscate their contraband so we have something to party with!

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Progressive Plantation

  • BobJones||

    It's so hilarious that conservatives are viewed as the racists and liberals are the saviors of blacks.

    Didn't woodrow wilson and margaret sanger support eugenics? Didn't FDR intern the Japanese and subsidize white flight with highways and the FHA? Didn't rich white limousine liberal progressives like Robert Moses bulldoze black neighborhoods as part of urban renewal? Didn't progressives support alcohol prohibition, which was a racist WASP crusade against catholic immigrants and blacks? Didn't liberal white judges destroy successful all black schools with forced busing back in the 70's?

    On the other hand, Ayn Rand acolyte and future Reagan advisor Martin Anderson wrote a book criticizing the government's ethnic cleansing of blacks from urban neighborhoods back in the 60's called the federal bulldozer. Milton Friedman, David Henderson, Wlater Oi, and other free market economists ended the racist draft. While liberals championed the war on drugs, which is the new jim crow, milton friedman and ron paul denounced it. The State against blacks, one of the best books on institutional racism in the form of occupational licensing laws and zoning laws, was written by the conservative economist walter williams back in the 80's.

  • Tony||

    There was a time when everyone was racist. In 2014, conservatives are the ones hanging on. This whole narrative is a sleight-of-hand. Some liberals 70 years ago had racist thoughts (pay no attention to their conservative neighbors in white hoods carrying rope).

  • Tak Kak||

    How is history a narrative sleight of hand?

  • FUQ||

    The ones in whites hoods carrying ropes were Dems

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Which political party, were they opposed to?
    You are so pathetic.

  • ||

    The single most racist institution in the US is the war on drugs.

    In Washington state which has been controlled by Dems for decades not one elected democrat in the state came out in support of legalizing pot.

    You are full of shit Tony.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    No, the single most racist institution in the US is government itself.

    Slavery, Jim Crow segregation, occupational licensing, minimum wage laws, zoning, redevelopment, the draft, loitering laws, victimless crimes, all are government institutions entirely devoted to keeping poor people down so the Top.Men can keep the country running without interference.

    And of course freed slaves were by definition among the poorest of the poor, so they got an extra helping.

    You ought to read up on history sometime. It's depressing for its repetitiveness, uplifting for how people time and again worked around it, and enlightening for the lessons it offers.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    (You == Tony, not Corning)

  • Vulgar Madman||

    The guys in hoods, were the military wing of the Democratic Party.

  • Tony||

    Why do I give a shit? Yeah Southern racists used to be in the Democratic party. There was a realignment, and now Southern racists are all Republicans. Isn't now what matters?

  • wadair||

    Isn't now what matters?

    No. Because it was progressives who screwed things up. And progressives are now mostly democrat. The past invalidates your narrative--that's why you want to forget it.

  • straffinrun||

    Let's not get into who did what to who and dwell on the past. If there were no Tony, we would need to create one. Just for the giggles.

  • faeriemama||

    It is providing some excellent giggles. To me, it's not so much about liberal vs. conservative as it is libertarian vs. authoritarian. That's far more important. Both mainstream liberals and conservatives tend to be entirely too authoritarian. The War on Drugs was pretty much bipartisan authoritarian legislation. The call to end it is purely libertarian.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Oh, hell, he forgets it because he only has a handful of brian cells, and a third of them only fire sporadically.

  • ||

    The last of the prominent southern racists was Harry Byrd. D. Former Klansman.

    Was it oxygen deprivation at birth? or Downs? I can never figure that part of you out.

  • ||

    Aggh, Robert, not Harry. Harry first, Robert second. Must keep repeating this until I remember...

  • faeriemama||

    H comes before R in the alphabet!

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    and now Southern racists are all Republicans

    Gross oversimplification. You don't spend a lot of time in the south, do you?

    You really think you can't find a nice block of white old farts in the south who'll vote democrat until they die and also dislike black people?

    I mean, I know you want to live in your democrat bullshit fantasy land, where democrats are a party as pure as driven snow, but, jesus christ.

  • Juice||

    My grandfather in Louisiana was a lifelong Democrat. He hated Reagan and anyone who would cut social programs and supported anyone who would increase them. He was also quite racist and would always complain about "the n***ers."

  • DesigNate||

    How long was Robert Byrd a Democrat?

    That's right, you lose again.

  • faeriemama||

    What about all the racist black people? Are they Republican too? Or did you forget about them? That's racist.

  • Brochettaward||

    'Some' liberals is a massive understatement.

    Racism and eugenics were a core part of the progressive movement in the first half of the twentieth century and the intellectual starting point for the policies and beliefs they/you hold today.

    You progressive morons try to tie the idea of small government to racism all the time because of nullification. Only, those they were ideas adopted by racists in the Southern South.

    Eugenics and racism were developed right alongside and served as the core of progressive utopianism. Most of the progressive heroes still worshiped today were raging racists.

  • ||

    Nullification was also used in Wisconsin against the fugitive slave act.

  • Tony||

    Of course they were, just like everyone else. But modern conservatism is wholly a nativist, racist movement, owing its entire existence to reaction against liberal attempts to increase the rights of minorities. Anyone talking about racist progressives who lived and died 100 years ago is trying to distract from that point, period.

  • Tak Kak||

    Racist progressives like Bill Clinton?

    Anyone who tries to spin the problem as "old liberals" versus "new liberals" is trying to distract from the point.

  • Tony||

    Next are you going to tell me about how modern liberals are the real racists, keeping minorities in a cycle of dependence, somehow managing to hoodwink them all despite it being in their best interest to vote for the people who are actively hostile to them?

  • Tak Kak||

    So Bill Clinton is a "racist progressive" to you?

    Stop. I'll save you the embarrassment.

    The point isn't that so-and-so is or was a *real racist*, but rather that liberal's favorite way of addressing problems has overwhelmingly racist and problematic outcomes.

    That's why your "but who's the real racist right now??" is nothing more than a distraction.

  • ||

    Tell it to Thomas Sowell bitch.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=H6ImP-gJvas

  • ||

    Sowell is a racist, straight up. He had dinner with Charles Murray once, which proves it. Racist, racist, racist. Even wears blackface to mock minorities.

  • wadair||

    ...a cycle of dependence, somehow managing to hoodwink them...

    There is no somehow. Dependence is the way progressives and democrats (and too often republicans, too) hoodwink folk into voting for those who make them dependent. Additionally, dependence is easier than independence and progressives, democrats, and too many republicans know it. Have you read Jose Ortega y Gasset's classic book The Revolt of the Masses?

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Yea all that is true. What I can't figure out is why they keep voting for their Progressive masters? I suppose free shit and no responsibility is viewed as better than the alternative.

    I live in AL. Even as George Wallace was barring the door at the Univ of AL, blacks were block voting for the guy. Go figure?

  • Tak Kak||

    Which debunks the whole "re-alignment" narrative Dems keeps putting forth.

    Blacks started switching party en-mass starting with FDR and were a majority registered long *before* the CRA.

  • Brian||

    Nah, the real issue is that democrats, like republicans, only get hard core support from a third of he population. However, about 90% of black people vote democrat. That's about 15% of the population, more or less. Therefore, this implies that about half of he democrat base is there primarily by playing the race card exclusively for 15% of the voters. Which is weird, since they're such a small minority, practically all policies and laws affect more nonblacks than blacks.

    So, to make that story sound better, play the republicans off as evil hatey racists that drove the blacks to the dems. It's not like he dems depend on them for their very survival as a party, or something. Look: we know republicans are racists, because look how he south votes. And we know the south is racist because of democrats there 100 years ago, and look how they vote republican. And if you see a circle in that, you're racist.

  • Brochettaward||

    It's not 100 years ago, you dolt. Nor was the party realignment as simple and clear cut as you would like people to believe or believe yourself.

    It's nearly every progressive hero of the last century. Wilson, FDR, LBJ. The big three you support all shared a common bond in how they viewed the minority races.

    Those progressive programs you love were STARTED by racists. And there in lies the difference between progressives and libertarians and small government/fiscal conservatives. It's the programs pushed by the LEFT that have had the worst impact on the minorities they claim to defend.

    Regardless of which party you feel is more racist, the real-world results of your programs (I won't touch welfare, just look above at the article) have been disastrous for brown people.

    The prison system in this country was developed by progressives and statists. Not neocons, not libertarians, and not any other breed of conservative or even Republican (though they piled on).

    Even NOW, it's red states that are reducing their prison populations after they ballooned because of the budget issues and blue states like Cali that continue to plug away and feeding the beast.

    So, you can whine about intentions and power relations all you want. The policies you endorse are horrible for brown people of all shades as well as whites.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    "owing its entire existence to reaction against liberal attempts to increase the rights of minorities"

    School choice?

  • wadair||

    Good thing you're not prone to sweeping accusations, Tony.

    Reading your comment leaves me thinking that conservatives are the new second-class citizens that progressives wish to mold and manipulate.

    We'd all be better off if progressives would mind their own damn business and quit trying to fix everyone.

  • Tony||

    We'll stop as soon as conservatives and libertarians stop trying to cement current power relationships that just so happen to overwhelmingly benefit the white heterosexual males who overwhelmingly constitute conservatives and libertarians.

  • wadair||

    White, heterosexual males are also (currently) a large portion of the population. Do you understand proportion?

  • Brochettaward||

    Tony IS a white and presumably heterosexual male. That's the funny part.

    If you take a look around at leftist institutions in this country, they are overwhelmingly made up of white heterosexual males who pat themselves on the back for how enlightened they are.

    The Obama administration is overwhelming white, male, and hetero. The news media that lambasts corporations is even more lopsidedly white/male/hetero. Hollywood. The bureaucracy.

    Identity politics are nothing more than a ruse. The institutions that claim to speak truth to (white and 'other') power structures are made up of almost all white hetero males.

  • robc||

    I thought he was gay and in Oklahoma. Or am I confusing my trolls?

  • Brochettaward||

    I took a guess on the straight thing. I'd guarantee he's white.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oklahoma!
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

  • SoCal Deathmarch||

    I believe Tony is 'you can't deny me a cake' gay.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    I thought he might have been "spring break bi"

    some other person wrote that, i just found it funny.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Tony prefers the poop shoot to the velvety self lubricating vagina.

  • Satyrical||

    Hollywood is a lot of things. 'Hetero' aint one of them.

  • Tak Kak||

    Ironically, it was progressive meddling that has helped to cement actual power relations to overwhelmingly benefit those at the top (see Kolko).

    Maybe this means they'll stop when the US finally has a completely systematic caste system.

  • Brochettaward||

    That's the thing. Tony wants to focus on concepts like dog whistle racism instead of the actual results and origins of progressive programs.

    He also wants to whitewash the documented motives of the progressive heroes of the last century. So, motivations matter - when he's assigning hidden meaning to conservatives (regardless of type - we're all the same on the 'right'), but not with progs. They're the GOOD GUYS! Because they say so!

  • ||

    If you can hear a dog whistle, you're a dog.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Exactly

  • faeriemama||

    It seems like the argument from every progressive I've ever met is, "This is what I believe and if you disagree with me, you're a fucking idiot!" Same with certain types of conservatives. Libertarians seem to be the only ones capable of rational discussion and backing up arguments with fact instead of slinging insults when you start picking apart their ideals. I guess that's why they call this libertarian magazine "Reason". I'd be much more willing to listen to someone's position if they didn't call me a fucking moron when I ask them to cite sources for what they're saying.

  • SoCal Deathmarch||

    "...white heterosexual males..."

    Racist and sexist. Projection, it's the only principle that Progressives adhere to.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Libertarians are trying to cement current power relationships?

    Wow. Dood. Where'd you get that definition, from a box of corn flakes?

  • faeriemama||

    Obviously from Think Progress or Americans Against the Tea Party. He probably gets his "news" from the same sources as my ex husband.

  • macsnafu||

    Because libertarians are just such a powerful force for racism in government? Seriously, Tony, the point is that it's the liberal programs that are the most harmful to the poor and the minorities. If Republican conservatives are too short-sighted to do anything but go along with the status quo, that hardly means they are putting racist views into government policies that *already* have racist results, whatever the liberal intentions may have been. Intentions and results are two different things.

    And libertarians have been too weak to remove and rescind these liberal racist programs. Besides 'real' libertarians are even more radical than your conservative/libertarian nightmares. ;-)

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Ok, I don't much like FDR either, and Pearl Harbor is a direct comsequence of his administration's racist assumption that the Japanese could not reach that far across the Pacific. That said, there is an argument that FDR interred the Japanese less because of his own racism than becuase of hysterical racism of West Coast populations who feared a Inscrutible Oriental Fifth Column.

    In point of fact most of the Japanese on the West Coast detested and feared the Imperial Japanese state and its secret police organizations, and would have run to the FBI if contacted to help the Emperor.

    So I am unwilling to bring FDRs treatment of the Japanese into the argument.

    Wilson, on gen other hand, was a racist fascist bastard. If it weren't for McCarthy more people would remember Mitchell Palmer, Wilson's Attourney General, who makes McCarthy look like Little Lord Fauntleroy.

  • Brochettaward||

    Most historians are overwhelmingly progressive and champion Wilson. The predominant line in the historiography today DEFENDS Versailles and the Wilsonian vision. So, McCarthy or no McCarthy, the mainstream view of Wilson pushed in the public schools would whitewash the squashing of civil rights under Wilson.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Wilson was a monster.

  • Redmanfms||

    Palmer would have been forgotten regardless, just like the fact that the HUAC was actually started by the Dems, that McCarthy and the GOP had nothing to do with it, that the HUAC's investigations is ultimately what lead to the Japanese interment, and many of the more famous farcical Commie hunt moments in the early '50s has been conveniently forgotten or blamed on Republicans.

    Rankin, a Dem was also the driving force in focusing the attention of the HUAC away from the Klan and on Communists.

    Republicans have frequently been wrong, but the Dems have been on the 180 degrees wrong side of every issue for the entirety of the fucking Party's history.

  • Andrew A||

    I've always said, that Blacks traded in the whips & chains for welfare & food stamps. That bondage is far more insidious.

  • BobJones||

    Some good books about the WASP progressive war on blacks are:

    the federal bulldozer

    the power broker

    the slaughter of cities

    the state against blacks

    poor policy

    when affirmative action was white

    mismatch

    please stop helping us

    school desegregation: enough is enough

    losing ground

    drug warriors and their prey

    wrong on race

  • Tak Kak||

    This pretty much verifies what Malcolm X said long ago about liberals.

    An openly racist opposition could be much more beneficial, it's much easier to avoid being stabbed in the chest than being stabbed in the back.

  • ||

    being stabbed in the back

    Chocked to death for selling smokes?

  • Tak Kak||

    On a large, metaphoric, scale... yes.

  • Almanian!||

    There was a time when everyone was racist.

    No. No, there wasn't. Ever.

    Try again, shitstain.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    He has to believe that.

  • robc||

    For every racist policy of the past, you can find opponents of it.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The only reason that there wasn't a time when everyone was racist is that below a certain degree of sophistication societies are Tribalist instead of Racist. Not because that is any better, but because they lack the bredth of thought to hate anything as abstract as race.

  • GregMax||

    "There was a time when everyone was racist."

    Declare! One of the 4 D's of liberal argument.

    Deny - Deride - Declare - Denigrate (and make faces when others talk if on camera.)

    It's like a playbook.

  • GregMax||

    My bad "deride" should be "Deflect". Hey, it's Xmas eve.

  • faeriemama||

    DODGEBALL!

  • AlmightyJB||

    "the hiring of 100,000 new police officers"

    A good start would be to reverse this

  • ||

    It sort of did.

    The federal funding was only for 5 years....of course the feds probably still give money and the state and local governments still keep them on the payroll

  • ||

    There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.

  • GregMax||

    Developing a thriving manufacturing economy would be a better start.

  • SIV||

    The Boggs Act of 1952 and the Narcotic Control Act of 1956, both of which passed with overwhelming support from Northern liberal Democrats, imposed uniform mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses. "Little Boggs" laws then spread across the states, instituting mandatory and often lengthy minimum sentences for trafficking and possession of narcotics.

    Reason* repeatedly says the WoDs started with Nixon.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The War on Drugs has come in waves. One started with the crest of the Temperence Movement, running through the end of Prohibition whenmany laws were apparently passed as "full employment for out of work Prohibition agents" measures. Ankther dates to the '50's, as this book suggests. And one started with Richard Nixon. All of them were bad ideas, pushed by busybodies who should have been invited to piss up a,rope and stand under it while it dried.

  • Brochettaward||

    Listening to Tony speak about the party realignment, you'd never guess that the greatest prog hero of the last 60 years was in fact a white Southern Democrat who was also a massive racist. When LBJ pushed his civil rights bills through, he did it with the exact motivations modern libertarians assign to the welfare state today.

    But that's actual history. Progs hate anything besides the sanitized propaganda they are spoon fed in the public schools.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Tony IS a white and presumably heterosexual male. That's the funny part.

    I believe he has self described as a homosexual. This may be the sole unobjectionable thing about him.

  • GregMax||

    He's probably the only true "tea-bagger" here.

  • DWC||

    Please, please, please do not conflate progressivism with liberalism. There is absolutely no sense in which progressive authoritarianism can be construed as liberal. There is a reason why libertarianism has its roots in classical liberalism. "Liberal" is a perfectly fine word with a perfectly admirable meaning, but it does not mean what virtually everyone is referring to when they use it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The progressives are the ones who wtoke the liberal moniker when the progressive brand turned into shit. Now that they shit all over the liberal brand they're starting to call themselves progressives again.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Wtoke = stole.

  • AlmightyJB||

    They do to there name what they do to everything else. They come in, shit all over the place, and then pretend it wasn't them.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Their

  • prolefeed||

    The U.S. incarcerates a greater percentage of its total population than any other country in the world, including Cuba, Russia, Iran, and, according to some estimates, North Korea.

    The entirety of North Korea is one large prison camp, with even nastier prison camps within that countrywide camp.

  • straffinrun||

    And what does it cost to renounce your citizenship these days? What hoops you gotta jump through? At least if you get out of North Korea, you can avoid it's reach. US? Not so much unless you pay the gatekeepers a tiny fortune.

  • Redmanfms||

    US? Not so much unless you pay the gatekeepers a tiny fortune.

    I'm not too familiar with the expatriation tax, but the State Department is incredibly vindictive toward tax exiles. If they make the determination that you are renouncing for tax reasons they will bar you from ever reentering the United States, even to visit.

    It's worth noting that this policy is the result of the Reed Amendment. Reed is a Democrat.

    The Expatriation tax is also the product of Democrats.

  • Satyrical||

    "The entirety of North Korea is one large prison camp, with even nastier prison camps within that countrywide camp."

    I would say the same about the current United States.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Absolutely. No difference between North Korea and the US, not a one. Sure, I'll buy that.

  • Malkavian||

    Well, if you are a free man in North Korea, you run a risk of starvation. If you are lucky, food sucks.

    If you are in US federal prison, you run the risk of anal rape. If you are lucky, food still sucks.

    Granted, it comes down to personal preferences, but US is not so rosy.

  • Redmanfms||

    Granted, it comes down to personal preferences, but US is not so rosy.

    Jesus tap-dancing Christ.

    Some of you fucktards need to get out more.

  • Portapundit||

    The US judicial system is an industry. Think of prisoners as a product. Politicians create criminal law which is enforced by the first group of government employees a prospective prisoner deals with, the police.

    After your arrest you are turned over to the second group of government employees in your new reality, the jailers. After a suitable period of time you are given to the court system. The facilitators there are attorneys and judges who, unlike every other person you will deal with are not union members but their livelihood depends on a constant supply of product (prisoners) as surely as the unions.

    After the lawyers have extracted all the cash possible you graduate from the court system to the prison system where you will be attended by yet another group of union employees, correction officers. After your release you will be handled by the final group of union members the parole officers. Now, you have done your part in keeping hundreds of thousands of union members fat and happy generation after generation!

    Yes, of course a preponderance of the product are minorities but union criminal justice industry is just another cog in the machine of the union poverty/welfare industry and the union educational industry. The point of these union enterprises is to keep the product poor, uneducated and incarcerated.

    Works quite well doesn't it?

  • Rhywun||

    "scientific racism" that was established as the dominant racial ideology in the 19th and early 20th centuries

    They call it "race realism" now. Everything old is new again.

    I found Sowell's essay on "cracker culture" a more believable explanation of black "pathologies" than any of those earlier theories.

  • John C. Randolph||

    In prewar America, it was entirely respectable to believe that black people were biologically inferior and inherently prone to criminal behavior.

    Of course today in academia, it's generally accepted to hold the same opinion of men in general. It's still fucking stupid, of course.

    -jcr

  • SIV||

    Merry Christmas !

  • Satyrical||

    The police and government are the biggest perpetrators of racism in this country. As is the Jewish media which promotes both negative stereotypes of blacks, AND conditions blacks into following those negative stereotypes, every single day. Because they need a scapegoat to blame all the social and economic problems they cause on.

    "Policy makers and intellectuals generally accepted as fact the claim made in Frederick Hoffman's The Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro that "crime, pauperism, and sexual immorality""

    Funny that he should say this, considering blacks have the lowest instance of homosexuality, while Jews have the highest.

  • Flemur||

    The police and government are the biggest perpetrators of racism in this country.

    The gov't in general yes, of course, because of affirmative demands.

    The police, not so much, if at all, which is why you'll never see any actual statistics about it, especially in Reason.

    As is the Jewish media which promotes both negative stereotypes of blacks

    "The Media" actually does exactly the opposite.

    Funny that he should say this, considering blacks have the lowest instance of homosexuality, while Jews have the highest.

    "Black Gays Make Up Largest Share Of LGBT Community, Survey Shows"

    Keep fantasizing, Satyrical, because you need the practice.

  • jaimiemharris||

    my neighbor's step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here........
    ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ www.paygazette.com

  • ||

    Did she buy a BMW?

  • Uncle Jay||

    Does she swallow?

  • Flemur||

    Scientific racism was even extended to many Europeans.

    Scientific racism = science about humans which has conclusions that you don't like for personal reasons, but can't refute so you put it in quotes and pretend that it's "debunked" (in quotes - because it's not debunked).

    But anyway: Oh, gasp! Science was even extended to **Europeans**! They're so special! There's a well documented N-S cline in IQ in Europe (and some individual Euro countries, as well as in China and Japan), N being slightly higher than S.

    It's very silly of Reason to post "African American Studies" political garbage as though it had some scientific basis.

  • jenniferjlopez1989||

    my neighbor's step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here........
    ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ www.paygazette.com

  • John Aronson||

    The Progressive taste for eugenics dates to at least the turn of the 20th Century and was endorsed by the Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell ("three generations of imbeciles are enough" per OW Holmes, Jr., Associate Justice) (1927). Such notions are also evident in "The Civil Rights Cases" (1883) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

  • ||

    Heh. The two racists are arguing with each other. It amuses me.

  • Uncle Jay||

    I want to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas. Hopefully, the ACLU won't have me sent to the local gulag for such politically incorrect speech violations.

  • jenniferjlopez1989||

    my neighbor's step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here........
    ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ www.paygazette.com

  • sandraewilliams||

    before I looked at the check of $5261 , I didnt believe that...my... neighbour could truley taking home money in their spare time at there computar. . there aunts neighbour has done this 4 only and just cleared the dept on their mini mansion and bourt Honda . site link....

    ➜➜➜➜➜➜ http://bit.ly/11Rw9PV

  • ||

    my neighbor's step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here........
    ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ www.jobs700.com

  • Page Turner||

    Modern genetics and international studies confirm the view of blacks that has been held for centuries and which plays out everyday: the majority of blacks engage in " acts of violence,... laziness, carelessness, unreliability, petty stealing and lying". Trying to deny the reality by screaming racism hasn't worked.

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