Re: The Base Remains The Same

1

The article was interesting. Somebody, please comment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 4:32 PM
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You go first.


Posted by: A pie softly cooling on a windowsill | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 4:36 PM
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I don't want to troll here but my experience is that "racism" is at least 75% "classism." UMC people don't want lower-class people in their neighborhoods or schools, regardless of color, ethnicity, religion, or whatever. (They've read or culturally absorbed the research that shows their kids' peer group is more important than their parents in shaping their future.)

Also, there is some real-world support for the idea that just giving people money makes them less poor (who knew?) and makes them more successful in the long run. It doesn't matter that much what their race is in such experiments. That's not exactly Moynihan's point, but it fits a bit with HHH's.

So, focussing on poverty itself is a race-neutral way of trying to reduce racism. Not to mention that there are a whole lot of poor people who aren't black who could use a little help (think WV, KY, and environs).

Deflecting the fixation on racism, real as racism is, might be a good thing.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 5:37 PM
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Adding that there are plenty of poor people who are neither African-Americans nor Appalachian whites. MA has large numbers of Laotians, Cambodians, Cape Verdeans, Haitians, and so on. In other states there are ethnic groups who are poor who don't fit into the usual categories.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 5:40 PM
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The Cape Verdeans and Haitians are black though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 6:13 PM
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It appears that I don't listen to nearly as many conservative and/or neoliberal commentators as the writers do. I feel already three steps ahead: I know that Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative is .. troubling, and that Bill Cosby's recent remarks, along with some of Al Sharpton's, piss a lot of people off, for good reason.

The article is a bit annoying in adopting the "we" language, like so:

The upshot is that even sympathetic observers tend to interpret concerns about deprivation and social disorganization through the prism of cultural or psychological damage. That dynamic is particularly evident in our proclivity to attribute problems like crime or violence in black neighborhoods to ill-defined features of black men's emotional existence.

"our" proclivity? *Some* liberal commentators are adopting this narrative. Not all, by a long stretch.

Sharpton and Cosby are hardly alone among black Americans in identifying with versions of this narrative. A recent survey, for example, revealed that black men both tend to value education and work highly, yet thought that other black men spent too much time thinking about sports and sex. So pervasive is this ideology that people who know it to be false of themselves are willing to believe it of others.

That's good information.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 6:16 PM
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In general, though, while the Jacobin piece should probably be given a wider reading, in case people don't already know that the culture of poverty narrative is bullshit, it generalizes too much in supposing that all or most liberals are in its sway.

Is that true?

In fact the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown is introducing some really important and relevant *structural* changes.

The Ferguson City Council announced a set of proposals this week that include reducing the revenue from court fines used for general city operations and reforming court procedures. Critics say reliance on court revenue and traffic fines to fund city services more heavily penalizes low-income defendants who can't afford private attorneys and who are often jailed for not promptly paying those fines.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 6:26 PM
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A recent survey, for example, revealed that black men both tend to value education and work highly, yet thought that other black men spent too much time thinking about sports and sex.

How much time is too much time thinking about sports and sex? Asking for a friend.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 8:13 PM
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8: any more time than you spend yourself is too much.
Basically I think this finding just shows that human beings regardless of colour and trouser contents tend to have an elevated opinion of themselves compared to other people. I'm sure you'd get the same finding for white men. I mean, who among us would not agree with both "I regard education and hard work as important" and "I think that the average person spends too much time thinking about sports, sex, shopping, chocolate, shopping for sex, sexy sports, chocolate shops, sexual chocolate, and/or sportsolate chocosex"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 8:59 PM
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10

Hang on, now. You can never think too much about sportsolate chocosex. It's what separates us from the animals.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 9:01 PM
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11

3.1 is very true, as is 3.3.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 9:04 PM
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12

I hope I'm not the only one who sees the post title and immediately thinks, "Flared?"


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-16-14 9:43 PM
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9: it's rather like the Pauline Kael effect. I don't believe it of myself or the people I respect, so I either project it on The Masses or else I simply forget they exist.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 3:44 AM
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American liberalism has been slouching rightward for a long time and on a number of fronts. On economics the neoliberals have all but won despite some notable pushback. Also on the question of crime liberals have fallen for the incarceration and punishment model over rehabilitation.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 7:19 AM
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Also on the question of crime liberals have fallen for the incarceration and punishment model over rehabilitation.

Similar to my point in 6/7, I'm really not sure how true this is. Probably surveys have been done; maybe they show that self-described liberals overwhelmingly agree that incarceration and punishment are the best answer to controlling crime, as opposed to, say, community support programs, anti-poverty measures, mediation, reintegration into the community, and whatnot. I know Baltimore has been doing a lot on this front, with measurable success. Our local public radio station has a daily hour-long "Maryland Morning" program that tells us all about it! It seems pretty encouraging.

But MD is just one resoundingly blue state. Maybe it's an outlier.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 9:59 AM
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16

teo has it right in 12.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:03 PM
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17

Sort of related to the paragraph quoted in the OP and to 14, this DeLong post was pretty shocking.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:07 PM
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And a good exchange between Robert Waldmann and Delong in the comments.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:15 PM
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17: Not sure what's shocking about it. That DeLong was close to joining the Republican party in the early 80s, or that Erick Erickson is an asshole? Since the reference is to 14, I take it it's the former? But didn't you know that about deLong already? Even though he's come over to the better side, relatively speaking, he's always in danger in that way. It's the neoliberal condition. Right? That's what I thought, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:20 PM
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19 before seeing 18. I haven't read the comments there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:20 PM
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Cosma is characteristically on point in the comments -- that from inside blue-state academia, it's easy to fixate on the wrongness of silly people on the left, and lose track of the wildly greater and more malicious wrongness of people on the right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:27 PM
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Even though he's come over to the better side, relatively speaking, he's always in danger in that way

Brad, I know you read every comment on Unfogged, so tell us if I'm wrong, but I have a feeling it's been a long time since he was the slighest bit tempted to go Republican.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:47 PM
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"Always in danger" is an overstatement, but he's clearly not-a-Republican only because they're wrong about everything rather than out of tribal loyalty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 12:52 PM
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he's clearly not-a-Republican only because they're wrong about everything rather than out of tribal loyalty.

There is a terrible risk that, if Republicans started being right about everything, Brad might become a Republican.

Me too, actually.

Like Zhivago only being a Communist because he agreed with the stuff they'd done. "He was walking around with a noose around his neck and he didn't even know it."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:20 PM
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25

While I meant to be goofy with that, I do believe that, to a point, tribal loyalty is a safer guide than a reasoned opinion on whose policies are better. Ideally, they line up. But if you find yourself in a position where the people who have consistently been on the side of rape, pillage, and plunder seem to be advocating preferable policies, better you should reserve your judgment for a good long time before jumping on their bandwagon. Someone like Brad is at more risk of making that kind of mistake than someone with a good healthy superstitious distaste for anyone who doesn't spit when they hear the name "Reagan".

(Obviously, if your tribal loyalties lead you to support people whose policies don't make sense, you quit that too. But only after long careful evaluation.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:28 PM
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Did no one else do a double take at the first author's name on the byline?


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:31 PM
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"Sure, they're the party of Reagan and Goldwater, white resentment and the plutocracy, but at least they're for welfare reform."


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:35 PM
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But if you find yourself in a position where the people who have consistently been on the side of rape, pillage, and plunder seem to be advocating preferable policies, better you should reserve your judgment for a good long time before jumping on their bandwagon.

But didn't the black vote switch almost immediately after the Civil Rights Act? The pre-CRA Southern Democrats had, literally, been on the side of rape, pillage and murder.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:43 PM
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29

I agree with 25, but, also, there's a bigger point. The truth is that Brad has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that the core neoliberal ideology that people just like him promoted has been largely a disaster in practice, however attractive it looked on paper.* His variety of Democratic party neoliberals share real, significant responsibility for destroying the postwar social democratic consensus, even if this wasn't their intent.* And, his profession and academic discipline utterly failed to create good policy and was largely (not exclusively, but largely) the propaganda-and-ideology wing of the destruction of the social democratic state. To be fair Brad has done a much better job than most of realizing the errors of his generation and position, probably about as much as one could humanly expect, and it's not like there was nothing to the late 70s/early 80s neoliberal critique (or, for that matter to the discipline of economics as practiced at elite universities). But to the extent he was involved in a movement that movement has been a significant net disaster for the country, and to the extent it hasn't been a disaster, that's true in part to the continuing atavistic attraction of liberals to social democracy.**

*An example: the Reagan tax reform. "Broaden the base, lower the rates" looked awesome to team Democratic party neoliberal in the mid 80s, and it does indeed work well as a matter of theory. That was a core Democratic neoliberal view. In practice the lower top rate is probably the biggest single culprit in the rise of insane inequality we've had since the 80s, with all the attendant social and political and economic consequences.

**An example: that we haven't yet had social security "reform."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:45 PM
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28: A lot of the individual segregationists jumped parties in the other direction, which was a powerful signal. Anyway, I'm talking rules of thumb, not irrebuttable presumptions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:48 PM
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28 -- Ex recto, I think Southern blacks switched in the New Deal, and it was the politicians and their white trash supporters who switched parties in the 60s. I could be completely wrong . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:53 PM
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My grandfather switched after going to the March on Washington. Relevant? No, but I'm still kind of proud of him for it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 5:56 PM
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31 is right IIRC. Truman and FDR got north of 70% of the black vote. It stayed at around 35% Republican through the 50s, and then down to less than 10% after 1965.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:09 PM
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Although, I guess that's the *black vote* and not the vote of Southern Blacks who were mostly prevented from voting at all. Presumably more of them would have voted Republican just to spite the dickheads who ruled them, but weren't able to.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:11 PM
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|| For those of you not following along on twitter, I'm seeing some pretty convincing argument that M Brown was killed 100 feet from the police SUV, not 30 feet. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:20 PM
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35: What's the basis?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:39 PM
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37

Photos, eyewitness accounts, physical evidence. Chapter and verse coming tomorrow.

LB, check your email.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:44 PM
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35: Why would that matter?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:50 PM
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39

37: Because NYS government lives in the past, I can't see my work email from home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:54 PM
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38: It's not clear to me in the absence of more specifics, but it could affect the plausibility of the 'charging' back toward the police car narrative.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-14 6:55 PM
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