Tag Archives: Pat Buchanan

Ein Volk

Seems obvious that racism is not just hatred of another race.  Someone tell Juan Williams and Pat Buchanan.  Note the following puzzling exchange on Fox News (via the Huffington Post):

Williams added, "In your case, the charge is one that is so powerful in the American mind…the charge is: Pat Buchanan is a racist. So let me ask you. Are you a racist, Pat?"

"Do I hate black folks?" Buchanan asked. "That's what racism mean— that I hate black folks, I want them discriminated against… No! It's not that. I do disagree profoundly with the affirmative action agenda, and a number of other issues but I've argued as I said with African American folks my whole life. Our schools that I went to, the Catholic schools, were the first ones desegregated in D.C."

Buchanan added, "Juan, you and I, if we sat there and watched cable 24 hours, we can hear people called [a racist] everyday. And it makes one of the points of [my book], that American society is disintegrating. It's breaking down and breaking apart because we've lost our common faith and common moral consensus…all of these things that once held us together."

At the end of the interview, Williams said, "I feel like we are brothers in understanding what these groups, on the left primarily, decided that you're not to be allowed to speak. They will banish you and make you an outcast and Pat, I'm sorry that's happened to you."

Racists don't usually just hate other races.  Their hatred, when it happens, is derived from the perceived inferiority of the people they hate–that they have benefits in society, for instance, they don't deserve; that they "get away with stuff"; that they are "lazy" and so forth.  But I'd hardly call the hatred a necessary condition for racism, sufficient yes.

Watch the video, at the link, for a hilarious exchange from two people who don't really get that the discussion has moved on (the video also fills in some of the gaps in the piece above).  There is probably no one better than Williams for this interview, for Williams still thinks he's justified for fearing Muslims in airports.

Here's a thought.  When you charge someone with racism, and that person responds, as Buchanan and Williams have done, by first alleging you're trying to silence them, then you're on the right track.  Buchanan and Williams spend the first part of this shocked at the McCarthyism of the racism charge.  Then, when they get to actually talking about the charge, Buchanan says that Mexicans are "hard working" (at menial labor) and "friendly," but "culturally and politically tied to Mexico."  Not racist at all.

Also, equal justice for white Christian people.


There is a debate about whether everything that can be debated ought to.  The thought goes something like this: just because something can be known or discovered, does not entail that it ought to be (or it does mean it ought to be, or some variation on this thought).  A corollary to this argument involves Poe's law considerations: just because there are people who will argue for abhorrent view x, does not entail that either (a) their view deserves consideration or (b) the matter is open for debate.  We have moved beyond the KKK, the Nazis, the young-earth creationists.  They still exist, of course.  Their views no longer merit debate, but rather explanation: why in the face of so much evidence, does this person continue to believe x?  That's the issue now. 

MSNBC fired Pat Buchanan for being what he has always been: an unrepetent racist.  Good, I say.  There are things we need to get done around here, and we no longer have the time, and never should have had the time, to sit around and wonder whether some of us were genetically or culturally up to the challenge. 

Buchanan's MSNBC friends, however, thought he still had a place in the debate.  They write:

"Everyone at Morning Joe considers Pat Buchanan to be a friend and a member of the family. Even though we strongly disagree with the contents of Pat's latest book, Mika and I believe those differences should have been debated in public. An open dialogue with Morning Joe regulars like Al Sharpton and Harold Ford, Jr. could have developed into an important debate on the future of race relations in America.

Because we believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, Mika and I strongly disagree with this outcome. We understand that the parting was amicable. Still, we will miss Pat." 

Sunlight hasn't disinfected anything, obviously.  It was time for an amputation.

Gospel of greed

According to Pat Buchanan, taxing investment at something north of half of the rate work is taxed is

rooted in the philosophy of envy and the gospel of greed.

(Video here.  Why's that?

Mr.Buffett says he is unhappy because he doesn't pay as high a tax rate as he says his secretary does.

I suppose he envies his secretary's high tax rate and is greedy for more tax payments.  Watch the clip, not even John McLaughlin can make any sense of this.  Asking Buchanan to explain how it is that Buffett's claim that it is unfair that he pays a lower tax rate on his investment than his secretary does on work might amount to greed or envy, Buchanan retorts:

I think he's a plutocrat who is playing to the crowd.

Plutocrats, always playing to the crowd by demanding higher taxes on themselves.  This has to be the worst ad hominem circumstantial in the history of the McLaughlin Group.

Freedom, strings attached

Pat Buchanan has concerns about the democracy movement, especially in the Arab world:

For it may fairly be said of this generation that it worships democracy. Indeed, the fanaticism of this faith in democracy as the path to worldly salvation causes many to hail any and all revolutions against any and all autocrats. . . . Before we endorse the right of all peoples to have what they want, perhaps we should know what they want. For in the Mideast, it appears that most would like to throw us out and throw our Israeli friends into the sea.

But is the democracy movement about giving people what they want?  I thought it was about self-rule.  That doesn't mean that they get what they want, but that they are in charge of their own political lives.  And so endorsing democratic movements in the Arab world may give a stage to the Anti-Americans and Anti-Israel crowd.  But that doesn't mean that they get to have what they want.  That just means that these folks also have a say in how their country functions.  Moreover, isn't one of the thoughts about democratization that once you get the factions working on the hard business of governing, they lose their bloodlust.  They may squabble, but they become less marginalized.  Governing in a democracy should have a moderating effect.  I'm not familiar with any evidence that shows that (or otherwise, either), but regardless of whether it's right, Buchanan's point is moot.  If people deserve political autonomy, then they deserve it and the right to make bad decisions with it.  In fact, if that right didn't have the option for making bad decisions (ie.g.., if you were about to make the wrong one and then everything shuts down), it doesn't really count as a right, does it?

Some arguments by analogy are like slave uprisings

Pat Buchanan thinks the Republican Establishment doesn't respect the Tea Party or their candidates.  Apparently, Republican Party Leaders had their preferred candidates (you know, ones that might win the general election), and they supported them in the primaries.  And then these Tea Partiers come along, and well… win those primaries.  Now it looks like the Dems may not get trounced quite so badly in November. Republican Establishment folks get mad, because they're trying to win elections, but a large segment of the party won't cooperate. 

Now, this is evidence to me that there should just be two parties.  Luckily, they've already got two names picked out.  But this isn't about me or where the evidence takes us.  This is about the Tea Party and its, uh, spokespeople.  Or something.  Here's what Buchanan thinks this is about: exploitation.  That's right, he thinks the Republican Establishment looks to conservatives and just tells them what to do, and they expect conservatives to just do it.  And so, in Buchanan's mind, Tea Partiers are like slaves. 

To the Republican establishment, tea party people are field hands. Their labors are to be recognized and rewarded, but they are to stay off the porch and not presume to sit at the master's table.

Oh, "field hands."  Alright.  So what follows?  Well, Buchanan doesn't seem to be sure.  He's sure that the Republican Establishment isn't fit to govern, as they are all "neoconservatives," which means "evil," these days.  So is there going to be a Tea Party's version of Nat Turner?  (Highly likely: Nat Turner=Sarah Palin. Look out.)  Maybe they're waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation (though, I'd bet they'd have taken that, too, as a breach of the Constitution).  Maybe they'll realize that they aren't really slaves, and they'll leave the plantation and start a commune where they're all equal, and everyone has a say, and everyone gets what they need.  Tea Partiers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Equivocations, False Analogies, and Racist Stereotypes, Hooray!

Pat Buchanan hits the fallacy jackpot over at Human Events.  Here's his article in a nutshell: we should reconsider the utopian dream of educational equality, because educational ability across races is not equal.  He starts with the familiar argument from athletics.  In the NFL, blacks outnumber whites and all other races:

In this profession, white males, a third of the population, retain a third of the jobs. But black males, 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, have 67 percent of the coveted positions — 10 times their fair share. . . .  Yet no one objects that women are not permitted to compete in the NFL. Nor do many object to the paucity of Asian and Mexicans, or the over-representation of blacks, even as white males dominate the National Hockey League and the PGA.   When it comes to sports — high school, collegiate or professional — Americans are intolerant of lectures about diversity and inclusiveness. They want the best . . .

When it comes to athletic ability, we have very different native capacities, and so it should follow for educational abilities, too. 

Why, then, cannot our elites accept that, be it by nature, nurture, attitude or aptitude, we are not all equal in academic ability?

Buchanan's evidence for this difference in ability between the races is what he sees as the permanent achievement gap in the New York math and language achievement tests.  Whites and Asians generally outperform Hispanics and blacks, even after a good deal of work has been poured into the system to even the numbers.

Since 1965, America has invested trillions in education with a primary goal of equalizing test scores among the races and genders. Measured by U.S. test scores, it has been a waste — an immense transfer of wealth from private citizens to an education industry that has grown bloated while failing us again and again.  Perhaps it is time to abandon the goal of educational equality as utopian — i.e., unattainable — and to focus, as we do in sports and art, on excellence.

Oh, in case you didn't get the point, Buchanan is telling us to re-calibrate our academic expectations for people who are brown:

For an indeterminate future, Mexican kids are not going to match Asian kids in math.

Fallacy checklist:  Equivocation on 'equality'?  Check!  Inequality in ability (even in native abilities) does not mean that one deserves less.   False analogy between sports and athletics?  Check! If you can't throw a curveball, no biggie.  Can't read, well… Vicious use of racial stereotypes? Check!  Seriously, this guy ran for president and almost won the Republican nomination in '96.

Go do unto yourself*

If we had a category called "what substance has he or she been smoking or taking?" I would suggest that we put this column by Michael Gerson in it.  For in it he complains about the uglification of recent American political discourse–a worthy aim–but, where's he been at? one might wonder.  He writes:

My political friendships and sympathies are increasingly determined not by ideology but by methodology. One of the most significant divisions in American public life is not between the Democrats and the Republicans; it is between the Ugly Party and the Grown-Up Party.

This distinction came to mind in the case of Washington Post blogger David Weigel, who resigned last week after the leak of messages he wrote disparaging figures he covered. Weigel is, by most accounts, a bright, hardworking young man whose private communications should have been kept private. But the tone of the e-mails he posted on a liberal e-mail list is instructive. When Rush Limbaugh went to the hospital with chest pain, Weigel wrote, "I hope he fails." Matt Drudge is an "amoral shut-in" who should "set himself on fire." Opponents are referred to as "ratf — -ers" and "[expletive] moronic."

This type of discourse is an odd combination between the snideness of the cool, mean kids in high school and the pettiness of Richard Nixon rambling on his tapes. Weigel did not intend his words to be public. But they display the defining characteristic of ugly politics — the dehumanization of political opponents.

Gerson says twice that Weigel's private sentiments should not have been made public.  Why were they?  Well, I blame ugly politics, a politics that tries to make everything about people's character and private life and not about what they do or say publicly.  Anyway, he then bafflingly suggests that these private words "display the defining characteristics of ugly politics."  Well, not really, I would say the defining characteristic of ugly politics is saying those things in a public forum to achieve a political effect.  Venting to your alleged friends does not count.

A more foundational characteristic of ugly politics, I think, is twisting facts or distorting words for poltiical advantage.  Here is what Weigel is alleged to have said (via the Daily Caller):

“There’s also the fact that neither the pundits, nor possibly the Republicans, will be punished for their crazy outbursts of racism. Newt Gingrich is an amoral blowhard who resigned in disgrace, and Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite who was drummed out of the movement by William F. Buckley. Both are now polluting my inbox and TV with their bellowing and minority-bashing. They’re never going to go away or be deprived of their soapboxes,” Weigel wrote.

Of Matt Drudge, Weigel remarked,  “It’s really a disgrace that an amoral shut-in like Drudge maintains the influence he does on the news cycle while gay-baiting, lying, and flubbing facts to this degree.”

In April, Weigel wrote that the problem with the mainstream media is “this need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up ads.”

When Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones resigned after it was revealed he signed a 9/11 “truther” petition, alleging the government may have conspired to allow terrorists to kill 3,000 civilians, Weigel highlighted the alleged racism of Glenn Beck – Jones’s top critic.

Notice that Weigel is complaining primarily (and again privately) about the ugly crap that gets cast as serious political discourse.  This demonstrates again, however, that however ugly Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Pat Buchanan, etc., get, the rules of our discourse prohibit you from pointing that out.  For if you do, even in private, you're fired.

*The actual quote is "Go fuck yourself" and Dick Cheney said it (to Patrick Leahy on the floor of the Senate). 

The Fighting Irish

I caught the following discussion between two Irish Catholics–Pat Buchanan and Lawrence O'Donnell–about whether Notre Dame should grant an honorary degree to Barack Hussein O'Bama, 44th President of the United States of America.  Buchanan says no, on account of O'Bama's position on the only two issues right wing Catholics seem to care enough about to make any kind of political stand: abortion and stem cell research.  Ok, I'm probably wrong about that.  I think they also care about gay marriage.  You can watch the exchange at this link (I cannot figure out how to embed video–anyone?).