Conservatives Understand Oppression Outside US

Donald RumsfeldWhile no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime… And I don’t think there’s anyone in any of those pictures, or any human being who’s not free, who wouldn’t prefer to be free, and recognize that you pass through a transition period like this and accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.

—Donald Rumsfeld
Quoted in Remember When Donald Rumsfeld Stood Up for Rioting and Looting?

2 thoughts on “Conservatives Understand Oppression Outside US

  1. To add to that concept, most conservatives concede that racism was a big problem in the US 50 years ago and Conservatives in 1965 said that racism was problem a problem in 1915. American conservatives can see racism, discrimination and oppression everywhere except for the US in present day.

    While some conservatives are hateful and deliberately racist, most conservatives want to ignore and wish away racism. Conservatives do not want to grapple with racism in American because they fear where it might lead. When you take an honest look at race and racism in the US, you see that black folks have been some of the hardest working, frugal, family oriented and patriotic of Americans and they have nothing to show for it. When a conservative investigates this situation, he reaches two disheartening conclusions, one financial and one ontological.

    The financial implications are obvious, taxes might have to go up if we are to see black folks do better. Government redistribution, if done correctly, can be solution and not a problem and that might actually cost some real money.

    Just as important and maybe more important than a tax hike, is the way that understanding racism in the US can shatter one’s conservative world view. If you find yourself acknowledging that black folks live a harder life due to institutional biases, it is usually just a matter of time until you have to start to entertain the idea that gays, Latinos, the handicapped, women and poorer white folks face obstacles that healthy, straight, white, suburban guys face.

    If a black guy is less likely to survive a routine police interaction or be able to hail a cab, well maybe women do make less money for the same work, maybe poor white kids have a smaller chance of going to Harvard B-school, maybe someone with a chronic and uninsured medical condition will be unable to follow Dave Ramsey’s financial life plans. Conservatism in America today is predicated on more or less perfect a meritocracy, it is an ideological house of cards and swiping at one grouping of cards threatens the whole house. Even among white guys in white communities, it is painfully obvious that black folks do not live a meritocratic country and that is why conservatives have to work hard to avoid looking directly at racism in America.

    • There is much to what you say. I’ve been arguing for a long time that conservative ideas have about a two generation shelf life. After that, they are only too obviously wrong. The problem seems to be that most conservative ideas are simply covers for other ideas. It’s like today with the “religious freedom” nonsense. That’s not about religious freedom. These people are not for allowing Rastafarians to smoke cannabis. It is just a reasonable sounding excuse to allow people to practice their anti-gay bigotry. Or all the complaints about Obamacare come down to the fact that rich don’t like the extra taxes. I don’t exactly blame conservatives. If I believed such unpopular things, I might lie about them too.

      But another part of it is the quite human instinct that however things are is how they ought to be. If I’m rich, there must be some reason why that is just. I think if humans are to move forward, we are going to have to come to terms with this. Meritocracy is a myth. We give the rich every advantage, we give the poor every disadvantage, and then we claim things sort themselves out correctly. It isn’t just that the children of the rich end up rich because of their advantages; it is because they are from better stock. This myth is as ingrained in modern America as it was in 13th century Britain.

      And the rich are totally aware of this. That’s why no one seriously considers giving all children an equal education. The last thing the rich want is a meritocracy. But it works great as propaganda for maintaining an aristocracy.

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