- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Lost moral authority

“What has caused well-intentioned Americans to walk away in droves from supporting today’s civil-rights movement? …”Groups such as the NAACP and leaders such as Jesse Jackson lost their moral authority when they started couching every disparity in achievement and status between white and black America as a civil-rights violation, with the white establishment to blame. Anyone white who disagrees with their assessment is labeled a racist… .”Linda Chavez … recently talked about this isolating and self-destructive approach… .”While there is a problem of homicide in the black community, Chavez says, the NAACP’s solution is to sue gun manufacturers, not grapple with why young black men kill each other.”She also pointed to the NAACP’s recent complaint to the television networks that there are too few black characters on prime-time TV shows. It seems to me,’ Chavez said, that what the NAACP should be interested in is … why blacks as a group watch almost twice as many hours of television as others in this society do.’ Excessive TV-watching, she noted, may relate directly to educational underachievement… .”If the civil-rights movement wants to attract supporters beyond the liberal fringe, it has to start speaking honestly about the problems in black America.” Robyn Blumner, writing on “Want Civil-Rights Progress? Try Some Honesty,” in the Dec. 5 New York Post

Real self-government

“Again and again, we have seen the self-government of the American people frustrated by the few, the oligarchy, in the name of rational democracy.’ … Everywhere an ideological construct mislabeled democracy’ has triumphed. And everywhere the people feel powerless.”For those who really value the rule of the people, as well as the special constitutional heritage of American federal republicanism, the task of the day is not to spread democracy about the world while we congratulate ourselves on our success. The task is to restore the federal republic at home… .”What we need is a return of power to the many. Not a concentration of power in the hands of the few for the alleged benefit of the many, abstractly conceived. That way lies Hitler and Stalin. Rather a dispersal and deconsolidation of power. Only power can check power. And self-government is in its nature local and individual. Only then is it real.” Clyde Wilson, from an essay in “The Paleoconservatives: New Voices of the Old Right,” a new book edited by Joseph Scotchie

Don’t count, don’t care

“I am from Montana, and I happened to be on the East Coast during the 1998 elections. There, I heard a leading Democratic tactician analyze the election results and draw lessons for 2000 from them… . I asked if Democrats were at all concerned about the Republicans’ tightening grip on the West.”The hard-boiled reply was: There isn’t anybody there. There are fewer electoral votes in the interior West than in Pennsylvania. We have to concentrate our attention where the votes are.‘“Feeling a little like chopped liver, I contented myself with observing that since feeling like you count for something is so fundamental to democratic leadership, a democratic party should be wary of an approach that tells a whole class of people they don’t count.”In terms of public policy and politics, what distinguishes the Rocky Mountain West most sharply from the rest of the country is the role of public lands. Of all the land owned by the national government, more than 90 percent is located in 12 Western states… . To Westerners, Democrats seem never to tire of telling them, We absolutely do not trust you to care for the place you have chosen to inhabit.’ ” Daniel Kemmis, writing on “How the West Was Lost,” in the November/December issue of the New Democrat

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