The substantive ideals of American conservatism—limited government, states’ rights, individualism, property rights, and the prioritizing of liberty over equality—when applied consistently inevitably result in racism...--Anon
This is the most stunning and revealing argument I think I've ever heard someone say with a straight face. Because if this is provably true then I'm going to have to accept racism rather the way I accept the cholesterol in steak. I don't care if it's not good for me, I'm going to just take my little pill and eat all the steak I want. Just like Cipher in The Matrix.
This sounds to me like a preposterous argument because it suggests that (and this is my immediate counter) that if these were principles at the heart of a post-colonial African nation, that it would necessarily be a racist nation. One must note that this is a blanket statement that does not say that the race of those benefiting from or implementing those ideas is material to the resultant racism, but that racism itself is a result of those principles.
I do agree that these are the substantive ideals of American conservatism, which is why I am in rapt attention. I also find the statement addresses the level of abstraction which is right up my alley in that (maybe I'm repeating myself) it doesn't suggest the imperfections of the humans in charge have anything to do with it. In other words, if you weren't trying to be a racist when you came up with those five operating principles, so long as you achieve them you will inevitably be a racist.
Did I say this sounds preposterous? At once I am tempted to find someone out at Claremont to mail it to for a righteous fisking, and I am embarrassed to even dignify it. Be that as it may, it's a square topic for Cobb, and I'm biting.
I put the emphasis on liberty because it seems to me that limited government and states rights are means to an end, with the end being [individual] liberty. I suspect we will get into matters of collective freedom vs individual freedom, as well as the very premises of the point of consent of the governed vis a vis why systems of law and government are preferable over anarchy in the first place. There's probably good stuff to discuss in that vein. I'm also interested to find out a more precise definition of six pounds of racism, because we're going to have to weigh out the balances here. Which is to say how much racism can a society bear? How much property rights can a society bear?
As an example of the latter, I would very much agree that a society that chops off somebody's right hand for the commission of a robbery of $100 would be horrendously unfair and would not serve the purposes of individual freedom - one would question whether such a definition of liberty is just. Note my brackets on [individual] liberty above. One could say that the collective freedom of people who have $100 and don't steal $100 is well served by a society with a death penalty for that level of theft. But nobody could say that serves individual freedom.