The Politics of Hate

by Anita on September 21, 2015

Posted by Anita Folsom

Why are so many people fueled by hate these days?  A good question.  The answer:  We are reaping the results of decades of bad ideas taught by activists who want equality in society – total equality.  And total equality is not only impossible, it’s a theory that leads to disaster.

Total equality was the goal of the communist governments of eastern Europe, led by the former Soviet Union.  Their people were all equal:  Yes, equally poor, equally suppressed, equally without good medical options.  These people finally threw off the yoke of this political theory and embraced free market ideas.

For example, in Estonia, the tiny Baltic state that had been a satellite of the USSR, conditions by the early 1990s were so bad that the government required families to have three children before they could purchase milk at state-run grocery stores.  Then in 1992, Mart Laar was elected prime minister, and with the fall of the Soviet Union, Laar implemented the free market ideas he had read in Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose.

Estonia became “the Baltic Tiger,” with an economic turnaround that startled the world.  Laar’s administration implemented the flat tax, removed restrictions on buying and selling of goods, and allowed entrepreneurs to own their own businesses.  The people prospered.

But in the United States, the theory of total equality – meaning that all citizens must have the same outcome in life as other citizens – has been taught for decades and is still being taught.

Protesters feel wronged.  They’ve been told, over and over by liberal college professors and activists alike, that society owes them – owes them a house, owes them a living, owes them medical care.  When they don’t have those benefits, regardless of their own personal actions, society has done them wrong and they are angry.

I saw another example of this recently from an unexpected source.  I was watching Ken Burns’ documentary, “The Civil War,” now being re-run on its 25th anniversary.  First released in 1990, Burns and his staff produced nine hours on the history of the Civil War and its effects.  In many ways, it is a masterpiece.

During the last hour of Burns’ production, however, historian Barbara J. Fields of Columbia University answers the question, “Who won the war?”  Fields admits that President Lincoln, General Grant, and the entire Union Army won the actual war, and the war in essence ended slavery.  But she also makes a key provocative point:

“You can say there is no such thing as slavery anymore.  We are all citizens.  But if we’re all citizens, then we have a task to do to make sure that that too is not a joke.  If some citizens live in houses and others live in the street, the Civil War is still going on.  It’s still to be fought and, regrettably, it can still be lost.”

In other words,  twenty-five years ago, Fields was demanding equality of condition for all Americans.  If anyone is a U.S. citizen, that person should have what others have.  And if one person doesn’t have what others have, the goals of the Civil War haven’t been met.  She is demanding a fight, a war no less, for equality of condition:  “If some citizens live in houses and others live in the street, the Civil War is still going on.  It’s still to be fought….”

Fields is illogical in this argument.  Government redistribution of goods and resources would never stop and would simply lead to more inequality. Eastern Europe under the communists has been a perfect example of this problem.

She is also ignoring many of the successes that occurred after the Civil War.  Hundreds of teachers worked in the South after the end of slavery to educate former slaves.  In 1870, only 19% of African Americans were literate.  By 1930, 84% of African Americans could read.

By contrast, since the federal government began directing education in the 1970s, scholastic scores for all groups, especially minorities, have gone down and literacy has steadily declined.

I cannot guarantee that another citizen will have what I have, but I can stand for the right of each citizen – guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution – to have equality of opportunity in the United States.  Citizens have the responsibility to chart their own course and to build their own lives.

Yes, black lives matter, and blacks prosper when they have equal opportunity and take responsibility for their own lives.  When citizens know that they have equality of opportunity, the hate subsides because each individual is responsible for his own outcome. Equality of opportunity is the bedrock of the American system, not equality of outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

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