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Race and the Roberts Court

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Greenhouse is, as usual, essential reading.

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  • James E Powell

    And this is a surprise?

    The right-wing has been against racial justice forever. Because the larger culture refuses to acknowledge its history and the consequences of the same, right-wingers are permitted to carry on their constant war against non-whites shielded by a cornucopia of euphemisms and pretexts. Only a handful of people oppose them and those that do are marginalized simply because they oppose them.

    For a substantial majority of Americans, and for almost all right-wingers, white supremacy is as basic to their beliefs about themselves, and about what an American is, as being Yahweh’s chosen was to the Hebrews of ancient times. Any suggestion otherwise is an affront that must be answered, immediately and relentlessly.

    • Manju

      The right-wing has been against racial justice forever.

      No. Political Scientists have long viewed American history as having 2 dimensions:

      1. Right-Left
      2. North-South

      Race does not align to the right-left paradigm. See here:

      http://voteview.com/images/polar_house_means.jpg

      What you are looking at is DW-Nomnate, a system that measures the ideological leanings of legislators by crunching a massive amount of data (every roll-call vote).

      As you can see, the most racist contingent (Southern Dems during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights era) cannot accurately be described as rightwingers.

      • Manju

        Race does not align to the right-left paradigm. See here:

        that should be “racism” not “race”, or more accurately, civil rights for Af-Ams.

        • c u n d gulag

          Manju,
          A post on race, and a Conservative SCCJ, and you neglected to mention Sen. Robert Byrd?

          You’re slipping.

          • db

            I’ll admit that the Democratic Populists of ~120 years ago were not the most racially advanced. I’ll also question the relevance of that fact to today’s discussion.

            I’d also suggest that there was an East-urban/West-rural dimension. I’d suggest to “Rarely Posts” that this is where you’d find the Southern Democrats. That is; they are Populist or Progressive against the urban-eastern “Moneyed Interests” but against any sort of “civil rights” for Blacks.

            • Manju

              I’ll admit that the Democratic Populists of ~120 years ago were not the most racially advanced. I’ll also question the relevance of that fact to today’s discussion.

              First, its relevant to the point I disputed:

              The right-wing has been against racial justice forever.

              2ndly, 120 years ago?

              • db

                The 120 years puts us at 1892, the height of “Bryan & Free Silver” movement & the radicalism of the Miners & the IWW. IN each case you had an amalgam of Farmers & Laborers opposing the “Moneyed Interests”

                “Murc” defines racism as a socially conservative position. I’d contend it is one of many different issues & the problem comes in (forgive me) seeing things as only Black or White. People are not one or the other. We each hold positions on a multiplicity of issues; many of which issues allow for a multiplicity or solutions. It is entirely possible for me to be to the “right” of Mr. Powell on some issues & to the “left” of him on others.

                And less you accuse me of overstating the issue; the pre-Civil War South spent a deal of legal effort in defining exactly who was & who was not a Negro with all the horrendous consequences of being put into the enslavable group.

                • Hogan

                  Let’s consider the possibility that in the context of the 1880s and 1890s, when large corporations were conducting what amounts to an economic and political coup d’etat, the Populists were the conservatives, trying to save what they could of the Jeffersonian/Jacksonian order (including white privilege) against the onslaught of radicals like Rockefeller and Carnegie. Which doesn’t mean that corporations were anti-racist, just that they didn’t give a shit who they exploited.

                • Manju

                  The 120 years puts us at 1892,

                  I was wondering why you were going back 120 years to find “Democratic Populists” who “were not the most racially advanced” when you could simply go back to say LBJ’s War on Poverty, pull up the roll call votes of the segregationists, and see where they align.

                  (or course you know, I can do this in a split second)

                • Malaclypse

                  (or course you know, I can do this in a split second)

                  I keep telling you – you can shorten this by simply saying “Response 2.”

                • Manju

                  “Murc” defines racism as a socially conservative position.

                  Consider this sentence, one that //s the sentence to which I object:

                  The right-wing has been for fiscal conservatism, forever

                  .I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to debunk this howler.

                  Now, what is some teabagger were to come here and defend it on the same grounds that Murc does.

                  He’s be laughed out of LGM for his sheer ahistoricalness.

                • Manju

                  I keep telling you – you can shorten this by simply saying “Response 2.”

                  That’s cute, but its data. The lists are different, depending on which falsehood i am debunking.

      • Rarely Posts

        First, you’re equating Democrat with left and Republican with right, but it’s pretty clear that partisan affiliation did not line up with ideology for a huge chunk of the United States’ history. Specifically, many Southerners refused to identify with the Republican party because of the Civil War and Reconstruction, etc. So, instead they aligned with Democrats, but that doesn’t mean that they were clearly “left.”

        Second, it is, unfortunately, true that many left-wingers and liberals in America have failed to support racial justice if you look at all of American history. However, over time, many left-wingers and liberals in the United States supported racial justice, and eventually the left-wing and liberals formed the ideological movement that helped make America a much more racially just society through the civil rights movement. In contrast, “[t]he right-wing has been against racial justice forever.” That’s true in the United States, and it’s largely been true in the world. So, establishing that some liberal in American history have not supported racial justice does not establish that the right-wing has ever significantly supported racial justice.

        • Manju

          So, instead they aligned with Democrats, but that doesn’t mean that they were clearly “left.”

          The data I posted indicates that they were moderates. Moderates who leaned left.

          This data does not include civil rights legislation, btw. (see below, for that)

          So, establishing that some liberal in American history have not supported racial justice does not establish that the right-wing has ever significantly supported racial justice.

          See here*:

          http://voteview.com/images/Senate_Party_Means_46-111_2nd.jpg

          and here:

          http://voteview.com/images/House_Party_Means_46-111_2nd.jpg

          What you are looking at now is DW-Nominate, 2nd dimension (civil rights) for the Senate and then the House. You can see from this data that Democrats, even with their Southern faction carved out, were more opposed to civil rights than Republicans were.

          And, as the first graph demonstrates, Democrats have long been to the left of Republicans. Ergo, while I would not say that the right-wing supported civil rights strongly (I believe both wings failed Af-Ams), the data indicates they were more supportive than the left.

          *You want to focus on the civil rights era from about 1935 to about 1970’s. Before that, most votes tracked Bimetallism (since they are carving out the regional differences) and after that there were simply were not many civil rights votes (and on the ones that were held, republicans did rather well on).

      • Murc

        Being a racist is a socially conservative position. It doesn’t matter if you’re a racist commie, you are still harboring a right-wing position in addition to your left-wing ones.

        Racism aligns perfectly on the right-left paradigm. Party membership, historically, has not.

        • DrDick

          Please do not confuse Manju with facts. They make his tiny little brain hurt. Also, needs more Robert Byrd.

        • David M. Nieporent

          I’ll take Tautologies for $100, Alex.

          • Malaclypse

            Privileging one group over another is historically what conservatives have been about. This isn’t rocket science. Burke was pretty upfront about it in Reflections on the Revolution.

            This mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry; and the principle, though varied in its appearance by the varying state of human affairs, subsisted and influenced through a long succession of generations, even to the time we live in. If it should ever be totally extinguished, the loss I fear will be great. It is this which has given its character to modern Europe. It is this which has distinguished it under all its forms of government, and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states of Asia, and possibly from those states which flourished in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. It was this, which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality, and handed it down through all the gradations of social life. It was this opinion which mitigated kings into companions, and raised private men to be fellows with kings. Without force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of pride and power; it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a dominating vanquisher of laws to be subdued by manners. 127
            But now all is to be changed. All the pleasing illusions, which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason. All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns, and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked, shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion. 128
            On this scheme of things, a king is but a man, a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order. All homage paid to the sex in general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded as romance and folly. Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroying its simplicity. The murder of a king, or a queen, or a bishop, or a father, are only common homicide; and if the people are by any chance, or in any way, gainers by it, a sort of homicide much the most pardonable, and into which we ought not to make too severe a scrutiny.

          • joe from Lowell

            The right-left political spectrum is based upon attitudes towards existing power relations. Being on the right means you wish to uphold, even bolster, existing relations of power, while being on the left means you wish to weaken, ameliorate, or tear down those relations.

            So yes, support for segregation and opposition to racial equality are right-wing positions.

          • Murc

            Well… yes, David.

            Things that are blue are blue. Things that are large are large. Things that are right-wing are right-wing.

            Manju asserted that something that is right-wing (conservative) is not in fact so. I corrected him.

          • DrDick

            How about science for $1,000?

        • Manju

          Racism aligns perfectly on the right-left paradigm.

          As David points out, you are in a meaningless tautology. If racism is by definition a right-wing position, why bother arguing that racists are right-wingers? All you are saying is that racists are racists. You’re arguing in a circle.

          Think of the implications of such sophistry. Religious sentiment is a right-wing position. The civil rights movement was largely a religious one. Ergo, the civil rights movement is right-wing one.

          Pretty ahistorical and rather stupid, no? Its just a rhetorical trick.

          • Malaclypse

            No, conservativism is about defending privilege. It always has been, and it always will be. You just like to obfuscate that.

            • Manju

              argument by assertion. another logical fallacy

              • Malaclypse

                No, argument by historical reference. Burke defended privilege, in the passage I quoted. William Buckley, in the passage DrDick quoted. Corey Robin wrote a whole damn book on the topic.

                ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty Manju said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

                • Manju

                  To be fair, Malaclypse…the scholars I reference would likely be sympathetic to your argument: “conservativism is about defending privilege.”

                  There is actual data to support that. However, this narrative falls apart on one issue:

                  “During most of the period treated in this book, a single liberal-conservative dimension does an excellent job of accounting for how members vote be it on minimum wages or the shopping list of issues represented by the Contract with America or a Clinton State of the Union….

                  However, there is one issue area that clearly did not fit the standard liberal-conservative pattern –civil rights for African-Americans. For much of the post-WWII era, the voting coalitions on racial issues were noticeably distinct from those on the other issues.”

                  –“Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches,” by Nolan McCarty of Princeton University, Keith Poole of the University of California, San Diego, and Howard Rosenthal of New York University. (ch. 2)

                • Malaclypse

                  Wait, you’re saying voting coalitions don’t map perfectly onto philosophical positions? This changes everything!

                • Manju

                  Wait, you’re saying voting coalitions don’t map perfectly onto philosophical positions? This changes everything!

                  No, they are saying that voting coalitions do align to the left-right paradigm, except for one subject, civil rights.

              • Hogan

                Evidence set forth here.

                • Manju

                  Its anecdotal evidence, and thus prone to cherrypicking.

                  In contrast, I’m presenting you with the most comprehensive data on the subject…though anecdotes do align to this narrative.

                • Malaclypse

                  Its anecdotal evidence, and thus prone to cherrypicking.

                  I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of Robert Byrd and the 1964 CRA roll call shaking their heads over your chutzpah.

                • Hogan

                  So you’ve read the book?

                • Manju

                  So you’ve read the book?

                  aaah, you got me. good point.

                • Manju

                  I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of Robert Byrd and the 1964 CRA roll call shaking their heads over your chutzpah.

                  This makes no sense. The 64 roll call is not cherrypicked, as evidenced by the data I’ve been posting.

                  Strom Thurmond is cherrypicked.

      • DrDick

        William F. Buckley would like a word with you.

  • c u n d gulag

    Since we live in such “post-racial” times, why, the SC’s coming decisions on race won’t make any difference at all!

    Back here in the real world, and in the spirit of his racist predecessor, William Rehnquist, I suspect that Roberts feels the need to start bending that ‘long arc of the moral universe back away from justice.’

    But hey, with the changing population demographics, Roberts and his 4 SC judicial cronies, can make the argument that they’re just looking out for the coming minority in this country – white people.

    • Glenn

      But hey, with the changing population demographics, Roberts and his 4 SC judicial cronies, can make the argument that they’re just looking out for the coming minority in this country – white people

      Y’know, I really do wonder when we’re going to start seeing that argument made for real. Or am I just behind the curve?

      • Holden Pattern

        Dude, that argument is made for real ALL THE TIME. It’s just not yet made for real by mainstream Republicans very often. It will be soon, because movement conservatives are nothing if not masters of the dual embattled minority / true American whine.

  • joe from Lowell

    I’m right there with Greenhouse in his discussion about the Roberts court and affirmative action/school desegregation, but his tea-leaf-reading about how the court would handle a challenge to the Voting Right Act seems to ignore something rather important:
    The recent vote by the Roberts court upholding Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

    • David M. Nieporent

      Linda Greenhouse did not, I think, have a sex change.

      And the link you provide is to an article about an appeals court decision, not the Supreme Court.

      The Roberts Court did uphold Section 5 in Namudno, though, and she handwaves that away with “the court appeared on the verge of invalidating Section 5 before pulling back at the last minute,” which literally has no meaning, unless she is claiming that the decision was at the printers and then Roberts ran over there yelling, “Stop the presses!” and rewrote the decision.

      • joe from Lowell

        Whoops, you’re right, that was a circuit court decision.

        That leaves a great deal more room for her speculations.

        (Your bit about “pulling back at the last minute” is silly, though. You really don’t understand what that means?)

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