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Conservatives And Apartheid

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Whether at home or abroad, American conservatives (starting with reasonable, moderate, thinking man’s reactionary William Buckley) are only capable of opposing apartheid in retrospect. At which point the process of turning the people who they so viciously opposed into empty teddy bears begins.

…this Tim Burke post is indeed great.

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  • I don’t have any evidence that this is true always and everywhere, but I’m pretty convinced that in the current USA, being a conservative requires negating reality in some sort of way.

    Conservatives either believe things that are clearly not true [frex the whole Kenyan commie thing], deny things that are real [the New Deal, Global warming, the benefits of the ACA], rewrite history, or simply make shit up.

    Shouting “STOP!” at history just isn’t enough.

  • During the Cold War the US government and partisans of the US side in the struggle supported all kinds of repressive anti-communist governments. South Africa was only one of them. You can add Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, South Korea and a lot more to the list. This isn’t new information. On the other side the USSR supported some vicious regimes as well such as the PDPA in Afghanistan, Mengistu in Ethiopia, and post-unification Vietnam. The idea of human rights under friendly governments as a motivating factor in foreign policy was always secondary to geo-political concerns for the US government even under Carter. It was never a real concern even secondarily for the Soviet Union. So yes many conservatives supported the South African government because of its anti-communist position and their lack of concern for human rights under friendly governments as a foreign policy issue.

    That said, I think Buckley was right in noting that the right in the did not hold up the regimes in South Africa and Chile as models for the US and the rest of the world the way the hard left did the USSR, China, and Cuba. It is one thing to say that it is in the interest of the US government and business to support vile regimes and then act on that basis. It is quite another to suggest that a vile regime like Stalin’s or Mao’s has achieved paradise and should be the model for the US and everywhere else.

    The ANC and Mandela were obviously not pacifists and I don’t know why people are trying to portray them as such. They were a national liberation movement that like others used armed struggle as one tool in their fight. Although for a variety of reasons the lethal violence in the RSA both from the apartheid regime and the ANC was considerably less than most African liberation struggles. The TRCR lists about 10,000 wrongful deaths caused directly by the government and 1,300 by the ANC. Compared to the deaths in Algeria where the French killed 1 million people or Kenya where the British killed 300,000 these numbers are relatively low. I suspect in large part because things like strikes and internal boycotts were a lot more important than armed struggle compared to places like Rhodesia, Angola, Algeria, or Kenya.

    The ANC and SACP mouthed Marxist-Leninist rhetoric along with other liberation movements like the MPLA, FRELIMO, ZAPU, and SWAPO during the 1960s-1980s. In exchange they received arms and other support from the Soviet bloc. But, by the mid-1990s the ruling MPLA in Angola, FRELIMO in Mozambique, SWAPO in Namibia, and ANC in South Africa had all adopted neo-liberal economic policies. The desire of Castro to bring socialism to Southern Africa which motivated the intervention in Angola had failed completely. This conversion is a real victory for capitalism and it is not surprising that its proponents would be praising one of the men who did ensure that South Africa’s economy was not reconstructed along Soviet or Cuban lines.

    • IM

      define hard left. You are using a false equivalence here.

      The problem is that the mainstream right in many countries supported apartheid.

      • In the 1930s-1970s there were a substantial number of US intellectuals who viewed first the USSR and then China as models to follow and who were completely blind to their faults. A number of them were members of the CPUSA and other Marxist-Leninist parties others were “fellow travelers.” But, they were a fairly significant minority of the US intellectual class both numerically and in terms of influence at places like US universities. I am a couple blocks from a street named after one such intellectual, W.E.B. DuBois who like Paul Robeson was incapable of seeing any evil in the USSR because they didn’t have segregation or apartheid against Black people. Of course they had so few Black people at the time it was no more an issue than the lack of discrimination against ethnic Japanese in South Africa. But, most US communists and fellow travelers influential in the arts, culture, and scholarship were white like Lillian Hellman.

        I don’t think anybody in the US wanted to impose apartheid domestically in the 1980s. The support for the South African government was not because of apartheid, but because of its anti-communist policies. In fact apartheid was viewed as either inconsequential (ignored) or viewed as an inconvenience since it made defending the government more difficult. This latter reason is one of the reason that you see conservatives praising Mandela today. His presidency allowed for the removal of this embarrassment without changing the basic political economy of the country. This is very different than holding up Malan as a revolutionary hero whose policies showed the way to utopia.

        • Randy

          In fact apartheid was viewed as either inconsequential (ignored) or viewed as an inconvenience since it made defending the government more difficult. This latter reason is one of the reason that you see conservatives praising Mandela today.

          Bollocks. Conservatives are praising Mandela (formerly denounced by them as a terrorist) because it has become the acceptable thing to do–politically correct, if you will. This is the same thing that conservatives have done with Martin Luther King (“You may have formed the wrong impression from our vehemently expressed opposition to everything he stood for while he was alive. In reality, we were strong supporters.”)

          • No they are praising him because the transfer of power maintained and actually strengthened capitalism in Southern Africa. Back in the 1970s and 1980s before Mandela came to power it looked like all of Southern Africa might go communist. The 1994 transfer saw the triumph of neo-liberal economics. White South African capitalists got a very good deal from Mandela and the ANC. They not only dominate the economy of South Africa now they also now have a substantial market share in the rest of the continent. Such a deal was better than an Algerian style civil war and Mandela, Tambo, and Mbeki did a good job of negotiating the end of white minority rule. But, it is still a very unequal society with whites and a small black elite controlling the economy.

            • The majority of them couldn’t find South Africa on a map with a native guide pointing it out to them.

              • The word native is no longer considered appropriate when referring to Africans. The proper term is now indigenous.

                • I know–I was thinking of White South Africans.

            • GoDeep

              I think both JOP & Randy are right. Not only did Mandela not overturn S. African capitalism, he didn’t engage in any Idi Amin-style forced repatriations of non-indigenous peoples, nor any Nat Turner style vengeance. So, now, conservatives get to talk abt Mandela as if he’s some great big cuddly Teddy Bear & not someone who–as you say–viewed non-violence as a tactic & not a philosophy.

              Abt American liberals supporting the USSR, tho, JOP, you’re mostly wrong. After the ’40s only the fringiest of American liberals supported USSR-style communism–fringy as in people like Lee Harvey Oswald. And after he killed Kennedy, even that fringe group declined in #s.

              In contrast Reagan–the very embodiment of mainstream conservatism–said that S. Africa was “essential to the free world”. What liberal POTUS said the USSR was essential to the free world? Was it LBJ who said that? Or Kennedy? Or Truman? Carter, maybe???

              • Random

                Nope, Randy’s right and Otto is completely wrong. Otto’s just inventing a post-hoc justification for appropriating a popular and revered figure. Exactly like Randy just said.

                • Right because there is no capitalism anymore in Southern Africa. Even the SACP and MPLA are now neo-liberal arch-capitalists. Mandela, Mbeki, Dos Santos, Chissano, and Najumo all completely repudiated Marxist-Leninist socialism in favor of free market capitalism. Dos Santos has basically dissed Castro in his recent speeches by failing to mention the Cubans at all. White owned South African businesses have boomed since the end of apartheid. They have even expanded to dominate numerous sectors in countries far to the north. MTN, DSTV, Shoprite, Pizza Inn, and other companies earn a lot of money for the white South African elite in places like Ghana. They couldn’t do that before Mandela was elected.

                • Random

                  Right because there is no capitalism anymore in Southern Africa. Even the SACP and MPLA are now neo-liberal arch-capitalists. Mandela, Mbeki, Dos Santos, Chissano, and Najumo all completely repudiated Marxist-Leninist socialism in favor of free market capitalism. Dos Santos has basically dissed Castro in his recent speeches by failing to mention the Cubans at all. White owned South African businesses have boomed since the end of apartheid. They have even expanded to dominate numerous sectors in countries far to the north. MTN, DSTV, Shoprite, Pizza Inn, and other companies earn a lot of money for the white South African elite in places like Ghana. They couldn’t do that before Mandela was elected.

                  I’m guessing you’re too stupid to realize that this is just bolstering my argument.

                • No it doesn’t. It explains why conservatives changed their minds about Mandela. He went from espousing Marxist-Leninist rhetoric to bolstering capitalism. He in fact after 1994 greatly strengthened the white owned part of the economy. It is this great improvement in the economic fortunes of South African capitalists under Mandela and his successors that is the reason why conservatives are praising him today. If he had implemented the policies the ANC advocated in 1964 it would be a completely different story.

                • Hogan

                  It is this great improvement in the economic fortunes of South African capitalists under Mandela and his successors that is the reason why conservatives are praising him today.

                  Because if there’s anything current conservatives care about and study closely, it’s economic conditions in South Africa.

                • Hogan its not the conditions in South Africa they care about. It is the condition of South African capitalists (most of them white) and their ability to enrich other capitalists. The ANC government opened up a lot of economic opportunities for US business in South Africa and with South African businesses that had been closed off by sanctions. It even went beyond that and opened profitable business opportunities that did not exist before sanctions were imposed.

                • Hogan

                  What conservatives are you talking about?

                • Random

                  No it doesn’t. It explains why conservatives changed their minds about Mandela. He went from espousing Marxist-Leninist rhetoric to bolstering capitalism. He in fact after 1994 greatly strengthened the white owned part of the economy. It is this great improvement in the economic fortunes of South African capitalists under Mandela and his successors that is the reason why conservatives are praising him today. If he had implemented the policies the ANC advocated in 1964 it would be a completely different story.

                  Looks like I guessed right. :-)

                • Random

                  Let’s try to explain this again:

                  Elected conservatives are praising Mandela on the occasion of his death. Because they are scared shitless of minority voters.

                  Non-elected conservatives are ruthlessly savaging Mandala on the occasion of his death. Because they hate black people.

                  For purely ideological reasons, you are trying to manufacture a plausible story after the factfor why the one group isn’t engaging in obvious political opportunism and why the other group just doesn’t even exist in the first place.

                  Those justifications are falling apart because they are chronologically challenged, ahistorical, but also because the second group continues to exist.

                • No Random you are wrong. Conservative praise of Mandela began when he was president because of his neo-liberal policies. The movie Invictus made by conservative icon Clint Eastwood pretty much portrayed the narrative created by the US right while Mandela was in power. Regardless of its accuracy Ivictus came out in 2009 that is four years ago. The conservative narrative praising Mandela goes back further of course than that. You are simply wrong in claiming there was no conservative praise of Mandela between 1994 and his death. In fact you are deliberately lying on this issue.

                • Random

                  Oh I most certainly am not inventing the fact that in December of 2013 the vast majority of the conservative sentiment about Mandela is extremely negative and hateful. Want me to start posting links?

                • tt

                  Oh I most certainly am not inventing the fact that in December of 2013 the vast majority of the conservative sentiment about Mandela is extremely negative and hateful.

                  The internet is non-representative. I highly doubt most self-identified US conservatives have a negative view of Mandela. There’s a reason most politicians on the right are praising him.

                • Random

                  The internet is non-representative.

                  The people on the Internet are.

                  I highly doubt most self-identified US conservatives have a negative view of Mandela.

                  I highly doubt that the vast majority of Americans who have a negative view of Mandela aren’t self-identified conservatives.

                  There’s a reason most politicians on the right are praising him.

                  What you mean to say is that there is a reason they are praising him now. And that reason is because they can’t stay in power by solely appealing to racist voters any more.

                • Random

                  Whoops, b-quote failure above. Again, my excuse is tequila.

                • tt

                  No, the reason is that, like Lemieux said, he’s been turned into a teddy-bear, so even most racists have a positive view of him.

                  Normal people conservatives–the type who don’t talk about politics online–have a positive view of Mandela. A false view, but a positive one.

                • Random

                  most racists have a positive view of him.

                  No they don’t.

                  Normal people conservatives–the type who don’t talk about politics online–have a positive view of Mandela.

                  Without a doubt, almost all of the people in the US who have a negative view of Mandela are conservative.

            • Random

              Wrong.

              Elected conservatives are praising him because they can’t win elections without peeling off minority voters.

              Base conservatives are ruthlessly condemning him. Mostly because they hate black people.

              Try not to sound so desperate next time you are trying to get us to ignore the elephant in the living room.

            • Mike G

              The Republicans denounced Mandela as a communist and a terrorist in the 80s. In power, he turned out to be neither.

              In all the Republican praise of Mandela in recent days I have yet to see any of them reassess how wrong they were about him, how thoroughly corrupted they were by South African government propaganda spending (vid. their under the table payments to the National Review) and what this says about their grip on reality. Privileged, arrogant overlords who think they are never wrong and never make mistakes don’t have a great track record.

              What does this say for the prescience or predictive accuracy of the American right wing? Or do they even pretend to be making sincere analysis anymore — is their every utterance a tactical lie for short-term advantage?

              • Dick Cheney

                Privileged, arrogant overlords who think they are never wrong and never make mistakes don’t have a great track record.

                What does this say for the prescience or predictive accuracy of the American right wing?

                Why what ever are you talking about?

                Now step off before I shoot you in the face.

              • is their every utterance a tactical lie for short-term advantage?

                No. A lot of it is just rank stupidity.

            • EH

              You’re completely glossing over their opposition to Mandela in favor of post hoc rationalizations. Here’s what Mandela said about his connection to Communism:

              It is true that there has often been close cooperation between the ANC and the Communist Party. But cooperation is merely proof of a common goal—in this case the removal of white supremacy—and is not proof of a complete community of interests.

              My Lord, the history of the world is full of similar examples. Perhaps the most striking illustration is to be found in the cooperation between Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union in the fight against Hitler. Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such cooperation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into communists or communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a communist world.

              The rationalizers, particularly US Conservatives, employed a reductive idiocy to paint him with the Big Red Brush, never once considering the future they now credit him for bringing about. Read the Burke post, it speaks specifically to how these people were wrong back then (and you are now).

              • Hogan

                Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such cooperation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into communists or communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a communist world.

                Except for American conservatives, obviously.

              • Look there is a huge literature on how the ANC has preserved economic inequality in South Africa to the benefit of largely white capitalists and a small group of Blacks, Asians, and “Coloreds.” You can look up the works of people like Hein Marais and Samir Amin yourself. Why wouldn’t people dedicated to market fundamentalism support preserving these structural inequalities?

                • EH

                  The simple answer is that change is still happening, but it’s the mark of a fundamentalist to ignore everything but that which resembles the initial conditions. Fundamentalists gonna fundamental, after all.

                • Random

                  So his economics are slightly to the left of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? That’s why conservatives are suddenly saying nice things about him after decades of hating him? Are you lying to me or yourself here?

                  He passed some of the most permissive abortion policies in the world (aka “murdered thousands of babies”), pushed for a robust nationalized health care system (aka “enslaved his nation to totalitarian Marxism” and opposed the Iraq War (aka “supported Saddam Hussein”).

                  The real question is why would conservatives for even a second give someone like him the time of day? And the answer is ‘political opportunism’.

                  You never did answer how the conservative Republican AEI’s publication of The Bell Curve in 1994 which asserted that blacks are inherently intellectually inferior to whites, played into their geopolitical anti-communist strategy.

                • South Africa is not going to adopt a Soviet or Cuban economic anytime soon. In fact Cuba itself will be hard pressed to keep all of its current socialist policies in the next few decades. South Africa is still one of the most unequal countries in the world according to Gini coefficient measurements. Mbeki and Zuma have not been moving to create a socialist society like Cuba. There is nothing about post-apartheid South Africa for any right wingers to dislike. Unless you think that all conservatives think that actual official racial segregation is a value that trumps all others. But, it would be hard to explain all those right wing Black people in other African countries then.

                • Random

                  My mistake, ‘conservatives’ should read ‘a small fraction of conservatives, mostly the elected ones’.

                  Almost everything to date that I have heard actual conservatives who are free to speak their mind on the topic say about him is that he was a communist and a terrorist who turned SA into a hellscape of burning tire-necklaces and regular boilings of white people.

                • Random

                  There is nothing about post-apartheid South Africa for any right wingers to dislike.

                  That sure as shit isn’t what they are saying. They’re saying it’s in a state of near-genocide for the oppressed white population, Stage 5: Preparation.

                  And there is absolutely fuck-all about Mandela’s politics for a conservative to like. Every single one of his positions including the economics you keep touting is the left of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (aka “the biggest Socialist Communist Leninists who ever Stalined a Marx”).

                • Random

                  Oh hey, did you catch conservative Republican Senator and Presidential candidate Rick Santorum doing his part to geopolitically undermine communism by appropriating Mandela’s death in order to attack domestic health care initiatives in the US?

                  I totally bet he did it because he is so enamored of Mandela’s left-of-center economic agenda.

                • Anonymous

                  Otto: there didn’t appear to be anything for right wingers to dislike about South Africa during Apartheid, either. Well, except for Mandela.

        • IM

          That is just nonsense, as evidenced by your use of mccarthyist terms like fellow traveler. There was no communist left in the us in the 1980s. And not much of it elsewhere. W. E. B. Du Bois died in 1963 (!). And even prior to that his political influence was zero.

          You are basically claiming that the support of apartheid by major right-wing politicians in the west in the 1980s is somehow justified by the communist sympathies of some powerless persons thirty years prior. Two wrongs don’t make a right anyway.

          I don’t think anybody in the US wanted to impose apartheid domestically in the 1980s

          That is probably not even true today.

          • I didn’t say it was justified. I said it was done for the same reasons the USSR supported the brutal regime in Ethiopia, geo-politics. I also said that supporting evil regimes for such reasons is different than wanting to emulate them at home.

            • But they did and do want to emulate them at home. What do you think secessionist states and the new secessionist movement of rural areas from “urban” liberal areas are all about if not the fantasy of resegregation? In the US, on the right side of the aisle, it is an article of faith that re-segregation and a new geography of separation will lead to blood baths in the inner city (more Detroits!) and a release of natural energy and purity of essence for the new white enclaves.

              • You are kidding right? You think that in the mid-1980s that Buckley was advocating implementing an equivalent of the Group Areas Act and Separate Amenities Act in the whole of the US?

                • Hogan

                  Knowing it’s a lost cause is different from opposing it.

                • I don’t get why you think that Communism was a real possibility in the US in the 1980’s but that re-segregation or the original policies of destructive racism weren’t?

                • I didn’t say communism was a real possibility in the US in the 1980s. I said it was in South Africa.

                • Hogan

                  How many new Communist regimes came online after 1980?

            • IM

              anti-communism, the first refuge of a scoundrel.

              • EH

                As if binary logic wasn’t simplistic enough.

        • I don’t think anybody in the US wanted to impose apartheid domestically in the 1980s

          Less than 20 years after the forcible abolition of an apartheid system in parts of the US? During the presidency of a man whose political movement was rooted in the anti-desegregation reaction?

          the right in the did not hold up the regimes in South Africa and Chile as models for the US and the rest of the world

          Nonsense. Chile was the poster child for the Washington Consensus since before the term existed. It’s absolutely been treated as a model for developing countries.

          • Ronan

            The ‘washington consensus’ was pushed during Clinton (for a complex set of reasons that have little enough to do with Hayek in chile)

            • And certainly none of Clinton’s domestic policies had anything to do with the political and social thought of the right.

              • Ronan

                Yeah but now were just into meaninglessnessnesses hyperbole

              • DocAmazing

                You’ll need the sarcasm tag there.

                • Given the levels of deliberate point-missing, would the tag help?

            • What does Hayek have to do with anything? Chile was pushed by neoliberals as an economic success story and a model for the rest of Latin America, and those policies were Pinochet’s.

              • Random

                Hayek and Friedman were both huge fans of Chile’s dictatorship and described the economic system imposed by Pinochet as close to ideal.

                Until it turned out to be extremely unpopular and not to work too well, then they started distancing themselves from it after the fact.

                Kind of like what conservatives are doing in regards to Mandela now but in the opposite direction.

        • DrDick

          I am sorry, but there were significant numbers of social conservatives then (includes all the “Reagan Democrats”) who wanted to do and and there may be even more of them today.

        • Mike G

          The Otto equation:

          The entire Republican party = ‘the right’

          5 Socialist Workers Party activists in Cambridge, MA = ‘the left’

          == “Both Sides Do It”.

          • Random

            “If I just flood the zone with a bunch of dates and out-of-context factoids, people won’t notice that what I’m saying is actually shit-dumb.”

        • CD

          — Chile: have you done *any* reading? 1980s Chile in particular, the Chile of privatizations and aggressive neoliberalism, was widely touted as an example to the rest of the world including the USA, for example in its “privatized” social security system.

          — From my experience as an activist in the late 70s and early 80s, there was plenty of direct and unapologetic support in the USA for apartheid in S. Africa, as you can see in Buckley and others: an argument that it was the best system, that it was morally justified and appropriate. The most frequent argument I heard was that blacks in S. Africa were not really S. Africans at all, but economic migrants, and that the white republic had a moral right to conduct its own affairs. But I also encountered plenty of racist skepticism of black people’s ability to run their own affairs. This is obviously of a piece with arguments, then and now, against the Voting Rights Act. It was only when people lost that argument that they fell back on more squirrely arguments about the pace of change and the dangers of the ANC.

          • What people (hint Buckley was not one) were advocating imposing versions of the Group Areas Act and Separate Amenities Act in the US in the 1980s? They were defending it in South Africa as part of the Cold War. Vile, but not the same thing as saying that Malan was a revolutionary genius who should be emulated and that there should be permanent world revolution until apartheid existed in every country in the world. Nobody was publicly supporting emulating Chilean political repression in the US. Not even Buckley. There have been lots of American leftists supporting murderous state violence against their political opponents like happened in the USSR. Good lord, I see people on this very blog advocating that NRA leaders be imprisoned for life.

            • Hogan

              There have been lots of American leftists supporting murderous state violence against their political opponents like happened in the USSR.

              Name names.

              • Loomis’s support of using the power of the state to incarcerate NRA leaders for life.

                • If there is one person Wayne LaPierre reminds me of, it’s Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

                • The whole idea of human rights is that they are universal and apply to people whose ideas you find vile. Otherwise why even bother with the pretense?

                • Uh. No. Human rights and Civil Rights should apply to everyone, regardless of how I view them. But that doesn’t imply a right to criminal activity by everyone, whether I love them or hate them. Advocating (which I frankly doubt anyone has done) that Wayne LaPierre’s chosen source of income should be radically pruned back and that Wayne LaPierre is not a great guide to public policy is not the same as denying him Human Rights.

                • Barry Freed

                  Goes to show you what a backslider Loomis is. Here I thought he was holding out for LaPierre’s head on a stick!

                • Hogan

                  Your ideas of murder are pretty loose.

            • Random

              What is the geopolitical anti-communist message of this interview?

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAPeFRNtTP4

            • Random

              What was the geopolitical angle of Reagan’s “states’ rights” speech near the site of murdered civil rights workers?

              • How does this institute or reinstitute racial segregation in all 50 US states on a South African model?

                • Random

                  Answer the question. What was the geopolitical anti-communist angle for him doing this?

                • Malaclypse

                  By being annoyingly hyperliteral when and only when it allows someone to monopolize a thread.

            • Random

              When Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul wrote the following:

              ““King, the FBI files show, was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys. The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy revealed before his death that King had made a pass at him years before.

              “And we are supposed to honor this ‘Christian minister’ and lying socialist satyr with a holiday that puts him on par with George Washington?

              “Congratulations to Arizona! Who could doubt that the result would be exactly the same if the other 49 states could also vote on a holiday for this affirmative-action saint?”

              what was the geopolitical strategic interest that he was pursuing?

              • Yes, because this speech is the exact same as declaring a racial revolution based on the ideas of Malan with the aim to recreate South Africas apartheid laws in the US. Please.

                • Random

                  Yes but what is the geopolitical angle for doing it?

                • BAby steps.

                • Malaclypse

                  Shorter Otto: rhetorical excess is okay for conservative politicians, but not obscure liberal Stalinist American professors.

            • Random

              What was the anti-communist geopolitical rationale that motivated conservative think tank AEI to publish the ‘The Bell Curve’, which claims that black people are inherently less intelligent than other races?

              • Tristan

                It made liberals frightened/angry, thus: VICTORY OVER COMMUNISM

            • Random

              When conservative think tank Heritage Foundation published a paper by Jason Richwine claiming that Latinos inherently had lower IQs than non-Latino whites and thus were pre-destined to economic failure, what was the anti-communist geopolitical strategy that they were pursuing there?

              • J R in WV

                There you go. Them Mexicans cain’t even run a laundry restaurant without government support!

            • Random

              When Republican President Richard Nixon and author of the Republican pro-apartheid “Tar Baby” policy towards South Africa stated that “Blacks can’t run it. Nowhere, and they won’t be able to for a hundred years, and maybe not for a thousand. … Do you know, maybe one black country that’s well run?”

              how did this help him to geopolitically fight communism, exactly?

              • Ghana was run well until the progressive LBJ worshipped on this blog used the CIA to overthrow him in 1966.

                • Oops:

                  Should read Ghana was run well under Nkrumah until the progressive LBJ worshipped on this site used the CIA to overthrow him.

                • Random

                  Yes but when Republican President Richard Nixon said about black Americans that

                  I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.

                  how was that a geopolitical strategy for fighting communism?

                • Warren Terra

                  Because if there’s one thing that unites this blog’s readership, it’s an unanimous endorsement of LBJ’s foreign policy.

            • CD

              Some of us have strong and even personal memories of the Reagan administration’s underwriting of murderous personal violence in Central America.

              Is the dread Loomis really yer best example on the other side? Seriously? I realize this has degenerated into malicious trolling on your part, Otto, but you must realize that the “in the U.S.” is neither a morally nor practically interesting distinction.

              • The Soviet underwriting of butchery in Afghanistan and Ethiopia during the 1980s was just as brutal anything the US supported in El Salvador or Guatemala.

                • Random

                  How many Soviet leaders were also American political leaders again?

                  It’s like every single post from you is a Christmas present of dumb.

              • sibusisodan

                It’s like every single post from you is a Christmas present of dumb.

                On the eight day of Christmas my Otto gave to me:

                Eight blogs a linking
                Seven pohling birds
                Six Ghana’s talking
                Five non-seeequituuurs

                &c

      • I think he’s talking about the three Marxists that show up to our community festival every year.

        • IM

          Groucho, Harpo and Chico?

          • GoDeep

            +1+1+1=3

          • [sad trombone]

            • Gummo

              It could be worse.

    • Davis

      I’ve never heard anyone claiming Mandela was a pacifist. He certainly denied it. But he preached reconciliation rather than recrimination when he achieved power, and that’s what counts.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Truth and reconciliation. No truth, no reconciliation: something the conservatives aren’t willing to do, it appears.

        • GoDeep

          Conservatives want reconciliation without truth. Same as they always have. At least if they lose. When they win they want neither.

          • Tristan

            They don’t even really want reconciliation, they just want everyone to stop pointing out all the things they did wrong.

            • Hogan

              Yeah, reconciliation isn’t the same as capitulation.

      • Warren Terra

        I’m a little sick of this particular question. Fricking Gandhi wasn’t an absolutist pacifist – there is a quote from him to the effect that unless you come to the conclusion that in pacifism you have found a weapon superior to all others, you should not commit to pacifism. Pacifism is a noble ideal, and a tactic, but it isn’t the Universal Solution to society’s ills. Sure, Gandhi was a lot more committed to pacifism than Mandela – but Mandela supported nonviolence before resorting to violence, and supported nonviolent and frankly generous reform tactics when such again seemed possible.

    • That said, I think Buckley was right in noting that the right in the did not hold up the regimes in South Africa and Chile as models for the US and the rest of the world the way the hard left did the USSR, China, and Cuba.

      I would argue that Hayek is more emblematic of the right than whomever “the hard left” is of the left more broadly. And, as Corey Robin has repeatedly pointed out, Hayek thought of Chile as a model for reform at home (http://coreyrobin.com/2012/07/08/hayek-von-pinochet/)

      • Ronan

        Really? I think thats debatable
        Anyway, im sure those that support him (primarily) do so for his views on the benefits of markets, or whatever, rather than his behaviour in Chile
        So theres a bit of guilt by association there

        • I don’t know, if you’re talking about your run-of-the-mill mouth-breather who drops Hayek quotes because they think doing so makes them look like an intellectual, maybe. But if we’re talking about “the right” as any kind of institutional framework, Nixon and Kissinger’s support of Pinochet’s coup seems to indicate that this is more than just guilt by association.

          • Ronan

            Sure, of course N and K are implicated, by the ‘right’ in any meaningful, general sense arent

            • Ronan

              sorry, typo .. ‘but (not by) the right in any meaningful….”

            • Ok, not sure I agree, but I won’t quibble. My point, however, was that Hayek (and Nixon and Kissinger) are more representative of the right than whatever fringe figures Otto was thinking of are of the left. Whether or not they’re a perfect cipher is irrelevant.

            • DocAmazing

              You are aware that Nixon was an elected leader? Won by a landslide? If what he was doing wasn’t palatable to the Right, the Right had a funny way of showing it.

      • Random

        So did Milton Friedman. Up until it wasn’t cool. At which point he just lied about his previous enthusiastic support.

        Friedman was also a big supporter of apartheid both domestically and abroad.

    • Random

      Bloody hell you are stupid.

      • Ronan

        Its a legit enough argument, that geopolitical concerns often trumped ‘justice’ during the Cold war, (personally Id have some sympathy with those who had to make those choices – on all sides)
        Of course you can argue from that position that president x was better than y, but then you’re accepting J Otto’s premise, more or less.

        Of course people like Buckley werent in a position of power so *didnt* have to buy into apartheid/segregation, but thats a more limited argument than *conservatives said X*. Its more like *certain conservatives said x*, which can be counteracted with *certain leftists supported Y (the Soviet Union etc)*

        So its an endless bak and forth of bullshit?

        Realistically, the possibilities of anyone here actually being heavily involved in any real oppossition to these systems, at the time, are very very limited, so we should all be a little humble, imho.

        • IM

          No. Buckley was a major ideologue of movement conservatism. And that was even then the dominant strain of the republican party.

          Can you find an intellectual influencing the democrats or a major strain of them who did something similar?

          • Ronan

            Isnt that where Manju comes in?

            Anyway, Im not really sure that I accept your premise (about Buckleys influence) tbh

            • IM

              What? NR had no influence on movement conservatism? Come on, now you are just playing dumb.

              And if Buckley isn’t good enough, there are Cheny or Reagan.

              • Ronan

                Some influence, fine..how much?
                I dont know, not much?

                • Hogan

                  If you’ve reached this point in your life without learning that it’s ill advised to shoot your mouth off when you don’t know any of the facts, I’m not sure what to tell you.

                • Ronan

                  You could actually develop an argument that spelled out the influence he had, if you wanted.
                  Im sure it would be less than:

                  “Whether at home or abroad, American conservatives (starting with reasonable, moderate, thinking man’s reactionary William Buckley) are only capable of .. ”

                  The personification of conservatism

                • Oh for–his newspaper lives on as the hive of scum and villainy he intended and his writings live on in the mouths of his descendants and lackeys viz: Jonah “Liberal Fasicism” and Sister Kathleen of the dolorous uterus Lopez.

                • Ronan

                  agreed, he was a moron and NR a nest of shitheads

                • Hogan

                  “Starting with” and “personification” are the same thing?

                  You could actually develop an argument that spelled out the influence he had, if you wanted.

                  I could, but you wouldn’t accept it because you already know it’s impossible.

                  Locke and English liberalism? Marx and socialism? Meh. Just some guy.

                • DocAmazing

                  Quiz, Ronan–
                  who’s been on national television more: Buckley or Noam Chomsky?
                  Buckley or Howard Zinn?
                  Buckley or Jesse Jackson?

        • Yeah. How do you get from Buckley’s actual, published, opinions on domestic apartheid/jim crow in the US to “not an actual political system” which he was supporting? Do you think he was some kind of dinner table reactionary conversationalist? He actively supported the policies and politicians who would supported segregation and Jim Crow in the US. As for South African Apartheid–as it turns out he accepted money to front for the actual political system and shilled for them as an unmarked lobbyist so he had a vested economic interest in the maintenance of the system.

          • Ronan

            i didnt

          • Ronan

            i said he shouldnt be held up as representative of anything bar himself
            But that his opinions were clear and indefensible, (especially indefensible because he wasnt constrained by being in office)

            • He was the Heritage Foundation and the faux think tank of his day. His opinions were loss leaders, as it were, for movement conservativism and the politicians who drew on it for support.

              • Ronan

                And republican politicians reacted to political factions in their coalition.
                This doesnt mean onservative always think xas per the post

                • flamingolingo

                  It’s utterly bizarre that you’re claiming that Buckley isn’t somehow representative of the conservative movement back in the day (or now, but perhaps phrased/styled differently). Yes he didn’t speak for every single conservative out there, but he certainly represented a mainstream set of views on the right.

                  You and Pohl are rewriting history in order to maintain false equivalence between the left and right. It’s laughably, transparently dishonest. Cut it out.

                • Ronan

                  ffs im not

            • Random

              Did you just say that William F. Buckley shouldn’t be held up as representative of movement conservativism in the US?

              • Ronan

                No. I said ‘william Bukley thought x’ doesnt equate as ‘conservatives always think x’

                • I’m not sure that “representative” means what you think it means.

                • Ronan

                  so what if i dont

                • Wow. I think you need to look out. Your strawman is burning.

                • Ronan

                  tis in the OP aimai !!!!!!

                • Here’s another way of looking at it: can you offer any prominent US conservative, in or out of power, who actively opposed apartheid in South Africa before that became unnecessary? At all? Because I can’t think of a single one. None of us are arguing that Buckley was anything more than a bellwether and a paid hack pursuing obviously racist policy goals through his media personality, his hires, and his political contacts. But that just means that his views on, say, apartheid were widely shared among his followers and his only followers were definitionally conservatives in the US among whom were quite a few actual politicians and all of whom were political actors as in donors or voters.

                • Aimai: Newt Gingrich, actually.

                • Thank you so much Stepped Pyramids! I really did not remember this politics at all. So Newt was in the group who crossed over and supported Kennedy in overturning Reagan’s veto? Interesting. I’m really curious as to why. Newt has never done anything out of principle, though he has frequently made interesting arguments out of sheer captiousness and contrariness. The question in my mind was why was he willing to stab Reagan and Reagan’s buddies inthe back–for what reason and to what benefit? Anyone know? Because I’m sure its not because he was against apartheid in South Africa because it was morally wrong.

                • The majority of Republican senators (31 out of 52) voted to overturn Reagan’s veto of the Anti-Apartheid Act, including southern Republicans like Mitch McConnell. About half the Republicans in the House did, including Gingrich.

                • The Sheriff’s A Ni-

                  I was but a kid in those bygone days. From what I do remember, though, the media was all over apartheid like white on rice. It wasn’t just the nightly news, either. Bill Cosby tacks an ‘End Apatheid’ sign on Theo Huxtable’s door. Evil South Africans were the villains of Lethal Weapon 2. Not to mention this was twenty years after the Freedom Marches and the CRA and here’s more white people oppressing backs on your film at 11.

                  Gingrich and McConnell, to their credit, could read the tea leaves far better than Reagan and his He-Man Anti-Commie Club could.

                • McConnell made a really interesting statement about his vote, actually. He said a lot of the racial issues in American politics were divisive because they weren’t simple; things like affirmative action and anti-crime policy were examples. But apartheid, he said, WAS simple; it was just like what the civil rights movement fought against the 1960’s. So for him, the vote was obvious.

    • JMP

      “It is quite another to suggest that a vile regime like Stalin’s or Mao’s has achieved paradise and should be the model for the US and everywhere else.”

      Which nobody ever did. You are fighting people who only exist in your imagination here, as usual.

      • I named three such people. Hellman was the most prolific of those three on the issue.

        • Random

          Lillian Hellman was a fucking playwright.

          • And every word she wrote is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.

            • Origami Isopod

              Nice ref.

              • N__B

                Possibly the most succinct takedown of all time.

              • Tristan

                I, too, recognize things

        • IM

          You are kidding , right? Do you really want to argue that democratic politicians were influenced by a dead intellectual, a dead singer and an old playwright?

          Yes, Kennedy and Mondale were just pining for that call from Hellman.

          • Ronan

            You’re the one arguing Bukley was some cclass of master puppeter

            • Hogan

              Your strawman is leaking there.

              George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American Conservative movement, states that Buckley was “arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century… For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure.”[6] Buckley’s primary contribution to politics was a fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anti-communism, laying groundwork for the new American conservatism of U.S. presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan.

              • Ronan

                seems a little overdetermined

                • Hogan

                  Well, that’s the advantage of total ignorance. You get to pose as a skeptic without having to do any work.

                • Ronan

                  No, it does seem overdetermined to argue that one intellectual can have this much of an effect on a political party/ideology.
                  He mught represent strains of conservative thought, fine.

                  Im sure the book that you quote (c and pd from wiki?) has a more complicated position on buckleys role

                • Ronan

                  Anyway, Im bowing out of this as have stuff to do so wont be responding

                • Malaclypse

                  Nobody saw that flounce coming.

                • Ronan

                  LOL.
                  last response
                  anyway, wit aside, I actually do have to go out is all.

                • Ronan

                  anyway, all this is irrelevant to my original response, which didnt argue buckley had *no* influence (its obviously difficult to show how much influence an individual had) but merely said his opinions were inexcusable *especially b/c he wasnt subject to the geopolitical constraints leading politicians, who i would have more sympathy for*

                  no idea how we got from there to me holding a candle for buckley
                  but who cares really

                • Hogan

                  my original response, which didnt argue buckley had *no* influence

                  And went on to say that if you think he did have influence, you’re calling him a master puppeteer. You’re pounding other people’s arguments into much and then wondering where all this mush came from.

            • IM

              Don’t lie. So Buckley didn’t have any influence at all? That is just nuts

            • Random

              Did you just say that William F. Buckley wasn’t representative of movement conservativism?

              I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how someone says that with a straight face.

              • sibusisodan

                If you take away the influence of Buckley, what’s left of movement conservatism? The John Birch Society??

                • The JBS, of course, called Mandela a “communist terrorist thug”.

                  In 2009.

                • sibusisodan

                  That’s brilliant. If you had to design a Dadaist Fith Column to bring scorn and derision on their political bedfellows, you couldn’t do any better than that.

        • JMP

          And who the fuck is Hellman? Really, we’re talking about mainstream conservatives support of apartheid, including the president of the United States, and you’re countering with – well who?

          • wjts

            Hellman was nominated for an Oscar for her adaptation of her play The Little Foxes. By contrast, Reagan was never nominated for an Academy Award. QED.

          • And her mayonaise is out of this world.

            • N__B

              You’re dead to me.

              • Oh, come come, I’m no zombie.

    • Anonymous

      Otto baby, please name one elected politician in the United States that held up the USSR or PRC as a model at any time after 1950. One.

      Next lie: right wing murderers were frequently held up as models by national Republicans, UK politicians and their nationally syndicated supporters. Remember how the Contras were just like our Founding Fathers? Remember the support for Pinochet (surely you remember one or two meetings between Pinochet and Thatcher or Reagan, or the worship of the Chicago Boys’ miracle)? Chiang Kai-Shek? The various South Korean murderers? Remember Reagan’s love for Efran Rios-Montt?

      Your lies are particularly despicable this morning. come up with some new ones.

      • Tom Servo

        To paraphrase IOZ, Pohl is a demigod of misunderstanding. It’s breathtaking.

      • DrDick

        Not to mention all of the other rightwing dictatorships in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    • wjts

      That said, I think Buckley was right in noting that the right in the did not hold up the regimes in South Africa and Chile as models for the US and the rest of the world the way the hard left did the USSR, China, and Cuba.

      Buckley on Jim Crow, 1957:

      The central question that emerges-and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal-is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not pre-dominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is by no means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes’, and intends to assert its own.

      Buckley on Mozambique and South Africa, 1962:

      When he returned from Mozambique in 1962, Buckley wrote a column describing the backwardness of the African population over which Portugal ruled, “The more serene element in Africa tends to believe that rampant African nationalism is self-discrediting, and that therefore the time is bound to come when America, and the West … will depart from our dogmatic anti-Colonialism and realize what is the nature of the beast.”

      In the fall of 1962, during a visit to South Africa, arranged by the Information Ministry, Buckley wrote that South African apartheid “has evolved into a serious program designed to cope with a melodramatic dilemma on whose solution hangs, quite literally, the question of life or death for the white man in South Africa.”

      All of these things are just like the others, none of these things doesn’t belong…

      • sibusisodan

        on whose solution hangs, quite literally, the question of life or death for the white man in South Africa.

        Thanks for those quotes. I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor after reading this part. Yes, it is the white man who was facing the life or death question, totally.

        I’m assuming Buckley lived to a ripe old age and gave up the ghost in bed surrounded by family and loved ones? Coz that would figure.

        • Random

          Not entirely. Just like Atwater, by the end of his life he regretted conservativism and endorsed Obama for the presidency.

          • wjts

            His son endorsed Obama. I don’t believe William F. Buckley ever renounced conservatism in any meaningful way.

            • Yeah,I was wondering about this imagined death bed conversion.

            • I read (or re-read because I read it at the time) the Christopher Buckley piece. Boy, that really takes you back! But he alludes delicately to something which has been avoided here which is that Buckley pere was of course from the elite, fur coat and diamonds, Republican/conservative party which was quite shocked and disgusted by the rise of the uneducated “kooks” that Buckley (fils) refers to in his piece. That doesn’t mean he disagreed with their goals for the country and the party, just that he probably didn’t like how very vulgar and loud they were about it, or the way they insisted at imagining they could sit down at the table with the grownups.

            • Warren Terra

              As I recall, his son was intrigued by Obama, but his endorsement was mostly a reaction against everything the rise of Sarah Palin represented.

          • Buckley died in early 2008. In his last years, he did find himself somewhat at odds with the contemporary conservative establishment. He thought Bush was a fuckup and Iraq was a disaster. His position was definitely that conservatives had failed Conservatism, though. The only meaningful policy shift I’m aware of is that he supported marijuana legalization.

            He certainly didn’t become an apostate to even the extent Goldwater did.

            • The drug legalization was not a shift. He always at or least from the early 1980s supported drug legalization. The National Review ran editorials on it back during the Reagan administration.

            • Random

              Pardon me, I did just accidentally conflate the junior with the senior.

              In my defense, tequila.

              • Hogan

                That’s a pretty good defense.

      • IM

        Of course these quotes also show that anti-communism is just a fig-leaf.

        • wjts

          For Buckley, it wasn’t so much a fig leaf as a two-for-one deal: anti-communism and white supremacy in the same ally. For others, it may well have been a sort of realpolitik calculation.

        • DocAmazing

          Anti-communism as a movement has a lot to answer for.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Anti-Communist_League

          The Wiki page is nicely cleaned up, and makes little mention of the activities of WACL in the 1970s and 1980s as the premier clearinghouse of death-squad coordination between El Salvador, Turkey, Honduras, pre-Sandinista Nicaragua, and so on.

          • Communism in its Stalinist and Maoist variants has as much to answer for as Naziism. There was plenty of state terror in the 1980s in Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Ethiopia and that was a big step down from Cambodia in the 1970s, China in the 1950s and 1960s and the USSR in the 1930s and 1940s. So yes lots of bad stuff happened in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Argentina under right wing governments. I have never denied that. But, lots more bad stuff also happened in the USSR, China, and their allies and that seems to be totally lost here.

            http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2005/12/human-cost-of-communism-part-iv.html

            http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2005/12/human-cost-of-communism-part-iii.html

            • wjts

              But, lots more bad stuff also happened in the USSR, China, and their allies and that seems to be totally lost here.

              It’s true. In my time here, I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of posts (and posted more than a few comments myself) enthusiastically endorsing the Great Leap Forward, the Khmer Rouge, and the liquidation of the Kulaks.

            • The thing that you are not getting is that we are not responsible for the sins of states we were not citizens of–we are responsible for the sins of the US if that is our home state. And the sins of the US were committed against communist and pro to-communist states in the name of capitalist and fascist freedom for the states which allied with us in our war with communism/for shit all around the world. Communism was bad. I’m happy to stipulate that. But none of my tax dollars paid for those murders, whereas my tax money absolutely paid for the hell hole that was latin and central america, for vietnam, and ultimately for pol pot as well.

              • You have oversimplified here. But, the US never provided any foreign aid to South Africa and yet there is plenty of condemnation of the apartheid regime. On the other hand lots of progressives and liberals have supported Israel including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Barrack Obama with billions of dollars. The same policy advocated by Gingrich and Romney. So it is not what the US support or not that is the problem for progressives. It is that they like human rights violations in some places and not others. But, mostly in places like Burkina, Faso, Togo, and the Central African Republic most them just don’t care at all.

                • Uh–I have always criticized our support for Israel precisely because it is OUR SUPPORT. And of course we did support South Africa-thats what divestment was all about.

                • DocAmazing

                  Actually, I think you’ll find that the people attempting to stop the trade in conflict diamonds and slave-labor-supplied coltan are not of the political Right, J. Otto. I think you’ll find that most of the people acting in solidarity with the Palestinians are not of the political Right, and that virtually all of the political Right supports the Israeli government (with the possible exception of the Stormfront crowd).

                  I think that you’ll also find that the US supplied a great deal of intelligence to the South African regime, and the foreign aid that the US supplied to Israel occasionally found its way to apartheid South Africa. Certainly South African intelligence was allowed to operate largely unmolested in the US (notably here in San Francisco–vide the Tom Gerard case).

                  You don’t like the Left. You’ve made that clear. Don’t fall into the error of seeing virtue in the Right, however. It isn’t there.

                • IM

                  You are really weaseling. Do you define the left in the United States as a bunch of Stalinist or do you define the left in the United States by the right flank of the democrats?

                  You can’t have both.

                  Neither is Schumer a stalinist nor are the stalinists Israel supporters.

                • I’ll confess–my great uncle was Angola’s lawyer. Also: Cubas. Also, come to think of it, Iran’s.

                  But aside from that didn’t it just come out that the CIA told the South Africans when and how to pick up Mandela when he was arrested and charged with treason? Of course we were involved in South Africa and defending apartheid right up to our chinny chin chins.

            • JL

              You seem to be under the impression that we wouldn’t know about atrocities in the USSR or China if you didn’t point them out. For those of us who live in the US, those atrocities, or at least some acknowledgement that there were atrocities, are part of the standard historical narrative, the stuff that gets taught to schoolkids. Nobody thinks that they need to point out common uncontroversial knowledge. That is much less the case with the sketchy stuff that the US did with or tolerated from anti-Communists.

            • IM

              Show me a democratic senator defending Stalin*

              and we can talk.

              Major right-wing politicians in the west defended apartheid and all your threadbare excuses won”t change that.

              * not during the second world war

              • You obviously did not read my first comment on this post when I noted that most supporters of the US in the Cold War defended the RSA and other vile regimes.

                • Random

                  In fairness, your first post was total bullshit.

  • Ronan
    • Barry Freed

      Agreed. And get a load of the outrage from that right-wing commenter.

      • Ronan

        withywindle?
        Yeah I wasnt following who ‘me and mine’ was.
        Segregationists?

        • Barry Freed

          His diction so redolent of William F. Buckley’s. “Disfiguring” indeed.

          • I particularly liked this:

            So of course it sticks in the craw to hear those who would have condemned Mandela (and those who did condemn him through word and deed) now speak of his greatness. But again, the point is not to say, “You were wrong this once, because this man”. It is to say, “You are often wrong, and not just because your judgement of individual greatness is wrong.” You are wrong when you can’t be bothered to hear from people who would have been, who were, your friends when they come to testify about how your drones killed their families, wrong when you spy on anyone going into a mosque in New York City, wrong when you let some mid-rank bureaucrat or think-tank enfant play the role of policy-wonk Iago who whispers to you which friends to murder or neglect. You are wrong when you pretend that from Washington or London you can sort and sift through who ought to be allowed to win desperate struggles for freedom and justice and who should not, and wrong when you arm and forgive and advise the same kind of grifters who take your money and laugh all the way to the torture chambers.

            • Gone2Ground

              That grabbed me as well.

              It’s part of a longer speech I would love to make to every member of the Bush cabinet right to their faces. It ends with something like “How horrible for you to discover at your advanced age that everything you’ve believed has been wrong. In fact, not even wrong.”

            • sibusisodan

              Having recently seen a fantastic production of Othello by the National Theatre, the idea of a ‘policy-wonk Iago’ was particularly resonant.

      • pete

        Sheesh, this “Withywindle” called that a two-minute hate? He called that anger (which, ahem, he announced he was bringing to the table)? Remarkable. Put his head on a pike instanter!

        • Not enough. I demand his head on an halibut!

        • CD

          Withy appointed himself several years ago as Tim B’s house right-winger. His stock in trade is being easily offended.

          While I sometimes find Tim tiring in his extended and scrupulous on-the-other-handedness, this obit is a very effective use of his talents and knowledge! Mandela is interesting because he was effective, and effective because he was able to be on both sides of some major contradictions.

  • Nick Z

    The upshot for conservatives is that, once someone has been sufficiently bowdlerized, then that person is ready to be labeled a conservative (Rick Perlstein showed this to great effect with the case of MLK).

    • Its an extension of “No Heroes on the Left.” If the right were capable of producing actual heroes, if the world loved Pinochet, for instance, they wouldn’t ahve to borrow ours.

    • But why, one wonders. Or perhaps, what are they smoking?

      Conservatives’ attempts to co-opt MLK reach out to African-American by saying he is one of them, do nothing more than really piss off African-Americans.

      However, we do know that Conservatives have to declare that various forms of entertainment espouse conservative values before they can like it, so perhaps the same thing is happening here. It could be they want to say they like MLK, therefore he must be a conservative. (See also Capitalist Jesus.)

      • I don’t believe that any US conservatives, anywhere, think they are (or need to) reach out to AA voters in the US. “He was a great man…” like “compassionate conservativism” is always a dodge aimed at suburban white female voters or people who are embarrassed by having to vote for out and out racists. We may know they need a percentage of AA and Hispanic votes to win, in the future. But they still think they can win by increasing their white vote or suppressing the black and hispanic vote. They appeal to actual, living, breathing, AA voters fitfully by hiring the odd black guy to go on TV and attack Obama for them, by pointing to the lone black confederate, and then by trying to absorb MLK and Rosa Parks or the black person in the headlines today but their real goal is always just to stay on the good side of white voters who might otherwise be uncomfortable voting for a party which is so far behind the times that it might as well be wearing bear skins and using stone tools.

        • They appeal to actual, living, breathing, AA voters fitfully by hiring the odd black guy to go on TV and attack Obama for them, by pointing to the lone black confederate, and then by trying to absorb MLK and Rosa Parks or the black person in the headlines today

          I just said that co-opting people like King was part of their outreach. Are you making a distinction between outreach and appeal? I’m afraid that’s too fine a hair for me to split.

          And there was a campaign specifically aimed at garnering black votes by pointing out that King was registered R. And the damn Party of Lincoln ad is another well-known outreach attempt.

          As for the other two things, putting Steele in charge of the RNC and supporting people like West (and before him Keyes) are too supposed to garner support from Blacks. “Look, we have our own nig uh African-American friend, and he hates Obama! And since you porch mon- fine folks all live in your community, we know you’ll agree with him!”

          Steele was also supposed to be their human shield against accusations of racism.

          The latest increase in voter suppression efforts stems from the fact that they’re coming to realize we can’t be tricked into not voting by more casual efforts (claims that election day is on a Wednesday, etc.) or tricked into voting for Republicans (ads, deceptive sample ballots – looks at Michael Steele).

          Why voter suppression and voter outreach at the same time? Because they really do think we’re that fucking stupid.

      • Hogan

        At some point you peek out from under the bed and notice that MLK is no longer the scariest thing around. Later you notice that he can be a handy cudgel to beat Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton with.

        • I am totally looking forward to the rehabilitation of the Hitler Obama when the next scariest boogeyman appears. Unfortunately Obama is so young and healthy we will probably have to wait for years before the right feels safe enough to crawl out from under its rock and claim him as a republican icon, although they will no doubt be abetted by a lot of leftists who already think he is.

  • Anonymous

    The International Freedom Foundation mentioned in the Think Progress article was set up and financed by South African intelligence officer Craig Williamson. He was also responsible for bombings and assassinations outside of South Africa.

  • GoDeep

    Mother Jones & Daily Beast both had good pieces up describing the constant opposition of American conservatives to Mandela. Here’s a link to Peter Beinart’s piece up at the Daily Beast. I don’t often agree with him, but this was a great piece IMO: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/05/don-t-sanitize-nelson-mandela-he-s-honored-now-but-was-hated-then.html

  • That’s this week. After the funeral they’ll start oozing the Deep Thoughts on whether it might be better if people lived within their own communities, but only for their own good of course, all things being equal. But separate.

    Also: Nelson Mandela – Blood soaked radical or man of peace?

    • “Blood-soaked man of peace” is possible in the conservative bizarro-world that gave us Rambo and Chuck Norris as cultural icons.

      • IM

        Just put up a picture of Sadat and Begin and then you have your

        “Blood-soaked man of peace”

        • I guess I don’t think of them as “men of peace” despite their parts in a historic peace treaty.

  • I’d like to add that the US of course has had and continues to have apartheid, in the form of some of the Native American Reservations, and Gulags in the form of our extensive prison-labor system.

    • DocAmazing

      Thank you for that. The continued oppression of Native Americans gets glossed over constantly in this country. Interesting/depressing to visit Hawai’i, where treaties, agreements, and contracts with the indigenous people are also being ignored and broken by newcomers and profiteers.

      • Bantustans work, DocAmazing, on the principle “out of sight/out of mind” so I’m never surprised by how much our current reservation problem is simply invisible to most white Americans, or taken for granted. This came up for me here in MA when there was all the fake outcry about how Elizabeth Warren was a fake Indian. When the Globe actually did a big story about the history of the Native American population in Oklahoma and how oppressed and omnipresent it was I found that a huge number of people I talked to simply had no idea. They really had kind of assumed that the Indians had just kind if dissapeared into history, not into specific places or into marriage with whites. Maybe it was partially because we in MA live with the imaginary indians of the puritan era, while in reality living on the land we expropriated when we killed most of them. So we think its the same everywhere. But they drew an absolute line, which doesn’t exist in reality, between “that which is Indian” and “those who are white” and since they had assigned Oklahoma to “place where wholesome musicals happen/heartland” and “Elizabeth Warren” to “white” there simply couldn’t be any overlap between the state and the person and its large Native American population and specific history.

        • Sorry, didn’t mean to sound like you don’t know all that Doc. Just musing and avoiding doing any work.

          • DocAmazing

            An old roommate of mine is Mashpee Wampanoag, so hearing about the Indians of Massachusetts is like old times.

        • JL

          Yeah, I think one of the big issues in that in MA your average person doesn’t know any Native Americans, since they aren’t a large chunk of the population here. And if they do run across them they often don’t realize it, because lack of contact with Native Americans has made them think that Native Americans look like what they look like in Hollywood movies, when many of them are, for instance, part white, or part black, and could maybe pass for white or black. If they do know any Native Americans, well, there’s not a lot of reservation land in MA, so the people they know probably don’t live on reservations.

          • I tried teaching Anthropology and Native American Law briefly, as a subset of what else I was doing, to some Yale college kids about 20 years ago. I was fascinated to discover that their chief image/idea of Native Americans was either vanished and mere history or “owns casinos = rich.” The entirety of their personal experience, if they had any, was with hearing or reading about the various lawsuits some tribes were fighting to open casinos. Far from being familiar with the reservations (which to them were very far away and that equalled distant in time as well as distant in relevance) they simply had airbrushed them out of their historical mattering map. What was left was a kaleidescope of fragmentary impressions that produced hostility to the creation of another priviliged class of affirmative action indians. I should say that the kids who were the most like this were the most working class kids in my class–kids who experienced themselves primarily as picked on by local cops for drinking and driving and thought that was the worst the state could do to you and something that happened only to teenagers.

            • Tristan

              It’s a geographic thing, too. I grew up in Calgary (which pretty much runs right up against a few reservations)and went to university in Toronto, and one thing that struck me is how racism against natives exists in both cities, but is expressed differently. You’re a lot more likely to hear natives blamed for their problems in Calgary, but that seems to be in large part because people in Toronto weren’t actually aware those problems exist. I’m hard pressed to say which is actually better.

              • I knew I guy who worked on the MicMac. We used to call him “the micmacman” but he was such a dope he really completely failed to grasp the politics of the current issues and I think he kind of missed the violence until it happened right in front of him.

        • DrDick

          They are also directly modeled on Indian reservations. The National Party sent observers here and to Canada to study the system.

        • DrDick

          My son’s Cherokee grandparents were both native speakers of their language and there are currently about 13,000 native speakers in Oklahoma.

          • Western Dave

            You know, there was a time when ending reservations was official US policy, but fortunately, the people who actually live on reservations got that policy reversed.

            See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_termination_policy

            Allotment

            • DrDick

              I teach that in some of my classes (Native America is my geographic specialization). All of the reservations in Oklahoma were abolished at statehood.

  • Random

    So the comments for this post started out with someone saying this:

    I don’t have any evidence that this is true always and everywhere, but I’m pretty convinced that in the current USA, being a conservative requires negating reality in some sort of way.

    Then the very next post was from Otto.

    LULZ.

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