Hatred, i.e. loathing, along with its companion, fear — you cannot hate without fear — is the strongest emotion humans have. Evolution has made it the emotion that most often precipitates an immediate, thoughtless, violent reaction.
Hate/fear is the emotion that moves us and saves us when a predator attacks.
Donald Trump repeatedly taps into white people’s hate/fear of non-white, non-Christian, non-America-born people with his support for white supremacists, his talk of Mexican “rapists,” Muslim terrorists, Christmas elimination, and most recently, Critical Race Theory (CRT).
He has convinced a large segment of the white Christian population that despite having most of the power, most of the money, and most of the votes, they are under dire threat from minorities.
Trump is, in every sense of the phrase, a hate monger. Bigotry and racism are the children of hate/fear.
Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities.
His statements have been reflected in his behavior—from public acts (placing ads calling for the execution of five young black and Latino men accused of rape, who were later shown to be innocent) to private preferences (“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,”) per a former employee of Trump’s Castle.
Trump emerged as a political force owing to his full-throated embrace of “birtherism,” the false charge that the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States.
His presidential campaign was fueled by nativist sentiment directed at nonwhite immigrants, and he proposed barring Muslims from entering the country.
Bigotry and racism are common in America and in every other nation. They are human failings. But we never should feel acceptance for these twin horrors. We should oppose them wherever and whenever we can, else they devour us.
Today, they debilitate our nation. They weaken us. They remove potential producers and consumers from the economy.
Chest thumping and flag-waving do not make America great. The Trump followers who attempted a coup in Washington waved dozens of American flags. They were traitors to America.
Greatness comes from how we treat the least powerful among us.
Ask any thinking person, and they will tell you they oppose bigotry and racism. Even Donald Trump claims that. But they merely deny the obvious. One would have to be totally uninformed not to know that blacks and Latinos in America — and to a lesser extent, other minorities — receive unfavorable treatment by the law.
Those who argue against that truth are insincere. For them, no amount of fact will undo their prejudices.
Children are not born bigoted. They must learn it.
They must learn it from their parents and extended family, and they must learn it from their friends. “Learn” is the operative word.
The only cure for learning is re-learning. To cure bigotry, children must be taught the evils of bigotry. They must be shown the meaning and the implications of bigotry.
Where can this learning take place? Clearly, not in their homes, because that either is where they learned bigotry in the first place, or for whatever reason, their homes have failed to provide anti-bigotry learning.
Now, we have the Republican party, the party of white supremacists, and Trumpism, claiming the teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) is racist. Their hypocrisy is not to be surpassed.
CRT is not an accusation as the Trumpers claim. CRT is a revelation of reality. It is a reality that bigots fear.
Critical race theory is a study in academia based on the concepts of systemic and institutional racism. Systemic racism refers to how the government has discriminated against Black, Indigenous and other people of color through unjust policies concerning housing, employment, criminal justice, education and more.
From the conception of slavery in America, to the Jim Crow laws that segregated Black people, to the disproportionate criminalization and brutality against Black Americans, racism and white supremacy have persevered in the U.S. through law.
Even if some discriminatory laws or policies are no longer in effect, they can still impact families for generations.
“From who lives where to the disproportionate consequences of COVID,” Crenshaw said, “these are all current ways in which racial disparities are produced.”
Only a bigot or a fool could deny that the law in America too often has supported racism.
Slavery once was legal. Blacks were not counted as full, legal humans for voting purposes. “Separate but equal” was enshrined in the law. Racial gerrymandering has grown nationally, especially in the south. Today, the Republicans are doing everything they can to reduce black voting. Police brutality against blacks is commonplace. Drug laws emphasize drugs most often used by blacks.
Can any honest, thinking person deny it? Yet the white population is being told that educating our children about the true history of these laws constitutes a threat to white America.
CRT constitutes a threat only to ignorance and systemic bigotry.
By fomenting hatred and fear, Trump has gained millions of votes among the ignorant and the frightened. The GOP is following his lead.
From the 11/6/21 Chicago Tribune:
The GOP is supercharging a message over race and education that helped catapult Republican Glenn Youngkin to a win in Virginia’s governor’s race Tuesday. (By Thomas Beaumont, Aaron Morrison and Will Weissert Associated Press)
Republicans plan to forcefully oppose race and diversity curricula — tapping into a surge of parental frustration about public schools — as a core piece of their strategy in the 2022 midterm elections, a coordinated effort to supercharge a message that mobilized right-leaning voters in Virginia this week and which Democrats dismiss as race-baiting.
Coming out of Tuesday’s elections, in which Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s office after aligning with conservative parent groups, the GOP signaled that it saw the fight over teaching about racism as a political winner. Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the conservative House Study Committee, issued a memo suggesting “Republicans can and must become the party of parents.”
“Party of parents” is a euphemism for “First scare ’em then pretend to protect ’em.”
Those “parent groups” who voted Republican are the same parent groups who taught their kids to be bigots. The home and the neighborhood are the primary places where bigotry is learned.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced support for a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” opposing the teaching of “critical race theory,” an academic framework about systemic racism that has become a catch-all phrase for teaching about race in U.S. history.
“Parents are angry at what they view as inappropriate social engineering in schools and an unresponsive bureaucracy,” said Phil Cox, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association.
Democrats were wrestling with how to counter that message. Some dismissed it, saying it won’t have much appeal beyond the GOP’s most conservative base.
They pointed to Republicans’ use of the “defund the police” slogan to hammer Democrats and try to alarm white, suburban voters after the demonstrations against police brutality and racism that began in Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd.
The Democrats and Republicans have widely different agendas. The Democrats speak of improving healthcare, expanding Social Security, defending voting rights, and lifting people from poverty.
The GOP Fascist Party Of No Ideas preaches “change nothing,” fear everything, anti-vaxing, cut taxes on the rich, and hatred of immigrants and non-Christians.
This is the fascist party that denies global warming, refuses to take action against air and water pollution, tries to eliminate health care and other benefits for the poor, fights against plans for clean, renewable energy, but instead aids the use of coal, and tries to hinder electricity-producing “windmills.”
This is the fascist party that ignores species extinction in favor of immediate business profits, and fights against a minimum wage, and paid family and medical leave.
We are caught in a battle between compassion and fear, and sadly, but predictably, fear now is winning elections. The electorate has changed from “us” to “me only,” and from planning for the future, to “now-only.”
Evolution has not rewarded compassion with the same urgency as hatred and fear. We don’t have a powerful, knee-jerk, instant reaction to morality as we do to terror.
Decency simply is not as strong a survival motivator as loathing. And the immediate present always is more powerful than the future of the human
Perhaps, part of the problem may be that whites understand the pain the law has inflicted on blacks, and now fear that the blacks will retaliate. Who better to understand the effects of hatred than fearful haters?
My own fear is that as the white voters lose population dominance, white fear will grow, and increasingly, the laws will be twisted to countenance racism.
Our right-wing Supreme Court, together with right-wing lower courts and a right-wing Congress, will need only a right-wing President to make the transformation complete.
America will indeed become a bigoted racist nation, not just ideologically, but legally. The Statue of Liberty will be a cruel joke.
And we will have no way to return.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
- Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
- Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
10 thoughts on “Fear and loathing, and denial in America.”
I share your concern. Everything either gets better or worse. Clearly since the 1940’s it’s gotten worse. Eisenhower was the semi-calm (pre-TV Korea) before the Vietnam storm hit the fan.
You ever have a post on here about doing away with the public education zip code lottery? https://www.statista.com/statistics/249133/us-state-and-local-property-tax-revenue/ Google yields a figure that in 2016–17 some $269 billion or 82 percent of local revenues for public school districts were derived from local property taxes. Really need to just federalize much of that spending to some extent so the whole country can have a fair shot at reaching its potential… not just certain parts with high property values. $800 per capita at 330 million people is $264 billion for example.
I agree that ALL education should be federally funded. See the later part of: https://mythfighter.com/2017/02/09/ten-steps-to-prosperity-step-4-free-education-for-everyone/
I miss the days when CRT meant just old fashion monitors.
Or Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.
CRT stock: Cross Timbers Royalty Trust
Charitable Remainder Trusts
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MOGA Make Obscurantism Great Again [A state of opposition to human progress or enlightenment] is what they’re all about isn’t it?
For coal barons in Kentuckistan don’t want anyone thinking about using expansive closed loop thermosiphons to ‘mine’ heat from a few thousand meters down in the crust. A thermosiphon is a method of passive heat exchange based on natural convection which circulates liquid without the necessity of a mechanical pump.
Yes, Iceland is a leader in this.
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Good post, Rodger. I always find your non-economics posts to be quite thought provoking.
You are absolutely correct about bigotry being learned. My parents, fortunately, taught me to reject bigotry by words and deeds as they were very involved in desegregating the Mobile public schools. My personal experience in elementary school strengthened those teachings. I was bullied for most of those 6 years as the only Jewish kid and with a last name that’s easy to distort for a six year-old with poor enunciation.
You write near the end of the post “Perhaps, part of the problem may be that whites understand the pain the law has inflicted on blacks, and now fear that the blacks will retaliate.” There is some empirical evidence for this from studies done about white folks’ attitudes towards blacks. There is a concept of the “angry black man” who goes around looking for opportunities to take out his historic anger on white folks he happens to encounter. It’s one of the reasons that studies have shown that white folks walking down the street are more fearful of a black man passing them than a white man.
Unfortunately, fear is not amenable to facts. Fear is evolutionarily important for avoiding predators and other dangers, it’s source is in our lizard brain. There is no easy solution to the fear and bigotry. The only thing I can think of is to get people of different races or ethnicities to sit down and get to know each other. They will quickly find they have more in common than their differences and ultimately we can unite all these folks in the working class to work against the wealthy oligarchs.
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Sadly, that only works for the people who actually know each other. That is, if we know a few black people, we may like them, but that will not keep us from fearing/hating blacks in general.
The real solution is to narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the poor. We tend to have more tolerance for our economic peers than for people on a different level.
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While I agree that narrowing the Gap will help significantly, that’s not going to be enough. There isn’t a big Gap between the white and black or brown working class. They are pretty much in the same boat when it comes to socio-economic status.
The Republicans have been pushing the division between the white and black working class ever since Nixon and Goldwater. The Democrats have made identity politics the center of their appeal to voters, to the extent they appeal to them at all these days.
I don’t have a good solution other than promoting the labor movement through union organizing and strike actions where needed. Fortunately, there seems to be a great awakening among the rank and file of unions in the US lately. There have been more strikes over the past two years than for several decades. This, in spite of the sellout by labor union executives to the big employers. They moved to the top of the union hierarchy, got paid high salaries, and adopted the attitudes of their peers on the high side of the Gap. I find this behavior disgusting.
I believe that successful labor actions will help close the income Gap somewhat, and also the power Gap. Employers are getting desperate. I just read a few minutes ago that Kaiser Permanente is facing a strike of 30,000 employees. They are offering $12,500 per week to nurses and $200 per hour to pharmacists to work as scabs, just to avoid giving more than a 1% raise to current employees and to be able to pay 36% lower wages to new hires. Kaiser had net income of $7.4 billion in 2019 and $6.4 billion in 2020. They can afford to pay their workers a lot more than they do. They seem to be willing to pay up to $237 million per week if they are able to replace all 19,000 nurses who plan to strike. But, they refuse to use that money to raise wages for current and new employees. Ugh.
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