Posts Tagged ‘history’

A lot of what perplexes us about conditions of inequality and economic failures can be better understood if we recognized how much of our hunting/gathering life we bring to contemporary society.

For the first 140,000 years that modern humans have existed, we all lived as hunter gatherers. We shared everything we produced with each other, reinforced egalitarian principles, lived in relative harmony, and no authority figure could tell us what to do. We also lived in small groups of about 100-150 people. Our society was small enough then that lazy or selfish people were quickly identified and shamed into behaving or expelled from the group.

Today, about 20,000 or so years removed from hunter/gathering days, almost all of us live in enormous societies with millions of other, mostly unknown, people. This makes it impossible to live in the primitive socialism of hunter and gatherers. The state, as in Cuba, may try to force a “plan” on everyone and to check non-social behavior. But all it does is to suffocate freedom, produce inefficiently, and generally fail to check anti-social behavior. The solution, as most Northern European countries have discovered, is a judicious combination of capitalist markets and state regulation.

Click on this to see video: Cuban economy

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I have always thought that there was a distinct difference in the way that African Americans and Latinos experienced racism in the U.S. Europeans wanted black bodies, both to exploit and to perceive them as sexual and powerful animals. Europeans saw Latinos, in contrast, as people occupying land that they wanted. Latinos had to be pushed off, physically and metaphorically, from the land they cherished. That difference produces different kinds of interactions for each group. Whites interaction with blacks is both more intimate and more deadly. You cannot possess another’s body without doing serious damage to them. Whites interact with Latinos mostly by not seeing them, by ignoring them, by wanted to wall them off (a la Trump), and by hoping that they just disappear, even when they rebel and become violent (as this article below suggests).

https://www.citylab.com/politics/2017/04/the-forgotten-history-of-latino-riots/522570/?utm_source=twb

As the author claims:

One common element in these disturbances was a perception that problems in the Latino community were being overshadowed by problems in black neighborhoods, or by other Latinos. In the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami in December 1990, hundreds of young Puerto Rican residents took to the streets after the acquittal of six police officers who beat a drug dealer to death. One resident, Clemente Montalvo, told the New York Times, “We want people to know we exist. Cubans get everything; we get nothing.

Uprising, New Jersey: Rioters in Newark on September 1, 1974, after a Puerto Rican festival at Branch Brook Park. The 1970s saw the greatest number of Latino civil disturbances, according to Fountain, Jr.’s research. (AP Photo/DL)

This was the Latino story in Puerto Rico, the Southwest, Central American countries like Panama and Honduras, and Latin American countries like Bolivia. Everywhere, Latinos were an inconvenient presence. Difficult to work and live with. But needing to be removed if American was going to achieve it’s Manifest Destiny.

There is a lot of misinformation out there. I actually teach this stuff and know what the facts are. You can google my points below:
1. The flow of undocumented workers has been from and not to the U.S. since 2005. Thus, building or making the border more ‘secure,’ something that is impossible anyway, would actually keep the undocumented from leaving the U.S.
2. Obama has deported more undocumented than any other president. That is why Latinos call him the “Deporter in Chief”
3. Yes undocumented get some health benefits. But this happens because of actions at the local level rather than by federal policy. See the article below.
4. Why do cities and counties provide such services? First, because it is cheaper to do preventive care than pay for undocumented using hospital emergency rooms. Second, because the undocumented provide essential cheap labor for many local industries, from restaurants to crop harvesting to house cleaning to construction. Local economies need their labor. Trump has used undocumented Polish labor at some of his construction projects. And documented labor will not do those jobs at those wages. Third, undocumented labor contribute enormous amounts of tax revenue, often using other people’s Social Security numbers, but do not collect any unemployment, housing, disability, public housing, or retirement benefits. In fact, the revenue they contribute to social security has kept that program afloat financially and makes possible the retirement of documented Americans. This is a fact. Finally, the U.S. Offers very few immigration opportunities to Latin American countries as opposed to European countries. Thus, the economic demand for cheap labor, the destruction of economies in Latin America by American companies investing there, produce pressures which result in people having to come here without papers. It is a complex process where the U.S. is just as responsible for what is happening as the people sneaking in. http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/illegal-immigrants-get-public-health-care-despite-federal-policy/ar-BBqT8Xo?ocid=fbmsnmoney

All of the opponents to the Iran deal are confused and delusional.

Is Iran a dangerous state and not to be trusted? Yes. But they are trustworthy on some things. They are, in fact, our allies in the fight against ISIS. Without them, we could not keep ISIS in check.

iran20a  Is it possible that Iran will use some of the funds released by the agreement to fund terrorism? Yes. But no one knows how much and it is already funding terrorism now. And our allies, the Saudis, also fund terrorism. 9/11 being the most glaring example. We do know that this agreement is something that will support the rising population of young Iranians who are looking towards the west for inspiration. This group can serve as a bulwark against the Iranian right wing and the Ayatollah.

Is the inspection process something that provides Iran with some ability to hide what they are doing? Possibly. But right now we have no inspection process and they can do whatever they want. With this agreement we have some way of monitoring what they are doing.

Will our not signing tDiplomacy-NIAC-infographiche agreement stop the deal? Nope. Other nations have signed on and will no longer punish the Iranians. So, Iran will be able to do whatever the opponents say they will do even if we do not sign. Is there a possible better deal out there that we can get if we persist? Possible, but not likely. This deal took years to make and faced opposition in our country and Iran. This is the best possible deal we can make at this moment.

How do we get Iran not to build nuclear weapons?  If you know anything about selling, we have already won by getting them to sign the deal. What we all want is for Iran to join the fraternity of nations who abide by international law and decency (something the U.S. has not always done, btw). By getting them to say YES to this deal, this deal has created a situation where they will likely say yes to those larger goals. That is what salesmanship is all about.

There are good reasons why it is racist to focus on bad parenting in black communities as an explanation for their plight. Just as it is absurd to dismiss all charges made by minority people and leaders that racism may be at work in particular incidents. These knee-jerk rejections have little logical or historical support. Poverty is what causes family stress and disintegration. All the data shows, for instance, that marriage rates increase as income and education get higher. That is true in all communities. Divorce is increasing and marriage rates are dropping in the fading white middle class too. Blacks are just a lot poorer than whites… thus, they experience more marriage breakdowns. So, an explanation that claims that it is black family disintegration that explains their economic and social condition is misleading and destructive. It is the other way around.

And I find it funny that conservatives often accuse President Obama or Al Sharpton of stoking “racial hatred” any time they suggest that racism and police brutality are an endemic problem in minority communities. The conservative thinking seems to be that just by uttering some magical words, Black leaders can make “racial hatred” appear out of nowhere!! And yet, the same people adamantly reject the idea that racism from whites towards blacks and Latinos exists at all despite all the CONCRETE evidence SHOWING that they lack proper representation in media, job opportunities, housing, politics, business, education, etc. Thus, real evidence of a racial division counts for a lot less and has much less power than the power of magical words like “police brutality” and “racism” uttered by elected and other Black leaders. Amazing. We now live in a world of magical realism.

Some conservative websites are recirculating videos of a black man giving a rant on how what happened in Ferguson to Michael Brown, and to black men in general, could have been avoided if black men just took responsibility for their lives. In the video, he says things like:

“Black people it is 2014, hate to break this to you if your life is messed up, it ain’t because of slavery. Your a** was never a slave, you probably ain’t know nobody was a slave, you probably don’t know nobody that knew nobody who was a slave.”

“Civil rights about 50 years ago, we won. It was a fight. We sat, they marched, we won.”

Here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPUcA7yrErg

Here are a few of things commentators posted about the video:

  • if the other black males felt the same way as he does,,,, black people would rise up and become overall more successful in a single generation,,,, or quicker.

  • Like he said time to clean up! let’s start from the White House!

  • These are the cracks in the facade that Black people need to free themselves from the racism and control that white liberals and their approved black overseers have.

    If the Berlin Wall could be torn down and statues of Lenin pulled down, then maybe there is hope for the Black community.

  • This man says it in a way that ” ‘da brothers (& sisters)” will relate to. We whites got it when Bill Cosby said it alright, but this needs to go “stratospheric.”

  • Well said, Sir! It’s nice to hear people speaking from their intelligence instead of their posterior. Why isn’t this on MSM? Never mind, we ALL know why … it doesn’t fit their agenda! It’s a shame too. I know many people, of many races, colors, religions, and ancestry who think just like this man. We are special because we are Americans … act like it!

I think that white people want to see this guy say these things because it makes them feel better. It confirms their opinion that they have no role to play in this tragedy. But they DO! They want to believe that black people are so stupid as to want to stay in their misery when all they have to do is change their mindset. Hahahaha… That is a big joke. In the vast majority of these cases of police killings, the black man was doing nothing more than minding their own business when confronted by police. The police, like white people in general, are afraid of black men, even when there is no evidence to support the fear. The same people who applaud this man’s rant, will also walk across the street or shrink when they see him in an elevator. We all have to admit it! There is white people’s justice and black people’s justice, and the latter is severe, unjust, and deadly. Take a look at this article: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article4149075.html

Until we deal with an unjust justice system, we will continue to see these barbaric police crimes.

Recently, some commentators have mused about whether the U.S. would be better off with a queen or king.  These nostalgic murmurs were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth in England this week.  The Queen and her subjects are celebrating 60 years of rule.  Most of the talk has been about whether “Yanks” are “missing out royally without a queen“.

May 12, 1937.  Queen Elizabeth, second from left, and King George VI, second from right, are seen on the balcony of London’s Buckingham Palace following the coronation of King George VI.

What exactly does a queen or king do for a society besides rule?  In most cases, modern royalty don’t make many decisions.  They leave the day-to-day running of the state to elected government officials.  That is the case in England too.  The prime minister makes domestic and foreign policy.  And yet the Queen is still the head of state.

Her contribution goes beyond having her face and name on the nation’s currency, armed forces, and on the taxes levied and the laws written and passed by Parliament.  These are important symbols of her authority but they do not account for the most important function of royalty.  While many believe that the Queen’s most important role is to serve as a unifying force in England, I think it has to do with gathering power for the state.

While unifying the nation is an important role, most seem to forget  that queens and kings serve as heads of state.  What this means goes beyond holding a title.  A head of state has the awesome power to rightfully take life, liberty, and property.  That power has to come from somewhere.  Why would people willingly give the state that right to rule them?  Modern humans lived the majority of time on this earth (35-40,000 years) without needing a state.  It has only been in the last 5-6,000 years that humans began to accept the idea of Leviathan.  Traditionally, many have argued that royalty’s right to power and rule was granted to queens and kings by God.  The people needed to be ruled and God created royalty to do so.  Later, political theorists, like Locke and Hobbes, made the argument that states were created by a contract with the people in exchange for peace or property protection.  These make for a good stories and each story has been historically persuasive for many.  But these stories are also just not true.

What is true is that it is the people being ruled who give a queen or a king or a president the power to rule.  The state is a Leviathan as Thomas Hobbs once said, an artificial monster with enormous powers over its subjects.  And yet that power comes to the state from the subjects themselves.  We do so not through a contract.  We give the monster life.  Every minute and every single day, people give the state it’s power.  They do so by BELIEVING in this abstract body, by RESPECTING it, by giving it CREDIBILITY, and by OBEYING it.  This is, for the most part, not a conscious process.  In fact, it is better if it is not conscious.  Power flows a lot easier to the queen if subjects don’t have to plan or think about how they give the queen power.  The power to take their life, their liberty, or their property is easier to accept and to give to the queen when subjects do so because of habit, faith, or love.

The British continue to support the institution of the Royal Family because it serves the vital function of siphoning power from the people in a way that does not create waves or jeopardize the continuity of state power.  Unlike our president, who has to try to siphon power form the people while also governing them, the Queen’s job is much simpler.  She can simply draw upon the adoration and love the people have for her.  She never has to reject their pleas for help, impose burdensome new taxes, or pit one group against another.

As long as the people love the Queen, the British state can maintain a stable source of power for the Parliament and the Prime Minister to use in governing.  This is what makes the Queen so important to British politics and to the British people.  She represents a unique institution that solves in a gracious and effective manner the modern problem of how to gather power from the people into the state.  If that siphoning of power does not occur, the state cannot embody the power necessary to permit government to rule.