Race and Obama’s non-achievement

November 7, 2008 – 6:09 pm by John

Compare semi-libertarian Radley Balko’s commentary on President-elect Obama’s achievement:

Tonight, we took a huge step toward putting race behind us. It’s something to be proud of.

to real libertarian Lew Rockwell’s assessment of the perception that Obama (and his voters) achieved something monumental:

The main message concerns race. All the headlines blared that a racial barrier had been broken. The subtext here is impossible to miss: heretofore America has been a hopelessly racist country that put up barriers to the advance of people of color.

But why should politics be the standard for what constitutes a barrier or a barrier broken? The ability of individuals in a group to navigate the murky and treacherous waters of electoral politics has no necessary connection to the status of the group as a whole.

A much better indicator concerning the status of any group—racial, religious, sexual, or otherwise—is commerce, which is the real engine that makes society work. And here we see that there are no such barriers in existence. We need only look at the status of black-owned businesses to see that there are more than one million in the United States, generating revenue of some $89 billion per year, which is more than the GDP of 140 countries around the world, and growing (according to most recent data) at a faster pace than all businesses.

Well, I don’t think no racial barriers exist, but the point is that political success is a poor measure of a man, or his race.

Tragically, Obama does not seem to see that expanding this trend is a pathway forward. For him, the answer is the failed politics of redistribution, a pathway that can only exacerbate racial tension. Far from being a healing force in American life, his success at taking from one group to give to another will only increase conflict.
You can go through the list here: age, ability, education level, class, region—really there is an infinite number of directions you can take this conflict view of society. One of them is race, and this one has been around a very long time and has its roots in America in genuine exploitation as represented by actual physical slavery. And yet under the conflict view, a form of slavery persists in all relations between black and white. They see only exploitation and antagonism while ignoring all contrary evidence. The path to advancement for blacks, in this view, comes only through taking power and wealth from whites, and the surest way to do that is to empower the state.

These are the underlying assumptions behind much of the media celebration of the Obama victory. It stems from the belief that the “tables must turn”—the strong must be made weak and the weak made strong—in order for history to move forward on its path toward some imagined social ideal. Again, evidence of progress that conflicts with this agenda is routinely ignored, which is why you don’t often hear about peaceful, productive, commercial associations among blacks and whites at all levels of society.

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