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Good-Bye America!

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Frank Rich in the New York Times Sunday, among several commentators in the recent past, reflecting on the rise of paranoia among certain sectors of the unregenerate right wing of the Republican and Libertarian parties, notes that the outrageous comments and gunslinging are probably
panic in some precincts about a new era of cultural and demographic change. As the sociologist Daniel Bell put it, "What the right as a whole fears is the erosion of its own social position, the collapse of its power, the increasing incomprehensibility of a world -- now overwhelmingly technical and complex -- that has changed so drastically within a lifetime."
I agree, but with banty-rooster senators like Oklahoma's Coburn "blaming it on the federal government" you have to wonder exactly what logic is being played out so consistently among these people so mobilized by their fear that they would risk jail to demonstrate by brandishing serious weaponry in the presence of the President of the United States.

The essential point is that these people, regardless of race and national origin, see the policies of the federal government, especially with regard to immigration and illegals, as the main cause. They have no idea why their government is permitting people to come into the country, give birth attaining citizenship for their off-springs, wedging their foot in the door for health and educational benefits, changing the character of neighborhoods with ethnic eateries, signage in foreign languages, and in less than a generation electing members of their own "tribe" to public office ... even the Congress. To be sure, the situation is complicated by the fact that government policy is, in this and other situations, organized against itself and so to speak technically "irrational."

Aside from that, the policies are not all designed to achieve the same kind of goals. The arrival of tens of thousands of Vietnamese in the late 'seventies utterly obliterated the white-flight settlements in Westminster, California, for one example among many. Where I used to work is now "Little Saigon." The effect was to germinate the kind of conservative backlash politics that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher so unpleasantly represents. In Long Beach just five miles west in L.A. County, Cambodians took over a declining Anaheim Street and turned it into little Phnom Penh, a thriving, but somewhat tightly ethnic enclave. Long Beach, AKA "Iowa by the Sea," absorbed the immigrants at the expense of blacks and hispanic populations that were tussling over the territory. The effect was basically the same. Someone was routed out of their investment in housing and commercial property to the benefit of someone else. It matters little that the federal government was carrying out a policy of expiation of its war and crimes against these people back in southeast Asia.

But the immigration issue goes further than guilt and half-hearted attempts at national redemption. Everyone knows that there are illegals in the country, massive numbers of them, millions, but we tend to be willfully ignorant of why they are here. Surely, we think, the federal government is complicit in allowing the southern borders to be so porous. Yes, the government is complicit, but the policy is ... and has been for generations ... to allow cheap labor into the United States, especially for agriculture, the sites of which industry cannot be moved abroad to tap the indigenous cheap labor. Cheap labor favors profit and both small companies and rich powerful corporations employ cheap labor ... to render millions of chickens for your Sunday pot, to fix potholes on your city streets, to cut lawns and drain swamps ... virtually any job with brown collar wages.

The galling thing for the paranoia of the right wing is that the causes of illegal immigration are not discussed. How could the Republican Party, bought and sold by corporations, discuss this in public? So, there you are in Smallville or CenterCity wondering why and the reasons are the very capitalistic virtues you have been assiduously trained to respect and to which you pay daily homage! The lack of a forthright explanation leaves the human brain with cascades of hypothesis all of which synapse toward the complicity of the federal government. Frank Rich knows this; he just failed to mention it. He failed to mention it because he carries within himself, like the majority of citizens do, a paranoiameter, a reflexive mental reflex that shrugs off the reiterative truth that the government is ... truly is ... owned and operated by economic, rather than moral or patriotic, interests.

I wrote to my mentor in NYC this morning about the Frank Rich article. I said that I feared that nothing will be done until someone cracks and fires off a volley against a sea of malefactors inhabiting their nightmares. Their nightmares will not abate. Change is the rule nowadays. Whites in America will be a minority before you can say Jack Robinson (for the last time and be understood). It is a global process. The great diaspora of humankind has ended and now we are congealing into a one-world species ... just in time to venture out onto other worlds, it seems. Now you know why the Right was and is so angry about Change and its latest political harbinger, Barack Obama.

JB

 

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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)
 

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