I wonder sometimes whether American conservatives are even dimly aware how regularly they are baited, trolled and manipulated into helping keep the progressive coalition together.
With the recent spate of racial violence following the Zimmerman/Martin trial, we’ve seen yet another predictable racial squabble between blacks and conservative whites while progressives sit on the sidelines and egg both sides on. What gets me is that conservatives consistently ignore the fact that it was mainly white liberals who incited the violent incidents that have erupted since the Zimmerman acquittal. The shrieking about lynchings, racists killing children, etc., were all calculated to stir up the maximum amount of animosity between blacks and conservative whites. It turned out to be enough to provoke a few of the dumber and more vicious members of their audience to lash out violently.
You’d think conservatives would get the message and go after the people engaged in this incitement, but no, instead they merely argue with them, as though all they need is to be enlightened, and then they’ll join forces with their co-ethnics. This will never happen. The lefties are not deluded; they know exactly what they are doing when they start waving the bloody shirt. In fact, I’m sure some of them fantasize about those young men in hoodies that terrify them in their own cities going on a rampage against their Tea Party rivals. Because most conservative whites do not live in very diverse or high crime neighborhoods, this isn’t going to happen, and it may well backfire on some individual liberals (as city dwellers, they are more likely to be victims of interracial crimes themselves), but they figure that keeping minorities and conservative whites at each other’s throats will give them some breathing room.
Conservatives should stop taking the bait. As much of a problem as urban crime is, it isn’t generally their problem. A white liberal in Washington or New York is far more likely to be a victim of a violent interracial crime than a Republican in rural Virginia or upstate New York. Arch-progressive Matthew Yglesias was jumped and beat up in DC a couple years back by a gang of young black men. A recent article in Salon, written by a young progressive named Brian Beutler, gives a first-hand account of being shot during a robbery. This kind of thing happens every day in blue cities — not in red territory. But if you think these incidents change people’s minds, you’d be wrong. The progressives hold fast to the party line even after being shot. You might think they are mentally challenged or masochistic, but there’s method to the madness.
White urban liberals meet two important political goals when they create hostility between minorities and conservative whites and downplay the very real racial problems that exist in their own neighborhoods.
1. It takes pressure off of them, and allows them to shift their neighbors’ racial resentment over urban inequality away to some imaginary land of white-robed racists and burning crosses.
2. When white conservatives get tough on crime, urban liberals get all the benefit and none of the blame.
It’s a strategy that has elements of “let’s you and him fight” intertwined with blame shifting and foisting off of responsibility. Conservatives who fall for it are suckers. The minorities who fall for it are suckers, too — raging over people who have no influence over your day-to-day life is not a very productive pursuit.
Conservatives need to learn to identify this little game and stop playing along. Instead of falling into the same tired old arguments that will never end, let the urban whites have a taste of their own medicine. Do they call for “tolerance” and an end to police abuse? OK, call their bluff. Hamstring their police departments and start cutting prison budgets. Also, stop paying attention to petty vice such as prostitution and street dealers. It’s amazing how quickly a neighborhood (and property values) will go to hell when you let the street hookers and small time dealers operate with impunity. For good measure, limit cities’ power to shut down “nuisance” businesses. Can you imagine the look on the face of a SWPL condo owner when a new dance club opens down the street, keeping him up at night with heavy bass beats punctuated by occasional bursts of gunfire and wailing sirens?
The point isn’t that urban whites “deserve it” so much as it is that racial issues are overwhelmingly urban, and mainly an internal problem for Democrats. I know it because I live in a city, and I can see the game from the inside. If my fellow white urban dwellers were being reasonable, decent people about the problems, I’d be inclined to lend a hand, because I prefer to live in peace with my neighbors of all races. But because they’ve chosen instead to agitate people and stir up racial hatred, thereby exposing me and my family to racial hostility merely for political expedience, I’ve lost faith in them, so I’d like to let conservatives know just how weak the urban whites’ hand is in this race game. To prevail, conservatives must only avoid being baited, and call the liberals’ bluff. My hope is that this will result in a rapid volte-face on the part of urban politicians and pundits, and possibly a willingness to deal with their own problems themselves. It’s time for white progressives to stop passing the buck, but they won’t do it until you force their hand.