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Tags: fight | racism | throwing out | capitalism

We Must Fight Racism Without Throwing Out Capitalism

We Must Fight Racism Without Throwing Out Capitalism
(Bram Janssens/Dreamstime)

Peter Morici By Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:05 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The hard left among academics, public intellectuals and the media are imposing false narratives about race and capitalism, and CEOs expediently kowtow to protect corporate brands.

Racism and sexism lace the American subconscious and drive subtle decisions that disadvantage minorities, women — and sometimes men. But as Hoover Institute Research fellow Ayaan Hirsi Ali — a Black raised in Africa and the Middle East and who came here via the Netherlands — writes "America is the best place on the planet to be Black, female, gay, trans or what have you."

Floyd wasn't an aberration

George Floyd was no isolated incident and like other societies, America is imperfect.

To meet 21st Century standards of decency and justice, police departments and the economic underpinnings of society must be rethought but false prophets with foolish solutions abound in influential places.

Defunding police is a mockery of reason-it encourages private citizens to take up arms but for the left, it distracts from the fact that many of the worst atrocities are occurring in cities run by liberal Democrats. Those politicians have enjoyed plenty of opportunities to reshape police departments in places like Minneapolis and Chicago.

The pandemic lays bare the failings of contemporary capitalism. Folks that run business —from Fulton and Ford to Edison and Cook — have been disciplined by competition and in the 20th Century by standards of decency, unions and thoughtful government regulation.


Modern moral relativism and globalization tear those restraints and impel wage and regulatory arbitrage. The pandemic casts into stark relief the resulting vulnerability of folks near the bottom — minorities in coastal cities and poorly educated whites in the heartland and many poorly trained university graduates.

Many young people, already burdened with heavy student debt and putting off family formation, have permanently lost positions. The Great Recession provides a guide-it will likely take a decade or more for many to recover.

Conservatives view inequality as the price of progress but the system needs better guardrails if it is to sustain legitimacy.

It is simply not true, as the New York Times 1619 Project would have our school children taught, that America was founded on a racist ideology. And exploitive capitalism, perfected by Southern planters, became the guiding model for Northern factories and offices and burdens us today.

During the Seven Years War and British oppression of colonists' rights, American elites-Southern planters, Northern farmers and businessmen-embraced the idea that the rights of Englishmen are not a grant won from the sovereign and then abridged but rather endowed at birth. Only a government chosen at the consent of the governed is legitimate.

The Declaration of Independence laid bare those principles before mankind.

To obtain unanimous agreement from the 13 colonies, the document ignores slavery. It boots the issue to the next generation, but the text's grand assertions made painfully apparent the contradiction between our founders' principles and practices. It hastened emancipation in the North-New Jersey enacted gradual abolition in 1804.

Southerners such as John Calhoun were critical of Northern capitalism, managed plantations with ruinous inefficiency, and became technologically backward to the North. Invention, and industrialization made the Union's conquest of the Confederacy inevitable.

Modern capitalism has given humanity a bounty of technology and material progress. Through the 1930s, many working-class families sweltered in the summer and froze in the winter in crowded tenements and rural cottages. They had little contact with places far from their birth, unless conscripted by war. All that is less true today.

We need an honest conversation about race. Not ruthless tests of white wokeness and banishments but rather a process that recognizes each group's frailties and genuine facts and rejects false revisionist history.

Among white professionals who often make the rules and hire, racist ideas are hardly socially acceptable nowadays as those were when in the 1950s, but all of us — Black, brown and white — self-justify in our private prejudices.

The conversation must run in both directions.

Breaking down the barriers to opportunity requires people who will walk through opened doors and not lean on a false narrative that all failures and injustices result from racism.

Affirmative action and other efforts to improve business all fail if they are badly run, insincere or cultivate presumptions of victimization and offer crutches to blame all disappointments.

A conversation surely requires something critics in universities and the media do not enjoy — freedom from the cancel culture to dissent.

Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist. He tweets @pmorici1

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We need an honest conversation about race, not white wokeness and cancel culture banishments.
fight, racism, throwing out, capitalism
Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:05 AM
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