I was reading ThoughtMerchant’s insightful piece on Ron Paul and something occurred to me which I thought I should post here, as well. TM flags Paul as a Libertarian in the tradition of Barry Goldwater. What caught my attention was question of race and rationality.
ThoughtMerchant wrote (Why Blacks Should Think Twice About Supporting Ron Paul):
“Libertarianism assumes that when left to their own devices, people will act rationally and make the best decisions minus government intervention. This is why blacks should think twice about supporting Paul’s candidacy. Libertarians fail to realize that, in America, racism has often been viewed as the most rational of behaviors to exhibit, especially when the government has sat silent and allowed it to happen. The question is, does Paul think the government should allow racism to happen as well.”
The Libertarians are not wrong on this. It may be difficult to imagine, but racism (from a psychological standpoint) is a projection of extreme inadequacy. The virulence of its expression is correlated, I believe (added), to those groups posing the greatest challenge.
I don’t believe I need to go too far down this road (with respect to an historical discussion). The sense of inadequacy expressed by Europeans and the subsequent formation of “white identity” are steeped in a profound rationality.
It is worth noting that the historical record on Africans, Asians and “Indians” looked very different five centuries ago. So too did the relative cultural, economic, political and military strength of “blacks”, “browns”, “reds” and “yellows.” It was, then, not at all like it is today. While I do not find the “white” reaction to these phenomena to be an expression of “human nature,” I find it entirely logical within the confines of the prevailing cultural/psychological values of the time.
The subsequent imposition of doctrinal “racial inferiority” merely served as a subterfuge to mask those pervasive feelings of inadequacy. Nothing has provided much of a balm: not the wealth and power of the world; not physical control over black, brown, red and yellow bodies or legacies or futures – or even control of image-making across the globe. The basic psychological monster remains unfed.
The libertarians probably see this clearer than most. However, like others they have excluded this from their narrative in order to maintain a semblance of humanity.