That Old Time Racial Paranoia


Victor Davis Hanson wants us to know that he has no real views about American politics or public policy, just a lot of racial anxiety and some views about college professors that seem odd for a college professor to hold:

It works like this: The ghetto resident, the denizen of the barrio, the abandoned and divorced waitress with three young children, can all chart their poverty and unhappiness not to accident, fate, bad luck, bad decisions, poor judgment, illegality or drug use, or simple tragedy, but rather exclusively to a system that is rigged to ensure oppression on the basis of race, class, and gender—often insidious and unfathomable except to the sensitive and gifted academic or community organizer.

This, according to Hanson, is the essence of “Obamaism,” a view that can be summed up by the idea that “Michelle Obama could make $300,000 and she will always be more a victim than the Appalachian coal miner who earns $30,000, by virtue of her race and gender.”

Meanwhile, in the real world the Obama administration is pushing for higher taxes on people who earn $300,000 (even if they’re black women!) that will finance more generous social services for low income people. Under health care legislation likely to be signed by Obama soon, a coal miner earning $30,000 a year would get about 30 percent of the tab for his health insurance paid for by high-earners. If he’s supporting a kid, the subsidy level would be higher. Race and gender, of course, will have nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. And I would think that to any normal person, the idea of trying to expand access to health insurance is precisely about using the state to curb the extent to which things like “accident, fate, bad luck” or “simple tragedy” wind up causing preventable suffering. I don’t see anyone out there arguing for health reform because whitey makes people sick.

Hanson’s heavily racialized view of what’s happening in American politics seems about 99.9 percent projection. And yet it’s apparently a popular one on the right.