Every couple of years the totalitarian socialist Left in America (a.k.a., the Democratic Party and all of its appendages) pretends to be indignant about the existence of the Confederate flag somewhere. The lapdog cultural Marxist media fall in line, treating the siting of the flag in the same way they would treat the siting of an Ebola victim in a large crowd. Americans are reminded once again by the New York/New England/Ivy League-educated presstitute class that they should hate Southerners and all things Southern. As Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart recently whined in faux horror, Southerners “waged war against the United States” government! Waaaaaaaaah!
The anti-Confederate flag hysteria is only one small part of the Left’s general strategy, however. It is part of their overriding strategy of diverting the public’s attention away from all the grotesque failures of leftist interventionism, from the welfare state to the government takeover of education to the war on drugs and beyond. The neocons who run the Republican Party are usually complicit in all of this.
The welfare state has decimated the black family and is hard at work destroying the white family as well by eliminating the stigma against a man’s abandoning his wife and children with welfare checks (See Charles Murray, Losing Ground). What does the Confederate flag have to do with this? The welfare state has destroyed the work ethic of millions of Americans. What does the Confederate flag have to do with this? The Fed caused the biggest depression since the Great Depression with its latest boom-and-bust-cycle act. What does the Confederate flag have to do with this?
The rotten inner city government schools have enriched uneducated “teachers” and school bureaucrats but have ruined the lives of untold numbers of black children with fraudulent “education.” What does the Confederate flag have to do with this?
The war on drugs has had a horrific racial effect in that it has caused the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of mostly young black men from the inner cities while creating the reasons for drug-gang violence and all the death that is associated with it. What does the Confederate flag have to do with this?
The minimum wage law has always had a disproportionately harmful effect on black teenage unemployment. What has the Confederate flag have to do with this? High taxes, onerous regulations, and uncontrollable government spending by all levels of government have sucked resources out of the job-creating private sector only to fatten the government bureaucracy, depriving all Americans of job opportunities. What has the Confederate flag have to do with ANY of this? ALL of this was done under the auspices of the U.S. flag.
The ideological lynchpin of the cultural Marxists who dominate so much of American politics, the media and the universities is the argument that there is one and only one reason why there still exists a “black underclass” (mostly) in American cities, namely, “white privilege” and “the legacy of slavery.” To cultural Marxists, nothing else matters, or should even be allowed to be discussed. The welfare/warfare state, the war on drugs, the public schools, etc. cannot possibly have had anything but good effects, they say, because they were all undertaken with the best of intentions. It’s all the fault of “white privilege,” say privileged white politicians, privileged white university administrators, and privileged white media talking heads.
The Confederate flag, they claim, is the banner of white privilege, the sole cause of all the problems of the “underclass”; hence, all the extreme torches-and-pitchforks-type behavior over the flag in recent days. The cultural Marxist Left views it all as an assault on “white privilege,” the source of all evil in the world.
Another defining characteristic of the cultural Marxist Left is its hatred of free speech – by those who disagree with it. Free speech should only be enjoyed by the victims of white (heterosexual male) oppression, they say. Allowing white male oppressors to have free speech simply leads to even more “oppression” of the oppressed (which now includes everyone who is not a white heterosexual male). This is why so many university administrators proudly crack down on academic freedom with campus speech codes, tolerance of riotous disruptions of conservative or libertarian campus lecturers, and even the libeling and slandering of such speakers when they are allowed to speak. It makes them popular among the cultural Marxist faculty in the humanities and social sciences, and therefore makes their jobs and lives more pleasant. It also helps to cement into place the cultural Marxist mantra that “white privilege” is the one and only source of all the world’s problems.
I offer as a personal example of this phenomenon the malicious libeling of Professor Walter Block several years ago by one Brian Linnane, the president of Loyola University Maryland, an ugly event that many readers of LewRockwell.com will recall. At my invitation, Professor Block presented a lecture to the undergraduate Adam Smith Club on the evening of their annual dinner. His topic was the economics of discrimination, a very mainstream topic that is addressed in all principles of economics textbooks (I recommend Walter Williams’ new book on the subject, Race and Economics: How Much Does Discrimination Explain?). Professor Block is known as an iconoclast, but in this instance he presented a very mainstream talk consistent with the ideas of his old graduate school dissertation chairman, the late Gary Becker, author of The Economics of Discrimination, which I believe was Becker’s own dissertation at the University of Chicago way back when.
Professor Block did his usual fabulous job of explaining how racial or sexual discrimination in the workplace is penalized in a free, competitive market by creating profit opportunities for competitors. For example, if an employer pays a white male employee $50,000/year, and anequally-qualified black or female employee $25,000 for the same job for which each employee is capable of producing say, $60,000 in revenue for the employer, the black or female employee is bound to be scooped up by a competitor. The competing business person can offer them say, $35,000 and make $25,000 on the deal ($60,000 in revenue minus $35,000 in salary). Then another competitor may offer $40,000, or $50,000, etc., depending on the intensity of competition. If there is enough competition, the “pay gap” will disappear altogether. This is how free-market competition penalizes racial or sexual discrimination in the workplace and causes it to diminish or disappear. The lecture was met with applause by the students.
But the whole thing was a set-up by the campus cultural Marxists, led by the university president, Brian Linnane. They sent a single black student to the lecture who supposedly complained (not to me, the sponsor of the lecture, but to the gang of cultural Marxist faculty and administrators on campus known to some students as the “social justice crowd”) that Professor Block’s remarks were “insensitive.” That was seven years ago. To this day, no one associated with the Loyola University Maryland administration has ever revealed just what Professor Block said that was “insensitive,” or why their students should be treated like imbecilic little infants whose ears must be protected from ”insensitive” speech such as Gary Becker/University of Chicago-style economics. They even refused to answer the question when a Baltimore Sun reporter asked them about it.
The libeling occurred when Brian Linnane sent an email to all of the university’s students, faculty, and alumni apologizing for the “insensitivity” of Professor Block’s speech, which he did not personally hear, along with a sanctimonious proclamation of how devoted he was to the cause of anti-discrimination. He clearly wanted his readers to think, incorrectly, that Professor Block must have uttered some kind of racist epithet.
The real reason for the malicious libeling of Walter Block by the Loyola University administration was revealed (to me, at least) by a statement that one of the undergraduate students in the room made at the end of Professor Block’s lecture. “But we want to talk about the legacy of slavery,” he sheepishly complained, in good politically-correct fashion. Outside of the economics students in the room, who knew better, the other students like this one were thoroughly brainwashed in the cultural Marxist “white privilege” mantra along with the notion that all other discussions of the possible causes of black/white wage differences, unemployment, or anything else, should be censored by any means possible. They are incapable of even engaging in a question-and-answer session with someone like Professor Block, since that would require the use of logical thought. All they had been taught, for the most part, was how to mouth left-wing political platitudes and slogans.
Thus, the purpose of Brian Linnane’s malicious libeling of Walter Block was to send the rest of the campus the message that such non-cultural Marxist talk would no longer be tolerated on “his” campus, and that anyone who attempted it would be smeared as a racist – or worse. Something like this scenario has been played out at numerous other American universities. It is all part and parcel, along with the Confederate flag hysteria, of the cultural Marxist crusade against “white privilege” in their campaign of denial of the grotesque failures of “liberalism.”
Thomas J. DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; ;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe, How Capitalism Saved America, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government. Reprinted from LewRockwell.com