Saturday, April 16, 2011
Magnolia State Reality Check
Just because I wish Jim Crow were a lot closer to dead doesn't make it so...
"Racial attitudes are changing. Day in, day out, there is certainly not the hostility there was years ago," University of Mississippi Professor Marvin King, himself in an interracial marriage, told the New York Times.Taking these results at face value and absent a detailed breakdown of party affiliation in the state, this implies that anywhere from 14% to 23% (assuming Republican affiliation rates of 30% to 50%) of the voting-age population (or, perhaps, likely voters) feel that interracial marriage should be illegal. While it doesn't surprise me that some have this opinion, it disturbs me that so many do. Perhaps growing up in Jackson and attending integrated parochial schools gave me a rosier picture of progress against racism than is actually warranted.
But perhaps King spoke too soon, as did the others quoted in the Times article who hyped Mississippi as a multiracial mecca far removed from its Jim Crow past. That's because results from a Public Policy Polling survey conducted in late March reveal that 46 percent of Mississippi Republicans not only oppose interracial marriage but believe it should be legally banned.
At the first story linked above, Nadra Nittle offers her thoughts on why this is so, as does "ordinary gentleman" Mark Thompson at his blog. The first considers whether fundamentalism (for one thing) might explain this result and the second speculates that older voters account for the high numbers. These sound like plausible (although incomplete) hypotheses to me. The fundamental problem is that racists are not individualists. If they were, they would not condone such laws.
While the state has come a long way in the past half century, these poll results are worth keeping in mind, and show that cultural change is hardly a uniform process. Progress can be rapid and dramatic, but complacency can easily prevent consolidating and extending the gains, or even keeping them for long.
"A businessman whose proposals seek to destroy capitalism? There's nothing to respect about that." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Donald Trump is No Capitalist" at SmartMoney
"It's easy to laugh at Homer Simpson's folly, but America is doing the same thing with Social Security financing, and the end result won't be amusing." -- Paul Hsieh, in "The Homer Simpson Approach to Social Security" at PajamasMedia
"It's up to us, and us alone, to confront the choices before us and make the decisions that seem to be the best. Don't let anyone take this away from you." -- Michael Hurd, in "Do It for Yourself" at DrHurd.com
"[L]et those who criticize ObamaCare for leading America down the road to socialized medicine stop pretending that the preexisting condition scheme is anything but a step down that road." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "The Road to Socialized Medicine Is Paved With Preexisting Conditions -- Part 3" at Forbes
My Two Cents
The Hoenig column is one to spread the word about now. Whether he gets far in the GOP or decides on a Ross Perot-style third-party candidacy, Trump's antics can afford an excellent opportunity to spread the word on what actual advocacy and support for capitalism mean.
I say this while at the same time wondering whether such a run would represent a good way to "vote for Obama without voting for Obama" if the GOP ends up going with a sufficiently atrocious candidate, like Mitt Romney.
Hot and Heavy
Via John Cook's Weekend Miscellany, I encountered this interactive gravity map of the planet this morning. "Hot" colors show where gravity is strongest.
Today: (1) Added link to Amit Ghate article. (2) Removed said link upon seeing that the article, although good, is a year old.