04 December 2005

Racism and social insurance

A while ago I blogged Digby explaining how American's resistance to government social insurance — like healthcare — is rooted in racism, the fear that those brown people will get “more than their share.”

our commitment to civil rights cannot be separated from our commitment to reasonable taxation in service of a stable society. In our culture they are inextricably bound to one another and we will never achieve one without achieving the other. As I wrote in my earlier post on this topic, racism is America's original sin. Until we politically and socially emasculate it, we will continue to be shackled by a fantasy of individualism and a Hobbesian worldview that can no longer be ameliorated by an endless frontier or global economic dominance.

If you didn't check it out then, I recommend taking a look now.

I'm reminded of it by a post on the same subject from Cervantes, who blogs about health care policy.

Almost everyone in Fishtown claimed to be a conservative, and expressed scathing contempt for liberals. So what were some of their conservative ideas? .... nationalizing the oil companies ... government sponsored health care, a higher minimum wage ... massive investments in public transportation ... cleaning up the air pollution — all kinds of radical right wing ideas.
What's going on? I confess I have left out the most important issue that the good people of Fishtown were worried about. In their own words, it was the niggers. They were all on welfare, and they were taking all the jobs. (That's right, I often got that in consecutive sentences. And by the way, I would estimate that 1/4 of the households in Fishtown consisted of single mothers on welfare, or disability pensioners.)
Racism has divided the working class, and made the white majority mistrust social programs which they have been persuaded somehow favor the other at their expense.

I don't know whether this makes my head or my heart hurt more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Head, heart & stomach........