I threw up a bit in my mouth this morning when I realized that the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has decided, as a public institution, to join a thinly-veiled radical political movement in its anti-freedom agenda to push for socialism.
What’s that, you say? HCPSS has adopted the Black Lives Matter movement “Week of Action” for this week, and apparently the entire year to come. Seems like a good thought, especially as we enter Black History Month. But, it’s not.
First, let me highlight the fact that there was some serious tomfoolery that went down at the Board of Education for this vote. I do not have the time, or energy, to look into all of it, but it seems that there was a switcheroo of a draft and revised resolution. It appears that Ms. Watts did a bait-and-switch for the vote. It appears that HCPSS has officially endorsed a political movement. Watch the meeting here: https://youtu.be/VbZll33al2g
I’ll leave it to the engaged FaceBook groups to flesh out the details of Ms. Watts’ chicanery: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HoCoNU/permalink/2934411260116245/
There is a big difference between the belief that “black lives matters” and the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and it is important to understand. Perhaps it’s tough for most people to understand, and perhaps that is why we have a political system that offers us two presidential choices: Old Bombastic White Man Who Aggressively Grabs Women vs. Old Senile Mumbling White Man Who Kindly Gropes Women. For the record, I voted for the only female candidate for president.
If you are a human of decent morals, you would agree that black lives do indeed matter just as much as the lives of others. You would also agree that blacks, throughout American history, have been terribly mistreated and marginalized. This could also be said of other races, but probably not to such a sustained degree. For example, Asians, Irish, Italians, and so on have had their moments of cruel treatment, but in a more fleeting (relatively speaking) manner. There were, however, times when businesses only preferred to employ blacks, and the Irish were told not to even apply (“Race and Economics”, Walter E. Williams).
Black Lives Matter (BLM), as a movement, is not so much about calling attention to systemic racism and promoting love and inclusion. The slogan was very ingeniously chosen to evoke feelings of compassion in most people. It’s like saying, “Babies Deserve Love” or “Make American Great Again.” Who doesn’t want babies to be loved and what American doesn’t want America to be great?!! If you don’t support MAGA, then you must want America to be crappy; you must want us to continue with all of these problems! “Again” is especially effective, because it would imply that if you don’t think we were once great, then perhaps you don’t love America. If it had been Joe Biden who chose the slogan of “Make America Great Again,” we would have seen millions of blue MAGA hats instead of red ones.
Back to BLM: see, there is a huge difference between believing in the simple, morally correct phrase “black lives matters” and a movement which very quietly is angling politically to effect whatever change it sees is necessary to compel people to not only agree that black lives matter, but to conform to some new system which prioritizes the achieving of some end state. It’s no different than MAGA. How were we going to make America great again? How are we going to implement mechanisms to reverse centuries of wrong-doing by ancestors?
In the case of MAGA, the trouble was that the phrase conjured up a bunch of unwholesome nostalgia, nightmares, and horror stories. Some thought back to the glorious times when Christianity reigned supreme, when television didn’t have foul language, and when only man and woman were allowed to marry. Some just saw it as anti-progress. A small, but viciously vocal minority may have even fondly remembered the days when the white man was in control. Some may have, incorrectly, believed that Americans had more freedoms under protectionist economic policies (e.g. tariffs). There were those on the left who, very much against Red MAGA, considered these same things but, instead of embracing their return, feared their second coming
So too with BLM. On the left, you have many who think that such a movement will yield joy, love, and harmony (see all that harmony out in Portland and Seattle?). You have some who, ignorantly, attribute racism to free markets, so they hope to implement more government control through BLM. There are others who just see BLM as a “stick it to the man” movement; very much a “We’re Not Going to Take It” thing. Among some on the right, the idea of Blue BLM evokes fears that if Black Lives Matter, then perhaps “white lives no longer matter”, such that they maybe be put on the defensive out of fear. Others sense that such a movement will bring with it trends toward socialism. Many, many people (including prominent black scholars: https://youtu.be/pHGt733yw3g) fear that movements like this lead to censoring of speech. This last is my concern with HCPSS’s abuse of power.
So, what exactly is BLM trying to achieve, if it’s not simply a call for love? On the recommendation of a would-be friend with an epic beard, I read “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi. He is arguably one of the better known figures in the movement. His book does indeed have some good thought nuggets. From a purely social angle, he likely gets more things right than he does wrong. However, Mr. Kendi is terribly ignorant when it comes to matters of economics, and he mistakes a lot of correlation for causation. I do not fault him for this, because the vast majority of people are ignorant of economics. He argues that capitalism is to blame for racism and the black struggle. He further argues that whatever we have today in the United States is capitalism. He uses the term “capitalism” very much how the Soviet Union used the term. The problem is that, just as “socialism” means different things to different people, so too does “capitalism”. Either way, Kendi does not like free markets. Why?
Kendi argues that unless you are pursuing policies or taking actions which actively promote an anti-racist agenda, then you are yourself a racist. As a person, for example, if you are not out protesting as part of the BLM movement, then you are a racist. If you vote for Donald Trump, who isn’t actively promoting affirmative action then you are a racist. If you don’t like Joe Biden, who is not Donald Trump, then you are a racist. If HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Martirano does not adopt the week of 1 – 5 February 2021 as “BLM Week of Action,” then he is a racist (and it might hurt his political ambitions). If the Board of Education members do not vote for the aforementioned resolution, then they’re all racist. If Centennial High School does not flash the BLM slogan across its lighted sign during a period of intense protest and violence, then it will be, in the Circuit Court of Ibram X. Kendi, convicted as racist. This then extends to the government. If the government is not adopting policies to directly address inequity, it is racist.
The problem, in my humble opinion, with this line of thinking is two-fold: On the individual level, it seems to go against free speech, free thought, and freedom of association. This kind of atmosphere discourages innovation and constructive dialogue, because it forces people to conform. The other problem is on an economic level: the only way to achieve what Kendi demands is through extreme socialist policies that will only backfire and do more harm. One could look at some socialist leaning countries and think, “Oh, things look pretty good there!” The problem is that none of those countries have the diversity that we have in the United States. While I detest socialism, I will concede that it can exist without too much trouble in states with relatively homogeneous populations (race, religion, etc). In the giant melting pot that is the United States, socialism is very dangerous, because it requires a high-degree of conformity and the sacrificing of individual identity for the sake of the “greater good.”
As a parent of children in the HCPSS, I’m disgusted by how our children are being thrown into the politics of the day. Instead of focusing on academics, the school system has become a social justice battleground. The timing of this is odd; actually, no, it’s not. The timing of this perfectly lines up with the election of Joe Biden as president. This is a concerted, socialist effort across the country to brain wash the youth. Why isn’t it just enough for the activists to write blogs, put up posters, and protest? Why do they have to seize control of public schools and then abuse their power? The answer: because if you condition the child when she is young enough, she’ll never know any differently.
If you really want to address racism, then you must work to promote individualism. So long as you continue to categorize people by race, gender, etc, you will continue to promote a system in which groups some groups are favored over others. If you want to address the economic hardships of certain minorities, then you need to eliminate the economic programs which promote those hardships: minimum wage, licensure laws, and compulsory public school.