Name Calling (And Fear Mongering) Not A Good Place To Start

Bill Willingham disposes of Attorney General Eric Holder’s fatuous “nation of cowards” speech with the disdain it deserves:

…According to the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, speaking today at the Justice Department, we’re a nation of cowards because we don’t talk about race enough. I have several responses to that grotesque statement, most of which aren’t printable. But I will say this much: If the past discussions about race in which I’d participated (voluntarily and otherwise) didn’t always – not often, not most of the time, but always – devolve into name calling, where I was denounced as a racist (usually as a starting point for said conversation), then I might today be more willing to continue to have discussions on the subject. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

In my experience, anyone who doesn’t immediately and enthusiastically subscribe to the idea that all American whites are active oppressors against other races is an irredeemable racist. Of course if you do agree you’re still a racist, just one of the self confessed variety.

In the interests of full and fair disclosure, I’m apparently also a misogynist, a homophobe, and a Nazi, this according to folks (some of whom were friends and colleagues) upon finding out that I have problems with feminism, gay marriage, and gun control. There were other accusations I could list, given time, but the truth is such incidents are too common and never important enough to be worth devoting too much of my time and memory.

So here’s my response to our distinguished public servant.

Dear Mr. Holder: serious and thoughtful conversations about race aren’t possible in today’s American culture, where name-calling and hurled epithets are the acme of discourse. Name-calling is a conversation ender. Always. And here’s some more cold water to pour on your notion: Name-calling is the proprietary weapon of the left. There’s no equality of blame, no comparison. We on the right aren’t “just as bad.”

That’s why I don’t play your silly games anymore. I only ever talk about important matters like race and gender politics with those for whom there is still the possibility of serious discourse and reasoned debate. Once again, I suspect I’m not alone in this. Your side has taken itself out of the game, and until such time as you on the left can get your house in order, you aren’t worth a reasonable man’s time or effort.

Here’s a hint though. Calling everyone a coward isn’t a good place to start…

Powerline discusses Barry’s “we have everything to fear” campaign on the economy:

…This is one of the weird aspects of today’s news: rather than trying to reassure businessmen and consumers, the Obama administration seems determined to provoke the maximum possible amount of panic, presumably because this will make it easier to rush sweeping pro-government legislation through Congress. One down-side, perhaps, is that the Dow has declined more than 2,000 points since Obama was elected President. While other factors no doubt predominate, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that some part of that drastic decline is attributable to the near-hysteria emanating from the Executive Branch.

Today the Federal Reserve revised its projections for 2008 downward. The Fed now thinks that GDP will decline this year somewhere between 0.5 and 1.3 percent. That’s not good, of course; the Associated Press notes that it would be the worst calendar-year contraction since 1982, when GDP fell by 1.9 percent–one and a half times the Fed’s worst-case projection for 2009.

The Fed also predicts that the unemployment rate will climb to somewhere between 8.5 and 8.8 percent this year. Again, not good. But the unemployment rate averaged 8.3 percent for the five-year period from 1980-1984. And at that time, it was combined with a devastating inflation that peaked at 13.6 percent in 1980, the last year of the Carter administration.

Yet I don’t recall Ronald Reagan or others in his administration trying to stoke panic when they came to power in 1981. Their attitude was one of quiet confidence, and they did everything possible to restore trust in America’s economy, even as they justified that confidence by reducing inefficient regulations and cutting wealth-destroying taxes. No doubt the success of the Reagan administration was due far more to the sound policies it followed than to any psychological impact of the confidence it inspired. Still, there is something to be said for reassurance.

To some degree, the current panic no doubt stems from the fact that for the last 26 years, the U.S. has encountered little in the way of economic trauma. A generation has grown up with the assumption that the unprecedented growth that took place between 1982 and 2008 was normal. But panic is rarely a good thing; the history of the 19th century doesn’t record “recessions,” but rather “panics.” The Obama administration is reaping short-term political gain, no doubt, by exaggerating our current difficulties. But a year or two down the road, it may regret its role in sowing panic among consumers and investors…

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