Racism and the American Right

Exclusive: From the start of the Republic to today’s Republican ranting against Barack Obama, racism has been a central element of the American Right. But this ugly feature of U.S. history has often come concealed behind words praising traditions, liberty and states’ rights, Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

Racism has been a consistent thread weaving through the American Right from the early days when Anti-Federalists battled against the U.S. Constitution to the present when hysterical Tea Partiers denounce the first African-American president. Other factors have come and gone for the Right, but racism has always been there.

Though definitions of Right and Left are never precise, the Left has generally been defined, in the American context, by government actions  mostly the federal government responding to popular movements and representing the collective will of the American people seeking to improve the lot of common citizens and to reduce social injustice.

President Thomas Jefferson in a portrait by Rembrandt Peale.

The Right has been defined by opposition to such government activism. Since the Founding, the Right has decried government interference with the “free market” and intrusion upon “traditions,” like slavery and segregation, as “tyranny” or “socialism.”

This argument goes back to 1787 and opposition to the Constitution’s centralizing of government power in the hands of federal authorities. In Virginia, for instance, the Anti-Federalists feared that a strong federal government eventually would outlaw slavery in the Southern states.

Ironically, this argument was raised by two of the most famous voices for “liberty,” Patrick Henry and George Mason. Those two Virginians spearheaded the Anti-Federalist cause at the state’s ratifying convention in June 1788, urging rejection of the Constitution because, they argued, it would lead to slavery’s demise.

The irony of Henry and Mason scaring fellow Virginians about the Constitution’s threat to slavery is that the two men have gone down in popular U.S. history as great espousers of freedom. Before the Revolution, Henry was quoted as declaring, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Mason is hailed as a leading force behind the Bill of Rights. However, their notion of “liberty” and “rights” was always selective. Henry and Mason worried about protecting the “freedom” of plantation owners to possess other human beings as property.

At Virginia’s Ratification Convention, Henry and Mason raised other arguments against the proposed Constitution, such as concerns that Virginia’s preeminence might not be as great as under the weak Articles of Confederation and that population gains in the North might erode Virginia’s economic welfare.

But the pair’s most potent argument was the danger they foresaw regarding the abolition of slavery. As historians Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg wrote in their 2010 book, Madison and Jefferson, the hot button for Henry and Mason was that “slavery, the source of Virginia’s tremendous wealth, lay politically unprotected.”

The Slavery Card

At the center of this fear was the state’s loss of ultimate control over its militia which could be “federalized” by the President as the nation’s commander in chief under the new Constitution.

“Mason repeated what he had said during the Constitutional Convention: that the new government failed to provide for ‘domestic safety’ if there was no explicit protection for Virginians’ slave property,” Burstein and Isenberg wrote. “Henry called up the by-now-ingrained fear of slave insurrections the direct result, he believed, of Virginia’s loss of authority over its own militia.”

Henry floated conspiracy theories about possible subterfuges that the federal government might employ to deny Virginians and other Southerners the “liberty” to own African-Americans. Describing this fear-mongering, Burstein and Isenberg wrote:

“Congress, if it wished, could draft every slave into the military and liberate them at the end of their service. If troop quotas were determined by population, and Virginia had over 200,000 slaves, Congress might say: ‘Every black man must fight.’ For that matter, a northern-controlled Congress might tax slavery out of existence.

“Mason and Henry both ignored the fact that the Constitution protected slavery on the strength of the three-fifths clause, the fugitive slave clause, and the slave trade clause. Their rationale was that none of this mattered if the North should have its way.”

At Philadelphia in 1787, the drafters of the Constitution had already capitulated to the South’s insistence on its brutal institution of human enslavement. That surrender became the line of defense that James Madison, a principal architect of the new governing structure, cited in his response to Mason and Henry.

Burstein and Isenberg  wrote, “Madison rose to reject their conspiratorial view. He argued that the central government had no power to order emancipation, and that Congress would never ‘alienate the affections five-thirteenths of the Union’ by stripping southerners of their property. ‘Such an idea never entered into any American breast,’ he said indignantly, ‘nor do I believe it ever will.’

“Madison was doing his best to make Henry and Mason sound like fear-mongers. Yet Mason struck a chord in his insistence that northerners could never understand slavery; and Henry roused the crowd with his refusal to trust ‘any man on earth’ with his rights. Virginians were hearing that their sovereignty was in jeopardy.”

Despite the success of Mason and Henry to play on the fears of plantation owners, the broader arguments stressing the advantages of Union carried the day, albeit narrowly. Virginia ultimately approved ratification by 89 to 79. However, the South’s obsession over perceived threats to its institution of slavery remained a central factor in the early decades of the Republic.

Arming Whites

Though today’s Right pretends that the Second Amendment was devised to give individual Americans the right to own and carry any weapon of their choice so they can shoot policemen, soldiers and other government representatives in the cause of anti-government “liberty”  it was primarily a concession to the states and especially to the South’s fears that were expressed at the Virginia convention.

Approved by the First Congress as part of the “Bill of Rights,” the Second Amendment explained its purpose as the need to maintain “the security of a free State,” an echo of Mason’s concerns about “domestic safety,” i.e. a Southern state’s ability to maintain slavery by force and defend against slave uprisings.

As the amendment emerged from various committee rewrites, it stated: “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But that right, of course, did not extend to all people, not to people of color.

The Second Congress put substance to the structure of state militias by passing the Militia Acts, which specifically mandated that “white men” of military age obtain muskets and other supplies for participation in state militias. At the time, the concerns were not entirely over rebellious slaves, but also over rebellious poor whites.

Part of the backdrop of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 had been Shays’ Rebellion in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, an uprising of white farmers led by a former Continental Army officer, Daniel Shays. After ratification of the Constitution, the first significant use of federalized militias was in 1794 to crush an anti-tax revolt in western Pennsylvania led by poor whites known as the Whiskey Rebellion.

That uprising was treated as an act of treason as defined by the U.S. Constitution, although President Washington used his pardon power to spare rebel leaders from execution by hanging. Similar mercy was not shown when Southern states confronted actual or suspected slave revolts. In 1800, Virginia Gov. James Monroe called out the militia to stop an incipient slave uprising known as Gabriel’s Rebellion. Twenty-six alleged conspirators were hanged.

Jeffersonian Influences

Of course, slavery and racism were not the only defining characteristics of the Right during the country’s early years, as economic interests diverged and political rivalries surfaced. James Madison, for instance, had been a key protégé of George Washington and an ally of Alexander Hamilton during the fight for the Constitution.

Madison had even advocated for a greater concentration of power in the federal government, including giving Congress the explicit power to veto state laws. However, after the Constitution was in place, Madison began siding with his Virginian neighbor (and fellow slave-owner) Thomas Jefferson in political opposition to the Federalists.

In the first years of the constitutional Republic, the Federalists, led by President Washington and Treasury Secretary Hamilton, pushed the limits of federal power, particularly with Hamilton’s idea of a national bank which was seen as favoring the financial interests of the North to the detriment of the more agrarian South.

The Jeffersonians, coalescing around Jefferson and Madison, fiercely opposed Hamilton’s national economic planning though the differences often seemed to be driven by personal animosities and regional rivalries as much as by any grand ideological vision regarding government authority. The Jeffersonians, for instance, were sympathetic to the bloody French Revolution, which made a mockery of the rule of law and the restraint of government power.

Nevertheless, history has generally been kind to Jefferson’s enthusiasm for a more agrarian America and his supposed commitment to the common man. But what is left out of this praise for “Jeffersonian democracy” is that Jefferson’s use of the word “farmers” was often a euphemism for his actual political base, the slave-owning plantation aristocrats of the South.

At his core, despite his intellectual brilliance, Jefferson was just another Southern hypocrite. He wrote that “all men are created equal” (in the Declaration of Independence) but he engaged in pseudo-science to portray African-Americans as inferior to whites (as he did in his Notes on the State of Virginia).

His racism rationalized his own economic and personal reliance on slavery. While desperately afraid of slave rebellions, he is alleged to have taken a young slave girl, Sally Hemings, as a mistress.

Jefferson’s hypocrisy also surfaced in his attitudes toward a slave revolt in the French colony of St. Domingue (today’s Haiti), where African slaves took seriously the Jacobins’ cry of “liberty, equality and fraternity.” After their demands for freedom were rebuffed and the brutal French plantation system continued, violent slave uprisings followed.

Hundreds of white plantation owners were slain as the rebels overran the colony. A self-educated slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture emerged as the revolution’s leader, demonstrating skills on the battlefield and in the complexities of politics.

The ‘Black Jacobins’

Despite the atrocities committed by both sides of the conflict, the rebels known as the “Black Jacobins” gained the sympathy of the American Federalists. L’Ouverture negotiated friendly relations with the Federalist administration under President John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton, a native of the Caribbean himself, helped L’Ouverture draft a constitution.

But events in Paris and Washington soon conspired to undo the promise of Haiti’s emancipation from slavery. Despite the Federalist sympathies, many American slave-owners, including Jefferson, looked nervously at the slave rebellion in St. Domingue. Jefferson feared that slave uprisings might spread northward. “If something is not done, and soon done,” Jefferson wrote in 1797, “we shall be the murderers of our own children.”

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the chaos and excesses of the French Revolution led to the ascendance of Napoleon Bonaparte, a brilliant and vain military commander possessed of legendary ambition. As he expanded his power across Europe, Napoleon also dreamed of rebuilding a French empire in the Americas.

In 1801, Jefferson became the third President of the United States and his interests at least temporarily aligned with Napoleon’s. The French dictator wanted to restore French control of St. Domingue and Jefferson wanted to see the slave rebellion crushed. President Jefferson and Secretary of State Madison collaborated with Napoleon through secret diplomatic channels. Napoleon asked Jefferson if the United States would help a French army traveling by sea to St. Domingue. Jefferson replied that “nothing will be easier than to furnish your army and fleet with everything and reduce Toussaint [L’Ouverture] to starvation.”

But Napoleon had a secret second phase of his plan that he didn’t share with Jefferson. Once the French army had subdued L’Ouverture and his rebel force, Napoleon intended to advance to the North American mainland, basing a new French empire in New Orleans and settling the vast territory west of the Mississippi River.

Stopping Napoleon

In 1802, the French expeditionary force achieved initial success against the slave army, driving L’Ouverture’s forces back into the mountains. But, as they retreated, the ex-slaves torched the cities and the plantations, destroying the colony’s once-thriving economic infrastructure. L’Ouverture, hoping to bring the war to an end, accepted Napoleon’s promise of a negotiated settlement that would ban future slavery in the country. As part of the agreement, L’Ouverture turned himself in.

But Napoleon broke his word. Jealous and contemptuous of L’Ouverture, who was regarded by some admirers as a general with skills rivaling Napoleon’s, the French dictator had L’Ouverture shipped in chains back to Europe where he was mistreated and died in prison.

Infuriated by the betrayal, L’Ouverture’s young generals resumed the war with a vengeance. In the months that followed, the French army already decimated by disease was overwhelmed by a fierce enemy fighting in familiar terrain and determined not to be put back into slavery. Napoleon sent a second French army, but it too was destroyed. Though the famed general had conquered much of Europe, he lost 24,000 men, including some of his best troops, in St. Domingue before abandoning his campaign. The death toll among the ex-slaves was much higher, but they had prevailed, albeit over a devastated land.

By 1803, a frustrated Napoleon denied his foothold in the New World agreed to sell New Orleans and the Louisiana territories to Jefferson, a negotiation handled by Madison that ironically required just the sort of expansive interpretation of federal powers that the Jeffersonians ordinarily disdained. However, a greater irony was that the Louisiana Purchase, which opened the heart of the present United States to American settlement and is regarded as possibly Jefferson’s greatest achievement as president, had been made possible despite Jefferson’s misguided and racist collaboration with Napoleon.

“By their long and bitter struggle for independence, St. Domingue’s blacks were instrumental in allowing the United States to more than double the size of its territory,” wrote Stanford University professor John Chester Miller in his book, The Wolf by the Ears: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery. But, Miller observed, “the decisive contribution made by the black freedom fighters went almost unnoticed by the Jeffersonian administration.”

Without L’Ouverture’s leadership, the island nation fell into a downward spiral. In 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the radical slave leader who had replaced L’Ouverture, formally declared the nation’s independence and returned it to its original Indian name, Haiti. A year later, apparently fearing a return of the French, Dessalines ordered the massacre of the remaining French whites on the island. Jefferson reacted to the bloodshed by imposing a stiff economic embargo on Haiti. In 1806, Dessalines himself was brutally assassinated, touching off a cycle of political violence that would haunt Haiti for the next two centuries.

Even in his final years, Jefferson remained obsessed with Haiti and its link to the issue of American slavery. In the 1820s, the former president proposed a scheme for taking away the children born to black slaves in the United States and shipping them to Haiti. In that way, Jefferson posited that both slavery and America’s black population could be phased out. Eventually, in Jefferson’s view, Haiti would be all black and the United States white.

While the racism of Jefferson and many of his followers may be undeniable, it is not so easy to distinguish between Right and Left in those early years of the American Republic. Though Hamilton was more open-minded toward freedom for black slaves, there were elements of his government intervention on behalf of the fledgling financial sector that might today be regarded as “pro-business” or elitist as there were parts of Jefferson’s attitude toward greater populism that might be seen as more “democratic.”

Stumbling toward War

Yet, as the first generation of American leaders passed away and the nation expanded westward, the issue of slavery remained a threat to America’s unity. The South’s aggressive defense of its lucrative institution of slavery opened violent rifts between pro-slave and pro-free settlers in territories to the west.

The modern distinctions between America’s Right and Left also became more pronounced, defined increasingly by race. The North, building a manufacturing economy and influenced by the emancipationist movement, turned increasingly against slavery, while the South, with a more agrarian economy and much of its capital invested in slaves, could see no future without the continuation of slavery.

Politically, those distinctions played out not unlike what Anti-Federalists George Mason and Patrick Henry had predicted at Virginia’s ratification convention in 1788. The North gradually gained dominance in wealth and population and the South’s barbaric practice of slavery emerged as a hindrance to America’s growing reputation in the world.

So, a key divide of U.S. politics between Right and Left became the differences over issues of slavery and race. The racist aspects of the Anti-Federalists and the “Jeffersonian democrats” became a defining feature of the American Right as captured in the argument for “states’ rights,” i.e., the rights of the Southern states either to nullify federal laws or to secede from the Union.

Though the concentration of power in Washington D.C. gave rise to legitimate questions about authoritarianism, the federal government also became the guiding hand for the nation’s economic development and for elimination of gross regional injustices such as slavery. Federal action in defense of national principles regarding justice eventually helped define the American Left.

But the slave-owning South would not go down without a fight. After the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860, 11 Southern states seceded from the Union and established the Confederate States of America with the goal of perpetuating slavery forever. It took four years of war to force the Southern states back into the Union and finally bring slavery to an end.

However, the Southern aristocracy soon reclaimed control of the region’s political structure and instituted nearly a century more of racial oppression against blacks. During this Jim Crow era, racism and the cruel enforcement of racial segregation remained central elements of the American Right.

An Anti-Government Coalition

In the latter half of the Nineteenth Century and the early Twentieth Century, other political and economic factors bolstered the Right, particularly a class of Northern industrialists and financiers known as the Robber Barons. Their insistence on laissez-faire economics in the North and their opposition to reformers such as Theodore Roosevelt dovetailed with anti-federal attitudes among the South’s white aristocracy.

That coalition, however, was shattered by a string of Wall Street panics and other economic catastrophes culminating in the Great Depression. With millions of Americans out of work and many facing starvation, Franklin Roosevelt’s administration initiated the New Deal which put people back to work building national infrastructure and imposing government regulations on the freewheeling ways of Wall Street.

Under Roosevelt, laws were changed to respect the rights of labor unions and social movements arose demanding greater civil rights for blacks and women. The Left gained unprecedented ascendance. However, the old alliance of rich Northern industriasts and Southern segregationists saw dangers in this new assertion of federal power. The business barons saw signs of “socialism” and the white supremacists feared “race-mixing.”

After World War II with the United States now a world superpower the continued existence of institutionalized racism became an embarrassment undermining America’s claim to be a beacon of human freedom. Finally, spurred on by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists, the federal government finally moved against the South’s practice of segregation. That reignited the long-simmering conflict between federal power and states’ rights.

Though the federal government prevailed in outlawing racial segregation, the Right’s anger over this intrusion upon Southern traditions fueled a powerful new movement of right-wing politicians. Since the Democratic Party led the fight against segregation in the 1960s, Southern whites rallied to the Republican Party as their vehicle of political resistance.

Opportunistic politicians, such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, deftly exploited the white backlash and turned much of the Dixie-crat South into solid Republican Red. This resurgence of white racial resentments also merged with a reassertion of “libertarian” economics as memories of the Great Depression faded. In essence, the late Nineteenth Century alliance between segregationist whites in the South and laissez-faire businessmen in the North was being reestablished.

This right-wing collaboration reached a new level of intensity in 2008 after the election of the first African-American president whose victory reflected the emergence of a multi-racial electorate threatening to end the historic white political domination of the United States. With the election also coming amid a Wall Street financial collapse — after years of reduced government regulation — Barack Obama’s arrival also portended a renewal of federal government activism. Thus, the age-old battle was rejoined.

Yet, given the cultural tenor of the time, the Right found it difficult to engage in overt racial slurs against Obama, nor could it openly seek to deny voting rights to black and brown people. New code words were needed. So Obama’s legitimacy as an American was questioned with spurious claims that he had been born in Kenya, and Republicans demanded tighter ballot security to prevent “voter fraud.”

Today’s Right also recognized that it could not simply emphasize its Confederate heritage. A more politically correct re-branding was needed. So, the Right shifted its imagery from the “Stars and Bars” battle flag of the Confederacy to the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the American Revolution. That way, Americans who don’t overtly see themselves as racist could be drawn into the movement. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Right’s Re-Branding: 1860 to 1776.”]

However, the historical narrative that the Right constructed around the nation’s Founding was not the one that actually happened. In seeking to present themselves as the true defenders of the Constitution, the Right had to air-brush out the failed experiment with the Articles of Confederation, which had made the states “sovereign” and “independent” with the central government just a “league of friendship.”

The Constitution represented the nation’s greatest transfer of power into federal hands in U.S. history, as engineered by Washington, Madison and Hamilton. Indeed, Madison favored even greater dominance by the central government over the states than he ultimately got in the Constitution.

However, in the Right’s revisionist version, the Articles of Confederation are forgotten and the Framers were simply out to create a governing system with strong states’ rights and a weak federal government. That fabrication played well with an uneducated right-wing base that could then envision itself using its Second Amendment rights to fight for the Framers’ vision of “liberty.”

As this right-wing narrative now plays out, Barack Obama is not only a black Muslim “socialist” oppressing liberty-loving white Christian Americans but he is a “tyrant” despoiling the beautiful, nearly divine, God-inspired Constitution that the Framers bestowed upon the nation — including, apparently, those wonderful provisions protecting slavery.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

34 comments for “Racism and the American Right

  1. WNYPlanner
    May 29, 2013 at 16:21

    Great article. The institution of slavery had not ended with the Civil War and the 13th and 14th Amendments.It was not ended until five days (Dec. 12, 1941) after Pearl Harbor with the issue of Atty General Biddle’s Circular No. 3591 (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/User:LegalBeagle/sandbox) that the Justice Department start prosecuting involutary servitude and peonage in the South (prevalent beyond belief). See http://www.slaverybyanothername.com.

    Some of you find it quite hard that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have switched platforms. This actually happened soon after WWII starting with the 1947 Taft-Hartley act for reasons too lengthy to go into…but suffice it to say that Taft-Hartley was a response to the Federal effort to reverse the rights gained by African Americans during WWII because they needed workers and soldiers. Strom Thurmond comes to mind as one of the former Dixicrats that changed sides…George Wallace was a good Democrat. So was Robert Byrd of WV who filibustered the 1964 Civil Right’s Act but later came to support civil rights…as a Democrat…and former KKK member. So, delve into history and forget about the Glen Becks who claim that the parties did not switch sides. There were several who switched sides for political convenience.

  2. Joe Villanova
    May 27, 2013 at 02:59

    “In the face of the Conservative Sheeplets’ banal charge that we are “playing the race card,” Parry’s essay has told us Everything We Wanted To Know About Conservatives And Racism, and the facts stare us in the face: The South is attempting to Rise Again under the banner of Conservatism. The criminalization of Conservatism will by default criminalize racism in such a manner that the South will obey the law or else face the Civil War that they are thirsting for – again. Pitting an AK47 against a tank will be an interesting fight, and not one in which the average Tea Partier will be anxious for once he sees what a pitiful fool he looks to those with common sense. The racist Sheeplets should be ignored for the time being, and when Conservatism is criminalized, their re-education will commence, and their subsequent re-entry into our democratic society will be their diploma.”

  3. grace
    May 21, 2013 at 11:02

    Pure opinion and no facts for racism. Slavery was the tip of the iceberg, NOT THE CAUSE of the civil war. Of course, slavery was awful, but EVERY MAJOR nation owned slaves until after the turn of the 19th century (yes, in Europe too!). NOT JUST THE US! Slavery originated in AFRICA and all the slave bought in the US were slaves that BLACK AFRICANS sold to the white man. Did you know that General Lee did not own slaves BUT SHERMAN and GRANT did? DId you know that Abe Lincoln is quoted as saying “”My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” He and all others were worried about the Union. The CIvil War was not ALL about slavery. 65,000 black men served for the Confederate Army-FREELY and even as officials for the confederate army! There were even black men who owned slaves. IT WAS NEVER just a southern white thing! but a worldly ordeal. The right today has nothing to do with racism. This propaganda has been around so long that it’s taught in schools and on TV. To say all of the right is racist is equivalent to stating that all of the left are socialist. The right is concerned with ones individual liberties. THATS IT! I should write an article for the other side of this conspiracy saying that all dems and libs are socialist and they promote a socialist agenda to destroy America.

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 21, 2013 at 14:27

      So Grace…just what then, was the war about? Please, do write an article. We’re all waiting with baited breath.

      • F. G. Sanford
        May 22, 2013 at 17:23

        I thought maybe someone would take the “bate”. Lincoln was a linguistically clever man. What he says over and over in the speech from which this quote is excerpted is that the war is about slavery. He says it in a way that is perhaps the greatest feat of “double-talk” ever crafted. It bewildered his enemies and emboldened his supporters. The war was, without any doubt, first and foremost, to end slavery.

        “If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” – Abraham Lincoln

        The Biblical quote he invokes is Matthew, 12:25: “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”. I find it odd that so many right wing professed “Christians” are oblivious to the provenance of Lincoln’s message.

  4. Henry Bowman
    May 20, 2013 at 22:27

    I know what the “article” says. It also says “racism has been a central element of the American Right.”

    Just bullshit written by a guy with an agenda.

    • Eddie
      May 20, 2013 at 22:58

      HB – Good to see you concede defeat by descending into mere name calling. Better luck next time….

    • gregorylkruse
      May 22, 2013 at 10:25


  5. Henry Bowman
    May 20, 2013 at 13:26

    Ahh….”racism” rears its ugly head again. Whenever the Progresso-Left cannot force the Right into their Statist relegion, we are declared racists. It is a perfect tactic. We cannot dispute the accusation no matter what we say.

    The Founders owned slaves and desired very limited government…we support the concept of limited government; therefore we must secretly desire to enslave our fellow man. Correction…enslave our fellow men of color.

    The Left’s stereotyping (marginalizing) of the right is just as racist as a 1960 KKK member. But hey, we are white, so it doesn’t count does it?

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 20, 2013 at 14:53

      Henry, the article says that the Framers supported a strong centralized government, “the nation’s greatest transfer of power into federal hands in U.S. history”. I guess reading comprehension doesn’t figure prominently in the non-progressive…or is it the “Retrogresso-Right”…mindset either?

  6. TSgt B
    May 20, 2013 at 12:52

    Robert: you are wrong on so many levels it would be impossible to address them all.

    One of your biggest areas of blindness is the passage of “Jim Crow” and “Black Code” laws passed after the Civil War. These were put in place by DEMOCRATS, as was the Ku Klux Klan, which spared no effort in keeping Freedmen disarmed and vunerable to attacks and lynchings, for so much as looking at a white woman.

    Fast forward to the 1960s. What party was it that fought tooth and nail against the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act? You missed it; it was the Democrats.

    Members of what party constantly, and consistently, belittle and pander to the poor, underprivileged “African Americans”, ala Hillary Rodham Clinton and her speeches, usually in black churches, where she adopted a “black” accent to show how much she identified with people she wouldn’t let in her front door? How many bleeding heart “liberals” marched with Dr. Martin Luther King to fight REAL racism, as did that racist bigot Charleton Heston? (And he didn’t even wear his hood).

    It is self-righteous, bigoted blowhards like YOU that promote and continue racism, by constantly making it into something that does not exist. The modern Democrat party, populated by self-appointed “intellectuals” such as yourself, claim to have all the answers, when in fact you couldn’t find your own ass in a semidark room with a roadmap, tourguide, and a spotlight.

  7. gregorylkruse
    May 20, 2013 at 12:46

    This is an education worth paying for.

  8. BHirsh
    May 20, 2013 at 11:42

    However, in the Right’s revisionist version, the Articles of Confederation are forgotten and the Framers were simply out to create a governing system with strong states’ rights and a weak federal government. That fabrication played well with an uneducated right-wing base that could then envision itself using its Second Amendment rights to fight for the Framers’ vision of “liberty.”

    Abraham Lincoln was “right wing”?

    “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

  9. BHirsh
    May 20, 2013 at 11:39

    Two words:

    Robert Byrd.

    Go wrap a rubber band around your head and snap out of it.

  10. Norma Price
    May 20, 2013 at 11:17

    I learned that is is a lost cause to point out racism to a right winger. They can always find one black guy that they agree with.

    • BHirsh
      May 20, 2013 at 11:23

      It is the left that is hung up on race, not the right. We frankly don’t care.

      What we DO care about is progressivism, and unfortunately, the national black zeitgeist is composed of ideological progressive shills.

      And they have the rank-and-file blacks, a substantial plurality of whom are socially conservative, buffaloed by emphasizing race instead of reason.

  11. M McL
    May 20, 2013 at 11:11

    Sally Hemings, as a mistress.” The peculiar thing about the Anglo colonies is that everyone slept with black women.>Lawrence E Harrison ‘The Pan-American Dream’

  12. Rick
    May 20, 2013 at 10:34

    Right wingers in all places have always felt that people are primarily determined by heredity and genetics; left wingers maintain that people are primarily determined by environment. That is why liberals believe in education- they feel it can change people. On the other hand, Nazis and the extreme right believe that no amount of education can change a Jew or gypsie etc.

    • BHirsh
      May 20, 2013 at 11:19

      Right wingers like Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger?


  13. Sj
    May 20, 2013 at 09:37

    Tea Party are racists. They may not have been that when they started, but they are now, just like Bush stated on Fox News, which upset them, he said they practice Nativism, isolationism. Those who are ranting about the constitution, know very little about what it says. They keep saying the founding fathers meant for the country to be Christian. Totally false: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html and this: http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/george-bush-says-tea-party-suffers-nati

  14. FrankInFL
    May 20, 2013 at 08:59

    It’s important to recognize that the 2nd amendment grants no rights; nothing in the “Bill of Rights” does. The writers understood that rights cannot be granted by a Constitution or a government, neither can they be taken away by a Constitution or a government.

    The 2nd amendment is a prohibition of action by government. It prohibits interference with a right whose existence precedes both the Constitution and the government.

    From that starting point, all gun control arguments are nonsensical.

    • Sj
      May 20, 2013 at 09:40

      Bill of Rights contains the first amendments of the Country. What are you talking about?

    • Rick
      May 20, 2013 at 10:21

      More precisely, the 2nd only limits the action of the national government. That was made clear in the 1833 Barron v. Baltimore case. In 1876 unanimous Court said the 2nd applied only to the national gov. See US v. Cruikshank. In 2010 when the activist Court ruled against Chicago in favor of McDonald it created a new 14th Amendment right thaat no previous court had ever discovered.

      • BHirsh
        May 20, 2013 at 11:18

        Rick –

        That’s true without the conditions set by a later amendment – the 14th.

        It is no longer true.

  15. BarbfBhbfBhbf
    May 20, 2013 at 05:11

    Consortiumnews.com reports on cases of racism on the right..but does not report the silence on the left…the silence as the first black President increases the use of predatory drones from 54 during the 8 years of the Bush administration to over 300 during the first 3 years of the Obama administration. This increase has resulted in the deaths of over 3000 innocent civilians including 170 children…and a 16 year old American boy…out searching for the remains of his father.

  16. Terry Washington
    May 20, 2013 at 03:26

    As Malcolm X dryly noted in his Autobiography(first published in 1965 after his assassination) “liberals talk about keeping the KNEE- GROWS in their place whilst conservatives say no let’s keep the NIGGERS in their place”( I am paraphrasing this quotation somewhat) and in the half century since his deaht not much has changed( pace Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, the late William F.Buckley and Mitt Romney)!

  17. Ehud Avni
    May 20, 2013 at 02:02

    Racism has shifted from being considered a white issue, to now being more of a black issue. The MSM tries to downplay this, & also the PC crowd, by not discussing the race of perpetrators in stories, but the overwhelming hate crime stories are now black centered. Black mob violence is becoming increasingly prominent, & suppression of the facts will only fan the flames. There will be a breaking point. The MSM & the PC can claim “We’re not sure it was a racially motivated crime” all they want, but when more & more non-blacks are attacked people will figure it out for themselves. Time to get back to calling a spade a spade in this country, & stop the sugar coating, information suppresion, & lies.

    As for Jefferson & Lincoln, & their alleged racism, what were they supposed to do when letting loose 100’s of thousands of uneducated & unskilled laborers from slavery? They knew there would be a problem because they thought it out. They came up with the American Colonization Society. They knew that sending them back to Africa or to S.America would only help the problem. Did you forget about Liberia? It would be a chance to send them home where they could get a fresh start, & not start the welfare & entitlement system that is in place today. Sometimes a hard heart & a clear mind is the answer to the problem.

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 20, 2013 at 06:56

      Utterly incredible. I suppose the author of this comment believes that the other-worldly beauty of Antebellum art, architecture, construction and craftsmanship was accomplished by day laborers imported from France. Or perhaps intellectual giants like Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman were actually white abolitionist “sleeper agents” disguised as black people to subvert the superiority of the aristocrat white slave owners.

      Trust me, it’s the white people running the show today who want to keep Americans as stupid as possible. And, their efforts have been more successful against other whites than against minorities. We’ve heard the recent flap about the right wing intellectual whose Ph.D. thesis from, of all places, Harvard, rests on the quaint notion that Hispanics have lower I.Q.’s than white people. Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg recently commented that “middling” students should abandon the dream of a college education in favor of becoming plumbers and tradespeople, vocations to which they are better suited. After all, Einstein didn’t do very well at school either. Then, there’s that prick banker that said, “Americans are going to have to get used to the idea of lesser expectations in retirement benefits, social programs and education benefits”. These financial thugs support raising the retirement age, which stifles the economy, increases unemployment for the young, reduces the tax revenue base and INCREASES the strain on government programs. Meanwhile, they are rolling in unprecedented tax-free profits and multimillion dollar CEO/COO bonuses.

      Americans need to go to college in GREATER numbers. After the right wing’s evisceration of the American public education system, it’s the only place they can get a fucking high-school education. Just read some of the blog posts out there, and marvel at the functional illiteracy of America. They use phrases like, “Devil make hair”, “Come-uppins”, “For all intensive purposes”, “Irregardless”, and my absolute favorite, “Lite-rally”, uttered by Chuck Todd on ABC. When the Mainstream Media flunkies can’t even read a teleprompter, we’re screwed as a nation.

      Racists such as the author of this comment are perhaps more pitiful in their lack of self-awareness to their own racism than to the hypocrisy of their delusional version of the truth. Perhaps the best antidote to the blistering examples of racism advocated by the racists who hide behind 2nd Amendment Rights would be a mass convergence of Blacks and Hispanics on gun stores to exercise the same rights these assholes are whining about. But that would no doubt lead them to make accusations of violent revolution afoot.

      They want slavery back. They want Americans to be trapped into the skill sets that trap migrant laborers and illegal immigrants. They want to bust unions to insure they won’t have to make good on old-age benefits. When millions of Americans lost their shirts in the financial scandals engineered by the bankers, that money wan’t “lost”. It went somewhere. It didn’t just disappear. It went from institutional coffers to private accounts, where it is secreted away from tax liability. American tax payers were burdened with re-filling those coffers. They want slavery back, all right, and it looks like we’re jumping through hoops to help them get it. Welcome to McAmerica, and all the benefits you can’t eat.

      • hammersmith
        May 21, 2013 at 13:17

        Much of college is not really that educational. Course work is not rigorous or demanding. Graduates typically, particularly in the social sciences, come out with little critical or analytical ability, but they do have a lot of misinformation–in most meaninful ways they are more ignorant than when they went in. College is a waste of personal and national resources largely. A recent study this past year showed that student don’t really learn all that much, even by our warped standard of what passes for learning. Social studies students mainly were the only ones of them who experienced changes in attitudes, etc., newly indoctrinated liberals no doubt.

        • F. G. Sanford
          May 21, 2013 at 14:35

          Care to cite a respectable source for your “recent study”? I’m referring to the one that says, “Student don’t really learn all that much”. Your syntax suggests that YOU might not have learned much, but I’m betting you either never went or never finished. It shows, my friend, it shows.

    • hammersmith
      May 21, 2013 at 08:50

      Yes. Lincoln fought the civil war perplexed at what would be done with the negros in the mercantile America he envisioned. His successors abandoned the newly freed slaves to their former masters, figuring they were better equipped to deal with them.

  18. Joshua Barnaby
    May 20, 2013 at 00:10

    I think you need to provide more detail as to how the attitudes of the modern American Conservative are racist. Also include how their current political positions are related to the Colonial, Pre-Civil War, or Jim Crow era obivously racist belief system. I would think that modern American Conservatives are trying to champion their own idea of liberty, not the exact 18th conception that pre-dates the 14th Amendment to the constitution. I think today most people who champion the constitution also champion the amendments that followed its inception.

  19. charles sereno
    May 19, 2013 at 18:02

    “Give them slavery or give them death” (Patrick Henry)
    Oops! I got my pronouns mixed. Sorry, Pat.

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