Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Blacks Vote Big Government

The great generation of African Americans that came to maturity before the civil rights revolution were not all Democrats. Some of them turned into eminent conservatives. So 74-year-old like Walter Williams confesses that it's a great disappointment to him that so many blacks support big government.

[T]he unique history of black Americans should make us, above all other Americans, most suspicious of any encroachment on personal liberty and most distrustful of government.

When blacks were slaves, government had laws to repress them. Now that blacks are free, government fails to protect them from crime and fails to educate their children. Why would blacks support a party that betrays them so cruelly?

Here's a couple of reasons why. The first is a universal. Nobody objects when the government wants to cut you a check. In fact the smallest measurable time interval on Earth is the time between getting a check from the government and deciding that you deserve it.

Second, we turn to developmental psychology. It finds that many people, particularly those with marginal skills, experience life as a power struggle between the people and the powerful. That is why Al Gore in his presidential campaign said that he was fighting for the people against the powerful. (If only!) People that think like that attach themselves to a powerful patron---for protection from the other powerful forces in society. They "go along to get along." Does the powerful patron exploit them? Sure, but think how much worse it would be without his protection.

People emerge from out of this world view when they acquire the skills to make it in the city (and often acquire enthusiastic Christianity). They begin to think that they can make it on their own (or with God's help). Then they start to believe in liberty and Don't Tread On Me.

In his book The New Americans Michael Barone shows how almost all immigrant groups to the US go through this process of emergence. The ones that experienced the heaviest repression in the old country (the Irish and the blacks) are the slowest to emerge from the "people vs. the powerful" mindset. When they do, they start to feel like Americans, rather than hyphenated Americans.

That's why the question asked by the MSNBC reporterette of an African American at a tea party rally is canonical. She wondered if he didn't feel uncomfortable, you know, being surrounded by all those white people. His reply was classic.

"No, No. These are my people. Americans."

Get it?

I have a dream. That one day, almost all African Americans will think the same.


  1. The irony is that most good hearted liberals support the policies they do because they are racist. What!? they will cry, we want to help the blacks! Of course you do. The same way the SPCA wants to help animals. What is the Left's position but:
    1. You can't make it on your own.
    2. We will take care of you.

  2. Good point! All hard-working Americans, who believe in small government, freedom and independence are our brothers and sisters.