No Such Thing As An Opinion!

Is Tim Wise an illogical, hateful person? PART ONE


ABOUT THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES

I first became aware of Tim Wise when he was featured on CNN, where he discussed public outrage regarding an article of his.  The article is titled "An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum".


I've since briefly reviewed his website, and have come to the conclusion that he's likely not a good person. 


I get the feeling that he tends to write primarily, or wholly, about
white racism.  Look at the titles of his books:

"White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son"

"Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White"


"Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male"


"Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama"


"Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity
"

Again, I get the feeling that he tends to write primarily, or wholly, about
white racism.  I have a problem with that.  Wouldn't it be better to focus on combating racism in general, regardless of race?

In fact, might his apparent focus on white racism actually be, to some degree, counterproductive to his efforts?  After all, if you're a white person and you heard him highlight white racism yet downplay or ignore non-white racism, would you not feel he is acting unfairly?


Feeling that he's acting unfair, might many whites tend to ignore his message, since they dislike the speaker's seeming unfairness?  I would think so.


If Tim Wise
really wants to get rid of white racism (or racism in general, for that matter!), would it not be fair to address racism by non-whites also?

Before getting into in-depth analysis of his articles, I suspect that Tim Wise has hatred in his heart, and I suspect that he likely makes many illogical arguments.  Why do I suspect this?   Well, I suspect that he has hatred because of the contempt shown by some of his statements.


I think it's likely the case that people with hatred in their heart are more likely to make illogical arguments.  I am very confident that left-wingers are also more likely to make illogical arguments; however, I
suppose it's possible that Tim Wise doesn't consider himself left wing.

I value fairness and logic.  And perhaps most of all, I value
good intentions.  I'm not so sure Tim Wise is a person with good intentions.

Therefore, I am creating a series of articles, each of which will review and analyze one of his articles.  I have a feeling that they will expose, not support, Tim Wise.


Let's see what I
discover!

Let's start with the article that caused the outrage in the first place.




The title makes it clear that the article is addressing the "white right".  The article was published the day after the 2010 US mid-term elections of House and Senate representatives.  Republicans (usually conservative) won a net gain of so many seats that their gain was considered to be the largest House shift in 62 years!

Keep that in mind as I review his article:



1) He writes:


"For all y’all rich folks, enjoy that champagne, or whatever fancy ass Scotch you drink.

And for y’all a bit lower on the economic scale, enjoy your Pabst Blue Ribbon, or whatever shitty ass beer you favor.


Boy, that's some way to start an article.  I could see how white conservatives could get on the defensive
real quick.

For someone who preaches about racism, Tim Wise certainly sounds like a very angry person himself.


For someone who preaches about racism, it sure seems strange to be generalizing about the alcohol favored by both poor and rich white conservatives!


Now, I don't usually have any problem with generalizing in the correct context; my point is simply that it seems out of place for someone who preaches against racism to be generalizing in a manner that could be considered derisive!



2) He continues:


"So party while you can, but mind the increasingly loud clock ticking away in the corners of your consciousness. The clock that reminds you how little time you and yours have left."


Is Tim Wise referring to projected demographic changes that imply that white conservatives will gradually shrink in relative size?  Likely.


Consider this:  There are far more rational conservative ideals than there are rational liberal ideals.  Simply review the articles on my website and that will be clear!


Therefore, if demographic changes result in more Democratic election victories, it will mean that society is becomes more irrational!


Now, don't people claim that racism is at least partly irrational?  Well, I find it strange that someone who preaches racism would be celebrating the expected increasing irrationality of society!


Now, perhaps Tim Wise doesn't consider liberal tendencies to be irrational.  Fair enough.  But that's another problem in itself!



3)
"...and of course you have always thought it was yours for the taking, cuz that’s what we white folks are bred to believe, that it’s ours, and how dare anyone else say otherwise — but you are wrong."

Now, I think it's a
bit much to suggest that white folks are bred to believe that the USA is there for their taking.

Perhaps many, if not most, whites think that way...but I find it doubtful most of them are "bred", or taught by society, to believe that.  In fact, media often goes
out of its way to cast disproportionately high numbers of minorities in prestigious positions of power in television shows (How many times have you seen black lawyers, judges, police chiefs, mayors, doctors?)  Does that sound like white viewers are being bred to believe that it's whites that are disproportionately in positions of power?  That the country is there for the whites?

And notice that Tim Wise refers to "whites", not "white conservatives".  The implication is that all whites, including white liberals, are bred to believe that America is for whites.  But this implies that being bred to
believe America is for whites isn't enough to ensure that whites will act to ensure America is for whites.  After all, don't white liberals supposedly avoid the effects of their breeding and act to ensure that America is for all?


4)
"‘Cuz there is nothing even slightly original about you. There have always been those who wanted to take the country back. There were those who, in past years, wanted to take the country back to a time of enslavement and indentured servitude."

Tim Wise implies that typical white conservatives want to take the country back to a time of enslavement and indentured servitude.  Really?  How bizarre is that?


White conservatives tend to rally and protest about issues like government size and spending, immigration, and liberty.  I've never seen whites protest in favor of enslavement.  I've seen videos of KKK members protesting, and I don't recall even
them protesting in favor of enslavement!  The most retroactive policy of theirs that I'm aware of support segregation, not slavery.

One might claim that white protesters can't
really make their true views about slavery known.  But what reason is there to believe that white conservatives secretly want to return to a time of enslavement? And if KKK members are willing to risk public ridicule with their obviously racist views, why wouldn't slavery supporters go public with those views too?


5)
"There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when children could be made to work in mines and factories, when workers had no legal rights to speak of, when the skies in every major city were heavy with industrial soot that would gather on sidewalks and windowsills like volcanic ash."

What a bizarre statement.  Children working in mines and factories?  When have typical white conservatives recently advocated that?


Workers with no legal rights?  Huh?  Actually, don't white conservatives tend to
advocate legal rights of workers by advocating deportation of illegal immigrants who take jobs away from (and lower wages of) Americans who work legally?

Skies heavy with soot?  Although it may be true that white conservatives don't favor environmental health as much as others, it's dubious to suggest white conservatives would favor industrial profits to the degree that "the skies in every major city were heavy with industrial soot that would gather on sidewalks and windowsills like volcanic ash."


Isn't racism supposedly about acting irrationally to harm a member of another race?


Well, Tim Wise sounds like he's making untrue statements meant to harm white conservatives!



6)
"There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when women could not vote, or attend any but a few colleges, or get loans in their own names, or start their own businesses."

Again, when have typical white conservatives recently advocated rolling back basic rights of women?


Tim Wise seems to be on a rant, furious at the election results!



7)
"There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when blacks 'had no rights that the white man was bound to respect,' – this being the official opinion of the Supreme Court before those awful days of judicial activism, now decried by the likes of you – and when people of color could legally be kept from voting solely because of race, or holding certain jobs, or living in certain neighborhoods, or run out of other towns altogether when the sun would go down, or be strung up from trees."

Tim Wise refers to a
Supreme Court opinion from 1856.

Now, remember the context from the beginning of his article:


"
‘Cuz there is nothing even slightly original about you. There have always been those who wanted to take the country back."

Tim Wise is saying that there is nothing original about the white conservatives of 2010...after all, there have always been whites who decried black rights; just look at the whites circa 1856!


Is it rational to imply that white conservatives of 2010 feel similarly about black rights (not to mention stringing blacks up from trees!) as the whites of 1856? Of course not!


Further, is it rational to imply that the Supreme Court in 1856 represented the views of typical whites?  Perhaps...but don't be so quick to make that judgment.  Congress currently has a very low approval rating, and I wouldn't be surprised if powerful elements of government have often been unrepresentative of some majority white views, if only because powerful positions tend to favor the few over the many!



8)
"The kind of math that proves how your kind — mostly older white folks beholden to an absurd, inaccurate, nostalgic fantasy of what America used to be like — are dying."

Tim Wise here isn't specific about what the "fantasy" of today's typical white conservative is.  I can certainly imagine what he has in mind.



9)
"You’re like the bad guy in every horror movie ever made, who gets shot five times, or stabbed ten, or blown up twice, and who will eventually pass — even if it takes four sequels to make it happen — but who in the meantime keeps coming back around, grabbing at our ankles as we walk by, we having been mistakenly convinced that you were finally dead this time."

It's very strange to characterize white conservatives as bad, given:


a) I doubt people would consider the largest racial-political group in America to be "bad", since that would imply that a large chunk of Americans are "bad".  Don't most people believe that most people are inherently good?  (Aside from their penchant to act in their self-interest, to a limited degree)


b) The characterization ignores the fact that if non-whites were in the majority and in positions of power, it's very reasonable to expect that they may engage in discriminatory actions that would harm whites while benefiting themselves.  This admission would imply that the problem isn't with white conservatives per se, but rather the effect of power and majority in influencing behavior that favours ones ingroup.



10)
"And in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms."

How can Tim Wise compare 2010's white conservatives to those of the past?  Does he not think white conservatives have changed?


And even if it
was fair to make that comparison, the problem with white conservatives in the past wasn't that they were conservative...it's that they were illogical or unfair, for example, to blacks when it came to slavery.  Someone can be conservative in many ways yet be against the disgusting system of slavery.

Further, to apparently single out white conservatives' actions in certain realms, as he does, I assume, with slavery, is to ignore the actions of non-white conservatives against minorities in countries where non-white conservatives are in power! 


Again, Tim Wise's rant implies that white conservatives are the problem, and doesn't make it clear that the problem is simply that majority groups in power tend to favor their ingroup!



11)
"There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days, because there won’t be any more white folks around who actually remember them..."

It's bizarre to imply that people who idealize the 1950s necessarily favor the restriction of black rights.  There are many other aspects of 1950s society that
are more ideal than today's society:

a) Surveys of women reported they were happier in the 1950s and/or 1960s.


b) Housing was more affordable (and home ownership was likely more common, adjusting for the effects of debt).


c) Life itself was more relaxing: less traffic, less time spent preoccupied with distracting cell phones.  Also, people were more social with each other!


d) People were likely much wealthier back then.  The 1950s and 1960s preceded the
37 straight years of trade deficits that began in the 1970s.

e) People had more in common with each other, because they were more likely to be of the same race and speak the same language.  Like it or not, the more similar a society is, the less tension it has.  This has been demonstrated in countless societies around the world, regardless of race.  Just the fact that Tim Wise rants about those different from him (white conservatives) is testament to this!



12)
"It’s OK. Because in about forty years, half the country will be black or brown. And there is nothing you can do about it."

It's bizarre to suggest that demographics cannot be altered.  Changing immigration policy is one obvious method of change.


And this is even more bizarre:
Since white conservatives are the dominant racial-political group, and if they are racist, as Tim Wise implies, wouldn't one assume that they do have both the desire and the means to do something to prevent the country from becoming "half black or brown"?  If that's the case, why would Tim Wise say "there is nothing you can do about it"?

Doesn't Tim Wise's quote actually undermine his entire thesis?



13)
"So enjoy your tax cuts a while longer."

This is one of his few comments that is actually supported by some rationality!  
Now, don't get me wrong...everything else being equal, tax cuts are always better than government spending.  There is room for corruption when you allow people (the government) to spend money (and have access to money) that isn't theirs (taxpayer money).

That said, however, given the particular circumstances of a nation's economy, there
is an ideal level of taxation that will results in costs outweighing the benefits.  Given the USA's huge debt, it's likely ideal for the USA to increase taxation at this moment.  This is especially true given that it's the wealthy who should pay most of the taxes, given that the wealthy have benefited more from corruption than the non wealthy have in recent years!


14)
"Go back to trading your derivatives, engaging in rampant financial speculation that produces nothing of value, that turns the whole world into your personal casino. Whatever."

Tim Wise implies that investing tends to be like gambling.  That is hardly the case. 
My own trading results are testament to that.

Tim Wise also claims that financial speculation produces "nothing of value".  Not only is he incorrect, he likely doesn't realize just how incorrect he is!


Investing is one of the economic areas where a country
can truly make itself wealthier: by enriching itself at the expense of investors from other nations!

Now, contrast that with many other areas of the US economy that involve goods being sold by Americans to other Americans.  Those sales do not enrich the wealth of the USA overall
at all, because it is simply a transfer of wealth within the economy (although production of goods can result in increases in productivity and leisure time).

Even worse, many retail goods are purchased from foreign countries like China. In this situation, not only is the USA
not becoming wealthier, its wealth is decreasing!


15)
"Play your hand, and for the love of God play it big. Real big. As in, shoot for the moon big. As in, try to privatize Social Security, and health care, and everything else. Whatever."

Is Tim Wise implying that it's illogical to privatize health care?  Looking only at overall financial costs/benefits (ignoring the psychological effects on people who cannot pay the rare astronomically costly medical bill), how could it
not be logical to privatize health care?  Simply the creation of extra layers of bureaucracy would likely result in greater financial waste and corruption in the system!  And again, with a public health care system, there is always room for corruption when you allow people (the government) to spend money that isn't theirs (taxpayer money).


16)
"Because those who have lived on the margins, who have been abused, maligned, targeted by austerity measures and budget cuts, subjected to racism, classism, sexism, straight supremacy and every other form of oppression always know more about their abusers than the abusers know about their victims."

Wow.  That's a strong statement.  So white conservatives either abuse or malign and are either racist, classist, or sexist? So white conservatives target austerity measures and budget cuts towards, I assume, people who are not white conservatives?  Where is the evidence that this is the case in 2010?


And if Tim Wise is
not speaking about white conservatives of 2010, then why is he making the comparison versus the white conservatives who voted in 2010?


17)
"And I do not mean by that your physical destruction. We don’t play those games. We’re not into the whole “Second Amendment remedies, militia, armed resistance” bullshit that your side fetishizes, cuz, see, we don’t have to be. We don’t need guns."

Is Tim Wise implying that an armed population is not necessary?  If you were to strip away the right of Americans to possess guns, how could society ever protect itself from a government that decided to use the police and/or army to take over society?  How could the American
revolution have even occurred had Americans not been armed?


CONCLUSION

Based on this article, Tim Wise sure seems to be an irrationally hateful person, don't you think?


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