Two stupid questions in need of intelligent answers

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Question 1: Yesterday, I heard a radio commercial asking listeners to support a college fund for America’s indigenous people (aka American Indians; aka Native Americans). The commercial made the point that most Indians on reservations live in poverty. If the reservations are so poor, why don’t the residents leave? Is it really more important to them to score points against the U.S. government by living on guilt-land than it is to thrive? It’s the same with the Palestinians — the leaders are making a point and the followers are living in squalor. Is there something I’m missing here?

Question 2: Putting aside the fact that there’s nothing to celebrate about having coerced 7 or so million people to buy insurance, why does the Left now claim that Obamacare can no longer be repealed? How complicated is repeal? Isn’t repeal simply the absence of force? You’d be saying “The government won’t force people to buy a product; employers can decide whether it’s to their benefit to offer insurance benefits to their employees; and the insurance companies will once again be able to shape insurance policies according to their company values and profit goals, not according to government diktat. It seems to me that, while implementing has taken years and will take constant effort, undoing it will take no energy at all. It’s like physics. It takes energy to hold the thing together, and entropy will allow it readily to fall apart. Again, is there something I’m missing here?

Is it racist to remind people that the American government first disarmed Native Americans and then decimated them?

A week or two ago, I put this poster on my site:

Guns in government hands

I think it’s an un-racist poster.  It reminds people that government will always be a minority’s worst enemies.

What I didn’t know was that, in Greeley, Colorado, someone put up a billboard echoing that sentiment:

The friend who sent me this video said exactly the right thing about those who are now crying foul:

I love the premise here: “Pay no attention to history, it may offend someone!”

The appearance of “Indigenous Muslims” at the DNC offends America’s true indigenous people

Identity politics worked very well for the Democrats for a long time, provided that they played the various little groups off against “white men.”  Barring some in-fighting in academia amongst various “victim” subgroups — a spectacle that Christina Hoff Sommers described to hilarious effect in Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women — Democrats mostly managed adroitly to hide from their interest groups that, if you define the economy as a finite, government-controlled pie, eventually there will not be enough pieces to go around.

Or maybe the Democrats shouldn’t get even that credit.  Because the obsession with identity politics didn’t gain traction until the Reagan years (although it existed before), there was usually enough pie to go around once one had successfully dispossessed those poor white males.  Now, however, despite or because of 3.7 years of Obamanomics, the pie is small and crumbly.  And with that small pie, the allegiances are getting frayed as well.

A friend Servo1969 sent me a link to an interesting post contending that Native Americans have had it up to here and beyond with the Democrat team’s game-playing.  They were offended when it turned out that Elizabeth Warren had parlayed a false (or, at least, incredibly attenuated) Native American heritage into a well-paid legal career.  Now, some are even more peeved, and rightfully so, by the fact that the Democrats are pandering to a Muslim group that identifies itself as representative of “indigenous Muslims”:

Native Americans are very angry to learn that Muslims in the United States of America are being touted as “indigenous”, a complete falsehood.

[snip]

Twenty-thousand Islamists and their sympathizers are expected to attend the opening of the Democratic National Convention on August 31 [BW:  It's actually September 4 to September 6] to focus on Islam with Jumah[sic], the Friday prayer, to draw in Muslims to the DNC. The important prayer and two days of events are being coordinated by the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs (BIMA), a national Muslim non-profit claiming that the event is non-political. Being a part of the actual convention makes it pretty hard to claim that it isn’t a political event. The initials BIMA quickly caught my attention because I’m keyed in to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the agency that my husband works closely with in his capacity as Director of Security for an Indian casino. I was appalled when I went to the BIMA website and saw the words “Indigenous Muslim.”

The word “indigenous” is a term of art.  It does not mean that someone is born within a country’s borders.  Instead, it refers, always, to the original people who populated a country before an imperialist force (Western or Eastern) took over.  One can have American-born Muslims, but there are no “indigenous Muslims.”  It’s either foolish, disingenuous, or dishonest for Muslims to try to parlay their non-white status into a simulacrum of the United States’ true Native American population.

Lesson to Democrats:  You can successfully complain about pie allocation when there’s lots of pie.  If you destroy the pie, however, you may regret trying to slice it into so many different pieces.

UPDATE:  As you can see, I substituted “Servo1969″ for “A friend.”  I mention that here because, if people send me emails with information, I always ask people’s permission before using their name in a post.  When I wrote the post, I hadn’t yet confirmed that Servo1969 wouldn’t mind showing up in here.

Elizabeth Warren’s “minority status” certainly goes a long way to explaining her career trajectory

I had some brilliant teachers when I was at law school in Texas.  Elizabeth Warren was not among their number.  While she knew her stuff, her disjointed, elliptical communication style made her one of the poorer teachers I’ve had during my 20 years as student (from kindergarten through my J.D.).  I’ve always said that she was a nice lady (never mean or cutting to students), but teaching was not her skill.

I didn’t follow Warren’s career after she left Texas, so I was unaware that she had moved on to Harvard.  I learned that only recently, when the Obama election caused her to become a player on the national scene.  By then, I was so focused on what she was saying or doing, that it didn’t occur to me to ask how the heck she got to Harvard.  After all, she really wasn’t “all that.”

Now that the news has broken that she falsely claimed minority status based upon her alleged 3% (or may 1.5%) drop of Native American, her Harvard employment makes sense.  Harvard needed a Native American law professor — and there Warren was.

I realize that Warren’s coming out as a race hustler is somewhat stale news, but my history with her popped into my mind when I read Alana Goodman’s little summary of the effect Warren’s lies are having on her campaign:

The growing narrative about Warren, on the other hand, is that she’s an ivory tower liberal with some shady character flaws. This latest Trail of Tears development also makes her something of a punchline, similar to how Coakley became a running joke after she cluelessly claimed former Red Sox pitcher and Brown supporter Curt Schilling was a Yankee fan. While the Coakley’s meltdown happened shortly before Election Day, Warren still has time to repair her image. But her window of opportunity is quickly closing, and the drip-drip of details like this will make it difficult for her to turn things around.

Reading that made me realize that her shady days go back a long time, and have propelled her forward on a body of lies.

How America’s classrooms celebrate Columbus Day

We used to view ourselves as a shining City on the Hill, a nation that hadn’t always done right but that, more than any other nation, had changed the world’s concept of liberty — and that in the last century had saved more people from tyranny than any other nation in the history of human kind.

Our children, however, are simply taught that Western culture is an evil that destroyed perfect indigenous people.  Columbus is the perfect scapegoat for this world view.

I’m all for a nuanced view of history.  Teaching that humans are saints is always a mistake — and that’s true whether you’re trying to create plaster saints out of explorer’s or Native Americans.  Yes, the explorer’s were often brutal by today’s lights and they were certainly avaricious.  They were also brave, creative, innovative, ignorant of the dangers they carried with them in terms of disease, and many, especially the priests, acted out of a genuine belief that they were bringing a light around the world.  And yes, the Indians suffered an invasion of their enclosed world; yes, they lost their land; and yes, diseases decimated them.  But that overlooks the fact that they couldn’t have lived in a hermetically sealed bubble forever, and that no one understood germ theory in those days.  As to land loss, yes, that was a tragedy, although perhaps inevitable with a 90% decimation rate from the bacteria the Westerners never knew they carried with them.

But the Indians were also real people.  Some were helpless, hapless souls, but these souls had long been victims of other Native American tribes, even before the explorers came.  Indeed, many were delighted that the explorers had come, because they saw these armed men on horseback as a way to level the playing field.  Some tribes were vicious killers (even cannibals), some were just go-along-to-get-along people.  Their reverence for nature sprang in part because they lived closely with nature and in part because, as stone age people, they were unable to dominate nature as the westerners did.  When they had the ability to destroy, they did (as many of the Plains tribes did with their overwhelmingly wasteful buffalo hunts, which saw them drive hundreds and thousands off of cliffs).

When cultures clash, it’s rare for them to integrate and live in harmony.  One wins, and one loses.  Some cultures and conquerors are more evil than others, and some are simply more powerful.  All are products of their time.  And it’s utterly stupid for our school systems to try to pretend that the explorers were the respositories of all the world’s evil, while the Native Americans were saints on earth — pretty much virgin souls waiting to be sacrificed.  That’s a stupid and boring way to teach.