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The Lie of Richard Nixon’s Racism

“For the first time since President Richard M. Nixon’s divisive ‘Southern strategy’ that sent whites to the Republican Party and blacks to the Democrats …” began a New York Times story last week. Thus has one of the big lies of U.S. political history morphed into a cliche—that Richard Nixon used racist politics to steal the South from a Democratic Party battling heroically for civil rights.

A brief stroll through Bruce Bartlett’s Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past [1] might better enlighten us.

Where Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner, Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the U.S. government and had the pro-Klan film “Birth of a Nation” screened in his White House. Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of the Old Confederacy all six times they ran, when Southern blacks had no vote. Disfranchised black folks did not seem to bother these greatest of liberal icons.

As vice president, FDR chose “Cactus Jack” Garner of Texas who played a major role in imposing a poll tax to keep blacks from voting. Among FDR’s Supreme Court appointments was Hugo Black, a Klansman who claimed FDR knew this when he named him in 1937 and that FDR told him that “some of his best friends” in Georgia were Klansmen. Black’s great achievement as a lawyer was in winning the acquittal of a man who shot to death the Catholic priest who had presided over his daughter’s marriage to a Puerto Rican.

In 1941, FDR named South Carolina Sen. “Jimmy” Byrnes to the Supreme Court. Byrnes had led filibusters in 1935 and 1938 that killed anti-lynching bills, arguing that lynching was necessary “to hold in check the Negro in the South.” FDR refused to back the 1938 anti-lynching law.

“This is a white man’s country and will always remain a white man’s country,” said Jimmy. Harry Truman, who paid $10 to join the Klan, then quit, named Byrnes Secretary of State, putting him first in line of succession to the presidency, as Harry then had no V.P.

During the civil rights struggles of the ’50s and ’60s, Gov. Orval Faubus used the National Guard to keep black students out of Little Rock High. Gov. Ross Barnett refused to let James Meredith into Ole Miss. Gov. George Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama, to block two black students from entering. All three governors were Democrats. All acted in accord with the “Dixie Manifesto” of 1956, which was signed by 19 senators, all Democrats, and 80 Democratic congressmen.

Among the signers of the manifesto, which called for massive resistance to the Brown decision desegregating public schools, was the vice presidential nominee on Adlai’s Stevenson’s ticket in 1952, Sen. John Sparkman of Alabama. Though crushed by Eisenhower, Adlai swept the Deep South, winning both Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Do you suppose those Southerners thought Adlai would be tougher than Ike on Stalin? Or did they think Adlai would maintain the unholy alliance of Southern segregationists and Northern liberals that enabled Democrats to rule from 1932 to 1952?

change_me

The Democratic Party was the party of slavery, secession and segregation, of “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman and the KKK. “Bull” Connor, who turned the dogs loose on black demonstrators in Birmingham, was the Democratic National Committeeman from Alabama.

And Nixon?

In 1956, as vice president, Nixon went to Harlem to declare, “America can’t afford the cost of segregation.” The following year, Nixon got a personal letter from Dr. King thanking him for helping to persuade the Senate to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Nixon supported the civil rights acts of 1964, 1965, and 1968.

In the 1966 campaign, as related in my new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority, [2] out July 8, Nixon blasted Dixiecrats “seeking to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”

Nixon called out segregationist candidates in ’66 and called on LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, and Bobby Kennedy to join him in repudiating them. None did. Hubert, an arm around Lester Maddox, called him a “good Democrat.” And so were they all—good Democrats. While Adlai chose Sparkman, Nixon chose Spiro Agnew, the first governor south of the Mason Dixon Line to enact an open-housing law.

In Nixon’s presidency, the civil rights enforcement budget rose 800 percent. Record numbers of blacks were appointed to federal office. An Office of Minority Business Enterprise was created. SBA loans to minorities soared 1,000 percent. Aid to black colleges doubled.

Nixon won the South not because he agreed with them on civil rights—he never did—but because he shared the patriotic values of the South and its antipathy to liberal hypocrisy. When Johnson left office, 10 percent of Southern schools were desegregated. When Nixon left, the figure was 70 percent.

Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools. For history is a pack of lies agreed upon.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.” [2] Copyright 2014 Creators.com.

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#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 3, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

“Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools. For history is a pack of lies agreed upon.”

I think you missed ‘Head Start’. And I am laughing because I agree with your assessment …

I do not believe the gentleman was a racist. If one steps away from the myopic addiction to audio tapes and the myopia on the tapes is on a miniscule portion of the tapes.

#2 Comment By Myron Hudson On July 3, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

Thanks for this, Mr. Buchanan. I always gathered that the Southern Shift was really former Democrats who felt uncomfortable with/edged out by the party’s assimilation of the prevailing counterculture. That sure is how it looked to me at the time. Now I really have to get your book.

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 3, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

I guess it depends which pack you’re blowing smoke from, which distortions will be emphasized. Spiro had other failings self-inflicted though, not the fault of “the nattering nabobs of negativism.”

#4 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On July 3, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

Nixon was by no means a conservative. The Watergate Scandal notwithstanding, Nixon’s administration was far more liberal than that of his old rival, JFK. Nevertheless, the Left never forgave Nixon for exposing Hiss.

#5 Comment By philadlephialawyer On July 3, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

Kevin Phillips was Nixon’s senior strategist in the 1968 election. If he did not create the term “Southern Strategy,” he sure midwifed it. In 1970, less than two years after the election, and less than a year after working in the Nixon Administration, Phillips told the “lying” New York Times the following:

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”

That sure sounds like a “Southern Strategy.”

In 1968, perhaps, Nixon was content to let Wallace take the Deep South, but he sure as hell made a play for the rest of it. And it wasn’t Black voters that he was appealing to, with his calls for “law and order,” his explicit claims that the Civil Rights movement had led to the race riots of the mid to late 60’s, and so on.

LBJ knew that the white vote was lost in the South, for decades, with his support of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Sure, he and Humphrey still tried to maintain their power on Capitol Hill by backing the remaining Southern racist Democrats, but the tide was turning and everyone knew it, not least of all Nixon. That hardly makes LBJ and Humphrey “heroes” (and, again, I don’t see where the Times say they were), but they needn’t heroes for the Times’s statement viz a viz Nixon’s electoral strategy to be true.

I don’t necessarily think that Nixon was a racist. But the “money quote” from the Times:

“For the first time since President Richard M. Nixon’s divisive ‘Southern strategy’ that sent whites to the Republican Party and blacks to the Democrats …” doesn’t actually say that he was. Rather, it says that used a divisive strategy to gain white support in the South.

Mr. Buchanan’s statement,

“Thus has one of the big lies of U.S. political history morphed into a cliche—that Richard Nixon used racist politics to steal the South from a Democratic Party battling heroically for civil rights,” has no real grounding in fact and is itself rather misleading. The Times’ claim is that Nixon played to southern white hostility LBJ, and the civil and voting rights policies associated with him and the national Democratic party starting in 1964, not that Nixon endorsed explicitly racist policies or even “politics.” And even less is the Times claiming that Nixon himself was a “racist,” which is what the title of Mr. Buchanan’s article might lead one to believe.

Indeed, of all the claims made about Nixon, all the knocks on him, anti Black racism is rather low on the list. Perhaps there is a fair amount evidence of anti Semitism in the secret tapes, but not, so far as I know, of racism. And, of course, Red baiting, dirty tricks, shiftiness, maudlin self pity, paranoia, a chip on his shoulder a mile wide, and so on, are all much more associated with Nixon than simple racism.

#6 Comment By Jonny On July 3, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

“Nixon’s Southern Strategy was racist” and “Democrats through the 19th and much if the 20th century were racist” are totally different and unrelated statements. They are not mutually exclusive. Listing prominent, racist Democrats of the 19th and 20th centuries does absolutely nothing to refute the claim that the Southern Strategy employed racism. People who believe that the Southern Strategy was racist are perfectly aware that Democrats in the 19th and 20th century did support or enact white supremacist policies. Nobody believes that Lincoln was a Democrat or that Davis was a Republican.

#7 Comment By Ken T On July 3, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

So what? Everything you have written here is completely irrelevant to the point you are trying to refute. Yes, it is true that, prior to 1964, it was the Democratic Party that could be reasonably described as the party that supported racism. But then came the Civil Rights Act, pushed through by LBJ with all the political capital he could muster. Which made southern Dixiecrats very angry with the party, and made black people and the white liberals who supported the civil rights cause look to the Dems as the party more likely to support progressive ideals going forward.

By 1968, the Republican Party launched the Southern Strategy to peel off those Dixiecrats once and for all and bring them into the R fold.

Was Nixon racist? I have no idea, but I’m willing to take your word for it that he was not. But he was completely willing to allow his party to use a blatantly racist strategy to put him in office. And nothing you might say about Teddy Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson does anything to change that.

#8 Comment By Steven Donegal On July 3, 2014 @ 10:53 pm

You should have left the last sentence out. It gives the game away.

#9 Comment By Charlie Rosenberg On July 4, 2014 @ 12:12 am

This is a mixed bag. I’ve had occasion in the last four years to read a good deal in the pages of the Pittsburgh Courier from the 1950s. There is no better barometer of the currents among Americans of African descent — the paper published 14 editions coast to coast. A good deal of the content sustains the theme of this post… during that time period.

There are reasons that voters of African descent swung Democratic. One is that after migrating north, they found that urban political machines would cheerfully marshall their votes as well as those of Polish, Irish, German, Greek, Italian and other immigrants. In a small way, Negro leadership gained a bit of power in those machines, although Mike Royko detailed how Rep. Bill Dawson’s pull with the Daley machine at turning out votes did not generate open housing laws or small, sustainable public housing scattered throughout the bungalow belt.

Roosevelt did deliver economically in ways that Americans of African descent appreciated — and Republican voting strength elsewhere being what it was, he couldn’t afford to alienate the southern bloc.

But, many did become disillusioned. Robert L. Vann, publisher of the Courier, who called for voters of African descent to “turn the picture of Abraham Lincoln to the wall” and support Roosevelt, became disillusioned by 1938. The paper endorsed Dewey in 1944 and 1948 (after Vann’s death). Dewey had given unreserved support to the paper’s “Double Victory” campaign in 1942, for victory over fascism abroad and racism at home. In 1956, the Courier endorsed Eisenhower and Nixon, who carried 39 percent of the black vote — a post-1932 high water mark.

Nixon was often quoted in the pages of the nationally distributed weekly supporting civil rights laws.In 1956, the Republican Party took out a double truck ad featuring Adlai Stevenson’s speech in Louisiana proudly recalling that his grandfather stood with the KU Klux Klan in opposing carpetbaggers (he didn’t say “Ku Klux Klan” of course, but the impact of what Stevenson said, to his southern base, was devastating when it appeared in the weekly black press).

Around 1957, the paper quoted Thurgood Marshall predicting a massive shift of black votes to the Republican Party. Percival Prattis, as executive editor and editor, wrote in his weekly “Horizon” column that considering the strength of the southern wing of the Democratic Party, only a Republican president could make any progress with civil rights legislation.

But, the fact remains that when Kennedy made a coldly calculated decision in 1960 to make a phone call to Loretta Scott King, when her husband was on a Georgia chain gang many feared he would not survive, and Nixon made an equally cold calculated decision not to get involved, it made a significant difference. Martin Luther King, Sr. was supporting Nixon, until then.

Richard Nixon had made a career of doing whatever it took to win. He once admitted that he knew Helen Gahagan Douglas and Jerry Voorhees weren’t communists, but his job was to win an election against them. He noticed that the passage of the civil rights act and voting rights act were losing the southern states to the Democratic Party. He geared his campaigns to capitalizing on this opportunity. In the south, unfortunately, antipathy to liberal hypocrisy was the handmaiden of resistance to racial equality.

It also cannot be over-emphasized that Barry Goldwater’s refusal to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 devastated Republican support among voters of African descent. True, Goldwater was not personally a racist, nor did his family discriminate in the running of the family business in Arizona. But his support in the south was not fueled by vigorous libertarian thinking, but by racism seeking the only outlet it had in a national election. Black voters knew it. The GOP never had a chance with them again.

I’ve read a good deal of Percival Prattis’s archived correspondence with Baptist ministers, community leaders, many of them conservative in their thinking… but they wrote in many ways “there is no excuse for Goldwaterism.” The average voter gave the Republican campaign even shorter shrift.

Nixon was a pragmatic president, once he had the office, creating the EPA, OSHA, and indeed enforcing many civil rights laws. He was not George Wallace — and indeed, Wallace was more a political opportunist than a committed racist. When he found he needed black votes to win a comeback race for governor of Alabama, he openly appealed for them. But the “southern strategy” was all about race and civil rights, it was not about God and country. Of course, whoever said that political leaders have to keep their campaign promises, if those promises become inconvenient?

Actually, Nixon never promised to repeal the civil rights laws. Few in the south expected that was possible. He marshalled the discontent generated by the fact that those laws had been adopted. He was, on the other hand, the president who disproved the sentiment among radical leaders that while Lyndon Johnson might intone “We shall overcome,” no president would ever call for “Black power.” Nixon did.

#10 Comment By Rachmiel Ariel On July 4, 2014 @ 1:19 am

I agree that Nixon’s “racism” has been exaggerated. At the same time, I believe that Buchanan’s has been understated:

“Rail as they will against ‘discrimination,’ women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism. . . . The momma bird builds the nest. . . . (Washington Times. November 18, 1983).

“The Negroes of the ‘50s became the blacks of the ‘60’s; now, the ‘African-Americans’ of the 90’s demand racial quotas and set-asides, as the Democrats eagerly assent and a pandering GOP prepares to go along. . . . Who speaks for the Euro-Americans, who founded the U.S.A? . . . Is it not time to take America back?” (NY Post, June 20, 1990).

“There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States” (The McLaughlin Group, Aug 26, 1990).

“After World War II, Jewish influence over foreign policy became almost an obsession with American leaders” (A Republic, Not an Empire [1999] P. 336).

#11 Comment By Steven D. Rennet On July 4, 2014 @ 2:50 am

“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”

[3]

On Jamaica:

“Blacks can’t run it. Nowhere, and they won’t be able to for a hundred years, and maybe not for a thousand. … Do you know, maybe one black country that’s well run?”

[4]

How dare anyone say he was anti-black, right?

#12 Comment By James from Durham, England On July 4, 2014 @ 5:21 am

It is noteworthy that it it was Bush who appointed black people to higher positions that any had held before in the USA not any democrat. Like Nixon, Bush was detestable in many ways, but he was not a racist either.

#13 Comment By grey enlightenment On July 4, 2014 @ 6:53 am

Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools

that worked well, didn’t it? American public schools lie its prisons are the worst in the world .

#14 Comment By Red Phillips On July 4, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

Quick, somebody call the police! Someone has hijacked Buchanan’s column! While everything here is technically correct, it’s PC pandering. It is a common trick of PC phobic “conservatives” to claim that Republicans supported Civil Rights and Southern Democrats opposed it. Yes, because Southern Democrats were the more conservative element at the time. And all those white Southern Democrats became Republicans as the parties somewhat switched roles. Buchanan is better than this. I’m really disappointed.

#15 Comment By Charlie Rosenberg On July 5, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

“Do you know, maybe one black country that’s well run?”

Yes, that is an example of Nixon being racist. But I do have an answer to it, having researched an article on Haiti for Encyclopedia of African American History 1896-present for Oxford University Press, and necessarily going back to earlier periods to explain anything coherently.

Haiti was very well run under Toussaint Lourverture, who was hero of the blacks, and whites, in that order, and enemy of the mulattoes, who hated both. Yes, he used literate white clerks to administer, but he ran the government, and set its policy. Haiti’s export markets prospered, and had made sure the laborers got one fourth the net proceeds, his government got one fourth to maintain roads, clinics, schools, etc. and Haiti would be VERY well run if Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson had not conspired to bring him down, then slapped an embargo on trade with the republic’s two biggest historical trading partners.

It is noteworthy that it it was Bush who appointed black people to higher positions that any had held before in the USA

You mean George HW Bush? In his term, the advancement of people of African descent he trusted to carry out his policies (a rather limited pool, but by no means nonexistant, had a lot to do with the fact that when Gorbachev came to visit, his staff prominently feature a grand-daughter of Oliver J. Golden. Who? Golden was a graduate of Alcorn State College, an agronomist who volunteered to go to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. Yelena Golden Khanga, his grand-daughter, made such an impression that the American side started rushing to find some way to show that we too can put Americans of African descent into diplomatic posts… and it gave a real boost to the careers of “Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell. Not that they didn’t have ability, but ability isn’t always what gets you into high places. I’m afraid Golden’s entry at African American National Biography is behind a subscription only log in, but many public libraries have subscriptions. Check out the “Further reading” list.

Bottom line: Nixon, and Bush (Sr) were pragmatic opportunists, who would do whatever it took to win, and then act according to what seemed to either bolster their standing or enhance their legacy once in office. Bush was a life-long Episcopalian, but could give a convention speech like a Southern Baptists if that’s where he thought the votes were. Nixon never felt he had to spell out the word G-O-D, but I’m sure he could have if he saw the need.

#16 Comment By Sam On July 6, 2014 @ 8:49 am

I think Buchanan’s point is well taken but the important point for me is that while Nixon is tarred with being racist or using a racist strategy you rarely, if ever, see this applied to Democratic heroes like FDR or Johnson for example. So the sense is that the past only counts against you if you’re affiliated with the wrong party.

#17 Comment By david helveticka On July 6, 2014 @ 11:25 am

As far as I am concerned, Nixon was also the president who cared the most about the “middle class”—his great “Silent Majority”, against the greed of Wall Street Banksters and financial speculators who have done so much to destroy the financial security of his beloved working folk, the folks who believed in the work ethic, and hated the well-to-do liberals and spoiled brats of the “New Left” that who invented “Identity Politics” that has culminated in the “Obama-Nation” of warmongering, and using race, ethnicity, religion to divide the nation’s political center as a distraction to hide the fact they are letting the banksters loot what’s left of the American Dream.

Setting the record straight on race is just another step in resurrecting Nixon’s legacy. I applaud Buchanan for his efforts on behalf of Nixon.

#18 Comment By BD On July 7, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

My understanding of what the “southern strategy” really was–as opposed to how it’s portrayed by the left these days–is that the GOP wouldn’t actually have to appeal to southern racists (through “dog whistles” or otherwise) but let the northern Democrats’ actions on civil rights in the ’60s drive their southern wing to the GOP by default.

Granted, this meant that many racist former Democrats would become GOP voters–that, or they’d vote for George Wallace, who actually won the Deep South states in ’68–or stay home. But this is very different than the current narrative that the GOP suddenly decided at Nixon’s schemingly clever and opportunistic urging to try and win over racists.

The real switch had already happened in the mid-’60s, as seen by Goldwater only winning Deep South states (plus his home state) in 1964. Part of this was because Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act that year, but that wouldn’t explain why southern states began a more permanent shift to the GOP (after all, as noted above, Nixon did support all the Civil Rights acts). The bigger reason was that as the Democratic party embraced civil rights, this drove many racists out of the party, making their party more liberal in the process. That sort of liberal party–the type that could nominate Humphrey and then the even more liberal McGovern–would have a very hard time appealing to conservative southerners.

But note–the South could still shift back to the Democrats on occasion, as most of the south went with Carter in ’76 and many southern states went with Clinton in ’92 and ’96. What to make of all this? Campaigns and candidates matter, and southern voters by the 1960s were no longer seeing the Democratic party as protective of their Jim Crow system, so their votes became more up for grabs.

#19 Comment By Red Phillips On July 7, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

BD, the switch to the GOP at the national level in Presidential elections happened sooner than it did at the local and House/Senate level, which took a while to settle out.

#20 Comment By cka2nd On July 7, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

What philadelphilawyer, jonny, Charlie Rosenberg and – Holy crap! – Red Phillips said.

#21 Comment By M_Young On July 7, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

White Southerners, whether you guys like it or not, still have the right to vote. Even if they are ‘racist’ by your lights. Indeed they have the right to vote in their interest as white Southerners, just as blacks, Jews, Latinos, and Quakers have the right to vote in what they perceive as their interests. And when the Nixon coalition was created, a lot of white Northerners, particularly urban ‘ethnics’, shared much of the same interests as white Southerns. They still do.

@R. Ariel — for point and stutter quotes, over 3-4 decades, that’s pretty weak sauce.

#22 Comment By M_Young On July 7, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

“Haiti was very well run under Toussaint Lourverture, who was hero of the blacks, and whites, in that order, and enemy of the mulattoes, who hated both. ”

Okay, how about a well run country dominated by blacks in the last 200 years. Blaming a 200 year old trade embargo for Haiti’s problems is the definition of disingenuous.

#23 Comment By M_Young On July 7, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

William Fulbright, signer of the Southern Manifesto, advisor to the Clintons.

Sam Rayburn, hero of Watergate. “People are entitled to their prejudices just like they are entitled to their allergies”.

The list of Southern Democrats who were segregationists and yet who continued in good graces in the Democratic party into the 1970s and 1980s and beyond is long. The ‘Southern Strategy’ is an overwrought legend, with has as its chief purpose the uniting of an internally unstable Democratic coalition of blacks, SWPLs, self-righteous northern whites, Latinos, etc against a common enemy, southern whites.

Its a very old technique.

#24 Comment By Charlie Rosenberg On July 8, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

Okay, how about a well run country dominated by blacks in the last 200 years. Blaming a 200 year old trade embargo for Haiti’s problems is the definition of disingenuous.

Senor Young, do you not believe in tradition? Are the accomplishments of your ancestors nothing to your sense of place in the world today?

What do you think are the prospects of a once-wealthy nation that has had its entire economy devastated, its accumulated capital assets ruined, and finds its two most important trading partners closed to its primary export commodities, forever?

First generation post invasion, no capital to invest. Next generation, nothing much accumulated, because nothing is selling, and by that time, there are profound inflences on the culture, and willingness to build much of anything. Then, in the nation’s severely weakened states, the French government that overthrew the French government that overthrew the French government that overthrew the French government that your honored dead once defeated,shows up with a couple of ironclads and demands payment for the value of the colony its predecessors had lost?

If southern California were isolated from the world, all industry and most houses were burned to the ground, nobody from outside the region was willing to invest in building or rebuilding… what kind of life do you think your children would grow into??? What sort of resistance would your grandchildren be able to put up when a thoroughly modern Chinese navy showed up?

I was blaming liberals for the demise of Haiti, and all you can do is ask how many black people have equalled Toussaint Louverture in the last 200 years… not many “white” people have been Louverture’s equal either.

Its a funny thing about Caribbean islands. They have basically supported two types of economy. One was the subsistence economy of the Arawak, and the more aggressive subsistence economy of the Carib. The other is commodity export… which is totally non-self-sustaining, seldom growing enough food for a tenth of the population. (St. Domingue imported its “Negro provisions” from the United States, so the land could all be devoted to export crops).

It only takes one counter-example to disprove the rule “blacks can’t run a country.” OK, scratch that explanation, let’s see what else was at work.

But, Namibia has been a well run country for many decades, Botswana perhaps even more so. Admittedly, both had substantial mineral wealth, but what made the Republic of South Africa into anything more than a bunch of hicks enjoying the “lekker lewe”? President Reagan seemed to think highly of the prime ministerof Jamaica in 1983…