“Has the American dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?” The debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr

A riveting exchange between two intellectual giants on the most pressing social issue of that or perhaps any time in American history.

The debate on the question occurred at the Cambridge Union, Cambridge University, England in 1965.

I am requesting that you reserve comments until you've seen and heard the entire video.

It's an hour long, so I don't expect or anticipate immediate response or reaction:

Views: 193

Comment by Ron Powell on July 17, 2017 at 3:03am

@MVB; "...and rather by a willingness to share in society..."

This may have have been true for a brief moment in American political history. 

However, the driving force behind this phenomenon has been and is primarily the desire to win elections.

Comment by koshersalaami on July 17, 2017 at 6:19am

On the part of the DNC, maybe. On the part of the electorate, no. Egalitarianism among sectors of the electorate is not that cynical. Rev. Barber's supporters for Moral Mondays are not doing it to use minorities to win elections. 

As to DNC cynicism, the accusation I've heard is that Democratic centrists use identity politics to keep their constituents focused away from economic distribution issues - a bone to their public to keep them from opposing the corporatism their key contributors insist on. In other words, political liberalism emphasized so they can ignore economic liberalism. Keep them focused on transgender bathrooms and focused off their wallets because focusing on transgender bathrooms is free. 

I don't know how true the accusation is. That was my dilemma with Hillary. Obviously, given her opponent, I supported her anyway, but I wasn't sure enough about that answer to vote for her in the primary. As the the DNC since the general election, my suspicions have been heightened given the moderate candidates they've put up in special elections since, all of whom have lost. The Democratic Party does not need moderate candidates right now. They should stop worrying about Bernie's party loyalty and start worrying about what their core constituency will mobilize for, and that isn't moderation, particularly given that economic and political circumstances do not call for moderation - they call for addressing distribution problems way more seriously than that. 

The last numbers I saw, which are a few years old, indicate that the poorest 40% of America's population collectively owns 0.3% of America's wealth, which is incidentally less than the Walton family owns. That says two things:

1. We have a bad justice problem, with a distribution model way more skewed than even ideal Republican numbers taken in surveys. 

2. For a lot of businesses, this means that two out of five American consumers are essentially AWOL. Why the general public and the Democrats in particular haven't made an issue of this, of skewed distribution as our biggest business problem, is totally beyond me. If Imwere in the DNC, I'd have been on Wall Street saying that the Republicans are terrible for business. I've made this point repeatedly in posts but not recent ones. Perhaps I need some reposts. 

Comment by koshersalaami on July 17, 2017 at 6:34am

Maybe I need to go back to 1-Alligator (the name of a post). As a model:

Use time to represent money because scale in time is easier to grasp than pure numbers.

$1=1 second

An expensive meal is about a minute ($60) per person

An average premium car is about half a day. An expensive but not totally exceptional premium car is about a day. 

An average American house is maybe two to five days. Mortgaged.

A million dollars is about 11 1/2 days.

A billion dollars is in the neighborhood of 31 years.

Each Koch brother is worth well in excess of a Millenium. 


Let's leave the model for a second and look at the Koch brothers in other terms:

One of the brothers has three kids. If he were to pass away,

The inheritance tax rate was a Draconian 99%,

The estate was evenly divided between his wife and kids,

His heirs would be forced to survive on a net worth of over $100 million


This is who we won't raise taxes on. 

Identity politics matters but we have to fix this, and we don't fix this by voting for moderates who aren't strongly about fixing this.

Bernie is. That is Bernie's real value to America. Blowing him and his followers off is terrible for the country because his core issue really is that critical. 



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