Ron Unz, the idiosyncratic software/ political entrepreneur who is single-handedly undermining "bilingual" education, got in hot water recently because of a comment that was denounced as, guess what, "racist."
In his weekly newsletter, Unz had slammed Rod Paige, Bush's pro-Bilingual Ed Secretary of Education, as being "the dimmest member of the Bush Cabinet":
Paige, a black former football coach, is believed to have obtained his job largely due to George W. Bush's intense support for "Affirmative Access," and is widely regarded as the dimmest member of the Bush Cabinet. Although nominally serving as the top- ranking member of the Bush Education Team, his apparent lack of ability to master or comprehend that portfolio meant that he played virtually no role last year either in shaping or articulating Bush's signature education bill, the "No Child Left Behind Act," with the responsibilities actually devolving to Sandy Kress, the longtime liberal Democratic activist actually running Bush's educational policy.
[Bush Administration Denounces "English"]
The usual suspects were outraged. In Massachusetts, opponents of Unz's latest anti-bilingualism initiative demanded that local anti-bilingual send back Unz's money, as if it were a donation from the Pioneer Fund (not that there's anything wrong with the Pioneer Fund).
In defending himself, Unz points out that all the liberal media say the same thing about Paige that Unz did. But of course, that's different. The New Republic, for example, feels that Paige is a failure because Bush is bigoted against him. Paige is probably as bright as the next educrat, of course, even if he's wrong about bilingual Ed.
I'm afraid the problem is that Unz thinks that all people who disagree with him are either insane or stupid. He's forgotten the rule that only white men can be called stupid in public. The rule is Republicans are always considered stupider than Democrats. That's why they're called the Stupid Party.
Ron Unz has been complaining about hypocrisy in the Republican Party when they complain about "affirmative action" but allow "tokenism." The Republicans could argue that "tokenism" is just a new form of ethnic ticket-balancing, a traditional manifestation of diversity being weakness in America. But as the Republicans are not showing any enthusiasm about eliminating affirmative action in civil service jobs, where it has revived the old spoils system but with a racial twist, Unz must be granted the point.
And his scathing conclusion about the Beltway Right is hard to dispute, although we would put quotes round the word "conservative":
More peculiar still, much of the harshest reaction, especially in private, has came from conservatives, who themselves frequently bemoan America's supposedly free-speech-chilling emphasis on racial sensitivity and "political correctness." In fact, the angriest notes I received came from two of America's most prominent conservative critics of affirmative action, individuals who have frequently raked Democrats over the coals for appointments that allegedly sacrificed colorblind merit on the altar of "diversity." What does this mean?
The sad truth is that in recent years many American conservatives have developed an almost breath-taking degree of intellectual hypocrisy on racial issues, particularly matters involving affirmative action and meritocracy. Often those same exact conservatives who are sharpest in their public condemnations of affirmative action policies in the abstract or when practiced by Democrats, are also the staunchest defenders of what would seem to be similar or even more egregious "diversity" policies when pursued by Republican officials or conservative organizations. One might almost suggest that conservative opposition to affirmative action is today better described as conservative opposition to affirmative action for non-conservatives.
I would strongly suspect that this blatant hypocrisy is readily apparent to much of the general public, and has played a substantial role in diminishing popular enthusiasm for periodic conservative political crusades to roll back the tide of "diversity" politics. Certainly Jimmy Swaggart's moralistic crusades lost much of their appeal after his own personal behavior came to light.
Unz a "racist"? As I said the last time the Southern Poverty Law Center accused immigration reformers of racism, this is a charge that is now meaningless, since it can be leveled against literally everybody - Frosty the Snowman, Mahatma Gandhi, Art Spiegelman, et cetera.
Unz criticized us for anti-Arabism because of my humble suggestion that it was odd that Bush had an Arab bodyguard during a war against the Arabs.
Nevertheless, we're going to turn the other cheek and sympathize with him here. He's just another victim of the zeitgeist, one aspect of which is the assumption that any criticism of blacks is motivated by hate.
We assure the modern witch-finders of Massachusetts that Ron Unz is does not look or sound like Strother Martin, who played the Georgia prison captain in Cool Hand Luke. Nor in fact does Unz think like him. But until the zeitgeist is dispelled, we will continue to have what Martin famously described, when confronting (again) the recaptured Luke, as a "failure to communicate".
August 01, 2002