Becky Akers on Racism   Leave a comment

Lela: Welcome back! Becky Akers and I are continuing our discussion of how an anarchic world would deal with racism and bigotry since there would be no government to enforce civil rights. Becky, my mother, an American Indian, suffered some segregation issues – difficulty renting apartments, denial of job opportunities — so I’ve always viewed the Civil Rights Act as a necessary government action which means I can be a human and not some sort of subhuman racial minority. Which brings us back to my original statement – government would not be necessary if men were angels. If men and women are bigots, how do the people they want to oppress get justice in a world without government?

 

Becky: Lela, I attended a women’s college that was so heavily Jewish it offered a kosher dining room. We schicksas, as its patrons called us, were forbidden to so much as throw our trash into the kosher garbage cans. Imagine the bigotry when even your wastepaper isn’t good enough!

 

Christian AnarchyLela:  That’s awful, but vaguely understandable given Jewish kosher regulations. I wouldn’t choose to be that cut off from the normal course of society and I couldn’t treat people with such contempt, but I understand it in principle. But that sort of attitude is exactly what scares me.

 

Becky:  Yep. So it’s understandable that you and a great many folks hope the State will force people to show better manners. But let’s remember who codified and enforced the racism that your mother suffered: government.

 

Lela:  Did it come from government or was it people in community who hated/feared Indians and wanted their land and asked government to support their decision to steal and abuse? That’s sort of off topic, but it is interesting to consider which came first — racism growing from the sinful hearts of fallen people or the government codifying and enforcing that racism.

But, back on topic — does anarcho-capitalism offer a better solution than civil rights legislation?

 

Becky:  Anarcho-capitalism offers far better methods of combating racism than that sin’s prime proponent, the State, ever could.

 

For over 75 years after the Constitution’s ratification, the Federal government and many states legislated and enforced chattel slavery. And those governments’ atrocities against American Indians are so heinous and infamous that time, space, and a queasy stomach prevent my rehearsing them here. Does it make sense to look for salvation from racism to the very agency that bolstered—and continues to bolster—it?

 

Lela: From someone who gets to look at it from both sides — whites did some evil things to the Indians, but some of my Indian ancestors admitted to the evil they did to white settlers. There was evil done on both sides and I can’t justify any of it. I can understand the sentiments that created the conflict, but I can’t justify the sins committed.

 

My family came to Alaska about 1946 just after Alaska became the first place in the United States to make Jim Crow-like discrimination illegal. My mom immediately noticed the difference from her experience in Washington State. My dad was with his first wife, a Creole, at the time and he always talked about the “miracle” of anti-discrimination laws. I grew up never really knowing legalized racism and thank God for that.

 

Becky:  But let’s ask another question: why were Jim Crow laws “necessary”?  Why go to the bother of legally banning black people—or, in Alaska’s case, native peoples—from movie theaters, housing, etc., if white people are by and large racists? Because clearly most proprietors of movie theaters, landlords, restaurateurs, etc., disagreed with discrimination. Then as now, these folks wanted as much profit as they could earn. And that means subjugating one’s prejudices against other colors to favor one: green.

 

Lela:  That’s a perspective I had not considered before. It would explain why Alaska’s anti-discrimination law was passed in 1945 and within a year my dad and mom (in separate parts of Alaska) noticed a difference. I always sort of imagined the owners of the Juneau Hotel grinding their teeth as Roy and Katherine Peratrovich celebrated its passage by dancing in their ballroom with their white patrons, but I never met any older white Alaskans who said they were absolutely horrified at its passage either. And it is true that the discrimination laws were written to “protect” white privilege because whites were a minority compared to Natives at the time. So, you think money is an anecdote to bigotry?

 

Becky:  Yes, I do. I think the free market in general is one of God’s greatest blessings to us because it lifts more people out of poverty by far than any other economic system. And specifically, it is bigotry’s most tireless enemy, as the State tacitly admitted every time it passed another law against a commercial transaction or behavior based on race.

 

Now, does this mean that everyone everywhere will welcome everyone all the time in an anarchic world? No, of course not. Let’s always remember that anarchy does not yield utopia, nor should we want it to: utopians like Hitler or the Khmer Rouge number among the most ruthless murderers in history. Whatever our social or political systems, we will still be fallen sinners living in a fallen world. But anarcho-capitalism offers the most opportunities for peace, prosperity, and freedom from bigotry’s burdens to the most people.

 

Lela: I’m still stuck here, though. I’m not looking for a utopia where everyone gets along and nobody has any evil thoughts. That won’t happen until we’re with Jesus in heaven and I honestly believe there will be some seriously embarrassed Christians when that day comes.

 

Becky: Amen. Seriously embarrassed.

 

Lela: From a statist perspective:  those that society deems “less-than” can perhaps “buy” their way into an accepted status in stateless anarcho-capitalist society. The converse is that “less-thans” are almost always poor in material wealth because of lack of opportunity. So again, don’t we circle back to needing the state to protect civil rights?

 

Becky:  Lela, much of the “lack of opportunity” you lament results from the State! For example: government requires many professionals, such as hair-braiders or morticians, to undergo expensive training totally irrelevant to their needs and to buy a license before they can practice their trade. Poor people almost always lack the time, money and resources to comply with the State’s demands; this isn’t “lack of opportunity,” this is outright tyranny! And it wouldn’t exist in an anarchic world.

 

There are other problems with anointing government Our Protector Of “Civil Rights” (I’ve put that term in quotes because I vehemently disagree with “civil rights,” as I explain here, here and here. “Civil rights” is a recognized political philosophy based on Marxism rather than mere shorthand, as most people assume, for “warm, fuzzy laws against nasty old bigots”). First, let’s remember government s inherent incompetence and corruption. Neither fault goes missing among those writing, passing, and enforcing regulations against discrimination. A Chinese landlord in San Diego, CA, may bribe the bureaucratic bean-counter who finds no Korean tenants in his five apartment buildings, but he’s unlikely to increase his profits in a heavily Asian area if he continues to indulge his racism.

 

Lela:  Okay, that makes sense. In a territory where most people were Alaska Natives who were starting to get educations and incomes (Roy Peratrovich was a lawyer, for example), it didn’t make much sense for businesses to refuse to sell to them.

 

Becky:  Remember, too, that we can’t control the unintended consequences or direction of any legislation, including that of “Civil Rights.” Who would have predicted in 1964 that the State’s ordering hoteliers, airlines, landlords, movie theaters, etc., to accommodate all patrons regardless of ethnicity would lead to the persecution-sorry, prosecution of Christian bakers and florists 50 years later for refusing to supply cakes and flowers to homosexual “weddings”?

 

Lela:  I definitely agree there. A law upholding the Christian principle of anti-discrimination (James 2 comes to mind) has become an excuse to deny religious liberty — to force private individuals to participate in and publicly sanction sinful behavior.

 

Becky: Lela, you’ve articulated a powerful principle there concerning the State. It always twists “well-intentioned,” “Christian” legislation into a horror straight from the pit of Hell. “Compulsory education” is another case in point: Protestants concerned about the huge numbers of Irish Catholic immigrants to mid-nineteenth century America pushed for laws compelling everyone to send his kids to “public” school–which they assumed would always be Protestant. Imagine their horror if they could see the State’s schools today, with pornography and the deliberate destruction of innocence, a.k.a “sex education,” unhealthy drugs and violence rampant, Darwinism not only preached but fanatically believed, and indoctrination in Marxism replacing any actual education.

 

Lela: In effect, the Civil Rights Act now discriminates against Biblically-faithful Christians. So how did that get twisted around?

 

Becky:  The Civil Rights Act arrogated the property owner’s rights to the State; in effect, a restaurateur no longer owns his diner because government now tells him how he may or may not use that property. If you doubt that, let me ask whether you own the bottle of aspirin you bought 2 weeks ago and placed in your medicine chest. If you do own it, can I prohibit you from opening it? Of course not! You can open it or not as you see fit, right?

 

Lela:  Yes.

 

Becky:  And if I said, “I prohibit you from opening that!”, wouldn’t you laugh at me? Wouldn’t you say, “Look, I have a headache, and anyway, it’s my aspirin! I’ll open it when I dang well please! It’s none of your business!” So with other kinds of property. If the State can tell me the uses I must make of it, I do not own it: the State does. And once we have ceded government the authority to dictate how some property-owners must use their property (restaurants must seat black patrons; landlords must rent to families with little kids though they disturb other tenants), we cannot legitimately, logically protest when it forces other property-owners to use their property as bureaucrats and politicians desire.

 

Lela:  Okay. I can see that. In fact, I’ve had conversations with people on this blog who argued the same thing from the statist position.

 

Becky: Lela, it’s supremely ironic that so many folks believe the State saves us from the consequences of bigotry: it’s among the worst of discriminators, if not the worst! Go to almost bureaucracy’s website and you’ll find a page like this one, listing the ways in which the agency favors some people over others, based solely on sex, race, etc.

 

Lela:  Right. Those pages (in print in those days) were always a conundrum for me because I could legally claim minority status, but I was raised to celebrate all of my heritage, so I didn’t. In high school, I started checking “other” and writing “human” on the line. I hope some bureaucrats were confused by that.

 

Becky: Good for you! The upshot is that government doesn’t prohibit discrimination and bigotry; instead, it promotes both in the varieties that bureaucrats and politicians prefer.

 

Lela: I’m part-American Indian, but I have blue eyes and curly hair, so I have a choice whether to look white or Indian (and have experimented to see if there is a different reaction; there is sometimes with some people). In principle, I can say that private individuals and companies have a right to choose who they associate with, but if I’m honest, as an Indian, that would mean my freedom would be curtailed by their freedom. It’s not as simple as saying “well, just move somewhere and associate with your own kind” because my own kind is as much Americans of Swedish and Irish descent as Americans of Indian descent. To me, freedom is being able to move within all of those groups without having to change my appearance to “pass”. I don’t care what’s kicking around in the private recesses of some rude person’s mind because their thoughts don’t hurt me, but if their actions deny me freedom … then I start to see a need for government to protect my freedom.

 

Becky: We need to return to our definition of  government,  Lela, which I’ll paraphrase as “physical compulsion, up to and including lethal compulsion, and the authority some people (ie, politicians, bureaucrats and their enforcers) claim to initiate that compulsion against others.” Are you saying that if a landlord refuses to rent to you, government should ultimately kill him?

 

Christian AnarchyLela:  No! Rudeness should not carry a death sentence.

 

Becky: Let’s also specify what we mean by “freedom” (which I’ve used throughout our conversation interchangeably with “liberty”), since you fear that bigots’ actions deny you your freedom. The dictionary defines ”liberty” as “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.” As an anarchist, I’d remove “arbitrary or despotic.” And for the purposes of our discussion here, I’d also delete “or control” since we’re dealing with political freedom and there are other sorts of “arbitrary or despotic…control” (my mother-in-law, for example!). Ergo, liberty is “freedom from government.”

 

When we consider both these meanings in the context of your sentence, we see that however despicable or cruel the “rude person’s” treatment of you may be, he is in no way denying your freedom. Unless he is a politician or bureaucrat acting in an official capacity—and in an anarcho-capitalist world, we’d have neither of those sub-species—he is merely insulting, offensive, and inviting the judgment of God. Indeed, his abuse is so egregious that when you tell me about it, Lela, I organize a boycott of his business. I shun him personally, too, as do readers of the articles I write against him. Pretty soon, he either gets the message, or he’s one lonely, broke racist.

 

Lela:  Now we’re getting to the crux of the conversation! Reasoning from a statist position, the lack of a state means there’s no way to influence others, but you’re suggesting there are alternatives to the state that work just as well or better.

 

Becky: Much better!

 

Lela: We’re running out of time today. Would you be willing to return to discuss this further?

 

Becky: I’d be honored to do so!

 

Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian who has written two novels about the American Revolution, Halestorm and Abducting Arnold.

 

 

What's Your Opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Stine Writing

Poetry, Positivity, and Connecting!

Writer vs the World

In search of beauty, inspired by literature.

Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Tales + Books + Compassion + Culture + Wagging Tails

Fairfax and Glew

Vigilante Justice

The Wolf's Den

Overthink Everything

SaltandNovels

Sprinkling wonder into writing

Remmington Reads

A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore!! A reason to Love and A promise to fight the wrong is hidden in Books. Come, Let's Explore it!!!

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

%d bloggers like this: