Why Are Democrats So Afraid?

If you want to understand race politics a good place to start is with Frederick Douglass and his memoir of his life as a slave. He tells about how he was rented out to a couple in Baltimore. Things went well; the mistress of the house was kind towards him. But her husband was afraid. He insisted on maltreating his rented slave to keep him cowed and subservient.

The same sort of attitude obtained in the sugar island of St. Croix where my man Alexander Hamilton grew up in the mid-18th century. Every white man was enrolled in the militia against the risk of a slave revolt.

That's how to understand Jim Crow. After its defeat in the Civil War, the white South was terrified that the former slaves would rise up and kill everyone in their beds.

Let's generalize on this notion. If you are a ruling class running an exploitative and oppressive regime you naturally fear that the serfs will one day rise up and slaughter you in your beds. So you crank up the exploitation and the oppression -- the terror -- just in case.

Of course, in the end the worst fears of the South weren't realized. The great-grandsons of the 19th century Northern abolitionists descended on the South in the 1950s and broke up Jim Crow and segregation. The nation held its breath, and nothing happened.

All that fear and loathing and brutal oppression was for nothing! After sweeping away the laws and the symbols of segregation, the world went on as if nothing had happened, except for the fact that African Americans in a few cities rioted and burned down their neighborhoods – in the North.

Now let's take a look at today's fear and loathing. We have an administration ginning up killings of young blacks just before elections: in 2012 and 2014. Now what would that be all about?  Here's the incomparable Heather MacDonald writing about the mainstreaming of the career racist Reverend Al Sharpton, now the president's BFF. Why would elite Democrats be mixing it up with a man like Al Sharpton?

Ever since Judis and Teixeira and The Emerging Democratic Majority liberals have been telling us that they own the future. If that's the case then what's the hurry? Why was it necessary to jam through ObamaCare on a partisan vote? Why is it necessary to terrify blacks about a return to Jim Crow, or counterattack against a “Republican War on Women?” Why is it necessary to gin up the Hispanics with threats about immigration reform? Why do you have to gin up the IRS against Tea Party groups? Why does Harry Reid need to frighten Republican contributors with his war on the Koch Brothers?

Maybe the Democrats don't own the future. Maybe the Democratic advantage among women, minorities, and youth is a mile wide and an inch deep, a result of teacher indoctrination, media indoctrination, and left-wing activism. But things aren't going well for the Obama army in 2014, exhausted and retreating after six years on the march with nothing to show for it. Like any retreating army, the Democratic generals need tough military discipline, battle-hardened sergeants and “file-closers” putting the fear of God into their soldiers to keep them in line and to prevent a rout. Is that what we are experiencing this election season?

Maybe the African American and women voters are right to be afraid. Any African American that works in a bureaucracy in America has to worry: what would happen to me if Affirmative Action and diversity ended tomorrow? How far would I sink without an Obama and a Democratic Party that's “Got My Back?”

Maybe women voters are right to be afraid too. Not about their contraception, but about their jobs. Women are “overrepresented” in jobs like teacher, nurse, social worker. Guess what would happen to jobs like that if Republicans ever got into power and started doing education reform, health care reform, and welfare reform?

So history comes full circle. People that used to be on the outside looking in are now the insiders looking out at the angry faces pressed against the window. And they are afraid, just like the Southerners of the Jim Crow era.  But to give up their benefits and their privileges? That would be unthinkable.

That's the downside of putting your faith in political power. All politics is a road to injustice, and the fear of what will happen if the rubes get restless. You can't go back, and you know you can't go on much longer. So what do you do? You lash out in fear and loathing until somebody puts you out of your misery.

Hey Democrats! Don't forget there's nothing to fear but fear itself!

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.