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Saturday, July 02, 2005

wrong, wrong, wrong

Radley Balko points to an alert from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting on a recent rant from Paul Harvey. Apparently, Harvey said the following on air:
"We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.

"And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
This isn't just appalling as a defense of slavery and genocide, it's also appalling because it buys into the left-wing notion that these things were essential for the success of capitalist societies like America. Nothing could be further from the truth and it speaks of the intellectual bankruptcy of Harvey and others who defend past American atrocities by saying it was a necessary evil. It sees success as a zero-sum game: we prospered because we stole from others. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Capitalism succeeds because it is a positive sum game, a system of mutually beneficial exchanges. Slavery harmed America because slave owners used the coercive powers of the State to subsidize their evil enterprise. It was the Army that slaughtered the Native American, not frontier traders.

Harvey's conclusion is absurd as well. Just which "lean, hungry up-and-coming" invaders are going to "ultimately dominate" us? It's the worst kind of neocon drivel to think that hewing closely to civilized principles of peace and freedom means we are made of "sugar candy" and ripe for takeover.

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