Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jesse Jackson, David Duke, Ralph Nader and the Perils of Genuine Populism

Posted by Jack Hunter on Sun, Mar 9, 2008 at 10:15 PM

I have mentioned on occasion to freinds and others that I would have voted for David Duke in 1992, despite his genuine racism, for the same reason I would have gladly voted for Ralph Nader, in any of his presidential runs and even this year, despite his statism. 

Crazy? Jesse Jackson fit the same mold in his presidential bid. Writes The Left Conservative's Dylan Hales:

"As (Murray) Rothbard points out:

"They said in the 60's when they gently chided the violent left: "stop using violence, work within the system." And sure enough it worked, as the former New Left now leads the respectable intellectual classes. So why wasn't the Establishment willing to forgive and forget when a right-wing radical like David Duke stopped advocating violence, took off the Klan robes, and started working within the system? If it was OK to be a Commie, or a Weatherman, or whatever in your wild youth, why isn't it OK to have been Klansmen? Or to put it more precisely, if it was OK for the revered Justice Hugo Black, or for the lion of the Senate, Robert Byrd, to have been a Klansman, why not David Duke? The answer is obvious: Black and Byrd became members of the liberal elite, of the Establishment, whereas Duke continued to be a right-wing populist, and therefore anti-Establishment, this time even more dangerous because "within the system"

"Around the same time that David Duke was first making noise as a serious candidate in Louisiana, there was another candidate seeking an even higher political office, running on a populist platform. He had a history of flirting with racial identity movements and advocating race based political strategies. His biggest success was in another state of the Deep South, South Carolina. The paleoconservative, libertarian sympathetic, scholar Clyde Wilson had this to say about the man in question in a 1992 essay:

"..if the Democrats had any spirit, any integrity, any faith in their own convictions, they would nominate for Bush's opponent the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is far and away their most articulate, most charming, and most sincere leader. But this, of course, they will never do. Jackson at least has had the guts and the patriotism to complain about the loss of family farms and the shipment of American blue-collar jobs offshore-something no leading Republican has had the integrity to do, as far as I know."

"Watch Jackson when the cameras go in close. He is a real human being-one who has suffered and thought. (I write completely without irony.) Though he is sometimes half-baked in his solutions-what leading politician isn't?-he speaks from the heart about real problems, and once he has taken up an idea he does not retreat just because it's unpopular. That is, unlike Bush, he really represents his constituency. Allowing for differences of style, he is is no rationally describable sense any more of a demagogue than Bush-and a lot more sincere. Beside him Bush looks like a preppie, and the other Democratic presidential contenders like pyramid scheme salesmen."

Jesse Jackson is no Ron Paul, but Clyde Wilson was right. The Democrats were too cowardly to nominate the populist because he challenged accepted norms of the managerial-warfare state. This time around the Republicans were too cowardly for reasons all to similar. Libertarians like Matt Welch and David Weigel might think their ideological purity on the cultural issues gives them some sort of moral standing, but really it just shows how far out of the norm they are."

Read Dylan Hales entire column

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