Vox on Puerto Rican statehood

Vox, a left-wing publication founded by a fellow Bruin (Ezra Klein), has a pretty good piece up on Puerto Rico’s inability to “gain statehood,” i.e. to become a full-fledged member of the American federation. I say “pretty good” instead of great because the author, Alexia Fernández Campbell, does too much Trump-bashing and not enough focusing on the issue at hand.

Look, I didn’t vote for Trump. I don’t like Trump. But the Left’s infatuation with him is unhealthy, the way the Right’s infatuation with Obama was unhealthy. When Obama was president, I wanted so badly to rely on the right-leaning press for excellent opposition coverage of the Obama administration but, with few exceptions, all I got was garbage. The experience jaded me, and I expect less of the press, so the Left’s inability to look at the Trump administration’s many wrongdoings with clear-eyed sobriety is annoying rather than disheartening.

For instance, Campbell points out many problems facing the pro-statehood faction in Puerto Rico: a century-old racist SCOTUS ruling, the lack of a clearly-defined process for gaining statehood, anti-statehood factions in Puerto Rico, Washington’s lack of interest in adding another state, and Donald Trump being A Very Bad Man. One of these problems doesn’t fit into Puerto Rico’s decades-long campaign to gain statehood. Can you guess which one? Annoying!

At any rate, Campbell misses one of the problems facing pro-statehood factions: Puerto Rico would be a “blue” state (overseas readers: “blue state” means a reliable vote for the Democratic Party). If Puerto Rico really wants to become a member of the American federation, its policymakers would do well to start looking for a “red” state (reliable vote for the Republican Party) lobbying partner.

Nightcap

  1. African-American incomes in mid-century Tom Westland, Decompressing History
  2. Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap Coleman Hughes, Quillette
  3. When Black Unemployment Rates Were Equal to White Unemployment Rates… Vincent Geloso, NOL
  4. My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave Trader Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, New Yorker

RCH: America’s WWII internment camps

Folks, I forgot to link to last weekend’s piece at RealClearHistory. It was about World War II internment camps in the US. An excerpt:

As a quick historical reminder, the United States government, under the direct orders of Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt, imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Americans and recently immigrated foreigners for the crime of being Japanese or German (the Italians got some flack, too, but less so than the other two), or for having a Japanese or German surname.

The vast majority of these imprisoned people were Japanese or Japanese-American. In fact, the total amount of interred German or German-American prisoners was roughly 11,000, and the number of Italian or Italian-Americans much smaller than that.

Please, read the rest.

The Enlightenment and the Birth of Racism

I have a new essay up at Liberal Currents in which I respond to the charge that the Enlightenment saw the birth of modern racial theorizing. Thanks go to Adam Gurri for getting me to write it and for him and others at Liberal Currents for giving plenty of comments along the way.

The piece was inspired by Jamel Bouie who on Twitter and in a longer piece claimed that

“Race as we understand it—a biological taxonomy that turns physical difference into relations of domination—is a product of the Enlightenment.

In the piece, I take issue with this claim and provide evidence both of racial theorizing predating the Enlightenment and that modern scientific racism did not fully emerge until the 19th century, when it drew less on Enlightenment ideas than on Counter-Enlightenment thought.

In their eagerness to damn the Enlightenment, modern progressives neglect the contribution to racial theorizing of numerous Counter-Enlightenment thinkers from Joseph de Maistre to Thomas Carlyle.

Of course, other pieces have responded to Bouie. Including Ben Domenech at the Federalist and Katie Kelaidis at Quillette (both excellent). Hopefully, my essay adds to this conversation.