Why American Politics is Such a Mess
The American right often seems pretty nutty. They don’t seem to want the social safety net that most Western countries enjoy. They often seem angry, but the object of their anger is often unclear or bizarre. Think of Glenn Beck’s vague apocalypticism, or the birther movement.
The reason many white Americans dislike welfare is that welfare in the USA is to a great extent a transfer of wealth from white people to black people. And people don’t like to be forced to support help people that 1) aren’t like them, and 2) aren’t carrying their share of the burden. But this sort of thing can’t be said openly. So instead you get a lot of libertarian and anti-government rhetoric. But people who see their countrymen as kindred aren’t moved by those sensibilities.
Right-wingers get charged with racism anyways (because at some level everyone sort of knows what’s going on), so I wonder whether it wouldn’t be worthwhile to be a little bit more forthright? Of course a lot of people geninely believe their libertarian rhetoric, and don’t want to think of themselves as “racists.”
In any case, the racial divide in the USA is a source of profound weakness, and makes sober political debate almost impossible.
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Here’s Rick Santorum saying “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” He later backed down.