Robert Byrd and the Privileges of Aristocracy
posted at 3:26 pm on July 1, 2010 by Doctor Zero
Mike Riggs at the Daily Caller reports on a remarkable statement of support for the late Senator Robert Byrd from the NAACP:
On Monday the organization released a statement from NAACP President and Chief Executive Benjamin Todd Jealous claiming that Byrd’s life “reflects the transformative power of this nation.”
Jealous goes on to say that Byrd, who once asserted that it was an affront to dignity to ask white men to serve alongside blacks during World War II, “went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country.”
As Mike Riggs points out, Byrd was a committed opponent of the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He wasn’t just a member of the Ku Klux Klan – he was part of its leadership. Within the last few years, he made statements that could at best be characterized as “racially insensitive,” which means “instantly fatal to the career of any Republican who said them.”
Of course, the NAACP’s embrace of Byrd has nothing to do with principle. It’s a heartless, soulless political calculation, made by a group that profits handsomely from the immense government Byrd nourished. His endless incumbency gave him control over billions of tax dollars, and his votes were crucial to the agenda of Big Government, which the NAACP also serves. The statement from Jealous actually cites Byrd’s vote in favor of ObamaCare as one of the ways he “stood with” the NAACP.
There is no reason for any intelligent person to take the NAACP seriously after its morally bankrupt endorsement of Robert Byrd, and its complicity in whitewashing his white sheets. However, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend they remain an organization dedicated to principle, rather than another mindlessly hungry organism in the Big Government ecosystem. Benjamin Jealous is saying that Byrd’s activities in later years completely erase the stain of racism from his energetic membership in the KKK. Several years after joining, Byrd told a Grand Wizard that “the Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia, and in every state of the nation.” He was not a confused teenager when he made this statement. We are now assured that it doesn’t matter at all. His signature on the Democrat policy agenda was the baptism of an entirely different Robert Byrd.
Is there any way such indulgence would be granted to a private citizen?
Of course not. This moral barter system is available only to the aristocracy. The NAACP will mercilessly destroy the career of any private individual who violates its posted ordinances against racial insensitivity, but they are easily paid off by spending a few billion dollars of other peoples’ money. The transparent cynicism of this arrangement, made clear by the spectacle of wretched old Robert Byrd lying in state while his past is lovingly airbrushed by “journalists” at the New York Times, transforms the moral revulsion of racism into an instrument of tyranny.
The NAACP, and similar groups, gain prestige and authority through the patronage of politicians. In return, they offer precious moral capital to the politicians they endorse. This is a completely closed system, accessible only by members of the political and cultural elite, who support the agenda of increasing government power… with very expensive associate memberships available to well-heeled donors of compatible ideology.
When we observe that no Republican could hope to have his biography re-written to transmute bitter racism into championship service in the cause of civil rights, we aren’t merely clucking our tongues at the unfairness of partisan dirty pool. We’re watching one of the supreme moral judgments of our society become another sharp fang in the jaws of the leviathan State. Few indictments in our culture are more devastating than the charge of racism… and this charge is applied, or neutralized, almost entirely on the basis of the target’s usefulness to the State.
The Democrat Party represents the State (and is increasingly disinterested in representing anyone else.) The life and death of Robert Byrd demonstrate that loyalty to the Party and its agenda provide total inoculation against offenses which are completely inexcusable for the rest of us. As we saw in the aftermath of Ted Kennedy’s death, faith in the State leads to miracles of moral transformation. It is beneath the dignity of free people to accept such privileges for an aristocracy which judges them morally unfit to control their own lives.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.