Thursday, January 20, 2011

"The Golden Age of Privilege Is Now"

While I find myself increasingly annoyed with Jamelle Bouie's centrism, he absolutely eviscerates right-wing arguments that we are losing our freedom. These arguments run in a fairly typical pattern--wealthy white man like Mark Steyn complains that modern America isn't as free as the 19th century, when a white man could truly do whatever he wanted.

Of course, for poor people, for women, for gays, and of course for African-Americans, the 21st century is far, far freer than the idealized late 19th century. Bouie concludes:

Which is to say, if there is anything that infuriates me about conservative rhetoric, it's this refusal to acknowledge the profound illiberty that existed in the United States for most of its history. Okay, so you don't like universal health insurance and you don't want the government to give your money to the lazy or "less deserving." Fine, that's fair. But let's not pretend like today is somehow less free than the past. For blacks, and virtually everyone but white men of privilege, the golden age of freedom is now.

I'd like to think the golden age of privilege is in the future, but other than that, it's hard to argue with this point.