Conservatives often complain that poor and minority peoples are never satisfied, despite the gains supposedly made for them over the past two centuries. So they assume that their opponents are just being greedy and bigoted against whites and the rich. But there is another way of seeing what has happened and what can be done to stop the problems. Consider Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
This would explain why, after slavery was abolished, the lives of blacks that had been enslaved did not improve much, because “Jim Crow” laws passed in the southerns states where slavery had been an institution kept blacks in an inferior social and economic status. Because whites had always been richer, they were able to influence governments and use companies they ran to keep themselves in total control.
Later, blacks rebelled against the Jim Crow laws and the racial segregation they were made to enforce, and got most of them struck down by the U. S. Supreme Court. Southern whites, and some in the northern states too, responded in several ways:
- Starting in the 1970s, the federal government, along with most state governments began issuing very harsh sentences for people convicted of possessing, selling and using illegal drugs. As a result, the prison populations exploded across the nation. Since poor and minority people often sold drugs to try to raise their depressed economic status, they often found themselves targeted for their crimes. Even worse, drug dealing was classed as a FELONY and anyone convicted of a felony would not be allowed to vote, even after being released from prison.
- Whites began creating and sending their children to private schools, often associated with religious institutions that preached conservative moral, political and economic values, instead of public schools that were largely populated by poor and minority students. The public schools were also often underfunded by governments elected by ignorant and selfish white people who wanted low taxes and “pro-business” policies that favored those who were already rich.
- An entire political movement, known as the “Religious Right” began to infiltrate and corrupt the Republican Party in the late 1970s for the purpose of tearing down the concept of church-state separation and making Christianity the dominant religion in society instead of merely the most popular one as it always had been. They wanted to discriminate against and even persecute those who were non-Christians, including atheists, gays, lesbians, and others who did not follow “Biblical” values. Oddly enough, the strongest “Christian” communities were in the “Bible Belt”, that part of the USA that was also known for…..keeping slaves in the 19th Century and then oppressing blacks still more in the century following the abolition of slavery. After the Religious Right died out in the 1990s, it was resurrected as….the Tea Party of today.
- The election of Barack Obama, the first black man to gain the U. S. Presidency, in 2008 infuriated white conservatives who then used the new “Tea Party” to energize and elect extremists among Republicans, including @$$holes like Sen. Ted Cruz, who represents my own home state of TEXAS, much to my embarrassment. Republicans took control of both houses of Congress in 2010 and also elected even more of them to Congress in 2014.
- In the 2010s, many Republican dominated states passed “Voter ID” laws to require voters to produce a picture ID in addition to their voter registration cards. The sponsors of these laws claimed they were made to prevent vote fraud, despite the lack of evidence that vote fraud was ever a problem anywhere. But in fact, most states also charged citizens money for their IDs, meaning that requiring IDs to vote was imposing a de facto poll tax, something already outlawed by the 24th Amendment because poll taxes discriminate against the poor and make voting a privilege instead of a right.
There is another one of Newton’s Laws of Motion that seems to explain why the “libertarian” concepts of limited government and the “rule of law” need to be thrown out of our politics in order to create a better society for the poor and minorities. It is the First Law:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
It took a white dominated “free market” to establish slavery in the American colonies and it took government force during and after the Civil War to end it. It also took more government force to fight back against discrimination against minorities in the mid 20th Century. And that government force in both cases was the result of pressure from blacks and enlightened whites who had enough of the arrogance of the conservatives in their times. But in each case, we later allowed conservatives to take back control, mistakenly thinking we had done enough and that this time, society would improve itself on its own. But it never does and it never will. Only when conservatism as a force in American politics is completely disabled in a second American revolution and/or a second American Civil War will the abuses and hypocrisies of conservatives across America finally be brought down for good.
Unlike mindless matter, which obeys Newton’s Laws of Motion blindly, we as a people should have the intelligence and compassion to end the cycle of abuse, reform and stagnation and change society completely. We just need the courage and foresight to bring it about!