Demagogic Justice: The 2020 Democratic campaign and the reparations moment that is long gone

Each candidate has divulged the intention of the Party to bolster class and racial identity as a primary component of their 2020 campaigns.

Shane Miller Montreal QC

The Democratic primaries are shaping up to be some riotous political theatre. In its inchoate stages, there are vast signals that it will be a contest for who can be the most preposterous, or the best at revealing their inner demagogue.

The first few years of Donald have caused the Democrats’ political cauldron to run dry and lack the thing that should most preoccupy the minds of presidential aspirants: substantive ideas that are plausible alternatives for contending with problems. Their myopic focus on highlighting Trump’s foibles have made them a force that is not to be seen as the reliable cure for America’s ills, but a bacterium that has aggravated them.

What is driving the modern Democratic Party isn’t higher pursuits like realistic policies that would truly help the marginalized; instead, its members champion victimhood and exploit peoples’ natural desire for a patsy upon which they can pin the blame for their troubles.

All for the furtherance of an agenda that aims to achieve the kind of justice that only exists somewhere in the cosmos: that precious little thing called social justice.

Each candidate has divulged the intention of the Party to bolster class and racial identity as a primary component of their 2020 campaigns. There is already a prodigious catalogue of examples but I will discuss a few which aptly foretell what we’re in for.

Elizabeth Warren has launched attacks against the “ultra-rich,” one of which included an NFL team owner whom she lambasted for purchasing a multi-million dollar yacht. She pondered if this means that he could allocate his resources for things she thinks are more worth his money, like her “Ultra Millionaire Tax” to help “yacht-less Americans struggling with student loan debt.”

Kamala Harris has been restless in her attempts to prove that she can really relate to those in the ‘hood, subjecting us to some of the most obnoxious displays of racial pandering that one could ever witness. Going so far as to mimic African American vernacular, of which she is not a natural speaker. She’s also falsified the career timelines of Tupac and Snoop Dogg to tell spurious stories about smoking the devil’s lettuce while listening to gangsta rap in college. (She graduated college in the ‘80s and Tupac and Snoop didn’t come onto the scene until the ‘90s.)

And this is nothing to say of the elaborate proposals on which most of them agree, like free college and the Green New Deal. When it comes to these policies, they can never deliver a cogent answer to questions regarding how these extravagant plans will be funded and affordable in the long run.

Yet they insist that America’s success is dependent on their ascendancy in January 2021.

They can never conjure up any reasons why their policies would be an improvement or practical. But with astonishing certitude, they just know that they’ll be able to bring about societal perfection.

One of the best displays of the vacuity of Democratic thinking is Bernie Sanders’ recent appearance on the Breakfast Club. Sanders, a man with no shortage of confidence in his ability to construct an American utopia, was asked about his legislative record and struggled to discern any legislation he had passed that helps the people on whose behalf he has assiduously crusaded. Though, he did say that he “had a long history in civil rights activism.”

All of this speaks to the copious problems within the modern progressive movement. They think ephemerally and focus only on short-term, immediate “progress,” never contemplating the long-term implications of their ideas.

This is why the Party isn’t that sheepish when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismisses questions asking how she will make her socialist desires something more than a reverie; because, when it comes down to it, the moral inspirations for a policy is what matters instead of how tethered it is to socio-economic reality. In essence, their grand designs for the nation are rooted in symbolism instead of substance.

Some of the Democratic candidates have embraced the idea of paying reparations to African-Americans to compensate for the history of slavery and Jim Crow. One of the candidates, Julian Castro, announced that as president he would “establish a reparations task force” to resolve the “original sin” of slavery.

This begs quite a few questions: What would such a task force entail? What would be their function? Who’d be forced to make a payment? Seeing how much the population has changed since the times of bondage and segregation, how would this be determined?

I’ll predict that none of these questions will be answered because this isn’t a conversation to be had with these people in earnest. It’s purely to appease the intersectional sect that has become a prominent part of the base.

The popularity of this thinking can be attributed to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 essay, “The Case for Reparations,” in which he indicts America for “being erected on a foundation” of a white supremacy that’s so fundamental that it’s “difficult to imagine the country without it.” His mendacious depiction of the American founding aside, he doesn’t make a clear case so much as he only summarizes dark historical chapters just to conclude that white people must accept their comeuppance for something in which they were not complicit.

His thoughts are shared with much of the intellectual elite, but a majority in the country are appalled by this proposition. According to polls, most Americans disagree that reparations should be paid, and for good reason, too.

How is burdening an entire demographic with collective guilt for something to which most have no connection going to help race relations? It won’t; it will only further polarize society.

Since Black incomes have risen in some areas in recent years, will income also be a criterion for deciding who the recipients of reparations should be? This quixotic enterprise carries too many contradictions that make it not even remotely realizable.

And it’s essentially a race tax. Renowned academic, Michael Eric Dyson, has advocated for it, claiming whites “should open individual reparations accounts.” Dyson was more blithe in his performance at the Munk debate when in response to Jordan Peterson’s sarcastic suggestion that whites pay a tax to atone for their “white privilege,” he excitedly concurred by saying: “You’re talking great s*it now!”

There you have a sample of the ideology that has taken the Democratic Party.  They’ve discarded individual justice in favour of an unjust social justice that promotes substantive equality. Queen’s University law professor Bruce Pardy avouches that this legal philosophy gives “licence to discriminate” as it applies different rules to certain groups depending on the degree of their past victimization.

One can only guess which group is disadvantaged in this legal formulation.

Of social justice demagogues, Thomas Sowell wrote that: “unmet grievances are fundamental to their continued viability.” There exists a party whose members are on a never-ending hunt for grievances— real or imagined— that they don’t seem too keen on actually redressing. For if they did redress them, there’d be no justification for their identity-based demagogy that inspirits many and their movement would crumble. If one is in search of reasons for the exodus from the Democratic Party, look no further than this.

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