Help, help, we're being oppressed!
Californian columnist for 'The Free Radical' Michael Vardoulis sent me a reflection from afar on why Maori activists need to learn about independence and self-reliance from the likes of the late-career Malcolm X (right) ...
Yes, Maori individuals have a lot fewer historical claim to bitterness than Afro Americans, or especially Native Americans and Hawaiians! Whatever their legitimate complaints, at least New Zealanders never suffered the stain of slavery while proclaiming the protection of individuals' rights. These are individuals whose ancestors were never enslaved -- not at least in New Zealand after the British arrived.
Maori individuals need to shake off the great state fixation too many seem obsessed with. There is a kind of philosophical 'judo' that Malcolm X represents, insofar as the pride of self-reliance he talked about is essential to survival as an individual, and it would apply to Maori as well. His message of "why look to your former 'masters' and the government which supported them, for anything? The only thing a (insert arbitrary racial identity here) individual should seek from the government which supported their former master is to be left the hell alone!"
The lesson that needs to be tattooed on the soul was expressed perfectly by Isabel Paterson: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you've got" -- including, if you let them, your pride in your self-reliance. Self-reliance does not come from sucking nanny's tit, or from the marshmallow embrace of collectivism -- it comes from standing on one's own feet and beginning to take responsibility for one's own future as an individual.
And then we have the conclusions one can draw universally on the issue of 'race' from what Rand wrote so perfectly: the only genuine solution to racism is a color-blind government supporting the same rights for all individuals as individuals; anything *other* than that merely perpetuates the evil of racism, and (not incidentally) the careers of political figures who benefit from the perpetuation of the problem rather than achieving solutions.
Liberty HAS been stolen from many different arbitrary groups (though compared to what others have suffered over history, including many Europeans it's much harder to find in the case of post-1840 Maori) and in any case it's ultimately irrelevant to the much more important issue of regaining that liberty, which can only be achieved in a society where only the rights of the individual are upheld regardless of any arbitrary 'group' status either placed upon them or with which they choose to identify.Hell, the Brits stomped all over my mother's ancestors in Ireland, and the Turks all over my father's ancestors in Greece. I don't go looking for handouts from Downing Street or Istanbul! I just pursue a society in which the individual is protected from being interfered with, knowing as a result that no arbitrary group can be singled out either for persecution, or for restitution. The people who stomped all over my ancestors are long dead and buried -- those alive now bear no guilt for what their great-great-great grandparents did to mine.
But, I fear I preach to the choir. It's individuals of Maori, Afro-American or Native American backgrounds which need to 'get it'... as my mentor Richard Boddie (right), a former student of Malcolm X, is fond of saying, "People are deluded en masse and enlightened one at a time."
The lesson of Malcolm's own growth and change over his life helps to show that lesson is true -- and dangerous to those who would hope the lesson is never learned.
The interested reader might appreciate PC's review of Spike Lee's film 'Malcolm X' that appeared in The Free Radical at the time of the film's release. [NB: Some light editing of Michael's post has been done for sense and context.]