Friday, December 29, 2006

The Execution of Saddam Was a Tragedy for Iraq and the Advancment of Human Rights

The execution of Saddam represents an end, but not the end expected. The expectation is the execution marks the resolution of the problem of justice for oppression victims in Iraq. This expectation is erroneous. There is no justice for them. Gay men and enemy sectarians—both continue to be the subjects of death-and-torture squads like those from the Saddam era. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died from violence precipitated from the US invasion and subsequent regime change. This is utterly similar to the ravages resulting from the Iraqi war against Iran. The execution does not represent a break from evil. It is a continuation of the same.

What did the execution end? An opportunity to treat Saddam better than he had ever treated anyone, and for the new Iraqi government to uphold the human rights he so despised.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Anti-Ford Ad Racist? No, But Viewers Could Be.

In the Tennessee senatorial race, there is an anti-Ford ad in which a white blond woman claims to have "met Harold [Ford] at a Playboy party." This ad is deemed racist by many on the left because of its evocation of the prospect of an interracial hook-up. I disagree with this perspective. Why is the portrayal of a potential episode of interracial dating racist? It is not. People will make of the ad what they will. It is the attitude of an ad-viewer, not the ad itself, that is racist if he/she is turned off by the prospect of interracial commingling. Critics of the ad fear the people's reaction to the ad. They would have the senatorial race be sanitized so that there would be no reasons for people to use their base instincts for political judgment. Why should we do this? It would be capitulating to the ignorance of the American public. (I for one am not turned off by any an image of people of different colors coming together in love.) Notwithstanding, the makers of this ad probably did pick the white blonde because she is white and blonde, which entails racial considerations. The combination of white and blonde results in the architypal porn star. Just look at Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, and Jenna Jameson for examples.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why a Liberal Should (Sometimes) Like Wal-Mart

Much has been said on the left about Wal-Mart. It does not pay its employees well. It does not treat them well. It destroys downtown stores. These are all true, but I say Wal-Mart benefits poor local communities tremendously.

First point. According to reliable, non-Wal-Mart sources, Wal-Mart pays wages averaging a bit over eight dollars per hour. To the economist, this is a horrible wage, a wage in poverty. No one ought to work for poverty wages. The wages are better than nothing.

Second point. There is no doubt Wal-Mart is one of the worst employers since the days of union-busting. The employees are forced to work overtime off the clock. They get few, if any, benefits. They must adhere closely to the rigid Wal-Mart behavioral prescription, or face certain dismissal. Women face certain discrimination. What are the alternatives in the rural, backwards South? Stay at home and clean the house which your drunk father and adulterous mother have wrecked? That would be a terrible life. Wal-Mart brings grub to a starving horse.

Third point. If anything is for certain, Wal-Mart strategizes to destroy all competition. As a monopoly, Wal-Mart has the power and capacity to do anything to undermine and decimate all foes. No matter. Who are the local competition? Mom and pop stores: overly priced, inexaustive selection of products, minimum wage, small employer, economically underdeveloped. Wal-Mart is better on all counts. It is not overly priced, does have a good selection of products, pays above minimum wage, large employer, comparatively economically progressive.

In rural, Southern communities Wal-Mart is clearly good for the populations. Liberals need to realize this. Otherwise, they risk undermining the liberation of backwards communities. This would perpetuate a needless cycle of economic dispossession. Wal-Mart breaks that cycle. It brings hope. Liberals are a hopeful bunch. They should not impugn that feeling.