Reflections on White Privilege, Its Origins and Implications

White privilege, white fragility, systemic racism -- we are bombarded with these and similar concepts on national media, in big cities, and even in a rural county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The words seem familiar and give the impression that they are describing something bad about race relations that should be rectified. But to most, on all sides of the political issues, the exact meaning of the words remains obscure. Some shout them to belittle or bully opponents without understanding their origins or purpose, others hear or read them and wonder what it is that deserves such attacks. Understanding where those phrases came from and why they are used has become a necessity for informed participation in debates over race in America.... Read More

Thinking About Things: A [New England] Republican’s View of Policies for a Unified Way Forward

So, here we are at last: on the verge of class warfare, racial warfare, gender and other identity warfare, political warfare, a war on police (crime having won the war on crime), the erasure of Western and American history, and the predominance of mob- and group-think. And that just describes the last week or two. There does not seem to be any consensus about anything. It is hard to imagine the speed with which all of this has gelled, although the elements have been building for years. Covid-19 seems to be making a resurgence and the economy seems ready to respond with further decline. Independence Day is upon us and July 4 no longer feels patriotic. One even wonders if the great American Experiment has actually failed. If so, where did it go wrong? Well, I don’t know. But I do feel that everything I read now is mired in analysis paralysis. Everybody has reasons to think other people are wrong. I have read virtually nothing recently about a possible path forward. Accordingly, this column is devoted to thinking about policies from a New England Republican’s conservative point of view, which might serve as a foundation for the future - policy approaches that could be embraced, and I think should be embraced, by a wide swath of the population no matter their politics. Hope springs eternal. The policies I propose have not in all cases been deeply researched; nor am I prepared to defend each down to the last implementing detail. They are relatively high or mid-level and notional. Some will be controversial, others less so; others not at all.... Read More