How Much Do Black Lives Matter?

Ask Mr. Jones

Mr. Jones – the title of a movie released last year now playing on Amazon Prime – discovers that the New York Times’ Moscow Bureau and its Pulitzer writer Walter Duranty is covering up Stalin’s starvation of 4 million Ukrainians (16 million relative to today’s global population) to protect the gloss of socialism, later explaining “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs”. All the other journalists except Jones apparently go along for the same reason. The death toll of socialist ideology would reach 100 million (300 today) during the next several decades in the pursuit of Utopia. There were no omelets.

Only a few thousand (almost all black) deaths have as yet resulted from prior Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement protests, but this is only the beginning. The question is, what is their leaders’ version of Utopia and how many lives are they willing to sacrifice to achieve it?

Socialism, Fascism and Crony Capitalism are Sisters

Over the past several centuries two systems of political economy, socialism and capitalism, have competed. The distinguishing characteristic of all socialist variants is the authoritarian hand of politicians, whether or not “elected.” The distinguishing characteristic of capitalism is the invisible hand guiding the competitive market. Neither system promises “equal” outcomes: capitalism “fair” outcomes based on individual merit without eyesight to discriminate by color or sex, socialism in theory based on need as determined by politicians and bureaucrats.

Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism (2008) argues that fascism is a sister to Soviet socialism. What the U.S. has called “crony capitalism” has different features than the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini, but includes authoritarian control over business and markets. Similarly, the welfare state democratic socialism has different features than Soviet socialism, but shares state control over income. The Progressive Movement in the U.S. has historically used the authoritarian political hand to benefit not just the rent-seeking cronies at the top (politicians, the intellectual elite, etc.) but also the working and under-class. The competitive market system that remained somewhat out of the state’s reach produced most of the income and wealth that funded this progressive largesse.

What is Racial and Social Justice?

Political power – in the hands of the Democratic Party – was indisputably the source of racist oppression from its founding through the Great Society. The black/white wage gap has remained unchanged since for those employed. What has changed is black participation in the labor force. The old generation of eminent Black economists Tom Sowell (90), Walter Williams (84) and Shelby Steele (74) have, in hundreds of books and thousands of articles, many addressing the issue of race in America, argued that the Great Society has been the source of income and wealth disparities by creating dependence on the welfare state, massive penalties for marriage (raising the percent of live births outside of wedlock from 10% to over 70%) and work (a marginal tax rate over 100% on earned income), restrictive policies such as minimum wage, and opposition to charter schools.

But the primary demand of the militant black protestors who seized university buildings a half century ago was the creation of progressive Black Studies programs that reinforce the Charlottesville premise that America was born to slavery, that American racist oppression never ended, and that the statues are symbols of this inborn oppression, the only source of the current income and wealth gap with whites. The BLM movement rejects the nuclear family, and demands that the state eliminate the remaining gap not closed by existing transfer payments of about $45,000 annually for families of four in the lowest income quintile.

Don’t Throw Out the Baby with the Bath Water

In his article published in 1853, anti-slavery Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle used that phrase when considering what comes after emancipation. The Civil War ended as it began, with no plan for the future (other than Lincoln’s plan for a return to African Liberia). After the painful period of Reconstruction, the first half of the last century was devoted to making good on America’s promise of freedom of opportunity for all, derailed by the Great Society. The Clinton Administration tried to jump start the reduction of wealth disparities by inducing millions of black households without the steady income stream necessary to sustain homeownership, with disastrous results for the global economy, and particularly for black families.

“Effete Intellectual Snobs”

That’s a truncated version of the label given by VP Spiro Agnew to “national masochists” i.e., intellectuals who would bring national ruin, written a half century ago by the New York Times writer William Safire. American historians have generally been biased against market capitalism. The term “Robber Baron”, first used by the New York Times in 1859 to describe Cornelius Vanderbilt, was popularized during the Depression by a disciple of socialist/progressive writer Charles Beard. America’s dark history has been made hopeless to many millenials through the lens of socialist sympathizer Howard Zinn and racist through the lens of the New York Times 2019 revisionist 1619 Project. Economists have been the most easily seduced by the attraction of state power, finding “market failures” at both the macro and micro level to justify their intervention. The Austrian economists Schumpeter and Hayek recognized socialism’s masochistic appeal to “intellectuals” who felt that they could run the world better than those chosen to do so.

What Goes Around Comes Around

The heavily Democratic state of California is in the process of amending its Constitution to legalize racial discrimination. Rather than admit the failure of the Great Society, the chattering classes accept white guilt and reparations on behalf of the white working class who still celebrate the 4th of July. They will remain above the bloody fray – at the contemporary equivalent of Walter Duranty’s salon – when the angry mob that rejects such obvious appeasement comes in contact with those who refuse to accept this latest socialist lie as the premise for the BLM anarchy and revolutionary socialism. The academics, journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” won’t be on the streets when the hearses and paddy wagons arrive, says Mr. Jones.

It might take a Maoist-inspired Cultural Revolution that sends the chattering classes to the fields and factories to learn how real income and wealth is produced to avoid this war.

Kevin Villani


Kevin Villani was chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985. He has held senior government positions, has been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on how politicians and bureaucrats with no skin in the game caused the sub-prime lending bubble and systemic financial system failure.

9 thoughts on “How Much Do Black Lives Matter?”

  1. I think it is significant that most BLM organizers are white. The blacks are the looters but mostly serve as cannon fodder. The white marxist/anarchists are not interested so much in blacks’ welfare as they are in revolution. The blacks, as in so many circumstances, are being used and fooled. One amusing movement that I just saw is an attempt to get blacks to only buy from black businesses. I would be in favor of that as long delayed if I thought there were enough blacks with enough education and initiative to actually start businesses like small grocery stores. I don’t think there are enough who could do so.

    Remember the black middle class has been based for a century on government jobs. The affirmative action push has added many token blacks in offices. Real skilled jobs have been disproportionately held by African blacks like the Ibo tribe from Nigeria who number many “Quants” in the financial world. They also do not have the victim mentality of American blacks that does them so much damage. My wife has a black internist who is Jamaican and she had an infectious disease specialist a few years ago who was from Swaziland. Both were excellent.

  2. Beside the point, perhaps, but when some leaders are aiming one way (say Woodson in practice, Sowell in theory, etc.) and others in the opposite (say Jackson & Sharpton) and we saw which were chosen as spokesmen by major media as much as by Blacks themselves, we might have seen this coming. And certainly when one of the main producers of money for the Democratic Party and institutions protected by the democrats was Planned Parenthood, it is hard to see any of the left as giving much of a damn about black lives. (It is quite possible to be even relatively neutral about abortion and to find that approach despicable.) I don’t think it is an accident that most modern references to Douglass cheapen his enthusiasm for autonomy – his most popular speech was “The Self-Made Man.” Certainly he doesn’t argue that his freedom was likely without a resolute fight that left him, grown and strong, the winner, but certainly reading and thinking for himself were the core of his independence. But as the slave owners gave the slaves a Christmas with plenty of liquor to make them return, psychologically whipped, to servitude, the modern Marxists offer the fleeting sense of possession and high times that comes from looting, leading to a diminished sense of self and self-control.

  3. well susan rosenberg’s part, the revolutionary vanguard, ayers is in a similar position, and of course they need a lumpen proletariat, but as many alienated members of the bourgeosie, this follows the soviet strategy to cultivate disparate nationalities to ultimately dissolve them, when time comes

  4. Of course Black lives matter.

    Just NOT because they are black. Inalienable right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Granted by God, not men.

    The same is true for all lives, regardless of color. (At least it’s supposed to be true in this country, elsewhere YMMV).

    A Zen thing I heard the other day. “The Student asked the Master, “Master, how should we treat the Others?” The Master replied, “There are no Others.”

  5. There are forty million living blacks in America.

    Planned Parenthood has killed an estimated 18 million blacks, under the justification of women’s rights.

    In comparison, killing, oh, six million black males who have been ever convicted of a felony, or forty million blacks, is not that much more obscene.

    If 1619 is correct, and whites can essentially never not be white supremacist, what reason is there for a white to address BLM in the way that BLM desires, as opposed to mass murder?

    There are many more moderate options available for a white who rejects 1619, and critical race theory. Among them, the simple rejection of the claim that criminal justice reform was ever a good idea.

  6. Some of the African blacks I have talked to are almost dismissive of American blacks. “Descendants of war losers,” sort of thing. Also there were quite a few free blacks that were slave owners, including I think Kamala Harris’ father’s ancestors.

  7. oh my, quoting Goldberg as some kind of authority! who’s next in your intellectual pantheon, Lil’Billy Kristol?

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