It has been weeks since Dr. Benjamin Carson’s famous speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, but the vile reactions of liberals toward him continue to reverberate through out the media. However, this has amplified awareness of the presence of black conservatives and the efforts of liberals who try to constantly undermine their existence. More so, these events have brought attention to the left’s attacks on liberty itself.
Dr. Ben Carson is a highly renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who has a compelling life story of growing up poor to becoming a great success. During his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in which President Obama attended, he spoke about the effects of political correctness on preventing freedom of thought and freedom of expression. He made references to how moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility led to the fall of Rome and how it is a warning to America. To illustrate how significant our $16.5 trillion and growing national debt is, Dr. Carson noted that if it was possible, it would take a person over 500,000 years just to count to 1 trillion. He also pointed out how encouraging personal responsibility, free market ideas and freedom of thought could help solve many of our problems, and that hurting the rich as a political strategy will not result in helping the poor.
These positions riled up many liberals not just because the ideas reflect conservative values or ideas, but also because they came from Dr. Carson who is black. Among many of the vile responses to Dr. Carson’s speech, were statements questioning his ‘blackness’. His own life story and success countered the narrative of many on the left that a black person should not be a conservative, and dismissed the false assertion that those values will not help in upward mobility.
This reaction has not only helped to expose the left’s relentless sense of ownership to control the freedom of thought of black Americans, but also their attempt to mischaracterize what conservatism and the Republican party stand for. The left now has a real fear that black conservatives might be able to reach people in their communities. That is, conservative alternatives to liberal policies that they offer, can solve issues by promoting individual freedoms and limited government.
Ironically, the left who often plays the race card to deter people from listening to the ideas of conservatism actually practices racism. Some have treated black Americans as if they should only blindly support one ideology or party, otherwise they will be punished. The animosity on the left towards Dr. Carson, RG III, Allen West, Stacy Dash and Herman Cain etc. speaks loudly in this regard.
Inspired by the left’s assault toward Dr. Carson, Sean Hannity of FOX News recently had a special segment on black conservatives to give a voice to this issue. I was honored to be apart of that group in such an important discussion. Among the group were leaders in the black conservative community, such as Deneen Borelli director of outreach at FreedomWorks and author of the book ‘Blacklash’, Rev. C.L Bryant creator of the film “Runaway Slave“, presidents or members of organizations such as New Day Maryland, Project 21, the Black Sphere, Bond Action, Urban Cure, radio talk show hosts, FOX News contributors, writers, bloggers, and activists.
The Hannity special not only gave insight into the challenges black conservatives face in promoting their ideas, but also how the left has manipulated political thought and thus political power in America. Despite these challenges, black conservatives will increasingly be instrumental in helping the entire conservatism movement compete in communities where it has not in a generation or more.
If conservatives define themselves more effectively than the left can mischaracterize them, the substance of ideas they offer will help to negate the vile attacks aimed at them to being just political noise. For too many people what they perceive conservatism to be and against, has been based on what they are told by liberals. They have not heard from conservatives themselves about what they really are for.
In particular, if conservatives intend to loosen the monolithic 95% hold of black votes that Democrats enjoy, they will have to specifically outline how the conservative principles or policies of limited government and economic freedom, translate to the benefit of upward mobility in the black community.
The transition from limited government to a bigger and bigger government as the Democrats pursue, is resulting in a transition to a more limited people. With an unemployment rate of 14% (about twice the national average), the opportunities for black Americans will be the most limited due to a bigger government.
For example, conservatives have been vocal and actively in favor of school choice. When implemented, parents are given a voucher with the monetary amount estimated to educate a child for set period such as a year. With this, they can choose a private school they want their child to go rather than the government taking in taxes and choosing which school an individual’s child must go. Most often having this school choice benefits low income and minority children and has had great success in cities such as Washington D.C, New York and others. Thus, limiting the control of government over a taxpayer’s recourses allows an individual more freedom to prosper where their ambitions and dreams takes them.
However, very often the schools that enable better results are charter schools that operate at a lower cost and are non-union. Since unions are key financial supporters of the Democratic Party, Democrats such as President Obama regularly abstain from the opportunity to support school choice. A report from the Heritage Foundation reveals that the President’s recent budget actually cuts funding for the successful D.C. school choice program DCOSP. This questions the notion that the Democratic Party protects the interests of minorities, the poor and the middle class. The conservative alternative to such failure deserves an ear from those who could benefit most.
Limited government that Conservatives and the GOP support fosters economic freedom, which enables the free movement of capital to areas where they are most productive. School choice is only one example of economic freedom that allows an individual to apply their human resources or capital to where they are most productive. The expansion of government stifles economic growth and job creation through policies that deters the free movement of private investment, which results in further economic uncertainties and excessive national debt.
Where as liberals have used race baiting techniques as a wedge to box certain ethnic groups in as ‘their’ constituencies, under the pretense of protecting these groups from racial inequality. Economic freedom and the free market expansion it enables has been greatly underestimated in its role in breaking down racial and ethnic barriers. The free exchange of ideas, and free movement of capital results in dynamic synergies of interactions among people. As people realize that these interactions work towards their common interests, this begins to take precedense over racial and ethnic lines. Thus it motivates diversity. Economic freedom worldwide which has fostered trade has been invaluable in preventing global conflicts.
The entire American Dream is built on the conservative concept of economic freedom and is why America has been the magnet for immigrants like myself who come here to maximize their human potential. America is filled with stories of people who either came here, or was born and grew up here with nothing to become successful. The liberty of enjoying ones labor stimulates innovation, entrepreneurship, industry an thus job creation.
Economic freedom is the invisible hand that enables equal opportunity to ambitious and creative individuals to accomplishing great things, no matter their color or background. A big liberal government believes in the opposite. It insists that the more government can control and direct recourses via higher taxes, spending and regulations, the more it can guarantee equal outcomes. But how has that worked out in encouraging upward mobility especially to the most vulnerable such as minorities or poor and middle class? Economic freedom has proven that the taxpayer is more effective in managing their own earned dollar towards productivity than when a big government uses it via taxes for political purposes.
The States with the most economic freedom and limited government that allows lower taxes, less but effective regulations, more access to school choice and free market options to health care etc. and are most often run by Republicans, are also experiencing greater economic growth and lower cost of living than their liberal administered counterparts.
For years Americans especially black and the poor are told that if you barter away your freedoms for a bigger government, your lives will improve. Instead, their freedoms have been bartered away to give a bigger government more political power who only asks for more. As such, we have long Democrat run cities like Detroit and states like California, Maryland, Illinois who despite high taxes and spending never seem to have enough money and keep chasing job creators away.
Black conservatives will continue to have the opportunity and challenge to reacquaint people in their community about the virtues of liberty and how it emanates from the conservative principles of limited government and economic freedom. Conservatives in general understand that Americans with greater individual liberty no matter color or background leads to a stronger America for the 21st century. The founding principles, which still hold these truths, are more relevant than ever.
However, the greatest challenge will be exposing the ‘de-facto’ censorship liberals have applied via the media and the educational system. This has sought to extinguish freedom of thought and to indoctrinate minorities, the young and the poor. A recent hidden video revealed that a USC professor while ‘teaching’, described conservatives as ‘racist and against minorities’ and actually advocating suppressing GOP votes. This just an example of the widespread type of censorship the left uses to distort the meaning of conservatism and stifle liberty itself.
To disprove these false assertions, more conservatives should make similar efforts like what Senator Rand Paul did recently; he spoke directly to the black community at Howard University and took tough questions on conservative positions. This path allows conservative positions to be explained in the way they are intended, rather than re-translated in ways by liberals to be used as slander.
To the dismay of many liberals, there will be more people like Dr. Ben Carson who will not only speak up, but whose lives will be a testament of how conservative principles can lead to individual liberty and upward mobility for everyone. Having hope without freedom only happens in a political slogan. Having hope with freedom is something one can believe in so they can built that.