YOU WRITE, “Perhaps, Jeffrey, middle-age has made plain English difficult for you . Of course I answered your question. You just didn't understand the answer and never will. There is more liberty and justice for all in America than there has been anywhere in the world at any time.”
If you are a white, and this applied to women, as well as men, what you write is unquestionably true with regard to liberty. The ability to move around without having to carry a government-issued ID, to drive a new or fairly new car without any license plates, to register into a hotel or motel under another name and not be asked for an ID or a passport I have found in no other country. If you are black or brown, however, none of the above are true.
Justice is quite another thing. We have 5% of the world's population, yet 25% of the world's prisoners. If this is such a wonderful country, how do you account for that? As I and others have pointed out, black men and youth go to prison for crimes for which white men and youth receive probation and counseling.
You also wrote: “That's why the only people leaving America are alienated adolescents (like yourself). Black, brown and other minorities are not leaving. And it's not for lack of carfare (really Jeffrey, you have to do better than this). It's because they realize they are better off here and have more rights here.”
You say that from the position of a privileged white male. I would be more impressed if you would cite a black authority for such a statement, apart from your good buddies, I presume, Tom Sowell and Ward Connelly.
Actually, with the curtailing of government-funded legal aid to those who can't afford it, there is less justice for those who are black or brown and poor than there was a decade ago. Is there any other country where one of out every three black men have had some negative connection to the legal system?
Your wrote: “To try to explain this great material and spiritual wealth, as you do, by references to "colonial exploitation" and "imperialism" is, well, just another indication that you have learned nothing in the last forty years.”
Certainly, this country has accumulated an abundance of material wealth.
Do you think it was all developed here?
As for spiritual wealth, America's account was overdrawn and closed long ago. Nowhere on the planet can you find a culture in which the worship of violence, or the desire for material possessions is as high as we have here. And nowhere, certainly in any developed culture, can one find the visible and measurable degree of social alienation that exists in present-day America, an alienation that crosses the lines of gender, class and color.
You wrote: “Have you noticed the great flowering of economic prosperity and personal liberty and justice in Africa since its decolonization in 1960?”
Obviously not, and none could be expected. While these nations achieved nominal independence, their indigenous cultures that were essential to make something of that independence had been decimated and what hadn't been decimated, had been corrupted.
Moreover, the Western powers which had carved up Africa at the end of the last century, didn't exactly walk away, but chose Africa as the location for one of the geopolitical battlefields of the Cold War. Those leaders whom the West couldn't buy off, like Patrice Lumumba, were murdered. Would you expect a country, like the Congo, whose Holocaust at the hands of the Belgians was equal to any in modern times, then to be controlled by a hideous Western puppet like Mobutu, to be anything other than what it is today?
You wrote: “Can you explain why independent and socialist Cuba, which is a tropical island subsidized by three Marshall-size Plans (by Russia) and which has been trading continuously with every nation in the world except the United States since 1959 is poorer now than it was in 1959?”
First of all that last statement is ridiculous, but predictable given your other ahistorical, ridiculous opinions. Cuba, despite the embargo, has the highest level of education in the hemisphere and the best health-care system in Latin America. And Cuba has not been trading continuously with every nation since 1959. Due to the undisguised opposition of the US to its continued existence as something other than a playground for the Mafia and gold mine for the US sugar industry, Cuba made a pact with the USSR, primarily out of the desire of self-preservation.
Unfortunately, the Soviet aid was based on Cuba becoming its source for sugar, something that I and others criticized at the time, preferring that Cuba develop a diverse agricultural base. Had Cuba not been threatened by the US, which has an unbroken history of intolerance towards regimes in this hemisphere it can't control, Cuba would have flowered. And it did anyway, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of its sugar market. I am not sure of the exact figures, BTW, but I am fairly sure that the annual corporate welfare in the US exceeded the amount of aid that the Soviets were giving Cuba.
You wrote: “ ...why Mexico, which had its revolution in 1910 and nationalized its oil in 1940, should be so poor, so corrupt and lacking in basic human rights, while Canada, a small country bordering America and no doubt a target of American investment, should be doing so well?”
For the past half-century or more, Mexico was controlled, under the table, by US capitalists who used Mexican "fronts,", known as "prestonombres" (borrowed names) in order to get around the law, since eliminated, that required a Mexican national to own 51% of any corporation. Now, with the change of the law, and the virtual giving away of the country to outside investors, the prestonombres are out of work.
But they had it good. The U.S. company would give them a nice office, a fancy car, and a big home. And nothing else. Hey, if you can be bought, why can't they?
When Echeverria was president, and known, despite having given orders in 1968 for the massacre at Tlatelolco, as the "champion of the Third World," he had a meeting with David Rockefeller and Henry Ford II, during which he told them to ignore whatever statements he would make concerning foreign capital in Mexico. "Don't worry, gentlemen," he told them. "Your investments are safe."
This amazing quote was published in a monthly record of his meetings which, so typical of that clever regime, were only available in libraries in the countryside where people either couldn't or were not likely to read them. And it was also unlikely that a North American, myself, would pick the book and read the quote.
When I went to Mexico City to get a copy, my request was met with only blank stares. The existence of these presidential papers wasn't even known there. I introduce this vignette to illustrate how woefully inadequate are your simplified "truths."
You wrote: “Did it ever occur to you that Hong Kong is the quintessential neo-colony while its inhabitants enjoy the highest standard of living in Asia?”
It didn't because it wasn't.
You also wrote: “Did you ever think about the difference in the economic destinies of South Korea and North Korea, the one a client of the United States which in 1950 had a per capita income of $250 and was on par with Cuba, and is now one of the industrial powers of the world?”
No, what is the point you are making? From what I know, and from brief experiences I had with North Koreans in Algeria, the society was overly centralized and overly confining. Kim Il Sung was treated as a religious figure, a concept I was unable to relate to.
You wrote: “Do you think that the trillions in wealth that Microsoft has generated comes out of the sweat of the working class?”
Not directly, but it came from somewhere. Suppose that Nike's Phillip Knight has contributed his share and made his own bundle with Microsoft. Every dime he makes comes from exploited labor.
You wrote: “Really, Jeffrey, Marxism is so passe.”
Marxism? Why do you bring up Marxism? I am simply referring to concepts of liberty and justice and their relative absence in the lives of my students who happen to be brown and black, and you say that is Marxist? Interesting.
You wrote: “Finally, what desperation makes you accuse me of "racism" because I said that young people are idealistic and naive? Do you ever consider how progressives like you resemble nothing so much as neo-McCarthyites seeing racists, instead of reds, under every bed?). The fact that your students are poor is only the beginning for them in a country where they are only limited by what's in their heads. It's too bad for these kids that they have someone like you stuffing them with the very prejudice that will keep them poor. But then, why should that bother you? Your kids can tell their kids that the white male devil did it to them.”
No, I called you racist because you think those black and brown students of mine are naive to desire the same level of liberty and justice that you enjoy. I don't make it a black white thing, by the way, preferring, if I may use the expression, a class analysis. Some of my friends think it is a waste of time arguing with you, but actually I think our exchange can be very instructive for students as the basis of a lesson plan, as I mentioned before. And rest assured, I will give you full credit for your remarks.