African Americans and the New Policy Consensus: Retreat of the Liberal State?

By Marilyn E. Lashley; Melanie Njeri Jackson | Go to book overview
fering an alternative interpretation that casts Smith as much more sensitive to the problems of justice in the context of capitalist economies than those who accuse him of being a sunny idealist blind to the conditions of the poor, or of those who accuse him of having a dark side in his analysis that actually anticipated the demise of capitalism. Werhane never entertains the notion that Smith was just wrong but prefers instead a re-reading of his work that portrays Smith as an ontological -- not a radical -- individualist; a man whose central concern was justice. She concludes that "despite the historic notoriety of the term invisible hand, Smith's philosophy of economics argues against the personification of the market and sanctification of its intentions and control, while avoiding some of the pitfalls of rational choice theory. Smith's ideal economic actor is a person of goodwill, prudence, and self-restraint who operates both cooperatively and competitively in a social and economic milieu based on a foundation of morality, law, and justice" (p. 181).
15.
There have been at least five positions advanced about the hegemony of the "liberal democratic" society paradigm used to characterize the North American state: (1) it is and has been true to a set of agreed-upon values, processes, and structures best described as liberalism; (2) the state has used the veneer of liberalism to mask its genuinely inegalitarian character; (3) the state is essentially true to liberal values from which it occasionally strays; (4) the real liberal tradition is radically different from its projected tradition; and (5) liberalism is one of many traditions. Rogers Smith's work makes an important contribution to elaborating the multiple traditions thesis which, he insists, is not meant to exempt liberalism from its active role and participation in decisions and practices that violate individual integrity and rights. I share his appreciation of the autonomy of racism and sexism which are clearly more than artifacts or convenient appendages of liberalism. Rogers M. Smith, 1993, pp. 549-566.
16.
Reductionism and determinism deny or minimize peoples' capacity to shape history.
17.
Federal outlays by department show Defense leading with $130.9 billion, Treasury is second with $76.5 billion, followed closely by Health and Human Services with $76.3 billion. However, when considered by function, Medicare ($32 billion) and Social Security ($188.5) total $150 billion against the $134 billion for Defense and Defense-related activities. U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993, p. 332.
18.
For a review of the 1992 election see Voting Rights Review (Spring 1993).
19.
Two dramatic examples of racial spins are the Willie Horton ads of the 1988 Bush campaign and the recent revelations regarding Republican efforts to stifle black voter turnout in New Jersey. Gerald F. Seib, "Statements by Rollins Leave Democrats Little Proof in Suit on New Jersey Vote," Wall Street Journal ( Nov. 22, 1993): A16.
20.
Compare Adolph Reed Jr., and Julian Bond, 1991, pp. 733-737; Richmond Times Dispatch , 1993, A1, A3; Liz Spayd, 1992, A19; and Bob Blauner, "Language of Race -- Talking Past One Another," Current 349 ( Jan. 1993): 4-10.

REFERENCES

Anderson James D. 1988. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Armstrong, G. Blake, Kimberly A. Neuendorf, and James E. Brentar. 1992. "TVEntertainment, News, and Racial Perceptions of College Students."

-21-

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