A recent writer to the People's column used specious reasoning to slander political liberals and progressives as racist. He cited the fact that some progressives in the early 20th century advocated a eugenics program directed at certain social undesirables. They saw Darwin's theory of evolution, particularly his idea of the "survival of the fittest," as a rational justification for their racist beliefs.
What goes unmentioned is that racist ideology was deeply imbedded in western culture even before Darwin or the modern progressive era. The theory of evolution did much to undermine and eventually discredit the presumption of white supremacy. Darwin was no racist and just because some progressive thinkers misused his ideas does not mean that eugenics was "... a gift from the Darwin family."
But haven't conservatives had their own problems with racial hatred? Why, for example, did so many conservatives oppose civil rights legislation in the 1960s? Why did William Buckley and George Will defend the oppressive system of apartheid in South Africa, even after world opinion turned resolutely against it?
Our prickly writer also blames liberal policies for driving up the cost of a public college education. He says that he graduated from college in 1976 "... with money in the bank on a minimum wage job," and complains that students today require expensive loans.
Does he realize, however, that in the '70s public colleges were heavily subsidized by the government, thereby making tuition affordable to students of modest means?
I don't want to minimize the mistakes liberals or progressives have made in the past or to say that conservatives are incurable hypocrites. Everyone is wrong sometimes and interpreting facts out of context to slam those who disagree with you is selfish and sometimes destructive.