Does Pete Buttigieg have a point and, if so, is his authoritarianism now justified?
Opinion by Bill Collier- Pete says there is racism built into our highways. It sounds absurd. But I’ve studied city planning and in the process how highways were planned and there is a kernel of truth here: highways and highway exchanges were often done in a way that showed bias against minority areas.
They would often plow through and over some minority areas, avoiding affluent and white areas, but not provide a way to get off or on, thus blocking the community from any potential benefit.
The solution is to apply the principles of equitable capitalism and freedom and fairness, with liberty and justice for all. The authoritarian left love to appropriate injustices, sometimes real or inflated or imagined, but their authoritarian solutions only tend to either change the victims or make more victims.
The way highways were layed out in some places at some places can, and should, be attributed to the bigotry of the people in charge. Their propensity to disadvantage the already disadvantaged, often along lines of the racial content of a community, cannot be denied by anyone who seriously studies the history of such things.
The fear on the right is that if they acknowledge the injustices already appropriated by authoritarians on the left that this will only makes things worse and gives them a “justification” for more authoritarianism.
But truth is its own liberator. Yes, if I say “racism is indeed built into our highways” that may seem to empower and justify the wokisms of the authoritarian left, but because I know the history I cannot stay in truth and deny that this is at least partially true in some places.
The problem with Pete and this outlandish statement is that it is an oversimplification, it inflates the injustice, and it paints every highway planner and designer as a racist. That is as bad as saying all Muslims are terrorists. It is this kind of broadbrush libel, based on a kernel of truth that has become inflated grossly, that both promotes division and is used to justify authoritarianism.
Some of our highways do reflect racism and bigotry and that is an injustice we can only address through non-authoritarian means, like a free market and through addressing injustices as either a tort or some form or reparations to the harmed communities.
The authoritarians would seek ways to right this through giving more money and power to government and through possibly making arbitrary planning decisions that get revenge on those communities not previously harmed. They seek to right this by attacking and vilifying all white people or other whole classes and groups of people who neither knew nor would approve such injustice in the first place.
Authoritarianism and repaying bigotry with bigotry or injustice against some with injustices against others cannot be the way a civilized country responds.
On the other hand, the fact we who are not on the authoritarian left often refuse to address injustices, especially based on race, gender, or class, gives an opening to the authoritarians. Without our forthright honesty and open addressing of real injustices we alienate ourselves from those wronged and we let the authoritarians masquerade as champions of their cause.
Seething and righteous indignation against injustice, let alone false injustice, is the witch’s brew of authoritarianism unless those whose solutions are for freedom actually address these injustices up front and with courage and conviction.
Too many of our highways reflect some form of injustice against certain mostly minority communities. We can fix bad designs, repair harmed communities, and let market demand dictate placement. We can address this without growing government or getting revenge, we can address this without demonizing groups or spreading hate, and we can do this without authoritarianism.