There’s occasionally silly and dishonest demagoguery in America by those who want to equate small government sentiments with racism. The most infamous example from recent years were the malicious accusations that anti-Obamacare protesters used racial epithets.
And one of my first blog posts that actually got some attention dealt with the tortured assertion that the Obama Joker-socialism poster somehow was racist.
The same type of careless rhetoric exists in Europe, as seen by these excerpts from a report in today’s EU Observer.
EU austerity measures are helping to feed racism and intolerance, according to a report by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe. In its annual survey out on Thursday (3 May), the council’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), said welfare cuts and shrinking job opportunities are factors behind the recent rise in intolerance and violence directed at immigrants and other vulnerable minorities. …Some vulnerable groups – such as the Roma, the largest ethnic minority in Europe – endure popular social stigma despite national and EU-level rhetoric on equal rights.
Even by left-wing logic, I’m not sure I follow the chain of reasoning. Maybe it’s the whole English-as-a-second-language thing, but the article seems to say that welfare cuts are leading to intolerance. In the United States, by contrast, the left reverses the causality and says that “welfare cuts” are the result of intolerance.
Regardless, it’s a bit silly to say that long-overdue restraints on big government somehow are the same as racism. But don’t listen to me. I’ll defer to Walter Williams on the topic.
The one semi-accurate part of the excerpt is the part about the Roma – what Americans would call Gypsies. I’ve been in several nations with large Roma populations and had many conversations about their status and almost universally find that white Europeans feel hopelessness and resignation about Roma populations. No actual malice is expressed, but there’s definitely a form of “social stigma.”