Sauce for the Gander

Bobvis initially referred to lines like this in Obama's speech as hateful references to foreigners taking American jobs:

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

In the comments, though, he softens this criticism a bit:

Obama is *tapping into* latent hate of foreigners, but I admit he is not explicitly endorsing it.

Fair enough. While I would argue that there's a certain degree of bigotry inherent in the idea that Americans deserve jobs more than foreigners simply by virtue of being American--it's true that Obama doesn't explicitly demonize foreigners.

But it's worth noting that this isn't recognized as a valid distinction by the self-styled "anti-racists" on the left, many of whom are no doubt supporters of Obama. According to them, pandering to racial animosity is racist, even if the panderer does not personally share in that animosity or explicitly invoke it.

Case in point: The infamous "Hands" ad from Jesse Helms' 1990 Senate Campaign, which was labelled as racist by the left. Like Obama's speech, the ad didn't attack racial minorities--rather, it attacked a government policy that would take jobs away from whites and give them to racial minorities.

The difference is that while the Helms ad argued against government-enforced racial discrimination, Obama is arguing for government-enforced ethnic discrimination. One can legitimately argue that the Hands ad was not bigoted and that Obama's speech was, but not the other way around.

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Great example

I haven't seen the Helms ad (and can't watch it now), but if it says what you're saying that it says, I agree. There are some subjects (outsourcing, affirmative action, immigration) where you simply can't take a particular point of view without giving the appearance to some of racism or bigotry of some sort, which is sort of a problem with the position itself is not without merit (as is the case with anti-outsourcing, anti-AA, and anti-immigration) regardless of the racial repercussions. The question then becomes how one makes the argument. If Obama had phrased the argument that Indians and Chinese are taking our jobs and that he'll put a stop to it, that's different than saying what he is saying and I wouldn't have bothered defending it. If the Helms ad were to emphasize the industriousness and quality of the whites losing the job and the laziness and stupidity of the minorities getting the job, he'd be on muddier ground.

Is foreigner a race?

Just asking. I don't see any homogenity on the basis of race in either the in or out groups that Obama was creating. The in group, Americans, has all races and the out group, non-Americans has all races. How's that racist?

Do you understand the

Do you understand the difference between bigotry and racism?

Brandon wrote, "I would argue that there's a certain degree of bigotry inherent in the
idea that Americans deserve jobs more than foreigners simply by virtue of being American."

Brandon did not write, "I would argue that there's a certain degree of racism inherent in the idea that Americans deserve jobs more than foreigners simply by virtue
of being American." 

 

What Micha Said

I suppose the third-to-last paragraph could be interpreted as implying that Obama was pandering to racists, but that wasn't the intention. I was just describing the structure of the argument. It should work equally well with any form of bigotry.

The tie in to racism was subtle

"Case in point: The infamous "Hands" ad from Jesse Helms' 1990 Senate Campaign, which was labelled as racist by the left. Like Obama's speech, the ad didn't attack racial minorities--rather, it attacked a government policy that would take jobs away from whites and give them to racial minorities.

The difference is that while the Helms ad argued against government-enforced racial discrimination, <b>Obama is arguing for government-enforced ethnic discrimination.</b> One can legitimately argue that the Hands ad was not bigoted and that Obama's speech was, but not the other way around."

Since when did "American" become an ethnicity?   Isn't bigotry with regards to ethnicity a subcategory of racism?    Not only that he equates what Obama is pushing with what Helms was pushing, and that was both racist and "government enforced ethnic discrimination".

I don't buy the "bigoted" baloney either.   One can organize into in/out groups without it being based on bigotry.   Always remember that foreigners don't get to vote.  He's pandering to those who vote for him, not demonizing foreigners.   Where are the bigoted references to "dirty mexicans"? 

Obama is assuming that Americans, in some way, partially own the capital that our 'way of life' allowed the American "corporation" to accumulate.    So he might be demonizing American corporations for being ungrateful.    Which may or may not be correct, especially when they expect government subsides for investing overseas and then a government bailout when their investments go belly up.  Both occuring on the backs of American taxpayers, the in group.

Since when did "American"

Since when did "American" become an ethnicity?

The United States is probably too young of a country for its natives to be considered a proper ethnic group, but in a discussion about the moral implications of bigotry, bigotry against foreigners and bigotry against a proper ethnic group is a distinction without a difference. It's sort of like calling Mormonism or Scientology a cult, or calling the Branch Dividians a religion; the passage of time turns a cult into a religion and a (relatively) young nationality into an ethnicity, but neither distinction is very important.

Isn't bigotry with regards to ethnicity a subcategory of racism?

No. The two are distinct concepts. There can be multiple ethnicities within the same race (Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland), and multiple races within the same ethnicity (black and white Jews).

Not only that he equates what Obama is pushing with what Helms was
pushing, and that was both racist and "government enforced ethnic
discrimination".

Right, because the two are morally equivalent.

One can organize into in/out groups without it being based on
bigotry. Always remember that foreigners don't get to vote. He's
pandering to those who vote for him, not demonizing foreigners.

Blacks and women didn't get to vote either at one point. That didn't justify anti-black and anti-woman bigotry by politicians on the grounds that they were merely pandering to voters.

Anti-Irish Racism

I guess you got less of a problem this kind of racism then.  It's merely bigotry in your book.    I'll give you a clue.  It was racism and both groups were white.

Huh? This entire comment

Huh? This entire comment makes no sense. What did I say in this thread that in any way indicates I have less of a problem with anti-Irish racism? (Less than what?) And what did I say in this thread that in any way indicates that "merely bigotry" is ok while racism isn't? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Racism worse than mere bigotry

I'm assuming racism is worse than bigotry in your book. I'm going with your belief that whites can't be racist against whites because of disagreement with my statement, "Isn't bigotry with regards to ethnicity a subcategory of racism?"  I'm deducing that anti-irish racism couldn't have been racism according to your logic because it was practiced by white people, the british, against white people, the irish. Having established that it shouldn't be considered racism by you but merely bigotry and given that bigotry is a lesser evil, I concluded that you should have less of a problem with it.

Of course, your mistake was not recognizing that ethinic bigotry is a kind of racism. Ever see that video on youtube where the white Jewish girl pranks her parents into thinking she's dating an Italian? The parents spew some of the most anti-Italian bigotry one could imagine. If that isn't racism I don't know what is.

Mom I'm dating an Italian guy...

Mom: "He could be a racist, he could be a murderer, he could be anything".

Mom: "I'll kill myself"

Dad: "I'm taken her out of school"

Listen, it gets better from there (or worse).

If the guy was black and not italian this kind of ethnic bigotry would be easily recognized for what it is, don't kiss or date, let alone marry, racism. Just substitute black for italian and white for jewish and you will get it.

 

Micha agrees with you

The parents spew some of the most anti-Italian bigotry one could imagine. If that isn't racism I don't know what is.

Actually, Micha agrees with you on that point, or he did a while ago. He called his own grandmother a racist for wanting him to marry a Jewish girl. And you were actually there - you called his grandmother a racist and he agreed with you. Remember?

Yes, that's the point

Yes, I did remember and that's why I believed he was using the same taxonomy here as I was, ethnic bigotry being classed as a kind of racism.    Apparently he believes otherwise but then misuses his own categories.

Well, I take part of that back.  He's using the same taxonomy for that one branch of the conceptual tree as me.    I don't share in Micha's belief that everything should be categorized as a kind of racism.  ;)

It's been my experience that Micha is very loose in calling things racism that I wouldn't and it's amusing he's trying to use a tightened definition to lynch me.  I could be even more parsimonious in my definition of racism but that would only serve to make his arguments all the more ludicrous.

I'm assuming racism is

I'm assuming racism is worse than bigotry in your book.

You are assuming wrong. Racism is a type of bigotry. It is not necessarily worse or better than other types of bigotry.

I'm going with your belief that whites can't be racist against whites because of disagreement with my statement, "Isn't bigotry with regards to ethnicity a subcategory of racism?"

Huh? How does one follow from the other? I disagreed with your statement because it is not true: race is not the same thing as ethnicity, each can be a subcategoriy of the other, or they can be totally unrelated.

I'm deducing that anti-irish racism couldn't have been racism according
to your logic because it was practiced by white people, the british,
against white people, the irish.

Right, it would be ethnic bigotry, not racism.

Having established that it shouldn't be considered racism by you but
merely bigotry and given that bigotry is a lesser evil, I concluded
that you should have less of a problem with it.

Again, where did I ever claim that bigotry on some grounds other than race is a lesser evil than racism? I think that's a premise that you are sneaking in to your argument, not a premise that I ever agreed with.

Of course, your mistake was not recognizing that ethinic bigotry is a kind of racism.

Again, this is not "my mistake"; this is simply the definition of the terms. Ethnicity is not the same thing as race; there can be multiple ethnicities within the same race and multiple races within the same ethnicity.

If what you are saying is that bigotry with respect to race is just as objectionable as bigotry with respect to ethnicity, than I certainly agree. But the two don't have to be equivalent or necessary subcategories of the other for that to be true.

Perhaps I don't have you right but you're being inconsistent

I'm assuming racism is worse than bigotry in your book.

"You are assuming wrong. Racism is a type of bigotry. It is not necessarily worse or better than other types of bigotry."

I could grant you that.   I've found that most people think it's worse.    Bigotry based on religion is quite acceptable to most people.

What makes those kinds of bigotry bad it that there is an assumption that individuals have certain attributes based on gross over-generalizations of groups.   It's bad even if based on a generalization that is staticistically true since the particular individual may be different and therefore not morally responsible for actions of his group not due to volutary group attributes.  The exception in the prior sentence needed to capture culpability for joining groups who's specifying attributes are unethical, like the Nazis, the KKK, or ELF.

Obama's statement does not commit any sort of gross over-generalizations, doesn't assume members of a group must share bad attributes, etc.    It is in no way bigoted, ethnic or otherwise.

"Again, this is not "my mistake"; this is simply the definition of the terms. Ethnicity is not the same thing as race; there can be multiple ethnicities within the same race and multiple races within the same ethnicity."

You've made a mistake somewhere because your arguments don't live up to your defintions.    Irish is not a race and yet to recognize anti-Irish racism by the British as racism.   Jewish and non-Jewish aren't races yet you refer to bigotry both ways as racism.   

Using your terms precisely the Nazis were not racists but merely ethnic bigots.  People don't use the terms the way you think they are defined.

 

Obama's statement does not

Obama's statement does not commit any sort of gross
over-generalizations, doesn't assume members of a group must share bad
attributes, etc. It is in no way bigoted, ethnic or otherwise.

Right, and if you go back to the original post, the claim being made is not that Obama's statement is bigoted (although I'm not so sure it isn't; he is claiming that there is a problem with foreigners taking our jobs, a sentiment that one could argue is bigoted); rather, the claim being made in the original post is that Obama's statement is pandering to prexisting bigotry - the anti-foreign bias Obama assumes his intented audience already shares.

You've made a mistake somewhere because your arguments don't live up to
your defintions. Irish is not a race and yet to recognize anti-Irish
racism by the British as racism. Jewish and non-Jewish aren't races
yet you refer to bigotry both ways as racism.

Again, I am totally confused by your statement. You say that "Irish is not a race and yet to recognize anti-Irish
racism by the British as racism." I do not understand what this sentence means. I'm not even sure if it counts as a sentence. Are you saying that you, Brian Macker, believe that Irish is not a race but that anti-Irish racism by the British is racism? Because I don't recally saying anything like that.

Judaism is a bit more complicated. It is considered both a religion and an ethnicity. The Nazis also considered it a race. Perhaps the Nazis were correct; I don't know. Nor do I know what this has to do with the present discussion.

Since when did "American"

Since when did "American" become an ethnicity?

Isn't ethnicity the country you're from? Or is it the country your ancestors are from? If not ethnicity, then nationality. 

Not only that he equates what Obama is pushing with what Helms was pushing.

I said that Obama's rhetoric is at best no better than Helms' ad (Irrelevant but interesting: The ad was Dick Morris's idea). Personally I don't see a problem with Helms' ad--it accurately described what a racial quota law would do, namely impose racial discrimination. Certainly I don't think one can call the Helms ad racist while still defending Obama's rhetoric.

He's pandering to those who vote for him, not demonizing foreigners.

But by that logic, wouldn't it be okay for Republicans to campaign on the platform of creating legal privileges for whites, Latinos, and Asians over blacks? To all intents and purposes, blacks don't vote for Republicans.

I understand your point, though. If Obama were to drop the moralizing and just admit that what he wants to do is steal resources from corporations and jobs from foreigners because, right or wrong, he thinks it's in his audience's best interests, I'd agree with you.

But his message is that outsourcing is not just against his audience's interests, but that it's downright immoral--that the welfare of American workers is objectively more important than the welfare of foreign workers. That's why I call it bigotry.

By the way, when corporations outsource to other states, do we hear this kind of rhetoric from state politicians? I don't remember hearing any railing against Boeing's greed when they moved their headquarters out of Washington state, but I may have missed it, since I don't pay much attention to state politics. All I heard

Ethnicity

Isn't ethnicity the country you're from? Or is it the country your ancestors are from?

Okay, so what ethnicities is Obama targeting? Suppose you want to show that Obama is targeting (among others - it does not have to be exclusively) the ethicity "Chinese". The obvious first step for you to take is to start at home. Is Obama targeting naturalized citizens of the US who were born in China? Is he targeting the US-born children of Chinese immigrants? In short, is Obama truly targeting the ethnicity "Chinese"?

From what I have seen so far, Obama is not targeting an ethnicity but the political category of non-citizen of the United States. If you are a citizen of the United States, then Obama is not targeting you, regardless of your ethnicity.

If not ethnicity, then nationality.

But few people find it objectionable that a government would do something for its own citizens that it does not do for non-citizens, especially non-citizens living across the ocean. Few people are for one-world government, and few people are anarchists. If you want to call everyone "bigot" who is neither an anarchist nor a one-worlder but rather believes in the legitimacy of governments favoring their own citizens in one respect or another, say, through economic protectionism, then you're not going to convince a lot of people, I reckon. Admittedly, the purely economic arguments for international free trade have not been all that successful in convincing governments to lay off, but I think calling protectionists "bigots" will have even less success.

But his message is that outsourcing is not just against his audience's
interests, but that it's downright immoral--that the welfare of
American workers is objectively more important than the welfare of
foreign workers.

I'm not saying this is a major factor, but keep in mind that many people do not think that people overseas benefit from jobs being shipped there. Recall the public relations nightmare that Nike had because its shoes were made overseas. Nike was undeniably giving foreigners jobs which Americans could have done (at a much higher wage). But the concern of those who objected was not for American workers who were deprived of Nike shoe-making jobs, but for the overseas workers who were given Nike shoe-making jobs. Just because you've fully digested the economic wisdom on sweatshops, does not mean everyone else has, or even all that many people.

By the way, when corporations outsource to other states, do we hear this kind of rhetoric from state politicians?

No, because it's not an option. States within the United States don't get to be protectionist with respect to each other. If the Constitution were modified so that individual states of the union could do to each other what countries do to each other, then probably no more than a few weeks would pass before people started making protectionists noises about neighboring states.

But few people find it

But few people find it objectionable that a government would do
something for its own citizens that it does not do for non-citizens,
especially non-citizens living across the ocean. Few people are for
one-world government, and few people are anarchists. If you want to
call everyone "bigot" who is neither an anarchist nor a one-worlder but
rather believes in the legitimacy of governments favoring their own
citizens in one respect or another, say, through economic
protectionism, then you're not going to convince a lot of people, I
reckon. Admittedly, the purely economic arguments for international
free trade have not been all that successful in convincing governments
to lay off, but I think calling protectionists "bigots" will have even
less success.

I'm not sure why you think our goal here should be popularity or persuasion. Our first goal should be determining the truth. And the truth is that many things governments do, because they are nationalist and not unitary-global nor non-existent, are bigoted with respect to people living in other nations. This may be an unpopular truth, and it may be difficult to persaude many people that it is, in fact, the truth, but so what? No one ever said the truth would be popular or easily persuadable.

On a tangent, while I agree

On a tangent, while I agree wholeheartedly (sad to admit, as Micha and I both enjoy watching the others' balls get busted), this strikes me as a distinctively non-pragmatist idea of truth.

Pragmatically, perhaps one could pursue a more constructive line of argument if they interpreted Constant's comment as: "Lots of people don't think that particular view of bigotry is correct--therefore, it probaby isn't correct. So check your premises." Or "Micha is committing a dictionary dodge by redefining bigotry away from its everyday meaning." Or perhaps "Truth is only what is useful, and Micha is peddling something unuseful (it will not convince anyone, so why bother?)."

Also, if moral attitudes are a matter of taste--and what counts as bigotry would seem to be a moral attitude--then trying to determine an underlying truth here might be a waste of time.

The correct interpretation

To fully understand what I was doing, I'm going to do the same thing here:

If your proof is based on the assumption that 1+1=3, then you're not going to convince a lot of mathematicians, I reckon.

The overt statement is about persuasion, and you can legitimately read it that way, but I'm also hoping a reader will say, "hey, wait a second, the assumption that 1+1=3 is absurd." I don't say it myself. I'm letting the reader decide for himself.

 

A weak statement

I'm not sure why you think our goal here should be popularity or persuasion.

You have made it abundantly clear over time and over many blog posts that your goal is largely popularity and persuasion. It doesn't matter what it should be. Furthermore, most anyone who flings around charges of racism and bigotry is trying to persuade an audience and using heavy artillery to do it, so when you (in this case Brandon) do that, the natural presumption is you are trying to persuade. Case in point: bigotry is being discussed now because people who are trying to win an election have been bringing it up.

And the truth is that many things governments do, because they are
nationalist and not unitary-global nor non-existent, are bigoted with
respect to people living in other nations.

That's a very weak statement, and I can't help but wonder whether you are backpedalling. Doubtless many things that governments do are bigoted. We all know that war gives rise to the dehumanization of the enemy (as a tactic), and doubtless everyday government (being a kind of quiet war) does as well. The political entity "France" has allowed people to form a concept of "the French" and to attach bigoted views to this concept (both pro and con). Doubtless, then, government is fertile soil in which bigotry may grow, and doubtless some of that infects government itself. However, the relevant question isn't whether many things that governments do are bigoted, but whether the services, favors, whatever that non-world governments provide to their own citizens and not to non-citizens are for that reason bigoted, and thus necessarily bigoted. When you don't say "all" but instead say "many", that seems to retract the idea that the partiality for its citizens that governments show is bigotry because it is partiality for its citizens. As far as I can see, your position has been that this partiality for its own citizens is in itself bigotry. So when you weaken your statement to "many things", you seem to be denying this key idea and thus undermining your argument.

Anyway, let's look at an example of a government treating its own citizens better than it treats non-citizens. If a city government provides garbage collection for its citizens but does not provide garbage collection for non-citizens, especially for far-away non-citizens, is that bigoted? I would say, obviously not. And this is despite the fact that city governments are not "a voluntary, self-help organization like the AAA", which was a distinction that you offered between private organizations and governments.

 

No proof of bigotry here, move along, nothing to see

It's the job of the American government to serve Americans, not to serve foreigners, and not to treat foreigners equally with Americans. The distinction between Americans and foreigners is not racial and it's not ethnic. It's a distinction between who the United States government does, and does not, have a special responsibility to as their government. No, I don't think the US government has a special responsibility to Americans, nor do I think that, even if it did, the best way to fulfill its responsibility would be through intervention in the marketplace. But a lot of people do.

You're screwing up the narrative

Hey, that doesn't tie in well with the argument that the only reason to oppose immigration is racism.

It's something people agree on

That racism and bigotry are abhorrent is one of the few things that almost everyone in the US agrees on at least to the extent of not wanting to be thought a racist, so it is not hard to understand the haste even among usually careful commentators to portray an opponent's position as racist or bigoted, and to engage in uncharacteristically loose thinking in order to arrive at that conclusion.

This is not to say that there is no racism or that racism plays no role. However, to maintain that the only reason to oppose immigration is some form of bigotry is to display a disappointing lack of imagination.

Emigration

On the issue of immigration the true test of a racist is if he's for forced emigration of certain races.

It's the job of the American

It's the job of the American government to serve Americans, not to
serve foreigners, and not to treat foreigners equally with Americans.

And that is bigotry.

That makes no sense

Is this statement bigotry also?

"It's the job of the AAA to serve members, not to serve non-members, and not to treat non-members equally with members."

If we accept your claim that Constant's statement was bigotry and that bigotry should not be acted upon then it leads to all sorts of crazy conclusions. For instance, if the Chinese were treating any US territory and it's citizens the way it's treating Tibet then the US government would be mandated to act and call out the army in defense. Using your logic the American government is not serving the foreigners in Tibet equally with Americans. Therefore the proper response, nay mandatory response, is to crush the Chinese army.

Would your concept of bigotry apply to anarchist defense organizations? Would they be forced to protect not only members but non-members too?

If one of the US states decided to set up a religion based law and to force all its citizens to obey those laws then the federal government would step in to protect the rights of those people affected as members of the wider group of US citizens.

Despite the fact that the citizens of almost every Muslim nation are subjected to similar intrusions against their rights our federal government does nothing about it. That's precisely because the fed doesn't treat non-member foreigners the way it treats member citizens.

There are very valid reasons to treat foreigners differently. They don't pay for the upkeep of the government for one thing.

Not only that but there is a two way relationship here. Not only do organizations owe their members special treatment but the opposite is also true. Members owe the organization, and other members of the organization certain duties. Those duties don't extend to non-members and therefore any benefits arising from those duties are not due to non-members.

Societies don't owe outlaws (as defined in common law) the same rights as law abiding citizens because they do not reciprocally submit to the duties of membership in a lawful society. One of those duties is to refrain from murdering other members of the society. Murderers don't automatically have the right to free association within the society no matter what. Rights are not inalienable as libertarians claim. They are dependent on reciprocity. Fail to reciprocate, fail to refrain from murder and your right to life no longer has foundations.

Understanding this, the question then becomes what kinds of rules and obligations are valid to impose on members of organizations where membership is involuntary.

 

Is this statement bigotry

Is this statement bigotry also?

"It's the job of the AAA to serve members, not to serve non-members, and not to treat non-members equally with members."

Part of what defines bigotry is arbitrariness; that is, a bigot has no ethically justifiable reason for treating a favored class differently than a disfavored class. Creating a voluntary, self-help organization like the AAA, where all of its members explicitly chose to join, is not quite the same as planting a flag on a continent (partually occupied by indigenious peoples who were thereafter ethnically cleansed), and declaring that all who currently occupy this piece of land and all future generations who will come to occupy this land are bound by certain obligations they never agreed to, and are entitled to certain benefits that those born on other pieces of land are not so entitled. Where a person is born is morally arbitrary with we respect to obligations we may have to that person or obligations that person may have to us. Intentionally, explicitly joining a self-help organization in order to pool resources together with like-minded people is not morally arbitrary, because the contractual relationship was freely chosen by all parties involved and each party had good reasons to do so.

Using your logic the American government is not serving the
foreigners in Tibet equally with Americans. Therefore the proper
response, nay mandatory response, is to crush the Chinese army.

No, the proper response, nay, the mandatory response, is to disband the American government. True, creating a one-world government to protect not just the rights of Americans but the rights of Tibetans too is ethically consistant with respect to bigotry, but it is ethically inconsistent with respect to the justification of states in general. Luckily, a one-world government is not the only setup consistent with treating all persons equally; a no-world government is also consistent with that principle.

Would your concept of bigotry apply to anarchist defense organizations?
Would they be forced to protect not only members but non-members too?

Again, as I mentioned above, it's justifiable to engage in acts of reciprocation and treat those who agree to enter into a contract differently than those who do not agree to the contract ; treating people born within some arbitrarily drawn border differently than people born outside some arbitrarily drawn border is not ethically justifiable - it is arbitrary.

There are very valid reasons to treat foreigners differently. They don't pay for the upkeep of the government for one thing.

Some of them do. Those who pay import or export taxes, for example.

Regardless, you are on the right track. If governments did act in accordance with how we expect other organizations to act, then the "social contract" would be unobjectionable. Only those who actually consented to the contract would be participants to it; consent would not simply be assumed. And there would be reasonable ways of exiting the contract without abandoning one's property or having to leave the country. Of course, neither freedom to contract nor freedom from contract are actually present in the "social contract" - it is not a true contract at all.

So to justify treating foreigners differently because they don't pay for the upkeep of the government is to simply beg the question. Why don't foreigners pay for the upkeep of the U.S. government? Surely we would be just as justified in forcing foreigners to pay for our government as we are justified in forcing native citizens to pay for our government; that is, not justified at all in either case.

Understanding this, the question then becomes what kinds of rules and
obligations are valid to impose on members of organizations where
membership is involuntary.

Easy: None.

Involuntary organizations, rules, and benefits.

"Part of what defines bigotry is arbitrariness; that is, a bigot has no ethically justifiable reason for treating a favored class differently than a disfavored class."

Yes, and if you use it as the whole of the definition then you end up classifying things that are not bigotry, as bigotry.

For instance, you can define bigotry merely as not wanting to have your kid marry outside your religion. In the case of the Jewish girl prank call. If the arguments made by the parents were purely based on belief that their religion was correct, and religious membership was not based on bigoted dogma, then not desiring someone to marry outside the religion would not be bigotry. Unfortunately, in this case it didn't apply. Not only did the parents want to support what they believed to be "right belief" by favoring members over non-members, but they also made false assumptions about the inferiority of the out group.

Furthermore the fact that people are born into and are forced into groups makes their membership in those groups non-arbitrary in the first place. I didn't choose to be born a Christian white English speaking American. There are costs to switching teams even when it can be done. I stopped being Christian at great cost due to the kind of discrimination those parents practice.

Ever been forced into a study group in school, had a lab partner forced on you, or forced to be on a sports team during recess. You don't just start playing for the other side. You accept the fate and work against the out group. The teacher is grading on a curve, and if you help the other teams with their mistakes then you get punished.

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. You are a forced member, it's a competition and you don't have to believe members on the opposing team are inferior to show favoritism to your own team. Bigotry is more about negative gross overgeneralization than competition. Obama didn't say "We should do x, because all foreigners are bad".

"Creating a voluntary, self-help organization like the AAA, where all of its members explicitly chose to join, is not quite the same as planting a flag on a continent (partually occupied by indigenious peoples who were thereafter ethnically cleansed), and declaring that all who currently occupy this piece of land and all future generations who will come to occupy this land are bound by certain obligations they never agreed to, and are entitled to certain benefits that those born on other pieces of land are not so entitled."

How's that different than conquiring a neighboring tribe, planting a totem pole on a piece of land, ethnically cleansing the other tribe, and declaring from that point forward that only people of the correct race, ethnicity, and even tribe and there decendants are bound by obligations then never agreed to, and are entitled to certain benefits that the white man (and other tribes) are not.

I guess it's just fine and dandy if the Aztecs conquer and enslave their neighbors but when the Spanish do it now that's just wrong. Oh, yeah, and lets count all the natives who die from a lack of immunity to foreign desease as being ethnically cleansed, along with all those who die fighting on one side but not the other. No white settlers were ever ethnically cleansed according to this view.

All that is however moot to the issue at hand. Indians are born into their tribes involunarily. They don't choose to join. That they should favor their own over the white man, or other tribes is no surprise.

Are you aware of the state of constant warfare in tribal society? The sheer proportional death toll from inter-tribal raid vastly exceeds even the worse totals for western style States when taken proportionally.

The extermination of the Indians is more an example of dodo bird type isolation leading to an inability to cope, than one of moral inferiority of the white man and his institutions.

Remember that we are evolving from ignorance, and not falling from grace. There isn't any past golden era of libertarian justice for all that the white man violated.

"No, the proper response, nay, the mandatory response, is to disband the American government."

Nonsense. So you're arguing that Obama is an bigot because "anarchism is true" and therefore all government action founded on its principle of favoring citizens is bigoted and therefore any government policy is too? Come-on your arguing pretty broadly now aren't you? The government isn't founded on the principle that the British are bad cooks with crooked poor dental hygene. Perhaps you've missed a few steps that not only discredit the idea that collective action isn't bigotry, but that anarchism is empirically a losing strategy.

You keep talking ethics like anarchism is the only possible ethical system. I certainly agree that many actions taken by governments aren't ethical, but the same exact thing will happen with private protection forces. They too will take unethical actions. In fact, many of the Indians were decimated in ways that are perfectly consistent with anarchism. "Dear Indian, I homesteaded this land according to anarchist principles, land no one had improved was worked by me, thus mixing my labor, and yet you trespass and steal the fruiits of my improvements, and often slaughter familiy members in the process. I'm sending my protection agency after you."

Why you think anarchism isn't binding people to obligations they never agreed to is beyond me. When did indians or white men ever explicitly agree not to kill each other? Rules are always forced and that is not a measure of whether they are ethical or not.

"treating people born within some arbitrarily drawn border differently than people born outside some arbitrarily drawn border is not ethically justifiable - it is arbitrary."

The borders aren't arbirary. The are territories that have been fought over and continue to be defended. The are areas where one set of rules are applied and another isn't. Often the aculturation of individuals in the areas are different.

Nor is treating people who are born here or there arbitrary. For one thing those born outside what you consider to be arbitrary area often are aculturated differently. That's why you can't just conquer a terroritory, disband a government and expect your own set of rules to work. Iraq is not going to be turned into a mini western society because the those arbitrarily born there are aculturated with Islam. The U.S.S.R. is not going to smooth turn into a US style democracy because too many people there are aculturated with communist expectations. Strong (and criminal) dictators like Putin are popular there.

 

"Some of them do. Those who pay import or export taxes, for example."

... and gain the benefit of trading inside the country, protection of their goods from theft and the like. They don't have to serve in the army, pay income tax, etc. Non-members in many groups have to pay fees. I'm not a member of the group that runs the Bronx Zoo right now so when I go they charge me more for admittance.

 

"Only those who actually consented to the contract would be participants to it; consent would not simply be assumed."

We assume consent to other things where explicit consent is not given. Like consenting to the criminality of murder. In this case the membership is partially forced by reality. You are born into a particular country, and were not kidnapped and brought there against your will. Blame your parents for making the choice for you. In every society I know of the parental choice is binding on you up until a certain age. Your parents could have moved to a different area to have you, or decided not to have you at all.

Please don't bitch that you don't have the choices you want. It's not anyones fault that anarchist societies can survive the competition with other social systems. That's a fact of reality. Next you'll be bitching to me that you don't like the rules your parents set down for you and how "I didn't agree to this".

Understanding this, the question then becomes what kinds of rules and obligations are valid to impose on members of organizations where membership is involuntary.

"Easy: None."

Obviously you haven't thought about the issue in depth. Your family is an organization too. One to which you didn't voluntarily join. Yet there are rules and obligations.

Even with a real world example, the height of reality based anarchist utopia, Iceland, there were rules settled upon by society that individuals couldn't just opt out of because they hadn't voluntarily agreed to them. They were forced members of the society by birth.

Yeah and corporations are about hate too then

Using your logic when the president of a corporation argues that he is going to benefit his stockholders at the expense of the stockholders of another company then he is motivated by hate, not profit.
Obama's argument is simple. We are in a zero sum game and if the members vote for me then you will profit from my actions. That is not an argument from hate.

It is hate if we aren't

It is hate if we aren't actually in a zero sum game at all. This takes us back to the original post, which claimed that Obama is pandering to latent hate of foreigners by trying to portray us as engaged in a zero sum game, when we are in fact engaged in a positive sum game. Obama is trying to convince voters that their economic hardships are a result of economic boons enjoyed by those "overseas." If Obama knew that voters considered foreigners equally entitled to economic progress as American citizens, then his effort to portray us as engaged in a zero sum game would never have been attempted. It is only because Obama does know that voters have an anti-foreign bias that he framed his argument this way. That is pandering to hate.

It's not necessarily hate

It is hate if we aren't actually in a zero sum game at all.

Even if we aren't actually in a zero sum game at all, people might still think we are. In fact, they very likely do (because zero sum thinking is so common). So, no, it's not necessarily hate even then.