Decolonizing the United States Virgin Islands

It is time for the Trump administration to follow the lead of the British and cut a couple colonies loose. The one colony I would like the Administration to let go its own way is the United States Virgin Islands. One quick note, especially to Virgin Islanders who find it hard to believe that the United States looks at the USVI as anything more than a colony: your vehicle license plates. The inscription, “America’s Caribbean” is code for America’s colonial attitude toward the Virgin Islands.

Another piece of evidence is the refusal to allow American citizens living in the USVI to vote in presidential elections. USVI citizens go through the farce of sending delegates to a party convention but every four years in November they are not allowed to cast a vote in the general elections. Nor does the USVI have voting representation in the U.S. congress. Its one delegate, Stacey Plaskett, can be a member of a congressional committee, make speeches on the House floor even. But vote? No.

In addition, the USVI has no say over its external affairs. Although not a part of the U.S. customs territory, the USVI cannot enter into trade deals without the permission of the United States. The governing document for the Virgin Islands, the Organic Act of the Virgin Islands of the United States, 1954, is more of an instrument for the public administration of internal affairs under the auspices of the American congress and executive branch. With the exception of a brief discussion on the importation of infected livestock from the U.S. mainland and the placement of duties on articles imported into the Virgin Islands, the Organic Act does not empower the Virgin Islands in matters of foreign trade. Public administration of the Virgin Islands is as colonial as it gets.

But what are the benefits to the United States from colonizing the USVI? In August 1916, the United States entered into an agreement with Denmark to purchase the Danish West Indies as part of the American strategy to protect the western hemisphere from European invasion during World War II. This strategy continued into the years of the second world war. For example, the Cyril E. King International Airport on St. Thomas was the site of an old army airfield that was later named after U.S. president Harry S Truman. As a child growing up in St. Thomas in the 1960s and 1970s it was never surprising to see an attack submarine surface in the harbor at Long Bay or at the old submarine base a couple miles to the east of the harbor. As a teen-aged member of the Civil Air Patrol, I led a search and rescue exercise around Magens Bay, taking my team into an area that housed a satellite communications facility. I don’t remember if it was military, but we were spotted by a white woman in a VW Beetle who threatened to rat us out given our failure to give her an explanation as to why we were there. Needless to say, we hauled ass after completing our mission.

But today, in the 21st century, where the United States deploys nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, satellite communications, and long-range jets, does the U.S. really need to use the Virgin Islands as a land-based aircraft carrier in the Caribbean Sea?

And given that the Virgin Islands keeps the federal income taxes it collects from its residents while enjoying limited social welfare benefits, the United States is probably losing a few billion dollars in tax and other revenues.

Politically, where is the benefit to either Democrats or Republicans in the United States from America’s Caribbean? Again, the delegate from the Virgin Islands is a non-voting member of the U.S. House. The thirty or so thousand eligible voters, while allowed to cast, in my opinion, a symbolic vote in the primaries and send delegates to the parties’ conventions, are not allowed to vote for president.

Culturally, the Virgin Islands do not add to America’s social fabric. While a significant portion of the population enjoy the trimmings of Americanism, from shopping to cable television to American sports, we are still, whether we are aware of it or not, still Caribbean. We live in two worlds with a significant “down island” portion of the population helping to keep our feet in the goings on of the Lesser Antilles. The Democrats would not want Virgin Islanders playing a significant role in their party politics. West Indians are more conservative than your run-of-the-mill American, and while most won’t admit it, do not share as close an affinity to black Americans as most would think, skin color notwithstanding.

Other than the prestige of saying that, like other European powers, they are in possession of overseas territories, I see no benefit to the United States in playing the empire game in the Caribbean. The United States should truly consider some decolonizing especially if it nudges my people to more self-determination.

A New #Republicanism: Value-based connection between tribes is all the “#diversity” we need

A friend and I were shopping at a farmers’ market in Dekalb County, Georgia yesterday. I enjoy the atmosphere in that market, an atmosphere containing multiple languages and dialects; different ethnic groups and races. The happy-go-lucky liberal would argue that what I saw was an example of people coming together as one to participate freely in commerce as one. To that I would say, bullshit.

What I saw and enjoyed was that multiple ethnic groups could go to that store and find items sold in lanes that catered to a particular culture’s tastes. There was no attempt at fusion, at trying to melt people into one pot for the purpose of creating some “universal multi-chrome of social mush.” Differences were actually respected.

I get the feeling that the left doesn’t get this. Rather than strengthening institutions that support these differences, that create the lanes that say being different is expected, the left argues that we are all “one”; that we are “equal.”  I don’t know what world liberals live in, but I would argue, based on the configuration of that store and the body language of the shoppers, that separate lanes were not only appreciated but demanded.

Saying that I am equal to or the same as a blonde white girl is insulting. The universal multi-chrome of social mush model that espouses this nonsense erases her background and my background from discussion. It ignores the different perspectives from which we view the world. The model dilutes us. As unique people spawned by unique peoples, we owe it to ourselves and our tribes to promote our uniqueness as much as possible, whether through marriage, voting, work, or art.

This runs counter to liberal government, an institution that would rather you stifle your own uniqueness than remain free. Liberals, in order to maintain a nation-state of diverse tribes, need to push a narrative of “diversity” and “equality” in order to maintain the broadest tax base possible. Liberal governments cannot afford tribes splintering off from the collective. Tribes falling for such narratives are the poorest inhabitants of a nation-state and without sufficient capital as a buffer, they are reliant on the false promises of diversity laws and equality policies.

Diversity and equality are poor substitutes for capital and when the marginalized rely on diversity and equality laws that were written by the people with capital, further failure is guaranteed.

Policy that addresses the differences in tribal or ethnic group values and provides infrastructure where different groups can exchange value without given up their uniqueness is the appropriate approach. A true republic would do just that where self-sustaining groups choosing to go their own way would be left alone to thrive without being subject to onerous rules created by people who do not even look like them.

Why I have no problem with nationalism

Nationalism represents the freedom for a particular ethnic or cultural group to be and promote who and what they are. Americans, particular those on the left, play revisionist history when calling out so called white nationalists for expressing their need for separation. This country’s history is rife with “white nationalism” where Europeans cleared out indigenous occupants they found on the land and appropriated its natural resources in order to fuel Euro America’s expansion to the Pacific and beyond.

I sense Euro Americans have either an intellectual aversion to white nationalism or an indifference. I believe it is more indifference because given their dominant cultural status in the United States, it is a waste of time pondering on the alleged wrongs their ancestors carried out against indigenous tribes as well as against African tribes that they traded for and brought to the United States.

If Euro Americans believed that non-Europeans were their brothers and sisters under the eyes of God, then the mass atrocities Europeans carried out against indigenous American tribes and African tribes would never have happened. The atrocities were simple to carry out because Europeans convinced themselves that because of their technology, language, religion, skin color, and view of life, that they were better thus had the authority to carry out violence against these peoples.

The United States is simply Europe extended.

But given the brief argument I provided above, why then would I support nationalism? Didn’t I just make an argument about how unacceptable it is? The answer is no, I didn’t. European campaigns to conquer and occupy the North and South American continents were examples of human nature on steroids. Africans, Asians, and Europeans have varied histories of occupation and conquest. Europeans took their model of conquest and and nation building and went global. Indigenous American and African tribes are understandably upset that they lost tens of or even hundreds of millions of lives over a almost four century period of war, rape, and slavery, but in the end, just because these tribes were not capable of warding off the onslaught doesn’t mean that Europeans owe an apology. Rather, it means that these groups need to ask themselves what was it about self preservation that they did not understand then and today how best do we go about correcting it.

Progressives will respond that to address these past wrongs either all peoples should start to live as one, to put aside ethnic differences, to be human first or pay the descendants of the victims some form of reparations.  Neither approach will work.

First, the “we are all human” approach invites subjecting disadvantaged groups to a European standard. If we are all one people, then efficiency calls for a clear standard to follow and I don’t see a group of European descendants who control America’s wealth subjecting themselves to the socio-economic-political standards of the African Diaspora.

Nor will reparations work. First, Euro Americans will push back on the idea going as far as a tax revolt, something the United States could not afford. Even if reparations were approved, what would be the formula for doling out monies? What would be the criteria? Could Barack Obama collect just based on skin color even though there is no proof that any member of his lineage was a slave?

And what would the reparations be used for? Members of the African Diaspora have a higher propensity to consumer relative to Euro Americans. While there will be a huge spike in the United States’ gross domestic product, I don’t see any leadership calling for wealth building, something the African sorely needs.

If the African Diaspora is to achieve any real viability on the North American continent, it will have to embark on a fifty year plan that includes the creation and implementation of tribal values, separate and distinct from the dominant culture. The dominant culture’s values have not served the African Diaspora in America well. Members of the African Diaspora rank at the bottom of every major socio-economic indicator.  Members of the African Diaspora will have to accumulate natural resources, build an economy around those resources, and use broadband and the internet to engage in trade not only with other Diaspora members in North America but across the pond as well.

Nationalism should not be looked at as a hate agenda. That is an argument that nation-state promoters make, and one that I will address later this week. What nationalism does is ensure your survivability and uniqueness. Those who allegedly seek a diverse world within which to live need to come to terms with this reality.