“Zero-sum games” are what pundits call common exercises in mathematical certainty. They are games in which every winner corresponds to a loser. No one can advance unless someone is held back. For every plus, there is an equal and opposite minus. It all sounds so scientific and mathematical, even though it's really just basic second-grade arithmetic.
Simple minds, most of them affiliated with the Democrat Party, apply the zero-sum principle to society and to economics. In reality, these are realms in which zero-sum enterprises can never successfully take hold, and never have.
In the fields of society and economics, advances tend to spread vertically and laterally. When one person moves forward, it's because several others did too, and they spread their new-found wealth or status so that others also advance at the same time. People who rise in social or financial status take others with them, intentionally or not. Far from leaving anyone behind, people who are advancing socially or economically naturally pull others along with them.
The politics of race stop that associative progress. The politics of race tell us that every successful white man owes his success on a one-to-one basis to his assumed (even unknowing) oppression of a man of color. Every dismal outcome for a black man must correspond to the success of a white oppressor or to the dominance of whites in general. From the opposite perspective, the purported dominance of whites must correspond directly to the oppression of blacks.
The arithmetic seems so simple that anyone can understand it. And that's the point. Even a moron can get it. Even a moron can buy into it. And even a moron can vote for it.
The teeming herds are fed this pablum wholesale in the form of network “news” programming. They receive mass doses of it via tech media such as Facebook and Twitter. Reinforcement comes in the form of the gravitas rolled into the reporting offered by established sources, including the alphabet legacy media. CNN or ABC or USAToday will confirm that you, a black man or woman, have been held down and made poor by evil whites. They will tell you, and illustrate their tales with carefully selected examples, that whites are systematically working against you, limiting your potential, keeping you “in chains,” as our current president has alleged.
Worst of all, the media have knowingly reinforced the tension by making it clear that there really is a racial divide. The fact that the divide is largely of the media's making in the first place seems to be lost on the participants in the debate. The near-ascension to sainthood of petty or lifelong criminals like Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, George Floyd, and so many others, is utter insanity carefully crafted by the legacy media.
Also lost is the obvious, provable fact that the divide they describe is rooted largely in aberrant behaviors exhibited mainly by blacks themselves. US cities are not riven by murders, shootings, car-jackings, mass lootings, riots, etc. committed by white people or Asian people or Hispanic people. These crimes are committed in outlandish proportions by blacks, largely against other blacks, and mainly in black neighborhoods. These facts are out there, they are compiled by the FBI and the DOJ, and they defy dispute. Yet they go unreported by the legacy media.
CNN, ABC, and USAToday won't tell you the truth: that blacks really are being held back and handicapped mostly through their own actions and those of other blacks. Every statistic published supports this statement of fact. To look at just one key statistic, the United States in 2022 is a nation with an overall fairly high murder rate in which young black males – about 3-4% of the total population – commit a healthy majority of all murders. A similarly high percentage of their victims in these crimes are also young black males. Incidence and victim rates for other violent crimes follow a similar pattern. The vast majority of these black-on-black crimes take place in large cities, all of which are, and have long been, run by Democrats.
Consider that, if we exclude a short list of American cities (Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia, etc.), the United States would have one of the lowest violent crime rates of all the nations on the planet. Consider at the same time that each one of these places has long been governed by Democrats and features a relatively high black population. The pattern could hardly be more clear. But if the legacy media are any guide, the pattern doesn’t even exist.
These facts present a clear opportunity to conduct discussion about the reasons for these crimes, as well as a chance to address remedial efforts that can be tailored to both victims and victimizers. The bulk of the perpetrators occupy the same demographic; the bulk of the victims are in that demographic also, and, as a bonus, most of the victims and the victimizers are located in a small number of large cities. Rarely is such a pressing human problem so straightforward to address, in terms of its main participants. But efforts to address black-on-black crime are overwhelmed by the all-engulfing drumbeat of the propaganda from the Democrat left.
The simple fact that blacks are preying on other blacks at an astounding pace has become a Truth That Must Not Be Spoken for the political left in the US. That fact inconveniently contradicts the preferred narrative – that blacks are an oppressed minority, held down and held back and held captive by an evil cohort of white men who vote for the irredeemable Donald Trump and are obsessed with race and determined to rob the black community of its rightful place and its earned rewards. The fakery of the Democrat left regarding race, with its roots in Lyndon Johnson's long-ago Great Society duplicity, is truly breathtaking in scope and depth, and utterly boundless.
The media prefer their zero-sum story, in which every black failure is reflected in a white man's success. The Democrats prefer their representations of blacks who, so much more than whites or Asians or Hispanics, and for reasons no one seems able to supply, can't manage to obtain an official government picture identification, such as a driver's license or a state ID card. The media want you to believe that sensible, badly needed election reforms are actually “voter suppression,” which means, of course, further oppression of the black man by the white man.
The American left’s obsession with zero-sum politics and social policies may be the most destructive concept of the current age. And that destructiveness extends far beyond the obvious falsity of the entire concept. Zero-sum is a virulently racist equation. It tells every person of every race in the most certain of terms that his welfare literally depends on bringing about catastrophe for a member of the “other” race.
Race-based zero-sum orthodoxy wipes out the very concept of fairness at its first application.
In the US today, black people are routinely accepted into colleges and universities where they will fail and drop out in fantastic numbers because they were never qualified to be there – except for the color of their skin and the zero-sum policy of the academic institution. Proselytizing that every black applicant has been oppressed by a white man, schools attempt to achieve reparation credits by admitting black students who are simply not prepared.
And the irony is that college admissions really is very close to a zero-sum game, though not in the way the political left sees it. Every college and university has a limited enrollment. For every unqualified applicant accepted based solely on race, another qualified applicant has to be turned away. The American left, which constantly accuses everyone else of participating in racist, zero-sum policies, has succeeded in originating and establishing throughout academia exactly those racist, zero-sum policies.
Similar policies extend throughout corporate hiring practices. Similar policies have thoroughly infiltrated Hollywood and the entertainment complex. Similar policies have nearly destroyed effective policing and crime control in large cities across the US. Even now, as the nation attempts to dig out from under a pandemic caused by the activities of a foreign enemy, that zero-sum mindset is insuring that black people are afforded preferred status in the distribution of the so-called “vaccines.”
Zero-sum policies are the raw makings of hatred. In every case, they are attempts to create a one-on-one mentality that divides and sows the seeds of revenge and reparation. Zero-sum ideas are antithetical to capitalism, to democracy, to decency, even to the very hope of success in any modern society.
Zero-sum, like zero-tolerance, indicates zero brainpower.