There was a story in The Times of India Tuesday about employees in call centers being subjected to racist phone calls from Americans. Apparently, there's something of a movement among certain people with sloping foreheads and its aim is to harass workers in call centers located outside the US sufficiently to make them quit their jobs, so these jobs can go back to the US again.
There are several things one could say about this. First of all, it is symptomatic of the stupidity of these people that they think their verbal bullying could actually scare off the potentially millions of Indians who could perform these jobs.
Secondly, they are a shame to any civilized society, and certainly to America's. Myths and doomsayers aside, America is a giant success in terms of race relations - name any country with even remotely the same influence of minority groups in all aspects of public life - the cabinet, the legislature, the arts, entertainment, sports, business etc. While far from perfect, the US is generally miles ahead in terms of peaceful co-existence, co-operation and civil behavior in a society containing an enormous variety of ethnic, religious, racial and political groups. (Did you know that Swedes have a lower standard of living than African-Americans? Did you know that Germany is poorer than 46 of America's 50 states?)
Thirdly - and this is really my main point today - the story from India serves so well to illustrate the underlying thuggery inherent in all opponents of globalization and free trade. You see, the only way to actually stop people from trading freely, in a global market, is to use violence or the threat thereof. If person A in the United States wants to buy something from person B in India, this transaction will take place unless person C either bullies or forces one or both parties into submission.
This may take many different shapes. When politicians do it, it will be in the shape of quotas, tariffs and outright bans. They will use the means of violence at their disposal to enforce them - such as the military, the police, customs controls, taxation, imprisonment, etc.
When individuals (who lack the massive powers of oppression available to governments) do it, it will be in the forms of burning down immigrants' shops, blockading transport (the favorite of French farmers), firebombing and thrashing McDonalds restaurants (another French favorite) or bullying foreigners, such as in the case reported in the article above. Of all these immoral and hurtful acts, the verbal abuse quoted in the article is actually the least despicable, since words will hurt nothing but feelings, while the thuggery of politicians will actually destroy jobs.
The basic aim and the basic methods of criminals, racists and politicians are, however, the same: They wish to prevent human beings from voluntary, mutually beneficient interactions, and they are willing to use thuggery and harassment to succeed. There is no real difference between the Neanderthals calling up Indian workers to harass them and the pampered, pin-stripe-suited thugs in trade unions, lobby groups, political offices or, for that matter, in the horribly misguided (and horribly clothed) anti-globalization movements of the world.
They are all thugs, because the only way they can ever win is through bullying and violence.