Friday, December 25, 2015

Two Racisms

Now, it's a known fact that racism comes in two forms: that practiced by whites— heinous and inexcusable, whatever its motives— and that practiced by blacks— quite justified, whatever its excesses, since it's merely the expression of a righteous revenge, and it's up to the whites to be patient and understanding.

Raspail, Jean (2014-12-03). The Camp of the Saints (1973) (Kindle Locations 3661-3663). Trine Day. Kindle Edition.

Over forty years ago this apothegm appeared in a prophetic novel, The Camp of the Saints, a masterpiece of acid mockery, mesmerizing in its devastating satirical scorn for the ubiquitous Leftist grandstanders with all of their preening, self-righteous rhetoric of “caring” about the oppressed, their relentless, fatuous grievance mongering, and delusion-fed hypocrisy and shameless duplicity.

Raspail’s noted double standard endures, thrives even, and gathers an increasing stench of invincible dishonesty.  Racism some forty years post-Camp has mutated into the most useful, versatile, resilient “ism” ever invented, the gift for the Left that never stops giving. 

Only whites can practice racism in its virulent, malignant form because, as the Left insists, whites are “privileged”, neo-Marxist-speak for the domination and exploitation of one advantaged class or group (white) over another (black).  Those in oppressed group, as Raspail notes above, get to be as vicious as they care to be because they have longstanding legitimate grievances to pursue and scores to settle.  Racism for the Left is really about power, and like every malady that plagues society, in Marxist social mechanics it is eliminated when the righteous oppressed overthrow the benighted oppressors (in Marxist lingo: “the expropriators are expropriated”).  For the Left the notion of racial progress in America is an illusion.  The breaking down of the barriers of segregation, the victories of civil rights movement mean nothing.  As President Obama says, discrimination is in our DNA.  It is long past time for whites relocate at back of the bus and be content as janitors.

In a simpler era before the Left had hammered the notion that “white folks” are all (collectively) and uniquely racist into one of their sacred dogmas, sorting out those who were racists from those who were not was a relatively straightforward matter.  Racists then self-identified, some, quite proudly and defiantly.  Others, perhaps neither so confident nor bold would admit privately, maybe even grudgingly and more tentatively the views of the openly bigoted. 

Then, not every white person of European origin was a racist.  Some, many whites, as even now, were actually appalled by the racists they observed.  How else, one might ask, over the years, without some renegades from this majority oppressor race did America end slavery, dismantle Jim Crow and twice elect a black man as President with a plurality of white votes? And, how else is it that now merely the threat of being labeled a racist makes most whites crumple up, scramble to apologize to anyone and everyone, and promise to do whatever it takes to show how free they are of racial prejudice.

Times indeed have changed.  No white person other than the flotsam on the far fringe wants to be labeled a racist.  No sin is less forgivable.  You can prey on young interns, be a serial philander and a phony philanthropist (Bill Clinton), abandon your girlfriend to drowned in the back seat of your car (Ted Kennedy), try to blow up the Pentagon and a lot of people in it (Bill Ayres), slander, foment riots, consort with gangsters, skip your taxes (Al Sharpton) – all in the end is forgiven and forgotten as long as you are reliably, as they say now, “progressive”.   But for those whose bonafides do not list leftward enough, when the professional overseers of racial rectitude sniff out in a word, gesture, or symbol, that has the faintest whiff of “racism”, exile and banishment follow.  Remember Jimmy the Greek? Even the slightest suspicion that one of the “privileged” whites in any position of influence and authority does not spend every spare moment ruminating on how awful it is to be black in America can kill a career.   Just recently the President of the University of Missouri capitulated (groveling and apologizing, Mao-era Cultural Revolution style) to the demands of clique of black students led by the son of a multimillionaire and resigned. His offense?  He was insufficiently tormented by the horrors endured by black students at the Missouri campus – which were?  Well, that is where you have to use your imagination.      

Racism is now an obsession of the Left and it is ubiquitous, manifesting itself in such subtle and nuanced forms that detection requires highly trained specialists in the hermeneutics of racial sensitivity.  Racism, that is, white racism, never abates.  It is a wonderful abstraction that easily mutates. It has taken on so many different forms that even the specialists can barely keep up with the inventory: institutional racism, systemic racism, economic racism, environmental racism, overt racism, covert racism, casual racism, legacy racism, etc.  The deep thinkers employed by the New York Times can be counted upon, as they usually do, to bring enlightenment to this unfortunate preoccupation and generalize about people about whom they know little and loath greatly: thus, the inimitable Nicholas Kristof and his recent column “Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist?” Perhaps Kristof should change his name to Rip Van Winkle.

Racism is now detected in the form of “micro-aggressions”, the irony somehow escaping the “diversity” and “multicultural” specialists who occupy Vice President and similar lofty positions at universities and companies.  We now have an entire industry made up of “professionals” whose job is to detect in the speech and behavior of their fellow employees these micro-aggressions that signal the racist attitudes.  They reign in a kind of dictatorship over communication legitimized somehow by the demand for “sensitivity” which seems to be unbounded and insatiable and now trumps once highly regarded values and freedoms such free speech, intellectual humility and civility.

It is safe to wager that no Multi-cultural or Diversity Vice President anywhere will ever be on record saying that under her tenure racism and bigotry have diminished and race relations have improved. Aren't they hired to make things better?  So why do we need them? Again, one marvels at the irony and it is astonishing to note how no one seems to comment on the perversity of the entire enterprise that composes the “Diversity industry”, a euphemism for an extortion machine.  These positions are created and filled by people who have every incentive to make things worse.  If the whites (privileged simply by virtue of being white) who inhabit these organizations were not the closet bigots they supposedly cannot help being, why would we need these professional scolds, intolerant and censorious to the core, to lecture us incessantly on inclusion and tolerance?  So imagine the relief they typically feel when some incident (a racial slur, real or imagined) occurs assuring them that we are permanently locked in a time where all the lunch counters and public restrooms are “Whites Only” and “We Shall Overcome” is the only choice in the hymnbook.  Everyday is “Groundhog Day” – Bull Connor is Sheriff and all Republicans are Lester Maddox. Wait! I believe he was a Democrat.  

Racism in today’s multi-racial America has little to do with race and everything to do with power. Racism is the “unity of evil under which all opponents are gathered.”  (Petr Fidelius, ‘Totalitarian Language’, The Salisbury Review 2 (2) (Winter 1984); Scruton, Roger (2015-10-08). Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Kindle Locations 4267-4268). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.)  Racism is this “unity of evil” they see in their “enemies”, as President Obama calls his political opposition.  It is an integral part of the political modus operandi of Left used to demonize the opposition.  Racism is also an exemption for rioting, looting, murdering policemen and almost any loutish behavior you can imagine because the white power structure has made conditions intolerable.   

Black Lives Matter, Black Power, Black is Beautiful – whatever form the au currant racial chest thumping chant from the grievance industry takes – it is nothing but agitprop aimed at racial intimidation.  The Left, constantly crying racism against their opponents, supports black chauvinism no matter how crude or stupid its manifestations. If they were seriously opposed to what racism really is – targeting a racial group and disparaging it – they would they would condemn the grievance mongering and racial animosity of the likes of Al Sharpton and Barack Obama and attempt a real, as they say “honest conversation about race.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thomas Jefferson and the Grievance Mongers

                  From the Monticello official website

Grievance = by definition: a feeling of having been treated unfairly; a reason for complaining or being unhappy with a situation; a statement in which you say you are unhappy or not satisfied with something.

We are amuck in the age of grievances, grievances of gargantuan proportions that cut vast swaths across times, places and peoples, grievances of tiny magnitude, registered these days under the heading, “micro-aggressions. The grievance mongers lie in ambush everywhere.  Grievances multiply to open up coveted space in today’s “Pantheon of Victimhood”.  Installation in the Pantheon as a certified victim means you get to wear a permanent moral halo and remain immune from criticism of any sort. You possess the “superior virtue of the oppressed”, as the philosopher Bertrand Russell put it.  New York Times columnist David Brooks recently concluded his review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book, Between the World and Me, an anti-white diatribe by an angry black man by asking himself if he, “as a white man has the moral standing to question any part of it?” ( The answer to this absurd question is painfully obvious: David, quit writing reviews or anything else. Join a monastery. Devote yourself to good works for the poor.  Of course, you have no “moral standing”. Not because you are a white man, but because you have completely surrendered whatever slim capacity you once may have had to grasp basic facts, reason and think straight. This is the same David Brooks, by the way, who after interviewing then Presidential candidate, Barack Obama back in those halcyon days of “Hope and Change” wrote: “I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant … and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” ( And I’m thinking, (a) do we ever want to hear from this New York Times deep thinker again and (b) if we did, why would we take him seriously?

White guilt, like that displayed by groveling idiot-intellectuals like Brooks, gives an enormous boost of legitimacy to the blustering maestros in the thriving grievance industry, experts in the practice of the art of moral blackmail. (See my blog, The Left: Masters of Extortion)
( These guys you provoke at your own peril! They are “professionals” fermenting in the juices of resentment, always in a permanent high dudgeon, always wanting to remind you of how insensitive you are. They are the self-selected representatives of the burgeoning legions of the righteously aggrieved. They give “voice” to their feelings of being treated unfairly and their unhappiness with the raw deals that are the standard fare in America for anyone who is not a white male. They now maintain vast inventories of “micro-aggressions”, invent new ones, and make lots of demands, non-negotiable ones. 

Consider the ruminations of Desiree H. Melton, a philosophy professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University specializing in critical race theory and feminist philosophy, a fully credentialed grievance professional. She does not disappoint.

 A recent tour of Monticello aroused her critical race theory ire which then led to the appearance of “Monticello’s Whitewashed Version of History” in the Washington Post listed as an opinion piece. That the Washington Post would publish such a mindless piece of bilious, self-righteous posturing masquerading as serious thinking is evidence that for our intellectually elite gatekeepers of opinion white guilt trumps any standard of dispassionate reflection and critical insight that might be applied to the “conversations on race” they keep insisting that we have.  No connection with reality is required (David Brooks, case in point).  Equally depressing is that Ms. Melton gets paid to transmit her tendentious, resentment-laden drivel to young college students.   

For Ms. Melton, the Monticello tour was painful from the beginning as she complains that the other, “mostly white folks” on the tour were insufficiently somber. To my surprise, I was not saddened by the experience. I did, however, get angry. I was angry at the utter lack of reverence and solemnity.  Anger for grievance mongers is always the first reflex. You see, the critical race theorists of the world, like Ms. Melton, cannot comprehend why everyone else around them does not vibrate as they do with the same exquisite sense of moral outrage that comes from ruminating every waking moment on how awful it is to be a black person in America.  Reverence and solemnity among its white visitors were missing from Monticello because it did not demand it of them.” It is not clear that there is an “it” behind Monticello that can make these sorts of “demands”. Aren’t reverence and solemnity supposed to come from within? Perhaps the tour guides at Monticello are supposed to replicate the sessions of quivering, angry, uncensored, unmasking of America’s fake, whitewashed heroes that the students in her in her 101 classes at Notre Dame are subjected to. No pedestal can remain occupied. ”Why,” she asks, “does Monticello allow visitors to tour the house and then skip over its related slave sites? Why? – well, maybe because visitors to historic sites might have their own priorities, interests and perspectives that don’t quite match up with those of the angry professor.  Maybe it is because the visitors to Monticello are not (yet) political prisoners to be perp walked through the grounds, reeducated and forced to confess (Chinese, Cultural Revolution style) that American history is nothing other than the ugly story of racism and the subjugation and exploitation of black people. 

Ms. Melton’s is in a great wrath over Monticello’s supposed whitewashing of Jefferson’s slaver ownership. Did she even bother to look at the official Monticello website which gives ample considerable attention to the many aspects of slavery at Monticello? ( Included are a number of online exhibitions such as: Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello; Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty; Getting Word: African American Families of Monticello  Also, on the website there were a number of articles relating to the reality of slavery at Monticello, Jefferson and Slavery and Jefferson and Sally Hemings.  What is lacking? Reality, it seems, makes no impression on this professor-visitor. She seems determined to enjoy her anger and bitterness.  Grievance professionals are about grievances – facts do not matter.

The problem Ms. Melton opines is that white people just don’t want to face the truth. “If white people cannot accept the awful truth that one of the nation’s cherished founders held people as property, and that slavery was indeed horrific, why would they acknowledge the covert ways in which blacks are still oppressed?
This is clearly a trick, “if-then” question. Let’s respond by turning it back around with a different “if-then” question. So:  IF black critical race theory professors are unable to grasp some simple obvious facts (a) that it makes absolutely no sense to talk about what truths white people as a single, collective race accept or do not accept because there are none, (b) that most white people do know and accept the fact that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, (c) that most white people as well as all other people would strongly aver that slavery is horrific (d) that the ancestors of many white Americans today, those particularly in the immigrant waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries – Italians, Greeks, Jews from the Russian pale, etc. – had nothing to do with American slavery, many of whom were serfs and peons back where they came from, (e) that slave trading and ownership were not solely practiced by white people, (f) that white Christian abolitionists in England and America were primarily responsible for ending slavery in the western world,  THEN should critical race theorists, like Ms. Melton attempt to acquire a basic grasp of logic and critical thinking, study more history, work at becoming a little less censorious and self-righteous or perhaps, just find a more productive line of work?   

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Why the Left Hates Guns

                                                             Image result for cold dead fingers

“President Obama says the biggest frustration of his tenure is the lack of new gun control laws.”
                              USA Today, July 24th, 2015

Unlike most of the President Obama’s declarations – “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”, for example – this one, above, was true.  You could believe him for once. Obama always hated guns and if it had been in his power he would have confiscated every firearm in the country down to the last BB gun, except for those carried by the Secret Service detail that continues to protect him and his family.

Obama is a man of the left and the left hates guns more than almost anything else they remotely associate with the despised right, more than gas guzzlers, home school families, coal companies, confederate flags or pro-life protestors. Just the mention of the NRA will trigger spasms of fury and outpourings of disgust from a leftist. The NRA for them is evil incarnate. No other organization is likely more detested.

What is it about guns that make people on the left hate them so much and harbor so much contempt for those people – not so much the criminals who use them, but the ordinary, law-abiding people who insist on owning them?

Begin with the basics:  a gun is an amazing instrument of power. A ninety pound woman physically confronted by a two hundred pound man with a BMI of 25 has little power to resist his assault or aggression.  A gun in her hand completely changes the power equation.  Sans gun by virtue of his superior size and relative strength, the man can seriously injure or even kill the woman.  It happens. With the gun she can easily kill him if he attempts to harm her. This does not happen often enough. The right person in this scenario takes the ride to the morgue. His advantage-conveying, extra 110 pounds and bigger bones and muscles are nullified by the discharge from her 25 ounce Ruger.

Guns enforce power-relations which is why police and soldiers carry them. Guns also can change power-relations which is why so many people want them both for reasons legitimate and some not so much. The left wants to take away guns (primarily those of the bitter clingers) so as to render them powerless.

The left would love to confiscate all the guns in this country claiming that it would end gun violence. This is idiotic on the face of it. Criminalize the possession of something in high demand and relatively easy to produce and you will see a dramatic spike in its price because of the seller’s criminal risk. High prices attract high-risk entrepreneurs (aggressive young men usually) into the marketplace who form powerful, sophisticated crime syndicates that are (a) very competitive and hence extremely violent and (b) cater successfully to vast markets for their illegal product. The massive infusion of drugs into the U.S. with the accompanying violence dramatically illustrates how the unintended consequences of firearm confiscation, if attempted, would unfold.  Government confiscation of guns would drastically increase (criminalized) gun ownership and vastly increase gun violence, not to mention the exhaustion of law enforcement resources and the complete political alienation of large numbers of American citizens. 

The loathing of the left for guns in part comes from their jealousy of power. Guns are highly-charged symbols as well as practical instruments of power, and power, they believe, belongs exclusively to them. This is not just about what guns can do.  It is about what they symbolize – individualism, independence and self-sufficiency – for the collectivist, regulation-loving, control-obsessed left, anathemas.  

The thinking on the left goes something like this: because we are compassionate, smart, right-thinking and destined by the progressive march of history to eradicate – pick your evil – racism, sexism, homophobia, imperialism, global warming, we and we alone deserve power.  If not us, who?  And, whatever we must do to get it and keep it is fine because above all else we are well-intentioned and virtuous and if we are not in charge, then it’s, well, “the other”, the corrupt and morally benighted people who oppose us  – racist, bigoted, greedy, stupid, indifferent to the plight of the poor and unfortunate.  Leftists neither practice nor believe in loyal opposition: for the opposition they have only contempt.

Gun ownership confers power and thus just the suggestion that people might legitimately arm themselves constitutes an encroachment on the left’s perceived prerogative and arouses their jealousy and outrage.  People, they groan, do not neeeeeed guns! They know what people need and don’t need and are clearly annoyed that the unenlightened rubes who live outside of the civilized regions of Manhattan, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Madison, Wisconsin cannot grasp this obvious truth.  

Self-defense, they sneeringly dismiss as a legitimate reason to own a gun – that is what the State is for.  Try not to choke on the hypocrisy.  They are protected 24x7 by armed secret service personnel (Obama and his family) or live in safe, posh suburbs with expensive, sophisticated security systems and reliable, predicable police protection. But for those “folks” for whom they have so much compassion and about whom they know so little, those folks who have to worry about the muggers, rapists, wife-batterers, drug peddlers and strung out junkies who populate their neighborhoods? Well, they are supposed to cherish how virtuous they will feel without those awful guns they don’t need and hope a cop might show up before someone in the family gets raped or murdered. We all know that there are large sections of some of the cities in the U.S. (governed by anti-gun Democrat politicians) where the police reluctantly go. The State is quite selective in the protection it provides for its citizens. The “State” for the “ruled-over” is a useless abstraction and the pervasive cynicism and skepticism now aimed at those who operate it are completely justified.  These “public servants” enjoy all of the perks of their offices that the rest of us only envy. (“Last Friday, [Hillary] Clinton flew to Bergdorf Goodman in New York, where the stylist at the salon gives $600 haircuts. The department store was locked down for her.” Our political class betters make onerous rules for their inferiors to live under, but not for themselves. At election time these vultures descend from their comfortable, lofty perches to perform tedious rituals of pretending to care when what they really want is just more power and the advantages and privileges that come with it.

The animosity of the left for guns is also about the special kind of snobbery they indulge that relates to the work they do and the way they live. They tend to work in the realm of ideas and at activities intended to influence the thinking and actions of others.  They teach in schools and universities, run media outlets and newspapers, manage and administer organizations, market and sell products, process paper in government offices. Some of them are “grievance specialists” at universities and other organizations, professional busybodies and scolds who operate under the rubric of “diversity”, a code word that permits them to hector and bully whomever they please. These types don’t change the oil in their own cars, fix things they own when they break down, make or grow anything they use or consume.  They pay “other people” to do things like this, and they mostly look down on them.  These “other people” tend to like guns. They live and think conservatively and work at jobs such as policemen, firemen, mechanics, truck drivers, construction workers and run small businesses. They hunt, fish, bowl, fix their own cars, go to church, take care of their grandparents, join the military and do many other things that offend the sensibilities of the left.  For the Prius-driving, inequality-obsessed Sociology professor who campaigned for Obama, the gun-toting policeman he loathes and execrates in his 101 classes could not respond quickly enough to his summons when he thinks a burglar might be near.    

The left will never relinquish their hostility toward gun owners and never abandon their efforts at gun control.  “Gun control” is a euphemism, an essential piece of the larger picture that defines the essence of the left and what they aspire to, complete control of others. Because they believe themselves to be uniquely entitled to order and manage the lives of everybody, they observe no restraints of honesty or fair play. Be assured, they will relentlessly intrude themselves into every corner of our lives so as to make the rest of us into what they think we should be, pale, inferior imitations of themselves.  Guns are a huge obstacle to this goal. Viva the cold dead fingers!