The pieces below, which I wrote more than six years ago, had several consequences. First came the barrage of email, divided between strongly supportive and strongly derisive in roughly a three-to-one ratio. Second came the requests for further direction: just how do we combat this pernicious trend? And third came the pleas for some sort of explanation of why the Left, especially its annex in the Mainstream Media, would want to perpetrate such a thing.
I chuckled over the negative email. Many of the condemnations were so completely, obscenely content-free that they might have been generated by an auto-scatology program. None of them were at all creative. But that's what you get from persons whose egos have swollen so greatly and whose minds have been pressed so flat that they can't even acknowledge a factual argument without suffering a catastrophic cranial implosion.
Further direction proved a major challenge. After all, what can one say beyond what I said in those essays?
- We're being denied information we desperately need.
- These are the persons denying it to us.
- They feel it's for the best, and are therefore unlikely to change their ways.
There are attempts in progress to build independent sources of critical reportage that can be trusted even on racially and ethnically sensitive topics. May they all succeed, swiftly and brilliantly. But most of us can contribute little if anything to them.
That third set of inquiries -- into the "why" of the thing -- is where my thoughts are today.
"Adults almost always act from conscious 'highest motives' no matter what their behavior." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers
There is no community of "thought" -- why, yes, those are "sneer quotes" -- more focused on "good intentions" than the American Left. (I omit that small fraction of the movement that regards social-fascist politics solely as a route toward power and its perquisites.) Leftists insist that their intentions are what matter. They want to "help" the poor, the oppressed, the unfortunate, the historically excluded, the tragically misunderstood, and so forth. That's the foundation of their belief in their moral and intellectual superiority to us Neanderthal conservatives. Therefore, it must be protected against any abrasion from reality.
But reality is filled with rough surfaces and jagged protrusions. Among the most distressing of these is the simple fact that collectivities, no matter how defined, exist mainly in one's mind. Internally, they can display upsetting variations and divergences...and they usually do.
If some set of "good intentions" require a collectivity for their exercise, some of the "help" administered to it will fall upon persons:
- Who don't need it;
- Who don't deserve it;
- Who don't appreciate it;
- Or who will exploit it in a destructive fashion.
Such uncritically distributed beneficence encourages the worst in its beneficiary class. The more civilized members will see what their less civilized colleagues are getting away with and say to themselves, "Why not me? What's the percentage in being honest and forthright?" Over time, the handouts flow ever more to people who ought not to be "helped." This is especially the case when the "help" is packaged as a government program, for reasons that would require another screed for their elucidation.
Therein lies the catch for the Left: Its methodological preference is for collectivities and government action. Leftists prefer to think in those terms -- another subject that deserves its own, separate exploration -- rather than in terms of individuals helping other individuals whom Fate has dealt an unearned blow.
So it seeks collectivities and rationales for deeming them "in need of help."
The obvious collectivities in any society are based on simple differences: race, sex, religious creed, ethnic heritage, education. If one of these can be segregated off as inherently in need of (and deserving of) "help," it constitutes a political target. To "hit the target" has two additional prerequisites:
- The members of the targeted collectivity must embrace their collective identity as their most important attribute;
- Persons outside the collectivity must be inhibited against seeing its members principally as individuals.
That, in summary, is the process of segregation.
As I said in the pieces below, word gets around. Sometimes it takes a while, but information people want or need is information they will have, sooner or later. The Soviet Union fell to that effect, among others.
When word gets around about the exploitation of unearned benefits or legal privileges by members of a collectivity designated for "help," those who are being mulcted or disadvantaged for that "help" tend to become very angry. However, the inhibition against seeing unworthy or vicious individuals within a "protected" collectivity can be made strong enough that the result is rage against all the members of the collectivity: the decent, responsible, and moral ones right along with the dissolute, the ne'er-do-wells, and the thugs.
When such a reaction begins to gather, the Left, which proposed and rationalized the nurturance of the designated collectivity, senses a threat to its moral position. The original motive power for "helping" that collectivity was a sense of moral obligation successfully imposed on the rest of society. They come to fear that their self-concept will be wounded, perhaps fatally. When the facts of the matter are immovably against their policy prescriptions and collectivist moral exhortations, the only possible means of defense is concealment: delaying the exposure of the evidence as long as possible.
The Mainstream Media, as anyone can see for himself, are politically biased toward the Left. Leftist political orientation, being so focused on "good intentions," tends to gather in persons whose strongest response to any scenario is emotional -- and emotionally-oriented persons have always dominated the communications-intensive trades. Thus, journalists are naturally inclined toward alliance with the explicitly political Left, and will assist the Left in bending the news "narrative" away from inconvenient truths. The growth and gradual predominance of a predator sub-class within a collectivity nurtured by the Left is such an inconvenient truth.
The original New Segregationist pieces focused on racial segregation and how the media's suppression of important facts about trends in dissolution, profligacy, and criminality among American Negroes has contributed to it. Yet any collectivity designated for "help" will exhibit a comparable set of trends, more or less dramatically according to context and prior socialization. As always, it's a matter of incentives.
The late Clarence Carson, in his landmark book The American Tradition, made a critical set of points about the "civilizing of groups." Groups, he noted, can overwhelm individual rationality and morality, a point made with equal force by philosopher Eric Hoffer. Therefore, they must be denied legal and political standing; they must never become capable of asserting privileges or immunities that non-members don't possess. This parallels Isabel Paterson's penetrating partition of sociopolitical orders into Societies of Contract, where individuals are the sole recognized actors within the legal and political order, versus Societies of Status, where membership in one or another group dwarfs every other consideration about what an individual can do, or to what he can aspire.
Plainly, Leftist thought and policy departs completely from that insight; the creation of politically privileged and empowered groups is virtually the whole of Leftist politics. But that departure rests upon Leftists' need to see themselves as morally superior to the rest of us, in which effort their politicized "good intentions" are the indispensable element.
I'll leave the summing-up to the late Keith Laumer's inimitable "interstellar diplomat," Jame Retief:
Retief stood up. "I'm taking a few weeks off . . . if you have no objections, Mr. Ambassador. My pal Whonk wants to show me an island down south where the fishing is good."
"But there are some extremely important matters coming up," Magnan said. "We're planning to sponsor Senior Citizen Groups."
"Count me out. Groups give me an itch."
"Why, what an astonishing remark, Retief. After all, we diplomats are ourselves a group."
"Uh, huh," Retief said. "That's what I mean."
Magnan sat quietly, his mouth open, and watched as Retief stepped into the hall and closed the door gently behind him.