Saturday, August 8, 2020

Widening The Fault Lines

     Divide et impera. -- Roman maxim.

     They who seek power over you will attempt to set you and your neighbor against one another. Regardless of the reason for it – if any – division and conflict among private citizens are assets to the power-monger. Indeed, it might be the asset he values most.

     It follows that if a power-monger should find a pre-existent crack that divides some Americans from others, he’ll seek to widen it. If he can, he’ll make it unbridgeable. Then he’ll do whatever it takes to cause us to focus on that gulf. Fear of “the Other” absorbs a great deal of the fearful one’s emotional energy. If exploited to the hilt, it can keep the fearful one from noticing the existence of other threats...or doing anything about them.

     The crack in America on whose widening the Left has labored longest and hardest is, of course, the racial gap. Some of us are Caucasian; others are Negro; still others are Mongolian. As persons of Mongolian ancestry have integrated smoothly into American life, the Left has concentrated on intensifying the Caucasian / Negro divide. Our current sociopolitical chaos arose from those efforts, particularly the efforts of the Left’s media handmaidens.

     But you already knew all that, didn’t you, Gentle Reader? What you’d like to know is what can be done about it. Well, so would I.

     Many commentators have observed that to prefix the word justice with any modifier perverts the meaning of justice, at least as Westerners have traditionally employed the term. Thus, the term racial justice perverts justice in the direction of racial collectivism. Whereas justice is about the defense of the rights of the individual, racial justice is about the imposition of injustice upon individuals in supposed pursuit of “racial equality,” a collectivist notion that has no objective referent. As more and more Americans have come to understand this, the Left’s tacticians have modified their approach with an adroit linguistic substitution.

     Quoth Zach Goldberg:

     Countless articles have been published in recent weeks, often under the guise of straight news reporting, in which journalists take for granted the legitimacy of novel theories about race and identity. Such articles illustrate a prevailing new political morality on questions of race and justice that has taken power at the Times and Post—a worldview sometimes abbreviated as “wokeness” that combines the sensibilities of highly educated and hyperliberal white professionals with elements of Black nationalism and academic critical race theory. But the media’s embrace of “wokeness” did not begin in response to the death of George Floyd. This racial ideology first began to take hold at leading liberal media institutions years before the arrival of Donald Trump and, in fact, heavily influenced the journalistic response to the protest movements of recent years and their critique of American society.

     Starting well before Donald Trump’s rise to power, while President Obama was still in office, terms like “microaggression” and “white privilege” were picked up by liberal journalists. These terms went from being obscure fragments of academic jargon to commonplace journalistic language in only a few years—a process that I document here in detail. During this same period, while exotic new phrases were entering the discourse, universally recognizable words like “racism” were being radically redefined. Along with the new language came ideas and beliefs animating a new moral-political framework to apply to public life and American society.

     Longtime analysts of media manipulation will nod over this; it’s anything but news. However, Goldberg takes note of a critical lexical substitution that’s central to the Left’s current offensive against the American conception of justice:

     One of the primary drivers behind the conceptual creep around racism is the idea that all observed disparities between different groups in a society are a product of bias. This view as well as its policy implications for any institution that takes it seriously are captured succinctly by one of the most influential voices in the racial consciousness industry, Atlantic magazine writer and author Ibram X. Kendi. In a line from his book Stamped from the Beginning, Kendi writes: “We have a hard time recognizing that racial discrimination is the sole cause of racial disparities in this country and in the world at large … When you truly believe that racial groups are equal, then you also believe that racial disparities must be the result of racial discrimination.” Kendi is saying that any evidence of uneven outcomes between groups—for example, Black people being underrepresented in a particular profession relative to other groups and their share of the overall population—is necessarily evidence of racism that should be remedied by discriminating against the non-Black groups. Yet this reasoning is intuitively appealing only when (in addition to ignoring the various nonwhite groups that outperform whites) it utilizes the very same racial categories that those like Kendi rightfully criticize for being arbitrarily or socially constructed (if statistically and politically convenient)....

     For decades, the term “racial equality” was the ubiquitous framework for understanding and evaluating racial justice. This is now changing as "equality" gives way to newer concepts such as “racial equity,” which refers to the redistribution of resources from the supposedly privileged to the supposedly disadvantaged as a means to redress claimed discrimination. As Ibram Kendi puts it: "If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist ... The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination." Thus the goal is no longer 'racial equality' or equal treatment under the law. It is, rather, the attainment of a state of the world in which all groups have equal outcomes—even if some are deliberately disadvantaged in the process. Until very recently, "racial equity" was a largely unfamiliar phrase only rarely featured in the pages of the major newspapers. But this has changed dramatically in the last few years. In 2013 “racial equity” constituted 0.000003% of all words in The New York Times. One year later, it was being used six times more frequently (0.00019%). And, by 2019, nearly 32 times more frequently (0.000096%). Remarkably, in The Washington Post, “racial equity” was not only being used 27 times more frequently in 2019 (0.00032%) than in 2013 (0.00012%), but it’s rate of usage actually surpassed that of “racial equality.”

     Goldberg’s article is marvelous, a treasure trove of both data and astute analysis. It deserves to be read and savored in full. However, for me the passage cited above is the haymaker. It illustrates a fundamental and insoluble problem:

If American Negroes will not be satisfied with anything but “racial equity,” then given that the races are innately unequal, how can the racial tensions the Left has inflamed be assuaged?

     That is the problem before Americans today.

     It’s time for a little C. S. Lewis:

     No man who says I'm as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept.

     And therefore resents. Yes, and therefore resents every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. Presently he suspects every mere difference of being a claim to superiority. No one must be different from himself in voice, clothes, manners, recreations, choice of food: “Here is someone who speaks English rather more clearly and euphoniously than I — it must be a vile, upstage, lah-di-dah affectation. Here's a fellow who says he doesn't like hot dogs — thinks himself too good for them, no doubt. Here's a man who hasn't turned on the jukebox — he's one of those goddamn highbrows and is doing it to show off. If they were honest-to-God all-right Joes they'd be like me. They've no business to be different. It's undemocratic.”

     [From Screwtape Proposes A Toast]

     As a Christian apologist and polemicist, Lewis was concerned with the attitudes, convictions, and actions of individuals. Yet his observation applies with equal validity to racial groups. Racial agitators claim that American blacks’ aggregate inferior social, political, and economic position is the result of being oppressed, marginalized, and held back by “whitey” and “white justice.” Were it not for that, we are invited to infer, American Negroes would be equally (i.e., proportionately) represented in all social, political, and economic categories. Never mind:

  • That American Negroes test a full standard deviation below American Caucasians on standard intelligence tests;
  • That American Negroes commit eight times as many felonies per capita as Caucasians;
  • That seven out of ten live births among American Negro females are out of wedlock: babies raised without fathers.

     Whenever we might hear it and whoever might utter it, I’m as good as you, as Lewis notes, is always “a good, solid, resounding lie:”

     I don't mean merely that his statement is false in fact, that he is no more equal to everyone he meets in kindness, honesty, and good sense than in height or waist measurement. I mean that he does not believe it himself.

     A perfect characterization of those who demand “racial equity.”

     For some years I’ve wondered how anything so obvious could be overlooked. Indeed, I overlooked it for much of my life. But “obvious” means “overlooked.” Indeed, it seems that the more unpleasant a fact, the more we strive to overlook it – and later on, when it bites us on the ass, we proclaim it “obvious.”

     Well, when we have an immense media megaphone continuously blaring lies into our ears, and all manner of pontificators demanding that we accept those lies as absolute truths, never to be gainsaid on pain of personal destruction, resisting the pressure to do so can be supremely difficult. I have a lot of sympathy for those who’ve “overlooked” the facts in response to that pressure. But that doesn’t make it any less of an error...or any less destructive to the fabric of our Republic.

     We must expect that the Left and the media will continue to pull at the racial fault lines that afflict us. It’s their best hope of reversing the pro-freedom currents that gained ascendancy with the rise of Donald Trump. But we don’t have to kowtow to them. With that, I’ll let Rod Dreher close this tirade:

     How can we fight it? Almost every single day I receive an e-mail or a message from somebody who says, “I agree with you, but I can’t say so, or I would risk losing my job.” I understand. But we are not powerless. In Live Not By Lies, I cite Solzhenitsyn:
     “We are not called upon to step out onto the square and shout out the truth, to say out loud what we think— this is scary, we are not ready,” he writes. “But let us at least refuse to say what we do not think!”

     For example, says Solzhenitsyn, a man who refuses to live by lies:

  • Will not say, write, affirm, or distribute anything that distorts the truth;
  • Will not go to a demonstration or participate in a collective action unless he truly believes in the cause;
  • Will not take part in a meeting in which the discussion is forced and no one can speak the truth;
  • Will not vote for a candidate or proposal he considers to be “dubious or unworthy;”
  • Will walk out of an event “as soon as he hears the speaker utter a lie, ideological drivel, or shameless propaganda;”
  • Will not support journalism that “distorts or hides the underlying facts”

     “This is by no means an exhaustive list of the possible and necessary ways of evading lies,” Solzhenitsyn writes. “But he who begins to cleanse himself will, with a cleansed eye, easily discern yet other opportunities.”

     We can do at least this. We can stop believing what these propagandists are telling us. We can refuse to hate ourselves, our neighbors, and our country, just because they want us to. And we can prepare ourselves for strife to come. Read Michael Vlahos. What our media have been doing is Othering. It’s not going to stop there. The history of the 20th century shows very well how effective mass media propaganda can be at stoking racial and ethnic hatred to serve the goals of those in power.

     So moved and seconded. Who will say aye?




Forgive me Francis, but I'm going to quote myself and give a link (always mindful I'm a guest):

From The Scarlet "R" (

"Don't be fooled. this has not been an accidental strategy. It has a clear purpose. The purpose is not criticism of Conservatives nor a discussion of the issues; the purpose is to paint Conservatives as the ultimate evil. … If Conservatives are the ultimate evil, then shouldn't people of good will do something to make sure that that evil is erased from the face from of the earth? … Their minds [are being] prepared to [… accept…] that by eliminating Conservatives, they [… will be] ridding it of a disease. So, if you think about it and history, the greatest atrocities have been preceded by the preparation of people's minds. This is what we're seeing today. This is the nature of this war."

Let me build on this a little.

IMHO people in general have innate moral restraints against murder. This is not to say, channeling Sowell's "A Conflict of Visions", that we're innately good people. Human weaknesses (and sins) are strong. But it's one thing to pilfer something, it's another to take a life. To get people to overcome that innate restraint takes work - deliberate work. And the Left has been doing that work for decades through their drip-drip-drip attack on our culture.

doubletrouble said...

A resounding “aye” from this corner. I read this essay thrice so to absorb as much as possible in preparation for a likely discussion later today. I wish this could be widely read, that people could get their heads around some truth.
God Bless you, Francis.

Kye said...

And an "Aye" from Abington, PA. It's time for millions of "aye's" to overturn this nefarious movement of hate and anti-freedom. Say Aye to God and country and family and community and nay to all those who have spent since 1861 trying to keep this nation and it's people divided.

The Democrat Party has been the enemy of the United States since 1861 and nobody seems to mention it any more. It was never North vs South but Democrat vs Freedom.

America is NOT divided by race, color, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. America is divided into wise people and fools. And fools divide themselves by race, color, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Andy Texan said...

AYE. Like to (badly) paraphrase some ancient Roman (who can easily be researched), 'democrat party delenda est.'

Jess said...