This was the week that the most debased presidential candidate in memory called her opponent racist. Or his opponent. Hey, here’s a situation where one of those genderless pronouns would actually come in handy!
But while these two terrible people are slinging the Great American Insult at one another, it might be a good time for the lovable rest of us to consider for a moment how absurd our “national conversation on race” really is.
There are many negative judgements one can make about a group of people that do not necessarily involve prejudice or bigotry. One can deem their religious precepts to be misguided or untrue. One can find their culture to be primitive or destructive. One can see their government as backward or oppressive. One can even find their sports boring, if they go around playing soccer all the time. In each case, one can have good and moral grounds to make those assessments.
But to judge a group of people on their race is madness — and once you’ve done it, just about everything you say afterward becomes fantastical.
I don’t want to argue about the existence of race, though it is a pretty muddy business. Geneticists can trace strains of inheritance to various areas and no doubt evolution guided development a bit differently in each. But inter-breeding and migration over thousands of years continue to produce new and complex varieties of individuals while evolution continues to do its work every day. All we really know is that the German barbarians of one century become the musicians and philosophers of the next and the dictatorial murderers of the one after that. The future of a people — like the future of the climate — is far too complex and event-dependent for anyone to predict.
This is why all racialists end up clinging to the irrational. Black Lives Matter and the alt-right are as one in this as in so much else. To subscribe to the violent and misguided rage of BLM you must close your eyes to the war-like slaughter of blacks in our inner cities and over-focus your deluded mind on the very occasional unwarranted death of a black person at the hands of a bad or incompetent cop. You must buy into the “statistics” cited by cynical and deceptive politicians like our president — how often police stop black people or lay hands on them, for instance — and ignore the relatively high rates of black crime that make those police actions not just rational but beneficial to the black community. In short, to maintain the fiction that blacks are still under the white man’s gun (as once, no doubt, they were) you must close your eyes to reality and construct and maintain a hateful and bigoted fantasy that puts you at odds with your true friends and delivers you into the hands of your criminal enemies.
Fantastic and irrational too is the philosophy of the alt-right with their smarmy pseudo-intellectual white isolationism (it’s their make-believe belief that white people aren’t necessarily better than other people, but only have an equal right to protect their “white” culture and territory). The alt-right website Vox Populi roundly declares “The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.” What blithering silliness.
Should we leave aside the fact that these nationalist anti-semites revel in the worship of a globalist Jew? Nah, let’s pause here to mock them for it. And these European nations that form one of their “pillars:” since those nations have been at war with one another for the last two thousand years, it seems important to ask which one they mean? The industrious Germans or the delightfully carefree Italians? The Spanish with their part-Muslim inheritance or the English with their pagan Viking mix? And while we’re at it, which one of each of these people is representative? Is Hitler more Aryan than Thomas Mann who detested him? Is John Keats or John Christie the more exemplary Englishman?
The best reason to judge people, actions and belief systems individually is to keep from talking crap. I too believe that Western culture from around 1500 to 1915 was one of the pinnacles of human achievement. Part of its genius — I would say the core of it — lay in the loving universalism of its religion which ultimately led its free nations to welcome all people willing to participate in the secular version of that creed. Black Lives Matter and the alt-right are the enemies of that great and beautiful Christian universalism, which is the very heart of the West. The devil doesn’t care who does the hating as long as the hating gets done.
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