I was stunned just now to read the disgusting, racist, indefensible thing that Pat Buchanan has written in his syndicated column in response to the Confederate statue controversy:
Looking back over the history of a Western Civilization, which we call great, were not the explorers who came out of Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and England all white supremacists?
They conquered in the name of the mother countries all the lands they discovered, imposed their rule upon the indigenous peoples, and vanquished and eradicated the native-born who stood in their way.
Who, during the centuries-long discovery and conquest of the New World, really believed that the lives of the indigenous peoples were of equal worth with those of the colonizers?
“All men are created equal” is an ideological statement. Where is the scientific or historic proof for it? Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope?
With that, Buchanan repudiates not only the founding principle of our Constitutional order, but also a core teaching of the Christian faith, which holds that all men are created in the image of God. It is fine to disbelieve in egalitarianism as an ideology and as a basis for policy. Most conservatives do, and most conservatives rightly reject the idea that all cultures are equally good. And it is reasonable to argue against the puritan iconoclasts who would destroy monuments and historical memory in the name of a mindless, ideological dogmatism.
But that’s not what this is. Buchanan is not meditating on the tragic nature of history, as any conservative worth the name must do. No, in this column, Buchanan is defending white supremacy, straight up.
It is abhorrent, and must be rejected in the strongest terms by conservatives. If this is where the Right is going, it can go right off that racist cliff without me. This is what white supremacists did to black people in the American South. And this is the terrorism white supremacists inflicted on black citizens in my own town a few years before I was born. This was really inflicted by white people on black people made, like them, in the image of God. It is a blood-red stain on this country, and in particular on my ancestors.
It grieves me to see a conservative writer and thinker I have long admired, even if I did not always agree with him, descend to the gutter like this. But it has happened, and it is shameful. It is intolerable. He has crossed a bright red line. No, no, no! Conservatives, this is not us. It cannot be us. We cannot put up with this.
UPDATE: Link to Buchanan column fixed.
UPDATE.2: Mona Charen says of the column:
Jefferson’s words were not a statement of human sameness. Obviously some people are smarter, handsomer, taller, and more athletic than others. It was a philosophical and ethical commitment to the idea that all human beings are morally and politically equal — that they are entitled to respect and to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” just because they are members of the human family. Buchanan asks for evidence, as if this were an empirical question. It’s not. It’s a moral one. A belief in human equality arose out of the Enlightenment and before that from the Judeo-Christian tradition. That tradition teaches that each human is made in the image and likeness of God. This is the foundation of equality. Jefferson, for all his personal shortcomings, understood that, which is why his words have inspired people around the world and particularly in our land for centuries. Buchanan dissents. Just underline this: He is rejecting the American idea.
I’m more radical about this stuff than Mona Charen is. If Buchanan wanted to reject the American idea of a polity based on universal moral and political equality, I wouldn’t necessarily condemn him for that. It would depend on his reasons. Because whites deserve to rule over others by nature of their racial superiority is not a good reason, to put it mildly. I, too, hate the radical egalitarianism of the contemporary Left, but by no means because I believe in racial superiority.