Yankee Doodle Yugoslavia
It actually happened that the President of the United States tweeted approvingly a clip in which an angry supporter of his said, “White power!” He later deleted it. Axios reports:
President Trump tweeted, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages” on Sunday morning in response to a video of protesters verbally clashing with Trump supporters — including one man who yelled “white power” while passing in a golf cart.
The latest: Trump appeared to have deleted the tweet around 11am ET Sunday, about three hours after posting it. White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement: “President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.”
Why it matters: Trump has already been accused of inflaming racial tensions in the U.S. at a time of nationwide backlash over the killing of George Floyd. The White House did not respond when asked whether Trump condemned the supporter’s comment.
Details: The first clip in the montage shows protesters chanting “racist” at a white couple driving by in a golf cart bearing “Trump 2020” and “America First” signs. The man driving the cart gives a thumbs up and yells back, “White power!”
You know, I actually believe that Trump is so lazy and inattentive that he didn’t watch the whole video. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the President of the United States tweeted to his 82 million global followers a video clip in which a Trump supporter said, “White power!” This was a clash between older white people at a Florida retirement village. Here is the tweet of the original video, from a different account. The “white power” think happens in the first moments. Warning: if you stick around, an anti-Trump elderly person screams, “F–k Trump!” — so, not safe for work:
Seniors from The Villages in Florida protesting against each other: pic.twitter.com/Q3GRJCTjEW
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 27, 2020
How can we be surprised by any of this, though? The American left, abetted by the media, is racializing everything, in extremely toxic ways. I don’t say this as whatabouttery. You longtime readers know I have been saying for years in this space that the race-conscious left, by explicitly repudiating the liberal, MLK-era model of race relations, is calling up demons that they won’t be able to control. Well, those demons are now showing themselves. America is in for a terrible, terrible time.
Look at this horrible video and newspaper text from St. Louis, where a ranting mob screamed for a statue of St. Louis, King of France, to be taken down. From the newspaper story:
“He’s gonna come down,” Umar Lee, one of the protest organizers, said of the statue Saturday. “This guy right here represents hate and we’re trying to create a city of love. We’re trying to create a city where Black lives matter. We’re trying to create a city where there is no antisemitism or Islamophobia … this is not a symbol of our city in 2020.”
Another protest organizer, Moji Sidiqi of the Regional Muslim Action Network said that in addition to removing the statue, she thinks the city of St. Louis should be renamed to celebrate the city’s racial, ethnic and religious diversity.
“It’s a revolution,” she said. “It’s time for change … right now, our number one mission is to take this thing down and sit down with people who want to see positive change take place and continue to heal our country.”
Louis IX lived in the 13th century, yet he is being judged by the standards of 21st-century left-wing Americans, who have decided that he must be despised and removed from the sight of the public. A group of Catholics, later protected by police, stood praying between the thuggish, foul-mouthed mob and the statue.
(This weekend, the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco went to the site where the mob tore down the statue of St. Junipero Serra, and there, with a small group of the faithful, led prayers, including exorcism prayers. Archbishop Cordileone knows that we have now been plunged into open spiritual warfare.)
I was one of those people who was divided over whether or not to take down most Confederate statues, but was mostly okay with it, because I thought it would stop with the Confederates. I was wrong, and was, in fact, a fool. This has nothing to do with history. This is about hatred and power, nothing more. I see that now.
The late Stanford cultural critic Rene Girard wrote in his book I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning:
The current process of spiritual demagoguery and rhetorical overkill has transformed the concern for victims into a totalitarian command and a permanent inquisition. … We are living through a caricatural “ultra-Christianity” that tries to escape from the Judeo-Christian orbit by “radicalizing” the concern for victims in an anti-Christian manner. … The intellectuals and other cultural elites have promoted Christianity to the role of number one scapegoat.
Girard said in we are at the advent of what he calls “the other totalitarianism,” saying that it is
the most cunning and malicious of the two, the one with the greatest future, by all evidence. At present it does not oppose Judeo-Christian aspirations but claims them as its own and questions the concern for victims on the part of Christians (not without a certain semblance of reason at the level of concrete action, given the deficiencies of historical Christianity). The other totalitarianism does not openly oppose Christianity but outflanks it on its left wing.
The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc.
Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived s complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious.
Girard said in an interview with David Cayley:
The Apocalypse is not some invention. If we are without sacrifices, either we’re going to love each other or we’re going to die. We have no more protection against our own violence. Therefore, we are confronted with a choice: either we’re going to follow the rules of the Kingdom of God or the situation is going to get infinitely worse.
But we don’t do this. The cult of victimization and the valorization of racial hatred by the left is dragging us to some kind of explosion of violence.
The New York Times has been one of the leading instigators of the new race hatred. Here’s a story about how high school kids are policing other kids for racism online, and trying to destroy their lives. Excerpts:
Many students believe the only consequence their peers will take seriously is having their college admissions letter rescinded. “I’m not trying to target freshmen or middle schoolers, but people who are about to go to college need to be held accountable for what they say,” said Anamika Arya, the 16-year-old administrator of @Smithtown_Racist_Callouts, which is focused on Smithtown, N.Y.
“People who go to college end up becoming racist lawyers and doctors. I don’t want people like that to keep getting jobs,” Mx. Arya added.
“People think when you call out a racist student, it’s ruining their life,” said Mariwa Gambo, 15, a junior at a New York City public school. “But when you prevent them from advancing, you’re helping to stop the spread of racist lawyers or doctors or people who make it harder for the black community.”
Anonymous Google Docs have also become a tool for accountability. “They made a Google spreadsheet w/the info of racist students who post racist comments on social media. won’t you look at that,” one young woman tweeted on June 4. “Someone rly started a Google doc of racists and their info for us to ruin their lives. i love Twitter,” another said.
These lists often contain students’ full names, school information, social media profiles, contact information, the college they plan to attend if available and sometimes screen shots or an overview of their racist behavior. “Some people say, ‘You’re ruining their lives,’” Karina Carbajal, 22 and the creator of one of the Google Docs, told Forbes. “I think it’s the only way to prove to them that actions do have consequences.”
A tool of accountability — this horrible totalitarian practice! Can you imagine these righteous little monsters turned loose to destroy the lives of others? All of you who never said anything cruel or bigoted as a teenager, please stop reading now. You are still reading, because every one of us has done this as a kid. If we are virtuous, we come to realize that we were wrong, we were immoral — and we change. These high school Red Guards are doing their best to make sure that everyone who crosses them will be crippled by their sins for the rest of their lives. The Times story features no voices talking about the dangers and problems of doing this. It’s just “accountability.”
The Washington Post is also agitating for race hatred. Here is a tweet tonight by one of its prominent black writers:
The lies & tears of White women hath wrought:
-The 1921 Tulsa Massacre
-Murder of Emmet Till
-Exclusion of Black women from feminist movements
-53% of white women voting for Trump.
White women are lucky that we are just calling them “Karen’s”.
And not calling for revenge.
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) June 28, 2020
Karen Attiah holds one of the most privileged jobs in American journalism, and she’s using her platform to justify hatred and to come right up to the point of stoking vengeance on an entire class of people, only because of their sex and the color of their skin.
She’s not alone. Time magazine last week published a story that denounced “white women and their tears” as a source of racist violence. It is perfectly fine to explore the role that white women have historically played in the construction of racist myths, e.g., in the South, the fear that black men wanted to rape white women. But there is nothing in this story that balances it, that discusses how dangerous it is to vilify an entire demographic class of women.
Where does Time and the Washington Post think this kind of racist journalism is taking us? We all know that they would never, ever publish anything, or allow their reporters and editors to tweet anything, about any other racial demographic. In Germany, long before the Nazis took power, the press worked to shape the public’s perception of Jews as a menace to Germans. It did not start in Nazi party rags. It did not even start with the Nazi party.
The political scientist Yascha Mounk wrote an Atlantic piece the other day saying that this race madness is getting innocent people fired. He writes about the case of Emmanuel Cafferty, a working-class Latino fired after being goaded into making an “OK” sign while driving — and later being accused of flashing a white power sign. Excerpt:
Cafferty is a big, calm, muscular man in his 40s who was born and raised in a diverse working-class community on the south side of San Diego. On his father’s side, he has both Irish and Mexican ancestors. His mother is Latina. “If I was a white supremacist,” he told me, “I would literally have to hate 75 percent of myself.”
After finishing high school, Cafferty bounced from one physically demanding and poorly paid job to another. For most of his life, he had trouble making ends meet. But his new job was set to change all that. “I was very proud of my position,” Cafferty told me. “It was the first time in my life where I wasn’t living check to check.”
When Cafferty was wrongly accused of being a white supremacist, he fought hard to keep his job. He said he explained to the people carrying out the investigation—all of them were white—that he had no earthly idea some racists had tried to appropriate the “okay” sign for their sinister purposes. He told them he simply wasn’t interested in politics; as far as he remembered, he had not voted in a single election. Eventually, he told me, “I got so desperate, I was showing them the color of my skin. I was saying, ‘Look at me. Look at the color of my skin.’”
It was all to no avail. SDG&E, Cafferty told me, never presented him with any evidence that he held racist beliefs or knew about the meaning of his gesture. Yet he was terminated.
The loss of his job has left Cafferty shaken. A few days ago, he spoke with a mental-health counselor for the first time in his life. “A man can learn from making a mistake,” he told me. “But what am I supposed to learn from this? It’s like I was struck by lightning.”
I hope he sues his former employer for wrongful termination, and takes them to the cleaners. Mounk tells a couple more stories, including one of an Arab immigrant business owner who saw his life’s work ruined when the social media mob set on him because of racist tweets his daughter sent out eight years ago. Mounk is concerned that these excesses will turn people against the move for social justice.
What must be created is an environment in which people discipline themselves. But they will only do this when they fear exposure (and subsequent punishment) so much that they will go to extreme lengths to perform their obedience. And people will only exert the energy to enact this ongoing self-policing if they believe that anything they do or say can be seen. They need to believe that they are living in a Panopticon.
This is where social media come in. If everyone has a smartphone and access to social media accounts, then anything you do or say might be recorded and published. Anything those to whom you are related do or say may be recorded and published, to shame you before the entire world. From the perspective of those who lust for social control, this is an ideal situation, because if they make you sufficiently fearful of exposure then you will not only police yourself, you will police your friends and family. And if you can be exposed and punished not only for what you intentionally do and say, but for what you inadvertently do and say, and for what people you know do and say, then you will become obsessively vigilant in your policing.
That is why, for those who want to effect social change by exposure and shaming, punishing the innocent is a feature of their system, not a bug. It increases fear, which increases discipline, not only of oneself but of others. And every employer who fires an employee because they’re afraid of a social-media mob draws us closer to a fully Panoptic society, a social tyranny with an efficiency beyond the dreams of totalitarian societies of the past.
I repeat: the American media — people in my business — are aiders and abetters of this soft totalitarianism. As disgusting as it was to see Donald Trump retweet a “white power” clip, however briefly, every single day brings a deluge of opinion and news coverage advancing what you might call “anti-white power.” Where do these people think this is going to end up?
The lefty journalist Matt Taibbi is unnerved by what he sees. Here is a link to an important essay by Taibbi on the fraudulent white racial grifter Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility, the bestselling book in the country. Excerpts:
A core principle of the academic movement that shot through elite schools in America since the early nineties was the view that individual rights, humanism, and the democratic process are all just stalking-horses for white supremacy. The concept, as articulated in books like former corporate consultant Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility (Amazon’s #1 seller!) reduces everything, even the smallest and most innocent human interactions, to racial power contests.
It’s been mind-boggling to watch White Fragility celebrated in recent weeks. When it surged past a Hunger Games book on bestseller lists, USA Today cheered, “American readers are more interested in combatting racism than in literary escapism.” When DiAngelo appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon gushed, “I know… everyone wants to talk to you right now!” White Fragility has been pitched as an uncontroversial road-map for fighting racism, at a time when after the murder of George Floyd Americans are suddenly (and appropriately) interested in doing just that. Except this isn’t a straightforward book about examining one’s own prejudices. Have the people hyping this impressively crazy book actually read it?
DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.
If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.”
At a time of catastrophe and national despair, when conservative nationalism is on the rise and violent confrontation on the streets is becoming commonplace, it’s extremely suspicious that the books politicians, the press, university administrators, and corporate consultants alike are asking us to read are urging us to put race even more at the center of our identities, and fetishize the unbridgeable nature of our differences. Meanwhile books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, which are both beautiful and actually anti-racist, have been banned, for containing the “N-word.” (White Fragility contains it too, by the way). It’s almost like someone thinks there’s a benefit to keeping people divided.
You know where this is all going, don’t you? If we don’t stop it, I mean?
Earlier this month, the controversial French writer Jean Raspail died at age 94. In 1973, Raspail wrote a dystopian futuristic novel that has become a favorite of the far right: The Camp of the Saints. It’s about the collapse of Western civilization under pressure from Third World immigrants. I read the book back in 2015 to understand why it was so important to the far right. I wrote a long blog about it, titled “Good Lessons From A Bad Book,” in which I acknowledged and criticized the repulsive racism of the novel (which got my blog post denounced by an alt-right writer as “politically correct”), but I also said that there is something important in its pages. From that blog:
Even a bad book may have something valuable to say to us. This is true of The Camp of the Saints. One aspect of the novel that I can’t shake off, though, is Raspail’s portrait of the migrants as not giving a damn about European civilization. It’s nothing personal; rather, they don’t believe they are coming to Europe as beggars who ought to be grateful for charity, but move as a mass that believes it is entitled to what the Europeans have. Europeans, by contrast, are, in the book, the ones who agonize over their civilization, whether it is worth defending, and what it means to be truly Western. The leaders in Camp of the Saints are not consciously surrendering, but rather they mask their cultural surrender with humanitarianism. They think that by flinging their doors open to the Third World masses, they are being good Westerners.
This is why the real villains in Raspail’s novel aren’t the migrants, but the European elites. He believes, it appears, that the Europeans ought to do whatever it takes to defend their civilization from the barbarian invasion. Raspail denounces contemporary France, though, as an exhausted civilization that is eager to be relieved of its burdens. To borrow a line from Cavafy, “those people, the barbarians, were a kind of solution.”
Here’s what is so unnerving about reading the damn novel: so much of it could be lifted from today’s headlines. Reading it brought to mind more than once what people used to say back in the Nineties about gangsta rap: that as vulgar and as repulsive as it may have been, it told us something important about conditions in the inner cities. You don’t have to endorse Raspail’s radical racialist vision to recognize that there is diagnostic value in his novel.
To conclude, what are the good lessons from this bad book, The Camp of the Saints? I’m not sure there are “lessons” to be learned as much as the extremely dark novel gives one a more skeptical eye towards humanitarian pronouncements about migrants from European leaders, including church leaders. In the book, the militant pro-migrant humanitarianism of the elites and the masses that follow them do not reflect moral strength, but actually exemplify moral exhaustion. Camp is a dystopian fantasy, certainly, but the core questions it poses regarding what European civilization is, what Christian civilization is, and the lengths to which Europeans ought to be prepared to go to defend what they have, are important ones, even if Raspail answers them in a way that provokes disgust, and that Christians, at least, will find unacceptable.
The extravagant emotionalism and self-abasement that the novel’s French elites (academic, governmental, media, ecclesial, etc) show towards the migrants who hate everything they stand for is awfully familiar now, in their reaction to the George Floyd killing. It’s both a mania, and a form of moral exhaustion. Here’s why I bring it up in this space: in Raspail’s pitch-black vision, France cannot be saved, but whites who do not accept surrender go out with a burst of savage, murderous violence. My fear, growing every day, is that this nightmare racist novel is a prologue for what’s coming to America.
As I see it, the only way for people in a multiracial, pluralistic, modern democratic society to live together is through the old-fashioned liberal principles whose most prominent advocate was Martin Luther King, Jr. The left, led by academic and media institutions, is pulling those principles down with the ideological fervor of fanatical iconoclasts. Nobody is thinking about where this cannot help but lead. What do you think the Emmanuel Caffertys are going to do when their livelihoods are taken from them, and their children, and their children’s children, are set up to suffer for their supposed sins, all in the name of justice? Jean Raspail, in his extremely dark way, thought about it. So did Slobodan Milosevic.
UPDATE: I should emphasize that as a Christian, I believe in those old liberal values, the King vision. Why are no senior leaders in this country defending it? The Democrats are too afraid of their own mob to do so (or maybe they are happy to ride the wave of zealotry into power), and the Republicans are weighed down by an incompetent White House troll who doesn’t have the sense not to tweet out elderly creeps chanting “white power.” What a curse is upon this country, in its ruling class!