Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Equality, now

The Republican Party's continuing survival now depends as much on the Democratic Party's inherent contradictions as anything else. The latter has become less a labor party than a coalition of identity groups united in resentment toward a myth of majority privilege that grows more fabulous and farcical by the day, and--being identity groups--viewing one another with precariously contained hostility.

For their part the Democrats' most audacious achievement has been in keeping alive a quaint image of Republicans as natural demagogues, despite the fact that ethnic, sexual and class resentment long ago became the greater part of their own populist appeal. They manage this through their successful use of the fallacy of disparate impact (disparity in representation is de facto discrimination, thus any opposition to its remedy is bigotry of one form or another) and their appeal--ironically for the party of "tolerance" and egalitarianism--to minority racial bigotry and elite chauvinism.

When Republicans transgress their commitment to unilateral disarmament in this cold war of the races, cynically (for they do not mean it) condescending to address, in meek code, the concerns of white Americans as a group, they at least have ready at hand the spectacle of a vast, stifling complex of legal discrimination that daily confiscates their rights, opportunities and wealth, distributing them to virtually every one who is, by legal decree and social sanction, not them.

Contrast this with the Democrats' mirror-opposite demagogy asserting that these extraordinary efforts are not enough, due to the stubborn bigotry of this "privileged" class. Combining this with the current quasi-religious faith in a family of human races blandly undifferentiated by talents or tendencies (or even biology), liberals deliberately perpetuate a Great Slander--to wit, the failure of this generations-old edifice of legal and economic discrimination to equalize results, unprecedented in history or size, can only be attributed to the stubborn malice of the majority. The implication is that these perpetually failing, ever-greater efforts to cure minority under-representation are like a descending plumb sounding the still unknown depths of white racism. Hence, the relative mediocrity of "protected classes" in education and the professions continually produces political advantage. Weakness is strength. You have to admire the sinister, if incidental, brilliance of it. How comfortable some of our more sentient liberal demagogues must feel when considering the durability of disparity.

In this light, I find it incredible that liberals are shocked, shocked at the "whiteness" (somehow this phrase is inoffensive) of the Tea Party movement. This movement is precisely what they've been creating by decades of triangulation, through legal discrimination, demagogy and cultural derision. The Tea Party and reaction to it is the end game of those efforts and would have been expected had our more vociferous liberal demagogues not fallen for their own rhetoric and come to believe their own caricatures. Denying the humanity of a given class--how very illiberal.
Now, cornered and isolated from their countrymen by the formidable barriers of confiscatory patronage and cultural condemnation, assessing with greater clarity than the elite the reality of Barack Obama's ascent--the final marriage of corporate power with the diversity state--they are fighting back. But the liberals, po-faced in their naivete, apparently took seriously the notion that they had no right to self-defense, that mere exposure would chasten them into final, fearful submission or drive them into violent extremism (thus the tendency to see just that, despite the relative mildness of the movement). They are appalled to find them unrepentant, law-abiding and combative; how dare they? It's almost as if they're surprised to discover their bogeyman exists at all.

Liberals are appalled at the vigor of their victim's death throes, by its refusal to expire quietly. In the crude logic of "white privilege" these people cannot be victims--neither of the state nor of the racial violence this libel-as-virtue sanctions. The "racist" aspect of the amorphous and inconsistent Tea Party movement is its only coherent feature and its greatest justification and, despite convention, is nothing for which its members should apologize. Any group, however identified, has the right to defend itself against confiscation, slander and violence; the conventional double-standard that would deny them this right only makes their fight more necessary. The "Tea Partiers" are the unwitting last defenders of civil rights and racial equality.

But what the Democrats have attempted to fashion into a singular disdain for the very idea of a white majority is in reality many competing strands, intertwined and choking one another like ivy striving toward the sun of political dominance.
Homosexuals must fear and feel superior to straights at the same time they are encouraged to mimic the same heterosexual conventions the broader sexual revolution has eroded (yet we're told heterosexuals have already destroyed marriage, so what's the problem with gays caricaturing it?); women who don't view every personal and professional disappointment as evidence of a grand patriarchal conspiracy are ungrateful traitors to feminism; Hispanics cannot be allowed to assimilate, lest they lose what in this milieu is a distinct advantage, their historical grievance and envy of "Anglos"; Asians are encouraged to ignore their disproportionate scholastic success and wealth (which would presumably be greater if not for white malice--how this squares with liberals' insistence on their belief in absolute racial equivalence goes, like its many related contradictions, unchallenged) so that they too may partake of the spoils; naturally, aspirational whites must distinguish themselves from recalcitrant whites, or conspicuously decry their race as fervently as they encourage racial pride in non-whites; blacks, our most defiantly bigoted and narrow-minded Americans in part because of their proud primacy atop this hierarchy of grievance, need no encouragement to despise and distrust the rest.

Needless to say, all are relieved of taking responsibility for their own lot, much less for the whole of the nation. Unity my ass, Mr. President. The more dependent, the more criminal, the more wretched a given population is, the greater the guilt and presumed malice of the majority--a majority which in reality bears no resemblance to the monolithic entity presumed when we speak of a "white majority". Meanwhile, global migratory patterns have been mocking the myth of Racist White America on an epic scale for over a century; one's improvement in prospects by coming to America is directly proportionate to their place in the hierarchy of grievance. No one is more fortunate to be an American than a black American. But now that "civil rights" is an Orwellian phrase, outsized ethnic pride, patronage and legal discrimination are promoted as progress in the cause of legal equality and racial tolerance. Language and logic themselves have been thrown on the funeral pyre of the liberal Western tradition. Call it a cost of diversity if you will; I call it the cost of cowardice.

The nominal party of progress and cosmopolitanism myopically promotes insularity, parochialism and ethnocentrism wherever it sees advantage therein. Where they expect to find "unity" in this morass is any one's guess; of course, their notion of unity is necessarily perverted by the demands of their creed. What they call unity is the marshaling of disparate forces for the destruction of political enemies, for swamping critical inquiry beneath the weight of aggregated prejudice. Diversity already precludes open discussion of topics such as race and ethnicity; no one wants to be told they're "inferior" (other than conspicuously self-flagellating whites). We must unite to destroy the last vestiges of a foul, former order, our betters tell us. Unity, as envisioned by Barack Obama's mandarins of mediocrity, is an assault on the liberal republic, which is by definition a polity divided to check human constants such as ethnicity, interest, faction and ambition.

The success of the Democratic party rests increasingly on the reality (and implied threat) of violence; street crime is a form of individual rebellion against an oppressive society and rioting a natural periodic occurrence, if you believe the lies that are routinely passed off unchallenged, from the president on down. That they've managed to convince many of us that right-wingers are complicit in violence with every dissent from this narrative, despite the outright encouragement of murder and mayhem they engage in as a matter of course, is testament more to our cowardice as a people than to their narrative skills.

The Republicans, revealing themselves to be as bereft of courage as they are lacking in imagination, counter that the Democrats are the true "racists", rather than challenge the destructive and divisive lie that is "racism". We too, and more than you, could be their slogan. The mentality behind this is nothing new, and was aptly and comically portrayed in the Cohen brothers' film O Brother Where Art Thou, where a more capable brain-trust around Mississippi governor Menelaus "Pappy" O'Neil debates how to respond to their opponents' successful use of a novelty:
First Advisor:
Well, it's a well-run campaign. Midget and broom and whatnot.
Second Advisor:
Devil his due. Hell of an awganisation.
Junior (Pappy's idiot son):
- Say, I got an idea.
First Advisor:
- What's that, Junior?
Junior:
-We can hire us a little fella even smaller than Stokes's.
Pappy (slaps Junior with his hat):
-Y'ignorant slope-shouldered sack a guts! Why we'd look like a buncha satchel-ass Johnnie Come-Latelies braggin' on our own midget! Don't matter how stumpy! And that's the g**damn problem right there - people think this Stokes got fresh ideas, he's oh coorant and we the past.

The Republicans of reality are less sophisticated intellectually than this fictional hayseed. Needless to say, their strategy is no winner. But they would rather be wrong and losing slower, than right and losing faster, as they see it. They are invested in a corrupt system, as junior partners. Those of us who don't know better think there's still some advantage in being right, and trust even now in the ability of our countrymen, whose resentment has been so carefully cultivated these many years, to be finally lured to reason by the truth, plainly spoken and honestly offered (let's pause here, as you and I look at each other a moment before breaking out in bitter laughter).

The Republicans are the party of corporate and military power; the Democrats are the party of misery, mediocrity and malice. The two grow closer every day, as institutions have learned the costs of imposed mediocrity in the name of equality can be passed on to consumers and citizens, and in any case are far less expensive than the price of principled resistance. So the Republicans were in no position to recognize, much less coherently critique, the fatuity of Barack Obama's "trans-formative" election. Their response was to go find a high-profile token of their own, the lamentable Michael Steele, television personality. Needless to say he has been a disaster limited only by the amount of influence he's been denied. Correcting the mistake that is Michael has been complicated by the Republicans' success in the mid-terms. The fight is on and it's t-minus twenty-four hours (at least that's what I would choose in the office pool) before Steele starts crying racism. The Republicans, drawing from a diversity well far shallower than the Democrats, get the tokens they deserve.

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