Thursday, September 15, 2016

Political correctness, the 'Alt-Right', diversity, and racism


It seems that left-wing and progressive sources are trying to brand the so-called 'Alt-Right' of politics as being inherently racist.  They're also trying to tie it to Donald Trump's election campaign, so that accusations against it also reflect on him, and vice versa.  For example, the Washington Post identifies what it claims are leading Alt-Right figures, and describes their political orientation in somewhat negative terms.  Well-known figures such as Vox Day, Milo Yiannopoulos and others are often accused of being 'Alt-Rightists'.  Those two, at least, gleefully agree.

I'm not sure whether I qualify as 'Alt-Right' or not.  I'm certainly neither liberal nor conservative in terms of typical US political definitions.  I'm independent, libertarian-minded, and tend to regard one's shared culture (one's 'tribe', in the social media sense) and shared values as being important elements of society.  I'm emphatically not racist at all, as regular readers will understand, and I reject utterly anything that has any semblance of racism;  yet I don't regard loyalty to one's 'tribe' or culture as racist, and don't see anything wrong in wanting to preserve characteristics that have made a nation, or society, or culture, something to admire.  Those trying to paint such attitudes as 'racist' are erecting a straw man.  I probably know more about racism than most people, and I reject all such attempts with the contempt they deserve.

This raises the question of societal/cultural/national identity versus diversity.  I think there's a case to be made for being open to diversity (i.e. open to learning about other cultures, countries and peoples);  but that isn't the same as uncritically accepting other cultures, countries and peoples without comparing them to who and what we are, and deciding whether or not there's likely to be a good fit between the two sides.  Discernment is needed, but is often conspicuous by its absence.  The apostles of 'multiculturalism' and 'cultural diversity' run rampant through the halls of academia, the news media, and left-wing and progressive political circles, and will brook no argument.

Taken to extremes, this has led to the current outcry against 'cultural appropriation'.  It's nonsense, of course.  There's no reason in the world why I, an African by birth, but of European/Caucasian origin and ethnicity, can't enjoy, and own, and talk about, and incorporate into my books, Zulu dancing, or Indian curry, or Chinese Ming vases, or anything else that takes my fancy.  However, that's not how the politically correct see it.  For a recent example, see the fiery exchange between US author Lionel Shriver and Yassmin Abdel-Magied over the former's address at an Australian writer's conference (follow the links to read their respective views).  I find myself unequivocally in Shriver's camp on this subject;  but that puts me beyond the pale as far as the politically correct are concerned.  (You doubtless understand how deeply, how profoundly, this troubles me.  NOT!!!)

Another example is the cultural indoctrination being practiced at our universities and colleges.  Margaret Wente summed it up well in a recent article.  She concludes:

So that’s what you can look forward to at university, you guys. Groupthink, censorship, intellectual tyranny and continual assurance that the world we live in is a dark and dreadful place. Have fun!

I think Victor Davis Hanson addressed the overall dilemma very well in an article last month.

Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.

The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls and myriad other African, Asian and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.

Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish or Vandal identities.

. . .

America's melting pot is history's sole exception of E pluribus unum inclusivity: a successful multiracial society bound by a common culture, language and values. But this is a historic aberration with a future that is now in doubt.

. . .


It is time to step back from the apartheid brink.

Even onetime diversity advocate Oprah Winfrey has had second thoughts about the lack of commonality in America. She recently vowed to quit using the word "diversity" and now prefers "inclusion."

A Latino-American undergraduate who is a student of Shakespeare is not "culturally appropriating" anyone's white-European legacy, but instead seeking transcendence of ideas and a common humanity.

Asian-Americans are not "overrepresented" at premier campuses. Their high-profile presence should be praised as a model, not punished as aberrant by number-crunching bureaucrats.

African-Americans who excel in physics and engineering are not "acting white" but finding the proper pathways for their natural talents.

Being one-half Southeast Asian or three-quarters white is not the touchstone to one's essence and is irrelevant to one's character and conduct.

No one is impinging on anyone's culture when blacks dye their hair blond, or when blondes prefer to wear cornrow braids.

Campuses desperately need unity czars, not diversity czars.

Otherwise, we will end up as 50 separate and rival nations -- just like other failed states in history whose diverse tribes and races destroyed themselves in a Hobbesian dog-eat-dog war with one another.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

I think that also encapsulates the main thrust of the 'Alt-Right' argument.  Both liberalism and conservatism have failed miserably to preserve what is good in our cultures, societies and traditions.  It's long gone time that those of us who value those elements stood up to be counted, and insisted that our perspectives have at least as much right to be considered as any others.  If we are to be condemned as racist, reactionary or bigoted because of that, those making such accusations may as well point their own fingers at themselves as well, because they're just as guilty.  "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander", as the well-known idiom reminds us.  As a general rule nowadays, whenever I see a bunch of people pointing and yelling and making accusations, I question their motivation before I question whether those they're accusing are guilty as charged.  It's surprising how often that changes one's perspective on the matter.

I have grave reservations about accepting or participating in any 'group-think' as far as such classifications are concerned.  I believe that we are to deal with, and judge, individuals as such, not as members of a group.  To take just one example from today's headlines, there are Muslims who are violent extremists and terrorists;  but there are others who are good, solid citizens, who reject violence and try to live their lives in peaceful relations with those around them.  I've owed my life (literally) to Muslim friends on more than one occasion.  To brand all Muslims as extremists and potential terrorists is a travesty of justice.  It's simply not true.  No amount of wishful thinking or closed-mindedness will make it true.  To quote Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain in the movie Gettysburg:  "Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit.  You take men one at a time."

Friends, if anyone tries to make you judge someone by labels they attach to them, that's a danger sign right there.  Judge the individual by what he or she has done, and the views they espouse - not by what others call them.  If you don't, you're more likely to be part of the problem than of the solution, as far as our society and culture and traditions are concerned.  There's nothing the forces of nihilism would like better than to make us all adopt the 'party line' instead of thinking for ourselves.  Literally for God's sake, never mind our own . . . let's not go there.

Peter

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face though they come from the ends of the earth!

raven said...

Cultural appropriation? OK. Sounds fine. Be careful what you wish for...

I give up burrito's and Chinese takeout, they can give up their cell phones and penicillin.

Joe the White Kid gives up dreads, they give up electricity.

use the same argument to the gun control freaks-
"don't impose your culture on me!"



Rolf said...

Two comments:
IMHO, you are definitely Alt-Right, Peter. You are staunchly pro-Western Civilization, for all it's flaws, faults, and foibles. And I think that is a good thing, because you are a good person.

Second: While the Buster Kilrain quote is a noble sentiment, as a practical matter the enemies of Western Civilization do little BUT define people by their group identity;they define us by the "tribes" they places us in. That is why the right has been losing: the left defines themselves not by their own principles, but how they can out-group you by pointing and shrieking and isolating you and all your fellow individuals. Anything you say will be DQ'd because WHITE/MALE/CHRISTIAN/ETC!!!!!11! I've been told in almost so many words that my facts don't count because I only believe them because I'm privileged. The whole "privilege" fiasco is built upon projected anti-individuality, the expectation of group-think and group identity defining one's opinions. The left uses skin color, genetalia, and virtue-signals as your uniform.
Sadly, I think the day will soon come where those of us who are pro-western-civ will have to decide: use their tactics (in sadness and disgust, but fighting for our posterity) or a last noble, principled defeat. I'd really like another solution, I keep holding out for it and trying to get us there, but... some days I'm not very optimistic.

Anonymous said...

ALT-RIGHT people are Pro-Constitution (U.S., not U.N.) law abiding citizens. ALT-RIGHT often agree that people who break the laws (regardless of why they do it) should be called out as such. Sanctuary cities - people who are legally detained elsewhere are now off limits. Is that BROWN PRIVILEGE ?

The Left say ALT-RIGHT are racists, yet they continue to discriminate against ALT-RIGHT because of WHITE PRIVILEGE. ALT RIGHT aren't slave holders - their ancesters MAY have been, but why should they be held accountable for that ? We don't hold persons who had ancesters who murdered - robbed - raped accountable - so why should we ?

Guess I'm a dirty deplorable ALT-RIGHT citizen - and proud to be so.

VFM #7916 said...

Mr. Grant,

Yesterday you posted a link to Vox Day's cartoon explaining the failure of conservatism.

In the last paragraph of this post today, you postulate that groups should not be judged based on the actions of many of their members. (this is the Not All Muslims Are Like That argument).

Yet your post is about groups. The cartoon yesterday in regard to the brown skinned immigrants makes many subtle and truthful observations about that group. We find it both powerful and angering because of those observations.

The members of that group do not have a western civilization background, have only experienced corruption, patronage, violence, and a life in which the powerful may crush them at any moment; resulting in a short term time preference, a lack of respect for law or morality, a desire to ally with the powerful for whatever scraps they may get, and a general disregard for those who aren't their "people."

Groups have characteristic and behaviors common to their members. This is why they are a group in the first place, in the natural sense. The United States is an artificial group, and as you note is crumbling due to the lack of commonality between its citizens and the would be invading immigrants.

Your comment in regard to Muslims makes an error; All true followers of the prophet have the desire, capacity, and moral sanction to make war upon the unbeliever, in a very large spectrum, from jihad to immigration and subsequent breeding-out of the enemy population. NAMALT will inevitably lead to defeat. Keep in mind that a AMALT (All Muslims Are Like That) mindset will be required for future survival.

Peter said...

@ VFM #7916:

I'm sorry, but your last paragraph is incorrect. You cannot prescribe to any Muslim what he must or must not believe, just as you cannot prescribe that to a Christian. Like any and all religious faiths, it must be internalized; and the process by which that is accomplished is affected by society, culture, family, and the lived example of other believers. It's no good to say that the Koran requires this, or that, or the other belief, just as it's no good to say that the Bible does the same thing. Each and every belief has to be lived out in context; and if you deny the context, you deny reality.

As I said in my article, I've literally had my life saved (as a Christian and a pastor, no less) by Muslims with whom I've worked in Africa. They saved me from fanatics and extremists of their own religion. Their 'duty', as you would see it, was to stand back and let me be killed by those fanatics and extremists; but they didn't see it that way, for which I'm devoutly grateful.

I highly recommend that if anyone says to you that a given religion, or philosophy, or belief system, or whatever, 'requires' that someone think or believe or do something, and that there are no possibilities for anything else, that you think very hard about what that person is saying. He's effectively denying context, and denying human nature as well (not to mention God's grace). Life simply is not like that. It's a false prescription, and a very presumptuous one.

Unknown said...

False prophets may deceive even the elect.
It's in the book.

clk said...

First.. you are not a racist, thats 100% clear. I doubt that you fit into the alt right because you are too polite and a christian ... while right now the alt right and Christians are able to coexist, this is an short lived peace that has to fragment. I personally like many of the alt people who lean libertarian and christian and are thinkers -- there are some smart people there.... but in the end, if I have to choose Christ or alt right ...i am a follower in Christ first.

Odysseus said...

The danger I see with many who are around the Alt-Right sphere is that they(as individuals) have let the slanders heaped upon them fester into something too close to approaching truth.

It's a scary but sadly common human reaction to live down to other people's insults. The question becomes what is the dialog in the unseen second pane of the comic you linked to yesterday? I'd imagine that your dialog in this hypothetical second panel would be different from Jared Taylor's. I would imagine that you would point out the fiscal and spiritual slavery that is being offered to people. That God doesn't want them slaves to any man or to hatred and envy. I would like to think that in panel three we would show yellow, red, and other stick figures who have actually embraced our shared culture; who own businesses and who's children are doctors and engineers.

So many people that I respect are letting the hatred other people project onto them foster a hatred in their hearts. The social justice crowd have abused them, damaged their psyche and it's almost like watching an accelerated version of an abused child go on to abuse their own children. I wish I knew what to say to defuse this soul-bomb, because I fear that we are all going to reap the whirlwind that has been sown for the last century.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure whether I qualify as 'Alt-Right' or not.

"Alt-right" are united in signaling their contempt for traditional conservatives (whom they sneeringly deride as "cuckservatives"). You do not, so you don't qualify. A disturbingly large proportion of alt-righters glory in breaking taboos -- against racist talk, holocaust denial, misogyny -- on the Internet (in pseudonymous safety!); the honorific they bestow on each other is "shitlord" (one who breaks the aforementioned taboos, whether in seriousness or in jest).

You are indeed an independent thinker and that is why you have an international audience who regularly check in on the interesting things you have to say.

Cogsys said...

I identify as Libertarian and, more recently, I've begun to take on a more alt right identification. The principle reason for this shift is one simple fact, the alt right seems willing to address and explore serious and intractable problems while traditional conservatives and liberals mouth platitudes and continue policies that don't fix problems.

Nowhere is the inability to address race in America. Rather than try to fix the underlying issues of black communities, we see white liberals double down and black hucksters mouth a sort of faux civil rights language while driving the nation further down an unproductive road.

Only the alt right seems to be focused on true solutions. For example, black IQs are demonstrably lower than the general population, some think it's genetic, others (like me) tend to think it is a natural result of community mores which do not value education. Either way, you can't fix the problem if you don't address it. Yet our leaders are so afraid of taking the steps needed to it,that they pretend it doesn't exist.

VFM #7916 said...

Mr. Grant,

Thanks for your reply. Yet I have two quibbles with your analysis: Prescribe and require.

Those words are not in my comment. Desire, capacity, and moral sanction were.

I'm glad you mentioned the context in which you were saved by muslims, as this points back to my comment. I'm sure that to the extremists that were trying to kill you judged the ones that saved you as lacking faith; as followers of islam they can do that more readily that I can, or you can.

What separated the extremists from your saviors are those three terms. Yet as the world conflicts over terrorism have shown it can take very little to radicalize a muslim enough to give all three in ample amounts, enough to utilize the extensive framework within Islam that allows war with the unbeliever.

That is the substance of my comment. The capacity and moral sanction of that group for violence exists to a greater degree than other groups, especially when the desire is there. To say that NAMALT is to deny reality.

Minecraft Chuck said...

The alt-right, to me, us simply an attempt to return to the common sense truths of sixty years ago. That races denote cultures that are different and largely incompatible. That America was a white, western European, Christian nation that could tolerate and include a small minority of others. That laws were for the rich and poor alike, and should be made for the common good of the vast majority of people who made up our great nation. That criminals should be punished, not coddled. That we should only allow into our country people who were like ourselves. That men who thought they were Napoleon, or sheep, or women, were insane and should be helped and kept away from normal society for the good of everyone. That men and women are different and complementary. That men should protect and provide for their families. That a family was a man, a woman, and their children. That marriage was a commitment made before God, their families, and the community as a whole. That communism was a really bad idea. That Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. That freedom is good, but requires personal responsibility. That Americans speak English, even if we think the Brits sound funny and the Aussies are hard to understand.

Simple, common sense ideas and ideals, shared by the vast majority of the American people. Back when I was young. The point if the alt-right is that politics in America have become wholly divorced from these simple truths, and now revolve around power generated from playing identity politics and pushing vile, evil ideas through the levers if culture. The Conservatives have failed to conserve a single thing, have retreated on all fronts, and effectively surrendered out of a desire to not be called racist or the -ist of the week.

The alt-right are loosely allied individuals and groups who have decided to fight back against the cultural and ethnic suicide that the Marxists have prescribed for Western Civilization. They have declared that they mean to fight back and win. Survival as a nation and a culture is now at stake. In these circumstances, tactics and strategies that lead to victory and survival are more important than principles. Any tactics used by our enemies may be used back against them. This is a war for survival, not a minor disagreement between friends.

Our enemies have declared that your skin, your religion, your ethnicity, your culture is your flag. They have declared a war of extermination against me and mine. I choose to survive and prevail, or die fighting. I will not go quietly into the night. The only true questions are regarding appropriate and effective tactics and strategies that will lead us to victory and avoid defeat and cultural (or literal) death.

The leftists declared war on us long ago. It's time we acknowledged that fact, and start fighting back for our own survival. There's nowhere left to run and start over.