Wednesday, 19 March 2014

RACISM - THE BIG PICTURE

"Look Ma, I'm on Alternative Right."

by Colin Liddell

There are many theories about Racism. Many on the nationalist side view it as part of an evil conspiracy by a shady bunch of hook-nosed gentlemen. Others see it as part of a selfish conspiracy by business leaders to depress the wages of the White working class.

Both of these explanations, as well as others, have elements of plausibility and may even be true at a certain level, but attributing the motive force of Racism to these is rather like believing a car's power comes from its wheels rather than its engine.

To understand Racism you have to step outside it – pretty hard to do because in the modern West it now envelops us – and look at it in its entirety and historical context.

To understand Racism you also have to also step inside it: open up the word and delve inside – also pretty hard to do because in the modern West the word seems to have an obviousness that makes deeper explanations seem willfully pedantic.

First, the micro, hairsplitting approach: Racism may once have been intended to mean acts of extreme cruelty perpetuated by one race against another, and the feelings necessary to carry these out, but the word's persistent existence in the modern West, the West of affirmative action, racial quotas, and hate speech legislation, shows that this had very little to do with the word's essence.

At best, the whipping of slaves, lynching of Blacks, pogroming of Jews, etc., were mere details of Racism and had very little to do with the essence of the word. Worse than that, these are essentially post-dated details of Racism, since in the actual era of Racism, i.e. from the 1960s, when the word first started to be used with any frequency, very few such atrocities have occurred. This indeed is the main paradox of Racism, and one that should never be forgotten.

The essence of Racism is not Jim Crow, the Klan, or Cossacks riding roughshod through some nice Jewish neighbourhood a la "Fiddler on the Roof" – it is something much more pervasive. It needs to be as it is something that is always with us, even in the milquetoastian era in which we live. Racism is simply what most people in preceding centuries would have called racial and indeed ethnic awareness, but with an added twist of taboo. Take away the taboo and it has always been with us.

To emphasize, anybody and everybody who hasn't lived surrounded by people entirely of his or her own ethnicity, has been subjected to Racism, although in the era before the word appeared – with its decidedly taboo and Hitlerian connotations – this would have appeared as simple and quite natural interracial and interethnic awareness, sometimes of a negative or positive variety, dependent essentially on (a) the perceived qualities of the groups involved and (b) the degree to which their interests diverged or converged.

"Och, mon, be prood o' yir stereotype."
The existence of racial epithets such as Mick, Jock, Wop, Limey, Kraut, Nip, Gaijin, Cracker, Raghead, Hairyback, Sheep Shagger, Gringo, Gwailo, Teuchter, Sassenach, Oven Dodger, and Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey, among countless others, is evidence enough of how widespread such Racism or racial awareness is, as are the stereotypes that go with them. As a Scot who has spent most of my life in three foreign countries (all on different continents) – South Africa, England, and Japan – I am particularly conscious of how this works, but not in the self-pitying way that some may assume.

Although everyone can be included under one racial stereotype or another, some racial stereotypes – even allowing for disparities of humour – are worse than others. But rather than being an expression of irrational and uneven hatreds, such disparities correlate surprisingly closely with objective assessments of the collective behaviour of such groups.

For example, being called a Roinek (literally "Red Neck," a South African term of abuse for English-speaking Whites), a Jock (a common Scottish given name in the past), or a Gaijin (literally "outside person" in Japanese) – even when ill-intended – has never been particularly galling for me, mainly because the three groups designated are held more in awe than contempt based on their objective qualities and behaviour.

The simple fact is that groups with worse average behaviour than others stand more risk of being stigmatized. Compared to this being born Scottish is like winning the lottery in life, but not as a case of privilege. It is simply a reflection of the tough, hardy, intelligent, and occasionally violent behaviour that was necessary to survive in the part of the world given by history to my ancestors.

The trouble with being called a "Jock," with its connotations of manly assertiveness and prudent stinginess, is that on the individual level it gives one very little impetus to improve. How much luckier I would be if I could be called a "kike," "nigger," or "dago" – vile beastly racial epithets redolent of evil or extreme incompetence – for then I would have so much more to aim for!

The take home message here is simple: if you want to avoid being called negative names – either individually or collectively – shape up. The Irish and the Italians prove that it can be done; other groups may prove the opposite.

This guy's cool - He's quarter Scottish!
OK, you're thinking about Blacks now! American Blacks stand out as an obvious problem. They are a group that has had a persistent negative image, but even in their case they have made enormous progress. Unfortunately most of it was before the advent of Civil Rights, and since that time there has been a large scale regression into welfarism, gangsterism, criminality, and family breakdown. Blacks in the 1950s were much less socially dysfunctional than they have since become, and also more smartly dressed.

In the modernizing West all backward groups – from Scottish highlanders and Breton peasants to Southern Italians and Hillbillies, were subjected to various pressures from the centre to catch up and assimilate so as to better serve the modern state and economy. In the case of American Blacks this took the form of a more overt imposition of a system that denied them agency and imposed White values on them, namely the system of Segregation.

Although far from perfect, it would be wrong to see this system as the failure it is commonly thought to be by those on the Left and mainstream Right, because under Segregation Blacks made far more progress than they have since its dismantling. It would also be wrong to see it as racist in the full taboo sense of the word. As part of its paradox, Racism as a hegemonic taboo term neatly postdates the demise of American Segregation. The question is: Why then was a system that served both the interests of Blacks and Whites suddenly dismantled?

This leads us back to the macro picture. The most salient feature of this era is the geopolitical struggle then underway between America and the Soviet Union, which like all raw power struggles inevitably acquired an ideological tint.

An interesting analogy can be drawn between American Segregation and the British Raj in India and between Martin Luther King and Gandhi, two figures who are often twinned because of their non-violent approach – something that must have Carl Schmitt spinning in his grave. In the mainstream narrative, the removal of British control of India is typically ascribed to the "Great" Gandhi – otherwise known as "that impudent fakir" – just as the dismantling of Segregation is attributed to the efforts of MLK and sympathetic Whites like JFK and Lyndon Johnson, but such explanation – as well as the favoured conspiracies of nationalists – tend to emphasize the moral at the expense of the geopolitical.

"Now I'm making fun of British dentists."
Gandhi became the hero of Indian independence because Subhas Chandra Bose and the Japanese Imperial Army would never do, but the fact is that without the Japanese threat and people like Bose fighting alongside them in the name of Indian independence, the British would never have felt the same compulsion to grant the Indians independence when they did, and as India went so did Africa.

In the Schmittian sense Britain’s colonial empire was overthrown by the hard realities of power politics and by having to bribe the colonized with promises of freedom and equality to support the empire in its “darkest hour” against its supposed “enemies.”

A similar trajectory can be seen in the dismantling of officially-sanctioned Segregation and the radical conversion of 1950s America, essentially a bi-racial meritocratic democracy, into a hyper-egalitarian tyranny beset by unofficial segregation and inequality.

During the critical period America had assumed the global mantle that an exhausted and admittedly miniscule Britain could no longer maintain, and was involved in a massive geopolitical struggle with the Soviet Union, a power based on the potent myth of liberation and equality for the lower orders, although it had its own tight meritocratic order. Using centuries of experience in dealing with its own subject minorities in a more sophisticated and even-handed way, Soviet Russia was able to position itself as the friend of the non-aligned and Third World, thereby increasing its influence in these areas to the detriment of America. Today we see Alexandr Dugin attempting something similar.

In this soft power contest, Soviet Russia was also able to latch onto the well-publicized history of race relations in America and use this effectively for propaganda purposes to paint its opponent as a colonialist and racist regime in the mould of the then receding British and French empires. It did this effectively in the Middle East in the 1950s and later elsewhere in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

"Ha, ha, America! Match this."
To counter this, America as a geopolitical entity, and represented by its Northern elites, was forced to accede to Civil Rights, the dismantling of Southern Segregation, and the granting and later enforcement of equality to its Black population.

The mass migration of Blacks to the North from the 1940s and their unofficial segregation in various ghettos – a form of human warehousing – had already shown the Northern elites how this problem could be managed. In place of a living system of racial coexistence, albeit an unequal one, a dead system of false egalitarianism was substituted.

This act of "geopolitical posturing" – as desegregation can more accurately be described – required enormous efforts. The social system of a vast part of the country – almost a quarter in population terms – had to be effectively overthrown, while the national culture had to be significantly amended to ensure widespread support for this change throughout the rest of America. Naturally certain elements of society – academia and Hollywood for example – were more willing to help than others.

"OK, Russia. How's this?"
Just as the Knights Templars in the early 14th-century were denounced as "buggers" and "diabolists" when the cash-strapped French king decided he needed to seize their assets, so the American state felt the need to create the necessary taboo of "Racism" to justify the internal violence necessary to improve its geopolitical standing.

In short, desegregation was not carried out for the right reasons. It was not an idea whose "time had come," but rather a geopolitical expedient. As such its consequences were almost certain to be negative. This is consistent with what in fact happened – the warehousing and increasing dysfunctionalism of America’s Blacks.

If desegregation had been carried out for the right reasons, if Blacks were ready to be "equals" on their own merits in an American society that had previously – and quite unfairly – discriminated against them, then desegregation would have led not to an America that had no need of Racism as it now exists.

But Racism is as necessary to modern America as cement is to build a wall. In competing with the Soviet Union’s myth of egalitarianism, America was tricked into transforming itself into a mirror image of this chimera – a great global hyper-egalitarian tyranny. But when you are suckered into equality as a defining characteristic, you then need to be able to explain away inequalities.

How do you deal with the awkward fact that your geopolitical poster child – the liberated Black – is no improvement on his former self, and indeed quite the reverse? The only solution is to adopt an ideology that enshrines the state as good and a considerable part of the population as evil. That this also strengthens the power of the state itself is just a fortunate side-effect.


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