Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Forbidden Faction: Stigmatizing White Identity Politics - By Michael Thau

In his response to last Saturday's horrific events in Charlottesville, President Trump became the first Republican politician to stand up to the bullying tactics the corporate press uses to enforce its delusional narrative about political hatred and violence in America.  Most of the sympathetic commentary has rightly praised him for refusing to minimize Antifa's role and, by extension, calling attention the wave of left-wing violence over the past year that the corporate press has gone out of its way to keep hidden.  Many have also pointed out that Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and local officials appear to have intentionally pushed the peaceably assembled "Unite the Right" marchers into the Antifa mob, and that McAuliffe and local Democratic Party officials who let armed and masked men roam the streets of Charlottesville deserve most of the blame and ought to be prosecuted, punished, and ruined for their despicable designs.
The rest of the sympathetic commentary has mostly focused on the president's brave defense of the legitimacy of monuments to the Confederate dead and his pointing out that the logical conclusion of demolishing and removing them will be the denigration of our nation's founders.  But there's been mostly silence concerning his remark that not all the "Unite to Right" protesters were vile people who deserved what they got, regardless of how illegal and repulsive the mechanism of delivery was.  Those supporting the president have largely been content with granting the corporate media's assumption that the legally assembled marchers were all white supremacist Nazi yahoos and only insisting that their Antifa opponents were no better.  This is not without reason, since discussing whether any of the Unite the Right protesters might have legitimate concerns beyond the destruction of historical monuments takes us well outside the Overton window of current acceptable public discourse.
But the president's remarks did move that window a fair bit away from corporate media-propagated delusions and toward reality, and perhaps the rest of us can now move it a bit farther.
Some of the marchers' dress unquestionably showed a glorification of Nazism.  My German Jewish paternal grandparents were killed by the Nazis; if what I was told as a child is accurate, they were forced to dig their own graves and then machine-gunned into them.  My father managed to escape by staying a little ahead of the German army as it marched eastward.  He wound up in Moscow, where he met my Russian Jewish mother.  Hitler had no more love for the Slavic part of my mother's heritage than he did for the Semitic one.  He called the Slavic people "a mass of born slaves," and the Nazis intentionally starved over 3 million Russian prisoners of war to death.
Those Nazi-worshipers at the "Unite the Right" rally shouldn't be allowed the delusion that the pathetic loser they idolize, whose greatest contribution to history is a nuclear-armed Jewish state, was in any way a champion of white folks.  Nor should we accept their delusions and call them "Nazis."  They are sorry fools who are as taken in by Hollywood's stock choice of villains as their Antifa counterparts, and who respond by cosplaying as Nazis.  Despite what Hollywood teaches, the ideology they worship was particular to Germany and was destroyed in WWII, and they are no more real Nazis than a psychopath who files his teeth and wears a black cape is a real vampire.  If he's dangerous, of course the law must take him down.  But we don't dignify and feed his pathetic delusions by yielding to them.
Pathetic Nazi cosplayers were, by all the available evidence, few and far between among those protesting the destruction of monuments commemorating the Confederate Civil War dead.  But, though only a minority were worshipers of a failed 20th-century German ideology built by one of history's greatest losers, I do believe that all were there to do more than protest the destruction of historically significant monuments.  They were also protesting to promote the forbidden idea that there's nothing wrong with white Christian Americans advocating for their group or being proud of their heritage.
If I wanted to form another Jewish advocacy group to add to the many already existing ones, no one would bat an eye.  And this is true even though Jews have substantially more political and economic power, given our proportion of the population, than white Christians could ever hope to attain.  If a couple of Asians wanted to form an Asian advocacy group, that would be perfectly acceptable as well, even though, as a group, they too are socioeconomically better off than white Christians.  Jews and Asians are also generally successful enough to be insulated from the negative effects of affirmative action and the importation of cheap third-world labor.
White middle- and lower-class Christians bear the brunt of globalism's destruction of the American working middle class.  As a result, deaths from alcohol and drug poisoning, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease have risen dramatically for them.  Leading scholars on both the right and the left proclaim that white Americans are in crisis, and, though they don't typically add the "Christian" qualifier, it's understood that the population is almost exclusively of Christian descent.  Many of them had ancestors here long before my parents were admitted as refugees, and many had fathers and grandfathers who helped defeat the real-life Nazis who killed my grandparents.  Yet they alone among all the ethnic groups in America are automatically branded as "repellent racists" if they make any attempts to organize to protect or enlarge their slice of the pie or even suggest that it might just possibly be okay to express pride in their heritage.  When moderate and reasonable advocacy gets shouted down and falsely branded as hateful, all that's left is the sort of outlandish but nonviolent ideas of Richard Spencer and the much more outlandish and violent ones of Nazi cosplayers.
One way to normalize abhorrent ideas is to present them as normal.  But another more insidious way is to silence reasonable concerns by conflating them with abhorrent ones so that the space for normal people to express their reasonable concerns is eliminated, and the only ideas and leaders left to follow are extremist.  Tucker Carlson is right that rampant identity politics cuts against the idea of our being a single nation united by the bonds of citizenry.  But I'm sure he's not foolish enough to think the identity politics permitted as a matter of course to everyone except white Christians has any hope of disappearing anytime soon.  And he's certainly right that extremist white identity politics is the natural and expected reaction if all reasonable means white Christians have for addressing legitimate concerns are automatically branded hateful and extreme.
It's both appalling and self-destructive for sensible people to buy into the idea that all the marchers who suffered a government-planned assault in Charlottesville are repellent racists and yahoos for wanting to defend and show pride in their own in the same way every other ethnic group in America can and, indeed, is encouraged to.  If the crisis in their community isn't enough to justify allowing them the same space to organize and be proud that every other subdivision of American citizens has and shows no willingness to abandon, what happened to them in Charlottesville, which everyone knows wouldn't have conceivably been allowed to happen to any other group, is more than enough justification for doing so.  For people worried about Richard Spencer's extreme and impossible ideas, and the far worse hateful ideas of Nazi cosplayers, the surest way to increase their following is to continue to stigmatize reasonable concerns and maliciously and hysterically brand all attempts to address them, no matter how reasonable and peaceful, as hateful.
Michael Thau has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton.  He works as a freelance ghostwriter and content marketer and blogs at A Clearer Picture.  He can be reached there or at