Black culture and intellectual vagabondage

Conservative Swede objects to past and recent criticisms of him at this site over the sudden fondness he expressed a year ago for black culture. He says that I mistakenly see “a contradiction in stressing the value of and need of self-affirmation of white culture, and at the same time applauding black culture for their positive achievements.”

The context of those criticisms of Swede must be considered. If Swede—or any conservative or defender of the West—had simply expressed a liking for black music and culture (or, say, for the tribal music of Rhodesia, which is wonderful), then, assuming it wasn’t something like hip-hop or gangsta rap or the insufferable caterwaulings of Whitney Houston and her legions of imitators, from which there seems to be no escape in this sublunary realm, or at least in the restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores of America’s Northeast, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it and would not have objected. But Swede’s enthusiasm for black culture emerged right in the middle of his whirlwind series of announcements last summer that he was no longer a conservative, that he no longer believed in the West, and that he henceforth wanted nothing to do with the defenders of the West, particularly with the person whom he described at that time as the West’s most confident defender, yours truly, even as he was describing the same person as a “Chicken Little,” a “cry-baby whiner,” and “not a real man.” It was at that moment that Swede came out with his surprising embrace of black culture. Thus Swede, far from valuing the achievements of black culture along with those of white culture, seemed to be following the classic behavior pattern of alienated American and European youth, embracing the Other in order to express distaste for one’s own, or, more precisely, to express (as Tod Lindbom once described it in Modern Age), the sense of “bitterness due to a lost filiation.” VFR commenter M. Mason, in an eloquent summation of Swede’s spiritual confusions and identity changes, described him as an “intellectual vagabond,” and I agreed.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 27, 2008 07:21 PM | Send

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