Clueless, cowardly whites

(Note: see Mark Jaws’s forceful disagreement with Buddy’s and my comments. See my idea on how white conservatives should reply when they are accused of racism simply because no nonwhites come to their meetings. And see the continuing discussion in “Pro Palin, Pro Beck.”)

Buddy in Atlanta writes:

You wrote:

“Commenters who think that there is some implied racial conservatism in the Beck followers that has the potential of emerging are, I fear, kidding themselves.”

The attendees at Beck’s rally were eager to show their non-racist bona fides, as in this picture:


And these efforts win them no points with leftists. The liberals at Pandagon, where I found this photo, are tearing these guys apart for being racist—who but a racist would carry around a sign asking “Do We Look Racist?”

LA replies:

That is one of the most pathetic sights I’ve seen. But how can we blame them? The whole society, or at least the right half of the society, sends out the message that this is the way for whites to behave. George W. Bush would literally say, “How can I be a racist, since Condi, my National Security Advisor / Secretary of State, is black?”, while Condi, as clueless, tone-deaf, and lacking in taste as her boss, participated in the idiocy. And in addition to being pathetic and weak from a conservative point of view, these eagerly non-racist whites, whether Bush or the white men in the photo, don’t see how offensive it is from a liberal or just a human point of view—-how condescending it is to use a black person as a prop to demonstrate one’s own virtue. So these whites degrade both their own dignity and that of the black people whom they treat as badges, while the blacks who willingly join in the charade, whether Condoleezza Rice or the black man in the photo, are blind or indifferent to how they are degrading their own dignity. That’s what right-liberalism does to people—it takes away their humanity and makes them see themselves as symbolic abstractions.

- end of initial entry -

Sophia A. writes:

I call the pattern of defensively reacting to charges of racism Instapunditry, because Glenn Reynolds does this all the time. When faced with the charge that the Beck rally was overwhelmingly white, he ran a bunch of links pointing to pictures of isolated blacks who attended the rally. Of course the proper response should be, “Yeah, it was overwhelmingly white. Got a problem with that?”, but you won’t find that in the Reynolds-sphere.

That said, things are changing rapidly. Who could have predicted Jan Brewer two years ago? I predict that in a couple of years defiant whites will be saying exactly what we are saying they should.

Mark Jaws writes:

Our destiny as individuals and as a people lies in our hands, and depends on whether we white men have courage. Whether we end PC and affirmative action (which I call anti-white racial profiling), seal our borders, speak proudly of our acocmplishments, etc., all depends on whether we get off our arses, open our mouths, and get our fellow traditionalists to do likewise. This diminishment of our Big Aug 28th Rally and subsequent wringing of hands I am reading here at VFR is counterproductive. So what, if two white men wish to show they are not racists by using a black man as a prop? If that can somehow inspire them to speak out against racist blacks and anti-white school curricula, then we should applaud it. And, if we want John McCain’s conversion to be real, then we harass him every opportunity we get, should the old John McCain show his true self. If that means yelling at him and jeering and making his life miserable, then we conservative whites must do so. As I have said before, there is no greater life force on the planet than armed (in this case, with words and passion) and determined white men. We need to start acting like it, and just maybe in two or three years those two white men sandwiching that black fellow will have signs that say, “I don’t need a black man as a prop to say that I am proud to be a white American.”

Leonard D. writes:

I am with you in finding that picture appalling. (We should keep in mind that in any mass demonstration, there always will be embarrassing characters present.) Sophia A. has it right: the political right should project indifference to the whiteness (and maleness) of their events. It is the seeking of approval from our political enemies which I find (as in your very apt title) clueless and cowardly. Does anyone think that blacks are ever going to approve of whites who want to abolish affirmative action? Clueless. And if they won’t, should we back down? Cowardly.

In contemporary America, any right-leaning political event will be very white, because the left champions minorities. Duh! So there’s even a sense in which, if we did start getting large attendance from minority activists, we’re doing something wrong. (But no worries there—we won’t.) When the mass media makes an issue of our whiteness, we should admit it directly. If they press (and they will) we should turn it around. Is there something wrong with representing whites, and if so, what? Doesn’t everyone deserve representation? What precisely is wrong with our supporters? We must get the normal charges (racism, ignorance, bigotry, clinging bitterly to guns and religion, etc.) into the open as soon as possible, and as often as possible. This will cleave the majority from the mainstream media.

[LA replies: I would go further and say to the left:

“If there are hardly any nonwhites at conservative events, the obvious reason is that there are hardly any nonwhites who are conservatives. The nonwhites all on the left. So why are you criticizing conservatives for the fact that liberals are liberals? More to the point, why are you criticizing white conservatives for the fact that virtually all nonwhites reject conservatism? Why aren’t you criticizing nonwhites for being exclusively liberal? The fact is that whites are pretty evenly divided between liberals and conservatives. But nonwhites are virtually all liberal. Why aren’t you asking why this is so? Why aren’t you asking why nonwhites universally reject small government, individual responsibility, and traditional American patriotism?

“Again, you make monstrous insinuations against conservatives for being disproportionately white (which is not true, since whites are divided between conservative and liberal), while you decline to raise the slightest critical question about nonwhites for being almost exclusively liberal. If there is any ‘disproportionality’ or ‘exclusiveness’ here, it’s not among the whites, it’s among the nonwhites. But you treat the nonwhite liberals as victims, because they reject conservatism, which is something they have a choice about, while you accuse the white conservatives of being racists, simply because they are white, which is something they don’t have a choice about. In short, you are calling whites morally evil, simply because they are white. So YOU are the racists. YOU are the ones who paint people in hateful terms, because of their race. YOU are the ones who stir up hatred against a group, solely because of its race.”

Of course it doesn’t occur to a single white conservatives in America to ask these questions and put the left on the defensive, for reasons I’ve given many times.]

That said, the idea of organizing white people (or any people) to dismantle the welfare state is a fantasy. There is a sad logic to the course of events in the democratic West. It is a ratchet: political change that creates clients is relatively easy to achieve, because the set of people who may benefit are monolithically for it. (Clients may be the middle class progressively-educated apparachiks needed to man the bigger government, or the people receiving handouts.) Conversely, political change that defunds clients is very, very hard. They fight like devils, and media and government support them, so that opposing them is seen as opposing and hating old people, the poor, teachers, farmers, foreigners, etc. And even if you win, a judge may just override it. To imagine reversing the America’s political decline democratically is to imagine the aged becoming young again, or water flowing uphill. Well, maybe not quite that hard … but very, very hard.

That is not to say it should never be attempted. At least political stasis seems within reach to me. But this is a very different thing than positive change. There are no major victories; it is far less rewarding; it never ends. I think it is vital for those attempting politics to go into it with an understanding of the odds against substantial positive change. Glenn Beck does not have any such understanding, much less his fans. Nor the Tea Partiers. Lacking it, they gain some immediate impact, because an undiscerning analysis of the successes of the left makes equivalent rightward political change seem easy. When rightward change fails, these groups will see massive attrition as people get disenchanted and discouraged. Furthermore, their failure will be reported on by their enemies, and thus spun against them.

We do have some advantages now which we did not have until recently. Fox is a partial exception to the rule of progressive mainstream media dominance. And we have the Internet to route around the mainstream media entirely. But still we are faced with the inexorable logic of the voting itself: in democracy any significant monolithic bloc is disproportionately powerful. And we are still faced with an education system completely controlled by our enemies.

Kilroy M. writes:

A little off base, but I wonder whether the black man is also wearing only one sock.

LA replies:

That is odd, isn’t it? The two white men each have a sock on their left foot, but not on their right, while the black man’s feet and socks cannot be seen. However, as someone who never took the slightest interest in the years-long obsession over the supposed coded messages on the cover of Abbey Road (“Paul is dead,” etc.), I will continue in that indifference here.

Ed L. writes:

You wrote:

“Why aren’t you asking why nonwhites universally reject small government, individual responsibility, and traditional American patriotism?”

This is bracing and hard-hitting because it uses the active rather than the passive voice in reference to non-whites. It is just so different from what we’re conventionally used to hearing. For once, it scrutinizes the voluntary behavior of nonwhites and imposes some expectation on them. White conservatives would do well to use the active voice in this manner much more often.

Thucydides writes:

Here is another answer when asked why few blacks or minorities are present at conservative events:

We conservatives believe that every individual should shoulder responsibility for his own life, and not seek to use government to live at the expense of others. If there are groups who do not agree with this principle, you should ask them why not.

Jim C. write:

What white conservatives should say to the media?

Sue them for slander/libel.

Dale F. writes:

Good point. When I watched a bit of the Democratic Convention on TV in 2004 I was struck by how many of the delegates were black or Hispanic—their numbers seemed wildly disproportionate to the population as a whole. Whatever else it may have been, it certainly didn’t “look like America.”

Mark Jaws writes:

I would ask Leonard D if he thinks we can continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars per year propping up the dysfunctional underclass through welfare and other “social services.” With the calamitous fiscal situation we are facing and the Tea Party’s emphasis on fiscal restraint, I think conservative whites will soon start to call for some sort of dismantling and scaleback of the welfare state. When people have lost their jobs or their homes, they are likely to strike back at someone and something. Do I need to say more? As I said, I am all for giving welfare back to the states. That way, the welfare block will migrate to the liberal Northeast and Northwest and further strengthen conservative white voting power in places such Indiana, Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky.

Gintas writes:

With respect to your sharp questions to the Left, we should use variations of this in comment sections at newspapers and wherever we run into Leftists. It’s a counterattack, not an apology. Will it convince the hardened Leftist? Not likely, the Red Guards are lost to civilization, but there are always readers who are on the fence who might be persuaded, and there are readers who need a shot of confidence and boldness to speak more openly.

LA replies:

Of course it’s not about reaching leftists. It’s about putting leftists on the defensive. It’s about reaching people who are watching the debate. And it’s about energizing our side.

[LA writes: In his next comment, where Mr. Coleman refers to “raising the temperature of arguments,” he is speaking of a part of our previous exchange that was not posted online. Namely, he had described as “ridiculous “hyperbole” my earlier comment about evangelicals, and I had asked him not to raise unnecessarily the temperature of the exchange.]

Clark Coleman replies to LA:

I wonder how other groups would react to ethnocultural/pro-white concerns about immigration? For example, mainline Protestants, secularists, Jews, and Catholics? That is my point.

As for raising the temperature of arguments, let me make a point. I am critical of groups to which I belong (e.g. whites, conservatives, Americans, Christians, evangelical Christians) on many points. Each of these groups, as a whole, disappoints me from time to time. But, like all human beings, I do have some group identity. When a group to which I belong is falsely accused, I raise the temperature a little bit. You speak of evangelical Christians from the outside, and I am on the inside. My reaction to hyperbolic criticism of evangelical Christians is similar to my reaction to unfair criticisms of whites, Americans, Christians as a whole, etc.

Perhaps you could refer to “evangelical leaders” rather than evangelicals when you make these criticisms. The leaders of various organizations, who are the individuals you would likely meet at conferences of various sorts, are out of step with the typical church members. NumbersUSA has organized fax and email campaigns aimed at these “leaders” and they have gotten an earful from their members. Polls have quantified how big the gap is between leaders and the rest of us. In some cases, churches have even issued public statements disavowing what one of their leaders said, or disavowing some joint statement that multiple evangelical leaders signed. I don’t think we have any disagreement about the kind of people you have run into at these public conferences. They are politically correct and very concerned about their image (just as Glenn Beck is bending over backwards to be non-racist, etc. Most evangelical “leaders” are in the same boat as Beck on this, which is what you were pointing out. But you did not talk about leaders in particular; you said conservative evangelicals. Evangelicalism is very non-hierarchical in many respects, and many evangelicals have never even heard of their supposed leaders.)

LA replies:

Very well. I retract my remark that conservative evangelicals are “more rigidly and moralistically ‘anti-racist,’ and thus more pro-open borders, than any other group in America.” I’ll just say that the conservative evangelicals I’ve encountered, both the leaders and the rank and file, have been strongly “anti-racist” and pro-open borders.

At the same time, my main point—contained in the phrase, “Ground Zero in the suicide of America”—stands: the one conservative group that has the numbers and political organization to turn around the immigration issue and save America does not do so, because it itself is markedly “anti-racist” and pro-open borders.

[Note, September 18, 2010. As proof both of Mr. Coleman’s assertion that it’s the leaders, not the flock, who are liberal on immigration, and of my reply that the distinction doesn’t matter because the leaders lead the flock away from immigration restrictionism to open borders, see this disturbing story of what happened at a WorldNetDaily conference when an audience member proposed a moratorium on Muslim immigration.]

September 1

Leonard D. writes:

A strong reply. Of course the left has their answers for your questions: nonwhites are not conservative because the progressive position is right and true, conservatives are racist, or because our society in its current stand is too racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc. to conserve. The left is inclusive: look at it; the right in exclusive: look at it. Etc. As I suggested, you won’t reach any of the hard left or its client groups. The group that can be worked on is the middle-of-the-road milquetoast whites. So long as they are comfortable where they are, they’ll vote for moderate Republicans and centrist Democrats. If they are sufficiently demonized by the left, they may radicalize to the right.

To Mark Jaws I reply: yes, we can continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars per year propping up the dysfunctional underclass through welfare and other “social services.” Not that I am for it! But the USA is still a profitable engine of taxation. When it comes time to cut, I am certain there will be less popular things than social services. Recall the 90s. Simply cutting and running from our worthless foreign wars could recapture the approximately $170 billion per year we are currently spending on them, and further moderate cuts in “defense” are politically feasible. Beyond that I see no low-hanging fruit. I am fairly certain we’ll inflate before making any really substantial political cut, and I think we’ll raise taxes (on the “rich”, naturally), before we seriously inflate.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 31, 2010 12:10 PM | Send

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