I updated this post, after having read one of the posters blog entries. I also deleted the abusive comment because it made me rather ill to re-read it and I don’t know why I have to give such wretched specimens of humanity space on my private property. So out, out, you nasty trolls, go back to the backwoods and swamps you were infesting. Begone!
“Ron Paul is a right wing protofascist populist. Lew Rockwell has more than a few racists. CounterPunch has it’s share of oddballs. Dissident Voice has it’s share of politically naive and clueless children. You are either a naive fool or a hopeless utopian simpleton like the fellow who wrote the pathetic missive you have chosen to copy and paste. I assume you have a darker complexion than the average northern European. You had better hope and pray Congressman Clueless never becomes President. I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that there is little chance of that happening. Racists love Ron Paul, you dimwitted schlep. David Duke supports him. I think he was a Grand Dragon in the KKK. What the hey? Ghandi didn’t think much of blacks,
This, BTW, is a real journalist:
If you read through this material and you remain unconvinced, you are blind, stupid and hopeless. I’m getting too old to care anymore. You fools deserve what you ask for. I just hope you aren’t the first dark-skinned person on your blog to enjoy a nice cross-burning or to get dragged behind a pick-up truck. And you call yourself a “journalist”?
Dear Reader -
First, here is an example of the protofascism behind Ron Paul: here, in this letter – sounds just like Hitler to me.
I wish I had more time to answer in detail your interesting letter. And especially to argue those pieces on Ron Paul, filled with careful research and even more meticulous dissembling….
Let me just say: thank you for the links. Despite your abusive and ugly language, I think you are trying to save me from myself. So a hat tip to you, too.
But, I may not be in need of it. I am not courting the favor of opinion-makers here or anywhere. I am trying to still some voice in my own heart.
Let me just say that had David Neiwert written a study of a left-wing sub-culture, he would not have been awarded an alternative online award. The corporate awards in these areas go to people who trash the left, the alternative awards go to people who trash the right. Usually. Those who are not trying to undermine anyone, but only trying to understand things are left to blow soap-bubbles on their own since they won’t squabble in the sand-box with all the other nice kids.
And much of Molly Ivins’ rhetorical style was taken from the equally clever right-leaning journalist Florence King, I hear.
Meanwhile, does the liberal-left need to be exposed on anything, you might ask?
And I would answer, yes, indeed.
Is there any bigotry on the left?
To my mind, as this article shows, it is covert but as deep and in some ways as dangerous as that on the right. Only, it does not show its face as clearly and may show us its fruits only in time to come. And unfortunately, the exposure of left bias is being done by people like David Horowitz who have their own dangerous political agenda (in relation to Middle Eastern politics, I mean).
I am more interested in the dangers of today, than in those of the past. White Christian males (how’s that for a racist category just there) are presently not the only or the most racist people I know, I can assure you.
They (hmm…I can see the whole lot of them – Poles, Irish, Anglos, rich and poor, taking their marching orders from Gary North and Ron Paul, no doubt in between burying gold in their backyards and laundering their multiple wives’ burqas) seem to be reacting defensively.
That’s how I see it right now, anyway. What they might do in the future is anyone’s guess, but that is my perception. The evils of white racism, however, have been so extensively criticized and constrained that I think at times public opinion today (not public culture or institutional bias, I agree – but that’s another more convoluted story) borders on a form of reverse racism. It’s surely wrong to focus solely on white chauvinism and ignore the chauvinism in other communities (to wit. the Duke lacrosse team case, anti-Christian bigotry among Muslims and Hindus, intra-Asian racism, recent black- on- white murders), although, this has to be negotiated with sensitivity to different levels of power and capacity to do harm.
In any case, if I am mistaken on this, it behooves me, as a person of color (not a phrase of my choice but to be polite to cultural norms here), to extend my hand and open my sympathies precisely to those who historically might have been associated with the oppression of my racial group (in the case of Indians, it would be the British empire, of which the American government is the self-styled successor). I have to be generous to white, Anglophone Christianity simply on that score – to be credible as some one who is fair-minded.
To imply (by your last remark) that that morally sensitive position is equal to racism toward blacks is simply laughable, diversionary, and smearing-by-inversion.
As a long-time student and admirer of European culture I am in the peculiar position of having to reach out in generosity to those elements in it which I admire as well as those I identify as having been oppressive to people like me (a moral task), while at the same time being critical of both (an intellectual task).
To do either only would be false.
Besides that, if we are going to go on about racism, white racism is not the most sanctioned bigotry today. Anti-Arab, anti-Muslim rhetoric; bigotry against certain forms of Christianity (not all Christianity, Christianity which genuflects to power, is highly favored today); targeting and harassment of isolated individuals who do not have the institutional support to fight back or even defend themselves; anti-male bias among opinion-makers (combined with misogyny in the general culture..an interesting combination); hatred for anarchists and non-statists and unaffiliated libertarians of all kinds: these are the most respectable forms of prejudice today in this country. In other countries, the dangers might lie elsewhere, I don’t deny.
I am not trying to pass for white…but I am not interested in passing for black or Jewish either. I don’t even want to pass for Indian. Or Chinese (so sorry, great grandma). I think human will do, and is hard enough.
We need to be aware that beliefs are like medicine. Different kinds work in different doses on different ailments. What kills in one place and at one time heals in another.
Your frequent references to dark-skin lead me to believe you too live in a racial glass-house from which it would be unwise to cast stones. Jews, blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, Muslim, can all be guilty of racism and chauvinism…to one degree or other. The consequences of their racism (i.e. how dangerous it is) mostly depends on their relative histories and positions of power.
Your letter undermines itself. Gandhi expressed certain feelings (reflective of his age and culture) toward black South African workers, as did Jefferson toward his slaves, as did even Jesus toward the Samaritans, and as many Jewish prophets toward non-Jews. (I bring that up, because I think from your letter that you are Jewish).
That does not make me despise Gandhi, Jefferson or Jesus or the Old Testament prophets. It makes me realize that “no man is good except God (or Goddess)”
It makes me more inclined to deal fairly with all opinions and to open my mind (and heart) to the whole human race…to all voices. But especially to the voiceless. People change, they open, grow….why be so transfixed by labels, so crucified by crucifying time?
I am not naive at all. I am aware of all the guilt-by-association tactics employed by “mainstream” writers to weed out which opinions and which people get heard. I just don’t think I want to be part of any of it. I think it is morally corrupting.
I avoided academics for that reason.
Having been published (punished) on the right and left and having established some journalistic creds that way, I will now try to avoid publishers too. When I have enough to retire on comfortably, I will write for myself and avoid readers, as well (chuckle).
I write to clarify my own thoughts and to interact with others who can contribute to that process.
If I have to, I’ll wait for another generation (should there be one left after our own insane one passes away) or some future non- human but literate creature to figure out who was in the right or wrong (assuming that anything we write has not long vanished); if not, I will be happy to join the unoffending dust and the meek silence of the void.
PS: It’s GandHi, not GHandi. I don’t know why that bugs me so much.
By the way: Originally, I took out the abuse because I wanted to address the comment without putting filth on my site. And because I wanted to see whether a soft answer indeed “turns away wrath”. But, lookit, Jesus, you turn the other cheek, and you get it in the neck….
But apparently the “gentleman” (irony! irony alert!) took that in the wrong way (sigh).
No matter how "inclusionary" "diverse" and "sensitive"
this man's public positions and opinions may be, his
private attitudes are pretty nasty. And maybe
THAT is how we should judge people. Not by random
remarks made when they are being provoked; not by
unpopular political positions that they may have
good reason for holding; but by their day to day
treatment of people who have not injured them.
The fine talk doesn't impress me, at any rate.
Summing Up Comments:
We had a very lengthy discussion on this post between Scimitar (from a communitarian perspective) and John Howard (from a libertarian perspective).
I sum up one central difference (as I saw it) and add my take on it, here. I think it might help:
FIRST: I found myself partly in agreement with both on one point. How so? Because lack of liberty in one area (which JH cites) can coexist with license in others (which S cites).
So, Scimitar – I agree with you (and with communitarians) on the need for balance and for seeing things as they are, not worshiping abstractions. Liberty and license are two different things.
But, JH is right to say there is also a lack of liberty.
As I see it, both operate today, but in different realms and in different ways.
A concrete example: small business is overregulated, while big international businesses – also technically regulated by the same laws – are often able to elude them – because of their privileged relation to the state (i.e. they become a rentier class). You have lack of liberty and license together.
I think the Language of Empire book dealt with a lot of that — to put in a plug (chuckle!) but hey, it’s true. License can even operate through the law as I argue in it. Anyway, here’s what I wrote:
[I am writing about how "patriotism" (i.e. support of the state's globalist policies) is really the unabashed support of corporate-state interests. Not talking here about what Scimitar referred too - the virtuous citizen defending the res publica, for the good of the community)
"This "patriotism" feeds off a a type of radicalism that uproots shatters, homogenizes and perverts the traditional values of community and individual and replaces it with the mass."
(Ch 8., p. 132 "Virtual Violence")
That part of my analysis agrees with what S is saying, I think.
As you can see, I don't really find S (community) and JH (individual) at odds...
Instead what I find is artificially constructed individuals and artificial communities (produced by mass culture) at odds with real individuals and real communities...
I don't know if you'd agree or find it convincing but you can see the kinds of games language plays on us...
That's why we have to deal with human beings and not be confused by the language the empire uses.
Comment on Racialism and Racism
Update: I went back and looked through dictionary entries for racialism and racism and it seems from them that my distinction between the two is not held by all in the same way.
Here is Merriam-Webster, which is what I grew up with:
Main Entry: ra·cial·ism
: a theory that race determines human traits and capacities; also : RACISM
- ra·cial·ist /-list/ noun or adjective
- ra·cial·is·tic /"rA-sh&-'lis-tik/ adjectiv
Note, that this definition of racialism (that human characteristics are defined by race) is not mine - it is too broad and would obviously then include racism.
I think that's why 'racism' is placed next to it as a variant - which, to my thinking, ought not to be.
Take an example. Let's say your research finds that ethnic puddleducks (just to make up a group so as not to be inflammatory) are more likely to get their feathers wet than regular ducks. Are you then a ducka-phobe or duck-ist? Even though your intention in researching may be to save puddleducks from wetfeatheritis, are you now the same as someone who commits duckicide? Gee, someone who might even want to wipe out the duck population?
Give me a break! But that seems to be the position of these dictionaries.
Still, at least, a distinction is recognized.
A similar but not so clearcut distinction is also maintained in the American Heritage Dictionary, which at least gives the second usage a separate entry as it should: racialism, it seems, is also a British usage for racist (something I wasn't aware of before):
a. An emphasis on race or racial considerations, as in determining policy or interpreting events.
b. Policy or practice based on racial considerations.
2. Chiefly British Variant of racism.
racial·ist adj. & n.
hm();Sources=Sources | 2;
Now, that makes more sense, otherwise all the people who tell us that Indians (sub-continentals) have a different blood-type from Caucasians would have to be deounounced as potential Nazis.
But, apparently, other dictionaries DO NOT agree and go with John Howard's position:
An online dictionary (how good, I don't know) inverts the meanings and makes racialist more malign in meaning. That doesn't seem right to me.
Wikipedia (which judiciously prunes and alters things, as anyone knows who has watched the appearance and disappearance of material, defininitions, and so on...) sees no distinction. Now, that could simply mean that the distinction is no longer made routinely or is being erased or that most people are not aware of it.
I will research this more, but if there is no distinction being made any more, there needs to be one or we will be practicing self censorship unwittingly.
Anyway, that the distinction exists is apparent to anyone who had read extensively in the area - it appears all the time, as here:
"While thwarting all majority efforts to weaken minority gains, it would reject the kind of "benign' racialism that we increasingly take for granted. " (that's from an article in the Washington Monthly).
Elsewhere, David Horowitz makes that distinction when discussing alleged (I am using the qualifier not to disparage the notion but because I haven't personally studied the media coverage of it) media black out of black-on-white crime.
Don't be surprised when such usages, which people born outside this country are accustomed to making without controversy, start disappearing or changing, leaving us without a vocabulary to discuss what is plainly a crucial topic.
In any case, after having had the time to read his blogs, I find that Scimitar, I think, rather mischaracterized his position.
He is not a raciaLIST (one who thinks racial considerations have a role to play in government policy - a position that is not necessarily malign) but rather a racIST (one who believes in the genetic, biological, and civic superiority of one race over another).
(However, I let his comments on my blog stay, since he worded his argument reasonably and without abuse).
He implies clearly that he "does not believe in racial, civic, or biological equality" whereas Ron Paul does.
Obviously, at one level, there really is no such equality - not all people or all races are mathematically equal. But to say that something is not mathematically exactly like another is not the same thing as saying that they are inferior or superior to each other on the basis of an arbitrary quantification that is simply delusory.
Why delusory? Because, the criteria that are used to establish superiority have varied to suit whoever does the selection, and have been shown to change (IQ tests, for example) and use samples and methodology that are - when you look at them closely - somewhat questionable..
The problem is a confusion of language and different meanings of equality that are used in a fungible way inaccurately. Again, I honestly see that as an outgrowth of the whole statist mentality. The use of language as a tool - whether it is to educate (indoctrinate) or propagandize necessarily involves the simplification of ideas -- which means the misuse of ideas. Equality is first misunderstood and then misapplied, leading to false ideas of mathematical equality and inequality that do not obtain.
Why the Ward Churchill affair is important
That's also why this Ward Churchill fracas is so
instructive - you get to see opinion makers position themselves
carefully as they go for the jugular - isolating
Churchill from the mainstream left and then letting
the steam-roller of public opinion do the rest....it's
Machiavellian alright..that's the morality of statists,
just there. Then when the right does that to them, they
start whimpering - no fair.
That's what happens when you adopt statist mentality
and the tactics of power politics with individuals.
Now, here's my comment on Josh Frank's recent piece on the
My Comment on the Churchill trashing:
People who consider themselves “free-thinkers” and “dissidents” shouldn't be involved with turning people into pariahs for their thoughts. Free thinking and free markets together. Propaganda and rigged markets go together.
People don’t consider politicians pariahs for the things they actually do, do they?
If society doesn't shun Bush or Clinton or Brzezinksi or Kissinger (sticking to American pols alone, for the minute) - who are directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of hundereds of thousands of people - millions…or Jeff Sachs or Alan Greenspan or any other economist whose policies have ruined whole economies... then why on earth are we picking on someone for something they just said? Did Churchill kill anyone? Did he bomb, or poison anyone? Did he steal, plunder or rape? Did he connive and lie?
You don't have to agree with the guy. I don't. Refute him. Don't lie about him and trash him. And about his rudeness to somone one day: the guy is under a lot of pressure.
Talking about himself? I guess he’s feeling a bit persecuted these days. Understandable, I think.
Personally, there are many days on which I 've blown off steam for much less.
I have a bit of a story on this because my publisher had sent out for a blurb request from Churchill (whom I had not read and whom I had heard about only in relation to his delineation of Native Indian history) before the controversy developed.
“That’s the perverse logic of binary inversions of black and white and it’s what the radical rhetoric of the right and left both miss. In the immediate aftermath of an event as emotional as 9/11, was the public debate really served by comparing ordinary money managers to the arch-Nazi Eichmann? Would Churchill also be willing to argue that some Iraqis citizens in Fallujah may have tacitly supported Saddam’s oppressive policies and might therefore also be little Eichmanns meriting extermination?
The greatest danger of magical thinking is not simply in the likelihood of such inversions boomeranging to hit you in the face - witness “reverse discrimination” and white or Brahmin backlash - but in the strengthening of exactly the passions and irrationality on which public support for war feeds in the first place…”
In the article, I spent some time - objecting for various reasons to Churchill’s use of the word “Nazi”
I did not say it was a morally indefensible argument - I said that it was tired and intellectually somewhat weak.
A month or two later, I got a blurb from Churchill in which he got his back with a two-handed jab that endorsed my work (He called it “excruciatingly precise” ) but also reiterated his own use of the word Nazi firmly.
Guess what? Having by then waded through a stack of Bush jurisprudence, I was overcome with Schmittean flashbacks…
Nazi still sounded wrong to me..but the legal justifications and military and nonmilitary acts of omission and commission were certainly similar enough that while my criticisms were good ones, Churchill’s rejoinder was apt…
Calling a country’s laws Schmittean (Promethean was the word I coined) is suggesting its government is similar to the Nazis, so why split hairs? Why be so excruciatingly precise?
I felt a momentary twinge. I had been temperate and said something which people might be able to digest without becoming enraged.
Churchill said something that discomfited people…
I am not now sure who took the high road…
I stuck the blurb on the jacket.
Distancing myself from it at that moment would have been wrong.
And distancing ourselves from Churchill, when we really are saying the same things, only in different or more subtle or more nuanced ways, is somehow not right.
Even though, prudentially, I agree, his style and tone might not help.
Intuitively, morally, it is the right thing to do.
On Neiwert and North
[I should add that I am not trashing David Neiwert’s work - I haven’t read it, but see from the reviews that it was carefully done research.
All I am saying is that were some one to do an equally carefully researched piece on (or subverting the opinions of), say, the sub-culture of NY-DC liberal-left opinion making, it would be studiously ignored, however carefully done.
So - please all Neiwert admirers. This has nothing to do with him. I am just saying there is bias on the side of liberal opinion-makers, too.]
(Another aside: I am also not defending Gary North. I haven’t read much of his writing and can’t speak about what he thinks or doesn’t think).