We observed Juneteenth, the new Independence Day for black Americans, here in the United States this week. The “national” holiday is an extremely regional celebration that dates back to 1866 in Texas.
To state the obvious but controversial: the only reason we have Juneteenth is because of a summer of racial violence two years ago. Apparently, our entire political system and culture has to bend over backwards to accommodate a handful of disgruntled race-baiters.
But all of that traces back to Critical Race Theory (CRT), which I described last year as an odious blend of “identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training.”
Race-baiting isn’t anything new in America, but now it’s taken on a quasi-systematic, pseudo-intellectual, cult-like quality that has major corporations and government entities at all levels cowed.
But appeasement clearly doesn’t work. Indeed, I’d argue it undermines CRT’s alleged goal of racial reconciliation.
In the waning years of the Obama Administration, a strident new form of race hustling emerged. Combining elements of identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training, Critical Race Theory (CRT) emerged as a powerful ideological bludgeon with which to batter anyone with the audacity to be white.
At its core, CRT proposes a simple thesis: any person of color, in any material or spiritual condition, is automatically oppressed compared to white people, because white people benefit from inherent privilege due to their whiteness. Alternatively, black and brown people face systemic racism—racism present in the very structure of the West’s various institutions—so even when not facing overt acts of racism, they are still suffering from racism nonetheless. The source of white people’s “privilege” is that systemic racism benefits them at the expense of black people.
The problem is easy to spot: any personal accountability is jettisoned in favor of group identities, so any personal setbacks for a darker-skinned individual are not the result of that individual’s agency, but rather the outcome of sinister, invisible forces at play within society’s institutions themselves. Similarly, any success on the part of a lighter-skinned individual is due to the privilege that individual enjoys.
Yesterday I wrote (in essence) that this whole coronavirus fiasco is going to clarify a lot of things. For one, we’re seeing the lethal consequences of open borders thinking and political correctness. We’re not allowed to say that it’s China’s fault, even though we all know it is. Every prudent person knows that, for better or for worse, you should avoid Chinese people who are fresh from China. Similarly, people are going to realize that throwing open our borders to anyone is a bad idea.
What I most fear, though, is what will happen if things get really tight. Right now there’s a run on toilet paper. That’s ultimately more humorous than dangerous; there’s always Kleenex, paper, or—if it comes to it—leaves and a hot shower.
But what if people can’t get food? Or medicine? The latter is far likelier, given our dependence upon China for ingredients and raw materials necessary for many medicines (a degree of autarky isn’t such a bad idea after all). But the former could be a possibility if supply chains are seriously disrupted. Again, I don’t think it will come to that, but it makes sense to prepare for the worst.
One of the more interesting developments in conservatism since Trump’s rise in 2015-2016 has been a reevaluation of our basic economic policy. Much of the ideas debated originated, in our modern political era, with Pat Buchanan. For decades, the assumption among conservatism was that economic efficiency was the highest good, as it lowered costs and eliminated or reduced government overreach.
That was a reasonable set of assumptions when our nation shared a common culture, and when the United States dominated global markets hegemonically. But the goal of reducing the size of government morphed pathologically into the mad worship of Efficiency above all else. We sold out social capital—stable families, cohesive communities, robust civil society—for quick cash.
That’s the gist of Z-Man’s post today, “Middle-Man Conservatism.” Tucker Carlson has similarly touched upon the woeful consequences of worshiping Efficiency-for-its-own-sake. Sure, Americans possess a pioneering spirit—we’ll move to the oil fields in North Dakota if we have to do so—but we’re still motivated by the same things other humans are: family, community, belonging. Gutting our communities to save fifty bucks on a washing machine is a ludicrous trade-off.
This weekend was full of family time for yours portly (thus the delayed post). Celebrating my youngest nephew’s first birthday with generations of family members and like-minded friends reminded me not only of the importance of family, but also of how refreshing it is to be among people who share your basic beliefs.
I’ve written about this phenomenon a number of times in my vast archives of blog posts, but it’s a topic that could use a longer treatment. A major struggle facing conservatives and traditionalists today is a sense of social and cultural isolation that can be downright suffocating at times. But we should avoid the black-pilled mentality of nihilistic despair, not only because it’s what our enemies want, but because it’s simply not true.
It’s been another busy weekend for yours portly. SubscribeStar readers, I have not forgotten about you, even though I’ve failed to deliver on yesterday’s still delayed post. I will have a post up this evening, after I’ve logged this edition of Lazy Sunday.
I’m actually on a glorious four-day weekend from school, so you’d think I’d have loads of time to get posts done. In fact, this Sunday has been anything but lazy, with church, four piano lessons, and a jazz band rehearsal now in the books.
This weekend has seen a great deal of time with my family, however, as my youngest nephew celebrated his first birthday yesterday. Time with family is always rejuvenating, and helps maintain the closest of bonds and the most basic unit of human organization. Our excessive focus on the individual has, at times, come at the cost of the older, stronger emphasis on the family as the basic unit of society.
To that end—and in the spirit of one-year olds’ birthday celebrations—here are some old posts, all throwbacks to the original TPP Blogger page, about family:
“Family Matters” – a lengthy post detailing the decline of the traditional family structure, and arguing for the benefits of family-formation.
“Family Matters Follow-Up Part II: The Welfare State and the Crisis of the Family” – the welfare state has had an extremely deleterious effect on the family, particularly black families, which are barely anything such, with nearly 3/4ths of black children born out-of-wedlock. Much of that decline is cultural and social in nature, but it also derives from bad government policy and perverse economic incentives. Even worse, it’s spreading: over half of children born to women under thirty today are born without a father present.
That’s it for this weekend, folks! Be sure to hug your parents, grandparents, children, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., and keep outbreeding the childless progressives.
In essence: while economic numbers are very good, many of Trump’s base of supporters—the working and middle classes—are still struggling, or at least perceive that they are. In a longer piece from Joel Kotkin (also on Carlson’s Daily Caller website), the author argues that the tensions between the Trumpian lower classes and the ascendant upper class is akin to the friction between the French Third Estate (the commoners) and the First and Second Estates (the aristocracy and the clergy) just prior to the French Revolution.
It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and to overeat lots of delicious, rich foods. If you’ve never heard of the Appalachian delicacy “chocolate butter,” do yourself a favor and look it up. Yes, it’s even better than the name suggests.
In spite of that marvelous abundance, however, rationing is still very much a reality. The inescapable fact of economics—indeed, the whole purpose of the field—is that there are only so many resources to go around, and societies struggle to figure out how best to allocate those resources.
This problem is particularly true when it comes to our most valuable resource: time.