Sunday, January 31, 2021
Saturday, January 30, 2021
You’ve probably heard that Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How To Be An Antiracist,” just teamed up with Netflix to create films and animated shorts about racism for adults through preschoolers.
You may not have heard some of Kendi’s other ideas, such as his proposal to create a federal Department of Antiracism to go after speech and policies that don’t fit Kendi’s definition of “antiracist.”
In Kendi’s paradigm, by the way, there is no such thing as simply being “not racist.” If you are not actively advocating Kendi’s brand of antiracism, he suggests, you are by definition being racist.
Kendi has proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make “racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials” unconstitutional. Inequity, of course, is different to leftists than inequality. As Vice President Kamala Harris explained in a video that inspired comparisons to communism, to leftists equity means government rigging equal outcomes.
Racial inequities, Kendi says, are “evidence of racist policy.” That means if a young woman who isn’t white is making less money than a white woman of the same age, that inequity of income must be a result of policies that are racist.
While policies that produce inequity should certainly be scrutinized (and their political proponents held accountable), the assumption that any significant difference in outcomes is a result of racism is wildly divorced from the American belief in personal responsibility. All Americans deserve the opportunity to pursue happiness; that doesn’t mean the government measures out doses of it.
Policies that enable abortions are extremely racially inequitable, and leftists never call the results racist. While black Americans make up just over 13 percent of the population, 36 percent of abortions in America kill black babies. In 2015, there were almost as many abortions of black babies in America as white babies, even though white Americans make up over three-fourths of the population. By Kendi’s logic, Planned Parenthood clearly has to go — but somehow I don’t think that’s what he has in mind.
So what policies would Kendi’s Department of Antiracism go after? It would have to “preclear,” Kendi says, “all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity.” That means a bureaucratic agency composed of completely unelected “experts” can nuke any policy, from a law passed by Congress to a local school board decision, that it predicts will cause “inequity.”
Not only would Kendi’s department appoint itself over every government policy from Washington, D.C. to the Kalamazoo School Board, it would also “investigate private racist policies.” So if your local homeowners’ association, homeless shelter, or private preschool is perpetuating policies that the Department of Antiracism thinks cause inequitable results, it won’t be long before the G-men show up.
Kendi’s proposal doesn’t stop with policies. It would also police public officials’ speech. “The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas,” Kendi says. Threatening government discipline against people who don’t “voluntarily” change their ideas sounds, well, like regimes the United States used to fight wars against.
Kendi’s proposal to eradicate policies or speech he deems racist begs the question: what does he think is racist?
“In order to truly be antiracist,” Kendi has insisted, “you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” The logic suggests that any policies promoting capitalism would certainly not make it past the Department of Antiracism.
Kendi has also leveled criticism at now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for adopting black children from Haiti. “Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children,” he tweeted shortly after President Trump nominated Barrett. “They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity,” Kendi continued. If Kendi considers adoption of black children by white parents racist, would it be allowed under his proposed agency?
Kendi also openly advocates for racial discrimination in the name of “antiracism.” “If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist,” he says. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” Perhaps, then, Kendi would have the Department of Antiracism create racially discriminatory policies in the name of fighting racism.
“The fundamental problem is policy,” Kendi says in a two-minute video clip posted by Politico. Policies are always imperfect, but the fundamental problem of society has never been policy. Even in the dark days when some Americans enslaved other human beings, the fundamental problem was not policy but sin.
Still today, problems in society exist because man is a sinful creature, desperately in need of the grace and restoration which come not from federal agencies but from God.
Of course, all Americans should oppose racism wherever they encounter it. But that doesn’t mean labeling free-market economics or adoption as racist. It doesn’t mean having unelected bureaucrats shut down speech and policies with which they disagree.
It does mean recognizing the fallen nature of man, examining our own hearts with sincerity, and loving our neighbor regardless of his skin color. That’s not a job for a new federal agency. That’s a job for us.
Have the Marxists won, even though the Soviet Union lost? America’s moral courage in confronting the “evil empire” was a truly heroic act; but in the aftermath of the Soviet bloc’s dissolution and America’s unrestrained bid for liberal hegemony over the world, we let our guard down. Not to external foes, but to internal ones.
Over the summer and fall of 2020, America’s cities and public landscape burned and were vandalized. As Nancy Pelosi said when questioned about whether these vandals would be sought and prosecuted for wanton destruction of private and federal property, “I don’t care that much about statues.” Her attitude, perhaps symptomatic of many Americans, needs to be repudiated because it is a blank check for destroying our heritage, history, and moral consensus.
Plato, in his Republic, infamously banned the poets and artists. Why? Because Plato argued, they offered a false vision of the truth and the good life. Plato was himself an artist. He wanted to be a dramatist before turning to the nascent seed called philosophy. His animus against art wasn’t against art, per se, but was against the story that the artists and poets of his time communicated. What Plato understood is what Marxists understand and most Americans sadly can’t see: Art tells a story.
Walter Benjamin, the chief Prophet of the New Left, wrote that all art is “based on another practice—politics.” What Benjamin unleashed was a new campaign to destroy Western civilization by making us hate our own history and heritage and the story that our public landscape, the treasures of our civilization, told. Or as Griselda Pollock said, “The reality is that anything the Europeans have touched is contaminated by their money and disciplined by their gaze, imprinted with their power, and shaped by their desire.”
Michael Oakeshott, perhaps the world’s foremost conservative philosopher in the mid-twentieth century, is indispensable for us in understanding the left’s destructive impulses. “[T]he real spring of collectivism is not a love of liberty, but war. The anticipation of war is the great incentive, and the conduct of war is the great collectivizing process,” Oakeshott once wrote. And war is the animating spirit of the left. If there is no war, then the left must invent a war.
Our public landscape, statues, sculptures, and paintings tell us a story. It is the story of American grace, progress, and freedom. From the Mayflower to the Founding Fathers, to Abraham Lincoln and the crosses and Stars of David that line Arlington Cemetery, America’s lost moral consensus is manifested in the treasures of our civilization celebrating America’s people, history, and progress from a few courageous pioneers and settlers to a sprawling nation from sea to shining sea that overcame many obstacles to establish a more perfect union and continued to create a more perfect union as time went by.
The left’s sudden vandalizing spirit to our public memorials and landscape should not be surprising. For America’s public landscape is the treasure of all, but insofar as it tells the real story of freedom, progress, and opportunity, the left understands that it must banish or, better, destroy our statues, paintings, and all that is embodied by our public landscape.
It has been drilled into our heads, ad nauseum, that America is an irredeemably racist country, as well as sexist and economic oppressive. The 1619 Project isn’t the spearhead of this ideology. It is just the latest and most potent manifestation of an ideology that goes back to the mid-twentieth century. But the 1619 Project should be seen as a blessing in disguise for all Patriotic Americans. For it unequivocally proclaims what we must understand: The left hates America and is threatened by our memorials of love and truth.
What the 1619 Project exudes is the very spirit of politicized art and aesthetics that Walter Benjamin advocated. The original sin of slavery taints America’s public life and every aspect of her civilization. What is most ingenious about the left’s language is how it evokes an eschatological, millenarian, and religious struggle—the war for righteousness takes on a spiritual and moral dimension that perfectly preys on people who are abandoning religious practice and find its false substitute in political vandalism, barbarism, and destruction.
But the Marxists in America have a factual problem on their hand. If America is as irredeemably evil as they claim, then why are many of the oppressed and exploited peoples clamoring to find refuge in the country that is still the last best hope for humanity’s aspirations for God, freedom, and opportunity? Well, the Marxists must conjure up some hocus pocus magic and stir it in a cauldron—the masses are enslaved by a false consciousness!
Thankfully, the Marxist elite exists to tell them what they should really believe and feel and join them in the march to the New Jerusalem to be inaugurated on earth once all the vestiges of evil America are destroyed: Christianity, the white middle-class, the patriarchy, free markets, and all those works of art that otherwise remind us of American goodness, grace, freedom, and progress.
Thus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even Frederick Douglass are not safe from the anti-American left’s decapitating mob because, as long as such statues stand, they are an enduring reminder that American Marxists peddle a false story. Washington reminds us that America was not born in slavery but in freedom. Lincoln reminds us that America is always true to that founding spirit of building a more perfect union. And Frederick Douglas reminds us that America bleeds with a spirit of reconciliation and unity.
The stories that these men tell -- and oh, yes, it's problematic that they’re all men, too! -- is a threat to the Marxist story of an evil and irredeemable America, an America that cannot be forgiven and needs to be purged, exterminated, and destroyed. For in a world where grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation do not exist because God does not exist, well, there is only power and extermination as Raskolnikov says before his apotheosis.
Down, then, come the monuments and statues honoring America’s history of grace, freedom, and progress, and up to the new landscape of race, class, gender struggle, and “liberation.” All art will become media of the Marxist story. For the medium is the message.
We must, therefore, counter the Marxists at every stage, turn, and level. For to let them have a monopoly on our cherished and sacred history, monuments, and landscape is to let them have a totalizing monopoly over American life. It won’t be long until the paintings that adorn the Capitol, John Trumbull’s Surrender of General Burgoyne and Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, along with other such important moments of American freedom and progress like William Henry Powell’s Battle of Lake Erie, will be burned because they are testimonies to white supremacy, which is what all Marxists now parrot in unimaginative collective unison.
The Marxist war on art is the final campaign for Marxism’s domination of America. Make no mistake, they are waging a war. When the last stories of American freedom, progress, and reconciliation are eliminated, the Marxists will have their monopoly on power; not a dictatorship of the proletariat, but a dictatorship onto themselves. And they will wage another war against all of those who they claim have “contaminated” the world.
On Tuesday, six days into Joe Biden’s administration, it became clear why Susan Rice, hitherto a foreign-policy specialist, was named director of the Domestic Policy Council. Rice — unconfirmable for a Cabinet post after her unembarrassed Sunday-show lying about the Benghazi terrorist attack — ventured into the White House press room to preview Biden’s “equity” initiative.
With one possible exception, the specific policies announced were less important than the word “equity,” invoked 19 times by Rice and nine by Biden. Ending federal private prison contracts and combating “xenophobia” against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are small potatoes as federal policies.
Not so, perhaps, with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative, started under former President Barack Obama, repealed under former President Donald Trump and now due for spirited revival. The idea is for the feds to reverse local zoning laws and plant low-income housing in suburbs deemed insufficiently diverse.
Actually, discrimination in housing has been reduced since the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act, to the point that in metropolitan areas from Washington to Atlanta to Los Angeles, most blacks now live in suburbs, not in the central cities.
But for Rice and Biden, “equity” requires not equality of opportunity but equality of results. That’s one of the fundamental tenets of critical race theory training banned by outgoing Trumpites and reinstated by Biden on Day 1.
A lower-than-population percentage of blacks in any desirable category, explains critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi, must be the result of “systemic racism” (a term Rice used twice and Biden six times Tuesday). If you don’t agree, you’re guilty of “white fragility” and you must be a “white supremacist.”
As Andrew Sullivan trenchantly observes, “to achieve ‘equity’ you have to first take away equality for individuals who were born in the wrong identity group. Equity means treating individuals unequally so that groups are equal.”
This is exactly contrary to the central thrust of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It could easily be judged, in particular cases, to violate the 14th Amendment. Individuals discriminated against might have standing to go to court.
And there will surely be many such individuals. Rice made clear that the policies mentioned Tuesday are just a start. “Every agency,” she said, with no suggestion of exceptions, “will place equity at the core of their public engagement, their policy design and program delivery to ensure that government resources are reaching Americans of color and all marginalized communities — rural, urban, disabled, LGBTQ+, religious minorities and so many others.”
That’s a lot of preferred categories, but one suspects that, as in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” some preferred groups will be more preferred than others. What we’re being promised is racial quotas and preferences in every conceivable program, in every possible corner of American life.
It may be objected that the United States is already well on its way to such a state of affairs. Quotas and preferences are firmly, almost fanatically, ensconced in higher education. Corporate America’s human resources departments, Kendi’s most eager clients, revel in imposing quotas and enforcing “equity” orthodoxy.
Even so, something still sticks in the craws of most Americans about treating some people differently on account of race or ethnic identity. “You don’t get to unite the country by dividing it along these deep and inflammatory issues of identity,” Sullivan writes.
Proof of this came from the unlikely precincts of California last Nov. 3. Democratic politicians under the influence of critical race theory asked voters to vote yes on Proposition 16 to overturn Proposition 209 barring state government, including universities, from discriminating on the basis of race.
Some $20 million was spent to pass this Proposition 16, versus only $1 million to uphold Proposition 209. Yet Prop 16 — and the legalization of racial quotas and preferences — was rejected by California voters 57 percent to 43 percent.
That’s an even wider margin than the 55 percent to 45 percent by which 209 won in 1996, even though California has become far more Democratic since then.
That suggests the Biden and corporate elite project to create a United States of Racial Quotas and Preferences is in conflict with a strong underlying current of American opinion that favors equal rights under law.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
WASHINGTON — Amid mounting criticism of his record-pace executive order blitz — including from liberal media outlets like the New York Times — President Biden refused to take questions from reporters Thursday as he signed two more such actions.
The president’s latest orders will open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and end the “Mexico City Policy” that bans US federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling.
“Today I’m about to sign two executive orders to, basically, the best way to describe them, undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden told pool reporters.
In a bid to undo many of the initiatives of the previous Trump administration, Biden has signed a record 40 executive actions in his first week in office.
But the unilateral actions have seen the president catch heat from some of his biggest allies, including the Times, which on Thursday urged Biden to “ease up” and instead of ruling by fiat, legislate via the narrowly divided Congress.
Executive actions can be easily reversed by the following commander-in-chief.
“[T]his is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage,” the Times editorial board wrote in an op-ed published Thursday.
“These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation.”
At a briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on questions from reporters suggesting that Biden’s slew of executive actions went against his own calls for “unity” in Washington.
Psaki said Biden had made clear that he didn’t believe executive action should be used for everything, but claimed the president needed to move quickly to undo the signature policies of the Trump administration.
“There are steps, including overturning some of the harmful, detrimental, and, yes, immoral actions of the prior administration that he felt he could not wait to overturn, and that’s exactly what he did,” Psaki insisted.
“Any historian will tell you that he walked into the presidency at one of the most difficult moments in history that required additional executive action in order to get immediate relief to the American people,” she said, adding that Biden believed in working with Congress and was going to “use the levers that every president in history has used.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell last week said Biden’s EO blitz was the “wrong direction,” while even Biden himself appeared to be against presidential overuse of executive actions.
“We are a democracy,” Biden said during a town hall with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on the campaign trail in October.
“Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even occasionally say, ‘Well, if you can’t get the votes, by executive order, you’re going to do something,'” he went on.
“Things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus,” he said.
Last week, Kay James, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said she was disappointed by the “unprecedented scope” of Biden’s orders.
“Executive actions short circuit the democratic process by cutting out Congress and leaving no room for debate or dissent,” James said in a statement.
As he signed two more orders in the space of two minutes Thursday, Biden refused to take shouted questions from reporters as they were hustled out of the Oval Office.
“We’ve got a lot to do and the first thing I’ve got to do is get this COVID package passed,” he said of his enormous $1.9 trillion rescue package, which Republicans have already bristled at.