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As the Horrors of 2020 Haunt Us, Who Needs Halloween?

October 31, 2020

Every Halloween for the past decade or so, I’ve donned my Dracula cape, slicked my hair back, practiced my frigid Bela Lugosi smile and greeted the costumed kiddies in my best Transylvanian accent. The veteran youngsters look forward to seeing the Count in person as he compliments their costumes and favors them with sugary treats. And, of course, it’s always a joy to watch their reactions.

This Halloween is different. The ongoing pandemic will slash the number of visitors appearing at my door, and what’s more, they’ll have to make do with a more impersonal greeting: little goodie bags piled on our outside table. (I’ll have to trust the early trick-or-treaters not to grab all the loot for themselves.)

It’s a sad state of affairs, this downsized 2020 version of Halloween. But then, we’ve been living in a horror story for most of the past year — enough to render Halloween almost redundant. Who needs ghosts, witches, vampires and goblins when we’ve had to deal with far worse: a monster virus that has killed a quarter-million Americans and still won’t quit… tragic racial incidents and the inevitable riots that follow… soaring urban gun violence… right-wing militiamen on the march… nonstop leftist protests and rampant wokeness… desecrated historical statues and monuments… and a political climate steeped in hyperpartisanship and mutual loathing.

Of course, top billing in our horror story must go to the current occupant of the White House, a rampaging Frankenstein monster patched together from equal parts con artist, showman, sociopath and three-year-old brat. Yes, like Frankenstein’s monster, Trump was maligned, misunderstood and mistreated -– in his case by the press, Congressional Democrats and our coastal elites — but for the most part he brought it on himself. 

More to the point, Trump’s rampage has taken a ghastly toll on the nation. Both the left and the right have lost their collective minds, and (as usual) nobody pays attention to the moderates.

Election Day 2020 won’t bring an end to the horror; it only stands to amplify it to Stephen King dimensions. Because of the unprecedented plethora of mail-in ballots, an unhealthy percentage of which will undoubtedly go missing or uncounted, we might not know the results for weeks.

If Biden wins by less than a landslide, Trump and his henchpeople will try to delegitimize the outcome; they’ll cite how easy it was for Democrats to submit ballots for their dead relatives. (Of course, Republicans have the same option.) If Trump wins, the Democrats will call foul due to the widespread attempts at voter suppression (via drastically reduced polling places) where Biden voters dominate the landscape.

If the election is too close to call, state electors could disregard the tally and cast their state’s votes for their preferred candidate, a scenario that would probably favor Biden. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives could decide the outcome only in the statistically improbable event of an electoral vote tie. More likely, as in 2000, the final decision could rest with the Supreme Court, now a Republican stronghold.

No matter who wins, there will be chaos. A Biden victory would turn much of Trump’s base into a seething proletariat for the next four years. Gun sales would go through the roof, conspiracy theories would abound, and Confederate flags would fly from thousands of pick-up trucks across the republic. If Trump manages to stay out of prison, he could even stir the pot by broadcasting and tweeting to his base as a rabble-rouser emeritus. How would a Biden victory affect the left? Would they be emboldened to bombard us with  socialism, wokeness, critical race theory and calls for reparations — or would they be soothed by the prospect of a compassionate, old-fashioned liberal at the helm? I suspect it would be a little of each.

If Trump wins –- well, we’ve already seen what happened when he snatched his unlikely victory in 2016. If you thought Trumpocracy and Trump Derangement Syndrome poisoned our politics for the past four years, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. A second-term Trump would essentially rule by fiat, since he’d no longer be accountable to the voters. He’d model himself more than ever after world-class autocratic potentates like Kim Jong-un, Turkey’s Erdogan, and his idol, Vladimir Putin. We’d undoubtedly see more coup attempts by Congress, more madness in the streets, more nasty memes on Facebook, more broken friendships, more family feuds –- in short, more horror than those pedestrian Halloween ghoulies and ghosties could ever deliver.

For those of us caught in the middle, it might be time — as a wise eighteenth-century Frenchman once advised us — to cultivate our own gardens. If moderates possess a virtue denied to the extremists, it’s the ability to keep our heads when everyone around us is losing theirs. We need to keep our heads now more than ever.
 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available as e-books on Amazon for $2.99 each — less than a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. (Just search under Rick Bayan.)

Debate THIS! Trump and Biden Go for the Jugular

September 30, 2020

Poor Chris Wallace. The relatively moderate, even-tempered Fox News anchor found himself unexpectedly thrust into a playground fight between two brawling schoolboys last night. What made the playground fight noteworthy is that the two brawlers were both well into their seventies – and running for president of the United States.

It wasn’t a pretty spectacle, as spectacles go. Donnie exploited his position as the reigning playground potentate – bragging, bullying, continually interrupting both Wallace and Biden, and (of course) doing what he does best: glorifying his record. (More accomplishments in his first three years than any president in history? I’d happily grant him the edge over Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and a number of other listless chief executives, but let’s leave it at that.)

Feisty, beady-eyed Joey, not to be outdone, proved himself to be a pugnacious playground brawler. In fact, he established a number of firsts in the history of presidential debates: the first challenger to call the sitting president a “liar,” a “clown,” and “the worst president America has ever had.” Exasperated by Donnie’s constant interruptions, he finally let loose with “Will you shut up, man?” Stay classy, Joe.

Chris Wallace tried his best to insert himself between the two ruffians, but to no avail. One online wag suggested that both candidates should be fitted with shock collars, which the moderator could zap when either man spoke out of turn.

Was there anything of substance to report? Despite the schoolyard antics, the debate managed to touch on most of the key issues of 2020: the pandemic, the economy, the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of mail-in ballots, foreign affairs, urban unrest and “racial reckoning” – along with Trump’s taxes and Biden’s sons.

When challenged to denounce white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, Trump addressed them directly, and somewhat cryptically, by ordering them to “Stand back and stand by.” (Of course, the alt-right took the latter half of that statement as a nod of approval for their cause; they’re probably revving up their engines in anticipation of a disputed election.)

When Trump challenged Biden to denounce the protesters running wild in Democratic-run cities across the republic, the former vice president was quick to oppose the violence (as he’s done on more than one occasion), but stopped short of criticizing BLM or the “woke” left. When Trump told him, “Your party wants to go socialist,” Biden immediately channeled his inner Louis XIV and replied, “I am the Democratic party right now.” (I wonder what AOC or even Kamala Harris would say to that, but let’s interpret Biden’s remark as a signal that he won’t be taking orders from his party’s radical wing.)

What conclusions can we draw from the televised donnybrook? For one, Biden didn’t wilt under the constant barrage of interruptions from a domineering Trump. Contrary to the ongoing Republican talking point, this old fellow was no candidate for a nursing home. While he didn’t dazzle us with his intellect or manners, he demonstrated that he still has the verve, stamina and moral fiber to take on the world’s toughest job.

And what about Trump? Well, the chieftain hasn’t lost his mojo. More bellicose than ever, he did his best to intimidate both his opponent and the moderator with all guns firing. He actually managed to discuss some substantive issues and didn’t take Biden’s bait. (I half expected that the two septuagenarians would engage in fisticuffs before a worldwide audience.) But once again, Trump showed us that he’s a human steamroller — an autocratic personality who cares little for trivial matters like truth and decency. He’s built a cult around himself, and he’s his number one fan. Like a classic schoolyard bully, he aggrandizes himself by diminishing others.

Finally, what did this first debate say about America in 2020? European observers wrung their hands over the televised spectacle as a symptom of our swift decline. (Chinese pundits were more gleeful.)

I don’t think we Americans need to mourn the death of our democracy just yet (let’s wait until Trump or the Democrats try to scuttle the results of the election), but we need to take note and “stand by.” Our polarization into mutually hostile tribes has made us an angry, intemperate and often irrational nation. We need to look at our neighbors with a little less contempt and a little more sympathy.

Too many of our politicians reflect that polarization. It would have been unthinkable for Obama and McCain – or even Nixon and Kennedy – to bandy insults in the crude manner of Trump and Biden. The ghosts of Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Eisenhower and Reagan must have been clanking their chains, their moans echoing throughout the vast chambers of eternity.

Sure, it was only a debate – a televised political circus act. But it was hard to take. As CNN’s Jake Tapper described it, last night’s slugfest was “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” I won’t even try to top that one.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available in e-book form on Amazon. (Just search under Rick Bayan.)

 

 

 

The New Moderate’s 2020 Vigilance List

August 31, 2020

Statue of Liberty

I used to update this list yearly, but I’ve been letting it slide since 2017. (A pox upon me for my negligence during such turbulent times!) I hope this updated version helps us moderates recognize the dangers and challenges in our midst – especially those to the left and right of us. I know the year is already two-thirds over, but I couldn’t wait until 2021. So fasten your seat belts and let’s go!

1. The pandemic that won’t quit. You’d think there could be nothing political about a vicious new virus that has killed 180,000 Americans in its first six months. And yet much of the country – especially on the right — has dismissed it as nothing more than an overhyped flu bug. Voices on the far right are actually citing the shutdowns and compulsory masks as a Democratic plot to strip us of our God-given liberty. As evidence that stupidity is a bipartisan phenomenon, leftists seem fine with unmasked protesters massing in the streets of our cities to commit mayhem. Remedy: An effective vaccine, of course. (But I’ve already heard right-wingers warn us about Bill Gates and George Soros conspiring to use the vaccine to decimate our population.)

2. The 2020 racial uprising. We can’t simply call it “racial tension” or even “racial animosity” anymore. With the killing of George Floyd by a criminally negligent police officer (the latest in a series of killings by criminally negligent police officers), all hell broke loose across the republic: in addition to the usual looting and burning, Black Lives Matter activists and their allies (many if not most of them white leftists) laid siege to numerous cities with the apparent blessing of the local governments. Statues of long-dead white men toppled like dominoes, police were instructed to stand down, and gun crimes spiraled out of control amid calls to defund the police. Do black lives matter? Of course they do. Does the Black Lives Matter movement incite race hatred, selective outrage and intolerance of dissenting opinions? You bet it does. Remedy: Start by challenging the distorted BLM narrative about a genocidal campaign by police against black bodies. (Government statistics show that police kill more than twice as many whites as blacks, and that blacks are more likely than other groups to resist arrest.) Another remedy: instead of defunding police, train them more effectively and dump the bad eggs. Cops need to view themselves more as protectors than enforcers. And a third: Make an effort to see members of other races as individuals instead of symbols. Better yet, make friends with them.

3. Polarization and the hollowing of the center. Extremists at both ends of the spectrum have been battling it out for America’s soul. Worst of all, the middle is losing. (When was the last time one of your Facebook friends posted a moderate political meme?) In an age of sound bites and Twitter tweets, polarization sells. It reinforces our prejudices and bonds us with like-minded folks. But the cost has been prohibitive: we’ve essentially split into two warring nations. Moderates are the last vestige of objectivity — the last group capable of seeing both sides of an issue. In short, America needs us now more than ever. Remedy: If we moderates have to shout to win attention, so be it: let’s shout. Once we’re noticed, we need to start building bridges between the warring factions. Advice to non-moderates: Try to understand the other guy’s perspective instead of automatically condemning it. Please don’t borrow your attitude from glib internet memes and biased “amen corners.” Above all, don’t insult your political adversaries; it only makes them hate you (and your ideas) more passionately.

4. Identity politics, “wokeness” and “cancel culture.” Wonder why “racial uprising” is #2 on our list? Look no further. We’ve become obsessed with our tribal identities and grievances, which have eclipsed national identity in the minds of the aggrieved. Political correctness has crossed the line from a reasonable concern over offending minorities to a sinister Orwellian groupthink that delights in reporting heretics (i.e., independent thinkers) to the authorities, sabotaging their careers and exposing them to personal threats. Progressive companies and schools have expressed their solidarity with BLM by instituting mandatory “antiracism” training – too often a polite euphemism for “anti-white brainwashing.” (No doubt I’d be accused of “white fragility” or worse for that last statement.) White-bashing has become normalized, along with the almost compulsory trashing of historical white heroes — yet it’s still taboo (at least within polite society) for whites to criticize blacks for any reason. Online message boards often teem with vile racial vitriol from both sides. Remedy: We all need to take a deep breath, look outside our own demographic boutique, and find common ground with our fellow Americans again. (We’re the United States, remember?) Do we like pizza, movies and sex? Great. That’s a start.

5. Economic shutdown. We can thank the pandemic for the demise (and imminent demise) of countless restaurants and other businesses, as well as an unemployment rate not seen since the Great Depression. Many of those lost jobs will never return. Do we blame Trump for mismanaging the pandemic, downplaying it and causing it to linger until all those businesses folded for want of revenue? We can, but wiser heads would note that the virus is rebounding even in countries that appeared to be headed for a relatively quick recovery. Leave it to an invisible bug to ravage the world’s greatest economy. Oddly enough, the stock market has roared back from its initial meltdown, thanks mainly to the surging value of online companies. As a result, the already widening gap between prosperous Americans and everyone else has widened even more. Remedy: No quick fix until the country is immunized and ready to roll. Various institutions have eased the pain a bit by forgiving overdue debts, but bankrupt business owners will need more assistance than they’ve been getting. FDR would have launched a federal jobs program; we can’t expect as much from our current president. Speaking of whom…

6. The Trump Effect. Back in 2016, Donald Trump snatched his unlikely victory by exploiting the fears and resentments of mostly white, mostly suburban and rural Americans. As our first social media president, he’s blunt, breezy and irreverent; he wins huzzahs from his base for mocking the sacred cows of the nation’s progressive elites. (And the elites have retaliated with the most relentlessly vicious press coverage of a president since the Watergate era.) But Trump is also divisive, crude, erratic, arrogant, ignorant, and shamelessly mendacious. This pseudo-populist has surrounded himself with a pack of plutocrats who must be cackling at the poor working stiffs who support him. Trump is an authoritarian accustomed to running his businesses by fiat, and it shows. He favors our business class above everyone else, even if it means ravaging the environment, rolling back social safety nets and eroding democratic ideals. (Let’s see if he willingly vacates the White House if he loses in November – and whether his base goes on the warpath. Of course, the left will go on the warpath if he wins.) Trump isn’t the second coming of Hitler, and he’s not even an ideologue; he simply inspires madness at both ends of the political spectrum. Remedy: Protest the president’s offenses, but don’t lose your mind. Watch the circus if you must, take restorative walks in nature and stay away from all the one-sided news coverage – both pro- and anti-Trump. If you don’t like him, vote him out.

7. Online amen corners and fake news. Too many of us gather our news from biased sources that cherry-pick their stories to promote an agenda, distort them with misleading headlines or simply make them up. (Trump isn’t entirely off base about fake news.) The comments sections are even worse: echo chambers for opinions that grow ever louder and more extreme as the choir cheers them on. Remedy: Try to fact-check the juicier items before you post them, and don’t restrict your reading to your political home turf. Make an effort to discover moderate and unbiased news sources, too. (Hey, you’ve already found one!)

8. Right-wing militancy. Yes, this is now a thing, spawned by bloviating radio and TV pundits as well as the in-your-face identity politics of the left. (Guess what: now right-wing white extremists have formed their own identity group.) The movement that started among Obamaphobes in 2008 gathered steam with the election of Trump and flourishes now more than ever. A small but growing coalition of gun zealots, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, xenophobes and defiantly un-Christlike Christians has been itching for trouble. Now they’re starting to fill the law enforcement vacuum created by left-leaning city governments since George Floyd’s death; gun-toting vigilantes are prowling the streets along with the left-wing protesters and rioters. In short, it ain’t Sarah Palin’s Tea Party anymore. Remedy: Avoid taunting right-wing militants and mocking their ignorance. I know this will be painful for some, but the “nice doggie” approach might be the only way to keep them from biting.

9. The rule of moneyed interests. Call it plutocracy or oligarchy or capitalism on steroids — the bottom line is that a self-entitled, deep-pocketed elite is now firmly in charge of our government, our finances and ultimately our lives. The plutocracy is more entrenched than ever despite Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” and return power to ordinary Americans. Most of our elected representatives are marionettes operated by the powerful interests that fill their campaign coffers. This state of affairs is unacceptable within a representative democracy. Unless we correct it, we’re headed toward a neo-feudal society of latter-day lords and serfs. Jousting, anyone? Remedy: Ban thinly veiled bribes by lobbyists (via Constitutional amendment if necessary), regulate the financial industry, get rid of corporate subsidies and tax loopholes, impose penalties on companies that move jobs away from the U.S. And yes, raise taxes on the rich — especially on income from passive capital gains.

10. The politicization of EVERYTHING. Art, literature, music, gender, race, religion, sexuality, immigration, historical monuments, flags, vaccinations, the environment, women’s bodies – you name it, the zealots out there have politicized it. When we politicize everything, we split into factions. Factions consist of chronically angry people, and chronic anger isn’t good for the nation’s soul (or your own). Remedy: We should all take Voltaire’s advice and cultivate our gardens. It might put us back in touch with the natural world. Politics is an artificial ingredient, and it slowly poisons everything.

11. Worldwide environmental devastation. This shouldn’t be a political issue, but somehow it is. Trump and his henchpeople would like nothing more than to abolish environmental regulations, so they willfully deny science. Climate change denialists, take note: the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2005. The only question is how much of the change is caused by human activity. Whatever the extent, we need to take prompt action unless we’d like to see massive crop failures, extensive lowland flooding and seaports that look like Venice. On top of that, the world has lost half of its nonhuman animal population since 1970. Developing nations account for much of the destruction as they convert forest to farmland. As they aspire to middle-class status, they’ll be fighting for use of the Earth’s limited resources. Eventually we’ll realize that we’ve ransacked a wondrous planet. (And we’re not equipped to start colonizing distant planets just yet.) Remedy: Work with other governments toward establishing and enforcing sensible universal environmental regulations, because the Earth belongs to all of us.

12. Disruptive technologies. You’ve heard the expression, “You can be replaced by a machine.” Well, it’s happening. Within the next twenty years, most of today’s jobs (even doctors and lawyers) could be replaced by automation, the internet and artificial intelligence. How will all those idle citizens survive, and how will the nation survive without a substantial tax base? Remedy: We need a new income-generating model desperately. Universal welfare doesn’t suit the American psyche. Maybe we could all sell Girl Scout cookies to rich technocrats.  

13. American gun culture. Let’s face it: America is a trigger-happy culture. The NRA, police, white militias, inner-city criminals, Second Amendment diehards, lone-wolf lunatics – all seem to revel in the power conferred by lethal weaponry. And their zeal naturally translates to horrific gun fatality statistics. Despite the bloodshed, the NRA crowd still screams whenever anyone mentions tightening access to guns. Remedy: Guns don’t kill people, but bullets do. With over 300 million guns already in circulation here, it makes more sense to restrict access to ammunition – specifically the semi-automatic magazines whose only purpose is to dispatch mass quantities of victims as quickly as possible. As for our police, it’s time they found and used effective non-lethal methods for stopping unarmed criminal suspects.

14. Reckless deficit spending. Our government is spending far more than it’s taking in (to the tune of $1.1 trillion), and most Republicans would rather cut benefits for the 99% than (God forbid) raise taxes. The credit crisis is a global issue that, if unresolved, could bring the whole system crashing down on top of us. Remedy: Here’s a start: cut back (way back) on corporate welfare in the form of bailouts and subsidies. Collect a fair share of taxes from huge corporations and the super-rich. No loopholes. No compromises. (The money could be diverted to small business owners who lost their livelihoods.) Trim those plush federal pensions, beginning with members of the House and Senate. And reduce the size of our military, which doesn’t need to be bigger than the militaries of the next ten nations combined.

15. The “Great Demographic Shift.” People of color now account for more than 50 percent of U.S. births. School dropout rates and other endemic social problems will doom too many of these new babies to poverty. At the other end of the age spectrum, Americans are living longer and will require decades of subsidies to get by. How will a shrinking middle class support all these needy Americans and still provide enough funds to maintain our infrastructure? Remedy: I’d encourage middle-class and wealthy Americans to procreate more freely (Hey, it’s fun!) to build up the taxpayer base. But we also need to raise revenue to fund social support programs. How? See #14 above.

16. The immigrant/refugee conundrum. Yes, it’s honorable and humane to admit desperate people into our country; after all, the Statue of Liberty has been welcoming the huddled masses for well over a century. But we can’t continue to let illegal immigrants pour across our border. (Europe has its own illegal immigrant crisis.) What if half the population of the Third World decided to migrate to the U.S. and Europe? There has to be a sane limit. This crisis has abated somewhat during the pandemic, but it won’t go away on its own. Remedy: For now, offer temporary asylum for refugees, with a pathway to citizenship… impose reasonable limits on permanent immigration… and withhold federal aid to sanctuary cities, which insist on protecting criminal illegal immigrants. And yes, the U.S. should probably make English our official language to encourage assimilation.

17. Cultural degeneracy. When did Western culture become an exercise in pushing the proverbial envelope — and how much farther can they push it? Movies, TV, pop music, video games, high art and everyday behavior have combined to forge a cheap and often loathsome culture that too often celebrates the worst in human nature – the badder the better. Do I believe in having fun? Absolutely. (This isn’t The New Puritan, after all.) But we also need to restore respect for the nobler virtues, or we’ll crumble, as the Romans did, from internal and external assaults that we’re too weak to withstand. Remedy: Beats me. Sometimes I think Western civilization at its apex was simply too demanding for our species to maintain for any length of time. Still, if you have standards, don’t surrender them!

18. Islamic jihad. With the killing of ISIS kingpin al-Baghdadi and the drone execution of Iranian terrorist general Soleimani, this former world-class threat has dropped to the bottom of the list — at least for now. Of course we can’t coexist peacefully with people who believe that God has called upon them to destroy us, but we can enjoy the respite from violence while it lasts. Remedy: A massive reformation within Islam to bring it into the 21st century, or at least the 17th or 18th.

That’s my list for 2020, and it should be more than enough to rouse our fellow moderates from their slumber. Share this list so your friends of all political persuasions can see it. And feel free to propose your own additions to the list. I’d like to hear from you.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available as e-books on Amazon for just $2.99 each.

Looking Below the Tip of the Iceberg: a Lot More than Black Lives Matter Is Happening Now

July 31, 2020

by Erick Parker

Note from Rick: For the first time ever, The New Moderate is publishing an article by an “outside” author. It’s a long read, but I think it’s worth your time if you want a better understanding of both White Supremacy and Afrocentrism from a historical perspective — as well as greater insight into our current racial strife. The author is opinionated but unbiased, and he knows his history. Meanwhile, I’ll be updating several features at The New Moderate that I’ve been neglecting for far too long

What’s going on?

As I write this, there is a statue coming down or being defaced somewhere in the United States and in the United Kingdom. I don’t know which monument, or where it is, but in the times in which I live, all of them are possible targets and therefore any of them could be destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people across those two nations are in the streets marching, attacking police, and destroying property.

Some targets are logical within any modern framework of values: Robert E Lee and company fought for slavery and a  nation in which to practice it, bolstered by a worldview so arrogant as to claim that divine mandate absolved its adherents of what their natural humanity knew to be wrong. The reality of what the Confederacy envisioned and attempted to bring forth was so harsh that even defenders of its last residue — the Confederate flag — must gloss over it with glassy eyes, ashamed to speak aloud the meaning of their self-proclaimed heritage.

Other targets are unpalatable to a conservative or liberal but logical within a leftist framework: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson recognized the error of slavery but were too deep into the system they inherited to take their opposition beyond rhetoric or half measures. Scholars since their day have emphasized the vision for the future held by Washington and Jefferson as a counterweight to the ugly reality in which they lived, but from a Leftist point of view that counterweight counters nothing; participation in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade cannot, in the Leftist view, be absolved by anything at all.

Still other targets are baffling from any mainstream perspective: Winston Churchill was one of the few leaders of his day to immediately recognize Hitler for the demon he was, and was among the first to lead the movement against him. The attack on the statue of Robert the Bruce in Scotland is baffling from any discerniable perspective at all; how on Earth could a man be racist who fought against white men?

All causes are effects, and vice versa. The only difference is time. The uprisings currently enveloping the West today are part of a cause far larger than almost anyone can realize. What is causing these causes, and why today? You will not get the answer to that question from the uprisers themselves, and a camel will pass through the eye of a needle before you get the answer from any media outlet. The cause of today’s events is the effect of events long ago, seemingly disparate at the time but now converged into a single entity and clarified by hindsight. 

But seriously, what’s going on?

Representatives of Black Lives Matter will tell you they want equality with White society within the Western world, including redistribution of wealth that was long ago distributed unjustly. They are not lying. That is in fact what they want. But BLM is itself a product of something much deeper that most members are not aware of. It is an expression of something far older and deeper within human nature, filtered through the language of the Liberal order. What is happening in this age of ours is a Black Folkish movement.

Race by its current definition has functioned as an anchoring concept in American society since its formation, to which all other considerations are subordinated and into which all policy is sublimated. The rationales change according to fashion but the underlying idea is constant. This system was able to remain stable only because White people collectively formed a supermajority in both population and economic power. Today, neither of those things is true. There is now room for multiple Folkish movements to both form and remain viable competitors. It is in this light that all events happening today must be understood.

Where I’m coming from

George Orwell said in his classic essay “Notes On Nationalism“:

“…there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.”

Here I will attempt to resolve Orwell’s linguistic dilemma by giving a name to what he is describing: Folk theory.

All organisms have the same basic impulse: self-preservation and self-replication. Social organisms subordinate individual survival to group survival. In human society, ideas take on properties of organisms and form ecosystems of their own. The criteria for group definition can therefore go in two directions: values, or lineage. Usually there is a combination of both, but one always takes precedence over the other. Generally, people of a right-wing bent attach their identity to lineage and tribe while left-wing people do so for ideologies.

The American project began as an attempt to eliminate caste among the British colonists who created it. After they succeeded, the project evolved into one to eliminate caste among European-descended people in general. This was also successful but there was a problem: it could go no further than the European peoples due to racialist assumptions. This wouldn’t have been an issue if only European-derived peoples were present on American land, but there were others, obviously. The Black populations present, both slave and free, were not viewed as assimilable and therefore could only exist as a separate nation.

The problems now raging through Western society are the result of Western society trying to have it both ways: presenting itself as a product of reason and values-based communities, but in practice a pro-White Folkism. This is the foundational contradiction of Americanism, one that nobody has yet been able to solve despite spending lifetimes of effort. The old arguments about racial determinism are resurfacing and will soon be above ground breathing, but since the form is different, those adhering to liberal values and Enlightenment ideals cannot be counted on to counter them as they did before.

“God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognised for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience.”

-George Orwell,  “Notes on Nationalism”

How we got here

Any explanation of the present has to start further into the past than any pundit will tell you. Any starting point chosen from the flux of history is never precise, but one must be chosen and with that fact in mind I choose 711 AD, when the Moors conquered what is now Spain. I promise you I’m going somewhere with this.

In the year 711, the initial Moorish campaign of conquest was conducted by Tariq ibn Ziyad at the behest of Al-Walid I, caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate. Against Ziyad’s forces, the extremely disorganized Visigoths of Western Europe were no match and by 788 most of Spain and Portugal were under Muslim control. Only the sparsely populated area to the north was left, and that only because there was nothing there that the Caliphate wanted.

Leftist and Muslim historians will, when talking about the Moors at all, highlight the parts that were objectively positive. They will point out that science and art flourished more than they had under the Visigoths; that massive public works were undertaken to improve the standard of living for the average citizen; that universities were created that were larger than any others in Europe at the time; that general hygiene improved. They will also mention that religious pluralism was the norm, with large populations of Christians and Jews present in addition to Muslims.

Religious pluralism is the point of most interest to me. Muslim Spain — called al-Andalus at the time — was in fact a place of religious pluralism. The majority of the population was not Muslim, and no decree in the history of al-Andalus ever required Christians or Jews to convert. But there are a few things missing from the rosy picture that apologists like to paint.

First, while nobody was forced to convert into Islam, the Moors certainly viewed Islamic theology and culture as superior to that of Christianity or Judaism. The policy was that anyone could live there as long as they submitted to Islam. This meant, among other things, that non-Muslims were required to pay a special tax, called jizya. They were legally second-class citizens, called dhimmis.

Second, the particulars of Islamic culture and lineage of the practitioners carried ethnocentric implications that a leftist today would view as racism. A Christian man was not legally allowed to marry a Muslim woman, while a Muslim man could marry a Christian woman if he liked. Add this to the fact that Islam allows polygamy while Christianity does not, and the results are obvious: over time, the genes of native Spaniard men would be bred out in favor of the colonizers. In any other context, a leftist would call this ethnic cleansing or soft gendercide.

Andalusian Spain was comparable to Apartheid South Africa, or Jim Crow America. Yes, it was multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, but not in the way that a progressive-minded person would approve. Rather, it, as in all other Muslim-controlled areas, was effectively a system of Arab Supremacy. The fact that Arabs jumped straight to an implied racism, sublimated into theology instead of first starting with an explicit one changes little.

While all this was going on, there was a general rise of Islamic empires everywhere in the Old World. Muhammad himself was a warlord, and his immediate successors continued his ways with gusto. Within a few short centuries, most of the Near East, most of North Africa and large portions of Europe were under Islamic rule. With political unity in place, the slave markets opened in earnest, with a steady stream of people kidnapped from their homes and brought to Islamic lands.

Slaves were taken from everywhere available, both dhimmis in areas under Muslim control and others that were just defenseless against pirate raiders. Mediterranean lands were favorite targets due to proximity, but few were safe, with the most distant raid taking place in Iceland of all places. The people taken were mostly put to work doing manual labor, but many were imported as sex slaves. Harems filled with young women and young men or boys who were typically castrated. All that effort, all that destruction, all that gleeful violation of women and emasculation of indigenous European and African men, ALL to satiate the lust of geriatric authoritarians who thought that God himself had given them the green light. That was reality for much of Europe and Africa for 800 years.

Midway through the Middle Ages, things began to change. Clusters of European tribes united into larger political units. The Crusades began in an attempt to reclaim territory that had been conquered by Muslims centuries before; only some were successful, but the dent made was the first of many to come. The Christian portion of Spain, once confined to the northern wastelands, embarked on Reconquista against the increasingly fragmented and bickering Caliphates before finally concluding in 1492 with the last remnants of Islamic control dissolved and the emergence of a free, united nation. This was by no means the end of Arab aggression and power — that didn’t happen until the 1800s — but the Reconquista signaled the impending end of Arab Supremacy.

“What I’d like you to think about with the DNA stories we’re telling is that they are that. They are DNA stories. It’s our version as Europeans of how the world was populated, and where we all trace back to. That’s our song line. We use science to tell us about that because we don’t have the sense of direct continuity. Our ancestors didn’t pass down the stories. We’ve lost them, and we have to go out and find them. We use science, which is a European way of looking at the world to do that. You guys don’t need that.”

-Spencer Wells speaking to a Native American man in The Journey of Man: The Story of the Human Species

Another cultural shift also happened during this time, equally important. These were the years in which most links to Europe’s pre-Christian past were severed. In the Germanic lands, the pagan Prussians were ethnically cleansed. In Britain, the pagan Saxons were converted and did not preserve in writing anything of what they believed before. Nearly all information we have today on the Germanic branch of pagan culture comes from the tiny outpost of Iceland, written down because exactly one man, Christian missionary Snorri Sturluson, valued it enough to do so, and even then the written lore was mostly unknown outside Scandinavia. 

The severance was able to happen in western and northern Europe because unlike the Greeks and Romans, the Celtic, Germanic and Slavic peoples either had no written language prior to Christianity or had just recently acquired it; either way, none of them had libraries. When full Christianization was completed, even educated Europeans had little reference for European culture outside the Greece-Rome-Christian Europe progression. In the 1500s the Reformation happened, and its participants were not as content to compromise with pagans as the Catholic church had been. The cultural slate in northern Europe was essentially cleansed of pre-Christian influences.

It isn’t difficult to see why these changes occurred at this time. With outside forces arrayed against you, it helps to have some commonality between yourself and others in your situation. The relatively recent field of theology provided a means to do that, and nations that embraced it were more powerful and vigorous than those that did not. These facts will become relevant in a few paragraphs.

The prelude to Lord of the Rings is the end of the Second Age, where the armies of humans and elves finally close in on Sauron and take him out of commission. The ring Sauron wears, which powers all the others, has damaged the world severely by this point, but the heroes are now in a position to destroy it completely and free everyone from the tyrannical cruelty it enables. But when Isildur gets to Mount Doom and is standing right over the lava with the ring in his hand, instead of tossing it in he pulls back and decides to keep it after all.

When abused people dream, they usually do not dream of a world without abuse. They dream of tables turned. The year 1492 started as a chance to really, truly innovate…then ended with the sowing of seeds of bitter plants, the fruit of which Whites nourished themselves on for centuries after and which is killing us today.

As soon as the Reconquista was finished, Queen Isabella found herself presiding over a resource-starved nation and wondered what to do next. Enter Christopher Columbus, who regaled the queen with tales of a faster trade route to India than what anyone at the time thought was possible. The queen was sold on the idea, and funded the real-life Isildur’s voyage.

The rest is well known to anyone educated in the American school system. Columbus ended up reaching the American continents, unknown to the Old World at the time. He was taken in by extremely civilized natives, far more so than himself. His immediate thought, according to his own logs, could be summarized as: these people are so cool, they’ll have no idea what hit them when I enslave them and take all their stuff. After doing just that, Columbus went back to Spain and his news kicked off European colonialism.

In addition to the Americas, Africa was now on the table. The trade routes established by Arab slavers were largely taken over by Europeans, who amassed more ill-gotten wealth with far more cold-blooded avarice than the Arabs did. A new idea was conceived: White Supremacy –capital W and S — as a formal agenda that would compete with Arab Supremacy.

When the English Civil War concluded with the formal abolition of feudalism, most English aristocrats were content to just turn their avarice outward to Ireland. Another class, the Cavaliers, instead fumed until a new land opened up where no crown would ever constrain their irrepressible desire to subjugate others. That land was Virginia. The Cavaliers moved to Virginia with their wealth, and there they used the model of feudalism as a jumping-off point for the large-scale slave plantations that would define the American South.

European society severed much of its link to pre-Christianity, but enslaved Africans were subjected to a complete severance. Their language, religion, knowledge of lineage –everything about their past was erased. The slate was scrubbed blank. Unlike pagans in Europe, Black slaves were not given the option of assimilation because they were viewed as a separate nation by design. This meant they had to create a completely new culture out of nothing, which as far as I know is unique in history; for everyone else there was something left over. For Black Americans, there was only the future. This fact will become relevant later.

To be clear, Yankees also had slaves at the dawn of the American nation. Nobody was innocent, but the Puritans and Quakers who populated the northern colonies lacked something the Cavaliers had in abundance: enthusiasm. Yankees tolerated slavery for utilitarian purposes because they needed labor and there was effectively infinite cheap labor to be taken from the African peoples. Cavaliers also needed labor, but that wasn’t the point. For them, the primary reason to own slaves was to own slaves. To them, the reduction of humans to livestock was an end in itself.

The Cavaliers after some generations did know that what they had couldn’t last, and they knew that what they were doing was wrong. Their situation was akin to a person who has just committed a serious crime and is known to the police: whatever he might think of what has been done, however much he regrets it, he’s in too deep to turn back. He can only go forward and try to manage. But even with their knowledge, the Cavaliers and their descendants managed poorly. When Abraham Lincoln offered them a way out, they chose to double down and secede. They were so addicted to slave ownership that they sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their men and nearly the entirety of their economy in a failed attempt to maintain their status. After they lost the Civil War, they used what was left of their power to reconstruct the antebellum conditions as best they could. Even with their would-be nation in ashes, they still could only imagine the very specific status quo that got them to their low position in the first place.

Really think about the mindset that post-Civil War Southern policy implies.White Southerners of that era would tell you they did not wish to live around Black people. They were very clear on that point. They also did not want to do what it took, or pay for what it took, for Black people to have their own economy that would allow them to get away from White society’s grasp; in fact, they lynched those who tried to organize back-to-Africa efforts! 

Compare them to defenders of the Confederacy today, who overlap with the Alt-Right and White Nationalists. They’re heavy on the idea of a White ethnostate, which makes no sense at all because Whites were a minority in the antebellum South. They hate Lincoln, even though he wanted to set up all Black Americans with their own state somewhere else, leaving America as an all-White country. They hate the idea of reparations for descendants of slaves, even though such a policy would go far toward their stated goal of an ethnostate and the only other idea they have is tiki torch rallies that work in the opposite direction. Look at their media today and they endlessly rail against Black people and Abraham Lincoln, even though Black people are only in America because the Cavaliers forced them to be here.

“When muscle failed…they turned to their magic.” -300

There is exactly one conclusion that can be drawn from the apparently contradictory positions being advanced: Confederates, Alt-Righters, and all the rest of their dreary ilk do in fact want Black people in their societies…as social inferiors. There is exactly one question you should be asking yourself right now: why? Well, here’s a hypothetical for you: if someone constantly tells you you’re inferior to him but never does anything above average himself, what would you think? What you’d think is that he fears your prosperity. You’d think he’s afraid of being inferior to you. A person in that situation will go to any lengths and make any sacrifice to never have to find out how he actually stacks up with you. Further, all the insecurities that inevitably come as a by-product of his work will cause him to devote 100 percent of his energies to his lie until there is nothing else to him.

Supremacy of any kind cannot exist in a monolithic society. Supremacy requires diversity. White Supremacy, the first form of racial supremacy to be codified as a religion (see: Savitri Devi and what Hitler has become in recent decades), requires a network of support. The more it is supported by the array of artificial structures, the more it needs to be supported. It becomes fragile. I think this is by design. The depraved aristocrats who set up this sick system first just wanted power and profit, but as cruelty made them weaker, they not only lost the desire to imagine anything else but the ability to do so.

Anthropologists used to think humans first evolved modern brains before evolving their bipedal physiology and opposable thumbs. They later discovered that the physiology came first, then came the larger brains to take full advantage of new physical abilities. Form follows function, mind follows body, spirit follows mind, imagination follows spirit and aspirations follow imagination. The overlords who have been steering White society for 500 years have parasitism ingrained into the core of their identity.

The first blow to the confidence of White Racialism as an organizing principle came during and after World War I. The final blow to that confidence, and the killing blow to the tenability of the philosophy itself, came after World War II in 1945. Every cultural assumption predating 1945 was rejected, reevaluated, or, if it was perceived as mission critical, covered up or downplayed in hopes that nobody would notice.

It was in this environment that a new worldview began forming. One that is only just now becoming relevant to mainstream discourse. It made headway in the 1960s during the civil rights movement but was soon marginalized. It is today coming to the fore again, with a new political movement. There is no official word for either the school of thought or the political voice arising from it that would be accepted by everyone. I won’t try to solve that problem, but I have to call it something so I will use Afrocentrism for the thinking and “Black First” for the movement arising from it.

Picking through the wreckage of 1945: the reaction

“It was right in everyone’s face. Tyler and I just made it visible. It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Tyler and I just gave it a name.”

-Fight Club

Afrocentrism is defined as a scholarly pursuit to center the accomplishments of Black Africans and the African diaspora. In practice, the methods of Afrocentrists encompass a far wider scope, so much so that it can be considered a complete systemic worldview that integrates history, science, sociology, psychology, politics, philosophy, and spirituality. That is therefore the way in which I will use it.

The primary founders of what is called Afrocentrism were Cheikh Anta Diop, John Henrik Clarke, Frances Cress Welsing, and Neely Fuller. I will focus on the work of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing because she has the most concise narrative and has most animated the modern proponents of Afrocentrism. She was also a mentor to the most influential Black Firsters today.

So far, the Afrocentrist worldview has been well outside the Overton window of maintstream politics. At the same time, views that persistently maintain a presence in society despite a complete lack of wider validation tend to have a grain of truth that is not found in the mainstream. The conclusions might be insane, and 80 percent of the so-called information might be lies, but there is usually a core truth that the follower gets nowhere else.

The core truth that Welsing validates in her audience is that Black people in the West consistently inspire visceral, hostile reactions from Whites that cannot be explained by ignorance and with which political policies are consistent. After first noticing that fact herself, Welsing set out to analyze and explain it in order to empower other Black people against the oppressive system under which they live. To do this, she combed through past positions and tactics of self-identified White Supremacists in order to glean useful information about the world and, more importantly, the psychology of White racists.

Second, the grain of truth is consistently denied along with the lies and false conclusions. That is exactly what the response to Afrocentrism has been. The right wing today offers endless, nonsensical denials of the fact that Black people have been oppressed or are still being oppressed after the Civil Rights act of 1965; denials of the fact that White American society has overtly organized itself on racial lines since the nation’s inception; denials that Black people have since day one been treated as a separate nation but denied their own state or representation within the existing one. The left wing, meanwhile, validates these truths but concludes its actions with policies that primarily benefit White society: integration…for Whites who want romantic/sexual relationships with Blacks; Affirmative Action…for economic empowerment of White women who do not wish to depend on White men; immigration of other non-White people…who function to dilute Black energies; a general push for fewer White people concentrated in any one area…which causes Whites to think of themselves as a distinct tribe and act accordingly. In each case you can see that rightists deny the premise, while leftists accept the premise but take the logic to a self-serving conclusion; to put it another way, rightists deny there is a problem and leftists push the wrong solution.

I will briefly discuss the denials of Black oppression. In regard to police killings, the most common argument involves statistics on police shootings. My response is simple: likelihood of a bad thing happening is not what causes anger and anxiety, but the knowledge that, if it ever does happen, then you will be blamed; your social status is determined by what someone else chooses to do to you, which you can’t control. It is the intense vulnerability, the knowledge that you don’t control your own life, that eats at you. Any arguments involving police or FBI statistics can be understood in this light and dismissed.

An aside: If you’re paying attention, you might notice that I don’t make all that much of a distinction between left and right on a functional level. If you’re partisan to one of those camps, please bear with me and consider this: to call yourself a leftist means you assume the existence of the right as a legitimate component of a larger structure you are both part of. You don’t act as distinctly as you might think. Moving on…

Another key ingredient of good rhetoric: certainty. Look at any theory that is not supported by mainstream science and you will see accusations against scientists that boil down to “they’re always changing their story,” meaning that scientists do not speak in absolutes unless the case for what they say is in fact airtight. Phrases like “the data suggests” are accurate and couching your conclusions in them in responsible, but not persuasive. That’s why so many people don’t trust scientists: people looking for actionable information don’t like to doubt and really don’t want “maybes”. They want to learn the truth and get on with things, especially when their situation is dire. And the situation of Black people in America has always been dire. They have had to deal with institutions of science, law, education and politics that work very well for the people they are intended to work for, knowing all the while that Blacks are not in the group those institutions are for.

Think of it like this: if you were a Black person who had to tolerate otherwise brilliant scholars and scientists who look at ancient Egyptian statues and conclude they were White people, you too would be leery of anything they say. Knowing that the most intelligent and prestigious people on Earth have a very specific and willful blind spot for harm done to you and the accomplishments of your ancestors, you would very much seek an alternative system. I know I would.

The last point about good rhetoric: it cannot be countered by denial of the premise. The only effective counter is to assert an alternative vision that better follows the premise, and to assert it more strongly. If you want to see how any mainstream school of thought will compete against the Afrocentrist vision, look at how well the 18 mainstream contenders in the 2016 Republican primary debates competed against Trump. For the entire lifetime of anyone born after about 1980, any sort of racist statements or attitudes were declared shameful and all symbols of its prior expression were suppressed. All millennials received this immunization in all official organs of official discourse. Yet, all it took for racialist ideas to force themselves into relevance once again was a single presidential campaign. Despite the left having control over how children are taught, and the atrocities to which they are reacting recognized as atrocioius by everyone, they were still unable to prevent the ascension of a man with a voter base that included Neo-Nazis as a visible component.

Imagine, now, the same racialist logic coming from a people with no recent history of power and therefore no recent atrocities that can be used to delegitimize them. A people who exist in a structure that explicitly denies they can be guilty of the core leftist sin, racism. Neither right nor left have any means of countering in any effective way. A right-winger can only call the person racist, which will have even less effect than saying “Democrats are the real racists!” A left-winger can make accusations of bigotry, which will have even less effect than those accusations did against the Alt-Right.

Make no mistake: it is within the logic of rhetoric that Afrocentrism as a unified worldview must be understood. Effective rhetoric is always based on some truth, but most importantly must feel true. It must also get everyone, intended beneficiary and opponent alike, to an emotional place that is advantageous to the speaker. I will therefore evaluate the basic claims of Afrocentrism twice, first by how factual they are and second by how potent the rhetoric is.

The Afrocentric narrative satisfies all the requirements of rhetoric. The narrative feels true to all the right people, it is asserted with absolute certainty, it solves practical problems (grain of truth). Afrocentrists tend to avoid debate, opting instead to have one person or a small number get the facts together, then teach others. Therefore, don’t expect Afrocentrists or Black Firsters to try to prove anything to you or convince you of anything. I present my own analysis of their talking points purely so you can understand.

What I hope to do here is convince you that Afrocentrism is a serious philosophy that is worthy of serious consideration and respect. Because know this: the Black First movement will be substantially successful (at least). The points I’m about to discuss might very well be taught to your kids in public schools as uncontroversial fact in the near future, and if you don’t know what to say back, you will only sputter and lose. If you can find any movement in history that was defeated by people who did not respect it, let me know because I can’t find one.

In 1992 Dr. Welsing published her central work, The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors, a compilation of essays published over the previous 18 years. Taken together, these essays comprise a complete worldview and provide all the materials from which nations are built. The typical response from White scholars and activists has ranged from silence, to faux-amused contempt, to dismissal of her as a crank or a racist, to addressing peripheral points with mischaracterizations such as her supposed “homophobia” which did not exist. Black scholars who respond positively to her, meanwhile, tend to describe her with quasi-religious adulation; they never say “Welsing said X and I think she’s right”, or “Welsing said Y and I mostly agree with her”, but: “Welsing teaches…”. Common unofficial titles for her are Queen Mother, Immortal Elder, and Grand Master Teacher. The primary value of her work is clearly myth-building rather than merely information. She has become a prophet to a critical mass of intelligent, active people, so it is therefore stupid to not respect anyone with the respect and influence Welsing has. I’m going to do what I haven’t seen anyone else do (believe me, I’ve looked): critically analyze her work.

Here is the overview of her theory as presented in The Isis Papers:

A) Melanin is a necessary component of humanity. White people are “genetically defective albino mutants” (her words) due to insufficient melanin

B) White people are aware of their inferiority. Racism is rooted in that awareness

C) Black genes are dominant over White genes

D) Realizing that mating with people of color would annihilate them genetically, Whites erected barriers to prevent that from happening. All thinking from then on was concerned with preventing genetic annihilation, their greatest existential fear. White Supremacy was constructed to justify their behavior and ensure survival.

Melanin is a necessary component of humanity

Is it true? Yes but misleading.

In Welsing’s view, White people are albinos. When she speaks on the subject, she insists on this point with the exasperated authoritativeness of someone explaining to a Flat Earther that the Earth is round. This claim is easily disproven. If Whites were albinos, then children of interracial couples would all come out with the same level of melanin as one of their parents, usually the Black one. That is observably not the case.

White people do in fact have melanin, just not as much as non-White people. In all the articles I’ve read and videos I’ve watched by Afrocentrists, I’ve yet to see anyone try to establish a threshold for how much melanin they think is necessary to no longer be deficient. Are Han Chinese melanated enough? Hispanics? They never specify. They just say melanin is good for you and never elaborate. Nobody disputes that a complete lack of melanin (albinism) is harmful, but that just isn’t the situation Whites are in so the point is irrelevant.

The best hint you’ll get regarding the melanin threshold is in the introduction to The Isis Papers:

“[The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)] summarizes and clarifies our experience as Black (non-white) people on a planet presently dominated by people who classify themselves as ‘white’ and who are a minority of the world’s people.”

The point made in this statement is one you will see often because it’s central to her reasoning: that White people are a global minority, which is true but not the whole truth. Yes, Whites are a global minority, but so is everyone else…unless your definition of Black includes everyone who is not White, which Welsing does whenever doing so helps her point. She tends to use the terms “Black” and “people of color” interchangeably, which is a definition of Black that nobody else in history before her has ever had, either officially or in practice.

A common talking point goes like this: White society uses the term “minority” as a term for Black people, when the reality is that people of color make up the vast majority of the world’s population. This can be persuasive right up until you think about it for a few seconds. The term “minority” is almost never used in a global sense, only specific geographical areas. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, Whites are in fact the majority and non-Whites are in fact the minority. In all African countries, Blacks are the majority and in all Asian countries Asians are the majority. Thus, Welsing is employing a rhetorical sleight of hand.

Rhetorical effectiveness: High

The idea that Whites are really just deficient Blacks is not a strong point in itself, but is a good anchoring concept for the Afrocentric worldview. In the old days, humans were divided into the general categories of Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid (no I’m not making those terms up, that was the system).

After the Out of Africa theory was proven true, mainstream scholars adopted a new system: race is just a social construct. “There is only one race: the human race” became the new consensus. Afrocentrists then stepped in and asserted that yes, there is indeed only the human race, but since the original humans were African that means the archetypal human is Black and all else is deviation. Whites, therefore, are not a separate race from Blacks, merely a deficient version of them.

A critical mass of Whites feel themselves to be inferior due to relative lack of melanin, and during the reign of White Supremacy were more aggressive than anyone else in setting policy. What cannot be done with muscle prompts you to do with machines instead, and Rage Against the Machine was not just a metaphor.

The past furnishes us with evidence of this. During the antebellum days, it was believed by some Whites that sex with Black women could cure STDs, or that putting your feet on a Black child could transfer gout to them. Try to get past the stomach-churning evil implied there, and think: those things could only be true if Black skin was superior in some way to White skin.

Black genes are dominant over White genes

Is it true? No

“My current functional definition of racism (white supremacy) is as follows: the local and global power system structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined; this system consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics. education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war). The ultimate purpose of the system is to prevent white genetic annihilation on Earth – a planet in which the overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white-skinned people. All of the non-white people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetically recessive white-skinned people.”

-Frances Cress Welsing, The Isis Papers

If one gene is dominant over the other, it gets expressed while the recessive one does not. This is observably not the case with skin tone, which manifests as a blending of the parents. It takes minimal effort to verify this fact: just look at people of mixed race compared to their parents, and you will usually see a person in between the two. So no, Black genes cannot “annihilate” White ones.

Rhetorical effectiveness: High

For the past few centuries, White society has operated on the one drop rule, which says that if you have any Black ancestry, you’re Black. That isn’t science, it’s just what happens when your baseline is at the far end of the spectrum where you can only change in one direction. But nonetheless, it has been a central fear of White Supremacists, a fear that has guided their policies and rhetoric. On the other side of things, the myth of dominant Black genes is incredibly energizing to a number of Black people who, traditionally lacking political and economic power, console themselves with the notion of dominating Whites through genetic means instead.

In political propaganda such as the Nazi documentary Triumph of the Will the enemy is portrayed not as strong or fearsome, but merely deceptive; a paper tiger, to use Mao’s terminology. The takeaway is that the only reason your group is on the downgrade is ignorance of what to do, meaning the only obstacle to total victory is the wisdom to see through your enemy’s lies. The myth of Black genetic dominance fits into this dynamic perfectly and the Afrocentrist community is saturated with it. The Afrocentrist says to White Supremacists: yes, that thing you’re mortally afraid of is true. You really are weak. You really are recessive. You are inferior. You should be afraid.

You can see just how effective this rhetoric is by watching Jason Black’s documentary film Race War, released in 2018. In it, Kaba Kemene said this exact thing to noted racialist Jared Taylor. Taylor just weakly hinted at Kaba’s hypocrisy before turning away in palpable disgust. He could do nothing else. He couldn’t refute the point without conceding other parts of his own worldview, so the only response left to him was to shrink.

White Supremacism is motivated by genetic inferiority

Is it true? No

According to Welsing, all acts of political domination of Black people are manifestations of White insecurity, intended to compensate for genetic inferiority:

“The Color-Confrontation theory states that the white or color-deficient Europeans responded psychologically, with a profound sense of numerical inadequacy and color inferiority’ in their confrontations with the majority of the world’s people – all of whom possessed varying degrees of color-producing capacity. This psychological response, whether conscious or unconscious, revealed an inadequacy based on the most obvious and fundamental part of their being, their external appearance. As might be anticipated in terms of modem psychological theories, whites defensively developed an uncontrollable sense of hostility and aggression. This attitude has continued to manifest itself throughout the history of mass confrontations between whites and people of color…The experience of numerical inadequacy and genetic color inferiority led whites to implement a number of interesting, although devastating (to non-white peoples), psychological defense mechanisms. The initial psychological defense maneuver was the repression of the initial painful awareness of inadequacy. This primary ego defense was reinforced by a host of other defense mechanisms.”

This assertion is constructed from pieces of what self-identified White Supremacists themselves have said, repurposed for new arguments and agendas. In the 1800s, when European colonialism was at its zenith, European colonizers looked to the past for a precedent to their contemporary actions. The findings of archeology, then a new science, seemed to confirm what colonizers wanted to believe: that in the mists of prehistory a race of blonde, virile, Aryan conquerors moved west from their Arctic home to displace the more diminutive, darker, less civilized natives of Europe. They asserted that this behavior was natural to so-called Aryans, due to selective pressure in the harsh Arctic conditions under which they lived, and that it made them uniquely both warlike and capable of war; natural aristocrats. Later a mythology grew surrounding this idea, metastasizing into a quasi-religion within the Nazi party under Adolf Hitler, who embraced tales of ancient Hyperborean supermen.

After 1945, this quasi-religion lost all expression in academia and the halls of power. The idea that all White people of the present day were the descendants of ancient Hitlers without any Churchills or Roosevelts to stop them was a deeply unsettling one, so a new model was embraced: the cultural changes in Europe occurred through peaceful trade with outsiders or internal evolution. Talk of virile blonde conquerors ceased until 1956 when Lithuanian archeologist and anthropologist Marija Gimbutas revived the theory in what she called the Kurgan Hypothesis. Gimbutas argued that matriarchal, civilized, intelligent peoples of what she called Old Europe were invaded and replaced by patriarchal, hyper-aggressive, barbaric, unintelligent, and cruel Indo-Europeans who destroyed the good things that Old Europe had going.

Gimbutas’ theory was influential in the burgeoning feminist movement, in the New Age movement, and among students of mythology such as Joseph Campbell, but as a scientific theory it didn’t gain a lot of traction until the work of David Reich in the early 2000s confirmed some of the basic events minus the Utopian view of Old Europe. Afrocentrists, however, picked up on the idea early and asserted that the Old Europeans were Black people who were replaced by Whites in the first act of White Supremacy.

The truth is somewhere in between. White people today are descended from three populations, in this order: West European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), Early European Farmers (EEF), and Ancient North Eurasians (ANE). While there is genetic continuity through all three of these populations, each successive wave of newcomers precedes the replacement of the natives’ male DNA, so that today there is continuity only in the female line. This indicates that EEF conquered the WHG before being in turn conquered by ANE. The two big changes in culture and population were only technically not genocides. These facts don’t speak to any inherent kindness on the part of White people, but they also don’t support the idea of natural instincts for genetic survival either, much less “purity.”

Aside from all that, there is one fact alone that discredits the idea that racial supremacist aspirations are built into White DNA: the ancient Hittites, Greeks, and Romans all went from tribe to nation to empire to decline without ever conceiving of anything called a White race. Even the famously ethnocentric Greeks never made white skin an ideal, and in fact spoke more highly of Black civilizations than they ever did of their lighter neighbors to the north. If racial “purity” was really hardwired into the psyche of White people, the concept of a White race would have been invented in the BC era, not the seventeenth century. The evolution of modern concepts of race simply don’t correlate with diversity of pigment.

Finally, the conquering of Old Europe, while barbaric, does not stand out as particularly so when you observe that the same process occurred elsewhere. The book of Numbers 31 in the Old Testament states that the Hebrews (believed by Afrocentrists to be Black) under Moses killed every Midianite save the virgin girls who were absorbed into the invading population via sex slavery. Numbers 21, Deuteronomy 20, and Joshua 6 all describe Hebrew soldiers committing outright genocide against the Canaanites, sparing nobody. According to the Afrocentrists’ own reasoning, the Hebrews (Black) committed gendercide against the Midianites (also Black) and genocide against the Canaanites/Phoenicians (also Black). Genetic science tells of similar stories happening in Asia and the pre-Columbian Americas. Determining whether such things happened in sub-Saharan Africa before European Colonialism is difficult because DNA does not preserve as well or for as long there.

Ideas about genetic inferiority are heavily intertwined with physical inferiority. Looking over Afrocentrist thought, you will see the White physical inferiority angle played a lot. I want to briefly discuss that claim in the context of physical ability rather than just recessive/dominant genes.

Frances Cress Welsing says this in the chapter ‘Black Male Passivity’:

“…in the U.S., heavyweight boxing, basketball, baseball and football have all been taken away from white males (by Black males) as symbolic expressions of white male virility and manhood. White males have been left with only two major sports wherein they dominate (tennis and golf)…”

This is another rhetorical trick. Note how her statement only concerns the United States, because if she took a global approach, she would have to acknowledge that Whites in Eastern Europe compete with Blacks in heavyweight boxing just fine.

The best metrics for worldwide athletic ability are the Olympics and the World Cup in Soccer, because everyone in the world participates in them. Soccer is an especially good measure because not only does the whole world play it, it is accessible to almost everyone since it requires only a ball and some open space.

In the Olympics, swimming is consistently dominated by Whites despite them not having any more access to oceans than any other group of people. In boxing, White fighters took the gold medal in 5 of the 10 weight classes in 2016, and the longest-running world champion ever is Vladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian who held the title for 12 years against opponents of all races.

In Soccer, race is never a good predictor for victory. Look at the finalists in the past several World Cups and you’ll see all-White teams beating all Black teams and vice versa; mixed race teams beating racially homogenous ones and vice versa. And so on. Look up any sports site’s Top 100 players ever, and Blacks are represented at the level a non-racialist would expect: the percentage of Black players match their percentage of the global population.

The reasons for Black athletes dominating basketball and boxing in the U.S. are for another essay. But suffice it to say: baseball and football were never “taken away” from White males, even decades after those words above were written.

Rhetorical effectiveness: High

Before 1945, the mainstream narrative within White society reflected the values needed to forge and keep empires. Emphasis was placed on power, domination, dehumanization of racial “others”, political unity, obedience to centralized authority, and marginalization of women.

After the early 1800s, when the last of the Muslim slavers were finally defeated, onto these values were added the denial that Whites had ever been anything else. Times in history where Whites were dominated by non-Whites, or when women had equal respect, were downplayed or omitted. Out went Moorish Spain, Herodotus’ description of Germanic views toward women, evidence of inter-ethnic mixing between various ancient European populations, the diversity of skin tones in ancient Greece and Rome, the Arab slave trade, the Barbary Pirates, and the political history of Iceland. Out went anything that might hint that White cultures ever existed that were anything other than what they were at the time of their greatest power. The result: the impression of White history that American school kids get today is one of endless horrible things that White people did throughout history.

Afrocentrists are just stepping in and saying, “yes that’s all correct but it’s shameful, not a brag.” Then saying, “you only got to where you are through deceit because you can’t win a fair fight with us.” Adopt the framework, flip the value judgment; very effective strategy, because a White person trying to refute you must also refute their own education and part of their identity.

Tariq Nasheed

Tariq Nasheed is a filmmaker primarily known for his Hidden Colors series of documentary films, and is host of the online program Tariq Elite. The general thrust of Hidden Colors is that Black people have contributed far more to the advancement of civilization — ancient and modern — than mainstream historical narratives admit. At a basic level, that assertion is true. Hidden Colors does contain true information on accomplishments of Black people in history you probably haven’t heard about. Remember my earlier point about grains of truth.

In addition to the true information about Black accomplishments and racist behavior against them, the various people interviewed make a dizzying number of claims that range from speculative (the inventor of Kung Fu was Black), to metaphorical but presented as literal (the blackness of the cosmos is really cosmic melanin), to provably false (Nasheed says Thor is based on African god Chango).

Almost no claim is ever sourced, nor is any evidence presented for most of the controversial points. Rather, everything is stated as though it was not controversial at all. This is powerful rhetoric, because it bypasses any sense of response to mainstream historians, instead simply asserting the Afrocentrist narrative as though it is the mainstream that viewers are already familiar with and therefore needn’t be explained. The body of work produced by mainstream scholars is dismissed in all instances except when it supports — or can be twisted into supporting — the desired narrative. Consider this approach, then take a look at the 2+ hour runtimes on each installment, and you’ll get a sense of just how much is said.

This rapid-fire delivery of claims you’ve never heard before is effective regardless of what you think of it, because what you think of it is probably what you are intended to. Those who are receptive to the identity-affirming narrative and in need of the Black First agenda will take Hidden Colors at its word and call it knowledge. Those who are not receptive to it will be confused, amused, or angry; i.e., not likely to take it seriously or respect it enough to respond in any effective way.

Evaluating every single claim is far beyond the scope of this essay. I will instead just focus on a few key examples that illustrate Tariq Nasheed’s larger strategy.

Claim: The ancient Phoenicians were Black

There is a strong genetic continuity between the distant past and the people currently living in that area. There were Black people there, and the Phoenicians were not racist against Black people, but to say “the Phoenicians were Black” is not true.

Why is he saying it?

White society has for centuries gone out of its way to not attribute any of its foundations to a Black origin. The Phoenicians were big players in the network of superpowers before the Bronze Age Collapse, so to say they were Black is to not be able to deny that White civilization owes some of its origins to them. The claim about Black Phoenicians ties into similar claims about European monarchs secretly being Black, which is made several times.

A good demonstration of White society’s discomfort around Black origins is in the debate about the race of the ancient Egyptians. Look at any debate, online or in person, on this topic, and you will see a curious thing happen often: for a LOT of the people arguing against Black Egyptians, there is an emotional component not found in other debates. It isn’t just a clinical discussion about ancient ethnography for them; they really, really just don’t want the Egyptians to be Black and are very clearly uncomfortable with the possibility.

This is obvious from one of the most common objections: that race as we currently define it didn’t exist back then, so it’s “presentism” to call them any race at all. To say such a silly thing is to willfully miss the point.

Claim: Thor comes from African deity Chango

This claim is made in Hidden Colors, in the context of a segment on comic book characters. It is an outright lie. Chango was a real person who lived in the 1400s and was deified after death. Thor is older than that by centuries as evidenced by etymologies of Norse names and places, as well as the fact that Norse myths were first recorded over a century before Chango the person was born. Hidden Colors 5 gives the impression that Thor was invented by Marvel Comics, never mentioning Snorri Sturluson or the Eddas he wrote down in the 1300s AD.

Why is he saying it?

Some White people looking for a sense of unique identity become dissatisfied with Christian spirituality because of its foreign origins and instead look to Norse spirituality because it is indigenous to Europe. (The “Jesus isn’t White!” position came from them a century ago, not Afrocentrists today.) Nasheed is clearly trying to head them off at the pass and create a sense of “nowhere to go” in such people, thereby demoralizing them and preventing others from making the attempt.

I will now give two examples of speculation presented as proven fact.

Claim: Beethoven was Black

Probably not. Beethoven did not have ancestry in an area with many black people, and both his life mask and death mask indicate Caucasian facial features. Hidden Colors never gives reasons for claims like this, it just makes the assertion and moves on.

Why is he saying it?

Most musical genres that are influential across the world today were either mainly invented by Black Americans (blues, rock, jazz, hip hop) or influenced by them (country). The various forms of music that fit under the Classical banner, however, are of European origin and predate colonialism. Thus, a White person who is uncomfortable with the influence of Black artists can take refuge in Classical as something entirely theirs. By saying the most influential Classical composer was actually a Black man, the “nowhere to go” feeling is created.

This bit also illustrates another technique that is used throughout the Hidden Colors extrapolation. Kaba Kamene says this:

“I enjoy Classical music. It’s soul music. It’s Black music.”

The obvious response to this is that Beethoven was hardly the first Classical composer. But by saying “Beethoven was Black”, then “Classical music is Black”, the film gives the impression that he was.

If you can get people to believe that everything of value today originates from Black people, you embolden Black racial pride and demoralize non-Blacks, especially Whites. If you can convince Whites that everything of their culture was stolen from Black people, the implication is that Whites can’t create anything on their own (dovetailing with assertions about melanin), you eliminate not only the rationale for White racism but the possibility that it could ever revive in the future.

Claim: Kung Fu was invented by a Black man

The Chinese have two conflicting accounts of the inventor of Kung Fu. One is that he was a White man with red hair from a western Asian tribe where those traits are common, the other is that he was an Indian man. Even if he was Indian, he still wouldn’t necessarily be Black due to the diversity among the Indian peoples. In the words of geneticist David Reich, “India does not have a large population, it has a large number of small populations. Hidden Colors never mentions the legend of a red-haired White man at all.

Why is he saying it?

Same as above. A good strategy of rhetoric is to make a lot of claims that your opponent will spend a lot more time refuting than it took you to say them. To someone on your side who is receptive to your message, all those points just make the case look overwhelming.

Claim: White people are not indigenous to Europe

In one of the Hidden Colors episodes it is stated that White people are indigenous to Central Asia, not Europe. I touched on this point earlier. To recap: White people are in fact indigenous to Europe.

Why is he saying it?

White society used to operate on what is called the right of conquest. In this view, if you are able to defeat invaders in your land, it is rightfully yours. If invaders defeat you and take your land, it is rightfully theirs. 1945 concluded with a paradigm shift in how rights of inhabitance are determined, to one in which a people’s right to inhabit a place is determined by whether they are indigenous to it, irrespective of how good they are at defending it. In this new way of thinking, the conquest of the Americas, Australia, and Africa by White settlers was proof that Whites had no right to be there.

This is relevant because the idea of Whites starting in Asia gets you to the conclusion that White people are not entitled to the same rights of exclusivity or nationhood in Europe the way that Asians, Africans, and Native Americans are. It’s a means of denying rights to populations of White people in their indigenous lands, and using the doctrine of indigenous rights to do it. Bold!

Claim: melanin is magic

Melanin is never literally described as magic, but might as well be. In Hidden Colors various people interviewed claim that melanin is an intelligence system, an apparatus for communication, is sensitive to frequencies of energy that un-melanated skin is not, and aids physical development. Dominance in music and some sports in America are attributed to it.

The question I had after hearing these claims: why do these alleged benefits of melanin-rich skin not help all people with dark skin? Many peoples of India are darker than what would be considered Black in the West, yet no music from India has taken the world by storm and Indian men do not dominate White men in sports. Further, why did the fantastic rise of electrical and interstellar technology come out of the predominantly White nations? Even if it was actually Black people who made all those advancements in silence, their credit stolen by Whites, why did Black people have to be in majority-White areas and professions in order to do all that?

Melanin theory would predict concrete evidence of superior intelligence in the form of African nations being more advanced than we are today long before colonialism ever started; colonialism shouldn’t have been possible at all, in fact, because Africans should have had such vastly superior technology and organization that European ships were rubber ducks by comparison.

Why is he saying it?

My instinctive response would be “a lot of White people are afraid of it being true” but that isn’t accurate. Truth is, I don’t know. But it’s something that Nasheed and other Afrocentrists bring up over and over and over again, so I felt the need to mention it.

Summary

What Afrocentrists did was study White Supremacist narratives and pick over them for useful tactics. Hitler said that Jews could not physically compete with Aryans, and so they turned to trickery to compete that way. Welsing adopted the same formula but replaced “Jew” with “White” and “Aryan” with “Black”. The incentive for this approach is obvious: White Supremacist narratives were lies but they worked. Over the course of only a few centuries, Europe effectively took over the world. You can’t be good if you don’t hate evil, but you also can’t get much done if you don’t look at the nuts and bolts of things with the dispassion of clear eyes.

Even when Hidden Colors presents accurate information, it is often presented misleadingly. The clear pattern is that Whites are always made to look weak, mediocre, or malicious, while Blacks are always made to look strong, exceptional, and humane. Hidden Colors talks about the Black boxer Tom Molineux but only to point out that his nickname was “The Moor” in order to show that the Moors were Black people; the fact that Molineux lost his two biggest matches to White Englishman Tom Cribb is not mentioned. It celebrates Moorish Spain, even though by the logic of racism=power+prejudice that works out to Black Supremacy. If you get all your information from Hidden Colors, you will come out of it thinking that Whites really are inferior on every level.

The Black First Movement

The Black First movement started with Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa movement of the early 1900s, morphed into the various Black Nationalist movements of the 1950s and 60s, and is resurfacing today. The prior iterations of the animating idea — empowerment for Black people — ultimately failed, but this time is different. This time, it will most likely succeed. Soon, Frances Cress Welsing will be taught in at least some public schools. Every approach in the mainstream today — left, right and center — is ineffective and all will be radically altered or swept away entirely.

To prove this, let’s revisit a prior intellectual conflict. Since 1945, what is now called the Alt-Right was not only marginalized but, to the average person, entirely unknown. The only platforms for such ideas were small book publishers until the 1990s, when web forums such as Stormfront provided a platform for Alt-Righters to talk to each other — but even then it was an extremely niche topic. The people who held these ideas were passionate, but came almost exclusively from the lower echelons of society and had no influence at all.

The typical response from all parts of the mainstream was to simply call them racist and move on. The prevailing opinion about such ideas was that they should not be debated or refuted, just shamed and mocked because they were beneath consideration. Respectable people followed this strategy right up until the campaign of Donald Trump gathered momentum with the most vocal support coming from the Alt-Right. Trump is not in the Alt Right camp, but is not as against them as other candidates were and are, and that’s all that is needed. A lot of traditional conservatives and liberals were blindsided by suddenly having to explain why ideas about “race realism” and racial IQ differences were incorrect because they couldn’t just shut advocates up.

Look at how decades of anti-racist rhetoric did not stop the Alt-Right, then answer this: what effect do you think accusations of racism, reverse racism, bigotry, Black Supremacism, etc., are going to have on a historically colonized people who are used to being lied to, mocked, gaslit, dismissed, laughed at, and ignored every step of the way? People who, out of necessity, have developed the emotional strength to walk into a room full of people who hate them or are disgusted by them and maintain Buddha-like composure? These questions should answer themselves.

The Black First narrative goes like this:

1. White Supremacy is still in effect and is as big as it ever was

2. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was the last opportunity for Black empowerment before now

3. The Civil Rights movement failed completely

4. It failed because of its big-tent approach that saw all oppressed, non-White groups as brothers and sisters in the struggle against White Supremacy

5. Thus, at its greatest moment of opportunity, when Blacks could have demanded anything they wanted through the ascendant Civil Rights movement, they demanded integration instead of economic empowerment

6. Integration was a complete failure

7. Black Americans are once again powerful enough to make demands, and this time will get economic empowerment via reparations for slavery made to Foundational Black Americans (Black descendants of American slaves)

The primary demand is reparations. This demand is reasonable, and I am certain it will be met. The question is how the political spectrum will adapt and which lies will then attain the status of orthodoxy after the current orthodox lies are removed. My own main concern here is that the notion of a postracial culture is not compatible with that of collective responsibility on the part of White people to make reparations, for the simple reason that such an action requires you to think of yourself as having a distinct positive racial identity. Today, most Whites who think of themselves like that do so only negatively, hence the phenomenon of “White guilt.” That is satisfying for some people, but most need a conception of self that is positive and inspires them to do good (with “good” defined as something other than submission and apologizing).

The leftist narrative left only a negative identity, which helped create the Alt-Right. I want the Alt-Right to go away, and for any other form of reactionary thought to not be the response to Black empowerment. I want justice, and justice means abolition of the abuse that is inherent in racial hierarchies. But unlike so many others in the mainstream, I don’t think Whites are uniquely capable of this kind of abuse, nor are they the only group with the power to abuse others in this way. What I’m getting at: Western nations need to attain the clarity of vision and the confidence to both empower Blacks who have been oppressed, without then morphing into Black Supremacy.

To be clear, I don’t see any scenario in which the hallmarks of White Supremacy (genocides, slavery, etc.) happen in reverse. That isn’t what it will look like. What can happen, however, is a society in which Black people are free to insult, threaten, or physically attack Whites with minimal or nonexistent legal repercussions, and where Whites are punished if they defend themselves in any way. There is already a version of this in American social mores, where a Black person making racially derogatory remarks to a White person is merely rude, but if that same White person responds in kind, he is racist.

The rationale for this is that Black people do not have institutional power or privilege while Whites do. This argument works if you’re talking about the big-picture population dynamics that drive political and economic trends, but it makes no sense in cases of individuals quarreling where the stakes are very personal and have nothing to do with larger forces. When you forbid individuals from responding to attacks, you demoralize them; a man is especially harmed because prohibition of self-defense is emasculating and prevents him from performing to his maximum potential. Multiply that by the number of people in society and you have what is effectively an institution that can be predicted to marginalize and ultimately wipe out the targeted population. Add all this to a culture in which one race of people is free to lie about history and slant the historical narrative in one direction, and you can see where this is going.

We’re already seeing this take form. Nick Cannon in July 2020 stated point B of Frances Cress Welsing’s ideology while on the air. He was swiftly denounced and forced to apologize, but look at which part of his statements created so much controversy: his comments about Whites being genetically predisposed to barbarism were ignored completely, while his claim that White Jews are not really Jewish got him in trouble. His outburst was only the beginning. Very soon, other prominent people who believe what he does will feel confident saying similar things.

The logic of formulating racism as power plus prejudice is sound, but if the Black First movement achieves its goal of complete control over narratives and institutions, the construct of Black immunity from accusations of racism will evolve into immunity from criticism of any kind, as well as the freedom to victimize. Whites will still be treated as though they are powerful long after they are not; present social mores will persist after the reasons for their existence are gone.

Tariq Nasheed was banned from Britain last year because the content of his Hidden Colors series was believed by authorities to incite violence. Accusations of Black Supremacism were lobbed at him, to which he responded the way he always responds to that and similar accusations: Black Supremacy doesn’t currently exist, and he doesn’t have the power to do anything.

I have already established that Afrocentrists believe Blacks to be biologically, genetically superior to Whites. Institutional power has nothing to do with it because any two worldviews can be compared with each other regardless of how much influence they have. If someone’s only defense of their worldview is that they “don’t have the power” to implement it, but simultaneously are trying to get the power to do so, the outcome is easy to predict.

Conclusion

In 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, it was a common belief that we were transitioning into a postracial society. I believed it myself. To say that belief was premature is to make the greatest understatement of the century. Like it or not, Folkish impulses and agendas are with us and will be based on ethnic lines for the foreseeable future.

What is happening right now in the West is at least a deep cultural shift, at most a revolution. It was always going to happen because the historical trends set in motion 500 years ago could conclude no other way. The one certainty I can offer is that all the current talking points you’re used to hearing, left or right, are maybe a year away from being useless and antiquated. You have to reevaluate your assumptions about the world and what you believe, regardless of who you happen to be. It isn’t going to be comfortable for anyone, but productive life never is.

Read The Isis Papers. Then watch the Hidden Colors series. Study the content and the rhetoric, research the claims made, take them seriously and study them with an open mind so you aren’t taken by surprise. Don’t fall into the trap of denial or dismissal, but acknowledge what is true and incorporate those truths into your thinking. Acquire the knowledge you need to be certain, and to calmly assert your view no matter how others react. Only then will you be able to defeat the bad ideas moving through our institutions and culture.

We are at a crossroads today. Which way we go now will decide which revolutionary shift happens. The choice that all people face, always, is progression or regression, and never in our lifetime has that fact been more apparent than it is today. Learn how to progress, then go do it.

Erick Parker is a writer and history lover who is never satisfied with the little picture. He can be found on Twitter at @trailer_parker

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

The War on White Statues

June 25, 2020

First they came for the Confederate generals, but that was OK because they fought against the Union for the preservation of slavery

Next they came for Christopher Columbus, and that was sort of OK, I guess, because despite having opened up the Western Hemisphere to European settlement, he was less than kind to the indigenous peoples. (And we all know what happened to them after that.)

Then they came for George Washington, which wasn’t OK, because despite having owned slaves (are we shocked that a man born into the hereditary 18th-century Southern planter class used slave labor?) he secured our independence against overwhelming odds, presided over the framing of the Constitution, served admirably as our first president, and voluntarily renounced power after two terms. He also came to detest slavery, refused to buy and sell slaves or break up families, and freed all his slaves in his will – an act of rare compassion for a Southern gentleman of his time. Not good enough? Let’s move on, then…

Finally they came for Ulysses S. Grant, and that was a damnable insult to the man who defeated the Confederacy and indirectly liberated all slaves from bondage. What was their excuse? Grant owned a grand total of one slave during his lifetime – a gift from his Southern father-in-law. And he freed that solitary slave within a year. Despite being hard up for cash at the time, Grant refused to sell him or exploit his free labor. Later, as president, he enforced Reconstruction, enabled blacks to gain positions of power in the South, and fought against the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Still not pure enough for the neo-Bolsheviks who toppled his statue? To hell with them, then.

Other statues victimized by salivating mobs include California mission founder Father Junipero Serra, Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, Francis Scott Key, and Boston’s magnificent monument to Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment, immortalized in the movie Glory. (Did they object to a white officer leading soldiers of color while sitting on horseback? Did they stop to think that Shaw, just 25 at the time, died along with his men? Or that they died fighting the Confederacy? Maybe that’s why they only spray-painted it with graffiti instead of tearing it down.)

Meanwhile, New York’s world-famous American Museum of Natural History is set to remove its heroic outdoor statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by an African and a Native American. All three figures are sculpted with dignity, so what’s the offense? TR is seated above his nonwhite companions, a sure indicator of white supremacy, paternalism, colonialism, and your choice of any other -ism you can throw at white males. The museum affirmed its commitment to honor Teddy in other ways, but the statue is about to make its exit.

Oh, and now biracial activist Shaun King calls for the removal of all sculptures and stained-glass windows depicting a “European” Jesus. (I guess the Pieta has to go.) Proclaims King: “They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.” (News: As a Jew, Jesus was certifiably Caucasian, even if he didn’t look Dutch or Norwegian. We have no contemporary descriptions of his appearance, but my educated guess – based on northern Egyptian tomb portraits from his era – is that he could have passed for a Greek or Italian.)

What do the offending statues have in common? Not all of them depicted slave owners or overt racists. It couldn’t be that all the images were of prominent white males, could it? I’m certainly no white supremacist (in fact, many of today’s leftists would argue that I’m not even white), but my majestic Armenian nose can detect the odor of escalating anti-white sentiment in the air, and it’s starting to stink. I only hope that the extremism of the left-wing iconoclasts doesn’t trigger an equal and opposite reaction from gun-toting right-wing white mobs. 

Oddly enough, it seems that most of the damage is being perpetrated by young white social justice warriors. How to explain the peculiar brand of racial self-hatred percolating among these statue-topplers and so many other young white leftists? Have they absorbed the not-so-subtle anti-white messaging from BLM activists, biased news sources and collegiate “grievance studies” professors? Have they swallowed the distorted media narrative that black people are chronically victimized by white people? (Strange, isn’t it, that we never hear about the white victims of police killings or black assaults, which actually outnumber white-on-black crimes.) Have they been driven to self-loathing by the purported race-baiting of Trump and his unruly base? Do they exempt themselves from the sins of their less enlightened white peers – or do they wallow in collective guilt? Are they simply sensitive souls who want to protect their nonwhite friends from potentially hurtful images? If so, their zeal for destruction doesn’t strike me as especially sensitive.

Something tells me that they’re at least subtly pressured to rage against their own people for fear of falling outside the zone of Acceptable Thought on Race. Besides, it’s hip to be “woke.” So they march, rant, and topple the statues of good men along with the bad.

Extremists on the left have bent over backward to justify the assault on American history. A seismic shift in the racial power balance is long overdue, they say. (Fair enough, but does that mean whites have to take a subordinate role?) Some on the fringes even suggest that whites should cede control of the government to blacks for a generation or more. So much for representative democracy.

A couple of friends chastised me on Facebook for my anger over toppled “hunks of bronze.” (The Liberty Bell is just a hunk of bronze, too, and I dare anyone to topple that.) The symbolism is undeniable: black activists and “woke” whites seem intent on “dismantling whiteness” – a popular topic on campuses today. Out go the pale-faced imperialists, exploiters and racists – but what about the likes of Shakespeare, Bach, Plato and Rembrandt? Where does it stop?

I was relieved to hear at least a few moderating voices. The generally inflammatory Max Boot opined that great men like Washington and especially the progressive-thinking Grant should never be discarded along with the Confederate generals.

Ken Burns, a staunch liberal whose classic Civil War documentary series on PBS paid homage to both sides, regretted giving respect to the Confederate cause but insisted that we shouldn’t go overboard by tearing down the statues of men whose greatness outweighed their flaws.

A panel discussion on left-leaning CNN concluded that the excesses of the moment would eventually correct themselves and find a proper balance.

Balance is almost always a good thing. We should acknowledge that black people have been victimized throughout much of our history, and that they still suffer from ugly vestiges of racism today, without demonizing white people and branding all of American history as an endless chronicle of oppression.

Much like the companies whose obsequious pro-BLM public service announcements saturated the media after George Floyd’s death, well-meaning white progressives have a tendency to grovel before black activists and their demands. Defund the police? We’re on it! Create separate black dorms and spaces on college campuses? Done! Capitalize Black but keep white in lower-case? Of course – it’s more just! Dear white people: just shut up and listen! Why, certainly – we have no right to an opinion.

Instead of fetishizing black people and granting them a blank check for every demand, “woke” whites should ask themselves whether their attitude is more patronizing than genuinely respectful. In an ideal world, the aim of black progress would be full equality, not special treatment based on skin color. And the conversation on race would be a two-way street – a conversation between equals.

Tearing down statues – like the looting of commercial districts – simply drives a deeper wedge between the left and the right – between most blacks and most whites – without generating a scintilla of positive change. If the iconoclasts’ goal is to vent anger and provoke it in others, they’re succeeding handsomely. If they want a revolution, we’ll all have to live with the consequences: chaos, bloodshed, ever-shifting loyalties and, eventually, a totalitarian regime that tolerates no dissent.

Instead, how about pressing for a quiet revolution in police training and criminal justice – along with government and private investment in depressed black communities, a revival of the inner-city black family, and the development of teaching methods that keep black students from dropping out of school? That’s the kind of revolution that sticks – the kind of revolution even a raving moderate can support. 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available in e-book form for $2.99 each on Amazon. (Just search under “Rick Bayan.”)

 

America Is Burning: Notes on the George Floyd Riots

May 31, 2020

It took a pandemic to make us forget about President Trump’s impeachment circus and the depressing presidential campaign between two borderline-senile old men. It took the killing of an ordinary African American man named George Floyd by Minneapolis police to make us forget about the pandemic. And finally, it took a nationwide orgy of fire and destruction to make us nearly forget about poor George Floyd. 

The killing was inexcusable. Police had pulled Floyd out of his car on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd resisted, was handcuffed and dragged over to the waiting police car. Then, for an agonizing span of nearly nine minutes, officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee over Floyd’s neck while the victim pleaded for air, moaned and died. The entire incident was captured on video and witnessed by distressed onlookers. 

What possessed Chauvin to kneel on a handcuffed man’s neck, calmly and without evident emotion, while his victim couldn’t breathe? (One minute would have been excessive; nine is positively inhuman.) Why did Chauvin’s colleagues just stand by and watch with blank uncaring faces? There was no need to restrain Floyd once he was handcuffed and on the ground. Why didn’t they just yank him into the car, drive him to the precinct for questioning, and either release him or slap him on the wrist for passing a counterfeit bill? 

Right-wing conspiracy theorists have surmised that the Deep State (or was it George Soros?) orchestrated the fatal encounter to stir up righteous anger among blacks and progressive whites – as if we needed to become even more politically polarized than we already are. And of course, the left cited George Floyd’s death as a prime example of white America’s genocidal campaign against people of color. 

Without going as far as to accuse the white patriarchy of genocidal intent, all of us – leftists, moderates and conservatives – need to speak out against unwarranted police brutality. That much is clear: bad cops give all cops a bad name. 

Then the protests began: first in Minneapolis, the scene of the crime – then in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle and even Omaha. All too predictably, the demonstrations turned unruly and destructive. Buildings and cars were set afire… rocks smashed store windows, and smartphone videos recorded dozens of looters scurrying out with bundles of free merchandise. This was worse than Ferguson or the Freddy Gray riots in Baltimore. Perhaps fittingly for a pandemic year, the violence went viral.

Chauvin, the offending cop, had already been charged with third-degree murder and his three silent colleagues had been fired. Justice was being served. So why the wanton destruction of property belonging to innocent people who had nothing to do with George Floyd’s death? The rage was understandable, but this was looking more and more like a national uprising. Many of the rioters were white far-left agitators brought in from outside to foment revolution, as they’re wont to do. 

To their credit, the more reasonable black protesters decried the violence, claiming that it dishonored George Floyd’s memory. Less reasonable career leftists demanded that we ignore the fires and looting; after all, a human life is more valuable than mere property. I posted on Facebook that we should be appalled by both the killing of George Floyd and the indiscriminate vandalism – and my post triggered an avalanche of more than a hundred heated comments from across the political spectrum. 

From the left: my white privilege was showing; we have no right to criticize black behavior unless we’ve walked a mile in their shoes. One longtime friend asked me to read an article entitled “In Defense of Looting.” (Wage labor is a demeaning way to acquire goods? Thanks but no thanks.) I asked another left-wing friend how she’d feel if rioters set fire to the preschool she’s lovingly nurtured for the past several decades. (No reply to that trick question.)

From the right: the police get sick of dealing with black miscreants on a daily basis, and the rioters were simply revealing their true nature as savages. The protests were just an excuse to steal free stuff. And why do we never hear about all the white victims of police killings? (Well, that last question is a valid one: why do we never hear about the white victims of police killings? Would they spoil the narrative?)

Do the police harbor some dark and unfathomable animosity toward black people? You’d almost think so, given all the national news coverage of black lives unceremoniously terminated after a bad encounter with the local cops. And yet our police kill roughly 2 ½ times as many whites as blacks. 

Of course, we need to make a few adjustments: whites outnumber blacks nearly five to one, so a black person is about twice as likely to die at the hands of police. Another adjustment: white police victims are more likely than blacks to have been armed, so the percentage of unarmed black victims rises still higher in relation to white victims. And yet another: blacks more often resist arrest, triggering cops to overreact and resort to lethal force. 

But here’s the statistic you probably knew was coming: according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks commit some 52% of all homicides despite accounting for only 13% of the population. Whites are much more likely to be killed by blacks than vice versa, and 94% of black homicide victims are murdered by members of their own race. I can tell you that in Philadelphia, home of The New Moderate, nearly all the murders I read about take place in predominantly black neighborhoods. 

The sad truth remains that black people continue to kill and be killed in disproportionate numbers, sometimes at the hands of police but much more often by their peers. Why? As someone who lives just a few blocks away from a ghetto neighborhood, I could point a finger at some of the probable causes I’ve observed. But I’m no authority, and my middle-class whiteness (or Middle Eastern-ness) probably invalidates my musings on the subject. Still, I try to understand. 

Of course, black crime statistics are no excuse for police manhandling individual blacks, just as a few bad cops are no excuse for making war on all police. We need to stop viewing our fellow citizens as interchangeable representatives of this or that class — and start seeing them as individuals. 

Meanwhile, American cities are burning. Small businesses, already crippled by the pandemic, are being looted and vandalized – including black-owned businesses. As the crowds grow rowdier, the police are responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and curfews. Miraculously, nobody has been killed so far, and we can only hope that the casualty count stays at zero on both sides.

Still, it’s painful to watch America’s social fabric unravel before our eyes. The sight of rogue rioters across the republic breaking windows, setting fires, demolishing cars and throwing any object within reach is the sight of a civilization on the brink of collapse.

The America of Norman Rockwell, Andy Hardy, the Cleavers, Mayberry and even “Friends” is now a distant memory, if it ever existed. The sentimentalist in me mourns the loss of that gentle world, just as my inner cynic always expected its demise. I’m not happy that I’ll be spending my declining years on a sinking ship, but I feel even sorrier for the young people who will be reaching their prime during an era of unimaginable discord. 

It looks as if 2020 will be going down in history as a year the historians will remember and the rest of us will want to forget. And it’s not even half over. 

The one bright spot during this most miserable week in an epically miserable year, aside from the glories of spring, was the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket – the first launch from American soil in nearly a decade. Watching that rocket climb skyward triggered a rush of youthful memories – memories of an America that led the world as (mostly) a force for good and a beacon of hope for a brilliant future. 

Is it too late to recapture that spirit?

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available in e-book form on Amazon for just $2.99 each.

Positive Thinking for Pandemic Warriors

April 30, 2020


 

No question about it: we’re living through the most unsettling episode in recent American history. Yes, the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King were more shocking, and 9/11 was even more horrific – but they were single-day events that receded into memory after a few weeks of grief and outrage. Most of us were able to get on with our lives as if nothing had happened – not to us, not personally.

The coronavirus pandemic is different. We’re all living in the thick of it – the exposed, the unexposed, the could-have-been exposed, and the might-soon-be-exposed. The daily rituals – the masks and gloves, the six-foot distancing, the wiping down of every outside item that enters the house – give rise to obsessive-compulsive disorder, as if the stress of living through a pandemic isn’t enough. Even if the coronavirus doesn’t kill us, it promises a three-week personal hell of coughing, fever, and lingering lung afflictions. And of course, we could spread the contagion to those around us. 

Meanwhile, we’re being led by a proudly ignorant, grandiose goofball of a president whose mind darts around like a drunken housefly. (Facts? He makes them up as he goes along.) At the same time, we’re being fed the news by blatantly biased journalist-propagandists on both the left and right. (Is there anyone still the middle – any of them capable of maintaining a degree of objectivity, without pandering to their respective peanut galleries for applause?) 

So here we are in mid-pandemic, doing our best to survive while our local businesses starve and our friends become distant memories, approachable only via social media. Yes, we might look forward to a summer lull – but experts are predicting a second wave that could be deadlier than the first.

This is war. I can almost imagine how the British civilians felt during World War II, when they never knew if their house would be the next target of a German buzz-bomb. Their suffering must have been excruciating, but at least their enemy wasn’t invisible – and they could huddle together for comfort. 

As long as we’re engaged in this war, we’ll need to keep our spirits from sagging. Churchill and FDR were masters of morale-building. I’m not quite as eloquent as those two immortals, but I can suggest a few tips for staying positive while we’re surrounded by malevolent microbes.

First… be grateful that you’re still alive, and be defiant about it. (See my newly acquired T-shirt above.) If you have most of your original body parts, and they still function, you can take long walks, hear the birds carrying on their arboreal conversations, watch the trees bloom (if you live in the northern temperate zone) and have fun dodging careless, maskless fellow-pedestrians. Feel free to tell them off, too, because they probably can’t hear you through your mask.

Second… your heightened awareness of danger will heighten your awareness of everything else. If you had been growing numb scrolling past endless anti-Trump (or pro-Trump) memes on Facebook, you’ll now be tuned in to your surroundings like an Iroquois hunter, sensing the delights as well as the dangers of your wild realm. In a materialistic, hyper-organized, pleasure-deferring society, this can only be a good thing. Just remember not to inhale next to a stranger.

Third… you can liberate yourself from the rigid rules of social expectations. Skip that daily shower, stop shaving, let your hair express itself, leave your bed unmade, and fetch the mail in your pajamas. The neighbors will understand. If they don’t, simply challenge the cops to show you the rules governing acceptable mail-fetching attire.

Finally… who knows what wonders will await you when you emerge from COVID-induced hibernation? Sure, we might be reduced to a primitive barter economy for a while, but you might find there’s a market for your gardening tools and old Barry Manilow LPs. You might not be rehired at your former workplace, but the upside is that you’ll no longer feel obligated to work 50 or 60 hours a week. We’re already rediscovering the pleasures of leisure; let’s refuse to renounce them — and aspire to live more like the French! (I’d welcome those two-hour lunches and six-week vacations, wouldn’t you?)

Will the nation continue to be ruled by corporate potentates who make more in a day than the average worker does in a year? Will they continue to pull strings in Washington and keep tilting the great money machine toward their own overstuffed pockets? I can only hope that the post-pandemic economy resembles the post-World War II economy: an engine for growth and prosperity that rewards effort but reverses our current death-march toward a two-tier society of haves and have-nots. If unchecked, the result would be worse than feudalism; I don’t sense any noblesse oblige among today’s self-styled aristocrats.

Maybe we’ll be less obsessed by identity. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we returned to defining our community as a physical place instead of a militant tribe based on ideological (or racial, or gender) homogeneity? Maybe progressives and conservatives will start bonding over their common humanity instead of continually pelting each other with spitballs. Mandatory political correctness… trigger warnings… thought police… collegiate indoctrination – away with all those humorless, inhuman barriers to independent expression! Such a welcome shift would tickle this embattled moderate’s heart.

In short, don’t despair. Even a monster pandemic can cleanse the air and propel us toward a more congenial society. The great influenza pandemic of 1918-19 gave way to the Roaring Twenties – just possibly the most exuberant decade in American history.

Can we hope for a similar burst of gaiety and gusto once the current pandemic blows over? Yes, we can always hope – but we’ll probably need to make some fundamental changes in the way we work, think and interact. We’ve grown angry over too many imagined or inconsequential slights – and not angry enough over the deeper flaws in our system. Above all, we need to regain our shared identity as Americans and stewards of a vulnerable planet.

Of course, there’s always a remote chance that we won’t be here to watch the new society unfold. But there’s roughly a 98 percent chance that we will. We need to keep thinking about those odds while we use our warrior skills and confidence to battle through the remainder of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, just keep repeating that immortal line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail – the line boldly emblazoned on my new T-shirt: “I’m not dead yet! Neither is America.
 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available on Amazon in e-book form for just $2.99 each, and they make ideal pandemic reading.

 All material in The New Moderate copyright 2007-2020 by Rick Bayan. (But feel free to share.)

 

Reflections on Tribalism in a Plague Year

March 31, 2020

In my darker moments, I’ve wondered what it would take to reunite today’s obstinately tribal America into something resembling a nation. A deadly plague? A world war? An alien invasion?

Well, it turns out we have all three on our hands.

1) Yes, a latter-day plague is spreading around the globe and snaking its way into the lungs of millions. The novel coronavirus can live on metal and plastic surfaces for days at a time, waiting patiently for unwary humans to serve as hosts and carriers. With an estimated mortality rate of just under 3% (up to 10% for older patients), COVID-19 can’t compare with the more lethal Ebola, SARS or MERS – but it blows them away in terms of sheer infectiousness and potential economic devastation.

2) Nations everywhere are mobilized as if for war. Trump even invoked the Defense Production Act, a radical measure that compels private enterprise to mass-produce needed supplies and equipment for the public good during national emergencies. (More on that later.)

3.) The COVID-19 pandemic is essentially an alien invasion; the planet has been set upon by an invisible but deadly life-form intent on destroying human civilization. The bugs might have the collective IQ of a barnacle, but they’ve proven their wanton genius for disrupting individual lives, schools, families, businesses, the stock market, and the very fabric that binds people together: an indispensable commodity known as social life.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic succeeded in bringing us together as a nation, despite its penchant for separating us as individuals? Sadly, no – at least not yet. We’re more wary than ever of strangers in our midst. We recoil from our fellow humans as if every casual encounter could prove fatal.

You’d think a massive invasion capable of afflicting untold millions of Americans would ignite a spark of unity, of mutual regard and sympathy, of renewed respect for the struggles of our neighbors. During the Great Depression and World War II, the vast majority of Americans rallied together regardless of class or politics.

Instead, our progressive friends have been ripping into the president at every opportunity – justifiably for his delayed response to the pandemic and his boneheaded rejection of testing kits from the World Health Organization… almost as justifiably for his predictably baseless optimism and hyperbole… but incredibly, even when he authorized a radical response with the kinds of measures (like the aforementioned Defense Production Act) that a New Deal Democrat might have ordered during a similar emergency.

When Rep. Ilhan Omar, certainly no moderate, praised Trump for his decisive actions, some of my progressive friends (and several pundits) went into full TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome. Omar broke an unwritten commandment: progressives are simply not allowed to praise the unholy resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for any reason. I found myself in the unlikely position of defending Omar for defending Trump, when I’m not a fan of either – and of course I took heat on Facebook for my reckless intrusion into a “progressives-only” discussion. 

The coastal elites continue to waft their contempt for the corn-fed masses of Middle America – especially Trump’s ever-loyal base. Our ongoing alien invasion still hasn’t given them the heart to understand why a group that feels despised by progressives would veer away from progressive politics and cling to a blunt demagogue for leadership.

As for the conservatives and libertarians – well, some of them have stepped up and shown themselves to be true disciples of Ebenezer Scrooge – the pre-Christmas Scrooge, not the reformed Scrooge. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went as far as to suggest that older Americans should willingly sacrifice themselves for the good of the economy.

Ah, the blessed economy! Holier than human life, and just as fragile. It’s easy to understand why conservatives would be wringing their hands over a devastating months-long suspension of business and revenues; I understand it, too. Of course, the big corporations stand to benefit from the record $2 trillion stimulus package recently approved by Congress and Trump himself. Let’s just hope the employees of those companies – not to mention all our vulnerable mom-and-pop businesses – see their share of benefits as well. With their income on hold, how many sidelined employees and small businesses can survive without an infusion of public money?

Our libertarian friends must be going apoplectic at the thought of government laying its heavy hand on the free market, even to save businesses crippled by the pandemic. You’d think such interventions would convince even the most obstinate social Darwinist that government is not always the enemy; in this case, it’s the white knight charging to the rescue. Will it convince them, though? I suspect they’ll be fretting about the slippery slope that leads to socialism, and I’ll leave them to their fretting.

Despite the apocalyptic scope of the COVID calamity and its politicization by our resident tribalists, it’s been heartening to witness stellar examples of human warmth and decency: quarantined Italians singing to one another from their balconies… restaurants offering free meals to children… grassroots humanitarians taking food and supplies to isolated senior citizens.

Extraordinary times usually call for extraordinary leaders, but we can’t depend on an inarticulate narcissist for inspiration – even when he happens to do the right thing. We can fantasize about having an FDR, a JFK, a Reagan or an Obama to guide our battered spirits through the pandemic and speak to our better angels. (We Americans desperately need to get in touch with our better angels.) Yet when we hear dire warnings that up to three-quarters of our population might catch the coronavirus, no amount of soaring rhetoric – let alone hand-scrubbing and social distancing – will ease the dread.

It’s up to us, as free individuals living in an interconnected community, to transcend the tribal and embrace the good. We can start listening to voices beyond our private circles, appreciating them for their character, their gritty wisdom, and the unique stories they tell – regardless of whether they vote red or blue. We can bond more deeply with our families and friends, despite the distances between us. If all goes well, we’ll never again take their presence for granted.

We’ll never again take our own existence for granted, either. We all know that our lives are finite, but maybe some of us have been running on autopilot for too long. Our bodies are miraculous machines – our minds even more so – and we should appreciate them while they’re still in working order.

We should probably wake up to the beauty and fascination of our surroundings, too. I’m a habitual walker, and I’ve noticed how poignant it seems that nature is blooming spectacularly even while our minds are consumed by the ongoing plague. Spring will continue to work its magic without sanitizer or safe distancing; you can’t quarantine a grove of cherry trees.

The wisdom of the Earth makes our tribal politics seem petty and pointless. Who were all those Democrats on the debate stage just a few months ago? Does anyone still think about Reince Priebus or Steve Bannon? We’re all transients here, so let’s stop squabbling and start enjoying our stay as friendly neighbors on this endlessly diverting planet. 

Will we still need to throw ideas around for our amusement, edification and disagreement? Of course – as we should. But let’s hope this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has taught us Americans that life is too short – and too great a gift – to squander by holding a grudge. 


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three brilliant (but sadly unsung) essay collections are available in e-book form on Amazon.com for only $2.99 each. Just search under “Rick Bayan.”

Squabbling Toward the Apocalypse: A Moderate’s Lament

February 29, 2020

The other night, as my 16-year-old son was grappling with his insane homework load – seven (count ‘em!) assignments in a single evening – I started wondering why we Americans torture ourselves (and our young people) with such vast and insurmountable quantities of busywork. 

Is it because we love to toil for the sake of toil? Is it for the bragging rights? (See how industrious I am, you effete, brie-eating Euro-softies!) Or could it be that we don’t know how we’d face the ghastly void of life without a well-defined purpose? 

Yes, we’re desperate to avoid the void – by filling it with chores, mental clutter, media addiction… and, of course, rancorous and divisive politics. In just the past month – February, A.D. 2020 – we’ve been treated to a mesmerizing, distracting, void-filling carnival of rip-roaring American political squabbling and nastiness. A few examples:

  • The Senate acquitted President Trump of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” thereby sparing him the ultimate indignity of removal from office. After much acrimonious speechifying on both sides, the votes almost entirely followed the partisan (i.e., tribal) divide. (Strange, isn’t it, how the partisans can look at the same person and see two wildly different presidents.)
  • The next evening, during the annual State of the Union Address, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the terminally ill radio polarizer Rush Limbaugh and promoted a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman to the rank of brigadier general. (Guess which gesture the anti-Trump media chose to focus on, and which one they chose to ignore.)
  • At the conclusion of Trump’s SOTU, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped the text of the president’s speech in full view of Congress, the nation and almighty God – an ostentatiously naughty deed that left no room for reconciliation.
  • Not one to be intimidated by his Democratic foes, Trump promptly dismissed the two underlings who testified against him during the impeachment trial. The move was his prerogative as their boss, but it was a public relations disaster: it cemented Trump’s reputation as a thin-skinned tyrant who needs to surround himself with groveling yes-people.
  • Meanwhile, during Black History Month, Lebanese-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib argued that we must create yet another racial identity group: Middle Easterners and North Africans (MENA). Sorry, Rashida, you’re as white as Danny Thomas (remember him?), and we Americans don’t need to be splintered any more than we already are. We have more than enough self-interested racial/ethnic/sexual/gender factions shouting “Me! Me! Me!”
  • The ongoing Democratic debates deteriorated into a depressing series of insult-fests. You’d think it would have been an easy matter to elevate a candidate who could beat the hands-down looniest president in American history, but the Democrats seem intent on handing Trump another four years. As the candidates battered one another with surprising ferocity, they might not have noticed that Trump’s positive Gallup Poll rating edged out his negative rating this past month for the first time ever.
  • While former New York Mayor and current multibillionaire Michael Bloomberg saturated the airwaves with his bottomless fount of campaign ads, “woke” Democrats essentially forced him to apologize for the “stop and frisk” policy that disproportionately targeted black neighborhoods under his watch. (Of course, the policy also dramatically slashed the number of black crime victims, but nobody on the left seemed to care about that inconvenient statistic.)
  • As the shortest month of the year finally drew to its close, Trump gave us a foretaste of his second term: he called for liberal Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to recuse themselves from any case involving him or his policies. He proclaimed that the dreaded coronavirus pandemic would pass over these states but assigned his science-averse VP Mike Pence to oversee the matter, just in case. And of course, he continued to threaten cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Does his largely cash-strapped base hold it against him? Of course not.

February’s sound and fury gave us an abundance of diversions and distractions to help us avoid the void. Like my son’s overwhelming homework load, our petty Lilliputian political squabbles kept us from looking inward too much for our own good… kept us off the streets… kept us from being hypnotized by the sights, sounds, sensations and textures of real life: the crisp winter air, the glowing sunset sky, the warmth and crackle of a fire in the fireplace, the bracing taste of coffee in our cup, the cheery bonhomie of old friendships and new acquaintances. 

Our manmade diversions also distracted us from the high drama of a world in disarray: the horrific brushfires in Australia, with an estimated one billion animal casualties… the highest temperatures ever recorded in the Antarctic… the inexorable spread of coronavirus from China to the outside world (and its impact on the ever-skittish stock market). 

In the end, what matters most tends to get lost in the ambient chaos: the ability to lead a satisfying and useful life on a healthy planet – a planet overseen by benevolent governments that serve the needs of the governed without favoring one class of people over any other class. Call it the moderate’s dream… I call it sanity.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available as e-books on Amazon for just $2.99 each. (Just go to Amazon and search under Rick Bayan.)

 

Death by Drone: an Immoderate Proposal

January 12, 2020

When 62-year-old Iranian General Qassem Soleimani stepped off a plane in Baghdad on January 3, he probably wasn’t expecting to be blasted into the hereafter. But that’s the nature of surprise attacks: they’re quick, unexpected and often lethal. 

The longtime leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its clandestine QUDS fighting force had no time to gather his thoughts, reflect on his brilliantly wicked career and utter a final prayer to Allah before the angels whisked him to Paradise – or wherever they whisk terrorist kingpins for the remainder of eternity.

President Trump was quick to take credit for the drone strike heard ’round the world. “Last night, at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani,” our chieftain announced. “Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”

We still don’t know exactly how “imminent and sinister” Soleimani’s plans might have been, because the Trump administration has been deliberately vague on the subject. But according to Reuters, there was enough evidence of future mischief to justify stopping the Iranian general in his tracks. 

Retired General David Petraeus opined that the assassination of Soleimani was a bigger deal than our targeted takedowns of Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The latter two terrorists were diminished figures on the run; Soleimani was still in his prime, orchestrating sneak attacks throughout the Middle East. Yes, he had fought against ISIS – no doubt because the would-be Caliphate posed a threat to Iran’s hegemony over the region. But he and his proxy fighters were also responsible for the deaths of at least 600 Americans along with innumerable Syrians and Iraqis. 

Few U.S. and international leaders shed tears over Soleimani’s demise. It was the manner of his departure that elicited whoops of outrage from Trump’s opposition. Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a vocal member of the four-woman “Squad” driving the Democrats ever leftward, tweeted: “We are outraged the president would assassinate a foreign official, possibly setting off another war without Congressional authorization and has zero plan to deal with the consequences.”

The second half of Omar’s tweet actually makes sense: Trump, reckless and most likely clueless as ever, could have triggered all-out war with Iran over his drone strike on Soleimani. (Remember Archduke Franz Ferdinand and World War I?)

Pouring gasoline on the fire, Trump even threatened strikes against 52 historic cultural sites if Iran retaliated against Americans – most likely a strategic bluff, but a wanton and unforgivable crime if carried out. We’re supposed to be better than ISIS and the Taliban, after all.

It’s the first half of Omar’s tweet – the outrage over assassinating a foreign official – that stopped me cold. Many of her Democratic colleagues echoed her anger, and I was left to ponder exactly what they were protesting. Trump couldn’t have announced his plans to Congress without risking a fatal leak, especially with the Squad in attendance. 

No, the outraged Democrats were falling back on our official taboo against taking out enemy leaders. Executive Order 12333, signed by President Reagan in 1981, clearly states: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” 

Similar to earlier rules endorsed by Presidents Ford and Carter, the anti-assassination order was relaxed in 1998 to make an exception for terrorists. “But Soleimani was a state official,” the Democrats chanted almost in unison. Yes, but he was also a terrorist. That made him fair game.

I thought about our peculiar reluctance to terminate state officials who instigate war and terror. We think nothing of sending innocent young men by the thousands (or, in the case of the two World Wars, millions) to kill or be killed by other innocent young men. We might express a modicum of regret over the women and children who get in the way – collateral damage, we call it. 

But when it comes to taking out the actual perpetrators of war – the gloating autocrats, the bloodthirsty generals, the fanatics with fancy titles who rouse their followers to spill blood in the name of God or country – we’re curiously averse to harming a hair on their overinflated heads. 

Could it be that we simply have less regard for ordinary citizens than we do for rulers? That we place a cheaper value on their lives? That we dismiss them as expendable pawns in the great chess games between rival nations? 

If I were a raving leftist, I’d have to conclude that the ruling class invents rules to protect its own. But I’m not a leftist, and I’ve still arrived at the same conclusion. 

Let me make a modest but blatantly immoderate proposal. Instead of shipping young people off to fight and die in wars not of their own making, I say we start targeting the warmongers themselves. Drone technology makes it easy to Soleimanize any despot or warlord who disrupts the peace or brutalizes his own people. 

Imagine if we had been able to dispatch Hitler in 1939 or the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Think of the countless lives saved and the misery averted by a well-aimed missile dropped from a hovering drone. One evil life abruptly terminated could have salvaged the lives and happiness of millions.

But what about a fair trial, you might ask. Shouldn’t we have captured General Soleimani and given him the right to defend himself? I’d answer by asking another question: how many ordinary soldiers are given a fair trial before they’re executed by enemy gunfire?

Of course, we have to think about the consequences of tactical assassination. Archduke Franz Ferdinand still looms large in our historical memory. But if drone attacks can eliminate world-class leaders who preach war and inflict misery, maybe those leaders would think twice before they fulfilled their ambitions on the bodies of young soldiers and innocent civilians.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three grimly humorous essay collections are available in e-book form on Amazon for just $2.99 each.

 

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