Skip to content

Common Nonsense: a Moderate’s Rant

April 30, 2021

 A few days ago a good friend posed an intriguing question on her Facebook page: “Common sense is no longer so common, is it?” My reply: “There’s too much common nonsense these days.”

America used to be a bastion of common sense: think of Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Will Rogers or Harry Truman. What do these four gentlemen have in common, aside from being dead white males? To begin with, none of them possessed a college degree. Even more to the point, all four were fiercely independent thinkers.

Despite the ongoing transformation of our colleges into woke indoctrination centers, I still like to believe that the quest for knowledge is one of life’s most exhilarating pursuits. But it needs to be pursued rigorously, without absorbing and regurgitating the compulsory intellectual doctrines du jour. At the same time, we need to beware of grassroots ignorance passed along in defiance of fact and reason.

Today’s hyper-polarized Americans lean heavily on social media, slanted news networks, “Grievance Studies” professors and a host of prejudiced pundits. (As a minor pundit myself, I freely confess that my prejudice runs toward moderation.) The majority of Americans have been choosing information sources that affirm their own biases while they reject anything that smacks of heresy.

Heresy? I don’t use that archaic word lightly. For today’s extreme partisans, political beliefs have acquired the status of holy writ: believers recite the same verses, pray to the same idols and (at least on the left) punish the infidels. Their beliefs have grown absurd and alarmingly widespread on both sides: in other words, they amount to common nonsense.

What categories of common nonsense have I detected? Let’s take a look:

Circular logic. I’ve asked Second Amendment diehards why they feel it’s their sacred right to own guns equipped with magazines that can mow down 60 or more humans in as many seconds. Can’t they be content with hunting rifles and six-shooters? After all, their right to bear arms doesn’t extend to bazookas and flame-throwers. If an armed intruder broke into their home, do they really need 60 or 80 or 100 rounds to take him out? Their usual answer: “We need our assault weapons to defend ourselves against the government agents who come for our assault weapons.” But if you didn’t have those assault weapons in the first place… oh, never mind. (And good luck using them against tanks and military drones.)

Cherry-picked evidence. We’ve all become excruciatingly aware of police violence against black people, and it’s true that police too often use lethal force when they could use other methods to subdue a suspect. But here’s the rub: police killings only make national news when the victim is a person of color. If you watch a steady diet of CNN, for example, you’d never know that police kill roughly 2 ½ times as many whites as blacks. (Surprised?) Yes, blacks are still overrepresented among the victims, but it’s hardly racial genocide perpetrated by a white supremacist establishment. Because we only hear about victims of color, blacks begin to believe that America wants them dead. As a result, they’re understandably more inclined to overreact when stopped by police. And there’s the ultimate irony: the woke news media, by presenting only one side of the story, indirectly contribute to more tragic encounters – and more news stories about blacks murdered by police. Cherry-picking leads us to the next form of common nonsense…

Sacred narratives. Both the left and the right cling to them: whites as congenital oppressors, with blacks as eternal victims… Trump’s stolen election… government safety nets leading us down the slippery slope to communism… conspiracy theories about vaccinations and scientists. The fringes spawn their scriptures, and the faithful become true believers. Some black scholars try to convince us that grammar, math, objectivity and nuclear families are symptoms of white supremacy, nefariously designed to keep blacks from advancing in society. And of course, many on the right refused to mask up during the pandemic because they believed the government was intent on robbing them of their freedom. (I’m sure they feel robbed of their freedom when they’re forced to stop at a red light, but they stop anyway; fewer fatal collisions that way.)

Tribalism. Sure, humans are tribal by nature; that’s why we have nations, religions and sports teams. But tribalism has assumed an even greater role in the age of identity politics. In the U.S., allegiance to one’s tribe now supersedes allegiance to country. Members of the Trump tribe stormed the Capitol rather than admit defeat. BLM and its allies have centered all of American history around the nation’s mistreatment of blacks. Gay rights activists have their own flag, as do police supporters, environmentalists, and latter-day Confederates. And of course, Republicans and Democrats have never been farther apart on the issues; they’ve become mutually hostile tribes as well. Remember E Pluribus Unum? The Unum part seems to be history now.

The hierarchy of intersectionality. Identity politics can create strange rivalries among those who consider themselves marginalized. For example, it’s clear that women’s testimonies outweigh men’s accounts in sexual harassment lawsuits. But what happens when a man who believes he’s a woman wants to compete in women’s sports? You’d think the loudest squawks of protest would emanate from the feminist camp. Yet it’s the conservatives and moderates who generally oppose the idea of biological men competing against biological women. It’s unfair to women, they insist. And it’s the woke camp (including, no doubt, legions of left-leaning feminists) that welcomes the transgender athletes – possibly for the pleasure of being able to dub the opposition as “transphobic.” So at least among progressives, the rights of trans-gals trump the rights of biological women. (And of course, straight white males hold the bottom rung on the intersectional ladder.)

Double standards and double binds. Primarily a tool of the woke left. If white people ignore the problems of blacks, they’re racist. If they try to help, they have a “white savior” complex. If they criticize black people for any reason, they’re racist. If they can’t take criticism from black people, they’re exhibiting “white fragility.” Ignore black culture, and you’re racist. Borrow from black culture, and you stand accused of cultural appropriation. You get the picture.

Confirmation bias. Partisans of both camps use it to sustain their narratives. A climate change denialist, for example, will read about a March blizzard sweeping through half the Midwest and think, “Aha! We’re in a cooling phase, just as I suspected.” Meanwhile the glaciers continue to melt and the Earth’s median temperatures have been rising every decade.

You’d think that all these tools for promoting common nonsense would give their adherents a glowing sense of satisfaction… the exhilaration of righteous triumph over the opposition… in short, the certainty that their world-view, though bent to their biases and short on facts, is the world-view that will prevail.

Instead, these distorted beliefs just make everyone angry. The true believers stew in their chronic resentment while they infuriate their enemies and alienate the moderates who might otherwise aid their cause.

What’s to be done? Short of resurrecting Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Harry Truman, we could use a revival of old-fashioned American common sense. Let’s be skeptical of ideologies; they’re the second-hand clothes of the intellectual world. If we can’t find unbiased news sources, let’s listen to both sides of a story, weigh the evidence and draw our own conclusions. 

We need to be intolerant of intolerance, whether it springs from the right or the left. Above all, we have to start regarding those who disagree with us as valid fellow-humans – even as potential friends. Do we like pizza, dogs and children? That’s a start. Do we want everyone to be as happy and fulfilled as possible? Even better. Do we value truth and fairness? Well, let’s see if we can finally agree on what those tricky words mean.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three dark-humored essay collections are available in e-book form on Amazon for only $2.99 each. (Just search under Rick Bayan and order your favorite titles. You won’t regret your investment.)

The Golden Idol Addresses the GOP Faithful

March 2, 2021

Six weeks after the storming of the Capitol by fanatical Trumpistas, the Instigator-in-Chief emerged from hibernation to address the right-wing faithful in sunny Orlando. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was meeting there to rally the troops and set the tone for the future of the embattled GOP.

These weren’t the good gray Republican gentlefolk of yore. Eisenhower and George Bush the Elder would have felt like aliens here. This GOP crowd was predominantly young, rowdy and eager for conquest. They cheered the current crop of conservative Republican standard-bearers, but they saved their purest passion for the keynote speaker: Old #45 himself.

They prepared the way for their idol by setting up a golden effigy – a life-size caricature so comical and grotesque that it could have been created by Democrats. (It came from Mexico, of all places.) A cynic could observe that the gilded head and American flag gym shorts captured all the dignity that Trump had brought to his office – along with the artistic sensibilities of his hardcore base.

It’s possible that the golden statue was crafted with a sense of mischievous fun, but satirical wit isn’t among the more prominent attributes of Trumpian culture. The statue became a shrine, a golden calf for the lost tribe wandering in the desert since last November.

Trump took the podium and immediately cast his spell. “Do you miss me?” he asked. And the crowd roared the response he wanted to hear. “We love you… we love you,” his worshipers chanted in unison.

Trump promptly returned the love: “The brave Republicans gathered in this room will be at the heart of the effort to oppose the radical Democrats, fake news media and their toxic cancel culture.” That last phrase woke me up, since I regard the left’s cancel culture as a step toward Orwellian thought-control. Was Trump speaking to me?

For a borderline-obese man in his mid-70s who subsists on cheeseburgers and fries, Trump is still, almost supernaturally, a figure of remarkable vitality. Say what you will about his chronic uncouthness, narcissism, grandiosity and uncertain relationship to the facts, he can still wow a sympathetic audience. He was in vintage Trumpian form that day in Orlando.

The deposed president glossed over the attempted insurrection of January 6 while still insisting that he was robbed of his rightful victory by a rigged system. “You won… you won,” the crowd chanted – and clearly they all believed it.

Trump touted his accomplishments as president, including an empowered military that reduced ISIS to a shadow of its former self… the lowest unemployment figures on record for African-Americans and Latinos… and his generally overlooked Operation Warp Speed, which resulted in three American companies developing Covid vaccines less than a year into the pandemic.

Did he stop to commemorate the half-million casualties and empathize with their families? Did he confess that he didn’t take the “Chinese virus” seriously enough as a once-in-a-century health crisis? No, humility and contrition are as foreign to Trump as Sanskrit.

Breaking with polite precedent, the former chieftain launched into an attack on his successor’s offenses: from “making America into a sanctuary nation” (by releasing illegal immigrants into the streets without a plan) to the LGBTQ Equality Act (presumably forcing biological females to compete against transgender biological males in women’s sports) to delaying in-person schooling for the nation’s children. Reasonable points regarding complicated issues? Let’s grant him that much, even if not all the woes he mentioned can be directly attributed to Biden.

But calm reason was never Trump’s strong suit, so he followed by taking aim at the fellow Republicans who dared to vote for his impeachment (in Congress) and conviction (in the Senate). He called out the traitors by name, assuring that they’d face the wrath of the faithful in any primaries they’d be entering. In the Trumposphere, nobody challenges the head man and lives to tell about it.

Trump dispelled the rumor that he was orchestrating a split from the GOP. “I am not starting a new party,” Trump reassured the crowd. “That was fake news.”

I was sorely disappointed by this last announcement. If Trump and his cult deserted the GOP to form a breakaway “Patriot Party,” the sensible old Republican mainstream would have a chance to recover its soul. But it was not to be: the angry, lowbrow, conspiracy-haunted Trump base would continue to dominate the GOP for the foreseeable future.

So much for the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and good General Eisenhower. Trump would continue to mold Republicanism in his image. Even after his inevitable demise, I could imagine his preserved head muttering threats and insults from inside an electronically powered glass dome.

It’s all in accordance with Bayan’s Law of Cultural Energy, which goes something like this: In any conflict between cultures, the more energetic side tends to prevail. Cultural baggage, subtlety and refinement are actually liabilities. Just as the northern barbarians prevailed over decadent Rome… just as rock music and rap prevailed over Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole… the rowdy, rampaging element of the GOP seems poised to shove the likes of Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney to the sidelines.

With the rise of angry Trump zealots to the right of us and angry “woke” ideologues to the left of us, is there any hope for reason and cooperation in American politics?

I say there is. Sensible moderate Democrats simply need to join forces with sensible moderate Republicans. Whether the moderates launch a third party is almost irrelevant. I’d welcome such a party, of course, but we have to remember that no new political party has permanently taken root in the U.S. since the Republicans arrived on the scene in 1854.

What’s more important is that the moderates in both parties forge an informal coalition, a bond of sanity united in opposition to the extremists in both parties. They’d vote together on important issues and prevent the loudest partisans from dominating the rest of us. 

But what if, come primary time, the fanatics in either party run fellow-fanatics against the moderates – and the fanatics win? Well, then it might be time to do the difficult work of building a new party. In short, a centrist party dedicated to fighting polarization, striving for even-handed justice, and restoring a sense of common national purpose without favoring one class over any other class.

It’s a tall order – but it might be a necessary one. After all, when Trump speculated about the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, he skirted the issue with a playfully evasive answer: “I wonder who…”

Let’s not take a chance on reviving the most willfully reckless and divisive presidency in memory. We moderates need to gather our energy, link arms and overpower the fanatics who would rip America apart. 


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available for only $2.99 each wherever e-books are sold. (Just search under Rick Bayan.)

Three Wednesdays That Shook the Nation

January 31, 2021

It didn’t take long for 2021 to rival its tumultuous predecessor.

2020 was a tough act to follow: a global pandemic that wouldn’t quit… prominently publicized police killings of black people… Black Lives Matter protests that spiraled into nationwide riots and anarchy… an insistent and pervasive “reckoning” about America’s history of racism… the mainstreaming of “woke” politics on the left and increasingly militant Trumpism on the right… a contentious presidential campaign followed by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to concede defeat.

It’s not easy to top such a year, but 2021 opened with the promise of even greater national discord and derangement. The first three Wednesdays alone were enough to both shake us and stir us, with reverberations heard around the world.

Wednesday, January 6: the insurrection

President Trump claimed the election was rigged, as we expected he might. He challenged several of the swing states and didn’t get the results he wanted. Then, on January 6, he incited his base to march to the Capitol and stop the official electoral vote as it was being tallied.

Did Trump incite them to storm the Capitol, wreak havoc and disrupt the vote by force? Not explicitly, but he knew the situation was potentially explosive and he lit the fuse. Still not convinced? He watched on TV as the mob rioted, broke into the Capitol and rampaged through the halls as our representatives stopped counting the votes and ran for cover. He needed to condemn the attempted insurrection on the spot; he didn’t, and that made him complicit by default.

Video footage of the assault was terrifying to watch: hundreds of deranged protesters, many of them armed, broke down doors and windows, attacked police and screamed death threats against House Speaker Pelosi and even Vice President Pence. They might have carried out their bloody revenge if a heroic Capitol police guard hadn’t lured them away from their intended targets. As it was, at least five people died – police and rioters alike.

The relative ease with which the mob broke into the citadel of American democracy raised suspicions that at least some Capitol police were complicit in the attempted coup. Unsubstantiated rumors swirled that Trump himself had ordered them to stand down and let the insurrectionists proceed.

Had Trump lost the last vestige of his sanity? Was our president a deranged man or just a diabolical one? Whatever his mental state, he had finally ventured into the land beyond the pale.

Trump’s name, already tarnished by his congenital narcissism, serial lying, reckless tweeting and contempt for civil discourse, will likely enter future American history books as a synonym for villainy: the first president to incite an assault on the Capitol, Congress and the electoral process. Whatever good he accomplished (and yes, this moderate acknowledges that at least a few of his policies were praiseworthy among the many that weren’t) will be lost amid his final act of belligerent megalomania. In a weird twist, he’ll achieve the immortality he undoubtedly feels he deserves.

Wednesday, January 13: the impeachment. 

We could see it coming: Trump needed to be punished, and Congressional Democrats wouldn’t let the chance slip away. Although the president would be leaving the White House the following week, he’d be subjected to the humiliation of another trial in the Senate: the first president in history to be impeached twice.

It would be a mostly partisan affair: every House Democrat voted for impeachment while 201 out of 211 Republicans voted against it. Would impeaching Trump just generate more bad blood between our already antagonistic parties? Would it satisfy the revenge fantasies of the “Never Trumpers” who detested him from Day One – at the price of further enraging his fanatically loyal base? Wasn’t the incoming Biden presidency supposed to be about reconciliation?

As a moderate who voted against Trump in 2016, I had hoped that this most immoderate of men might grow into the presidency. I could see him using his rogue populist bravado to govern with blunt common sense, break the power of the corporatist establishment and send the lobbyists packing. Yes, he definitely turned out to be a populist – the kind of populist demagogue who veers dangerously close to fascism. And yes, he definitely went rogue – his rude nature, erratic pronouncements and alarming deficit of empathy alienated most of the nation’s thinking class.

When he finally went off the rails after losing the 2020 election, twisting arms to “find” missing votes and still desperately insisting that he won by a landslide, it was clear that his term would come to an ugly end. And so it did.

But the question remains: Why go through the motions of impeachment when 1) Trump had only a week remaining in office and 2) there was virtually no chance of a conviction in the Senate? Wouldn’t a censure have been enough? Couldn’t we wait for his inevitable downfall in the jumble of lawsuits that are certain to plague him in the coming months? The short answer: Trump needed to be punished by whatever means possible for inciting a rebellion.

Wednesday, January 20: the inauguration and the first executive orders.

As Joe Biden took the oath of office on the same Capitol steps that witnessed the insurrection two Wednesdays earlier, hope seemed to permeate the air. Immeasurable relief, too – because a dark episode in American history was finally behind us. Or was it?

Biden’s inaugural address soared with almost Lincolnesque appeals to our better angels — for binding up the nation’s wounds and moving forward as a united people.

”With unity we can do great things, important things,” the fledgling 78-year-old president told us. “Without unity, there is no peace. Only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

He pledged to be “a president for all Americans.’ And he promised that “I will fight as hard for for those who did not support me as for those who did.”

Biden eloquently addressed the deep divide in the polarized nation whose leadership he inherited. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this – if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

Wise words, but would they stick? And would Biden himself stick to them?

That very evening, the new president signed 17 executive orders. Most of them were fair enough: COVID-related measures, extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, an ethics pledge for Executive Branch employees, and reversals of Trump’s anti-environmental policies.

But he also ventured into controversial areas that were sure to ruffle feathers on the right: stopping ICE deportations, canceling the Keystone Pipeline project, and halting construction of the Mexican border wall.

He also tossed Trump’s controversial “1776 Commission,” which sought to combat the leftist 1619 Project with a “patriotic” rewriting of American history. Was Biden’s executive order a tacit approval of the white-bashing Critical Race Theory being disseminated in classrooms and boardrooms across the country? Probably not, but of course he issued no executive order discarding CRT as a teaching tool.

Biden also issued an EO banning workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. Fair enough, right? But some conservatives interpreted this order as a green light allowing male-to-female transgender athletes to compete against honest-to-God women and use their locker rooms. There was nothing in the order to explicitly support their concerns; at the same time, there was nothing in it to dismiss them.

In short, Biden has raced to undo Trump’s legacy by fiat, just as Trump raced to undo Obama’s. Many if not most of Biden’s executive orders have been praiseworthy; some have been questionable; all of them have been one-man proclamations. Is this Biden’s interpretation of “unity”? Is he forging a new model for centering more power in the presidency?

When a new alpha lion takes over a pride, he generally kills all the cubs sired by his predecessor. With a savage display of raw power, the new monarch eliminates the defeated lion’s DNA from the group and promptly impregnates the lionesses with his own DNA. (Who would have suspected that lions were four-footed geneticists?)

Joe Biden is a man of decent instincts, so we moderates should probably wait a little longer before we start questioning his unilateral approach to national unity. He’s doing what he believes is necessary to dispel the nightmares spawned by four years of Trumpdom. If he moves too far toward compulsory “wokeness,” we need to speak up.

A larger question: do we even need unity to move forward together as a nation? Moving forward together is essential; unity on all issues is not. We can be friendly adversaries who debate politics over dinner and drinks. We can trade lively barbs like the college students of an earlier generation, hear each other out, disagree heartily but forget our differences when we stop arguing about politics and enjoy the common humanity that binds us. That’s the ideal, and we need to pursue it now more than ever.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available in e-book form on Amazon (and elsewhere) for just $2.99 each.

Looking Past the Apocalypse

December 31, 2020

If you’ve ever dreamed about living in a dystopian sci-fi novel, 2020 was your year. Combine a rampant plague with social isolation, race riots, economic shutdown, Zoom gatherings, a reckless president spreading madness across the political spectrum, right-wing militias and left-wing cancel culture… mix well… and there you have it: an Orwellian nightmare vision of a society headed down the chute toward dissolution.

If an Orwellian nightmare isn’t your idea of the Good Life, don’t despair just yet. You’re reading this column, right? That means you’ve survived the most catastrophic year of our lives to date — an achievement in which you can take justifiable pride.

Over two decades ago, after enduring an especially dismal year, I wrote that “at least I’m still standing… my arms and legs still work. I still have my original head, though I could probably use a new one at this point.” If your original arms, legs and head are still in reasonable working order after the ordeals of 2020, it would be fitting and proper to give thanks.

In fact, 2021 will mark the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving, just as 2020 marked the 400th anniversary of their arrival in Massachusetts –- a feat broadly ignored by the press and public during a year of racial “reckoning.” I suspect that those intrepid white settlers offend most progressives today, despite their courage and stoicism, their peaceful relations with the natives (it was the later Puritan arrivals who stirred the pot), and the fact that half of them died by the end of their first brutal winter in the New World.

Once we’ve survived the winter of 2021 and received our vaccinations, we’ll be stepping out into an America transformed by the pandemic and so much else. Familiar restaurants, shops and other small businesses will have vanished. Watching movies in darkened theaters might already be a lost pastime, like taffy pulls and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Telecommuting could become a way of life for the corporate class.

Millions of jobs could simply go extinct like dodos and woolly mammoths, victims of artificial intelligence, changing habits and disruptive technologies that emerged during our plague year. The recent bickering in Washington over Covid stimulus checks will pale in comparison to the relief packages proposed when half the working-age population has been rendered obsolete and unemployable.

Will we ever see an end to racial tension, demands, riots and resentments? America is an excruciatingly race-conscious society, now more than ever. The mounting rage over unjust but relatively infrequent police killings of black people, exploited by ratings-driven media and “woke” pundits, boiled over last year to a degree unseen since the late 1960s.

We can’t live in a society that expects the majority of its citizens to flagellate themselves simply because they were born white. We also can’t live in a society that pressures us to toss our founders into history’s dumpster – or that finds ways to punish us if we refuse to parrot the latest pieties.

We can hope that old Joe Biden emerges as the unifying figure he promised to be: a man who promotes racial, social and economic justice without cowering before unreasonable militants and their fashionable allies. Of course, he can’t be a unifying figure if Trump loyalists, still smoldering, refuse to accept his leadership.

Granted, the left never accepted Trump’s leadership, but #45 wouldn’t have had it any other way. He was president of his base, not his country. An American president can’t dismiss half the population and expect to lead the republic.

If all goes well, Biden would set up a bigger tent — one that welcomes Republican dairy farmers and used car dealers along with Berkeley professors and civil rights advocates. If he governs as a moderate liberal in the style of JFK, he’ll be in a position to draw the more reasonable Republicans and Democrats back toward the center. The extremists at both ends will never surrender their grievances, but a sensible coalition of traditional liberals, centrists and conservatives can marginalize them until their strident voices recede into the background.

2021 is time for a national wake-up call. The United States, that grand 18th-century experiment in representative democracy, won’t survive if half its people continue to detest the other half. (And yes, that goes for you well-meaning folks with the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs on your lawns.)

Blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans… Democrats, Republicans and Independents… Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists… socialists and capitalists… Southerners and Yankees… intellectuals and checkout clerks… gays and straights and everyone in between: guess what? You’re all Americans if you live here, and our flag belongs to all of you. It’s time you made friends with people who don’t resemble you physically, socially or ideologically. In fact, you have no choice: the future of your country depends on it.

Keep the faith, fellow moderates – we might be neglected, mocked and downtrodden, but we’re more essential than ever. Meanwhile, let’s look forward to a happier New Year. If we can survive 2020, we can survive just about anything the fates throw our way.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available as e-books on Amazon for only $2.99 each. (Just search under Rick Bayan.)


November 30, 2020

When an employee gets the boot, it’s customary for the displaced person to pack up and leave the same day – sometimes with an official escort to ensure that the evicted one departs without engaging in acts of theft or sabotage.

A defeated president has nearly three months to clear the way for his successor, and to date none of them have required an escort to push them out the door. It’s too early to say if Donald Trump will be the lone exception, but the man is still crying foul nearly a month after Joe Biden bested him in both the popular and electoral vote tallies. He rants, he rage-tweets, he unleashes his legal hounds on the swing states that narrowly defeated him. Surely those corrupt vote counters, or the conspiratorial governors, or the FBI, or the CIA deliberately hid untold thousands of Trump votes that would have put him over the top – right?

He seems to grow more deranged and paranoid by the day, if possible. Or, just as likely, he’s putting on a helluva show to whip his loyal base into a frenzy. Either way, Trump refuses to go gently. He’s made a few mild overtures toward the incoming administration, but he still won’t concede. Even Nixon, who arguably was cheated out of the presidency when he ran against JFK in 1960, immediately conceded for the good of the country. Such selfless thinking is as alien to Trump as art, science or stamp collecting. The only good he cares about is the Trump brand.

 It has to be the ultimate in cognitive dissonance for Trump to acknowledge that he’s been fired. After all, he’s the one who has always done the firing. It’ll be a strange new world for the defeated potentate. He’s had to put up with torrents of abuse from snooty Democrats for the past four years – and now THIS. The bubble is popped, the magic undone, and he’ll have to slink off into the sunset like any mere mortal worth a billion dollars.

Meanwhile, plucky old Joe Biden is preparing to take the reins. At the very least, it’ll be refreshing to see a man with recognizable human emotions occupy the White House. (How can you not love a guy who fractures his foot while romping with a dog?

We can predict that Biden will choose a cabinet that “looks like America,” in the current parlance of the progressive wing of his party. Yet, for all the posturing of the militant progressives, Biden is an old-fashioned moderate-liberal Democrat: an earthy, plain-spoken product of Pennsylvania’s coal country, with a backbone and ample common sense to match his big heart. I don’t see him kowtowing to the woke folk or driving us down the slippery slope to socialism, as the alarmists would have us believe.

If he succeeds and manages to serve out his term with his body and faculties intact, Biden can persuade our coastal elites, alienated racial minorities, suburbanites and angry white working class that they all belong to the same great nation. It won’t be an easy task to reunite a fractured America, but Biden is probably our last, best hope for bridging the deep divide. The New Moderate wishes him (and America) a smooth transition and a happy four-year term.

Now for some other transitions The New Moderate would like to see during the next four years and beyond: 

Hyperpartisanship –> cooperation. What’s good for the party isn’t necessarily good for the country. Our political class needs to rethink the “us vs. them” mentality that has sabotaged the last two presidential administrations. Of course the two parties won’t always agree – nor should they — but they must move beyond the myopic confines of hostile partisanship if they’re going to govern wisely. If they continue on the current course, we’ll need to break the stranglehold of the Republican-Democrat duopoly either by supporting independent candidates (so that neither party enjoys a majority) or by doing the unthinkable and forming a national centrist party (preferably with a more exciting name).

Oligarchy –> true representative democracy. Let’s face it: lobbyists, Wall Street and corporate interests pull the strings in Congress. We could use a good populist president to drive the money changers out of Washington. Barring that, we need an outright ban on political bribery – by Constitutional amendment if necessary. Conscientious Republicans and Democrats can unite behind this all-important cause. Another suggestion: Extend Congressional terms from two to six years so our representatives aren’t constantly in campaign mode.

Extreme wealth disparities –> reasonable distribution of wealth. No, not socialism… what I’d like to see is a return to the more equitable wealth distribution of the post-World War II era. Sorry, but not even the best CEOs deserve to earn 400 times the salary of the average worker. (The typical ratio was more like 15-1 during the Eisenhower years.) We need to re-introduce higher taxes on astronomical incomes, put ordinary workers on corporate boards, and halt our progression toward a neo-feudal society of lords and serfs.

Tribalism –> unity. Identity politics has been the scourge of the century in American society. It’s reached the point where we’ve split into isolated “communities” that have nothing to do with geography – or other Americans. It’s commendable to be a proud member of your own tribe, but membership in American society must always come first.

Police as enforcers –> police as protectors. BLM and its allies may have gone off the rails in depicting a genocidal campaign by police against black men (thanks mainly to cherry-picked news stories), but police reform – especially in the inner cities – is seriously overdue. Defunding the police isn’t the answer; instead, cities need to train their cops to use lethal weapons more sparingly, build trust, and emphasize their role in defending their communities against violent offenders. No more needless shootings over broken tail lights!

Agenda-driven news –> unbiased news. Nothing has polarized American society like the ideological amen corners of our chosen news sources. The internet and cable news have been the prime culprits, and it will be a colossal challenge to keep them honest. Fact-checking sites are a godsend (if only we’d use them more often), but of course the preferred solution would be a proliferation of moderate and neutral newspapers, magazines, cable news stations and websites. After watching the mid-region of American politics shrink over the past decade, I’m not especially optimistic. But we can still fight the good fight to deliver our fellow citizens from the echo chambers of willfully distorted media.

Isolationism –> global leadership. Trump wasn’t wrong to pull back from our overextended commitment to policing the world, but he pulled back too far. We need to resume our central role in the global community, or else we surrender power to the likes of Germany, Russia and China. We shouldn’t revive our compulsively interventionist foreign policy of yore – or require a military budget bigger than that of the next twelve nations combined. But we should seize the opportunity to mediate international disputes and showcase our democratic (small D) values on an international stage. The world needs us again.

Pandemic –> reopened society. Goes without saying: we all want our freedom back. But it can’t happen until we’re vaccinated. Meanwhile, wear those masks and keep your distance!

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

All material in The New Moderate copyright 2007-2020 by Rick Bayan. Feel free to share as long as you credit me (and The New Moderate) as your source.

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.


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.


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.”)


%d bloggers like this: