The Corner

Politics & Policy

My Dear Wormwood, on the Matter of ‘Racists’ and ‘Debate’

Congratulations on your continued efforts to educate the patient on the flexibility and efficacy of the term “racist.” He appears, quite clearly, to appreciate that its use instantly confers upon him the status of the aggrieved (and, thus, the morally superior) in any debate. Indeed, where properly used, the term forecloses debate altogether, for his opponent will fear “cancellation.” A wonderful tool to advance radical or ridiculous propositions that otherwise could not survive even minimal scrutiny!

The patient may, from time to time, question the term’s effectiveness and utility. He may even briefly consider engaging his opponent (or even the Enemy) in substantive debate.

Do not despair. Simply explain that unlike other overused pejoratives, the potency of “racist” is relatively undiminished by promiscuous use.  On the contrary, once applied, its stain remains nearly indelible, thereby relieving the patient of any need to engage someone so plainly contemptible.

If necessary, gently remind the patient how effective shutting down debate has been throughout history. (Remember 1917? No, you are too young. Trust me, it was glorious.) In so doing, however, take care that he does not view his actions as similar to those of other patients from past — shall we say, challenging — eras. This may produce in him a sense of shame or guilt, two utterly useless qualities. Assure him that debate is unnecessary because all right-thinking people (of which he is one) know the issue is settled, and he is, after all, on the side of progress, as were all of our most celebrated patients throughout history.

In my next letter, dear nephew, I shall endeavor to instruct on the proper use of the felicitous term, “social justice.”

(Apologies to Mr. Lewis.)

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