Liberal Fascism

Since (Sotomayor’s) Racialism is in the News

I thought this excerpt from the book might be of interest:

    The glorification of racial permanence has caused the left to abandon

narrow rationales for affirmative action in favor of the doctrine

of multiculturalism. The diversity argument—which, by the way, is

only used to defend favored groups; Asians and Jews almost never

count toward the goal of diversity—is an argument for the permanence

of race and identity. In other words, if the left has its way,

racial preferences will no longer have anything to do with redressing

past wrongs (except when such preferences are under attack).

Rather, the pursuit of diversity will become the permanent license

for social-engineering bean counters to discriminate against whatever

group they see fit in order to reach the desired “balance.” For example,

quotas unfairly kept Jews out of universities to help white

Protestants. Now quotas unfairly keep Jews (and Asians) out of universities

to help blacks and Hispanics. What’s different is that now

liberals are sure such policies are a sign of racial progress.

Diversity depends on, and therefore ratifies, racial essentialism.

Not only do rich (and, increasingly, foreign-born) blacks count as

much as poor ones, but the argument now is that mere exposure to

blacks is uplifting in and of itself. The policy is condescending and

counterproductive because it assumes that blacks come to school not

as Tom Smith or Joe Jones but as interchangeable Black-Perspective

Student. Professors turn to black students for “the black point of

view,” and students who don’t present the party line are counted as

inauthentic by condescending white liberals (that is, most faculty

and administrators) or by race-gaming blacks. I’ve been to dozens of

campuses, and everywhere the story is the same: blacks eat, party,

and live with other blacks. This self-segregation increasingly manifests

itself in campus politics. Blacks become a student body within

a student body, a microcosm of the nation within a nation. Ironically,

the best way for a white kid to benefit from exposure to a black kid,

and vice versa, would be for there to be fewer black students or at

least no black dorms. That way blacks would be forced to integrate

with the majority culture. But of course, integration is now derided

as a racist doctrine.

    You might say it’s outrageous to compare the current liberal program

to help minorities with the poisonous ideology of fascism and

Nazism. And I would agree if we were talking about things like the

Holocaust or even Kristallnacht. But at the philosophical level, we

are talking about categorical ways of thinking. To forgive something

by saying “it’s a black thing” is philosophically no different from

saying “it’s an Aryan thing.” The moral context matters a great deal.

But the excuse is identical. Similarly, rejecting the Enlightenment

for “good” reasons is still a rejection of the Enlightenment. And

any instrumental or pragmatic gains you get from rejecting the

Enlightenment still amount to taking a sledgehammer to the soapbox

you’re standing on. Without the standards of the Enlightenment, we

are in a Nietzschean world where power decides important questions

rather than reason. This is exactly how the left appears to want it.

One last point about diversity. Because liberals have what Thomas

Sowell calls an “unconstrained vision,” they assume everyone sees

things through the same categorical prism. So once again, as with the

left’s invention of social Darwinism, liberals assume their ideological

opposites take the “bad” view to their good. If liberals assume

blacks—or women, or gays—are inherently good, conservatives

must think these same groups are inherently bad.

    This is not to say that there are no racist conservatives. But at the

philosophical level, liberalism is battling a straw man. This is why

liberals must constantly assert that conservatives use code words—

because there’s nothing obviously racist about conservatism per se.

Indeed, the constant manipulation of the language to keep conservatives—

and other non-liberals—on the defensive is a necessary tactic

for liberal politics. The Washington, D.C., bureaucrat who was fired

for using the word “niggardly” correctly in a sentence is a case in

point.64 The ground must be constantly shifted to maintain a climate

of grievance. Fascists famously ruled by terror. Political correctness

isn’t literally terroristic, but it does govern through fear. No serious

person can deny that the grievance politics of the American left

keeps decent people in a constant state of fright—they are afraid to

say the wrong word, utter the wrong thought, offend the wrong constituency.

If we maintain our understanding of political conservatism as

the heir of classical liberal individualism, it is almost impossible

for a fair-minded person to call it racist. And yet, according to liberals,

race neutrality is itself racist. It harkens back to the “social

Darwinism” of the past, we are told, because it relegates minorities

to a savage struggle for the survival of the fittest.

    There are only three basic positions. There is the racism of the

left, which seeks to use the state to help favored minorities that it regards

as morally superior. There is racial neutrality, which is, or has

become, the conservative position. And then there is some form of

“classical racism”—that is, seeing blacks as inferior in some way.

According to the left, only one of these positions isn’t racist. Race

neutrality is racist. Racism is racist. So what’s left? Nothing except

liberalism. In other words, agree with liberals and you’re not racist.

Of course, if you adopt color blindness as a policy, many fair-minded

liberals will tell you that while you’re not personally racist, your

views “perpetuate” racism. And some liberals will stand by the fascist

motto: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Either way, there are no safe harbors from liberal ideology.

Hence, when it comes to race, liberalism has become a kind of soft

totalitarianism and multiculturalism the mechanism for a liberal

Gleichschaltung. If you fall outside the liberal consensus, you are

either evil or an abettor of evil. This is the logic of the Volksgemeinschaft

in politically correct jargon.

    Now, of course you’re not going to get a visit from the Gestapo if

you see the world differently; if you don’t think the good kind of diversity

is skin deep or that the only legitimate community is the one

where “we’re all in it together,” you won’t be dragged off to reeducation

camp. But you very well may be sent off to counseling or sensitivity

training.

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