Equity: the beautiful and ruinous idea 7

This is a very interesting and convincing account of what has happened in South Africa as a result of a dangerous idea.

It is also a warning to America, threatened by the same dangerous idea.

We reproduce the article in full.

Rian Malan writes at the New York Post:

As South Africa erupted into chaos, my thoughts turned to the United States — a great country brought low by the same toxic and demented racial politics that set afire my homeland last week.

As I write, shell-shocked South Africans are trying to muster a response to an orgy of arson and looting. Cargo vessels are being turned away from some of our largest harbors, because it’s too dangerous to unload them. Hundreds of thousands face hunger thanks to the destruction of warehouses and disruption of food-supply chains. Tens of thousands of jobs and small businesses have been destroyed; the property damage is incalculable.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s refusal to be held accountable for corruption triggered this mayhem. Rather than face the prospect of imprisonment and disgrace, he seems to have attempted a preemptive coup against his successor.

But this is just part of the picture. The overarching truth is that an idea pushed South Africa to the brink. You guys know this idea, because it animates the sermons of critical race theorists trying to force you to take the knee and atone for your supposed sins. I am going to call it the Beautiful Idea, because it is beautiful in a way — but also dangerous.

The Beautiful Idea holds that all humans are born with identical gifts and should turn out to be clones of one another in a just society. Conversely, any situation in which disparity survives is in itself proof of injustice. This is the line promoted by CRT pundit Ibram X. Kendi, who blames all racial disparities on racist policies.

But what policies is he talking about? Kendi is reluctant to be drawn on this score, and with good reason: He can’t name the policies, because they don’t exist anymore. In your country, all discriminatory laws have been repealed, all forms of overt racism outlawed and replaced by laws that enforce preferential black access to jobs, housing and college admissions.

So Kendi must insist that an invisible miasma of “systemic racism” infects white people and propels them to act in ways so subtly racist that most of them aren’t even aware they’re sick until it is pointed out to them by diversity consultants.

Once upon a time, South African revolutionaries would have laughed at this sort of thing. Until the mid-1980s, the aims of our freedom struggle were the eradication of capitalism and the creation of a classless society where equity would be enforced at gunpoint by commissars. But the Soviet Union collapsed just as the African National Congress started its rise to power, forcing our new leaders to embrace economic policies of the neoliberal variety.

This didn’t set well with the hard left, which openly reviled President Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008) as a sellout. To mollify them, Mbeki set about building a black middle and upper class that would reap the fruits of neoliberalism and thank him for it.

The object of this new game was not to destroy capitalism, but to force it to open its doors to aspirant blacks. Starting in l999, Mbeki’s government enacted a phalanx of American-sounding laws intended to eradicate racial disparities of the sort that exercise Kendi. The old revolutionary songs were dusted off at rallies, but somewhere along the line, the Beautiful Idea replaced socialism as our ideological lodestar.

At the turn of the new millennium, Mbeki let it be known that he was displeased by the national rugby team’s slow progress towards full racial representation. Athletic failure, he suggested, was preferable to lack of full representation. Equity before victory.

At least initially, Mbeki’s scheme worked fairly well. Some blacks became billionaires. Many others joined the white suburban elite and sent their kids to private schools. Transformation of the civil service spurred the growth of a new black middle class, generally commanding salaries far higher than in the private economy.

But in the longer term, the economic consequences were devastating. In addition to paying taxes at Scandinavian levels, South African corporations were required to cede large ownership stakes to black partners, whether or not they brought anything to the table besides black skin and connections in high places

Firms were also required to meet racial quotas in hiring and ensure that management was racially representative, meaning roughly 88 percent black. Tendering for government business became increasingly pointless, because contracts were invariably awarded to black-owned firms, even if their prices were double, triple or tenfold.

Investment dried up. Brains drained. The economy stagnated, causing unemployment to surge to 11.4 million today, from 3.3 million in l994. The upshot: utter misery for the underclass, doomed to sit in tin shacks, half-starved, watching the black elite grow fat on the pickings of equity laws and rampant corruption.

This was an especially bitter experience for young black people, 63 percent of whom are now jobless, too broke even for booze and drugs to dull the pain. Last week, it proved easy for Zuma and his acolytes to tempt them onto the streets with the promise of loot.

And so we come to the moral of this story. It’s a warning about the practical consequences of ideas like those propounded by Kendi and CRT superstar Robin DiAngelo, who in the name of “equity” maintains it is racist to talk of work ethic or to expect all workers to show up on time, regardless of race.

It is exactly these values that have brought South Africa to its knees. We created a society where nothing was expected of blacks save “blackness.” Honor and diligence were not demanded of government appointees. Sloth was tolerated. Failures and corruption went unpunished. Blind pursuit of equity began to achieve its opposite: a staggering equality gap among blacks themselves, with a fortunate few benefitting hugely and the masses sinking into abject misery.

Most black South Africans recognize this. By 2021, only 3 percent of them cited racism as a serious problem, according to a survey by the Institute of Race Relations. The same survey found that 83 percent of black South Africans were in full or partial agreement with the following statement: “Politicians are talking about racism to excuse their own failures.”

Which brings us to the slender silver lining in this dark story. Many black South Africans who oppose this lawlessness were out in force last week, manning roadblocks to keep the mobs away from their homes and businesses.

I can hear their voices on the radio, clamoring for change. By the sound of it, they want a country where human outcomes are determined by the content of one’s character, not by pigmentation or friends in the ruling party. Martin Luther King would appreciate their message. Kendi & Co. wouldn’t.

Posted under Race, South Africa, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 25, 2021

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Whiteness punished? 4

Are the teachers and school administrators we wrote about in our post Thinking skin (January 24, 2021), and the writers Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, and the New York Times, and all those who promote anti-white racism, accessories in the murder of three-year-old Victoria Rose Smith?

The teachers do that in their classrooms, DiAngelo does it with her book White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi does it with his book How to be AntiRacist, and the NYT does by promoting both books and publishing many columns to the same effect. The whole of international Left does it.

Their insistence that all whites are guilty of cruelty to blacks, so all blacks have cause to hate whites, has consequences.

Victoria Rose Smith, the three-year-old white child beaten to death allegedly by the black couple who adopted her, could be one of their victims. 

The Blaze reports:

A woman who criticized “white privilege” on social media was charged with the child abuse murder of her 3-year-old foster child, who was white.

The disturbing story unfolded in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Police allege that Ariel Robinson, 29, and her husband, Jerry Robinson, 34, inflicted a “series of blunt force injuries” on their adopted child, Victoria Rose Smith. The two were charged with homicide by child abuse.

The parents called 911 on Jan. 15 to report that the child was unresponsive. When medical professionals arrived, they immediately suspected child abuse.

[Victoria] was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

[Ariel Robinson posted social-media] entries decrying “white privilege” while talking about her three adopted children, all of whom were white.

 

Unless the guilt of Jerry and Ariel Robinson is proved in court, we cannot know that they killed Victoria. It is possible one or both of the child’s own white brothers, also adopted by the Robinsons, did it; or one or both of the two black boys who are the couple’s natural sons. Perhaps it was not done out of race hatred. Perhaps one or more of the boys did it out of jealousy because they felt the parents treated the little girl more leniently or indulgently than they treated them.

But if the motive of the killer or killers was anti-white racism, then those who teach it in schools, and DiAngelo, and Kendi, and the NYT, and the entire Left, are guilty of the murder.

WE ACCUSE them of murderous intent now, and the predictable mass murder of whites and not-whites in the age of anti-white racism that they are ushering in.

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We tried to post the following abstract of Thinking skin, our post of January 24, 2021 – incorporating quotations from an article by Katherine Kersten at the American Experiment – on our Facebook page, but Facebook did not allow it.

The Appalling Racism of the Left

Racism is only wrong when whites judge people according to their race. When not-whites do it, it is the paramount principle of the ideology of the Left, now forcibly taught by both whites and not-whites. The doctrine of “racial equity” advances in the name of justice and harmony. Yet its fundamental premise is deeply divisive: it splits the human species into two hostile camps, white and non-white. Whites, it teaches, are perpetual oppressors and non-whites are perpetual victims. Racial equity instruction warns children they can take no pride in their accomplishments because these are merely a function of “white privilege”. It insists they routinely harm their non-white classmates by committing micro-aggressions of which they aren’t even aware. It’s a no-win situation: if they think they aren’t racist, this just proves how racist they are. The message is that white skin is a source of self-deception, guilt and shame. The idea that people’s skin color doesn’t matter is, according to the indoctrinators, actually “whiteness-at-work”, a “socialization strategy that perpetuates a racist status quo”. Not-white children are told they bear no responsibility for their behavior. They are urged to feel anger and resentment. All that matters about you is the color of your skin. Skin color is the measure of all worth, the desideratum of morality. White is bad; not-white is good.

Posted under Crime, Race by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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Free thought as heresy again 9

The Left has captured the culture. That’s well known and oft repeated. Education is now religiously Leftist from kindergarten to doctorate. The entertainment industry – stage, film, television –  faithfully carries the sacred messages. The media, both “mainstream” and “social”, are packed with acolytes.

Not only the guardians of the culture have converted en masse to the Church of Marx. Big panjandrums of our capitalist economy are dropping their checks for hundred of millions of dollars into the collection boxes of the Left’s terrorist curates – buying time, they foolishly hope. That would be more surprising if we didn’t have Vladimir Lenin’s (possibly apocryphal but highly plausible) prophecy that “the capitalist will sell you the rope you’ll hang him with”.

And now it is all too horrifyingly possible that the Left will re-capture the legislative and executive branches of the US government. As for the judicial branch, seven of the Supreme Court  justices – all nine of whom were formerly Jewish or Catholic which was not harmful to determinations of law – are dancing arm-in-arm leftwards through a side door into the C. of M., where doctrinal orthodoxy is strictly enforced. Could SCOTUS become the tribunal of the next Inquisition?

A dark age lies ahead. But need we despair? There is consolation to be found in the records of the fast fading era of free thought (roughly 1700-2000), that will still be available to us in books.

Or will they?

Oh, oh! It seems that books by or about the great  – mostly white – scientists, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, visionaries, economists, historians, educators whose ideas debunk the doctrines of the C. of M., are to be removed from libraries, bookshops, even probably our private rooms, and destroyed. Blotted out of human memory. They will not be published  again; or if published by some rogue publisher, not advertised;  or if advertised by some mischance, not sold; or if sold on a black market market of color, confiscated and destroyed.

On the other hand, books supporting the doctrine of the C. of M. (chiefly concerning anti-racism and the evil of being White) will abound. Vast libraries will be built to contain them. There’ll be at least one in every hotel bedside drawer. There’ll be cutely illustrated versions of some on the shelves of kindergartens; thousands to be checked out by students in all grades or else; and subterranean university bookstores will be chockfull of them.

Bruce Bawer, observing the trend, writes at Front Page:

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of)and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist”, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people”. Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears”. Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia”.  Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (“Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “A very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance…” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power”. …

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning”. Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless”. (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies”. Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “Being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books”. Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing”, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture … The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue…” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him”. (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts”. And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others”.

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah”. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.