The Liberal Racial Ghost Dance
The point of the book is so brilliant, so simple and so true. And yet, he will be vilified and treated with contempt by all of the usual liberal suspects, just as, say, Noam Chomsky or Edward Said might be vilified by the right. This is one more reason why I despise the left, because how can you respect people who attack truth and thereby undermine the basis of thinking? Anyone who thinks it is somehow equivalent to dismiss a paranoid, agenda-driven hack such as Chomsky is a deeply lost soul.
It is the same moral confusion that causes someone to equate those who are intentionally murdered by Islamic thugs with those who are accidentally killed in our attempt to liberate them from Islamic thugs, or to equate Israel’s attempt to defend itself from terror with terrorists who wish to destroy Israel, or to maintain that putting murderers to death is the same as murder. During the cold war, the left routinely equated the U.S. and Soviet Union as two equally bad empires. This kind of moral and intellectual confusion pervades the left.
Yesterday we spoke of the existence of defense mechanisms against the upper vertical. Broadly speaking, the upper vertical would be the realm of truth, beauty and morality. We can also apply Bion’s concept of “attacks on linking” to the upper vertical. Understood this way, it would involve a sort of willed stupidity that dismantles the ability to think clearly, not just in the realm of truth, but in the realm of morals as well. For that matter, it would also explain the ugliness and barbarity that now pervades the art world. Apparently, one cannot merely attack the true without also damaging the good and the beautiful, since they are all reflections of one another.
One of the reasons you cannot debate a leftist is that they do not (and perhaps cannot) meet your argument on the plane from which it arises. Instead, they attack that plane and try to drag you down to the level from which their minds operate. This is why they never address the content of your argument, but attack your motivations.
This is so pervasive that it is hardly worth commenting on: if you are against government enforced racial discrimination, you are a racist; if you are against the redefinition of marriage, you are a “homophobe”; if you are against the Kyoto protocols, you wish to destroy the earth; if you are in favor of tax cuts, you simply want to line the pockets of the wealthy; if you are in favor of the liberation of Iraq, it’s just for the oil; if you want to control your own retirement, you just want to give a boon to mutual fund companies; if you are against inefficient socialized medicine, it’s because you want poor children to be sick; if you want to control the borders, you hate Mexicans; etc. The list is endless.
Steele sees through the leftist lies about race so beautifully that if he weren't black, he would be tarred as a vicious racist. In his book he addresses the “conundrum” of why black progress began to reverse itself only after all of the liberal “Great Society” programs of the 1960’s. He notes that for any group that has been recently freed from oppression, “freedom shows them their undevelopment and their inability to compete as equals.” For many, this realization is too painful to bear, so it is converted to “black rage,” but Steele is astute in pointing out that this kind of infantile rage can only be acted out when the person knows deep down that the object of their rage is benign and won’t lash back in kind. This, by the way, is why there is no “Arab rage” directed at Arab governments, only at irrelevant and benign targets such as Israel and the U.S.
In psychoanalysis, “projective identification” is a term used to describe what happens when one person projects into another and “inducts” them into their psychodrama. Thus we see a dance of mutual projective identification between rage-filled blacks (which, I should emphasize, is undoubtedly a loud minority of blacks) and guilt-ridden white liberals who can spuriously eliminate their guilt by adopting a condescending attitude toward blacks: in short, as Steele puts it, "we'll throw you a bone like affirmative action if you'll just let us reduce you to your race so we can take moral authority for 'helping' you."
It matters not one bit that most of these liberal programs are not only ineffective, but that they actually harm blacks. The point is not to have an impact on external reality, but on internal reality: to purpose is to reduce black rage and mitigate white guilt. In this regard, the left certainly is the “reality based community,” since it is rooted in the very real and enduring internal world of psychological fantasy. In many ways, as any psychoanalyst can tell you, this world might even be less subject to change than the external world, which by comparison is relatively easy to manipulate.
Thus, in this classic liberal ghost dance everybody feels better. Plus, the fact that the programs won’t work guarantees that “black rage” will continue, so that the dance can go on ad infinitum. In this little charade, blacks are supposed to be grateful to their liberal masters. If, like Steele, or Thomas Sowell, or Clarence Thomas, or Ken Blackwell, they are not grateful, then they will be attacked by the left as "Uncle Toms." But as Steele points out, “When they called you a nigger back in the days of segregation, at least they didn’t ask you to be grateful.”
UPDATE-Classic example of leftist educational nonsense that has no interest in truth, only in feelings. It shows how, once you abandon truth as the criteria, raw power comes in to fill the void and determine what is "true," one more reason liberalism is so illiberal: it makes lying to children mandatory by law. HT: Larwyn.
PC textbooks full of skewed history
California has tinkered with the past in a foolish attempt to make students feel good about themselves.
By Diane Ravitch
May 16, 2006
"TWENTY YEARS AGO, I was invited by then-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig to join a committee to revise California's history curriculum. Over 18 months, we produced a document that added more time for the study of American and world history and called for the teaching of the dramatic controversies that make historical study engaging and honest.
"Immediately, however, a wide variety of religious, racial and ethnic groups demanded changes in the document to recognize and honor their history. Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, conservative Christians, Arabs, atheists, Armenians, Poles and others lined up to complain at public hearings about references to their groups.
"What made their complaints powerful is that California, unlike any other state, has mandated by law since 1976 that instructional materials used in the schools must provide positive portrayals of specified groups.
"When it comes to males and females, for instance, the Legislature decreed that "equal portrayal must be applied in every instance." That means, among other things, that an equal number of male and female characters must be depicted in "roles in which they are mentally and physically active, being creative, solving problems … " and that male and female characters in textbooks must show a "range of emotions (e.g. fear, anger, tenderness.)"
"California's textbooks and other materials must instill a "sense of pride" in students' heritages and may not include "adverse reflection" on any group. Cultural or lifestyle differences may not be portrayed as "undesirable." Members of minority groups must be shown "in the same range of socioeconomic settings" as those in the majority.
"And it's not just gender and ethnicity that is "protected." Older people, people with disabilities and people who pursue various occupations have been written into the law.
"So it's not surprising that in recent months gays and lesbians have stepped forward to demand a place at the state's capacious table. They too want their roles to be portrayed positively in textbooks purchased by the state....
"Just a few months ago, Hindu organizations appeared before the state Board of Education complaining that they were offended by references to their religion in the history textbooks — including descriptions of the caste system and depictions of the treatment of women (one group wanted a reference to the fact that women had "fewer" rights in ancient India changed to say that women had "different" rights). Even though scholars insisted that the historical references were accurate, the organizations objected that their religion had been subjected to an "adverse reflection."
"Because of its social-content guidelines, California will never see an end to these rancorous debates about who wins recognition in the textbooks....
"The state's social-content guidelines should be abolished. They put the state Board of Education into the absurd position of deciding which facts are historically accurate and which should be included or excluded, a responsibility for which it is manifestly unqualified. The guidelines are an open invitation to interest groups to politicize textbooks.
"Telling publishers that their books must instill pride only guarantees a phony version of feel-good history...."