The Negrophobia and Cultural Genocide of the Left
For example, we all know that our educational system is a mess, the reason being that the left has had complete control of it for some 50 years, to such an extent that neither political party can avoid using leftist assumptions to tackle the problem.
I'm guessing that the U.N. probably started out with noble liberal ideals and not completely cynical leftist ones. Perhaps not. But in any event, it was long ago taken over by leftists and has become the biggest and most illiberal institution on the planet. Imagine an even remotely liberal U.N. If such a thing existed, there would be universal condemnation of Iran or North Korea. They would be completely isolated from the civilized world. In fact, any country that sided with them would be tossed out of the U.N. and isolated as well. The big mistake of the U.N. -- which is the universal mistake of leftism -- was having no standards for membership. It is a sick joke that members of the U.N. are given rights and privileges that they would never grant their own people. Among the Saudis, only their diplomats are allowed to vote, drink, and patronize the most expensive blonde hookers in Manhattan.
The left has also controlled most of the major urban centers for the past 40-50 years -- including, most infamously, New Orleans. I frequently visited New York before Rudy became mayor, so I know what it was like when the left was in total control. It's not as if the differences could only be detected in abstract crime statistics and the like. The entire vibe of the city changed. And yet, I well remember liberals routinely referring to Giuliani as a fascist and cretin. Imagine if New York had been allowed to continue sliding down the path it was headed in the early 1990's, with more leftist solutions applied to the problems resulting from leftist solutions.
I am aware of no leftist who has apologized for the vast destruction that has been caused by leftism. The only exceptions are those who are no longer leftists, such as David Horowitz. I was thinking about this destruction last night while watching a very moving documentary on the history of gospel music, Say Amen, Somebody, because what the left has done to blacks and to black culture represents nothing less than cultural genocide.
Because of the thought-control of the left, one can hardly discuss these matters without being regarded either as racist or condescending, but I think that blacks made America's greatest artistic contribution to world culture in the form of the various idioms of music they produced during the 50 years or so between about 1925 and 1975 -- gospel, jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, and various sub-genres of jazz such as dixieland, swing, ragtime, boogie woogie, bop, hard bop, post-bop, modal, and other distinct variants. Not only is my life spiritually enriched every single day by this art, but it is difficult to imagine what my life would be like without it. It would be such a deprivation.
What happened to it? Why did black creativity take off in the 1920s and continue through the 1960s, only to go into decline after the mid-'70s? Speaking only of the music, how could something so beautiful transform into something so barbarous and ugly within a single generation? How do we explain the devolution from Duke Ellington to Snoop Dogg, or John Coltrane to Ludacris, or Dinah Washington to Michael Jackson?
More generally, why did black culture produce such timeless and transcendent excellence before leftists began meddling with their culture? Prior to the 1960s, the black family was known for its strength and stability in the face of adversity, not its fragility in the midst of abundance. I have spoken to many blacks of the older generation (now in their '60s and '70s), and all agree that educational standards have declined dramatically since segregation ended. Obviously, this is not because segregation ended, but because that is when blacks were subsumed into the white leftist educational establishment and designated victims, so that the same standards need not apply to them. This is another fine example of the illiberalism of the left.
Prior to the mid '60s, a major part of the civil rights movement in its original classically liberal incarnation focused on elevating blacks through educational excellence. It was a self-help movement, not anything like its current culture of victimology. Black teachers took a special pride in their role, which was closer to a spiritual mission. I've read a number of biographies of jazz greats, and they all remember this or that teacher who noticed their talent but was extremely demanding of them.
I've read several Duke Ellington bios, and there was not a hint of bitterness, let alone a sense of victimization, in the man, despite the fact that if he were so inclined, he would have had every "right" to have wallowed in victimization. After all, there are blacks today who are far more wealthy and powerful than Ellington could have dreamed of, but it doesn't stop them from having a perpetual sense of anger and grievance -- Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, Danny Glover. But in the case of Ellington, he was temperamentally the opposite. He had a natural dignity and nobility, even a sort of regal bearing and demeanor that I am sure did more to mitigate racism than 40 years of undignified groveling, extortion, and poverty pimping by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
And Ellington was certainly no "Uncle Tom" -- in fact, the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world are the real Uncle Toms, doing their little minstrel shakedown dance for the entertainment of white liberals -- to assuage their guilt. The problem with Obama is that he has the deceptively dignified bearing of an Ellington but the same undignified slave-victim mentality of other leftists.
At this point, I am not sure that it is even possible for the left to produce excellence, let alone black excellence. It is no coincidence that the left produces clowns such as Cornell West and Mayor Nagin whereas the right produces Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Michael Steele, Ken Blackwell, Delroy Murdock, Armstrong Williams, et al. It is an unavoidable insult to say that these are first rate minds, and yet, it needs to be said in order to highlight the gulf between them and the wasted minds of the left.
Coincidentally, I see that there is a review this morning on NRO of a silly book entitled Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. The Review starts out with the same thesis I have presented:
"Ralph Ellison always remembered the black jazzmen of his native Oklahoma City fondly: 'Life could be harsh, loud and wrong if it wished, but they lived it fully, and when they expressed their attitude toward the world it was with a fluid style that reduced the chaos of living to form.' This is a beautiful definition of jazz, and a brilliant one of art in general -- for what more could we ask of art than to render human experience, even at its worst, an understandable and even palatable thing? American blacks have long made music of their suffering, and blues and jazz once gave prime voice to a part of black experience in America. As the years have passed, the timbre of that voice has changed, and so has the experience being articulated. We are now in the age of hip-hop, a culture born in the Bronx and bred of the calamities of ghetto life."
Of course, "the calamities of ghetto life" should be translated to mean leftist control of urban centers. The calamities were not like some sort of unavoidable natural disaster. Rather, they were fully manmade, a result of disastrous ideas put into action. One nonsensical quote from this ghastly book tells you where the author is coming from. He describes hip-hop as “heir to the Black Arts and the postmodernist and multiculturalist movements, head high amid all of the terms batted about to try to frame the imperatives and urgencies of Now -- such as post-Blackness, polyculturalism, globalism, and transnationalism -- hip-hop is where flux, identity, revolution, and the masses mix, and keep on expanding.”
Say what? I am more inclined to the view expressed by Dirty Harry to the pornographer:
I'll tell you what you are to me, little man. You're just a maggot who sells dirty pictures.
The reviewer notes that "one idea put forward repeatedly is that hip-hop is a form of protest.... Hip-hop is rebellious not only in artistic terms, but in political ones as well.... 'Because of where hip-hop came from in the social base, it already suggested a political opposition and a political possibility for the creativity for the people at the margins of society, socially, economically -- people at the margins in terms of power.'"
But it is naive to say that hip-hip is simply "inclined to politics." Rather, it is specifically steeped in leftism. As I have mentioned before, one of the disturbing things about being a serious music collector is that one must always endure the obnoxious leftist sentiments expressed in the liner notes. The other day I purchased a wonderful Gram Parsons collection, but as usual, the analysis of his music cannot help but get into a dopey leftist political analysis. Here is a man who was another tragic victim of the drug culture, dying of an overdose at the age of 26. But the writer states without so much as a fig leaf of irony or self-awareness that Parsons' musical vision was "a grand design for a sort of white country soul that integrated rootsy forms with the enlightened consciousness of late-'60s rock culture."
You see, to the arrogant left, they are always "enlightened," even if it means dying of a drug overdose, or promoting promiscuity, or celebrating the disintegration of the family, or appeasing evil, or promoting a degenerate soundtrack to cultural genocide.
I am reminded of one of the great black artists, John Coltrane, who was a victim of the drug culture, but was saved -- not by leftists who would vicitmize him, but by God. In the liner notes to A Love Supreme, he writes of his heroin addiction,
"During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.
"This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say 'THANK YOU GOD' through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor."
Coltrane concludes with a poem that certainly must be obnoxious to any secular leftist, but his music is the aural embodiment of the grace described therein:
A LOVE SUPREME
I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord....
God is. It is so beautiful. Thank you God. God is all....
It is most important that I know Thee....
His way... it is so lovely... it is gracious.
It is merciful -- Thank you God....
Glory to God...God is so alive. God is. God loves.
May I be acceptable in Thy sight.
We are all one in His grace.
The fact that we do exist is acknowledgment of Thee O Lord.
Thank you God.
God will wash away all our tears... He always has...
He always will. Seek Him everyday.
In all ways seek God every day.
Let us sing all songs to God
To whom all praise is due...
I have seen God -- I have seen ungodly --
None can be greater -- none can compare to God.
Thank you God.
He will remake us... He always has and He always will.
It is true -- blessed be His name -- Thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely...
so gently we hardly feel it...
All from God. Thank you God. Amen.