The Intellectual Roots of Today’s Identity Politics
Jorge González-Gallarza Hernández
National Review, June 20, 2020 When I recently asked Mike Gonzalez in an interview what new constituency leftist supporters of identity politics would start pandering to next, he pressed me “not to let the imagination run wild, lest we give them ideas.”His quip spoke to that movement’s drive to socially engineer a fractured map of ever-smaller subnational communities, but one could have mistaken Gonzalez’s humorous cynicism for genuine prudence. His plea “not to let the imagination run wild,” if heeded by the movement’s Marxist forebears, would have meant a world of difference to today’s America. For if one thing has fueled identity politics, it is a wild imagination. Gonzalez’s The Plot to Change America: How Identity Politics Is Dividing the Land of the Free is the best account yet of the deep ideological wells from which identity politics springs. The story begins in 1928, when Mussolini’s regime sentenced a young Antonio Gramsci, then the leader of the Communist Party in Italy, to 20 years in prison, hoping to “stop his mind from ever working again,” in the prosecutor’s own words.Imprisonment instead afforded him a quiet retreat to refashion Marxism for the future, birthing a brand of it that endures at the core of American society to this day in the form of identity politics.Gramsci concocted his ideological chef d’oeuvre, his Prison Notebooks, out of frustration. European Marxists had looked forward to the Armageddon of 1918, hoping the capitalist-nationalist cocktail that had fueled World War I would give way to socialist uprisings across the continent. And yet a whole decade after Russia pulled out of the war, the Bolsheviks still lacked imitators west of the Urals. The ability of bourgeois democracy to perpetuate itself through democratic means could only be explained, in Gramsci’s view, by the enduring sway of religion, tradition, family, and nation among the working class. Replacing economics with culture as the locus of oppression was Gramsci’s profound twist to Marxist thought, which had until then identified the power imbalances derived from capital ownership as the ultimate engine of historical change. For Gramsci, workers had compounded their own oppression by espousing the mores of their capitalist overlords. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Silence is Violence: The Quest for Totalitarian Democracy
Abraham H. Miller
American Thinker, June 13, 2020
When a movement says, “silence is violence,” it is no longer democratic, but a totalitarian movement that opposes the very essence of choice — the right to be apolitical. Mass movements with ostensible democratic goals start out toward benign change, but their successes only feed a hunger for greater political transformation. Left to the streets, that hunger is attracted to the extremes as the extremists are attracted to it.
When the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, who has passionately sided with the opponents of police brutality, is heckled out of a demonstration because he refuses to commit to the mob’s demand to defund the police, that is shoving someone into the theater of the absurd.
In the world of realpolitik, you build coalitions where you can find them. In street theater, you ignore political reality to shove an important ally away. The demonstrations over the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer have descended into the absurd. Peaceful demonstrations, during the day, have been amplified by dysfunctional violence at night. How is the quest for racial justice helped by looting a department store or burning out a black-owned restaurant already teetering on the verge of collapse, having been closed by the pandemic?
At some point, the rioters and looters will go home, leaving in their wake the burned-out rubble belonging to the lower black bourgeoise. These black businesses will never reopen because the future insurance premiums will be too high. Already, there are complaints that the marauders on Chicago’s southside have created food deserts with vandalized groceries that no longer can operate.
Among the most important functions of breaking the barriers of de jure discrimination was the creation of a viable black middle class. The proponents of civil rights legislation knew that social stability required the integration of the African-American community into America’s socioeconomic mainstream.
Now caught between the pandemic and the senseless violence and looting, some of that integration will be undone. The hard-fought victories of the 1960s that led to a growing black middle class are going up in flames.
Who benefits? Certainly not those who are peaceably assembling for equality under the law. Not the black communities! In this orgy of violence, the only possible beneficiaries are those who seek to destabilize society and bring down the social order around them.
The vulgar Marxists still see revolution as coming from a greater immiseration of people on the bottom. Create economic misery and hardship and people will revolt is their belief. Uproot the struggling black bourgeoise, and you have more alienated fodder for the streets. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Never Bend the Knee
American Greatness, June 18, 2020
Recently, I posted a meme on Twitter showing a large idol with “BLM” on it, people bowing down before the idol labeled “woke evangelicals,” and three men standing who are labeled “infidels.” Of course, the meme is based on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the Bible’s book of Daniel. These three men refused to bend the knee to a false idol. For that, they were labeled unbelievers by the ruling power and thrown into a pit of fire, yet miraculously they lived.
Some friends and family were not entirely sure what I meant by posting the meme—hence this essay.
Most evangelicals—in fact most Americans—have no idea that Black Lives Matter means something more than the basic and indisputable point that the lives of black people are precious. They don’t know what Black Lives Matter, the organization, actually is, what it stands for, or what it is trying to achieve. They don’t know that it is a Marxist political ideology cloaked in race, an Orwellian tactic if there ever was one.
People think that if you speak out against BLM, you are a racist who cares nothing for the lives of your fellow citizens if they are of a different race.
So let me make this abundantly clear: I care about the lives of my fellow man regardless of the color of his skin. My work has been focused on ensuring not only that every life matters, but that every voice is heard, and that every vote is counted.
In my personal journeys and public efforts, I have seen the challenges others face every day in schools, on the job, even at the ballot box, and I am here to tell you that BLM doesn’t truly care about bettering the lives of anyone—least of all the black community in the United States. It is far more concerned about pushing a radical ideology intended to harm the very people it claims to support because such an agenda keeps them up and operating and in business.
In short: they are traitors to the cause so many believe they espouse.
So what is Black Lives Matter, really? BLM was founded by three Marxist women in 2013. Alicia Garza, one of the founders, is a writer and activist who resides in Oakland, California. She is a self-proclaimed Marxist and “queer social justice activist” who makes no bones about admiring other Marxists and the Black Panthers.
In a September 2016 interview with Complex.com, Garza claimed that the U.S. would be in a better place if we terminated the police. “Quite frankly,” she said, “many of our [BLM] members are continuing to investigate what it would mean to have police-free communities. I think what we’ve continued to see over time is that no moral appeal [to police] is actually stopping the deaths of black people [at the hands of police], whether they are armed or unarmed.”… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Civil War Begins When the Constitutional Order Breaks Down
The American Conservative, Nov. 4, 2019
A Georgetown Institute poll finds that two-thirds of us believe we are edging closer “to the brink of a civil war.” Yet Americans cannot properly analyze this “gathering storm.” We lack a framework, a lexicon, and the historical data (from other civil wars) to see clearly what is happening to us.
Here is a quick template for how we might more usefully decipher how this nation gets to another civil war. It is arranged as a short series of questions: 1) What is civil war? 2) Why do political-constitutional orders sometimes breakdown, rather than simply transform in response to change? 3) How is violence essential to constitutional and political resolution? 4) How close is the U.S. to such a break down, and its consequences?
What is civil war?
Civil war is, at root, a contest over legitimacy. Legitimacy—literally the right to make law — is shorthand for the consent of the citizens and political parties to abide by the authority of a constitutional order. Civil war begins when this larger political compact breaks down.
Civil War means that there is a functional split within the source of legitimacy between two parties, each of which was formerly part of the old constitutional order. Thus each can claim that it represents the source of new legitimacy, and the right to define a new or reworked constitutional order.
Hence civil war becomes a struggle in which one party must successfully assert a successor legitimate order, and to which the opposing party must eventually submit. This is above all a contest over constitutional authority. Inasmuch as civil war happens after constitutional breakdown, it means that resolution must be reached not only outside of a now-former legal framework, but also unrestrained even by longstanding political customs and norms. Extra-constitutional force is now the deciding factor, which is why these struggles are called civil wars.
Americans are most familiar with our own such battles, from 1775-1783 and 1861-1876. For example, Parliament’s “Intolerable Acts” (1774) stripped Massachusetts of its governing legitimacy, leading to armed resistance to Parliament’s authority. Two “legitimacies” at war.
In 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln convinced Southern electorates that the incoming Republican administration would strip them of their way of life. The slave states could only accept a constitutional order that fully supported slavery. The only legitimacy lay in Slavocracy—while the North, for its part, would not, as Lincoln declared, accept “the nationalization of slavery.”
Why do some constitutional orders breakdown rather than transform?
Our political stability has depended on the tenure of periodic “party systems.” Legitimacy flows from the give and take of a two-party relationship. American party systems have had dominant parties or states. In the first party system, four of the first five presidents (32 out of 36 years) were slaveholders from Virginia. The second party system was more balanced between Democrats and Whigs, but broke down in the 1850s when the Whigs up and vanished, with party stability disappearing with them. The new GOP dominated the third system, 6-2, with one of the Democrats impeached. Equally, the fourth was also Republican, 6-1, with a Republican third party challenge electing the only Dem. FDR’s fifth party system put Democrats in office for 32 out of 48 years, with both GOP administrations governing within a New Deal worldview. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
The Candace Owens Show: What Does Black America Want?: Candace Owens, Prager U, June 21, 2020 — This week, Candace Owens discusses the hot-button issues of the day: reactions to her viral video on Black Lives Matter, Rayshard Brooks, defunding the police, and the state of Black America. You don’t want to miss this.
In the News: Dershowitz on Black Lives Matter and Israel: YouTube, June 10, 2020 — Alan Dershowitz discusses his piece in the Jerusalem Post critical of Black Lives Matter for its antisemitism; offers his perspective on systemic racism in America; and defends Mort Klein and the ZOA within the Presidents Conference. With Mark S. Golub.
AG Barr Discusses Police Reform and Racism in the US | Interview Part 1: Fox News, YouTube, June 21, 2020 –– Attorney General William Barr discusses Seattle’s ‘CHOP,’ police reform, and the Rayshard Brooks case in exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo.
AG Barr Discusses the Latest in Durham Probe and John Bolton’s Book | Part 2: Fox News, YouTube, June 21, 2020 — Attorney General William Barr discusses the 2020 election, John Bolton’s memoir and the Durham investigation in part two of his exclusive interview on ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’