— In So Doing, They Cheapen the Accomplishments of the Movement, and of all Americans —
As you all know, I’m a big fan of Jonah Goldberg over at The National Review. He’s one of the most insightful, reasonable, funny, trenchant and readable pundits in America today. Each week he produces something called the “Goldberg File,” which he e-mails to his subscribers generally before Friday. Here’s this week’s edition.
The Goldberg File — or the “G-File,” as he refers to it — is generally a collection of Goldberg’s thoughts on a Pressing Issue of the Day.
Hang onto that information for a bit.
You all know also that, as part of a larger project, I’ve been mixing it up with the Race Grievance Industry (the RGI), generally at their blogs (because they’re afraid to come here… I beat their backsides up one side of a tall building and back down the other in debate), for the past more than a year.
One point I made at one of their blogs was that their over-the-top hyperbole about black suffering in America of today not only lacks for credible evidence, but it represents a really revolting attempt to steal legitimacy for their own movement from those who really did suffer in the long ago past.
In this post, for example, you will find someone who says:
The reality here is that this Amerikan apartheid system is far worse and more deadly than the South African apartheid system ever was.
Wow! America is “far worse and more deadly than the South African apartheid system ever was?”
Look at that paragraph for a moment and marvel at the sheer breathtaking presumptuousness of it! I’m guessing that the writer was trying to achieve shock value, rather than just look dumb. He did achieve something here: Never would I think to laugh about the subject of apartheid, but his assertion is so whackadoodle, out there, absurd that I actually did laugh out loud. Yet, he wrote it seriously, and meant for it to be taken seriously, as if the sheer horror of America today should immediately squash any and all viewpoints opposing the writer’s.
There are several possible conclusions when reading that snippet of text:  the guy was joking, and managed to produce one in particularly poor taste, or  the guy really believes this and his mental health is suspect, or  his only source of information is MSNBC. One conclusion that is not possible is that the guy who wrote that is a serious commentator, whose thinking is worthy of consideration or processing.
The paragraph was written four days ago. That “contribution” to the “conversation” on race in America is far from unique. In fact, you can find ridiculous assertions like that quite commonly in the RGI blogs.
Concerning that paragraph, there is one more possibility: In America, white racism is so toothless, so impotent, desiccated, feeble and powerless, that without wild exaggeration, no one will credit that there is any out there at all.
Back to my main point. The other thing about the author of that paragraph: he was trying to steal for himself the suffering of South Africans who really did have to endure the actual apartheid system.
I’m not the only one to have suggested this (though I’m one of the first). The above-mentioned Jonah Goldberg noticed it too and, in this week’s “G-File,” while commenting on the whole Indiana RFRA silliness, wrote the following:
The problem is that to compare any other group’s experience to the black experience in America must of necessity be a poetic or metaphorical enterprise. The facts don’t line up for women and gays. The transgendered weren’t carted over here in the galleys of ships. (You could look it up.) This isn’t to say blacks are the only people to have suffered from historic injustices (or to say that constant dwelling on those injustices is necessarily constructive). It is to say that the constant unending desire to leach moral standing from their [Blacks’] experience to give your own claims undeserved grandeur is pathetic and shameful. And the know-nothing, often fundamentally anti-American, desire to constantly cast this country as an oppressive, evil-intentioned society, is an indication of how the Left’s intellectual gas tank is empty, and is now running simply on the fumes of megalothymic(1) passion. [red emphasis mine]
The facts also don’t line up for contemporary black Americans. Why? Well, here are some of those facts:
- If their ancestors had not been “carted over here in the galleys of ships,” they either wouldn’t exist at all, or would be living in Africa today, facing things a tad more stressful than what they face in America of the 21st Century.
- Everyone suggests, perfectly correctly, that slavery is a stain on the history of America, and particularly on white American history. However, read it well, an honest understanding of history leads inescapably to the conclusion that the descendants of slaves are vastly better off for there having been slavery in America.
- Otherwise stated, if black people are actually paying attention, and are actually aware of real history, then while they’re condemning the evils of the past, they’re also secretly thanking their lucky stars that their ancestors were “carted over here in the galleys of ships.”
There is the need for a real conversation on race in America, but the RGI won’t permit it. If you try to be frank about the plight of black Americans, you’re instantly tagged as a racist. But, just as pathetic and shameful as the effort by the Gay Grievance Goons to trade on the merit of the Civil Rights Movement, is the effort by the RGI of today to pretend that somehow the black experience of today is as bad as the black experience of 150 years ago, or even 60 years ago. Yet, that’s exactly what they pretend.
As a result, someone making a sober assessment of the RGI’s outlandish claims is forced to conclude that much of what they say is simply fabrication. And that’s a shame, because black people do have problems — as a people — for which white people bear at least some responsibility. But, if you were to listen to the RGI, black people’s problems are entirely the fault of white racism and white ill will.
It’s axiomatic that to solve a problem you must be able to identify the problem, both in nature and in magnitude. If the RGI continues to prevent a real discussion from taking place, in order to scope out the problem, then they are complicit in the continuing tragedy of black Americans. That tragedy consists of poverty, despair, drugs, violent crime, early death, the shattered black family … especially in American cities.
If you want to fix any one of those things, you must fix them all, and that all starts with fixing the black family. If you don’t change the fact that the vast majority of black kids are born to — and spend all their childhoods and young adulthoods with — single mothers, then you can’t fix the problems of black Americans. And black Americans will continue to fall further and further behind, and likely will continue to look for excuses in phantom racism and imaginary white hostility.
(1) According the The G-File: Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It’s a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato’s concept of “thumos” or “thymos” and put a “mega” in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that “mega” makes everything more cool. But that’s not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect. Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.