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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Monday, October 24, 2011

THE NEW BIGOTRY

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
-Martin Luther King jr

Ethnic minorities around the world have faced bigotry and racism whatever nation and culture they have been in. Blacks in Europe and America, Jews around the world, Whites in east Asia, Native peoples in any colonized nation such as Australia, and so on have all faced bigotry, racism, and societal attacks based solely upon their ethnic identity. Even whites such as Italians and Irish faced this kind of thing in the past in places like America.

The overt racism we all know about, such as racial epithets, separated drinking fountains, apartheid, and even physical attacks such as lynchings. The horrible image of the Ku Klux Klan, scattered in small groups around America from Alabama to Indiana to Oregon, is seared upon American conscience as a symbol of evil and racial hate. Calling someone a honky or a greaser is an easily recognized sort of racism.

But most older blacks found a more subtle kind of racism that they had to deal with at least as bad as the open kind. Advertising images of caricatured races and depictions in entertainment media were humiliating and cruel. Presumption of a certain kind of character was laid on them such as the drunken, combattive Irishman in Enland, the lazy, knife fighting Mexican in America, or the fat, clumsy oaf white man in Japan. Blacks to this day complain that they're picked on by the police, pulled over or questioned just for being in the wrong part of town.

News stories would presume guilt and even tendency toward crime any time a minority was accused. Stores would give poorer service - or no service - to someone due to their ethnic background. Jobs were less available, people treated them as stupid, inferior, or incapable merely based upon their appearance. Cops would arrest a minority for something they'd let one of their kind get by on a warning with.

These daily little cultural things were a fact of life for blacks in America, for example, and still are for some ethnic groups around the world. South African whites get little support or protection from the police, for instance. Jews face this sort of thing daily in Muslim cultures. Racism is still with us - and the more subtle kinds die the hardest.

Yet in America, almost all of that has been stomped out at the cultural level. Individual people will always have their stupid bigotries and ignorance, but as a society, America has just about done away with racism. Just look at the Oval Office for bare proof; a non-trivial amount of people voted for President Obama because he was perceived to be a black man.


As an institution and cultural feature, the overt and subtle negative aspects of racism are virtually gone in America, particularly for Blacks, although Asians face some still. Racism is rightfully shamed and attacked as stupid, ignorant, and just goofy. Treating people differently due to their ethnic background or appearance is idiotic - even when its treating them better.

That doesn't mean this behavior has ended, however. The targets have just changed. Now when it comes to jobs exclusion, presumption of idiocy or malice, different treatment in private and public realms, and so on are now pointed at ideological enemies.

Consider the difference between the Tea Party rallies and the Occupiers. The Tea Party had to pay (and was willing to) for permits to gather, fees for clean up and port-a-potties, and cleaned up after themselves. The Occupiers are squatting on public and private property, cleaned up very little (in very few areas), paid no fees, paid for no permits and no one demanded they do so. It took weeks before the governments decided to actually take any action to enforce their various laws. Some still aren't.

Consider how conservatives are treated in colleges and universities, with open scathing attacks by professors and fellow students. Slurs and personal attacks in popular media are common and regular. Entertainment portrayals of Christians and Conservatives are almost uniformly negative and cruel, unless these people change their minds or reject everything their groups believe in while pretending to still be part of them.

Getting work in Hollywood as an open conservative is virtually impossible unless you are a very established, bankable, popular star to begin with. And even then, the system will turn against you if you go too far - just ask Mel Gibson. Its not that he hasn't acted like a colossal jerk or said stupid, wrong things, its that he's not even remotely unique in that behavior yet he's the one they publicized and attack. Say "sugar tits" to a cop and make an anti-Semitic slur while drunk, you're dead. Drug and rape a little girl and its not really rape rape.

Conservatives regularly face the same kind of institutionalized cultural animosity and presumption at malice that ethnic groups used to in America. From academia to politics to news reporting to entertainment and on, Conservatism and Christianity specifically and deliberately are targeted for slander and abuse. The same sorts of personal slurs and cultural opposition that was once leveled at Blacks, for instance are now pointed at Conservatives and Christians.

And the thing is, there's no rational or ideological foundation for this animosity. While leftists disagree with the right on various issues, that disagreement isn't based on basic moral issues, but power and preference.

What I mean is this: Nazis and Communists, radical Muslims and other similar ideologies should be shunned and opposed by any culture. These ideologies are shaped around death, evil, and hate. They are detrimental to liberty, damaging to civilization, and proven to be murderous and cruel to the human spirit.

But conservatism is just a different approach toward the same goals as leftist thought. Take any given platform position of the left and you will see not opposition to the goal but in the means to achieve that.

For example, how to help the poor:
  • Leftist: Increase assistance for the poor, greater government oversight of economy to prevent perceived unfairness, and reduce payment and power of corporations, reduce income inequity through tax code.
  • Conservative: Reduce government interference in the economy to constitutional levels, encourage and reinforce virtue and ethical behavior in the citizenry, present the greatest possible opportunity for growth, liberty, and advancement to everyone.
How to deal with health care costs:
  • Leftist: Greater central government oversight and control of medical care, increase ability of patients to sue and punish bad care, reduce greed and profit motivation.
  • Conservative: Reduce costs through tort reform, reduced regulation, and greater competition.
Or how to deal with immorality:
  • Leftist: Teach kids to be nicer to each other, promote multiculturalism and diversity, increase laws to punish poor behavior and have more government programs to increase kindness and tolerance.
  • Conservative: Teach absolute moral ethical foundation to kids, encourage ethical behavior and virtue, return to traditional ethical values, and punish illegal activity swiftly and decisively.
Both sides are trying to accomplish the same goals, through different means. What's more, the difference of opinion in approach is not between some horrible evil means and reasonable, moral means. That's where groups such as radical Islam or Nazism present unacceptable answers. Consider these approaches to economic success:
  • Communism: destroy all ownership, redistribute every item equally, throw people who disagree in camps or kill them if they cannot be reeducated.
  • Nazism: kill all unproductive and inferior peoples, control corporate activity through strong central government, and seize holdings of those unworthy of living.
  • Radical Islam: Total top down central control of economy from religious leaders, forcing all to tithe to help the poor, and seizing property of any who will not submit to Islam, killing them.
Opposition to this sort of platform is not just reasonable, but the moral duty of all mankind.

The reason that Conservatism and Christianity are so opposed and even attacked in America and Europe is not due to any basic ethical concerns with each, but because they represent a challenge to leftist power. Leftists view these ideas as competition, and while they may attempt to present Conservatives and Christians as immoral, usually through outrageous invention and slander, the real reason for their attitude is power.

Because for the leftist, there is no absolute ethical standard by which we may judge and understand right and wrong. There is no basis from which we determine morality, except what is personally believed to be true. So all that is left is the power to assert one's personal preferences, even if sometimes that's presented as a moral position.

Racism is ugly and wrong, but so is crushing and mistreating people for holding an alternative political ideology and worldview. And that's what Conservatives and Christians face every day in America and Europe, fighting a defensive battle and presumption of malice. The goal is to silence the left's competition not due to any evil in their part but simply because they get in the way of the left's desire to control and implement their ideas.

And unable to win on the battleground of thought, reason, and evidence, the left appeals to Alinskyite attacks and prejudice, calumny, and hate.

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