Don’t Buy Into the Narrative

What bugs me is to see all the well-meaning people who keep saying,

“But, but, but! He was an abolitionist!”

“He died fighting against slavery!”

“He led the army of the North to victory over the slave-holding South!”

“He was a slave himself!”

“This statue was built with money collected by liberated slaves! Frederick Douglass was at the dedication!”

These people have bought into the narrative. They sincerely think this is all about racism and slavery.

It’s not. It’s about totalitarian control. The excuse for the implantation of totalitarianism doesn’t matter. It can be anything. And the persecution is supposed to be incomprehensible and unjustified. That’s the whole point. You are not supposed to be able to figure out an algorithm that will protect you. That confusion is the source of their power.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Buy Into the Narrative”

  1. I am reminded of Hannah Arendt’s argument about people who responded to Nazi anti semitism by saying many Jews fought bravely during world war 1. The trap was that such defenses implicitly bought into the Nazi premise of bad Jews. Once you have that category then you can just expand no good Jews remain.

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      1. The problem is that as a decent person with a knowledge of American History, I know that racism is a real issue. The trap is that once I do that, it is very difficult to avoid giving in to their most absurd conclusions, particularly as they will call you of being a racist if you do not. Saying that Grant was a slave owner but that we should still have statues to him requires nuance. Part of what is frightening is that the protesters do not even pretend that this is about fighting actual racists. Following witch hunter logic, the real enemy are those people lacking sufficient zeal.

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        1. “racism is a real issue…”

          Racism wasn’t the cause of American slavery. Pseudo-scientific racism and biological determinism are first developed in the 19th century and only become widely-known enough to be used as a ideological defence of US slavery in the second half of that century. And, an ideological defence was very necessary, as the prevailing current within 19th century Anglosphere Christianity held that slavery was an abomination of the fundamental equality of all individuals before God.

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          1. One of the ironies of American race relations is that, in many respects, racism was a product of the ending of slavery. As Tocqueville argued, it was Northerners who truly hated blacks. White Southerners did not hate their slaves. The difference was that black slaves clearly played a critical part of Southern culture. What do you do, though, with free blacks; what is their place within American society? Similarly, freeing slaves had the unfortunate side effect of increasing hatred for blacks in the South. Clearly, the solution was never perpetuating slavery. That being said, race remains a difficult problem to solve.

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  2. People are saying the Cervantes statue had to go because the Quixote was brought to America and used as an example of good style. But if that is so then the Shakespeare ones have to go too, I say and they don’t understand this. I don’t understand the Shakespeare exception

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  3. They are now tearing down statues of anyone or anything. Apparently they now believe that if it’s a statue, it must be bad. I think it no longer has anything to do with racism.

    I’m inclined to think that much of the present destruction of public property is provoked by revolutionaries. It’s destruction for the sake of revolution.

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