Of Race, Racism, and Racists

This is a tale in three parts.

Part The First

When my daughter was born, the very best advice I got was that when she did something wrong, I should never say “You bad girl, why did you do that?”

I didn’t understand why I shouldn’t say that, so my friend explained. He said, “Instead, you should say ‘You good girl, why did you do that?”

“Think about it”, he said. “If you call a child a ‘bad girl’ over and over, what will they grow up to be?”

I immediately understood, took his advice to heart, and followed it exactly.

Part The Second

I was brought up in a household that was anti-racist to the core. It was ruled by my grandmother, who had black friends for her entire life. She grew up in the 1890s as one of eleven children in the only white family on the north side of Lake Arthur, Louisiana, surrounded by “blacks, Creoles, and Redbone Indians” as she said. She would not allow the word “n*gger” to be spoken in her presence ever—she said that all people deserved honor and respect.

In the 1930s, she scandalized the upstate New York town she’d moved to after her marriage. When a black Minister brought some vegetables to her back door to thank her for the assistance she’d given to his struggling parish, she famously said “Certainly I will speak with him, but only if he will come around to the front door and ask for me there.” That didn’t sit well with the local busybodies, not at all. Black people were supposed to “know their place”, and only come to the back door, the servants’ entrance. But she didn’t care what people thought. Black people were her friends, she wasn’t going to change to fit someone’s expectations, and her black friends were going to come in through the front door like everyone else..

And all seven of us, her grandchildren, were brought up by her to like and respect black people. Me, I’ve lived and worked and partied with and loved black people all my life. Inter alia, I lived and worked for 17 years in black-majority countries.

And so, while I am more than aware of my many failings and shortcomings, I know for a fact that racism is most definitely not among them.

Part The Third

Despite my upbringing, despite my life among black people, despite my active support and participation in the Civil Rights Movement as a young man, I can’t tell you how many times in the last five years or so I’ve been personally called a racist. It has come to be the go-to accusation of far too many people for anyone that they disagree with. I’m endlessly told that my opinion doesn’t count because I’m just an “old white man” …

Look, here’s a simple fact. When I was a youth, there were still “Colored” and “White” drinking fountains, hotels, restaurants, beaches, and swimming pools all over the south. In some states, it wasn’t legal for black and white people to get married. And there were almost no black people in positions of political power—almost no Governors, Mayors, Sheriffs, or elected officials of any kind.

However, today there are no segregated drinking fountains or restaurants or swimming pools.

Why not?

Because white politicians made them illegal.

And it’s no longer illegal for black and white people to get married.

Why?

Because white Supreme Court Justices said it was legal.

And there are black elected officials at all levels, Governors and Mayors and Sheriffs and a twice-elected black President.

Why?

Because they were elected by white people. Remember, black people are only about 10% of the people who vote. No way that 10% of the voters can elect anyone on their own.

Now, please be clear. I’m not saying that black people had no part in those huge social changes in my lifetime. That would be madness. Black people were a crucial, central, and indispensable part of those changes … but those changes would NEVER have happened without the actions of white legislators and judges and voters.

Yes, there are still white racists, just as there are black racists. But in fact, there is a huge reservoir of goodwill among white people towards black people. It’s why we have black elected officials and a twice-elected black President—because white people care about black people. And deservedly so—we all bleed the same color, we all have the same hopes and dreams, we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.

However, that reservoir of goodwill is not inexhaustible. And unfortunately, there is a loudly vocal minority of both black and white people who are doing their best to destroy that goodwill.

Bearing in mind the example of my daughter, think about what happens when you call people “racists” again and again and again … over time, does calling someone a racist make them less racist?

No way. It creates bad will, it supports racism, and it fosters racial division.

The same is true about the accusations of “systemic racism”. I’ve worked and traveled on every continent … well, except Antarctica. I’ve worked in Tonga, Senegal, Australia, China, Togo, Paraguay, Lesotho, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Fiji, Morocco, Solomon Islands, the Gambia, and Vanuatu. And I’ve traveled in and visited Venezuela, Trinidad, France, England, Switzerland, and other countries.

And after a lifetime of living and working and interacting with people of all colors in a host of countries, here’s what I have learned.

The US is far and away the least racist country I know of.

Why do you think people of every color are willing to risk their lives to come here? It’s because they know that here in the US, they have the best chance and their children have the best chance of making it big.

But that reality and that reservoir of goodwill are being eroded away by the race hustlers and the Al Sharptons and the BLM people and the CRT people and the 1619 Project people falsely constantly calling me and others “racists”, and falsely claiming that this is a racist country, and encouraging violent encounters between the races, and promoting racial guilt. If you call the US a racist country over and over long enough and loudly enough … guess what you’ll get?

For example, multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey is what they call “ADOS”, an American Descendent of Slaves. She’s worth over three BILLION dollars, and I say more power to her—she worked hard for it, she earned it, and she deserves every penny of it.

Now, she was never a slave, and I was never a slaveholder. But far too many people claim that all ADOS people are owed “reparations”. They say that I and other white people should give Oprah some of our hard-earned money, based on something we never did and she never suffered … so please, answer me seriously.

Do you truly think that doing that, forcing me and others to further enrich Oprah, will improve race relations or make them worse? Will it make white people view black people more compassionately, or less so?

And the same is true about calling people “racists”—there is no better way to turn people into racists than to tell them over and over that they are racists. It’s the “bad child” technique I described in Part The First. The Chinese used that method in their “Re-education Camps”, telling people over and over that they were the enemies of society until they eventually believed it and apologized for it.

So please, I implore everyone to work to unite us rather, than to divide us with endless false accusations of widespread racism. Yes, racism still exists. There likely will still be racist people around when my grandchildren are long gone.

But we cannot fight against racism by further dividing ourselves along racial lines. We cannot fight racism by claiming it exists where it clearly doesn’t. We cannot fight racism by reparations. We cannot fight it by falsely claiming that every difference in outcome between groups is due to “racism”.

Seriously, folks. Suppose you have two groups of people, call them Group B and Group W. And suppose you constantly claim that every bad thing that has happened to Group B throughout history is the fault of Group W … just what do you think will happen? Do you think it will make Group W more likely or less likely to support the hopes and aspirations of Group B?

We live in a bizarre time, a time when people are not held responsible for their own actions and situations today, but they are held responsible for what their great-great-grandparents did 150 years ago …

In hopes of a better time, I remain,

A friend and supporter of people of each and every color.

w.

25 thoughts on “Of Race, Racism, and Racists

  1. A wonderful post Willis, and very relevant to South Africa today, where racism is front page news much of the time, and yet most South Africans of all colours just want to get on with their lives and treat everyone with respect and indeed affection. We have had 28 years of ‘non-racial democracy’ in this country, yet the extremists on both sides are still calling each other names. And that, as you rightly say, simply makes perpetuates the stereotypes. I worked on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project for 21 years, and some day I would like to hear about your time in Lesotho. Take care, and warm regards from chilly South Africa. John Ledger

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “The US is far and away the least racist country I know of.” This right here has been my experience also. I grew up in south Mississippi, went to school that was roughly 40/60 white to black students. Of course I saw racist crap from both directions, it was part of the over arching culture. Have to say, when I moved north is when I really saw racism, again from both directions. It was clearly polarized and rather open. My time in US Army taught me that skin color is the LEAST important factor. And yet the political left has weaponized racism and is using it to drive Americans into self segregated blocs, all to drive their political agenda.

    We have got to find a method of stopping this crap, it is destroying America.

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    • I like your Army comment. I didn’t know a single Black person until I entered the Army. The whole range of race relations unfolded in the military, after that.
      It’s been over half a Century since I served, but I’ll never forget SFC Wallace Daniels, one of the finest men I ever knew and as black as anyone can be.
      I’ll also never forget Stanley Washington. We met in basic training and he was the first black friend I ever had. I sure hope he made it through the war.
      He pulled his tee shirt off one day and I was amazed that he was only dark brown outside his shirt and coffee and cream beneath his shirt. It never occurred to me that Black people tanned.

      Being raised somewhat isolate in the middle of the Tall Grass Prairie on the Osage reservation, I had never even seen a Black person, until I was about 5yrs old and I’ll never forget the experience. We had traveled to Grandma’s house, for the great event of seeing the used TV that Grandpa had purchased. I’d heard of TVs, but had never seen one of those, either. It was a long way to the nearest broadcast station and as Grandpa fiddled with the antenna and vertical hold, trying to coax an image from the static filled, bucking bronco of a TV screen, strange images appeared of some sort of civil rights event, back then, in the mid 50s.

      I asked Grandma, “What’s the matter with those people”?
      She said, “Oh, somebody’s doin’ ’em wrong and they don’t like it”.
      “No, Grandma, look at ’em. Does the TV make ’em look like that”?

      She paused and looked at me for a moment and realized why I was asking.
      “Those are Colored People”, she said. “You know how there’s Indians and White folks. Well, there’s colored folks, too”.

      To me, one of the greatest discoveries that science has ever made, is the finding that there is only about 1% DNA difference within the whole human race. We’re all 99% alike.
      Don’t let the haters trick you,there’s only 1 race.

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  3. I live in Canada and have traveled often in the USA. In my opinion, there are fewer racists in Canada than in the USA in percentage terms. I refute your claim that the USA is the least racist country in the world. The USA is a great country and Canada relies on you. Nevertheless, for historical reasons, you have race issues which are much more severe than those in Canada. I agree with the rest of your article. Keep up the good work!

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    • You claim Canada as less racist. Yet, Canada has never had a black Prime Minister. In fact, all of Canada’s Prime Ministers have been or are white. Black people make up only 3.5% of Canada’s population. I believe your opinion is based solely on anecdotal evidence.

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      • The historian Marcel Trudel catalogued the existence of about 4,200 slaves in Canada between 1671 and 1834, the year slavery was abolished in the British Empire. About two-thirds of these were Native and one-third were Blacks. Compare this to the USA. As I said, for historical reasons, your race issues are more severe. I have traveled to over 50 countries and I have no doubt that every country, including Canada, has issues with bigotry and prejudice. Yes, my evidence is anecdotal. I mean no offense to anyone.

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        • Stephen, I know your opinion is not meant to offend, but it does. Here’s why….

          Racism is in no way explained by how many slaves a country had or when. It’s a question of current attitudes among citizens; how people feel about others.

          Are there people with racist attitudes in the USA? Certainly; just as you agree, there are people in Canada who have racist opinions, about Blacks and, especially, about native Canadians (aka Indians).

          But, here’s where the offensive nature of your comment comes in, is there a greater % of people in the USA with racist attitudes than in Canada, which might be one measure of “more or less racist”? I’d aver it’s really hard to know. You think there are, but your opinion has little, if any, substantive basis that you offer or of which I am aware. By its apparent nature, your opinion is an example of bias, not unlike racism, in that it is a generalized opinion about another group that likely has complex motivating emotions that go beyond the fact on which it is claimed to be based.

          I can’t restrain myself (although I know I should) from pointing out that Canadians are not exempt from having socially debilitating “my group/ other group” opinions—evidence the attitudes of French Canadians and Anglo Canadians towards each other. While not based on race, those attitudes are not substantially different from racism in their nature. So, the implication of your comment that Canadians are morally better than Americans feels like you’re throwing rocks from a glass house.

          In considering my reaction to your comment, I realize it is due, to a great extent, to two factors, (1) Canada and the US have very similar cultural backgrounds and so, like siblings, I want to like and respect Canadians, but (2) having more than 10-15 Canadian friends, I find some have smug and self-righteous opinions that Canada is “better” than the US and don’t mind telling me so. My reaction is that of a sibling: love and antagonism. I really enjoy the company of Canadians; I just wish some would get off their high horse—it is not dignifying or necessary. And, it is annoying if not outrightly offensive.

          The good news is, from what I’ve seen, despite feelings of jealously and rivalry between some Canadians and Americans, we get along very well and we would defend each other against all comers if ever needed.

          As with your comment, I don’t mean to be offensive (even if I’m being defensive). To put it bluntly, I find the entire “meme” of the US being racist a crock of cow manure.

          And, with that, I remain your loving fellow North American….may our mutual values prevail where most needed.

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          • Please give me some facts to support the statement that the USA is the LEAST racist country in the world.
            I am not smug. I am 70 years old and have seen a lot in my life. Canada is not perfect. Blacks in Canada are five times more likely to live in poverty than the average. This can perhaps be explained by the fact that most blacks in Canada are recent immigrants from the Caribbean, with lower education and job skills.
            I am an anglophone living and raised in Quebec. Prejudice against English is not uncommon, but it has a historical basis due to English dominance of the economy until about 1970. We have our history and you have yours. Blacks who hate whites are racist also. They are part of the history you have to live with and adapt to. The USA has made amazing progress in my lifetime and I hope that in another 50 years, the notion of racism will also be history. The saddest element of all this is the politicizing of racial hatred and division by the Democrat party.
            On another topic, Canada has strict voter ID laws and paper ballots at all levels of government. I have never heard any suggestion or complaint of voter fraud, disenfranchisement or ballot harvesting in Canada.
            Thank you for being a good neighbor to your northern cousins.

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          • Stephen Rowland, you asked for facts to support my claim. First of all, there’s no single be-all, end-all measurement to judge which country is more or less racist. And I’m sure different ways of making any measurement to assess that characteristic will show different results. After all, it would likely even be hard to agree on a definition of racism that has a narrow empirical reality to measure. Be that as it may, here are facts to support my claim. By the way, I was NOT trying to make case that the US is less racist than Canada. I suppose a more judicious opinion on my part would have been to say the US is one of the least racist….with Canada and a few others in a similar camp. In any event, some facts:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/

            By the way, I’m 74 so we’ve covered similar ground in years. The only reason I felt qualified to make the statement I did was having spent many months in each of >40 countries over the last 50 years…and, yes, my opinion is anecdotal and surely biased by my love for my country, but I can’t tell you how shocked I’ve been time and again by the expressed racist opinions and, in some case, behaviors I’ve encountered around the world—far greater than I ever experienced in the US…and I’ve lived in many places around the US as well.

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  4. Couldn’t agree more, Willis, and reflects my views 100%. It really steams me when otherwise well-meaning people buy into systemic racist ideology, that they cannot see that perspective is not only factually wrong, but that their mindset undermines progress towards what they claim they want.

    Like you, I’ve worked in more than 40 countries around the word, at least 10 of which are in sub-Sahara Africa, many in Asia, Europe, etc. My experience is exactly as yours: the USA is the LEAST racist of any I’ve visited. I’d go further and say that not only is the USA least racist, it is to a great extent non-racist, with the small minority of situations in which racism is evident being made by the MSM to seem like just the “tip of the iceberg.” Not true. The vast majority of Americans are happy to meet others of any race as equals without judgment, the only thing most people care about is: are you a reasonable person with reasonable values. If so, we meet as equals. And the benefit of the doubt is almost always given.

    I’m not sure what it will take for “us” to get over and through this soul-destroying myth that racism is rampant, or even a serious problem, in America.

    As for “owing reparations,” doing that would benefit no one even if it made sense philosophically. If one wants to do well in America, what’s required is hard work, diligence, self-denial. Penniless non-European immigrants have been doing it for generations. For sure, there are those unable to function well in society—I’d prefer charity be the mechanism to deal with such people. Sadly, government welfare seems to feed, not staunch, the problem of those who need other’s help to have food and shelter. Reparations serve neither justice nor would they remediate whatever problems exist today because of slavery.

    As a last point, economic conditions of African-Americans were clearly improving from the 1920’s into the 1960’s as almost all analysis show (see Thomas Sowell among others), despite the legal and societal racism that existed. The effect of the Great Society programs and all since have almost universally undermined that improvement in ways that are measurable. It’s not slavery, but rather it is those who want government to “help” who have created much of the problem they think free money will somehow solve. It’s only their warped consciences that are salved—and falsely at that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A profound and thoughtful paper, Willis, but I think much of what is called racism is in fact tribalism and fear of the different. The folk from the other side of the mountain have a different accent so are different from us and therefor not to be trusted even though they look like us, and as for the strange folk who live a few islands away, well you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them, 143 years ago they stole 5 pigs from us. The fact that 146 years ago we stole two canoes from them has nothing to do with it. People who look very different and / or speak a different language are really scary, you have no idea how they are going to behave or what they want so you just shut them out altogether, or better still chase them away.

    Your paper should be compulsory reading for all politicians, activists and educators.

    One nit pick, though, you visited Great Britain, not England.
    And I suppose that comment bears out my original point.

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  6. Agree with Willis and Oldseadog.

    I’ve talked about the problem of separating “diferencism” (something we all do at some level) from racisim.

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    • John, I think what you may be referring to as differencism could better be called cultural bigotry as described at http://www.thoughtsaloud.com/2016/06/30/cultural-bigotry/. Cultural bigotry differs from Oldseadog’s ‘tribalism’ in that, at least to me, tribalism implies an initial negative attitude towards all other groups where cultural bigotry implies understanding another culture before developing any specific attitude toward it. Guess I’ve spent too many summers on the Gullah Coast to be a racist and visited/lived in too many places to be tribal. But, from what I’ve learned in my travels, I am a cultural bigot. There are some I just have a hard time tolerating.

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      • Not exactly. “Differencism” is more subtle. I believe we all notice characteristics, or differences, between ourselves and others. Are they taller or shorter, older or younger, thinner or heavier, what’s their hair color, etc. and we may treat or react to them slightly due to a difference, even if only perceived. Our reaction may be either favorable or unfavorable, again either perceived or real.

        If you are in a store and don’t know where the restroom is and you see two store employees talking, you might go up to them and ask the one that is the same sex as you, “Where is the restroom?”. Nothing unusual here, I suspect most people may ask the same sex person this question In this thread’s conversation, if the other employee is of a race other than yours, do they think you ignored them simply because of their race. Have you just confirmed your “race bias” by ignoring them? In this incident though, you weren’t considering race at all.

        I believe millions of these situations happen every day and many are perceived as racially motivated when they are not.

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      • Not exactly. “Differencism” is more subtle. I believe we all notice characteristics, or differences, between ourselves and others. Are they taller or shorter, older or younger, thinner or heavier, what’s their hair color, etc. and we may treat or react to them slightly due to a difference, even if only perceived. Our reaction may be either favorable or unfavorable, again either perceived or real.

        If you are in a store and don’t know where the restroom is and you see two store employees talking, you might go up to them and ask the one that is the same sex as you, “Where is the restroom?”. Nothing unusual here, I suspect most people may ask the same sex person this question In this thread’s conversation, if the other employee is of a race other than yours, do they think you ignored them simply because of their race. Have you just confirmed your “race bias” by ignoring them? In this incident though, you weren’t considering race at all.

        I believe millions of these situations happen every day and many are perceived as racially motivated when they are not.

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  7. Well done Mr. Eschenbach.

    National Public Radio hasn’t succeeded in making a racist out of me (yet) but it ain’t for lack of trying. NPR is one of the most racist institutions it’s ever been my misfortune to encounter though there are clearly elements of politics and tribalism involved. Notwithstanding, NPR never passes an opportunity for race-baiting and playing the race card.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Scott Adams works in the world of persuasion, so this might be at right angles from your worldview. It certainly is to mine, though I’m getting slightly less bad in my old age. Persuasion is alien to all of us, though we bathe in it continually.

    His suggestion is that racism is built into all of us. Not because we are evil, but because how the wetware is wired. We humans are pattern recognition machines. We see patterns or construct them all the time, often out of really small datapoints. The problem is that our brains aren’t all that good at it, so we see patterns where they don’t exist all the time. Race is simply another pattern.

    The problem comes when figuring out what to do with the problem. If we are really poor at pattern recognition, and racism falls out of it, how do you stop racism? We can’t rewire the wetware. What alternatives are there?

    An analogy is appropriate here. If it going to rain all day (you are steeped in racism), how do you keep from getting wet (how to keep racism from hurting you)? You use things like umbrellas, raincoats, roofs, raingear, or any of a thousand things produced over the centuries to keep one dry in the rain.

    Similarly, if racism is everywhere, how do we minimize its impact? By preparing everyone with the tools and techniques to deal with society and life in this Great Nation. But it turns out that the schools aren’t doing that anymore, especially with minority kiddos, which makes the public schools and teachers’ unions that run them the greatest purveyors of racism since Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    It’s raining. Figure out how to not get wet, and you solve the problem. Cheers –

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    • I like your view that racism is pattern recognition, with its flaws. To that extent, the “systemic racism” viewpoint is correct, but it’s more than “systemic” in the way the woke argue it—it’s “biological.” But, to another commenter’s point, what could be racism turns into “differencism” when we decide that someone who is different isn’t automatically “bad” even if we believe the difference has bad pattern elements associated with it. “Racism,” then is neither some unique human flaw nor a matter of history, expungible through admission of (non personal) guilt or reparations.

      No one can deny racism was institutional to a certain extent in the US until we eliminated race-based laws. Do some civil organizations still informally discriminate based on race? Probably, but they are few and far between and in the grand scope of things inconsequential.

      Racism to the extent it exists in the US today is primarily personal and, as we have treated it in relatively recent history, a moral/ ethical problem. To make racism a criminal matter separate from non-racial criminal laws is a serious mistake (e.g., hate crimes), as our modern western civilization decided through The Enlightenment: physical force and (to some extent) fraud was decided to be criminal and the arena for the civil state; all other transgressions were decided to be moral/ ethical, to be handled by civil courts where damages could be established or to be handled by the metaphysical or through our informal social relations (church, community, etc.).

      To the extent that racism exists among individuals, it must and can only be dealt with as a moral/ ethical problem. I don’t think government being the arbiter of morality is a good thing. When that happens, we have the horrors of the “religious state,” which our last 200-300 years has shown to be avoidable.

      To put a (too) fine point on racism and differencism and pattern recognition, when I meet a black person in a social setting, do I see someone who is different from me: yes, to the extent that skin color is a point of difference. Differencism at work. Do I associate negative patterns with skin color? Yes, it’s a fact that a greater percentage of blacks commit crimes of physical violence than whites. Pattern recognition at work. Do I apply that “pattern” to the black person I’ve met. No, I’m wearing my ethical and judgmental raincoat in that I have no reason to believe the black person I’ve met is part of that pattern and so my attitude towards him or her is no different than it would be if that person were white.

      Interestingly, I’ve worked with and interacted with hundreds of black Africans in Africa and, in that context, there’s zero “pattern” associated with skin color. As I think about it, I more associate patterns if the individual is Nigerian or Zimbabwean, etc., much like I’d associate patterns if someone I met in the US were from New York or South Carolina or California. Despite such pattern associations, I work hard to take each individual for who they appear to be as an individual. Not all New Yorkers are “like” New Yorkers! And having been born in Brooklyn, I think I have license and experience to say that!

      While discussing and exploring ideas such as the above can be constructive among some people in some settings, the way that “woke re-education” is being pursued in classrooms and in corporate settings is deeply flawed and inappropriate in so many ways, I cannot take the time and space to elaborate here. In short, the best way to address individual racist attitudes and behaviors is for us to call people out who exhibit such. It’s that simple and all we need. Doing otherwise, as is being done in too many places in too many badly-considered ways, only raises defensiveness and inflames the entire subject with destructive consequences.

      The only way to deal with what I consider to be the madness of crowds on this matter is to refuse to legitimize such re-education, to call out its flaws, and to articulate the more just reality that exists and the rightfulness of its defense.

      While this analogy is flawed, and I beg forgiveness from anyone offended by my use of it, this situation seems not unlike ordinary Germans who knew the anti-Jewish actions of the state and civil society were wrong, but who did not have the courage to speak out to prevent its legitimization throughout society. I don’t think we’ll have the horrible consequences of that societal breakdown in the case of “woke madness,” but it’s hard to see horrible consequences when one’s acquiescence can avoid them.

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  9. Willis, in the last year I have experienced a flash of light on politics, after reading Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt who says that the political is the distinction between friend and enemy. Or, as Curtis Yarvin writes, “there is no politics without an enemy.”

    When people say you are a “racist” they are saying you are the enemy. Because without an enemy there is no politics. And what would the poor politician or activist do then, poor thing?

    It’s up to us to utterly reject the enemy hunters.

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    • I think “enemy” is too strong a word to use in the context of politics because of its aggressive connotations. Politics is the process of different people attempting to deal non-violently with differences they have that they feel are sufficiently concerning to warrant change in the other party’s behavior (including attitude expressed as behavior). When the parties involved cannot deal with their differences directly, they engage others to represent them. This is why we have lawyers and political parties. “Enemies” is a word we usually use when referring to others with whom we disagree for which politics has not worked or will not work, in which case physical aggression (e.g., war) is the mechanism for resolution.

      “Opponents” might be a better word to use in the context of politics in order to avoid naming those with whom we disagree using a word with aggressive connotations. “Opponents” avoids that connotation, whereas “enemies” does not.

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