The Left’s Golden Calves
“Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions.”-Rowdy Roddy Piper
“Stop making sense.”-The Talking Heads, “Girlfriend Is Better”
The Left uses the United States as its basis on which to frame systemic inequality and the like, and believes, in the same way it portrays the colonial structures it seeks to “problematize,” that its framework is applicable across societies as a kind of catch-all model, with no knowledge or awareness whatsoever of the historical, political, and ethnic particulars of the nation or region it’s attempting to force its rubric on.
Then, of course, individual identities over-lap, which would be called “intersectionality”—the point at which each strand of identity “intersects” in each particular person. As Audre Lorde elucidates:
The increasing attacks upon lesbians and gay men are only an introduction to the increasing attacks upon all Black people, for wherever oppression manifests itself in this country, Black people are potential victims…Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black.
This is a very peculiar way of looking at the world, to put it mildly; just because Lorde happens to be black and a lesbian, this unites blacks and lesbians? What about an attack against a white lesbian? What about a black Muslim man’s attack against a black Christian woman? What about an illiterate, gender-queer Tuvaluan migrant’s attack against…you get the idea.
The “Coalition of the Fringes” ostensibly seeks to unite the various “oppressed” groups under the banner of Resistance, but there is in fact a pecking order within oppressed groups/classes. They have their own victim hierarchy, and the hilarious part is that they claim to be avowedly against hierarchical structures. God forbid someone be mixed race; where might they fit into these complex matrices of oppression? As mixed-race Giovanna Fischer says:
It’s a special navigation of matters of the soul, something that requires knowing “how to move in and out of claiming multiple identities, black being one of them. I can present more black or less black, but it’s also a solidarity thing and how do I acknowledge that part of me… I experience more comfort in dating people of color,”…owning the experience “of it not feeling like this science experiment … There’s something about being able to identify with this experience in this country of being a person of color that has been more comfortable for me.”
What’s crucial to note here is that Fischer readily acknowledges that she can move in and out of different “spaces” or identities, but at her core she seems to identify exclusively as a personne du coleur. She uses “blackness” as her base or point of reference, so to speak. I’d like to reference the One Drop Rule here and state that we must problematize these kinds of claims that, as Barbara Tomlinson writes, “Utilize structures of argument that evoke histories of racial hierarchy and colonialism, treating the intersectionality of US women of color as a site to colonize and control. They deploy rhetorics that map closely to structures of thinking described by Albert Memmi in his description of colonial racism.”
According to the Left’s new pet “intellectual” Ta-Nehisi Coates: “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” Why would a slave owner want to destroy a black body if it represented a life-long investment, indeed one that could reproduce and thus multiply its value? I know this is an uncomfortable way of looking at it, but logically this claim makes no sense. To extract labor the slave owner has no right to, to rob someone of their dignity and freedom—yes, this is an absolute moral wrong (although in Qatar, where they are literally using slave labor to build their World Cup stadium, they might disagree). Look, Ta, half a million men died, in part, for slavery’s abolishment in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of white bodies were destroyed, torn to bits by cannon and gun fire, hacked up by swords and run through with bayonets. More Americans were killed and wounded in the Civil War than in all our other wars combined. The debt has been paid in blood and suffering. Even if that wasn’t good enough (and let’s be honest, for race grievance industry types like Coates it never is), Philip Leigh makes a compelling case that the financials were more than covered after the war in Union veterans’ pensions and re-payment of the interest that had accrued on the debt incurred by the war:
[Additionally], four years after the war in 1869 the Republican-controlled federal government passed a law that required federal debt to be redeemed in gold. But during the war the great majority of investors used paper money, which traded at a discount to gold, to buy the bonds. The discount got as high as 63%...In short, gold redemption was a huge windfall for the bondholders. Few, if any, bonds were held by ex-Confederates…Second, Union veterans pensions did not stop growing until 1921, which was fifty-five years after the war ended. Moreover, the total amount paid was about twice as much as the combined federal and Northern state governments spent to fight the war. By 1893 Union veterans pensions represented 40% of federal spending.
Daniel J. Berger explains that:
The monetary cost of the Civil War, North and South, is estimated at $44.4 billion in 1990 dollars. This breaks down to Union costs of more than $1000 (1990 dollars) for every man, woman and child in the Union; and Confederate costs of well over $2000 for every man, woman and child in the Confederacy. This is only the direct, billed cost of military pay and supplies, excluding veterans’ pensions which typically add a threefold increase. Nor does it include the many millions (in 1864 dollars) of damage done to the infrastructure of the Confederacy—and of Union border states—during the war; each million amounts to about $9 million in 1990 dollars. We could conservatively estimate that the total monetary cost of the Civil War was on the order of $200-500 billion in 1990 dollars, and perhaps as high as one or two trillion dollars.
The idea that blacks built America or were behind Europe’s most revered achievements is ludicrous. Their claims on most of the intellectuals they hold as representative is tenuous at best—Alexandre Dumas was a quarter black, Pushkin might’ve been an eighth, et cetera, et cetera. It’s been ages since I’ve laughed as hard as I did when an article brought to my attention the other day made the claim that Amelia Bassano—a black, female Jew who may or may not have even existed—was actually behind Shakepeare’s works, and that Shakespeare himself was illiterate. The claim is so fucking preposterous and without any grounding in factual evidence that…well, it’s like most Leftist claims, isn’t it? I lampooned this obvious fiction by forming my own equally factual one on Twitter, that some white woman—Geraldine Smith—wrote all of Langston Hughes’s poetry; that Hughes was illiterate and unable to even write his own name, but because Smith couldn’t get published by virtue of her being a woman, she took advantage of the momentum behind the Harlem Renaissance with Hughes as her “front.” This is obvious nonsense but it strikes at the heart of a deep-rooted sense of inferiority in the constant self-justification and the grasping at straws of these historical revisionists.
Look, some of our most exceptional intellects and vital, indispensable voices are black—Thomas Sowell, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Walter Williams, Larry Elder—and they’re doing real, legitimate work in their respective fields, unlike Michael Eric Dyson, Ta-Nehishi Coates, and the rest of these self-righteous charlatans. Why isn’t the former group more celebrated? Why are they, in fact, demonized? Is it because each has violated the sacred tenets of corrupted liberalism in their own way? Exceptional work doesn’t need artificial support. It stands on its own merit. The mixed-race Zadie Smith is one of my favorite contemporary novelists and she actually grapples with an often conflicting sense of identity in her fiction in a three-dimensional, compelling way; believe it or not, she may be no Lady Mary Wroth, but I very much like many of Audre Lorde’s poems. This doesn’t need to come with a justification.
Instead what we get are these ridiculous assertions of inter-oppressional privilege, where “blackness” and “yellowness” are contrasted by the writers at the Huffington Post as being unequal in their experience of The Struggle vis-à-vis the Kenyon Martin-Jeremy Lin fiasco of an Asian man being “called out” for sporting dreadlocks by a black man with Chinese character tattoos:
Borrowing a cultural marker like dreadlocks, which embody both joy and struggle unique to the black community, is not the same as having a Chinese tattoo, a symbol that doesn’t carry the same weight of oppression. Yes, appropriating Chinese culture through a tattoo is exoticizing and insensitive. But the the act of putting on and taking off dreadlocks―which are related to the systematic economic and social oppression of a racial group―demonstrates a greater level of disregard. To Lin’s point, the adoption of Chinese tattoos, tribal tattoos and other similar varieties is problematic. It doesn’t cross a using-someone-else’s-culture-for-personal-gain line in the same way, say, Kylie and Kendall Jenner’s Chinese takeout purse does… But Lin’s retort to Martin’s criticism was basically saying the tattoos and dreads are uniform in their demonstration of “respect,” and that’s just not accurate. Yes, cultural appropriation of Asian culture is oppressive in that exoticizing a culture can create a depiction of Asians as “others” or perpetual foreigners. But Asian-Americans are not held down by this characterization in the same way black people are for something as fixed as hair―and the struggle it represents.
I think you’ve got it made when all you have to complain about is your hair, but what do I know, I’m speaking from a place of privilege. Mind you, Maoist China had its own intersectional hierarchy, as Felix Wemheuer notes:
It was defined by a complex system of official labelling designed by the party-state that took into account residence (urban or rural), as well as class in the context of family origin, gender and ethnicity. This system created overlapping and intersectional hierarchies that influenced the distribution of material goods, access or exclusion from economic and political organizations and social capital.
There is some fluidity to the Hierarchy of Oppression as it’s presently constructed, but one thing we do know is it’s well-established straight Asian men are just a hair “above” straight white men at the bottom of the hierarchy. Things tend to get murky, however, as Peter Boghossian notes, “[Leftists in the academy] manufacture their own epistemology,” meaning that without any true basis or grounding in legitimate science or methodology, we are, to quote Jordan Peterson, “sacrificing the logos.” This is profoundly dangerous and risks the very foundation of Western thought.
That’s what the Left has in mind, however. According to Kim Case, “In essence, by not challenging this social hierarchy of identity, instructors add to the maintenance of this hierarchy and the invisibility of various intersections.” She’s speaking, of course, of the “Eurocentric” hierarchy. The solution is to “question,” “interrogate,” “de-construct,” and “problematize” endlessly. There will never be—can never be—a resolution to the ceaseless atomizing perpetuated by the pseudo-sciences and the corrupted humanities departments in the academy and among the millions of “activists” affecting the worst kinds of social change. The logic is at once circular and closed, endlessly self-referential and essentially inaccessible by any rational metric. When someone like Professor Lanny Ebenstein of UC Santa Barbara says that John Stossel—John Stossel—is “committed to the welfare of the top few,” you know that you are not dealing with a rational person. Most galling must be the commitment by the Left to place Islam beyond any and all criticism, even as the ideology itself would oppress these very same “champions” of the meek and downtrodden. Employing the calculus of intersectionality, it would appear to me that Iran is the closest thing we have to a Leftist utopia, being a strict Islamic theocracy sworn to the destruction of the United States and Israel that forces its women to wear the “empowering” hijabs and burqas and officially sanctions transgenderism.