[Excerpted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively through VDARE.com]
There wasn't actually as much WhoWeAre-ism at this week's Democratic National Convention as I anticipated. Incredibly, Barack Obama got through a whole 19-minute speech without a single Who We Are. His lady Michelle made up for it with three Who We Ares in her speech, while the nominee himself, Joe Biden, emitted just one. A Hollywood bimbo named Kerry Washington (who is black) matched Michelle's three. Hakeem Jeffries, a black congressman from New York City, did his best with just two Who We Ares [Transcript: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Karen Bass, Washington Post, August 20 2020]. Pete Buttigieg could only manage one [Transcript: Pete Buttigieg's DNC remarks, CNN, August 20, 2020]
But by way of compensation for a falling-off in Who We Ares, we got a glimpse of the new-rising cliché among progressive Leftists: "The Work."
And so on. They make it all sound very strenuous, don't they?
Or maybe it's just me. I don't have much taste for the gassy, whiny style of political rhetoric that today's Democrats go in for. And there were sins here of both Commission and Omission.
Battered, rusty old lies that have been exposed so often, anyone who pays much attention must know they are lies by now. Yet speakers here brought them out as if they were shiny and new, to make us gasp and shriek.
Their great favorite is of course the Fine People lie.
Clip of Joe Biden speaking: Just a week ago yesterday was the third anniversary of the events in Charlottesville … Remember the violent clash that ensued between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it? Remember what the president said? There were, quote, "very fine people on both sides."
Mrs. Obama dragged this one out too:
Clip of Michelle speaking: Kids in this country … see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists.
Hoo-kay. One more time, with weary resignation:
Clip of Trump speaking: You had people—and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally—but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly …
Next up behind the Fine People lie was the Children in Cages lie, another old favorite. (Briefly, Obama put kids [unaccompanied teenagers during a border surge in 2014] in cages, which the Associated Press, in its most recent of many fact-checks called "chain-link enclosures inside border facilities where migrants were temporarily housed, separated by sex and age," i.e, to prevent rape and child molestation by older male teens.)
And then, the events of this past few months have given them yet another lie to pad out their speeches with and excite the indignation of the faithful: the Peaceful Protest lie.
Mrs. Obama packed both lies into a single sentence:
Clip of Michelle speaking: They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protestors for a photo-op.
Yeah, peaceful protestors. We saw those peaceful protestors on the YouTube clips, Michelle: smashing, burning, looting, assaulting. How stupid do you think we are?
Which brings us to the
The little pork pies were bad enough; but where was any mention of the utter breakdown of public order in big cities—big cities whose politics is totally dominated by the party whose convention we were watching?
That omission is itself rooted in a lie—the biggest lie of all, what I think of privately as our National Lie.
Yes: Just as we have a National Flag, a National Anthem, a National Capital, and a National Father, we have a National Lie—a great big brazen whopper that no one who wants a career in the public realm dares deny.
Certainly, no one of any public influence does deny it: no politician, no celebrity, no TV talking head—no, not even Tucker Carlson.
The lie is that different outcomes by race are caused by something other than biology.
What, exactly, is the “something other”? That depends who you ask.
The viewpoint represented at this week's Democratic Party convention is that the something-else causing chronic academic failure and antisocial behavior among American blacks is racism—malice, conscious or unconscious, on the part of whites.
An alternative view—call it the Tucker Carlson view—is that yes, there may be some malicious white racists around, but not enough to account for the chronic, intractable, unfixable quality of black dysfunction—not to mention the superiority of East Asians over whites in educational attainment and law-abiding sociality.
So what accounts for these things? Culture! Some people don't behave right, because … culture. They need to get their thinking straight.
I don't myself see much difference between these two alternative supports for the National Lie. In the imaginations of those who take these positions, both “white racism” and “culture” belong, metaphysically, in the realm of magic. They are invisible vapors seeping up out of the soil, fogging our vision and muddling our brains. They are the phlogiston, the luminiferous æther, of modern social science.
Get their thinking straight? Thinking happens in the brain, which is an organ, a biological object, with an ontogeny and a phylogeny.
I'm an old-line British empiricist. Race is real, and it makes a difference. Not always at the individual level: Plenty of black Americans are smarter and better socialized than me. When a population of millions is under discussion, though, the law of averages kicks in, and you get…Well, we all know what you get.
As an old friend of mine is wont to say when the social dysfunction of black Americans comes up: "It's a different critter."
Another old friend, a retired academic, in an email exchange with me the other day, said the following thing, which I think is wise and true:
The entire civil rights movement has evolved from passing laws to prescribing totalitarian schemes for transforming blacks into whites, and this has been a disaster for both races. Let them be who they naturally are.
Wise words, but of course flagrantly, shockingly disrespectful of the National Lie.
And that great big National Lie breeds lesser lies. Most in evidence at this convention was the lesser lie that whites are dangerous to blacks. Mrs. Obama again:
[Clip of Michelle speaking: And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation's highest office.]
Well, yes. It meets with derision for perfectly good reasons, again to do with the law of averages. Whatever happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the statistics show that by far the greatest danger to the lives of American blacks comes from other American blacks; AND that blacks are ten, twenty, thirty times more dangerous to whites than vice versa, depending on the style of interpersonal violence we're talking about.
We've presented those statistics many, many times over here at VDARE.com; other investigators have reported them elsewhere—Heather Mac Donald for example at City Journal; and Jared Taylor has a concise and characteristically eloquent presentation of them on his current BitChute video (YouTube having suppressed him just as it has suppressed VDARE TV)—link here.
Yet facts, statistics, and empirical inquiry can't leave a bruise on the National Lie, certainly not for the people speaking to us from this week's Democratic National Convention.
For them, our National Lie is too precious to discard—more precious to them than the National Flag or the National Anthem, for sure. The more the National Lie is challenged (to the degree anyone dares challenge it), the tighter our elites clutch it.
Hence the Church of Antiracism.
Being essentially a metaphysical doctrine indifferent to empirical verification, Antiracism has naturally assumed some of the aspects of a religion. That is to say, it delivers some of the same psychological rewards to believers that religions do.
To say that Antiracism is a religion, or at any rate an ersatz religion, is by now a cliché. Certainly you've heard it from me before; and as before, if you want to read a good brief argument for Antiracism's religious nature, I recommend John McWhorter's article at the Daily Beast, posted July 2015, updated April 2017: "Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion."
This religious aspect came to mind when I saw the news item about Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, donating ten million dollars to something called the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.
Hey, I thought, that's just like some grandee aristocrat in medieval Europe donating a cartload of silver coin, or a patch of good farming land, to a monastery.
Dorsey is worth billions, so ten million dollars is just dinner and a movie to him. The donation is pretty impressive none the less. What is this Center for Antiracist Research? What kind of research will they actually do?
Now my imagination is drifting towards the Academy of Lagado in Book Three of Gulliver's Travels, where scholars occupied themselves with such projects as extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers.
That is unkind of me, though—probably racist, in fact. Let's take a closer look.
The Center seems to be the brainchild of professional black guy Ibram X. Kendi, author of the Number Two antiracist bestseller How to Be an Antiracist.
No, I haven't read Mr. Kendi's book, and don't plan to. Three hundred and twenty pages of magical-thinking woo would be several hours out of my life, and I don't have all that many hours left. I did read Coleman Hughes' withering review of the book in City Journal [How to Be an Anti-Intellectual: A lauded book about antiracism is wrong on its facts and in its assumptions, October 27, 2019]. He quotes Kendi as writing:
Capitalism is essentially racist and racism is essentially capitalist.
Given that Jack Dorsey acquired his billions by sheer capitalist enterprise, you have to wonder whether he's read Kendi's book.
But I guess if you can hate your own race as much as these white ethnomasochists do, hating your own path to a colossal fortune comes easily.
…disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.
As Coleman Hughes says: "Kendi's goals are openly totalitarian."
Some unkind spirits on Steve Sailer's comment thread have predicted that Dorsey's ten million dollars will go the way money generally goes when it falls into the hands of black grifters: on bling, dope, fancy hookers, rowdy parties where someone gets shot, and bribes to public officials.
I hope they're right. At least that way, the money will do no serious social harm.
Bringing up the website of the Center for Antiracist Research, I saw that one of their projects is a National Antiracist Book Festival. Apparently Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo are not the only ones cashing in on the Antiracism cult. There are enough antiracist books on the market for an entire festival:
The festival assembles a day full of author panels and editorial workshops. A vibrant crowd of authors and attendees engage in antiracist dialogue that will challenge, inspire, and mobilize. Workshops bring together leading book editors and literary agents to provide insight and guidance for aspiring writers.
That mention of “leading book editors and literary agents,” if not bogus, suggests that the market for antiracist literature is still not saturated. There is still gold in them thar hills!
It looks, in fact, as though Antiracism is not one of those sackcloth and ashes kinds of religion, with a strict rule of poverty and obedience. It more closely resembles Al Bundy's Church of NO MA'AM, right up to the point where Rev'm Al whispers to his helpers that "this is where we eece-flay the ongregation-cay."
If this is your kind of thing, though, listeners, by all means go to the website of the Center for Antiracist Research and get a ticket for the National Antiracist Book Festival, to be held in Washington DC next April 24th.
An all-access ticket, with which you can attend all those vibrant discussions and workshops, costs only $250, and you get a free tote bag and a copy of Mr. Kendi's book!
Hard to resist, eh? Go for it, true believers! You may come home financially poorer, but you will be spiritually richer.
And—who knows?—perhaps Jack Dorsey will show up to add some billionaire glamor to the event.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.
Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at VDARE.com can do so here.