Just Realism

The only ism worth a damn

The New Partisans

Soon I will be publishing an essay on what I believe to be substantive if not technical breach of the Establishment Clause on June 26th. We have witnessed the collapse of government as an arbiter for a pluralist and liberal democracy and its reconstruction as an explicit advocate for various struggles, a process long in the making and reaching its apex on that day.

For now, a critique of the various responses to the ruling from different sectors.

1. The jubilant masses and their corporate benefactors

Not much to see here, but worthy of a mention if only to distinguish them from people making serious efforts to rationalize the ruling. They couldn’t care less. They don’t know about the Constitution (masses) or care about it (corporations). All they know is that they won, they’re happy, and they will never let us forget about it. At least they make themselves easy enough to identify.

2. The Constitutionally misinformed

The most common refrain I hear from people defending the ruling is that the court was correct because “government” can’t deny benefits it gives to one group to another group.

This argument is quite obviously false. In fact, the very case I based my hope in Anthony Kennedy on affirmed it. There he argued that the voting public did have the right to confer non-essential benefits and privileges on different groups, or to take them away once established. In that case he was talking about the privileges and benefits of Affirmative Action, which were originally enacted to bring about “fairness” and “equality” but which had, to the voters, now become a burden.

The 10th amendment is very clear: whatever powers are not prohibited to the states by the Constitution, are held by the states and the people. The Constitution says nothing about marriage; the power to determine what marriage is belongs to the states. In many states, elected legislatures decided to recognize same-sex marriages, and no one on the right insisted that they lacked the authority to do so. This is because we respect the Constitution and the rule of law, even when it leads to outcomes with which we disagree.

Ah, but this is about the 14th amendment, you say in response. But there are two reasons why this fails.

First, because marriage laws always applied equally to all. No one could marry someone of the same-sex, regardless of their desire to do so; anyone could marry someone of the opposite sex. There was no “sexual orientation” litmus test, nor could there be, as the entire concept of fixed “sexual orientations” comparable to race or gender is highly questionable to say the least. We are not even sure as a society what it means to “be gay”, whether it is caused by genetics, environment, or in what combination – or whether it is an absolutely permanent condition for all, or a fluctuating condition for some.

Ruling it out as a mere choice, which I do along with most others, does not mean that it is a hard and fixed category either, and yet we now craft legislation based on this very assumption. At the same time, the very lines between “man” and “woman” are being breached, so that we cannot even assert with confidence that there exist, as separate entities, men and women. We must be certain that there are definitely heterosexuals and homosexuals for the purposes of marriage law, and we must doubt the very existence of men and women for the purposes of transgender inclusion. This philosophical anarchy has now culminated in judicial anarchy as well.

Secondly because, just like Affirmative Action quotas, what constitutes a legal marriage is not essential, it is not fundamental. I would have very much preferred that we altered our legal language to reflect this fact by replacing the word “marriage” with “civil union.” The legal aspect of marriage should have had a different name than the institution of marriage itself, which consists of so much more than legalities. This was a semantic and philosophical mistake. But that mistake does not alter the reality: that what legal marriage actually is, which is a bundle of contracts and tax breaks, no one is entitled to. The contracts can be established independently of a marriage license (or bundled together under a civil union) and no group is singled out for exclusion from tax breaks.

This would have allowed us to preserve the integrity of the word “marriage”, which is all we really want in the end, while allowing everyone to partake in the most important benefits of marriage. In the meantime we could have worked on altering the language we use to express these ideas. Instead, we got this.

3. The opportunists

I have already seen libertarians speaking about the implications of the decision for gun rights, and who knows what they will come up with next. “See, this will help us on other issues!” Even if that turned out to be true, it would never be sufficient to balance the damage done by this ruling.

Others are satisfied that we may “move on to other, more important issues.” Myopic fools!

What is coming down the road for people who adhere to the natural law – mostly religious people – is a wave of persecution. Those who deny it are blind. I will be elaborating more on it in the future. But all one needs to do is look to other countries in which “gay marriage” has been legalized for some time. Those who think the 1st amendment will forever remain a bulwark against the sort of thought-policing that occurs in Canada or Europe, or on our own college campuses, are over-confident. The 1st amendment is all but openly despised by the forces that worked so hard to bring us the ruling of June 26th. They have come this far; they will go further.

Even if it takes many years to formally alter the 1st amendment or abolish it, between now and that time this movement will do everything in its power to make the substantive use of that right a living nightmare for us. Jobs will be lost, reputations ruined, children indoctrinated against the will of their parents, churches faced with increasingly complex and costly legal battles, businesses sued and harassed, much of which we have already seen and will continue to see more of.

While all of this occurs, our fair-weathered secular comrades in the libertarian movement will rationalize their indifference by pointing to the formal existence of individual rights right up until the precise moment when the progressive world-spirit effects a qualitative transformation into full-blown totalitarianism. At that point I envision them becoming the progressive caricature of the sort of “love it or leave it” rednecks they have mocked for years.

4. The defeatists

None of this means we are utterly defeated. Despair is a natural reaction, and I felt it myself. But think of the pro-life movement in the aftermath of Roe. The left has never been able to savor that victory; rather it turned to ashes in their mouths because of the resistance put up by the movement. To this day it considers the pro-life movement a major thorn in its side and an impediment to its social objectives. So must the pro-marriage movement become.

We have always been engaged in a war of attrition. But sooner or later, the unstoppable Wehrmacht finds its Stalingrad. In keeping with that analogy, we, my friends, are now partisans, and we will live the life of partisans and dissidents. I suggest we start looking for allies.

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Scorch the Earth!

I was wrong.

I predicted that, in the light of Anthony Kennedy’s reasonable arguments for state’s rights and popular sovereignty in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action that he would do the same in Obergefell v. Hodges. Instead, he decided to eviscerate the Constitution in accordance with his own personal ideology.

Some quotes from the dissent before my brief thoughts below:

But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.” The Federalist No. 78, p. 465

Further:

The majority expressly disclaims judicial “caution” and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own “new insight” into the “nature of injustice.” Ante, at 11, 23. As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?

Further:

Allowing unelected federal judges to select which unenumerated rights rank as “fundamental”—and to strike down state laws on the basis of that determination—raises obvious concerns about the judicial role. Our precedents have accordingly insisted that judges “exercise the utmost care” in identifying implied fundamental rights, “lest the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause be subtly transformed into the policy preferences of the Members of this Court.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 720 (1997)

I could go on, but I will wrap it up with a quote from Jefferson:

You seem… to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questionsa very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.  Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.  They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.  Their maxim is “boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem,” and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.  The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. — Letter to William Charles Jarvis, emphasis mine

There can be no doubt that Jefferson’s worst fears have come true.

There is only one thing we can do in response to this abominable ruling: burn marriage to the ground. Every state in which voters adhere to natural law must mobilize to disestablish marriage. The effort is already underway in some states. It must continue. The proper solution to this problem all along was total disestablishment, and the replacement of marriage with civil unions for all, with the word “marriage” being stricken from the law books and relegated to religious institutions. This would have been the simple and easy way to satisfy the demand for equality. The unwillingness/inability for defenders of traditional marriage to recognize this is ultimately what led to this judicial disaster.

If this has one positive effect, let it be this: that conservative Christians never, ever, again in their lifetimes expect Caesar to be the guarantor of anything they hold dear. Yes, I blame our side. The other side is what it is: a juggernaut that believes it is the embodiment of Hegel’s world-spirit, “progressing” towards utopia (it will be a Soviet-style collapse, but whatever). Our side should have known better. It should have heeded the advice and warnings of libertarians, who have for the most part insisted for years that the state had no business in the marriage business. We could have gotten out of this mess with some dignity and composure, and instead we got this.

God help us.

Gods & Generals & Flags

It is necessary to speak on the flag controversy. I know how many people, especially libertarians and others who are “anti-establishment” think: this issue is a distraction. While we argue over the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (and not the Confederate national flag, which no one flies), the government is passing dangerous trade bills and undermining American sovereignty, etc. Well, there’s next to nothing we can do about any of that right now. And I guarantee that people who care about the flag issue are generally the sort of people who care about politics in general, while people who don’t understand/don’t care about history probably don’t care much about current events either.

So, here are my thoughts on all of this:

1. The battle flag means many things. It only represents racism for those who want it to. It only represents “treason” to people think that governments own their citizens the way that the hated slaveowners owned their chattel. Anyone who denounces the flag as a symbol of “treason” had better explain why that wouldn’t apply to the flag of a country that began as a secession from British rule, and was also called treasonous and traitorous. It’s not “treason” when you don’t like the reasons for secession and heroism when you do – that double standard is brazenly hypocritical and morally unjustifiable though.

2. Yes, the Southern legislatures voted for secession, explicitly invoking slavery and racism as part of their justification. I don’t agree with people who say that the war had “nothing to do” with slavery. This is obviously false.  I also don’t believe that everyone who fought under the battle flag was, by association, necessarily agreed with every jot and tittle of the documents produced by state governments. I think it is fair to say that most of them, the 95% or so who didn’t own slaves, were rallied under the battle flag for the purpose of defending their homes from an invading army which would cause an enormous amount of destruction.

3. The purging of history from America’s public spaces is a crime against civilization on the scale of ISIS’ destruction of historical monuments in the Middle East. Removing the flag from official government buildings is one thing, and few are really opposing that. Removing monuments, renaming roads, bridges, parks, removing the flag from places it is clearly appropriate, removing it from the store shelves – this is insanity. It is at best opportunistic pandering to a mob of ignorant fanatics, and at worst a sincere effort to erase history.

4.  The Civil War was a tragedy. Brother shot at brother, neighbor at neighbor. It was a war of many flags, as the intro to “Gods & Generals” (a great film) shows. Each regiment had a flag that represented a heck of a lot more than loyalty to some party or state legislature. I shake my head at the utter foolishness of people who try to tie the Union and Confederacy to the Republican and Democratic parties of today. It is especially foolish to tie army and regimental flags to political parties.

5. Slavery, ultimately, was an American institution. So was racism. The Confederacy didn’t invent slavery. The U.S. Constitution recognized slavery, and a series of compromises kept the country from civil war until 1861. Meanwhile, under the Stars & Stripes, the U.S. waged vicious imperialistic wars against Native Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos, and others. The “white man’s burden” was fully acknowledged and taken up by the white politicians of the Northern establishment. There are well-known pictures, like the one above, of the KKK using the Stars & Stripes. This was generally the “second KKK”, the KKK of the 1920’s revival that saw itself as a guardian of WASP purity against mostly Catholic immigrants (my ancestry would cause them nothing but irritation, since I’m the product of WASP and immigrant families of that time).

They didn’t view themselves as custodians of Southern heritage, as do many people who display the battle flag today. They viewed themselves as proud and loyal Americans, fighting for the racial and religious purity of the United States. They hated my Lebanese ancestors, just like they hated the Irish, the Italians, the Poles, and others.

According to leftist logic, I should be able to demand the removal of the American flag from all public places. It could serve as a painful reminder of a time when the KKK was at the high-point of its popularity in the United States, rallying millions of WASPs under its folds in their shared hatred of my poor great-grandparents who came here looking for work and freedom.  Instead I remember how shocked and angry my Lebanese grandmother got when, for some reason, in her presence, as a child, I said “America sucks.” I was set straight that day.

6. Finally, I disagree with Rand Paul, quite obviously. But he has an election to win. So whatever. I don’t expect him to defend the flag. But he is dead wrong. And so is Jack Hunter. I realize the guy is atoning for his past as an obnoxious hillbilly, but his recent interview with Chris Hayes, exemplar of the modern American thought police, was disgusting.

A New Essay

Stuff I’ve wanted to say about race for a long time. It is hard to cover it all in one post too – a book is required, really.

But this is for starters.

Also accessible at the top of the page.

I Wish This Was Unnecessary

In the wake of all politicized tragedies, it is necessary to restate things that would not have to be restated if there weren’t a loud, powerful minority of leftists in the United States who are aggressive enemies of individual rights and the basic premises of liberty. In no particular order:

1. I will not give up my guns. I am a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen who believes that deadly force can only ever be justified in self-defense or in the context of a just war (which would have something to do with defense). I am not a criminal, and I am not mentally ill. I will not surrender my 2nd amendment rights. You cannot manipulate me with guilt or fear into doing so.

2. I will not give up on free speech. The left is exploding with tweets, posts, memes, headlines, articles, etc. blaming everything from the most lukewarm and mainstream conservative outlets to the most far-right outfits imaginable for what happened in Charleston. I can say that as someone who is very far to the right on most issues (with a couple of important exceptions), I would have shot Dylann Roof myself if I could have to prevent him from doing what he did. I can also say that I will not be guilted, shamed, or harassed into changing my political views by people who shamelessly exploit this shooting. Nor will I ever work to deprive anyone else of their 1st amendment rights to fly a Confederate flag or any other sort of flag.

3. I won’t call Roof a “terrorist” just because you think I should. It is debatable whether or not Roof can be classified as a “terrorist.” Thus far, it does not appear that he has ties to a terrorist organization, or any organized racist group. It does not appear that he was acting on behalf of or in solidarity with such a group, much less executing a terrorist plot. Rather it appears that he is a mentally disturbed young man, heavily into drugs, whose “mission” was nothing but a product of his deluded and drug-addled brain. Further investigation may reveal otherwise.

The point is, I will not refer to him as a “terrorist” simply because he is white to balance things out. If and when he meets some of the basic criteria outlined above, I will be happy to call him a terrorist – just like I have no problem referring to Timothy McVeigh as a terrorist. It is also senseless to call him a “thug”; he wasn’t part of a gang and he didn’t identify with and glorify criminal sub-cultures. You want me to call a white criminal a thug? Fine – those bikers in Waco who went on a shooting spree (only killing each other, thank God)  – they were all vicious lowlife thugs and they should all be shot too. Happy?

4. I will support Rand Paul and black conservatives/libertarians. Many of them are asking white leftists: Please Stop Helping Us. Rand Paul is calling for enterprise-zones in blighted urban areas. The welfare state has failed. Leftist political administrations have failed. And above all, radical sexual liberation has failed the poor. It sounds trite, and I can’t expand upon it as much right now as I would like, but black conservatives with our support must bring the three F’s to their communities: faith, family and (economic) freedom. More economic freedom = more businesses, more investment, more jobs. Faith + family = social support network to minimize and/or remove the “support” of a cold, indifferent and incompetent bureaucracy.

As Bad As It Sounds: Murder In Charleston

Prepare yourselves. This happened.

A young white male, using black crime against whites as his justification, massacred 9 innocent people at a black church during a Bible study. Salon is already demanding, apparently without snark, that whites be held accountable for the murders in the same manner that whites allegedly hold blacks responsible for all black crime. Are the bodies even cold yet?

It’s a tragedy within a tragedy that we must immediately discuss politics. But we must.

Predictable reactions:

1. More Salon-style agitation. The murders will be cited forever more as proof positive that even citing crime statistics is itself a racist act that will inspire racist violence and should be proscribed in the name of fighting racism. The federal government has already started this process, and now it will be intensified.

2. Conspiracy theorizing. Some on the fringes of the right will refuse to accept the official version of events, citing it as a “false flag” designed to further an agenda. I certainly don’t disagree that this shooting will be exploited and used to further an agenda – but of course that alone cannot prove a conspiracy.

3. Conservatives cowering. Some will be able to push back against what will be an overpowering narrative over the next week or so. Most, I think, will hem and haw and have nothing to say.

4. Renewed demands for gun control. This could be 1a instead of a separate point on my list, since Salon includes it on its list of things that the mainstream media supposedly never talks about (right – we’ve never heard a peep about gun control on CNN or in the New York Times). I think mainstream Democrats will choose to focus exclusively on the 2nd amendment without necessarily getting caught up with Salon’s race narrative.

My reaction: 

The truth is still the truth. There is a reason why black crimes raise questions about black communities while crimes committed by white psychopaths generally don’t. It is not a secret racist conspiracy or a function of “privilege”, but reflects the fact that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime, and far more crime against whites than vice-versa. One summary of the most recently available data:

While most violent crime is indeed intrarracial, 26.7 percent of homicides where the victim is a stranger are interracial. And in 2008, the offending rate for blacks (24.7 offenders per 100,000) was seven times higher than the rate for whites (3.4 offenders per 100,000), according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Unfortunately we don’t have straightforward data on interracial homicides, because the federal government doesn’t publish data on them anymore.

White crime rates in the US are comparable to white crime rates in other predominately white countries – maybe a little higher on average, but not excessively so. Ann Coulter pointed this out a while back, and even an outraged leftist who decided to research her numbers had to admit that what she said was actually true (while lying about what she believes). The leftist decided to focus on a 1% – 1.5% difference in violent crime rates between American and most Western European countries as if it were a big deal. As a half-WASP American, I can admit that our history and our culture is more violent, certainly more so than what social democratic Europe has become. But if one looks at American and Western European white crime rates from the dizzying heights of say, rates of violence in Africa, the differences wouldn’t seem so great. Meanwhile within the United States, violent crime is an urban problem.

I don’t insist that blacks “apologize” for other blacks and I’m not going to apologize for mentally-ill whites. And unlike some black and white leftists who make excuses for black criminals (which I believe is patronizing and racist), I am not going to make excuses for white murderers. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter, should be apprehended and punished to the fullest extent of the law. If he resists the police with arms, the police should shoot him.

Other than that, both black and white leftist Democratic Party political leadership has utterly failed our major urban centers, and it is time for black conservatives, with the support of white conservatives and libertarians, to take charge of the situation.

There Will Be More Rachel Dolezals

If you don’t know who Rachel Dolezal is, click here.

I can’t even begin to break down the various reactions to this woman. The obvious place to go for many on the right was to begin comparing her to Bruaitlyn Jenner. The obvious place for many blacks to go was mockery, for the most part. Some were genuinely outraged by Dolezal and others were willing to overlook her deception in light of her dedication to the cause. White leftists appear to be waiting for the dust to settle before they can figure out what to think about it.

I can’t say I’m all that shocked by it. I expect to see several more Dolezals as the years go by. It isn’t simply because what she did can be easily compared to what disturbed individuals such as Jenner do, though I do think that the transgender revolution will provide them with the rhetorical tools they need. The real explanation lies in the worldview of millennials. Dolezal is not a millennial herself, but I do see her as a portent of the millennial generation.

I am less disturbed, for instance, by her claim to be black than I am by that claim combined with her claim that she has been the target of hate crimes, abused at the hands of a white stepfather, and a rape victim as well. It is clear that she is not black, highly unlikely that she has ever been the victim of a hate crime (the police aren’t buying her multiple stories), certain that she has a white father (and not a black biological father and white stepfather), and in light of all that, probable that she was never raped either.

She’s not just some random white woman claiming to be a black woman; she is a white woman claiming to be a black intellectual and civil rights activist who has been the victim of racial and sexual violence. She hasn’t just made up a claim about her race, but about her entire history and identity. It’s as if she is living out a character from a fictional story she wrote.

Why do it? It obviously fits into one over-arching narrative of oppression. What defines post-modern leftism is essentially “conflict theory”, the sociological view that society is the sum of its contests between oppressed groups and oppressor groups. It isn’t possible to remain objective and impartial with this view of society; one is either oppressed or an oppressor. Members of the oppressor group – white, male, wealthy, “cis”, what have you – are able to become “allies” of oppressed groups, meaning that they must mindlessly nod along to and parrot whatever the oppressed insist upon (and one must pay close attention, for the narrative changes hourly). But always will they remain oppressors.

This matters, obviously, because to be an oppressor is bad. And even if one becomes an ally, if one’s identity is still aligned with the identity of the oppressor, one will still, by the logic of things, have to regard one’s self as bad. This is probably less so in some oppressed/oppressor dynamics than in others, and probably strongest in the black/white dynamic. This is also a psychologically untenable position. So is the position of “ally” in the new SJW understanding, in which one completely negates their own ideas, opinions and values, or at any rate is forbidden from criticizing the views of an officially oppressed person. Even if, as in the case of Dolezal, their views align 100% with the official narrative they are still part of the oppressor class and have no moral right to even agree too strongly. The “ally” is to be seen and not heard, or heard last.

No one, no matter what they’ve been told about how evil their group is, really wants to put themselves in this self-abasing position.

What to do? How does one obtain the right to speak when one is convinced that their very identity is evil and unworthy of being heard? I think you know: one must change their identity. They must redefine it. They must become the oppressed in every meaningful sense. It is the only way they can live as a whole, complete, and good person. The urge is probably the most overwhelming in those who sincerely agree with the official narrative about oppression and oppressors. As a white woman, all Rachel Dolezal would have ever been was a particularly passionate ally. But she would have never been able to speak the way she has spoken, as a professor, an intellectual, an artist, a public activist, etc.

By this I don’t mean that she wouldn’t have been allowed by others, or even that other leftists would have shunned her  – I don’t think she would have been able to bring herself to do it as a white woman whose mind is completely given over to the conflict paradigm. It would have been morally worse, at least for her, for a white woman to go around speaking about the black experience than for her to identify as black and then say what she so desperately wanted to.

And at the root of that desire to become a black public activist and professor, I believe, was a basic desire to be what she thought to be a good person. Is it insane? Absolutely. Is there a logic to it? Absolutely. We will see more of this.

A reminder to the haters: I am only half-white myself. I’m also a libertarian and more of an individualist every day, because it is the only sane and sober response to this tragic madness.