Remembering Woodrow Wilson's racism isn't enough. It's much easier to condemn one man's racism than to confront the institutional and cultural racism that haunts our nation. – USA Today Opinion
Dominant Social Theme: Racism needs to be opposed in all its forms. If people want to clump together, they should be forcibly separated.
Free-Market Analysis: What is racism? USA Today is available to enlighten us. This article by Eric S. Yellin, an associate professor of history at the University of Richmond, makes a number of points about the subject.
Racism, as we wrote earlier this week, is becoming a fashionable topic once again thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement. And this USA Today editorial makes reference to a student protest at Princeton that "called attention to the fact that one of their university's famous graduates and leaders, Woodrow Wilson, was a racist."
Actually, when we read this news item, we weren't upset at all. Wilson, from what we can tell, was a horrible man and a worse president. What concerned us was that once again Thomas Jefferson's reputation was being smeared as an inevitable outcome of race-based politicking. Just as some students want to expunge the memory of Wilson, so others want to do away with any commemoration of Jefferson.
There is no doubt that Jefferson did many bad things in his life, as humans often do. And slavery is an especially horrible thing. But the one REALLY good thing (a historical good) that Jefferson did, in our opinion, was to write the Declaration of Independence that attributed the existence of human rights to the Almighty rather than to other human beings.
This ringing declaration has been giving elitists fits ever since because many people in power are not satisfied unless they can tell you what to do with the presumption that you will be forced to do it. This only works if ultimate power resides with the state.
Jefferson's Declaration simply and forcefully rebutted the notion of the omnipotent state. But in the 21st century, much that is old is new again. It is obvious that a rump group of activists as well as mainstream historians and politicians won't rest until Jefferson's reputation is so thoroughly discredited that the message of freedom in the Declaration becomes discredited as well.
That's the plan anyway, from what we can tell. We argued in our previous article that Black Lives Matter, for all of its appearance of a spontaneous movement, is actually a resurgence of the kind of program that was created in the 1960s and reportedly funded by US elite circles and even intel agencies to take advantage of the burgeoning "counterculture."
Anyone who lived through the 1960s remembers the famous phrase, "Don't trust anyone over 30." LSD, the drug of choice, was apparently manufactured and refined by the CIA. Timothy Leary, LSD's proponent, had US intel affiliations as did many other "leaders" of the day.
We are meme watchers and trend followers, and we think we see a resurgence of the same kind of social manipulation that took place in the 1960s. Hillary is running on a kind of hyper-feminism, and Black Lives Matter – for all the nobility and appropriateness of many of its stated goals and objectives – may well be part of this resurgence.
Of course, Yellin doesn't seem to see it this way, though his editorial certainly makes a good point: Erasing the memory of a single individual from history, no matter how odious, represents a misreading of the position of the body politic.
But the racism that pervaded [Wilson's] government and his nation was the work of ordinary Americans, too. It was the result of a developing institutional racism and a long-standing racist culture that cannot be pinned on one "great man" alone.
… The lessons we draw from the student activism at Princeton and across the country must not be about the actions of singular bad men only. They must force us to consider the broad and often quotidian effects of the inequality that pervades many of our national institutions.
We're a bit suspicious of this analysis because it seems organized around changing institutions rather than individuals. A libertarian perspective would be that institutions don't need to be changed, so much as defunded and done away with.
Yellin writes that, "History is so much more than the battle between mean racists and righteous anti-racists, and confronting it can only bring justice when we attend to its complexities …"
Good point! In fact, it is one that The Daily Mail might have heeded before it presented a survey back in 2013 on the world's most "racist countries." We stumbled across this article the other day and it is such an obvious example of a sociopolitical meme that we wanted to bring it to readers' attention.
How do you determine the world's most racist countries? Simple enough: The survey asked people "if they would want neighbors of a different race."
Based on this stunningly simplistic question, Jordan and India were named "the world's least tolerant countries, and the U.S., Britain, Canada and South America are among the least racist."
The global social attitudes study claims that the most racially intolerant populations are all in the developing world, with Jordan and India in the top five. By contrast, the study of 80 countries over three decades found Western countries were most accepting of other cultures with Britain, the U.S., Canada and Australia more tolerant than anywhere else.
… The data came from the World Value Survey, which measured the social attitudes of people in different countries, as reported by the Washington Post … The multicultural U.S. is among the least racially intolerant countries, according to the data. Other English-speaking countries once part of the British Empire shared the same tolerant attitude.
This is surely a meme in the making, or at least a trial balloon since it was first launched in 2013. Perhaps it has been abandoned as effective propaganda given the ludicrousness of the data. It is surely hard in this day and age, with the US blowing up countries around the world, to promote its "tolerance."
When it comes to racism, the concept is so clouded with emotion that it is difficult to come up with a simple definition. We would argue, for instance, that culture is innately cohesive. Are people who want to live with others who share their habits, rituals and beliefs innately racist?
By defining racism from the perspective of people living next door, you're at least attacking cultural cohesion. And perhaps this was the point. If you can define culture as innately racist, then you can justify its removal. Is that what's happening in Europe today and in the US, too?
In the hands of internationalists, racism is surely a tool that breaks down nation-states on behalf of globalism. In fact, humanity is replete with emotional behaviors that can easily be exploited.
Increasingly, we see "divide and conquer" strategies playing out, especially in the West. The outlook, we would suggest, is one of increasing social tension, bitterness and ultimately violence.
If you agree with this analysis, your "human action" is certainly required. But please, don't join up with a large group or "national movement." Do it on your own, at least to begin with.