Is "Racism" the "New Extremism"?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Larry Elder makes a couple of interesting observations about how the Democrats have transformed the usage of the term "racist" in recent years:

As with black race-card hustlers -- say the Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or any given host on MSNB-Hee-Haw -- white race-card players label others "racist" for the crime of disagreement. As with black race-card hustlers, white race-card hustlers need not name names when accusing someone of "racism." And, as with black race-card hustlers, the mainscream media will not bother to ask the white race-card hustler to identify said racists.
And, much later:
The next time a Democrat or member of media speaks darkly about these anonymous Republican "racists," ask this question: Don't [Steve] Israel and [Jay] Rockefeller, currently in office, have a duty to "out" these racists? Why allow known bigots to remain in government? Doesn't morality require [Charlie] Crist, running as a Democrat for his old job as governor of Florida, to identify and help remove these racist elected officials? Aren't these Republican "racists" -- whose IDs are being protected by their Democratic colleagues -- detrimental to the interests of the nation and serving in violation of their oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution? Doesn't this oath mean protecting and defending the rights of all constituents irrespective of race -- and exposing the "racists" who refuse to do so?

Why protect them? Why conceal their identities? Out the SOBs!
As to the motives, Elder is plainly arguing that the Democrats are mis-using the term purposefully as what novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand called a smear against Republicans. This is nothing new, coming from the left, as Rand demonstrated in a 1964 essay titled, "'Extremism,' or the Art of Smearing" (which is reprrinted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal):
A large-scale instance, in the 1930's, was the introduction of the world "isolationism" into our political vocabulary. It was a derogatory term, suggesting something evil, and it had no clear, explicit definition. It was used to convey two meanings: one alleged, the other real--and to damn both.

The alleged meaning was defined approximately like this: "Isolationism is the attitude of a person who is interested only in his own country and is not concerned with the rest of the world." The real meaning was: "Patriotism and national self-interest."


In the late 1940's, another newly coined term was shot into our cultural arteries: "McCarthyism." Again, it was a derogatory term, suggesting some insidious evil, and without any clear definition. Its alleged meaning was: "Unjust accusations, persecutions, and character assassinations of innocent victims." Its real meaning was: "Anti-communism."

Senator McCarthy was never proved guilty of those allegations, but the effect of that term was to intimidate and silence public discussions. Any uncompromising denunciation of communism or communists was--and still is--smeared as "McCarthyism." As a consequence, opposition to and exposes of communist penetration have all but vanished from our intellectual scene. (I must mention that I am not an admirer of Senator McCarthy, but not for the reasons implied in that smear.)

Now consider the term "extremism." Its alleged meaning is: "Intolerance, hatred, racism, bigotry, crackpot theories, incitement to violence." Its real meaning is: "The advocacy of capitalism."
It is interesting to observe that all three of the above smear campaigns involved the creation of new terms with nebulous meanings (Rand called them "anti-concepts") whereas this is a somewhat less sophisticated attempt to insinuate that an entire political party is evil by misusing a legitimate term. It is also interesting to contemplate what Rand said about the last of the three terms:
The best proof of an intellectual movement's collapse is the day when it has nothing to offer as an ultimate ideal but a plea for "moderation." Such is the final proof of collectivism's bankruptcy. The vision, the courage, the dedication, the moral fire are now on the barely awakening side of the crusaders for capitalism.
As the collapse of the left goes on, its rhetoric has degenerated even further into a mindless, cowardly substitute for outright name-calling.

-- CAV

No comments: