Jussie Smollett for President
For the past 30 years or so, Democrats have been running against Richard Spencer. Or his interchangeable forbears, such as David Duke or George Wallace. It didn’t matter whether or not their real Republican opponents treasured any racial animus. (That is, their subjective guilt.) Or even whether those Republicans’ policies would harm or improve the lives of non-white Americans. (Their objective guilt.) On both counts, candidates from Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump could rightly plead “innocent.”
But that didn’t matter. Neither the intentions nor the outcomes of their politics were important. There’s another sense in which Democrats could indict them. This third sense of “truth” is what’s most dominant today. It’s the “political” truth, and it’s what you need to understand if you want to figure out what’s going on.
The “political truth” of a statement amounts to this: The political implications of your personal willingness to say it. In what faction does it place you? What would be the ideal truth, which people with whom you want to be grouped would wish were in fact the case? That’s what matters. Not distractions such as a person’s genuine motives. Or pedantic questions such as the actual outcome his ideas might have if implemented. Or even elitist “objective” concerns like “what actually happened or didn’t.”
A Biologically Female Penis
I read this week the following statement by a transgender “actress”:
If a woman has a penis, her penis is a biologically female penis.
— IAM (@IndyaMoore) February 17, 2019
That statement is objectively false, because it doesn’t match the facts. And it’s subjectively false, since the speaker doesn’t even believe it. But those two senses of truth are secondary, and quickly brushed aside. It’s true in a higher and more important sense. That is, saying it identifies the speaker as belonging to the faction of the Righteous. As one of Us, and not of Them. And if you dispute it, you’ll pay the price — professionally, in America. In other countries, you might do jail time.
The political truth is what you’d better be willing to say. Or even better, believe. It proves your adherence to the new religion that prevails here. It goes by many names. The official title used for it, Intersectionalism, is frankly clunky. So instead let’s use the much more vivid name which philosopher Rene Girard chose for it: Victimism.
The worldview starts with the core element in Christian moral reasoning, bending over backwards to be fair to the weak and the helpless. But it goes much further. It strips that reasoning of cumbersome theological baggage, such as the divinity of Christ. Or even the existence of God. It looks at the three men up on the crosses and draws from that … an argument against the death penalty.
A Victimist doesn’t believe in an objective moral code, or an afterlife. But he knows that in this life, the quickest path to getting what you want is claiming to speak for the victims. Want to be part of the power elite? To offer TED talks at Davos? Then make your cause that of the supposedly weakest among us. Those whose ancestors suffered the worst. And milk that for all it’s worth.
The Historical Victim Matrix
A well-trained Victimist has the handiest tool imaginable for assessing truth or falsehood, innocence or guilt. And it is this: To which group do the players belong? Where do they fit on the Historical Victim Matrix? Then you have your answer.
So if an old man is banging a drum in a young man’s face, and you don’t know what actually happened? No need to watch the actual video footage. That’s long and boring, and anyway doesn’t matter. You can see plain as day that one of them is a white male, apparently straight, and a pro-life activist who supports President Trump. The other’s a Native American, engaged in something quaint that’s probably tribal and therefore sacred. And bam! You have your answer.
This was the standard which most Democrat politicians, media leaders, and even the boys’ own bishops adopted in the Covington kids incident. And again in the Justin “Jussie” Smollett hate crimes case. And I won’t condemn them for it. They were being true to themselves. They were speaking “their truth,” which as Justice Kennedy taught us in Planned Parenthood v. Casey is a basic American freedom.
Jussie Smollett Walks the Talk
Two decades back, the rioters who backed up Tawana Brawley were also speaking their truths. And the Rev. Al Sharpton was only helping to amplify their voices. So it’s perfectly sensible that for accusing men who were “innocent” by some white, Anglo-American standard, Sharpton was not discredited. Instead he got famous, and is now a fixture on national TV. Because he spoke the political truth. And that’s what’s important.
Likewise, when woke college students attacked this historic monument:
Woke youth trash wrong statue => “This is not a Civil War museum and this is not Robert E. Lee,” he said. “This is General William C. Lee from United States Army Airborne from World War II”
(via @pwafork )https://t.co/4ZKmBzG3Cr
— (@GrayConnolly) February 23, 2019
In the narrow, pedantic sense of the white, male-dominated historical profession, that statue may have been of the wrong “General Lee.” Indeed, of a man who fought not for the Confederates, but against the Nazis. But that misses the point. Those who took direct political action against this residue of American triumphalism were striking a blow for justice. Do we stand with them, or against them? It would help, of course, if we knew their gender identity and their race. …
Given all of this, I hope that Democrats in 2020 have the courage of their convictions. I hope that they choose as their nominee the one man who more perfectly than any other has lived by their code. A gay man of color who broke free of the narrow, patriarchal categories that distinguish “stuff which actually happened” from “events that might as well have happened, since they encapsulate broader realities.” Someone who was willing to put his livelihood and even his freedom on the line, for the sake of political truth. He even signed his name to the check that paid for it all, employing immigrants of color to strike a blow for social justice. That speaks to Smollett’s courage.
So let me be the first to offer my support. If he runs for the nomination, I will actively campaign for him, since he’s the man who really speaks for his party. Justin “Jussie” Smollett, Democrat, for President in 2020.