Why the Racist Right, Alas, Has a Future
My last column, and the one before it, took off from the online videos of an increasingly popular figure, the rabble-rousing white nationalist who sneers at the Holocaust, Nick Fuentes. His followers aren’t all the standard-issue ex-Christian, neo-pagan or materialist troopers who flanked Richard Spencer, or before him David Duke. Many claim to be Christians. One clutched a Catholic rosary as he channeled Fuentes’ ideas in a now-viral video.
I’ve already written about what Fuentes gets wrong. And why we should be alarmed by his popularity. Now I’d like to do something considerably bit less winsome. And riskier, given the likelihood that I’ll be quoted out of context. I want to talk about what he gets right. Or almost right.
What Every Heresy Has in Common
Every heresy has a grain of truth. Sometimes it’s a grain that’s getting neglected elsewhere, in more mainstream venues and movements. That’s how an extremist gains any popularity in the first place. He’s the only one willing to speak an uncomfortable truth. Or he speaks it more powerfully, with his singular, paranoid focus on it, at the cost of everything else.
If European workers hadn’t been suffering under capitalism, Karl Marx would have gone nowhere. If the Treaty of Versailles had been either less ruthless (no reparations, equal treatment for German minorities) or more ruthless (break the country up again, as French leaders wanted), Hitler would have found no backers.
Look at this spiritually, and you’ll see it clearly. Go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. What did Satan appeal to? Our first parents’ hunger for knowledge. In itself, that’s a very good thing. Also their hunger to be “like unto God.” But folding each one of us in some mysterious way into God’s nature is the goal of Christian faith. The enemy took those pieces of Truth, hacked out of context, and used them as bait.
It’s Our Duty to Understand
In that sense, we not only may look at what bits of truth the racist right has appropriated. We’re actually obliged to. Partly to inoculate our young people against that movement’s appeal. And partly because we need to know as much of what’s true as possible. That’s a good thing in itself.
So I’d like to lay the key insights that parts of the racist right talk about, which others don’t like to mention. And note how extremists take that piece of the truth and run with it over a cliff, like the Gadarene Swine.
Anti-Racism Has Become Our Religion. And It’s a Stupid One.
I’ve written here before about how “racist” gets used as an all-purpose epithet for “something I disagree with.” (It has mostly replaced “fascist” in that capacity, though “Nazi!” still does yeoman’s work on campuses.) In fact, “racist” has become almost a replacement for “evil.” Too many Woke folks on the left have skimmed Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Plus the word itself has too many overt Christian associations for them. Anyway, they don’t want to offend such pro-choice allies as the Church of Satan.
The academic movement that claims most loudly to fight against racism, and every form of inequality, is Intersectionalism. Put bluntly, it’s a cult of historical victimhood that uses such claims to seize money and power. See this column on how Intersectionalism has stolen the language, structure, and habits of revivalist Christianity.
By listening to professors, or following peer pressure, a student discovers that the world is deeply wrong. Permeated by evil. Its evil is inequality. And that evil has an author: straight white males. Realizing the depth and extent of this all-pervading evil comes as a kind of conversion.
This creed offers salvation even to the worst of sinners, straight white males. The price is steep: a life of self-denial and penance. But for those who walk this path, rewards await. You can attain justification. Not by your own efforts — but by the righteousness that suffering, innocent victims (non-straights, non-whites, non-males) can impute to you.
An Arbitrary Creed Based on Negation
I knew a professor back in the 90s who put the matter simply. Since we have no metaphysical ground for knowing what’s good, we must make do. We must take what we know as most evil, and build from it a negative religion. That evil is the Holocaust, so we must construct our new creed on whatever prevents another Holocaust.
The movement we face today works much like that. People take what our culture accepts as the greatest evils in our national past, and make from that a new religion. We read about the profound evil of slavery, and the ugly injustices of segregation. We rightly find such evils a source of shock and shame. When a magazine or TV show wants to convey “injustice” in a picture instead of words? The go-to image is likely photos or footage of Southern sheriffs unleashing police dogs on neatly dressed, non-violent civil rights demonstrators. Or old photos of American slaves.
You and I agree with the Woke folks that these things were profoundly evil. But unlike them, we know why. We can explain why one group in power should not wield that to abuse another. Because we believe that every person of any race is a dignified image of God. We don’t accept the grim, Darwinian picture of nature as a contest of ruthless survival and self-assertion, ignited by random chance and ending in entropy.
And that’s the key, of course. Few Woke folks accept the Christian premises that drove most of the Abolitionists and civil rights leaders. They can’t explain how their morality connects to their basic worldview. Because … it doesn’t. It’s totally arbitrary, a set of fashionable prejudices that borrow moral conclusions from a religion they reject.
Given Darwin, What’s Wrong With Racism?
I have a new article out in Academic Questions aimed at centrist and conservative professors. I urge these teachers to demand of their students:
- What’s wrong with racism?
- Why is inequality bad?
- Why should those who enjoy the benefits of “privilege” ever surrender it? Isn’t that stupid?
- If the results of injustice are more aesthetically pleasing to me than those of justice, why shouldn’t I choose injustice? Assuming that I can keep the whip hand, of course.
Each time the student answers, critique his response by referring strictly to Darwinian materialism. Any argument that can’t withstand that corrosive acid, toss in the trash.
Here’s where the racist right hits a home truth. When Nick Fuentes questions the evil of segregation, he commits a kind of blasphemy. He also exposes a deeply embarrassing fact: The Intersectional Emperor has no clothes.
They Have No Answers
Leftists can’t justify why racism is wrong. They can’t explain why they’re outraged by the Holocaust, but indifferent to Stalin’s famines, or Mao’s murdered tens of millions. They have no answer why it’s horrible that the Nazis stole gold teeth from murdered Jews, but admirable that Planned Parenthood cuts beating hearts from living babies. Why it was appalling to keep black people out of public schools, but it’s fine now to abort them at a vastly higher rate.
The racist right whines a lot about “censorship.” Mainstream conservatives don’t want to admit that they have a point. Why should we silence those who defend segregation, but admit pro-choice Republicans and accept them as our allies? Isn’t abortion infinitely more evil than Jim Crow, even worse (in fact) than slavery?
Of course it is. And it’s a piece of hypocrisy for the Right to ban the racialists, but accept pro-choicers in our midst. They have no more place in our groups or on our podiums than Nick Fuentes. Their views are just as evil. They’re simply less unfashionable. In fact, since Jim Crow and slavery lie deep in our past, but Moloch eats almost a million unborn American children each year, you might call the double standard utterly cynical.
Young Christians tempted by the racist right see all these things. And they’re demanding some answers. We’d better provide the right ones, because the demagogues are just a few short clicks away with the wrong ones.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and co-author, most recently, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.