The Trump victory in the presidential race has spawned a number of memes, all generated by the Democrats/liberals and their mainstream media allies – among which are (1) “fake news”, (2) the notion that the Electoral College is, somehow, now invalid because it came up with the wrong result, and (3) “white supremacy”. What these have in common, supposedly, is that without all 3 Trump would never have been elected. (In the case of “white supremacy” it's not that whites are actually supreme – heaven forbid! -- but that certain people either believe they are or want them to be.)
My answer to the “fake news” issue can be summed up as follows: The problem is that much of what is called fact-checking is merely the substitution of one person's (or group's) "facts" for another's. Bonafide fact-checking, if universally applied, would mean the end of politics -- which, come to think it, would not be a bad thing.
For what is politics, after all, but the art of deception? Some will say, no, it's also about persuasion, negotiation, compromise, and so on – but why are these things always accomplished at the expense of the truth? Or, as in the case of the Clintons, why are they frequently accomplished at the expense of the idea that there even is any such thing as the truth? In that sense, politics becomes a substitute for the truth, and “political correctness” is nothing less than a tyrannical way of inflicting one person's – or a small group's – reality on everyone else.
The current post-election political debate simply continues the one that has been raging for decades, namely: What is the core reality – the “truth” -- about America? Has it been a force for good in the world, or a force of evil? Or, in the long run, neutral, the good balancing out the bad? And on the domestic side, has our system served the people properly, or has it been intended, all along, to serve the elite, with everyone else having to be satisfied with crumbs? And each side in any of these debates has the “numbers” -- the statistics and the historical records – behind them to support their position (as with “global warming”).
You can be sitting next to someone on the bus, on any day of the week, who has as wildly different a view of this country and its history and politics as you would expect from someone who just landed from Mars. And yet they have the “facts” on their side, just as you have. So if one person's “facts” are another person's delusions, rumors, conspiracy theories, fantasies, etc. -- what does “fact-checking” mean other than the imposition of one set of opinions over another? Ultimately, each individual has to judge, for himself or herself, two things – what is truth and how can one know it? These are the classic philosophical categories of metaphysics and epistemology, and no amount of political maneuvering, propaganda, or media dominance can take anyone off the hook when it comes to these core issues. Another way of putting it is that “brainwashing” only works if there's already a hole there waiting to be filled.
In other words, I am responsible for my beliefs. No one else is, and I'm not responsible for anyone else's beliefs. Oh sure, I can do whatever I want to persuade others, but if I fail to convert them, too bad, and I have to grant them at least enough respect to allow them to hold on to their reality (and hope that they will eventually be converted by experience, i.e. by life itself).
As to the Electoral College, I've dealt with that already, and yes, it is a serious issue. It's in the Constitution, but that doesn't make it sacred, because the Constitution can be changed. What makes me suspicious is that the only people who ever object to the Electoral College are the ones who just lost an election. I'd like to see the winners try to get rid of it some time. But the current debate does provide a civics lesson for those who managed to sleep all through civics, AKA “social studies”, class. To wit, the U.S. is not a pure or absolute democracy, and never has been. We have a representative government for a reason, and an Electoral College for, basically, the same reason. And it boils down to who do you trust more, the masses or the “best among them”, which, presumably, describes elected officials. And yes, I know, more often than not our elected representatives seem to be, far from the best among us, the worst among us. (I often refer to the retirement plan for Pennsylvania state politicians -- “3 hots and a cot” in the state penitentiary.) And that may be sufficient reason to convert our system over to an absolute democracy – the idea being that the “wisdom of the people”, or of “the common man”, is superior to the inevitably corrupted thinking of politicians. The main problem with this is that the supposed wisdom of the common man is not always rooted in the traditional verities; it's more likely to be a product of whims, fads, delusions, and hysteria, all of which are whipped up and exploited by, guess who, politicians and their lackeys in the media. So – bottom line – if we put “the people” in charge, they won't be any more in charge than they are now. They'll have the illusion of being in charge, perhaps, but it will be only that – an illusion, just as the whole notion of “people's republics” under communism was, and remains, an illusion.
But the real point of this post is to “drill down” into the notion of “white supremacy”. Historically, this country was founded on, among other things, the implicit notion that, of course, the white – i.e. European, and preferably Northwestern European – race was superior, and fit for independence and self-rule, whereas other races might just be better off ruled with an iron fist. (This was back before “spreading democracy” became a meme in its own right.) In fact, the premise was that, even though we were, by and large, of English descent and America was a British colony, we were, somehow, just enough better than our relatives in the Old Country that we deserved to be free of their rule, supervision, and oversight. After all, we had the gumption to escape the close, claustrophobic confinements of the Old World and dare the rolling seas in order to reach the New World. That alone endowed us with sufficient merit to justify any attempts at gaining independence.
Add to this that the premise of superiority was also based on the notion that we had inherited the wisdom of the Greeks and Romans and pretty much everybody else worth reading or listening to in the meantime (provided, of course, that those purveyors of wisdom were our own kind – but who listens to the Greeks these days, in any case?). This formed the basis for (usually) implicit racism, ethnocentrism, and religious prejudice, and all of the discriminatory and oppressive policies that followed. And those policies had to be challenged and broken, one by one – and the process continues to this day. This is American history, folks – and it's really quite simple. On July 4, 1776 we entered into a dialectic, and that dialectic continues and is likely to continue as long as the Republic exists. It's inevitable, based on human nature, and on the fact what while history doesn't change, our view of it and of its significance does, and that's what counts (politically, at least).
And this dialectic keeps changing, evolving, and morphing – getting renewed and refueled with each newly-discovered “issue” (or impending “existential threat”). First it was about democracy per se – what it is, what it is not, is it a good thing or something to be handled with care, etc. Next it was the question of whether “the people” should be heard and earnestly listened to, as opposed to letting the elite (gentleman farmers, merchants, bankers, etc.) run things. Next came the slavery issue. And in the meantime we had the immigration issue, which continues to this day. Then it was about America's role in the world. Did we want to become a colonial power like the dominant European nations? Was it our job to bail out Old Europe and set things right? Was democracy such a universally good idea that it ought to be spread worldwide at all costs? (Note that this particular question is just about 100 years old at this point, and not settled yet.) Then on the domestic side, is it government's job to secure not only life and property, but to see that everyone is suitably clothed, housed, fed, educated, and employed? (See what I mean by the “dialectic”? Most of these questions are still being debated.)
But to get back to the issue at hand, the consensus among the talking heads of our time is that “white supremacy”, however defined, is always bad – that it's a bad, and in fact wrong, idea... that it's simplistic, oppressive, hateful... that it leads to oppression, discrimination, “hate”, bad politics... ad infinitum. It's seldom, if ever, even spoken out loud that identification with one's own race (or ethnic group, tribe, clan, etc.), accompanied by a certain amount of pride, is the most natural thing in the world among human societies, both historically and in the present day. An honest anthropologist will tell you, in fact, that without that sense of identity a society cannot even exist in a coherent and meaningful way – that there has to be an “us” and a “them” to, in effect, define borders and boundaries, both literal and figurative. The same honest anthropologist might also be willing to acknowledge that when one asks the members of any tribe what they call themselves, the word they provide simply means “people” or “men” in their language – the implication being that anyone else – the outsider, the stranger, the other – is less than a person... less than a man.
The irony here is that our commentariat has no problem whatsoever with identity politics, or with just about any form of group “pride” -- with the exception that when white people, and especially white men, do it, it's wrong. And this is based on the unstated premise that “pride” is something that has to be kept in reserve for the oppressed, for minorities, for those seeking upward mobility, their share of the “pie”, etc. Pride is the engine of their advancement, in other words – whereas the pride of the “oppressor class” is a way of uniting them in the effort to keep everyone else down.
But here's where it gets interesting. White non-Hispanic (add “heterosexual” if you like) men are now in the minority – so why don't they now have a newly-minted right to express racial/ethnic/gender/sexual identity along with everyone else? Well, it's because they were formerly a member of an oppressive majority, and in fact the oppression continues even though they are now in the numerical minority. This is the thinking (if it can even be characterized as such). Plus, they deserve to be punished, unto the third and fourth generation, if not beyond, for the crimes of their forebears. (This is the notion that karma cannot be allowed to just happen, it has to be enforced.)
You might, if you searched diligently enough, find a member of the commentariat who was willing to admit that racial/ethnic pride is a perfectly natural thing and not to be condemned per se. But then politics enters in, and that which started out natural becomes a weapon – either of revolution or oppression (or of revolution, then oppression). The liberal project of remaking human nature never runs out of challenges and projects – and the current one, which requires a much finer hand than any of them possesses, is to reward and reinforce racial/ethnic pride among “minorities”, and sexual/gender pride among other “minorities”, while condemning and punishing the exact same things among the (allegedly) dominant (non-) majority. I say it requires a fine hand – and that would be much finer than the knee-jerk habit of finding racists, sexists, homophobes, male chauvinists, etc. around every corner. It would certainly require something more than political correctness, one of the primary tools of the culture wars but which is brutal and ham-handed in its application – not to mention that it's one of the major means by which certain people gain and maintain power.
Anyone can see that what we are dealing with here is a form of genocide – not in the literal, physical sense but in the area of self-esteem. Make a good portion of the populace afraid of criticism and ashamed of just being alive, and you have, in effect, killed them off – wiped them off the map politically and culturally, and rendered their values (including culture, customs, habits, etc.) unacceptable and on the way to extinction. Make them non-persons and they become little more than slaves, and we are all too familiar with the charms of that state of existence.
This is, in fact, the program of the mainstream media, liberals, Democrats, academicians, and popular culture purveyors of our time – and what has them all upset is that their victims/targets have finally awakened and started to push back. The election of Donald Trump was their greatest victory to date, and the question now is, was that the high water mark, and there is nothing in the future but to lose ground and suffer further, and more severe, oppression? Or do we at the very least now have two visible and viable camps, with neither one about to go away? Well... I hate to say it, but we had a situation not unlike this prior to the Civil War. Let's hope that some other sort of accommodation can be reached this time around.
As near as I can tell, the overt “white supremacy” movement is the act of a small minority, and likely to stay that way. If there was racial/ethnic pride involved in Trump's victory it was, by and large, implicit and unstated – and even unconscious (and any true feeling of belonging ought to be, i.e. it shouldn't have to be asserted out loud at all times and on all occasions). But does pride in “my” group necessarily imply hostility or “hate” for all other groups, or for particular groups other than my own? I don't see why it should, and in fact it usually doesn't, as near as I can tell – any more than any given “diverse”, or “minority” group has to automatically dislike all the others.
I think what's more likely is that the Democratic/liberal program was rejected on its own terms, not because it was the property of “minorities”. The mainstream media narrative is that it was all about “hate”, but it's much more likely it was about a feeling of being left out – left behind. This is a feeling that has been building over the past few decades – let's say, for convenience, since the end of the Reagan presidency. It's nothing new, but this time around it found a voice. Do these people dream of taking over and oppressing minorities (again or for the first time)? I'd say it's more likely that all they want is respect, visibility, and a voice that will not be drowned out by purveyors of shame.
If bonafide “white supremacists” see an opening now, well, my guess is that they're in for a disappointment. For one thing, they're going to have a hard time getting people to distinguish their, let's call it, “coat-and-tie white supremacy” from the old KKK style – and the media are certainly not going to give them any help in this regard. And they're going to have a hard time getting people to distinguish legitimate pride from its poor country cousin. I think, in other words, that it's a dead end as a movement – and yet one can understand the roots and the causes, just as one can understand the rise of Islamic radicalism in the face of our endless meddling in the Middle East. A chained dog may be more dangerous than a free one once that chain is broken.