If You Want to Get Excited About White Supremacists Go Ahead, Just Leave Me Out

Contre les discours de haine et les néo-nazis (Against hate speech and neo-Nazis) by Suzanne, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Contre les discours de haine et les néo-nazis (Against hate speech and neo-Nazis) by Suzanne, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original


The shooting in El Paso on Saturday, I’m finding out, uncovered a long-hidden scourge in American politics, that of white supremacy. Apparently, this previously unimportant scourge became an existential threat to the republic because of the inchoate ravings of the shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, in an online manifesto. In fact, it generated ravings of its own that seem to merit medication…or at least a good strong drink.

National Review, which has been a hotbed of “muh principles” types who act like Linda Blair doused with Holy Water when anyone mentions that Big Tech might be an illegal monopoly and a profound danger to our political system, is on the case with Crush This Evil:

Addressing the problem will require a number of different approaches, some broad, some narrow. President Trump, a man who is comfortable using his bully pulpit for the most frivolous of reasons, should take the time to condemn these actions repeatedly and unambiguously, in both general and specific terms. Simultaneously, the president should work with Congress to devote more resources to infiltrating, tracking, and foiling nascent plots (during the 1940s, the KKK was partly destroyed by a radio show that weaponized insider information against it), and he should instruct the federal government to initiate an information campaign against white-supremacist violence in much the same way as it has conducted crusades against drunk driving, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Just as the government must not react to these incidents by abridging the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment, obviously the First Amendment’s crucial protections must also remain intact. But where action is consistent with the law — there is no prohibition on monitoring hotbeds of radicalism, nor against punishing those who plan or incite violence — it must be vigorously taken.

In concert, Americans must recognize that they have a crucial role to play in rooting out this awful ideology and in superintending the places in which it spreads. After an abomination such as this, the right of free association tends to get a bad rap. But, properly understood, free association serves as much as the remedy to extremism as its enabler. If, as they should, the various providers that make websites such as 8chan possible decide that they no longer wish to do so, that is their prerogative. If, as they should, Americans take it upon themselves to spot the early warning signs of radicalization and do whatever they are able to discourage it, that is their prerogative. Here, as elsewhere, the best prophylactic against mass killings is individual intervention and social responsibility.

(I’m sort of amazed, actually, that National Review was advocating, at least by my reading, having business undertake a mission at the behest of government that the government, itself, is not allowed to execute, though they have been trying ever since 2016 to find a new John Birch Society to run out of the conservative movement)

I can hardly think of a worse use of law enforcement time and effort than having them hanging out on message boards that cater to this audience in hopes of creating a conspiracy that can result in legal action (for the record, I’ve been a long-time critic of FBI informants being at the center of all manner of Walter-Mitty-like conspiracies involving jihadis and “sovereign citizens” and transforming online bluster into federal felonies to burnish some prosecutor’s resume).

Let me be clear. I really don’t care about white supremacists. Period. I just don’t care. I think their ideology is as much a happy myth as any other race-based ideology that we see served up to us on a daily basis. Given the seething cesspool of social pathologies our culture has become, I fail to see why one pathology is more odious than a lot of others:

I also don’t care because you don’t even have to be particularly bright to see that all the “white supremacy” jag is about is trying to label Trump, his supporters, and the GOP as white supremacists and I don’t care to play along:

Pardon me, but the people pushing this whole idea are so odious and so skin-crawlingly transparent in their haste to turn a tragedy into political gain that making common cause with them would be impossible.

Along with the de facto labeling as a white supremacist, they want to set up a never-ending series of apologies for it from people who have no association with white supremacy and ritualized condemnation of a philosophy held by not enough people to elect a single member of Congress by an entire party. I think, given the devotion of our schools and government to awarding benefits based on race and ethnicity, it is totally unsurprising that white supremacy is making a comeback in circles outside of maximum security prisons…especially among young men who feel alienated from society and who are, perhaps, in doubt of their own ability to make their way in the world. This population, I hasten to note, is the primary recruiting ground for jihadis and for Antifa and for Farrakhan’s foot soldiers, too. In a bygone era, they were the main source of troops for ethnic-based criminal gangs. I wouldn’t knowingly hire someone subscribing to this belief just as I would not hire someone with a degree in, for instance, gender studies or who was a member of PETA. In all those cases you know you’re hiring a noxious bigot who is going to cause you a lot of grief downstream. But neither would I want the federal government or private industry to hound you from your school or job because you held out-of-favor beliefs. People change with age and I think hunting down and labeling people as “white supremacists” is simply counterproductive. Besides, I think a few days in the work force can disabuse most anyone of the misapprehension that skin color, any skin color, brings with it a promise of supremacy or intelligence or competence or much of anything else.

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, Lieutenant General Julius Becton became the first black general officer to command a corps in the US Army (VII Corps and Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart) he gave an interview to Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of US Army Europe, discussing his views on racism. The Army was then less than a decade out of Vietnam and it had racial problems out the wazoo (there was a cross-burning on the lawn of the NCO club on my kaserne). The interview stuck with me for all these years. He said, that he didn’t care what people believed, he cared how they acted. He said, “I can’t change your heart but I can damned sure modify your behavior.”

There are all kinds so stupid ideas out there, some harmful only to yourself, some to yourself and to others. If you want to subscribe to one or more of them, I really don’t care. Me not caring doesn’t mean I approve, it just means I don’t care. But once you try to act on that behavior, then we have an issue. Talk smack online all you want, but the moment you communicate a threat or become involved in a criminal conspiracy, then you should get attention from law enforcement. But devoting a lot of energy to publicizing a non-problem is the surest way to create more of the problem than you have right now.

If you feel compelled to denounce white supremacists, even though you aren’t associated with them, then go right ahead. I think its a non-problem and demanding denunciations is a political scam and I won’t be joining you.

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