Kyle Rowland writes: The Left has the Mandate of Heaven, and everyone knows it.
That which is held sacred by the left is held sacred by all. If I were to blaspheme, no-one would be shaken. When I declare myself an atheist, barely a whimper emits from devout Christians. When I mention that I do not keep kosher, no outrage issues forth from practicing Jews. The disapproval, to the extent that it exists, is of a dry and perfunctory nature.
On the other hand, were I to attack that which is held sacred by the left, directly — were I to speak with true insensitivity about issues of racial and social justice — everyone would feel the danger. Luke would react first with quiet alarm and then, eventually, speak up to enforce the norms we all must hold sacred.
Those who hate the norms of the left confirm their power all the more. They strain against them in a Sisyphean struggle that ends in exhausted compliance.
Where I receive truly fervent pushback, in this tiny insulated corner where the left’s power is at its nadir, is along the lines approved by the left. It is when I speak against social justice on the axis of ‘the will of the people,’ and for the legitimacy of elites, that truly passionate attacks begin.
Analogies are useful, and I will re-use one of my favorites. Say that there is a town, with a prominent wealthy family. The head of this household is a doctor, who has served the town for many decades.
Say that allegations begin to swirl around this family, centered on the doctor’s medical practice. Just as there are families that are prominent for their success, there are families that are prominent for their failure. Just as some children excel in school and sport, some languish by the sidelines – drinkers, smokers, vandals, troublemakers.
When babies are delivered in the town, the doctor takes them into a small room. Along with his attendants he cleans and dresses the newborn, then returns him to his mother’s arms. The whispers center on this brief moment of separation.
Those born to most families are simply cleaned, dressed, and returned. But for the delinquent mothers, for those families who are cursed by criminality and sloth, the doctor takes a hammer and covers it with five layers of velvet. Tap, tap, tap! At the top of the newborn’s skull. He believes that for the exaltation of the best families, there must be the depraved to contrast with them — and in the bargain, he creates an unending demand for his own services.
Some have heard strange noises coming from the small room – the muffled cries of newborn babies. Some – the whispers continue – have even seen the hammer, as it was hastily moved out of sight when the door opened unexpectedly.
Many do not believe these rumors. They wait expectantly for a response from the beloved doctor and his family. The response is curt, mechanical, unsatisfying. The whispers intensify. The doctor avoids the subject whenever he can, and begins to seclude himself. His own family begins to number among the whisperers. Gradually, even the doctor’s most faithful supporters come to believe he is guilty.
It is clear, at this point, that the doctor is ill-fated. How his doom will befall him is not clear, but he is evidently doomed. Perhaps he will die at the hands of a vengeful parent. Perhaps he will flee to some far-off land. Perhaps the law will finally catch up with him. Perhaps he will simply die in isolation and disgrace.
The family’s wealth remains. The family’s mansion is yet unburnt, and even the business continues to work profitably. It is unclear to the townspeople when and how the doctor will get his comeuppance, but he is regarded with deepening horror and contempt.
Some moral imbecile might say: “Regardless of what the doctor does to a small minority of children, it is clear that on the whole he provides good services, and it is clear that there is great peril in violence. The town could be broken by strife, and many more could be hurt than are alleged to have been hurt so far! Besides, those who have been hurt are precisely those who disregard others.”
The whisperers know, with quiet surety, that they will prevail. People have moral sensibilities to greater or lesser degrees, but all know that the utter depravity of deliberately crippling newborns is intolerable. Some may deny it through motivated reasoning, or sheer cussedness – but eventually, the town will fall into line, as inevitably as the tide rolling in.
The exemplars of western civilization are in the doctors’ position. Everyone knows that they are tainted, evil. That is the tone that dominates any conversation about them. Unlike in the analogy, the allegation is not simple and direct – instead they swirl in multitudes. There are local flavors to the slander. In the United States, it is now taken as a given that the colonizers of this land were vicious genocidal rapist slavers. Ironically one of the most heated arguments I have gotten into here was based on me challenging this narrative.
Open, coherent defenses of the exemplars and ideals of the West must be made, but to do so one must slice through a thorny thicket of presumptions and lies. At the core of the problem is social incentives. There is momentum to condemnation, analogous to a mob’s building rage and motion.
Narratives can be profitably challenged on their own terms. “You are alleging that these families have been physically crippled, when you have no evidence for your claims! Your lies will marginalize these families, will doom their children to eternal fear and distrust!”
“You are alleging that Asians and Jews are at the top of an oppressive hierarchy which unjustly lifts them up! These are precisely the allegations that led to the mass slaughter of European Jewry in the Holocaust!”
Systems of distrust and division can be contrasted with cohesive, successful systems. Attempts to foster communities that revere American greatness and historical figures are ongoing. They have the inherent advantages of a positive vision and ideal. They are not comprehensive attempts to create complete communities that reject the narrative of a tainted, oppressive nation and history, but they are a start. These attempts must be supported and broadened.