“Spiritual racism”

First, this post at Silver Rights includes a reprint of J.’s earlier entry on dishonesty. The old link doesn’t seem to work any more.

Second, the previous post includes a story of a mixed-race white supremacist whose views — I’d call them “spiritual racism” — as described in the quote, are an evil caricature of those I hold dear. Indeed, the Devil is but God’s monkey, as Tertullian sort of said. While urging everyone to read the full NY Times story (where literally every line invites a comment), I’ll dwell on one passage from it and one from J.’s post proper.

Race was a choice; it was what a man feels, and Felton knew he felt white. By defending white culture, he would literally become white — as pure as anyone else who shared the same beliefs

“Feeling white” is such a foreign thing to me. But Felton apparently meant whiteness in Yockey’s sense — membership in a narrowly and perversely defined Western society. Similarly, there is no such thing as white culture, really, except in a narrow context of US black/white subcultures. And that guy Yockey (NYT calls him “fascist”) doesn’t sound like a racist — rather, like a Western cultural supremacist — except for the name he chose for the culture he worships. Apart from that, he was probably a conservative vulgarizer of great ideas.

Vulgarization, I suppose, (is what) paves the way from lofty ideas to mass murders. I do believe virtually all bloggers belong to what I’d call an extended Western civilization; that Western culture is global in character and potential; that it is, not superior to, but more developed than most local cultures. I believe in a cultural hierarchy — one based not on imaginary superiority but on the degree of a) a culture’s universality; b) its level of development. I have no problem asserting “this culture is more developed than that” because I believe cultures tend to follow similar development paths over time, but most stumble onto externally imposed, often fatal, obstacles. There are cultures no less, and perhaps more developed, that the Western culture, but how many have the same universal appeal? I’m also a bit unfriendly to local particularisms. Let local cultures remain where there belong; they are the most valuable as contributors to, not substitutes for, global cultures. If a schoolteacher tells a redneck’s kid, “Learn Shakespeare; forget Hank Williams,” well, that’s authoritarian for sure, but culture-wise, I have no problem with it. Provided, of course, that the kid manages to learn Shakespeare indeed. And good ole Hank he won’t be able to forget anyway.

Now a passage from Silver Rights:

In other words, a nonwhite person can ‘become white’ by adopting racism as his ideology and devoting himself to serving white supremacy. The thinking resembles the French belief that ‘unevolved’ Asian and African French colonial subjects could ‘evolve’ by adopting French culture.

Pas du tout. There is nothing racist about this belief. On the contrary, it is premised on the assumption that French colonial subjects, regardless of their race, could become, with proper education, French citizens enjoying equal rights with citizens of France proper. “Unevolved” means “uneducated” in this context; indeed, most French subjects in Africa were uneducated by all standards. Most supporters of the “evolution” approach were republicans and various leftists, who apparently believed one needs to be educated, both in general subjects and in civics, to become a good citizen.

Yes, the French believed in the superiority of their culture to virtually all others; as far there is no such thing as cultural superiority, this is ridiculous. Yet their goal was not to keep the “savages” where they belong, but to make Frenchmen out of those “savages”. Outdated as that view of local cultures is, I think they got the essence right — the need to instill values in new citizens that are universal and thus unifying. A Senegalese and a French peasant may have had a lot in common, but the latter belonged to a nation, and the former to a tribe. In our days, this can be done in ways more friendly to local cultures and vernaculars, as in India. The ambitious French education effort did not work out for lack of consistency, partly because of opposition from those conservatives who believed les sujets should know their place. In general, the West Indies seems to be the place where it worked the best, both in French and British colonies. Take Saint Lucia, for instance.

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