What Louis Michael Seidman Made Me Think About

An opinion piece in the December 30th New York Times by Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law, caught my eye.  Seidman, or the Times’ headline writer, entitled it “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution. This quote will convey a sense of its direction: 

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken.  But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions. . . . Imagine that after careful study a government official—say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress—reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country.  Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, who knew nothing of our present situation, and who acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action.  Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

I don’t know anything about Seidman and don’t presume to understand precisely what motivated him to offer this argument—his ideological leanings, his scholarly influences and directions, his experiences in his university environment, his ethnic identification and loyalties, his personal story, some combination of those things, or something else—and I’m really not interested in getting into that or the specifics of the position he articulates here, Or not much anyway.  Rather, I want to deal with three things his Times piece prompted me to think about within the frame of reference of this web site: a concern for the status and fate of White people of European heritage.  More particularly, I focus on American White non-Jews.  Reading what Seidman proposes reminded me of three tactics people and organizations that do not mean well by American Whites employ to bring them down: denigrate the White American heritage; democratize America; and collectivize America.  My comments on each in turn: 

Denigrate the White American heritage

Those harboring anti-gentilism (if there can be anti-Semitism there can be anti-gentilism) never let the chance slip by to disparage White traditions and personages.  Whether or not Seidman is anti-gentile to any extent, it is certainly the case that when disparaging the Founders he felt pressed to bring race into it: these creators of evil Constitutional provisions were White, he tells us.  Smearing Whites is so ubiquitous I doubt that most readers consciously noticed that reference.  Discrediting what Whites have established and those prominently associated with it clears the way for putting in place ideas, arrangements, and people that serve non-White interests at the expense of White interests.  Cutting off Whites’ positive connection with their past increases the chances that they will acquiesce to their own demise and even contribute to it.  

Democratize America.
The U.S. Constitution is the basis of the political system in this country: a federal constitutional republic.  We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands.   The American republican political arrangement is grounded in prescribed and limited governmental – or collective – prerogatives, and individual liberty and personal responsibility. 

While democracy has become an unquestioned article of faith in our time, this has not always been the case.  Major figures in the first century of this country’s existence were not as sanguineous about democracy’s merits: 

  • James Madison noted that democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths (See Robert Westbrook, “Public Schooling and American Democracy,” in Roger Soder, editor, Democracy, Education, and the Schools [Jossey-Bass, 1996], p. 128).        ·Alexander Hamilton noted that democracy’s “very character is tyranny; its figure deformity.  It releases the mob, which is not only incapable of deliberation but prepared for every enormity (Westbrook, Ibid.)
  • Writer James Fennimore Cooper saw democracies as tending “to press against their proper limits, to convert political equality into economic leveling, to insist that equal opportunity become mediocrity, and to invade every personal right and privacy; they set themselves above the law; they substitute mass opinion for justice” (See Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, seventh revised edition [Regnery, 1986], p. 200).
  • French observer Alexis de Toqueville in the 1830s perceived democracy as perverting society into “a sea of anonymous beings, social droplets deprived of true purpose” (Kirk, Ibid., p. 212).  He pointed out that democracy promotes antipathy toward eccentricity or any other manifestation of defiant individuality.  “Democracy,” he wrote, “encourages a taste for physical gratification; this taste, if it becomes excessive, soon disposes men to believe that all is matter only; materialism, in its turn, hurries them on with mad impatience for its presumed delights; such is the fatal circle within which democratic nations are driven round” (Kirk, Ibid., p. 155).

            The sell in our time is to associate democracy with freedom, but it is the freedom of the collective, the majority, to do whatever it wants, no holds barred, nothing out of bounds; it disempowers the individual, who does what the group says, and with reference to just about anything.  

Why would those who want to diminish and depose Whites see it to their advantage to democratize America?  For one thing, Whites are rapidly on their way to minority status in America, and having unfettered majority rule in place takes advantage of that demographic reality. 

Also, the adversaries of Whites control and dominate the major avenues of public discourse in this country—the mass media in all its manifestations and the schools and universities: they are the ones that depict and give meaning to reality, both past and present, and prescribe proper ways to think and act in both private and public realms. If you can shape the minds and hearts of the populace, you can trust that the majority of them will do things your way.  So bring on a system that gives the masses free rein to do what they want, because you know what it is going to be.  The Constitution gets in the way of that; so play it down, get rid of it, give up on it, that’s your pitch.  Democracy is your ticket to ride.   

Collectivize America.
Whites historically have been predisposed toward individualism, and American Whites are no exception to that predilection.  That’s bad news to those who would like to put American Whites in their rightful place, standing quietly in the back of the line.  To get at why that might be, let’s imagine typical White people from times past, say from the beginnings of this country up to World War II, who viewed themselves in the first instance as individuals, and who, when they looked out at the world, saw separate and distinct individual human beings one by one.  What was likely to follow from that posture?

  • They would perceive people as being different from one another, not alike, including qualitatively different, and they would notice that this applies to groups as well.
  • They would feel an affinity for, and commitment to, their family, their local community, their church, their ethnicity. And yes, their race. They would be White men and women and proud of it.  Individualism and racial consciousness are complementary phenomena, not contradictory as many suppose.  American Whites were more, not less, racial, as it were, in this country’s more individualistic past than in our time.
  • They would demand to live their lives as they saw fit among others of their kind. 
  • They would resist being told what to think and what to do or having their lives managed by strangers in general and the government in particular.  Fast talkers and finger pointers wouldn’t faze them.
  • They wouldn’t kowtow to anybody, allow themselves to be put down by anybody, or take crap from anybody.  If you mess with them, you’d have a big problem.

When I think of White Americans in the distant past, that’s the image that comes to mind, and I like it.  In contrast, when those that resent, or want to bring down, hurt, or supplant, White people conjure up this image they very much don’t like it and think something must be done about it.  If you fall into that camp, what might you do?

  • Get White people to substitute your favored abstractions for being disposed toward concrete reality and the inferences and actions drawn from it.  Condition Whites to perceive reality through the lens of what you say is going on and ought to go on—through your concepts, your explanations, your preferences. If you are good enough at it, for White people (or enough of them anyway) what used to be a world of qualitative differences will become one of essential commonality and equality.  In a word, they will become egalitarians, with the result that they won’t think so highly of themselves and their ways and feel that they have anything important to preserve and protect.
  • Eradicate individualism among White people: associate it with selfishness, exploitation, ignorance, backwardness, separation from others, and immorality.  Disparage freedom, autonomy, honor, dignity, integrity, self-determination, and personal responsibility as values and operating principles.  That clears the way to . . .
  • Engage in a massive thought reform effort to re-make Whites into collectivists, into group-oriented beings, with you defining the salient and preferred collectivities, including, prominently, class, gender, and the community of humankind or some such term; this rather than family, neighborhood, and people that look and act like them, which makes them too private, parochial, and obstinate for what you’ve got going.  Substitute the ideals of social (collective) justice and manipulated (collective) equality for inalienable individual rights and personal liberty. (I have written a short version and a long version of how this process works in universities: Totalism and Thought Reform in America’s Universities [2011], available on my website, www.robertsgriffin.com). The Declaration of Independence?  The Bill of Rights?  Just more archaic outcomes of the machinations of propertied White men who acted illegally and have been dead for two centuries. 
  • Secularize White people—jerk the foundation of their religion, Christianity, out from under them, debunk it, ridicule it, demonize it, ban it from the public arena.  De-Christianize America.  That’ll leave Whites on shakier ground and make them less organized and less formidable and easier for you to manipulate.
  • Disabuse Whites of their positive and strident racial identity. Teach them that being White is something to feel guilty about and atone for.  Shame on White people (gentile is tacitly understood)—slave owners, Nazis, Indian killers, sexists, homophobes, authoritarians, bigots, oppressors, the cancer of human history, etc., etc. Ram it home, especially to their children.   Whites better not get caught, or catch themselves, feeling good about their race or thinking it is one tick better than any other race—that is ignorant, malevolent, even evil, and deserves punishment. White racial identity, interests, commitment, solidarity, leadership, organization, and collective action?  Absolutely not.  That’s for other races, not White people. Pound that into their heads with the public discourse you dominate.
  • Inculcate the idea that Whites are wrong-headed and shabby, and really missing something wonderful, wonderful, if they don’t want to live their lives nestled among people altogether different from them, including those who would jump for joy if every last White person fell into a ravine.  Diversity is a label you can tack on to this revealed Truth, cherished ideal, and moral imperative you push on Whites (but often avoid in your own life). Diversity has a nice ring to it.  Don’t bring up the idea of cultural integrity and preservation; there is no such thing, at least for White people.  Whites need to have embedded in their brains that they have no business whatsoever clustering up with their own.  Freedom of association?  Yet another regrettable element of America’s White heritage. 
  • Condition Whites to defer to their betters, that is to say, experts and sages like you and the government that implements your wisdom, which includes acquiescing to, and even working for, racial discrimination against them in school admissions, employment, and the awarding of contracts, and to having the money they’ve earned confiscated and given to people they don’t know.  A big part of that is playing up democracy, which opens up everything to collective control (which means your control, because you control the collective).  
  • Soften White people up. Take the edge off of them.  Make them safe and innocuous.  Turn White badasses into pleasant pushovers. A particularly good way to domesticate and emasculate White people is to get them to think they have to be OK with you and to prostrate themselves before you and plead their cases that they aren’t racists, anti-Semites, and haters—the sins of all sins, you’ve established that—even though they know, as you have well taught them, that that is precisely what they are — the bad boys and girls.

Much more to be said, but the basic idea is to transform Whites from eagle-eyed, tough-minded, independent, proud individualists with a strong and prideful sense of who they are and where they came from into nice, adrift, heads-in-the-clouds, self-deprecating, weak-kneed herd animals, with you driving this motley, tail-wagging conglomerate to the slaughterhouse.  What should encourage and inspire you is that persistent and patient efforts in these directions by your kind over the past half-century have been remarkably effective—so just keep it going.   

Robert S. Griffin is a university professor who has written frequently about race from a White perspective.  His writings on a variety of topics can be found at his web site, www.robertsgriffin.com.

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