Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd.


"It’s sometimes hard for Westerners to understand the ferocity and passion behind sectarianism in the Middle East. I’m not an expert either – but the period of history I studied most exhaustively at Oxford was England and Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The town I grew up in has memorial grave-stones for the Protestants burned alive on the Tudor-era high street, as cheering Catholics gathered around. As an Irish-Catholic in England, I was taught the brutal history of the Protestant-Catholic wars that played out over three centuries – and were still killing people in my lifetime.

"America never experienced this – which may explain in part the utopianism that led us into Iraq (and makes my own support of the fiasco even more indefensible in retrospect)..."
-- Andrew Sullivan, July 16, 2013
What can one say except that it’s obviously sometimes hard for gay Tory pundits to understand the ferocity and passion behind the idea of white male supremacy in America.

Many American towns have the grave-stones of Confederate and Union boys who slaughtered each other in their hundreds of thousands fighting for what each side firmly believed was the will of God:
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
How then was that not a holy war?

 In fact, since before Fort Sumter and the Cornerstone Speech -- 
This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. ...

Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.
--  through Wallace 

and the Dixiecrats --


 -- and right on past Loving v. Virginia --
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix...
-- the problem of race in America has always been about white male supremacy.

And white supremacy in America has always been about Jefferson Davis' Almighty God locked in mortal combat with Reverend Martin Luther King's Almighty God.

And it continues to astonish me the number of times we on the Left are called upon to drum this basic fact of American history into the skulls of America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectuals. 

Maybe they'll listen to Sorkin:


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this earlier today, and I thought about something, which I would also like Blue Gal's comment, and which I think fits perfectly into this post.

All things are possible, not through Jesus, but through Satan.

Please think about that a moment.

Jesus wants us to be kind, and act responsibly. Fuck that. Satan let's us re-enact our favorite "Lord of the Flies" fan-fics.

That is why it is so important for Islamic Jihadists for Western modernity to be the Great Shaytan, and it is just as important for the Christian fundamentalists for progressive modernity (and even science) to be Satan Incarnate.

Because of that, any act, however loathsome, be it burning a pagan, or bombing an abortion clinic, or hanging a n*r who got to uppity from a tree, or tying a near-dead f*g to a field fence to feed the buzzards, is justified in the end, because it momentarily thwarts Satan. And when they are called out for a bombing or a lynching or a brutal murder, it's all OK, because the Great Satan Incarnate is so much worse.

Jesus makes you feel guilty for that shit. He'd have you volunteer at a food drive or knit blankets for chemo patients.

Fuck that. Satan's throwing every door open for you. "Lord of the Flies" not to your taste? How about some economics, and "The Jungle"? Or perhaps you're into classic, and prefer genocide of brown people from the Bible or Koran? Any fantasy indulged, so you can feel as important as you like.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Was it Mike K that pointed out it that what we've been calling racism is actual white supremacy?

If so, I thank Mike; if not, I will try to find the place I first saw that formulation.

Because that is my preferred usage from here on out. It's a very useful construct, and one that is far harder to wiggle out of than "you're the real racist!"

Zimmerman is a racist. White supremacists have used his actions and acquittal to help their own bigotry fly free.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Zombie...

Zombie, Zombie, Zombie....

You're going to feel so bad...

So, so bad...

When I tell you........

... It was Blue Gal who first said that. :-(

Somewhere, an angel softly weeps, burning its SEIU card and copy of "A People's History of the United States".

My argument is that it is all xenophobia, and all stems from the ability to be willing to see another human as sub-human, usually for a sense of power or to mitigate fear. I believe that racism, sexism, homophobia, ir/religious xenophobia, and political demonetization all share the same spiritual point of genesis. (And read that as an abstraction, not religious.)

And, yes, *ahem* ~Blue Gal's~ discussion of how you don't have to be racist if you buy into society's white supremacy is very poignant.

Though I guess I should be grateful for being confused with a sharper mind. Thank you. :-)


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Thanks for the correction, Mike.

Look, I am married to brilliant engineer, so I am used to being corrected by someone with more brains than I.

I see your point, and think it's valid; but I also think American Racism is a very special subset of that, and that white supremacy is a bedrock foundation of American Bigotry.

I will, however, make sure the Gal of Blue gets proper attribution where necessary, as I wander these dystopian internoodles, shambling about looking for branes and finding so few, so few.

Except, you know, when I forget to do so and thus I will apologize in advance to BG.

Anonymous said...


I would add "Protestant" to white supremacy. Religious righteousness flows through it like cat videos flow through the internet. And it's "Protestant", which is a northern-European "white" Christianity. Catholics were the Spanish and Italian, or even worse, Portuguese and Irish. Catholics were no more white than the Jews were. I remember my grandparents saying that the last time someone wrote "Catholics go home!" on their sidewalk was sometime around '63 or '64.

Religion is what gives American racism it's power and certitude. Drinking turpentine on your trailer porch hatin' Blacks and Mexicans and Jews may pass the time, but that's just a mere mortal opinion. The decree of an Almighty God is what makes it eternal and righteous. This is the point Driftglass constantly hammers, and rightly so. This is also why my rather angry rant was couched in the language of Christianity, not more abstract religious ideas or even psychology. I think what I said works equally on all three levels, but the problem is not just some primal and ancient-yet-abstract howling angry primate from our collective past. It's couched in a very specifically cultivated language to externalize it and bring it to life. The problem is the Devil.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Point taken Mike.

I was raised in a liberal upstart wing of Lutheranism (imagine my surprise when I discovered the crazy that most Lutheran sects practiced!). Eventually, the liberalish aspects allowed questioning, and of course, that all resulted in the un-Goddening of the Zombizzles.

Got to do a stage kiss with a beautiful girl during one of the confirmation classes, though, so I do kind of remember some of the whole experience kind of fondly.

Anonymous said...

Ideology is not really what motivates us. It's the story we tell to justify who we are and what we do. We are motivated by fear or empathy, hate or compassion, not Jesus or Allah, which is why we have so many versions of these gods. The confederate god likes slavery, and the owners will make up elaborate theologies to justify themselves to themselves. The new god on the block is "The Market", which rewards the virtuous through the "invisible hand", assigning value to some humans over others.
My German war-bride mom used to say that scared people can find a justification for anything and good people doing good things don't need any justification. What we do is who we are, not the theology we create to justify it.

Anonymous said...

To 8:16AM Anonymous,

I actually have some splitting of hairs here. While I agree with motivation, my argument was justification.

I agree with your mom. The problem here is a people who have been whipped into a petulant, paranoid anger, and will smash any vestige of society as long as someone tells them it will hurt blacks or Mexicans or Muslims more than themselves.

My language was very deliberate. I was not arguing generalities of human nature, or motivations of fear and anger. I was arguing the problem of the Abrahamic Devil. *That* is the justification that makes things possible. *That* is the lord and master of the Liberals and the Militant Homosexuals and those of the wrong religion. Human nature aside, the specific problem we have here is *the Devil*, and that belief is what justifies "Lord of the Flies" fan-fic as a legitimate response.


Anonymous said...

"Human nature aside, the specific problem we have here is *the Devil*, and that belief is what justifies "Lord of the Flies" fan-fic as a legitimate response."
I think the specific problems are the racism and hate itself, not the justification. I understand the Devil is the justification for some of them now, because in our religious culture, Satan personifies evil. My point was that any justification will do. Scared and ignorant people will simply use what's available to them to justify what they want to do. "Smart" reactionaries tell stories about IQ, because in some circles the Devil isn't selling as well these days. At other times, it might be the "Party" or the nation, etc.
I guess I think it's better to just judge on what we see people do, and call them out on their actions, and not get to bogged down in what excuse they are using these days. In fact, it works to their advantage that we buy into the religious narrative at all.