Colonists practicing freedom, becoming slowly habituated to running their own lives and affairs, taming an often hostile wilderness, ruled by a distant and increasingly controlling crown, require certain conceptual definitions of freedom.
They were written down in case you’re interested.
Activists practicing liberation, colonizing existing newsrooms and administrative hierarchies, tending to totalize all personal and public relationships into an oppressor/opppressed worldview, require other conceptual definitions of freedom.
Andrew Sullivan on the ‘1619’ project, at the NY Times:
‘The New York Times, by its executive editor’s own admission, is increasingly engaged in a project of reporting everything through the prism of white supremacy and critical race theory, in order to “teach” its readers to think in these crudely reductionist and racial terms. That’s why this issue wasn’t called, say, “special issue”, but a “project”. It’s as much activism as journalism.’
‘But it is extremely telling that this is not merely aired in the paper of record (as it should be), but that it is aggressively presented as objective reality. That’s propaganda, directed, as we now know, from the very top — and now being marched through the entire educational system to achieve a specific end.’
As previously posted:
Jason Hill’s open letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates here.
‘Coates fails to notice that his blanket exoneration of the perpetrators actually dehumanizes them. On his view, when the young perpetrators pull the trigger or thrust the knife in they are only vectors of forces, not agents with purposes, desires, plans, or motives. Therefore they are not really men at all, so that, ironically enough, they become for him Invisible Man writ large.’
Many black writers in America should be recognized as having crossed bridges over chasms in communicating their experiences, experiences which have often made even the best radicalize to some degree in the face of such injustice.
Regardless, I’m guessing we’re all best off if the same high standards are universally applied when it comes to quality of prose, depth of thought, scope of imagination and moral courage. Good writing deserves as much: Genuine, even if grudging or even if unfettered, respect.
Works of art are going to do what they’re going to do, polemics what they do, and I tend to believe that respect for the freedom, responsibility, agency and complexity of the individual ought to be central. Realizing the interior lives of others, especially if they’re just characters in a novel, even when they fail miserably and do horrible things, is what I’ve taken to be a core feature of writing which has moved me. This, much more than ideological solidarity and what may be the shared popular sentiment of the moment.
To my mind, there’s something comic about a man (and I can’t be alone) espousing rather radical political views (theories of victim-hood, a lack of individual agency and anti-white racism, postmodern ‘body’ talk etc.) while being feted, possibly with the intent of appeasement and assimilation, by mostly less radical (and often very white) audiences.
That’s got to create some tension.
As to politics and social institutions, sent in by a reader, here’s a talk given by John McWhorter about his views in ‘Losing The Race‘, a man who strikes me as politically amorphous, unsatisfyingly moderate for some, and often very sensible. As has been the case for a while, there [are] a whole range of views out there:
James Baldwin’s works are there to be read and thought about, his words and ideas echoing in your mind; your words formed in response.
Take or leave those words and ideas. You can write a paper, and forget them. They may deeply move and stir your moral imagination, or not.
Such is freedom.
A lack of freedom is demonstrated by uttering James Baldwin’s words as incantations seeking solidarity; chanted mindlessly by a mob of moral/ideological purists, shouting down anyone who might disagree.
Most of these low-rent, post-Enlightenment ideological re-enactors are happy to become stars; each of their own scripted passion-plays and soapy little dramas; tacitly cradled by the academics and administrators off-camera.
In this blog’s opinion, John Derbyshire has extended his own experiences into broader truth claims about race and empirical reality. He uses statistics and evidence to bolster his arguments. There are, frankly, quite a few people who agree with him. What he says may simply be true, or contain truths, partial truths and misconceptions. Some central claims may not be true.
Should one disagree, it must be demonstrated to him, and to others, why he might be wrong. Derbyshire’s intellectually honest enough to present his arguments clearly and cogently, as presumably he believes what he’s saying is true.
Become part of a much nobler process, dear reader. Most decent people already know better than to claim all the truth, moral goodness and virtue for themselves.
Related On This Site: What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”…