In my last essay I discussed Nancy MacDonald’s recent cover article for MacLean’s which accuses my city, Winnipeg, of being the most racist city in Canada. I pointed out several holes in the conventional anti-racist narrative to which the MacLean’s article was uncritically faithful. I pointed out, for example, the double standard in the narrative’s definition of racism in that expressions of racial pride on the part of the group consistently identified as the villains in the narrative, i.e., white people are considered to be racist whereas expressions of such pride on the part of groups designated the victims, i.e., non-whites and in this case one specific none-white group, Indians, are not considered to be racist. I had observed that everywhere in the city one can see baseball caps reading “Native Pride.” This does not stir up the kind of indignation that a single instance of someone wearing a cap that read “White Pride” would.
In response to this, a friend argued that it was silly to compare “White Pride” with “Native Pride” because of all the sinister connotations the former phrase has due to its association with websites like Stormfront and organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. Now, at first glance this argument does indeed seem to be valid. Whatever else might be said about the “Native Pride” merchandise line it does not have any apparent connections with any sort of hard, zealous, racialist, ideology the way the phrase “white pride” does. Nevertheless, if we pursue this comparison further, I think that it ultimately supports my own argument.
Is there something inherently vicious and violent about racial pride on the part of white people but not on the part of the members of any other race? If yes, this suggests that there is something seriously defective in the collective character of white people but not in the collective character of other people groups. This, however, resembles nothing so much as the theories by which the National Socialists justified their mistreatment of Jews and other groups they considered to be defective. The logic of any argument that “white pride” is inherently vicious but “native pride” or other non-white racial pride is not, leads ultimately, therefore, to a conclusion that itself resembles Nazi theory, except that in it the Aryans have taken the place of the Jews. That this logic must inevitably lead to this conclusion has brought many to the realization that in many, if not most, cases, what is called “antiracist” is simply a euphemism for “antiwhite”.
Now, if the answer to the question is “no”, then either a) racial pride is dangerous and wrong on the part of all groups or b) racial pride is good or at least harmless on the part of all groups. If the latter is the case then the question that immediately arises is why something that is good or harmless only ever seems to be associated with fringe groups among white people. This is not a question for which we need to look far and wide for an answer. The prevailing political orthodoxy of the day defines white racial pride as being dangerous, radical, and beyond the pale. When a thought or sentiment is defined as being on the fringe outside the mainstream than only people and groups who are on the fringe and outside the mainstream will express that thought or sentiment and any person or group that attempts to express it in a reasonable, non-radical, moderate way will find him or itself branded as on the fringe and extreme.
I will provide an illustration of this last point that is relevant to our current discussion. Jared Taylor, a genteel, intelligent, and articulate man, who was raised in Japan as the son of missionaries, holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yale University, has since 1990 been editor of a publication he founded entitled American Renaissance. This monthly publication features articles that deal with matters of race, intelligence, culture, and immigration, from an editorial perspective that is staunchly pro-white. The articles are well-written, do not use racial epithets or any other sort of vulgar abuse of other races, do not promote violence or other mistreatment of people, and tend to have a libertarian political slant. The contributors are journalists and academics, sometimes writing under pseudonyms to protect their identity. This is deemed to be prudent, if not necessary, because the organizations that have appointed themselves the watchdogs of public moral and intellectual hygiene on matters of race treat American Renaissance as being no different from some publication that uses a swastika for its logo, calls for the establishment of a Fourth Reich, and devotes every article to praising the ideals of Adolf Hitler and demonizing other races.
This, I might add, is typical of the “honesty” one can expect from social justice warriors of any stripe, but especially the antiracists. Dave Wheeler, of the Winnipeg radio station 92 CITI FM interviewed Nancy Macdonald. He demonstrated in the course of this devastating interview just how misleading her article had been. Violence against Indian women that is largely committed by Indian men, as statistics Macdonald herself referenced indicate, was nevertheless presented in such a way as to make it sound like it was the result of white racism. An incident of sexual harassment was discussed in which the information that the person making the offensive remarks was himself an Indian was omitted.
My point, before we get lost down this side trail, was that when a thought or sentiment, such as racial pride on the part of whites, is ruled to be beyond the pale, only those who are on the fringes will express that thought or sentiment. This means that the fact that expressions of “white pride” can for the most part only be found among groups that disturbingly revere Adolf Hitler cannot be taken as evidence that white racial pride is inherently Hitlerian.
Groups that admire Hitler and speak the language of racial violence are small and have no power and influence in our society. The amount of time, legislation, and effort spent in combating this virtually non-existent threat is simply unjustifiable. It is also counterproductive. What makes groups like this potentially dangerous is not so much that they are racial as that they are radical. The forbidding of racial pride to whites while allowing it to other groups will only have the effect of producing more of this radicalism both because it allows for no non-radical expression of such pride and because it will drive young whites angry at the injustice of this double standard into the fringes.
You will recall that we identified two possibilities if white racial pride is not inherently more dangerous than other racial pride. The first was that all kinds of racial pride are dangerous and wrong, the second that all kinds of racial pride are good and harmless. So far we have been pursuing the line of thought that opens up if the second of these possibilities is the correct one. Now it is time to consider the first possibility – that all kinds of racial pride are wrong.
There are grounds for considering this to be the right possibility that are firmly rooted in the ethical tradition of Western civilization. Just as the problem with Hitlerite groups is not so much that they are racial as that they are radical, so the basis for considering all racial pride to be wrong is not that it is racial but that it is pride. This, of course, runs contrary to the thinking of today’s social justice warriors who encourage pride on the part of part of groups that they regard as having been unfairly excluded from Western society throughout history – they have even adopted the term “pride” as the name for the movement for inclusion on the part of one of these groups – but social justice warriors are almost always wrong about everything so the fact that something runs contrary to their way of thinking is evidence in its favour.
The Greeks, as the saying goes, had a word for it. That word was hybris. Its connotations evolved from the deliberate humiliation of others to a defiance of the rule of the gods but beneath these connotations the general sense of a haughty, arrogant, pride remained consistent. The Greeks considered it to be the greatest of human failings. In Homer’s Iliad, the hybris displayed by Agamemnon towards the equally proud Achilles brings disaster upon the Achaeans assembled against Troy, as Zeus decrees that the war will swing against them until Achilles rejoins their ranks. At the end of the classic Western epic Achilles own hybris, displayed in his treatment of the body of the defeated Hector, brings the threat of divine retribution upon him. Hybris was the chief fatal flaw of Athenian tragedy and had even been criminalized in the reforms of the Athenian lawmaker Solon.
That pride was the greatest of human sins is also the judgement of the Christian Church, which built its moral theology upon foundations in both Greek thought and Hebrew Scriptures. The latter, of course, preached brokenness and humility – the opposite of pride –as the way to God’s favour. Psalm 51:17’s “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” and Micah 6:8’s “what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” are but two of the best known examples. The Hebrew Psalms and prophets frequently depict God as laying low the proud. In the New Testament this is taken further, as St. Paul tells Timothy that he who desires the office of a bishop must not be “a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). The implication of this is that pride is the source of all sin – the sin that led to the devil’s fall from grace. This was stated explicitly in the book of Ecclesiasticus or Sirach: “For pride is the beginning of sin” (v. 10:13) and is a point that is repeatedly reiterated by St. Augustine of Hippo who identifies pride not only with the sin of the devil, but with the original sin of man as well, based upon the nature of the serpent’s deception (“ye shall be as gods”). St. Thomas Aquinas defended St. Augustine’s identification of pride with the first sin of man in the Summa Theologica (Article I of Question 163 of the Second Part of the Second Part). In the traditional order of the Seven Deadly Sins, superbia or pride, is listed as the worst.
If, on the basis of the long Western tradition of identifying pride, hybris, or superbia as the worst of all sins, we argue that racial pride is always dangerous and wrong, not because it is racial but because it is pride, this must apply to other forms of pride, one’s embraced and endorsed by political correctness such as “native pride” or “gay pride”, as much as those condemned by political correctness such as “white pride.”
There is a danger, however, that in making this particular judgement we will throw out the baby with the bathwater, or in this case the virtue of pietas with the vice of superbia. Pietas is the Latin word from which our English word piety is derived. It was the virtue that consisted of doing one’s duty, first to one’s parents, then, by extension, to one’s ancestors, kin in general, and to one’s country. It was regarded as one of the most important virtues by the Romans who associated it with one’s duty to the gods which is how the term piety came to be associated with the concept of being dutiful in religion. A similar association underlies the argument in Plato’s Euthyphro, in which Socrates challenges the title character’s assertion that piety required him, out of duty to the gods, to prosecute his father on a trumped up charge of murder.
What is the Christian view of pietas?
While Christianity makes it very clear that in the hierarchy of duties, one’s duties to God must come first – “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37), in other respects, as with pride, Christianity’s understanding of pietas was quite similar to the classical view. The association of one’s duty to one’s parents with one’s duty to God would seem to be present in the Ten Commandments. These include obligations to God alone (“thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, “thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”, etc.) and obligations to one’s fellow men (“thou shalt not steal”, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, etc.). The former are at the beginning of the list, the latter at the end. The commandment to “honour thy father and mother”, however, immediately follows the commandments that contain obligations to God. Indeed, if the commandments were thought to be divided equally in number between duties to God and duties to man, this one would have to be numbered with obligations to God. When the Lord Jesus challenged the Pharisees as to why they used their traditions to get out of obeying the commandments of God the commandment that He pointed to specifically was the commandment to “honour thy father and mother” (Mk. 7:6-13). This could hardly be coincidental. That we have special duties to our kin apart from our duties to mankind in general and that these duties are associated with our duties to God is clearly present in the thought of St. Paul when he wrote “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).
How does this pertain to the topic at hand?
Those who would deny racial pride to one race – white people – while affirming it in other races, usually require white people to adopt an attitude of impiety – the opposite of pietas – to their ancestors and in many cases even their parents. We are required to denounce our ancestors as the villains of history, to demonize them, to take the side of every other people group except our own, and if our own parents have ever used racial epithets, displayed politically incorrect racial attitudes, or otherwise offended against the current political orthodoxy, we are required to denounce them in order to prove that we ourselves are enlightened and pure, in a manner that is reminiscent of the way in which children were expected to behave in police states like, for example, the Third Reich.
It is time we think long and hard about what this tells us about antiracism and the politically correct orthodoxy of the present day.
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