Elite Hankerings for Obedience

As many of you know, I am a professor at a public university. My semester begins tomorrow (I am teaching four classes this semester—I always teach four classes a semester), and that probably means my blogging will have to give way to class preparation, lecturing, mentoring students, etc. I have been thinking about organizing a series of podcasts arounds my lectures, so we will see how that goes. If this happens, I will use Freedom and Reason to notify readers. Stay tuned! In today’s blog I make a few observations about the desire of elites to control people and the way race is used to thwart class consciousness.

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My iPhone keeps asking me if I want to sign up for a surveillance program that lets me know if I’ve been exposed to coronavirus. Why would I need to be notified if somebody I know caught cold? Why would I want to embed my life in a surveillance program run by the Wisconsin Department of Health? (See Why Coronavirus and Not Other Cold Viruses? When a Virus Goes Viral.) I need that like I need a mRNA shot in my arm.

Every time I open my iPhone I have to see this on my screen.

Remember during the Bush/Cheney years the color-coded terrorism threat assessment chart? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called it the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)—as if it were a method for alerting the public to severe weather conditions. Like the NTAS, “exposure notifications” for COVID-19 is fear mongering. This is not to suggest that Islamic terrorism is analogous to a coronavirus (or to severe weather); it’s to point out the way in which the government uses similar strategies to keep the public in a perpetual state of dread. The technocrats mean to make you afraid of a cold virus, and, for a lot of you, it worked like a charm. Still does. It’s a tactic of control. Tragically, many people like to be controlled. It keep them from having to think for themselves.

The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Speaking of severe weather, now they’re using climate change to take away your energy and food. Perhaps you have heard (perhaps not in America where the corporate media has buried the story) that Dutch farmers have been protesting the government’s demands they reduce emissions, the resistance described by Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “willfully endangering others, damaging our infrastructure and threatening people who help with the clean-up.” The government’s is planning to cut nitrogen emissions in the agriculture industry in half by 2030. Other countries are discussing implementing similar measures. This policy will not only harm farmers, but it will hurt everybody, as everybody depends on the food farmers grow. It’s almost as if the Dutch government is trying to antagonize the public as a pretext for raising the level of authoritarian control of the population—while driving up food prices and impoverishing the masses.

To be sure, we need to be concerned about global warming, but at the expense of access to nutritious food? How much longer are folks going to do the Chicken Little? I mean, if the climate situation is as bad as they say it is, then the only way out of it is through technological development—and technological development depends on economic growth. Does starving people grow the economy?

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Things got bizarre real quick, didn’t they? Stuff like this doesn’t happen by accident. There are longer trends behind the chaos. How does it happen, for instance, that, in a country that condemns racism, it’s okay to be racist towards whites? In fact, with the possible exception of East Asians, whites are the only racial group folks are allowed to be racist towards. And not just a little bit racist.

Listen to the nonsense coming out of Bernie Sanders’ face at the top of the video. Almost everything he says is demonstrably false. I’m white. I’ve been poor. I’ve even been homeless. I’ve lived in roach-invested cramped apartments. I have gone hungry, I have even begged for money. I have been hassled by the police just for walking down the street, dragged out of a car by cops just for sitting in a car, harassed by cops in front of an arcade talking with friends just for hanging out in front of an arcade talking with friends. These cases may sound anecdotal, but they are experiences shared by millions of other white people.

Fact: there are many more poor whites than there are blacks—by tens of millions (see They Do You This Way). Fact: cops kill twice as many whites than cops kill blacks every year (see The Myth of Racist Criminal Justice Persists—at the Denial of Human Agency). Fact: black people kill more white people than white people kill black people by a lot (see Why are there so Many More White than Black Victims of Interracial Homicide?). What on earth is Sanders talking about? How can he be that out of touch with the largest segment of the working class? Isn’t he a democratic socialist? (No, he’s a progressive. That’s why he is out of touch. And that is a charitable spin on his rhetoric.)

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tells us to watch out for white people. They’re committing most of the murders in the United States, she says. Fact: black men commit most murders (and most robberies) in the United States—not proportionately, but absolutely (see The Myth of Racist Criminal Justice Persists—at the Denial of Human Agency). I won’t go through each clip in this video. It will suffice to say that the video is chockfull of anti-white racism. Watch it for yourself.

This what “anti-racism” is all about—if you haven’t figured that out yet (I’m sure many of you have but are hesitant to say so in public). Just stick “white” between “anti” and “racism” and you’ll have the complete picture. Now you know why, according to race hustlers like Ibram Xolani Kendi (deadname: Henry Rogers), non-racism equals racism. These are word tricks. They mean to confuse you. Racism is not rehearsing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of colorblindness. Racism is centering race by demanding that everybody regard everybody else in terms of racial identity and not as individuals. Racism is the reduction of people to race and treating them on that basis. Racism is saying that every white person enjoys skin color privilege and is either an oppressor or an ally. Colorblindness is the real antiracism.

There is a concerted effort by progressives to paint white people as the greatest threat to democracy and to move whites to self-loathe. Why is that? There’s a claim going around that white supremacy is the most serious problem in the United States. It’s an utterly false claim, so why do they keep saying it? You’ve surely heard that whites enjoy racial privilege. That’s a false claim, too. And that the country is plagued by systemic racism. Another false claim. What’s going on?

The extent of and expressed confidence in what are demonstrable lies tells you that the rhetoric has in back of it power and a project to transform the West by scapegoating white people—to equate western culture with whiteness and use this conflation to dismantle western civilization and that inheres in that sociocultural system: democracy, equality, individualism, liberalism, rationalism, secularism, etc. (See The Myth of White Culture.) The reason is obvious enough: elites are racializing the working class to keep to the proles politically inert (see The Elite Obsession with Race Reveals a Project to Divide the Working Class and Dismantle the American Republic). White workers are “racist” and “fascist”—they’re the “deplorables.” And the US security services—and the same is true in Great Britain—use the racialization of working people to surveil and harass them (MDM is the New WMD: DHS Issues a New NTAS Bulletin).

The horrors of western civilization. See Free Black Thought’s Six Unsettling Features of DEI in K-12

This is what the Orwellianisms—“diversity,” “equity,” “inclusion,” etcetera—are all about: disempowering the working class by centering race and ignoring class. The working class happens to be majority white, so by centering race, progressives make whites appear as a bunch of oppressors, with social justice representing the strategy for rectifying what is a manufactured situation, fragmenting workers along identitarian groups in the name of race and gender equity. In the end, progressives are undermining what MLK, Jr gave his life for: racial equality. It’s shameful. But it’s functional and so it continues. It continues also because it’s a quasi-religion, and giving up religion risks admitting you are duped or becoming completely lost, and these possibilities terrify the emotionally childish and psychologically insecure.

You surely will have noted that the actual source of inequality in our society, namely social class, is rarely, if ever, mentioned by progressives. Why is that? Don’t progressives like Bernie Sanders stand for the working class? Don’t we “Vote for Democrats because Democrat vote for us”? No. Progressives represent the middle class, not the working class. By “middle class,” I mean the professional-managerial strata of the corporate capitalist state. The working class is the class where most black and brown people toil alongside their white comrades. Remember when Joe Biden said “Poor kids are just as bright as white kids”? Why would he say such a thing? Because he gaffs? Because he’s a stutterer? Because in his mind—as in the minds of millions of progressives—white kids are rich kids and poor kids are the nonwhite kids. Poor white kids don’t exist. They have been erased like the white victims of police shootings (Tony Timpa Can’t Breathe).

Progressivism is an expression of the technocracy, the ideology of the professional managerial stratum: administrators, teachers, doctors, and so on. This ideology sees abstract demographic categories as tribes and selects a few amongst them to represent the rest at the table—as if once extracted from one’s class location allows them to actually do that. Indeed, they’re expected to do the opposite—represent the interests of the corporate class. This is why a black man who resists wokeness is an Uncle Tom. Remember, if you’re not voting for Joe Biden, you’re not black.

Biden giving a speech before a fascistic backdrop. The only thing added to this image is the word “obey.” Perhaps there was no need to add the word. The image screams obedience.

Have you listened to the now notorious Joe Biden September 1, 2022 speech? It’s very clear what the establishment’s position is going into the midterm elections: Republicans who agree with Biden and the Democrats—“mainstream Republicans”—are acceptable if not approved; populists pushing republicanism (note the lower case) in the face of the administrative state, patriots opposed to the managed decline of the West, to globalization, mass immigration, multiculturalism, and all the rest of it—they are “enemies of state.” Maybe they are. But what is the character of this state? That matters in deciding whether the enemies are really patriots.

Biden’s speech, bellicosely projected before a full-throated fascist aesthetic (in blood red that CNN, in a tacit admission of the mood conveyed, softened to pink), was a rebuke of liberalism and nationalism, the foundations of the American project. Biden represents the interests of the transnational corporate elite. These are not the people’s interests. Democracy in elite parlance is technocracy, the “managed democracy” of the corporate state—the “inverted totalitarianism” of the New Fascism—run by the professional-managerial class (Quotes denote the concepts of the late, great Sheldon Wolin. (See From Inverted to Naked Totalitarianism: The West in Crisis; C. Wright Mills and the New Fascism. See also Totalitarian Monopoly Capitalism: Fascism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.)

Biden’s speech was an instantiation of the project to make ordinary working class Americans out to be fascists and racists. But the reality is that Biden and his party represent the most authoritarian and illiberal force in America today: the corporate state. But he is right about the desire for a one-party state. Democrats represent the chosen party of corporate power and corporate power wants no rivals. They do mean to destroy any social movement that threatens the globalist establishment. With the rise of a populist-nationalism explicitly aimed at restoring democratic-republicanism, corporate power is desperate to derail the challenge. Not just in America. Populist-nationalism is a trans-Atlantic phenomenon. It is unfortunate that there is no organized political left to offer an alternative to the right-wing style of populist-nationalism.

* * *

When asked about culture, history, tradition, etcetera, Martina Big told her interviewers that she’s going to have her nose worked on, too, broadened the way she perceives black noses to be. That will make her appear more black, she believes. Martina says that she likes the way black women look, so she wants to look like one. Put another way, she wants to make a costume of black woman out of her body and wear it around. Martina used to be pretty hot, to be frank about it. Now she’s hideous. I am sorry to be so blunt, but people shouldn’t do things like to their bodies and maybe shaming them will help others avoid repeating their mistake. Martina has, like a growing number of people today, turned herself into a monster. (See Disordering Bodies for Disordered Minds.)

Martina Big has disfigured herself It is difficult to look at her.

Race, if reduced to physical differences, which is what the term referred to when it appeared in the early twentieth century, based as it was on the development of the science over the previous two centuries (at least), is really about ancestry (albeit there is some genetic affinity with ordinary understanding of phenotypic constellations defined as race). To changes one’s appearance only allows the person to appear as if their ancestry is black, albeit I am not sure Martina has pulled it off; I doubt this woman has black ancestry. In other words, trans-racialism, again, if race is about physical differences, is short-circuited by the fact of genetics and inheritance. To be sure, race, like gender, is to some degree a social construction, but that does not mean it doesn’t have empirical referents. Same with gender. One can claim to be a different race or gender, but they actually can’t. The idea that we’re supposed to affirm their self-identification as another race or gender is a rather bizarre notion—and an oppressive one if the state and law is at its back (which increasingly it is).

I understand why those interviewing Martina are criticizing her, but I honestly don’t know what one means by “black culture”—and I’m a sociologist who studies these things! Culture is associated with shared space and worldview, the conditions of which are determined by a myriad of factors, none of which has anything to do with race … except if you’re a racist, then you explain culture in terms of genetics. Likewise, there’s no white culture. There’s only a culture wherein one finds may find many or few or no white people in it. Western culture is not “white.” It just happens to be the case that western culture emerged in a space where whites were the majority. Western culture does not spring from the genetics of the people who comprise its majority. Again, that is a profoundly racist idea. Western culture emerges from climatic, geographical, historical, and a myriad of other actual forces. Western chauvinists are not racist. They seek to preserve the Enlightenment and its fruits. It has nothing to do with race.

I suppose Martina can appear any way she wishes, but we must say that she is not black in the way that concept is understood. Once more: you can’t change your genetics. They’re fixed. You will always be the race you are born as, whatever you or anybody else thinks of you. You will also grow old and die some day. Life comes with brutal truths. We don’t help people by helping them avoid confronting reality.

* * *

Speaking of drastic body alterations…

As with most Islamic-majority nations, Iran is profoundly homophobic. This deep homophobia goes hand-in-hand with that religion’s extreme patriarchal worldview. The idea that a boy could be attracted to other boys or like the things that girls like horrifies not only the elites in Iran but the Iranian population at large. Besides being shunned, homosexuality is punishable with death in Iran.

Why Iran is a hub for sex-reassignment surgery?

However, the regime has adopted the position that gay people are the opposite gender trapped in the wrong physical body. Why else would a boy find other boys sexually attractive? So the regime pushes gay people into drastically altering their body to appear as the opposite gender (what in the West is referred to as “sex reassignment surgery” or “gender affirming care,” terms that assume sex is assigned and that gender needs affirming). The regime will even pay for hormones and surgery. Many young Iranians and their parents opt for medical intervention not only to avoid being hanged from cranes in public or other serious punishments, but social pressure to be accepted in Iranian society. In other words, Iran has a project to eliminate gay and lesbian people by making them appear as the other sex. It’s a medical alternative to “pray the gay away” (since praying doesn’t work). It’s a radical form of conversion therapy.

* * *

I am writing this blog on Labor Day. A friend on Facebook posted this as a reflection on the day:

Meme on Facebook

The meme obscures an essential point about unskilled labor. Unskilled labor exists as the result of industrial capitalism deskilling labor via breaking up the production process, deploying automation and mechanization, and the imposition of scientific management, i.e., Fordism and Taylorism. For example, weaving used to be a skill. With the advent of the power loom, the “weaver” only needed to clear the shuttle when it jammed, or manage other simple tasks, tasks that a five-year-old could do—and often did. Building a car used to be a skill, but Ford fixed it so a person had to put a nut on a bolt as the automobile rolled by. Etcetera.

The beauty of unskilled labor is that workers became interchangeable and needed little training. Skilled workers are valuable—so abstracting labor from the process and turning the worker into a cog in a vast machine transferred that value to the man who owns the machine. Unskilled workers lived in constant fear of being canned at any moment. And if a worker had his arm ripped off by a flywheel, then another worker could take his place the next day, as no skill was involved. An additional benefit was reducing the capacity of workers to think and to grasp the production process as a whole, which may raise consciousness about class exploitation.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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