Victor Davis Hanson // Private Papers
A canon of the Left has always been that “words matter.” But do they?
Only sometimes, and selectively so.
So when Trump, for example, insisted on calling the SARS-CoV-2 virus the “China virus”—in a manner of the 1918 “Spanish flu,” or the way the Left did in the first few months of the pandemic or subsequently referred to mutant strains as “the South African virus,” or the “Brazilian virus”—he then became a “racist.” (How ironic that “Wuhan/China virus” may be the most appropriate term, if it is confirmed that Chinese scientists engineered the gain-of-function COVID-19 virus, and if especially their research was known to or overseen by the Chinese military).
Thus, Trump’s words, we were lectured, could be blamed for the epidemic of mostly African-American, younger males committing hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Trump, we were told, “created a climate of anti-Asian bigotry.” Ditto the media using that same tired trope to explain why young men of Middle-Eastern heritage were targeting Jewish Americans during the recent Middle East War. Trump, not those stomping on elderly Jews, you see, was the racist.
Ok, so words matter?
For if they did, there would be an iota of outrage at the current systematic rhetoric of anti-white hatred—even of occasion of the exterminationist sort. Yet no one cares what the rhetoric will birth. The hatred is no longer voiced just by the Farrakhan ilk. Nor is it limited to the sloppy venom of the Al Sharpton brand. Instead, it is the talk of elite, well-off, upper-middle-class “diverse” leaders, professionals, politicians, and intellectuals. And because of the source, it is contextualized, exempted, and even admired for its boldness.
Here are just a few examples. Consider the now infamous excerpt from a recent Yale University Medical School speech by one psychiatrist Dr. Aruna Khilanani:
This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil…I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a fucking favor.
I think Khilanani’s tirade would be classified by progressive Yale humanists as “hate speech”—only it was, of course, not.
Here is a similar snuff fantasy voiced in a recent novel by Barnard Professor Ben Philippe, one widely reported in conjunction with other of his observations:
When this race war hits its crescendo, I’ll gather you all into a beautifully decorated room under the pretense of unity. I’ll give a speech to civility and all the good times we share; I’ll smile as we raise glasses to your good, white health, while the detonator blinks under the table, knowing the exits are locked and the air vents filled with gas.
I think the Left once called such Treblinka imagery “hatred,” “incendiary” and “inflammatory” and helping to “lower the bar” of acceptable violence. Do we see a pattern among our elites of the diversity industry?
Here is Harvard Law grad Elie Mystal writing in the Nation (as their “justice” correspondent) about avoiding all white people he can, once the quarantine was lifted: “White people haven’t improved; I’ve just been able to limit my exposure to them.”
Would Mystal like to explain the consequences for the country at large, if everyone followed his own example and limited one’s “exposure” to racial groups that they felt “haven’t improved”? (How does one “improve” a supposed racial group? Mandatory diversity training, selective breeding, eugenics, brainwashing, reifying the revolver and gas fantasies of Khilanani and Philippe? Would Mystal care to expand on what he meant by improving to a level that he could tolerate them?
Or was that hatred too subtle? Should we call Joe Biden to suggest all of the above supports his assessment that white bigotry and white supremacist terrorism are sweeping the country
Try a version from Damon Young, a senior editor of The Root and an occasional New York Times contributor. He lectures the nation:
Whiteness is a public health crisis. It shortens life expectancies, it pollutes air, it constricts equilibrium, it devastates forests, it melts ice caps, it sparks (and funds) wars, it flattens dialects, it infests consciousnesses, and it kills people.
Note especially Young’s Hitlerian dehumanizing use of “infests”? (Or for that matter Mystal’s “exposure”—as if whites were some sort of toxic infectious virus). Where have we heard that idea before of a racial or religious group being blamed for bad air, water, forests and, to top it off, the melting of both Antarctica and the Arctic?
You object and counter, “But these are just pampered intellectuals spouting off who have no influence?”—as if most of history’s most lethal ideas did not start in the university as crackpot abstractions.
One final thought: yes, most of this rhetoric is aimed by fellow elites at fellow elites. That is, the white privileged class with whom most often a Philippe at Barnard or a Mystal encounters.
Yet they likely know few poor or lower-middle-class whites, whose children grew up in the post-Civil Rights, post affirmative-action world, and whose incomes, educational levels and opportunities, and material conditions offer no hint of “privilege.” So whereas the NPR white elite may cheaply and in careerist fashion confess to his unearned white privilege from his $150,000 salaried perch—and so fuel further such demands for more repetenance—I am not sure that is true of the truck driver, the mechanic, the lumberjack, the assembler, or carpenter. Will they nod “yep,” when called a racist beneficiary of unearned privileged, not to mention one who metaphorically should rendezvous with Khilanani’s revolver or Phillipe’s gas chamber? And when you compound this language of hatred with the now stock Obama/Clinton/Biden vocabulary of clingers, deplorables, irredeemables/dregs, chumps, and Neanderthals, I think we are in for some scary, perhaps our scariest, times. The point is again that supposedly humane, progressive elites, writing from their sanctuary zones of diversity, inclusion, and equity, are writing some scary, utterly racist and vile things, which according to the Left will “matter” and in the next phase lead to real violence against their rhetoric targets.
In Part Two, I’ll offer a few other sick examples and explain why this deplorable new hatred and why now.