Since I’m not on Facebook, by God’s grace, I missed all the hoopla that went on in the Reformed Libertarian Facebook group over the following:
Knowing I’m into these types of issues, having written on them on this site before, C.Jay sent me some screen shots and asked if I wanted to post something.
As a black man, I suppose I have a unique ability to dissent from Lecrae and most others on these types of things. It’s frustrating, but most of the time on these issues, a black guy who supports these types of things (or at least is annoyed when white people are annoyed by them) will immediately dismiss the white guys as not understanding, because they are white. In the RL group, one person even stated that many in the RL group were annoyed because, being predominantly white, the group was an “echo chamber.” This is outrageous. It assumes that one’s skin color directs his ability to think clearly and logically. After all, there are white people in support of Lecrae here and black people (myself included) who are also annoyed.
Now then, beyond the rejection of rationality afforded to all people as individuals and not classes, I see Lecrae’s intentionally provocative and unintentionally self-righteous timing of his photograph to be a reflection of what I talked about in my overview of Paul Gottfried’s book Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt. One of the themes of Gottfried’s book was the “trickle down” effect that the Political Correctness elite caused throughout culture. The politics of guilt becomes a culture of guilt wherein one group of people (who see themselves as an oppressed group rather than as individuals) constantly brings up “old wounds,” none of which– almost by definition– were actually experienced by said individuals. Often, especially in “Christian” circles (in a broad sense), this is to be associated with something having to do with the Gospel (or a misinterpretation/misapplication of it– often known as the “Social Gospel,” which is in fact a false Gospel. The Gospel is not about racial reconciliation. Though Christians with a Christian worldview ought to stand in favor of racial reconciliation, they ought not confuse this very Christian and Biblical end with the Gospel itself).
The politics of guilt is made manifest in a constant dividing of people between races and making one group out to be a “social victim” of another group; the latter group needing to constantly express condolences and apologies for. This is not just a problem of race hustlers and professional guilt manipulators like Al Sharpton (Voddie Baucham calls them the “Professional Racial Tension Stirrers”); it is also became a problem in the New Right conservative movement when anyone who didn’t say the Right Things on Israel and the Holocaust were anti-Semites. Joe Sobran, Paul Gottfried, and other members of the paleo-conservative right were recipients of the smear campaign by the Politically Correct on the right because they weren’t head over heels in favor of America’s policy positions with respect to Israel. The problem of politically correct influences exist everywhere we look.
Lecrae is engaging in what some have referred to as virtue signaling– the going out of one’s way to make a point on a social issue with which literally no one disagrees in the first place. As Tom Woods always points out over against the “Reason-type” libertarians, it’s not very impressive to “come out” against slavery in the year 2016. Yes, we know, slavery existed in America and it was immoral and disgraceful. But not only is the non-slaveholding white man innocent of this reality, but, largely speaking, the black man in 2016 America is not a victim of this either. That is to stay, this continued effort at making people remorseful about a historical social reality does nothing but create false guilt and lead to increased division.
Does this mean we ought to “stop talking about it” as many people think we are saying? Of course not. Don’t go out of your way to avoid it and don’t go out of your way to insert your reminder wherever you go. It’s a historical event. If you are talking about a related topic, mention it. Simple as that. Don’t overthink it. Like the slave trade in Ireland. If it’s relevant to conversation, bring it up. No need to always have it in your back pocket as some sort of transcendent and metaphysical ethical lesson everywhere you turn.
Individuals are responsible for their own actions, not those with the same skin color that came before them. By the same token, individuals who have not been harmed by the sinful actions of people centuries ago cannot claim victim-status. Individuals are harmed as individuals, not as members of a class, and sins are committed by rational, thinking, human beings, not by collectives, racial groups, gender groups, and so on. The great anti-racebaiter and anti-cultural marxist (and black hero of mine– and my father’s) Walter Williams once wrote a genius “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Person’s of European Descent:”
I do think Williams gave in too much on the nature of European guilt, but perhaps he was simply trying to “assume the opponent’s position.” But nevertheless I second this Proclamation and hope that my white brothers and sisters never feel guilty about something they didn’t do. And I equally hope that my black brothers and sisters refrain from using issues like slavery–which nobody today endorses– to score popularity points with their Twitter feed on July 4th. Lecrae, to be blunt, is in the same position as me: he doesn’t know where his actual family was on July 4th 1776, but no white person today who was celebrating (the cause of celebration –secession and liberty– being long lost in America, sadly) is guilty of doing anything to Lecrae’s ancestors by virtue of the fact that no one alive 250 years ago is here today.
Everybody knows: slavery existed and slavery was horrible. Let’s not beat a dead horse. Example: C.Jay once wrote an article on how German guilt over the holocaust was used for the implementation of the Euro and the European Union! I get that this type of historical reference to something bad to score points today is popular, but we are better than that! Aren’t we? (Perhaps not, but let’s aim to be.)
As a black person, it greatly annoys me when I see other blacks engage in this type of internet/keyboard-warriorism and, rather than finding frustration with whites that jump back in reaction, I tend to sympathize with them. After all, across the nation there is a rising trend to treat whites as necessarily and by birth racist and guilty of thinking in a bigoted manner– see Gottfried’s book for more on the roots and examples of this trend. I’m beginning to see sort of a black privilege of sorts– in topics that can be addressed in the media, words that can be used, cultures that can’t be criticized (including the ghettoism of the rap culture), college admission standards, and so on. And as a black person, it disgusts me.
But I won’t apologize on behalf of anyone. I did nothing wrong and I’m only responsible for my own actions.