Robert Ringer is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and host of the highly acclaimed "Liberty Education Interview Series," which features interviews with top political, economic and social leaders. His latest book is "The Entrepreneur." To sign up for a free subscription to his pro-liberty, pro-free-market e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, CLICK HERE.More ↓Less ↑
Like Joseph Farah (“Hold the Rice,” Oct. 19), I was aghast by the recent remarks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made about establishing a Palestinian (terrorist) state to end the “humiliation of occupation.”
After offering up a number of other startling quotes by Rice, Farah asked, “What is she thinking about?” In defense of Rice, I can assure you that her intent was harmless. The reality is that she wasn’t thinking at all.
Allow me to explain. There are two phenomena that have produce the kind of convoluted gibberish spewed out by Rice. The first of these is “white guilt,” which is the title of Shelby Steele’s insightful book of the same name.
Steele’s main thesis is that the far left – including many self-anointed “black leaders” – believes that people of color cannot achieve equality without white America taking primary responsibility for it. What this presumptuous and paternalistic attitude actually accomplishes is the dehumanization of African-Americans.
When self-serving moralists look at a person of color, they do not see a human being. Rather, they see an inferior humanoid incapable of handling his own affairs and whose only hope is to have superior white folks pave the way for him.
Put another way, the left has relentlessly promoted the idea that people of color should have freedom but not responsibility. Never mind that every halfway intelligent adult recognizes that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. In the eyes of a true liberal, responsibility is only for whites.
So, how does all this relate to Secretary Rice? In today’s world, it’s something of an anachronism to define people in terms of skin color. The real combatants in The Final War that is now under way are civilized versus uncivilized people.
Secretary Rice is not “black”; she’s civilized; she’s Western. And, like a majority of civilized Western people, Rice’s problem is that she is infected with “white” (i.e., Western) guilt.
The metaphorical transformation of white guilt into Western guilt has taken place over a period of many years, and has infected virtually every social and economic area of Western culture.
Today, it’s not just guilt over white oppression of blacks. It’s guilt over the “gap between rich and poor” … guilt over the mistreatment of suspected terrorists … guilt over illegal immigrants being inconvenienced by a language they do not speak … the list is as long as you want to make it.
Which brings me to the second phenomenon at play here: gradualism. Unlike biological evolution, sociological evolution is not a theory. Those of us who have lived for at least five decades have witnessed the fact that social evolution (as opposed to social revolution) can and does occur gradually over a long period of time. And in the case of Western civilization, white guilt has been the catalyst for this evolution.
In “1984,” George Orwell referred to “doublethink” as the ability of a person to maintain two contradictory beliefs in his mind at the same time and accept both of them without conflict. Doublethink does not involve saying the opposite of what one believes, but actually thinking the opposite of what is true.
Thus the fictional party’s slogan in Orwell’s book: “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.” Which is to say that people have been trained not to think at all – a la Secretary Rice.
Such doublespeak has been made possible through the magic of gradualism, particularly since the 1950s. The reason it takes so much time for a phenomenon like white guilt to evolve is because it requires that generations of children be indoctrinated from a very young age.
This kind of indoctrination has been employed very successfully in uncivilized countries such as North Korea, Pakistan and Iran, where the results of gradualism are easy to see. But in a civilized nation such as the United States, the results are far more subtle.
Secretary Rice’s “war is peace” statements serve as an excellent example of this. I really don’t believe that the woman was intellectually conscious of the fact that her remarks totally contradicted the Bush administration’s war on terror. Which is kind of scary when you think about the powerful position she holds.
The subtle results of the insidious combo of white guilt and gradualism now pervade every area of Western culture. We act as though it’s fine for hip artists to jazz up the “Star Spangled Banner” at sporting events; we embrace the lifestyle of dopey-looking thugs in baggy clothes and ball caps sitting sideways on their hip-hop heads; we applaud those who undermine Judeo-Christian ethics. Little by little, the West has conceded its civilized way of life on all fronts.
On a macro scale, conservatives have evolved into yesterday’s liberals. When was the last time you heard a conservative politician take the position that it’s not the government’s job to bail out people who choose to live in disaster-prone areas? Or that the entire school system should be privatized? Or that the government should get completely out of the welfare business?
The sad truth is that the combination of white guilt and gradualism has caused the West to become ideologically insecure. And it’s this insecurity that brings about the kind of morally defective statements as those uttered by Condoleezza Rice. Even her boss goes to great pains to continually insist that Islam is a peaceful religion.
All of the above notwithstanding, the truth doesn’t give a damn about white guilt and gradualism. As Winston Churchill put it, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
And the truth about Western civilization is that, despite its flaws, it is the freest, most civilized, most compassionate culture the world has ever known.