Good Saturday morning. I apologize for not writing this in cave symbols, since I know that language is inherited in the blood and therefore can’t be changed as can’t any other part of the culture. Because it’s all in our genes. And that’s why I’m squatting here in my cave, working at starting a fire while my husband and the boys sit in a corner chipping flint implements.
Oh, how I wish that human beings had been designed with the ability to grow and adapt, to learn new techniques, evolve new beliefs, adjust their behavior, create new words to fit new meanings, and thereby change their culture to fit new tech and new times.
Then I might be sitting in a shiny office, (more or less clean. Hey, I’ve been recovering from surgery) typing on a keyboard in a language full of meanings that our stone age ancestors couldn’t even imagine.
Oh, wait. Maybe we can learn and adapt. Or else, I’d be looking for berries while the guys tried to club something to death with their bare fists.
No, I’m not actually out of my ever-loving mind, but I think our culture, our “intellectuals” and our cognoscenti are. Not just out of their minds, but over the hills and far away, staking out a position that Hitler would be proud of.
What prompted this were clashes between two Australian groups, Reclaim Australia and No Room For Racism.
On the face of it it sounds like the nice narrative we are fed every time something like this happens. I haven’t been following the international scene, and frankly it wouldn’t even surprise me if Europe headed for nativism and blood-related nationality. It is what is at the basis of their nation states (even if it’s often a lie. For instance I’d hazard that a lot of people in Portugal – yes, d*mn it, I’ll do the DNA testing. Let the house sell and let me have some money first – are as mixed as Americans. My kids call Portugal the reservoir tip at the end of Europe, which is unkind but somewhat accurate since that portion of land was part of the Celtic commonwealth, before being invaded by Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Germanic tribes, Moors (though their contribution in the North is minimal as the North was usually administered by overseers with little or no actual colonization) French crusaders, Viking raiders. Then there were British and Irish merchants due to ties going back before the Carthaginians who would set up trading posts, send their younger sons over, sometimes engage in a bit of raiding, etc. There are unkind proverbs about blue eyed Portuguese, but there are also a lot of them. (Two of my grandparents. A third was green eyed.) And in the end sometimes I think all of us are the result of some girl who tripped (on purpose or not) while evading a foreigner. All this to say that when my dad talks of the “The Portuguese Race” (and boy, does he) he’s mostly talking of a mythical entity. But it’s one they all believe in as hard as they can.)
I’ll even accept that given that most of the programs of blood-nationality parties are to put it mildly socialism (but with the goodies going to a different group) it is accurate to call them fascists.
And my sons at least assure me that the Golden Dawn is honest to Bog fascism. I bow to their knowledge. They read a lot more international news than I do and by virtue of being millennials have friends all over the world. (Ah, the internet.)
However, Australia is not in Europe. And going on the self definition of the groups – and only that. (Note to the idiots who are going to dig out quotes by some figure in Reclaim Australia saying that if you have a tan you should be killed – I’m only going on the group’s self-definition as stated in the article I read.)
So, the protests by Reclaim Australia were according to the article I read for: Around the country Reclaim Australia protesters held rallies to oppose “sharia law, halal tax and Islamisation”, where they waved Australian flags and carried signs saying “Yes Australia. No Sharia”.
Now you can think whatever you want of those goals, but I look at them and think “They want to keep a more adaptable and successful (in raw terms of giving people a better life) culture from being replaced with a medieval nightmare that makes women into slaves, gay people into corpses and denies people the ability to practice other religions/cultures without paying dearly for it, either with money or blood.” (And please, don’t tell me burkas are freeing, and gay people REALLY want to be thrown from buildings, and that the tax to be a person of the book but non-Muslim is REALLY freedom of religion. And don’t try the nonsense that this only happens in rare and isolated places, either. It happens EVERY TIME that Islam gets the upper hand or the numbers.)
While I don’t care if people practice/believe in Islam or not, I think that freedom should be restricted to what we in the west would consider a purely religious arena. Or to put it another way, you have the right to wear the burka, you don’t have the right to make other people wear it; you have the right to tell your gay son he’s going to hell, or even kick him out of the house, you don’t have the right to throw him off a building; you have the right to divorce your wife because she insists on having a job, you can’t honor kill her. Or in other words, you have the right to follow the rules of your religion, but you WILL respect our civil laws. Or, again in other words “Very well, you build your pyre, we build our gallows. When you’re done burning your widow, we’ll hang the people who burned her.”
I don’t know if that’s what Reclaim Australia wants, or if they’re the more extreme form of “no mosques in Australia.”
I don’t care.
I don’t care not because I don’t see a difference between those positions (I do. I’d oppose the latter on principle) but because the group opposing them is not the “pro-islamicization group” or even the “no discrimination against religions group.”
No, the group opposing them is No Room for Racism.
This means that the problem they have isn’t even the problem that’s actually being fought over.
In other words, this is like if you had a problem because your car blew a tire, and someone pulled over and started arguing what type of seats you should have.
It is also entirely predictable.
The left can’t argue the actual problems and their actual causes, so it defaults to insane accusations and running around screaming what are (at least to them, but also to a vast portion of mal-educated young) trigger words: racism! Sexism! White supremacism!
We’ve seen this in the fight for science fiction and the fight for gaming, in the discussions about immigration, and in fact in just about anything that is a point of contention in the present day. I could write the longest, most carefully reasoned essay on why our schools are failing to teach people to read, and someone will quote truncated phrases and call me racist or sexist or (and this is funny) white supremacist.
This is how they’ve convinced themselves the people who want the Hugos to be the award of the majority of fandom again are about pushing women out. (Funny way to do it when Brad’s slate contained about half women.) Sigh.
They should consider not only are those words losing their sting but they DO encourage the people they purport to oppose. TRUE white supremacists in the US and abroad have been considered beneath the touch of normal people. However, when you call everyone who disagrees with you “white supremacists” how are people to know who the real ones are? They will just assume you’re going nuts again. And from that to falling prey to true demagogues is a step.
Anyway, to return to the point of this post – yes, I have one – the problem is that a lot of people on the left have evolved this bizarre theory of race/culture.
I saw it in my kids homework, when they were requested to write about “your culture” but got the essay sent back when they wrote about SF/F geekdom because they wanted “your ancestral culture.”
In my kids particular case the situation quickly became tragic or funny depending on how you look at it, because I descended on them like the wrath of Sarah, demanding they explain themselves.
The explanation went something like this “Language and costumes are tied to your race. Trying to get an immigrant to learn a new language/integrate in the culture he immigrated to is aggression, since you’re supposed to keep your culture, because it’s part of your race. To want you to change is racist.”
(Note to those in SF/F this is much, much worse than the position staked out by VD, the banished one, which if I understand him correctly is that SOME characteristics are inherited and make you more/less competent for industrial civilization. Note also that I don’t even agree with his position, much less the more extreme one. Note also that for his position he is condemned as racist, but the other position makes you enlightened and possibly beautiful and full of the meanings.)
This is the point at which I broke out my broom and flew in circles around their office, pointing out their position was something Hitler would have been proud to embrace. What they are claiming in fact is that there is some ur-mythical-quality to races (and races in this case are defined in the European sense, like my dad blathering on about the “Portuguese race”) which imbues them with their own language and culture. If wanting to change that is racist, and if some of these “races” are better at life than others (understood in the whole system of Marxist reward and punishment) then what will prevent them from in the future deciding to eugenically improve the breed by eliminating the less competent? Or just, as they’re doing now, handicapping them by never teaching them the lingua franca of the age and the technological culture needed to survive?
I didn’t convince anyone, of course, because this is a “religious” belief. I.e. if they thought rationally about it, they’d know that culture isn’t race, because we don’t all speak/dress/eat as they did in Ur of the Chaldees or on that distant day when we lounged about on tree tops eating insects, rodents and berries. But they can’t think about it because in their own blinkered minds, that would make them “racist.”
That is, the admission that all groups of humans (as groups. Obviously every individual is different) can adopt whatever religion/culture they like and be as successful at it as any other group (if they try hard enough) would to them be racist.
While claiming that you’re stuck with whatever culture your ancestors had and that even if you immigrate you have to keep repeating the mistakes of your culture, which caused your country of origin to have problems that caused you to immigrate, THAT in these idiots (apologies to real idiots whom I’m maligning)’s “minds” is racism.
(In other news, Slavery is Freedom, Work is Leisure, and Big Brother loves you.)
And that is what caught me about the confrontations in Australia. Not that they’re clashing over muslims, no. That half of these people think race equals culture.
And that is the epistemological error that can put paid to Western Civilization unless it’s combated every time we meet it.
And we must combat it, or the end result of this will be sitting in a cave, chipping away at flint. And I for one suck at making fires without matches.
Fortunately I also suck at tolerating racism and genetic supremacists of every race. So I’ll continue fighting, long before it comes to that.
In the end, we win, they lose. At least if we don’t allow them to change the meaning of words.