Moral distortion

“We can’t refuse immigrants – that would be racist. We will just have to settle for implementing a police state to keep us safe from the consequences of mass immigration.”

I’ve heard Bill de Blasio, David Cameron and many other pro-immigration political figures from the West discussing why every consumer device needs a government backdoor installed into it to compromise its security so countries can deal with the social burden created by importing a third world underclass. Similar arguments are made for gun control. This line of logic makes sense when it’s granted that racism is the worst thing in the world, even worse than living in an Orwellian dystopia.

That’s an unnerving system of ideas to say the least. And thanks to my bizarre and recent habit of talking about Donald Trump with strangers at social events, I got to witness a genuine instance of “racism is insurmountably evil.”

I mention not hating Trump and the customary hush falls over the room, but some guy is willing to play ball and asks me why I don’t share the opinion of every basic DC bitch. I mention how he’s actually reliably anti-immigration, but how his most recent comments have alienated me, like when he mentioned that he wants to kill the families of terrorists. That’s eyerolly shit that neocons actually believe in their heart of hearts, a far cry from the funny-but-true, emperor-has-no-clothes type comments Trump is known and loved for.

Another recent Trump comment that I can’t get behind, I explain, is the total ban on Muslims entering. That’s stupid for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Shia, Ibadi and Ahmadiyya Muslims are pretty alright. But I point out that that comment isn’t really bad, in the grand scheme of things, since mainstream politicians talk about war and killing like it’s no big deal. War and killing is worse than mere discrimination, right? …Right!?

Wrong, apparently.

He mentions how that’s, like, racist and stuff. I mention how people in staying their original countries might be less than ideal, but it’s not as bad as killing. Noah Millman articulated it really well over at The American Conservative:

But why are these not more important hallmarks of an incipient American fascism than the fact that Trump regularly sounds like a more obnoxious and egotistical version of Archie Bunker? And why is saying “no Muslims should be allowed onto American soil until we’ve got a process for monitoring them” more outrageous than a threat to “find out if sand can glow in the dark” (Ted Cruz’s threat to nuke ISIS)? Why is threatening mass-murder less horrifying than threatening discrimination in immigration on the basis of religion?

I’m not saying that having a President – or even a major candidate – who spouts xenophobic rants is a good thing. It’s a bad thing. I’m just suggesting that we’ve long since gotten used to things that are much worse, and perhaps we should pay a bit more attention to that fact.

I point this out to the guy I am talking to, and then mentions how there’s people dying in Colombia. That’s obviously an exception that we’re not talking about, so he shows his hand as not having any interesting ideas and the conversation ends.

This kind of moral distortion that we’ve been expected to subscribe to is, for better or worse, probably part of the reason why Trump is so popular. People who live in most parts of the United States are fine with how they’ve lived and their assumptions – say, war being worse than racism – but are caught in disjunction between moral compass and that of political and intellectual elites.

But government and society aren’t video games where you press media bias buttons and then get electorate-has-fashionable-opinions points. An activist court imposing gay marriage on the country in an obviously extra-constitutional way doesn’t make the country want gay marriage. The electorate holds onto their opinions but just grows more resentful. So Trump comes along and, as my friend on Facebook put it, says, “no, you’ve been right all along. It’s those fuckers who are wrong.”

Maybe Trump is a monster. But if he is, he was created by the class of people who mandate correct and incorrect opinions going a bridge too far. Nick Land explains:

Even Trump skeptics (such as this blog) are finding it hard to deny that the phenomenon is a revolt against the Cathedral (defined approximately as “the yoke of a lie”). It’s a campaign against the media, and ‘correct opinion’ in general, with ordinary political antagonism as a very secondary feature. Does anybody seriously doubt that the media establishment understands, he’s running against us?

The romantic medievalism of much ‘NRx’ thought captures things of importance — one of which is the cultural value of a separation between State and Church, which is to say: the absence of politically-mandated correct opinion. Heretics were not political criminals before the onset of modernity. When the state becomes a church (‘the Cathedral’), political antagonism acquires religious intensity. That’s what is being seen today, whatever else one might think about it. At the climax of the democratic regime, politics necessarily becomes holy war. As the old saw goes: nobody said it was going to be pretty.

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8 comments

  1. It’s gotten to the point where the anti-racists are practically looking for martyrdom like some of the second-century Christians. Not only is racism worse than war, it’s worse than being blown up or shot by a Muslim.

    That’s a position that will only hold as long as the police and military don’t share it…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that social justice fanatics (who make even mainstream lefties uncomfortable) expanding the definition of racism is diluting its punch. People are going to care less and less about being called “racist” as the word becomes less and less meaningful

      Liked by 1 person

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