In the typically inane halls of #AppellateTwitter, the progressive scolds tried desperately to manufacture a rationalization where they could pretend they didn’t hate their conservative brethren who are members of the Federalist Society provided they didn’t attend the speech by Attorney General Bill Barr, or didn’t applaud afterward, or didn’t stand while applauding.
Or, as Iowa prawf Andy Grewal put it, “A decent conservative would have taken his dinner fork and stabbed anyone standing next to him who applauded.” Barr’s speech was wrong and awful, but it’s not enough to disagree with him. In order to be accepted by the progressives as a not-entirely-Nazi-conservative, there was an affirmative duty to display one’s disapproval or progressive lawyers were forced to hate you for not hating Barr enough.
This is a theme that runs far deeper than the narcissists on twitter who believe anyone gives a damn about being a sufficiently acceptable conservative for them to tolerate. Cathy Young wrote about a split on the far more consequential issue of racism where the theme was manifest.
Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a black father and a white mother — and the father of a golden-haired, white-skinned daughter — has come to identify himself as “ex-black,” an American of mixed heritage. But even that phrase is fraught, since it does not acknowledge that “everyone is in some way mixed to begin with,” as Williams puts it in his new book, “Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race.”
Williams’ view is that he has “retired from race,” meaning not that he wasn’t black, but that his being black wasn’t going to box him in. Cathy compares him (while noting that as a white woman, she’s straying from her lane) to Ibram X. Kendi, “who argues that every idea and action must be rigorously scrutinized for racism and that anything not actively anti-racist is racist.”
Andrew Sullivan does a far deeper dive into Kendi’s goal.
So, for the reader who is not interested in entertaining doubts, what does it take to become an anti-racist? Kendi finishes his book with a bathetic, platitudinous list of must-dos. Here’s one: “Invent or find antiracist policy that can eliminate racial inequity.” Here’s another: “Deploy antiracist power to compel or drive from power the unsympathetic racist policymakers in order to institute the antiracist policy.” He never gets more specific. Again, it’s hard not to notice that there is no room for changing minds and hearts in his worldview. The point is to get and use power. You do not vote racist politicians out of office, or persuade others to do so in a liberal democratic process. You “compel” them or “drive them from office” with “antiracist power.” And one is left to wonder what he could possibly mean by that?
Like completely disagreeing with Barr isn’t good enough, voting against Trump isn’t good enough. You must affirmatively punch every Nazi you see or you’re a racist, because you weren’t a good enough antiracist.
[I]n a recent Politico symposium on how to fix inequality in America, Kendi did get more specific. He supports a constitutional amendment “that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principles: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals.” This is how he thinks it would work:
“It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.”
As Sully notes, it’s not remotely doable, but that’s not the point. It’s what Kendi demands. And the mindset of proving one’s lack of complicity in the vast array of evils in society, which grow by the hour according to those in charge of deciding what’s woke, isn’t limited to Kendi or race.
To say you’re against racism isn’t remotely sufficient to be antiracist. You must then act upon it at every opportunity. It’s not enough to decry racism, but you must put on your black mask and beat it into submission, physically. While it goes beyond Kendi’s self-interest, the same must logically be true of all isms and phobias, for one can’t be against sexism if one doesn’t beat toxic males, and one can’t support transgender people if one doesn’t destroy any person who refuses to acknowledge that a woman with a penis isn’t their perfect mate.
Did you fail to take part in the mob of lawyers decrying Bill Barr and his Trumpian unitary executive tripe? Then you’re just as evil as Barr. If you were there and didn’t walk out in disgust, you’re Barr’s fellow traveler. If you clapped but didn’t stand, you’re just a weakling who succumbed to the crowd.
There is an old adage that activists claim, “you’re either with us or against us.” It’s not, as the insipid progressives of #AppellateTwitter would have it, that they’re intolerant of any ideas that aren’t entirely theirs; they aren’t Kendi and feign tolerance for those who disagree, even if they can’t understand how it’s possible that anyone with half a brain could possibly not see that they’re obviously right. But if you want to be accepted in their very self-important company, the least any “decent” person can do is be their kind of conservative and take action to prove that they aren’t literally Hitler.
While Kendi’s Department of Antiracism is unlikely (never say never) to happen, its theme has already been absorbed by the woke, who are carefully watching to make sure they aren’t infected by anyone who may not share their ideology but doesn’t prove their decency by being their acceptable kind of conservative. And since there is no moral person who could believe otherwise, you’re either with them or evil. There is no room for disagreement about this.