CRT and the Bedouin
Imagine that I decide to integrate into a Bedouin tribe; perhaps I have had a catastrophic breakup, perhaps I want to “find myself” but feel an ayahuasca trip in South America is too mainstream. Whatever the reason, I end up in a desert with the Bedouin; and we will assume, perhaps unrealistically, that they have been untouched by Western technology—my Bedouin do not post on Instagram or Twitter, as Bedouin probably do today. In the tribe, I, a white culturally Christian man who only speaks English, will be at a disadvantage—even if we assume average or superior intelligence. Indeed, I will be at a disadvantage even if I learn their dialect of Arabic; and there are several reasons for this to be so.
Wittgenstein observed that if a lion could speak we would not understand him. What he meant was that a language is nested in non-linguistic elements that support the language itself. For example, people in Britain know that there is a North-South divide and they know a great many verbal and non-verbal ticks, jokes, and demographic information connected to the North-South divide. A similar web of complex knowledge exists as regards the class system. A large amount of this knowledge is not written down or made explicit; and this is particularly true as regards areas such as sex and race—it is often only permissible to speak euphemistically or make allusions about these areas; even to know the taboo is occult knowledge.
This implicit knowledge is gained through a person’s upbringing in the country; even if an interloper has attained flawless English, they would not attain this organic knowledge and relation to people and place. The situation is global and—as Wittgenstein noted—would also apply to a lion that could talk: the lion’s language is nested in a framework that would be so alien to us that we would struggle to understand what he meant; just as a middle-aged Eskimo who had learned English late in life would never really grasp the North-South divide if he moved to England; and just as I would never move about the desert as a Bedouin does.
We can assume, therefore, that no matter how well I integrated into the Bedouin tribe—even if I wore their clothes, ate their food, and cultivated their acceptance—I would never be “one of them”; and anthropologists know this from field experience, and it is only one way in which we remain alien from other peoples. Aside from the implicit differences, I would have to learn the customs and laws that all Bedouin took for granted from birth; and I would be behind everyone else, even in this conscious regard.
Further, since I think race exists, there would be inherent differences between my biology and the Bedouin biology; small differences, perhaps, but enough to add up: I would not, for example, be adapted to the desert heat—a considerable disadvantage. Finally, there would be a phenomenological difference; whenever my tribe met another tribe, the other tribe would remark on the white man who travelled with my adopted tribe—eventually, my tribe might become known as “the tribe with the white man”; so my presence would influence how other tribes treated and regraded my tribe, for good or ill—and this would have an impact on others in my tribe and how they regarded themselves in relation to others, as much as it would me. I would always be conscious, at some level, that I was the white stranger among the tribe.
In totality, I would be structurally disadvantaged in Bedouin society; there would be positions I could never attain in that society, even if everybody liked me and had respect for the skills I offered. There would be a great many opportunities denied to me for an arbitrary reason: I would, in short, have fallen victim to systemic or structural racism. Technically, no adherent of Critical Race Theory would accept what I have just said, since it is not permissible within that framework to treat “whiteness” as a subordinate category in any circumstances—further, I asserted that race exists as a biological fact; and this is also impermissible in CRT. However, broadly, if I were to substitute “America” for “Bedouin” and a recent immigrant from the Congo for myself, everything I have written here would still be true; and this is why CRT contains some truth, although it is not true overall.
CRT is a case where the old adage holds true: reactionaries and revolutionaries agree on the facts but disagree on whether those facts are good or bad, whereas liberals reject reality completely and deny the facts. CRT proponents hold that non-white people have a structural disadvantage in culturally white countries; and they further associate those disadvantages with what amounts to the customs, traditions, laws, and even social mores—such as a handshake—that exist in Western countries. As a solution, CRT demands that the state dismantles the entire social fabric of Western countries, since the social fabric impedes minority groups from the same success as the locals, and, further, it is taken as axiomatic that unrestricted immigration—a never-ending flow of new minority groups—is desirable.
This is not merely an economic matter; it is a phenomenological matter, too. Just as my “whiteness” would become salient among the Bedouin in a way it is not in Germany, so too, whatever my wealth and power, I would still feel a psychological estrangement from my adopted society and would still be “other” to the Bedouin. Hence CRT holds that minorities—even millionaire sports stars—remain disadvantaged relative to, say, the typical slack-jawed yokel who lives in darkest Appalachia and drinks strong moonshine; and this is because, from the intersubjective viewpoint, he does not deal with a fundamental alienation from the country he lives in. More simply: “Dat gon darn statue in da state Capitol, by golly it look like us and not no negro basketball player.” Ergo, the statue must fall.
For CRT, race has a subjective reality but not an objective reality; and so, from their perspective, the demands do not seem unreasonable, since they hold that customs, traditions, and laws are easily mutable. Accordingly, nobody should feel threatened by CRT’s racial rhetoric; if they do feel threatened, they secretly believe race is real—i.e. they suffer from an ideological delusion. Now, of course, even if race was not real, there would still be grounds for concern at widespread racialised rhetoric; for it is not certain that everyone who hears a CRT propagandist talk about “whiteness” in negative terms understands that for the CRT advocate this is an imaginary ideological category. Due to the many laws and taboos around race in Western countries, it is difficult to tell what the population really understands by these statements; personally, I doubt most people understand that when a CRT activist says “white” or “black” they mean, in their mind, an assumed idea like “liberal” or “conservative”.
So in functional terms, CRT acts as if race was real and organises people on that basis; but CRTers are sincere when they say they do not think race is objectively real, although they experience cognitive dissonance in this regard. Remember, in the West the default and respectable, and, in some respects, legislated position has been, for several decades, that race does not exist and that we are all individual citizens under the law (i.e. “colourblindness”). As we shall see, CRT is actually the logical outgrowth from this view; and it can only exist as a concept because the default position is that race does not exist; for CRT seeks to explain why, given that race does not exist, racial categories and thought persist.
It is possible for a white person to advocate CRT because, within the belief system, “white” does not exist; it has no objective existence, it is merely a category created to exploit other people—to be against this category cannot be against your interests, since those interests are illusions. You may have regarded yourself as “white” due to ideological indoctrination—in CRT’s view—but you can renounce that category quite easily, and as you do so you dismantle a social system built on oppression.
The reactionaries hold—correctly, in my view—that the structural disadvantages I have identified above exist and exist because culture, laws, and traditions grow up in gestalt with various peoples—doubtless there is a genetic link, too. Until the end of World War II, it was entirely normal speak of “the rights of Englishmen”; and an ordinary citizen would write an intemperate letter to The Times that said, “This law violates the rights of Englishmen. My ancestors shed their blood so that we could enjoy these rights.” So it would be expected, for example, that the rights, traditions, and customs enjoyed by Frenchmen would be different to those enjoyed by an Englishman, since they represent a common people’s efforts to expand and preserve their families through time.
For a reactionary, if an alien feels disprivileged by the culture, traditions, and morals in a country, they should leave that country or accept subordinate status—at the very least they should accept that if the situation does not suit them, as it might not suit me in a Bedouin tribe, it is due to their own choice and realise that if you choose to live among strangers you will be disadvantaged in many ways, although you may gain an unexpected boon in other regards. The reactionaries and CRTers agree on the facts; but the reactionaries defend what exists, while the CRTers want to pull it all down—or, as they might say, “Burn the mutherfucker! ACAB!”
It is only the conservative liberals—the classical liberals and libertarians—who hold that man is an atomised individual with no particular ties to family, tradition, history, or race; he is an economic unit and a rational calculator who makes exchanges. For conservative liberals, there are no important difference between humans; hence, for example, they claim that American laws could work anywhere and make anywhere as rich as America—even if instituted in, say, Chad. Anyone who claims otherwise has not accepted the insights provided by the Enlightenment, they are captured by dark forces connected to myth, blood, and superstition. Science, reason, and logic should dispel such nasty thoughts.
Yet everyone knows that the conservative liberal position is nonsense, not least because legislation and constitutions based on British and American legal thought have been applied all over the world without success, except in a few cases; and this is because the laws are gestalt with the people, if the people do not have a certain temperament and intelligence the laws will not produce a Britain or America: you cannot legislate away biology and spirituality.
So the conservative liberals must squawk neurotically at the CRTers and claim that what they say is nonsense; anyone can be whatever they want, within reason—though there are some differences between individuals, and these differences account for differential outcomes. The CRTers duly point out that the differences in results between individuals fall along the old racial categories. At this point the conservative liberal must engage in rhetoric and lies. They cannot accept that race has any reality, either subjective or objective: there is only the individual. Yet this is not true; and they know it is not true, really.
This makes the hypocrisy among those people who make a living denouncing CRT as “postmodern, unscientific nonsense” particularly egregious; for, actually, the CRTers are closer to the scientific facts—albeit in an unscientific way—than the pompous men who defend “science and reason”. The reason they cannot accept that race is reality—as was common for thousands of years before, and was common in the West even with such recent leaders as Churchill—is that Western countries are not free societies; if you state that race is objectively real you will be blacklisted and hounded by the media—so people shut up.
Yoko Ono once observed, “Woman is the nigger of the world.” She was right, though not quite in the way she meant it, for the conservative liberals are happy to discuss sex differences until the cows come home; and every argument they make about the objective existence of sex can be made as regards race. Yet if you read a publication like Quillette—supposedly a bastion of “reason” and “science”—you will find the same sophistries and rhetoric used by trans activists, except this time it is the Quillette writers who use those tricks to dismiss race as a concept. Insofar as feminism is true—which is hardly at all—it is the case that women often carry the burden men are not prepared to take up: in this case, by being being the surrogate for what should really be courageous—if career-ending—articles about race.
CRT has impeccable logic: liberalism asserts that all people are equal under law; and yet differential results exist that conform to racial categories; since we cannot accept any prior differences or group identity as explanations for differential performance, it follows that the equality promised by liberalism has, somehow, been impeded—just as it was previously impeded by the monarch and the aristocracy. As Foucault observed, the king has been beheaded but we still need to behead the small sovereigns, by which he means what Edmund Burke called “the little platoons”—the clubs, societies, and informal codes that constitute the organic power network in a society; its micropower, if you will. CRT arises to combat this “second king”—effectively the entire organic society itself—that seems to impede progress towards equality under the law.
Now CRT owes a debt to Marxism and would criticise the concept of “equality under law”; yet Marxism is itself a consistent and logical development from liberalism—it just keeps the original Enlightenment critique on course, and eventually that critique liquidates “equality under the law”. Marx looked at liberalism and said that it had not fulfilled its true potential; as the Soviets used to say, the “bourgeois rights” to property and free expression are meaningless if a person does not have adequate housing, clothing, and shelter. Liberalism asserts there are no fundamental hereditary differences between man; if people cannot exercise their rights in full, a reactionary force must have held them back. Therefore, it is justified to use the state to help those who cannot exercise those rights as fully as they otherwise would do, since the reason they cannot advance is due to residual influence from the old, unenlightened society; and so Marxists invented “positive rights”, rights to housing, education, and so on.
Marx’s view was echoed, in a different form, by John Stuart Mill; the Millsian version of this thought is what I call “progressive liberalism”, as opposed to classical liberalism or libertarianism; and it is the West’s hegemonic ideology. Ideas like Marxism, progressive liberalism, and CRT reoccur in different ways—inform each other, to an extent—because the conclusions reached by these ideologies are natural and logical progressions from liberalism itself, from the assumption that there are no deep differences in mankind and no prior metaphysical structure; since this is not true, the utopian positions encoded in liberalism—universal peace between free-market nations, for example—cannot be fulfilled; and the reason, for the true-believing liberal, must be residual illegitimate reactionary views—views similar to the vanquished aristocracy who justified rule by blood and God. This is where the liberal obsession with bigotry, prejudice, racism, and so on comes into play; and even conservative liberals accept these as real: they just maintain that these problems have been sufficiently overcome and no further action is necessary.
Liberalism beheads the king—society’s father—the summation of an organic society. The word “society” derives from “to lead”: a society is what forms around a leader, the hero-king or king-priest; his people’s champion. When Thatcher said, “There’s no such thing as society, just individuals and families,” she spoke from a liberal, not a conservative position; it is this atomised attitude—promoted by the middle class in revolt against king, aristocracy, and church—that opens the door for communism. For once liberals assert that there is no society—the king has been beheaded—men like Foucault arrive and carry the thought further: we must behead the “little kings”. The family is, after all, a kingdom, and the father is the king whom the mother and children follow. Conservative liberals want to freeze the decapitation at the monarchical level, and so they vehemently claim that all attempts to expand the principle originate with “postmodernism” or “neo-Marxism” or “identitarianism”; but the real source is liberalism itself, though they must deny it. Societies and nations are holistic, you cannot unpick one thread without the rest unravelling; a family is as “irrational” as a monarchy, it is enlightened to remove it.
In this process, CRT eventually critiques liberalism itself as a bar to fully egalitarian outcomes and so liberalism abolishes itself; and this is because liberalism, due to its Christian inheritance, has within it the idea that all men have the same souls underneath—once this is no longer a spiritual idea, it must be implemented in reality; and the command becomes literal equality. Liberalism is a religion—there is no division between church and state, there is always a religion—and it has ruled the West for generations; and this is, in part, why Christianity has collapsed in the West: it is disprivileged in favour of liberalism; and the official priests—just as in the old USSR—always interpret their religions to support liberalism. This is why when I walk past a Church of England church it flies the LGBT flag.
As John Gray has noted, liberalism will not tolerate illiberalism—just as the Soviets would not tolerate anti-Marxism—and yet liberalism promotes itself as ultra-tolerant; only true believers think this is so. If you actually take up anti-liberal positions, you will be pushed right to the margins—blacklisted and hounded by the media. In the same way, the old USSR had formal constitutional protections for free speech; but if you exercised them in any way that criticised the system then you were in trouble.
At the moment, the West operates at roughly the same level as the old USSR did in the 1980s; we do not have concentration camps, we have informal blacklists, media condemnation, and curated social disapproval—para-state organisations, such as Antifa and BLM, physically intimidate people who disagree; the state orders its forces to stand down when they rampage. This is why the British police stands still and watches statues being pulled down by BLM mobs: the British state is integrated with those mobs; it wants the statues to come down, in a deniable way. A similar situation exists in Venezuela in a cruder form: elections take place, but Maduro has paramilitary thugs who kill and beat up the opposition—and the elections, just like the 2020 US Presidential race, are rigged. The US is not quite as extreme as Venezuela, but it is only a matter of degree; the basic situation is the same.
Although classical liberals claim that CRTers engage in “identity politics”, this is rhetoric: the CRTers are the most consistent enemies of identity, since they would remove all organic forms of human identity—effectively, anything that creates meaning. As with communism, they replace the organic ties—family, religion, race, tradition—with a secular religion and a friend-enemy distinction. This ideological coordination is unstable because it is based on ideas, not organic ties; as with the Great Terror, ideological competition between activists creates evermore extreme ideas and loyalty demands; people who read the ideological winds incorrectly are thrown out as demonic “racists” or “sexists”. All this is made possible by liberalism, because liberalism voids the original organic connections in a society: it attacks religion, race, aristocracy, and tradition and favours the atomised individual. Yet man does not live by reason alone, society must coordinate itself somehow and so the artificial ideological coordination arrives to fill the gap: liberalism is the handmaiden to totalitarianism.
To understand the power dynamic behind CRT and liberalism itself, imagine my Bedouin tribe again. Imagine that the sheikh who leads us has two jealous sons; they intend to overthrow the sheikh and his favourite son. To do so, they use me. They consult the Koran and discover that the way I am treated in the tribe is not strictly in accordance with what Muhammad said as regards hospitality extended to strangers; they produce arguments that support this view and form a faction within the tribe that uses my humble position—along with a particular spin on Islam—to weaken the sheikh and his favourite son. After all, I do not thrive in the tribe as the others do; perhaps, they say, it is because there has been a deviation from Allah’s laws. This is what lies behind CRT and liberalism; an elite faction uses low-potential racial groups as a moral weapon against another elite faction, the organic faction; it builds sentimental and manipulative rhetoric around marginal groups to get their way in politics.
Conservative liberals weakly protest that the CRTers divide people into two opposed groups; yet politics always depends on a friend-enemy distinction. The conservative liberals are not really individuals opposed to identity politics—just as they are not really secular, they have a very definite religion. When the chips are down, the conservative liberals side with their own progressive left against the “fascists”—a category that includes everyone from very consistent classical liberals to people who practice Christianity as it has always been practiced. The conservative liberals have a group identity; and they express it against the “real enemy”: conservatives, reactionaries, traditionalists, fascists, and religious people. Liberalism happens to be a group identity that claims it is not a group identity, but then again Christianity and Marxism never claimed to be group identities: they were understood, from the inside, as objective descriptions of reality.
The conservative liberals will lose against their own left—the progressives and CRTers—because their own claims as regards race are inconsistent; they cannot explain, in liberal terms, the differences that are only accounted for by race as an objective factor—ergo, they must be secret “racists.” As with the hopeless victims of the Robespierre and the Great Terror, they will go to the guillotine or firing squad sure that they remain “real liberals” and “real anti-racists”—plenty of men in the gulag never gave up their Marxism; and some convinced themselves they deserved to be punished for failing the proletariat. If the worst happens, the conservative liberals will maintain that at least they never betrayed their group identity; they remained “individualistic, rational, and unprejudiced” liberals to the last; they never went over to the right. Remember, part of their group identity is to claim they have no group identity, even as they close ranks against their enemies: “fascists” and “religious fundamentalists”—otherwise known as those people with views that were normal until the French Revolution, i.e. for thousands upon thousands of years.
CRT is supported by the machinery of the Western bureaucratic state, its military, and intelligence services; it originated from that state, and, just as people said whatever was necessary—however stupid, mendacious, and false—to get ahead in the USSR, so almost everyone in the West will accept CRT, sooner or later. To call CRT “racist” is as futile as a Trotskyite calling Stalin “a capitalist”: the person who does so still operates within the liberal thought world; and their thought is not consistent. As has already been ably explicated by Curtis Yarvin, at some length, the Western political system is little different from East Germany.
In East Germany, there was a parliament with liberal, nationalist, and other parties. All the parties were subordinated to the Socialist Unity Party, to the Marxist-Leninists. These puppet parties would make occasional weak-as-tea objections and criticisms as regards the general direction of socialism in the German Democratic Republic—the Marxist-Leninists controlled the press, the security services, and the education system. The same system, roughly, exists in the West; except the opposition has a slightly longer leash—and this is why, in the end, measures like gay marriage, despite being unwanted by the electorate, roll into law.
The courts, the media, and the system in general work on a preset: the preset is progressive liberalism, just as the preset in the GDR was Marxism-Leninism. So you can register a few objections to CRT—to statue demolition—and perhaps win a few court cases, inevitably reversed, but you cannot, as they say, stop progress. Remember: the police stood back from the statue demolitions in summer 2020, and they stood back for the same reason that the Stasi would have intervened if an East German tried to pull down a Lenin statue; it was what the state wanted. Conservative liberals may pass laws to stop statue demolition, but it was illegal already; and real sovereignty lies with those who can enforce a law—and those people are not conservative liberals. CRT is an update to the state ideology; and the update will be implemented.