Identity is the imperative. It’s the foundation for any coherent way to approach politics, culture, and reality itself. It’s the essence of what it means to be “based.” And if you don’t have it?
Then you end up with tweens in hipster glasses at the State Department telling you to start a job bank for ISIS.
This latest bit of profundity came from one Marie Harf, who looks like the lead character in a show on the Disney Channel. With help from her wacky next door neighbor and advice from the wise black woman who runs her creative writing class, Harf beat the odds and wins the school contest to get the job as Deputy Spokes(person) at the State Department.
Now every week on “Straight from the Harf,” you can tune in as she confronts both the latest foreign policy crisis and her grumpy supervisors who don’t think she can get the job done. While her mean old boss wants to let the bombs fly and the people die, Harf knows that working together, we can do anything—if we only believe in ourselves!
This week, right after she and her cool multicultural friends sang their theme song “Best Pals Forever, Building Together,” Harf skipped over to MSNBC’s Hardball. As the chorus swelled in the background, she happily chirped that the way to stop the Islamic State is to “go after the root causes that leads [sic] people to join these groups. Whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether –“
At which point irascible old white man Chris Matthews rudely interrupted to point out the obvious:
We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or fifty lifetimes. There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?
Well, as they say, when you’ve lost Chris “Leg Thrill” Matthews, you’ve lost the few dozen Americans that watch his program.
In our Disney channel show, Harf could go back to her super lame-o, boring flyover state and learn from her former hippy grandmother that she’s forgotten why she wanted to work in the State Department in the first place—to help people!
After a glass of old fashioned lemonade, she returns to the big city, goes back on Hardball, and gives a speech about how the Muslims are just like us. Matthews is moved, the Islamic State agrees to sponsor a Katy Perry concert in Raqqa where Harf gets to sing on stage, and her brusque supervisor finally gives her the big promotion. Join us next week when Harf has to improvise quickly after showing up to Sasha Obama’s birthday party wearing the same dress as Loretta Lynch.
Sadly, in our world, Harf suffered some well-deserved mockery on social media and didn’t get the big job. It didn’t keep our plucky hero down, as she went right back on television to explain that going after the root causes of terrorism is “too nuanced” for many people to understand.
Naturally, this triggered another ritualistic denunciation of elitism from the Beltway Right. After all, Conservatism Inc. is gearing up to push Scott Walker on us precisely because he doesn’t have an undergraduate degree. This is ironic because he looks and acts like an overgrown College Republican chair who keeps demanding you spend your Friday nights licking envelopes for direct mail to octogenarians.
As for Harf, she’s exactly what you think she is. She “always wanted to come to Washington,” Daddy was a political science professor, she kept her name when she married (place your bets on how long that lasts), and her Twitter profile features a self-glorifying pic of her confidently striding next to Secretary of State Kerry (omg!) —a vibrant contrast to the black and white portraits of WASP statesman staring silently out from the wall.
Kevin Williamson, who specializes in somehow being offensive to the Left without actually saying anything subversive, is right to bash her (and Americans’ generally) credentialism and careerism, but misses the larger issue. The problem is not that Harf has a good job and went to a decent school (well, a decent graduate school anyway.) The problem is that universities didn’t teach her anything worthwhile. We need “elitism” and state officials should be highly educated. The problem is that universities churn out emptyheaded drones like Harf.
Let’s look at her actual rhetoric, the slogans she rapidly spat out in a tone of gradually rising fear and hysteria. The great thing about saying “root causes,” as anyone who has sat through a college history class knows (so not you Governor Walker), is that its explanatory power is both unlimited and unfalsifiable. You don’t need to study boring things like theology, biology, economics, or political theory. You don’t even need to look at primary sources of past or present to understand what actually motivates people. You don’t even need to really know what you are talking about.
Instead, you simply posit an impossible goal that some “injustice” wasn’t being solved by “good governance” or the creation of “opportunity.” Then, you have a catch-all “root cause” explanation for whatever conflict you are talking about.
The same kind of pattern works with “white privilege,” as ever more elaborate and gnostic forms of “racism” are posited as the only permissible explanation of various inequalities and “disparate impacts.”
Needless to say, just as race is a biological reality however much people wish it away, there’s not much evidence to suggest that “poverty” or “lack of opportunity” causes terrorism. But that doesn’t matter. The “root causes” rhetoric is a political necessity of the existing system.
Harf admitted as much in the sentence that immediately preceded her now infamous comments about nuance:
“But look, if we looked around the world and say long-term we cannot kill every terrorist around the world nor should we try, how do you get at the root causes of this?”
And she’s right. The American Right promptly fell into the trap by indignantly claiming the only foreign policy the USA should have towards the Islamic State is dropping as many bombs as possible.
But this kind of faux militarism is meaningless when it’s advanced by a movement that thinks saying things like “radical Islam” is an example of bold truth telling. After all, the Islamic State would not exist were it not for the foreign policy of George W. Bush.
Harf has simply identified the wrong root cause. When you have a system based upon the idea that most people around the world want the same things, you have to approach something like the Islamic State as essentially a technical problem. The “root causes” are questions of government competence or economic wonkery.
If you can just give stakeholders the right incentives, you can convince a 17-year-old jihadist to do something “productive”—like “start a business.” The purpose of government is to gently shepherd people to the End of History, overcoming the occasional hiccup like the decapitation of Christians or prisoners being burned alive.
Thus, rather than confronting “Islamic terrorism,” the President hosts a summit on “extremism,” (promoted, of course, by the intrepid Ms. Harf). The enemy is not a person or a group but those who serve Allah rather than Mammon or who want to Remove Kebab rather than eat it from that would be jihadist’s government subsidized storefront.
Interestingly, President Obama spoke of the “legitimate grievances” of violent extremists in the context of speaking about Islamic terrorists. The “hateful” people opposed to multiculturalism got no such acknowledgement, even though much of the focus of the conference was on this supposed threat. Obama even managed to dig up Ol’ Traitor Glenn Miller in his editorial, albeit without naming him.
To the implicitly white supremacist System, Muslims are a problem that can eventually be tamed by throwing money, porn, and democracy at them. European-Americans are not allowed to dissent because a rebellion from the System’s core would collapse the whole thing.
Conservatives take shots at Ms. Harf on Twitter and Twitchy and complain Obama or Holder isn’t mentioning Islam, but they don’t really have a solution. It’s not a surprise that Ms. Harf was able to co-opt the observations of the great strategist George W. Bush to defend her comments about “root causes.”
To conservatives, speaking of root causes smacks of decadence and “political correctness.” But the actual policies they support are essentially indistinguishable from what Barack Obama is doing right now. The only difference seems to be a willingness to state that the Islamic State might have something to do with Islam, albeit only the “radical” kind.
Even most libertarians who want non-intervention still are unwilling to call for a halt to Muslim immigration or have anything constructive to say about Muslim terrorism in decidedly non-imperialistic nations like Denmark. Besides, as last week’s International Students for Liberty Conference made clear, the real enemy of the “Liberty Movement” these days seems to be normal White people.
The problem is that, as de Maistre observed so long ago, “we” are not all the same. We don’t all want the same things. And insofar as “the West” is defined as consumerism and decadence, it is incapable of defending or sustaining itself. It’s arguable if such a parody of a civilization is even worth preserving.
What kind of a strategy is capable of defending and preserving Western Civilization (what’s left of it) but doesn’t necessitate never ending warfare throughout the Islamic world? The late Lawrence Auster outlined the strategy of “separationism” as an alternative to both dhimmitude and the “invade the world, invite the world” vision of neoconservatism.
But Mr. Auster was famously irrational on the topic of what domestic forces made “separationism” impossible and mass immigration inevitable. And even “separationism” is not a catch-all solution when the necessities of international trade, the widespread availability of information, and the possibility of religious conversions make the creation of an Islamfrei society all but impossible—and certainly more difficult than achieving an ethnostate.
What is needed is to challenge the premise that both Harf, the neoconservatives, and even the “separationists” share. It’s not about “them,” it’s about “us.” It’s about defining who we are and what makes us who we are. It’s about claiming our right to our own destiny. Most importantly, it’s about taking the survival of our people as our own justification.
As for Iraqis, Israelis, or Iranians, I Don’t Care. As cold as it sounds, such an expression of indifference would do more to create world peace and fair dealings among nations and peoples than all the bleeding heart crusades and pleasant sounding abstractions that can only be carried out with repression at home and war abroad.
I have no hate but also no commitment towards the other strange tribes of this world. And it is not worth my time to hold up a handwritten sign on Tumblr claiming a dishonest solidarity over whatever artificial issue the media created in between the ads for fast food and cell phones.
A society built upon such the premise of Identity and limited loyalty can coolly and rationally make decisions based on its own interests. What we have now is actually something worse than Richard Spencer’s claim of a “government that doesn’t govern” because it’s too busy giving artificial jobs to minorities. We have a government that actively works to invent problems for its own citizens, thus creating new problems that the Marie Harfs of the world get to pretend to solve.
Peter Brimelow once said that the current system would collapse as the Soviet Union collapsed and for the same reason. The Soviets tried to simply deny reality until the consequences of willful delusion meant the resources were simply no longer there to keep the system going.
Our own country is built around more of cultural cognitive dissonance than an economic one. Race simultaneously doesn’t exist and is our national obsession. Our country is the greatest nation in the world and don’t you dare say our President doesn’t love it, but it also needs to be “fundamentally transformed” because of its shameful history towards minorities. Muslims are a vulnerable minority group but also part of the fabric of the nation since the beginning.
Like ripples in a pond, the liabilities and perversions created by the egalitarian attempt to avoid history and reality heap more and more burdens upon our society. America is in permanent crisis as contradiction heaps upon contradiction.
The end result of a government seemingly at war with its own people is both predictable and inevitable. As we aren’t allowed to discuss reality or real solutions to problems, Americans trying to keep it all going are forced to fall back on slogans and scapegoating, like Maoists ranting about “wreckers” as the peasants starve in the streets.
The “root cause” of America’s problems is that the American Cause has no roots. And the most “nuanced” solution is also the simplest.
The solution is Identity. The cry is Our People First. And the real war Europeans worldwide need to fight isn’t in the Caliphate. It’s our own greater jihad–the war within ourselves.
As we can learn from Marie Harf, that battle will be far more difficult than it apparently is to get a cushy job with the State Department. But we have one advantage—when our spokesmen step forward, at least they have something to say.