Category Archives: Political Philosophy

Thordaddy’s Claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian Doctrine

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

Thordaddy claims that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist” religion, therefore any white Christian must be a “white (S)upremacist”. There are two problems with this claim. First, (as always) Thordaddy’s unique terminology is vaguely and confusingly defined. Second, there is no scriptural basis for this assertion.

(a) The reoccurring problem with definitions

Thordaddy uses two definitions for white supremacy: (1) the mundane definition, and (2) the absolute definition. The mundane definition of white supremacy is the common definition that most people share. That is, “the belief, theory or doctrine that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and therefore should dominate society.” By contrast, Thordaddy argues that he practices the “absolute” version of “white (S)upremacy” which he defines as a “white man who believes in and therefore strives towards perfection.” Thordaddy admits that these practices are not mutually exclusive. That is, a practitioner of absolute white (S)upremacy will often also be a practitioner of mundane white supremacy.

Now, Thordaddy often argues that the “dull masses” abhor the practice of absolute white (S)upremacy because they cannot see past the mundane version of white supremacy. This, I believe is incorrect. First, I do not think anyone would object to a white person striving for perfection unrelated to the mundane definition. I certainly cannot think of an example of this happening. Second, if the mundane and the absolute practices are often “intertwined” (as Thordaddy has said) then this is very likely the reason why the “dull masses” cannot see past the concept of mundane white supremacy. Moreover, Thordaddy is unwilling or unable to provide a clear definition regarding what he means by “striving towards perfection.” When asked for a definition or example the best he could offer was his “spreading his righteousness” to people he encounters. I assume this means him communicating his racist message in his unique communication style which again seems to only reflect the mundane definition.

In conclusion, if we are defining “supremacy” as trying to be the best you can be and a “white (S)upremacist” as someone trying to be the best they can be who also happens to be white, then I suppose Thordaddy could legitimately make the argument that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist religion”.  However, if the mundane definition is employed, then there can be no doubt that Christianity is not a supremacist religion because there is no scriptural support to support this contention. In fact, quite the opposite, as we will discuss in the next section.

(b) The lack of scriptural foundation

In the past, when confronted with the argument that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian doctrine has no scriptural basis, Thordaddy has never once countered with a scriptural passage supporting his position. This suggests to me that he is not at all familiar with scripture. Further, I suspect his lack of familiarity with scripture is on some level intentional, because if he was familiar with scripture, he would then have to explain the discrepancies between his arguments and the scripture. There are many obvious discrepancies. The following are a few of the most glaring examples.

(i) “Love thy Neighbor as Thyself”

In the past, Thordaddy has taken the novel position that the Second Greatest Commandment does not instruct a Christian to actually love his neighbor as a general proposition. Rather the commandment is to love his neighbor only to the extent that he loves himself. Accordingly, if a person does not love himself he is under no obligation to love his neighbor. He uses this as a license with the blessing of Christian dogma to hate his neighbor if he so chooses. I find this a novel interpretation of the commandment chiefly because, it has been my experience that (with the exception of Thordaddy alone) all Christians seem to agree that there is an underlying assumption embedded within the Second Greatest Commandment that a person would naturally love himself.

Moreover, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is logically inconsistent with his unique interpretation of the second great commandment. His interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is to give all love to God such that there is no love remaining for the self and less still for the neighbor. In other words he sees love as a zero sum game in which there is a finite amount of love to go around and if all of a person’s love goes to God there is none left for anyone else. I would argue that the plain meaning of the Greatest Commandment speaks to the intensity of love and not to the percentage of love available. Furthermore, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment eliminates the need for the Second Greatest Commandment. That is, it would not make sense for Christ to specifically emphasize the Second Greatest Commandment in the gospels if the Greatest Commandment effectively rendered it moot.

His unique interpretation of the Second Greatest Commandment is made more peculiar still by the fact that he is obsessed with the concept of the (presumably sinful) act of self-annihilation which he seems to take delight in accusing other people of committing. I asked him point blank if he loved himself and he repeatedly dodged this question which surprised me. I would think a person who feels so strongly that the act of self annihilation is so morally wrong would naturally love himself. I assume, however, that he does not want to admit to loving himself because by his own logic he would then be compelled by the Second Greatest Commandment to also love his neighbor. In this light, his reluctance to admit to loving himself seems to prove that even he is dubious of his unique interpretation.

(ii)  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”

From its inception, Christianity has been a racially ecumenical religion. This is expressly stated in the Gospel of Mark:

Afterward [Jesus] appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:14-15)

Here we see Jesus himself commanding his disciples to preach the good news of his resurrection to “every creature” in “all the world.” He, by no means instructed them to limit their teachings to their own kind, let alone exclusively white people,

(iii) “The fruit of the spirit”

Racism is also at odds with St. Paul’s conception of the “Fruit of the Spirit” he writes about in his letter to the Galations:

[T]he desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…  Now the works of the flesh are evident: … enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, … and things like these. (Gal 5:19-21)

Racism, seems very much in accord with what St. Paul describes as the “desires of the flesh” particularly including “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy”. By contrast, Saint Paul describes the fruit of the spirit:

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Gal 5:22-23)

I must say that I do not see these qualities in any of Thordaddy’s comments. This is one of many reasons (beyond his incoherence and his illogical arguments) I hold his contempt and judgment of his fellow Christians suspect. Accordingly, if he intends to hold himself out as a righteous Christian, perhaps he should reconsider the spirit behind his message. And if the spirit behind his message cannot be reconciled with his message perhaps he should reconsider his message.

 

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Thordaddy’s Use of Private Jargon / Secret Language

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

An Overview of Thordaddy’s Method of Communication

Thordaddy chooses to communicate in a purposefully obscure and at times annoying manner. I am not the only one to make this observation. He does this in various ways including:

(1) making up terms such as (a) radical autonomy and (b) self-annihilation and not adequately defining or providing examples of these terms as he uses them so that I can properly understand what he is attempting to communicate;

(2) creating new definitions for terms such as (a) supremacy and (b) perfection and then refusing to adequately define or provide examples that would fit within his created definitions;

(3) using punctuation in a non conventional manner such as “(P)erfection” and then not adequately explaining what this use of punctuation means, then expecting me to employ his convention without understanding what it implies;

(4) annoyingly substituting homonyms or near homonyms (often with racially hostile overtones) for regular words in an effort to appear clever or perhaps comical. An example might be instead of writing, “why to you think that?” he might write, “why do Jew think that?”

The problem with this form of communication that Thordaddy seems unwilling or not  able to grasp is that we cannot have a conversation about the ideas he is attempting to articulate unless we both share and understand a common definition.

Thordaddy’s Possible Motivations for Choosing to Communicate Obscurely

The overarching theme to Thordaddy’s communication style seems to be dishonesty. He could communicate clearly if he chose to do so. This would require the use of standard English syntax and definitions. If, for some reason, it was necessary for him to communicate using an invented, non standard syntax or definition, he would then have to clearly explain the reason for this non standard usage as well as explain the meaning he intends. He not only refuses to do any of this, but he then accuses his readers of being dishonest for pretending to not understand him or too stupid to understand him. I cannot help but assume this is psychological projection on his part.

All this begs the question, why would he want to communicate dishonestly? My experience (both personal and observational) tells me that dishonest communication of this sort (i.e., trolling) has its origin in toxic shame. A good resource on the subject of toxic shame is “Healing the Shame that Binds You” by John Bradshaw. Specifically, he writes:

There are two forms of shame: innate shame and toxic / life-destroying [self-annihilating?] shame. When shame is toxic, it is an excruciatingly internal experience of unexpected exposure… It divides us from ourselves and from others. When our feeling of shame becomes toxic shame, we disown ourselves. And this disowning demands a cover-up. Toxic shame parades in many garbs and get-ups. It loves darkness and secretiveness. (Bradshaw, p. 5)

Thordaddy’s obscure communication style is a form of secretiveness. His hostility towards anyone who challenges his form of communication seems to fit a personality that has something to hide. Theoretically, he chooses to hide his shame with a thick fog of obscure communication. But hiding behind this fog is a lonely place to be which is why he reaches out to other people on the internet. Hostile and annoying interaction is apparently better than no interaction at all.

With this in mind, it is entirely possible that Thordaddy does not want to actually want to have a conversation about his ideas. Rather, he wants to “get a rise” out of people reacting to his hostile and annoying behavior. This motivation defines the classic internet troll. It is also entirely possible that the terminology Thordaddy uses actually has no real meaning and therefore is incapable of being defined. If true, this would also fit the classic troll motivation.

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Thordaddy’s Twin Concepts of “Radical Autonomy” and “Self-Annihilation”

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

I.  Radical Autonomy

Thordaddy has accused me of being “radically autonomous” but has consistently refused to define this term or has provided inconsistent and obscure definitions. His comments to this blog post articulates this pattern well.

In a comment Thordaddy provided the following definition for “radical autonomy”:

The consistent application of tolerance and nondiscrimination, ie., the continuous exercising of liberal ideology. Ergo, “radical autonomy” is an all-accepting indiscriminancy, ie., the surest path to self-annihilation.

He also articulated that “autism” is an example of “radical autonomy” because an autistic person “cannot know his parents.”

When asked how I fit these definitions and examples he responded:

You are radically autonomous because *you* claim that “Roman Catholic” teaching is in accord with anti-racist ideology. The reality of this contention is the exposure of your deracinated state of mind and self-annihilating tendencies. So Roman Catholic teaching isn’t of the fathers (read: racial), but rather, a matter of devoted osmosis (read: permeatingly ideological).

The standard definition for “radical autonomy” might be “extreme independence” but this begs the question as to what I am being extremely independent from. In these comments he seems to be saying that a person who is “radically autonomous” has achieved extreme independence from his race. To wit, a person who tolerates other races and tries not to discriminate on the basis of race is distancing himself from his own race / ancestors and therefor does not know his parents in the sense that his parents’ racial identity is the most important part of their identity. I suppose the connection with autism here is that in extreme cases an autistic child cannot emotionally connect with his primary care givers and therefor does not know them. I am not sure this is a good example, however, because some autistic children certainly can know their parents.

In summary, if Thordaddy does define “radical autonomy” as “extremely independent of one’s racial identity” I wonder what he hoped to achieve by resisting, defining this term all this time. Secondly, I suppose my response to his accusation would be, “so what?”

II.  Self-Annihilation

Thordaddy has also consistently accused me of being a “self-annihilator” without providing an adequate definition for what he means by this term. Presumably, there is a racial component to this term. That is, because I practice “anti-racism” (his term) that I am somehow annihilating myself through the annihilation of my race. As far as I can tell, however, I still exist, my race still exists and I have procreated two members of my race. As such, I really have no idea what he means by this accusation.

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Thordaddy’s Concept of White Supremacy

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

(1) The Ambiguous Definition

Thordaddy has defined what he refers to as “white (S)upremacy” in the following manner:

White men who believe in and therefore strive towards objective (S)upremacy are white (S)upremacists. … [T]he definition of objective (S)upremacy is (P)erfection. What is (P)erfection? HE WHO WILLS ALL (R)IGHT.

This definition, however, does little to clarify what Thordaddy has in mind when using these terms. Declaring “objective (S)upremacy” means “(P)erfection” means “HE WHO WILLS ALL RIGHT” does not give me an understanding of what these terms mean or what a person would do to strive towards “objective (P)erfection”. I assume the “HE” Thordaddy refers to is Jesus or perhaps God the father. But if one were to imitate Jesus, it seems very unlikely that they would act as Thordaddy does particularly his hostility towards other races. Ultimately, a person trying to understand what he is attempting to articulate is left confused which he then claims is evidence of “radical autonomy” and “self-annihilation”.

(2) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” is distinct from “white supremacy”

On a general level, it seems to me that the “definition” above is an attempt by Thordaddy to distance his concept of “white (S)upremacy” from the commonly understood concept of white supremacy, which by its plain meaning promotes the idea that white people should be supreme over (and thus hostile to) other “nonwhite” races. Thordaddy, however, denies this by saying:

This is exactly what I AM NOT TRYING TO DO. The “commonly understood concept” of “white (s)upremacy” is the liberated concept whereas my articulation represents the absolute concept. … [T]he liberated concept has perversely illegitimated the absolute concept in the minds of the degenerately dull mass. And those who participate in this deception are almost certainly hell bound without repentance.

As we have established supra, the “absolute concept” of “white (S)upremacy” is white men who strive towards perfection. Although Thordaddy has consistently resisted defining what he means by perfection, or what one would do to achieve perfection, we can assume that he means something along the lines of “white men trying to be the best they can be morally and in other dimensions.”

This begs the question as to how “absolute white (S)upremacy” has been “perversely illegitimated” by the commonly understood form of white supremacy? For example, I don’t think anyone equates the 2019 white supremacist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand with other white men trying to act morally in other contexts. The two have nothing to do with each other as far as I can tell. But Thordaddy seems to believe the two are connected and that liberals have somehow conspired to make them connected.

(3) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races.

Thordaddy has at times argued that “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races and that “striving towards objective (P)erfection” is something akin to white people trying to be the best they can be on their own, and not related or in comparison to other races. He becomes very dodgy when asked what “perfection” means in this context nor does he seem to be able to provide concrete examples of what a white man would do whilst in the act of striving towards perfection. For example, he stated the following in the comment section to this blog post:

If I offer every individual who crosses my path my righteousness then I have expressed a desire for (P)erfection. It need not be anymore complicated than this.

If a group of white men share this desire, the horde of orcs call it “white (s)upremacy” (or racist a [sic] Christianity).

In the quoted passage above we see Thordaddy give an example of his “striving towards perfection” as him “offer[ing his] righteousness”. I assume the literally hundreds of comments he has posted on my blog is an example of him “offering” me “his righteousness”. If that is the case, then I am unclear as to what is “perfect” about this. On the contrary, it seems obsessive and maladapted. Moreover, if he really wanted to offer his “righteousness” perfectly, I would think he would be able to communicate it in a manner that could be understood.

Further, I am unsure why he believes his acts of “offering his righteousness” to be unrelated to other races when his “righteousness” is replete with racial epitaphs. His own logic seems to betray him on this point as well as is evidenced in the following quote:

So when I say that my offering of righteousness to whomever crosses my path has nothing to do with other races, this is no different than saying that my offering of righteousness is not contingent upon the existence of other races.

I think what he is saying here is that when he offers his righteousness (i.e., insults other races, or labels those who question this behavior “radically autonomous” or a “self-annihilator”) it has nothing to do with other races because he, himself is white. He seems to believe his “white (S)upremacy” and his hostility to other races are unrelated and coincidental. But I think any reasonable person would find this argument dubious at best. The dubiousness of this argument is further reinforced by the following comment he posted:

I need only point to the single instance of the entire socio-political “spectrum” being against [a] white man desiring “supremacy.” IOW, the dulled, mass desire for “equality” JUST IS animus for white men desiring (P)erfection. [The] “Equality” dogma JUST IS the reaction to white man’s desire for objective (S)upremacy.

Why is desire for (P)erfection racial?

Because desire for “equality” is anti-racial.

Here we see Thordaddy explicitly contradict his own claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” is unrelated to other races. He says quite clearly that the “desire for (P)erfection” (i.e., his concept of “white (S)upremacy”) is racial. And that “equality” (i.e., the opposite of a “desire for (P)erfection”) is “anti-racial”. One marvels at the mental gymnastics he must put himself through to make sense of all this.

Ultimately, it is obvious that Thordaddy is racist according to the common understanding of this term but is unwilling to fully own his racism as is evidenced by his attempts to philosophically or “intellectually” justify it. Moreover, the fact that he is incapable of clearly defining what he means by “striving towards (P)erfection” or what one can do to accomplish this state (besides trolling my blog with hundreds of comments) is also telling.

(4) Thordaddy’s Queer Assertion – “Your Race is Your Father”

Thordaddy often makes the claim that a person’s race is his father and that a line of fathers extends back to God the Father. The implication to this assertion is that a white person’s line of fathers is different from a non-white person’s line of fathers. Therefore, because the lines of fathers are different between races, there is no requirement to love a person of a different race. In fact, to love a person of another race is an act of self-annihilation according to Thordaddy. Of course one glaring problem with this theory is that “race” is not so easily defined and certainly blurs around the edges when examined closely. Moreover, a recent study has shown that every living person on Earth today shares a common male ancestor. Accordingly, every living person shares the same, ultimate line of fathers.

What also makes this claim strange is that Thordaddy apparently does not believe women to be a part of a person’s race. He asserts this even though women are required to procreate just as much as men are. This is yet another example of Thordaddy taking an obvious concept, claiming the opposite is true and then justifying it with a line of complicated mumbo jumbo.

 

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What Would Moloch Do?

MolochIn a recent Orthosphere post entitled Freedoms of Speech & of Religion Open & Allow the Race to the Bottom the author Kristor argues:

The basic problem with freedom of speech and of religion is that … it opens the agora to the discussion of the pros and cons of every alternative cult. … There ensues a proliferation … of heresies and petty foreign cults. The cult of Moloch is then sooner or later bound to enter the lists.

In a previous post, Kristor defines his term, “the Cult of Moloch” as referring to modern, liberal notions of tolerance for multiple belief systems, which he equates to nihilism. He argues that a tolerant belief system cannot itself tolerate non-tolerant belief systems and so ultimately pushes them out of mainstream practice. I assume he uses this particular name because the Canaanite god named Moloch is associated with ritual child sacrifice. This of course is a reference to legalized abortion which exists within the modern liberal system. To the Orthosphereans, liberalism, tolerance, nihilism, abortion and all the other ills of modern society are related and mutually reinforcing.

Kristor goes on to say:

In an unruly competition of cults for the hearts and minds of people too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture – i.e., of most people – the cult with the greatest short term hedonic payoff is going to prevail.

Because freedoms of speech and religion lead to the cult of Moloch, I assume Kristor is advocating the abolition of these freedoms and their replacement with the forced implementation of some other cult (presumably whatever form of Christianity Kristor adheres to) which would then regulate speech and religion in a manner more satisfactory to him.

BASIC PROBLEMS

The first basic problem I see with a belief system enforced by the government is that the belief system might not be true. I assume Kristor desires a government enforced belief system that is also true. Or perhaps in the absence of definitive proof of the truth of any one particular belief system, Kristor believes it is better to pick any belief system so long as it is not a tolerant one so as to avoid the inevitable slide into Molochism.

The second basic problem I see is that when a government enforces a belief system, the belief system typically gets watered down so that it can be acceptable to a large population. The watering down of the belief system then stops connecting with the people who take their religious beliefs seriously. This then gives rise to underground sects of true believers which work to undermine the government enforced belief system.

The third basic problem is that there will always be non-believers. This includes both people who take issue with specific tenants of the belief system and people who reject the system entirely. Similar to the second basic problem, this problem will also lead to the creation of subversive groups.

In addition to these basic problems it seems that many of the people who favor a government enforced belief system exhibit an unchristian disdain for their fellow men. This is articulated in the quote above where Kristor describes “most people” as “too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture.”

I certainly do not want people of this ilk deciding what is best for me to believe and ordering the world in which I live. I do not want this not because I suspect they would not have my best interests at heart. I also do not want this because this disdain runs contrary to the fundamental Christian idea which is love (i.e., willing the good of the other as other). It might be argued that the desire to implement a government enforced belief system is motivated by a willing of good for other people. But the disdain articulate in Kristor’s quote (and quotes of other Orthosphereans) seems to indicate otherwise. Saint Paul’s description of the “Fruit of the Spirit” offers guidance when determining whether a person is advocating a policy that is born out of love. Specifically, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). Disdain is noticeably absent from this list. 

CULTURE OF DEATH

Kristor concludes his OP by stating,

As permitting the advocacy and practice of the cult of Moloch, freedom of speech and religion, then, sow the seeds of national death.

So we observe at last that, like Molochism, freedom of speech and religion, too, are in the end autophagous. The nation that keeps those freedoms is doomed.

The Orthospherean position against liberalism is not baseless. There is are inconsistencies to liberal notions of freedom, equality and tolerance. No one can be completely free and the freedom of one person impacts the freedom of another person. People are not equal in their abilities and to legally make them equal to a certain extent negates this truth and creates problems. A tolerant belief system cannot completely accommodate non-tolerant belief systems and can become intolerant by attempting to enforce tolerance.

On the other hand, no political system is perfect. In order for liberalism to work well, there has to always be a balance of forces. Just because speech is labeled as “free” and is actually regulated to an extent does not mean that there are not nations where speech is very not-free and other nations where it is relatively free. And it also does not mean that a reasonable person cannot appreciate the difference between the two. In the same respect a “tolerant” belief system might actually be “intolerant” of certain taboos. But, there are more tolerant nations than others and reasonable people can appreciate the difference here as well. And yes a system might shift in terms of its level of tolerance depending on the situation but that does not mean that it will always, inexorably degenerate into Molochism in every circumstance. The pendulum may very well swing back the other way.

Also, do these “flaws” of liberalism really spell the doom of a nation more than any other form of government? All nations (and things of men) are doomed. Even nations with government enforced belief systems are doomed. How else would tolerant systems have come to replace them? Moreover, an intolerant belief system does not rule out the possibility of Molochism being practiced. It merely forces it underground where it cannot be observed and regulated.

Do freedoms of speech and religion necessarily open and allow a race to the bottom? I think reasonable minds can differ on that question. More importantly, would the alternative of a government enforced belief system create a preferable situation? We are all well aware that there exist countries that do enforce belief systems in the world, some of which Kristor himself objects to.

 

 

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The Real Issue Behind the Border Wall Debate

January 22, 2019
By George Friedman

The Real Issue Behind the Border Wall Debate

For the United States, immigration has always been a necessity and an agony.
The debate over a wall separating the United States and Mexico goes to the heart of American society. The wall itself is about preventing illegal immigration, but the debate inevitably flows to the question of immigration in general, as it always has in American history.
An Agonizing Experience

The American nation was forged from fragments of other nations. The English, Scotch-Irish, Swedish, Germans, Catholic Irish, Italians, Jews and Africans joined together, or, better yet, were crushed together, to create the American nation. It was a painful process. At any given point, Americans believed that the way America was then was the way it ought to be. Thus the settlers from England were appalled at the arrival of the Scotch-Irish, who were seen as unassimilable and irredeemable brawlers, drunkards and thugs. When the Irish Catholics arrived, many feared they could not assimilate to a predominantly Protestant society. Indeed, the debate over whether a Catholic could become president dominated the 1960 election, more than a century after the Irish influx began.

Virtually all immigrants who came to the United States were those being crushed in their own societies (except, of course, for Africans slaves, who were brought to the U.S. through no choice of their own). They left families, customs and all that was familiar for a new start. The Jamestown and Plymouth colonies were built on this process. It was the core American experience: suffering through being a stranger in a strange land while being distrusted and even loathed.

The nation-building process in the U.S. was an agonizing experience. Some have romanticized it, forgetting that the melting pot was hot enough to dissolve human souls, and that the pain fell both on the immigrants themselves and on those with whom they merged. Yet immigration was essential. The first European immigrants who arrived were too few to create a nation that could settle and exploit the continent, spark industrialization, and win wars. Had the U.S. remained simply an English nation, it would have been annihilated long ago. Immigrants were indispensable to the creation of a viable country, and, inevitably, most would come from “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” as Emma Lazarus put it. The United States welcomed immigrants out of necessity and even desperation, the same factors that drove immigrants to the U.S. in the first place.

But the reality of immigration lies not only in the broad story of the American nation, where the agony is lost in the glory, but in the details. I immigrated with my family to the United States from Hungary as an infant. We settled in a tenement in the Bronx. The most important part of our story was not that we were poor, but rather that our family was torn apart. My parents brought my sister and me to the United States because they had no choice. Their home abandoned them in World War II, and America welcomed them. For immigrants, however, America is a mistress who gives generously of her pleasure but is ruthless in her demands. You must be completely devoted to America to enjoy her pleasures to the fullest. My parents had lived through too much and had grown too weary to pay that price. They didn’t hope for the ecstasy America offered; they were content with sanctuary, however meager.

My hopes diverged from my parents’ needs. My parents were loving, yet, in a way, they became irrelevant. They could not guide me on my path. In those years, many immigrants settled in the Bronx. The Jewish kids banded together. So did the Irish, the Italians, the Puerto Ricans and the African-Americans. They drew strength from each other, rather than from their families. The cruel paradox of immigration is that it divides parents and children. The children long for America while the parents long for relief. And when the children band together, they learn the first lesson of America: It has pity for the weak and respect only for the strong.

You learn this lesson on the streets, where you discover that pain is not the worst thing in the world. Cowardice is. Winning is everything. Fighting fearlessly and losing brings opportunity for redemption. Fleeing the field of battle to huddle with your parents denies you pride and entry into America. America is for those who have the strength not only to play baseball or to excel in school but also to learn the lesson of the streets and to pay the price of entry.

Imagine what the Bronx was like back then. Young thugs, or would-be thugs, roaming the streets, seeking and fearing the moment when they must prove their manhood. The boys and girls, driven by hormones, as much strangers to their parents as their parents were to them, alone in a world to make what rules they could. The law was what you made of it, and the cops were just another gang, albeit a very dangerous one.

The Bronx was once a genteel borough of New York, with stately apartment buildings and vast parks. But it was at the bare limits of gentility. Those whose families came a century before were now gone, and the children of the new immigrants turned much of the Bronx into a nightmare. The parents of these children lived their lives in terror, fearing every trip to the grocery store. The dream of a little safety brought them back to the war zone.

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A Predictable Response

Immigrants tend to move to neighborhoods with low rents, and they often live together so they have people around them who speak their language. They’re satisfied with simply making a home in their new land. But their settlement can create havoc for those who were there before – those who also live in low-cost neighborhoods and now must compete for jobs and housing. As the new immigrant group expands, word spreads that this particular group is uniquely dangerous, and the belief grows that immigration must be stopped. For those who have the means to insulate themselves from the fear and uncertainty, on the other hand, this process isn’t a cause for concern. For them, immigration is a concept, not a reality, and so they see it as a charitable endeavor.

The reality is that the United States cannot survive without waves of immigrants. It’s never been able to grow without immigrants, and there’s no reason to believe it can now. But the process of immigration becomes more painful the closer you come to it. The idea that those afraid of immigration are racist misses the point. Immigration directly impacts many of those who fear its effects. Many of those who don’t fear it live in well-off communities where new immigrants tend not to settle.

Fear is a predictable response to immigration. The English feared the Scotch-Irish. Protestants feared Irish Catholics. And the cycle continues. Even a group as disreputable and hated as the Scots made the transition, and now, fully integrated for centuries, they loathe and fear new arrivals.

In two centuries of debating immigration, both sides have been systematically oblivious to the realities underlying the debate. The advocates of immigration are oblivious to its disproportionate impact on those who live in poorer neighborhoods. Those wary of immigration are oblivious to the impact of ending it in a time of declining birthrates, and to the fact that immigration is embedded in the nation’s soul. The beauty of America is that every American can have an opinion that makes little sense. It is as charming as a gang brawl in a schoolyard. But in the end, America has survived this debate many times, and the outcome has always been the same.

The U.S. economy has always depended on a constant inflow of low-paid workers. What has been true since the founding remains true now or the migrants would not be still coming. This has brought with it tension, violence and pain, far more for the poorest Americans than for the wealthy, who have benefited from immigration. But we cannot stop immigration. Nor can we make those insulated from its effects understand or care about the pain this process inevitably causes. Welcoming immigrants is not an act of kindness but a necessity. Those who think of it as an act of kindness misunderstand the lives of immigrants and those who live among them. Immigration has always been a growing pain of the Republic.

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Filed under Political Philosophy

Blue Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

bwThere is a pattern of behavior common to some of the people I have encountered on the internet who identify with the Spiral Dynamics Stage Blue mentality. I will refer to the people who exhibit this behavior a Blue Wolf. This pattern of behavior is as follows. When a Blue Wolf encounters a non-Blue (say an Orange or Green), the Blue Wolf will feel this person out. If this person is not immediately hostile and willing to hear the Blue position in a respectful manner, the Blue Wolf will at first appear to be very charitable and hospitable to the non-Blue. But, if after a brief period of time the non-Blue continues to disagree with or questions too much the Blue world view, the Blue Wolf becomes angry and aggressive. This switch happens suddenly and the suddenness of this switch suggests the anger and aggression existed from the start but was merely masked by the initial show of friendliness. Perhaps the Blue Wolf thinks he can persuade the non-Blue to his philosophy through friendliness. Perhaps the Blue Wolf legitimately believes himself to be a good, moral person but is easily triggered by the “enemies” who do not share his beliefs.

The Blue Wolf’s Ego Identifies With Being Blue

It is important to note that the Blue Wolf behavior is not displayed by all of those who identify with Stage Blue. Many Blues will simply cease to engage with the non-Blue once it is clear they cannot see eye to eye. A few Blues will patiently continue to explain their beliefs kindly and politely. It seems that these Blue Wolves are perhaps less self-aware or have their egos so identified with their Blueness that any challenge to it is experienced as a mortal threat. Blue Wolves tend not to want their motivations or psychology examined. One Blue Wolf told me he rejected the entire science of psychology as a liberal invention (which is a good way to never become self-aware in my estimation). But of course, being self-aware is not a Blue priority.

To a Blue, the priority is dedication to a higher power and not to self-actualization. To a Blue there is…

[a] single guiding force [that] controls the world and determine[s] our destiny… Abiding Truth provides structure and order for all aspects of living here on Earth and rules the heavens as, well… [A Blue will] willingly sacrifice [his] desires in the present in the sure knowledge that [he] look[s] forward to something wonderful in the future. (1)

This makes the hostile stance of the Blue Wolf understandable. For anything that conflicts with their believed Truth is per se un-Truth.  With that in mind, however, it is interesting to note that some Blues will react to challenges to their Truth in less threatened manners than others. Again, I attribute this different reaction to the degree of ego identification a particular Blue has with his Blue world view.

The Blue Wolf ‘s True Motive is to Argue With and Shame His Enemies

I encountered another Blue Wolf in the comment section of my last post “The Spiral Dynamics of a Christmas Carol“. I recognized this commentor as a reader of the Blue blog, the Orthospehere. True to the Blue Wolf form, this commentor adopted the persona of one who did not know anything about Spiral Dynamics and honestly wanted to understand it. His questions, which began as friendly, quickly turned adversarial when I did not accept his counter arguments to the answers I gave him. He then accused me of not following the proper rules of logic and debate. This is a typical Blue Wolf tactic I have observed. That is, a Blue Wolf will dismiss a non-Blue person and his point of view if the non-Blue violates a rule of logical debate even if the exchange is a casual one in a comment section and not entered into as a formal debate. This has the dual intended effect of allowing the Blue Wolf to exit the exchange seemingly in possession of the moral high ground while at the same time humiliating his interlocutor. Guilt and shame are the primary means by which a Blue enforces his social order. (2).

The Blue Wolf Cloaks His Motives in Logic and Objective Truth

I have observed Blue Wolves will often try to humiliate their non-Blue interlocutors while masking this intention in morality and truth. One Blue Wolf who is (I have heard) now deceased, took the position that the non-Blues who disagreed with him “lacked the capacity” to understand his arguments. This same person and his ilk would cry ad-hominem if a similar claim were made of them. However, when he questioned a person’s intelligence he claimed to be not doing so in order to undermine his interlocutor’s position but rather to describe the truth of the situation. In this way he could (hypocritically) avoid the appearance of committing the ad-hominem fallacy to the like-minded readers of his blog who would readily agree with his position.

Conclusion

I ended up deleting most of the argument from the thread in my previous blog post. I know this is considered to be bad form for the moderator of a comment section. People (Blue Wolves especially I suspect) like to see the documentation of their comment section arguments. Perhaps they feel that a piece of them has been removed when their arguments are edited. In my defense, I did not feel like we were debating. It seemed as if he was asking questions about Spiral Dynamics and I was answering them to the best of my ability. I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the subject. I only claim to have an interest and am blogging about it as I learn more about it. For this reason, I am not interested in documenting any supposed debate a particular Blue Wolf believes we are having.

Post Script: There is a great example of a Blue Wolf interaction in the comment section to this blog post. It is interesting how this Blue Wolf accuses me of being intellectually dishonest for deleting his argumentative comments in the previous blog post when he was (in my estimation) being intellectually dishonest by pretending to want to know more about the Spiral Dynamics model when in fact he only wanted to debunk it. Of course he only bases his debunking attempt on reading my blog posts and I never claimed to be an expert on the subject.  Nor did I claim to want to debate it even though he chooses to frame the interaction in that manner. I could not have scripted the interaction better if I tried. I un-deleted his comments in the previous post in order to document the nature of his comments because it is relevant to this post.


(1) Beck, Edward and Cowan, Christopher, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change,  Blackwell Publishing, 1996, pg 229.

(2) Ibid, pg 232.

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Filed under Political Philosophy, Psychology