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February 09, 2007

Comments

Matt M

I think one thing you overlook is that, often, when people like Aitkenhead claim that something is “our” fault they don’t actually have themselves in mind – “we” in these situations really means “them”: Neoconservatives, Western governments, the White Male Patriarchy, etc.

It’s less a sense of guilt, more an attempt to blame domestic opponents for as many things as possible.

I never thought I’d utter the following, but: I think that George Monbiot’s recent CiF article is quite insightful and pertinent. Especially this bit:

"People believe Loose Change because it proposes a closed world: comprehensible, controllable, small. Despite the great evil that runs it, it is more companionable than the chaos that really governs our lives, a world without destination or purpose."

When confronted with an apparent injustice it’s a lot easier to start pointing the finger than to try to understand the normal complex roots of a situation. It’s also quite comforting. If not for X then all would be well and everything would make sense. For the Left the finger-pointing is normally at consumerism, the US or Israel. For the Right it’s Liberals, foreigners, feminists, etc.

Villains are needed to make the world less confusing, and the best villains are the ones on your doorstep.

David Thompson

Matt,

Well, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between affectations of moral superiority and genuine self-loathing. I think there’s a lot of displacement and projection taking place behind the comments I quoted. Some, like Oliver James or Madeleine Bunting, presume to tell “us” how we feel – which, apparently, is exactly how they do, or say they do. And there are endless attempts to displace basic human motives onto, say, capitalism, by suggesting that – in some oddly unspecified way - it makes people behave much more shamefully than they otherwise would.

This strikes me as a rather fanciful viewpoint – one that denies how human beings actually are, at least most of us, much of the time. I guess this utopian tendency, which supposes that human beings would be much nicer without the evils of shopping, property and money – touches on the conspiracy fetish. “We’re all being made evil by The Corporations”, etc.

Brendan_2

The observations of self-loathing are fascinating, but the examples you cite are so outrageous that they are more appropriate as an indictment of the mental health of these people than an identifiable trend of left leaning people. They are hilarious examples, either way.

Brendan_2

PS Someone should be watching this Dr. Reid very carefully. That is a warped point of view if ever there was one.

David Thompson

Brendan,

Yes, they’re pretty outrageous and quite unhinged. But while I was putting the piece together I came across literally dozens of less dramatic examples – everywhere from the Daily Kos and Open Democracy to ‘race theory’ courses at Duke and onto the New Statesman, the Today programme and Channel 4 news. Obviously, I tried to use suitably vivid examples to illustrate the point, but variations of these ideas – and their underlying assumptions – can be found quite widely.

Account Deleted

David,I couldn't agree more!..I feel like I found a kindred spirit.
Please excuse the sychophancy..I'll explain....

I had my eyes opened to this particular phenomena of acute leftist mentalism by becoming romantically involved with the daughter of a prominent leftist(see spokesman books,bertrand russell peace foundation).
A virulent anti-capitalist,anti-american,marxist eurocrat denouncing this that and the other with "hegemony" being used like a full stop or comma.
Your last paragraph rang true and I could never for the life of me figure out whether it was pantomime or mental illness.I did eventually settle for mental illness and a kind of malignant guilt complex coupled with a deep frustration at not seeing a marxist utopia in there lifetime.
There wasn't a lot of love in that household I can tell you,bitterness certainly.

This charade is all played out living in a 9 bedroom detached manse with a wine cellar to die for most of which pilfered from weekly trips to brussells on the EU gravy train all at the taxpayers expense.."power to the people"I sneered.
I was a poor working class potless musician been homeless,seen the gutter so to speak,worked on building sites then educated myself and I thought a family of lefties would welcome me as a brother.As soon as I mentioned having a respect for Christopher Hitchens the mood towards me definitely changed.Any viewpoint other than the partyline gets you sent to the leper colony.They have a pathological fear of anyone who isn't leftist.I would say it is akin to OCD in how it manifest itself.
I have seen with my own eyes one of them put her fingers in her ears and scream "i'm not listening,im not listening".
No they certainly are not listening.

Hitchens likes to say non-denominational and non-partisan and that sums me up.I don't care what people believe as long as they have some scientific or historical evidence to back it up.
This I think is where the leftist achilles heel is,that tender soft spot that annoys them so much.
They are chronic historical revisionists.I believe in order to hush-hush and deflect any of the heinous crimes (committed by there marxist brothers) you choose bring up when they start there moral equivalence games.
I got tired of defending myself verbally and when bullied to the point of near violence was then accused of showing my true colours.My reply was"Yes they were true colours i'm not a pacifist what are you going to do about it?You are a bully.I know how to deal with them"...they were stumped.

As for Decca Aitkenhead she needs another history lesson regarding the slave trade and how it has been run and perpetuated throughout history not by the white man but by black african tribes and arab supremacists.
The white colonialist took advantage of an already booming trade which had been initiated millennia before any ships chanced upon the ivory coast.
Bring this up at any chattering leftist guilt fest of a dinner party and you'll be defending yourself hoarse.I say hoarse because there all pacifist gas-bags and all they can do is talk.
Which leads me longwindedly to my final analysis of the guilty gas-bag which is they know deep down that there pacifism doesn't work and ultimately there are doomed in any confrontation.
It may sound strange but I find them very much like bullies.Moral bullies of course who think they occupy the moral high ground at all times.
I just found them to be deeply hypocritical and this may be where the guilt stems from.
Perhaps Oliver thinghymajig wotsisface of that grumpy program could come up with his devastating analysis?
Although he would probably blame alcopops and the U.S.

TDK

Thus we arrive at notions of genealogical guilt, whereby unsuspecting descendants of 17th century plantation owners are deemed by birth indebted to complete strangers who can claim a different ancestry.

Curious story.

My children were taught by a teacher that white people perpetrated slavery upon black people and that black people's poor position today owes to their oppression then (and since). No problem with the story in general but let's focus on some details. A white child in the same class can trace their ancestry to Russian/Polish peasants who escaped from Russia after the abolition of serfdom in about 1875 (+/-20 years). The parents tell me that almost certainly they were serfs but the first generation in exile were ashamed about this fact and deliberately forgot it. Not that the parents do, being of sound progressive opinions. By contrast, the teacher came from Ghana and since I had worked there in the past I had something in common, so on occasion we got to talk about the country, which included the fact that I had visited Cape Castle, a slave trading station. She was open about the fact that her tribe had been involved with the slave trade even after it officially became illegal but sought to blame Britain (or more generally capitalism for demanding the slaves. In any case, she certainly did not assume the mantle of guilt for her ancestors. Her phrase, I recall, was "worse than the Holocaust".

Thus the bizarre situation is painted in full: a descendent of a slave trader teaches a descendent of a slave but she, the descendent of a slave trader, by virtue of the fact that her skin was black, was deemed guilt free, whilst the child of a slave, by sin of being white, was deemed guilty.

David Thompson

TDK,

Quite. It seems to me that the idea of genealogical guilt, and collective guilt more generally, is a form of role-play rather than a serious moral position.

Though, as I've just posted over at the Ablution, many of those who recoil from notions of collective punishment – say, of Palestinians – will positively throb with approval for the idea of collective guilt. Provided, of course, the collective concerned has the appropriate skin colour or falls into the approved quasi-Marxist category.

wayne fontes

You might want to amend this post. Harkendog was not serious in his post and appears to be a conservative. Lovely ladies at Pandagon. Ginmar is the most hysterical poster I've seen on the net.

David

Wayne,

Thanks for that. It was difficult to distinguish the parody from the surrounding comments, which were, I fear, in earnest. I’ve amended the post accordingly.

Dan

I read your post with much interest because it's only recently struck me how much I absorbed the prevailing attitudes as a kid growing up in the eighties. Put baldly, that middle class white males are responsible for all the evils of the world. Such a self-destructive, corrosive worldview.

AntiCitizenOne

Dan,

Did you not think it odd, that most of the worlds problems seemed to occur in places where there were low concentrations of white males?

attract money	secret

You’ve managed to explain a really tricky subject well. I find that I sometimes have difficulty in getting my head round topics like this, but you’ve summed it up really well. I’ve found another writer that does the same thing although don’t have the details right now.

law of attraction

I don’t usually leave comments on posts that I read, but I wanted to tell you that you have a very nice writing style. It is nice to see someone that be able to break such a tricky topic down and make it easy to understand.

Well done!
Thank You!

Matt

Dr Reid could make a start by topping himself.

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