One of the sports leagues announced recently that they intend to get rid of the white national anthem before games and play the black national anthem. Most white people, of course, were surprised to learn there is a black national anthem. Racists were momentarily excited, thinking that maybe blacks now had their own homeland, but that was not the case. Instead, it turns out that the black national anthem is a poem written a century ago by black civil rights activists.
It is an interesting bit of history that is worth considering. The poem itself reads like a call to black unity. The celebration of their new found freedom does not indicate what they hope to do with it, but there is a prayer to God that they will keep on the righteous path to victory, whatever that means. A cynic cannot help but notice that the poem and the musical performance was really aimed at the white Progressives that saw black abolition as their Christian duty.
It is a good reminder that the history of black civil rights can probably be best explained by the phrase, “Now what?” After the Civil War, the blacks were freed, but then everyone, including the former slaves stood around asking, “Now what?” The people who did the freeing did not have an answer, so everyone else was left to sort it out. The people in the Old South, black and white, had to come up with new living arrangements and nature, as it always does, took its course.
Something similar happened after the Civil Rights movement. Legal segregation and discrimination were eliminated and then everyone was left to wonder what will come next, but the civil rights champions had no answers. After a couple of decades of inaction, the final resolution was a few statues of Martin Luther King and a federal holiday for him. The efforts at forced integration were slowly abandoned in all the meaningful areas and we were back to where we started.
The cold-hearted cynics have always said that white Progressives and their fellow travelers just see blacks as another weapon in the Cold Civil War. If they actually cared about the condition of real blacks, they would address the horrific crime levels and social pathology that immiserate blacks in America. Instead, they periodically unleash black crime waves on the bad whites, along with lectures about social justice. In other words, none of this has anything to do with blacks.
That’s certainly true, but it mistakenly asserts a consciousness of action to the Left that probably does not exist. Talk to your self-righteous lefty about the current ructions and they have no idea why they are out in the streets ululating about racism. Like a trained circus animal, they are responding to prompts and expecting certain rewards. You, the racist bad white, are supposed to get vexed with them, so they can feel the dopamine rush that comes from self-righteous indignation.
This lack of consciousness is better observed in something that is less radioactive at the moment. Disney has now added the musical Hamilton to its subscription offering, causing every Progressive in America to sign up for it. The play has become something like the old musical Cabaret. Instead of being a show about Nazis, Hamilton is a show about social justice. The sound track is something like “Horst-Wessel-Lied” for the modern Left. It’s more than a musical for them.
When you press them on why they like it so much, they cannot explain it. A paranoid conspiracy type would be forgiven for thinking that maybe there is a subliminal message in these songs. As soon as a person prone to Progressive fanaticism hears the soundtrack, he spends hours listening to it. A couple of years ago when the soundtrack was released, it became a moral signifier like an Apple product. The good lefty would ostentatiously reveal he was listening to it.
This is where you see the total lack of reason and introspection on the part of Progressives caught up in the ecstasy of these moral panics. Hamilton was not black and he was certainly not a social justice warrior. In fact, he was probably the one Founder who was the least in favor of popular government. He is an unlikely hero for people claiming to be the liberators of the oppressed and the champions of all-inclusive liberal democracy, but that’s where they are.
That brings us back to the black national anthem. Like everything else about race relations, that poem was never about blacks or their disposition. It was written to titillate the good whites in the halls of power. It was their pets obsequiously performing a ritual for them. Similarly, Hamilton is just feel-good revisionism for white liberals. A bunch of blacks perform for their white masters in a way that flatters the master. Race is just another popular theme in the Progressive Dionysia.
There is no shortage of analysis trying to explain the insane behavior of mobs pulling down statues. All of it from outside the Progressive hive misses the point, because it projects reason and consciousness of thought onto the performers. What’s happening is these people are just that, performers. They are unconsciously playing a role, like participants in a pagan ceremony. They are doing so for their Progressive audience, who cheers and sobs after each statue is toppled.
This is the real source of power of the Left. It is not that they control the institutions or control the media. Those are consequences, not causes. Their real power is they control public morality and the expression of it. All public rituals are funneled through left-wing mythology, drawing in friends and foes, all of whom play a role in the great ongoing morality tale of liberal democracy. Like pre-reformation Catholic Church, the Left controls the supply of salvation.
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