Posted on January 27, 2016

The Race-Obsessed Left Has Released a Monster It Can’t Control

David French, National Review, January 26, 2016

Among the more amusing responses to National Review’s “Against Trump” editorial effort was the claim that Dr. Frankenstein was turning on its monster. In other words, we at National Review created the allegedly racist, xenophobic conditions necessary for Donald Trump’s rise. {snip}


I have two responses. First–and most obvious–it’s simply false to ascribe widespread conservative concern over immigration to “white identity politics.” Does the Left really believe that National Review or its readers would be indifferent to the national-security concerns of anti-American terrorists attempting to infiltrate the ranks of, say, Latvian or Norwegian immigrants? Would our economic concerns be any less valid if large numbers of low-skilled Greek immigrants were depressing blue-collar wages and straining social services?


At the same time, however, a small group of online trolls have indeed gathered under Trump’s banner. Calling themselves the “alt-right,” they’re a motley group of white nationalists and wanna-be fascists. They’ve become adept at flooding Twitter feeds and comments boards, giving the illusion of large-scale online strength. While it’s difficult to determine how many actual American voters belong to the alt-right (versus the number who are busy tweeting from their mom’s basement in Austria), they do exist, and they’ve succeeded in elbowing their way into the national conversation.

But who’s to blame? First and foremost: They are. Individuals are responsible for their own ideology and actions. At the same time, however, people respond to their environment, and it is entirely predictable that race obsession will yield more race obsession, and the consequences are rarely desirable or controllable.

If anyone besides the members of the alt-right is responsible for the latest iteration of whiteness-obsessed fanaticism, is it the conservative movement that is consistently calling for a colorblind politics and culture–echoing Martin Luther King’s call to look to the content of one’s character over the color of one’s skin? Or is it the progressive movement that pushes explicitly race-based organizations such as La Raza or Black Lives Matter while specifically scorning whites, Western civilization, and so-called white privilege?

The Left has elevated a man–Ta-Nehisi Coates–to the pantheon of public intellectuals whose expressions of contempt for his white fellow citizens are so pervasive that, if the roles were reversed, he’d be relegated to the darkest corners of the hateweb. The Left is imposing race obsession on its presidential candidates to the extent that they’re now afraid even to declare that “all lives matter.” Does the Left really believe that such nonsense will spawn only productive and thoughtful critiques?


Who “built” modern white identity politics? White supremacists did, but along the way the Left has handed them the bricks and mortar to construct their edifice of hate. The blame for race obsession belongs to the race obsessives–of all ideological stripes.