Trump’s Tergiversations on Charlottesville and Their Significance.

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Like the Soviet Union of yore, contemporary America is in the grip of an ideology, a system of ideas not derived from any empirical study of the world around us, but which provides an account of the world, establishes an aim to be pursued and rules for pursuing it, and (most importantly) legitimates the power of some men over others. Another essential element of any ideology, as of any religion, is its demonology—an account of the enemy whom adherents must forever struggle against. Unlike personal enmities which arise through concrete social interaction, ideological enmities are established a priori by the ideology itself. In the ruling ideology of the Soviet Union, e.g., enemies included the bourgeoisie, revisionists, kulaks, and one especially nondescript class referred to simply as “enemies of the people.” In the ideology which prevails in present day America, the ideological enemies are the abstract groups denounced in Trump’s second Charlottesville remarks: racists, supremacists, haters and bigots, Nazis and the KKK. Ritual denunciation of designated enemies is an essential aspect of ideological rule, and leaders of an ideological regime cannot be considered legitimate without periodically making them. In the Soviet Union, communist politicians learned to spit out denunciations of communism’s demons in their sleep. […]

There is no objective or generally agreed-upon way of determining whether an actual person is a member of an ideologically designated category of enemies. Thus, e.g., if you had the misfortune of being designated an “enemy of the people” in the Soviet Union, you had no way to defend yourself. If you were merely accused of murder, the situation was not so desperate: everyone knows that a murderer is someone who has committed premeditated homicide, so a defense against the charge must try to demonstrate that one did not or could not have committed a particular act of homicide, or only did so without premeditation (manslaughter). But what action defines one as an “enemy of the people?”

Essentially the same situation prevails under American anti-racist ideology. There is no agreed-upon definition of racist, supremacist, bigot or Nazi. One’s membership in such supposed groups is not determined by any actions of one’s own, but arbitrarily imputed by ideological zealots, and thus no defense is possible. How could anyone prove he does not harbor “hate” in the privacy of his own mind?

(Occidental Observer, August 15, 2017).

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