I caught a chunklet of an Internet conversation the other day, wherein a couple obviously left-leaning (and intersectional) commenters offered a perfunctory dismissal of Thomas Sowell (and Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson, because Black Non-Liberals are all the same, apparently) as someone whose success is due to his being a black man who criticized black policy goals. As in, he got to where he was because of the color of his skin, not because of effort, or intellectual heft/wisdom.

In doing so, the commenters (unwittingly) validated the argument against affirmative action, identity politics, and intersectional appeasement that those BNLs have made time and again: when you offer preferential treatment based on skin color or some other identity marker, you risk tainting individuals’ successes and instilling a distrust of their abilities in others.

While woke progressives presume such skepticism would only originate in right-wing Neanderthals (though I suppose that they’ll tell me I’m being un-woke, given that Neanderthals were clearly “native” groups and therefore an oppressed class that warrants protection and deference), there it was, plain as day, from proud self-identified progressives.

That conversation popped into my head last night, as my wife and I continued our binge-enjoyment of the television show This Is Us. The show is very well written and superbly acted, but it’s also got all the hallmarks of a broadcast network show (NBC). That is, it blasts political correctness and social justice at the viewer with a figurative fire hose. The intentional diversity and grievance hierarchy is so cloyingly pervasive that it actually takes me out of the story on occasion. It’s as if the writers and producers fear that, absent a sledgehammer bashing the viewers over the head, some few might not get the social-justice messages they are trying to fold into their story telling.

Or, as likely, the messages they feel obligated, at the risk of angering the woke-mob, to blare at every opportunity.

This is where I’d expect some younger and hipper folks to roll their eyes and tell me “OK, Boomer.” As if it’s outside the realm of possibility that the big networks’ monomaniacal efforts at making sure every nanosecond of broadcast, including commercials, is socially just could be the product of defensive thinking rather than wokeness. That it is fear-based appeasement rather than enlightened thinking.

Looking across today’s cultural-political landscape, at the speed with which people and companies are making statements and altering policies in response to BLM, at the wanton abandon with which history is being rewritten and erased, at the justifications and defenses of mob violence and property destruction, and the near-total capitulation of the mainstream Left to a handful of radical voices, and I’m convinced that I’m right.

We are witnessing what may ultimately be dubbed America’s ‘Great Appeasement,’ an abandonment of principle born of fear (not an advancement of culture based on sound arguments).

Type “The Great Appeaser” into Google’s search bar, and the first offering is Neville Chamberlain, notorious for appeasing Nazi Germany’s aggressiveness by orchestrating the ceding of a chunk of Czechoslovakia to the Third Reich. His “victory speech” upon his return?

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.

We all know what happened next.

A rampaging mob does not get satiated by granting its first demands, especially if those demands don’t hold up to rational scrutiny. Of course, a rational person should consider demands, positions, and views that are backed by sound logic, good evidence, and compelling argument. An open mind is one that gets to the best answer, no matter its previous views. But, simply acquiescing out of fear or a desire for peace in the moment virtually ensures that more demands will be made.

This is where we are today.

I am reminded of a quote by George Santayana:

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.

The original (and laudable) aim of the George Floyd protests was reform of police policies that enabled the Derek Chauvins of law enforcement to continue to misbehave (sometimes to the point of death) in their interactions with the public. Now, the leaders the BLM movement, avowed Marxists, have “moved on” from that aim to a broader demand that policing itself be broad-brush curtailed (or eliminated in favor of social workers), that a laundry list of grievances be mollified (justification or soundness notwithstanding), that history itself be rewritten, and that we all sit down, shut up, do as we’re told… and fork over money. In the end, it’s always about Other People’s Money.

Have those leaders forgotten their aims? I’d say their followers have, but that they themselves have not. Instead, I’d suggest that they are seizing an opportunity they’ve been waiting for, for decades. They are seeing the potential culmination of the Cloward-Piven strategy, whose goal was to drive the nation to social collapse so that a socialistic replacement could be instituted. Again, OPM.

Reparations are suddenly back in the fore of policy debate. They overlay a long-murmured affinity for a Guaranteed Basic Income, Joe Biden’s tax plan that is all about (further) soaking the rich, businesses, and anyone who has managed to accrue some measure of wealth over his lifetime, and the Defund the Police sloganeers’ desire that money spend on policing be instead spent as they desire, rather than not being spent at all. See: OPM.

Meanwhile, the cultural reformation (see: appeasement – we didn’t all suddenly awake “woke,” especially since “woke” keeps changing) continues at breakneck speed. Four years ago, progressive icon Mark Ruffalo was castigated for failing to cast a transgender actor to play a transgender character in a film he was producing. His lefty bona fides mattered not, and much groveling ensued. We’ve now progressed to a sudden rush to eliminate non-black actors from voicing black cartoon characters.

Again, if there’s a sound argument for making a change, I welcome the discussion and I’m wholly amenable to receiving it. But, this all reeks of appeasement, and to challenge such moves is to invite a reflexive “you’re a racist” rebuttal.

Back in the 1930s, during the Golden Age of Progressivism, there emerged The Frankfurt School, which sought to advance Marxism by promulgating social and cultural collapse. It attacked logical reason and thinking with its “critical theory,” a methodology of simply criticizing things without proffering alternatives. Look around you and consider how often, today with the unprecedented ease of quick and widespread communication offered by social media, people simply say “this sucks” and expect someone to impose a better way on all of us.

Historian and scholar Christopher Dawson wrote, way back in 1933:

Western civilization at the present day is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that has been previously experienced. Other societies in the past have changed their social institutions or their religious beliefs under the influence of external forces or the slow development of internal growth. But none, like our own, has ever consciously faced the prospect of a fundamental alteration of the beliefs and institutions on which the whole fabric of social life rests.

Today, I see no evidence of “slow development of internal growth.” Instead, I see wholesale changes, driven by violence both actual and virtual, with neither time nor space offered for reasoned discussion and amicable agreement. “Give us what we want and talk the way we want, or we will f— your s— up!”

It’s not just the supposed social Luddites of the Right who are being subjected to threats and bullying, it’s the establishment Democratic Party as well, and the Party is just as guilty of appeasement as Corporate America. Some argue that the Party, once in power, will rein in the radicals in its ranks, but those radicals are a juggernaut at speed, and the Party leadership may find it very hard to slow or stop that train.

Similar circumstances are why Trump won in 2016, and were he a better politician and at least something of a statesman, he could have set himself up for an easy re-election despite the howls of outrage at his victory. Instead, he’s proven to be the small and petty man whose good instincts mostly ran out after his first year in office, and who has not risen to the challenge of leading the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

In addition to a list of fears I shared upon Trump’s election (many of which have come true) was an overarching dread that his Presidency would push the Left further left. That, too, has come true, with the party appeasing Marxists and Socialists out of a blend of power-lust and Twitter-horde-fear. With Trump and the GOP on a path for a serious beat-down in November, I dread the next couple years, both in terms of Washington policy and cultural tyranny. But, even if things flip around in the next four months (should that happen, it would be mostly about voters sharing my dread, rather than about four more years of Trump being an objective good), things are going to stay ugly as long as appeasers continue to hold sway.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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