Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Inbox: ‘Systemic’ Racism

Israel had the greatest system in the history of our planet.

God gave a plethora of laws to Moses on Sinai, yet they did not make for a perfect society because people are not perfect. Individuals observed those laws from time to time, and in doing so, benefited from them. But on a national level, Israel would not — nay, could not — follow those laws, notwithstanding the fact that they were morally excellent, decent, orderly, and taught lessons humanity absolutely needed to learn, not to mention they pointed to Christ. So God gave them, man received them, and the result was systemic failure.

Or was it?

It was not. God’s law didn’t fail; the people failed. That’s different. A failed system demands a new system, but a failing people cannot be remedied by giving them a better set of rules. We need a new people; men and women with a new heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone.

That’s why the prophets never cried, “Restructure! Reinstitutionalize! Redesign!” Rather, they cried, “Repent!”

Repentance is a command that affects the system when people obey it in sufficient numbers, but actually addresses the individual within the system. It attacks the problem personally, not at the institutional level.

Repentance can solve a so-called “systemic” problem. It’s the only thing that can, because it addresses the spirit rather than the letter. Greedy, hateful, angry, envious people do not become less of these things when you give them a bunch of stuff. They just want more of it. When you cede control of the system to them, they are no happier. In fact, they are angrier, because to give them the wheel of the ship now demands something of them; something they have no ability to manufacture.

One of our readers has sussed this out for himself:
Sometimes it takes me a long time, but I finally get it.

At first, I was puzzled by the term systemic racism. What does it mean?

It means that the racism is not personal, not identified with particular people or any specific events, but rather somehow “in the system”, where nobody can get at it.

I was puzzled by the love that Leftist academics had for it, though. I thought they were against racism. And leaving racism “out there” and vague meant that it was harder ... impossible, really ... to find out who was doing it, or what was causing it, and to deal with that thing. “If calling racism ‘systemic’ makes it impossible to locate,” I wondered, “doesn’t that mean that it’s impossible to fight? How can you defeat something you can’t even find?”

But no, the academics wanted to keep it all “systemic”. They were quite adamantly opposed to any suggestion that the problem was solvable by identifying the perpetrators and specific problems, and eliminating them. They were even angry with me for suggesting we’d be better to identify what was really troubling them. They did not want to.

“Why?” I wondered.

And then I saw. So long as racism is “systemic” only, they can claim it continues to exist forever. There will always be a demand for more complaining academics, and another opportunity for virtue signaling. But if the problem were ever located and ended, so would their usefulness be.

But it was only later that I saw that the looters and rioters had a somewhat different motive for liking “systemic racism” and not specific racism. If racism is a product of “the system,” then it means that you can do violence indiscriminately, loot indiscriminately, hurt people indiscriminately. And why? Because racism is latent in the whole system, and so destroying any part of “the system” is an act of virtue. You can loot a Target store or Foot Locker virtuously. You can burn a gas station virtuously. You can cudgel elderly people virtuously, regardless of who they are. You can hate all law and order virtuously. You can intimidate restaurant patrons virtuously, and shoot political supporters virtuously. And you can set your whole town on fire virtuously.

Why? Because they’re all cogs in “the system”. And the racism is in “the system”. So every act that destroys “the system”, regardless of who or what, is, in your eyes, virtuous. You’re a freedom fighter with a Louis Vuitton handbag you’ve looted from “the system”.

So neither the looters nor the Leftist academics nor the #BLM-ers want racism to stop. They need it perpetually ... out there, in “the system”, to license their self-righteous zeal, their hatred, their will to destroy and their freedom to profit and strategize in doing it while still telling themselves they are virtuous.

Then I understood that all real anti-racism is specific. And “systemic racism” is nothing but a cloak for the perpetuation of the allegation of racism indefinitely, plus an infinite license for bad behavior.

Mistrust anyone who speaks of “systemic racism”. They probably have reasons why they don’t want to be specific. And they probably don’t actually hate racism at all.

They probably love it.
Blaming the system is always marvelously simple and fatally flawed.

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