The Other McCain

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AOC, ‘ADOS,’ and the Strange New Contours of ‘White Supremacy’

Posted on | June 23, 2024 | 1 Comment

One of the basic problems of young extremists — this is equally true of Nick Fuentes and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — is that they don’t know history, and cannot be made to understand why history matters. A few years ago, Michelle Malkin tried to get Fuentes to abandon his Jew-hating (thus to make his “Groypers” a force capable of influencing mainstream politics), but that proved to be a futile effort. There is a puerile attitude, an adolescent thrill-seeking mentality, the frisson of defying the taboo, in youth who engage in anti-Semitism the way other youth get their thrills by illegally riding ATVs in the city. The attraction of being a neo-Nazi type, as in any kind of extremism, is the opportunity to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond. A desire to “be somebody” in the political realm means entering a competition with all the other players in the game; it’s much easier to “be somebody” among the radical fringe, where the numbers are much smaller and your competitors for influence are generally not the sharpest tools in the shed. But I digress . . .

What is the real problem with American foreign policy? Is it, as AOC and Nick Fuentes apparently agree, that Jews have too much influence?

This was the burden of AOC’s “freakout” about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is trying to unseat New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary:

In response to AOC’s preposterously bratty shot at AIPAC, the organization responded, correctly, that polling definitively shows American voters to be pro-Israel and therefore members of Congress are responding to their constituents, not fear of Jewish money.
To that, Ocasio-Cortez shot back: “If AIPAC positions were so popular, they’d be free. Instead, they’re bought.” Ocasio-Cortez posted that last night, but I am writing this now because I have only just stopped laughing at her attempt at wit. Not with. At.
In fact, AIPAC’s positions are unquestionably popular on the whole—even AOC is capable of seeing that. But the overall point that campaign donations represent only unpopular opinions is ironic given that, as others pointed out to her, AOC is no fundraising lightweight. If her position is that she is bought and paid for, and therefore she assumes that to be true of others—well, that is quite the projection, but please leave the American Jewish community out of it.
At this point, Ocasio-Cortez essentially exists to live-tweet a 2024 adaptation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Indeed. But is Fuentes correct that an “America First” policy is (or should be) as reflexively anti-Israel as AOC and Jamaal Bowman? Is that the real problem with American foreign policy? No, the real problem is that the United States foreign policy establishment has never developed a coherent worldview since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s brought an end to the Cold War. This problem can be summed up in a mindlessly repeated phrase: “Our European allies.”

For more than 40 years, American foreign policy was organized around the principle of containing Communism, countering the Soviet nuclear threat, and blocking efforts by the Soviets to spread their Marxist-Leninist ideology through revolution, subversion and military aggression — “wars of national liberation.” The NATO alliance was crucial to that geopolitical strategy, and thus pandering to the concerns of “our European allies” became part of American diplomatic practice. The collapse of the Soviet Union created an opportunity to reorient American policy, particularly by helping the former Communist bloc countries successfully enter the global market economy and develop democratic socio-political cultures, but that opportunity was squandered by the Clinton Administration, which was run by people with zero understanding of human nature, and no apparent desire to advance U.S. interests. Then came the GW Bush years, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which among other things exposed the fact that most of “our European allies” had ceased to be capable of mounting any kind of large-scale military expedition. If “allies” are not helpful in time of war, what’s the point of the alliance? How many armored divisions could France or Germany (or Belgium, etc.) deploy if push came to shove? How many boots could they put on the ground? Even if you could go down the list of our NATO allies and list a certain number of combat-ready battalions, what are the chances that we could persuade them to actually put those troops in harm’s way? “Our European allies” are decadent — they are weak and cowardly and not worth a damn in terms of any deterrent effect. The “peace-through-strength” calculation that is our only true basis of security is ruined by the reality of European weakness.

That, my friends, is the basic problem of American foreign policy, and while I don’t have any simple solutions to this problem in mind, my point is that anyone whining about Israel is completely misguided in terms of what “America First” should mean. At least Israel has an effective military and is willing to use it, which is something you can’t say for most of “our European allies.” It should be obvious that left-wingers like AOC hate Israel mainly because Israel is a good ally — anything that’s good for America, AOC will predictably be against it. As for Nick Fuentes, it’s probably best to view him an irresponsible brat, like a schoolboy scrawling swastikas in his notebook just to make his teacher mad.

‘White Supremacist’ = Jew-Hater?

Let us now, however, examine the way AOC uses the term “white supremacy” in denouncing Nick Fuentes. What exactly does she mean by this phrase? Until about 10 years ago, the accusation of “white supremacy” was rare, even in the liberal media. Accusations of racism — “RAAAAACISM!” — were fairly common, but as Trump emerged as a GOP contender, suddenly “white supremacy” loomed large.

That graphic, showing the frequency of use of “white supremacy”/“white supremacist” in four major media outlets (the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal), was done by Zack Goldberg of Tablet in 2020, and I’d urge everyone to read the whole thing. Goldberg’s focus was the emergence of “woke” racial rhetoric in the media, but what I specifically wish to call to the attention of readers is the anti-Semitic connotation of “white supremacist,” its function as a “dog whistle” to the Jewish audience.

As I have sometimes observed, everybody is “racist” in some sense of that word. One synonym for “racist” is ethnocentric, which is to say, we are concerned not only with ourselves as individuals, but also, considering ourselves to be members of some particular ethnic group, are also concerned with the welfare of whatever group that may be. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this ethnocentric attitude, which is merely an expression of human nature. Mankind has always been tribal, it’s the basic wiring of our social outlook. Living in an affluent, technologically advanced society, especially where communication systems give us immediate access to people and places across the globe, it’s easy to lose sight of the tribal aspect of human nature. The educated person is always tempted to think of himself as a sophisticated cosmopolitan — un citoyen du monde — but this attitude is itself a manifestation of our innate tribalism, since the cosmopolitan seeks to identify himself as a member of a “tribe” of like-minded people (e.g., the Ivy League assholes who run the State Department).

What is my “tribe”? How do I identify? Years ago, Michael Barone, the veteran chronicler of political demographics, took notice of those who, when asked on Census forms to identify their ancestry (Irish, Italian, etc.) chose “American.” These people, Barone explained, tended to live in rural areas and to be of what has sometimes been called “Old Stock” ancestry. That is to say, they are descended from the pioneer colonial settlers, so that all their ancestors are listed in the first Census of 1790.

That’s the grave of my ancestor who served in the South Carolina militia that defeated the British in the Battle of Cowpens. As I said in my Memorial Day post: “An awareness of one’s ancestry provides a deeper appreciation of history, which is valuable to our sense of who we are, and gives us a perspective that we might not otherwise possess.” Unfortunately, most Americans know nearly nothing of their ancestry — many couldn’t even tell you their paternal grandmother’s maiden name — and so lack this sense of themselves as the heirs of a historical legacy.

The stigmatization of white people (which is what the media rhetoric about “white supremacy” is really about) produces different reactions in different white people, depending on their own sense of identity. One way that some people try to deflect this insult is to say that their ancestors were immigrants who arrived after the Civil War — the Ellis Island cohort, largely from southern and eastern Europe — so that they cannot be held responsible for slavery, Jim Crow, etc. This was a big reason why the term “WASP” (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) enjoyed a remarkable vogue during the 1960s and ’70s: If you were an Irish Catholic, Italian, Polish, etc., and wanted to distinguish yourself in a way to disavow responsibility for racism, you’d point the finger toward those “WASPs” as being the real villains of the American racial melodrama.

Excuse me if such “WASP”-bashing has always offended me. What you are saying, Mister Kowalski, is that your grand-grandmother from Krakow was somehow better than my great-grandmother from Alabama? And that, by logical inference, you are therefore superior to me?

Most people know nothing more about logic than they know about genealogy, of course, and one must learn to shrug off such unintended insults, but the point I’m trying to get at is how the term “white supremacy” acquired a connotation of anti-Semitism that “racist” does not have. Furthermore, I wish to persuade you, many of the people who are nowadays slinging around the accusation of “white supremacy” do so with exactly that connotation in mind. That is to say, Democrats know damn well that when Jewish people hear the term “white supremacy” they think of Jew-hating neo-Nazis, so that accusing Republicans of “white supremacy” functions as a propaganda tactic to keep Jewish voters from questioning their loyalty to the Democratic Party, in a way analogous to Joe Biden’s infamous warning to black voters about Mitt Romney: “They gonna put y’all back in chains.”

Winning elections by appealing to irrational fear — why is it that Democrats are never held accountable for such tactics? Except of course, that the news media are “Democratic operatives with bylines,” so they cheerfully applaud such tactics by Democrats. If any Republican engages in similar demagoguery, however, suddenly the media are full of indignant outrage: “How dare they do the same thing we do!”

Tribalism as a Zero-Sum Game

Democratic Party rhetoric is like the made-up “Festivus” holiday from Seinfeld — its main point is The Airing of Grievances. Various groups must be told, over and over again, how they are Victims of Oppression, and how Republicans are somehow responsible for this alleged oppression. In Minnesota, Democrats actually incorporated this idea into their name, the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), expressing the idea of an inherent unity of interest between farmers (i.e., impoverished peasants) and “labor” (i.e., the proletariat of Marxist jargon), all of whom were somehow oppressed by . . . Well, who, exactly?

The crypto-Marxist mentality of the DFL, with its implied representation of one side of a struggle between economic classes, stands in contradiction to the meritocratic view of Americans society, where everybody is free to get ahead by their own efforts. The essential message of Democratic Party rhetoric (not just in Minnesota) is that the American Dream of opportunity is a cruel lie. Anyone who is not already rich is forever doomed to poverty and misery — and BLAME REPUBLICANS!

However successful this message may be in mobilizing Democratic voters, the Festivus-style Airing of Grievances approach to politics has a harmful psychological impact on individuals. Is it any wonder that liberal young women are experiencing a mental health crisis? They have immersed themselves in “woke” politics, where the Victimhood Mentality is a sort of secular gospel, and this is the antithesis of healthy thinking.

Jon Haidt has analyzed the ways in which “woke” beliefs impair mental health by denying personal agency. If you know anything at all about mental health, you know how important it is for people to feel that they are in control of their own lives, rather than being subject to an “external locus of control.” Arguably the worst form of psychosis, paranoid schizophrenia, is characterized by the patient’s belief that he is menaced by controlling outside forces, the CIA monitoring his brain waves or whatever. Developing a sense of personal agency means that we must accept responsibility for our own flaws and failures, which can be difficult, but the alternative — blaming all our problems on some external “them” — is a roadmap to insanity. And it’s this blame-game view of life that Democrats are constantly promoting, which explains why the Democratic Party attracts lunatics like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Airing of Grievances would be bad enough if it were limited to controversies and conflicts in the here-and-now. Yet Democrats encourage people to feel resentments based on grievances inherited from the past. Conjuring up fears of “white supremacy” among Jews involves making them think that today’s Republican is not essentially different from the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust, even if — in the here-and-now context — nearly all the Jew-hating rhetoric is coming from the Left. The message is: “Vote for the party of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar because Donald Trump is Literally Hitler! Orange Man Bad!”

Anyone who closely examines the so-called “pro-Palestine” movement will see that it’s based on the same crypto-Marxist ideology that inspires every other left-wing cause, including Black Lives Matter, #MeToo feminism, LGBTQIA+ radicalism, etc. — the us-and-them conflict of Oppressors and Victims, the appeal to historic grievances, the exaggeration of wrongs, etc. And, of course, if you attempt to interrogate their claims, the advocates of these social justice causes will denounce you as a hateful enemy. Identity politics involves a zero-sum-game worldview, in which inflicting harm on them (the enemy) is always good, even if there is no obvious benefit to us. It’s like the old Russian joke about two peasant ladies who “lived across the road from each other. One had a cow, sold milk and was therefore (by local standards) rich. The other old lady had no cow and was poorer. A genie appeared and offered the poor lady one wish. Thinking for a moment she answered: ‘Kill my neighbor’s cow.’” This is exactly the attitude of Hamas supporters toward the Jews in Israel — the Jews are hated because they are more successful than their Arab neighbors. And never mind asking why the Jews are successful, because the answer might not be flattering to the Arabs.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng

‘ADOS’ and Black Authenticity

My friend Juliette Ochieng, a/k/a “Baldilocks,” is an old school blogger from way before I even started my own blog. During the Great LGF Blog War of 2009, when Charles Johnson became obsessed with me — me! — as proof that the Republican Party was being taken over by “white supremacists,” Juliette never flinched from her conviction that CJ was the problem, and not me (or Pamela Geller or anyone else at whom CJ pointed the accusatory finger). Seems like a million years ago . . .

Juliette’s got up a Substack post about black Americans who “strive to differentiate themselves from black Africans and Caribbean immigrants using two terms: African-American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) and Foundational Black Americans (FBA).” Several years ago, I became aware of this “ADOS” discourse not from grudge-holding left-wing ax-grinders, but rather from some black conservatives who pointed out that Kamala Harris is not “black,” in this sense, nor is she truly “African-American,” because none of her ancestors were from America. Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, is from India. Shyamala first came to the United States as a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley, where she got her Ph.D. in 1964, while Kamala’s Jamaican father, Donald Harris, who also came to the U.S. as a graduate student, got his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 1966. And despite the efforts of media “fact-checkers” to obscure the truth, Donald Harris himself cited his descent from prominent Jamaican slave owner Hamilton Brown.

Do such distinctions among black Americans matter, and if so, why? Juliette (whose father is from Kenya and whose mother is “ADOS”) rejects such “splintered, scattered thinking,” and notes that many ADOS activists, who generally disparage latter-day African immigrants, had no problem with Barack Obama, who is half-Kenyan/half-white.

Let me here note that I’ve never indulged in the common habit of some right-wingers of loudly condemning black racism. As I’ve said, everybody is “racist” in some sense of that word, and I don’t think there is much to be gained, in terms of political persuasion, in acting indignant about black people being racist. In all honesty, if I were black, while I might not be jumping aboard the Louis Farrakhan bandwagon or joining the “Black Hebrew Israelite” cult, certainly I’d find some way of expressing my sense of racial pride. Whoever you are, whatever niche of humanity you belong to, an ethnocentric sense of pride would seem beneficial, and not harmful. If I were Jewish, I’d be a proud Jew; if I were Greek, I’d be a proud Greek; as it is, I’m an American and proud of it.

Ah, but what about diversity? And what about the not-so-secret racial spoils system of quotas that are imposed in the name of “diversity”?

That’s what the “ADOS” activists really have in mind when they make a big deal about who is (and is not) authentically black. When an elite university imposes admissions quotas — and, as evidence in a recent Supreme Court case showed, Harvard University had a 14% quote for black students — it makes a big difference who gets counted as black. If the objective of Harvard’s “diversity” policy is to deliver some degree of social justice to black people in America, isn’t it rather important to point out that the descendants of Cotton Belt slaves derive no benefit from Harvard granting admission to the offspring of wealthy immigrants?

See, these catch-all racial categories — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — are too large to be useful as measures of where any one individual might fall within the “privilege”/“oppression” matrix that those who operate diversity programs intend to adjust via social engineering. Not everyone who counts as Hispanic is an impoverished mestizo laborer, not every black person is fresh out of the ghetto, and certainly not every white person in America is “privileged,” a point that J.D. Vance sought to drive home in Hillbilly Elegy. Yet these sorts of stereotypical assumptions are built into the “diversity” regime, which is why I can’t imagine any white male even bothering to apply to an Ivy League school nowadays, as these “elite” universities have long since made clear that they are organized on the basis of a categorical hatred of white males.

‘Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes’

The ranting idiot known as AOC, who strives to identify as a Woman of Color (and thus, automatically, a Victim of Oppression) grew up in affluent Westchester County, where she was known as “Sandy” Cortez to friends. Her father was the CEO of an architectural firm, and her whole radical left-wing “struggle” against oppression is just a shtick she learned while attending Boston University (annual tuition $65,168). All this rhetoric about social justice — especially including what AOC and her comrades say about Israel and Gaza — is based on the idea that membership in some group justifies people in a Festivus-style “Airing of Grievances” attitude, giving rise to universal animosity, what Hobbes described as bellum omnium contra omnes, “the war of all against all.”

In the same way (and for the same reason) that Democrats hype the threat of “white supremacy,” they also accuse Republicans of promoting “Christian nationalism.” It should be obvious that both of these propaganda phrases are aimed at keeping Jews so afraid of Republicans — “Orange Man Bad!” — that they’ll vote for Joe Biden, despite the disastrous consequences of Biden’s policies for Israel, despite the blatant anti-Semitism expressed by Democrats like Jamaal Bowman, and despite the fact that American Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel.

Joe Biden got 77 percent of the Jewish vote in 2020, and if we’re going to engage in the collective-guilt game of identity politics, if any Jew wants to apologize for electing Joe Biden, I’d be willing to consider accepting their apology. But in lieu of such an apology, I’ll just be satisfied if Biden gets less than 77% of the Jewish vote this time around, and I don’t expect to be disappointed in that hope. Fears of a “right-wing” threat to American Jews are mostly hypothetical, whereas the Hamas threat is very real, and if you didn’t already know which party was pro-Hamas, AOC and her friends are doing everything they can to make it clear to you.

People need to wake the hell up, before it’s too late.


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One Response to “AOC, ‘ADOS,’ and the Strange New Contours of ‘White Supremacy’”

  1. News of the Week (June 30th, 2024) | The Political Hat
    June 30th, 2024 @ 3:36 pm

    […] AOC, ‘ADOS,’ and the Strange New Contours of ‘White Supremacy’ One of the basic problems of young extremists — this is equally true of Nick Fuentes and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — is that they don’t know history, and cannot be made to understand why history matters. A few years ago, Michelle Malkin tried to get Fuentes to abandon his Jew-hating (thus to make his “Groypers” a force capable of influencing mainstream politics), but that proved to be a futile effort. There is a puerile attitude, an adolescent thrill-seeking mentality, the frisson of defying the taboo, in youth who engage in anti-Semitism the way other youth get their thrills by illegally riding ATVs in the city. The attraction of being a neo-Nazi type, as in any kind of extremism, is the opportunity to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond. A desire to “be somebody” in the political realm means entering a competition with all the other players in the game; it’s much easier to “be somebody” among the radical fringe, where the numbers are much smaller and your competitors for influence are generally not the sharpest tools in the shed. But I digress . . . […]