Sunday, January 10, 2010

Responding to 'Seven Questions for Donald Douglas'

We've had some roiling of the racial waters with the release of John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. While I thought Bill Clinton's remark was worse ("this guy would have been getting us coffee" a few years ago), it's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who's taking a lot of heat for his comments on Barack Obama ("light-skinned" with "no Negro dialect"). Indeed, folks want Reid's head: "Cornyn, Steele Call on Reid to Resign as Senate Leader After Obama 'Negro' Comment." (Via Memeorandum.)

The main thing for me, of course, is the hypocrisy (Democrats are actually the biggest racists, but they scream the loudest with allegations of racism). Of course, hardly anyone's debating the actual substance of the Reid's comments. Is it racist or simply politically incorrect to use the word "negro" when talking about blacks. And of course, before Obama snagged the Democratic nomination in 2008, it was those in the black community who were saying that Obama wasn't really black. In fact, a good case in point is Earl Ofari Hutchinson. In January 2007 Hutchinson wrote, "
Why Blacks Won't Necessarily Back Obama," arguing that Obama wasn't really a "brother." And then just today Hutchinson's got a piece up defending Harry Reid, "Reid Spoke the Awful Truth about Obama´s Racial Exceptionalism":

His race neutral campaign was widely perceived as a soothing departure from the race baiting antics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. But others liked him because of, and were plainly fascinated by his racially exotic background. It supposedly didn't fit that of the typical African American. This was Reid´s point.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is black. It's thus (apparently) totally kosher for him to comment on shades of black political acceptability. But what about a white guy, say Robert Stacy McCain? Well, it turns out McCain's said the same thing:

We’re at a teachable moment here and we ought to begin by acknowledging the fundamental truth of what Harry Reid was awkwardly trying to say: Barack Obama is “less black,” both racially and culturally, than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. If Reid was trying to explain why Obama was electable in a way that Sharpton and Jackson were not, then he hit the nail quite nearly on the head.
So, would a coincidence like this insulate McCain from charges of "racism"? Absolutely not. If folks like Charles Johnson have something to gain by making scurrilous allegations of racism and "white supremacy," they'll make them. There's a lot of political currency to be had for trumpeting the left's racial grievance shibboleths. So, morally bankrupt brain-addled commentators routinely level the charges.

And that brings me to Barrett Brown, who has responded -- about a month later -- to an essay I wroted debunking Brown's own stupid racist smears. Unfortunately, Brown doesn't read well or comprehend sophisticated racial dialogue, and he selectively quoted my essay without delving into the real issues involved -- and that's not to mention his claim that I attacked him as an "atheist," when what I really attacked is his smear merchandizing. So here's Barrett's latest flop, "
Seven Questions for Donald Douglas on the Question of R.S. McCain’s Racism." Folks can read the whole essay for themselves. It's the same old worthless allegations ... In fact, I was actually going to ignore 'em. But since I had just spent the day with Robert Stacy McCain last week (and Brown's been reading my blog, suggesting that I'm "very close" with McCain), I thought I'd send the entry over to my good buddy Stogie at Saber Point. To my surprise, Stogie sent back a point-by-point rebuttal to Brown's "seven questions" (questions by the way which are themselves based in unsubstantiated assertions). So, here you go, in any case:

1. Why do you think McCain chose the name “Dabney” for his alter ego?

Obviously the name refers to Robert Lewis Dabney, a Confederate Army chaplain. Dabney's wife was a first cousin to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Dabney defended the South after the Civil War, including the theological support for slavery. I do not know why McCain chose him, except that perhaps he was a prolific defender of the Confederate cause after the war.

2.What is it about Robert Lewis Dabney that McCain admires, in your opinion?

I do not know for sure. Possible reasons: Dabney was a Confederate and McCain is a Confederate descendant; Dabney was a Christian and so is McCain; Dabney was a prolific defender of the South and so is McCain. I am absolutely sure, however, that it is not because McCain wants to restore slavery to the Southern states. The truth is, you are merely searching for a "gotcha," a smoking gun that will enable you to finally label McCain and file him away in the ideological filing cabinet of your mind.

3. Are you aware that Dabney is known today almost exclusively for his theological defense of slavery?

I am aware of that. The Bible does indeed provide a defense of slavery. Slavery was largely unquestioned for 3,000 years and only started to be questioned with the advent of democracy. Socrates and many other past philosophers, theologians and politicians believed that slavery was part of the natural order of things. Even Jesus accepted it (indeed, there was no other paradigm from which to refer), as did Abraham and many other Biblical characters.

So what are you implying? That the Biblical defenses of slavery do not exist, or should be repudiated, or that people of prior generations with different social mores, cultures, beliefs and situations should be denounced for not holding 21st century views, even though they never lived in modern times?

4. Are you familiar with the publication American Renaissance?

Yes. I used to subscribe to it.

5. Do you consider the publication to be white supremacist in nature?

Not entirely. Any "white supremacy" may be implied but I never saw it overtly expressed. There are white supremacists who take the publication because they like the discussion about race and crime. The founder of that publication does not believe that whites are "superior" to Asians, as Asians have a provably higher IQ than whites. He once asked if that made him a "yellow supremacist." The publication was generally objective and useful in discussing race and crime, political correctness, IQ and other factors as they vary by race. I stopped taking it, however, when I became aware that neo-Nazis love the publication and when it began running selected stories about non-white crime, which I felt were not really representative and had no purpose other than to stoke race prejudice. The short answer is that I do not recommend American Renaissance.

6. What do you think it says about McCain that he wrote an article for that publication in which he warns about white “race suicide” and did so under a pen name inspired by a fellow who is known almost exclusively for his theological defense of slavery?

I haven't read the article and have no reason to believe that McCain did any such thing. Where is your proof?

7. You attack me for being an atheist. Is it better to ascribe to the Old Testament, which explains that one may beat one’s slave so long as the slave does not die within a few days afterwards?

I don't know which Old Testament scripture you refer to, so cannot honestly respond. In any case, the Old Testament does not apply to Christians. However, I can observe that atheism as practiced by Nazis and Communists led the way to genocide of millions simply because the Nazis and Communists felt they would never be held accountable by a just God.

Barrett Brown concluded his essay by saying he hoped that I'd "choose to answer these questions." Well, Stogie's answered them eminently well here, and I wouldn't have done so too much differently. But again I probably wouldn't have bothered to answer them at all, since Barrett Brown obviously didn't take care to address what I'd written in the first place (I've read American Renaissance, for example, and said what I thought about it already). Frankly, Brown stonewalled and mischaracterized my post, and I doubt he has the kind of decency that I'd expect in one worth engaging at a serious, substantive level altogether.

Thanks to Stogie at Saber Point for going above and beyond the call of duty on that one.

Added: Patterico's apparently jumping into this phase of the Reid debate to put the digs into R.S. McCain -- again!! And that's after he already tried to walk back his first round or racist allegations! So just think: Radical Barret Brown and LGF-wannabe Patterico as brothers in arms? Now that's what I'm taking about! It's not the substance of the claims themselves, it's what you can get out of milking 'em!!

Also, in my in-box, from The Daley Gator, "An Open Challenge to a Historically Clueless Douchebag."


Dana said...

Stogie wrote:

In any case, the Old Testament does not apply to Christians.

Uhhh, Stogie needs someone to explain Christian theology to him. The closest one could come to a statement like that is Acts, Chapter 15, where the Apostles, meeting in the Council of Jerusalem, agreed that the Gentiles would not be subject to the Jewish dietary laws or circumcision to convert to Christianity, but that's about the extent of it.

In a Catholic Sunday Mass, we have three scripture readings ~ One Old Testament reading first, a New Testament, non-Gospel reading, and the third reading, by the priest or deacon, is from the Gospels. In addition, there is the responsorial Psalm, from the Old Testament Book of Psalms.

smitty1e said...

I kinda busted Patterico's chops a bit in the comments on his post, but we've since walked that back.

Slashdot was educational for me in years past in the art of not taking myself too seriously online.

Anonymous said...

Donald, this fellow is a what I call a historical illiterate. He has no clue. I have issued a challenge to debate him.

Stogie said...

Donald, I haven't read McCain's alleged article on "the suicide of the white race," but I do agree that the white race is committing suicide. The race is in decline demographically due to low birth rates that are below replacement levels. A number of books have addressed this, such as Mark Steyn's "America Alone."

Is this demographic suicide a good thing? I don't think so, not because of any affinity for pink skin, but because the race is a bulwark of western civilization and values, including representative democracy, pluralism and tolerance.

In Europe, the demographic decline is being filled with Muslim immigrants who someday may replace western civilization with sharia law.

I don't have a problem with the slow blending of the races through intermarriage. My only concern is whether future generations, whatever their skin color, will be committed to our republican form of government, free and democratic elections, religious and other freedoms. It is for that reason that the current demographic decline is of real concern.

dave in boca said...

Donald, "In any case, the Old Testament does not apply to Christians" is true as far as dietary and other practices such as circumcision are concerned, but Jesus Christ did incorporate the Ten Commandments and some other basic moral principles from the Torah into Christianity, which has best been described as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

At least that's what those Jesuits taught me in theology classes!

Stogie said...

Dana, my aren't you the arrogant one? I don't need you to explain anything to me, having read the entire Bible. The term "New Testament" means exactly that, and the Old Testament "was nailed to the cross." Christians have no dietary laws, but neither are they required to sacrifice animals, be circumcised, attend synagogue, or observe Jewish rites, ceremonies, holidays or anything else.

For a Christian, the Old Testament is religious history, and "that's about it."

Dave in Boca is much more accurate. Unless Jesus incorporated Old Testament rules on how to treat slaves into the New Testament, those rules are pretty much null and void.