We live in strange times in which we have become obsessed with race to such a degree that skin color has become the determinant of all moral rectitude. If we were “fortunate” enough to be born with white skin, we are guilty of “privilege” which is systemically racist; if we were “unfortunate” enough to be born with black skin, we are cursed with “underprivilege” which is also systemically racist. Racism is no longer about disliking other people because of the color of their skin, which was something of which white people and black people could both be guilty; it is now something that is only applicable to white people, and not to some white people but to all white people for no other reason than their skin pigmentation. According to the older definition of racism, which is blaming someone for something that is beyond their control and therefore not their fault (the skin color inherited genetically at conception), this new understanding of racism is actually racist! This is the crazy Orwellian world of doublethink and newspeak in which we now find ourselves.
In order to expose the nonsense of this latest Marxist spin on historical determinism, let’s take a look at history itself.
The reason that Europeans exploited the people of Africa was because they had the tools with which to do so. They had the weapons, the means of transport, and other technological advantages which empowered them, enabling them to do what they wanted for reasons of personal gain with those who did not possess such technology. If the people of Africa had developed these tools before the Europeans, the people of Africa would no doubt have taken advantage of their empowerment to dominate and domineer the people of Europe. It is, therefore, nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with the systemic pride which is present in all human beings, irrespective of race. Unless this systemic pride is tempered by a culture which values humility, it will run riot and will ride roughshod over the weakest or most vulnerable members of society. Only a culture informed by pride-despising theology and philosophy can keep the destructive and deadly power of pride under some sort of control, even though its presence can never be eradicated because it is part of the brokenness of who we are as human beings.
If it’s all about self-empowerment and doing our own thing, and not about self-sacrifice and doing what we should, we will always have a system in which the strongest, using the tools of technology, will impose themselves upon those who are weaker than they are. If it’s not about love but about power, we should expect nothing but the unjust rule of the most powerful and the enslavement and subjugation of everyone else.
This systemic pride is the driving force behind the exploitation of the poorest nations of the world, especially the nations of Africa, by the forces of globalism. It is global corporations and global financial and political entities that are the new imperialists, exploiting the weakest so that they can empower themselves. If it’s all about the triune god of Pride, the me-myself-and-I, those with power will exploit those who are powerless.
What has any of this to do with race? It is systemic pride, not systemic racism, which is at the heart of the problem.
Having exposed the fundamental error of the neo-Marxist racializing of historical determinism, let’s see what side the Marxists are on with respect to the real struggle between systemic pride and the weakest and poorest people in the world. The Marxists advocate Pride, which is why they are so full of hatred. They don’t believe in loving their neighbors but in destroying their enemies. They insist that without justice, there will be no peace, but they forget that there will be no justice without love. It is sacrificing ourselves for others which heals the wounds inflicted by the selfishness of pride. The way to obtain justice is not to destroy peace until we get it (“No Justice. No Peace.”) but to love our neighbors and our enemies (“No Love. No Justice.”) Love is the prerequisite for peace and justice. Without it we have nothing but the systemic pride which rules the world with the spirit of “might is right.”
Let’s finish with the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi who dismissed the stupidity of those who dream of systems so perfect that nobody needs to be good. No “system” will ever be perfect and those who dream of such systems always create nightmares. A society which advocates virtue and makes war on vice and the viciousness which is its consequence will be better and more just than a society that despises virtue and advocates vice. The former is a civilization of love; the latter is of systemic pride. The war between these two visions of the future is the only one worth fighting.
This article has been republished with permission from The Imaginative Conservative.
Joseph Pearce is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A native of England, Mr. Pearce is Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review, editor of Faith & Culture, and series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions. He is the author of numerous books, which include The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc.