Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Racism and Collectivism and Ron Paul

Here is a quote that is becoming favorite among Ron Paul supporters to quell the notion he is a racist:

Racism is an ugly form of collectivism.

Quoted from his essay "Racism and Government." This is not something dredged up from the past. This was written half a year ago.

In other words, racism is symptom of a collective mindset.

This does not sit easy with me. Hardly anything does, except a nice hot cup of Lipton Yellow Lable and Herzog flick. But it seems to me that Ron Paul's worldview is totallogically digesting a very complicated concept, "racism," and a social political problem, "racism," as if it were just a bitter pill to swallow up. Notions of class and race and stratification and hierarchies are nothing to this man. It is a question of "identity."

This is what I am extrapolating from Ron Paul's writings. Racism is an ugly form of "collectivism." And to think collectively, is to associate yourself with one "identity," and to associate others with another type of "identity."

The notion of identity is very difficult for me to examine. What is an identity? What is my identity? I'm not trying to be an asshole, but it is very difficult for me. I am "Jewish." I am "Male." I am 33 years old. What else am I? What constitutes my identity? And if certain forms of collectivism, such as associating myself with a race-related identity, "Jewish," which forms aren't so ugly? Is it racist to call myself a Jew?

Let me try to stay on point here. Ron Paul would have me believe that if I blame certain liberties being deprived from me because of my ascribed "identity" that I am not the victim but in fact the perpetrator. Those who ascribe racial identities perpetrate the disliberties.

This is such a staggeringly simple-minded approach to the whole subject.

The idea of race is a construct. BUt so is the idea of a collective, and, I would say, so is the individual. At home, in front of my computer, I can sit here and think how I am both a part of a collective, and something wholly unto myself, an individual. I think the so called "individualist" approach that Ron Paul espouses is created in order to insinuate certain things, and is a dishonest approach at viewing society. Society can be grouped into many categories, and those categories interact with each other in astonishingly complex ways. Social Science is the study of these interactions; and most honest social scientists will say that we are still in the dark ages as with regards to our knowledge about said phenomenon.

Now I agree that we must distill things, and attempt to simplify things in order to get to a working knowledge for application; but we must not simplify things so hastily, especially so that can be pressed into the jigsaw that is our precarious total understanding of the world. In other words, I say that Ron Paul is using the gospel of Libertarianism to explain the inexplicable.

And so, if you dissect what he says, like what many libertarians say, I think you will find that they are saying could be claimed, in distillate form, as "racist." What they say, and how they say it are crucial. To simply boil down racism as to an "ugly" form of "collectivism" ignores institutionalized legacies...

But before I go any further, it should be obvious what my leanings are. If I were to say I was a collectivist or an individualist, I would say the short answer is that I am a collectivist. But that's not taking the account of the complexities and shortcomings of any idealogy being put into practice. Should we value the individual? Of course! Anybody who knows me knows that I value individual creation more than anything. Every human being is a genetic aberration, and we are all definitively individual. But we are also definitively connected to everything else in this world. Whether in purely physical terms, societal terms, or in the realm of physics! The binary of individual and collective cannot be spliced so neatly.

But I think Ron Paul and others who share his worldview know this. They show themselves as persons who want to jump off the fence on the collective/individual divide, but the jumping action hides their real purposes. And all you have to do is delve into the bunker-crypts of libertarianism, look for the gold and weaponry hoards underneath their basement planks, and you'll find a collective mindset of paranoia, vigilante idealism and buried hatreds that they long to unleash in the great READJUSTMENT. Oh, how we will have wished we'd listened--you'll see, when the collective comes crashing down on us and the thin sheet of civilization that separates us from barbarous anarchy crumbles into a vaporous shrapnel dust that will choke our collective throats.

No comments: