Friday, November 18, 2005

Little Hitler: creating an old kind of Jew-hater

Harry Seabrook has made use of some of my material to justify his “kinism.” What is kinism? Kinism is a euphemism for white supremacy.

This raises the question of whether I should respond to Seabrook’s misuse of my material. Is it worth the time and effort?

On the one hand, I suspect that Seabrook is just spoiling for a fight with any Christian blogger he can bait in order to raise the public profile of his own little cult. In addition, I have better things to do with my time than get into an open-ended debate with a bunch of fanatical dead-enders.

On the other hand, I’m a Christian apologist of sorts. Christianity is a missionary faith. So it is worthwhile to make some effort at evangelistic outreach.

I don’t expect to win over Seabrook. He has found his cause in life. He would lose face were he took recant his racism.

However, we live in a country where many young people are raised in a moral vacuum—a moral vacuum which is filled by a radical ideology that denies them their manhood or woman, as well as their Christian heritage.

Young people are naturally idealistic. Ethical indirection and misdirection makes them easy targets for a twisted idealism. You can see this in young anarchists who protest globalism, Zionism, and the Iraq war, not to mention young skinheads who protest…well…who protest globalism, Zionism, and the Iraq war.

It would be tempting to dismiss little Geneva as the counterfeit Christian cult and hate-mongering fringe-group that it is. That is the liberal modus operandi. Don’t reason with the opposing side. Just slap a pejorative label on the opposing side and then pat yourself on the back for being so very virtuous.

But that is, as I say, not the best way to address the issue. For one thing, cultic fringe-groups like little Geneva thrive on this sort of abuse because it reinforces their sense of “us” v. “them.” The more they are demonized and ostracized, the more that solidifies their in-group allegiance and sense of being the righteous remnant.

Moreover, they piggyback on some legitimate social grievances to legitimate their own ideology. These grievances need to be addressed and not dismissed.

Furthermore, Seabrook appeals to certain verses of Scripture in which the average Christian is not well versed, and therefore ill-equipped to respond.

As such, I think it best to out-argue the cult-member rather than wave him aside without benefit of argument. That, of course, assumes that it is possible to have a rational discussion with a cult-member—which remains to be seen.

This runs the risk of drawing more attention to a fringe-group that deserves to fade away in well-earned obscurity. So there’s a trade-off. But the truth is our best offensive and defensive weapon. I’m not responsible for what people do with it.

I therefore propose a compromise. I’ll comment on little Geneva, but I’m not going to make an open-ended commitment to debate every Klansman and skinhead and Neonazi who crawls out from under a rock. I have my own priorities.

My primary aim is to give young people—mainly young men—who may have been lured into this false gospel the other side of the argument. To treat them with dignity and respect. To give their legitimate grievances a fair hearing. And to point them in another direction. God has something better for you.

Surfing little Geneva, it is clear that Harry Seabrook is very prolific. He’s been blogging since 2001. I don’t pretend to have read all his stuff.

If, in what I’m about to say, I leave out some crucial supporting argument, I’m sure that my critics will fill in the gaps. So I leave that to them. From what I have read there’s already a redundant quality to his argument.

His major statement appears to be his speech on “Kinism.” One thing I’d note at the outset is the contrast between his speech and the other stuff on his blog.

In his speech, Seabrook tries to assume a very high-minded tone. This is good PR. You lead by putting the best public face on your opening gambit.

When, however, we turn from his speech to the other stuff on his blog, where the description of Jews, blacks, and Latinos reflects the common coinage of the white supremacist movement, interchangeable with what you find among Nazis, Neonazis, skinheads, and Klansmen, it is clear that his sales-pitch on “Kinism” is just a softening up exercise to prep the patient for a decidedly less high-minded agenda.

BTW, one wonders how his Jew-hating rhetoric is supposed to comport with a postmill reading of Rom 11.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty of objectionable material in his speech on “Kinism.” But the reality is, if possible, even worse.

Let us begin with some of the grievances that are feeding into the white supremacist movement. The Federal gov’t has been overstepping its Constitutional boundaries for decades. Illegal aliens have more legal rights than law-abiding citizens. Western civilization is being marginalized and demonized. Whites are subject to reverse discrimination. Christian expression is in process of being criminalized. The South had a right to secede. The power elite is using increasingly coercive measures to impose its will on an unwilling populace. The democratic process is subverted by a tyrannical judiciary. Our Constitutional rights are being systematically denied us. Popular sovereignty as well as national sovereignty is under steady assault, in favor of judicial tyranny and one-world gov’t. The natural family is under attack by the queer lobby. Plus the clamor for reparations. And so on and so forth.

There’s much here that the average conservative—be it libertarian, hawk, businessman, social conservative, or member of the religious right can agree with.

All this and more gives a sense of moral validation to the white supremacist movement. The liberal establishment generates reactionary fringe-groups. Because the liberal establishment is so iron-fisted, because it doesn’t give a fair hearing to genuine grievances, because it denies the right of dissent and tramples on the majority, it naturally invites a backlash.

To the extent that the white supremacist movement provides a forum for disenfranchised Americans, it will recruit its members from the refugees of political correctness.

And yet this is purely opportunistic. For none of these grievances is evidence that white folks are superior to other ethnic groups, and therefore entitled to subjugate other ethnic groups.

What you have is a virtue-by-association, in which some valid social grievances are commandeered to justify a proposition that is logically unrelated to the grievances in question. And, indeed, if the white supremacist had his way, he’d simply substitute one injustice for another, one idolatry for another, one tyranny for another.

As a practical matter, life is unfair, and many historical developments are irreversible. I think we should do our best to elect representatives who respect the principle of limited gov’t. But it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever return to a nice little Jeffersonian democracy. We just don’t have the votes to pull that off.

You improve the things you can change, and make peace with what you cannot alter. Seabrook’s vision, even if it were commendable rather than condemnable, is simply a recipe for a permanent class of malcontents and irreconcilables. These are people who live in a perpetual state of rage and resentment. Indeed, it’s of a piece with liberal victimology.

If you don’t learn to adapt and adjust to the inevitable, you’ll be left behind, and deservedly so. Seabrook’s cause is an unworthy one, but even if it were a worthy cause, it is a lost cause. Either move on or die.

Culture is fluid. For better or worse, culture changes over time. Sticking your finger in the dike isn’t going to hinder the river of time. Better to buy a sailboat.

And there’s also such a thing as making a virtue of necessity. If it were up to me, I’d expel the Muslims from our land. But as long as they’re here, let’s seize the opportunity to evangelize them. It’s infinitely easier to reach them with the gospel over here than in the Muslim world—where evangelism is illegal and conversion is criminal.

I’m inclined to agree with Dabney that the Confederacy had a legal right to secede from the Union. But the argument cuts both ways. If the Confederacy had the right to secede from the Union, then the slaves had the right to secede from the Confederacy. Why did Southern whites have a right to be free from Northern whites unless Southern blacks had a right to be free from Southern whites? So I happen to agree with Dabney’s premise, but, unlike Dabney, I’d take his premise to its logical conclusion.

It is difficult to see how you could possible justify white supremacy by appeal to Scripture. According to Scripture, all men are Adamites. They are all of a kind. So how could one “race” be biologically superior to another?

Racial differentia are simply a climatic adaptation. You might as well contend that we have one race of white rabbits and another race of brown rabbits. If a Snowshoe rabbit turns brown during the summer months, it’s a different species, and what is more, inferior to the very same individual which exchanges its brown fur for a white pelt come winter.

And while we’re on the subject, what race was Adam? Was Adam a white man? Doesn’t seem very likely. For one thing, Caucasian features are recessive.

Indeed, that’s one of the central ironies of outlawing “miscegenation.” That interracial marriage will defile our “pure” Aryan bloodlines. But if the Aryan race is naturally superior, then shouldn’t our own genes be dominant rather than recessive? Should our white antibodies zap those racial “impurities”?

In addition, Eden was a semitropical climate, so we’d expect Adam and Eve to be preadapted to a semitropical climate. Adam and Eve probably looked Polynesian.

Then there’s the little matter of a Jewish Messiah, along with his Jewish Apostles, and underwritten by Jewish prophets.

This is the rocky shoal on which any “Christian” version of white supremacy will invariably shipwreck. You cannot logically graft an anti-Semitic ideology onto a Semitic revelation with Jewish prophets, Jewish heroes, and a Jewish Messiah.

To make one’s racial identity one’s primacy source of self-identity and social identity is simply idolatrous. For a Christian, his Christian identity is first and foremost.

Here’s a third irony. Unlike an ascribed status or an achieve status, race is something you are born with. It is a matter of being, not becoming. It is a state of nature, not a state of mind.

That being the case, the racial self-consciousness of the white supremacist betrays a profound radical insecurity. If you are a white man, you don’t need think about being a white man. You don’t need to study the part, as if you were going to play the role of Hamlet.

Whites who try to be white are inauthentic. Whites who try to be white are play-acting. Either you’re white or you’re not. If you are, you just do what comes naturally to being white—whatever that is. But the problem this poses for s white supremacist is that, at that basic biological level, blacks and whites, Arabs and Asians all have the same passions and drives and fears and longings.

The white supremacist is acting like a confused adolescent who is unsure of his sexuality. Does he like boys or girls? But if you’re a normal man, you don’t need to ask yourself that question, now do you?

So does the white supremacist regard race as biologically determined or socially constructed? Sometimes he speaks as though it’s biological, but at other times he speaks as thought it’s a social construct. The liberal social engineers have misassigned a certain role to white folks, and the white supremacist calls upon us to reassign a different role to white folks and acculturate them to the white way of thinking and acting. On that view, racial distinctives are programmed in by culture, not genetics. This is the view of the anthropologist and the sociologist.

Moving along—on the one hand, Seabrook is opposed to the “Jacobite” doctrine of equality. This is an allusion to the French Revolution, filtered through Dabney.

On the other hand, Seabrook resents the fact that the victors in the Civil War (or should I say, the War of Northern Aggression?) treated the Southerners as second-class citizens.

I appreciate that particular complaint. My own mother is a daughter of the South. But if equality is a Jacobite doctrine, then why should Northerners treat Southerners as equals?

We also need to say a few things about slavery in the Bible. Historically speaking, slavery is a cultural universal. So the Mosaic code did not introduce slavery into Palestine, but rather, regulated a preexisting institution.

There were different sources of slavery: POWs, indentured servant, birth, inheritance, and a slave trade. At the same time, kidnapping to supply the slave-market was a capital offense (Exod 21:16; Deut 24:7).

Provision was made for the redemption of a Hebrew slave, and if a Hebrew slave could not exercise that option, he was automatically manumitted in the year of Jubilee. This situation was different in the case of foreigners (Lev 25:44-45).

That’s only to be expected. At a general level, the Mosaic law was all about erecting a wall of separation between Israel and her pagan neighbors. The Israelites were adopted and consecrated by God to be a people set apart from heathen immorality and idolatry.

At a specific level, God redeemed Israel from Egyptian bondage to be bond-servants of Yahweh. Hence, they could not enslave each other.

A partial exception to this rule was indentured service. Because Israel was a tribal society, land holdings were held in common by the clan. This conditions the laws of inheritance.

If an Israelite fell into debt, he couldn’t sell his property to redeem the debt. But he could sell himself into temporary indentured service.

i) Even these distinctions are not absolute. A foreigner could become a proselyte. In that respect, he would become an honorary Hebrew.

ii) Conversely, an Israelite could be excommunicated for apostasy.

So, ultimately, the distinction was covenantal rather than racial.

iii) The church doesn’t have the same vocation as Israel. The church is called to be holy, but not in the sense of ritual purity. The church is not separate from the world in that physical and ritualistic respect. To the contrary, the church is to evangelize the world. The church is an international and multiethnic institution.

As such, Dabney, Thornwell and other S. Presbyterians misappropriated the Bible in their attempt to justify the Southern institution of slavery. In this respect they acted as Southerners who happened to be Christian rather than as Christians who happened to be Southern.

Even if, for the sake of argument, race-based slavery were generally licit, that admission would not favor or disfavor one race over another. In principle, a black or Latino supremacist could just as well redeploy Seabrook’s appeal to justify the enslavement of the white race by black masters or Latino overlords.

Seabrook also appeals to Acts 17:26. In context, the Greeks regarded other peoples as barbarians. Hence, the verse, with its allusion to the creation account (Gen 1:27-28; 2:7), is a slap in the face of Greek racism.

In addition, Seabrook disregards the contrast between the OT and NT. In the OT, God did, indeed, partition various people-groups (Gen 10-11; Deut 32:8) so that the heathen could not unite to extinguish the godly remnant.

But as the setting of Acts 17 in particular and the program of Acts generally (1:8) make plain, the point of the New Covenant is to evangelize the nations and thereby incorporate them into the one people of God as members of a common covenant community. This already has its background in the terms of the Abrahamic covenant.

Notice that Paul talks about “times” as well as “places.” Places are static, but redemptive history is progressive. The status quo ante has changed with the coming of Christ (17:27,30-31).

Seabrook systematically blurs the distinction between interfaith marriage and interracial marriage. The Bible does not condemn interracial marriage per se, but only interracial marriage in its incidental connection with interfaith marriage.

Whether interracial marriage is good or bad is a prudential rather than ethical or theological question. It can only be answered on a case-by-case basis, and answered by posing the same prudential questions that one would properly pose of any contemplated marriage.

Seabrook also blurs the distinction between legally enforced segregation and legally enforced desegregation. One can oppose the former without supporting the latter. I doubt that blacks were ever interested in integration, per se. They just wanted freedom of choice, freedom of opportunity.

What has probably done more than anything to promote racial reconciliation is the desegregation of the military and professional sports. Men respect other men who can prove themselves on the battlefield or the ball-field. This is a competitive arena. A meritocracy. And a source of camaraderie.

Seabrook further blurs the distinction between race and kinship. If siblings are born to a mixed-raced couple, then they are kin to their parents as well as their brothers and sisters.

Seabrook blurs the distinction between race and culture. Culture is portable. Cultural diffusion is an ancient and widespread phenomenon. The NT is a classic example of cultural diffusion and fusion. Jewish theology in Greek garb. Western civilization is a classic example of cultural diffusion and fusion: Jewish faith and Greco-Roman culture.

Seabrook complains about the declining birthrate among Caucasians. And whose fault is that?

What is racial purity, anyway? It is a blood type? Eye-color? What’s the criterion?

When Seabrook isn’t busy blurring distinctions, he’s busy erecting arbitrary distinctions. For example, he draws a contrast between whites and Mexicans. But is that a racial distinction?

What about Mexicans of Spanish extraction? Spaniards are Europeans, just like Italians. Are they a race apart from Frenchman or Germans or Greeks? Isn’t Spanish culture a part of Western civilization? Isn’t Spanish a Romance language like French, Italian, and Latin?

There’s also the question of how to define the ethnicity of modern-day Jews. A lot has happened in 2000 years. Is an Ashkenazi Jew not Caucasian? What about a Sephardic Jew?

Seabrook says “the founding race of any nation has the right to determine its ethnic composition and its citizenship.”

What was the founding race of America? Isn’t there more than one contender for the title? The Spaniards. The French. The English. The Indians.

It’s amusing to see Seabrook wax nostalgic for the antebellum order. One consequence of slavery is that white masters felt free to turn the slave-quarters into their private harem or brothel. If racial purity is your objective, then slavery is a very counter-productive institution to facilitate your objective. Many a white supremacist has been a staunch segregationist during business hours, but an avid integrationist after the lights were out.

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