At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture


Racial Warfare

posted by Jack Kerwick

The conventional wisdom notwithstanding, if Republicans are to stand a chance of winning any more national elections, it is not to Hispanics to whom they must turn.

As some of us have been arguing for quite some time, their salvation is to be found in whites of the working and middle classes. 

By speaking to issues like so-called “affirmative action,” racially-charged policies that have proven to be to the detriment of just such whites, Republicans can promote the individualism for which they claim to stand while simultaneously relating to whites who would otherwise view them—as over six million whites who stayed home on Election Day viewed Mitt Romney—as hopelessly “out of touch.”

Even more importantly, Republicans—and all decent people—should labor to abolish “affirmative action” and the like because, hyperbole aside, all such policies are the instruments by which racial warfare is waged.

Whether your average American, black, white, or other, recognizes it or not, there is indeed a cold racial war of a sort transpiring in America.  Evidence of the war, however, is not to be sought in mere interracial hostilities or distrust.  That, say, individual blacks and whites dislike one another or even openly fight with one another does not a war make. Nor even would large-scale interracial conflict suffice to establish that there is a racial war in the sense in which I mean it.

Rather, that it is without exaggeration that we can speak of a racial war in America is born out by the fact that the federal government systematically—through policies like “affirmative action”—promotes the interests, or what are claimed to be in the interest, of various non-white groups at the cost of undercutting the interests of whites.

Yet in siding with some citizens over and against others, the government abandons its role as a neutral arbiter of conflicts in favor of assuming the role of participant in those conflicts.  What this in turn means is that if it was ever a reality, the peace for the sake of which the government exists to guarantee is no more.

But as the great philosopher Thomas Hobbes observed way back in the seventeenth century, the only alternative to peace is war.

In his quest to supply an account of the authority of government, Hobbes invoked the philosophically distinguished concept of “the state of nature.”  The latter refers to life prior to the formation of government.  And for Hobbes, such life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” for in the absence of government, the absence of a commonly recognized authority to determine the conditions of just conduct, each person possesses absolute sovereignty over his life.  However, this unconditional right on the part of each person to do whatever he thinks needs to be done to preserve his existence casts each in a perpetual contest for survival with all others.

The state of nature, that is, is a war of all against all.  Hobbes writes that when “men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man.”  It isn’t that men are always literally at each other’s throats where there is no “common power to keep them all in awe.”  But war “consisteth not in battle only, or act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known [.]”

To end this war, each person consents to give up his absolute right to everything on the condition that every other person makes the same concession. The only way for this to occur, though, is for the parties to this “covenant” to give rise to a “common power”—government, or “the Sovereign,” as Hobbes refers to it—that will secure peace by functioning as a kind of umpire or referee.  The Sovereign is the custodian of law and, hence, an impartial adjudicator of all conflicts that arise with respect to it.

Once the Sovereign relinquishes its role, though, then the state of nature—the state of war—resumes.

It is my contention that there is a racial war only in the sense that our government has abdicated the neutrality and impartiality that it is supposed to maintain in regard to the citizenry over which it presides.  Insofar as our government shows partiality toward Americans of one race and against those of another—regardless of the races in question—it in effect prosecutes a kind of racial war.

This is why it is imperative that policies like “affirmative action” and the like be abolished.

And this is why it is imperative that Republicans, and all who are concerned with justice and peace, work toward that end.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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