This is the second part of my interview with Dr. Leon Marlensky, as committed a leftist as any that I have ever encountered. In the interest of promoting the market place of free ideas that I always complain doesn’t exist, I thought it only right to provide Marlensky with this forum to express himself to people who he otherwise would have never been able to reach.
JK: Leon, you are not at all unlike any of your ideological ilk on the left insofar as you believe that racism, sexism, and classism are great evils and that, ultimately, they transcend even the best of intentions of individuals. That is, these great evils are “structural” or “institutional,” correct?
LM: Well, you are partially correct.
JK: Uh oh.
LM: [Chuckles] Relax, Jack, relax. Yes, it is true, that “the evils” to which you allude are systemic. Yet it is not true that they are evils.
JK: What? You have no moral objections to them?
LM: Now I didn’t say that. What I said is that they are not evil. You see, as Nietzsche correctly noted, “evil” is a concept invented by the champions of the penultimate “slave morality”—Christianity. In blasting this or that as evil, you act no differently than those Christians, like the Crusaders, say, of times past who converted unbelievers to their faith under pain of violence and death. In fact, the continual usage of concepts like that of “evil” is a form of violence.
JK: Let me make sure that I understand you: it is actually immoral to use “evil” as a synonym for “immoral” because in doing so, I use a term coined by Christians and, hence, impose Christianity upon those who may not accept it. Is this right?
LM: By Jack, now you’ve got it!
JK: So, then, racism and the rest are immoral, not evil, correct?
LM: Well…not exactly.
JK: So racism and sexism and classism, etc. are morally permissible?!
LM: No, no. Let’s make this simple by focusing on just one thing: say, racism. And what applies to racism will apply to sexism, classism, homophobia, Christocentric bigotry, and so forth, ok?
LM: Why is it widely thought in contemporaryAmericathat racism is immoral?
JK: Well, racism is thought to be wrong because race is thought to be irrelevant to a person’s true worth, his character. All human beings are created equal by God, we are all His creatures. Ultimately, we are all members of one race, the human race.
LM: I think that you are right, that these are the sorts of reasons that people usually come up with to justify their belief that racism is immoral. What they don’t realize is that these reasons embody and, thus, perpetuate racism. And, for the record, they embody and perpetuate sexism and Christocentric bigotry as well.
LM: You heard me rightly. The idea that racism is immoral turns on the idea of a common humanity. Agreed?
JK: That’s right.
LM: But the idea of a common or universal humanity, the idea that race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and religion are impertinent to the humanity that one shares with all other members of the human race is itself a Eurocentric, specifically Christian, construct. As a culturally-particular device posing as universal and neutral, it advances White, Christian, Male dominance while pretending to speak on behalf of all peoples.
JK: I’m flabbergasted. So, the belief that racism is immoral is itself immoral?!?!
LM: In short…yes. And, of course, the belief that sexism, classism, homophobia, and Christocentric bigotry are immoral is just as immoral, for it relies upon the Eurocentric idea that there is a common humanity that trumps considerations of race, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic station, and religion. To reiterate, this idea in turn perpetuates the oppression of women and minorities and the hegemony of white, heterosexual, Christian men.
JK: But the standard of living for women and minorities of all sorts in the West, and America especially, is far higher than it is for their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
LM: So? This doesn’t negate anything that I’ve said. What it does show, however, is that women and minorities are just as complicit in the promotion of Eurocentrism as are white men.
JK: How so?
LM: America’s unprecedented standard of living derives from its economic system: capitalism. Capitalism not only reduces all human beings to commodities or things. It thrived because of its brutal exploitation of Africans [slavery] and its genocidal treatment of “the New World’s” indigenous peoples.
Simply put, the opportunities and the riches to which Americans of all colors, sexual orientations, religions, and both sexes have access today are the equivalent of “blood money.” If America is illegitimate because it was built on the backs of slaves and the corpses of indigenous peoples, then every single American who continues to benefit from these ghastly crimes is just as guilty as the original perpetrators.
The third and final part of my interview with Dr. Leon Marlensky will be published soon.