|Woodrow Wilson, who wanted all states to be ethnically segregated. See his "Fourteen Points."|
The left has recently redefined “racism” to mean any commitment to the founding principles of liberal democracy. Therefore, anyone who holds either conservative or liberal beliefs is “racist,” or “white supremacist.” Only Marxists or anarchists, apparently, are non-racist. And only if they are not themselves white.
Unfortunately, dictionaries can no longer be trusted on any political issues. They are now often altered in real time to reflect current usage, whatever it may be. Accordingly, Merriam-Webster now includes, as a possible definition of racism, “a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles.” Leftists can therefore argue that the US or Canada were “founded on racism”—supposedly, on slavery, on the unfair seizure of Indian lands--and everything since has accordingly been racism. Supporting the continuance of their systems of liberal democracy thus becomes “racism.”
This attitude among the publishers of dictionaries, unfortunately, makes dictionaries useless. There is no point looking to them for correct usage: they are looking to you. And this ability to alter the language for political purposes also violates dire warnings left to us by Confucius and by Orwell. The meanings of words are subject to the memory hole.
Webster’s New World Dictionary still gives us the established definition. Quoted in full, racism means “Feelings or actions of hatred and bigotry toward a person or persons because of their race. Discrimination or prejudice based on race. Racism is a belief that one race is superior to the other or the practice of treating a person or group of people differently on the basis of their race.”
Given this definition, the modern left is racist. The political right is not, and I warrant has never been.
It is an old tactic to taunt the left that segregation in the US South was purely a Democratic Party project. It was; the Republicans freed the slaves. The left, however, can respond that “Democratic Party” does not correspond to “leftist”; that these were conservatives who happened then to be Democrats, and are now Republicans.
But does this wash? The same people who supported segregation were solid supporters of FDR for four elections, with his program more or less defining the modern left. Who in the modern left is against the TVA? They, the segregationists, were almost the sole supporters of Al Smith before him, that supposed radical progressive, and before that solid supporters of Woodrow Wilson, commonly considered the godfather of modern “progressivism.” Wilson’s administration was largely responsible for the entire segregationist system at the federal level.
Indeed, racism was deeply embedded in the progressivism of the early twentieth century; one might even argue it was at the core. “Progressivism” was all about science, and injecting this new expertise into the business of government and social order. And one of science’s brilliant new discoveries was this matter of human races. At least, we could see the dawning of the millennium: the human race could now be genetically perfected. Eugenics was one of its cornerstones. Tommy Douglas wrote his thesis arguing for it. Chinese immigration, at the same time, was banned at the insistence of the labour unions. Immigration was unfair competition for the working class. Although its contents were rather ambiguous, as befits a politician, J.S. Woodsworth wrote a book with the provocative title “Strangers at our Gates.”
The left will counter with “But what about the Nazis? They were the ultimate racists, and they were on the right.”
But by what logic have the Nazis ever been placed on the right? They were, by their own account, socialist revolutionaries and progressives. The associated movement in the arts was called “futurism.” The claim seems based on only two things: that they considered the communists their chief rivals, and that they were racists.
The latter claim is tautological. In fact, the Nazis here were in the mainstream of the left in their day.
The Oxford English Dictionary has no entry for “racism.” The term was invented after the dictionary was compiled: it was invented in the early Twentieth Century—the era of the first “progressives.”
Until modern times, and the Marxist/progressive project of setting human society on a properly scientific foundation, mankind was not classified like animals into biological races, and so racism was not even a possibility. In this fundamental sense, the left invented racism. Conservatives would have found the notion alien. And liberals would have rejected it on the grounds of human equality.
It is true that there was discrimination before this period; there was slavery, for one thing. But this previous discrimination was generally on cultural or religious grounds, not on the basis of race. That might have been better or worse—but it was a different animal.
The founding principles of either Canada or the US are the opposite of racist. The Declaration of Independence declares that “all men are created equal,” and the Constitution guarantees “the equal protection of the laws.” The Canadian Constitution declares “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
These promises may or may not have been kept in any given instance, even on a large scale; but they are the system. Those who uphold and defend them, liberals and conservatives, are anti-racist. Those who object to them, Marxists, progressives, and anarchists, in wanting an alternative system, are racists.
The contemporary left aggressively promotes hatred and bigotry based on race: complaints of “white privilege” and overt hatred of “whites,” primarily; sometimes Asians; sometimes Jews. It sees people as groups, races, rather than individuals, and seeks to treat them as such. It demands unequal treatment based on race. This is the dictionary definition of racism.
The left is racist in its nature.