Mandos

Unto the generations

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There’s a minor thing that has frequently mystified me, particularly in comment threads about US politics, but it keeps happening and no one ever remarks on it. Someone points out that the Republican Party in the USA has had a lot of out-and-out racists in its midst. A Republican pipes up and mentions that, at some point in the past, the Democratic Party was the party of segregationists and had ex-KKK members until recently. The (presumable) Democrat points out that the party landscape is different now since Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the polite and not-so-polite white supremacism has moved to the Republican party due to defections and ideological changes. Then this is the part that mystifies me: the Republican partisan then rejects this by essentially repeating the historical sins of the Democratic Party. They even make make elaborate propaganda videos about it.

The reasoning is really odd and perhaps goes to a deep difference in left vs. right wing mentalities, perhaps? It demands a weird sort of metaphyics that requires that institutions retain immutable essences that are transmitted and remain valid even if the bodies and minds that form the institution are changed complete and disavow their predecessors’ thinking. I mean, the result of the underlying logic is that a black voter who votes Democratic to prevent a Republican with white-supremacist dies from getting into office somehow partakes of the spirit of John C. Calhoun, and a Republican who votes for someone who will cut funding for services in black neighbourhoods somehow partakes of the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

What strikes me even more is that while I don’t have a link on hand, I must have read this kind of exchange dozens of times, with no resolution whatsoever. It is as though the Republican participant simply assumes that everyone will recognize this metaphyics — that no matter what people do and how they change over time, some sort of fundamental institutional essence is necessarily committed unto the generations, whether they like it or not.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on September 3, 2017 2:08 PM.

Lest We Forget was the previous entry in this blog.

The NDP leadership race: dirty dancing is the next entry in this blog.

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