Feature 02.15.2022 12 minutes

Shaping the Perfect Subjects

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The managerial class wants to replace America’s core demographic with one it can more easily control.

In 2005, Professor Nicholas Shackel analyzed a series of deceptive rhetorical maneuvers used to proselytize failed post-modern ideas. Among these, he identified the “motte-and-bailey doctrine,” which takes its name from a medieval castle-defense system: peasants would flee from an indefensible courtyard area—a bailey—up into a fortified tower—the motte—during an attack.

An individual is guilty of the motte-and-bailey in a debate when he conflates two positions that share similarities, one modest and easily defensible (motte) and the other controversial and untenable (bailey). The debater advances the second, far more radical position until it comes under attack, at which point he retreats to a defense of the motte by insisting that this was his claim all along, effectively reframing the bailey as a straw man invented by his opponent. If this move is successful, the controversial—and real—position goes unassailed while the critic appears unreasonable.

The most consequential example of motte-and-bailey tactics in our time is the debate over the Great Replacement, i.e., the racial and cultural dispossession of America’s historic, European-descended stock. The dominant powers in the United States endorse and actively hasten this dispossession, while simultaneously denying its existence altogether.

That’s Not Happening and It’s Good That It Is

Calls for the political, cultural, and physical marginalization, replacement, and even death of white people have become mainstream in the United States and elsewhere in the West. But when advocates of the Great Replacement are confronted with criticism, they retreat to the motte, cloaking their real positions behind the rhetorical walls of “diversity and inclusion” language, which, they insist, is merely metaphorical and harmless. In what Michael Anton has coined the “celebration parallax,” radicals alternatively insist to their critics that they do not aspire to the extreme goals they are accused of, then strategically advance and celebrate those goals among their champions, who deploy innocuous lines about “equity” and “diversity” when challenged. This pattern is displayed by or receives the support of corporate, political, media, and academic elites.

In an article called “When Is It OK to Kill Whites?” Tommy Curry, a black associate professor specializing in critical race theory at Texas A&M University, declared that “in order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people might have to die.” That conclusion follows logically from Curry’s diagnosis of the white race’s condition. In a YouTube interview, he said that history shows whites are irreparably bigoted, and therefore attempting to reason with them is futile. But when these anti-white remarks were reported in The American Conservative, Curry complained that it was all taken out of context and that “white supremacists” had consequently threatened his life. He said that criticism of his statements about killing and marginalizing incurably malicious whites only “demonstrates the very real danger of anti-Black racism for Black people in universities.” Curry’s department colleagues wrote an op-ed defending his assigned role “to teach and research in critical race theory, an area where he is an acknowledged expert,” calling on Texas A&M to unequivocally defend him.

At Yale, an academic named Aruna Khilanani fantasized to students about joyfully shooting white people in the head during a lecture where she also bemoaned the futility of reasoning with whites. Like Curry, she said it was all just a “metaphor to evoke emotion” after her comments sparked public outrage. Most recently, Brittney Cooper, a black professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers, said that white people can’t afford to have children and “kind of deserve it.”

“I think that white people are committed to being villains in the aggregate,” Cooper said. “You know, their thinking is so murky and spiritually bankrupt about power that they…they fear this really existentially letting go of power because they cannot imagine another way to be,” she added. Cooper concluded that the ideal solution would be to “take these motherf**kers out,” before insisting that she doesn’t advocate violence. The discussion, “Unpacking the Attacks on Critical Race Theory,” was hosted by the Root Institute in partnership with Target and Fidelity Investments, one of the largest asset managers in the world. That’s not at all surprising; State Street Global Advisors, another one of the world’s largest investment firms, now requires leaders to ask permission before hiring white men as part of a “diversity” initiative.

The most consistent and remarkable feature of the Great Replacement is that its advocates simultaneously deny, cheer, and conceal their true positions. On June 24, 2018, Charles Blow, a black New York Times columnist, reported contentedly that whites “have been the majority of people considered United States citizens since this country was founded, but that period is rapidly drawing to a close.” Blow would denounce the Great Replacement in April 2021 as a “racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial ‘white replacement theory,’” only to celebrate “the shrinking of the white population and the explosion of the nonwhite” evinced by census data in August 2021. Blow has even called for a “reverse Great Migration” to the south for the express purpose of replacing whites.

In an article titled, “We Can Replace Them,” Times columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote that “America is tearing itself apart as an embittered white conservative minority clings to power, terrified at being swamped by a new multiracial polyglot majority.” Roger Cohen followed up with a similar argument in the Times in “Trump’s Last Stand for White America” on the eve of the 2020 election. He opened by quoting demonstrators at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville who reportedly chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” Goldberg named her piece from the previous year as a play on that chant. It was designed to provoke and conflate opponents of her position with extremists, essentially creating a trap where to disagree is to commit an act of bigotry.

Occasionally, the mask comes off entirely, as illustrated in a tweet by Morgan J. Freeman. “Why can’t Republicans just accept that the ‘whiteness’ they so very cherish will be bred out of the human race?” he wrote. Freeman is a self-described “human rights and racial justice advocate,” and yet here he essentially celebrated the United Nations’ textbook definition of genocide: “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

Not a Bug but a Feature

It is hard to name all the ways local, state, and federal governments sanction racial discrimination that disadvantages and displaces whites. In grants, subsidies, contracts, and employment, the establishment regularly incorporates racial preferences, quotas, and agendas. That whites are excluded from them, punished for failing to comply with them, and disadvantaged in opportunities by them makes these policies of de facto discrimination.

Even after the Afghanistan catastrophe, the Pentagon’s priority is making the armed forces less white. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently said that the military must increase opportunity and improve advancement for black service members, including among Air Force pilots and in the most senior ranks. Bishop Garrison, the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Human Capital and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion issues, recently pushed critical race theory on a panel at the Center for a New American Security. “Diversity” must inform every aspect of the military’s recruiting, promotion, operations, and policy implementation process, Garrison told CNAS, which has received funding from every major defense contractor, Wall Street’s biggest banks, several foreign governments, and George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation.

In 94%-white Vermont, Governor Phill Scott recently appointed the state’s first executive director of racial equity, a black woman named Xusana Davis. According to the governor’s press release, she “will work with state government agencies and departments to identify and address systemic racial disparities and support the state’s efforts to expand and bring diversity to Vermont’s overall population.” Last year, Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram Live that “southern states are not red states, they are suppressed states.” The New York termagant pointed to “multi-racial” and “multi-cultural” grassroots mobilization in Georgia that led to Democrats taking control of the Senate as proof. In other words, states are not truly free and democratic and, therefore, politically legitimate unless they are “diverse” or are committed to “diversity.”

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act effectively legalized discrimination on a national level through what has essentially been affirmative action for non-European immigration. The same people who inanely compare the framers to illegal aliens, insist there is no difference between European and non-European immigration, and dismiss the implications of America’s radical, rapid demographic transformation, occasionally cop to believing that race really does matter when it comes to immigration: “The people who moved here after the 1965 act made the United States a truly multicultural nation,” wrote Tom Gjelten in an NPR article entitled “Influx Of Non-European Immigrants Defines America Today.” Will we ever see such advocacy efforts on behalf of whites when they are reduced to a minority nationally, as they already have been in California? To ask the question is to invite ridicule from the diversity commissars, who simultaneously deny and champion these demographic realities that carry the imprimatur of the regime.

Led by Ocasio-Cortez, 34 Democrats sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last year that characterized policies enabling mass immigration as racial justice. That approach appears to be informing the Biden administration’s handling of the ongoing immigration crisis. “Under cover of darkness, every night the federal government is transporting illegal migrants as fast as it can away from the border on secret charter flights into unsuspecting communities around the country,” the New York Post reported on Jan. 26. “Officials have lied and obstructed the few journalists who have tried to reveal the truth.” On February 9, journalist Spencer Brown noted that under Biden, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services removed from its mission statement mention of “lawful immigration,” “protecting Americans,” or “securing the homeland.” USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said the new statement “reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency” and “America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility today and for generations to come.”

And though they regularly put on a show blasting Democrat’s immigration policies, Republicans more or less agree with mass immigration: they just want it to happen “legally.” Led by Florida Republican Representative Maria Salazar, six House Republicans introduced legislation on February 8 to provide amnesty for 11 to 22 million illegal aliens. Another set of Republicans, including Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Rick Scott (R-FL), are also in talks with Democrats about a separate amnesty proposal. The last time the GOP sold the public a compromise of amnesty in exchange for security was President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The bill utterly failed in a saner and more functional America than today’s, and its amnesty provision triggered what the New York Times condemned as “one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the United States Government.” Any such “compromise” today would have similar or worse results.

All this is to say that the degree to which the governing bodies of the United States and other Western countries are actively involved in vilifying and replacing the very people who constitute their core demographic is unprecedented in human history. For all its evils, China does not actively try to humiliate, shame, and dispossess the Han people. Thus, a better question than how the Great Replacement works is why? The best model for approaching this problem is through the classical theory of elites.

Managerial Oversight

Regardless of whether a society formally considers itself a republic or a democracy, it is organized minorities—alternatively referred to as “elites” or a “ruling class”—that have a hold over what is known as “social forces,” and thus real power. For elites theorist Gaetano Mosca, social forces can be anything from an ideology to natural resources or a technology which becomes vital to the retention and exercise of power at a given time and place in history. Land in one epoch, semiconductors in another; paganism in one, and Christianity in the next: The organized groups with control over social forces, along with their allies, generally become a society’s elites or ruling class.

In elite theory, control over the state—the formal political apparatus—is only one means of power and control. Other bases include the economy and culture: the “instruments of production and exchange,” and the instruments of information and values. Elites in different sectors do compete, but they ultimately have more in common with one another than the groups, ideas, and agendas that they are fundamentally united in excluding and marginalizing. The modern or “managerial elites,” as political theorist James Burnham named them, who emerged from the ashes of the 20th century, are also distinct from previous elites in major ways. Burnham’s disciple, the late Chronicles columnist Sam Francis, explains:

Unlike earlier elites such as the English gentry, Boston brahmins, or local and regional elites in 19th-century America, the [ruling class] does not depend on intermarriage or inheritance, despite its members’ cohabitation and eventual intermarriage and their efforts to set their offspring up in advantageous positions. Indeed, the [ruling class] doesn’t even rely on the family, which is why it tends to scorn family and kinship bonds of all kinds.

Rather, Francis wrote, the ruling class “depends on its proficiency in managerial and technical skills…and their applications to organized political, economic, and cultural affairs.” Instead of kinship bonds, its power derives from the dependence of the modern economy, culture, government, and politics on the skills that are the domain of the professional-managerial class. These skills are critical to the operation of public bureaucracies, financial institutions, foundations, mass media, mass labor unions, political parties, and educational institutions that form the organs and nerve centers of mass democracy. “Proficiency in these skills cannot be acquired or transmitted through kinship but only by ‘merit,’” Francis added, “which presupposes not only intellectual abilities but also various personality traits that enable the ‘meritorious’ to work and play well with others in immense bureaucratized organizations where following established routines and adhering to established organizational norms of thought and behavior are the minimal requirements for survival and advancement.”

The nature of the managerial elite’s power renders dependence on family connections, traditional religion, morals, manners, and all forms of particularism not only obsolete but into obstacles to its own interests. “Such institutions,” wrote Francis, “do not recognize managerial proficiency and personalities as the only valuable characteristics of an elite, and they permit the competition of alternative elites that could rival” the ruling class. But every elite needs an ideology or “political formula” that expresses and justifies its interests while discrediting and pathologizing those of other groups and the institutions that support them. In our time, that formula is not “wokeism,” but simply liberalism, which has long united advocates of “multiculturalism” and corporate interests with political elites. Journalist David Rieff wrote in 1993:

The reality is that no serious player in the business world has anything but the most vestigial or sentimental interest in Western civilization, as it is roughly understood by campus radicals and conservatives alike. What each side’s argument fails to take into account is that capitalism is the bull in the china shop of human history. The market economy, now global in scale, is by its nature corrosive of all established hierarchies and certainties, up to and including—in a world now more than 50 percent non-white and in which the most promising markets lie in Asia—white racism and male domination. If any group has embraced the rallying cry “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture’s got to go,” it is the world business elite.

These days, managerial liberalism presumes to include as “white racism” the desire of whites to not be reduced to minorities in their own countries.

“The world has moved on,” Rieff adds: “capital and labor are mobile; and with each passing year national borders, not to speak of national identities, become less relevant to consciousness or to commerce.” Moreover, he accurately notes that “diversity” necessarily involves the destruction of particularity and standards—which is perfectly consistent with corporate interests. “For if all art is deemed as good as all other art, and, for that matter,” he writes, “if the point of art is not greatness but the production of works of art that reflect the culture and aspirations of various ethnic, sexual, or racial subgroups within a society, then one is in a position to increase supply almost at will in order to meet increases in demand.”

The transformation of nations into what seem to be open-air shopping complexes with militaries is lauded by the more libertarian-minded as a positive good. However, these boosters omit the connection between immigration and the growth of government in the West. More honest libertarians like Murray Rothbard have observed that the “welfare state increasingly subsidizes immigrants to enter and receive permanent assistance.” They, in turn, are protected by and provide the justification for ever-expanding “anti-discrimination” rules and regulations enforced by the state. Similarly, an analysis by left-wing CUNY Queens College Professor Francesc Ortega found “that political support for redistribution will remain strong in the US and in other high-immigration countries, provided that immigrants and their children can continue to access citizenship (voting rights) within a reasonably short period of time.” Conversely, Ortega added, “if immigrants do not vote political support for redistribution will erode and may eventually lead to drastic reductions in the size of the welfare state.” Thus, it’s only natural that the incumbent elite undermines the salience of citizenship.

Starting on January 9, 2023, New York City plans to enfranchise legal permanent residents, those with work visas, and “illegal aliens under federal protection, such as asylum seekers and DACA designees,” the New York Post reported. “Foreign citizens could invade the US-Mexico ‘border,’ penetrate America without permission, request asylum, fly to Westchester Airport aboard one of Joe Biden’s free, clandestine, late-night flights, cab it to Manhattan and—after 30 days—cast ballots beside Gotham’s voters who were born in the USA,” according to the Post. Even if it is derailed, the legislation established a dangerous model of what can be accomplished by other localities or even the federal government.

The political formula of managerial liberalism justifies deconstructing and replacing the institutions, ideas, and groups associated with the bygone world outlined by Rieff, which are condemned as discriminatory, particular, and unduly restrictive. Citizenship is a relic of the dark ages, a barrier on the road toward the universal regime.

Importantly, Burnham and Francis did not view political formulas as cases of ruling class cynicism. As Mosca understood, political formulas are not “mere quackeries aptly invented to trick the masses into obedience. Anyone who viewed them in that light would fall into grave error.” This is what the conservative and Marxist critiques tends to miss. “The truth is that they answer a real need in man’s social nature,” Mosca wrote, “and this need, so universally felt, of governing and knowing that one is governed not on the basis of mere material or intellectual force, but on the basis of a moral principle, has beyond any doubt a practical and a real importance.”

In other words, sometimes these formulas can take on lives of their own, and those who abide by them and advance them are not necessarily doing so out of calculated interest or fraud—though some certainly do—but because they place one on the “right side of history.” Those who have bought into this political formula have also allied themselves with nonwhites. It is true, as many have noted, that some of this has entailed convincing lower-status nonwhites that they have more in common with Raymond McGuire, a black former executive at Citigroup, than they do with whites in similar strata. However, this ignores real racial tensions, regardless of the basis of their legitimacy, in this country upon which elites have amassed fortunes and empires by enlarging and amplifying them. Whites who condemn their “unenlightened” counterparts for rejecting real or performative ethnomasochism are the most repulsive of all.

Replace the Elites

The Great Replacement, then, is a symptom of this political formula, which represents the interests of the elites and their allies who view America’s whites and the institutions with which they are associated as obstacles to their dominance. The process of replacement is akin to something like changing the “base”—the materials and resources of a society—to alter the “superstructure,” the organization of human life that includes the ideology, norms, and identities of a people.

Although conservatives and some liberals think “American values” are universal, evidence suggests that the survival of many foundational cultural and political assumptions depends at least in part on the continued survival of whites. Consider that a Pew Research Center survey found 75% of blacks, 72% of Asians, and 65% of Hispanics say gun laws should be stricter compared to only 45% of white people. White evangelical Protestants are the country’s socially conservative core on culture war issues from sex and gender to transgenderism. Blacks and Hispanics are also more likely than white Americans to believe hate speech is an act of violence (75%, 72%, 46%), and policing politically correct speech and behavior only empowers the managerial regime.

To be sure, this is not to say that ideas unique to certain cultures cannot be transmitted regardless of race. Rather it is to insist on the basic truth that a people functions as a carrier of culture. The ideas that arise from a culture have their best chance of survival so long as the people from whom they’ve sprung remain physically and psychically intact. As Thomas West wrote in The Political Theory of the American Founding: “It is unlikely that the American Revolution could have succeeded without something like the Anglo-American people with their distinctive ethnic character, religion, and legal heritage.” Natural rights, West concludes, “are not enough.” Moreover, while immigration is not inherently good or bad, the status quo is only increasing political polarization.

A study published in the academic journal Kyklos noted what seems obvious: “immigration from culturally distant countries…reduces political stability compared to immigration from culturally similar countries.” But another consequence is that the national security apparatus grows in anticipation of instability. Consider that the Department of Homeland Security views “white supremacists”—essentially anyone who disagrees with mass immigration—as “the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland.” The Defense Department has also warned about the scarecrow white supremacy. All this, of course, means the regime must spend more and surveil more to quell real or perceived political instability.

More to the point, changing the demographic base of a country will change the character of its social institutions and political structure. This is a rational objective for the “coalition of the ascendant” and their elite allies; it only speaks to their cowardice and duplicity that they cannot always admit to their goals. The Great Replacement is not in itself a political philosophy but one major outcome of a governing elite’s political formula. Opposing that formula will require formulating a countervailing movement that expresses and justifies a competing set of beliefs, moral principles, norms, cultural inheritances, and institutions.

A confrontation with the prevailing ruling class will also require explicitly addressing and rejecting anti-white discrimination, because whites still constitute the largest political base receptive to such a formula. There is no need to mince words here for fear of alienating others: nonwhites and immigrants who do not wish to live in the awful new world that is clawing its way out of the rotting husk of the old will come along as a matter of course.

There are signs everywhere of raw, inchoate energy from which we can begin to derive such a movement. In a video leaked on January 28, border patrol agents were seen criticizing Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, whom they accused of becoming an irresponsible bureaucrat not even capable of saying the phrase “illegal alien” out of political correctness. “For evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” an unidentified agent said. “Good men are doing nothing. You’re allowing illegal aliens to be dropped off in communities,” the agent added. According to journalist Ali Bradley, border agents turned their backs on Secretary Mayorkas as he toured the border two days before, and the Washington Examiner reported that there had been a “heated exchange.”

That energy is also manifesting in parents militating against critical race and gender curriculum in schools. Critical race theory, after all, justifies the Great Replacement and the regime it serves: the widespread and organic resistance to it suggests that the American populace instinctively understands and opposes what the ruling class is doing. The situation is bleak but not hopeless, and the question is not whether our enemies are too strong. It is whether we will find the discipline to avoid distraction and co-optation, and retain the determination to judge, condemn, and disempower the managerial regime.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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