Monday, April 12, 2010

Zardoz Speaks! Let's Have an Intervention: The Soul of Brother Cobb and The Noble Race Neutrality of American Conservatives

Thus the great Cobb is one part Wizard of Oz and two parts Zardoz.

I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't involve myself in petty tete-a-tete's with fellow bloggers, trolls, or otherwise (semi)well-intentioned folk. I have found a loophole. If I am called out by name in a post I feel an obligation to respond. I know that it is a virtual version of the dozens, but it strikes me as generally uncivil unless done with the best of intentions. Hopefully, this is the last time I will have to engage in such a dialogue on this site as it stands against the best of what we should be doing.

For those of you in the know, Black Conservative blogger Cobb is quite a forceful presence on the sites in which he chooses to comment. Cobb is often impenetrable, a bit willful, unwilling to engage those points of view with which he disagrees, and a bit anti-intellectual (books that are outside of his political comfort zone are a no no it seems). In total, Cobb is a master of deflection and is thus hard to engage. For example, see his spirited defense of the Constitution as a race neutral document even though it explicitly mentions slavery several times. The brother doesn't quit and I give him love for that. In fact, I would probably enjoy a drink (or three with him) in the real world. But Cobb remains an object lesson in what I don't understand about Black Conservatives: how can they consistently apologize for the silliness, bigotry, and inconsistency of their fellow ideologues?

Specifically, how can Black Conservatives repeatedly excuse the racism and the white racial resentment that is at the core of contemporary American Conservatism? From the Tea Parties, to the Southern Strategy, to the politics of racial divisiveness that are the bread and butter of the Right's identity politics, Black Conservatives seem to always find a way to give their white brethren a pass. And they wonder why most reasonable Black folk don't give them the time of day.

Rather than get upset and frustrated in trying to dialogue with Brother Cobb alone, let's work together to compile a list of books, resources, insights, evidence, links, etc. to help me out. Let's do it with love. Better yet, let's break down the illogic, inconsistencies, and obfuscations that are present in Cobb's response to his and my dialogue about race and Conservative thought.

Help me, help Brother Cobb. Let's have an intervention. Are you with me...'cause if not I may have to abandon Brother Cobb's rehab--and I think it is a worthy project with the potential to teach us all a great deal.


"No. I want you to get it all out of your system. Here. Hit me with your best shot. I sure as hell ain't gonna go look it up. See, I really don't have to care about politics. I don't have to care about being black, or well-read or moral or anything. I want to see if you can make me care. I've heard a lifetime or two of black outrage. Maybe you've got something I've never heard before."


CD. Him say:

[T]he claim is not per se that racists are attracted to conservativism--although quite clearly they are. It is that racism and racial animus are central to Conservative belief systems. A subtle but different distinction. I am more interested in how you reconcile it with your claim about an ideology as it stands apart from your claim. Could it be that conservative thought is more amenable to racism? What then do we do with black conservatives who would self identify with a philosophy that is hostile to them as a category of people? That is always the mystery to me for how folks could so proudly claim company with an ideology whose adherents and intellectual foundations have little to no use for them.

And yes we could debate the aims of Conservative politics as "sinful" or not. But that may take more space and time than is feasible.

First of all, I wonder if those of CD's persuasion bother to go tell it on the mountain, or on conservative blogs that their 'belief system' is racist. Perhaps ole Cobb is considered to have a soft spot for the old race card as explained by my betters that it's in my interest and thus the argument doesn't have to be so explicit. Well, I've read Howard Zinn too, and so I'm not particularly surprised that everybody gets to have their own version of history in this crazy mixed up society. Nevertheless we can duel and pretend to come up with a mutually satisfactory version.

I expect that at the very least that we won't be reduced to name-calling.

So here's my thing. In 1924, according to Wikipedia there were something on the order of 6 million Klan members in the United States. Six years later they were busted down to 30,000. In the 50s the White Citizens Councils had 50,000 members. Where did they all go? To the Republican Party?

The John Birch Society was dismissed as kooks by William F. Buckley when they suggested that Eisenhower was a godless commie. Why was anybody ever afraid of them?

Where are all the racists and what are they really trying to do in America? How did we get from there to here? What is an accurate rendition of the history and intent of Conservatism in Western Political Philosophy and the Conservative Movement in America and Great Britain since the Goldwater era?

More specifically, who is the standard bearer of racism in America and how does the Right deal with that person / entity? What is the fundamental interest in racism in politics? What does it accomplish? Where's the money? What is the legislation?

I think about this rather like I think of Bigfoot or the Kraken from Clash of the Titans. If it's real, then it has got to exist in an ecosystem. It has to live and breathe and eat and mate and grow. If it's carnivorous then its got to kill and leave bones behind. It had to evolve from something and it has to become something.

My belief is that there is an interest on the Left which is a species of populist identity politics that keeps alive the specter of the great racist Kraken that the Right can summon at will to devour and destroy any black man who sticks his head above a certain level. That said black men best serve the interests of the collective because a diversion from it is suicidal in one of two forms. One: There will not be enough cultural black oxygen and he will asphyxiate in whiteness. or Two. He will be castrated.

In order to sustain this grip, the Left has invented a political mythology through a class of historical revisionists who were the scion of Black Studies departments which came about largely through political activism rather than scholastic acumen. Now that we have a second generation of these real PhDs, they consider themselves invincible - well within their domain if they have tenure.

So here will be a mix of what I believe vs what CD might like me to believe in what may actually not become a case of special pleading for people of color. We'll try to get some facts and some speculations straight.

I will play a race card first. My race card begins with Leo Strauss. He is the father of all Conservatives who recognize that what the Nazis and Commies were doing in Europe was evil and wrong. Strauss was a Jew. And so let's replace 'Jew' with 'people of color' and via the work of Strauss talk about what anybody (of color) should read into history and take Conservatism seriously as an antidote to genocidal xenophobia.


Anna Renee said...

Hi there, Respectable Negro! i admit to not reading your entire post here on Brother Cobb. I don't "know" Brother Cobb, but I know him. He's probably like the rest of those conservative folks you say he gives a pass to! See we make the mistake of thinking that it's a lack of info that's at the heart of these folks issues. No I dont believe that.
Brother Cobb lays out his ideology in that above quote. His is the ideology of "I dont give a damn about black folks, nor their issues" That's clear. I dont have to read anything else he's written. It's hard for us black folks to deal with someone who comes across like this brother does. We can't fathom someone who is against "self". But it happens. I dont know if its self hatred or just being tired of "black outrage" or what. Whatever.
In the illustrious words of our profoundly wise ghetto griots--The Geto Boys, Bushwick Bill, Willie D, and Scarface...just let a hoe be a hoe!!! Word!

Invisible Woman said...

not "zardoz"! you really reached in the archives for that