by Victor Davis Hanson
Joe Biden has had a long history of racist outbursts. Can we even remember them all? The “put y’all back in chains” insults to an audience of black professionals, his dismissal of black interviewers variously as “you ain’t black” or ”junkie,” his he-man racialist Corn Pop mythologies, his recent condescending reference to a black professional as “boy,” and on and on.
The Left has always contextualized his racial outbursts in the same fashion his decades-long creepy touching, sexual harassment, grabbing, and blowing into the hair and ears of young women and teens were always “just Joe being Joe.”
So it was ironic but predictable that Biden went to Buffalo on Tuesday to leverage the recent carnage from the deranged, eco-fascist, racist, and insane lethal mass shooter of 11 African-Americans. Read the gunman’s manifesto: it is an unhinged collage of green fascist, racist, and politically incoherent mishmash.
Purported right-wing monsters usually don’t hate Fox News and Ben Shapiro or go on endless green screeds. No matter. For Biden, as his midterm rendezvous looms ominously, the Buffalo shooter was useful in smearing his own political opponents. So Biden saw a trip to Buffalo as an opportunity, in a way other mass shootings were not, and made a rare excursion out of his secluded compound.
The Great Asymmetries
Biden’s despicable effort at blaming his political adversaries for the deaths failed for lots of reasons. He mangled his recitations of prior white-on-black shootings by including the recent Dallas shootings of three Asians by an African-American in his catalog of white-supremacist murders.
Biden by intent ignored the near simultaneous mass shooting of Taiwanese parishioners by a deranged Chinese gunman.
Of course, he has said nothing either in the past or in the present about the mass murdering by the black nationalist and BLM sympathizer Darrell Brooks. The latter deliberately used his car to mow down white children and elderly people. Most media outlets, given their selective indifference to the loss of human life, described the killings as done by a wayward SUV, as if it was driven on some sort of autopilot.
The Left in general and Biden in particular scan the daily news for opportunities for racial demagoguery. When black shooters try to gas and maim white commuters on the subway, or when there is an epidemic of anti-Asian hate crimes committed disproportionately by black males, or an unhinged Bernie Sanders activist attempts to murder House Republican leaders, the Left is silent or insists the hard ideology or racism the shooter embraces is either irrelevant or somehow a natural response to some sort of provocation. Again, it selectively sees or does not see connections between political discourse and crazy people who commit mass mayhem – depending entirely upon the political ore to be mined.
The effort to pigeonhole mass shootings for political gain necessarily results in hypocrisy, fantasy, and outright lying. Suddenly cars are animated objects. Black nationalist racial hatred expressed on social media is derided as right-wing talking points. Joe Biden cites African-American shooters of Asians as white-supremacist killers.
In the end, we are left only with the surreal: an Al Sharpton screaming about the culpability of conservatives for the Buffalo shooting – this, from the racial arsonist of the age, who originally came to notice through his racial hatred and anti-Semitism that led to riots and death. Or a raving Joy Reid, known previously for her homophobic tweets and more recently for her nightly harangues about a current white collective that is communally guilty for the sins of those long dead.
One of the strangest ironies is the Left’s denunciation of supposed conservative adherence to the “great replacement theory” – or the fear that nonwhite populations are by design replacing a dwindling white minority, and both are politically predictable by reason of their race or ethnic background. But if that were so, why would white conservatives abhor abortion that disproportionally destroys black and brown lives in the womb?
In contrast, why do good progressives like the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg confess that abortion was targeting the proper people. (“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”) Further, why did current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argue that black abortions were economically rational? “In many cases abortions are of teenage women, particularly low income, and often black, who aren’t in a position to be able to care for children, have unexpected pregnancies, and it deprives them of the ability, often, to continue their education to later participate in the workforce,” Yellen said last week. “It means that children will grow up in poverty and do worse themselves.”
So once more, the Left projects. Replacement theories are a hallmark of leftist political science. They usually appear in triumphalist books and articles gushing about how “demography is destiny” and “the new Democratic majority” that will doom supposedly white Republicans and conservatives.
Boasts about flipping red and purple states blue follow, as we are lectured that California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are now blue due to unchecked immigration. So too, we are told, will Arizona and Texas soon follow.
More perniciously, the Left does its best to restrict immigration from areas deemed problematic such as Cuba. So the “great replacement theory” is largely the Left’s name for conservative anger at the intentional destruction of our southern border – most recently in a time of a pandemic – to mainstream illegal immigration for largely selfish political interests. Demographic obsessions are largely a progressive fixation.
Note that the Hispanic populations, galvanized by Biden’s culpably for high fuel prices, hyperinflation, support for radical abortion on demand, and, ironically, open borders, may soon split its political loyalties in November in a way once deemed unimaginable.
If that happens, then the Left will likely recalibrate Mexican Americans as virtual Cubans and thus close the southern border, given illegal immigration will no longer be seen by their own admission as useful demographically.
From Hypocrisy to Projection
Three final points about the Biden demagoguery of race.
First, the hypocrisy on race simply follows the hard-left double-standards on a host of issues.
By all means let us sanction, condemn, and oppose Russia’s vicious attack on Ukraine. But the Left shows no such animosity toward a far greater existential threat to the United States – Communist China. It has destroyed an independent Tibet. It has absorbed and ruined a once democratic and free Hong Kong. It promises to end autonomy and democracy for Taiwan. And it has bullied and threatened every other consensual government in its neighborhood, from Australia and Japan to South Korea and the Philippines.
The Left ignores Chinese culpability for hiding and obstructing the truth about the Wuhan lab origins of COVID-19 that has nearly wrecked civilization as we once knew it. It calls racist anyone who worries that China is waging a systematic effort to steal all the technology and research it can from the United States.
Almost every leftist dominated institution, whether defined as corporate America, professional sports, Hollywood, or academia, refuses to call out systemic Chinese racism, reeducation camps, and the ethnic cleansing of Uyghur minorities, largely due to lucrative joint ventures.
Similarly, the Left applies different standards to its own. In summer 2020, some 120 days of rioting, $2 billion in property damage, over 35 deaths, 1,500 police injuries, and the torching of an iconic church, police precinct, and federal courthouse were all contextualized.
We were told the destruction of property was not really a crime, that the United States always has embraced violent protests, that flames licking the skies were not evidence of violence, and, by our current vice president, that such violence would not stop.
And she was correct. The street violence did not cease, because it was seen as helpful for the 2020 election. When the looting, arson, and killing began to boomerang against the Left and was deemed no longer advantageous, the violence magically ceased in the final weeks before the election and throughout the Biden transitions and tenure.
Contrast all that with the buffoonish, despicable riot in the Capitol by an ad hoc group of crazies. It was labeled an “insurrection.” The media then systematically lied about the five deaths that occurred on January 6, creating fables about the tragic natural demise of Officer Brian Sicknick. It smothered mention of FBI informants in the crowds, hid information about the circumstances of the lethal shooting of Ashli Babbitt and smirked about suspects put in solitary confinement for months without being charged or tried.
The strangest embarrassment on the Left is its current neo-Confederate impulse. Many blue progressive states are becoming one-party, feudal societies reminiscent of the antebellum, plantationists, solid-Democratic South. They are likewise inimical to the middle classes who are fleeing California, Illinois, and New York. The new Left fixates – in the fashion of the old South – on one-drop racial identification integral to race-based preferences, oblivious of class and wealth.
It promotes segregation on campuses, with racially exclusive safe spaces, dorms, and graduations. Its Southern embrace of nullification of federal law through over 500 sanctuary city jurisdictions is reminiscent of South Carolina in the 1830s. And it talks of state rights as if blue-state environmentalism, abortion, and illegal immigration should be exempt from federal statutes – in the fashion of George Wallace resisting federal mandates on integration. More recently, we see parlor talk of blue-state secession in journals like the Nation and The New Republic in the fashion of 1850s pamphleteering in the Carolinas.
If Donald Trump did not accept the vote count of 2020, then it is legitimate to criticize him. But he was only following in the footsteps of the denialist Stacey Abrams. She toured the country after losing the governorship of Georgia by over 50,000 votes and was hailed by the Left for months as the “real” governor of Georgia.
Lest we forget in 2016, the Left claimed a fraudulent election due to wired voting machines. Jill Stein sued to invalidate their ballot counts. Grade-C movie stars cut commercials urging electors to renounce their constitutional mandates. Hillary Clinton boasted of joining the “resistance,” claiming the elected president was illegitimate while urging Joe Biden not to accept the 2020 popular vote if he lost it.
So why does the Left use these mass shootings, involving unhinged, hate-filled killers of all races, as fodder for their agendas? Why is it OK to harass Supreme Court justices at their homes or to threaten them by name outside the Supreme Court chambers?
Hypocrisy is not hypocrisy when the Left feels its moral superiority justifies any means necessary to achieve its utopian ends.
Smear Rather than Defend
Second, the Left must have fungible standards and leverage tragedies for political advantage because it cannot run on its agenda. America was founded on principles of liberty and individualism, rather than French revolutionary government-mandated equality of result.
Socialism has never appealed to Americans – and never more so than in the past 18 months. If Joe Biden had gone to both Waukesha and Buffalo, preached nonviolence and tolerance, and urged Americans not to judge one another as collectives but as unique individuals, he would have seen it as an opportunity missed to gin up furor by racializing tragedy.
Indeed, what else could Biden do – run on a secure border and adherence to current federal immigration law? His wisdom of printing trillions of dollars, keeping interest rates artificially low, subsiding labor non-participation, and thus spiking inflation?
Would he point to his brilliance in restricting gas and oil leases, suppressing energy development, and canceling pipelines to deny us affordable energy?
Will he boast of embracing critical race and legal theories, defunding the police, backing city and county prosecutors who don’t prosecute, and emptying the jails and prisons, all resulting in a drastic increase in crime?
Will he preen to midterm voters about the brilliant logistical effort that allowed Americans to flee Afghanistan near instantaneously while abandoning allies and leaving helpers behind while enriching the terrorist Taliban with billions of dollars in sophisticated U.S. weaponry?
America Is a Great Experiment
Finally, we should remember America has always been a fragile country. After all, it is history’s first successful and longest-lasting multiracial constitutional government – the logical reification of the ancient ideas of human political equality, proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The idea of America has always tried to overcome innate, deeper, and darker human impulses, especially the tic to identify by race, religion, and tribe. That is the historical virus that once unleashed, infects and destroys a society. Witness most recently Rwanda, Iraq, or the former Yugoslavia.
The ancient human pathology to identify by superficial appearance – to see race, for example, as essential rather than incidental to one’s essence – destroys democracies. It must consciously always be repressed, not cultivated to frighten people to support agendas that are otherwise failing them.
Joe Biden is said to be an inert puppet of left-wing masters. Perhaps. But more likely his cognitive challenges have stripped away his political savvy and left him in the raw, revealing his real essence, a racialist of the first order, who will use any tragedy to salvage what has become the worst two years of a presidency in modern memory. And most of the people now know it.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004.