Friday, June 15, 2007

Pride & Prejudice: Inside the mind of the bigot.

I find bigots to be a sad bunch. They tend to be people who are quite literally suffering from an acute awareness of their own lack of ability, intellect, moral character or some combination of all three.

They retreat into “racial” politics because it is only by claiming membership in some wider collective that they get any sense of accomplishment in life.

On three occasions that I can remember I’ve run into herds of these racialist collectivists. Once I was out for a Sunday drive and ran into some sort of gathering on a local farmer’s land. There were lots of police and people milling about. I got out and asked what was going on and was told the Klan was holding a rally of some sort.

I walked over, and since I was sufficiently white, they allowed me to enter the property. I wandered about mainly eaves dropping. I listened to the Bubba’s and Bubba-esses whining about the vicissitudes of life. I listened to individuals who couldn’t speak proper English explain that they are utter failures in life is because the “niggers” and the “Kikes” were out to get them. Why anyone would spend any time to “get” these illiterate dredges of society is beyond me.

There is no need to tear down people who spent most of there lives at the bottom. And they are not at the bottom because they were picked upon by conspiracies of anyone. They were there because they lacked ability, lacked intelligence and lacked the moral qualities that allow even the less intelligent and less able to produce decent lives for themselves. They struck me at people who worked hard to make their way down the economic ladder of life.

Few people are so unintelligent as to not know the limitations of their intelligence. I will never be a nuclear physicist. I know that. No big deal. And I also know the limitations of my abilities. I won’t be running a marathon anytime soon. There are many things I don’t understand and many things I am incapable of doing.

But the basics of life don’t require massive intelligence or overwhelming ability. Plenty of people, who are average in most every way, live successful lives. One need not be endowed with a high IQ or great skills to do well in most civilized societies. One merely needs some basic moral character.

Of course this is not to say that sometimes people aren't victims of unfortunate circumstances. But often I’ve seen many victims who were themselves the architects of those unfortunate circumstances. The reality is that these people are often attracted to bigoted viewpoints, especially racism.

The racist view is of great psychological comfort to these people. It allows them to do things. First, they can ascribe their own sad state of affairs to the actions of a vicious conspiracy run by the people they hate.

If they are unemployed it is the fault of those “damn illegals” or the “niggers and their affirmative action” or the “Jew plot to strip whites of their rights”. It is no secret that racist groups particularly attract white failures. Scapegoating others for their own problems allows them to ignore their own moral shortcomings.

In fact this is what the concept scapegoat originally meant. It comes from the Old Testament ritual of taking a goat and symbolically placing upon it all the sins of the people and then driving it out into the wilderness or over a cliff to its death. When people become unsettled or unhappy they often look for someone on whom they can place their own sins. The typical racist takes his sins, his moral shortcomings, and places them upon the scapegoat, or the group which he despises. He then seeks to drive them out or kill them.

Like most collectivists the racist needs to deny his own personal responsibility. He evades individual responsibility and instead claims victim status for himself.

As an aside it should be noted that this claiming of victim status is often used by people evading responsibility. However, not everyone who claims victimhood is a bigot. In fact, most are not. In a strange psychological convergence people who are targeted by bigots, and the bigots themselves, both claim victim status. This sometimes degenerates into duelling victim groups, where one tries to trump the other as to who is the most oppressed. This shouldn’t be construed to mean that some people are not legitimate victims. But many were never actually victimized but use their status as a member of a group which is targeted by bigots as the excuse for their shortcomings.

The bigot is, in so many ways, a person who has failed in life. His hatred of a group or several groups is his attempt to explain away his failure. He sees the others as a collective. All Jews, all blacks, all immigrants, all gays, etc. are responsible for the problems the bigot experiences or which he feels his own society is experiencing. He has trouble seeing the individual and if he does see an individual he tries to make them the exception to the rule. So the Mexican family he knows is okay but the others are not. The gay friend he has is alright the others are not.

Hitler once lamented that every Nazi he knew thought that one particular Jew was the exception to the rule. They each accepted the Nazi hatred of Jews as a group but each wanted to make the exception for the Edeljude “the noble Jew”. Even Hitler himself acted the same. The Jewish doctor Eduard Bloch, who cared for Hitler’s mother Klara, was left unmolested by the Nazis right up until he emigrated to the United States in 1940. He and his family were spared many of the abuses inflicted on Jews.

As much as the bigot tries he does seem perpetually forced to find that there are “exceptions” to his stereotype. And then he will use this exception as proof that his bigotry is not bigotry at all. He seems to think that no bigot would make such exceptions. Hitler’s doctor proves otherwise.

The second way the bigot uses his prejudicial collectivism to assuage his own justifiable lack of self-esteem is to claim credit for the accomplishments of others. You see this when they speak of “white pride” for instance

The Village Voice recently ran an article by a journalist who spent some time with a group of these racists. She described in great detail how they engaged in the usual hate speech. They used all sorts of crude racist remarks and found the most juvenile insults witty and funny. But they also had organized a day to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jamie Kelso, the leader of this ragtag herd of bigots was quite excited about the museum visit. He told his followers: “It’s bigger than the Louvre... and everything in it is made by white people like us.” At another point he said: “We’re going to look at the sculptures, some of the most amazing work done by our race.”

The great work of these artists was the result of individual effort not the work of a race or a collective. There is no collective brain. To say that this work was the work of “white people like us” is absurd. But to cover up the lack of personal ability the racist takes credit for the work of others.

Their own lack of moral character, more than anything else, is the reason they suffer from this sense of inferiority. It is an accurate appraisal of their own life. But instead of acknowledging their own shortcomings they denigrate groups of people and scapegoat them for their problems. And they take credit for work which was not their own. Both are psychological defense mechanism employed to avoid the haunting fear that their failures in life might just be their own fault.

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