A lot of cyber ink has been spilled when it comes to responses and critiques of the Black Lives Matter movement. But it has to be said that many of these critiques, however good, have merely plucked leaves or branches off the tree. What I would like to do in this space is borrow a 28″ Husqvarna chain saw from John the Baptist, and have him show me how to lay something like that at the root of the tree.
Much of the tussling has been because normal people want to say something sweet and reasonable, like All Lives Matter, and they point out that it follows necessarily that black lives would also matter, being a subset of all lives as they are. The response to this claim is that white supremacists are plenty clever enough to nip in and get control of any kind of All Lives control panel, and do so in such a way as to perpetuate the inequities between whites and blacks, which means that, at the end of the day All Lives Matter would turn into some version of All Lives Matter, but Some Don’t Matter as Much. Thus to say anything like this is to betray that you don’t know what the Black Lives Matter people are talking about, not even a little bit.
And, I must say, if we all agreed that Jesus rose from the dead, they might have a point in there worth considering and discussing. But we don’t share any kind of transcendental commitments, which means that all these pretended advocates of justice have simply surrendered the field. We still might dispute with one another, but the dispute doesn’t signify. It just means that we are dogs yapping at each other endlessly at midnight.
I say this because the founders of Black Lives Matter were basically atheistic Marxists, which means that their actual position necessarily reduces to No Lives Matter. And by atheism here, I mean both atheism proper and functional atheism—where there may be an appeal to tiny gods that can fit on a tribal shelf. These are arbitrary gods with no transcendent authority and ultimately, the ramifications will be the same. We need to look at them straight on.
One of those ramifications is a helpful explanation of the irrational black rage we see exploding all around us. All of it is just naked envy of the successes of what they call white supremacy, but I am getting a little ahead of myself. Someone needs to tell me to cool my baby jets.
One of the things I have noticed in my interactions with atheists is the fact that they are very good at getting themselves into a fever pitch of moral indignation. It is one of their signature moves. Hitchens used to do it, Dawkins does it, and Harris does it. They banish any and all possible grounds for any kind of moral evaluation at all, and then they wheel on you, jowls quivering and anger in their eyes, like an archbishop who just found a couple of painted ladies in the choir loft.
If there is no God, then we are all just inchoate chemical assemblages and random neuron firings, and all of our moral indignation over this travesty or that outrage are on exactly the same level as what happens when you pour vinegar into baking soda. Something awful happens, and there you are, foaming away at it, and above you . . . only sky. So change that “something awful” into “something that apparently displeased the baking soda.”
Let me make the point even plainer. If there is no God, then—as Dostoevsky noted—all is permitted. And if all is permitted, then that means that white supremacy is permitted, lynching uppity blacks is permitted, separate drinking fountains are just fine, the Tuskegee syphilis experiments were the way to go, more people than Dave Chappelle can use the N-word with impunity, that word being November, and so on. There will be no judgment, there will be no reckoning, there will be no last assizes.
And if people who do not believe in God are in the middle of the mob, fomenting rage, you can rest assured that you are dealing, not with a social justice advocate, but rather with an intricate and very clever hustle.
In our previous Christian consensus, the oppression mattered, and so the hustle works this way. The hustle wants to squeeze every possible concession out of that waning Christian consensus, as long as it lasts, and then to move on to the next lucrative opportunity. Socialist paradises don’t offer too many of those, and so the ideal would be to find another host body with lots of money and a reservoir of guilt. The problem they will confront is that when America is gone, the tapeworm will lament having killed the last fat guy. And you haven’t seen forlorn sorrow until you see a tapeworm who wouldn’t think ahead.
Not Only So
Not only so, but this means more than saying that living atheists have a right to embrace ethical nihilism if they so desire. It also means that dead atheists in generations past had the right to live that way back in the day. YOLO, man, and it means that the slave trader back then, cracking the whip, and the ardent abolitionist back then, trying hard to outlaw the slave trade, are now, both of them, a set of bleached bones, the color of the moon. None of it matters, and nobody cares. In fact, the abolitionist had his statue vandalized with red paint and pulled over first.
And do you know what that means? It means that the architects of white supremacy, who built all this evil infrastructure around us did not actually do anything evil—for there is no such thing, remember?—but they did successfully do what benefited them and their tribe. And this means that all those white oppressors, now dead and gone, got away with it.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Klan, got clean away with it.
“If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.”
1 Corinthians 15:32 (KJV)
If the dead are not raised, if there is no “savior religion,” then Ibram X. Kendi can do whatever he wants. But then again, so could the white supremacists of yore, and so could Stalin, and so could Pol Pot, and so can Donald Trump and Jerry Seinfeld and Ammon Bundy and Kyle RIttenhouse and Ted Cruz, and anyone else you manage to recruit for this meaningless protoplasm parade of yours.
Know What Else?
Know what else it means? It means that because God cannot bring justice to these malefactors, because He doesn’t exist and they are all dead, it also follows that Ibram X. Kendi can’t bring any kind of justice to them either. They are completely out of his reach. They pulled off the perfect crime. They were white, and then decided to go off to build the mechanisms of white supremacy, which have functioned smoothly on their behalf for centuries. They gathered their personal fortunes from the sale of Haitian cane sugar, they sat on the veranda of their plantation houses with their wives and three children, they would go back to the slave cabins to beget little mulatto sons and daughters as the whim took them, and generally swanked around as sweet as all dammit.
Who may condemn this kind of thing? Certainly not any atheists. But that, of course, is only if we require the atheists to be consistent, which, given atheism, they have no obligation to be.
So the best that Kendi can do is go to a Benjamin Moore outlet, get a color swatch, and then writhe and spit at people who kind of match the tint of the oppressors. And yet frustration is not justice. It might explain why a man dealing with an irascible boss comes home and kicks the dog, but kicking the dog is just a proxy sort of thing. And everybody in the house knows it, except for the dog.
The dog is the kind of creature who will accept all the blame. He knows that he is the problem. The argument seems compelling to him, because the color swatch did match up in a way that was almost uncanny. These people—pasty patsies, let us call them—are your NPR listeners, your evangelical pastors with ripped jeans and a Biden sticker on their guitar case, and your suburban white women who read liberation theology for their wine and cheese book groups.
Whatever He Wants
So if Ibram X. Kendi can do whatever he wants, which appears to be what he is in fact doing, I would tell him, given his premises, that he needs to cultivate more of a love/hate thing with the white supremacists of long ago. They successfully did what he is attempting to do. Why not take notes? Why not acknowledge your indebtedness? The guilt trip is not going to work very much longer, and so it will be time to pivot pretty soon.
But this is only a good idea if Christ did not rise from the dead. But Christ did in fact rise from the dead, which means that there is a savior religion with true authority.
Black Hearts Matter
Black Lives Matter is the mantra of an ideological collective. Individual black lives do not matter to them, not even a little bit. A black voice only matters, in this scheme, if it is serving as an avatar of that collective. And that collective is nothing more than a commie construct. Dismembered black children, scraped out of black wombs, do not advance the cause of the collective, and so they don’t matter. Dissenting black conservative voices do not serve the collective, and so they are dismissed as the black face of white supremacy. The Christian faith, which served as an incredible solace to the black church in its time of exile, is contemptuously set aside as one of the chains. And it was a chain that did in fact bind the collective, but it did that by setting black Christians free.
The only place where individual black lives matter is in Christ. And, as it turns out, that is the only place where white lives can matter also. Christ is the only one in whom anything matters. In Christ, all things hold together, and apart from Him nothing holds together (Col. 1:17-18).
But Christ does not simply grant meaning to black individuals as such, or to white individuals as such. He grants everything that fallen men and women need—He gives forgiveness, restoration, holiness, and glory to black sinners, and to white sinners. Regardless of the color of our skin, we all share the same color of sin. You can describe those sins as scarlet, or you can describe them as black, or as crimson, or any other color that will upset somebody, but Christ will make them as white as snow, as white as wool.
And one of the things that will happen when Christ sets you free is that you will be able to handle color metaphors like a grown up.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Is. 1:18 (KJV)
One of the games that sinners like to play is the game of grading on a curve. “Yes, I may have sinned, but at least I am not as bad as . . .” But God does not grade on a curve. He puts Capernaum into the same absolute scales of justice that He uses for Sodom, and Tyre, and Sidon. So if any of your children have ever been sold by Planned Parenthood, in lucrative pieces, then the slave traders of old Charleston will rise up and condemn you at the last day.
Today’s NQN GIveaway
The giveaway for today’s post is my daughter’s book, You Who?. It is quite true that I did not write this book, but it could also be argued that, in some sense, I am partly responsible. The book is not about racial issues, like the post above, but it is about identity, and it is an identity crisis that is driving all this ethnic hoohah. So the link to the free version can be found here.