The George Floyd protests and the rage of identity politics
By The Ax
A catalyst for change or destruction?
Let's sit down and chat about recent events and what they mean for us. On 26 May 2020 George Floyd was brutally manhandled and murdered by Minneapolis, MN policeman Derek Chauvin for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill to a store employee. Circumstances here are somewhat muddy. Any one of us could have been innocently in the same situation. Among all the bills I have handed over in payment over my seven decades of life, I bet I have given out bogus money. Hence, before being charged, it would be reasonable to consider the incident accidental before intentional. Would most persons be arrested and treated like Floyd? Think of Floyd. Did the police have reason to think his having contacted money peddlers or owning a printing press? While the answer is speculative, my guess would be "no".
To point out the need to think critically, rather than be reactionaries (reacting to events), let's dispense with a few items before discussing the fallout. I look at Floyd, himself, Floyd, despite the usual tendency of people (hence, "reactionary") and in the present case place him on a pedestal, we find his apparent police record:
I say "ostensible, because clicking on the provided link - https://www.hcdistrictclerk.com/eDocs/Public/Search.aspx?ShowFF=1 - results in the server timing out. So much for SNOPES. But, even so, theft, robbery, drugs, and failure to identify oneself are not in the same league as counterfeiting money.
Those finding no sympathy with him or his murder invariably will drag out the "record", my using the quotes because of an inability to access an official document on a government website. But, let's say the image above is correct, there is no justification for the way he was treated. Regardless of one's past, s/he is entitled to due process – innocent until proven guilty and restrained only as necessary to be meted justice in a court of law. Clearly, this did not happen, demonstrated by forensic analysis of the now-infamous video [https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/working-stiff/86913 ]. "The cause of death is police restraint" [Ibid.]. For anyone, death is too high a price to pay for supposedly passing bogus currency. So, one asks why Floyd died.
Here is where context takes over. Without describing it in detail, suffice it to say enough evidence exists to demonstrate blacks suffer more police brutality than others [e.g.: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/12/cover-policing ; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5388955/ ], and dropping back further to bring more into view, we start looking at higher rates of impoverishment, incarceration, and income levels, all of which has led to charges of long-standing and systemic racism – the singling out of "persons of color" for discrimination. Search with "Google Scholar". I, for one, accept the data but venture to write about two areas, the myth of race and how "race" and a person's other physical characteristics have been parlayed into "identity politics" and how it has set us on a dangerous path towards civil oblivion.
The myth of race and how it is threatening our very existence
Let's be clear. "Race" is a human construction. Aside from negligible differences in our genetic makeup, "'Race’ cannot be biologically defined due to genetic variation among human individuals and populations" [http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/science-genetics-reshaping-race-debate-21st-century/ ]. But it does not take a geneticist to see this. Let me demonstrate empirically. At the outset, melanin content is a common bellwether for pigeonholing a person into a "racial" category, hence the word "black". At the outset, this is ridiculous, simply because those of persons of a dark-brown skin perforce are not black.
Here is why:
Let's be scientists for the while, not advocates for a social cause. It is all about boundaries and how they are determined. I start with the electromagnetic spectrum:
We have a scale above ostensibly saying where one frequency begins and where the other ends. However, let's look more closely. Take the scale and magnify the dividing lines. Ultimately, you will reach Planck scale, where, Hawking says particles flick in and out of existence (Google the phrase, "Hawking – particles in and out of existence", and you will see the problem.) In essence, we are not sure about the relation between discreteness and continuity. When does a gamma ray become an X ray, for example? So, what is "red"? Even in citing angstrom units, you are reduced to the boundary problem, and ultimately, you are the one calling the shot. Where does one classification begin and the other end?
Another way of looking at it is by consulting the double-slit experiment, where we find out locating a particle depends upon our judgement ("Copenhagen interpretation"). Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle" is yet another facet of the same problem. In the sociological real there is Peter Berger's Social Construction of Reality [http://perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf ].
Try the following:
The following depiction of human skin hues is deceptive because of the dividing lines:
All we need to do is refer to the previous image and the discussion previous to that to see the problem. Now, look at your own skins to see the color differences. The same problem emerges.
All of this is for color. Other physiological parameters – bone size, shape, and configuration of articulation; hair, stature – on an on – fall prey to the same boundary issues. Such says nothing about the permutations of physiological characteristics. Even if you could group persons generally, the recombination of characteristics each with their boundary issues presents the same situation [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227612119_The_Status_of_the_Race_Concept_in_Physical_Anthropology].
Where do we draw lines and how we classify are human inventions? Even if there were some innate structure holding all the elements, what we see and experience still is through ourselves; we see ourselves through ourselves and cannot jump outside our own skin. We then move to the motivations for doing so.
We can point to the long sorry history of "racial" conflict over the centuries – slavery, Jim Crow laws, and police brutality, and I do not need to regurgitate the details here. Critical is understanding how the social imposition of boundaries, thus creating "race", is a fatal substitute for what is necessary for the human race, hence civilization, to thrive.
We need to see how identity politics is a diversion from implementing necessary social solutions to problems confronting us: global warming, income stratification, resource depletion, overpopulation, and mounting complexity (especially technological). For example, all the while these protests and COVID-19 pandemic have been occurring, the permafrost in the northeastern Siberian region has been melting at alarming rates under 100 degrees Fahrenheit (no, I did not mistype "100") temperature.
Too, the US stock market speculators have been having a field day parasitizing the economy, despite the major crises. Something is going on the mainstream media is not telling us why. These predators have their own identity politics: their narcissistic selves. For sure, they are not getting any poorer.
Now, we have the clincher. At the present crossroads, humanity has a choice either to rethink its identity and the undercurrent of processes (philosophy) generating it or return literally to business as usual and its attendant consumerism and alienation to undergo the Holocene Extinction [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction#:~:text=The%20Holocene%20extinction%2C%20otherwise%20referred,a%20result%20of%20human%20activity. ].
The way out
"Racism" is symptomatic of something deeper. Again, it is perceived color and physical features culminating in identity politics. That is, a person is named (socially constructed) and classified (also socially constructed) to be manipulated or controlled. To "understand" something, you name it. Then, underneath identity politics is an ersatz philosophy serving to obstruct introspection, a critical reflection of one's core values, one's ethos. Identity politics through the Hitler regime is what catapulted us into World War Two and what now is unraveling the fabric of contemporary society. We look to the thinking underpinning a society and the outgrowths.
The United States, like most of the industrialized world, is patterned after the 16th century Reformation spawning the worship of materialism, expressed by the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" enshrined in the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence. The ensuing Industrial Revolution demonstrated how this ideology was to play out, people merely becoming cogs in a production machine. Alexis de Tocqueville at the beginning of Chapter 1 to Volume II of Democracy in America opens with:
I THINK that in no country in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States. The Americans have no philosophical school of their own, and they care but little for all the schools into which Europe is divided, the very names of which are scarcely known to them.
Given current events and the conspicuous absence of philosophy in U.S. school curriculums (and emphasis on business), we can see nothing has changed since 1835. Americans are doers, not thinkers, and praxis alone helps explain why social movements fail or are not long-lasting, elections (at least in modern times) offer no real choice, and why predators have been allowed to dominate the landscape (marked by speculators, banksters, severe income disparities, etc.). Alaric in 410 C.E. found Rome decayed, gold squirreled away in secret places, a few whores, and people starving. Sound familiar?
You know, when a country thinks it's citizens should have universally-accessible (including affordable) health care, you know indeed the people are sick – in more ways than one. Mentally, so much gangland activity, the drugs, school shootings, and now the protests are hallmarks of something more grave than the mere "identity" of "identity politics". "Right" and "left" have lost all their meaning, the ones using these epithets clueless about social relationships in the means of production and distribution. Aside from workers being alienated from their work through capitalism, there is the core, alienation from oneself and society and Earth, itself. It is ironic a disease – COVID-19 may be the necessary catalyst for needed introspection about the worth of materialism and attendant consumerism helping to destroy the environment. We need to look only to Max Weber's Religion and the Rise of Capitalism to see how this predatory and evil system has generated the alienation.
"Race", populism, and gangs are just three of the many affinity methods exhibiting dangerous and primitive tribalism [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Tribalism#%22Tribalism%22_as_ephitet ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribalism ] created as poor substitutes for what desperately is needed, the State. Be reminded these primitive concepts are more exclusionary of others and focus on a relatively simple social unit, a small collection of individuals when compared to more developed units like a large city or country.
Paradoxically, we need a new identity politics. It is called "organic identity", where individuals exist because of society and society exists because of the individuals.
Bringing it all together
A pandemic has generated tumult, forcing peoples worldwide into confinement and offering an opportunity to be removed from consumerism and introspective. The identity politics of the false idea of race is transformed into the search for a solution to the growing alienation in capitalist regimes. In a parallel manner and a reaction to the sterile mechanization of the Industrial Revolution, the 19th-century social philosophers gravitated to the view societies were organisms. World War One was a deadly milestone exhibiting how destructive mechanization could be. While the response was various fascisms and the evil perversion of National Socialism, World War Two was even more destructive, with the promise of global annihilation through nuclear war. Talk of the maximum extent of tribalistic thinking!
National Reformation Party readers already know much of the above, their studying G.W.F. Hegel, Emile Durkheim, and the likes of Gentile, Palmeri, Rocco, and Pitigliani. Simply reviewing philosophers like these is not enough to bring about change. We must internalize as organisms organic thinking – living it the reality, for we are, after all, organisms. It is only natural, not the Cartesian mechanism of animals only being machines. We identity with ourselves, but an individual exists only because of what it is not. Accordingly, we do the same in looking to the collectivity of the beings around us. An element is defined by the set and vice versa; so too we follow those laws of nature. Structurally, it is called the State, a proper noun telling of a special relationship. So too, organicity transfers itself to our surroundings, because without them, we alienate ourselves into oblivion.
Let's get the word out! I want to live. Don't you?