A Philosopher's Blog

White Nationalism II: The BLM Argument

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Race by Michael LaBossiere on November 28, 2016

While there are some varieties of white nationalism, it is an ideology committed to the creation and preservation of a nation comprised entirely of whites (or at least white dominance of the nation). While some white nationalists honestly embrace their racism, others prefer to present white nationalism in a more pleasant guise. Some advance arguments to show that it should be accepted as both good and desirable.

While it is not limited to using Black Lives Matter, I will dub one of the justifying arguments “the BLM argument” and use BLM as my main example when discussing it. The argument typically begins by pointing out the existence of “race-based” identity groups such as Black Lives Matters, Hispanic groups, black student unions and so on. The next step is to note that these groups are accepted, even lauded, by many (especially on the left). From this it is concluded that, by analogy, white identity groups should also be accepted, if not lauded.

If analogies are not one’s cup of tea, white identity groups can be defended on the grounds of consistency: if the existence of non-white identity groups is accepted, then consistency requires accepting white identity groups.

From a logical standpoint, both arguments have considerable appeal because they involve effective methods of argumentation. However, consistency and analogical arguments can both be challenged and this challenge can often be made on the same basis, that of the principle of relevant difference.

The principle of relevant difference is the principle that similar things must be treated in similar ways, but that relevantly different things can be justly treated differently. For example, if someone claimed that it was fine to pay a woman less than a man simply because she is a woman, then that would violate the principle of relevant difference. If it was claimed that a male worker deserves more pay because he differs from a female co-worker in that he works more hours, then this would fit the principle. In the case of the analogical argument, a strong enough relevant difference would break the analogy and show that the conclusion is not adequately supported. In the case of the consistency argument, showing a strong enough relevant difference would justify treating two things differently because sufficiently different things can justly be treated differently.

A white nationalist deploying the BLM argument would contend that although there are obviously differences between BLM and a white nationalist group, these differences are not sufficient to allow condemnation of white nationalism while accepting BLM. Put bluntly, it could be said that if black groups are morally okay, then so are white groups. On the face of it, this generally reasoning is solid enough. It would be unprincipled to regard non-white groups as acceptable while condemning white groups merely because they are white groups.

One way to respond to this would be to argue that all such groups are unacceptable; perhaps because they would be fundamentally racist in character. This would be a consistent approach and has some appeal—accepting these sorts of identity groups is to accept race identification as valid; which seems problematic.

Another approach is to make relevant difference arguments that establish strong enough differences between white nationalist groups and groups like BLM and Hispanic student unions. There are many options and I will consider a few.

One option is to argue that such an identity group is justified when the members of that group are identified by others and targeted on this basis for mistreatment or oppression. In this case, the group identity would be imposed and acknowledged as a matter of organizing a defense against the mistreatment or oppression.  BLM members can make the argument that black people are identified as blacks and mistreated on this basis by some police. As such, BLM is justified as a defensive measure against this mistreatment. Roughly put, blacks can justly form black groups because they are targeted as blacks. The same reasoning would apply to other groups aimed at protection from mistreatment aimed at specific identity groups.

Consistency would require extending this same principle to whites. As such, if whites are being targeted for mistreatment or oppression because they are white, then the formation of defensive white identity groups would be warranted. Not surprisingly, this is exactly the argument that white groups often advance: they allege they are victims and are acting to protect themselves.

While white groups have a vast and varied list of the crimes they believe are being committed against them as whites, they are fundamentally mistaken. While crimes are committed against white people and there are white folks who are suffering from things like unemployment and opioid addiction, these are not occurring because they are white. They are occurring for other reasons. While it is true that the special status of whites is being challenged, and has eroded over the years, the loss of such unfair and unwarranted advantages in favor of greater fairness is not a moral crime. The belief in white victimhood is the result of willful delusion and intentional deceit and is not grounded in facts.

This line of argument does, however, remain open to empirical research. If it can be shown with objective evidence that whites are subject to general mistreatment and oppression because they are whites, then defensive white groups would be justified on these grounds. While I am aware that people can find various videos on YouTube purporting to establish the abuse of whites as whites, one must distinguish between anecdotal evidence and adequate statistical support. For example, if fatal DWW (Driving While White) incidents started occurring at a statistically significant level, then it would be worth considering the creation of WLM (White Lives Matter).

A second option is to consider the actions and goals of the group in question. If a group has a morally acceptable goal and acts in ethical ways, then the group would be morally fine. However, a group that had morally problematic goals or acted in immoral ways would be relevantly different from groups with better goals and methods.

While BLM does have its detractors, its avowed goal is “is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.” This seems to be a morally commendable goal. While BLM is often condemned by the likes of Fox News for their protests, the organization certainly seems to be operating in accord with a non-violent approach to protesting. As such, its general methodology is at least morally acceptable. This is, of course, subject to debate and empirical investigation. If, for example, it was found that BLM were organizing the murder of police officers, then that would make the group morally wrong.

White groups could, of course, have morally acceptable goals and methods. For example, if a white group was created in response to the surge in white people dying from opioids and they focused on supporting treatment of white addicts, then such a group would seem to be morally fine.

However, there are obviously white groups that have evil goals and use immoral methods. White supremacy groups, such as the KKK, are the usual examples of such groups. The white nationals also seem to be an immoral group. The goal of white dominance and the goal of establishing a white nation are both to be condemned, albeit not always for the same reasons. While the newly “mainstreamed” white nationalists are not explicitly engaged in violence, they do make use of a systematic campaign of untruths and encourage hatred. The connections of some to Nazi ideology is also extremely problematic.

In closing, while it is certainly possible to have white identity groups that are morally acceptable, the white nationalists are not among them. It is also worth noting that all identity groups might be morally problematic.

 

 

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12 Responses

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  1. TJB said, on November 28, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Mike, why the sudden interest in white nationalism? Do you believe it was an important factor in the election? Do you believe it is a growing force in the U.S.?

  2. TJB said, on November 28, 2016 at 9:54 am

    “While the newly “mainstreamed” white nationalists…”

    What are you talking about here, Mike? All this talk of whaite nationalism is nothing more than a hallucination by people who see racism behind any disagreement with the party line.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      If this is true, then there is nothing to worry about. Presumably people are hallucinating the alt-right sites and spokespeople.

  3. TJB said, on November 28, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Washington Post:

    There are different benchmarks one can use to see how Trump performed compared with prior Republican nominees. Comparing yesterday’s results with 2012, as this Washington Post feature does, shows that Trump actually performed slightly worse among white voters than Mitt Romney did. He did, however, perform better than Romney among blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans, making it more difficult to claim that racial resentment was the dominant factor explaining Trump’s support nationally.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/11/trump-got-more-votes-from-people-of-color-than-romney-did-heres-the-data/

    You are hallucinating, Mike.

    • WTP said, on November 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      You are hallucinating, Mike.

      TJ, what have I told you time and time again about the differences between an objective reality and the things that go on in Mike’s head? Again, it’s right up there in the subtitle of the blog: “…assuming it exists”

  4. WTP said, on November 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    And furthermore, “Hands up, don’t shoot” is a lie. Why do you consciously choose to perpetuate this lie by continuing to use this image? Is this ethical?

  5. ronster12012 said, on November 29, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Michael

    …………………………………………………………………………………………
    “While there are some varieties of white nationalism, it is an ideology committed to the creation and preservation of a nation comprised entirely of whites (or at least white dominance of the nation).”
    ………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Just to get this straight, would you condemn black african nations for wanting to remain black nations? Or asian nations for wanting to remain ethnically asian or more specifically chinese, japanese, etc?

    In other words, are ethnostates illegitimate? If that is the case then that would apply to all countries, no? Make Russians a minority in their own country, and Chinese too, same for every country. And that would imply open borders, wouldn’t it? And open borders means the end of nation states. End of nation states =end of rule of law, unless we are talking a one world government, in which whites then become an instant minority and therefore deserve minority rights, no? And any guesses as to how soon they will receive those same minority rights that we extend to others? All that to avoid being called a racist?

  6. ronster12012 said, on November 29, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Michael
    …………………………………………………………………………….
    “The belief in white victimhood is the result of willful delusion and intentional deceit and is not grounded in facts..”
    …………………………………………………………………………….

    What about about crime rates?

    …………………………………………………………………………………
    “While the newly “mainstreamed” white nationalists are not explicitly engaged in violence, they do make use of a systematic campaign of untruths and encourage hatred.”
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Hatred? A normal human emotion IMO. Currently it is used as a propaganda term to shame people into shutting people down. Blacks hate, jews hate, asians hate, midle easterners hate and yet white hatred is all we hear about. When was the last time that the Black Panthers (new or old) were introduced as a Black hate group….lol

    So, if all people are capable of hate, or rather saying mean things, (which is all it really means)and only whites are condemned for it wouldn’t you say that that is anti white bias at work?

    ……………………………………………………………………………………
    “BLM members can make the argument that black people are identified as blacks and mistreated on this basis by some police. As such, BLM is justified as a defensive measure against this mistreatment. Roughly put, blacks can justly form black groups because they are targeted as blacks. ”
    …………………………………………………………………………………….

    Isn’t it true that most of the shit that happens to blacks ie. murders, assaults etc are perpetrated by other blacks? If so, then wouldn’t that mean that BLM should be protesting about violent blacks instead of the relatively few instances of police on black violence? If that is the case then BLM is a biased and possibly racist, no?

    ………………………………………………………………………………………
    “In closing, while it is certainly possible to have white identity groups that are morally acceptable, the white nationalists are not among them. It is also worth noting that all identity groups might be morally problematic.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………….
    So you are saying that anyone who advocates for a white identity are unacceptable. I would be more impressed(though still not agreeing with you) if you were consistent and condemned all nationalism. Jewish, black, asian etc.

    But after condemning all nationalisms, what are you going to do about it? If they constitute a moral wrong then are you saying that all nationalisms should be smashed militarily if necessary? Because to stand by and watch a moral wrong being committed is a wrong in itself then you would naturally justify forcing multiculturalism on every country……or just white ones? Or is this getting too silly?

  7. DH said, on November 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    This is a test. My comments have failed to post recently –

  8. DH said, on November 29, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I have listened to and read both left-leaning and right-leaning news sources recently, and I have found that those on the left are focusing on Trump’s perceived white nationalism, the fact that KKK members support him, his supposed mysogeny and xenophobia as the lead on so many of their stories. They continue to air interviews with prominent women who are shocked at his election, doomsday predictors who cannot get past his personality and the composite sketch of the disaster of a man he is.

    On the right, there is focus on his choices for cabinet positions, and despite the fact that he is a misogynist he has appointed Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary and Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador. Despite the fact that he is a xenophobic, he has appointed Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary, (and Nikki Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants), and despite the fact that he is a racist, is close to appointing Ben Carson as HUD Secretary.

    By devoting so much time to BLM, White Supremacy, and all this racist and xenophobic backstory, you are joining right in with all the rhetoric. Eight years ago, the mere mention of the Black Panthers’ support of Barack Obama in any context whatsoever would have one branded as a racist.

    This is a tired old saw – and does more to promote racism in this country than it does to help allay it. I think we would all do well to put it all aside – as we did Bill Clinton’s abuse of women and his own brand of misogyny, and deal with issues that will matter.

  9. WTP said, on November 29, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Feel free to substitute “academic philosophers” for “media” as it applies similarly. Via Ace of Spades…

    Jim Geraghty: OSU Jihadi Proves That the Progressives’ Victim Mentality Kills
    Excellent column by Jim Geraghy hitting on a theme I’ve hit on dozens of times myself:

    The media is always fretting that ginning up “white rage” will produce “backlash” — violence — against minority communities.

    Okay, let’s say I accept that’s a possibility.

    Is it not also a possibility that ginning up minority rage over agrievements, both those that can be characterized as possibly real as well of those of the #FakeNews contrived paranoia variety, can spur non-whites into their own “backlash” mode?

    If not, why not? Are whites singularly evil in this world? Are they alone the only race capable of being whipped up into a hateful, violent lather by racial paranoia and racial grievances?

    Geraghty notes that the OSU Killer had a lot of “fears” of “The Other” — and he acted on them.

    I don’t hear the media talking about this kind of “whitelash.”


    Take a good look at the Facebook post of the Ohio State University attacker.
    Sure, there’s plenty of that familiar jihadist rhetoric. “America, stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak… By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday.”

    But what comes through most is this whining sense of victimhood, that he’s forced to commit these atrocious, barbaric attacks on innocent people out of a righteous sense of self-defense to protect his feelings.

    “I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE. Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma led to a boiling point.”

    See, Muslims aren’t being killed and tortured everywhere. It would be nice if someone close to him had told him that, and if fewer people helped fuel that rage-inducing falsehood. If he ever bothered to read a book or the news about places like Syria and Iraq, he would have learned that Muslims are mostly being killed and tortured by fellow Muslims.

    If it’s dangerous for a strain of white identity politics to nurture a fear and hatred of “The Other” — different races — and that such a strain of grievance-mongering and paranoia may result in the murders or assaults of minorities, why is it (as the media and mediating institutions seem to believe) not dangerous at all for minority ethnic groups to gin up their own fear, paranoia, and hatred against whites or society in general?

    Will the media or any government official ever address this, given the weekly assassinations of police, and the newest barbarism committed against OSU students due to one lunatic steeping in the hatreds of identity politics?

    Or does the media simply believe that White Lives Don’t Matter, especially when compared against the Democrats’ keep to make Identity Politics Grievances and Hatreds Against Whites the central organizing principle of their party?

    (By the way: Cops are widely considered “White By Association” by many of the people ginning up racial resentments, no matter what their actual ethnicity. So blue lives are essentially white lives, and no, they don’t seem to matter.

    As Kurt Schlicter noted, media interest in the OSU story dried up immediately upon discovering the attack did not involve 1, a gun or 2, a white perpetrator who could be characterized as “Trump voter” harassing minority victims.)

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/367091.php

    • WTP said, on November 29, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Format failure… The part from “Take a good look at the Facebook…” through “…tortured by fellow Muslims” is a quote from the original Jim Geraghty article.


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