Los débiles

William Saletan makes some interesting points at Slate. Among other things, he notes that today’s white nationalists seem to be claiming they must dominate America not because they are superior to those other races, but because they aren’t.

Racist terrorists who have left behind manifestos or other writings—Dylann Roof (Charleston, 2015), Robert Bowers (Pittsburgh, 2018), John Earnest (Poway, California, 2019), and others—generally regard whites as victims. That’s their standard excuse for murder: that they were acting in self-defense. They’ve fretted about “ethnic replacement,” “demographic annihilation,” and “white genocide.” Crusius claimed to be fighting a “Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me,” he wrote. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

The alleged El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, actually wrote that whites were threatened  “as stronger and/or more appealing cultures overtake weaker and/or undesirable ones.” In other words, he was less about white supremacy and more about white preservation. The “invasion” of nonwhite immigrants would overwhelm “white culture,” whatever Crusius imagines that is. Further, he fears whites themselves would disappear though intermarriage.

I find the culture thing annoying. In the realm of the fine arts, “white” culture is more or less European culture, which includes Spain. Your average wingnut wouldn’t know a work by Murillo or Velazquez from one by Rembrandt, and wouldn’t care. So it’s folk and popular culture that concerns them. Apparently wingnuts feel oppressed by mariachi bands, which is a damn shame because mariachi music makes me happy. If mariachis don’t cheer you up, there’s something wrong with you. And dare I say — La Bamba?

And speaking of invasions, let us not forget that Texas used to be a state of Mexico. But I digress.

So we’ve got these pathetic weenies who feel oppressed by frijoles and accoustic guitar music and are terrified their supposedly recessive DNA will be wiped out by aggressive, curly-haired dominatrix DNA from someplace not European. And these bozos think they deserve to be protected and preserved, why, exactly?

An article at Psychology Today on the Psychology of Racism says, “racism (and xenophobia of all kinds) … is primarily a psychological trait — more specifically, a psychological defense mechanism generated by feelings of insecurity and anxiety.” Well, of course it is.

In other words, racism — and xenophobia of any kind — is a symptom of psychological ill-health. It is a sign of a lack of psychological integration, a lack of self-esteem and inner security. Psychologically healthy people with a stable sense of self and strong inner security are not racist, because they have no need to strengthen their sense of self through group identity. They have no need to define themselves in distinction to — and in conflict with — others.

Do read the whole article, it’s quite good. So, your average racist is an individual with a badly integrated personality, low self-esteem and a deep sense of insecurity. Note that none of this rises to the level of “mental illness,” unless you want to define half the population as “mentally ill.” Marching around with tiki torches and assault weapons makes them feel stronger. I would add that men who are abusive of women have similar issues.

These specimens see themselves as big, strong men, but they aren’t strong at all. They are armored. They are defensive. People who go through life armored, whether with weapons or just belligerence, are weak people. Genuinely strong people don’t need armor except on a battlefield.

Trump is a very armored man, I have noticed. He is all belligerence and self-defensiveness. He is so insecure he wouldn’t allow press to cover his recent visits to Dayton and El Paso, but the White House public relations people assure us Trump was “greeted like a rock star.” Sure he was. And then there’s this:

While visiting a hospital in El Paso, Texas on Wednesday after a mass shooting that left 22 people dead, President Donald Trump found time to boast about the crowd size at a campaign rally he held in the city several months ago.

Trump was meeting with a team of medical staffers at the University Medical Center, where eight victims of the shooting are still in recovery, when he suddenly brought up the rally he held in El Paso (for which his campaign still hasn’t paid back its debt of over $400,000 to the city).

“I was here three months ago and we made a speech,” he said before shaking the hand of a hospital employee who said he was at the front row of that rally (which was held in February, not three months ago).

“That was some crowd,” Trump bragged. “And we had twice the number outside.”

That led to a tangent about 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke and the counter-protest he had led on the day of Trump’s rally.

“And then you had this crazy Beto,” he continued. “Beto had like 400 people in the parking lot. They said his crowd was wonderful. But we had some—”

Trump then interrupted himself to admire a hospital worker’s Trump-themed socks.

“Oh wow! Look at that,” he exclaimed. “Don’t tell it to the press because they won’t even believe it.”

I started to say Trump must have intestines of jello, but even jello beats whatever he’s got. Total wimp.

14 thoughts on “Los débiles

  1. My theory, from observation, is that most Republicons (besides but not exclusive of the obviously greedy ones) have been through childhood trauma that has never been resolved, up to and including abuse, whether sexual, physical, or psychological. Abuse survivors tend to follow outwardly assertive personalities, tend to show signs of fear in non-threatening environments, and tend to mask their insecurities with bravado.

    • I don't think the findings have been published yet, but, the Violence Project has sifted through fifty years of data on mass killings and from what I have heard, childhood trauma is the single most common factor.

      I look forward to hearing what Maha and this community make of the report when it is published.

      One interesting trait was that mass shooters tended to blend their grievances, that is social and economic dissatisfaction with political issues, etc.  That might mean that mass shooting as an expression of political dysphoria might only be part of the picture.  Anyway, we'll see when the report comes out.

  2. In our formative years, we develop a metric, a yardstick for quality. How do you measure 'good' and 'bad'? We all develop our own method and value system but for some, the final measure is simple and absolute – money. If you adopt the Horatio Alger Myth, you expect that hard work and innovation will create personal wealth equivalent to the individual contribution to society. Or in English, rich people are richer because they 'built' more than poor people who built nothing. By this metric, poverty or need is proof of laziness and personal flaws.

    Problem: what if you work hard and still struggle? That violates the myth, dashes your world view. If you're working hard and struggling, somebody else is interfering with the natural laws.  It's the only explanation that explains your poverty while it sustains the 'truth' of the myth.

    Trump's brand is built on that false myth – that he's a great builder, a wealthy man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and created an empire by genius and force of will. This myth, IMO, is the foundation of his adoring cultists. Trump wants for nothing, has jet planes, yachts, beautiful women. (He's also a tax cheat, a business cheat, an academic failure, and the quintessential narcissist in perpetual need of validation.) His cultists see none of that because Trump validates the shattered myth and offers to vanquish those liberals who have attacked the Horatio Algers Truth. 

    You might, as I'm inclined to do, ascribe blame to the obvious wealth created not by contributions to society but to gaming the system – legalized bribery, illicit monopolies, cheating workers, and well, capitalism. I'm not a communist (using the word according to the meaning). I'm fine with an individual building wealth through hard work and innovation. I'm also fine with taxing great wealth. I don't believe in dynasties – if you have great wealth, you should NOT be able to pass on to your kids more wealth than they would acquire in a middle-class working lifetime. ($50,000 x 43 years = 2 million-plus change. The kids will have the automatic advantage of top private university education plus family connections. They shouldn't die poor with those advantages but they will crash and burn if they are fools. That's a meritocracy, what conservatives pretend they want.

    Within this analysis, there's a libertarian issue – the belief that if I ever own anything, I own it forever and can direct the outcome for any property upon my death. I've never heard a libertarian discussion of how the dynasty-building of ever-increasing dynastic wealth fits with the Horatio Algers Myth of Merit. Don't kid yourself – the Kennedys will not give up their family wealth any sooner than the Bush Dynasty.

  3. Just as a measure of a man and his responsibility of being a  father…How much quality time do you think Trump has spent with his son Barron in just the last three years? You think as much time as he has spent on the golf course? Has he exhibited the qualities of character that a man would want to instill in a child whose best interests he has at heart?

    • Given how Trump is spending "quality time" could rightfully be deemed child abuse.  The last thing you want is to have a child influenced by that sick man.  Look at Don Jr and Eric, product's of their father, and not a shred of empathy in 'em.

  4. Look at the story today of the man 41yr who never lived in Iraq and did not speak arabic, suffered from diabetes  and schizophrenia,  and  was born in Greece  of iraqi parents brought to the US at 6 months and deported in June  to southern Iraq.  He was Christian  had no family there. He died because he had no id  ,could  now get a job a place to live etc without it. He could not get insulin.

    He was murdered by Donald trump and Stephen miller. Vietnamese people who came here for good reason in the 1980s  are being deported to a country they have never known.  Same with Haitians Hondurans  people with temporary protected status. Our government  is deporting people for the sin of working in chicken plant. How many MAGATS  at trump rallies  would work there? Their children have no home to go to. How many illegally entered aliens has Sonny Perdue  hired and made his money from? The people in this administration  need to be indicted. The owners  who hired non citizens need to be indicted.

  5. “And then you had this crazy Beto,” he continued. “Beto had like 400 people in the parking lot. They said his crowd was wonderful. But we had some—”

    When I read this it brought to mind a passage from Desiderata.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

     Ya think? May become?

  6. So, these MAGAt's are really WATB's! (Whiny Ass Titty Babies)?

    Yeah, sounds about right.

    I've been asking the same question for decades:  Why aren't the owner's of these businesses arrested for hiring undocumented persons?

    Ok, so almost 700 people were picked-up in these stings, but guess what?  The OWNERS will now find almost 700 new undocumented person's to fill those jobs?  Why?  Because they don't want to pay liveable wages!

    So, tRUMP's storm-troopers can come back in 6 months and arrest another 700 undocumented persons.


    But NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Why not?

    Because chances are, the owners are older white males, that's why.

  7. It's not about mariachi music. It's about economic domination. Lower class whites fear being displaced by immigrants, competing for the dwindling number of jobs that haven't been automated or shipped overseas. 

    There is a cultural aspect to it, of having to coexist with yes, what amounts to an invasion of people whose language and folkways are different than yours, which means you become a stranger in your own land.

    I've personally experienced this where I live in California, where certain parts have become dominated in recent years by an influx of (mainly) Chinese. No one's taking up guns where I live because it's still a strong economy for most of us living here (in no small part due to the Asian work ethic). Those who can't afford it, leave.

    But the central point in Crusius' manifesto is that it's about preservation, survival, in the context of a culture already weakened by dwindling jobs.

    • Mexican culture has always been part of Texas culture, though. Texas was Mexican before it was Anglo.

      Having lived in New York City, I have seen a post-influx world where everybody is comfortable with everything. All the world's cultures are mine.

      • That's a big city environment, where a multitude of cultures do indeed coexist and it's much like being in a supermarket of choices. It's a vibrant and exciting mix.

        What I'm talking about is where a smaller town or small city is effectively dominated by an ethnicity that is very different from yours. It's not the galaxy of choices of a large city, it's one single choice displacing another. An invasion, in other words.

        Some react to this invasion with guns, others simply accept it as part of life and make the best of it. I appreciate what the Chinese bring here – these are generally highly educated, highly driven people – who are taking over the world because they can – but it means that my social world has to adapt and adjust. 

        It also means that prices are going through the roof for housing. Wealthy foreigners are settling in desirable places around the world, which drives up prices for locals. We've seen this in NYC and elsewhere. It means my economic world has to adjust (so far successfully) because of the actions (invasion) of others. Some respond with guns, those with more options, adjust.

        • moonbat — however, the small town scenario you describe has nothing to do with El Paso or why some kid from Plano would choose to drive 650 miles to shoot people there.

  8. It is interesting how racists, at least the ones I've personally encountered, all tend to exhibit similar psychological tendencies and personality traits, and suffer from low self esteem.  White folk who take personal offense at any mention of racism, general or specific, that is experienced by non-whites, struggle with even acknowledging the facts of such situations even when they are laid bare, and view it as a personal attack.  It has zero to do with economics as this trait appears to exist in people across all social and economic strata. 

    Then you have those for whom, while they may not suffer much with a lack of self-esteem, racism is seen as embarrassing lower class behavior of ignorant people, and though they have an affinity for them being white, they don't want to be openly associated with it.  Not so much because they don't believe the stereotypes, but because they don't want to be associated with socially low class behavior.

    Its this latter group the GOP has been singing to with dog whistles, with some success, for decades.  This is who the Trumpists hope to turn with their overt racsim, and while that plays with the "unwashed" among them, for the "enlightened" white folk in suburbia, open association with that is not what they want.  Its as if Trump doubling down on racist strategy is in order to convince them otherwise.  So far it doesn't appear to be working.

    But what should we expect when after almost 500 years, racism is deeply entrenched in society? It is deeply ingrained in our social psyche.  Its going to take, unfortunately, several generations to change for the better, providing we have a starting point of real acknowledgement, something that we have yet to have.  Unlike other nations that had similar issues, America has never really truly acknowledged the extent of racism as a social issue.  Its been easier to issue empty platitudes about progress ("we've come a long way") rather than to seriously and substantively acknowledge and confront uncomfortable truths.  The old stereotypes underpinning white supremacy remain central to justifications for explaining away inaction (they're lazy, are criminals, not intelligent, etc), and supporting white supremacy as status quo to this day.   

    It was thought the nation turned a corner on race when Obama was elected.  The overreaction resulting in the election of an openly bigoted president is because we're still a country that never seriously dealt with our racist past and acknowledged the impact of that legacy, not just on non-whites but whites as well.



Comments are closed.