In recent years, again and again, public figures find themselves apologizing for saying “All lives matter.” Bizarrely, activists become outraged at the phrase. A Democratic candidate for president apologized in 2015 when he used the phrase at a symposium. Black Lives Matter activists booed and disrupted the event. In 2016, the president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling apologized for using the phrase. A Tennessee principal apologized for using the phrase in 2021. When a man shouted, “All lives matter!” during a 2020 D.C. protest, a BLM protester beat him with a baseball bat. Over and over, the mob meted out punishment and coerced apologies from anyone suggesting “All lives matter.”
Everyone knows the media reports differently on crime depending on the identity of the victims and the perpetrator. But the selective prosecution of perpetrators is even more troublesome. Despite the lavish attention the FBI and the Justice Department spends on “hate crimes,” the Justice Department does not seem interested in protecting people victimized because of their Christian faith.
From January 2018 to September 2022, the Family Research Council identified 420 hostile acts against U.S. churches including vandalism, gun attacks, and arson. A Catholic advocacy group reports “at least 309 attacks against Catholic churches in the United States” with no arrests in all but 25 percent of the cases. And the FBI has apparently failed to arrest any suspect for anti-Christain attacks following the Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade. There’s a sense that it’s open season on any target of leftist prejudice.
Indeed, it’s become quite popular to label those who resist or complain about race-based politics and anti-Christian rhetoric as “fascist” or “semi-fascist.” The label plays an indispensable role in the very successful libel campaign against Christains, conservatives, and people with European features. It’s a loosely defined group on which one may permissibly project blame for every social ill. Poverty, crime, pollution—it matters not. A public official can always deflect attention from his own failings by projecting blame on the “oppressors.” The process of demonizing and marginalizing a target group can take decades. Like the first few kernels of popcorn, the early violence seems random and unconnected. But once normalized, the violence moves too quickly to stop.
American schools rarely teach about the demagoguery that paves the way for genocide. Out of such ignorance, leftist mobs whip themselves up into a frenzy of “antifascist” fervor without bothering to examine whether their own social justice movement might be spinning towards something very dark.
Leftists fantasize that they would have had the courage of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel operator who risked his life during the 1994 Rwandan genocide in order to protect targeted Tutsis. They fantasize they would have risked everything like Oscar Schindler. Preventing the next Hitler or Rwanda-style genocide, we’re so often told, begins with social justice. Look around, they tell us, and you will awaken to the reality that, “racism is a causal factor in the social and economic outcomes . . .” And those who have awakened to this reality sometimes adopt the slang corruption of the verb “woke.”
Not so fast. Every genocide, including Rwanda, began with a kind of “awokening.” Every genocide begins as a social or economic justice movement seeking to redress a historical grievance narrative. To test whether you have the courage to resist, we must first confront three truths common to all genocides of the 20th century.
First, all genocides begin with a social justice movement that claims moral justification from the supposed historical sins of the target group. Second, the perpetrators of genocides always believe themselves to be the true victims entitled to a kind of preemptive self-defense. And third, a genocidal social justice movement can arise in any society which permits and facilitates an echochamber in which bigotry against the target group is normalized.
Yes, any society—including the United States.
In a sense, the term “social justice,” is a contradiction in terms. Justice, true justice, is meted out at the individual level. You cannot arrest and prosecute somebody just because they share the same skin color as the person who broke into your home. In fact, international norms prohibit collective punishment of communities based on the sins of their peers or ancestors. Any movement that seeks to punish innocent people because of their religion or skin color peddles evil.
It’s easy to sit in a movie theater and fantasize about how one would have resisted now-extinct Nazis. But in the lead-up to a genocide, one does not have the benefit of hindsight. In the moment, cruelty seems justified. It’s not bigotry if the race or group you’re taught to hate struck the first blow. No genocide ever succeeded without first convincing collaborators that the target group had it coming.
Rwandans justified the slaughter of Tutsis because of their alleged privilege and power left over from collaborating with Belgian colonizers. And the Rwandan government is still angry at Ruseabagina for drawing attention to the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis. Almost 30 years after the genocides in Rwanda, Ruseabagina found himself tortured and imprisoned on trumped up charges only to be released last month for the first time. The Rwandan government never forgot that Ruseabagina stood in the way of the wanton massacre of Tutsis and their sympathizers. So in 2020 the ruling government in Rwanda engineered a ruse to kidnap and imprison him for his sins.
In Cambodia, to justify murdering approximately 3 million of their countrymen, the ruling communists pointed to the social injustice between the haves and have-nots. As noted by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, “Income inequality was rampant. Cambodians living in the urban areas enjoyed relative wealth and comfort while the majority of Cambodians toiled on farms in the rural communities . . . anyone considered an intellectual was targeted for special treatment. This meant teachers, lawyers, doctors, and clergy were the targets of the regime. Even people wearing glasses were the target of Pol Pot’s reign of terror.”
In Russia, Stalin’s communists whipped up a frenzy of envy against poor peasants who had managed to turn small-plot farms into successful small businesses. But these successes, according to the communists, could only be explained through the exploitation of their now-jealous and resentful neighbors. These neighbors gleefully participated in the murder of millions in the 1930s.
Hitler also insisted that his anti-Jewish efforts were punching up, not down. He accused Jews of secretly controlling everything including the sprawling British Empire. In 1941, he proclaimed England to be “a State orientated entirely in the interests of a comparatively small and thin upper stratum and the Jewish clique with which it is allied. The interests of the broad masses are of no weight in determining the orientation of this State.”
As you read this, you might feel a little uncomfortable with a comparison between the fashionable bigotry of present-day America with genocide-enabling demagoguery of the past. Indeed, there’s been enough casual bigotry within American universities and government that most of the victims have internalized the propaganda into shame. This is why you see so many whites apologize over and over again for being white.
Indoctrinators posing as “diversity” trainers have fanned out across business and government to lead discussion sessions shaming employees for their skin color. In one example that came to light in 2021, Coca-Cola forced its employees to sit through training that encouraged its staff to be “less white,” by which it meant, “less ignorant,” and “less oppressive.” The U.S. Military Academy at West Point now offers instruction to soldiers on “understanding whiteness and White rage.” Yes, our government trains our own soldiers to believe that their countrymen with European features are infected with dangerous rage. These are racial stereotypes used to justify official action. It’s a sign of the madness of any social justice movement when its adherents seek to make race discrimination and racial stereotyping seem normal and just.
It’s time to start resisting the toxic racial demagoguery of the new Left. Assigning collective blame to any group—particularly because of religion or race, is immoral and un-American. It’s time to end this madness. All persons should be judged on the basis of their own actions, not their skin color or faith. We must complain and push back when powerful people casually express bigotry against any race or religion. We should contradict racial stereotypes and resist making generalizations about anyone based on their skin color. Any time you hear “white privilege,” in the workplace or school, you should immediately file a discrimination complaint. It’s a slur intended to stoke resentment and racial strife.
And above all else, we must insist that all lives do matter.