Dumb and Even Dumber

Among its many pretensions the Left claims to speak for victims. This now familiar practice involves aspiring or prominent leftists speaking for a designated or widely recognized victim group, while attaching to their attacks an entirely unwarranted moral heroism. Last week we encountered an illustration of this practice when Kamala Harris went after the history curriculum approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis because it allegedly taught that slavery was a positive experience that “benefited” blacks. What William Allen, the black historian who prepared that discussion, actually pointed out was that black slaves were often taught trades and acquired skills that they later put to use, especially after they were emancipated. This observation is an easily documented, historical fact. It is one that black Marxist historians like William Du Bois, and many white historians who could hardly be accused of praising slavery have stated.

What struck me most about Harris’s gross misrepresentation, however, was the indignant posture she assumed while lying so brazenly about what was in the Florida history guidelines. She spoke as an official black, which is exactly how her party and the MSM depict her. Really! Kamala’s mother was an Indian Hindu; her father was a West Indian Marxist economics professor who taught in Canada. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, is a wealthy Jewish liberal, who inhabited with Kamala an opulent Brentwood domicile, before moving to DC. Kamala has about as much to do with the American black slave experience as Charlton Heston did with enslaved ancient Hebrews, on the basis of the fact that Heston played Moses in a movie.

But given the quality of “conservative” TV entertainment this stupidity wasn’t going to die. What DeSantis refers to as Kamala’s “slavery hoax” has a long shelf life. It came back like a bad meal on “The Five,” which seems to be intended as a Republican answer to “The View,” but which manages to be almost as silly as what it ridicules. Typical of the frivolous conversation that takes place on this program are exchanges between “conservative” comic Greg Gutfeld and former Democratic operative Jessica Tarlov. Each one has his schtick, Gutfeld poking fun at liberal competitors on other channels and Tarlov faithfully defending whatever the liberal party line is on a particular day.

As her role required, Jessica ran to Kamala’s defense and suggested that DeSantis and his scribes are really soft on slavery. In any case, Jessica let it be known that it is morally inexcusable to claim that blacks “benefited” from the humiliation of slavery. Jessica, as a liberal celebrity, speaks in the name of many victims, like the migrants streaming into the Big Apple, whom she views from her luxury apartment.

Thereupon Greg put on his thinking cap, which doesn’t seem very large, and noted that Nazi victims may have benefited from being in concentration camps. He cited Viktor Frankl’s classic Man’s Search for Meaning, which showed the spiritual growth of an Austrian Jewish psychologist while a Nazi captive. This example borders on the idiotic, since Frankl is arguing that he grew spiritually despite Nazi efforts to destroy him. The Florida history guidelines state something conceptually quite different: that slaves were trained to do work from which they later earned their livelihood. One could of course argue, as black nationalists do, that black slavery was every bit as bad as putting people in Auschwitz, but there’s no reason to go there. The comparison between these two situations is outrageous, and what Gutfeld said was dumb.

But Tarlov couldn’t leave it at that. She insisted as someone who’s half- Jewish, that she was outraged by how Greg belittled the suffering of the Jewish people. Leftist commentators on Democratic websites, e.g., Yahoo, expressed similar sentiments, speaking in the name of Nazi victims. In fact, one such apparently enraged commentator Whitney Vasquez writing on Radar Online demands that Fox News immediately kick Greg off the station for his “outrageous Holocaust remarks.” Presumably this critic is also speaking for Nazi victims everywhere, particularly when there is an opportunity to go after a Republican channel. Oh, and lest we forget this reporting, the New York Times proudly announced that the White House condemned Greg’s indiscretion as “horrid and dangerous.” Just leave it to Joe and his handlers to fight right wing bigotry, like going after Latin Mass Catholics as terrorists!

The last thing I would expect given this opportunity for tasteless moral posturing is for the media to let it go, perhaps the way they treat the Biden family’s corruption. Why can’t Gutfeld’s comparison be viewed as what it was, namely silly? Why must I ascribe evil intent to his unsuccessful attempt to sound serious? Isn’t it bad enough that the conservative establishment has sunk to such buffoonery? Not surprisingly, many of those who are now screaming for Gutfeld’s head are strangely silent when those on their side of the political divide say a lot worse.

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. In America today, politics isn’t discussed. the only discussion points are hurt feelings and personality. If this practice persists, America will not advance as a society or a country. Combine that with identity politics and Affirmative action and you might as well remove the eagle and replace it with a crow.

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