George Sarant

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THE UNHINGED AND THE SYMBOLIC

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Civil societies in our time face the problem of the rare but dangerous deviant who commits violent acts. At any time, in almost any place there are a few who are so maladjusted they have no qualms about slaughtering strangers. Often they will adhere to an ideology of some sort, be it Islamic jihad, revolutionary leftism, or racism, but however unpalatable that belief system may be, it is seldom, in and of itself, the “cause,” no matter how much people may wish to discredit a beliefs they don’t like, for the behavior is virtually identical to that of deranged mass murderers with no particular agenda. Thus, eliminating this perceived cause would have little effect on someone unhinged. The paranoia would persist and become attached to something else. 

The murders in the South Carolina church by a man with clearly white racist views and an affinity for the confederate flag has provided a fundraising bonanza for the (selectively) anti-racism and hate industry, as well as renewed demands for the removal of the confederate flag, which we will examine further below. But to make any sense of this let us look at the last comparable incident of this sort, which occurred some years back when a black man boarded the Long Island Railroad and proceeded to kill as many white people as he could. The man was clearly deranged, and also motivated by racism, but little attention was given to that aspect of it, in contrast to the ideologically motivated focus on the circumstances of the South Carolina case. The problem in any incident of this kind has far less to do with racism and much more to do with mental illness, which is something far harder to perceive and ameliorate. 

It is frequently the same in the case of people in western societies flipping out and becoming Jihadists, i.e. that which is most antithetical to their own society, much in the same way some radical revolutionary cause might have attracted them in another time. Granted some are quite sane, fanatical believers, but others have a psychotic thrill in killing. For as much as the terror threat appears to have diminished, at least in terms of attacks sponsored by some organization, the “lone wolf” remains a problem that is extremely difficult to detect, as is the alienated loner, or anyone capable of going on a spontaneous murder spree. We do not yet possess knowledge sufficient enough to enable us to stop this completely, especially given its random nature. 

That is why any attempt to try and maintain that the American south is rampantly racist and no different than it was fifty years ago is completely ridiculous, if not slanderous. In South Carolina, where the murders occurred, the Governor is an Indian American woman, and one Senator, Tim Scott, is black. Furthermore he was previously elected to congress from the Charleston area, defeating the son of the original Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond in a primary election. However, the confederate flag, does, to some extent, obscure this reality. To many in the south it is a matter of heritage and whenever there has been a referendum on it, keeping the flag has prevailed by 2:1 margins. However, it is also perceived as a symbol of oppression by others, and it is simply untenable to maintain a symbol on public property that is opposed by a very significant segment of the population. In addition, while the confederate battle flag is historic, its current use is tenuous, since it was only raised in the 1960s as an expression of defiance to the federal government. Public officials in South Carolina and elsewhere have already suggested that it be moved from public property, and it probably will be. 

With far less justification a number of large corporations have banned the sale of the flag, even on Internet auctions. They are unprincipled scoundrels who at the same time have no problem allowing communist paraphernalia associated with enemies of the US, i.e. Che Guevara t-shirts, etc. responsible for the slaughter of millions upon millions of people, which sickens far more people than the confederate flag.  They should not be in the censorship business, and especially not in such an arbitrary way. They have now opened the door to disposing of anything anyone loud enough finds offensive. They deserve the consequences. 

Something of this sort has already started with a group of nutty professors in California now demanding the removal of the American flag for supposedly symbolizing some form of evil. This has much in common with the phenomenon of self-hatred that oddly seems to be increasing, which we’ll look at next time. 

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Written by georgesarant

June 25, 2015 at 2:11 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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