Whom the gods would destroy they first make guilt-ridden. In this postmodern age, gods are university professors, Leftist intellectuals, liberal icons, the mainstream media, and other opinion makers; the country dangerously close to destruction is America.
A survey by Wall Street Journal/NBC News showed that 56 per cent of registered voters saying American society is racist. As we argued earlier, America is the least racist society in the world. It is the only non-black country to have elected a black president, and that too twice. This is the reason that a large number of blacks—as people of other ethnicities—want to migrate to the US.
This is not to say that racism doesn’t exist in the US. Racism and other birth-based inequalities exist in the US and in every other democracy; but they are much less in virulence in these countries than they are in authoritarian regimes like China and phony democracies like Pakistan and Turkey.
But such is the intellectual hegemony of thought leaders, most of whom are Left-leaning, that the reality gets covered by the smoke-and-mirrors narratives. For decades their narratives convinced people all over the world that socialism and communism are great, humanistic ideologies, though the fact is that over 100 million people perished in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and other socialist regimes. And the world’s most powerful democracy is maligned as being racist.
It is time to ponder over the baneful effects intellectuals can have. In this context, a look at a completely unrelated event—the collapse of France in six weeks during the Second World War—would be educative.
It is a well-known fact that France was a great imperial power at that time. Its quick and unexpected fall in 1940 was mainly because of pacifism and “moral disarmament” that prevailed in the country particular and in Europe in general. Prominent intellectuals, including French writer Romain Rolland and British authors H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell, signed a famous petition in 1926 which called for “some definite step toward complete disarmament and the demilitarizing of the mind of civilized nations.” Weapon manufacturers were demonized as “merchants of death”; Rolland termed them as “profiteers of massacre.”
It was not just idealistic writers who were pacifists. Even Aristide Briand, France’s foreign minister and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said, “Away with rifles, machine guns, and cannon.” This at a time when Hitler was gaining influence in Germany.
American scholar Thomas Sowell wrote in <em>Intellectuals and Society</em>, “A key role in the spread of pacifism in France was played by the schools—more specifically, by the French teachers’ unions, which began campaigns in the 1920s, objecting to postwar textbooks favorably depicting French soldiers who had defended their country against German invaders in the First World War. Such textbooks were called ‘bellicose’.” In fact, history was rewritten to instill the virtues of “moral disarmament” in the minds of children.
Charles de Gaulle, the heroic French general and statesman who later successfully fought against the Nazis, “blamed a lack of national will, or general moral decay, for the sudden and humiliating collapse of France in 1940,” writes Sowell. Sentimentalism made the French incapable of recognizing the Nazi menace; it not only confused them but also lethally impacted their fighting spirit and capability.
Like termites, Leftist intellectuals had hollowed France out of moral courage and cerebral vigor, making it a sitting duck for the Nazi armies.
Now, similar people have spread self-loathing to such an extent in America that most people find their country racist. About half of them are supporting the rabidly anti-America movement called Black Lives Matter.
We in India must learn a lesson from such developments: never believe a word what the Left says, for whatever they say is an affront to the truth, commonsense, and decency. It usually results in, among other abominations, self-loathing. It has happened in the past, during the Mandal days, for instance. Intellectuals lectured us those days how iniquitous, caste-ridden Hindu society is. The result was a divisive caste-oriented narrative which still plagues politics.
<em>The Plague</em>, the famous novel by Albert Camus, ends with a warning: “He [Dr. Bernard Rieux] knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”
Today, Leftwing intellectuals in India are not as big a threat as they were a few years ago, but they haven’t vanished; they never vanish; like the plague bacillus, they just get dormant. We should beware of them anyway..