Purely out of curiosity, I attended a series of local library seminars dealing with racism, entitled “Conversations in a Brave Space,” held in cooperation with the local League of Women Voters and a local university. The topical sessions dealt variously with bias, oppression, privilege, and most recently, Black Lives Matter. The content was unsurprising, as was the makeup of the attendees — white and comfortable, reflecting the town itself. What was striking was the level of guilt among these participants.
The hand-wringing was palpable. The confessions were effusive. The apologies were abject. These were people burdened with white privilege, and they despair over what to do about it.
I do understand their predicament. It is impossible for them now to adopt an ascetic life and devote their passions to working remedies full-time, on the streets, within their affected communities. Yet they resent what they possess because, in their view, they possess it unjustly — they “didn’t build that” as Obama said.
If their guilt is over the top, it is also unwarranted. It’s doubtful that any of the participants has ever practiced actual racism. Stipulate that they have lived decently, have applied self-improvement, discipline, sacrifice, and hard work persistently throughout their lives, and have achieved success through such personal initiative.
But their enflamed passion, as Paul Bloom has demonstrated, is detrimental to clear thinking, clouding the mind and preventing rational decision-making. Most disturbingly, it is corrosive of society, of the culture and of our governance.
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