Tuesday, April 16, 2024

SELLERS: Left’s Performative Politics Is Modern-Day Minstrelry

'The liberal is more deceitful and hypocritical than conservatives. Both want power; but the white liberal has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) One of the most unsettling aspects of the modern-day Left is its willingness to tell and to accept obvious lies, committing to them so fervently that the truth begins to fade like the family photograph in Back to the Future.

It’s enough to make one wonder how many facts have been lost to the ages as a result of propaganda campaigns—historical narratives, based on falsehoods, embedded deeply in our cultural consciousness such that few, if any, still recognize the reality.

Granted, myth-making is itself part of the American tradition. Nobody really believes that young George Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac—and, indeed, the historical record is eager to dispell such folklore.

More recently, though, Democrats have used historical revisionism to renew their commitment to exploitative identity politics—not by adding anything constructive to our national dialogue, but by attacking our culture at its foundational level.

These lies may have reached their nadir in a stunningly demagogic speech last week by President Joe Biden as he attempts to villify all opposition to his extremist agenda— even as his divisive and inflation-inducing policies have left blue-collar, middle-class citizens in the lurch.

The Left’s media echo chamber was quick to reinforce his hate-filled rant.

There is, to some extent, a performative pageantry about all of it, much the way that minstrel shows helped pre-woke Democrats to craft bogus racial narratives and stereotypes, using the complicity of a few black actors to validate their cause.

Understanding the role that this manipulative song-and-dance routine plays in the Left’s core philosophical views may be useful in trying to bridge the political disconnect—and in discovering why Democrats have been so successful in persuading working-class minorities to act and vote against their own interests.


I could take or leave most of the pseudo-scientific jargon that emerges from the deep recesses of the leftist echo-chamber.

There is one word, however, upon which I can’t help but to ruminate: performative.

The concept appears to have been circulating in anthropology, philosophy and semiotics dissertations since at least the mid-20th century.

Yet, over the years, it has charted an unlikely path from the erudite Foucaludian discourse of Ivy League faculty lounges to what is colloquially known as “Black Twitter,” by way of Marxist-inspired critical race theory.

In a sense, the word performative is itself performative—a bit of hollow, meaningless political preening designed to project a false air of academic gravitas on an argument while deflecting from the inanities of one’s own position.


One crucial performative element of identity politics is the idea of counter-storytelling, which has become a core tenet in CRT, used to undermine and disrupt the systems and structures that neo-Marxist radicals associate with white culture and privilege.

“Counter-storytelling is the practice of considering people’s subjective perceptions (‘lived experiences’), or even inventing ‘composite’ stories, in lief of verifiable facts, specifically to propagate CRT,” wrote investigative journalist Luke Rosiak in his bombshell book Race to the Bottom about the way radical P.C. politics has infiltrated the public education system.

It advances the notion that marginalized and oppressed minorities have the right to craft their own “truths” that align with their “lived experiences,” regardless of whether there is any empirical, factual basis. (See: 1619 Project.)

Doing so, however, not only unravels the common cultural fabric that binds us together as one—it also forces adherents to abandon any and all of the positive qualities that the culture has to offer.

In a recent piece, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock, who is black, slammed his former hometown, Los Angeles, for letting woke CRT indoctrination subsume its entire education system—and harming racial progress in the process.

“The 600,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District is using taxpayer dollars to train government teachers and staff members to instruct boys and girls that meritocracy, success and hard work are all ‘white,'” noted Murdock, who is black. “So, logically, if you are black, then kakistocracy (rule by the worst), failure and sloth are just your cup of tea.”

When cast in such a light, one wonders where these ideas are really coming from.

Is it the individuals themselves who are speaking the truths of their “lived experiences,” or are they simply following the cues that are being fed to them by those who control the prevailing narrative, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing—or, perhaps, a white actor in black shoe polish?


While lying may be baked into the cake of left-wing politics, the decision to do so within the framework of identity politics began in earnest during the 1960s, when Democrats famously flip-flopped on civil rights.

After Democrats notoriously attempted to fillibuster the 1957 Civil Rights Act during the Eisenhower administration, the party found itself shifting strategies during the Kennedy–Johnson administration.

President Lyndon B. Johnson—himself an averred racist according to many historical accounts—cynically courted the black vote, even reportedly declaring in a private conversation with two governors aboard Air Force One, “I’ll have those n****rs voting Democratic for 200 years.”

Not surprisingly, left-wing fact checkers have tried their best to debunk that statement by ranking it “unproven,” but even Snopes is forced to concede that it was consistent many other verifiable utterances ascribed to LBJ.

Along with suppressing Johnson’s unsavory political motives, historical revisionists have tried their best to falsely peg Republicans as the villains of the civil-rights era.

Many have pushed the idea of the “Southern strategy” to suggest that candidates including GOP presidential candidates Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater actively courted the racist votes of Southern Democrats.

Indeed, history shows that some Dixiecrats, like Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, eventually switched teams in the 1970s after growing disgusted by the pandering policies of their former partymates.

But others, like Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, remained Democrats for decades and continued to pull rank among the party’s most celebrated leaders.

There was no great rush among young liberal upstarts like then-Sen. Joe Biden to repudiate the segregationists within his own party—about whom he nostalgically waxed as recently as 2019.


Contrary to common lore, Republicans supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act in vastly larger percentages than LBJ Democrats.

Goldwater—who would become the GOP’s 1964 presidential nomineee—was, in fact, one of only six Republican senators (alongside 34 representatives) to have opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, having done so out of concern for government encroachment on the states, not for any opposition to racial equality and progress.

Nonetheless, LBJ capitalized on the Goldwater’s “nay” vote to paint his presidential opponent as an enemy of civil rights.

And it may have been an unholy alliance between Johnson and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., that sealed Democrats’ status as the party of the black vote—albeit based entirely on an opportunistic deception.

From early in the so-called Black Liberation movement, its intellectual leaders were well aware of the risk involved with hitching their wagon to the Democratic Party.

Malcolm X openly acknowledged this marriage of convenience, calling white liberals the “most dangerous thing in the entire western hemisphere.”

In a speech delivered less than two weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he declared, “The white liberal differs from the white conservative in one way. The liberal is more deceitful and hypocritical than conservatives. Both want power; but the white liberal has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor.”

Even now, black political leaders, such as those in the Black Lives Matter movement, remain fully aware of the fact that this quid pro quo arrangement does not absolve liberals of the racism pervasive.

BLM’s doctrine posits that white liberal “allies” are acting only in their self-interest and that even the most sincere motives are self-serving.

Nonetheless, black radicals seem at peace with the recognition that Democrats, as the less-principled party, are simply more pliant to their extreme demands.


Given the all-encompassing power of the race card, it is no longer necessary for leftist mouthpieces to maintain even a shred of self-awareness when addressing the hypocritical disconnect between their words and actions.

The understanding that minorities are wedded to leftist politics till death do they part has become a thing unto itself replacing reality with a sort of permanent performativity.

Perennial offenders like MSNBC’s Joy Reid, The Nation‘s Elie Mystal and The View‘s Whoopi Goldberg are the true Jumping Jim Crows of their generation, and progressive politics is their plantation.

There is wealth and profit to be had from spouting out such nonsense. As was the case with the old Vaudeville performances, everyone likes to indulge in a bit of escapism to avoid confronting difficult realities.

But eventually the curtain must come down on this tapestry of lies—or, like the McFly family in Back to the Future, we may be stuck forever within the warped alternative reality that we created for ourselves.

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