Buffalo & Voting

We’re tired of mass-killing psychos. I think it’s best not to use their names or refer to the moronic ravings they spew before embarking on their psychopathic journeys. Imagine being one of these crazies. If you’re filled with revulsion within one second of picturing yourself holding a weapon or behind the wheel of a vehicle with the intent to harm innocents, then congratulations: You are among the 99.999% sane who live in this world. The only part of these tragedies I want to remember are the victims.

The tragedy in Buffalo demonstrated the immediate search for causation and blame has gotten out of hand. The establishment press and the Twitter commentariat act as if there’s some kind of butterfly effect within the story of every mass killer. If we can study his (it’s always a man) browser history to find the ideological butterfly stuck to the bottom of his shoe, the thing that caused him to go wrong. But Monocausal explanations almost never cut the mustard. Unfortunately, the lives of these mass killers reveal terrible social, family, and personal situations. The range of outcomes for their lives end up being narrow, weighted toward the tragic. Something bad was going to happen. It could have been suicide or a drug overdose, or it could have been prison or a fatal altercation with the police. These murderous incidents say more about the state of families, schools, and access to mental health services in America than anything else. I think it is bad faith to ascribe ideological causes to bizarre thought processes and deranged worldviews.

But the political class is eager to engage on identity politics, and the Buffalo shooting offered all of the necessary elements for hot takes, shaming, and maudlin thought pieces. The dipshit’s “manifesto” offered plenty of fringe material, and I can say the “Great Replacement Theory” strikes me as both politically naïve and racially offensive. 

I realize the center-left and left-wing advocates of the Democratic Party engage in triumphalism over favorable demographic trends that build on identity politics. However, I always dismissed this as wishful thinking. For starters, the concept of “BIPOC” strikes me as racist and essentialist, as if being nonwhite means you must have a leftist ideology and vote accordingly. The reasoning error comes in assuming essential characteristics of an identity group–a group composed of actual people. Is an individual more likely to identify as a group member or as a dynamic, unique individual possessed of reason and agency? “BIPOC” is also a shoehorned intellectual concept–strained reasoning to create an ersatz political block. The term is custom-made to bundle groups growing with immigration (Asians and Hispanics) with native ethnic groups. However, the fundamental flaw of identity politics is its dismissal of individual diversity and agency. Recent elections revealed ethnicity was an unreliable factor, with the best example being Trump winning more support from ethnic voters in 2020.

Moreover, I see Democratic Party’s obsession with identity politics as evidence of ideological exhaustion. Bereft of effective policy ideas, Democratic leadership keeps trying to resurrect the New Deal coalition that President Reagan disrupted. Identity politics is just another futile attempt to bring back electoral majorities and re-live the glorious runs that built the welfare-warfare state: 20 years under FDR and Truman, 8 years under Kennedy and Johnson–only punctuated with 8 years under President Eisenhower, a moderate Republican serving with a Congress mostly under Democratic control.

I think the belief that racial identity–an arbitrary designation–determines ideology is almost as bad as believing whites are being replaced. After all, both lines of reasoning are based on racial essentialism. However, I’m not going to “both sides” this because there’s clear asymmetry to this ugliness. MAGA World populists and paleocons have nodded and winked far too many times at alt-right narratives. This replacement theory nonsense is a fringe agitprop, designed for brazen posts and ugly memes on 4chan. The replacement narrative echos segregationist fear mongering on top of its base racial essentialism. The “theory” also reeks of a conspiracy narrative, as “they” decided to foist something on “real Americans.” This is not a serious idea. Anyone propagating it is a huckster.

Even if we “steel man” replacement theory to a more moderate critique about straining welfare systems and taking jobs away from native-born Americans, empirical evidence reveals those are baseless claims: immigrants add to the US economy and stimulate job growth while consuming less from welfare and entitlement programs than native born Americans. And just like the Democrats’ wish-fulfillment for BIPOC majorities, arbitrary racial classifications don’t determine ideology. 

To state my priors, I’m for open borders and want to encourage immigration to the US. A growing population means a growing economy. If I had my druthers, I would open the door to people wanting to flee Hong Kong, Ukraine, Venezuela, and any place facing war or civil unrest. I would open the borders with Mexico and Canada to allow for more circulatory migration and cross-border integration.

In conclusion, I’ll wager history proves alt-right “replacement” alarmism and the Democrat’s faith in demographic destiny are totally wrong.

What do you think?

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