On Tuesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses how the Left keeps promoting racism and why American conservatism is an inherently anti-racist idea. Video and partial transcript below:
The idea of racism only becomes an issue when you create a country that is defined by something new — it’s not defined by territories, not defined by the area that you can communicate with — it is defined by an idea. It is held upon a certain piece of land and that land is ultimately defined by how much of it is under our control, and by natural borders and natural coastlines, and all that stuff. But who becomes part of that country is who ascribes to the ideas under which the country is founded. And that’s when racism becomes an issue, because suddenly you and the Irish guy next to you — or the Italian guy next to you or the black guy next to you — suddenly, you are countrymen. You are not just, you know, people of of basically the same race, basically the same kind, living on an island or living in a nation based on the people who’ve conquered that place. You are there ascribing to an idea together, and that’s when racism becomes a problem. It is essentially an uptown problem like everything else.
This is why I think conservatism is progressive, whereas progressivism is regressive. Conservatism is basically saying these values that shaped our country, that shaped our world, should be kept in place because they are the values that created the idea of racism. Racism was not a problem anywhere else. Nobody ever sat around — I mean in Rome they had a little bit of this because Rome was a multi-ethnic empire, but it was a multi-ethnic empire. Nobody denied that it was run by the Romans in Rome. And as the people surrounding Rome wanted more and more rights, they had all kinds of tremendous fights about that, but still Rome was a multi-ethnic empire. We are a multi-ethnic nation that has an entirely new idea, and that’s when racism becomes a problem. When you have to say, Oh this guy next to me is my countrymen. When we go to war, he and I are going to be in a foxhole together, so therefore we are brothers in arms, brothers in a nation. And that makes racism a problem because if you don’t like the guy because he’s Italian, or Irish, or Jewish, or black, then it’s a problem.
That’s why in conservatism we are trying to conserve ideas that create this idea that makes racism a problem. The Left is going to progress right back to the past. They want to progress right back to the past, and that’s why you see what’s happening. Now [there] is this upsurge of racism on the Left. We talked yesterday about Heather Mac Donald’s great piece in The Wall Street Journal. It’s still available at The Wall Street Journal, behind a paywall, because they want to get paid — I know, what a concept. But Heather Mac Donald wrote a great piece saying, it’s not Donald Trump who brings up race all the time. It’s the Left interpreting what he says as racist, but the Left is constantly talking about whiteness and blackness and identity and all these different things that are a problem. And now it’s all coming home to roost, it’s all becoming visible in their anti-Semitism problem.
It’s really interesting, they had this thing in Portland over the weekend where Antifa, the fascists who call themselves “anti-fascist,” and the Proud Boys, who seemed to have a democracy problem themselves, were fighting each other, right? They’re out there, they’re gonna have demonstrations and counter-demonstrations — and Antifa is just an absolutely miserable violent Leftist organization and Proud Boys seem to be instigating violence too in the name of white supremacy. So Sean Hannity goes on TV, right, and Sean Hannity says, a pox on both your houses, a plague on both your houses. This is not the way this goes, we’re one country. Even though Sean is a deep, deep partisan — pro-Trump partisan — he is saying the people I argue with, I’m arguing with, we’re not enemies, we’re opponents in this fight — we’re not hitting each other over the head with clubs.
Now remember, this is evil Sean Hannity on the evil Right, right? The “white supremacist,” he’s coming out and saying, no, that’s not what this is about; it’s about the ideas that bind us all together. And by the way, while The New York Times is going El Paso, El Paso, El Paso, El Paso — because that’s where a white supremacist shot people — only Hannity has been covering Chicago, where the Left’s policies have created an inner city that is as violent as any place in America. Sean is covering that, he’s got people going out there.