The Radical Center’s Psychosocial approach to Race Relations
The Webster Dictionary defines racism as “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” The term racism did not enter the vernacular until the early 20th Century and has since evolved from simply hating other races, to believing that certain groups have inborn superior traits, to further evolving to adapt to the great awokening with a new definition of racism as a socially constructed system that maintains White privilege. Thus racism is treated as a secular sin and moral transgression.
The debate over race politics is one of the most divisive and emotionally charged issues, relying upon a hyper moralistic good vs. evil narrative. Both the racist and the anti-racist are hyper moralistic, with the racist saying that the other race is evil while the anti-racist says that racists are just evil, thus have no rational motives. Woke cultural is obviously hyper moralistic and emotion driven but those who critique woke culture, such as proponents of color blindness, fail to offer a viable alternative. For instance, rationalism has some value but its data driven mindset treats man as a computer by ignoring baser instinctual motives. Also rationalists are too politically correct when it comes to exploring taboos about human nature and being able to decipher whether these baser human instincts are “rational” or not. Modern liberalism has told us to suppress these baser instincts, regardless of whether they are rational or not.
An overly simplistic look at race politics on the political spectrum would place Woke/Critical Race Theory ideology on the far left, White Supremacy on the far right and color blindness in the center. I call for a Radical Centrism that is non-binary in that it breaks from that spectrum. This new non-binary framework rejects color blindness, and like the far right and far left accepts the reality of power dialects. It takes a more rightwing understanding of human nature as tribal and hierarchical but seeks progressive rather than reactionary solutions, reconciling the pros and cons of the demagogue and the rationalist.
A politics based upon psychology is needed because there is a lack of honesty about these baser instincts across all sides of the spectrum, as far as understanding how they impact political decisions. The philosophy embraces the baser human instincts but seeks to better decipher and manage them in a productive manner. It is a political philosophy but also a psychological method for understanding and better managing problems from a psychological basis and them implemented them into politics. The method identifies baser emotions such as anger, hatred, envy, lust, and greed, acknowledges their legitimacy as natural rather than immoral, and then seeks out better solutions and ways to manage them on a personal, social, and political level. It seeks not just to manage them but to channel the energy of these potent emotional forces into more productive endeavors. For instance there may be certain cases where envy, lust, greed, and hatred could be useful rather than just destructive. The same principles apply to better managing power dynamics in regards to race, gender, class, and social status.
There is value in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories, even though they are associated with influencing negative aspects of the left, as far as understanding the subconsciousness motives behind social, political, and economic decisions. There is also value in the woke concept of Implicit Bias, as far as getting people to better understand that their decisions and thought process are motivated by subconscious biases that they have suppressed or can’t comprehend. However Implicit Bias is harmful as far as morally shaming instincts, such as healthy ingroup preferences, as pathological rather than having an honest discussion about these biases. Implicit Bias training is a tactic of asymmetrical multiculturalism that seeks to suppress any form of White ethnocentrism while encouraging other groups to embrace identity politics. An alternative to Implicit Bias would be to help people better understand their instincts and be able to decipher which are rational and which are constructive.
The debate over race as a social construct and racism as a moral transgression ignores biological motives for tribalism. Man’s inborn tribal instincts are clear, even if not exclusively racial. A sense of us vs them is ingrained in the human psyche, as Carl Schmitt’s friend enemy distinction is the psychological basis for politics. Even if it may be morally unfair, as there are decent people on both sides of a particular conflict, it is an inherent reality to human nature that is hard to change with social engineering.
Ethnic based resentments are passed down from one generation to another and ethnic sectarian conflicts are usually solved by either one side winning and imposing their will upon the other or by both sides getting burnt out by the conflict and reluctantly agreeing to peace. It is rare for an ethnic sectarian conflict to end by both sides adopting a colorblind or egalitarian ideology. The argument that outgroups get singled out as scapegoats for a nation’s problems has been a reality, with countless historic examples. However, relying exclusively upon this narrative neglects inherent tribal instincts, as well as inter-group competition over scare resources.
Take an ethnic sectarian conflict such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, in which both sides adopt a hyper moralistic narrative of the other side being evil. I don’t expect that conflict to be solved in the near future, especially with a universalistic moral narrative, as it involves two hyper tribalistic groups competing over scarce living space. These ethnic sectarian conflicts go beyond just political leaders scapegoating an outgroup for power grabs. If one believes that their personal, family’s, tribe’s, ethnic group’s, or nation’s situation is dire because of an outgroup’s actions, then one will adopt a visceral sense of animus towards the outgroup. In many cases it is true that one group’s actions are harming another, even if their intentions are not malicious. Groups will resent out-groups that are above them in power, status and wealth and feel threatened by those below them. There is an argument that this mentality is hypocritical but it is just a tribal instinct that groups want to be on the top of the hierarchy but also feel threatened by those who have less and want to usurp them.
A source of tension amongst groups is competition over limited scarce resources such as money, jobs, land, and natural resources. When peoples’ needs are not met they will often turn on each other or outgroups. Racism is part of a scarcity mindset, something that presidential candidate Andrew Yang got flack from the woke left for pointing out. Yang made the argument that taking care of people’s material and social needs can help ease tension by replacing the scarcity mindset of blaming the outgroup for not having one’s needs met with an abundance mindset. There is an ugly reality of zero sum competition and how it turns people against each other. This is mostly true but the left will challenge this by pointing out those who have attained wealth and status, yet are still racist as far as wanting to exclude others. Yang was accused of wanting to buy off the bigots, thus freeing them from moral culpability, but when one’s material and psychological state improves, one is more likely to have a positive mindset towards other people in general, both ingroups and outgroups.
There was controversy over Yang’s prediction of there being anti-Asian pogroms committed by White Supremacists in the future, due to automation causing scarcity and Asian Americans being scapegoated for their success. This dire prediction was made before the current wave of anti-Asian hate crimes, which the woke media has been dishonest about who is responsible. However Yang’s prediction also got him flak from conservatives, with accusations of fomenting racial division. Andrew Yang was the first major national candidate to address psychology seriously as a political issue. While Yang pandered to woke democrats during the election, at heart he is Grey Tribe, which is more logic focused rather than the blue tribe which is hyper moralistic.
Both egalitarianism and individualism fail because of the personal benefits from tribalism and ethnocentrism. The Libertarian argument that nationalism and tribalism are for losers is intellectually shallow because most people are in fact losers and need to be part of something greater than themselves. The benefits from being part of an identity based ingroup include social capital and social status, job opportunities, the psychological need for empowerment via identity, the personal benefit of being part of a triumphant group as personal wellbeing is dependent upon one’s group’s wellbeing, and a spiritual component as far as being part of something eternal both through religion or through passing down one’s genes.
While a lot of racial identitarian politics on the right, especially online, is just LARPing, I expect to see the increasing appeal and benefits of ethno-tribalism with patronage networks in an increasingly cutthroat world. An atomized individual is a sucker, especially in today’s society that is diverse but also hypercompetitive, with impersonal centralized institutions that fail to serve peoples’ needs. The future of the West will be more tribal and nepotistic and people will have to adapt.
Anti-racist ideology is toxic but there are effective and legitimate tactics to minimize racial tension. One method is finding a common humanity by emphasizing shared human emotions, experiences and traits that are not inherent to one race. Religion, especially a universalist faith like Christianity, and tribal substitutes based upon shared interests or common identities other than race, can fulfill that role. That approach can work to a degree but different personality traits being more common among different groups can be a barrier to uniting over shared human traits. Neo-tribalism based upon tribes of voluntary opt-in identities, inclusive of different ethnicities, is possible but uniting the entire United States, let alone all of humanity is not.
The arguments against racism that emphasize sameness, such as conservative colorblindness, have failed and the right is starting to embrace White identity politics. For instance a GOP Senate candidate recently called out CRT as anti-White. Colorblind capitalism based upon mass society and meritocracy will fail as well as the colorblind economic leftism that the class reductionist left advocate for. The argument put forth by both American Nationalist Populists and the class reductionist left, that elites promote ethnic division to divide and conquer, has a degree of truth. However, it denies the reality that there will always be tribal and hierarchical struggles. It is naïve to expect that we can all unite around just class solidarity or Americanism, ignoring other tribal divisions. That colorblind approach to politics may have worked 20 years ago but we are beyond the point of no return. The problem with assimilationism is that it denies that culture is passed down intergenerationally, and it is cruel to expect people to give up the culture of their ancestors. Assimilationism only works in a nation with a strong ethnic core and is no longer viable in a nation as diverse and fragmented as America is today.
Racial equity is even more difficult to achieve, especially when there is a dishonest narrative about issues such as the racial wealth gap. Human Bio Diversity, the science of studying inherent genetic differences amongst peoples should be taken into account when discussing equity. There needs to be open debate and research on the causes of racial disparities in wealth, as to how much is genetic, cultural, historic circumstances, and intergenerational cycles of poverty. You can’t solve a problem unless you have an accurate and honest understanding of the root causes.
It is impossible to achieve total racial equity or total integration, as attempts usually involve coercion and authoritarianism, and even when fully implemented will still fail at their intended objective. For instance there are still significant White vs. Black disparities in wealth in Cuba, which has radical economic redistributist policies, and South Africa, which has draconian racial quotas favoring Blacks and Black political leadership. The objective should be coexistence and people having their needs met, not integration or total racial equity.
One alternative framework is the politics of reciprocity and reciprocal altruism. Simply put, it is different groups agreeing to help each other out and treat each other decently for mutual benefit. This could be the treaty model of groups agreeing to respect each other’s rights, economic or political agreements where both groups benefit, and groups agreeing to adopt a similar level of ethnocentrism that matches that of each other. In a multi-ethnic society different groups can ensure peaceful coexistence by agreeing upon a healthy level of ethnocentrism for all groups to adopt, in order to prevent disparities in levels of ethnocentrism, that could lead to resentment and conflict.
Another hypothetical framework is an intra-group agreement based upon the principles of paternalism or nobles oblige. In this scenario a more powerful group looks out for another group and takes care of their needs in exchange for political loyalty. I could see a kind of paternalistic arrangement based upon the argument that since people can’t help their genetic lineage, they are still entitled to economic benefits. It is a paternalistic socialism where wealth is allocated from the wealthy to the poor, but with a rejection of blank slatism in favor of a more honest and direct narrative about the nature of inequality. This model is superior to equity based politics and certainly more humane than the especially cruel bootstraps plus blank slatist approach of mainstream conservatism. However the paternalistic and hierarchical nature of this model could lead to resentment. Thus groups would need to be granted some degree of autonomy so that they can feel empowered through having their own institutions.
There will always be different group outcomes but one solution is to have policies tailored to different groups’ specific needs. The specialization based approach makes the most sense, with policy crafted to help groups and individuals find their niche. A specialization based approach to the economy, education, and race relations could include tailored platinum plans for White Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians. This would also be a better ways to manage the problems of a hyper competitive mass society, including issues of Elite Overproduction.
The obsession with integration and racial equity does not serve the needs for specialization in jobs, education, housing, and criminal justice policy. What matters is people having a community or system that meets their personal needs. Ideally the term racism should be scraped, as it has become so politicized and morally charged, and has lost its significance. We should replace racism with the terms positive and negative ethnocentrism which removes the moral stigma to discussing race relations honestly. Only then will we be able to better come up with solutions to society’s problems. We must replace asymmetrical multiculturalism with a symmetrical multiculturalism and embrace a political discourse where all parties are expected to be honest and explicit about their personal and group interests.