@vexwerewolf: I consider fascism a tool of capitalism. It's rooted in the idea that some malevolent force is intentionally sabotaging capitalism, and that once this force is removed, it will produce bounty and prosperity for all.
Alice Clearwater

So you know how a central tenet of feminism is that patriarchy hurts men almost as much as women by giving them a standard that both isn't possible to live up to, and harmful to attempt to live up to?

I content that the same is largely true of white supremacy and white people.

In 1856, American writer Herman Melville wrote a short story called "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," in which Bartleby, a clerk at a Manhattan lawyer's office who slowly becomes more and more dissatisfied with both his job and his life in general.

Modern examinations of the story have often suggested that the malaise Bartleby suffers from might be clinical depression. But in his video on the Market Revolution, John Green of Crash Course made a point that stuck with me in a larger interpretation than he possibly meant it.

"When you're a farmer, your work has intrinsic meaning. When you work you have food, and when you don't work, you don't. But when you're a copyist like Bartleby, it's difficult to find meaning in what you do everyday."

"You know that anyone else could do it and you suspect that if your owrk doesn't get done, it won't actually matter very much."

  • @johngreen

And this is in a larger sense how pretty much everyone is treated under a capitalist society - dehumanised and interchangeable tools.

The problem is that white supremacy tells white people - particularly young white men - that they are different, that they are unique and irreplacable, heirs-apparent to a grandiose legacy of western civilization stretching back millenia.

But that isn't how society treats them.

Now, obviously, society has far less obstacles for young white men than it does for anyone else, but fundamentally, they are STILL a disposable commodity, because... everyone is, in capitalism. As long as the system itself endures, you can be replaced, and easily so.

There's a dissonance - white supremacy tells them they are inherently unique and special, and yet for the vast majority of them, capitalist society consistently refuses to acknowledge that because ultimately, anyone else can do their job, and probably for less money.

So white supremacists believe that society must be deficient, in that it isn't correctly lauding young white men for their achievements, that jobs that are "theirs" are being "stolen" by women and ethnic minorities. They've been "replaced."

But the artificial sense of racial pride white nationalism evokes blinds them to the fact that... no, this isn't a bug, it's a feature. A lot of jobs were given to people of colour at lower wages because they have less collective bargaining power to demand equal treatment.

Wherever it becomes legally untennable to pay citizens of colour less, they ship the jobs overseas to somewhere with less legal protections and a more desperate workforce. Increasing automation also means there's less total human jobs to go around.

And while white supremacy speaks of a dwindling white population, but that's actually the opposite of the truth. While white people as a percentage of total population is dropping, white people by absolute number is increasing. There are more young white men than ever before.

So while society does favour young white men in the opportunities and forgiveness it gives them, as a resource they're in excessive supply. Capitalism doesn't need all of them, or even most of them. It has other tools now, who work for less and don't complain as much.

White supremacy tells young white men they're inherently special, but capitalism tells them they're only special if they succeed. So you have a lot of young white men who aren't successful becase of capitalism, but are told that they inherently should be by white supremacy.

The incorrect resolution of this problem is "at some point capitalism stopped working because it stopped recognising my superiority."

This leads to prelapsarian visions of past society that are largely fictional. Historically, society has always been miserable for most people.

Paradoxically, despite this conundrum, white supremacy is a useful tool of capitalism, because it stops white people who subscribe to it - consciously or unconsciously - from actually taking a long hard look at how capitalism treats them.

Racism - subtle or overt - has always been a very big part of the strategy of whichever political party supported corporations the most. White people had to be convinced black people were stealing their jobs, so they'd stop thinking about how terribly their jobs treated them.

My friend @KaneHusky13 summed it up nicely:

"There's white guys making ten million dollars a year and they don't care about the white factory workers making $5 an hour. But you tell a five dollar white guy a black man's going to take his job and he'll hand over $4 to stop it."

Capitalism both does and doesn't care about your skin colour.

It cares about it if it can use it as a distraction from the other things capitalism is doing. But it doesn't really care about it when it comes to your value as a piece of machinery to keep the system running.

Ironically, right-wing ideology, for all its veneration of capitalism, is the side saying "capitalism isn't working properly."

And left-wing ideology, for all its loathing of capitalism, is the side saying "no, no, it's designed to do that. That's why we hate it."

I consider fascism a tool of capitalism. It's rooted in the idea that some malevolent force is intentionally sabotaging capitalism, and that once this force is removed, it will produce bounty and prosperity for all.

But it's a wild goose chase. Capitalism isn't broken.

Once you remove whatever force was claimed to be preventing capitalism from working correctly - the Jews, the immigrants, the homosexuals, the trade unions - it will still exploit mostly impoverished workers while producing prosperity for a select few.

Of course initially more white people will have jobs because you murdered or exiled people who previously held them. But ultimately that's a very short-term solution. It's essentially looting, and as with all looting, eventually you run out of things to loot.

The systemic problems with capitalism will still be there, so you either have to admit you were wrong, or you need to find a new scapegoat. Capitalists have fascists chasing the mythical obstruction to "good" capitalism that doesn't exist rather than realising it's all a scam.

But leaving aside the whole capitalism thing for a moment.

White supremacy's standards are completely ridiculous. They talk about the legacy of famous philosophers, scientists and politicians, as if every or even many white men could realistically become that sort of person.

It misunderstands history, talking about things like "classical masculinity" in Grecoroman times and how the supposedly effeminete young men of today don't live up to that ideal.

My good buddy and go-to history nerd @TheSteelShep can tell you how just about every single white supremacist ideal of how the gender binary, the class system AND EVEN IDEAS OF RACE worked in medieval times was just flat out wrong.

For example: there were several central European kings who thought black people - specifically the Moors - were absolutely baller because of Saint Maurice, who until the Renaissance was depicted almost exclusively as a dark-skinned African man.

Not coincidentally, artists STOPPED depicting him as black during the Renaissance - which was when theories of race that we would today recognise started to be formed.

He stopped being depicted entirely just around the time the Atlantic slave trade became a thing.

The Wild West was not an untamed frontier carved out by rugged, individualistic young men.

It was a bunch of land stolen from Native Americans and developed mostly by railroad companies and extremely enterprising, business-savvy prostitutes.

The 1950s was not an idyllic era of romantic libertarian meritocracy.

It was an idyllic era for middle-class white men who didn't have to meaningfully compete with either women or people of colour because anti-discrimination laws weren't really a thing yet.

White supremacists look back fondly on the 1950s because whites supposedly had it better, but actually they held all the good jobs back then because people of colour either didn't have the opportunities to compete for them or were literally legally barred from holding them.

It's kind of gross and depressing, but I don't think we can break the hold white supremacy has on white people by trying to moralise about the effect it has on other ethnicities. It won't work.

White people have to be shown the damage white supremacy is doing to white people.