How can current public discussions of race be explained? Why the belief that sick and evil motives are everywhere, polluting whatever they touch? Why is defense against accusation impossible, so that suspicion and conviction are the same?
Part of the answer, surely, is bad conscience. The absolute irrelevance of race to any legitimate concern may be a necessary and absolute truth, but it’s not the way things seem to people. People stubbornly feel more tied to some groups than to others. They feel that a Jew is more likely to be a good lawyer and less likely to be a mugger than a black man. All experience tells them such things, and there’s something artificial about the attempt to feel otherwise. Even so, antiracist orthodoxy trumps everything and people can imagine no way to challenge it. The result is that everyone feels permanently in the wrong on a fundamental point of human relations.
The most direct solution is to deny the evidence of our senses. The Democrats do so by a singleminded attack on the perception that there are racial differences. Not only do they deny the truth of the perception, a denial required in any case by orthodoxy, but they also try to expunge it from themselves by attributing it to the demonized Other—in particular, to the Republicans. The Republicans, less ideological and more practical-minded, try to maintain the no-differences orthodoxy while giving way in some practical respects to the realities the orthodoxy requires them to deny.
Which, of course, lays them open to the accusation that they don’t really believe the orthodoxy. The accusation is unanswerable, because they fully accept the orthodoxy as morally authoritative—they are antiracists just like everybody else—but they don’t have the ideological vehemence needed to persuade themselves that it’s true through and through. So when put to the question and called upon to explain themselves they can’t do so. Their own principles convict them of malice and hypocrisy, and all they can do is abase themselves and try to buy forgiveness.