Preface to thought of the day

Steve Hayward’s official thought of the day is lined up to go this afternoon. Until that time, I offer this preface to the thought of the day from the last chapter of Christopher Caldwell’s Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties (2020) (reviewed here by Helen Andrews in the Claremont Review of Books). Referring to the phenomenon of gangsta rap and its liberal use of the n-word, Caldwell notes the paradox that “[t]he word was needed as a marker of white attitudes at a time when whites had not used it in its original sense in a long time.” He comments:

The development of two separate language codes, one for whites and one for blacks, was ominous. The rules of American public decorum now resembled medieval strictures that permitted only noblemen to carry weapons or ride horses, or laws that forbade certain classes of citizens to address others by a certain name.

The expression of “white supremacy” underwent a similar paradoxical boom: The less it existed, the more it was invoked. By the turn of the century it was being used more frequently than it had ever been in American history. The epithet “white supremacist” was being used five times as often as it had been in its previous heyday–which was not, incidentally, during the Jim Crow era but at the end of the 1960s.

We posted Caldwell’s CRB essay in our Picks when it was published in the current issue a month or two ago. “Why are we in Ukraine?” Coincidentally, it was featured earlier this week in the RealClearPolitics lineup in the form it has been published here by the Epoch Times and here by Hillsdale College’s Imprimis.

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