Did you know that the U.S. Army maintains an Equity and Inclusion Agency? Nor did I. But “Operation Inclusion,” its new course, is a vivid reminder of just how deep the cynical virus of anti-American racial redress has burrowed into the vital tissues of our culture.
Two excellent columns appeared last week exposing the pullulating wound.
The first, “Teaching hate under the guise of ‘inclusion’” by Hans Von Spakovsky and Charles Stimson, shows how the woke initiative violates the prohibition against military personnel engaging in overt political activities.
According to a graphic distributed as part of its seminar, “Operation Inclusion” instructs its students—U.S. Army personnel, remember—that voicing support for enforcing immigration laws or repeating phrases such as “Make America Great Again”—where have you heard that?—are evidence of “covert white supremacy.”
That’s not all. The list of verboten phrases is long and pointed. You’re a racist if you say (or even think) “All Lives Matter,” if you deny the reality of “white privilege,” if you support Columbus Day, the idea of American exceptionalism, or if you believe that there is such a thing as reverse racism.
The second column, “’White Fragility’ Comes to Washington,” by City Journal’s Christopher F. Rufo, underscores the truth of the old adage that things are always worse than you think.
Rufo details the activities of a private diversity consultant who has imported far-left academic theories about “white privilege” into the upper reaches of several federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller.
According to Rufo, the “training” begins with the premise that “virtually all white people contribute to racism.”
Since 2006, Howard Ross, the white consultant whose brainchild this toxic garbage is, has cost taxpayers more than $5 million in fees. Hence the great irony, as Rufo notes, that Ross “used his own privilege to enrich himself at taxpayer’s expense. In the language of his own discourse, he has monetized collective black pain to create individual white profit.”
That’s not the only irony.
“Incredibly, Ross and his like-minded colleagues have expanded their footprint under the conservative Trump administration. Based on a review of federal contract data, since Trump’s inauguration, Ross has conducted at least 17 trainings for federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the National Institute of Health, and the Office of the Attorney General. The permanent bureaucracy understands that it can ignore the policies and priorities of any one administration, while building institutional power according to its own ideological agenda.”
“The permanent bureaucracy.” People say that the president of the United States is the most powerful man in the world (though these days woke or nervous people would substitute “person” for “man”).
In some ways, that’s true. But the enormous headwinds under which Donald Trump has had to maneuver remind us that there is an important sense in which the real power in Washington lies in the administrative apparatus, the “deep state.” President Trump came to Washington with a promise to “drain the swamp.” But the swamp is a self-perpetuating organism, as difficult to drain as the hydra was to kill.
Von Spakovsky and Stimson quote U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who has demanded an immediate investigation into “‘Army personnel illegally using federal government resources to distribute racist and partisan political propaganda in direct violation’ of federal law and military regulations.”
That is all well and good, as are Rufo’s calls for the Senate Finance Committee to launch a probe into the activities of Howard Ross and for President Trump to issue an executive order banning federal agencies from engaging in what amounts to a new form of racism.
But all such measures are but stopgaps, palliatives that might at best suppress particular symptoms of the disorder in certain cases. The disease itself can only be overcome by a restoration of public sentiment in favor of America. A tall order? In some ways, yes.
But also a straightforward one. It isn’t at all clear that federal agencies ought to be in the business of ideological indoctrination. But if they are going to go down that road, they should be required to promulgate a view of America that is historically accurate.
The more serious deficit, however, is in our schools and colleges, few of which any longer teach a non-tendentious history of this great country, “the last best hope of earth,” as Lincoln put it. Into that vacuum where civic literacy once stood has rushed the rancorous distemper of identity politics and whiny racialist narcissism.
America, as Wilfred McClay put it in the title of his new history textbook, is a “Land of Hope.” No honest telling of the story of the United States can deny that fact.
As with all countries throughout history, America has had its share of mistakes, tragedies, wrong turns, and crimes. But it has also had more than its share of successes and triumphs. The material triumphs are the easiest to catalog. The social-political successes are trickier to articulate but no less central to our success.
Perhaps the biggest task facing Americans today is the task of reaffirming our American identity. A good place to start is by returning to our founding conviction that “all men are created equal … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Insisting on that in our schools is the surest way to restore our shared political consensus, that community of sentiment that gives life to the first-person plural, that “We, the People,” which made us who we are.
To the extent that we succeed in Operation Restoration, to that extent, the “diversity-industrial complex” will founder. More, it will appear as the grasping and juvenile confidence trick it is, contemptible, yes, but also pathetic.
Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion, and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.