Does the political left — which dominates the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia and the Democratic Party — really believe its ubiquitous charges of racism against conservatives, or are they a sick ploy to discredit, ruin and defeat its political opponents?
During President Obama's tenure, a conservative could hardly oppose Obama on policy grounds without being accused of racism. It didn't matter that conservatives had fought Hillary Clinton's health care plan in the '90s because they opposed socialized medicine. It didn't matter that they had opposed Bill Clinton's tax hikes. Their opposition to Obamacare and Obama's proposed tax increases had to be motivated by race.
If you repeat an absurd claim often enough, it becomes believable to some people. And the left has been hammering away so long against the supposed racism of political conservatives that many people, hordes of whom know better and multitudes of millennial political neophytes who apparently don't, have bought into this toxicity.
I have always assumed that one of the main reasons racism is sinful is that it involves judging people and discriminating against them not on the basis of their individual character or behavior but on their group identity. Among other things, this robs people of their human dignity and equal worth as being created in God's image.
It is noteworthy that the left — in its categorical condemnation of conservatives as racists — engages in the very type of discriminatory judgment it decries, i.e., says conservatives are racist because the policies they support allegedly hurt minorities.
But conservatives reject that their policies hurt minorities. We think history has shown that they help all people and that liberal policies are consistently destructive. Moreover, our policies, by definition, aspire to colorblindness. We believe in equality of opportunity for all and oppose policies tailored to race in application or result.
Conversely, policies driven by identity politics perpetuate tensions among different races. The damage done to race relations by an entire political wing bearing false witness against the other on race is incalculable. Can you imagine, for example, the harm that would befall my children and others if I poisoned them daily with the lie that certain people hate them?
It would be easier to understand this insanity if it could be explained simply by the left's cynical desire to exploit race for political gain. After all, liberals' constant agitation of minorities, with their 24/7 crusade against conservatives as racist, has to be primarily responsible for blacks' disproportionate support for the Democratic Party when the latter's policies have demonstrably harmed the plight of blacks.
But there seems to be something even more disturbing at play in this nonstop leftist slander. Look at the kind of poison emanating from universities throughout the United States.
Witness the recent brouhaha over a jointly penned op-ed by two law professors (Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania and Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego) who suggested, essentially, that America's decline can be traced to a rejection of traditional values (or, in the authors' words, "the breakdown of the country's bourgeois culture") and advocated a return to those values.
The professors argued that America did better when we had traditional values and therefore should return to this "cultural script": "Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime."
Significantly, the authors were careful to note that these "basic cultural precepts ... could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities." That is, the benefits of these values and practices transcend race.
Precisely on cue, however, leftist robot — aka University of Pennsylvania Law School dean — Ted Ruger charged to the student newspaper with an op-ed denouncing Wax's piece as divisive and noxious and rejecting "emphatically ... that a single cultural tradition is better than all others." Charges subsequently poured in from faculty members, students and alumni accusing Wax of white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia. Some demanded that she be barred from teaching first-year law courses.
Alexander experienced a similar backlash when University of San Diego School of Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo disseminated a schoolwide memo denouncing the piece, as well.
Regrettably, the left, in academia and elsewhere, increasingly equates traditional values (and political conservatism) with white supremacy. The norms that were formerly accepted almost universally are not just under systematic assault but also being indicted as racist.
Let me ask you sincerely: Do people really believe that these innocuous notions of hard work, virtue, marriage, respect, friendship, civic-mindedness, charity and patriotism are unique to certain races or groups of people? That they are not constructive goals for individuals, groups and the nation? That they are somehow rooted in bigotry of any kind?
The answer has to be "yes." Some really believe this nonsense, which means the left's propagation of these ideas is more than just a calculated ploy for power. And that's probably more alarming, because it means it is more deep-seated.
These corrosive ideas must be fought in the most aggressive terms. We simply won't be able to return this nation and its people to greatness, much less make strides in racial harmony, if we can't even try to improve ourselves without being accused of racism.
If we think we can ignore these cockeyed ideas as fringe and insignificant, then we are in denial. They are everywhere; they're no longer the stuff of radical anecdotes.
We'd better wake up — and stand up for the things we believe in, lest their very advocacy convict us soon of hate crimes warranting societal censure. At the risk of being falsely accused of white supremacy, may I suggest that we all become more civic-minded and charitable and promote the time-tested traditions that have made this nation great and that are designed to improve the lot of all people, irrespective of race, creed, ethnicity or gender?
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "The True Jesus." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.