The instruction by South Africa’s cricket authorities that national team players must kneel in homage to the Black Lives Matter movement presents a useful opportunity to educate the reading public about the perils of endorsing the joint new religion and ideology that BML homage represents.
The lazy cliché is that the BLM movement arose in response to police violence in the United States of America. The more informed view is that Marxist activists exploited the idea of police violence in America as a means to supplant separately and collectively Christian and liberal values in Western societies.
In July of 2020 the IRR published a report titled Because Black Lives Matter, tracking the deep origins and ideological objectives of the Black Lives Matter Movement whilst debunking the myth of widespread racially motivated police killings in America. This document should be required reading for any person before engaging with that movement.
We won’t go into the deep origins and police-killing data here, but will focus instead on producing a heavily condensed précis of what the report found about the ideological objectives and strategies of the movement and why these should concern the free world.
That ideology was best exposed in two 2015 quotes. The first comes from BLM Global Network founder Patrisse Cullors, who explained in that year: ‘We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia [Garza] [BLM co-founder] in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.’
Also in that year, the third of the [founding] trio, Opel Tometi, wrote after visiting Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro: ‘In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.’
In tracking the origins of that ideology the report went further back to argue:
‘To understand the full scope of BLM Global Network’s ideological grounding one must look at the mid-19th Century German intellectual climate from which Karl Marx emerged….One of the most popular ideas at the time was that it had been wrong to think of individuals as the kernels of society. Races came to be thought of, by some, as i) the true bearers of value, ii) the true competitors in power-struggle, and iii) the units that must be respected for justice to thrive. The term volksgeist was coined in 1801 by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, meaning the “spirit” or “soul”, the geist of the people or “volk”, where people came to be racially defined.
‘The new idea emerged that government, and, from there, the law, must reflect the will of the people, understood as the race. This was the genesis of race nationalism….an idea taken up later by Otto von Bismarck in unifying Germany in the “second Reich” and by Hitler in the “third Reich”.
‘WEB du Bois, one of the great black American intellectuals of his time, received a fellowship at the University of Berlin in the 1890s where he came across the “volksgeist concept” in action in Bismarck’s Germany….One of Du Bois’ teachers, Heinrich von Treitschke, who opposed Catholics, Poles and Jews in Germany, put it unambiguously thus: the individual “lives only in and through submitting himself to the aggregate culture of his volk”.
‘Du Bois followed this in his Conservation of Races lectures, saying: “The history of the world is the history, not of individuals, but of groups, not of nations, but of races, and he who ignores or seeks to override the race idea in human history ignores and overrides the central thought through all history…[and] Thus Du Bois brought the volksgeist theory back to black America.”’
There was a strong parallel here to Marx.
Like Du Bois, the report pointed out:
‘Marx [also] believed the individual must “submit himself” to a folkish group, but preferred class to race as a place to find true human value….Marx believed that the capitalist who seeks rents, or gains profits on investments, is backed up by “bourgeois” legal concepts, ultimately the law and its hired enforcers, which is itself simply an abuse of power. The difference between the “robber baron” and the plain “robber” is that the former is simply more violent, more powerful, and more corrupt.’
The report went on to show how ‘(these) two ideas – property is theft, and volksgeist race essentialism – intersect in Critical Race Theory (CRT)’ which is the theory that came to underpin the BLM ideology.
CRT’s basic axioms are that:
- From the concept of volkgeist, every society is divided into two absolute and unbridgeable, racially determined groups.
- The first is the black group. Its members are permanently disadvantaged victims of a society which is set up to enforce black poverty and underdevelopment.
- The second is the white group. Its members are permanently privileged and perpetrate various crimes against the black group in order to secure their unearned privilege and maintain black poverty.
- And, from Marxism, all liberal democracies are structured to maintain white privilege and black disadvantage.
- Any challenge to that thesis is racist and reveals, if it comes from a white person, what is called ‘white fragility’ or the fear of facing the truth and surrendering unearned privilege and if it comes from a black person that they are race traitors for whom no mercy should be afforded.
- Any facts to the contrary are themselves racist as they arise from a system controlled by white people and should therefore be disregarded.
- Individuals in society have very little agency or moral responsibility.
- Their character and role in society is assigned to them at birth by their race.
- Therefore, no black person can hope to become better off through their own efforts, while no white person can do anything that cleanses them of their guilt and crimes against black people.
- As a consequence, the trappings of modern liberal democracies, including capitalism, the free market, freedom of speech, private enterprise, and the rule of law, must therefore be dismantled and all wealth distributed by the state to liberate the black group from poverty and relieve the white group of its unearned privilege.
Go very much further
Hence the calls by the BLM movement to ‘disband’ and ‘defund’ the police. But the demands of the BLM movement go very much further than that to include that private schooling should be ‘eliminated’ because education ‘privatization strips Black people of the right to self-determine the kind of education they receive’; that the Glass-Steagall’s ban on affiliations between investment and commercial banks be restored; that private ownership of natural resources be terminated; that ‘radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth’ occurs through the state; that super PACs be banned; that the Trans Pacific Partnership be terminated; US military spending be halved; all international military bases be closed; the decriminalisation of all drugs and the release of all drug-related convicts take place; and that industries that make money on the production of fossil fuels be divested’.
I am always struck by how astounded the institutions that begin to dabble with CRT and BLM are when they come to learn that the ideological objectives of the BLM movement extend very far beyond the contested question of police violence and racism. And how shocked those institutions are to learn that by endorsing the movement and demanding kneeling acquiescence to its demands they are signing up to a campaign to dismantle the trappings of liberal democracy in favour of the pursuit of a utopian socialist and later communist order.
The strategy employed by BLM in pursuit of this objective has seven parts that are as follows:
1. The BLM strategy raises a plausible socio-economic concern. Racial bias in US policing, or in South African cricket, is, prima facie, a plausible problem and every decent person will affirm the claim that black people’s lives do matter and that black cricketers do too.
2. BLM uses those concerns to win institutional endorsements for the broader movement. The endorsing institutions, which are typically corporations, universities, schools, non-profits and bodies such as Cricket South Africa, seldom possess a full appreciation of what they are really signing up for or the implications of the ideology they have begun to endorse.
3. But, immediately, via those initial endorsements, the organisation finds itself defaulted to a position where its constituents, clients, students, pupils, or supporters are classified into the unbridgeable camps of white perpetrator and black victim – classifications determined not by their actions or agency but by their race.
4. Now under pressure amidst the early signs of public fallout, and still not properly appreciating the trap that has been laid, the endorsing institution steps right into the trap in doubling down via loud public defences of, and commitments to, the BLM movement and its objectives, exactly as cricket authorities in South Africa are now doing.
5. The trap is then sprung when the endorsing institution is asked to make good on its commitments to deliver on the BLM agenda whilst any evidence of a reluctance to do so is churned and twisted to foment conflict between the now formally fractured parties to the institution.
6. BLM activists then use the ensuing conflict as hard evidence of the reluctance of the institution to embrace transformation and racial justice.
7. In the final stage, BLM employs that reluctance to justify calls for tearing the institution down, the stated objective from the very beginning.
Brilliant and ruthless
It is all very brilliant and ruthless. But the true grotesqueness of it all only reaches its peak when the implications for Christian belief are made clear.
For believing Christians, being compelled to kneel to the BLM movement is an impossible demand. Exodus 20 (3-6) makes it quite explicit that ‘You shall have no other gods but me….You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments (Exodus 20 3-6).
Psalm 95 (6 and 3) instructs Christians that, ‘Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!…For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods’, while Mathew 6 v 7 warns ‘When you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathens do’. Ephesians 3 (14) reads ‘They who kneel before God can stand before anyone.’
For believing Christians, Cricket South Africa’s instruction thereby represents a direct challenge to the will of God.
Gravity of the implications
But lest you think me a religious zealot, let me make clear why the gravity of the implications is not determined by the extent of your own belief. The challenge to Christian faith is intentionally woven into the BLM ideology because of how inherent the Christian values of the reformation and enlightenment are to the deep underpinnings of all modern democracies.
The former opened the door to the freedom of thought and belief that – matched with the latter’s emphasis on the importance of rationality and reason – came together to distinguish a civilised society, and hence contemporary democracies, from a state of nature. Possessed of a full awareness of the importance of this influence, the purpose in BLM’s assault on Christianity is not at all to eliminate faith from society but rather to harness its influence via supplanting Christian beliefs with the worship of BLM ideological orthodoxy.
And having the South African cricket team fall on its knees in worship to this orthodoxy is a fine way of signalling to a society that it better fall in line with the new religion. See it that way and the vicious attacks from within the mainstream media on Quinton de Kock, the lone voice of caution in the South African team, take on all the characteristics of the many historical inquisitions into religious heresy.
What are the lessons in this?
Don’t endorse third party ideologies and political organisations without knowing what they stand for and what their objectives are. Read sufficiently deeply to develop some understanding of the values and principles that underpin modern democracies if you wish to continue living in a free society.
Don’t virtue signal under pressure in the hope that the pressure will be relieved as you will be committing to objectives that you can never meet, the consequences of which may bring about your demise.
Demand hard evidence of the forces and trends that you are told determine socio-economic conditions and read critically when what is put forward as evidence is presented. Don’t fall for the line that because everyone else is doing it, it must be the best thing to do.
If unsure, ask if this is the way good and decent people would treat and classify each other in the privacy of their own homes. Understand how demonstrations of forced public subservience to an ideology have precipitated many of the greatest catastrophes of human history.
And resist therefore the idea that human value and character rest in the colour of someone’s skin so that you are extremely cautious when told that as an individual ‘you live only in and through submitting [your]self to the aggregate culture of [the] volk’.
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