Advancing a Free Society

Freshman Folly

Thursday, April 15, 2010

America still has a race problem, though not the one that conventional wisdom would suggest, the racism of whites toward blacks. Old-fashioned white racism has lost its legitimacy in the world and become an almost universal disgrace.

The essence of our new, “postmodern” race problem can be seen in the parable of the emperor’s new clothes. The emperor was told by his swindling tailors that people who could not see his new clothes were stupid and incompetent. So when his new clothes arrived and he could not see them, he put them on anyway so that no one would think him stupid and incompetent. And when he appeared before his people in these new clothes, they too—not wanting to appear stupid and incompetent—exclaimed about the beauty of his wardrobe. It was finally a mere child who said, “But the emperor has no clothes.”

The lie of seeing clothes where there were none amounted to sophistry: joining oneself to an obvious falsehood to achieve social acceptance. In such sophistry there is an unspoken agreement not to see what one clearly sees—in this case the emperor’s flagrant nakedness.

Continue reading this article in the Hoover Digest