Racism! Squirrel!

“G”-dropping, phoneme deafness, dessert, playing hardball with LeBron James: Practically anything can be racism in the 21st century — except racism. Internal memos from Senator Dick Durbin’s office reveal that he took special care to sabotage the court nomination of Miguel Estrada because “he is Latino,” a fact that made him “politically dangerous.” Jesse Jackson can use anti-Semitic epithets all day, Philadelphia mayors can attest that “the brothers and sisters are running the city” (small boast!), Joe Biden can mistake Apu from The Simpsons for documentary evidence about the lives of Indians in the United States, and Robert Byrd can use the most offensive racial epithet in the English language in front of millions of people, but . . . can we talk about “microaggressions” instead?

The Left needs racism, because unlike their good, old-fashioned Marxist forebears, the postmodern Left’s politics is not rooted in economics or history but in narrative — the most adolescent narrative: Good Guys and Bad Guys. (You could call it Cowboys and Indians, but that would be . . . ) If the other side is Hitler, then almost anything is acceptable, because Hitler can’t win. But, unfortunately for the inventors of national crusades, you don’t get a lot of Hitlers. So Hitlers must be invented. This is one of the reasons every social issue adopted by the Left (and a few adopted by the Right) becomes the “moral equivalent of war” — War on Poverty, War on Drugs, etc. Hitler was many things: nationalist, socialist, central planner, advocate of substantial “investments” in national infrastructure projects, in favor of generous spending on the arts. And, of course, a racist. The GOP checks off none of those boxes, the Democrats check off a few, but Republicans are Hitler because somebody on Fox News said Santa is white. It makes sense, if your worldview depends on its making sense.