A.J. DiCintio
Salem witches and false charges of racism
By A.J. DiCintio
July 24, 2010

This is what passes for intellectuality at the NYT these days:

. . . the N.A.A.C.P. scratched an old wound this week when it called on the Tea Party to expel racists from its ranks. The Tea Partiers protested — too much methinks — because the [sic] racism is a rap they can't seem to beat. (regular contributor Charles M. Blow)

At best such "thinking," that continually repeats an accusation without offering evidence, reminds us of toddlers who respond to "why" with "because."

But Mr. Blow (as well as every other liberal or Democratic bigwig) is far from being a toddler in age, education, and experience.

Therefore, when he, other liberals, and, by their assenting silence on the issue, Democratic leaders single out the Tea Party for criticism without offering concrete proof of racism and without mentioning a single Democratic/liberal organization in need of the same cleansing, we must conclude the worst, specifically, that the entire crew are so much driven by a love of power and money they would sell out their mothers for a vote or a public dollar.

For evidence of this contemptible hypocrisy, readers may consult my column "The NAACP and the Tea Party" (www.NewMediaJournal.us), which examines the astounding silence with which Democrats and liberals responded to statements by Ed Rendell and John Murtha about racism among Pennsylvania's voters, especially Democratic voters, including the astonishing charge by the latter politician that "Western Pennsylvania is a racist area."

Now, this current playing of the political weapon generically called the "race card" may have some wondering when the abomination will end.

Sadly, the bad news is that given the constancy of human nature, name calling and other forms of sliming one's "enemies" (even "enemies" who focus mainly on our government's dangerous fiscal profligacy) will be with us forever.

And there is more bad news.

Relying upon the realities of human nature and history, we can predict that if Democrats are routed this November, liberals will blast red hot flames of "racism" at their opponents (especially citizens who support the principles of the Tea Party movement).

Moreover, if Obama is defeated in '12, the attacks will turn white hot, their flames exploding so far as to reach that part of the political terrain inhabited by Independents.

The good news, however, is that history reveals a predictable pattern to this kind of madness: The fire rages higher and higher until it threatens the life of the entire culture, at which time it collapses upon itself, leaving behind embers that await a new supply of fuel and oxygen.

In America, the archetype of this phenomenon is the insanity that consumed the village of Salem in 1692, resulting in the execution of twenty people convicted of witchcraft (and two dogs suspected of being accomplices to the alleged witches).

The details above come from Douglas Linder (University of Missouri at KC school of law), who also informs us that "one to two hundred other persons were arrested and imprisoned on witchcraft charges."

However, Linder's greatest contribution regarding the hellish blaze that swept over Salem doesn't have to do with providing statistics; it lies in his rejecting the simplicity of the notion that it was fueled exclusively by religious hysteria, as most of us have been taught.

The truth, as Mr. Linder points out, is that two other fuels also fed the inferno, specifically those Ben Franklin warned about at the Constitutional Convention:

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects.

Following is how Linder reports the work of those "passions."

In a number of cases, accusing families stood to gain property from the convictions of accused witches. Also, the accused and the accusers generally took opposite sides in a congregational schism that had split the Salem community before the outbreak of hysteria.

So, how are those perverse loves at work in today's racism conflagration?

To answer that question, we need to think only of the hurling of "racist" or "racism" at Americans who oppose the cowardly, selfish, "generational theft" that has represented the federal government's "fiscal policy" for decades or those who oppose a vision of healthcare "reform" that, among its many other dangerous aspects, centralizes power and fails to change healthcare's unsustainable fiscal course.

There we have it: "The love of power" — regarding who will control the government, especially the ultimately powerful, contemptibly profligate, rapaciously growing federal government — and "The love of money" — regarding the incredibly huge, often hidden sums the obesely indebted federal government spends.

Just as they fed the tragic fire that burned at Salem and countless other places throughout human history, those perverse loves, to which we can add the love of ideology, represent a good part of the fuel that feeds the fire of unsubstantiated and hypocritical charges of racism today.

But to repeat, the good news is that such hellishness inevitably consumes itself into near oblivion.

For the good of the country, let's hope the one afflicting us now soon turns into embers covered by ashes that once provided life to loves born of two of the worst of human frailties.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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