Two Cheers for the Hoodie

I remember reading some years ago that despite the claims of Western feminists, many women in the Muslim world prefer to wear the burka for several reasons, especially at work and in public.  One of the arguments is straightforward and simple: when a woman's body is completely covered, men are forced to use their reason to evaluate only a woman's objective qualities, performance, and talents.

In other words, solving the problem of male self-control, which became the central focus of thousands of years of moral philosophy, is as simple as a short trip to the closet.  In addition, as F.A. Hayek noted, "it is not irrelevant to recall that to the ancients blindness was an attribute of their deity of justice."  And although Hayek was trying to defend reason, justice, and the free market in the face of socialism's tendency to go outside the law and promote visible favorites, the burka is the kind of drapery that can represent a somber but nevetheless useful concession to our fallen nature.

In short, our failure to live up to the ancient standard of justice doesn't mean there aren't other options when reason, self-control, and objective appraisal fail us moderns.  Instead of mastering our perception in order to detect the deep content of someone's character, we can do the next-best thing and simply cover up, American style.  And since the White House, members of Congress, civil rights leaders, and others are now promoting the "hoodie," it's worth taking some time to consider its advantages in these rather uncertain, tribal, and thoroughly pedestrian times.

Just think of the possibilities.  We could finally achieve Martin Luther King's dream of being judged by the content of our character rather than by the color of our skin.  Diversity officers along with their entire overbearing multimillion-dollar bureaucracies would vanish on college campuses, and student tuition would plunge.  Affirmative action would end, thus promoting more intellectual diversity on campus instead of various "diverse" populations in most cases feeling compelled to promote the identical leftist tune.  And instead of the resentment that affirmative action fosters, the hoodies would bring us closer as a nation, as Hayek presciently observed:

Inequality is undoubtedly more readily borne, and affects the dignity of the person much less, if it is determined by impersonal forces [i.e., competitive market] than when it is due to design [i.e., government engineering].

Hoodies would give tribalist groups like the Black Panthers, La Raza, Aryan Nations, and various racialist demagogues little reason to exist.  Hoodies would compel the liberal media to at last lend an ear to brilliant, positive, self-reliant, and grateful (hooded, of course) individuals like Allen West, Star Parker, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Bobby Jindal, Walter Williams, Ben Chavis, Thomas Sowell, and so many other typically ignored spokespersons for the American dream.

Hoodies would have prevented Attorney General Eric Holder from deriding America as a "nation of cowards."  Holder would on the contrary find it pleasingly natural to refer to all citizens as "Americans" rather than to a portion of them as "my people."   

With hoodies, President Obama's official "Obama for America" campaign team could spend their precious time organizing and preparing a reasonable and logical outline of the president's apparent belief system rather than defending his statist proclivities simply by multiplying the number (currently ten) of pressure groups that claim to support him: African-Americans for Obama, Asian-Americans & Pacific Islanders for Obama, Jewish Americans for Obama, Latino-Americans for Obama, LGBT for Obama, Nurses for Obama, People of Faith for Obama, Veterans and Military Families for Obama, Women for Obama, and Young Americans for Obama.

Also, instead of the ten "diverse" opinions officially sanctioned by Obama's campaign team (i.e., each "unique" opinion representing each of his supporting groups) America would benefit by having the kind of real, magnificent, intellectual diversity promised by James Madison as essential to protecting America from tyranny.

In addition, think of the confusion hoodies could prevent for the president himself.  According to the New York Times definition of George Zimmerman ("white Hispanic"), President Obama would therefore qualify as a white African-American.  But White People for Obama curiously doesn't exist yet, so until it does, the president would seem to be partly against his own re-election, since he's too old for Young Americans for Obama (age 40 and under), and People of Faith for Obama is currently enduring a distressing "Catholics Against Obama and for Religious Freedom" uprising.

In Hoodie Nation, Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Geraldine Ferraro would have had no reason to say in 2008 that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.  And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position.  He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.  And the country is caught up in the concept."  In other words, Mr. Obama could have been vetted properly on his experience, his college transcripts, his voting record, his merits, his past associations, his arguments, and his policies, without having to deal with that nagging skin color issue.

In his "Letter From The Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King wrote about the possibility of transcending -- at least in one respect -- our fallen, race-conscious nature:

Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

What's heartbreaking about all of this is that King's reference to the unfettered, Socratic realm of "creative analysis and objective appraisal" represents a world beyond the hoodie.  It's a world where intelligent Americans reasonably and objectively appraise their wonderfully unique fellow citizens in the spirit of the ancient deity of justice. 

Back in 1993, Duke professor Stanley Fish implied, however, that the ancient deity of justice herself might be racist:

Individualism, fairness, merit -- these three words are continually in the mouths of our up to date, newly respectable bigots who have learned that they need not put on a white hood or bar access to the ballot box in order to secure their ends.

Be careful, in other words, about the color of your hoodie -- it might just reveal the color of your thoughts.

I remember reading some years ago that despite the claims of Western feminists, many women in the Muslim world prefer to wear the burka for several reasons, especially at work and in public.  One of the arguments is straightforward and simple: when a woman's body is completely covered, men are forced to use their reason to evaluate only a woman's objective qualities, performance, and talents.

In other words, solving the problem of male self-control, which became the central focus of thousands of years of moral philosophy, is as simple as a short trip to the closet.  In addition, as F.A. Hayek noted, "it is not irrelevant to recall that to the ancients blindness was an attribute of their deity of justice."  And although Hayek was trying to defend reason, justice, and the free market in the face of socialism's tendency to go outside the law and promote visible favorites, the burka is the kind of drapery that can represent a somber but nevetheless useful concession to our fallen nature.

In short, our failure to live up to the ancient standard of justice doesn't mean there aren't other options when reason, self-control, and objective appraisal fail us moderns.  Instead of mastering our perception in order to detect the deep content of someone's character, we can do the next-best thing and simply cover up, American style.  And since the White House, members of Congress, civil rights leaders, and others are now promoting the "hoodie," it's worth taking some time to consider its advantages in these rather uncertain, tribal, and thoroughly pedestrian times.

Just think of the possibilities.  We could finally achieve Martin Luther King's dream of being judged by the content of our character rather than by the color of our skin.  Diversity officers along with their entire overbearing multimillion-dollar bureaucracies would vanish on college campuses, and student tuition would plunge.  Affirmative action would end, thus promoting more intellectual diversity on campus instead of various "diverse" populations in most cases feeling compelled to promote the identical leftist tune.  And instead of the resentment that affirmative action fosters, the hoodies would bring us closer as a nation, as Hayek presciently observed:

Inequality is undoubtedly more readily borne, and affects the dignity of the person much less, if it is determined by impersonal forces [i.e., competitive market] than when it is due to design [i.e., government engineering].

Hoodies would give tribalist groups like the Black Panthers, La Raza, Aryan Nations, and various racialist demagogues little reason to exist.  Hoodies would compel the liberal media to at last lend an ear to brilliant, positive, self-reliant, and grateful (hooded, of course) individuals like Allen West, Star Parker, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Bobby Jindal, Walter Williams, Ben Chavis, Thomas Sowell, and so many other typically ignored spokespersons for the American dream.

Hoodies would have prevented Attorney General Eric Holder from deriding America as a "nation of cowards."  Holder would on the contrary find it pleasingly natural to refer to all citizens as "Americans" rather than to a portion of them as "my people."   

With hoodies, President Obama's official "Obama for America" campaign team could spend their precious time organizing and preparing a reasonable and logical outline of the president's apparent belief system rather than defending his statist proclivities simply by multiplying the number (currently ten) of pressure groups that claim to support him: African-Americans for Obama, Asian-Americans & Pacific Islanders for Obama, Jewish Americans for Obama, Latino-Americans for Obama, LGBT for Obama, Nurses for Obama, People of Faith for Obama, Veterans and Military Families for Obama, Women for Obama, and Young Americans for Obama.

Also, instead of the ten "diverse" opinions officially sanctioned by Obama's campaign team (i.e., each "unique" opinion representing each of his supporting groups) America would benefit by having the kind of real, magnificent, intellectual diversity promised by James Madison as essential to protecting America from tyranny.

In addition, think of the confusion hoodies could prevent for the president himself.  According to the New York Times definition of George Zimmerman ("white Hispanic"), President Obama would therefore qualify as a white African-American.  But White People for Obama curiously doesn't exist yet, so until it does, the president would seem to be partly against his own re-election, since he's too old for Young Americans for Obama (age 40 and under), and People of Faith for Obama is currently enduring a distressing "Catholics Against Obama and for Religious Freedom" uprising.

In Hoodie Nation, Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Geraldine Ferraro would have had no reason to say in 2008 that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.  And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position.  He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.  And the country is caught up in the concept."  In other words, Mr. Obama could have been vetted properly on his experience, his college transcripts, his voting record, his merits, his past associations, his arguments, and his policies, without having to deal with that nagging skin color issue.

In his "Letter From The Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King wrote about the possibility of transcending -- at least in one respect -- our fallen, race-conscious nature:

Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

What's heartbreaking about all of this is that King's reference to the unfettered, Socratic realm of "creative analysis and objective appraisal" represents a world beyond the hoodie.  It's a world where intelligent Americans reasonably and objectively appraise their wonderfully unique fellow citizens in the spirit of the ancient deity of justice. 

Back in 1993, Duke professor Stanley Fish implied, however, that the ancient deity of justice herself might be racist:

Individualism, fairness, merit -- these three words are continually in the mouths of our up to date, newly respectable bigots who have learned that they need not put on a white hood or bar access to the ballot box in order to secure their ends.

Be careful, in other words, about the color of your hoodie -- it might just reveal the color of your thoughts.

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