Neither pigment nor appetites are identity
He was a free man—not merely a background or a race. - Larry Arnn describing the late Walter Williams
I got an e-mail this week from Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, announcing that Hillsdale had recently endowed a chair in their economics department and named it after the late Walter Williams.
I was struck by something Arnn said in the e-mail. It's highlighted in the quote at the top of this post. In his description of Williams, Arnn succinctly made explicit the distinction between freedom and circumstance.
We're living through a time during which the most influential voices in the culture are continually hectoring us into believing that we are each merely the "product" of our circumstance. We are told that our identity is indistinguishable from our background and desires. The two facets of our circumstance that are most often emphasized are the color of our skin and our sexual appetites. We are bombarded by a steady stream of propaganda that our sexual and pigmentational circumstance determines who we are.
But circumstance is not identity. Pigmentation is superficial. Appetites can be refused. But human agency is intrinsic.
Freedom is real.
People who believe that their circumstance determines their identity are less likely to make use of their freedom. This, not coincidentally, serves the interests of all those who would control their neighbors. Thus the concerted effort to convince us all that our identity is nothing more than an amalgamation of our skin color and sexual appetites. Such an effort is indistinguishable from a determination to blind us to the real freedoms we actually possess.
Identifying merely as a race or an appetite is nothing so much as a pathway to slavery. Anyone encouraging such beliefs about human identity is either lying or trafficking in lies.
Don't believe them.