Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 6, No. 5, 2007
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Robert Rotondo
Dan Stefik
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
David Solway
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward





[Note: The author is not to be confused with the "I" used in the piece. He is employing the first person singular to represent the point of view of Man or Mankind].

Let’s begin with what is self-evident, or to coin a sociological axiom: people who agree with each other and share the same values and beliefs are much more likely to get along than people who disagree. The same holds for groups and nation states. Since every nation state is comprised of a majority view that accommodates, in varying degrees, minority positions that come to the attention of the majority by virtue of their deviation from the norm, be it in respect to dress code, religious affiliation, dietary laws, sexual conduct, we can predict that majority members will get along with themselves better than with members of any minority.

Nonetheless, we have to bear in mind that ‘not getting along’ isn’t a mechanical law, but an open concept that varies according to the always tenuous relationship between human law and human nature. Which is to say, when the political or economic going gets rough, and if the opportunity presents itself, I, as a representative of my majority, am more likely to turn on or scapegoat a minority individual or group than my own kind. This is how it is and how it has always been.

Since there is always thunder before the storm troopers, and in light of what minorities have had to endure during the past 5000 years – in theory, more than enough blood to disabuse even the most die-hard idealist – there is no justification or consolation for minorities who persist in believing in the innate goodness of man. From their graves they can proclaim their innocence and horror, but they are not blameless in the production of their fate.

If it’s a given in life that life, in and of itself, is the supreme value, and self-preservation its defining gesture, there is no excuse for minority members not to assume responsibility for the, yes, ‘unsolicited’ harm that befalls them when the political and social protections they depend on fail to provide. When a minority group, as a consequence of either personal choice or tradition, dissents from what constitutes the mainstream way of life, it becomes implicated in a cause and effect that risks endangering not only its individual members but the group as a whole. And should foreboding becomes lethal fact – and it often does -- that the minority didn’t ask for or deserve it is immaterial, like for the driver who can rightfully claim that it wasn’t his fault that the truck that swerved into his lane caused his death. Since the driver had the option of using the empty reserve lane or shoulder, he should have used it. Among the options available to minorities threatened with disablement or demise, one is to look into the eye of the storm and accept responsibility for what might befall them at the hands of any majority, which is already a preparation and possible pre-emption. That this first line of defense should be self-evident makes its disregard a transgression for which there is no reasonable accounting.

But the question must nevertheless be asked: how do we answer for the fact that minorities, whose appeal to reason and victimhood have historically fallen on deaf ears, have consistently failed to rise to the occasion of responsibly managing their affairs, their survival?

For one, the unspoken laws that govern especially contemporary discourse discourage all of us from examining our true feelings and their societal implications when dealing with people who subscribe to different values. Our gut knows how we feel, but we don’t allow our gut to speak out loud for fear of violating one of the many politically correct tyrannies that are being spawned everyday.

When we examine the vast and often chaotic spectacle of human interaction, it seems that individuals and groups are able to co-exist when there is no more than a 20% deviation in respect to generally held differences. Beyond that 20% marker, relationships, best case scenario, are likely to be tested, worst case, subject to stress and breakdown. If at the workplace a suit and short hair is the required dress code, the 20% man is likely to find himself outside the loop. If I discover that X is at least 20% less tolerant than me toward people of colour, I will probably not cultivate his friendship. Since I believe in the right to bear arms, I’m likely to seek the company of fellow gun toters. Since I usually wolf down my meal in less than 10 minutes, I probably won’t feel comfortable dining with people who require 90 minutes to eat -- and vice versa.


A rebuke is an act or expression of criticism and censure. If, after having weighed the evidence, a family man decides that hormone enhanced, antibiotic treated meat isn’t good for his health, and that his wife shouldn’t reveal any part of her flesh in public, he might, for practical reasons (to secure his employment), decide to strike a tolerant pose, but privately he believes we, who indulge in what he rejects, are living incorrectly, which is why his family eats no meat and his wife and teenage daughter wear ankle length dresses. What society at large looks askance at is the tyranny he can practice with impunity in the privacy of his home as it concerns his beliefs and philosophy of life.

The mantra that goes around proclaiming that we, representatives of the majority view, respect his right to differ is the big lie we've all signed onto that generates codes of behaviour that cannot survive the constant thrust and parry of human nature.

Albert Camus reminds us that we should caution giving ourselves principles stronger than our character.

If someone chooses a dress code or eating regime that significantly differs from mine, whether he acknowledges it or not, his choice is a rebuke – and (sociological axiom #2) no one likes to be rebuked. And so we provide the rebuked with all sorts of artifices and attenuated language to help them in their insult. We cajole them into feeling good in practicing tolerance, despite the private thoughts they entertain. At our behest, they will pat themselves on the back for having soberly reflected on what is meant by reasonable accommodation, the act of which presumably guarantees the desired result. But once rebuked, the feeling, the slight, never goes away, especially if the rebuker community doesn’t participate in the majority way of life. And thus, the carnivore will shed tears at the vegetarian’s funeral, but he is secretly overjoyed the self-righteous vegan dropped dead in a health food store. And from the other side of the divide, the man who hides his women behind centuries of traditional dress will publically sympathize with his neighbour, whose G-string clad daughter has been violently raped, but he is secretly happy that she got what she deserved in her ungodly exhibition of the flesh. This is the ethos that informs the psyches of both the rebuker and the rebuked, where intolerance -- and not accommodation -- is the designated sociological constant.

From the most innocent of rebukes (a group’s dietary laws), to the most severe (the group segregating itself from the majority), minorities, to their self-detriment, have consistently failed to recognize that in every pluralist society, majority members, without exception, are obliged to live and inhale their rebuke-laden emissions, which puts clean air -- often code for ethnic cleansing -- at a premium.


As a member of the majority, my response to the multiplicity of rebukes I must endure in my daily life are tempered by the laws of the land, the education and conditioning to which I’ve been exposed since birth, and in the best of times, personal prosperity. But all of those bulwarks are at best impermanent, at worst ephemeral, and are liable to show cracks or collapse at the slightest downturn in the quality of my life.

At the risk of being unduly inflammatory or raising the ire of those who are embarrassed by my straight-talk, let’s be clear here. If you, as a member of a minority, choose a way of life or activity that dissents against the majority view, you are setting in motion a cause and effect, which, in light of what we know of human nature, you are responsible for. Whether the cause and effect is rational or justifiable is not germane to the facts or your fate. Individuals and/or groups that shun the majority view, on top of which they are either visible and/or perceived as more successful than the majority, are much more likely to be the object of my wrath and revenge when the institutions that would normally restrain me collapse or disappear, or I, out of frustration, decide to flout them.

Witness what has recently happened to the merchant Indians in Kenya and Uganda, the Chinese in Indonesia, and prior to that, the Jews (almost everywhere); they were turned on because their religious and cultural differences, exacerbated by disproportionate economic success, were perceived as a rebuke – and as our blood meridianed history reminds us, the rebuked show no mercy.

Given all of the above, surely the time has come for minority groups to finally seize the ugly facts of human nature by the throat so as to finally turn the page that begins in Disneyland and get into the real world. So far, the skill required to negotiate the long-term safety of a successful minority group has eluded even the best intentioned leaders because they have failed to acknowledge, much less assess, the potentially disastrous effects of their rebuke on the host nation, and thus, have been unable to predict, much less pre-empt, the horrors that have been visited upon them. If a new paradigm is to emerge from the still hot ashes of persistent minority group underperformance, the membership must be educated to the fact that its mere existence is tantamount to a rebuke, which makes its first duty one of self-preservation, where the means justify the ends, where appeasing the majority -- economically and socially, and all that that implies in respect to identity -- is its own justification and inferred first principle.


You, in the minority, ignore my ‘untamed world’ at your peril. And while you will have done nothing to merit the psychological harm and physical injury, I, the rebuked, would secretly like to inflict on you, you can no longer be held blameless for the hatred and envy you elicit.











 = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting
Care + Net Computer Services
Couleur JAZZ 91.9
Couleur JAZZ 91.9
E-Tango: Web Design and lowest rates for web hosting
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
Available Ad Space
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis