From the dawn of human society, humans have sought to model themselves on animals. Something more than a totemic relationship was involved. Animal idolatry was an antidote to the self-conscious artificiality of the human, which if permitted to completely take over leads to a kind of madness.
The nobility of the animal offered a means to honor what in the human is inhuman, unconscious, beyond the reach of deliberation or choice. The animal modeled for humans submission to the natural order and its fundamentally supra-individual logic.
All the freakishness of the modern world is the product of a humanistic reversal of inhumanism. From this stems the reduction of consciousness to a purely instrumental apparatus and the illusion this fosters of a mechanistic world that technology can alter at wiil. And yet this blindering of consciousness was greeted as Enlightenment. Conversely, the knowledge that was available to the ancients in the form of sacred revelation, in the modern world is dismissed as the product of dark ages.
Racism seems to have a lot to do with the need of modern European nation states to justify colonialism on moral grounds. This is a justification that premodern peoples, innocent of the peculiar notion of human rights, did not require. In the premodern world, conquest and subjugation were outcomes ordained by the gods.
It was humanism, and particularly secular humanism, that laid the basis for racism. The bestowal of rights on humans as a species forbids one group from subjugating another. In practice, this meant that technologically advanced European nations could only take advantage of their military superiority and acquire colonies on the presumption that the peoples they subjugated were not quite human and therefore not entitled to the same rights as Europeans, at least not until these putative primitives were properly civilized.
Today’s sanctimonious, antiracist “identity” politics remains locked in the same humanist frame, only with the terms inverted. Now the subhuman stigma is attached to “whites” in general and white males in particular. Thus, in its late form, humanism develops into a suicidal ideology. Perhaps this is the only way that its pernicious influence can be overcome.