After George W. Bush began the “war on terror,” I read and heard the word “neoconservative” and discussions of it with some frequency. The Old Right and New Left complained about the nefarious influences on the Jewish lobby on American foreign policy, and both camps alleged that the defectors from the Trotskyite Left to the American Right—those “neocons”—were really a Jewish Trojan horse for the Republican Party and for movement conservatism in the U.S.A. According to this conspiratorial view, American political and diplomatic power is manipulated for Israeli rather than American interests, and that is why we Americans constantly indulge in nation building and global meddling.
Last night, I walked in on a group’s watching Saving Private Ryan. I had never seen it before; I find stories about the Second World War unpleasant. I do not wish to dwell upon the nightmare that along with the “Great War” incarnate so clearly the West’s suicidal path. Regardless, I watched the rest of the film. Near the end, a narrator reads the letter that the mother of one of the characters receives from the Army, which includes the following line:
Reports from the front indicate James did his duty in combat with great courage and steadfast dedication, even after he was informed of the tragic loss your family has suffered in this great campaign to rid the world of tyranny and oppression.
A great campaign to rid the world of tyranny and oppression? Was World War II such a campaign? Of course, it was not. We were allied with the Soviets, after all. Yet, the American government and its civic, religious, and cultural elite used such language as a morale booster. Nonetheless, the language and the public response to it reveal something perversely ideological in the American regime—and in the American soul. Perhaps it is genetic inheritance from the Puritan fanatics, or perhaps it is the mark of Americans’ believing too sincerely their founding myths, composed in Enlightenment hysteria and political immaturity. Whether we call it American exceptionalism, invoke the City upon a Hill, or speak of the Promised Land—Americans have a messianic complex. A great campaign to rid the world of tyranny and oppression! Such a campaign is destined for failure. Tyranny and oppression will continue in this world until the second coming of Christ or until mankind has been eradicated from the earth. We are lucky to carve out parcels of land where free, virtuous men may practice the art of civilization; for that accomplishment is itself quite rare. Yet, Americans seem to think that we have a divine right and responsibility to wage a global missionary war on behalf of liberalism. This orientation toward endless ideological war does not come from the neocons, though they may have exacerbated and empowered the tendency. One sees it not only in the leftist American regimes that waged both world wars but even in the nineteenth century. Lincoln’s rhetoric during the American Civil War betrays ideological fever, though perhaps it was less virulent because it dealt with domestic concerns. Before Lincoln, though, was the Monroe Doctrine. Was it simply a matter of self interest and regional hegemony? Even so, Americans came to believe the “nobler” excuses for the doctrine—for we are ideologues. Can we blame the Jews for the neoconservative tendencies of the early republic?
From the beginning, Americans understood their nation and polity not simply as a concrete, particular place and people but as a beacon of light unto the gentiles. The Anglo-Israelism of biblically literate men who had adopted the creed of modernity manifested itself in many strange ways—and not least in the attitude that Americans have of their country. I do not thereby assert that the liberal globalism of our contemporary elite is the true “American way,” but it comes from a particular strand of our historical heritage. It is a harmful allele in our national genotype.
A few months ago, there was a short discussion on View from the Right about the initial ascendency of liberalism in America. One thread in the argument was whether cultural liberalism has been pursued by the elite for reasons of material self interest. I have no opinion about it, but I wish to reproduce a quotation by Robert Locke that Kristor added. It is from Locke’s article in Front Page Magazine, “Is Capitalism Conservative?”
What post-cold-war conservatives should stand for is free-market capitalism on purely economic issues, plus strong non-economic institutions. What all these institutions have in common is that they impose a certain social order in the name of certain values, but they are not for sale for money. The institutions I have in mind:
Naturally, all these things are susceptible to corruption by economic values, but their essential purposes are not economic, and frequently contrary to pure economic efficiency. They are not capitalist, but they are not socialist either. This is a key point when every objection to the liquidation of our society in the name of the almighty dollar is met with the epithet “socialist.”
We should aim to be a capitalist economy, but not a capitalist society.
What an excellent point! We rarely hear such wisdom because Americans conflate conservatism with the currently pursued policies of the Republican Party. Reductionism remains reductionist, whether the man misjudging be a Communist or a banker.
In a comment to the View from the Right post, “The church of liberalism still spreading the message that black incarceration is the result of white racism,” reader Alexis Zarkov provides the best response that I have ever heard to those who refuse to face facts in the color of crime:
How many times do we need to refute the lies about black incarceration rates? It gets tiresome. Most prison inmates are men. Is this evidence of a bias against men by the criminal justice system? Of course not. Men are more aggressive, and prone to commit violent acts. They are more aggressive in every society at every point in history. If by their nature, men can be more violent than women, then why can’t blacks be more violent by their nature than whites? Nevertheless this argument fails to persuade the apologists for black violence, and we have to go further. Let’s eliminate the criminal justice system altogether and look at victimization survey statistics. Crimes reported by victims independent of whether the perpetrator was ultimately caught and punished. If the criminal justice system is truly biased against blacks, then we should see a gross disparity between black incarceration, and what crime victims say.
The National Crime Victimization Survey samples a large number of households and has them report the race of the perpetrator. The methodology is described here. The data from the sample is then extrapolated to the whole U.S. population using statistical methods. Let’s look at Table 40 from the 2005 survey. The first line of the table tells us that in 2005 we had almost four million crimes of violence perpetrated by a lone offender, and then gives a breakdown by race. However, note the column labeled “not known and not available is high,” so it’s better to use “Rape/Sexual Assault” where the unknowns are small. Here we see that blacks were the offenders in nearly half of the approximate 160,000 sexual assaults, while whites were offenders in about one-third. I’m going to assume that almost all sexual assaults were committed by men, so we have black men (six percent of the population) responsible for half these crimes. Non-Hispanic white men are about one-third the population, which just about exactly matches the reported rate of 32.8 percent. This data tells us that the black sexual assault rate is eight times the white sexual assault rate. Thus we would expect that half the men in prison for rape would be black.
How do the so-called civil rights activists deal with these facts? Simple. They deny that the victims can correctly identify the race of the perpetrator, and the victims themselves have a bias towards identifying the offender as black. For example, black Columbia professor Marc Lamont Hill appeared on the O’Reilly television show, and at two minutes and 16 seconds into the interview O’Reilly confronted Hill with similar data. His response: “Self report studies are notoriously unreliable … when people are unsure of the race of their assailant they tend to err on the side of black and brown.” Had O’Reilly been prepared, he would have asked Hill if he thought women were unsure about the race of the man who raped them? As this example illustrates, activists like Hill, will always pull a new rabbit out of the hat to refute any argument. We can never come up with facts, data and analysis rigorous enough to convince them. On the other hand, their accusations of racism can be based on the most flimsy evidence and tendentious analysis.
This is brilliant! What a naughty pleasure it is to watch Leftists squirm in discomfort while they try to navigate their own minefield! For no lefty Take Back the Night marcher will doubt the veracity of a rape victim. We need far more Zarkovs—Clausewitzen in the Kulturkampf.
I would like belatedly to wish my Orthodox readers a joyous Pentecost!
Today’s title makes me pine for Gilda Radner, but I can only offer Steve Sailer’s posting of Jon Entine’s review of Harry Ostrer’s Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People: “Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Jews Are a “Race,” Genes Reveal.’” The topic is fascinating, both in itself and in how people discuss the material.
I had never before heard of the Lemba. The history of man is a fascinating mess.
During Lent, I read a bizarre story in the student paper of Florida Atlantic University: “FAU student threatens to kill professor and classmates.” Given the following opening, I had to read the rest of the article:
Associate Professor Stephen M. Kajiura was reviewing with his evolution class in GS 120 for a midterm when FAU student Jonatha Carr interrupted him: “How does evolution kill black people?” she asked. Kajiura attempted to explain that evolution doesn’t kill anyone.
And then, Carr became violent.
One of the students recorded the outburst (rated R):
The Carr family claims that Jonatha suffers from mental illness, which runs in the family: “FAU student Jonatha Carr’s family tells their side of the story.” I am wary about the modern attempt to clinicalize vice—it appears to be a typically leftist move that absolves the wicked of responsibility. The rate at which such excuses are invoked by apologists for black dysfunction makes me even more skeptical. The net is full of articles about the higher rates of craziness among blacks, though they predictably blame ever virulent “white racism” for such loose screws. See, for instance, “Racializing Mental Illness: Understanding African-Caribbean Schizophrenia in the UK.”
Disregarding the standard leftist tripe, the paper offers informative statistics. Diagnosis of schizophrenia among blacks in Britain is six to eighteen times higher than it is for indigenous Brits (I do not know why the paper offers discrepant figures). The incidence of black insanity is similarly higher than whites’ kooky quota elsewhere in industrialized nations, though the rate of mental illness tends to be lower in more ethnically homogenous minority neighborhoods. Yet, how are we to reconcile such with our mindless slogan, “diversity is strength”? Robert Putnam’s research, honest sociologists, and common sense disagree. We are social creatures, and we appreciate the security of being on home turf. In multiethnic societies, even our own streets become desert highways in the state of nature. It is no surprise that ethnic minorities would experience greater amounts of stress. The liberal cannot accept such inequality, though. Rather, everyone should be a minority and live in an alienated state! Leftism truly makes people crazy.
I wonder what sort of studies have been done in other minority populations. Do the robbed, raped, and mutilated whites in South Africa and Zimbabwe suffer higher rates of mental illness than the majority blacks? Do the industrious but often despised Chinese minority populations that dot the world suffer such rates? What about Jews, who have not always had the best relations with their host populations? Of course, neurotic behavior is stereotypically prevalent among the creative, intelligent Ashkenazim, but do the statistics justify the clichés?