My mother tends to send those annoying, melodramatic “forwards” to her friends and family. You know them—they always include some morality lesson such as count your blessings, live each day to the fullest, and cherish your loved ones. They always end with some saccharine prayer to Jesus and the command / threat to forward the e-mail to everyone that you know lest He be ashamed to acknowledge you before the Throne of God. Yes—those forwards . . .
Anyway, I received one e-mail that told such a sad story in pictures that I had to check it on Snopes. It involves a beautiful young woman named Katie Kirkpatrick who develops cancer but perseveres through school, gets married to her high school sweetheart at the age of twenty-one, and then dies five days after her wedding. Snopes confirms its accuracy. The Snopes page also links to a photograph essay about Mrs. Katie Kirkpatrick Godwin, titled “The Bride Was Beautiful.”
I do not think that sentimentality offers much assistance in our attempt to understand the world or our place in it, but such stories do force us to concretize our abstractions about matters human.
Last autumn, Bill Whittle wrote a hearty piece in the National Review titled “The Undefended City.” It deals with the interior rot of a culture that no longer believes itself worthy to survive. Here is a delightful passage:
I live a few miles from Santa Monica High School, in California. There, young men and women are taught that America is “a terrorist nation,” “one of the worst regimes in history,” that its twice-elected leader is “the son of the devil,” and dictator of this “fascist” country. Further, “patriotism” is taught by dragging an American flag across the classroom floor, because the nation’s truest patriots, as we should know by now, are those who are most able to despise it.
This is only high school, remember: in college things get much, much worse.
Two generations, now, are being raised on this poison, and the reason for that is this: the enemies of this city cannot come out and simply say, “Do not defend the city.” Even the smartest among us can see that is simple treason. But they can say, “The City is not worth defending.” So they say that, and they say that all the time and in as many different ways as they are able.
If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning — and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization’s powers something catastrophic seems to occur — a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.
The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.
While I support aristocracy on principle, I harbor many populist leanings—perhaps gained by having the same sorts of experiences of which Mr. Whittel writes. We have indeed a great many silk-robed sons of bitches.
On this April Fools’ Day, I do not offer a hoax, joke, or parody, but my post does involve a species of foolery—namely, bullshit. One of Lawrence Auster’s readers and commentators recently discussed an essay, On Bullshit, by Harry Frankfurt from Princeton University. Clearly, Frankfurt had fun with the article, but his phenomenological examination of bullshit is still pretty insightful. Written in A.D. 1986, his treatment remains quite timely today, given the omnipresence of bullshit in public and private discourse.
Frankfurt examines the difference between a lie and bullshit, and he finds bullshit to be the more corrosive of our respect of truth. Both the honest man and the liar are concerned with the truth of a situation; the first conforms his words to the truth, while the second intentionally distorts the truth. Yet, they both seek to know how things really are. The bullshitter, by contrast, does not appear to be interested in objective reality at all. On page 21, we read:
One who is concerned to report or to conceal the facts assumes that there are indeed facts that are in some way both determinate and knowable. His interest in telling the truth or in lying presupposes that there is a difference between getting things wrong and getting them right, and that it is at least occasionally possible to tell the difference. Someone who ceases to believe in the possibility of identifying certain statements as true and others as false can have only two alternatives. The first is to desist both from efforts to tell the truth and from efforts to deceive. This would mean refraining from making any assertion whatever about the facts. The second alternative is to continue making assertions that purport to describe the way things are but that cannot be anything except bullshit.
Frankfurt admits that bullshit probably always exists in society, but if there is more bullshit in our civilization today than in the past, it might be due to two general phenomena. First, in our society, so many people have to talk about so many things about which they are ignorant. Concerning political matters alone, a democratic regime cultivates a habit of bullshit in its populace because any democracy will require the ignorant to govern and to pontificate on all sorts of matters about which they know little or nothing. Second, the loss of confidence in reason and in the ability to attain truth has contributed to the pervasive spread of bullshit. One simply has to look into the publications of the contemporary university system to see how deeply bullshit seeps into the halls of learning. What is postmodernism, in the end, if not bullshit?
In A.D. 1978, the venerable Alexander Solzhenitsyn delivered the commencement address for Harvard University’s graduating students. I do not know if he titled his speech then or later, but it has come to be known as A World Split Apart. I highly recommend that you read it; it is a diagnosis of the modern West’s affliction. Solzhenitsyn offered the twentieth century one of its most profound voices. Memory eternal!
Oddly enough, it was a young Jesuit who introduced me to Solzhenitsyn—through this very speech. I suppose that I owe my conversion to Orthodoxy to the Jesuits in an odd way; so, perhaps, a Jesuit’s preaching Solzhenitsyn remains strange—but in a manner consistent with my experience.
You may also wish to see the list of Harvard’s commencement speakers; they are an illustrious lot on the whole. I harbor a suspicion that the Ivy bastion would not invite someone like Solzhenitsyn today, but they did invite Václav Havel in A.D. 1995. So, who knows? I have not found this year’s speaker, yet, but I hope that old Crimson picks someone fitting for my Harvard pals. Somehow, I do not think that Roger Scruton will be speaking there anytime soon.
Present circumstances force me to interact with many folks who think little but say much about the human condition. Spending so much time in Gomorrah—I mean Washington, D.C.—entails such suffering. One of these folks endlessly harps about cultural conditioning. For her, everything is relative—everything is conventional. By everything, I mean statements made by other people. Her sensitivities to the Leftist Zeitgeist must be exempted from this conscientious intellectual modesty.
I readily grant that culture “conditions” human endeavors. An individual’s peculiar personal experience colors his understanding and interaction with the world. Similarly, a collective human group’s shared experience of life—culture—determines how members of that group approach and interpret the phenomena of existence. Nonetheless, human beings, as individuals and in communities, have certain natures and encounter the same world. Each particular man or group of men has limited experience, and this limitation both emphasizes certain knowledge and values and precludes others. Being a human being means living with such limitations; all human experience with the world is a sort of tunnel vision. However, it is the same world that is being experienced, and men, though quite diverse, have to deal with the same joys and pains of imperfect human nature.
When I explain these arguments to the aforementioned person, she blindly holds that everything is relative because she has traveled around the world and now realizes that everyone does everything differently. I suppose that she has not picked up on some universal patterns. When I attempt to convey recent findings in the human sciences, such as universal human preferences in a variety of areas, she dismisses them. Even number crunching has no effect.
Her most obviously egregious errors involve human sexuality. She holds that the differences in men and women are all culturally based. Studies about the differences in brain function in men and women hold no water for her. She is, in fact, a militant tabula rasist.
I have given up trying to reason with this person; she is invincibly ignorant. It occurs to me, though, that extreme cultural relativists incur the wrath of the retortion argument. The man who claims that there is no truth undoes his own statement because he affirms a truth—namely, that there is no truth. Reductionists who hold that human opinions have no truth value but are merely successful memes that give their holders a reproductive advantage likewise destroy their own credibility as speakers. If they are correct, they cannot be correct—their position has no truth value but merely gives them a Darwinian edge. (Moreover, fertility rates over the past century disprove the thesis, as well. Reductionists have less children, though one could object that they still pass on their ideological genes in educating the offspring of the breeders. Eventually, however, such an arrangement would not sustain itself.) Similarly, cultural relativists argue that everything is mere convention. If so, their insistence on cultural relativism would apply to them, as well. They should dismiss their own relativism with the same cavalier attitude with which they treat all other statements about mankind.
It strikes me as fantastic that people do not realize the glaring inconsistency in their fundamental ideas. The contradiction in these cases is not obscure or hidden in removed logical consequences. Rather, the contradiction cries out from their initial stance. Yet, they have no ears to hear.
Sir Henry Harcourt-Reilly delivers some of the truest lines ever spoken on the stage:
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm—but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
From The Cocktail Party by Thomas Stearns Eliot
I regularly find political discourse tiresome, if not outright irritating. Partisans of various “sides” and views argue past each other over this or that policy proposal. Yet, they approach these proposals with radically different visions of the world. Needless to say, such folks rarely come to an agreement. Their discord even engenders in them seeds of misology; men of worldly experience begin to distrust reason’s ability to assist both in theoretical matters and in practical affairs. As Socrates warns in Plato’s Republic, men who come unworthily to philosophy risk becoming haters of what they previously found attractive. These jaded folks then become either indifferent to the world or willing participants in the war of wills. You may ask how relativists maintain the energy to fight their battles when they do not believe in truth or in morality. Some are simply intellectually inconsistent, but others have bought into the idea that human life, individually and collectively, is nothing but the exercise and imposition of some will (preferably their own) over others.
Rather than ceding ground to the misologues, I think that rational engagement must deal with the roots of an issue rather than the leaves. Fundamental questions about nature, the human being’s place in and with the world, and existence generally precede, even if subconsciously, all posterior ethical and political concerns. I am not claiming, of course, that we are metaphysicists before we develop ideas about the world. Rather, our inherited or absorbed views and values contain thousands of assumptions about reality of which we might not even be consciously aware. One of the endless goals of intellectual growth is to become aware of such assumptions and, when possible, to assess them critically.
Of great assistance in this endeavor is the encounter of other world views—other horizons of knowledge and experience. We have such encounters in our human relations, in travels, and in reading works from other cultures and ages. In such encounters, we become aware of our implicit beliefs and unexamined opinions. We glimpse other perspectives, and we can begin to think through a dialectical process in consideration of the divergent visions of the world. I recommend interested readers to consider the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, one of Heidegger’s many brilliant students. Gadamer, as his Heraclitean mentor and all the pessimistic Germans after Kant, appears to insist that we never transcend the limitations of our horizon, but perhaps we can, in Simpsonian language, “embiggen” our understanding of the world through such reflection.
If there is any value in “diversity” as the multiculturalists intend, it surely lies in this sort of activity. Yet, it benefits only a certain kind of person at a certain level of maturity. The temptation to simplistic relativism accompanies the initial philosophical discovery that nature and convention differ. This jarring realization can be the first conception of higher wisdom, but few human beings seem capable of such gestation. The average embryo of the spirit mutates and degenerates after such trauma. Received wisdom, discovered, collected, winnowed, and preserved by the ancients and past down in tradition, best preserves the sanity of the many. Mindless conformity for the masses makes for secure, well adjusted societies, where the bovine herd can live out its days of grazing in peace.
The Left, like the Enlightenment in general, has many insights, but then it misses their significance and couples them with inexcusable stupidity. Stifling dogmatic convention distorts truth and hinders the ability to discover truth. Yet, it is politically necessary. Human communities need their noble lies; even the most fortunate situation must involve the most truthful deceptions and simplifications possible. In Leftists’ commitment to their fantasies of equality and universal enlightenment, they fatally err. Our dying civilization is their bequeathed gift.
Here is a delicious quotation from Lev Shestov in Potestas Clavium:
“Scratch” any European, even if he be a positivist or a materialist, and you will quickly discover a medieval Catholic who holds frantically to his exclusive and inalienable right to open for himself and his neighbor the gates of the kingdom of heaven. The materialists and atheists claim this right quite as much as do the faithful sheep of the great herd of St. Peter’s followers.
Keep this quotation in mind when you visit various web sites. It is remarkably true.
Yesterday, I posted some sites of interest that focus on religion, while today’s post features sites that I read that focus more on politics, ethics, metaphysics, human society and culture generally, and the rest of the handmaiden’s areas.
Lawrence Auster’s View from the Right
Cassandra Goldman’s A Letter to the Times
Moshea bat Abraham’s American Monarchist
National Review Online
The New Criterion
Spengler on the Asia Times
The Volokh Conspiracy
What’s Wrong with the World
Yesterday, Drudge linked to a fascinating little story about a speech that the new Attorney General Eric Holder delivered to his unfortunate employees in the Justice Department, “Holder: US is nation of cowards on racial matters”:
In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” said Holder, nation’s first black attorney general.
Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, Holder said, but “we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”
He urged people of all races to use Black History Month as a chance for frank talk about racial matters.
“It is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation’s history, this is in some ways understandable,” Holder said. “If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”
I enjoy it when public officials speak candidly, and Holder knows that of which he speaks. After Holder’s time under his old boss Janet Reno, which involved such irresponsible actions as the pardoning of traitors and terrorists Mark Rich, the Weather Underground, and Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, only a morally bankrupted society of cowards and their similarly craven leaders would accept such a man as the head of the Department of Justice. The irony is too rich!
Though one may wonder how liberal our regime remains when the federal government’s top lawyer concerns himself with people’s heretofore legal private associations on the weekend, Holder is correct that cowardice is at work in America’s race relations. This should not surprise Holder or any other intelligent person. Commercial regimes that aim at profit and comfort poorly inculcate the virtue of courage in their citizens. Even in our rules of politesse, where one should not speak of the most interesting and important matters, religion and politics, you can see the priorities of our society. Truth and principles are not welcome when they disrupt comfortable social cohesion. In a more honorable culture, such as Sparta, feudal Japan, or the vast tribes enrapt by Mohammedanism, the people would have risen up and slain the vermicular fiends of cultural revolution that suckled Mr. Holder and his various bosses over the years. Anglo-American liberals, however, have never been timocrats, and fifth column weasels in the United States can live out their pampered existences on the generosity of the system that they are trying to undermine.
Lawrence Auster interprets Holder’s rainbow call as malicious in his post “Black attorney general pulls white America’s chains”:
Of course, what everyone involved in the proceedings knew but would not say (hmm, there’s that “silence” again) was that if whites said what they believed about race, e.g., if they pointed out that their black co-workers were not up to par and had been admitted, hired, and retained due to an all-encompassing system of racial preferences, and that no criticism of black poor performance or troublesome behavior could ever be made in the work place, they’d lose their jobs and their careers. So Holder’s call for people (meaning whites) to stop being “cowards” on race and engage in “candid” discussion is a call for a hundred (white) flowers to bloom, so he can cut their heads off. Of course, Holder doesn’t expect whites to expose themselves to his tender ministrations. What’s really happening here, as Gintas puts it, is that “he’s just mocking us.”
I do not agree with Auster. The Left openly mocks; it need not do so esoterically. I suspect that Holder truly believes that white Americans refuse to own up to their own racist baggage, which thus delays the advent of the “dream.” The Leftists with whom circumstances force me to share time do not appear to think through what they demand when they ask for folks to discuss racial matters. As Auster mentions, such honestly would be called hate speech, deserving of social exile and whatever damning consequences the swamp monsters at the S.P.L.C. can invoke upon the guilty. Myopia, not triumphant derision, seems to lie behind Holder’s call for an honest discussion on race. If it were possible for him to listen, I do not think that he would like what the other side, frank and unfettered, has to say.
I am happy to oblige the attorney general, though, being one of those unpleasant folks who despise social taboos and who value truth above good manners. Here are some discussion points that ought to come up:
(1) As I have written elsewhere (for instance, here, here, and here), “politically correct” opinion tolerates and encourages an extreme disparity between the acceptance of black race consciousness / tribalism / nationalism and the condemnation of white race consciousness / tribalism / nationalism. We have to admit this asymmetry and explore why it is tolerated.
For a harmless example, consider this passage from an essay that a black friend of mine sent to me last week—“Love and Mistakes” by Melissa Harris-Lacewell on The Kitchen Table blog:
I appreciate your post about the Obama girls. I have thought about them a lot in the past two years. You and I are both parenting daughters around the same age and I have spent many of my bedtime prayers asking for the well being of our girls, the Obama girls, and the little black girls whose names we don’t know and whose faces aren’t famous. Yours is a call to do the work of loving children who are not as perfectly packaged as the First Daughters. After reading your post I have been thinking about how unforgiving black communities can be of juvenile failures.
Can you imagine any white Americans that you know writing or saying something equivalent? I am no stranger to whites with a robust sense of racial identity, and I have never heard anyone make such exclusive statements. It is inconceivable that anyone short of membership in the Klan would pray for all the little white girls out there. The only approximate experience that I have involves a joke at a Protestant summer camp when I was in high school, when a cabinmate started singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and changed the century old (white-made) lyrics, “Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world,” to “White and white, white and white . . .” However, it was a joke, and it was funny precisely in its naughty breaking of taboo. By contrast, Jeremiah Wright’s public tirades may have shocked an extraordinarily naive nation, but black racialism is standard and normal in the American black community. If the pot can be black, why not the kettle?
(2) Tribalism is the natural state of mankind, and it would be wise to recognize this general tendency. Mr. Holder’s disappointment notwithstanding, people prefer their own kind—however they perceive that kind to be. Of course, we group and self-identify based on many factors—religion, region, trade, age, hobbies, ethnicity, politics, and so on. Yet, some of these categories tend to influence one another. I do not doubt the existence of monarchist Catholic American blacks from New England with interests in medieval philosophy and computer programming, but there cannot be many around. The old American project to forge a new ethnicity made up of colonial Europeans and a smattering of indigenous tribes recognized the need for a unity of blood. We have lost that opportunity as a society, and I do not have high hopes for our future. The attorney general will wait until the lion lies down with the lamb to see his request fulfilled. Until then, free people will self-segregate. Perhaps, such facts explain why Leftists are not that keen on free peoples.
(3) Despite this natural state of mankind, we have experienced the attempted social reprogramming campaign of the last two generations wherein whites have been force fed a diet of false images and distorted history that glorifies minorities as heroic victims and condemns old or dead white men as the bane of all goodness. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons are simply the unpolished versions of the daily servings from the media and the educational establishment. Scholarship be damned if we can fabricate one more way to pretend that sub-Saharan Africa is the source of world enlightenment, that all ethnic groups contributed equally to our national culture, and that Western civilization is the source of all of the earth’s ills.
Furthermore, let us not forget the society-wide inculcation of the groundless mantra that ethnic diversity is the normal and healthy state of mankind and that homogeneous communities are retrograde and dangerous hovels of conformity. If we compare the social stability and self-perceived contentedness of life in homogeneous communities with diverse communities, we see a great discrepancy in favor of homogeneity. Even Leftist Robert Putnam admits the “challenges” of diverse communities wherein people of all backgrounds feel less connected to their community. See, for instance, the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey and John Leo’s “Bowling with Our Own.” Kosovo or Japan—which is a better model for a peaceful, productive community? It is not surprising, then, that folks retreat back into their self-segregated sub-communities of family and close friends when they can. There, they can relax and breathe. The cost of this retreat to civil society should not be underestimated.
(4) We must note how Gramcian Marxists have poisoned race relations in America by hoodwinking blacks into having a self-destructive hatred of bourgeois values. They have managed to convince millions of blacks that holding liberal, capitalist values are tantamount to race betrayal. We see how well such advice has worked for blacks beyond the elites in “African Diaspora Studies” chairs, race-hustling diversity training organizations, and the corrupt racket of Democratic Party politics. For every self-absorbed Alice Walker, there are thousands of folks who languish in the ghetto hellholes that Leftist ideology fosters and maintains.
(5) We should ask Mr. Holder to consider how racialist socialism has crippled the independent spirit of black adults, who have become permanent grown up children living off the dole—entitled, irresponsible, without shame, and without dignity. Socialism sucks life; bleeding hearts kill souls.
(6) We need to face the facts of black criminality, especially black on white crime. Any white on black crime—even the many hoaxes touted by the media—makes national news for weeks and sometimes months. Yet, the statistics of the reverse are staggering. Fearless Patrick Buchanan (rather undeserving of Holder’s accusation) points out the oddly ignored racial dimension in American crime in “The Color of Crime”:
In the Aug. 10 Washington Post story that covered the Carranza arrest, the same page had two related articles. One was headlined, “Study: Almost Half of Murder Victims Black,” the other, “Slaying of Popular Editor Stuns Blacks in Oakland.”
The second headline reveals an ideological slant. One would assume that everyone in Oakland was stunned by the daylight execution of African-American editor Chauncey Bailey, allegedly by a teenage foot soldier at Your Black Muslim Bakery, which Bailey was investigating.
At Bailey’s funeral, a mourner held up a sign reading, “Stop Black on Black Violence.” That was the subject of the second Post story.
“Nearly half the people murdered in the United States are black,” declared the opening paragraph, “part of a persistent pattern in which African-Americans are disproportionately victimized by violent crime, according to a new Justice Department study.”
Among other conclusions reported by the Post:
* Blacks are more likely than whites or Hispanics to be victims of crime.
* Blacks are more likely than any other group to be victims of “serious violent crime,” such as rape, assault and robbery.
* Blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be confronted with a firearm during a crime.
“Overall, the new Justice findings jibe with previous studies,” said the Post. “For example, a review of FBI data from 2004 by the Violence Policy Center, a liberal-leaning group that campaigns for stricter gun control laws, found that blacks accounted for about half of the nation’s murder victims that year.”
“Black victimization is a real problem, and it’s often black on black,” said David Harris, a law professor at the University of Toledo who studies crime statistics.
“Often”? Correction, Harris. As the Post reports and Justice concedes, in more than nine out of 10 cases, black victims are murdered by fellow blacks.
Utterly absent from the Post story and Justice Department stats is anything about white victims of crime. Not a word. Do white folks not count, though they are two-thirds of the population?
Yet, in “The Color of Crime: Race, Crime and Justice in America,” produced by the “right-leaning” New Century Foundation in 2005, using the same FBI and Justice surveys, startling facts emerge:
* “Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against other blacks.” Forty-five percent of the victims of violent crime by blacks are white folks, 43 percent are black, 10 percent are Hispanic.
* Blacks are seven times as likely as people of other races to commit murder, eight times more likely to commit robbery and three times more likely to use a gun in a crime.
* “Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit violent crime against a white person than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.” (If decent black folks have trouble hailing a cab, and they do, these numbers may help explain it.)
* Black-on-white rape is 115 times more common than the reverse.
Even the two most famous sexual assaults by white men on black women in the last two decades—the Tawana Brawley and Duke rape cases—turned out to be hoaxes.
What do these statistics tell us? A message the Post will not report. The real repository of racism in America—manifest in violent interracial assault, rape and murder—is to be found not in the white community, but the African-American community. In almost all interracial attacks, whites are the victims, not the victimizers.
Why does the Post not report such statistics? My guess: Because the stats would shatter the Post’s cultivated image of America as a land where white racism is the great lurking malevolent monster. Stories that conform to the image get play. Stories that contradict it are buried.
But, if the Bush Justice Department is doing in-depth studies on black victims of crime and who is responsible, why not one on the victimization of Americans of all colors and who is responsible?
Or is that information we ought not know, and news not fit to print?
Somehow, I think that Holder doesn’t have Buchanan’s points in mind when he asks for a honest discussion about race. I wonder why.
It is clear to me that everyone recognizes these facts and behaves accordingly. The most stridently Leftist folks avoid “urban” areas . . . though they rationalize that they do so because of the poverty. Everyone sees the truth, but the effective neutering of white America has resulted in “decent” white people’s inability to give voice to the glaringly obvious facts all around them. I wonder if eunuchs tend to be cowards?
(7) We must be able to address the issue of ethnic differences honestly. Everyone who is not a fool recognizes those differences and the consequences that follow from them. From white supremacists to patronizing socialists who think that the uneducated “urban poor” need their wisdom and organization, all Americans openly or secretly confirm good old Jeremiah Wright’s angry claim that Americans believe in the inferiority of blacks more than they believe in God. Disagreement comes, however, in the question of causation. For the hyphenated-studies crowd, white racism and the legacy of slavery account for this state of affairs. Their socialist peers on the Left consider the relative poverty of black Americans and conclude that such poverty, itself caused by historical circumstances, has debilitated black Americans. The so-called “racial realists” have other explanations, such as the eugenic demands of natural selection upon those early humans who left Africa to populate the rest of the world. I have mentioned Steve Sailer before. Even if you are inclined to disagree with his research on race and I.Q., as a society of rational human beings, we should be able to explore these matters openly and honestly. As it stands, our society strangely cannot stomach the proposition that humans from different reproductive populations could have significant differences.
(8) We need to acknowledge that our hate speech regime has retarded ethnic relations. The intolerance of the ironically named agents of tolerance has made people not wish to speak to one another about “sensitive” matters that might upset “protected groups.” In many Western countries, such discussion is criminal and might land you in prison. In the United States, it might result in the loss of employment and professional ostracism. Environments of distrust and fear are never suitable for frank discussions of anything. Free peoples live not under tyranny. If Mr. Holder wants free discussion, then he is well placed to roll back the advance of tyranny. Of course, I do not expect any such thing from him.
(9) We need to step out from our habitual parochial considerations and see our problems in the bigger picture of human history. Americans in particular seem unable to do this. For example, Americans’ bizarre, almost Freudian obsession with slavery is somewhat laughable when you consider that slavery, in some form, has always been an element in civilization. Indeed, Anglo-American Protestants were the first people in history to oppose and to remove it from a considerable part of the globe. Nonetheless, white Brits and Americans continually beat their breasts about their awful legacy of slavery—one might even think slavery to be the veritable original sin of English speaking people. Some attention to history would bring such sporters of sackcloth and ashes back to earth.