The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

History, Race and ‘Science’

Posted on | March 6, 2018 | 3 Comments

 

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.

Hillaire Belloc, 1898

A few days ago, I stumbled across a feminist Tumblr blog called “Fierce Fat Feminist” (“Intersectional Transnational Feminist — Fat Black Babe — Queer”) which offered this startling assertion:

“Race was invented by white people to prove that
white people were superior to all People of Color
to justify murdering them, raping them, and stealing
all their land and resources. That’s why People of Color
can’t be racist towards white people. You can’t
take part in a system that exists solely to oppress you
and people like you, but people who
benefit from that system can and do.”

Challenged on this, “Fierce Fat Feminist” proved the truth of Vox Day’s maxim “SJWs Always Double Down” by adding a series of quotes (apparently cribbed from the “Scientific racism” article on Wikipedia) implying that the concept of race was invented in the 18th century for such purposes (i.e., “to justify murdering . . . People of Color”).

This is a false history, a species of anti-white propaganda intended to incite racial animosity by inflaming a sense of historical grievance. The economist Thomas Sowell addressed such arguments in his 1999 book The Quest for Cosmic Justice which, among other things, addresses the myth of transtemporal injustice. This is the idea that a group of people living in the present day (Victims) are entitled to retribution against other present-day groups of people (Oppressors) whose ancestors may have committed injustices against the ancestors of the Victims.

Sowell so effectively demolished that idea that I need only recommend his book to anyone who might be laboring under such a delusion, but I think it is important to show how historical ignorance is exploited in the service of these misbegotten notions of “social justice.”

Start with this: Time moves in only one direction. No one can go back and change the past, and every person alive is born with a historical inheritance that is beyond his control. It doesn’t matter what your race may be, what the economic condition of your parents or grandparents, whatever wars or plagues or natural catastrophes befell your remote ancestors. Everyone is born with certain advantages or disadvantages, and we have to make the best of our situation in a world where we are powerless to change anything that happened yesterday, much less what happened a hundred years before we were born.

Just to cite one obvious personal example, I was born in 1959, the same year that Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba. When I was 4 years old, one of Castro’s admirers named Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy, forever changing American history.

 

So many evils of our world today began that fatal November afternoon in Dallas that we can scarcely begin to imagine what America would be like had it not been for JFK’s assassination. As I say, Oswald was inspired by Castro, and also by Soviet Communism, which in turn can be traced directly backward to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, a consequence of the First World War, which began when a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In a sense, then, I was born into a world full of evil that can be blamed directly on a handful of madmen — damn you, Gavrilo Prinzip! — and I might be justified in an eternal hatred of Serbs, or Russians, or Cubans. However, nothing would be gained by basing my worldview on such ancient grudges, and it is pathetically foolish for people to allow themselves to be consumed by impotent rage over past wrongs. Making historical grudges the basis of public policy is a surefire formula for civil war, as demonstrated by the history of the Balkans, the Middle East and other such cases where perpetual animosity results from a sense of inherited grievances.

The Fallacy of Collective Guilt

“Fierce Fat Feminist” would have us believe that history (“Race was invented by white people,” etc.) defines a “system” which means that “People of Color can’t be racist towards white people.” In other words, hating white people in 2018 is justified because white people in the past allegedly did all that “murdering . . . raping . . . and stealing.”

Implied in that assertion is that (a) white people were uniquely guilty of such wrongs, (b) “People of Color” have never historically committed any similar wrongs, and (c) the uniquely evil past of white people means that they deserve to be hated. The logical flaws of such claims are so obvious that I won’t insult my readers’ intelligence by refuting “Fierce Fat Feminist” point-by-point. Suffice it to say that collective guilt is a fallacy.

How am I to blame for, e.g., Pizarro’s conquest of Peru? Certainly my own obscure 16th-century British ancestors were not consulted by the Spanish in matters of colonial policy in Peru, nor were my more recent ancestors consulted in regard to U.S. policy toward the Lakota Sioux. You want to blame me for General Custer? That would be a shock to my Alabama and Texas ancestors, who spent four years fighting Custer and the whole damned U.S. Army. Not that I wish to rekindle that old dispute, you see, but the collective category “white people” includes an awful lot of people who aren’t me, or remotely related to me, and I resent being hated for things those other white people did.

Every man is accountable to God for his own sins, and certainly no Christian can justify hating someone because of that person’s ancestry. Nothing could be more foolish. My Scottish ancestors and my English ancestors were mortal enemies, once upon a time, and because I married a Yankee — my wife is from Ohio — my own children have an inheritance from both sides of the bloodiest war in American history. My oldest daughter’s husband is of Argentine ancestry, and I sometimes annoy him by loudly singing “Rule Britannia” to tease him about Argentina’s defeat in the Falklands War, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mind the joke.

Well, what about “scientific racism”? What about “Fierce Fat Feminist” and her claim that white people “invented” the concept of race merely to justify their own sense of superiority? One of the interesting things about science is that one must be literate to produce science or to consume it. That is to say, science has no proper meaning except to those who can read and write and, until Gutenberg invented the printing press circa 1450, science was restricted to a comparative handful of the cultural elite who had access to manuscripts. It was the revolution wrought by Gutenberg’s invention that permitted mass production of literature — including scientific literature — and even then, it must be remembered, the printed word was only influential among those whose education enabled them to read. As recently as the 19th century, public education was not universally available in Europe or America, most people were quite poor by modern standards, and whatever science had to say about racial differences circa 1800 (or even 1900), this did not reflect the beliefs or knowledge of anyone except the scientists themselves.

How foolish, then, to blame “white people” collectively for whatever views of race were circulated as science among the educated elite of the 19th or 18th centuries? Let the curious reader purchase a copy of Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color — a very influential book in the 1920s, written by a Harvard Ph.D. — and see what sort of insulting assertions he makes about white people who are not of “Nordic” ancestry. Italians, Spaniards and Greeks are disparagingly lumped into the “Mediterranean” category and, as for the Jews — oh, let’s not even start about what a Harvard man had to say about Jews circa 1920.

Scientific progress is a wonderful thing to study, if you have both the ability and the time to do it, and I think the 21st-century scholar could benefit from reading Stoddard’s work just to see which of his claims of “science” have been discredited. On the other hand, I hesitate to recommend this topic, for fear that some readers might conclude that Stoddard wasn’t entirely wrong about everything. But I digress . . .

We should be cautious when making categorical statements about large groups that include millions of human individuals, the way “Fierce Fat Feminist” has done by assigning to “white people” a collective guilt for “murdering . . . raping . . . and stealing.”

This is an insult, and insults lead to resentment. Does anyone suppose that “white people,” as a collective group, will forever be content to shrug off this kind of insulting racial guilt-trip? Any sober student of history must conclude that “Fierce Fat Feminist” is a fool to imagine she can haphazardly hurl such provocative anti-white insults onto the Internet without consequence. Even if you know nothing of history, however, why do you think Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton? And why do you think liberals were so surprised by Hillary’s defeat?

We could hypothesize that a major contributing factor in Trump’s victory was that a lot of white people in 2016 were fed up with the kind of “intersectional” nonsense emerging from the Left. The campus rape hysteria, the Black Lives Matter movement, university student protests — every time you turned on the news there was an idiotic mob screaming for “social justice” because they’d been “triggered” or whatever.

 

“America Was NEVER Great” — I remember standing in the middle of that protest in Cleveland during the 2016 Republican convention and noticing that there were maybe 300 protesters, 400 reporters there to cover the protest, and 800 cops to maintain order. Nobody was harassed or assaulted, nobody’s civil rights were violated. Academic celebrity Cornell West showed up and gave a speech, then everybody paraded down the streets to protest against the alleged “racism” of police. But as I say, there were hundreds of armed police on the scene, none of whom engaged in any police brutality, despite the provocation of a Communist mob waving anti-police signs and chanting anti-police slogans:

“There will be no peace unless there is justice,” Professor Cornell West said Tuesday in a speech to an anti-police rally here organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Speaking through a megaphone amid a crowd of protesters gathered at Public Square in downtown Cleveland, West invoked “the legacy of white supremacy in this country that goes back 400 years” to condemn police.
West spoke in front of a giant RCP banner declaring, “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution. STOP MURDER BY POLICE.” Activists with the RCP held aloft signs that read, “America Was NEVER Great! We Need to OVERTHROW This System!”

If I could see the absurdity of such protests, as a reporter on the scene, wasn’t the absurdity apparent to everyone else? Imagine a middle-class Ohio voter, coming home from his job, switching on the TV news and seeing coverage of that protest. “Those people are crazy,” says the Ohio voter, cracking open a cold beer, as he decides to vote for Trump.

 

Liberals never saw this coming, because liberals live inside an echo chamber where everybody watches MSNBC and shares their certainty that (a) “racism” is the worst thing in the world, and (b) the Republican Party is the political vehicle of “racism” in America. It never occurs to the liberal to question either (a) or (b), because if anyone ever begins to doubt these ideas, it won’t take too much scrutiny for them to discover how absurd these beliefs are, and they won’t be a liberal anymore.

A few weeks ago, I told a friend that there are two books every conservative should read if they want to understand how liberals think: Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951) and Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (1995). The herd mentality of the indignant mob — e.g., the “intersectional” queer feminist on Tumblr — cannot be understood as a rational response to objective reality. Rather, liberalism can only be understood as a psychological and emotional phenomenon. People living in a prosperous society with a freely elected government don’t join a Communist protest march (or spend their time ranting about racism on Tumblr) because they are “oppressed,” in any objective sense of that word. Instead, it is their subjective emotions — and their ignorance of objective reality — which explains why they succumb to the mob mentality.

One of the chief causes of this derangement is the failure of our education system to teach history. Properly taught, history requires students to step outside their own subjective feelings — what are my feelings about Serbian nationalism? — and view events objectively. It is extraordinarily difficult for me to be objective about the Battle of Gettysburg, when I know that my great-grandfather was captured there just east of Willoughby Run and spent the next two years as a prisoner of war in Fort Delaware. Yet because the study of history requires me to consider this in comparison to other events (e.g., the Battle of the Somme, where the British Fourth Army suffered more than 50,000 casualties on the first day of a battle that lasted more than four months), I am less likely to feel any especial hurt over my ancestor’s misfortune. Alas, the teaching of history has been hijacked by “social justice” ideologues who seek to advance a left-wing political agenda by indoctrinating young people with a sense of permanent rage about the “oppression” attributed to racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, imperialism, etc.

What the politicization of history has produced is a generation of allegedly “educated” young people with a shockingly shallow knowledge of actual history, but with very deep feelings about “injustice.” Handed diplomas that certify them as being “educated,” these ignorant young fools may then spend the rest of their lives searching around for “evidence” of the injustices that they have been taught to believe are everywhere in “a system that exists solely to oppress you.”

Victims of ‘Cisheteronormative Patriarchy’

Nothing could be more absurd than students at elite universities imagining themselves waging war against “oppression.” Yet in 2016, progressives at the University of Southern California (where the cost of attendance is $69,144 a year, including room and board) mounted an effort to impeach a conservative member of the student government who was accused, among other things, of “undermining the work . . . of our Women’s Student Assembly.” Upon investigation, I discovered that the executive director of the USC Women’s Student Assembly, Vanessa Diaz, called for the “dismantling of our capitalist imperialist white supremacist cisheteronormative patriarchy.”

Is anyone still surprised that Donald Trump got elected? What could be more perfectly calculated to piss off a working-class voter in Wisconsin than the spectacle of a girl at a $70,000-a-year elite private university claiming to be a victim of “cisheteronormative patriarchy”?

We live in a world where actual science has produced the marvelous technology that not enables “Fierce Fat Feminist” to rant endlessly on Tumblr about racism, but also allows white voters in Wisconsin to read about dimwit college students protesting in Southern California. And in the months leading up to the 2016 election, it seemed dimwit college students everywhere were protesting against some sort of oppression. For example, at elite Oberlin College ($68,672 a year, including room and board), students in December 2015 were angry that there were too many white musicians in the jazz band. They demanded “a 4% annual increase in the enrollment of Black students in the Jazz Department starting in 2016 to accumulate to 40% increase by the year 2022.”

How many votes for Donald Trump do you think were produced by that kind of “social justice” protest? Because, as I say, this left-wing protest mob mentality seemed to be everywhere in the months leading up to the 2016 election. Surely, I wasn’t the only one who noticed it, nor do I think I was alone in suspecting that these protests were ginned up by activists trying to mobilize young people to vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

 

 

Liberals never expected that this kind of activism could backfire, which is one reason they were so surprised on Election Night 2016. Perhaps if they had studied history more carefully, they might have anticipated a negative reaction to the insulting accusations of racism and sexism that were the rhetorical output of these left-wing protest mobs.

Studying history, you learn a lot about human nature, including the fact that people get angry when they are unfairly accused of wrongdoing — “murdering . . . raping . . . and stealing” — so that this kind of collective scapegoating inevitably produces a backlash. Think about that Trump voter in Wisconsin or Ohio, the white guy who gets up every morning and goes to work to pay the bills, just trying to give his kids a better life. Does that guy want to listen to “Fierce Fat Feminist” lecture him about his collective racial guilt? Probably not, but he damned sure doesn’t want to be lectured by Mika Brzezinski (Williams College, Class of ’89) about why he’s a “sexist” because he didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton (Wellesley College, Class of ’69, Yale Law, Class of ’73). All these rich people with their elite college degrees keep telling that white working-class guy that he is what’s wrong with America, and on Nov. 8, 2016, he voted for Donald Trump as a gesture of his contempt for the liberal elite.

Every time I call attention to idiot Tumblrinas like “Fierce Fat Feminist,” they respond by claiming that I’m engaged in “harassment,” trying to “intimidate” or “silence” them, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a conservative, nothing better suits my purposes than for these idiots to have a platform to spew the toxic contents of their warped minds, so everyone can see what liberal “education” has produced.

Maybe I’m not an expert in “science,” but I’ve studied enough history to learn a few things about human nature, and my hunch is that the election of Donald Trump was not a one-time fluke. The ordinary American’s resentment of our nation’s decadent elite has been building up for many years, and the elite have been desperately trying to suppress the political force of this resentment, which Trump so adroitly harnessed in 2016. The elite keep trying to distract Americans with media sideshows and carnival barkers like Jimmy Kimmel, but their propaganda project is failing. This year’s Oscars had the worst ratings ever, and CNN doesn’t have a single show in the Top 20 of cable-news ratings. Our decadent elite have sown the wind, and they are beginning to reap the whirlwind.

When white people are constantly lectured about their racism, many of them will respond exactly as the lecturers intend, by internalizing a sense of collective guilt. However, some people will predictably react against these lectures and their response will be, “F–k yeah, racism!”

That kind of backlash is the real danger of the “social justice” mentality, which celebrates victimhood as a heroic achievement. This is why you see highly privileged young people at elite universities absurdly claiming to be oppressed by “cisheteronormative patriarchy.” Yet there is a sort of Newtonian principle in politics, so that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, and the opposite reaction — the backlash against “social justice” ideology — is likely to be quite ferocious, when the elite lack any kind of sympathy and understanding toward the people being demonized by this collective racial guilt-trip.

What does Mika Brzezinski know about the plight of a steelworker in Youngstown or a forklift drive in Kenosha? Nothing at all, and yet she and the rest of her snobby elitist media clique never hesitate to derogate the white working-class voter who rejects their liberal worldview.

It doesn’t really matter much what science says about race, because scientists constantly disagree with each other and today’s latest research will be contradicted by a new study published tomorrow. Cautious skepticism toward claims of “science” is really the most scientific viewpoint of all, but fools are not generally cautious or skeptical.

The fool is more likely to become The True Believer, a fanatical devotee of one of those “mass movements” that concerned Eric Hoffer. There is no shortage of fools in the world, or otherwise CNN and MSNBC would have even smaller audiences than they already do. There are all kinds of fools — Democrat fools, Republican fools, “intersectional” queer feminist fools — and in politics, the competing mobs of fools usually manage to cancel each other out, producing a Hegelian synthesis of folly, so to speak.

From time to time, however, this balance can shift quite suddenly, producing cataclysmic upheavals. History teaches that anarchy, civil strife and war can erupt unexpectedly in the most prosperous societies. The Peloponnesian War, our own Civil War, the First World War — the pages of history are cluttered with such examples, just as we can read of once-mighty empires that collapsed as a result of cultural decadence.

How many students today have read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? In my home library, there’s a big three-volume set of that classic history, which I’ve read through twice, but which I’m reasonably sure none of my children have ever bothered reading. If my kids haven’t read Gibbon, I doubt very much their peers have bothered with it, and so know nothing of this lesson, how the Romans fell victim to decadence until finally their empire was overrun by barbarians.

Our ancestors, who bequeathed to Americans this constitutional republic, securing to us “the blessings of liberty” after winning our independence in a war against the British Empire, were well aware of the lessons of history. It is now fashionable in academia to scorn the Founders as a bunch of racists, but this is the kind of nonsense we expect from our intellectual elite. What could be more decadent than a Ph.D. being paid a six-figure salary to teach the children of the rich (whose parents are paying $70,000 a year for this “education”) to hate their own country as “a system that exists solely to oppress . . . People of Color”?

Well, you “can’t be racist towards white people,” according to the “Fierce Fat Feminist,” but you can insult people by falsely accusing them of “racism,” and history teaches us that this kind of rhetoric — demonizing scapegoats for the sake of politics — never leads to good results.

Like I keep saying, people need to wake the hell up.



 

 

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