The Other McCain

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

Reading Samizdat

Posted on | March 19, 2019 | Comments Off on Reading Samizdat

This morning, I answered an email from a reader disappointed that I had linked the pickup artist (PUA) site Chateau Heartiste in my post about feminist Sophie Vershbow. The content of the post at Chateau Heartiste is anti-Semitic, and the comments on the post are even worse, and I replied to the reader’s email explaining that of course I do not endorse such sentiments. That post was linked on a “credit-where-credit-is-due” basis, because that’s where I’d learned of Ms. Vershbow’s existence, after searching for a certain PUA slang term. As I explained in my email: “The thing about Internet discourse is, if you don’t ban anti-Semitism in any particular forum, you’ll find the anti-Semites take over and hound everybody else out. We have never tolerated it in our comments, and I’m sorry that you were offended by the Chateau Heartiste link, but I also occasionally link CNN and the NY Times, you know.”

A link is not an endorsement, nor is a quote an endorsement. I’ve linked and quoted dozens of feminists here in the course of criticizing feminism; you cannot criticize ideas second-hand, but must wrangle with them directly, and I trust that my readers are sufficiently intelligent to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. As I said, anti-Semitism is banned in the comments here because the alternative is to have every post hijacked by anti-Semites, but this rule doesn’t prevent me (or anyone else) from reading outside the limits of permitted discourse.

Here’s an example of why that matters: Professor Kevin MacDonald has been accused of anti-Semitism, and is considered untouchable by mainstream journalists. Yesterday, however, Professor MacDonald published “The Role of Empathy in Moral Communities: Altruism and Pathological Altruism,” which is worth reading. What caught my attention in this was a quote from a 2015 article by British liberal journalist David Goodhart:

There has been a huge gap between our ruling elite’s views and those of ordinary people on the street. This was brought home to me when dining at an Oxford college and the eminent person next to me, a very senior civil servant, said: ‘When I was at the Treasury, I argued for the most open door possible to immigration [because] I saw it as my job to maximise global welfare not national welfare.’ I was even more surprised when the notion was endorsed by another guest, one of the most powerful television executives in the country. He, too, felt global welfare was paramount and that he had a greater obligation to someone in Burundi than to someone in Birmingham. … [The political class] failed to control the inflow more overtly in the interests of existing citizens.

What this quote by Goodhart shows is that the intellectual elite in England (and in America, too) have adopted a cosmopolitan worldview — citoyens du monde — that leads them to deny any patriotic obligation to their own country and their own people, instead devoting themselves to “global welfare,” i.e., advancing the interests of foreigners. This attitude, Professor MacDonald argues, is symptomatic of pathological altruism.

Why is it that, to find such arguments, one must read beyond the range of what is considered acceptable mainstream discourse? Isn’t it because Cultural Marxism has advanced so far that the only people able to think freely are Thought Criminals? While I don’t want to get tangled up in the arguments about Professor MacDonald’s alleged anti-Semitism, I’m willing to read forbidden authors — like dissidents in the Soviet Union reading samizdat — if they write something that will help me understand our current political predicament. It should be obvious that we cannot solve our problems if we allow the Thought Police to decide for us what we are allowed to read or if, adopting the guilt-by-association tactics of the SPLC, we make it impossible for people to think freely, because so many people have been labeled proponents of “hate.”

The Third Reich built the autobahn and the Volkswagen; does that make you a neo-Nazi when you drive your VW on the freeway?

UPDATE: Dear God . . .

Criminalizing opinions?



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