RACISM: WHY I STEER A MIDDLE WAY
By John Ray (2006)
People who drive down the middle of the road tend to get smashed up and I risk that frequently in my writings. For instance, when I mention such things as low average black IQ and the high rate of black criminality, Leftists shriek "racist" at me. But I also like Asians and think that they in general make highly desirable citizens. And various Rightists call me "far-Left" (or worse) because of that!
So I want to set out here exactly how I see racial matters and why:
Ethnicity and group membership is one of the great preoccupations of the human race .... possibly second only to sex. It is also an almost taboo subject among modern-day white liberal Anglo-Saxons. Race is to the modern-day civilized and educated world what sex was to the Victorians -- unmentionable. In other words the strength of resistance to discussion of it is a measure of the threat to a civilized order that it is seen as posing.
Amid this fearful silence, I, of course, have always continued to call a spade a spade: Not a recipe for popularity among modern-day intellectuals! My position is really only a classical Anglo-Saxon attempt to find the golden mean between conflicting extremes. It seems to me, in short, that there ARE real differences between races and other groups but that only a few of these differences are of any importance. In other words, I reject the blind Leftist assertion that we are all the same under the skin and I also reject the view that only people like us are any good. This causes Leftists and humanists to see me as a racist and racists to see me as a Leftist pointy-head! In other words, the whole issue is such an emotive and explosive one that the middle-ground tends to be a rather lonely and uncomfortable place.
Group-sentiment is an amazingly pervasive thing. To take some examples from where I live in the State of Queensland and in Australia generally: Queenslanders all know what Queenslanders generally think of "cockroaches" (residents of the State of N.S.W.) and "Mexicans" (Southerners generally) and most know how Sydneysiders and Melbournians regard one-another but such sentiments fade into insignificance if you talk to a Launceston resident about Hobart people! Residents of the two largest towns in a quite homogeneous place like the State of Tasmania hate one-another! And non-Tasmanians would notice no differences at all between the two! So what hope is there for the Protestants and Catholics of Ulster, the Tamils and Sinhalas of Sri Lanka, the Jews and the Arabs of Israel, the Serbs and the Croats of the former Yugoslavia, the Xhosa and the Zulus of South Africa, the Sikhs and the Hindus of Panjab, the "untouchables" and the caste Hindus of India, the Southerners and the Northerners of Italy, the French and the English-speakers of Canada etc etc etc?
And to think that for the whole of my active career as a social science academic, my colleagues virtually universally believed that only maladjusted deviants were racists. I have always thought it to be crystal clear that EVERYBODY is a racist to some degree! My colleagues obviously thought that all the world was out of step and only they were in step. I did my best to disabuse them of their silly notions but there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Of course, discriminatory attitudes towards other groups such as those I have listed ARE generally nonsense. You do not have to be sick in the head to believe nonsense. If you did, most of my academic colleagues would be VERY sick in the head. In fact, of course, they are simply wishful thinkers -- like most of humanity. Wishful thinkers are not scientists, however.
To help see why discriminatory attitudes to other groups are generally nonsense, consider, for example, that Catholic and Protestant Ulstermen come out here to Australia and live side by side with no problems at all. Nor does a Launceston person who moves to Hobart or a Melbourne person who moves to Sydney thereby undergo any sort of personality change. All that is going on with discriminatory attitudes is that the old human preference for familiarity is raising its head. We like people who are like ourselves and people who have made the same decision as we about where to live (or happen to live where we live) become thereby more "like us" and are therefore preferable to others.
So I sound like a nice safe liberal in saying that do I not? Where I get into trouble with liberals, leftists etc is that I go on from there to say "But NOT ALL differences are imaginary". Most loyalty-provoking group differences are either imaginary, trivial or evanescent BUT SOME ARE NOT. As I see it, those who deny ALL intergroup differences are just as dogmatic, irrational and sweeping as the racists they claim to oppose. They are in fact accusing 99% of the human race of being totally blind and preoccupied with something that does not exist! Even I am not misanthropic enough for that! I think it is pretty clear who the blind ones are.
As I see it then, the differences between people of Northern European race are objectively (but not subjectively) mostly trivial. They have been invading and taking over one-another for so many thousands of years that the national gene pools must overlap almost totally. When they emigrate to countries like the USA and Australia, their children cannot tell one-another apart and get on as well with one-another as they do with anybody else.
But some groups ARE different and probably will remain so. The outstanding example of this is of course the negroids. Whether they are discriminated against (as in the old South Africa), discriminated in favour of (as in the USA from about the '70s on) or treated reasonably impartially (as they long were in Britain), they always as a group end up the same -- at the bottom of every heap, mired generally in criminality, violence, incompetence, drug abuse, promiscuity and poverty. And this is not peculiar to white-run countries. They are no different when they live in the African-run countries of Africa and the Caribbean. So for those who will see it, we now have mountains of evidence for the view that, as a group, negroids are always going to be a vastly problematical population with very limited potential for achievement in many spheres and a very great potential for disrupting the lives of others. Only the disagreeableness of that conclusion could blind one to the evidence for it. But THAT conclusion, it seems to me, is important.
I must emphasize here, however, that I am clearly speaking about groups and do NOT assume that what is true of the group is true of all individuals in that group. So individual blacks may be very highly civilized indeed. The person I quote most often on my blogs is an American black (Thomas Sowell). And, unlike Leftists, I don't think group problems can be solved at the group level. I think that treating people according to what they as individuals do (regardless of any group to which they may belong) is the only way to solve problems that the group as a whole may pose.
And note that what I say has nothing to do with skin-colour. Indians are just as brown as Africans but are vastly different. They tend to move towards the TOP of the heap outside their native land, and, as a group, are extremely patient, polite, hard-working, law-abiding and family-oriented. I personally like Indians very much. And Arabs are as white as many Europeans but would be in a very poor position indeed except for their oil wealth. The characteristic Arab achievements at the moment seem to be religious fanaticism, treachery and incest.
Obviously, we should all continue to treat individuals from different groups according to their individual merits but people who report that IN GENERAL they do not like members of a certain group are certainly not to my mind necessarily irrational, misled, deluded, ill-informed or ill-educated. They MAY be perfectly rational, balanced and well-informed. And anyone who doesn't want to live around negro populations is just looking after his own skin! And the phenomenon of "white flight" shows that most Americans understand that very well -- regardless of what their expressed attitudes might be.
Real ethnic differences need not of course be aversive. People would hardly travel so much if they were. The eminent French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss regards racial discrimination as DESIRABLE precisely on the grounds that it fosters diversity. I do not go that far but I do nonetheless enjoy all kinds of ethnic diversity in a way that, I suppose, makes me an ideal citizen of a multicultural society like Australia.
My personal background
I have lived my entire life in a highly multicultural society so I am acutely aware of racial and ethnic differences. I grew up in an Australian country-town that was only half Anglo. The rest were Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, Maltese, Yuogoslavs, Chinese, Sikhs, TIs (Melanesians) and Aborigines (blacks). And when with that perspective I look at my fellow Anglo-Australians I see people of admirable restraint, fortitude, good humour and moderation in all things. But that is only the majority of them. There is also a minority for whom I have no kind words.
Now I could sound like an uncomprehending elitist in saying that. Maybe I am just wiping off working class people and glorifying middle class people like myself. It is however if anything the reverse. If anything I find something like three times as much good sense in the workers as I do in the bourgeoisie. But there are problem-types in both camps. And I find that even the difficult cases among the workers are not much of a problem to me personally. Because I was born into an Australian working class family, working class thinking and conventional wisdom is an open book to me. I know all the key words and key phrases and I defer to no-one in my knowledge and enjoyment of the brilliant Australian slanguage. And I certainly did put all that to the test when I spent a couple of years as a boarding house proprietor in a "depressed" area (Ipswich) of Brisbane. I was really dealing with the hard cases there. A significant number of them in fact came to me directly from "the big house" (jail). Yet such is the power of a shared culture that I was in all cases able to handle to my satisfaction the people concerned. I always knew the right words to use. The people concerned were a considerable problem to others (and to themselves) but they were well within my capacity to handle -- though the time I threw a druggie through a closed door was approaching my limits. Words are wasted on druggies. So there is no doubt that I am as much an insider to basic Anglo-Australian culture as anyone ever will be. I am of my culture and I appreciate it and enjoy it.
But much as I am at home among my own people, I am still delighted at the sterling qualities I find in Asians. I find scarcely any problem-types among them. And I actually share my large house with Asians -- mostly South Asians. None of them are of course flawless human beings but when I think of their relaxed good humour, their intelligence and their unfailing politeness and restraint I cannot see that they are inferior to anyone or that they are anything but an asset to any environment they inhabit.
Now somebody will want to tell me that it is different in England. And it certainly is different superficially. The way just about EVERY small business in London is run by South Asians is pretty amazing (though the way English shop-assistants treat their customers makes it a lot less amazing). And when I am in England and I walk into one of those Asian shops I am greeted with the wariness and reserve that experience has taught the proprietors concerned. But I only have to exchange half a dozen words with the people concerned before all that changes. Because I genuinely like and admire Indians, that message gets through almost as fast as a bullet and it is soon smiles all round. I remember once when I was in an Indian shop in London and some old English prick was telling the Indian proprietor how great the English were and how the world owed them a living. As I walked out, I "accidentally" shouldered him hard enough to knock him over. I felt embarrassed that a fine Sikh gentleman had to put up with such crassness from the prick concerned.
And nor am I talking about immigrant Indians only. I have also lived in Bombay and I can only admire the cheerfulness, enterprise and good humour of the street-people there.
I certainly don't think that all races are equal but I also think it is absurd to say that there is something special about someone just because his skin is pink. Each case must be judged on its individual merits but it seems to me that on any non-racial scale of values the Asians average out well ahead. And we live in a century that will see that proven. Ironically, the poison that has held the Asians back so far is of Western origin -- socialism. If any people are instinctive capitalists it is the Indians and Chinese.
And the claim that Asian cultures are tribal is a grave misconception. Asian culture is a culture of reciprocity. So if you treat them well or do them a good turn you generate enormous feelings of obligation in return. So when I walk into an Indian shop where I am known and buy three samoosas for my lunch I will occasionally get a fourth one popped into the bag as a gesture of goodwill. What is problematical about a culture like that?
"Racist" as a term of abuse
As I have said, I particularly like Indians. And if we are going to use the term at all, Indians are clearly a race. I also like the Han (majority) Chinese. And almost any member of the Han will assure you that the Han are a race apart. I also admire the Japanese and regard Israel as one of the great adventures of the human spirit. So I am clearly a racist, am I not? If not, why not? Just using the word "race" is pretty close to taboo in much of the modern world. The fact that I DO use it probably keeps my blogs much more marginal than they otherwise would be.
How has that come about? It's no mystery is it? The deeds of Hitler showed the world what colossal evil can be done in the name of race and, in their usual way, the Left hopped onto that bandwagon and pushed the idea to simplistic extremes. Not only unreasonable uses of ideas about race were condemned but ALL ideas about race were condemned. So the Left absolutely shriek and go ballistic about any mention of race. Which tends to make people think that there really is something wrong with even using the term. It's rather like the woman who has bad experiences with one or two men and who then concludes that ALL men are "no good". Her response just puts a roadblock in front of her finding out WHICH men are good or bad and probably denies her much happiness that she could have. Similarly, talk about race can be good or bad. The intelligent thing is to discuss and look into the matter. Up until 1945 the whole world did just that. So all our ancestors were "racists"?
Don't get me wrong: As both a conservative and a libertarian, I think that the individual comes first and that each case (or each person) must be judged on its (his/her) individual merits. So while I like most Indians and Chinese I don't like them all. And I don't like all Jews either. Jews who hate Israel I find particularly contemptible. The United Nations charter says that each case must be judged on its individual merits and that is one of the few things about the United Nations that I agree with. That must have been the bit that the conservatives put in.
Because the Left DO judge people in terms of race. The entire Leftist mentality is group-oriented. The individual hardly exists to Leftists. Individuals are too complicated and messy. Leftists can think only in terms of vast groups of people -- such as "blacks", "Hispanics" and "Native Americans" (and "gays", "women", "the workers" etc.). So you can talk about races after all -- just as long as you don't CALL them races.
What utter stupidity! The only way to combat such stupidity is to defy it and talk about race in sensible ways and just ignore all the hypocritical Leftist shrieking. I do. For example, I make no apology for saying that people of Northwestern European origin (principally the Anglo-Celts and the Germans) are the ones who have made the modern world what it is and I am delighted to be myself of that ilk. I have pictures of my Australian pioneer ancestors on my walls and I am forever grateful to them for what they have bequeathed me.
I don't think that an ethnically homogeneous society is a particularly good thing. Yet I am at the same time as pleased as Punch about my English, Scottish and Irish ancestry and am also proud of the country that my forebears have created here in Australia. And I also think it is incontestable that Protestantism has been an overwhelming influence in creating the modern world. And having been brought up as a Presbyterian, that is easy for me to say.
What disturbs many people, as well it might, is the woes that the English and Americans now suffer as a result of past and present unselective immigration. I am in company with the vast majority of Australians in saying that only SELECTIVE immigration makes sense. And Australia practices it too. Though recent admissions of "refugees" appear to have been much less selective and have had some worrisome effects.
But I also think that the egg is thoroughly scrambled now. I can see NO way in which the "internationalization" of the U.K. and U.S. populations is going to stop. Nor will it stop in Australia. Australia's selection criteria do not include race and, as a result, we are said to have a greater percentage of our population foreign-born than any other country except Israel. There is however a huge difference in the COMPOSITION of the Australian population. Where the U.K. and U.S. have large numbers of people of African ancestry, we have large numbers of people of East Asian ancestry. The difference that makes is considerable, to put it mildly. I think Australia is very lucky indeed to have a large minority of hard-working, intelligent, enterprising, law-abiding family-oriented East Asians.
What about the loss of community? Wouldn't it be nice to live in a sort of large village where everybody is of similar ancestry? Yes and No. I must admit what a relief it is when I can go into an Australian shop or cafe and speak relaxed broad Australian with the staff there instead of having to struggle to communicate with people who know little English. But as someone who actually grew up in a large village (the Australian country town of Innisfail) I know there is a downside too. There are huge pressures towards conformity in a village and a lot of back-biting and gossip. Everyone knows everybody else's business so privacy is very restricted. And I shudder to think of the inconvenient opening hours and limited range of services (such as restaurants) that we would have without the ethnics.
So I don't think much of mono-ethnic or village-style life at all. And in a modern society we create our own communities anyway. By and large we associate with whomever we choose and if we are comfortable only with people of a similar ethnic background, then people of that background will become our community. We are no longer restricted to the community that we live geographically next-door to. We create our own communities to suit ourselves. So we in fact get the best of both worlds these days: We live in a virtual community without the limitations of an old-fashioned geographical community.
So regardless of whether the U.K. or the U.S. ever come to their senses about illegal immigration, loss of community and continuity will not occur.
The moral case against racism
On my reading of the psychological research, preference for the similar and the familiar is in general more common than not so it would be fairly hard to argue that such preferences are of themselves morally wrong when applied to one's social environment. But what I myself DON'T do is judge individuals by their group membership. Should my brother be hanged because I commit a murder? All principles of justice as we know it (some systems of tribal justice excepted) say No. Similarly, should all Muslims be discriminated against because a minority of Muslims are dangerous religious nutcases? Again the answer has to be No. Yusuf might be a very decent man while Ali is a psychopath. And there are plenty of Yusufs. I know a few. So to treat the Yusufs like the Alis is a breach of all natural justice. Each case must be judged on its individual merits.
And that applies to Anglos too. There are plenty of dreck Anglos. And they should be treated like dreck while decent Anglos are treated as they deserve. So I make no judgement about Anglos IN GENERAL that can be applied to any individiual. The group level of analysis is interesting and may even be important but conclusions from it CANNOT justly be applied to any individual in that group. Any particular individual may be an exception to the rule.
So while I see no virtue in living in a monoracial homeland, I DO see great virtue in living in a homeland where immigrants are selected for generally desirable characteristics. And Australia is a fair example of the latter. We may have lots of immigrants here but they are generally GOOD immigrants! And some immigrant groups -- Asians mainly -- do in my view leave Anglo-Australians for dead in generally desirable characteristics -- such as low crime-rate, family-orientaion, proclivity to work hard etc. I am happy to have them around.
Mind you, I thoroughly sympathize with "white flight". As a group, Africans are undisputably BAD "minorities". White flight shows that most Americans think that and who am I to argue? What I have seen on my visits to America has certainly convinced me that a wise white person keeps as far away from groups of blacks as he can. On Hispanics as a group I reserve judgment. There clearly are lots of "good" Hispanics. I have met a few.
So I think there is no reason for seeking a monoracial homeland that can be deduced from any external fact or set of facts. You just feel the need for such an environment or you don't. I don't. I DO however feel a need to keep undesirables out of my country and the fact that both the U.S. and U.K. governments have failed to do that seems to me a tragedy of the first order. And some populations have such a high proportion of undesirables (one third of black American males are said to have spent at least some time in jail) that selective admissions of people from those populations should only be on the strictest of criteria. In other words, I think they should be judged as individuals but need to be looked at particularly carefully -- with evidence of good character and educational attainment (for example) being insisted on. At the moment, unfortunately, Australia does the opposite of that. African "refugees" are admitted with what seems very little scrutiny.
As a psychometrician, I am acutely aware of the low average IQ of Africans, Arabs and Australian Aborigines -- while at the same I stress that I am talking about averages, not individuals. As I have noted before, the person I quote most on my main blog is of African ancestry -- Thomas Sowell. As I have set out at length elsewhere, however, there are some circumstances in which we do have to make judgments about groups and I make no apologies for saying that I like my environment to be one with as low a frequency of the three groups I have mentioned as possible. I don't think it is in any way morally questionable to want to live in a safe and trouble-free environment.
I have said a fair bit about Indians above so I want to close with just a few personal anecdotes about my own experiences with East Asians:
When my son Joey was about 2 he discovered that putting things into rubbish bins was great fun. So once when we were dining in a Chinese restaurant I had used a paper napkin and screwed it up after use. Joey immediately spotted his opportunity and declared loudly "In the Wubbish". He seized the napkin and trotted towards the back of the restaurant. In their usual observant way, the Chinese staff of course saw within seconds this little blond moppet trotting towards them and by the time Joey got to the back of the restaurant, there were three Chinese staff bending over and giving Joey every attention with huge smiles on their faces. They directed Joey carefully to a bin and shepherded him gently back to us with every sign that they had had as much fun out of the episode as we did. And anybody who knows anything about the Chinese love of children will not be remotely surprised by any of that.
The second story is about the time I took a ride on the Hong Kong Metro (subway, underground railway). It was offpeak and my wife and I were the only occidentals in the carriage. A little Chinese boy came trotting down the carriage and spotted this strange white individual (me). Being just as much a tease then as I am now, I made "big eyes" at him. And of course in Chinese iconography, wide eyes are associated with demons etc. So the dear little boy ran screaming back to his parents. Again in their usual observant way, however, the Chinese in the carriage had observed what went on and saw the joke. They had a great (but of course restrained) laugh. There is nothing wrong with the Cantonese sense of humour!
And there is this Malaysian Chinese restaurant that I go to regularly. And there is one dish that I particularly like and I always order it. So when I walk in, not only am I greeted with a big smile by the receptionist, but the kitchen staff wave to me and smile at me too. And my dinner arrives with express speed. They put it on as soon as they see me.
And my next two stories are about the Japanese. Again when Joey was about 2 we took him to a local Koala sanctuary here in Australia. And the Japanese love Koalas so there were lots of them there. But when they saw this little toddler with golden-blond hair, sky-blue eyes and paper-white skin being wheeled about they were utterly entranced. I think there were as many photos of Joey taken that day as there were of the Koalas!
And finally there is the Sushi Train restaurant that I often dine at. There are Sushi train restaurants everywhere these days so I am sure readers will know what I am talking about. And my local version does seem to be staffed entirely by Japanese -- a head chef and two assistants. And the amazing thing about them is that they are utterly silent. If the restaurant were staffed by Cockneys it would be an absolute bedlam of chatter. But the Japanese are so well-organized that they need to say nothing to one another. They just silently and steadily go about their great art of producing the most wonderful fresh Japanese food. And they are totally impassive 99% of the time. I greatly value my British heritage and thoroughly appreciate British reserve. But Japanese impassivity makes British reserve look like emotional outpouring. So the head chef misses nothing but the expression on his face never changes. But guess what? They too have noticed that I am a dedicated customer so I do occasionally get a fleeting smile from the head chef when he sees me there again. And to get a smile from him is an honour indeed.
And with such experiences of these gentle, hard-working, family-oriented and utterly civilized people of Asia, how can I not respect them?
THE PERILS (AND OCCASIONAL REWARDS) OF OBJECTIVITY
It is always amazing to libertarians when we are referred to by the Left as "extreme Right" or even "Nazis". Libertarians tend to see ALL governments as fascist and that is exactly what we oppose. So to be accused of believing in what you spend most of your time arguing against is pretty weird. But to the simple minds of the Left, anyone they do not like is a "Fascist", of course. But libertarians often get conservatives offside too -- mainly because we believe morality is a personal matter that the government should concern itself with only when a practice clearly attacks the liberties of others. So, as a libertarian, I am used to being a defender of unpopular views.
And it is a good thing that I am. Because as well as being a defender of liberty, I am pernicious in another way: I am also a defender of truth -- historical truth in particular. And THAT can annoy people from both sides of the aisle too. As frequent readers of this blog know well, the history of the Hitler era in particular has interested me for many years -- mainly because the distortions about that era that we are generally fed as history are so unbelievably gross. What I try to do is to UNDERSTAND Nazism as it really was. Merely to condemn it is puerile in my view. And in my big article on Nazism, I do point out the reasons why Nazism was attractive to prewar Germans. And I also, of course, point out that in its day, Nazism was fairly mainstream Leftism. Racism, eugenics and antisemitism were common beliefs among Leftists worldwide in the prewar era.
And my identifying Nazism as socialist (which Hitler himself did) does get me furious emails from Leftists at times. They seem to think that they can counter my careful documentation of everything I say merely by making abusive assertions. The idea that Nazism was Leftist is so foreign to them that evidence just does not matter. So it was interesting that I received recently an email from a real Fascist -- evidently a leader of a Norwegian Fascist group. So what did he have to say about my writings on Fascism? Did he furiously reject them as being all wrong? Not at all! He loved them! He thought that I summarized well what Fascism was all about. So modern-day Leftists -- who generally know next to nothing about ANYTHING in history -- think I am all wrong but people who, as practitioners of it, certainly DO know what Fascism is all about, think I am spot-on. I think that is not a bad endorsement of my endeavours to present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Even though I am extremely unsympathetic to Fascism, I achieve enough objectivity about it for those so inclined to recognize the attractive side of it in my writings.
And here is where I am going to make a lot of people critical of me: I feel that it is important to note that Hitler and Mussolini were extremely POPULAR Leftists. Fascism is probably the most attractive form of Leftism that has ever been invented. Mussolini was outspokely admired in his day by such diverse figures as Winston Churchill and Frankin Delano Roosevelt and Hitler was really LOVED by many Germans. Modern-day Leftists tend to HATE their fellow-citizens. Hitler loved his fellow Germans and they loved him back. We should be very glad that modern-day Leftists have been so thick as not to learn what they could from history. If they had emulated Hitler instead of Stalin, the whole world would now be completely under their domination. I was actually reluctant to say that -- in case Leftists learn from it. But they are so rigid in their ideas that I think there is little fear of that. If you want to see in full WHY Hitler and Mussolini were so popular, it is all in my articles here and here.
And that brings me to my final point here and the one that will get outraged screeches aimed at me: I think it is always important to look at both sides of every question and that includes looking at the Nazi viewpoint. And there is a modern-day site here that does defend the Nazi viewpoint in a careful way. I certainly do not at all agree with everything on the site but it does nonetheless serve to highlight some of the little-known elements of history that led to the final catastrophe (or catastrophes) of WWII. For instance, in an article that has attracted a lot of justified criticism, it points out that Jews around the world were well aware of the dangers Hitler posed and in the mid-30s mounted a big campaign to boycott German goods etc. The article's claim that Hitler was before that campaign not antisemitic is of course absurd -- as every reader of Mein Kampf will know -- but it is clear that the campaign achieved only one significant thing: It thoroughly confirmed Hitler's claim of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy against him and against Germany. It helped to make Hitler seem reasonable to other Germans. And partly for that reason, many German Jews opposed the campaign.
Sadly, German Jews had no good options at that time other than to emigrate. And even that was not much of an option. In 1939, a German ocean liner, the SS St. Louis, with 1,000 Jewish refugees aboard, got so close to Florida that they could see the lights of Miami -- but that great Leftist hero, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, would not let them land. They returned to Germany to be exterminated. Leftist "compassion" at work all-round there.
REPUBLICANS ARE RACISTS! -- BUT
There is a 2006 "Republicans are racists" screech here. This version of the screech is dressed up in the language of social psychology, however. I know that language very well. I have myself written many academic publications in it and have come to similar conclusions. When the screech ends ""We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting", the article is quite right. The correlation between expressions of conservative attitudes and expressions of racially negative attitudes does not always emerge but mostly it does.
For an intelligent person, WHY that happens is the interesting question, however. That the finding might arise because conservatives are more honest in saying what they really think or that it might arise because Leftists are more deluded (including self-deluded) is never to my knowledge examined. Instead, complicated Freudian explanations for the correlation are offered that fall apart when closely examined.
I have myself done umpteen surveys of what people say about their thinking (attitude surveys) and have come to the commonsense conclusion that "You can't trust 'em". People "put their best foot forward" when answering surveys and often do not say what they really think. Psychologists do have some ways of coping with that. They include in their surveys "lie scales" or "social desirability scales" -- sets of questions that try to detect how frank and honest the respondent is being. I myself routinely included such scales in my surveys. But the most common such scales -- the ones I used -- examine lying about one's behaviour and one cannot assume that lying about behaviour and lying about attitudes are the same. To do so assumes a generality that may not exist. I hate to state the obvious, but people may lie about one thing and not another. You can never tell.
And that people who do not in general lie might lie about particularly sensitive issues such as race should, I hope, be supremely obvious. And given the always tense relationship between Leftists and the truth (as evidenced by the long history of Leftists denying the evils of the Soviet empire) that the liars concerned might be mostly Leftists seems in only marginal need of proof.
So my final conclusion is that attitudes surveys are unreliable sources of information. I rely on behaviour. And when history's most infamous racist said this,
"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."
I think you can see why. The expressed attitudes associated with a given behaviour may vary greatly with time and place. Expecting a permanent link between one set of expressed attitudes and one set of behaviours is something that only a psychologist would be stupid enough to do. Which is why I study history these days instead of psychology.
The truth of what I have just said has however begun to seep into some psychological skulls and some do therefore make an effort to use brain scans rather than expressed attitudes as a source of information about what people think. The limitations of using such gross measurements of such finely articulated phenomena as brain processes should, I hope, be obvious to all but some of the findings so far have at least been amusing. Such procedures have on some occasions shown fanatical Leftists to be "prejudiced". How awful! I say more about such studies here.
The link I have just given does deal with the work of Banaji -- the main protagonist in the latest screech -- but I might perhaps make one additional observation. At best, Banaji's research technique shows who has bad feelings about blacks. And on her results many Leftists do but there is nonetheless a preponderance of Republicans. Again however, the interesting question to non-simplistic people is: WHY? There is an old saying that "a conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night" so perhaps the technique is detecting those who have had REASON to be negative about blacks. And that such people might vote for a party that panders less to blacks would surprise only a psychologist.
Leftist psychologists are very keen to point the finger at possible instances of "motivated social cognition" ("bias" to you and me) so Michelle Malkin's comment on the latest screech does a good job of lobbing that ball back into their court. Or to put Michelle's point in the language of academic psychology: One wonders what precautions were taken to avoid a Rosenthal effect. But of course who needs such precautions when you know the answer before you start?
That populations of African ancestry worldwide are characterized by enormously high levels of aggression, violence and crime is beyond question. It happens in Africa. It happens in Britain and it happens in the USA. It can of course be suppressed. Apartheid South Africa and pre-1960 America certainly kept it down to much lower levels than it is these days. But the extremity of the measures needed to suppress it tells a tale in itself.
The only really interesting question is why the levels of black aggression are so high. The kneejerk Leftist explanation is of course that it is all due to white "racism". How that explains the huge levels of violence in the all-black countries of Africa is not mentioned. Generations have now grown up in Africa who have scarcely even SEEN a white man and the violence seems to have escalated rather than diminished. So I propose simply to ignore here brain-dead Leftist "explanations".
The higher level of black aggressiveness COULD be explained as an outcome of the exhaustively-documented black/white difference in average IQ. Stupid people have fewer ways of getting what they want so often resort to violence as a last resort. For that reason, Australia's prisons are full of dumb whites. Lynn, however, points to statistical studies showing that the higher level of black aggressiveness cannot be explained by IQ differences alone. He shows that there must be personality differences involved as well and goes on to make a carefully-reasoned case for saying that Blacks are more psychopathic than whites. In a slightly earlier work, Lynn interprets psychopathy as being itself the manifestation of two more basic traits. To quote Itzkoff's summary of Lynn:
"He demonstrates convincingly that from all the available research, psychopaths along with low intelligence are responsible for society's problems with crime, drug addiction, unwed mothers, drug abuse, rape, child abuse, unemployment, etc. These people are the underclass. And they result from the combination of two behavioral traits. They almost universally have low conscientiousness and agreeableness or altruism. (Lynn explains that "altruism" would be a better term than "agreeableness" but that term has now "stuck" as the common descriptor for this behavioral trait). That is, people who are both highly unconscientious and disagreeable are pathological, and both of these traits are highly heritable."
So there is a reasonable case for saying that many blacks have personality deficits on top of ability deficits. And the results are all to obvious in the form of massive black crime -- often crime of the most callous sort.
What the above analysis overlooks to some extent, however, is that whites can be pretty aggressive and violent too. Neither Hitler nor Stalin were blacks and the recent barbarities in the former Yugoslavia are surely second to none in brutality. The obvious difference is, of course, that aggression is not a daily experience amongst most whites, whereas it certainly is a constant undertow in most black populations. It can certainly be argued that the occasional explosive outbursts of aggression that characterize white populations are in fact worse than the constant bubbling of aggression that characterizes black populations but I am here concerned with the factual rather than the evaluative aspects of the matter.
And it would seem that there is at least one place where whites have a pretty high level of constant aggression too: Scotland in general and Glasgow in particular. Glasgow is an enormously violent place in some ways. Knifing people to death in drunken Saturday night brawls is an old tradition among the Glasgow "Jimmies". Yet Glaswegians do not at all come across as particularly aggressive people. In 1977 I personally did a doorknock survey of a random sample of Glaswegians -- including slum-clearance suburbs such as Easterhouse. And, accent aside, they seemed to me to be no different from the average Anglo-Australian. And the results of the survey tended to confirm that lack of distinctiveness. On the two major personality variables that I measured (aggressive dominance and ambition), Glaswegians were found to be no different from Londoners.
So I think that in Glasgow we have a very clear case of a difference being solely attitude-driven -- attitudes which are themselves in turn tradition-driven. I found that Glaswegians were as different to Londoners in attitudes as they were similar in personality. And the tradition at work in the Glasgow fighting is really no mystery. Clan warfare was long endemic in Scotland until the accursed English suppressed it. But attitudinal remnants of that warfare survive. To this day you can hear in Glasgow derisive words such as "Choochtah" applied to Highlanders. In short, I think a culture of pugnacity was long ago generated in Scotland (presumably due to rivalry over very scarce resources) and that the persistence of culture has ensured that considerable remnants of that pugnacity survive into modern times.
That similar traditions would be at work among blacks is obvious. They really are victims of "three strikes and you are out". They are disadvantaged by their abilities, their personalities and their attitudes. Changing ability and personality is is not at present within our reach but there are some possibilities for changing attitudes. So those who aim to improve the situation of blacks should concentrate on the attitudes that blacks have. The attitudes that are at present being inculcated in blacks (that they are helpless "victims") would however seem to be the exact reverse of what is required if improvements in black welfare are seriously desired.
I was not initially going to comment on this article (summarizing research by David J. Kelly reported in Developmental Science and Yair Bar-Haim reported in Psychological Science ) but perhaps I should. What it shows is that babies are "racist" from 3 months old. White babies prefer white faces and black babies prefer black faces. But it all depends on exposure. White babies exposed to an equal mix of black and white faces in their early weeks show no preference.
That finding was actually highly predictable from what we already knew about developmental psychology. It is a safety mechanism for babies to know when they are in the "wrong" hands and they turn on their alarm (cry) when they detect it. Any mother who has given her babe to a stranger to hold will have experienced that. So babies learn rapidly what is normal to them and prefer that. And, like all human beings, babies are quick to generalize (Read, 1983; Hamill, Wilson & Nisbett, 1980) in search of safety. The one thing they know much about is faces and they usually know more than one safe face so it helps to find what is general to the "safe" faces. And if there is a prominent feature (such as colour) that is NOT general, they react accordingly.
The reason why I am making this comment, however, is the wrongheaded response that could arise from the findings. It could be argued that the findings present a perfect case for "diversity". Perhaps all white babies need to be given extensive exposure to blacks from early on. That would of course be a fairly Orwellian proposal but, surprisingly enough, it has been tried. White babies in South Africa are normally cared for most of the time by black nannies and maids. And yet white South Africa produced what is arguably the second most racist (apartheid) government of the 20th century! As any conservative will tell you, nothing about human society is simple. And it is certainly hard to predict.
For a more systematic account of what goes on in racial generalizations, see here and here
Hamill, R., Wilson, T.D. & Nisbett, R.E. (1980) Insensitivity to sample bias: Generalizing from a-typical cases. J. Personality & Social Psychology 39, 578-589.
Read, S.J. (1983) Once is enough: Causal reasoning from a single instance. J. Personality & Social Psychology 45, 323-334.
AN ABORIGINAL SUNDAY
This note will yet again encourage Leftists to shriek "racist" and "Nazi" at me but they regularly shriek that at George W. Bush and heaps of other conservatives so I am going to disregard such shrieks as devalued currency.
I grew up with Aborigines (Australian native blacks) in my class at school and I have seen plenty of them since -- particularly as a landlord (Yes. I HAVE let rooms and houses to them. Racists do that, you know) -- so I think I know a bit about them. And if you are looking for "cultural" differences, Aborigines must be as different from people of Northern European ancestry as you can get. And the reason why is that they were isolated in Australia from other populations for up to 60,000 years (on some estimates). So they evolved separately. And they evolved to suit Australia as it originally was. And the abilities they evolved -- particularly a remarkable capacity for observing and remembering minute details of the landscape -- do in some ways leave the rest of us for dead. In other ways, however, they are badly lacking in what is needed to fit into modern Western society -- a strikingly poor ability to plan ahead being their most obvious handicap. They very much "live for the day".
One thing I have always envied them is their ability to relax. They can sit around under a tree all day happily doing exactly nothing. I, however, am one of those instinctively hard-driving people who is genetically from the far North of the world. And the fact that, in my retirement, I post daily to seven blogs of my own and contribute frequently to four group blogs is, I think, some testimony to that. It is as hard for me to sit back and do nothing as it is easy for Aborigines. But recently I managed it. Just as Aborigines often do, I spent the whole day sitting around and doing practically nothing other than some intermittent chatting. Anne accompanied me in this experience, of course. She is probably more full of beans than I am these days, however, so she caved in first and shot off to do something at about 7pm. She spent many years as a remote-area nurse working with (and getting on with) Aborigines so knows them even better than I do. So she knew all about the model I had in mind when I said we were having an Aborigine day. She enjoyed it but she couldn't keep it up! Genetics will out.
SOME WORD FUN
There are a lot of foreign words that are not really translatable into English -- which is why English has adopted so many foreign words. Two German words that we have lost from English seem particularly useful to me: Reich and Volk. I discuss the meaning of Volk here. I sometimes use both words in my postings on Majority Rights -- where they are fairly likely to be understood. The reason why they are rarely used in English these days is probably that Hitler used both words a lot, and used them prominently. So part of the reason why I use them is to "stir the possum": I have been waiting for some Leftist to pounce on me and accuse me of being a Nazi for using them. But, sadly, nobody has given me that pleasure. So I have given up waiting and will outline here the crushing reply that I had ready:
On all the products exported from the old Communist East Germany, there was a "brand name" -- which was "VEB". And what does "VEB" stand for? It stands for "Volkseigene Betrieb", which translates as "The People's own Enterprise" (though that translation could be argued about too). So if Communist East Germany put the word "Volk" on everything it produced, how come it is a Nazi word? The truth, of course, is that it is an ordinary German word that was in common use for at least 2,000 years before the Nazis came along.
And as for "Reich": For starters, the East German State Railway was known as the "Reichsbahn".
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