Thursday, October 26, 2017

White Identitarianism, White Nationalism, and White Supremacy

     The swiftly growing white-identity movement has evoked storms of condemnation and vilification from many sources. I have yet to encounter even one such source that's willing to distinguish between this form of identity affiliation and the darker concept of white supremacy. Accordingly, it's time for a Curmudgeonly discourse on race in its principal venues: biological, anthropological, sociological, and political.

     Time was, anthropologists recognized three races: the Caucasian, the Mongolian, and the Negro. After a while, two more races were added: the Australoid and the Capoid. It didn't take long before other classifications arose. Today the number of races varies, depending on whether you're the United States Census Bureau, a "social justice warrior," or some other variety of misfit.

     Race is a somewhat difficult concept. It began with the recognition that each of the world's major population clusters produced individuals with certain common, visible characteristics: skin color, facial configuration, height and body proportions, and so forth. Because racial classification originated as an essentially visible matter, the edges of the classifications became blurred as we learned more about Man. In particular, the study of human genetics suggests that the characteristics upon which racial classifications were based are little more than visible markers – i.e., that we're all pretty much the same underneath. That conviction is reinforced by the mutual fertility of the members of different races. In light of that, race is considered taxonomically irrelevant.

     In short, the genetic evidence compels us to accept that race-as-biology is meaningless. That doesn't mean that it's meaningless in every way.

     In his landmark book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig argues that our divisions of the world into this and that are conceptual: mental operations that facilitate reasoning, rather than reflections of some essential reality. I allowed my readers' favorite character to note exactly that in Polymath:

     “A very smart man once said that imagination is more important than knowledge.” Redmond guided the truck out of the parking lot and onto NY 231. “It was an overstatement, and context-free to boot. Still, he had an important point in mind. He wasn’t the first to make it, either. What is an outline, Todd?”
     The conversational swerve jarred Todd into a curious state. His thoughts seemed to drift free of mundane reality. He struggled to discipline them.
     “The boundary around an object?”
     “Have you seen any outlines lately?”
     “Huh? I don’”
     “In the world outside our heads.” Redmond piloted the truck smoothly down Kettle Knoll. “Did you see anything you could point to and say ‘there’s an outline,’ at any time recently?”
     “I don’t think so.”
     “And why is that? Every object has a boundary, so it must have an outline, right?”
     Todd was overwhelmed by the sense that he was being introduced to a higher realm of thought, a sphere of concepts and relations whose existence he hadn’t suspected.
     He’s way beyond me.
     He fought down his distaste at the admission.
     If I’m going to learn anything more from him, I have to accept it.
     “Outlines are imaginary, then?”
     Redmond pulled into the Iversons’ driveway, stopped, and set the parking brake. “Not quite. It depends on whether you’d say an image—a picture of the world you have in your brain—is imaginary. When we look at the world, we see...things. Objects we take to be bounded and separate from one another. Most of us view the world that way, most of the time. We have to. It makes organized thought possible. And it’s what moved a great writer to write that ‘wise men see outlines, and therefore draw them.’”
     “Who was that?”
     “William Blake. A poet of the late Enlightenment.” Redmond’s eyes twinkled. “He wrote something a bit different a few years later, though.”
     Todd waited.
     “‘Mad men see outlines, and therefore draw them.’”
     Redmond held up a hand for patience. “It was an important insight, centuries ahead of its time. Modern physics tells us that there are no absolute boundaries between things, that boundaries and outlines are only tools of thought.” The engineer’s smooth, solemn face seemed to acquire the weight of centuries. “They exist, whatever that means, only as long as we insist on them. And there are subjects where we can’t make any progress at all unless we refuse to see them.”

     Race is that sort of division: one that lasts only for as long as we insist on it, which cannot be rooted in biological considerations. While anthropologists originated race as a way to tag the geographic origins of particular peoples, another way to look at it is as a summary of statistical differences in degree: i.e., quantitative differences that have no qualitative implications. This race is taller than the others on average; this race is more dexterous than the others on average; this race has darker skin than the others on average; and so forth. Such statistical considerations, while not entirely unimportant, don't refute the fundamentally conceptual nature of race.

     When race left the studies of anthropologists to become a subject of interest to sociologists, the fun really started.

     Sociologists' considerations of race are just as statistical – i.e., summaries of differences in degree that blur at the edges of the classifications – as anthropologists' considerations of race as taxonomy. Each of the conventional races lives under a Bell Curve. Each of them has produced members arbitrarily distant from the mean axis of its curve in every way. When racial classifications are united to social trends and tendencies toward or away from separatism, matters become serious.

     This is the beginning of racial identity as a social force. Anyone who's ever heard the terms "your own kind" and "acting white" has witnessed it in operation. Differences in degree are real and potent social operators. Intergroup tensions arise from nothing else.

     Sociologists who have dared to investigate those differences honestly, and to report their findings to the general public, have come in for quite a lot of opprobrium in recent years. It hardly matters that we're all in agreement that the members of all races, however ineptly defined, are human, possess souls, and are entitled to be judged as individuals, on their merits. The mere recognition of differences in the races' various Bell Curves is treated as an implicit demand for political discrimination among them. While it's always unfair and unjust, that sort of demonization has inhibited all but the most courageous scholars from looking candidly at the correlations between race and other socially important characteristics.

     I am not a professional sociologist. Neither do I speak for any sociologist, nor for any sociological school of thought, nor for sociology as such. But I am – just as you are – an amateur sociologist. That is, I recognize the differences among men as I experience them in daily life. I aggregate them over time, place, and circumstance. I correlate them with one another. And I use them to make decisions about my own travels, associations, and interactions, and transactions with those I encounter.

     The racial tensions that afflict us in this Year of Our Lord 2017 arise from race-identity advocates' attitudes toward such decisions and the State's unwise involvement in such matters.

     In an era when "the personal is political," social currents and influences are readily politicized. The "civil rights" movements of the Fifties and Sixties were only the beginning. Legislation to guarantee the franchise to all American citizens irrespective of race proved to be not an endpoint but a trigger. Black-identity politics was foreordained to produce still further political consequences.

     Identity-affiliation groups don't always do that, of course. Chess players haven't agitated for legal preferences. Neither have car enthusiasts nor soccer fans. (Shooting-sports enthusiasts and gun collectors are an outlier, owing to the hostility of "progressives" toward the American gun culture.) Racial-identity groups are another matter.

     The 1964 Civil Rights Act swiftly became a racial-preferences act. "Equal opportunity" laws and regulations made racial posturing and racialist huckstering profitable. Where there is profit, profit-seekers will go. Many will speculate about what other kinds of profit might be available.

     Race eventually became the most politically potent of all sociological classifications. It easily eclipsed "class," the pseudo-conception which for a century the Marxists had proclaimed to be paramount. Today's other sociological hot button, sex or "gender," still doesn't hold a candle to it.

     But Newton's Third Law applies to sociological forces just as it does to mechanical ones. When black-identity politics rose in visibility and potency, it evoked a reaction among whites. That reaction was temporarily inhibited by legal considerations and a perception of popular disapproval. Today it's "out loud and proud." The time has come to acknowledge its validity, which is no greater and no less than the validity of black-identity politics.

     White-identity spokesmen are harshly vilified for their positions, usually through a specious association with legally enforced racial separatism and the old bugaboo of white supremacy. Never mind that the spokesmen for black-identity groups demand racial separation on their own terms, or proclaim blacks' superiority to us "ice people." Apparently that's quite all right with the bien-pensants. At any rate, they've placed it outside the realm of polite discourse.

     But what white-identity groups are doing is merely asserting their right to exist as whites: to live apart from the other races if it pleases us, to work with others of our choosing rather than have "diversity" forced upon us by State ukase, to maintain the values and culture we cherish, to oppose miscegenation among our children, and to be left alone by the other races: in other words, to enjoy the same rights as individuals that blacks have demanded.

     You cannot condemn one without condemning the other. More to the point, you cannot have one without having the other – and in an era when black-identity politics is one of the premier social and political forces at work among us, you will inescapably have both.

     So of course, the bien-pensants and the black-identity groups are determined to invalidate this inevitable reaction. White-identity groups must be demonized as advocates for a return to Jim Crow, if not to slavery. It makes no difference that that's the reverse of the truth. Anyway, political gambits seldom do more than nod toward the truth these days, no matter who advances them.

     There's one more consideration of note: the one you've been wondering whether I'd dare to address.

     The Bell Curves of the conventionally recognized white / Caucasian and black / Negro races differ in a couple of ways that have important consequences for innovation, commercial energy, time preferences, aggression, and law-abidingness. When the races are separate, those differences manifest themselves in faster advancement in commerce, aggregate wealth, and social harmony among whites than among blacks. The differences were painfully visible before the large-scale interpenetration of the races.

     The Twentieth Century brought intense black migration away from historically black regions and localities and toward historically white ones. Leftists and black-racialist activists have characterized this as a desirable move toward "diversity," though the dynamics are anything but isotropic. White-identity spokesmen see it as a drive toward "chasing down the last white person." Which assessment you deem more valid is likely to be determined by your race.

     Now that racial interpenetration is a fact, blacks want what whites have achieved. However, many are unwilling to follow the path trodden by the white societies they've penetrated. They'd rather use the State – actively or passively – to take it. And black racialist hucksters are happy to carry their banner.

     It is massively unfortunate that America, the Land of the Individual, should have been so badly beset by identitarianism: racial, sexual, ethnic, creedal, or otherwise. Yet realism compels us to confront the facts: Once one identitarian political force has arisen and has received even passive approbation, it will compel the emergence of others. The resulting conflict cannot be halted by an appeal to our common humanity, for it is in the nature of political identitarianism that the State has subordinated our common characteristics to more group-specific ones. With the State on the battlefield, the conflict must become absolute. It can be brought to an end only by the absolute triumph of one group over all the others, or by mutual exhaustion and an agreement that the State shall never again be permitted to categorize us, or discriminate among us, according to group membership.

     Note that South Africa has reached the former terminus. The consequences have been anything but pleasant. America's destiny is as yet uncertain.

     Allow me to close with a snippet from an insightful and unfairly vilified commentator, John Derbyshire:

     The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship.

     ...coupled to a snippet from your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus:

     Despite the differences among the races, Americans are expected to make a wholehearted attempt to treat one another as individuals, to be judged on our individual merits. This is a vitally necessary enterprise. It's the only way we can share this country in something approximating peace (i.e., "a state of tension that falls short of overt armed conflict"). The sole alternative is a process of racial cleansing after which the United States would be peopled exclusively by whites.

     White identitarianism need not militate toward white separatism or white nationalism. It certainly shouldn't militate toward white political supremacy. If politics and State action could somehow be kept out of identity movements, our troubles would be far less. For individuals this is nearly always possible, regardless of how one feels about the legal and political treatment of the races or which race is best at what.

     And America is the Land of the Individual, after all. Didn't I say that above?


Unknown said...

This following is written TONGUE-IN-CHEEK
(but the truth hurts, anyway you put it)

I’m a white supremacist.
Partly because "they say so."
I’m a white supremacist.
Partly because they say writing and speaking properly is white privilege.
I’m a white supremacist.
Partly because they say acting in a civilized manner is "acting white" and thereby racist.
I’m a white supremacist.
Partly because they point to advanced civilization (not limited to mathematics, fine arts, etc…but you get the idea) as white supremacism.
I’m a white supremacist.
Partly because they say intelligence is white oppression and systematic racism.
So, I’m a white supremacist, simply because they acknowledge my mind, behavior and culture are better than they and theirs are…and, who am I to argue?!?

Col. B. Bunny said...

** many are unwilling to follow the path trodden by the white societies **

I rather think that many blacks are unable to follow that path. The academic achievement of blacks in schools in Baltimore, Atlanta, DC and, I assume, every other school in America in which lavish funds are expended on black students are pathetic and black administrators themselves know they have to resort to manipulation of test scores to make things turn out "right."

I've read somewhere (IRS) that five out of six whites are smarter than the average black and that one out of six blacks is smarter than the average white. I have no link to that but my prejudice is such that I'm convinced it's close to the truth.

It's true that we owe EVERYone the presumption of their having good manners. That presumption does not exist in some blacks I've met whose response to a civil "good evening" has been sullen silence. The human relations subtleties of polar bear hunting are well known. In every way, with some honorable exceptions, I see blacks as ardently committed to non-cooperation with the majority culture, if not white-hot hatred of it. Cue teleprompter list of thousands of dumbass black made up names that are remarkable for neither Africanness, euphony, nor forethought. Oluwadamilola, Mindianapolis, and Airwrecka anyone?

Recognizing the validity of "chasing down the last white man" is properly a function of one's intellectual integrity but, as you say, it's likely to be the observer's race that controls. S. Africa is Exhibit A for actual hunting down and killing of whites with explicit approval of the most saintly black men ever to walk the earth (after Morgan Freeman). The pathology of black politics in the U.S. presage the same with the intellectual foundations for white murder clearly being laid.

I have met plenty of enlightened people of all races who have awakened to the imperative to strive to be moderate, reasonable, kind and refined ladies and gentlemen. Perception of race does indeed melt away when one senses that there is a functioning intellect and moral sense in the individual before one. Such people are life's chief joy but they are rare. As La Bruyere observed, "More precious yet than diamonds and pearls is a spirit of discernment." Similarly, Henry Miller's philosophers are rare. We are, alas, locked into the iron boundaries of statistical human realities and they will never change.

Reg T said...

While this is black (pardon the pun) humor, it speaks to part of the problem - the disparity between black and white intelligence and the ability to assimilate information (in the bell curve), as fostered by our broken educational system and the disinterest in education fostered by black culture. And, as the Col. related, the incredible names they have come up with to adorn their children:

Graduation in Detroit

Darqueeze played high school football in Detroit. He was a great running back, but a really poor student. At graduation, he didn't have enough credits. But he was a great football star and the students held a rally and demanded the principal give him a diploma anyway. They were so insistent that the principal agreed that if Darqueeze could answer one question correctly he would give him a diploma.

The one question test was held in the auditorium and all the students packed the place. It was standing room only.

The principal was on the stage and told him to come up. Diploma in hand, the principal said: "Darqueeze, if you can answer this one question correctly I'll give you your diploma." "Darqueeze, how much is three times seven?"

Darqueeze looked up at the ceiling and then down at his shoes, pondering the question. The other students began chanting, "Graduate him anyway! Graduate him anyway!"

Then Darqueez held up his hand and the auditorium became silent. He said, "I think I know the answer. Three times seven is twenty-one."

A hush fell over the auditorium and then all the other students began to chant: "Give him another chance! Give him another chance!"