Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Quickies: The Even-Homer-Nods Edition

     I just had an Ayn Rand quote thrown at me as a “refutation” of one of my more “controversial” convictions, and I find that I must deal with it.

     About some things, Ayn Rand was bull’s-eye accurate. About others, such as religion, she was wildly wrong. Then there are a few isolated subjects:

     "Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage — the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors." – Ayn Rand

     This is wildly off base. Racism –the conviction that the races differ in ways that can be significant in particular contexts – isn’t a mere prejudice. It’s a provably correct assessment of the distribution of important characteristics among men. Feel free to disagree, but be prepared to substantiate your contrary opinion. No, not for my sake; for your own, and for that of those you love.

     To be sure, there are both intelligent and unintelligent racists. The unintelligent racist refuses to recognize deviations from and exceptions to racial patterns. For him, race is everything; he recognizes no divergence from nor exceptions to a racial norm. While the intelligent racist makes certain “first approximation” assumptions about unknown individuals in visibly recognizable races, he stands ready to recognize the specific characteristics of specific individuals. Under conditions of anonymity, he relies upon racial norms unless and until he can acquire more specific information.

     Remember who said this:

     “I hate to admit it, but I have reached a stage in my life that if I am walking down a dark street late at night and I see that the person behind me is white, I subconsciously feel relieved.” – Jesse Jackson

     On this subject and no other, I am in perfect agreement with Jackson.

     Mind you, the characteristics of the races are not immutable. They can change over time. They probably will, given the ongoing redistribution of the races over the face of the globe. But the present is when we live, and surviving and flourishing in the present is the highest-priority job before us.

     If you have children – if you love your children – be sure to give them the talk before they’re old enough to acquire lovers or driver’s licenses. You owe it to them. And don’t act bashful or furtive when you do it.

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