Welcome to the future: look at all the “progress” we’ve made. The Carlyle Club pits George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four against Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in this, the distinctly dystopian final issue of Radish, Volume 1.
Table of Contents
- Battle of the Dystopias
- Social Conditioning, including:
- Doublethink, including:
- Thoughtcrime, including:
- Sex, Drugs, and Instant Gratification, including:
- Official History, including:
- Official Science, including:
- Radish Will Return!
- Recommended Reading
- Letters to the Editor
George Orwell vs Aldous Huxley
Our merely social intolerance, kills no one, roots out no opinions, but induces men to disguise them, or to abstain from any active effort for their diffusion. […] And thus is kept up a state of things very satisfactory to some minds, because, without the unpleasant process of fining or imprisoning anybody, it maintains all prevailing opinions outwardly undisturbed, while it does not absolutely interdict the exercise of reason by dissentients afflicted with the malady of thought. A convenient plan for having peace in the intellectual world, and keeping all things going on therein very much as they do already. But the price paid for this sort of intellectual pacification, is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of the human mind.
John Stuart Mill (1859)
They were the great dystopian visions of the 20th century: Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World—and if more people actually understood them, they would be banned, but instead we call them “the great dystopian visions of the 20th century” and pat ourselves on the back for avoiding all that. If you haven’t read them since high school, I suggest you do so now—and this time, pay attention, because I guarantee you didn’t get it the first time.
Today, as you know, Nineteen Eighty-Four is by far the more famous, because Orwell gave us such wonderfully evocative terms as “Big Brother,” “thoughtcrime,” “Thought Police,” “Newspeak,” “memory hole,” “doublethink,” “Two Minutes Hate,” and of course the all-purpose “Orwellian” (Wik): “describing the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past practiced by modern repressive governments.”
Yes, such wonderfully evocative terms—which we have so spectacularly failed to apply. Not that we don’t try to root out tyranny. We try so hard. It’s just that we miss about 97 percent of it, because we’re too busy cheering it on, or screaming at our version of Emmanuel Goldstein.
When you start to notice how tyranny, in recent times, and for fairly obvious reasons, prefers to call itself nice names like “tolerance,” “freedom,” “equality,” and most of all “progress,” which is itself Orwellian; and that our collective blind spot for progressive tyranny results from progressives occupying almost every position of (real) power in the government, which is quite Orwellian; and that all of this is generally considered to be an unremarkable state of affairs and not in the slightest bit Orwellian, which is astonishingly Orwellian; then, and only then, will you begin to see the scope of our failure.
“Uh, no, progressives have barely any power, because—” Right, I know, something something “Republicans in Congress.” Thank you, Noam Chomsky customer, for proving my point exactly: a democratic state is guided by public opinion (this is where you’re supposed to stop thinking, but we barrel on), public opinion is guided by teachers and journalists, and teachers and journalists are guided by college professors, and yet for some reason you, college-educated New York Times reader, are unable to identify the universities and the press as informal branches of the government, which they evidently are. Walter Lippmann is your man here: Public Opinion (1922) is a classic which everyone should read, and no one should read uncritically.
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough.
The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power.
Within the life of the generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political calculation and modify every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.
Noam Chomsky, of course, took this idea and twisted it to suit his own, no doubt nefarious purposes. No, Chomsky customer, the corporations, the military and the “anticommunists” aren’t the “power elite” in America; Professor Chomsky and his campus bestsellers are the power elite in America.
In the state of Wisconsin, now perhaps the best governed of all our states, the University writes the laws that go on the statute books, University professors guide and control the main departments of state administration and inquiry; there is no limit to the financial resources which a grateful people are placing at the disposal of learning, thus consecrated to the service of the commonwealth. Our more ancient seats of learning pride themselves justly on their antiquity, on their dignity, on the reverence in which they are held, on the great names that have been and are associated with them. But it is yet theirs to reign over empires now undreamed; to inherit a kingdom that has awaited them from the foundation of the world; to write the laws of obedient states; to know the love of a reverent, grateful, and generous people; to
“Scatter plenty o’er a smiling land
And read their history in a nation’s eyes.”
Truly America has made great strides toward his “beautiful dream” (which is not at all weird and creepy):
In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply. […] The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one: to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are.
If this doesn’t seem eerily familiar, then you really need to revisit Huxley’s Brave New World—but I digress.
Today’s “progressive” scholar, particularly in the political and social pseudosciences, is pleasantly surprised to discover the scope of her, shall we say, “influence” on “administrative procedural outcomes,” and the magnitude of her “impact” on “public policy decision-making,” not to mention the burden of her “responsibility” to “exercise global leadership,” none of which should ever be confused with any sort of power with which to rule anyone.
I suppose it’s easy to be surprised if you haven’t been paying attention for the last hundred years.
American historian Patricia Nelson Limerick, for instance, seems to have a bit of a blind spot for the history of history professors (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2008):
It is hard for me to remember why other academics choose to feel marginalized in American life.
Come on in, the water’s fine!, I would like to say to graduate students and assistant professors. There is certainly plenty of room in this pool. In the early 21st century, there is no limit or constraint on the desire of public constituencies to profit from the perspective of a university-based historian.
“No limit or constraint.”
Even better, the usual lament of the humanities—“There is plenty of money to support work in science and engineering, but very little to support work in the humanities”—proves to be accurate only if you define “work in the humanities” in the narrowest and most conventional way. If, by that phrase, you mean only individualistic research, directed at arcane topics detached from real-world needs and written in inaccessible and insular jargon, there is indeed very limited money.
But for a humanities professor willing to take up applied work, sources of money are unexpectedly abundant. There is no need for humanities professors to waste any more time envying the resources available to scientists and engineers. Instead, you can offer to play Virgil to their Dante, guiding them through the inferno of cultural anxieties, laypeople’s misunderstandings, and political landmines.
The role of the humanities professor: to guide us poor ignorant racist dimwits in all matters cultural and political, because we wouldn’t want the rabble to misunderstand such critically important issues as… um…
Another nearly completed project, The Nature of Justice: Racial Equity and Environmental Well-Being, spotlights the involvement of ethnic minorities with environmental issues.
In the current circumstances of higher education, young travelers would be wise […] to travel the prescribed route to tenure, while still hurrying along as fast as they can. The nation and the planet need their help.
In other words, hurry up and make yourself totally immune to public opinion, so you can help me rule the world.
And UC Berkeley history professor David A. Hollinger demands to know why the insolent Red State rabble think they should have a say in how the government redistributes their incomes (Chronicle, 2013):
In 1966, Walter Lippmann published an essay in The New Republic on “The University,” observing that scholars and scientists had become the ultimate arbiters of virtually every question faced by humankind—and a good thing, too. That a Florida governor could today recommend downgrading the humanities, that members of Congress would try to cut NSF funds for the entire discipline of political science—well, Lionel Trilling and his contemporaries faced nothing remotely like that.
Fortunately, this has never, ever even slightly slowed down the monotonically increasing “impact” of political “scientists.” But keep your eyes focused on those Congressmen! They might try to seize some sort of power.
The humanities deserve support not because they always get things right—often they do not—but because they are the great risk takers in the tradition of the Enlightenment. Nothing could be further from the uncritical preservation of traditional culture so often advanced by nonacademics under the sign of the humanities.
The present education conventions fade from their minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk.
It is too easy to assume that the public cannot understand grander aspirations and more-capacious visions of life. Not everyone can be expected to get it. But some will. By running from, instead of proclaiming, the role of the liberal arts and sciences in bringing received wisdom and vested interests under the scrutiny of critical thought, we risk further diminishing the public’s ability to appreciate it.
Stupid peasants are stupid.
All of us, as scholars, have a responsibility to patiently and repeatedly explain the social value of what we do, in common, as children of the Enlightenment. We are the people of Newton and Locke; we are the people of Darwin and Mill, the people of Einstein and Oppenheimer, of Dewey and Arendt and Habermas. We have defined the terms of science and scholarship in the North Atlantic West and beyond since the 17th century. We serve society by placing its inherited pieties and entrenched interests at risk, not in some iconoclastic mode, but rather by way of ensuring that beliefs and entanglements survive only when they are strong enough to meet the most empirically warranted of challenges.
I’m speechless. Really. “Patiently and repeatedly explain the social value of what we do.” “We have defined the terms of science and scholarship.” “We serve society”—good grief. And let us not overlook “empirically warranted” in the context of political “science.” I refer you to my favorite resource on the philosophy of science: the Science Buddies guide to the scientific method. “It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. A ‘fair test’ occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same.” Which makes political “science”—well, not science, surely, but then—what, exactly?
But, again, I digress. What do we consider Orwellian? Surely not the “applied work” of the “humanities” professor, operating in “public constituencies” without “limit or constraint.” But then what? The Iraq War, of course. The “War on Drugs,” obviously. Iranian internet censorship. Cameras on public transportation. Elections, and reality TV in general. And you might want to keep an eye out for any clearly labeled government news agencies.
Not that I approve of any of those things (particularly elections), but bear in mind, we live in a society where “equality under the law” means that the state enforces special privileges for protected classes, a policy we have taken to calling by a meaningless phrase. But never mind that, tell us more about President Bush and his freedom fries. Why, the man is positively Orwellian.
Look out! The skies are filled with drones! Truly the “Orwellian Age” is upon us.
Meanwhile, a Nobel laureate is fired and disgraced for stating an incontrovertible truth deemed politically incorrect.
Miraculously, even under Bushitler’s neo-Confederate totalitarian theocracy, the New York Times (2003) managed to dodge the GOP death squads long enough to turn up a bona fide expert, Professor Geoffrey Nunberg, to put everything in ‘Simpler Terms’ even we peasants can understand:
Orwell is the writer most responsible for diffusing the modern view of political language as an active accomplice of tyranny. As he wrote in “Politics and the English Language,” “Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
That was an appealing notion to an age that had learned to be suspicious of ideologies, and critics on all sides have found it useful to cite “Politics and the English Language” in condemning the equivocations of their opponents.
Critics on the left hear Orwellian resonances in phrase like “weapons of mass protection,” for nonlethal arms, or in names like the Patriot Act or the Homeland Security Department’s Operation Liberty Shield, which authorizes indefinite detention of asylum-seekers from certain nations. Critics on the right hear them in phrases like “reproductive health services,” “Office of Equality Assurance” and “English Plus,” for bilingual education.
A fair and balanced take, I think we can all agree. Professor Nunberg is truly bipartisan—possibly even post-partisan. Yet I can’t help but notice that a web search for “weapons of mass protection” turns up less than five thousand hits, whereas “affirmative action” (i.e., government-mandated discrimination on the basis of race and sex) and “hate crime” (literally a form of thoughtcrime) turn up 43 and 202 million, respectively, though neither of them made the list—presumably because only a disgusting racist white racist who deserves to die would question these wonderful policies which no one ever voted on, but somehow became the law anyway.
I also notice that American-style Democracy, that other form of 20th century popular government besides the “suspicious ideologies” of Fascism and Communism, isn’t considered in any way suspicious, or even an ideology (New York Times, 2010):
The more people who have access to the ballot, the better the country will be.
And there the editorial ends. No evidence is necessary, and none is provided. Yes, in spite of the many atrocities Democracy has committed, abetted, and covered up over the years, it is taken as an article of faith by “all sides.” At least, all sides with acceptable viewpoints (PolicyMic, 2012):
A cable news structure with distinctly opinionated networks inherently has the power to define national discourse.
It’s interesting that news organizations, of all things, are serving as this force.
“Of all things.” Ms. Vamburkar, meet Mr. Lippmann.
Fortunately, the one form of popular government to survive the Century of Mass Murder also happens to be the one good kind. I guess history was on our side. Otherwise we might be stuck with crazy old Hitler, who believed in some kind of weird “Divine Providence” that would lead to his inevitable victory, and had all sorts of tricks for brainwashing ordinary people into believing strange things (Ernst von Salomon, 1951):
The word ‘Democracy’ is one that I have only very rarely, and with great reluctance, employed. I do not know what it is and I have never yet met anyone who could explain its meaning to me in terms that I am capable of understanding. But I fear that Hitler’s assertion—that his ideological concept was the Democratic concept—will prove a hard one to refute. The enlightenment of the world from a single, central position, the winning of mass support through convincing arguments, the legitimate road to power by way of the ballot-box, the legitimisation by the people itself of power achieved—I fear it is hard to deny that these are Democratic stigmata, revelatory perhaps of Democracy in a decadent and feverish form, but Democratic none the less. I further fear that the contrary assertion—that the totalitarian system as set up by Hitler was not Democratic—will prove a hard one to justify. The totalitarian state is the exact opposite of the authoritarian state, which latter, of course, bears no Democratic stigmata but hierarchical ones instead. Some people seem to believe that forms of government are estimable in accordance with their Progressive development; since totalitarianism is certainly more modern than the authoritarian state system, they must logically give Hitler the advantage in the political field.
Thankfully (for us; not so much for the citizens of Hamburg, Dresden, Nuremberg, Tokyo, etc., etc.), the Forces of Good just so happened to have better bombers. Not to mention our excellent ally, the Soviet Union—right up until we remembered it was evil. Seriously, try not to mention that. Especially around Veterans Day (Richard Maybury):
Let me point out that the largest ally President Roosevelt had during the war was Stalin’s Soviet Socialists. […] Instead of staying out of the war and letting the German and Soviet barbarians pound each other to dust on the plains of central Europe, Franklin Roosevelt abandoned neutrality and in June 1941—five months before Pearl Harbor—announced he would back the socialist Stalin. Stalin was the worst known evil in history. […] Franklin Roosevelt backed Stalin, so the worst evil in history won the war, Stalin.
Which is not at all like being “an active accomplice of tyranny.” Complicated stuff, obviously. Thank goodness Professor Nunberg has put everything in such simple terms.
Which of those terms are deceptive packaging and which are merely effective branding is a matter of debate. But there’s something troubling in the easy use of the label “Orwellian,” as if these phrases committed the same sorts of linguistic abuses that led to the gulags and the death camps.
In fact, there has never been an age that was so well-schooled in the perils of deceptive language or in decoding political and commercial messages, as seen in the official canonization of Orwell himself.
But as advertisers have known for a long time, no audience is easier to beguile than one that is smugly confident of its own sophistication. The word “Orwellian” contributes to that impression. Like “propaganda,” it implies an aesthetic judgment more than a moral one. Calling an expression Orwellian means not that it’s deceptive but that it’s crudely deceptive.
Today, the real damage isn’t done by the euphemisms and circumlocutions that we’re likely to describe as Orwellian.
Couldn’t agree more, Professor. I think we’re ready to hear about the latest gulag-type “linguistic abuses” now…
Rather, the words that do the most political work are simple ones—“jobs and growth,” “family values” and “color-blind” not to mention “life” and “choice.”
Right, obviously: the real threat of tyranny lies in the Republican Party, which at the time controlled the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court, giving them absolute power. (Meanwhile, in the real world: ‘House GOP extracts no concessions.’) Specifically, it’s their tyrannical opposition—which has been so successful over the years—to abortion (still legal, last I checked), taxation, same-sex marriage, and our old friend “affirmative action,” finally making an appearance—as “extra affirmative action,” for some reason, and as one of those “euphemisms and circumlocutions” that can’t do any “real damage,” as any sophisticated audience knows.
Alas, not one example of doublethink, thoughtcrime or Newspeak made the Professor’s list. Victor Davis Hanson, a less-than-usually hopeless “conservative” (though of what, unclear), comes closer to the awful truth (2009):
We see Barack Obama’s smile broadcast 24/7, in a fashion we have not seen previously of earlier presidents. A Newsweek editor referred to Obama as a “god.”
Former President George Bush—our new Emmanuel Goldstein—remains a daily target of criticism. […] Last week, the president said those in the past administration caused our present problems—and so should keep quiet and get out of his way.
There are similar Big Brother attacks on recent critics of the Obama administration’s health-care initiatives. Once-praised dissent has become subversive. Protestors are a mob to be ridiculed by the government as mere health-insurance puppets.
An official presidential Web site now asks informants, in Big Brother style, to send in e-mails and Internet addresses that seem “fishy” in questioning the White House health-care plans.
Racial transcendence translates into more racial identity politics, reflected both in rhetoric and presidential appointments.
We were once told that military tribunals, renditions, the Patriot Act and Predator drone attacks in Pakistan were George Bush’s assault on the Constitution rather than necessary tools to fight radical Islamic terrorists.
Not now. These policies are no longer criticized—even though they still operate more or less as they did under Bush. Guantanamo is still open, but no longer considered a gulag. The once-terrible war in Iraq disappeared off the front pages around late January of this year.
George Orwell, a man of the left, warned us that freedom and truth are not just endangered by easily identifiable goose-stepping goons in jackboots. More often he felt that state collectivism would come from an all-powerful government—run by a charismatic egalitarian, promising to protect us from selfish, greedy reactionaries.
Orwell was onto something.
And a 2013 letter to the editor of the Australian gets it almost exactly right:
Human Rights Commission chairwoman Gillian Triggs continues to expose the totalitarian mind-set that characterises the human rights industry in Australia…
Her insistence, at a Senate hearing, that the expression of political opinions that some might find unwelcome should be constrained by government appointed decision-makers like her is Orwellian in the blase manner in which she sweeps aside the most fundamental human right on which our liberal democratic society is based.
Ordinary citizens know there are a number of political opinions that it is not wise to express in Australia. It appears that Triggs is now proposing that this interdiction should be formalised in law so that we will all have a clear idea of what political opinions we should be terrified of expressing.
On the other hand, American cultural critic Neil Postman wonders if maybe we should all lay off Orwell for a while and pay a bit more attention to Huxley (Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985):
Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
Look at all the fake stuff you can pretend to accomplish before you die!
Christopher Hitchens is on the same page (Harper’s, 1998):
We dwell in a present-tense culture that somehow, significantly, decided to employ the telling expression “You’re history” as a choice reprobation or insult, and thus elected to speak forgotten volumes about itself. By that standard, the forbidding dystopia of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four already belongs, both as text and as date, with Ur and Mycenae, while the hedonistic nihilism of Huxley still beckons toward a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free consensus. Orwell’s was a house of horrors. He often seemed to beg credulity because he posited a regime that would go to any lengths to own and possess history, to rewrite and reconstruct it, and to inculcate it by means of coercion. Whereas Huxley, writing of a California-style utopia of 1932, rightly foresaw that any such regime could break but could not bend. In 1988, four years after 1984, the Soviet Union scrapped its official history curriculum and announced that a newly authorized version was somewhere in the works. That was the precise moment at which the regime conceded its own extinction. For true blissed-out and vacant servitude, though, you need an otherwise sophisticated society where no serious history is taught at all.
The questions we sought to answer in this issue of Radish: is the Western world “progressing” more rapidly in the direction of Nineteen Eighty-Four or Brave New World? In the end, will it be Orwell or Huxley? Where are we now, compared to 1990, 1970, 1950? Perform a linear regression on culture and politics (and control for technological advances). Now tell me: toward what dismal sort of future does the arrow of “progress” point?
As always, my fair and open-minded friends, I leave the final judgment up to you.
From Emily Carroll’s Community, Identity, Stability
In Brave New World, Chapter 1, the Director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre leads a tour for visiting students:
“Just to give you a general idea,” he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently—though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible. For particulars, as every one knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fretsawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.
It is at Hatchery and Conditioning Centres like this that all children are fertilized, classified according to intelligence (as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon), incubated, prenatally conditioned, hatched, and socially conditioned until they reach a productive age. Natural (or “viviparous”) reproduction has been banned, and all related terms, particularly “mother” and “father,” are considered obscene.
The tour begins in the Fertilizing Room. Whereas Alphas and Betas (engineers, scientists, writers, technicians, etc.) are unique,—“one egg, one embryo, one adult,”—lower-caste eggs undergo “Bokanovsky’s Process,” forcing them to divide into batches of up to ninety-six clones.
But one of the students was fool enough to ask where the advantage lay.
“My good boy!” The Director wheeled sharply round on him. “Can’t you see? Can’t you see?” He raised a hand; his expression was solemn. “Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!”
The boys copy this key information into their notebooks.
Standard men and women, in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.
“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto. “Community, Identity, Stability.” Grand words. “If we could bokanovskify indefinitely, the whole problem would be solved.”
Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principle of mass production at last applied to biology.
After the Fertilizing Room comes the Bottling Room, then the Social Predestination Room. The Director is joined by Henry Foster, who explains that seventy percent of female embryos are dosed with testosterone and decanted as infertile but otherwise normal “freemartins”:
“Which brings us at last,” continued Mr. Foster, “out of the realm of mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human invention.”
He rubbed his hands. For of course, they didn’t content themselves with merely hatching out embryos: any cow could do that.
“We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, future sewage workers or future…” He was going to say “future World controllers,” but correcting himself, said “future Directors of Hatcheries,” instead.
At the 320th meter along Rack No. 11, a Beta-Minus mechanic is reducing oxygen flow to the lower-caste embryos.
“Reducing the number of revolutions per minute,” Mr. Foster explained. “Nothing like oxygen-shortage for keeping an embryo below par.”
“But why do you want to keep the embryo below par?” asked an ingenuous student.
“Ass!” said the Director, breaking a long silence. “Hasn’t it occurred to you that an Epsilon embryo must have an Epsilon environment as well as an Epsilon heredity?”
“The lower the caste,” said Mr. Foster, “the shorter the oxygen.” The first organ affected was the brain.
“But in Epsilons,” said Mr. Foster very justly, “we don’t need human intelligence.”
Didn’t need and didn’t get it.
Around the 170th meter, embryos on Rack No. 9 enter a kind of tunnel:
“Heat conditioning,” said Mr. Foster.
Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels. Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays. By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold. They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miners and acetate silk spinners and steel workers. Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies. “We condition them to thrive on heat,” concluded Mr. Foster. “Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it.”
“And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their un-escapable social destiny.”
After Bottling and Social Predestination comes the Decanting Room, where Henry Foster stays behind as the Director (D.H.C.) and his students proceed to the fifth floor in Chapter 2:
Infant Nurseries. Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms, announced the notice board.
The nurses stiffened to attention as the D.H.C. came in.
“Set out the books,” he said curtly.
In silence the nurses obeyed his command. Between the rose bowls the books were duly set out—a row of nursery quartos opened invitingly each at some gaily coloured image of beast or fish or bird.
“Now bring in the children.”
They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four wire-netted shelves, with eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since their caste was Delta) dressed in khaki.
Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards those clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant on the white pages. […] From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles and twitterings of pleasure.
The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the room, pressed down a little lever.
There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarms bells maddeningly sounded.
The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.
“And now,” the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), “now we proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock.”
Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks—already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.
“They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives.”
Then on to the fourteenth floor, where the children receive most of their conditioning, in the form of sleep-teaching (or “hypnopaedia”). But they aren’t taught science or geometry that way:
You can’t learn a science unless you know what it’s all about.
“Whereas, if they’d only started on moral education,” said the Director, leading the way towards the door. The students followed him, desperately scribbling as they walked and all the way up in the lift. “Moral education, which ought never, in any circumstances, to be rational.”
Fifty yards of tiptoeing brought them to a door which the Director cautiously opened. They stepped over the threshold into the twilight of a shuttered dormitory. Eighty cots stood in a row against the wall. There was a sound of light regular breathing and a continuous murmur, as of very faint voices remotely whispering.
A nurse rose as they entered and came to attention before the Director.
“What’s the lesson this afternoon?” he asked.
“We had Elementary Sex for the first forty minutes,” she answered. “But now it’s switched over to Elementary Class Consciousness.”
“Elementary Class Consciousness, did you say? Let’s have it repeated a little louder by the trumpet.”
“… all wear green,” said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, “and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”
There was the pause; then the voice began again.
“Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able…”
Roses and electric shocks, the khaki of Deltas and a whiff of asafoetida—wedded indissolubly before the child can speak. But wordless conditioning is crude and wholesale; cannot bring home the finer distinctions, cannot inculcate the more complex courses of behaviour. For that there must be words, but words without reason. In brief, hypnopaedia.
“The greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time.”
“… so frightfully clever,” the soft, insinuating, indefatigable voice was saying, “I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because…”
Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest granite; rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax, drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob.
“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too—all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” The Director almost shouted in his triumph. “Suggestions from the State.” He banged the nearest table. “It therefore follows…”
A noise made him turn around.
“Oh, Ford!” he said in another tone. “I’ve gone and woken the children.”
Three of history’s smuggest pr…esidents
I anticipate certain objections.
“Come now, Carlyleans,” you are perhaps thinking, or shouting at your portable electronic device, provoking stares from other passengers, or, ideally, muttering through clenched teeth whilst sharpening a bayonet in your fortified bunker, “surely you aren’t claiming we subject our children to social conditioning—electrifying the floors of our kindergartens, etc. Besides, isn’t that the sort of thing those awful Communists used to do?”
Indeed it is. As William Henry Chamberlin wrote in Russia’s Iron Age (1934, p. 133):
The huge Soviet propaganda machine works with every available resource to remould the mind of the nation. School and theatre, press and lecture platform, radio and poster, even moving-picture performance and circus, are all pressed into service on what is sometimes called “the ideological front.” From the time when a child can toddle, a red flag is pushed into its hand; it learns the new Soviet songs and is taught in nursery and kindergarten to lisp Soviet slogans. The stream of propaganda, all directed to the purpose of making a new type of man and woman, entirely devoted to Soviet and Communist ideas, becomes intensified as the child grows older.
No one can visit a Soviet school without being impressed by the thorough manner in which the pupils are taught to hate “capitalism” and the “bourgeoisie” and to regard the Soviet system as the best in the world. I was once the witness of an amusing scene when a six-year-old American child was showing a picture book to a Russian playmate who was three or four years older. At first the Russian girl enjoyed the colored illustrations. Then an idea came to her; and, turning to her mother, she said: “Mother, this book is bourgeois. It can’t be good, can it?”
Thankfully, as any fool can tell you (and probably will), the Free World under President Barack Obama’s avowedly progressive, Nobel Peace Prize-winning global leadership is absolutely nothing like the Soviet Union under Comrade Joseph Stalin, “Leader of Progressive Mankind.” The USA, unlike the USSR (with which it occasionally collaborated), is not in the business of world domination (Pravda, 1949):
The name of Comrade Stalin has long become the banner of peace in the mind of the peoples of all countries. All who want to struggle against the instigators of a new war know and are convinced that they will do the right thing by rallying around Comrade Stalin, the great defender of peace. Mankind, having lived through the horrors of the last world war, craves for peace and is resolutely opposed to a new slaughter. Precisely for this reason all nations greet with gratitude the resolute, unequivocal policy of peace which Comrade Stalin pursues and upholds.
However the warmongers may try to slander our Socialist country, they will not succeed in eradicating from the minds of the common people the conviction that the Soviet Union is the true champion of peace, consistently defending peace all over the world…
Compare America’s solemn duty to exercise global leadership, as explained by President Woodrow Wilson—another famous progressive, winner of the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize (apparently for inserting America into the First World War by misrepresenting German submarine activity):
My dream is that as the years go on and the world knows more and more of America it will also drink at these fountains of youth and renewal; that it also will turn to America for those moral inspirations which lie at the basis of all freedom; that the world will never fear America unless it feels that it is engaged in some enterprise which is inconsistent with the rights of humanity; and that America will come into the full light of the day when all shall know that she puts human rights above all other rights and that her flag is the flag not only of America but of humanity.
The Bellamy salute
And compare that to Hitler’s plot for world domination, which though nonexistent was nevertheless outlined rather convincingly (not to mention creatively) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt—yet another famous progressive, who somehow failed to bag his own Nobel Peace Prize (presumably for inserting America into the Second World War by, again, misrepresenting German submarine activity, and also just making up a bunch of crazy stuff):
Hitler has often protested that his plans for conquest do not extend across the Atlantic Ocean. But his submarines and raiders prove otherwise. So does the entire design of his new world order.
For example, I have in my possession a secret map made in Germany by Hitler’s government—by the planners of the new world order. It is a map of South America and a part of Central America, as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. […] This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States itself.
(This “secret map” was an obvious forgery by the British.)
Your government has in its possession another document made in Germany by Hitler’s government. It is a detailed plan, which, for obvious reasons, the Nazis did not wish and do not wish to publicize just yet, but which they are ready to impose—a little later—on a dominated world—if Hitler wins. It is a plan to abolish all existing religions—Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish alike.
(This “detailed plan” simply did not exist.)
In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an International Nazi Church—a church which will be served by orators sent out by the Nazi Government. In the place of the Bible, the words of Mein Kampf will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols—the swastika and the naked sword.
A God of Blood and Iron will take the place of the God of Love and Mercy. Let us well ponder that statement which I have made tonight.
“All nations greet with gratitude the resolute, unequivocal policy of peace which President Obama pursues and upholds.” “The world will never fear the Soviet Union unless it feels that it is engaged in some enterprise which is inconsistent with the rights of the proletariat.” “In place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols—the Stars and Stripes.” “All shall know that her flag is the flag not only of National Socialism but of humanity.” I trust the differences are abundantly clear.
Stupid racist white racist Elliott Dearlove was stupid enough to think he’d spotted evidence of recent human evolution in skin pigmentation, thus threatening England’s post-racial paradise. Meanwhile, insane racist Nazi toddlers persist in associating negative qualities with dark skin.
(Like Ms. Shatia “Take His Car Keys” Baldwin’s.)
Brave New Britain (Daily Mail, 2012):
The mother of a seven-year-old boy was told to sign a school form admitting he was racist after he asked another pupil about the colour of his skin.
Elliott Dearlove had asked a five-year-old boy in the playground whether he was ‘brown because he was from Africa.’
His mother, Hayley White, 29, said she received a phone call last month to say her son had been at the centre of a ‘racist incident.’
Ms White, an NHS healthcare assistant, said: ‘When I arrived at the school and asked Elliott what had happened, he became extremely upset.
‘He kept saying to me, “I was just asking a question. I didn’t mean it to be nasty” and he was extremely distressed by it all.’
Well, of course he was “extremely distressed.” That’s how you teach your stupid white kid not to be such an ignorant little racist: by making him terrified of even the most rudimentary attempts at investigating, understanding or even noticing basic physical (let alone behavioral!) differences between the human subspecies. A worthy goal indeed! Already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly (Daily Mail, 2011):
Teachers are branding thousands of children racist or homophobic following playground squabbles.
More than 20,000 pupils aged 11 or younger were last year put on record for so-called hate crimes such as using the word ‘gaylord.’
Some of them are even from nursery schools where children are no older than three.
Schools are forced to report the language to education authorities, which keep a register of incidents.
Schools were required by the Labour government in 2002 to monitor and report all racist incidents to their local authority.
Heads who send in ‘nil’ returns are criticised for ‘under-reporting.’
Even the mighty Register of Incidents may not be enough to bring home the finer distinctions (Telegraph, 2011):
From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.
But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.
Experts, that is, on conditioning us to believe in “the stupidest absurdities”; e.g., “in one brief word, which includes whatever of palpable incredibility and delirious absurdity, universally believed, can be uttered or imagined on these points, ‘the equality of man,’ any man equal to any other” (Thomas Carlyle, 1867).
Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.
Notice the suspicious failure to carry the argument through to its logical conclusion: if portraying witches in dark colors somehow creates hatred, mistrust, annoyance, whatever, toward dark-skinned people, and we start portraying all the witches in light colors…
Another staple of the classroom—white paper—has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity. Children should be provided with paper other than white to draw on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones,” reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.
Finally, staff should be prepared to be economical with the truth when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer “black” or “brown.”
“Economical with the truth.”
The measures, outlined in a series of guides in Nursery World magazine, are aimed at avoiding racial bias in toddlers as young as two.
According to the guides, very young children may begin to express negative and discriminatory views about skin colour and appearance that nursery staff must help them “unlearn.”
If children develop positive associations with dark colours, the greater the likelihood that the attitude will be generalised to people, it says.
The advice is based on an “anti-bias” approach to education which developed in the United States as part of multiculturalism.
It challenges prejudices such as racism, sexism and ageism through the whole curriculum and teaches children about tolerance and respect and to critically analyse what they are taught and think.
In other words, thought control applied to children on a massive scale by the government through its (moral) education system—which no one could possibly object to, because something something “tolerance and respect.” I mean, what kind of stupid, ignorant person would not want the government programming her children to form “positive associations” with dark-skinned people?
On an unrelated note (KGET, 2009): “The woman had just left the Babies R Us store on when she noticed a man in a tattered military coat lurking in the parking lot, she told police. The woman told detectives she was worried because the man looked like a thug, but she didn’t want to seem racist. … The man then demanded she drive to Fruitvale Junior High, where he raped the woman at gunpoint in front of her daughter.” But I digress.
Recent research by Professor Lord Winston provides evidence that children as young as four can hold racist views. In an experiment carried out for the BBC’s Child of our Time series, children were presented with a series of images of faces of men, women, boys or girls. Only one of the faces in each sequence was white.
Children were asked to pick out the face of the person they wanted as their friend and the person they thought would be most likely to get in to trouble.
Almost all white children in the survey associated positive qualities exclusively with photographs of white children or adults. More than half of the black children made the same associations.
In contrast, people with darker faces were viewed as troublemakers.
Oh no, “racist views!” Because obviously these “associations” could not possibly be legitimate: no one could possibly want to associate with white people based on, like, prior experience or something (Radish 1.6). After all, everyone in the world is exactly the same, except white people are bad; which explains why “anti-racists” can so often be found living in places like Haiti, El Salvador, Cambodia, and Detroit (Radish 1.2). Oh, wait…
In any case, we mustn’t let these little nursery school excesses call into question the utterly and unquestionably legitimate program of “anti-racist” “education” (Telegraph, 2009):
When anti-racist education is extended down to nursery schools, it means something quite different. Anti-racism becomes not about the worthy goals of equality and even-handedness, but about the management of subconscious thoughts and private relationships.
Ah, those worthy goals (Telegraph, 2009):
Ministers have drawn up plans to encourage people to lodge complaints about hate crimes, which they say are being under-reported.
However, campaigners are now accusing ministers of intensifying their pursuit of hate crime offenders and of allowing prosecutors to go “fishing” for offences, opening them up to accusations of sometimes criminalising apparently innocent remarks and comments.
But I’m getting ahead of myself: we’ll talk more about thoughtcrime later.
Quick tip: this is the exact opposite of how a privileged class would be depicted.
In 2012, Portland public schools expanded their mandate to include a form of moral education called “equity training” (Portland Tribune):
Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.
Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
“Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”
Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.
Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.
Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation—to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.
Privilege (noun): from the Latin privilegium, meaning private law; “a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis” (Wik). Not to be confused with property, like the money you earn at your job, or inherit from your parents; or intelligence, which is largely genetic, and correlates well with educational achievement (Radish 1.7). So someone who earns a lot of money is propertied, not privileged; similarly, someone who does well in school is intelligent, not privileged.
This is staggeringly complicated stuff, obviously.
Proving “white privilege” is a straightforward task. I’m sure you’ve all noticed how white people are entitled by law to a certain share of jobs, promotions, college admissions, etc., in a clear case of privilege. (Remember: the jobs, etc., are property; the privilege lies in the law.) Or how the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department only sue on behalf of white people. Because “white privilege.”
Not to mention that anyone who says anything that can be interpreted, or even deliberately misconstrued, as denigrating white people—let alone threatening them or inciting violence toward them—will come under ferocious attack by the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Daily Show, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and so many other respected and influential institutions. This privilege clearly does not apply to, say, black people, who are of course the least privileged. That’s why you can say “nigger nigger nigger” all day long and nothing bad will ever happen to you—provided you’re white. Because “white privilege.”
I mean, can you imagine if, like, a black singer released an album cover glamorizing black-on-white rape and murder—and went on to star in a hit TV show about a police “special victims unit?” Obviously, if the races were reversed, a white singer would totally get away with it. Because “white privilege.”
Inconceivable, thanks to “white privilege.”
That would be almost as absurd as a talentless black man becoming the poet laureate of New Jersey after (if not because) he wrote: “Come up, black dada/nihilismus. Rape the white girls. Rape/their fathers. Cut the mothers’ throats.” Which, due to the privileged status of white people, no one would ever describe, e.g., thusly (Poets.org): “the lyrics exemplify a ‘highly politicized avant-garde.’” That sort of mainstream praise is reserved for white poets who write about raping and murdering black people—as I’m sure you’ve all noticed. Because “white privilege.”
Amiri Baraka; Eldridge Cleaver
And that would be almost as preposterous as, say, the New York Times (1998) lauding a different black man, who was inspired by that very poem to actually go out and rape a bunch of white girls. Due to “white privilege,” which is a real thing that really exists, nothing like this could ever appear in print:
Eldridge Cleaver, whose searing prison memoir “Soul on Ice” and leadership in the Black Panther Party made him a symbol of black rebellion in the turbulent 1960’s, died yesterday in Pomona, Calif., at the age of 62.
In the black leather coat and beret the Panthers wore as a uniform, Mr. Cleaver was a tall, bearded figure who mesmerized his radical audiences with his fierce energy, intellect and often bitter humor.
When “Soul on Ice,” was published in 1968, it had a tremendous impact on an intellectual community radicalized by the civil rights movement, urban riots, the war in Vietnam and campus rebellions. It was a wild, divisive time in the United States, and Mr. Cleaver’s memoir from Folsom state prison, where he was doing time for rape, was hailed as an authentic voice of black rage in a white-ruled world. The New York Times named it one of its 10 best books of the year.
“Cleaver is simply one of the best cultural critics now writing,” Maxwell Geismar wrote in the introduction to the McGraw-Hill book.
In one of the book’s most gripping and brutal passages, he wrote:
“I became a rapist. To refine my technique and modus operandi, I started out by practicing on black girls in the ghetto—in the black ghetto where dark and vicious deeds appear not as aberrations or deviations from the norm, but as part of the sufficiency of the Evil of the day—and when I considered myself smooth enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically—though looking back I see that I was in a frantic, wild and completely abandoned frame of mind.
“Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women — and this point, I believe, was the most satisfying to me because I was very resentful over the historical fact [sic] of how the white man has used the black woman. I felt I was getting revenge.”
There was little doubt he went on, citing a LeRoi Jones poem of the time which expressed similar rage, “that if I had not been apprehended I would have slit some white throats.”
But really, “white privilege” is so obvious, further discussion is unnecessary. Back to Portland we go.
Principal Guitierrez leads an indoctrination session; teacher Kim Wilson confesses her “white privilege.”
If the “racism” inherent in a peanut butter sandwich is “subtle,” Principal Gutierrez’s take on her own school’s racially segregated “lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys” is downright obscure (Tribune):
At least one parent has a problem with the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”
“This ‘club’ was approved by the administration, and any girls who complained were brushed off and it was not addressed,” the parent wrote anonymously.
Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.
“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”
That’s just your whiteness talking, said the highly trained “anti-racist.” Obviously, white people are always forming segregated clubs, which would never, ever be considered “a problem.” Because… well, you know.
Like many if not all of PPS’ leaders, Gutierrez has gone through California-based consultant Glenn Singleton’s “Coaching for Educational Equity,” a weeklong seminar on race and how it affects life; she’s also become an “affiliate,” certified to teach the equity curriculum; and she serves on the district’s administrative committee to address systematic racism, a group that meets every other week.
The seminar is conducted by the Pacific Educational Group, whose stated purpose is “to transform educational systems into racially conscious and socially just environments that nurture the spirit and infinite potential of all learners,” but “especially black children”—which makes sense, because it is run by Glenn Singleton, a race-obsessed black lunatic. The “cash-starved” school district spent $526,901 on the dubious services of the PEG over the course of two fiscal years (Breitbart). Money well spent fighting “white privilege,” I’m sure we can all agree.
Unless you’re a racist.
They may not be literate, but at least they’re “Africentric.”
In 2012, the Toronto District School Board launched a bold new “Africentric” high school curriculum at Winston Churchill Collegiate, “starting with a Grade 9 program in which all five compulsory subjects—math, geography, French, English and science—will have a focus on African heritage” (Toronto Star). Make sure you don’t call it “Afrocentric” by mistake, you colossal racist (Star, 2008):
“[I]t’s African-centered education, and there is no “o” in the word Africa,” said Dr. Patrick Kakembo, director of the African Canadian Services in Nova Scotia. “Why should it be Afro? That’s a hair-do.”
In other news, the Russo-Japanese War will now be known as the Russi-日本の War. That’ll help Russian- and Japanese-Canadian kids learn math and geography—oh, wait, they don’t need special help. I wonder why…
What is an “Africentric” curriculum, anyway? Kathy Shaidle investigates (TakiMag, 2012):
A PowerPoint presentation at the TDSB website offers a sample Africentric class project, circa 2008.
Children were assigned the following question: “Why is President-Elect Obama’s win important to science?”
Yes, Canadian children. (And this plan was presumably put together before Obama slashed NASA’s budget.)
But it gets better, if—imitating our leftist friends—we redefine “better” to mean something closer to “cringe-inducingly horrific.”
Because the next photo depicts two black children obediently printing out the following answer, presumably at their teacher’s prompting:
“I think it’s important to science because it shows that black people are just as smart as white people.”
Which, of course, it does not (exception fallacy), and which, of course, they are not (race differences in intelligence). So, in this case, “Africentrism” means lying to children about human nature, and teaching them to use invalid reasoning to defend progressive ideology. Words without reason, as the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning put it. And why not? It’s all part of a healthy moral education. “Tolerance and respect!”
Critically important material. “Case-based” is spelled “cased based” on every slide.
Another slide, also in a child’s handwriting:
I think Mr. James Watsons [sic] shouldn’t have won the Nobel Prize because this man was a racist and I’m pretty [sic] a person that won the Nobel Prize should be looked up to but not James Watson. This man said that black people don’t have the intelligences [sic] that white people do but at the end of the day who is are [sic] President? And what colour is he?
Oh, I know this one! Is it high yellow?
In this case, “Africentrism” means retracting a 50-year-old Nobel Prize on account of a biologist’s one-time refusal to let egalitarian ideology rot his field. “Africentrism” is also clear on who can and cannot be guilty of James Watson’s terrible thoughtcrime. From the TDSB’s ‘Package for Educators Grades 7–12’ (p. 70):
While people in different contexts can experience prejudice or discrimination, racism, in a North American context, is based on an ideology of the superiority of the white race over other racial groups. […] The result of institutional racism is that it maintains white privilege and power (such as racial profiling, hiring practices, history, and literature that centre on Western, European civilizations to the exclusion of other civilizations and communities).
In other words, only white people can be “racist.” The TDSB teaching guide to the “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” makes this explicit, quoting Martin Jacques:
The fact that whites have no experience of racism, except as perpetrators, means that racism is constantly underplayed by western institutions—by governments, by the media, by corporations.
I’m sure you’ve noticed how the press, the universities, and the formal government never mention “racism.”
Besides corrupting logic, anthropology, and the English and French languages to satisfy its “Africentric” needs, the Toronto District School Board is perfectly willing to rewrite history on behalf of the “Hispanic/Latino community,” as Kathy Shaidle’s husband, Arnie Lemaire, learned from the TDSB’s biography of the loathsome murderer Che Guevara (Blazing Cat Fur and TakiMag, 2012):
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a leader in Latin America who was born in Argentina. He was a doctor.
While travelling, he was saddened by how poor people were wherever he visited. He decided that he would give all his time and energy to work to change that.
He made it much worse.
With Che’s vision and the hard work of many people, today Cuba enjoys a literacy enjoys a literacy of over 99.8% (that’s almost 100%, meaning that everyone can read and write).
Can writing a sarcastic but clearly tame blog comment really land two cops at your doorstep?
It happened to Blazingcatfur blogger Arnie Lemaire Wednesday for musing “OISE and the TDSB need to be purged, or burnt to the ground whichever is more effective.”
In what can be described as more TDSB theatre of the absurd, an obscure six-week-old blog comment resulted in police visiting his home like one might see back in the day of the Stasi in communist East Germany.
“We received a knock at our door a little after 8 a.m.,” said Lemaire. “Two detectives from Toronto Police Services identified themselves and asked if they could come in to discuss a matter.”
They presented “a photocopy of my post about the TDSB teaching children that the Black Panthers were a harmless social justice organization link” and specifically the “OISE and the TDSB need to be purged, or burnt to the ground” stinger.
He said police told him the complaint came from TDSB spokesman Shari Schwartz-Maltz.
The TDSB has removed the latest Black Panther link.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled complaining about “white racism.”
As everyone knows, sexual dimorphism is a social construct: men are identical to women in both anatomy and personality. Any apparent differences are caused by an invisible patriarchy; “male privilege,” that is, which is exactly as real as “white privilege.” Thank goodness the patriarchy hasn’t been able to stamp out the very few brave feminists, from the very few thousand brave women’s studies departments, who have been fighting so bravely to be treated the same as men. What? Yes, of course that’s what they’re doing—ever so bravely. I mean, that’s what they say they’re doing, after all (Steve Sailer, 2013):
For example, the Harvard article recounted a lesbian dean’s struggle to prevent heterosexual women students from coming to class on Halloween dressed up in “sexy pirate costumes.” In contrast, the Yale tale told by Ms. Pollack, a middle-aged girly girl with an ex-husband and a son, protests how our culture discourages women scientists from wearing sexy clothes such as fishnet stockings in the laboratory.
Similarly, while the HBS women are oppressed by a lack of time to finish their homework because future Jack Donaghys keep asking them out on exciting dates, the Yale women in STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are oppressed by a lack of exciting beaus because they find the boys in their classes to be immature Sheldon Coopers.
Meanwhile, Sweden is taking a shortcut to egalitarian paradise—where everyone is exactly the same, and no one is strong or fast or clever or beautiful; a sort of glorious global beehive—by simply banning gender (Slate, 2012):
By most people’s standards, Sweden is a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all degrees. […] In 2010, the World Economic Forum designated Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world.
“Gender-equal.” “Women earn about two-thirds of all degrees.”
But for many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal but gender-neutral. The idea is that the government and society should tolerate no distinctions at all between the sexes. This means on the narrow level that society should show sensitivity to people who don’t identify themselves as either male or female, including allowing any type of couple to marry. But that’s the least radical part of the project. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.
Wait, is it many Swedes, or just many freaks (“gender-neutral activists”)?
A Swedish children’s clothes company has removed the “boys” and “girls” sections in its stores, and the idea of dressing children in a gender-neutral manner has been widely discussed on parenting blogs. This Swedish toy catalog recently decided to switch things around, showing a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink pram, while a girl in denim rides a yellow tractor.
Social Democrat politicians have proposed installing gender-neutral restrooms so that members of the public will not be compelled to categorize themselves as either ladies or gents. Several preschools have banished references to pupils’ genders, instead referring to children by their first names or as “buddies.” […] They believe this fulfills the national curriculum’s guideline that preschools should “counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles” and give girls and boys “the same opportunities to test and develop abilities and interests without being limited by stereotypical gender roles.”
This is totally normal and natural and not at all posed, you sexist fascist Nazi.
Earlier this month, the movement for gender neutrality reached a milestone: Just days after International Women’s Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].”
But not everyone is keen on this political meddling with the Swedish language. In a recent interview for Vice magazine, Jan Guillou, one of Sweden’s most well-known authors, referred to proponents of hen as “feminist activists who want to destroy our language.” Other critics believe it can be psychologically and socially damaging, especially for children. Elise Claeson, a columnist and a former equality expert at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, has said that young children can become confused by the suggestion that there is a third, “in-between” gender at a time when their brains and bodies are developing. Adults should not interrupt children’s discovery of their gender and sexuality, argues Claeson. She told the Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, that “gender ideologues” have managed to change the curriculum to establish that schools should actively counter gender roles.
Ironically, in the effort to free Swedish children from so-called normative behavior, gender-neutral proponents are also subjecting them to a whole set of new rules and new norms as certain forms of play become taboo, language becomes regulated, and children’s interactions and attitudes are closely observed by teachers. One Swedish school got rid of its toy cars because boys “gender-coded” them and ascribed the cars higher status than other toys. Another preschool removed “free playtime” from its schedule because, as a pedagogue at the school put it, when children play freely “stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying.” And so every detail of children’s interactions gets micromanaged by concerned adults, who end up problematizing minute aspects of children’s lives, from how they form friendships to what games they play and what songs they sing.
Swedish home-schooling must be crushed at all costs!
When it comes to Swedish moral education, it’s very much no child left behind (CBN, 2012):
Sweden used to be synonymous with freedom and safety. The nation was a haven for political refugees from around the world.
But today, Sweden is creating new political refugees: the home-schooler.
Sweden’s home-school movement has been crushed by a state apparatus that wants children as young as one year old in daycare, and all children in a classroom with a state-approved curriculum.
“The Swedish government believes that [the] state takes better care of children than parents,” said Jonas Himmelstrand, president of ROHUS, the Swedish Homeschool Association.
“They [the government] are slowly going to more of a police state, where children are more controlled. They have to be in school,” he added.
Before 2010, it was possible to home-school in Sweden. But new laws now ban the practice in almost all cases and forces private schools to teach the state curriculum.
Swedish human rights lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson calls what’s happening in Sweden a “parental inquisition.”
“Sweden’s treatment of parents in the area of education is totalitarian, essentially. They want to take children from birth to graduation and control them,” said Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
Don’t worry, this is all happening “ironically” in an otherwise laudable effort to “free” Swedish children from thinking the wrong sorts of things.
Parents are pressured to put their children in daycare at age one.
“One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, ‘Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work,’” Himmselstrand told CBN News.
“The argument they give about this is that every child has a ‘right’ to daycare. This is not a right that parents are allowed to interfere with.”
Donnelly said there is a bad historical precedent for Sweden’s control of children and education: the dictatorships of the last century.
“This seems to be what’s happening in Sweden,” he said. “They want to get the kids. They want to socialize them in the way they think is appropriate, and they don’t want the parents involved.”
Texan Lisa Angerstig married a Swede and lives in Uppsala with their four children. The couple is fighting fines levied over the home schooling of their son.
“Sweden does not believe it’s a parent’s right to choose how you raise your children, period,” Angerstig said. “They believe if you’re keeping your children at home, it’s possible you’re indoctrinating them.”
She believes the Swedish government’s actions prove it believes parents are a negative influence on their children.
A major issue for the Swedish government is gender equality.
The motto for a leading educator in the country states, “Sweden: No more housewives, but higher wages for women.”
Tamara Himmelstrand said she used to experience the daily disapproval of stay-at-home moms in Sweden.
“The incredible disdain Swedish society has for motherhood and the work that I was doing [made me feel like a bad person],” she said.
Let’s take a moment and remind ourselves that feminist ideology is all about “equality” and “choices,” and not at all about socially conditioning men and women to think, feel, and act a certain way.
Researchers have discovered a progressive bias at American universities? I cannot even begin to express my utter lack of surprise (Forum, 2005):
This article first examines the ideological composition of American university faculty and then tests whether ideological homogeneity has become self-reinforcing. A randomly based national survey of 1643 faculty members from 183 four-year colleges and universities finds that liberals and Democrats outnumber conservatives and Republicans by large margins, and the differences are not limited to elite universities or to the social sciences and humanities. A multivariate analysis finds that, even after taking into account the effects of professional accomplishment, along with many other individual characteristics, conservatives and Republicans teach at lower quality schools than do liberals and Democrats. This suggests that complaints of ideologically-based discrimination in academic advancement deserve serious consideration and further study.
Researchers have discovered a progressive bias at American universities? I cannot even begin to express my utter lack of surprise (Campus Reform, 2012):
96% of the faculty and staff at Ivy League colleges that contributed to the 2012 presidential race donated to President Obama’s campaign, reveals a Campus Reform investigation compiled using numbers released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
From the eight elite schools, $1,211,267 was contributed to the Obama campaign, compared to the $114,166 given to Romney.
Researchers have discovered a progressive bias at American universities? I cannot even begin to express—hey, wait a minute. I feel like we’ve been here before (Washington Times, 2012):
‘Impossible lack of diversity’ reflects ideological intimidation on campus
It’s not every day that left-leaning academics admit that they would discriminate against a minority.
But that was what they did in a peer-reviewed study of political diversity in the field of social psychology, which will be published in the September edition of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Psychologists Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, based at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, surveyed a roughly representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology and found that “In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues.”
This finding surprised the researchers. The survey questions “were so blatant that I thought we’d get a much lower rate of agreement,” Mr. Inbar said. “Usually you have to be pretty tricky to get people to say they’d discriminate against minorities.”
One question, according to the researchers, “asked whether, in choosing between two equally qualified job candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate (i.e., over the conservative).”
More than a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate. One respondent wrote in that if department members “could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them.”
Generally speaking, the more liberal the respondent, the more willingness to discriminate and, paradoxically, the higher the assumption that conservatives do not face a hostile climate in the academy.
But Harvey Mansfield, a conservative professor of government at Harvard University, argues that the anti-conservative bias is real and pronounced. He says conservatism is “just not a respectable position to hold” in the academy, where Republicans are caricatured as Fox News enthusiasts who listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Beyond that, conservatives represent a distinct minority on college and university campuses. A 2007 report by sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons found that 80 percent of psychology professors at elite and non-elite universities are Democrats. Other studies reveal that 5 percent to 7 percent of faculty openly identify as Republicans. By contrast, about 20 percent of the general population are liberal and 40 percent are conservative.
In 2011, Mr. Haidt addressed this very issue at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology—the same group that Mr. Inbar and Mr. Lammer surveyed. Mr. Haidt’s talk, “The Bright Future of Post-Partisan Social Psychology,” caused a stir. The professor, whose new book “The Righteous Mind” examines the moral roots of our political positions, asked the nearly 1,000 academics and students in the room to raise their hands if they were liberals. Nearly 80 percent of the hands went up. When he asked whether there were any conservatives in the house, just three hands—0.3 percent—went up.
This is “a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Mr. Haidt said.
The statistical representation of self-reported conservatives in the study may be largely moot as long as they are intimidated by a hostile, discriminatory majority. After all, a silent minority can hardly function as the kind of check on the prevailing assumptions of their liberal colleagues essential for robust academic debate.
“Because of the way the confirmation bias works,” Mr. Haidt says, referring to the pervasive psychological tendency to seek only supporting evidence for one’s beliefs, “you need people around who don’t start with the same bias. You need some non-liberals, and ideally some conservatives.”
Barry Ames; David Barker; Chris Bonneau; Christopher Carman
Not to worry, universities aren’t actually biased. It’s just that progressives are good, smart people and conservatives are evil, stupid people—according to progressives, who, as we’ve just established, cannot possibly be biased, because they’re so good and smart (Inside Higher Ed, 2005):
Inside Higher Ed recently reported on four University of Pittsburgh professors [Barry Ames, David Barker, Chris Bonneau and Christopher Carman] critiquing the latest survey suggesting ideological one-sidedness in the academy. According to the Pitt quartet, self-selection accounts for findings that the faculty of elite disproportionately tilts to the Left. “Many conservatives,” the Pitt professors mused, “may deliberately choose not to seek employment at top-tier research universities because they object, on philosophical grounds, to one of the fundamental tenets undergirding such institutions: the scientific method.”
Unlike progressives, who adore the scientific method, especially evolutionary biology: Take that, stupid Christians!—Oh, unless it gives racist answers; “behavioral geneticist” Eric Turkheimer (Cato Unbound, 2007):
If I may address my fellow Jews for a moment, consider this. How would you feel about a line of research into the question of whether Jews have a genetic tendency to be more concerned with money than other groups? Nothing anti-semitic, mind you, just a rational investigation of the scientific evidence. It wouldn’t be difficult to measure interest in money and materialism, and it wouldn’t surprise me if as an empirical matter Jews scored a little higher on the resulting test than other groups. As a behavioral geneticist I can assure you without reservation that the trait would be heritable, and, if anyone bothered to take the time to find out, specific genes would have small associations with it. Of course, this research program has already been carried out, at least to the extent the relevant technology was available in 1939. While we are at it we could open a whole scientific institute for the scientific study of racial stereotypes, and finally pull together the evidence on sneaky Japanese, drunken Irish, unintelligent Poles, overemotional women and lazy Italians.
Hopefully I am beginning to offend you. Why? Why don’t we accept racial stereotypes as reasonable hypotheses, okay to consider until they have been scientifically proven false? They are offensive precisely because they violate our intuition about the balance between innateness and self-determination of the moral and cultural qualities of human beings. No reasonable person would be offended by the observation that African people have curlier hair than the Chinese, notwithstanding the possibility of some future environment in which it is no longer true. But we can recognize a contention that Chinese people are genetically predisposed to be better table tennis players than Africans as silly, and the contention that they are smarter than Africans as ugly, because it is a matter of ethical principle that individual and cultural accomplishment is not tied to the genes in the same way as the appearance of our hair.
For as we all know, the last step in the scientific method is to check your conclusions for ugliness, and make sure no one feels offended by them. You may have violated Newton’s lesser-known Fourth Law, on the “balance” that exists “between innateness and self-determination of the moral and cultural qualities of human beings.”
This coming from the man who coined the “First Law of Behavior Genetics”: “All human behavioral traits are heritable.” There’s definitely something ugly going on here, but it has nothing to do with Africans having lower IQs than the Chinese—which, in fact, they do. (Reality is racist.)
Eric Turkheimer; Troy Duster; Gregg Bloche
Indeed, it may be better to let blacks die of heart attacks than admit race is genetic (New York Times, 2004):
Researchers last week described a new drug, called BiDil, that sharply reduces death from heart disease among African-Americans. That sounds like unalloyed good news, especially because African-Americans have been underrepresented in previous drug trials and because there is already an important class of heart drug that does not work as well in blacks as it does in whites.
But not everyone is cheering unreservedly. Many people, including some African-Americans, have long been uneasy with the concept of race-based medicine, in part from fear that it may legitimize less benign ideas about race.
Some African-Americans fear that if doctors start to make diagnoses by race, then some in the public may see that as a basis for imputing behavioral traits as well. “If you think in terms of taxonomies of race, you will make the dangerous conclusion that race will explain violence,” says Dr. Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University.
“Anything that invites the perception of African Americans as biologically different is a huge worry,” said Dr. Gregg Bloche, a Georgetown University physician who studies racial disparities in health care.
“Dangerous conclusion.” “Huge worry.” Sounds like science to me! But we’ll talk more about doublethink on genetic race later, and contemplate the consequences for science after that. Back to Inside Higher Ed:
Imagine the appropriate outrage that would have occurred had the above critique referred to feminists, minorities, or Socialists. Yet the Pitt quartet’s line of reasoning—that faculty ideological imbalance reflects the academy functioning as it should—has appeared with regularity, and has been, unintentionally, most revealing. Indeed, the very defense offered by the academic Establishment, rather than the statistical surveys themselves, has gone a long way toward proving the case of critics who say that the academy lacks sufficient intellectual diversity.
Instead, the last two years have seen proud, often inflammatory, defenses of the professoriate’s ideological imbalance. These arguments, which have fallen into three categories, raise grave concerns about the academy’s overall direction.
Ron McClamrock; Robert Brandon; John McCumber; George Lakoff
1. The cultural left is, simply, more intelligent than anyone else. As SUNY-Albany’s Ron McClamrock reasoned, “Lefties are overrepresented in academia because on average, we’re just f-ing smarter.” The first recent survey came in early 2004, when the Duke Conservative Union disclosed that Duke’s humanities departments contained 142 registered Democrats and 8 registered Republicans. Philosophy Department chairman Robert Brandon considered the results unsurprising: “If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.”
In a slightly different vein, UCLA professor John McCumber informed The New York Times that “a successful career in academia, after all, requires willingness to be critical of yourself and to learn from experience,” qualities “antithetical to Republicanism as it has recently come to be.” In another Times article, Berkeley professor George Lakoff asserted that Leftists predominate in the academy because, “unlike conservatives, they believe in working for the public good and social justice, as well as knowledge and art for their own sake.” Again, imagine the appropriate outcry if prominent academics employed such sweeping generalizations to dismiss statistical disparities suggesting underrepresentation of women, gays, or minorities.
Progressive academics do seem rather attached to their (apparently unfalsifiable) opinion that blacks and mestizos underperform intellectually because of “white privilege”—which somehow has the exact opposite effect on Asians. But we don’t really need to imagine the outcry when someone mentions that the achievement gaps are accounted for by the intelligence gaps we’re supposed to pretend don’t exist (Radish 1.7); more on that later.
Grover Furr; John Burness; Roberta Matthews
2. A left-leaning tilt in the faculty is a pedagogical necessity, because professors must expose gender, racial, and class bias while promoting peace, “diversity” and “cultural competence.” According to Montclair State’s Grover Furr, “colleges and universities do not need a single additional ‘conservative’ …. What they do need, and would much benefit from, is more Marxists, radicals, leftists—all terms conventionally applied to those who fight against exploitation, racism, sexism, and capitalism. We can never have too many of these, just as we can never have too few ‘conservatives.’”
Grover Furr, by the way, is literally a Stalinist Communist, who has called the Ukrainian famine “a Nazi-inspired myth”; more generally, he believes there were no “‘mass murders’ by the Stalin regime,” they were all “anticommunist fabrications,” and all claims to the contrary are “bullshit” (he screamed, at a student). He attributes the Victims of Communism Memorial to “Nazi collaborators,” and describes Soviet Communism as “one of the greatest triumphs of social engineering of the 20th century”—for which we should be grateful, because I’m not sure we could have survived many “triumphs” greater than that! More on this jolly fellow later.
To John Burness, Duke’s senior vice president for public affairs, such statements reflect a proper professorial role. The “creativity” in humanities and social science disciplines, he noted, addresses issues of race, class, and gender, leading to a “perfectly logical criticism of the current society” in the classroom.
At some universities, this mindset has even shaped curricular or personnel policies. Though its release generated widespread criticism and hints from administrators that it would not be adopted, a proposal to make “cultural competence” a key factor in all personnel decisions remains the working draft of the University of Oregon’s new diversity plan. Columbia recently set aside $15 million for hiring women and minorities—and white males who would “in some way promote the diversity goals of the university.” And the University of Arizona’s hiring blueprint includes requiring new faculty in some disciplines to “conduct research and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the importance of valuing diversity.”
On the curricular front, my own institution’s provost, Roberta Matthews (who has written that “teaching is a political act”) intends for the college’s new general education curriculum to produce “global citizens”—who, she commented, are those “sensitized to issues of race, class, and gender.”
How appropriate! Sensitize (verb): “cause (someone or something) to respond to certain stimuli” (Oxford). Not so different from a certain other word, meaning to “train or accustom (someone or something) to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances” (ibid.).
(I note that sensitize can also mean: “make (an organism) abnormally sensitive to a foreign substance.”)
Juan Cole; Russell Jacoby; Erwin Chemerinsky
3. A left-leaning professoriate is a structural necessity, because the liberal arts faculty must balance business school faculty and/or the general conservative political culture. University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, denouncing the “ridiculous and pernicious line” that major universities need greater intellectual diversity, complained about insufficient attention to the ideological breakdown of “Business Schools, Medical Schools, [and] Engineering schools.” UCLA’s Russell Jacoby wondered why “conservatives seem unconcerned about the political orientation of the business professors.” Duke Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky more ambitiously claimed that “it’s hard to see this as a time of liberal dominance” given conservative control of the three branches of government.
Professional schools reflect the mindset of their professions: Socialists are about as common on business school faculty as are home-schooling advocates among education school professors. But, unlike business schools, liberal arts colleges and universities do not exist to train students for a single profession. Nor are they supposed to balance the existing political culture. If the Democrats reclaim the presidency and Congress in the 2008 elections, should the academy suddenly adopt an anti-liberal posture?
Not to mention the fact that the universities exercise far greater power (or “influence,” as they prefer to call it) than all three formal branches of government put together, as Mencius Moldbug pointed out in his Open Letter:
My stepfather, a mid-level Washington insider who spent twenty years working as a staffer for Democratic senators, caviled vigorously at the idea that the Democrats are the “Inner Party” and Republicans are the “Outer Party.” He pointed out that between 2000 and 2006, the Republicans held the Presidency and both houses of Congress.
I pointed out that he was actually underplaying his hand. During this period, Republican nominees also held a majority on the Supreme Court. By the eleventh-grade civics-class “separation of powers” theory, this would have given the Grand Old Party complete domination over North America. Without breaking a single law, they could have: liquidated the State Department and transferred sole foreign-policy responsibility to the Pentagon, packed the Supreme Court with televangelists, required that all universities receiving Federal funds balance their appointments between pro-choice and pro-life professors, terminated all research in the areas of global warming, evolution and sexual lubricants, etc, etc, etc.
Whereas in fact, in all the hundreds of thousands of things Washington does, there was exactly one major policy which the Bush administration and Congress pursued, but their Democratic equivalents would not have: the invasion of Iraq. Which you may support or oppose, but whose direct effect on the government of North America is hard to see as major. Moreover, this applies only to the first term of the Bush administration. We have no strong reason to believe that a Kerry administration would not have adopted the same policies in Iraq, including the “surge.”
Why did the Republicans not use their formal control over the mechanisms of Washington to cement real control, as the Democrats did in 1933? There are many specific answers to this question, but the basic answer is that they never had real power. In theory, the Queen has just the same power over the UK, and if she tried to use it all that would happen is that she would lose it. Exactly the same is true of our own dear Outer Party, on whatever occasion it should next get into office. It may get into office again. It will never get into power. (Although it retains the power to fill many juicy sinecures.)
Meanwhile, back in academia, things are unlikely to improve, according to Inside Higher Ed:
The intellectual diversity issue shows no signs of fading away. Ideological one-sidedness among the professoriate seems to be, if anything, expanding. And so, no doubt, will we see additional surveys suggesting a heavy ideological imbalance among the nation’s faculty—followed by new inflammatory statements from the academic Establishment that only reinforce the critics’ claims about bias in the personnel process.
In an ideal world, campus administrators would have rectified this problem long ago. A few have made small steps.
To my knowledge, however, no academic administration has made the creation of an intellectually and pedagogically diverse faculty its primary goal.
Why? I think Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate put it quite well (Boston Phoenix, 2005):
The modern university is the culmination of a 20-year trend of irrationalism marked by an increasingly totalitarian approach to highly politicized issues. Students are subjected to mandatory gender- and racial-sensitivity training akin to thought reform, often during freshman orientation and sometimes as punishment (or “remedial education”) for uttering offensive speech. Faculty members and administrators are made to understand that their careers are at risk if they deviate from the accepted viewpoint. So, even though academic administrators don’t necessarily believe in the official positions, in this brave new world, they must acquiesce for professional reasons. The mantra of the modern campus administrator—usually more a mindless bureaucrat than an intellectual leader—has become “no trouble on my watch.”
O brave new world,/That has such people in’t!
From Frank Hansen’s 1984
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Chapter 3, Winston Smith is awakened for the mandatory morning exercises by the usual ear-splitting whistle from his telescreen (television and surveillance camera combined):
As he mechanically shot his arms back and forth, wearing on his face the look of grim enjoyment which was considered proper during the Physical Jerks, he was struggling to think his way backward into the dim period of his early childhood.
Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air raid which appeared to take everyone by surprise.
Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war. […] At the moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.
The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control,” they called it; in Newspeak, “doublethink.”
His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. […] Even to understand the word “doublethink” involved the use of doublethink.
Doublethink explained, in a certain illegal book Winston acquires (Chapter 9):
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. […] Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc [English Socialism: “the Party”], since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary.
It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of doublethink are those who invented doublethink and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion: the more intelligent, the less sane.
“Crimestop” is closely related to doublethink:
A Party member is expected to have no private emotions and no respites from enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a skeptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advanced by his early acquired inner discipline. The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc [the Party], and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
How have we not yet stamped out the racist, sexist, ageist notion that some of these people might be more dangerous than the others and thus bear closer scrutiny from police? Anyone who believes that racist lie deserves to be murdered!
“Civil rights laws,” noted Mary Berry, the black chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, “were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them.” Besides Ms. Berry’s subtle take on “civil rights,” doublethink reminds me of nothing so much as the late Lawrence Auster’s concept of the unprincipled exception:
The unprincipled exception is a non-liberal value or assertion, not explicitly identified as non-liberal, that liberals use to escape the inconvenient, personally harmful, or suicidal consequences of their own liberalism without questioning liberalism itself. Alternatively, the unprincipled exception is a non-liberal value or assertion, not explicitly identified as non-liberal, that conservatives use to slow the advance of liberalism or to challenge some aspect of liberalism without challenging liberalism itself.
Modern liberalism stands for principles of equality and non-discrimination which, if followed consistently, would make a decent life in this world, or any life at all, impossible. But modern liberal society does not permit the public expression of non-liberal principles, by which rational limits to equality and non-discrimination, or indeed the very falsity of these ideas altogether, can be articulated. This fact forces liberals continually to make exceptions to their own liberalism, without admitting to themselves and others that they are doing so. Such exceptions must take inchoate, non-conceptual, pre-rational forms, such as appeals to brute self-interest, to the need to respond to a pressing emergency, or to common sense. For example, liberals who want to escape from the negative consequences of their liberal beliefs in a given instance will often say that the application of a liberal idea in that instance “goes too far,” without their indicating by what principle they distinguish between an idea that has gone “too far” and one that hasn’t. In fact, it’s purely a matter of what suits their own comfort level and convenience.
Auster and Berry: one of them doesn’t believe civil rights apply to white men, and the other was considered “racist.”
Conservatives also must have recourse to the unprincipled exception, but for a different reason than the liberals. Liberals are seeking to escape the negative consequences of their own liberalism. Conservatives, of course, actively oppose liberalism, or, rather, they oppose some aspects of liberalism. But because the conservatives live in modern liberal society, where principled opposition to liberalism is not allowed, and also because the conservatives themselves subscribe to liberalism and are not prepared to think outside its concepts, the conservatives’ only available means of opposing some aspects of liberalism is by unprincipled exceptions, such as appealing to common sense, or to the shared unreflective habits of society, or saying, “That’s just the way things are,” or asserting that a particular liberal belief is “silly” or “stupid” or “extreme.” These methods allow conservatives to find fault with various symptoms of liberalism, without attacking liberalism per se.
For example, a conservative might advocate the exclusion of Muslim jihadists from U.S. immigration, or the ethnic profiling of Muslims in airport security checks. But he will not challenge, or, indeed, even mention, the underlying liberal belief in non-discrimination that compels us to admit Muslim jihadists in the first place and that requires us to avoid ethnic profiling of Muslims. Instead he will make a non-conceptual appeal to common sense: we’ve got a really serious problem here, we can’t continue admitting these people into America, we can’t continue checking babies and old ladies in airports instead of focusing on young Muslim men, we’ve got to do something. […] Thus the excesses of liberalism that are intolerably costly and dangerous can be corrected, without the liberalism that led to those excesses being criticized or even becoming an object of consciousness, and without the conservatives who carried out the act of correction appearing as anti-liberal.
Auster also compiled a list of examples of unprincipled exceptions: recommended.
Hey, Harvard. Just checking in. So, human evolution: do we still believe in that?
When Matthew Yglesias, an ultra-left wing journalist, wants to dismiss a diet trend as “nonsense science,” he seems to grasp the notion that human beings, like other living things, are subject to evolutionary forces: “major changes,” he notes, “can appear over a time as short as, or even shorter than 10,000 years.” For some reason, Yglesias declines to apply this same principle to, say, Africans and Europeans, who evolved in reproductive isolation for at least 60,000 years. In fact, the non-African races, and only those races, actually share Neanderthal DNA, which seems interesting—ah, but to Yglesias, “of course” that sort of thinking “is shot through with racism; what else would the race-science paradigm possibly be infused with?” What indeed. Ban it forthwith!
Worse still, “extending the analysis to explain the observed gap in violent crime rates seems like an obvious move.” How dare scientific analysis explain things we don’t want explained for political reasons! I was not even a tiny bit sorry to hear that Yglesias got his ass kicked by blacks for being white in D.C.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen progressive doublethink on “dangerous” science:
Some African-Americans fear that if doctors start to make diagnoses by race, then some in the public may see that as a basis for imputing behavioral traits as well. “If you think in terms of taxonomies of race, you will make the dangerous conclusion that race will explain violence,” says Dr. Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University.
“Anything that invites the perception of African Americans as biologically different is a huge worry,” said Dr. Gregg Bloche, a Georgetown University physician who studies racial disparities in health care.
Human evolution: where does Matthew Yglesias fit in?
The New York Times is a perfect example of institutional doublethink on human evolution. One of these things is not like the others…
First, science reporter Nicholas Wade’s ‘Race Is Seen as Real Guide to Track Roots of Disease’ (2002):
Challenging the widely held view that race is a “biologically meaningless” concept, a leading population geneticist says that race is helpful for understanding ethnic differences in disease and response to drugs.
The geneticist, Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University, says that genetic differences have arisen among people living on different continents and that race, referring to geographically based ancestry, is a valid way of categorizing these differences.
Race, as Dr. Risch describes it, has arisen because of the numerous small genetic differences that have developed in populations around the world. Many studies, Dr. Risch writes, have shown that these differences cluster into five major groups, which are simply the world’s major continental areas.
When modern humans spread out of Africa and across the globe, these early populations bred for many generations in substantial isolation from one another, allowing genetic differences to build up between groups. These five geographically isolated groups, in Dr. Risch’s description, are sub-Saharan Africans; Caucasians, including people from Europe, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East; Asians, including people from China, Japan, the Philippines and Siberia; Pacific Islanders; and Native Americans.
Editors of both the journals criticized by Dr. Risch expressed respect for his views. Dr. Robert Schwartz, the deputy editor of The New England Journal of Medicine and the author of its editorial, said Dr. Risch’s article was “a serious piece of work and merits a lot of thought.”
Dr. Bette Phimister, editor of Nature Genetics, said that “Risch’s point that there is a high and useful degree of correlation between ethnicity/race and genetic structure, is well taken, and one with which we agree.”
Wade follows up with ‘2 Scholarly Articles Diverge on Role of Race in Medicine’ (2003):
A view widespread among many social scientists, endorsed in official statements by the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association, is that race is not a valid biological concept. But biologists, particularly the population geneticists who study genetic variation, have found that there is a structure in the human population. The structure is a family tree showing separate branches for Africans, Caucasians (Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent), East Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians.
Dr. Risch and nine co-authors say that ignoring race will “retard progress in biomedical research.”
Racial differences have arisen, they say, because after the ancestral human population in Africa spread throughout the world 40,000 years ago, geographical barriers prevented interbreeding. On each continent, under the influence of natural selection and the random change between generations known as genetic drift, people would have diverged away from the common ancestral population, creating the major races. Within each race, religious, cultural and geographical barriers fostered other endogamous, or inbreeding, populations that led to the ethnic groups.
Wade is in dangerous territory with ‘Researchers Say Human Brain Is Still Evolving’ (2005):
Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, suggesting that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution.
The new finding, reported by Bruce T. Lahn of the University of Chicago and colleagues in the journal Science, could raise controversy because of the genes’ role in determining brain size. New versions of the genes, or alleles, as geneticists call them, appear to have spread because they enhanced the brain’s function in some way, the report suggests, and they are more common in some populations than others.
Last year Dr. Lahn, one of a select group of researchers supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, showed that a group of 20 brain-associated genes, including microcephalin and ASPM, had evolved faster in the great ape lineage than in mice and rats. He concluded that these genes may have played important roles in the evolution of the human brain.
They report that with microcephalin, a new allele arose about 37,000 years ago, although it could have appeared as early as 60,000 or as late as 14,000 years ago. Some 70 percent or more of people in most European and East Asian populations carry this allele of the gene, as do 100 percent of those in three South American Indian populations, but the allele is much rarer in most sub-Saharan Africans.
With the other gene, ASPM, a new allele emerged some time between 14,100 and 500 years ago, the researchers favoring a mid-way date of 5,800 years. The allele has attained a frequency of about 50 percent in populations of the Middle East and Europe, is less common in East Asia, and found at low frequency in some sub-Saharan Africa peoples.
Wade sums it all up in ‘Humans Have Spread Globally, and Evolved Locally’ (2007):
People have continued to evolve since leaving the ancestral homeland in northeastern Africa some 50,000 years ago, both through the random process known as genetic drift and through natural selection. The genome bears many fingerprints in places where natural selection has recently remolded the human clay, researchers have found, as people in the various continents adapted to new diseases, climates, diets and, perhaps, behavioral demands.
A striking feature of many of these changes is that they are local. The genes under selective pressure found in one continent-based population or race are mostly different from those that occur in the others. These genes so far make up a small fraction of all human genes.
Last year Benjamin Voight, Jonathan Pritchard and colleagues at the University of Chicago searched for genes under natural selection in Africans, Europeans and East Asians. In each race, some 200 genes showed signals of selection, but without much overlap, suggesting that the populations on each continent were adapting to local challenges.
Another study, by Scott Williamson of Cornell University and colleagues, published in PLoS Genetics this month, found 100 genes under selection in Chinese, African-Americans and European-Americans.
Another puzzle is presented by selected genes involved in brain function, which occur in different populations and could presumably be responses to behavioral challenges encountered since people left the ancestral homeland in Africa.
A genomic survey of world populations by Dr. Feldman, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues in 2002 showed that people clustered genetically on the basis of small differences in DNA into five groups that correspond to the five continent-based populations: Africans, Australian aborigines, East Asians, American Indians and Caucasians, a group that includes Europeans, Middle Easterners and people of the Indian subcontinent. The clusterings reflect “serial founder effects,” Dr. Feldman said, meaning that as people migrated around the world, each new population carried away just part of the genetic variation in the one it was derived from.
The new scans for selection show so far that the populations on each continent have evolved independently in some ways as they responded to local climates, diseases and, perhaps, behavioral situations.
“There are difficulties in where you put boundaries on the globe, but we know now there are enough genetic differences between people from different parts of the world that you can classify people in groups that correspond to popular notions of race,” Dr. Pritchard said.
David Reich, a population geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, said that the term “race” was scientifically inexact and that he preferred “ancestry.” Genetic tests of ancestry are now so precise, he said, that they can identify not just Europeans but can distinguish between northern and southern Europeans. Ancestry tests are used in trying to identify genes for disease risk by comparing patients with healthy people. People of different races are excluded in such studies. Their genetic differences would obscure the genetic difference between patients and unaffected people.
Compare philosopher Justin E.H. Smith’s ‘The Enlightenment’s “Race” Problem, and Ours’ (2013):
Many who are fully prepared to acknowledge [!] that there are no significant natural differences between races nonetheless argue that there are certain respects in which it is worth retaining the concept of race. […] There is, they argue, a certain pragmatic utility in retaining it, even if they acknowledge [!!] that racial categories result from social and historical legacies, rather than being dictated by nature. In this respect “race” has turned out to be a very different sort of social construction [!!!] than, say, “witch” or “lunatic.” While generally there is a presumption that to catch out some entity or category as socially constructed is at the same time to condemn it, many thinkers are prepared to simultaneously acknowledge [!!!!] both the non-naturalness of race as well as a certain pragmatic utility in retaining it.
Since the mid-20th century no mainstream scientist [!!!!!] has considered race a biologically significant category; no scientist [!!!!!!] believes any longer that “negroid,” “caucasoid” and so on represent real natural kinds or categories. For several decades it has been well established that there is as much genetic variation between two members of any supposed race, as between two members of supposedly distinct races [Lewontin’s fallacy]. This is not to say that there are no real differences, some of which are externally observable, between different human populations. It is only to say, as Lawrence Hirschfeld wrote in his 1996 book, “Race in the Making: Cognition, Culture, and the Child’s Construction of Human Kinds,” that “races as socially defined do not (even loosely) capture interesting [!!!!!!!] clusters of these differences.”
The history of race, then, is not like the history of, say, witches: a group that is shown not to exist [!!!!!!!!] and that accordingly proceeds to go away. Why is this?
But given that we now know [!!!!!!!!!] that the identity groups in modern multicultural states are plainly constituted on ethno-linguistic and cultural grounds, rather than on biological-essential grounds, it remains unclear why we should not allow a concept such as “culture” or “ethnie” to do the semantic work for us that until now we have allowed the historically tainted and misleading [!!!!!!!!!!] concept of “race” to do.
Steve Sailer notes: “It’s fascinating how even the people who write and edit for the New York Times on human genetics-related subjects don’t actually read the New York Times’s excellent reporting on human genetics.”
Let’s see: deport them… ugh, definitely deport her… oh, certainly import tens of thousands more of them…
You may recall Sweden’s home-schooling refugees. Meanwhile, ‘Eric Holder’s DOJ Finds Some Foreigners It Wants To Deport—White Evangelical German Homeschoolers’ (VDARE, 2013; links in original):
Eric “My People” Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is actively working to deport a German family who had already been granted refugee asylum status.
It’s not an oversight. It’s not a technicality. Eric Holder’s DOJ has gone out of its way to get this family deported.
The Romeikes left Germany because of the harassment they received from the government for home schooling their children. They had been fined and were facing the possibility of losing custody of their children. They thus moved to the United States.
The Romeikes applied for asylum and on January 26, 2010 an immigration judge in Tennessee granted them asylum.
Case closed? Not in Obama’s America. Eric “My People” Holder’s DOJ got involved, seeking to reverse their asylum status. The Board of Immigration Appeals backed up Holder and the Romeikes appealed. Thus we now have the case known as Romeike vs. Holder, pending before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The DOJ’s basic argument is that, since basically nobody is allowed to homeschool in Germany, the Romeikes aren’t being persecuted, so they shouldn’t be given asylum, and thus “The applicants are ordered removed from the United States to Germany.”
Why is the Obama administration so determined to drive one German family out, when it’s trying to amnesty millions of mostly Hispanic illegal aliens? Are there other considerations at work here? Possibly demographic, cultural and political issues? Just asking.
It also reminds me of the case of a British girl recently subject to deportation, see Obama’s Administrative Amnesty Not Applicable To White, Legal, English Girl. Does the Obama administration have something against white immigrants? Just asking.
Nevertheless, one has to ask why the same the U.S. government has to dump Somali refugees in places like Maine and Minnesota while trying to kick out one German family. Who assimilates better—Somalis or Germans?
Allow me to go out on a limb here, and tentatively predict that the Romeike children, should they be allowed to stay here, are not going to turn out to be criminals and/or welfare recipients.
Indeed, Minnesota—not to mention Maine, and apparently Portland—has chosen to import tens of thousands of Somali “refugees,” blessing the state with a veritable rainbow of vibrant diversity and diverse vibrancy—along with an epidemic of assault, murder, more murder, further murder, gang murder, gang warfare, terrorism, more terrorism, racial violence, rape, sex slavery, and more sex slavery, including these 29 diverse vibrancies:
Doing the sex slavery Americans won’t do.
Why, exactly, was it necessary to take in these Somalis? (Without, I might add, consulting the voters of Minnesota.) Presumably because Somalia is such a horrible place to live. Why, then, is Somalia such a horrible place to live? Could it be due to the presence of a large number of Somalis? Does the behavior of Somalis here bear this out?
I leave it to you, my fair and open-minded friends, to answer these questions to your own satisfaction.
Left: It is, of course, obviously extremely racist to test their intelligence with the Raven IQ test.
Right: It is, of course, obviously extremely racist not to test his intelligence with the Raven IQ test.
IQ tests provide a textbook example of progressive doublethink. Let’s start with the Guardian (2012):
A death row prisoner who has been medically diagnosed as “mentally retarded” and therefore exempt from execution is set to die on Tuesday in Texas, a state that rejects scientific consensus and instead applies its own definition of learning difficulties based on a character in a John Steinbeck novel.
Barring a last minute intervention by the courts, Marvin Wilson, 54, will be put to death by lethal injection even though he has been subjected to scientifically-recognised tests that show him to be intellectually disabled—or “mentally retarded” as the US legal system still calls the condition.
Wilson was subjected to a raft of tests to determine his intellectual abilities, using internationally recognised clinical procedures. The tests were carried out by Dr Donald Trahan, a neuropsychologist who has evaluated more than 500 patients with learning difficulties. Trahan personally administered to Wilson the TONI-II, the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices, the Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised, the Wide Range Achievement Test-3rd, the Language Assessment Battery, the Orientation Evaluation, the Verbal Selective Reminding Test, the Visual Reproduction Subtest and the Remote Sensory Evaluation.
The tests gave Wilson an IQ score of 61—putting him in the lowest percentile of the population.
The Atlantic (home to Matthew “Shot Through with Racism” Yglesias) goes quite a bit further in ‘Of Mice And Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson’ (2012), subtitled: “How the State of Texas blew off a Supreme Court decision so it could execute a mentally retarded man.” Responsible journalism at its finest:
At 6:26 p.m local time last night, an hour or so after the last appeal was denied, Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54-year-old man with an IQ of 61 which, his attorneys were quick to point out, is “below the first percentile of human intelligence.”
Okay, I gather from these articles that “IQ” has something to do with “intelligence.” In particular, Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (also known as “Raven” or “SPM”) are apparently, according to both sources, a good way to measure how smart someone is, being one of those “internationally recognised clinical procedures” used to “determine intellectual abilities,” which make up “human intelligence.” The Raven is an interesting test: it uses no language at all, just simple shapes in black and white. It was designed to eliminate cultural bias. Neat.
What’s interesting is that the very same test—which the Guardian has just assured us is “recognised,” both “internationally” and “scientifically,” as a “clinical procedure” for measuring “intellectual abilities”—will tell you that the average “IQ”—that’s a measure of “human intelligence,” according to the Atlantic—is consistently 98–100 in Australia, 98 in Austria, 99 in Belgium, and similarly in other European countries; but it is consistently 63–65 in Ethiopia, 64–69 in Nigeria, 64–68 in the Congo (both before and after Belgian colonial rule, by the way), 62 in Ghana, 72 in Sudan, 70 in Zimbabwe, and similarly in other African countries (IQ and Global Inequality, 2006).
By now, gentle reader, you should be all too familiar with what happened to Nobel laureate James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, when he mentioned this indisputable, not even remotely debatable scientific fact (that the test scores are what they are), stating “that he was ‘inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa’ because ‘all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really’” (Independent, 2007). Let’s see what the Guardian (2007) makes of that:
Most scientists have quickly jumped into the furore to dismantle the idea that significant intellectual differences exist between Africans and others. ‘Defining intelligence is complex and there are many forms of intelligence, not all of which are captured by IQ tests,’ said the Oxford neurologist Colin Blakemore.
Um… what happened to the “scientific consensus” on the “scientifically-recognised tests” and “internationally recognised clinical procedures” that were used to “determine” the “intellectual abilities” of Marvin Wilson? How did Raven’s Matrices manage to “capture” all these “many forms of intelligence” that suddenly started appearing in the press in 2007 to foil racist Watson’s hateful plot to make us think black people, in general, aren’t too bright, so white people might not be responsible for every little thing that goes wrong for them? Do IQ tests only work on black murderers? What am I allowed to believe about intelligence testing without losing my job and being publicly disgraced? Help, help! Someone call the Ministry of Truth!
Setting aside Marvin Wilson’s IQ score, this supposedly “retarded” man already had two convictions for robbery when he abducted and murdered a drug informant, who he’d referred to as a “snitch.” This proves that Mr. Wilson, however stupid he might have been (which was very stupid indeed, for an American; not so much for an African), basically understood what he was doing: killing a man to stay out of prison. That’s not the same as, say, Lennie—you know, the mentally retarded character from the famous John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men? See, Lenny never intended to kill Curley’s wife. He just didn’t know his own strength.
That, by the way, is precisely the reason the U.S. doesn’t execute people who are genuinely mentally disabled, and not merely stupid: because the former cannot be held accountable for their actions. But never mind that; we’ve got the story we want (“Stupid Racist Texans Stupid, Racist: Study”), and we’re not going to let any sort of white supremacist facts and neo-Nazi critical thinking get in our way:
- “Texas hopes to exploit a potential loophole in the Supreme Court’s decision declaring executions of the mentally retarded unconstitutional in order to move forward with this execution. […] Texas has designed its own, narrow definition of mental retardation that bears little resemblance to the one used by scientists and clinicians. […] This kind of zealous appetite for the death penalty is nothing new in Texas” (ThinkProgress).
- “These factors are not actually recognized by any scientists as proof of mental capacity, but the state of Texas doesn’t seem to care. […] If the standards for mental capacity can be allowed to completely ignore the opinions of legitimate scientists, what other arbitrary loopholes will execution-happy states like Texas put in? […] Something is rotten in the state of Texas” (PolicyMic).
- “Texas’ counter? Wilson is wholly dissimilar to a fictional character created by novelist John Steinbeck. […] It concocted seven criteria called ‘Briseno factors,’ which were based upon the character Lennie Small from Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice And Men” (International Business Times). Cue laugh track.
- “On behalf of the family of John Steinbeck, I am deeply troubled by today’s scheduled execution of Marvin Wilson. The character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability. I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous, and profoundly tragic” (Thomas Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s eldest son).
- “SCOTUS ruled in 2002 that the Eight Amendment prohibits putting a retarded person to death..but that hasn’t stopped good ole Texas…nope. […] Oh and did I mention that Lewis [sic] is Black and so was his victim? Not that it should make a friggin difference.. except to racists and we know TX and vast majority of extreme rightwing assholes fit that bill” (Leftwing Nutjob).
- “Texas what the hell is wrong with you? My God what is happening to this country. Looking more like Hitler’s Germany everyday” (Democratic Underground).
Obviously you’d have to be a stupid racist Texan to use fiction to understand the human condition. Or, like, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, maybe one of the more racist Brontë sisters…
Returning to the matter of suspected Texan James Watson, an opinion piece in the Guardian (2007) is titled, ever so generously: ‘His Views Are Hateful. But So Is the Attempt to Deny Him a Voice.’
Watson is a nut, and a racist nut at that.
Again: an indisputable, not even remotely debatable scientific fact. The test scores are what they are.
Even when a person’s views come from the swamps of a slaver’s mind, it is wrong for them to be silenced. Far better to have Watson’s pseudo-scientific nonsense out in the open and allow its dispatch by cool reason and moral force.
Which is why Watson’s indisputable, not even remotely debatable statement was then “dispatched by cool reason.” Oh, wait. That never happened. But there was quite a bit of moralizing, and not a little force.
Some discomfort, even pain, comes with the privilege of free speech. We have known that since the Enlightenment, but each generation needs to remember that the downside of free speech is a buffer like Watson trailing a sulphurous whiff of eugenics or the Islamist clerics calling for the death of homosexuals and Jews. The way you deal with them is not with laws, but with savage ridicule—
—because, of course, you can’t actually refute them (because blacks really are less intelligent than whites).
Another opinion piece in the Guardian (2007), this one by a black man, showcases the author’s ignorance of psychology, psychometrics, and apparently the very existence of the field of intelligence research:
… Professor James Watson claimed that Africans are less “intelligent” than westerners… a line of thinking that is—to be charitable—old hat… insulting many Africans… offended… racist rant… semblance of authoritative scientific opinion… there is nothing like universal human intelligence… Whoever devises the IQ test comes out of it best…
Jews and Koreans devise all the IQ tests? Never mind, this drooling cretin is beneath me.
… you cannot go outside your personal knowledge to expropriate [sic] knowledge that is applicable to all humans… the westerner’s own lack of intelligence and analytical ability… malignant racism… not pursuing “truth” but peddling prejudice… that coming from a guy who hails from the land of “Jim Crow” cannot, and should not, be simply tossed aside… apartheid supporters… Hitler and the Nazis… racist atrocities…
Why does everyone seem to think Hitler and the Nazis disliked non-white people? What is the source of this belief? (You know Hitler never really snubbed Jesse Owens, right?) Anyway, cue the mass scare quotes:
…”scientists”… “Bongo-bongo-land”… “evidence”… the scientific “tests” that, supposedly, have established the presence of those differences…
Oh ho ho. “Bongo-bongo-land.” Yes, well done. You certainly made that Nobel laureate look foolish.
Are you getting the impression that what we’re dealing with here is a consistent set of reasoned conclusions about race, intelligence, and the connections, if any, between them, that have been rigorously derived through honest investigation from all the available evidence? Because I am not getting that impression.
A public service announcement from Steve Volk, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Rachel Maddow
Recall the definition of crimestop: it’s “the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought.”
It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
Now where have we seen this sort of thing before? If you can’t come up with a hundred examples in the next ten minutes, I respectfully submit that you haven’t been keeping up on the latest in progressive thought control.
Do people steal BBQ grills from back patios because they’re black? Or Halloween pumpkins? Do they deal Oxycontin because the amount of pigment in their skin produces such behavior? No.
Is race the same as skin color? Can you tan a Swede Mexican? Is “black albino” an oxymoron?
Here is the reliably inane Ta-Nehisi Coates failing to perceive the same logical error, plus at least three others:
Perhaps there really is a genetic relationship between the darkness of skin and the potency of neurons. (Only for “Africans,” mind you.) Maybe the sterilizers and the slave-traders were wise beyond their years.
Well, if their assessment of black intelligence matches, say, President Thomas Jefferson, philosopher David Hume, biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, or just about any other intelligent, informed person before, say, the mid 20th century (Radish 1.7), I guess maybe they were. They certainly knew a lot more than Coates.
Here is the liar Rachel Maddow deliberately misunderstanding the simplest arguments by Pat Buchanan:
I do feel obliged […] to correct some of the things that were said in the course of my argument with Pat that were stated as fact that were not true. I feel an obligation just to correct the factual record as we would with anything else that was stated as fact on this show that was not true. […] Pat also said, quote, the US track team in the Olympics, they’re all black folks. Uhm, the US Olympic track team is not all black, folks or otherwise. Also the US Olympic hockey team is not all from Minnesota either, which he also said.
But Maddow is, as I say, a liar, because that is not the “factual record,” and she did not “quote” Mr. Buchanan, who, as anyone can verify from the original interview, actually said:
I believe everybody should get a chance to excel and be on the United States Supreme Court. But if I look at the US track team in the Olympics and they’re all black folks, I don’t automatically assume it’s discrimination. I will say, I think maybe those are the fastest guys we got, that maybe they’re the fastest guys in the country, maybe they’re the fastest in the world. If […] the Olympic team in hockey is eight white guys from Minnesota, I don’t assume discrimination.
“If.” “If” one thing happens to be true, “I don’t assume” this other thing. Yet Maddow,—being a liar,—after admitting that it isn’t “cool to talk about guests after their segment is over,” or “fair to relitigate these arguments in the absence of one of the parties,”—especially when you lie about what he said,—nevertheless felt she had an “obligation” to “correct”—by lying—certain “things” that “were stated as fact,”—except they weren’t; she’s lying again,—“as we would with anything else that was stated as fact on this show.” As I’m sure she would.
And here’s—well, everyone, apparently, whether deliberately or out of sheer stupidity, misunderstanding the simplest arguments by Santa Clarita city councilman Bob Kellar:
- ‘Santa Clarita councilman calls himself “proud racist”’ (Daily News): “In a heated speech at an anti-illegal-immigration rally, a Santa Clarita city councilman called himself a ‘proud racist’”
- ‘Santa Clarita Councilman: “I’m A Proud Racist”’ (Alan Colmes): “Bob Kellar, who’s been a Santa Clarita, CA councilman for 10 years, told an anti-immigration rally that he’s ‘a proud racist’”
- ‘Santa Clarita Councilman Tells Anti-Immigrant Protesters: “I’m A Proud Racist”’ (ThinkProgress): “Santa Clarita councilman Bob Kellar informing a group of cheering protesters rallying against immigration that he is a ‘proud racist’”
- ‘California Councilman’s Hateful Rhetoric: “I’m a Proud Racist!”’ (Ethics Soup): “Councilman Bob Kellar […] defined himself as a ‘proud racist,’ during an anti-illegal immigration rally”
- ‘“Proud racist” comment roils Santa Clarita’ (Los Angeles Times): “A Santa Clarita councilman’s shout-out at a recent anti-illegal immigration rally that he is a ‘proud racist’ has ignited an angry war of words in a suburban community over whether the longtime civic leader is a hatemonger who should be driven from office”
- ‘Someone surely caught this—“Proud racist”’ (Daily Kos): “Need more proof that the GOP is a bunch of bigots?”
As far as I’m concerned, these people should all be in prison. In reality, Councilman Keller stated (AP):
“The only thing I heard back from a couple of people was, ‘Bob, you sound like a racist,’” Kellar told the rally. “I said, ‘That’s good. If that’s what you think I am because I happen to believe in America, then I’m a proud racist. You’re darn right I am.’”
Oh but technically he did say those words so it is perfectly fine and honest after all. Technically anyone who says “I hate George Bush for not letting homosexuals get married” has also said “I hate… f…ing homo[s].” Technically Hitler never issued a direct order for any sort of “Holocaust.” I can do this all day.
Anything to sell more papers, right? Right. So we shrug, if we even notice, as the official press (the “mainstream media”) replaces a real story, namely that Central America is colonizing the United States, with a new, more politically convenient story of its own devising: that the people who oppose this colonization are “proud racists.” Need more proof that the GOP is a bunch of bigots? Nope, I’ve got all the proof I need! So easy to find, too.
David Wagner’s ‘50 Worst Columns of 2012’ in the Atlantic features about fifty examples of the author being proudly bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction, not to mention not grasping analogies, failing to perceive logical errors, and misunderstanding the simplest arguments.
There was little anyone could do to make sense of last week’s tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. But Megan McArdle—desperate to draw any lesson from the senselessness, no matter how crazy—made this horrifying, counter-intuitive suggestion: “If we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.”
“Horrifying” and “counter-intuitive” compared to what? Sitting still and waiting to die? Any thoughts, Dave?
Nope. We’re not even going to try to snark on this. Just… dear god. You too, Charlotte Allen. What the hell.
Notice that you cannot argue against this position. “Nope.” It is equivalent to sticking your fingers in your ears: I can’t hear you! La la la la la! “Just… dear god.” As I say: protective stupidity; proud to be bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.
Hey, women, did you know that if you’re not in labor right now you’re literally destroying America? And, men, every time you use a condom you’re pounding one more nail into the coffin of the American dream. Considering the declining birth rate in the U.S., Ross Douthat is disgusted by “a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.” Sacrifices like doing the deed before birth control existed.
Oh ho ho. “Doing the deed.” How clever David is. Hasn’t he made those stupid freaks look stupid. We should really just round them up and shoot them! Don’t worry, we’re allowed to say that: we’re on the side of tolerance.
I could go on (and on, and on), but I think I’ll leave you with the protective stupidity of the Cambridge University Students’ Union on Martin Sewell, a Cambridge economics supervisor:
Obviously, an individual […] who explicitly endorses national socialism cannot remain as a supervisor for Cambridge students.
Explicit (adjective): “stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt” (Oxford). Endorse (verb): “declare one’s public approval or support of” (ibid.). National Socialism (noun): “the political doctrine of the Nazi Party of Germany” (ibid.). Here are Martin Sewell’s views on race. Go ahead, find his explicit endorsement of National Socialism. I’ll be reading George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Chapter 1, Winston Smith commits a terrible crime: he decides starts a diary.
For a moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether.
He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. […] Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
It was always at night—the arrests invariably happened at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated; vaporized was the usual word.
From the illegal book Winston acquires (Chapter 9):
A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. […] On the other hand, his actions are not regulated by law or by any clearly formulated code of behavior. In Oceania there is no law. Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future. A Party member is required to have not only the right opinions, but the right instincts. Many of the beliefs and attitudes demanded of him are never plainly stated, and could not be stated without laying bare the contradictions inherent in Ingsoc [the Party]. […] an elaborate mental training, undergone in childhood and grouping itself round the Newspeak words crimestop, blackwhite, and doublethink, makes him unwilling and unable to think too deeply on any subject whatever.
This issue features many examples of thoughtcrime. Below are a few I thought particularly illustrative.
“City-wide public education campaign aimed at eliminating Intolerance, racism and hate in Toronto.”
One of those is an emotion. The other two are attitudes. All of them will be defined by the progressive ruling class.
A comment by Majid Rahman, a city councillor in Newport, Wales, regarding a t-shirt that reads “Obey our laws, respect our beliefs, or get out of our country” (Express, 2013):
I believe in freedom of speech and defend his rights to say what he wants, but once it starts offending people then it’s a police matter and it’s up to them whether they think it’s broken any laws.
Well then, I guess it’s a good thing you also “believe in” free speech and “defend” his right to it. (In some sense.)
The concept of “hate speech,” and the notion that it isn’t “free speech,” and therefore can and should be banned, is a singularly dangerous, not to mention Orwellian, development. Even self-proclaimed “lesbian feminist activist” Tammy Bruce has caught on to this, and she can hardly be described as right wing (2010):
Group dynamics and the decision to sacrifice the individual for the group are the first steps in a march down the road to Thought Crimes (euphemistically termed Hate Crimes) and totalitarianism in its purest form. I know these are stark terms, but bear with me; what I’m trying to do is throw the curtain back on a series of events that the Left has spun as something they’re not. Eliding behind the terms “progressive” and “liberal,” the Left insists that certain steps (including hate-crime legislation) are necessary to stop racism, homophobia, and sexism. What we fail to recognize is that today’s “progressives” are not actually interested in dealing with those issues; they’re simply exploiting them to further their much more complex and menacing agenda, which is all about power and control.
Of course, there has to be a “spin” to make punishment of “wrong thinking” palatable to the average American. That spin was provided by the development of “hate crimes.” For those who can succeed only when the rest of us have been lobotomized, the final and actual criminalization of thought itself has become their measure of success.
Where is the debate on this issue? Who needs debate, the Left rationalizes, when those who disagree are bigoted, homophobic, sexist pigs? Dealing with their arguments is just a waste of time. In this model, dissenters begin to look less and less like members of society with a right to their own opinions and more and more like speed bumps on the road to social change.
A powerful force driving the organized Left along this path, and implemented on society at-large, has been what Irving Janis, one of the world’s leading authorities on decision making, identified as “groupthink.” In his seminal work, Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes (1972), Janis describes the eight “symptoms” of groupthink that help propel groups into failed policy and “irrational and dehumanizing actions directed at out-groups.” These symptoms are:
- The illusion of invulnerability
- Belief in the inherent morality of the group
- Collective rationalization
- Out-group stereotypes
- The illusion of unanimity
- Direct pressure on dissenters
- Self-appointed mindguards
Sound familiar? In all my work with NOW and other progressive organizations at both the local and national levels, every one of those symptoms was present. Groupthink is the termite of the Left…
A group member who disagrees with the direction or policy of a group will be pressured to conform. If that doesn’t work, there may even be efforts to discredit the dissenting member. This eliminates dissent by the targeted member and also sends a message to other members that challenging the “consensus” will be punished.
Janis suggests that certain members of the group will work to keep dissenting opinions away from the leaders. Then, as word gets passed along to other members that the leadership is unwilling to hear criticism, those other members apply self-censorship, which strengthens the illusion of unanimity. Mind-guards also work to shield the group from adverse information that might crack their shared complacency.
The Cult of Mind-Control
At the heart of any theory of policing thought is mind control. The public humiliation of those who challenge the Left is intended to intimidate both the target and society into a different way of thinking.
If there is one thing that stands out for me from all of this, it’s that if the Left has any real “vision” amid its frenzy to control what people think and say, it is simply to keep conservatives from any kind of power. An absolute essential of collectivism is that everyone must think the same way—otherwise it won’t work.
The problem is, socialism does not work because people do not think the same way. Therefore, the thought reformers end up putting their creative energy into manipulating people and wielding power instead of into solving social problems—such as intolerance, social division, violence, and a culture devoid of values—which, ironically, they themselves have facilitated. The Left now exists for the perpetuation of itself. Its political theory does not stand as a container for bright and constructive ideas. The political attitude itself—collectivism—is the goal.
This is where Carleton University will let you think for yourself. Just kidding.
Did you imagine that the universities, long under progressive control, were still somehow bastions of free speech? It is to the progressives’ obvious advantage to paint themselves as dissidents, free thinkers, fearless speakers of truth to power, the Rebel Alliance, and so on ad nauseam. Rebellion sells. In truth, they’re conformists, fundamentalists, thuggish speakers of power to truth, the Galactic Empire (albeit less well dressed). Their stranglehold on higher education has sadly predictable consequences for campus free speech.
Take the recent case of James Wagner (Minding the Campus, 2013):
This may be a first: the president of a major research university has just been formally censured by his faculty—a no confidence vote may be coming next month—because of an opinion about a historical event (and a conventional, mainstream opinion at that) he expressed in a university publication.
Emory University President James Wagner’s transgression was his opinion that the adoption of the Constitution provides a model of how it is both possible and desirable to compromise, even over bitterly divisive issues. Regarding the controversial compromise that provided counting three-fifths of the slaves for the purpose of state representation in the new Congress, he argued that “[p]ragmatic half-victories kept in view the higher aspiration of drawing the country more closely together.” Both North and South, he concluded, “found a way to temper ideology and continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.”
For any victims of a 20th century education who may be reading this, the South wanted to count all the slaves (of whatever race); the North wanted to count none of them. “Despite popular understandings, this provision did not declare that African Americans were three-fifths of a person” (The Root, 2013). So when communist talking head Chris Matthews wonders if Republicans, or Southerners, or whoever we’re supposed to hate, “still count blacks as three-fifths” (Townhall, 2013)—well, I think you see what he’s trying to do.
After Salon called Wagner’s approval of the compromise that led to the adoption of the Constitution “a shockingly horrible column” and expressed surprise that a major college president could hold “such strange historical views,” the Emory campus, social media, and lefty blogs erupted in a ballistic paroxysm of opprobrium. His column, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, “was met with a wave of fury.” Inside Higher Ed noted that it “infuriated many on his campus and elsewhere.” Emory’s Black Student Union and the local NAACP described it as an example of “systemic racism.” In These Times noted accusingly that, “situated in Atlanta, which is 54 percent African-American, Emory had a 9 percent African-American class of 2013.”
Right, because black people are just as smart as white people, according to that study that never happened, so the only explanation is that white people are evil and won’t let black people learn. God I hate white people!
Wagner soon issued a groveling apology, stating that he should have made clear that “I do not consider slavery anything but heinous, repulsive, repugnant, and inhuman,” and that “to count one human being as three fifths of another or, more egregiously, as not human at all, but property” was “repugnant,” an admission that seems to undermine rather than clarify his original argument. In any event his critics were not in a forgiving mood, and as the Chronicle reported sought “more contrition from their president.”
The most striking response to Wagner’s column was a faculty letter to the president signed by 31 members of the Emory departments of History and African American Studies. It called Wagner’s argument “an insult” and stated, incredibly, that “[t]his is the first time that any of us has seen anyone point to the three-fifths clause as an example of what good, right-thinking individuals can accomplish when they avoid ideological fixity.” One of the signers, history professor Leslie Harris, just asserted on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” that the slavery compromises were not only a flaw of the Constitution but “a fatal flaw” that “led us into civil war.”
Most commentary on the Constitution argues or assumes that its adoption, and the consequent birth of the new nation that it created, was a Good Thing that would have been impossible without its compromises over slavery. One need look no further than a PBS series on “The Constitution and the Idea of Compromise”—PBS is not generally regarded as a racist slavermongering institution—to find something almost identical to the view that the Emory scholars claim never to have seen.
Better yet, consider the fate of Carleton University’s designated “Free Speech Wall”—actually a “wooden plank wrapped in paper” (National Post, 2013). The children are our (dismal) future:
Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community.
Installed on Monday in the Unicentre Galleria, one of campus’ most high-traffic areas, the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.
By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.
What a fag.
“In organizing the ‘free speech wall,’ the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space … for the expression of hate,” he wrote in a 600-word Facebook post in which he identified himself as an anti-homophobia campaigner.
Calling the area around the wall a “war zone,” he intimated that it was “but another in a series of acts of violence” against gay rights.
In a Tuesday afternoon Twitter exchange with a CBC reporter, Mr. Smith dubbed free speech an “illusory concept” and declared that “not every opinion is valid, nor deserving of expression.”
“Only someone who had gone to university could write something so utterly stupid,” said Fred Litwin, the Ottawa-based creator of the blog Gay and Right, in reference to Mr. Smith’s Tuesday morning Facebook post.
Watch out, “anti-gay territory” ahead:
The only comment that verged into anti-gay territory was a scrawl reading “traditional marriage is awesome.”
According to Mr. CoKehyeng, the four-word phrase prompted a visit from Ryan Flannagan, the university’s director of student affairs.
“He saw that it wasn’t inciting hate speech at all, so he let that one slide,” said Mr. CoKehyeng.
“Many students used the wall to express diverse views about many topics,” wrote Mr. Flannagan in a Tuesday email to the Post.
Not too diverse, obviously:
Expression on the wall was not entirely free, of course.
If the Free Speech Wall had suddenly been wallpapered with swastikas and racial slurs, university officials could have ordered it removed as a contravention of the University’s policies against discrimination.
“I didn’t want to prepare for it because I was hoping it wouldn’t happen,” said Mr. CoKehyeng. “Personally, I wouldn’t have censored anything unless I was told to.”
So you do have “free speech”—unless authorities disagree with your speech, and only until a seventh-year “human rights” student decides to destroy apparently the only place you’re allowed to express it.
Tuesday morning, a handful of students took to Arun Smith’s Facebook page to cheer the wall’s destruction.
“DIRECT ACTION GETS THE GOODS!,” declared Shane Davis-Young, a computer programming student at Ottawa’s Algonquin College.
A McGill University student whose Facebook avatar bore the phrase “say yes to the press!” similarly applauded the action against the “heinous” Students for Liberty.
Check your math.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, “the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future.” Now the university system has decided it’s not enough to fight “hate crimes.” What about counter-progressivism that isn’t technically breaking any laws? At any moment, on any given campus, some conservative might be feeling hate, and that’s legally okay! How can we stamp this out in the name of tolerance?
There’s no room in our society for bigotry and prejudice. You can help UHDPS to prosecute hate crimes by reporting hate-motivated activity, particularly where it may involve criminal behavior. Don’t wait until someone is harmed—be a [thought]crime preventer, not a [thought]crime enabler. Tell the police.
The pons asinorum of “tolerance”: is it “bigotry and prejudice” to believe the indisputable, not even remotely debatable scientific fact that black people are, on average, less intelligent than white people?
I jest, of course: you don’t get to decide. The definition of “bigotry and prejudice” is set—or rather, made up on the spot—by the same people who decreed in the first place that “our society” has “no room” for the wrong kind of thoughts and feelings: those oh-so-clever professor-type people who have been thoroughly “sensitized to issues of race, class, and gender,” and understand “the importance of valuing diversity,” and are “working for the public good and social justice.” People like John “Stupid Republicans” McCumber, Erwin “Conservative Dominance” Chemerinsky, and Grover “More Marxists” Furr. Your children’s moral education is in good hands; i.e., not your own.
Not limited to individual activity, many organizations have been labeled as “hate groups” where their group objectives and activities promote prejudicial behavior and even organized criminal activity targeting groups of citizens.
These heinous “hate groups,” officially labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, include men who have sex with women and don’t call them afterwards, and opponents of same-sex marriage. Indeed, the homosexual terrorist who attacked the Family Research Council in 2012 “had chosen the research council as his target after finding it listed as an anti-gay group on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center” (CNN, 2013).
The University of Houston’s policies are the rule, not the exception. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:
It is the intention of UWM to support a campus climate that is respectful and supportive of all who work, live, study or participate in activities or events in the campus community.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee defines a hate or bias-motivated incident as any disruptive conduct (oral, written, graphic or physical) that is against an individual, or individuals, because of their actual, or perceived, race, color, national origin/ancestry, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, veteran and National Guard status, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, or arrest/conviction record.
Anytime you or anyone in the Grand Valley community feels belittled, disrespected, threatened, or unsafe because of who you are, the entire university community is diminished. That’s why it’s important to report all bias incidents—even those intended as jokes.
How do I recognize a bias incident?
Bias incidents take many forms—words, signs, symbols, threats or actions—electronic or real time. They include intimidation, vandalism, destruction of property, harassment, and expressions of hate or hostility; they have an adverse impact on a learning environment that is inclusive of all.
Purdue University (WLFI, 2012):
“I think it will have an impact. It’s a start,” President of the Black Graduate Student Association Tyrell Connor said about the Report Hate and Bias website.
A start, Purdue administration and students hope will help identify hate and bias incidents on Purdue’s campus with the help of a website.
A bias incident, like the case last week when the “n” word was found on a whiteboard in the Krannert building, is when discriminatory language is used, but the law isn’t broken.
Say, do you suppose Purdue has a White Graduate Student Association to go with the Black? No? Well, I suppose white graduate students are so privileged, they shouldn’t be allowed to have an Association. Wait, hang on…
Actual logo of the SPLC blog Hatewatch (note the tiny swastika on the iris), and two of the creatures they employ: Potok and Beirich.
Radish readers have encountered the wretched Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) several times already: offering a job to one of the Jena Six; brainwashing children into accepting the colonization of the West by the Third World; and trying to starve the families of its political opponents. All in the name of “tolerance,” of course.
The SPLC, by describing itself as “a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society,” and claiming to “work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality,” has managed to rake in a profit of almost $250 million. Its first priority is supposedly to combat “hate and extremism”:
The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. We’ve crippled some of the country’s most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members.
To that end, the SPLC maintains a list of “hate incidents”:
Incidents of apparent hate crimes and hate group activities listed here are drawn primarily from media sources. These incidents include only a fraction of the approximately 191,000 reported and unreported hate crimes that a 2005 government report estimated occur annually.
Here is just a handful of recent incidents that didn’t make the list. See if you can spot a pattern…
“Beat Whitey Night”
In August 2010 in Des Moines, 30–40 black youths roamed the Iowa State Fairgrounds attacking white people (only) at random, an event they called “Beat Whitey Night” (NBC, KSDK, Smoking Gun, Examiner, NBC).
The SPLC ignored “Beat Whitey Night” entirely. Not one of these crimes appears on the Center’s list. The SPLC elected to include only one “hate crime” from Des Moines in 2010. It was an act of vandalism:
Des Moines, IA
Vandals painted a swastika and the letters “KKK” on a man’s truck.
This sort of vandalism is usually a hoax (Unamusement Park, 2012).
In August 2011, at least two mobs comprising hundreds of black youths swarmed the Wisconsin State Fair attacking white people (only) at random, in some cases pulling them from their cars and knocking them off motorcycles to get at them, resulting in at least 11 injuries, seven to police, and 31 arrests (TMJ4, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Journal Sentinel again, CBS, WISN, WTAQ, Fox News, PJ Media).
The SPLC ignored these attacks. They appear nowhere on the list of “hate incidents.” The SPLC did include one “hate crime” from Wisconsin in August 2011:
Paul Captain, 49, was allegedly [sic] charged with a hate crime for sending threatening and racist e-mails to the Wisconsin State Fair spokeswoman.
Type: Legal Developments
Why did Paul Captain send those emails to a Wisconsin State Fair spokeswoman? Well, the SPLC can’t tell us, because that would mean reporting the black mob violence at the Wisconsin State Fair (City Pages):
Paul Captain has been charged with a hate crime for threatening, racist e-mails he sent to Wisconsin State Fair spokeswoman Patrice Harris.
Captain saw Harris, who is black, speaking on television about the violent, racially-charged attacks that occurred last week. After watching the press conference, Captain, 49, immediately dashed off two racist and threatening e-mails to Harris.
When police interviewed Captain about the e-mails, he admitted he sent them. Captain, who now lives in the small town of Berlin, told police the stories about the race fighting at the State Fair had caused him to flash back to when he lived in Milwaukee. Captain told police he’d been “beaten and robbed several times by ‘Black guys’” when he lived in the city.
Captain also apologized, and said he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Boy, this guy sure sounds like a threat to society. Unlike those “violent, racially-charged attacks.”
In late 2009 in Denver, Colorado, police arrested 38 black males for racially motivated assaults against whites and mestizos (NBC, 2010). According to Police Chief Gerry Whitman, “it was perhaps the largest racially motivated crime spree in the city’s history” (Denver Post, 2009).
The SPLC reduced this racial crime spree to a single entry about one of the 38 arrests, excised the races of the perpetrators and victims, and classified it as a “legal development”:
A juvenile was arrested on charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and bias-motivated crimes in connection with 26 racially motivated assaults in the downtown area.
Type: Legal Developments
According to the SPLC, and for the purposes of the “hate crime statistics” they release each year, an arrest for 26 violent crimes is nothing more than a “legal development,” not an assault—as opposed to the following entry about an actual legal development in another case in Colorado, this one involving a homeless man not assaulting, but shouting at a black woman:
William Bagosy, 49, pled guilty to third- degree assault and was sentenced to 78 days in jail for shouting racial slurs at a black woman outside a homeless shelter in November.
Almost every single thing about this entry is wrong. William Bagosy actually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment in June 2008 for shouting racial slurs outside a homeless shelter in May of that year (Daily Camera, 2008). His motive: a lack of hot dog buns. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail after violating a condition of his unsupervised probation: going back to the convenience store that ran out of buns. Then Bagosy was arrested in November for sexually assaulting a homeless woman; there was no racial motive (Daily Camera, 2009). He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault and was sentenced to 78 days in jail.
Instead of reporting the truth, the SPLC chose to fabricate a racially motivated “third-degree assault” by a white man against a black woman. Now may be a good time to mention that the FBI lists the SPLC as a “hate crime” resource and the sort of “civil rights organization” (as if some of those “rights” were still missing) with which it has “forged partnerships nationally and locally […] to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems.” You see, “due to legal limitations on the FBI, it relies on the SPLC and other civil rights organizations in collecting data on hate groups” (Wik). How encouraging.
While the SPLC, FBI-recommended hate crime resource that they are, failed to report the race of the perpetrators (black) and victims (white, mestizo) in Denver’s racially motivated violent crime spree, they prefer to include this information when the victims are black, as in the following entry from Denver:
High school students chanted racial slurs and derogatory terms at visiting black basketball players during a game.
The “racial slurs and derogatory terms” used in this terrible “intimidation” so worthy of the SPLC’s attention: “marshmallow,” “buckwheat,” and “shrimp boat” (Denver Post, 2009). I’m sorry, I should have warned you before printing that. Here, let me try again: “M**********,” they chanted. “B********! S***** b***!”
In May 2010 in Seattle, Washington, Shane McClellan, a white man, was held hostage and tortured for hours by a black man and an Asian man, simply because of his race (according to the perpetrators’ testimony). They beat him, robbed him, whipped him with his own belt, threatened to kill him with a gun and with a knife, burned him with cigarettes, and urinated on him (KOMO, ABC, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, West Seattle Herald, World Net Daily, Seattle Times, Sound Politics, West Seattle Herald, KING5).
In this case, the SPLC simply lied, claiming the perpetrators only beat their victim, then classified the racially motivated abduction and torture of Shane McClellan as an act of vandalism:
A black man and an Asian man beat a 16-year-old boy for being white.
This entry may be the SPLC’s idea of a joke. In any case, in the Center’s year-end “hate crime” report, they counted this crime as an act of anti-white “vandalism.”
In August 2009 in Buffalo, New York, a group of ten to fifteen black men brutally attacked a white man, Brian Milligan, for dating a black woman. They beat him with pieces of concrete, inflicting permanent brain damage, and kicked him in the face so hard it shattered his jaw (CNN, True Crime Report).
The SPLC ignored this incident: Brian Milligan appears nowhere on the Center’s list. However, the SPLC did include the following incident from the previous week:
Leaflets from the United White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were left in yards.
Note that leafletting is not technically a crime. Also, this was a hoax, and the “United White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” do not exist (KOCO). But never mind that: we’re fighting hate!
Mayor Nutter: white people are always causing problems.
Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, expressed a remarkable take on free speech in a letter to the “Philadelphia Human Relations Commission.” Philadelphia magazine had just published a controversial article, ‘Being White in Philly’ (2013), which gave anonymous white people license to talk about—well, you know:
On a warm Sunday in October, I buttonhole a woman I’ll call Anna, a tall, slim, dark-haired beauty from Moscow getting out of her BMW on an alley just south of Girard College. Anna goes to a local law school, works downtown at a law firm, and proceeds to let me have it when we start talking about race in her neighborhood.
“I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot? I walk to work in Center City, black guys make compliments, ‘Hey beautiful. Hey sweetie.’ White people look but don’t make comments. …”
One Fairmounter blames herself for her grill being stolen from her backyard, because if you don’t fence it in, she tells me, you’re asking for it. A pumpkin gets lifted from her front stoop in the fall, she buys another. That one gets stolen, she gets one more. It’s called city living. Flowerpots, even trash cans—they don’t stick around. Porch chairs have to be chained together. Your car window is likely to get smashed every now and then.
The danger can be a little steeper. One afternoon, at Krupa’s Tavern at 27th and Brown, a guy named Bob tells me about working in the mailroom at Rolling Stone magazine years ago and shows me an anthology of Beat-era writers he’s reading. I can’t resist asking him about his wire-rim glasses, which are way down on his nose and twisted at an absurd angle—there’s no way he can see out of them. “Oh,” he says, smiling, “I went home one night from the bar and two guys smashed my face into the cement steps of my house”—that’s what messed up his glasses. “A few days later I got my wallet back in the mail—they had thrown it in somebody’s mailbox.” He acknowledges that his assailants were black. “Not that that matters,” he says.
Confronted with a [black] drug dealer in his new neighborhood, Paul understood that the guy had to find a way to get by. That he was struggling. That he had made an economic decision. But the “guy” who wanted to sell Oxycontin to Paul was a child—one probably in seventh grade. [...] A few weeks later, I have dinner with Paul in South Philly and ask him if he’s ever thought more about the kid who offered him Oxycontin. “No,” Paul says. “It’s easier to put it out of your mind and not think about it. The truth is kind of a dark thing.”
“The problems seem intractable,” the author, Robert Huber, notes; “in so many quarters, simply discussing race is seen as racist.” (We’ll talk more about that later.) Here’s Mayor Nutter’s response (Philly.com, 2013):
This month Philadelphia Magazine has sunk to a new low. […] Its March cover piece, “Being White in Philly,” aggregates the disparaging beliefs, the negative stereotypes, the ignorant condemnations typically, and historically ascribed to African-American citizens into one pathetic, uninformed essay quoting Philadelphia residents, many of whose names either the author or the speakers themselves were too cowardly to provide.
I can’t imagine why white people would be so “cowardly” in a city whose mayor writes this sort of letter to something called the “Human Relations Commission.” Anyway:
I ask that the Commission consider specifically whether Philadelphia Magazine and the writer, Bob Huber are appropriate for rebuke by the Commission in light of the potentially inflammatory effect and the reckless endangerment to Philadelphia’s racial relations possibly caused by the essay’s unsubstantiated [?] assertions. While I fully recognize that constitutional protections afforded the press are intended to protect the media from censorship by the government, the First Amendment, like other constitutional rights, is not an unfettered right, and notwithstanding the First Amendment, a publisher has a duty to the public to exercise its role in a responsible way. I ask the Commission to evaluate whether the “speech” employed in this essay is not the reckless equivalent of “shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” its prejudiced, fact-challenged [?] generalizations an incitement to extreme reaction.
In other words, the mayor, who is black, would like to make the Human Relations Commission punish Bob Huber, who is white, and his magazine, for publishing an article on ‘Being White in Philly.’
They Live has warped my brain: everywhere I look, I see bonobos mating…
A soft voice still whispers its lesson in class consciousness from beneath eighty pillows, but the tour has moved on from the dormitories in Brave New World, Chapter 3:
Outside in the garden, it was playtime. Naked in the warm June sunshine, six or seven hundred little boys and girls were running with shrill yells over the lawns, or playing ball games, or squatting silently in twos and threes among the flowering shrubs. The roses were in bloom, two nightingales soliloquized in the boskage, a cuckoo was just going out of tune among the lime trees. The air was drowsy with the murmur of bees and helicopters.
The Director and his students stood for a short time watching a game of Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy.
“Strange,” mused the Director, as they turned away, “strange to think that even in Our Ford’s day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness. Nowadays the Controllers won’t approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.” He interrupted himself.
“That’s a charming little group,” he said, pointing.”
Meanwhile, in the dormitories, with Elementary Class Consciousness done for the day, “the voices were adapting future demand to future industrial supply”:
“I do love flying,” they whispered, “I do love flying, I do love having new clothes… But old clothes are beastly,” continued the untiring whisper. “We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending, ending is better…”
But back to the garden and that charming little group:
In a little grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather, two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with all the focussed attention of scientists intent on a labour of discovery, a rudimentary sexual game.
“Charming, charming!” the D.H.C. repeated sentimentally.
From a neighbouring shrubbery emerged a nurse, leading by the hand a small boy, who howled as he went. An anxious-looking little girl trotted at her heels.
“What’s the matter?” asked the Director.
The nurse shrugged her shoulders. “Nothing much,” she answered. “It’s just that this little boy seems rather reluctant to join in the ordinary erotic play. […] I’m taking him in to see the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. Just to see if anything’s at all abnormal.”
“Quite right,” said the Director.
Then, turning to his students, “What I’m going to tell you now,” he said, “may sound incredible. But then, when you’re not accustomed to history, most facts about the past do sound incredible.”
He let out the amazing truth. For a very long period before the time of Our Ford, and even for some generations afterwards, erotic play between children had been regarded as abnormal (there was a roar of laughter); and not only abnormal, actually immoral (no!): and had therefore been rigorously suppressed.
A look of astonished incredulity appeared on the faces of his listeners. Poor little kids not allowed to amuse themselves? They could not believe it.
“But what happened?” they asked. “What were the results?”
“The results were terrible.” A deep resonant voice broke startlingly into the dialogue.
They looked around. On the fringe of the little group stood a stranger—a man of middle height, black-haired, with a hooked nose, full red lips, eyes very piercing and dark. “Terrible,” he repeated.
“Controller! What an unexpected pleasure! Boys, what are you thinking of? This is the Controller; this is his fordship, Mustapha Mond.”
His fordship Mustapha Mond! The eyes of the saluting students almost popped out of their heads. Mustapha Mond! The Resident Controller for Western Europe! One of the Ten World Controllers.
“You all remember,” said the Controller, in his strong deep voice, “you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk. History,” he repeated slowly, “is bunk.”
He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk—and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk—and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom—all were gone. Whisk—the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk…
“That’s why you’re taught no history,” the Controller was saying. “But now the time has come…”
The D.H.C. looked at him nervously. There were those strange rumours of old forbidden books hidden in a safe in the Controller’s study. Bibles, poetry—Ford knew what.
Mustapha Mond intercepted his anxious glance and the corners of his red lips twitched ironically.
“It’s all right, Director,” he said in a tone of faint derision, “I won’t corrupt them.”
The D.H.C. was overwhelmed with confusion.
At that moment, Henry Foster’s date for the evening (and Bernard Marx’s love interest), Lenina Crowne, leaves her work in the Social Predestination Room:
From her dim crimson cellar Lenina Crowne shot up seventeen stories, turned to the right as she stepped out of the lift, walked down a long corridor and, opening the door marked Girls’ Dressing-Room, plunged into a deafening chaos of arms and bosoms and underclothing. Torrents of hot water were splashing into or gurgling out of a hundred baths. Rumbling and hissing, eighty vibro-vacuum massage machines were simultaneously kneading and sucking the firm and sunburnt flesh of eighty superb female specimens. Every one was talking at the top of her voice. A Synthetic Music machine was warbling out a super-cornet solo.
“Hullo, Fanny,” said Lenina to the young woman who had the pegs and locker next to hers.
Fanny worked in the Bottling Room, and her surname was also Crowne. But as the two thousand million inhabitants of the planet had only ten thousand names between them, the coincidence was not particularly surprising.
Lenina pulled at her zippers—downwards on the jacket, downwards with a double-handed gesture at the two that held trousers, downwards again to loosen her undergarment. Still wearing her shoes and stockings, she walked off towards the bathrooms.
Meanwhile, World Controller Mond’s “history” lesson continues:
Home, home—a few small rooms, stifling over-inhabited by a man, by a periodically teeming woman, by a rabble of boys and girls of all ages. No air, no space; an understerilized prison; darkness, disease, and smells.
(The Controller’s evocation was so vivid that one of the boys, more sensitive than the rest, turned pale at the mere description and was on the point of being sick.)
And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychically, it was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (her children)… brooded over them like a cat over its kittens.
“Yes,” said Mustapha Mond, nodding his head, “you may well shudder.”
Lenina and Fanny’s conversation turns to dating. Basically, everyone goes out every night with one of several (or several dozen) partners, and every date is guaranteed to end in sex. Otherwise, what would be the point?
“Who are you going out with tonight?” Lenina asked, returning from the vibro-vac like a pearl illuminated from within, pinkly glowing.
Lenina raised her eyebrows in astonishment.
“I’ve been feeling rather out of sorts lately,” Fanny explained. “Dr. Wells advised me to have a Pregnancy Substitute.
“But, my dear, you’re only nineteen. The first Pregnancy Substitute isn’t compulsory till twenty-one.”
“I know, dear. But some people are better if they begin earlier. Dr. Wells told me that brunettes with wide pelvises, like me, ought to have their first Pregnancy Substitute at seventeen. So I’m really two years later, not two years early.” She opened the door of her locker and pointed to the row of boxes and labelled phials on the upper shelf.
“Corpus Luteum,” Lenina read the names aloud. “Ovarin, Guaranteed fresh. […] Ugh!” Lenina shuddered. “How I loathe intravenals, don’t you?”
“Yes. But when they do one good…” Fanny was a particularly sensible girl.
The World State requires all women to undergo artificial pregnancies, supposedly to maintain good health (hormone levels and such), but mainly, one assumes, to counteract female reproductive instincts.
Our Ford—or Our Freud, as, for some inscrutable reason, he chose to call himself whenever he spoke of psychological matters—Our Freud had been the first to reveal the appalling dangers of family life. The world was full of fathers—was therefore full of misery; full of mothers—therefore of every kind of perversion from sadism to chastity; full of brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts—full of madness and suicide.
“And yet, among the savages of Samoa, in certain islands off the coast of New Guinea…”
The tropical sunshine lay like warm honey on the naked bodies of children tumbling promiscuously among the hibiscus blossoms. Home was in any one of twenty palm-thatched houses. In the Trobriands conception was the work of ancestral ghosts; nobody had ever heard of a father.
“Extremes,” said the Controller, “meet. For the good reason that they were made to meet.”
The Controller is referring to Margaret Mead’s cultural-relativist classic, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928); more generally, since Mead was a student of Franz Boas, he means the Boasian school of Marxist, anti-Darwinian anthropology. Basically, Mead’s vision of Samoa is Jack Donovan’s “bonobo masturbation society” (Radish 1.9).
Psychologist Steven Pinker is blunt but judicious in The Blank Slate (2003):
It is the doctrine of the Noble Savage that has been most mercilessly debunked by the new evolutionary thinking.
To begin with, the stories of tribe out there somewhere who have never heard of violence turn out to be urban legends. Margaret Mead’s descriptions of peace-loving New Guineans and sexually nonchalant Samoans were based on perfunctory research and turned out to be almost perversely wrong. As the anthropologist Derek Freeman later documented, Samoans may beat or kill their daughters if they are not virgins on their wedding night, a young man who cannot woo a virgin may rape one to extort her into eloping, and the family of a cuckolded husband may attack and kill the adulterer.
In 2013, Mead’s supposedly peaceful Papua New Guinea, which is actually “rife with violence, in part due to its tribal culture” (above, center), reinstated the death penalty after “a spate of horrific crimes against women,” e.g., an American academic raped by nine armed men; two elderly women tortured for three days, then beheaded, on suspicion of sorcery; and “a young mother stripped naked, doused with petrol and burned alive” for the same reason (right). Since then, a female teacher has been beheaded, and 29 members of a “cannibal cult” have murdered at least seven suspected witch doctors. “The Highlands province of Simbu alone experiences 150 attacks a year” against suspected witches (Sydney Morning Herald, 2013).
Even a Mead apologist who accuses Freeman of “smearing” her (Atlantic, 2013) must concede that “Mead downplayed some of the uglier aspects of Samoan sexuality—including violent rape and physical punishment bestowed on those who violated sexual norms.” Not to mention that “many in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) rose to defend Mead against Freeman,” which “probably has something to do with the relative popularity in leftist anthropology of Mead’s story—more about the happy importance of nurture.”
But I digress from Brave New World:
“Dr. Wells says that a three months’ Pregnancy Substitute now will make all the difference to my health for the next three or four years.”
“Well, I hope he’s right,” said Lenina. “But, Fanny, do you really mean to say that for the next three months you’re not supposed to…”
“Oh no, dear. Only for a week or two, that’s all. I shall spend the evening at the Club playing Musical Bridge. I suppose you’re going out?”
“Again?” Fanny’s kind, rather moon-like face took on an incongruous expression of pained and disapproving astonishment. “Do you mean to tell me you’re still going out with Henry Foster?”
Avoid sex for more than a month? Inconceivable. Date the same person for that time? Scandalous!
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. But there were also husbands, wives, lovers. There were also monogamy and romance.
“Though you probably don’t know what those are,” said Mustapha Mond.
They shook their heads.
Family, monogamy, romance. Everywhere exclusiveness, a narrow channelling of impulse and energy.
“But every one belongs to every one else,” he concluded, citing the hypnopaedic proverb.
The students nodded, emphatically agreeing with a statement which upwards of sixty-two thousand repetitions in the dark had made them accept, not merely as true, but as axiomatic, self-evident, utterly indisputable.
“Every one belongs to every one else”: promiscuity is not only encouraged, it’s government-mandated.
“But after all,” Lenina was protesting, “it’s only about four months now since I’ve been having Henry.”
“Only four months! I like that. And what’s more,” Fanny went on, pointing an accusing finger, “there’s been nobody else except Henry all that time. Has there?”
Lenina blushed scarlet; but her eyes, the tone of her voice remained defiant. “No, there hasn’t been any one else,” she answered almost truculently. “And I jolly well don’t see why there should have been.”
“Oh, she jolly well doesn’t see why there should have been,” Fanny repeated, as though to an invisible listener behind Lenina’s left shoulder. Then, with a sudden change of tone, “But seriously,” she said, “I really do think you ought to be careful. It’s such horribly bad form to go on and on like this with one man. At forty, or thirty-five, it wouldn’t be so bad. But at your age, Lenina! No, it really won’;t do. And you know how strongly the D.H.C. objects to anything intense or long-drawn. Four months of Henry Foster, without having another man—why, he’d be furious if he knew…”
(See: Roissy’s concept of the carousel.)
“Think of water under pressure in a pipe.” They thought of it. “I pierce it once,” said the Controller. “What a jet!”
He pierced it twenty times. There were twenty piddling little fountains.
“My baby. My baby…!”
“Mother!” The madness is infectious.
“My love, my one and only, precious, precious…”
Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn’t allow them to take things easily, didn’t allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty—they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?
“Of course there’s no need to give him up. Have somebody else from time to time, that’s all. He has other girls, doesn’t he?”
Lenina admitted it.
“Of course he does. Trust Henry Foster to be the perfect gentleman—always correct. And then there’s the Director to think of. You know what a stickler…”
Nodding, “He patted me on the behind this afternoon,” said Lenina.
“There, you see!” Fanny was triumphant. “That shows what he stands for. The strictest conventionality.”
(See: Roissy’s concept of the harem.)
“Stability,” said the Controller, “stability. No civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability.” His voice was a trumpet. Listening they felt larger, warmer.
“And after all,” Fanny’s tone was coaxing, “it’s not as thought there were anything painful or disagreeable about having one or two men besides Henry. And seeing that you ought to be a little more promiscuous…”
“Stability,” insisted the Controller, “stability. The primal and the ultimate need. Stability. Hence all this.”
With a wave of his hand he indicated the gardens, the huge building of the Conditioning Centre, the naked children furtive in the undergrowth or running across the lawns.
Lenina shook her head. “Somehow,” she mused, “I hadn’t been feeling very keen on promiscuity lately. There are times when one doesn’t. Haven’t you found that too, Fanny?”
Fanny nodded her sympathy and understanding. “But one’s got to make the effort,” she said, sententiously, “one’s got to play the game. After all, everyone one belongs to every one else.”
“Yes, every one belongs to every one else,” Lenina repeated slowly and, sighing, was silent for a moment; then, taking Fanny’s hand, gave it a little squeeze. “You’re quite right, Fanny. As usual. I’ll make the effort.”
Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood is passion, the flood is even madness: it depends on the force of the current, the height and strength of the barrier. The unchecked stream flows smoothly down its appointed channels into a calm well-being. The embryo is hungry; day in, day out, the blood-surrogate pump unceasingly turns its eight hundred revolutions a minute. The decanted infant howls; at once a nurse appears with a bottle of external secretion. Feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation. Shorten that interval, break down all those old unnecessary barriers.
“Fortunate boys!” said the Controller. “No pains have been spared to make your lives emotionally easy—to preserve you, so far as that is possible, from having emotions at all.”
“Every one belongs to every one else.” That’ll make us happy. (Emily Carroll’s Melt in the Music of the Drums!)
“Are partnerships that begin as ‘hookups,’ ‘friends with benefits,’ or casual dating relationships less satisfying and rewarding than serious sexual involvements?” sociologist Anthony Paik asked in his study ‘“Hookups,” Dating, and Relationship Quality: Does the Type of Sexual Involvement Matter?’ (Social Science Research, 2010). Our interest is not in the validity of the study (you can prove anything with those things), but rather the reaction from the official press (or “mainstream media,” if you like). One of these things is not like the others:
- Salon: ‘Surprise! Hookups Can Lead to Love’ (“That one-night stand might turn into a perfectly happy relationship, a new study warns”) by Tracy Clark-Flory
- Feministe: ‘Another Defense of Hooking Up—This Time, With Science!’ by Kay Steiger
- Jezebel: ‘Yes, Reader, You Can Find Love After All Those One-Night Stands!’ by Anna North
- Reuters: ‘Better to Wait if You Want Real Love: Study’ by Zachary Goelman
Susan Walsh of Hooking Up Smart can walk us through it:
Hmmm, my second-grade standardized test-taking memories alert me that one of these headlines does not belong with the others. Let’s see, three women, one man. Three feminist blogs, one worldwide impartial news organization. I hypothesize a) bias, b) analytical ineptitude, or a combination of the two. I decide to go straight to the source material and tackle the analysis before reading any of the articles.
She starts with a University of Iowa press release:
Relationships that start with a spark and not much else aren’t necessarily doomed from the get-go, new University of Iowa research suggests. In an analysis of relationship surveys, UI sociologist Anthony Paik found that average relationship quality was higher for individuals who waited until things were serious to have sex compared to those who became sexually involved in “hookups,” “friends with benefits,” or casual dating relationships. But having sex early on wasn’t to blame for the disparity. When Paik factored out people who weren’t interested in getting serious, he found no real difference in relationship quality. That is, couples who became sexually involved as friends or acquaintances and were open to a serious relationship ended up just as happy as those who dated and waited.
Walsh’s findings: Salon scores a B-plus.
Little evidence of bias. No unsupported claims.
Indeed, “the content of the article is directly at odds with the headline.” Feministe rates a C-minus.
Nonsensical emotional claptrap. No evidence of intelligent thought. However, no nefarious motives either. She’s a rookie.
And Jezebel earns an F.
The worst kind of deceitful, trashy journalism. Conclusions do not follow from supporting evidence. The political agenda is transparent—not even a modicum of effort is made to objectively analyze the study.
What agenda might that be? Promiscuity the strictest conventionality; every one belongs to every one else.
Based on data from the Heritage Foundation
The Controller invites us to think of water under pressure in a pipe. Pierce it once: “What a jet!” Pierce it twenty times: twenty “piddling little fountains.”
“Please help,” writes a dissatisfied wife to ‘Dear Prudence’ (Slate, 2012):
I love my husband. He is affectionate, interesting, smart, and even does his share of the housework. The only problem is in bed. Although I usually orgasm during sex with him, instead of feeling emotional satisfaction and closeness afterward, I feel sad and disconnected. With past boyfriends, I always felt the rush of “bonding” chemicals, even when I didn’t want to. What could be going wrong now?
What indeed. ‘Dear Prudence’ offers no answers, but admits: “What you’re experiencing is not at all unusual.” Her advice: “fake those bonding feelings.” If only there was a way to actually feel them… Ah well, too late now!
From Jay Teachman’s ‘Premarital Sex, Premarital Cohabitation, and the Risk of Subsequent Marital Dissolution Among Women’ (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003):
Women who cohabit prior to marriage or who have premarital sex have an increased likelihood of marital disruption. […] Women whose intimate premarital relationships are limited to their husbands […] do not experience an increased risk of divorce. It is only women who have more than one intimate premarital relationship who have an elevated risk of marital disruption. This effect is strongest for women who have multiple premarital coresidental unions.
His results agree with the Heritage Foundation graph, including what The Social Pathologist (2010) calls “the really disturbing” finding: that as “soon as a woman has had more than one partner,” her chance of “long term marital stability drops to near 50%.”
“The decanted infant howls; at once a nurse appears with a bottle of external secretion,” explains Mustapha Mond. “Feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation. Shorten that interval, break down all those old unnecessary barriers.”
That we live in an age of instant gratification hardly needs citations:
- “The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives” (boston.com, 2013)
- “We’re living in an impatient, impulsive, instant gratification world” (Huffington Post, 2012)
- “People have become accustomed to this idea of instant gratification, where you just type something on your phone and the next thing you know, you have what you need” (New York Times, 2012)
But what if a child’s demands are not being met? “No social stability without individual stability.” How can we stabilize a child who insists on feeling? How can we save her from her awful passions?
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) is “psychiatry’s diagnostic guide and Bible” (Wired, 2009). In the fifth edition, the so-called DSM-V, the American Psychiatric Association plans to include “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” (Neuroskeptic, 2012):
If DSM-5 is officially published (it’s due in 2013), kids will be deemed DMDD if they show “severe recurrent temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation.” At least three times a week.
In other words: temper tantrums. “Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood is passion, the flood is even madness…” Well, that simply will not do.
DMDD seems to be nothing to do with mood, but instead covers a pattern of misbehavior which is already covered by not one but two labels already. Why add a misleadingly-named third? Well, the back-story is that in the past ten years, many American kids and even toddlers have got diagnosed with ‘child bipolar disorder’… To stop this, the DSM-5 committee want to introduce DMDD as a replacement. This is the officially stated reason for introducing it. On the evidence of this paper and others it wouldn’t even achieve this dubious goal. The possibility of just going to back to the days when psychiatrists didn’t diagnose prepubescent children with bipolar (except in very rare cases) seems to not be on the table.
We’ll talk more about the DSM-V later.
The amazing Nikolai Yezhov vanishes from official history before your very eyes.
The ruling classes in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World both rely on some form of historical revisionism. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truth continuously edits the past so that it conforms to current Party propaganda; “who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” In Brave New World, the World State simply abolished history while everyone was distracted by a shiny thing.
Let’s pick up from where we left off in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Chapter 3. Winston Smith is still “struggling to think his way backward into the dim period of his early childhood.”
The past, he reflected, had not merely been altered, it had actually been destroyed. For how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no record outside your own memory? He tried to remember in what year he had first heard mention of Big Brother. He thought it must have been at some time in the Sixties, but it was impossible to be certain. In the Party histories, of course, Big Brother figured as the leader and guardian of the Revolution since its very earliest days. His exploits had been gradually pushed backwards in time until already they extended into the fabulous world of the Forties and the Thirties. […] There was no knowing how much of this legend was true and how much invented. […] Sometimes, indeed, you could put your finger on a definite lie. It was not true, for example, as was claimed in the Party history books, that the Party had invented airplanes. He remembered airplanes since his earliest childhood. But you could prove nothing. There was never any evidence.
And anyway, it’s time for work:
In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of wastepaper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes.
Winston dialed “back numbers” on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of the Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes’ delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from the Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.
As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of the Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of the Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs—to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. […] A number of the Times which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big Brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it.
But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. […] And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.
And from that special book Winston acquires (Chapter 9):
The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons, one of which is subsidiary and, so to speak, precautionary. The subsidiary reason is that the Party member, like the proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions partly because he has no standards of comparison. He must be cut off from the past, just as he must be cut off from foreign countries, because it is necessary for him to believe that he is better off than his ancestors and that the average level of material comfort is constantly rising. But by far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party. […] No change in doctrine or in political alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one’s mind, or even one’s policy, is a confession of weakness.
How dreadful. We in the Western world are indeed fortunate that our own official press can be relied upon to report the cold hard facts, free from any sort of ideological bias.
Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky us.
Driving up Broad Street as I head home to Mount Airy, I stop at a light just north of Lycoming and look over at some rowhouses. One has a padlocked front door. A torn sheet covering the window in that door looks like it might be stained with sewage. I imagine not a crackhouse, but a child, maybe several children, living on the other side of that stained sheet. Plenty of children in Philadelphia live in places like that. Plenty live on Diamond, where my son rents, where there always seem to be a lot of men milling around doing absolutely nothing, where it’s clearly not a safe place to be.
I’ve shared my view of North Broad Street with people—white friends and colleagues—who see something else there: New buildings. Progress. Gentrification. They’re sunny about the area around Temple. I think they’re blind, that they’ve stopped looking. Indeed, I’ve begun to think that most white people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. One of the reasons, plainly put, is queasiness over race. Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts.
At the same time, white Philadelphians think a great deal about race. Begin to talk to people, and it’s clear it’s a dominant motif in and around our city. Everyone seems to have a story, often an uncomfortable story, about how white and black people relate.
Confusion, misread intentions, bruised feelings—everyone has not only a race story, but a thousand examples of trying to sort through our uneasiness on levels large and trivial. […] On one level, such self-consciousness and hypersensitivity can be seen as progress when it comes to race, a sign of how much attitudes have shifted for the better, a symbol of our desire for things to be better. And yet, lately I’ve come to fear that the opposite might also be true: that our carefulness is, in fact, at the heart of the problem.
Fifty years after the height of the civil rights movement, more than 25 years after electing its first African-American mayor, Philadelphia remains a largely segregated city, with uneasy boundaries in culture and understanding. And also in well-being. […] What gets examined publicly about race is generally one-dimensional, looked at almost exclusively from the perspective of people of color. Of course, it is black people who have faced generations of discrimination and who deal with it still. But our public discourse ignores the fact that race—particularly in a place like Philadelphia—is also an issue for white people. Though white people never talk about it.
On a warm Sunday in October, I buttonhole a woman I’ll call Anna, a tall, slim, dark-haired beauty from Moscow getting out of her BMW on an alley just south of Girard College. Anna goes to a local law school, works downtown at a law firm, and proceeds to let me have it when we start talking about race in her neighborhood.
“I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot? I walk to work in Center City, black guys make compliments, ‘Hey beautiful. Hey sweetie.’ White people look but don’t make comments. …”
That’s the other surprise: If you’re not an American, the absence of a historical filter results in a raw view focused strictly on the here and now. I meet a contractor from Maine named Adrian, who brought his Panamanian wife to live here, at 19th and Girard, where she saw fighting and drug deals and general bad behavior at the edge of Brewerytown. It all had her convinced there is a “moral poverty” among inner-city blacks.
Americans can achieve the same “raw view” by throwing out their progressive “filter” and studying the actual history of race relations in the United States (e.g., Radish 1.8).
American whites I talk to in Fairmount have a decidedly different take. Our racial history, as horrible and daunting as it is, has created a certain tolerance of how things operate in the neighborhood, an acceptance of an edgy status quo.
One Fairmounter blames herself for her grill being stolen from her backyard, because if you don’t fence it in, she tells me, you’re asking for it. A pumpkin gets lifted from her front stoop in the fall, she buys another. That one gets stolen, she gets one more. It’s called city living. Flowerpots, even trash cans—they don’t stick around. Porch chairs have to be chained together. Your car window is likely to get smashed every now and then.
The danger can be a little steeper. One afternoon, at Krupa’s Tavern at 27th and Brown, a guy named Bob tells me about working in the mailroom at Rolling Stone magazine years ago and shows me an anthology of Beat-era writers he’s reading. I can’t resist asking him about his wire-rim glasses, which are way down on his nose and twisted at an absurd angle—there’s no way he can see out of them.
“Oh,” he says, smiling, “I went home one night from the bar and two guys smashed my face into the cement steps of my house”—that’s what messed up his glasses. “A few days later I got my wallet back in the mail—they had thrown it in somebody’s mailbox.”
He acknowledges that his assailants were black. “Not that that matters,” he says.
Another day, I chat with two cops sitting in their car outside Henneberry’s, a drugstore on 24th Street, and ask them who commits crimes here, large and small. Mostly, they say, black guys from North Philly.
Confronted with a [black] drug dealer in his new neighborhood, Paul understood that the guy had to find a way to get by. That he was struggling. That he had made an economic decision. But the “guy” who wanted to sell Oxycontin to Paul was a child—one probably in seventh grade. […] A few weeks later, I have dinner with Paul in South Philly and ask him if he’s ever thought more about the kid who offered him Oxycontin. “No,” Paul says. “It’s easier to put it out of your mind and not think about it. The truth is kind of a dark thing.”
No pun intended?
The problems seem intractable. In so many quarters, simply discussing race is seen as racist. And so white people are stuck, dishonest by default, as we take a pass on the state of this city’s largely black inner city and settle for politely opening doors [for black people] at Wawa, before we slip back to our own lives. […] Like many people, I yearn for much more: that I could feel the freedom to speak to my African-American neighbors about, say, not only my concerns for my son’s safety living around Temple, but how the inner city needs to get its act together. That I could take the leap of talking about something that might seem to be about race with black people. […] I wouldn’t do that, though, because it feels too risky. In fact, I would no more go there than I would stand out on the sidewalk some Saturday and ask a neighbor how much money he has in the bank.
But this is how I see it: We need to bridge the conversational divide so that there are no longer two private dialogues in Philadelphia—white people talking to other whites, and black people to blacks—but a city in which it is okay to speak openly about race. […] Meanwhile, when I drive through North Philly to visit my son, I continue to feel both profoundly sad and a blind desire to escape.
Though I wonder: Am I allowed to say even that?
Well, according to the mayor, at least, the answer is no, no you’re not allowed to say that. And a disturbing number of Robert Huber’s colleagues agree.
It “doesn’t make sense as journalism,” according to fellow Philadelphia writer Jason Fagone (2013), because (a) you shouldn’t write about being white in Philly; (b) raciss white people are just afraid for no reason—that is, they suffer from a mental disorder, for which they should perhaps be required to seek treatment—for their own good, of course; (c) white people are raciss and shouldn’t be allowed to talk about race without providing their full names; (d) nothing could possibly be discouraging white people from talking about race; and of course (e) oh, please don’t think I’m a raciss like that awful Huber fellow!
The March issue of Philadelphia magazine is unfortunate. I saw the issue late last week. I still have sort of a hard time believing it’s real.
How can people, in this day and age, still refuse to comply with my political beliefs?
The way I see it, the story is doomed before Bob has a chance to write a single sentence. The framing is that this is a story about “being white.” It’s going to explore race from a single point of view.
Fagone goes on to dismiss anything ever written from a black point of view. Oh, wait, no he doesn’t.
All Bob can accomplish within the frame of “being white” is exactly what he does accomplish, which is to chronicle the racial fears of one particular group of people, moving among his sources as a kind of confessor.
I say confessor because the quotes he gathers aren’t on the record. Sources are anonymous, names are changed. I don’t like this. I don’t see how you’re going launch a frank discussion of race […] under a cloak of anonymity.
“I don’t like this.”
It just baffles me on a practical level: I don’t get why you’d devote 6,000 words or whatever […] to explaining why it’s difficult to have a conversation when you could just go and have the conversation.
Yes, we’re certainly seeing how easy it is to “just go and have” that conversation.
Part of the reason I’m upset about “Being White in Philly” is that I care about the magazine and how we’re perceived. […] I think we’re a lot better and smarter than the caricature of us I often encounter: that we only care about white Main Liners, that we cater to the rich and powerful, and on and on. […] We do good work here. That’s why I dread the moment when the full story goes online. I fear our good work is going to get lost in the criticism. And we’re going to deserve it.
Here’s Steve Volk, another Philadelphia writer (2013):
Bob [Huber] assures me he just wanted to let his sources speak for themselves in this story. But he seems to miss the obvious here, which is that if white Philadelphians would like to be able to address race without being labeled “racist,” they should avoid saying racist things.
It is, in my opinion, one thing for some racist [white] resident to feel and think these thoughts, another entirely for a major city magazine to do it—and publish them as fact.
Ah, so white people are perfectly free to talk about race, as long as they don’t say anything raciss, like relating something they have actually seen black people doing, unless it’s a good thing—actually, I don’t have to explain myself to you, you racis, so just shut your mouth. Anyway, stop complaining, you’re free to talk about race.
Do people steal BBQ grills from back patios because they’re black? Or Halloween pumpkins? Do they deal Oxycontin because the amount of pigment in their skin produces such behavior? No.
Is race the same as skin color? Can you tan a Swede Kenyan? Is Volk being honest here? No.
We encounter a litany of anecdotes about blacks and imagined blacks behaving badly. And frankly, nearly a week after I first read this story, I still can’t believe I’m not just making it up.
Now, it is rare, if not unprecedented, for a city magazine to print a story like Bob’s. And it is rarer still for a writer on staff to be allowed a public forum to question the judgment of the publication for which he works. But here we are.
It is not lost on me that “Being White in Philly,” is (most likely) a transparent attempt to get an emotional reaction, and in that sense I am only feeding the fire I suspect the magazine hoped would start. So let me conclude by saying something even more outrageous: I sincerely hope you will not read Bob’s story. Let me do this service for you. Whoever you are, “Being White in Philly,” is not—in my opinion—worthy of your time.
Thank you for your service, Steve, by which I mean: thank you for providing such a rich source of examples of what we should all recognize by now as “the distinctive whining scream of the Puritan, speaking power to truth as is his usual fashion. Recognizable in any century” (Unqualified Reservations, 2009).
And here’s Daniel Denvir at the City Paper (2013):
I must first disable the story’s booby trap, a defense built into its very DNA: the idea that “in so many quarters, simply discussing race is seen as racist.” Huber is not a brave man, and his premise is totally false. People will only think you “simply discussing race” is racist if you, like Huber, treat black people like inscrutable extraterrestrials whose moral shortcomings might be responsible for their own poverty.
Unlike decent people, who blame everything that goes wrong for black people, on white people.
Like Steve Volk, Denvir focuses on the attractive Russian woman (and who wouldn’t?):
One source is a “tall, slim, dark-haired beauty from Moscow getting out of her BMW” who tells him that “Blacks use skin color as an excuse” and waste your tax dollars while “not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot?” If this is “what’s not being said” about race by whites then white people like Huber might indeed need to keep theirs mouths shut.
Not mentioned: how Denvir knows that Philadelphia blacks, in general, are not doing these things.
Philadelphia Magazine can sometimes not help but to brazenly stroke the fragile if well-resourced egos of its elite readership—and, and on its worst days, stoke their pathetic prejudices and insecurities too.
If you’re white and you discuss race, then you’re a raciss, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. White people are responsible for everything that goes wrong with black people—not that there’s anything wrong with black people! Anyone who disagrees with me should be silenced; also, they’re probably insane.
To his credit, Philadelphia editor Tom McGrath defends the article, not to mention common sense (2013):
In the end, I decided to go forward with the story for two reasons. First, because I believe it is a story. As Huber notes in his piece, when race is written about, it’s generally done from the point of view of African-Americans. There are many just and legitimate reasons for that, but to pretend that white people don’t also have thoughts and feelings about the issue is dishonest. And so it seemed to me that if nothing else, there was something to be learned.
I’ll let you read for yourself what Huber found when he talked to those white Fairmounters, except to say this: Their stories are varied and complex, in most cases as far from black-and-white as you can imagine. “In so many quarters, even to talk about race is considered racist,” Huber writes in his story. He’s correct in that observation, but I also believe this to be true: To not talk about race is to admit that we can never move forward.
A violent black mob takes over part of Philadelphia (Inquirer, 2010). No big deal.
In June 2011, Ohio’s Plain Dealer published a curious little story on Cleveland.com: ‘Reports mixed on extent of unrest Sunday at Cleveland Heights street fair.’ I’ve reprinted it in its entirety below:
Updated 11:15 a.m.—Social network reactions to unrest Sunday evening at Street Art fair. See quotes at bottom, powered by Storify.
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio—About 40 Cleveland Heights police officers had to control a crowd of unruly teenagers in the last hour of the Coventry Street Arts Fair Sunday, an event [that] closes Coventry Road every summer from Mayfield Road to Euclid Heights Boulevard. There were no reports of injuries, but Cleveland Heights police were expected later today to release the number of arrests made Sunday. About nine people were arrested in 2010 at the street fair.
The teens, who other kids said were from “all over the place”—Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights—were starting fights, screaming and throwing punches in the crowded streets, according to witnesses and shop owners.
Sarah Corcoran, 21, of Cleveland Heights, said she saw about 75 people run through the street, some yelling, just before the fair was scheduled to end at 6 p.m. Police showed up shortly after to clear the streets. “It was a big commotion,” said Shalai Melton, 15, of Garfield Heights. “When somebody sees one person run, everybody runs,” said Melton’s 16-year-old friend, India Jackson.
Reactions to news coverage of the unrest has been mixed, with some eyewitnesses saying that the incidents were limited to a handful of teens over a short period of time, with others claiming it was a frightening scene. The Storify collection of responses below reflects mostly the latter.
As promised, social network reactions followed (some of which are still available at Unamusement Park):
The comments below, mostly from Twitter.com, are only a portion of the chatter over about 7 hours Sunday evening—many others were left off the list because of offensive language.
What remained on the list hardly satisfied the website’s mission statement: “an essential 24/7 news, information and social interaction network” giving readers “absolutely everything they need to know about northeast Ohio.”
Take this first “tweet,” from WFNYCraig:
What happened at the Coventry street fair? I was there earlier in the day, but I see it trending. What did I miss?
And this last, from Its_ChrisSteez:
Coventry Shook Too Hard Yesterday.
Not especially illuminating. But I have an idea. Join me, won’t you, for a fascinating exercise in critical journalism, as we search Twitter for the words “Coventry” and “black.” Yes, I know: super raciss. Still. Let us see who and what got “left off the list because of offensive language.”
As early as 4:09 pm on Saturday, the day before the “unrest,” Twitter user Thick_ASS_Jass complained:
I wanna go to coventry but NIGGAS black ass NIGGAS on that embarassing ghetto dont know how to act ,dont got no home training type shit.
This Twitter user just so happens to be a young black woman.
At 7:51 pm, Look_ItsTreMilz, who also happens to be black, promised:
Everybody is gonna be at Coventry tomorrow huh?…. You wont see my black ass up there.
At 10:09 pm, My_FreshAss, who happens to be black as well, warned:
Coventry gone [going to] be full of FIGHTS, RIOTS, BLACK PEOPLE, DRUGS, [A]ND ——> [that implies] POLICE SOOOOOO YALL [you all] BETTA [better] ACT CIVILIZED!!!
At 11:01 pm, JaeCudi (who is black) joked:
I thought they stopped black people from hanging [out] on Coventry. Lol [laughing out loud]. JK [just kidding]
At 11:37 pm, SaleBrixSckTits (who is black) speculated:
Coventry gone [going to] pull out them pattywagons again on you black fuckers lol
At 11:42 pm, DaniDhaColdest (who is black) wondered:
Man why tf [the fuck] y’all gotta always wanna fight &nd start problems on coventry , that’s why BLACK PPL [people] not wanted in a lot of places now GROWUP .
Once again, these are all from the day before the “frightening scene” at the Coventry Street Arts Fair. Is it interesting that this second episode of “unrest” in as many years was premeditated? Does this fall under “absolutely everything” we “need to know about northeast Ohio”?
At 12:31 am, LilRedHead_Jada (who is black) pleaded:
Dear Black , Please Don’t Fight On Coventry Like Some Dumbasses ^_^ [happy face] Love, Jada . . . .
At 8:32 am on Sunday, the day of the “unrest,” MauriceAmir (who is black) vowed:
Im Not Going To The Coventry Feat [Fest]. Black People Always Make Some Shit Ghetto Af [as fuck]. Plus I Gotta Work :) [smiling face]
At 9:18 am, quezzy_quell (who is black) plotted:
If I go to coventry I’m goin early so I dnt have to put up wit black ppl [people]…
At 10:55 am, PaintTheCosmos (who is black) cursed:
Did want to go to Coventry, but black people like to fuck shit up.
At 11:24 am, HoesTaughtMe (who is black) ordered:
NO SHOOTING, Coventry The Last Place Black People Got!
At 11:27 am, _TONYtaughtme (who is black) equated:
coventry = fighting . yu cant put a bunch of black people in one area cuz they dk [don't know] how to act .
At 11:41 am, Pauly_Frm_Phs (who is black) predicted:
Today gone [going to] be black tennagers last time on Coventry
At 12:06 pm, iStriptor_Nike (who is black) prayed:
Dear lord, don’t let these black rambunctious kids ruin the Coventry fest this time … Sincerely, Kasey Moreland
At 12:22 pm, Lanky_Ralf (who is black) begged:
Dear black people, please dont embarass us today on coventry. Sincerely, Ralf .
At 1:04 pm, SincerelyKELLEY (who is black) asserted:
All these black people at coventry today . i just KNOW its gonee [going to] be some drama .. smhh [shaking my head] !
At 2:57 pm, leahbonnielove (who is black) chortled:
I enjoyed coventry this afternoon. Had to go before it got “all black” lmao [laughing my ass off].
At 4:55 pm, McTeddy13_ (who is black) lamented:
I really wanted to go to the Coventry Festival but it’s just too many black people going so I don’t wanna go anymore -___- [sad, ashamed, or unimpressed face]
At 5:14 pm, shortly before the “unrest,” Yesjessicaa, who is a white girl, noted:
Nora and I are at the Coventry fair and we walked past a group of black girls and one of them goes “ EWWW, I hate white girls”
Just before 6 pm, the “unruly teenagers,” all of whom were apparently black, rioted. At 6:26 pm, 81smallz (who is black) suggested:
Young black kids of cleveland… Smarten up.. Ur [you're] looking goofy out here.. #coventry
There are many more tweets out there, all saying pretty much the same thing. Here are just a few more.
Murda_Moosh (who is black) at 7:45 pm:
coventry fest….never again! a damn mess! black kids dunno how to act !
BoY_SaNiTy (who is black) at 12:04 am:
Coventry was just a bunch of over dressed black people looking for trouble i swear on it
teeelash (who is black) at 6:44 am on Monday:
Some shooting in Coventry sha [?], black boys as usual RT@yourmbour: AH!!! Wetin [?] happen … RT @teeelash: The black race is cursed.
BadAssNmd_Ticia (who is black) at 12:09 pm:
Coventry was nothing but a bunch of black highschool kids running wild. Waste of time #yessssss
black ppl [people] fucking up the coventry fest…fighting at the peace park. smh [shaking my head]
So what have we learned?
- For at least two years in a row, premeditated black riots shut down the Coventry Street Arts Fair. The 2012 and 2013 fairs were canceled for that very reason (Cleveland.com, May 2012 and July 2013).
- The Plain Dealer decided to report the 2011 riot as “a crowd of unruly teenagers” of unspecified race.
- The Plain Dealer also published a collection of social network reactions from which, they failed to tell their readers, they had removed any tweet that mentioned race, which was nearly all of them. This was supposedly “because of offensive language,” which cannot be true since this tweet, among others from the time period in question, has none:
Young black kids of cleveland… Smarten up.. Ur looking goofy out here.. #coventry
Sometimes, indeed, you could put your finger on a definite lie.
And it’s fascinating to me how otherwise sane people, many of them with perfectly clear memories of the 1990s or even the 1980s, seem to think it’s normal that today, in the United States in the 21st century, a popular arts fair should be canceled, year after year, because of the threat of violent mobs.
The line between First World and Third continues to blur.
Uncle Joe, Professor Furr’s good friend
And they have plenty of “liberals.” What they do need, and would much benefit from, is more Marxists, radicals, leftists—all terms conventionally applied to those who fight against exploitation, racism, sexism, and capitalism.
We can never have too many of these, just as we can never have too few “conservatives.”
Ideologically, most college faculty are trained to use evidence, and to entertain and discuss differing viewpoints. This is congenial to “liberalism,” and even more so to to [sic] Marxism, but not to certain dogmatic strains of thought, and modern “conservatism” is among the latter.
Among modern conservatism’s “dogmatic strains of thought,” according to Grover Furr, is “knee-jerk anti-communism.” If you haven’t already guessed, Comrade Furr is a Marxist. In fact, he is a Communist. Actually, he is a flat-out Stalinist (FrontPageMag, 2005). Would you like to read some genuine Stalinist propaganda? Look no further than the comments section of the Montclarion (2012):
When you insist on evidence, you discover , as I have, that all the stories of “Stalinist atrocities”, etc., are fabrications, falsehoods, lies—at least, all of those I have investigated so far.
The “Holodomor” is a Nazi-inspired myth. There was no “Holodomor” – meaning, deliberate famine to starve Ukrainians (or anybody else). There has never been a shred of evidence of any such thing.
The “Holodomor” is a falsification, an invention by pro-Nazi Ukrainian Nationalists.
The Soviet collectivization of agriculture was one of the greatest triumphs of social engineering of the 20th century. If capitalists gave prizes to communists—which, of course, they do not—the benefits of collectivization would have won Stalin and the Soviet government the Nobel Prize. It unquestionably saved the lives of tens of millions of people who would have died in succeeding famines.
It also permitted the industrialization of the USSR and the defeat of the Nazis, thus saving Europe and all of us from Nazi genocide.
AH HAHAHA HA HAAA
There is a major controversy over the “Katyn massacre” issue. It is very far from clear that the Soviets shot all the Poles, however many there might have been. There’s plenty of contradictory evidence.
Bear in mind, Comrade Furr is lying, in print and in person (“What you said is bullshit! It’s wrong! It’s a lie!”), about such supposed “major controversies” in 2012, not in, say, 1943, when it might have been forgivable. You should also bear in mind that questioning even the most preposterous claims about a certain other mid-twentieth century mass killing, let alone denying the democide entirely, can land you in jail in many countries today.
There were no “mass murders” by the Stalin regime – none that I have ever found, and I have investigated all the allegations—so there’s no evidence of any (for the “Katyn” case, see above)
The Soviet Union, and the worldwide communist movement which it inspired and supported, were by far the biggest factor in fighting the imperialism of Western capitalist countries. By so doing the Soviet Union played the leading role in the liberation of hundreds of millions of people from colonial oppression and exploitation by the Western capitalist countries, and the Japanese.
The “Victims of Communism” memorial was sponsored by Nazi collaborators. It’s an unintended compliment, therefore, since it was indeed the communists who defeated the Nazis and their collaborators, like these people, who have every reason to hate the communist movement.
Not only did Stalin NOT “kill more people than any other dictator”—I have yet to discover a single “crime”, a single “mass murders” [sic], that Stalin committed. Many are claimed, but all such claims are fraudulent—anticommunist fabrications.
Now, Comrade Furr may choose to believe any old thing he likes about Uncle Joe, and the primary sources be damned. I just wish he would extend the same courtesy to those of us who, to our everlasting chagrin, are not Party members in such good standing. You see, Comrade Furr believes that one good reason to keep conservatives out of the universities is, um, “censorship” (H-Net again):
Most college faculty feel threatened by those who show any inclination towards censorship, especially in teaching. Those who advocate various kinds of censorship these days are overwhelmingly “conservatives.”
Yet Comrade Furr himself tried to stop Yale University’s Timothy Snyder from lecturing on Soviet history in 2012. Now, obviously, Comrades, this is not “censorship.” As Comrade Furr has already explained, Marxists are always keen “to entertain and discuss differing viewpoints”—except, of course, when those viewpoints are anti-Communist propaganda, and quite rightly so. Why should we have to subject our ears to fascist lies? Why would you even want to? Very suspicious, Comrade. Don’t you see, Comrade Furr is simply sparing us the burden of refuting the fascist mythology and recycled Nazi propaganda of this “most unsuitable speaker.”
Thank you, Comrade Furr! Thank you!
Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury’s Galileo before the Holy Office
In Brave New World, Chapter 16, the protagonists Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, and John “the Savage” are brought before World Controller Mustapha Mond (who we’ve already met) to answer for their crimes against the World State, which I suppose could be summed up as first-degree failure to be happy:
The room into which the three were ushered was the Controller’s study.
“His fordship will be down in a moment.” The Gamma butler left them to themselves.
Helmholtz laughed aloud.
“It’s more like a caffeine-solution party than a trial,” he said, and let himself fall into the most luxurious of the pneumatic arm-chairs.
Mustapha Mond shook hands with all three of them; but it was to the Savage that he addressed himself. “So you don’t much like civilization, Mr. Savage,” he said.
The Savage looked at him. He had been prepared to lie, to bluster, to remain sullenly unresponsive; but, reassured by the good-humoured intelligence of the Controller’s face, he decided to tell the truth, straightforwardly. “No.” He shook his head.
“We don’t want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That’s another reason why we’re so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.”
Science? The Savage frowned. He knew the word. But what it exactly signified he could not say.
“Yes,” Mustapha Mond was saying, “that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.”
“What?” said Helmholtz, in astonishment. “But we’re always saying that science is everything. It’s a hypnopaedic platitude.”
“Three times a week between thirteen and seventeen,” put in Bernard.
“And all the science propaganda we do at the College…”
“Yes; but what sort of science?” asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically. “You’ve had no scientific training, so you can’t judge. I was a pretty good physicist in my time. Too good—good enough to realize that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to except by special permission from the head cook. I’m the head cook now. But I was an inquisitive young scullion once. I started doing a bit of cooking on my own. Unorthodox cooking, illicit cooking. A bit of real science, in fact.” He was silent.
“What happened?” asked Helmholtz Watson.
The Controller sighed. “Very nearly what’s going to happen to you young men. I was on the point of being sent to an island.”
At this point, Bernard Marx has to be taken to another room and sedated.
“One would think he was going to have his throat cut,” said the Controller, as the door closed. “Whereas, if he had the smallest sense, he’d understand that his punishment is really a reward. He’s being sent to an island. That’s to say, he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community-life. All the people who aren’t satisfied with orthodoxy, who’ve got independent ideas of their own. Every one, in a word, who’s any one. I almost envy you, Mr. Watson.”
Helmholtz laughed. “Then why aren’t you on an island yourself?”
“Because, finally, I preferred this,” the Controller answered. […] After a little silence, “Sometimes,” he added, “I rather regret the science. Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people’s happiness. A much harder master, if one isn’t conditioned to accept it unquestionably, than truth.” He sighed, fell silent again, then continued in a brisker tone, “Well, duty’s duty. One can’t consult one’s own preference. I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history. [...] But we can’t allow science to undo its own good work. That’s why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches—that’s why I almost got sent to an island. We don’t allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged. It’s curious,” he went on after a little pause, “to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered. […] It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it, Mr. Watson—paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.”
Bruce Lahn; John Horgan
You may recall how the New York Times has perfected the art of doublethink on human evolution. While progressive “philosopher” Justin E.H. Smith was trashing an entire field, wiping out centuries of accumulated knowledge, and making an embarrassing number of elementary errors in the name of “equality” (and probably a couple of other late 18th century murderous insurrectionary slogans), science reporter Nicholas Wade was trying to teach us about the latest findings in human evolutionary biology:
Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, suggesting that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution.
The new finding, reported by Bruce T. Lahn of the University of Chicago and colleagues in the journal Science, could raise controversy because of the genes’ role in determining brain size. New versions of the genes, or alleles, as geneticists call them, appear to have spread because they enhanced the brain’s function in some way, the report suggests, and they are more common in some populations than others.
Last September, Bruce Lahn, a professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, stood before a packed lecture hall and reported the results of a new DNA analysis: He had found signs of recent evolution in the brains of some people, but not of others.
It was a triumphant moment for the young scientist. He was up for tenure and his research was being featured in back-to-back articles in the country’s most prestigious science journal. Yet today, Dr. Lahn says he is moving away from the research. “It’s getting too controversial,” he says.
Dr. Lahn had touched a raw nerve in science: race and intelligence.
What Dr. Lahn told his audience was that genetic changes over the past several thousand years might be linked to brain size and intelligence. He flashed maps that showed the changes had taken hold and spread widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas, but weren’t common in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sorry, Dr. Lahn. You got the wrong answer. You were supposed to prove everyone is the same—except white people, who are bad.
You may also recall how Eric Turkheimer seems to think the last step in the scientific method is to check your conclusions for ugliness, and make sure no one feels offended by them. Lahn has been criticized not for, say, invalid reasoning, but for reasoning his way into a politically inconvenient answer:
Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and medical ethics at the University of Wisconsin, criticizes Dr. Lahn for implying a conclusion similar to “The Bell Curve,” a controversial 1994 bestseller by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. The book argued that the lower average performance by African-Americans on IQ tests had a genetic component and wasn’t solely the result of social factors. Referring to Dr. Lahn and his co-authors, Prof. Ossorio says: “It’s exactly what they were getting at. There was a lot of hallway talk. People said he’s doing damage to the whole field of genetics.”
Real nice field of genetics you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if something were to do damage to it.
The 37-year-old Dr. Lahn says his research papers, published in Science last September, offered no view on race and intelligence. He personally believes it is possible that some populations will have more advantageous intelligence genes than others. And he thinks that “society will have to grapple with some very difficult facts” as scientific data accumulate. Yet Dr. Lahn, who left China after participating in prodemocracy protests, says intellectual “police” in the U.S. make such questions difficult to pursue.
A little later in the same article:
Dr. Lahn says he isn’t as eager as he once was to continue studying brain differences. P. Thomas Schoenemann, a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, says that at Dr. Lahn’s request he collected DNA from 25 people whose brain sizes he had studied previously. But the two scientists haven’t been in touch recently.
The university’s patent office is also having second thoughts. Its director, Alan Thomas, says his office is dropping a patent application filed last year that would cover using Dr. Lahn’s work as a DNA-based intelligence test. “We really don’t want to end up on the front page… for doing eugenics,” Mr. Thomas says.
More recently, Dr. Lahn says he was moved when a student asked him whether some knowledge might not be worth having. It is a notion to which he has been warming.
Sounds like they warmed him right up! Lahn shows up again in Nature News (2013):
For decades, scientists have trodden carefully in certain areas of genetic study for social or political reasons.
As far as genetic taboos go, race is probably one of the most heavily policed from within the scientific community, largely because of the way researchers have examined its intersection with other controversial traits, such as intelligence. This is due mostly to suspicion about what motivates the study.
However, some researchers have asked whether the taboo on the genetics of race has become so severe that it bars legitimate research. In 2005, for instance, geneticist Bruce Lahn of the University of Chicago in Illinois published studies suggesting that variants of two brain-development genes possibly linked to intelligence are evolving differently in white Europeans and African ethnic groups. This provoked a wave of worried comments by scientists about how the studies might be interpreted. Among those who voiced concerns was then-director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute Francis Collins, now director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Lahn says he felt “ambushed” during the debate over his findings. At meetings, even his co-authors did not defend him. “My friends said nothing,” he says.
Some argue that Lahn should have been more cautious. “Science always plays out in a certain socio-political context, and you have to look at the consequences of how the science might play out,” says John Horgan, a journalist who has written widely on the societal implications of science. “Research on race and intelligence is much more prone to supporting racist ideas about the inferiority of certain groups, which plays into racist policies.” Horgan says that institutional review boards should ban or seriously question proposed studies on race and IQ.
Lahn no longer works on the genetics of race and has urged researchers to have a more transparent discussion about whether such studies should proceed at all. “Given the history of the way race has been used in this country, maybe the research shouldn’t be encouraged because it touches too many raw nerves. I’m OK with that,” he says. “But I’m not OK with being ambushed by political discussions masquerading as scientific discussions.”
Bruce, buddy: you can’t have it both ways!
Journalist John Horgan returns in ‘Should Research on Race and IQ Be Banned?’ (2013), an Orwellian/Huxleyan goldmine and almost certainly the most evil thing Scientific American has ever published:
The old issue of genes, race and intelligence has exploded once again. The trigger this time is social scientist Jason Richwine.
The Washington Post reported that Richwine asserted in his 2009 Harvard Ph.D. thesis, “IQ and Immigration Policy,” that the average IQ of U.S. immigrants “is substantially lower than that of the white native population.” Arguing that “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ,” Richwine added, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” Richwine proposed that IQ be considered as a factor for screening immigrants.
So there it is, a neo-eugenics program, proposed by a Harvard-minted scholar employed by a prominent think tank.
Needless to say, Horgan is unable to identify a single error in Richwine’s work. But that’s simply not necessary when blatant thoughtcrime is involved. Richwine may not be—strictly, technically, scientifically speaking—wrong, but he’s politically incorrect, so crush him like a bug:
Some pundits applauded Richwine’s downfall and attacked his Harvard research. […] Others defended the premise of Richwine’s thesis—that genes account for at least some of the differences in IQ scores between different ethnic groups—and deplored attacks on him as threats to freedom of speech and scientific inquiry. Journalist Andrew Sullivan says that the “effective firing” of Richwine “should immediately send up red flags about intellectual freedom.”
These are the same sorts of things said in 1994 when Harvard researchers Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray argued in The Bell Curve that programs to boost black academic performance might be futile because blacks are innately less intelligent than whites; and in 2007 when geneticist and Nobel laureate James Watson ascribed Africa’s social problems to Africans’ genetic inferiority. (Watson is also a former Harvard professor. What is it with Harvard? Could there be something in the drinking water?)
Watson actually said “that he was ‘inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa’ because ‘all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really’” (Independent, 2007), an indisputable, not even remotely debatable scientific fact. Needless to say, etc., etc.
I’m torn over how to respond to research on race and intelligence. Part of me wants to scientifically rebut the IQ-related claims of Herrnstein, Murray, Watson and Richwine. But another part of me wonders whether research on race and intelligence—given the persistence of racism in the U.S. and elsewhere—should simply be banned. I don’t say this lightly. For the most part, I am a hard-core defender of freedom of speech and science. But research on race and intelligence—no matter what its conclusions are—seems to me to have no redeeming value.
Hate speech, meet hate facts. (They’re very raciss.)
Why, given all the world’s problems and needs, would someone choose to investigate this thesis? What good could come of it? Are we really going to base policies on immigration, education and other social programs on allegedly innate racial differences?
Hate facts threaten progress!
Perhaps instead of arguing over the evidence for or against theories linking race and IQ we should see them as simply irrelevant to serious intellectual discourse. I’m sympathetic toward the position spelled out by Noam Chomsky in his usual blunt fashion in his 1987 book Language and Problems of Knowledge:
“Surely people differ in their biologically determined qualities. The world would be too horrible to contemplate if they did not. But discovery of a correlation between some of these qualities is of no scientific interest and of no social significance, except to racists, sexists and the like. Those who argue that there is a correlation between race and IQ and those who deny this claim are contributing to racism and other disorders, because what they are saying is based on the assumption that the answer to the question makes a difference; it does not, except to racists, sexists and the like.”
Scientists and pundits who insist on recycling racial theories of intelligence portray themselves as courageous defenders of scientific truth. I see them not as heroes but as bullies, picking on those who are already getting a raw deal in our society. It’s time to put these destructive theories to rest once and for all.
Ban hate facts: no one wants to hear about them anyway! Also, ban hate facts: they have no possible relevance to society! (Especially not “policies on immigration, education and other social programs.”) Last but not least, ban hate facts: our enemies are bullies, and must be crushed like bugs!
So what do I really mean by a ban? Here’s one possibility. Institutional review boards (IRBs), which must approve research involving human subjects carried out by universities and other organizations, should reject proposed research that will promote racial theories of intelligence, because the harm of such research—which fosters racism even if not motivated by racism—far outweighs any alleged benefits. Employing IRBs would be fitting, since they were formed in part as a response to the one of the most notorious examples of racist research in history, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which was carried out by the U.S. Public Health Service from 1932 to 1972.
Every single thing Horgan believes about the Tuskegee study is wrong, but that’s beside the point. This, my enlightened friends, is how science finally dies (and is replaced by Neil deGrasse Tyson memes): when science’s ability to expose inegalitarian reality starts to threaten progressive ideology.
Scientific American has just published two excellent article on “stereotype threat,” which is a kind of reverse placebo—or “nocebo”—effect; victims of negative stereotypes may underperform because they believe the stereotype.
Unfortunately for Scientific American, “stereotype threat” does not appear to exist, and couldn’t close the gap even if it did. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is to say something scientific-sounding that (a) makes the reader think “racial theories” are false, so banning science isn’t so bad “just this one time”; (b) makes the reader think “racial theories” are dangerous, so banning science is actually necessary “just this one time”; and (c) clarifies that we should only ban science that gives the wrong answers, namely those that contradict progressive doctrine:
Some clever critics of my post might accuse me of hypocrisy, because these articles present esearch [sic] on race and and [sic] should be subject to my proposed ban. Obviously I’m trying to eliminate research that reinforces rather than counteracting [sic] racism. I mean, Duh.
Duh. Ban science. Duh. Rather like Pilar Ossorio criticizing Bruce Lahn “for implying a conclusion similar to ‘The Bell Curve,’” or Troy Duster attacking that “dangerous conclusion” in behavior genetics (above).
Here’s an informed take: Gregory Cochran, co-author of The 10,000 Year Explosion (2009).
John Horgan believes that research on race and IQ should be banned, and that having university IRBs veto such research would be a reasonable way of doing so. There are problems with this idea. Not just that freedom of enquiry is a thing of value, and that John, if given the chance, would exchange his soul for a pile of dung—and be right to do so. No, enforcement of this policy entails technical difficulties. For one thing, essentially all IRBs already try to ban such research, but they don’t do a very good job, because they don’t know enough about the subject. Probably nobody does. For example, not so long ago people felt free to speculate that modern humans might have picked a few useful alleles from Neanderthals—including ones that increased intelligence. That was before it was found that there is substantial Neanderthal admixture only in non-Africans. In much the same way, it was ok to talk about male-driven mutation that increases with paternal age, but if you couple that with the actual populations that have high average paternal age, the topic becomes sensitive. Sometimes the clues aren’t there yet, sometimes no-one has put them together—but ignorance is a minefield, not least because of the nasty way in which one thing leads to another. You start out trying to breed a pig with more bacon and before you know it you’re arguing that medieval evolution made the Jews smarter.
Cochran then makes a crucial point:
I can see two possible ways of addressing the problem. One is to end all science. Horgan might like that: he thinks that there isn’t much more to find out anyhow. The other solution is to find out exactly what it is that we don’t want anyone to know: find the true causes of ethnic differences in cognition and personality. Find the exact number and position of the mines in the minefield, all the Bouncing Bettys and Claymores, so that we can tell people exactly what topics to avoid or ignore. The current system is particularly unfair to immigrant scholars who have been raised on a different brand of nonsense (for example, thinking that the Tibetans are resistant to hypoxia = racism) and aren’t familiar with our Index. We don’t have to worry about the minefield being empty: people like Horgan know damn well what they expect research to find—if they thought there was nothing there, they wouldn’t worry about it!
A VectorBelly cartoon
In 2009, American psychiatrist Allen J. Frances warned against the diagnostic recklessness of the American Psychiatric Association, particularly the fifth edition of its Diagnostic Statistical Manual (Psychiatric Times):
I believe that the work on DSM-V has displayed the most unhappy combination of soaring ambition and weak methodology. […] The DSM-V goal to effect a “paradigm shift” in psychiatric diagnosis is absurdly premature. Simply stated, descriptive psychiatric diagnosis does not now need and cannot support a paradigm shift.
There is also the serious, subtle, and ubiquitous problem of unintended consequences. […] For instance, a seemingly small change can sometimes result in a different definition of caseness that may have a dramatic and totally unexpected impact on the reported rates of a disorder. Thus are false “epidemics” created. For example, although many other factors were certainly involved, the sudden increase in the diagnosis of autistic, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, and bipolar disorders may in part reflect changes made in the DSM-IV definitions.
Undoubtedly, the most reckless suggestion for DSM-V is that it include many new categories to capture the subthreshhold (eg, minor depression, mild cognitive disorder) or premorbid (eg, prepsychotic) versions of the existing official disorders. […] The DSM-V Task Force has failed to adequately consider the potentially disastrous unintended consequence that DSM-V may flood the world with tens of millions of newly labeled false-positive “patients.” […] The result would be a wholesale imperial medicalization of normality that will trivialize mental disorder and lead to a deluge of unneeded medication treatments… The experts’ motives are pure, but their awareness of risks is often naive. Psychiatry should not be in the business of inadvertently manufacturing mental disorders.
Another DSM-V innovation would create a whole new series of so-called behavioral addictions to shopping, sex, food, videogames, the Internet, and so on. Each of these proposals has the potential for dangerous unintended consequences by inappropriately medicalizing behavioral problems; reducing individual responsibility; and complicating disability, insurance, and forensic evaluations. None of these suggestions is remotely ready for prime time as an officially recognized mental disorder.
The secretiveness of the DSM-V process is extremely puzzling. […] Obviously, it is much better to discover problems before publication—and this can only be done with rigorous scrutiny and the welcoming of all possible criticisms.
Puzzling indeed. If you like puzzles, try this brainteaser: when is a “problem” not a problem? Like, say, the “problem” of “reducing individual responsibility,” and transferring that “responsibility” (power) to elsewhere.
Perhaps one of these “problems” will result from a major psychiatric organization formulating public policy (in other words, instructing the government) to ban home schooling. (“One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, ‘Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work.’”) Or not. I can imagine lots of other potential “problems.”
“The experts’ motives are pure.” Yes, I’m sure they are, but—“Unintended consequences.” Granted, but—“Totally unexpected impact… unintended consequence… inadvertently manufacturing… unintended consequences…” All right, we get it! It is indeed important not to mistake incompetence for malice. (It’s the difference between the Bush administration and the Black Hand.) But it is equally important not to mistake a large, government-affiliated organization like the APA—or, for that matter, the government—for the sum of its membership’s good intentions.
The American Psychiatric Association isn’t a criminal conspiracy, but that doesn’t mean the largest psychiatric organization in the world doesn’t have its own interests. The American Psychological Association (also APA) isn’t a criminal conspiracy either, but the largest psychological organization in the world does maintain
- an Education Government Relations Office, which “seeks to increase federal support for psychology education and training,” and “to promote the application of psychology to education and training,” which all means more power (or “influence,” if you prefer) for the APA;
- a Public Interest Government Relations Office, which “actively engages in shaping federal policy,” i.e., ruling the country, “to promote psychology in the public interest” (including key “issue areas” like “children, youth, and families,” “ethnic minority affairs,” and “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues”—remember, it’s not an ideological bias, it’s science); and of course
- a Science Government Relations Office, which “advocates in multiple areas to influence policy decisions that advance and preserve the infrastructure of psychological science.”
All of which is perfectly reasonable for the APA to do.
Also perfectly reasonable is the other APA’s official response (signed by the president, the medical director and CEO, and the chair and vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force) to Dr. Frances’ editorial, a response Carlat Psychiatry (2009) calls “a weird mixture of bureaucratese and mean-spiritedness.
The bureaucratese I can understand—after all, this is a letter crafted by committee. But the nasty tone of the response is astonishing and undignified.
See for yourself (Scribd, 2009):
Frances now joins a group of individuals, many involved in development of previous editions of DSM, who repeat the same accusations about DSM-V with disregard for the facts. The process for developing DSM-V has been the most open and inclusive ever. […] Unfortunately, to bolster his unjustified ad hominem attacks, Dr. Frances used the readily available DSM-V updates and misrepresented them as final decisions, rather than as statements of work in progress.
Dr. Frances opened his commentary with the statement, “We should begin with full disclosure.” It is unfortunate that Dr. Frances failed to take this statement to heart when he did not disclose his continued financial interests in several publications based on DSM-IV. […] Both Dr. Frances and Dr. Spitzer have more than a personal “pride of authorship” interest in preserving the DSM-IV and its related case book and study products. Both continue to receive royalties on DSM-IV associated products. The fact that Dr. Frances was informed at the APA Annual Meeting last month that subsequent editions of his DSM-IV associated products would cease when the new edition is finalized, should be considered when evaluating his critique and its timing.
“In other words,” Dr. Carlat (a psychiatrist, by the way) explains, “Frances wrote his editorial because he was just informed that once DSM-V is published, the APA will no longer publish new editions of books introducing psychiatrists to the outdated DSM-IV. Somehow, I doubt that this was exactly a news flash to Dr. Frances.”
The Himalayan glaciers remain very much unmelted.
Let’s talk about Climate Change (again). Not climate change, as in: “the climate is changing,” or “human beings are changing the climate,” or even “human beings are making the climate worse.” With those, we are still plausibly doing science. I’m talking about Climate Change, as in: “the cost of inaction is the extinction of the human race. Period” (New York Times, 2009). That is not science.
Or take Joe Romm, who owes his career, livelihood, fame and power to promoting Climate Change. Here’s Joe, writing at ClimateProgress, a division of the (political) organization ThinkProgress, in 2009:
In this post I’m going to present the general diagnosis for “anti-science syndrome” (ASS). Like most syndromes, ASS is a collection of symptoms that individually may not be serious, but taken together can be quite dangerous—at least it can be dangerous to the health and well-being of humanity if enough people actually believe the victims. One tell-tale symptom of ASS is that a website or a writer focuses their climate attacks on non-scientists. If that non-scientist is Al Gore, this symptom alone may be definitive. The other key symptoms involve the repetition of long-debunked denier talking points, commonly without links to supporting material. Such repetition, which can border on the pathological, is a clear warning sign.
Scientists who kept restating and republishing things that had been widely debunked in the scientific literature for many, many years would quickly be diagnosed with ASS. Such people on the web are apparently heroes—at least to the right wing and/or easily duped. […] If you suspect someone of ASS, look for the repeated use of the following phrases:
Individually, some of these words and phrases are quite useful and indeed are commonly used by both scientists and non-scientists who are not anti-science. But the use of more than half of these in a single speech or article is pretty much a definitive diagnosis of ASS. When someone repeats virtually all of those phrases, along with multiple references to Al Gore, they are wholly a victim of ASS—in scientific circles they are referred to as ASS-wholes.
Oh ho ho. “ASS-wholes.”
Compare the tone of Romm’s archenemy, Steve McIntyre—who gets called an “ASS-whole,” publicly, by “the Web’s most influential climate-change blogger” (Time, 2009), who also happens to be the former Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy and, for what it’s worth, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 People Who Are Changing America.” Here’s Steve (Climate Audit, 2013):
Marcott, Shakun, Clark and Mix did not use the published dates for ocean cores, instead substituting their own dates. […] As you see, there is a persistent decline in the alkenone reconstruction in the 20th century using published dates, but a 20th century increase using Marcott-Shakun dates. (It is taking all my will power not to make an obvious comment at this point.) […] Examination of the re-dating of individual cores will give an interesting perspective on the cores themselves—an issue that, in my opinion, ought to have been addressed in technical terms by the authors.
Whether or not you understand any of that, the difference in tone is clear. It’s the difference between Climate Change, on the one hand, and climate change, on the other; more generally, it’s the difference between official Science and plain old science. Mencius Moldbug explains in his Gentle Introduction:
[Joe Romm's] definition of Science is clear. Science is that which is done by scientists. Scientists are people employed, with the title of professor, by the universities. The universities are accredited by Washington. Therefore, Science, in Joe Romm’s mind, can be defined as official truth. […] We’ve reduced the scientific method to the following statement: Washington is always right. But surely not even the sage who gave us “ASS-whole” is crass enough to endorse this principle.
The unusual trustworthiness of science, despite the fact that scientists are humans and humans are not generally trustworthy, exists when […] the professional institutions within which scientists operate promote, broadcast, and reward any falsification.
The question then becomes: is Joe Romm’s Science actually a form of science?
That is: is the official truth of AGW [Anthropogenic Global Warming], which claims the high credibility produced by Popperian falsifiability in a functioning system of critical feedback, in fact justified in claiming this credibility?
Judith Curry is a climate scientist who, assuming climate Science was in fact climate science, decided to treat McIntyre the way scientists are supposed to treat other scientists who disagree with them. No, not by calling them “ASS-wholes”; by inviting them to give a lecture (Climate Audit, 2008):
I am taking some heat for all this from my peers outside Georgia Tech. The climate blog police were very upset by my congratulations to Steve upon winning the best science blog award. A recent seminar speaker was apalled [sic] to be included in the same seminar series as steve and pat, and told me i was misleading my students. I got some support for what I am doing from a program manager at NSF who I spoke with recently, who appreciated my “missionary work” over at climate audit. Another NSF program manager is apparently not at all happy about this. Some people think that my participation over here in someway “legitimizes” CA; my participation over here is not all that relevant in the overall scheme of CA. I am fully aware that many of my peers think i am crazy for doing this.
Cargo-cult scientists have to circle the wagons like this. If they piss off the NSF program managers, their life expectancy as successful grantwinners is not impressive. Real scientists have no such need to be defensive, because their program managers actually want them to expose any errors in their field.
In the age of AGW, there is no professional incentive for researchers to study the positive effects of warming climate, and a tremendous incentive for them to study the negative effects. Of course, if you only look at the research rather than the incentives which produce it, you will come away with the conclusion that warming’s negative effects vastly outnumber its positive ones. (Indeed, in the age of Puritan environmentalism, we can barely even express the thought that a human alteration to the environment might be in some sense benign.)
(If global warming is making the Earth worse, by whatever definition of “worse” you choose, and if we have been suffering from global warming for decades now, then logically, decades of global cooling would make the Earth better. Therefore, if a government, or perhaps some civic-minded individual, were to launch a device—call it System X—no, call it the Global Freeze Ray—into the upper atmosphere that, upon detonation, would start an irreversible chemical reaction that gradually, permanently reduces the temperature of air and water all around the globe for, say, ninety years—Canada and Russia and all of Europe getting colder and colder and colder—well, this would obviously be a tremendous blessing to which no sane person could object.)
Again, we see both scientific and public opinion changing not to follow the truth, but to follow the funding. The entire AGW industry is thus best explained as an intellectual pathology of the 20th century’s disastrous decision to convert disorganized, decentralized, and unofficial science into organized, centralized and official science.
This gives us our policy prescription: end all official funding of science, especially in cases in which the output of the science drives public policy. If a government to rely on the advice of scientists, it must make sure that it is relying on actual, falsifiable science, and that the institutions producing that science have no incentive to produce anything other than the truth. The obvious way to do this is to separate science and state, for the health of both.
In a healthy society, people would still study the Earth’s climate. They might even try to model it. But they would do so for the original motivation of science: curiosity. Today, bright young people go into the environmental sciences because they offer quite a different attraction: power. The sense of status and importance held by a James Hansen, or even a Joe Romm, is hard for such as you or me to even imagine.
Ah, yes: James Hansen, who declared, four years ago, that President Obama had four years to save the planet from global warming (Guardian, 2009). So well done, Obama, I suppose. Just look at all the terrible things that didn’t happen: “global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns,” “runaway greenhouse warming,” “accelerating ice melt,” “the collapse of ice sheets,” “devastating flooding of many of the world’s major cities and of low-lying areas of Holland, Bangladesh and other nations”—phew!
Or maybe he failed, and that’s all going to happen anyway. Like, next year. Didn’t happen, people of 2014? Next decade, then. Didn’t happen? Okay, decade after that…
Back to Moldbug:
A key aspect of this is not merely that the AGW researchers, their proteges, and their little academic empires survive and grow, but that their advice is taken by the State—and, as a result, has what many people in the trade call impact. Of course this is just a name for power, and those who have it find it so pleasant that they are seldom inclined to consider whether they are using it for good or for evil.
If you surf from Climate Progress to Climate Audit, the change from the world of funding and impact to the world of skepticism and curiosity is unmistakable and infinitely refreshing. The former is an NGO, supported by nameless and sinister fat cats. The latter has a tip jar. ‘Nuff said. Someday, all of science will return to the attitude and methodology of a Steve McIntyre, and its Washingtonian captivity will seem like no more than a bad dream.
Thank you for reading Radish! We hope you enjoyed it. The Thomas Carlyle Club for Young Reactionaries (Students Against a Democratic Society) will return shortly with our eleventh issue, featuring even more heinous thoughtcrimes against humanity. Reckless intolerance! Receiving stolen privilege! Grand theft human dignity! Tell your friends.
By then, of course, we fully expect our little newsletter to be illegal in Germany, Australia, the UK, and Canada at least, and I’m sure most of our readership will be shipped off to re-education facilities at the North Pole or in a volcano or under the sea or on the Moon or someplace equally horrid, so we close by reminding you, gentle readers/heinous thought criminals, of these words of encouragement from World Controller Mustapha Mond, delivered immediately after he exiles poor Bernard Marx to an island in Brave New World:
“One would think he was going to have his throat cut,” said the Controller, as the door closed. “Whereas, if he had the smallest sense, he’d understand that his punishment is really a reward. He’s being sent to an island. That’s to say, he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community-life. All the people who aren’t satisfied with orthodoxy, who’ve got independent ideas of their own. Every one, in a word, who’s any one. I almost envy you, [young Carlylean reactionaries].”
Thanks, Your Fordship!
Want to learn more about the topics covered in this issue of Radish? We recommend the following resources. (We do not, however, necessarily endorse all opinions expressed in them: some are not nearly extreme enough.)
Those Who Can See
- ‘Five-Year Plan in Four Years’
- ‘Bring low the enemy of Multiculturalism’
- ‘Heretics, Kulaks, and Witches: All That’s Old is New Again’
Assorted, Tangential & Miscellaneous
- ‘It Would Almost Be Funny If It Weren’t True: The Tea Party Cult and Lessons from History’ (Freedom fries!)
- ‘White men have much to discuss about mass shootings’ by the absurdly overeducated ruling-class authors of Clueless at the Top (compare Roissy’s uncommon sense)
- ‘The Silent Spring That Won’t Shut Up’
- ‘A Climate of Belief’