View 720 Friday, April 20, 2012
Many of you have called my attention to three comments by Fred Reed (Fred on Everything). They are all on the same topic although approaching it from different directions, but all starting with a the Zimmerman Martin affair. They are in order, and it won’t take long to read them all.
The third comment begins
“The Coming Race War in America was published in 1996 by Carl Rowan, the black columnist and former ambassador to Finland. The title is not ironic. He foresaw a major racial explosion. The book of course was furiously ignored. It should not have been. It dealt with an apocalyptic vision that has lurked around the edges of American consciousness since before the Civil War. And still does. We just don’t talk about it.”
Fred writes in the tradition of the science fiction authors in stories characterized by Robert Heinlein as “Warning: If this goes on…” and of course one of his novellas, about what happens if Evangelicals like the Reverend Billy Sunday take political power, had that title. Fred isn’t writing about the dangers of evangelicals.
Fred is an old friend, and I often agree with him. I’d like to say I don’t agree this time, but when I say that I have to add a qualification. He’s certainly right: if this goes on, if things continue without any change, there isn’t much hope. Fred says:
This: Our racial policy has proved a disaster. Sixty years after Brown vs. the School Board, blacks have not assimilated. They constitute a separate people having almost nothing in common with the surrounding European society. They fiercely maintain their identity with their own music, dialect, customs, dress, and names. All attempts to turn them into middle-class whites in darker packaging have failed. Only relentless governmental pressure forces an appearance of partial integration.
Let’s consider a few awkward facts that loom ghoulishly above the body politic, which seems to be decomposing. First, on every known measure of cognitive ability, on IQ, SATs, GREs, everything, blacks average about one standard deviation, fifteen IQ points, below whites. The gap is a fact. It exists. It is reflected in performance. It has proved intractable. In a technological civilization that rewards intelligence, the deficit sharply limits legitimate access to the higher reaches of money, power, class, and prestige.
Second, blacks continue to show little interest in schooling. Exceptions and degrees, yes. Yet consider cities such as Washington, which usually has a black mayor, black city council, mostly black school board, black staffs in the schools, black parents, black students, a high per-capita expenditure—and perhaps the worst schools in the country. This is a fact, and shows no signs of diminishing. It is repeated in countless cities.
And, alas, it’s all true. Yet there’s hope: there are the projects in Harlem, and Chicago, which insist on excellence in education, and which succeed, often startlingly well. You don’t see much about them in the media. Once in a while 60 Minutes will focus on such an institution, but mostly they don’t, and there’s a reason. They emphasize discipline, good grooming, politeness, and cultural assimilation along with rigorous education. And they work. They are turning out Americans who are black. And thus they are all but ignored by the liberal intellectuals.
American liberals have decided to give up the Melting Pot, and Assimilation, for something called ‘diversity’; and that is fatal to a Republic like ours. As Bill Buckley used to be fond of pointing out, America was different: anyone could learn how to be an American. You could study it in books, or observe how your neighbors did things, and it worked. You can’t study to become a Swiss, or a Frenchman, or an Englishman. You can’t learn how to be a Swede. German Jews used to be divided over whether the question of assimilation, and there were heated intellectual discussions between Zionists and Assimilationists in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. And you may recall the answer of the German middle class leader to the question of why Frau Schultz should not associate with Herr Schneider. “He is not a German.” (My reference, of course, is to ‘Cabaret’ which was based on Christopher Isherwood’s I Am A Camera, drawn from life observations in the decadent Berlin last days of the Weimar Republic. I saw and was impressed by both the staged musical and the movie, but the stage version was far better and much closer to the realities captured in the fiction.)
It used to be that America had a culture, and we regarded it as superior to any other – or, sometimes, more modestly, we insisted that whether or not it was better – there were many in academia who rated various European intellectual societies far above the American – it was ours, and it was what we had, and you were welcome to become part of it. The Melting Pot worked. Irish, Hungarian, Polish, Slavic, Italian, Sicilian, Lithuanian, Lebanese, Irish again, Italian again, and throughout the 19th Century Jews from many places came in waves to the United States, were looked down on, sometimes exploited, but over time admitted to the American culture, and over generations became powerful bearers, defenders, and transmitters of that culture. There were variants of the American culture – that’s what States are for, and that’s what freedom is for – but there were also basic axioms. One set of axioms was the set stated as ‘self evident’ in the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That phrase was carefully drawn. What it meant when said, and what it means now, is that we are not going to question certain axioms: that there is a Creator, and that Creator endowed all our citizens with inalienable rights – but neither ‘happiness’ nor ‘property’ is among them. The original source was John Locke who proclaimed rights to life, liberty, and property. All the Framers endorsed that, in the sense that securing property rights was the whole point of the Rebellion, Revolution, Confederation, and finally the Constitution of 1789; but there was considerable disagreement over what the right to property meant. Does it mean that everyone ought to have some? Well, yes – but how should he acquire it? Not by taking it from someone else. Not by having the government take it from someone else. But he surely had the right to acquire it, and the right to have his possession defended by government. That was the next axiom:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
And that, too, was accepted by the Convention of 1787, whose task was to draft a document that would create the mechanisms by which the consent of the governed might be ascertained.
And all that was assumed as part of the American culture. Americans were assumed to believe that the Constitution derived its just powers from the consent of the governed. Note that there was never any question about the existence of government power. Everyone knew what that was. Power was force, forcing people to do things they had no consented to. The Constitution said, well, yes, you have consented to certain things even if you, personally, don’t much care for them. And here they are, as far as the power of the Federal government goes. And yes, you will obey, as the followers of the Whiskey Rebellion found when President Washington led troops to suppress them. The rebels, some of them veterans of Washington’s revolutionary army, dispersed rather than face overwhelming force led by the legendary Washington, and rally nothing much came of it; but the principle was established.
And over time an American culture was built, and over time the conditions for admission to it were defined. It wasn’t perfect, and it took generations for some ethnic groups to be so assimilated that no one remembered when they hadn’t been, and the only “diversity” happened on St. Patrick’s Day or Columbus Day (or festivals in honor of Kościuszko, or Greek Independence). For a while it appeared the Cinco de Mayo might join St Patrick’s day as a celebration of Americans of Mexican descent, rather than a rally of La Raza.
The assimilation of Blacks had a different history, but even in the legally segregated South it was happening. A series of civil rights acts were intended to enable black assimilation.
Now that is all challenged. Assimilation is no longer the goal. Now it is ‘diversity’. In rejecting American exceptionalism in favor of ‘diversity’ we have sown the wind. We now reap the whirlwind.
I differ from Fred in that I think it is not impossible that we turn back and forsake our foolish ways. I also fear that we will not. I do not think that America can survive diversity. Few Republics ever have. The United States was able to tolerate a great number of cultural differences – even to rejoice and enjoy them—but that was all predicated on the overall premise of American exceptionalism, that we could all sing America the Beautiful and God Bless America, and anyone who wouldn’t was a foreigner.
I continue to catch up. All is returning to normal at Chaos Manor. Next I have to get to the Apple store to update my iPhone and iPad, and there’s a bunch of stuff like that (including getting Sable washed and groomed) but I should have some time at my desk now. It has been a hectic first quarter.
Thanks to those who called my attention to this:
Sir Terry Pratchett forged his own sword base and had it created by an artist – and now hides it from the authorities who apparently don’t allow British landholders to have a sword in the house? Not only will there not always be an England, apparently there’s no longer an England. But they are further down the road to diversity than we are.
I had not read the morning paper when I wrote the above, but in today’s Wall Street Journal is an editorial page essay “The Ugly Brutishness of Modern Britain” which tells more about the joys of diversity. It gives a number of examples of the utter collapse of civility and decent order in today’s diversified Britain, and ends
<clip>Multiculturalism is damaging because it denies that, when it comes to culture, there is a better and a worse, a higher and a lower—only difference. The word culture is used here in its anthropological sense, that is to mean the totality of behavior that is not directly biological.
Hence any conduct—lying scantily clad in a pool of vomit, for example—is part of a culture, and since all cultures, ex hypothesi, are of equal worth, no one has the moral right to criticize, much less forbid, any kind of behavior. And if I have to accept your culture, you have to accept mine. If you don’t like it—tough. Unfortunately, the lowest level of culture is the easiest to reach and, again ex hypothesi, there is no reason to aim higher.
Incivility in Britain thus has a militant or ideological edge to it. The uncivil British are not uncivilized by default—they actively hate and repudiate civilization.<clip>
We have not yet got there in these United States, but if we do not turn back from liberalism and restore the notion of a free republic as culturally superior to – or at least more desirable than – “diversity”, we are doomed.
Then we have:
University echo chamber drowns out diverse voices
The report cites a number of studies that document academia’s political imbalance. In 2004, for example, researchers examined the voter registration of UC Berkeley faculty. They found a ratio of 8 Democrats for each Republican. While the ratio was 4:1 in the professional schools, in more political disciplines, the ratio rose to 17:1 in the humanities and 21:1 in social sciences.
Over the last few decades, the imbalance has grown.
Campus reading lists require trendy books instead of challenging authors, like Shakespeare, who can draw students deeper into the English language. Teach-ins are notoriously one-sided. College graduates today are less proficient as readers than past graduates. The National Center for Education Statistics found that only 31 percent of college graduates could read and explain a complex book. In 1961, students spent an average of 24 hours per week on homework; today’s students study for 14 hours per week.
And of course tuition rises, credentialism flourishes, and the beat goes on. Diversity pays if you’re in the business of forcing it down people’s throats.
I note that the above is incomplete in one respect. It looks as if to be an American you have to believe in a Creator. After all, we put that at the heart of the Declaration, Lincoln used it in his justifications of his acts, and until recently every politician acted as if he believed it.
All true. But “acted as if he believed it” applied quite well to many of the Framers, who understood perfectly well that freedom of religion is not the same thing as having no religion. Many of the Framers – Franklin, Jefferson – had their doubts about the existence of a Creator and pretty well rejected the creeds of most of the large organized religions. Deism – a creator who built the Universe, but then took little notice of it afterwards, was popular among the intelligentsia of that time, and that included a number of the Framers. But what they insisted on was the acceptance of a moral code that wasn’t just the product of a legislature or a group of thinkers: it was something to be universally accepted, and we would operate within it. There might be doubts at the edges of it, but of one thing there was no doubt at all” right and wrong existed independent of the will of Congress. We will all agree to certain principles which seem pretty universal, in our dealings with each other. And yes, it is not a perfect union. We have deliberately overlooked slavery which many of those signing detested and many more disapproved of on moral grounds. Washington thought his duty to his family precluded emancipating his slaves while he was alive, but did so in his will, and Jefferson wished he had been a more prudent manager so that he could do the same.
But the existence of an exception to the agreed consensus on the scope of a general moral code only emphasizes more strongly the need for a moral code that pre-exists government and which pervades the society. Respect for some form or equality, and for life, liberty and property, is central to the endurance of self government. Once we reject that, once everything is up for grabs, when every culture is equal to every other, then of course the culture which says “I rule because I can” becomes as valid as one that says I rule because the governed consented to my rule. It becomes increasingly harder to object to the rule of Mubarak, Amin Dada
Natasha Harris, 30. New Zealand wife and Mom. Died in February 2010, but cause
of death just now revealed: a heart attack brought on by critically low potassium
levels. Drank 8 to 10 Liters of Coca-Cola a day, waking up with it in the morning
and going to bed with it at night. Apparently ingested little else.