Arguing with Racists

Letter to the Editor: Arguing with Racists

Sir  

The transformation of the Eugenics Education Society into the Galton Institute has not been as radical as the “political correction” of the Royal Anthropological Institute, let alone the Institute of Race Relations. Nevertheless, the latest issue of The Galton Review carries a surprisingly naïve endorsement of Adam Rutherford’s How to Argue with a Racist (2020), by Emeritus Professor Dallas Swallow of UCL, written with the BLM “demonstrations” in mind. It repeats the evasive semantic mantra that the “very concept” of “race” is a genetic “fallacy”, and states that every individual currently alive on earth shares ancestors in common with “all others” as recently as the 14th century.

Contextual clarity regarding umbrella words like “racism” and “racists” is urgently required, especially in view of a currently politicised focus on “definitions” confining responsibility to white-skinned people. The disputable allegation that “racial classification” arose as a superstructural “legitimisation” of Western imperialism is linked to the recent denunciation of (among others) James Watson, Tatu Vanhanen, Vincent Sarich, Garrett Hardin, Cyril Darlington, Carleton Coon, John Baker, Ruggles Gates, Ellsworth Huntington, Ronald Fisher, Joseph Deniker, Francis Galton, Thomas Malthus, Carl Linnaeus – and inevitably (notwithstanding his anti-slavery opinions) Charles Darwin himself. Continue reading

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Cesare Bourgeois

Benito Mussolini, Bundesarchiv Bild 102-08300

Cesare Bourgeois

John Gooch, Mussolini’s War: Fascist Italy from Triumph to Collapse, 1935-1943, Allen Lane, London, 2020, maps, illustrations, bibliography, notes, index, pp.vii-xxiv + pp.1-410, ISBN 978-0-241-18570-4, review essay by Frank Ellis

Fidarsi è bene, ma non fidarsi è meglio

How could it be that a nation one of whose most illustrious sons gave the world Il Principe (The Prince, 1532) and Dell’arte della Guerra (The Art of War, 1521) could, in turn, have produced a leader, who allowed himself to get swept away with dreams of imperial neo-Roman glory, whose incompetence transformed Italy into a vassal of Germany and led the country to defeat, humiliation and destitution? Part of the answer lies in the nature of power. Those who wield power want to expand its range and one way to achieve this aim is by suppression of domestic opposition and by pursuing wars abroad, behaviour which is certainly not confined to authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. Revolutionary regimes – and Fascist Italy and National-Socialist Germany were, in essence, revolutionary not reactionary – are driven by an impulse to remake their states and the world in a hurry. Wars of conquest and territorial expansion are the chosen means. Better still, external wars can also be used to justify greater control over the lives of citizens (pandemics can serve the same purpose). Further, war expressed one of the core ideas of Fascism and National Socialism: the necessity and nobility of permanent struggle.

An obvious preliminary in a book dedicated to the wars of Fascist Italy – one not satisfied by Gooch – would be to consider what constitutes the nature of Fascism and how it shaped Italian foreign policy under Mussolini. This is important since it would discriminate between Fascism (Italian or Spanish) and National Socialism, eliminating the propagandistic conflation of the two and would serve to distinguish Fascism from the more aggressive and successful manifestation of National Socialism. Clear differences, for example, emerge in the way the two states prepared for, and executed, their military campaigns and how they fought when the tide turned in favour of the Allies. For an ideology that placed so much faith in war and struggle as a part of statecraft, there was a definite mismatch between Fascist theory and real-existing Fascism. Continue reading

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All over it, like White on Rice

Derrick Bell, pioneer of Critical Race Theory, photo by David Shankbone

All over it, like White on Rice

Ilana Mercer critiques Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory is the supposedly “remedial” lens through which America’s race reality is refracted. Look hard enough and the need for this theoretical concoction becomes abundantly clear: it’s on the playground and in the classroom – watch for the bossy white kids. It’s in businesses and boardrooms, where microaggressions tumble from the mouths of their white mothers and fathers. It’s in government departments, brought about by the few whites who haven’t been weeded out by quotas and set-asides for “oppressed” minorities.

There, this irredeemably uppity demographic persists in strutting its “oppressor stuff,”  emitting up to 15 “microinequities” per minute, by the estimation of human-resource department sickos. It’s in the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), wherein workshops on intersectionality only just keep the plague of white privilege at bay, among bureau agents who haven’t yet been deluged by Trump derangement syndrome. Critical Race Theory, reports Christopher Rufo, contributing editor at City Journal, has even reached the battle field—on a mission of mercy. Introducing the Critical Race Theory chimera to the U.S. military falls within the mission of this vast, global welfariate. The military must keep the enemy in good mirth during the COVID lockdown. And there is nothing that makes Jihadis laugh harder than the idea of white soldiers—a mere 55% of the force—walking meekly. The U.S. Military might no longer know Matthew 5:5, but to the enemy, they look like they know who’ll inherit the earth. Continue reading

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ENDNOTES, September 2020

Falklands War, HMS Antelope Explodes
Creator: MARTIN CLEAVER
Credit: AP

ENDNOTES, September 2020

In this edition: as the BBC reinstates ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ to the Proms season finale, Stuart Millson recalls the Last Night of the Proms, 1982

Back in the days of Sir Malcolm Sargent, Basil Cameron and Dame Myra Hess, the era when the Third Programme was re-forming into Radio 3, Penguin Books published a regular music magazine, in which there appeared a feature about the Promenade concerts – the annual classical music festival known to everyone as “the Proms”, founded in 1895 by conductor Henry Wood, and impresario, Robert Newman, but since 1927 run by the BBC. Evocative black-and-white pictures showed the promenade audience gathering at the Royal Albert Hall – an audience distinguished by its youthful and informal appearance, a trait which continues to this day, although the audience has aged somewhat, a depressing indication that many young people in our era do not attend “serious” cultural events. Penguin’s writer commented on the Proms “types”: the group which turn up every night and quickly forms a “clique” (season-ticket holders – of which I was one – are guilty of this), but also the music-lover who was once fanatical, but now goes only occasionally, but still loves and cherishes his or her visits in the ripeness of middle age. Continue reading

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When Kyle Came to Kenosha

Minute Man Statue, Lexington, Massachusetts

When Kyle Came to Kenosha

Ilana Mercer, from embattled America

Having done an about face against rioting, the sanctimonious Don Lemon, at CNN, giggled and smirked his way through a segment about “racist” white suburbanites, who imagined any decent rioter would bother with their ugly abodes. Hey, racists, there is no Gucci merchandise where you bunk down, taunted CNN’s pin up boy.

Desperate, suddenly, to appear on the side of normies, the Fourth Estate is currently yearning for a Sister Souljah moment. Sister Souljah had expressed sympathy for the 1992, L.A. rioters. If only black people would turn to killing whites instead of one another, lamented that eponymous rapper. Back then, Bill Clinton—a master politician, and a conservative by the standards of Democrats today—deconstructed her weasel words. Candidate Clinton called the rapper a racist as bad as David Duke. As a master of triangulation, he managed at once to appease whites (who mattered back then) without alienating black Americans. And, unlike Anderson Cooper, Bill Clinton felt your pain.

Behold the puzzled look on Cooper’s bewildered face, as he is told by an ordinary, working American what it means to lose your life’s work to louts and looters. The silver-haired Mr. Cooper, also a CNN celebrity anchor, is the son of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Private property owners defending their modest residences and meager businesses is not something someone who grew up in a castle can comprehend. Continue reading

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The Knee on Floyd’s Neck

Franz Marc, Tyrol 1914

The Knee on Floyd’s Neck

Ilana Mercer, on racism and law

Racism consists of impolite thoughts and words. If that’s what racism is, then the knee on George Floyd’s neck does not constitute racism. On the facts, the knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck was a knee on a man’s neck. That’s all that can be inferred from the chilling video recording in which Floyd slowly expired as he pleaded for air. Floyd begged to breathe. But the knee on his neck—“subdual restraint and neck compression,” in medical terms—was sustained for fully eight minutes and 46 seconds, causing “cardiopulmonary arrest.” There are laws about what transpired between former Officer Derek Chauvin and Mr. Floyd. But the law’s ambit is not to decide whether the ex-officer is a correct-thinking individual, but whether he committed a crime. Concerning Chauvin’s mindset, the most the law is supposed to divine is mens rea—criminal intension: was the officer whose knee pressed on Floyd’s neck acting with a guilty intent or not?

For fact-finding is the essence of the law. The law is not an abstract ideal of imagined social justice that exists to salve sensitive souls. If “racism” looks like a felony crime, then it ought to be prosecuted as nothing but a crime and debated as such. In the case of Mr. Chauvin, a mindset of depraved indifference seems to jibe with the video. This is not to refute the reality of racially motivated crimes. These most certainly occur. It is only to refute the legal and ethical validity of a racist mindset in the prosecution of a crime. Surely, a life taken because of racial or antisemitic animus is worth no more than life lost to spousal battery or to a home invasion. Continue reading

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Selected Correspondence of Ronald Syme

Augustus as Pontifex Maximus

Selected Correspondence of Ronald Syme

ANTHONY R. BIRLEY, THE SELECTED CORRESPONDENCE OF RONALD SYME 1927-1939, History of Classical Scholarship, 2020, Pp. 211, reviewed by Darrell Sutton

It is the opinion of many eminent classicists that Sir Ronald Syme (1903-1989) forged new pathways and would head any list of influential scholars of ancient Roman history. Indeed, the number of men and women following in his train continues to grow. Scholarship on the periods contiguous to Augustan Rome shifted during Syme’s Oxford tenure. Reactions to his work persist. Over the decades several academic journals have issued learned papers by authors who attempted to address the questions Syme posed, and his arguments and conclusions.

Equally adroit in Greek and Latin, at Trinity College Oxford, in his twenties, he was already a tutor in Greek and Roman history. Syme’s productive writing career began in 1928 and proceeded undiminished into his eighty-seventh year. Early pieces like ‘Rhine and Danube Legions under Domitian’ JRS (1928) and ‘The Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus’ CQ (1929) established his reputation. Midway through his career, his two-volume opus Tacitus (1958) showed his status as facile princeps among historians and his decidedly strict philological views. Prolific, his historical genius is captured fully in his compiled articles which appeared as Roman Papers I-VII (1979-1991). Numerous incomplete and unpublished literary projects were left behind when he died, many of them erudite studies that have since been published.

Students will now be able to access a few of the letters written to him during a thirteen-year period. Birley provides an Introduction of 22 pages in which he outlines his working relationship with Syme’s literary executor, Fergus Millar (1935-2019), and others, regarding his use of the contents of Syme’s archives. Several obituaries contained factual errors about Syme. Pages 27-28, ‘Some Corrections’, list a few particulars. The ‘Letters’ extend from pages 34-169. A ‘Postscripts’ section, plus ‘Appendices’ (pp.171-202) and ‘A List of Individuals Named in Syme’s Respective Notes’ are terminated by ‘A List of Letters Included’ (pp.203-211). Continue reading

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Napalm d’Or

PBR Mk 1

Napalm d’Or

Bill Hartley, on Apocalypse Now

It’s possible to dress like Captain Willard. There are online retail outlets which stock his tiger stripe camouflage uniform. Whilst the world’s armies long ago abandoned this exotic style, out in the virtual world it is still available. Online discussions focus with intensity on whether the stuff is genuine or the product of a sweat shop in the Far East. Captain Willard was of course the observer-narrator in the 1979 war picture Apocalypse Now. The part went to Martin Sheen who did an excellent job describing the madness around him. There is a director’s cut of the film which is best avoided, since it contains a dreary interlude when Willard visits the French owner of a plantation. It slows the story down and wisely this never appeared in the original cinema version.

The film was based on the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness, with the action shifted from the Belgian Congo of the 1890s to the Vietnam of the 1960’s. One of the central themes of his work is the concept of personal honour and what happens to a man should this be forfeited. We know almost from the outset that Willard is in search of the renegade officer Colonel Kurtz. Willard suspects that the war is probably lost but cannot leave it alone, rather like Frank Vann, the career soldier whose story is told in Neil Sheehan’s Pulitzer Prize winning book A Bright Shining Lie. Vietnam seems to have provided several models for Kurtz: individuals who slipped off into the jungle to fight the war their way. Kurtz is winning his bit of the war but is doing so independently of the generals in Saigon and has therefore been adjudged insane. Continue reading

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Conservatism and Sociology

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

Conservatism and Sociology

Mark Wegierski, on the science of power

In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, a central point is that semantics are critical for the  maintenance of a given social and political system. “Newspeak is Ingsoc, and Ingsoc is Newspeak.” The coherence or  incoherence (in terms of definition), and the positive or negative value (in terms of emotion), which are commonly associated with a political ideology, will tell one a great deal  about the strength of that ideology. The words and language which are used to describe social or  political phenomena, which Orwell called “the B vocabulary” in his Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four, constitute the primary instruments by which an ideology asserts itself in any given society. It should be noted that complex, multi‑layered political terms such as “conservatism” or “liberalism” or “socialism” conjure immediate images and emotional responses in most people’s minds.

In terms of the unstated emotive content of the term “conservatism”, these images and emotional responses, for a traditionalist  conservative, can range from a wistful remembrance of the beauty of a Gothic cathedral and the medieval Christendom from which it sprang  to a visceral distaste towards a middle‑aged WASP  corporate controller type luxuriating in his penthouse suite atop Manhattan, and the oppressive capitalist structure which he represents (for the archetypal Left-liberal). Continue reading

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“Systemic Racism” or Systematic Rubbish, Part 1

Robin DiAngelo

“Systemic Racism” or Systematic Rubbish? part 1

by Ilana Mercer

The “systemic racism” refrain is a meaningless abstraction. To concretize a variable, it must be cast in empirical, measurable terms, the opaque “racism” abstraction being one variable, to use statistical nomenclature. Until you have meticulously applied research methodology to statistically operationalize this inchoate thing called “racism”—systemic or other—it remains nothing but a thought “crime”: impolite and impolitic thoughts, spoken, written or preached. Thought crimes are nobody’s business in a free society. By logical extension, America is not a free society.

The law already mandates that people of all races be treated equally. The law, then, is not the problem, logic is. In particular, the logical error of reasoning backward. “Backward reasoning, expounded by mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes,” writes Dr. Thomas Young, “applies with reasonable certainty when only one plausible explanation for the … evidence exists.”

Systemic racism is most certainly not “the only plausible explanation” for the lag in the fortunes of African-Americans, although, as it stands, systemic racism is inferred solely from one single fact: in aggregate, African-Americans trail behind whites in assorted academic and socio-economic indices and achievements. Continue reading

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