An Immodest Proposal

A few days ago Dennis Mangan posted at his website, Mangan’s Miscellany, some remarks of mine about a notion he had been discussing: the restriction of immigration on the basis of race. This gave rise to a long comment-thread. The comments were of varying quality, but nearly universal in their agreement that anyone who might suggest, as I did, that race is hardly a desirable or respectable criterion by which to filter out prospective immigrants must be a naive and deluded Pollyanna in the grip of an infectious liberal madness. I was told that to hold such an opinion meant that I was in the “kindergarten stage” of understanding the problem, that I lack “fundamental insight”, that I was an “escapist sloganeer” who, having mouthed “nice-sounding phrases”, imagined that I had “handled the issue”. I learned that I “just want the ideal liberal world”, and that I should “dream on”. I stood in the dock as an exemplar of “liberal, blank-slade [sic] thinking” (Really? moi?? see here, here, here, and most recently, here).

Moving on to actual clinical diagnosis, I learned that I “clearly suffer” from an “infantile disorder” that the blogger Mencius Moldbug (who is, just as an aside, certainly an interesting fellow, and worth reading) has called “human neurological uniformity”, which is:

…characterized by the belief that “modern human subpopulations are neurologically uniform… genetic differences between races… are of no behavioral significance… [and] genetic differences between individuals are of no behavioral significance.” People who do not suffer from this disorder consider that what people look like is, in fact, associated with how they behave.

Although it builds character, no doubt, to offer a thoughtful remark in a public forum and find oneself pelted with rotten vegetables, it is not, as it turns out, an unalloyed pleasure. Perhaps I am too thin-skinned.

Anyway, all of this happened while I was working sixteen-hour days, and had no time even to outline a response, let alone write and post one. Now that I have a few quiet moments, I’d like to make some clarifying remarks. (This is rather a long post, by the way; for that I apologize in advance.)

First, we must see exactly what it is we are arguing about. I think the resolution put forward at Mangan’s would include the following assumptions:

1) American culture, as well as the nation’s prosperity and unity, are now threatened, to a degree never felt before, by immigration.

2) Human beings naturally tend to associate and identify more strongly with race and ethnicity than nationalism.

3) The effect of 2) is far more destructive to the cohesion of the American cultural fabric when the races and ethnicities involved are less like those of the white Europeans who are the rootstock of American culture.

4) There is much about traditional American culture that is worth preserving.

This leads to the following conclusions:

5) If we are serious about preserving and protecting the American culture, we ought to resist the importation of divisive or destructive influences.

6) Given 2) and 3) above, then we should limit immigration according to race.

I agree with 5), but not 6). So now it is up to me to explain why.

First, we must acknowledge that it is difficult to have a level-headed conversation about any innate aspect of human nature that varies among individuals or groups without immediately finding oneself in a highly polarized argument about morality and social policy. There is enough incoherence on both sides to go around: on the left, race (we might also substitute sex here) is universally denounced as a criterion for any sort of exclusion, but is often considered a valid basis for preferences, while on the right, as we see in this discussion at Mangan’s, racial groups often seem to be imagined as monoliths, with whatever statistical tendencies they may exhibit as a group considered to trump the enormous variation that always exists between individual members of the group.

A key aspect of the deep disagreement between the two sides here has to do with a fundamental difference between liberal (by this term I mean modern-day, in distinction to “classical”, liberalism) and conservative views of human nature: liberals tilt toward the view that the undeniable differences amongst humans are generally due to acculturation, and can be molded and remediated by appropriate modifications of social policy, while conservatives take what is sometimes called the “tragic view”: that we simply are what we are, and that traditional societies, having in their long evolution found stable solutions to the enormously difficult problem of building enduring social structures out of such warped timber, ought not to be tinkered with too much, lest they be weakened in unforeseeable ways, and collapse. (Indeed, the conservative view is that these dangers are “unforeseeable” only to those who are blinded, by their Utopian ideology, to inconvenient realities about human nature.)

What is the purpose of the discussion at Mangan’s? It might be simply to lament the passing of “white” American culture — an opportunity for pallid, like-minded mourners to gather to exchange fond remembrances of the soon-to-be-deceased White America — or it might be a serious discussion of prospective US policy. If we assume the latter, then there are further realities to be acknowledged: the history of race-based policy in America and Europe, the moral dimension the topic has acquired, and the fact that America is, far from being a “white” country, already a racially complex place. Any plan that has the slightest chance of actually being implemented, or of having a beneficial effect that outweighs its drawbacks, must take all this into consideration.

The history of race and social policy in recent centuries has not been a pretty story, to put it mildly: slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, apartheid, the Holocaust, the riots of the 60’s, and so on. One way of looking at this is as evidence that racial antipathy is a natural, universal, and permanent human feature, and that to pretend it can ever abate is hopelessly naive. The opposite view is that attitudes can change; that with the right sort of acculturation race can matter less, and perhaps, one day, not at all. There are more and more of us every day, after all, and the world isn’t getting any bigger; either we learn to live together somehow, or just go on hating and fighting each other forever. So we might as well try — and if we are to have any hope at all of succeeding someday, our attitude matters.

So we have, then, another version of the ongoing nature/nurture debate. If racial disharmony, and the splintering of society along racial lines, is an inevitable consequence of immutable human wiring, then the situation really might be hopeless. But is that actually the case?

To be sure, humans are not blank slates. But so great was the backlash against the racist horrors of the Holocaust that it became, in the postwar years, a kind of thoughtcrime to suggest that any aspect of human behavior or cognition might be innate, rather than learned. (When the distinguished biologist Edward O. Wilson brought out his book Sociobiology in 1975, it set off a storm of outrage, and he was shouted down at lectures and even threatened with violence.) Though it is softening, this attitude persists today: the idea of an infinitely malleable human psyche, with no innate distinctions between the sexes, or between races or ethnic groups, still has a strong attraction for many people. It is almost certainly false.

But neither is the opposite true: that social attitudes about race are simply built in, and affected not at all by ambient cultural circumstances. Nor is it the case that natural social affiliations along racial or ethnic lines must always lead to catastrophic social fracture. We need to look no further than our own experience here in the United States to see that this is true; I certainly need look no further than my own.

I have lived in the Northeast all my life, and have spent all of my adult life immersed in two cultural activities that provide good examples of the sort of social evolution I am talking about (there are countless others, but these are the two I have the most personal experience with): music, and Chinese martial arts.

For many years I made my living recording and mixing music. Although I worked in a great many musical genres, my specialty was a uniquely American form: jazz. Many of the jazz musicians I worked with were old enough to remember when America was a thoroughly segregated society, but by the time I began to work in the studio in the mid-1970’s things had changed enormously. I am sure there are still vestiges of racial tension in the music industry, as there are everywhere, but it would be hard to imagine a more race-indifferent population than the professional musicians of New York or Los Angeles. This is not due to a genetic mutation, but rather to immersion in a merit-based culture that values commitment to the music first, and everything else a distant second.

Likewise, when I began to study Hung Gar kung fu in 1975, my sifu at the time, the formidable master William Chung, was among the very first in the nation to teach traditional Chinese martial arts to “roundeyes” like me. (His willingness to do so caused him a good deal of trouble in Chinatown.) By the time I signed on attitudes were already beginning to soften, but when we took to the streets back then at Chinese New Year for the lion dance, we didn’t see a lot of white faces, and sometimes there were confrontations. But this has all changed enormously in the intervening 33 years: when we go out next weekend, the lion-dance teams will be a patchwork of white, black, Hispanic, and Chinese students, forming what David Sloan Wilson would call a “trait group”: united by our enthusiasm for the tradition we all have embraced. This idea of the “trait group” is a useful and important one: humans are no less loyal to their groups than they have ever been, but we see that they can be acculturated to have different ideas about what constitutes the group.

Likewise, we can see the same evolution in other areas: sports, entertainment, politics, education, and on and on. In all of these areas the US is, quite simply, a far more integrated place than it was 50 years ago. I think this is sufficient to rebut the too-simplistic notion that racial faction is innately so strong a human tendency that cultures must always fracture along racial fault-lines. We have witnessed in America over the past half-century a remarkable trans-cultural and trans-racial annealing. It is far from complete, and far from perfect, but it is very real — and what is more, it proves that such a thing is possible.

But the recent fetish of multiculturalism threatens these gains. How has America been able to absorb wave after wave of immigrants and grow stronger every time? As I wrote in a recent comment on another post, what has made America strong is precisely that idea emblazoned on our currency: E pluribus unum — but lately many of us seem more interested in E pluribus pluribus. There was a time when assimilation was the foremost goal, and fondest hope, of arriving immigrants; their presence was celebrated only to the extent that they succeeded at it, and in this has been the key to America’s enduring, plywood-like strength. But this has changed: it is not unity, but difference, that is celebrated, and even the most intolerant are to be tolerated. Most worrisome of all, even the essential glue that has always held the American laminae together — the English language — is everywhere losing its grip.

In other words, the emphasis has shifted. Previously the trait-group of supreme importance, for both native-born Americans and immigrants alike, was the community of “Americans”, with all that entailed: the English language, democratic traditions and liberties, baseball, hot dogs, and thin beer. Nowadays, though, it seems this emphasis on cultural unity — absolutely essential to the social cohesion, and arguably the very survival, of such a huge and heterogeneous nation — has taken a back seat to “diversity”. Rather than strengthening our allegiance to our shared trait-group, multiculturalism introduces and reinforces dozens or hundreds of others. This is a very risky business indeed. If we were trying to find a way to sabotage and weaken the nation, we could do no better than to unlace in this way the cords of language and national allegiance that bind us together into a single sturdy people. And in many places, as the commenters at Mangan’s point out, society is becoming not more integrated, but more splintered. So we see that the process can move in both directions.

The issue, then, is not race per se; we have seen that it is entirely possible for trans-racial cultural identification to play a larger role than a racial one. Given the horrible toll of racial and ethnic hatred throughout our recent history, it is not surprising that many people have come to hope for a world in which race plays a diminished and fading part — and the history of the past 50 years, and my own experience in the ethnic potpourri of New York City, gives me reason to believe that this is not just a Utopian pipe-dream. This is why the election of Barack Obama, which would not have happened had he not had the votes of millions of white people, was greeted with such optimism and enthusiasm. The fact is that the world is so small, so interconnected, and so crowded that we have to live together; this election is the most encouraging sign yet that we can live together. But it won’t happen if we are more concerned with our racial and ethnic trait-groups than our broader acculturation. If America is to thrive, or even to survive, we must be one people, not hundreds. This is the great peril of multiculturalism.

But what, then, about immigration? We are the destination of choice for everyone everywhere in the world who hopes for better circumstances, and as a result our social services are being bled to exhaustion by an invasive shadow population, as anyone who lives along our southern border will tell you. This is unsustainable. We cannot have lavish social entitlements and open borders; that is swift suicide. And we must not admit those who will not join our loyal trait-group, who are not excited by the opportunity to become Americans themselves. We can afford to admit only those who will help America shoulder its load once they get here, not become part of the burden themselves. We must set a high bar for admission. But we want to be sure that we admit those who should be welcomed: the bright, the talented, the enterprising, those who understand the virtue of the great American experiment and want to share in it, who want to be one of us.

To sum up: yes, immigration should be sharply restricted; we simply cannot afford to fling open the gates. There are a great many people who should be kept out, and a great many more who are here already should be ejected. So, we need an intelligent, stern, and effective immigration policy, a sort of Maxwell’s demon that lets in only the most desirable and energetic particles. But is race the right criterion? No. Here’s why:

1) It is far too blunt an instrument. I am not one to deny that there are average differences between racial groups on a variety of metrics, but I am also well aware that there is enormous variation within each group. I see no value in a policy that would deny entry to a gifted African engineer or Chinese musician, while leaving the door ajar for a German soccer hooligan.

2) As I have argued above, the natural human tendency to separate into racial and ethnic groups is strongly amenable to cultural modification: not all “nature”, nor all “nurture”, but a complex combination of the two. We have seen here in America that this can change, and change fast.

3) Race itself is a terribly slippery concept. Imagine, if you can, an immigration policy that excludes all blacks. Are we then in the position of trying to enforce a “one drop” rule? Just how crazy are we prepared to go with this? There are no “pure” races, and in this ever-more-connected world, humans — at least those humans who are part of an expanding global circle of commerce and communication — are going to become more and more mongrelized. The very notion of race is, I think, going to lose much of its significance over the next century. Race is simply not the point.

4) Such a policy would be, in the minds of almost all civilized people everywhere in the world and here at home, morally repugnant. I realize that this is, to its advocates, merely an indication of the sorry state of civilization, but there it is: the moral consensus these days — and, by the way, a bedrock principle of the culture we are supposed to be defending here — is that people are not to be judged before the law as members of this or that group, but as individuals. There is simply no way that barring immigrants on the basis of race could become US policy in such a climate, and we would be pariahs if it did. And rightly so, I think.

5) Just what is this “white” culture we are trying to defend, anyway? The culture I live in includes jazz, sushi, kung fu, falafel, and yoga, as well as the New York Philharmonic and King Lear. American culture, however European at its core, is a unique amalgam of influences. Every immigrant group has thrown something into the pot. What is different now is a diminishing emphasis on assimilation.

So what should be done? The problems are real enough, and I readily agree that we need to be wary indeed of whom we let in, and that those who are here illegally should be shown the door. Over at Mangan’s, Lawrence Auster asked me: should we allow mass immigration of Mestizos? Of course not. But the point is that we shouldn’t allow “mass immigration”, period. As I said above, we want to admit only those individuals who have something positive to offer, who have the desire and potential to become productive and loyal Americans — in other words, those who will enrich our country, not merely add to a burden that is already unbearable. But these are characteristics that can vary independent of race. We ought to be clever enough to develop supple and intelligent methods of social and psychological evaluation that would do a far better job of winnowing prospective immigrants than the crude remedy on offer by the commenters at Mangan’s.

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92 Comments

  1. You may not be interested in race, but race is interested in you.

    Let’s say that you sought to reduce immigration to 300,000 per year, only taking people who have a demonstrated willingness and ability to become a part of our historic culture, and with no thought about the racial consequences of your proposal. Since actual immigration is something like 90 percent nonwhite, and since the people who pass your cultural test would not be Mestizos, Dominicans, and Africans, you would be immediately attacked for seeking to shut off nonwhite immigration and trying to preserve white America and be called a racist. How would you reply? That you don’t care about race, you only care about contributions to America by people who can assimilate? But your criteria have the effect of radically reducing nonwhite immigration. Protesting that you don’t care about race will not protect you from that charge.

    The reality is that race is a part of what humanity and human groups are, and race differences, while not identical to cultural differences, tend to be closely associated with them. If you’re going to deal with this issue, then you can’t avoid dealing with race, one way or the other. The naïveté for which you were criticized at Mangan’s is in your thinking that race doesn’t matter at all.

    The neocons thought race didn’t matter at all, that America is a transcendent idea beyond race. So they favored the mass immigration of nonwhites. And now leading neocons such as David Horowitz and Peggy Noonan, seeing how nonwhites have become suddenly “patriotic” because there is a nonwhite president they can identify with, whereas they could NOT identify with a white president, even a liberal like Clinton, are celebrating the wonderful national unity we now have that comes from nonwhites’ race-conscious identification with a nonwhite president. Noonan and Horowitz, who used to say that race doesn’t matter, have now turned nonwhiteness into a positive value and have signed on to a logic that clearly implies the ongoing dismantlement of America’s historic Anglo-European identity.

    THAT’S what results from saying that race doesn’t matter. “Conservatives” start off race neutral, which results in the takeover of America by race-conscious nonwhites, which results in the same conservatives applauding that outcome.

    You may not be interested in race, but race is interested in you.

    On Noonan:
    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/012400.html

    On Horowitz:
    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/012369.html

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Welcome, Mr. Auster, and thanks for visiting.

    I must say that it hardly seems coherent for you, in arguing for a policy of explicitly race-based exclusion, to call my suggestion regarding race-blind, merit-based immigration unrealistic on the basis of seeming too racist!

    Also, I realize that this was a long post, but I am not at all sure that you actually took the trouble to read it. At no point have I maintained that race “doesn’t matter at all”; nor do I recommend “mass immigration” of any sort whatsoever. What I have said here is that the degree to which race matters is clearly amenable to the ameliorating influence of acculturation.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  3. You write:

    “We have witnessed in America over the past half-century a remarkable trans-cultural and trans-racial annealing. It is far from complete, and far from perfect, but it is very real — and what is more, it proves that such a thing is possible. But the recent fetish of multiculturalism threatens these gains.”

    Recent FETISH of multiculturalism?

    This shows you’re not familiar with the issue and are throwing around escapist slogans, just as I accused you of doing at Mangan’s. To call multiculturalism a “fetish” would be like being in a country threatened with being taken over by Communism, and calling Communism a “fetish.” To fall it a “fetish” is to say it’s not a serious thing being pushed by powerful forces, it’s just a silly, unnecessary thing.

    RECENT fetish of multiculturalism?

    Multiculturalism has been around since the 1970s. The notion that all immigrants could assimilate, if only it wasn’t for that pesky multiculturalism, is the standard evasion of the issue. And by the way, what happened to your argument that we have to discriminate among immigrants to get ones that can assimilate? We have not been doing that. We have never done that. Yet you, instead of saying that the breakdown of assimilation is due to the total absence of the selective immigration policy that you say we should have, say that the breakdown of assimilation is due to the “RECENT fetish” of multiculturalism, which in fact we’ve had since the 1970s when the country first became aware of the diversity and began to adjusting itself to it by changing its culture. That’s the “transcultural annealing” that has you dancing in the streets.

    You complain about me and others being too tough on you. But you deserve it. You pretend to have a thoughtful, conservative position, but in reality you are throwing around thoughtless neocon slogans that were discredited ages ago.

    You pretend to favor individual immigration of people who can assimilate, but in reality, you write:

    “We have witnessed in America over the past half-century a remarkable trans-cultural and trans-racial annealing. It is far from complete, and far from perfect, but it is very real — and what is more, it proves that such a thing is possible.”

    Meaning that you are supporting the ACTUAL immigration we’ve had, which is not the carefully screened immigration you SAY you favor, but mass immigration.

    A person who celebrates mass immigration for leading to “a remarkable trans-cultural annealing” of his country is not a conservative. If he claims to be a conservative, he is dreaming.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  4. Mr. Auster, perhaps you’re importing too much into Malcolm’s expression “recent fetish of multiculturalism.” The term “recent” is rather imprecise, so we’d need to ask Malcolm what he meant. My memory of multiculturalism as a popular expression dates it to the mid-1980s, and it seems to have peaked in the 1990s and declined in this new millenium, especially after 9/11.

    All of that seems fairly ‘recent’ to me since I was born in 1957.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
  5. Mr. Pollock, you say I haven’t understood you. Unfortunately, I’ve understood you better than you do. You’re all over the place and you don’t realize it.

    You wrote:

    “To sum up: yes, immigration should be sharply restricted; we simply cannot afford to fling open the gates. There are a great many people who should be kept out, and a great many more who are here already should be ejected…. Over at Mangan’s, Lawrence Auster asked me: should we allow mass immigration of Mestizos? Of course not. But the point is that we shouldn’t allow ‘mass immigration’, period. As I said above, we want to admit only those individuals who have something positive to offer, who have the desire and potential to become productive and loyal Americans—in other words, those who will enrich our country, not merely add to a burden that is already unbearable.”

    Sounds great!

    However, you also wrote:

    “We have witnessed in America over the past half-century a remarkable trans-cultural and trans-racial annealing. It is far from complete, and far from perfect, but it is very real — and what is more, it proves that such a thing is possible. But the recent fetish of multiculturalism threatens these gains.”

    So, you say you’re against the mass immigration of Mestizos, whom you say can’t assimilate and many should be EJECTED; but then you say that the actual immigration we’ve had—which has been in large part a mass immigration of Mestizos—has assimilated wonderfully, and that the assimilation only ran into trouble stopped because that “recent fetish of multiculturalism” reared its ugly head. So which is it? Are Mestizos not assimilating because they’re too numerous and too culturally different? Or are they not assimilating because of that recent fetish of multiculturalism?

    You say that mass immigration has been harmful and that many immigrants should be deported; then you turn around and say that the mass immigration we’ve had for the last forty years has been GREAT and has led to a glorious “transcultural annealing.” You enthusiastically praise the mass immigration we’ve actually had, even as you say that mass immigration is ruinous to our country and must be stopped.

    And that “transcultural annealing,” by which you evidently mean assimilation, actually suggests a blending and hardening of different cultures into a new culture, which means the disappearance of OUR culture.

    So you’re hopelessly confused. You haven’t thought through this issue in a serious way, though you imagine that you have. Instead of complaining that I am being tough on you and misunderstanding you, what you should do is stop writing about the subject for a while and do some reading and thinking until you figure out what your position is.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Mr Auster, do forgive me, but you seem determined to misunderstand me, even though I had thought I was being quite clear.

    I will happily concede your point about the word “fetish”. I try to choose words carefully, but your point is taken. Multiculturalism is a serious problem. I used the word because radical multiculturalism is often defended with a fervor that seems to me perverse and obsessive. We can pick another word if you like. “Calamity of multicuturalism”, perhaps? No, too tame. “Menace”? “Encroaching evil”? “Brain-eating zombie of multiculturalism”? Take your pick.

    Given the span of Western, and particularly American history, a social movement that appeared in the 1970’s qualifies as “recent”, I think. You may disagree. Let’s not split hairs.

    You seem oddly eager to associate everything I say with an imagined support on my part for “mass immigration”. How you could have arrived at this idée fixe I have no idea, as I have said repeatedly and explicitly that I am not in favor of “mass immigration” of any sort. It is as if you have only a very small set of “buckets” into which to put people, and since I don’t support race-based immigration quotas, but rather a merit-based system, and because I actually seem able to get along with members of other races, and have observed that members of other races can under the right circumstances do the same as well, then by default I must be someone who supports, and “celebrates”, “mass immigration”. Indeed, I think you and I can agree that the tremendous influx of poorly assimilated immigrants in the past few decades has almost certainly made race relations more, not less, difficult in this country.

    Also, at no point have I said a single favorable word about past immigration policy. Nor have I ever suggested that “all immigrants would assimilate, if it weren’t for that pesky multiculturalism”; here you are guilty of an elementary logical confusion. My point, as clearly stated, was rather that multiculturalism discourages assimilation, which I think it clearly does. But that is a very different from claiming that it is the only factor that prevents assimilation, which it obviously isn’t.

    I welcome your criticism, but please try to confine it to those thoughts that I have actually expressed.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
  7. As for reading, I recommend that you start with my booklet, The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism, which you can find in pdf and html at this site:

    http://www.jtl.org/auster

    Also, your main objection to me is that you think I am reducing everything to race. Not true. I am not a racial reductionist at all. But I do say that race matters.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Mr Auster, I shall try to be as clear as I can.

    I have not said that everyone who has immigrated to the US in recent decades has “assimilated wonderfully”; there are quite clearly many immigrants, Mestizos among them, who have not assimilated precisely because, as you say, they are too numerous and too culturally different. Adding to that an ambient attitude of multiculturalism, which isolates them within their own cultural and linguistic bubble while cheering the “diversity” they provide, only makes matters worse.

    Please indicate to me where, in anything I have written, I have announced that “the mass immigration we’ve had for the last forty years has been GREAT”, or stop browbeating me with it. The improvement in race relations I spoke of is real enough, but at no time have I said that it is due to “mass immigration”. Do me the courtesy of arguing against the position I am actually defending.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  9. I am pleased to think the issue is already beyond discussion. But youz guys go right ahead and wrassle with it… We are a multi-cultural nation; and the worlds’ populations are becoming more homogenous every week. Most Americans that I know are of mixed cultural backgrounds and many of mixed racial backgrounds. This makes them far more interesting and well-rounded by-and-large…

    Just as mutts are often the smartest dogs – Intermingling of breeds and other forms of “husbandry” has granted us better livestock and will probably do well to help propogate the best of our species as well

    A mixture of racial atributes has proven to be a great blessing for our nation. We are mostlt beyond the basic us/them of racial attributes- Proven by the fact that we now have a mixed-race prez. Those who would differ just no longer matter. History has moved on beyond narrow-minded criteria.

    Race only matters to racists. I am an Earthling, born a New Yorker- so the world has always come to me!

    The problem of immigrants not being a boon is also not one of lacking education and other forms of “know-how”… We need to welcome those who will help build – not those who will take without giving back. That being said, I have seen a huge influx of Indian/sub-continentals into Plainsboro NJ. They are not good neighbors and do not wish to become citizens. They do not try to become part of the larger community. They send huge amounts of money out of the country- which is a serious drain on our economy! They are far more interested in taking wealth out from the USA than adding anything to our society… And of course there are many exceptions to that scenerio as well…But that is not a racial issue. It is cultural. They just happen to be darker skinned than Anglos…

    So for me the test should be demonstrating a willingness to become part of the sollution, not part of the problem, and what would that test be?

    Maybe a ban on sending money out of the country for those entering our borders? It is easy to just say ” no darkies” or whatever the simple-minded may utter…But silly in the extreme. Race is a simple-minded approach to anything. we have intermingled too well to be seperated now anyway!

    That we are all one on a molecular level is worth noting; we are all in this together as one world no matter what we think. That is just the way of it. We can not seperate ourselves by any criteria from being Earthlings. I think it far more important to figure out how we are to make this crazy-quilt of a human race work together than blame-game our socio-economic problems onto each-other…

    Teaching civics 101 may be a good start for all youngsters who get schooling here…But that is another issue – Love to all- Pat

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    And thank you, Mr. Auster, for the link to your pamphlet. I shall have a look.

    I must also say, regarding my “annealing” metaphor, that the composition of an alloy before and after is the same; it is merely strengthened by the fusing of defects in its internal structure.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  11. bob koepp says

    The claim is being tendered that the variable of race is important for social dynamics. What races are we talking about, and what are the criteria for racial identity? It seems to me that these questions need to be addressed if the discussion is to be tethered to reality. Then, since all appear to acknowledge that there is significant individual variation among members of particular races, we need to consider the ratio of within group and between group variation. Once we’ve got a handle on those basic parameters we can start to frame questions about how race affects social dynamics. And those questions, presumably, precede our arriving at answers. So any “answers” being bandied about should be treated as speculations, likely stories at best — our fears projected onto the world at worst.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    Quite so, Bob, and thanks for joining in.

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  13. Subotai says

    Whle Mr Auster is an interesting thinker, his combative personality tends to undermine his otherwise worthwhile ideas.

    I agree wth Mr.Pollack for the most part. It’s not a matter of nature OR nuture but some slippery combination of both. The better the machinery of assimilation works, the less important the cultural baggage which immigrants bring with them. But I think everyone would concede that our assmilation machine does NOT work. Or that it actually works in reverse in many instances, encouraging faction and division even among those who have lived here all their lives. Until that is rectified it is pure cultural suicide to continue with what we have been doing. And it’s an open question whether or not we’ve already past the point of no return.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:41 am | Permalink
  14. Subotai says

    “The claim is being tendered that the variable of race is important for social dynamics.”

    I’m pretty sure that both the pro and anti immigrant sides agree with that proposition. The pro faction believes that racial diversity has a positive effect, and they argue for (non-white) immigration on precisely those grounds. The anti’s believe it has a negative effect. So perhaps we can take the importance as a given and proceed to the more pertinent areas of inquiry, such considering the cost-benefit ratio.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:49 am | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    Mr Auster, I have now read the pamphlet to which you linked, and frankly I found little in it with which to disagree. I was already well aware of the effect of the Immigration Reform Act, and in particular I have no objection to the suggestions you make in the final section, entitled What To Do.

    We differ in our confidence in assimilationism, but agree that a sharp reduction in immigration is called for. My only point throughout this debate, both here and at Mangan’s, has been to argue that race per se is an unsuitable criterion for filtering potential immigrants, for the various reasons I have outlined above.

    Honestly, I don’t know why we need to be bickering so, or why you felt the need to attack a caricature of my position.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  16. Subotai says

    “We are mostlt beyond the basic us/them of racial attributes- Proven by the fact that we now have a mixed-race prez.:

    There are none so blind as the supposedly color-blind. Obama was elected almost entirely on account of his skin color. It was his single most compelling attribute to huge swaths of voters. Far from showing how far beyond race we are, it shows how pervasive racial thinking is. All those white liberals having orgasms at the election of a black man can hardly be said to be “beyond” race. They are as consumed with it as any Klansman.

    The election was actually a testament to the power of race. If all the different racial groups had been the same size in 2008 as they were in 1992, Obama would have lost. Hs victory was a direct consequence of the browning of America.

    “Yippiee!” the Democrats say. But the process is an ongoing one, not one which has just reached its triumphal conclusion. Look ahead another twenty years into the future and you’ll see the time coming when you Democrats will be denounced by the then Hugo Chavez-like Presidente. And in the process of getting from here to there a great many liberal causes will have to be jettisoned, from enviromentalism to income equality.

    At present Americas large cities have wealth disparaties similar to that of Third World countries. That will spread to encompass the entire country.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:07 am | Permalink
  17. Subotai says

    Malcolm, would you agree that we need another “pause” in immigration?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:09 am | Permalink
  18. Malcolm says

    A pause would be better than carrying on as we are, of course, but no: I don’t see any reason for us to stop admitting worthwhile applicants. A pause to all the rest of it? Absolutely.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:16 am | Permalink
  19. http://malcolmpollack.com/2009/01/26/an-immodest-proposal/#comment-116391

    Mr. Pollack, you claim that I am misrepresenting you when I say that you said that up until the “recent” problem with multiculturalism, immigrants were assimilating wonderfully. But that’s what you said. Here it is again:

    “We have witnessed in America over the past half-century a remarkable trans-cultural and trans-racial annealing. It is far from complete, and far from perfect, but it is very real—and what is more, it proves that such a thing is possible. But the recent fetish of multiculturalism threatens these gains.”

    If the wonderful transcultural annealing—whatever the heck that means—is not referring to immigrants, then what is it referring to? Just to blacks, perhaps? But you didn’t say that. Everything about the comment indicates that you’re talking about immigrants successfully assimilating, and then the assimilation slowing down because of multiculturalism. Further, as I’ve explained, it is a standard moderate-liberal / neoconservative argument that all immigrants can assimilate, and only multiculturalism prevents it; and your comment fits right into that idea.

    A commenter criticizes me for my combative language. I agree that generally it’s better not to be combative in a discussion. But when an interlocutor is spectacularly all over the place as Mr. Pollack has been, and then, even worse, after I quote him and point out his contradictions, he blandly denies the facts and complains that I’m misrepresenting him, then the combativeness is appropriate.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:43 am | Permalink
  20. No, Mr. Auster, your “combativeness” is not appropriate in this case. Malcolm has been sufficiently amiable in the face of rather brisk criticism from a number of individuals. He is an honest and intelligent man. If you disagree with him on matters of substance, you could easily make your differences clear in an agreeable fashion, and Malcolm would respond substantively.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:02 am | Permalink
  21. Charles says

    I think we could all use a cookie. My wife baked some wonderful chocolate chip and almond cookies today. Unfortunately, I am having trouble connecting them to my ethernet cable. Once I figure out how to do that, though, I will upload a batch for everyone.

    (Apologies if my levity seems irreverent in the face of such weighty issues, but… dang.)

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 6:44 am | Permalink
  22. bob koepp says

    Subotai – You missed my point. Until some boring empirical spadework is done, claims that race is important to social dynamics, whether for good or ill, are premature. What are the relevant facts?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    Mr. Auster,

    What I said was:

    There was a time when assimilation was the foremost goal, and fondest hope, of arriving immigrants; their presence was celebrated only to the extent that they succeeded at it, and in this has been the key to America’s enduring, plywood-like strength. But this has changed: it is not unity, but difference, that is celebrated, and even the most intolerant are to be tolerated. Most worrisome of all, even the essential glue that has always held the American laminae together — the English language — is everywhere losing its grip.

    The point then, is that multiculturalism obstructs assimilation, and that furthermore it undermines the vitally important linguistic unity of America. I should hardly think you would disagree with that. I did not say that the problem has not been made far worse by the torrent of immigrants that have arrived here since the Sixties — and just to be clear, I certainly agree that it has. I have also said repeatedly that we need to sharply reduce immigration, though you seem determined to identify me as a supporter of “mass immigration”. I just do not understand why you feel the need to be so vituperative, or to read into my remarks, at every opportunity, the opposite of their meaning.

    As for “annealing” — a metaphor that seemed innocuous enough to me, and rather apt, but which you have seized upon with dogged and inexplicable irritability — I refer to the plain fact that racial tensions have diminished enormously in this country in the past 50 years.

    Yes, the most obvious change is between the non-immigrant populations of blacks and whites, but, as I described, it extends to other groups as well. Again, this is not to deny that there are great numbers of newer, poorly assimilated immigrants: due in large part, yes, quite right — and here we are in agreement — to our immigration policy of the last 44 years. But to deny that there has been a general reduction of hostility between the races since the Sixties would be ridiculous. I will assume that it is not your position to gainsay that.

    You seem determined to assess my remarks in the crudest, most binary way; there seems to be no room in your thoughts for the possibility that it might be my view that both multiculturalism and excess immigration might be responsible for less-effective assimilation, and apparently the fact that I focused on one and not the other in this modest blog-post is, in your mind, damning evidence that my secret wish is actually to fling open the borders. I simply do not know what more I can possibly say to disabuse you of this.

    All of this puzzles me, because I am, probably more than most people these days, and certainly most people here in New York, on your side.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  24. Malcolm says

    Thank you, Jeffery. And yes, Charles, I’d love a cookie.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  25. I’m not sure whether I can say anything original here, but I’ll try. Subotai wrote: “Obama was elected almost entirely on account of his skin color. It was his single most compelling attribute to huge swaths of voters. Far from showing how far beyond race we are, it shows how pervasive racial thinking is. All those white liberals having orgasms at the election of a black man can hardly be said to be “beyond” race. They are as consumed with it as any Klansman.”

    How are we to reconcile the two, apparently both true, notions that, as Malcolm asserts, race relations have improved over the past 50 years, and as Subotai says, racial thinking is more pervasive than ever?

    When Malcolm says that race relations have improved, that “racial tensions have diminished enormously”, the reality is that whites have ceased to be quite as hostile to blacks (confining myself to this relationship) as they once were. As a consequence, other racial groups have become emboldened and are flexing their electoral muscle, making greater demands, and so on. While many whites are ecstatic over Obama’s election, non-whites must be laughing to themselves at the naivete of those whites. My feeling is that while the hostility of whites toward other races has considerably diminished, non-whites’ hostility toward whites has increased. Would it be too outrageous or inflammatory to say that the median black attitude toward whites appears to be one of barely-concealed resentment?

    I believe that such tensions between whites and minorities are well-nigh inevitable given the current climate of opinion. Whites are told that their history is one of racism, that they need to atone for it, and blacks and other minorities are being taught resentment. It hardly matters whether whites are indeed collectively guilty or not; what matters is that the perception that they are, at least on the part of some people (who appear to be the majority) means that racial resentment toward whites on the part of minorities won’t be going away any time soon.

    So, how does that look for immigration? In this day and age, there’s hardly any such thing as a generic American; we’re racially classified. So it’s hard to see why white Americans, who are still the majority, would want to bring on more racial tensions through mass immigration of non-whites.

    Malcolm realizes that mass immigration has created a huge problem that impacts the nation’s very survival. But he also retains a touch of the idealist, in which everyone is judged by the content of his character. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way and probably never will for a long time to come, however greatly it is to be desired.

    One last thing: Malcolm argues that using racial screening for immigrants is not a good idea and wouldn’t work anyway, and he may very well be right. However, there is no way that that idea would ever be implemented, at least not in the current climate of opinion. The point I (try to) make on my blog is that mass immigration of non-whites has already created huge problems, and that the best way to do this would be to call a halt to all immigration, with possible exceptions for talented and educated people.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  26. Bruce Graeme says

    The vast majority of jazz musicians have been black rather than white. Therefore it has seemed natural to conclude that jazz is black. In his book “The dispossessed majority”, Wilmot Robertson states that “even in those fields of art where Negroes have displayed some creativity and originality, the ultimate effect, at least on the West, has been anticultural – (…) the jungle screech of Jazz and rock music … (page 229).

    Yet, according to Richard M.Sudhalter(*), history clearly tells us that “a distinct, significant, and creative white presence has existed in jazz from its first days.” He claims that the true history of jazz is a “picaresque tale of cooperation, mutual admiration, cross-fertilization; comings-together and driftings-apart — all despite, rather than because of, the segregation of the larger society.”
    (*) Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contributions to Jazz, 1915-1945

    Indeed, there would have been no jazz without its foundations in the black experience in America; without the African tradition brought over to the United States, jazz would not exist (nor would the blues and rock ‘n roll). But it is also certainly true that in black countries without white influence, jazz came NOT into existence; e.g., Louis Armstrong wasn’t all that unfamiliar with Nashville or country music. And you can’t deny that it is only a small minority of white people who like classical music!

    Millions of people like jazz, blues, rock and music related to that genre, but according to William Pierce, in a white America, it should be the rule that “young men and women gather to revel with polka or waltzes, reels or jigs, or any other White dances, but never to undulate or jerk to negroid jazz or rock rhythms.” It’s hard to believe millions of people will attach any credibility to such nonsense.

    Well, anyhow, I think the reason why there will never be an exclusively white America, is just because millions of people love above all jazz and rock rhythms!

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  27. I have a somewhat different take on immigration. Here in Silicon Valley, there is a severe labor shortage of skilled high tech workers because the anti-immigration zealots are limiting the number of H1(b) workers allowed to come here. The net result is that instead of the work getting done here, we’ve created booming businesses in places like Bangalore and Malaysia. This leads to greater and greater outsourcing of intellectual capital and ultimately weakens our international competitiveness.

    I recently spent 2 1/2 years working for a company which was founded by a guy who came over from India with $400 in his pocket. The company was recently acquired for $1.2 billion. He created an enormous amount of value for the shareholders and employees by creating a sustainable and highly profitable business. So my perspective, simplistic though it may be, it let ’em in.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  28. Pat G. says

    I for one would have voted for Mr. Chavez over ANY of our past 10 presidential elections’ candidates. I have circumnavigated the globe 4 times visited 35 Nations and 45 of these United States. My language skills are not as good as I would like- but my inter-actions with other cultures has been the single greatest boon to my life.

    That Mr. A. calls this “OUR’ culture as if his group is the only one that counts from pilgrim days is folly. Our political system is in some part derived from (the matriarchal) 7 tribes. Our Nation and continent were named after an Italian, not an Anglo-Saxon etc etc…

    We are moving beyond any serious concideration of race as a society. The youth are leading the way into our common future – not us older folks. Things have changed and will continue to do so.

    The “browning” of America holds no worries for me. But then I have had girl friends of many races and will always concider inter-racial love as a positive thing.

    Our nations’ “culture” is by-and-large the most vapid & degrading expression of human creativity I can recall. The best of what we offer- Jazz & The Blues in music for instance is often derived from the very people castigated as surplanting “our” culture.

    That immigration has not always been easy for those coming as well as those here already is obvious. But I personally think we should have taken the ways of the mongolian off-spring already here rather than force Western ways upon this land.

    So No- the whites did not assimilate much at all…with the indiginous population and more’s the pity!

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  29. Malcolm says

    I’m drowning in work again, so will have to let all of you wrangle over this for a while. I thank you in advance for keeping it thoughful and civil.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  30. JW says

    Just some notes I took while reading, thank you for the interesting essay.

    — Is it obviously linked? Does immigration increase mean more multicultural disunity?
    — Is immigration the primary cause of cultural disunity or a peripheral stoking element? (If not primary, we should focus on the primary)
    — Is cultural unity a necessary condition for survival or is it rather dependent on
    strong adherence to what are generally accepted as universal virtues?
    –Scrap everything we believe to be important in American culture
    and list what we believe to be the absolute necessary elements which would
    ensure flourishing — all the while bearing in mind that there may be tradeoff against preserving what’s perceived as the greatest American value: freedom.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  31. Malcolm says

    I will take a moment to say this, though, Dennis:

    My feeling is that while the hostility of whites toward other races has considerably diminished, non-whites’ hostility toward whites has increased. Would it be too outrageous or inflammatory to say that the median black attitude toward whites appears to be one of barely-concealed resentment?

    I may be idealistic, but that hasn’t been my experience at all. As far as I can tell, folks just seems to be getting along better, and race just doesn’t get in the way as much as it did.

    Anyway, Dennis, why shouldn’t black folks be “emboldened” to “flex their electoral muscle”? They’re Americans too, and deserve a seat at the table. It’s almost as if you’re cpmlaining that they’re getting “uppity”.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  32. Andrew E says

    Malcolm,

    This has been an interesting discussion. Allow me to ask how you would, in general, define a nation? As for myself, I subscribe to what I think could be called the conservative, traditionalist view of the “blood and soil” nation. That is, a nation is not an abstract idea or a constitution or a set of laws, but rather a nation is its people and all the things which make up its people including race, ethnicity, religion, culture, traditions, etc.

    And could we not say that for almost 200 years as British colonies and for the first 200 years of nationhood, America, that is, its people, were predominantly white (race), Anglo (ethnicity, culture, traditions), Protestant (religion)? We could refine this further to say perhaps Protestant-Catholic and Anglo-European over the last 120 years, but always Western.

    We see here that race is just one part of the picture but it would seem to be a non-trivial part wouldn’t it? How could it not be? What is race but the legacy of hundreds or thousands of generations of genetic mixing that gives each person his physical makeup. Think of all the choices, decisions and contingencies occurring over thousands of years that go into a person’s race. I think most right thinking people understand that this conception of race still leaves plenty of room for each person to make his own decisions and live his own life, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re each given a starting point and we are to a certain extent defined by it.

    If race is an integral, non-trivial component of individual persons making up a part of our identity, then so it is also for nations if we adhere to the traditional understanding of nationhood. If America, for 400 years was predominantly (not exclusively) white, Anglo, Protestant, then 100 years from now, if America were to remain America, it would need to still be predominantly white, Anglo, Protestant (or more broadly, Western).

    How would you fashion immigration policy to ensure this outcome in 100 years?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  33. Piper says

    Mr. Pollack, I think you have not accounted for one very important fact: the “desirable” immigrants you wish to admit from largely undesirable pools will predictably produce much less desirable children. Your alloy will rapidly corrode, and lose its strength within your own lifetime regardless of re-annealing.

    Long after a particular immigrant passes from the scene his or her descendants will remain in the country. Will they enrich it, or merely afflict it? We can judge an individual applying for a visa on his (her) own merits, but the only way we have to judge the desirability of his descendants is by statistical inference. That is to say, by race.

    You state that a “gifted African engineer” would be a desirable immigrant. You seem not to realize that said engineer (if he is “gifted” by white American standards) is at least 4 standard deviations above the African IQ mean. Reversion to the mean predicts his children will be much less gifted (particularly if you let him bring along an African wife). Those less-gifted children won’t be engineers, they’ll be truck drivers– or worse, thugs.

    All empirical evidence points in the same direction. Even American blacks, nurtured in a very favorable environment (compared to Africa), having some white ancestry, and descended from highly selected ancestors, only display a mean IQ of 85 and produce only 1 fairly-high SAT score for every 26 white fairly-high SAT scores. High-scoring blacks do well in American society, but cannot reliably pass their rare qualities to their less exceptional children. Black children from households with incomes over $100,000 per year have lower SAT (IQ) scores than white children from households earning less than $10,000 yearly (1998 California data). This isn’t just something about IQ; for example, people with exceptional athletic ability can expect most of their children to display merely average levels of athletic talent and achievement. This fact is surprising only to people ignorant of basic genetics.

    Anyway, I your whole thesis collapses when you look at the multi-generational impact of immigrants. I suspect you have fallen into the error of assuming that children are just like their parents. Don’t feel too bad: that is a natural assumption because on the average children are just like their parents on the average. It’s only when we focus on the less-common cases, such as the “gifted African engineer”, that we must recognize that children on the average are not just like their far-from-average parents.

    Since we can reliably predict (100+ years of scientific data back this up) that blacks on the average are much less intelligent (and much more violent) than whites, and mexicans on the average are rather less intelligent (and much less creative) than whites, we can reliably predict that the descendants of “desirable” (that is, exceptional) blacks and mexicans will show the same characteristics, on the average, as others of their races. You would not admit those descendants if they applied for visas individually, so you should not admit them as a mere side effect of admitting their unusual parents.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  34. Mark says

    Bruce Graeme wrote: “Well, anyhow, I think the reason why there will never be an exclusively white America, is just because millions of people love above all jazz and rock rhythms!”

    The reality that I wish multiculturalism enthusiasts would address is what actually happens to the quality of life of white people when the block, neighborhood, city, or country they are living in changes so that they become the minority. My personal experience and, from what I can deduce from news and statistics I come across, is that the quality of life virtually always deterioriates.

    Look at Detroit, Newark, and dozens of other formerly white American cities. Look at South Africa. Has the quality of life of the whites there improved?

    Now someone will point out how they once had some latinos move in next door and they were just the nicest people. But I’m not talking about one latino family in a white neighborhood. I’m talking about the entire neighborhood changing so that there are a minority of whites remaining. Do white people have the same right to want to live in a neighborhood or city of their own people with their own particular ethnic and cultural way of life that any other group on earth desires? I think we do.

    Recall how horrified liberals were about the destruction of the Native American way of life by white people. Would a liberal object if a Native American, say a Comanche, said that he wanted to see his Comanche people continue to exist and thrive as a distinct ethnic and cultural people? Would it make any sense to say “what the Comanches really need was the enriching exposure to the various cultures of the world, which can only really be done by importing significant numbers of other people from all over the world to take up residence in Comanche territory”? Ridiculous, right? How are Japanese or Somalis or Eskimos or Afghanis going to become Comanche? They can’t and what self-respecting Comanche would want them to? They have their own identities, their own nations. They can live there and if they don’t find the economic opportunities or the amount of freedom to their liking, well, they can work to change it there.

    I can hear a liberal saying “well the Comanches and those other various peoples around the world are authentic and unique and their identity is based on their ethnicity, but American whites aren’t like that because they come from a bunch of different European backgrounds.” I guess because white Americans may have a mixture of Irish, German, English, and Swedish background, they have no basis for objecting if liberals want to stir Somali muslims and Hmong and Mestizos into it.

    Pardon me for a clumsy analogy, but that’s like saying that since you bake an Angel food cake by mixing white flour and eggs together, you shouldn’t object to stirring in some hot sauce and insect grubs. After all, it’s just a combination of ingredients, right? What difference does it make what the ingredients are? Of course it makes all the difference in the world.

    The assimilation of the different white ethnicities in America was a long and friction-filled process. Consider how much anger there was towards German immigrants during Lincoln’s time. And this was friction with another people of the same basic ethnicity (and thus the same general genetic qualities that affect personality and intelligence) and the same basic religious background and similar customs! Blacks have been here for hundreds of years and still have not assimilated and have no desire to assimilate. At any rate, by the late 20th century, white Americans had finally largely assimilated. It would have been wonderful if we could have stopped there. The frictions of the past had faded and we could have had a real nice country with a homogenous people (excepting the fraction of non-white minorities). But no, now we need to flood the country with non-whites, on the promise that eventually we will all mix together and then we won’t care. That’s true – those future people wouldn’t care. They also wouldn’t be my people. My people would have disappeared just the way some Indian tribes have disappeared. And I have every right to want my people to continue that those tribes did. I don’t want a world with just one homogenous ethnic group that is a result of mixing all the people in the world. Whites, being 10% of the world population, would have disappeared in that in the way that Obama’s white ancestors have visually disappeared in his appearance.

    This was rambling, forgive me for not being more concise.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  35. bob koepp says

    Andrew – Let me emphasize the conditionality of your stated view: IF race is an integral, non-trivial component, etc, etc.

    Again, we need to say with some specificity how race is constituted to determine WHETHER race is an integral, non-trivial component, etc, etc.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  36. Mark says

    I would like to add that in my experience, race relations are not “better” – what has changed is that whites have been trained to never, ever utter a public word or make a public gesture that implies that non-whites are different or lesser than whites are. Non-whites are free to continue to openly express racial affinity with their own people while ridiculing whites. That’s “solidarity” or “humor”. When whites do it, it’s racism.

    Basically white people have been intimidated into shutting up.

    There are some whites, like “Pat G.” above, who basically have contempt for their own people’s culture and history. They’ve been taught that in our schools and colleges. For them, white culture is empty and bland and meaningless. For them, only the non-white has any flavor or excitement. And they perceive that they get along just famously with non-whites.

    Well that’s because they’re so busy ass-kissing non-whites and making fools of themselves in the process. Who would respect someone who has such obvious contempt for their own people and culture? It puts me in mind of the scene in “Gran Torino” where the white kid is trying to ingratiate himself with the three black thugs by calling them “brotha” and speaking with an attempted black patois, making himself ridiculous in the process. And the Clint Eastwood character says “You’re not their ‘brother’, and they don’t want you for a ‘brother’ and I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want you either.” Exactly.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  37. bob koepp says

    Did somebody discussing the distribution of intelligence across races actually say “All empirical evidence points in the same direction…” ???

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  38. Andrew E says

    bob koepp,

    I was a little sloppy in my post. I was confusing a person’s genetic or physical makeup with his race, whereas race is actually a broad scientific classification of a person’s physical makeup.

    As I clumsily tried to explain in the third paragraph of my post, it seems clear to me that a person’s physical makeup (and thus his race) is integral to his identity because it forms the basis, or starting point, from which he is able to operate and function in the physical world. In addition, a person’s race classification tells him a story about his past and forms part of his personal narrative.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  39. Piper says

    No, Bob. All the evidence supports the contention that average intelligence (and other characters) of offspring reverts toward the (racial) mean. Though for what it’s worth, all the evidence (not all the propaganda, but all the scientific evidence) does show that different races display different mean and SD of general intelligence.

    Oh, and in case someone doesn’t read carefully, whites exhibit reversion toward the mean as much as blacks, east asians, et-cetera. Different races just revert toward different means. Also, it is certainly true that those means can change, and that crossbreeding and mutation will affect both the identification of races and their (mean) qualities. However, both are slow processes (well, fast in Cochran and Harpending terms, but slow in terms of the way people live their lives, usually evaluating policy on “how it affects me and my family” over a few generations). Since they are slow, it is no error to make decisions today on the basis of current data regarding matters which will play out over a few generations.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  40. bob koepp says

    Andrew – I don’t follow ongoing scientific explorations of racial categories very closely, but from what I’ve seen, you’re on very shaky ground with your claim about a “broad scientific classification of a person’s physical makeup.” This is very much a matter of contention. Note that I don’t deny the biological reality of race, just note that it’s contentious.

    And I must ask, if a person was raised in an environment where others did not “make a big deal” about race, do you think it would still be “integral to his identity”? If so, why?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  41. Subotai says

    Bruce Graeme wrote: “Well, anyhow, I think the reason why there will never be an exclusively white America, is just because millions of people love above all jazz and rock rhythms!”

    So we can add music to the list of topics Bob is ignorant of. He has drunk long and deep from the racial propaganda well.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  42. bob koepp says

    Piper – Reversion to the mean I understand. It’s the loose talk about race, and the assumption that this ill-defined factor has an explanatory role vis a vis reversion that raises my critical hackles. Are you quite sure that you’re what you’re seeing isn’t just a statistical artifact. Take any large interbreeding population; determine the mean value of some/any complex trait across that population; check for reversion to the mean.

    Let’s restrict immigration of short people — after all, they got no reason to live.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  43. Subotai says

    Malcolm – “A pause would be better than carrying on as we are, of course, but no: I don’t see any reason for us to stop admitting worthwhile applicants.”

    Then how would you define “worthwhile applicants”? Albert Einstein? Any person without a criminal record?

    I would define “worthwhile” as ‘somebody who has something America as a country needs.” That’s a pretty small set of people though.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  44. JW says

    “it seems clear to me that a person’s physical makeup (and thus his race) is integral to his identity because it forms the basis, or starting point, from which he is able to operate and function in the physical world. ”

    No. Just is not true. Significantly often, as in the case of trans-national adoptees, the racial makeup is fully in conflict against the cultural makeup of the person. In cases like this, it becomes manifestly clear that the racial aspect becomes a problem *precisely* because it is a problem in the outside world, and not because it “forms the basis, or starting point, from which he is able to operate”.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  45. Subotai says

    “Let’s restrict immigration of short people — after all, they got no reason to live.”

    What a bizarre statement. Will short people cease to live if we restrict their immigration into the US? You need to dial down the emotion a bit.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink
  46. bob koepp says

    Subotai – Since I’m the only Bob that’s appeared in this thread, … your slip is showing; as is the intellectually undisciplined way you jump to conclusions.

    I’m still waiting for a pointer to relevant facts.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  47. JW says

    “My personal experience and, from what I can deduce from news and statistics I come across, is that the quality of life virtually always deterioriates.”

    One request and one question for you. First, show me some hard data, and not just your personal observations. Second, who is to be *faulted* for the deterioration? Who deserves the majority of blame?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
  48. bob koepp says

    Sorry, Subotai. It was a musical reference. Maybe my ignorance in that area is contagious and you’ve been infected.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  49. Subotai says

    bob koepp -“You missed my point. Until some boring empirical spadework is done, claims that race is important to social dynamics, whether for good or ill, are premature.”

    What would you consider sufficient “boring empirical spadework”? Because I’m getting the impression that this is less a plea for logical rigour on your part and more an effort to sweep the entire debate off the table.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  50. Subotai says

    “I’m still waiting for a pointer to relevant facts.”

    Then I suggest you start pointing to all those links to the “boring empirical spadework” which support your position.

    Or is that actually the lame debaters trick which it appears to be?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  51. JW says

    “Since we can reliably predict (100+ years of scientific data back this up) that blacks on the average are much less intelligent (and much more violent) than whites,”

    Two things. One, did Mr. Pollack say that IQ should be the primary basis on which we should judge suitability of immigration? If so, I would very much disagree. Two, show me this massive amount of data that you are referring to that can “reliably” predict the your answers. It has to answer the question, “Everything else being equal, and during the measurable history of man, who has been more violent, whites or blacks?” My guess is that whites have easily been more violent.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  52. Mr. Pollack,

    If your position is as you most recently describe it, do you not see how the opposite impression was created by your own words which I quoted? At least admit that you have been writing confusedly, rather than wondering why I’m misunderstanding you and giving you a hard time.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  53. Andrew E says

    bob koepp,

    I defer to Charles Murray on the issue of racial classifications:

    “Turning to race, we must begin with the fraught question of whether it even exists, or whether it is instead a social construct. The Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin originated the idea of race as a social construct in 1972, arguing that the genetic differences across races were so trivial that no scientist working exclusively with genetic data would sort people into blacks, whites, or Asians. In his words, “racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance.”[25]

    “Lewontin’s position, which quickly became a tenet of political correctness, carried with it a potential means of being falsified. If he was correct, then a statistical analysis of genetic markers would not produce clusters corresponding to common racial labels.

    “In the last few years, that test has become feasible, and now we know that Lewontin was wrong.[26] Several analyses have confirmed the genetic reality of group identities going under the label of race or ethnicity.[27] In the most recent, published this year, all but five of the 3,636 subjects fell into the cluster of genetic markers corresponding to their self-identified ethnic group.[28] When a statistical procedure, blind to physical characteristics and working exclusively with genetic information, classifies 99.9 percent of the individuals in a large sample in the same way they classify themselves, it is hard to argue that race is imaginary. ”

    http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.23075,filter.social/pub_detail.asp

    As for your question, I would argue that race describes something real and objective. Thus it matters, non-trivially for the reasons I’ve put forth, whether someone acknowledges it or not. I think a complete articulation of reality would show that each of us as humans belong to larger categories over which we have no control and which limit certain aspects of our lives, race is one, gender is another, the religion we’re born into is yet another. I think it goes without saying that some of these categories are more restrictive than others.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  54. Here’s one question that gets lost sight of in the immigration debate, and that is, what obligations does America have toward potential immigrants? Answer: none whatsoever.
    Many, mostly liberals, proceed on the assumption that the U.S. must have an accommodating immigration policy. And if we do decide to accept them, we can morally do so on any basis we choose.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  55. bob koepp says

    Subotai – The boring empirical spadework hasn’t yet been done — which was the point of my earlier remark. But to rehearse what I think are some necessary preliminaries before making hard assertions:

    “What races are we talking about, and what are the criteria for racial identity? It seems to me that these questions need to be addressed if the discussion is to be tethered to reality. Then, since all appear to acknowledge that there is significant individual variation among members of particular races, we need to consider the ratio of within group and between group variation.”

    And note that I said this is necessary in order to start framing questions, let alone assume that we’ve got some answers. I’m actually interested in informed debate, and wouldn’t think of sweeping it off the table. The key is “informed”.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  56. I applaud Dennis Mangan for neatly refuting Mr. Pollack’s notion that “racial tensions have diminished enormously.” The truth, as Mr. Mangan points out, is that white resistance to nonwhites has greatly diminished, empowering the race-conscious agendas of nonwhites. But of course most whites don’t see this, focused as they are only on whites’ own supposed racism.

    And that’s what this Obama phenomenon is all about, as I discuss in “Noonan embraces the principle of race-conscious multiculturalism.”

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/012400.html

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
  57. JW says

    “Here’s one question that gets lost sight of in the immigration debate, and that is, what obligations does America have toward potential immigrants? Answer: none whatsoever.”

    Could you specify how this question has ANYTHING to do with what we are discussing here? Or are you telling me that human beings in certain cases do not have any obligation whatsoever towards other human beings? That was *precisely* the basis on which Japanese imperialist animals and the Nazi monsters went about their destruction, rape, and pillaging of other people. (Yes, the Japanese, if you’ve forgotten already, forced WHITE WOMEN into sexual slavery)

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  58. Well, someone finally brought up the Nazis.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink
  59. Subotai says

    “The boring empirical spadework hasn’t yet been done”

    Translation – you are not going to accept any of the large amount of existing research, and this whole line of attack by you is in fact a cheap debaters trick. I’ll confine my remarks in future to those people not playing games.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  60. Subotai says

    “are you telling me that human beings in certain cases do not have any obligation whatsoever towards other human beings? ”

    I will tell you that, yes, even though the question was not directd at me.

    “That was *precisely* the basis on which Japanese imperialist animals and the Nazi monsters went about their destruction, rape, and pillaging of other people.”

    You, sir, are a jackass, and a rather dim witted jackass at that. That was “precisely” not the basis on which the Japanese and Nazis predicated their actions. Does nobody in this country read anymore?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  61. JW says

    Well Dennis, I don’t ever want you to forget where your line of what you perceive to be rational thinking may lead to. You’re not the smartest among the bunch, that much seems clear, but that’s what history lessons are for, am I right?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
  62. bob koepp says

    Andrew – I’m aware of both Lewontin’s views and Murray’s, as well as work being done in this area by population geneticists. I still think it’s contested territory so far as the science is concerned. In other words, I neither deny nor affirm that race is a sound biological concept. But for discussions that assume it is, and that seek to relate it to immigration policies, I do insist that people be specific about the bases of their classifications; because that makes all the difference in trying to sort through the various empirical claims (and there are a lot of them) being made by proponents of one or another viewpoint.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  63. bob koepp says

    Subotai – If you know of some boring empirical spadework that’s already been done that addresses my preliminaries, please share it. And if you don’t understand why those preliminaries need to be addressed before arriving at conclusions about the actual social dynamical role of race, then I can’t imagine that you’d have anything intelligent to say on the matter.

    Unlilke Malcolm, I don’t have to be polite to people who are arrogantly ignorant of their own ignorance.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  64. Subotai says

    “I don’t ever want you to forget where your line of what you perceive to be rational thinking may lead to.”

    That would seem to be YOUR line of what YOU imagine to be “rational thinking”.

    Since you people seem to be solely interested in playing games, I’ll play wth you. Your line of thinkng, JW, is what led to the hundred million deaths attributable to communism.

    Are these your regular commenters, Malcom? Quite a crop.
    You must be very proud.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  65. Subotai says

    “Unlilke Malcolm, I don’t have to be polite to people who are arrogantly ignorant of their own ignorance”

    Then I suggest you grab a cluebat and beat yourself vigorously about the head with it, you ignorant and arrogant clod.

    Having done that, you might like to pick up a copy of “Google for Dummies”. Or perhaps “Internet Searching For Complete Idiots’.

    Failing that, you can continue to brag about your own lack of knowledge of the topic at hand while pissing and moaning about other people being “ignorant”.

    On a happier note for you, consider the fact that you as a British immigrant singlehandedly undermine the proposition advanced by Mangan and Auster for the superiority of white immigrants.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
  66. JW says

    Sorry, did I ever admit to the claim that “in certain cases, human beings do not have any obligation whatsoever to other human beings”?

    You did. That’s scary. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re evil though, I’ll give you that. It could only be because you’re not educated enough on matters related to human atrocities.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
  67. Malcolm says

    Well! This topic certainly brings out the best in everyone. As I mentioned, I simply haven’t time to wade in here, but a roomful of angry people throwing feces at each other is not what I had in mind when I opened my door for comments.

    Very quickly:

    I do not consider the observation that white “resistance” to nonwhites has diminished to “refute” my assertion that racial tension has abated. If two of us are in a room, and I take my boot off your neck and extend a hand, tension might eventually decrease, no?

    Leaving aside immigration for the moment — and I hope I have made it clear by now that I think we need to sharply restrict immigration — I think it is worthwhile to keep in mind that the outcome of domestic race relations can be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If your attitude to another group is one of fear and distrust — as are amply, bitterly evident here — it is unrealistic to expect affection and cooperation in return.

    It may seem trite — indeed it seems almost laughably sentimental amongst all the wagon-circling going on in here at the moment — but those who are concerned about defending Western traditions might benefit from being reminded that there is, perhaps, room in all of this for just a glimmer of some core Christian values here, namely “hope” and “love”. The old saw “if you want to have a friend, be a friend” can apply to relations between groups, too.

    Mr. Auster: if the fault was mine for being insufficiently clear in my writing, I apologize. I hope we understand each other now.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
  68. Jeffery Hodges writes:

    “Mr. Auster, perhaps you’re importing too much into Malcolm’s expression ‘recent fetish of multiculturalism.’ The term ‘recent’ is rather imprecise, so we’d need to ask Malcolm what he meant. My memory of multiculturalism as a popular expression dates it to the mid-1980s, and it seems to have peaked in the 1990s and declined in this new millenium, especially after 9/11.

    “All of that seems fairly ‘recent’ to me since I was born in 1957.”

    Let me explain. Here’s the impression created by what Mr. Pollack said. He said that there has been this wonderful transracial, transcultural blah blah, but that “recently” multiculturalism has messed it up. From his context, the transracial, transcultural blah blah seemed to be referring to the successful assimilation of post 1965 mass non-European immigrants, which has been slowed or impeded by the “recent” phenomenon of multiculturalism.

    Now, the word “multiculturalism” only became current in the U.S. in the late 1980s. (I wrote one of the first articles on the multicultural curricula, in National Review in December 1989, http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002894.html.) But the reality of multiculturalism had been developing for many years before that—in “ethnic” consciousness, in “inclusive” curricula and history teaching, in bi-lingual education, in the spreading institutionalization of the Spanish language, and in race conscious quotas for nonwhites going back to the 1970s and, in the case of blacks, to the mid 1960s.

    Thus multiculturalism (not the name, but the reality) began soon after the 1965 Immigration Act opened America to every country on earth. It picked up speed in the late 1970s, when mainstream articles began noticing the remarkable ethnic changes occurring in parts of America and people began speaking of America as a “diverse” country. It picked up further with the inauguration of “multicultural” curricula plans such as the Portland Plan and the Curriculum of Inclusion which explicitly redefined America as a collection of equal cultures, with its former majority culture redefined as just one culture among others. Further, though the word multiculturalism is not being used as much as before, the reality of multiculturalism is fully institutionalized and is going strong. The main reason the controversy seems to have died down is that the neocons, who used to criticize multiculturalism, have surrendered to and no longer write about it. Thus the disappearance of multiculturalism actually signals its victory and permanent institutionalization.

    When concerns about immigration and multiculturalism heated up in the early 1990s, the neoconservatives adopted the line that immigration was absolutely great, and presented no problem at all, and that any failures to assimilate were due solely to the ideology of multiculturalism which was telling immigrant groups not to assimilate.

    Here are two articles of mine on this in National Review from the early 1990s:

    http://amnation.com/vfr/archives/002946.html

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/000854.html

    Thus Mr. Pollack was repeating (or seemed to be repeating) exactly the neocons’ argument of 15 and 20 years ago, that mass diverse immigration is fine, and only multiculturalism is the problem. As for the “when” this multiculturalism appeared, the only way to make sense of his statement was that Hispanics and others had successfully assimilated up until, say, the 1990s, and only since then they have stopped assimilating. As I pointed out, this was ridiculous.

    But now Mr. Pollack insists that he did not mean that at all. Indeed, he continually complains that I have woefully and willfully distorted his entire argument. Yet he appears clueless to his own statements that create the impresson I have been responding to. It’s as though, since he said A, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for the fact that he also said (or strongly appeared to say) not-A.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  69. In my previous comment I mistakenly linked a 1992 article of mine from the Miami Herald instead of my 1994 article at NR on the neoconservatives and the immigration and multicutluralism issue. Here is the correct link:

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/003750.html

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  70. JW says

    Lawrence,

    What is your argument? That you can’t fathom a future in America where we are steadily but surely becoming mixed in terms of racial makeup?

    What are you so scared of? Clearly you will die soon in terms of that history. So the question becomes, are you sure your descendants would want your race specific values pushed onto them? Why don’t you ask your own kids and their friends what they want and see what they have to say?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  71. Mr. Auster, thanks for the response on multiculturalism, which is courteous and informative. I would draw a distinction between multiethnicity and multiculturalism. In fact, I would distinguish radical from moderate multiculturalism, the former being based on radical cultural relativism, which delegitimates criticism of other cultures.

    I suppose that I should post a blog entry of my own on this issue.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  72. Piper says

    JW: “…did Mr. Pollack say that IQ should be the primary basis on which we should judge suitability of immigration? If so, I would very much disagree.”

    No, Pollack didn’t write the letters “IQ,” but his examples of “desirable” immigrants suggest that he favors smart, high (economic) achieving people plus unusually good entertainers (musicians, and likely actors and athletes).

    High-achievers are people with high IQ, whose children will revert toward their (racial) means. Unusual entertainers may not have high IQ’s, but definitely have other genetic gifts which their children cannot be expected, on average, to share. I don’t know what kind of immigrants you favor, but apart from especially entertaining folks who may (like Gypsy musicians and dancers, or West African sprinters) have special qualities distinct from IQ, you can’t favor “high achievers” separately from “high IQ types” because those sets are nearly coextensive. Anyway, if you select immigrants purely by unusual personal merit, it won’t matter which qualities you think meritorious– you will shortly find your country filled with descendants of your immigrants who lack their progenitors’ special merits and instead resemble their progenitors’ background stock.

    JW: “…show me this massive amount of data that you are referring to that can “reliably” predict the your answers. It has to answer the question, “Everything else being equal, and during the measurable history of man, who has been more violent, whites or blacks?” My guess is that whites have easily been more violent.”

    Sigh. It may be that whites have killed more people overall, since whites invented and tested such things as the French 75, the machine gun, the Communist Party, and the B-17.

    However, the merest familiarity with the science in this area would equip you to understand that blacks are more violent on the average (than whites and east asians) for reasons which are not amenable to moral posturing. It is true that social arrangements affect the absolute performance of blacks, whites, and so-forth (witness the much lower black and white murder rates 50 years ago). However, the ratio between racial means on measures of interest, such as propensity to violence, does not vary dramatically even when society modulates absolute performance.

    You may feel quite smug, in a politically-correct way, when you refuse to recognize these facts, but I doubt you would put your own life at risk by relocating to a black neighborhood in America, much less in Africa. Why do you want to put the lives of everyone in the USA at greater risk, statistically speaking, by admitting more immigrants whose descendants will almost certainly join the very underclass you are already careful to stay far away from?

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  73. bob koepp says

    Subotai – OK, you’ve gone beyond the pale now, suggesting that there’s anything even remotely British about me. Makes me wonder about your ancestry.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  74. Evidently JW expects me to restate in a blog discussion everything I’ve been saying on the subject for 20 years.

    Why doesn’t he do a little work himself? He could start by reading “The Path to National Suicide,” linked above (it’s only 90 pages long and can be read in a two or three hours), and my other articles that are linked in this discussion. Then he could check out my booklet, “Huddled Clichés,” at this link:

    http://jtl.org/auster/Huddled/Huddled.html

    Then he could check out other writings on the subject that are collected here:

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/011014.html

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  75. JW says

    ” It is true that social arrangements affect the absolute performance of blacks, whites, and so-forth (witness the much lower black and white murder rates 50 years ago). ”

    So then *make* the social arrangements affect the absolute performance so that we each have the fairest chance as possible at life.

    Unless you want to start excluding people because by no fault of their own they were born into a certain race. Such exclusion is what is usually called “racial injustice” in this part of the world. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  76. JW says

    Lawrence, you want me to spend my precious hours on 90 pages of *your* stuff? What you’ve displayed so far certainly doesn’t deserve that much of my time. Give me the friggin executive summary.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  77. Subotai says

    All right, I was having too much fun playing with bobby. Back to the issue at hand.

    From the Wikipedia entry on Robert Putnam.

    ————————————————————————————–

    “Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Port Clinton, Ohio) is a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. He is also Visiting Professor and Director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester (UK). Putnam developed the influential two-level game theory that assumes international agreements will only be successfully brokered if they also result in domestic benefits. His most famous (and controversial) work, Bowling Alone, argues that the United States has undergone an unprecedented collapse in civic, social, associational, and political life (social capital) since the 1960s, with serious negative consequences.

    In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30 000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community has a correlation [expressed as a beta equal to 0.04 in a multiple regression analysis (see Putnam, 2007)], to less trust both between and within ethnic groups. Although only a single study and limited to American data, it claims to put into question both contact theory and conflict theory in inter-ethnic relations. According to conflict theory, distrust between the ethnic groups will rise with diversity, but not within a group. According to contact theory, distrust will decline as members of different ethnic groups get to know and interact with each other. Putnam describes people of all races, sex and ages as “hunkering down” and going into their shells like a turtle. For example, he did not find any significant difference between 90 year olds and 30 year olds.

    Low trust with high diversity not only affects ethnic groups, but is also associated with:

    Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
    Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one’s own influence.
    Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
    Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
    Less likelihood of working on a community project.
    Less likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
    Fewer close friends and confidants.
    Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
    More time spent watching television and more agreement that “television is my most important form of entertainment”.

    ————————————————————-

    End of cite. So only the ignorant can claim that there is no “boring empirical spadework” demonstrating that no, we can’t all just get along.

    I post this in the full knowledge that bob will contrive some excuse to dismiss it.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  78. Subotai says

    “What is your argument? That you can’t fathom a future in America where we are steadily but surely becoming mixed in terms of racial makeup?”

    Somebody is not up to speed with what’s going on. The rates for intermarriage between whites and non-whites are dropping, not increasng. The rates for intermarriage among Hispanics is going up, as is that for Asians.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  79. Subotai says

    “Makes me wonder about your ancestry.”

    Mongolian, of course!

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  80. bob koepp says

    Subotai – Please refer to my description of “preliminaries”, consider what role I suggested they play in empirical inquiry, and then consider whether you’ve addressed my concerns. I’ll look at Putnam’s work (not the Wiki article…), focussing particulary on his “methods”, and arrive at my own conclusions about the quality of the spadework.

    While I don’t claim any expertise as an empirical investigator, I do know a thing or two about methodology and what kind of evidence is required to substantiate empirical claims of various sorts. If you can be bothered to look at what I’ve actually said, you’ll note that my comments are uniformly about methodological/evidential matters — at no point have I taken a position on the question which so exercises you. So please, calm down, and aim carefully when you throw mud.

    Pax

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  81. Mr. Hodges says that he would “draw a distinction between multiethnicity and multiculturalism.”

    In fact, I wrote a long article called “America: Multiethnic, not Multicultural,” in Academic Questions, the quarterly of the National Association of Scholars, in 1991. It was the only article ever published in that neoconservative magazine that discussed the ethnocultural, namely Anglo-Saxon, basis of the common American culture.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/g57l884042q78333/

    Unfortunately, due to an appalling decision made by the leaders of NAS when it was formed in the late 1980s, the entire content of AQ is controlled by a publisher that keeps the content off-line. It costs an absurd amount ($34) to access an article. I should scan my article from the hard copy and put it online.

    As for Mr. Hodges’s notion that there is a difference between moderate multicultural and radical multiculturalism, this is a mistake similar to believing that moderate Islam is the solution to radical Islam. The non-existence of a “good,” “moderate” multiculturalism is a main topic of my 1991 article.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  82. Subotai says

    “.. at no point have I taken a position on the question which so exercises you.”

    Which question was that?

    “I do know a thing or two about methodology and what kind of evidence is required to substantiate empirical claims of various sorts.”

    I’m very happy for you. Are you capable of observing the world around you as well? That was once considered a scientific thing to do, before reading peer-reviewed journals was substituted for it.

    “I’ll look at Putnam’s work (not the Wiki article…)”

    See, the Wiki article was simply to point you in the right direction. I could hardly cut and paste the entire book here.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  83. Here is evidence for Mr. Pollack’s idea that “racial tensions have diminished enormously” in recent years. The below is from a collection of rap lyrics posted at American Renaissance. As AR points out, each of these songs was recorded “by performers who have earned a Grammy award, the music industry’s highest honor.” As I said above, the reality is not that racial tensions have diminished, but that nonwhites are given complete license to express their hatred of whites, and whites ignore it. Whites ignore it when black “rap” performers tell blacks to murder whites, and whites ignore it when blacks actually murder whites. There is an ongoing low-level anti-white race war in this country, but because whites systematically refuse to notice it (because if they noticed it, that would make them racist), they imagine that “racial tensions have diminished enormously.”

    http://www.amren.com/features/rap_lyrics/index.html

    “Niggas in the church say: kill whitey all night long … the white man is the devil … the CRIPS and Bloods are soldiers I’m recruiting with no dispute; drive-by shooting on this white genetic mutant … let’s go and kill some rednecks … Menace Clan ain’t afraid … I got the .380; the homies think I’m crazy because I shot a white baby; I said; I said; I said: kill whitey all night long … a nigga dumping on your white ass; fuck this rap shit, nigga, I’m gonna blast … I beat a white boy to the motherfucking ground”;

    “Kill Whitey”; Menace Clan, Da Hood, 1995, Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records, subsidiaries of what was called Thorn EMI and now is called The EMI Group, United Kingdom.

    “Devils fear this brand new shit … I bleed them next time I see them … I pray on these devils … look what it has come to; who you gonna run to when we get to mobbing … filling his body up with lead, yah; cracker in my way; slitting, slit his throat; watch his body shake; watch his body shake; that’s how we do it in the motherfucking [San Francisco] Bay … sitting on the dock of the dirty with my AK”;

    “Heat—featuring Jet and Spice 1”; Paris, Unleashed, 1998, Unleashed Records, Whirling Records.

    “These devils make me sick; I love to fill them full of holes; kill them all in the daytime, broad motherfucking daylight; 12 o’clock, grab the Glock; why wait for night”

    “Sweatin Bullets”; Brand Nubian, Everything Is Everything, 1994, Elektra Entertainment, Warner Communications, Time Warner, USA.

    “A fight, a fight, a nigger and a white, if the nigger don’t win then we all jump in … smoking all [of] America’s white boys”;

    “A Fight”; Apache, Apache Ain’t Shit, 1993, Tommy Boy Music, Time Warner, USA.

    “I kill a devil right now … I say kill whitey all nightey long … I stabbed a fucking Jew with a steeple … I would kill a cracker for nothing, just for the fuck of it … Menace Clan kill a cracker; jack ‘em even quicker … catch that devil slipping; blow his fucking brains out”

    “Fuck a Record Deal”; Menace Clan, Da Hood, 1995, Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records, subsidiaries of Thorn EMI; called The EMI Group since 1997, United Kingdom.

    “Now I’m black but black people trip [become upset] ‘cause white people like me; white people like me but don’t like them … I don’t hate whites, I just gotta death wish for motherfuckers that ain’t right”

    “Race War”; Ice-T, Home Invasion, 1993, Priority Records, Thorn EMI; now called The EMI Group, United Kingdom.

    “To all my Universal Soldier’s: stay at attention while I strategize an invasion; the mission be ssassination, snipers hitting Caucasians with semi-automatic shots heard around the world; my plot is to control the globe and hold the world hostage … see, I got a war plan more deadlier than Hitler … lyrical specialist, underworld terrorist … keep the unity thick like mud … I pulling out gats [handguns], launching deadly attacks”

    “Blood for Blood”; Killarmy, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, 1997, Wu-Tang Records, Priority Records, The EMI Group, United Kingdom.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  84. Subotai says

    Malcolm – “If your attitude to another group is one of fear and distrust — as are amply, bitterly evident here — it is unrealistic to expect affection and cooperation in return.”

    That’s a rather peculiar observation to make. It implies that you are either unaware of what non-whites think of whites, or else regard that information as inconsequental. You seem to think that only meaningful variable in the equation is what goes on in the minds of whites.

    Non-whites in this country have been treated with extraordinary kindness by the once white majority. They have responded to that kindness with distrust, hostility, and ethnic solidarity. (They have been encouraged in this by white liberals themselves.) And the response of white liberalism? “If only we were nicer, they would love us. We must be doing something wrong.” The underlying theory itself must not and cannot be questioned. It’s a foundation stone of white liberalism.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  85. Mark says

    JW Writes: “What are you so scared of? Clearly you will die soon in terms of that history. So the question becomes, are you sure your descendants would want your race specific values pushed onto them? Why don’t you ask your own kids and their friends what they want and see what they have to say?’

    I’m going to resort to bringing up the Nazis again. Suppose we had asked the children in Germany in the early 1940s whether they wanted Jews to live in their country. Don’t you suppose they would have parroted what they had been propagandized into believing in their schools and in the media they read? That Jews were evil and awful?

    Why in the world should we expect white children who have been submersed to the eyebrows in multicultural propaganda for their entire lives to do anything other than parrot that back? Your smug suggestion that we ask the children what they want would prove nothing more than that they had been brainwashed a certain way their entire young lives.

    Since when does a healthy society leave it up to children to decide where the society will go?

    And would you fling this same smug crap at any other people on earth who were being threatened by an incursion of alien peoples? If a Native American said they didn’t want their traditional ways or their people to be swamped by whites and white culture, would you say to them “What are you so scared of? Clearly you will die soon in terms of that history.” Would you think that appropriate? Of course not. You wouldn’t dream of it. But you direct that kind of contempt almost with glee at white Americans who don’t want our people and our way of life to be swamped and disappear.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  86. Piper says

    “[Piper] ‘It is true that social arrangements affect the absolute performance of blacks, whites, and so-forth (witness the much lower black and white murder rates 50 years ago).’

    [JW] “So then *make* the social arrangements affect the absolute performance so that we each have the fairest chance as possible at life.

    “Unless you want to start excluding people because by no fault of their own they were born into a certain race. Such exclusion is what is usually called ‘racial injustice’ in this part of the world. Wake up and smell the coffee.”

    JW, my friend, you’ve made the classic mistake: getting so excited you shoot yourself in the foot. The “social arrangements” you just asked for are ones you likely think oppressive and perhaps even racist, such as paying married men more because “they support their families,” stigmatizing illegitimacy, basing college admissions and awarding government jobs on merit rather than race,* letting employers hire whoever they find most useful rather than by racial quotas,** and limiting immigration by national origin (proxy for race)!

    Also, you should note that your notion of how to regulate immigration is quite at odds with Mr. Pollack’s. Pollack and I agree that immigration is not a matter of right (for immigrants) but grace. The USA is under no obligation to accept any immigrants.*** By definition, any foreigner in his own country is “home” already and the USA does him no injury by failing to invite him to migrate. It follows that the USA need not find or identify any reason to exclude anybody. Indeed, the “base case” is that no foreginer is automatically entitled to immigrate to the USA.

    An application for an immigrant visa is a request that the USA go to some trouble to ascertain that a particular immigrant ought to be admitted, for the benefit of the USA, not the immigrant. Pollack would admit “desirable” people, and so would I– but Pollack and I do not entirely agree on the definition of desirable. We would both start by choosing immigrants we think likely to personally enhance the people of the USA. From that set, though, I would narrow the choice further to people whose descendants would likely benefit the USA.

    Since the only way to evaluate the worth of unseen descendants is by statistical inference, I would not admit immigrants from low-performing populations regardless of their personal qualities.**** Before 1965 we filtered immigrants by national origin, which was a good proxy for race (I’m not sure that would work quite as well now, when prospective immigrants from, say, France might well be French Arabs).

    You may demonize such a policy as “racial injustice” but that’s merely name-calling unworthy of scholarly debate. When I say I want immigrants whose children and grandchildren will, for each 10,000 of them, produce maybe 8,200 high-school graduates, 1,600 college graduates with serious majors, and 230 workers at the MD/PhD/top MBA level, rather than immigrants whose offspring will, for each 10,000 of them, produce maybe 6,500 high-school graduates, 200 college graduates with serious majors, and perhaps 3-5 workers at the MD/PhD/top MBA level– well, that’s not racism– not so long as it’s based on actual experience with people already in the USA.

    *Of course you know that colleges admit non-Asian minorities on the basis of skin color rather than academic qualifications like SAT score. However, you may not realize that the Federal “civil service exam” was abolished during the Carter Administration because of the incorrigible fact that there was no way to make it both predict job performance and give high scores to black and hispanic applicants in proportion to their fraction of the population rather than their average mental abilities. State and local civil service and promotional exams have gone the same way– Google for “firefighters exam DOJ” to see some examples. (Please don’t twit us about athletes’ or veterans’ preferences–such are hardly comparable to racial preferences.)

    **Since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the DOJ (and Congress, and the courts) have made racial quotas mandatory in hiring and promotion. Non-white immigrants are eligible to fill American racial quotas upon arrival! These and related programs probably cost the USA at least a trillion dollars annually. The more non-Asian minorities in the country, the more harm racial quotas cause. Why would any American wish to increase the number of people with claims to race-based preference in employment and contracting?

    ***By treaty the USA may be obliged to admit certain refugees.

    ****There may be some prospective immigrants so very special that we would wish to admit them regardless of their origins. Very, very special. Draper Prize special. However, such an exception hardly invalidates the proposed rule. Most “special but not astonishing” people we might wish to visit the USA to lecture or perform, or to collaborate in scientific work, etc. would be quite satisfied, as well as accommodated, with non-immigrant visas.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  87. Subotai says

    Malcolm – “I realize that this is, to its advocates, merely an indication of the sorry state of civilization, but there it is: the moral consensus these days — and, by the way, a bedrock principle of the culture we are supposed to be defending here — is that people are not to be judged before the law as members of this or that group, but as individuals.”

    It is, or is supposed to be, a bedrock principle of our culture that the people of the world are not to be thought of as some undifferentiated mass but as members of nation states, and the laws of any given nation state apply to it’s own people and them alone. From this came the notion of “the self-determination of peoples” which was the foundation of Western liberalism from the French Revolution until the 1960’s, at which point such an idea began to be derided as “nationalistic” and “bigoted” or even as “fascist”. So I don’t think you are actually defending Western civilization here.

    Even within the borders of states, the idea that all individuals must be treated alike by the state is a recent development. In fact the very concept of the “individual” is of recent origin. You cannot defend indiscrimate immigration by invoking our traditonal belief in individualism, because such a thing does not exist.

    Malcolm again -“Such a policy would be, in the minds of almost all civilized people everywhere in the world and here at home, morally repugnant.”

    That seems immensely unlikely, as every other country in the world has the sort of restrictive immigration policies which are being argued about here. Not even the British are as far down the road to national suicide as we are. On what basis could they criticize us, assuming we even cared?

    Malcolm -“The culture I live in includes jazz, sushi, kung fu, falafel, and yoga, as well as the New York Philharmonic and King Lear.”

    At the root of the problem here is the belief that Manhattan is or can be a useful role model for the rest of the world. For reasons already covered at Mangans, that just ain’t so.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  88. Subotai says

    I would add that your conception of culture is deficient if you define it in terms of sushi and falafel. Think of culture as “patterns of thought”. Your immigrant friends all buy into the idea of a society with a very pronounced hierarchical stucture. NYC is therefore a place where they’ll feel right at home. But that is not the natural American culture.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
  89. JW says

    “Why in the world should we expect white children who have been submersed to the eyebrows in multicultural propaganda for their entire lives to do anything other than parrot that back?”

    Look at yourself in the mirror and tell me with a honest face that this argument doesn’t apply *to you* also.

    Piper, you’re flying off in so many directions, I’m not even sure how to respond. May be a surprise to you but there is that significant chance that you are not as smart as you think you are. So try to keep the words to a minimum. You still haven’t really answered the central question at issue here, which is, why in the world would you exclude people by race when clearly, the likelihood of a typical person’s ability to get along with another depends overwhelmingly on whether the two people share adherence to *universal* virtues? (I don’t even have to argue for adherence to the same culture.)

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  90. FINALLY! After all this fooling around, Mr. Auster busts out with the irrefutable evidence by quoting rap lyrics!

    “Niggas” want to kill “Whitey!”

    Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?!

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  91. Subotai says

    1) There are no *universal* virtues.
    2) As surely a blind man must have noticed, even Americans don’t “get along” with each other. So they do not share even among themselves any conception of common virtues.

    Let’s ask a real liberal what he thinks. Over to you, JS Mill.

    “Where the sentiment of nationality exists in any force, there is a prima facie case for uniting all the members of the nationality under the same government, and a government to themselves apart. This is merely saying that the question of government ought to be decided by the governed. One hardly knows what any division of the human race should be free to do if not to determine with which of the various collective bodies of human beings they choose to associate themselves.

    Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. The influences which form opinions and decide political acts are different in the different sections of the country. An altogether different set of leaders have the confidence of one part of the country and of another. The same books, newspapers, pamphlets, speeches, do not reach them. One section does not know what opinions, or what instigations, are circulating in another. The same incidents, the same acts, the same system of government, affect them in different ways; and each fears more injury to itself from the other nationalities than from the common arbiter, the state. Their mutual antipathies are generally much stronger than jealousy of the government. That any one of them feels aggrieved by the policy of the common ruler is sufficient to determine another to support that policy. Even if all are aggrieved, none feel that they can rely on the others for fidelity in a joint resistance; the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.”

    “Representative Government”, 1861.

    Now you faux liberals can go back to feeling smugly proud of yourselves as you repeat the illiberal words programmed into you by your illiberal masters.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  92. Malcolm says

    Well, it appears this discussion has reached the point of diminishing returns. “Subotai”, taking a rest from insulting our commenters, has now made the mind-boggling assertion that the historical treatment of non-whites in this country has been one of “extraordinary kindness”, and even Mr. Lawrence Auster, whose well-written analysis of immigration and multicuturalism is certainly worth reading, has been reduced to posting rap lyrics from the previous century as evidence that there is no hope for black-white relations in this country, which is on a par with putting up YouTube clips of the Jerry Springer Show as evidence that Americans will never understand Kant.

    The question under examination was whether race is a desirable criterion for excluding potential immigrants. We have now all had our say, and we have certainly put on quite a show for our readers, who can now go forth marvellously well-informed, and make up their own minds. If we poke about here and there on the floor amongst the broken teeth and gobbets of flesh we may even be able to recover some worthwhile and interesting points for further reflection, which I, at least, will ruminate upon — although after this joyless and marginally profitable pow-wow I will probably be blogging about animal husbandry or badminton for a while, as I can see it is going to take me some time to sweep up all the broken bottles around here, and to unclog the toilets.

    Thank you all so very much for coming; please try to be quiet as you exit the building.

    Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink