“White Supremacy”

Our e-pal Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, has a post up about “white supremacy”, a loosely defined term that is very much en vogue just now. Dr. Vallicella quotes Robert Paul Wolff:

Hatred has fundamentally very little to do with White Supremacy. White Supremacy is a policy of domination and economic superiority of Whites in a multi-racial society. African-Americans are not worried about whether White people want to be friends. Most of the African-Americans I know have quite enough friends, thank you very much. African-Americans demand legal, economic, and political equality. And that terrifies many Whites, who do not want to give up the superior legal, political, and economic position in American society that they acquired through being born White.

Well, this may be a good definition of “white supremacy”; I don’t really know much about it. I can certainly say that it does not describe the views of anyone I know, or would care to know, in neoreactionary circles, or in what is sometimes called the “dissident Right”. It doesn’t even describe the views of people like Jared Taylor, who is often slandered in the mass media as a “white supremacist”.

Consider: a generation of identitarian politics across the West has deliberately cultivated tribal resentments among non-whites. For decades white people have been blamed in media and academia for all the world’s ills, while aggressive immigration policies have openly sought to make them minorities in every one of their homelands (a prospect that is widely celebrated in our mainstream institutions). In colleges and universities, white applicants are disfavored for admission, while curricula feature pugnacious courses on eliminating “whiteness”. At the Academy Awards, a black actor says of his latest film “I get to kill all the white people! How great is that?”, and the audience laughs and cheers.

Is it any wonder, then, that in this toxic climate, many white people are developing a sense of identitarianism themselves? This is not “supremacy”; it is nothing more than a perfectly natural (and, therefore, easily predictable) sense of unity and belonging, in an explicitly and increasingly hostile environment. Express this readily understandable sentiment in public, however, and you are now a “white supremacist” — and your sense of identity is not mere attachment, but can only be “hate”.

“White supremacist”, then, is nothing more than a cudgel, to be used without mercy against anyone who says, however reluctantly, that: yes, we are white, and we are not ashamed of it, and if you are determined to divide all of society into competing racial groups, then our people will have to play the game too. It is a truly awful state of affairs, and it will all get much, much worse before it gets any better. “Diversity is our strength”? Rubbish. As we are already learning to our sorrow, it is anything but: it is the death of peace and order and comity, and, at last, of nations and cultures.

In his post, Bill said this:

Perhaps Malcolm Pollack will comment on this definition over at his place. He tilts in the alt-right direction; I reject the alt-right.

As do I. The term has become irretrievably tainted, and the self-described “alt-right” is now a gathering-place for actual white supremacists (as defined by Wolff, above), actual Nazis, virulent anti-Semites, and others who quite fairly can be described as “hate groups”. I want nothing to do with them.

Bill then adds the following:

Here are some preliminary thoughts/questions of my own.

1) If White Supremacy is a policy, who is implementing it? The government? Is the government insuring the economic superiority of Whites? How? By what programs?

2) Blacks have every right to demand legal and political equality, but they cannot reasonably demand economic equality. That is something they have to work for.

3) Whites are in an economically superior position to blacks, no doubt, but one cannot validly infer from this that Blacks have been unjustly discriminated against.

4) It is false that Whites enjoy by birth legal and political privileges denied to Blacks. If you think they do, name the privileges.

5) Suppose a white Southerner considers slavery a grave moral evil and is glad the Union was preserved. He opposes, however, the Left’s iconoclasm re: statues of Robert E. Lee, et al. Is this person a White supremacist?

6) If ‘white supremacist’ is not to be just another smear word like ‘racist,’ then it has to be defined. How ought it be defined?

7) Suppose Whites as a group are superior to Blacks as a group in some respect R, and suppose Jones points this out. Is Jones a white supremacist with respect to R? This raises the question: How can White Supremacism with respect to R be a bad thing, which it is supposed to be, if it is true?

8) Wolff’s decoupling of White Supremacy from hatred suggests that he is thinking of it as something ‘institutional’ or ‘systemic.’ Are our institutions white supremacist? What might that even mean given that our institutions allowed for the elimination of slavery and Jim Crow?

These all reflect, quite exactly, my own thoughts and questions, and so my own impression is that Bill and I agree about all of this with near-perfect congruency.

What a miserable era this is becoming. What a sad decline — with, I think, much worse on the way.

Related content from Sphere

15 Comments

  1. Jacob Silver says

    Radicalism is inevitable. Those who target their own radicals first will perish, as there will be nobody left to defend them.

    I don’t like radical zionist settlers any more than you like the alt right. But they would die defending my children so I don’t waste my time condemning them.

    This is how whites will act when they are a minority. And when they make it to this juncture, when they abandon the notion of universal morality, the world will be unrecognizable.

    Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Jacob,

    This is, in a way, my point: that the breakneck acceleration of multiculturalism and demographic diversity, which in turn leads inexorably to identity politics, is an engine of radicalism. We may all need to become radicals before this is over.

    In generally homogeneous societies, there is little or no reason for identity politics to exist in the first place.

    Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  3. Jacques says

    Hi Malcolm,
    You’re right, of course. But I think there’s also something simpler going on. Blacks and many other non-white groups in the west are simply noticing–how could they not notice?–that whites really are “supreme” or, at least, massively superior to many other races in ways that everyone cares about. Every day they’re reminded in a million ways of the incredible creativity and power and genius of whites. Everything from the technology and medicine they depend on to the physical infrastructure and the architectural glories of western nations to the institutions that protect them–and, for many blacks, feed and clothe and house them–to the ideas that frame their resentment and rage (and make it seem like something more elevated) is the work of white people.

    They don’t want to leave, but they also can’t stand to admit that almost everything that they themselves value is a white European creation. They know that without whites they’d most likely be living in mud huts. And they can’t transcend their feelings of racial identity and solidarity. So they try to resolve this painful dilemma by inventing a vast invisible conspiracy–“institutional racism” or whatever.

    And so, in a sense they’re right, though not in the way they think. America and other western countries really are “white supremacist” insofar as they are manifestations of the unique greatness of the white race, and naturally whites will tend to be “supreme” within the societies that they create and sustain, to which they alone are fully adapted.

    This is why it makes no difference that 99% of whites are nice, generous, totally opposed to any form of racism, etc. They are still white people, doing their thing–living and prospering and sustaining the world’s greatest societies, and even allowing huge numbers of others to come into those societies and enjoy their unique benefits. The nicer we are, the more we try to appease them and prop them up, the more they hate us. Because in doing that, we just demonstrate how powerful and competent and _morally_ advanced we are, as a race. They hate us because of what we are, because of our virtues and gifts and not really because of any supposed injustices against others. They’ll never forgive us. And there seems to be no solution in sight. The blacks and other less capable non-whites are not going to leave; life is too good with a talented moral white majority in charge. But having them in charge, and having such a nice life, just makes the differences in ability and achievement and temperament even more galling.

    And so white leftists like Wolff just adopt the perspective of these resentful and less capable minorities for their own reasons. Partly because they too are filled with resentment, and partly because they hope to gain power by weaponizing the resentment of the others. Anyway that’s my theory about otherwise inexplicable and insane charges of “white supremacy” in the world’s first openly anti-white and anti-racist societies.

    Posted August 19, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Jacques,

    Welcome back; we haven’t seen you here in a while.

    In general I think your comment is, for the most part, accurate. The cognitive dissonance you describe is quite real, and I believe that it has the effect you describe.

    You use the word “supremacy” with a quite different meaning from its use in the media today; the meaning you give the term is more benign morally, though I don’t think that would keep you from being doxxed and pilloried for it. You have articulated some extremely threatening heresies here.

    What makes these heresies so dangerous is that they contain uncomfortable and undeniable truths. It is incontrovertibly the case that, to a rounding error, the European people invented, built, and continue to maintain the technological and legal infrastructure of the modern world. For all that white people are made out to be demons, the real truth is always to be found in “revealed preference” — what people actually choose, as opposed to what they say — and the world, as we can see, votes with its feet to come here.

    How would someone rebut, rather than simply sputter in horror at, your argument? One cannot deny the towering accomplishments of the European peoples and their diaspora. You could say that these are due to their plunder of their colonies, but of course then you must ask why they were the plunderers rather than the plunderees — and of course mere plunder doesn’t explain the science, the architecture, the literature, the fine arts, the technology, the exploration… The Muslim empires, for example, were very good indeed at plunder, but they never put a man on the moon, or on the bottom of the sea; they never split the atom or transplanted a heart. Digging deeper, you can try, as Jared Diamond has, to account for it all geographically — and perhaps there is a fair measure of explanatory truth in what he says — but geography doesn’t explain, without introducing differential selection, why relative levels of accomplishment seem to stick so firmly to peoples wherever they are transplanted, or why different peoples get different results from the same locations. Under the guidance and vision of Europeans, North America became the mightiest nation in the history of the world — tamed and cultivated from sea to sea, crisscrossed by highways and railroads, spangled with great cities, its mighty rivers tamed and harnessed for commerce and energy, all in the course of a few hundred years. Its previous inhabitants had the place for millennia, and when we encountered them they were still living in huts and tents, lacking even a written language.

    One might try a moral rebuttal; there is certainly plenty there to work with. The European settlement and exploitation of the Americas was, indeed, a brutal business; the Spaniards in particular were nothing short of monstrous. But again so were, say, the Aztecs, a nation of millions whom the Spaniards conquered with a handful of men and some horses. Brutality, massacre, plunder and enslavement were nothing new in the world when the Europeans set out in their ships; rather, as with so many other things, they were just better at it. (They were also assisted by the diseases they brought with them; but northern Europeans also died, in great numbers, of tropical diseases in their colonial empires.) Slavery, too, was nothing unique to the West, but it was here in the West that it was finally declared out of bounds. It continues unabated in much of the nonwhite world. And the idea that the United States would never have got where it did without slave labor is, I think, obvious nonsense; indeed, we would amost certainly have avoided a catastrophically destructive war, and terrible social costs that harry and weaken us to this day. America rose to its modern greatness in spite of slavery, not because of it.

    As for “superiority”: this is such a radioactive term that it needs looking at. White Europeans are neither the smartest, not the strongest, nor the fastest, of the peoples of the earth, and we are all, if an unbeliever may borrow the expression, God’s children. In the long run we are all dust, and while we live our brief lives we all suffer, and cherish our families, and seek beauty and happiness, and bleed when we are cut. We all hunger and thirst and love and worry and struggle; we all share the same great fears and hopes. Whatever differences may exist between us as races of people say nothing about any of us as individuals, and in a just society, we should all stand as equals before the Law. It is stubbornly obvious, though, that the European peoples have some peculiar combination of cognitive and behavioral traits that have made them pre-eminent in bringing about and sustaining, for the past few hundred years at least, nearly all of the great achievements of the modern world, and prosperity on a scale hitherto unimaginable. This is, I think, beyond all reasonable dispute. (That this leads to the psychological effects you describe seems plausible at the very least, and I think you are in large part correct.)

    Looking at the more recent part of that historical arc, however, it may also be that these same traits contain the seeds of our own destruction. And as you said: “there seems to be no solution in sight.”

    That’s enough for now, I think. Thank you for your comment; in its frankness and incisiveness it reminded me of the late Lawrence Auster.

    I invite others to respond. Please do so civilly and thoughtfully.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:25 am | Permalink
  5. Jacques and Malcolm,

    On the recommendation of Robert Whitewall, I have read your comments in this thread. I can honestly say that I am in complete agreement with your statements, observations, and sentiments.

    Kudos to both of you.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink
  6. Whitewall says

    A fine discussion here on this thread! I have always wondered about Central and South America. The former butts right up against North America, separated only by a marginal river or simply grains of desert sand. Europeans-Spanish and Portuguese- invaded and conquered much of the land and people down there. Central and South America are largely blessed with natural resources and coastal access just like el Norte. Today, I have to wonder what happened? Why are they not more similar to Canada and the US? Europeans came, native people suffered, the Europeans were Christian, minerals and good land are available, there are rivers and port access.

    Today and for the last 60 years, the Southern hemisphere blames their problems on the Northern hemisphere.

    What went wrong?

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  7. Robert,

    I am not convinced that Jared Diamond’s geography-based explanations are completely wrong.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Nor I, Henry. (Haven’t seen you here in some time!)

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    I should make clearer what I meant when I mentioned Jacques’s “heresies”. A heresy requires a religious tenet that it contradicts, and I should perhaps have made explicit that the beliefs in play here are about the interchangeability of all humans, the exact congruency of innate trait-distributions in all human groups, and denial of the heritability (and thereby, susceptibility to differential selection pressure) of cognitive and behavioral traits. These are bedrock principles of our new secular religion, and dissent is not well-tolerated.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  10. Jacques says

    Hi Malcolm. Thanks! Being compared to Lawrence Auster is high praise; he really was a great man, far ahead of his time. I thought I’d add one further thing, about your second post: you say I’m being heretical for contradicting the denial of heritability or the susceptibility of human groups to differential selection for cognitive and behavioral traits, among other things. However, it’s interesting (and disturbing) to note that my opinion would be considered evil and heretical quite apart from any claims about heritability or selection. Now, as it happens I do think that lots of important cognitive and behavioral racial differences are the result of natural selection, but in my original comments I didn’t imply that this was the explanation for the massive superiority of whites to many other races (although I think it is). I merely said that whites _are_ massively superior, leaving it an open question what might explain this. It’s considered evil and disgusting to point out that for purely ‘cultural’ reasons white Europeans created pretty much everything that everyone wants and cares about. Or that, whatever the ‘cultural’ causes might be, it doesn’t seem very likely that blacks or other less capable groups are going to be developing culturally in ways that would make them ‘equal’ to whites in the foreseeable future. (They’ve had centuries of exposure and at least many decades of very expensive efforts at uplift and education and so on, but if anything American blacks seem more primitive and unaccomplished now than 60 years ago.)

    So our pathetic situation is that we can’t even safely make the entirely obvious and irrefutable observation that _for whatever reason_ white Europeans are in fact massively superior to many other groups in pretty much all respects that matter, and will be for many generations to come. And since we’re not allowed to say even this–something that in fact everyone has already known–we’re also not allowed to defend ourselves against absurd charges of ‘white supremacy’. We can’t offer any ‘excuse’ for the greater achievements and higher standards of our group, because that would involve pointing out that we do in fact think and behave better than others. I guess we’re supposed to just grin and bear it? But I don’t think that can go on forever. There are still enough white people with some sense of integrity and honor who will eventually push back. The alternative seems to be that we’ll be reduced to a small hated minority with nowhere to go, and eventually bred out or enslaved or something. Mainstream whites are irrational and masochistic, but I think that may be too much even for them.

    Posted August 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  11. Jacques,

    “The alternative seems to be that we’ll be reduced to a small hated minority with nowhere to go, and eventually bred out or enslaved or something.”

    As an Ashkenazi, I can only say, “Been there. Done that.”

    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    Jacques,

    Because these topics are so radioactive, nuances of meaning are of enormous importance — and I feel that for the sake of both conceptual and moral clarity it’s important to respond to some of your language here.

    The most important point — one that can never be stressed too often — is that what differentiates human populations, when it comes to cognitive, personality, and behavioral differences, is the statistical distribution of traits; we can say nothing at all about any actually existing individual without knowing the individual himself. An antagonistic reader could easily interpret you as asserting the “superiority” of every white over every black.

    In a sense, when it comes to anything having to do with matters of equality and justice, we need to be nominalists: we must set aside talk of forms and classes, and consider every person as an individual human being. I believe that a very great deal of the race-relations catastrophe the nation is experiencing is an undue emphasis on the outcomes of groups, rather than individuals, coupled with an implicit acceptance of the first of the two syllogisms I offered in this recent post.

    When you write things like “whites _are_ massively superior”, it’s very easy to read that as a statement not about the relative accomplishments of groups, but as a statement about every member of each group; and taken in that sense, it is plainly (and quite slanderously and offensively) false — for any trait, or combination of traits, you can imagine.

    Likewise, “superior” is a strongly normative term, that can only have meaning in relation to some logically prior valuative framework. For all their technical and intellectual accomplishments, whites as a group seem to be busily engaged in extinguishing themselves; white fertility rates are lethally low, while white suicide rates are shockingly high. The white race’s vaunted intellectual oeuvre has hatched into political and cultural ideologies that are, before our eyes, reducing whites to self-loathing minorities in nearly every single one of their homelands. Among educated classes, whites are increasingly caponizing and feminizing their males, while driving females further and further from natural procreative roles (while aborting their offspring by the scores of millions). Another white creation — the radical skepsis of the Enlightenment — has become in this crepuscular era a universal acid that has eroded and dissolved all that was once sacred, and all of the traditional foundations of organic social structure.

    White culture today is gravely ill: among its symptoms are ennui, cultural exhaustion, enfeeblement, cynicism, resentment, impotence, pathological leveling, depression, anomie, suicide, spinsterhood, loss of cohesion, and nihilism. White history is learned, nowadays, only to be reviled, and so the West is increasingly isolated in a temporal bubble of empty, atomizing, consumerist hedonism. From a Darwinian perspective, we seem headed for extinction.

    If a culture is capable of magnificent achievements, but only for a brief historical moment; if it can raise some flamboyant plumage, but fails, ultimately, to achieve sustainable flight; if it makes a good showing on Nature’s stage but soon goes extinct — how superior was it, really? If Europeans are ultimately displaced from the Continent by Islamic and African migration, and reduced to a subservient minority or even eliminated, who won?

    Before you accuse me of retreating into shallow relativism in order to avoid uttering the darkest of heresies, let me say that yes, by my lights, Western civilization has been the apex of human accomplishment — and yes, its magnificent efflorescence was indeed the product of the European peoples’ peculiar combination of traits. (As I’ve written elsewhere, I think cultures are the “extended phenotypes” of particular human groups.) But I think it’s important to qualify your remarks in two ways: first, to take a somewhat more nuanced view of “superior”, and second, to remember always that in the context of law and justice and liberty and and ethics, the appropriate level is nearly always that of the individual, not the race.

    Posted August 21, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    I should add: I think it unfortunate that there’s so much focus on “superiority” generally.

    I like my own culture and people mostly, and quite naturally, just because they’re mine.

    Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  14. “…, just because they’re mine.”

    The Sicilians call it “Cosa Nostra” :)

    Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:01 am | Permalink
  15. Jacques says

    Hi Malcolm. Yes, I agree with all those qualifications. Of course many individual non-whites are just as good or better in many ways than lots of individual whites. I was speaking at the very general and impressionistic level of our enemies–who speak of “white privilege”, etc. My point is really that if we are forced (by the left) to consider groups in this way, we find that as a group white Europeans are better than many other groups in ways that all of us care about. But I would prefer a world where we were not forced to think in these terms.

    Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink