The Nettle Ungrasped

A few days ago I mentioned a manifesto called the Paris Declaration — signed by, among others, Roger Scruton — and gave it two-and-a-half cheers. I did allow that I had a “quibble or two”, but in general I thought — and I still do think — that it was an important step in the right (which, not coincidentally, is also the Right) direction.

Our occasional commenter Jacques has written a post at Rightly Considered (which, if you aren’t familiar with it, is an online publication for conservative philosophers) in which he gives a far more critical appraisal of the document. After reading his remarks I am compelled to agree with his principal objection — that the manifesto, however bracing it may seem in the current political climate, stops too far short of addressing Europe’s lethal problem.

The Declaration’s authors, despite their laudable defense of European culture and heritage, still cling to a universalist view of human nature, in which every human population is seen as identically and interchangeably governed by, and adaptable to, ideas and propositions as a sufficient foundation of culture and behavior. Not visible at all in the Declaration is what I believe to be an ineradicable fact, namely that cultures are the “extended phenotypes” of particular human groups, and that therefore populations, taken en masse, are not interchangeable in this way at all. The Declaration has much to recommend it — in particular, a ringing call for the restoration of traditional hierarchies, discriminations, and institutions, and for the recognition of Europe’s Christian foundations — but if it ignores the awkward, intractable truth of human diversity, as it appears to do, its program is doomed to failure.

You can read Jacques’ essay here.

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  1. J Clivas says

    Diversity is a bitch-goddess worshipped by Liberals.

    Posted October 27, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says


    Diversity is a bitch-goddess worshipped by Liberals.

    Sure, but why?

    Because belief in human universalism — which is logically prior to the possibility of successful Diversity — is itself a logically necessary element of a complex Progressive syllogism. In brief:

    The endpoint of the Progressive vision — or perhaps, it would be more accurate to say, the eschaton of the Progressive cryptoreligion — is a world united and at peace, without borders and under a wholly “rational” world government.

    This requires, however, that all human groups are equally plastic, equally civilizable, and equally amenable to organizing their lives according to the abstract principles of Progressivism itself.

    If this should turn out not to be the case, then the whole plan fails. But because the plan cannot, and must not, fail, then as the evidence mounts that humans are not interchangeable atoms, Progressives must double down, with increasing urgency, on putting the blame elsewhere, especially on education, corrupt institutions, and systemic racism.

    When you see it as a religious matter — with salvation at stake — it all makes perfect sense. Diversity has to be able to work, has to be a blessing, or else the whole Progressive project goes to Hell.

    Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Whitewall says

    I lifted this from Mav-Phil early this morning: “The Paris Statement is too namby-pamby for Jacques who comments here. He may well be right. PS is a fine theoretical statement, but where are the concrete proposals?”

    These co-signers might feel a need to see if they can survive, literally, the first onslaught by the Leftists and PC multi culti forces that will surely come after them.

    Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink
  4. Whitewall says

    Long but very very good!

    Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

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