Race and the Right

I often read articles by people who describe themselves as the Dissident Right.  What these groups line up around is the idea that the experiment of the United States of America as a multi-ethnic state has been a failure.  The corollary is that the reason for the failure is because the egalitarianism enshrined in the Declaration of Independence with the words, “All men are created equal,” is untrue and therefore a stumbling block to making a society made up of diverse groups workable.  They point out the absurdities and obvious discrimination inherent in the affirmative action laws that interfere in the selection of students and employees in colleges and corporations across America and the harm these practices do both psychologically and practically to all involved.  And they say this problem is unavoidable because of actual differences among different races and groups with respect to intelligence and temperament.  They will point to scientifically produced studies to prove these differences exist and point to the last fifty years of civil rights legislation to prove that nothing will ever alter the government’s approach to race relations.  In other words, the government will always consider differences in achievement and social outcome between the races as proof that racial discrimination is being committed.

I believe that some of what they say is probably true.  There are differences between people.  And intelligence is an inherited characteristic in the same way that all our other physical characteristics are inherited from our parents.  And some groups probably are better at various things depending on how their ancestors spent their time.  Farmers, hunters, merchants, sailors, soldiers, priests, and craftsman are successful for different skill sets and physical characteristics.  If a civilization has a very long history, running into millennia of a profession that specializes in doing astronomical calculations such as the Chinese or the Babylonians it might not be surprising to find their descendants have been selected for brains that are adept at mathematical calculation.  Or if your people have been traders for thousands of years such as many in the middle east it might not be surprising to find that they have skills that make them comfortable working in finance and commerce.  Let’s grant all these things.  But let’s also remember that every group is itself a normal distribution for any of these traits.  There is always a bell curve with the majority of individuals somewhere in the middle of the curve but with some individuals higher and lower than the middle.  So even within any group that is found to excel at some characteristic like IQ, that group will have some more intelligent individuals and some less.  And no one seems to be upset that there are more and less successful individuals within an ethnic or racial group that is not believed to be victims of discrimination.  If all the white Anglo-Saxon descendants in Massachusetts were catalogued, we would find some that were incredibly wealthy and then we would find some that are abysmally poor.  Why do we not assume that discrimination is at work?  The obvious reason is that there is no racial motive at work.  So, this would lead us to the conclusion that differences in the talents and characteristics of people lead to differences in their level of success.  We do not have to suspect that systemic discrimination is the cause.

Bringing this back to the egalitarian statement, “All men are created equal,” it seems evident to me that the Founding Fathers didn’t mean that people were identical in their capabilities but instead that all men were equal under the law.  There were no nobles who had priority over the rights of the commoners.  There was one law for all.  But I can’t see how that should be interpreted as meaning that everyone is forced to have exactly the same house, car, family size and television set.  Now granted the government seems to be saying that if there are disparities between the prosperity of different ethnic and racial groups then the only explanation is racism.  But I see changing the government’s minds and policies as the primary object of the Right-Wing project.

But let me play devil’s advocate.  My neighbors in the Dissident Right would say that the gap for some groups is so large that they could not integrate into the society that contains many higher functioning individuals because their skills would not be adequate.  I do not think that is true.  There are jobs in a country like ours that accommodate all levels of skill and experience.  That is proved by the never-ending influx of unskilled illegal immigrants who find occupation by the millions.

No, I think the real problem is we have to force the government to acknowledge that we’re not harming the people they claim we are.  In fact, we have to force the government to admit that welfare and affirmative action are the problems.  That and the phony claims by the Left that blacks are being systematically oppressed.  These lies have poisoned race relations in America for more than a generation past when any actual discrimination existed.

As far as the problems with police, that is a reflection of the lawlessness that reigns in these neighborhoods.  Pretending that it is the police that are the problem is a ridiculous lie.  Police hyperactivity occurs whenever criminality is rampant.  This same situation occurred in the European ghettos of the early twentieth century in all the big cities.  Irish, Italian and even Jewish gangs were constantly battling the police and the kids in the neighborhood would be recruited by the gangs and would then be fair game for the police.

Of course, at the present time, this situation has festered to the point that millions live in poverty, crime and perpetual unemployment.  To break out of this crisis the government should focus its efforts on incentivizing industries that can utilize low skill employees to set up shop in these devastated areas and shift as many of these people from welfare to work as quickly as possible.

So that in a nutshell is how I see the racial problem in the United States.  I differ from the Dissident Right in that I don’t think the problem is unsolvable.  The problem is to end the failed practice of blaming white people for disparities in racial prosperity and instead concentrate on stimulating job creation for low skill employees to break the cycle of perpetual unemployment and dysfunction.

But one thing that should be said in defense of the Dissident Right.  They were first to recognize that the Left’s use of identity politics rendered the Establishment Right perpetually on the defensive and hopelessly incapable of defeating the never-ending series of progressive demands.  And their recommendation that white Americans begin demanding their rights is absolutely correct.  In a world of identity politics, the only way to avoid abuse is to claim your own identity and stand up for your rights.

Who We Are and How We Got Here; Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Past by David Reich – A Book Review

This review is a companion piece to my earlier review of Gregory Cochran’s “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.” These two books lay out step by step how the new tool of ancient DNA isolation has allowed geneticists to turn museum fossils into an amazingly detailed history of the inter-relations between and movements of, the various branches of the human species as it emerged out of Africa 50,000 to 150,000 years ago and went on to settle the planet.

It is truly remarkable how comparing DNA sequences between modern and ancient humans has allowed these researchers to answer historical mysteries such as who were the first Indo-European speakers (the Yamnaya) and where did they live (the Russian Steppe). We can determine if the Native Americans are essentially the direct descendants of the ancestors of the East Asians or were there some other components involved. We can find out where the blond hair and blue eyes of the Northern Europeans came from. We can even find out how many concubines Genghis Kahn must have had. In this day in age, we’re even able to have our DNA tested by the likes of this Aberdeen DNA testing company for various reasons, more often than not people use it for paternity evidence and health implications, although it can also be used to find one’s heritage and link our bloodline to past eras.

So, this book is full of facts to satisfy our curiosity about where we all came from. But there is another dimension to this book that is also interesting. David Reich is an academic scientist. He interacts constantly with the very politically correct denizens of the social sciences. He describes his run-ins with anthropologists and bio-ethicists who accuse him of racism for identifying various biological traits with specific human races. Even though these traits such as sickle-cell anemia are widely known to reside almost exclusively in one racial group or another, these academics were so conditioned to reject the concept of physical race differences that even mentioning them in the context of biomedical research was the equivalent of heresy.

To his credit, Reich recognizes the intellectual weakness inherent in this response but it is obvious by the compromises he will commit to assuage the discomfort of his colleagues that he feels more comfortable himself being on the “side of the angels.” For instance, after his research clearly showed that the present population of India is the result of the Yamnaya invading from the north and mixing in with the earlier inhabitants he allowed the feelings of his Indian colleagues to force him to rename these groups Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians.

And Reich is much harsher toward those on the right who speculate about natural selection at work in the differences measured between present day groups. He is obviously unwilling to assume a neutral position along the spectrum of opinion on human biodiversity and feels more comfortable aligning himself at least in spirit with those whose opinions about human racial differences fly in the face of his own research.

So, Reich’s book is both fascinating and aggravating at one and the same time. I imagine virtue signaling is the price he thinks he has to pay to get this book accepted by the academic community and then New York Times Book Review.

My recommendation is to read this book. But be sure to read Cochran’s book along with it to see an opinion that isn’t captured in an orbit around the black hole that is Modern Academia.