|Vol 9, No. 7||July 1998|
South Africa Under Black Rule, Part I
A personal account of the transition.
South Africa is now ruled by blacks; the only prosperous country on the continent has been handed to them on a platter. While the country has not sunk overnight into the morass of the rest of Africa, and while most of the dire predictions of the white right did not come to pass, a dispassionate view of the last four years gives one no confidence that South Africa’s future will be fundamentally different from that of other black-ruled nations. Virtually every trait that makes one skeptical of black rule — dishonesty, deviousness, incompetence, corruption, unreliability, and callous indifference to human suffering — manifests itself daily.
When I first visited South Africa in 1986, after a decade in black Africa, it was at the end of the apartheid era. The contrast with the rest of Africa was stunning: all of the amenities one associates with the modern world — from telephones to potable water to public toilets — were plentiful in South Africa.
Most of the apartheid legislation was still in place, though much of it was becoming a dead letter. Apartheid’s ostensible goal was an exclusively white South Africa, with most blacks living in nominally independent tribal “homelands.” Those living in South African townships near whites were “temporary sojourners” and thus were not, for example, allowed to own businesses, as this would give them a degree of permanence.
Influx Control, limiting the migration of blacks into urban areas — white or black — had already been scrapped. The pass laws, however, were still enforced. These laws, which were probably the most determined attempt at white control over blacks, required blacks to carry a kind of internal passport: any black male in a white area after dark without the proper endorsement in his book could be arrested and taken to special courts. It was the extension of pass laws to women that supposedly led to demonstrations and the “Sharpeville Massacre” of 1960.
|At the end of the apartheid era the contrast with the rest of Africa was stunning.|
Contrary to accepted wisdom, I believe that many blacks knew and understood the reasons for these laws. While many blacks no doubt saw the pass laws as onerous, it is not uncommon for someone to suffer on account of a law but still understand the reasons for it. If I am a heavy smoker, I will suffer on a long flight without a cigarette, but may nevertheless admit that there are good reasons for the prohibition.
Black men, as a group, are trouble — they are violent and prone to criminality — and the pass laws were designed to control their movements. (A phrase never far from white consciousness was swart gevaar — “black danger.”)
If today there were a way to get young men off the streets of Soweto after dark, I am sure the vast majority of its peace-loving residents would approve enthusiastically. Indeed, the head of one of the most influential think-tanks in South Africa recently told me that a group of his black employees had said that the only way to deal with the problems of the “new South Africa” was to “bring back the pass laws!”
The major watershed event in recent South African history came in February 1990, when the last white president, F. W. de Klerk, announced that the black liberation organization, the African National Congress (ANC), was to be unbanned, Nelson Mandela released from prison, and all remaining apartheid legislation abolished. This led to four years of “negotiations” during which the whites could do little but give in to the demands of the ANC. The results were the one-man-one-vote elections of April 1994, in which the ANC won just under two thirds of the vote and a corresponding proportion of the members of Parliament (MPs).
Probably the most significant direct effect of black rule has been the dramatic rise in crime, primarily black-on-white. With the abolition of the Group Areas Act, which had designated specific neighborhoods for specific racial groups, blacks began moving into white neighborhoods. This was slow at first because, I would guess, many blacks could not believe whites would allow it. My neighborhood near central Johannesburg, which was still substantially white as late as 1995, is now overwhelmingly black.
What are the consequences? A few years ago, it was difficult to find a parking space on the street at night. Now, theft and vandalism are so bad that you simply cannot leave a car out at night. Rubbish is everywhere. Few people — white or black — feel safe walking after dark. In short, we have what follows any transition from white to black.
Why haven’t I moved? For one thing, my income is limited and moving is expensive. Second, I’ve lived in close proximity to blacks in Africa for twelve years; as individuals, I do not dislike them. Third, I don’t have children.
Another change since black rule has been the growth of the black taxi industry. In 1986, public transport was still segregated; blacks had separate buses that ran between Johannesburg and the townships. Some time in the 1980s minivans began appearing, taking blacks anywhere they wanted to go. Originally hailed as precursors to the development of large-scale black businesses, the industry soon degenerated into competitive tribal cabals that dealt with rivals in the way they knew best: by killing them. One consequence, however, was that blacks had easy access to white areas hitherto out of bounds, which paved the way for the invasion that eventually occurred.
Even though the Western media grudgingly acknowledge that post-apartheid South Africa has seen an enormous eruption in crime, virtually no one attempts to explain it. I believe the reasons for it are psychological, and that probably the most important consequence of doing away with apartheid was its effect on black psychology.
To begin with, there is ample evidence that African blacks feel inferior to whites. The reasons for this are not hard to understand: In most of the ways that count in today’s world, blacks as a group are generally less able than whites and are not so foolish as to fail to recognize this. Most Africans are indifferent to the emotionally charged refusals by whites — typically those with the least contact with blacks — to recognize racial differences. My own basis for saying that blacks accept these differences is my experience of talking to hundreds of Africans. However, one fairly typical piece of “objective” evidence can be found in this statement by two militant black American psychiatrists, William H. Grier and Price M. Cobbs, in their book Black Rage:
“The fact of the matter is that black people are inclined to regard the white man as superior. There are examples without number in the patois and the everyday behavior of millions of blacks which speak for the fact that they do indeed feel that the white man is intrinsically better.” (p. 191.)
One discovery I made living in black Africa is that virtually all blacks unaffected by liberal egalitarian ideology not only recognize this inequality but are not in the least bothered by it! I say this after countless conversations with blacks all over the indigenous black world. Ask any African why blacks can’t, for example, make airplanes or computers and he’ll look at you as if you were foolish for asking, since the answer is obvious: “The white man has the brain for it and we don’t!”
Perhaps because of this, among themselves, blacks often seem consumed by a need to feel superior and to achieve ‘status’. From a black point of view, the best way to do this is to make someone else (feel) inferior to you, since if he is inferior you must be superior. This helps explain much of the callous and often brutal behavior of black nurses, policemen, school teachers and the like: When they find themselves in even the most petty positions of authority, many blacks lord it over their underlings in the most extravagant manner.
|Ask any African why blacks can’t make airplanes or computers and he will look at you as if you were foolish for asking.|
When blacks saw the white man dismantling the mechanisms of apartheid, and in general deferring to black wishes, they asked themselves: “Why is he doing this? It’s certainly not because we deserve it.” The obvious answer was that the white man was foolish, weak, and frightened, and this diminished the fear, respect, and even awe that facilitated white control.
Black criminal predators have a bully mentality, naturally preying on the weak. Fear in others incites them as blood to a shark. And fear is precisely what they detect in whites. The result is that potential black criminals, long kept at bay by their own fear, were let off the leash — with wholly predictable results.
Even aside from violent crime, one indication of the level of lawlessness here is that one will see more people flagrantly running red lights in one day than one is likely to see in a lifetime in America. Also, since the end of white rule, the likelihood of a black man being arrested for such ‘minor’ offenses as openly urinating in the street is zero.
In general, blacks tend either to follow rules slavishly, not grasping the possibility of exceptions under any circumstances, or to simply flout the law. One might regard this as a typical manifestation of the apparent lack among Africans of the concept of gradation: something is either on or off, all or nothing; therefore, once they start breaking laws they tend to break them all.
I believe a similar change in black psychology has occurred in the United States. From 1969 to 1973 I lived in New Orleans, in a white neighborhood, though half a block away it was black. I could walk anywhere, night or day. By the mid-1980s, however, things had changed dramatically: Everyone had stories about black-on-white crime, and areas that had for years been white were being abandoned. What caused this turnaround? In the early 1980s, New Orleans got its first black mayor. My conjecture is that the increase in crime was disproportionately black-on-white, and was associated with decreasing fear and respect for whites brought on by access to political power: “What do we have to fear? We’re as good as the white man! The mayor himself is black!”
Dinesh D’Souza makes a related point in his book, The End of Racism:
“These pathologies have existed in the black community since slavery, but they have been restricted and contained both by white-imposed discipline and black-imposed norms enforced by churches and local community institutions. But those institutions have been greatly weakened since the 1960s, and in the new environment of social permissiveness and government subsidy, black pathologies have proliferated.” (p. 37.)
Black criminal propensities were previously held in check by slavery, segregation, apartheid, and strict tribal custom. Remove these constraints and pathologies assert themselves.
Another factor contributing to the rise in crime is the extent to which the newly africanized South African Police Service itself engages in crime. The police will stop an innocent black driver and tell him his car is stolen and must be confiscated on the spot. When the hapless owner goes to the township police station he discovers that his car has vanished! Given the level of police incompetence and corruption, there is no practical recourse. To my knowledge, this sort of thing occurs almost exclusively in black areas, presumably because in white areas there are still white policemen whose presence is sufficient to deter it.
Not unlike black nurses and black school teachers, black policemen are on the whole pretty useless. Since 1990 or so, the previously white higher echelons, which kept the rank and file in at least a state of semi-discipline, have also become black. In general, Africans simply cannot manage. They are incapable of running any large establishment and lack the discipline, organization and cooperation necessary to control crime. Although this may sound harsh I believe they also lack the necessary morality. Police will obviously be more effective if they are morally outraged by crime and feel, viscerally, that it is bad. I would doubt there are many African police, at any level, who feel this way.
In passing, I would note that one of the more remarkable spectacles in the aftermath of the black crime epidemic is that “liberal” politicians are so vociferous in complaining about it! No one ever points out that these same people were themselves instrumental in bringing about the very conditions that gave rise to the entirely foreseeable results they now condemn. They are also the ones whose wealth protects them from the effects of black rule, and are the first to flee the country.
The New Constitution
To understand the recent changes in South Africa, one must realize how firmly Western liberal egalitarian ideology has taken root at the top levels of society. In many cases I do not think the leaders really believe in what they espouse, but are so in thrall to Western political correctness that they flout many of their most deeply held customs and traditions.
For example, one of the first things the newly created Constitutional Court did was unanimously to declare capital punishment unconstitutional. Nelson Mandela defended this by saying that the white government had unjustly executed many blacks, implying that if capital punishment were left on the books, the new black government would feel compelled to follow the white example! Persistent calls for a referendum on this question have been ignored.
The black elite is radically out of step with the man in the street. There is widespread approval of the township vigilantes who administer on-the-spot capital punishment to thieves caught in the markets — just as is done in Nigeria or Kenya. No one doubts what the results of a referendum would be.
Also, today’s South Africa is officially a haven for homosexuals, but one thing I learned from living in black Africa is that homosexuality is anathema there. Many Nigerians, for example, refuse to believe that it exists, and when it is explained to them, regard it with undisguised loathing and contempt. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is typical of Africans in his view that homosexuals are despicable. In spite of this, the South African Constitution goes beyond any other in ensuring the “rights” of homosexuals. There are gay parades, gay marriage will almost certainly be institutionalized, and in general it is politically unacceptable publicly to say anything bad about homosexuality.
Feminism is another alien Western import. Africa is a male-dominated continent. Women are there to serve men’s needs, to bear and raise children, and to take care of the home. This subservience is nicely illustrated by the fact that Daniel Arap Moi, the president of Kenya for the last 20 years, has never appeared in public with his wife and nothing whatever is known about her; it’s as if she didn’t exist. Nothing could better illustrate the place of women in Africa.
Yet in South Africa, the constant refrain is that the country is now a “nonracist, nonsexist democracy.” The ANC insists that a third of its MPs be women! An MP of my acquaintance tells me that many of these women are illiterate and hopelessly ignorant. Further idiocies are found in attempts to integrate the armed forces sexually, as in the U.S. In addition, South Africa now has probably the most liberal available-on-demand abortion laws in the world, even though this goes very much against the African grain.
Given that the black elite has ridden roughshod over ordinary blacks’ sensibilities, one might ask for evidence of black resistance to these moves. Such a query assumes that Africans are in the habit of protesting things they don’t like, and yet nothing could be further from the truth. Blacks have a sheep-like mentality, are overawed by authority, and are therefore easily cowed. Whatever they may think, they will keep their mouths shut. In any case, “protest” would have to be organized by black leaders. But no black leader is likely to object publicly to the officially sanctioned legitimization of homosexuality, for example.
Indeed, while blacks may find homosexuality revolting, it must be noted that their feelings tend to be both shallow and mercurial. However harsh it may sound to say so, blacks are, in many ways, child-like, and this is illustrated by the often superficial quality of their emotions. They are easily provoked into violence and mayhem but, like chameleons, they can turn completely docile the next moment.
A recent incident is perhaps revealing. I was driving in heavy traffic, and cut in front of a black taxi. As luck would have it, we met at the light and the driver shook his fist at me, cursing me in anger. I raised my hand, acknowledging fault. Instantly, the anger became a broad (and, I believe, genuine) smile of friendship. This kind of instant transformation is common.
When I was in Johannesburg in January 1986, the mammoth Johannesburg General Hospital was for whites only. “Jo’burg Gen” was very impressive. The nursing staff was white, as were the medical and administrative staffs. It was clean and well-run. The previous white hospital, near the city center, served blacks.
What has happened under the “new dispensation?” Conditions have deteriorated dramatically. Patient infection rates have skyrocketed and theft of supplies is rampant. Discipline among the nearly all-black nursing and maintenance staff is virtually nonexistent — they simply will not work. Patients sometimes go without clean sheets. A rabbi friend, a chaplain at Jo’burg Gen, says it is not uncommon now for patients to die because of nurses’ incompetence and indifference. I have seen for myself that cockroaches have untrammeled right of access.
There was recently a call by the Minister of Health, a black woman, for entering classes of medical students to reflect demographics — for 76 percent to be black regardless of merit. From a black standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Western medicine is, to Africans, the white man’s witchcraft rather than a disciplined body of knowledge and practices. Blacks think of a medical “degree” as a magic talisman with which they can heal the sick and become wealthy and powerful. Since this piece of paper in and of itself has the power to heal, it doesn’t matter how you get it; it certainly doesn’t matter what abilities or aptitudes you may have or what, if anything, you have learned in order to get it.
Was the old system of segregated hospitals morally justified? Needless to say, the vast majority of Americans would find the idea morally indefensible, but after twelve years in black countries it struck me as the merest common sense. Considering the demographics of South Africa — five million whites and over 30 million blacks — was it possible for the minority to provide medical care for blacks equal in quality to what they provided for themselves? Given that all the resources, aside from manual labor, would have to come from this small white minority, it seems obvious that it was not.
Moreover, it is not clear that whites were under any obligation — even ideally — to do so. If they had somehow prevented blacks from developing their own health care systems, that would be a different matter. But it is obvious this was not the case, since where blacks have all the resources they need (as in Nigeria, for example), medical care is a nightmare, as it is wherever blacks are responsible for providing it.
It might be argued, however, that whites had an obligation to provide at least some care for blacks, perhaps the best whites could afford. But this is basically what they did, either in separate hospitals or in separate sections of white hospitals. I have seen some of these, prior to 1990, and they were vastly superior to anything you would find in black Africa.
The relevant analogy is of a wealthy man with a good-for-nothing brother with indigent children. Does he have an obligation to help them? Perhaps. Does he have an obligation to see that they are as well off as his own children? I don’t think so. The guiding principle here is beggars can’t be choosers. Given their useless father, his children simply have to accept whatever their uncle chooses to give them and be grateful for it.
Similarly, if blacks were capable of providing decent health care they would have long ago been doing so, as have the Indians in South Africa, despite being subject to levels of discrimination almost equal to those of blacks. But their utter failure to do so anywhere in the world suggests that blacks are incapable of it. Therefore, since whites are providing the health care, it is surely up to them if they wish to keep the facilities separate.
The same reasoning applies to Western donor and African beggar nations: The West may give out of self-interest or out of charity, but it is not obliged to give any more than it sees fit, and any attempt to browbeat it into doing more — or even, in some truly ludicrous situations, trying to dictate the conditions of aid — is only an attempt by African leaders to manipulate (unjustified) white guilt. This era, one hopes, is drawing to a close.
In an extraordinary example of a remnant of that mentality, Nelson Mandela recently told international investors that industrialized countries “owe us that support, not as a question of charity, but because we are entitled to it. Our region was subjected to the most brutal form of exploitation in the colonial era which robbed us of our resources.” Even a few blacks can see the breath-taking chutzpah of such a remark. One had this to say in a letter to the editor of the Johannesburg Star:
“President Mandela’s statement that the southern African region has been subjected to ‘the most brutal form of exploitation’ by the industrialized nations must not go unchallenged.
“Every piece of technology that exists here was brought in by the developed nations …
“Westerners established and developed infrastructure, industry and administrative controls, all of which are, ultimately, for the benefit of all Africa’s people …
“The industrialized nations owe us nothing. To say that they are morally obliged to invest in our shaky region is preposterous. Without them the riches of Southern Africa would never have been discovered, and could never have been turned into wealth.”
Separate schooling had the same rationale as separate hospitals. If blacks were capable of establishing an educational system they would have done so — as have the Indians. Most blacks are capable of some learning and some as much as any white, and the task of educating them was undertaken by the Afrikaner government and missionaries. Just how many blacks received such a basic education I do not know, but I do know that the black schools under apartheid were infinitely better than the general chaos and mayhem that passes for “black education” now.
Nevertheless, the official bogeyman has long been “segregation.” No one ever seems to point out that demographically “integration” is a nonstarter, since there are not enough whites to go around. The underlying assumption is that whites are so superior that a mere handful of them in each class will transform the travesty that is black education! (Americans thought something roughly similar back in the 1950s.) Many blacks think the reason whites are educated and they are not is that whites have a secret formula they use to educate themselves, which they selfishly refuse to divulge to blacks!
I recently asked a young white teenager in Cape Town how many blacks were in his school. About 40 percent. So how is it? Not so bad, he said. But it turned out that he was just being “polite.” His parents were looking for another school. Why, I asked, if his school was okay. “It’s not,” he said. “It’s chaos.” Theft and violence were the norm.
It is often asserted here that blacks do less well because less money is spent on them. Evidence from the United States has consistently shown that this is not the case. More money has had very little effect on the performance of black students in Washington, DC, Kansas City, and any number of other cities. The Afrikaners’ assumption (including that of the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd) that money spent on education must match the ability of its recipients to absorb it may have been substantially correct.
Within a few years most government schools will be overwhelmingly black, replicating the conditions in the townships. As in the United States, affluent whites will go to private schools and only the poorest will attend government schools. South Africa is thus becoming an unattractive place for middle and lower class whites, who are the very people with virtually no chance of leaving.
Universities face similar problems. Witswatersrand University (“Wits”), in Johannesburg, has traditionally been the leading university in South Africa, and deservedly so. But the push, for at least the last ten years, has been to turn it into an African university, that is to say, one with no standards, very little teaching, no significant research, and that issues meaningless paper degrees. The paradox is striking. Blacks go to Wits because it is white. Yet these same students (or at least a very vocal minority among them) and the black government are doing their best to turn white universities black, which they cannot fail to know means their ruin. Indeed, one suspects that it is the very contrast between white success and black failure that they wish to eliminate.
It is apparent that the ANC is intent on acquiring power at every level and exercising it without restraint. One strategy is to create mega-municipalities incorporating all surrounding cities and towns. Greater Johannesburg, for example, has large areas that are still predominantly white. If they stayed independent they would retain power and influence. Therefore, the ANC has transformed the area into four huge municipalities, each having a large ANC majority.
One such prosperous white area is Randburg. Until recently it had excellent emergency services, but since amalgamation with the large black township of Alexandra, it has been unable to provide its usual level of ambulance service both to itself and to the much more populous township. Combined with the newly-introduced presence of black bureaucrats, the predictable result is that neither Alexandra nor Randburg now have proper emergency services.
Gedahlia Braun is the pen name of an American philosophy professor who taught for twelve years at universities in black Africa and Papua New Guinea. Since 1988, he has lived in Johannesburg. “South Africa Under Black Rule” will conclude in the next issue.
Squaring the Circle
An ingenious attempt to explain racial differences in achievement.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond, W. W. Norton, 1997, 480 pp., $27.50
The gaps in achievement among world cultures are an obvious problem for racial egalitarians. If no group is more talented than any other, why did Eurasians rather than Africans split the atom? Why didn’t indigenous Americans invent arithmetic?
Egalitarians usually dodge such questions, citing American “racism” to explain black and Hispanic failures in the United States despite its irrelevance to the “developing (i.e. undeveloped) world.” To his credit, Jared Diamond has confronted this issue head-on. He hopes to explain the attainments of each race — he reluctantly accepts the concept of race — wholly in terms of geography and ecology rather than differences in innate abilities.
Guns, Germs, and Steel should be taken seriously, first, because it has just won a Pulitzer Prize. This will bring it extra attention, and the cachet of the Pulitzer will convince many people that hereditarian accounts of history have been safely disposed of at last. Second, despite his political correctness (“The oldest Java ‘man’ fossils may actually have belonged to a Java woman”) and predictable digs at whites, Prof. Diamond is intellectually serious. He is a vastly more interesting, less tendentious writer than Stephen Jay Gould, whom he resembles in being an academic popularizer of evolutionary biology (Prof. Diamond teaches medicine at UCLA). In fact, when a few years ago I first came across Prof. Diamond’s work in magazines like Discover and Natural History, my reaction was “These are the pieces Gould is trying to write.” Third, as I will explain, everything valid in this book fits nicely into, indeed enriches, the hereditarian view of history.
|Prof. Diamond hopes to explain the attainments of each race wholly in terms of geography and ecology rather than differences in innate abilities.|
Prof. Diamond is an environmentalist in the strictest sense. Unlike hereditarians, who typically attribute group differences to both genetic and environmental factors, he considers environmental factors only — chiefly plants, wildlife, and geography. For him, genes account for none of the variance in technology, literacy, military success or other aspects of different cultures. (Whether he thinks genes contribute to individual differences is unclear.) Prof. Diamond therefore sets himself a daunting task: phenomena as complex as cultural divergence are apt to have complex causes, so the fewer variables a theory of divergence permits, the less plausible it is likely to be. It will be interesting to see whether Prof. Diamond’s focus on geography attracts the dread label “reductionist” so often slapped on hereditarians.
Prof. Diamond limits himself as he does because he assumes virtually without argument that all human groups are of identical average intelligence — except perhaps for New Guineans fresh from the Stone Age, who “in mental ability … are probably genetically innately superior to Westerners.” These views are defended with obiter dicta that readers of AR have heard before. For example, “sound evidence for the existence of human differences in intelligence that parallel human differences in technology is lacking… [T]ests of cognitive ability (like IQ tests) tend to measure cultural learning and not pure innate intelligence, whatever that is.” As for New Guineans, not only do they strike him as sparkling conversationalists, their Hobbesian milieu of interpersonal violence, accidents and starvation culls the less intelligent. Westerners, because of their governments, written laws, police forces and medical science, experience gentler selective pressures. On top of that, Western children stupefy themselves with TV. (How a mere half century of TV could affect our genes, Prof. Diamond does not say.)
The trouble with this environmentalist boilerplate about IQ is not just that it is wrong, although of course it is that: evidence abounds that the inhabitants of the earth’s various regions differ markedly in mental ability. Physical anthropologists estimate that cranial capacity in humans, a valid estimator of brain size and thereby intelligence, increases by nearly two cubic centimeters for every degree of latitude away from the equator. This boilerplate is also incoherent. If there is no such thing as innate intelligence, one cannot venture the deliciously scandalous suggestion that headhunters possess more of it than white Americans. Most damaging of all, for Prof. Diamond’s purposes, this suggestion inadvertently recognizes that social environments themselves exert selectional pressure. Prof. Diamond does not notice that, even if the first settled Eurasian societies differed from those of genetically similar Africans and Mesoamericans only because of environmental reasons, the individual traits favored within these societies might over time have pushed their populations onto divergent genetic tracks. This is a very important point to which I will return.
Prof. Diamond has therefore done something no responsible scientist should ever do: set out to explain a fact before making sure it is a fact. Asking why the continents came to differ in technology although “human neurobiology” is everywhere the same is like asking how canaries digest meat, or why Napoleon ended up in exile on St. Helena despite winning the battle of Waterloo.
Still, Prof. Diamond is knowledgeable and smart, and the theory he lays out clearly sheds some light on the human past. In outline, he sees mankind’s developmental trajectory in any region of the Earth as determined by the number and kind of domesticable plants and animals the region contained, and its barriers to travel. In particular, the unique advantages in all three respects of the famed “Fertile Crescent” after the last Ice Age 13,000 years ago was the decisive accident of history.
To take farming first, the area of Southwest Asia around the Tigris-Euphrates valley, was reportedly rich in the right wild varieties of wheat and barley. One trait that especially suits a grass species for domestication is the heaviness of its seed — the part that contains the nutrients — and 32 of the world’s 56 heaviest-seeded grass plants are native to Southwest Asia. Only four of these grasses are found in Sub-Saharan Africa and eleven in all of the Americas. (I am no expert, and have no reason to dispute Prof. Diamond’s paleobotany.)
The shift from hunting-gathering to farming, Prof. Diamond argues (surely correctly), was not the inspiration of a lone genius, but was incremental and largely unplanned. Hunter-gatherers first took note of especially desirable plants, then began to return to the most vigorous stands of those plants, then settled permanently near those stands, then began consciously to tend them, and then consciously to sow future crops.
More efficient than hunting or gathering, farming yielded food surpluses that allowed sharp increases in population density, which in turn supported specialized non-farming classes of scribes, intellectuals, soldiers, and, eventually, government bureaucrats. Farm-supported societies tended toward greater complexity, the production of new ideas and inventions, and military domination of their neighbors.
Prof. Diamond argues specifically that all this happened in the Fertile Crescent long before it happened elsewhere in great part because of the accident mentioned before — the presence of so many domesticable plants. This, rather than any inherent superiority of its inhabitants, led to its becoming the “cradle of civilization.” Other parts of the world never had a chance. Either they had no suitable plants at all, or had so few, and began farming so late, that they were overwhelmed by the descendants of those southwest Asians who had begun to urbanize by 8,500 B.C.
Farming was not the whole story, however. Just as important, according to Prof. Diamond, was the presence of large domesticable animals providing high-quality protein, transportation, and energy for work. Animals are also a source of synergy: oxen plus wheels equal wagons. (Attaching wheels to something that could be pulled never occurred to any New Worlder, Prof. Diamond asserts, only because the toy wheels invented by early Mexicans were separated from the llamas of South America by the Isthmus of Panama.) Once again, Eurasia was lucky enough to have most of the large, wild herbivorous mammals that could be domesticated: sheep, goats, cows, pigs and horses. Africa had the buffalo and the horse-like zebra, but zebras are mean-tempered and hard to lasso, while African buffaloes are too ornery to manage. Prof. Diamond even conjures up “Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops” overrunning the Roman Empire, which did not happen because — but only because — rhinos are insufficiently docile. Prof. Diamond is thus able to dismiss the subsequent dominance of Africa by Europe as “an accident of biogeography.”
Together, domesticated animals and plants conferred a final advantage on Eurasians useful in world conquest: immunity to many diseases. Domesticated animals produce microbes deadly to man, but which can linger in the large populations made possible by farming long enough for their human carriers to develop immunity. (At the same time disease organisms evolve so as not to kill their human hosts too quickly, a point Prof. Diamond makes at length.) The cowless and sheepless natives of the New World, Africa and Australasia, never having been exposed to the communicable diseases of Europeans, succumbed en masse during the age of European exploration. The most famous case of this, of course, was the decimation of the Incas and Aztecs by germs accompanying the Spanish conquistadors. Again, audacity and cleverness had nothing to do with the conquistadors’ military success.
But didn’t the ocean-spanning ships of the Spanish, and the firearms they deployed against New World spears, bespeak intellectual superiority? Prof. Diamond explains western man’s stubborn edge in technology by means of the contours of the Earth’s continents. Eurasia is long, stretching ten thousand miles through the same latitudes, and free of major natural obstacles. No impassable mountain ranges or deserts blocked the diffusion of farming techniques and new ideas. The relative constancy of climate allowed farm crops and domesticated animals to flourish once they spread, increasing population density all over Eurasia, which led to further innovations that radiated forth in their turn.
The frequency of inventors in all populations is the same, Prof. Diamond assures us, so, all else being equal, the more people there are the more inventions there will be. Inventions build on each other, leading in the end to European guns and ships. The Americas, on the other hand, are tall and thin, with their different regions occupying different latitudes. Domesticable plants native to California would not have grown in Tierra del Fuego even had they gotten there, which in any case they could not because of the Panamanian bottleneck. Sub-Saharan Africa for its part was isolated by the Sahara, so until recent centuries knew nothing of developments in the rest of the world.
Prof. Diamond tries hard to encompass everything, but sometimes the going gets ad hoc. As China is very large and unusually tractable geographically, for instance, why didn’t it conquer the world? Because, says Prof. Diamond, the very ease of crisscrossing China kept competing centers of power and innovation from forming. It was so unified that when the emperor decreed something, such as, in the 15th century, the end of exploration, every Chinese went obligingly along.
|Too mean to ride.|
Prof. Diamond sweeps other facts that resist geographic pigeonholing under the QWERTY principle. The first typewriters featured the awkward QWERTY keyboard, meant to slow typists down so as not to jam the then-primitive typing mechanism. But so many typists learned QWERTY, and passed it on to future typists, that it remains entrenched even though electronic word processing permits more ergonomic keyboard arrays. Just so, suggests Prof. Diamond, many of the “idiosyncrasies” that may bias some cultures against innovation may be due to accidents that arose for “trivial, temporary local reasons,” and became fixed as “influential, long-lasting cultural features.” Pure chance is thus assigned a place in the fate of cultures, but not the talents of the individuals who make them up.
There are several objections to his theory that Prof. Diamond anticipates. One is the absence of controlled experiments. If Prof. Diamond is right, had Bantus literally switched places with the inhabitants of Europe 10,000 years ago today’s Bantus would occupy the world role Europeans do now. What direct corroborative evidence is there for this? Prof. Diamond cites the failure of Europeans to domesticate African wildlife and the keenness with which Plains Indians adopted horses to show that personnel is irrelevant, but anecdotes are no substitute for systematic comparative studies.
This weakness is not fatal. As Prof. Diamond observes, other hard-to-test theories about remote origins, like evolution and continental drift, get by on indirect evidence because of their great explanatory power: if they are correct, they explain a great deal. But Prof. Diamond’s account is much weaker, and does not actually explain what it claims to, because it does not adequately distinguish the conditions necessary for civilization from those sufficient to produce it. The distinction, one Prof. Diamond fully acknowledges, bears stressing. You can’t start a fire in the absence of oxygen — oxygen is necessary for combustion — but it does not follow that once you have oxygen you automatically have combustion. The presence of oxygen does not explain the Chicago fire.
Likewise, Prof. Diamond is no doubt right that a large industrial society cannot form without plentiful food, compliant animals and contact with outside ideas. The descendants of a band of Europeans stranded on a Pacific atoll 5,000 years ago would not be building moon rockets today; a potential Newton would be too busy gathering coconuts to wonder why they fall. But it does not follow from this near-truism that just any human group with crops, animals and outside contacts will rise as high as European man — that, given these factors, civilization is automatic. It certainly does not follow that any two human groups will exploit these resources to precisely the same extent.
In fact, different groups as they now exist plainly do not respond identically to identical inputs. Japanese played no part in the creation of modern science, but once exposed to it they embraced it, and now lead the world in making cars, computers and other high-tech gadgets. Africans have been aware of European technology for just as long, but microchip firms have not sprung up in Kenya.
Prof. Diamond replies that unlike Kenya, Japan can build on “a long history of literacy, metal machinery, and centralized government,” ultimately traceable to flora, fauna and stimulating ideas imported earlier. However, the “history” of any individual begins at birth, so Prof. Diamond’s theory predicts that Kenyans reared in the west should be just as adept at technology as the average westerner. But we do not find this. Descendants of Africans have lived in the US for ten generations, and have been immersed in its culture (and unconnected with Africa) for at least five. Yet black contributions to technology remain negligible. As is well known, American blacks reared from infancy in middle-class white households show adult levels of IQ and scholastic achievement barely above the American black mean. Similarly, though less dramatically, Koreans reared in European families display IQs characteristic of Koreans, not the slightly lower ones of their adoptive parents. Current members of different groups do not exploit resources, including knowledge, with equal efficiency, and there is no reason to think they did so in the past. Given everything we know, if we returned in a time machine to Africa circa 10,000 BC and transplanted the Bantus to a land of milk, honey, horses and heavy-seed grasses, they would not take to city-building as readily as their Eurasian contemporaries.
All of which suggests that the comparatively easy domestication of foodstuffs and animals in Eurasia at most only accelerated group divergences already under way. This in any case is what evolutionary logic demands. The different environments they had occupied for tens of thousands of years previously would have forced Africans, Europeans, Asians and Amerindians apart by 8,000 B.C. Prof. Diamond devotes only two dismissive sentences to this idea:
“Many northern Europeans assume that technology thrives in a rigorous climate where survival is impossible without technology, and withers in a benign climate where clothing is unnecessary and bananas supposedly fall off the trees. An opposite view is that benign environments leave people free from the constant struggle for existence, free to devote themselves to innovation.”
What Prof. Diamond should have done at this point was to ask which scenario is more plausible, and, if possible, integrate these ideas into his own hypothesis. Instead he resorts to a debater’s trick: meet an unwelcome idea with its polar opposite, and hope the two cancel each other out.
This blindness to human evolution is the great weakness of Guns. I mentioned earlier the selective pressures applied to Eurasians by the transition to farming. Surprisingly — amazingly — Prof. Diamond traces the genetic effects of domestication on plants and animals (today’s dogs and cats have smaller brains than their feral counterparts), on animal-borne diseases, and on the human immune system, but it never occurs to him that domestication, agriculture and urbanization might also have altered the domesticators in far-reaching ways. That this did in fact happen is a central theme of contemporary sociobiology.
Take the ability to soothe a nervous horse. The neurological basis for this ability must have shown up from time to time as a mutation, but in the absence of horses it conferred no survival value, and did not take hold. But once horses were tamed, the ability to handle them became valuable, hence fitness-conferring, hence fixed in the population. Or take foresight, always somewhat useful, but possibly more useful, hence more apt to be selected for, when grain must be stored, seeds husbanded, and other tasks requiring visualization of the future must be done.
Cooperation and Morality
But the deepest changes in the human psyche induced by urbanization concern co-operation and intelligence. Everyone in a small band of hunter-gatherers is related, so general altruism enhances inclusive genetic fitness. By aiding any other band member, even at some cost to myself, I automatically aid a carrier of some of my own genes. Greater concern for closer relatives aside, no advantage accrues to discrimination about whom to help. But when (thanks to farming) hundreds of people live together, pure helpfulness may subordinate my own genetic interests to those of an unrelated stranger. Being able to tell relatives from non-relatives suddenly becomes adaptive, and the enhanced cognitive abilities needed to do so are likely to develop.
But it is also in my interest to help strangers willing to help me back. So there is also pressure to develop the yet more sophisticated ability to keep track of those I have helped, those in my debt, proven welshers (who won’t get my help again), to calculate the odds that I can get away with accepting help today without having to reciprocate tomorrow, and so on. And the more adept urban dwellers became at these calculations, the subtler their interactions became, which selected for even better abilities to handle these interactions. Many evolutionary psychologists trace much of modern man’s intellectual attainments to the cognitive demands of multiperson interactions (Eurasian man’s, of course, but this they don’t say).
Therefore, even if, improbably, early Eurasian urbanization was an accident, hundreds of generations of city life itself would have molded Eurasians to differ from Africans, Australasians and Amerindians in significant genetic ways: to be more intelligent, more gregarious, and to adopt norms closer to the golden rule. In fact, Richard Lynn, Edward Miller and J. P. Rushton, who have conjectured about the evolutionary effects of climate during hominid evolution, could easily add the genetic changes triggered by urbanization to their models of prehistory.
But how could Prof. Diamond, a self-proclaimed evolutionary biologist, have missed these arguments about the effects of urbanization? They are not the preserve of a tiny coterie. There is now a highly developed mathematical theory of the evolution of cooperation, expounded in several books well known to academics, and articles about it appear regularly in top journals, like Science, Nature and Journal of Theoretical Biology. Prof. Diamond must know of these developments. Why does he ignore them?
In part, because of Occam’s razor. Since (Prof. Diamond thinks) race differences are not needed to explain history, looking for them is pointless. To a certain extent this conviction is justified: if we didn’t already know from other evidence that the races differ, his case would be quite persuasive. Guns is easily the best environmentalist anthropology ever written. But Prof. Diamond’s scientific edifice stands on the usual moralistic foundation. He makes very plain his opposition to “racism.” Unlike Stephen Jay Gould, Prof. Diamond is too honest to cheat for ideological reasons, but he so dislikes “racists” that he can’t separate his desire to refute them from the happy feeling of actually having done so. I honestly wonder how Prof. Diamond would react if forced to deal with the detailed evidence of race differences that has been accumulating for the past half century.
Michael Levin is in the Department of Philosophy of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
Chinese Flee Indonesia
In the heady aftermath of President Suharto’s resignation in Indonesia, the country has begun to discuss a subject that has long been taboo: the role of the Chinese. Although they are only three percent of the population, Chinese control approximately one half of the economy — this, despite anti-Chinese laws that forbid the publication of Chinese-language periodicals and even the celebration of Chinese New Year. In most Indonesian towns, it is easy to tell who lives where: Native Indonesians live in dumps and the Chinese live in mansions.
With the change in government, Indonesians finally feel free to say what they think. “Actually, we hate the Chinese,” says a 38-year-old businessman, “but we couldn’t do anything about them before, because they were protected by Suharto. But I don’t think they will be protected any more.” There has been a tight lid on public discussion of the Chinese minority, but hatred has been boiling beneath the surface for years. In the recent rioting that rocked the islands, mobs singled out Chinese businesses and homes to loot and put to the torch. Now there is increasing talk among ordinary people about whether all Chinese should simply be expelled — though the ruling elites are unlikely to take such harsh measures. In the meantime many Chinese have decided not to wait and see. Thousands have already fled to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. (Nicholas Kristof, In Indonesia, Democracy’s Dark Side, Int. Hrld. Tribune, May 6, 1998, p. 1.)
The death of former Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver in May received much press attention. Many commentators noted that the former radical had turned Republican and supposedly embraced Christianity. Somehow, no one mentioned the following passage from his influential book, Soul on Ice:
“I became a rapist. To refine my technique and modus operandi, I started out by practicing on black girls in the ghetto … and when I considered myself smooth enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey …
“Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling on the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his woman — and this point, I believe, was the most satisfying to me …”
Many black men must feel the same way. In 1994, according to the Department of Justice, there were over 20,000 rapes of white women by black men — and fewer than 100 rapes of black women by white men.
Temptation Too Strong
James Hood, who in 1963 was the first black man admitted to the University of Alabama, has long fascinated audiences with a story about seeing his uncle hanged and burned by Ku Kluxers in the 1950s. The latest public airing was at an April 26th racial unity rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he said: “I crawled over to the window and pulled aside the drapes, and I saw a man hanging, burning. And the next morning, I learned that the man was my uncle.” His listeners reportedly “groaned and murmured in shock.”
A local newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal began looking into the story and contacted the Times of Huntsville, Alabama. Mr. Hood was informed that there was no record of such a lynching. At first he stuck to his guns: “These things happened every day, particularly in that area. I can verify it as a human being. Yes, it happened. I saw it. And I know there won’t be any written record of it. If I had to stand on a stack of Bibles, I would do it. But ask me to show documentation, I can’t do it.”
Later he admitted he made up the story.
Mr. Hood is now chairman of police, firefighting, and paramedic training education at Madison Area Technical College. He appears to be in no danger of losing his job. (Activist Admits Lynching is a Lie, Washington Times, May 8, 1998.)
April brought its usual quota of only locally-reported black-on-white violence. Carl Best, an 18-year-old student at Knox College in Illinois, has been charged with the bludgeoning death of fellow student Andrea Racibozynski. The two met by chance after two groups of students joined up after leaving separate parties. An “altercation” ensued just a few minutes after they met, and Mr. Best beat his victim to death with a brick. This is believed to be the first murder in the 162-year history of Knox College. (Dan Rozek, Judge Doubles Bond in Knox Slaying, Chicago Sun-Times, April 11, 1998, p. 9.)
In Queens, New York, two white teenagers were attacked by a gang of blacks. Bryan Lazerus and Albert Sindoni, both 17, were waiting for a bus when four or five blacks approached them. At 270 pounds, Mr. Lazerus was able to fight off some of his attackers but they were quickly joined by up to 40 others who were just getting out of school. “They came out of nowhere,” said Mr. Lazerus. “They were yelling guinea, cracker, white bread! This is our neighborhood now. Why don’t you get out?” He said there were some 70 pedestrians who stood by and did nothing. Blacks hit Mr. Lazerus with a garbage pail, and it took 70 stitches to close his wounds. (Rocco Parascandola, Black Gang Slashes White Teen in Qns.: Cops, New York Post, April 26, 1998.)
In Chicago, a 35-year-old white waitress was waiting for a bus at 11:00 in the morning when a car carrying a black man and woman pulled up beside her. The woman got out, called the victim a “white ****” and shouted, “Get out of my neighborhood, and if you come back, I have a bat.” She then beat the woman with her fists, got back in the car, and drove away. (Gary Wisby, Attack on Woman Called a Hate Crime, Chicago Sun-Times, April 22, 1998, p.18.)
In May, white passengers on a Dallas commuter train were subjected to 20 minutes of verbal and physical abuse from a pack of eight or nine black teenagers. One woman described the scene. “The language was horrible … They were yelling racially charged challenges and insults — ‘[expletive] all white people. White people are going to pay.’”
A 48-year-old white explained: “Everybody on the train was terrified. They spit a big wad of phlegm in my face.” He added that one of the attackers pulled a girl’s hair and screamed “white bitch” in an apparent attempt to start a fight with her male companion. “There was a lot of taunting and challenging, like ‘If you don’t like it, step up here.’ They’d get in someone’s face and say, ‘I’m not going to take any crap from you.’”
The attackers even pressed the emergency intercom and taunted the driver of the train. This should have prompted a call to the police from the driver but the calls were either ignored or not heard. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the agency that runs the trains, says it was not aware of the incident until a reporter called about it three weeks later. (Curtis Howell, DART Vows to Boost Safety After Incident, Dallas Morning News, May 21, 1998, p.27 A.)
Who Lives in Your County?
If you would like to know the exact racial makeup of the population of the county in which you live, the U.S. Census Bureau makes that information available on its web page. The page is not very easy to use, but the county information by state is on the web here.
On the same page as your state’s demographics by county you will also find the racial breakdown for the state’s major cities. Unlike many census documents, the page makes a clear distinction between whites and Hispanics. Although most Hispanics claim to be white, the information here establishes non-Hispanic whites as a separate category.
The web page includes the latest, 1997 estimates as well as annual historical data back to 1990. If you are willing to wrestle with the Census Bureau’s obscure ways of presenting data, you can even find racial breakdowns by city and county for every age group.
No English Spoken Here
For the first time, a television station that does not broadcast in English has become the top station in a major city. According to Nielson ratings, Miami’s Spanish-language WLTV, which is owned by the Los Angeles-based Univision network, has more viewers than any other station in the city. In Los Angeles, Univision affiliate KMEX has top ratings among viewers aged 18 to 49 during key prime-time and local news slots, but only in Miami is a Spanish-language station number one from sign-on to sign-off. Univision used to import most of its material but has moved strongly into local production. It has created its own “American” stars, like talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, and according to the Washington Post, its variety show extravaganza, Sabado Gigante (Giant Saturday) “must be seen to be believed.”
Former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros is now president of Univision. Nationwide, it is still well behind the three major networks. An estimated 1.4 million households watch it during prime time, while ratings leader NBC is on the screen in an estimated nine million homes. (Zita Arocha, Spanish TV Nets a Win, Washington Post, April 24, 1998, p. A1.)
There is Still Time
You can still register for the AR conference at the early-bird rate of just $75.00. To our list of distinguished speakers — please see the enclosed flyer — we have added Paul Gottfried, professor of humanities at Elizabethtown college, who will speak on “Race Relations and the Decline of WASPdom.”
An AR conference is a unique opportunity to strike back at the anti-white forces that are destroying our country. For more information, please call (703) 716-0900. We hope to see you in August!
Since 1984, the state of Israel has paid to bring in over 25,000 black Jews from Ethiopia. They are not assimilating, and the sense of separateness appears to be mutual. Younger Ethiopians, who have little recollection of life in Africa, say they feel much closer to black Americans, Jamaicans and Africans than to Israelis. Others complain that Israelis will not sit next to them on buses. For their part, immigration authorities house black immigrants in trailer parks rather than apartments, explaining that keeping Ethiopians together helps ease the transition. Ethiopian discontent erupted last year in riots when it was reported that Israeli blood banks were throwing away blood donated by Ethiopians for fear it might be contaminated with the AIDS virus.
Some Israelis think bringing in Africans may have been a mistake. “No other Western-type country invited a black immigration, and this country did,” says Zvi Sobel, head of the social sciences department at Haifa University. “We did it on an ideological basis. The question is whether we were realistic. We are not Superman.” He argues that Israel has problems enough without racial friction. “Do we have too much on our plate to add the color dimension?” he asks. “No society has dealt with color well. To think we could do it was chutzpah.” (John Donnelly, Miami Herald, Religious Bond, Cultural Divide, March 22, 1998, p. 1A.)
A Family Man
Preston Donell Allen is a 33-year old man who has fathered 16 children by 11 different women. In May, he was sentenced to a three-year prison term for failing to pay child support. Mr. Allen blames the women. “When somebody tells you that they’re using something and they’re not and here comes a child.”
“Ever hear of a condom?” asked Judge David Hansher.
“A condom makes me break out, sir,” replied Mr. Allen.
Judge Hansher said that a jail term will prevent more pregnancies, but only for a while. He said he wished the law allowed for mandatory vasectomies, and offered to reduce Mr. Allen’s parole time if he agrees to be sterilized after he gets out of prison. Mr. Allen said he would think about it. (David Doege, Jailed Deadbeat Dad Might Call it Quits at 16 Kids, Washington Times, May 7, 1998, p. A6.)
Better to be Black
In 1985 Pepsi Cola left South Africa to protest apartheid. In 1994 the company returned with great fanfare. The investors in the Pepsi’s new South African bottling company, New Age Beverages, included black celebrities like Johnnie Cochran, Whitney Houston, and Danny Glover.
In 1997, suffering heavy losses in a market dominated by Coca Cola, New Age folded. When this happens investors normally take losses — but not if you are famous and black. At a meeting with PespiCo president Roger Enrico, the blacks threatened a lawsuit or a “public airing of their complaints” unless they were made whole. In April, Pepsi announced it would give the 26 black investors company stock worth $9 million. White investors will get nothing. “This cements our relationship [with the black celebrities] with an eye to the future,” said Pepsi spokesman Brad Shaw. The company claims the blacks will provide the company with unspecified “personal services” in exchange for the stock. (Nikhil Deogun, Pepsi To Pay Stock To Black Americans Who Invested In South African Bottler, Wall Street Journal, April 27, 1998, p. B17.)
The Miami-Dade County school board is about to adopt a Hispanic history curriculum for public schools. Later this year the Florida legislature is expected to establish a similar requirement for the whole state. This follows 1994 legislation that required lessons in black history and Holocaust studies.
“I want it [Hispanic studies] to take the same space that African-American history and the Holocaust take — no more, no less,” said Miami board member Demetrio Perez. The curriculum, called Legado or legacy, will include biographies of famous Hispanics, maps of Latin America and lessons about everything from something called “Three Kings Day” to the raw fish dish ceviche. One lesson plan challenges students to “develop an action plan to assist new immigrants.”
Many of the “famous Hispanics” are white Europeans like the painter Francisco de Goya, Queen Isabella, and explorer Tristan del Luna Arellano. European explorers apparently can be slipped into the curriculum as something other than rapacious white villains only if they are part of a celebration of “Hispanic heritage.” (Jodi Mailander Farrell, Expanding Horizons, The Miami Herald, April 11, 1998, p. 1B.)
Love Thy Enemy
The African National Congress has appointed a 30-year-old historian to rewrite the recent history of South Africa. Nhlanhla Ndebele will receive a three year, $50,000 scholarship to research the ANC’s massive archives. “This will change the way history is taught in our schools,” says Mr. Ndebele. British Aerospace is paying for the scholarship. (South African Scholar Will Rewrite the Past, Washington Times, May 7, 1998, p. A17.)
The following is from the television section of the British magazine Hello!, announcing a program called “A Respectable Trade.”
“Set in Bristol in the 1780s, this new series explores part of Britain’s hidden history — the wealth and cruelty of the slave trade.
“The story offers tough but compelling viewing for the next four weeks, with Warren Clarke playing an ill-bred ship owner, Anna Massey his spinster sister, Emma Fielding his posh but penniless wife and Ariyone Bakare one of the black cargo for whom she falls — he being learned, powerful and dignified (in fact, everything her husband is not).
“Adapted by Philippa Gregory from her novel, it offers a British parallel to Roots and Amistad, which depicted America’s role in the slave trade. But, says script executive James Saynor: ‘We’re not trying to be too preachy. We didn’t do it because we wanted to say something about race relations. It was a good story and that’s what drama’s about.’”
(Pick Of The Week, Hello!, April 18, 1998, p.78.)
Not Going Quietly
The INS is deporting records numbers of illegal aliens. Last year it expelled 113,325 and this year it is likely to top that figure. Three-quarters of illegals go home by bus to Mexico, but 20 to 30 thousand fly on commercial airlines, their one-way tickets paid for by the INS. The flyers have found a loophole in the deportation process. If the captain of a commercial airliner decides that a passenger might be unruly or a danger to other passengers he has the right to leave him on the ground. It is now a common last-ditch tactic for the Nigeria- or Congo-bound to scream and kick and assault guards on the way to the boarding gate. They go back to detention and some of them face battery charges, but at least they manage to stay in the country a little longer. In the worst cases, the INS must pay for a guard or two to fly with the bolshie alien. (Laurie Cohen, Many Deportees Make Fracas at Airport Their Last Appeal, Wall Street Journal, May 6, 1998, p. 1.)
Best Minds are Baffled
Researchers at Vanderbilt University report that even when black and white households have the same incomes, whites are twice as likely to have computers in the home and to use the Internet. When comparable families of blacks and whites do not own computers, whites are five times as likely to find computers some place else — in libraries, for example — and connect to the Internet. The researchers pronounce themselves baffled by these findings and are worried about blacks being “excluded” from the information on the world wide web. (Color-blind Web Not Supported by Research, Sacramento Bee, April 28, 1998.)
Cleaning Up the Airwaves
Until this April, broadcasters had to hire non-whites in proportion to their numbers in the surrounding population. They also had to make a special effort to hunt for non-white employees and to give them special training. Those that did not could have their broadcasting licenses revoked by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has claimed since 1968 that racially mixed broadcasting staff were “in the public interest.” The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has asked the FCC to explain how racial preferences serve the public interest. The FCC failed to satisfy the court, which has now ruled its regulations unconstitutional.
The case was brought by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which holds licenses for two noncommercial religious radio stations in Clayton, Mo. The church was appealing an FCC ruling that it was insufficiently zealous in recruiting non-whites. The stations broadcast religious programs and classical music, and had been unable to hire many black Lutheran classical-music-lovers. (Jeannine Aversa, AP, Court KOs FCC Hiring Requirements, April, 14, 1998.)
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — Thank you for your recent series of articles on the achievements of the Front National in France. The articles have been informative, thought provoking, and inspiring. But what amazes me the most are the similarities between liberals. On both sides of the Atlantic, they cling to a system that does not work.
However, what Mr. Le Pen and the FN has shown is that all politics are local. It matters less who is elected President, than who is on the city council or the school board. That is where we can have the greatest impact. The FN is a grass roots movement. If we hope to emulate its success, we need to find and support local people who share our views. Only when European-Americans reclaim their leadership role will we truly reclaim our country.
Jack Thames, Greensboro, N.C.
Sir — I don’t quite see the point of your review of Lee Silver’s Remaking Eden. If, before long, parents really will be able to pick whatever abilities or characteristics they want for their children, where will that leave the questions of race you raise so urgently? We can be pretty sure that “designer babies” are going to look white — or very close to it — no matter what the race of their parents. But will they be white? Will it make a difference any more? The prospect of distant generations of designer babies becoming so “genetically enhanced” that they cease to be homo sapiens as we now know him likewise suggests that in the long term race will cease to be an issue. Is your reviewer suggesting that rather than fighting to close the borders and to regain the right of free association we should be supporting genetic research in the hope that eventually everyone will be white — or maybe even something better?
Heather Anderson, Sioux City, Iowa
Sir — I was interested to see your review of Reconquistal: The Takeover of America. It does not surprise me that many Mexican-“Americans” are openly chauvinistic about their prospects for taking over the American Southwest. What surprises me — even after reading AR for several years — is who is talking this way. You quote state legislators, college professors, Los Angeles city councilmen, and even the chairman of the state Democratic Party as exulting at the prospect of reducing whites to a minority and perhaps even eliminating them. We have come to a very sorry state of affairs when people in public positions speak this way and go unrebuked.
What must they think of us? How can they not despise us when they talk boldly about taking our country and hear not a peep of protest? Not only do they hear no protest, politicians and academics fawn over them, courting their favor. We are sick the way some dogs are sick: The harder you kick them the more they wag their tails. It makes me wonder what it would take from Mexicans to get a rise out of Bill Clinton or Diane Feinstein or the Los Angeles Times. Maybe they would blink if the California legislature voted to start sending state revenues to Mexico City rather than to Sacramento — or if the city of Los Angeles started officially flying the Mexican flag rather than the U.S. flag. Or maybe they would just say to the Republicans, “You see, you have to try harder to please these people.”
Carl Owen, West Point, N. Y.
Sir — I have heard of a recently released collection of essays edited by Jared Taylor called The Real American Dilemma: Race, Immigration, and the Future of America. Perhaps you could provide some information about this title for those of us who would like to order it.
Matthew Harrington, St. Cloud, Minn.
The book is a collection of essays based on talks given at the 1996 AR conference. Some have been expanded considerably and many now have footnotes. The collection is edited by Jared Taylor and includes chapters by Philippe Rushton, Michael Levin, Samuel Francis, Michael Hart, Wayne Lutton, James Thornton, Glayde Whitney, and Jared Taylor. Prof. Whitney’s chapter is the only one that is not based on a conference lecture. Taken together, the collection is an excellent introduction to current racialist thinking.
This is the first book to be published by New Century Foundation, which publishes AR. Its cost is $9.95 plus $2.00 shipping. We expect to publish a review of the book in a forthcoming issue. — Editor