|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 18, No. 6||June 2007|
A Setback for Le Pen; a Victory for ‘Lepenism’
On the campaign trail with ‘The Boulder.’
Only 11 percent. This is not an opinion poll; this is the share of the vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the 2007 presidential elections. It is the evening of April 22, and the disappointment is crushing. The candidate for the National Front had never been so favorably positioned. Editorialists and the big media had stopped wondering about a runoff between Socialist Ségolène Royal and the liberal-conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, and were preparing for a battle between Mr. Le Pen and Mr. Sarkozy. At National Front headquarters in the Paris suburb of Saint Cloud, and at campaign headquarters at the Equinox Theater downtown, champagne is cooling. No one thinks of uncorking it.
So much hope, work, and effort to end up fourth! Not only behind Mr. Sarkozy and Miss Royal but to be beaten by the latest product of the media, the centrist François Bayrou, who is so much a prisoner of both right and left that he doesn’t even know whom to vote for in the runoff on May 6 (in the French system, if no candidate gets at least 50 percent in the first round, the voters choose from the top two candidates in a runoff two weeks later).
Eleven percent is Mr. Le Pen’s worst showing in the 20 years he has been running for president. And yet, never has he been so well received by the press and on the campaign trail. What went wrong? There may be clues as we look back on the last major campaign of the 78-year-old man they call “The Boulder.”
September 20, 2006. We are at Valmy in northwest France. Jean-Marie Le Pen makes his first speech of the campaign. In a text drafted in part by the “progressive” ex-Marxist Alain Soral (see “Conversation with Alain Soral,” AR, March 2007), he strikes familiar themes: culture wars, loyalty to France rather than the European Union. But he goes further, castigating narrow “communitarian” loyalties, arguing that the Republic is greater than ethnic parochialism.
From the beginning, his daughter Marine, campaign manager and heir apparent, has three big strategies: First, mainstreaming the party. She makes sure we will see a kinder, gentler Jean-Marie Le Pen. He now calls himself “center-right,” and one of his campaign posters shows him posing with a mulatto girl (see “The National Front: Going Soft or Getting Wise?” AR, March 2007). Marine has also forbidden one of Mr. Le Pen’s favorite tricks — stirring up the press with deliberately provocative remarks. Marine and her team, younger and more moderate than the old guard, will make sure that known hell-raisers — Carl Lang, Bruno Gollnisch, Jean-Claude Martinez — stay out of the limelight.
Second, Marine will be everywhere. Her father will stay in the shadows while she parades the party’s new “modernity” and openness to moderates. Le Pen will give only five major campaign speeches before the first round of voting, counting on breaking news about crime to work in his favor, just as it did in 2002, when he made it into the runoff against Jacques Chirac.
Finally, Mr. Sarkozy and his UMP (French initials for “Union for a Popular Movement”) will be the NF’s main bogeyman. The party will hammer away at his failure as interior minister to put a dent in crime. Mr. Le Pen will grouse about the man’s Hungarian origins, implying that he is not entirely French. However, The Boulder will not give him the savage treatment Mr. Chirac got, noting that Mr. Sarkozy “is a man we can do business with.”
Until the very last moment, it is not certain Mr. Le Pen will even be in the race — despite the fact that he came in second in 2002 and that ever since 1988 he represents anywhere from four to six million Frenchmen. To get on the ballot, a candidate must have the sponsorship of at least 500 of France’s 47,462 elected officials. Each official can sponsor only one candidate, but he need not support or vote for him. This requirement is supposed to keep loonies off the ballot, and getting signatures is no trouble for candidates from the established parties. For the National Front, it is an agonizing grind. The leftist parties forbid their officials to sponsor Mr. Le Pen, and people on the right who sign papers for the front face the wrath of the establishment. Some are attacked physically; others get death threats. Most of the officials who would even consider acting as sponsors are mayors of towns and villages, and with municipal elections coming up next year they don’t want trouble. The opposition will pillory anyone who sponsors the “racist.”
The most likely sponsors are mayors of out-of-the-way places with fewer than 500 inhabitants, and who are not running for reelection. But how to reach them? At party headquarters in Saint-Cloud, there is a special bureau that spent the last year phoning them. Some are adamant: no deal. Others can’t be reached and have to be phoned over and over. Many won’t give a straight answer.
Mr. Le Pen takes these small-town mayors to lunch, flatters them, offers them signed photographs of himself. He even promises free legal assistance to anyone who is attacked for supporting him. Teams of NF men are in the provinces trying to get signatures, but are usually turned down. “Oh, I’m for you, all right. I’ll vote for you. You’ll see Le Pen will do really well.” But sign sponsorship papers? “Oh, no, can’t do that.”
Steeve Briois, an activist working the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region finally blows up at a mayor who claims to be more nationalist than the front but won’t sign: “Go out and buy yourself a pair of balls!” he shouts. He immediately regrets it. Mr. Briois knows that this kind of timidity can work for the front. Even Frenchmen without balls can show common sense in the privacy of the voting booth.
Alain Soral has a go at getting sponsors. A journalist went along for part of the ride as Mr. Soral, along with a young activist, crisscrossed the countryside: “Two men, a polished youngster and a clapped-out adult, are hunting sponsors for their boss. The youngster, a front supporter since adolescence is not even 20 but he is wearing a suit. Talk about mainstreaming!”
In Vienne, Mr. Soral twists the mayor’s arm and gets an endorsement. “That will cost me my job,” he says sadly, “but if it has to be done …” In one week’s work, the two men manage two endorsements — not a bad performance.
In one village the mayor seems to have “forgotten” his appointment. Mr. Soral and his companion sulk in a café, where the owner tells them, “The mayor is hiding out at home. Here, this is his address.” And, indeed, there he is, peeking out from behind the curtains but he won’t come out. Mr. Soral loses his temper. “This guy was not only a jerk but a careless jerk. He had left the key to his garden gate in the keyhole. I locked it tight, waved the key in his face through the window, and threw it as far as I could into a field.”
On the Campaign Trail
Feb. 14, 2007. Mr. Le Pen often notes wryly that for 20 years he hasn’t been able to go to the movies. By the time the show is over, there will be a group of lefty thugs at the door to attack him. But today, for the first time in his career, the president of the National Front gets a polite, even favorable welcome in public. Marine’s “mainstreaming” strategy seems to be working.
It is Valentine’s day, and Mr. Le Pen and his wife Jany are having dinner at an up-scale Italian restaurant in a Strasbourg suburb. Customers recognize them. One comes up cautiously to their table, then two, then a group. They ask for autographs. When he and Jany finish their meal and get up to leave, instead of the usual insults there are cries of “bravo!” Mr. Le Pen, who always asks for a table in the darkest corner, makes a veritable hero’s march to the exit. Times are changing.
Feb. 18. Four days after his dinner in Strasbourg, Mr. Le Pen is in the north of France. He burns incense at a cemetery for Chinese who died in the First World War. Coolies attached to the British army fell here behind the trenches. Michel Létocard, the mayor of Noyelles-sur-Mer meets Mr. Le Pen with a scowl. He keeps his hands clasped behind his back so as not to have to shake hands with the monster … but the Chinese guests at the ceremony applaud the leader of the National Front.
It is freezing cold. Mr. Le Pen invites everyone, including the press, the dignitaries, and even the rubberneckers to join him for a drink at the local café. The mayor is unbending, but his deputy Claude makes a point of seeking out Mr. Le Pen and greeting him warmly. The mayor is shocked. He had always thought his deputy voted for the Green Party. It is clear he is no Green. “We’ve got to stop immigration, Mr. Le Pen” he says. “We get 300,000 people every year! That’s why the French can’t find jobs.”
In the back of the room, a badly-dressed young man is joking with two older men. “That Le Pen , he’s the real thing,” says one of the older men admiringly. “Yeah,” says the young man, “a real racist, just like me. I don’t like Arabs. They’re all bomb-throwers.” This scares the older men, who don’t want this kind of talk going on in front of journalists. “Wait a minute,” says one. “ Le Pen himself has said he isn’t a racist.” The youngster bursts out laughing. “And you believe that?” he asks.
But this, too, is a sign of the times. All over France people are no longer afraid to say they are going to vote for Mr. Le Pen. Kristina, a pretty 18-year-old, wears a button that says “ Le Pen now, right now.” She is just old enough to become a party member. “I’ve explained it to my friends,” she says. “I respect them, and they must respect me.”
Catherine teaches English at a high school in the country, where she overheard students talking politics. One says he is going to vote for Le Pen. The other takes it in stride. “Fine, you vote for Le Pen; I’m voting for [Olivier]Besancenot [the candidate for the Revolutionary Communist League].” Catherine, a secret Lepenist, is pleased that the exchange is so civil.
At Saint-Etienne in the Rhône-Alpes region, it is tow-headed Pascal, his face lined with fatigue but with eyes sparkling with anger. At age 30 he has finally started to make a decent living. “The government never did a thing for me,” he says. “But these foreigners get everything: housing, money, TV sets. The government even gets them jobs. I had to work like a dog to get into the plumbing business, but plenty of my pals are still unloading trucks.” He will vote Le Pen. “Things are going to explode if we don’t put the French first.”
Is Mr. Le Pen the champion of the poor? “Seven million Frenchmen live below the poverty line,” he says, “and there are 14 million working poor.” He blasts the authorities for doing nothing.
March 2. Two weeks before the deadline, Mr. Le Pen still needs signatures. This is serious because the party has borrowed 7.5 million Euros to finance the campaign. That is how much it will get from the government if Mr. Le Pen wins at least five percent of the vote. If he can’t even run, the party gets nothing, and will have to sell its Saint-Cloud headquarters, which is mortgaged to the banks.
Mr. Le Pen sounds the alarm: “As the representative of six million voters in the last election, it would be scandalous if I cannot run.” He says nearly 100 elected officials who promised to sign have reneged. Why? People posing as journalists phone up, claiming they have heard from the FN itself that the mayor is going to sign for Mr. Le Pen. They threaten to write nasty articles if he does.
March 5. A police investigation finds that someone hacked into a computer with the list of officials who promised to endorse Mr. Le Pen. It might have been an inside job because the break-in seems to have come from another computer on the FN network. The police hold a front employee for questioning but release him for lack of evidence. Mr. Le Pen rails against the pressure on his supporters, and begs them to keep their promises.
Who should come to the rescue but Nicolas Sarkozy? Because he is the head of a mainstream party, he has no trouble getting 500 signatures (even the leader of the Revolutionary Communist League already has his 500) and can easily persuade politicos to back Mr. Le Pen. Five days later he goes on television and announces that “in the name of democracy” he will see to it that a man who represents millions of French voters has a chance to run for president.
Mr. Sarkozy has reasons to be generous. He knows that if he faces Ségolène Royal in the runoff he will need all the FN votes he can get. He also knows that if he stands by with his arms folded and keeps Mr. Le Pen off the ballot, many FN supporters will punish him by voting for Miss Royal. He and Mr. Le Pen continue their battle on the campaign trail, but UMP officials begin to sign as FN sponsors. On March 14, just before the deadline, Mr. Le Pen finally has his 500 signatures. It is less than a month before the vote.
Le Pen Dominates the Campaign
March 18. Mr. Le Pen keeps climbing in the polls. People say he will get 20 percent. His opponents, who can hold their fingers to the wind as well as anyone, have taken over Mr. Le Pen’s issues of the past 30 years: crime, immigration, French identity, national symbols.
It is a first in the history of Socialist party rallies when the Marseillaise breaks out at the end of a speech by Ségolène Royal. On the 17th, she went even further, gushing about the national anthem. “This is the song we must all sing together,” she says. The audience obliges, but she keeps her mouth shut. Mute, motionless, solemn, it is as if she thinks the audience is singing about her, not the nation.
March 27. Ségolène Royal keeps a French flag in her kitchen. Front supporters snicker when François Hollande, Miss Royal’s “partner” and indispensable side-kick, sees fit to mention this in a television interview. Nicolas Sarkozy promises he will create a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. People notice that he now makes it a point to clap his hand over his heart when he hears the Marseillaise. It is finally Marine who calls a cease fire. On the big radio station RMC she says “It is not the job of a politician to force every Frenchman to keep a flag.”
What a strange campaign! As the candidates come down the home stretch they seem to have forgotten politics as usual — jobs, schools, taxes, Europe, defense, and even crime — to concentrate on France’s identity.
Of course, it is mostly the fault of the Socialists that French identity is at issue at all: massive amnesties for illegals, the establishment in 1984 of the hyperactive anti-racist group SOS-Racisme, official declarations that “foreigners are now at home in France.”
Nicolas Sarkozy himself was behind the law of Nov. 16, 2003 that abolished double jeopardy for immigrant criminals. Now, after they serve their sentence, they are not deported but are released back into French society. It was also Mr. Sarkozy who, before the campaign, wanted to give foreigners the vote and backed “positive discrimination” for non-whites. Later he backpedaled and said he meant preferences based on need, not race.
March 28. Big news. There are race riots at the Gare du Nord railroad station in Paris. It was Nicolas Sarkozy’s good fortune that just that morning he officially left his post as Minister of the Interior to run for president fulltime (which he has been doing for months). But just two days before there had been a nasty scuffle in a tough Paris neighborhood when police tried to arrest an illegal. His tenure as the country’s top cop is tarnished.
Everyone knows that riots are good for the FN. Dominique Jamet, editor-in-chief of France-Soir declares that Mr. Sarkozy has been a failure as interior minister and says that Mr. Le Pen now has the inside track:
“All it took was for a conductor to ask a passenger to show his ticket and we got a night of rioting … Today, just as it was in November 2005, one little spark can set things blazing. We must face facts: The regime that is on its way out and the candidate who was, until yesterday, interior minister have not solved the ‘delicate’ problems of immigration, social cohesion and employment … At the Gare du Nord, people were disgusted when all the riot police did was separate the rioters from law-abiding passengers rather than make arrests. This passivity was certainly not the fault of the men in blue; they were obviously doing as they were told …”
That day there is a meeting at FN headquarters in Saint-Cloud. What to say about the riots? Party leaders are divided. Should they put the blame squarely on immigration as the source of France’s troubles and risk losing the gains they think they are making among immigrants? Mr. Le Pen decides not to issue a press release. Marine and her father decide to say only that the voters will understand that events prove the FN right. Nothing more. Some activists are disappointed. They wanted a fierce statement about an event so striking that the news clips are shown over and over on television. They think a strong position on the riots would be a sure ticket to the runoff.
April 1. At headquarters in Saint-Cloud, champagne glass in hand, Mr. Le Pen gets confidential with journalists about the runoff. “There’s a good chance I’ll make it. And it will be Sarkozy and me because the left has never been so weak and divided.” And Mr. Bayrou? “He’s out of gas.”
Nicolas Sarkozy himself does not rule out a final showdown with Mr. Le Pen. He would love to face him rather than Ségolène Royal because he would be sure to win, but in private, even before the train station riots, he was saying polls undercount the FN vote. During a trip to Marseille on March 27 he predicted that Mr Le Pen’s “results will surprise you.”
The establishment is taking the FN more seriously than ever. “Sarkozy and Le Pen are the big winners when the discussion turns to crime,” says Jérôme Fourquet of the big polling company IFOP. “Sarkozy is more credible because people think he can do a better job of putting down crime. Le Pen is more legitimate because he has been sounding the alarm for years.”
April 7. There is anxiety over the latest IFOP poll. No fewer than 26 percent of people who support the front say they have “more confidence” in Mr. Sarkozy to “guarantee the security of persons and property.” The candidate of the UMP has experience and heft. Perhaps he can get more done than a man who has never been in power.
There is worse: Of the people who voted for Mr. Le Pen in 2002, 34 percent of the farmers, 37 percent of company employees, and 39 percent of managers say they will probably vote Sarkozy this time. They don’t want the FN to face a socialist in the runoff because that would be a big win for Ségolène Royal and mean five years of leftist government.
Polls are now giving the front 14 to 15 percent of the vote — not enough for a breakthrough, but better than Mr. Le Pen was polling at this time in 2002.
April 12. Mr. Le Pen will have to do better than his 2002 first-round performance of 16.9 percent. The left is not as fractured as it was last time, and voters are thinking ahead to the runoff. Mr. Le Pen will need 20 percent at least. The Boulder claims to be unfazed. “Who do you think the 17 percent who refuse to talk to pollsters are going to vote for?” he asks. And what about the 18 percent who are never polled because they don’t have landline telephones? Louis Alliot, General Secretary of the FN says even 24 percent would not be out of the question.
April 17. France votes in just a few days. Mr. Le Pen visits the fishermen of Boulogne-sur-mer, and gets a warm welcome. It’s almost a homecoming because Mr. Le Pen is the son and grandson of fishermen, and worked on a boat when he was young. Men complain about European Union inspectors who fine them if they catch underweight fish or take small clams: “Mr. Le Pen , you’ve got to take us out of the European Union.” The Boulder agrees, adding “fishing is the hardest job in the world, and all those bureaucrats just make it worse.”
Mr. Le Pen returns to his theme as man of the people. “Ségolène, Sarkozy, Bayrou, they all claim to be populists, but they have all been in government. They have all had a hand in this disaster. They are the elites. I am the only candidate for the little people.” He leaves with sacks of fish and seafood pressed on him by enthusiastic fishermen.
April 19. The latest poll puts Mr. Le Pen at 20 percent. The president of the FN seems pleased, but his advisors are concerned. What will the voters think? Even hardened activists now say openly they will vote for Mr. Sarkozy! “ Le Pen and Royal in the runoff? That would put the left in power. That means amnesty, massive immigration, Negro cabinet ministers, crime. Sorry, but that’s too much. I’d rather see Le Pen at 17 percent. That way he could have a big impact on the right’s program, and maybe even get electoral alliances with the right for local and legislative elections.” It is rumored that even a few people at FN headquarters see things this way.
But most activists are dreaming impossible dreams: Their hero in the runoff, the system buckles, proportional representation in the National Assembly [which would mean FN deputies; there is none now], cooperation with the right, and the end of the Chirac-leftist alliance that has kept the front out in the cold.
April 22. The results are in. It’s going to be Sarkozy vs. Royal in the runoff. This is the first real step backwards for The Boulder since 1988. He is not in second-place this time; he is not even third. The 200 or so activists gathered at campaign headquarters in the Equinox Theater console themselves with cheese and sausages, and give Mr. Le Pen a big welcome when he shows up at 8:15 p.m.
He has just been on television to make a confession that is a strange mix of irony and bitterness. “I got it wrong,” he says into the cameras. “I thought the French were unhappy, but I guess they aren’t. The French must be very happy, since they just voted in — and with room to spare — the parties that are in power. I fear this euphoria will not last long.”
One of the themes around the buffet tables is contempt for Mr. Sarkozy. Alain Soral is bitter: “What is so terrifying is that the two leading candidates are both mediocrities that the media have forced on the people. It shows how strong the system really is. Le Pen was worthy of France, but I’m not sure France was worthy of Le Pen .” He is in the anyone-but-Sarko camp, and says he will vote Socialist on May 6.
Thomas, 29, will vote for the UMP. “Sarko is not Chirac. He will be smarter and will take us seriously.” His girlfriend, 22-year-old Elodie, is afraid Mr. Sarkozy has unpleasant surprises in store: Islamicization, homosexual marriage, who knows what else? She says the vote on May 6 will be like “choosing between cholera and the plague.” Thomas sees a clear choice; for him it’s “anyone-but-Ségo.” “The lefties will be out there fighting Sarko,” he says, “and we will be fighting them.”
At 9:15 the party begins with the Marseillaise. Jean-Marie Le Pen leads his wife onto the dance floor where they sway to a disco beat. Young people crowd the floor; older people waltz in an adjoining room. Mr. Le Pen and Marine insist that the champagne be brought out. The labels have pictures of him on them. The crowd drinks up — what better way to handle bad luck? — but many find the taste bitter.
Still, Mr. Le Pen’s recommendation on how to vote in the runoff will weigh on the results, and the UMP candidate will be courting FN voters.
April 23. Scores are being settled within the front. Marine has enemies — people who were pushed out when the new team came in, people who opposed the strategy of “reaching out.” They are good soldiers and are silent in public, but anyone who hangs around the FN or talks to old-timers over a drink gets an earful.
Xavier Van Lierde of the nationalist paper Monde et Vie points the finger: “Marine, who ran her dad’s campaign, has direct responsibility. If the electoral winds and the ideological currants were with us then only pilot error explains if not outright shipwreck then certainly failure.” Jean-Claude Martinez, Euro-deputy and vice president of the front, strikes a theme that will echo through the party for months: “We put this campaign in the hands of babies!”
A meeting this afternoon of the party’s political bureau cannot paper over the differences. Marine’s campaign got her father 1,000,000 fewer votes than in 2002, and this in an election with a turnout of 84 percent, the highest since 1965. The results are even worse than they seem. In 2002, ex-FN leader Bruno Mégret got 600,000 votes. This year, he did not run, and urged his supporters to vote Le Pen, so some are arguing that Marine cost her father 1,600,000 votes! For many, these numbers are an eloquent rebuke to Marine and her team of “babies.”
But is this criticism fair? Nicolas Sarkozy shamelessly stole the FN’s clothes and poached its supporters. His clear shift to the right unquestionably hurt Mr. Le Pen. Many voters who prefer the front are convinced that Mr. Sarkozy not only has a real chance of being elected but has enough respect, experience and conviction to do a credible job on what really matters: immigration.
Jean-Claude Martinez, vice president of the FN, puts it this way: “The traditional supporters of the front voted for Nicolas Sarkozy in the belief that he could achieve the goals of the FN better than Jean-Marie Le Pen himself.” Bruno Gollnisch, who is no friend of Marine, agrees that Mr. Le Pen did not lose votes; the UMP candidate won them. He points out that Mr. Sarkozy sometimes seems to understand what is really at stake, reminding FN colleagues that the former interior minister once said, “We are the laboratory of ideas of this Fifth Republic, which may be on its last legs … Maybe we have been the victims of the success of our own ideas.”
Still, the back-biting goes on. “Either Le Pen and his daughter learn their lessons or the party remains a backwater,” says one FN leader. He wants Bruno Gollnisch and Carl Lang to “make it clear that they disagree with Le Pen and Marine.” Will the complaining reach The Boulder himself? Will the people who think he sold out say so to his face? Mr. Le Pen does not even admit that this is his last campaign. “Who know?” he says. “Life is a series of battles, and it’s the last one that really counts.”
Still, the results have strengthened the hands of those who never liked the compromise of “mainstreaming,” and has weakened Marine in the struggle for succession as party leader. Mr. Gollnish is first in line, now that Marine is under a cloud, but at least in public he is still the good party man: “This is not the end of the house of Le Pen .”
April 25. Mr. Le Pen is upbeat: “We won the battle of ideas. France, patriotism, immigration, and crime were at the heart of our opponents’ campaigns. Only yesterday they were running away from these ideas.” There are rumors that Mr. Sarkozy is working out a deal in return for an endorsement. Officially, the parties deny any contact, but there has been talk of the right treating the FN as a possible ally in the future rather than as a pariah. One of Mr. Sarkozy’s advisors, Brice Hortefeux, has urged a return to proportional representation in the National Assembly. “In the name of democracy,” he says, a party with so much support must be “legitimately represented.” No one in Jacques Chirac’s circle ever talked like that. In any case, Mr. Sarkozy can hardly ignore the four million Frenchmen who voted Le Pen , especially when so many people who voted for the third-place finisher, François Bayrou, are leftists who will vote Socialist in the runoff.
May 1. Five thousand activists have gathered to support Mr. Le Pen in his traditional May Day parade. At noon, after having left everyone in suspense since April 22, he finally unbosoms himself of his advice on how to vote in the runoff. “I invite those voters who showed their confidence in me to vote neither for Miss Royal nor for Mr. Sarkozy, and to abstain massively.” He explains: “It would be illusory and dangerous to vote for a Socialist out of vengeance against Nicolas Sarkozy for stealing our program. Likewise, it would be crazy to turn over our votes to a candidate who continues to treat us as extremists and who refuses to allow a proportional representation that would give our millions of voters a voice in the National Assembly.” The discussions with the UMP must have gone nowhere.
Many FN supporters are disappointed. Most will vote for Mr. Sarkozy, whom they see as vastly better than any leftist. This is especially true because of yet another news story: A policewoman has just been raped by a black. It turns out this is the second crime of this kind in just six weeks, but the press never mentioned the rape of the first policewoman. It is Mr. Sarkozy whom French patriots want in office at a time like this, not Miss Royal. By demanding abstention, Mr. Le Pen sounds like a bad loser, closing himself off from politics. Very few people will follow his advice anyway. At the very least he should have told his people to vote as they see fit.
May 6. Mr. Sarkozy wins with 53.1 percent of the vote, even getting 52 percent of the female vote. Most FN supporters voted for him, and turnout matched the very high 84 percent of the first round.
Activists are relieved they will not have to face five years of pinko simpering from Ségolène Royal. The hard core, however, are already planning for legislative elections next June — in which the party will have to prove it is still a force to be reckoned with — and for the presidential election five years from now. Their eyes are gleaming. By 2012, President Sarkozy will have accomplished little despite his tough talk. And with a new leader at the head of the National Front? There is no telling what the patriotic movement could do.
Survival of the Fittest?
Why are there both rich and poor?
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, IQ and Global Inequality, Washington Summit Publishers, 2006, 400 pp., $34.95 (softcover $17.95).
Ever since the time of the ancient Greeks — and probably well before — people have wondered why some people are rich and others are poor. For most of human history, they assumed it was because people are not born with the same abilities. In The Republic, Plato wrote that babies come into the world with different inherited natures, and that if the most able men had children with the most able women they would produce an intelligent ruling class. Even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who planted many of the seeds of liberal foolishness, believed abilities were fixed. Alexis de Tocqueville was impressed by the equality of conditions in America, but thought there could never be complete equality because people are innately unequal: “differences of ability originate from God or from nature.”
Today, of course, the fashion in the West is to claim that environment counts for everything and that the right “programs” would ensure equality.
IQ and Global Inequality, is a return to common sense. It demonstrates virtually irrefutably that just as differences in intelligence largely explain individual differences in wealth and social status within societies, differences in average intelligence explain national differences in wealth and well-being.
Together, the authors bring great wisdom and scholarship to the question of inequality. Tatu Vanhanen, emeritus professor of political science at the University of Tempere, Finland, has written many books, among them the little-known classic, Ethnic Conflicts Explained by Ethnic Nepotism (reviewed in “The Anatomy of Ethnic Conflict,” AR, June 2002). Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster in Ireland, has written no fewer than four books that have been reviewed in AR — a record. IQ and Global Inequality is an expanded version of IQ and the Wealth of Nations, which the same authors wrote in 2002 (see “The Global Bell Curve,” AR, Dec. 2002), but is now out of print.
Ever since decolonization in the 1960s, the wealthy white nations have made two key assumptions about poor countries: that bad government policies have made them poor, and that the West must help them get rich. White countries have therefore poured billions of dollars into the tropics and endlessly lectured Third-World dictators on market economies, capital formation, and deregulation. The West has tried debt forgiveness, foreign investment, subsidized education, and birth-control clinics, but many countries are still poor. In 2002, William Easterly wrote in The Elusive Quest for Growth that nothing really works, that “aid will not cause its recipients to increase their investments; they will use aid to buy more consumption goods.” Still, many people persist in believing that if rich countries tried harder, the whole world would be middle class. As the head of the United Nations Development Program said in 1997: “Poverty is no longer inevitable. The world has the material and natural resources, the know-how, and the people to make a poverty-free world a reality in less than a generation.”
Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen argue otherwise. First they note that regional inequality is only a few centuries old. Up until about 1400, virtually everyone everywhere barely got by. Since then, in some countries, whole populations have climbed well beyond the subsistence level, and in the last 200 years a few nations have pulled sharply ahead. The authors also note that some poor countries made good progress in the last 60 years while others went backwards. Before the Second World War, hunger was mostly limited to non-colonized Asia. Now it is mainly a problem in decolonized Africa. In East Asia, the number of people living on less than one dollar a day has dropped sharply, while it has risen in South Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen point out why conventional theories about underdevelopment cannot explain these things: “they do not pay any serious attention to human diversity.” Some societies stay poor because their populations are not, on average, intelligent enough to run an efficient economy.
The authors begin their analysis of intelligence with a short history of IQ testing, and explain concisely why IQ has a heritability of approximately 0.88 and is so little subject to environment. Aside from twin studies, some of the most persuasive evidence comes from ordinary families. IQ scores in childhood predict adult socio-economic status better than parental status does. Some 25 percent of children will end up with higher or lower status than their parents, and IQ is the best indicator of which way they will go. Likewise, within the same family, children with the highest IQs tend to be the most successful. IQ, then, is one of the best predictors of virtually every desirable — or undesirable — social outcome. Smart people tend to make more money, get more education, commit fewer crimes, have fewer illegitimate children, stay healthier, and live longer than dim people.
The main argument of this book, as it was with IQ and the Wealth of Nations, is that just as an individual’s intelligence explains a great deal about him, the average intelligence of a nation’s population explains a great deal about it. The central methodology of this book, therefore, is to compare IQ data for different nations to national well-being. The authors have found good testing data for no fewer than 192 countries, and have left out only tiny places like Vatican City, Monaco, San Marino, Lichtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu.
Clearly, there are better IQ data for some countries than others, but this book probably reflects the most thorough compilation of world-wide intelligence testing reports available anywhere, and includes an extensive listing of the sources. Where possible, Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen have cross-referenced IQ data to international comparisons in such things as mathematics ability; high national IQ scores correlate closely with high academic ability.
There are many measures of national well-being, and the authors have chosen a mix of five such measures against which to plot IQ. The first is per capita gross national income. This is modified to reflect purchasing power parity because the same dollar often buys more in a poor country than in a rich one. The second measure of national well being is adult literacy, and the third is the percentage of the population with post-secondary education. The authors note that above a certain percentage, the number of people in college probably has little impact on the economy. Higher education becomes a consumer good rather than career training — especially in rich countries where large numbers of college-educated women are mothers first and workers second — but the extent to which it is a self-improving luxury is a sign of a nation’s wealth and priorities.
The fourth measure of well-being the authors chose is life expectancy at birth, and the fifth is the level of democratization. Democracy will strike many readers as both hard to measure and of secondary importance in evaluating a nation, but one theory is that representative governments arise when wealth is so widespread that no single group can dominate the others.
Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen have calculated a composite of these five measures, which they call the Index of Quality of Human Conditions. They crosscheck this index and its components against the UN’s Human Development Index, which includes such things as undernourishment and infant mortality. They also mention other measures like the corruption index (Mohammed Suharto is reported to have embezzled as much as $34 billion from Indonesia at a time when its gross domestic per capita income was less than $700 per person), and measures of national happiness.
The theory of this book is that IQ has a strong positive correlation with the Index of Quality of Human Conditions (QHC), and of course it does. The chart immediately to the left plots QHC on a scale of 0 to 100 against IQ for 192 countries. The regression line on the chart shows a very solid correlation, which will surprise only the most militant IQ-atheists. Countries full of smart people are better places to live than countries full of dullards.
The chart above plots national IQ against national per capita gross income alone. Here, the regression line is a curve, and suggests that an increase in average IQ at the lower levels — from the 60s to the lower 80s, for example — does not produce much economic benefit. It seems that only in societies with an average IQ at least in the mid-80s is there the capacity to build a modern economy that produces real wealth. IQ increases from that point produce very significant gains.
Perhaps the most interesting results, however, are the outliers — the countries that fall well above or below the trend lines. Which countries are more of a success or failure than one would expect from the intelligence of their populations — and why? The table immediately below lists the outliers in both directions. Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen use the term “residuals” to describe either negative or positive distance from the trend line, and have measured that distance in standard deviations.
According to this table, which some readers will find the most fascinating in the book, there are four countries with positive residuals of as many as four or five standard deviations (SDs) as calculated by plotting IQ against the five components of the Index of Quality of Human Conditions. This does not mean that Barbados and St. Kitts, for example, outscore Norway and Switzerland in QHC. It means that these four countries are vastly better off — by four or five SDs — than national IQ alone would have predicted. The authors note that they are all island nations and popular tourist destinations. A huge influx of wealthy whites has been a great benefit to these countries.
Otherwise, the 34 countries with positive residuals of two or three SDs are the ones one would expect: advanced Western democracies and oil producers. Equatorial Guinea is two SDs better off than expected, not because it is a pleasant place to live — it is a pesthole — but because oil money has pushed it above the level at which its low national IQ would otherwise have kept it.
The countries with substantial negative residuals also show certain patterns. Many have fought civil wars, and many are former communist countries. Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen note that Muslim countries tend to end up among the underperformers because they do not educate women, and thus deny themselves the benefits of a more capable population. Also, they have generally kept out Christian missionaries, who educated the early leaders of many former colonies. Two countries — Singapore and Hong Kong — are in this group, not because they are miserable places but because they fall short of what is promised by very high average national IQs in the 105–110 range.
China has great potential in terms of IQ but has been held back by terrible government. From about 1000 to 1500 AD it was more advanced than Europe but it stagnated under imperial rule and suffered grievously under Communism. Now that its rulers have understood the importance of private initiative it is catching up quickly.
The table above has grouped the 192 countries of this study into regions so as to offer a racial comparison. The headings in the table repeat the five components of the Index of Quality of Human Conditions. N is the number of countries in the group or region, IQ is average IQ for the group, QHC is the Quality of Human Conditions score, PPP GNI is per capita gross national income expressed in dollars, Literates is the percentage of the adult population that can read, Tertiary Enrollment is the percentage of adults who have gone to college, LE is life expectancy, and ID is index of democratization.
The comparisons are instructive. Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen find that the Middle East and North Africa, with an ID of 6.0 is even less democratic than Sub-Saharan Africa with an ID of 7.7. Otherwise, back Africa is at the bottom on all counts. East Asia is clearly not meeting the potential that is suggested by a regional IQ that is almost 10 points higher than that of Europe and its offshoots.
The graph above plots the average IQs of the six regions set out in the previous table against Quality of Human Conditions. The results are not surprising, expect perhaps for the large positive residual for Latin America and the Caribbean, which are probably explained by tourist activity in the Caribbean and close American involvement in Latin America. Although the authors do not say so, the graph also explains the direction of mass immigration. People move out of areas with low QHC scores into white countries with high scores. They would be pouring into Korea and Japan if those countries would let them. If enough lower-IQ immigrants arrive they will, of course, lower the QHC scores of the receiving nations.
One interesting peripheral finding in this book is that IQ correlates better with life expectancy than with any other measure of well-being. High national income simply by itself does not seem to improve life expectancy. For example, oil producing countries may have high incomes but this does not mean their populations live any longer than would be expected based on national IQ.
In this connection, the authors note that in the year 1000, life expectancy at birth is thought to have been essentially the same everywhere in the world: about 24 years. By 1820, the regional variations were as great as they are today, though since the 19th century life expectancy has doubled everywhere.
Profs. Lynn and Vanhanen report a number of interesting parallels, one of which is the very strong correlation of 0.806 between national IQ and what is called the Monaco-Uganda index, or the shape of the population pyramid. Uganda is at one extreme, with a young population and a squat pyramid. Monaco is at the other, with a population “pyramid” that looks like a telephone pole: Each age group survives largely intact into old age, and each generation essentially replaces itself rather than reproduce frantically. The closer a country is to the Monaco model, the higher its national IQ is likely to be.
Another measure of national well-being can be constructed by asking people to rate themselves on various scales of how happy they are. The results, at least at the national level, have no correlation with IQ. The smartest populations are no more likely than the stupidest to say they are happy. There is a modest correlation between happiness and per capita income — extreme misery must make people unhappy — and a weak one with life expectancy.
The authors point out that if neither wealth nor intelligence are necessary for happiness, international development efforts may be misguided. It is hard, probably impossible, to drag most poor countries out of poverty. But if rich countries insist on believing it is their responsibility to help the poor, it may be possible to shore up whatever it is in poor countries that makes people happy.
No one will try this, however, because the people of rich white countries think everyone wants to be just like them: rich, urban, college educated, only moderately religious, sexually “liberated,” and committed consumers who have small families and representative government. An inability to imagine that anything else could be fulfilling is part of the unacknowledged arrogance of the West.
The Heart of the Question
As usual, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen have gone straight to the heart of a vitally important question. They have shown the folly of trying to implement development policies without regard to the limits set by national IQ. Nations, just like individuals, differ dramatically in their abilities, and in the kind of instruction from which they can profit.
The great obstacle these remarkable authors face is hysterical liberalism that refuses to recognize group differences in IQ. An American society that thinks — or at least pretends to think — that Congress can pass laws that will bring black test scores up to the white level is too deluded to understand why Africa is poor and Japan and Korea are rich. This book should have been published by a major New York house. Instead, it bears the imprint of a plucky but small regional publisher that does not have the muscle to get it widely reviewed or carried in book stores.
This book is mainly about the inability of the West to understand Third-World economies. At a deeper level, it is about the inability of the West even to understand itself.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Taylor at Clemson
On April 9, at the invitation of the Clemson Conservatives, AR editor Jared Taylor gave a talk on the subject of racial diversity to an audience of 125 at Clemson University. He spoke for about 40 minutes, and then spent nearly an hour answering questions. Students were clearly fascinated by a point of view they rarely hear. The audience, which was polite and even favorable, wrote questions on note cards, so there was no “anti-racist” filibustering. There were a few hostile questions, including one that referred to Mr. Taylor as an “arrogant, racist white man.” When Mr. Taylor replied that to call him a “racist” was mere name-calling and that name calling is the most pathetic way someone can admit he has lost the argument, there was a brisk round of applause.
The Campus Conservatives wanted to hold a debate on racial diversity, but even with the help of at least one other campus group they were unable to find anyone willing to defend the orthodox view. The local NAACP was one of the organizations that declined to debate, but this did not stop it from later complaining that the mere fact of giving Mr. Taylor an opportunity to speak was a disturbing example of “campus racism.”
In the school district of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, blacks are suspended at six times the white rate (45.9 per hundred students vs. 7.4 per hundred) and Hispanics are suspended at twice the white rate (17.2 per hundred). In North Carolina as a whole, the suspension rates for blacks and whites are 44 per 100, and 12 per 100.
For once, the difference isn’t being blamed on discrimination or “institutional racism.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools have “zero-tolerance” for violence, and Ralph Taylor, the district’s safety director (who is black) says blacks get most of the suspensions because they do most of the fighting. “We have a lot of kids who are involved in gang activity, and they bring that stuff to school and they get in trouble for it,” he explains. “I don’t think by any means that it’s somebody singling black kids out.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools hand out a lot of suspensions but very few expulsions. Last year, the district threw out just six students — five were black — out of nearly 124,000, and some officials want more. A mere six is “too low a number, I’ll tell you that,” says school board member Larry Gauvereau. [Ann Doss Helms, CMS Discipline Gap Widens, Charlotte Observer, April 5, 2007.]
Words of Wisdom
This is from a speech by Booker T. Washington after he received an honorary degree from Harvard in 1896:
“In the economy of God, there is but one standard by which an individual can succeed [and] there is but one for a race. This country demands that every race measure itself by the American standard. By it a race must rise or fall, succeed or fail, and in the last analysis mere sentiment counts for little. During the next half century and more, my race must continue passing through the severe American crucible. We are to be tested in our patience, our forbearance, our perseverance, our power to endure wrong, to withstand temptations, to economize, to acquire and use skill; our ability to compete, to succeed in commerce, to disregard the superficial for the real, the appearance for the substance, to be great and yet small, learned and yet simple, high and yet the servant of all. This, this is the passport to all that is best in the life of our Republic, and the Negro must possess it or be debarred.”
Rodney Jean-Jacques is a Philadelphia fireman and aspiring “rapper.” In 2005, he came up with a rap on fire safety. The fire department liked it, and it was broadcast during a Philadelphia-Dallas football game. Mr. Jean-Jacques’ latest effort is less civic-minded. “I gotta surprise for them cops,” he chants to the sound of gunfire. “I hope the news is taping this, cause I’m gonna turn pigs into bacon bits.”
Bob Eddis of the Philadelphia branch of the Fraternal Order of Police calls the song a “disgrace” and says Mr. Jean-Jacques must apologize or be fired: “He is a city employee and he should be held accountable for making these statements.” The city put Mr. Jean-Jacques on administrative leave while it investigates. [Philadelphia Police Outraged Over Firefighter Rappers Lyrics, AP, April 17, 2007. Robert Moran, Firefighter Who Called Police ‘Pigs’ in Rap is Put on Leave, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 2007.]
Sue Carol Browning is a judge in western Kentucky who takes illegal immigration seriously, once ordering illegal immigrants appearing before her to leave Kentucky within 72 hours as a condition of probation. Last summer, Judge Browning ordered police to arrest Hispanics pulled over in traffic stops who failed to present any identification. She then ordered them held without bail while federal authorities investigated their status. This led to a complaint against her by Paul Witte, a pastoral associate for St. Susan Catholic Church in Elkton, Kentucky, who works with the “undocumented” community. “She was being very harsh in her treatment of them,” he says.
On April 19, the state Judicial Conduct Commission found Judge Browning guilty of violating judicial ethics by denying bail, and suspended her without pay for 15 days. Although the commission found no evidence of “racism,” it said she “created an impression” that she had “a racial prejudice or bias” against Hispanics.
Judge Browning is not fighting the suspension but says she locked the Hispanics up because she didn’t know their legal status or criminal history, and had seen them in her courtroom again and again, under different names. [Brett Barrouquere, Judge Suspended for Jailing Immigrants Without Bail, AP, April 19, 2007.]
National Felons League
Since the beginning of 2006, 41 National Football League (NFL) players have been arrested — some several times — for anything from drunk driving to aggravated assault (see photos, facing pagee). Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Jones is serving a four-month sentence on weapons charges and had to get special permission from a judge to play in the Super Bowl. Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has been arrested five times and questioned by police five more times since joining the league in 2005. He faces a felony charge for starting a brawl at a Las Vegas strip club in February that led to a triple shooting. He is also charged with obstruction of justice in Georgia. His college roommate, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, has been arrested four times in three states in 14 months. The most serious charge is aggravated assault with a firearm.
The NFL’s former policy outlawed criminal behavior but did not permit fines or suspension until a player was convicted. The team itself can always fire a trouble-maker, as the New England Patriots did when tackle Kenyatta Jones poured scalding water on a teammate, but managers don’t want to release a star player with a multi-year, multi-million dollar guaranteed contract.
Recent high-profile NFL arrests prompted Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the rules. There are now larger fines and longer suspensions, and players who are arrested repeatedly may be punished without a conviction. Teams themselves can be punished if they have repeat offenders on their rosters. Mr. Goodell applied the rules right away, suspending Chris Henry for eight games and “Pacman” Jones for the entire season. [Jarrett Bell, NFL Will Confront Discipline Issue, Unveil New Policy Within Days, USA Today, April 9, 2007. Tom Weir, New NFL Policy Has Teams Trying to Avoid ‘Bad Apple,’ USA Today, April 19, 2007.]
Defending the Faith
In Malaysia there is so much interest in the supernatural that a museum in the southern state of Negeri Sembilan put on an exhibit of ghosts, ghouls, and creatures from local legends. The display included a vampire carcass and a phoenix, and drew more than 25,000 visitors since opening on March 10, but the state government will now close it down. The reason? It offends Muslims. The National Fatwa Council ruled that the exhibit could “undermine” Muslim faith. Council Chairman Abdul Shukor Husin says, “We don’t want to promote a belief in tahyul (supernatural) and khurafat (superstition) which we do not know about.”
About 60 percent of Malaysia’s 26 million people are Muslims, and are subject to all Fatwa Council edicts whether or not they are within national law. [Ghost Museum Closes After Muslims Complain It’s Detrimental to Faith, AP, April 14, 2007.]
Australia and the United States have agreed on a particularly stupid way to discourage Third-World refugees from arriving by boat: They will exchange them. Any Haitians who manage to get to the United States will be sent Down Under and any Iraqis who make it to Australia will get to come here. Bureaucrats in both countries seem to think that the prospect of ending up in a different hemisphere will make people stay home. The plan covers only legitimate refugees.
The Australian Labor Party’s immigration spokesman, Tony Burke, sees through this silliness: “If you are in one of the refugee camps around the world, there is no more attractive destination than to think you can get a ticket to the USA. What Prime Minister John Howard is doing is saying to the people around the world, if you want to get to the US, the way to it is to hop a boat and go to Christmas Island (a remote Australian territory).”
A better policy would be for the US to adopt Australia’s methods. It intercepts boat people at sea and plonks them on the Pacific Island of Nauru, where they may sit for years. Since it started doing this in 2001, Australia has had only a trickle of boat people. When word gets out about the new deal with the US, the trickle will become a torrent. The first people likely to be swapped are 83 Sri Lankan and eight Burmese who will have to say good by to their home in Nauru and come to the US. [Kathy Marks, Australia and US Sign Pact to Swap Refugees, Independent (London), April 19, 2007.]
Here They Come!
Thousands of Hutu from Burundi have been living in camps in Tanzania since 1972, when the Tutsi drove them out of the country. Tutsi and Hutu went on to slaughter an estimated one million of each other in 1994. The US government now plans to invite up to 9,000 of these homeless Hutu to America. The first 3,000 should arrive by the end of September, with another 5,000 in fiscal 2008. “They will resettle all over the country,” says Deborah Stein, a program manager for New York-based Episcopal Migration Ministries. She says cities are chosen according to whether they can handle the refugees’ “needs,” which are considerable. The Burundians have been living in primitive camps for more than 30 years. Most have no more than a grade school education, and many are illiterate.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of the lucky cities. It can count on at least 70 Burundians, according to Anne Curtis of Bridge Refugee and Sponsorship Services. Since 1996, her agency has resettled 600 refugees from Bosnia, Vietnam, Cuba, Liberia, Sudan, and other countries — all in Chattanooga. [Karina Gonzales, Help Sought to Resettle Refugees Here, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, April 16, 2007.]
Maybe the Aussies would like a few Burundians.
Two years ago, the British government announced that police forces in England and Wales must be four percent non-white, but the police have fallen short: they are only 3.7 percent non-white. This year the government has raised the goal for 2009 to seven percent, a figure it says is “demanding but realistic.” The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) says that under current employment law that goal cannot be met until 2020 at the earliest. The solution? Police chiefs want to change the law to allow quotas and blatant anti-white discrimination. As Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Cheshire explains, “If there is no change in the law, politicians, media and the public will have to accept that the goal of a representative workforce will take many more years than they might wish.”
Trevor Phillips, the inveterately anti-white head of the Commission for Racial Equality, opposes quotas but only because, as a spokesman says, “these forms of reverse discrimination could actually increase community tensions, rather than ease them.” The anti-racism sleuths claim quotas and preferences are not needed; if the police would only overcome their racism they could attract plenty of non-white officers.
The Conservative Party sounds just like the Commission for Racial Equality. Nick Herbert, shadow police minister, agrees that “greater efforts need to be made to encourage black and ethnic minorities to join the police,” but that preferences are not the answer, since they would be “divisive and counter-productive, potentially increasing racial tension.” Not even the conservatives are prepared to say that racial preferences are unfair to whites. [Nigel Morris, Row Over Quotas for Black and Asian Police Officers, Independent (London), April 20, 2007.]
Death in Haiti
Thousands of people die of AIDS and murder every year in Haiti, and the number of corpses is driving up the cost of funerals. The average burial now costs $540, more than most Haitians earn in a year. Deforestation makes wooden coffins unaffordable for most families, and has led to a market for second-hand coffins. Grave robbers are only too happy to supply them. Many bereaved now smash coffins to keep them from being plundered and recycled. Others make coffins out of papier-mâchÉ.
If someone does not die at home but ends up at a morgue, relatives have to pay to pick up the body. The cost runs from $27 for bodies the police or hospital staff dropped off to $47 for bodies morgue workers had to pick up off the street. This is too much for the average family, so most bodies go unclaimed and are dumped in mass graves.
The free market works even in Haiti. A professional funeral now costs so much that a new industry has sprung up — freelance undertaking. “Sometimes you can see the economic situation of the person and you can negotiate a lower price,” says self-styled “undertaker” Carl Fanfan. “I’m human, too, so it affects me when people want to bury a relative but can’t pay.” [Stevenson Jacobs, In Haiti, Burying the Dead is a Luxury, AP, April 19, 2007.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Jared Taylor’s thoughtful and intelligent review of Shots Fired: Sam Francis on America’s Culture War (see “An Old Friend Speaks,” AR, March 2007), will no doubt help immensely to perpetuate Sam’s influence.
To ensure that influence continues, I would like to correct one aspect of the review that I believe mischaracterized Sam’s thinking on elite behavior. “Sam was inclined,” Mr. Taylor wrote, “to think globalists and liberals knew very well what damage they were doing their country and race and reveled in it.” He then expressed his own disagreement with that assessment, adding that he believed “vanity, self-deception, incompetence and just plain selfishness” were better explanations than malevolence.
I think the review missed the broader, central argument of the critique Sam explored in much of his writing. Sam believed (based on the work of James Burnham and others) that America had undergone a social and political revolution in which a new managerial elite emerged as the country’s ruling class. This new elite is waging war inside the US against the economic, social, cultural and political institutions and customs that sustained the older bourgeois, pre-managerial elite, whose values Sam believed had been absorbed by America’s broad white middle classes. Sam believed the new elite imposes its new ideology by undermining and subverting old bourgeois customs and values at every turn.
This attack on the habits, values, customs, and remnant institutions of the old, white American elite constituted the threat Sam saw facing whites today. The new elite perceives the old ways and values as “racist” and reactionary, and inimical to its interests. The elite’s new values include multiculturalism, multi-racial cosmopolitanism and globalism, to be smuggled into popular acceptance as “diversity.” Sam did not believe the attack on whites was motivated simply by malevolence (although that may well be a component in the motive of some forces allied with the new elite). Rather, he believed that a profound, culture-wide social and economic process was at work undermining US sovereignty and American white identity.
Given the racial nature of the attack, Sam believed the only possible successful resistance lay in the development of a white racial self-consciousness.
Jerry Woodruff, Middle American News, Raleigh, N. C.
Sir — “Hispanic Consciousness, Part I” in the April issue is, in equal parts, degrading and disgusting. It’s degrading to realize that a once-great nation could sink to this level, and disgusting that we’re allowing ourselves to be taken over. We’ve brought this calamity on ourselves with our obsession with “diversity” and “multiculturalism.”
For Mexicans, America is not a country, but a playground, a sort of cultural casino where taking a relatively small risk (border jumping) stands a good chance of paying out a jackpot in the form of jobs, welfare, medical care, education, and a “path to citizenship.” If there are a few bumps along the way like deportation, so what? Mexicans can always sue us over the slightest offense, and the odds of winning are again pretty good.
You have to wonder what is going on. In Europe, fanatical Muslims call the tune. In the UK, traditional hot-cross buns are frowned upon for fear of offending non-Christians. When absurdities like these occur with alarming frequency, it certainly seems like the end-of-the-world preachers are on to something.
O.M. Ostlund, Jr,. Altoona, Penn.
Sir — By coincidence, I was reading Jared Taylor’s “Hispanic Racial Consciousness, Part II” in the May issue on the same day Hispanic activists were holding pro-immigration rallies. It boggles the mind that they can parade without fear of deportation while their leaders openly plot “Reconquista.”
I learned recently that Sen. Hillary Clinton named Raul Yzaguirre, formerly president of the National Council of La Raza, as her 2008 presidential campaign co-chairman. I wonder if the media will ask Sen. Clinton whether her co-chairman wants the southwestern United States given to Mexico or turned into in independent Republica del Norte?
George Monroe, Chillicothe, Ohio
Sir — Your March issue was tops. The report on Jean-Marie Le Pen (“The National Front: Going Soft or Getting Wise?” by Frédéric Legrand) was illuminating. I had always considered the National Front a bunch of racist rabble-rousers, but now I know they are patriotic nationalists. I would appreciate more articles like this — AR offers information entirely absent from the mainstream media. The “Conversation with Alain Soral” allowed glimpses into French politics unavailable elsewhere.
Robert Briggs, Sarasota, Fla.
Sir — I’m pleased AR has finally given black author Shelby Steele some of the credit he deserves (see “To the Edge of the Precipice,” May 2007). He is one of those rare mainstream authors who almost never hits a wrong note on race — which is why he is almost completely unknown. I wonder, though, whether your reviewer is right to say Mr. Steele believes whites must not have racial consciousness. Whatever he may feel compelled to say in public, I suspect he is too fair-minded really to believe whites have no right to interests as a race.
Karl Frederick, Baton Rouge, La.
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