|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 22, No. 9||September 2011|
The American way of crushing free speech.
Good government and a healthy society require the free exchange of ideas. That is why throttling it is the first priority of bigots and tyrants; their schemes depend on the suppression of truth. The purpose of the First Amendment, therefore, is to ensure that people of all views, no matter how disconcerting, have the right to be heard. It is through argument and explanation — by competing in the marketplace of ideas — that the truth is supposed to prevail.
This is why we all claim to revere the First Amendment, but for many Americans this is a sham. Most do not really care about freedom of speech. Even if they do not actively try to silence their opponents they are not much bothered when others do the work for them. They care about freedom of speech only for themselves and their friends.
How else do we explain the existence in this country of wealthy, powerful — respected — organizations whose job is to throttle debate? They do not try to refute views they oppose; they try to silence them. They even attack the livelihoods of people who say things they don’t want to hear. If Americans really believed in free speech, they would despise these organizations.
|How else do we explain the existence in this country of wealthy, powerful — respected — organizations whose job is to throttle debate?|
I am writing, of course, of groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and of smaller ones that even use threats of force to silence opponents. Despite their blather about “tolerance” and “diversity,” they cannot tolerate dissent, and they hate real diversity of views. They fear free speech because they fear the power of ideas they cannot refute.
There are many ideas these groups try to suppress, but let us take just one: that it is natural and right for whites to prefer the company of other whites. In the past, virtually all Americans accepted this without question, and even today the overwhelming majority silently endorses this preference through its choice of schools, neighborhoods, churches, friends, and spouses. White flight and self-segregation are almost as widespread as ever, but the apostles of tolerance can’t stand it when someone points out that this is because it is natural and healthy.
Of all these groups, the SPLC tries hardest to ensure that no one ever publicly expresses this idea. It never explains why it would be natural and healthy for whites to prefer the company of non-whites. Instead, it devotes millions of dollars to keeping dissidents off radio and television, out of the print media, and invisible to the public. Its role is like that of communist or fascist censors: to snuff out and punish criticism of the reigning ideology. Who would have imagined that such an organization could prosper in America?
The organizations that hate the principles behind the First Amendment then have the gall to claim that anyone who disagrees with them is a “hater.” Anyone who thinks whites deserve countries and communities in which they are the majority is a “hater.” Anyone who concludes from the evidence that genes explain why the average Japanese is smarter than the average Haitian is a “hater.” Anyone who notices that diversity weakens a country is a “hater.” Anyone who thinks masses of Third-World immigrants are not helpful for America and should stay home is a “hater.”
The purpose of all this hate-talk is to try to persuade Americans that anyone who takes these positions is a moral inferior — probably unhinged — and should be ignored. The SPLC makes an annual tally of American “hate groups” — many of them nothing more than PO boxes — and issues ominous warnings if it detects more “hate” than the year before.
For years, I have been one of the SPLC’s “haters.” If it learns that I have been on a radio or television program, it calls the producers to berate them. If it learns I am to speak at a university or civic group, it contacts the organizers to tell them I should be denied a podium. It never argues that my facts are wrong or that my conclusions are illogical. It never offers opposing views in an open debate; that would run counter to its mission of suppression. It simply wants to gag me. And I am just one of scores of people the SPLC favors with personal attention of this kind.
The great irony is that I and others who express similar views are a tiny voice of dissent in the face of monolithic orthodoxy. All the pillars of American society agree that diversity is strength, that race doesn’t matter, that everyone is equal, and that whites have no group interests. Since everyone agrees that we dissenters are wrong, it should be child’s play to refute what we say. We shouldn’t even have to be refuted. Our opponents should be pleased when we reach larger audiences, since it should be obvious to anyone that we are talking “hateful” nonsense.
Why, then, does the SPLC go to such lengths to silence someone like me? There can be only two reasons. One is that the SPLC knows I am right but hates the truth and wants to suppress it. This cannot be completely ruled out, since most of what I say is obviously true, and the rest is overwhelmingly plausible. Anyone who hated whites and hated America might agree that diversity is a weakness, but want to weaken America by promoting it. Since I oppose those things I must be silenced.
The second, more likely reason is that the SPLC thinks I am wrong but thinks white Americans are such boneheads that I will trick them into agreeing with me. Or that whites have been so recently rescued from frothing white supremacy, so loosely tamed by orthodoxy that at the merest hint from me they will start baying for blood.
Either explanation for SPLC behavior is based on hatred, contempt, or fear of whites. If what I say is right, I must be suppressed because the SPLC hates whites and wants to hurt them. If what I say is wrong I must be suppressed because whites are either hopeless dolts or a huge, potential lynch mob waiting for the slightest provocation.
You would think any organization would be ashamed to show such contempt for Americans. You would think the rest of the country would scorn it, and that it would wither and die — but no. These groups are bursting with money, and most of the media dutifully report it when the SPLC or the ADL thinks thus-and-such a person is a “hate-monger” and should be shunned. The media must share the SPLC’s disdain for Americans and for freedom of speech, and believe whites are so stupid and vicious they must be protected from hearing from the likes of me.
Of course, the Left still sheds tears over the “victims of McCarthyism” and can think of few things more shameful in post-war America than the Hollywood blacklist. How could a free country have persecuted people merely because of their politics? The vileness of it! And yet these same tactics become irresistible to the SPLC, ADL, and similar groups when they find themselves with the power to persecute.
Keeping people out of the public eye is not enough for the apostles of tolerance and diversity. The SPLC tries to have “haters” fired from their jobs. This goes beyond suppression of dissident views. Trying to ruin someone financially is not “politics” or “advocacy,” however thuggish. The SPLC wants to hurt people.
A good example of this was the 2005 SPLC attack on Kevin Lamb, who was the managing editor of the allegedly conservative Human Events for nearly three years. Entirely in his free time, he edited The Occidental Quarterly, which publishes articles the SPLC doesn’t like.
An SPLC employee called up the management of Human Events to complain that Mr. Lamb was a “white supremacist,” and Mr. Lamb was fired that day. “Three years of collegial respect simply vanished instantaneously over accusations that were never questioned,” he says.
In 2003, another man lost a public relations job at the English-language advocacy organization, US English, when the SPLC called to complain that he had written for dissident publications, including American Renaissance.
Kevin MacDonald is a professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach, who has written about Jewish influence and behavior in ways that displease the SPLC. It called him one of the “13 worst people in America” and “the scariest academic” in the whole country. When this wasn’t enough to get him silenced, in 2006 the SPLC sent an employee all the way to the Long Beach campus to try to stir up trouble and get Prof. MacDonald fired. He still has a job only because of tenure, a system set up to protect unpopular views from the whimsy of university bureaucrats.
This year, the SPLC launched a similar attack on me. Since I am not part of an organization like theirs, with $216,000,000 in the bank and $400,000-a-year salaries, I sometimes work as an interpreter of Japanese. For more than 10 years, a US State Department website has advertised my services. The SPLC recently found out about this and warned the department that I was a vicious “hater,” and that it should take my name off its website.
Interpreting Japanese does not help spread one word of whatever “hate” the SPLC thinks I serve up. It helps feed my family. Nothing more. The SPLC wants to starve my family, just as it wanted to starve Kevin Lamb, Kevin MacDonald, and others it attacks. This is not principled disagreement or political debate. It is pure aggression.
I cannot fathom the mentality of people who want to starve me and my family because they don’t like what I say, but we have seen plenty of their kind. They filled the ranks of the KGB and the Gestapo. Theirs is the mentality that leads to single-party rule, to reeducation camps, and to bullets in the back of the head. These people have learned nothing from the last 100 years. It’s a pity they missed their true calling as agents of the East German secret police.
Every society has a few contemptible people, but healthy societies hold them in contempt. Instead of the scorn it deserves, the SPLC is taken seriously by newspapers, politicians, and even “conservative” organizations. What a mockery this makes of American pretentions to freedom and fair play.
The SPLC calls me a “hater” and wants to take the bread out of the mouths of my children. Who are the real haters?
What Would you Expect From These People?
Founded in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center has parlayed wild, direct-mail threats of “racism” and “xenophobia” into hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. The Direct Marketing Association knew what it was doing when it inducted its founder, Morris Dees, into its Hall of Fame in 1998. The SPLC is now based in a sparkling, six-story, bomb-proof headquarters its critics call “the poverty palace.”
Mr. Dees always wanted to be rich. Millard Fuller, his first business partner, says that when they started out, “Morris and I . . . shared the overriding purpose of making a lot of money. We were not particular about how we did it . . . .”
Mr. Dees found that fighting “hate” could make him rich. In 1978, the money was rolling in so fast that he promised that when the SPLC accumulated a nest egg of $50 million, it would stop spending money on fund raising and would live off its capital. When it had tucked away $55 million, however, Mr. Dees decided it would take $100 million for him to feel comfortable.
According to the center’s latest tax filings it is now sitting on over $200 million, but it is still raising money as hard as ever. Last year, it spent $5.76 million scaring yet more cash out of people, twice as much as it spent on what was supposed to be its main purpose: paying for legal services for alleged victims of civil rights abuses. The bodies of the victims of the Norway mass killing in July were barely cold before Mr. Dees was using the massacre to grub for donations. Nothing beats churning out dire warnings about the rise of fascism and white supremacy that only a fat check for the SPLC can quell.
Even the center’s own employees are dismayed by its greasy obsession with money. Once the center’s entire legal staff resigned because Mr. Dees kept shrieking about “racism” rather than work on things the lawyers thought were important for blacks: homelessness, voter registration, and preference programs. The libertarian magazine Reason has written that “the Southern Poverty Law Center would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds.”
In 1994, the SPLC’s hometown paper, the Montgomery Advertiser, published an investigative series on the center’s deceptive fund raising, and learned that 12 of 13 current and former black employees complained of discrimination. That same year, when Mr. Dees was asked if he needed an affirmative action program to get a little more diversity in management, he made a surprising admission: “Probably the most discriminated people in America today are white men when it comes to jobs.”
Laird Wilcox, who has long been an observer of political fringes, both right and left, argues that if the SPLC really cared about racial violence, it would target criminal gangs. Hispanics in particular are notorious for driving blacks out of their territory, sometimes killing them at random, but the SPLC is more worried about white people who study racial differences in IQ.
Mr. Wilcox says this about the center:
“It has specialized in a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation, a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.”
Plenty of people now see through this gang of frauds, but it has enough money to do mischief for years.
Peter Godwin, Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, Grove Press, 1996; 418 pp., $14.00.
Peter Godwin, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa, Little, Brown, & Co., 2007, 341 pp., $14.99.
Douglas Rogers, The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa, Three Rivers Press, 2009, 317 pp., $14.00.
Tales of survival from Zimbabwe.
Taken together, these three memoirs written by two white Africans, both natives of the country now called Zimbabwe, provide a haunting picture of an Arcadian idyll destroyed by a band of thugs led by a tyrant named Robert Mugabe. They offer many lessons.
|The city’s street signs had disappeared because people stole them to sell as scrap metal.|
Both authors are émigrés who now live in New York City. They were born just ten years apart — Mr. Godwin in 1957, Mr. Rogers in 1968 — but grew up in very different eras. Mr. Godwin was a boy during the mostly peaceful 1960s; Mr. Rogers during the violent 1970s. Both were raised in the Eastern Highlands, a place Mr. Godwin calls one of the most beautiful in all of Africa. Mr. Godwin’s parents were English, and emigrated to Rhodesia after the Second World War. By contrast, Mr. Rogers’s parents had deep roots in Africa. Rhodesia was home to the parents of both men, and all four were determined to stay.
Peter Godwin fought in the Bush War, the 15-year counter-insurgency against black nationalists supported by neighboring Mozambique and several Communist countries. At one time he led a platoon of the Rhodesian African Rifles, black troops with white officers. He attended Cambridge University and returned to Rhodesia as a foreign correspondent for the London Sunday Times just after the end of white rule in 1980.
Mr. Godwin single-handedly broke the story of the massacres in southwestern Zimbabwe in 1982-83. President Robert Mugabe, a member of the Mashona tribe, had sent his North Korean-trained elite Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland in the southeastern part of the country to terrorize the Ndebele people, who were of the same tribe as his political rival, Joshua Nkomo. Mr. Godwin found clear evidence of gang rape, torture, and mass murder of as many as 30,000 Ndebele. After his articles appeared, he had to flee the country, and this is where his first volume of memoirs ends.
|The Eastern Highlands of Rhodesia|
Mr. Godwin’s account of his early boyhood reminded me of stories from my father about growing up in the American South during the 1940s and early ’50s. There was no crime to speak of, and race relations were close and harmonious. The white community was tight-knit and supportive, and everyone seemed to know everyone else. Minority status served to create a powerful social bond. There was no unemployment, and every adult worked.
The climate, the flora, and the fauna were, of course, different from the American South. The days were hot, with a blazing sun, but the nights were cool. The reason was altitude. Much of Rhodesia, including the capital city Salisbury and nearly all the white farming areas, was three- to five-thousand feet above sea level. For a boy, Rhodesia was paradise — day after day of glorious sunshine, exotic animals, a wilderness to explore, and very little adult supervision. The nights were black and filled with stars. There were dangerous animals, but children were taught about them and were soon self-reliant.
Mr. Godwin and his family used to vacation in neighboring Mozambique, and young Peter met some of the Portuguese troops who were fighting the insurgency that ended in 1975. The soldiers were mostly young conscripts, and very nervous about being in Africa. “Pedro, Pedro,” they would say, “tell us about Africa, tell us about the bush.” He would warn them of how protective lionesses were of their cubs, of stealthy crocodiles lurking in shallow water, of raging hippos with foot-long front teeth, poisonous puff adders, spitting cobras, and diseases like malaria and bilharzia. He explained that if they took precautions and paid attention, they would be fine. Instead, he terrified them, and their commanding officer complained to young Peter’s father that the green troops now all wanted to desert.
Mr. Godwin’s second volume of memoirs is about that very different country — Zimbabwe — that Rhodesia turned into after black rule began in 1979. Mr. Godwin traveled to Zimbabwe in July 1996 to help care for his aging parents, and came back often until his father’s death in 2004. He therefore witnessed the confiscation program that ran from 2000 through 2006 and that drove nearly every white farmer off the land.
Truckloads of machete-bearing, club-wielding thugs would drive onto the farms in military vehicles, singing songs or shouting political slogans. They would jump out and order the white farm families and black farm workers off the property. Many claimed — often falsely — to be wovits (short for “war vets”), and thus entitled to the land because they had fought in the insurgency that ended white rule. Those who were obviously too young to be wovits claimed to be members of the youth militia. Wovit commanders gave themselves names like Hitler Hunzvi, Stalin Mao Mao, and Comrade Satan.
Most white families fled in terror at the arrival of these mobs, leaving behind not only furniture and household goods but photo albums, family heirlooms, personal papers, and even passports and birth certificates. Farmers who resisted were beaten, and a few were killed. The blacks who worked the property — often hundreds of people, including dependents — were turned out to scavenge or starve.
Although Mr. Mugabe promised to distribute “liberated” farms to the people, most went to high-ranking members of the ruling party: generals, judges, diplomats, even bishops, none of whom knew how to farm or wanted to learn. On a visit to such a farm, Mr. Godwin watched the new owner, a certain Major Kanouruka, sitting on his veranda, barbecuing meat and draining a bottle of Glen Fiddich. Mr. Godwin noted that:
The fifty acres of citrus trees are wilting and will soon die. The irrigation piping on which they depend has been dug up and sold by the major’s boys. The greenhouses are nothing now but torn skeins of plastic that flap in the stiff breeze against their exposed wooden ribs. . . . The swimming pool is dark with rotting leaves. The clay tennis court has sprouted a quiff of elephant grass. Goats nibble at the lawn, and the flower beds are rapidly returning to bush.
The major also confiscated the farm’s bakery and meat business, sold off its flour and beef, leaving hundreds more black workers without jobs.
Mr. Mugabe explained the expropriations: “If white settlers just took the land from us without paying for it, we can in a similar way just take it from them without paying for it.” However, this reasoning was wrong. Mr. Godwin points out that in 2000, “78 percent of white farmers were on property they had purchased after independence,” that is to say, after the establishment of black rule. This meant that not only did they not steal the land, they had legal title to it under Zimbabwean law.
The British had funded a voluntary land redistribution program that began in 1980, and many whites sold their land to the government. By 2000, 40 percent of the land whites had owned in 1980 had been transferred to new owners. Whites could buy land from the government if there were no black buyers, or from the new owners, and many did so, thus establishing title. Some white farmers therefore actually took the wovits to court, and a few brave judges ruled in their favor — only to find themselves subject to the same violence and intimidation the farmers faced.
The consequence of hundreds of confiscations was the collapse of the agricultural sector, a pillar of the economy and the chief source of foreign exchange. Zimbabwe’s white farmers had fed much of southern Africa, employed two million black farm workers, and built and maintained much of the rural infrastructure of clinics and schools. The government destroyed all this and built nothing to replace it. By 2006, unemployment was at 80 percent, and Zimbabwe was suffering chronic food shortages.
The city rots
When Mr. Godwin started visiting his parents again, they were living in the capital, Harare (known as Salisbury under white rule). Mr. Godwin was amazed at the physical deterioration of the city, but things got worse with each visit: food and fuel shortages, bread lines, power outages, hyper-inflation, and increasing crime. On one trip, he found that the city’s street signs had disappeared because people stole them to sell as scrap metal. On another visit, he learned that his father had been carjacked and beaten in his own driveway. His parents suspected off-duty policemen or even soldiers. His father recovered physically, but was never the same, psychologically. Inflation wiped out his father’s bank account, life insurance policy, Zimbabwean bonds, and his mother’s government pension (she was a doctor, his father an engineer). Mr. Godwin had to find fuel and food for them on the black market.
On another visit, he went to his older sister’s grave to lay flowers, and found that a nearby township had overflowed into the cemetery. There were footpaths between the graves, patches of cultivated corn, and a rank, open-air latrine. Squatters had torn off the brass plaques that identified the tombs that held cremated remains. Some blacks had even broken into the tombs to steal the ash urns to use as cooking pots. The plaque on Mr. Godwin’s sister’s tomb was missing, so he could not find it. After returning from the cemetery office with the tomb number, he found that a woman working on a garden plot nearby had just defecated at the foot of his sister’s grave. He cursed and the women laughed. “The whole way of death is collapsing, just like the way of life,” he wrote angrily. Mr. Godwin’s second volume ends with his father’s cremation. A year or so later, his mother moved back to England to live with Mr. Godwin’s younger sister.
Most whites who can afford to have fled. From a peak population in 1970 of about 270,000 (some estimates are larger) the white population fell to fewer than 50,000 in 2002, and to not even 30,000 holdouts by the end of the decade.
The Saga of Drifters
Douglas Rogers’s book complements Mr. Godwin’s, as it describes his parents’ struggles to survive in rural Zimbabwe. His father was a non-practicing lawyer, who bought a 730-acre hill-top spread in the Eastern Highlands in 1990, that is to say, a decade after the beginning of black rule. His father’s life savings went into buying antelope, elands, impala, kudu, and bushbuck to stock a private game park. He also built a lodge, with magnificent views of mountains formed of granite:
A handsome two-story timber and brick structure with a cathedral spire of a thatched roof, it had an open-plan restaurant and bar on the top floor and sweeping saligna wood decks out front and back. The front deck overlooked a ceiling of acacia trees and the lush farms in the valley below. On the ground floor were a kitchen, rows of bunk beds for backpackers, and an art gallery; on newly planted lawns surrounding the lodge were a campsite and a dozen thatched chalets modeled on African huts, all set around a gleaming swimming pool that glowed luminous blue at night under the valley moon.
Known as Drifters, the game park prospered. It attracted young hikers and adventurers from around the world. It also became a regular hangout for the white farmers in the valley and for residents of the nearby town of Mutare.
Everything changed after the farm invasions began in 2000. The reign of terror scared away the travelers, and wovits confiscated all the white farms in the area. The new black owners living near Drifters cut down its fences to sell for scrap, shot and ate the game animals, and robbed his chalets of televisions, bedding, and furniture.
In 2005, a law cancelled the deeds to all farms, and the senior Mr. Rogers learned he had lost title to his property. He thought Drifters was exempt because it was not a farm, but when he went to the Registrar of Deeds he found that his deed was stamped: “This property now vests in the President of Zimbabwe.” That meant that any day some official could show up at the front door, and order the family off its property.
How Rogers’s parents managed to hold on to their land and start earning money from it furnishes much of the interest of the story. The key to survival was to stay on good terms with the local blacks. Mr. Rogers’s father wisely agreed to let an enterprising and intelligent black man with important government connections manage Drifters. This young man wangled enough liquor to restock the bar, and found fresh linens for the cottages and food for the restaurant. He then started renting out the cottages as love nests where generals, members of parliament, officials, and businessmen could take their mistresses.
Because Drifters was one of the few places in the country with a supply of cold beer, it became a popular, profitable watering-hole. Later in the decade, after diamond fields were discovered, diamond smugglers would meet and stay there. They were loaded with hard currency, and Drifters made more money than ever before.
Finally both Mr. Rogers and his son continued to cultivate good relationships with two key political figures: a local ZANU-PF official, and a decorated war veteran with connections to President Mugabe. The wovit promised to protect the family, and the ZANU-PF official, who had the power to take their ranch at any time, let them stay.
At the time the book appeared, the family was still managing Drifters!
Lessons for Whites
There is a saying common among Africans: “The worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the white man. And the second worst was his departure.” Zimbabwe is a dramatic example: In Rhodesia in 1980, the year white rule ended, life expectancy was 57 years. In 2004, it had fallen to 34. Per capita income fell by half during the same period. Unemployment is now 80 percent.
When Peter Godwin was flying into Harare in April 2000, he sat next to an affable Congolese businessman who confessed to him, unbidden: “Africans can’t do governments. We are useless at it, disorganized. And our institutions never work . . . .”
Mr. Godwin is, himself, a chastened liberal. In 1980 and 1981, he shared the common hope that majority black rule, with the government’s policy of “reconciliation between races and between tribes,” would “help create a multi-racial society that would be the envy of Africa.” He “reveled in that brief and liberating period of social anarchy that marked the change between societies,” and “loved the bizarre mix of people” who came to the new Zimbabwe: “the Scandinavian sandal brigade and the Third World groupies, the sudden flood of communist diplomats.” Bob Marley, Paul Simon, and Michael Jackson came to Harare, and Mr. Godwin heard them sing the song of the new Africa. The singing did not last. “In 1982, less than two years after independence, the thin membrane of the tribal alliance ripped apart, just as the white doomsayers had eagerly warned it would,” he writes, and the Shona-Ndebele massacres began.
Mr. Godwin notes the futility of western aid projects, and describes the “life cycle of the First-World aid worker,” in which initial enthusiasm gives way to “messianism,” followed by disillusion and despair. He notes the perverse effects of western medicine: overpopulation in a continent that used to be underpopulated. He wonders if it might not have been better to leave Africa entirely to itself: “The whole idea of progress is a paradox, a rocking horse that goes forward and back, forward and back, but stays in the same place, giving only the comforting illusion of motion.”
He even begins to glimpse the truth when he writes of “a shiver of negative epiphany that we will never truly surmount race here.” On a visit to Cape Town, he realizes that this far, southwestern corner of Africa has a Southern European climate and doesn’t “feel like part of Africa.” He adds:
It sometimes feels to me as though Cape Town might also serve as the white man’s last redoubt where our vanguard will hold back the onslaught . . . while our women and children board lifeboats out to the tall ships waiting in False Bay . . . [to take] us back to England and Holland and France and Germany, or . . . North America and the Antipodes.
That he would write this sentence shows how the experience of being a vulnerable minority has kindled a sense of racial consciousness in this brave Anglo-African.
Whites everywhere naively assume that if non-whites become the majority they will stick to the non-discriminatory, “we are all the same,” rhetoric that whites believe. Zimbabwe teaches us that they may do the very opposite, and practice the most brutal forms of dispossession.
Mr. Sims is an historian and a native of Kentucky.
Aleksandra Cimpric, Children Accused of Witchcraft: an Anthropological Study of Contemporary Practices in Africa, UNICEF, April 2010, 57 pp., PDF download from Unicef.org.
Witchcraft on the rise in Africa.
Westerners tend to think that African witchcraft is a peasant phenomenon that is gradually fading away as Africa modernizes. Not so. If anything, belief in magic is on the rise, and is certainly not limited to the countryside. Aleksandra Cimpric has written a report on sorcery for UNICEF that draws on extensive research, and on her four years of experience in the Central African Republic. She finds that the practice of witchcraft is changing, but certainly not dying out.
For example, the last 30 years have seen a tremendous increase in the number of children who are accused of witchcraft, and Miss Cimpric points out that such accusations are especially common in cities. As for witchcraft in general, a student in Bangui, Central African Republic, put it this way in 2006:
Witchcraft is more powerful than ever. In the past, people just wanted little things. Now they want a mobile phone, a TV, a car, a big house. Everyone wants to get ahead. People are becoming more jealous. If his neighbor has a radio or telephone, and he doesn’t, then he might use sorcery . . . .
Consequently, there is more open talk of magic. A man from the Central African Republic explains:
Before, [witchcraft] was taboo. No one even wanted to hear talk of witches. So as soon as you talked about witchcraft, there would be a strong reaction. Yet now, it’s become almost commonplace. People talk about it all the time.
There are many different African words that are translated as “witchcraft,” but to Africans they represent distinct phenomena. One refers to invisible beings that eat a victim’s life-essence during the night. Another refers to the practice of a recognized sorcerer who uses plants and rituals during the day to hurt enemies. Many Africans also believe that other kinds of witches gather at night to feast on human victims.
Because there are no authorities or rules that govern witchcraft, these concepts are always changing. If an anthropologist goes back to a tribe he studied decades ago, he may find that the practices and language have changed greatly.
One thing is usually constant, however: Misfortune is rarely thought to have occurred completely naturally. It is not that Africans do not understand natural causes, but natural causes don’t satisfy them. If a man dies from cirrhosis of the liver, Africans do not question that disease killed him, but they want to know why this man and not another? And why at this precise moment? So they say, “A witch ate his liver,” and that is what caused what the doctor calls cirrhosis. This explanation complements and does not contradict the natural explanation, and explains not how the man died but why.
Witches are detected through a process called “the ordeal.” One common ordeal is for suspects to take a poison of some kind while a healer calls on the spirits and gods to help identify the witch. Christian churches are popular venues for ordeals, and many “ministers” are little more than exorcists. Some Pentecostal preachers make witch hunting a big part of their work, and promote the idea that witches are everywhere.
Witchcraft is changing. Its power was traditionally limited to a particular village, but today, university students may fail courses because of witchcraft that was practiced far away in their home villages. Modern witches may ride invisible “airplanes” made of such things as peanut shells or mango-tree bark.
Traditionally, witches almost always attacked relatives; today they may hex neighbors, acquaintances, or colleagues. And whereas witchcraft was formerly thought to be innate and inherited, it can now be bought. Thus it adapts itself to urbanization, technology, and the money economy.
Prominent or powerful people are almost never accused of being witches; suspects are usually the weak and vulnerable. Traditionally, older women — widows who lived alone — were the likeliest suspects. No one knows why suspicion now turns increasingly on children.
Child witchcraft accusations are most common in the countries of the Congo River Basin — Congo (Kinshasa), Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Northern Angola — as well as in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The typical child witch is a boy between the ages of three and fourteen. Children with physical defects, which can be as mild as bloodshot eyes or stuttering, are often accused. So are children with unusual behavior, who are thought to be “stubborn, aggressive, thoughtful, withdrawn or lazy.”
Orphans are common targets, as are step-children. In Africa, when one parent dies, the other usually remarries, so many children live with step-families and are never fully accepted. These are the people who take the blame when some misfortune happens to the people around them.
Many children accused of witchcraft are summarily lynched. Others are driven out of their homes and join the hordes of children that live on the streets of African cities. Many of them were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS, but in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi they have now been joined by thousands of alleged child witches.
Some children unload trucks or carry heavy loads for a pittance. Others beg or deal drugs. Girls begin working as prostitutes from the age of six or seven. At night, children lie in front of buildings that offer some kind of shelter; a few make beds from pieces of cardboard. These unfortunates seldom survive to adulthood.
Accused child witches that are not killed or driven off are taken to healers. Treatment can begin only after the child has confessed to being a witch, however, and as one boy from Kinshasa reported, healers are not squeamish about the techniques they use to get confessions:
For three days we were not allowed to eat or drink. On the fourth day, the prophet put our hands above a candle to make us confess. So I admitted the accusations, and the harsh treatment stopped. Those who didn’t confess were threatened with whipping.
Cures can go on for several days, and involve beatings and insertion of potions or gasoline into the eyes or ears. An eleven-year-old from Kinshasa recalled that “one pastor burned my body with candles,” adding that “in another church, they poured the sap from a tree into my eyes. It stung terribly.”
Some Africans think witches have something inside their bodies that acts independently of their wills. In these cases, treatment requires cutting open the child’s belly to remove what is actually a small piece of the intestine.
However painful, no deliverance is final, and parents often wonder if their child is really cured. Of all the things one could doubt about witchcraft, the only one Africans seem to doubt is the reliability of treatment. After a new misfortune, the same child may once again be blamed.
“Spiritual treatments” cost a lot of money by African standards; Miss Cimpric mentions fees of €24 and €27. As one young African explains: “The hard-earned money of the women selling vegetables in the market goes towards building the pastor’s villas or the upkeep of one or other of his mistresses.” Healers flaunt their luxury cars, houses, and jewelry. They advertise their services in magazines and on billboards, and some own television and radio stations that broadcast stories about their exploits.
Children who confess to witchcraft make astonishing claims. Here is the account of one Congolese boy:
My name is Mamuya. I’m 16 years old. I became a witch because of one of my friends, Komazulu. He gave me a mango one day. The next night, he came to my parents’ house and threatened to kill me if I didn’t give him some human flesh in exchange for the mango he had given me. From then on, I became his night-time partner and joined his group of witches. I didn’t tell my mother about it. There are three of us in our group. At night we fly in our plane which we made from the bark of a mango tree, to our victims’ homes. When we fly at night, I change into a cockroach. Komazulu is the pilot. He does the killing. He gives me the flesh and blood and I eat and drink it. Sometimes he gives me an arm, sometimes a leg. Personally I prefer the buttocks. . . . Sometimes when a man has just been buried in the cemetery, we go there and say a prayer. The prayer wakes the dead man and then we eat him.
This is a 10-year old Congolese boy’s story:
I was a witch. I was bewitched by my grandmother. One night, she came to see me when I was sleeping. She gave me bread and tea. That’s when I began my astral voyages with her. One day she told me to kill papa in return for the bread and tea she had given me.
A 12-year-old girl from the Central African Republic claimed that “at night I changed into a cockroach to get out through the bars and meet up with my uncle, who had changed into a cat.” A Congolese child made this claim:
I’ve eaten 800 people. I made them have car or plane accidents. I even went to Belgium thanks to a mermaid who took me all the way to the port of Anvers [Antwerp]. Sometimes I travel on my broomstick, sometimes by flying on an avocado skin. At night I’m aged 30 and have got 100 children. My father lost his job as an engineer because of me — and then I killed him, with the help of the mermaid. I killed my brother and sister too. I buried them alive. I also killed all the children from my mother.
Miss Cimpric notes that hardly anyone doubts these crazy stories. As a police superintendent in Banguui, Central African Republic, explained in 2007, “Children are too pure and too innocent. They never lie.” Miss Cimpric points out, however, that children who make confessions under duress may take back their stories once they are older or are in a safe environment.
Despite the fact that many Africans have never seen the ocean, mermaids play a surprisingly prominent role in African witchcraft. In Congo (Kinshasa), which has a tiny coastline, and in the Central African Republic, which is landlocked, there is widespread belief in the Mami-Wata. She is a white woman with long, straight hair and a fish tail, who promises her victim wealth and eventually drives him insane.
Albinos and “bad births”
Miss Cimpric also reports on the murder of Albinos and the killing of children whose births are somehow “irregular.” Albino-killing is not a traditional custom, and the craze is centered in Tanzania, where several dozen albinos were killed in 2008 alone. It is catching on elsewhere. A Cameroonian albino explains: “People think we are magical creatures, that we’ve come back from the dead as a punishment from God for something we did in our previous life.”
Certain parts of the body of an albino, including the skin, tongue, hands, ears, skull, heart, and genitals are believed to have magic powers and are prized as ingredients in potions and charms. There is a brisk trade in these organs, and they fetch a good price.
Many Africans fear children who are “badly born:” those who emerge from the womb in an irregular way, have some physical defect, or are born with teeth. These babies are thought to bring bad luck, and may be killed immediately after birth. Many that are not killed are exposed, or if they are kept, they may be shunned from an early age. Unlike witchcraft, Miss Cimpric reports that these practices are in decline, but are still common in Benin.
In some parts of Africa, twins are met with rejoicing, but in others they are another example of “bad birth.” The Thonga of Zambia think twin births cause drought. Elsewhere, people associate them with animal spirits, and think they have a special gift for turning into animals.
Many Nigerians think twins can fly, and also cause sickness and misfortune. In one Nigerian incident in 2007, when twins were born, the villagers cried, “They are witches; take them away before they kill us all.” Many twins are exposed, but some are killed outright.
The UNICEF report concludes with a call for witchcraft of a different kind: “program responses,” “community dialogue,” “systems approaches,” “anti-stigma strategies,” and “negotiation and mediation,” etc. The idea that this sort of thing is going to cure Africa of witchcraft is about as plausible as flying to Antwerp on an avocado skin. Africans have been exposed to Western science since colonial times, and even the remotest villagers know about cars, telephones, and cameras. Even if Africans had the money for “systems approaches,” the African mentality is not likely to change.
Today, the craze may be child witches. Tomorrow it will be something else.
Dr. Devlin, is the author of Alexandre Kojève and the Outcome of Modern Thought.
Who got it right: Oxford or AR?
study by scientists at Oxford University has shown a significant positive relationship between cranial capacity, orbital (eye socket) volume, and the geographical latitude at which different groups evolved. The study of 55 skulls from 12 populations found that these correlations held even after controlling for body size. The authors argue that lower ambient light levels at higher absolute latitudes (north or south) led to increased orbital volume and larger eyes, which may help people see better in low light.
Bigger eyes led to larger visual cortices, where vision is processed in the brain. It has long been known that humans who evolved at high latitudes have bigger brains than those who evolved closer to the equator. The researchers say these brains are larger because of larger visual cortices.
Speaking to BBC News, lead author Eiluned Pearce said, “[W]e argue that having bigger brains doesn’t mean that high-latitude humans are necessarily smarter. It’s just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live.” The study did not look into the connection between big eyes, visual cortex size, and night vision, but the authors told the BBC that in the future they plan to “establish a firm link between eyeball size and enhanced visual processing areas in the brain.”
The Oxford team’s data are in Table 1. The researchers found that Chinese skulls had the largest cranial capacity (1492 ml), followed by those from Scandinavia (1484 ml). The lowest average capacities came from Micronesia (1200 ml) and India (1270 ml).
|Table 1 (skulls in order of ascending latitude)|
There is a strong correlation (r2 = 0.817) between latitude and orbital volume. There is also a moderate correlation (r2 = 0.424) between orbital volume and cranial capacity (see Figure 1), which led the researchers to conclude that it is the larger visual cortices that increase the size of brains that evolved at high latitudes.
One different and probably complementary explanation for larger brains at higher latitudes is greater intelligence, a possibility the Oxford team seems to have dismissed. J. Philippe Rushton and C. Davison Ankney reviewed a total of 381 adult samples from seven MRI studies and one CAT-scan study that related brain size to intelligence, which was measured by standardized tests or estimated by education and occupation. The results were a moderate average correlation of 0.44 that declined to 0.42 when weighted by sample size.
To further test the hypothesis that higher intelligence at least partly accounts for increased brain size, I compared national IQ data to the measured cranial capacities in the Oxford study (see Figure 2). The correlation (r2 = 0.493) is higher than the 0.424 correlation between orbital volume and cranial capacity, which suggests that increased visual cortex volume alone does not account for increased brain size.
The data on the Chinese skulls are particularly interesting. The skulls come from relatively low latitudes and were only about average in mean orbital volume, yet they had the largest average cranial capacity. Clearly, it is not large eyes alone that lead to increased brain size. At the same time, the Chinese have the highest average IQ, suggesting that brain size is more closely associated with intelligence than it is with orbital volume.
I do not doubt the Oxford findings that evolution in higher latitudes led to bigger eyes, and even to bigger visual cortices. It may even be that people from high latitudes really do see better in the dark, but it is surprising that we have never heard about this before. However, the team’s curious unwillingness to consider the association between IQ differences and brain size deprived it of what appears to be an important explanation for their findings.
Pearce, E. & Dunbar, R. (2011). Latitudinal Variation in Light Levels Drives Human Visual System Size. Biology Letters. Published online before print.
Rushton, J. P. & Ankney, C. D. (1996). Brain Size and Cognitive Ability: Correlations with Age, Sex, Social Class, and Race. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 3, 21-26.
Lynn, R. Race Differences in Intelligence. Washington Summit Publishers, 2006.
Lynn, R. & Vanhanen, T. IQ & Global Inequality. Washington Summit Publishers, 2006.
|IN THE NEWS|
Amazing but not True
In 2009, Wayne Watson took over as president of Chicago State University — a campus with a mostly black student population, a history of mismanagement, and one of the lowest graduation rates in the country. Under his leadership, retention and graduation rates soared. He bragged about this in an April 27 article in the black paper, Chicago Defender, with the modest headline, “Chicago State University: A True and Amazing Story.”
It was amazing, alright, but not true. The university’s guidelines require that anyone with a cumulative grade point average of 1.99 or lower be put on academic probation, and anyone lower than 1.80 get the boot.
In May 2011, the Chicago Tribune got hold of the cumulative GPAs of the 589 freshman who started in the fall of 2009, when the wonder-working Mr. Watson took over. They found that hundreds were retained despite getting grades so low they should have been dismissed. No fewer than 22 students managed to make it through to the end of the year with a miraculous GPA of 0.0. Some students who re-enrolled for the next year still owed fees for previous years, which is also supposed to be grounds for dismissal.
Mr. Watson has been bragging about a student retention rate of 61 percent, but the real figure should have been much lower. When the Tribune’s findings were called to his attention, he conceded that his figures were “off by a couple of percentage points, yes [but] our intent was never to mislead the public.” [Jodi Cohen, Chicago State let Failing Students Stay on the Rolls, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2011.]
Stealing from the Poor
In May 2011, the Detroit Free Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see how the Detroit Human Services Department had spent a $1.2 million grant to cover payroll and administration of food and clothing banks for poor people. The paper found that $210,000 of the grant went to buy furniture for the department. Thirty thousand went on fixtures just for the department directors’ office and conference room, including a $3,000 table. The director is Shenetta Coleman, appointed by former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Miss Coleman, along with several on her staff, has since been suspended from work while the police and the FBI look through the records. Current mayor Dave Bing says he thinks more illegal spending will turn up, and expects to fire some people.
One of the jobs of the Human Services Department is to set up “warming centers” where bums can keep cozy during the winter. The money the department splashed out on furniture could have paid for a warming center, but Miss Coleman plead poverty and didn’t open the center until late in the winter. [Steve Neavling and Jim Schaeffer, High-end Items for Detroit Office Bought with Money for Poor People, Detroit Free Press, July 20,2011.]
Radical Fights for Asylum
In the 1960s, Victor Toro co-founded Chile’s Revolutionary Leftist Movement, MIR, an armed terrorist organization that killed two police officers and robbed banks to fund a war on the state. When General Augusto Pinochet took power in 1973, his government captured Mr. Toro and other MIR members, and exiled them in 1977.
Mr. Toro went to Europe, then Cuba, where he was granted asylum, and Nicaragua. He later went to Mexico, where he was again granted asylum, and from there entered the United States illegally in 1984. He settled in the Bronx and started La Pena del Bronx, a “multi-racial, multi-cultural center” that, among other things, helps illegal immigrants.
On July 6, 2007, Mr. Toro was on an Amtrak train in Rochester, New York, and could produce only an expired Chilean passport as identification. DHS has been trying to deport him ever since.
Mr. Toro claims he deserves asylum because he was tortured by the Pinochet government and is afraid to go back to Chile. Pinochet left office more than 20 years ago and died in 2006.
Asylum seekers are supposed to make a formal appeal within a year of leaving their home country. Mr. Toro says he didn’t because he was hoping immigration laws would change, and because he thought the US government was friendly to Pinochet. On March 11, 2011, federal immigration Judge Sarah Burr ordered Mr. Toro out of the country, but he managed to wangle a stay of deportation and is still here.
Why won’t this violent lefty go to Cuba or Mexico where he already has asylum? He says he had a “falling out” with his old MRI buddies in those countries and therefore cannot do “social work.” [Activist Seeks Asylum From the Chile he Once Knew, Yahoo News, July 14, 2011. David Gonzalez, Victor Toro Fights Deportation, New York Times, April 17, 2011.]
Here We Go Again
In June 2002, President Bush set a goal of helping 5.5 million more minorities to become homeowners by 2010. The next year, he boasted that thanks to his efforts, “one million minority families have become homeowners.” It took drastic cuts in credit standards to turn that many minorities into new homeowners, and in return we got a major housing and financial crisis. [Steve Sailer, Karl Rove — Architect of the Minority Mortgage Meltdown, VDare, Sept. 28, 2008.]
Nearly a decade later, the federal government is still requiring “affirmative-action lending.” As many as 60 banks are being investigated by the Department of Justice for allegedly discriminating against non-whites. Some banks have settled out of court to avoid costly legal battles and the risk of being labeled “racist.”
To date, banks have coughed up $20 million in minority loan set-asides, including prime-rate mortgages and help on down-payment for blacks and Hispanics with bad credit. In a typical settlement with St. Louis’ Midwest BankCentre, DOJ made it earmark $1 million in “special financing” for blacks “who would ordinarily not qualify for such rates for reasons including the lack of required credit quality, income or down payment.”
In some cases, DOJ has forced banks to count unemployment benefits, food stamps, and welfare payments as valid income for mortgage applications. “It’s absolutely outrageous,” says former Congressman Ernest Istook, now a Heritage Foundation fellow. “How can someone both be financially stable enough to merit a mortgage at the same time they’re on public assistance?” DOJ has even forced some banks to post notices in all their branches and in all their marketing materials saying that minority customers — but only minorities — can’t be turned down for loans just because they are on welfare or food stamps.
Perhaps most outrageous, as part of their settlement agreements with banks, DOJ has made some sign “nondisclosure agreements” that prevent them from revealing DOJ’s criteria for alleging discrimination. Why would the government do that? Reginald Brown is a partner at Wilmer Hale who has represented banks. He says it is because the feds “don’t have any proof [of discrimination], just theories,” adding that “their theories are loopy and wouldn’t stand the light of day.”
DOJ may be using “disparate impact” theory, the idea that a seemingly fair rule is discriminatory if it has a “disparate impact” on protected groups. At the most basic level, requiring borrowers to have a job has a “disparate impact” because blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to be working. Whatever reasoning DOJ is using, it doesn’t want the public knowing about it.
There may be no real reasoning at all. The man leading the witch hunt is Civil Rights Division chief Tom Perez. He says many bankers are guilty of discriminating with “a smile” and “fine print,” which is a form of racism “every bit as destructive as the cross burned in a neighborhood.” He has put together a 20-man Fair Lending Unit to sniff out cross-burning bankers.
Lenders must walk a line so fine it is practically invisible. At the same time that Mr. Perez is prosecuting them for alleged redlining, he is also going after them for “reverse redlining through the targeting of minority communities for predatory loans.” The irony does not escape Mr. Istook of Heritage. “Banks are damned if they do, damned if they don’t,” he says. [Paul Sperry, Holder Launches Witch Hunt Against Biased Banks, Investor’s Business Daily, July 8, 2011.]
Growing Wealth Gap
The recession and housing crisis have been particularly damaging to the net worths of blacks and Hispanics, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. From 2005 to 2009, the median household net worth of Hispanics fell 66 percent — from $18,359 to $6,325 — while that of blacks fell 53 percent: from $12,124 to $5,677. The median household wealth of whites fell only 16 percent during that period — from $134,992 to $113,149. The 2009 figure is 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics.
The housing bubble’s collapse in 2006 accounted for much of the difference in lost wealth, because more than half of blacks and Hispanics’ net worth comes from home equity, compared to 44 percent of whites. [Miriam Jordan, White-Minority Wealth Gulf Widens, Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2011.]
Forced lending to credit-risky minorities undoubtedly also played a role.
Call the Thought Police!
A reader from Quebec reports that his 9-year-old child came home from French-speaking summer camp singing a song about the Mexican army. The counselors taught it to the children as a marching song. Each verse was a couplet that ended with the wards, dans l’Armée Mexicaine or “in the Mexican Army.”
Here are some of the first lines of the couplets:
Les soldats sont en chocolat
The soldiers are made of chocolate
Les capitaines ont de grosses bedaines,
The captains have big beer bellies
Les caporals n’ont pas de morale
The corporals have bad morale
Les pistolets ils tirent du lait
The pistols shoot milk
Les bazooka ils tirent des bas
The bazookas shoot stockings
Les mitraiettes tirent des bobettes
The machine-guns shoot underwear.
California is broke, and the university system expects to lose $650 million this year in state money. Campuses are cutting staff and scrapping degree programs. Despite this grim climate, UC San Diego has created a new position: Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We think the school already has enough diversity bureaucrats. Here they are, in no particular order so as not to discriminate:
Chancellor’s Diversity Office, associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, assistant vice chancellor for diversity, faculty equity advisors, graduate diversity coordinators, staff diversity liaison, undergraduate student diversity liaison, graduate student diversity liaison, chief diversity officer, director of development for diversity initiatives, Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, Committee on the Status of Women, Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, Diversity Council, and directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.
It’s not clear if there is anything left for the new vice chancellor to do. Outgoing chancellor Mary Anne Fox says the VC for EDI will “implement a campus-wide strategy on equity, diversity and inclusion, . . . and will identify potential additional areas of responsibility.” In other words, he (or, more likely, she) will get to define his own job. If Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri is any indication, UCSD’s new hire can expect a base salary of $194,000 and a staff of 17, for a combined drain of over $1 million in tax money.
UCSD’s Academic Senate decided to expand the diversity machinery two months after voting to junk several academic programs because there wasn’t enough money for them: master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering, and in comparative literature. Courses in French, German, Spanish, and English also got the axe. In the same meeting, the Academic Senate voted to establish a campus-wide diversity requirement that must “focus on African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other [presumably non-white] groups.” [Heather MacDonald, Less Academics, More Narcissism, City Journal, July 14, 2011.]
As the militant ANC Youth League president Julius Malema gains popularity in South Africa, whites are preparing for the worst. Last April, a month after singing his favorite song, “Shoot the Boer,” at a university rally, Mr. Malema went to Zimbabwe where he complimented President Robert Mugabe on grabbing white farms and said he wanted to do the same in South Africa:
In SA we are just starting. Here in Zimbabwe you are already very far. The land question has been addressed. . . . We hear you are going straight to the mines. That’s what we are going to be doing in South Africa. . . . We want the mines,” Malema said in a speech to Zanu-PF youths. [Melama Lauds Bob, Says SA Will Copy Zim’s Land Seizures, Sunday Times, April 4, 2010.]
As a precaution, young whites are learning military tactics. Col. Franz Jooste, a former instructor of the late Eugene Terre’Blanche’s elite Iron Guard unit, is executive director of the Commando Corps, which trains them. “It is a matter of survival for our people,” he says. Each weekend, border-war veterans train roughly 1,000 young whites in weapons handling and self-defense. The corps also trains older whites in survival methods, and holds special camps for advanced military training.
Col Jooste explains:
The enemy has only one goal in mind: they want to take everything we build up. We do not want to attack anybody and do not want to threaten anybody. We only want to protect our own people and our own land. . . . We are not the aggressors, but do not provoke us.
Unlike other security groups, which are like neighborhood watches, the Commando Corps is for whites only; they are the ones threatened with land grabs and who are the object of “Shoot the Boer” hatred. Col. Jooste would like to see his “security network,” as he calls it, cover all of South Africa. The corps has just launched a “major recruitment campaign.”
Commando Corps president Col. Dawid Grobbelaar says the group is training for a war against crime: “Most of the criminals are well trained terrorists, with excellent weapons at their disposal,” he says. “Therefore we have to be well trained.” [De Wet Potgieter, Whites Train to ‘Defend,’ The New Age, July 8, 2011.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I especially enjoyed the July lead story, “Therapeutic Incarceration.” As a prisoner myself, I can attest to the truth of most of what Mr. Forrest writes. For example, I agree with Mr. Forrest that therapeutic rehabilitation is a lost cause. In my experience there is very little the prison system can do to rehabilitate prisoners. If the harsh, violent, lonely reality of prison life itself cannot motivate change in prisoners, what can we expect from programs that are, to most prisoners, “lame,” “square,” and boring. Can you imagine how a course in “parenting skills” goes over in a prison? A great deal of money and effort is being wasted on chasing this liberal — and unrealistic — dream.
But what’s the alternative? Mr. Forrest seems to imply that we should do away with all such programs. Should we throw all criminals in together, lock them up, and throw away the key? I think there is middle ground. While rehabilitation is seldom induced, it does occur. For whatever reason, many inmates decide it’s time to change, but this desire to change comes from within. For those of us ready to change, and especially for young, first time offenders, I believe there should be educational/vocational training as well as courses in other life-skills that most people take for granted but that many criminals lack. This is good for society, not just prisoners.
Mr. Forrest left out a very important aspect of this topic: the solution. If we could separate ourselves just from blacks, who are only about 13 percent of the population, half of all prison inmates, and even more than half of violent criminals would disappear. There would be a similar though not as dramatic effect if we could separate from Hispanics. Those two groups account for just over a quarter of our population but for a huge proportion of crime and prisoners. I would bet money that their recidivism rates are higher than white rates, too. At the same time, the majority of prisoners taking advantage of rehab programs are white.
Prison segregation is the answer. Unfortunately, the problems will have to get much worse before liberals acknowledge the abject failure of their multi-racial agenda, not just in prison, but in society as a whole.
Horace Scott Lacy, New Boston, Tex.
Sir — In his August 2011 reply to Robert Greenberg’s August 2011 article, “When Whites Lie to Blacks,” Jared Taylor suggested that whites really mean it when say that the races are biologically equivalent. In his other writings, however, Mr. Taylor has pointed out that whites act as though there are important differences. They do not live in black neighborhoods. They do not even like to drive through black neighborhoods, especially after dark. They do not send their children to black schools.
If Melinda Gates really believed that 95 to 98 percent of blacks have the intelligence to benefit from a university education she would make the personnel department at the Gates Foundation hire blacks who score poorly on mental aptitude tests, give them remedial education, and put them to work as program managers.
I suspect very few blacks work for the Gates Foundation, and that even though no one says this explicitly to their supervisors, less is expected from them.
Name Withheld, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sir — I got a chuckle out of the August OTOM about Steven Gould’s phony skull study. It is especially delicious that Gould had accused a “racist” of letting his prejudices warp his science, but it was he who cooked the data. What a swine.
It reminds me of yet another phony skull study, Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants, written by Franz Boaz in 1910. I first read about that “study” in a reasonably good 1991 book by Carl Degler called In Search of Human Nature. Boas made the astonishing claim that after immigrants lived in the United States for a generation or two, the shapes of their skulls began to converge to a common pattern, and that ethnic differences disappeared:
[The shape of the head] . . . undergoes far-reaching changes coincident with the transfer of the people from European to American soil. For instance, the East European Hebrew, who has a very round head, becomes long-headed; the south Italian, who in Italy has an exceedingly long head, becomes more short-headed . . . .
Boas later wrote that the cause could be “climate, food, or the democratic spirit, or . . . some other more obscure cause,” such as “prenatal influence . . . exerted through the mother.”
When I read that, I wrote unhappily in the margin of the Degler book, “Nobody remembers this goofy study, and Degler doesn’t explain the impossible results.”
Fortunately, Richard L. Jantz of the University of Tennessee did remember the study and reanalyzed Boas’ data in 2002. Needless to say, “the democratic spirit” and ice cream don’t change skull shape, and Prof. Jantz showed that Boas’ findings were junk. So yet another lying swine got his comeuppance, but much too late. The Boas hoax was hugely influential, and helped push the country into the egalitarian ditch. Now, we have been stuck there for so long that news of the kind you report about Gould doesn’t seem to help get us out.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.