|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 8, No. 4||April 1997|
Race, Nation and the Soldier
Wellington’s Secret Weapon
The qualities that gave rise to a great martial tradition.
by Steven Schwamenfeld
What accounts for the extraordinary expansion of British power in the 18th and 19th centuries? Most “respectable” academics offer economic reasons for British success against European powers, and take the view that Western technological superiority accounts for colonial expansion. My study of the British army of the Napoleonic era suggests a different explanation: the moral power of the British soldier, as manifested in his devotion to his regiment, to his nation and — when he was fighting colonial wars — to his race. Patriotic conviction together with contempt for foreigners made the average British soldier the best in the world.
The Invincible Duke
The British army under the command of the Duke of Wellington won 15 general engagements between 1808 and 1815 without suffering a single defeat. Its victories shattered the myth of French invincibility and inspired the resistance of the other European nations.
The most sincere assessment of British arms came from the enemy. The French marshal Nicolas Soult described the victors after his defeat at Albuera in 1811 with rueful sarcasm: “[T]here is no beating these troops in spite of their generals. I always thought they were bad soldiers; now I am sure of it. I had turned their right, pierced their center and everywhere victory was mine, but they did not know how to run.” Another French observers, General Chambray, praised the British infantry for its “orderliness, impetus and resolution to fight with the bayonet.”
A Prussian observer left this description of Wellington’s army:
For a battle, there is not perhaps in Europe an army equal to the British, that is to say none whose tuition, discipline, and whole military tendency, is so purely and exclusively calculated to giving battle. The British soldier is vigorous, well-fed, by nature highly brave and intrepid, trained to the most rigorous discipline and admirably well-armed. The infantry resist the attack of cavalry with great confidence, and when taken in the flank or rear, British troops are less disconcerted than any other European Army.
Although it is the Duke of Wellington’s forces that are of particular interest to us here, the British infantry had long been redoubtable, and maintained its prowess well after the Iron Duke’s day. A Spanish chronicler, writing in 1486, left us this description of a force of English bowmen:
This cavalier was from the island of England and brought with him a train of his vassals, men who had been hardened in certain civil wars which had raged in their country . . . They were withal of great pride, but it was not like our own inflammable Spanish pride . . . [T]heir pride was silent and contumelious. Though from a remote and somewhat barbarous island, they yet believed themselves the most perfect men on earth . . . With all this, it must be said of them that they were marvelous good men in the field, dexterous archers and powerful with the battleaxe. In their great pride and self-will, they always sought to press in their advantage and take the post of danger . . . They did not rush forward fiercely, or make a brilliant onset, like the Moorish and Spanish troops, but went into the fight deliberately and persisted obstinately and were slow to find out when they were beaten.
Likewise, in 1854, two years after Wellington’s death, the armies he had commanded were still an astonishing force. The battle of Alma, during the Crimean War, gave rise to this first-hand account:
. . . the Grenadiers and Coldstreamers [and Scots Guards], though under a deadly fire, formed into line with as much precision and lack of hurry as if they had been on the parade ground, and began deliberately to advance up the glacis toward the Great Redoubt.
It was an unforgettable sight. The men marched as if they were taking part in a review. Storm after storm of bullets, grape, shrapnel, and round shot tore through them, man after man fell, but the pace never altered, the line closed in and continued, ‘ceremoniously and with dignity,’ as an eyewitness wrote, on its way . . . The Guards marched into the Great Redoubt, and there was a shout of triumph so loud that William Howard Russell [correspondent for The Times] heard it on the opposite bank — the battle of the Alma had been won.
A French officer turned to [British Colonel] Evelyn Wood . . . ‘Our men could not have done it,’ he said.
How were the British capable of such feats of arms? It was partially the result of intense training.
The great French military theorist Baron de Jomini believed only British troops were adequately trained to fight in a thin, two-deep battle line. It required a maximum of discipline to maneuver in this unwieldy formation; less trained troops required a deeper formation to maintain cohesion.
In addition, British troops displayed a tremendous corporate loyalty, not only to their regiments but to their nation. Almost alone among the armies of the 17th and 18th centuries, the British army possessed no permanent mercenary units. It was always a national force. As the historian of 18th century warfare, Christopher Duffy, writes: “the most pronounced moral traits of the English were violence and patriotism . . . All classes were united in their contempt for foreigners.” It was this ferocious patriotism that helped breed, in Samuel Johnson’s words, “a peasantry of heroes.”
The uniquely nationalist sentiment of the English soldier dates back long into the past. To quote historian Linda Colley: “a popular sense of Englishness . . . considerably predates the French Revolution.” An Italian visitor to England in 1548 described his hosts thus: “the English are commonly destitute of good breeding, and are despisers of foreigners, since they esteem him a wretched being and but half a man who may be born elsewhere than in Britain.” This was true not only of the aristocracy but of the common people as well. It was especially true of bowmen. They were of peasant stock but, in the words of the 15th century jurist, Sir John Fortescue, who fought at their side, they were the men whom “the might of the realm of England standyth upon.”
The English archers of the Middle Ages left no memoirs about their contempt for foreigners, but their successors in Wellington’s time did.
Here is Private William Wheeler of the 51st Light Infantry on Britain’s allies during the Peninsular War (1808-1814):
What an ignorant, superstitious, priest-ridden, dirty, lousy set of poor devils are the Portuguese. Without seeing them it is impossible to conceive there exists a people in Europe so debased. The filthiest pigsty is a palace to the filthy houses in this dirty stinking city [Lisbon], all the dirt made in the houses is thrown into the streets, where it remains baking until a storm of rain washes it away. The streets are crowded with half-starved dogs, fat Priests and lousy people. The dogs should all be destroyed, the able-bodied Priests drafted into the Army, half the remainder should be made to keep the city clean, and the remainder if they did not inculcate the necessity of personal cleanliness should be hanged.
Sgt. John Cooper of the 7th Fusiliers was no more complimentary about Spaniards: “The lower orders of this nation are dirty in their persons, filthy in their habits, obscene in their language, and vindictive in their tempers. Their houses are intolerably smoky and vermin abound.”
Observations such as these are to be found throughout soldiers’ memoirs. About the military prowess of their Iberian allies, Sgt. William Lawrence of the 40th wrote: “the smell of powder often seemed to cause them to be missing when wanted.” Sgt. William Surtees of the 95th Rifles recalled the Duke of Wellington’s jest about a Spanish division fleeing the field from the Battle of Toulouse in 1814; Wellington “wondered whether the Pyrenees would bring them up again, they seemed to have got such a fright.” Surtees asserted that the Duke “did not indeed depend on their valour, or he would have made a bad winding up of his Peninsular campaign.”
On first viewing a Spanish army, Sgt. Andrew Pearson of the 61st recalled: “Falstaff’s ragged regiment would have done honour to any force compared to the men before us.” Surtees described the Spanish officer corps thus:
In short, they had all the pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency of the best officers in the world, with the very least of all pretensions to have an high opinion of themselves; it is true they were not all alike, but the majority of them were the most haughty, and at the same time most contemptible creatures in the shape of officers, that I ever beheld.
The British had an entirely different view of their own superiors. Rifleman John Harris of the 95th wrote this of his Brigadier, William Beresford:
He was equal to his business, too, I would say; and he amongst others of our generals, often made me think that the French army had nothing to show in the shape of officers who could at all compare to ours. There was a noble bearing in our leaders, which they, on the French side (as far as I was capable of observing) had not; . . . They are a strange set, the English! and so determined and unconquerable, that they will have their way if they can. Indeed, it requires one who has authority in his face, as well as at his back, to make them respect and obey him.
Harris frankly believed that the British aristocracy produced the finest leaders of men in the world.
Britain was very much a class society, but in battle the shared characteristics of courage, stoicism and perseverance united all. Thomas Howell, of the 71st Highlanders, was a man of some gentility, who joined the army as a private as a result of financial disaster. He had a difficult time adjusting to life among men of a lower class. However, he left this moving account of his rough-hewn comrades during his first battle with the French:
In our first charge I felt my mind waver, a breathless sensation came over me. The silence was appalling. I looked alongst the line. It was enough to assure me. The steady, determined scowl of my companions assured my heart and gave me determination. How unlike the noisy advance of the French!
During the Peninsular War, the British had a far higher regard for their enemy than for their allies. They regarded the French as brave, if erratic, soldiers and generally chivalrous. One of the few really negative descriptions comes from Sgt. Edward Costello of the 95th Rifles, and it is a condemnation of only a specific group of men rather than of the French nation. It casts light on those qualities that either impressed or revolted British soldiers.
After the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812, some French prisoners were present at the interment of British dead:
One more careless than the rest viewed the occurrence with a kind of malicious sneer, which so enraged our men that one of them, taking the little tawny-looking Italian by the nape of his neck, kicked his hind-quarters soundly for it. I could not, at the time, help remarking the very under-sized appearance of the Frenchmen. They were the ugliest set I ever saw, and seemed to be the refuse of their army, and looked more like Italians than Frenchmen.
Wellington’s men had a stoic pride that, in their minds, set them apart from men of any other nationality. A remarkable incident was recorded by Sgt. Edward Costello when he was recovering from a wound received at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812. His hospital ward was under the charge of a fellow Irishman, Sgt. Michael Connelly:
Mike was exceedingly attentive to the sick, and particularly anxious that the British soldier, when dying, should hold out a pattern of firmness to the Frenchmen who lay intermixed with us in the same wards. ‘Hould your tongue, ye blathering devil,’ he would say in a low tone, ‘and don’t be after disgracing your country in the teeth of these ere furriners, by dying hard. Ye’ll have company at your burial, won’t you? Ye’ll have the drums beating and the guns firing over ye, won’t ye? . . . For God’s sake, die like a man before these ‘ere Frenchers.’
After Waterloo, Costello again found himself in hospital, this time in Brussels, and recorded something even more remarkable:
I remained in Brussels three days, and had ample means here, as in several other places, such as Salamanca, &c., for witnessing the cutting off of legs and arms. The French I have ever found to be brave, yet I cannot say they will undergo a surgical operation with the cool, unflinching spirit of a British soldier. An incident which came under my notice may in some measure show the differences of the two nations. An English soldier belonging to, if I recollect rightly, the 1st Royal Dragoons, evidently an old weather-beaten warfarer, while undergoing the amputation of an arm below the elbow, held the injured limb in his other hand without betraying the slightest emotion, save occasionally helping out his pain by spirting forth the proceeds of a large plug of tobacco, which he chewed most unmercifully while under the operation. Near to him was a Frenchman, bellowing lustily, while a surgeon was probing for a ball near the shoulder. This seemed to annoy the Englishman more than anything else, and so much so, that as soon as his arm was amputated, he struck the Frenchman a smart blow across the breech with the severed limb, holding it at the wrist, saying, ‘Here, take that, and stuff it down your throat, and stop your damn bellowing!’
The Colonial Campaigns
Warfare against non-Europeans inspired a far greater sense of distance and alienness. John Shipp of the 87th, the only man of his era to win two commissions from the ranks, wrote of battle against the “Caffres” of South Africa:
At every farmhouse in our line of march we found appalling scenes of murder and desolation. Whole families had been massacred by these wild people, whose devastations it was now our duty to check. So ignorant were they, that I am convinced they were unaware that murder is a crime . . . The savage Caffre exults in these appalling sights. To his bestial mind the groans of the wounded, and the dying, are the greatest of pleasures. When the frenzy of the attack is on him he is wrought up to ecstasy, dancing and jumping about, and hauling spears at man or beast with reckless abandon . . . I have seen them with [murdered] women’s gowns, petticoats, shawls and things tied round their legs and between their toes, capering about the woods in a frenzy of delight.
Sgt. George Calladine of the 19th recalled his first encounter with Africans: “I certainly saw little naked children running about which, if I had seen nothing of them but their faces, I should have taken them for monkeys.” Sgt. Pearson wrote of the “Caffres” with more sympathy, marveling at their physiques: “six feet six inches to seven feet, with most symmetrical figures.”
William Richardson was a common seamen who served in the Royal Navy between 1793 and 1819. Before being impressed into the Navy he served on several merchant vessels, including a slaver. He recorded his impressions of the trade:
Some people in England think that we hunt and catch the slaves ourselves, but this is a mistaken idea, for we get them by barter as follows: their petty kings and traders get them not so much by wars (as is imagined) as by trade and treachery, and when they get a number for sale bring them to the coast and sell them . . . There was one of their petty kings who, when he came on board, would strut along the deck as if he had been one of the greatest men in the world: he was a little fat fellow dressed in a suit of coarse blue cloth edged with something like yellow worsted, but what spoiled all was that he had no shirt, shoes or stockings on, and his naked black feet and legs being dabbed over with mud and salt water, made him a laughingstock to the sailors; but did not put him out of conceit of himself.
Colonial wars were not confined to Africa. Thomas Howell of the 71st Highlanders recorded his none too flattering impressions of the Indians of Montevideo:
The native women were the most uncomely I ever beheld. They have broad noses, thick lips, and are of very small stature. Their hair, which is long, black and hard to the feel, they wear frizzled up in front in the most hideous manner, while it hangs down their backs below the waist. When they dress they stick in it feathers and flowers, and walk about in all the pride of ugliness. The men . . . are brave, but indolent to excess . . . As for their idleness, I have seen them lie stretched, for a whole day, gazing upon the river, and their wives bring them their victuals; and if they were not pleased with the quantity, they would beat them furiously. This is the only exertion they make willingly — venting their fury upon their wives.
These remarks concerning the physical characteristics of Africans and Indians (not to mention Latins) point to the British soldier’s racial consciousness as part of his patriotism. This is not to say that the British soldier loathed non-European foes because of race; it was because of the latter’s savagery. Sgt. James Thompson served with the 78th Highlanders at Quebec in 1759, during one of the North American campaigns of the Seven Years War. He witnessed the repulse of a British attack on the Ile d’Orleans: “When the French saw us far enough on the retreat, they sent their savages to scalp and tomahawk our poor fellows that lay wounded on the beach.”
During the War of 1812, British troops this time found themselves allied to Indians. Historian Donald Graves describes an event that took place after the Battle of Lundy’s Lane in 1814: “Sergeant Commins of the 8th and Private Byfield of the 41st watched with horror as an Indian ‘busy in plundering came to an American that had been severely wounded and not being able to get the man’s boots off threw him into the fire.’ A nearby British regular ‘filled with indignation for such barbarity shot the Indian and threw him onto the fire to suffer for his unprincipled villainy.’”
Sgt. William Lawrence of the 40th described a grisly encounter with Indians near Buenos Aires in 1807. A corporal and a private were killed while destroying native huts: “This was a great glory to the natives; they stuck the corporal’s head on a pole and carried it in front of their little band on the march.” Later: “As we marched along on our next day’s journey, about two hundred Indians kept following us, the foremost of them wearing our dead corporal’s jacket, and carrying his head — I do not know for what reason, but perhaps they thought a good deal more of a dead man’s head than we should feel disposed to do.”
Later the 200 Indians attacked Lawrence’s party of 20 infantrymen and were easily repulsed, they “not liking the smell and much less the taste of our gunpowder.” The Indian chief who carried the corporal’s head was wounded and captured by the British. He was not killed out of hand but was treated according to civilized custom and left with friendly Indians to be nursed back to health.
It did not take long for non-Europeans to discover and profit from the differences between British and native warfare. Sir Evelyn Wood writes of interrogating Zulu prisoners in 1879 after the battle of Kambula:
When I had obtained all the information I required I said, ‘Before Isandwhlana [an 1879 battle in which a Zulu army of 20,000 routed and massacred 800 encamped British infantry] we treated all your wounded men in our hospital. But when you attacked our camp your brethren, our black patients, rose and helped to kill those who had been attending on them. Can any of you advance any reason why I should not kill you?’ One of the younger men, with an intelligent face, asked, ‘May I speak?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘There is a very good reason why you should not kill us. We kill you because it is the custom of the black men [to kill prisoners]. But it isn’t the white man’s custom.’
The Englishman reportedly had no answer to this, and the blacks were later freed.
When it came to actual warfare against non-white armies, the popular conception is of an unfair contest with European colonial troops discharging advanced weaponry on natives armed with sticks and clubs. The truth was often quite different. In discussing Wellington’s great victory over a Mahratta (Indian) army six times the size of his own at Assaye in 1803, historian Jeremy Black points out that “success owed much to a bayonet charge, scarcely conforming to the standard image of Western armies gunning down masses of non-European troops relying on cold steel.” This contemporary historian refrains from analyzing how that small red-coated force achieved its moral triumph, and certainly does not discuss any patriotic or racialist motivations it may have possessed. The British commander knew better.
The Duke of Wellington is notorious for describing his infantry as the “scum of the earth.” Yet this was most of all a description of their social class and their vices (drink above all). In battle, the British soldier was “the item upon which victory depends.” On his return from India in 1804, Wellington wrote a memorandum in which he offered an explanation for the incredible achievements of the British, especially in India. It should be studied by all military “experts” who would deride the importance of national (and racial) feeling among soldiers:
The English soldiers are the main foundation of the British power in Asia. They are a body with habits, manners and qualities peculiar to them in the East Indies. Bravery is the characteristic of the British army in all quarters of the world; but no other quarter has afforded such striking examples of the existence of this quality in the soldiers as the East Indies. An instance of their misbehavior in the field has never been known; and particularly those who have been for some time in that country cannot be ordered upon any service, however dangerous or arduous, that they will not effect, not only with bravery, but a degree of skill not often witnessed in persons of their description in other parts of the world. I attribute these qualities, which are peculiar to them in the East Indies, to the distinctness of their class in that country from all others existing in it. They feel they are a distinct and superior class to the rest of the world which surrounds them; and their actions correspond with their high notions of their own superiority . . . Their weaknesses and vices, however repugnant to the feelings and prejudices of the Natives, are passed over in the contemplation of their excellent qualities as soldiers, of which no nation has hitherto given such extraordinary instances. These qualities are the foundation of the British strength in Asia, and of that opinion by which it is generally supposed that the British empire has been gained and upheld. These qualities show in what manner nations, consisting of millions, are governed by 30,000 strangers . . .
Thus it was through a sense of national superiority, of the white Briton as a being apart, that the British Empire was won and held. Years later, Wellington would state plainly (in a parliamentary debate on Asian Indian participation in the higher levels of the Civil Service): “That the white man has an influence [of a moral kind] which the black man has not.” Wellington would scarcely have been able to credit the notion that one day British governments would discourage racial feelings among their soldiers. He praised the racial arrangements in the Southern United States, and considered them essential if America’s liberal system of government was to survive.
An understanding of the role of race has not entirely died among the British. A ranker (a soldier holding a rank other than that of officer) of the Second World War has left us with an analysis of the motivations of his comrades in Burma. George MacDonald Fraser’s bluntly honest account (put to paper in 1992) should ring as a battle cry for anyone interested in his own nation’s defense:
There is much talk today of guilt as an aftermath of wars — guilt over killing the enemy, and even guilt for surviving. Much depends on the circumstances, but I doubt if many of the Fourteenth Army lose much sleep over dead Japanese. For one thing they were a no-surrender enemy and if we hadn’t killed them they would surely have killed us. But there was more to it than that. It may appall a generation who have been dragooned into considering racism the ultimate crime, but I believe there was a feeling (there was in me) that the Jap was farther down the human scale than the European. It is a feeling that I see reflected today in institutions and people who would deny hotly that they are subconscious racists — the presence of TV cameras ensured a superficial concern for the Kurdish refugees and Bangladeshi flood victims, but we all know that the Western reaction would have been immeasurably greater if a similar disaster had occurred in Australia or Canada or Europe; some people seem to count more than others, with liberals as well as reactionaries, and it is folly to feel that racial kinship and likeness are not at the bottom of it.
A measured statement such as this would not be tolerated in America, and this bodes ill for the future, especially the future of our armed forces. As long as the basic principle of racial kinship is denied by our leaders, America’s very existence will be in peril. There can be no stability in a society which will not allow its members to favor their own brethren. An army that will deny its soldiers this right is an army on the road to defeat.
Mr. Schwamenfeld is a writer living in Dundee, New York. He holds an MA in European history.
The Descent of Man
A landmark study of a growing problem.
Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, Richard Lynn, Praeger Publishers, 1996, 237 pp., $59.95.
reviewed by Thomas Jackson
Human traits are heritable. Children resemble their parents. Does it therefore make any difference who has children and who doesn’t?
Farmers have understood selective breeding for thousands of years, and common sense suggests that the same principles apply to man. Indeed, from the mid-19th century until part way through the 20th, it was understood that if people of low ability outbred their betters it posed a threat to society. Only in the 1950s and 1960s did dogmatic egalitarianism force eugenic thinking underground.
The publication of Dysgenics, by Professor Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, marks a very significant and promising beginning to the rehabilitation of eugenics. Some recent books, such as The Bell Curve and The Decline of Intelligence in America have pointed in this direction, but Dysgenics is the first book in decades to make a comprehensive case for protecting the human gene pool.
As Professor Lynn points out, it was a now-forgotten Frenchman, Benedict Morel, who first argued for eugenics. Writing in 1857, even before Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, Morel noted that the upper classes were having fewer children than the lower classes. He thought this could not help but drag down the population, since the upper classes were healthier, more intelligent, and of better character than the lower. The eugenicists of Victorian England took the same view, but it was not until 1974 that William Shockley gave the name dysgenics to society-wide genetic decline.
Professor Lynn explains that from the dawn of human existence up until only a century or so ago, people with the best qualities had the most children, thus spreading superior characteristics through populations. This is still happening in primitive societies, where able men achieve high status and have the most children. For example, a 1979 study of the !Kung San tribe (Bushmen) of the Kalahari desert found that 62 percent of the men — the least successful hunters — had no children, whereas the most successful men had multiple wives and many children.
In most non-Christian societies polygamy has been one of the rewards of high status, and to the extent that status reflects ability, polygamy is eugenic. It allows huge differences in the numbers of children men can produce; Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, a Moroccan emperor, is said to have fathered 888 children.
In Europe as well, up until about 1800, the wealthy had considerably more children than the poor. There was no pubic assistance for single mothers, so there were strict sanctions against illegitimacy. Women generally did not marry men who could not support them, and many people in the serving classes therefore did not marry or have children. Prof. Lynn notes that when the lower classes had illegitimate or unwanted children they often exposed them; dead babies were a common sight in gutters or on rubbish heaps.
The 20th century has eased many of the forces that once culled the lower classes, but a few remain. Infant mortality is still higher among the poor than among the middle and upper classes, and this is true without regard to access to medicine. Prof. Lynn writes that this is because the parents are less disciplined and health-conscious.
The poor show other signs of what Prof. Lynn calls a lack of conscientiousness. They are more likely to die from drowning, fire, traffic accidents, and suffocation. They are also more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink to excess. Sexually transmitted diseases are also far more common among the lower classes; venereal diseases can render women infertile and AIDS is lethal. Until cures are found, reckless sexual behavior will have a reproductive price.
How then do the less able manage to outbreed the more able? As Prof. Lynn explains, the main reason is birth control, which the provident use more successfully than the improvident. Until its invention there was no “dysgenic fertility,” to use the specialist term.
The first book on contraception to have a real influence on the English-speaking world was Every Woman’s Book, published in London in 1826. It explained the withdrawal method and how to use sheep-gut condoms. This was followed by the even more successful American book, somewhat opaquely entitled The Fruits of Philosophy. Later in the 19th century, contraception got an enormous unintended boost from the obscenity trials of several Englishmen who had published books on birth control. With the invention of the rubber condom in the 1870s, people who wanted to limit their families had a reliable way to do so.
Of course, not all social strata had the foresight, discipline, and means to use condoms. The intelligent and far-sighted were most likely to use them. As Prof. Lynn writes: “Once contraception became widely available, dysgenic fertility became inevitable.”
Proof by Numbers
Although the eugenicists of the 19th century had a common-sense understanding of the dysgenic threat, it was not until the 20th century that its effects could actually be measured. One of the great strengths of Prof. Lynn’s book is his careful presentation of the data that have been gathered over several generations of research.
Once IQ tests became available in the 1920s, researchers found a clear trend: children with high IQs tended to have few brothers and sisters. This was later shown conclusively to be an effect of dysgenic fertility rather than any kind of IQ-depressing effect of large families. The correlation between IQ and number of siblings is on the order of -.18.
Later population studies have taken a different approach, measuring the IQs of parents and counting their children. On the basis of all available data, Prof. Lynn concludes that the overall genetic IQ decline in the developed world is something like one point per generation. In Britain, for example, he estimates genetic IQ to have declined 6.2 points from 1890 to 1980. All studies seem to show that the decline was greatest in the first half of the 20th century, when contraception use was even more concentrated in the upper classes than it is today.
Recent, fine-grained studies of fertility have confirmed other important findings. In the United States, multi-racialism itself is dysgenic since blacks and Hispanics have more babies than whites. Also, dysgenic trends are more pronounced among blacks than among whites, since the black underclass is outbreeding high-IQ blacks at a greater rate than the equivalent populations among whites. The IQ of white Americans is probably declining at a rate of just under one point per generation, whereas the decline for blacks is estimated at just over two points.
Another interesting finding is that dysgenic trends are sharper among women than men. The most intelligent women often spend many years in school and at work. Once they are in their mid-30s they may not find husbands, and they have also cut short their child-bearing years. Intelligent, successful men who delay marriage have less trouble finding suitable wives.
As Prof. Lynn explains, the sex difference is exacerbated by behavior at the low end of the intelligence curve as well:
Low-IQ women tend to have higher fertility because they are inefficient users of contraception and there are always plenty of men willing to have sex with them. Low IQ men, on the other hand, tend not to have such high fertility because many of them are unattractive to females and lack the social and cognitive skills required to secure sexual partners.
Greater dysgenic fertility among women than men is particularly pronounced among blacks. College-educated black women have a notoriously small number of children whereas the underclass is fertile.
Although Prof. Lynn considers contraception to be the primary dysgenic force, he also notes the baleful effects of welfare. This has been the medium in which the underclass grows, and it has fueled illegitimacy rates among blacks that now approach 70 percent. Prof. Lynn notes that this cannot but be dysgenic:
It is easy to understand why single mothers tend to have low intelligence and weak character. They are less able to foresee, and they care less about, the adverse consequences of having an illegitimate child.
In fact, in the United States, over half of the single women on welfare are in the bottom 20 percent for IQ.
Interestingly, much of the developing world is going through the same, steep dysgenic decline that Europe and the United States suffered earlier in the century. In much of Latin America, for example, contraception is used almost exclusively by the upper classes while peasants still show “natural fertility.” Black Africa is the one great exception. Prof. Lynn reports that almost no one practices birth control there, so the genetic stock is not deteriorating.
Professor Lynn devotes a chapter to the so-called Flynn effect, the finding that performance on IQ tests has actually been rising during the 20th century despite dysgenic fertility. This trend is confirmed when IQ tests are routinely renormed to give an average score of 100. Today’s test-takers score better on tests normed for the 1940s and 1950s than they do on tests normed for the 1990s.
How can this be? Prof. Lynn accepts that the approximate three point per decade rise in IQ since the 1930s is real, and not an artifact of better education or greater literacy. Since the rise has been the same for small children as for adults, experience with test-taking appears not to be the cause. Prof. Lynn believes that better nutrition and the control of most childhood diseases explain performance gains that have masked the decline in underlying genetic intelligence.
Prof. Lynn likens this to using progressively poorer seed on increasingly fertile land. Crops may improve in the short-run but even the best land will some day be unable to make up for degraded seed. Figures for IQ decline are therefore calculations of what must be happening at the genetic level despite higher measured intelligence.
The Flynn effect — named for the New Zealander, J.R. Flynn, who publicized it — is one of the most perplexing findings in current IQ research. Prof. Lynn’s treatment of it is as convincing as any in the literature.
Intelligence is not the only important trait now shaped by modern techniques. Medicine has a dysgenic effect on health, since weak children who would ordinarily have died young now survive to have children of their own. In the case of some heritable diseases that can now be treated, there will be a sharp increase in defective genes. In the next 30 years, hemophilia is likely to become 25 percent more common, and cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria (PKU) will increase by 120 percent and 300 percent.
Prof. Lynn also notes that criminal propensities, which he considers separately from intelligence, are also spreading through the population. Although this is a field that has been almost completely ignored, Prof. Lynn’s own findings are that, at least in Britain, criminals and psychopaths are 77 percent more fertile than other people. Given heritability estimates for criminality derived from twin and adoption studies, Prof. Lynn finds that the excessive fertility of criminals alone probably accounted for a 52 percent crime increase in Britain in a single generation. He considers the spread of criminality a potentially greater problem than the decline of intelligence.
Perhaps the book’s most dismal assertion is that the current reproductive habits of Western populations not only ensure decline, they rule out even the theoretical possibility of genetic improvement. In an era when the most able members of society limit themselves to two or three children, even the most dramatically favorable mutation would have no way to spread through a population. Improvement requires eugenic fertility, which is no longer found in Western populations. They have reached a genetic dead end.
What can be done? Prof. Lynn is silent on the subject of policy, but not from shyness. Dysgenics is to be followed by a second volume, which will outline the steps that can and must be taken to stop genetic deterioration. This volume could be even more important than the first.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Sauce for the Gander
When whites are thought to have committed offenses against blacks but are acquitted of state criminal charges, they may find themselves in federal court on civil rights charges. This was what happened to the officers who arrested Rodney King.
This technique has finally been used against blacks. In 1992, Lemrick Nelson was acquitted of killing Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic Jew, during the 1991 anti-Jewish riots in the Crown Heights section of New York. There was much dissatisfaction among whites when the jury of six blacks, four Hispanics, and two whites not only acquitted Mr. Nelson but then took him to dinner to celebrate the verdict.
Jewish groups put a great deal of pressure on Janet Reno’s Justice Department to retry Mr. Nelson for violation of civil rights. The Administration resisted long past the point of decency, but finally brought charges not only against Mr. Nelson but against another black man, Charles Price, who incited blacks to kill Jews. On February 10th, a jury of three blacks, four Hispanics, and five whites found both men guilty. They are likely to face as many as 20 years in jail. (Joseph Fried, 2 guilty in Fatal Crown Hts. Violence, New York Times, Feb. 11, 1997, p. A1.)
In an amusing footnote, the February 11th New York Times story on the trial changed slightly from its early to late editions. It first quoted Lemrick Nelson’s mother as telling her son, “You ain’t did nothing wrong.” It later repented of this verbatim quotation and simply wrote that she had told him he had done nothing wrong. (Just Ain’t Done, New York Post, Feb. 12, 1997.)
Kennewick Man Stays Above Ground
In January we reported the discovery of a 9,000-year-old skeleton in Oregon of a man thought to be a Caucasian. Indian tribes immediately claimed him as an ancestor, and invoked the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to have him handed over for reburial. Even the mainstream media wondered whether Indian haste to get their hands on the bones did not indicate fear that further study of the skeleton would demonstrate a white presence on the continent at an awkwardly early time.
Although scientists were frantic for a chance to examine this unusual find, the Army Corps of Engineers, which had custody of the body, knuckled under immediately to the Indians and agreed to give them the bones. However, on Feb. 3, a U.S. District Magistrate permitted scientists and an Odinist group, the Asatru Folk Assembly, to file suits demanding further study. Kennewick man will therefore stay above ground and have his day in court. (Richard Hill, Judge Allows Suits in Kennewick Man Case to Continue, The Oregonian, Feb. 4, 1997, p. 1.)
At the University of Georgia at Athens, the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday went on a little longer than usual. There were no less than ten separate, official events, which stretched from Jan. 17 through Feb. 5, including such things as “1997 MLK Art Exhibit,” “1997 MLK GospelFest,” “A King-sized Celebration,” and “1997 MLK Youth Symposium on Nonviolence.” The dates suggest that these are annual observances. There is probably no other person, idea, or historical event that would merit anything like this scale of commemoration.
Blacks Learn Early
A 14-year-old black boy in East Fallowfield Township, Pennsylvania, has already learned that faking a “hate crime” can really make things happen. The boy tied threatening messages to rocks and pitched them through the windows of his own house, prompting the usual uproar. Local police considered posting a “round-the-clock guard on the house. The boy apparently didn’t like the neighborhood, and wanted to persuade his mother to move house. (AP, Cops: Boy Falsified Hate Attacks, Coatesville, PA, Feb. 5, 1997.)
Whites Learn Late
Season ticket holders to the Pasadena Playhouse decided they didn’t want to patronize a series of “black theme” plays. Of the 16,000 subscribers to the Pasadena, California arts organization, about 1,000 decided not to renew. Many said openly that they were not interested in plays about Jackie Robinson fighting “racism” or about black disco groups in the 1970s. “We’re surprised people actually vocalized that,” said a spokesman for the playhouse. Indeed, whites usually keep such views to themselves. (AP, Pasadena, Calif, Feb. 10, 1997.)
Longing for White Rule
Many South Africans have a legitimate fear that their country is sliding into chaos. Government is bloated and ineffectual, crime is increasing spectacularly, and the white-built infrastructure is falling apart. At least some blacks think they know what the problem is. Robert Thornton, an anthropologist at Witwatersrand University, is doing research in Mpumalanga province. “One of the tribal leaders I spoke to said he missed the good old days under apartheid,” he says. (Anton Ferreira, S. Africa’s Mandela Needs Firmer Hand on Tiller, Reuters, Cape Town, Feb. 4.)
Meanwhile, in the United States, one of the first towns founded by blacks is facing bankruptcy and a state takeover. Princeville, North Carolina, was established by freed slaves in 1865. Now, sewers don’t flow, garbage collection is spotty, and the town budget has plunged into the red. Part of the problem is that the town doesn’t have accurate addresses for four fifths of its water and sewer customers — a surprising problem for a community of 1,900. Nor can the town persuade citizens to pay taxes; its collection rate is 52 percent compared to a state average of 97 percent.
Resident, Johnny Clark, is proud of Princeville’s history as a black town, but looks forward to the state running the city: “I believe you would get a fairer deal with the white folks.” (Martha Waggoner, N.C. Town Founded by Freed Slaves Faces Takeover, The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Jan. 31, 1997, p. 6A.)
As the Twig is Bent . . .
The Anti-Defamation League produces a large number of “anti-bias/diversity” books and videos. A selection of these are listed in a “mini-catalog,” which is available, free of charge, for anyone who calls (800) 343-5540. Books include the 380-page Us: A Cultural Mosaic, which will help children “begin to see that differences are positive, and they add interest and richness to life.” Wonderful World of Difference will “provide educators with a starting point for helping their students explore the diversity and richness contained within the human family.”
Then there is Being’ With You This Way: “This award-winning rap-poem with brilliantly colorful, dynamic illustrations is a perfect way to teach young children about the joy of being together — and being different — in a multicultural society.” A children’s reader on immigration is called Who Belongs Here? An American Story. Need a poster to brighten up your child’s room? Try “Diversity is our strength,” which shows a little blond girl with her arm draped over the shoulders of a black boy.
Videos are offered with titles like “Crimes of Hate,” “Beyond Hate,” and “The Longest Hatred.” Customers not obsessed with hate can buy a little drama called “Shadows Between Friends,” about a California white and Hispanic “whose friendship is threatened by, but eventually overcomes, the prejudices and stereotypes of school mates and adult society.”
Many of the ADL’s offerings come with discussion guides and instructions for teachers.
. . . so Grows the Tree
U.S. Government agencies subscribe to a monthly publication called Managing Diversity, which recently published a front-page story by Harris Sussman, Ph.D., called “What are the Values of White People.” It is worth quoting at length:
It turns out that the white people we are talking about have been primarily Christians, often acting in the name of their Christian values. This is puzzling and distressing.
In the name of Christian values, they had the Inquisition. They called native peoples ‘savages’ who did not qualify as human beings. They set up definitions of pagans, heathens, primitives, undeveloped people, which left Christians superior and dominant. They killed Jews and gypsies in the Holocaust.
In our post-modern vocabulary, ‘whites’ or ‘the white man’ is all we need to say to invoke this history and experience of injustice and cruelty. When we say ‘white people,’ we mean the people of greed who valued things over people, who value money over people. We know exactly what their values are and where they lead. We have all paid a terrible price for those values . . .
Many white people are uneasy with their own history. They are having a profound identity crisis . . . This means that many white people do not think of themselves as white people — or at least not the white people that everyone else has in mind when they make those generalizations.
Many people who grew up in the Christian heritage no longer claim that heritage. They have adopted the beliefs and values of other cultures and traditions as well as they can — Buddhist, Baha’i, Islam.
(White People, Washington Times, Feb. 13, 1997, p. A10.)
California Con Game
Now that the campuses of the University of California cannot use race as a criterion for admissions, they are desperately thinking up different criteria that they think will permit them to recruit the same non-whites anyway. UC Assistant Vice President Dennis Galligane puts it this way: “We have two overall goals: to increase the number of whatever word we come up with . . . underserved . . . students, and to increase diversity in UC.” As even the San Francisco Examiner notes, the diversity crew’s goal “remains the same as it’s always been.”
There are now more than 800 UC “outreach” programs operating in primary schools, high schools and community colleges, trying to coax blacks and Hispanics into the system. They cost more than $100 million every year, with three quarters of the money coming from taxes. There appears to be no plan to abolish these programs; they will simply be reoriented toward recruiting the “underserved.” (Carol Ness, UC System Struggles Over Blacks, Latinos, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 18, 1997.)
Europe is all atwitter over the latest National Front victory, in the mayoral elections for the French town of Vitrolles. Catherine Mégret, whose grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, notes that times have changed.
‘Our voters wanted us to scare people who don’t belong,’ she explains. ‘We will immediately stop all state aid to immigrants and give the money to French people. Our motto is: French first.’
‘You’ll see how quickly they [immigrants] disappear from here,’ she adds. ‘They’re only here for the money.’
Mrs. Mégret also scoffed at the social workers hired by the previous Socialist city government, who tried to “understand” young criminals. “We will abolish these posts completely and hire policemen in their place who, instead of trying to prevent crime, will crack down hard,” she explained. (National Front Aims to Scare Immigrants, Mayor Says, International Herald Tribune, Feb. 25, 1997, p. 5.)
Chicago’s Roberto Clemente High School has an almost entirely Puerto Rican student body. Seventy-five percent of the 2,500 students qualify for special federal funds that are supposed to be used to help educate poor students by, for example, paying for textbooks. The Clemente school has, instead, used the money to promote Puerto Rican nationalism and hatred of America.
Between 1992 and 1995, the school spent at least $150,000 flying in Puerto Rican activists to address students. One school staffer, on condition of anonymity, describes one such ceremony:
One of the first things I saw shortly after I arrived was the American flag being spit on by a speaker hired to talk to the students about Puerto Rican independence. The speaker . . . shouted to the students, ‘This is Americaca. You are living in Americaca.’ Caca is spanish for excrement.
The same staffer said that a teacher had been ordered to take the American flag down from his classroom wall because it was the “flag of the oppressor.” The schools walls sport murals, in Spanish, promoting Puerto Rican nationalism.
Poverty program money has been used to pay for fund-raising events for something called the National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. The objects of the committee’s admiration are more than a dozen Puerto Ricans convicted of killing five people and injuring 70 in a wave of terrorist attacks in 1974. As one student at the school explained, “My teacher said the terrorists only did what they did because we Puerto Ricans were being mistreated by the whites.”
One of the activists flown in to inspire students was sculptor Ramon Moreno. After he addressed a school assembly, students were invited to attend the unveiling of Mr. Moreno’s statue of Puerto Rican independence leader, Pedro Campos, who used to urge his followers to assassinate President Harry Truman. The statue now stands in Chicago’s Humboldt Park.
When newspapers reported these activities, the school board appointed a new principal, Jerry Anderson. After Miss Anderson received threatening notes and at least one telephoned death threat — in Spanish-accented English — she declined the job. (Michelle Campbell & Michael Sneed, School Funds Used to Push Terrorists’ Release, Chicago Sun-Times, Feb. 4, 1997, p. 1.)
The January issue of Spearhead, published in England, includes an item about Islam, of which we here reprint a portion [Note: in Britain, “Asian” usually means Pakistani or Indian]:
Shortly before Christmas, most national newspapers carried reports of the incident in Birmingham’s Washwood Heath Secondary School, when an Asian teacher disrupted a carol service because the choir included members of the school’s Muslim majority. As the choir sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the 27-year-old father-of-two, Israr Khan, leapt to his feet shouting “Why are you saying Jesus and Jesus Christ. God is not your God, it is Allah.” Turning to the audience, he yelled: “Who is your God?”, to which many Asian pupils — who make up 60 percent of the 1,265-strong school roll — replied with chants of “Allah” and enthusiastic applause. “The audience was booing and shouting at us,” said one shocked choir member.
According to the Daily Telegraph of 19th December, “Staff are said to go out of their way to celebrate major religious festivals recognized by its pupils, including the Muslim Ramadan and Hindu Diwali as well as Christmas.” Clearly such equal treatment is no longer enough for many Muslims, who are beginning to exercise their growing power and influence on councils and schools in many British towns and cities.
What was most interesting about this incident was not the sensationalist condemnations of Islamic intolerance, and naive calls for “inter-faith understanding and tolerance’, which appeared in the tabloids. Far more significant was an article in the Daily Telegraph of 19th December by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, the Director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity.
Under the headline: “Prince Charles is wrong: Islam does menace the West” the article warned gravely that the Muslims, who “want to move into the mainstream of British life . . . may seek to change the existing political, legal and educational structures to conform to Islamic norms.”
Warned Dr. Sookhdeo:
Many British Muslims — particularly victims of racial discrimination and economic marginalization within Britain’s affluent society — feel, first members of the world-wide Muslim community and only secondly members of British society . . . A preacher in a European mosque recently reminded his congregation that it was the migration of a Syrian Muslim to Spain which resulted in Spain’s Islamic civilisation and Islamic rule. He challenged his listeners, who had all migrated to Europe, to consider for what purpose Allah had brought them to Europe.
(Spearhead, Box 117, Welling, Kent DA163DW, England)
Liberty and Justice For All
A white man from North Lakeland, Florida, has been sentenced to one year and nine months in jail for persuading a black couple not to move into the house next door. Forty-nine-year-old David Broome was also ordered to pay $9,500 to the couple. “You’re niggers to me,” he reportedly said. “I don’t want you as a neighbor.” Mr. Broome is also said to have “threatened” black FBI agents who later posed as buyers of the same house.
A clandestine FBI video tape caught Mr. Broome displaying a Confederate flag in his front yard and telling the agents: “It means I don’t like black people . . . I ain’t the only redneck in this neighborhood . . . I like to cause trouble.” If this was a threat, it was a mild one.
Mr. Broome complained about the severity of his sentence, saying “I don’t think I should get 21 months in jail just because I shot my mouth off in my front yard. Drug dealers get less time than I did.”
The very same issue of the Lakeland Ledger that reported Mr. Broome’s comments proved him right. On a different page we learn that two middle-class drug dealers from Tampa, who faced a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine, were let off virtually scott free. A federal judge sentenced Mary Toothman to three years probation and no jail time. William Evans got three years probation and five months in prison. (Guy McCarthy, Man Sentenced for Racist Acts, Lakeland Ledger, Feb. 1, 1997, p. B1. Eric Pera, Drug Sentences Move Two to Tears, Lakeland Ledger, Feb. 1, 1997, p. B4.)
‘Most of the recently reported rapes have been by Black men on White women.’ The article evokes ‘the tendency of politically ascendant groups to have their way with women among those they believe they have conquered.’ ‘Black men have always regarded women as there for the taking. Now they are transferring this attitude, mingled with political triumph and apartheid-hate, to their treatment of White women . . . We may not understand why more White women are being raped by Black men but let’s not pretend it is not happening.’ (Martin Williams, The Citizen, Feb. 8, 1997.)
According to another report, there is a rape in South Africa every 25 seconds: “Rape by a single attacker is the exception. The majority of victims have been gang-raped by at least three attackers, who are usually in their late teens or early twenties.” (Robert Block, Teenage Rape Gangs Roam South Africa, Sunday Times (London), Jan. 19, 1977.)
We quote the following story, verbatim and in toto:
Abidjan — AFP: Three sorcerers in Ivory Coast have been jailed for three years after they admitted eating 35 people they had first transformed into edible rodents, the Abidjan press reported Monday.
Yaoua Agninoua, her younger sister Kossia Mize and Koffi Mouroufie, a customary chief, told a tribunal in Bondoukou 340 kilometers (210 miles) northeast of Abidjan that they had transformed Marthe Yaoua into a grasscutter, a large rodent much appreciated by gourmets here, as she lay in her hospital bed. They then cooked her in a pot and ate her, according to Soir Info.
The two women told the tribunal they had “transformed themselves into birds on the orders of the chief” so as to enter the room of their victim at night. The pair were then joined by the chief who divided up the victim, giving himself the largest of the three portions, the paper reported. The three told the court some 34 others from the same village had suffered the same culinary fate, all having been transformed into grasscutters first.
Tribunal chairman Souleymane Diabate told AFP the three had admitted ‘practicing sorcery and creating a public nuisance,’ an offense under article 204 of Ivory Coast’s penal code. ‘As soon as they admitted it, it was an element of proof. Furthermore, they were found in possession of magic trinkets’ he said. ‘We did not judge them on the details of the affair, but rather for practicing sorcery, an established offense,’ said the judge who added the convicts had said they were sorry. (Agence France Press, Sorcerers Who Admitted Eating 35 People Jailed for Three Years, Feb. 4, 1997.)
There have been strange doings in Ghana, too. Mobs have beaten to death at least 12 penis snatchers. Victims say witches simply touch them and their organs shrink or vanish. The witch then asks for cash in return for a cure. The entire country is in a panic, and women have also reported people shrinking or stealing their genitals. It is widely believed that the missing organs are used in voodoo rituals.
Armed police are patrolling markets and bus stations to prevent further witch-killings. Doctors have appeared on state television to explain why penises increase and decrease in size. One expert said that fear shrinks penises. (Reuter, “Penis Snatcher” Death Toll Hits 12 in Ghana, Jan. 23, 1997.)
In 1992, the most recent year for which figures are available, students at black colleges were three times more likely to default on government-backed student loans than were students at other colleges. Twenty-eight percent tried to stiff their creditors, compared to the national norm of seven percent. Also, the average annual default amount at a black college, $464,209, was nearly four times the amount at other institutions.
The default rate at black colleges is higher than that allowed by law, but Congress has so far granted special exemptions for them. Congress will have to vote another exemption by July next year or the money will stop coming in. (Loan Defaults Higher at Black Colleges, Washington Times, Jan. 22, 1997.)
In Chicago’s heavily black and Hispanic schools, administrators have stopped supplying rest rooms with toilet paper, soap, or paper towels. If they leave paper in the rest rooms, students clog the plumbing by flushing whole rolls down toilets, and plaster the walls and ceilings with wads of wet paper. Many teachers establish official bathroom breaks, when they dispense just enough paper for a single use. Other schools supply paper in the rest rooms but teachers always accompany students to make sure they do not go wild. There is no soap in these rest rooms because students tear the soap dispensers off the walls. There are no doors to the stalls because students destroy them.
Recently the principle of Revere School on the South Side relaxed its no-paper policy, but only for its older students. They immediately reverted to waste and wildness, so the policy was reinstated. (Janita Poe, In School Bathrooms, Tissue is a Privilege, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 4, 1997, p. 1.)
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — In his masterful, eye-opening article, “Diversity in the Human Genome,” Glayde Whitney predicts that science will vindicate the now-reviled people who believe that race is real and that racial differences matter. From the evidence he presents there seems little doubt that he is right.
Does this mean there will be apologies from all the liberals who called Arthur Jensen and William Shockley (and so many others) “bigots”? Will there be any understanding or forgiveness for whites who opposed integration and intermarriage? I’m not counting on it.
If the establishment ever admits it was wrong, it will still claim moral superiority because it will say it meant well. The “racists” will have been proven right, but they will still be moral inferiors because they drew their despicable conclusions in the absence of sufficient data.
“Racists” will be like 1950s anti-Communists: right and never to be forgiven for it — and certainly never thanked or apologized to.
Shirley Edwards, Wilmington, N.C.
Sir — I just received my March issue today; what a fantastic cover story. I have always known that science was on our side, but Glade Whitney’s account of the Human Genome Project confirms this like nothing else I have read in years. It is really quite astonishing that the U.S. government is funding a project that will forever discredit the notion of racial egalitarianism.
Professor Whitney writes of the possibility of the censors clamping down of the “inconvenient” data. The very fact that a man of his credentials and position has written this article reassures me that censorship cannot succeed. Even if other scientists are not as brave, Prof. Whitney’s example will surely shame them into owning up to the truth.
Thomas Shorter, Denver, Co.
Sir — There seems to be some confusion as to the meaning of the word “merit.” In the Feb. 1997 issue Thomas Jackson quotes Prof. Richard Delgado, saying that merit “is basically, white people’s affirmative action” and “up-to-date bigotry.”
The definition of “merit” in the headline of The Chicago Tribune of Jan. 18, “Promote Police on Merit, City Urges,” is a little different, as the following paragraph from the story makes clear:
“A mayoral task force noting an “unfortunate history of discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics in the Chicago Police Department’ recommended that 30 percent of police promotions be done on the basis of merit. The others would be based on test scores.”
Every time the Police or Fire Department gives an exam, virtually all the highest scorers turn out to be white. Then some gimmick is found whereby the test results are evaded, and the appropriate number of blacks and Hispanics are added to the force — on the basis of “merit” rather than ability.
This latest appeal to “merit” comes an uncomfortably short time after the arrest of seven police officers for extortion and robbery, all of whom, judging from their pictures in the papers, were black. They were thus almost certainly beneficiaries of “merit” hiring though, the Chicago Tribune does not mention this.
Albert Himoe, Urbana, Il.
Sir — I enjoyed your un-PC February cover story about eugenics, “Ending a Historical Taboo.” However, it is wrong to cite the Nazis as “right-wing” promoters of eugenics. They were leftists, as one would judge from the name of their party: National Socialist German Workers Party. In my view the left endorses activism, presumably doing good through coercion, while the right endorses minimalist government on the assumption that unnecessary coercion is wicked.
Robert Hobart, Charlottesville, Va.
Sir — Your January O Tempora item about the discovery of an ancient Caucasian skeleton in Oregon is an example of how politics take precedence over history. Ironically, Communist China has handled similarly stunning finds with much more integrity.
Archaeologists in the province of Xinjiang have unearthed over 100 bodies of remarkably well preserved Caucasians dating from circa 1200 B.C. Examination of gave goods exhumed with the bodies suggests that these people introduced the wheel, metallurgy and horse rearing to the Chinese. Despite the impact these finds could have on Chinese national pride, the regime has not attempted to interfere with the examination of the artifacts. What a sad contrast to the American attitude.
David Yandell, Oklahoma City, Ok.
See Kennewick Man Stays Above Ground for further adventures of Kennewick Man.
Sir — I was fascinated by the review of Walker Conner’s Ethnonationalism. A man cannot write a book like that and have any illusions about the prospects for a multi-racial America. Is he an AR reader?
Tom Herron, Memphis, Tn.
We wish he were but cannot claim him. We send copies of reviews to publishers, so he will see it eventually. — Ed.