|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 22, No. 12||December 2011|
The Adventures of Nordic Man
Talking (and Singing) of the Nordic Man
Nordic Man Comes to the New World
The Galton Report: Francis Galton, In Memoriam, Part III, Eugenics
Les Tuniques Bleues
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Adventures of Nordic Man
Hilaire Belloc vs. Madison Grant
And be as like him, as you can;
His legs are long, his mind is slow,
His hair is lank and made of tow.
And here we have the Alpine Race:
Oh! What a broad and foolish face!
His skin is of a dirty yellow.
He is a most unpleasant fellow.
The most degraded of them all
Mediterranean we call.
His hair is crisp, and even curls,
And he is saucy with the girls.
— Hilaire Belloc, 1926
People have always been fascinated by how their group differs from others. From the earliest records of the ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, or Chinese, all peoples have noticed ethnic and racial differences, and have generally looked down on strangers. This universal sense of differences took a scientific turn in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Under the influence of Darwinism, in particular, Europeans began to use physical measurements to classify groups and individuals.
The science of measuring people was called anthropometry, and the cephalic index was considered the single most important measurement. Largely ignored today, this is the ratio of skull width to skull length, first calculated by the Swedish anatomy professor Anders Retzius (1796-1860) to classify ancient human remains. It was not long before scientists began to use the cephalic index to classify living humans.
In 1883, the Anthropometric Committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science published the results of a huge survey devoted to “defining the facial characteristics of the races and principal crosses in the British Isles.” It is hard to imagine men in white coats crisscrossing the country measuring heads, but that is what they did. This study made head shape a respectable criterion for individual and group differences.
It was on the basis of British work that William Z. Ripley (1867 – 1941) introduced to Americans the division of whites into Nordic (or Teutonic), Alpine, and Mediterranean subraces, and the cephalic index was the key to telling the groups apart. Ripley, who taught sociology at MIT and anthropology at Columbia, expounded on this in his very influential The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study, published in 1899. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, this was one of the original documents of American Nordicism. Madison Grant, who did as much as anyone to promote Nordicism in America (see the review of his Conquest of a Continent, in this issue) acknowledged a “debt of gratitude” to Ripley in the introduction to his first major book, The Passing of the Great Race.
Ripley did not stress behavioral differences between the subraces, but he did note that “the aristocracy everywhere tends towards the blond and tall type, as we should expect.” His followers expanded—sometimes with considerable imagination—on the supposed differences between the three groups.
Ripley was not the final word on white subraces. In Germany, Hans F. K. Günther’s The Racial Elements of European History (translated into English in 1927) went further, adding the Dinaric and East Baltic subraces to Ripley’s basic three, but these finer subdivisions were never popular among English-speakers.
The passion for anthropometry led to attempts to distinguish between all individuals on the basis of measurements of skulls, fingers, feet, forearms, etc. and the ratios between these measures. In 1883, the Frenchman Alphonse Bertillon even introduced a relatively successful system that used measurements to identify people, especially criminals. “Bertillonage,” as it was called, had a brief vogue before it was replaced by fingerprinting. The public, however, was taken with the cephalic index, which was easy to measure and said to have great meaning.
Nordicists put great stock in the index. Blond hair and blue eyes were promising signs of Nordicism, but not definitive. The true sign of the Nordic was to have a head that was considerably longer, front to back, than it was wide. In Britain and the United States, callipering people’s heads and working out the index (the diagrams on this page show where to measure) became a fad. Some people took it seriously but for many it was a parlor game. It was like astrology: religion for some, amusement for others.
One person who had a good laugh at the whole thing was Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953), a Catholic traditionalist who was one of the most prolific British writers of the early 20th century. His best known writings are satirical poems for children, but his adult work is suffused with a love for Europe and the Catholic Church: “Europe is the faith, and the faith is Europe.” He despised and feared Islam and was by no means a racial egalitarian, but he had no sympathy for invidious distinctions among Europeans. In his 1926 collection, Short Talks With the Dead and Other Essays, he wrote the poem on page 1 and the satire on Nordicism that follows.
Nordicism did not survive the Second World War. It became too closely associated with German Aryanism to be respectable in England or America. Today, it is widely dismissed as nonsense. Even the distinguished anthropologist Carleton Coon (1904 – 1981), who battled the tide of racial egalitarianism during the 1960s, defined Nordicism as “the misuse of racial terminology for political purposes, based on the unproved assumption that Nordics are superior in mental and moral attributes to members of other races.”
Perhaps it really is all nonsense, though northern Europeans seem to differ from southerners in both appearance and temperament, and it would seem unlikely that if European groups have consistent differences in skull shape there would be no differences inside the skull. Science is not likely to look closely into this question, however, and there are other group differences that are far more worthy of study.
The interest in Nordicism was nevertheless an important stage in the racial thinking of our people. Both Belloc, who laughed at it, and Grant, who promoted it, are still worth reading today.
The Cephalic Index (C.I.) formula:
C.I. = [Head width (eu-eu) x 100]/ Head length (g-op)
|Cephalic Index||Skull Shape|
|55.0 to 59.9||ultradolichocephalic|
|60.0 to 64.9||hyperdolichocephalic|
|up to 70.0||chamaecephalic|
|up to 74.9||dolichocephalic|
|70.1 to 75.0||orthocephalic|
|75.0 to 79.9||mesocephalic|
|85.0 to 89.9||hyperbrachycephalic|
|90.0 to 94.9||ultrabrachycephalic|
Talking (and Singing) of the Nordic Man
The translation [of the poem at the beginning of this article] is my own. I offer it with diffidence, for I recognize that it does not reproduce the deep organ tones of the original. But it gives the substance of that fine poem, and it is only with the substance—I mean that description of The Race which it conveys—that I have here to deal.
I heard so much about the Nordic Man in these last few months that I was moved to collect recently a great mass of information upon him and to co-ordinate it. Upon the Alpine Man and the Mediterranian Man I am not so erudite: nor is it indeed to any great purpose that I should be—for they are clearly inferior. But the Nordic Man is worth anybody’s trouble; and here is what I have found out about him.
He is the Conqueror and the Adventurer. He is the Lawgiver and the essentially Moral Man. He arranges the world as it should be arranged. He does everything for his own good and for the good of others. He is a natural Leader. Even those who hate him, fear him: all respect him. The Alpine Man sits sullenly at his feet awaiting his orders; the Mediterranean Man flies in terror from his face.
But it is not enough to learn these general characteristics in the Nordic Man, pleasing though they are. No sound biologist could be content until he knew something intimate of his origin and habits; where he may be found, what he does, and how to tell him at sight.
This, then, is what I have found about the Nordic Man. I have space only for the most salient points, but I hope to complete the picture in detail when I shall have leisure to write my book on the species. It will be fully illustrated and will have a very complete Index.
The Nordic Man is born either in the West End of London or in a pleasant country house, standing in its own park-like grounds. That is the general rule; he is, however, sometimes born in a parsonage and rather more frequently in a Deanery or a Bishop’s Palace, or a Canon’s house in a Close. Some of this type have been born in North Oxford; but none (that I can discover) in the provincial manufacturing towns, and certainly none east of Charing Cross or south of the river.
The Nordic Man has a nurse to look after him while he is a baby, and she has another domestic at her service. He has a night and a day nursery, and he is full of amusing little tricks which endear him to his parents as he grows through babyhood to childhood.
Towards the age of ten or eleven, the Nordic Man goes to a preparatory school, the headmaster of which is greatly trusted by the Nordic Man’s parents, especially by the Nordic Man’s mother. He early learns to Play the Game, and is also grounded in the elements of Good Form, possibly the Classics and even, exceptionally, some modern tongue. He plays football and cricket; usually, but not always, he is taught to swim.
Thence the Nordic Man proceeds to what is called a Public School, where he stays till he is about eighteen. He then goes either to Oxford or Cambridge, or into the Army. He does not stay long in the Army; while from the University he proceeds either to a profession (such as the Bar, or writing advertisements) or to residence upon his estate. This last he can only do if his father dies early.
The Nordic Man lives in comfort and even luxury through manhood: he shoots, he hunts, he visits the South of France, he plays bridge. He hates the use of scent; he changes for dinner into a special kind of clothes every day. He is extremely particular about shaving, and he wears his hair cut short and even bald. The Nordic does not bother much about Religion, so when he approaches death he has to distract himself with some hobby, often that of his health. He dies of all sorts of things, but more and more of the cancer; after his death his sons, nephews, or cousins take up the role of the Nordic Man and perpetuate the long and happy chain.
Such is the life-story of the Nordic Man. I have only given it in its broadest line, and have left out a great many sub-sections; but what I have said will be sufficient to indicate places in which he is to be surprised and the kind of things which you will there find him doing. As for his character, which lies at the root of all this great performance, that is less easily described, for one might as well attempt to describe a colour or a smell; but I can attempt some indications of it.
The Nordic Man dislikes all cruelty to animals, and is himself kind to them in the following scale: first the dog, then the horse, then the cat, then birds, and so on till you get to insects, after which he stops caring. Microbes, oddly enough, he detests. He will treat them in the most callous manner.
In the matter of wine the Nordic Man is divided; you cannot predicate of him that he will drink it, or that if he drinks it he will know what it is. But in the matter of whisky you may safely say that it is his stand-by, save for a certain sub-section of him who dare not touch it. These stand apart and are savage to their fellows.
The Nordic Man is very reserved, save in the matter of speech-making. He hates to betray an emotion, but he hates still more the complete concealment of it. He has therefore established a number of conventions whereby it may be known when he is angry, pleased or what not; but he has no convention for fear, for he is never afraid. This reminds me that the Nordic Man despises conflict with lethal weapons unless it be against the enemies of his country; but he delights in watching, and will sometimes himself practise, conflict conducted with stuffed gloves. As for fighting with his feet, he would not dream of it; nor does he ever bite.
The Nordic Man is generous and treats all men as his equals, especially those whom he feels to be somewhat inferior in rank and wealth. This is a very beautiful trait in the Nordic Man, and causes him to believe that he is everywhere beloved. On the other hand, the Nordic Man prefers to live with those richer than himself. The Nordic Man detests all ostentation in dress, and detests even more the wearing of cheap clothes. He loves it to be known that his clothes were costly. No Nordic Man wears a made-up tie.
The Nordic Man boasts that he is not addicted to the Arts, and here he is quite right; but he is an excellent collector of work done by the inferior Mediterranean race, and is justly proud of the rare successes of his own people in this field. In the same way the Nordic Man will tell you with emphasis that he cannot write. Here he tells the truth. Yet, oddly enough, he is convinced that no one has ever been able to write except Nordic Men; and this article of faith he applies particularly to True Poetry, which (he conceives) can only be inspired in his own tongue.
The Nordic Man does everything better than anybody else does it, and himself proclaims this truth unceasingly; but where he particularly shines is in the administration of justice. For he will condemn a man to imprisonment or death with greater rapidity than will the member of any other race. In giving judgment he is, unlike the rest of the human species, unmoved by any bias of class or blood, let alone of personal interest. On this account his services as a magistrate are sought far and wide throughout the world, and his life is never in danger save from disappointed suitors or those who have some imaginary grievance against him.
The Nordic Man is a great traveller. He climbs mountains; he faces with indifference tropical heat and arctic cold. He is a very fine fellow.
I must conclude by telling you all that I am not obtaining these details from any personal observations, as the part of the country in which I live has very few Nordic Men, and most of them are away during the greater part of the year staying either in the houses of other Nordic Men or in resorts of ritual pleasure upon the Continent. But I have had the whole thing described to me most carefully by a friend of mine who was for a long time himself a Nordic Man, until he had the misfortune to invest in British Dyes and crashed. He guarantees me the accuracy of his description.
* * *
Immediately after I had written those few words you have just read about the Nordic Man, I received a great quantity of letters from—I was about to write ‘from all quarters of the world,’ when I suddenly remembered that there would not be time for that, and that the lie would stick out—a great quantity of letters, I say, from all sorts of people. It shows at once how widely I am read, and what interest my handling of this great subject aroused.
Some of these letter were abusive, some laudatory, some critical; all three categories are to me sacred when the writers have the courage to give name and address, and I would not divulge to the public the confidences they contain. But I think I may be allowed to answer here such correspondents as refused to give name and address. They will serve as examples to show how little the true doctrine of Nordic Man has, so far, penetrated the masses.
Of course it will soak through at last, as all great scientific truths do—such as the doctrine of Natural Selection and the peculiar properties of the stuff called Ether, not to speak of Magna Charta, which even the poorest scavenger in the street to-day reveres as the origin of his freedom.
But so far this new discovery of the Nordic Man has not spread as it should have done.
Thus the first of my correspondents (who signs ‘Gallio’ and gives no address but Brighton) is puzzled by the apparent aptitude of the Romans in their best period for administration and government, and even, in a primitive fashion, for war. He admits that all this may be much exaggerated, and from what he has seen of the Romans (he was down among them lately) he cannot believe all he hears of their ancestors. But still (he supposes) there must be a solid kernel of truth in it: for after all, the name ‘Roman’ was given to a great number of institutions—including the Empire itself—and he asks me—rather crudely—how this was possible if the Mediterranean race were as vile as our greatest authorities have discovered it to be? It is odd that the simple answer to this difficulty has not occurred to the writer. It is that those who governed the Empire, and led the armies, called ‘Roman’ were Nordic. This could be proved in several ways, but all of them might be open to objection save the unanswerable one that if these men had not been Nordic they could not have succeeded as they did. The Scipios, the Julian House, Hadrian—to cite at random—were manifestly and necessarily Nordic; for men do not act as they acted unless they are of pre-bred Nordic stock.
The same is true of other manifestations of intelligence and virgour in Mediterranean countries. Thus the Italians and even the Greeks have left a considerable body of remarkable literature both in prose and in verse, and in the case of Italy, we have even quite modern examples of literary excellence—at least, so I am assured by those who are acquainted with the idioms of the inferior races. But upon examination it will always be found that the authors, though using a base medium, were Nordic. The committee which we collectively call by the mythological term ‘Homer,’ and which drew up and passed certainly the Iliad and possibly the Odyssey, were clearly Nordic in composition. Catullus was as Nordic as he could be. The Nordic character of Aristotle is a commonplace. Dante was Nordic. So was Leopardi.
Take any outstanding Italian or other Mediterranean name and you will find upon close examination that the man to whom it is attached was of the Nordic type: Napolean Buonaparte occurs at once to the mind.
Another correspondent has come upon the thing from a different angle. He knows enough of the great new discovery to understand the term ‘cephalic index,’ and he has had his own cephalic index taken by a cephalogian who practices in Ealing. He did so under the impression, of course, that he was of sound Nordic tock; but to his horror the measurements have come out an extreme form of Alpine! He asks me what he is to do about it? I can assure him (and though I do not claim to be an expert in Moronovitalogy I am fairly well up in my elements) that his anxiety is groundless. Though, of course, skull measurement is the basis of the three great divisions, yet if a man have Nordic qualities clearly apparent in his birth and culture, these easily predominate over what might be the natural tendencies of brachycephalic humanity. It would be a fine state of things, indeed, if we had to rule out of the Nordic excellence all of those great men of the English past who, so far as we can judge from their portraits, had something flag-headed about them.
A third correspondent—who signs her letter ‘Onyx’—is troubled about her children. There are five: three charming boys and two delightful girls. She has measured their heads with her husband’s calipers (he is an architect in full employment) and he finds that her eldest and her youngest are quite unmistakably Mediterranean; her second eldest painfully Alpine, only her second youngest clearly Nordic; while the one in the middle, a boy (by name, she tells me, Ethelred), seems to be a strange mixture of all three.
I cannot reply personally to this correspondent, as she does not give her address; but I trust that these line will meet her eye. I would have her note that in the first place the skulls of children are no index to the shape they will have when they fossilize in mature years; and next, that even if three varied types appear in her family, it is not remarkable, for all three types are present in England. Moreover, she may have travelled.
A fourth correspondent, a clergyman, I fancy, who signs ‘Scholasticus,’ writes me a long rigmarole (I cannot call it by any politer name), in which he calls the whole theory a subversive of sound morals, and asks whether we are to believe that man ‘created in the image of his Maker, and responsible to his Creator,’ etc. etc. etc.
Really, to this kind of thing there is only one answer. Science does not clash with religion; it clashes with nothing except unreason and untruth. Science is simply organized knowledge, based upon experiment and accurate measurement over so wide a field as to be established with absolute certitude. Now Science clearly proves that these three races, the Nordic, the Alpine, and the Mediterranean, exist side by side in Europe, and affirms that the Nordic (to which all scientific men belong) possesses those qualities upon which alone men can pride themselves. Science demonstrates the defects and vices of the Alpine and the baseness and degradation of the Mediterranean stock. If my reverend critic likes to knock his head against a stone wall, I cannot help it. But it seems to me an extraordinary thing to find any possessed of enough education to write consecutively, opposing (at this time of day) established scientific truths in the name of hypothetical principles, the figments of imagination and vanity. His ‘Creator,’ ‘image,’ ‘responsibility,’ are all of them mere words; not one of them has been established by accurate and repeated measurement, nor have they one single experiment conducted under scientific conditions to support them; while on the other side we have the unanimous agreement of Meyerbath, Karsowitz, Brahmsohn, Farrago, Cent-Six, Blauwvenfeld, Tabouche, Smith of Milwaukee (Hamilcar Q. Smith—perhaps the greatest authority of all), van Houten and his famous relative Klotz—but why should I prolong this list? My objector will look in vain through all the distinguished ranks of modern science to find a single name supporting his ridiculous assumptions of a ‘God,’ ‘Free Will,’ and what not. All agree that our characters and actions proceed from a cephalic index, and all are agreed upon the relative value of the three main races of Europe.
PS—To my correspondent ‘Tiny,’ who has also given no address, I must reply in this brief postscript. No, the facial angle, as measured from the point of the chin tangentially, the parietal curve of the forehead, and from the cusp of the left nostril to the base of the corresponding ear-lobe, is no longer the criterion of character. I thought I had made that plain. Thirty-five years ago, when I was a boy, all scientists were agreed that the facial angle was the one certain and only test of moral attitude and intellectual power; but that opinion is now universally abandoned, and the facial angle is replaced by the cephalic index.
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Nordic Man Comes to the New World
Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent, or the Expansion of Races in America, Liberty Bell Publications reprint, 2004 (originally published, 1933), 393 pp., $21.59
Madison Grant on the American people.
The Conquest of a Continent by Madison Grant is considered one of the classics of American racial-nationalist thinking. Grant, an accomplished amateur naturalist and eugenicist, devoted much of his life to promoting the ideal of a self-consciously white America. This book, written in 1933, is a history of the European conquest of North America, with a particular concentration on the racial origins of the founding stock. Grant’s historical writing is generally sound and illuminating. His Nordicism led him to positions likely to strike today’s readers as eccentric and misguided, but he had a deep understanding of the importance of race.
Henry Fairfield Osborne, a noted paleontologist and racial activist, strikes the book’s keynote in the introduction: “The character of a country depends upon the racial character of the men and women who dominate it.” Writing at a time when it was not wildly controversial to say so, he went on to add that “moral, intellectual, and spiritual traits are just as distinctive and characteristic of different races as are head-form, hair and eye color, physical stature and other data of anthropologists.”
Grant found significant differences among what were then accepted as the major sub-races of whites: Nordics, Alpines, and Mediterraneans. He was so concerned about the undesirable qualities of certain whites that The Conquest of a Continent spends more time thumping Alpines and Catholics than blacks. Grant seems to have thought his fellow Nordics needed no warnings against blacks; they were mostly confined to the South, where they were under firm control. The real danger was Southern and Eastern Europeans slipping into the country.
Grant explains that he wrote the book as a result of the Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act), which set national quotas for immigration. The quotas were based on the ethnic/national mix of 1890, and he was incensed by the maneuverings of Catholics and non-Nordics to inflate their portion of the population in the hope of raising their immigration quotas. The Irish, in particular, he found to be “perhaps the most industrious in this occupation.” He hoped to set the record straight by explaining where settlers came from and what each group contributed.
In an earlier volume published in 1916, The Passing of the Great Race, Grant describes the virtues of what he considered to be his own sub-group: “The Nordics are, all over the world, a race of soldiers, sailors, adventurers and explorers, but above all, of rulers, organizers and aristocrats, in sharp contrast to the essentially peasant and democratic character of the Alpines.” He writes that most of what is good or distinguished in world history was the work of Nordics. He claims that the rulers of ancient Egypt and the Aryan invaders of India were Nordic, and that most of the great men of the Italian Renaissance were blond Nordics.
Alpines, on the other hand, are a sorry lot: “always and everywhere a race of peasants, an agricultural and never a maritime race.” “This race is essentially of the soil and in towns the type is mediocre and bourgeois.” In Conquest he adds that although Nordics are nomadic, Alpines “stick close to the land and breed persistently.” Osborne, in his introduction is far less harsh, writing of “the great achievements of the Alpine race in engineering, in mathematics, and in astronomy.”
Grant believed that the Mediterraneans were more closely related to Nordics than Alpines, and are a respectable lot: “[W]hile inferior in bodily stamina to both the Nordic and the Alpine, [the Mediterranean] is probably the superior of both, certainly of the Alpines, in intellectual attainments. In the field of art its superiority to both the other European races is unquestioned although in literature and in scientific research and discovery the Nordics far excel it.”
Grant did not carefully define the homelands of the Mediterraneans, but some of them were originally from the Middle East and North Africa. They were Europeans, however, and though shorter and darker than Nordics, they do not resemble the people who now live in those ancestral areas.
Grant is precise, however, about Alpines. They run from the center of France, through north Italy, South Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Balkans, Russia, Asia Minor and into Asia itself. He believed long-headed Nordics and Mediterraneans could be unfailingly distinguished from Alpines by skull shape. Alpines are round-headed, like Asians, and Grant believed they got that way from intermixture: “The East European Alpines are saturated everywhere with Mongol blood . . . .” The Mongol, he notes, is just as smart as the Nordic, but does not have his heroic traits. Although Grant took the traditional view that miscegenation, especially of distant races, brings out the worst traits of each, he ventured the view that crosses between Nordics and Mediterraneans may be the one desirable exception.
Although Nordics may be inherent rulers, Grant worried that they often failed to keep Alpines in check. Both the French and Russian revolutions, he writes, were Alpine revolts against Nordic nobility. Grant has such a low view of Alpines that he even writes: “This steady increase of round-skull Alpines everywhere in Central Europe in recent centuries is one of the most ominous racial facts that confront us.” Today, it would be hard to imagine any racial activist fulminating against the threat of the Austrians and the Swiss!
Who Founded America?
Grant is on firmer ground when he describes the peopling of the continent. In addition to carefully tracing the geographic and racial origins of settlers, he always comments on the desirability of the “stock,” noting who was rich or poor, noble or common. In his view, wealth and cultivation are always signs of better stock.
Grant is therefore disappointed to note that the settlers of New England were of no better than yeoman class—but they were Nordics, and “the general level was sound and intelligent.” He is happier with the blue-bloods who came to Virginia after Cromwell executed Charles I in 1649.
Given this interest in social class, he is surprisingly unworried about the criminals who were transported to the colonies in the early days. He notes that an Englishman could be deported for minor crimes that did not denote hopeless inferiority, and that many “criminals” were simply men on the losing side of British civil wars. Captives of the 1685 Battle of Sedgemoor—the last battle on British territory—were “able-bodied and intelligent men,” and mostly Nordics. As for real criminal degenerates, he says there were “only a few thousand in all.”
Grant considered the circumstances of early immigration ideal for culling the herd. Only the enterprising set out, and only the hardy survived. Grant writes almost happily of the large numbers who died of disease and privation. He also likes the rebellious, freebooting quality of early settlers. “In contrast to England and Canada, we are an essentially lawless people,” he writes, pointing to Shay’s Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the North Carolina “Regulators.”
Contributing to this independent nature were the Ulster Scots, who began to arrive in large numbers after 1720. Grant stresses that these were not Catholics but transplanted Scots, and he admires their pioneering, Indian-fighting spirit. As yet more rebels and dissenters arrived, they headed further west, opening the country. Grant largely dismisses any but English-speaking pioneers. He writes, for example, that “in Indiana, a typical American owes nothing worth mentioning to the original French population.”
He makes an exception for the Huguenots, for whom he has high praise. He describes them as racially indistinguishable from British Nordics, and estimates there may have been as many as 250,000. France, he argues, suffered greatly by expelling them.
Grant describes the colonies of 1776 as probably the most overwhelmingly Nordic and Protestant place on earth. The Revolution itself he calls a “costly and unfortunate internecine war.” He also deeply regrets the expulsion of the loyalists, who were in his view a high-bred, accomplished group: “some of the best Nordic blood in the country.” For him, their loss was as serious a genetic blow as the loss of the Huguenots was to France. He notes that many of the 80 to 100 thousand who left went to Ontario, where they organized fierce resistance to American annexation during the war of 1812.
Of the limited immigration that preceded the War Between the States, he particularly approves of the Scandinavians—“hardy Nordics”—and of the Germans who came after the failed revolutions of 1848. They were “Nordics, including individuals of some culture and distinction.” As for the “self-styled Spanish-American” who arrived as a consequence of the Mexican-American War, “the Spanish part of the description must be considered largely a courtesy title” since the population was mostly Indian. Numbers were very small, however, with the result that “our population and our institutions remained overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon down to the time of the Civil War,” and “in 1860 the United States was at its high-water mark of national unity.”
The war itself he sees as a racial catastrophe. The 600,000 men who died would have, along with their descendants, filled up the West and made unnecessary “the immigrants we recklessly invited to our shores.” Immigration of non-Nordics from 1860 to 1930 was a disaster that met the “unfilled demand for low-grade factory labor in the East.”
When the people, rather than their rulers, had a chance to speak, their instincts were healthy. Grant recounts with satisfaction an 1879 California ballot to limit Chinese immigration, in which the vote was 154,638 to 833. “There have been few issues in American history carried by a more nearly unanimous vote,” he adds.
Fortunately, the country recognized the evils of non-Nordic immigration and passed the 1924 quotas. For Grant, this act of racial preservation was the equivalent of a second Declaration of Independence. He was worried, however, because the quotas applied only to Europe, and thus did not keep out Mexicans, West Indians, or even Filipinos. One happy side effect of the Great Depression, he noted, was that it stopped the flow of undesirables.
At the time Grant wrote, the US had a population of some 109 million, of whom he estimated 80 percent were Protestant and 70 percent Nordic. “On the whole it is the northern and central parts of the Atlantic Coast that have become the worst un-American parts of the Union,” he writes, but he was glad to note that “the Southern States are still almost wholly native white.”
Grant assumed immigration depressed the native birthrate, and wondered whether the British founding stock might not have had 100 million descendants had it been left to breed in peace. Always the environmentalist—he played a key role in saving the bison from extinction and in setting aside great tracts of wilderness—he warned that the population should not be allowed to exceed 150 million. He would have been appalled by the current mish-mash that is well over twice that figure.
Whites, good and bad
Grant wrote in harsh generalities and was not always kind to his favorites, the Nordics. “The most shiftless and least intelligent of them tended to collect in the less valuable lands at the fringes of civilization” and degenerate into “poor white trash.” He calls these depraved Nordics “a striking example to the eugenicist of the results of isolation and undesirable selection.”
In numerical terms, Grant considers the Germans the only significant non-British founding stock, noting that they numbered 250,000 at the time of the Revolution and were nine percent of the population by 1790. He concedes that they were “peaceful and industrious,” but does not like any group that clings to its language. He criticizes William Penn for welcoming what came to be known as the Pennsylvania “Dutch”—Palatinate Germans “largely of the round-headed Alpine stock.” He quotes Benjamin Franklin on the Germans: “Those who come hither are generally the most stupid of their own nation . . . ,” but agrees with Franklin that “their industry and frugality are exemplary.” He writes that Franklin had accurately predicted Germans would assimilate if not allowed to clump too tightly. The Amish and Dunkards, on the other hand, were exactly the kind of inward-looking groups Franklin warned about: In Grant’s view, they are “impossible to Americanize.”
Grant was an Anglophile, and shared the common British view of the Irish. He concedes that they are “predominantly Nordic,” but cannot forgive them for being Catholic. Any dissent from Protestantism fractures national unity, and parochial schools fuel disunity. He says the Irish should have been kept out of local politics, “for which they showed great aptitude.” He insists that until the potato famine of the 1840s, so-called Irish immigrants were Ulster Scots: neither Irish nor Catholic. It was only after the famine that America suffered from “the arrival of large numbers of ignorant and destitute South Irish Catholics.” He says Americans would have a uniformly high opinion of Britain were it not for Irish “agitators.”
As for Italian immigrants, the trouble was that “there was no discrimination as to type or quality.” “Many criminals were rounded up,” he writes, “especially in southern Italy and Sicily . . . . ” Southern Italians were “of extremely inferior type,” though the northern Italians who settled San Francisco were respectable. He quotes one observer of South Italians: “Dirty, lazy, weak, good-for-nothing idlers that they are.”
Grant was not keen on Jews either. He prefers German to Polish Jews, but both types are Alpines. “All these Jews are in sharp contrast to the Sephardim Jews, a superior group, largely Mediterranean in race,” he adds. He also had the idea that Galveston, Texas was dominated by Jews.
Grant disliked the French, and argues that whatever foolish sympathy Americans have for them is because of the romantic personality of Lafayette. The marquis, on the other hand, was unsound on race: an admirer of the Haitian Toussaint l’Ouverture, and head of the Société des Amis des Noirs. French Canadians are even worse than the French: “a fecund population of low cultural status,” and “a stocky, short-necked people, rather of the Alpine build, with eyes often rather dark.” He calls them “the most highly inbred of any of the large groups of the New World.” He says they would not fight against the Kaiser, so “their conduct during the World War was contemptible.”
As for American Indians, Grant is appalled by their cruelty, especially the torture of captives, and says this led them to be “regarded as ravening wolves or worse and deprived of all sympathy, while the Whites stole their lands and killed their game.” On the other hand, Grant is glad the continent was not empty when whites arrived because hostile Indians kept the frontier from advancing too rapidly. If pioneers had immediately scattered throughout the continent, they might have set up separate nations rather than a unitary state.
Grant is thankful that half-breeds were always considered Indian and not white: “This attitude toward the lower race has always characterized our American frontier and while very unpopular with the natives, has served to keep the White race unmixed, in sharp contrast to the French and Spanish colonies.”
Grant thought blacks were the worst threat to racial integrity, and argues that the entire population could have been deported for a fraction of the cost of the Civil War. Birth control “should be made universally available to the Blacks,” and all states should pass anti-miscegenation laws. He writes that miscegenation has generally been the result of crosses with “the lowest and most unintelligent type of white servant.” “Those admirers of the Mulatto who boast that he carries in his veins the blue blood of the aristocratic families of the South,” he adds, “would do well to read the actual records . . . .”
The Conquest of a Continent touches briefly on Canada and Latin America. Grant writes that Canada is becoming non-Nordic even more rapidly than the United States but is blessed with a “negligible proportion of Negroes.” The entire landmass south of the Rio Grande is suspect because the claim to be white “by no means guarantees anything more than a homeopathic dose of European blood.” Thus, for example, in Venezuela, “it is doubtful whether one resident in fifty can properly be called a white man, except by courtesy.” In Panama, “North American influence has transformed it economically, but cannot change mongrels into a sound and vigorous stock.”
Grant was already worried about Mexican efforts to reconquer the Southwest. Of Mexicans in California, he writes, “there is a considerable hybrid element which does most of the talking, and a negligible element that can be considered white in the strict sense of the term.”
This leads to Grant’s highest priority policy recommendation: to extend the limitations of the 1924 quota act to the Western Hemisphere and to “suspend all naturalization for a generation at least.” He also wanted universal registration of the population so as to control illegal immigration.
At the same time, he wanted to hive off all non-white territories. Puerto Rico should be made independent “to give the United States protection from its own folly.” We should also “give the Filipino his independence, commend him to the benevolence of Providence and League of Nations, and have nothing more to do with him.” Domestically, Grant wanted to solve the black and Alpine problem by “regulat[ing] births by depriving the unfit of the opportunity of leaving behind posterity of their own debased type.”
Grant was ahead of his time in opposing any attempt to spread “American” values. He writes that non-whites have their own ways of doing things, “which for them may be, and in many cases probably are, as good as our own.” In another prescient observation, he pointed out the importance of solidarity with the whites of Southern Africa.
Hedging and Trimming
Grant generally believed that Nordics should stick up for themselves without apology, but even he does a little trimming. For example, he writes that the best policy would be to cut off all immigration because admitting only whites would upset Asians. Why worry about what Asians might think?
The 1930s were a completely different time from our own. This was the heyday of Jim Crow and immigration restriction; Nazi Germany had not yet discredited eugenics. Moreover, Conquest of a Continent was not self-published; it was issued by a top-tier commercial house, Charles Scribner’s Sons. And yet, Grant could not write with complete freedom. He sensed powerful forces mobilizing to shut down his point of view: “Our alien elements are to this day extremely sensitive to the public discussion of any of these matters. In this respect, Americans probably have less freedom of speech and freedom of press than exist in any of the countries of Europe.”
Indeed, the Anti-Defamation League set out to prove him right. Its director, Richard E. Gutstadt, wrote to editors of Jewish periodicals, “We are interested in stifling the sale of this book,” and urged them to kill it with silence. The league added that this would “sound the warning to other publishing houses against engaging in this type of venture.” Today, a host of organizations would rise up against “this type of venture.”
Needless to say, Grants efforts came to naught; the country moved sharply in the wrong direction, and the “second Declaration of Independence” was good for only 40 years. Grant would have been disgusted by today’s America but probably not astonished. Even in his time he had noted “a curious sentimental quality of the Anglo-Saxon mind, the effect of which is almost suicidal.” Had he been able to see the future, he might have been tempted to remove the word “almost.”
The Galton Report
Francis Galton, In Memoriam, Part III, Eugenics
Francis Galton’s most controversial work was in the field to which he gave the name of eugenics. He read Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species when it appeared in 1859, and realized that the process of natural selection had gone into reverse in England and other economically developed nations. He first discussed this problem in 1865, noting that:
One of the effects of civilisation is to diminish the rigour of the application of the law of natural selection. It preserves weakly lives that would have perished in barbarous lands.
Galton worried that natural selection was no longer eliminating other undesirable characteristics, such as low intelligence and what he called “bad character” (Galton, 1865, p. 325). By “character” Galton meant a moral sense, self‑discipline and strong work motivation—what is known in contemporary psychology as conscientiousness.
In Hereditary Genius, published in 1869, Galton discussed at greater length the genetic deterioration he believed was taking place. He argued that in the early stages of civilization what he called “the more able and enterprising men” were the most likely to have children, but in older civilizations, like that of Britain, various factors reduced the number of their children and increased the number of children of the less able. He thought that the most important of these factors was that able and enterprising men tended not to marry, or to marry late, because marriage and children would impede their careers. The effect of this was that:
[T]here is a steady check in an old civilisation upon the fertility of the abler classes: the improvident and unambitious are those who chiefly keep up the breed. So the race gradually deteriorates, becoming in each successive generation less fit for a high civilisation (Galton, 1869/1962, p. 414).
Galton thought that the genetic deterioration of Western populations was a serious problem, and that steps had to be taken to counteract it. In principle, this would be a simple matter of adopting the methods that had been used for centuries by animal and plant breeders: breeding from the best varieties to obtain improved strains. Galton proposed that the same methods be applied to humans.
He explained this principle in Hereditary Genius:
As it is easy to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations (Galton, 1869/1962, p. 45).
Galton researched the pedigrees of eminent men, such as lawyers, scientists and statesmen, and showed that outstanding ability and talent were often transmitted from generation to generation in elite families. He proposed that this was due to the genetic transmission of high ability and character, and argued that this showed it would be possible to improve the genetic quality of human populations by increasing the fertility of talented individuals.
Galton developed this idea further in his next book, English Men of Science, in which he traced the pedigrees of a number of eminent English scientists. He found that most of them came from the professional and middle classes and concluded that these are “by far the most productive of natural ability,” although he recognized that by the process of social mobility these classes are “continually recruited from below,” particularly from the families of skilled artisans. By contrast, he called the lowest, unskilled classes “the residuum,” and thought it largely devoid of the qualities necessary for high achievement (1874, pp. 9‑16).
In 1883, Galton coined the word eugenics for the study and practice of consciously designed selection. The word is derived from the Greek and means good breeding. For the next three decades, Galton restated and elaborated the desirability of implementing eugenic programs (Galton, 1883, 1901, 1908). Even in his memoirs, written shortly before his death in 1911, he wrote that natural selection had broken down and that to avoid genetic deterioration it was necessary “to replace natural selection by other processes” (1908, p. 323).
Galton’s eugenic proposals fell into two categories: negative and positive. Negative eugenics consisted of measures to discourage and prevent those with undesirable qualities from having children. In his autobiography he wrote: “I think that stern compulsion ought to be exerted to prevent the free propagation of the stock of those who are seriously afflicted by lunacy, feeblemindedness, habitual criminality, and pauperism” (1908, p. 311). He did not spell out how these people should be prevented from having children; probably he wanted to avoid alienating readers.
Positive eugenics would increase the fertility of those with desirable qualities. Galton’s first proposal for this was to establish local eugenics associations that would identify desirable couples and offer them financial incentives to have children. His second proposal was to develop a sense of awareness among the elite of their moral obligation to reproduce. As he put it: “My object is to build up by extensive inquiry and publication of results, a sentiment of caste among those who are naturally gifted” (1883, p. 95).
Galton had many ideas about eugenics but how practical they are is another matter that will be considered in a later column.
Francis Galton, Hereditary talent and character. MacMillan’s Magazine, 1865, 12, 157‑166; 318‑327.
Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius. London: Macmillan, 1869. Republished 1962 by Collins.
Francis Galton, English Men of Science. London: Macmillan, 1874.
Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development. London: Macmillan, 1883.
Francis Galton, Memories of My Life. London: Methuen, 1908.
Les Tuniques Bleues
A sense of humor about the war.
In the 1950s and 1960s there was a popular American television series called “The Gray Ghost.” It recounted the adventures of John Singleton Mosby, a dashing Confederate cavalry commander who conducted a number of spectacular raids behind Yankee lines. In real life, Mosby was a cultivated and charming man, and the television program was faithful to his reputation as a gentleman who fought brilliantly and always honorably.
Today it would be impossible to produce a program of this kind. In more innocent times, Americans in both North and South could thrill to the exploits of a gallant Confederate, but today there must be no admiration for the Old South. All its virtues—chivalry, bravery, graciousness—are wiped away by the unforgivable sin of slavery. The more the Confederacy recedes into the past, the more odious it becomes, with blacks and self-righteous whites crusading to wipe out every public memorial and commemoration of the Southern cause.
In Belgium, the Confederacy is not in such disrepute. There is a very popular comic book series called Les Tuniques Bleues (literally, “the blue tunics”) that got its start in 1970, and has just celebrated the release of its 55th album. Artist Willy Lambil and writer Raoul Cauvin follow two Yankee cavalrymen through various battles and misadventures, and the comics, written in French, are best sellers in France as well as Belgium. A British publisher, Cinebook, has published English translations of a few of the albums under the name “The Bluecoats,” but they are very difficult to find in the United States.
A comic strip like Les Tuniques Bleues would be unthinkable in the United States, if only because it fails to treat the Confederates as wicked bigots. They are the enemy, to be sure, but they are men with a war to fight, neither better nor worse than the “blue coats.” If anything, the authors single out Robert E. Lee as the finest soldier in the war, and even the Yankees recognize this. In an album called “Bronco Benny,” there is a humorous scene in which Union generals calculate that it will take an army of 48,000 to defeat Lee’s 2,000 men. In the same book Lee is portrayed with great pathos, despairing over the fratricidal costs of the war, even though his army has won a great victory.
Les Tuniques Bleues is, however, primarily a comedy series, with much of the humor provided by the two main characters, Corporal Blutch and Sergeant Chesterfield. They fight in famous battles, they go on expeditions to Canada and Mexico, they infiltrate enemy lines, they are repeatedly captured by the Confederates, and they even spend a few months in the navy. There are many slapstick jokes about the soldiering life: long marches, bumbling officers, misunderstood orders, all garnished with improbable surprises and coincidences. And fortunately for our heroes, theirs is a sanitized, comic-book war with little bloodshed, in which deaths are few and glorious.
The books are reasonably good in terms of historical accuracy. The humorous events of camp life are imaginary, but the Battle of First Manassas took place more or less as Messieurs Lambil and Cauvin describe it, as did the engagement off the coast of Cherbourg between the Union warship Kearsarge and the Confederate raider Alabama. Even Robert E. Lee’s favorite horse Traveler makes an appearance, though the general acquires him in an entirely fanciful way.
One album is about the New York City draft riots, which were certainly not a feather in the Union cap. The rioters, furious that they are being drafted to fight a war they see as in the interests of blacks, burn down an orphanage for black children and nearly trample a Negro street vendor to death. (The comic points out in a footnote that these events are historically accurate.) Captain Henry Putnam finally arrives with cannon to put down the violence.
In another album, Blutch and Chesterfield are locked up in the notorious Southern prison at Andersonville—called Robertsonville in the series—and although one comic-book sadist puts in an appearance, the two have a rather jolly time trying to outwit a particularly stupid group of guards.
It is refreshing to see the War Between the States treated both with a sense of humor and in a way that takes for granted the humanity, courage, and even chivalry of the men who fought on both sides. In the United States the war continues to be a rich source of serious history, but hats off to the Belgians for combining history and comedy in a series for children that adults can also read with pleasure.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Starting the Recession
Banker greed is the commonly-cited source of the 2008 housing crisis and subsequent recession. Unscrupulous bankers relaxed lending standards and hawked predatory mortgages, only to be bailed out by the taxpayer when it all went south. The Occupy Wall Street movement trumpets this explanation, as does Barack Obama, who recently said, “You’re seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place.” But the worst “abusive practices” were promoted by the government, and Mr. Obama’s administration continues to push them.
Trouble started in 1992 when a report commissioned by President Clinton and published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed mortgage lenders were more likely to turn down blacks and Hispanics than whites. The Boston Fed said racial discrimination was to blame, but private analysts found that the study was junk. It was full of glaring data errors, and failed to consider applicant net worth, debt burden, or employment history. It did not take into account loan amounts, down payments, or values of properties being sought. When these relevant factors were considered, the racial differences vanished.
Some analysts noted the most obvious objection to the study: If banks were holding non-whites to unfairly high credit standards, their default rates should have been lower than those of whites. In fact, they were slightly higher, meaning that, if anything, banks were already bending the rules to lend money to minorities.
This did not stop the Clinton Administration from using the study to justify creating the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending to crack down on alleged “redlining” of non-white neighborhoods. In 1994, the ten federal agencies in the task force issued a 20-page “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending” that threatened banks with harsh penalties if they were guilty of discrimination.
The document outlines three kinds of discrimination: overt discrimination, disparate treatment, and disparate impact. The first two are easy to understand—not lending to non-whites or requiring them to jump through extra hoops for loans—but “disparate impact” is murky. Banks can be found guilty of discrimination if their policies—which they apply equally to all borrowers—have a “disproportionate adverse impact” on “protected groups.” There may be no intent to discriminate; the effect is all that matters. As a practical matter, the authorities almost never find deliberate discrimination; no sane banker would refuse to do a secure, profitable deal with a borrower just because he wasn’t white.
Disparate impact is not proof of discrimination, however. If a policy is found to be a clear “business necessity” it is acceptable, so long as there are no less discriminatory alternatives. The report acknowledges the importance of evaluating credit-related criteria, but warns that “requirements that are more stringent then customary” could invite disparate-impact litigation.
The form and severity of punishment depends on the federal bureaucracy pursuing the case. If it is a banking agency, it can make a bank “establish community outreach programs” or change its marketing strategies or loan products to cater to minorities. Banking authorities can also order the institution to take “affirmative action” of a kind they determine.
If the Department of Justice prosecutes, it can force an offender to open branches in minority neighborhoods, make targeted sales calls to minority-oriented realtors, advertise in “minority-oriented media,” or change commission structures to encourage minority lending.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has many of the same enforcement powers, but can also regulate access to the secondary mortgage market. It can “direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to undertake various remedial actions, including suspension, probation, reprimand, or settlement,” against banks HUD decides were discriminating.
The Policy Statement also notes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “not infrequently” buy loans that exceed suggested housing-expense-to-income and total-obligations-to-income ratios, and that lenders who turn down members of a “protected class” with high ratios should “be prepared” to prove they weren’t discriminating. It adds that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have “various alternative and flexible means” to let shaky applicants prove their credit-worthiness, and that bankers better learn the same tricks.
The document ominously points out that “applying different lending standards or offering different levels of assistance to . . . members of a protected class is permissible in some circumstances,” though it doesn’t list the circumstances. Also, “providing different treatment to applicants to address past discrimination would be permissible,” if done in accord with legal precedent or in response to a court order.
Clinton’s fair-lending task force only gained strength under President Bush, who publicly called for a sharp increase in minority home ownership. Under the Republicans, the task force even produced “fair-lending” brochures in Spanish for immigrant applicants. All this added up to tremendous pressure on banks to throw out traditional credit standards when non-whites asked for loans, and lax lending soon became the rule for everyone. Some borrowers didn’t even have to prove their incomes, and many got mortgages with no or tiny down payments. Plenty of people—white and non-white alike—bought houses on which they couldn’t even make the first payment. Any sensible banker could see catastrophe coming.
Not surprisingly, the “fair-lending” task force thrives under Mr. Obama; Eric Holder’s Justice Department is investigating as many as 60 banks for allegedly discriminating against non-whites (see “Here We Go Again,” AR September 2011). This means that even after all the country has been through, the pressure is still on to relax credit standards to make sure non-whites can buy houses. [Paul Sperry, Smoking-Gun Document Ties Policy to Housing Crisis, Investor’s Business Daily, October 31, 2011. Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, March 17, 1994.]
A New “Rooney Rule”
Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert L. Johnson has a solution to the 16.7 percent black unemployment rate: Fortune 1000 companies should adopt the “RLJ Rule,” his version of the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule.”
The Rooney Rule, established in 2003, requires professional football teams to interview at least one non-white candidate for every head coach or other top job, or pay a $200,000 fine. Since 2003, teams have hired eight non-white head coaches and five non-white general managers. Only one team has been fined.
Mr. Johnson wants companies to adopt the “RLJ” rule voluntarily—and apply it only to blacks. Companies would have to interview at least two blacks for every job of vice president or above, and consider at least two black-owned firms for every new supplier. Mr. Johnson says he will promote his plan to business leaders and to the US Chamber of Commerce. [Cord Jefferson, Robert L. Johnson Advocates a Business “Rooney Rule,” BET, Oct. 3, 2011.]
Companies are expected to care for the welfare of their employees, but when Air Canada cited safety reasons for switching hotels for layover flight crews in Winnipeg, it angered the mayor and offended an ethnic group. Air Canada said the downtown Radisson hotel was no longer safe, so crews would stay at an airport hotel. The airline explained that the city center was “susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity” because of the presence of “approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba” in downtown hotels. The “Manitobans” are Eskimos from the Lake St. Martin First Nation and other areas whose homes were flooded, and who have been put up in hotels in Winnipeg. Some were getting drunk in public, and flight crews reported thefts.
The mayor of Winnipeg asked the airline to reverse its decision, as did something called the Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone. The grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Derek Nepinak, held a press conference to denounce the decision as “racist.” He admitted that some Eskimos were causing problems, but insisted they were no longer in the hotels. He said the chiefs would give Air Canada a chance to change its mind before deciding whether to call for a boycott.
Two hours after the press conference, Air Canada apologized, but according to latest reports, it had not changed its mind about the Radisson, and the Eskimos had declared a boycott. [Bartley Kives, Air Canada Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Memo, Montreal Gazette, Oct. 4, 2011. Manitoba Chiefs Boycotting Air Canada, CBC News, Oct. 17, 2011.]
In 2002, the Labour government started making British schools report all “racist” incidents to their local authority. Teachers must name the alleged perpetrator and victim, and describe the incident and resulting punishment. Local authorities are expected to look for patterns and devise ways to cut down on offences.
A civil liberties group called the Manifesto Club filed a Freedom of Information Act request and learned that during the 2009-2010 school year alone, over 34,000 British schoolchildren were officially registered as “racist” or “homophobic” for using playground insults. This represents a worrying rise from the 29,659 cases reported in 2008-2009. More than 20,000 of the most recent offenders were under age 11, and some were as young as three. Toddlers in nursery school have been registered for using such words as “gay” and “lesbian.” A child who called another “broccoli head” was reported to authorities, as was one who used the word “gaylord.” Another was noted for having said to a teacher, “This work is gay.”
Offence records follow students when they change schools or move from primary to secondary school. Potential employers who ask for school references may also see these records.
Heads of schools who send in no reports of “racist” or “homophobic” insults may be criticized for “under-reporting.” [Kate Loveys, ‘Racists’ Aged Three: Toddlers Among Thousands of Children Accused of Bigotry After Name-Calling, Daily Mail (London), Sept. 14, 2011.]
A Fresher Sound
Black Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather’s pizza CEO Herman Cain says the presidential march “Hail to the Chief” needs a “fresher sound.” He says the march should change to keep up with the times, just as companies sometimes freshen up their messages. When asked whether this meant a hip-hop flavor, Mr. Cain replied, “It won’t be hip-hop. I might put some gospel beats in ‘Hail to the Chief’.” [Herman Cain: ‘Hail to the Chief’ Needs ‘Fresher Sound,’ Huffington Post, Oct. 2, 2011.]
Mr. Cain’s opinion could conceivably matter a great deal. He has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity, and a Zogby poll conducted from October 3-5 put him 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Thirty-eight percent of Republicans said they would vote for Mr. Cain if the Republican primary were held today, compared to 18 percent for Mitt Romney and 12 percent each for Rick Perry and Ron Paul. [Maggie Astor, Herman Cain Leads Mitt Romney by 20 Points: Will the Tortoise or Hare Win? International Business Times, Oct. 7, 2011.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir—I consider myself a good Catholic, but I was shocked to learn in the November issue of the way Frank Borzellieri was treated by his church. I have had little contact with official church hierarchy, but the Archdiocese of the Bronx seems to have acted with the dishonesty and cravenness we would expect of a third-rate junior college. The Church must be founded on faith, steadfastness, and honesty. I do not see how the ogres who threw Mr. Borzellieri to the dogs can think of themselves as men of God.
Helen Carter, Mobile, Ala.
Sir—In the November issue you reviewed Richard Lynn’s book, The Chosen People. The review briefly mentions the Falasha, a group of Ethiopians who have been accepted as Jews, and most of whom now live in Israel under the Law of Return. This law, as its name suggests, was written to let Diaspora Jews—those who are descended from people who once lived in Israel—return to the modern state.
However, the DNA evidence is clear: The Falasha are genetically indistinguishable from other Ethiopians and are not biologically Jewish. The Falasha claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel, but they are a convert people.
I have never understood why the Israelis, who are usually very particular about who is a Jew, ever recognized this group of Africans as Jews. If Jews are defined as descended from Jewish mothers, the Falasha are not Jews. It is true that DNA testing was not available at the time of the Israeli government “rescue” operations of 1984, 1985, and 1991, when the bulk of the Falasha came to Israel. Still, it should have been obvious to anyone that they were African and not Jewish.
Prof. Lynn notes that the Falasha have typical sub-Saharan IQs of about 70. They also suffer from the usual problems associated with that IQ level: high crime, poverty, illegitimacy, etc. Interestingly, they also identify strongly with black American hip-hop and thug behavior rather than Israeli popular culture.
The Falasha have been nothing but a headache for Israeli society since their arrival. If DNA testing had been possible at the time they were first being considered under the Law of Return I suspect they would have been rejected.
Tom Colson, Cleveland, Ohio
Sir—I have been enjoying the series on Francis Galton in “The Galton Report.” If there was ever a social scientist who deserved to be called a genius it was certainly Galton. His statistical work alone would have been enough; correlation and regression to the mean are essential to today’s research.
But what perhaps most strikes contemporary readers is the basic soundness of his views on intelligence, heredity, and the human condition. He understood that human traits are heritable; that they are not distributed equally in all populations; and that selective breeding changes the frequencies of traits in humans just as it does in animals. The entire eugenic movement was built on these fundamental insights.
And then, almost overnight, these important insights were lost. Throughout the Western world, social policies are now based on assumptions that are the very opposite of Galton’s: that human traits are controlled by environment; that all groups have identical abilities; and that selective breeding works with animals but not with humans. Has there ever been such a complete and dangerous reversal in any other area of human knowledge? I can think of no other example in history.
Of course, Galton’s laws remain true, whether we recognize them or not. Policies can ignore them but cannot reverse them. And every day, we pay for our folly.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
Sir—In the October 2011 issue of AR you are promoting Richard Lynn’s book Dygenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations. In the second paragraph you write that Professor Lynn thinks evolution has been going on for millions of years. Evolution is only a theory and not a scientific fact.
Men like Professor Lynn who promote eugenics want to breed the positive and oppose the negative. They fail to realize that it takes different kinds of people, both positive and negative, to make the world possible. The positive exists by contrast with the negative. If they take away the negative they take the positive with it. It is like wanting the positive terminal of a battery without the negative terminal.
What traits does he want to breed; a football player who tackles an opponent and breaks bones to score points or a compassionate man who helps another in need? There is no IQ-type test for compassion. Nor is there is an IQ-type test for creativity.
Eugenicists are monsters scheming to make a sociological nightmare for the world. God help us.
David C. Susanj, Pittsburgh, Penn.
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