|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 10||October 2008|
Preferences for the Majority
Malaysia may have lessons for America.
In the United States, racial preferences are for minorities. Most Americans can hardly imagine preferences for the majority and—if they even think about it—assume that if whites become a minority racial preferences will be finished. They shouldn’t count on it. Malaysia had preferences for the majority Malays even before independence in 1957, and has only extended them as time has gone by. The people who pay the price, mainly the largely Tamil Indian population, complain bitterly, and although there has been some talk of leveling the playing field, Malays are not about to give up their privileges.
Over the course of several trips to Malaysia I have been struck by how similar Malaysia’s race problems are to America’s despite enormous differences between the two countries. The official Malaysian policy of discrimination against minorities may even be a warning of what the future may hold for us if we must some day live under laws passed by an increasingly non-white government.
Malaysia is about 60 percent Malay, 25 percent Chinese, and 8 percent Indian. According to Prof. Richard Lynn, who has done extensive work on population differences in intelligence, the average IQs of both the Malays and Indians are about 87 while that of the Chinese is 103 to 106. The gap between the Chinese and the two other races is therefore as wide as that between American blacks and whites, with the inevitable result: Chinese dominate the economy. Like the United States and every other multi-racial country, Malaysia faces the hard reality of racial differences (see “Why Is There Inequality?” in the previous issue).
Unlike Americans, who think black failure requires an explanation—and the official one is “racism”—Malaysians don’t seem to trouble themselves very much about why the Chinese do well and they do poorly. Perhaps mulling over the question might make them reflect on their own lack of ability. In any case, they don’t like being left behind, they have the power to do something about it, so they have. The result is a fascinating and instructive laboratory of multi-racialism.
Electronics and oil exports
First, though, what sort of country is Malaysia? Covering most of the Malay Peninsula and the northern third of the island of Borneo, Malaysia has a population of about 25 million. The Portuguese, who arrived in 1511, were the first colonizers. The Dutch took over from them in 1641, but were run out by the British in 1824. The British were themselves run out by the Japanese in 1942, but came back after the war and granted independence in 1957.
At that time, Malaysia was a sleepy exporter of tin, rubber, and palm oil, but it has developed rapidly in the last 50 years. Many Japanese companies have built factories, and electronics are now Malaysia’s main export. The country is self-sufficient in oil and even exports about 200,000 barrels a day, making oil and gas the second most important export.
Malaysia’s annual GDP per capita is the same as that of Argentina, at $13,300. For comparison, the figure for the US is $45,800, for Britain $35,100, Poland $16,300, Congo $300, and Zimbabwe $200. The world average is $10,000.
Income is not at all evenly distributed in Malaysia, and people with money like to show it. Most wealth is new, and this probably explains the spirit of unabashed consumption that rich Malaysians display. I was surprised to find lavish shopping malls in the two main cities of Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. All the major European and American designer brands are on sale—at typical designer prices—and the country treats malls almost like national treasures. Hotels run shuttle buses to them, and locals point them out with pride. Malaysia even has a glossy magazine called Malaysian Tattler, which is packed with ads for $20,000 watches and $200,000 sports cars, devoted to the idea that life is hardly worth living if you are not a billionaire.
Mall crawling seems to be the favorite diversion for people between the ages of 15 and 45—partly because malls are heavily air conditioned, which adds to their appeal in a country just north of the equator. Malls also have large public areas that serve almost as community centers, and put on events that are incongruously Western. I saw break-dancing contests at malls in both Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru—a vivid reminder of the average Malay IQ of 87.
The Sunway Pyramid mall near Kuala Lumpur (see photo below) is as garish a place as any on earth, and looks like a Las Vegas casino. When I was there, the main hall was turned over to the Malaysian police, who had a huge display of horrific traffic-accident photographs: people’s heads crushed by trucks, decapitated bodies, intestines splattered on windshields. The message? Drive safely. Most people paid no attention to what would have attracted a shocked crowd in the US.
If you close one eye and squint, Malaysia can seem to be an advanced country. From 1998 to 2004, the Petronas Towers, which appear in the photo on the first page, were the world’s tallest buildings, and are still the tallest twin towers. Inside, there is the inevitable high-gloss shopping mall. And yet, just a few blocks away in central Kuala Lumpur, the sidewalks are broken and garbage collection is erratic. The country is a queer combination of skyscrapers and open sewers. Perhaps it is the constant heat and moisture, but buildings quickly discolor and go moldy, and most were ugly even when they were new.
I was never in the countryside, but there are reported to be plenty of households that get by on the equivalent of $15 a day or less, and even in the cities there are ragged creatures who don’t seem to be living on much more. This sense of poverty hovering just out of sight makes the prices in the shopping malls seem all the more jarring.
I experienced Malaysia’s contrasts first hand. I broke a tooth on a Third-World stone in my breakfast, and was leery about going to a Malaysian dentist. I shouldn’t have been. Dr. Chua (Chinese, of course, and trained in Australia) had a very well-equipped office (in a shopping mall, of course) and gave me excellent service for perhaps a quarter of what an American dentist would have charged. I later learned the government encourages medical tourism, and that Malaysia treated 341,288 foreigners in 2007, mostly from Singapore and Indonesia but also from Japan, New Zealand, and Europe. If Dr. Chua is typical, treatment in the country’s 210 private hospitals is cheap and first-rate.
The wide gap between rich and poor means Malaysia is still a servant society. Even modest houses have a maid’s bedroom, and many people import help from Indonesia or the Philippines. The government reports there are some 325,000 foreign maids in the country. There are constant tales of servant-abuse, and the authorities have tried to regulate employment of foreign domestics, but without much success. Because the country is richer than its neighbors, it also has an illegal-immigration problem. Every so often the police roll up their sleeves and kick them out en masse. There is no liberal outcry as there would be in the United States.
Crime is beginning to be a problem, and people blame it on the stark gap between rich and poor. Malaysia now even has a few gated communities. Many crimes—including repeated illegal immigration—are punishable by rattan “strokes,” which are said to be laid on with more than symbolic vigor. As to be expected, crime is mostly a Malay and Indian problem, with Chinese virtually absent from crime statistics.
Malaysia is a boisterous parliamentary democracy, though the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), sometimes with coalition partners, has ruled the country since independence. Politics is a notorious tangle of money, corruption, and nepotism, and most of the top political figures are children or relatives of other politicians.
Malaysia has had an Anti-Corruption Agency since 1967 and occasionally it makes an arrest, but Nigeria has an anti-corruption agency, too. In August, chunks of concrete fell off a nine-year-old overpass in downtown Kuala Lumpur, nearly killing drivers below. The Anti-Corruption Agency went into action with great fanfare, vowing to flush out the culprits, but they did the same thing—with no results—when the same overpass had to be closed in 2004 and 2006 for safety reasons.
Islam is the state religion of Malaysia, but it is a relaxed version of Islam. Most Malay women wear head scarves and full-length dresses, but that doesn’t stop young Chinese women from stepping out in heels and hot pants. Many Malaysian men wear Muslim caps, and it is not uncommon to see them in the traditional Malay loose shirt and trousers known as baju melayu. A few women—it was explained to me that they would be foreigners from the Middle East—cover up head to toe, Saudi style, but their menfolk do not wear traditional robes. This makes for incongruous couples: a man in a T-shirt with his wife (or mother? or daughter?) walking behind, wrapped completely in black right up to the eyes.
Malaysians, like everyone everywhere, prefer light skin. Malays come in all colors, from light tan to chocolate brown, but the brown ones drive taxis while the light ones drive BMWs. The current Miss Malaysia, shown with friends in the photo below, is about three shades lighter than the average Malay. Color consciousness benefits the Chinese, who are light, but is bad for the Indians, almost all of whom are from south India and are very dark. As in India, skin lighteners sell well. When I marveled at a strangely white Malay woman, a Chinese man I was working with told me contemptuously, “I’m sure she uses skin bleach.”
Malaysia is a long way from Africa, and blacks are so rare they turn heads, but they have already made a name for themselves as crooks and swindlers. “African Scam Gang Member Shot Dead,” read the headline of an August 6 story in the New Straits Times, which did not follow prissy New York Times rules of leaving out racial identity. “Police fired a warning shot but the African lunged at the policeman,” explained the article. There are no black sports figures or entertainers, and the general opinion of Africans is very low.
Pornography is illegal in Malaysia, but women in advertisements are as nearly naked as they are in the West. Homosexuality is also against the law — the crime is called “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” — but only flagrant offenders are likely to be arrested. This summer it was big news when a swish young man accused Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition, of buggering him. The charges came just before an important by-election, and may well have been trumped up or at least encouraged by the government. Politicians can’t seem to keep their pants up, and the press takes as much joy in sex scandals as in bribery accusations. The government slaps down newspapers that get out of line, but they have to be quite far out of line; newspapers are tabloid-sized and lively.
A good number of Malays must be violating “the order of nature,” since the AIDS rate, at 0.4 percent, is not much lower than the American rate of 0.6 percent. There is no sex education in schools, nor is there much in the way of AIDS education. Malay women have an average of three children each, so the population is growing at about 1.75 percent a year.
So what can this Southeast Asian country teach us about race relations?
In the 19th century the British found that the native Malays did not want to work in tin mines or on rubber plantations, so they imported people who did: Tamils from India. The British also found that Chinese immigrants were much smarter and harder-working than Malays, and worried that Chinese would completely dominate the country. The colonial government therefore deliberately steered business to Malays and recruited them for government jobs. They feared—rightly as it turned out—that Malays would turn ugly if they thought Chinese were getting too far ahead.
The British wanted Malays to keep getting a leg up even after independence, so when they drafted a constitution for the new country, they included Article 153 specifically to “safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives” through preferences in education, the civil service, and business licenses. Like most official preference provisions, Article 153 included mumbo jumbo that hinted at non-discrimination, but the message was clear: Malays come first.
The commission that drafted the constitution listed some of the colonial-era preferences and concluded that “Malays would be at a serious and unfair disadvantage compared with other communities if they [the preferences] were suddenly withdrawn.” They recommended, however, that “in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease.” As in the US, the theory of preferences was that once low-achieving groups were up to speed they could compete on their own. It doesn’t work that way because preferences do not raise IQ; programs that were advertised as temporary soon become entrenched.
After independence, the Malaysian government made it illegal to question or criticize Article 153, even by legislators in parliament, who are supposed to have immunity from censure. This prohibition is not enforced, but Article 153 is still a touchy subject.
Although the preferences were relatively mild, Chinese and Indians didn’t like them. Singapore became independent from Britain in 1963 and joined Malaysia in a political union, but its majority-Chinese population hated Article 153. Their leader and long-term prime minister, Lee Kwan Yew, raised Malay hackles by warning that Chinese could hardly be loyal Malaysians if they were second-class citizens. In 1964, Malays in Singapore rioted against the Chinese, killing 36 people. The riots were a big reason why Mr. Lee took his city-state out of the federation and made it independent in 1965.
The real blood-letting, however, came a few years later in Malaysia. The Malay-run government continued to practice preferences, but the Chinese kept getting richer. They also established ethnic political parties that, through clever alliances with other opposition parties, nearly brought down the UMNO government in the elections of May 1969. After the vote, the Chinese put on a victory parade through Kuala Lumpur, but spontaneously deviated from the planned route and went through a heavily Malay area, where they taunted and jeered at the inhabitants.
One of the Chinese parties later apologized, but furious UMNO leaders held a counter-procession. As the Malay crowd gathered for the march, there were rumors that Chinese had attacked Malays several miles to the north who were on their way to the demonstration. The marchers promptly knocked two Chinese off their motorbikes and killed them. This set off a rampage that did not stop until—according to official figures—200 people were dead. Journalists and others thought there were as many as 2,000 dead. The riot of May 13, 1969, was a turning point in Malaysian race policies.
The next year, in what was widely seen as a reward for violence, the government set up something called the New Economic Policy (NEP), designed to increase the Malay share of national wealth from an estimated 3 percent in 1970 to a target of 30 percent. It was supposed to last no more than 20 years, but it has been continued under new names, such as New National Agenda and New Vision, so Malaysians still talk about the NEP. It is also known as the Bumiputra Program, from a Malay word that means “son of the soil” or “native.”
All Malaysians are officially divided into bumiputras, who get preferences, and non-bumiputras, who don’t. “Bumis” must be Muslim Malay stock, though they need not be from Malaysia. This means an immigrant from Indonesia gets preferences over Indians or Chinese who have been in Malaysia for generations. Some of the specifics of the NEP were that Malays got a 60 percent quota at universities, discounts on real estate, and a guaranteed 30 percent of all new issues on the Malaysian stock market. The civil service became a bumi reserve, companies owned by non-bumis were barred from government contracts, and it became even harder for Indians and Chinese to get business licenses. The NEP set aside millions of dollars to pay for overseas training for Malay students and executives.
The Chinese have learned their lesson: no more jeering or taunting. They keep quiet about their wealth but work harder than ever. Are they shut out of universities? They send their children to school in Australia or the United States. Can’t join the civil service? They get better-paying jobs as lawyers, accountants, and doctors in private hospitals. Have to sell 30 percent of the company to bumiputras? They still keep control, and use their legendary commercial skills completely to dominate the wholesale and import/export trades. They are, of course, the money behind the shopping malls.
In 1970, when the NEP went into effect, Chinese controlled 27 percent of the wealth. By 2000, despite discrimination, they increased their share to a remarkable 40 percent, mostly at the expense of foreign holdings, mainly British plantation and mining interests, which saw their share drop from 63 percent in 1970 to 25 percent in 2000. Chinese merchants outmaneuvered the British conglomerates just as their cousins did the “hongs,” or British magnates in Hong Kong.
The bumis did well out of the NEP; they have reached their target of 30 percent of national wealth, but the swag is very narrowly held. The Bumiputra Program does not take class into consideration, so the children of Malay millionaires invariably get the inside track on boardroom posts, overseas scholarships, business licenses, and plum government jobs. A smart, ambitious peasant can work his way into the middle class or maybe even into the top ranks, but this kind of social climbing is so rare it is written up in the papers. Even more than in most countries, if you are a Malay, it pays to choose your parents carefully.
The Indians get the scraps. In 1970, the year the NEP went into effect, they controlled an estimated 1 percent of the country’s wealth; by 2000 they had managed to increase that to only 1.5 percent. Many had lost their old jobs as rubber tappers or oil-palm farmers, as plantations were converted to housing estates and golf courses for rich Malays and Chinese. A few Hindu temples have been torn down to make way for highways, which makes Indians furious.
The most consistent Indian complaint, however, has been about university quotas. In 1998, Education Minister Najib Tun Razak, the son of the man who set up the NEP 28 years earlier, conceded that without their quota of 60 percent, Malays would qualify for only 5 percent of university places. Therefore, he argued, it was obvious that quotas were still needed.
By 2003, however, the stink over quotas was so great the government officially abolished them. Did that mean more Indians and Chinese got into public universities? No. The results were the same as in the United States. Preferences went into a murky underground, and even more bumis ended up going to college. As defenders of the Bumiputra Program have pointed out, equality of opportunity cannot be measured, but equality of results can. If Malays are 60 percent of the population they deserve 60 percent (or more) of everything.
The year quotas were abolished, UMNO Youth Information Chief Azmi Daim explained how the country works: “In Malaysia, everybody knows that Malays are the masters of this land. We rule this country as provided for in the federal constitution. Anyone who touches upon Malay affairs or criticizes Malays is [offending] our sensitivities.”
A few prominent Malays have spoken out against preferences. No less a person than the current prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, famously said in 2004, “Let’s not use the crutches for support all the time; the knee will become weak,” adding that bumis could find that when they got off crutches they would need a wheelchair. Most Malays were not amused. That same year, UMNO’s deputy permanent chairman warned during a speech to parliament that “no other race has the right to question our privileges,” and that any attempt to do so would be like “stirring up a hornets’ nest.” Just to be sure everyone understood what that meant, he waved a book about the 1969 riots as he spoke.
Malay politicians like props. In 2005, during an address to UMNO’s annual assembly, Education Minister Hishamuddin Hussein brandished a kris, or traditional Malay short sword, as he warned that non-bumiputras had better not criticize ketuanan Melayu of “Malay supremacy.” (Conrad readers will recognize in the word ketuanan the Malay word tuan, as in Tuan Jim or “Lord Jim.”) At the same meeting, Higher Education Minister Shafie Salleh assured UMNO party members that although education quotas had been abolished, the number of Malays admitted would always exceed the old quotas, and that one of Malaysia’s major institutions, Mara Technology University (UiTM), would remain all-Malay. (The school logo includes a small, “partly polished diamond” that symbolizes the university’s role of “improving the status of bumiputras.” Not surprisingly, UiTM does not have as good an academic reputation as the University of Malaysia, which lets in a quota of Indians and Chinese.) Both speakers got enthusiastic applause. The general sense among Malays is that this is their country, and this is the way they will run it; Indians and Chinese are lucky just to be citizens.
So what’s a non-bumi to do? As noted earlier, Chinese have found ways around the system and do very well. There is still a Chinese-dominated political party, but it works in coalition and does not try to get its men named as ministers. When I asked about preferences, Chinese took a philosophical view. They more or less accept what the Malays say: It’s their country and they set the rules. In private, Chinese acknowledge their own success, and don’t have much sympathy for Indians. “We work hard,” they explain. “So should they.”
“What if they’re not as smart as you are?” I wanted to know. This idea doesn’t shock them, but it doesn’t make them any more sympathetic, either. Indians can go back to India any time and reclaim citizenship. Most Chinese think Indians have made a choice and should live with it without complaining.
Indians don’t see it that way. All whom I spoke to said the system was unfair, and they look down on Malays as lazy and spoiled. They know why the British brought Indians over, and they have no kind words for Malays who glide into top schools, cushy government jobs, discount housing, and cut-rate car loans just because they are bumis. Indians don’t think highly of the Chinese either. They concede Chinese are clever but think they are thieves.
On one of my trips, an Indian man took me to an outdoor fruit stand to buy durian, a fruit with such a powerful stink it is never sold in stores or even allowed on public transportation. The Chinese proprietor asked for a lot of money, but my Indian friend said nothing, so I paid. Later I asked him if that was the right price. No, he said, it was about five times too much, but it was important that I understand what cheats the Chinese are.
Indians do not feel emotionally Malaysian. I asked several whom they would root for if a Malaysian team met the Indian team in the Olympics. For the Indian team, of course, they explained—though not in public. National loyalty goes only so far, however. When I asked Indians why they don’t go back to India, they invariably explained that even with its bumi problems, Malaysia has “better finance” than India, meaning they can make more money there than in India.
Indians want a fair shake. Last November, an estimated 20,000 marched in Kuala Lumpur and brought the city to a standstill for nearly six hours. They were demonstrating against the way the Malaysian government treats them but their official target was Great Britain. The stated purpose of the demonstration was to march to the British embassy and present a two-page petition addressed to Queen Elizabeth.
Why the queen? Three months earlier, the Malaysian-based Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had filed a class action suit in Britain, seeking $4 trillion in compensation for “150 years of exploitation,” that is to say, for having brought over Indian laborers. Hindraf wasn’t asking the queen for the $4 trillion. Instead, it wanted her to appoint and pay for a lawyer to argue its case, since Hindraf didn’t have the money. Some of the Indians waved posters of the queen, and marchers carried a banner that said, “The Queen of England—the Symbol of Justice, We Still Have Hope in You.”
Everyone knows Indians came voluntarily to Malaysia, and that the real target of the demonstration was the officially untouchable Article 153 and everything that flows from it. The Malaysian authorities were not going to put up with this. Several days before the march they officially banned it under a law against anti-government rallies. That didn’t stop the Indians, who poured in from all over the country, but it did keep them from delivering their petition. About 5,000 Malaysian police blasted them with tear gas and water cannon. There were dozens of injuries and about 200 arrests, and by the time the streets were clear they were littered with gas canisters.
The Indians called the day a success. “Malaysian Indians have never gathered in such large numbers in this way,” said Uthaya Kumar, one of the Hindraf organizers. He went on to list the standard complaints to Western journalists: “They [Indians] are frustrated and have no job opportunities in the government or the private sector. They are not given business licenses or places in university.” One Indian told reporters he has to pay a Malay front man every month to be the official holder of his trucking permit.
The Hindraf demonstration got a lot of attention but does not seem likely to change anything—the queen, needless to say, has kept her distance—and the official chatter about race in Malaysia remains the same. This summer, at the 2008 Malaysian Student Leaders’ Summit, Prime Minister Badawi jabbered about how the country had flourished because Malaysians love each other and accept differences. Just nine months after the Hindraf demonstration he told the students, “The country is rich in diversity and we must celebrate it as our strength.” In all official descriptions, race relations are wonderful and everyone gets along. The Malaysia National Museum in Kuala Lumpur has a history section that ends with a video of Malay, Indian, and Chinese children playing happily together.
Ironically, the same issue of the New Sunday Times that reported the prime minister’s bromides about diversity ran a column by Tunku Abdul Aziz, who warned that despite such claims, “Malaysia is still groping in desperate search of an identity. It is still very much a society in transition, subsisting in the main on suspicion, intolerance, and prejudice.”
In the same issue, yet another columnist, Suflan Shamsuddin, wrote of the dangers of ethnically-based political parties. He fears Malaysian elections are no more than racial headcounts in which voters ignore policy differences and vote only for their race. He did not call for a ban on ethnic parties, but proposed a complicated system under which candidates could stand for election only if they were in coalitions that included the right mix of all three races.
There are no signs Malaysia is going to be the only country in the world to solve the problems of race. Broad preferences for Malays will continue. Chinese will keep working the angles and will do fine. Indians will complain, but they know that the next time 20,000 of them try to defy a ban there could be worse than tear gas and water cannon. There may be a few adjustments here and there for Indians, but so long as Malays remain the majority—and Muslim birthrates ensure that they will—they will not give up their position of dominance.
The days of race riots are over for the Malays. As one Malay pointed out to me, in the 1960s, a bumi could burn a car or a nice house and be sure it was owned by a Chinese. Now, chances are it is owned by a fellow bumi. If Malays still have a grievance, it is the systematic corruption that keeps wealth concentrated in a few hands, but there is no organized effort to spread the wealth.
Some day, the Malays will have to accept the evidence and realize that the Chinese do better than they do because they are smarter. I predict it will make no difference. Their view will still be that Malaysia is their country, and they will run it to their own advantage.
There is something else white Americans would do well to bear in mind: Malays are a relaxed, easy-going people. During several weeks in Malaysia on several different trips, I never saw a harsh exchange between Malays, and was impressed by their pleasant demeanor. When I first flew to Kuala Lumpur I laughed at the advice Malaysia Airlines gives first-time visitors: “How do you say ‘hello’ in Malaysian? Just smile.” I don’t laugh anymore. Even in the cities, Malays are amiable and good-natured. Why do I point this out? Even a good-natured people can be driven to murderous rioting in the name of race, and can be very hard-nosed about ethnic interests.
I believe Malaysia conforms to what may be universal principles. When they are minorities, low-IQ groups welcome and even insist on preferences if a high-IQ majority is willing to offer them. We see this everywhere in white countries. When they are the majority, low-IQ people grant themselves preferences simply because they have the power to do so. That is clear in Southeast Asia, where virtually every country tries to control the Chinese.
In black Africa we see the same thing. High(er)-IQ Indian minorities face systematic discrimination, and in 1972 Uganda under Idi Amin expelled its Indians. (Britain, not India, took most of them in.) There is systematic discrimination against whites in the two black African countries where they have lived in substantial numbers: South Africa and Zimbabwe. As soon as blacks had power, they set about dispossessing the high-IQ whites. Blacks justify discrimination by calling it redress of grievances.
What does this suggest about the future of the United States? If whites do nothing, low-IQ populations in the United States will become a large-enough majority to pass laws and issue Supreme Court rulings. They will use their power legally to dispossess high-IQ minorities. Any ruling alliance of blacks and Hispanics will have fights and disagreements, but they will agree on one thing: that certain groups have more than they deserve and should be plucked.
In America, the justification for preferences was originally redress for grievances but mutated later into promotion of “diversity.” When our low-IQ minorities become the majority they will not worry about justifications. They may talk about “economic justice,” or about slavery and the Mexican-American War, but their principle will be very simple: Whites (and perhaps Asians) have wealth, blacks and Hispanics have power, so those with the power will take the wealth.
It is impossible to predict the details of the policies a non-white America would pursue, but there would be race-based policies. The Census Bureau has just reworked its figures, and predicts whites will become a minority in 2042 rather than 2050. That is just 34 years from now. Race will still be an intractable problem, and as Malaysia demonstrates, low-IQ groups will not lose their taste for preferences just because they have become the majority. Blacks and Hispanics may not set up a system as exploitative as those in South Africa or Zimbabwe but neither are they amiable people in the mold of Malays. If whites do turn their country over to aggressive, low-IQ groups, they can anticipate a broad system of legal exploitation that will make joining the Third World even more unpleasant.
For Americans, race is only the beginning.
Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, Houghton Mifflin, 2008, 370 pp., $25.00.
What happens when people have more freedom than ever to choose their associates, their churches, their news sources, their neighborhoods, and their schools? Do they seek the joys of diversity, or the company of people like themselves and ideas like their own? The answer from a racial point of view has been clear for years—Americans are essentially no less segregated than they were 50 years ago—but journalist Bill Bishop has found that we increasingly seek homogeneity that goes well beyond race. He cites convincing evidence for what he calls “the big sort:” that Americans are dividing themselves up not only geographically, but also in terms of politics, worldview, and “lifestyle,” and shutting themselves off from others. This book is yet another powerful blow against the idea that Americans (or anyone else) want diversity.
The political divide
Mr. Bishop writes that one of the sharpest and most recent divides is political, and argues that the United States has become much more partisan since a period of bipartisanship that ran from about 1948 to the mid 1960s. He writes that during that period there was much less difference between Republicans and Democrats, and few people had the ideological fervor that is common today. Only half of adults had a real understanding of what was meant by the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” and only one-third of voters could explain how the two parties differed on the most important issues of the time. Unlike today, politics had no moral dimension: No one thought his opponents were evil. Mr. Bishop notes that there was so little difference between the parties that both Republicans and Democrats tried to recruit Dwight Eisenhower as their candidate for the 1952 election, and that even as late as the early 1970s there was not much disagreement between the parties on abortion, school prayer, or women’s “rights.”
Fifty years ago Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn would serve drinks at the end of the day to the Republican leadership, and there was friendship and cooperation across the aisle. Now, according to a congressional barber who has served decades of legislators, “People don’t like each other; they don’t talk to each other.”
Mr. Bishop adds that as late as the 1980s as many as a quarter of voters were genuinely undecided and looked candidates over carefully. Now, he says, 90 percent make up their minds on the basis of party affiliation, so campaigns are designed to mobilize supporters rather than win over doubters or build consensus. Passions run so high that it is no longer unusual for party fanatics to destroy the opponents’ campaign yard signs. Younger party activists are more ideological than old hands, newly elected officials are more extreme than the ones they replace, and the women in Congress are more partisan than the men. “Compromise and cross-pollination are now rare,” writes Mr. Bishop.
Another characteristic of our times is that social clubs such as the Lions, Masons, Elks, Rotary, Moose, etc. have been losing members since the 1960s. They are broad-based groups without a political agenda, where “brothers” are likely to hold a variety of views. Now, people tend to socialize in groups with sharply defined political goals—the ACLU, the Federalist Society, the Club for Growth, EMILY’s List—and to spend hours in Internet discussions with like-minded associates.
Fifty years ago, there were not many explicitly political magazines or newspapers. Now, there is a profusion of sharply partisan print publications, and countless Internet sites that promote divergent views.
Mr. Bishop writes that this sharpening of ideological boundaries has come at a time of drastic loss of faith in traditional authorities. In the late 1950s, 80 percent of Americans said they could trust government to do the right thing all or most of the time. This faith, combined with national consensus, explains how the Johnson administration was able to pass the Great Society legislation that inaugurated the War on Poverty, Head Start, Medicare, and Medicaid. By 1976, only 33 percent of Americans trusted government, and the figure continues to sink. At the same time, Americans lost faith in doctors, preachers, universities, newspapers, and big business.
There are no simple explanations for these changes, but Mr. Bishop is convinced it has something to do with material abundance. When people are hungry they worry about survival; when survival is assured, they want self-expression. People with full stomachs question authority and act on their own political ideas rather than follow leaders. Mr. Bishop also believes that the turmoil of the 1960s—Vietnam, the counterculture, race riots, assassinations—helped destroy consensus and respect for authority, but the entire industrial world was losing faith in institutions.
Some of Mr. Bishop’s most eye-opening observations are about a recent tendency for Americans to move into and form like-minded communities. He notes that greater wealth and easier transport mean people move much more than they used to: 4 to 5 percent of the population move every year, or 100 million people in the last decade. Whether they are conscious of it or not, Americans now tend to move to areas that reflect their politics. How do we know this?
Mr. Bishop studied how every county in America voted during the last dozen or so presidential elections. He defined as “landslide counties” those in which either the Republican or the Democrat won by a margin of 20 percent or more. In 1976, 26 percent of Americans lived in such counties; by 2004, 48 percent did. To some extent, people in a county may have influenced their neighbors in one direction or another, but Mr. Bishop writes that the greatest source of increased county-level polarization is internal migration: Democrats moved out of Republican counties into Democratic counties, while Republicans did the reverse.
San Francisco County is a good example of partisan migration. In 1976, Republican Gerald Ford got 44 percent of the vote; in 2004, George W. Bush got only 15. Republicans did not all die or convert; they cleared out. Mr. Bishop offers an amusing example of the result. “How can the polls say the election is neck and neck?” he quotes a liberal. “I don’t know a single person who is going to vote for Bush.”
The same kind of sorting goes on at the state level. In 1976, either the Republican or the Democrat won by a margin of 10 percent or more in 19 states. By 2004, it was 31 states. Consistent vote patterns give rise to the shorthand of “blue” and “red” states.
Localities take on personalities that go beyond politics. Homosexuals soon learn where other homosexuals live and join them. Places such as Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; Raleigh-Durham; and Palo Alto, California, get reputations as trendy, yuppie, liberal havens, and attract the sort of people such places attract. An area that puts out a signal that makes the news—such as kicking out illegal immigrants or legalizing homosexual marriage—gets a national reputation that attracts more like-minded people.
Trendy, liberal places attract college-educated, creative people, and their economies thrive. Other places decline as they lose these people. In booming Austin, 45 percent of adults have a college degree. In declining Cleveland, only 14 percent do. By 2000, there were 62 metropolitan areas where fewer than 17 percent of adults were college graduates, and 32 metro areas where more than 34 percent were. That is a good gauge of an area’s dynamism.
An even better gauge is the increase (or decrease) in patents. Between 1975 and 2001, the number of patents granted to people living in Atlanta doubled. In San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, it was up 170 percent, 175 percent, and 169 percent, respectively. Cleveland was down 13 percent and Pittsburgh was down 27 percent.
People used to move house for economic reasons. They moved to high-wage areas only if the cost of living was not so great it wiped out the wage advantage. No longer. In jazzy places such as San Francisco, New York, or Portland, housing alone is so expensive it wipes out any wage advantage, but people move anyway for the cachet and “lifestyle.” To live in certain ZIP codes is now a luxury product.
Businesses make similar calculations. They hope to recoup the higher costs of a tony address by getting better employees. This process leads to both virtuous and vicious cycles, as one place becomes Silicon Valley and another becomes Detroit. The trendy places tend to be politically liberal, and not very religious, and attract yet more people who are liberal and irreligious. Migration is self-selection.
Builders have cashed in on the desire to club with the like-minded. Mr. Bishop writes about the Ladera Ranch subdivision in Orange County, California, which has a section called Covenant Hills for religious conservatives, and Terramor for liberals. Covenant Hills has a Christian school and the architecture is traditional. Terramor has a Montessori school and the houses are trendy. Colleges have theme dormitories, not only for different races but for students who thrill to the environment or to “peace and justice.”
The political tribe
Mr. Bishop points out that the standard political profiles we take for granted today are relatively recent. He offers this contemporary cliché: anyone who drives a Volvo and does yoga is almost certainly a Democrat; anyone who drives a Cadillac and owns a gun is almost certainly a Republican. He argues that before the 1970s there were no such pat stereotypes. Today, Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to be churchgoers, but this was not so 40 years ago. Today, women vote reliably Democratic but in the 1970s women were more likely to vote Republican.
The 2004 elections offer an amusing vignette about political profiling. Mr. Bishop notes that early in the voting, exit polls suggested John Kerry would win. Why were they wrong? The poll-takers were young, collegiate-looking types who gave off a liberal aroma. They tried to stop and ask everyone how he had voted, but Republicans sized them up as Democrats and kept walking. Democrats saw them as fellow liberals and stopped to talk. Self-selection skewed the polls.
What people think about the Bible now predicts a host of other views. Fundamentalists naturally oppose homosexual marriage and abortion, but they are also likely to be for low taxes, a strong military, the death penalty, balanced budgets, and small government. They don’t like redistribution of wealth, and think jobs are more important than the environment. People who think the Bible was not divinely inspired are likely to be on the opposite side of all those issues. This does not hold for blacks, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, whether they go to church or not.
Mr. Bishop notes that there has been an association between religion and conservatism in all industrial countries but that, in most of the Western world, religion has faded. The still-strong tie in America between religion and conservatism is unusual.
The profiles of Mr. Bishop’s “landslide” counties are now no surprise to anyone, though they reflect a divide that did not exist 40 years ago. In Republican counties, 86 percent of the people are white, 57 percent are married, and half have guns in the house. In Democratic landslide counties, only 47 percent are married, only 70 percent are white, and only 19 percent have guns. The women in the different counties vary in whether they have children, how many, and how late in life they had them.
Not surprisingly, the farther people live from neighbors, the more likely they are to vote Republican. There has always been a city/country gap, but people always assumed television and the Internet would narrow it. Instead, the gap has grown wider. At the same time, with every 10 percent decline in population density, there is a 10 percent increase in the likelihood that people talk to neighbors. City people rarely do; country people almost always. The political correlation means Republicans are more likely than Democrats to talk to their neighbors. This city/country spectrum also predicts who fights our wars. In 2007, the Iraq casualty rate in Bismarck, South Dakota, was ten times that in San Francisco.
Even child-rearing is now political. Parents who require obedience and good manners tend to vote Republican, whereas indulgent parents vote Democratic. Mr. Bishop says this was not so 30 or 40 years ago, and that today, parents with the most education tend to be the most indulgent.
The Christian tribe
For three centuries, sages have been predicting the end of religion. Voltaire said it might last another 50 years. Freud, Marx, Weber, and Herbert Spencer all predicted an early death. They may have been right about most of the West, but not about America. Here, churches have survived, in part by changing to accommodate the inclination of the like-minded to herd together.
There have always been two types of Christian in America: those who thought religion was mainly a matter of personal morality, and those who thought it was an instrument for transforming society. The former—the conservatives—want to save the world by bringing more people to Christianity, whereas the latter—the liberal, “social-gospel” Christians—want to reform the world without necessarily making it more Christian.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the “social-gospel” Christians took over virtually all the mainstream Christian institutions, and used them to advance every pet liberal project from integration to homosexuality to Communism. The organized “Christian Right” emerged as a response.
Since that time, both movements have been eclipsed by a new kind of Christianity that has largely dispensed with theology, denomination, and the traditional geographic limitations on congregation size. Today, religious entrepreneurs decide where to found a church by using the same marketing and demographic techniques that determine where to put the next Wal-Mart or Home Depot. The idea is to find, within easy driving distance, a lot of people who fit a certain profile and then reach as many as possible. If the marketing is right and the preacher has flash, the result is a mega-church with a multimillion dollar budget and a TV audience. Such churches give people what they want: undemanding, feel-good Christianity, served up and consumed by people who are all the same race, social class, and political orientation.
This is far from the traditional pattern. Denominations mattered 40 years ago because Methodists and Presbyterians did not believe the same things. Also, churches served a neighborhood of people who varied, if not in race, then in many other ways. Before the “social gospel” divided churches into left and right, church members held varying political views, even if they agreed on doctrine.
Today’s nondenominational, new-breed preachers care about market share, not doctrine, and know that pushing predestination or baptism by immersion drives away customers. There are still churches with doctrine, but they count their members in the dozens or hundreds, not thousands.
Even for most mainstream churches, denomination has become so watered down it means almost nothing. As Mr. Bishop points out, whether or not a church flies the homosexual rainbow flag is a much better indication of what it is like than whether it is Baptist or Church of Christ. These days, everyone wants a tribe, and people will not cross lines of race, politics, erotic orientation, or class to go to church.
What does it mean?
“Americans,” writes Mr. Bishop, “segregate themselves into their own political worlds, blocking out discordant voices and surrounding themselves with reassuring news and companions.” He doesn’t like this tendency, because it makes Americans incomprehensible to each other. He cites often-replicated research showing that when people with off-center views spend time with each other they tend to go further off-center; lefties become more lefty and conservatives more conservative. Once a group has a distinctive tone, people gain respect and take the lead by trying to pull it even further from the middle.
Because of the self-sorting that is now common, it is possible to avoid ever having to talk to a political opponent. Many versions of the same research show that people who never meet the other side have exaggerated notions of its depravity or fanaticism. With enough reinforcement from colleagues, partisan publications, and Internet sources people can become so fixed in their thinking that they simply disbelieve anything—no matter how solidly demonstrated—that conflicts with their views.
Partisans cannot see what should be objective, common realities. For example, just before the 2006 mid-term elections, 70 percent of Republicans said the economy was doing fine, while 75 percent of Democrats said it was in deep trouble. Even if they have different news sources, Democrats and Republicans must see the same economic statistics.
This tendency to let party loyalties warp their vision is consistent with another finding by political scientists: Many people choose a party more for psychological than political reasons. Mr. Bishop quotes sociologist Paul Lazarfeld: “It appears that a sense of fitness is a more striking feature of political preference than reason and calculation.” People pick parties if they fit in socially; policy is secondary.
Mr. Bishop adds that people sometimes switch parties when their politics change, but that it is more common to change opinions to match the party consensus. Being a Democrat or Republican means joining a family or adopting a way of life as much as it reflects political choice.
Shrewd political operators have always understood the importance of conformity and belonging. They try to choose canvassers or precinct walkers so that when someone comes to your door he is not only your race and social class, but your neighbor. Emotion and loyalty drive politics more effectively than calculation.
What are the political consequences of “the big sort”? Mr. Bishop argues that Congress is often deadlocked because hard-liners refuse to compromise. When Congress won’t act, the President and the courts take over, but so do local governments. Local autonomy is seeing a resurgence as states and cities deal unilaterally with illegal immigration, homosexual marriage, race preferences, abortion, smoking bans, stem-cell research, etc. Heightened partisanship paralyzes Congress while, at the same time, building homogenous local majorities that can pass laws that would be unthinkable in another state or county. Local majorities, both liberal and conservative, are rehabilitating states’ rights.
Local majorities have already passed laws that send clear signals to racially conscious whites. “Sanctuary cities” are not attractive while cities that require police to enforce immigration law are. For the time being, these signals are not explicitly racial, but if the country really is drifting toward increased polarization, eventually there will be localities that consistently pass laws that have the effect of protecting white majorities and white institutions.
Today, laws cannot be explicitly racial, but they don’t have to be. A city or town that affirms a policy of hiring on merit alone or a school district that mentions crime rates during Black History Month will attract certain people and repel others. Measures do not need to be dramatic to reverse current demographic flows; reputation alone can set virtuous cycles in motion.
Within the two-party system, it is very difficult to make progress at the national level. Local politics, especially in a time of increased sorting, has much more potential. Once a town or county were secured, it could both lead by example and provide a base for state-level action. Voluntary sorting works in our favor. It is up to us to channel and use it for larger, long-term purposes.
Republicans and the Minority Vote
Any crumbs left for white people?
As the possibility of a Barack Obama nomination was becoming a reality, a number of conservatives came up with a bright idea: nominate former congressman J.C. Watts for Vice President. It is unusual for a four-term congressman who has been out of office for four years to be considered for this position, but the reason, of course, was that J.C. Watts was the last black Republican elected to federal office.
A “Draft J.C. Watts” website and petition were set up. Conservative columnist Matt Barber wrote a column saying Mr. McCain should choose Mr. Watts because he “might attract minorities whose values—especially on social issues—are more closely aligned with those of Watts than Clinton or Obama.” The column was reprinted on a dozen conservative sites such as Townhall.com, Alan Keyes’ Renew America, Free Republic, and the National Ledger. A blogger at Human Events’s RedState.com also promoted Mr. Watts, saying, “it makes sense for Republicans to recruit minority candidates.”
All this ignored one major problem: Until the Republican convention, Mr. Watts was toying with endorsing Mr. Obama. No less than 87 percent of self-described black conservatives now say they will vote for him. Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina—the only states that track voter registration by race—all saw significant declines this year in the number of black Republicans along with huge increases in the number of blacks registering as Democrats.
Among the many “conservative” blacks who say they will support Mr. Obama are former secretary of State Colin Powell, Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter, radio host Armstrong Williams, and chairman of African Americans for [George W.] Bush, Yvonne R. Davis. The latter two said many other prominent black Republicans have privately told them they will vote for Mr. Obama.
Most do not pretend their choice is about anything but race. Many say they feel obligated to “be on the right side of history,” and vote for the first black who could actually become president. Amidst the great tribal rush of support for Mr. Obama among “conservative” blacks, there are a few, such as Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly, Walter Williams, and Elizabeth Wright, who deserve praise for consistently opposing official anti-white racism, but they are a tiny minority.
One reason black Republicans give for supporting Mr. Obama is that their party doesn’t do enough to attract blacks. Miss Davis reports that Mr. Watts thinks the Republican establishment is not “serious about capturing more than about 8 percent of the black vote.” He says that although he disagrees with the Democrats politically, “at least the party reaches out” to blacks.
Miss Davis says that all of Mr. McCain’s staff are “older ‘silverback [dominant]’ white males,” in contrast to President Bush who “strongly admonished his staff for inviting the same old white guys to everything.” Miss Davis also complains that Mr. McCain is pursuing Hispanics but not blacks:
“The McCain campaign recently launched a web site in all Spanish to woo the Latino vote Bush courted and enjoyed. McCain has a formidable advisory board of Latino leaders from across the country … However, the McCain website does not showcase African Americans for McCain.”
Both Mr. Watts and Miss Davis acknowledge that President Bush did abysmally with blacks despite his pandering. After Mr. Bush apologized for the “Southern Strategy,” which successfully attracted working class whites to the GOP and gave Reagan and Nixon 49-state landslides, he was rewarded with the lowest percentage of the black vote since Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The NAACP ran ads virtually blaming Mr. Bush for the dragging death of James Byrd, and many blacks agreed with rapper Kanye West that “Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
Groveling did not win black votes, but it certainly helped the careers of a few black Republicans. Miss Davis, who is a consultant on “minority issues,” has no political experience, but was in the VIP box with the Bush family at both the 2000 and 2004 conventions, and got a high-level position in the Bush administration. Mr. Watts received large contributions from white Republicans hoping to have at least one black Republican congressman, and in his first term got a prime-time slot at the Republican National Convention. In his second term he was appointed chairman of the House Republican Conference—the fourth highest position in the House behind the whip, majority leader, and speaker. He also gave the rebuttal to Clinton’s State of the Union address. This promotion of token Republican blacks whose co-racialists do not vote with them has led to the joke: “What do you call the one black man at a Republican function? Key-note speaker.”
Two of the rare anti-Obama blacks, former lieutenant governor of Maryland Michael Steele and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, have held “emergency meetings” with Republican leaders on how to increase black support. The National Black Republican Association is raising money to help put up billboards saying “Martin Luther King Was a Republican,” and hopes to get 25 percent of the black vote.
The McCain campaign has not, of course, completely ignored blacks. At the convention, when John McCain gave his acceptance speech, two African refugees sat with the McCain family, and Mr. Steele, the closest thing to a prominent black McCain supporter, gave a high-profile speech.
Still, Mr. McCain saves his most energetic pandering for Hispanics. Like Mr. Bush, he has been an outspoken advocate for Mexicans, and though his support among Hispanics is all but invisible, he still thinks they are worth courting. His Director of Hispanic Outreach is the odious Juan Hernandez, who once said, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation [of Mexican-Americans], I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’ ”
So what does Mr. McCain offer whites? He shows no sign of reviving the Southern Strategy that Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush decided to abandon, and he is guilty of a whole laundry list of sins—most notably his attacks on the Confederate Flag and his vocal support of amnesty for illegal aliens. He demanded that the North Carolina GOP stop airing ads attacking Obama’s anti-white preacher, Jeremiah Wright, and he denounced radio host Bill Cunningham for merely mentioning Mr. Obama’s middle name, Hussein.
Mr. McCain has ignored the issues that are overwhelmingly popular with whites, such as immigration control and racial preferences, while promoting pseudo free-market programs like “enterprise zones” that give tax breaks in minority neighborhoods. He has called education vouchers the “civil rights issue for the 21st century,” though this often means paying for inner city blacks to go to private schools that were created for the purpose of getting away from them.
Although Mr. McCain finally endorsed Ward Connerly’s anti-racial preferences initiatives that he once opposed, since the Republican Party itself practices affirmative action it is hard to take him very seriously. Mr. Watts, Mr. Steele, Miss Rice, and Mr. Powell—the highest ranking Black Republicans to hold office in the last decade—all support racial preferences. Miss Rice and Mr. Powell both had some influence on the Gratz and Grutter Supreme Court decisions upholding affirmative action. Mr. Powell even implored Republicans at the 2000 convention to “mend it, not end it.” When black conservative Alan Keyes ran against Mr. Obama for the Senate he called for income tax exemptions for blacks as a form of reparations for slavery.
It is therefore hard for conservative Republicans or sensible whites to work up much enthusiasm for Mr. McCain. Some are even rooting for an Obama victory, because they want to punish the Republican Party for nominating Mr. McCain, or they hope an Obama presidency will create a white backlash. Some may simply find Mr. Obama more palatable on trade and foreign policy. But the fact that even conservative blacks are putting race before ideology should make it very clear to whites that they are the only group not looking after their own interests.
Mr. Lodge works on immigration issues on Capitol Hill and is active in Republican Party politics.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
They Did it Their Way
In August, the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) launched a program in five US cities—Charlotte, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, and Santa Ana—to encourage illegal aliens to turn themselves in and leave the country. The offer was only to the 457,000 illegals already under a deportation order—so-called absconders—who hadn’t committed any other crimes since they got their deportation orders. Instead of going to jail, which is where they would end up if ICE caught them, they would get an ankle bracelet and 90 days to close out their affairs in the US before they left. ICE cancelled the program after just two and half weeks because only eight illegals turned themselves in. ICE spent $41,000 advertising the program, but says it saved money because the cost of keeping the eight in jail would have been $54,000.
Critics says ICE will use the failure of “self-deportation” as an excuse to step up workplace immigration raids, like the one in Postville, Iowa in May the netted 400 illegals. “It seems to me ICE used this as nothing more than a publicity ploy as a means to justify their harsh enforcement of immigration law,” says Charles Kuck, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. [Feds Say Self-Deportation Program Didn’t Work, AP, Aug. 21, 2008.]
Illegals don’t need a pat on the head from ICE to clear out. According to the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC, 11 percent of them—1.3 million—have gone home on their own since August 2007. “Remittances, which is the money immigrants send back to Mexico, have gone down dramatically over the past year,” says CIS executive director Mark Krikorian. “Again, probably part the economy, but also part enforcement, leading to fewer people being here.” The Mexican consul general in Dallas says more Mexicans are coming to him for the paperwork to go home permanently. “It’s almost 100 percent more this year than it was the previous two years,” says Enrique Hubbard. Mexican President Felipe Calderon says he welcomes his countrymen back, but worries that they “could drive down wages and put pressure on social services.” [Kris Gutierrez, Illegal Immigrants Returning to Mexico in Record Numbers, Fox News, Aug. 22, 2008.]
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s colorful administration came to an end on September 4 when he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and resigned from office. Things began to fall apart for Mr. Kilpatrick in 2004 when two former police officers accused the mayor of retaliating against them after they started investigating the mayor and his security detail. Later, Mayor Kilpatrick denied under oath that he was having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, but explicit text messages to her proved him a liar. Earlier this year he was also involved in a shoving match with a police officer who was trying to serve a subpoena on one of the mayor’s associates, and he pleaded no contest to an assault charge as part of the deal.
The mayor will serve four months behind bars, reimburse the city no less than $1 million, surrender his law license, and will be banned from running for office for five years. Mr. Kilpatrick was under great pressure. The plea deal came just one day into a hearing convened by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on whether the state should remove him from office. City council president Ken Cockrel, Jr., will take over as mayor in late September.
His wife dutifully at this side (only appropriate, since one if his early scandals involved leasing a luxury Lincoln Navigator, at taxpayer expense, for her), Mr. Kilpatrick did not exactly sound contrite. He told a wildly applauding throng of supporters and city employees: “I always said I would stand strong for the city of Detroit. But sometimes standing strong means stepping down … I truly know who I am. I truly know where I come from. In Detroit I know who I am. And I know because of that, there’s another day for me. I want to tell you, Detroit, that you done set me up for a comeback.”
The son of Congressman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Mr. Kilpatrick became the youngest mayor in Detroit history when he was elected in 2001 at age 31. As the AP puts it, “His youth, energy and diamond stud earring endeared Kilpatrick to many fellow blacks, especially young ones.” Now, many blacks are sick of him. “This gives us hope. He’s not a king,” says Monica Smith, a Detroit college student. “This is a huge victory for the city of Detroit. He was not a role model. He was a thug. I’m definitely optimistic.” [Ed White and Corey Williams, Detroit Mayor, Soon Off to Jail, Talks of Comeback, AP, Sept. 5, 2008.]
Going … Going …
For some years now, the Census Bureau has been telling us that whites would become a minority by 2050 in the country their ancestors settled. As suspected (See “Writing on the Wall,” AR, August 2001, and “Fade to Brown,” AR, April 2003), the assumptions used by the Census Bureau were wrong. New data suggest whites will be just 46 percent of the population in 2050; they will become a minority in 2042, just 34 years from now. For comparison, Richard Nixon resigned from office 34 years ago, and one of the most popular television shows in 1974 was “Happy Days.” Non-whites are about a third of the population, up from around 10 percent in 1960.
More than half of all American children are projected to be non-white in 2023, just 15 years from now. Bill Clinton took office 15 years ago, in 1993. [Thomas Penny, US White Population Will Be Minority by 2042, Government Says, Bloomberg News, Aug. 14, 2008.]
We are shocked, shocked!
The US State Department lets African refugees bring in relatives. The refugee — the anchor — applies on behalf of spouses, parents, minor children and siblings, and they go through an interview, medical screening, and a security check. Recently, State Department officials began to think many people claiming to be related to refugees weren’t. In February, the State Department began asking for a cheek-swab DNA sample. The samples went to a lab in the US, which found many applicants were fakes. “We had high rates of fraud everywhere, except the Ivory Coast,” explains a state department official. In April, the department suspended family reunification.
Refugee advocates aren’t happy. “No one condones people gaining entry by false means; the integrity of the program must be ensured,” says Bob Carey, chair of Refugee Council USA and vice president of resettlement for the International Rescue Committee. But, he adds, “DNA is not the only means to assess family relationships.” Refugee advocates also say the African definition of “family” is loose. “Some families are raising children who aren’t their own but whom they call son or daughter,” says Angela Fox of Catholic Charities.
For the fiscal year that runs from Oct. 1, 2007 to Nov. 31, 2008, the US has admitted 45,644 refugees. The ceiling for Africans for that period was 16,000, but by August only 6,780 had gotten in. [Miriam Jordan, Refugee Program Halted as DNA Tests Show Fraud, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20, 2008.]
On Aug. 15, rowdies from the Kingdom of Hawaii Trust took over the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, forcibly evicting the staff and chaining shut the doors. As the protestors swarmed the building an employee called the Honolulu police for help, only to be told that the palace was not in their jurisdiction. The would-be usurpers issued a press release stating, “Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, has now reoccupied the throne of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii is now re-enacted.” After two hours, state police scaled the fence and arrested 20 protestors, including King Akahi Nui. A rival group calling itself the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupied the palace grounds on April 30.
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle appears to be losing patience with pro-sovereignty activists. The day after the takeover, she promised to investigate the slow response by the police, adding that those who occupied the palace “have to be shown it’s not going to be acceptable.” Her administration says it will prosecute the trespassers “to the fullest extent of the law.” For a full account of the separatist movement in Hawaii, see Duncan Hengest’s “Diversity in Hawaii” in the May 2008 issue of AR. [Activists Arrested After Hawaiian Palace Takeover, AP, Aug. 16, 2008.]
Forty-seven percent of enlisted personnel in the US Navy are non-whites and women, and Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler, superintendent of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, wants that same mix of midshipmen. Twenty-eight percent of the class of 2012 is non-white and female, making it the most “diverse” in the academy’s 143-year history. As part of the quest for diversity, the Navy will be running a “flashy” new commercial during Navy football games and will publish a “graphic novel” — that is, a comic book — to help recruitment this fall. Admiral Fowler says it took a generation to make the enlisted force representative of America’s diversity, and that it will take another generation to do the same to the officer corps. [Navy Looks to Boost Diversity with Graphic Novel, AP, Aug. 22, 2008.]
Crystal Mangum, Author
Crystal Mangum, the black stripper-student-single mom-rape victim-perjurer at the center of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax has written a book, The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story. According to a press release, the book is about “the truth about Crystal’s life, her account of what happened on March 13, 2006, accusations and the motives of the people criticizing her.” Miss Mangum graduated from North Carolina Central University last spring, and is “looking into” graduate or law school. [Duke Lacrosse Accuser Writes Memoir, WRAL-TV, Aug. 21, 2008.]
A didgeridoo is a long tubular musical instrument, a sort of wooden trumpet, used by Australian Aborigines in rituals. The Australian edition of The Daring Book for Girls, a cutesy manual of what young women should know (an imitation of The Daring Book for Boys), includes instructions on how to play the thing. According to Aboriginal custom, only men can play the “didge,” and Abo leaders warn that the book is putting Australian girls in great danger. “We know very clearly that there’s a range of consequences for a female touching a didgeridoo—infertility would be the start of it, ranging to other consequences,” says Mark Rose, general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association (VAEA). “I won’t even let my daughter touch one.” The VAEA calls the book an “extreme cultural indiscretion” and wants the publishers to pulp the entire run. [Girls Warned Playing Didgeridoo Could Cause Infertility, AFP, Sept. 3, 2008.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — It is hoped that Mr. Taylor’s prediction of an Obama victory (See “Why Obama Will Win,” AR, Aug. 2008) will frighten enough voters to prevent his sky-is-falling prediction from coming to pass. Even if Mr. Obama gets more popular votes than John McCain, our one surviving Constitutional protection—the Electoral College—may yet save the day for the unattractive GOP candidate. Since the next president will either be Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain, it seems to me we must elect the one who has two white grandmothers.
Leonard Wilson, Townley, Ala.
Sir — Your September review of Richard Lynn’s The Global Bell Curve reminds me of another reason I subscribe to AR: The book reviews. I would never find the time to read those books on my own, and the AR reviews, by reporting the most interesting parts, are the next best thing. This particular review was especially valuable.
Thank you for this service.
D. Tyrone Crowley, Prattville, Ala.
Sir — In Thomas Jackson’s review of The Immigration Solution (see “Irrefutable Arguments,” AR, August 2008), he quotes Manhattan Institute scholar Myron Magnet’s observation that some parts of California have become “ethnic enclaves that are ridden with crime, violent gangs, drug dealing …”
The most infamous, violent, drug-dealing gang from south of the border is called MS-13. In addition to its garden-variety criminal activity, authorities believe this gang of thugs who originally started in El Salvador is more than willing to smuggle al-Qaeda agents across the border. MS-13 doesn’t care how much harm it does to this country, only how many American dollars it can get into its greedy pockets. Of course, their “regular” crimes include drug trafficking, rape, murder, and taking potshots at civilian volunteers who patrol the Mexican border. Their drug dealing causes all sorts of other crime, but also hurts our society by driving up medical costs and lowering worker productivity.
Walter Sieruk, Harrisburg, Pa.
Sir — What strikes me, as I read AR articles about South Africa and the Afrikaners—the latest being your fine cover story by Arthur Kemp in the September issue—is the pictures you use of Afrikaner monuments to their ancestors, the men and women who built their nation. These run from the imposing stone statue of Boer War hero Dani Theron holding his rifle that ran in your May 2004 issue (see “Afrikaner Survival Under Black Rule, Part I”) to the simple, but powerful bronze recreation of the laager that held off the Zulu army at Blood River (June 2004), to the various shots of the soaring, awe-inspiring, somber granite tower of the Voortrekker Monument you’ve published over the years. I doubt that I will ever see these monuments in person, and I know about them only because of American Renaissance. These are beautiful tributes to a pioneering people, a people who carved a country for themselves out of the wilderness, through hardship and great cost in blood.
And yet, what is most poignant about them is the false sense of permanence they exude. One would not think that the people who built these monuments to stand for the ages could ever have been vanquished. And yet, even the names they gave to cities and towns are vanishing, replaced by those of today’s victors. Pretoria will soon become Tshwane. As Mr. Kemp points out, the town that was named after Piet Retief has been subsumed by a city named after the village of his murderer. It is only a matter of time before these wonderful Afrikaner memorials — including the magnificent Voortrekker Monument — will be pulled down by blacks. It is too heartbreaking to contemplate.
Walt Shanley, Portland, Me.
Sir — It is common to conclude, as Mr. Kemp does in his article about the Battle of Blood River, that the downfall of the white man is his unwillingness to do manual labor, that bringing in non-white underlings always leads to dispossession. And yet, who was it that forced South Africans and Rhodesians to hand their countries over to blacks? It was other whites, many of whom lived in countries that had overwhelmingly white populations. Without those pressures, the whites in Southern Africa could have maintained their position as the superior race indefinitely. We must therefore conclude that living apart from other races and taking out their own garbage is no guarantee that whites will keep their sanity.
Andrew Kennedy, Lexington, Ky.
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