William Robertson Boggs, American Renaissance, January 1993
American Renaissance frequently addresses what is probably the most forbidden subject in America today: racial differences. The subject is forbidden for good reason. A frank acknowledgement of racial differences destroys the basis for policies that are central to American society. It may even destroy the basis for thinking that a multi-racial society is desirable or even possible. The reasons for which racial differences are suppressed are therefore precisely the ones for which they must be recognized, for America’s collective position on these questions affects the nation’s very soul.
Who Promotes Equality?
The idea of racial equality — even of racial equivalence — now dominates public discourse in America, but who promotes it and why? The most ruthless egalitarians are Marxists. They stand for an almost nihilistic rejection of every distinction among people: rich and poor, stupid and smart, male and female, ugly and beautiful, healthy and perverse. Despite Marxism’s collapse in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, there is still a small but influential contingent of American intellectuals who believe that wealth is illegitimate, nationality is spurious, intelligence is an accident of environment, and race is meaningless.
These ideas are now part of the air Americans breathe. They have enormous built-in momentum and for most people it is easier to believe an old lie than to understand a new truth.
Many people believe that the subject of racial differences is so disagreeable and sordid that decent people should leave it alone.
However, an increasing number of Americans oppose the investigation of racial differences because they are afraid of where it might lead. Herbert Spencer wrote that the greatest of infidelities was the fear that the truth may be bad; today one of the most common reasons for opposing discussion of racial differences is the fear that the truth may be very bad indeed.
The most simple and common form this infidelity takes is the view that the subject of inherent racial differences is so disagreeable and sordid that decent people should leave it alone. Today it is probably the people who think this — the well-intentioned obscurantists — who are the greatest obstacle to free discussion.
Nevertheless, in a society that prides itself on the First Amendment, there should be a presumption at all times in favor of the truth. Democracy is said to require the truth. Therefore, the questions that must be answered are: What is the cost of concealing the truth, and what would be the cost of revealing it? The price paid for the truth must be enormous in order to justify ignorance and lies.
The Price of Ignorance
What is the price of refusing to acknowledge racial differences? It is as simple and as staggering as this: America will never solve its racial problems.
The most immediate problem is that blacks and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics are failing in disproportionate numbers. If we are to believe that all races are equally talented and hard-working then the failures of blacks and Hispanics cannot be their own fault. They can only be the fault of white people. Therefore every time a non-white takes drugs, goes on welfare or commits a crime it is a silent indictment of “racist” white people, past and present. It cannot be otherwise if all races have the same natural potential.
Because our society has turned its back on the real causes of black failure, it must devote itself to searching for and “eliminating” spurious causes. If the theory is that blacks fail because they do not have proper “role models” we hire unqualified blacks and put them in positions of authority. If white society has destroyed black self-esteem we promote grandiose fantasies about African history. If segregated schooling is bad for blacks we send them to white schools. If we then find that black children get the worst grades, we devalue the curriculum so everyone can get “A”s. If standardized tests discriminate against blacks we do away with them. If “racist” employers prefer not to hire blacks, we force employers to hire them. If a “racist” society still manages to impoverish blacks we give them welfare and food stamps.
When one grand project to lift up the black man mysteriously fails, America embarks on yet another, but each successive failure is taken only to confirm the terrible truth: Whites must be even more viciously racist than anyone had thought possible. Therefore, each new experiment is launched with more denunciations of white wickedness and appeals to white guilt. No opportunity is lost to invoke the memory of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and the lynch mob.
The effect on some whites of these constant denunciations of “racism” is an exaggerated eagerness to submit to every black demand. At the least threat of violence, college presidents promise to build blacks-only dormitories and hire more black professors. Race riots are solemnly searched for “root causes.” Every silly version of African history and every improbable theory of “black genocide” gets a respectful hearing. The media’s willingness to bow to film-maker Spike Lee’s demand that he speak only to black reporters is only the latest capitulation.
The other direct effect on whites is that they suffer the very racial discrimination that civil rights laws were supposed to prohibit. The injustices of affirmative action are visited on every new generation of white Americans that applies to college or needs a job. The burden falls on young whites who have grown up since the abolition of legal discrimination against blacks and who by no moral legerdemain can be held responsible for whatever wrongs may have been done to blacks in the past. The meekness with which young whites accept discrimination and the diligence with which their elders mete it out to them are among the wonders of our era.
Clearly, if it were recognized that inherent limitations rather than white “racism” were the cause of black failure, young whites would not be saddled with hereditary guilt. Today’s orthodoxies require that they be sacrificed to the dogma of equality, while the nation suffers from wasting thousands of university places on blacks who will drop out and from hiring untold numbers of blacks for jobs for which they are not qualified.
Finally, recognition of racial differences would be a vital first step toward removing the debilitating burden of guilt that so many whites appear to carry. Today’s whites need feel no collective guilt because of the status of blacks. Never in the history of the world has a group of blacks enjoyed as high a level of material prosperity as do American blacks. It is a level they would certainly never have achieved on their own.
As research by Linda Gottfredson at the University of Delaware suggests, affirmative action may have pushed black Americans into even higher incomes than would have been possible on ability alone. To blame whites for not promoting blacks even further beyond their natural capacities is ridiculous.
The Effect on Blacks
And how does constant tub thumping about “racism” affect blacks? Naturally, they begin to believe what they are told about white wickedness. Blacks might have hated whites for their successes even if they were not always told that whites are conspiring to oppress them; fulminations about imaginary “racism” only make their hatred burn hotter.
The black rap singer Sister Souljah recently told blacks that they should leave off killing each other and kill white people instead. She need not have bothered. When blacks commit crimes of violence they already target whites more than half the time (while whites choose black victims only 2.5 percent of the time). A black man is several hundred times more likely to rape a white woman than a white man is to rape a black woman. According to the statistics that are beginning to trickle in, more whites than blacks are victims of “hate crimes.”
Black hatred has even reached the following incongruous climax: One third of all blacks think that the government — the same government that devises one minority preference program after another — has invented AIDS as part of an attempt to exterminate them. If ten million blacks actually think that the government is trying to kill them, how are they likely to feel about individual whites?
This march of folly cannot go on much longer. Even the white man has a limited capacity for excusing the failures, hatreds, and delusions of blacks. Even the most mulish liberals are beginning to realize two things: First, no matter how many schemes they try, the racial achievement gap only widens. Second, whites who tell blacks how evil whites are are not repaid with the love and gratitude they expected. They feel the sting of black venom along with everyone else.
Eventually, the dogma of racial equality will founder on the facts. But until it does, our country will waste its wealth and its moral energy on “solutions” to imaginary problems. Blacks will continue to blame their failings on whites and to vent their hatred in increasingly terrible ways. Whites will try to convince themselves that mounting black mayhem is “legitimate rage” in the face of entrenched white racism. There can be no end to this madness as long as our nation refuses to recognize the inherent, genetic factors that limit black success.
Although a continuation of the vicious cycle in black-white relations is the single most obvious cost of suppressing the truth about race, there are other costs that may be even more important in the long term. Our current welfare policies ensure that the unintelligent and irresponsible have more children than the intelligent and responsible. This means that the average intelligence of the American population — of all races — is falling, by about one IQ point per generation, according to a very conservative estimate by Prof. Richard Herrnstein of Harvard.
The way to stop the genetic decline is to reduce the number of births to the unintelligent and incompetent. Any plan to do so would run headlong into the fact that blacks are vastly overrepresented in the ranks of such people. Racial differences are a serious obstacle even to the study of the extent to which intelligence is inherited. It stops any talk of eugenics dead in its tracks. If America is not to sink slowly into genetic mediocrity, it will some day institute eugenic — or at least anti-dysgenic-policies. This will not be possible until racial differences in intelligence are understood and accepted.
Immigration policy is another area in which willful ignorance exacts a high long-term cost. Although there are other decisive reasons to manage immigration so as to ensure homogeneity rather than diversity, when the United States accepts immigrants from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, it is likely to be lowering the genetic quality of its population rather than improving it.
Americans are notorious for short-term thinking. Our budget deficit — a crushing financial burden that we seem happy to pass on to our children — is an example of inexcusable irresponsibility. Current immigration and demographic policies ensure even worse horrors. How long will it take before an increasingly non-white, genetically disadvantaged population pushes its way into every corner of the country? Do we not already glimpse the future in the unspeakable practices that flourish among the underclasses? As the ghetto and the barrio expand, they will cease to be unfortunate enclaves; they will become the United States.
The price we pay for dismissing genetic and racial differences is therefore immense. In the short-term, whites are punished by affirmative action policies because of imaginary “racism,” while black hatred grows with every year. In the long term, we have set a course towards decline and barbarism.
‘Racism’ and Wounded Feelings
What, on the other hand, are the costs of recognizing racial differences? Obscurantists generally cite two. The first is that public acknowledgement that blacks are, on average, less intelligent than whites would justify “racism.” Since there is no telling where “racism” might lead-slavery? genocide? Nazism? — society must be willing to lie in order to combat these evils. The other is that public acceptance of racial differences would be an intolerable psychological burden to blacks who are already burdened by failure, “racism,” and the legacy of slavery.
The “racism” argument is usually made by people who seem to think that whites are only waiting for a pretext to wreak anti-black terror. History suggests otherwise. For most of the period during which blacks and whites have been in contact, whites have thought that blacks were inferior. This never led to genocide. Nor does the belief that blacks are less intelligent than whites necessarily lead to slavery. Slavery was abolished both in the United States and in the British Empire by people who were convinced that blacks were less intelligent than whites. There would be consequences to the public acknowledgement of racial differences, but not the orgiastic blood-letting that obscurantists predict.
Some misguided whites might use public recognition of racial differences as a pretext to vent prejudices and hatreds of their own. However, would they not be the same people who do so today? The tiny number of whites who commit irrational acts of violence — and a great many other people as well — are already convinced that blacks are, on average, less intelligent than whites. People are driven to violence in part by the profound frustration of believing that their nation is deliberately ignoring crucially important facts about race. Public acceptance of these facts and sensible policies based on them would relieve much of that frustration.
What might these policies be? First of all, quotas and set-asides would not be defensible in a nation that accepted black limitations rather than insisting on white wickedness. The immediate cost to blacks would therefore be the end of unearned benefits. Theoretically, the abolition of affirmative action might be the sole change in policy. The nation might reconcile itself to the inevitability of a black/white performance gap and otherwise continue as before.
However, it is likely that an acknowledgement of racial differences and the genetic laws that underlie them would lead to a revision of immigration, welfare, and even population policies. The consequences of dysgenics are so stark that their public recognition would probably lead to some call for action.
Immigrants would therefore be turned back. Babies likely to be public charges would not be born. Would this be so horrible? In both cases, the “victims” would be denied something to which they had no right. Society would benefit immeasurably, and the United States could once more look forward to progress rather than decline.
Blows to Self-Esteem
The other cost of recognizing racial differences is said to be the psychological damage it would do to blacks, and to a lesser extent, to Hispanics. Strictly speaking, that is their own concern. However, there is reason to think that the truth would hardly be devastating. Each of us, for example, knows people more competent and intelligent than himself. Are we “devastated” by this? More to the point, there is evidence that the average North Asian is more intelligent than the average Caucasian. If this were formally demonstrated to be true, would white people be “devastated”?
It is gratifying to think that one’s group is best in everything but this is hardly necessary for mental health. When they are not starving or slaughtering each other, even Somalis and Ethiopians have managed to rub along without obvious signs of pathology.
If anything, an acceptance of racial differences might be good for blacks. The nineteenth century free person of color was certainly not “devastated” by general assumptions about black inferiority. Not even slaves showed signs of the degeneracy that freedom subsequently brought to some of their descendants.
Surely, the assumption of inferiority made it easier to accept meager circumstances. Surely, a great deal of today’s black hatred stems from the belief that blacks are being cheated out of success that should by rights be theirs. This is a dangerous, embittering state of mind. In all of life’s competitions, peace comes only with the maturity to recognize that one has not been cheated by an inferior but bested by a superior. It is therefore a terrible disservice to blacks to tell them that they are the white man’s equal. This only sets up expectations that are sure to be disappointed and the resulting hatred could well be much more damaging than would be the acceptance of genetic differences.
Moreover, unlike the search for imaginary “racism,” which solves nothing, there actually is a long-term solution for genetic deficiency. If they wished, blacks could embark on an aggressive, sustained eugenics program to narrow the intelligence gap with whites. It is frequently said that the first step towards reform that an alcoholic must take is to recognize his condition. If blacks are to improve, they too must recognize their condition.
But what if blacks refused to accept the verdict of biology? What if they found it impossible to live side by side with a race that was superior both in numbers and in ability? Race is, after all, more than differences in average intelligence. Like all other human groupings, races have many deep-seated reasons to be conscious of how they differ from each other and to wish to preserve those differences. Sometimes separation is best for everyone. There is no theoretical or moral obstacle to separation, and many a marriage has broken up over differences less remarkable than those that distinguish the races.
These, then, are the choices we face with respect to racial differences. We can continue to build our nation upon a biological falsehood and condemn future generations to permanent racial conflict and to the dysgenic consequences of that falsehood. Or we can accept that the laws of heredity that we so profitably apply to animals apply equally to ourselves. Only then will we be able to look forward to progress rather than to retrogression.
Whatever we choose, the laws of nature will not change. Eventually, our perverse decision to reverse the course of evolution will again be reversed. A society that forces the competent to support a growing army of incompetents will some day come crashing down, and in the ensuing chaos it will be the fit who once again survive. “Drive out nature with a pitchfork,” wrote the Roman satirist Juvenal, “and it will nevertheless return.”