Derek Turner, Alternative Right, August 24, 2011
Editor’s Note: Jared Taylor’s White Identity was released ten years ago. Here is one of its first reviews, published on the original AlternativeRight.com.
The late Sam Francis once observed that whereas during the Victorian age it was the subject of sex that was surrounded by taboos, today it is race that boosts sales of sal volatile. Objects of superstition may change, but love of mystique and a propensity for hypocrisy are omnipresent across centuries and cultures.
Luckily for us, if less luckily for himself, Jared Taylor specializes in examining this cultural no-go zone without fear — although with favour. Since 1990, he has edited and issued American Renaissance, a monthly journal which offers information and opinions on racial matters not readily obtainable elsewhere. It is, in many ways, a unique publication, both a gazetteer of present pathologies and a rare outlet for counterintuitive views on some of the chief questions of our age. Not only that, but its respectable (and clubbable) editor has suffered persecution and contumely as a result of his activities.
One might have imagined that leftists, with their frequently and loudly-expressed belief in a free press, would welcome the existence of a journal like American Renaissance, even if they did not agree with its views — that they might even nominate its editor for some kind of award, as they nominate dissidents in safely far-away countries. Not so. On the contrary, he is frequently caricatured as a suave Svengali whose erudition and amiability are mere hypocritical camouflage for the basest prejudices. His publications, conferences, associations, motives and modus operandi are minutely monitored and meddled with, to the extent that recent conferences have been cancelled and lucid, moderately-expressed books like White Identity simply cannot find a mainstream publisher (literary agents tried for two years to place it).
White Identity is essentially an update of his 1992 book Paved With Good Intentions — The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America, the breakthrough work which simultaneously made his name and marked his banishment from mainstream to margins. As in 1992, the author expertly piles up a mountain range of awkward facts from the AR archives to demonstrate the flaws in the West’s presently preferred model of race relations. As before, but with even more evidence to draw upon, he tosses and gores such tired clichés as that there is no such thing as biological race, that immigration invariably benefits economies, and that immigration is necessary to preserve the welfare state. I had never heard of the so-called “Florida effect,” whereby elderly white retirees are notably reluctant to contribute to state welfare costs because the recipients mostly belong to a different race. It is interesting to consider whether there will ever be a Florida effect in reverse, whereby non-white taxpayers will be reluctant to support the burgeoning population of white retirees.
In forensic paragraph after forensic paragraph, the author details the self-delusion and dishonesty that underlie the pleasant pabulum of ‘diversity’ — which new-coined concept has quietly “joined apple-pie, motherhood and the flag as a symbol of America.” This might sound like overstatement, but appears rather less so when one considers that around $8 billion is spent on “diversity training” every year in the United States, and that a former president of Columbia University can say, apparently in all seriousness,
Diversity is as essential as the study of the Middle Ages, of international politics and of Shakespeare.
This is just one of many quotes amassed by the author to demonstrate the perfervid nature of diversity-mongering. These sentiments are sometimes so lurid that they have the opposite effect from that intended, suggesting protesting too much.
“Diversity” has such talismanic importance in America’s public culture that almost everything else is hazarded to accommodate its ever more outré demands — social cohesion, the interests of the majority population, free speech, fiscal responsibility, political accountability, academic excellence, environmental protection, immigration control, government effectiveness, police effectiveness, military effectiveness and sometimes even — in prisons where staff refuse to segregate racial gangs — human life.
Even some conservatives now publicly defend “diversity,” either out of ignorance of its effects or because to condemn it would mean acknowledging that America has been pursuing a woefully wrong-headed policy for decades, under Republican as much as Democrat administrations. This leads to a paradoxical situation whereby perfectly sincere American patriots will defend a policy which is undercutting American unity — while others know the score but keep quiet out of a desire to avoid controversy.
Taylor, like the son of missionaries he is, backs up his case with chapter and verse, and those from reputable sources. (I hope he also secretly enjoys being a martyr!) His painstaking work of amalgamation and ordering means that White Identity might become a powerful persuader, if it can penetrate the mainstream.
Or then again perhaps not, because as Mark Twain said, “You can’t reason people out of something they weren’t reasoned into.” It is faith more than facts that moves people, and in the West “diversity” has become a kind of primitive religion, whose shamans move mysteriously among clouds of smoke from which ensue periodic gnomic assertions. It has become what one pastor cited by the author calls (admiringly!) “a theology of discomfort.” It shares with less attractive religions a simple-minded dualism, the possibility of doing penance, and the pleasing idea that reality can be overthrown if only people repeat mantras long and loudly enough. An age which can no longer believe in the Christian mysteries is perfectly happy to ingest (if not exactly digest) political pieties that have little more evidential basis.
As with Christianity, the cult of “diversity” is often honoured more in the breach than the observance. Despite unremitting exhortations and all those billions of dollars, most Americans do not really relish “diversity” all that much — not even the likes of the Clintons, who forged lucrative careers out of parading their racial consciences yet opted to buy a retirement property in upstate New York rather than some of the more vibrant places they have so kindly created for other Americans to enjoy. In some usually unconfessed core, most Americans are aware that, all the propaganda to the contrary, “diversity” is not only not a strength, but actually a debilitating illness. As Taylor points out:
If diversity were a strength Americans would practise it spontaneously. It would not require ‘diversity management’ or anti-discrimination laws. Nor would it require constant reminders of how wonderful it is.
So far as the founding stock of the United States is concerned, “diversity” amounts to “a fatal form of unilateral disarmament.” It is unilateral disarmament because non-whites often think and organize corporately along overtly racial lines, and this gives them a major tactical advantage when dealing with opponents who try to see politics in terms of issues and individuals rather than ethnicity. In diverse societies, politics easily degenerates into ethnic angling and grudge-settling as groups battle for pole position. At its most basic level, politics is a sort of battle for spoils, and focused minorities will always do better in this game than individuals whose actions are characterized by aimlessness and angst.
The $8 billion per annum question is why so many white people apparently support diversity, because after all,
For whites to celebrate diversity is to celebrate their own declining numbers and influence, and the transformation of their society.
Although successful civilizations have often attracted large-scale inward migration flows, this may be the first time in history that a host population has apparently desired to be replaced.
Peer pressure may help to explain whites’ constant rationalizations and retreats in the face of non-white pressure, because most citizens in any country usually accommodate themselves to whatever is the dominant power (however much they may grumble in private). Most people believe they can do little to change the course of politics, and it takes sustained commitment and courage (always rare qualities) to stand against any orthodoxy.
Lack of information also plays a part in white self-abnegation, because accurate information on racial matters is often misconstrued, scattered, or suppressed. For example, serious white-on-black crimes (like the notorious 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence in London) are given massive prominence, and the media are much readier to ascribe racist motivations to perpetrators than when the racial ratio is reversed.
Educated, middle-class people also like to think of themselves as rising above vulgar prejudices. They admire fairness — the civilizing realization that people are first and foremost individuals, and only then representatives of groups — and distrust crude generalization.
The difficulty with this is that macro-politics often requires a degree of aggregation, and a realization that howsoever sophisticated we may be, human beings are not immune from harsh realities or the baser instincts. Taylor quotes E. Raymond Hall, the highly-regarded author of Mammals of North America, one of whose “biological laws” has stark significance for multicultural visionaries:
Two sub-species of the same species do not occur in the same geographic area.
Few care to apply such bald logic to human affairs, but unfortunately the historical record bears out Hall’s plain-spoken assessment. Diverse societies are disastrously prone to periodic spasms of violence in which suppressed group loyalties suddenly surge unstoppably to the surface, even where peoples have lived alongside each other for hundreds of years. Even where there is not violence, there is perpetual low-level distrust of the kind documented by Harvard’s Robert Putnam in his much-reported studies.
There is a growing body of research suggesting that racial awareness may be partly genetic in origin, a sort of prehistoric pack-memory of needing to be suspicious of strangers. This body of research is still small, partly because (as Taylor points out) scientists prefer to deal with easily quantifiable data rather than emotions, but it is gathering steam.
Recent history is also a massive disincentive to thinking about race. Across almost all discussions about diversity lie the long shadows of Auschwitz and the other indelible stains of that ghastly regime, and an attendant fear that even thinking about race is but the first step towards such horrors. The recent wildly counter-productive actions of Anders Behring Breivik will reinforce this feeling. The author quotes James Traub of The New Yorker to show how many sensitive people react whenever race crops up:
One’s hand is stayed by the knowledge of innumerable past hurts and misdeeds. The recognition of those wrongs . . . is a precondition to entering the discussion.
But the most powerful reason whites do not react corporately is because most do not feel they have a corporate identity — or if they do it is so sublimated that they may not even be aware of it, at least until some crisis agitates those atavistic depths. Here, the author is on trickier ground and yet, given the title of the book, this is where he ought to have concentrated his fire. Rather than describing “White identity” Taylor concentrates on describing its absence.
In some countries physicality plays a central role in national self-image and the way the nation is viewed by others. Collective nouns like English, Irish, Chinese or Samoan evoke immediate images of particular physical types. These stereotypes are rooted partly in popular culture but also in reality — the fact that the English have traditionally been white, and are still expected by the world to be white, Hugh Grant rather than Salman Rushdie, David Beckham rather than Rio Ferdinand.
In such countries, there can be a potent nexus between physical type, tribal awareness, family life, customs, traditions, history, culture and geography. E. O. Wilson called this process “biocultural feedback,” whereby people of a certain type favor people of the same type because they are thought more likely to “carry” a valued culture. In these places, over long periods, biology may become sociobiology — sociobiology culture — culture history — and history a badge of belonging.
But most nation-states are much newer, and there is not that same automatic association. America was founded on radical rejectionism and intellectual abstraction, and is thus easy to portray as a (literally bloodless) “proposition nation” — even though those propositions were first advanced by a tiny and interlinked elite stemming mostly from just one European country.
The author recounts what now seem like the eye-watering views on race held by some of the greatest Americans, including some now remembered chiefly as racial egalitarians. It would in fact be surprising if a sense of being white had not existed in a new nation led by Enlightenment-era radicals inspired by Ancient Greek ideals as well as modernists like Blumenbach — a country whose pioneers were forcing their way across a dangerous continent populated by hostile autochthons of very different culture. Even now, the term “all American” evokes certain immediate images, and a knowledge of being white still lingers in America, emerging during times of severe stress such as when fighting Japan, or during the forced integrations of the 1960s.
But it has rarely been a determinant in American history. Genetic similarity did not, for example, prevent Americans from slaughtering each other with considerable enthusiasm between 1861 and 1865. On a more everyday level, white Americans have always preferred to focus on narrower identities — their ancestral roots in particular European nations, regional American loyalties, religious affiliations and other foci of fellowship. Early America was more of a transplanted England than a transplanted Europe, and the English language and Protestantism were more important Americanizers than any notion of being overseas Europeans. (In Albion’s Seed, David Hackett Fisher advances the thesis that most early Americans were not just English, but almost entirely eastern English — making them even more ethnically specific.)
Whenever white identity has existed in history, it has been usually as a defensive response to external existential threats. In the 19th century, when tiny numbers of Europeans held vast districts of Africa or Asia under precarious sway, there was often considerable solidarity between all local whites, whatever their nationality. But such solidarity would be forgotten instantly whenever wars broke out back home. No doubt, there is strong white consciousness in Zimbabwe and South Africa — even if it does not appear to be helping those unlucky minorities much.
It is also possible the author overstates the significance of black, Hispanic or Asian identity. Supposed black solidarity does not prevent blacks from preying on other blacks; do American blacks really feel much kinship with Haitians, let alone Nigerians? The long chapter on “Hispanic consciousness” is really only about Mexican consciousness; the author cites instances of Mexicans behaving disobligingly towards their Hispanic neighbors to the south. No doubt different Asian nationalities also distrust each other. Although Taylor provides one or two examples of trans-Asian cooperation, they do not amount to very much — yet, at any rate. Perhaps all the race-hustling will simply fizzle out, like other forms of 1960s radicalism.
Then again, perhaps it will not. Perhaps white weakness will continue to encourage more and more explicit non-white agitation, until at some point the targeted population will have had enough and will find leadership under some charismatic Caucasian Congressman (or Congresswoman). Whites — whether they care to view themselves in this way or not — have already moved into minority status in some states, with more at or nearing the tipping point, and there is no respite in sight. However hollowed-out or cowed by conformity, at some level the founding population is still what and who it always was — and with its back to both oceans it may suddenly remember.