Culture, politics, science, philosophy.
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The deep Crisis of the West
Killing me softly
26.04.2011 (updated 29.04.2011). Excerpts from an interview published yesterday at The Brussels Journal:
I recently had the privilege to exchange a series of questions with Norwegian author and pundit Ole Jørgen Anfindsen via e-mail. Anfindsen's writings on race, gender, and political correctness have appeared in major publications, and provide a rare corrective to the prevailing orthodoxies about those subjects. He founded the English- and Scandinavian-language website HonestThinking.org with his brother Jens Tomas, and is currently its editor. His recent book Selvmordsparadigmet (The Suicidal Paradigm) features original contributions by Roger Scruton, Henry Harpending and Frank Salter, and Fjordman.
Svein Sellanraa: You often write about race and immigration. Explain your basic position on these issues and how it differs from prevailing opinion in Norway and the West.
Ole Jørgen Anfindsen: The existence of racial differences, including in average IQ and other mental abilities and dispositions, is proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Experts disagree among themselves as to the relative importance of nature and nurture when it comes to explaining said differences, but the completely extreme position that they are all due to environmental factors only has never really been tenable, and can now safely be dismissed as plain stupid; anyone who subscribes to such a view is simply ignorant or dishonest. This is so because, as many have pointed out before me, you cannot have populations living apart for several generations without genetic differences accumulating.
Not only have various races and ethnic groups been subject to different selective pressures through centuries or millennia, and therefore evolved differently in terms of personality traits, general intelligence, and more, we all have an inherent tendency to identify with and prefer those with whom we are closely related, genetically speaking, i.e., our own people. This follows as a corollary of William D. Hamilton’s groundbreaking insight about gene-centric evolution (popularized in particular by Richard Dawkins in his international bestseller The Selfish Gene). While I am a great admirer of Dawkins’ unparalleled ability to popularize science, I think he has thus far failed to live up to his responsibility as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals, by hardly addressing the thorny issues and ethical dilemmas that racial and ethnic differences give rise to. Two outstanding authors who have indeed done so are Frank Salter (a political scientist) and J. Philippe Rushton (a psychologist). Interested readers are advised to look for books and articles from said authors discussing topics such as genetic interests or genetic similarity theory.
All of the above is, by the way, valid even for those who subscribe to a creationist world-view, since we are merely discussing evolution within a single species (in this case Homo sapiens), i.e., an example of what creationists prefer to call micro-evolution; a phenomenon in which they are firm believers. In other words, religious fundamentalists cannot escape the race-related issues just by claiming that they are a by-product of ‘atheistic science’, or something along those lines.
Whether we like it or not, observations like these have profound political consequences. While I think we should avoid all kinds of excesses and extreme viewpoints here, and while we should in particular not jump to the conclusion that immigration is always bad, we need to realize that man’s biological nature places certain limits on the number of immigrants that can be absorbed in a certain amount of time by a given society without that society becoming dysfunctional. In other words, a society cannot remain sustainable unless immigration is limited to such a level that successful integration of immigrants can indeed be accomplished.
Continue reading at The Brussels Journal. See also remarks at GoV.
PS, and for the record: The contribution to my book by Roger Scruton should not be labelled original (as TBJ accidentally does above), since he merely gave me permission to reproduce already published material of his. The appendixes contributed by Harpending, Salter, and Fjordman was however written specifically for my book.
Of racial disparities in public school funding
25.04.2011. Excerpts from Jason Richwine's Heritage Foundation report The Myth of Racial Disparities in Public School Funding:
In 2009, white public school eighth-graders outscored their black classmates by one standard deviation (equivalent to roughly two and a half years of learning) on the math portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. Racial differences in achievement like this one are pervasive in the U.S. education system, and the gaps have persisted for decades.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test battery given to 15-year-olds in all 34 OECD countries, puts the gaps in stark terms. If white American students were counted as a separate group, their PISA reading score would rank them third in the world. Hispanic and black Americans, however, would score 31st and 33rd, respectively.
Blaming “Unequal Funding.” A common hypothesis is that Hispanic and black students perform worse in school because less money is spent on them. In 1995, Columbia University’s Linda Darling-Hammond claimed, “The resources devoted to the education of poor children and children of color in the U.S. continue to be significantly less than those devoted to other American children…and it is these inequalities that create and sustain the ‘bell curve’ of differential achievement.”
Part of the NAACP’s official statement on education policy reads: “Quality public education for African American and Latino students is persistently threatened as a direct result of inequitable school funding.”
Responding in 2001 to criticism that blacks and Hispanics perform poorly on the SAT, College Board President Gaston Caperton declared, “Tests are not the problem…. The problem we have is an unfair education system in America—an unequal education system.”
Even conservative author John McWhorter, while downplaying structural and institutional explanations for the racial achievement gap, still asserts that the alleged funding disadvantage for black students “is a real one.”
These commentators are mistaken on two levels. First, increasing school spending has rarely led to better outcomes. Second, and more fundamentally, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education itself, the assumed funding disparities between racial and ethnic groups do not exist.
Continue reading at The Heritage Foundation. Hat tip AltRight.
Lied about immigration
18.04.2011. A close ally of Ed Miliband has attacked Labour for ‘lying’ about immigration. Lord Glasman – a leading academic and personal friend of the Labour leader – said that the previous Labour government had used mass immigration to control wages. In an article for Progress magazine, the Labour peer wrote: ‘Labour lied to people about the extent of immigration … and there’s been a massive rupture of trust.’ Continue reading in The Daily Mail.
UK: Middle-class youngsters barred from applying for internships at Whitehall and in the police... because they are white
02.04.2011. White middle-class students have been banned from applying for internships with Britain’s biggest police force and in Whitehall. The temporary jobs, which offer thousands of pounds for work in the summer, are billed as the internships ‘that could change your life’. They provide students with invaluable work experience at a time of soaring graduate unemployment. But critics yesterday told of their anger at the decision by the Civil Service and the Metropolitan Police to exclude all but certain ethnic minorities from applying. Continue reading in The Daily Mail.
Fjordman on Toby E. Huff's latest book
02.04.2011. The eminent scholar Toby E. Huff in late 2010 published his book Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution: A Global Perspective, which inspired this essay. He was also the author of the modern classic The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West, writes Fjordman at GoV. He ends his essay The Curious Civilization thus:
Britain, and Europe more broadly, had a major intellectual, institutional and human capital advantage that fed directly into the early Industrial Revolution, human capital here used to measure the knowledge, skills, health and experience of a society’s inhabitants. Seen in this light, “it is apparent that Western Europe was on an entirely different developmental plane than the non-West. This was probably true since the time of the Greeks.” Nevertheless, the Dutch economist Jan Luiten van Zanden has showed that this has roots in medieval times, with the establishment of corporations, parliaments, universities and professional associations. Western human capital formation from the fifteenth century onward was thus far ahead of the rest of the world, but Japan’s high literacy rate was the closest equivalent outside of Europe:
According to van Zanden, that lead was probably 300 to 400 years ahead of rivals such as Japan and China. Non-Europeans were triply disadvantaged: first, whereas literacy rates rose rapidly in Europe from the sixteenth century onward (perhaps even as early as the fifteenth century), levels of literacy in non-Western countries were extremely low and remained so to the end of the twentieth century; second, there was no scientific revolution outside the West; and third, the legal and intellectual foundations for stable economic development as well as democracy and constitutional government were absent. Nothing parallel to the legally circumscribed public sphere of newspapers and public dissent appeared outside Europe before the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Even then, those publications were distant approximations of the European press. All these results run counter to those who argue that there was no cultural or institutional difference between Western Europe and China, Mughal India, or the Ottoman Empire in this period. Finally, we cannot overlook among all these assets the unique broad-based scientific curiosity that propelled modern science throughout the seventeenth century.
As the leading historian J.M.Roberts put it: “The massive indifference of some civilizations and their lack of curiosity about other worlds is a vast subject. Why, until very recently, did Islamic scholars show no wish to translate Latin or western European texts into Arabic? Why, when the English poet Dryden could confidently write a play focused on the succession in Delhi after the death of the Mogul emperor Aurungzebe, is it a safe guess that no Indian writer ever thought of a play about the equally dramatic politics of the English seventeenth-century court? It is clear that an explanation of European inquisitiveness and adventurousness must lie deeper than economics, important though they may have been. It was not just greed which made Europeans feel they could go out and take the world. The love of gain is confined to no particular people or culture. It was shared in the fifteenth century by many an Arab, Gujarati or Chinese merchant. Some Europeans wanted more. They wanted to explore.”
If one looks up the meaning of the term “curious” as it is used in modern English, it carries the primary meaning of being marked by desire to investigate and learn to know how the world works. However, the word can carry the connotation of being novel, singular and unusual in the slightly negative sense of being odd or strange. Finally, being curious can carry the decidedly negative meaning of being meddlesome or prying, of taking an undue interest in other people’s affairs and thrusting oneself into their affairs unasked and unwelcomed.
I would venture to say that all of these different designations can accurately describe some defining characteristics of Western civilization: First and foremost we have an unusually powerful positive interest in knowing how the world and the universe looks like and works. We have made unusual advancements, but sometimes also strange and unusual mistakes. Finally, I have to admit that we can occasionally display a tendency to be meddlesome and unduly interfere into other people’s affairs. In short, the West is the curious civilization.
Read Fjordman's entire essay at GoV.
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