Tag Archives: race

What the British people want from their politicians… and what they get

Robert Henderson

What do our politicians think of the electorate: precious little. All the major mainstream parties either ignore or cynically  misrepresent  the issues  which are most important to the British – immigration, our relationship with the EU, the English democratic deficit,  foreign adventures , the suppression of free speech and the precarious state of the economy. . These issues are  not addressed honestly because they either clash with the prevailing internationalist agenda or because to address them honestly would mean admitting how much sovereignty had been given away to the EU and through other treaties.

This antidemocratic failure to engage in honest politics is an established trait. The wilful removal from mainstream politics of vitally important issues has been developing for more than half a century. The upshot is that the British want their politics to be about something which is not currently on offer from any party with a chance of forming a government. The British public broadly seek what these days counts as rightist action when it comes to matters such as preserving nationhood, immigration, race and political correctness, but traditional leftist policies on items such as social welfare, the NHS and the economy (has anyone ever met someone in favour of free markets and free trade who has actually lost his job because of them?).

The electorate’s difficulty is not simply their inability to find a single party to fulfil all or even most of their political desires. Even on a single issue basis, the electorate frequently cannot find a party offering what they want because all the mainstream parties now carol from the same internationalist, globalist, supranational, pro-EU, pc songsheet. The electorate finds they may have any economic programme provided it is laissez faire globalism, any relationship with the EU provided it is membership, any foreign policy provided it is internationalist and continuing public services only if they increasingly include private capital and provision. The only difference between the major parties is one of nuance.

Nowhere is this political uniformity seen more obviously than in the Labour and Tory approaches to immigration. Labour has adopted a literally mad policy of “no obvious limit to immigration”. The Tories claim to be “tough” on immigration, but then agree to accept as legal immigrants more than 100,000 incomers a year from outside the EU plus any number of migrants from within the EU (350 million have the right to settle here). There is a difference, but it is simply less or more of the same. Worse, in practice there would probably be no meaningful difference to the numbers coming whoever is in power. The truth is that while we remain part of the EU and tied by international treaties on asylum and human rights, nothing meaningful can be done for purely practical reasons. But even if something could be done, for which serious party could the person who wants no further mass immigration vote? None.

A manifesto to satisfy the public

All of this set me thinking: what manifesto would appeal to most electors? I suggest this political agenda for the What the People Want Party:

We promise:

1. To always put Britain’s interests first. This will entail the adoption of an unaggressive nationalist ethic in place of the currently dominant internationalist ideology.

2. The reinstatement of British sovereignty by withdrawal from the EU and the repudiation of all treaties which circumscribe the primacy of Parliament.

3. That future treaties will only come into force when voted for by a majority in both Houses of Parliament and   accepted in a referendum . Any  treaty should be subject to repudiation following  Parliament passing a motion that repudiation should take place and that motion being ratified by a referendum.  Treaties could also be repudiated by a citizen initiated referendum (see 29).

4. A reduction in the power of the government in general and the Prime Minister in particular and an increase in the power of Parliament. This will be achieved by abolishing the Royal Prerogative, outlawing the party whip and removing the vast powers of patronage available to a government.

5. That the country will only go to war on a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

6. An end to mass immigration by any means, including asylum, work permits and family reunion.

7. An end to all officially-sponsored political correctness.

8. The promotion of British history and culture in our schools and by all publicly-funded bodies.

9. The repeal of all laws which give by intent or practice a privileged position to any group which is less than the entire population of the country, for example the Race Relations Act..

10. The repeal of all laws which attempt to interfere with the personal life and responsibility of the individual. Citizens will not be instructed what to eat, how to exercise, not to smoke or drink or be banned from pursuits such as fox-hunting which harm no one else.

11. A formal recognition that a British citizen has rights and obligations not available to the foreigner, for example, the benefits of the welfare state will be made available only to born and bred Britons.

12. Policing which is directed towards three ends: maintaining order, catching criminals and providing support and aid to the public in moments of threat or distress. The police will leave their cars and helicopters and return to the beat and there will be an assumption that the interests and safety of the public come before the interests and safety of police officers.

13. A justice system which guards the interests of the accused by protecting essential rights of the defendant such as jury trial and the right to silence, whilst preventing cases collapsing through technical procedural errors.

14. Prison sentences that are served in full, that is,  the end of remission and other forms of early release. Misbehaviour in prison will be punished by extending the sentence.

15. An absolute right to self-defence when attacked. The public will be encouraged to defend themselves and their property.

16. A general economic policy which steers a middle way between protectionism and free trade, with protection given to vital and strategically important industries such as agriculture, energy, and steel and free trade only in those things which are not necessities.

17. A repudiation of further privatisation for its own sake and a commitment to the direct public provision of all essential services such as medical treatment. We recognise that the electorate overwhelmingly want the NHS, decent state pensions, good state funded education for their children and state intervention where necessary to ensure the necessities of life. This promise is made to both reassure the public of continued future provision and to ensure that the extent of any public spending is unambiguous, something which is not the case where indirect funding channels such as PFI are used.

18. The re-nationalisation of  the railways, the energy companies, the water companies and any  exercise  of the state’s authority such as privately run prisons which have been placed in  private hands.

19. An  education system which ensures that every child leaves school with at least a firm grasp of the three Rs and a school exam system which is based solely on a final exam. This will remove the opportunity to cheat by pupils and teachers. The standards of the exams will be based on those of the 1960s which is the last time British school exams were uncontaminated by continuous assessment, multiple choice questions and science exams included practicals as a matter of course. .

20. To restore credibility to our university system. The taxpayer will fund scholarships for 20 per cent of school-leavers. These will pay for all fees and provide a grant sufficient to live on during term time. Any one not in receipt of a scholarship will have to pay the full fees and support themselves or take a degree in their spare time. The scholarships will be concentrated on the best universities. The other universities will be closed. This will ensure that the cost is no more than the current funding and the remaining universities can be adequately funded.

21. A clear distinction in our policies between the functions of the state and the functions of private business, charities and other non-governmental bodies. The state will provide necessary public services, business will be allowed to concentrate on their trade and not be asked to be an arm of government and charities will be entirely independent bodies which will no longer receive public money.

22. A commitment to putting the family first. This will include policies which recognise that the best childcare is that given by the parents and that parents must be allowed to exercise discipline over their children. These will be given force by a law making clear that parents have an absolute right to the custody of and authority over their children, unless the parents can be shown to be engaging in serious criminal acts against their children.

23. Marriage to be encouraged by generous tax breaks and enhanced  child allowances for children born in wedlock.

24. Defence forces designed solely to defend Britain and not the New World Order.

25. A Parliament for England to square the Devolution circle. The English comprise around 80 per cent of the population of the UK, yet they alone of all the historic peoples are Britain are denied the right to govern themselves. This is both unreasonable and politically unsustainable in the long-run.

26. A reduction to the English level of Treasury funding to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will save approximately £17 billion pa because the Celts receive overall approximately £1,600 per head per annum more than the English.

27. An end to Foreign Aid. This will save approximately £11  billion.

28. A written constitution to ensure that future governments cannot abuse their power. This will be predicated on (1) the fact that we are a free people, (2) the belief that in a free and democratic society the individual can be trusted to take responsibility for his or her actions and to behave responsibly and (3) that politicians are the servants not the masters of those who elect them. It will guarantee those things necessary to a free society, including an absolute right to free expression, jury trial for any offence carrying a sentence of more than one year, place citizens in a privileged position over foreigners and set the interests and safety of the country and its citizens above the interests and safety of any other country or people.

29. Citizen initiated referenda shall be held when ten per cent of the population have signed a petition asking for a referendum.

Those are the things which I think most of the electorate could embrace, at least in large part. There are also other issues which the public might well be brought to  support if there was proper public debate and a serious political party supporting them such as the ownership and bearing of weapons and the legalisation of drugs.

The positive thing about such an agenda is that either Labour or the Tories could comfortably support it within the context of their history.

Until Blair perverted its purpose, the Labour Party had been in practice (and often in theory – think Ernie Bevin), staunchly nationalist, not least because the unions were staunchly protective of their members’ interests and resistant to both mass immigration (because it reduced wages) and free trade (because it exported jobs and reduced wages).

For the Tories, the Thatcherite philosophy is as much an aberration as the Blairite de-socialisation of Labour. The true Tory creed in a representative democracy is that of the one nation nationalist. It cannot be repeated too often that the free market internationalist creed is the antithesis of conservatism.

The manifesto described above would not appeal in every respect to ever member of the “disenfranchised majority”. But its general political slant would be palatable to that majority and there would be sufficient within the detail to allow any individual who is currently disenchanted with politics to feel that there were a decent number of important policies for which he or she could happily vote. That is the best any voter can expect in a representative democracy. People could again believe that voting might actually change things.

Politically incorrect film reviews – 12 Years a slave

Robert Henderson

Main Cast

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup

Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps

Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey

Sarah Paulson as Mary Epps

Benedict Cumberbatch as William Ford

Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass

Paul Dano as John Tibeats

Adepero Oduye as Eliza

Paul Giamatti as Theophilus Freeman

Garret Dillahunt as Armsby

Scoot McNairy as Brown

Taran Killam as Hamilton

Chris Chalk as Clemens Ray

Director:  Steve McQueen

12 years a slave is dull, very very dull.   The plot trudges from one banally brutal or degrading episode to the next  as the kidnapped black freeman Solomon Northrup undergoes his dozen years of illegal enslavement in  the America of the 1840s. There is little sense of  the story moving forward. Rather like pornography it becomes boring because repeating the same general thing over and over is tedious no matter what the subject.  Indeed, the film could be regarded as pornography for white liberals.  The fact that we know the eventually outcome – Northrup’s  re-obtaining of freedom- before the film begins deepens the dramatic void. The weakness of plot is typified  by the scene in which  Northrup is finally freed. What should have been the prime moment of emotional engagement  in the film is shown in such a startlingly perfunctory fashion that  Northrup’s freeing is made to seem inconsequential.

The film would have been much more dynamic as a drama if there had been subplots to vary the plantation scenes.  This could have been readily done because  Northrup’s written story provided plenty of opportunity for diversification of the plot  -  the full text of 12 Years a Slave can be found at  https://archive.org/stream/twelveyearsasla00nortgoog#page/n8/mode/2up. (The page numbers in the review refer to this text). For example, when he is being shipped for sale after being kidnapped Northrup manages to send a letter to those he knows in New York (p 73),  but they cannot come after him  because there is no clear  indication of where he is or where he will be going. Northrup also mentions in his book that his son vowed to find his father and purchase his freedom. The sufferings of his  family  could have been used to provide a powerful backdrop to Northrup’s travails. Then there were the opportunities for diversifying the action offered by the efforts made to obtain his freedom after he eventually gets word of his predicament and where he is to those in New York who eventually procure his release. There is also an episode in the book (p136) where Northrup goes on the run  through a sub-tropical swampland. That  would have made a strong action sequence.

It is a little difficult to see why the director ignored such opportunities.  He is certainly a competent filmmaker  as his previous decidedly  interesting  film Shame showed. Being black himself,  perhaps McQueen was  simply too close to the subject  and became obsessed with the abuse storyline. Despite the dismal litany of abuse in Northrup’s book, he cannot resist using a screenplay by John Ridley  which over-eggs the mistreatment of slaves by going beyond what Northrup recounted.  For example, after Northrup has been abducted, he is taken with other slaves down-river on a paddle-steamer . During the voyage there is an attempt by a white man to rape one of the black female slaves. Another slave attempts to prevent this and is knifed to death by the world-be rapist.  This event is not in Northrup’s book, a fact which is unsurprising because slaves were valuable and the loss of one would not be welcome. Indeed, Northrup makes it clear that any injury reduced the value of the slave and that signs of punishment could be particularly damaging to value, viz: “Scars upon a slave’s back were considered evidence of a rebellious or unruly spirit and hurt his sale” (p80) . Another important fabrication is a scene where Northrup tells Ford he is a free man who has been kidnapped into slavery and Ford says he cannot listen. Northrup’s book  says he never raised the subject of his true identity with Ford (p 91)

There is also  subtle exaggeration of abuse. For example, in the scene where Northrup and some other slaves are being put up for sale, the film shows them partially or fully naked, to be viewed by any prospective buyer. What Northrup actually writes is that the slaves  were  clothed but “Sometimes a man or a woman was taken to the small house in the yard and inspected more minutely” (p80), a rather less public humiliation.

There is also a pc driven absurdity which occurs in the scenes in the film before Northrup’s  kidnapping and sale into slavery. He is shown not only as being decidedly prosperous (something not  borne out by his own account of his pre-slave days) but as being greeted by virtually every white person  he meets with that curious passive aggressive fawning behaviour which white liberals adopt when interacting with anyone who is black.  Even allowing for the fact that Northrup is a free man and the scenes are set in the non-slave states, it is somewhat difficult to imagine that he would have been such an object of unalloyed admiration in the 1840s.

To the one-dimensional plot can be added a general absence of character development. The problem starts with  the leading man Chiwetel Ejiofor in the role of  Northrup.  There is a curious passivity about this actor no matter what role he inhabits. Here he simply comes over as emotionally flat even when he is resisting abuse.  Nor does Ejiofor resemble Northrup in appearance. From the illustration of Northrup which accompanied his book he had a darkish skin but distinctly European features.  This is unsurprising because in the book he is described as a mulatto ( strictly of half white, half black ancestry but more loosely of mixed race). Chiwetel Ejiofor is the child of two Nigerian parents. He looks very different from Northrup. Was an actor who showed no signs of having a large admixture of white blood in him deliberately chosen because the film maker wanted to have no racial ambiguity in the film’s male  lead?

Then there is his physique. Northrup is depicted as a physically  powerful man in the film, yet according to his book he is only 5’ 7” tall (p311). That would have been rather  small even by the standards of the day.  Sadly for the film, physically larger does not equal greater screen presence.

Lupita Nyong’o  character of Patsey is very slight if viewed unsentimentally and exactly what she has done in the role to be nominated for best supporting actress at the Oscars and to win the same award at the Golden Globes is mystifying in terms of performance.  She does not spend that much time on screen or have a great deal to say. Her  most notable scene is of her being  savagely flogged.  Her beating has provoked much comment amongst the critics, but in truth the violence in film is not way beyond that seen in other slave-themed  films such as Mandingo and Drum in the 1970s and the recent Django Unchained.  Apart from the  brutal flogging  of Patsey,  the only other serious beating is that given to Northrup with a wooden paddle and whip soon after he has been kidnapped. The three  other films I mention all arguably  had more scenes of violence meted out to slaves. For example, Django Unchained has two slaves fighting to the death for amusement of their masters and another slave killed by setting dogs on him.

Michael Fassbender is always watchable but as the harsh slaveowner Edwin Epps he is little more  than a  cartoon villain whose acts of brutality lacks credible motivation. His obsession with Patsey lusting after her one minute, having her flogged the next,  is unconvincing, not least because she is no great beauty.  I suppose  it could be represented as sexual gratification through sadism, but that is not very plausible because much her beating is in response to the urging of his wife. Mary.  Sarah Paulson as Epps’ wife is good as far as her role goes, which not far because she is there to display jealousy of Patsey and urge Epps to beat the unfortunate slave at every opportunity and  do precious little else. Northrup’s estimation of her is surprisingly generous: “Mistress Epps was  not such an evil woman after all. She was possessed of the devil, jealousy. It is true, but aside from that there was much in her character to admire…. She had been well educated at some institution this side of the Mississippi ; was beautiful and accomplished and usually good humoured. She was kind to all of us  but Patsey… (p198). Thisis not reflected in the film.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the “liberal” slave owner Ford  is unconvincing on a level of basic acting because he struggles dreadfully with an American accent. But there is also a  more major problem, that of  Ford’s  representation in the film being less than faithful to Northrup’s remarkably glowing judgement of him, viz:  “.  “there never was a more kind, noble, candid, Christian man than William Ford….He was a model master, walking upright according to the light of his understanding and fortunate was the slave who came into his possession. Were all men such as he, slavery would be deprived of more than half its bitterness.” (p90). In the film Ford appears as comparatively humane but weak and a hypocrite who uses the Bible to justify slavery.

Then there is Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass, the man who sends Northrup’s letter to those who know him in New York, a letter which brings about Northrup’s release from slavery. Bass in is an itinerant Canadian mechanic and general jack-of-all-artisan trades. Against stiff competition Bass is the most unconvincing character in the film because he seems painfully like a modern right-on Hollywood liberal.   He  is shown preaching  at length to the slave-owning class including Edwin Epps about the evils of slavery and being met with remarkably little critical response. This is how Northrup’s book portrays him,  but it does seem to be wildly improbable if one takes Northrup’s description of  Epps’ wildly  erratic and violent  behaviour seriously.

The general veracity of the film is dubious because it treats  Northrup’s account as the gospel truth. After I saw the film I read the whole of  12 Years a Slave. The impression I was left with was that it has strong elements of implausibility because some things did just not ring true when set in the context of Northrup’s time and place.  Nor does the literary style seem natural.

To begin with he routinely uses the Obama trick (found in great excess in Dreams from my father) of producing long passages of supposedly reported verbatim speech relating from the time just before he was kidnapped to the end of his enslavement. These cannot possibly be a factually true record because Northrup kept no journal during his captivity and wrote his book  years after most of the conversations  occurred.   The second general problem is that this is just Northrup’s account.  Apart from the fact that it is unverified, there is a great deal of Northrup constantly representing himself as being referred to by whites and blacks alike as being a very superior type of  black and boasting of his own abilities. This looks suspiciously  like egotism.

To this puffing of himself there is the strange way in which despite trying to run away and several times assaulting  a  white man in authority over him,   the carpenter cum overseer John Tibeats (played by Paul Dano), Northrup  remains alive.  Northrup’s account says that he not only fought with Tibeats twice (pps 109, 188)  – only one incident is covered in the film), but also had a struggle with Epps (p288).   His escape from death or even a savage beating is made all the more astonishing because  Tibeats owned Northrup at the time of their fights, Ford having  sold him  to Tibeats  (after owning him for little more than a year)  to settle a debt he owed Tibeats (p 106).  If one takes Northup’s general tale of abuse by slave owners at face value this is astonishing.

Some of the artificiality of the book may have arisen from the fact that it was not  Northup’s unassisted work . How literate Northrup was is debatable and he was  assisted in the writing of the book by two white men, the  writer and lawyer  David Wilson and Henry Northup, the head of the Northup family which had owned and freed Northup’s father (http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/12-years-a-slave.php). The involvement of Wilson and Henry Northrop may have coloured what  Solomon Northrup said of his time as a slave, perhaps exaggerating the good behaviour and righteousness of anti-slavers and demonising slave owners and the white men working for them. Based on the characters depicted amongst the slave owners and traders, there is even a good case for saying the book was moulded to present the anti-slavery case both in terms of its inhumanity but also to give some of the  slave owning class  at least a partial absolution from being part of the “peculiar institution” by providing examples of relatively humane treatment such as that of  Ford.

Finally, there is the problem of a complete absence of context, namely, a failure to place the behaviour of slave owners and traders in the broader setting of the customs of the  time generally  and in particular of the  way the free poor of the time  lived and, to modern eyes, the gross cruelties to which they were often subjected. ( A charge often levelled against William Wilberforce was that he cared a great deal about slaves but nothing for the poor  in England).

Take corporal punishments,  examples of which in the film have produced a great deal of anguish amongst reviewers. The flogging of slaves seems brutal to modern eyes but would have been much less likely to cause disgust amongst the general public in both the USA and Britain in the early Victorian period (the time of Northrup’s abduction). Heavy duty flogging was still commonplace in the British army and Royal Navy (and the press gang was lavishly used to man the Royal Navy until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815) and  was used widely as a judicial punishment. In addition,  beating was routinely used  in schools and in the home, both on children and wives.

There was a good deal more in the society contemporary with the time of Northrup’s enslavement which revolts modern sensibilities. Bear and bull baiting and dog fighting  were only outlawed in Britain in 1835 and  bare-knuckle boxing  was very popular not merely amongst the poor but also the gentry. Executions, which involved a good deal of cruelty  because simple hanging by suspension was used, were conducted in public (and attracted huge crowds). The number of crimes which attracted the death penalty in England until the late 1820s numbered over 200 and transportation to Australia  was still going strong in the 1840s. The threat of imprisonment for debt hovered over all but the seriously rich, for even the middle classes could be rendered penniless by misfortune or recklessness.

Then there was the general  condition of the poor. To be needy in early Victorian Britain was to live a very precarious life and those who were reduced to taking advantage of the 1835 Poor Law suffered such things as the separation of man and wife, child and parent. Trade Unions were illegal  and women who worked were frequently  forced into sexual acts by employers or others who had authority over them .

The poor had the advantage of being free, or at least of having made a choice to be less than free when they enlisted as a soldier or sailor or chose to enter the workhouse,  but often the choice was between starving or the result of signing up to something the person did not understand or done under the influence of drink

What is startling are the remarkably large number of individual abuses of the poor which match those found in the type of chattel slavery which existed in the USA.    That is not to say the free poor were as grievously handicapped as slave, for formal unfreedom is a heavy burden to bear, but merely to explain that the material distance between American slaves and the poor was not unimaginably great and in some cases, especially the  house slaves of the rich. The material circumstances of the slaves would have been better than many of the free poor.

We are now deep into the film awards season.  The response so far has been less than ecstatic for 12 Years a Slave.   For a film lauded to the skies by the critics both in America and Britain,  it has not swept all before it as might be expected: in the two sets of awards given out so far 12 Years a Slave  has received a underwhelming response. It won only a single Golden Globe for best picture (voted for by members of the world’s media who call themselves the Hollywood Foreign Press Association). The Screen Actors Guild awards (voted for by actors)  was even less overwhelmed and gave only the  best supporting actress award to Lupita Nyong’o for her depiction of Patsy. As for those awards still pending after nominations have been made, 12 Years a Slave was not the most nominated film for either the BAFTAs, (nine nominations against Gravity’s ten)  or  the  Oscars (nine nominations) coming behind American Hustle and Gravity with ten nominations apiece.

Nominations for film awards are one thing; voting for what you actually think is best quite another. Those who make nominations will be at least ostensibly politically correct and films such as  12 Years a Slave are  for that reason  more or less guaranteed to make a strong showing in the nominations.  But having done their pc duty by nominating many of those entitled to vote will vote for who they actually believe should win. This will often mean that, as  with the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild ,  the nominations bear little fruit when it comes to who wins.

Judged purely on the grounds of quality  the film deserves, little praise official or otherwise for it is a truly ordinary film judged as a drama and dishonest as an historical record.

Note added  4  March 2014

12 Years a Slave won only a single Golden Globe for best picture. The BAFTAs saw it collect the best film and best actor awards while the  Oscars gained it a three awards for best film, best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay.  This was a poor return for a film which was the subject of a huge unofficial PR campaign by critics. The sparseness of the awards suggests tokenism.

Democracy and Political Ignorance – Why smaller government is smarter

Ilya Somin

Stanford University Press

ISBN 978-0-8047-8661-4

Does the ignorance of voters matter in a system of representative democracy? Somin thinks it has very serious consequences because it leads voters to make “wrong” decisions and laments the low level of political knowledge in the USA.  (I put wrong  in inverted commas because unfortunately he has a political bias which often makes him equate wrong with “these are not my politics” which are broadly liberal left.  This seriously taints his work).  The book  is primarily concerned with the effects and implications of  voter ignorance on the American political system,  but has implications for any political system, democratic or otherwise,  for as anyone who follows politics closely will be only too well aware  political ignorance is not restricted to voters but afflicts politicians and their advisors.

Listen to a vox pop or phone-in on a political subject  and  the ignorance of the general public can be startling when it comes to the detail of  politics,  not least because  educated respondents are frequently as at sea with political subjects as the uneducated.  Somin cites a large number of prime examples of crass political ignorance amongst Americans. For example, two  2006  polls respectively found that only 42% of Americans could name the three branches of the federal government, the executive (President), legislature (Congress) and judiciary (Supreme Court)  and only 28% could name two or more of the five rights guaranteed by the first amendment (p19). As for specific policies,   a 2010 survey showed that 67% of the population did not know that the economy had grown the previous year, despite the economy being judged as one of the most important policy areas by Americans (p21).

This may be dismaying at first glance, but in practice  it is irrelevant how limited is the detailed political knowledge of an electorate. This  is because no individual,  however diligent, erudite, insightful and intelligent,   could be seriously  knowledgeable about all but a very small proportion of  the problems and policies  arising in a  minimalist state constructed on  the Hayek model, let alone the vast ocean of  policy areas which are  covered in the modern industrial state.   That would apply even if political power was devolved. Indeed, in a devolved situation (and Somin is strongly in favour of devolved power)  the position could be even worse because there could be more to know and understand with multiple jurisdictions to vote for on important issues.

Does this mean that representative democracy should be done away with? Not a bit of it. Even though he is worried about democratic outcomes based on ignorance and sceptical about the chances of improving political knowledge amongst  voters, Somin in the end comes down in favour of it: “Despite political ignorance, democracy retains many advantages over rival systems of government.” (P199).

Indeed it does. Whether electors can make considered decisions on all matters or even the vast majority of issues  is not really the point of representative democratic politics.  What matters is the fact that such a political system  can best restrain the naturally abusive tendencies of elites and provide by far the best  legal mechanisms for the formal and peaceful transition of power, something which  makes coups and civil war much less probable.

Voters  can meaningfully answer the big political questions. They can oppose mass immigration on the rational ground that this is an invasion of territory which utterly changes their country. They can say whether they  want their country to go to war. The can approve or disapprove of whether political correctness should or should not be part of their country’s legal system. They can say whether they feel more comfortable with a welfare state or no welfare state. They can make a meaningful choice on whether they wish their country to be part of a supranational bloc such as the EU. They can decide what punishment should be meted out to criminals. They can say yea or nay to whether  essential industries should be  in public hands. Electors can also make purely rational  decisions  (for example, those made simply on arithmetical grounds) on competition for resources, for example, it is perfectly rational to oppose immigration on the grounds that it increases competition for housing, education, jobs and welfare.

The fact that voters’  answers to such questions, if they were ever allowed to vote on them in referenda,  would  generally run contrary to the wishes of elites in  countries such as the USA  and Britain and are routinely  thwarted by those  elites,   tells us that the real reason  voters are denied the chance to directly make decisions about policy is not that they are incapable of doing so on  many major issues,  but rather that the opinions of voters are opposed to those with power, wealth and influence.

A major problem with the book is the fact Somin  wants politics to be a science, to have an objective reality like physics. In the long  distant past when I was a history and politics undergraduate I had  to take a compulsory  course  entitled Modern Political Analysis. This involved flow charts, graphs and formulae which  purported to elevate the  study of politics to the level of a science. Politics students were solemnly expected to take seriously, say, a flow chart which started with a box marked electorate, had boxes marked with words such as election and  government before ending  with a box marked democratic outcome (I kid you not).     Democracy and Political Ignorance is cut from the same misdirected intellectual cloth, nothing like  so crudely but still in a marvellously wrongheaded manner which assumes that the democratic process can be reduced to quantifiable  data. He even has a few formulae such as this  gruesome  example:

“Assume that UV equals utility of voting, CV equals the cost of voting and  D equals the expected difference in welfare per person if the voter’s preferred candidate defeats her opponent. Let us further assume that this is a presidential election in a nation with three hundred people,, that the voter’s ballot has only a one  in one hundred chance of being decisive , and the they voter values the welfare of his fellow citizens an average of a thousand time less than his own. .. thus we get the following equation D(300 million/1000)/ (100 million) – CV = Uv  (p67).

That is the general error of the book, to imagine that human behaviour can be reduced to a miscellany of objective fact which can be used to determine how people  should (or even would of necessity)  behave if only they were in full possession of these facts.  This matters greatly because the vast majority of   political decisions have no objective truth or falsity.

The particular mistakes Somin makes are  to imagine that there is such a thing as perfect information which leads to  objectively  right answers to political questions and  to approach the subject of political ignorance  from a politically correct starting point, something he banally and  tiresomely signals by  assiduously alternating  she and her with he and his as a generic term for humanity  throughout the book.

It is true that Somin attempts to give an appearance of even-handedness, splattering his analysis  with qualifications, but somehow he always comes down on the liberal left “right on” side. Take the question of judicial review to which he devotes an entire chapter.  He hums and haws over how undemocratic this is  because it overrides the majority will but in the end concludes “Once we  recognise that ignorance is a pervasive element of modern democracy, the counter-majoritarian difficulty turns into a much less than previously assumed.” This is because “Much of the legislation subject to judicial review is not actually the product of informed democratic consent.”  (p169).

His political correctness also drives him to the conclusion that some political knowledge can be damaging: “Why might political knowledge exacerbate the harm caused by an electorate with bad values? Consider an electoral majority that is highly racist and wants to inflict as much harm as possible on  a despised racial minority. If such racist voters become more knowledgeable about the effects of government policies, they might force elected officials to implement policies that increase the  minority group’s suffering.” (P54).

That might seem a reasonable position at first glance, but a few moments consideration will reveal the dangers involved in it. What would constitute racism? After all, governments of all colours routinely favour incidentally or deliberately one group over another,  whether the group be defined by race, ethnicity or class. At the present time governments in the Western world, and especially the USA, have favoured the have over the have-nots in their economic policies. This means the poor have been most disadvantaged by the policies. Ethnic and racial minorities tend to be poorer on average than the majority population,  Does that mean the policies are racist? Trying to objectively define what was racist behaviour by a government would in practice would be impossible because inevitable judgements would be highly subjective.  A real can of worms.

Somin gives a further hostage to fortune when it comes to subjectivity with ‘This book does not provide a defense of any particular vision of political morality. But unless we adopt the view that all values are equally good – including those of racists and Nazis [note that he does not include Marxists who have been responsible for far more deaths than the Nazis] -  we must admit that good political knowledge might sometimes be put in the service of “bad” values.’ (p55)

Political correctness also damagingly colours  Somin’s judgement of what is a fact.  Two examples. First, he claims  that the  mistreatment of blacks in post slavery  USA was in part built on the belief of  whites  that blacks were prone to excessive criminality and every black man was just waiting to rape white women; second,  that hostility towards homosexuals and lesbians is in part the result of  ignorance about the likelihood that sexual orientation is genetically determined (p10).

The danger with overt human reasons is that they are often a mask for the real covert ones. Hence, whether post-slavery white America did genuinely fear black criminality is not necessarily the real issue. Human beings will use justifications for likes and dislikes which are not the real reasons for their choices when they feel either that they simply do not like something without having any clear idea why (everyone has probably experienced an immediate dislike for someone as soon as they have been introduced) or are afraid for legal and social reasons that their motivation for holding a view  would be unacceptable or even dangerous for them if expressed. That is the position with anything which is deemed non-pc today . Whites  in the old slave owning states may  have used any number of rationalisations  for segregation post-slavery,  while their actual motivation was  that they did not see blacks as their equals or,   more fundamentally,  simply as different, as not part of the national American “tribe”. There is, incidentally,  nothing inherently irrational about that. Human beings have, as do  all social animals, an innate desire to  associate with  those whom they see as sharing the same characteristics as themselves. Ultimately, humans are driven by desires not reason because it is from emotions that motives arise.  If this were not so, humans would be automata.

Another serious problem with Somin’s examples of false information is that he routinely presents  baldly asserted or weakly supported opinions  as  either  hard fact or as having a high probability of being true.  His  position on homosexuality and lesbianism is a good example.  There is no conclusive evidence that homosexuality or lesbianism are genetically determined, but even if it was so proven it would not mean that it was irrational to dislike such behaviour  or feel uncomfortable with its existence. There could be sound evolutionary reasons why people are hostile to homosexuality and lesbianism, for example,  the rejection of the individual who does not breed and help the continuation of the “tribe”.  That does not mean there should be persecution of gays and lesbians. Rather, it is a plea to not to pretend that something is an objective fact when it is not.

There is also the fundamental difficulty of how any objectively true information could exist in some instances. Take Slomin’s post-slavery claim.   It is not  irrational to have a fear that an enslaved group once set free might wreck physical revenge on the group which had held them enslaved.  That being so, it is difficult to see how American whites who believed that could have their fears assuaged by more  knowledge. In the nature of things there could be no such knowledge available to decide  the question  of whether freed slaves and their descendants  would be violently criminal if left to live without any strict social control,  for  that knowledge could  only exist  by testing the matter with the removal of   the repressive conditions under which blacks lived.  If whites feared mayhem would result if such conditions were removed,  they could not make a rational decision to end those  conditions.  In this context it  is worth noting that there has been a considerable growth in the  number of violent crimes perpetrated by blacks on whites in the USA since the civil rights movement and the end of segregation in the 1960s and they are now pro rata hugely greater in number than  crimes of violence committed by whites on blacks (http://www.examiner.com/article/federal-statistics-of-black-on-white-violence-with-links-and-mathematical-extrapolation-formulas). There is also the experience of  post-Apartheid South Africa where black murders of whites, and particularly white farmers, has been considerable. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22554709).

None of this is to  argue for slavery or segregation.  I am simply examining the situation from the viewpoint of the  mental state of whites, especially those in the slave states, after the end of slavery. Whether or not their fears were justified is not the issue.  What matters is that it would be a rational fear and,  indeed,  it was precisely the fear expressed in all the cases of ending slavery or other forms of unfreedom, from the British ending of slavery to the freeing of the serfs in Russia.

Somin  also has a full blown faith in laissez faire economics. That might seem to sit oddly with his political correctness but, that ideology does not have  a fixed menu. Its core ancestral beliefs are the triad of race, gay rights and feminism, of which race is by far the most toxic and is the springboard which has allowed the other parts of political correctness to develop and grow.  However, other things have been added over the past forty years. One of those is a belief in laissez faire economics and free trade (the two are distinct for free trade merely means the exchange of goods and services produced between radically different economic systems).  That laissez faire  and free trade are an integral part of political correctness at present can be readily seen from the fact that support for globalism (which of course includes free movement of  peoples and the undermining the nation state) is now a core part of political correctness. That does not mean laissez faire and free trade  will remain a core part and, indeed,  I see the first signs of the pc wind changing on the matter of economics, but it is as yet a nascent development.

Somin’s  belief in it provides another example of  a highly contentious claim  which is effectively unsupported – he  merely says it is the opinion of most economists “…voters who support protectionist policies in the erroneous expectation that they will benefit the economy as a whole rather than weaken it will also end up undermining their own goals” (p6)

The reality is that  historically, protectionism has often been very successful, for example, the British industrial revolution occurred behind one of the most comprehensive and successful protectionist walls in the shape of the Navigation Acts and the Old Colonial System the world has ever seen.  All the countries which followed the British lead most successfully did so behind protectionist barriers.

Interestingly, Somin does not address the fact that it is not just a lack of interest or education which stops people becoming politically knowledgeable, but also lack of innate qualities such as intelligence, intellectual inclination and  extroversion. Perhaps that is because his politics debar him from believing that people will or will not do or be something because that is the way they are born. That would fit into his modern liberal mindset.  IQ is particularly important because the lower the IQ the less ability to handle abstractions or complex data. This is not a trivial matter because at least ten percent of the population of Western states have IQs of 80 or less . That is the level which most psychologists working in the field of IQ believe that a person begins to struggle to live an independent life in an advanced modern society.

Somin is much taken with the concepts of rational ignorance and rational irrationality.  Rational ignorance  is the idea that voters do not devote time to educating themselves about political issues because they make a rational decision that  their votes will count for next to nothing. I sincerely doubt whether anyone actually makes a decision to remain ignorant on that basis, although they may use it as an excuse for being politically ignorant.

But even if voters did make a considered decision to remain ignorant it would not self-evidently be a rational decision. To begin with there are  many electoral circumstances  where a vote is important. That is true where the electorate is small or a seat is marginal. Under the first past the post system used in Britain there are a considerable number of seats where the main party candidates are near enough in their support to make voting a far from redundant business. But even where there is no  main party candidate who appeals to an elector  or one of the main party candidates is odds on certain to win there is still a point in voting. To begin with if turnout is persistently low it could be used  by those with power to argue for a restricted franchise or even no franchise at all.  Then there is the overall vote a party gets. If, for example, a party or presidential candidate gets elected with less of the popular vote  than their main opponent their mandate is weakened.  If all else fails, a vote for a candidate of a minor party such as UKIP in Britain,  the  minor  presidential candidate in the USA  or a spoiled ballot sends a public message about the state of elector dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties. Somin is not entirely blind to such objections,  but mysteriously and annoyingly they appear to carry little weight with him.

Rational irrationality  is the brainchild of the  economist Bryan Caplan. The idea is  that voters not only have incentives to remain ignorant but also incentives to “engage in highly biased  evaluation of  the information they do have” (p13).  The tempting response to this is a sarcastic “Dearie me, who would have thought it?”

Pursuing the idea of rational irrationality,  Somin likens  the politically interested who are seriously committed to supporting political parties to  fans of sports teams who support their team blindly,  generally give weight to information which boosts  their team and disregard that which does not.  The rewards for doing so are emotional. This of course is not irrational behaviour  because it is natural for human beings to indulge their “tribal” instincts and defend their position and that of their group.

Where rational ignorance and rational irrationality come together, they are to Somin’s mind the most toxic political democractic cocktail, one which could only be overcome or at least ameliorated if those pesky voters would just become “correctly” informed.

What are Somin’s solutions to reduce what he sees as the harm of voter  ignorance?  It is to reduce the amount which government does (with much of the slack being taken up by private enterprise)  and bring as much as possible of politics to the local or regional level, viz: . “Despite political ignorance, democracy retains many advantage over rival systems of government. Nonetheless  , political ignorance will probably continue to be a serious weakness of democratic government. We are unlikely to eliminate that weakness completely. [another example of the blindingly obvious] . But we can reduce its dangers by limiting and decentralising the role of government in society”  p199

There are real  problems with both of these policies. In a large industrialised society government of necessity has to do a considerable amount, whether that is at the local or national level.  There have to be good communications for people, goods and information. A universal school system is unlikely to exist  if it is not in large part funded by the taxpayer. Defence and the maintenance of law and order cannot reasonably be left to private initiatives. Foreign policy, especially for a super-power such as the USA, has wide-reaching ramifications for domestic policy and is frequently very complex to master.

As already mentioned, it would not matter how rigorously the areas of action for government were curtailed, that pruning would not come close to making the voter’s task of informing themselves sufficiently to make considered decisions when voting light enough to be practical. If the present burden of legislation was halved in countries such as the USA and Britain it would not make a blind bit of difference to the problem of political interference because there would still be vastly more for the individual to master than any individual could manage. Even in the minimalist libertarian state there would still be a good deal of legislation and government administration, far too much for any one person to master in sufficient detail to make them informed on all or even most issues.  This limitation also applies to elected full time politicians.

It might be objected that the Internet has made the acquiring of information vastly simpler. That may be true, although it presupposes that people will know enough to look for what they need. But even if they find the information how is the ordinary person to know whether the information is correct or the whole truth? The answer is that they cannot possibly be expected to do so. However intelligent a person is, they are not going to be able to judge the veracity and completeness of claims from seemingly unimpeachable sources if they  do  not have access to the raw data  on which research conclusions are made. Such data is rarely available. There is also the problem of who controls public information.   If   government agencies and the large media corporations are the main sources of such information, the public will only get the received opinion of the elite most of the time there being a great deal of  shared ideology and collusion between the various parts of the elite:  politicians and the public bodies they control,  the mainstream media, big business and not-for-profit organisations such as the larger charities.

As for decentralisation of  politics,  the more local the decision making the smaller the pool of political talent available. This may well result in poorer decisions being made, especially where the policy is complex.  It is also true that if the number of political bodies which can raise and spend taxes  increases, the opportunities for corruption  increase and this generally means more corruption.

Then there is the question of exactly what should be devolved from the centre. There would never be anything approaching  general agreement on that.  Even within the individual there would be intellectual confusion and inconsistency. Take Somin as an example. He would have a conflict between the idea of decentralisation and his politically correct view of the world. One of the reasons Somin favours  the idea of decentralisation is because it offers the opportunity for foot voting, that is,  a person moving from one jurisdiction to another in search of policies more to their liking, literally voting with their feet.   But for  someone of his  political orientation, there is the  unfortunate fact that the more local politics becomes,  the greater the opportunity for racial and ethnic groups to exploit their dominance of an area to their advantage. It is difficult to imagine Somin thinking that federal action to enforce politically correct behaviour throughout America would be damaging or that he would  readily  tolerate  a local jurisdiction which, for example, refused to apply equal rights laws.

Overall all Somin is gloomy about the likelihood of political knowledge increasing.  He glumly points to the fact that despite rising IQ scores, educational standards and the great ease of access to information because of the Internet over recent decades,  there has been little increase in political knowledge during that time (p199) or of rationality (in his terms).

Perhaps most damaging  for Somin’s desire for greater political knowledge is research (which he cites)  that suggests that the more knowledgeable voters are  “more biased in their evaluation of  new evidence than those with less prior information”( P80).  If this is true – and it is very plausible because the more data someone has, the greater the material from which  to construct arguments – then the whole idea of a better educated electorate producing superior outcomes falls completely to pieces.

The primary problem with democracy at present is not voter ignorance – which in any case cannot be reasonably expected to improve – is the way in which elites have hijacked the process by adopting very similar policies on all the major issues – a commitment to ever more restrictive political correctness, the use of the law to effectively ban dissent from their views, their control of the mainstream media and perhaps most damaging for democratic control, the movement of national politics to the supranational level. The most complete example of the last is the EU which now controls a remarkably wide range of policy areas in whole or part, everything from immigration to labour laws.

The answer to this is to constrain representatives both in what they promise and what they deliver or fail to deliver. This can be done in various  ways, for example,  by tying the representative firmly to a constituency which they have lived in for a long time, by making any candidate standing for election put forward his policy position on all the major issues, by making it illegal for any elected representative to renege on his policy as stated in an election manifesto and outlawing any system of party coercion such as the British practice of whipping MPs (that is instructing those of a party to vote en bloc in support of the party’s policy) .

There is an important book to be written about voter ignorance  within a democracy.  Sadly this is not it. I don’t deny that he has written a densely argued book which systematically works out his ideas.  The problem is that he is completely wrong headed in his premises. Consequently, his arguments count for nothing. However, the book is  worth reading as a first rate example of the attempts of those working in what are mistakenly called the  “social sciences” to pretend that these subjects  are bona fide sciences just like physics and chemistry and a very revealing look into the modern liberal mind.

The non-economic costs of mass immigration to the UK

Robert Henderson

Debate about the costs of mass  immigration in mainstream politics and  media concentrate overwhelmingly on the economic costs. Indeed, public debate is very often solely about the economics, whether that be the difference between tax paid and benefits drawn by immigrants or the supposed need for immigrants because of their alleged superior skills or work ethic . These costs are important – although never honestly calculated: see http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/what-a-true-assessment-of-the-economic-costs-of-mass-immigration-would-include/ – but the more damaging costs are the non-economic ones which change the tenor of a society.  That is not to say that the non-economic costs do not have economic implications, for example, the 2011 riots in England did,  but what I am considering here are the psychological and sociological costs. I concentrate on Britain,  but the vast majority of the points listed apply to any first world society with a large immigrant population and  many of the points apply to any society, rich or poor, which  has suffered a large influx of immigrants. The non-economic costs to Britain are:

1. The colonisation of parts of the UK, especially in England,  for example, much of inner London, Leicester, Birmingham and Bradford by immigrants who create separate worlds in which to live with next to no attempt at integration.  This makes living in such areas for native Britons very problematic,  because not only will they  feel they are a minority in their own land, a severe psychological burden,   those native Britons who are parents  will have a very real concern that the state schools (where the  large majority of British pupils are educated)  in their area will be Towers of Babel in which their children will be neglected, taught more of the cultures of immigrants than their own culture and quite probably bullied simply for being native Britons. The poorer native Britons in such areas will often not have the option of moving – as white liberals frequently  do – to an area where there are few immigrants because of the cost of moving, especially the cost of  housing.  It is also much more difficult for someone in an unskilled or low-skilled occupation to find such work in areas without a large immigrant component.

2. The damaging effect on the morale of the native British population of seeing parts of their country colonised with the connivance of their elites.

3. The damaging effect on the morale of the native British population of  employers and politicians  claiming that immigrants are more able and possessed of a superior work ethic than the native Briton.

4. Immigrant Ghettoes. Their formation is a natural tendency amongst immigrants which was  given a great deal of added energy by the British elite’s adoption of  multiculturalism in the 1970s. This  was both a consequence of the  Left-Liberal internationalist terminally naïve  happy-clappy “we are all one big human family” ideology and an attempt to ameliorate when it became clear that  assimilation/integration had not taken place amongst the black and Asian immigrants of the fifties and sixties after several generations had been born in Britain.  The effect has been  to create long-lasting ghettoes which are not only separate from the British mainstream but hostile to Britain, its native population  and its culture

5. Censorship. The need by the British elite to suppress  dissent amongst  the native population at the invasion of their country  has resulted in a gross diminution of free speech. They have done this   through legislation, for example, the Race Relations Act 1976, Public Order Act 1986 and the Race Relations  (Amendment) Act 2000; by creating a willingness amongst  the police to intimidate by pouncing with the greatest zeal on those who dare to be any other than  rigidly politically correct in the matter of race and immigration (this done  frequently with no intention of bringing charges because no law on the statute book will  fit the pc “crime” but simply to frighten),   and through the complicity of those in the media and employers (especially public sector and large private employers) to punish the politically incorrect heretics  with media hate campaigns or the loss of jobs.

6. Double standards in law enforcement. As mentioned above,  the police and the Crown Prosecution Service  show  great eagerness in  investigating and prosecuting  cases when a white person (especially a white Briton) is accused of being racist on the flimsiest of evidence  and a remarkable sloth where someone from a racial or ethnic minority group has been blatantly racist.  The case of Rhea Page is an especially fine example of the latter behaviour whereby a vicious indubitably racist attack by Somali girls on a white English girl and her boyfriend did not result in a custodial sentence (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070562/Muslim-girl-gang-kicked-Rhea-Page-head-yelling-kill-white-slag-FREED.html#ixzz1flw8TY6p.) The strong reluctance of the British state to act against crimes specific to  ethnic and racial minorities can be particularly seen in the case of “honour killings”, Female Genital Mutilation and the clearly racist grooming of white girls by men from the Indian sub-continent.

7. The general privileging racial and ethnic minorities over the native British population.   The incontinent pandering to immigrant cultures, especially Muslims, by politicians, public service organisations, large private businesses and much of the  mainstream media. The pandering ranges from  such material advantages  as housing associations which cater only for specific ethnic and racial minorities (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/the-truth-about-social-housing-and-ethnic-minorities/)  and a toleration of customs and morals which would be unreservedly declared to be wrong if practised by the  native population, for example, the ritual slaughter of animals.

8. The incessant pc propagandising in schools and universities, even in subjects which do not seem to readily lend themselves to pc manipulation  such as economics and geography.  The most pernicious effect of this ideological corruption of schooling  is to effectively  rob native British (and especially English) children of their history. This occurs because the general history of Britain (and especially that of England) is not taught (there is no meaningful chronology of British or any other history delivered to children because themes rather than periods are the order of the day) and the history which is covered is heavily slanted towards  portraying the British as pantomime villains forever oppressing subject peoples and growing rich on the wealth extracted from them.  The upshot is the creation of several generations of native British (and especially English) children who have  (1) no meaningful understanding of their history and general culture and (2) have acquired  a sense that any praise of or pride in their own land, culture and history is dangerous and that the only safe way to get through school is to repeat the politically correct mantras of their teachers.

9. The piggy –backing on “anti-discrimination” laws to do with race of the other politically correct mainstays of sexual and gender equality and lesser entrants to the equality game such as age and disability.   Racism is undoubtedly the most potent of all pc voodoo words and without it the present gigantic edifice of the “diversity and equality”  religion would in all probability not exist, or would at least exist in much less potent form.

10. The claustrophobia of diversity (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/the-claustrophobia-of-diversity/). A sense of paranoid claustrophobia (something common to totalitarian states) has been created amongst the native British population  by the suppression of  dissent about mass immigration and its consequences, by the imposition of the multiculturalist creed and by the   ceaseless  extolling of the “joy of diversity”  by white liberals who take great care to live  well insulated against the “joy”. The effect of this claustrophobia  is to generally reduce the native British population to an ersatz acceptance of the pc message,  but the discontent every now and then bubbles over into public outbursts such as those of Emma West   (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/emma-west-immigration-and-the-liberal-totalitarian-state/). Such outbursts, which are a basic form of political protest, are increasingly visited with criminal charges and jail sentences.

11. The enemy within. The creation of  large communities of those  who are ethnically and racially different from the native British in Britain produces  de facto fifth columns. We are already seeing how countries such as India and China respond to any attempt to restrict future immigration for these countries by making veiled threats about what will happen if Britain does this.  At a less direct level of foreign threat, British foreign policy is increasingly shaped by the fact that there are large ethnic and racial minorities in Britain.  There is also the growing numbers, especially amongst Muslims in Britain, of those who are actively hostile to the very idea of Britain and are willing to resort to extreme violence to express their hatred, actions such as the 7/7 bombings in London and the recent murder of the soldier Lee Rigby.

12. Violence based on ethnicity and behaviours  peculiar  to immigrant groups such as “honour” killings”, street gangs  and riots.  Every self-initiated British riot since 1945, that is a riot started by rioters not violence in response to police action  against a crowd of demonstrators,  has its roots in immigration. The Notting Hill riots of 1958 were the white response  to large scale Caribbean immigration; every riot in Britain since then has been instigated and led by blacks or Asians from the Indian Sub-Continent. This includes the riots of 2011 in England which the politically correct British media have tried desperately to present as a riot which in its personnel was representative of modern England.  In fact, it began with the shooting of a mixed race man in North London  by police and even  the official statistics on the race and ethnicity of those convicted of crimes in the riots show that blacks  and Asians comprised  more than fifty percent of those brought to book (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/the-black-instigated-and-dominated-2011-riots-and-the-great-elite-lie/).

13. Uncontrolled immigration. The larger the number of immigrants, the louder voice they have, the greater the electoral power. This in practice means ever more immigration as politicians pander to immigrant groups by allowing them to bring in their relatives or even simply more from their ethnic group.  This trait  has been amplified by the British political elite signing treaties since 1945 which obligate Britain to take large numbers of asylum seekers and  give hundreds of millions of people in Europe the right to reside and work in Britain  through Britain’s membership of the EU. Britain cannot even deport illegal immigrants with any ease because either the originating countries will not take them or British courts grant them rights to remain because of Britain’s membership of the European Convention of Human Rights.  The overall effect is to create de facto open borders immigration to the UK.

14. The introduction of ethnic based voting. This is phenomenon which is in its infancy as a serious threat, but it can already be found in areas with a large population of Asians whose ancestral land is the India sub continent.  This is a recipe for eventual racial and ethnic strife.

15. The corruption of the British electoral system. Voter fraud had been rare in Britain  for more than a hundred years before  the Blair Government was formed in 1997.  This was partly because of the general culture of the country and partly because of the way elections were conducted (with the vast majority of votes having to be  cast in person)  made fraudulent voting difficult. The scope for postal voting was extended from special cases such as the disabled and the old to any elector by the  Representation of the People Act 2000. The frauds which have been discovered since the extension of the postal vote have been disproportionately  amongst Asians whose ancestral origin were in the Indian sub-continent (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1271457/General-Election-2010-Postal-vote-fraud-amid-fears-bogus-voters-swing-election.html). The influence of fraudulent voting could be substantial because around 20% of votes cast in the 2010 General Election were postal http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/105896/Plymouth-GE2010-report-web.pdf).

All of these things gradually erode the fundamentals of British society including immensely valuable and rare values and behaviours such as respect for the law, trust between the population at large, mutual regard  and a large degree of tolerance for others. Most fundamentally, the native British, and especially the English, have been seriously deracinated.  They no longer know their history and worrying many seem to view their nationality as merely one ethnicity competing with many others. That is a dangerous mentality because no people will survive if it does not have an innate sense of  its own worth and fellow feeling for those sharing the same territory. In short, patriotism is not an optional extra ( http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/patriotism-is-not-an-optional-extra/).

The British elite since 1945 has been programmed to attack the very idea of nations. Mass immigration has been the tool they have chosen to  attain that end in Britain. We have the word of Andrew Neather, a special adviser  to the Blair government that the massive immigration (over 3 million net) during the Blair years was a deliberate policy to dilute the native culture of the UK:

” I [Neather] wrote the landmark speech given by then immigration minister Barbara Roche in September 2000, calling for a loosening of controls. It marked a major shift from the policy of previous governments: from 1971 onwards, only foreigners joining relatives already in the UK had been permitted to settle here.

“That speech was based largely on a report by the Performance and Innovation Unit, Tony Blair‘s Cabinet Office think-tank.

“The PIU’s reports were legendarily tedious within Whitehall but their big immigration report was surrounded by an unusual air of both anticipation and secrecy.

“Drafts were handed out in summer 2000 only with extreme reluctance: there was a paranoia about it reaching the media.

“Eventually published in January 2001, the innocuously labelled “RDS Occasional Paper no. 67″, “Migration: an economic and social analysis” focused heavily on the labour market case.

“But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

“I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date. That seemed to me to be a manoeuvre too far.

“Ministers were very nervous about the whole thing. For despite Roche’s keenness to make her big speech and to be upfront, there was a reluctance elsewhere in government to discuss what increased immigration would mean, above all for Labour‘s core white working-class vote.

“This shone through even in the published report: the “social outcomes” it talks about are solely those for immigrants.

“And this first-term immigration policy got no mention among the platitudes on the subject in Labour’s 1997 manifesto, headed Faster, Firmer, Fairer.

“The results were dramatic. In 1995, 55,000 foreigners were granted the right to settle in the UK. By 2005 that had risen to 179,000; last year, with immigration falling thanks to the recession, it was 148,000.

“In addition, hundreds of thousands of migrants have come from the new EU member states since 2004, most requiring neither visas nor permission to work or settle. The UK welcomed an estimated net 1.5 million immigrants in the decade to 2008.

“Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom.”

(http://www.standard.co.uk/news/dont-listen-to-the-whingers–london-needs-immigrants-6786170.html).

That should be seen for what it was, the most fundamental form of treason,  because it is far more damaging than selling a nation out to a foreign invader arriving by military means.  Such invaders can be eventually driven out or the invaders assimilated because the numbers are not massive.  Mass immigration totalling millions  of those determined to retain their  own culture can never be undone by such means.

What a true assessment of the economic costs of mass immigration would include

Robert Henderson

The politically correct never cease to tell us that mass immigration is a net benefit to Britain. By this they mean that immigrants pay more in taxes than they cost in publicly funded services. To make such an assessment the following statistics would be needed:

1. The amount of income tax and National Insurance paid by immigrants.  Because of the type of work involved – seasonal, work offered by foreign gangmasters and so on –  it is reasonable to assume a  disproportionately  large proportion of those working in the black market are immigrants. There is also a practice of immigrants working and paying tax until they exceed the single person’s tax allowance in a tax year, ceasing to work in the UK for that tax year and then reclaiming all the income tax paid at the end of the tax year. That rebated tax  needs to be deducted from the tax paid figure held by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

2. The costs arising  from the native population who are denied jobs which immigrants have taken. This will involve the benefits native workers have to collect because they cannot find a job, the costs of having to move to a new area to either seek work or because  the new benefits cap will not meet their rent and the costs of having to take children out of one school plus the costs of registering with a new GP because a family is forced to move .

3. The cost to the native population of a reduction in wages caused by immigrants increasing the pool of labour. This will mean  less tax paid and more in-work benefits

4. The cost of  benefits drawn by immigrants when they are not working.

5. The cost of benefits drawn by immigrants when they are working, for example, working tax credits, housing benefit.

6. The cost of NHS care given to immigrants.

7. The cost of education given to immigrants, this to include the additional costs arising from those with poor or non-existent English.

8. The cost of benefits, education and NHS care for the children of immigrants born in the UK.

9. The costs of benefits paid to immigrants to support children born abroad and living abroad.

10. The inflation of  housing costs caused by immigrants and their children born in the UK increasing the demand for housing.

11.  The costs involved in a decline in the quality of NHS care and educational standards because of the pressure placed on the NHS, schools and higher education by immigrants.  The inadequate English of many immigrants employed in the NHS in particular must reduce the efficiency of the service and increase the likelihood of error. The difficulty of teaching in schools with huge numbers of pupils lacking English as a first language speaks for itself.

12. The costs involved  in the British economy generally from a loss of efficiency through the inadequate English of immigrants and their lack of understanding of British customs. It may be cheaper for an employer to employ an immigrant in terms of wages,  but,  especially where the immigrant is dealing with the public, there must be a substantial the loss of efficiency in terms of  extra time taken to conduct conversations with customers, misunderstandings of what is wanted and an inability to explain  to customers what is on offer.

13. The loss of expertise to Britain of skilled Britons who seek work abroad because of opportunities the UK being blocked by immigrants, for example,  newly qualified British doctors and nurses have encountered difficulty in obtaining British posts despite the frequent claims of NHS staff shortages (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9272640/New-doctors-will-face-unemployment.html),  while positions at British medical schools are cut and large numbers of foreigners recruited (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2407585/NHS-recruits-thousands-doctors-Third-World–limits-places-deny-British-students-chance-study-medicine.html)

14. The costs – which can be lifelong –  of the loss of work experience for Britons  unable to get work at all, whether skilled or unskilled.  This is particularly important for the young.

15. The costs in terms of wear and tear on the roads because of increased traffic arising from immigrants.

16. The cost of criminal activity amongst immigrants.

17. The cost of criminal activity amongst the descendants of immigrants.

18. The costs of guarding against Islamic terrorism.

19. The costs of the remittances made by immigrants and their descendants to their ancestral countries.

20. The costs of meeting the requirements of the “anti-racist” legislation which puts considerable burdens employers. These are  particularly severe for any employer who is funded in whole or part by the taxpayer.  Such employers have to not merely be non-discriminatory,  but they have to prove that is what they are as a result of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/34/pdfs/ukpga_20000034_en.pdf). The police are particularly keen to show how PC they are (http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/edhr/2010/201001EDHREDH01.pdf)

21. The cost of dealing with visa requests, asylum claims,  claims regarding family reunions  and claims based on compassionate grounds. The costs include employing civil servants to process claims to stay in the UK, the cost of staffing of immigration tribunals, the costs arising from the court time taken by the cases  which go to the courts, the  legal costs of those trying to stay in the UK (which are normally paid by the taxpayer), the cost of running immigration detention centres and the cost of removing people from the UK .

22. The ongoing cost of the descendants of immigrants – potentially through many generations – of racial and ethnic groups who continue to display high levels of unemployment, high benefit dependency,  low-skills,  poor educational attainment, low payments of tax and  abnormally high levels of criminality.

I defy anyone to find a piece of research which comes close to including all those costs or even a majority of them.

Of course the economic arguments are not  the most important thing about mass immigration which is that it changes the nature of a society because immigrants arriving in large numbers from the same country will invariably colonise parts of the country and resist assimilation.  Nonetheless, it is important to thoroughly examine the weaknesses in the economic claims made by the politically correct because it is their favoured ploy to try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.

The costs fall most heavily on the poor, the rich being, as yet, largely untouched because they arrange their lives so that they do not encounter the supposed joy of diversity and have no need to seek work in a competitive situation.

Mandela – The long walk to a myth

Robert Henderson

The shrieking sycophancy of the British media as they respond to Nelson Mandela’s death was as predictable as the sun rising in the East in these politically correct times.  To judge him from these panegyrics it would be thought that Mandela was an unblemished character suited only for a  secular version of sainthood. Amongst the vast cache of hysterical idiocy offered up I award the palm for incontinent emotional excess to Peter Oborne of the Telegraph for a piece entitled   “Few human beings can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela was one” (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100249502/few-human-beings-can-be-compared-to-jesus-christ-nelson-mandela-was-one/)

The state of South Africa now

Back to reality.  Mandela was a man with a messy private life and a public life  which after his release from captivity in 1990 was accompanied by a great deal of hullabaloo but little improvement in the general conditions of life for most of the population.  The indignities of apartheid were removed but violent crime soared, corruption ballooned and the lot of the poor did  not substantially change.  That is not to pretend that apartheid was preferable to what exists now for the large majority of the population – the indignity of formal legal inferiority is a tremendous burden and its removal counts for much –   but rather to question whether the  present  general circumstances of South Africa are  substantially better than what existed before the end of apartheid.

The South Africa that Mandela leaves behind him is a mess. Violent crime is probably the worst problem and it is rising with the official South African figures showing murders  rising from 15,609 murders in 2011/12 to 16,259 in 2012/13 and  attempted murder rising from 14, 859 to 16, 363 (http://www.africacheck.org/reports/factsheet-south-africas-official-crime-statistics-for-201213/).

To put those figures in context, South Africa has a population of about 52 million, the UK a population of  over 60 million (https://www.google.co.uk/#q=south+african+popluation+), yet in most years the UK  has less than 1,000 homicides (including manslaughter).  (http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html).

Nor is the South African crime without ethnic or racial dimension even in official eyes, viz:

“The crimes above are not easy to reduce through policing alone.  This is because most (around 60% to 70%) of murders, attempted murders and rapes, occur between people who know each other and occur as a result of a mix of particular social and economic factors. These crimes are often referred to by the police as ‘inter-personal’ violent crimes.  Only between 15% and 20% of murders and attempted murders are the result of aggravated robbery while inter-group conflicts and vigilantism make up the rest.” – See more at: http://www.africacheck.org/reports/factsheet-south-africas-official-crime-statistics-for-201213/#sthash.RnKUEIEu.dpuf.

The position of whites

The situation of South African whites has worsened both in terms of impoverishment for many and  as the target for violent crime. The long serving BBC foreign correspondent John Timpson went as far in May 2013 to question whether whites in South Africa had a future in South Africa – “Do whites have a future in South Africa? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22554709. In the article Simpson described the white squatter camps which have sprung up and the creation of an army of perhaps 400,000 whites who have been severely impoverished.

Perhaps the most telling fact about the situation of whites in South Africa is the number (several thousand) of white farmers who have been murdered since the fall of Apartheid.  Simpson sums up thee situation of white farmers starkly: “In South Africa you are twice as likely to be murdered if you are a white farmer than if you are a police officer – and the police here have a particularly dangerous life. The killings of farmers are often particularly brutal.”  According to Simpson the number of white farmers in South Africa has dropped from 60,000 twenty years ago to 30,000 now.

The anti-white racism goes to the top of the ANC: “At a centenary gathering of the African National Congress last year, Zuma was filmed singing a so-called ‘struggle song’ called Kill The Boer (the old name for much of the white Afrikaner population).

As fellow senior ANC members clapped along, Zuma sang: ‘We are going to shoot them, they are going to run, Shoot the Boer, shoot them, they are going to run, Shoot the Boer, we are going to hit them, they are going to run, the Cabinet will shoot them, with the machine-gun, the Cabinet will shoot them, with the machine-gun . . .’

Alongside him was a notorious character called Julius ‘Juju’ Malema, a former leader of the ANC youth league, who is now Zuma’s bitter enemy and is reportedly planning to launch a new political party after Mandela’s death.

A bogeyman to white South Africans, Malema is popular among young blacks, and has also been an enthusiastic singer of Kill The Boer and another song called Bring Me My Machine-Gun.

Polls this week showed a huge surge in support among young black South Africans for his policies, which he says will ignore reconciliation, and fight for social justice in an ‘onslaught against [the] white male monopoly’.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351339/Mandelas-passing-looming-threat-race-war-South-Africas-whites-widow-mourns-latest-murdered-white-farmer-chilling-dispatch-nation-holding-breath.html)

Post Apartheid South Africa is also a seriously  corrupt society,  being ranked 72nd out of 177 countries in  the 2013 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), a worse ranking than the year before (http://www.thesouthafrican.com/business/sa-remains-in-bad-company-in-2013-corruption-rankings.htm). Worse, corruption goes right to the top with the current president Jacob Zuma  accused of using millions of pounds of public money on his own house and grounds  (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/29/jacob-zuma-accused-corruption-south-africa).

Mandela’s private life

Mandela’s private life does not show him in a pretty light. His first wife Evelyn Rakeepile bore him four children of whom one died in infancy. Mandela was promiscuous during this marriage and had a number of affairs. When Mandela divorced her after 13 years of marriage he left her with three young children to raise and contributed little if anything to their upkeep in the  years before being imprisoned for life. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2004/may/05/guardianobituaries.southafrica).

Rakeepile understandably railed against the adulation Mandela attracted: “How can a man who has committed adultery and left his wife and children be Christ? The whole world worships Nelson too much. He is only a man.”  (David James Smith 2010 Young Mandela p59 ). An unkind soul might say that Mandela displayed classic black male model behaviour, namely,  being sexually incontinent, deserting his wife and children and failing to provide for them.

Mandela and violence

There is also the question mark over Mandela’s commitment to non-violence after his release.  He certainly was not an advocate of non-violence before he was imprisoned, having formed the guerrilla group  “Sword of the Nation” (Umkhonto we Sizi) to carry out terrorist acts using bombs.

The claim that the explosions he supported before his imprisonment were all directed only against property with its implication that this was humane terrorism will not stand up. No substantial explosion directed at property can ever be guaranteed to be non-lethal, because  there is always a chance that it will kill someone who is there which the bomber does not know about or cause a fire which engulfs more than the immediate target of the explosion.

Then there is the behaviour of the ANC during his imprisonment and afterwards.  The ANC were seriously violent to not only those who were agents and supporters of apartheid, but also to their own members who were thought to have transgressed (and  also to any unaffiliated blacks who displeased them).  Mandela failed to unreservedly condemn these acts during or after his release from prison.

To that general failure can be added his failure to condemn the support for violence and wholehearted advocacy of the sadistic practice of “necklacing” – the placing of a tyre over the victims head and over their arms to pinion them before coating the type with petrol and setting the tyre alight – by his second wife Winnie  who famously declared at a rally “with our matches and necklaces, we’ll liberate this country!” (go in at 3 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP_r5ET5CFU&feature=youtu.be).

Apart from her devotion to necklacing, Winnie Mandela also had a nice line in intimidation and violence up to and including murder. She ran a bunch of thugs known as the Mandela Football team  and was convicted of  assault and kidnapping in 1991 after the death of ANC youth activist, Stompie Seipei Moeketsi.  The sentence was six years in prison initially but this was reduced to two years suspended on appeal.  Ghosts from her Mandela United Football Club past may be about to return to haunt her with an investigation into the deaths of two other youths now in progress (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/bodies-exhumed-in-anc-murder-case-linked-to-winnie-mandela-8531758.html)

Winnie Mandela has a remarkable record of escaping punishment. In his evidence to the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission a senior police officer said that although the police at the end of the apartheid era had compiled a list of 30 crimes they believed Winnie had committed – from high treason to murder – the attorney general had refused to prosecute her because she was regarded as “untouchable”.( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/10502171/Nelson-Mandela-and-Winnie-portrait-of-a-marriage.html)

Even when Mandela was experiencing  the most constricting of his prison years, it is difficult to believe that he had no news of what the ANC was doing or how his second wife was behaving. But he never condemned the excesses of the ANC  or the barbarities of his then wife. It was not until 1992 (two years after Mandela’s release) that he separated from Winnie  Mandela  and 1996 before they were divorced.

Tellingly, Amnesty International refused to classify Mandela  as a prisoner of conscience stating that    Amnesty “could not give the name of ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ to anyone associated with violence, even though as in ‘conventional warfare’ a degree of restraint may be exercised.” (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/POL10/001/1965/en)

After his release in 1990, in his first speech Mandela banged the violence drum: “Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.” (http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=4520)

Mandela’s communist leanings

As for Mandela’s commitment to racial and ethnic inclusiveness,  this may have been simply a consequence of ideological capture. Back in the 1950s the ANC was divided between the Africanists who wanted only blacks to be involved and the communists who took a class based stand which included all South Africans – blacks, coloureds, whites, Indians and Malays.  The question of whether Mandela was a member of the South  African Communist Party ( SACP) is perhaps a matter for debate, although he most probably was.  What is not in dispute is his ideological infatuation with Marxism. Here is the South African writer Rial Malan commenting on Mandela’s depiction as a wholly good person committed to democracy:

“In the early Sixties, Special Branch detectives came upon a piece of evidence that made this a bit tricky in Mandela’s case – a handwritten essay titled, “How to be a Good Communist”, (https://archive.org/stream/HowToBeAGoodCommunist/Mandela#page/n5/mode/2up)  in which the leader of the ANC’s newly formed military wing opined that “South Africa will be a land of milk and honey under a Communist government.”[RH note: The essay also contains ‘In our own country, the struggles of the oppressed people are guided by the South African Communist Party and guided by its policies’]

We were told that Mandela was innocently toying with Marxist ideas, trying to understand their appeal, but this made no sense. Almost all his co-conspirators were Communists, wedded to a Sovietist doctrine that envisaged a two-phase ending to the South African struggle – a “democratic national revolution”, followed by a second revolution in which the Marxist-Leninist vanguard took power.

If Mandela wasn’t in on this plot, it would have been exceptionally stupid of him to participate in it, and Mandela was never stupid. Which leaves me believing the evidence recently presented by historians Stephen Ellis (of Amsterdam) and Irina Filatova and Apollon Borisovich Davidson (of Moscow): Mandela was secretly a member of the South African Communist Party’s innermost Central Committee.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/10502173/Nelson-Mandela-he-was-never-simply-the-benign-old-man.html).

To this can be added Mandela’s first speech on leaving prison in 1990. This showed him still in Marxist fellow travelling mode:

“I salute the South African Communist Party for its sterling contribution to the struggle for democracy. You have survived 40 years of unrelenting persecution. The memory of great communists like Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer and Moses Mabhida will be cherished for generations to come.” (http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=4520)

He also said this in the speech “I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies and tactics. ” Ibid.

That is a very Marxist turn of phrase.

In 1991 in a speech he made in Cuba we find him saying “Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro … (https://archive.org/stream/HowToBeAGoodCommunist/Mandela#page/n1/mode/2up)

On a visit to the USA he made this incredible statement about Cuba “There is one thing that country stands out head and shoulders above the rest. That is in its love for human rights and liberty.” Ibid

He also seemed to have a fondness for dictators generally for visiting Libya a week later he praised Gaddafi for “His commitment to the fight for peace and human rights in the world.” ibid

At the least one can put comrade Mandela down as a very serious fellow traveller.

[The South African Communist Party have since claimed that Mandela was not merely a member when he was arrested in 1962 but a member of   its central committee http://www.sacp.org.za/main.php?ID=4151]

Mandela’s later career

A Machiavellian explanation of Mandela’s career from the late 1980s onwards is that those with power in South Africa had calculated that they could no longer maintain apartheid or indeed anything which was not at least formally representative democracy. Why they would have done so is far from clear. This was especially the case from 1989 onwards following  the rapid collapse of the Soviet Union, an event which ostensibly improved the apartheid state’s survival prospects because the Soviet’s were strong backers of the ANC which they saw as a vehicle to promote the power of the SACP because the Marxist sympathies of many in the ANC hierarchy.   Perhaps it was because behind the scenes the Americans were withdrawing tacit support, or because big business in South Africa  was threatening to leave, or perhaps it was simply that the  ruling elite had  become weary.

Once the decision was made by the apartheid era power brokers, both political and business,  they were faced with the best way  (from their point of view) of making the transition.  What better way than to have someone like Mandela,  who was already through the efforts of the Western media and politicians been raised to iconic status, to provide the rhetoric of inclusiveness, of forgiveness, of  a peaceful transition? Whether Mandela was willing to take the role because he was still an observant Marxist and was playing a long game or whether he had undergone a Damascene conversion during his years of captivity to the happy clappy multiculturalism of the white liberal is neither here nor there. What matters is his willingness and ability to play the role.

Mandela certainly played the part required of him, but he went much further than merely preaching reconciliation.  Take  his reported sudden conversion from a belief in nationalisation to the market economy:

“Mr Mandela once explained this conversion with his characteristic self-deprecation and humour. Referring to Davos business delegates, he said: “They had a dinner where they listened to me very politely, before explaining to me exactly what would happen if we carried out the plans we made in prison.

“I went to bed thinking while I had been out of the real world for 27 years, things had changed. Nobody told me I was stupid. But I could see that they thought I was not very clever. I woke up the next day and realised nationalisation would be the wrong policy for my country.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/10499740/Nelson-Mandela-champion-of-economic-freedom.html)

This is a remarkably trivial way to make such a sudden ideological volte face if that was what it was.  More plausibly it was simply a glib explanation for having got into bed with the real power brokers in South Africa at that time, Big Business.

It should be remembered that Mandela had little time in office. He served only one presidential term and for the last two years of that he handed the reins of power to his deputy Thabo Mbeki. It is also questionable what real political power Mandela exercised even before handing over power. He was 76 when elected president and with the best will in the world a man of that age will most probably not have the energy or desire to impose his will in the face of serious opposition. To that can be added the fact that he had spent nearly three decades outside the normal cut and thrust of politics.  It is not unreasonable to imagine that a man who had been in prison for 27 years would  have become institutionalised and find decision making difficult.

Looked at coldly, the role Mandela played since he stood down as President has been purely that of a PR tool, but even before then he was performing the function.  What is truly remarkable is that this happened despite the fact that  as a public performer he had  little going for him, being at best an uninspiring speaker and often downright boring , as he delivered strangely punctuated sentences in a jerky manner. Nor did he often have anything of real importance or interest to say beyond general pleas for reconciliation. Amazingly, his communist sympathies and continued belief in violence, which should have marred the myth, simply did not register with the general public. The Western media had created a fabulous figure who could do no wrong and, like the emperor with no clothes, the crowds he drew, acting often enough in the manner of  teenagers screaming at pop groups, could either not see there were no clothes on this emperor or were constrained by fear of pointing out the unfortunate fact.

What is the future likely to bring? The odds must be on South Africa falling into the completely dysfunctional mess which is general  lot of black Africa, perhaps quite gradually because it is much more sophisticated than any other sub-Saharan African state.  There is no indication of the crime and poverty problems being solved and every indication that ethnic and racial conflict will worsen because of the lack of satisfaction of the hopes of  poor blacks.

Whites are still required to keep things running , but the failure of  ANC governments since the first elections after the end of apartheid to take any serious action to prevent the slaughter of white farmers together with the often bellicose anti-white statements by ANC leaders suggest that we may well see in the next ten or fifteen years the type of squeezing of the white population as happened in Zimbabwe. But whites are not the only minorities who may face an increasingly frosty future. The Coloureds, Indians and Malays are also likely targets. In addition there  is plenty of inter-tribal strife, for example  between Zulus and Pondos (http://www.csmonitor.com/1985/1227/osouth.html/(page)/2) or Xhosa and Sotho. (http://allafrica.com/stories/200109100307.html)

It is not a legacy to be for which to be remembered warmly.

You looking at me?

Robert Henderson

Contents

The perception of facial expressions

The nature of the mis-identified emotions

The bias in the East Asian mis-identifications

How could  such a perceptual difference arise?

Possible variations in the perception of other non-verbal behaviour

Language is a signifier but what does it signify?

The political and social implications of the Glasgow research

Be cautious

Further research

The perception of facial expressions

A team  led by  Glasgow University  in Scotland   published  research in  2009 in the journal Current Biology on  differences in the interpretation of facial expressions by  different racial  groups (1).  The research  suggests  that Whites (2) and East Asians  differ significantly in their mode of scrutiny of faces and  their success in identifying emotions from facial expressions.

Whites  concentrate their attention on the eyes and the mouth equally while East Asians concentrate largely on the eyes. The consequence is that the latter have difficulty in distinguishing expressions which have a  similarity around the eyes. Whites, who use  two reference areas,  are significantly more adept at correctly identifying  such expressions  The difference in the mode scanning faces used by  the two groups  plausibly translates into a difference in  the emoticons  used . by Whites and East Asians   Whites  use representations of the mouth  :) for happy and :( for sad; East Asians  representations of the eyes^.^ for happy and ;_; for sad.

The research involved  White  and East Asian  subjects  (3) viewing still images of  faces  whose emotions were  classified  using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), which categorises emotion depending on the muscles used. Those wishing for the full technical details of the study can find them at the url given at note (1).

The subjects were shown  both White  and  East Asian photographs with expressions classified as Happy’, ‘Surprise’, ‘Fear’, ‘Disgust’, ‘Anger’ and  ‘Sadness’ plus ‘Neutral’ with Same Race  and Other Race  FACS-coded faces.

Whites correctly identified expressions all the time,  but East Asians  confused fear with surprise and disgust with anger, while the sadness, happiness and  neutral images produced similar results amongst both the White and East Asian subjects. Let us try to winkle out why this might be.

The nature of the mis-identified emotions

There are  two obvious differences between the expressions which are and are not correctly identified. First, all the emotions involved in incorrect identifications are in some manner unpleasant emotions, while happiness and  sadness contain one pleasant and one unpleasant emotion.

Fear and surprise and disgust and anger are pairs which have some tangential similarity. Indeed,  they may be experienced at the same time or at least in rapid sequence, giving the impression of emotions being mixed.   Probably because they are emotionally cousins to one another,  their facial representations have similarities, for example, we raise our eyebrows and widen our eyes  for both fear and surprise.

Contrariwise, happiness and sadness are two diametrically opposed emotions. They have no tangential similarity and their facial expressions are perceived as discrete and presumably  more easily recognised.

The second major point of difference is the response they produce in others. Fear, surprise, disgust and anger  are all what one might call active emotions. When we experience them we do so in an energetic way, for it is impossible to feel any of these  emotions without being physical aroused because  to experience them will result in a rush of adrenaline. Conversely,  sadness and  happiness, although they may be experienced in an energetic way,  for example in ecstasy or violent grief,  can also  be experienced in a physically quiet manner.

It is also arguable that the sadness or happiness of others, unless we are significantly  emotionally attached to the person, does not evoke as strong a response in an observer as fear, surprise, disgust and anger do, regardless of how well or little the person displaying the expressions is known to the observer. The reason for this is easy to see: fear, surprise, disgust and anger all offer a potential threat, whether that be  experiencing something unpleasant (disgust), concern about whether there is something to worry about of which we have yet to be aware  (fear, surprise) or the fear of someone indicating they are in a state to do you harm (anger).

The bias in the East Asian mis-identifications

There was a pattern to the East Asian mis-identifications. The showed a bias towards the softer, less threatening emotions. Faced with a choice between fear and  surprise they chose surprise and between  disgust and anger,  disgust.

The researchers attribute this tendency amongst East Asians to select  less threatening emotions  to be culturally determined. This may be the case,  but it would be rash to accept it as self-evident.   East Asians may  choose less threatening emotions when they misidentify  expressions simply because their mode of scanning the face makes one type of emotion easier to identify than another. Alternatively,  and more interestingly, East Asians could be genetically slanted towards selecting less threatening emotions.  Unless personality is not subject to any genetic influence, (4), then the genes which control personality will be subject to natural selection. If the form of a society favours the quiescent personality,  then those with the genes which tend towards such personalities will be favoured. There is evidence that  there are innate behavioural differences  between racial types and the reported differences in facial perception between Whites and East Asians seem to  fit into them.

A quarter of a century ago  Edward Wilson reported on studies by D G Freedman (1974, 1979)  on  new born   infants  which  “demonstrated  marked racial differences   in locomotion,  posture,  muscular tone and emotional response of  newborn infants  that cannot reasonably be explained as the result of  training or  even conditioning within the womb.  Chinese-American newborns,  for example, tend to be less changeable, less easily perturbed by noise and movement,  better  able to adjust to new stimuli and  discomfort,  and quicker  to  calm themselves than  Caucasian-American  infants.”  P274 Sociobiology; Abridged version.

More recently Professor Phil Rushton addressed the subject:

“Temperamental differences, measured  objectively by activity recorders attached to arms and  legs, show  up in babies.  African babies are more active sooner and  develop earlier than White babies who, in turn, are more active than East Asian babies.  Motor  behaviour  is  a  highly  stable individual  difference variable.  Even among Whites,  activity level measured during free play shows highly significant negative correlations with IQ: more restrained children average higher intellects. “ “Winning Personality” Masks Low Scores’

http://www.vdare.com/asp/printPage.asp?url=)

In my recent American Renaissance article (AR October 2009)  I addressed the failure of  East Asians  to become the dominant race, viz:  “despite their higher average IQ, Asians have probably failed to become the culturally dominant race because their innate personality traits work against them. They are too passive, too unquestioning, too lacking in initiative. The shape of their IQ with higher non-verbal scores and lower verbal scores may be wholly or partially the cause of these personality traits or, conversely, the shape of the IQ is simply an expression of the personality traits. Other biological traits such as low testosterone levels may also promote such behaviour.”

If East Asians are truly less able to interpret facial expressions than whites, this could provide an explanation of why, despite their superior IQ  distribution, they have failed to become the dominant racial type in terms of social development and intellectual  and technological advancement. The difference in ability to interpret facial expressions may mean that East Asians are less socially adept than whites with a consequent need for different social structures to Whites.

 How could  such a perceptual difference arise?

Some behavioural signals are almost certainly entirely  customary rather than innate. For example, Britons and Americans nod their heads to signify agreement and see black as the colour of death, the Chinese shake the head to signify agreement and see white as the colour of death. It is  conceivable that there are differences in brain function which determine such differences but that is improbable going on impossible.

Conversely, a trait such as the interpretation of emotions from facial expressions is most unlikely to be culturally determined.   We recognise emotions from facial expressions for the same reasons that our nearest primate relatives, the apes,  recognise behaviours to indicate calm, threat and so on. It is simply part of the species’ template. Unless human beings have some form of mental abnormality such as autism, they  recognise the meaning of facial expressions without consciously thinking about them. Nor do people have to be actively taught how to recognise facial expressions, although it may be that the facial expressions become associated with certain types of  behaviour as the child develops and from that information the child extrapolates from particular instances where an expression occurs to using the expression as a general signifier of an emotion rather than the response to an  event.  (The behaviour of children supposedly brought up without human contact – raised by animals of one sort or another for example – suggests that this may be the case).

But even if  the identification of expressions did occur that way it would not explain the  differences in mode of scanning which is  the most plausible cause of the difference in identification success.  There is absolutely no evidence of  cultural practices which would lead people of one racial type to behave in one way when they scanned a face and people of another racial type in another way. Indeed, it is difficult to even envisage such a cultural practice because the behaviour of scanning the faces of others  is such a natural thing, something which can be seen in very young babies.

But if the difference in scanning  is genuine how did it arise? If it is not cultural it must be genetic. A trait which was advantageous would be preferentially selected and spread. Why would it be advantageous? Perhaps the range of possible physical expression in East Asian faces is less than it is in Whites. Suppose further that the range of expression in East Asian faces is reduced around the mouth.  The most naturally efficient  thing for East Asians to do  would be to concentrate on the eyes. Natural selection would work on that trait favouring those best able to interpret from the eyes.

That leaves the question of why East Asian faces might be less expressive. If, has been suggested, the environment in which East Asians evolved was abnormally cold and as a response to the environment the East Asian face came to contain more fat and external physical facial features to guard against the cold, This may have so changed the morphology of the face that it restricted the ability of East Asians to communicate through facial expressions. It is possible that the old white jibe that “they all look alike” has a grain  of truth in it.

An alternative explanation could be some general  difference between the European and East Asian languages. Perhaps East Asian languages causes their users to move the mouth less energetically than  do European languages and this gives less non-verbal information from about the mouth area and  this causes  East Asians to concentrate on the part of the face which does give more accessible information.

Different languages use facial muscles in different ways. This affects the shape and mobility of the face which in turn will cause facial expressions to differ. These may be very subtle differences in terms of physical difference, but very significant differences in terms of perception by others. It is possible that differences in facial expressions perception vary not merely amongst racial groups but also amongst different cultures or even different groups within a population such as classes or  those with distinct accents or dialects.

Yet  another explanation may rest on the East Asian’s visual bias  as shown in their disproportionately high  strength  when dealing with non-verbal questions in IQ tests. It could be that the East Asian  concentrates on the eyes because that is the sense most important to them.

Finally, there is the possibility of  functional redundancy.

As any dog or cat owner will vouch for, animals can be incredibly sensitive to identifying human emotional states.  They do this entirely by picking up non-language signals. That ability they extend to other animals, both of their own and other species.  The ancestors of homo sapiens earlier forms of homo such as homo habilis and homo erectus must have been in much the same boat as animals.    Their language skills would be much less than that of modern man and like animals, interpretation of non-verbal signals such as facial expressions  would be much more important  to them than it would be to homo sapiens in a primitive state and vastly more important than such abilities are to men living in sophisticated societies.

As human beings evolve perhaps there is less need  for accurate interpretation of  emotions because  the reliance of human beings on one another for survival lessened as societies became ever more sophisticated – there is a big difference between living in a  tribe or band of 50-200 people where every individual is important to the survival of the tribe and living in a large city where the loss of an individual will not harm the community.

It could be that East Asians – with their superior average IQ – simply became less efficient at such social skills because they became less necessary to the type of society they naturally created. By that I do not mean that the society they created was the most advanced possible – indeed, the reality of  East Asian societies suggests that they put a block on technological and intellectual advance beyond a certain point. Rather, I am suggesting that the society their  innate behaviour created was an efficient means of managing East Asian populations and that was all it needed to maintain the society. .

 Possible variations in the perception of other non-verbal behaviour

Apart from interpreting facial expressions and using the overt meaning of language, individuals  have  many other ways of assessing emotion in others. Human beings definitely use  body language and the nuances of language structure (syntax, grammar)  and  responses  to the  quality of voice (pitch, timbre, speed and so on). They may also use less obvious clues such as pheromones.

This raises a problem for the Glasgow research. They have measured only one means of interpreting emotions in which one racial groups is apparently less competent than another. That is significant as afar as it goes. Where is it does not go is  into real life situations where  the whole range of verbal and non-verbal clues are available to allow the individual to make a judgement on the emotional state of others. In addition, in real-life human beings do not have to rely only on their own judgement to make such decisions, they can ask others. It could be that East Asians, while deficient compared to Whites when it comes to  facial recognition, are as effective as whites at identifying emotions,  more effective than whites or even less effective than whites when  more than facial scrutiny is employed,  with variations in ability arising from different combinations of  the various clues humans give to their emotional state, for example, facial expressions plus body language might trump facial expressions and  quality of voice in one racial group but not the other.

Language is a signifier but what does it signify?

It is one thing to call things  by the same name, quite another for the things called by the same name to be  the same thing to each individual.  To begin with there are the difficulties of exactly translating ideas from one language to another. For example, the word for disgust in Chinese may have different connotations to  the English word disgust, or the English word disgust may have  different  shades of meaning for those who have English as a first language but who come from significantly different cultures, for example, a white Englishman and white Barbadian.

It is certainly true languages are not equal in their functionality. Consider the case of the Piraha, an Amazonian tribe with several hundred members. They have been in contact with Brazilian culture for two centuries or more, yet they display some very odd traits one of which is to have no sense of number? An American linguistic anthropologist Daniel Everett has studied them from 27 years. Apart from their innumeracy, Everett reports that “the Piraha is the only people known to have no distinct words for colours.

They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don’t sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day. Even when food is available, they frequently starve themselves and their children… They communicate almost as much by singing, whistling and humming as by normal speech. They frequently change their names, because they believe spirits regularly take them over and intrinsically change who they are. They do not believe thatoutsiders understand their language even after they have just carried on conversations with them. They have no creation myths tell no fictional stories and have no art. All of their pronouns appear to be borrowed from a neighbouring language.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LA C/20040820NUMBERS20/TPScience/ – Friday, August 20, 2004)

The Piraha’s innumeracy is particularly interesting. ‘Their lack of numbering terms and skills is highlighted in a report by Columbia University cognitive psychologist Peter Gordon that appears today in Science. Intrigued by anecdotal reports that Prof. Everett and his wife Karen had presented about the matchlessness of Piraha life, Prof. Gordon conducted a number of experiments over a three-year period. He found that a group of male tribe members — women and children were not involved because of certain cultural taboos — could not perform the most elementary mathematical operations. When faced with a line of batteries and asked to duplicate the number they saw, the men could not get beyond two or three before starting to make mistakes. They had difficulty drawing straight lines to copy a number of lines they were presented with. They couldn’t remember which of two boxes had more or less fish symbols on it, even when they were about to be rewarded for their knowledge. A significant part of the difficulty related to their number-impoverished vocabulary. Although they would say one word to indicate a single thing and another for two things, those words didn’t necessarily mean one or two in any usual sense. “It is more like ones and twos,” ‘according to Gordon.

‘Prof. Gordon said the findings are perhaps the strongest evidence for a once largely discredited linguistic theory. More than 60 years ago, amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that learning a specific language determined the nature and content of how you think. That theory fell into intellectual disrepute after linguist Noam Chomsky’s notions of a universal human grammar and Harvard University professor Steven Pinker’s idea of a universal language instinct became widely accepted. “The question is, is there any case where not having words for something doesn’t allow you to think about it?” Prof. Gordon asked about the Piraha and the Whorfian thesis. “I think this is a case for just that.” Prof. Everett argues that what the Piraha casedemonstrates is a fundamental cultural principle working itself out in language and behaviour.’ (Ibid)

If the Whorfian theory is correct, or at least describes a quality which profoundly affects the way the world is perceived, other behavioural divisions between the various populations of Man must exist. (The ideas of a universal grammar and a universal language instinct are not necessarily incompatible with the idea that a particular language determines thought, for there could be a basic language template that is then altered by experience. Moreover, it is conceivable that natural selection creates subtle brain differences between populations to accommodate differences in language). To any Whorfian differences in populations may be added the vast differences in cultural expression, some of which could be laid at the door of linguistic determinism of thought.

 The political and social implications of the Glasgow research

Assuming the research is sound the implications are profound. The Glasgow researchers conclude “Our results question the universality of human facial expressions of emotion, highlighting their true complexity, with critical consequences for crosscultural communication and globalization.”

Just so. If human beings do not share a common understanding on such a basic level as the recognition of emotions the scope for inter-racial friction is vast. It would mean that multi-racial populations must be forever conglomerations of  racial groups estranged from one another to varying degrees. It would mean that  racial wars will  always remain a possibility and that the possibilities of such wars will be enhanced by the settlement of different races on the same territory.  It could cause  warfare between states dominated by different racial types if one or both  see those of their own racial type being, in their view, mistreated by the other state.

It could be objected that the Glasgow research does not show that there is no shared facial recognition  between the Whites and East Asians . East Asians recognised  happiness and sadness as efficiently as Whites  and even  in the case of fear, surprise, disgust and  anger they were correct two thirds of the time, (although it is telling that East Asians  made fewer mistakes when presented with East Asian faces).  The liberal searching for a light at the end of the racial difference tunnel would undoubtedly point to the fact that East Asians identified emotions in the same way as Whites most of the time and that this agreement between the races proved a common biological emotional template.

The problem with that argument is that identifying emotions wrongly  a third of the time is not a small margin of error. It would be  a severe handicap to any understanding between people of different races.

It is not that the research shows that  different races have nothing in common when it comes to recognising emotions from facial expressions,  it is the degree of difference which is impportant. An analogy could be made with IQ. Every race has some of whatever it is that  IQ tests  measure, but the distribution of IQ varies according to race with the descending hierarchy being East Asians-Whites -Blacks. (In addition, the shape of IQs varies between races with, for example,  on average  Whites  scoring higher on verbal tests and East Asians on  visual tests.)  These racial differences in IQ are extremely important at both the individual and group level because they affect the way individuals and nations perform. Low IQ equals poor life outcomes for individuals in any society and societies where the average IQ is low are invariably poor. Similarly, if substantial differences in the ability to recognise  emotions in others exist, that may have  substantial effects on how different races perform in both the organisation of societies in which they dominate and societies in which they are in a minority. The societies in which they dominate may need a structure which is inimical to intellectual  and technological development beyond a certain point. Living as part of a minority, being unable to connect on an emotional level with the majority of the people about you  population could be as much a life definer as a low IQ.

If similar racial differences exist in the ability to interpret language,  body language, tones of voice and so on the opportunities for racial misunderstanding will be multiplied and amplified.

The idea that people of different races do have considerable difficulty in not misunderstanding the intentions of other races is given credence by the strong propensity of human beings of the same race to live together when they have the choice and the  universal racial suspicion found in racially mixed societies. In short, in the real world human beings behave just as one would expect them to behave if  the findings of the Glasgow study are correct.

If the Glasgow study is replicated and more work is done demonstrating other  innate behavioural differences between races it would leave the present elite ideology of globalism in an intellectual mess . It would undermine utterly the liberal internationalist idea that  human beings are all of a piece and may be readily placed in any society.  That would not of course immediately cause the elites to throw up their hands and say we have been wrong, most grievously wrong, but over a generation or so the elite position could be changed by such academic research. .

Innate racial behavioural differences are of course not the sole  explanation for racial conflict – my other three favourite candidates are the simple brute need to occupy a territory to gain physical security and enjoy its resources,  the aesthetic sense which favours those who resemble the individual exercising the sense and the sociological pressures which arise from the need of any  social animal to maintain a viable group. Nonetheless, innate differences in behaviour must rank as a powerful driver of racial conflict.

Be cautious

The research needs to be treated with caution. As yet it has not been replicated and it is based on a very small sample.    However,    much research in the social  and biological sciences uses similarly small samples which are treated as legitimate . Moreover, the nature of what was being tested in this research – the recognition of  facial expressions and the controlled physical measurement of the mode of scanning faces -  plausibly allowed for objective data to be extracted, while   the judgements required of the  subjects involved nothing that is obviously contentious, for they were simply being asked to interpret facial expressions and, consequently, questions of moral or political bias did not arise, as they often do in socio-biological research. But even if a participant had wanted to produce a desired outcome in their particular case,  he or she  could not have done so without the collusion of  at least of one of the two participating racial groups.

Nonetheless, the small sample size is a problem because the racial groups are from  a few societies, most notably in the case of  the East Asians where 12 come from China and one from Japan. The research needs to be replicated,  ideally with substantially larger numbers of subjects , and with subjects should be drawn from a wide range of societies to test whether the differences are stable across cultures, for example, compare Japanese-Americans with Japanese natives or  white Englishmen with white Italians.

There is also the objection that viewing still images in an artificial environment  is entirely different from interpreting facial expressions when inter-acting with others in ordinary life. This is not strictly relevant to the question of whether different races adopt different scanning behaviour or have significant differences in their success in identifying emotions. The mental processes which allow identification of emotions will operate in the same fashion in any situation . Of course, in real-life situations there will be distractions not found under laboratory circumstances which may cause facial expressions to  be missed completely or not properly heeded because of a lack of concentration.   But that would say nothing directly about either the efficiency of  recognition or the method of scanning faces.  At worst, all real life situations might show is that the White and  East Asian methods of scanning faces and interpreting emotions  is differentially affected by the distractions of real life situations. For example, it could be that concentrating on the whole face requires more concentration than simply taking information from the eyes.  But there still remains the problem I have already mentioned, namely  that in real life situations human beings use multiple clues to judge the emotional state of someone else. The ability of different racial groups to perform using multiple behavioural clues could perhaps be tested by using film of people using the full range of behavioural clues and asking research subjects to evaluate the emotional state of the  person in the film.

 Further research

It would be interesting to see the same tests applied to other racial groups. As many racial genetic differences such as IQ distribution and testosterone levels place the three main human races in the order of black-white-East Asian, I think it probable that blacks would be more adept at facial expression recognition than Whites. This would plausibly fit in with their higher extroversion scores if it could be shown that ability at facial recognition is potent trigger for emotional displays. Blacks are  also probably better at interpreting other non-verbal behavioural cues.

In addition to replicating and expanding  the Glasgow team’s research, there is ample room for related work  such as studies of  the interpretation of  other non-verbal clues to emotional states such as body language and voice elements to see whether they also vary between racial groups.

Despite the slender nature of the evidence presently available, the  Glasgow research has what might be called the ring of plausibility.  There is clear evidence that there are behavioural differences between races which appear to be innate – the variation in IQ s between racial groups being the most famous – and many instances of objective physical biological difference, from the considerable  external  racial differences which anyone can see to the covert physiological differences such as sickle cell anaemia in West Coast Africans such as Nigerians.  That beings who have evolved such differences might well have followed different evolutionary paths in the matter of perceiving emotions does not seem inherently far-fetched, because, provided a behaviour has a genetic base, it will be subject to natural selection.

Notes

1 . Cultural Confusions Show Facial Expressions are Not Universal. It is published by Current Biology which charges for its articles. A free copy of the draft report can be found at http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/docs/download.php?type=PUBLS&id=1201

2 The research paper uses Western Caucasian for White.

3 Thirteen Western Caucasian (13 European, 7 females) and 13 East Asian (12 Chinese, 1 Japanese, 8 females) observers participated (mean age = 24 years 5 months; 23 years 2 months, respectively).

3. To conclude that the genes have  no part to play in determining behaviour would imply that all  behaviour is the product of mind and that mind is somehow divorced from the physical body and consequently not subject to natural selection mediated through the genes.

Would a libertarian society deprive individuals of cultural roots and collective identity?

Robert Henderson

There are many rooms in the libertarian  ideological house.  That fact often derails rational discussion of libertarian issues, but it need not be a problem in this instance because the question being asked is most  efficiently  examined   by testing  it against  the flintiest wing of libertarian thought.   If  that pristine, uncompromising  form of libertarianism is incompatible with the maintenance of cultural roots and collective identity, then  all other shades of libertarianism will be incompatible to some degree.

The pristine libertarian has no truck with  any form of government, believing that  personal relations  between individuals  will adequately order society no matter how large or complex the society,  and that such ordering will arise naturally if  only the artificially constraints on human behaviour such as governments and laws are removed.   Such a society  would supposedly  work along these lines.    If the society is threatened by an invader,  individuals will join together to defend it out of a sense of self-preservation.  To   those who cannot work for reasons of sickness, injury, age or innate infirmity,  compassion and a sense of duty will ensure that private charity is  extended  to relieve the need. If  public works such as roads and railways are required, self-interest and reason will drive individuals to join to together to build them.   Matters such as education may be safely  left to parents and such charitable provision as arises.   Above all the individual is king and personal choice is only circumscribed if a choice involves the imposition of one individual’s will on another.   You get the idea.  The consequence is a vision of a society not  a million miles away from  Rightist  forms of anarchism.

This concentration on the individual makes for a fissile society. If each person  is to follow his or her  own way  without any requirement to believe anything other than to respect the conditions necessary to realise libertarian ends , that in itself  would definitely weaken  collective identity and probably affect cultural unity.  Nonetheless in a truly homogeneous society, especially if it was small, the probability is that cultural weakening would not be great and the absence of a conscious collective identity would not present a difficulty provided the society was not subject to a serious threat from outside.

Serious problems  for the pristine libertarian  arise if the society is heterogeneous,  because  then there is a loss of collective unity. If the heterogeneity comes from class,  the cultural roots may  be largely untouched or at least develop in a way  which ensures that there is still much cultural  uniformity  and that uniformity is clearly an extension of  past cultural traits. It is also true that in a racially and ethnically homogeneous society, a sense of collective unity will be easily rekindled if the society comes under external threat.

The most difficult society for libertarians to deal with is one which is ethnically divided, especially if the ethnic divide includes racial difference. There a society becomes not so much a society but a series of competing racial and ethnic enclaves.   In such a situation,  it is inevitable that both  cultural unity and collective identity is undermined because there is no  shared general cultural experience and this plus racial difference makes a collective identity not merely impossible but absurd even in concept.

The brings us to the most obvious threat presented by pristine  libertarians to the maintenance of cultural roots and collective identity. That  is the idea that national boundaries  should be irrelevant with people travelling and settling wherever they choose.  This presumes human beings are essentially interchangeable and in this respect it echoes  multiculturalism.  The consequence of such a belief is to greatly increase the heterogeneity of a society through the mass immigration of those who are radically different from the native population.  We do not need to guess what the result of such immigration is because it  has happened throughout the western world in our own time. More specifically, it has happened in those  countries whose populations which are most naturally sympathetic  to libertarian ideas: those which may broadly be described as Anglo-Saxon; countries such as Britain, the USA and what used to be known as  the old white dominions.

The influx of millions of people who  see themselves as separate from the native populations of the countries to which they had migrated has resulted in the Anglo-Saxon states gradually destroying their tradition of freedom. Driven by a mixture of liberal internationalist ideology and fear, their  elites have severely restricted by laws and their control of the media  and public institutions  what may be said publicly about immigration and its consequences.  In Britain it is now possible to be brought to court simply for saying to someone from an ethnic minority “go home”, while any allegation of racist behaviour  – which may be no more than failing to invite someone from an ethnic minority  to an office party – against a public servant will result at best in a long inquiry and at worst with dismissal.  Nor, in practice, is application of the law or the  witch-hunts  directed equally against everyone for it is overwhelmingly native Britons who are targeted.

At the same time as native Britons are being silenced and intimidated, an incessant tide of pro-immigrant and multiculturalist  propaganda is pumped out by government, the public organisations they control such as the civil service and state schools and the mass media , which is overwhelmingly signed up to the liberal internationalist way of thinking.  The teaching of history has been made a non-compulsory subject in British schools after the age of 14 and such history as  is taught  is next to worthless in promoting a sense of collective unity,  both because it fails to give any chronological context to what is put before the pupils  because it concentrates on “themes”  rather than periods and because the amount of British history that is contained within  the syllabus is tiny, often consisting of the Tudors and little else.  The consequence is that the young of the native British population are left with both a sense that their own culture is in some strange way to be valued less than that of the various immigrant groups and the lack of any knowledge about their country’s past.

The most  and sinister  consequence of  post-war immigration and the British elite’s response to it  is the development within Britain of  a substantial number of Muslims who not only do not have any sense of belonging to the broader society in which they live, but who are actively hostile to  Britain and its values.  But if this is the most dramatic example of the fracturing  of British society, it is merely symptomatic of the separatist attitude of  ethnic minorities in Britain generally, especially those from radically alien cultures allied to racial difference.

All of these developments are antithetical to pristine  libertarian ideals,  both because they  undermine  shared values and because they  result in actions to control friction between competing racial and ethnic groups which in themselves undermine the conditions in which libertarian ideals  flourish.  That libertarians so often subscribe to the ideal of open borders despite the overwhelming evidence of  its counter-productive effects for libertarian ends is indicative of the blinkered nature of much libertarian thinking.

The fundamental weakness of pristine  libertarianism is its complete  failure to take  account of  human psychology  and the way humans behave as groups.  This is unsurprising  because of the central position given to the individual.  But by doing this pristine  libertarians  ignore the central fact of being human: we are a social animal. Being  a social animal entails two defining behaviours: all social animals  produce hierarchies  and   all social animals place limits to the group.  Homo sapiens is no exception.

Because hierarchies in the human context arise not only from the personal efforts, qualities and talents of each individual, as is the case with animals,  but from the  position  each individual occupies through the accident of birth, this raises two difficulties for libertarians.  The first is there is not a level playing field and without that the pristine  libertarian ideal of society organising itself through freely  entered into relationships is severely distorted because it is clearly absurd to say that a man born poor is freely entering into a master-servant relationship with a man born rich when the poor man needs money simply to feed himself.  The second difficulty is that the very existence of an hierarchy,  whether or not it is based on merit, undermines the notion of free choice because once it is established different power relationships exist.

The question of hierarchy becomes more complex as the heterogeneity of a society grows whether that be ever deeper division into classes or increasing ethnic and racial diversity . All social animals have to have boundaries  to  know where the group begins and ends.  This is  because a social animal must operate  within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where  there are  boundaries.   No boundaries,  no hierarchy, because  no  individual could  ever  know what the dominance/submission situation  was  within their species or at least within those members of the species with whom they interact.

The need to define the group is particularly important for libertarians.    Above all libertarianism requires  trust. In the pristine libertarian society this means each individual believing that other people will keep their word and generally behave honestly. But as we all know only too well  people cannot  be trusted to observe societal norms and a society which is fractured by class, race or  ethnicity  is the least likely of all to have a shared sense of what is right.  Therefore,  libertarians need to recognise that however much they would like to believe that each human being is an individual who may go where he or she pleases and do what he or she pleases, the sociological reality precludes  this and that the only sane ideological course for a libertarian is to advocate closed borders and the preservation of the homogeneity of  those societies which are most favourable to libertarian ideals not because the society  consciously espouses them,  but because the  society has evolved in a way which includes libertarian traits.

There will be libertarians who find it immensely difficult going on impossible to accept that the individual must in some respects be subordinated to the group.  They will imagine, as liberal internationalists do, that human nature can be changed, although in the case of libertarians the change will come not from re-education but the creation of circumstances propitious for libertarian behaviour to emerge.  Let me explain why this is impossible because of the innate differences between  human beings and the effects of cultural imprinting.

Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition  of a species – a population of freely interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool -   is  unsatisfactory,  for  clearly Man is  more  than  a brute   animal  responding   to   simple  biological   triggers.  When   behavioural differences  are perceived as belonging to a particular group  by  that group  as differentiating  members of the group from other  men,    they perform the same role as  organic differences for  they divide Man  into cultural species.

An analogy with computers can be made. As hardware,  a particular model of  computer is  practically identical to every other computer which  is classified  as  the same model.  But the  software available to every computer of the same model is not identical.   They may run  different operating systems, either completely different or different versions of the same program. The software which runs under the operating system is different  with different versions of the same program being used.  The data which is input to the computer varies and this in turn affects the capabilities of the computer.

It  clearly makes no sense to say every computer of the same  model  is the same even if the computer is loaded with the same software.   But of  course  not  all  computers  are  of  the  same  model.  They  vary tremendously  in  their  power.  The same software  will  run  at  very different  rates  because of this.  Storage and memory size  also  vary tremendously. Some computers cannot run programmes because the programmes  are too large.   We  may call all computers computers ,  but that is to say little more  than that  all  animals are animals,  for  computers  range  from  the immensely  powerful super computers – the homo sapiens  of  the computer  world  as it were – to the amoeba of the  simple  chip  which controls  lights  being put on or off in a room  depending  on whether someone is in it.

Are the circumstances of computers  not akin to those of  Man?  Do  not the racially based  differences in IQ correspond to the differences  in power  of  older  and  newer computers?  Do not different  languages  represent different operating systems? For example, think how different must be the mentality of  a native Chinese speaker (using  a language which  is entirely  monosyllabic)  to that of a native English speaker  (using  a polysyllabic language) simply because of the profound difference in the structure  of the language. A language will not merely impose limits on what  may  be  expressed it will affect the  entire  mentality  of  the individual,  from aesthetic appreciation to  social expression. Is not the experiential input analogous to the holding of different data?

But the most potent of human behavioural triggers are racial differences,  for they exercise the strongest control over the group in a territory where different racial groups exist. Race trumps ethnicity where the ethnic clash is one of people of the same race but different ethnicities.  Place a significant population of a different race into a territory where ethnicity rather than race is the cause of unrest and the ethnic factions of the same race will tend to unite against those of a different race.

To argue that racial difference is  not important to the choice of a mate is as absurd as arguing  that the attractiveness of a person is irrelevant to the choice of a  mate.

In  Freakonomics  Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner  cite a study made of a  US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84).  The site is one  of the  largest  in  the US and the data examined  covered  30,000  people equally  divided  between San Diego and Boston.   Most were  white  but there was a substantial minority of non-white subjects.

The  questionnaire the  would-be  daters had to  fill  in  included  a question  choice on race as “same as mine”  and “doesn’t matter”.   The study  compared  the responses  by white would-be  daters  (those  from non-white were not analysed) to these  questions with the race of  the emails  actually  sent soliciting a date.   The result  in  Levitt  and Dubner’s words was:

“Roughly  half of the white women on the site  and  80  percent  of  the white men declared that  race  didn’t  matter to them. But the response data tell a different story  The white men who said that race didn’t  matter sent  90  percent of  their e-mail  queries  to  white women. The  white women who said race  didn’t  matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men.

“Is  it  possible that race really didn’t  matter  for  these  white women and men and that they simply  never  happened  to browse a non-white date  that  interested them?”

Or,  more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter  because they wanted to come across  especially  to potential mates of their own race as open-minded?” In short, around 99% of all the women and 94%  of all men in the sample were  not  willing  to  seek a  date of a  different  race.   How  much stronger  will  be  the tendency to refuse to breed with a  mate  of  a different race?

If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.

Because the tendency to mate with those of a similar race is so strong  and universal,  both in place and time, it is reasonable to conclude  that the  behaviour  is innate and that cultures  necessarily include  the requirement for a member of the society to be of a certain racial type. The  consequence of this is that someone of a different racial type  is effectively precluded from full integration because one of the criteria for  belonging has not been met.  That is not to say,  of course,  that many  of the habits of mind of an alien culture may not be  adopted  by someone  of  a  different race.  What is withheld  is  the  instinctive acceptance  of the alien and his or her descendants  as members of  the society. Just as no human being can decide for themselves that they are a member of this or that group, no individual can decide that they belong to this or that nation because it is a two-way process: the other members of the group they wish to join have to accept them as a true member of the group. (Stephen Frears the English  film director once wryly remarked that he had known the actor Daniel Day-Lewis “before he was Irish”).

Where does this leave us? In its present form libertarianism is a most efficient  dissolver of cultural roots and collective identity. It is this because it ignores the realities of  Man’s social nature.  This results in the  creation of the very circumstances which are least conducive to the realisation of libertarian ends.  If libertarians are to realise those ends, they must recognise that the society  most favourable to their beliefs  is one which is homogeneous in which the shared values create the platform of trust which must underlie libertarian behaviour.   Of course, that does not guarantee a society favourable to libertarians because  the shared values may be antithetical to them, but it is a necessary if not sufficient condition for libertarian ideals to flourish. To that libertarians must add a recognition that there are profound differences between ethnic and racial groups and identify those societies which are most worth protecting because they have the largest element of libertarian traits within them.

Written for entry to the 2010 Chris Tame prize

Book review – The Liberal Delusion

John Marsh, Arena Books, £12.99
Robert Henderson
“Is Western society based on a mistake?” asks John Marsh in his introduction. The possible mistake he considers is whether liberals have a disastrously wrong concept of what human beings are and what determines their behaviour  which leads them to favour policies that are radically out of kilter with the way human beings are equipped by their biology to live.
It is not that liberals do not believe in human nature as is often claimed. It can seem that they do  because they insist that nurture not nature is the entire font of human behaviour and consequently it is just a matter of creating the right social conditions to produce the type of people and society the liberal has as their ideal. But liberals balance this rationale on a belief that humans are naturally good, an idea which itself assumes innate qualities. Hence, they believe in an innate human nature but not one which bears any resemblance to reality.
The belief that disagreeable aspects of human nature do not exist and that all human beings are innately good is a product of the Enlightenment, where it took its most extreme and ridiculous  form in the concept of the ‘noble savage’. Marsh will have none of it. He debunks the idea thoroughly. He sees human beings as not naturally wholly good or bad but the product of natural selection working on the basic behaviours of humans. In this opinion he leans heavily on the Canadian-born evolutionary biologist Steven Pinker who in his The Blank Slate dismisses the idea of the noble savage with a robust
A thoroughly noble anything is an unlikely product of natural selection, because noble guys tend to finish last. Nice guys get eaten
If there is no rational reason why anyone should  think that human beings are innately good , why do so many, especially of amongst the elite, fall for the idea? Marsh attributes the phenomenon to the idea being emotionally attractive. There is plentiful evidence for this. One of the pleasures of the book is its first rate line in quotes, many of which are staggering in their naivety. He cites the grand  panjandrum of atheism and a fervent believer  in innate human goodness Richard Dawkins as writing in The God Delusion
I dearly want to believe we don’t need policing – whether by God or each other – in order to stop us behaving in a selfish or criminal manner
So much for Dawkins’ scientific rationality.

A religious realist – Baltasar Gracian, author of the Art of Worldly Wisdom
Or take the case of A. S. Neill, founder of  the famous or infamous (depending on your politics) Summerhill School, which did not require anything in particular from its pupils:
I cannot believe that evil is inborn or that there is original sin…. We set out to make a school where children were free to be themselves. In order to do this we had to renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, all religious instruction…We had a complete belief in the child as a good, not an evil being. For over forty years this belief in the goodness of the child has not wavered
That is a quasi-religious statement no different from a Catholic saying they believe in the Trinity.
In the first half of the book Marsh questions and finds wanting in varying degrees just about everything the modern liberal holds dear: that human nature is good and rational and formed by nurture alone, that freedom is the primary end sought by humans, that morality is a set of shackles rather than a safety catch on human behaviour, that science is an unalloyed good, that religion is no more than harmful fairy stories; that a county’s history and customs are at best unimportant and at worst a malevolent means of maintaining an undesirable status quo, that economics should be determined by the market, that universalism and multiculturalism are unquestionably desirable, equality is always beneficial, and the idea that the individual has primacy over the group.
Some of these liberal ‘goods’ are contradictory, for example, the clash between equality and the individual. To enforce equality inevitably means impinging on the wishes of individuals. Doubtless a liberal would argue that the individual should only have their wishes met insofar as they do not impinge upon the wishes of others. In practice that means a great deal of coercion to prevent individuals satisfying their own wishes, and often such coercion occurs where individuals have perfectly reasonable and moral wishes which cannot be satisfied at the same time. For example, two sets of parents may want to send their children to the same school where there is only room for one child.
There are also heavy question marks over whether modern liberals actually believe in individual freedom. The idea that human beings should and can be manipulated into behaving in a certain way by producing social circumstances which engender the desired behaviour is determinist. Where is the freedom if human beings are seen merely as automata responding to the stimuli of their circumstances? Nor is the ‘freedom’ liberals are supposed to espouse a general freedom. The individual in modern Britain may be free to drink what they can afford to buy, or be as sexually promiscuous as they choose, but they are not allowed any freedom of speech which attacks the core values of political correctness. Who would have thought even twenty years ago that English men and women would be appearing in the dock for saying things which went against the politically correct ethos, but that is precisely what is happening with increasing frequency.
It is also arguable that the modern liberal is interested not in individuals but groups. It is true that human ‘rights’ are exalted by liberals, but these are not really individual rights but communal ones. For example, a law which grants free expression or insists on due process is an individual right because it applies in principle to all. Conversely, if (for instance) ‘hate speech’ is made illegal, this is a de facto communal right given to particular groups, because in practice certain groups enjoy much greater protection than others, for the police and prosecuting authorities are not even-handed in their application of the law.
The second part of the book is devoted to the morally disreputable means by which liberals have propagated their beliefs. Marsh is unforgiving about this aspect of liberalism. It involves persistent dishonesty when dealing with evidence which contradicts their world view. The dishonesty consists of both calling black white and conscientiously ignoring and suppressing that which contradicts the liberal world view. In the case of Britain he singles out the BBC as being hopelessly biased towards the liberal left world view, with a particularly strong line in Anglophobia, something he illustrates by citing the BBC’s After Rome, a programme which painted Dark Ages Islam as a vibrant civilisation and Dark Ages England as primitive and barbaric (p152).
The author laments the fact that liberals have generally been silent on the abuses of Communist regimes whilst engaged in a never ending raking over of Nazi malevolence. He cites as a rare and most honourable leftist exception Malcolm Muggeridge, who exposed the Stalin-inspired Ukrainian famine and searingly described the all too many useful idiots of the British liberal left at the time:
Travelling with radiant optimism through a famished countryside, wandering in happy bands about squalid overcrowded towns, listening with unshaken faith to the fatuous patter of carefully indoctrinated guides, repeating the bogus statistics and mindless slogans – all chanting the praises of Stalin and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (p138)
There is a further problem which Marsh spends a good deal of time examining. It is not clear exactly what constitutes the modern liberal. Many of the most enthusiastic enforcers of what we now call  political correctness do not call themselves liberals, but are members of the hard left or  representatives of ethnic and racial minorities who see political correctness not as a moral corrective but as an instrument to promote their individual and ethnic group advantage, often with the greatest cruelty. Nor is this simply a modern phenomenon for it has been happening since the 18th century.
Marsh patiently records atrocities in gruesome detail generated by those following secular and rationalistic systems of thought deriving from the ideas of Enlightenment, from the grotesque slaughter of the French Revolution to the insanities of various communist and fascist regimes in the 20th century. This is a truly depressing catalogue not merely of murder on a colossal scale but murder committed with atrocious cruelty. His tale of atrocity begins with the suppression of the Vendée rebellion by Republicans during the French Revolution, where men were castrated before death and women killed by explosives detonated within their vaginas, to the madness of Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” which rode on slogans such as “smash the old culture“ and the terrible promise of the Red  Guards that “We will be brutal”.
Marsh’s judgement of liberalism both in its beliefs and the practical consequences of its implementation verges on the despairing:
To sum up: in the past there were positive aspects to liberalism, but at its core lies a deeply flawed attempt to impose a romantic, but unrealistic, view of human nature on society. Because it is fundamentally untrue, lies, bullying and coercion are needed to impose it, and opponents must be silenced. Because its view of mankind is idealistic, its devotees think it must be true, and are strongly committed to it. It is congenial to people who are well-meaning and who have a naïve rose-tinted view of the world, which avoids dwelling too much on the ugly side of life, like the single mum in a tower block in Tottenham, trying to keep her children safe and worrying about gangs and knife crime. It is in denial of the fact that many aspects of life are worse today than in the past. Liberals cling to their views, ignoring the evidence of science, psychology, anthropology, history and social workers. It is a blind faith in a Utopian project , which blithely dismisses reality and regards its opponents as prejudiced. There is nothing to discuss because we are right. Sadly, for its devotees, truth will out in the end. The experiment was foredoomed from the start (p171)
Damning as that judgement is, I think Marsh is being rather too generous to liberals (especially the modern ones) when he credits them with being generally well-meaning. They are ideologues. That makes them dangerous, because any ideology removes personal choice in moral decision making as the mind becomes concentrated on fitting the ideology to circumstance rather than addressing each circumstance pragmatically. As Marsh points out, it also gives the individuals captured by the ideology an excuse to behave immorally in the enforcement of the ideology on the principle that ends justify means. That is particularly so with ideologies which are what might be called millenarian in their psychology, with a promised land at the end of the ideological road. Political correctness is of this type.
Once someone has accepted the validity of ends justifying means and they know or even suspect  that the means will cause harm, that removes any claim to being well intentioned because their final end good intentions are swallowed by the immoral means. Nor can any ideologue, liberals included, rationally have any confidence that a great upheaval of a society will result in their desired ideological ends. What history tells us is that tyranny or chaos are invariably the results of such attempts.
There is also a tremendous arrogance in assuming that it is possible to define what is desirable human behaviour and what is a good society. Liberals may imagine that what they purport to be the ultimate human goods – non-discrimination, equality and the primacy of any individual are objectively what they claim – but in reality they are both no more than value judgements and highly questionable in terms of their outcomes. Modern liberals, or at least the true believers, are really just another set of self-serving egotists who think they know how others should live.
There is a looming leviathan throughout the book that is largely ignored, namely mass immigration and its consequences. Marsh to his credit does mention immigration as a problem, both in terms of weakening British identity and causing resentment amongst the native white population, but it does not feature in more than a peripheral way. Marsh never really asks the question “how much of the change in general British behaviour and the nature of British society in the past fifty years is due to mass immigration?” The answer is arguably a great deal, because multiculturalism and ‘anti-racism’ have been used as levers to promote the ‘anti-discrimination’ and ‘equality’ agendas across the board.
In the end Marsh stumbles in his task of debunking modern liberalism, because he is reluctant to face the full implications of what he is saying. In his introduction he writes,
So is this book a straight-forward attack on liberalism? No. It is not as simple as that. There are some areas in which I believe liberals are right. I acknowledge that some liberalism is necessary and beneficial. Few would want to go back to the restrictions of the Victorian era or live under a despot. There was also a need to free us from a negative attitude towards sex. Liberals are right to be concerned about inequality and to fight for social justice. There still remain great inequalities and their campaign for greater fairness deserves support. I welcome the undermining of the class system, the greater opportunities open to women and the improved treatment of racial and sexual minorities – the decriminalisation of homosexuality
He cannot quite bring himself to go all the way and see modern liberalism for what it is, a pernicious system increasingly aimed at suppressing the resentment and anger of the native British population as the consequences of mass immigration become ever more obvious and pressing. Clearly he agrees with much of the central politically correct agenda, but it is precisely that agenda which has created the present situation and it is difficult to see how such an ideology could ever have resulted in any other outcome once it became the guiding ideology of the elite – because the ends of political correctness run directly against human nature and can only be enforced.
Marsh’s sympathy with political correctness leads him wittingly or unwittingly to risk having his  argument distorted by concentrating not on the whole but a part of British society and treating that part as representative of Britain. Take the question of liberalism undermining the poor by making them dependent on the state and denying them moral guidance at home and in school. Marsh uses an interview with the youth worker Shaun Bailey (chapter 11) who works in a poor area of  London. The problem is that Bailey is black and this colours his interpretation of what is happening. He looks at the experience of blacks and treats that experience as representative of the poor generally, which it is not. For example, poor white Britons may have a greater incidence of one-parent homes and fathers deserting mothers now than previously, but the incidence of these behaviours amongst poor whites is much lower than it is amongst poor blacks, whether British born or  immigrants. Yet Bailey’s views are represented as being generally applicable to British society.
Despite these caveats, I strongly urge people to read the book. The Liberal Delusion is important because it succinctly performs the task of pointing out that the liberal emperor has no clothes or at least very tattered and insufficient ones. That is something which is sorely needed. The book’s value is enhanced by being  written in a lively and easily accessible style. Just read it with an understanding of the limitations imposed by Marsh’s residual, almost subliminal, hankering after the core values of political correctness.
First published in The Quarterly Review

http://www.quarterly-review.org/?p=1790

See also The Liberal Bigot

Ethnic Conflicts (review)

Tatu Vanhanen
ISBN 978-0-9573913-1-4Ulster Institute for Public ResearchUK £23 hard cover, £18 paperback

By Robert Henderson

This is not a book designed for easy bedtime reading. It is an academic’s work  written first and foremost for academics with a fair amount of statistics in it.   Having said that, if a prospective reader managed to get to grips with, say, The Bell Curve they should be able to absorb the important messages of Prof Vanhanen’s book and understand how he arrives at them.   It is worth making the effort because  he deals with the most fundamental sociological aspect of being human: how do we manage the challenges produced by heterogeneous societies?

The Profesor’s   first  aim was  to measure the relationship  between the ethnic heterogeneity of a society and ethnic conflict..  There are  considerable difficulties in doing this not least  because what may be thought of as ethnic conflict by one person may be seem  by another as conflict based on something else such as class.  For example, an ethnic group which is black and poor and rebels against the better off  in society who are white (a not uncommon state in Latin America) could be represented as being either ethnically motivated or class motivated.

 There is also the  general problem of what constitutes ethnicity.  Prof Vanhanen’s  definition is  very broad and includes racial type, nation, tribe,  language and  religion. While these are undoubtedly all distinctions which cause people to exhibit what might be loosely called tribal behaviour, its breadth  does raise the question of whether   racial type, nation, tribe,  language and  religion are really comparable in terms of how people respond to those inside and outside the group .  For example, it may be that where the ethnic division is one of religion between those of the same racial type and general culture representative government will mitigate ethnic tensions,  while if the division is racial,  representative government may do nothing to stop discord.

There is a further  cause for confusion in that more than one of Prof Vanhanen’s  ethnic  criteria is frequently shared by an ethnic group or even more confusingly by two conflicting ethnic groups.  Muslims are  a good example. In theory there is meant to be no distinctions made between Muslims on the grounds of sectarian allegiance, racial type, tribe  or  nationality. In the real world  there are marked divisions within  the theology  of Islam and tribal and national allegiances which often override the supposed unity of Muslims.  The danger with the very broad definition the Professor uses  is that the process of defining  reduces the world to so many different ethnicities that it becomes difficult to distinguish between ethnic conflict and  non-ethnic violence which he ascribes to the  “endless struggle for permanently scarce resources”.

Having made those qualifications, of which Prof Vanhanen is  well  aware, the project does not utterly founder on them. It is a mistake to imagine that nothing valuable can be gleaned from using  criteria  which have a fuzziness about them.   That is especially so if the sample is large enough because a large sample in social science projects digests anomalies.  As there are few societies now which do not have some basis for significant ethnic conflict the professor is able to cast his net very widely amongst 176 countries, around nine tenths of those currently existing.

But the Professor  wants not only to test whether ethnic heterogeneity  is correlated with ethnic conflict;  he also wishes to see if  ethnic nepotism  is a driver of ethnic conflict: “My argument is that ethnic cleavages divide the population into groups  that are, to some extent,  genetically different.”  (p7).  The concept of ethnic nepotism which  is based on the idea that it is an extension of family nepotism, that those belong to the same ethnic group favour those within  the group  over outsiders. (It is important to bear in mind that  Prof Vanhanen does not claim that ethnic nepotism is the cause of all group based   conflict, merely that it explains why  conflict in many societies is so often based on ethnic divisions).

To test this hypothesis   Prof Vanhanen  devised his own scales of ethnic heterogeneity and ethnic conflict and compares them with non-ethnic measures devised by others  such as the Human Development Index and The Index of Democratisation”.  He found only weak correlations between the non-ethnic measures but  a strong correlation between ethnic heterogeneity and ethnic conflict (p214). In other words his research suggests that  the greater the ethnic diversity in a society the greater the ethnic strife, although there are significant variations between the various traits which he includes in his definition of ethnicity.

I have something of a problem with the concept of ethnic nepotism in the context of  Prof Vanhanen’s definition of ethnicity because it includes non-genetic differences such as language and  religion.  It is true that those who are racially similar will be genetically closer than those who are racially different.  It is also true that those who form a large tribe or a nation in the cultural sense will in practice be genetically closer than those outside the group.   The possession of a particular language  by a group  is also a strong pointer  to close genetic  links unless there is some obvious difference such as race or the language spoken not as a native would speak it.   Religion is more problematic because  that is something that can be  simply acquired. If a man says he is a Catholic or Muslim it does not  necessarily say anything about his genetic connection with other Catholics or Muslims. Nonetheless,  if the Catholic or Muslim comes from the same country or even supranational  area, there is a decent chance that he will have a closer  genetic  relationship with other Catholics and Muslims from the area than would be expected purely from chance.

The difficulty is that although a significant genetic linkage will commonly exist because of the way human beings live in groups,  whether that is a small band or a modern nation,  it does not automatically follow that the genetic similarity is what causes the ethnic nepotism. It could be that the simple fact of growing  up with people creates a tribal feeling rather than genetic closeness.  Moreover, what are we to make of the “imagined community” of any group where the numbers are too great to allow personal knowledge of all those in the group?  I do not doubt that differences of religion, nation, tribe, language  and  race do act as triggers for the separation of groups in competing entities, but  with the exception of race I cannot see that  genetic  influence is proven to be other than accidental.  Where there are divisions in a society based on clear racial lines that is a different matter because there is self-evidently a genetic cause for the preference for one class of person in a society over another class of person.

The book ignores what I would describe as the most basic ethnic conflict, that is,  the behaviour of individuals to disadvantage someone of a different ethnicity without there being any deliberate group decision or action. A good example is the grossly disproportionate number of  black rapes and murders of whites in the USA.   That situation is clearly driven by racial feelings with blacks either harbouring a general resentment of whites or simply seeing whites as outside their group and thus not of consequence. However, the latter explanation does not hold much water because blacks do not attack Asians  with the same frequency.

Are there remedies for ethnic strife? Prof Vanhanen suggests four: biological mixing, institutional reforms, democratic compromises and partition.  Of these only partition even in theory offers a complete  solution to ethnic strife with the prospect of a completely ethnically homogeneous society or at least one in which the minorities are so small as to barely matter.  The problem with partition is that it is probably never possible to simply divide a territory because mixed populations are generally not neatly parcelled up in convenient parts  of the territory.

By institutional reforms he means most particularly the legal and democratic structures which ostensibly protect the interests of each ethnic group and by democratic compromises the satisfying of each ethnic group’s  aspirations to at least a point where violence is avoided.  The Professor finds   some evidence that democratic institutions  can reduce  the amount of ethnic violence, although he allows that “the willingness of competing ethnic groups to solve their interest conflicts by democratic compromises and power-sharing is limited” (p227).

The fourth of his remedies – biological mixing – is the one I have the most difficulty with.  He  claims (p222)  that  biological mixing would reduce ethnic violence  because it would “undermine the  basis and importance of ethnic nepotism”.     He further  observes “ My argument is that the relatively low level of ethnic violence in most Latin American countries is causally related to the fact that racially mixed people constitute a significant part of the population in these countries”. (P221).

I think most people would be surprised  at his judgement that there is a “relatively low level of ethnic violence in Latin American countries”.  I am very dubious indeed about the idea that many of the conflicts which arise in the region are often not ethnic in origin using the Professor’s own definitions. To take just one example:  amongst those with black ancestry, whether that is wholly black or black mixed with other races especially the white, there is in Latin America and Caribbean a customary  hierarchy of  colour with the lightest  skin signifying   standing at the top of the social status ladder and the darkest at the bottom.  Look at Brazil as an example. This country  is beloved by white liberals as a prime example of  a colour-blind country.  The reality is that the reins of power and privilege are still held overwhelmingly by whites. The great Brazilian footballer Pele complained publicly about this some years ago.

The likely outcome of biological mixing on any scale would be for those of mixed parentage to find their natural group amongst those from who most resemble themselves.  This is actually what happens in practice. In Britain the children of one black and one white parent almost invariably represent themselves as black.  It would at best simply change the balance of races within a society and at worst add to ethnic conflict with  those of mixed parentage added to the groups competing within the same territory.

Professor Vanhanen’s overall conclusion is a gloomy one: “The central message of this study is that ethnic conflict and violence, empowered by ethnic nepotism and the inevitable struggle for scarce resources, will not disappear from the world. It is more probable that the incidence of ethnic violence will increase in the more and more crowded world” (p230).

The moral of this book is beautifully simple: ethnically/racially heterogeneous societies are a recipe for discord and violence.   That should give the propagandists of mass immigration pause for thought.

————————————————————————————————-

Published orignially in the Quarterly Review http://www.quarterly-review.org/?p=1610
NB The Quarterly Review is now an online journal only. RH


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