In The Warden, the first volume of Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire, we are given an illustration of the mischief which zealous, progressive social reformers can do when they have the support of the news media. The title character is the Reverend Septimus Harding, an elderly clergyman who is the warden of an almshouse operated by the Church of England in the fictional cathedral town of Barchester. A zealous young social reformer and the suitor of the warden’s daughter, Dr. John Bold believes that the warden receives too high of an income from the property which had been donated to establish the almshouse, and takes legal action to correct this perceived injustice. While Bold is able to keep his knowledge of the fact that the warden is a good and honest man in a separate compartment of his mind from that in which he has formed his opinion about the warden’s income, his friend Tom Towers, publisher of the powerful newspaper The Jupiter, joins his crusade by writing and publishing a couple of articles in which he paints the warden in as negative of a light as possible as a greedy hypocrite and robber of the poor. When Bold goes to Towers, tells him that he is wrong about the warden and asks him not to publish any such stories again, he is told that to do so would defraud the public.
Trollope’s novel was first published in the middle of the 19th century and the causes which inflame self-righteous social reformers have changed between then and now. One of the causes which the John Bolds and Tom Towerses of the present day are obsessed with is that of correcting racial injustices. Or rather, that of combating “racism”, which is not quite the same thing. This obsession dates back to World War II, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the international indignation over the policy of apartheid practiced by South Africa back before it became a failed state.
Many are the Septimus Hardings who have fallen victim to the self-righteousness of the pompous do-gooders and their anti-racist crusade. In 1995, award winning editorial writer Samuel Francis was fired from the Washington Times. A few years earlier, Joseph Sobran, a brilliant protégé of William F. Buckley Jr. had been fired from National Review by his old mentor. In both cases the writers were fired by supposedly conservative publications after progressives had accused them of racism – or in Sobran’s case anti-Semitism – over something they had written and said.
The latest victims are Patrick J. Buchanan and John Derbyshire.
Buchanan is a syndicated columnist, a best-selling author, a former adviser and speechwriter to three US Presidents, and a three time candidate for the US Presidency himself. He was fired from the television news network MSNBC earlier this year. Progressives had been demanding that he be fired ever since the publication, last year, of his latest book Suicide of a Superpower, which included a chapter on “The End of White America”. The network’s president announced in January that he thought what Buchanan had written was not appropriate for “the national dialogue” (1) and in February, Buchanan was fired.
John Derbyshire is the author of several books, including We are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. He is also a freelance writer who until recently was published by National Review. Late last week he committed the terrible sin of writing an article for the webzine Taki’s Mag entitled “The Talk: Non-black Version”. Several articles had been published recently which discussed conversations certain black parents had with their children warning them about the racism and prejudice they can expect at the hands of white America. Derbyshire’s article was a response to these in which he presented an alternative “talk”, which he says is derived from conversations he has had with his own mixed-race children about black people. The leftist gutter press, including such trash rags as the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post, threw a conniption over this article and the once conservative magazine’s editor Richard Lowry (2) fired him this past weekend.
What had Francis, Sobran, Buchanan, and now Derbyshire said to warrant this outrage? Did they demand the re-establishment of de jure segregation? Did they suggest that black slavery should be reinstated? Did they say that blacks or members of any other race should be denied the civil rights and legal protections of other citizens? Did they call for the persecution or extermination of people on the basis of their skin colour?
Judging from the hysterical denunciations of these men penned by progressives and pseudoconservatives onewould think that they did all of the above, but in fact they did none of the above, nor anything remotely similar.
These men were accused of racism because they rejected the progressive narrative in which whites, and only whites, are the perpetrators of racism, and non-whites, and only non-whites, are the victims of racism. They were accused of racism because they did not accept the idea that it is “racist” for white people to think of themselves collectively as a group and to look out for their own interests and those of their children but that it is not racist for people of other races to be conscious of a racial identity and work to advance their interests. They were accused of racism because they objected to the way in which governments of Western countries were using liberal immigration policies to adversely affect the future well-being of white people. (3) They were accused of racism because they refused to abide by the liberal-imposed taboos against the discussion of facts which conflict with the idea that the best way to deal with the reality of race is to pretend it does not exist.
Samuel Francis had given a speech in which he connected the achievements of Western civilization to the character of the people who built that civilization and suggested that the survival of that culture and civilization required the survival of that people. (4)
Joseph Sobran, who wanted the United States to withdraw from global military endeavours when the Cold War ended, warned that America’s close relationship with Israel could potentially lead her into perpetual war with the Arab nations. (5)
Patrick Buchanan wrote a jeremiad about the decline of America that pointed out that the USA will be irrevocably changed once whites become a minority in America, as is scheduled to happen before this century is half over, and dared to question whether that change will be for the better.
John Derbyshire told his half-European, half-Asian children that as individuals black people are entitled to the same courtesy and respect as any other citizen, that as a group “there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black)”, that there are major differences between blacks and whites in terms of group averages, and that in certain specific circumstances there is reason to be afraid of blacks. (6)
These men lost their jobs because progressive liberals had determined that the expression of certain facts and truths was detrimental to their cause, that everyone who expressed those facts and truths must be branded a racist and silenced, and because the executives of the largest “conservative” publications lacked the courage to stand up to the bullying demands of the left.
One man who has been much in the news over the last month, stands to lose much more than a job, however, because of the alliance between anti-racist social reformers and the media. That man is George Zimmerman. If progressives and their media allies have their way, Mr. Zimmerman will arrested, tried, and convicted of murder, and spend the rest of his life behind bars.
George Zimmerman, for those of you have been vacationing on the moon since Christmas, is a member of the neighborhood watch in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, which is a gated community in Sanford, Florida. On the evening of February 26th, he noticed a 17-year old black youth named Trayvon Martin. Martin, it turns out, had walked from the home of his father’s fiancé to a local 7-11 to buy skittles and ice tea. He was unarmed. Zimmerman thought he looked suspicious, and called police dispatch to report “looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.” The police told him they did not need him to follow Martin and that they would send a car to investigate. When the police arrived they found Martin dead and Zimmerman standing nearby. Zimmerman told them that he had shot Martin in self-defence. The police took Zimmerman in for questioning, but they did not charge him, and eventually released him.
Progressives maintain that this was an act of racism, that Zimmerman was afraid of Martin because of his skin colour, and murdered him in cold blood.
Let me say right now that I do not know that this was not a murder. Perhaps the progressives are right for once – a stopped clock is right twice a day after all – and Zimmerman deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life. I do not know, because I do not know what happened in the interval between Zimmerman’s phone call to the police and their arrival, other than that Zimmerman shot Martin. Neither, however, do the progressives know what happened. They were not there anymore than I was.
I do know that the media falsified evidence to support the progressive interpretation of these events.
The National Broadcasting Corporation, for example, played an excerpt from Zimmerman’s call to the police that went “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” In fact, Zimmerman’s actual words were “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” The words “he looks black” were in response to a direct question from the police “OK, and this guy—is he black, white or Hispanic?”
When this was made public, NBC promised to investigate, and wrote the entire thing off as an “error”. (7)
It is difficult to imagine an “error” that would edit a conversation and make it into a racist statement. It is not difficult, unfortunately, to think of a plausible reason why a media company would intentionally do so.
Think about it. There are countless numbers of tragic deaths that occur in the United States every year. Why has this particular case attracted international media attention?
It has done so because the case has been depicted in the media as a classic example of racism. It has been turned into a morality tale to instruct us as to the evils that come from racial profiling. It is being offered as proof that the United States, over 140 years after abolishing slavery, over 40 years after the abolition of Jim Crow and the replacement of de jure discrimination against blacks with de jure discrimination in their favour, and 4 years since they elected their first black President, is a white racist society. The story of racist Zimmerman shooting down an innocent youth in cold blood because he was black is a story tailor-made to suit the purposes of those progressive anti-racists who seem to think that Adolf Hitler is going to break out of hell and start up anew in North America any day now.
The facts of the story, however, do not seem to fit the mold into which the progressive media has been trying to force it.
For one thing, Zimmerman, despite his German/Jewish last name, is not white. He is of mixed race, his father being white, his mother being Peruvian Hispanic. He identifies himself as Hispanic when voting. The media has taken to referring to him as a “white Hispanic”, although he is of dark complexion and it is not customary to refer to people of mixed ancestry in this way. It does not seem to have occurred to the media, that their insistence upon calling Zimmerman “white” in order to associate the shooting of Martin with “whiteness” is itself racist against whites.
For another thing there is evidence to support Zimmerman’s account. The police reported that he was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head and that he showed signs of having been on the ground himself. The surveillance video of Zimmerman entering the police station, despite claims by ABC News to the contrary, shows those injuries. A witness testified to seeing Zimmerman lying on the ground with Martin on top of him punching him.
It should go without saying that this event was a tragedy one way or another. A 17 year old, unarmed kid, was shot dead on his way home from the store. However he dressed, whatever he called himself on Twitter, he did not deserve that. Having said that, however, it does not follow that Zimmerman is the cold-blooded killer that he has been portrayed as in the media. The way the media has handled this affairs means that it will be virtually impossible for Zimmerman to receive a fair trial if he is arrested and charged. Sir William Blackstone once said that it is “better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.” Progressives appear to be willing to sacrifice this noble principle, a key element of the English concept of justice, to the cause of anti-racism.
What the progressives want us to believe is that the Martin shooting proves that white racism is a significant social problem in Obama’s “post-racial” America which justifies legislation and social programs aimed at correcting that problem. The facts are otherwise. If there is a major problem with racism in the USA today it is not the racism of whites against blacks, but of blacks against whites.
Data compiled by the American government demonstrates that the vast majority of crimes committed in the United States are intraracial, i.e., committed against someone of the same race as the person committing the crime. When whites commit crimes, it is most often against other whites, when blacks commit crimes it is most often against other blacks.
The date also shows that interracial crimes, i.e., crimes committed against someone of a different race than the perpetrator, are far more often committed by blacks against whites, than the other way around. (8)
Progressives insist that crimes should receive a greater punishment if they can be shown to be motivated by racial prejudice. They have succeeded in getting laws passed against “hate crimes” in many places. Yet black on white crimes, despite being more frequent than white on black crimes, are seldom if ever treated as hate crimes. Nor do they receive the media attention that the much rarer white on black crimes receive. Particular black on white crimes only seem to receive the kind of media attention the shooting of Trayvon Martin has received when they involve a celebrity like O. J. Simpson.
The progressive/media campaign against racism is a very selective campaign indeed. Certain statements are mercilessly condemned as “racist” when made by whites, even if they are unquestionably true, whereas violent crimes committed against whites are excused as being the expectable response to white racism, rather than racism against whites.
In Trollope’s novel the efforts of John Bold and Tom Towers do not, in the end, help the people in whose name they had appointed themselves to speak but actually make their condition worse. Towers’ accusations drive the warden from the almshouse, the bishop decides not to replace him because of the controversy surrounding the warden’s income, the institution falls into decline, and the residents are deprived of a good friend and of the allowance he had paid them out of his own pocket.
How about the progressive campaign against racism? Has it benefited those in whose name it is fought?
No, it has not. The major injustices committed against blacks in the United States, slavery and de jure segregation, have been abolished for decades. The anti-racist movement continues to blame the problems blacks face today on these injustices however. This does nothing to improve relations between the races, generating distrust on both sides. If blacks and whites both would be benefited from better race relations, then the anti-racist movement is harming both races.
Black people have far more important problems than racism to deal with. Many live in urban centres that have been turned into slums by misguided urban planning on the part of the American federal government (9). A black middle class took shape and began to grow in the decades before the Civil Rights movement began (10), but upward mobility among American blacks has actually slowed down since the Civil Rights movement many urban blacks today find themselves trapped in multi-generational poverty and dependence in part due to anti-family incentives in social programs designed ironically to combat poverty (11). A negative culture which glorifies crime and violence and preys upon black youth has developed and this culture contributes significantly to the high crime rates, both as perpetrators and victims, among American blacks (12).
Progressive and media anti-racism encourages black leaders to turn white people into scapegoats for all these problems rather than to seek real solutions to them. It also contributes to the problems, especially the violent youth culture.
Everybody, white and black alike, suffers from the actions of our contemporary anti-racist John Bolds. If anyone benefits, it is the self-righteous progressive do-gooders themselves, who are usually the first to put into practice in their personal lives the advice John Derbyshire gave his children in his brilliant article.
1. Patrick Buchanan tells the story of his firing in this column here: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/2012/02/16/blacklisted-but-not-beaten/ You can read my review of his book here: http://thronealtarliberty.blogspot.com/2011/11/fate-of-america.html
2. Lowry became editor of National Review in 1997. The editor who preceded him was John O’Sullivan, who had taken over the editorship when Buckley stepped down and semi-retired in 1988. Officially O’Sullivan announced that he was resigning the editorship. There is evidence, however, that William F. Buckley Jr. forced him to step down. O’Sullivan had approved a cover story for the magazine entitled “Time to Rethink Immigration?” in 1992, written by finance columnist Peter Brimelow, who would later write the 1995 bestseller Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster calling for immigration restriction and found the immigration restrictionist webzine VDare. Brimelow was fired from National Review at about the same time O’Sullivan “stepped down.” The new editor, Lowry, brought the magazine more in line with “neo-conservatism”, an ideology originally associated with former ‘60’s and ‘70’s radicals and liberals like Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, which basically consists of support for American military crusades to spread democracy and capitalism around the globe, a strong American alliance with Israel, free trade and immigration. .
3. Sobran was a late convert to the immigration reform/restrictionist movement, following the publication of Buchanan’s State of Emergency.
4. The speech was given at the first American Renaissance conference in May 1994. It was later adapted into the article “Why Race Matters: The assault on our race and culture must be met in explicitly racial terms”, which appeared as the cover story of the September 1994 issue of American Renaissance. It can be read online here: http://www.amren.com/ar/1994/09/#cover American Renaissance is a monthly publication that deals entirely with racial issues. It was founded by Jared Taylor, a Yale University graduate, whose book Paved With Good Intentions, first published by Carroll & Graf in 1993, argues that efforts to create racial harmony in the United States following the American Civil Rights Movement through affirmative action and the dismantling of white racial identity have in fact produced the opposite of racial harmony. Politically, Taylor holds to a modified libertarianism in which the state restricts immigration, but is domestically colour blind. Taylor has pointed to studies that show that people of all races prefer to associate mostly with members of their own race, and argues that people of all races should be free to self-segregate or to mix, as they wish. His views can be taken to be the editorial position of American Renaissance, which publishes well-written articles by academics or scientists (some writing under pseudonyms for obvious reasons) which challenge the various racial taboos of progressive America.
5. Sobran expressed these opinions, not in the pages of National Review, but in his syndicated column. This was around the time of Patrick Buchanan’s first presidential campaign and Buchanan expressed similar views, as did Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel. It is noteworthy that these conservative columnists were all strong Israel supporters during the Cold War. Each of them believed that the USA should withdraw from military interventionism and adopt a position of armed neutrality after the collapse of the Soviet threat. The accusations of anti-Semitism came primarily from neo-conservatives who wanted the exact opposite of this, a Pax Americana in which liberalism, capitalism, and democracy would be spread throughout the world with the backing of the US military. Often the progressives who repeat the neo-conservatives accusations of anti-Semitism against men like the Buchanan, Reese, and the late Sobran, are the same progressives who lionize Palestianian terrorists as “freedom fighters” and demonize Israel as an “apartheid state”.
6. http://takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire While I don’t agree with his advice in 10h, the facts as he presents them are correct, and his advice based upon them is largely common sense.
7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/nbc-issues-apology-on-zimmerman-tape-screw-up/2012/04/03/gIQA8m5jtS_blog.html h/t Lawrence Auster http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/022083.html
8. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams081899.asp This column was written in 1999. In it Dr. Walter E. Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, tells how he independently verified the findings of The Color of Crime, a report published by the New Century Foundation earlier that year. The New Century Foundation is the company that publishes American Renaissance, referred to in footnote 4. In 2005 a second, updated, and enlarged edition of The Colour of Crime was published. It is available to download in .pdf format here: http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.pdf The report finds that blacks commit 85% of interracial crime in the United States, and whites commit 15%. Blacks are 12% of the American population, whites are over 60%. Note carefully what these figures say and what they do not say. They do not say that the majority of black Americans commit interracial crimes. They do say that the vast majority of interracial crimes in America are committed by black Americans.
9. Kirkpatrick Sale demonstrates how slums are created on pages 117-122 of Human Scale (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980). The example he uses is the South Bronx. He traces its decline, beginning with federal government intervention in the housing market after World War II to housing projects in the 60’s and 70’s. He does so to illustrate the concept of prytaneogenesis – “damage actually generated by the state”.
10. The history of this can be read in Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom’s America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997).
11. A strong family structure helps deter multi-generational poverty. This structure is weakened when social programs provide – unintentionally – incentives to men to desert their wives and children, for a father and mother not to marry, and for women have children outside of wedlock with multiple fathers and raise those children alone. See Charles Murray, Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980 (New York: Basic Books, 1984, 1994), particularly pages 124-133.
12. If you look at the total number of crimes committed in the United States, and break it down by race, blacks do not commit the majority of crimes in the United States. They do, however, commit a very disproportionate percentage of the crimes. What that means is that for the vast majority of American crimes, the percentage committed by blacks is much higher than the roughly 12% that is their percentage of the American population. Progressives typically explain these figures away by accusing police and judges of being racist. Racial arrest and conviction figures however, correlate strongly with the racial analysis of the testimony of crime victims. The Color of Crime, referred to and linked to in footnote 8 does this correlation. The most recent edition is 7 years old but updated source data is available for at the websites of the FBI and the US Bureau of Justice. The US Bureau of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey can be found here: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245 The following link includes a number of reports from the survey that deal specifically with race: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=922 The FBI’s United Crime Reports can be found here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr Reports for the years 1995 to 2010 are available as is a preliminary report for 2011. To find the racial figures, first click on one of the years, then on “rates” under “Offences Known to Law Enforcement”. This will open a page with a series of options in a horizontal bar at the top. Click “Persons Arrested” then choose the options available for “race” under Expanded Arrest Data at the bottom of the page. Note carefully, that because most crime is intraracial, these figures mean not only that blacks commit a disproportionate number of American crimes, but that they are victims at a disproportionately high rate as well. Therefore, the constant attempts of progressives and their media allies, to slander and libel anyone who points these facts out as a “racist”, is harmful rather than helpful to black Americans, because it covers up a problem that afflicts them worse than anyone else in the USA.
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