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Saturday, November 28, 2015

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Bill, I have been following this line of philosophical commentary as best I can. Since I am not- "sharp, young, philosophers"- any of the three, I do wish I had studied more of the subject in college, especially its methodology.

My conservatism is more in line with yours I suspect and I am more properly "liberal" than these phonies currently using the term. They are more likely socialist, collectivist even Maoist and don't even know it. The debating style of these Leftists descends to the "fascist veto"---shouting down what contradicts them because it is threatening. I hope the sharp young philosophers find their way here over the weekend.

Right. There is nothing liberal about contemporary 'liberals.' So I call them LINOs: Liberals In Name Only.

We ought to fear the perils of polarization. There is some danger of tacking toward a form of intolerance and dogmatism merely opposite to that of the libs & lefties. There are traces of this in the demagogue Trump.

"Philosophically, conservatism is more accurately seen as a species of liberalism itself"

Compared to the Maverick I'm not sharp, but I am young so here's a thought.
That above statement seems to me controversial, but it might be true. Against it, in "Democracy in America" Tocqueville frequently pits aristocrats verses liberals. The aristocracy, it might be argued, represents a particular group of conservatives maintaining the status quo (promoting slow change, the value of traditions, etc.) whereas liberals might be represented by Locke, Mill, Malthus, etc. and the tendency towards democracy and equality (Tocqueville of course casts himself somewhere in between). If the aristocrats count as conservatives, then it seems hard to maintain that conservatism is a species of liberalism. Perhaps "conservatism" though is a broad enough term that it would include people like Tocqueville who borrow some from liberalism without the pie-in-the-sky egalitarianism of the Lockes and Mills.

Thanks, Tully.

Anonymous: Tully Borland is someone to whom you may wish to introduce yourself. Click on his name above and you will get to his blog where presumably you will find his e-mail address.

I would guess that no one here is a 'throne-and-altar' conservative. Correct me if I am wrong. None of us want monarchy or believe in the divine right of kings. And none of us want theocracy. We want secular gov't and separation of church and state, mosque and state, synagogue and state and LEFT and state.

Although leftism is not a religion, strictly speaking, it functions very much like a religion in the lives of lefties. I think you boys will agree with me that we ought to keep this 'religion' separate from the state apparatus.

Now rejection of monarchy and theocracy are 'liberal' elements, right? A sound conservatism has to reject them, as it seems to me.

On the other hand, a sound conservatism must avoid the errors of libertarianism. A sound conservatism must have a proper respect for the right of a nation to preserve its culture, and a correct theory of human nature.

>>If the aristocrats count as conservatives, then it seems hard to maintain that conservatism is a species of liberalism.<<

Right. But a sound conservatism, I would say, must jettison some of those paleo elements -- but not all.

I basically agree with Horowitz.



Hi Bill,
It’s great to continue these conversations. I’m learning something from you and the many excellent commenters on the site. (Makes me think I should have my own blog someday!)

I also basically agree with Horowitz. This is a very deep topic. Leftism and Rightism, in the modern sense, are products of the French Revolution. The conservative is a Leftist who wants the ongoing Revolution to be constrained or tempered by some non-Leftist value such as national identity or traditional sex roles (or whatever). Since there is a conflict between the non-Leftist values and principles of equality and liberty, there is a tendency for his other values to be forgotten or inverted over time.

“The Revolution needs both wings to fly”, someone once said. The conservative plays an essential role within the broader Leftist dialectic. He facilitates the program of the Left by functioning as a kind of controlled opposition. Normal people who might start reaching for pitchforks are given ways to rationalize and eventually accept the latest outrage; then that last outrage has to be conserved. At any given time, the conservative is defending the evil destructive things the Left wanted 10 or 15 years earlier. Thus Martin Luther King Jr., a straight-up-and-down Communist, plagiarist and serial adulterer, is now taken by conservatives to be a great hero for all Americans whose “vision” for race relations must be protected against crazy new Leftist ideas about race. I’m sure that in 50 years typical conservatives will be telling us that the sacred institution of Open-Polygamous-Gay-Marriage must not be open to weird people who want to marry corpses. Or that while it was entirely right to amend the Constitution so that only whites could receive the death sentence, we have to take a stand against those crazy Leftists who want to start executing whites without even having a trial first.

All mainstream modern political positions are radically Leftist, or Revolutionary; all of them are based on principles of equality, autonomy, liberty. The right Leftists (classical liberals, modern-day conservatives) are more sane in some ways than the Left Leftists (modern-day liberals, anti-racists, feminists, communists, etc.). For they consciously recognize and defend principles and – more importantly – deep and particular human goods that are not reducible to principles. They are less sane in another way, though, since they are stuck in a dialectic that in the long-term and overall tends ever Leftward; they are schizophrenic, because what they love most cannot be articulated and defended in the long run on the basis of their Leftist principles. The more extreme or consistent Leftist is rational in a narrow sense, closer to fully instantiating the nihilism of destruction implied at a deep level by his principles; that’s insane, of course, and it’s better to ignore the implications of your principles and trust your heart, as the typical mainstream conservative tends to do.

Am I a ‘throne and altar’ kind of guy? Well, maybe. I think politics makes no sense apart from some ultimate grounding in religion or transcendence, and I have no objection in principle to monarchy or theocracy. I don't think there's any particular reason to support democracy in the abstract or in general. It depends a lot on which throne and which altar, which democracy.

Bill, your kind of conservatism is sensible and philosophically sound, but (I would argue) only within a certain context. If you live in a basically white, patriarchal, European, Christian, educated kind of society THEN there are going to be all kinds of taken-for-granted background conditions that will give a definite shape to notions of ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ and the like. Operating within that (good, reasonable) cultural matrix a kind of classical liberalism is perfectly fine. But we have to realize that the Lifeworld within which classical liberalism was a good thing is just as important as the theory, and liberalism (or mainstream conservatism) immediately becomes destructive and suicidal for people like you and I once that Lifeworld is replaced by secular, multi-cultural chaos. Notice, however, that if we seek to defend these preconditions for ‘conservatism’ the defense has to make explicit values and principles that are external to ‘conservatism’. The defense will rest on a more radical Anti-Revolutionary position, somewhere on the “lunatic fringe” where “blood and soil” are consciously valued. But that’s not “lunatic”. It’s a matter of openly asserting that the same basic human goods that every other human group in recorded history has cared about are also things that we normal western people care about too. Horowitz’s throwaway dig illustrates my point about the role of conservatism. Even in the 50s it was a mainstream conservative belief that America should, of course, be a predominantly white country; it was just understood that “blood” was crucial. A few decades later, ‘conservative’ attitudes on this subject those of the most radical Leftists back then, and it *always* goes this way. The Left wins *every* debate with conservatives, in the long run.

Jacques, "The Left wins *every* debate with conservatives, in the long run." Do they "win" the debates or do the debates really never take place because the Left always seeks out and takes over the institutions? I believe that is the reality. Therefore the Left imposes and infuses its will without ever defending its will or even ever being called to account for their failures. As long as they own the institutions--media, academia, government agencies-(the Cathedral) they answer to very few.

Jacques,

Fascinating, but I am having some trouble understanding you. You say you "basically agree with Horowitz" but then embrace 'blood and soil' when he had distanced himself from them. I've read quite a bit of Horowitz and your position is not basically the same as his. For one thing he is an agnostic and would not claim that politics needs a religious foundation. He is of course respectful of religion as are most conservatives, even most atheist conservatives.

There is a problem of terminology. You write >>The conservative is a Leftist who wants the ongoing Revolution to be constrained or tempered by some non-Leftist value such as national identity or traditional sex roles (or whatever).<< You need to explain to me what then the Right stands for. For you everybody is a leftist of one stripe or another. What then is rightist? For you, presumably, even Pat Buchanan is a lefty!

Why not state your position in half a dozen theses so I know where you are coming from?

What would you say is the central problem of political philosophy? Anscombe says in effect that it is the problem of providing a moral justification for the exercise of the state's coercive power over those in its jurisdiction.

Do you agree that that is the central problem? If yes, how do you solve it?

Sorry to be unclear -- I meant that I basically agree with the bolded sentence :)

Good questions Bill. I'll have to give some thought to theses and get back to you.

Whitewall -- Yes, but why and how do they always end up owning the institutions? Because the whole society operates within their premises.

Bill, thanks for focusing us on this question about liberalism and the relation to relation to American conservatism. I take it that the general notion of political conservatism (of which American conservatism is just a particular case) is not committed to liberalism in any way. One could be a conservative monarchist (if he were situated in a place where monarchy was the tradition). If conservatism is just the idea that whatever is there should be conserved, then it seems like a highly implausible view of the political good. But there are probably better notions of conservatism. I have heard it characterized as a meta-political-philosophy that rejects abstract theories over tried and proven social structures, and I think that there is much truth in that characterization. (This is why, I think, conservatives lose on the plane of ideas. They are, by nature, anti-theoretical.)

But this latter kind of conservatism is _not_ a political position itself. So, none of these ideas can explain the nature of what we call ‘conservatism’ in American. I agree with Horowitz that American “conservatives” are a kind of liberal. They are focused on preserving the older, traditional liberal principles that America was founded upon. I think that the problem that we are seeing, leading to this very discussion that we are having, is that those founding principles are highly inadequate and incomplete in describing what traditional America has been and what the political good is. Here, I am in broad agreement with Jacques. What we are seeing now are the largely unarticulated aspects of the political and social goods that have developed in Europe and America since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks being undermined, attacked, and destroyed.

One important role of philosophers is to figure out the nature of these goods and formulate concepts, descriptions, and arguments that allow others to understand what they, at best, implicitly know. We need to furnish the concepts and arguments that allow other intellectuals, politicians, and regular people to fight for western civilization. The importance of this project should not be underestimated. Philosophers such as us need to provide the philosophical foundations for a new view of the political good that is intelligible and compelling.

Bill, I’m not a political philosopher in that I don’t know the mountains of literature on the topic that have been written, but the idea that the central question of political philosophy is what justifies the state in coercive force strikes me as very narrow conception of political philosophy, perhaps one that betrays exactly the kind of liberal myopia that we’ve been discussing. Isn’t a more fundamental question what the political good is, which would include not only questions about the justification of coercion but questions about obligations from citizens and questions about what political structures best facilitate well-being?

So, one of the main questions here is what needs to be added or changed to classical liberalism? One thing I think is extremely important is a very robust and explicit endorsement of _nationalism_. Nationalism in the sense I’m advocating, as a political view that could be understood an argued for, would include:

1. A basic understanding of what a nation is that can be articulated. (We’ve discussed what this concept would be a bit on here recently.)
2. An understanding and commitment to the idea that being part of a nation is a fundamental good for human beings.
3. An understanding and commitment to the idea that people have special moral and political obligations to their nations such that members rightly prioritize their nations over others.

Response to Anon:

>>I take it that the general notion of political conservatism (of which American conservatism is just a particular case) is not committed to liberalism in any way.<<

This strikes me as plainly wrong. American conservatism bases itself on the founding documents of the U. S. which clearly include elements you would label 'liberal.'

But this discussion won't get anywhere until you and Jacques state clearly what you stand for, and what you understand by 'conservative.' Are you a monarchist? Are you theocrat? Do you perhaps hold that the Roman Catholic Church is the repository of the ultimate truth about the human condition and that its prescriptions and proscriptions ought to be imposed on all by the use of state power?

>>I have heard it characterized as a meta-political-philosophy that rejects abstract theories over tried and proven social structures, and I think that there is much truth in that characterization. (This is why, I think, conservatives lose on the plane of ideas. They are, by nature, anti-theoretical.)<<

Here is my more nuanced way of putting it. For a conservative, there is a defeasible presumption in favor of traditional views and traditional ways of doing things. Note 'defeasible.' The conservative is cautious by temperament; he rejects change for the sake of change. But he is not opposed to truly ameliorative changes.

Take universal suffrage. Was that not an ameliorative change? In plain English, a change for the better? Do you oppose it? And what about you Jacques?

Obviously, a conservatism that advocates conserving everything from the past is crazy and wrong. For then you would have to conserve slavery. Do you think that slavery is justified?

>>What would you say is the central problem of political philosophy? Anscombe says in effect that it is the problem of providing a moral justification for the exercise of the state's coercive power over those in its jurisdiction.<<

I think Anscombe is on target, and that her claim can be extended to dealing with questions such as:

-- What is the state? What is its purpose?
-- How does the state relate to the person?
-- What is government? What is its purpose?
-- What forms of government meet the purpose of the state?
-- What political theories support these forms of government?
-- How can they be most clearly articulated?
-- Are they rationally and morally justified?

I think these key questions of political philosophy point to important questions in philosophical anthropology, and to questions about the meaning, value, and purpose of human life.

Bill, you wrote, "The Conservative is cautious by temperament; he rejects change for the sake of change. But he is not opposed to truly ameliorative changes". That is best encapsulated, I believe, in Chesterton's "Fence" from 1929:
"In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

Elliot,

You are right to point to philosophical anthropology. Political philosophy rests on normative ethics which rests on the metaphysics of human nature. If we don't know what man is, then we won't know what his ultimate good consists in and how the state should be structured so as to conduce to his flourishing.

What is man? Pursuing this question leads us deep into metaphysics and not just the metaphysics of human nature or the metaphysics of the person. It raises the God question. For if there is no God, then here is no Man either (on a certain concept of man). For example, if there is no God, then there is no Man as imago Dei. If there is no God, then man's fate is no grander than that of any other critter: sickness, old age, and death.

Whitewall,

A great quotation! We should tattoo it onto the back of every university admin dumbass.

>>If there is no God, then man's fate is no grander than that of any other critter: sickness, old age, and death.<<

I agree. This is a profound thought that should be taken seriously by sober thinkers.

A conservative might be inclined to reflect on the wisdom of the ancients here. For example, read the OT Book of Ecclesiastes. The author, it seems, is constructing a thought experiment. Suppose there is no God. Then human life is objectively meaningless, valueless, and purposeless. Human life is no better than that of the beast, no more significant than a shadow or a bit of wind moving a pile of dust in a universe which reduces to atoms and the void. No "safe spaces" in such a universe.

One who views reality and human life as objectively meaningless will probably take an approach to political philosophy which is different from the approach taken by a theist who believes that man is imago Dei.

P.S. I like the Chesterton quote from Whitewall.

Bill, yes, I agree that American conservatism is based partly on the classically liberal founding documents of the country. My point was just the more general idea of conservatism, of which the American type is only one of many cases, is not necessarily liberal. And the point of saying that was to try to show that the nature of what I’m calling “American conservatism” cannot be fully explained by appealing to the general nature of conservatism. I take it that you will agree with this, as your defeasible traditionalist view requires an explanation of what defeats tradition and why. And whatever that is will be the non-conservative part of your view.

As for my general view of the political good, I am still trying to figure that out. My tentative position is what I might call _conservative classic liberal nationalism_. (I know. Catchy name, right?) I am somewhat comfortable with that as the idea of the political good for America, at least. But there are at least two ideas that need to be heavily stressed if not added as separate elements. One is recognition of human nature and a view about the constraints it should place on political structures. One of the worst parts of liberalism of all stripes is its tendency to ignore human nature and implement policies and schemes that are terrible failures because of this. I guess this part could be claimed to be an aspect of conservatism, but, again, it’s not nearly prominent or explicit enough in American conservatism. I also suspect that it’s not enough to just say that human nature must be taken into account, because people will cook up ridiculous theories of human nature. So, I think that the political view in question will need to include a substantive account of human nature itself. And, as either part of, or something in addition to the part about human nature, recognition of personal responsibility and free will seems necessary. Many of the morally disastrous policies that we are seeing are importantly based on views that deny responsibility to various groups (e.g., blacks and Muslims) for what they do.

In terms of some of the more particular questions that you ask, I think that the answers are hard to know. Does this view preclude monarchy? I don’t think that the answer is clear. Democracy, even in the constrained way we have in our country, is highly problematic. On the other hand, it would be quite a huge change in the traditions of our nation to switch to monarchy. So, it’s not clear what my view would imply about that, if anything.

What about women’s suffrage? Again, I don’t think it’s clear. I can see how the liberal aspects of the view would seem to justify women’s suffrage. But this should be tempered with concerns about human nature. Are women in general capable of making fair and rational political decisions? I have heard, although I don’t know if this is true, that women as a group have voted for Democrats in most or every election since they gained the right to vote in America. If that’s true, I think that’s a significant piece of evidence that they are not capable of rational political thought. From my own experience, it seems to me that women tend to be more biased and vindictive in their reasoning. Were so many thinkers throughout history who seemed to think that women in general were less capable thinkers just bigots or sexists? I think that’s a fairly uncharitable view of those philosophers, no?

Is slavery justified? It’s certainly hard to make a case for that on a liberal view, probably as it should be. But are racially integrated societies good? This is not only not clear, but I think a significant case can be made that they aren’t. Again, I think we have to consider things like human nature and the concept of a nation and its moral significance. But notice that you will certainly _not_ be seeing American conservatives making a principled case against racial integration. This is one of the many reasons why American conservatism is, as it stands, inadequate. It ignores a very serious set of important questions that we need to address at a philosophically serious level.

"Are women in general capable of making fair and rational political decisions? I have heard, although I don’t know if this is true, that women as a group have voted for Democrats in most or every election since they gained the right to vote in America. If that’s true, I think that’s a significant piece of evidence that they are not capable of rational political thought."

On the one hand, Democrats have the single woman vote. But married women are pretty well split between Republicans and Democrats. On the other hand, the vast majority of Libertarians are (white) men and, though at this historical moment I'd rather cast my lot with Libertarians over Democrats, I don't think Libertarianism is intellectually sound either. So it seems to me that the empirical point you raise here is neutralized.

Bill,
In answer to your earlier question about who counts as a non-Leftist or Rightist for me, the answer is fairly straightforward. In my (stipulative?) definition, the Left is roughly the faction that wishes to make the principle of equal freedom the sole ultimate criterion in political life. So a non-Leftist is someone who denies that equal freedom, or equality and freedom, or similar principles, should serve as organizing principles.

Having thought about 'theses' a bit, I think I can suggest a few. Seems to me that my views are like Anonymous's in some ways. Anyway I am certainly in agreement with all that he says above; I'm also very skeptical about universal suffrage, racial integration, etc. Like Anonymous, I don't claim to have a fully worked-out theory... Here goes:

(1) Natural authority and social organization: (A) Men are natural leaders of any human group. Their natural function is to build and protect society. Some men are natural leaders of other men. Women are nurturers. Their natural function is to raise the people who will compose and inhabit the society. There are exceptions to these broad norms, but any society that attempts to act against these norms will sicken and die in short order. (B) Real authority is based on personal relationships within which this kind of natural social organization develops and comes to be understood. The institutions of society should reflect this kind of real authority. It is wrong and very dangerous to try to force other structures on to human nature, e.g., the ludicrous spectacle of pregnant women in Europe pretending to be 'defense ministers', reviewing the troops.

(2) Aristocracy, for lack of a better name: Rule of the Excellent. Democracy in anything like its current form is clearly not an example. Monarchy of some kinds might well be. But in any case, the ideal for me -- which I'm not presently able to articulate in much concrete detail -- is a situation where those who are motivated by a love for their community rule. But I doubt that there is any technique or system that ensures this situation. It's just something that may happen from time to time in the organic development of a culture, perhaps. Or maybe God helps to set up the right preconditions.

(3) Racial, ethnic and national differences and inequality: (A) Not all human biological groups have the same abilities or interests or psychologies. We should never expect that all races will act the same, achieve the same things, etc. (B) It is perfectly legitimate, then, for members of a given race to wish to live and work among their own kind. (C) For whites, there are no important benefits to 'racial integration' or 'diversity' and there are some very profound and irreparable harms. Therefore, whites should be race-conscious and reject the false racial guilt that has been programmed into them over the decades by anti-whites, Leftists and hostile non-whites.

(4) Transcendence: There is ultimately no reason to do anything or care about anything unless we can tell some (believable) story about ultimate things. Hence any viable society must have such a story. (I think Christianity is the best.) Right now we in the west are quite literally dying for lack of one. This story should be the basis for political society. (I am not advocating an Iranian style theocracy; but think of how Christianity continues to color everything in our society even though it is explicitly rejected and denounced. Once the Left has really rejected Christianity it will just curl up and die.)

(5) Non-neutrality: There is no system of abstract principles neutral with to the good, e.g., principles about Harm or Equal Freedom or Autonomy. Hence there is no way for the state or any other authority to act on neutral principles. We are always already in the fray, fighting on some side whether we know it or not. The only thing anyone can really do is to try to figure out what is Good and then go from there.

Bill,

"Take universal suffrage. Was that not an ameliorative change? In plain English, a change for the better? Do you oppose it?"

I think this is another instance which militates against thinking that conservatism per se (and not, e.g. "American conservatism today") is "a species of liberalism itself." Liberals and progressives in opposition to many conservatives brought about universal suffrage (and if memory serves not even a majority of women appeared to be for it).

From a purely liber point of view, the right to vote gets one very little freedom in the political sense. My right to vote just insures that no one can prevent me from voting and that my one mostly ineffective vote will count. One can easily imagine in a Bernie Sanders' Democratic-Socialist future, everyone having a right to vote but there being very little political freedom conservatives desire otherwise. In addition, there were presumably a number of women who thought the vote would inhibit them from being freed up to do other things they cared more about than following the horse races. I would hazard a guess that it was the classically liberal tendency towards equality more than freedom which drove the issue (though I have not given this enough thought to have anything close to a affirm opinion.) Is equality per se a conservative value? I don't think so.

When one runs a cost/benefit utility calculation of the effects of universal suffrage will the analysis come out in favor of costs over benefits given a conservative set of values? I don't know, but it doesn't seem to me obvious. Might the vote have contributed a lot to faction in the household, increased divorce, increased % of children in single home families, abortion, etc.?

This isn't to say that I would be for revoking the right to vote today or that I might not have supported it then. I think I'm just more inclined than you to say that this is a result of my liberalism and not conservatism. I'd say that I'm a conservative but don't like my conservatism neat but with a Nozick chaser (for others--on Rawlsian rocks.)

Sorry, in the above post "affirm" should read "firm" and I think I switched "costs" and "benefits" in the conservative utility analysis statement.

It's also worth considering the blanket condemnation of 'slavery' that we now take for granted. In my view there are some elements of historical slavery that are indeed morally wrong -- seriously wrong. I don't think it's defensible to hold that a human person is or should be 'property' of another, for example, and for all kinds of reasons. On the other hand, it seems that what we are supposed to regard as an abomination and permanent source of guilt and shame is (also) the very idea that whites, or white society as a whole, should have social and political authority over blacks. Is that really such an evil and irrational belief? Southern defenders of slavery claimed that the institution was for the benefit of both races, and that blacks were better off on the whole under white tutelage and white rule; after the war they warned of the dangers of black criminality and savagery.

Now if we look at what has happened in the last century as a result of efforts to make blacks as a group social equals of whites in all ways -- which in practice means denying and minimizing their disproportionately bad behavior -- it seems to me that the southern 'racists' have been vindicated. Whole cities and neighborhoods have been reduced to African levels of savagery and disorder. Roughly 30,000 white women are raped every year by blacks, while the numbers of blacks raped by whites are too small to show up in official numbers. (See Larry Auster's article on this, which Horowitz spiked and which led Horowitz to denounce Auster as a disgusting rapist.) In pretty much every way that really matters in our lives, the never-ending and ever-more-aggressive campaign to make the races 'equal' socially has been a net disaster for America. Despite all of this, blacks continue to lag far behind whites and others in every important way; whites and others suffer terrible harm. I would want to ask a concrete real-life question about the costs and benefits of abolishing slavery in the particular way that America did. Was it *really* better to do that, all things considered, in the name of some abstract notion of equal freedom?

In case that seems crazy or heartless, consider a similar example that is a bit less remote mentally and historically. When I was a kid, we were constantly told about the hideously evil apartheid system in South Africa. Now, I wouldn't defend all aspects of that specific system; it was indeed bad and wrong in many ways. On the other hand, we were also being taught that any attempt by whites to maintain their civilization was immoral so long as the attempt involved *any* form of race-based political hierarchy. So finally they got rid of apartheid, and to this day we hold up Mandela as a saint all over the white world. (Where I live, in a far away land, he is treated as a hero for all humanity and officially sanctified.) But what was the real-life effect of this glorious revolution? Within a few years South Africa, like Rhodesia, went from being a basically peaceful, prosperous, orderly society where members of all races enjoyed the benefits of western civilization to being just another African hell-hole. There is more rape and murder in SA today than in many countries that are in open warfare. Nothing works. Everything is corrupt. Outside of special enclaves for the very wealthy -- and even there, often enough -- whites live in a state of constant, barely suppressed terror. Thousands of white farmers tortured and murdered. Thousands of farms returning to nature. And of course millions of blacks also suffer terribly, if typically in different ways, from violence and crime and massive civilizational decline. And clearly it's only going to get worse. No doubt in 50 years every white person on earth will believe that overthrowing the regime of those evil Boers was a moral triumph, like the American abolition of slavery; but countless millions of human lives, black and white, will have been destroyed and blighted in the process, and it's not clear that there have been any concrete benefits for anyone. So is our reflexive total condemnation of 'white supremacy' really a rational attitude?

Typo/freudian slip: horowitz called auster a racist not a rapist :)

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