Dr. Patrick Toner comments and I respond in blue:
Your piece on Dreher and Buchanan accepts Dreher's overall reading (or misreading, as I see it) of Buchanan's argument -- you seem to accept that Buchanan actually means to somehow call into doubt the metaphysical doctrine of the equality of men. This seems clearly wrong to me.But before coming to that point, I want to check with you about another thing, namely, Dreher's accusation that Buchanan is openly endorsing white supremacy in his essay. Things you've said elsewhere about the failure to define terms such as "white supremacy" make me hesitant to actually ascribe to you the belief that Buchanan is a white supremacist, but if that's right--if you aren't accepting the white supremacy charge--at any rate nothing in Sunday's piece makes that explicit. And when you end your piece by talking about Buchanan "apparently repudiating" the doctrine of equality, there is at least a hint that you're willing to accept the charge.
“All men are created equal” is an ideological statement. Where is the scientific or historic proof for it? Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope?
D1. A white supremacist is one who holds that the culture and civilization produced by whites is, on balance, superior to the cultures and civilizations produced by all other racial groups.
I think the white supremacy charge is clearly bunk--or at any rate, I'll say this: nothing in that particular column of Buchanan's can reasonably support a charge of white supremacy. And I don't say that on the basis that "white supremacy" hasn't been adequately defined, or any other such technicality. I just mean it should be clear that Buchanan's point is not to endorse white supremacy, but simply to point out that if that charge applies to Lee and co, then it applies to Washington and Jefferson and co, and indeed then we need to throw out the whole western culture that gave us the metaphysical doctrine of equality.
And then on to the next point: having thrown out the grounding upon which that doctrine stands, upon what shall we build our egalitarian utopia? We can't re-establish the equality doctrine on some universally-acceptable empirical ground! Buchanan doesn't doubt the equality doctrine: he points out that the iconoclasts seeking to build their new world on it, have no basis upon which to rationally accept it. It's not a new or brilliant claim--it's pretty standard and obvious, I'd have thought.
a) The Declaration sentence is empirical but false.b) The Declaration sentence is empirical and true.c) The Declaration sentence is metaphysical, and thus non-empirical.
I wrote this up yesterday in a little blog post, and I'm encouraged a bit in my reading (not that, in truth, I doubted it before!) by finding this column (not by Buchanan) posted today on Buchanan's website.Generally, I try to follow the advice of Thoreau, "read not the Times, read the eternities," and so I ignore such issues. But I do read your blog faithfully, and for some reason--maybe just a lingering respect for Buchanan, who has always struck me as a decent man--you prompted me to read a bit of political ephemera to try to sort it out. :)I hope you're doing well!