A Heritage Lost

I spent most of last week with my old friend Psycho Dish, down at his parents’ house in the eastern suburbs of Philadelphia, just across the New Jersey state line. His dad passed away a couple of weeks before Christmas, at 86 years old. He’d had a heart attack in the middle of November, and everyone thought he’d never leave the hospital alive, but he fought his way back to the point that the doctors had agreed to let him leave. As they discharged him, they cautioned the family that he could pass at any time, and they were letting him go so he could have perhaps a few more weeks with them during the holidays and die at home, which at that point was all that he wanted. And a month later, after a chance to enjoy some last simple pleasures and say his proper goodbyes to everyone, that’s what he did.

His wife had already been gone a few years and all of his children had households of their own, so the plan on this first warm week of spring was that all of the children, along with a few spouses and older grandchildren, were to come together at the house to clear it out before it got professionally cleaned and then sold. Pads of Post-It notes of various colors were given to all the family members, who were to use them to tag whatever items they wanted. Anything left unclaimed after the week was over would be offered to the Salvation Army, and anything that they wouldn’t take would be left for the cleaners to dispose of. I was the only one there not related by blood or marriage, but it was a big task and any help was welcome. Family members showed up in clusters over the first couple of days of the week. We got there in the second wave, after a fair amount of stuff had already been claimed, though fortunately nothing that Psycho Dish really had his eye on. After all the requisite greetings (and in my case, introductions) were over, Psycho Dish took the pad of blue Post-Its that had been set aside for him and started a room-by-room sweep, tagging everything he intended to take with him. I was sent to the master bedroom and given the task of taking boxes down from the shelves from the closet – many of which had been up there for as long as anyone could remember – and making an inventory of what was in them.

It’s amazing how much someone accumulates over the course of a long life, and every little thing tells a piece of their story. I had only met Psycho Dish’s dad a couple of times before he passed, but, in a sense, I got to know him better during that week than I ever had while he was living.

The first thing that had to be done was clearing the closet of all of his clothes. I had only just started when I came across an important part of his story – his fire department uniforms. He had been an electrical engineer by trade, but when he moved to what was then a small but rapidly-growing suburban town in the mid-1950s, he discovered that it had no fire department, or really any emergency services at all beyond a handful of bored police officers. He could have done what so many who move to small towns nowadays do – agitate for taxes to be raised and for the government to solve the problem for him. Instead, he decided that he was going to be a part of the solution himself. He gathered a group of like-minded men from around the town, and together they founded a volunteer fire department. The first fire station was an old barn, and the first fire engine a used model bought from Philadelphia and paid for mostly with donations from the townspeople. All of the volunteers had full-time jobs, but they all dedicated tremendous amounts of their free time toward the benefit of their neighbors and their community. He had served in the department for 50 years, until advanced age meant he could no longer do so, and continued being involved with them, showing up in his Class A’s to all of their ceremonial events, to the day he died.

I called Psycho Dish’s sister Janet, who was executrix of the will, into the bedroom and asked her what to do with them. After a pause, she replied: “I’ll call the department and see if they want them back. Maybe they can do something with them.”

Leaving the uniforms in place, I continued taking clothes out of the closet, pulling them off of their hangers and bagging them in big white trash bags for their trip to the Salvation Army. It wasn’t long, however, before I found another item that deserved a better fate. It was a windbreaker, covered in patches with the names, designations, and images of perhaps a couple of dozen Navy ships. Here too was a part of his story. He had been born in the California of Steinbeck novels during the depths of the Great Depression, worked his way through high school while war raged across the sea, maintained impeccable grades, ended up with a full-ride scholarship to UC Berkeley’s engineering school, and graduated with the Class of ’55. It was the height of the Cold War, and smart engineers were greatly in demand by the defense industry. RCA hired him straight out of college and moved him to a research facility near the Philadelphia Navy Yards. He worked on radio transmitters and radars for a few years, but his crowning achievement was his work on the AEGIS system, a tightly integrated radar and weapons package that makes the modern warships that have it basically invulnerable to the kind of aerial attacks that devastated the WWII Navy. So critical was his work on the project that whenever a newly-built AEGIS ship went out for sea trials, he would be among the civilian engineers brought aboard to troubleshoot problems. Each patch was a gift from the captain of the ship he had sailed with, and there were a lot of them there. While radicalism and protest overtook his alma mater, he remained a moderate Kennedy Democrat, holding on to the mindset of an age in which patriotism was assumed to cut across party lines. There was never any question for him that helping to defend his country by working for the Military-Industrial Complex was morally right. As far as he was concerned, that’s just what any patriotic American would do.

I found Psycho Dish and handed the jacket to him. He gave it a sad look, then told me to put it aside and we’d figure out what to do with it later. With that done, I started hauling bags of clothes out to the car for their trip to the donation bin. I’d only gotten a couple of them loaded before Psycho Dish found me in the bedroom and told me he’d rounded up some help.

This came in the form of his son, who had just shown up. He lived full-time with his Aunt Janet, but hadn’t arrived with her. He’d held off a couple of days and ended up driving down with his cousin Brie, who had to wait until her week of Spring Break started before she could join us. He wasn’t in college himself, though, nor was he doing much of anything else with his life. One Christmas when he was 10 or 11, Psycho Dish had given him a Pokémon game and a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards, and that had pretty much sealed his fate. Now he was 23, had washed out of college permanently after multiple tries, and had recently quit the latest in a series of low-paying food service jobs flipping burgers or making cappuccino. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the intelligence to make more of himself; he just didn’t have the ambition for it. What he made was enough to pay the pittance rent his aunt asked of him, buy whatever cheap food he needed to supplement what he ate at work, and buy Pokémon DLC or Magic cards – which was all he really asked for in life. Hanging from a strap around his neck was a plastic case with a sticker of a female anime character on it. In the spirit of polite small talk, I asked him what it was.

“It’s my Switch!”

A young woman’s voice interjected loudly, “He never put the damn thing down once the whole trip!” It was Brie, who was looking through a bookshelf in the hallway just beyond the bedroom door. I hadn’t met her before, but with her short, bright green hair and large nose ring, she made quite a first impression. More ambitious than him, she was in the final semester of a Women’s Studies degree at a school in Massachusetts.

Shaking her head slightly as she stared at the bookshelf, she continued, “Not even when I stopped for a piss break.”

Wanting the conversation to go in a different direction, I pointed at the sticker on the case and asked, “Who’s that?”

“That’s Cynthia! She’s my waifu!”

“Your waifu?”

“Yeah, she’s the best Pokémon master! Nobody can beat her!”

Brie broke back into the conversation in a tone of annoyance mixed with exasperation. “Waifus aren’t real, and they’re a totally unrealistic vision of womanhood!”

“She’s real enough for me” he grumbled, with a manner that made me sure this wasn’t the first time they’d had that conversation.

And in fact, she was real enough for him. Neither Psycho Dish nor anyone else in the family could find any evidence that he’d ever been on a date or kissed a girl or even had a crush on a female of the 3D variety. It wasn’t that he was fat or ugly. Psycho Dish had married and divorced a Chinese girl, and his son was the sole lasting product of their union. Biracial children often look very much one race or very much the other, and he bore the unmistakable features of his mother’s East Asian side of the family. He grew up to be thin, a bit slight, and not very tall, but by no means would he be unattractive to the opposite sex. And he wasn’t gay, either – he’d made that clear enough through his objections a few years earlier when his mother got caught up in the zeitgeist of the age and made a clumsy attempt at trannying him up for attention – one that fortunately came late enough in his development that he was able to successfully resist it. No, it was simply that, as with school and work, he couldn’t find a way to get interested enough in women, or anything other than his games, to seriously pursue them.

For a fleeting second, I wondered how many plastic water bottles he had gone through in his life and what a blood test might reveal about his testosterone levels, but then turned my mind back to the task at hand. I had him take a couple of the smaller bags of clothes out to the car, then gave charge of him back to his father and drove off to make the donation on my own.

When I returned to the house, I spotted a man and woman coming back down the driveway toward me, having apparently just talked to Janet, who was still standing by the front door.

“Who were they?”, I asked.

In an almost-disgusted tone, she answered “Flippers.”

“Huh?”

“House flippers, like you see on TV. They just bought a house down the street and they figured out what we were doing here somehow. I guess it’s their business to know things like that. Anyhow, they made me an offer on the house. It’s lowball, but they said they’ll take it as-is, which would save us a lot of trouble. They said they could make it into a lovely little starter home for a young couple.”

She took a long look back into the living room before continuing.

“A starter home? My dad lived in this house 60 years. He raised four kids here. He carried his bride through the front door and they stayed here till the day she died, right in that bedroom you’re cleaning, and then to the day he died here on the front porch. Whatever happened to moving into a place, making it your own, getting to know your neighbors, becoming a part of your community? If I sell it to them, they’ll flip it, then five years from now whoever buys it will flip it to someone else, and they’ll flip it to someone else a few years after that. Nobody puts down roots anymore. Nobody takes pride in where they are. They just wait for the day when they can flip what they’ve got and buy a bigger house with a bigger garage where they can park a bigger car.”

She took a breath, then in a resigned tone said, “Well, I told them I’d think about their offer, and I will.”

Saying nothing else, she went inside, and I followed close behind.

Back in the bedroom, I started taking boxes down from the top shelves in the now much-cleaner closet. The first box, a small one, contained his and his wife’s passports, and a couple of envelopes full of assorted foreign currency. He’d built a fine career with RCA’s defense division, but after the Cold War ended and contracts started drying up during the Clinton years, they’d offered him a pension buyout and he’d retired a few years early. It wasn’t quite as much as one might think, but through some careful investing, he’d managed to build it into a healthy retirement fund. For almost 20 years afterward, until his wife got her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, they’d lived the American Dream in its golden years – doting on grandchildren, gardening, dance classes (with an AARP discount, of course), and travel – all manner of “bucket list” places in summer, and ten-day all-expenses-paid cruises to warmer climes in winter. A quick look through the envelopes revealed Euros, pre-Euro currencies from maybe a half-dozen countries on the continent, Japanese yen, Hong Kong dollars, Turkish lira, Mexican pesos, Korean won, Thai baht, and Egyptian pounds, among others. They’d sure gotten around. Good for them. I put the box aside.

The next box revealed an Audubon Society guide to birds of the northeast and an older, but respectably prosumer-level, set of Nikon binoculars in a very nice nylon case. A fine choice for birdwatching… and also for assessing accuracy in the type of long-distance target shooting I’d lately been doing. When Psycho Dish came by the bedroom to see how the trip to the Salvation Army had gone, I handed him the case and in a quiet voice said, “Hey, do me a favor… tag this for me.” He gave me a sly smile, replied “Sure thing, dude”, and slapped a blue Post-It on it. Thus was I remunerated for my day’s labors.

The third box was indeed the charm, and this was where I began to strike paydirt. Here lay the first part of stamp and coin collections, both presumably quite valuable, and both claimed by Psycho Dish’s youngest sister Chrissy before her father’s body was cold. Box after box contained binders that held proof sets, foreign stamps, old half-dollars, canceled envelopes, and authentication papers. I decided to find Janet so I could report my success.

I discovered her in the kitchen, sitting at the table with Psycho Dish, his son, and Brie, in the midst of a conversation.

“…and I was able to talk them into taking the uniforms back, but they said they weren’t sure they’d ever be able to make use of them.” Janet said, as she stared down into a cup of coffee with a sad look, “In fact, they said that the mayor and the council have been thinking of replacing the volunteer department with a full-time professional one. The town has grown a lot over the years and, well… people don’t volunteer for things like that as much as they used to. I guess the pace of life is faster, and we all don’t have as much time for it anymore.”

“What about the awards?”, Psycho Dish asked.

The awards he had received over his lifetime covered an entire wall of the hallway – lacquered wood plaques with brass plates that had his name and one of his many accomplishments listed on them, mostly bearing the engraved shield of the fire department shield or the visage of a fireman, interspersed with a few from his church or the Navy or RCA. Each one was a monument to decades worth of patriotism, hard work, civic involvement, and community-mindedness.

“No, they’re too personalized”, Janet answered. “They can take his name tags off the uniforms pretty easy, but the awards are different. They couldn’t do anything with them.”

There was a short silence, which she broke without being asked.

“If there were only one or two, I’d take them myself. But there’s so many… I just don’t have the room.”

I knew – they all knew – that everyone there had been thinking the same thing. After an awkward moment, Brie offered them an honorable out.

“If nobody can think of anything else to do with them, I know someone who’d take them. One of my friends at school is a fine arts major. She mentioned once that people in her department look for old plaques like that in thrift stores all the time. They strip the brass off them and use the wood as display bases for art projects – y’know, like small sculptures and such. I mean, at least it’d be for education, and it’s better than…” she cast a dramatic glance at the kitchen garbage can “…the alternative.”

Janet suddenly looked a bit less burdened. “Well, your great-grandmother was an artist, and your grandfather was a great believer in education…”

If anyone was going to object, they would have then. None of them did. I said nothing, as I was not a member of the family and it was not my place to. But my own experiences in graduate school meant that I knew what had been coming from fine arts departments lately. I could not restrain myself from imagining an award presented in recognition of long and hazardous service as a first responder for the people of the community stripped to become the base of a two-foot-tall sculpture of a vagina.

“Yes, dear” Janet continued, “why don’t you go ahead and give your friend a call?”

“Sure thing”, Brie replied, and with this left the room to start dialing.

With that issue solved, Janet turned her attention to me. “And what have you been up to?”, she asked cheerfully.

“I found the coins and stamps. There’s a whole lot of them.”

Here Psycho Dish broke into the conversation: “So, remind me why we’re just letting Chrissy walk off with those? I mean, dad didn’t specifically leave them to her, and you’re executrix of the will. You don’t have to let her claim all the valuable stuff.”

A faint smile came to Janet’s lips. “I thought about saying something to her about it, but then I did a little research. The truth is, stamp collecting has absolutely collapsed as a hobby over the past couple of decades. Young people just aren’t into it at all.”

I glanced over at Psycho Dish’s son, whose nose was buried in his Switch, spending a few precious moments of his break from clearing out the garage with Cynthia. Maybe if they put Pikachu on a postage stamp he’d be interested, but not otherwise.

“Stamp collections that would have been worth thousands of dollars back in the 80s or 90s are now just about worth the paper they’re printed on. There’s simply no demand anymore. And coin collecting is only mildly better. Unless they’re really rare or made out of some kind of precious metal, they’re basically worth face value at this point. Even at that, silver dollars and the like generally won’t bring in much beyond their melt value. The bottom line is that the whole collection isn’t worth anywhere near as much as Chris thinks it is, so it just isn’t worth fighting her over.”

She continued, “Besides which, Chris didn’t read the will very carefully. It specifically says that if any of us decide to sell off something from the estate instead of keeping it, the proceeds are subject to the same conditions as his cash and investments – the profits get split equally between all four children, except for 10% that gets held back and donated to First United Presbyterian.”

A last tithing to his place of worship of 60 years – a respectable, middle-class, mainline protestant congregation in which he had risen to National Assembly Elder for his synod. And they certainly needed the money; declining attendance had hit them hard, made worse by splits over social issues that threatened to tear not just the congregation, but the entire Presbyterian Church in half. The Presbyterian church building just down the block from my own residence has a rainbow flag hung over the main entrance. First United didn’t have one yet, but now that the old generation was passing…

“I’m hungry” the son interjected. “When are we eating?”

He had a point. It was nearly 5:30 in the evening, and we had been working all day. There was nothing wrong with quitting now, having a good meal and a long sleep, and then coming back in the morning. The kitchen was a shambles, with pots and dishes and utensils taken out of cabinets, tagged, and put in boxes. After a short discussion, it was decided that everyone should fend for themselves when it came to finding their evening meal. Psycho Dish decided that we deserved a steak dinner, so he, his son, and I put on our jackets and headed out to the car for a trip to the local steakhouse.

As we pulled away, I took a long look backward. There was a man’s whole life; a life that exemplified the 20th century American Dream, and not only in its material aspects. Yes, there was the suburban house with the white picket fence. But there was also the patriotism that was reflexive without being showy, the civic pride and dedication to a high-trust community, the solid marriage and family life, the emphasis on education and hard work, even the middle-class hobbies like birdwatching and stamp collecting. All relics of a disappearing era along a path we will certainly only tread once; of a bygone America that now exists only in fading memory. It was nice while it lasted, but I suppose that nothing in this world lasts forever.

It was a good dinner. Steaks and beers and being free of our melancholy task for the night lightened our moods and loosened our tongues. Before long, Psycho Dish and I were deep in conversation about everything in the world.

But not his son, who somehow managed to eat his entire supper with one hand while playing Pokémon on his Switch with the other.

He never put the damn thing down once the whole time.

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What If HBD Is True?

For those who may still be new to, or still somewhat unfamiliar with, the Dark Enlightenment and Neo-Reaction, one of their hottest and most talked-about concepts is that of HBD, or Human Biological Diversity. This concept is one that is most popular among a certain subset of Dark Enlightenment thinkers – those who tend more towards the atheistic and scientifically-minded end of the spectrum. The inimitable Fred Reed has a column on it here, in which the basics are explained in his usual straightforward manner, and it is a good primer on the concept for non-scientists. In short, it has to do with evolution (it depends, in fact, on that concept), and the evolved differences between diverse groups of human beings; specifically, between the races. Most controversially, it posits that one biologically-ingrained difference between the races is a persistent, measurable, significant disparity in average intelligence between them, with East Asians and Ashkenazi Jews at the top of the chart, followed by whites, South Asians, mestizo Latinos, and, lastly, blacks. As anyone who has been paying attention to the progress of race issues in the west, and especially in the United States, over the last half-century or so can tell, this is an explosively controversial issue to say the least.

I am not here to make the case for or against HBD. I certainly have some issues with some of the assumptions that underlie it; with Darwinian evolution and the ability of IQ tests to actually measure what they are claimed to measure at the top of the list. And yet there is a lot of solid evidence behind it, much of it empirical. It isn’t just IQ tests that reflect this stratification – just about every measure of applied intelligence, from SAT and GRE scores, to Nobel Prizes in hard sciences issued by country or ethnicity, to percentages by race of people employed in intellectually-demanding fields, to GDP of nations that have a majority population of one race or another, reflect the same thing. Half a century’s worth of attempts in the United States to equalize these results through remediation, increased education funding, Affirmative Action, government-imposed equal opportunity laws, and many other schemes imposed from above have produced little by the way of tangible results. The problem seems absolutely intractable, and excuses that keep egalitarian myths intact are beginning to wear thin.

I will not, however, offer an opinion here on whether HDB is true or not. I am not a scientist, nor am I even particularly scientifically-inclined, and so I am unqualified to offer an informed opinion. I am, however, philosophically and politically inclined, which puts me in a position to answer an underexplored question regarding HBD, which is: What if it is true? What will it mean? What do we do then?

This is what Fred Reed once referred to as the “Oh God, what now?” question – the question that society cannot bring itself to face, as its implications are simply too terrible to even consider. However, this is really only true of a society wedded to an unrealistic egalitarian ideology. For a society more grounded in realism, answers are perhaps possible to arrive at. We avoid these answers, partly because of true belief in the ideology underlying them, but in some cases also for less altruistic reasons. And yet failure to consider them, I contend, in the end benefits only a select few.

Let us first consider what the implications of HBD (again, if true) really are. HBD means, essentially, that some minorities (blacks especially – here let us just be honest about who we primarily mean) are on average less capable at some kinds of thinking – particularly academic and technical thinking – than others. And yet this is not truly a grave insult. Let us remember that aptitude in academic and technical thinking were skills that, for the vast majority of the human race over the vast majority of human history, were really not all that crucial. From the caveman to the 18th century farmer, some extra skill in these areas might (or might not) have provided a moderate advantage, but it was hardly critical to survival. It is only in the last 200 years or so that these skills have become important, and only really now, in this hyper-technological age of cognitive haves and have-nots, in which it is loudly proclaimed that “Average Is Over”, that these skills seem to have become critical to success. Is being less apt in areas that have only recently become very important really such a condemnation?

As for the social problems facing blacks – the crime, the drugs, the illegitimacy – the truth is that blacks can do better than they have. We know this because they did do better – far better – than they are now doing, back in the days before the left showed up to “help” them. It has become something of a running joke among rightists that the media will run headlines along the lines of “Tornado Strikes Oklahoma: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit”, but those hardest hit by the social rot brought about by Cultural Marxism really have been women and minorities, and blacks especially. Through centuries of hardship, the three pillars that black America stood upon were family, faith, and community. These have been destroyed by leftist modernity, and the replacements that have been provided, such as welfare and Affirmative Action, have disastrously failed, not just at allowing blacks to rise, but at preventing them from falling further to the bottom of society than ever.

And here we come to the ways in which Blank Slate Theory actively hurts blacks. Blank Slate Theory, as practiced by modern egalitarians, is essentially the opposite of HBD – the idea that all people (and just as importantly, all groups of people) are born with more or less the same innate capacity to be good at any particular given task. This theory was most famously advanced by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, which put forward the idea that the most important factor in being able to master a skill is practicing it for a certain amount of time, which Gladwell estimated at 10,000 hours. Now let us consider the state of American blacks. No one has been hit harder by the destruction of the American industrial base and the slow erosion of its middle and working classes than have blacks. It is difficult to believe that it is mere coincidence that the spike in social problems among (especially urban) blacks started, not just when leftism started taking hold in their communities, but (nearly simultaneously) when the American industrial base began to decline starting in the 1970s. Over this period, a large percentage of what was once the black working class has become the back welfare class, as the working-class jobs they once held have been taken over by the tidal wave of Latino immigrants that has swamped the country in the past forty years. So bad have things become that vast numbers of blacks are leaving the big northern industrial cities to which their grandfathers and great-grandfathers came during the Great Migration of the early 20th century, looking for factory jobs and other working-class opportunities which have long since disappeared. They are largely moving back down to the south – some to large southern cities, but many to the rural south from whence their ancestors came.

And yet if Blank Slate Theory is true, then this is a problem that can be overcome. All it will take for the huge black underclass to be transformed into investment bankers, metallurgists, and software developers is for that magic elusive fix that will finally erase the academic and technical performance differences between races to be found. Add some “opportunity”, which would presumably include the opportunity to put in 10,000 hours of trying in their chosen field, and presto – the problem of inequality will be solved. If all this is indeed the case, then the displacement of blacks from the working class – by legal Latino and other immigrants, by illegal aliens, and by machines – is a fixable problem.

But what if it isn’t the case? What if HBD is true, and most blacks will never become those things because they fundamentally cannot become them, no matter how much effort is expended on trying to make it happen?

And here is an even more pointed question for our cynical age: What if some large chunk of the powers-that-be know on some level that HBD is true, and yet continue to push Blank Slate Theory in order to gain economic or political advantage? For the supposedly-egalitarian politicians of the left, a large number of people dependent on government-run social welfare schemes amounts to a virtually-guaranteed bloc of voters for themselves. For those whose business models depend on cheap labor, having an excessive pool of employees or potential employees around allows them to keep wages low – this is simple supply and demand. What if this is all, to some degree, intentional? I do not mean to offer an answer to those questions here, but they do seem to be worth asking.

But now let us turn to solutions. If HBD is true, what do we do? What happens next? First, we must be realistic about what will not happen. First, blacks are not going to disappear from American life, nor should they be required to. By right of history, it is their country as much as it is anyone else’s whose ancestry is not American Indian, and the idea that that many people are going to go… where, exactly?… is sheer fantasy. What else will not happen is that the current welfare state will not continue at anything close to its current level for all that much longer. The economic writing has been on the wall in terms of that for a long time now.

This latter truth may be a motivating reason behind the reversal of the Great Migration, which in itself may be one of the solutions for the question of what does, and ought to, happen next. Blacks, perhaps not on average technologically or academically inclined (if HBD is true) but still no fools, may be sensing which way the wind is blowing, causing them to leave the cold, atomized, and dependent life of the northern cities for places where the bonds of community are stronger, where the cost of living is cheaper, and where more self-sufficiency is possible. If – when – the welfare state collapses, blacks located in such places will be far better off than those who aren’t.

Here too is another necessary part of any possible solution – restoring the pillars of family, faith, and community that long sustained black America. Perhaps outside of the industrial megacities, this becomes more possible.

Economically, if HBD is true, a Buchananite protectionism seems to be wise. Immigration and outsourcing should, in that case, be severely restricted by law, and tariffs raised sharply to protect American-made products. Some limit to the degree of mechanization of jobs might also be worth considering. This would do much to return to America – and to Americans, black and otherwise – the sort of working-class jobs that do not require exceptional academic or technical abilities.

Socially, it seems as if some degree of voluntary separation may be advisable. Despite centuries together, right next to each other, blacks and whites remain vastly different from  one another in innumerable ways. Perhaps an acknowledgement of that reality, instead of further attempts to erase it when all previous attempts have failed, is the better course. The worst possible way to make some people genuinely like others is to try to force them to do so, and the sad reality of human nature is that good fences often really do make good neighbors. Perhaps some more space, with each group able to live more in accordance with its unique culture, attitudes, and worldview, yet still free to voluntarily associate (or not associate) with each other as they please, would do something to reduce tensions between the races. It seems to be at least worth trying – certainly nothing else that has been tried so far has proven to work very well.

In terms of criminal justice, too many blacks are imprisoned now. Certainly some – those who prey on the person or property of others – should be imprisoned, and few blacks would disagree. But many more are imprisoned for victimless drug offenses, and this should end. The War on Drugs has been a dismal failure, and should be discontinued, with drugs decriminalized. The problems associated with drug use among blacks should be handled by the black community itself.

This brings us to another idea – that black social problems require black solutions. Among whites, there is a widespread and growing feeling – far more desperate than hateful – that they have tried everything they can think of to solve the social problems of the black community, and none of it has worked. Perhaps this is because white solutions to black problems cannot truly work. And even if they could, would blacks really want them to? Would they really want to feel that they could not solve their own problems without whites there to deliver solutions? Here, again, separation may help. Much of the behavior of the black underclass is deeply self-destructive, and as anyone who has dealt with a self-destructive person knows, the worst possible thing to do with them is to allow them excuses for their self-destructive behavior. Perhaps with some separation from whites, with the ability to use the race card to get more largesse from the public fisk off the table, and forced to face its own problems head-on, the black community will begin to come up with the solutions it needs to its problems.

These are my suggestions, and I believe them at least worth considering.

Finally, I wish to reemphasize that I am taking no position on whether HBD is true or not. I again mean here simply to start a conversation about a heretofore underdiscussed aspect of the issue. Some of the possible solutions I’ve suggested strike me as ones that would be wise no matter what the truth about HBD may be. Do I actually expect any of them to happen? Not particularly. Americans are far too much idealistic and far too little realistic. This results in a strong tendency to do nothing about difficult problems in the Panglossian belief that everything will somehow work out fine in the end, until the point is reached at which a problem becomes a massive and basically insoluble crisis. Nothing in recent American history suggests that this tendency has gotten any better over time – just the opposite. But I have made it my mission to say the things that must be said, no matter who will or won’t listen.

Trading Places

Normally I wouldn’t post a long piece from another writer on my own site, as their thoughts should result in site views for them, not me. But this passage from Eugene Volokh, which I found via Moldbug, illustrates perfectly a point I’ve been making for years:

“I remember very little about my childhood in the Soviet Union; I was only seven when I left. But one memory I have is being on a bus with one of my parents, and asking something about a conversation we had had at home, in which Stalin and possibly Lenin were mentioned as examples of dictators. My parent took me off the bus at the next stop, even though it wasn’t the place we were originally going.

Perhaps I have some of the details wrong (was it just Stalin, or also Lenin?); childhood memories remembered 35 years later are like that. I’m telling this to explain why I feel so strongly about it, based on my memories; my personal account does not affect the soundness (or unsoundness) of my arguments. But my sense from all I’ve heard is that this is exactly how life was like there, and that no-one who lived there in the 1970s would think the scenario at all improbable.

What’s more, this is so even though most people, including most Communists, knew that Stalin was of course a dictator. The government itself had acknowledged as much. Even Lenin was widely understood to have been a dictator in the sense of someone who didn’t govern through democratic means.

But it’s not the sort of thing that you’d want to say in public, or even to your friends in private. Sssh! — people might hear! Those who hear might draw deeper inferences about what else you might believe. This might get back to the place you work. You might be fired, or blacklisted. By the 1970s, you probably didn’t have to worry much about being shot, or being sent to Siberia; these were not the 1930s. But lost jobs, ruined careers — sure. And a forced public apology: well, of course, that might help a bit.”

Consider that, dear reader, and tell me how it is any functionally different at all from the situation in the “free” West in the modern day? From this, or this, or this, or this? Or from innumerable other examples, all in the same mold? Here we see that the left is all fundamentally the same, and that wherever they take power, we can expect, to a somewhat greater or lesser degree, the same basic outcomes. As soon as they feel that their position is secure, all pretense of regard for freedom of speech or expression or conscience is shed. And so we arrive where we are now – with everyone knowing whom they are not allowed to offend or criticize. No, in America in 2013, you don’t have to worry about being shot or being sent to prison; but neither did one have to worry about that in the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union – a nation which operated under a system that we once said we’d obliterate the planet and annihilate the human race in a nuclear apocalypse sooner than live under.

And so we now see the truth: that in every way important to an average citizen other than perhaps the ability to produce consumer products*, the United States and the Soviet Union of the Brezhnev era have switched places. While Russia gradually recovers, re-Christianizes, drives out Cultural Marxism, and adopts rational foreign and trade policies, the United States  becomes, with every day that passes, more the image of the USSR from Volokh’s childhood memories.

We have met the enemy, and we have become him**.

(*No, present-day Americans don’t even really have that much more economic freedom than Brezhnev-era Soviets. Not in an age where the government can and does tell business owners who they must or may not voluntarily do business with, who they must or may not hire, what they must and may not compensate their employees with, and now, finally, what those employees must or cannot purchase with their paychecks. And those are just a few of the most egregious edicts – there are many more. If the government does not technically own the means of production, one could be forgiven for finding it hard to tell the difference.)

(**Yes, I agree with Moldbug that America has always been a “small-c” communist country. More on that soon. But the point is that it wasn’t nearly this bad not long ago… not even close.)

The Super Bowl Is America

Shameless Commercialism? Sickening exploitation of women and children? A ghastly, inappropriate response to a recent tragedy? Women who dress and act in public the way you’d have to go to a strip joint to see women dress and act 30 years ago? Loud, unlistenable, mass-produced music product? Techno-grandiosity in the service of crass, meaningless, artless distraction? Shameless ass-kissing of the military-industrial complex contrasted perfectly against an embarrassing failure caused by neglected, crumbling civil infrastructure?

The Super Bowl really is a microcosm of America today.