The Mad Monarchist is fearless!  A while back, I thought I was really offending established pieties by saying that the attention given to “the rape of Nanking” is largely driven by Chinese immigrants wanting to move their way up the victimology hierarchy.  Now MM has brought together evidence that the official casualty estimates for the massacre have been grossly exaggerated.  He attributes it to the communists wanting to deflect attention to their own horrific cruelties.

A Rubicon moment for the Anglo-American Left?

On the European Continent–especially France, Spain, and Russia–there’s never been any doubt that the Left is anti-Christian; the quest to eradicate Christianity from public life has been practically its defining feature since the eighteenth century.  Liberalism in England and America, while acknowledged by friends and enemies as a Leftist movement, has always tried to understand its relationship to Christianity, and other religions and “comprehensive” philosophies, differently.  Supposedly, Anglo-American Leftism does not require historical Christian orthodoxy to be false, only controversial or irrelevant to governing.  Liberalism presents itself as a neutral position, an agreement to disagree and not throw the weight of government coercion one way or the other.  Thus, liberals are fond of saying that a policy of legal abortion is a way of not deciding whether the act in question is murder or harmless lifestyle enhancement.  I think this claim is untenable–and I especially don’t see how the neutrality line is consistent with liberals’ insistence that the government make sure that women have easy access to abortions, as if whether or not this is something that is good to have access to weren’t the very thing liberals claim to be neutral about–but that’s an argument for another time.  Sometimes the supposed neutrality of the liberal state is presented as a recognition of how little power government has to influence the private morals of its citizens:  “You can’t police bedrooms”, and all that.  Again, there are arguments for and against this view, but at least it’s not obviously absurd.  It seems perfectly possible for someone to say, for example, “I think prostitution is utterly wicked, but attempts by the government to suppress it would be futile and counterproductive”.

In the past few years, Anglo-American liberalism has basically abandoned this “neutrality” position.  It did this by embracing the homosexual agenda.  Now, one can imagine a sodomy-friendly liberal policy that plausibly respects the strictures of official neutrality, e.g. “We liberals don’t think the state should take any position on the morality or lack thereof of homosexual acts.  We won’t punish them, and we won’t bar sodomites from government positions.  If someone thinks that what these people are doing is wrong, they are free to argue it in the free marketplace of ideas.”  However, the Left–and I mean the entire Anglosphere Left–has gone far beyond this.  It insists that homosexual relationships are positively good.  It sets aside a whole month to officially celebrate them.  It seeks to award civil benefits to those who claim to be engaged in such relationships.  It demands that public schoolchildren be taught to hold a positive view of active homosexuals.  Furthermore, the Left–and I mean the entire Left–believes that disapproval of homosexuality is itself a social vice that must be eradicated by government action.  Schoolchildren holding gender essentialist views are now actively terrorized by euphemistically-named “anti-bullying” campaigns.  The state has broken off collaborations with the Catholic Church precisely because the Church refuses to endorse what the Left regards as the unquestionable good of homosexuality.  There is no way that a liberal can say that liberalism is neutral on the moral question of homosexuality–or the related ontological/teleological question of gender; it is actively campaigning for one view and using the power of the state to discourage other views.  Nor can liberals claim that they are simply keeping their noses out of other peoples’ business because they don’t think the state has any real power to affect public morals.  The whole point of their campaign is to alter the public’s moral perceptions.  This necessarily means redefining marriage in the minds of its participants into a genderless arrangement and impeding the ability of gender essentialist and/or religious parents from transmitting their moral beliefs to their children.

So liberalism isn’t even pretending to be neutral anymore.  Fine, you might say, what’s the big deal?  I mean, nobody but a few political science professors ever really imagined it was.  Most liberal voters hold the more forthright view that their moral opinions are objectively correct and should be reflected in law for that reason.  It’s best that they drop the whole “neutrality” smokescreen now, so we can get to the serious work of arguing over whether their beliefs (utilitarianism, tolerance, etc) really are true.

But there is something new and troubling.  Aside from idolatry and possibly adultery, no sin is condemned as clearly and forcefully by the Christian tradition as sodomy.  Whether one looks at the Bible, the Fathers, Popes, or Protestant Reformers, the witness is unanimous.  Nor is this a belief that the Church just absorbed from the surrounding culture; opposition to homosexuality was, like opposition to infanticide and polygamy, one of the defining features of Christian life in opposition to paganism, whose opinion of these practices was more ambiguous.  Now, liberalism claims that not only is homosexuality morally unproblematic, but that disapproval of it is itself a grave moral fault–the supreme liberal sin of intolerance.  Thus, liberalism now claims that one of Christianity’s clearest and strongest moral stands is itself wicked.  If true, this would mean that Christianity must be a false religion.  Liberals may admit that Christianity has a few correct teachings, but they are committed to eradicating the belief that it is a reliable guide to truth about morals and human nature.

That’s the new thing.  Anglo-American liberalism has not admitted before that it wants to make it official policy that Christianity is a false religion.  The real reasons to oppose the androgynist agenda, of which the approval of homosexual perversion is only one part, are philosophical and anthropological; they don’t rely on any particular revelation.  However, it is certainly worth noting that Leftism now regards it a matter of basic justice that the religion of the majority of the American population be rejected as false.

Pope Benedict endorses my Muslim strategy

Wow, this blog must be getting influential.  The Thinking Housewife quotes the following from the successor of Saint Peter:

Dear friends, on the basis of what I have outlined here, it seems to me that there can be fruitful collaboration between Christians and Muslims. In the process, we help to build a society that differs in many respects from what we brought with us from the past. As believers, setting out from our respective convictions, we can offer an important witness in many key areas of life in society. I am thinking, for example, of the protection of the family based on marriage, respect for life in every phase of its natural course or the promotion of greater social justice.  I got this idea from the magnificent blogger “Bonald” at “Throne and Altar”.

Okay, I made up that last sentence.  Still, you’ll recall how we tossed around this very idea on this blog a while ago.  You’ll also recall that Bonifacius called me a heretic for even considering the idea.  My interlocutors eventually convinced me that the strategy probably wouldn’t work, not because it’s a bad idea for either party, but because the Muslims almost certainly wouldn’t go for it.

Laura Wood and Larry Auster are outraged.  They think the idea is not only impractical, but wicked and cowardly.  They seem to embrace the idea, which I’ve combatted here and here, that Muslims worship a false god, rather than worshipping the true God falsely.  Mrs. Wood takes it farther, denying any common ground between Catholics and Muslims, saying that the marriage covanant, fetal rights, and social justice defended by Muslims has nothing to do with that defended by Catholics.

Readers will know how greatly I admire both Mrs. Wood and Mr. Auster.  Indeed, I look on them as leaders of our movement, and I’ve benefitted greatly from both of them.  Here, though, my must defend Pope Benedict–not because he is my spiritual father, although that would be reason enough–but because these attacks are more extreme than reason will allow.  They say that we may never ally ourselves with Muslims against a common, and vastly more dangerous, liberal foe, because the Mohammadans deny the divinity of Christ.  It is true, to the great sorrow of the world and especially to the souls of Muslims, that they do deny this truth.  But so do the liberals and so do the Jews.  Elsewhere, Mrs. Wood has stated that she would rather the western world commit suicide by multiculturalism than that we cease to be accomodating to the Jews.  Now, I agree that that the Jews are an admirable people, and it would impoverish us if we could not appreciate their many admirable traits.  I also would not want to see the Jews expelled from the West–despite their long history of hostility to Christendom and the certainty of their continued hostility–because a Jew who’s lived in the West his whole life has as much right to his home as I have.  I have no doubt that those few Jews who do believe in God believe in and worship the one true God.  However, we must conclude then that denying the divinity of Christ doesn’t automatically set one beyond the pale for any of us.  Indeed, while Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, many of the Jews think Him a false prophet now boiling in excrement in Hell.  The Jews do not support any kind of heteronormative marriage or any restrictions on abortion, and they and their pet organizations have done far more to secularize America than the Muslims have.  To be consistent, we must admit that a Muslim who’s lived in the West his whole life has rights we must respect.  Muslim civilization, too, is brilliant in many ways, and we should give it its due.  Of course, though we should admire the Muslims and the Jews, we should remember that they do not reciprocate our esteem.  They mean harm to our culture (although they don’t see it as harm; they sincerely believe that marginalizing our faith is for our own good), and we must respond to that prudently but proportionately.

A Christian-Muslim alliance against liberalism would be much less corrupting than a Christian-liberal alliance against Islam.  If the former marginalizes belief in the Incarnation, the latter marginalizes belief in God Himself.  I no longer recommend either coalition:  the latter because it is too monstrous to contemplate, the former because it wouldn’t work.  The fact of the matter is that we have a Muslim-liberal coalition, and it’s pretty stable.  Both sides see Christianity as the greatest evil, and both sides are contented enough that they’re gaining from their alliance.  It seems almost impossible to peel away either to our side.

How does one win a two-front war?  Generally speaking, one doesn’t.  It looks, though, like that’s what we’re stuck fighting.  Pope Benedict is right to be looking for ways to postpone hostilities with our less-dangerous enemy.  If it doesn’t work (and I expect it won’t), we’re none the worse off for trying.  Even if he doesn’t succeed in building an Adam Webb-style virtuocratic alliance, if he can at least create some friction between our two enemies, if he can put the thought into their heads that their interests might not be identical, this could really pay off.

The difference between niceness and PC

Proph explains it really well:

For where niceness is concerned with protecting a social order concerned with community, PC is concerned with protecting a social order that is explicitly anti-community (indeed, one that parcels up community into competing and hostile groups, some of which are entitled to PC protection and others subject to explicitly PC nastiness). Both require conformity to socially-established norms but order these norms toward different ends. The order which niceness seeks is fundamentally cooperative, communitarian, and traditional; it is pious and humble. Political correctness seeks an order that is noncooperative, individualistic, and revolutionarily novel as a matter of principle. It regards desecration and shock as a means to that end.

PC is therefore a direct competitor to mere niceness; both seek the protection of a social order, but the social orders they envision are irreconcilable. Niceness has no interest in protecting the manifold absurdities of modern liberal society. Political correctness has no interest in what it sees as the stultifying, arbitrary, and suffocating rules of traditional society….

It goes without saying that, while both niceness and PC proscribe certain behaviors and manners of speech, PC’s scope is comparatively limited; it protects with greater intensity many fewer people (and does not because they are people but because they belong to the groups they do), where niceness protects everyone. Niceness prohibits meanness; PC prohibits insensitivity.

The delicate art of forgetting

I enjoyed Ted Mcallister’s essay on Front Porch Republic “Iris Chang and the Delicate Art of Remembering“, and the following really clarified things for me:

With regard to the harm that bad history was doing to Japan, Chang offered a simple but compelling question.  Is Germany better for having confronted the Holocaust?  Of course we can ask the same question (as she did) of other nations who have a dark episode in their past, but the contrast with Germany is powerful because of the parallels and the differences.  If we believe that Germany is better today because they learned to remember well then we have to assume that Japan has been harmed by its refusal to confront its own past.

Now I know why something’s been rubbing me the wrong way about Chang.  To me it’s obvious that Germany is immeasurably worse for its obsessive, pathological “confronting” of the Holocaust.  Why in the world would we imagine that people are made better by dwelling on the sins of their ancestors?  Patriotism and filial piety are eroded, to be replaced with a pharisaic pride in one’s own presumed moral superiority.  Germans would certainly be better as people and as a people if they saw their heritage as a glorious thing to live up to.  So let’s face it:  Chang’s project is going to wreck Japanese culture, not improve it.

Not that I think The Rape of Nanking was written as some act of Chinese vengeance.  I think the dynamic behind the celebration of this book lies closer to home.  Iris Chang–who was Chinese-American, not Chinese–” became a celebrity, especially for the Chinese-American community”.  Note that’s the Chinese-American community.  As the article notes “the Chinese government largely ignored the massacre for decades”.  Why would the massacre at Nanking be so much more interesting to Chinese-Americans than to Chinese?  In America, the status of minority groups is determined by victimology.  The Jews play their Holocaust card.  The blacks have their history of slavery.  The hispanics are poor.  What have the Asians got?  And the Chinese are even lower placed than the Japanese.  The Japanese, after all, have that whole WWII internment and Hiroshima thing going for them.  Chinese-Americans have such low status, they might as well be white.  So it’s not surprising that they should react with such enthusiasm to a book that shows that they, too, are victims.  What we have here are ethnic groups jockeying for positions on the American minority pecking order, with The Rape of Nanking put into service as a bid for the Chinese to displace the Japanese.

A final point I can’t resist making:  why, when we talk about “remembering the past”, do we always mean remembering the crimes of the past?  Don’t we have any duty to remember the accomplishments of our ancestors, from which we still benefit?  Why imagine that we learn more from studying murderers than studying artists or missionaries?  Why is a nation defined by its worst atrocity rather than its cultural edifice?  There’s something perverse in what we have decided is worth remembering.

Those blacks are as smart as our grandfathers

If we’re going to talk about IQ, we might as well talk about the more interesting discovery:  the Flynn effect.   The average IQ  in many parts of the world has been steadily increasing with time.  By today’s normalization, the average IQ in the US in 1932 was 80.  Now, it certainly seems odd to suggest that people today are much smarter than they were less than a century ago, during the age of Dirac, Husserl, and Keynes.  One’s first thought is that maybe IQ doesn’t really measure intelligence at all, but something perhaps correlated with it.  (For example, there is probably a correlation today between being intelligent and being able to program a computer; and there probably was 50 years ago, but one obviously can’t conclude that people are smarter now because more of us can program.)  Or maybe there isn’t really that much variation in human intelligence, so the curve can shift by a standard deviation without anyone much noticing.

The data suggests another possibility.  The Flynn effect is concentrated at the lower end of the distribution; there are fewer people with low scores, but not more people with high scores.  This may be the result of improved nutrition or other environmental factors among the lower class.  Perhaps people were a lot dumber on average in the past, but we don’t notice this, because when we think about a past era, we think about its greatest minds, and the number of these is not changing much.  (Suppose the total number of geniuses were proportional to the population.  That would create a real puzzle.  With the world’s vast population today, why aren’t we outshining all past eras?  I can think of a lot more geniuses active in 1932 than today, even though there were fewer of every race.)  Thus, it must have been very important that the high-IQ classes–presumably the upper classes–kept from interbreeding with the majority, to keep from drowning in the ambient sea of stupidity.

So, what are the implications for the IQ obsessives?  At the least, it seems that average IQ doesn’t tell one much about the intelligence of a society as a whole.  America once–not long ago–had an average IQ similar to that of blacks today, and it wasn’t the third-world dystopia some race-realists predict.  If IQ tells us anything about a society’s intellectual resources, it’s the right tail of the curve that matters most.  Another obvious conclusion:  group IQs are not fixed.

It doesn’t matter what their IQ is; what matters is that they hate us.

I don’t understand why illiberal sites like Alternative Right and The Occidental Observer are always going on about IQ.  They think it terribly important that white Christians know that blacks are dumber than they are, while Jews are smarter.  Biology is supposedly the source of all our problems.  Those of us who focus on culture and religion are supposedly cowards, who are supposedly using these concerns to keep from facing the harsh biological reality.  This can’t be right, though.  Suppose I were to divide the white population up, calling everyone with an IQ above 120 an “alpha”, everyone with an IQ between 90 and 120 a “beta”, and everyone with an IQ below 90 a “gamma”.  If IQ were everything, white alphas should be as big an adversary to Christendom as the Jews, and white gammas should be as big a social problem for America as the blacks (indeed, much worse, because there are more of them).  This is clearly not the case.  I’m sure if we were to look into it, alphas are overrepresented in cultural subversion and gammas in violent crime. but alphas would also be overrepresented in cultural preservation and gammas in the muscle-work of the establishment.  The big difference is that nobody thinks of himself as a “gamma”, while many people do think of themselves as black.  Being black isn’t an IQ range; it’s a whole identity.  It correlates strongly with certain beliefs and loyalties.  What we find disturbing about the Jews and the blacks is their hostility to our civilization.  For them, America and the West are evil; these are their ancestral enemies; not only do they not share our loyalty to our nation and civilization, they actually would welcome their destruction.  Our ancestors, whom we revere, they regard as criminals.  This makes them a moral threat, which bothers us more even than physical threats.  When I meet a black man, it’s very unlikely that he’s going to mug me.  It’s quite likely, though, that he regards my society as illegitimate and my cultural-ethnic heritage as shameful.  When I meet a Jew, it’s a near certainty that he feels this way.  Thus, black violence bothers us more than white violence, because it seems more meaningful.  If a white steals my TV, I chalk it up to senseless greed; if a black man does it, the disturbing thought crosses my mind that he might have felt entitled to.

Why does this bother us so much?  It annoys but doesn’t disturb me that gypsies think its all right to steal from the rest of us.  But that blacks feel entitled to my money and Mexicans to my land disturbs me in a different way.  I think it is because all the anti-Christian, ant-Western propaganda we’ve endured has gotten to us.  We don’t feel confident that our culture, religion, or race deserve to survive.  We believe they do, but we recognize it as a disputable point.  We’ve been taught to feel shame over our European heritage.  We’ve rejected that shame, but not escaped it; it has left its mark.  There’s a sensitive spot that certain minorities are very good at hitting.

Then there’s the rational reason for worry.  Blacks and Jews have willingly–enthusiastically!–given themselves over to the role of wedge minority, as those “poor excluded others” in whose interests the liberals claim justification for smashing our culture to bits.  We have to be honest about it:  they’re on the enemy’s side, and we’ll never win them over.  I used to maintain hope that wedge minorities could be won over by pointing out how their own traditions and group cohesion are ultimately threatened by liberal individualism.  I’ve now come to believe that liberalism destroys wedge minority cultures faster even than those the liberals are attacking.  Minorities’ self-understanding is remolded to fit their role as victims.  Ask a black to describe black identity, and it will all have to do with being oppressed by the white man.  He doesn’t know anything positive about African culture; what he thinks of as “African values” were manufactured in the past few decades by Leftist academics in their “Afrocentric” fairy tales.  Ask a Jew what it means to be a Jew, and you’ll hear about “tolerance”, “human rights”, and of course, vivid consciousness of being an outsider.

We must remember, though, that wedge minorities are ultimately a distraction.  The liberals say “you boys can’t have that tree-house there, because that excludes girls!”, but they don’t really care about girls feeling excluded.  What they care about is stopping those boys from making themselves feel included.  They say “Don’t brag about your fathers and grandfathers because it will make people from other families feel bad”, but they don’t care about other families.  They care about erasing filial devotion.  The Leftist will never be happy until the atomism which is the sickness of his soul is spread to everyone everywhere.  Our job as reactionaries should always be to bring things back to the real issue.


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