Culture, politics, science, philosophy.
General manifesto ***** Immigration manifesto
The deep Crisis of the West
Manipulated by an anti-Western elite
29.09.2013. Ricardo Duchesne, professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick (Canada), and author of The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, has written an article called For Canada Day : Repeal of 1952 Immigration Act, Multiculturalism, and End of European Canada, published by Immigration Watch Canada. With permission from IWC, large portions of this article is republished here (boldface emphasis and links added by me):
[...] This is what contemporary Canadian identity has become after five decades of mass immigration combined with endless pageants to multiculturalism. The idea that Canada has no other identity than ethnic diversity has been encrypted into our brains starting with Pierre Trudeau’s announcement in Parliament in 1971:
“We believe that cultural pluralism is the very essence of Canadian identity. Every ethnic group has the right to preserve and develop its own culture and values within the Canadian context. To say we have two official languages is not to say we have two official cultures, and no particular culture is more ‘official’ than another.”
According to Trudeau, every ethnic identity in the world is and can become equally Canadian. The British and the French are no more important to the making of Canada’s identity than the Chinese, Muslim, Mali, or Latino Canadian. “Racism and bigotry” were a “large part” of Canada’s “official” history and tradition as a European nation. This once-official view will no longer be tolerated.
The “White Canada” policy laid down in the Immigration Act of 1910, and extended in the Immigration Act of 1952, ended in the Immigration Regulations of 1967, when a non-racial set of admission criteria was adopted. According to those Regulations, the Act of 1952 was unpardonable. Today, few care to consider that the justification behind the “White Canada” immigration policy was the preservation and cementation of the primary role of Canada’s founding peoples of European origin. The idea that other peoples (who had taken no part in the settlement efforts and in the centuries-long creation of the institutions and infrastructure of Canada) might simply arrive in mass numbers to claim Canada as equally their own was anathema to Canadians before the establishment of multiculturalism.
Today, the mainstream media and the academic world take great pleasure in labelling our immigration policy prior to 1967 as “racist and exclusionary”. But this is a cultural Marxist assessment of Canadian perceptions, their culture and ethnicity. Canadians then were part of a Western world committed and strongly attached to the idea that every individual citizen of Canada should be treated equally under the law without discrimination based on race, national origin, or religion. They were not racist, but merely ethnocentric, that is, a people with a natural and normal preference for their own ethnic traditions. Ethnic groups throughout the world exhibit a preference for their own culture and a disposition to judge other cultures by the standards of their own religion and customs. But today in the Western world, ethnocentrism is looked down upon as an attitude that contravenes the “universal brotherhood of humanity” to be manifested in Western multiethnic and multicultural societies. As diverse ethnic groups come into contact with one another, inside Western countries, our liberal elites bow to the importance of “understanding” other cultures and overcoming one’s ethnic prejudices. Europeans still exhibiting strong attachments (to their age-old cultures) are said to be bogged down by “irrational fears”.
But recent scientific research shows otherwise: ethnocentrism is a healthy and practical evaluation of one’s ethnic identity and interests consistent with evolutionary theory and cultural sophistication. This is the argument ethnocentric individuals can opportunely take from a scientific paper published in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences (January 2011), with the fitting title: “Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism”. Written by a research team at the University of Amsterdam, directed by Dr. Carsten de Dreu, this article shows that oxytocin is a human molecule associated with in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Through a series of experiments in which participants were administered doses of oxytocin, the researchers learned that “a key mechanism facilitating in-group cooperation is ethnocentrism, the tendency to view one’s group as centrally important and as superior to other groups” at the expense of an out-group.
How, then, did European Canadians come to accept the idea that it is racist and xenophobic to exhibit preference for one’s own ethnicity and heritage, while believing, at the same time, that every non-European ethnic group has a right to preserve its own culture inside Canada? How did Canadians come to believe that their identity can be proudly captured in answers to such banal Macleans questions as “How many rooms does your house have per person?” There is no space here to address these questions. Suffice it to respond — to those who claim that multiculturalism was in origins and essence a “quintessentially Canadian” idea and policy — that the relentless promotion of diversity and mass immigration, despite some variations, has been a Western-wide phenomenon since the 1960s. The American President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965, which led to a tremendous surge in immigration from Mexico and Asia in the decades that followed. Eight years later the “White Australia Policy” came to an end, resulting in a massive influx of ethnocentric Asians.
Western European nations have also seen their cultures awash in immigration and diversity. The British Nationality Act of 1948 affirmed the right of Commonwealth citizens (including those of newly independent Commonwealth countries like India) to settle in the United Kingdom. Commonwealth immigration rose from 3,000 per year in 1953 to 46,800 in 1956 and 136,400 in 1961. [...] By 2012, White British had dropped from 87.5% of the population in 2001 to 80.5%. White Britons in London, in 2012, accounted for less than half (almost 45%) of its population, and more than one in three London residents is foreign-born. As the country was flooded with immigrants, diversity was strenuously enforced through incessant media campaigns including the transformation of the entire curriculum from pre-kinder onwards away from any historic pride in the British heritage. Similar changes have been brought by liberal elites in France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and increasingly as well in Norway, Switzerland, and Ireland.
Some will argue that these changes were “sensible” components of worldwide trends toward globalization, free trade and free capital mobility. The fact is that if economic globalization was naturally accompanied by the “free” mobility of people, then we should have also seen major demographic-ethnic changes in Asia and the world generally. [...]
The question thus stands: Why are European-created nations the only ones experiencing mass immigration and multiculturalism? Some may point to the youth-centered counterculture emerging in the 60s questioning the values of anyone over thirty, that is to say, the values of the silent majority of Canadians who felt comfortable with the Immigration Act of 1952. Writers, actors, and producers across the West, whether in fiction, theatre, or film, broke old taboos against sexual explicitness, graphic violence, homosexuality, and divorce. The civil rights movement in the United States, exotic guerilla movements in the Third World, Aboriginal Rights, Quebec nationalism, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and the complete takeover of Canada’s universities by cultural Marxists, were components of the 60s political atmosphere.
However, if I had to choose one reason why Western countries decided to negate their European heritage and ethnicity, I would say it was the twin ideologies of universalism and egalitarianism. By universal egalitarianism, I mean the idea that humans are essentially the same everywhere, and that our ethnicities and cultural ancestries are either superficial or easy to transform through proper instruction in the acquisition of modern “universal values” such as civic equality, tolerance, affluent civility, and democratic participation. The notion that the liberal elites in the West represented the highest ideals of humanity had become conventional thinking in the 60s. The West was ahead of other cultures in the institutionalization of these universal values; it was the moral obligation of Western elites to showcase these values to the world. Humanity could be united under these values with different ethnic groups co-existing and interbreeding in the same lands in an atmosphere of liberal affluence.
These ideas preceded the 60s with roots going back to the Enlightenment and perhaps even Christianity. The senior government officials who introduced non-racial immigration rules in Canada in the 60s were influenced by the ideas which led to the creation of the United Nations and a multiracial Commonwealth. The UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights in 1948, the UNESCO statements on race (1950, 1951, 1964, 1967), with their language about a common humanity, which arose directly from the experience of Nazism, made some politicians uncomfortable with a Canada acting on the world stage as a democratic and liberal nation while excluding non-Whites from its borders. The Immigration Act of 1952 seemed old, exclusionary, and illiberal.
This love for a future non-ethnocentric humanity, projected onto a benign future that was not real, entailed a growing dislike and intolerance for the actual Canadian population of European ethnic origin. In 1971, this European population constituted about 96 percent of Canada’s demography. This existing European population still sympathized with Mackenzie King’s 1947 announcement in the House:
“The people of Canada do not wish, as a result of mass immigration, to make a fundamental alteration in the character of our population. Large-scale immigration from the Orient would change the fundamental composition of the Canadian population.”
But liberal elites, as the radical 60s spread, were determined to re-engineer the souls of average Canadians. There was no national debate on multiculturalism and mass immigration. Canadian immigration policy proceeded for the most part by way of non-transparent regulations, executive directives, and administrative discretion, not by legislative action.
Immediately after Trudeau’s 1971 announcement, numerous programs were implemented : multicultural grants, ethnic development programs, funds for the writing of the non-European ethnic histories, support for Canadian ethnic studies “to set the record straight” by reflecting Canada’s diverse cultural traditions and the contributions of non-British and non-French to Canada’s identity and history. All ethnic groups were to be seen as equal to the making of Canada. Never mind the actual historical and political fact of the two founding peoples of Canadian Confederation!!! With grants freely available, there was, in the words of one observer, an “explosion of academic research into ethnicity.” Between 1971 and 1982, 88 scholarly works on cultural minorities were published in Canada, as well as numerous collections of papers ; many symposiums on Canadian ethnic groups and relations were held. A new discipline, “Canadian Ethnic Studies,” was born, soon to proliferate throughout the halls of academe. This was just the beginning of a “bonanza of remarkable proportions” in the promotion of multiculturalism through every level of society. In June 1984, the Conservative Leader Brian Mulroney told a cheering crowd that his party now stood for multiculturalism and would not allow itself to be called “the Party of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants”. Multicultural diversity, he said, was an absolutely obligatory part of Canada’s national identity and to reject it was to reject Canada. He then outlined future changes his party intended to implement in the hiring policies of the federal government, services in non-official languages, more funds for the preservation and advancement of non-European cultures and greater efforts to “stamp out racism wherever it rears its ugly head.”
This stamping out was directed singularly against the British people and their legacy in Canada. The French in Quebec had successfully managed to portray themselves, from the 60s onwards, as an oppressed minority within Canada with its own legitimate identity seeking a new constitutional deal framed against Anglo Canada. It was the British, and then the Europeans who had assimilated to English Canada, who were being asked to relinquish any sense of culture deeply grounded in ethnic bonds, ancestry, and homeland. The ethnicity of Quebecers, and of Native peoples, could be viewed in primordialist terms as deeply rooted in their lands, communities, histories, and customary identities. But normal British and English Europeans were prohibited from binding themselves to a geographical and cultural “homeland”. Their ethnicity was to be de-linked from a homeland called “Canada”. There was no such a thing as a Canadian identity that could be linked primordially to the British or the English-Europeans. The European-Canadian identity was to be witnessed only in multicultural tolerance, pluralist values, democracy, and diversity. But since these values were “universal” — for “humanity” – they would not be seen as uniquely British or European. To the contrary, these values would be used against any British sense of identity for the sake of protecting and promoting the ethnic pride of non-Europeans. Asians, Blacks, and Latinos had the right to preserve their own ethnic roots and culture in a multicultural Canada. They would have hyphenated identities such as “I am really Chinese, but I live in mosaic Canada,” or “I have ethnic Chinese roots, but I identify with Canadian diversity and democracy.”
Since the British were allegedly the agents of racist and exclusionary immigration practices, whereas the immigrants (including the millions who were not yet in Canada) were the victims of such practices, multiculturalism thus worked necessarily as a force against British identity and as a force for non-European identities. To this day, every day, media pundits and self-righteous academics insist that racism is experienced by immigrants of visible status and that a “major goal of multiculturalism must be to eliminate racism.” Forget that visible immigrants come from illiberal, racially ranked, and backward cultures, and that individual rights and non-racial discrimination policies were unique legacies of the British, and that visible immigrants in Canada are far more uncomfortable with other visible groups than are European Canadians. The point is that racism per se has been inexorably tied to the ethnocentrism of British/European Canada, and so the elimination of racism requires the eradication of British and European identity. [...]
Perhaps on Canada Day, rather than celebrating the dispossession of European Canadians and their transformation into “quintessentially” deracinated characters, we should critically examine the unfounded notion that European ethnocentrism, and only European ethnocentrism, amounts to “ethnic cleansing”, “fanaticism,” and “violence” against outsiders (Kelley and Trebilock, p. 471). Japan, Korea, and many other countries, have a very high degree of ethnic homogeneity, as do some Nordic European countries (Finland, Norway, and also Switzerland), but none of them are engaged in wars of exclusion and violence against other ethnic groups. Ending mass immigration and multiculturalism in the West is not an act of exclusion and racism. It is the other way around : these policies have amounted to acts of exclusion and dispossession against the historic British and European peoples of Canada. Our cooperative nature is intrinsically connected to our in-group nature. Ethnocentrism means loyalty and commitment for one’s group; it does not entail hatred and rancour against other groups. The scientists Carsten de Dreu et al. observe 2011), in fact, that the tendency for in-group members is to favour their own rather than to hate outsiders:
“[T]here is good reason to believe that the in-group prejudice effect is far more basic to human life than is the out-group hate prejudice effect, and research on human ethnocentrism supported this positive-negative asymmetry of social discrimination.“
The multiculturalists are the ones who have infused politics with an intolerant ideology in which anyone proud of his European heritage and refusing to join the multiculti choruses is despised as a xenophobic outsider. The irony of creating a “universal humanity” is that it has required the dehumanization of the British people, or any particular European group, wishing to retain its identity. Multiculturalists advocate in-group favoritism for immigrants and cultural Marxists, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, out-group hate for those Canadians who love their European heritage. They have demonized the European founding peoples of Canada as an out-group, an enemy of “humanity”, to be eradicated for the sake of non-European “diversity” and the creation of a new species inside Canada and the West. Their position runs counter to the natural, healthy and rational ethnocentric prejudices of humans. It also runs counter to the actual ethnic diversity of the peoples of the earth. Why would the Japanese, Koreans, and Pakistanis want their countries to look like “diverse” Toronto?
Let us defend European ethnocentrism in the name of human nature and the true diversity of the peoples of the planet.
Read the entire, unabridged version of professor Duchne's article at Immigration Watch Canada.
«May have had its day»
28.09.2013. Donald Kagan, Yale's great classicist gives his final lecture, fighting as ever for Western civilization. Thus is the article 'Democracy May Have Had Its Day' in WSJ introduced. Here are some excerpts (boldface emphasis added):
In 1990, as dean of Yale College, Mr. Kagan argued for the centrality of the study of Western civilization in an "infamous" (his phrase) address to incoming freshmen. A storm followed. He was called a racist—or as the campus daily more politely editorialized, a peddler of "European cultural arrogance."
Not so now. Mr. Kagan received a long standing ovation from students and alumni in the packed auditorium. Heading into retirement, he has been feted as a beloved and popular teacher and Yale icon. The PC wars of the 1990s feel dated. Maybe, as one undergrad told me after the lecture, "the pendulum has started to swing back" toward traditional values in education.
Mr. Kagan offers another explanation. "You can't have a fight," he says one recent day at his office, "because you don't have two sides. The other side won."
The tussles over course offerings and campus speech of course speak to something larger. Democracy, wrote Mr. Kagan in "Pericles of Athens" (1991), is "one of the rarest, most delicate and fragile flowers in the jungle of human experience." It relies on "free, autonomous and self-reliant" citizens and "extraordinary leadership" to flourish, even survive.
These kinds of citizens aren't born—they need to be educated. "The essence of liberty, which is at the root of a liberal education, is that meaningful freedom means that you have choices to make," Mr. Kagan says. [...]
As dean, Mr. Kagan championed hard sciences, rigorous hiring standards for faculty, and the protection of free speech. Those who see liberal education in crisis return to those ideas. "Crisis suggests it might recover," Mr. Kagan shoots back. "Maybe it's had its day. Democracy may have had its day. Concerns about the decline of liberty in our whole polity is what threatens all of the aspects of it, including democracy."
As Thucydides wrote, people go to war out of "honor, fear and interest." War, he also said, "is a violent teacher." Another enduring lesson from him, says Mr. Kagan, is "that you can expect people, whatever they may be, to seek to maximize their power"—then a slight pause—"unless they're Europeans and have checked their brains at the door, so mortified are they, understandably, by what happened to them in the 20th century. They can't be taken seriously."
Read the entire article in The Wall Street Journal.
Do we understand how unique it really is?
11.09.2013. The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Professor Ricardo Duchesne is a refreshing and original book that breaks with the current Multicultural consensus to argue that Western civilization is indeed unique and has been so for a very long time, probably far longer than most people realize.
It is a daring text. Few other books have tried to cover such a vast canvass of thousands of years of history, and many of those who have attempted to do so were less successful than this one. In fact, it’s so full of information about many different societies, cultures and epochs that it’s rather challenging to do it justice in a few words. Thus writes Fjordman in his review of Duchesne's book. Fjordman continues:
This is a serious historical volume, filled with information on every page. It clearly wasn’t written as a “history for dummies,” but refers to a wide variety of important historical works dealing with the Industrial Revolution, Tang Dynasty China, ancient Egypt and Bronze Age Europe. I have read quite a few of the books mentioned here myself, but by no means all of them. I doubt whether most professional historians have read all of the works cited here.
The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is packed with footnotes, to the extent that on certain pages these take up more space than the main text. This is both the book’s greatest strength as well as potentially one of its flaws. It is a dense, scholarly work which clearly was the result of many years of careful research. On the other hand, it’s not always light reading. I liked it personally, but I have an academic background and read extensively from all forms of history books. It is not absolutely necessary to have read many of the books mentioned in it in order to appreciate Professor Duchesne’s fine work, but this would undoubtedly constitute an advantage.
If I were to criticize anything of the contents, it might be that the references to Hegel and his ideas take up slightly too much space in certain sections. Overall, however, this is a very well-researched volume that largely succeeds in what it set out to do: To establish that what we call Western civilization — or more accurately, European civilization — is different from other civilizations, and has been for a very long time.
Ricardo Duchesne demolishes the arguments of historians such as Kenneth Pomeranz, Bin Wong, John Hobson, Jack Goldstone and others who suggest that China was on the same level as Europe at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and that it was more or less accidental that the IR started in Britain and Western Europe. In fact, European civilization exhibited unique characteristics not just during the Scientific Revolution, the Age of Exploration or the Christian Middle Ages, but perhaps even before the Roman Empire and Classical Greece.
The author hardly mentions the word “IQ” throughout these 500 pages. In contrast, Michael H. Hart in his book Understanding Human History views the flow of human history primarily through the prism of IQ differences among various ethnic groups. This does indeed explain many things, although it has become politically sensitive to say as much in the Western world today, but it does not explain everything. No single factor ever does.
The most important thing that genetic intelligence measured in IQ does not predict is why Europeans have historically outperformed East Asians, despite the latter having at least a comparable mean IQ. Ricardo Duchesne for his part draws a pattern where Europeans have for a very long time – in fact thousands of years – shown a greater tolerance for individuals standing out from the crowd. He traces this characteristic all the way back to the Indo-European aristocratic warrior ethos of the Bronze Age steppes.
Thanks to this legacy, Europeans have displayed a unique culture encouraging individual bravery, not just for conquest (although that, too) but for exploration and all forms of daring that seek to achieve individual glory beyond physical death. It is this restless individualism, in which bold men display curiosity and daring to make their mark on history, that sets European culture apart from other civilizations throughout historical times.
Continue reading Fjordman's review of Duchesne's book in FrontPage Magazine.
Having read, and being impressed by, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, but not being qualified to write anything that resembles a proper review, I choose to quote extensively from a very long a scholarly review that Collin Cleary has done for Counter-Currents.com. For the record, the length of his review is several times that of the following quotes:
1. Introduction: A Book for Our Times
Every few years I discover a book that is truly great. One that forces me to think in new ways about things familiar, teaches me things I never knew, and inspires in me scores of new ideas and insights. Such a book is Ricardo Duchesne’s The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, which has been my companion now for close to two months. It’s a big book (527 pages, including back matter), and it demands a big review.
Please take me at my word when I say that this book is well worth the attention I will devote to it – and well worth your attention as well. In fact, I cannot recall reading any book published in the last two decades that I would count as more significant. Yet you will be surprised to hear that I read it in short installments. This was due not primarily to the fact that I had other commitments, but rather because I kept having to put the book down to think about its ideas and make notes to myself. It often takes me forever to get through a book that I find truly exciting.
Duchesne teaches in the Department of Social Science at the University of New Brunswick Saint John in Canada. He is the author of some 36 refereed articles and 13 encyclopedia entries. The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is his first book, but it is apparent both from its size and its scope that it is the fruit of many years of research and reflection. Indeed, by any standard this is an absolutely remarkable book. Duchesne not only surveys and assesses decades of scholarship in world history, his own arguments are formed through an encounter with thinkers like Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, Spengler, and Kojève. And his treatment of these thinkers is far from superficial – indeed it is extraordinarily insightful (particularly in the case of Hegel, the most difficult thinker in the bunch). Duchesne’s erudition is truly impressive, as is the profundity of his ideas.
In sum, this ought to be regarded, by historians and others, as a path-breaking book and treated as an instant classic. But it will not be. Or rather, I should say, it has not been, since it came out two years ago (though it often takes a while for academic books to get noticed or to have an impact). It has been reviewed in a few places, but has largely been ignored, and will probably continue to be. The reason can be divined from the title: Duchesne wants to argue that the West is unique.
Now, you may be wondering, who would ever challenge such a claim? Why would anyone even need to mount a defense of Western uniqueness? If such questions occur to you, then you are likely an academic virgin. For in today’s world of scholarship – in which a monolithic “political correctness” reigns supreme – not only is the West under attack for its Eurocentrism, imperialism, sexism, racism, heterosexism, and (God help us) phallologocentrism, even the idea of its uniqueness is being challenged. The position of today’s politically correct historians can be summed up as follows: not only are we bad, we’re also nothing special – though we are especially bad.
When I related all of this to a good friend recently, his response was “But isn’t it rather unique that the Europeans, a minority of the world’s population [about 20% in 1800] managed eventually to control almost the entire planet?” One also thinks of such things as the birth of science, philosophy, and participatory government in Greece, the Roman concept of the legal person, the development of mechanical clocks, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of the “New World,” the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, the ideal of universal human rights, Beethoven’s nine symphonies, the industrial revolution, quantum physics, the moon landing, the harnessing of electricity and nuclear power, the invention of the car, radio, television, computers, airplanes, and motion pictures. And, of course, this is merely a short list of Western accomplishments. Isn’t this enough to indicate not just that the West is unique, but spectacularly, impressively, sublimely unique?
So how do these revisionist professors pull it off? (Calling them “revisionists,” as Duchesne does, is more gentlemanly than calling them “politically correct,” so I will use this term throughout the rest of the essay.) Essentially, their strategy is two-pronged. First of all, and as I shall discuss at some length, they minimize the importance of any Western achievements that are not scientific or technological, or which do not make a direct or obvious impact on economic relationships (this is an outgrowth of the latent Marxism of their position, as well as of a certain vulgar modern materialism). And so, as incredible as it may sound, they deny the importance of such things as Greek philosophy, the ideals of the Reformation and Enlightenment, Beethoven’s nine symphonies, etc. Second, insofar as they acknowledge Western scientific and technological innovations, they assert that these were either borrowed from other cultures, or were developments of ideas or inventions originated by others.
A large portion of Duchesne’s book – almost the first 280 pages – is devoted to countering these claims. Because most honest and well-informed readers will recognize that these are not only highly problematic claims but also flimsy and often dishonest ones, many will find Duchesne’s book slow going. However, those 280 pages contain a careful, painstaking analysis of the revisionists’ claims – and also a complete and total demolition of them. On completing these pages I had the feeling that if there were any justice in the world, the revisionists should now simply melt into the floors of their lecture halls, like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Alas, most of them have tenure, and cannot be gotten rid of so easily.
If Duchesne’s book were devoted simply to a refutation of the revisionist position it would be quite valuable. In fact, however, it is far more ambitious. The second half of the text presents a theory about the sources of the West’s uniqueness. Duchesne argues that Europe has achieved so much because its spirit is profoundly different from that of the rest of the world. Its spirit is “restless”; it is constantly on the move, expanding outwards in all areas, seeking to make the world its own. It abhors restraints of any kind, especially on freedom of thought and individual liberty. Furthermore, it is highly agonal and competitive – even the poets compete with each other. And it is individualistic, honoring the deeds of great heroes and the iconoclasm of the great innovators.
2. The Rise of the Revisionist Historians
Duchesne’s first chapter is entitled “The Fall of Western Civilization and the Rise of Multicultural World History.” But what “fall of Western civilization” really refers to is the demise of the old “Western Civ” courses that used to be ubiquitous in academia. In the old days, it was thought that since our students were living and studying in the West, they needed to have a firm grasp of Western culture. Furthermore, the old-fashioned texts used in those classes tended to assert that history exhibited a discernible pattern: a linear trajectory, with the West leading the way. They assumed, in short, an ideal of progress, and were guilty of what is denounced today as Eurocentrism.
All this changed in the 1960s. With the rise of the New Left in the academy, the West was now seen to have advanced through the exploitation of other peoples, which scarcely counts as “progress” at all. “It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the 1960s saw the onset of a tidal wave against the idea of progress,” Duchesne writes (p. 23). Cultural relativism, post-colonialism, historicism, deconstruction, and critical theory all converged, with the result that by the 1970s most academic historians had lost faith in Western civilization and in the old progressive interpretation of history.
One of the most influential architects of the new revisionism was the anthropologist Marvin Harris (1927–2001), whose work was heavily influenced by Franz Boas’s cultural relativism. Harris grafted Boas onto Marx, specifically Marx’s theory of the different levels of society, where what we normally refer to as “culture” is held to be a “superstructure” founded upon economic relationships.
3. The Contradictions of Cultural Relativism
Cultural relativism is one of those fashionable ideologies that takes less than five minutes of clear thinking to expose as fraught with insurmountable difficulties. Indeed, this is the common denominator of everything that comprises what we call “political correctness.” All of it requires that we not think clearly, and that we not process what is right before our eyes. All of it requires “doublethink.” Nevertheless, so many individuals – including well-meaning ones – are in such thrall to these positions that it is necessary to patiently refute them. One of the virtues of Duchesne’s book is his discussion of the problems inherent in cultural relativism – a theory which is sometimes not explicitly stated by Leftists, but which is nevertheless inherent in ideologies like multiculturalism.
Consider the case of the anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1926–2006) who was so convinced of the objective truth of cultural relativism that he could write comfortably of the burning of widows as “a spectacle of awesome beauty” (see p. 32 of Duchesne). One hears in this the voice of the fanatic, and can’t help but be repelled. But, as Duchesne remarks in a dense footnote, more problematic still is the difficulty of explaining – if cultural relativism is true – how Geertz managed to transcend his own cultural situatedness in order to appreciate the “awesome beauty” of something universally regarded by Westerners as unspeakably barbaric.
Cultural relativists are often accused of this sort of inconsistency. They appear to make claims which, according to their own position, are impossible. But Duchesne has a more interesting point to make. He draws our attention to a paradox that lies at the heart of cultural relativism: though it claims to have dispensed with Eurocentrism, cultural relativism itself is a product of European culture. No other culture has ever floated the idea that it is not “unique,” and that its beliefs and practices are no more true or valid than anyone else’s. [...]
Finally, and most pointedly, he asks “Should Westerners be deprived of their own particular traditions in the name of the universal promotion of pluralism and diversity?” It often seems that multiculturalists believe that everyone has a right to practice and celebrate their culture, with the exception of Westerners, who must nip and tuck their culture to accommodate others. At the root of this, of course, is a deep and pernicious form of self-hatred: the feeling that we have no right to defend Western culture, for its history is just a long roster of sins against others. This is, of course, the net effect of decades of education and propagandizing by anti-Western, neo-Marxist historians, anthropologists, and sociologists, who have distorted the historical record and minimized or denied the West’s unique virtues.
4. The Dishonesty of the Revisionists
Enter the late Jerry Bentley (1949–2012), revisionist historian. Bentley promoted the ostensibly valid claim that all the world’s peoples deserve serious study by historians. But he promoted this largely by denying that there was anything distinctive or unique about “classical Greece, the European Renaissance, the Reformation, the Glorious Revolution and Parliamentary supremacy, or the Enlightenment” (pp. 54–55). Now, at the risk of seeming to make a dogmatic claim, I submit that the only excuse for holding such a position would be ignorance of all the historical events or periods just listed. But Bentley was a university professor, and far from ignorant. One therefore feels driven to the conclusion that he was, like so many other academics, in the grip of an ideology, and being less than honest.
In academic circles it’s considered dirty pool to accuse a scholar of dishonesty. One must instead patiently refute their errors and carefully avoid hinting that one believes that those errors are less than honest. (And Duchesne, good academic that he is, plays this game, and generally avoids speculating about the motivations of his opponents.) This is the gentlemanly thing to do. But now and again one encounters a position that is so patently dishonest one feels a moral obligation to denounce it as such. And, in general, the dishonesty of the revisionists is pretty patent.
Aside from the ideological blinders worn by the revisionists, Duchesne also exposes the inherent flaws in their basic methodology. In brief, the revisionists cherry-pick the evidence, accumulating only the facts that seem to support their own claims. Duchesne puts it more politely, observing that their approach is too Baconian and insufficiently Popperian. In other words, they think that you can prove a case simply by assembling evidence that confirms it, and do not seem to realize that one must come to terms with evidence that disconfirms it as well.
But the revisionists have a convenient way of dealing with disconfirming evidence: dismissal and denunciation. [...]
Duchesne writes: “In their extremist desire to strip Europe of any deep-seated, differentiating characteristics, revisionists have left themselves with no option but to treat [Western] history as an unending series of ‘lucky shots’ and abrupt turns” (p. 203). One revisionist historian writes that Europeans “weren’t just lucky; they were lucky many times over.” The truth is that Europeans were lucky indeed: lucky to be in possession of a singular genius and drive. But that this may have been our “lucky break” is a possibility the revisionists simply will not allow themselves to consider.
As I shall treat in greater detail in the next section, the revisionists also continually draw our attention to ideas and inventions that Europeans allegedly “borrowed” from others (even when the evidence for this is scanty). As Duchesne points out (p. 64) what they fail to realize is that being original does not preclude having debts to others – and that affirming the uniqueness of the West does not imply that it was self-contained (p. 177).
Japanese Zen was certainly indebted ultimately to the Indian sage Bodhidharma, but no honest man would call Zen “unoriginal.” Einstein was likewise indebted to Newton, but again no honest man would use this as a basis to dismiss relativity theory. But, to come full circle, we are not dealing here with honest men (though it is doubtful, in fact, that the revisionists would question the originality of Zen and Einstein!). We are dealing with men in thrall to an ideology, determined not just to deny the West’s greatness, but ultimately – in truth – to destroy it.
Read Cleary's entire review at Counter-Currents.com.
Quite unsurprizingly, revisionist historians are apparently trying to ignore Duchesne's magnum opus as best they can. However, here is a critical review:
Other relevant articles include:
- Nowhere But the West. Review by Steve Balch, National Association of Scholars.
- Multicultural vs. Post-Multicultural World History. A review essay on The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, by Ricardo Duchesne. By Martin Hewson.
- Going against the tide: Richardo Duchesne's Intellectual Defence of the West. By Kevin MacDonald, The Occidental Quarterly, vol 11, no 3, Fall 2011.
- Ricardo Duchesne’s Intellectual Defense of the West. By Kevin MacDonald, Vdare (shorter version of TOQ review).
- Martin Hewson reviews Ricardo Duchesne’s “The Uniqueness of Western Civilization”. By
Kevin MacDonald, TOO.
- Ricardo Duchesne’s “Multicultural Madness”. By Kevin MacDonald, TOO.
- The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne (review). By David Northrup, Project Muse.
See also detailed Table of Contents.
Gregory Cochran versus Jared Diamond
04.09.2013. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond argues that all human groups have equal mental capabilities – except for the inhabitants of New Guinea, who are clearly smarter than the human norm.
If this is the case, there’s money to be made. Good performance in a lot of high-paying jobs requires intelligence above some fairly high threshold. Such people are scarce [outside of New Guinea], and that means that their labor is expensive. The fraction of individuals above a high threshold increases dramatically with a higher mean, and since people in PNG don’t have high incomes, there is a fantastic arbitrage opportunity here. You could locate some of the many geniuses that must exist in PNG, rapidly and inexpensively teach them high-tech skills (which they would learn easily, since they’re geniuses, natch), apply for H1B visas, and then resell them to the highest Silicon Valley bidder. This wouldn’t last, of course – these guys would not stay peons forever. They’d be generating their own start-ups in a few years, founding hedge funds, dominating the Vegas poker tournaments, etc. Some, less materialistic, would become grandmasters, win Fields medals, or write seminal books about the attractions of cannibalism. Still, you could make a lot of money in the short run, and if you were careful to build good relationships with your employees, they might let you in on the ground floor of an IPO later.
Thus writes Gregory Cochran in The Masters of the Future. Read the entire article at West Hunter.
Selected Essays by Paul Gottfried
01.09.2013. For years I have been a fan of Paul Gottfried, and have several times made reference to his writings here at HT. Some time ago I finished reading his book War and Democracy. While I am unfortunately not qualified to review such a book, I can still say that I benefited a lot from it, and hope many readers of HT will do the same. What I found the most interesting, was Gottfried's discussion on how jews relate to the (post) Christian civilization of the West (Gottfried is himself jewish).
John Derbyshire has written a short and to-the-point review of Gottfried's book for Taki Magazine that is very much in line with my own impression. Here are some excerpts:
Paul Gottfried is not merely erudite, he is erudite in several languages, living and dead. This is a very brilliant man. More remarkable still, he is a brilliant man who can express his ideas clearly to a general readership. For threefold extraordinariness, Paul is a paleoconservative—which is to say, he’s a foe of the New Universal Faith of egalitarian utopianism.
This book is an anthology of 25 essays Paul has written over the past forty years. Most of the essays are short—typically four or five pages. The date range given in the title is somewhat misleading: All but the first four essays date from the current century. Three are from Taki’s Magazine, and speaking as a fellow contributor, I count it an honor to be in such distinguished intellectual company.
When he writes about fascism, Paul shows his historical scholarship at its sinewy best. He is so uniformly quotable here as to defy excerption. Try the essay “Don’t Blame Fascism” for a demolition of the neocon conceit that fascism was a leftist deviation; or see Paul toss and gore the silly notion of “Islamofascism.”
As a Jew, Paul gets it from all sides. Other members of the Old Right, naturally angry and bitter at American conservatism’s hijacking by (mostly) Jewish ex-Marxists in the 1980s, find it hard to trust him. I once mentioned Paul’s name to a neocon Gentile, who responded: “Gottfried? He’s the house Jew of the Buchananites.” YHWH only knows what frankly leftist Jews such as Jonathan Kozol think of him.
Taking issue with Larry Auster’s call for a Jewish-Christian united front against Islam, the common enemy, Paul notes that Jews have historically been more favorably disposed to Islam than to Christianity. He is skeptical of the usual explanation: “Jewish distaste for Christianity is so deep-seated that it cannot be written off as a legacy of Christian anti-Semitism.”
Even in the brotherhood of the New Universal Faith the old division persists:
Jewish and white [sic] Christian liberals are not interchangeable. They become liberals in response to different social and psychological needs. Jews are inclined to be multiculturalists because they fear and distrust a Christian majority. White Christians…chase after “diversity” because they are self-dismissively throwing away their civilization.
Read the entire review in Taki Magazine. See also the archive of Gottfried's own TakiMag articles.
Other reviews of Gottfried's book include:
Permalinks to older articles