Thought crime?

I’ve been suffering a bit of cognitive indigestion, as a cluster of blogs styled “Alternative Right” I’ve begun guardedly following has lobbed a timely but disconcerting claim my way:

Ron Paul has a real chance of winning next week’s Iowa caucuses. And not surprisingly “the Smearbund” (as Murray Rothbard termed it) has returned—along with discussion of those newsletters, which have haunted the Congressman for 15 years.

The GOP establishment will tolerate Paul so long as he remains a folksy and charming long-shot. (He’s even useful in that he keeps Constitution-thumping die-hards within the Republican fold.) But the second it looks like the man might actually win, the gloves come off.

To be sure, most of the smears of Paul’s brand of Old-Right libertarianism are unfair and ungrounded; and they usually amount to a variation on theme—“You don’t want to invade [Insert Middle Eastern Country], ergo you endorse [Insert cruel dictator]! Such logic is invariably accompanied by allusions to Hitler, “the lessons of Munich,” yadayadayada. (This past week Dorothy Rabinowitz shrieked that Paul is a “propagandist for our enemies.”)

That being said, the claim that Paul’s newsletters from the ‘90s are “racist” (at least as that word is commonly defined) is, in fact, quite fair.

One can defend most of what is written on libertarian, non-racial grounds, as Justin Raimondo did in his powerful 2008 piece from Takimag. But the fact remains that the newsletters were “racist” in the sense that race is real—it has a remarkable analytic and predictive capacity—and the newsletter authors (whoever they might be) were willing to “go there.”

(Emphasis added) You can read the whole thing here, if so inclined, though I suspect you may not be.

I’ve been much more inclined to the “race is a pigment of the imagination” view than the “race … has remarkable analytic and predictive capacity” view.

I’m a man of the Right, I think. Maybe off the right end of the modern scale, even, though there seem to be enough kindred spirits if only in cyberspace. I’m almost certainly off the right end of the lamestream media’s scale, which runs from right liberals to left liberals.

I’m willing to be contrarian. Since I’m not running for office, I’m willing to grab “third rails” like Social Security, suggesting that retirement age should be raised with life expectancies and that retirement benefits should be indexed to cost of living, rather than to wages of those still working.

I’m not overly solicitous of claims that words hurt someone’s feelings, or that we must crush every eccentric who, despite being in the marketplace, might choose not to serve certain people.

I’m even willing to say that human equality does not require deluding ourselves about every human being being equally gifted in all areas of life and art, and that the way things have developed over generations, some aptitudes may be broadly correlated with skin pigmentation. I won’t use examples, but if you can’t think of any prominent and high-paying jobs where people with dark skin are disproportionately represented – maybe during the commercial breaks in pro sports – you’re probably not trying very hard.

So why am I hesitant to grasp the nettle and celebrate all the little (and big?) indicia of possible racial differences?

I guess it’s because I intuitively grasp that we’re still living in black slavery’s denouement (I don’t think we’re to epilogue yet); because “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” and Lebensunwerten Lebens still ring in my ears; because I fear our judicially robed and medically smocked “betters” as much as our possum-eating “inferiors;” because I especially fear our scientifically smocked techno-triumphalists (H/T James Howard Kunstler, who uses the term differently), including the folks at Monsaton, who are just dying to try out various embryonic stem cell tricks, transhumanist gene-splicing, and patenting of life forms.

Race simply remains a minefield that I’m not willing to enter, as I think the risk of doing so – feeding some grand, hubristic social engineering project – vastly outweighs the potential benefit – changing our ill-informed individual and mediating structure biases and idiosyncrasies from reflexive to scientific.

I’m also reminded of the ambiguity of political spectra and terms like Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative and so forth.

Thanks for reading. This blog has very much been one of the “I write to see what I think (or why I feel this way)” variety.

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One thought on “Thought crime?

  1. re: “thanks for reading.” Thanks for writing. Your content is wide-ranging and interesting, and the tone is always civil. It’s a “safe” place to spend time, to be challenged sometimes, without feeling provoked.

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