Thursday, March 9, 2017

Black Lives Matter leads to Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen

Identity politics is a big thing these days and no flavour of identity is bigger than race. The victimhood-mongers focus on other identities such as gender, sexuality, disability and religion, but race trumps them all. When the other victim identities are discussed, they are often combined with race (or confused with it - witness the labelling of anti-Muslim sentiment as racism) to greater effect. Nowhere is this more true than in America, where, a century and a half after 750,000 Americans died to abolish slavery, race relations remain a festering sore. The polarised political discourse there has got to the point where people of European descent are not even allowed to have opinions because those opinions are deemed to be the product of 'white privilege'. Unfortunately this form of intolerance is creeping into the conversation here in New Zealand, where any criticism of successive governments' preferential treatment of Maori is considered racism.

We are meant to accept that race is the most important determinant in someone's success or lack of it but, somewhat perversely, that the sole reason for differences in social or economic outcomes for different racial groups is discrimination. Except, of course, when those differences are in favour of the victim groups - for example, it is acceptable to say that African-Americans are better at sports such as basketball because of common physical traits but not to contend that people of Jewish descent are better at mathematics and finance because of inherited characteristics they might have.

Scientists such as Charles Murray of 'The Bell Curve' and Nicholas Wade* of 'A Troublesome Inheritance' fame have become persona non grata for publishing research suggesting that human performance in a range of areas is in part linked to genetic factors. Neither claims that race is a significant determinant in any area of human performance at an individual level and Murray's bell curves show that the performance of all races largely overlap - that there are many African-Americans who are poor at sports and Jewish people who are inept at maths. But those who criticize their books don't concern themselves with reading them.

Individual human performance in every sphere is overwhelmingly due to individual traits, most particularly the propensity to think and act rationally, rather than to any common genetic attributes. Even those individuals blessed with outstanding physical and mental abilities must work hard and focus their efforts on personal goals to reach the pinnacle of achievement in their fields. It is ridiculous to say Usain Bolt is the fastest runner or that Einstein was the greatest scientist primarily because of their race.

Racism and its close cousin tribalism are the scourge of our world, but not in the way that the victimhood-mongers would have us believe. Pre-judging people on the basis of race is foolish not only because it disadvantages the individuals that are pre-judged but also because it deprives the person making the judgement of the value that may be derived from interaction with those individuals. It is equally as foolish (and as insulting to the individuals concerned) if that discrimination is positive because it denies individual potential just as surely as if the discrimination is negative.

The Western world seems hellbent on returning to a time when people were primarily judged on their race. Whether this is well-intentioned or not, it is an anathema to classical liberal values of individual freedom and rights and is a very slippery slope that inevitably leads to greater racial conflict. Black Lives Matter leads to Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen as assuredly as night follows day.

*I reviewed Wade's book here.

1 comment:

paul scott said...

750,000 Americans did not die to abolish slavery.
psychopath warlord Lincoln quote
." I would still wage this war if not one single slave was freed "

It was an early form of Empire globalism. A refusal to let the States cede from the Unionm.
Best history is " the Civil War" film by Ken Burns, from writer historian Shelby Foote.

The race claptrap started away back, as you say.
In Havard in the seventies pansy glib idiots lie Stephen Gould coulfd not cope with E.O. Wilson. We should have started the sshooting then and there.