Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why do racist belief systems persist?

British-born Harvard history Professor Niall Ferguson makes a game attempt to answer the above question here. Some of the factors he mentions are a bit speculative but, all things considered, he goes about as far as political correctness allows. I however am a retired academic and seek no fame or acclaim in academic circles so I can point out what academics would politely call some of the "lacunae" in Ferguson's article.

He stumbles at the first hurdle, in fact. He commences by trotting out the hoary but absurd argument that the PERCENTAGE of genes we share with other races or other species matters. Because whites share lots of genes with blacks (or with chimpanzees, for that matter), he leaps into the complete non-sequitur that genetic differences between races are unimportant. Yet anybody who knows the slightest thing about genetic illnesses knows that just ONE defective gene can make a vast difference in how well an individual functions. And races all differ by many more than one gene. It is WHICH genes you share (or do not share) that matters, not how many of them you share.

So blinkered old Fergie misses out the obvious answer to his question. The answer to the question "Why do racist belief systems persist?" is that they persist because races REALLY ARE systematically different. Around a hundred years of IQ research have certainly shown that -- and IQ differences are very wide-ranging in their effects. And IQ is just the start of the differences that can be genetically inherited. Note for instance the way the anti-heredity psychologist Jerome Kagan was dragged kicking and screaming by his own findings into acknowledging inborn personality differences between Han Chinese and white children.



Good to hear: "The US is quietly rushing a shipment of precision bombs to Israel in response to a request made after the Jewish state began a bombing campaign on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. The decision to speed up delivery of the arms -- part of a billion-dollar deal signed by the allies last year -- was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, according to The New York Times... Israel's request for rush delivery of the satellite- and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike, the Times noted. The US official refused to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment but confirmed that they included precision-guided bombs. An arms-sale package approved last year authorises Israel to buy from the US as many as 100 GBU-28s, which are 2268kg laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. Israel has already used huge bombs to attempt to destroy the Beirut bunker of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah without succeeding in eliminating the Shia militia chief. A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington told the Times: "We have been using precision-guided munitions in order to neutralise the military capabilities of Hezbollah and to minimise harm to civilians."

Britain condones forced marriages: "The lives of young women might be ruined by the Government's failure to make forced marriages illegal, a senior police officer has warned. Commander Steve Allen of the Metropolitan Police said that a decision by ministers last month to drop proposed legislation had been greeted by some ethnic minorities as a signal that forced marriage was acceptable. His concern about the about-turn, which was partly prompted by fears that the new law would stigmatise Muslims, is shared by a Crown Prosecution Service director and the head of Scotland Yard's Homicide Prevention Unit. The head of a South Asian women's charity said yesterday that girls were already suffering the consequences of the decision."

Shuffling the illegal immigration deckchairs in Britain: "A uniformed border control force is going to be introduced at airports and ports in an attempt to tackle the illegal immigration crisis. The force will be made up of existing immigration and passport control officers who patrol ports of entry in plain clothes, along with the staff who implement the removal of illegal immigrants. John Reid, the Home Secretary, will announce plans for the new force this week, saying that he believes a highly visible presence will act as a deterrent. He will also announce final plans to reform the heavily criticised Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which will see its budget doubled to 280 million pounds by 2010. The cash will be spent on extra staff for the new force and more raids on businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants. The Conservatives condemned the move as a stunt. David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: "This is a cosmetic gimmick designed to persuade the public that action is being taken when the necessary serious action is being baulked at."

Illegals still flock to the only part of Africa with a substantial white population: "Darkness falls early and swiftly over the Limpopo River, marking the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Each night it also brings hope to dozens of impoverished Zimbabweans who emerge from thick bushes along its banks, slip into crocodile-infested waters and slowly wade across to the other side in search of a better life. In recent months, as President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe has teetered close to economic collapse, the steady stream of illegal immigrants has turned into a torrent that the South African authorities are struggling to contain. South Africa deports about 265 Zimbabweans a day. Countless more slip through undetected or simply wait a day or two before trying again and, more often than not, succeeding. More than 51,000 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were deported between January and June this year, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday. "Last year, 97,433 Zimbabweans were deported compared with 72,112 in 2004 . . . as floods of people fled economic collapse," the paper said."

The pesky facts about tax cuts: "Remember the folks who said the tax cuts would 'blow a hole in the deficit?' Well, revenues as a share of the economy are now expected to rise this year to 18.3%, slightly above the modern historical average of 18.2%. The remaining budget deficit of a little under $300 billion will be about 2.3% of GDP, which is smaller than in 17 of the previous 25 years. Throw in the surpluses rolling into the states, and the overall U.S. 'fiscal deficit' is now economically trivial. This would all seem to be good news, but some folks are never happy. The same crowd that said the tax cuts wouldn't work, and predicted fiscal doom, are now harrumphing that the revenues reflect a windfall for 'the rich.' We suppose that's right if by rich they mean the millions of Americans moving into higher tax brackets because their paychecks are increasing. Individual income tax payments are up 14.1% this year, and 'nonwithheld' individual tax payments (reflecting capital gains, among other things) are up 20%. Because of the tax cuts, the still highly progressive U.S. tax code is soaking the rich. Since when do liberals object to a windfall for the government?... As for the 2003 tax cuts, the current revenue boom is one more argument for making them permanent. They are now set to expire in 2010, and, even if they are extended, federal revenues will continue to climb as a share of GDP as more taxpayers earn higher incomes and move into higher tax brackets. If liberal Democrats are really determined to soak the rich-and we don't doubt it for a second-they'll also vote to make the tax cuts permanent."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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