Discriminations and our common life

There’s a recent piece at View from the Right pointing out that while the call of Harvard academic Noel Ignatieff to “abolish the white race” sounds radical, it is really no different than the usual liberal and even mainstream conservative position that we should all work toward a state of affairs in which race doesn’t matter, and so has been done away with as part of our understanding of man and society.

The point can be expanded. People have no feeling at all for how radical the antidiscrimination principle is that is now universally accepted as basic to ordinary moral decency. In understanding the situation I think it’s a mistake to emphasize “race” and “whiteness,” which today have a purely biological meaning that may matter in some respects but in most ways doesn’t point anywhere in particular. What’s more important is the general teaching of the antidiscrimination principle: not only race as a biological category, but any ethnic, cultural or national heritage, any attachment to the inherited historical community one grows up with, is supposed to disappear as something relevant to anything significant someone might ever legitimately want to do. The same goes for sex and religious affiliation. None of those things is supposed to affect anything significant in our life together. If they did, that would be discrimination and inequity, and it would be everyone’s obligation to use all possible means to root it out. That’s what “diversity” and “inclusiveness” mean, and no mainstream conservative is willing to take a principled stand against diversity and inclusiveness.

The evident consequence of such demands is that money, bureaucracy and idiosyncratic taste become the sole legitimate ordering principles for society. Everything else must be treated as irrational hatred, because everything else makes distinctions that don’t reduce to money, purely idiosyncratic taste, and neutral expert bureaucracy. The only exception to the foregoing, which isn’t really an exception, is that you can assert your racial or religious or sexual identity or whatnot any way you want, in France you can torch buildings and cars and beat a few people to death, if it’s nonstandard so the assertion destabilizes and debunks any arrangements, French culture and historical nationality for example, that rely on the dominant identity.

It seems to me that discussions of diversity, inclusiveness, affirmative action and all the rest of it would be greatly aided by more attention to the obvious insanity of the whole business. Why will it make the world warm, fuzzy, green, loving, tolerant, peaceful, progressive, prosperous, rainbow-colored, etc., etc., etc. if all inherited culture, and all nonlegal and noneconomic connections among human beings that have social definition and support, are abolished and the only things allowed to matter are money, purely personal tastes and obsessions, and what a self-certified class of experts, backed by the force of the modern state, tells us to do?

10 thoughts on “Discriminations and our common life”

  1. Charges against coach for harmless comments not yet ruled out
    “The same goes for sex and religious affiliation. None of those things is supposed to affect anything significant in our life together. If they did, that would be discrimination and inequity, and it would be everyone’s obligation to use all possible means to root it out.” (—from the log entry)

    Here’s an article I just saw linked on the AOL “Welcome” screen. It’s illustrative of the above, I feel:

    Advocates Say Penn State Coach Made Light of Alleged Sexual Assault

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (Jan. 8) – Women’s rights advocates who say Joe Paterno made outrageous remarks about an alleged sexual assault want the Penn State football coach to resign.

    Joanne Tosti-Vasey, president of the National Organization for Women in Pennsylvania, said Paterno’s comments last week represent an institutional insensitivity that endangers women. She issued a news release late Friday calling for Paterno’s resignation.
    “When someone of his stature makes light of sexual assault, we have a serious problem,” Tosti-Vasey said. “It sends a message that this behavior is not serious … that sexual assault or rape or violence against women is acceptable for an athlete.”

    The coach’s remarks came a day before the Orange Bowl, when a reporter asked a question related to Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson. Nicholson was accused of sexual assault and sent home before Tuesday’s game. Paterno replied by talking about past suspensions of Penn State players, according to an official transcript from the Orange Bowl. He then added: “There’s some tough—there’s so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do? Geez. I hope—thank God they don’t knock on my door because I’d refer them to a couple of other rooms,” Paterno continued. “But that’s too bad. You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He’s a heck of a football player, by the way; he’s a really good football player. And it’s just too bad.”

    A spokeswoman at the NOW headquarters in Washington said the organization’s president, Kim Gandy, supports the call for Paterno’s resignation.

    Guido D’Elia, communications director for Penn State football, said Paterno made his remarks in the larger context of distractions in the bowl-game environment. Nor, he said, did Paterno intend to make light of the assault allegations. “I think if you were present, you understood he meant no malice,” D’Elia said Saturday. “If you heard his tone, he really thought it was too bad for everybody. He was concerned for everybody.”

    No charges have been filed against Nicholson, although police in Florida said the matter remains open.

    Tosti-Vasey said Paterno’s comments are the latest in a series of insensitive actions by the university’s athletic department. The Pennsylvania NOW branch flayed Paterno, Curley and Spanier in 2003 after a football player accused of sexual assault was allowed to play in a bowl game.

    [End of article.]

    The problem NOW found with the coach’s comments had to do with people being forbidden to recognize the possibility of any male-female sexual-interaction paradigm other than men as rapists and women as victims—the Virginia MacKinnon paradigm, in other words, or something resembling it. It sounds as if the coach was trying to hint at a different way of seeing the broad range of possible dynamics between twentyish guys and gals, both of them with hormones raging and the gal part of the equation not necessarily above seeking to exploit sports celebrities for whatever self-serving purpose whether egotistical (bragging privileges among her sports-groupie girlfriends, or financial purposes, or other misguided ends). The coach was so indirect it’s hard, though, to be sure what he was driving at exactly. It’s clear, however, that his comments were innocuous in the ears of any sane individual.

    OK—so far, so good—we’ve seen all this before. What jumped out at me in this article was where it said at the end that no criminal charges had been filed against the coach for his comments (as if any would be merited!) but police considered the matter still open! So, this man is potentially liable to criminal charges for those innocuous comments!

    All Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder, Al Campanis, Greg Esterbrook, and the others suffered was job loss. The article implies this coach still might be prosecuted.

    If he is, that would hearken back to the case three or four years ago of Mrs. Janice Barton, I think her name was, in Michigan, who spent a little hard jail time for saying in private conversation to her mother as the two walked across the parking lot after leaving a restaurant, “I wish these spics would learn to speak English” (the comment was overheard by an off-duty policeman of Mexican ethnicity). This is actually worse, because this coach didn’t engage in any ethnic name-calling. So, if this case is prosecuted (I wonder what in the world the charges would be???) it will be, as described in the log entry, an illustration of the powers-that-be using “all possible means to root out [what they see as] discrimination and inequity.” Even if he’s not prosecuted, or is but gets acquitted, and even if he’s not forced to resign his coaching position—even if he escapes punishment, in other words—all these explicit and veiled threats surrounding the case are bound to have a chilling effect on free speech and even free thought, which is certainly part of the other side’s intent in acting so threatening over this nothing-event: they want to extend their power beyond its actual limits by threats of ruining people who don’t toe the stringent political correctness line they have imposed unilaterally.

    Hey at least they can’t be accused of lying down on the job (the job as they see it, that is …).

    Long live free Flanders!

    • Excuse me, I got that part about charges completely wrong
      Excuse me, I got that part wrong about the police saying charges weren’t ruled out—I just glanced at the article again and that part referred to the accused football player, not this coach. I apologize for that careless mistake … but I think my other points still stand: there’s an effort to control free speech and even free thought by doing things like roasting this coach, demanding his resignation and so on, for comments that are innocuous to everyone but the extreme PC enforcers.

      Long live free Flanders!

  2. Straight thinking, morals, and willpower defeat the other side
    There’s good news coming out of Europe for a change:

    While one West European country after another is legalizing same-sex marriages, last Monday the Riigikogu, the Estonian Parliament, rejected a proposal to include same-sex marriage in the new marriage law.”

    This game’s not over yet, folks. Our side’s got plenty of fight in it, still. Strange, though, that it’s often the smaller European countries that demonstrate this sort of pluck: Flanders, Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Estonia … If only their spirit would spread to the bigger nations, this whole nightmare might end in five minutes. Can anyone imagine what would happen if Germany, the U.K., France, and Italy all did what little Slovakia has done, to take one example? It could be the beginning of the end of post-modernism! Think of it! Fini! Kaput! Stick a fork in it—see if it’s done!

    Go, Estonia!

    Long live free Flanders!

  3. Discriminations
    Dear Mr. Kalb and Fellow Readers:

    Race should be de-emphasized by traditionalists according to Mr. Kalb. Mr. Kalb asserts as follows: “In understanding the situation I think it’s a mistake to emphasize ‘race’ and ‘whiteness,’ which today have a purely biological meaning that may matter in some respects but in most ways doesn’t point anywhere in particular.”

    First, I am not sure I am reading Mr. Kalb correctly. Mr. Kalb seems to qualify his idea that “race . . . (has) a purely biological meaning that may matter in some respects” with the word “today.” I cannot tell whether he is referring to “(society) today” or to his belief today. I think the qualification is important; but I am curious because I am a perfectionist.

    Second, if he is not qualifying his opinion, then his opinion is questionable. It is not a mistake to emphasize race or whiteness when fighting the antidiscriminationists; failure to emphasize it is SUICIDE to whites. (Is there such a thing as “purely biological” insofar as social human behavior is concerned?) The anti’s are not out to get nonwhites but to get whites. If that is not perceived by Mr. Kalb, then I will be astounded.

    Mr. Kalb asserts the importance of discrimination yet rejects a traditionally important basis of discrimination. This seems untenable at first glance.


    • I said “In understanding
      I said “In understanding the situation I think it’s a mistake to emphasize ‘race’ and ‘whiteness,’ which today have a purely biological meaning that may matter in some respects but in most ways doesn’t point anywhere in particular.” The point is that in common discussion those concepts have come to have a purely genetic content, and you can’t understand the importance of inherited community and the habits, understandings and connections associated with it if you think the central point is genetics and the supreme importance of one genetic stock over against others.

      Rem tene, verba sequentur.

  4. Discrimination
    I think society as a whole disregards the dogma as you describe it.

    For example, in residential housing patterns, whites congregate with whites, latinos with latinos, etc. In every city I’ve lived in, everyone knew where one “should” live and where one “shouldn’t.” School districts are drawn by geography, and schools are as a result generally segregated by race; that’s why, in the end, Brown v Board turned out to be whistling in the wind. The same kind of pattern can be found in private clubs, and even bars frequented by young people. The demographic of a bar or a restaurant, for example, is critical to its success; if an “invasion” occurs, large groups of whites will migrate elsewhere. These kinds of groupings can be broken down even further by class and ethnicity. I’m sure you can think of other examples.

    You’re right, there is no official sanction for this kind of behavior, but the behavior persists nevertheless. And I don’t think it will change, even in the case of those who mouth the doctrine so vocally. Care to check out the housing patterns and club memberships of liberal white Congressmen and woman in the DC area?

    • Europe has long criticized us for our “racism.” Now they see.
      “[…I]n residential housing patterns, whites congregate with whites, latinos with latinos, etc. In every city I’ve lived in, everyone knew where one ‘should’ live and where one ‘shouldn’t.’ School districts are drawn by geography, and schools are as a result generally segregated by race” (—MD, 1/20, 6:29pm)

      At BrusselsJournal.com the other day there was an illustration of people’s resistance to being forced together with those they don’t want to be forced together with. It seems someone had noticed separate entrances for white and non-white pupils at a school building in the Dutch city of Amsterdam:

      A school in Amsterdam has introduced separate entrances for white and coloured pupils. At the Rietlanden/8th Montessori school in the east end of Amsterdam there are two separate entrances 30 metres apart, one for native Dutch children and one for immigrants. The school authorities claim that this situation has nothing to do with racism because the school welcomes children from all ethnic groups. All it wants is for them to enter through different doors. […] ‘For one reason or another our school had acquired a bad reputation,’ headmistress Annemieke van der Groen says. ‘In such a case […] it is difficult to convince white parents to enroll their children here. If they come to have a look, they say ‘You know, with all these black children’ and enroll their children elsewhere.’ Hence, the two entrances and different names for the same school.”

      So, this gives the impression the school is trying to keep its white enrollment up by having an all-white entrance “for show,” to use when the white parents of prospective pupils come to have a look at the school (hiding, in effect, the non-white kids at a different entrance).

      It turns out this was misleading, as indignantly pointed out by a correspondent, a Mr. Gerrits, wrote to Brussels Journal demanding a retraction. Mr. Gerrits explained that what’s going on is not the school’s making separate entrances for white and non-white pupils, which would be a shocking thing to do, but this: in spite of the Dutch government’s attempt to create as many mixed-race schools as possible in Amsterdam, white parents there are resisting sending their kids to racially-mixed schools, in favor of sending them to all-white or mostly-white schools. As a result, enrollment at the school in question had plummeted, leaving it in effect with an entire floor of unused space. A floor was therefore rented out to a local private Montessori school which needed more space, and the Montessori school, almost all white, got its own entrance not because it was whiter (which it was) but because it was a completely separate school—which just happened to be occupying part of the same building. Mr. Gerrits writes,

      In your [version] the impression is conveyed that one school has intentionally decided to make separate entrances for black and white children. This is NOT the case. […A] school building […] has lots of leftover empty space because the white parents of the neighbourhood do not want to enroll there. They fear that at the school, which has predominantly immigrant pupils, their children will get poorer education or will not feel at home. Since the school has a lot of unused space (an entire floor), it allows the nearby Montessori school to use this floor. The Montessori school is very popular with white parents. Not exclusively white parents, but predominantly so. In the Netherlands parents are free in their choice of school. Various plans of the authorities to create as many mixed and non-segregated schools as possible have had little effect. Here you could see the whiter and the blacker entrances at one glance. No racism, but the consequence of a policy that tries to mix schools, but fails because in the end the parents make their own decisions.” (Emphasis added.)

      So, the school hadn’t set up racially-segregated entryways as such. It might seem it had, because two schools, one more white and the other less, were using the same school building and each school’s student body had its own assigned doors, so the ones passing through one door were whiter than the ones passing through the other door.

      Mr. Gerrits is indignant at the mistaken impression given, part of his indignation coming from his sense of an implied imputation to the people of Amsterdam of “racism.” But what’s odd is that he doesn’t see that the real situation which he himself describes, not the mistaken one, only demonstrates Amsterdam’s “racism” all the more: after all, what made one school more white and the other less in the first place, despite all the government’s best efforts to the generate the opposite result? It was white parents making choices for their kids’ schooling as they saw fit.

      Now, that’s not “racism,” of course—only parents wanting what they see as best for their kids. But it’s what’s commonly known as and denounced as “racism.”

      Since the fifties it’s been hard to stamp out in the U.S. and now we see it’s hard to stamp out in Europe too.

      Paul Belien is right to stand his ground and not delete or amend his log entry (as Mr. Gerrits “insisted” he do, writing, “I insist that you remove the articles in this format or remedy them”). Posting Mr. Gerrits’ e-mail is exactly the right thing to do: Brussels Journal is giving him his say. But to delete or amend a log entry whose fundamental underlying point is only proven all the more by Gerrits’ e-mail would make no sense.

      The fundamental point is government bureaucracies are meddling with what doesn’t concern them: introducing intolerable situations, then trying to control reactions on the part of the people which they have no business controlling. That’s how I read it, anyway.

      Long live free Flanders!

      • More on liberal hypocrisy from Dutch blogger “Snouck”
        Dutch blogger “Snouck,” an Amsterdam native who blogs from that city, comments on this Amsterdam “race discrimination” story I discussed in my post above (1/30, 1:40am). His account is worth a read for two reasons: it fleshes out some interesting additional details which neither Paul Belien nor Mr. Gerrits included, and it shows the hypocrisy of the local Dutch liberals who both push this sort of unnatural situation on their city, a situation which most whites try to avoid for their school-age kids, and at the same time avoid it for themselves and their own school-age kids, behind the scenes! Mr. Gerrits, for example, who wrote indignantly to Paul Belien demanding he delete or amend his log entry, is, it turns out, a liberal journalist in Amsterdam who, Snouck feels “80% certain,” enrolls his own kids either at a “Free Montessori-type school” or at a private Christian school, both generally over 90% white, not at a public school having a large percentage of non-whites.

        Wow! A liberal who demonstrates gross hypocrisy on race and runs around acting holier-than-thou on racial questions, while in private acting exactly like those he so indignantly criticizes in public! Gee! I never would’ve expected to see that! What are the odds against that happening, I wonder? Must be astronomical! I mean … in this country, as everyone knows, all the liberals in D.C. send their own kids to the local public schools, and avoid the snobbish, white Sidwell Friends Academy like the plague! Just look where Bill & Hillary enrolled Chelsea—the local, majority black D.C. public schools … right?

        Long live free Flanders!

        • Choices
          The problem in the US (I have no idea about the Netherlands) is that poor and middle income families do not have the choices open to the Clintons as to where their children attend school. They are at the mercy of the prevailing norms and the ruling bureaucracy. Then the ruling elites oppose voucher programs designed to increase choice, and the proponents of vouchers then argue that vouchers will actually assist blacks (they may, for all I know) but are inhibited from making the obvious argument that vouchers will liberate children from schools that no longer function.

          It’s somewhat comforting to see that Liberal hypocrisy is systemic and required by the logic of Liberalism itself, and that it extends to Europe as well.

          I think it was L. Auster who said that living in a political environment dominated by liberalism is something like Hell.

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