Race in America: A conflict of visions, most of them false

Real History

I’m quite the secessionist, but I’m sick of hearing that Lincoln was a ‘racist’.

I am also tired of hearing that Lincoln was an anti-racist.

The first has become something of a trope in Neo-Confederate circles, otherwise doing some admirable revisionist history. See, among others, gripes like this from Tom DiLorenzo.

The second view seems to be shared by just about everybody else, or at least it predominates among mainline conservatives and liberals. In the case of the former, see the recent Lincoln hagiography from Official Conservatism’s Rich Lowry. For the liberals, there’s the hit-pieces of Michael Lind in Salon.

Before elaborating, I want to say that its fairly obvious Lincoln was a ‘racist’. That’s what positions like this are dubbed today:

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

For anybody defending the South’s prerogative to secede, however, this is a particularly puerile line of inquiry, and a strategic dead-end.

Firstly, I am loathe to call towering figures in history racists, homophobes, or moral failures if they did not adhere to a post-1960’s worldview on matters of race or homosexuality. Its arrogant, and its sinister. Follow this through and you will end up demonizing everybody from John Locke to Voltaire, and from America’s Founding Fathers to the French Revolutionaries. You will end up repudiating all of human accomplishment up until 1968 or so. Which I figure is what some people want.

Secondly, Lincoln’s views would have been shared by the bulk of his secessionist counterparts to the same or to an even fiercer extent. Crying racism is a knife that cuts both ways. At best you can say Lincoln was no better than his enemies, if you accept conventional views that such positions are wrong.

Finally, Lincoln’s worldview was one very much in the American grain and in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. I would go so far as to say many of his ideas were perfectly sensible for his time and place. To understand this, we need to understand what Lincoln’s long term goals on the Negro Question actually were, and honestly address the place of race in the American project.

There were heated debates on the issue of slavery prior to the War Between the States, but they did not focus on the merits of complete abolitionism, which was very much a minority position. The issue was slavery’s expansion into Missouri after 1818 and into the new western territories after the Mexican-American War. The ideal for most residents of the Northern states, including Lincoln, was to keep not just slavery out of these territories, but all blacks. This was not unlike the situation in many Northern states at the time, which under the Black Codes required blacks seeking to enter to post enormous bonds, or forbade their assembly, or forbade them from residing at all. Lincoln’s home state of Illinois possessed all of these laws (black settlement eventually being banned entirely in 1853). He demonstrated absolutely no opposition to them in his many years in Illinois politics or during his Presidency.

That’s because, like all of the Founders, Lincoln did not believe in miscegenation or the equality of the races. Like many, he believed the best long-term solution to the race question was to free blacks (thus avoiding a slave revolt) and promptly get them out of the country. This idea, popular throughout the North, was backed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Madison even proposed that all public lands be sold off to pay for the forcible removal of the black population, as well as a constitutional amendment to establish a colonization office to be run by the President.  Madison would eventually head the American Colonization Society, advocating the shipment of blacks to Africa or the Caribbean. Other prominent figures who served as officers of the society were Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Francis Scott Key, Winfield Scott, John Marshall, and Roger Taney. James Monroe worked so tirelessly for the cause that the capitol city of Liberia is named Monrovia.

A few years back at a Young Americans for Freedom event a typically deluded activist for Official Conservatism tried to tell me that Lincoln was such an enlightened politician that he was the first President to invite a black delegation to the White House. He certainly was, on August 14th of 1862, when he urged that black delegation to leave the country. In the midst of the war, he appointed the Rev. James Mitchell Commissioner of Emigration to work on this problem, and argued that blacks should be forcibly removed from the United States before Congress. Yet many people, conservative and liberal, still spread this myth of the black delegation to prove that Lincoln was not a racist.

Colonization faced many difficulties. The primary reason for its failure may be that Americans became too reliant on black labor. Theodore Roosevelt would go so far as to curse Southerners for importing blacks and keeping them in the country, to the point where their descendants, he lamented, “can neither be killed nor driven away”. It reminds me of an Afrikaner who told me, bitterly, that most whites in South Africa would rather die in their beds than make them. Their position on the continent of Africa is precarious. Perhaps this is a fate some feared could be in store for whites on the American continent.  Benjamin Franklin himself said that “the number of purely white people in the world is proportionally very small…. I could wish their numbers were increased… why increase the sons of Africa, by planting them in America?” The Zionist pioneers realized the importance of Jews becoming as economically independent as possible. Kibbutzim often forbade the use of non-Jewish labor even when such a policy raised enormous difficulties. For a new nation seeking to establish itself in a hostile environment, the long-term success of the project may very well require the sacrificing comfort in the short-term.

The words of Franklin and others give lie to the notion that America is, uniquely, a universal nation built on an idea. This claim would have shocked John Jay, who wrote in the Federalist Papers that “Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs”.

Benjamin Franklin himself sought to restrict the entry of German immigrants, in which he was partly successful in colonial Pennsylvania. Franklin’s reasoning seems to have been based on three factors:

1. He wanted to preserve the country’s Anglo-Saxon character.

2. The complex internal politics of Pennsylvania. Franklin felt his rivals in the Penn family were ruling the place in a feudal manner, and much of their support hinged on the German population. Indeed, the Penns and Franklin’s opponents in the Quaker party actively recruited immigrants from Germany to strengthen their position. There is probably a lesson for the modern Republican Party there somewhere.

3. He also believed that a smaller population combined with an ample supply of land would help the average man prosper and obtain the liberating effects of land ownership.

The United States seems to have become a “propositional nation” built by immigrants after the fact. Only two years after the Constitution was ratified, a naturalization law was enacted stipulating that only “free white persons” could become citizens. This lasted until after the Civil War. America is no “nation of immigrants”. It was built by settlers, most importantly of Anglo-Saxon stock. As settlers, they built the society, to which people later immigrated. This is an important distinction.

Many libertarians claim the United States was always country of open borders, and that the restrictionist period of 1921-65 was an aberration. They are either lying, or ignorant, or both.  There were long periods of lulls in American immigration. If anything, the period of largely unrestricted mass immigration from the late 1840’s to just after WW1 was the aberration, but one that was justified in a rapidly expanding nation where most people still made their living in farms and factories. Because of the economic structure of the time, the average immigrant from Europe could quickly find the same type of work with the same remuneration and opportunities as the native.  Today, Americans import 19th century workers into a 21st century economy and seem shocked that these people don’t advance like the Irish, Poles, or Jews did. But that’s another story.

A New Narrative

There currently appears to be two broad narratives on the history of America. The typical mainstream conservative, like Michelle Bachmann or Glenn Beck, will cast the Founding Fathers as highly progressive classical liberals. They will either ignore the white consciousness of these men, or even claim that racial egalitarianism was their goal for the United States from the very beginning. Peculiar factors like slavery just got in the way. Beck has even claimed that “American history can be described as one long Civil Rights struggle”.

The left, in a Howard Zinn kind of way, cast America as an evil, sweltering pile of racism and apartheid under the thumb of cruel and paranoid white men, all built on genocide and slavery. This was the case until Martin Luther King and Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration reforms came along. Lincoln is seen as the most important 19th century precursor to that result. Look at Spielberg’s portrayal of Lincoln as a racially enlightened progressive in his most recent epic.

I believe we are badly in need of a new narrative, as the main two are really under the same paradigm. I call this the John Ford narrative of American history.

John Ford, in my estimation, is the greatest ever film director (or at least he is second only to Stanley Kubrick). Just about the only decent initiative the Irish artistic community has come up with in my lifetime has been the annual John Ford Symposium. At one of the public discussions on Ford held last year, it took Ken Loach, of course, to offer the most predictable clichés about Ford when he said: “I never was interested in American cinema. The ideology does not appeal to me. It’s all to do with the lone gunman who will sort things out”.

This is absolutely the opposite of the spirit of Ford, whose work is profoundly collectivist in many senses. The protagonists of my two favorite Ford films, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Searchers act for the good of their people, not for themselves. If you haven’t seen them, you must. Behind the manifest content about killing ruthless bandits or rescuing young women from Indians, they offer profound insights into the building of America.

Liberty Valance portrays a young lawyer arriving in the Old West, who seeks to use the law, and not violence, to bring down a criminal terrorizing the small settlement of Shinbone. A common theme here and in The Searchers is the blow-in Easterner, who represents the future, clashing with the earlier settler-types who still carry the stench of hay and blood. There are memorable moments towards the end of The Searchers, for instance, when hardened Texas Rangers walk all over a young and rather clueless professional Yankee cavalryman. The Yankee at one point sounds a bugle before an assault on an Indian camp, to the ire of the old Texans planning a surprise raid. He represents how Texans will defend themselves in the future: with a professional military replete with all the inevitable ranks and rules. But before that happens, you need local militiamen not afraid to act roguish and with frequent brutality in defense of their own homes and firesides. In another scene, a woman tells the protagonist, played by John Wayne, that Texas will one day be a great state. Texans, she says, just need “bones in the ground”. This is how humans plant roots. The Indians in the film seem to realize this. As does John Wayne, whose philosophy is best summed up by the words “us or them”. With this as his guide, he sees it as his moral duty to send every Indian to an early grave, even to the point of wantonly slaughtering buffalo to make sure there are fewer for any of them to eat. To Wayne’s character, this is only self-defense.

Back to Liberty Valance. One of my favorite scenes is when a character makes a speech on behalf of Jimmy Stewart, playing the lawyer protagonist, who seeks to become a delegate for the never-named territory and campaign for statehood. His natural constituency are the farmers and townspeople, but he is fiercely opposed in his efforts by the cattlemen, the kind of rough stock who originally settled the territories, and who, as the films says, had

[N]o law to trammel them except the law of survival, the law of the tomahawk and the bow and arrow… with the westward march of our nation, came the pioneer and the buffalo hunter, the adventurous and the bold.

The boldest of these were the cattlemen, who seized the wide-open range for their own personal domain, and their law was the law of the hired gun. But now, today have come the railroads and the people. The steady, hard-working citizens, the homesteader, the shopkeeper, the builder of cities…

We get it by placing our votes behind one man. One man! And we have that man with us here. He is a man who came to us not packing a gun, but carrying instead a bag of law books. Yes. He is a lawyer and a teacher!

In the film, the man of violence, Liberty Valance, represents the first wave of Westerners. Most of the people of Shinbone represent the second generation. Jimmy Stewart – the educated, the professional, the one who plays by the rules, as opposed to living by a stark code of honor, and the one who believes America is built on an idea – is the future. Yet ultimately even he could not transcend the reality of what it took to build the West. I wont spoil that for anybody who hasn’t seen it.

Ford is showing us the real story of America, which is not so much about the progress of an idea, but the progress of European peoples seeking to build roots and expand in a new continent. This reality of this has been dressed up in myth and legend. Indeed, the power of legend is what Liberty Valance is all about. The reality is that the kingdom, like all kingdoms, was established over dead bodies and skulls. Yet in examining Ford’s telling, one is left with the feeling that it was all worth it in order to build the new American civilization, one that would eventually make room for those who despise it and seek to undermine its very existence. This kind of critical self-examination only exists among white westerners, most of whom would not be here if it weren’t for the cattlemen who seized the open range and drove the buffalo to extinction. I often say that our fight with the far-left should not be reduced to economics: Hayek vs. Keynes, or Mises vs. Marx. The enemy today is trying to destroy the civilization that gave birth to both Hayek and Keynes.

The Revolution

Bill Clinton was the first President to talk honestly about the shift in opinion on race and immigration in the United States in the late-20th century. That is because he openly admitted that what happened was no less than a revolution, a complete abrogation of what came before. Clinton triumphantly declared at Portland State University in 1998 that there would be no majority race in the United States in fifty years time. This, he acknowledged, is “the third great revolution of America”, after the War of Independence, which forged a republic, and the War Between the States, which changed the nature of the American Union. He claimed that America must “prove that we literally can live without having a dominant European culture”.

This would, however, involve spurning the Founding Fathers. Conor Cruise O’ Brien once said that “there can be no room for a cult of Thomas Jefferson in the civil religion of an effectively multiracial America… Once the facts are known, Jefferson is of necessity abhorrent to people who would not be in America if he could have had his way”.

Americans seem to have undergone the revolution, but they have not consigned the Founders to the dustbin of history. Instead, they just make stuff up, as the statements of Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann demonstrate. Can history really be censored in such a way in a modern and free society? It seems it can, and this isn’t unique to America. On June 14th of this year, the leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster, Angus Robertson, actually told Nigel Farage, with a serious face, that Scotland was “built on immigration” (see 29 mins on). One day, Scottish schoolchildren may be forced to recite this same lie.

I am not advocating a positive political platform here. I just want to talk honestly about race and immigration. While Clinton is entitled to work for a “post-racial” America, however, I am left wondering two things: is such a place really America, and is it even possible?

For if any man represents a post-racial America, it is probably a resident of Florida by the name of George Zimmerman. I speak of the half-Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer with the German surname, who fought the police in his hometown of Sanford to secure justice for a mistreated homeless black man. George Zimmerman: the resident of a heavily-black community who tutored black children in his own home.

Yet they came to lynch Zimmerman, too.

Paul Murphy MEP: What happens when angry kids are in charge

Irish+News+10-1

Fascism was born with the realisation that the revolutionary left don’t play by the rules and only use the institutions of liberal democracy to subvert them.

If Lenin and Trotsky didn’t exist, there would have been no Hitler and Goebbels.

Neither of these parties has any claim on or affections. However, looking at the likes of Paul Murphy MEP, one begins to understand the appeal of donning a black shirt and knocking him on the head.

With peace talks just about to get underway between Israel and the Palestinians, Murphy decided to offer his own alternative: telling Russia Today that Palestinians should begin a new violent Intifada and bring down – get this – “the capitalist establishment in Israel”.

What kind of idiot would do this?

A man stuck in an angsty teenage phase who has never had a real job in his life, perhaps.

Murphy graduated from University College Dublin in 2004. Until he landed the role of an MEP, he had never held down a real job, being described instead as a full-time activist for the Socialist Party. He did not even have to fight an election campaign: he stepped into a seat vacated by the ever sullen and gloomy Joe Higgins. Apparently, he’s also written a PhD thesis titled “Does socialist law exist?”

Does Paul Murphy’s sense of responsibility exist?

Murphy highlights the dangers of putting childish activists into positions of power and influence. Sure, the mainstream parties stuffed full of elderly people might not be up to much. They may even be gobsites. But we should not forget that there are always worse gobshites out there:

Zimmerman case demonstrates how real heroes are not welcome in America

What is the meaning of the George Zimmerman affair? I have a few ideas. I could write about various aspects at length right now, but I have been so drained by arguing this topic in the past week I feel I just can’t go on anymore.

Zimmerman could be seen as the kind of ritual sacrifice America seems to periodically require in order to assuage the guilt of Jim Crow and slavery. The gun-control crowd tried their damnedest to make it about Stand Your Ground laws that were completely irrelevant to the case (laws that disproportionately benefit blacks, by the way). Perhaps this is a problem of ambitious prosecutors, products of the overwhelmingly liberal law schools – and perhaps embarrassed by the fact they spend their lives sending black and Hispanic kids to jail – hoping to nail, like Captain Ahab, that elusive Great White Defendant.

I want to focus on one aspect, and that is the inversion of the image of heroes and villains in modern America, or at least what it takes to be seen as the good guy or the bad guy.

George Zimmerman is a man of the lower middle class. He had dreams and aspirations. He looked out for his community. Aside from giving up his time to voluntarily police a neighborhood frequently targeted by hoodlums, he fought his local police force to achieve justice for a mistreated black homeless man, Sherman Ware, in 2010. Zimmerman helped to ensure the son of a police officer was arrested for beating Mr. Ware. The local black community was silent throughout.

What does a man like this do just after being acquited of a murder charge, after being hounded for over a year, and having to live in hiding for fear of a modern-day lynch mob? Why, he rescues a family of four from an overturned vehicle, that’s what.

Yet Zimmerman, trying to do the right thing, ended up being portrayed as a villain. Perhaps not too long ago, his active citizenship would have been seen as admirable. But America changed for the worse.

Trayvon Martin chose the life of a dropout and a thug, and ended up being portrayed as an angel. We saw a picture of his angelic twelve year old self, free from gold grills, or a hoodie, or a wife-beater vest. We saw Zimmerman’s mugshot.

Would Trayvon Martin have done what Zimmerman did with that imperiled family only today?

Unlikely.  This is the young man who had a Twitter account under the name of ‘No Limit Nigga’, where he expressed such gems as: “2 glock 40’s…. bitch u got 80 problems”. This is the young man with a drug habit and who was suspended from school after being found with a bag full of stolen jewelry and a screwdriver.

Today, America’s justice and welfare systems screw over the lower middle classes, struggling to better themselves in a perilous economy. It favors those dropouts who glorify thuggery yet portray themselves as victims. The people on the front-line in Zimmerman’s community realize what he was up against. That’s why they have not supplied any useful witnesses for the prosecution. Most journalists and academics will not grasp this point. They are too detached from the reality of ordinary people in Sanford, weathering multiple break-ins, crippling mortgages, and a decline in property values.

George Zimmerman is a bit like the State of Israel: he’s got one of the only houses where you would really want to live in a tough neighborhood, but he always happens to be on trial for using force to keep the savages from his door. And the savages? They are glorified. Young people in Europe wear keffiyehs as a fashion statement. Martin’s family attempted to trademark the phrases “I am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon”, following in the noble tradition of the King family, who managed to squeeze $800,000 out of the folks who built a memorial to their father in Washington D.C.

One of the few real heroes to emerge from this story, by the way, is former Sanford police chief Bill Lee. He refused to arrest Zimmerman last year on the grounds that there was absolutely no legal basis to do so. Racial activists eventually changed all that, despite the experts who predicted what would happen, and Lee was fired. This I see as an example of mob rule, from which it seems nobody in America is safe. Will this man get his job back now?

Will Zimmerman just be seen for the decent man that he is, and not a monster?

Against Banning Page 3 Girls

Yesterday I spoke against a motion to ban Page 3 girls at a London debating society. Here, roughly, is what I said.

——–

I would like to oppose this motion on three grounds.

Firstly, I believe there is rank hypocrisy in this campaign against Page 3. I also believe its advocates victimize and infantlize women. Finally, but by no means the least important, such a proposal has ominous implications for personal freedom and autonomy.

Last year at the LSE, the Sun was banned from being sold on campus. When members of the Hayek Society there protested by selling the Sun from a stall, it ended up being vandalized.

It was interesting to hear the words of one of the prohibitionists. Page 3, she said, promotes “unrealistic, unattainable expectations” contributing to “negative body image” and even eating disorders.

Folks, I have to ask: How come we never see dildos that are 5 or 6 inches long?

Similarly, I don’t see many portly men in Calvin Klein advertisements.

Throughout history, women have desired men with the biggest muscles and the biggest wallets. Men have desired women with large breasts. The feminists waging war on Page 3 are waging a war on human nature; but who are they to say what we should find attractive?

Last year the women’s section of Al Guardian featured an article telling women how to vandalize the racks from which such content is sold. But women’s magazines are full of scantily clad or even nude women. Clearly, women enjoy looking at such such women, too. But there are no calls to ban or vandalize these magazines.

The most ubiquitous piece of pornography in my lifetime happens to be a book called 50 Shades of Grey. The leading male character is a wealthy pretty boy who has, I believe, a mansion and a helicopter. Unrealistic, unattainable expectations! Yet it is perfectly acceptable to carry this book around and read it on a train. Men are more stimulated by the image and male pornography reflects this, but 50 Shades is pornography by the dictionary definition of the word: material designed to sexually excite. Should it be banned from the shelves?

This campaign springs from a trend in modern feminism, one that does not seek to empower women as much as it seeks to infantilize them and protect their virtue from brutish men. You know, the kind that read the Sun.

Organisations like Ireland’s National Women’s Council, with which I have had run-ins in the past, will loudly call on the government to “protect women and children in the next budget”. Are women, then, automatically as vulnerable as children, just by being women? Is this empowerment?

The women of Al Guardian and student’s unions that vandalize stalls selling the Sun are not all that different from the Taliban or groups of lay-missionaries.

Though they will defend the right of a woman to have eye-catching cleavage, woe betide the man who comments on it.

Old notions of the virtue of female chastity have lost their force. Well, not quite: the parent who recommends their daughter sleep with as many men as possible provided they use contraception has yet to be born.

Its interesting to see how the Progressive alliance with the Moral Majority on issues like Page 3 has ended up setting back the progress of women significantly.

I believe the scare-mongering on matters of sex directed at girls from a young age can be taken to abusive levels. I am studying psychotherapy. Not a few cases of frigidity I have come across can be traced to the tales of wicked men and the need to resist them imparted to girls from their parents. Its probably one of the reasons 43% of women are not enjoying sex to the fullest.

Finally, I want to talk about freedom.

I concede that Page 3 is distasteful. But one of my all-time favorite books, the first serious novel I ever read as a kid, happens to be A Clockwork Orange. Its theme is man’s right to do evil. It asks us whether it is moral to turn a violent young man into a harmless automaton.

In the book, only the prison chaplain, a cleric, openly disagrees with the brainwashing technique. I believe by doing this Burgess was saying that such opposition is difficult to justify on entirely rational or utilitarian grounds. Yet we naturally prefer to be free and flawed human beings than a thing incapable of choice.

Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of undesirable and immoral behaviors are not crimes.

However, a new form of authoritarianism has risen; one that is obsessed with nudging us towards good behavior and ends up cultivating dependence on the state. It is an approach famously laid out by the academics Rich Thaler and Cass Sunstein, who advocate altering our “choice architecture”, or the framework in which we are able to make decisions.

If your political philosophy seeks to micromanage individual behavior, I want no part of it and I urge you to reconsider.

And I urge all of you here, if you stand against hypocrisy and infantilization and favor autonomy, to oppose this motion.

———–

The audience was to my surprise largely in favor of the motion from the poll taken before the debate. My side did not win, but we did manage to increase our share of the vote by the final tally. Ah, small victories.

The Allsop Auction: No Rule of Law In Ireland

Yesterday, Dublin bore witness to an act of opportunistic thuggery and mob rule. A lawful auction was disrupted, and a company was forced to close its premises on Pembroke Street. No arrests were made; Gardai were happy to look on and cede authority to a group of mouth-breathing bandits.

Mouth-breathers may be too generous a description. Here’s Tom D’Arcy of Direct Democracy Ireland. The factual errors combined with the confidence of his delivery make for 20 seconds of comedy greatness:

In fairness, he may be confusing Countess Markievicz with his contemporary fallen rebel, Janice Connolly. An easy mistake.

Its fun to laugh at jackasses telling auctioneers to ‘go back home to England’, or calling them Black and Tans, or belting out the national anthem. Yet there may be a more sinister element here. The event in question was an auction of repossessed investment properties, including holiday homes. Now, the Irish don’t like repossessions. They probably bring back bad memories from the 19th century (hence, the bizarre evocation of nationalism by the protesters). This aversion to seeing anybody lose their property was stretched to absurdity last year, when Ireland’s Occupy movement came to protest the eviction of a millionaire couple in the exclusive neighborhood of Killiney, even though this couple owned dozens of other properties in Ireland and no less than 13 apartments in London. They also happened to owe over €2 million to a recently nationalized bank, a.k.a. the taxpayer, but the irony was lost on the Occupy crowd.

But who would be motivated to come out for an emotional protest where no families have lost their homes and no tenants have found themselves on the streets? Who was really behind this farce?

Among the protesters I spotted in the pictures in today’s newspapers is Jerry Beades. Beades is a property developer well connected to the Fianna Fáil party and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He’s currently being pursued by Ulster Bank for €3.5m in unpaid loans. Members of the Dáil involved include Michael Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath. Hardly paragons of integrity. McGrath is a cute hoor who cynically left his disgraced party to run as an independent in 2011, but still curries favor with them at every opportunity. Healy-Rae’s parliamentary office made €2,600 worth of phone calls to RTE to make sure he won a reality show.

It is being said that most of the protesters were dragged from another demonstration in front of the Anglo-Irish Bank HQ on the same day. Were people being cynically manipulated here?

I do hope the auction goes ahead. These things are necessary in order to bring Irish property values back to their normal market rate. I also hope the Gardai will have the good sense to make some arrests and uphold the rule of law if this happens again. In this time of economic hardship, I find it disturbing to see the Gardai persistently gawking at flagrant demonstrations of contempt for the law. It is ranging from comparatively minor incidents involving illegal turf-cutting to allowing paramilitary funerals and demonstrations go unhindered in Dublin’s northside. To borrow some terms from Yeats, describing the atmosphere of Europe after WWI, if the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Ireland should endeavor not to be a new Weimar.

On Accepting Blame

150 years ago today, on July 3rd, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was lost for the Army of Northern Virginia.

The nine infantry brigades that advanced in Pickett’s Charge were repulsed and suffered 50% casualties. The day before, the Union line had held at Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The enemy Army of the Potomac was secure in a clever fish-hook formation that allowed for easy reinforcement of weaker sections.

Pickett’s Charge was a bloody mess. It could have been avoided. It left a psychological blow from which Southern morale never quite recovered.

“It’s all my fault”: that’s what General Lee said as routed Confederates were falling back. The greatest American was willing to admit his mistakes and accept the blame. The affections of his countrymen have often shielded Lee from responsibility. Blame is often laid at the feet of J.E.B. Stuart, the cavalry general who was absent at the early stage of the battle, depriving the army of its ‘eyes and ears’. But Stuart was absent on the orders of Lee, cutting telegraph lines, capturing supplies, and giving the Yankees  hell elsewhere. My own hero, Robert E. Lee, knew who was at fault and never hid the fact.

Which brings me to yesterday’s abortion vote in the Dáil.

The bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Chamber will allow for termination of a pregnancy when doctors agree that a woman is at risk of suicide as a result of that pregnancy.

This suicide clause will inevitably cause in Ireland a repeat of the bloody history of the United Kingdom, where 98% of abortions are carried out as a result of mental trauma. This system is a great ruse between the doctor and patient, and everybody involved knows it. It has led to abortion becoming another form of contraception, a concept that the majority of people have always found distasteful. This year, Lord Steel admitted this was not at all envisaged when he introduced the 1967 bill.

Ireland had the chance to demonstrate a different path, one which would hold the life of the mother and the unborn child in equal regard, and one which would reach the best possible compromise in situations of conflict between the two. What we have now is the wholesale abandonment and derision of Christian principles in favor of secularist barbarism, mediocrity, and conformity; a new milieu in which there is no room for a small nation that refuses to sell its soul.

There are nowhere near enough TDs to stand firm and shout ‘stop!’. Similarly, after Gettysburg, it would have taken nothing short of a miracle to save Dixie.

And how did we get here? In 2002 the 25th Amendment would have amended the Irish Constitution in order to clarify the law on abortion. It would have specifically removed the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion in the state; a bone of contention since the infamous X-Case of 1992. Pro-life parties made a terrible mistake in advancing the ‘No’ vote even as the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin was saying that informed Catholics were free in conscience to vote as they wished. The amendment was rejected by the electorate, 50.42% to 49.58%.

Nobody thought this would be the end of the matter of abortion. The pro-life movement had a chance to close the suicide loophole. Now the specter of abortion on mental health grounds hovers over us yet again. This foolish decision in 2002 seemed to put tactics ahead of strategy, and the immediate fight before the war.  The Confederates too could have avoided contact with the Union at Gettysburg. What started as a skirmish Lee urgently escalated with reinforcements because he felt he had a shot at destroying the Union Army there and then. There were alternatives. Lee could have interposed between the Federal left flank and Washington to take them on better ground and prevent the enemy from retreating to D.C. He could have retreated to the passes of South Mountain in eastern Pennsylvania and forced Meade to attack him there.

Perhaps moral or abstract principles have no place in a world of strategy, and this has been the pro-life movement’s mistake. Perhaps sentiment and certainty in 2002 trumped good reasoning. What I feel for sure is that what occurred in the Dáil yesterday is partly our fault.

The ESB and the Culture of Entitlement

I note that hundreds of ESB workers gathered today outside the ESB headquarters on Dublin’s Lower Fitzwilliam Street. They don’t want to pay a €78.4 million annual dividend they owe to the exchequer, because the ESB pension fund is in a €1.6 billion shortfall and this would be hard. The unwashed workers of the private sector can only dream of the day they can say this to their creditors .

Forgive me for not shedding a tear for some of the best paid workers in the country (average salary: €85,000 before pension contributions).  These are people who enjoy almost unparalleled job security in a semi-state company that operates in a tightly regulated market ensuring that they have no effective competition.

This is the organisation that demanded an old lady in Offaly, Teresa Treacy, be thrown in jail for refusing the ESB access to her own land where she tended a plot of native trees. Contrast this with the widely loathed outfit that is Shell. Shell in fact pleaded for the Rossport Five to be released from prison after they had violated a court injunction and interfered with  Shell’s pipeline in Mayo.

ESB workers, admitted Brendan Ogle, secretary of the ESB group of unions, are “spoiled”. Undoubtedly a man of the left, he added:

“The trade union movement collaborated in the creation of the wealth stroke debt and we made sure that the gap between that those who have and those who haven’t in society grew through the eighties, through the nineties, into the noughties to the day the IMF arrived on the door.

And the trade union movement and the Labour party collaborated in that for 25 years and none of us did anything about it.”

I disagree with the popular idea that the gap between rich and poor increased in Ireland during the boom years. But there are different kinds of equality and inequality. Public sector and semi-state unions created a protected caste of workers before the 1990s, and they still cushion their clientele from market forces today.

The power of Ireland’s unions was well symbolized in Dublin’s unattractive Liberty Hall, for a long time the country’s tallest building. For decades, unions  made sure that companies were run for the benefit of their workers, and not the customer. This led to absurdities like all banks being closed at lunchtime, the only time when most working people could actually go to the bank. Their power has diminished somewhat, but that sense of entitlement, that led the puzzlingly beatified union leader Jim Larkin to beat workers who refused to go along with his strikes in their own homes, is still with us.

America’s Immigration Policy as a Global Welfare Scheme

Here’s a very telling insight into how immigration policy is decided in America today. A group of 13 female Senators are criticizing the current immigration overhaul plan precisely because of its emphasis on a merit system. Their argument? Because many foreign women are less educated and less skilled than men, it would amount to discrimination against them.

Well, I suppose it is no more nonsensical than the New York Times recent suggestion that the illegitimate children of US servicemen and bar-girls abroad should be fast-tracked to US citizenship. Because one thing America has a crippling shortage of right now is illegitimate children.

This is only the natural conclusion to Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which placed considerations like family reunification and being extra nice to colored people ahead of America’s economic interests. It has prevented the country from maintaining a national character, as had been done previously by the National Origins Formula, to preference the nationalities of people already in the United States. That’s why 80-90 percent of immigrants are now from the Third World, whereas previously 97 percent of immigrants came from Europe.

America’s emphasis on family reunification has been grossly unfair. It squeezes out many talented young people from developed nations like Britain who would be a real credit to the country and would love to be there. As the interesting Stephen Steinlight has pointed out, a single immigrant can end up getting citizenship for most of a village in Mexico, or even half the population of an entire town in the West Bank.

Is America importing the best? No. Immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, places that supply the vast majority of newcomers, are less entrepreneurial than natives and immigrants from countries like Canada and Korea. Current Hispanic immigrants and their descendants are not advancing economically and entering the middle class, as did immigrants of old. Instead, America has been importing an underclass of people with an illegitimacy rate of 53%, who are crime-prone, and have test scores that are not reaching the level of whites even after two and three generations.

Yet nobody cares. When it comes to handing out visas, it is simply each according to her need.

See also:

Randmesty?

Preserving Freedom Can Mean Restricting Immigration

Are Women The Privileged Sex?

The Privileged Sex

In my days as an undergraduate, I submitted myself to medical experiments for money. It was a low point in a life dominated by low points, but there were no substantial risks. Being part of a treatment group, I occasionally stayed overnight with other members in accommodation close to a laboratory. One thing I observed in this group was that there were no females. There was not one in the group of about 20 people I stayed with. I never saw any around the facilities, apart from staff. When I put this to a researcher, I was informed that the use of women in clinical trials is discouraged, and has been for decades. The impetus for this was the Thalidomide scandal in the late 1950’s, when pregnant women in a clinical drug trial ended up giving birth to children with fin-like arms or legs. Non-approved drugs and treatments can harm males as well, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Visiting Dublin’s woefully-named Mountjoy Prison as a law student, I could not help get taken aback by the radically different conditions male and female prisoners have to endure. The men of Mountjoy are confined to an actual prison.  Its a bad prison at that, one of the last in Europe where they still practice slopping out. The women, on the other hand, live in self-contained apartments superior to what many people live in at university.

Thus, women get the benefit of medicine once its safety has been verified using male guinea pigs. Much like how they benefit from the safety that requires the sacrifice of men and boys in combat. Much like how they benefit from welfare programs penned by mostly male legislators, or the easier justice of mostly male jurists. Examples of female privilege are abundant, now and throughout history. Why the notion that women have a tougher time of it than men has so thrived in face of these facts is quite the mystery.

Its a problem that’s recently been tackled by my one of my favorite historians, and my favorite military theorist, Israel’s Martin Van Creveld. Van Creveld’s The Privileged Sex has just been published in English, being previously only available in German. His is a thesis well worth reading.

Van Creveld contends that for every disadvantage women have endured, whether man-made or as a result of biology, they enjoy a privilege that that is equally or more important to their lives. These range from being spared the obligation to fight in wartime, to the hardest of labors in general. Too many female writers, inclined to see oppression in all places and times, ever mention these privileges (guilty males, even less so). Our perceptions of gender relations have also been skewed by popular stories concerning the alleged historical exploitation and oppression of women. Many of these are without foundation, and if seriously scrutinized turn out to be invented for political-ideological reasons. Feminists have, for instance, portrayed societies that permitted a man to have more than one wife as sexist, with a view of women as being like cattle. Yet in many places this arrangement was simply a way of looking after widows. It was the best possible way of looking out for their welfare at a time when unattached women would have had a difficult time even surviving. They claim women were persecuted in Nazi Germany, yet German women were more likely than men to vote for Hitler. Another example is the portrayal of witch-hunts as part of the general oppression of women. Yet how could these have been anti-woman, when in some countries just as many or more men were executed for witchcraft? In nearly all places men accused of witchcraft were more likely to be executed or face stiffer penalties than their female peers. Not to mention that it was overwhelmingly women accusing other women of being witches, and prosecutions for witchcraft often reached their height under female rulers like Catherina De Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, and ‘Good Queen Bess’ herself. Indeed, some authorities, like James VI of Scotland, had to abolish the general commission against witchcraft because it had become a mere vehicle to settle scores among mostly female rivals.

Similarly, we are told that women do not thrive in the fields of science and engineering because males have kept them out of these vocations. But not even Stalin was able to force females to study technical subjects. Today, officialdom is most satisfied that girls vastly outnumber boys in our medical schools. Yet very few have addressed the disastrous consequences of this. After their expensive training, in most places covered or heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, only a tiny percentage of female graduates remain full-time doctors. They largely avoid the most stressful work in hospitals. A huge proportion quickly leave the profession entirely. In Ireland, only 10% of female GPs intend to pursue full-time practice in the long-term. Some, like the journalist Kevin Myers, have estimated the figure at even less than that, remarking that this is “not a health system; it is a first day on the Somme”. Thus, we in the developed world have to make up the difference by importing doctors from poor countries that need them most.

Discourse on domestic violence is similarly dominated by a presumption that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. For a long time, studies have been casting doubt on this perception. Erin Pizzey, the founder of the UK charity today known as Refuge, has been subjected to death threats and boycotts because of her claims that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Reciprocal violence is indeed the most common pattern, and a study of 55,000 US military personnel found that women are just as likely to physically assault their partners. We also know from the US Dept. of Justice’s Survey of State Prison Inmates that women are 24% more likely to kill their children than men, and 32% more likely to kill relatives, children included.

So why does the myth of the oppressed female continue?

Fans of Richard Dawkins might say it is the result of a mental gene, or meme, that predisposes people to believe in certain things. It does seem that we have a natural distaste for seeing women harmed or treated harshly. You are 200 times more likely to see a man die on screen than a woman. It is telling that Hector says to his wife in The Iliad that men would rather die than watch women dying. Its one of the reasons that even in Israel, where women are conscripted, very few serve in combat units and they are exempt from reserve duty. Van Creveld says that in his decades of teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, not one female student has ever had to miss one of his classes for this obligation that affects many of the young men. Its hard to quantify all the ways women are treated more gently and paternalistically in the sphere of law and order. When police respond to an incident, women are much more likely to get off with a warning than men. This applies to every single category of offence, and is even true when factors like prior arrest records are controlled for. In Britain, women are six times as likely to be acquitted of manslaughter, and have an easier time convincing juries that they acted under provocation in cases of murder. Their charms work on male cops, jurors, and judges as much as female ones. This happened even to female Nazis on trial for their roles in the euthanasia program.

The love does not appear to be reciprocal, if only from the amount of fictional works by female authors imagining a future utopia without men, from Mary Bradley’s 1890 novel Mizora to more recent works like Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975) or Dorris Lessing’s The Cleft (2008). Are there any males fantasizing of a world without women? Nonsense. We like them too much.

The Complaining Sex

This brings us to something in the nature of women. Of course, feminism as an ideology should never be synonymous with being female. But there are forms of feminism that give political expression to something almost inherent in the gender. Women are the complaining sex; they seek attention and often seethe with a mysterious resentment. Freud might have put this resentment down to penis envy. Coupled with male deference, we have a prescription for disaster. Now, not all women possess the traits just described. History is replete with examples of women with nothing but contempt for those living on the privileges of their gender. The first known female commander, Queen Artemisia of Caria, Van Creveld tells us, told Xerxes that Greeks were as superior to Persians as men are to women. Queen Elizabeth I was fond of cracking what would be called today misogynist jokes.

Yet the grievances of woman appear to be as endless as they often are baseless. In the medical sphere, Florence Nightingale was perceptive enough to admit in Cassandra that many female patients are merely seeking attention. Patterns of suicide (a supreme form of complaint) in the sexes are a good indicator. Men are significantly more likely to kill themselves than women. But worldwide, women are four times as likely to attempt suicide. Perhaps they are remarkably incompetent. Perhaps they are practising the fine art of appearing vulnerable.

Is feminism related to this dynamic? Just as female patients, such as Freud’s Dora, have based their lives around imagined illnesses and relished the attention, so others find a purpose in grievances, real or imagined.

Some insight may come from the anorgasmic woman, or female frigidity. This has caused no end of anguish in men, who are expected to bear the blame. Yet frigidity is quite a often a ruse; a way to lash out at a male partner. Simone de Beauvoir was quite candid about the subject, finding the courage to address it after being ‘cured’ of her frigidity by the American writer Nelson Algreen. What de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex on the subject of frigidity could well describe the mindset of the extreme feminist. Replace the word ‘frigidity’ with ‘feminism’ and you get the point:

Resentment is the most common cause of feminine frigidity; in bed the woman punishes the man for all the wrongs she feels she has endured, by offering him an insulting coldness. There is often an aggressive inferiority complex apparent in her attitudes… She is thus revenged at once upon him and upon herself if he has humiliated her by neglect, if he has made her jealous, if he was slow in declaring her intentions, if he took her as a mistress while she wanted marriage. The grievance can flare up suddenly and set off this reaction even in a liaison that began happily… Frigidity… would appear to be a punishment that woman imposes as much upon herself as upon her partner; wounded in her vanity, she feels resentment against him and against herself, and she denies herself the pleasure.

I will end with another quote, from Van Creveld himself, in the final chapter of The Privileged Sex: “It would be nice… if from time to time, amid the torrents of invective feminists spew at us, we occasionally heard a pleasant female voice saying “thank you, Mate”.”

With that, I and most men would be quite content to be guinea pigs and beasts of burden for the privileged sex.

See Also: Women in Combat

The Inaugural Young Professional Lobby for Israel

On Wednesday I joined over 70 young professional types for a lobby of Parliament organised by Israel Connect (the youth wing of the Zionist Federation). This was held in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel. It was also the first of its kind, in being exclusively for the under-30’s.

Israel’s Deputy Israeli Ambassador, Alon-Roth Snir, opened with a briefing on the Middle East situation, focusing on the political turmoil in the Arab states and the problems Israel faces when nobody is quite sure who will be in charge next door in a year’s time, or even six months. While its hard to point to a time where the situation in the Middle East has been rosy and ordered, this level of uncertainty is unprecedented.

The Deputy Ambassador grabbed attention in February this year when he was disrupted by a gang of 40 thugs at the University of Essex who caused a lecture to be cancelled. Essex, I am told, has been traditionally dubbed ‘Red Essex’, but such displays of fanaticism are not uncommon. The sheer level of vitriol on campus can be intimidating for people with pro-Israel leanings, to the extent that many I know admit its not worth the trouble of speaking out.

Here is where lobbying events like this can help. What was most remarkable at the Israel Connect lobby was the amount of sincere cross-party support for Israel on display in Westminster. Young friends of Israel, who often have to deal with so much hostility, particularly  on campus, should be heartened to see the level of backing we actually have.

While I am sure one doesn’t have to be a particularly discerning reader to realize that my own views are far from left-wing, when it comes to Israel, opinions should no be split on a left/right basis. I am quite convinced that this is what the enemy has been attempting to do; namely, trying to bring the entire left into their camp with the aim of automatically precluding anybody of  a ‘progressive’ bent from supporting Israel. This is an effort all friends of Israel have to fight ferociously. It is perhaps our single biggest challenge.  The middle 80% of the population should be entirely open to us.

So while I am a Conservative, I most enjoyed hearing from people like Labour’s Fabian Hamilton MP, who spoke about his positive experiences in bringing Muslim colleagues to Israel to witness the reality there.

Louise Ellman MP also highlighted the importance of  putting across Israel’s case to our MPs, especially those who may not have strong opinions on Israel, so that they are not solely hearing misleading information from the anti-Israel side.

All well and good, but I would add that this is an effort that should not be confined to MPs.

Fabian Hamilton 2- IMG_4055

Fabian Hamilton MP speaking.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers