Why the Alt-Right is Ult-Wrong

For much of my (young) adult life, I thought of myself as a political skeptic of sorts, and proudly so. The philosophical questions I was and am interested in seemed so much more important, and I felt like I could actually get traction on their answers. The bias, manipulation, lies, and bullshit inherent to political discourse, on the other hand, made it seem like a skepticism-inducing Matrix, and I had no desire to enter it. But it was reflecting on those philosophical questions that eventually allowed me to see how naïve my political skepticism was. I began to see that the answers I felt most sure of—that there is a God, that there is an objective moral order, that persons are intrinsically valuable and have awesome freedom and responsibility—had profound and inescapable political implications. And it was exciting to discover and tease out those implications. As I did that, what I thought was a radical political view began to emerge piece-by-piece; a view radically at odds with the one shared by my family, friends, and culture generally.

In Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton famously recounts his intellectual journey to Christianity:

For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original; but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion. … I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy. (WaterBrook Press, 2005) pp. 5-6.

In Chestertonian fashion, I had come to traditional conservatism without really knowing it at first. This is not to say that traditional conservatism isn’t radical. Both it and the philosophical beliefs upon which it is based are the product of years of intellectual toil, books and book burnings, bloodshed, wars, revolutions, and most importantly, lessons learned from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I have in mind in particular the Judeo-Christian moral framework bequeathed to the West, whose sociopolitical expression has led to absolutely unprecedented levels of human flourishing worldwide. And if you don’t appreciate how radical the Judeo-Christian moral framework really is, you’re a provincial fish who doesn’t know you’re wet.

The above is a preamble to why I think the so-called “alternative right” is ultimately wrong. Many conservatives are chummy with the alt-right. There is considerable disagreement over what exactly the alt-right is, and how many distinguishable strains of it there are. But at the heart of the alt-right, as I and others understand it, is “a tribal view of Western civilization: Western civilization isn’t rooted in creed, but in nationalism and European ethnicity.” And this is precisely why I am not chummy with the alt-right (so-understood), and why I don’t think other conservatives should be either, even if it’s true that conservatives and alt-righters are united on some policy issues in particular (e.g., immigration) and in their opposition to leftist insanity generally. Western culture and conservatism is what it is because of radical philosophical ideas, not any fact, empirical or otherwise, about ethnicity.

But because the alt-right esteems Western tribalism over Western creed—due to ignorance or eschewal of the creed that made Western culture so great in the first place—I see no possibility of a Chestertonian conversion to traditional conservatism. The alt-right lacks commitment to the very moral and intellectual foundations that catapulted the West above the rest, and so offers no hope in restoring or maintaining its greatness. Without anything more substantial than the opposite extreme of leftist lunacy on race to fall back on, it can go forward with nothing. So for conservatives to ally with the alt-right is about as wise as leftists allying with Islam: as soon as the latter finishes using the former to advance its misguided ideology, thanks will be given with a dagger in the back. No, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. To be friends, we must have something deeper in common than that.

The alt-right and conservatism have about as much in common as sparkling grape juice and red wine. The alt-right is to conservatism what margarine is to butter, what decaf is to coffee, what a vape is to a cigarette, what pornography is to real sex. Or, perhaps more aptly, the alt-right is like a Christianity without Christ. There is something even more contemptible about a knock off of a good thing than something else entirely. At least something else entirely is, in its own way, authentic. That’s why I’d much sooner drink a Coke than non-alcoholic beer or tea instead of decaffeinated coffee, and why I’d become an atheist before an effeminate Christian who believes in an emasculated Christ. I want the genuine article, something else entirely, or nothing at all. The alt-right represents none of those options.

Federal Philosopher

Federal Philosopher is a philosophy graduate student in New Jersey. She was awakened from her political slumbers after reading biographies of Margaret Thatcher—one of her heroes. She loves philosophy, but thinks the profession has been hijacked by a bunch of leftist bullies who are little more than partisan journalists that happen to know philosophical jargon. She carries a recurve bow and quiver full of arrows at all times, so as not to trigger leftists by saying she packs a .380 in her purse.

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133 Comments

  1. Dear Federal Philosopher,

    is there a book or article you would recommend that outlines these ideas in detail? Specifically, the conservative tradition and the intellectual, Christian foundation of Western society?

    Great post!

  2. Now things are getting _really_ interesting around here. So many questions and thoughts; I don’t know where to start. How about with the question of what this “conservatism” is that you are contrasting with the alt-right. What are key ideas of this conservatism that you think are in conflict with the alt-right?

  3. Fed, I didn’t quite detect an argument that the alt right is wrong or that it isn’t conservative (or whatever exactly the claim is supposed to be here). I did detect *assertions* that it is wrong (or not conservative, etc.), but not an argument.

  4. So the moment Leiter denounces this site for supporting or sympathizing with the alt-right, we get this post denouncing the alt-right? One would think you were going out of your way to please Leiter. Your post needs a lot more argument and less assertion about what is precisely wrong with the alt-right (and I’m sure Jacques will intelligently correct your mistakes).

    • Many of us were planning to write posts opposing the alt-right long before Leiter’s silly intervention, including Federal Philosopher and myself (stay tuned for my post, which will be much more polemical). Hate to break it to y’all, but this ain’t an alt-right blog; it’s a conservative one.

      • by ‘conservative’ do you mean ‘leftist from 30 years ago’? sure is what it looks like. you cowards live in fear of being called ‘racist’ by weasels like leiter. anyone who actually wants to conserve European cultures knows that will only happen if European people are conserved. ‘conservatism’ now means tax cuts plus ethnosuicide. you people are a disgrace and are actually left-wing on the historical left-right spectrum.

      • No. 30 years ago I’d be much more right-wing than leftists. Ted Kennedy lived 30 years ago, you oaf.

      • no you wouldn’t be. you are yet another stupid cuck happy to destroy whites for the sake of upholding cuckservative ‘principles’. you have no idea what the actual right is. it isn’t the william f. cuckley bullshit you think. thankfully that’s all dying now. fewer and fewer people with rightish instincts are interested in being shills for israel and jewish billionaries anymore. the ruse has been exposed. your faggot cuckservatism is at an end, nigger lover.

        Administrator: User has been banned.

      • “no you wouldn’t be. you are yet another stupid cuck happy to destroy whites for the sake of upholding cuckservative ‘principles’. you have no idea what the actual right is. it isn’t the william f. cuckley bullshit you think. thankfully that’s all dying now. fewer and fewer people with rightish instincts are interested in being shills for israel and jewish billionaries anymore. the ruse has been exposed. your faggot cuckservatism is at an end, nigger lover.”

        If by ‘the actual right’ you just mean the alt-right, then, no, it isn’t remotely clear what that means to me and to most people who’ve heard of it. That part of the right has done nothing whatever of significance and is going to be rejected by white people the country over in about a week’s time. This must infuriate you. Ah…the schadenfreude.

        Whether you like it or not, conservatism is the only thing that has a chance to stand athwart the leftist locomotive. The alt-right and its race-obsessed pagans can’t do anything. There simply aren’t enough white people who sympathise with your poison and you know it. Does this anger you? Relax. Calm down.

        If conservatism is dying, then widespread racialism among white people is pretty much dead and has been for a while now! Your high water mark was at Gettysburg! You need to abandon this pipe dream of yours. The fact that you and people like you are incredibly frustrated by the knowledge that your pseudo-movement is utterly impotent is, for me, a source of great satisfaction.

      • “If conservatism is dying, then widespread racialism among white people is pretty much dead and has been for a while now! Your high water mark was at Gettysburg! You need to abandon this pipe dream of yours. The fact that you and people like you are incredibly frustrated by the knowledge that your pseudo-movement is utterly impotent, for me, a source of great satisfaction.”

        Maybe you’re not white, or you are self-loathing, but your sick pleasure at the idea that the movement to stop the dispossession and eradication of whites is a failure is certainly disturbing. You know, the Civil War wasn’t about preserving the existence of white America. So, the stakes are a lot higher now. The stakes are higher than they were when people got into a huge, bloody war. Think about that. You gloat at the idea that white people reject the alt-right. Well, because of years of intense, evil propaganda, many indeed do. But you think that it’s impossible that the scales will fall from their eyes, that they will see the truth, and that the truth will set them free? I think that you are underestimating a tremendous untapped and ferocious source of natural energy: people’s will to preserve themselves and their way of life.

      • Criticus,

        “Maybe you’re not white…”

        Oh, I’m white, but the Nazis would’ve considered me a Mischling (second degree). Who knows whether you’d agree with that classification?

        “or you are self-loathing…”

        Believe you me that that isn’t the case.

        “…but your sick pleasure at the idea that the movement to stop the dispossession and eradication of whites is a failure is certainly disturbing.”

        It shouldn’t be disturbing because I deny that the alt-right is ‘the movement to stop the dispossession and eradication of whites,’ not least because whites are not being dispossessed or eradicated. The alt-right is utterly impotent (which is why you can’t identify a single policy proposal…or maybe you can but are too afraid to state your true views on the matter? Maybe they involve real dispossession and eradication? I don’t know. You’ll have to rule those out for me given the enthusiasm with which you embrace a fascist movement).

        “You gloat at the idea that white people reject the alt-right. Well, because of years of intense, evil propaganda, many indeed do.”

        The explanation is neither here nor there. You’ve identified a problem. State your proposed solution.

        “But you think that it’s impossible that the scales will fall from their eyes, that they will see the truth, and that the truth will set them free?”

        Impossible? Metaphysically? I think it’s incredibly unlikely and therefore an exercise in futility. I think that if you spew racialist rhetoric whatever credibility you once had among whites will cease to be. They simply don’t care about your fantasy and are repulsed by it.

        I’ll take seriously your hypothesis that whites will magically wake up one day when you produce evidence for it. All of the evidence of which I’m aware suggests that they’re moving in the opposite direction, and the alt-right is partly to blame here as well. Before Trump, most people supported a wall, for example. Now, because the face of that position is someone who’s massively unpopular, the numbers have shifted, so that a sizeable majority of whites not only oppose a wall, but support amnesty as well. Congratulations! In exchange for annoying the left for a few months and getting a few laughs we won’t get the wall and whites have become even more ‘cucked!’ Haha…

        Your last comment reminds me of Southerners who believe that the ‘South will rise again!’ That ship set sail long ago. So did yours.

      • Speaking of the Nazis (since you implicitly suggest that I am one), you’d certainly fit in nicely as a collaborationist! Your unperturbed acceptance of the left’s ongoing occupation and dominance and eagerness to keep pretending to be conserving things while working with them makes me think you would have done wonderfully in France.

        And, yes, you really got me on the wall issue. You and Marco Rubio were totally about to build that thing!

      • “Your unperturbed acceptance of the left’s ongoing occupation and dominance and eagerness to keep pretending to be conserving things while working with them makes me think you would have done wonderfully in France.”

        Oh, believe you me I’m perturbed. Perturbed and resigned. Resigned because we haven’t the slightest chance of winning because people nominated an unelectable buffoon. The idea that I’m collaborating with the left is laughable. Opposing the people who couldn’t have given the left a better gift is hardly collaboration. Don’t you have a lot of faith in Wikileaks? A lot of alt-righters have been collaborating with that leftist Julian Assange lately. Didn’t you read the e-mails? The Clinton campaign was *begging* for Trump. Good job! Y’all gave them exactly what they wanted and you will now get what you deserve. Unfortunately, innocent bystanders will get the same.

    • I can confirm Conservatrarian’s comment: we’ve been planning to criticize the alt-right for some time. This happened to be a good opportunity.

  5. tribal view of Western civilization: Western civilization isn’t rooted in creed, but in nationalism and European ethnicity.

    The alt-right does not hold a tribal view as an axiom, but arrived at the conclusion from empirical evidence. For example, simply look at Croatian identity compared to Serbian identity, Russian identity compared to Ukranian identity, or Hispanic identity compared to American identity. The alt-right belief is that politics is downstream from culture, culture is downstream from identity, and identity is largely based on unchosen characteristics such as race, ethnicity, and place of birth. These unchosen traits do not change, but opinions do, and thus the former is on firmer ground for establishing an identity. With our current immigration policies, both legal immigration and illegal, American identity is falling apart. What we have are hyphenated, multicultural citizens each with their own distinct group identity. The alt-right believes that at the moment, identity politics is the political game, thus you either play the game or continue to never win.

    I personally believe that the alt-right has good insight, but often turn this insight into extreme absolutes. For example, many on the alt-right believe that Jews, having their own history, identity and “tribe”, can never be fully American. I don’t believe this to be true, but I understand the argument. Anyway, that was a brief summary of my understanding of the alt-right.

  6. While I anxiously wait to hear what this distinct conservative position that’s inconsistent with the alt-right is, I do also notice you say:

    “So for conservatives to ally with the alt-right is about as wise as leftists allying with Islam: as soon as the latter finishes using the former to advance its misguided ideology, thanks will be given with a dagger in the back. No, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. To be friends, we must have something deeper in common than that.”

    This is really striking. You are obviously very serious about Christianity. Surely you have noticed that the left is increasingly making it is impossible to live a peaceful, Christian life. And, obviously, the increasing Islamification of the west is going to make it even more difficult. So, it just seems bizarre for you to think that the alt-right isn’t a very important ally.

    And how in the world is the alt-right going to stab you in the back? The alt-right wants the west to retain its white, European culture and traditions. Obviously, Christianity, as well as classical liberalism, has been a huge part of that tradition. So, whence the daggers?

    • Many alt-righters are neo-pagan materialists and, consequently, are very hostile to Christianity (as were their fascist, race-obsessed predecessors in the last century).

      Even if we have goals in common, the alt-right is our enemy because their existence and behaviour is utterly counterproductive in relation to those goals.

      • Without going into too much detail: I think part of the problem is that “race realists” at least tend to think of religion as, in a certain sense, an instrumental value. It is secondary in a way.

        Whereas traditionalist Christians think exactly the opposite: I could not care less about race, except to the extent that it furthers the traditional Christian cause.

      • So, Ideal Observer, you’re not really committed to conserving America or traditional American culture or white European culture. You’re just committed to conserving Christianity in some form. Yeah, that’s going to set you apart from the alt-right. And that’s because you are endorsing a position that is leading straight to the dispossession and eradication of whites.

      • More of this claptrap. Whites aren’t being eradicated or dispossessed. Their share of the population is decreasing. These aren’t the same things.

        More puerile hyperbole.

    • The alt-right is wary of universalistic ideas that imply idiotic policies like inviting millions of non-whites into white countries. If the alt-right is wary of Christianity for any reason, it’s for that. Does Christianity require such policies or support them? Many Christians think it doesn’t. If that’s right, I don’t see why the alt-right would be opposed to Christianity. If Christianity does imply policies that are suicidal to national integrity, then, yes, that would be a problem.

      • Christianity entails that all human beings, whatever their race, have equal dignity. It also entails that we have obligations to others, whatever their race. Are these problematic?

      • Does thinking that all human beings have equal dignity mean that you have to let them into your lands in significant numbers?

      • Also, does thinking that all human beings have equal dignity imply that there are no significant racial, biological differences in human beings that produce importantly different types of behavior and cognition in different races?

      • You dodged the questions.

        I don’t deny that there are significant biological differences between human beings. I deny that these differences are as important as y’all seem to suppose.

      • The idea that we have obligations to others regardless of their race is not problematic or inconsistent with the alt-right, to answer you question. But what about my question about letting people into your lands?

      • I oppose mass (especially uncontrolled) immigration. However, we do have obligations to help ameliorate the suffering of other people from other lands, whatever their race. That doesn’t necessarily involve bringing millions of people in. Still, some situations require that we take in refugees. For example, it was wrong to turn away Jewish refugees (among others) shortly before and during the Second World War (and no, I don’t believe that this is remotely analogous to the situation in Syria).

      • OK, so if Christianity is compatible with severely restricting immigration and recognizing important racial differences, then there is no reason to think that the alt-right poses a threat to Christianity. That is what I was initially commenting on when you replied.

        The alt-right is, to the contrary, clearly the best political ally that Christians in the west could have at this point because they are the ones who are focused on keeping the west out of the hands of Muslims.

        So, you presumably really have some other reason you are against the alt-right. I wonder what it is.

      • Well, yes there is because its membership includes a small army of pagan white nationalists and Christianophobes.

        But the alt-right is hardly ‘the best political ally that Christians have.’ It isn’t an ally at all. It’s an enemy. It’s an enemy because of its contemptible composition, but also because it’s obsessed with a fantasy that will never be realised and that is opposed by the vast majority of people, including people in the race with which they’re obsessed. As a result, it’s a threat to the only people who can make a positive difference, which is what we’ve seen during this election.

      • So, non-religious white nationalists are contemptible? And what is the fantasy that the alt-right is obsessed with?

      • The whole white nationalist project is a fantasy at this point. What’s the proposal? Stop mass immigration? Most (non-alt-right) conservatives agree with that! That ain’t going to save the white majority. We can stop immigration tomorrow and it’s still going to be the case that the percentage of whites is going to dwindle. So what’s the proposal to bring about or preserve the white majority? Are we going to forcibly deport millions of non-whites? Kill them off? What? Non-alt-righters have supported an end to mass immigration for a long time, well before the alt-right came into existence, so we don’t need the enormously unpopular alt-right if *that’s* the primary goal. But that isn’t the primary goal, is it? So many questions!

      • “Non-alt-righters have supported an end to mass immigration for a long time, well before the alt-right came into existence”

        No, actually mainstream conservatives have been extremely weak, at best, and largely supportive of mass immigration for many years. Peter Brimelow and the other immigration patriots were purged from the mainstream immigration movement decades ago.

        You’re right that cutting off immigration wouldn’t keep America white at this point. Before coming back to that, let me note that cutting off non-white immigration in many or most European countries _would_ keep them white. So, the idea of white nationalism in Europe is by no means a fantasy. And that is significant in itself. As far as America goes, the situation is indeed problematic. White nationalists must either be hoping for an eventual secession or some kind of reasonable policies that restore white demographic dominance. Are both of these so far-fetched as to render American white nationalism ridiculous? I don’t think so, because I think that the alternative is potentially so bad that these far-fetched scenarios may be the best that we can hope for and work towards. Despite your denial of what’s happening, whites really are being replaced and culturally dispossessed.

        You seem to think we should just accept this and work to make the descent into oblivion as pleasant as possible, or something like that. Many would reject that route as a politics of despair and death, and would rather at least go out with a fight.

        Is the alt-right unpopular? Despite it clearly offending your sensibilities, it’s actually the most exciting, invigorating, and organic political movement I’ve ever seen. Millions of young people are gravitating to it’s reality-affirming, life-affirming, humorous, and aggressive approach. If the wreckage of “conservatism” has any future, it’s certainly with the alt-right.

      • “White nationalists must either be hoping for an eventual secession or some kind of reasonable policies that restore white demographic dominance. Are both of these so far-fetched as to render American white nationalism ridiculous?”

        Yes, secession is totally unrealistic. The vast majority of white people aren’t moved by alt-right ideology. Are you lot going to put together a band of a few hundred skinheads to oppose the federals? Haha…

        But I’m curious. What are examples of ‘some kind of reasonable policies that restore white demographic dominance’?

        “You seem to think we should just accept this and work to make the descent into oblivion as pleasant as possible, or something like that. Many would reject that route as a politics of despair and death, and would rather at least go out with a fight.”

        Again, I’m curious. What would going ‘out with a fight’ look like? Do you mean that literally?

        ‘Is the alt-right unpopular? Despite it clearly offending your sensibilities, it’s actually the most exciting, invigorating, and organic political movement I’ve ever seen.’

        I fail to see how its being ‘exciting, invigorating, and organic’ answers the question about whether its unpopular. For all I know, neo-Nazi or KKK gatherings seem ‘exciting, invigorating, and organic’ to participants, but they are nevertheless very unpopular, including among whites. The same is true of the alt-right.

        “Millions of young people are gravitating to it’s reality-affirming, life-affirming, humorous, and aggressive approach. If the wreckage of “conservatism” has any future, it’s certainly with the alt-right.'”

        Where’s the evidence that ‘millions of young people are gravitating’ to the alt-right? The alt-right hasn’t a political future. It isn’t a party. It isn’t coherent. It isn’t organised. It hasn’t any political power. It’s a small group of race-obsessed white trolls. Nothing more. On 8 November, the alt-right will be vanquished when the rank and file see that their messiah has expired and will not rise again. And I say good riddance.

        But I’m still waiting for policy proposals.

      • No, Conservatrarian, you tell me what _your_ realistic policy proposals are that will prevent the dispossession and eradication of white Americans. Do you have any? Do you even care? Or are you getting too much of a big jolly out of the idea of defeat for all those “race-obsessed white trolls” who stoop to care about the preservation of their people and way of life? Are _you_ a troll? Are you a fake conservative troll? What do you even want to conserve?

      • Criticus,

        “you tell me what _your_ realistic policy proposals are that will prevent the dispossession and eradication of white Americans. Do you have any?”

        No, because, once again, I don’t believe that whites are being dispossessed or eradicated. Are you talking about the fact that the white share of the population is decreasing? If so, then, no, I have no policy proposals. My view is that this is inevitable. Have you any? If not, we’re in the same boat. So how will the alt-right be anymore effective? I asked before. Imagine the perfect alt-right dictator. How would he preserve a white majority? Would he encourage abortions in minority neighbourhoods? Would he deport millions of racial and ethnic minorities? Will he slaughter them? Will he cede the land in which they are most prevalent to some other power, e.g. Mexico? Tell me about how the alt-right is the solution!

        “Do you even care?”

        Depends on what you mean. White Americans happen to be more conservative than other groups in this country. If it were true that Mexicans voted 90+% for conservatives, I’d love mass immigration. Import the lot of them! But since poor Mexicans come from a country with a different culture and have values distinct from my own, I oppose mass immigration. I’d also oppose mass European immigration for the same exact reason: White Europeans are leftists (in fact, probably more so than Mexicans, who are probably more socially conservative). So, for me, race doesn’t matter (I don’t believe that it’s a morally relevant property). Culture and values do (yes, yes, I know you lot think that culture and values flow from genes or some such similar nonsense, but I don’t agree).

        “What do you even want to conserve?”

        Conservatism is, I think, a bit of a misnomer. There are lots of things and institutions that exist which I don’t think should exist and which I would destroy if only I had the power. My conservatism involves changing more than preserving and reversing leftist ‘progress,’ so, in that sense, I’m more of a radical or revolutionary than a conservative in the narrow sense (the sense in which Bolsheviks were conservatives in the Soviet Union). What I would like to see is ‘conservative’ values enshrined in law and enforced by the state (the pro-life view is one particularly important example for me).

      • “Conservatism is, I think, a bit of a misnomer. There are lots of things and institutions that exist which I don’t think should exist and which I would destroy if only I had the power. My conservatism involves changing more than preserving and reversing leftist ‘progress,’ so, in that sense, I’m more of a radical or revolutionary than a conservative in the narrow sense (the sense in which Bolsheviks were conservatives in the Soviet Union). What I would like to see is ‘conservative’ values enshrined in law and enforced by the state (the pro-life view is one particularly important example for me).”

        So, after all this haranguing and mocking that you’ve been doling out, it looks like your goals are as ridiculous and unachievable as anything that I’ve been talking about. This is actually not completely surprising. I suspect that your _real_ reason for hating the alt-right is not the improbability of their goals, but is their focus on race, something that just gives you an icky, Nazi feeling.

        I, by the way, am not “race-obsessed” any more than I am male-obsessed or heterosexual-obsessed or human-being-obsessed. I am concerned with people’s well-being. Certain conditions are required for people to flourish and have good lives. One of them is that they live in communities that have sufficient homogeneity in several ways. One very important aspect of that is race. Whether you like it or not, race plays a powerful psychic and cultural role in determining things like trust, social comfort, shared values, physical attraction, and other things, all of which are essential for human flourishing. No amount of wishing that race didn’t play that role is going to make it stop playing that role. Alt-right people are willing to face up to this reality. You apparently aren’t.

        How would I keep the country white if I were a dictator? I guess I’d try to figure out a way to reverse the current system that disincentivizes whites from having kids and incentivizes non-whites. So, I’d work on policies that would provide huge economic incentives for whites to have lots of children and significant economic burdens on non-whites for having lots of children. Does that sound scary and make you feel icky? Well, what are all the conservative values that you would have  “enshrined in law and enforced by the state” and the “lots” of “institutions that exist which [you] don’t think should exist and which [you] would destroy”? It sounds like you are endorsing a pretty scary and icky program of your own there, no? It sounds like one that would require treating different groups and their interests differently. The only way to avoid that would be to pretty much leave intact the leftist culture that we have now. But, again, that would render you no “conservative”  or right-winger in any meaningful sense. 

      • Criticus,

        “So, after all this haranguing and mocking that you’ve been doling out, it looks like your goals are as ridiculous and unachievable as anything that I’ve been talking about. This is actually not completely surprising. I suspect that your _real_ reason for hating the alt-right is not the improbability of their goals, but is their focus on race, something that just gives you an icky, Nazi feeling.”

        No, those aren’t goals of mine. As I wrote, they are ‘what I would like to see.’ I also wrote (in another comment) that I’ve resigned myself to defeat since Trump’s nomination. Many of those ‘goals’ would’ve been achievable with virtually any other candidate. Abortion, guns, capital punishment, and religious liberty are all examples and all it would’ve taken to win those issues for the next few decades is a few more conservative justices on the court. That’s all gone now since we nominated an unelectable loon.

        The ‘haranguing’ and ‘mocking’ had to do with *your* ridiculous claim that the alt-right is the only way to achieve anything meaningful anymore. It’s perfectly reasonable to question *that* claim by pointing out just how obviously false it is that the alt-right is even remotely as influential as is necessary in order to do anything meaningful (and no, the alt-right isn’t as responsible for Trump as you think; the vast majority of his primary supporters were just ordinary, ignorant Republicans who’ve probably never heard of the alt-right).

        “I am concerned with people’s well-being.”

        Depends on the people, I reckon! Do you care about the well-being of non-whites? Do they matter less? Apparently you think so, given the following:

        ” I guess I’d try to figure out a way to reverse the current system that disincentivizes whites from having kids and incentivizes non-whites. So, I’d work on policies that would provide huge economic incentives for whites to have lots of children and significant economic burdens on non-whites for having lots of children.”

        What would that look like? Would you implement a China-style policy for non-whites in the US? Would you persecute Latino Catholics who are commanded to have large families? What would this persecution look like? Would you tax them more than whites (who presumably wouldn’t be taxed at all) for more children? What if they’re poor and can’t pay tax? Would you throw them in the camps if they increase the size of their family? Would you promote abortion among these people? So many questions, so few answers! Sounds like the alt-reality to me…

        “Well, what are all the conservative values that you would have “enshrined in law and enforced by the state” and the “lots” of “institutions that exist which [you] don’t think should exist and which [you] would destroy”? It sounds like you are endorsing a pretty scary and icky program of your own there, no? It sounds like one that would require treating different groups and their interests differently. The only way to avoid that would be to pretty much leave intact the leftist culture that we have now. But, again, that would render you no “conservative” or right-winger in any meaningful sense.”

        One example isn’t icky at all: The pro-life view. (Actually, you might find that icky because it would mean many more black babies!) I believe that abortion should be a criminal offence. I’m not sure what your point is, then. You haven’t raised a problem for my view…

      • “One example isn’t icky at all: The pro-life view.”

        No, one example is not nearly enough. I could pick an easy non-icky example too (e.g., border security). You said you’d “destroy” “lots” of institutions. Like what? Anything that would actually make a difference (e.g., academia. TV, the news) in terms of stopping the constant flow of leftist poison? If so, it’s going to look somewhat icky.

        And cut it out with the accusations of me not caring about people of other races. I’ve been trying to have a civil discussion with you. Your pompous, condescending style is hard to tolerate as it is. (Yes, we get it. No one ever has a _single_ point that shows that _anything_ you’ve said is _at all_ wrong.) But now you’re just slinging mud.

        I care about people in general, including the white Americans of the historical American nation who are being dispossessed and replaced. I don’t think that that should happen to people. Virtually everyone throughout the history of western civilization would agree with me, including the people who fought to establish this country in the first place. But you, taking an historical and morally freakish view, don’t care about that. So, one of the fundamental and enormous value elements in this situation is one that you simply won’t even countenance.

        I’m pretty much done with this conversation. You have the last word. (Not that you weren’t going to anyway.) Show everyone out there in blog land that you have trounced and vanquished the evil, alt-right racists. Especially, show the academic left that you are a conservative who can be “taken seriously”.

      • There’s nothing to respond to in that comment, which mostly involves a complaint. I will just note for readers that Criticus has, once again, failed to answer my questions:

        “What would that look like? Would you implement a China-style policy for non-whites in the US? Would you persecute Latino Catholics who are commanded to have large families? What would this persecution look like? Would you tax them more than whites (who presumably wouldn’t be taxed at all) for more children? What if they’re poor and can’t pay tax? Would you throw them in the camps if they increase the size of their family? Would you promote abortion among these people? So many questions, so few answers! Sounds like the alt-reality to me…”

        Jacques has failed to answer similar questions about what he’d to do preserve the white majority if he were an alt-right dictator. I wonder if these questions make them uncomfortable because they know that there isn’t anything they can do (although this can’t be quite right because the hypothetical involves their having absolute political power). Or maybe the questions make them uncomfortable because they know that their true answers would probably involve actions that are widely perceived as immoral. I don’t know. All I can do is speculate since the only answer I’ve seen so far is a very vague idea about rewarding whites and punishing non-whites for having kids (what that punishment consists in isn’t yet clear).

  7. First I must echo the sentiments of Criticus Ferrox and others as stated above: What is this “conservatism” you describe, how do you contrast it with the alt right, and where is the demarcation between the two?

    On to other questions, where did this Western Creed come from? How is it not anchored to the west and its people in a way that would cause it to establish a sense of western tribalism or identity?

    On reading the author’s description I have also come to wonder how it is that they are a grad student in New Jersey who concealed carries, when one must be either politically connected or willing to shell out no small sum in either legal fees or bribes to secure a carry permit in NJ.

    • I think this is meant to be taken facetioisly: “She carries a recurve bow and quiver full of arrows at all times, so as not to trigger leftists by saying she packs a .380 in her purse.”

      I’m personally glad to hear there are women like FP on the East Coast. God bless her, and may her tribe increase!

  8. So many excellent comments from everyone defending the alt-right! I only have a few comments about Ideal Observer’s claim that true conservatism is a propositionalist kind of thing–it’s all about “the creed that made Western culture so great in the first place”, and it has nothing at all to do with racial or ethnic or national identity. But if that’s correct, this supposedly true conservatism is a very recent invention with no roots in the real history and culture and thinking of the West. Even as recently as the American founding you had major figures explicitly affirming the importance of white identity. By today’s standards, even Abraham Lincoln was a white supremacist. (See this old Jared Taylor piece for many examples of American Presidents saying that America is a country for white people: http://www.amren.com/interviews/2002/0715horowitz/taylor_reply.html) And it’s surely not tenable that the ancient Greeks or Romans or Germanic tribes or medieval European Christians or the Renaissance Italians were believers in some kind of universalistic race-less notion of “western” identity or “western” culture. It’s really only been in the last 60 years or so that this kind of (leftist) creed has been considered a defining feature of the west.

    So, if anyone can plausibly claim to be upholding the _traditional_ values or creeds of western culture, it’s we alt-right people who share with our ancestors (and the rest of humanity) a recognition of the tribal nature of humans and the obvious differences between the sexes, the races, the nations and cultures. You “conservatives” are kidding yourselves if you think that you hold some creed in common with Abraham Lincoln or John Jay or Thomas Jefferson–let alone the ancient Athenians or Charlemagne or whoever. (Or maybe you think “western culture” only began to exist or only began to be great with Martin Luther King and Betty Friedan?) Your own grandparents would have thought you were absolutely batshit. And even if they were super-liberals or socialists by the standards of their time they’d have thought that! Just think about that: your views on race and culture put you to the left of Karl Marx and Bertrand Russell. And you guys are the true conservatives?

    It could also be argued that there is no particular “creed” definitive of western culture as a whole. Western peoples have had a very wide range of different creeds and belief systems, and they’ve generally been pretty “great” regardless. Athens was great, the Byzantine Empire was great, the Vikings were great, the medieval Spaniards were great, and even Sweden was a pretty great place too even when it was an atheistic socialist state–it’s only become a toilet very recently, since they decided that low IQ Third World savages could be just as Swedish as anyone else on planet earth. I suppose true conservatives will congratulate them for having such a compassionate and open-minded immigration policy. (The true Sweden will only begin to exist and be great once all the Swedes have been replaced by Somalian rapists and Syrian fundamentalists and African welfare cases with IQs of 70. Then it’ll be worth conserving!)

    • Hey Jacques: Minor point, but were you referring to me or did you mean someone else? (Not that I necessarily disagree with the ‘creed’ claim, but I don’t think I made that claim here. Maybe you have in mind Federal Philosopher?)

    • I’m a conservative and I don’t support mass immigration. I don’t know where you get the idea that ‘true conservatives will congratulate them for having such a compassionate and open-minded immigration policy.’ Perhaps you had the WSJ editorial board in mind. We just aren’t obsessed with race and don’t endorse crazy views such as that whites are victims genocide and a global Jewish conspiracy to make us *poof* out of existence. Haha…

      • I got the idea from the post above:

        ‘Western culture and conservatism is what it is because of radical philosophical ideas, not any fact, empirical or otherwise, about ethnicity.’

        It’s a short step from this anti-racist universalistic view of the west to open borders, Somalian “Swedes”, etc. Yes, that’s where WSJ-type ‘conservatism’ comes from, and it’s what mainstream conservatives such as FP tend to think. I was responding to FP’s views, not yours. (The reference to “true conservatives” wasn’t entirely serious in that context. I’m aware that there are conservatives who don’t like mass immigration.)

        But okay, let’s talk about your views then. This equal human dignity or worth–what exactly are its empirical symptoms, and what exactly is its empirical basis? I mean, is there anything in particular about all those billions of flesh and blood human beings that you can specify? Details would help. Or is this just the claim that humans are “equal” in some indescribable cosmic sense that has nothing to do with their empirical properties? If it’s the latter I don’t see why it makes any difference to politics or political philosophy. What we need to decide here and now are things like immigration policy. And there seem to be many groups of people who are totally undesirable as fellow citizens and totally inferior in every way that matters. But if you’re talking about some kind of equality that is relevant to such questions, I’d like to hear more about how it’s relevant–which observable or at least conceivable shared properties make all of us “equal” in this respect?

        I tend to think notions of human equality are either trivial or else communist bullshit. I really can’t imagine any reason for believing that all humans are “equal” in any non-trivial normative sense. (Did Jesus or the gospel writers ever use this repellent modern term “equality”? If so that would really push me away from Christianity toward Judaism or Islam or something.) But I’m open to being persuaded otherwise. Tell me some more about it.

    • Jacques,

      The problem I have with the Alt-Right is its complete reduction of culture to genes. They reduce value to IQ, for example — quite the ontological trick, deriving that ought from that is. Anyway, this seems to be the justification for their immigration policy, which I largely agree with. Mass immigration is a bad idea.

      But otherwise I find them cowards. Yes, they like to talk about how they’re “race realists” and point out IQ differences between white and non-white people, and we should secure that border and build Trump’s wall. But then what?

      If the “race realism” is true and that we should preserve white identity and ensure a white majority in this country, why stop at immigration? If high IQ is intrinsically valuable and is largely found in white, why not take steps to ensure that high IQ does not get diluted? Propose anti-miscegenation laws. Push abortion to decrease the birth rate of blacks and Hispanics. Why not embrace eugenics and prescribe policy to match? Stopping mass immigration and deporting illegals is only a half-measure. If white identity is critical to the thriving of Western civilization, then advocate for positions that make sure only white people reproduce in this country and the low-IQ black and Latinos — maybe with a few concerted efforts at culling — die out?

      Yeah, call me a cuck. But at least my conservatism doesn’t entail eugenics and engenders genocide.

      • My Cuck…

        These are pretty much my sentiments precisely. I’d like to see Jacques respond to your questions, particularly the ones in the third paragraph.

      • Hi Jan,
        I certainly don’t think value is reducible to IQ! I don’t even think IQ is a deep total measure of intellectual ability (let alone intellectual value or other kinds of value). In fact I’m kind of an extreme value realist and mysterian about value. Maybe there are some people on the alt-right who have these very dumb reductionist views. I don’t know. Haven’t really noticed it. It sounds like a straw man to me. (Does Greg Johnson or Jared Taylor or whoever hold this reductionist view? Who is an example?)

        You ask “Then what?” I don’t have a problem in principle with eugenics, and I don’t see why it would engender genocide. Seems like another straw man to me, or slippery slope fallacy. It depends on what kinds of eugenic policies, whether they’re pursued voluntarily, etc. (I’m not okay with forced sterilization except in very rare circumstances, for example.) Just changing the anti-white anti-western ideology could be eugenic in promoting higher birth rates among the better kinds of people; cutting off insane benefits and incentives for parasitism would be eugenic or at least anti-dysgenic. Anyway it’s a long story but I don’t see why a reasonable version of alt-rightism would have to entail genocide or other clearly unacceptable stuff. Basically you seem to be doing a more sophisticated version of the old reductio ad Hitler thing here–no offense, I understand that your questions are well intended.

      • Jacques, let’s hear your policy proposals. How should the perfect alt-right dictator preserve the white majority in the US?

      • Is Jacques a fan of Margaret Sanger’s approach? Does he like that Planned Parenthood builds their abortion mills in black neighbourhoods?

      • Hi, Jan. I assume that Jacques will have his own response, but here are my thoughts on your comments and questions:

        First, I’m not sure why you think that people on the alt-right think a person’s value reduces to his IQ. But, that aside, I’m puzzled about what _your_ justification is for being against mass immigration. Does it not _reduce_ to some features of the people that you don’t want immigrating?

        “But at least my conservatism doesn’t entail eugenics and engenders [sic] genocide.”

        Does your conservatism entail the jailing or execution of active homosexuals? I didn’t think so. The alt-right position doesn’t entail any of that stuff you name for the same reason: just because F is desirable, that doesn’t mean that any means of achieving F is permissible.

      • I just posted a reply to this, at least to the extent that I think it’s worth talking about, up above in the thread, in the exchange where I was asking you about what you thought was the fantasy of white nationalists.

      • Criticus,

        Not necessarily IQ but empirically verifiable genes that are determinant of IQ and factor into behavior. People on this thread talked about having Scandinavia overrun by low IQ Somalians. What was seemingly predicated as bad about the Somalians was their low IQ.

        I’m against mass immigration because it involves taking in people who often don’t have shared values, culture or history with established American citizens that they will compete with for jobs and other opportunities. That’s a recipe for social strife that the Left clearly has a motive to incite as electoral fuel for power and incentivizes noxious identity politics that are ripping this country apart. I want to defeat the Left not empower it. It has no incentive politically to want to assimilate these people and make them American. Therefore I have no incentive to concede a bigger voting bloc, likely bought off by food stamps and entitlements, to my enemies who work toward the ruin of the 1st and 2nd Amendments and constitutional governance as intended by the Founding Fathers. It’s a threat to national security in a post 9/11 age. It’s mostly done illegally — I don’t want the legal variety either — and undermines the rule of law. A porous border lets Mexican criminals and cartels run amok here and increase crime, endangering citizens. It’s financially unfeasible with a welfare state and incentivizes the expansion of it, thereby costing me and everybody else money in greater taxes and weakens the economy overall. Many of these illegal aliens have no interest in assimilation either and just want to siphon our wealth to take back to Mexico. It exposes the country to Third World diseases and undermines national health. That’s plenty. Oh, and whatever negative features these people have, it’s not all clear that at bottom they’re predominantly due to a shared, largely non-white ancestry.

        “Does your conservatism entail the jailing or execution of active homosexuals? I didn’t think so. The alt-right position doesn’t entail any of that stuff you name for the same reason: just because F is desirable, that doesn’t mean that any means of achieving F is permissible.”

        You’re conflating behavior enacted upon by volition with a biologically-determined immutable predisposition that individually can be acted upon by volition. Your analogy about the policy of jailing and killing homosexuals references the former (keyword “active”), while alt-right policy for the implied non-whites is justified on the the latter. It’s a trite expression that will drive you mad, but I love the sinner, hate the sin. From what I can tell, the alt-right hates the sin, but also the sinner for being genetically predisposed towards it. The alt-right seemingly wants to craft one-size-fits-all policy based solely on biologically-determined predispositions found in different racial groups.

        Likewise, I never argued the alt-right thinks F is desirable. Desirability is a function of subjectivity. Something is desired not necessarily because it’s objectively good or valuable. Some things that are objectively evil are desirable e.g., pornography. I argued the alt-right believes F (particular configurations of genes) are objectively valuable, as in them of themselves. But not only are F objectively valuable, according to the alt-right, F also are necessary for the perpetuation and flourishing of white Western civilization. It’s not hard to see the racist and genocidal conclusions that follow and then were bloodily instantiated in history.

        Answer me this, who has more human dignity, a white person or black person? Then please explain why.

      • Jan raises good points. Of course, those are exactly my reasons for opposing mass immigration (as I pointed out in another comment).

        I too would like an answer to his final question.

      • Jan, my analogy between the alt-right and your views on homosexuality holds. (The difference between volitional behavior and non-volitional characteristics of a person is irrelevant here. We can go ahead and assume, for the sake of argument, that non-white volitional behavior is what the alt-right would like to stop just as you’d like to stop homosexual behavior.)

        When I said that F is desirable, I meant “objectively valuable”. The principle I stated before about the relationship between F being objectively valuable and what is morally permissible to achieve F still holds and still explains why the alt-right views don’t entail anything like genocide. Even if F is really, really, really good (intrinsically or instrumentally), that _does not mean_ that it’s morally permissible to do anything to achieve F.

        “Answer me this, who has more human dignity, a white person or black person? Then please explain why.”

        Is this supposed to be some “gotcha” question that forces me to out myself as a big hater or something? I don’t really know what you mean by “dignity”. But if you think my views require that I see non-whites as having less objective value in some way, you are mistaken. In fact, everything that I’m arguing for is compatible with the idea that non-whites have _more_ value. I support people living in functioning cultures where they can flourish. That requires a sufficient amount of homogeneity of different sorts, racial homogeneity being one. Nothing in that view requires one to think that members of certain races have more “dignity” or intrinsic value than members of other races.

      • Criticus,

        I’m not interested in “stopping homosexual behavior.” Do I think the state should affirm it and treat it as equal heterosexuality? No. It seems like the alt-right wants to craft policy predominantly based on immutable characteristics that they believed leads to that behavior.

        Additionally, I think I initially argued that genocide is engendered, not entailed, by eugenics. For some reason, I got suckered into defending that eugenics entails genocide. Plus, I’ve modified my argument to include eugenics are not just objectively good, but also objectively necessary for the survival and perpetuation of Western civilization — does the alt-right not believe that?

        “But if you think my views require that I see non-whites as having less objective value in some way, you are mistaken. In fact, everything that I’m arguing for is compatible with the idea that non-whites have _more_ value. I support people living in functioning cultures where they can flourish. That requires a sufficient amount of homogeneity of different sorts.”

        This doesn’t answer my question. This implies that nonwhites have instrumental value, not intrinsic value, ontological worth as it is. I want the alt-right to provide an account of value and flesh out their philosophical anthropology to flesh out who are rightsholders. If so, is there is some hierarchy that justifies policy? Who has more intrinsic value, someone who is white or someone who is black? Does culture ultimately reduce down to genes?

      • “This doesn’t answer my question. This implies that nonwhites have instrumental value, not intrinsic value, ontological worth as it is. I want the alt-right to provide an account of value and flesh out their philosophical anthropology to flesh out who are rightsholders. If so, is there is some hierarchy that justifies policy? Who has more intrinsic value, someone who is white or someone who is black?”

        I already answered your question. The claim that what I’ve said implies that non-whites don’t have intrinsic value is false and bizarre. Again, the answer to your repeated question about who has more intrinsic value is: _it doesn’t matter_. The alt-right is compatible with a range of views about the intrinsic value of people. Why are you so fixated on this irrelevant point? As I already explained, alt-righters could consistently think that non-whites have _more_ intrinsic value. Or they could think that everyone has equal intrinsic value. Etc.

      • Let me add to that last comment, Jan. Perhaps what is concerning you is whether the alt-right could be compatible with the kind of philosophical view of value that you think is accurate. The answer is that I don’t see why not. The alt-right view is compatible with the view that all people have equal dignity or intrinsic value. Yes, the alt-right doesn’t seem to _entail_ your view. But so what? Classical liberalism or mainstream conservatism doesn’t _entail_ your theory of value either.

      • Criticus, here is all you had to say about actual policy (I believe):

        “How would I keep the country white if I were a dictator? I guess I’d try to figure out a way to reverse the current system that disincentivizes whites from having kids and incentivizes non-whites. So, I’d work on policies that would provide huge economic incentives for whites to have lots of children and significant economic burdens on non-whites for having lots of children. Does that sound scary and make you feel icky?”

        Yes, it does. For one, this is entirely vague. You still haven’t answered Conservatrarian’s question of “How should the perfect alt-right dictator preserve the white majority in the US?” except for the virtus dormativa of “provide incentives for whites and disincentives for non-whites to have children.”

        Leaving aside the vacuousness of this proposal: If it has any sort of content at all then, yes, the most natural way to read it is icky indeed. If the policy is to prevent or punish with active measures anyone belonging to certain races from having children — via punitive taxes, direct social taboos against people of that race having children, forced sterilization, endorsement of contraception, or abortion (you guys have dodged this question nicely) — then that will be patently unjust and morally forbidden. It is certainly directly opposed to anything Christians believe, and no serious Christian could ever accept that proposal. This is more evidence of the heathen foundations of the alt-right.

        Hispanic or Black: “Should I have a large family?”

        Church: Yes! Large families are a blessing from God!

        Alt-right: No, I’ll punish you for having more children.

        Nevermind that this is fantasy, and anyone who thinks that this could ever happen is living in alt-reality. (It is ironic that Cuck Cruz has more realistic proposals than the alt-right for ending mass immigration — and believes in border security more strongly than Trump!) It is something the Church has always opposed and always will.

    • Jacques,

      First, some shameless self-promotion: You should see my post for the 31st — it involves Hitler, the Jews and Halloween.

      Anyway, maybe you haven’t seen this position on the alt-right because members on the alt-right haven’t thought it through. I’ve observed that they talk about whiteness is good, non-whiteness bad. They compare IQ rates of these groups as function of genetics or whatever is empirically verifiable and easily construed as valuable or not. They advocate a policy position concerning immigration from this scientism. Policy positions depend on normative ethics. Normative ethics have metaethical presuppositions such as what is value and what can be considered valuable. Alt-right epistemology seems naturalistic and positivist, which notoriously are anti-realist when it comes to metaethical entities like value. But this difficulty is unaddressed from what I’ve seen in Alt-Right discourse, so they smuggle value in with genetics.

      You asked for an example: Vox Day. http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/09/mailvox-get-your-syllogisms-straight.html

      Look at premise 1. Culture involves values and thereby “inseparable” from genetics. It’s a abstract statement to be sure, but it seems to me Vox Day is suggesting that genes determine value or genes are constitutive of value.

      “I don’t have a problem in principle with eugenics, and I don’t see why it would engender genocide. Seems like another straw man to me, or slippery slope fallacy.”

      See, in principle, I do have a problem with eugenics. If in principle humans are not metaphysically equal in value, then what exists to stop me from doing anything less than exterminating those groups that aren’t — what’s the phrase you used? — “better kinds of people”; i.e., who I deem less valuable than myself or possess traits, lower IQ for example, that I don’t view as valuable? That’s not a slippery slope; that’s a reductio. If there is entailment in principle, then it’s likely we will slide down that reprehensible slope in praxis.

      Moreover, as an informal fallacy, not all slippery slopes are fallacious, and eugenics can be a means to accomplish genocide.

      Also read Vox’s post linked above. He’s already connecting the dots, extending his neo-social darwinism in principle not to just non-whites but to whites who aren’t British in descent. That’s also historically stupid too because if you study history, the British isles had a fair number of continental invaders: the Romans, the Normans (Frank, Norse, and Germanic) and Scandinavians who pillaged, burned, raped Northumbria and probably left some bastards along the way. Germanic (Lombards, Goths, Austrogoths, Teuton, Gothic) sperm is pretty much all over Europe. Whites for a long, long, long time have been a mongrel people.

      • The white barbarians on the British Isles magically found the right genes necessary and sufficient for Western civilisation (because culture, of course, flows from one’s genes), all within just a few hundred years after Rome conquered Britain!

      • Or maybe, just maybe, it was the civilising influence of Christianity on those people that changed their culture and removed their barbarian status, not the magical acquisition of genes. It’s almost as though different groups can adopt better cultures even if before they were (more) primitive!

      • You put forward a very poor argument indeed. Moral equality need not hold between persons for it to be true that certain kinds of treatment of persons are always wrong. Thinking that Mother Theresa is morally better, more valuable, or however one wants to put it, than a rapist doesn’t entail that it is permissible to torture that rapist. I have never, to my knowledge, met someone who thinks that we can treat non-human animals however we want — that we can, for example, torture non-human animals for fun. I have also never, to my knowledge, met someone who thinks that non-human animals have the same moral worth as humans. There can be moral inequality between and within human and non-human animal groups but nevertheless be a minimum of moral worth below which no human or non-human animal falls.

        My goal here isn’t to express my own views about the moral worth of humans and non-human animals. Rather, it’s to point out that there are logical possibilities that you are missing. Approval of eugenics doesn’t entail the permissibility of genocide. That’s completely fatuous.

      • Conservatrarian,

        I assume you think that culture pops out of the ether? I hope you didn’t fall for the silly Gouldian lies and understand that humanity isn’t genetically stagnant. Biological evolution is ongoing for humankind. It never stopped.

      • BioRealist,

        “I assume you think that culture pops out of the ether? I hope you didn’t fall for the silly Gouldian lies and understand that humanity isn’t genetically stagnant. Biological evolution is ongoing for humankind. It never stopped.”

        Nope. Christianity and Christian culture didn’t ‘pop out of the ether,’ obviously. Neither did it flow from some group’s genes. Haha…

      • Bio Realist,

        So even if the fate of western civilization hangs in the balance, as the alt-right claims it does, it remains always morally impermissible to not take certain actions against persons of lesser worth to preserve those of greater worth?

        True, “Moral equality need not hold between persons for it to be true that certain kinds of treatment of persons are always wrong,” such as torturing for fun. But it doesn’t take genocide off the table completely, especially given a competing moral principle, say:

        It’s always wrong to put the well-being of persons of lesser moral worth before the well-being of persons of greater moral worth. Preserving the whiteness of the West may not be fun, but seemingly someone’s got to do it, according to the alt-right.

        Moreover, the alt-right’s epistemology, naturalistic and positivist that it seems to be, isn’t friendly toward objective value, including the objective worth that is to be purported in persons. So by what way do the alt-right differentiate between those persons of greater moral worth and those persons of less moral worth? They subjectively impute it, of course, unless they can get objective value from what is empirically verifiable, e.g., genes, IQ, whatever. However, it’s notoriously hard to ontologically squeeze blood from that type of stone. So, I don’t see your objection as one the alt-right can foist given their seeming prior epistemic and metaphysical commitments.

        Lastly, at what point is eugenics no longer necessary? When there are no longer any unfit people left to breed. If that’s not the case, then by what principal, not including those asserting value the alt-right has not accounted for, prevents eugenics from collapsing into genocide?

      • Hi Jan.
        There are clearly a lot of things we disagree about. It’s hard to know where to begin. Suppose Vox thinks that genes “determine” culture in some sense. Does that mean he thinks genes “constitute” value? No. Genes may determine whether you’re tall but they don’t (and couldn’t) constitute your tallness. I assume Vox thinks that genes play an important role in determining lots of valuable traits (and I doubt he thinks the only valuable trait is high IQ).

        There may be some on the alt-right who think white is good and non-white is bad. Well, that’s pretty idiotic. I haven’t seen that view put forward much except in comment threads at Amren or similar places. Every movement has its morons and bad people, etc. Should I base my opinion of conservatism on the dumbest conservatives I can find? Also it’s important to remember that IQ is really just ONE of the many traits that distinguish groups. I don’t think Somalian IQ is particularly low. But they’re really nasty people and they just don’t fit in well with us. Couldn’t care less that they may be smart, or whether these ugly traits have biological origins or whatever–they simply don’t belong in the west in large numbers.

        Your argument about metaphysical equal value is fallacious. Just because I don’t believe in that holy mystery of leftism, it doesn’t follow that I don’t recognize great value in most human beings. Almost all of us are persons, for example, and that’s a very important value-generating trait. It wouldn’t be right to kill persons and eat them just because I’m hungry. Certainly it doesn’t follow that my view allows for no objections to exterminating inferior others.

        You need to slow down. First of all, I never said any one group was inferior in all respects or overall. (Reference to “better kinds of people” is shorthand, not very serious, and refers to individuals within a single racial group in any case.) Second, it would be wrong to exterminate all chimpanzees for no good reason even if they are seriously inferior to us overall. Person A can be inferior to Person B in every way and still have intrinsic value, basic rights, etc.

        Of course whites are a “mongrel” people. So what? Every race is “mongrelized” if you go back far enough. This is another one of those straw men. What is a “pure” race, then? Don’t think I ever referred to any such notion. No idea what racial “purity” (or non-mongrelism) would be even in theory. The view you’re attacking here was rarely held even among Nazis and 19th century racialists, etc. What matters is just that whites are a _distinct_ case of mongrelization. They’re an evolutionary mix of a highly specific bunch of influences, in a certain proportion, and that mix is very different from the one that characterizes Japanese or Zulus. If this is the best you’ve got against the racial views of the alt-right give up now 🙂

      • Conservatrarian,
        It’s not very surprising that the “barbarians” of the British Isles managed to acculturate pretty well to Rome. The British and Romans were white Indo-Europeans, after all, with a shared ancestral cultural and a LOT of shared ancestry. They were members of the same race. This is just further evidence for the alt-right view. No one thinks they “acquired” new genes enabling them to Romanize. They already had them, being white Indo-Europeans just like the Greco-Romans. You seem not to understand the “racist” position you’re criticizing. And you’ll notice that this has NOT happened with Bantus and Zulus under British rule. Maybe because they lacked certain genetic traits necessary for that kind of acculturation? So maybe it’s not so “crazy” to believe that culture is based in genetics.

        PS–I realized after posting that last comment that Bio-Realist had already made many of the same points. Sorry I ripped you off!

      • Jacques is utterly correct. I will come back to that after responding to Jan Sobieski IV.

        Jan, do you understand the concept of illustration? I was not arguing that the minimum moral worth of humans is such that only torture for fun is off the table. I was pointing out that you were missing, at least, the logical possibility that moral inequality could exist alongside the impermissibility of genocide.

        “Moreover, the alt-right’s epistemology, naturalistic and positivist that it seems to be, isn’t friendly toward objective value, including the objective worth that is to be purported in persons.”

        You’re pulling this out of nowhere. The “alt-right” has no commitment to a “naturalistic and positivist” epistemology. And in any case I’m not among the alt-right. As I’ve pointed out many times, the sorts of view of race that people like Jacques and I hold, as well as commitment to eugenics, are compatible with a number of political outlooks.

        “So even if the fate of western civilization hangs in the balance, as the alt-right claims it does, it remains always morally impermissible to not take certain actions against persons of lesser worth to preserve those of greater worth?”

        I have made very clear what could be the case. Granted, I believe that in practice the egalitarian fantasizing of people like you and Conservatrarian would be the first thing to go under conditions of genuine hardship. This equality obsession is a product of the decadent, comfortable lives of Western “last men,” as Nietzsche would say. It plays no part in the traditional Catholicism to which I subscribe. It is now associated with Christianity only because the left has infiltrated Christianity.

        “Lastly, at what point is eugenics no longer necessary? When there are no longer any unfit people left to breed. If that’s not the case, then by what principal, not including those asserting value the alt-right has not accounted for, prevents eugenics from collapsing into genocide?”

        It’s hard to tell what’s even going on in this last mess of a paragraph you’ve offered. You seem to take the approach of assailing a misrepresentation of the alt-right with bad rhetorical questions, thinking this will yield insight. Again, wanting those with desirable traits to outbreed those who lack them doesn’t mean we have to genocide anyone. Most people don’t think it’s right for persons at great risk of having children with serious genetic disorders to reproduce. This doesn’t compel persons with that belief to genocide those with a high risk of having such disordered children.

        Returning to Jacques’ exceedingly good posts, they have occasioned a comment. People like Conservatrarian have a grade schooler’s understanding of genetics, if that. They seem to believe that snarky comments grounded in this woefully deficient knowledge constitute meaningful objections to the idea that biological factors explain a very great portion of the behavioral and cultural variation between individuals and between groups. They are entirely oblivious to the mountains of excellent research in the biological and behavioral sciences that lend this biological realism strong credibility. Neophytes like Conservatrarian would do well to realize that they’re encountering a new world of ideas and perspectives here, that their flimsy knowledge is terribly inadequate to the task of refuting biological realism, and that their ignorance of these matters has no hope of improving unless they make a good faith effort to engage some scholarship outside their comfort zone of philosophical fantasy.

      • Jacques,

        I have no problem with racial views. I have a problem with racist views.

        Metaphysical value a mystery of leftism? It’s classically liberal and culturally and theologically Christian. It’s not detectable to science, but it never has been purported to be. How do you account for value between persons? What constitutes the value of a person qua person? How does this value differ between racial groups.

        I largely agree on what you said about Somalians. I don’t think large numbers of them can be feasibly assimilated. So why ship in vast numbers of them?

        “Certainly it doesn’t follow that my view allows for no objections to exterminating inferior others.”

        But it doesn’t rule out seemingly the extermination of inferior others a priori either.

        “Second, it would be wrong to exterminate all chimpanzees for no good reason even if they are seriously inferior to us overall. Person A can be inferior to Person B in every way and still have intrinsic value, basic rights, etc.”

        Exactly — “for no good reason.” Isn’t the perpetuation and flourishing of Western civilization a good reason? Does the alt-right not believe the perpetuation and flourishing of Western civilization depends on racial homogeneity? That, racial homogeneity is necessary to that end?

        “I assume Vox thinks that genes play an important role in determining lots of valuable traits.”

        So what makes up those valuable traits? What’s valuable about them? The genes? What is the alt-right’s ontology of value? What makes something valuable? Its fundamental nature or whether something can be used for a certain end? In my view, the alt-right hasn’t proposed answers to these questions. I’m skeptical there are any good answers for them. They seem to use differences in genetics to fallaciously determine differences in value, and they seemingly make broad, sweeping policy proposals on immigration based ultimately on these scientifically detected differences. Policy proposals depend on normative ethics. Normative ethics depend on philosophical assumptions involving the nature of persons. The nature of persons involves questions of value. What I perceive is that value is constituted subjectively for them and isn’t really objective despite they believe it to be. Any differences in value between persons is subjectively projected but treated as objectively there.

        According to Vox, genes determine culture in some sense. It seems like a large sense. So genes also determine value in some non-insignificant way. Culture involves statements of value in norms. What are the value-makers in these statements of value in norms? Are they the genes? If not, what then? How does that determination of culture work from genes? Are genes identical to value? Are genes valuable in them of themselves? Does immaterial value, culture supervene or emanate from material genes? If so, how?

      • “Metaphysical value a mystery of leftism? It’s classically liberal and culturally and theologically Christian. It’s not detectable to science, but it never has been purported to be.”

        Right Jan. This is the sort of mindset and rhetoric that lends alt-righters to a neo-pagan materialistic mentality, and that constitutes a large part of the movement. (It’s sort of ironic, because the pagans were utterly crushed by Christianity; for people who make so much of masculinity, they’ve been pretty easy to conquer in the past.)

      • Jacques totally missed the point. Of course they had the relevant genes! Of course they didn’t magically acquire new ones! So why were they a barbarian group of people? Why were the Romans so much more advanced, both intellectually and by their fruits?

        The evidence strongly suggests that Britons were inferior to the Romans with respect to intelligence, for example. Certainly the Romans thought that they were a race of halfwits. Were the Romans wrong about their intelligence? Were these barbarian tribes secretly very intelligent and just hid their awesome mental powers from the Romans? Did they suppress the genetic goods with which they were endowed? How do you know? The Roman experience of them certainly doesn’t support this view.

    • I should point out, in connection with Conservatrarian’s odd comments above, that I’ve never claimed there is “a global Jewish conspiracy”. (Though there might well be; people with shared interests do often conspire, after all.) My view is that Jews, like most other groups, often act for ethnocentric reasons, and will often do some pretty nasty stuff in order to pursue what they take to be the interests of their extended families and communities, etc. Jewish behavior of that kind matters more than similar behavior of Australian Aborigines or whatever because, unlike so many other groups, Jews are immensely wealthy and powerful (and also generally pretty sharp and ruthless when they need to be). I guess a true conservative like Conservatrarian regards all this is as “crazy” too.

  9. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if it weren’t for the knowledge that Christ will return one glorious day, and He will settle all His accounts at a time appointed.

    On that (great and terrible) day every individual from kingdom, tribe, tongue and nation descended from Adam and Eve will give an account to the God with Whom they have to do.

    It’s appointed once for man to die, then the judgment. While working where God has placed us for His glory and for the good of our fellow man, let’s not lose sight of things above, the eternal things that will stand long after this present heaven and earth have passed away, and a new heaven and new Earth are established.

    There really is a war, but it’s spiritual and it’s about souls, it’s not about flesh and blood.

  10. Conservatrarian,
    I did indeed miss your point about Britons. Still a bit puzzled in fact. You said they “acquired” certain genes, so I replied to that, but now you want to point out merely that such genes aren’t sufficient for being Roman or civilized or whatever. Who ever said they were? You are attacking some imaginary position that you associate with me or the alt-right. Why not just ask us what we think about genes or whatnot first, before making any more “points”.

    • To expand on this a bit: if pre-Roman Britons were very backwards or stupid–and I have no idea whether that’s true, or whether Roman reports to that effect should be taken seriously–that could well be because their natural intellectual potential was never realized. Maybe once they came into contact with Roman civilization their genes were expressed in new and more impressive ways. Just as people raised by wolves might never develop normal intellectual abilities, even though the natural capacity was there and would have been expressed under better conditions. By contrast, we notice that some other groups, such as Bantus and Australian Aborigines, don’t manifest new intellectual abilities or achievements even after centuries of exposure to new environments and influences. Of course we can always speculate that their natural endowment is exactly equal to that of any other group, that they just haven’t been exposed to the precise environmental influences needed, etc. But people on the alt-right think this kind of excuse making is very implausible given all the relevant data and arguments.

      In addition, it may well be that Britons and Romans had somewhat different natural racial capacities, at least back then, due to reproductive isolation. No one thinks that every large race, such as the white race, has always been perfectly internally homogeneous. Even today there seem to be big internal differences within races. So if Britons were less intelligent than Romans, how would that count against race realism or the alt right?

      Conservatrarian’s attempt to refute race realism with this example shows that he doesn’t understand the data and debates. He seems to think that race realists regard certain genes as sufficient all by themselves for civilizational achievement. In fact no sensible race realist thinks that genes are sufficient even for a given IQ score.

  11. Jan,
    You raise a lot of questions for people like me–whether genes have intrinsic value, how if at all value could supervene on genetics, on and on. Why should I need to know any of these answers in order to know that genes play an important role in things we value? Or in order to know that genocide is wrong (normally) and not “engendered” by any views of mine? You lost me with all this.

    I know that some cancers have genetic causes. I don’t know _how_ that works in any detail. In many cases no one knows. I also don’t know _how_ information is encoded in chemistry or supervenes on chemistry or _how_ exactly any interesting higher-order phenomena are related to their genetic causes. (Note, again, I’m not saying genes are sufficient for anything interesting.) Still we know that genes are causes of cancers.

  12. Jan and Ideal Observer–I reject notions of human equality because they seem philosophically incoherent. Not because equality isn’t “scientifically detectable”, not because I’m a “materialist” (since I’m either an immaterialist or dualist, and don’t care about scientific detectability). This is another straw man. Still, any kind of equality that matters _politically_ should have _some_ connection with human traits and capacities in this empirical world. Or is that another crazy extremist thing to say?

    Tell me what exactly this metaphysical equality is, and why we should believe in it. The fact that classical liberals believed in it is not a selling point for me; I’m not a liberal of any kind. Nor is the fact that supposedly Christianity entails this equality; even if I were a Christian I’d not accept that kind of argument for something like this. Is there any other argument? (A real question.)

    As for abortion–unclear how this is relevant but I think flat pro-life and flat pro-choice are both terrible positions. Early abortion is always a bad thing but sometimes permissible. Margaret Sanger had her good points in my view.

  13. It seems to me that the sort of invective thrown out at the alt right would lead to regarding virtually all of our European forebears as morally defective for holding to similar views. Take being alt right, plausibly, to mean holding to the following theses: (i) that race is real and that there are various races; (ii) that there are differences between the races in intelligence, temperament, personality, and so forth; (iii) that races have a right to be and continue to be a majority in their own country (or countries). It seems obvious to me that someone like, say, Charlemagne or Edward I of England would agree with all three theses. They didn’t have IQ tests or access to the impressive tools for empirical discovery we do now a thousand or so years ago. But our forebears did have ears, eyes and a brain and could see for themselves that race is not some “social construct” or anything of the sort but rather that it was real—no less real than sex—and that there were various races and that the races differed in intelligence and temperament and personality. In addition to this, they took it for granted that, say, the English would continue to be a (vast) majority in England for the foreseeable future (barring some horrible calamity like their being invaded by another tribe or race and being subjugated or killed off or being decimated by some natural calamity like a plague), or that the Franks would continue to be the majority in their own lands. This clearly wasn’t incompatible with Christianity as our European forebears were obviously Christian and flourished under it and yet did not see Christianity as entailing that they flood their lands with foreigners and become minorities in their own lands—even if the foreigners were Christian too. Indeed today we don’t see the problem with, say, the Japanese seeking to maintain Japan majority Japanese, or with the Tibetans seeking to maintain Tibet majority Tibetan. But should a European (or person of European descent) say something similar about wanting to maintain a majority in his own land(s), he is a horrible racist Nazi or KKK member, worthy of derision, ridicule and having his life destroyed. What explains this? Why is it ok for a Tibetan to say: “I want Tibet to remain being majority Tibetan for the rest of time and I do not want Tibetans to be made minorities in our own country” yet not ok for a Frenchman to say: “I want France to remain being majority French for the rest of time and I do not want Frenchmen to be made minorities in our own country”?

    • Charles,

      “Take being alt right, plausibly, to mean holding to the following theses: (i) that race is real and that there are various races; (ii) that there are differences between the races in intelligence, temperament, personality, and so forth; (iii) that races have a right to be and continue to be a majority in their own country (or countries).”

      I have no problems with (i) or (ii) depending on how they’re construed. One glaring problem with the ‘alt-right,’ if it is accurately described by this set of propositions (I don’t think it is), is that (iii) entails (a) that there are such things as groups (i.e. that there is at least one x such that x is ‘the white race’ (or whatever) and x has rights), (b) that there are such things as countries (i.e. that there is an x such that x is a country), and (c) that there are non-people and non-subjects–races–that have *moral* rights, all of which are, in my view, very dubious propositions indeed. (As an aside, aren’t you inclined to natural law theory? If so, how is it that a non-rational being like a race has moral rights?) A more plausible view is that race is a (biological) *property* of things, but not an independently existing thing (substance?) out there in the world (analogously: sex as such doesn’t exist, but some things have a sex; or there’s no such thing as the homo sapien species, but there are homo sapiens, etc.). So one can maintain that ‘race is real and there are various races’ = ‘There are x’s such that the x’s are human beings and have the property of being white (or black, etc.).’

      Interestingly, (iii) has implications with which many leftists would agree. If it were true, and races have rights, then it’d be true that races (non-people or subjects) can be wronged by having their rights violated. And if races have rights to be a majority in their own country, then they have rights not to be enslaved, subjugated, murdered in large numbers, etc. These are pretty serious rights for non-subjects to have! It isn’t terribly difficult to get to collective punishment of races from these propositions or, at least, reparations for oppressed groups. Are whites obliged to right the wrongs committed by their race? Has the white race an obligation to compensate the black race for violating its rights? Common sense morality would say so!

      “It seems obvious to me that someone like, say, Charlemagne or Edward I of England would agree with all three theses.”

      Do you have evidence that Charlemagne or Edward I or any pope or theologian that existed around that time believed that non-subjects and non-people have moral rights? This doesn’t at all seem obvious to me!

      ““I want Tibet to remain being majority Tibetan for the rest of time and I do not want Tibetans to be made minorities in our own country” yet not ok for a Frenchman to say: “I want France to remain being majority French for the rest of time and I do not want Frenchmen to be made minorities in our own country””

      This isn’t what you’re saying, though. Saying ‘I want France to remain being majority French’ isn’t the same as saying ‘I want America to remain being majority white.’ One way to keep America majority white is to import millions of, say, Russian whites, who obviously aren’t American. That would change the ethnic composition of America entirely (and its culture, which is what I think is worth preserving)! If France were to do that, it would remain white but also cease being French. ‘American’ isn’t *really* an ethnicity. Americans, white and non-white, are people of different ethnicities. One can *become* an American but one cannot *become* French (in the ethnic, non-civic sense). So America can remain American even if its ethnic composition changes drastically over time.

      And I’m not sure why you believe that the Tibetan and Japanese examples are supposed to help your argument. If a Tibetan were to report that he thinks Tibetans ought to remain a majority in Tibet, I’d ask him why he thinks so. The rationality of that belief depends, I think, on his reasons for having it. If his reasons involve racial prejudice or an irrational scepticism of other people or something like this, then his belief would be irrational. I don’t believe that racial hegemony is properly an end in itself because race isn’t a morally relevant property, no more relevant than most other biological properties. Still, it can be rational to want Tibet or France to remain majority Tibetan or French if one believes, for example, that this is the only way to preserve Tibetan or French culture (assuming that these cultures are worth preserving; some cultures palpably shouldn’t be preserved).

      This brings up the problem of assimilation. Suppose that France lets in a few ethnically English families and that these families assimilate into French culture completely. Over time, France’s population is composed mostly of people who are technically ethnically English, but the culture remains entirely the same. Did France stop being French? I don’t think so. Or, if it did, then I don’t believe that anything wrong happened. The alternative seems to me to be an arbitrary bias in favour of one’s own race.

      There are more problems with the view you’ve stated but I’ll stop here.

      • The alternative seems to me to be an arbitrary bias in favour of one’s own race.

        Is it an “arbitrary bias” to favor ones own children, ones own parents, ones own extended family, ones own community, ones own country? These are natural instincts, not far different than favoring ones own ethnic group.

      • No, it isn’t arbitrary to favour one’s own children, parents, family, community, and country, but I fail to see a parity.

      • “I have no problems with (i) or (ii) depending on how they’re construed. One glaring problem with the ‘alt-right,’ if it is accurately described by this set of propositions (I don’t think it is), is that (iii) entails (a) that there are such things as groups (i.e. that there is at least one x such that x is ‘the white race’ (or whatever) and x has rights), (b) that there are such things as countries (i.e. that there is an x such that x is a country), and (c) that there are non-people and non-subjects–races–that have *moral* rights, all of which are, in my view, very dubious propositions indeed. (As an aside, aren’t you inclined to natural law theory? If so, how is it that a non-rational being like a race has moral rights?)

        It doesn’t strike me as prima facie implausible to speak of groups existing (that countries exist or that races exist, etc.). Of course, if you have unrelated philosophical objections to the existence of such things, you will rule out the existence of groups of any sort and so rule out some of these theses out of hand. But—and I ask genuinely—did your belief that no such things as groups exist predate your animosity towards the alt right? Perhaps it did, perhaps it didn’t. I’m not well read on the philosophical literature regarding the existence of groups so on the finer philosophical details I simply remain open to amendment and suggestion of those who are more well-informed on the matter than I.

        “A more plausible view is that race is a (biological) *property* of things, but not an independently existing thing (substance?) out there in the world (analogously: sex as such doesn’t exist, but some things have a sex; or there’s no such thing as the homo sapien species, but there are homo sapiens, etc.). So one can maintain that ‘race is real and there are various races’ = ‘There are x’s such that the x’s are human beings and have the property of being white (or black, etc.).’”

        Sure. Seems plausible to me. I think that the average Joe knows what one speaks about when one speaks about race even if he hasn’t reflected on the finer ontological commitments this would involve, just as he has an idea about what is meant when one speaks of sex even if he hasn’t reflected on the finer ontological commitments this would involve. At any rate, I think one can make sense of what race is meant no matter his ontological commitments, even if one thinks that groups don’t exist.

        “Interestingly, (iii) has implications with which many leftists would agree. If it were true, and races have rights, then it’d be true that races (non-people or subjects) can be wronged by having their rights violated. And if races have rights to be a majority in their own country, then they have rights not to be enslaved, subjugated, murdered in large numbers, etc. These are pretty serious rights for non-subjects to have! It isn’t terribly difficult to get to collective punishment of races from these propositions or, at least, reparations for oppressed groups. Are whites obliged to right the wrongs committed by their race? Has the white race an obligation to compensate the black race for violating its rights? Common sense morality would say so!”

        Yes, this also doesn’t seem implausible to me. An objection one often hears to this sort of reasoning is that such a project would involve going back to history and examining every slight one race committed to another. But, so the argument continues, this would be absurd and so ought not be done. I leave it to you to consider whether this is a good objection. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. There’s also no reason to think that believing in such a thing would rule out the meting out of justice on an individual level, nor is there reason to think (at least as far as I can see) that individual crimes, say, a white man commits against blacks, need be added into the collective guilt calculus.

        But, perhaps more interestingly, it seems that God thought it perfectly fine to mete out collective punishment on a race (which may also imply that there God considers that there really are such things as races or nations or countries, etc.) Consider Deuteronomy 7: 1-6:

        “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

        And Deuteronomy 20: 16-18:

        “But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord, your God, is giving you as a heritage, you shall not leave a single soul alive. You must put them all under the ban—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—just as the Lord, your God, has commanded you, so that they do not teach you to do all the abominations that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord, your God.”

        (Maybe these can be given a non-ontologically-committing reading of the sort you seem to prefer. Maybe not. I leave it as an open question.)

        “Do you have evidence that Charlemagne or Edward I or any pope or theologian that existed around that time believed that non-subjects and non-people have moral rights? This doesn’t at all seem obvious to me!”

        Again, this can be read charitably in accordance with your ontological strictures. If there really are no groups and hence no races or countries or anything of the sort, then of course Charlemagne could not have mean that things that do not exist have moral rights. What people like Charlemagne clearly believed, however, was that races exist (Charlemagne fought Saracens, after all), that there are differences between them (Charlemagne evidently didn’t think Franks and Berbers were interchangeable), and that it is desirable for a race to maintain a majority in its lands (Charlemagne didn’t flood his country with non-Europeans, even non-European Christians, presumably).

        “This isn’t what you’re saying, though. Saying ‘I want France to remain being majority French’ isn’t the same as saying ‘I want America to remain being majority white.’ One way to keep America majority white is to import millions of, say, Russian whites, who obviously aren’t American. That would change the ethnic composition of America entirely (and its culture, which is what I think is worth preserving)! If France were to do that, it would remain white but also cease being French. ‘American’ isn’t *really* an ethnicity. Americans, white and non-white, are people of different ethnicities. One can *become* an American but one cannot *become* French (in the ethnic, non-civic sense).”

        Point taken. The United States of America was established by Dutch and English settlers. The first immigration policy they enacted allowed only “free white persons of good character.” Later immigration policies allowed for Europeans from places like Ireland and Italy to cross the pond in large numbers. There is plenty of other evidence that the founders and others closely associated with the founders (along with various presidents) took for granted that the United States was a country for Europeans and that its immigration policy would reflect such a thing (see: http://www.amren.com/interviews/2002/0715horowitz/taylor_reply.html). And it did, until 1965. And ever since then the white population has been steadily decreasing and non-white populations steadily increasing.

        “So America can remain American even if its ethnic composition changes drastically over time.”

        I deny that. America can continue to exist if its make up is predominantly European. This is why it has continued to exist despite the immigration of hundreds of thousands of non-British and non-Dutch Europeans: because they all were of the same race (white, European, whatever you’d like to call it). But to think that all Americans can be replaced with, e.g., Somalians and Iraqis, or Thais and Angolans, or Mexican and Saudis—even if this is done gradually coupled with an attempt to teach them “American culture”—is naive and fails to take into account the fact that cultures don’t simply fall out of the sky such that some races happen to get good cultures and that others happen to get lackluster ones. Rather, culture falls out of a biological substrate to the extent that a race’s genetics—and thus, to varying degrees, their intelligence, temperament, personalities, physical abilities, etc.—all contribute to the sort of culture that a race will create. (You cannot expect a constitutional republic with a robust legal framework to be established or to flourish under Australian Aboriginals (who, by some accounts, have some of the lowest average IQs in the world). I say this not, of course, as an insult to Australian Aboriginals but as a matter of fact).

        “And I’m not sure why you believe that the Tibetan and Japanese examples are supposed to help your argument. If a Tibetan were to report that he thinks Tibetans ought to remain a majority in Tibet, I’d ask him why he thinks so. The rationality of that belief depends, I think, on his reasons for having it. If his reasons involve racial prejudice or an irrational scepticism of other people or something like this, then his belief would be irrational. I don’t believe that racial hegemony is properly an end in itself because race isn’t a morally relevant property, no more relevant than most other biological properties. Still, it can be rational to want Tibet or France to remain majority Tibetan or French if one believes, for example, that this is the only way to preserve Tibetan or French culture (assuming that these cultures are worth preserving; some cultures palpably shouldn’t be preserved).”

        I echo a response already offered: “Is it an ‘arbitrary bias’ to favor ones own children, ones own parents, ones own extended family, ones own community, ones own country? These are natural instincts, not far different than favoring ones own ethnic group.” I point out here that non-immediately related whites are, after all, extended family to other whites, so there is nothing untoward about caring about one’s race first and foremost (note that this is compatible with caring about the well-being of other races, as I think we should. Also note that Caucasoids are also presumably distantly related to, say, Mongoloids or Negroids (not a “slur,” I hasten to add).)

        “This brings up the problem of assimilation. Suppose that France lets in a few ethnically English families and that these families assimilate into French culture completely. Over time, France’s population is composed mostly of people who are technically ethnically English, but the culture remains entirely the same. Did France stop being French? I don’t think so. Or, if it did, then I don’t believe that anything wrong happened. The alternative seems to me to be an arbitrary bias in favour of one’s own race.”

        I think it did stop being French to the extent that presumably the French are endowed with a unique genetic structure that contributes to French culture in unique ways that non-French Europeans are not endowed with and in your example this would no longer exist. Of course this scenario is complicated by the fact that the British and the French are of the same race and probably have very few genetic differences that contribute to different cultures. This would be, I would imagine, like asking if Ethiopia were to cease being Ethiopia if its population were to be replaced by some other genetically similar but distinct African population that nevertheless tried as best it could to preserve Ethiopian culture. I intuit that Ethiopia would cease to be Ethiopian, at least in a relevant sense.

      • Charles,

        “did your belief that no such things as groups exist predate your animosity towards the alt right? Perhaps it did, perhaps it didn’t.”

        Yes.

        And the main problem isn’t even the existence of groups, but the fact that your view implies that an inanimate object or non-moral agent has moral rights.

        “I deny that.”

        Well, you can’t rationally deny that since the American population has changed drastically in the past and it nevertheless continued to exist.

        “This is why it has continued to exist despite the immigration of hundreds of thousands of non-British and non-Dutch Europeans: because they all were of the same race (white, European, whatever you’d like to call it).”

        No, not because they were all of the same race. As I pointed out, if we were to let in 100 million Russians, America would cease being American because the culture would change even though the white population would increase substantially. The reason it remained America had to do with assimilation over time.

        “But to think that all Americans can be replaced with, e.g., Somalians and Iraqis, or Thais and Angolans, or Mexican and Saudis—even if this is done gradually coupled with an attempt to teach them “American culture”—is naive and fails to take into account the fact that cultures don’t simply fall out of the sky such that some races happen to get good cultures and that others happen to get lackluster ones.”

        You keep repeating alt-right talking points, such as that ‘culture doesn’t just fall out of the sky.’ Nobody believes that it does. Christianity didn’t come from whites; it came from Jews. Whites *adopted* that enormous cultural influence over time, gradually. Non-Christian white culture was largely barbaric in many parts of Europe (and even the Greeks and Romans were morally defective). So even barbaric races can gradually adopt good cultures and this doesn’t require them ‘falling out of the sky.’

        “Rather, culture falls out of a biological substrate to the extent that a race’s genetics—and thus, to varying degrees, their intelligence, temperament, personalities, physical abilities, etc.—all contribute to the sort of culture that a race will create. (You cannot expect a constitutional republic with a robust legal framework to be established or to flourish under Australian Aboriginals (who, by some accounts, have some of the lowest average IQs in the world). I say this not, of course, as an insult to Australian Aboriginals but as a matter of fact).”

        Uh…Britons didn’t ‘create’ the Christian culture they eventually adopted, so it’s hard to see how that culture flowed out of their genetic makeup. And Britons were primitive tribes just like those Australian Aboriginals you mentioned. As I wrote elsewhere, the Romans considered Britons to be among the dumbest tribes and lamented receiving Briton slaves for this reason.

        “I echo a response already offered”

        That isn’t a response to the argument you quoted. You responded to the last sentence of the paragraph you quoted and nothing else. Let me re-quote it for you:

        “And I’m not sure why you believe that the Tibetan and Japanese examples are supposed to help your argument. If a Tibetan were to report that he thinks Tibetans ought to remain a majority in Tibet, I’d ask him why he thinks so. The rationality of that belief depends, I think, on his reasons for having it. If his reasons involve racial prejudice or an irrational scepticism of other people or something like this, then his belief would be irrational. I don’t believe that racial hegemony is properly an end in itself because race isn’t a morally relevant property, no more relevant than most other biological properties. Still, it can be rational to want Tibet or France to remain majority Tibetan or French if one believes, for example, that this is the only way to preserve Tibetan or French culture (assuming that these cultures are worth preserving; some cultures palpably shouldn’t be preserved).”

        “I think it did stop being French to the extent that presumably the French are endowed with a unique genetic structure that contributes to French culture in unique ways that non-French Europeans are not endowed with and in your example this would no longer exist. Of course this scenario is complicated by the fact that the British and the French are of the same race and probably have very few genetic differences that contribute to different cultures. This would be, I would imagine, like asking if Ethiopia were to cease being Ethiopia if its population were to be replaced by some other genetically similar but distinct African population that nevertheless tried as best it could to preserve Ethiopian culture. I intuit that Ethiopia would cease to be Ethiopian, at least in a relevant sense.”

        Yes, it stopped being *ethnically* French, but why does that matter if the culture remains exactly the same (as the hypothetical requires you to believe)? You keep asserting that culture flows out of genes such that if one doesn’t have the relevant genes then one cannot adopt the relevant culture. This is manifestly false for reasons already mentioned. Obviously non-French can assimilate and adopt French culture over time. In fact, this is what has happened in France over the centuries (and also in Britain when the Huguenots were taken in…did they not assimilate and become British?). In the scenario I imagined, the ethnic composition gradually changes from ethnic French to ethnic English but the culture remains entirely French. Did something wrong take place? If so why? If not, then race isn’t a proper end in itself. What matters is the preservation of a good culture.

    • Hi Charles.
      You’re right. The alt right is basically just an argument for human normality. But in a society so sick that conservatives recoil in digust from the very idea that their own people have rights not to be invaded and robbed of their birthright, normality is considered crazy and radical. The fact that “alt right” is even a term shows how sick we are. I admire non-whites for so far resisting the white man’s sickness. If whites really can’t grasp this stuff we deserve everything we’re going to get.

      Interesting how far some will go to deny reality. Conservatrarian thinks it’s a reductio of your view that it implies “there are such things as groups”. Uh, yeah: there are such things as groups. There is such a thing as the white race. And he thinks it’s just obvious, at the same time, that all human beings are “equal”. And that this bizarre claim _was_ accepted throughout western history. But he’s really not sure whether Charlemagne would agree that whites have the right to be majorities in their own countries. This is what we’re up against.

      Conservatrarian,
      Charlemagne also would not have been much interested in your sophistical quibbling about the precise ontology of persons and subjects and “things”. As if we need to know that kind of garbage to know that we’re a people and other peoples have interests opposed to ours. In any case, the Muslims and blacks and others have no such concerns either. They’ll be happy to take your whole world while you fiddle with this half-baked philosophy.

      • Jacques, yes, I do believe that the fact that his view implies that there are such things as groups is a problem. It’s much simpler and more plausible to suppose that there are white people, but no white race. The latter is utterly bizarre if by it is meant the idea that there is an x such that x is the white race. What are races? Are they substances? Where do they exist? Nowhere? Are they immaterial? Spaceless? Abstracta? On my view, race is real in that it’s a biological *property* of *things.*

        “And he thinks it’s just obvious, at the same time, that all human beings are “equal”.”

        No, I don’t believe that it’s obvious that human beings are equal if by this is meant equal in their abilities, for example. I believe that human people are equal with respect to their (pro-tanto) moral rights, a belief that is the opposite of bizarre. I have never once asserted that this claim was accepted throughout western history. On the contrary, I believe that its very recent widespread acceptance is an instance moral progress! Charles himself, as a Catholic, believes the same. You also misrepresent my claim when you write ‘he’s really not sure whether Charlemagne would agree that whites have the right to be majorities in their own countries.’ I wrote that I don’t believe that he’d say that *the white race* has the right to be a majority in its own countries, because ‘the white race,’ if it exists at all, isn’t a moral subject. Your claim talks about *white people,* who can have rights.

        “As if we need to know that kind of garbage to know that we’re a people and other peoples have interests opposed to ours. In any case, the Muslims and blacks and others have no such concerns either. They’ll be happy to take your whole world while you fiddle with this half-baked philosophy”

        That’s a nice argument. I’m torn over which premise to deny!

  14. Urban,
    I think Conservatrarian meant to reply to your post as follows:

    “Your claim implies there are such ‘things’ as families and, if we study the formal semantics of English with special attention to modal quantification, we find that there are no such ‘things’. At most we can say that there is at least one x and y such that x and y share family-hood. But that’s not to say there are such ‘things’ in the strict and proper sense. Therefore, you shouldn’t care that a large family of smelly cannibalisitic gypsies (every single one of them mathematically equal in his/her/zer personal quantum of Cosmic Human Dignity to every other one, and to you, Ghandhi, and Ghostface Killa) has moved into your parents’ house and stolen your life savings that you meant to pass on to your kids. To care would mean you hate gypsies and babies and you don’t hate Margaret Sanger. Obviously!”

    • Nope. You can object to random people violating your rights without being committed to the idea that there are such things as families above and beyond biologically related people. Obviously. Where did you get your philosophy degree from? Haha…

  15. I don’t have a philosophy degree. I’m a gardener. Smarter than you though, Dr.C!

    You’re an educated fool. I frankly have no idea what it would mean to believe in “families” qua “things” as opposed to “merely” believing in “biologically related people”, and I don’t know why this distinction (if there is one) should matter to anyone.

    Your skepticism about races seems to be based on your weird questions about “where” they exist and what they’re made of–whether they’re “substances”. Where does God exist? Is truth a “substance”? How heavy is the wrongness of abortion? You believe in those things without having answers to those weird questions. You’re just saying whatever you can to complicate and obscure the obvious truth. Enjoy your fancy PhD.

    • Still no argument!

      The point was pretty clear. Let me state it again in English: One can object to people violating one’s property rights without believing that there are such things as families above and beyond related people that are supposed to compose them.

      I don’t have scepticism about race. I explained the sense in which I think it’s real: ‘race’ is a biological property of things. It’s as real as any other instantiated biological property. What I’m sceptical of is the ontologically promiscuous view that, in addition to white humans, there’s something else–the white race–that exists as an independent entity (or whatever). If such a thing exists, asking what kind of thing it is or what its existence consists in are perfectly legitimate questions. Is it a material thing? Probably not. So it’s an immaterial thing, then. Immaterial things are spaceless, presumably. So it’s an immaterial, spaceless, and non-personal thing. That sounds like an abstract object to me. If so, it can’t have rights and it’ll exist independently of whether there are any white people. What is it if it ain’t an abstract object? So many bizarre implications for this view! But I wouldn’t expect a simpleton like you to understand…

      “Where does God exist? Is truth a “substance”? How heavy is the wrongness of abortion? You believe in those things without having answers to those weird questions.”

      These are very easy to answer. 1. God doesn’t exist anywhere because he isn’t in space or time. 2. Truth isn’t a substance; it’s a property of propositions (which, I believe, exist as abstract objects). There’s no thing out there–truth–that exists as an independent entity. 3. Very.

  16. Thanks for clarifying all that. If I understand you, you’re saying that (a) the white race is real in some sense but not a “thing” in some sense, (b) whites may have rights but the white race does not. Okay fine. I think I disagree but who cares? How is any of this hair splitting a reason to doubt the claim that (c) in some sense the white race has the right to be a majority in its own lands? That was how this began.

    You have a good PhD and a famous supervisor (I’ll assume). Figure out a maximally charitable paraphrase of c that meets your dainty ontological standards. ( I can think of a few.) Then tell us why your sophisticated ontological views preclude the truth of c’s paraphrase. I think you can’t.

    Oh, by the way: if races are things (pardon my French :)) that can’t have interests or rights on your philosophy, too bad for your philosophy. After all, the white race has a right to self-determination.

    I notice you still haven’t offered any argument for your “progressive” belief in equal worth or dignity. Is it based on religion? Just a strong hunch? Careful dignity measurements of a few thousand humans and induction over the rest? Please explain so that even frog simpletons might catch the drift at least 🙂 Or is it all just way too complex for people like me?

    • Charles made a claim that implies p. I argued that p is false, which implies that his claim is false. So your implication that this is irrelevant is pretty implausible. If there’s a similar claim that isn’t susceptible to my objection, then he should state it. Right now, I think it’s false because it implies that non-moral beings have rights.

      “You have a good PhD and a famous supervisor (I’ll assume). Figure out a maximally charitable paraphrase of c that meets your dainty ontological standards.”

      I’m not going to do Chuck’s work for him not least because I’m interested in what *he* believes. He’ll have to state the paraphrase he thinks makes sense of his third claim.

      “Oh, by the way: if races are things (pardon my French :)) that can’t have interests or rights on your philosophy, too bad for your philosophy. After all, the white race has a right to self-determination.”

      No. White people have a right to self-determination. Non-conscious/inanimate beings haven’t any rights, and ‘the white race,’ if it exists at all, is a non-conscious/inanimate being.

      “Is it based on religion?”

      My belief that all people have the same intrinsic (pro-tanto) moral rights is entailed by my religion (to which Chuck also subscribes), but I’d believe it even if I were an atheist.

  17. Jacques and Charles, aside from the metaphysical irrelevancies, Conservatrarian raises an interesting issue concerning the value of race. His view implies that an America without white people would be fine as long as the culture is preserved. Suppose that this situation were possible. Suppose that through assimilation and political structures, traditional American culture could be preserved and passed on successfully to a completely non-white America over time while whites progressively diminished in the population. I’m not talking about the realistic possibility of this happening. I am interested in getting clear on the value structure of an alt-right position. So, what do you guys think about that scenario? Would it be bad? If so, why?

    • I’d take a majority black conservative population over a majority white leftist population any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    • In theory I think the preservation of our traditions and culture is what is important. I also think that tradition and culture is strongly correlated to particular ethnic groups. Does anyone think that mass French immigration into Japan would preserve Japanese culture? The French would bring their own culture and traditions with them. I agree with the alt-right here, but I do not take the position that it is impossible for non-whites to be good Americans. However, I am more skeptical of certain groups properly assimilating.

      • I am against mass immigration for exactly that reason. However, I don’t believe racial majority is properly an end in itself. At best, it ought only be a means to a good end (e.g. the preservation of a good culture).

      • I am against mass immigration for exactly that reason. However, I don’t believe racial majority is properly an end in itself. At best, it ought only be a means to a good end (e.g. the preservation of a good culture).

        I agree with you here.

  18. “Suppose that through assimilation and political structures, traditional American culture could be preserved and passed on successfully to a completely non-white America over time while whites progressively diminished in the population.”

    This scenario is much better than some things we can imagine, but I still think it’s worse than whites being the majority and sustaining their own culture themselves. I also think that a majority leftist white culture is better than a majority conservative black culture. Better for me, better for my friends and family. I just like white people. They’re my people. Even if they’re leftists, we connect and vibe together in a way that is very hard for me to find with blacks or most other non-whites. Most of my closest friends have always been liberal-leftist white people. I believe tens of thousands of years of shared ancestry make us deeply similar in all kinds of ways. I could offer some arguments but it’s tiring after a while. I think if you’re honest with yourself you’ll know what I mean.

    One thing that divides people like me from leftists and ‘conservatives’ is that I make this kind of value judgment partly in terms of what _I_ value, what’s good for me and my family and friends. I don’t think the only thing that matters here is “our culture” or “our values”. I care at least as much about whether the particular people in my bloodline will have good lives, whether they will have their own kids, and so on. I find it bizarre that so many right-wingers just don’t care about their own flesh-and-blood people–at least, when it comes to making ethical-political value judgments. Enoch Powell once said he’d fight for England even if it were a Communist country. That’s more my style. If you told me that in 1000 years there’d be humanoid robots doing all the stuff we humans used to do, I’d be very disappointed. Same with whites or Europeans or more specific white ethnicities. I want the French to exist, I want the Irish and the Galicians to exist, etc. And I want the non-white ethnicities and nations to be allowed to develop in their own ways too. If that’s what they want, at least. But I want them to leave us alone.

    Conservatrarian imagines a black majority society where 80% of the population is like Clarence Thomas. Even in a majority white there’s no way that any more than a tiny minority of people would be like that. A black majority society is going to have a tone and texture completely alien and repellent to any intelligent white conservative. A group with an average IQ in the range of 80-85 just does not produce enough highly intelligent people to sustain the kind of civilization that whites have created. Name one majority black society in the history of the world where you’d want to spend the rest of your life. More to the point: name one of those that you think is better than Sweden or Norway or Scotland or some other very left-wing white country. And IQ is just one important difference, I should emphasize. There are lots of others–testosterone levels, time preference and foresight, reproductive styles, family patterns, on and on.

    But if it were possible to have a black majority society where 80% of the population were like Thomas, that might be a pretty nice society! I’d still prefer to live in a more leftist white majority society. I think the behavior of almost all whites shows that deep down they too would prefer that, whatever they may consciously believe about the unimportance of race. I’m curious to hear more about why this kind of preference is supposed to be “arbitrary”. Is it because humans should make all value judgments or political judgments from a standpoint transcending all particular attachments and identities? And if so, is it also wrong for me to care more about what’s good for humans as opposed to trees or Alpha Centaurians?

    • Jacques, many of the things you say speak to the point that racial homogeneity is important for people’s well-being. Although academic researchers won’t touch this (hugely important) topic with a ten-foot pole, the one big study conducted on it, by Robert Putnam, discovered (unsurprisingly) that diversity caused all kinds of social problems. (Putnam apparently sat on this research for years, presumably because it conflicted with the leftist narrative.) The idea that diversity is good for us is a candidate for being the most pernicious, evil falsity in western civilization. Homogeneity is a basic, essential condition for human flourishing. The right-wing must accept and vigorously defend this idea if we are ever going to beat the left and establish a healthy culture again.

      I think that is an importance piece of the argument for why the west should stay white, but I don’t think it’s sufficient. Because any race in America could make an argument on the same grounds that _they_ should be the demographically dominant race. It seems to me that what’s required is an argument that shows that whites specifically have a superior claim to realize the important goods of a racially homogeneous America over other racial groups.

      I wonder what you think of this argument: whites have a superior claim to the good of a racially homogeneous America because they are the descendants and preferred inheritors of those who did the most to establish and maintain the country and the culture. Most of the whites in America have family lines stretching back for generations. These people have fought the wars, paid the taxes that built the infrastructure and schools, built and run the businesses that propelled the economy, etc. They didn’t do all that so that their descendants would become strangers in their own lands and eventually be replaced. American whites rightfully inherit America more than Indians or Chinese or Iranians or Mexicans that want to come here or came over a few decades ago. Only one group can obtain the good of racial homogeneity. American whites have the strongest claim to that condition.

      (Of course there are non-whites with family lines stretching back in America or who have made significant contributions, American blacks being a noteworthy group here. These people should obviously be accommodated into the American culture in a reasonable way.)

      • I completely agree with that argument. Nothing to add. And I _love_ the oost on Trump, obviously. Killer, straight to the only things that matter, best thing I’ve seen on the issue.

  19. Conservatrarian writes:

    “My belief that all people have the same intrinsic (pro-tanto) moral rights is entailed by my religion (to which Chuck also subscribes), but I’d believe it even if I were an atheist.”

    Alternatively, he’s said he believes that all human beings have the same (basic?) rights. So what exactly is this belief in equality and what could justify it?

    He allows that people are not equal in their “abilities”, as any sane person must. I assume he’d also allow that they are not all equal, or even roughly similar, with respect to any empirically detectable property that might conceivably be taken to generate rights or subvene relative to the “intrinsic value” of a human being. Obviously they aren’t equally moral or inclined to try to be moral. They aren’t equally wise or intelligent or creative. They aren’t equally virtuous or noble or independent or autonomous. Etc. Still they have equal “intrinsic value”.

    I find this _extremely_ puzzling. The intrinsic value of my cat is somehow related to certain properties of my cat that I can notice and reasonably take to be valuable. She is sentient, she has feelings and preferences, she can flourish more or less, she has relationships with other beings. Without trying to be too precise about all of this, it’s clear enough how a reasonable person could regard these properties as bases for various kinds of value or dignity or moral significance. These are facts about her that we reasonably take to distinguish her, and her value or status, from a pebble or a shoe, its value or status. And if these properties are “instrinsic” to her, in some sense or under some description, her intrinsic value supervenes (or something) on these properties.

    In the case of the supposedly _equal_ intrinsic value of all human beings, though, it seems that no one is willing to point to _anything_ about each one of those beings that somehow generates or subvenes relative to this specific kind or degree of “intrinsic value”. Not their character, not their smarts, not their behavior, not this and not that–nothing at all about them is allowed to serve as any kind of basis for such value. And yet we’re all supposed to accept that they just do have it, regardless, and they have it _equally_ even though we have no idea what it is that we could be measuring or comparing here.

    We’re supposed to accept that all humans have it but no pebble or tree or virus, even though no one will say what it is precisely that distinguishes _all_ human beings (or all normal human adults, or whatever) from these other kinds of things. For if the distinguishing subvening trait were rationality, for example, it would be mysterious why humans manifestly more rational than some others don’t have a higher intrinsic value than the others. And if this trait were instead some specific degree of rationality such that any differences over that degree make no difference to the degree of intrinsic value, it would be very hard to explain why it is that _rationality_ is irrelevant to this degree or kind of value while some seemingly arbitrary _degree_ of rationality is necessary and sufficient for it. (Repeat this dilemma for any conceivably relevant property P.) Is the idea that we just intuit the brute fact that some kind of “intrinsic value” attaches to human beings, and the further brute fact that every one of them has just the same degree of value as any other? I ask in all seriousness: Is that really what we’re supposed to do? Because I myself just don’t have any intuition to that effect. I really have no idea what people are talking about.

    Conservatrarian says his own belief in equality is based on his religion. But he also admits that virtually no one in the past, including the smartest and best informed members of his own religion, shared this belief. And as far as I know Christ never said anything about this. Nor did any of the prophets in the Old Testament. It’s a recent thing, he says, an example of “progress”. So we should infer that all the greatest Christian philosophers and theologians and saints in the past just failed to understand that Christianity has this implication? Or, if there was “progress”, does that mean that his religion made progress–that Christianity didn’t used to have this implication but it’s gotten better in the last little while, and now it does? In that case what was it that Christians discovered?

    He says he’d believe in equality even if he was an atheist. Well, okay, let’s hear some kind of argument that an atheist could accept. I suspect that the _only_ plausible basis for this belief is theological. You have to believe that we’re all equal in being God’s children, or something like that; we can imagine how that fact about us would make us equally intrinsically valuable in a very important way despite all the manifest empirical inequalities. But if you _don’t_ believe anything of that kind, what possible reason could there be for believing we all have precisely equal intrinsic value? It seems that most of the very smartest and most reflective atheists have doubted or denied that kind of equality. What were they missing?

    These are serious questions, it seems to me. Our society is based on the idea of equality. Almost everything we do is measured against this (strange) principle. I hope Conservatrarian or other egalitarians are willing to take up the challenge.

    • @Jacques – the concept of the Imago Dei is accepted by Christians based on the explicit teaching of Scripture (the Old and New Testaments) and consequently human value and dignity is inferred.

      On Christianity the problem isn’t in figuring out which humans are “good”, or “better”, or “best”, because everyone equally deserves eternal condemnation for the crime of cosmic treason.

      So on Christianity your question is malformed because everyone is equally guilty and damnable.

      That’s sort of where things start.

    • Alt righters tend to be very skeptical of egalitarianism and I share that skepticism (I would also consider myself alt right, if I do in fact have a grasp of what the alt right is). I do, however, subscribe to what we may call an Equal Dignity view of the sort Conservatarian describes. A plausible grounding for such a view would be in holding to essentialism about human nature, I suspect, though this of course would have to be fleshed out and argued for.

  20. Jacques you said “But if you _don’t_ believe anything of that kind, what possible reason could there be for believing we all have precisely equal intrinsic value? It seems that most of the very smartest and most reflective atheists have doubted or denied that kind of equality.”

    Well, Kant was pretty smart, and wasn’t exactly an atheist, but his argument does not require theological premises, namely that human beings through their reasoning transcend the natural world of causality and become autonomous beings who can freely make choices about their goals and such. You might have to add the potential for autonomy to include small children. Of course for Kant autonomy was either/or with no gradations, and that could be questioned. But you could argue for the purposes of a broad constitutional framework for a society, it is just not practical or desirable to try to make distinctions between degrees of autonomy people might have. Having some autonomy is close enough to treat people equally at least in applying basic rules and punishments (like not allowing Hillary Clinton to get away with crimes you punish other people for).

    Or Locke said people are equal in the state of nature because, no matter how big or smart some guy is, two or three other guys could get together and kick his ass without much problem. Our empirical properties are different but not by that much, so let’s say everyone is just equal – (we can all vote, be fairly judged in courts etc.] If the universe were inhabited by humans, X – men style mutants, super- heros demigods and Zeus, it would be a different story. And of course Locke thought we had inalienable rights, but you would be skeptical about such rights I suppose, because they are not empirical.

    So there are lots of different approaches, and they all have issues, but if you presented us with your meta-ethical theory, I know I could find issues with it, too. You sound like a naturalist, or perhaps some brand of rational egoist. But then again I have heard you say the U.S. has a moral right to maintain it’s sovereignty and homogeneity and keep other destructive groups out. Why does it have that right? Self preservation? Why should it be preserved? Can you reduce your use of “right” here to an empirical property? – and thereby commit the naturalistic fallacy? – or are you just “intuiting” it?

    • Hi NC–Before getting into this more seriously, a few small points. Universal basic rights arr consistent with varying intrinsic value. There might be practical reasons, as you say, or everyone might have enough value for some list of basic rights. But why insist that no minority has more worth and extra rights?

      I’m an anti-naturalist and not an egoist either. I think intrinsic value attaches to persons or souls, but maybe these are radically different, at least at a given time–e.g., in a reincarnational karmic scheme.

  21. Jacques, I would not argue that all groups necessarily have the same rights or the same value -your Objiways are good counter-examples to that!

    But you were making a big deal about the problem for egalitarians of the notion of value not being ultimately grounded in empirical properties, but the same problem applies to the notion of rights which you seem to believe in given your last remarks.

    Rights and equality are obviously huge philosophical issues. Just a couple observations. You are arguing against the notion of people having the same intrinsic value or the “same degree of value,” and that that’s a problem for egalitarianism (a principle important in the founding of this country, etc.).

    But a theory of equality could be based on the notion of rights (and not value) and you seem to think people have rights. Everyone is equal in a minimal though important sense that they have certain fundamental rights. This would take some work to develop, but it seems like a reasonable approach – Even Objiways, as human beings, for example, have a right not to be tortured for fun, or arbitrarily arrested, or tried and punished unfairly, etc. So we all are equally intrinsically valuable in the sense that we have basic rights that need to be respected, but many of us are more and less valuable in our contributions to society – I think this is the sense of equality the founders were expressing.

    You might be criticizing a more robust definition of egalitarianism that says people are equally valuable in every sense, but I doubt anyone in this blog holds that crazy view.

  22. NC,
    A few more quick comments.

    (1) True, my view of intrinsic value (of human persons) does appeal to properties that are a bit mysterious, but they’re not (in my view) empirically undetectable. I think we perceive (directly) the personal qualities of other persons or souls, such as, for example, consciousness and self-consciousness and rationality. We also perceive that some persons have these relevant properties to a far greater degree than others. Hence the problem of explaining what empirical basis there could be for saying they all have equal intrinsic value. Seems to me that Gandhi has far more of the relevant kind of value than some people (me included, I guess). What makes them equals then? We could stipulate that any differences over some low threshold are irrelevant–some very low threshold, if equal value is the desired conclusion. But that seems ad hoc. We’re saying then that it’s not the properties that we intuitively take to be valuable that confer value, but rather some threshold property defined in terms of those. Even if everyone really does meet the threshold, what motivation is there for tying intrinsic value to that threshold property other than a wish for equal value?

    (2) My view may be more radical than you seem to be assuming. I agree that almost everyone has certain rights, and presumably then everyone has whatever kind of worth or status or value is necessary for having those. But what are the basic universal rights? Does every typical human adult citizen have the right to vote, for example? Does anyone have the right to vote? I’m not sure. Presumably basic rights include a right not to be arbitrarily arrested or tortured for fun. But if we’re supposed to be considering some notion of equality that supports anything like the liberal democratic system of equal ‘basic’ rights I’m skeptical that there is any reasonable notion that can do the job. So maybe any definition of egalitarianism is too “robust” to withstand rational skepticism. People may not hold the crazy view that humans are equally valuable “in every sense” but lots seem to think they’re equally valuable in _many_ respects that have no rational basis, as far as I can tell. For example I doubt that all or even most typical human adults are autonomous in any interesting or strong sense needed for familiar philosophical theories about the basis of rights and duties.

  23. Jacques, you said “We could stipulate that any differences over some low threshold are irrelevant–some very low threshold, if equal value is the desired conclusion. But that seems ad hoc. We’re saying then that it’s not the properties that we intuitively take to be valuable that confer value, but rather some threshold property defined in terms of those. Even if everyone really does meet the threshold, what motivation is there for tying intrinsic value to that threshold property other than a wish for equal value?”

    Take your properties of rationality, consciousness, and self consciousness. Certainly moral and legal decisions depend on making judgments about how to treat people on both sides of some threshold of these. Insane people, or young children, or people on life support can lack these properties to varying degrees and at some point a decision needs to be made about taking control of their lives after they cross the rights- losing threshold. I don’t see drawing such lines to be ad hoc. They are to some degree arbitrary as drawing lines on any continuum are, but the lines have some rationale. The line we draw for adulthood is a little arbitrary, but it is based on some rational judgment about human development etc. the threshold is not created just because we want to make people “equal”. The motivation for drawing such lines seems to be merely that we have to, to make laws and enforce them. And just because you have to draw lines on levels of rationality etc., does not mean what you are drawing lines around is not itself intrinsically valuable.

    Of course many adults act like children, and some young people act like adults, but how can a government track those differences and match degrees of rights to the particular levels of rationality and consciousness in every single individual? Much of your writing is about defending generalizations about groups and judging and treating people accordingly. So what’s wrong with demarcating a reasonable norm of rationality and consciousness, and saying people within this norm have basically the same rights or value (though acknowledging that any generalizations have exceptions.) If nothing else, the egalitarian basis liberal democracies seems very practical.

  24. Jacques in your second point you said, “People may not hold the crazy view that humans are equally valuable “in every sense” but lots seem to think they’re equally valuable in _many_ respects that have no rational basis, as far as I can tell.”

    I don’t know who you are referring to or what rights they think people have that you disagree with. Classical liberalism has a pretty minimalist conception of rights – negative rights – life, liberty, property – the Lockean triad and all that jazz. It does not seem like people within a reasonable norm of rationality, autonomy and consciousness should have the respect of those rights somehow adjusted to their particular IQ levels or whatever other differences they may have. They should have those respected pretty much equally, (there are exceptions). If you say most liberal democracies are now advocating a notion of rights that includes education, healthcare, shelter etc., then I would be very skeptical too.

  25. NC,
    Your point about legal decisions seems to count in favor of my skepticism rather than some kind of egalitarianism. Where there are non-ad-hoc reasons for distinguishing between people with respect to rationality and so on, we also have good reasons to assign very different kinds of rights. But then surely it’s also going to be reasonable to assign different degrees of worth or status associated with these different sets of rights.

    Now if the relevant kind of ‘intrinsic value’ or status is never affected by these kinds of distinctions, I think it’s turned out to be based on something other than rationality or whatever such traits we’re measuring and valuing in these legal decisions. (And I think that’s about right, actually. I don’t think the relevant kind of intrinsic human value depends on being able to look after yourself–for example, young children might well have more value of that kind than many adults.) So what is the empirical basis for this kind of value or status, in that case? Something else, I guess, but I don’t know what.

    In your last paragraph you’re saying that we could have practical reasons for assigning certain basic rights to pretty much everyone. I don’t have a problem with that in principle, but I don’t know why this would be a reason to think that (a) these basic rights are the ones assigned in liberal democracies or (b) all human beings actually have some kind of equal intrinsic moral status.

    About (a): Liberal democratic rights as presently understood seem pretty _impractical_ and weird to me. I can’t imagine any reason why stupid uninformed people should be given any kind of political power. I don’t even really understand why women are supposed to have voting rights. (And I think that’s probably been a net negative for western societies.) Voting seems very often to be really bad unless the franchise is restricted to a tiny elite. (In practice our “liberal democracies” deal with the problem by extending the franchise as widely as possible while ensuring that ordinary people have no real choice about anything important when they get to vote once in a while. The tiny elite decides what the issues are, what the possible opinions and policies are, etc.)

    About (b): If the only reason for saying people are ‘equals’ is that we have some practical reason for treating them that way, that seems like a bad reason. We could have a practical reason for treating corporations as if they were ‘persons’ in some legal contexts but that’s a bad reason for thinking they really are persons.

    I like your point about generalizations, but I’m not sure it’s right. Again, I just don’t know why I should believe that all of us or even most of us really do have equal worth. (And if they might not, why is it practical to treat them as if they did?) So one difference between this kind of generalization and the others I’ve been defending is that the others are true but this one might not be.

  26. Jacques, regarding your first paragraph, my examples of legal decisions were in response to your claim that drawing threshold boundaries around intrinsic values or rights conferring characteristics is ad hoc. The fact that you have to draw lines (theshold of rationality, say) does not make the lines ad hoc in the sense that they have no rationale), and does not make what you are drawing lines around (rationality, say) lose intrinsic value.

    In your second paragraph, you say “Now if the relevant kind of ‘intrinsic value’ or status is never affected by these kinds of distinctions, I think it’s turned out to be based on something other than rationality .” I don’t know what you mean by “is never affected.” Drawing a line between insanity and sanity say, for legal reasons, certainly affects the person, but it does not affect the intrinsic value of sanity.

    In your third paragraph you said “you’re saying that we could have practical reasons for assigning certain basic rights to pretty much everyone.” Not quite. I said we have practical reasons to create thresholds or draw lines around rights conferring properties, and stick to that threshold in enforcing laws etc. So, for example, governments or their agents should not be able to take the liberty away from people over a reasonably established threshold of sanity and rationality without any good reason. That is a default right that I would regard as a priori and should equally apply to everybody. I am not justifying the right itself pragmatically.

    Sorry I just don’t agree with the point in your fourth paragraph that the tiny elite decide what the policies are. I guess you think that is a bad thing, which is odd because two sentences before that you say “Voting seems very often to be really bad unless the franchise is restricted to a tiny elite.” So if the decisions of the tiny elite are better than democracy, then shouldn’t you be okay with the present system? Or maybe you just think democracy is redundant or something, but of course what is the best system is a comparative issue, and I would have to hear what your preferred political system would be.

    Your last point of disagreement is about me justifying liberal democratic notions of value or equality pragmatically. But that is not really my view (though I think there might be good utilitarian arguments for this too). I believe beings who have rationality or potential for rationality over a certain reasonably drawn threshold, have equal default negative rights (life, liberty, property, etc.) Respecting those default equal rights, I think society and laws could make further adjustments by tracking degrees of rationality or whatever of individuals or groups and assigning other “rights” or privileges commensurate with their rationality, but that would be highly impractical (like assessing each individual kid no matter how young about whether he can have a license for driving). Better to simply draw a line and treat them all equally.

  27. I don’t object to elitism (because I think it’s necessarily true that any human society is elitist). Maybe I could put the idea differently. Cats have some basic rights and are equal to me and you in that respect. It seems to follow that they are our moral equals in some sense. I accept that kind of equality. When we say all humans are equal, are we merely saying something like that–i.e., all have _some_ kind of moral worth or value or standing? If so this equality seems to give no support to any of the policies and political principles taken to be justified by human equality. If not, what more are we saying?

    • Yes, both cats and humans are equal in the respect of having nervous systems that can feel pain, So both should not be unnecessarily harmed, say. But humans have reason, self consciousness, etc, so their sphere of rights expand to include, not being caged, up for example, as pets, or owned as slaves. I really don’t see a problem here. Your only objection to this idea is that humans have varying degrees of reason, etc. But so what? That does not mean it is irrational for a legal or political system to demarcate thresholds and grant equal rights to people within that threshold. It seems like you are battling a straw man, or some notion of equal value that some dumb liberals have, but this article was on alt-right vs more traditional conservatism. Locke and other theorists of classical liberal egalitarianism never use the language of universal intrinsic moral value. Locke grants that people in the state of nature are unequal, but for purposes of making laws and doing politics they are equal enough and should be treated equally in how laws apply. I think it is sort of funny how much you value the contributions of white Europeans, when one of their distinctive contributions to the world is the Enlightenment and classical liberalism. I don’t know what political system you would rather have. Some kind of feudal racial caste system?

      • Here is a way to better explain my skepticism (maybe). We agree that cats and humans are equals in some respect, but also unequal given all the important differences. As you point out, cats are not rational, or not in the same way or to the same degree, etc. So in other words we agree that cats and humans have equal ‘intrinsic value’ or status in some sense–relative to certain contexts or interests or whatnot–but unequal ‘intrinsic value’ or status in another sense. Why insist they’re equals then rather than unequals? Why make any general claim like that, which would be either false or arbitrary? Well, we don’t do that with cats in comparison with humans. But with humans in comparison with other humans we do. And yet there are roughly the same kinds of differences between humans as we find between them and other species. Sure, they may not be quite so pronounced in some respects but relatively fine differences here can have enormous implications. So we have no real reason (I think) for saying humans are all equal rather than unequal. The rational position might be to just make no general claims of that kind about humans. I certainly can’t imagine what the point would be. (Again, we can do all the relevant legal or political work without having any opinion about ‘intrinsic value’ or ‘metaphysical’ equal status or whatever. Just as we can reason about animals and their interests without worrying whether all cats are equal in fundamental moral status or whatever, or equal to dogs or dolphins in general.)

        It’s true Locke never used terms like ‘intrinsic value’. It could be that his real view is much more like mine than modern-day squishy liberals who want to claim his imprimatur would like to think. Maybe Locke really has no theory of moral equality at all but just some ideas about how to run a nice kind of society in a practical way recognizing that most humans of a certain kind have lots in common–and remember he defended racial slavery, so for him the relevant humans were mentally normal white Christian men, basically.

        On the other hand Locke did appeal to God in explaining what makes us equals in some sense: there’s an Author of Nature and we’re all his property, but he’s given some of us the right to be our own over-seers, in effect. That makes us equal in some very important ways even if we wouldn’t have any interesting kind of equal status without God. As I said earlier I think theism helps to explain and justify the notion of human moral equality. But I’m puzzled as to how non-theists can think that this notion is both non-trivial and plausible. Maybe I haven’t succeeded in explaining my skepticism here. Could be I’m just doing a straw man or I don’t get it. Alternatively it could be that human moral equality is one of those modern idols that we find it very hard to seriously question just because it’s so thoroughly woven into all our ideas and arguments–and that could be true even if it’s actually a really weird, baseless idea.

  28. PS–Just to clarify, when I said that legal decisions regarding mental competence seem ad hoc I didn’t mean ad hoc wrt legal decisions or mental competence or whatnot; I just meant ad hoc wrt judgments of intrinsic value, equal moral worth, etc.

    • This seems odd: “And yet there are roughly the same kinds of differences between humans as we find between them and other species. Sure, they may not be quite so pronounced in some respects but relatively fine differences here can have enormous implications.”

      Your first sentence seems obviously false, unless you are comparing an adult chimp or something with an infant, but two typical humans have fewer differences than a human and a chimp. Yes fine differences between humans can have enormous implications, but large differences between humans and other primates have even more enormous differences, enough to treat them very differently from humans. So on the contrary, I think a secularist could make a decent egalitarian argument that humans are equal in the respect that they belong to the same species (despite fine differences). I notice a couple times you have appealed to the principle of charity in assessing your arguments, once even in this “thread” I believe, so why can’t you grant some charity to the egalitarian’s argument that being a human grants you special moral status different from other animals and in that respect humans are equals?

      On a broader note I was curious how you reconcile a tension in your thinking (or the alt-right’s generally). You have waxed eloquently in other comments about the glories and superior achievements of white European culture, and I largely agree with you. But one of the greatest achievements is classical liberalism which is largely based on Christian doctrines (we are all created equal) and classical ideals of Athenian democracy and other Greek thought (Plato was the first “feminist.”). I don’t think it was an accident that classical liberalism, the Enlightenment, and modern science arose at the same time. Lots of historians of ideas, like Isaiah Berlin, make some pretty convincing arguments that the development of the new science, industrialization and growing democratic political systems are inextricably woven together – that more egalitarian political systems unleashed the creative forces pent up in authoritarian, feudal, birthright systems.

      On the other hand the Alt- right as I understand it seems to advocate irrational or at least non-rational tribal loyalties, and rejects classical liberal notions of human equality and dignity and cosmopolitanism. The obvious question then is what do you find so special about white European culture? Just the fact that it produced rockets to the moon, personal computers and nuclear weapons?

      And what if we destroy the planet with our clever inventions? Would the lowly Australian Aboriginal in his mud hut have a wisdom that we ignored in our destructive hubris?

      • “Yes fine differences between humans can have enormous implications, but large differences between humans and other primates have even more enormous differences, enough to treat them very differently from humans.”

        Okay. But take some interesting property like Rawls’s ‘moral personality’. Something like the capacity to form a conception of the good and a sense of justice. Aren’t there some very deep differences in that respect between Gandhi or Nietzsche, for example, and some moral mediocrity with an IQ of 80? I don’t know how exactly to compare that kind of difference to the difference between the latter human and a particularly bright and compassionate chimp, but it seems to me that _if_ that chimp-human difference permits different treatment or status that kind of human-human difference might also.

        Sure, all humans are human. Same species. Is this morally relevant? I agree with Singer that it has no intrinsic moral significance. If shared human-ness has moral significance that’s because it entails or very strongly correlates with some other properties that are intrinsically morally significant, such as rationality or moral personality or something along those lines. But then I think we’re back to the kinds of problems I’ve been describing. There seems to be a question of burden of proof here. I’m saying “I see no particular reason for saying that humans are basically equal, or that they’re basically unequal. I don’t even really know what we’re talking about here.” And you’re saying that equality might well be based on this or that, e.g., shared human-ness. Okay, but do you have any reason to think it really _is_ based on anything of that kind? Or that such equality even exists in any non-trivial sense–so that it would make sense to say that we’re equal rather than unequal or rather than equal-in-some-respects-and-unequal-in-others? Because from my point of view it seems the burden of proof lies with those who believe in this unobvious notion with no well defined basis in human properties.

        “why can’t you grant some charity to the egalitarian’s argument that being a human grants you special moral status different from other animals and in that respect humans are equals?”

        Tell me how to be charitable. Is the egalitarian just saying that, on the whole, humans tend to share certain important qualities that confer special rights that other beings don’t usually have? If that’s all it means to say we’re “equal” in our “worth” or “dignity” or “intrinsic value” then sure, I agree. But this true claim is compatible with the following: Some humans have some or all of the relevant qualities to far higher degrees than others, and so those superior people have a higher “worth” or “dignity” or “intrinsic value” and are more than “equal” to some others. Just as a population can be equal with respect to the property of being at-least-4-feet-tall and unequal with respect to the property of being at-least-6-feet-tall. So it’s no more fundamental or important that we’re “equal” in this sense than that we’re not “equal”. But I think the egalitarian would reject this line of thought.

        “But one of the greatest achievements is classical liberalism which is largely based on Christian doctrines (we are all created equal) and classical ideals of Athenian democracy and other Greek thought (Plato was the first “feminist.”).”

        This is a very long story but I don’t think this was one of our greatest achievements. And, as I noted earlier, I think Christian theistic equality is reasonable (given Christianity) but I don’t see how it can be rationally sustained by atheists or agnostics. And I don’t think traditional Christianity entails any kind of equality with respect to treatment or social-political status or anything else that egalitarians nowadays care about. I’m not sure what to say about the Enlightenment and liberalism and so on. But I’m tempted by the thought that all of this was actually a terrible degeneration of European culture. I think most of the worst things about the modern world can be traced to the terrible ideas of these overly “rational” and individualistic and “philosophical” trends in the west. We project our own weird ideas and ideologies on to the past. Athenian democracy may have been great, but why? It involved not only some things sort of like the sick mass democracy we now fetishize–e.g., voting and some notion of ‘self-government’–but also a highly limited (racist, xenophobic, sexist) franchise. Maybe the limits on democracy and freedom were just as important or more important in making Athens great. Christianity until very recently involved certain egalitarian and universalist themes but also all kinds of hierarchy, tribalism, etc. Maybe the latter was just as valuable or more so. Maybe the ideal is a society where these very different themes and aspects of human nature are all recognized and we wisely judge how to balance them. Instead of our modern ideological fixations–e.g., if it was good for propertied white men to vote, then women should vote and people who are unemployed and just want to take what others produce, and foreigners and felons, etc.

        Again, a long story! We probably see things so differently it would be hard to even figure out how to argue about it. But I don’t buy the Isaiah Berlin-type account of the west. I see a worrying correlation between the spread of Enlightenment and classical liberal ideals and the world wars, genocide and dictatorship and ideological insanity, ignorance and propaganda, extreme cultural decline, sexual perversion and degeneracy and sub-replacement fertility, mental illness and suicidal ideation on a mass scale treated as moral and sane, etc. I think we’ve been _far_ more cruel, authoritarian, insane and violent since we discovered all these supposedly rational and moral ideas.

        “On the other hand the Alt- right as I understand it seems to advocate irrational or at least non-rational tribal loyalties, and rejects classical liberal notions of human equality and dignity and cosmopolitanism. The obvious question then is what do you find so special about white European culture? Just the fact that it produced rockets to the moon, personal computers and nuclear weapons?”

        There are so many things to love about it. One thing is just that it’s mine. (Is that irrational?) But also I love the beauty of centuries of European art and architecture, poetry and philosophy. On a more personal note, I just feel more at home in a European city than I can feel in China or India. There are lots of things to love. Even classical liberalism and all of that are _achievements_ of some kind and I can find things to like even when I disagree. And, sure, rockets to the moon is also impressive. Then there are nukes and pollution and so on. Well, I’m not saying that everything Euros did was good, or even that European cultures are all better in some objective sense than any others. But I do have “tribalistic” loyalties here as well. Euros are my people. Europe and its offshoots are the creations of my family, my ancestors. Why is it “irrational” for me to have a deep special attachment to these things? I know other people have similar feelings about their own groups and cultures and nations, and I think that’s just fine and normal. I have them too. Just a regular guy 🙂

        “Would the lowly Australian Aboriginal in his mud hut have a wisdom that we ignored in our destructive hubris?”

        I think that’s entirely possible and even likely. Probably lots of low-IQ backwards peoples are far wiser and deeper in many ways than the typical modern white liberal. (For example many would rightly and instinctively reject all our ideological garbage. They’re not smart enough to be that stupid.) There’s a lot more to life than IQ or technology. Since I’m (at least) very sympathetic to ideas of transcendence and mysticism and theism, I’d be not surprised at all if some of these people or groups are in touch with fundamental values and forces we can no longer access. But that doesn’t mean I want them coming to the west in millions and taking over the nations and cultures and achievements of my ancestors. Those are for me and my children and grandchildren and others with whom I can form a real organic community.

  29. Regarding the distinction in your PS, legal decisions about where to draw lines are based on moral and empirical judgments, like for example when to regard someone as mentally incompetent and take away some of their rights. The aren’t just drawn out of thin air. They have a basis in moral and empirical reality. And again, this idea that everyone has equal moral worth across the board seems like a straw man, or perhaps it is more a Christian thing.

  30. Right–based on empirical facts about (e.g.) differing levels of competence, so yielding all kinds of fone grained legal inequalities. Why think any interesting kind of metaphysical or empirical equality (rather than inequality) is indicated by such legal reasoning?

    • I guess you want me to give you an interesting metaphysical non theistic argument that there is some crystal pure soul in our pineal gland that makes us all equal. Well good luck if you find it! I don’t know what serious thinker says this.

      • Really _any_ account of some empirical property that confers non-trivial equal status would work here. Is it so silly to ask for something along those lines? I don’t think so. Isn’t it concerning to you that so many real “serious” thinkers have said things like “We’re all equal because we’re rational” or “We’re equal because we’re persons” or whatever? These are real accounts out in the literature and open to obvious objections (also in the literature). Some are more rational than others, for example, so why not have grades of status for grades of rationality? If we choose a threshold on rationality that seems strange–thresholds are defined in terms of particular tasks or interests, but here the topic is supposed to be some kind of basic worth or value prior to that kind of thing. I think you’re misunderstanding me to some degree. Anyway the kinds of objections I’ve been raising are not clearly straw man fallacies. You can find versions of all these objections and others in the literature on this topic, for what it’s worth. Look at what McMahan and Arneson about the notion of moral equality for instance. But no, I’m not particularly interested in crystal pure souls. Though I actually do believe in souls, and I think they might be eternal or at least capable of reincarnation. So I’d be open to that kind of (theist or non-theistic) account of the basis of equality.

  31. I am familiar with the issue and have read some of the literature. I have just never regarded it as that interesting in the sense that I don’t see that a lot rides on it in political theory, or in politics. The pragmatic approach I have taken in these comments, is captured pretty well in Arneson’s paper ” WHAT, IF ANYTHING, RENDERS ALL HUMANS MORALLY EQUAL? quoted below:

    “Deflating the issue. Another possible avenue to explore would involve querying
    the idea that any fundamental norm of human equality is needed for a humane and
    decent ethics. In place of an equality norm we substitute the idea that differences in
    the treatment of people should be based on morally relevant and sufficient reasons—
    either reasons based on differences among the persons or on other considerations. To
    this formal norm we might add a substantive presumption in favor of equal treatment: in
    the absence of reasons to treat people differently we should accord them equal
    consideration. The third ingredient in the pragmatic deflation of the issue would be to
    note that very often we are in a poor epistemic position to differentiate reliably among
    humans when significant benefits and burdens are being distributed. Assuming for the
    sake of the argument that discrimination among persons on the basis of the degree to
    which they possess and exercise capacities of rational autonomy would in principle be
    justifiable, one finds that in practice our attempts to sort people on this basis would be
    highly unreliable. The traits that are morally important and relevant for discrimination
    are complex and multi-dimensional and do not reveal themselves in behavior in ways
    that facilitate accurate measurement. The individual who scores high on one dimension
    might for all we know score badly on other dimensions, and a high or low score on one
    occasion might not be a true indicator of the individual’s capacity even for that single
    dimension of rational autonomy being reviewed. Along with acknowledging our
    epistemic liabilities we should also acknowledge that we are often not able to be
    unbiassed judges of other people’s rational autonomy capacities but are swayed by
    myriad forms of prejudice and distorting emotion. These points apply with particular
    force to the realm of politics and governmental functioning, so they support ideals of
    equal citizenship and equal protection of the laws for all members of society as practical
    guidelines. Perhaps ideals of the fundamental equal moral status of humans are best
    seen as useful guides to the fulfillment of other more basic nonegalitarian moral
    principles rather than as morally foundational in their own right.”

  32. The Arbeson quote sounds reasonable to me. Your pragmatic approach is reasonable. But then it seems you’re saying my skepticism is also reasonable: we don’t really have any good reason for thinking people are “equal” in any interesting or important sense, but we have reason to treat them equally in some respects and some contexts.

    I can agree with all that. Does it matter if in reality they aren’t equal? I’m not sure. Certainly it seems that leftists and liberals have long _believed_ that it matters–that of we deny (non-pragmatic) equality we’re going to end up denying certain forms of equal treatment that they really care about. They appeal to equal intrinsic worth all the time, e.g., arguing for gay marriage or feminism. Arneson opens that paper by saying that equal worth is a really important principle and–of course–only Nazis deny it. But I tend to agree with you. I think even Nazis could accept that kind of equality so it really does no work–just magic words libs say to excuse whatever destructive stupid stuff they want this week.

    • Right, say a feminist argues there is a disproportion in STEM academics and policies need to be enforced that make it proportional. Dialectically, all you need to do is point out there is a lot of evidence men are better at spatial, quantitative reasoning, and that the disproportion can be explained thusly. Even the dumbest feminist would recognize that responding that there is a metaphysical locus of equality in all people would be an obvious red herring. And this applies to any argument about justifying treating people differently or the same. The argument is about empirical qualities. By the way, I don’t know if you would agree, but even if there are empirical differences, to explain disproportion in STEM, and such, it does not follow that _none_ of the disproportion is caused by unfairness since the dominant group would still be reasonably expected to be biased in its own favor (for example look at the unfair hiring practices in academics by leftists). So is there _some_ small role for the justice warrior?

  33. I think I agree with that last part. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some kind of ‘implicit bias’ or whatever that works against women or non-whites to some degree. On the other hand, I think explicit institutional bias against white men is so extreme that it totally cancels any effects the other kind might have. But if we got rid of all the anti-male anti-white policies and culture and metapolitics then, yes, I’d allow there could be a role for the SJW in trying to correct for any lingering unfairness faced by women and non-whites.

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