Tuesday, January 09, 2007


A comment from a reader on the Putnam research findings

It's fascinating to note that prominent left liberal sociologist, Harvard's Robert Putnam has recently 'discovered' and empirically documented that one consequence of the development of multicultural / multi-ethnic communities is a general decline in any civic trust. He has found that the more diverse a community is the greater the distrust ...even in authorities who may be drawn from one's own ethnic group. These results will certainly be controversial and presumably subject to more testing in coming years. But for now they seem to represent a poke in the eye for the arch-multiculturalists. See here, here and here

In general the most popular explanation for the decline of civic trust, an issue of concern to left liberal pundits, is to hypothesise an enormous hidden reserve of redneck racism bubbling below in the general population . Articles of this kind are a dime a dozen, see for example here . This nostrum thrives despite substantial survey information that racially intolerant attitudes have substantially declined in recent decades (see for example here) . Most pundits seem oblivious to this contradiction.

Their favourite alternative explanation ("neoliberalism") provides no refuge either. They blame civic distrust on the ultra-mild public sector downsizing policies pursued by both centre-right and centre-left governments in English-speaking countries in recent decades. Somehow the apparently worse problems with race relations in France, a western nation that has not adopted 'neoliberal' economic policies, have escaped their attention.

Putnam apparently sat on his results for some time until he could come up with a politically acceptable left liberal interpretation. His view is that we all need to weave, presumably to be conjured up by government social engineering, a brand new national and cultural identity. Considering the wonderful successes of the bolshevik state in creating a new soviet man you would think a Harvard sociologist would know better.

Of course he didn't really need to bother. Sociobiologists, unlike sociologists, have for some time speculated that societies, like immigrant-built Los Angeles, where the probability of even remote kinship between neighbours is low, will tend to develop atomistic or narrowly individualistic values versus the more politically fashionable communitarianism. Putnam has now, despite himself, provided extra ammunition for this politically incorrect school.

An example of the "extended kinship critique" of multiculturalism is provided in the following passage from now deceased biologist Garrett Hardin. Hardin was a politically incorrect environmentalist who, unlike the vast majority of "greens", actually took their much advertised ecological catastrophe scenarios seriously. Hardin's heresy was then to advocate the logical but unpalatable policy responses, i.e foreign aid cuts, tight immigration restrictions, and (more controversially) a significantly reduced priority for refugee settlement (especially economic and environmental as distinct from political refugees). In short he argued that policies based on 'conspicuous humanitarianism' and 'conspicuous compassion' for foreigners were counter-survival strategies that could no longer be afforded. This made him persona non grata amongst left liberal greens who preached the end of the world but were unable to bring themselves to practice the kind of survival ethics such a situation demanded. A Hardin quote:

"Living on a Lifeboat" vividly illustrates the fact that immigration has turned the West into a precarious human commons. Because of its prosperity and social order, the West is a magnet attracting those who cannot create such conditions for themselves. Although we already pay a high price for immigration in crime, taxes, welfare, and destruction of our culture, our children and grandchildren will pay a higher price still: "To be generous with one's own possessions is one thing; to be generous with posterity's is quite another.

Rejection of the commons is still valid and necessary if we are to save at least some parts of the world from environmental ruin. Is it not desirable that at least some of the grandchildren of people now living should have a decent place in which to live?"

To carry Professor Hardin's argument a vital step further, consider the fact that each lifeboat is not filled with an arbitrary collection of strangers. It is, instead, largely filled with family members, related to each other as an outgrowth of the processes that created today's ethnically-based nation-states. Liberalism's acolytes demand that we throw our own children overboard to make room for the strangers in the water. And yet familial ties are a fundamental part of our character, a heritage of every man, woman, and child on earth, regardless of race or ethnicity. Loyalty to kin has a biological basis, a relationship first hinted by Darwin and later elaborated by a generation of sociobiologists, led by W. D. Hamilton.

The key is kinship altruism, the tendency of all animals, not just humans, to make sacrifices for their kin, the most obvious examples of which are the sacrifices parents make for their children. Kinship altruism also explains why conscience exists today. Conscience-based moral behavior arose as a consequence of altruism within family groups. Conscience has endured because, until recently, Western homelands were relatively homogeneous - constituting, in effect, large extended families of distant cousins. (A recent genetic study reveals that all Europeans descended from a single breeding group of 10 to 50 females.) For thousands of years, no non-kin competed for altruism's benefits. Extension of altruism's benefits to the flood of non-Western immigrants disadvantages Western peoples and their over-active consciences. Demonizing the inborn tendency of related people to exhibit loyalty to their own kind is not moral behavior, it is an assault on the very core of human existence. Just as nature bids a mother to care more for her own child than those of strangers, so must we each concern ourselves with the well-being of our kinsmen more so than that of immigrants from lands not our own.


The original reports of Putnam's findings are here and here.

French Judge: Don't Let Them Eat Pork Soup

Accomodating Muslims in all things now compulsory in France

A top French judge ruled that an extreme-right group cannot serve pork soup to the needy, saying the charitable handouts aim to discriminate against Muslims and Jews who don't eat pork because of their faith. Judge Christian Vigouroux of the Council of State, the country's highest administrative body, said late Friday that such giveaways by the far-right group Solidarity of the French threaten public order. His ruling approved a decision by Paris police to refuse permits to the group on the grounds that such handouts could spark angry reactions.

France is home to more than 5 million Muslims and some 600,000 Jews. Both Islam and Judaism prohibit eating pork, and Vigouroux said the group had shown "a clearly discriminatory goal" with its charity.

Solidarity of the French was just one of several far-fight groups that began distributing pork soup across France over the last four years. Critics contend the giveaway of pork soup is a far-right ploy to draw support for their efforts to defend against perceived threats to European culture.

Far-right groups defend the soup as nothing more than an age-old staple of the rural heartland from which all the French, at least in the national imagination, are said to spring. "Pork-fat soup is traditionally the soup of the poor because it provides complete nourishment," said Bruno Le Griel, a lawyer for the group. Le Griel argued that no needy Jew or Muslim was forced to consume the pork soup. But the judge said the group's Web site indicated it was a policy to refuse dessert to anyone who did not eat some soup first.



The black American middle class is under attack. And what is their sin? The fire is coming from black academics who argue that any middle-class black person calling on the black poor to take advantage of opportunities to get out of poverty is really ashamed of poor black people. And the charges can get personal. Critics are saying that black people such as Bill Cosby are caught up in a self-hating frenzy as they try to distance themselves from their poor brothers and sisters.

For middle class black people, the charges range from "You forget where you came from" to "You are blaming the victim." But these attacks target far more than the black middle class. White people who call attention to the obvious are attacked as insensitive, if not racist. Anyone speaking to self-defeating behavior among the black poor - such as dropping out of high school at exorbitant rates, drug use, criminal behavior, high numbers of children born out of wedlock and parents abandoning their children - is open to these charges. This is the case even if a black adult dares to object to a black teenager screaming curse words and hate-filled rap on a crowded train.

William Cobb, a Spelman College history professor, has written that anyone correcting that offensive behavior is more concerned with what white people think about them. That fits with the general criticism, from another African-American professor, Michael E. Dyson, of the University of Pennsylvania. He has written that the black middle class unfairly "rain down fire and brimstone upon poor blacks for their deviance and pathology."

Unfortunate code of silence

In a new book "Enough," I write about the 25 percent of black America locked in poverty and the shocking picture of dysfunction evident in a 70 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate among black Americans; a 50 percent high school dropout rate and a disheartening 40 percent of America's prisoners being black.

Instead of addressing these problems head-on in the black community, there has been a long, chilling silence because few black leaders want to be targeted by critics who charge them with being elitist or excusing the historic damage done by white racism.

Black intellectuals, such as Cobb and Dyson, are enforcing that code of silence. They are also defending the sad status quo among poor black people. Added to the recipe is the intellectual defense of hip-hop - with music, videos and films - that excuses failure and even celebrates destructive, criminal "Gangsta" behavior such as violence, stealing to get 'bling-bling' and abusive treatment of women.

Much of the rationalization for this self-defeating behavior among too many of the black poor is that high crime rates, high dropout rates and abusive relationships afflict all urban populations. The evidence is that Irish and Italian immigrants had problems when they arrived on American shores and brought high rates of crime and high dropout rates to the cities.

The flaw in that argument is that the population of poor black Americans we are discussing did not just land in Atlanta, Birmingham or Washington. Black Americans today are born into a world exceeding what most immigrants left behind.

Equal opportunities

It is a false analogy to make 21st century black Americans the equal of early 20th century immigrants. How many times can you be an immigrant? Even among today's immigrants with black skin - people from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean - the level of educational attainment and income is outpacing black Americans. If the issue is racism, how is it that black newcomers are doing so well?

The story of black Americans is as old as this nation. It is an inspiring struggle for equal rights in the face of slavery, through the Civil War, and then against laws that had the government enforce racial segregation. The prize for this movement for racial justice has always been equal right to compete in schools, in jobs, in the military, at the voting booth and at the swimming pool. The quest has always been about leveling the playing field and giving black people a chance to show their genius.

Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: All of these leaders gave their lives to open the doors of equal opportunity in the American mainstream for black Americans. Their success has created the largest, most affluent and politically powerful black population in world history. Racism persists in America, complete with stereotypes, mistrust and discrimination. But it is nothing comparable to the exclusion and violence that limited past generations of blacks. Most black Americans, as they fight to move up economically and put their children in position to succeed, reject any victim mentality. They appreciate that greater opportunities exist for this generation than for any of our predecessors.

Words of encouragement

Yet there is this hard fact - a persistent 25 percent poverty rate among black people today. Sadly, statistics show it is often identified with the same group of people, the same families, from generation to generation. It is the exact opposite of compassion to lie to people about the source of many of their problems when it is clear that they are often hurting themselves.

A recent article in The New York Times reported that child psychologists have found that by age 3, the average child of a middle-class professional has heard 500,000 words of encouragement and 80,000 words of discouragement. Among children in welfare families, the numbers were turned on their heads with 75,000 words of encouragement and 200,000 words of discouragement. Middle-class parents, the researchers found, also spoke to their children about the value of education. They regularly discuss with children family rules, current events and how to negotiate difficult situations and people.

These are middle-class values that benefit people, black or white. To encourage the black poor to adopt these values is not evidence of self-hate but offering good news about how people can help themselves and their children to succeed. It is good news to know that if you stay in school and at least graduate from high school, then stay in the job market and don't have a child until you are in your 20s and married, you have little chance of being poor.

It is right - not self-hating - to tell an obnoxious kid cursing on the train to stop it because he is not only obnoxious but displaying behavior that will hurt his chances in life.

Instead of condescending to the poor by rationalizing bad behavior, the academics should offer themselves and their success as evidence of what black people can do with discipline and hard work, despite racism. The academics who prefer to disparage the black middle class when it offers guidance and inspiration are not hurting the black middle class - they are hurting the black poor.


A whitewash of black crime and racism

The Australian situation

The most disturbing element in the murder of 17-year-old Andrew Farrugia in Griffith during the early hours of 2007 was the inevitability that someone like Farrugia was going to be killed by members of the feral underclass that exists in many rural towns with large Aboriginal populations. Andrew Farrugia died for one reason only. He was white. This is the defining reality of his murder. It is the most important single fact in this tragedy. Whatever the outcome of any trial, there are ample witnesses who have told police that this not only appeared to be an unprovoked attack but a case of black on white violence.

After Farrugia had been beaten senseless, one of the youths who had attacked him allegedly turned to onlookers and boasted: "This is how we roll in this town." Who exactly is "we"? Right from the start, the police and media reports of this crime smelled of censorship. It took just two phone calls to Griffith to discover what was being left out: the perpetrators were young Aborigines who had been cruising for a brawl, and it was a common occurrence.

This was nowhere to be found in news reports for days. Finally, after two accused appeared in court charged with killing Farrugia, a paragraph was inserted into the bottom of one news story, not in this newspaper, that the two 15-year-olds arrested "had strong ties to the local Aboriginal community". Thus, their lawyers argued, they should be allowed bail. Bail was refused because it also emerged during this court appearance that one of the accused had a criminal record.

The long initial silence about this case raises several wider issues. Go to the news section of the NSW Police website and you will find an informational G-string: it provides the bare minimum. For example, another murder took place over the weekend when Sione Matevesi, 22, who had a job and a stable life, was stabbed and murdered early on Saturday by a group of drunks. Who are the police looking for? This is the information provided by the NSW Police website: "Police are looking for a group of men described as wearing dark clothing."

Oh, that is extremely useful. The NSW Police Media Unit is a paradigm of drip-feed information, a policy that comes down from the top. It is part of a much broader and more serious problem, the whitewashing of the official depiction of the realities of criminal life in Australia.

This begins with the piccaninny complex that dominates the welfare bureaucracy, education system, court system, university system and the ABC. The piccaninny complex is one of the reasons we've thrown a generation of young Aborigines into the gutter, including a generation of zombies - the living dead in rural and remote Australia of petrol-sniffing children, disproportionately under the primary care of drunks. As one of Australia's most prominent anthropologists, Peter Sutton, wrote in Anthropological Forum back in 2001: "The contrast between the progressive public rhetoric about empowerment and self-determination and the raw evidence of a disastrous failure in major aspects of Australian Aboriginal affairs policy since the early 1970s is frightening."

Nothing has changed. We've known for years there is endemic child abuse within many remote and rural Aboriginal communities, yet had the absurdity of the "shock revelation" last year that child abuse is rampant in many Aboriginal communities. This was fully seven years after publication of the Robertson report into domestic violence in indigenous communities in Queensland, chaired by Boni Robertson, an Aboriginal academic. The report found:

"Violence is now overt; murders, bashings and rapes, including sexual violence against children, have reached epidemic proportions. "A majority of the informants believed that the rise of violence in Aboriginal communities can be attributed to the so-called 'Aboriginal industry' in which both indigenous and non-indigenous agencies have failed in many ways to deliver critical services. "The taskforce believes the number of violent offences is much higher than the officially recorded data. Taskforce researchers heard many stories about crimes that women did not report for fear of reprisals from the perpetrator, his kinfolk or the justice system. "The harsh reality is that many families are now trapped in environments where deviance and atrocities have become accepted as normal behaviour and as such form an integral part of the children's socialisation."

For years, white ideological activists and Aboriginal racists within the welfare system have been accessories to domestic crime and rampant child abuse. They have actively covered up the problem, rationalising and protecting perpetrators, and perjured themselves in court.

Soon after the Robertson report was released, Dr Stephanie Jarrett told a symposium into domestic violence in Aboriginal communities: "Lawyers use cultural rights to reduce penalties for domestic violence. "Cultural rights carry the risk of placing Aboriginal victims of domestic violence outside the scope of state intervention," she said. "Where does this leave Aboriginal women? Domestic violence is the major source of Australia's internal refugees." Jarrett's PhD thesis was based on a study of a culture of violence inside one Aboriginal community, part of a much wider pathology of violence which immemorially predated the arrival of Europeans.

Our society has to start treating Aborigines as human beings, not mendicants and piccaninnies who either exist within a feudal communal land system our legal system has invented for them, and/or in a culture of excuse, welfarism, denialism and double standards that guarantees both economic stagnation and cultural (as distinct from racial) extinction. All accompanied by a deadly silence.

Andrew Farrugia was killed by racists. The time for whitewashing, blame-shifting and rationalising racism in any form is over.


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