Sunday, September 25, 2005


People who drive down the middle of the road tend to get smashed up and I risk that frequently in my posts. For instance, when I mention such things as low average black IQ and the high rate of black criminality, Leftists shriek "racist" at me. But I also like Asians and think that they in general make highly desirable citizens. And various Rightists call me "far-Left" (or worse) because of that!

So today I want to do a single longish post to set out exactly how I see racial matters and why:

Ethnicity and group membership is one of the great preoccupations of the human race .... possibly second only to sex. It is also an almost taboo subject among modern-day white liberal Anglo-Saxons. Race is to the modern-day civilized and educated world what sex was to the Victorians -- unmentionable. In other words the strength of resistance to discussion of it is a measure of the threat to a civilized order that it is seen as posing.

Amid this fearful silence, I, of course, have always continued to call a spade a spade: Not a recipe for popularity among modern-day intellectuals! My position is really only a classical Anglo-Saxon attempt to find the golden mean between conflicting extremes. It seems to me, in short, that there ARE real differences between races and other groups but that only a few of these differences are of any importance. In other words, I reject the blind Leftist assertion that we are all the same under the skin and I also reject the view that only people like us are any good. This causes Leftists and humanists to see me as a racist and racists to see me as a Leftist pointy-head! In other words, the whole issue is such an emotive and explosive one that the middle-ground tends to be a rather lonely and uncomfortable place.

Group-sentiment is an amazingly pervasive thing. To take some examples from where I live in the State of Queensland and in Australia generally: Queenslanders all know what Queenslanders generally think of "cockroaches" (residents of the State of N.S.W.) and "Mexicans" (Southerners generally) and most know how Sydneysiders and Melbournians regard one-another but such sentiments fade into insignificance if you talk to a Launceston resident about Hobart people! Residents of the two largest towns in a quite homogeneous place like the State of Tasmania hate one-another! And non-Tasmanians would notice no differences at all between the two! So what hope is there for the Protestants and Catholics of Ulster, the Tamils and Sinhalas of Sri Lanka, the Jews and the Arabs of Israel, the Serbs and the Croats of the former Yugoslavia, the Xhosa and the Zulus of South Africa, the Sikhs and the Hindus of Panjab, the "untouchables" and the caste Hindus of India, the Southerners and the Northerners of Italy, the French and the English-speakers of Canada etc etc etc?

And to think that for the whole of my active career as a social science academic, my colleagues virtually universally believed that only maladjusted deviants were racists. I have always thought it to be crystal clear that EVERYBODY is a racist to some degree! My colleagues obviously thought that all the world was out of step and only they were in step. I did my best to disabuse them of their silly notions but there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Of course, discriminatory attitudes towards other groups such as those I have listed ARE generally nonsense. You do not have to be sick in the head to believe nonsense. If you did, most of my academic colleagues would be VERY sick in the head. In fact, of course, they are simply wishful thinkers -- like most of humanity. Wishful thinkers are not scientists, however.

To help see why discriminatory attitudes to other groups are generally nonsense, consider, for example, that Catholic and Protestant Ulstermen come out here to Australia and live side by side with no problems at all. Nor does a Launceston person who moves to Hobart or a Melbourne person who moves to Sydney thereby undergo any sort of personality change. All that is going on with discriminatory attitudes is that the old human preference for familiarity is raising its head. We like people who are like ourselves and people who have made the same decision as we about where to live (or happen to live where we live) become thereby more "like us" and are therefore preferable to others.

So I sound like a nice safe liberal in saying that do I not? Where I get into trouble with liberals, leftists etc is that I go on from there to say "But NOT ALL differences are imaginary". Most loyalty-provoking group differences are either imaginary, trivial or evanescent BUT SOME ARE NOT. As I see it, those who deny ALL intergroup differences are just as dogmatic, irrational and sweeping as the racists they claim to oppose. They are in fact accusing 99% of the human race of being totally blind and preoccupied with something that does not exist! Even I am not misanthropic enough for that! I think it is pretty clear who the blind ones are.

As I see it then, the differences between people of Northern European race are objectively (but not subjectively) mostly trivial. They have been invading and taking over one-another for so many thousands of years that the national gene pools must overlap almost totally. When they emigrate to countries like the USA and Australia, their children cannot tell one-another apart and get on as well with one-another as they do with anybody else.

But some groups ARE different and probably will remain so. The outstanding example of this is of course the negroids. Whether they are discriminated against (as in the old South Africa), discriminated in favour of (as in the USA from about the '70s on) or treated reasonably impartially (as they long were in Britain), they always as a group end up the same -- at the bottom of every heap, mired generally in criminality, violence, incompetence, drug abuse, promiscuity and poverty. And this is not peculiar to white-run countries. They are no different when they live in the African-run countries of Africa and the Caribbean. So for those who will see it, we now have mountains of evidence for the view that, as a group, negroids are always going to be a vastly problematical population with very limited potential for achievement in many spheres and a very great potential for disrupting the lives of others. Only the disagreeableness of that conclusion could blind one to the evidence for it. But THAT conclusion, it seems to me, is important.

I must emphasize here, however, that I am clearly speaking about groups and do NOT assume that what is true of the group is true of all individuals in that group. So individual blacks may be very highly civilized indeed. The person I quote most often on my blogs is an American black (Thomas Sowell). And, unlike Leftists, I don't think group problems can be solved at the group level. I think that treating people according to what they as individuals do (regardless of any group to which they may belong) is the only way to solve problems that the group as a whole may pose.

And note that what I say has nothing to do with skin-colour. Indians are just as brown as Africans but are vastly different. They tend to move towards the TOP of the heap outside their native land, and, as a group, are extremely patient, polite, hard-working, law-abiding and family-oriented. I personally like Indians very much. And Arabs are as white as many Europeans but would be in a very poor position indeed except for their oil wealth. The characteristic Arab achievements at the moment seem to be religious fanaticism, treachery and incest.

Obviously, we should all continue to treat individuals from different groups according to their individual merits but people who report that IN GENERAL they do not like members of a certain group are certainly not to my mind necessarily irrational, misled, deluded, ill-informed or ill-educated. They MAY be perfectly rational, balanced and well-informed. And anyone who doesn't want to live around negro populations is just looking after his own skin! And the phenomenon of "white flight" shows that most Americans understand that very well -- regardless of what their expressed attitudes might be.

Real ethnic differences need not of course be aversive. People would hardly travel so much if they were. The eminent French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss regards racial discrimination as DESIRABLE precisely on the grounds that it fosters diversity. I do not go that far but I do nonetheless enjoy all kinds of ethnic diversity in a way that, I suppose, makes me an ideal citizen of a multicultural society like Australia.

My personal background

I have lived my entire life in a highly multicultural society so I am acutely aware of racial and ethnic differences. I grew up in an Australian country-town that was only half Anglo. The rest were Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, Maltese, Yuogoslavs, Chinese, Sikhs, TIs (Melanesians) and Aborigines (blacks). And when with that perspective I look at my fellow Anglo-Australians I see people of admirable restraint, fortitude, good humour and moderation in all things. But that is only the majority of them. There is also a minority for whom I have no kind words.

Now I could sound like an uncomprehending elitist in saying that. Maybe I am just wiping off working class people and glorifying middle class people like myself. It is however if anything the reverse. If anything I find something like three times as much good sense in the workers as I do in the bourgeoisie. But there are problem-types in both camps. And I find that even the difficult cases among the workers are not much of a problem to me personally. Because I was born into an Australian working class family, working class thinking and conventional wisdom is an open book to me. I know all the key words and key phrases and I defer to no-one in my knowledge and enjoyment of the brilliant Australian slanguage. And I certainly did put all that to the test when I spent a couple of years as a boarding house proprietor in a "depressed" area (Ipswich) of Brisbane. I was really dealing with the hard cases there. A significant number of them in fact came to me directly from "the big house" (jail). Yet such is the power of a shared culture that I was in all cases able to handle to my satisfaction the people concerned. I always knew the right words to use. The people concerned were a considerable problem to others (and to themselves) but they were well within my capacity to handle -- though the time I threw a druggie through a closed door was approaching my limits. Words are wasted on druggies. So there is no doubt that I am as much an insider to basic Anglo-Australian culture as anyone ever will be. I am of my culture and I appreciate it and enjoy it.

But much as I am at home among my own people, I am still delighted at the sterling qualities I find in Asians. I find scarcely any problem-types among them. And I actually share my large house with Asians -- mostly South Asians. None of them are of course flawless human beings but when I think of their relaxed good humour, their intelligence and their unfailing politeness and restraint I cannot see that they are inferior to anyone or that they are anything but an asset to any environment they inhabit.

Now somebody will want to tell me that it is different in England. And it certainly is different superficially. The way just about EVERY small business in London is run by South Asians is pretty amazing (though the way English shop-assistants treat their customers makes it a lot less amazing). And when I am in England and I walk into one of those Asian shops I am greeted with the wariness and reserve that experience has taught the proprietors concerned. But I only have to exchange half a dozen words with the people concerned before all that changes. Because I genuinely like and admire Indians, that message gets through almost as fast as a bullet and it is soon smiles all round. I remember once when I was in an Indian shop in London and some old English prick was telling the Indian proprietor how great the English were and how the world owed them a living. As I walked out, I "accidentally" shouldered him hard enough to knock him over. I felt embarrassed that a fine Sikh gentleman had to put up with such crassness from the prick concerned.

And nor am I talking about immigrant Indians only. I have also lived in Bombay and I can only admire the cheerfulness, enterprise and good humour of the street-people there.

I certainly don't think that all races are equal but I also think it is absurd to say that there is something special about someone just because his skin is pink. Each case must be judged on its individual merits but it seems to me that on any non-racial scale of values the Asians average out well ahead. And we live in a century that will see that proven. Ironically, the poison that has held the Asians back so far is of Western origin -- socialism. If any people are instinctive capitalists it is the Indians and Chinese.

And the claim that Asian cultures are tribal is a grave misconception. Asian culture is a culture of reciprocity. So if you treat them well or do them a good turn you generate enormous feelings of obligation in return. So when I walk into an Indian shop where I am known and buy three samoosas for my lunch I will occasionally get a fourth one popped into the bag as a gesture of goodwill. What is problematical about a culture like that?

"Racist" as a term of abuse

As I have said, I particularly like Indians. And if we are going to use the term at all, Indians are clearly a race. I also like the Han (majority) Chinese. And almost any member of the Han will assure you that the Han are a race apart. I also admire the Japanese and regard Israel as one of the great adventures of the human spirit. So I am clearly a racist, am I not? If not, why not? Just using the word "race" is pretty close to taboo in much of the modern world. The fact that I DO use it probably keeps my blogs much more marginal than they otherwise would be.

How has that come about? It's no mystery is it? The deeds of Hitler showed the world what colossal evil can be done in the name of race and, in their usual way, the Left hopped onto that bandwagon and pushed the idea to simplistic extremes. Not only unreasonable uses of ideas about race were condemned but ALL ideas about race were condemned. So the Left absolutely shriek and go ballistic about any mention of race. Which tends to make people think that there really is something wrong with even using the term. It's rather like the woman who has bad experiences with one or two men and who then concludes that ALL men are "no good". Her response just puts a roadblock in front of her finding out WHICH men are good or bad and probably denies her much happiness that she could have. Similarly, talk about race can be good or bad. The intelligent thing is to discuss and look into the matter. Up until 1945 the whole world did just that. So all our ancestors were "racists"?

Don't get me wrong: As both a conservative and a libertarian, I think that the individual comes first and that each case (or each person) must be judged on its (his/her) individual merits. So while I like most Indians and Chinese I don't like them all. And I don't like all Jews either. Jews who hate Israel I find particularly contemptible. The United Nations charter says that each case must be judged on its individual merits and that is one of the few things about the United Nations that I agree with. That must have been the bit that the conservatives put in.

Because the Left DO judge people in terms of race. The entire Leftist mentality is group-oriented. The individual hardly exists to Leftists. Individuals are too complicated and messy. Leftists can think only in terms of vast groups of people -- such as "blacks", "Hispanics" and "Native Americans" (and "gays", "women", "the workers" etc.). So you can talk about races after all -- just as long as you don't CALL them races.

What utter stupidity! The only way to combat such stupidity is to defy it and talk about race in sensible ways and just ignore all the hypocritical Leftist shrieking. I do. For example, I make no apology for saying that people of Northwestern European origin (principally the Anglo-Celts and the Germans) are the ones who have made the modern world what it is and I am delighted to be myself of that ilk. I have pictures of my Australian pioneer ancestors on my walls and I am forever grateful to them for what they have bequeathed me.


I don't think that an ethnically homogeneous society is a particularly good thing. Yet I am at the same time as pleased as Punch about my English, Scottish and Irish ancestry and am also proud of the country that my forebears have created here in Australia. And I also think it is incontestable that Protestantism has been an overwhelming influence in creating the modern world. And having been brought up as a Presbyterian, that is easy for me to say.

What disturbs many people, as well it might, is the woes that the English and Americans now suffer as a result of past and present unselective immigration. I am in company with the vast majority of Australians in saying that only SELECTIVE immigration makes sense. And Australia practices it too. Though recent admissions of "refugees" appear to have been much less selective and have had some worrisome effects.

But I also think that the egg is thoroughly scrambled now. I can see NO way in which the "internationalization" of the U.K. and U.S. populations is going to stop. Nor will it stop in Australia. Australia's selection criteria do not include race and, as a result, we are said to have a greater percentage of our population foreign-born than any other country except Israel. There is however a huge difference in the COMPOSITION of the Australian population. Where the U.K. and U.S. have large numbers of people of African ancestry, we have large numbers of people of East Asian ancestry. The difference that makes is considerable, to put it mildly. I think Australia is very lucky indeed to have a large minority of hard-working, intelligent, enterprising, law-abiding family-oriented East Asians.

What about the loss of community? Wouldn't it be nice to live in a sort of large village where everybody is of similar ancestry? Yes and No. I must admit what a relief it is when I can go into an Australian shop or cafe and speak relaxed broad Australian with the staff there instead of having to struggle to communicate with people who know little English. But as someone who actually grew up in a large village (the Australian country town of Innisfail) I know there is a downside too. There are huge pressures towards conformity in a village and a lot of back-biting and gossip. Everyone knows everybody else's business so privacy is very restricted. And I shudder to think of the inconvenient opening hours and limited range of services (such as restaurants) that we would have without the ethnics.

So I don't think much of mono-ethnic or village-style life at all. And in a modern society we create our own communities anyway. By and large we associate with whomever we choose and if we are comfortable only with people of a similar ethnic background, then people of that background will become our community. We are no longer restricted to the community that we live geographically next-door to. We create our own communities to suit ourselves. So we in fact get the best of both worlds these days: We live in a virtual community without the limitations of an old-fashioned geographical community.

So regardless of whether the U.K. or the U.S. ever come to their senses about illegal immigration, loss of community and continuity will not occur.

The moral case against racism

On my reading of the psychological research, preference for the similar and the familiar is in general more common than not so it would be fairly hard to argue that such preferences are of themselves morally wrong when applied to one's social environment. But what does seem to me to be in principle wrong, however, is to judge individuals by their group membership. Should my brother be hanged because I commit a murder? All principles of justice as we know it (some systems of tribal justice excepted) say No. Similarly, should all Muslims be discriminated against because a minority of Muslims are dangerous religious nutcases? Again the answer has to be No. Yusuf might be a very decent man while Ali is a psychopath. And there are plenty of Yusufs. I know a few. So to treat the Yusufs like the Alis is a breach of all natural justice. Each case must be judged on its individual merits.

And that applies to Anglos too. There are plenty of dreck Anglos. And they should be treated like dreck while decent Anglos are treated as they deserve. So I make no judgement about Anglos IN GENERAL that can be applied to any individiual. The group level of analysis is interesting and may even be important but conclusions from it CANNOT justly be applied to any individual in that group. Any particular individual may be an exception to the rule.

So while I see no virtue in living in a monoracial homeland, I DO see great virtue in living in a homeland where immigrants are selected for generally desirable characteristics. And Australia is a fair example of the latter. We may have lots of immigrants here but they are generally GOOD immigrants! And some immigrant groups -- Asians mainly -- do in my view leave Anglo-Australians for dead in generally desirable characteristics -- such as low crime-rate, family-orientaion, proclivity to work hard etc. I am happy to have them around.

Mind you, I thoroughly sympathize with "white flight". As a group, Africans are undisputably BAD "minorities". White flight shows that most Americans think that and who am I to argue? What I have seen on my visits to America has certainly convinced me that a wise white person keeps as far away from groups of blacks as he can. On Hispanics as a group I reserve judgment. There clearly are lots of "good" Hispanics. I have met a few.

So I think there is no reason for seeking a monoracial homeland that can be deduced from any external fact or set of facts. You just feel the need for such an environment or you don't. I don't. I DO however feel a need to keep undesirables out of my country and the fact that both the U.S. and U.K. governments have failed to do that seems to me a tragedy of the first order. And some populations have such a high proportion of undesirables (one third of black American males are said to have spent at least some time in jail) that selective admissions of people from those populations should only be on the strictest of criteria. In other words, I think they should be judged as individuals but need to be looked at particularly carefully -- with evidence of good character and educational attainment (for example) being insisted on. At the moment, unfortunately, Australia does the opposite of that. African "refugees" are admitted with what seems very little scrutiny.

As a psychometrician, I am acutely aware of the low average IQ of Africans, Arabs and Australian Aborigines -- while at the same I stress that I am talking about averages, not individuals. As I have noted before, the person I quote most on my main blog is of African ancestry -- Thomas Sowell. As I have set out at length elsewhere, however, there are some circumstances in which we do have to make judgments about groups and I make no apologies for saying that I like my environment to be one with as low a frequency of the three groups I have mentioned as possible. I don't think it is in any way morally questionable to want to live in a safe and trouble-free environment.

East Asians:

I have said a fair bit about Indians above so I want to close with just a few personal anecdotes about my own experiences with East Asians:

When my son Joey was about 2 he discovered that putting things into rubbish bins was great fun. So once when we were dining in a Chinese restaurant I had used a paper napkin and screwed it up after use. Joey immediately spotted his opportunity and declared loudly "In the Wubbish". He seized the napkin and trotted towards the back of the restaurant. In their usual observant way, the Chinese staff of course saw within seconds this little blond moppet trotting towards them and by the time Joey got to the back of the restaurant, there were three Chinese staff bending over and giving Joey every attention with huge smiles on their faces. They directed Joey carefully to a bin and shepherded him gently back to us with every sign that they had had as much fun out of the episode as we did. And anybody who knows anything about the Chinese love of children will not be remotely surprised by any of that.

The second story is about the time I took a ride on the Hong Kong Metro (subway, underground railway). It was offpeak and my wife and I were the only occidentals in the carriage. A little Chinese boy came trotting down the carriage and spotted this strange white individual (me). Being just as much a tease then as I am now, I made "big eyes" at him. And of course in Chinese iconography, wide eyes are associated with demons etc. So the dear little boy ran screaming back to his parents. Again in their usual observant way, however, the Chinese in the carriage had observed what went on and saw the joke. They had a great (but of course restrained)laugh. There is nothing wrong with the Cantonese sense of humour!

And there is this Malaysian Chinese restaurant that I go to regularly. And there is one dish that I particularly like and I always order it. So when I walk in, not only am I greeted with a big smile by the receptionist, but the kitchen staff wave to me and smile at me too. And my dinner arrives with express speed. They put it on as soon as they see me.

And my next two stories are about the Japanese. Again when Joey was about 2 we took him to a local Koala sanctuary here in Australia. And the Japanese love Koalas so there were lots of them there. But when they saw this little toddler with golden-blond hair, sky-blue eyes and paper-white skin being wheeled about they were utterly entranced. I think there were as many photos of Joey taken that day as there were of the Koalas!

And finally there is the Sushi Train restaurant that I often dine at. There are Sushi train restaurants everywhere these days so I am sure readers will know what I am talking about. And my local version does seem to be staffed entirely by Japanese -- a head chef and two assistants. And the amazing thing about them is that they are utterly silent. If the restaurant were staffed by Cockneys it would be an absolute bedlam of chatter. But the Japanese are so well-organized that they need to say nothing to one another. They just silently and steadily go about their great art of producing the most wonderful fresh Japanese food. And they are totally impassive 99% of the time. I greatly value my British heritage and thoroughly appreciate British reserve. But Japanese impassivity makes British reserve look like emotional outpouring. So the head chef misses nothing but the expression on his face never changes. But guess what? They too have noticed that I am a dedicated customer so I do occasionally get a fleeting smile from the head chef when he sees me there again. And to get a smile from him is an honour indeed.

And with such experiences of these gentle, hard-working, family-oriented and utterly civilized people of Asia, how can I not respect them?

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