Racism as an active agency has virtually disappeared within the civilisation of the West

I’m not going to name names here but this follows upon the issues raised by Stephen Meardon that I discussed in this post: What bravery looks like in the modern age. The following note was sent to me offline – that is, not through the Society website but to myself and a colleague personally. This was from Professor “A”.

I sent the following message to Steve Meardon. Meant to copy you two but forgot at the last minute. Hence the reason I’m resending it below. By the way, I agree with your splendid SHOE posts. They make excellent points. Here’s the resent message.

I fear that if HES gets involved in cultural/social issues, attention to economic analysis and its historical development will fall by the wayside. Everybody will be writing articles about racial and gender discrimination. None will be writing on the birth and evolution of basic, formative concepts of economics. Our journals will be filled with complaints about cultural & social bias to the exclusion of economic analysis. One won’t even have to know any economics to write such pieces.

A similar experience happened in the field of English Lit when the gender/racial crowd co-opted it. The field’s journals became filled with pieces on discrimination rather than on literature. I fear a similar outcome might happen to the history of economics.

I say the above even though I support the Black Lives Matter and similar social protest movements

My colleague then replied to the both of us. This is from Professor “B”.

Many thanks for sharing your comment with me. I think the whole list needs to hear your voice.

I tried in my comments to stay within Steve Meardon’s outline — warning about the danger of straying into a cultural/social debate. Otherwise, I would have pointed out that black lives matter to those chanting the slogan only if they are taken by the police. Clearly not all black lives matter to them. The number of blacks that die at the hands of the police in the US is minuscule compared with the number of blacks killed by other blacks. Either from ignorance or cowardice, the HES statement is silent about that; several others do the same. Some of the BLM leaders also publicly have stated that they’re “trained Marxists.”  The Marxist-inclined among us may appreciate the BLM cause. I fear the outcome of their success.

There is no excuse for the cowardly act of officer Derek Chavin killing his part-time, night club co-worker who was handcuffed at the back, lying face down, and had two other officers restraining the rest of his body. The killing has been roundly condemned by all and the officers will face justice. For the BLM movement to have taken advantage of the horrific incident to launch their assault on governmental institutions in America in pursuit of their Marxist social agenda appears duplicitous to me.

Imagine if I’d said the above in my HES comments.

Best regards.

This was the reply received from Professor “A”.

Many thanks for your fine, informative response. I’ve already heard the points you make, but usually from Caucasians. Coming from that source, the points always appeared suspicious and specious to me. It was as if they were made-up-on-the-spot special-pleading arguments designed to de-legitimize valid social protests. But coming from you, those same points take on a validity, impact, and immediacy that I hadn’t considered before. Many thanks for enunciating them and making me consider them afresh. There is much to them after all.

Your message teaches that it’s always best to get the perspectives of many different observers before forming an opinion of one’s own. That indeed is a valuable lesson. Thanks again for reminding me of it.

And now I have replied to both with my own take of this all.

I appreciate both of your letters, with “B” particular writing to “A” with myself mostly just copied in. And the fact is that no one can or does live anyone else’s life and knows what it is like to be who they are. And as with “A”, I am grateful to hear “B”‘s views since he, at least, cannot be accused of ignoring these issues because they don’t involve him directly.

These are not issues I ever write on or have been central to any of my work or research. And for what it’s worth – next to nothing in my view – I was brought up during the efforts to desegregate the American south and even remember Brown vs Board of Education which occurred in 1954, an extremely important moment in my own conscious life. I grew up through the period of these demonstrations and participated in them, to the extent anyone in Canada might ever have done so. No one, in my view, brought up during that period can be anything other than someone who entirely supports and believes in equality and human rights.

No one can claim that racism no longer exists, but what can be claimed, and I do claim it, is that racism as an active agency has virtually disappeared within the civilisation of the West. Virtually everyone who is raised in any society that has originated in any of the European countries of the sixteenth century and their “colonial” offshoot societies, is today as free from prejudice and bias as it is possible to be. We are societies in which individual rights are sacred and no one is handicapped due to race, religion, skin colour, gender or sexual orientation. And if I am not using the proper terminology for such discussions in the modern world, well so be it. Institutionally – that is, according to the laws of every one of these societies – everyone is encouraged to reach their full potential as human beings. Any possible social bias has been rooted out of every piece of legislation. Beyond that, all of this is taught as the straightforward core ethic of our societies.

The virtue signalling that came from the statement put out by the HES executive is not leading the way, is not advancing an unknown opinion, but is stating no more than what every one of its members already believes in their heart of hearts. But, as Steve Meardon pointed out, saying so in words does not take us forward, but backwards. Rather than letting things be as they are, by making the statement there is now obvious pressure being put on our society and its members, and the editors of its journals, to do something, and whatever something that is done, will move us away from being what we already are, an open community in which merit is the sole criterion of the work any of us put forward for judgment. There will now, inevitably, be efforts made to ensure that publications occur in relation to criteria unrelated to their academic merit, but are instead related to the personal characteristics of their authors. We are corrupting our own values supposedly in the name of our own values. No good can come from any of this.

It is the values of the Enlightenment that are most deeply embedded in the societies of the West, but they are, like our free market economic system itself, spreading outwards and across the globe. This is a wonderful thing, and I find it a hopeful change that will spread everywhere during the next century. By accusing the United States of some invisible latent racism will only aid the enemies of our Western way of life and undermine the ability to achieve the kind of societies we are all aiming to live in.

My kindest best wishes to you both.

Steve

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18 Responses to Racism as an active agency has virtually disappeared within the civilisation of the West

  1. Mak Siccar

    Very well said, Steve.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    In support of Steve is the epidemic of racist hoaxes lately.

    If America Is So Racist, Why Are There So Many Race Hoaxes? (7 Jul)

    But if America is so racist, why are there so many race hoaxes? Virtually every time we read about a sw asti ka painted on a door, or a noose hanging from a tree to taunt blacks, it turns out to be either a false alarm or, more frequently, a hoax.

    Here are a dozen examples

    Here’s why this is so important. If there were a lot of racism, there would be no need for hoaxes. No J ew in Germany in the 1930s made up an anti-Sem itic hoax. No J ewish shop owner ever made up a charge that a Nazi hurled a rock through his store window. The reason? None was needed. Nazi hatred against J ews was real. It didn’t have to be faked. To convince people that America is racist, you have to fake it.

    By and large that seems to be correct – the Left, which sees racism everywhere, curiously can’t see any actual examples of it happening. So they make them up and point: look look! And it fizzles when the details come out, like the Oregon pollie this week:

    Oregon politician’s hate crime hoax blows up in his face (9 Jul)

    Anti-racism has degenerated from a worthy cause into a fraudulent sickness on a mass level. An epidemic of fake hate crimes – 394 separate incidents have been documented – is fanning anger and fear among people who are persuaded by lies about the purported levels of racism. As Thomas Sowell has quipped, the demand for hate crimes far exceeds the supply.

    The latest example comes from Eastern Oregon, where a failed candidate for county commissioner in Umatilla County has confessed to writing a fake letter to himself and reporting it to police.

    This is so like the rest of the Left’s platform. There’s very little real racism, no dangerous climate change, very little real inequality and not much of a real Covid-19 emergency, so they have to invent it, fake it, use models that are ridiculously overblown and screech woe, woe like a horde of particularly obnoxious banshees. I for one wish they’d shut up about all the fake problems and give us a bit of peace so we can go on with our lives.

  3. flyingduk

    Racism as an active agency has virtually disappeared within the civilisation of the West

    I wish it were true Steve, but its not. As a (white, male) SA State Government employee I am regularly forced to endure systemic racism against ‘my people’. I have to sit through bogus ceremonies welcoming me to my own country, conducted by obese, white looking ‘traditional owners’, owners who live off my stolen taxes in suburbia. I find forms with check boxes for ‘do you consider yourself aboriginal’ – and if you do, here is your menu of special privileges – but never ‘ do you consider yourself caucasian’, or better still ‘Australian’. I have to do training courses telling me how I am responsible for the actions of my colonial ancestors, etc etc etc.

  4. Quibbler

    Steve, well said by all of you. I found myself almost sighing with relief that you received these messages. It gives hope that all is not lost in academia. I wonder now how many more of your membership feel the same way and if they will challenge the statement.

    If you are not already familiar with Professor Gad Saad, I recommended you look him up. That man has balls.

  5. Crossie

    What is egregious is the assumption by protesters that everyone but them is racist and the onus is on you to prove your innocence or non-racism. It is the opposite of innocent until proven guilty that underpins western civilisation. And if you try to object the cry goes out “Aha, so you are racist or you wouldn’t need to defend yourself”.

    That people need to communicate these ideas privately means we ha e already lost and worse is to come.

  6. JohnL

    I am not racist.
    I hate everybody equally!

  7. Kneel

    I look forward to the time when my children are judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin.

    Yes Mr King, that would indeed make a nice change, wouldn’t it? To be assumed, a priori, to be a person first of all, with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining. To not be judged on things over which I have no control, like who my parents are, or what they or their predecessors may have done to others, right or wrong. Sins of the father and all that…

    ” … someones great, great, great, great granddad put someone else’s great, great, great, great granddad in chains – wasn’t my idea, never was my idea” – pop music so often expresses what people really feel in such a straight forward, yet elegant way. I guess that’s why it’s popular.

  8. PB

    Maybe racism as a concept has been superseded by a new ism: Identitarianism.

  9. Hay Stockard

    Even Racists have the right to free speech. At least they aren’t as evil as leftards.

  10. Megan

    Very well articulated, all three of you. More and more of us who believe in the concepts you list are beginning to speak up and speak out. If nothing else, the whole BLM movement may have done us a big favour in bringing their agenda and intentions out into the open for everyone to see.

  11. Lee

    Worthy words from Professor “A”, but then he rather spoils the effect when he unnecessarily adds at the end:

    I say the above even though I support the Black Lives Matter and similar social protest movements

    Well I don’t, and a plague on the lot of them.

  12. Mother Lode

    Indeed, Hay.

    As the saying goes: The left wants the right to shut up. The right wants the left to keep talking.

    The left are afraid of what the right might say – they don’t have any answers. The right knows the left will make themselves look stupid.

    As for real raaaaacists – their talking gives us the first clue as to their flawed thinking processes.

    But free speech also lets us see that people branded as racist actually are not, such as the people who point out unarmed blacks are less likely to be killed by police than non-blacks.

    This is a very significant fact amidst the BLM climate.

  13. Dr Faustus

    Maybe racism as a concept has been superseded by a new ism: Identitarianism.

    No ‘maybe’ about it.

    Unlike other isms, Identitarianism provides powerful credentials that allow possessors to operate differently from others.

    Steve provides an example: Professor A accept arguments that would otherwise always be “suspicious and specious”, apparently on the grounds of Professor B’s identity.

  14. jupes

    Racism as an active agency has virtually disappeared within the civilisation of the West

    Untrue. There is systemic racism in Australia in the form of massive discrimination in regard to Aborigines.

    The thing is though, the discrimination is in favour of Aborigines at the expense of other Australians. Australian taxpayers pay $30,000,000,000 per year to ‘close the gap’ with Aboriginal Australians. This discrimination takes the form of (off the top of my head), welfare payments, cheaper university courses, scholarships at top high schools, free lawyers only available to Aborigines, laws more favourable to Aboriginal offenders, lying to interpret the constitution in order to give Aborigines access to vast wealth (Mabo), paying for the transport and accommodation of Aborigines who want to visit relatives in hospital, extra support for Aborigines to join the ADF, flying Aboriginal flags at government institutions, paying Aboriginal elders to welcome Australians to their own country, sucking up to Aborigines by ‘acknowledging and respecting’ elders at official functions (who in all likelihood are doing nothing to stop Aboriginal criminality), honouring undeserving Aborigines such as Adam Goodes with Australian of the Year awards or the Order of Australia, support for Aboriginal propaganda e.g. the ‘Stolen Generations, apologising in parliament for the (fake) ‘Stolen Generations’ and support for Aboriginal businesses.

    Australians have been trying for 232 years to assimilate and welcome Aborigines into our society. Instead of being grateful they spit in our face.

  15. Tel

    Maybe racism as a concept has been superseded by a new ism: Identitarianism.

    Because used to be no one had an identity … but now suddenly they do.

    Oh wait … you are really talking about “identity politics” where people not only have an identity, but they work that as a political lever to get something that others don’t get. Oh … now we have a new name for what the Marxists have been pushing since forever. It used to be the Proletariat vs Bourgeois (arbitrary class identities designed to divide and conquer) but now simply apply the same formula with different identities. It’s almost like everyone is too dumb to see the scam.

  16. What an unutterably stupid thread.

  17. Rex Anger


    What an unutterably stupid thread.

    Says you, chump.

  18. Hay Stockard

    Monty cowering in his bunker still has time to drop his pearls of wisdom. Bosses cracking the whip on you Monty? I understand an empty crispy creme box can be extemporised as a face mask if you ever have to see the light of day again.

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