September 09, 2016

Can racial discrimination be harmless?

The Left clearly think so.  Affirmative action is nothing if not racially discriminatory.  And even racial pride is fine, as long as it is black pride.

The Left are in fact obsessed by race.  It is on their agenda all the time.  The destruction aimed at is more subtle but they are just as obsessed with race as Hitler was.  New socialists and old socialists are not much different.

But are there other forms of racism that should get a pass?  He  is all but forgotten now but the leading racial theorist of C20 was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who was admired not only by Hitler but also by Kaiser Bill, the nominal German leader of WWI. Chamberlain was a liberal, a passionate Greenie and a virulent antisemite.  So let me make clear at this point that I am not defending him or his doctrines.  The only thing we have in common is an admiration for the people of India.

And that is my first point.  Chamberlain was in his way positive  in what he said about race.  His antisemitism, although relentless, was incidental to his main racial theme:  That Aryans were a superior people.  And he enthusiastically included Hindu Indians among the Aryan race.  He even learned Sanskrit to study their early writings. It was probably the writings of Chamberlain that influenced the admiration of Democrat U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for Aryans.

So Chamberlain was primarily concerned not to attack "inferior" races but to build up respect and esteem for Aryans, among whom Germans were the leading lights.  He in fact saw the Prussians, the skilled warriors of Northeastern Germany as approaching an  ideal type of human being.  But he also believed that others could aspire to reach the Prussian ideal.  You did not have to be born a Prussian to be an exemplary Aryan.

So the leading theorist from the days of racial theory had primarily positive aims. He was there to praise much more that he was there to condemn.

But in Chamberlain's case, praise for one group went with denigration for another group:  Jews.  So is that generally so?   Can one think well of one's own group without denigrating other groups?  There is much evidence that you can.

It was a topic I looked at several times when I was doing survey research among the general population.  And I repeatedly found that a person's patriotism and national pride gave no prediction of one's attitude to ethnic outgroups.  You could for instance be a proud American and at the same time have no animus against Jews.  All combinations were roughly equally probable:  Some patriots tended to be favourably disposed to Jews while others tended to be critical of Jews, with neither type of attitude being strongly felt.  And there were roughly equal numbers in both "camps".

Examples of my research findings on the matter can be found here, here, here and here.  And simliar conclusions have been arrived at by others -- e.g. Cashdan

So I think it is clear that it is not only on the Left that racial sentiment can pass muster.  There can be favourable views of other groups with no vicious implications.

I for instance am firmly of the view that the Han Chinese are in many ways a superior group.  I think that in most ways they will in time surpass my own Anglo-Saxon group.  In some ways they already have.  They appreciate Western classical music much more than Westerners do.  Classical music has a following in the USA of only about 2% of the population, whereas in China and Japan the figure is about 6%. And the best interpreter of much of Western piano music is in my view Yuja Wang, from Beijing.

Yuja Wang

And the rise of China has already been greatly beneficial to us all.  Almost all our electrical goods are now made there very cheaply.  And the ubiquitous presence of Chinese names in the author lists of most academic journal articles in all scientific disciplines has to be seen to be believed.

But will the Chinese rise always be benevolent?  One might think not if one knows Chinese attitudes.  Most Han Chinese see the Han as a superior race. So will that lead to aggression against other races?  The whole point of this essay is to argue that it will not.  Thinking highly of your own group does NOT automatically  imply hostility to other groups.

And there are practical reasons why we do not have to fear war with China.  For a start, why would they want to start a war with their biggest customers?

More importantly, however, the People's Liberation Army is now so large, so well-equipped and trained that any war against it would be unthinkable.  Any war between China and anyone else would have to go nuclear almost immediately.  And the Chinese know as well as anybody that there would be no winners from such a war.  Life on earth could in fact be entirely wiped out, something only Greenies would celebrate.  So there will be no war with China. Nuclear deterrence kept the Soviets at bay and it will keep China at bay.

But what about current tensions in the East China sea?  With its very large population, China has a great need for resources and it is common for nations to seek such resources from under their nearby seas.  The USA does it; The UK does it and Israel does it.  The difference on this occasion, of course, is that there are other claimants on control of the areas at issue.

But China now has firm control of the places concerned and because of that, I also think that China has now established a clearly superior legal claim on the areas concerned.  By building up the various shoals and islets into substantial bases with extensive facilities and a population, China has simply acquired those places by right of conquest.  They took over empty territory and thus have an arguably better claim on the territories concerned than the USA has on its territory.  The USA acquired already occupied territory by right of conquest.  China acquired empty territory by right of conquest.

So for a variety of reasons, I don't think the rise of China is to be feared or denigrated.

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