John Derbyshire On The HANDLE’S HAUS List Of PC Purgees—And Dogma, Dissent, And Duty

Finding oneself among distinguished company is always balm to the ego, even when the “among” consists only of seeing your name with theirs in some list.

So there I was, blushing with pleasure at seeing my name on the list of “Bullied and Badgered, Pressured and Purged” at the Handle’s Haus blog.

Yes, there I am, along with E.O. Wilson, Sam Francis, Ann Coulter, James Watson, Pat Buchanan, Ron Unz, and other people I like and admire. Ah, fame!—or at least proximity to it.

The list, as its name tells you, is of persons who have suffered various levels of indignity at the hands of PC enforcers. It has been widely noticed, linked to from Reason, the Chateau, Vox Day, and our own Steve Sailer.

Ego satisfactions aside, it’s an interesting list. The first thing I wanted to know: did it confirm the belief, common on the Dissident Right, that there was an era of relative openness about human-science realities in the years 1995-2005? I attempted to quantify this belief in a 2009 column. I later aired it here on VDARE.com, whereupon VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow gave the era a name: the Interglacial.

Does HH’s list confirm the existence of the Interglacial?

The list is a moving target, as HH has declared his intention to add to it as suitable comments come in. At the time of setting finger to keyboard, there are 91 entries—I’ll call them “incidents”—on the list, identifying 92 persons (plus the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Tallying the incidents by date, I get this, which I’ve compared to the tally of books on “dangerous” topics I linked to above.

 

Years

Purge

Incidents

My 2009 tally of

Dangerous” Books

Pre-1985

3

-

1985-1989

1

2

1990-1994

4

9

1995-1999

4

24

2000-2004

8

13

2005-2009

15

2

Post-2009

57

-

 

If there really was an “Interglacial” spell of openness about un-PC topics around the years 1995-2005, then the rightmost two columns should be in an inverse relationship—more purges and shamings correlating with fewer books published.

The datasets here are too sparse for a dispositive conclusion, but the period 1995-2009 does show purges rising as book numbers dwindle. The “Interglacial” hypothesis is seems to hb holding up.

My next question: Who are they, these purgees and shamees?

Of the 92 individuals identified in HH’s list (not necessarily named: some have pseudonyms) as having been bullied, badgered, pressured, or purged, I tallied the following:

 

Acting as…

No. of

individuals

Opinion journalist

26

Scholar

19

Entertainer

11

Politician

9

Sportsman

7

Citizen

6

Businessman

4

Educator

3

Clergyman

2

Writer

2

Sport commentator

2

Jurist

1

Total:

92

 

There are some problems of classification. I have tried to identify each individual by what they were acting as when they committed the offending offense.

Bob Weissberg, for example—no. 51 on HH’s list—is a seasoned and respected scholar (in political science), but was dropped by National Review Editor Rich Lowry for extramural comments in his capacity as an opinion journalist.

“Entertainer” includes reality TV stars; “politician” includes staffers, etc. “Citizen” refers to random passers-by like London Tube passenger Emma West (no. 47) or the Dongle-gate duo (no. 61).

It’s plain, and not at all surprising, that opinion journalism (which includes prominent bloggers like Vox Day) is the most dangerous line of work, purge-wise.

But much more shocking, it seems to me, is the second category, way out ahead of the rest of the pack: scholars. And again, I have included there only scholars acting in their capacity as scholars (or editors/administrators at scholarly establishments).

It appears that, if you are in the business of uncovering truths about the world, you had better be careful what you tell the world about the things you find.

There are interesting social dynamics to be uncovered here.

But, being (to Peter Brimelow’s disgust) compulsively fair-minded, I must note that these PC purges and Two Minutes Hates are comparatively civilized. No-one has actually been killed or sent to the Gulag.

Note, however, the word “comparatively.” I don’t mean to belittle the real distress and injustice in that list. As I pointed out when writing up the case of no. 45 on HH’s list: Frank Borzellieri is now unemployable in the field he studied for years to enter, and his student-loan debt is mounting.” Similarly, Jason Richwine’s career as a think-tank analyst appears to be derailed for good, despite his stellar qualifications.

Show business types I feel somewhat less sorry for. It’s a merciless environment, and they all know it.

Still, I thought the treatment of Paula Deen was exceptionally cruel, for an absurdly inflated “offense.” It was pitiful to see the poor woman weeping and groveling.

(Of course, groveling is always foolish: it only inflames the mob’s bloodlust. Either spit in their fool faces or else maintain a dignified reserve, according to the grain of your own personality; but don’t grovel. Think Duck Dynasty.)

A majority of the 92 victims listed—I make it 62—are still employed as before, or in some equivalent position. Of the rest, several are too old to care. The trend lines are not good, as the first of my tables shows. But there is no cause for despair. Dum spiro, spero.

Arguably, for a society to be stable and coherent, there must be some necessary conditions. I suspect that one of those conditions is that there be a set of dogmas, some of them irrational, the contradiction of which is met with strong social disapproval.

But the trouble is that dogmas have a way of getting out of hand. The consequences of that can be disastrous public policy. Most obviously to VDARE.com readers, the dogmas collected under the heading “PC,” which the persons on HH’s list all got into trouble for violating, lead to the costly foolishness of Open Borders, “Diversity,” No Child Left Behind, “disparate impact,” women in submarines, and all the rest of the insanities.

In the nature of things, only a few citizens, those of a skeptical and cross-grained outlook—the dissident personality—will question established dogmas.

Their consolation: they are performing a vital social function—they are a kind of conscience for their fellow citizens, reminding them of the reality that is always there, however much we might prefer to ignore it, and however much our fellow citizens resist being reminded.

I can remember precisely the event that caused me to end up on HH’s list. I was conducting a transaction in a minor commercial establishment. At the other side of the transaction was a store clerk: a middle-aged working-class white lady with a serious weight problem and, plainly, not much education. I’d guess her IQ to be in the first quartile, or low in the second (i.e. high 80s or low 90s).

This was spring of 2012, with the Trayvon Martin hoax all over the news. The lady chatted with a colleague. “Such a terrible thing!” she was saying. “I know what I’d do to that George Zimmerman if ever I got hold of him!”

Goodness, I thought, she’s swallowed the whole Main Stream Media narrative—hook, line, and sinker! And if SHE has, then so have tens of millions of other citizens.

I felt a mighty urge to put some realistic counter-narrative out there. So I did… and ended up on HH’s list.

The story about old Joe Kennedy is, that on his way to the office one day he stopped for a shoeshine. The shoeshine boy offered him a stock tip. Kennedy realized at that point that speculation fever was out of control. When he got to his office he called his broker and sold out his stock holdings, thereby avoiding ruin in the 1929 crash.

I felt somewhat the same way about my store clerk. If she believes it, then half the country believes it, and someone ought to yell in their ears!

Two plus two equals four; the Emperor has no clothes; eppur si muove. As long as these things can be said and heard, there is hope that the dogmas can remain tethered to the ground, at not too great a height, and be prevented from flying off into the aery blue.

It was from Jared Taylor, one of the great dissidents of our age, that I first heard the Robert E. Lee quote: . “Duty, then, is the sublimest word in our language”.

To struggle to see things as they are, and to speak our conclusions out loud, is the duty of everyone in the reflective portion of humanity.

Dogmas may be necessary, but dissent is honorable.

In any case, it’s our duty.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is  FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.

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