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John Derbyshire's Response to Jared Taylor on Miscegenation
I apologize for having taken so long to respond to Jared Taylor's June 19 anti-miscegenation blast. I should say that in the interim I have been in Jared's company, and we have discussed the topic, to fair mutual satisfaction.
In Gordon Bowker's 2003 biography of George Orwell we learn (p. 296) that "[Orwell] found personal antagonisms difficult to sustain, especially when he got to know people . . . He thought it wrong to allow arguments in print to carry over into personal relationships."
Jared and I are both of Orwell's temper, so there is no great harm done to the friendship. I did think, though ─ and told Jared in person ─ that the June 19 piece had an uncharacteristically sour tone to it, and was more pointed than necessary. It didn't seem very . . . Jared. If Jared feels like airing his response to me in public, no doubt he will do so.
I'll take in turn as many of Jared's points as I can fit into a blog post.
Let me deal with the title of Jared's piece first. Everyone should understand that titles, in both electronic and print media, are mainly cooked up by editors, so that a writer should not normally be held responsible. Jared does, though, quote my original observation that I think race purists are: "wrong; and also, to judge from their occasional emails, slightly nuts," so I think the title is fair game.
Here is a link to one of those emails. Here below are snippets from more recent ones, all forwarded to me by VDARE.com. I have corrected innumerable spelling mistakes. My comments in parentheses.
"Yours is a monumental waste of white DNA, and benefited no one."
(If you consider existence preferable to non-existence ─ an arguable point, I'll grant ─ it has benefited my children, at least.)
"You failed in your duty as a leader for our people, a position you apparently very much want to fulfill."
(Where does this "apparent" desire of mine actually appear?)
"Good luck on breeding little mongrel children but miscegenation is not a crime before man but a violation of God's law. Look it up."
(If that's the God of Abraham we're talking about, you should provide a scriptural reference. If it's some other god, which one?)
"What drives mixed mating of your sort is a certain amount of self-loathing and distaste . . . I see in your writing a certain loathing of your birthplace and its people of the sort common among republican, deluded sorts of the middle class of England. Your choice to destroy your ancestral line seems to follow from this attitude, a decided desire to negate yourself and your past. The same attitude is seen in Jews desperately mixing with gentiles and anything else that comes their way."
(My family members, in both this life and the next, are helpless with laughter at being called "middle class." As a philosemite, though, I am flattered to be confederated with Jews.)
"If you really believe the nonsense that individuals of completely different races and incompatible genes can miscegenate without disastrous biological and cultural consequences, then you really need to read American Rennaissance and other intelligent publications on a subject you completely fail to understand."
(I have been an American Renaissance subscriber since the mid-1990s.)
Just cast your eye over those emails, reader. They are not outliers: they are modal. Indeed, on the subject of miscegenation, I hardly ever get any other kind.
Under the circumstances, I think "slightly nuts" is generously charitable. "Barking mad" would be closer to the mark. Other adjectives come to mind, too. What after all, should one think of someone who insults a stranger's wife and children from the safe remoteness of an email link?
(In regard to which, if any of these skulking cowards would like to repeat their insults to my face, it is easy enough to find a person's street address nowadays. Come show up at my door: I'll gladly receive you in the appropriate manner.)
And then Jared says: "Most people who think race should be a criterion for immigration also think it should be a criterion for marriage."
"Most people" are welcome to their opinion. I certainly don't think race should be a criterion for marriage.
My ideal for a modern nation is a large majority ethnic core maintained by strict immigration controls, combined with maximum liberty for citizens within the borders, including the liberty to marry whom they please. I strongly suspect that the first thing is a necessary condition for the second: that maximum liberty within a nation is only possible under maximum strictness of border controls. I once enlarged upon this suspicion in a piece titled "Libertarianism in One Country," in which I urged libertarians to emulate Joseph Stalin.
And no, I don't believe that "large majority ethnic core" need be racially exclusive. I want a little salt in the stew, and don't mind some fraternization across the salt-stew line. Nor do I think that citizens who travel abroad and meet a foreigner they want to marry, as I did, should be prohibited from bringing that foreigner home for settlement. The number of such cases will be small, of no demographic consequence, as all Americans understood in the case of the pre-1965 G.I. brides I mentioned in my original piece.
As always in immigration matters, it is a question of numbers. Mass miscegenation, like mass immigration, would have unforeseeable consequences. Both phenomena can be legitimately objected to. Absent the word "mass," however, we are in different territory, where our ancient liberties can be more easily defended. Numbers, numbers, numbers.
Now, you might say that my ideal for a modern nation, as spelled out above, has been lost in the case of the U.S.A.: that since every ethnicity, including European Americans, is a minority, or soon will be, we are all entitled to practice the privilege of minorities and husband our gene pools. That is what I was alluding to when I said in my original piece that freedom of mate choice "theoretically might" be incompatible with the VDARE.com ethos.
In a nation consisting of nothing but minorities, yes, there might be a case for placing miscegenation under strong social disapproval, as homosexuality was in the Western world until 40 years ago. I don't myself believe that such a nation could be stable on a timescale much longer than a decade, though, so the internal arrangements of such a nation are not interesting to me.
Nor do I believe that in the case of the U.S.A. today the cause is lost, that "the wood has been made into a boat." If I did believe that, I would not bother contributing to VDARE.com. What would be the point?
"It is a near-universal human desire for people to want to see themselves rather than strangers in their children," avers Jared.
Even supposing Jared is right, it remains tautologically the case that near-universal human desires are not universal. One of the marks of a civilized society, in my opinion, is that it is accommodative (not a synonym for "approving") of human oddity.
We may be up against a cultural difference here. The English amongst whom I was raised pride themselves (or used to) on their tolerance for eccentricity; and one of the prejudices the English hold (or used to) regarding their American cousins is that Americans are a nation of sheeplike, intolerant conformists.
I hasten to say that after living 36 years in these States, the last ten of them as a proud citizen, I do not think this prejudice well-founded; but the race purists seem determined to reinforce it none the less.
English-American culture differences may also be in play in Jared's barely-concealed fondness for anti-miscegenation laws, as against my strong distaste for them. Yes, I know Jared wrote that: "Even if it were possible to pass anti-miscegenation laws I would oppose them." This is imbedded in text that makes it look perfunctory, though ─ an apologetic and insincere afterthought. So it seems to me, at any rate. Possibly the personal references in Jared's piece have made me over-suspicious.
Certainly there is a real difference in attitudes to liberty between the two nations of Jared's and my original allegiance. My own inspiration is the one I offered in my original June 7 piece: that opening page of A.J.P. Taylor's English History, 1914-1945. From the liberties sketched there, I would subtract only liberty of international settlement, for the reasons I gave.
Miscegenation in that free England before WW1 was not an issue. I don't believe it was ever an issue in the England of the old liberties. When Dr. Johnson's black manservant, Francis Barber, demonstrated his prowess in courting women while on a trip to the country with his master, Johnson ─ a rock-ribbed conservative ─ made a joke of it: "I must have you know, ladies, that Frank has carried the empire of Cupid further than most men . . ."
It was also Johnson, however, who mocked the American revolutionaries with that lethal barb: "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?" The contradiction Johnson pinpointed there was a poisonous ichor ─ poisonous to liberty ─ flowing through American veins from the beginning, even in the free states, even after Emancipation, and still I think in some degree today. The anti-miscegenation laws were an offense against liberty; it was the poison that made them possible.
(And yes, of course I know that the absence of that poison from English veins was due to the English having kept slavery hypocritically out of sight in the Caribbean colonies, so that most Englishmen never had any occasion to think about it: though Johnson had words to say about that, too.)
The anti-miscegenation laws seem to have been directed mainly against blacks. Oklahoma's 1908 statute was perhaps the bluntest: "The marriage of any person of African descent as defined by the Constitution, to any person not of African descent, or the marriage of any person not of African descent to any person of African descent, shall be unlawful and is hereby prohibited within this State."
It can, I think, seriously be doubted whether, if there had never been large numbers of blacks in the U.S.A., anti-miscegenation laws would ever have been thought of at all.
As to Jared's dire warnings about the dangers to mental and physical health faced by the offspring of mixed-race marriages ─ Pshaw! There are hazards of every kind in human reproduction.
I just last week read in a newspaper article that: "Twin and triplet babies have a five time greater risk of dying within their first year compared to single babies." We all know that older mothers have higher risk of birth defects. Suicide rates are sensationally higher in some nations than in others, for reasons partly genetic. (The only three nations of Finno-Ugrian linguistic stock are all in the top 20 on that list.)
Should we not then have twins? Should we make our women breed early? Should we shun marriage with Finns, Hungarians, and Estonians?
I suppose some people would say so. Most of us, however, have in these matters what investment advisers call "a high appetite for risk," and take whatever Nature feels like offering us with the partner we have chosen.
In the particular case of European-Asian matches, Jared and I both recently attended a lecture that included a genetic analysis of the Uighurs, a Central Asian people. They are very precisely half European, half Asian.
I have, as it happens, met more than the average number of Uighurs. They seem to me a fine sturdy people not notably lacking in intelligence or afflicted with any very noticeable personality defects. They are certainly robust enough to be giving the Chinese Communists a lot of trouble.
I say again: Pshaw!
All that said, there is probably no resolving this matter to the complete satisfaction of both Jared and myself. Those cultural differences are too ingrained.
This is, too, a very difficult zone in which to resolve anything: the zone where the private meets the public. As an outlier in many respects ─ an oddity, "a member of the Awkward Squad" (according to my mother: and if a mother doesn't know, who does?) ─ my inclination is always to privilege the private over the public; though I am of course aware that private behavior can have large social consequences. It was intimately private behavior that brought us the AIDS plague, for example.
Liberty can only be guaranteed by public arrangements, including (according to me) by strictly-controlled national borders.
The main point of liberty, though, the joy of liberty, is in what it affords us privately.
It is the common opinion of mankind that life has no greater blessing than a contented and enduring marriage. It is my extraordinary good fortune to be so blessed, in spite of bearing the burden of a contrary and antisocial personality.
To borrow a turn of phrase from Elizabeth the First, I think foul scorn that Jared Taylor or anyone else should seek, in the name of a crabbed and quasi-totalitarian ideology, to belittle the treasure I have found, or to deny the possibility of it to others. Amor vincit omnia!
I am glad, though, that Jared has at least learned the correct spelling of "Fu Manchu."