Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Founding Fathers, Not ‘Diversity,’ is the Solution to ‘Our Racialized Society’

My last post dealt with the column Newark teen recognized for tackling race issues by the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Barry Carter. Carter describes the work of a black student at Delbarton, a private NJ high school, to foster better race relations at the school through his “Diversity Among Peers” initiative, for which he won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. As a result of his efforts, the student, Shawn Ohazuruike, had just received the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. I noted that, despite his good intentions, Shawn’s cloaking of his initiative in the “diversity” premise reinforces the racist foundation of racial disharmony, thus undermining his goal.


One correspondent, urbanguru—whom I extensively engaged on the Star-Ledger website (see my last post)—blamed America’s Founding Fathers for racial problems, labeling them “our racialized society”:


Though as an individual [many whites] may not believe that they are racist or bigoted and most aren't ,but our racialized society -which t the founding fathers  created and many ,many successive generations of whites upheld and sustained  is the reason why we still need to work toward racial respect and inclusion.


I left this reply to urbanguru, edited and expanded for clarity:


“. . . our racialized society -which t the founding fathers  created . . .” (sic)


This couldn’t be more wrong.


The principles of the Founding Fathers were precisely opposite of a racialized—i.e., tribalized; i.e., collectivized—society. The Declaration of Independence, the philosophic blueprint for America and the “conscience of the Constitution,” lays out the basis for an individualist, i.e., just, society—that all men are created equal, possessing unalienable individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


True, the Declaration’s principles were not fully implemented at the Founding. Many people were left out—blacks, women. This is not surprising, given the Founders’ radicalism. Racialism has been embedded throughout human history. Major change takes time. It takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work for new ideas to spread. But you have to start somewhere, and the Founders did. Remember that the principles of the Declaration formed the basis for the abolitionist movement, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the Women’s Suffrage movement, and the 20th Century Civil Rights movement—Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was firmly rooted in the Founder's vision, as he quoted extensively from the Declaration of Independence, which he referred to as “magnificent words”—and, more recently, the marriage equality movement. The Founding Fathers are not the cause of “our racialized society.” To the extent we still have one, they are the solution to it.


-------------------------------------------


Urbanguru goes on to say:


FYI, I have three college degrees(and i'm an expert on economic and community development , but as an African American male whites seethe color of my skin first,and though i'm often right about subjects pertaining to political-economy, urban economics, business and finance-  whites still struggle to accept my  intelligence or they say things like  "you  are very articulate" translation you speak well for a black guy sad but true. (sic)


This is exactly my point. “Diversity” ideology encourages people to “see the color of my skin first.” Why would a white person think “you speak well for a black guy” unless his earlier encounter with a black person was with an inarticulate black person, leading to his conclusion that all black people are inarticulate?


Contrary to urbanguru, a racialized society is precisely the consequence of the diversity movement.


When viewpoints are tied to race, the logical next step is to conclude that one person’s opinion or manner of speaking is indicative of that person’s entire race or nationality. Therefore, If I disagree, I’d have to assume that I disagree with the entire racial group to which the person I disagree with belongs, even though I personally know few within his group. And if I have fundamental differences of opinion on what I believe and value with one person, I’d have to conclude that I have nothing in common with any member of that person’s entire racial group. So, why bother with any of them? They can’t help it. Their viewpoints are in their genes and in their blood. Why bother? Ascribing the viewpoint or idea of a single individual to an entire group linked only by race or national origin is the very essence of racism. That’s what diversity encourages, by urging us to mingle with people of different races simply to get “their” viewpoint—the hispanic or black or white or Asian viewpoints.


As Peter Schwartz observes in his prescient piece The Racism of “Diversity”:


It is now widely accepted that “diversity” is an appropriate goal for society. But what does this dictum actually mean? Racial integration is a valid objective, but that is something very different from what the advocates of “diversity” seek. According to its proponents, we need “diversity” in order to be exposed to new perspectives on life. We supposedly gain “enrichment from the differences in viewpoint of minorities,” as the MIT Faculty Newsletter puts it. “It is the only way to prepare students to live and work effectively in our diverse democracy and in the global economy,” says the president of the University of Michigan. Minorities should be given preferential treatment, the university’s vice president says, because “learning in a diverse environment benefits all students, minority and majority alike.”


These circumlocutions translate simply into this: one’s race determines the content of one’s mind. They imply that people have worthwhile views to express because of their ethnicity, and that “diversity” enables us to encounter “black ideas,” “Hispanic ideas,” etc. What could be more repulsively racist than that? This is exactly the premise held by the South’s slave-owners and by the Nazis’ Storm Troopers. They too believed that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by his racial heritage.


Any individual’s “perspectives on life” are his and his alone. They should not be automatically ascribed to him because of his race, nationality, or ethnicity. That’s grossly unfair to all other members of his group. But that’s what the diversity movement demands. That’s why we should fight tooth and nail against the diversity movement.


Related Reading:




"I Have a Dream" -- Speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King  at the "March on Washington," 1963.



Martin Luther King Should be Remembered for his Ideals, Not His Politics

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DelBarton Student’s 'Diversity' Initiative, Though Well-Meaning, is Based on Counter-Productive Premises

In the column Newark teen recognized for tackling race issues, the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Barry Carter describes the work of a black student of Delbarton, a private NJ high school, to foster better race relations at the school. The student, Shawn Ohazuruike, had just received the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for his initiative.


The problem I have is not with every aspect of these types of programs—such as getting people of different races and backgrounds talking—but with the premise that cloaks them. Shawn’s program is part of the collectivistic “diversity” movement, which puts at the forefront of personal identity a person’s race or nationality. So, immediately, one must mentally climb over a racial or nationalist wall before one can get at a person’s character; “Oh, he’s black (or white or Indian). Now what? Let’s see, how do I treat this person? Let me consult my ‘diversity’ training handbook.”


Is this any way to foster better race relations—by dividing people by race at the very start?


I left these comments:


I commend Shawn Ohazuruike for his efforts but I question his basic premises.


The answer to problems of race relations is not  “Minority Mentors Program” or “majority mentoring program” or even “Diversity Among Peers.” Those terms imply group affiliation as the primary way of judging people. Diversity of what? Of skin color? How do you get rid of racial stereotypes, a laudable goal, if you’re basic program is to categorize people according to some attribute they have no control over, like their race?


Tribalism, these days more often called collectivism, is as old as human history. Collectivism holds that the focus of moral concern is the group, and thus people should be judged according to some group characteristic. Racism is the crudest form of collectivism, because it judges people according to something he has absolutely no control over—his skin color. How do you get rid of racial stereotypes without challenging collectivism?


I also question the inclusion of a Muslim in the initiative. People should be judged on things they have control over, like one’s ideas. Religion is not a race. It is an ideology—a set of ideas. Humans have free will, so people should be judged based on the ideas they hold and act upon. While people shouldn’t be judged by skin color or cultural background, a person’s religion is properly open to judgement. But that is a subject for another column.


If better race relations is the goal, the only real antidote to racism and racial stereotyping is individualism. Individualism holds that the focus of moral concern is the individual, and thus each person should be judged only by individual characteristics over which he has control. Individualism is a very recent development in human history, stemming from the Enlightenment and the basis of this country’s Founding. Yet tribalism persists, because individualism is not fully accepted and not yet even properly understood. We need to get rid of the last remnants of tribalism in our thinking. The core problem is highlighted by that white student who said his opinion didn’t matter because he’s “not a minority.” Not a minority? He’s an individual, the smallest possible minority. Perhaps Shawn’s original title, “Minority Mentors Program,” might work if the group's working slogan was, The Individual, the Smallest Minority.


----------------------------


There’s a lot of misunderstanding about my point. One correspondent, Verno, replying to my comments, said, “Your entire premise assumes that we live in a post-racial, colorblind society, where it is possible to just ‘ignore’ or ‘look over’ someone's race, cultural heritage etc.” No,”  I responded, “my entire premise is that we should live in a post-racial, colorblind society.” Cultural heritage, of course, like religion, is not the same as race. But the same principles apply: People shouldn't be judged by how other members of their cultural heritage lived and thought. People have free will, and can break away from tradition if they choose


Verno also explained that “The DAP/MMP is not categorizing people according to race (it is in perhaps a literal sense) but more accurately put, it is recognizing that people are categorizing according to race,” but insisted that the solution is “recognizing that race is a meaningful category that needs to be addressed and accounted for in new environments.” The first part is definitely true. But, I reiterated in response, the very fact that “race is a meaningful category . . . in many people’s eyes is precisely the problem. Race doesn’t determine our ideas, actions, or character. The field of individual choice does not come in colors.”


In a revealing paragraph, Verno writes:


Ending racism requires recognition of racial differences instead of ignorance of them. It is important to recognize how black people are consciously and subconsciously excluded from systems whether that's in education, work force, etc. and then make active attempts to include them; not to say we "shouldn't recognize race and should end race". Your whole notion of focusing on "individuality" only makes sense if we lived in a post-racial society. But we don't. Race is a psychological phenomenon that comes with a whole set of stereotypes and issues that need to be actively addressed instead of ignored.


Verno is equivocating the cause of racism with racism’s devastating effects. To eliminate the effects of racism, we must eliminate both consciously and subconsciously manifested racism. To eliminate racism, we must stop group-categorizing people generally and especially by race.


Speaking of blacks being “subconsciously excluded,” two other correspondents, urbanguru and Chris M, respectively, raised the issue of “unconscious bias,” with one saying “Unfortunately, there is no universal solution to the elimination of the ‘unconscious bias’ as it is an ingrained learned mental construct that hardens with age.” I replied, with minor edits:


I disagree that “there is no universal solution.” There is—individualism, which is based on the metaphysical fact that each of us possesses the independent capacity for reason and free will, and thus the power to forge our own character development.


I do agree that “unconscious bias” is very hard (though not impossible) to dislodge. Almost all “ingrained learned mental constructs” [what Ayn Rand referred to as ‘automatization’], for good or bad, start with the explicit ideas we accept early in life. That’s why individualist education has to start with the young, so as to embed in the subconscious that people should be judged on the content of their character, rather than color of their skin. The diversity movement is counter-productive because it only reinforces unconscious racial bias in the young by focussing on racial group rather than individual identity.


Urbanguru responded:


. . . i disagree with you regarding "the diversity issue " as a facilitator of unconscious bias.


i have and continue to witness the adverse impact that the notion and effect of real or perceived racism has on the  fragile self esteem of young black and latino males that live in urban ghettos and emerging( i.e. gentrified ) urban areas. [sic]


Once again, we see the equivocation of racism with racism’s effects, and then failing to see that the first is facilitated by the group-think of the diversity premise.


There is no doubt in my mind that many champions of “diversity” are well-meaning. But it is equally without doubt to me that Leftist intellectual leaders invented the diversity movement as part of the drive to replace America’s individualist foundation with collectivism, as a precondition to their authoritarian designs. It’s a moral travesty that, half a century after Martin Luther King urged us to judge each other on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin, the diversity movement is openly propagating the primacy of ethnicity as the standard by which to judge people.


Related Reading:





From 'Diversity Maps' to Forced Integration: Obama's Racist Housing Policy Masks the Real Problem—Lack of Free Markets

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trump’s Revoking of Washington Post’s Press Credentials is Not a Violation of Press Freedom

Donald Trump raised some hackles when he revoked the press credentials of the Washington Post for criticizing him. As I understand it, this revocation bans Washington Post reporters from covering Trump’s campaign from within the campaign. Critics immediately attacked Trump for violating freedom of the press.


Yahoo News reported:


Reporters Without Borders said that Trump’s decision was “a serious violation of freedom of the press.”


The organizations’s director in the United States, Delphine Halgand, said that they “strongly and unequivocally condemns this latest act of hostility toward the press as a serious violation of press freedom. How, in the country of the First Amendment, can the Republican party’s nominee for President justify revoking press credentials for one of the country’s major newspapers?” (sic)


Fox News reported:


In a statement, Post editor Martin Baron said, "Donald Trump's decision to revoke The Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along - honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We're proud of our coverage, and we're going to keep at it."


Both Baron and Reporters Without Borders are spewing nonsense. Trump is neither violating press freedom, the First Amendment, or repudiating the role of a free and independent press.


The First Amendment protects the press from governmental—i.e., legal; i.e., forcible—abridgement of that right to press freedom. Freedom of the press does not mean a private citizen must deal with a member of the press against his will. Candidate Trump, as a private citizen, can do what he did. A President Trump, in his capacity as a government official, cannot. Note that the Post itself acknowledged that it can and “will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along.” Trump cannot stop them. He can only refuse to deal with them. That is his right, which does not violate the rights of the Washington Post.


This post does not excuse Trump of his hostility toward free speech. But in this instance, Trump is within his rights under the First Amendment.


Related Reading:





Trump vs. Clinton Is Terrible News for Fans of Free Speech and the First Amendment—Damon Root for Reason.com

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Democrats’ Fascist Fangs Exposed in Crusade Against ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Change

The Democrats’ attack on dissenters of the government's official catastrophic climate change narrative, which started with Exxon, is reaching more and more private citizens for the crime of speaking their minds. Now, the attack has hit Alex Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress. The Daily Caller published Epstein’s “terse response to a subpoena sent by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Wednesday.” Michael Bastasch reports:


Healey demanded the oil giant ExxonMobil hand over 40 years of documents, including information pertaining to the company’s dealings with about a dozen think tanks and trade associations, which have been targeted by environmental groups for opposing left-wing global warming policies.


Healey’s subpoena targeted the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a for-profit think tank founded by Epstein. Epstein wasn’t exactly happy about being targeted for disagreeing with Healey on global warming, so he sent the AG’s office the following response: “Re: your demand to seize my emails—Fuck off, fascist.”


The Washington Times also reported on Epstein’s response:


Mr. Epstein is a proud fossil fuel advocate, a believer that the benefits from cheap, reliable energy are more than offset by any still-under-debate problems from rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His views are laid out in his 2014 book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” (Penguin Random House).


For this, he finds himself on the prosecutor’s radar. His advocacy group, the Center for Industrial Progress, was named in an April 19 subpoena issued by Ms. Healey’s office demanding 40 years of communications between ExxonMobil and a dozen free market groups and universities.




The government has no right to demand a single email of mine or Exxon’s unless it has evidence that we are committing fraud by concealing or fabricating evidence. In the case of the climate impact of CO2, this is impossible–because all the evidence about CO2 and climate is in the public domain, largely collected and disseminated by government agencies or government-funded educational institutions.


But [ExxonMobil] ended up being right. The speculative claims turned out to be false. We have experienced mild (not runaway) warming that is only loosely correlated with CO2–and global fossil fueled development has helped bring climate-related deaths to an all-time low. How can you say #ExxonKnew about an imminent climate catastrophe that wasn’t real?


Healey is part of a cabal of Democrat AGs using (actually, abusing) the prosecutorial power of the state to silence global warming dissenters. This attack is being waged under cover of anti-fraud laws. But as Epstein continues:


There is a fundamental distinction in civilized society between fraud and opinion. By calling dissenting opinions fraud, the Massachusetts Attorney General and others are making independent thought a crime. To do this in the name of science is obscene. Science thrives on the open, competitive exchange of evidence and arguments–not of suppressing dissenters. True scientists can win on the competitive market of ideas. Newton didn’t need to suppress dissenters to advance his three laws of motion and Einstein didn’t need to suppress dissenters to advance his theories of relativity. Only those with fallacious conclusions are desperate for government to descend on their opponents. The opponents of the heliocentric theory did need to suppress Galileo. And the opponents of fossil fuels, who have staked careers and status on what are now clearly exaggerated assessments of CO2’s warming impact and clearly underestimated assessments of fossil fuels’ life-and-death importance to billions, cannot win on a competitive market of ideas. This is why they are so desperate to claim that “the debate is over,” to indoctrinate young students into climate catastrophism before they can think critically, to deny government research funding to scientists who disagree with them, and to falsely claim a 97% consensus.


In my view, this modern day inquisition is proof that the catastrophic climate change dogma is a load of crap. The inquisition should remove all doubt that the American Left represents fascism.  


[One positive note: As the Washington Times reported, “[Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E.] Walker wound up dropping a subpoena in May against the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is pursuing sanctions against the prosecutor. The institute is one of the dozen groups named in the Massachusetts subpoena against Exxon.” We’ll have to wait and see if that is the beginning of the unraveling of the entire Democrat inquisition.]


Related Reading:



First the Government Went After ExxonMobil. Now They’re Going After Me—Alex Epstein

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Climate Change Catastrophists Who Oppose Nuclear have Anti-Humanist Premises

You can, perhaps, divide the anti-reliable energy crowd into somewhat sincere and completely insincere categories. The main objection to so-called “dirty” fossil fuels is the so-called “carbon pollution” they allegedly release. Carbon pollution is, of course, carbon dioxide, which is not a pollutant, but is believed to be a contributor to climate change (aka global warming).


For the more rational climate alarmists, so-called “renewable” energy—mainly solar and wind—is part of the solution but by far not the only game in town, especially given its unreliability. There are also non-co2 emitting, reliable nuclear and hydroelectric power. So, in my view, the test of the sincerity of the climate change worrywarts is the answer to the question, Do you consider nuclear and hydroelectric power to be part of the solution to climate change?


One such worrywart who failed the test is the writer of a New Jersey Star-Ledger letter titled Creating more nuclear power detracts from clean energy. Leaving aside the ridiculous implication that nuclear power isn’t “clean” by environmentalist standards, Nancy Taiani writes:


We certainly must convert from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. . . . However, I disagree with [The Star-Ledger's editorial] suggestion to increase the use of nuclear power.


Taiani’s fears include the “problem” of “safe” nuclear waste disposal, the Fukushima [earthquake] disaster, and the “hope to prevent New York City and island nations from flooding by century's end.”


I left these comments, slightly edited for clarity:


Nuclear waste has been safely disposed of for decades. Yes, better ways may be desireable. But that is a technological problem that should not stand in the way of expanding nuclear power. Nuclear power is the safest, cleanest energy technology available today, the Fukushima disaster notwithstanding.


So why do people supposedly “concerned about the environment” oppose nuclear? If environmentalists were really concerned about a cleaner environment, or minimizing co2 emissions, they’d embrace nuclear power. That they don’t makes no sense, on its face. Why?
Environmentalists’ opposition to nuclear power is not because of some technological issue. That’s just a rationalization.


Viewed from environmentalists’ moral premises, their opposition to nuclear makes perfect sense. In truth, environmentalists are not driven primarily by a desire for “clean” energy. Solar and wind are not, in fact, renewable. They require massive mining operations to harvest finite natural raw materials, as well as extensive land use, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and maintenance operations; and they too have serious pollution consequences that must be dealt with. Environmentalists are driven by an anti-energy agenda rooted in their most fundamental moral premises. Environmentalists are not concerned about a cleaner, safer environment, because their standard of value is not human life and well-being. Their standard is unaltered nature.


But man’s means of survival is precisely to transform the natural environment into one that is conducive to human flourishing. That transformation means technological industrialization. What is the foundation upon which industrialization is built? The industry of industries—reliable, economical, massively scalable energy production.


But on the environmentalists’ standard of unaltered, unimpacted nature, reliable energy of any kind is the enemy of the environment, precisely because it is vital to the industrial transformation of the Earth’s natural environment. They embrace so-called “renewables” precisely because “renewables” are not reliable and, as a primary energy source, cannot sustain the wonderful, life-enhancing, nature-improving industrial infrastructure our better-than-ever and ever-advancing standard of living requires. If “renewables” ever achieved true viability, environmentalists’ moral premises would compel them to turn against renewables, as well, just as environmentalism’s leading intellectuals feared cheap, inexhaustible fusion nuclear power when reports of viable fusion power surfaced temporarily in the 1980s. They reject fossil, nuclear, and even hydro because those energy sources enable the industrial scale energy that the advance and maintenance of progressive industrialization depend upon.


A pro-human would champion the most feasible forms of energy, and try to solve any negative side-effects through technology. A pro-human would not erect legal barriers to the best energy sources like nuclear and especially fossils, in the quasi-religious hope that some inferior energy source will somehow pick up the slack. A pro-human would not risk human well-being in that way. A pro-human would leave all energy producers unimpeded to compete in a free market. If solar and wind could someday overcome their massive technical drawbacks and achieve industrial-scale capabilities, great. If not, that’s ok too; there’s always fossil and nuclear and their continuing technological advance. (Environmentalists know that “renewables” are not viable alternatives. This is proven by the fact that environmentalists’ primary focus is to stop fossil and nuclear, rather than advance “renewables.” They readily admit that nuclear “detracts from clean energy,” and fossil fuels “set us behind in our drive for a clean energy future.” If “renewables” really are better, nothing could stop them. But they are inferior. That’s why, given a free market choice, consumers will choose reliable, economical fossil fuels—or, when available, nuclear and hydro— over “renewables.”)


But environmentalists are anti-human. Like Dark Age witch doctors, they are perfectly willing to sacrifice human well-being to “mother nature.” That explains why environmentalists oppose fossil fuels. They claim co2-induced climate change is their reason. But that’s a rationalization. Otherwise, they’d embrace co2-free nuclear expansion. Environmentalists’ goals are driven by their moral premises; unaltered nature, not human life, as the ideal and standard of value. Environmentalist anti-humanism is a perfect partner to Pope Francis’s poverty-worshipping statism.


----------------------------------------------


There are more sincere (or less insincere) climate change alarmists. The Star-Ledger—the paper Taiani criticizes—for one. But there are others. In a hopeful sign, Reason.com’s Ronald Bailey reports on a potential Advanced Reactor Nuclear Power Resurgence in the U.S. Bailey reports on privately funded technological advances that offer “walk-away-safe” nuclear power; i.e., nuclear plants that burn away their own nuclear waste.


Encouragingly, at least for we pro-fossil fuel catastrophic climate change skeptics worried about a potential man-made energy poverty calamity, Bailey reports that a former top Obama Administration official has turned pro-nuclear thanks to the new technological developments:


"I was not always pro-nuclear power," former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carol Browner declared Wednesday at the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, D.C. She changed her mind 12 years ago, because she "couldn't be responsible about my views on climate change and carbon pollution without taking this clean energy source seriously." Now Browner has joined the Nuclear Matters' Leadership Council, which seeks to make sure America's 99 operating nuclear power plants—which currently supply nearly 20 percent of the country's electricity and two thirds of its no-carbon electric power—are not unnecessarily and prematurely shut down.


The environmentalist movement could use more people like Browner, at least as regards rational thinking about the nuclear power option.


Related Reading:



In ‘Honor’ of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Grab a Burger