Monday, February 27, 2012

The problem of the mummy teacher

When I became a teacher I soon discovered that the English and history departments in the schools I taught at were dedicated not so much to English and history but to another subject altogether, one which focused obsessively on instances of white racism.

I explained this in terms of the old guard of teachers in those departments. These teachers had typically gone to uni at the height of student radicalism in the early 1970s. They were lefty true believers and very political. It was difficult to challenge them because they were so fiercely committed to political leftism as a world view. But they were on the verge of retirement. My hope was that things would improve after they left and a new generation of teachers replaced them.

And nearly all of those teachers have now retired. But, if anything, things have gotten worse not better.

Why? The problem now is the mummy teacher. The mummy teacher is a very nice person. She bakes for students and staff. She hugs the students and calls them "dear" and "darling". She gives them cards in little decorated envelopes. She is a feminine creature and very "emotionally empathetic".

In a family setting that would be an undoubted virtue. Who would not want to be loved by a mother like that? But what is a virtue at home can be a vice at school.

The mummy teacher is not very political. Sometimes she is not political at all. But she is addicted to issues of white racism. It is what drives her commitment to teaching. She needs it and feeds off it. It is her constant obsession.

I've pondered this for some time now. I've come to believe that the mummy teacher obsesses over issues of white racism for two reasons. First, it creates a powerful emotional moment for her. She can create an emotionally charged journey for herself and her students by studying the holocaust, or lynchings, or apartheid, or refugees or Aborigines.

She does not find this journey unpleasant. She likes to get emotional. Ordinary life does not afford her the opportunity to experience her emotions as she would like to. It is something she looks forward to, the way that some women might enjoy getting caught up emotionally in a romance novel.

It seems natural to her to choose to focus on such things. Why would she focus instead on, say, the creation of Ancient Greek civilisation? What depth of emotion is there for her in that? And why would she focus on correct usage of grammar? Again, how would that motivate the career of a highly emotionally empathetic woman? She might as well stay home with the kids - there would be a greater emotional experience in that. If she's going to come to school, she has to have what seems to her a worthwhile reason to do so.

And what is the second reason for her obsession with the holocaust, apartheid, refugees, the civil rights movement etc. Experiencing life as a highly empathetic woman, she wants to mould her students to be the same. She assumes that the point of teaching history and English is to instill empathy in her students. To identify emotionally with the "other" becomes the ultimate educational aim of both English and history.

For that reason, what she enjoys most is teaching students to create "emotionally persuasive" arguments in their class presentations. And she does not shy away from encouraging students to adopt a stance of advocacy rather than one of dispassionate analysis of the facts.

The result is that white communities, already suffering from a lack of self-belief, get hammered over and over in the school curriculum. And not by radical liberals, but by emotionally feminine women.

What can we do about this? I would suggest the following:

a) Ideally traditionalists would set up independent schools. In Australia close to half of students already attend independent schools.

b) It would help if more men were encouraged to become English and history teachers. That's not an automatic solution: there are plenty of "soft liberal" men in the education system. But the more men, the less likely it is that the feminisation of English and history will run out of control.

c) We need to set out clearly an alternative view of what the teaching of English and history aims to achieve. There doesn't have to be one single aim. The study of history, for instance, might aim to encourage a sense of connectedness to a longstanding tradition; it might set out to encourage an appreciation of art and culture; it might aim to develop analytical writing skills; it might aim to equip students with sufficient general knowledge to take part in educated conversation; it might aim as well to encourage an interest or inquisitiveness in the past and a sense of its relevance to people today.

d) We can encourage parents to take up the role neglected at school by teaching their children about the history and culture of their own tradition. This can be done through books, films, projects, trips to historic sites, family trees and family histories etc.

e) Even a small group of traditionalists could run an after hours programme, offering informal courses in history and culture. Alternatively, a small group of traditionalists could commission books and resources and make them available to parents.

f) We can encourage parents to be careful in looking over the history and English programmes when considering schools for their children. Parents can ask which books and films are analysed at different year levels. If they are mostly about white racism, then parents could opt for a different school.

Finally, to finish on a positive note, there's a story in the Daily Mail today about plans to encourage parents to visit local history sites with their children:
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘In the high street, the housing estate, the park, riverside and field, every town, city and village is full of places in which significant events have taken place.

‘We want every child, their parents and teachers to enjoy and take pride in the heritage of their local area.’

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Did South Africa's President sing a kill the Boer song?

This has not been in the news at all in Australia. It appears that the South African President, Jacob Zuma, sang a song earlier this year which contains the phrase "kill the Boer" - the term "Boer" referring either to farmers or to white men.

The song has already been ruled to be hate speech by the South African courts. Another politician in South Africa, Julius Malema, was convicted of hate speech by a court in September of last year for singing the song.

A group representing the Boer population has lodged a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission against the President for singing the song.

It's a particularly serious issue in South Africa, as 3000 white farmers have been murdered in that country since the mid-90s. A written declaration was presented to the EU this month protesting the murders (see below):

There are websites (here, here and here) which track these murders (warning, the content can be graphic).

And here is video of Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, singing the song with gusto at the ANC centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein in January:

I can't vouch for the translation, but the lyrics of the song have been rendered as follows:
Ayasab' amagwala (the cowards are scared) dubula dubula (shoot shoot) ayeah dubula dubula (shoot shoot ) ayasab 'a magwala (the cowards are scared) dubula dubula (shoot shoot) awu yoh dubula dubula (shoot shoot) aw dubul'ibhunu (shoot the Boer) dubula dubula (shoot shoot) aw dubul'ibhunu (shoot the Boer) dubula dubula (shoot shoot) aw dubul'ibhunu (shoot the Boer) dubula dubula (shoot shoot) aw dubul'ibhunu (shoot the Boer) dubula dubula (shoot shoot)

It has been suggested that Zuma sang a slightly different version of the song with the lyrics "Kill the pink skin" rather than "Kill the Boer" but the overall effect would seem to be much the same.

Why isn't there more international attention focused on the fate of the Boers? One reason is that the Western middle-class is ideologically committed to the idea that whites are privileged oppressors and therefore are immune from persecution. They cannot bring themselves to recognise the vulnerable position of whites in South Africa, particularly the white farmers living in isolation on farms. Nor, perhaps, are they aware of the real poverty of some of the Boers in South Africa, who are given the lowest priority when it comes to employment.

Reuters ran an article on Afrikaner poverty in South Africa back in 2010. About 10% of the white population is thought to live in poverty, with about 100,000 struggling to survive. There are now white squatter camps close to the South African capital Pretoria.

A squatter camp for poor whites outside Pretoria

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why the left doesn't care

I used to wonder if white leftists ever had pangs of conscience over their policies (if carried on for long enough) imperilling the existence of a whole race of people.

But then I realised that if you look at the world through a left-liberal mindset that you're unlikely to register the fact of white decline.

Why? The official end goal of liberalism is a world of "equal freedom" - which means more specifically a world in which individuals are equally autonomous - which means more specifically a world in which no-one is impeded in carrying through their individual life aims by predetermined qualities like their sex, race, ethnicity, sexuality etc.

But liberals have to recognise that qualities like sex, race and sexuality do affect life outcomes. An example would be lower average incomes and educational achievements of black Americans compared to white Americans, or lower lifetime earnings of women compared to men.

So liberals are confronted with a world they see as immorally ordered. And they have to explain why such an immoral order exists.

They are not likely to argue that different outcomes occur because of the differing natures, interests, talents, capacities or life aims of the sexes or races. They would see this as a pessimistic view, one in which the immoral ordering of society was inevitable.

Instead, liberals "optimistically" stick with the idea that society is progressing toward a more moral social order and that the continuing distinctions between the sexes and races are socially constructed and can therefore be reformed.

But why was society constructed immorally to begin with? This is where left-liberals, as distinct from right-liberals, take a particular path. They believe that one group of people organised themselves as a false category in order to "other" and oppress everyone excluded from that false category. The whole system of society, the theory goes, was structured to maintain the supremacy (the unearned privilege) of the false category group.

So who exactly are these people running a false category scam and morally disordering society? Unfortunately if you are a straight white male like myself, the do-badders identified by left-liberals are whites, males and straights.

That left-liberal theory has some very unfortunate consequences. First, it means that white society is treated as being exceptional in a negative sense. If a non-white group does well it can be explained in terms of hard work or a stable family life. But if whites do well, it is due to an unearned privilege. Similarly, left-liberals can look sympathetically on the expression of non-white cultures, whilst taking a hostile view toward a similar expression of a white culture (since the white culture only exists to assert an unjust privilege).

That's why left-liberals are quick to label a white person who takes pride in his culture as a 'supremacist'. That might seem illogical to the average person, but if you are a left-liberal and you believe that whiteness was created for the purpose of maintaining supremacy over others, then someone identifying positively with a white culture will be assumed to be supporting "supremacy".

And a final consequence of the theory? Left-liberals are unlikely to recognise the seriousness of the position that the white peoples of the world find themselves in. After all, the left-liberal theory is that inequality continues to exist because whites are a dominant power oppressing the non-white other. So your whole focus will be on white privilege and dominance in the world rather than vulnerability.

I recently saw an example of this kind of thinking in a comment to a story in the left-liberal Salon magazine. It began with a more conservative commenter challenging the Salon readers with a question: why is it that the solution to the race problem is thought to be mass immigration into Western countries, a measure that if continued will lead eventually to the genocide of whites, whilst Asian and African peoples are allowed to continue their own existence?

A Salon reader responded with this:
Nobody is advocating the "genocide" of white people. It's laughable how you equate a moderate decrease in the economic and cultural influence of whites as some kind of spectacular genocide.

But when you've been privileged for that long, I guess you do lose all sense of perspective.

The Salon reader simply hasn't registered the real position that whites are in. He or she is still fixated on the idea on the idea of whites being privileged, and as such can only recognise a "moderate decrease" in the position of whites. There are no pangs of conscience from the Salon reader because:

a) The focus is on whites being privileged and so nothing more than a "moderate decrease" in the position of whites is recognised


b) It is implied that this "moderate decrease" in the position of whites is a moral thing, a taking away of privilege rather than an assault on historic human communities.

What can be done to challenge the left-liberal position? Plenty of things.

i) The left-liberal position thrives when it goes unchallenged. The more non-liberals we get into the political class, the less room there will be for unexamined assumptions on the left.

ii) We can point to the fact that the system doesn't work to privilege whites the way that the left-liberal theory assumes it to do. For instance, whilst blacks do worse than whites in certain areas such as income and education, Asian-Americans do significantly better than white Americans, i.e. it is Asian-Americans who are, on average, the most privileged and not white Americans.

iii) We can point to other explanations for group distinctions. Among them are differences in IQ, in other inherited traits, and in deeply rooted aspects of culture and family organisation.

iv) We can challenge the underlying assumptions on which the whole edifice of the left-liberal approach rests. Is a well-ordered society really one in which predetermined qualities are not allowed to matter? Does that really lead to the freedoms which are most important to people? Does the use of the state to suppress group distinctions really create a free society? And aren't there other important goods alongside freedom which contribute to the moral ordering of a society?

v) We can point to the injustice in regarding whiteness as exceptionally immoral, for instance, when the success of migrant groups is attributed to hard work and determination, whilst that of whites is attributed to unearned privilege.

vi) We can point to ways in which it is obvious that whites do not occupy the oppressor role, for instance, the trends in interracial crime in which whites are more likely to be victims rather than aggressors.

vii) We can personally reject liberalism to the degree that we no longer give it moral authority. And, following from this, we can attempt to organise our own non-liberal networks, institutions and, perhaps one day, communities.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where will it end? US soldiers required to don empathy breasts

Via View from the Right we learn that a number of male soldiers in the U.S. are being required to put on empathy breasts and bellies to simulate being pregnant. Supposedly this is going to help them to train pregnant soldiers better.

I hardly know what to say. I suppose it's the inevitable outcome of the liberal principle that sex distinctions should be made not to matter in society. That leads to calls for women to participate in the armed services in an equal capacity to men. Which then leads to the army being revamped to fit in women better. Which then leads to the sorry spectacle of marines wearing sympathy breasts and pregnancy bellies.

Where will it end? In theory what will happen is that the military will feminise itself in order to become more female friendly, until a tipping point is reached at which young masculine men lose interest and look elsewhere to express their energies. I'm not sure if that will happen with the military - but if things like the empathy breasts and bellies are the way of the future, then it's certainly possible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Orthosphere - a new blog

Posting has been light lately - I should be able to get back to more regular updates very soon. In the meantime, I'd like to advertise a new group blog that should interest many of my readers. It's called The Orthosphere and is a collective effort by a group of Christian traditionalist writers, including Bonald, Svein Sellanraa, Proph (and, I am told, Alan Roebuck, Jim Kalb, Bruce Charlton and Tom Bertonneau). It's possible that I'll cross post a few of my more relevant essays to the site.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What gets printed in the mainstream media

Race issues are once again in the news in Australia. Actor Jay Laga'aia, who is of Samoan descent (and is best known for his role in Star Wars), has accused Australian television of being racist after his character was axed from a popular soapie.

It's probably true that Australian TV has remained more Anglo than the general population. However, Laga'aia himself has done well out of the industry, having won roles on 20 or more shows.

But what really struck me were the comments on the story from readers of the Herald Sun here in Melbourne. A few of the comments attacking whites would not have been made about any other group of people:

Wolfie, Dubbo: As much as I can't stand his screen presence, he sort of has a point. Home and Away is pretty much heterosexual and white. That world doesn't exist anymore, thank goodness.

Really Wolfie? Substitute "black" for "white" and you'd land yourself in front of some sort of tribunal. And then there's this:

Svetlanababe: Whites on Australian TV should be portrayed as the drunken, tattooed bogans they so often are.

Again, would that get into a mainstream newspaper if it were aimed at any other group? The Herald Sun did, it is true, publish the other side of the debate:

M. Taylor: The average Australian is over all these racist claims being made by attention seekers. Laga'aia has done very well out of the Australian TV industry. He should be grateful instead of making such comments.

But even so it seems to be the case in Australia today that Anglos/whites are the one group who are "unprotected" in the sense that you can say in the mainstream media anything derogatory you like about them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The case against Magda

Magda Szubanski came out as a lesbian on Australian TV this week. I suspect that most Australians had just assumed she was lesbian, so it wasn't much of a revelation. But she took the opportunity to make an emotional appeal in favour of homosexual marriage.

Homosexual marriage is not an issue I venture into much. Most of my readers will have made their minds up already one way or the other and it's not a good entry point into traditionalist politics. But it's been in the news a lot here in Australia, so I'll reluctantly step in and make an argument.

It seems that Magda Szubanski, best known overseas for her role in the film Babe, requested that Steve Price be on the TV panel when she made her appeal for homosexual marriage. Why? Because Steve Price is not convinced. He is worried that homosexual marriage will change our understanding of what marriage is.

And I think he's right to be concerned. At the moment Australian law defines marriage as:
the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

That definition of marriage makes sense within heterosexual relationships. If we understand the masculine and feminine as complementary, then bringing one man and one woman together is meaningful in creating a unity out of two complementary parts. On the physical side, this uniting of male and female is what naturally produces offspring, and the care of such offspring underlies the lifetime commitment across generations within a family.

If it is possible for two men or for two women to marry then marriage can no longer be understood in this way. It can no longer be understood as a natural unity of two complementary opposites, and the sexuality within this marriage can no longer be understood, in a larger sense, as serving the purposes of creating new life within a multi-generational family.

Instead, marriage must be understood as a commitment ceremony to celebrate the love between people. But that's an open-ended definition. Why, according to this newer definition, must marriage be exclusive? Can't we love more than one person? And why must it be enduring? If the love goes, then why wouldn't the marriage?

For a little while, it's true, the force of custom might keep the Western tradition of marriage roughly as it is now. But on what principled basis, in the long-term, could, say, polygamy be argued against? If a man loves his wife, but has feelings for another woman and she for him, and his wife doesn't object, then why shouldn't he have a commitment ceremony to celebrate his love for this second woman? Is it not his right, according to the new definition of marriage, to marry this other woman? If not, why not? It's difficult to think of a principle, other than "it's not our custom", on which to deny polygamous marriage, once the new definition of marriage is brought in.

And there is one further negative consequence of redefining marriage. A traditional marriage brings together a man and a woman to undertake distinct and necessary parental roles within a family. There is a paternal role and a maternal role and a child is thought to be worse off if he or she is missing either a father or mother.

But if the state gives its blessing to same sex marriage, then the state is effectively sanctioning the deliberate formation of families in which either the father or the mother is absent. The message to society is that the paternal role and the maternal role are not necessary as they were once thought to be.

And that has considerable ramifications, particularly for men. The bond between mother and child is a fairly stable one across societies. But it's a more difficult thing to win the stable investment of men in family life. What often holds men to the paternal role is a belief, held by both the father and the mother, that if the father walks away or is pushed away, that the children will be worse off, i.e. that the paternal role is a distinct and necessary one and that the father should be resilient in pursuing it and the mother active in encouraging it.

But what if people were to start to believe something else, namely that there are no distinct parental roles and that families without fathers are no different to families with fathers? Wouldn't more men be tempted to walk when the going got rough? Wouldn't more women be tempted to sideline the fathers of their children?

For these reasons, I believe that we should hold to the current definition of marriage.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The limits of the welfare state

The Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, has raised the possibility that Swedes might need to work until the age of 75 before they get the pension.

It seems that the limits of the welfare state have finally been reached. The choice for Swedes is either to cut back state social engineering programmes or to work an additional ten years to pay for them.

The Swedish PM favours working until the age of 75. I can't see that happening on a large scale. Most people are not as robust in their 70s; perhaps they could work part-time at a relatively low stress job, but for many people more than that is not realistic.

It's another example of the West going backwards. For a long time the retirement age edged downward. In Australia there are some who were even able to retire at 55. But the trend is now changing. The UK recently began a process of pushing the retirement age upward and now the Swedish PM is suggesting 75 as a retirement age.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Swedish feminists: men must sit with their legs crossed

I wish I could state confidently that this is some sort of a prank. But it seems to be serious. A Swedish feminist group has set up a website in which they post photos of men sitting with legs apart on public transport. This they consider to be an act of masculinist power over women. From their manifesto:

Macho in the public transport system is a standard critical action group. We were created to draw attention to a normalized and often invisible and unconscious power of expression in a casual and communal area. The trains, buses, commuter trains and subways take more space than you physically have, by example, by spreading your legs or falling down on the seat is a concrete example of how power and masculinity co-create. Taking over someone else's site is a symbolic and active recreation, not only of power but also of a stereotypical masculinity.

We believe in a world where gender does not play a part in the opportunities, rights and responsibilities we have. Male, female, power and non power is created by social structures. Who can and will power is not a biological fact but a natural occurrence and re-created all of us.

It may not sound like a much problem when there is rape, starvation, beatings, sexual harassment and unequal pay for equal work. That's not true. In a world that is so clearly marked by a gender power structure all the little details are important.

Guys are taking more space in many situations, particularly in public transport. We want to highlight and problematize why girls and boys are different.  Why does the stereotypical macho man sit more widely?  How does the way one sits in public areas recreate a structural advantage for men?

The google translation may not be perfect, but it gives you an idea of what the group is about.  They believe in the standard left-liberal idea that society has been constructed to enact male power over women and that therefore both masculinity and sex distinctions ought to be deconstructed in order to bring about equal rights.

They seem to take this left-liberal idea so earnestly that they believe that a man sitting on a train with his legs a little apart is an expression of male power over women. Here's the kind of photo they take to demonstrate their cause:

Naughty Swedish male

The first comment placed by a Swedish woman, Jenny, under the photo above reads:

My guy usually sits cross-legged because it is so easy! Just like me...and he is super manly! Cheer him!

Unless I've missed some irony in this comment, Jenny seems to think we should applaud her boyfriend for sitting with his legs crossed just like she does.

The reaction from Swedish men? Some seem to have reacted too defensively, arguing they have to sit with their legs apart for the sake of comfort or health. That's giving these feminists way too much ground.

But to give Swedish men some credit, someone went to the trouble of setting up a spoof site - see here.

Falling male income

How are American men faring in the workforce? Not well at all. Real wages have stagnated for some decades and fewer men are in paid employment. And that has created some truly extraordinary statistics.

The median level of income for men has declined dramatically over the past four decades (the median being the wages of the man who is exactly in the middle of the income distribution). The following statistics measure the median income level of all men, whether they are in employment or not:

the median man whose highest educational attainment was a high school diploma had his earnings fall by 47 percent in the last four decades.

Workers who didn’t even graduate from high school had a median income decline of 66 percent, largely because so many of these high school dropouts subsequently dropped out of the labor force, too, once they saw what job opportunities awaited them.

Even those men with college degrees are not generating the same levels of income. The median income for such men has fallen by 12% since 1969.

These are amazing statistics. True, the situation for men who are in full-time employment is not as bad - most men have had their wages stagnate over the past four decades, and men with university degrees have seen small improvements.

But all those men who successfully get to the end of high school are now generating only half the income that a similar group of men did in 1969. Half! No wonder family outcomes are falling away amongst that group of men.

Note too that GDP per capita has more than doubled in the US over the past 40 years. So there has been a doubling of output per capita, but the median income for men with high school degrees has halved.

And what if we exclude all those men who aren't participating in the workforce? The figures are still bad. The median wage for full-time male workers with a high school diploma has fallen 28% and without a diploma 36%.

Here's a chart showing what's happened to median earnings regardless of educational outcomes:

You can see that median earnings rose for full-time male workers until 1973, but have fallen since then. The median earnings for all men also hit a peak in 1973 but plummeted after 1978.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The folly of whiteness studies and those Duluth billboards

The town of Duluth in Minnesota has hit the headlines. The white mayor of that town, Don Ness, has backed a billboard campaign attacking white people for enjoying a racist, unearned privilege.

What's that all about? It goes back to an academic movement called whiteness studies.

There is a split between liberals when it comes to race and ethnicity. Liberals generally agree that race should be made not to matter in society. For right liberals that means adopting the idea of being colour blind, including to one's own race. But left liberals take things further. They explain racial disparities the same way they explain disparities between men and women. They believe that a dominant group created a false category (whiteness) in order to impose a system on society which granted them an unearned privilege at the expense of the "other".

That makes whiteness exceptional in a negative sense. It connects whiteness, as a matter of definition, to supremacism and racism. That's why students at the University of Delaware were taught, in compulsory diversity training sessions, that:

[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.

Whiteness studies is an academic spin-off of this left-liberal approach to race. The academics teaching these courses are concerned that whites have bought into the "I am colourblind" mentality, so they want to force whites to confront their whiteness and their privilege.

And what exactly is white privilege supposed to consist of? Two things are emphasised. First, whites are supposed to have better educational and employment outcomes not because they have worked hard or created stable forms of community and family life, but because they benefit from hidden privileges which advantage them.

Second, whites are thought to be privileged because, as the majority group, they get to set community norms, i.e. to define what is normal.

But neither of these supposed instances of privilege really stands logical scrutiny. First, when it comes to education and employment, whites are not the most privileged group in America - Asians are. In 2010 the median income for Asian-Americans was a considerable 18% higher than that for white Americans. In terms of professional outcomes, Asian-Americans are doing remarkably well:

In the year 2000, 4.1% of America's population was Asian American, but Asian Americans were 13.6% of doctors and dentists, 13.2% of computer specialists, 9.9% of engineers, 6.1% of accountants, 8.7% of post-secondary teachers (such as uni professors) and 6.9% of architects.

They are doing well, in part, because of a high level of family stability and a strong commitment to education and career. But their success undermines the claims of the whiteness theorists. After all, Asian-Americans aren't white and nor are they a majority. And yet not only have they done well, they have done better than whites when it comes to employment and income. How could they have done this if the whole system was based on securing white privilege?

Second, whites are supposedly privileged because as the majority they get to set the cultural norms that they feel comfortable with but which don't suit those from other races. But if that is true, then it undermines the original liberal claim that categories of race have no real content and can be made not to matter. What liberals are admitting to, in adopting this argument, is that if you put one large group of people from one race together they will create a culture that will feel alien to those of another race.

And, furthermore, if the argument is true, then the logical response is the exact opposite of what is being demanded by the left-liberals in Duluth. If it is a privilege to live within your own cultural norms, and a hardship to be deprived of this, then it makes sense to preserve the cultural norms of the 90% majority. Why attack something that is an important good to such a large number of people within a community?

Has there been opposition to the billboards? Yes, but from what I've seen mostly as a defence of the right-liberal position, that the billboards are racially divisive, we're all just humans, can't we forget about race etc. The problem with that position is that it doesn't allow white Americans to assert a collective defence. And the attacks are likely to keep coming. In Duluth, for instance, there are left-wing churches offering courses titled "Cracking the shell of whiteness". Similarly, the billboard campaign is supported not only by the mayor's office, but also by the local YWCA (an astonishingly left-wing outfit), and by the local campuses of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin Superior.

Where is the pushback going to come from? It won't happen if white Americans don't identify with a communal tradition of their own. If white Americans take a right-liberal position, they will be left as individuals to complain about the situation, whilst being hamstrung in offering any real resistance.

Finally, the discussion at VFR of this issue is worth reading.

Friday, February 03, 2012

What is Charlie Teo's solution for Australia?

Charlie Teo, a leading neurosurgeon, gave the Australia Day speech this year. Teo was born in Australia to Singaporean Chinese parents. His speech caused a bit of controversy because it touched on issues of racism in Australia.

I recently saw a TV interview he did as a follow up. For the first four minutes things went much as I expected. Teo himself comes across in the interview as calm and well-spoken.

But then Teo claimed that assimilation went much better in America than Australia. The interviewer then asked "Why doesn't that happen here and what should we do?" What, in other words, is the solution to race issues in Australia?

Teo's reply hit me with some force:

If you go to New York you'll barely see a group of white Caucasians, whereas when you came here, 50 years ago, almost everyone was white and there was a very small minority group. I think things have changed in the last 50 years - the minority groups are almost the majority and I think people have to have a completely different mindset about that. You know the absolute typical Australian is no longer the white fella who's wearing a pair of boardies.

As I listened to this from a well-educated, thoughtful, Asian-Australian, I felt that I was being dehumanised. Teo, despite everything Australia has given him, looks to the future as one without white men like myself. He sees this melting away of whites as a positive development in New York and he wants the same here. And he said it not with venom, or as an emotional outburst, but casually, as if it could simply be assumed that white people did not count and that a world without white people would be better.

Which led me to another thought. It's possible, I think, that one of the reasons for the growth of a men's movement has been a similar sense amongst men of being dehumanised in modern society. Here is one example of such a view:

Men, argue McGill University professor Paul Nathanson and his colleague Katherine Young, suffer from the myth that they are the gender with the power and therefore cannot be damaged by criticism and ridicule. The physical, political and economic power that a small percentage of men do wield renders women, they believe, "either unwilling or unable to see men as fully human beings, people who can indeed be hurt both individually and collectively."

I think that helps to explain some of the sensitivities of the men's movement. For instance, many men's rights activists (MRAs) took the view in the case of the Italian liner that sank that men should not be expected to give up seats in the lifeboats for women. In particular, the argument was that women should not simply feel entitled as women that men should put themselves in harm's way for them.

My own view is that chivalry can be a higher part of a man's nature and so I'm less likely to attack it. But it does make sense, if you are reacting against dehumanisation, that you might kick back hard against the idea of male expendability.

Similarly, all this helps to explain why some MRAs pick on traditionalist critics of feminism. You would think that MRAs would identify feminism as the source of dehumanisation of men and focus their criticisms there. But often it is those traditionalists who are most opposed to feminism who get scrutinised negatively by MRAs.

Often, that's simply because many MRAs are liberals of some stripe who are taking the opportunity to marginalise conservatives in the movement. But I don't think that's always the case. Traditionalists see men as providers and protectors, and that can mean men making sacrifices for women. The danger is if traditionalists take the attitude that men should make those sacrifices regardless of circumstances.

There are some MRAs who are rightly critical of pastors who believe that men should be the fall guys, no matter what women have chosen to do. There are MRAs who are critical of conservative women who take it as a given, as an entitlement, that men will go on making sacrifices simply because they are men.

I'm not at all suggesting that traditionalists should give up on the idea of men as being protectors and providers. I do think that's significant in how men fulfil themselves as men. But we have to be aware that we are operating in a climate in which men are registering a sense of their dehumanisation. Such men will react negatively to anything that smacks of "men matter less" or "women get a free pass" or "women deserve benefits from men just for being women".

We need to be able to say clearly "no deal" when men are being asked to make one-sided arrangements with women, or when women are unwilling to contribute in a just and balanced way to relationships.

At the same time, we have to remind MRAs that it was clearly modernists, and not traditionalists, who brought about the changes to society which have dehumanised men. It was modernists who argued that men held an unearned privilege in society which had to be deconstructed. It was modernists who, seeing men as privileged, believed that all legislative efforts should be to the advantage of women.

MRAs might hear a conservative woman say "I want a man to go out to work for me" and react viscerally, but they should understand that what is added to this in a traditional arrangement is "and I will have his children, respect him as a husband and father, and work in a committed way as a mother and wife for our family".

Feminists might offer something blander "Men and women can do the same thing" and this might not hit the same MRA triggers, but behind this is the assumption that fathers are expendable within the family (no distinctly paternal role); that men won't get kudos as a breadwinner in the family; and that the aim is to deconstruct sex distinctions not to help men but because such distinctions are thought to uphold a male privilege which the state should deconstruct through legislation always favouring women over men.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Oh boy! Sydney 1966

Screen Australia has released a short documentary about life in Sydney that was filmed in the mid 1960s. Australian readers in particular are likely to enjoy it.