My wife mentioned today: "Normally, I only read one article in The Atlantic at a time because each one gives me so much to think about. But I read three pieces in a row in the new issue—I think because they were so boring."
The reason the January/February issue of The Atlantic Monthly is so boring: editor James Bennet [email him] decided it should focus on race.
But you can't write intelligently about race unless you're willing to tell the truth. And how many journalists want to do that today?
Not surprisingly, this Atlantic issue reads like my VDARE.com articles with the punchlines amputated and replaced by conventional wisdom.
For example, political reporter Marc Ambinder [email him] notes in his article, entitled Race Over, something I wrote about last February. In his words:
"In the primaries, a discomfiting pattern emerged: Obama did best in states with the biggest or smallest percentages of African American voters—think of South Carolina, where blacks made up 55 percent of the Democratic-primary vote, and Vermont, where they made up less than 2 percent."
Now why would that be? Could it have anything to do with black Democrats voting ethnocentrically while white Democrats in Vermont, who have no experience with being ruled by black politicians, are more naïve than white Democrats in states with more blacks?
Well, you won't hear that from The Atlantic.
Ambinder goes on:
"[Obama pollster] Cornell Belcher's polling and decades of political-science research showed that white voters held certain stereotypes about black politicians— namely, that they were more likely to raise taxes and redistribute wealth, were weak on crime, and favored heavy government spending to help the poor (read: minorities like them)."
Of course, this stereotype of black politicians as usually advocating tax-and-spend policies is also held by black voters, who like tax and spend policies.
After all, it's a stereotype because it's true. All 41 members of the Congressional Black Caucus are Democrats, most of them very liberal Democrats. Heck, members of the Congressional Black Congress are more monolithically Democratic than they are black, as shown by this picture of Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). (Butterfield is the Black Caucus stalwart on the right.)
But who cares about truth when it comes to race?
"To Belcher, such stereotypes were a legacy of Lee Atwater and the Republican Party's infamous "Southern strategy," which converted overt racial bias into coded language about the economy."
Right! Nobody would have noticed black political leanings if not for the demonic Lee Atwater.
In contemporary American public life, debates are won by denouncing inconvenient facts as "stereotypes". Thus, the more undeniable something is, the more unmentionable it becomes.
Particularly boring is the issue's cover story by the Chinese-American pop music critic Hua Hsu: The End of White America? It's based on the same Census Bureau projection of a nonwhite majority in the U.S. by 2042 that I wrote about last August.
It seems to me that this is representative of a growing trend in the Establishment Press—articles that appear to be inspired by my work without mentioning my name or pointing out where my logic actually leads.
You need some ideas? Sailer always has an endless supply of new ideas! But you have to know when to pull up safe! (See also Grand New Party Recycles Old (But Good!) VDARE.COM Ideas, for a discussion of the Sailerian analyses of Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam.)
Considering that Hsu [email him] was born only in 1977, his thinking, when not echoing me, seems stuck in the past. For example, he devotes 630 words to the comically trite topic of 1990s rapper Puff Daddy / P. Diddy / Sean Combs.
Similarly, his observation of "the obvious material advantages that come with being born white—lower infant-mortality rates and easier-to-acquire bank loans, for example …" sounds completely clueless in the wake of the catastrophic 15-year-long campaign by the Clinton and Bush administrations to boost mortgage lending to uncreditworthy minorities.
Not surprisingly, this pop critic's essay avoids all the serious questions of how well a nonwhite majority will perform economically.
Fortunately, we already have a gigantic test case: California, which is now only 43 percent non-Hispanic white.
So what can we learn about the future of America from California, where the state government may run out of money next month without a federal bailout?
For most of this decade, the financial wizards poured hundreds of billions of dollars into mortgage-backed securities originating in California. In other words, they made a colossal bet on diversity.
In 2007, it suddenly dawned on the bright boys of Wall Street that a huge fraction of the subprime borrowers of California (and the other three similar "sand states"—Arizona, Nevada, and Florida) weren't ever going to earn enough to pay off their huge new mortgages. Nor would California's "post-white" populace find Greater Fools to upon whom to unload their dumpy half-million dollar houses.
This triggered the end of the global economy as we know it.
It turned out that, while California's new diverse population could certainly consume and speculate like old-fashioned white Americans, they couldn't produce like them.
Nor is Hsu much more insightful about his own specialty, pop culture. He interviews Los Angeles writer Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like (and a longtime reader of my work). But he completely misses the point of Lander's wonderful parody.
"For Lander, whiteness has become a vacuum", Hsu intones, not realizing he's getting his leg pulled. Hsu extrapolates:
"Matt Wray, [email him] a sociologist at Temple University who is a fan of Lander's humor, has observed that many of his white students are plagued by a racial-identity crisis: 'They don't care about socioeconomics; they care about culture. And to be white is to be culturally broke. The classic thing white students say when you ask them to talk about who they are is, 'I don't have a culture.' They might be privileged, they might be loaded socioeconomically, but they feel bankrupt when it comes to culture..."
The dirty little secret of Stuff White People Like is that whites remain so creatively dominant in 21st Century culture that whiteness isn't like the vacuum in outer space, it's like the water in the ocean.
Fish, proverbially, don't feel wet. Likewise, the fact that we all live in a global civilization constructed over the last half millennium by, overwhelmingly, the breakthroughs of white men is so massively obvious that it's considered very bad taste to point it out.
For his encyclopedic Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century, Peter Watson interviewed 150 scholars from around the world. Watson recounted that
"…all of them—there were no exceptions—said the same thing. In the 20th century, in the modern world, there were no non-western ideas of note."
As we all know, the reason we have Black History Month is precisely because every year is more or less White History Year. Similarly, we have Women's Studies departments in universities because all the other departments are, in effect, Men's Studies.
This is clearly evident in California, where, for instance, 94 percent of Hollywood studio movies are written by whites. The enormous Latino population is largely ignored by California's white cultural elite, other than to ritually refer to Hispanic neighborhoods as "vibrant". In the Sunday Los Angeles Times' arts and entertainment section, only about one percent of all events listed are organized by Hispanics.
This predominance of white innovations is so overwhelming that it explains what Stuff White People Like is actually about: white v. white status striving. One-half of the white population is constantly developing new fads (Sea salt! Adults playing kickball! Barack Obama!) to distinguish itself from the more traditional half of the white population.
To the SWPL set, minorities are merely props to use in demonstrating their superiority over non-SWPL whites (who might actually be closer to blacks on an individual basis due to emotional bonding on football teams or in the military).
A classic demonstration of this occurred in California following last November's election. Obama got 61 percent of the vote—but gay marriage got only 48 percent. Who were these 13 percent of the California electorate who were for Obama and against gay marriage?
What happened was that black church ladies and the like turned out in unprecedented numbers to vote for that nice Mr. Obama, and stuck around to vote against gay marriage on the Proposition 8 initiative.
The SWPL crowd in Southern California went berserk with rage at gay marriage being turned down. Yet, they couldn't possibly blame blacks for it because, to them, blacks are not real human beings who should, like all human beings, be held accountable for their moral decisions. No, for progressive whites, blacks are merely set dressing in their eternal war against conservative whites to prove who is better.
So liberal whites in LA quickly decided to agree that gay marriage had been rejected because the media in California was secretly controlled…by Mormons from Utah!
I call this popular conspiracy theory the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion National Park.
Of course, in the real world, Californian Mormons made up very few of that pro-Obama / anti-gay marriage 13 percent.
But who cares about quantitative reality when status is at stake?
Hsu thinks this is all wonderful. He writes:
"There will be dislocations and resentments along the way, but the demographic shifts of the next 40 years are likely to reduce the power of racial hierarchies over everyone's lives, producing a culture that's more likely than any before to treat its inhabitants as individuals, rather than members of a caste or identity group."
I think he's delusional. The racial order of the 40 years of the affirmative action era has been based on the quantitative assumption that government providing special privileges to minorities will not prove too onerous on the majority because, after all, they're just minorities so the total impact on the average member of the majority is small. Under this affirmative action system, minorities are encouraged to band together to agitate for more privileges, while the majority is discouraged from coming together to resist.
It might have proven a stable system in the long run, except that the enormous influx of legally-privileged Hispanics has been converting whites into just another minority—but, uniquely, a minority that is supposed to pay for other minorities' privileges.
How in the world is that supposed to keep working? Yet where is the evidence that minorities will be willing to give up their traditional affirmative action privileges as they become majorities and gain the votes so they no longer have to rely politically upon the goodwill of whites for their privileges?
I know it's considered rude to mention this, but Barack Obama, who was raised in Hawaii by whites could easily have chosen, like Tiger Woods, to identify as multiracial. Instead, he chose to become a black Chicago activist and politician in order to agitate for his race's benefit. This distinctly anti-postracial career path he chose seems to have worked out pretty well for him, no? Why won't others imitate it?
How's postracialism working out in Obama's Chicago, by the way? We were offered an informative insight recently into what racial diversity combined with a racial spoils system looks like in practice on the Blagojevich Tapes.
The future looks more like some combination of the Ottoman Empire, which is increasingly celebrated by multicultural ideologues as a role model for America, and old Yugoslavia.
But it won't be boring—no matter how much Hsu and Ambinder work on it.
[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]