Tuesday, June 7, 2022

COMING SOON: All One in Christ

My new book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory will be out this August from Ignatius Press.  Some information about the book, including advance reviews, can be found at the Amazon link.  Here’s the table of contents:

1. Church Teaching against Racism

2. Late Scholastics and Early Modern Popes against Slavery

3. The Rights and Duties of Nations and Immigrants

4. What is Critical Race Theory?

5. Philosophical Problems with Critical Race Theory

6. Social Scientific Objections to Critical Race Theory

7. Catholicism versus Critical Race Theory

96 comments:

  1. FINALLY a Thomistic author addressing this in depth! I’ve been waiting FOREVER for Christopher Tomaszewski to publish his white paper on this topic but perhaps this will do :)

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    1. Link to the Christopher Tomaszewski pape

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    2. "his white paper"

      Oh boy, the woke folks will not like it! XD

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  2. Looking forward to it! On the subject of Prof. Feser’s books, I am a philosophy noob and was wondering if people would recommend Scholastic Metaphysics. I enjoy the blog and want to learn more basics, but before investing, I’m wondering if SM requires other foundational reading to appreciate. Thanks.

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    1. Very much so. It’s a dense book assuming that you’re familiar with various contemporary debates in niche metaphysical topics

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    2. I had the same concern before I read Scholastic Metaphysics, as I did not have a lot of philosophical background.

      My suggestion would first be to read one of Feser's other books before diving into it: either The Last Superstition or Aquinas, both of which include very accessible introductions to basic Aristotelian-Thomistic (and in the case of the former book, also Platonic) metaphysics.

      I ended up getting a lot out of Scholastic Metaphysics, but I think it certainly helped to have read the other two books mentioned first.

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    3. Thank you Ian! Good idea.

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    4. Hi, Dave! Aquinas is a great read, but it is really intermediate and not introductory. If I hadn't had some background "prepping" by Norman Geisler, Aquinas would have been a much more difficult read.

      For beginners, I'd recommend Does God Exist? by Fradd and Delfino. It presents classical theism in a Socratic dialog format which in my estimation is extremely helpful to beginners.

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  3. I've analyzed numerous definitions of 'racism' and all of them are problematic. The first reason many definitions are problematic is that they make empirical claims. One definition such as "racial differences produce a superiority of a particular race" is an empirical claim that can be observed and measured. Some groups are superior to others in particular ways. See Charles Murray's Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America. I hold as self evident that any true proposition cannot be 'racist'. Other problematic definitions are ad hoc such as the ADLs definition as "the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people". In other words, only white people can be racist. However, even the more general definition is problematic since it is not intrinsically unjust to privilege members of your own race, ethnic group or nation (e.g. Japan has the right to an immigration policy that keeps Japan ethnically Japanese. In other words, there isn't an inherent right to emigrate to Japan). Any plausible definition of racism is superfluous in the sense it is already covered by the traditional virtues (e.g. justice) and prohibitions (e.g. do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness). The best we can say about racism is that it is a subset of injustice. That is how I understand it. I'm exciting to read your book to further my understanding.

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    1. The best we can say about racism is that it is a subset of injustice.

      I agree with this. The late blogger Zippy defined it as injustice motivated by race. That's the best definition I've come across.

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    2. Zippy continues to be a big influence of mine. RIP.

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    3. The late great Zippy is sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

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    4. I've reached the same conclusion. Racism is just a particular manifestation of the sins of injustice or uncharity. As such, the Church has addressed it as a sin for millenia.

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    5. Woah! I can't beleive I've never heard of this guy beofer!!!!

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  4. Wow I’m sharing this right now. What’s the reading level? Layman? PhD?

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    1. It is written to be accessible to a wide audience.

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    2. Just as the Summa was written for beginners ;-)?!

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  5. Man Ed, I don't know how you do it. Didn't know this one was even on the docket. I hope you and your family can get some nice down-time over the summer given how prolific you've been.

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    1. Thanks, ccmnxc. This has actually been in the works for over a year and a half, but was delayed for reasons out of my control or the publisher's. Hence I didn't announce it sooner. For anyone who is wondering, I am still at work on the book on the soul (literally at this moment, in fact), and hope to be done by the end of the year.

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    2. "I am still at work on the book on the soul (literally at this moment, in fact), and hope to be done by the end of the year."

      I was going to ask exactly about this. Looking forward to it though.

      Ed, since you could spare some time to answer the comment section I need to ask you a question about the book you've been writing on the soul. Will you talk about substantial form in general and talk about formal causation at some point giving it a more deep explanation or the book is more specialized and focused on the theological implications of the soul and its end based on the works of St. Thomas Aquinas?

      May God bless you, man!

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  6. The current concept of race and racism was invented and cultivated (to this day) to help protect the wealthy ruling class as they exploit everyone else. Look up Bacon's rebellion.

    Think about it. The wealthy continue to loot as much as they can from a pool of labor that cannot act collectively due to these manufactured racial tensions.

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  7. This looks fantastic. Excited especially for the analysis in chapter 2 (which I'm sure will be nuanced and accurate).

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  8. It's nice to see Ed answering comments, it feels like he really appreciates interacting with we the readers, Ed is a very humble man.
    God bless him

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  9. Here is the correct definition of racism: "the postulate that there is a logical connection between one's skin color, hair texture, genetic ancestry, etc... and personality type."

    That's what all racists believe and only racists believe. Usually, in the United States, the most common racist belief is that there is a connection between having African ancestry and being a psychopath.

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    1. I would object to the "and personality type". Some forms of racism, I think, don't posit a correlation of "type", but instead posit a correlation of value. That is, "my race is good and your race is not". This could (in some cases) also resolve to a difference of personality type, but it NEED NOT. It is also amenable to being resolved to being particularized as "my race is morally better and your race is morally worse.

      Also, I think it belongs to the essence of racism to believe not only in a correlation between race and some negative trait, but in a causal correlation between race and the negative trait: that it is precisely the RACE that causes the undesirable trait, and not some separate cause that makes race and the negative trait to be mere accidentally correlated.

      Furthermore, there could WELL be a statistical correlation between race and any mental disorder: for example, it is possible for whites to have a higher rate of schizophrenia, and for blacks to have a higher rate of depression, and for Asians to have a higher rate of anxiety disorder, without that being taken to mean either of (a) these races are inherently more this or that mental disorder; or (b) that this represents any sort of value differentiation between the races. For (a), as I indicated in the second point above, there could well be some causal relation that is NOT in principle one of race that still attends one race statistically, that is the cause of one of the disorder ratios. For example, suppose that lower income is causally related to more depression (that lower income causes more depression): from this it could be statistically true that blacks have a higher rate of depression, without their RACE causing the higher rate of depression, merely because they have, statistically, lower income. In an otherwise random subset that has the same income as a non-black set, they could have the same rate of depression disorders as the non-black set.

      the most common racist belief is that there is a connection between having African ancestry and being a psychopath

      I think that there was a time when one of the leading racist belief in the US was that there was a causal correlation between being black and being lazy, and others in being black and other undesirable moral traits.

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    2. I don't know anyone that has claimed a "logical connection" between traits and personality type, but there is a statistical correlation between race and "personality traits". The problem with your definition, as with many definitions of racism, is that it makes an empirical claim -- an empirical claim that we can observe and measure. We know there are different group racial differences in intelligence, education and crime. The causes of these differences is a combination of genetics, environment and culture. But again, the causes must be analyzed empirically. Simply defining 'racism' in the manner you have cannot change observable reality.

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    3. @Kurt The fact/value distinction was invented by David Hume and is bogus. There's nothing illegal about making a value judgment on an empirical claim.

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    4. @Infinite_Growth I don't understand the relevance of your claim. Are you suggesting that there are racist facts? An empirical claim could be true, but nonetheless racist?

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    5. @Kurt Getting a consensus from academic philosophers is like herding cats, but in spite of that, there are three things that all academic philosophers have come together to agree upon:

      1. Searle's Chinese Room argument is wrong
      2. Direct realism is wrong, and some form of indirect realism is correct
      3. Every sentence written by Ayn Rand is wrong

      Because of #2, facts are more like something constructed by social convention than they are real perceptive entities. This is how you can find people like David Stove who said that it is obvious that some races are more intelligent than others, and find others still like Stephen Jay Gould who said that belief in the intellectual superiority of races is insane.

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    6. Some facts are "socially constructed", such as the fact that Sacramento is the capital of California, but certainly the fact that water boils at 100° C is not. So you think there racist facts then or so it seems. You avoided the question by talking about what most academic philosophers allegedly believe or do not believe.

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    7. Tony,

      I think it belongs to the essence of racism to believe not only in a correlation between race and some negative trait, but in a causal correlation between race and the negative trait: that it is precisely the RACE that causes the undesirable trait, and not some separate cause that makes race and the negative trait to be mere accidentally correlated.

      Why is this essential to racism? Surely some traits are caused - at least in part - by one's race. And it would be astonishing if among these traits none was undesirable. If every correlation with race were merely accidental, it would seem to make race superfluous and meaningless, but it clearly is not.

      In this case then, according to your definition, someone would be guilty of holding racist beliefs on account of believing something manifestly true.

      And even supposing it were false that some undesirable traits can be caused by one's race, why would holding this belief make one guilty of racism? It seems to me that it would make him merely mistaken.

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    8. Ian, I was not claiming that the belief in such a correlation is the entirety of racism as a (morally wrong) act. That requires, perhaps, two more features as well: first, it is at least common if not a defining characteristic that the racist holds the belief on inadequate rational grounds. The second is that the negative trait that the racist (believes) is applicable to some race implies a negative value judgment is also applicable to that race, and that negative value judgment is wholly out of proportion to the actual condition (either as perceived or as real), and is applied to the entire race regardless of the validity of its applying to any specific individual of that race.

      For an example of the first: it is easy and common for literate people to perceive non-literate people as having lower intelligence, but it need not be so at all. (After all, all babies are illiterate.) Similarly (taking Infinite Growth's comment) intelligence has only been being "measured" for a hundred years in anything remotely like a scientific way, and even so we are far from a settled view on the degree to which IQ tests ACTUALLY measure intelligence (or only aspects thereof).

      For the second, even if it were accurate that some race is, say, "lazy", i.e. that they have this trait in a greater degree than another race, this morally undesirable trait is taken (by the racist) to mean more than is actually warranted: for example that the race is, therefore, a "second-class" race in terms of basic rights. (After all, a racist would rarely suppose that an INDIVIDUAL of his own race who has as high a degree of that laziness trait as the other (disliked) race has commonly, therefore is also to be accounted a second-class person for basic rights, on account of his laziness. Nor would a racist say that an individual of the disliked race who does not have that laziness trait thereby escapes being accounted lesser value and a second-class person for basic rights.) The underlying point here is that having moral defects (or lesser ability in non-moral traits) does not necessarily lead to the result that it is right to withhold treatment with the respect due to persons. Personhood does not come in degrees. And we are all sinners, so being a sinner does not all by itself put you in a class not to be accorded the dignity of persons.

      Typically, racists (1) make generalizations that are inadequately grounded, (2) derive from those judgments conclusions about treatment that are out of proportion to the negative trait perceived, and (3) apply those conclusions generically even when (demonstrably) not applicable individually, but also do so without regard to individual applicability.

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    9. People make all kind of generalizations that are inadequately grounded. Most people do not understand statistics, means, standard deviations and so on. This isn't a moral failure, unless the ability understand a complex subject is a moral failing. However, we do observe racial group differences in intelligence, education and crime rates. These are facts, so it is good judgment to stay out of particular neighborhoods. Is this an inadequate judgment? I don't think so and even if it were, it simply be a miscalculation. Nothing racist about it. So called 'racists' may make inadequate generalizations or not even understand what a generalization is, but they are making generalizations on their own experiences. They may not even understand what "anecdotes is not data" means. Now if a person willfully lies about a racial group, that is racist and maybe many who make hasty generalizations do so with Mal intent. The only plausible meaningful definition of racism is what was provided above: injustice motivated by race. Many you commit injustice may have the qualities you describe, biy it isn't racist in of and itself.

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    10. CRTists posit that there is a certain kind of predisposition to moral corruption that white people, and only white people possess, and this corruption affects absolutely everything they do and think, some go so far as to say that even those white people who fight against it in themselves the most still need to be constantly re-educated, that other races, particularly Black people, should treat all white people with suspicion.

      According to your definition, does that sound like racism?

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    11. @Kurt your advice to avoid going into certain neighborhoods based on racial groups reminds me of a Mark Twain quote.

      "There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages."

      I read about how all the conservative Christians in the United States--both Catholic and Protestant--got together after Samuel Clemens death to declare that he was a confirmed reprobate. That's a confirmation that he is certainly in Heaven, just short of Papal canonization in terms of infallibility.

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    12. @Kurt your advice to avoid going into certain neighborhoods based on racial groups reminds me of a Mark Twain quote.

      That reminds me of an event that befell a friend of mine: he moved to a new city and didn't know his way around well. He was out running his 5 miles, and got winded around the time that he had managed to get himself into the worst part of town (as he found out later). He stopped running and was just walking, with stares from those around him, when an older gentleman cam off a porch and talked to him, and then walked with him for a considerable distance. When they had gotten out of that section of town, the older gentleman made strong suggestions that my friend "not come back", and left him. Clearly, the old guy's presence had been intended to act as a deterrent to harassment or violence by the younger guys around.

      The idea that the old guy's motivation was (arguably) at least as much to protect his friends' hothead teen sons from instigating a racially-motivated "incident" - and the negative police involvement thereafter - as to kindly protect my friend, cannot be settled by us. What could be seen clearly was that the old guy's own estimation of a possible "incident" was worth the effort of coming off his porch and walking with this apparently stupid (white) jogger for a half-mile or more. And his parting comment not to go into (that) certain neighborhood was, clearly, a fairly pointed judgment about the relative safety of some places (for some people), compared to other places, regardless of whose safety was paramount on his mind. It seems unlikely that the old guy was a racist against his own race, but I suppose it is possible.

      My point is not that the old guy's estimation of the level of risk in the situation was accurate, it is that because he bothered to take a significant action, it was a non-trivial amount of risk, and this represents the sort of not-mathematically-rigorous judgments that Kurt was indicating people make all the time.

      There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.

      There are, also, many foolish things said or implied, as well. A notion that every group's potential for savagery will be exhibited in the same degree and in the same kinds of circumstances is one of them.

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    13. @Billy
      "According to your definition, does that sound like racism?"

      We do observe racial group differences in numerous qualities and traits. The data shows that mean IQ differs among blacks, whites and Asians. We also observe that the majority of homicides are committed by young black men. Another prominent example is the rate of Sickle Cell Disease. According to the CDC "SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African American births" compared to about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births." These group differences can be observed, measured and verified. The problem with CRT isn't that it makes false empirical claims, but that it posits a priori that all whites are inherently oppressive, corrupt and uniquely so. Now if a particular claim is so blatantly and verifiably false, it is evidence of mal intent. This would suggest bearing false witness against a group of persons and thus would qualify as injustice motivated by race. Maybe what @Tony was suggesting above is that particular hasty generalizations and value judgments about a racial group is evidence of mal intent. This evidence is strengthened the more the person refuses to change a demonstrately false opinion.

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    14. The problem with CRT isn't that it makes false empirical claims, but that it posits a priori that all whites are inherently oppressive, corrupt and uniquely so.

      "Another prophecy: that by 1935 we shall have Chinamen coming to us as missionaries. But I think that that was not really intended as a prediction, I think it merely embodied a hope; a hope that some day those excellent people would come here and teach us how to be at peace and bloodless for thousands of years without the brutal help of armies and navies. But that gentle dream is dead: we have taught them to adopt our sham civilization and add armies and navies to such other rotten assets as they may possess."
      - Manuscript dated 16 July and 12 September 1908. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 3 (University of California Press, 2015)

      I love Mark Twain. I used to compose long, complex arguments to the claims of American Conservative Christians, but I realized you could just find some quotation from him and it instantly neutralizes the argument. And he did all of this over 100 years ago.

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    15. Kurt,

      My question was directed to Infinite Growth and his definition of racism.

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    16. @Tony

      Just a quick reminder, I posted a two new comments about animals on the prior post we discussed it on. So if you want to, you can check them out - I think you'll find it at least somewhat interesting!

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    17. I think it merely embodied a hope; a hope that some day those excellent people would come here and teach us how to be at peace and bloodless for thousands of years without the brutal help of armies and navies.

      I love Twain too, he was a great humorist. But he was by no means thoroughly correct in his analyses of other peoples. This list has literally hundreds of Chinese battles and wars fought before they had significant involvement of Europeans.

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    18. Billy,
      CRTists posit that there is a certain kind of predisposition to moral corruption that white people, and only white people possess,

      Since most CRT proponents claim that race is not a biological category, but a social construct, it's hard to see how they would reconcile that with a claim of some biological pre-disposition. Do you have a quote from a CRT proponent that white people have such a biological predisposition, or are you relying on claims that you have read by critics?

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    19. @Billy "My question was directed to Infinite Growth and his definition of racism."

      Sometimes I lose track of who is responding to whom lol

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    20. @OneBrown

      How about this:

      "A positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy." - Robin Diangelo. White Fragility pg. 149

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    21. Kurt,

      There is no "n" in my handle, but there is a space.

      When I see an introduction such as "How about this", I would normally expect something that disagreed with what I had said previously. However, you did not offer such a statement. The very first clue should have been "identity". My identity isn't based on the amount of melanin in my skin, the shape of my ears, nor the effectiveness of my eyes. It's not a biological thing.

      Further, we don't normally speak of universals or near universals as being identities. When have human identities in relation to bonobos, but I would not use that to distinguish myself from you. Similarly, there is no white identity separate from the existence of identifications as being non-white.

      Just out of curiosity, what would you think a "positive white identity" would mean here in the US?

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    22. Kurt,
      Looking back, I saw this.

      The causes of these differences is a combination of genetics, environment and culture.

      Genetically, there is no difference significant enough to support having different races. Humans are among the least biologically diverse mammals on the planet.

      Environments are determined by those who wield power.

      Anyone who thinks there is a black "culture" of not wanting to succeed has a view of black people that is either very limited or very warped. Almost all humans seek status, and money is the easiest way to obtain it.

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    23. @Kurt

      I think that the key phrase on this quote is "system of white supremacy". Robin seems to mean that white people, i suppose that he had in mind north-americans*, are born on a specific society were they have
      influences that very strongly influences they to perceive themselves as a group on opressive ways.

      The start of the text sounds like white people are just predestinated by genetics to being evil, but when reading the whole quote while keeping in mind the social constructivism that tends to serve as a basis to someone like Robin it seems to me that this is not the right way to read that quote, at least seeing it on isolation. I suppose that Robin would agree that if the past was very diferent them we could have a positive white identity.

      *not that this is true only of the EUA, but it is probably the author focus

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    24. Genetically, there is no difference significant enough to support having different races

      It would be quite amazing if Homo Sapiens were the only species without any subspecies. Human populations have not been isolated as long as other species, but long enough for some noticeable differences. For example, according to the CDC "SCD occurs more often among people from parts of the world where malaria is or was common. It is believed that people who carry the sickle cell trait are less likely to have severe forms of malaria". This trait is clearly genetic and caused by evolutionary pressure. Another example is the lighter skin of Northern Europeans. In climates with less sunlight, lighter skin means more vitamin d. We observe all kinds of racial group differences. We can easily observe that all the fastest 100 meter times are by black men. We observe different means in intelligence, education and crime rates. We know intelligence is at least partially hereditary. It would be quite astonishing if none of these group differences had any biological or genetic factors.

      If all racial and sex differences are 'socially constructed" by a powerful group of social constructers then it would appear that all taxonomy is "socially constructed". Who constructed the social constructors? Is it social construction all the way down? We have reached a point where objective reality and universal truth are denied and all that remains are power struggles between competing groups.

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    25. Kurt,
      It would be quite amazing if Homo Sapiens were the only species without any subspecies.

      That would be remarkable (for the opposite reason you seem to be implying):

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotypic_taxon

      Human populations have not been isolated as long as other species, but long enough for some noticeable differences.

      There are indeed some minor differences in the occurance rate of various genetic markers.

      We can easily observe that all the fastest 100 meter times are by black men.

      Differences measured in very small amounts. If the difference in IQ measurement between black people and white people were as small as the difference in between the best times of Usain Bolt and Su Bingtian (runs at 97% of the speed of Bolt), you would not be discussing the IQ differences.

      We observe different means in intelligence, education and crime rates.

      All of which are very strongly impacted by the environment.

      We know intelligence is at least partially hereditary. It would be quite astonishing if none of these group differences had any biological or genetic factors.

      There is no evidence of a *significant* difference from genetics. The brains of all humans develop in pretty much the same ways, and the brain is a very plastic organ.

      If all racial and sex differences are 'socially constructed" ...

      All strawmen are socially constructed.

      Who constructed the social constructors?

      People with power.

      Is it social construction all the way down?

      You can't discuss these differences without using a socially constructed language, so does that matter?

      We have reached a point where objective reality and universal truth are denied

      We've always been there. I have no expectation that you will come to acknowledge objective reality and universal truth.

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    26. My identity isn't based on the amount of melanin in my skin, the shape of my ears, nor the effectiveness of my eyes. It's not a biological thing.

      The "identity" of every human person is the union of body and soul, created male and female in the image of God. Race, ethnicity and sex is a biological aspect of that union and "identity". We are not disembodied wills free to define our own reality and "identify" with whatever we choose. A male remains a male and human remains a human despite "identifying" as a woman or cat, respectively. I am a white male, not by choice, but by birth.

      The problem with antiracist who claim "there is no such thing as a positive white identity" is that this same principle does not apply to non-whites. A black identity is promoted, celebrated and encourged. The actual antiracist principle is "a white identity and only a white identity is inherently racist and wrong", which is to say that affirming who we are and respecting our culture and heritage is afforded to every group of people except whites.

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    27. Kurt,

      I notice you had to put "identity" in scare quotes there, as if you know it's a non-standard use of the term. I'm not in the mood to hash out your limited notions of being trans.

      Instead of complaining about antiracists, how about you lay out what a positive white identity means?

      Black identities get promoted because black people face oppression. There is no need to promote the identities that are supported instead of oppressed. Further, if you don't see how hundreds of movies and TV shows every year that affirm white culture, how it is predominant in song and story, then you are clearly one of those fragile white people DiAngelo describes.

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    28. I notice you had to put "identity" in scare quotes there, as if you know it's a non-standard use of the term

      I used scare quotes because modern 'identity' politics is the complete perversion of true identity. I offered a traditional understanding of personal identity rooted in truth.

      how about you lay out what a positive white identity means

      The burden of proof is not mine. If you wish to give me a reason why 'white identity' is uniquely 'racist' and wrong, that burden is on you. I suspect that any attempt to do so would illustrate the utter nonsense, hatred, irrationality and bigotry of those making the absurd claim.

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    29. Genetically, there is no difference significant enough to support having different races

      Sorry, but I think this makes little sense.

      Originally, the term "race" wasn't narrowed to those of the "black" and "white" and "red" and "yellow" races, it had broader meaning: The race of Abraham meant those descended from Abraham, and the race of Lot meant those descended from Lot. Having a common ancestor was the issue. And, since ALL modern humans have common ancestors somewhere, you could have people who are "of the same race" in ONE sense (descended, say, from Abraham), and yet not of the "same race" in another context (i.e. those descended from Esau vs those descended from Jacob). In effect, any level of common ancestry is enough to name "a race", and any level of difference in ancestry is enough to separate two races. In this older sense, "race" was adjustable to context.

      And because ancestry also gives rise to that which in inheritable, inheritable traits can ALSO give rise to distinction in race, when we choose to so distinguish.

      It is manifestly true that there are distinguishable POPULATIONS of humans, who are distinct according to VARIOUS genetic differences. Black people tend to have black babies, and white people tend to have white babies, and this inheritable trait is one way of noting distinct populations. It is, for a great many purposes, a trivial and insignificant distinction, but it is IN FACT a distinction. So is hair color, hair waviness, eye color, etc. It would be basically insane to suggest that red-haired people are "not a distinguishable population" of people, for example. Of course they are distinguishable. And that inheritable trait is based on genes. And once you can distinguish them, you can sort them, if you so choose. The fact that some such sortings have no particular meaning beyond the mere sorting itself, and others do, is irrelevant to whether they are distinguishable. But in effect, any sorting by an inheritable trait that has some specific additional meaning can be named "a race" or at least a separable population for that purpose, even if it happens to be a trivial purpose. The population of those whose ring finger is as long as their middle finger could be "a race" for a specific context, if that context used that trait for some purpose.

      In the modern sense of the last couple hundred years or so, "race" took on a special meaning for sorting humans into 5 or so main population groups, but anyone with sense knew that even so there are many gray areas and in-between groups that didn't fit evenly. Biologists now talk in terms of "populations" which often do not have hard and definitive boundaries, and they find no difficulty with identifying such populations, especially based on constellations of traits, in spite of the unavoidable difficulty of assigning some individuals at the boundary conditions.

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    30. Kurt,
      The burden of proof is not mine.

      Then DiAngelo's statement stand substantially unchallenged. As for "rooted in truth", I see something different.

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    31. Tony,

      It is manifestly true that there are distinguishable POPULATIONS of humans, who are distinct according to VARIOUS genetic differences.

      https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/population

      A population is a group of organisms of one species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time.

      It was true that, for a short period of time evolutionarily, there were two populations, one in the Americas and the other in Europe/Asia/Africa/Australia. At no time were there any other, narrower division. Gene flow occurred from Beijing to Cork, from St. Petersburg to Johannesburg (or at least, the areas the currently have those names). We have always been (outside of the previously noted exception) one population.

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    32. One Brow,

      Black identities get promoted because black people face oppression. There is no need to promote the identities that are supported instead of oppressed. ...

      This is a good point. The identity permitted to blacks and other minorities is entirely negative.

      The collective identity permitted to favored minorities is only a tool to further the ultimate goal of radical individual autonomy by destroying any collective identity that the dominant majority and culture might have. Consider: what is the justification given for the existence of a collective identity on the part of some ‘victim’ minority? The justification is not fundamentally so that its members can preserve their own culture and honor their ancestors; rather, the justification is their very status as members of an ‘oppressed’ class: their collective identity is needed to challenge and subvert the white racism of the oppressor class, because this white racism is an obstacle to the freedom and equality of minorities. Indeed, the very existence of such oppressed classes is often regarded as having been entirely socially constructed for the purposes of exploitation by the white oppressor class. The rationale given for the legitimacy of collective identities for favored minorities is almost entirely a negative one.

      In the long run then, minority identities will not fare any better than the majority identity since they are not based upon anything positive.

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    33. Ian,

      You made an interesting point. I'm not sure if I agree or not, but I'll think over it from time to time.

      Delete
    34. Ian,

      While the long-term goal should be a lack of identity based on irrelevant features like skin color, we also live in the now, and in the now, the only way to fight against the forces that encourage a negative identity is to push back with a positive identity. Social mores, slang, etc., all their own form of inertia, and the direction needs to be changed.

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    35. One Brow,

      I agree that this is the underlying rationale for promoting any sort of positive racial identity among minority groups and that the ultimate goal is to make race irrelevant to identity. I don't think this is the "only way to fight against the forces that encourage a negative identity" though because employing the oppressor-oppressed paradigm is doing a lot of work in that regard, and that just is defining racial identity in a negative way (i.e., by what it is against).

      (I also don't agree with the implicit equation of race with skin color.)

      Delete
  10. I would say that there are two types of racism and I call them racism type I and racism type II.
    Avoidance of Type I racism
    No one should be persecuted, harassed, injured, maltreated or deprived of his rights, for no other reason than that of his membership of a particular racial group.
    Avoidance of Type II racism
    No one should be excused, exonerated, pardoned for his crimes and bad behaviour, for no other reason than that of his membership of a particular racial group.
    Avoiding racism, in my book, would involve avoiding both type I and type II racism. This means finding a sort of sweet spot in the middle between ill treating racial minorities on the one hand and indulging them on the other. This is a much trickier proposition than anti-racism as she is currently practised which merely involves a never-ending effort to avoid, and to be seen to be avoiding type I, merely. Because of the widespread obsession with Type I racism, Type II racism is mostly ignored.

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  11. Didn't see that coming, Ed. This should be good. Are you going into more details about CRT as a gnostic type of mindset? Which authors promoting CRT are you interacting with? Just so we can get a headstart.

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  12. I see from the table of contents that the book will address the issue of slavery. It's probably too late to change the text, but I hope it goes into the 1866 Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (approved, IIRC, by the Holy Father) that said that there could be "just titles" to slavery, so that Christians in the territory of the Gallas (in what's now eiither Ethiopia or South Sudan) were not morally obligated to avoid ownership of slaves. This has struck me as an issue posing a real challenge for those arguing for an unbroken magisterium. Up until Vatican II, the Church seems to have urged that slaveholders not mistreat their slaves and to have condemned those who acquire slaves by kidnapping or by waging unjust wars, but not to have asserted that slavery was intrinsically immoral. In Gaudium et Spes and subsequent magisterial documents, however, the Church seems to have done exactly that.

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    Replies
    1. Try this from Card. Dulles: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal

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    2. I recall that there is a significant distinction between chattel slavery and other forms of servitude, probably on the basis of essential differences in the authority over things versus persons. In the Instruction, it seems fairly clear that the master cannot dispose of the slave or servant as chattel, but has certain obligations to him as a person in terms of "life, morals and Catholic faith." There seems to be an understanding of it consistent with Gaudium et Spes, but hopefully Ed does address it.

      Link to Instruction: https://suchanek.name/texts/atheism/slavery.html

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  13. Do you cite Fr. Bonaventure Hinwood as a source in this book?

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  14. I've heard that CRT was influenced by a group of German social theorists called the "Tubingen School". I have also heard that it's roots are deeply Marxist in it's approach to analyzing culture/society.

    Are there any other books you could recommend that have analyzed the different elements of CRT.

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  15. Awesome! I'll make sure to pick it up. In the meantime, it looks like gender is the new frontier--would love to see your take on some of the insane hubub around transgender athletes, drag story time, drag children (look up the new Discovery show "Generation Drag"), and the general obsession in schools about pronouns and gender acceptance.

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    Replies
    1. Ed commented on trans topics before and his take is on these is probably "wtf?". But a book on sex, gender etc would sure be a very good pick.

      I'am trying to understand well the modern mind and i remember reading recently that the more classical liberal(and also on libertarians) take on gender we see on several oponents of wokeness as mostly focusing on the diferent personality characteristics caused by the person sex is caused by even they ignoring the intrinsic relation the sexes have with reproduction. This seems to be caused by they(just like the woke) dividing the person on a more cartesian way, which makes the body something mostly meaningless expect as a tool of the soul, not having any intrinsic final and formal casuality but only some instincts and characteristics that do not give us any obligations. The diference seems that, while both see the body instincts and aimings as having no intrinsic value, the classical liberals think that we can't change these meaningless instincts, but they do not seems to have a way to ground a obligation to respect our sex.

      Both the woke and most of their oponents seems to see the human person quite similarly, so having a good thomist like Dr. Feser,who can write on a way that can help non-philosophers get it while still having deep, would be awesome to get a bit more of sanity.

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  16. Laudator Temporis ActiJune 9, 2022 at 4:28 AM

    To accept the word "racism" -- which was created by implacable enemies of the Church -- means that you've already lost the argument. You shouldn't fight on ground chosen by your enemy. What next? "A Catholic Critique of Sexism"? "Of Transphobia"? "Of Islamophobia"?

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  17. Oh crazy - you haven't even published the book yet and there are already articles on Patheos accusing you of being a White Supremacists. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/henrykarlson/2022/06/crt-and-thomas-aquinas-contra-ed-feser/

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    1. I followed the links and read Karlson's blog entry "Contra Feser". And I cannot find the words strong enough to describe the contempt in which Karlson's despicable and libelous insinuations deserve to be held, along with the author of the same. I have some other matters to attend to now or else I would have much more to say about that remarkable exercise in malice, bad faith, and proof texting.

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    2. Agreed. It was really disgusting the amount of bile and malice spewing out of that article.

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    3. Yeah ... so as to try and practice a little justice myself, I expanded my reading of Karlson's output; enough at least, to include a near dozen or so items going back to 2012 and thereabouts. Much seemed unobjectionable as written; but potentially vectoring on that trend-line toward collective identity nonsense and perhaps even - repeat perhaps even - that emotionalism and obscurantism which seems to infect the minds of so many attracted to "eastern thought".

      Their restless souls inevitably find a comfortable place to dwell it seems; in some psychic analog of a can packed full of worms writhing ecstatically in used motor oil.

      Anyway, this very recent Twitter entry, tells you where Karlson's development has led: "Voegelin just continued the tradition of sniveling at intellectuals, making it sound like there is something wrong them; he used the term "Gnostic," displacing its real meaning (only intellectual would know that) to suggest they were also the worst kind of heretics"


      "the tradition of sniveling [sic] at intellectuals", he says?

      I think that this is the point where someone usually memes the famous "You keep using that word ..." scene.

      Because, "sniveling" is what neurotically sensitive intellectuals do. Whereas "sneering" is how normally balanced people - including some other intellectuals - properly respond.

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    4. in some psychic analog of a can packed full of worms writhing ecstatically in used motor oil.

      That's a great metaphor. I will certainly borrow it from time to time.

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  18. What a nice suprise! It looks quite interesting.

    Now, i have a question that is still on the racism theme so is not off-topic: how acidental is some enlightenment thinkers racism to their ideas? I ask because there are several like Kant that defended this view that Reason, as defined by they, is this universal faculty that every person has than shows us how investigation is good, superstition is bad; everybody has rights etc but them we look at the world and see that most populations never got to anything close to it.

    How would a non-sorta-racist Kant, say, explain how only europeans seemed to '"awake" reason?

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  19. Please read this to get a balanced view of CRT,
    https://theconversation.com/critical-race-theory-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt-162752

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      I've read the article. It's not what I would called "balanced." It whitewashes what Critical Race Theory (CRT) is by neglecting to explain what makes it a "critical" theory as opposed to a "traditional" one. That's a big omission, one that favors obfuscation and misleading the public about the pretensions of any critical theory as "critical."

      Second, I must note your condescension. You write as if conservatives here are ignorant of CRT, implying we only oppose it because of the outrage machine of Fox News. Hate to break it to you, but there are many conservatives who are educated, well-read, and reject CRT on principled philosophical grounds. I write this as one of the least philosophically educated people who frequent Ed Feser's blog. You betray yourself as the one who is under the veil of Maya and shackled inside Plato's Cave, seeing only the shadows on the wall.

      Delete
    2. Modus Pownens,
      Second, I must note your condescension. You write as if conservatives here are ignorant of CRT, implying we only oppose it because of the outrage machine of Fox News. Hate to break it to you, but there are many conservatives who are educated, well-read, and reject CRT on principled philosophical grounds.

      Considering that many of the commentators here seem to think that CRT talks about biological predispositions, I think it's fair to say that many of the commentators here don't understand it, and the conservatives that do seem to be reluctant to correct misinterpretations. Perhaps if you cleaned up your own house more, you'd read less condescension.

      Delete
    3. One Brow,

      If you're referring to Billy's comment (June 10, 4:37 p.m.), he makes no mention of grounding that view of race in biology. What he posited is logically consistent with the social constructivism favored by CRT. In fact, CRT seems to rely on a racial essentialism that's not biological but socially constructed. That's obvious if you turn on Joy Reid, Michael Eric Dyson, or any other demagogue yammering about the alleged bane of “white privilege” in society and overcoming “white supremacy” in America.

      I've skimmed the thread that has incited you. Sure, there is discussion about race and seemingly scientifically correlated traits as known by biology, but I didn't read anyone (Kurt, Infinite Growth, Tony, or Billy) attribute biological determinism to CRT as its preferred ontology of race. Maybe I wasn't reading carefully, but I think it's more likely you weren't.

      Your tu quoque is a lot of sound, fury, and more condescension signifying nothing -- even more so that your accusation seems derived from misapprehension. The question of the truth or falsity of the claim regardless remains untarnished: Leftists seem falsely to believe conservatives are ignorant of, if not entirely incapable of understanding, leftwing theories, precluding the possibility of them having any rational grounds to reject them.

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    4. Modus Pownens,

      If you're referring to Billy's comment (June 10, 4:37 p.m.), he makes no mention of grounding that view of race in biology.

      What he does mention is that he is using Infinite Growth's definition to discuss whether CRT proponents are racist, and Infinite Growth's definition most explicitly refers to using skin color to assign attributes to people.

      What he posited is logically consistent with the social constructivism favored by CRT. In fact, CRT seems to rely on a racial essentialism that's not biological but socially constructed.

      Socially constructed essentialism? You don't think that's an oxymoron?

      Maybe I wasn't reading carefully, but I think it's more likely you weren't.

      Perhaps you were reading atomically, rather than contextually.

      Your tu quoque is a lot of sound, fury, and more condescension signifying nothing

      While there's nothing wrong with a little Shakespearean shout-out, there's no fury in my tone.

      Leftists seem falsely to believe conservatives are ignorant of, if not entirely incapable of understanding, leftwing theories, precluding the possibility of them having any rational grounds to reject them.

      I wonder if you can appreciate the irony of complaining that all leftists are guilty of thinking that all conservatives are ignorant what CRT means, all while putting forth Joy Reid and Michael Eric Dyson as examples.

      I have the same question for you that I had for Dr. Feser. My understanding of Critical Race Theory is that it started as an attempt to explain the de facto continuation of a segregated reality despite a de jure full equality between perceived races. Do you offer alternative explanations for the questions it seeks to address, and point out how they differ?

      Delete
  20. Sorry anon, need more detail of what its main argument is and why we should go there beyond a mere assertion that it is balanced. As it is, we can just wait for the book of Dr. Feser who is established as trustworthy.

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  21. Dr. Feser,

    My understanding of Critical Race Theory is that it started as an attempt to explain the de facto continuation of a segregated reality despite a de jure full equality between perceived races. If you offer a critique of CRT, do you also offer alternative explanations for the questions it seeks to address, and point out how they differ?

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    1. I am curious: if this is the foundation of CRT, in what way does it consider / take into account the fact that in all previous cases of racial segregation / oppression, it took several hundred years before a racially mixed and even treatment came about. Take, for example, the Angles and Saxons in England. Or the Saxons and Normans. Or the Huns throughout central Europe. Or the Chinese in various parts of what is now China but back then wasn't. Or, and this shocks me over and over, Gypsies in England today, after 400+ years of being the butt end of derogatory racial epithets.

      Wouldn't an explanation of "de facto continuation of a segregated reality" note that is the normal by-product of formal de jure segregation, which normally takes hundreds of years to work its way out of a culture? (This doesn't imply that there aren't, in those workings of hundreds of years, ongoing faulty behaviors. But it does imply caution about identifying underlying causes that contribute to those faulty behaviors.)

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    2. Tony,

      From what little I've read (assuming I've understood you correctly), the continuing influence of prior generations of racism is considered to be of high importance in understanding racism currently. So, I think the answer to your questions is "Yes, but some people want to hurry the process along".

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    3. I think you are right that the "continuing influence of prior generations of racism is considered to be of high importance in understanding racism currently." But I would note that "the continuing influence" from those prior generations must be carried by some ONGOING mechanism. Law is one of those - so you often need to change laws. "Culture" is another, and while that is really just a catch-all phrase for whole scads of different distinct causes, some and only some can be addressed DIRECTLY by government (i.e. mainly through laws again.)

      So, I think the answer to your questions is "Yes, but some people want to hurry the process along".

      Yes. And to some extent,, that is an understandable desire and a laudable goal. But - and this is the main point here - SOME actions to "hurry along" will have either counter-intuitive results, i.e. setting back the goal, and others will have worse adverse effects somewhere else than the hurrying along will produce good effects. For example (to take an extreme one), actually oppressing other races "in order to advance" blacks would almost certainly have worse effects overall.

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    4. Tony,

      Government has one major other sphere of influence: the spending of taxes.

      I agree oppressing other races would be a mistake. I'm not aware of such examples of oppression, but wouldn't be surprised if they exist.

      Delete
  22. The term racist, or the r-word, is, as Sam Francis says, a fancy curse word. I’ve never seen anything in any catechism that even approaches the phony antiWhite slur: racism.

    Crt is an antiWhite grooming method.

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  23. Jeepers, I miss Joe Sobran...

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  24. Did the U.S Supreme Court jettison Roe v Wade? I almost can’t believe my eyes and ears.

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  25. I just came across this passage in Charles S. Devas's Political Ecomony (at https://archive.org/details/cu31924013685718/page/n7/mode/2up): 'What is to be considered as constituting a distinct race, to what race particular individuals belong, what are the'characteristics of different races, how far the characteristics of particular groups or individuals are to be attributed to race or to other causes— such problems, owing to the incurable defect of evidence, are seldom capable of exact or sure solution. Hence when we hear of success or failure in political or economic life, or in science, literature, and art, set down to the influence of race, the word race often means merely the sum of unknown causes.
    We must not indeed deny the principle of heredity, but only deny its right to be a residuary legatee and be credited with all effects for which there are no other known causes. Thus if we compare a body of Chinese, Negro, and Malay common labourers of about the same age at work together we must not say that the difference of their efficiency is due to race, unless the known causes that have been influencing these groups of men from their childhood, food, clothing, climate, physical training, intellectual training, moral training, the aims and ideals of their companions, the teaching and practice of their religion — unless these causes are inadequate to account for the technical superiority of the one group to the other. Even if they are inadequate, we still cannot be sure whether hereditary qualities have really anything to do with the difference unless we can be reasonably sure that some other important cause, as yet hidden from us, is not in operation.

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  26. [cont'd] The anthropological distinction of race is there- fore, with the exception of the following points, of little use in Economics.
    § 2. Points of Anthropology for Economists. — I. There can be fruitful intermarriage between all races, however great the apparent contrast between them whether physical or intellectual.
    2. There is no evidence that any race has ever become sterile, that is, physiologically incapable of increasing or even maintaining its numbers. It is even dubious whether any race can be said to be more prolific than any other, the existing great varieties of multiplication in different classes, regions, and nations, being due to known causes other than difference of race. 3. All races can live and thrive everywhere, except in certain swampy and frozen regions, and provided the change of climate is not too great and sudden. Hindus and Swedes could not change places at once without immense mortality in the process of acchmatisation. But if on their way both races halted for some generations in South Italy, they could then perhaps each go forward with httle risk. It follows that to the inhabitants of most countries only certain portions of the earth are immediately available as fields for colonisation.
    How far acclimatisation may be made quicker and easier by the recent progress in medical science and particularly the recent increase in our linowledge of tropical diseases, is an important question not yet solved.
    4. Just as no race as such, by its very blood, is doomed to physical decay, so too no race is doomed to intellectual and moral degradation ; the " irre- claimable savage " is a fiction. We know this indeed on other than anthropological grounds ; but as a matter of historical evidence no " savages " have as yet been found who have not been "re- claimable," where Catholic missioners have been allowed a free hand ; and no " weaker " races have withered and perished, wherever we know anything about the circumstances, without the causes being only too plain and too shameful, and in no way mysterious or necessary.

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  27. [cont'd] Let us beware of two mistalces frequently made : (i) To set at naught the rules of inductive reasoning, and with ready pen to write down to the account of certain races, or imaginary races, certain capacities, virtues, or vices without any scientiiic evidence to sustain these assertions. This is sometimes done even in books professing to be scientific.
    (2) To ignore facts that will not square with preconceived theories ; notably to ignore the cruel treatment, demoralisa- tion, and frequent extermination of darker races by Europeans from about the year 1760 to this day. Such, for example, have been the destruction of the Jesuit " Reductions " in South America by the infidel Governments of Portugal and Spain ; a similar destruction of Franciscan Missions in California, some half-century later, by the infidel Mexican Government ; the interminable plunder and ill-treatment of the " Red Indians " and breaking of faith by the American Government 'and colonists ; a similar treatment of the Maoris in New Zealand ; the extermination of the " Blacks " in Australia ; the kidnapping with horrible cruelty and blood- shed of the natives of Polynesia to work in misery on planta- tions ; the spread of demoralisation, disease, and death wholesale through Africa by European traders introducing intoxicating drinks. In all these cases the decay of the native inhabitants has been perfectly intelligible and perfectly preventable. '[pp. 39-42]. It is interesting to see how obvious these considerations were to an objective observer in 1901.

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