Monday, February 13, 2012

The essential problem with all race theory is that it is inherently collectivist.  Whether a person argues that "every race should be treated equally" and that the way to measure progress towards this equality is analyzing statistical outcomes by race, or a person argues that "races are inherently different" and appeals to the evidence of statistical differences in outcomes when grouped by race, both are making the same fundamental error of measuring the race rather than the individual.

If you measure the IQ of people by their self-identified racial category, and allow "no preference" or "none" or "other" as a racial category for a person to identify with, you'll find that those people who don't identify themselves by race have, statistically, much higher IQs than any other race.  What does this tell us about race?  Does it seriously suggest that there is some previously unidentified race out there that is markedly superior to other races?  Or perhaps simply that the very concept of grouping people by race is fundamentally flawed?

People who enjoy a certain degree of individual excellence (including intellect) are far more likely to identify themselves in more individualistic terms.  There is nothing surprising about this, it is too characteristic of personality to suggest that it is 'only human'.

The 'elitist' holds to the view that only those who have exceptional merits (often rather hazily defined) deserve to be treated as individuals, while the common masses of humanity are properly subjected to categorization, regimentation, and disposal based on their 'type' (be that racial, economic, or ideological).  The more consistent individualist holds that everyone is fundamentally an individual, and while we necessarily recognize that certain characteristics are shared between some individuals and not others, which requires acknowledgment if we're to seriously understand them as individuals, it is still the recognition of the individual rather than the collective which is our focus.

I'm all for recognizing that individuals who are born and raised in the ethnic culture of their nation are to be regarded as having, individually, a far greater stake in that nation as a result of it being their 'homeland', the place and people of their childhood memories and aspirations.  For that reason I'm generally opposed to mass-immigration into any established Western nation.  And that becomes more pointed when the immigrants are coming from cultural backgrounds that will make their new society seem wholly alien and uncomfortable to them because of their upbringing in a totally different culture.  Only very strong individual commitment to a new nation, combined with strong personal reasons for utterly discarding their old national identity, can overwhelm this disparity for any given individual.

I'm not worried about the collective rights of 'whites' or even of any particular nationality to be the majority in their 'own' nations.  I'm worried about the rights of millions of individuals to have the opportunity of living in a nation that is recognizable to them as the place that they grew up, populated by the people they grew up among, ordered by the values that informed their ethical development.  That seems a far stronger argument for preserving the distinctive character of every nation that doesn't provoke its people to flee it at the first opportunity.

I don't even object to the individual right of people to think of the nation where they grew up as having a certain 'racial' character.  But there is always a serious problem when you try to assign the rights to the collective rather than the individual.  Collectives don't do anything, individuals do.  Even taking credit or responsibility by the collective for the actions of individuals is something that has to be done by individuals, collectives don't even do that on their own.  While the exigencies of national conflict may make it impossible to trace responsibility for acts back to particular individuals rather than assigning blame to a nation, we still should recognize that it is individuals that do everything that is blamed on their nation, culture, or race.

Chiu Chun-Ling.