11 January 2015
Despite appearances, we are hard at work here at Those Who Can See, sticking to our adage of 'if it ain't ready, don't publish it.' An unusally busy winter work schedule is slowing down but not stopping us.
But a quick interlude is in order. The recent attacks in France have taken over the news cycle here, spawning much journalistic heat but little light on both sides of the Atlantic. We'd like to give a brief snapshot of some of the less-seen bits of the story.
Alors, pour les curieux...
I. The Magazine
Charlie Hebdo, for those unfamiliar, is a French satiric weekly born in 1970 from the ashes of Hara Kiri, itself inspired by Mad Magazine.
It is the baby of counter-culture leftists. Their number one targets have always been conservatives and Christians. A sampling (some courtesy of MPC):
When the famous 'Piss Christ' angered Catholics in Avignon, Charlie said:
03 December 2014
Having done our level best this year to publish at least once per month, we beg our readers' pardon for the current delay. November has been a doozy. We very much hope to post a new piece before Christmas.
Thank you as always to the readers of this blog for your patience and encouragement.
01 November 2014
Every year thousands board rickety boats, hide in the backs of trucks, planes, and container ships, cross miles of barren desert on foot... All to get themselves to a land where they can be ruled by a racial group far distant from their own.
They cross the Mediterranean by the hundreds, many dying en route. Not to get to Italy--that's only phase one--but to the real Eldorado: Northern Europe.
Calais, in the north of France, is now home to a tent encampment of several thousand third-world migrants. Are they content to have made it to one of the richest countries on the planet? They are not. Each day they lie in wait trying to jump in the backs of trucks embarking the Channel ferry for the promised land: the U.K.
Boats of fortune leave regularly from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, full to cracking with Pakistanis, Lebanese, Somalis... Though these Asian and African 'refugees' are surrounded by dozens of safe countries which could take them in, they'd rather risk death on the open sea in hopes of reaching a land run by...Anglos. Why?
Dozens of Iraqi and Iranian women and children perished in this December 2010 crash
off the coast of Austrialia
off the coast of Austrialia
Gallup recently polled the citizens of Planet Earth, asking 1) Would you like to migrate abroad? and 2) If so, where?
They have concluded that three-quarters of a billion people would, in fact, like to leave their home country.
From this Gallup was able to cook up a Potential Net Migration Index: If everyone in the world could magically land in his country of choice tomorrow, Singapore's population would rise by 219%. Zimbabwe's would fall by 47%. The top 20 destinations, according to this measure:
Thirteen of these twenty, one may have noticed, have a little something in common.
30 September 2014
Having addressed Atlantic editor Ta-Nehisi Coates' wish for reparations for red-lining, we now turn to another of his claims: That descendents of U.S. slaves deserve cash payouts for their forebears' suffering.
There is the question of both a) the legitimacy and b) the practicality of such a scheme. We shall only discuss the former, because if it is truly worthwhile, the latter can always be worked out.
Poring through Coates' 17-page article, we have guessed that he objects to U.S. chattel slavery on the following grounds: 1) Its very existence was unconscionable, 2) It was unusually inhumane, 3) It destroyed the Afro family, and 4) It helped create the large black-white wealth gap we see today.
We shall address his points one by one.
I. The very existence of U.S. slavery was unconscionable
One main thrust of Coates' argument for slavery reparations is that the institution itself was somehow anomalous--'cruel and unusual,' to use our founders' words. Cruel it may have been in the hands of cruel masters, but unusual it assuredly was not. Looking back, it's harder to find societies that don't practice slavery than those that do. As soon as we rose above subsistence level, it seems we start coercing each other into labor.
23 August 2014
'Ingenious and powerful,' 'important and compelling', 'stunningly ambitious;' it has 'broken traffic records and vanished from newsstands,' 'setting ablaze' social media. What is it?
It is 'The Case for Reparations,' Atlantic's June 2014 cover story by editor Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The idea has been tossed around since Emancipation, falling out of fashion as of late. Coates brings it roaring back in this long-form piece, calling on Euro-Americans to 1) publicly express their guilt about past oppression, and 2) pay reparation money to their Afro countrymen. Does his argument hold water?
The 17-page article covers much ground, but it seems Coates seeks redress for three major wrongs:
- Land theft
They are three quite different topics, and should be treated as such. We shall begin by addressing the most recent: so-called 'redlining.'
Coates tells the story of Clyde Ross, son of Mississipi sharecroppers who came to Chicago in the Great Migration:
'Three months after Clyde Ross moved into his house, the boiler blew out. This would normally be a homeowner’s responsibility, but in fact, Ross was not really a homeowner. His payments were made to the seller, not the bank. And Ross had not signed a normal mortgage. He’d bought “on contract”: a predatory agreement that combined all the responsibilities of homeownership with all the disadvantages of renting—while offering the benefits of neither.
Ross had bought his house for $27,500. The seller, not the previous homeowner but a new kind of middleman, had bought it for only $12,000 six months before selling it to Ross. In a contract sale, the seller kept the deed until the contract was paid in full—and, unlike with a normal mortgage, Ross would acquire no equity in the meantime.'
Why was Ross obliged to buy a house 'on contract'? Because he could secure no regular mortgage financing. Chances are, in large part because he was Afro-American.
30 July 2014
The late Larry Auster wrote,
As we all know by now, racism, like witchcraft, is a difficult accusation to defend oneself against. The reason is that the word no longer has a defined meaning. I was first struck by this phenomenon several years ago when New York City’s closing of a hospital in Harlem, as part of an economy move, was ferociously denounced as “racist” by black leaders.
This was a new and startling use of a highly charged word that I had associated mainly with race hatred. “Racism” now apparently meant anything that, in the view of black people, hurt their interests or offended them or, indeed, anything they did not approve of. In recent years, this limitless definition has come to include the entire structure of our predominantly white society, as well as all white people.
Steve Browne at Taki Mag is even blunter:
It has to be evident to all thinking people by now that racism is the new witchcraft. Once you’re branded with the Scarlet “R,” some people do not regard it as immoral to assault you…or worse. Calling someone a racist is sufficient to brand them as outside the pale of civilized company. In academia, the accusation is a career-wrecker. Socially it is enough to get you dropped from the A-list of the best parties.
06 July 2014
Political maps have changed much since one hundred years ago. Or two hundred, or five hundred.
Some changes have crept in; others have exploded. It can be interesting to look at old maps and think, how will ours look to our descendents?
Imperialism was the trend for much of the modern era. Most peoples were swept up into the folds of empires-- European, Turk, Chinese.
But West European colonialism dissolved in the 1960s, Soviet imperialism in the 1990s. Since then the trend has gone the other way: States are fracturing ever more.
1960 to 1990: A multiplication of states
The one exception is the quasi-super-state known as the European Union, which has been hoovering up members as fast as it can.
The recent eurozone crisis has led to calls for 'a United States of Europe.' Only a true federal authority in Brussels, with control over member states' moves, can lead to a happy European future:
European Commission vice-president Viviane Reding has predicted that the eurozone will become a federal state, while urging the UK not to leave the Union. ... “In my personal view, the eurozone should become the United States of Europe."
... Reding noted that euro countries have made an “extraordinary” leap in terms of integration due to the economic crisis. Citing the commission’s new powers to scrutinise national budgets and plans to create a banking union, she said: “a few years ago no one could have imagined member states being prepared to cede this amount of sovereignty.”
The United States itself, a grand experiment in federalism, has seen its central government intrude ever more deeply on states' rights over the last century. Is this a happy thing? At the same time, the massive post-1965 immigration experiment has flip-flopped U.S. demography.
These trends have created deep American fault lines. Europe is in fact trying to emulate the U.S. at the very moment when the latter seems to be fracturing. In both cases, then, we have a tension between creeping federal authority on one hand, and a desire by regions to throw off that authority on the other.
What does the future hold for these two super-states?
We at Those Who Can See feel it is naively optimistic to imagine in 100 years the maps of our descendents will look the same as ours. Where are these two chunks of the Europsphere headed?