29 April 2012

Being a Progressive, Yesterday: Eugenics


It is one of our vanities to imagine that if we'd been born in centuries past, we alone would have stood up against the rampant injustices of the age (slavery, colonialism, religious persecution, etc.) instead of going with the flow like most people did.  Unlike others, we're in no way molded by our era--our righteousness is ageless. (The host's tut-tutting in this otherwise fascinating podcast on slavery is but one example.)

Another point of view is that those of a progressive bent in 2012, had they magically existed in 1912, would have likely followed the leftist causes du jour.  Ditto conservatives.  So what was the progressive doctrine in 1912 that today's liberal can be fairly sure he'd have fervently believed and agitated for?


Darwin's 1859 work landed in the Western conscience like a rock heaved into a pond.  Nothing would ever be the same.  The idea that such social ills as insanity, mental retardation, and psychopathy were heritable began to seep into the popular mind.  One reason was Francis Galton (cousin of Darwin), who coined the term 'eugenics' and wrote tirelessly about it for decades.

Many in the late 19th century had an almost childlike faith that science could solve humanity's woes.  And it was thought then that some of humanity's woes were:

  • The retarded and insane, a burden on the private and public purse, were having retarded and insane children.
  • The stupid and dysfunctional poor were having many more children than the intelligent and functional rich.
  • (In the U.S:) South and East European immigrants, less intelligent and functional, were hurting the racial stock of the country.

The word 'dysgenics' was coined in 1915 by British physician Caleb Saleeby.  Biologist Julian Huxley, founding member of World Wildlife Fund and first director of UNESCO, described the threat thusly:

In the first of these [addresses to the British Eugenics Society] he reaffirmed that natural selection had become greatly relaxed in contemporary civilizations, noting that “the elimination of natural selection is largely, though of course by no means wholly, rendered inoperative by medicine, charity, and the social services” and that dysgenic fertility was leading to “the tendency to degradation of the germ plasm, ” the result of which will be that “humanity will gradually destroy itself from within, will decay in its very core and essence, if this slow but insidious relentless process is not checked.  (1)

21 April 2012

Building a Better Currency Union

Like so many policy domains, international economic policy in the West has fallen victim to the Late Twentieth Century Delusion: 'People are people.'

Foreign policy was once the playground of race realists at every level.  The only trace of this left may be the Pentagon, who in its double-secret PC-proofed dungeon whips up instructional pamphlets aimed at keeping GIs from getting killed by letting them know some people are, in fact, Not Like Us.  (Or used to anyway.)

Back when foreign conquest was the norm, the primitive peoples of the world were seen as docile labor to exploit (rightists) or as poor backward heathen to civilize (leftists).  But what no one disagreed on was that they were, in fact, primitive.  That is to say, Not Like Us.

De-colonization, the U.N., etc. at last clued us in to the fact that everybody on planet earth was, in fact, just like us.  International economic policy has thus taken on a rather surreal cast, as on the one hand the West insists that Africa is its equal, but on the other hand sets up trade agreements with her that make her appear, decades after de-colonization, to be a slightly retarded child.

One current example of the perils of 'People are people' is that of the European Monetary Union, or Eurozone.  Conceived in the chaos of the waning days of Bretton Woods, it aimed to be something entirely new--a monetary and economic union of several large sovereign states.  The hard work of Jacques Delors, among others, made it all happen.

(The British, then as now, were not enthusiasts.)

Ten years later, it all seems to be falling apart. (Don't be fooled by the lull in hysterics; disintegration continues apace.) Economists are openly warning that to survive, the Eurozone will have to split in two.  Yet the 2011 EU decision-makers seemed totally baffled by the meltdown. Why?

The reasons are many; we shan't look at all but only one: People aren't people.

The Eurozone, some have surmised, was at its heart an attempt by the French to neuter fearsome Germany once and for all.  The German cities and states had long been wealthy trade centers, but unification in 1871 gelled them into a power that brought Europe to its knees.  Germany was, in a word, scary.  Forcing her to entwine her fiscal fortunes forever with those of Mediterranean Europe... what better way to leash the giant?

So how did it happen?

As Bretton Woods broke down, several European states began to peg their currencies to each other:  The European Monetary System (EMS) was born.  The end goal was a single currency for all of Europe, with liberté, égalité, and fraternité for all.  But there was always a niggling problem.

During this time [1983-87], the Deutsche mark evolved as the anchor currency of the system, and the anti-inflationary policies of the Bundesbank became the reference point for partner countries....

There were perceptions that the system was "asymmetric" because of the dominant role of the Deutsche mark...

In the wake of the Wall Street crash of October 1987, ...international funds sought refuge in the Deutsche mark, and strong tensions developed within the ERM [European Exchange Rate Mechanism]... (1)

What to do when the dream of equality bumps up against the reality of superiority?

While Germany may have chained herself to this shaky ship to atone for her WWII sins, for the weaker southern economies it was basically a free-cash bonanza. (Much like EU accession).

Once they had joined the euro zone, Europe's southern countries gave up trying to sort out their finances, says [ex-Finance Minister] Papantoniou. With a steady flow of easy money coming from the northern European countries, the Greek public sector began borrowing as if there were no tomorrow. This was only possible because the country, in becoming part of the euro zone, was also effectively borrowing Germany's credibility and credit rating.

Then the 2008 world credit crunch hit and the tide went out, revealing who was not wearing a bathing suit.  Unpayable debts, hand-wringing, finger-pointing, late night negotiations, harried Brussels press conferences, riots, tear gas... Time to throw in the towel?

13 April 2012

Heretics, Kulaks, and Witches: All That's Old is New Again

Haunted by his own thought crimes, baffled by the zombies spouting dogmatic nonsense all around him, today's American is lost.  He reaches into the mists of history and gropes for a comparison.  What has his country become? What is this?

     Is this like the persecution of the heliocentrists?

     Is it like the witch trials in early modern Europe?

     Is it like the Soviet fight for doctrinal purity?

07 April 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, to those who can see and to those who cannot.

You may have missed...

Travel:  The adventurers who set out to see the world and its peoples, one of Europe's enduring legacies.  You can see the tribes they encountered through their eyes, often reading their very words, for free on the internet in 2012.  Let yourself be swept away...

The Far East:
The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 1 and Volume 2
The Journals of Jesuit Matteo Ricci, 1583-1610 (in Chapter V of Hukluytus Posthumus)

South America:
The letters of Amerigo Vespucci, from his voyages in 1499-1504.
A brief account of Sir Francis Drake's voyage around the world, launched in 1577.

North America:
The Voyages of Samuel Champlain in North America in the early 1600s.
The expedition of Lewis and Clark, 1804-06.

 The South Pacific:
A Voyage Toward the South Pole and Around the World, by Capt. James Cook, 1775.

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Mungo Park's excellent Travels in the Interior of Africa, 1798.
Sir Henry M. Stanley's How I Found Livingstone, 1871.

The whole world:
The Exploration of the World, 1882, Jules Verne.  A marvelous anthology of narratives from the world's greatest travelers, from Herodotus to Ibn Batuta to Columbus.  A real treasure trove, not to be missed.

Wishing everyone the simple pleasures of celebrating with family.  'The days are long, but the years are short...'  Happy Easter / Joyeuses Pâques to all.

01 April 2012

HBD Day banners

[UPDATED: Added modified versions based on suggestions]

Olave d'Estienne has proposed that the HBD-aware (those who can see) stake out a square on the calendar to promote awareness among those still laboring under the Late Twentieth Century Delusion.  Discussion has been had here and here, and HBD chick has taken the time to create banner ideas here.

Avid fans of Microsoft Paint, we here at Those Who Can See have whipped up some banner ideas as well.  Multiple styles have been tried and taglines have been tossed about willy-nilly.

We begin with the nature-themed: