30 July 2014

Racism: The New Witchcraft?

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.

The comparison is bold--witches were pursued in large numbers in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, losing their assets, families, very often their lives. Are there any real parallels? Or are Messieurs Auster and Browne just blowing smoke?

06 July 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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?