David Klinghoffer: Evolution and the Alt-Right

David Klinghoffer writes:

I prefer understanding to demonizing. Darwinian “conservatives” operate with a particular picture in mind of what a human being is — a very different picture from the one posited by the Judeo-Christian tradition on which conservatism has drawn in the past. It’s either man the animal or man in the image of an intelligent designer. Those are the choices.

From such a stark dichotomy, everything else is downstream. Recognizing as much would be a first step to restoring the health of a fractured and troubled movement.

I don’t see the contradiction between believing in God and believing in evolution. As Dennis Prager says, “I believe God created evolution.”

Different races have different gifts. I believe this. David Klinghoffer believes this. These gifts are either the gift of the Creator or the gift of evolution (or they are both).

Here is David Klinghoffer’s piece in full:

If you follow conservative journalism at all, you know that a mostly online splinter called the “alternative right” or “alt-right” is currently a subject of bitter and voluminous indignation. At The Federalist today, Cathy Young has an interesting analysis (“You Can’t Whitewash the Alt-Right’s Bigotry“), taking issue with two other journalists at Breitbart who tried to explain the phenomenon in a sympathetic, even admiring manner.

There is great worry about the conservative brand image, and the alt-right figures prominently in that. Cathy Young’s piece, you’ll notice, has some intriguing references to evolution, “human biodiversity,” “race-related genetic cognitive and behavioral differences,” and related subjects. On that, she and other mainstream conservatives could have said much more. Though this has escaped focused attention, the alternative right draws heavily on themes of evolution-based racism. And that is significant.

Miss Young notes “retired California State University-Long Beach psychology professor Kevin MacDonald, who has some peculiar theories about Jews: namely, that Judaism is an ‘evolutionary strategy’ by which Jews seek dominance…It’s ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ dressed up as evolutionary psychology.”

Another writer cited by Young raises eugenic, or rather dysgenic, concerns:

“The Pro-Life Temptation” by Aylmer Fisher — presumably a pseudonym stolen from the innocent British geneticist — which cautions the alt-right against adopting an anti-abortion stance in knee-jerk opposition to liberals. The pro-life position is ‘dysgenic,’ since it encourages breeding by ‘the least intelligent and responsible’ women.

If you think you know where this is going, you’re right. Fisher argues that, firstly, the pro-life position is “dysgenic,” since it encourages breeding by “the least intelligent and responsible” women who are most likely to have abortions and who are “disproportionately Black, Hispanic, and poor.”

Taken from the Radix Journal (more on it in a moment), that’s ugly stuff and Miss Young does a service in pointing it out. In her article, our old nemesis John Derbyshire, scrubbed from National Review, makes an appearance, along with the alt-right “movement’s online hubs such as Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.com and Steve Sailer’s VDARE.” (Actually VDARE is edited by Peter Brimelow, not Steve Sailer, who has his own blog at another alt-right hotspot, The Unz Review. Once upon a time, I enjoyed editing them both as writers for National Review.)

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve reported here in the past on the evolutionary preoccupations of Derbyshire and another “race-realist” outlet, Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance. But not till reading Cathy Young’s post did I recognize that the mother lode of pseudo-conservative, pseudo-scientific racism is Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.com, which as she points out has been rebranded as Radix Journal, “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States, and around the world.”

Here, the vein of evolutionary thinking is particularly rich. We read, “Darwinian Evolution Revolutionized the Natural Sciences. The Social Sciences Have Been Immune for Too Long.” In “What Is Identitarian Religion?,” writer “Alfred W. Clark” tells of a “long-standing ‘Trad Catholic’ I know [who] told me recently that he had left the Church. [H]is ‘conservative’ priest had become obsessed with [among other things]…denouncing evolution because it’s ‘racist‘.” More:

And what of identitarian atheists and agnostics? Can they co-exist with identitarian religion? Since identitarian religion is not at odds with nature, and thus not at odds with evolutionary science, it does not threaten secular knowledge but offers itself as an additional societal glue.

Another writer wonders why few women seem enthusiastic about “race-realism”:

The evolutionary basis for this doesn’t seem too hard to figure out. As a prehistoric man, you have to decide the best way to find food and kill the members of the other tribe….

There is sympathy for eugenics, and much fretting about the “dysgenic menace.” A writer notes an “antisocial Darwinism” where “Society favors the broken at the expense of the fixed. The result isn’t so much that the fixed are crushed, but that the broken proliferate and become permanent dependents of the state.”

Richard Spencer shares his “Foreword to a new annotated edition of [racial eugenicist] Madison Grant’s Conquest of a Continent [1933],” explaining that “Darwinism offers a compelling and rational justification for Whites to act on behalf of their ancestors and progeny and feel a shared since of destiny with their extended kin group.”

Again, Alfred W. Clark asks, “What Is the #Altright?” He explains:

Michael Brendan Dougherty recently called the alt-right “race obsessed”. A better phrase might be: race realists. Most alt-righters actually take Darwinism seriously. (If you are at a loss of what “taking Darwinism seriously” means, you might want to read this book.) Young alt-righters are comfortable with modern science which shows that human biodiversity is a facet of life. The fact that so many today in Conservatism Inc. want either to ignore or deny human biodiversity, shows how untethered from reality modern conservatism has become.

And much more along these lines.

The Right has periodically sought to purge itself of tendencies like this, and it’s engaged in such a purge right now. I prefer understanding to demonizing. Darwinian “conservatives” operate with a particular picture in mind of what a human being is — a very different picture from the one posited by the Judeo-Christian tradition on which conservatism has drawn in the past. It’s either man the animal or man in the image of an intelligent designer. Those are the choices.

From such a stark dichotomy, everything else is downstream. Recognizing as much would be a first step to restoring the health of a fractured and troubled movement.

On June 24, 2015, David Klinghoffer wrote:

In Explaining Dylann Roof’s Inspiration, the Media Ignore Ties to Evolutionary Racism

We haven’t said anything yet about the horrific church massacre in South Carolina because the terrible event did not seem, at first glance, to touch on the scientific issues that we typically deal with here. True, confessed mass murderer Dylann Roof’s apparent “manifesto” deals a little with themes of pseudo-scientific racism:

Negroes have lower [IQs], lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior. If a scientist publishes a paper on the differences between the races in Western Europe or Americans, he can expect to lose his job. There are personality traits within human families, and within different breeds of cats or dogs, so why not within the races?

A horse and a donkey can breed and make a mule, but they are still two completely different animals. Just because we can breed with the other races doesnt make us the same.

But beyond that there was none of the evolutionary chatter you find at some neo-Nazi and white supremacist sites. Now, though, the mainstream media are rejoicing at the revelation that a racist group that evidently inspired Roof is headed by a man who is also a donor to Republican candidates.

“‘Supremacist’ Earl Holt III and his donations to Republicans,” announces the Washington Post. “Council of Conservative Citizens Promotes White Primacy, and G.O.P. Ties,” says the New York Times.

Guilt by association is a nasty business. It’s often very selective, too. It leaves things out that don’t fit the desired narrative.

When I read these articles, I noted that the official spokesman for Holt’s group is a person called Jared Taylor, best known for leading another, slightly more polished white nationalist web publication, American Renaissance. These organizations have their different emphases and preoccupations. While the Council of Conservative Citizens is obsessed by “black-on-white” crime, American Renaissance has as one of its specialties science-flavored, notably evolutionary, justifications for racism. In the media coverage I’ve seen, the latter fact has gone unmentioned.

I have written about Taylor’s group before:

American Renaissance is fully as obsessed with the insights of evolution and eugenics as the prominent neo-Nazi website Stormfront, except the material is presented in a superficially objective and scholarly fashion and the anti-Semitism is kept more under wraps — though evidently this last element comes out more freely in person at the conferences.

Here, for example, is Jared Taylor on Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance:

Most importantly, Mr. Wade points out that “brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene.” And since human evolution is “recent and copious,” the brains of different populations function differently. This is the book’s main heresy: After the races separated, they evolved different mental patterns that gave rise to different social patterns.

The language isn’t scabrous as you’d find on the Council of Conservative Citizens website, but the message amounts to the same thing. Taylor is praised as a “race-realist” by our old nemesis John Derbyshire, kicked out of National Review for his own racialism. Derbyshire, last observed when he was granted space in The American Spectator to denounce intelligent design in absurd terms, now hangs his hat at a series of racist publications.

Of course, no one I’ve referred to endorses Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage. I don’t doubt that they are all sincerely mortified by the association, however unintended, with such unapologetic, undisguised evil.

I mention this at all not to blame them for Roof’s crime, in any way, but simply to note — because the mainstream media covers it up — how certain ideas tend to hang together.

The racial elements in Charles Darwin’s writing, the eugenicist implications, are often brushed aside as ugly but incidental, a mere byproduct of his time and place. Yet the myth of European superiority over inferior dark peoples continues to percolate in some evolutionary thinking, a century and more after the close of the Victorian era. It seems to have found an eager student in a disturbed young man named Dylann Roof.

I take evolution for granted. That’s my bias. I also take the existence of God and the divine nature of the Torah for granted.

Klinghoffer uses many slurs in these posts that he does not bother substantiating. He calls Dylann Roof’s manifesto “pseudo-scientific racism” but does not explain how it is wrong. He does not explain how racism is wrong. You would think that if racism were a sin, Judaism, Christianity and Islam would have commandments against it. They don’t. From a Torah perspective, there is no such sin as racism (nor sexism, ageism, homophobia, Islamophobia etc). No great rabbi has written a sefer (book) against racism.

Klinghoffer writes: “American Renaissance has as one of its specialties science-flavored, notably evolutionary, justifications for racism.”

This is just put-down. Nowhere does David bother to explain what racism is and who declared it a sin. Nor does he show any factual or logical problems in American Renaissance publications.

There are only two honorable forms of argument — to dispute facts or to dispute logic.

When people take care with their selection of a spouse, they are practicing eugenics. What is so horrible about eugenics?

Klinghoffer writes: “…except the material is presented in a superficially objective and scholarly fashion and the anti-Semitism is kept more under wrap.”

Again, David does not bother to point out any factual and logical errors. He just throws slurs.

“Derbyshire, last observed when he was granted space in The American Spectator to denounce intelligent design in absurd terms, now hangs his hat at a series of racist publications.”

This is just name-calling. It is not an honorable argument. Klinghoffer is simply indulging in point-and-sputter.

“The racial elements in Charles Darwin’s writing, the eugenicist implications, are often brushed aside as ugly but incidental, a mere byproduct of his time and place. Yet the myth of European superiority over inferior dark peoples continues to percolate in some evolutionary thinking, a century and more after the close of the Victorian era. It seems to have found an eager student in a disturbed young man named Dylann Roof.”

Racial thinking now branded as racism was taken for granted commonsense in the world prior to the 1950s.

Are there not some ways that European civilization is superior to African civilization?

In his blog post published April 14, 2016, Klinghoffer praises Cathy Young’s article on the Alt Right and refers to a superb Radix essay on abortion, “… that’s ugly stuff.”

How is that an argument? I notice when I challenge Jewish intellectuals in particular why Jewish identity is wonderful but white identity is horrible, they often revert to arguing “that’s ugly stuff.” I could say something Klinghoffer wrote was “ugly stuff” but how would that advance an argument?

The Alt-Right occupies the moral and intellectual high ground. It is obvious from the inability of its critics such as David Klinghoffer to engage in honorable argument.

Klinghoffer:

But not till reading Cathy Young’s post did I recognize that the mother lode of pseudo-conservative, pseudo-scientific racism is Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.com, which as she points out has been rebranded as Radix Journal, “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States, and around the world.”

Klinghoffer is fond of the slur “psuedo-scientific” but he never seems to bother with offering examples and facts to back up his assertions.

What exactly is wrong with being dedicated to the heritage and future of European peoples? Why is that inferior to being dedicated to the heritage and future of Jews, blacks and the Japanese?

Miss Young notes “retired California State University-Long Beach psychology professor Kevin MacDonald, who has some peculiar theories about Jews: namely, that Judaism is an ‘evolutionary strategy’ by which Jews seek dominance…It’s ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ dressed up as evolutionary psychology.”

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery. Young and Klinghoffer offer no evidence of forgery in Kevin MacDonald’s work. I doubt they’ve even read his book Culture of Critique. Kevin’s critics hurl slurs. Why? Because they can’t meet him on the field of honorable argument disputing facts and logic.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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