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John Bruce Leonard

A Brief Critique of Cosmopolitanism – Part 2

Series: A Brief Critique of Cosmopolitanism

The battle for the future is waged ever on the grounds of the past.

The fundamental and necessary presupposition of cosmopolitanism, no matter what kinds of ethical or political or epistemological relativisms it appears to adopt or affirm, is the moral and practical superiority of the cosmopolitan ideology over every other worldview, and the consequent desire to realize cosmopolitanism as a concrete political reality. But cosmopolitanism, for reasons we have touched upon in the first part of this essay and at greater length in the aforementioned essay on the open society, is unique among ‘ideologies’ in not only abstractly desiring a homogeneous world state, as communism did for instance, but in absolutely requiring one for its full and proper establishment. Without a single world government, cosmopolitanism is beset by insurmountable difficulties in its implementation; and without cosmopolitanism, the single world state necessarily takes on the aspect of an intolerable dictatorial order. The ideology of cosmopolitanism and the ideal of a single world government are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

The ideology of cosmopolitanism and the ideal of a single world government are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

We closed the first half of this essay with the question of the degree to which an authentically free man could or should desire the establishment of such a world state. It goes almost without saying that the goal of establishing such a state is happily presupposed by the better part of today’s so-called ‘liberalism’; even where ‘liberalism’ appears to qualify this aim (by speaking for instance of global federalisms or world governing organizations in the place of world government per se) it sneaks the homogeneous world state into its final political philosophy in one form or another. The ‘end of history’ is meaningless in the absence of universal ‘liberal’ order, and this order is understood to be desirable, not to speak of tolerable, on account of its perfection of the Enlightenment ideals of freedom and equality and its ability to marry these two political ends in a socio-political order spanning the entirety of the globe.

The homogeneous world state defends its viability via cosmopolitanism. Its superiority to every other form of government is presumed to reside in its being the single social order to avoid any definite pronouncement on the good or the evil of human ways, and the consequent liberation of human beings to live as they please; it is the single social order to permit any and all human ways, and thus the single universal, as opposed to particularistic, social order. Its quality is to be discovered in its breadth, its largeness. It is the only truly universal view available to man from the political perspective. It attains this marvellous result through its primary virtue of tolerance, which virtue permits to all human beings the liberty to do as they list and to live as they will.

So much for the claims made by cosmopolitan ideals on their own behalf. In point of fact, no cosmopolitan state, no open society, no liberal regime can function save as all or the great majority of its members adhere to the principles which make such a state possible. All or almost all of the citizens of the world village must be tolerant, for in the lack of this basic condition, democratic processes can easily be made to turn against the liberal order, instating illiberal orders of a variety of kinds and leading directly to the collapse or even overthrow of the cosmopolitan order. But the values promoted by the ‘virtue of tolerance’ are not universal values; they are values which attach to a single ideology alone of all the ideologies, worldviews, philosophies or outlooks available to a human being: they are precisely and specifically cosmopolitan values. Cosmopolitanism feigns universality and bases its tremendous social and political demands on this quality; but in the final analysis, it is evident that cosmopolitanism, like every other proposed human regime, is in fact a closed and narrow order, replete with its own limited and limiting ideas about how a man ought to live, behave and think; it is furthermore evident that it, no less than any other human regime, will enforce its values through a variety of more or less evident means, and will suppress or oppose any views, ideas, or movements that might threaten it even intellectually. But then the cosmopolitan global state proves to be a particularistic regime, and not a universal regime, per its claim. It therefore does not suffice to defend cosmopolitanism on the basis of its ‘openness’; if it is to be defended, it must be defended on the basis of its points of superiority over other possible regimes.

Any open-eyed man is therefore compelled to submit cosmopolitanism to the same rigorous critique to which one would submit any ideological proposal for world government. Such analysis can only come through the comparison of cosmopolitanism with the real and actualizable alternatives to cosmopolitanism. But it is precisely these which cosmopolitanism, more than almost any other modern ideology, renders invisible and inaccessible.

Take Europe as an example of this. It was once the case that Europe was composed of a rich and variegated medley of societies, which, though they shared certain common traits when compared to the great South or East or Middle East, nonetheless were characterized by fundamental incompatibilities as well, of such depth and number that Europe has almost without stint been at war with itself in some form or another since the very earliest moments of its recorded history. But beyond the strife which such differences fomented, they also provided the possibility for a breadth of view which was available in few other parts of the globe. There is a sound reason that a European tour was once considered essential part of the education of European gentlemen, for instance – practice to which an older and finer generation of Americans also once clove: by experiencing the diversity of European orders and ways, the perspective of the future governors might be widened accordingly, and these leaders would therefore be in a finer position both to appreciate, but also to critique, their birthland.

This possibility no longer exists, or at least has been refined to the point of vanishing. It has vanished in Europe on account of the universal adoption in European states, both on the political level and on the social and private level, of liberal beliefs and mores – process which has been exacerbated, though in no way caused, by the advent of the European Union. To travel from one corner of Europe to another today certainly gives one a satisfying survey of its geographical, linguistic and (at least in historical districts) architectural diversity; but one is liable to find a remarkable unity of opinion on the fundamental political things which one would never have found even remotely so thoroughly implanted in past times, the recent phenomenon of ‘populism’ notwithstanding.1 Laying aside the distant promise which might be contained in this ‘European levelling’, Europe today runs the risk of becoming every bit as closed and provincial as the United States and Canada, whose members, for a mere geographical accident, have almost no access whatsoever to any kind of really foreign reality, if not in Mexico. On account of the largeness of their territory and their lack of really distinctly different neighbours, the citizens of the great North American Anglo-Saxon states easily fall prey to a fundamental error of perspective, by which they are persuaded that their special way of viewing things must be universal to the whole of the race. This has played no small part in the adventurousness of the United States abroad, particularly in its programme of worldwide ‘regime change’; Americans in many cases simply cannot fathom that there might be human beings, indeed entire societies in the world, that would consciously disclaim democracy and detest the pedestrian kind of legalistic liberties which Americans so easily confound for human freedom. Europe will not be saved from this democratic fate by the variety of languages which compose it; indeed, this would be nothing more than another temptation to succumb to such a narrow outlook.

These are but illustrative cases of the inevitable effects of cosmopolitanism, wherever it becomes the attitude of the mass. Cosmopolitanism, for reasons we have suggested, has a dangerous ability, which all other kinds of statefare have so far lacked, to shutter the minds of its citizens and simultaneously to convince them of their unique open-mindedness. It is true, for instance, that men in many nations have been raised to take pride in their very prejudices and closures: but cosmopolitanism alone is able to imbue a man with such blinding pride together with the delusion that he is a paradigm of receptivity and tolerance. As but an example of this difference, the most zealous Crusader of the most zealous eras of Christendom had a tenfold clearer vision of the real nature of Islam and its adherents than does the cosmopolitan urbanite today; the conflict and opposition which characterized the relations of the Crusader to the Muslim impelled him to an in many ways intimate understanding of his foe, which understanding, while for obvious reasons had to remain incomplete, nonetheless far outstrips the shallow and utterly hollow notion which a contemporary liberal entertains of the Muslim as being representative of a simple brotherly ‘culture’ which is fundamentally equal, compatible to, and even interchangeable with all other ‘cultures’.

This blindness exists among us even today, and encroaches upon us all the more rapidly with each passing year; how much the greater then would be its power over men if it were permitted to become the single ruling order of all the world?

Philosophy, that peculiarly Western discipline, first emerged in the wake of the emergence of history, taking this word in its original acceptation, as an investigation or an inquiry. This history was first carried out by men who were given to travelling – voyagers who sojourned in foreign lands and spoke to the inhabitants thereof, and brought back with them the stories of wildly different religions, practices, viewpoints and customs. These reports blew open the natural parochialism of Greek city-states, even that native to Hellas herself, and forced the question of why human ways should differ so dramatically from place to place, and how these differences were to be interpreted – whether as the right customs to radically incompatible types of beings, for instance, or as partial and fragmentary views of the full and just order of human beings as such. But this in turn brought thinking men to a point of view from which they might critique also the limitations in their own political orders; it marked the advent of political philosophy. The homogeneous world state would eradicate this potential by establishing in the place of the present rich and beautiful variety of human ways a single dogmatic and monolithic state, a true ‘global village’ which would force human beings back into the essential ignorance of tribal existence, even while infusing them with the delusion that they had never been so open to the truth.

Cosmopolitanism has a dangerous ability, which all other kinds of statefare have so far lacked, to shutter the minds of its citizens and simultaneously to convince them of their unique open-mindedness.

To men in such conditions, travel would avail naught; real conversation with ‘foreigners’ would be rendered, not only practically impossible, but illusory, by the very eradication of the fundamental difference standing between what is domestic and what is foreign. A man in such a state could travel the width and breadth of the world and return to his starting point none the wiser for all his experience, and every bit as slavish as when he had departed. Indeed, examples of such somnambulistic travellers are common enough already in our own times, in which there still exists at least some potential to break out and to see totally different societies, even within Europe itself if one knows where to go and how to go about it; how much the moreso then would the global cosmopolitan order be subject to such suffocating constraints? This ‘freest’ society of all societies, which indeed makes a cult of ‘freedom’ as no society before it, would be revealed as naught but a prison whose dimensions are coeval with those of the globe itself.

Men, to liberate themselves of the global village, would have but a single recourse remaining them: and that would be the study of the past, of human history, of the radically alternative ideas of the ancients and the tales which have come down to them of previous ‘unfree’ human societies. History once more would provide the doorway into philosophy – only this time, history understood in a much more modern sense. But the availability of this history would in its turn depend on a variety of factors which are far from being given. In the first place, it would require a capacity within the cosmopolitan soul, a kind of faculty for ‘voyaging through time’ – something analogous if not identical to what has been called the ‘historical sense’. For it is the easiest thing in the world to contemn the past for being past, particularly if one lives at the ‘end of history’. A man who would free himself would then have to bring with him into his studies a keen and even unusual capacity to acquire a feeling for past eras, an ability, not only to put himself into the shoes of past humanity, but even to at least momentarily embody in his own being these past ways of seeing and sensing the world. He would have to possess a great fantasy, and more than that a will to forget the present and to let the past infuse him, if only for a a moment, an hour, a day. All of these traits, while they can to some extent at least be cultivated, are far from common even in our own time, which still to some extent cultivates the old nineteenth-century pride in ‘historical sense’. Modernity even now likes to preen itself on its unparalleled knowledge of history. How much the rarer would these gifts become then in a society which would no longer see any real purpose in truly comprehending the past, convinced as it would be that that past had been definitively ‘left behind’, ‘overcome’, ‘consummated’?

It is the easiest thing in the world to contemn the past for being past, particularly if one lives at the ‘end of history’.

If this were the single danger, of course, it would represent only a qualified difficulty, albeit a very grave one; for a man of sufficient individuality and courage could potentially wrench free even of such strong spider webs as these. The much more decisive problem however lies a bit deeper still. Any society which believes that it not only represents but consummates the ‘end of history’ necessarily takes history as its central concern, but history understood in a new and totally negative sense: history as the sum total of what has been surpassed and overcome, history as the mass of error, superstition, warfare, and needless want, squalor, suffering and hardship lying (scientific and economic progress be thanked) behind us. Such a society must possess an adversarial attitude in the face of history, and this is a germ from which easily may spread a pandemic: the infection, that is to say, of suspicion of the past, hostility toward the past, hatred for the past. Such phenomena are not unusual even in our own time; it is totally unnecessary to list here the many slurs which have been invented in modern times – no small number even in recent years – to slander entire epochs and eras of our history, nor the clear manifestation of an antihistorical attitude in such episodes as the tearing down of statues or the rewriting of history books in a new and ‘politically correct’ fashion.

Equally, the ‘end of history’ makes for a deep mistrust of the future; on the fundamental level, nothing can be improved in a society which has culminated history; at most, all that remains to it is the final elaboration of its system, a kind of rounding off and polishing of what has already been attained. The cosmopolitan world order would thus prove itself to be an emphatically ‘conservative’ order, not insofar as it wishes to put the brakes on the mercurial technological or social shifting of its society, but rather insofar as it would be fundamentally and dogmatically closed to any principles, values, philosophies or ideas that stand contrary to it. It would see in all such, not the expression of human individuality or freedom, as it likes to claim in our day, but rather the menace of retrogression and backsliding; for the necessary conclusion to be drawn from the very idea of the ‘end of history’ is that the best social order has been attained, which means necessarily that all alternative social orders represent the inferior, the past, the outdated and overcome. The cosmopolitan world order could not help therefore but see in all contending ideas, all non-cosmopolitan critiques of the social order, all suggested or hypothesized foils to cosmopolitan lifestyles and viewpoints – it cannot help but see in everything which even slightly opposes it sign of ignorance, stupidity, or wanton and stubborn irrationality. What then could possibly compel a cosmopolitan world order to resist the temptation of using its gargantuan and unchallenged political power, its almost universal social support and accord, and its wondrous technological advancements to absolutely crush and undermine the residual signs of even intellectual opposition to its continued existence?

Such a cosmopolitan despotism is still held in check in our time by the fact that tradition has yet to be totally uprooted and the ‘open society’ has yet to be fully implemented; there is still a great mass of people in the lands of the West who possess at least a vestigial reverence for the past and who are not willing to lightly give up the little that remains of memory in our day. But in a homogeneous world state, particularly one of any duration, who could hope that these conservative elements would or could continue to hold the line against the deep corrosion and rot of cosmopolitan antihistoricism? Who or what could finally stop the single world state from establishing a parallel universal system of mandatory ‘education’ or standards for ‘entertainment’, for instance, which, far from training men in the liberal arts, would rather seek to shamelessly (indeed, righteously) inculcate them into the narrow cosmopolitan perspective, as if it were the one and only valid human perspective? Who could stop it from truly bringing the ‘end of history’ – by murdering the same?

The battle for the future is waged ever on the grounds of the past: the revolutionary fervour so characteristic of modern times is every bit as much a desire to forget as a will to change. Cosmopolitanism, that seemingly widest and most magnanimous of all possible human perspectives, is nothing but the wretched glance out of a mere nook and cranny, a squinting view that intentionally blocks out and wilfully ignores the better part of the world in order to provide a safe space for its own crippled notions. In making men equal it would make them equally slaves; in rendering them nationless it would make them perhaps irredeemably fragmentary. By making the world one it would eliminate the very preconditions for a true shift in perspective, and in concluding history, it would transform the past into a grave. Whatever else he might be, the ‘world citizen’ is no longer even a rudimentary human being; he is certainly worlds away from being the consummation and elevation of the same.

References

1The nearest one might have come to this was the unity reigning in the time of Christendom; yet while this certainly formed a kind of fundamental European religious unity, it was ever qualified on the one hand by the aforementioned variety of European countries, dynasties, cities, peoples etc., and on the other by the existence of the Muslims as an indispensable ‘other’, whose opposition demonstrated with clarity both the physical and ideological boundaries of Christianity. What is peculiar to cosmopolitanism, as we have already noted, is its ability to convince a man that such boundaries do not exist in any but the most imaginary sense.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. I can only add very pedestrian comments to this ably constructed second part of this essay. My one-trick pony that I so often employ is simply to recognize the non-existence and, thus, fraudulent claim of movements that pretend to be complete and consistent cultures–or a religion–when in fact they are not even such as proposals for being a philosophy or ideology. This does not mean that they are not nonetheless virulent. And this is precisely why theology and philosophy are the most important watchman in the towers. These watchmen are not the watchmen of a particular political or ethnic castle, but here I am referring to the many fortifications necessary for defending human identity, flourishing and potentiality itself—in all of its diverse manifestations, naturally ordered.
    “Despotic cosmopolitanism” is a wonderful phrase used by this essay. It will be the task of everyone agreeing with the premise of this essay, in their spheres of influence, to help collapse the adjective ‘despotic’ into the term ‘cosmopolitan’, for there can be none of the latter without its inherent promise of the former—a real, global tyranny, and an absolutely bloodthirsty one at that. This despotism has long been underway, beginning with Brzezinskian “soft power,” but it is clear that even this is not so unbloodied when it becomes impatient, which is often. Ethnic, sexual and political manipulation of the workforce (e.g., a huge crime in the United States being employed against the traditional Euro-American). demographic shifts, and then rapidly progressing depopulation as less intellectually resistant races and ethnicities remain is the apparent project of the globalists. These modes of self-acclaimed soft power require evermore voracious capturing and consolidation of institutions and the bureaucracies thereof. The erosive action within these structures requires the ideological self-immolation of the individual by the individual. The local anaesthetic that helps facilitate the self-mutilation, the sedative before the fatal, heart-stopping infusion of potassium chloride, is the deceptively attractive cosmopolitanism of which Mr. Leonard has spoken.
    It is a minor point, and one not worth quibbling over, but I would have preferred calling cosmopolitanism as having now taken on not merely modernity, but post-modernity–as that of Dewey or Rorty–as it present stage of implementation. In this, there is the destruction of rationality, a works-for-me-at-the-moment pragmatism. But in truth, this is pragmatism against what is practical. This is the necessary feature of the weaponization of cosmopolitanism for mollifying the populations, again, first in the West and then as a clean-up operation everywhere else where political resistance is not a pronounced feature of their peoples.
    Cosmopolitanism masquerades as tolerant, but it is profoundly pseudo-tolerant—something far worse that merely being intolerant. It is far worse because in its initial stages it wears the sheep’s clothing of the wolf. It is a fraud and it subversive. As a device, cosmopolitanism distracts the audience awaiting their pens and slaughter chutes with a fake exaltation of diversity, mere bright colors of pixelated reality that do not require living in a specific place, and the promise (always we get to this) of supposedly other kinds of sexuality. Not that the other “ways of being” that are presented with no more depth than a travel catalogue are –in fact–anymore sexually promiscuous than those supposedly prudish Western cultures. It is just that in the confusion of multiplicity, the Satyr can sneak in without shoes, or hooves, being checked at the door.
    The modern, post-modern or cosmopolitan, liberated non-thinker–the average Joe in small towns and large cities–is being fattened for the kill. It can be seen everywhere. The elites who promote these things are themselves highly self-disciplined. They are intelligent and energetic. They have assiduously planned and acted to enhance the possibilities for their futures and those of their genetic lines. Pseudo-tolerance, along with sexual libertinism, are the double-dose virus released in the populations to suppress the “pest populations” of targeted humans. Their mindless imbibing of the demographic pesticides comes mainly–of course–through TV, movies and edu-indoctrination centers. Their lives become aimless, dissolute, self-loathing and pharmacized. Their religion is vacated, their cultures non-functional, their personal outlook dismal and their economies become toxically stagnant. Just how many nail parlors and CBD-oil outlets in half-vacant strip malls does a moribund, small town need? Moving to the city to satisfy the plan of the UN Agendists is a temporary gasp of the patient in the agonal end-of-life stage. This is the holding pen at the slaughter yard. To become cosmopolitan, then, is to become the antithesis of what the diversity of world cultures actually are: particular, local, immiscible and–most of all–different. Don’t be tricked by the cosmopolitanism of in-flight magazines found in back-of-the seat pouches with the empty wrapper of a previous passenger’s candy bar. Cosmopolitanism is the self-annihilating poison that is being delivered to us through nearly every institution, bureaucracy and those cheap-expensive technological substitutes for actual human relationships and locales of meaning.
    In place of the death-loving vision offered to us by the techno-oligarchs, there is the brighter future of engaged people, well-formed in theology and philosophy, politically astute and properly self-skeptical without becoming self-destructive. I think the idea is, bold confidence with genuine humility. This is achieved through vigorous conversation that builds and enterprises and does not dissolve. This more hopeful vision will require becoming aware again of our ethnically-real identities protected by borders and sovereign laws. Borders are channels of understanding defined by protected systems of law, regulated movement of materials to maximally benefit both trading partners, and separations of laboratories of culture appropriate for real biogeographic contingencies. (This is old-stuff commentary now—and nonetheless true.) The real challenges of enhancing our environment requires hard work in the areas of biological monitoring, chemical and engineering design and plant operations as well as arduous and dynamic managing of policy. The good news is that it can be done, as has proven to be the case in the West, when hysterical and politically avaricious screeching about “destroying (or saving) the planet” are removed from the common discourse, deliberation and action. There is such a thing as living in ecological, culturally and politically sound ways—a diversity of ways it must be emphasized. The goal is human flourishing and this can be adopted, eventually, worldwide. It will be a long process and–more good news–we do have time.

  2. There seems to be something wrong with following one of my tortured comments with another without the intervening respite of comments by others. I just listened to the podcasted interview of Mr. Leonard at thkelly67 on Podomatic. I am a bit pained to see this continued wrestling with the idea that there is no such thing as race or or Whiteness as an identifiable, genetic reality. I prefer the regional term where possible, which is European, despite the obvious confusion in today’s political milieu where a Somalian or Mandarin is considered “European” by some. This is obviously complicated not only by permanent influxes of foreign people into Europe, but the settlement of Europeans in places like Australia and South Africa. All this aside, we can in fact make reference to the historical and pre-historical peoples of Europe, that flowing river into which we step, but do not step twice in a Heraclitean sense. Though biology and genetics are not permanent, these do possess stability. Attachment to soil is not permanent, though prior to modern technology, it was more clear. I emphatically challenge the idea that race or ethnicity are separate from, or only weakly connected to, culture. We are far from a deep body of research on the topic, but a good biological hunch, an hypothesis starter (of which I do seem to possess come recognized ability) is that genetics and culture are powerfully linked. (I avoid absolutes since biology seems to be very capable when it comes to destroying absolutes.) Thus, Jonathon Bowden probably had it quite correct. Thus, I suggest the significant possibility that future molecular neuroscience will have shown that the proper formulation is genetics –> neurobiology –> cognitive features –> inter-relationship with the human and non-human environment –> cultural stabilization of low-resistance interactions, where my arrows can be read, “makes for.” This formulation is not, as those who have not sufficiently penetrated the topic are quick to charge, a “deterministic biology.” And e know where their next quick hop goes to after that. This is not the time to become distracted with their fragile claim. Others have done it ably and I may treat the topic myself elsewhere if necessary. Turning to E. Michael Jones, it must first be stated, is someone to be commended on many points. He is courageous in his journalism and does an impressive job of historical research. Counter to this, his view that race does not exist is must be stated to be absurd. EMJ was an English major who demonstrates little insight, or factual, understanding of biology and–as in his recent treatment of Werner Heisenberg reveals–physics. (I am sure some English majors have, by the way, acquired an impressive grasp of these topics.) Race is a completely adequate superstructure, dynamic as it may be, grounded in phylogenetic clustering. We should all understand that at the edges, there is genetic flow depending upon geographical barriers and many other factors. This is all accepted evolutionary biology. Nonetheless, behavioral traits can be associated with genetic clusters and the organisms or individuals behave accordingly. Again, geography played a larger role in relative genetic isolation away from the edges, and still does in the case of spruce trees that do not do so much air travel. Moreover, EMJ tries to base ethnicity strongly, if not absolutely, with language. Again, the English major speaks. Language is one aspect, indeed and important one, involved in human culture—both unitive and isolating. Still, there are other important factors as well that are involved in neurobiologically-based culture. For example, search image involved in sexual selection is extremely important. Again, as a requisite disclaimer, humans can be attracted to people of other races. Some people are more open to this than others as an aspect of biodiversity, yet this does not undermine the truth and worth of the generalization. You may not be interested in generalizations and may decry them as bigoted stereotyping, but–on the average–neurobiologically-based generalization is interested in you. From my personal, anecdotal experiences, I am compelled to state that non-Europeans (“non-Whites”) are far more stereotyping and closed to interpersonal, trusting interaction with Europeans than ‘vice versa’. I suspect that that is your experience as well, truth be told. It may take two to tango, but only one to engender racial barriers–and typically it is not the White European. Thus regardless of someone’s chosen political slant to ignore race, race forces itself on us all. To conclude this response, these comments do not disparage the importance of reason, philosophy and religion. My view, as consistently expressed in these Arktos comments, does not disparage trans-cultural dialogue, though I do point out that sovereign borders are both a practical necessity for peaceful racial and ethic thriving and an actual channel for trans-cultural, trans-racial and transnational conversation.

    1. I shall never be displeased with the number or the lengths of your comments, Mr. Schmitt — only with my own inability to respond with the frequency and thoughtfulness that I ought.

      I hope you will not mind if I constrain myself for the moment to replying to your second latest comment, which, though as you note it has little to do with the article above, is nonetheless of sufficient importance that I doubt any of our readers will object if I treat with it a bit here.

      Let me before anything clarify my own position on the matter of race, which I may not have done as ably as I desired in my interview with Mr. Kelly. I did not mean to contest the existence, the importance, nay, nor even the necessity of race in the production or understanding of human culture; I meant only to deny its sufficiency for either of these tasks. I agree with you without reservation that ‘genetics and culture are powerfully linked’. But Jonathan Bowden (for whom I have great respect, incidentally) had an equivalency between them, and it was with this view, which I believe is encountered much too much on the Right, that I took issue. I might state my position at its briefest thus: one cannot have the culture without the race, but one can have the race without the culture. But then, the attempt to preserve the race alone without properly directing it toward the culture is not only inadequate but even dangerous.

      How does this strike you?

      1. Mr. Leonard, first I apologize to you an Chris B. for overlooking your comments. Your clarified formulation sounds quite close to how I currently understand this matter of the relationship of race and culture. I still sense a bit of a difference, though. I went back to listening to some Bowden since taking in your interview with Mr. Kelly. If Jonathon Bowden was incorrect, it was perhaps in overstating the point,. Moreover, we probably needed the late Mr. Bowden’s slap in the face with the extremely-stated case to wake more of us up to the connections between biology and culture. Due to some slippage of the transmission between neurobiology and culture–and back–as well as overlap of statistically-distributed, phenotypic characteristics, the concept of race does not lend itself to categorizations with sharp boundaries. But biology does not need perfect categories of phenotypes in order for the forces of central tendency to reify identifiable groupings. (For those a bit unfamiliar with parametric statistics, I recommend a lookup of ‘central tendency’ to provide a very interesting, quick study.) In fact, centralizing, normalizing forces work precisely because the boundaries of measured things in biology tend to be fuzzy, that is say, measurements of these traits tend to occur in distributions. The reproductive processes interacting with natural and sexual selection can produce eventual movement of the mean. I am quite sure Obama Administration official, Cass Sunstein, was hip to this in his advocacy of a policy of nudging in producing changes in public opinion. (The difference between Sunstein’s crafty strategy and the forces producing what we recognize as evolutionary change in gene frequencies and associated characteristics is that the former is top-down, blunt and antithetical to the accumulation of a mixture of forces seen in Nature. I would argue that Sunstein and Company’s nudging produced non-organic, external and deleterious changes in behavior. Back to Bowden vs. Leonard and to be more specific in practical terms, I would agree that simply congregating people of particular races together, after they have suffered attempts to deracinate them by external forces, will not immediately result in a restoration of their previous culture in its total, previous form. This is because much that is a co-evolved culture can more readily be stripped from individuals, which is less true of hard traits such as anatomy and behavior. On the other hand, being together is a condition that I speculate will permit many cases of uncanny re-emergence of cultural habits that simply fit with a particular racial group’s felt and unconscious proclivities. Culture is a group’s lower-energy solution for reducing the tensions produced by these many proclivities interacting between individuals. The more two races, which are artificially forced together, diverge in their assortment of proclivities, the fewer coordinating behavioral traits exist to leverage solutions where the relatively fewer conflicting proclivities do exist. I suspect that I detect a stronger relationship of neurobiology and culture than do you. I think Bowden’s view presupposes the unbroken co-existence of a racial group and its correlative culture. You, by contrast, are possibly thinking of an experiment where the culture is violently stolen from a population of humans left only with their biology as the one-half of a locket in search of its co-evolved culture, and then maybe pondering a thought experiment where there would be a segregation of the races, or even ethnicities, and asking, “Could that by itself work in restoring the original culture to some great degree?” Bowden and you maybe have different premises. I honestly cannot at the moment recreate what Bowden might say concerning the prospects of recreating an original culture by re-segregation. I rather think he would have wished for something better. Even being a traditionalist, he struck me as a progressive traditionalist. Aren’t we all. As for the practicality of re-segregating American culture, that story is different from that of Europe’s. I still think that prior to the Obama years, America had hope of “solving” its racial difficulties in relatively short historical terms. Even as recently as three years ago, I thought that–absent the provoking forces from above and from non-Europeans–Euro-Americans and Americans with significant African ancestry might make a go of it. I vacillate in my internal and external opinion. Perhaps I was and still am naïve, though intervening events have made me much more pessimistic—especially given affirmative action, the welfare state and what I now understand better as the demonstrable malevolence and oppression of European stock everywhere by he elite malefactors. My present concern is primarily with current and recent immigration of all types. What is more, my concerns are about underlying, fundamental political differences. At any rate, Europeans, generally open to others as I am, are being rejected, marginalized, oppressed and targeted and it does appear for destruction. I must care for my people first band only late have I realized the reality of non-European hostility. Can we create a new and better European culture? You bet. And I belief that we will go a long way in establishing just principles and structures whereby other races can non-parasitically do the same for themselves to the benefit of all. My and others conception of nested affinities and responsibilities, by it nature, accepts the duty to not be without any effective concern for other peoples (with their strongly, neurobiologically-influenced cultures.)

  3. Dear Mr Leonard
    Very much enjoyed your essay.

    Dear David
    I think all that you have said merely confirms why God scattered the peoples and tongues at Babel, but in far fewer words.
    We are not supposed to be homogenized.
    C

    1. Dear Chris,
      Indeed. I have been astonished since my college days that the anti-traditionalists of all kinds of subtypes have gotten away with trying to destroy or deny the biodiversity of human ethnicities and races as well as the significance of those realities while screaming about the loss of biodiversity and demographic diversity in very-manipulated, political sandboxes where they control the distorting narrative. This is not new news. But why is ignorance of it so pervasive and powerful? It is powerful and pervasive because we lack good preachers and good professors to remind us first of the perennial questions and truths. This reminding and mastery by the disciple, listener, learner and student must proceed genuine investigation, discovery and innovation. Creative intellectual work builds on tradition, reason and well-established empirical work. We can always go deeper and further—in this I am optimistic about the intellectual project in many fields. But the model of intellectual work as inherently subversive is profoundly flawed. It is an exaggerated misapplication of whatever was valuable in Thomas Kuhn’s description of the ‘paradigm shift’. There is institutional resistance to the new ways of thinking, even new ways of thinking that properly utilize the tools of reliable traditional memory and the corpus of good scientific work from the past. Yes–there are those intramural battles with their bleeding into other disciplines as well into the culture generally. But this type of conflict is the result of the mere sociology of doing science or other scholarly work. It is a methodological difficulty and it is beset with the burden of science and scholarship being done by humans, not God’s angels. It is the result of fallible and sluggish thinking by even the brightest of our intellectual leaders. This turf warring is not to be confused as evidence of a Universe that is disordered and in dismal disarray. These disagreements are simply the best that we can do as we externalize our hypothetical thinking into the community of scholars as well as the general public. I suspect that a type of devious contra-intellectual parasite and political bad actor, possibly knowing this full well, is nonetheless eager to insinuate such confusion between the methodological struggles and to mischaracterize them as writ large across the Cosmos. This is no more than a tactic of deception directed towards causing turmoil in society and in the minds of those who are too busy with important things like work and raising families. I am grateful to see these young men and women here at Arktos, and elsewhere, beginning to fill that need for reminders of the probable, the plausible, the reliable, and the Good, as seen through our dim eyes searching for the true and the divine.

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