The greatest evil that contemporary Westerners can imagine is something called "racism." It's not clear precisely what this is. The real evils perpetrated in the name of race -- the excesses of the Nazi regime, the injustices of the Old South -- have passed into history. Yet racism is still perceived as something omnipresent -- because the label is used so loosely that it can mean anything, and therefore nothing. More and more things, ever more far-fetched, are considered analogous to racism, and therefore part of the same pervasive evil.
Racism is usually defined -- when it ever is defined -- in terms of irrational hate and fear of other races. One problem with this definition is that racial hate and fear are not always entirely irrational: not when a significant portion of another race is a real threat, e.g. as white Klansmen or black criminals. Another problem is that racism so defined (i.e., as a form of xenophobia) is presumed to be universal (at least among "unenlightened" people); yet specifically racial animosity is actually quite rare and localized in history, and always entangled with nonracial problems.
Racism is sometimes defined as the theory that hereditary racial differences include traits of intellect and character; as such, it is a proposition whose truth can only be determined empirically. Racism so defined may, but does not necessarily, imply the corollary that one race (usually one's own) can be judged superior to others, by "scientific" criteria. Such theorizing has been so thoroughly marginalized (even if only for political reasons) that it is a negligible factor today.
As a meaningful term, racism is the ideology derived from the basic idea that one's primary loyalty is (or should be) to one's race -- with the corollary that other races are one's natural enemies. This definition subsumes both the "hate and fear" conception and the idea of innate, race-borne traits, for race is presumed to be the determinant of human character, and the conflict of races is held to be the issue in human affairs.
Racism, on the one hand, and conservatism and nationalism, on the other, do have some similarities, which is why they can and must be considered together as specific parts of the generic Right. But we must not make the mistake of confusing general similarities with specific identities: the similarities in question are superficial. Racism, in fact, cannot in any way be reconciled with either conservatism or nationalism: it is a totally different thing, as radical and dangerous as communism and libertarianism.
The first and foremost similarity is that the Right as such rejects egalitarianism. The racist Right declares that the white race is superior to all other races; other varieties of the Right might or might not accept this, but in any case they recognize and accept the existence of other inequalities in human nature and society, which cut across racial lines.
Even if it is true that the average intelligence (for instance) of one race is higher than the average intelligence of another, and even if there were some way to measure this scientifically, what is true on average is not necessarily true of any individual. The laws of standard deviation mean that in any population, a few will be above average, a few below average. Some whites will always be equal to some blacks, some more intelligent, and some less (and of course the same will be true of all other cross-racial comparisons). Therefore, even if "scientific" racism were true, racial discrimination in law and policy would still be unjustifiable. As Abraham Lincoln put it: "Certainly the negro is not our equal in color -- perhaps not in many other respects; still, in the right to put into his own mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every other man....In pointing out that more has been given [to] you, you cannot be justified in taking away the little which has been given [to] him."
The second principle common to all varieties of the Right is ethnocentricity: they proclaim the importance and rightness of loyalty to one's own kind and one's own way of life. However, they have completely different understandings of what constitutes one's "kind" and one's "way of life." A certain amount of race-consciousness may well be part of a conservative's sense of "his own," but it is at most a subsidiary part, and nowadays never acknowledged. And in practice, conservatives have repudiated and isolated racists far more effectively than liberals ever repudiated and isolated communists.
Both conservatism and nationalism are, in essence, cultural conceptions of man and society. Custom, language, history, etc. are what constitute a people, not race. Hence there were quite a few Jewish Fascists, since Fascism was a nationalist movement; whereas the Nazis, being racists, excluded all Jews, in principle, from the Volk. For the racist, one's loyalties are inscribed on one's genes -- which is obviously absurd: if true, it would be impossible to "betray" one's race, any more than an animal can "betray" its species.
Racists assume that race determines culture, but the truth is nearly the opposite -- that culture determines race. More precisely, culture determines whether race is considered important, and how persons of mixed race are defined: whether assigned to one race or the other, or to a third category.
There is one clear, simple, and absolute refutation of racism: the fact that different races can and do intermarry and interbreed. That is to say, all human beings are one species. Racists are fond of invoking "instinct" -- particularly an instinct for racial self-preservation; but far from there being any kind of "instinct" against miscegenation, the very fact that they have to pass laws against miscegenation proves that nature will out, given the opportunity. Racism, far from being an "instinct" or even an "atavistic prejudice," is a very modern and factitious way of thinking.
Liberals, because they believe in "equality" and not nature, cannot give this answer to racism -- and therefore, they can give no answer to it. Instead, they implicitly accept the racists' premises, and are, consciously and deliberately, race-traitors, just as the racists say that they are. Liberals today are not anti-racist: they are anti-white. Whether because of sanctimony or a morbid guilt-complex, they favor other races against their own, through policies clearly intended (if not always admitted) to be retributions against white people, all white people, for the sins of "racism."
In the context of black-white relations, they support "affirmative action" -- i.e., institutionalized discrimination against white people. The manifold irrationalities and injustices of reverse discrimination need not be rehearsed here. What does need pointing out, because it has gone almost unremarked, is a shift in the justification of these policies.
A generation has passed since discrimination against black Americans was prohibited by law, and with every year that passes it is ever more absurd and indefensible to justify reverse discrimination as a remedy for past discrimination. Instead of phasing out the racial spoils system, its beneficiaries have raised "diversity" as the new goal, so that the system can be perpetuated forever, and actually made an end in itself.
It is the liberals, the official "anti-racists," who perpetuate racial divisions. They have a vested interest in doing so: they get political power as well as emotional gratification from the betrayal of their own race. Where would they be without minorities to "protect"? Where would they be if they couldn't use careless accusations of "discrimination" and "insensitivity" to intimidate the majority?
Today, white racists are few, disorganized, and politically impotent. On the other hand, black racism is flourishing under the odious double standard that gives self-appointed "black leaders" respectability while self-appointed "white leaders" are universally reviled.
As the "affirmative-action" lobby squanders the moral capital built up during the civil-rights struggle, one only wonders why the white majority does not yet question the presumption of guilt directed at us, and lose the good will that made desegregation possible in the first place. White liberals and black racists depend on this good will even as they deny its existence. It is difficult to gauge, beneath the surface of official "anti-racist" propaganda, the extent to which white people realize, and resent, the fact that we are now legally second-class citizens. If the majority ever shrugs off the burden of unearned guilt, one wonders what the consequences will be.
In the name of "diversity," meanwhile, the liberals have been radically changing the very composition of America's population. Through massive nonwhite immigration, they are bringing in whole new racial castes to take their places in the "affirmative action" system. Their goal -- thinly disguised as the "historically inevitable" result of their own policies -- is to reduce whites to a minority. Then it won't matter how many whites resent and resist the policies that discriminate against us; no future election will ever challenge white subordination.
If all Americans were equal before the law, regardless of race, we could and should be indifferent to the color of our immigrants. Unfortunately, we have not reached that goal, and the liberals and nonwhite racists will fight to prevent that goal until their dying breaths. So for now, and for the foreseeable future, it is sheer self-destructive folly to pretend that nonwhite immigration is not a problem.
Where different races coexist, only two eventualities are possible. Optimally they will merge, intermarrying until racial distinctions blur and fade: the racists' worst fear is the nation's best hope. This can only be prevented by irrational and unnatural social distinctions that reinforce physical differences. Such distinctions are bound to create a permanent state of tension and hostility: it is only human nature to dislike and distrust those who think and behave differently from oneself. Either way, ultimately it is not race that matters, but culture.
Stepping back from the political issues involved, one can only marvel at our gross overestimation of the importance of both race and racism. Race matters only to the extent that people believe that it does, and only because they do. On the other hand, though racism is foolish at best and evil at worst, it is hardly the greatest imaginable evil. Certainly the evil of racism is not so great that our whole civilization has to be devalued and destroyed to root it out. The racist Right is worse than useless as an ally; but the real enemy is still the Left.
© 2000 by Karl Jahn