C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Gentrification of Racism

Fascism, via other means...


In the Western World, the 20th Century was a battle, above all else, against fascism. It is convenient for some revisionists to suggest it was a battle against socialism - such revisionists invariably confuse the policies of the USSR with those of socialism itself.


Nonetheless, the ideology of the radical right persists in its attempts to
legitimise itself. To that end, the radical right, in Australia, at least, often
eschew the imagery and symbols of the Reich, whilst retaining similar
ideological underpinnings.


Since the vast bulk of people are repulsed by any politics that extols racial and religious discrimination, violence toward minority groups, vulgar Darwinian social and economic policies, and imperialism, it is necessary for the radical right to smuggle their doctrines into the mainstream vie other means.


These 'other means' are most frequently libertarianism and conservatism, of different sorts. Science, or at least a cartoonish version of it, is another vehicle for the radical right. Naturally, libertarianism, and even conservatism, are not explicitly and inherently racist. They do provide convenient shelter for would-be flag-wearing jackbooters.


Enter AWH blogger John Ray, he of the countenance below, and with a penchant for pseudo-intellectual justifications for bigotry:





Not to mention his witless followers, such as the increasingly embarrassing Iain Hall:




Would any responsible adult leave their children alone with either of these men?

Both bloggers recently wet their pants with excitement upon learning that Nobel Laureate, James Watson allegedly suggested that blacks were less intelligent than whites, primarily as a result of genes. The work that Watson and Crick undertook in relation to the structure of DNA was undeniably brilliant. Their forays into other areas, such as neuroscience, and eugenics, have been less successful. In any case, Ray and Hall appeared to see in Watson's comments a 'scientific' confirmation of their own long-held prejudices. Hall is non-committal (and characteristically irrelevant and illogical) in his conclusions; Ray is more circumspect, and simply cites an article verbatim, rather than offering comment.


An Aside on Intelligence
(I will offer a very brief aside on 'intelligence', as this concept is not the primary subject of my post. Simplistic nature versus nurture arguments are largely obselete, since these concepts are indiscrete. If we follow the theory of natural selection, 'nature' is itself determined by 'nurture'. Nature in turn may influence the sorts of nurture that one receives. Intelligence testing is predicated on the hypostasised warblings of the psychometricians. It serves a practical purpose for individuals. For instance, a child struggling at school may benefit from IQ testing, in order to establish his or her relative strengths and weaknesses, and 'learning style'. From IQ testing, we may learn that a child may benefit from greater 'chunking' of information, or may benefit from visual cues when presented with verbal stimuli. IQ testing is also a determinant in qualification for 'disabled' status. Other than these rather limited uses, I see little merit in IQ testing).

Why Science, Libertarianism, Conservatism?
When raising the proposition that Hall and Ray have seized upon Watson's comments as a result of their own racism, we can expect the same nonsense attempts at rebuttal. Namely, the 'PC' crowd have stifled freedom of speech, the 'enlightenment' tradition demands respect for all science (including, apparently, racist pseudo-science), and that these beliefs are consistent with conservatism and libertarianism.

We need to distinguish carefully between Hall and Ray in this matter. Hall is a credulous fool, but, until stupidity and love of ignorance become a doctrine, he cannot truly be considered an ideologue. Ray, on the other hand, likes to peddle himself as a kind of libertarian. You know, those fun-loving guys who are anti-tax, and pro-guns? (Presumably their utopia is Alabama). Libertarianism, whatever we may think of it, provides some far more respectable positions than anything on the radical, proto-fascist right. Though I don't agree with the libertarian perspective, it is not obviously racist in any way - see, for example, blogs such as Catallaxy, or Australia's LDP.

We can see that something like libertarianism provides a veneer of legitimacy to cretins such as Ray, by means of which they can peddle their race-hate.

Let us look at some of the evidence by which we can situate Ray, AWH, and their imbecilic followers with the radical right, rather than with the libertarians or conservatives (much less scientists). It goes without saying that Ray is of the school of thought that deems Hitler to have been a 'leftist', and repeatedly has said that Marx was a 'fascist'.

The Shame File - Fascist Tendencies Revealed
As I pointed out in a recent comments thread, there are several lines of argument that demonstrate the slithering proto-fascist inclinations of Ray and his clique of bedwetting poltroons at AWH:

1. AWH regularly calls for violence against Muslims and other minorities. This has been repeatedly pointed out by myself and other bloggers. This coincides with an increase in rightist, racist violence in Australia and the world. In Australia, asylum seekers are demonised, even whilst blacks are being bashed and murdered.

Unlike his sycophantic acolytes, Ray himself is sufficiently careful not to openly call for violence against blacks and Muslims. This does not prevent him from trying to provide a 'scientific' justification for such calls.

2. AWH ideology is warmly embraced by white supremacists. On 10/10/2007, disturbed AWH blogger Keef (aka KG) posted, word-for-word, the introduction of a post from another blog. Rather astutely, KG himself did not offer any comment on the diatribe he cited, this latter being a defence of right-wing extremism as regards racial matters.

Following the links, we come to the land of Norse myth, pornography, and Aryanism, by way of a nasty Scandinavian blog called the Gates of Vienna. Sure enough, we learn quickly enough why KG cited this post, given that it contains a turgid rant, replete with the following proto-fascist gems:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that people tend to prefer their own ethnic group above others. (Author cites one irrelevant study in support of this claim).

Guarding your identity is thus a universal human trait, not a white trait. In fact, it is less pronounced among whites today than among anybody else. (Hence the supposed need for a 'white' revival).

There are no Britons left in Pakistan, so why should there be Pakistanis in Britain?

There are not many Dutch people left in Indonesia, so why should the Dutch be rendered a minority in their major cities by Moroccans and others?

I suspect future historians will call this era the Age of White Masochism. (Probably not future Iraqi historians).

In amongst the charming banter of the comments thread, and between calls for whites to reconnect with their 'racial consciousness', who should turn up, but former member of the Australia First Party, and current member of the Anglo-Australian National Community Council, Darrin Hodges, warmly expressing his agreement with the sentiment of the post.

In fairness, Hodges' comments were more moderate than most of those found at AWH by the likes of KG or Tiberius. For a case in point, see the AWH defence of the Cronulla rioters, and deft avoidance of the fact that some of the said rioters distributed white supremacist literature. It is obvious that the AWH crew are the blood-brothers of Stormfront and the like, given that they share the same views on these matters.

It is therefore clear that, despite AWH's claims to the contrary, they are drawing water from the same ideological well as our friendly white nationalists, and have ventured far from anything that remotely resembles libertarianism or conservatism. I haven't the time or inclination to trawl the white supremacist blogosphere, but I'd hardly be surprised if there weren't more examples of good 'Anglo-Australian' nationalists cosying up to AWH.

3. AWH blogger John Ray openly supports racism. He has written about it numerous times, far and wide across the blogosphere. In fact, the number of blogs that this guy has makes Iain Hall's shameless efforts seem paltry in comparison.

It's not surprising that the radical right should seek to defend racism, and racialising theories. This fits neatly with their pre-existing prejudices, and provides them with good reasons to oppose any kind of progressive social policy.

Where do we begin with the racial theories of Ray and AWH? We could start with this AWH post by Ray, where he praises the use of racial categories. Nobody denies that racial categories exist within a given language. We might, however, debate the uses to which they are put. Ray helpfully points out some ways in which generalising on the basis of racial categories may prove useful:

And the generalization: "blacks are very crime-prone so it is safest to
keep away from them" is also a matter of fact and can be useful. And "white
flight" shows that most Americans act on exactly that generalization.


'Fact', eh? Ray gives his point further clarification here - 'once we have got to know an individual black person and found him peacable, it would be foolish to continue with avoidance behaviour towards him'. So if I've read this correctly, Ray is saying that whiteys should, as a general rule, avoid those awful 'crime-prone' blacks, as long as we make room for the exceptions, namely, any individual black person who Ray assesses as 'peacable'. Noice.

Pseudo-scholar John Ray is, like his fascist forebears, clearly obsessed with theories of race, having published mild racial theories in some social science journals. One wonders what the editorial board of these journals were thinking.

More revealing are Ray's many crap and hilariously unpublishable articles, most of which consist of an attempted debunking of Frankfurt theorist Adorno (by way of a woeful misreading), coupled with various defences of racism, such as the notion that racism is 'normal', and has nothing to do with either authoritarianism or individual neurosis. And down the slippery slide we go...

We might also take note of a 1979 article by Herr Doktor Ray, purporting to demonstrate that South Africa, in the throes of Apartheid, did not display any evidence of white racism. Obviously, there were plenty of non-consciously racist South Africans, but equally obviously, this was hardly universal. According to Ray, however, white South Africans were no more racist than any other white person. He sums up nicely:

In fact because the South African system keeps blacks "in their place".
South Africans might feel more free to be generous in their sentiments towards
blacks than members of many English communities would.


We have here a wonderful strategy for combating white racism - just keep the non-whites 'in their place'.

By all means, however, don't believe my view that Ray is a proto-fascist, who has dedicated his wretched life to peddling race-hate. In an article by Tim Wise, we learn that Ray has lavished:

praise for the “very scholarly” book on IQ by Christopher Brand, an admirer
of eugenics (policies to promote selective breeding of “superior people”), and
an adherent to the belief that blacks are intellectually inferior to
whites.

Again, noice. Wise provides another instructive passage on Ray:

In a more recent essay by Ray, on the opening page of David’s site for
October 8th, the author concludes that racism is not always bad, and is a rather
natural human instinct, suggesting, “Feelings of racial, national or group
superiority are natural, normal and healthy and can as easily lead to benevolent
outcomes as evil ones.”

Wise is not the first to have noted the proto-fascist tendencies of AWH's Herr Professor. Ray is the subject of a chapter on academic racism. I'd like to take the liberty of quoting some passages at length, just to make the nature of Ray's ideology entirely clear:

Ray himself holds some forthright views on racism. His book Conservatism
as heresy
(81) includes chapters with such
appetising titles as 'Rhodesia: in defence of Mr Smith' and 'In defence of the
White Australia policy'. Ray also argues that it is "moralistic nonsense" to
denounce racism.
Well might Ray defend racism. He does not mince his words
when he writes about Australian Aborigines. Ray says that "aborigines are
characterised by behaviour that in a white we would find despicable . . . White
backlash is then reasonable. Unless we expect whites to forget overnight the
cultural values that they have learned and practised all their lives, they will
find the proximity of aboriginals unpleasant" (p.58).
Ray has conducted a
number of academic surveys in order to bolster his prejudices. For instance Ray
assumes that it is natural that whites should develop an antipathy towards
Aborigines:

"If, for instance, people suddenly find themselves living in close contact
with Aborigines and Aborigines happen to be in fact rather unhygienic in their
habits, some people previously without prejudice will start to say that they
don't like Aborigines." (p.261.)
Therefore Ray designed a survey to measure
white Australians' attitudes towards Aborigines, comparing those who lived near
Aborigines with those who lived further away.
The results of his survey
failed to confirm his prediction; Ray did not find that whites living near
Aborigines were in fact more prejudiced. Ray described his results as
"disappointing" (p.267). Instead of discarding his hypothesis, Ray still strove
to maintain his own prejudices; he searched around for reasons why his
questionnaire might not have obtained the correct results. Thus, even in the
face of negative results, Ray clings to what he calls his 'rational prejudice
model'.
Ray's prejudices do not just relate to Aborigines. Dr. Ray enjoins us
to "face the fact that large numbers of even educated Australians do not like
Jews or 'Wogs'." (p.70.) Ray writes approvingly of people who will

"among friends, exchange mocking misnomers for suburbs in which Jews have
settled: Bellevue Hill becomes 'Bellejew Hill' and Rose Bay becomes 'Nose Bay';
Dover Heights becomes 'Jehova Heights'." (p.71.)

Ray obviously has sympathy with the racists and anti-Semites. Many of the
people who make the comments Ray cites, are according to our Australian
psychologist "superbly functioning and well-adjusted Australians". In Ray's
opinion such people will "justly deny being racists" (p.70): n.b. the give-away
word 'justly'.
The main reason why Ray does not find such attitudes racist is
that he considers them perfectly logical. Thus he asserts that people "who don't
like sloth . . . may object to Aborigines. People who do not like grasping
materialism, will certainly find no fault with Aborigines but they may find
fault with Jews" (p.265).

It seems that Dr Ray, in an academic paper about psychology, is repeating
the racist and anti-Semitic assumptions that Aborigines are lazy and Jews are
'grasping materialists'. It is hard to find any other explanation for Ray's
continual defence of prejudice.
In his academic papers Ray has a tendency to
use some curious turns of phrase. Thus when he criticises, as he often does, the
classic work in the psychology of fascism, The Authoritarian Personality by
Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford, he refers to "the work of these
Jewish authors" (see, for instance, the start of Ray's article in the
distinguished social science journal Human Relations).
(82) This is not the standard way of describing
opponents' research, at least not since the days of Nazi Germany.
But there
again Ray is not exactly ignorant of the ways of Nazism. During the 1960s Ray
was a member of various Australian Nazi parties. In fact Ray has openly
described his seven-year association with Nazism (see, for instance, his article
'What are Australian Nazis really like?' in The Bridge, August 1972).

I will concede, from the outset, that I am intellectually merely a throwback to old-fashioned high theory and strident leftist. Perhaps a more enlightened soul can advise precisely how Ray's doctrines exemplify conservatism, libertaranism, or the Enlightenment project.

Clearly, in amongst these turgid attempts to produce biological theories of race, with a good deal of pseudo-psychological quackery, we are dealing with nothing other than an embittered, thorough-going racist, flailing desperately in an attempt to justify his bigotry. The evidence is irrefutable.

4. John Ray has lent his support to another noted bigot, disgraced Australian academic Andrew Fraser. Fraser taught at Macquarie University prior to being dismissed for peddling very similar racial theories to Ray, and has a long history of involvement in Australia's fledgling white nationalist groups. Fraser came to prominence after pursuing the argument that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites. He subsequently found it difficult to receive airtime in academia.

As you'd expect, John Ray claims to be in favour of free speech (except at his blogs, of course), especially where that speech concerns racial bigotry. Ray is also not averse to ignoring the appalling scholarship of his fellow-travellers. One presumes it was in that spirit of community-mindedness that Ray decided to lend his support to Fraser, to the extent of making the latter's vile defence of the White Australia policy available.

Ray says that his decision to publish Fraser's work was made because of his libertarian leanings. Nonetheless, as we've seen, Ray's preoccupations appear to revolve around race more than anti-statist censorship. Furthermore, he charmingly defends the article and distinguishes his own views from Fraser's, saying - 'I am not at all bothered by Australia’s intake of Asians, for instance.'

In sum, the phenonemon we have before us is an attempt to smuggle in a range of fascist belief systems under the aegis of more respectable right-wing views. Given the tendency of ideologues on the right to demand condemnation from of 'extremists' by 'moderates', the comrades and I will wait with baited breath for the genuine conservatives and libertarians to see Ray's racist drivel for what it is, and denounce it swiftly and sharply.