The Third Annual Meeting of the HL Mencken Club – Oct. 22-23, 2010 – Baltimore, Maryland

The Third Annual Meeting of the HL Mencken Club

Oct. 22-23, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland

Friday, October 22:

7: 30 – 10 PM — Dinner

Paul Gottfried: “How the Left Won the Cold War”

John Derbyshire : “The PC Religion”

Saturday, October 23:

9 – 10 AM — PC Around the World

Grant Havers: “Canada: The Death of the West Up North”

TBA: “Eastern Europe: The Last Stand Against PC”

Ilana Mercer: “South Africa: A Warning”

10: 30 – 11: 30 AM — “Rights” Culture

Paul Gottfried: “The Civil Rights Act: PC’s Holy Shrine”

James Kalb: “PC: The Cultural Antichrist”

Richard Spencer: “‘When Will They Wake Up?”

12 – 2 PM — Lunch

12:45 Speaker: TBA

2:20 – 3 PM — Land of Illusions

Robert Weissberg: “Bad Students / Not Bad Schools”

Steve Sailer: “Can HBD Trump PC?”

Henry Harpending: “The Evolutionary Left”

3:30 – 4:30 PM — Traditionalism, Subversion, and Counterrevolution

Christopher Kopff: “Back to the Future or Why the Past is More Important Than the Present”

James Russell: “The Churches’ Betrayal of European Christianity”

Tom Piatak: “Christophobia and its Discontents”

5:30 – 6:30 PM Plenary Session — Q&A

7:30 – 8:30 — Dinner

John Derbyshire: Reading from the Mencken Chrestomathy

Peter Brimelow: “Neo-Socialism, or How the Government Can Elect a New People”

10:00 — Hospitality Suite

10:30 — Late-night “Cigar & Bourbon” Session — “What Needs to Be Done?”

Interesting excerpts from “Up from Slavery” by Booker T. Washington… (updated)

Since the book is so readily available online, and I’m reading a hardcopy, I’m going to excerpt interesting passages here. I’m ineterested in parts of his book that contrast what I’ve come to understand as the canonical story of slaves and blacks in the South, or other bits I want to make note of. Page numbers correspond to the Penguin Classic edition.

One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping the Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency. – pg. 12

In order to defend and protect the women and children who were left on the plantations when the white males went to war, the slaves would have laid down their lives. The slave who was selected to sleep in the ” big house ” during the absence of the males was considered to have the place of honour. Any one attempting to harm ” young Mistress” or ” old Mistress” during the night would have had to cross the dead body of the slave to do so. I do not know how many have noticed it, but I think that it will be found to be true that there are few instances, either in slavery or freedom, in which a member of my race has been known to betray a specific trust.

As a rule, not only did the members of my race entertain no feelings of bitterness against the whites before and during the war, but there are many instances of Negroes tenderly caring for their former masters and mistresses who for some reason have become poor and dependent since the war. I know of instances where the former masters of slaves have for years been supplied with money by their former slaves to keep them from suffering. J have known of still other cases in which the former slaves have assisted in the education of the descendants of their former owners. – pgs. 13-14

I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. - pg. 16

 

The following quotes are from my Kindle, and do not have page number associated with them:

 

This experience of a whole race beginning to go to school for the first time, presents one of the most interesting studies that has ever occurred in connection with the development of any race. Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education. As I have stated, it was a whole race trying to go to school. Few were too young, and none too old, to make the attempt to learn. As fast as any kind of teachers could be secured, not only were day-schools filled, but night-schools as well. The great ambition of the older people was to try to learn to read the Bible before they died. With this end in view, men and women who were fifty or seventy-five years old would often be found in the night-school. Sunday-schools were formed soon after freedom, but the principal book studied in the Sunday-school was the spelling-book. Day-school, night-school, Sundayschool, were always crowded, and often many had to be turned away for want of room.
I have great faith in the power and influence of facts. It is seldom that anything is permanently gained by holding back a fact.

The influence of ancestry, however, is important in helping forward any individual or race, if too much reliance is not placed upon it. Those who constantly direct attention to the Negro youth’s moral weaknesses, and compare his advancement with that of white youths, do not consider the influence of the memories which cling about the old family homesteads. I have no idea, as I have stated elsewhere, who my grandmother was. I have, or have had, uncles and aunts and cousins, but I have no knowledge as to where most of them are. My case will illustrate that of hundreds of thousands of black people in every part of our country. The very fact that the white boy is conscious that, if he fails in life, he will disgrace the whole family record, extending back through many generations, is of tremendous value in helping him to resist temptations. The fact that the individual has behind and surrounding him proud family history and connection serves as a stimulus to help him to overcome obstacles when striving for success.

From any point of view, I had rather be what I am, a member of the Negro race, than be able to claim membership with the most favoured of any other race. I have always been made sad when I have heard members of any race claiming rights and privileges, or certain badges of distinction, on the ground simply that they were members of this or that race, regardless of their own individual worth or attainments. I have been made to feel sad for such persons because I am conscious of the fact that mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded. This I have said here, not to call attention to myself as an individual, but to the race to which I am proud to belong.

The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women. Instead of studying books so constantly, how I wish that our schools and colleges might learn to study men and things!
I have referred to this unpleasant part of the history of the South simply for the purpose of calling attention to the great change that has taken place since the days of the ” Ku Klux.” To-day there are no such organizations in the South, and the fact that such ever existed is almost forgotten by both races. There are few places in the South now where public sentiment would permit such organizations to exist.

Naturally, most of our people who received some little education became teachers or preachers. While among these two classes there were many capable, earnest, godly men and women, still a large proportion took up teaching or preaching as an easy way to make a living. Many became teachers who could do little more than write their names. I remember there came into our neighbourhood one of this class, who was in search of a school to teach, and the question arose while he was there as to the shape of the earth and how he would teach the children concerning this subject. He explained his position in the matter by saying that he was prepared to teach that the earth was either flat or round, according to the preference of a majority of his patrons. The ministry was the profession that suffered most—and still suffers, though there has been great improvement — on account of not only ignorant but in many cases immoral men who claimed that they were ” called to preach.” In the earlier days of freedom almost every coloured man who learned to read would receive ” a call to preach ” within a few days after he began reading. At my home in West Virginia the process of being called to the ministry was a very interesting one. Usually the ” call” came when the individual was sitting in church. Without warning the one called would fall upon the floor as if struck by a bullet, and would lie there for hours, speechless and motionless. Then the news would spread all through the neighbourhood that this individual had received a ” call.” If he were inclined to resist the summons, he would fall or be made to fall a second or third time. In the end he always yielded to the call. While I wanted an education badly, I confess that in my youth I had a fear that when I had learned to read and write well I would receive one of these ” calls ” ; but, for some reason, my call never came.

More and more I am convinced that the final solution of the political end of our race problem will be for each state that finds it necessary to change the law bearing upon the franchise to make the law apply with absolute honesty, and without opportunity for double dealing or evasion, to both races alike. Any other course my daily observation in the South convinces me, will be unjust to the Negro, unjust to the white man, and unfair to the rest of the states in the Union, and will be, like slavery, a sin that at some time we shall have to pay for.

Though I was but little more than a youth during the period of Reconstruction, I had the feeling that mistakes were being made, and that things could not remain in the condition that they were in then very long. I felt that the Reconstruction policy, so far as it related to my race, was in a large measure on a false foundation, was artificial and forced. In many cases it seemed to me that the ignorance of my race was being used as a tool with which to help white men into office, and that there was an element in the North which wanted to punish the Southern white men by forcing the Negro into positions over the heads of the Southern whites. I felt that the Negro would be the one to suffer for this in the end.

I saw coloured men who were members of the state legislatures, and county officers, who, in some cases, could not read or write, and whose morals were as weak as their education. Not long ago, when passing through the streets of a certain city in the South, I heard some brick-masons calling out, from the top of a two-story brick building on which they were working, for the ” Governor ” to ” hurry up and bring up some more bricks.” Several times I heard the command, ” Hurry up, Governor!” “Hurry up, Governor!” My curiosity was aroused to such an extent that I made inquiry as to who the ” Governor” was, and soon found that he was a coloured man who at one time had held the position of Lieutenant-Governor of his state.
Of course the coloured people, so largely without education, and wholly without experience in government, made tremendous mistakes, just as any people similarly situated would have done. Many of the Southern whites have a feeling that, if the Negro is permitted to exercise his political rights now to any degree, the mistakes of the Reconstruction period will repeat themselves.

In the fall of 1878, after having taught school in Malden for two years, and after I had succeeded in preparing several of the young men and women, besides my two brothers, to enter the Hampton Institute, I decided to spend some months in study at Washington, D.C. I remained there for eight months. I derived a great deal of benefit from the studies which I pursued, and I came into contact with some strong men and women. At the institution I attended there was no industrial training given to the students, and I had an opportunity of comparing the influence of an institution with no industrial training with that of one like the Hampton Institute, that emphasized the industries. At this school I found the students, in most cases, had more money, were better dressed, wore the latest style of all manner of clothing, and in some cases were more brilliant mentally. At Hampton it was a standing rule that, while the institution would be responsible for securing some one to pay the tuition for the students, the men and women themselves must provide for their own board, books, clothing, and room wholly by work, or partly by work and partly in cash. At the institution at which I now was, I found that a large proportion of the students by some means had their personal expenses paid for them. At Hampton the student was constantly making the effort through the industries to help himself, and that very effort was of immense value in character-building. The students at the other school seemed to be less self-dependent. They seemed to give more attention to mere outward appearances. In a word, they did not appear to me to be beginning at the bottom, on a real, solid foundation, to the extent that they were at Hampton. They knew more about Latin and Greek when they left school, but they seemed to know less about life and its conditions as they would meet it at their homes. Having lived for a number of years in the midst of comfortable surroundings, they were not as much inclined as the Hampton students to go into the country districts of the South, where there was little of comfort, to take up work for our people, and they were more inclined to yield to the temptation to become hotel waiters and Pullman-car porters as their life-work.

The public schools in Washington for coloured people were better then than they were elsewhere. I took great interest in studying the life of our people there closely at that time. I found that while among them there was a large element of substantial, worthy citizens, there was also a superficiality about the life of a large class that greatly alarmed me. I saw young coloured men who were not earning more than four dollars a week spend two dollars or more for a buggy on Sunday to ride up and down Pennsylvania Avenue in, in order that they might try to convince the world that they were worth thousands. I saw other young men who received seventy-five or one hundred dollars per month from the Government, who were in debt at the end of every month. I saw men who but a few months previous were members of Congress, then, without employment and in poverty. Among a large class there seemed to be a dependence upon the Government for every conceivable thing. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the Federal officials to create one for them.

I felt that the conditions were a good deal like those of an old coloured man, during the days of slavery, who wanted to learn how to play on the guitar. In his desire to take guitar lessons he applied to one of his young masters to teach him; but the young man, not having much faith in the ability of the slave to master the guitar at his age, sought to discourage him by telling him: ” Uncle Jake, I will give you guitar lessons; but, Jake, I will have to charge you three dollars for the first lesson, two dollars for the second lesson, and one dollar for the third lesson. But I will charge you only twenty-five cents for the last lesson.” Uncle Jake answered: ” All right, boss, I hires you on dem terms. But, boss! I wants yer to be sure an’ give me dat las’ lesson first.”

At the time I went to Alabama the coloured people were taking considerable interest in politics, and they were very anxious that I should become one of them politically, in every respect. They seemed to have a little distrust of strangers in this regard.  I recall that one man, who seemed to have been designated by the others to look after my political destiny, came to me on several occasions and said, with a good deal of earnestness: ” We wants you to be sure to vote jes’ like we votes. We can’t read de newspapers very much, but we knows how to vote, an’ we wants you to vote jes’ like we votes.” He added: ” We watches de white man, and we keeps watching de white man till we finds out which way de white man’s gwine to vote; an’ when we finds out which way de white man’s gwine to vote, den we votes ‘xactly de other way. Den we knows we’s right.”

In fact, one of the saddest things I saw during the month of travel which I have described was a young man, who had attended some high school, sitting down in a one-room cabin, with grease on his clothing, filth all around him, and weeds in the yard and garden, engaged in studying a French grammar. The students who came first seemed to be fond of memorizing long and complicated ” rules” in grammar and mathematics, but had little thought or knowledge of applying these rules to the everyday affairs of their life. One subject which they liked to talk about, and tell me that they had mastered, in arithmetic, was ” banking and discount,” but I soon found out that neither they nor almost any one in the neighbourhood in which they lived had ever had a bank account. In registering the names of the students, I found that almost every one of them had one or more middle initials. When I asked what the ” J” stood for, in the name of John J. Jones, it was explained to me that this was a part of his “entitles.” Most of the students wanted to get an education because they thought it would enable them to earn more money as school-teachers.

Miss Davidson and I began consulting as to the future of the school from the first. The students were making progress in learning books and in developing their minds; but it became apparent at once that, if we were to make any permanent impression upon those who had come to us for training, we must do something besides teach them mere books. The students had come from homes where they had had no opportunities for lessons which would teach them how to care for their bodies. With few exceptions, the homes in Tuskegee in which the students boarded were but little improvement upon those from which they had come. We wanted to teach the students how to bathe; how to care for their teeth and clothing. We wanted to teach them what to eat, and how to eat it properly, and how to care for their rooms. Aside from this, we wanted to give them such a practical knowledge of some one industry, together with the spirit of industry, thrift, and economy, that they would be sure of knowing how to make a living after they had left us. We wanted to teach them to study actual things instead of mere books alone.

The more we talked with the students, who were then coming to us from several parts of the state, the more we found that the chief ambition among a large proportion of them was to get an education so that they would not have to work any longer with their hands. This is illustrated by a story told of a coloured man in Alabama, who, one hot day in July, while he was at work in a cotton-field, suddenly stopped, and, looking toward the skies, said: ” O Lawd, de cotton am so grassy, de work am so hard, and the sun am so hot dat I b’lieve dis darky am called to preach!”

During this first Christmas vacation I went some distance from the town to visit the people on one of the large plantations. In their poverty and ignorance it was pathetic to see their attempts to get joy out of the season that in most parts of the country is so sacred and so dear to the heart. In one cabin I noticed that all that the five children had to remind them of the coming of Christ was a single bunch of firecrackers, which they had divided among them. In another cabin, where there were at least a half-dozen persons, they had only ten cents’ worth of ginger-cakes, which had been bought in the store the day before. In another family they had only a few pieces of sugarcane. In still another cabin I found nothing but a new jug of cheap, mean whiskey, which the husband and wife were making free use of, notwithstanding the fact that the husband was one of the local ministers. In a few instances I found that the people had gotten hold of some bright-coloured cards that had been designed for advertising purposes, and were making the most of those. In other homes some member of the family had bought a new pistol. In the majority of cases there was nothing to be seen in the cabin to remind one of the coming of the Saviour, except that the people had ceased work in the fields and were lounging about their homes. At night, during Christmas week, they usually had what they called a ” frolic,” in some cabin on the plantation. This meant a kind of rough dance, where there was likely to be a good deal of whiskey used, and where there might be some shooting or cutting with razors.

While I was making this Christmas visit I met an old coloured man who was one of the numerous local preachers, who tried to convince me, from the experience Adam had in the Garden of Eden, that God had cursed all labour, and that, therefore, it was a sin for any man to work. For that reason this man sought to do as little work as possible. He seemed at that time to be supremely happy, because he was living, as he expressed it, through one week that was free from sin.

Perhaps I might add right here, what I hope to demonstrate later, that, so far as I know, the Tuskegee school at the present time has no warmer and more enthusiastic friends anywhere than it has among the white citizens of Tuskegee and throughout the state of Alabama and the entire South.

Not a few times, when a new student has been led into the temptation of marring the looks of some building by leadpencil marks or by the cuts of a jack-knife, I have heard an old student remind him: ” Don’t do that. That is our building. I helped put it up.”

My experience is that there is something in human nature which always makes an individual recognize and reward merit, no matter under what colour of skin merit is found. I have found, too, that it is the visible, the tangible, that goes a long ways in softening prejudices. The actual sight of a first-class house that a Negro has built is ten times more potent than pages of discussion about a house that he ought to build, or perhaps could build.

 

 

HL Mencken Club “The Egalitarian Temptation” Report

I have hardly edited the following for content, much less style.

(edit – august 31st, 2009 – adding some hyperlinks, making a few edits)

HL Mencken Club, 1st Annual Meeting
“The Egalitarian Temptation”

(see announcement by Richard Spencer for it)

Sitting beside Paul Gottfried, behind Peter Brimelow (for a short bit) in a few seats over from John Derbyshire and Jared Taylor, I set in a room filled with largely older white men feeling quite the odd duck. I was not the only attendee in his early 30s, but I was on the low end of the age spectrum. I wasn’t able to join a kickoff ceremony tonight before, so I arrived early on Saturday in hopes that tickets would still be available for the days series of panels and lectures, they were.

One of the two women registering attendees identified herself as Paul Gottfried’s wife, and I guess I thought that was a bit strange, because the one photo of Paul Gottfried I’d seen, he looked like a black man. Seeing him in person, rectified that… he is an old white guy. Go to TakiMag.com for yourself and tell me if you’d think he was black or white from that head-shot.

I am not a political junkie, and it’s obvious to anybody reading this blog, or knowing me personally. I’m an idea junkie, I’m a truth seeker, if you will, though that phrase just sounds too smarmy. I would never tell somebody “hey, I’m a truth seeker”. I would more quickly say, “I’m a skeptic.” But the word skeptic, much like the word atheist, just tells people how you respond to something. It’s not a positive assertion, like Christian or pedophile, or Christian pedophile.

For me, it’s all best wrapped up by saying “I’m a Satanist“, though it rarely clarifies my position to anyone else – quite the opposite in most cases.

The day was broken down into three main panel discussions and two meals with speakers. The first panel was probably the least interesting to me personally. And it was on the Habsburg Empire and World War I in the fall of the Western civilization. I think a point made in the next panel was quite appropriate here, as I was educated in public school in the 1980s, and we didn’t learn about the Habsburg Empire. But we did learn about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. Which is more important to world history in Western civilization? I think an argument could easily be made for the former, in fact… I don’t think any argument needs to be made, just look at the events, and then looked up at how much time is given to teaching one versus the other in our classrooms

I wasn’t disinterested in the topic. Indeed, I was interested, I understood the importance of it, but I eagerly awaited the panels on education and egalitarianism, followed by a panel on “Mencken, Nietzsche, and their American Disciples”

My pathetic knowledge of history allowed me to be quite lost during a significant amount of this first panel. James Kurth, political science professor at Swarthmore College, had a wonderful voice and read almost verbatim from an article of his published in the Journal Modern Age, from the fall of 2007. He had photocopies available, so I read along with him. T. Hunt Tooley, a professor of history at Austin College in Texas did me the favor of mentioning two names I am quite familiar with, Otto Dix and Machiavelli, in the first few minutes of his lecture “The Cost of the Great War.”

Tooley ended his speech by quoting some liberal who said something and upon reflection I’m not exactly sure what it was. Ultimately it was something to the effect of “war being the greatest ally of democracy”. To be clear he was not endorsing this quote, but using it to illustrate how war can be integral to a democratic ideology, since it is most commonly attributed to the right. It was later in the night that I asked him about the quote, so I actually had a second time to help me remember it, and it was in that discussion but I told him about the first person to really affect the way I view war in a significant way. That was Francis Galton, when he pointed out how dysgenic war was. It had never been framed in that light before, and I had never considered the fact that ultimately war killed off giant numbers of the best men in our society, and left alive to reproduce some of the worst. It is the sick, the deformed, the stupid, and the cowardly that get out of military service. Although I’m sure a the best of the best will survive the war, I would imagine that disproportionately it is the cowards hiding and foxholes that make it out alive. I do not have any great coherent body of thought on the subject, just a few fragmented ideas, but I think there’s something significant here that I haven’t seen explored… but this could easily be because I haven’t looked for it explicitly. I see an obvious tension in the idea that we will encourage those men who would be best at war to reproduce, and at the same time not actually send them to war to aid in the selection process… whether that selection process is a natural selection, or a more formalized eugenic policy.

The second panel was, for me, the best of the day. Really though, there is no reason for it to be. The three speakers discussed education, and I have no practical reason for being interested in education, in any formal sense. In my sophomore year of high school, when all of my peers went on summer vacation, I enrolled in an adult high school program offered by the local community college. What aspect of high school I didn’t hate, I was ambivalent about. I was an outsider, with few friends, and little respect for the piece of paper that would’ve been handed over to me for enduring one more year of subpar education among subhuman people. This was not a GED program, you took individual classes to gain individual class credits for high school diploma. Since it was on a college campus, I had the added bonus of being able to smoke on without fear of being pounced upon by an assistant principal hiding in a dormant school bus (as did happen). The people who attended the school was a mix of juvenile delinquents and empty nest house wives going back to get their diploma. All of them seemed to be of below average intelligence. This is my compromise though, I had no respect for high school diploma, and I wasn’t planning on attending a university, but at the same time this allowed me to not technically be a high school dropout. Most of the delinquents stopped showing up out after the first couple of weeks anyway (being delinquents, doing what comes naturally), so the environment was a far cry from being an institute of learning, but certainly the same metaphorical distance from being the environment of a public high school.

Let me modify that with the phrase “government school”. Marshall DeRosa, a speaker on the second panel, use that term instead of the phrase public school. I think it’s much better descriptive, as it is more evocative of going to the DMV, and thus more reflective of the experience I had.

The second main reason why I should have no interest in education, in a formal setting, is that I don’t have children… or at least none I kept. I haven’t ruled out the option of having children, but even disregarding the economic concerns of raising a child, I haven’t yet decided if bringing a child in the world at all in this day and age constitutes child abuse. The only internal response to this that I have come up with, that has any merit, is to remind myself that there was no golden age, there will probably be no golden age, so any disadvantages to raising a child now are just a trade off from the disadvantages of the past.

Charles Murray‘s talk during this panel was titled “Nurture vs. Nature”. I had just recently listened to a lecture that he had given to the Cato Institute regarding his most recent book on education. Learning is probably best known for his book the Bell curve that he co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, but I also have his book “Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950“. When I first heard about the book I thought “how Galtonian”, and pretty early on in the book he makes reference to “Hereditary Genius“, appropriately enough. I am pleased to say that my copy is now signed, and takes its place in my library would sign books from G. Gordon Liddy, John Waters, Peter H. Gilmore and others. I had also brought along Jared Taylor’s “Paved with Good Intentions“, and was pleased to have it signed as well.

When Murray was signing my book, he was in a rush to leave. His son was there, and had just arrived in town. I could not fault the man for wanting to spend time with him over any of us, and I have to thank his son for speaking up to say “I think that man wants his book signed”. Out of respect I did not want to take up more of his time than was needed for the signing, so I kept my comments to the line “I’ve very much enjoyed the work you’ve done, but must admit I’m glad to see your most recent book is much thinner.” His “Human Accomplishment” is over 600 pages, the Bell Curve was 900 pages, but “Real Education” is just 224.

Murray’s discussion was basically “we are not equal in ability, and it ain’t because of mean people”. The mass hallucination that all inequality of outcome is the effect of social forces instead of a combination of genetic and environmental factors not only promotes hostility, but wastes millions and millions of dollars and man-hours on what is effectively a snipe hunt.

There’s a commercial that bugs me, I haven’t seen them run recently, but I’m sure some variation will pop up soon enough, they’re a series of public service ads that encouraged parents to eat breakfast with their children. The commercial states that there is a strong correlation between children’s eating breakfast with their parents and their academic performance, implying that there is some sort of causation. This is absurd, aside from the fact that children should probably eat some food. It seems obvious to me that it is not the mere fact that a parent sitting next to their child of a consumed breakfast that makes the child do better in school. Even ignoring Judith Rich Harris‘ theory that parents have very little power to shape their children’s intellectual or behavioral ability, I would imagine that it is more likely that when a parent is inclined to prepare breakfast for the child they are also more inclined to make sure their child is doing their homework, feed them regularly and other meals, care for them, etc. etc. it is indicative of somebody who is investing time and attention and their child to a much larger extent. A stupid child who is given breakfast will still be a stupid child when he arrives at school. The stupid child who is given love and attention, intellectual and emotional encouragement and support, new computers filled with educational software, and the most gifted tutors, will still be a stupid child and grow up to be a stupid adult. The best testing has shown that adjusting the environmental factors has at best only a temporary boost in IQ.

It was Kopff who very briefly discussed the Trivium and Quadrivum, in his lecture about the need to reinstate a classical education. I was totally unaware of these two words, much less concepts behind them, until recently reading some of the Deep Satanism articles by James Sass. These are two educational systems, originally found in medieval universities. The former is constituted of the three subjects of logic grammar and rhetoric. The trivium was preparation for the quadrivium, and as you might expect, the latter consists of four subjects. These subjects are arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. After learning about these two educational methods, I immediately became depressed. In the 12 years I attended school, I don’t remember a single instance where a teacher explicitly discussed logic or rhetoric, much less said about teaching us principles of those two. It is ironic that it was only after rejecting Christianity explicitly, I began to look into these two subjects. It is ironic because the trivium and quadrivium were developed when education in the Western world was exclusively controlled by Christians. In doing some research it seems that the “classical education movement” is dominated still by Christians.

Though a monumental undertaking, it is my sincere hope that James Sass’s Project Faust will come to fruition and be one of the most important contributions of Satanic thought regarding children, though I would encourage everyone to take the basic concepts and do with it what they can. Though there is a significant brouhaha about neural plasticity, I’m inclined to believe that there is a prime aged between 14 and 20 (roughly) where we humans become pretty set in their ways as far as intellectual habits go.

In fact, once this Project Faust is completed, I would encourage him to whitewash it and look for a publisher to release it to the homeschooling market as a secular alternative.

I spoke with Robert Weissberg a bit after the lectures, as I was intrigued that he’d emphatically endorsed home schooling during the Q&A period.

The theme of the entire event was supposed to be “The Egalitarian Temptation.” I was very excited about that topic, and all the more vexed when I realized a significant number of attendees were Christian, and specifically Catholic. John Derbyshire was asked to sit in on the Mencken panel, because one of the speakers didn’t show up. When it was his turn to talk, he mentioned that he was a bit confused by the fact that the inaugural dinner the night before had started with a prayer. I was taken aback by this, as I was not there, and I would’ve seen it is quite incongruous as well. Derbyshire made the comment that he felt like he was back at his grandmother’s house.

John Zmirak is a Catholic, in fact, every single thing he said, or at least 9/10 things he said, had to do with Catholicism. He was really hung up on it. He’s a writer at Taki Mag and wasn’t a speaker, but he frequently got up to the microphone for a question or comment during the Q&A sessions. The one line that I felt I needed to congratulate him on was when he said flat out, “you must be ready to fight whenever you hear the words social justice.” I told him afterward, but it was brilliant just hearing somebody say that in a room of 80 people and not one of them getting upset. The catchphrase is never used sincerely, it is always used for people jockeying for social power, to gain privileges… not equality, but privileges above and beyond others.

Paul Gottfried’s lecture on Mencken and Nietzsche was good, but a bit dull in presentation. I think I would’ve gotten more out of reading it online or in a book.

It’s strange that the Mencken panel was the least populated, and not the most engaging. There was some talk by Richard Spencer, the managing editor of TakiMag, of how to reclaim Mencken and Nietzsche as symbols of the right. At the end of the discussion, it seemed that he had at least partially come to the conclusion that Mencken could not fully be reclaimed. I was largely left with the impression that Mencken was a symbol of convenience, a sort of codeword. I saw no great love of the iconoclasm that Mencken embodied. The not infrequent attacks on neoconservatives did not seem radical as much as it seemed obvious and necessary. Just as obvious and necessary as attacks on liberals. My dreams of finding in the HL Mencken club a secular, atheist, conservative think tank were dashed. Spencer did end his speech by stating that he believed that he thought the group should be considered radicals, the statement was met with no enthusiasm, no applause. I think this is partially due to his poor delivery of the line, however sincere.

John Derbyshire was the last man to talk, and that was after the dinner. He immediately engage my full attention by starting off his discussion, titled “Equality: the Elusive Ideal” (full text at link), by describing how he organized his books and his office. His desk is situated in the middle of the room, and all four walls are filled with books. He organizes them in a clockwise fashion, from the most concrete in fact the least. Starting with reference books immediately behind him, next comes the mathematics (his specialty) on his left, then Earth sciences etc., flowing into sociology philosophy and finally ending in a few poetry books at the furthest point on the right-hand wall.

He discussed a few of the problems that any of us who have a significant amount of books come across were not using a formalized system of shelving, such as the Dewey decimal system. He stated he kept the biographies of mathematicians in with his section on math books, though the rest of his biographies are in a section to themselves. This echoes my own resolution of keeping George Lincoln Rockwell‘s biographies along with his other books, though my biographies of Havelock Ellis, Larry Flynt, and Russ Meyer are not with my sexology and nonfiction dirty books, but with the rest of my biographies. I do however keep Nile Southern’s book The Candy Men sitting next to Venus Bound, a book on Olympia Press in with my dirty books even though they are significantly biographical.

To digress, yet again, it is because I am the type of person I would have biographies on these two disparate areas that exclude me from being a good candidate for representing any organization outside of the Church of Satan. I will admit I’m a little self-conscious about my outsider status, and the inevitable tension that would arise from largely normal people knowing that I have such an affinity for such figures as Yukio Mishima and Jim Tully, Anton LaVey and Savirtri Devi, Francis Galton and Tod Browning. I certainly have no love for the politics of James Watson, and I find GL Rockwell’s views on homosexuality to be deplorable.

Derbyshire was floating the word “culturalist” to refer to the folks that believe that environment is a single causal factor in developing intelligence and IQ. The terms used in this area of of obvious interest to anyone with a dog in the fight. The left will easily just call anyone who has a view that genes inform IQ and behavior, at least in part, as racists. They have their word, and it works for them. The right, out of a mixed need to a) not be called a racist and b) not be seen as forming epithets to describe their opponents, have had a hard time coming to agree on a single term for either themselves or those who hold opposite views.

Richard Lynn, in his book “The Science of Human Diversity” uses Henry E. Garrett‘s term “equalitarian” coined in 1961, and I’ll quote Garret by way of Lynn:

“The weight of the evidence favors the proposition that racial differences in mental ability (and perhaps in personality and character) are innate and genetic. The evidence is not all in, and further inquiry is needed… at best, the equalitarian dogma represents a sincere if misguided effort to help the Negro by ignoring or even suppressing evidence of his mental and social immaturity. At worst, equalitarianism is the scientific hoax of the century.”

Some writers in this field have used the term environmentalist in place of equalitarian or culturalist, and the word itself is in greater accord with the views, but culturally the word is owned by people who care about trees, rare owls, and littering. There is no possible way that hereditarians will be able to redefine that word in the minds of the majority of Americans.

In an unfinished essay of my own, I set about the problem of terminology and proposed my own set of classifications:

Racist: Someone who believes in races as either a biological reality or a social construct and wants to foster or maintain a hierarchical division between them. A collectivist view relating to their own race is usually implicit.

Racial Hereditarian: Someone who believes in the biological reality of race, but does not necessarily believe in an implicit hierarchy based on racial divisions. Collectivist beliefs are not implicit in Racial Hereditarianism.

Racial Equalitarian: Someone who believes that race is not a valid biological concept, and that it is socially constructed division. Collectivist beliefs are not implicit in Racial Environmentalism.

Anti-Racist: Someone who may believe that race is either a biological reality or a social construction, but will either ignore or promote the dissolution of those divisions through social, economic, legal or biological (miscegenation) means. They usually have collectivist beliefs.

Derbyshire is an atheist, and his talk had the most meat and the most laughs. He referenced the findings neuroscience, the work of Cochran, Hardy and Harpending that I discussed when hosting the podcast episode of Satanism Today (11-08-2007), Stephen Pinker, etc. After his talk I approached him to thank him for the lecture, and jokingly said “You’re going to have to tell me something terrible about yourself, because for every lecture today I’ve found at least one thing that’s made me bristle a bit, except for yours. I found nothing to object to at all.” He responded, jokingly “I’m a Wiccan that attends Black Masses and Sacrifices babies”… I could only simply respond, “I’m a member of the Church of Satan, so you’ll have to do better than that.”