One of the main battles within Western liberal democracies over the last seventy years has been the war between partisanship and objectivity. Those on the side of partisanship see politics as a war between interests, like labor versus capital or minorities versus the majority. Objectivists see politics as a battle about finding the best solution for the problems of society. For them, even their own narrow interests must take a back seat to the truth. Being right counts for everything.
The partisans have always had the advantage, because they correctly understand that the “right answer” or even the “best answer” is a matter of perspective. Your class or identity interests shape your ideology and you will always see as the correct answer that which fits your ideology. Put another way, it is human nature to root for your own team, whether you do so consciously or unconsciously. Those who think they are being objective are just flattering themselves.
Once free of the restraint of objectivity, partisans are free to press their interests through whatever means are available. They are not constrained by the rules, because like all things in politics, the rules are a means to an end. Forcing an opponent to abide by their rules, while you violate them, for example, is perfectly acceptable, as long as it advances your group interests. The most recent election is a great example of partisanship triumphing over objectivity.
A good example of how this clash of world views has been going on for a long time is this post from American Renaissance. A long lost interview of the great IQ researcher Arthur Jensen was discovered on YouTube or maybe re-posted to YouTube. It is from the old daytime chat show called The Phil Donahue Show. Long forgotten at this point, Donahue was the godfather of the modern daytime chat show. He was the first to involve the audience in a town hall style format.
If you watch just a few minutes of the interview, you see Jensen was trying to answer the questions about the facts in his work. Donahue, on the other hand, is not interested in the facts, but how he can use them to further the cause. Donahue was one of the smarmier television liberals at the time. He was the Bill Maher of the 80’s, infamous for tricking guests into coming on his show, only to put them in terrible positions, in which they inevitably looked foolish or disreputable.
Early in the interview, Donahue knows he cannot use the old liberal gag of dismissing an enemy as stupid, so he keeps shifting the focus from the facts in the book to the alleged motivations for writing about them. He wants the audience to come away thinking that Jensen is an immoral person for having an interest in the topic, so good people should therefore dismiss him out of hand. To the partisan mind, all disconfirmation is personalized and the person is then anathematized.
In that American Renaissance post, Jared Taylor adds some commentary about his personal interactions with Arthur Jensen. This comment is illustrative of that gap between partisans and objectivists. “I was struck by his mild and profoundly scientific reaction to his attackers. He wasn’t angry at them; he was baffled. Why couldn’t they just look at the data?” The partisan knows exactly why he is in the fight, while the objectivist is perpetually baffled as to why there is a fight.
The objectivist will counter that facts matter and eventually, factual reality must triumph over wishful thinking. In the case of IQ, for example, the diversity of intelligence and what it means for modern society is immutable. Gather up a bunch of 65-IQ Somalis and dump them into Minneapolis and before long the city is struggling with the sorts of social problems that come with a 65-IQ population. Intelligence is driven by genetics, not environment, so these experiments must fail.
The thing is though, while the results of the current experiments with diversity are certain to fail in the long run, there is no guarantee that the critics will be around to see their predictions proven correct. Another immutable truth is the future belongs to the winners of today, for better or worse. Being right, but losing the fight over who will shape the future simply guarantees you will be proven correct. That makes being right hardly worth the effort, unless you are a masochist.
This has been the story of all opposition to Progressive racialism in America since the middle of the last century. The opponents go on about facts and reason, while the radicals scheme to get around those objections. Maybe it is anathematizing an opponent by calling him a racist, as with IQ researchers. Maybe it is violating the rules, while forcing the other side to obey the rules. At every turn over the last three generations, the partisans have beaten the truth-speakers.
Interestingly, this is the one bit of objective reality that the objectivists always find a way to look past in their analysis. When it is pointed out to conservatives that they have managed to conserve nothing, they have no answer. The best they can muster is the weak claim that playing to win makes you no better than the Left, which is suggests they are not committed to the causes they claim to champion. Instead, it is about their personal honor. They want to lose with dignity.
Taylor finishes his commentary on Jensen with the following sentence. “He was a model of dignity, courage, and fair-mindedness for all dissidents.” On a personal level, this is a fine sentiment, but lousy advise. In this long twilight struggle to save the West, those concerned with dignity, courage, and fair-mindedness must be relegated to the drawing room to comfort the women, while those willing to do whatever is necessary go out and subvert the enemy on the field of partisan politics.
This should not be read to mean that the answer to Progressive radicalism is to ape their tactics. In fact, that is usually the wrong course. The Left deployed their street terrorist this year hoping to draw a response, which they were prepared to use in their election efforts. They can do this because they control the courts and the police, so the tactic is low cost for them. For dissidents, however, such a tactic is high cost and promises a small or even negative return.
Instead, the dissident must learn to view “dignity, courage, and fair-mindedness” as tools in his political toolkit. When they advance the cause, they can be deployed, but when they weaken the effort, use other tools. Like the craftsman, the partisan dissident uses his tools in furtherance of the project. No one cares if the master craftsman is dignified or fair-minded. He is judged on his work. The dissident right will be judged by its deeds, not by its adherence to abstract personal qualities.
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