Derb Goes There

Here's a classic ramble from John Derbyshire, and it wouldn't be published in most magazines, for the very reasons the old codger elaborates on here. I find Derbyshire's easy acquiescence in the uglier parts of human nature pretty depressing. But acknowledging the uglier parts of human nature - and not pretending we can ever abolish them - is the beginning of political wisdom. In some ways, the first paragraph below is a very good summary of what one might call empirical conservatism. In brief: deal with reality. Over to Derb:

The beginning of wisdom is to look at humanity as it is, with its arms and legs, its eyes and tongues, its livers and kidneys, and its brains organized into modules, in some way like I sketched above, those modules busily processing information information about light and temperature, visual and aural information, and above all (for we are social animals) social information.

I may choose, freely choose, to treat my fellow human beings well or badly; but my interactions with them are governed by my brain, which has evolved with the ability to do some things but not others. Utter indifference to group identity is a thing the brain cannot do. The denial of human nature gets us nowhere.

Whatever we think of Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jews and their “group evolutionary strategy,” he is at least talking about a real human personality, one that I recognize when I look at myself and other people. It’s a personality that is aware of belonging to groups, that vies for status in those groups and that nurses negative feelings of various degrees to at least some other groups. Even when it wishes no harm to any other group, if given the choice between advancing the interests of a group it belongs to, versus advancing the interests of a group it does not belong to, will choose the former action nine times out of ten.

That is humanity as I know it, and as the great novelists and dramatists have portrayed it, and as the human sciences are beginning to uncover it in fine detail through such disciplines as evolutionary history. The bloodless, deracinated, group-indifferent, “blank slate,” omnisympathetic creature promoted by the merchants of Political Correctness is one I do not recognize as human. Those merchants are human, though, for all they seek to deny it. Their lofty pretensions to have risen high above us grubby group-identifying lesser beings strike me as just another form, a particularly obnoxious form, of in-group status-striving.