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Friday, May 05, 2006 

It’s Not Racism—It’s a Software Problem

It’s a pity that we don’t teach rhetoric in school anymore. Not too long ago it was considered one of the 7 constituents of a good classical education. These days not much is left of that curriculum and what is left has been bled dry by pseudo-enlightened teaching methods.

I’ve taken a course on rhetoric, which was helpful, but I’ve learned the most about it by countless hours of pondering mind-bendingly inane pronouncements trumpeted by people who should have known better, and the enthusiastic and unbelievably uncritical acceptance by all the nodding heads in attendance.

The best working definition of rhetoric that I’ve come across is as follows: The art and science of persuasion. Note that word: persuasion. This has nothing to do with logic or logical argument whereby, if properly done, one arrives at a correct conclusion. Rhetoric is convincing someone that some conclusion is the correct one whether it is or not. Considerable rhetoric has been expended talking teenage girls out of their virginity in the backseats of cars. Just about any abandoned single mother struggling to get her life back on track will tell you that going along wasn’t the correct conclusion.

It’s been a long road for me, but I’ve figured out our adversaries well enough that I can spot the flaws in the reasoning and their rhetorical legerdemain fairly easily. However, I see many good folks around me struggling with the Left’s tricky arguments, then shrugging their shoulders and going on, leaving the asinine pronouncements unchallenged. For all our good qualities, American’s lack of ambition toward intellectual rigor is a serious national flaw. One that scares me more than a little.

Leaving the jargon aside for the time being, I’ve noticed two things that people on the Right/Conservative/Libertarian side need to watch out for. First are false dichotomies, or taking something that has to be considered as a whole and splitting it into parts that can’t stand on their own so as to knock them down more easily. Second is the flip-side of the first. Taking separate elements and deliberately conflating them so as to use valid (maybe) criticisms of one to drag down the other. All of which brings me to my point. Racism, culturalism, nationalism, and any other number of –isms are frequently entirely separate issues that need to be considered, debated, and accepted or rejected as separate entities.

Conflating racism and culturalism is one of the biggest problems today and a current favorite rhetorical tap dance of the Left. The Left insists on treating these as two sides of the same coin making it impossible to condemn one without condemning the other. This, of course is insane in general, and never more insane than when it is applied to the United States.

Racism against Hispanics? Hispanics are not a race. The word itself has traditionally meant Spanish-speaking, thereby referring to a linguistic group as opposed to a genetically similar group of people. A conveniently forgotten fact is that Spain, the source of Spanish, is a Western European country, further west than England, the source of the “Gringo” language. Spaniards are Caucasians.

What about Latinos, as in Latin America? Well, what about it” In Latin America ethnicities range from pure Caucasian (who are the elites that run the show and own just about everything), through pure Amerindians, through Mestizos (mixed race people) to black folks. Besides, I’m not so sure we should call it “Latin” America. After all, for the Amerindians, they didn’t pursue anything Latin, it came and conquered them.

What about Islam? The same principal applies. Racial Muslims range from the whitest of Caucasians in Eastern Europe, a relic of Islamic imperial conquest, to the darkest of Africans on that continent. Islam is not a race; it is a fascist ideology masquerading as a religion.

When I try to explain the difference to someone, I usually use a computer analogy. Culture is to race as software is to hardware. Despite what poverty pimps and professional grievance-mongers may tell you, racism is all but beaten and progress is still made everyday. If the Republican Party is the Party of hate and the status quo, why are so many of them begging a black woman to be their presidential candidate in 2008? Why did Walter Williams, a famous and distinguished black economist, go on the radio and announce to white liberals, “You’re forgiven, you can stop acting stupid now”?

You would have to have been living under a rock to avoid people of minority persuasions that have long since disproved the “hardware” theory of racism. I have met people of all races who are significantly smarter than I am, and I dwell on the lonely fringes of the right side of the bell curve.

So what is the crucial difference? Software. Or as it applies to human beings—culture. Millions of people want to immigrate to the United States to partake in its freedoms, material wealth, and opportunities. Sadly, many of these folks no longer want to assimilate. In fact, they consider it an outrage that they would be expected to do so. Rather the existing culture is expected to change to accommodate their presence. In essence they expect this country to load their cultural “software” over our own. All this reminds me very much of my experience teaching in a rural school. Frequently, parents would move there hoping to get their children away from the bad big city influences. More often than not, those children were the big city influences. I recall one girl in particular who lasted only 4 days before being arrested for dealing cocaine.

So, what does this all mean? I suppose somebody has to have the guts to say it, so I will. Mexicans, your hardware is fine, just as good as anybody else. Your software, on the other hand, sucks. When you come here, legally of course, check your cultural baggage at the door.

There’s an old saying that says something like, “If the people knew what it was that they wanted, they wouldn’t want it.” The same applies here. If American culture is swamped and displaced by Mexican culture, or just about any other for that matter, in 10 years this country will be a “has-been” like France. In 20 years it would be a Third World nation. Then who would the rest of the world “borrow” money from then?

I really enjoyed this essay, ER. Please excuse my editing here, but it's easier to comment on certain isolated parts.

Here we go:

"The best working definition of rhetoric ...is as follows: The art and science of persuasion. Note that word: persuasion. This has nothing to do with logic or logical argument whereby, if properly done, one arrives at a correct conclusion. Rhetoric is convincing someone that some conclusion is the correct one whether it is or not..."

So true; this is why rhetoric was so important at the level of the Roman equivalent of college or university instruction. These students, usually the sons of prominant families, were expected to go into the law (or at least have some competence in the law), since it was one of the few lines of work that was socially acceptable among the upper classes. In those days, cold hard evidence was very hard to come by, so lawyers had to rely on their skills of persuasion to make their case. Rhetoric had the same importance in the Roman legal system as the CSI findings have in ours.


"I see many good folks around me struggling with the Left’s tricky arguments, then ...leaving the asinine pronouncements unchallenged ..."

Yeah, it's a real bummer, and the effort to reduce our population to this state of dumpth has been ongoing for about 150 years, ever since good ol' Horace Mann almost single-handedly established the American government-run, tax-supported, compulsory-attendance, lock-step/compelled curriculum. Like the system founded by Luther during the Reformation in 1524, the goal was to create a population submissive to government and willing to implement its policies, no matter what they were. This was an irresistable target for the Utopian Socialists of the day, and before all that long - about 100 years - our school children were dumbed down and loaded up with all kinds of postmodernist doo-doo.

"Americans' lack of ambition toward intellectual rigor is a serious national flaw. One that scares me more than a little."

Very scary. Very, very scary. What's even worse is that when you talk about it, you see a lot of eyes rolling up to the ceiling, as if an education were hopelessly passe' and decidedly uncool. I even saw a bumper sticker once a few years ago that said "My kid beat up your honor student."

"I’ve noticed two things that people ... need to watch out for. First are false dichotomies, or taking something that has to be considered as a whole and splitting it into parts that can’t stand on their own so as to knock them down more easily. Second is the flip-side of the first. Taking separate elements and deliberately conflating them so as to use valid (maybe) criticisms of one to drag down the other."

You bet. This was the gimmick used by al-Ghazali early in the history of Islam. The Mu'tazilites, the more reason-oriented bunch of early Muslims, admired Aristotle, and surrounded by these folks, al-Ghazali suffered a real crisis of faith. He himself was inclined in the direction of literalist fundamentalism, and found himself was very conflicted. He went on an eleven-year self-imposed desert sabbatical from his teaching duties at the University in Baghdad, and when he got back, he had decided on a plan: Use Aristotle's logic to destroy his philosophy, including the whole reason thing. The "false dichotomy" you speak of was his little device. The arguments he had used before his "sabbatical" had actually sounded so ridiculous that people had laughed at them, but now, re-clothed in bits and pieces of Aristotle's own logic,they sounded oh, so convincing... I would not be surprised to hear that in addition to using a bastardized logic, that al-Ghazali used some pretty good rhetorical skills, too.

Any way, ol' al-Ghazali made a real impression on people, because it wasn't too long after that that the Mu'tazilites were history, and the fundamentalists (particularly the Ashurites) and al-Ghazali (who was something of a neoplatonist) won the power play, and lo! Islam was frozen into the form we all know and love today.

Al-Ghazali was utlimately considered the father of fundamentalist Islam, and the second most important "thinker" to Mohammed himself...

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  • I'm dostrick
  • From Texas, United States
  • The All Seeing Eye. A symbol of the Enlightenment and I like to think one day it will be a symbol of me. *** Middle-aged juvenile delinquent. *** Meyers-Briggs INTP if you follow that. *** My primary interests are in history, philosophy, languages, and literature. All the things that guarantee you'll never get a well-paying job.
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All government is an ugly necessity.

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Male White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (W.A.S.P.) oppression must end.

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[I]n Her Majesty's northern Dominion the public health system is such an article of faith that no private hospitals are permitted: Canada’s private health care system is called 'America'.

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A formula that makes religion and politics easy to understand: (Islam - Allah = Communism)

--Unknown--


It seems amazing that no Continental politician is willing to get to grips with the real crisis facing Europe in the 21st century: the lack of Europeans.

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