Yggdrasil's WN

The Way We Were - Part III

Politics is generally a forbidden topic around our house. If I launch around the kids, their eyes roll in one of those teen-aged "not another lecture from dad" looks. My wife generally doesn't want to hear it either, and has ways of making her preferences felt.

But she rises earlier than I, grabs the Wall Street Journal, and devours it before I wander down the stairs. By the time I reach the kitchen, after checking the globex quotes in the morning, I will often find the table empty, except that occasionally the Journal will repose passively with its pages bent back and open, invariably to the best that the day has to offer.

The article below is a particular gem, stumbled upon according to the above described pattern. It was buried in "The Weekend" section of the Journal. Left to my own devices, I never would have found it and would have missed its message of "once in one hundred year" importance.

This article should shake you to your core.

It begins with a simple statement of fact:

So the most basic lesson of American History that we learned as children was a lie.

The European world knew full well that the World was round in 1492.

Having established that our history is false, the article then asks the question, "why?"

Now the "why" question is quite unusual. Here we have an author in a neoconservative newspaper asking "who benefits?" and "what is the hidden agenda behind this universally accepted myth?" A dangerous tendency in this media saturated world.

At this point, my code antennae are triangulating on the neoconservative wing of the inner party. After all, outer party members rarely ask "who benefits?". We believe what we read and almost always accept the surface message as true. And since the neocon wing of the inner party knows this about us, the article does not tease or conceal, but delivers up the answer straight away with no coding at all. It is obvious that the "encryption impaired" outer party is the intended audience:

Indeed, Stephen Jay Gould is a rather well known Marxist with oddly neocon ideas. But this idea that our history is a lie and a myth is not the sort of thing that the Reform Marxist or Frankfurt School wing of the inner party would normally wish to publicize. After all, they control the media and it is not in their interests to be giving the outer party alarming examples of the lies and propaganda that litter our history books.

To what earthly end might Mr. Gould be telling us this now?

But of course! The authors of this lie were outer party members! Notice that the entire name - first, middle and last - is spelled out just so you won't miss the message.

Take that, Kevin MacDonald! The attack upon Christianity, and the entire "Culture of Critique" started among your own. Don't blame the inner party as a group, for the Marxist wing of the inner party is merely apeing your own kind! You have met the enemy and he is you!

Touche, Mr. Gould, point taken!

Indeed, the great migration of the inner party from Eastern Europe did not commence until 1880. They were not involved in this one!

But as with all Neo-conservative arguments, this leaves us possessed of information that can truly liberate us and allow us to reclaim our own destiny.

The most important passage in the article follows:

Once again, we have an example of a falsehood that spreads very quickly through virtually the entire upper middle class ranks of the post civil-war outer party in the Northern States - the very people who controlled education and text book distribution.

They believed this lie because they wanted to believe it.

Up until this point in the series I have focused on James Forrestal. It should be quite obvious that unlike Draper and White, Forrestal was one of us. I dealt at length with Forrestal because he is very typical of that segment of the outer party elite devoid of any animus toward the rest of his kind. He means us well, and certainly would defend us against any attack he is capable of recognizing. However, he cannot allow himself to see obvious group behaviors nor the serious threats to our collective survival that result from these behaviors.

And in this sense, Forrestal is typical of so many well meaning outer party members. They are simply not equipped to defend us. And, quite frankly, our cause is truly hopeless until we reach a sufficient number of contemporary James Forrestals and purge them of the social blinders that cripple the normal and natural defensive response to which they quite clearly would be predisposed if they could throw off their self- imposed shackles.

Forrestal is very important to us a symbol of "close, but no cigar".

On the other hand, Draper and White, along with the tens of thousands of their outer party contemporaries who so desperately wanted to believe Draper and White's falsification of history fall into an entirely different category.

Ultimately, it is a category that is far more threatening to our survival than the inner party.

Let's think about this falsification for a moment.

Ironically, 1870 was a period of unparalleled scientific and economic progress in Western Civilization. In the late 1700's , as the population of Britain outstripped the supply of wood for winter fuel, they switched to coal. The steam engine and the mining industry were invented. As a natural extension of this, the steam locomotive and iron rails used in the mines were lifted up out of the ground and transformed into railroads, thus lowering the cost of transporting coal. At the time Draper wrote, the railroads had so lowered the costs of transportation, that vast tracts of agricultural land were opened up in America, Australia and Argentina, thus allowing the mass migration of rural populations to cities to be fed at reasonable cost.

It was a time of unparalleled progress in medicine and science. The telegraph had been invented thirty years earlier, vastly decreasing the cost of communication - making possible for the first time in human history the instant transmission of messages across thousands of miles.

In 1877 Edison invented the phonograph, and by 1879, the incandescent light bulb. In 1891 it was the movie camera.

There is not one scintilla of evidence anywhere that Churchmen opposed Newtonian mechanics, nor advances in chemistry, medicine or mathematics or astronomy. The only thing Churchmen objected to was the notion that somehow the obvious genetic changes that accumulate over time in races and species negated the spiritual act of "creation" sacred to their faith.

In short, there was no evidence anywhere that Churchmen opposed any science other than parts of the social sciences, to which the more strident articulations of the theory of evolution more properly belong. Churchmen did not want science to be used to tear apart the web of belief that enforces the acts of mutual obligation and self sacrifice which hold human societies together and allow them to reproduce.

So why the concerted attack on religion? Why the attempt to belittle it and stigmatize it by associating it with ignorance and low socio- economic status?

Indeed, what could Draper and White possibly expect to gain by attacking religious belief? After all, religion had coexisted with huge strides in scientific progress for centuries. Why the sudden perception of religion as an enemy of progress?

Further, would not the loss of faith pose significant risks for Draper, White and their followers? After all, what would replace religious faith? Wouldn't the millions of peasants migrating to the cities from the countryside become dangerous without religious belief to restrain them? Indeed, Marx wrote his most popular works in 1848 and argued that religion was the opiate of the masses, standing between them and the bloody revolution he sought.

Could this have been what Draper and White were after?

What new bonds were Draper, White and their followers prepared to put forward that might hold society together and restrain all of those intensely religious peasants moving to the cities from indulging in the bloody revolutions that Marx and Engels sought? Did the new theory of evolution supply a better source of social stability?

Indeed, the activities of Draper, White, and their followers powerfully suggest that Marx was not an agent of social change, but rather, that he and his followers merely recognized the inevitable consequence of a social trend set in motion by the outer party and sought to position their own people to capitalize on that trend.

From the perspective of Draper, White and Co. none of this was planned, nor were the consequences clearly thought out. The entire program was pure delusion.

Indeed, the explanation is surprisingly and pathetically simple. The new arrivals from the countryside were intensely religious, and, to make matters worse, they were utterly indistinguishable from Draper and White in appearance. The only sure way for Draper, White and their followers to maintain social distance from these new arrivals was to reject religion. Of course, a mere intellectual or academic rejection quietly entertained by the upper classes would not have accomplished the objective of creating a widely recognized marker of higher status and social distance.

In order to accomplish the real objective of maintaining their superior social status, it was necessary to propagate in the public mind this image of the religious as weak minded fools. Hence the need to create the public myth of belief in a flat earth and to propagate that myth throughout our culture.

So desperate and intense was this need to distance themselves from these newly arriving and intensely religious peasants, that the practical risks of destabilizing the social order were completely ignored, as were the obvious warnings emanating from the small band of inner party intellectuals who had been drawing up plans to exploit that destabilization for the preceding 30 years.

It is powerfully ironic that Draper and White should pick Darwin and his theory of evolution to forward their crusade for status by attacking religion.

The most ardent disciple of Darwin, Sir Arthur Keith, came to the conclusion in 1914 that religious belief was absolutely essential to the cohesion and survival of human groups. According to Sir Arthur, it was not physical traits but rather group psychology, including the web of belief in the supernatural, that gave the group internal cohesion and helped to set it apart from physically similar appearing groups nearby. These differences in group psychology created the huge differences in group fitness that dictated the winners and losers in the group selection process. More recent mathematical proofs that group selection did not occur rely, of course, on the assumption that differences in psychological fitness varied no more from tribe to tribe than the minor measurable differences in physical fitness.

The modern fossil record bears out Sir Arthur, as we find more and more examples of hominid forms and homo sapiens forms which disappeared without leaving any recognizable progeny nor any trace of genetic influence upon surviving groups.

Life and survival is serious business. It is not a sport, and there are no second place winners.

Of course, the lie about Columbus is just the beginning.

Despite the huge torrent of inexpensive labor flooding into the cites at the time, Draper, White and followers had Congress open up our borders to massive immigration to let in more. This had the twin effect of lowering the wage rates of the new arrivals from the countryside, thus reinforcing their low status, while the new immigrants also provided political allies to dilute the vote of this despised and feared group.

To further set themselves apart socially, Draper, White and followers whole heartedly adopted ideologies of group equality, with the result that the new and intensely religious arrivals from rural America were no better than African Blacks, Latin American Indians, or any other similar low wage imports.

Never mind that these ideologies left Draper, White and followers defenseless against the Marxist attack. Immediate social differentiation from their distant kinsman was much more urgent.

In the Words of Sir Arthur Keith:

Isn't this exactly what Draper, White and their followers are doing? Are they not engaging in clear race forming behaviors?

Now the question arises whether this response to the Industrial Revolution by Draper and White was sui generis, an isolated incident unlikely to be repeated, or part of a longer term pattern.

I would suggest that Draper and White represent a dramatic escalation of a trend that began nearly 1000 years earlier.

If we return to our roots as described in the ballads of Roland and Beowulf, we see that kings or tribal chieftains were elected by the tribal council. The dominant males would select one from among their number and grant him life tenure based on several qualities including the ability to inspire the group in battle, and the ability to resolve disputes within the group to the satisfaction of all. In other words, a king was selected based on his talents in administering the dual code, amity among his kinsmen and enmity toward its attackers. A chieftain's son had a large lead in the contest to become the new king, but the custom recognized that the broader kinship group would certainly produce the required talent, even as the king's eldest son would often deviate back toward the population mean in such qualities.

The Germanic invasions of Western Europe during the latter stages of the Roman Empire (AD 200 to AD 400) and the Norse invasions beginning in 700 to 900 AD produced a territorial scrambling of tribes throughout Europe. Beginning around 800 AD in France and 1066 in England, tribal chieftains began the process of tribal amalgamation and Nation building that Sir Arthur Keith describes. As one tribe subdued neighboring tribes and created the multi-tribal kingdom, the code of tribal amity that permitted election of kings became untenable, and primogeniture and divine right took hold. As the territorial reach of these kingdoms increased it became necessary for kings to dissociate themselves from their particular tribe in order to maintain peace. Marriage to a non-royal would not only diminish the King's social distance and his claim to divine right, but it would also be seen as a preference for and a reversion to the tribe from which the young lady came - an utter impossibility. Thus, to prevail in the nation building process, and to avoid being conquered and absorbed by a more successful neighbor, European royalty was forced to isolate itself genetically from their countrymen.

A series of royal behaviors and attitudes arose as a result of this process of genetic isolation (a race forming behavior) and all of these behaviors and attitudes came to be associated with high social status. Young royals shunned their own kinship group and traveled to foreign capitals and learned foreign languages in order to meet eligible mates.

As the size of kingdoms grew, this emerging royal race would employ ever larger numbers of talented lesser nobles and commoners to administer their realms. Naturally, Kings confined this patronage to those who aped the cosmopolitan social attitudes which reinforced royal genetic isolation, including the glamor of travel to foreign capitals and the learning of foreign languages. As the size of the kingdoms grew, and the number of these retainers increased, this disdain for local tribal loyalty extended to ever greater numbers of commoners with social aspirations.

Thus, the quest for status and position by individual commoners throughout Europe over the last 1000 years became increasingly associated with the adoption of attitudes that put social distance between them and their racial or ethnic fellows. At the same time, these attitudes would ingratiate them to those who possessed the power to hire and promote.

Thus, we have been conditioned for over 1000 years to seek social status by distancing ourselves from our own kinship groups.

With the advent of colonial empires and worldwide commercial empires, these attitudes found an ever wider field of application, moving from encouraging the destruction of ties with local and national European kinship groups, to facilitating the establishment of distance from the entire European racial group. Favoring of non-Europeans became the new marker of social status.

These attitudes that accompany status yearnings manifest themselves on a number of different levels. We see in Forrestal, and in paleoconservatives generally, bravery of opinion up to a carefully drawn and well understood internal boundary. And it is the observance of this boundary that accounts for their incessant political defeats, both individually as in the case of Forrestal, and collectively as in the case of the Buckley, YAF, and Reagan's conservative movement in the U.S. They dare not define or identify "who benefits," and thus the movement inevitably lacks motive political force.

Further, they cannot allow themselves to identify group threats and rally their own to combat those threats. It is life and survival as sport rather than in earnest. Only economic growth and selective individual prosperity allows us to keep fooling ourselves.

With the demise of royal power and the ascent of liberal democracy in 19th Century Europe, the 50 years surrounding the invention of the flat earth lie by Draper and White saw these markers of superior social status work a massive change on the rules of engagement for conflict among Europeans.

In the Napoleonic wars, casualty rates escalated from the 10% maximum tolerated by competing kings to 60% and 70% levels tolerated by modern democrats. In the Napoleonic wars, casualties were limited to military personnel. Fifty years later, the U.S. civil war not only accelerated the high casualty rates of military personnel, but shifted the focus of combat to the civilian population, as General Sherman earned his place in the history books by being the first to wage economic war on a civilian population.

Shortly after Draper and White invented the flat earth story, the final version of the rules of engagement for conflicts between Euros seeking to maintain their national identity and the Euro status seekers were clearly announced for all to see in the Boer War of 1899-1902.

In that war, the British shot captured Boer prisoners of war. Boer Women and children were rounded up and placed in concentration camps where they died of disease and starved to death. Boer farms were burned to the ground.

It was a war of firsts that would establish a clear pattern for the next century. It was the first war in which civilian deaths far outnumbered deaths of soldiers. It was the first war instigated largely by the inner party and then prosecuted lustily by that segment of the outer party which shared the attitudes of Draper and White.

Although World War One reverted back towards the Napoleonic model, the Russian Revolution vastly expanded the Boer model, as did its continuation in World War II. Indeed, the rules of engagement have been consistent from the Boer war through Waco and Ruby Ridge. Whites seeking self-determination for their group against the wishes of the followers of Draper and White are to be shot on sight. No exceptions.

Indeed, the modern day followers of Draper and White have a delusional dream based on the Latin American model. They are morally certain that they can prosper and succeed through eternity by lording over a world full of blacks and browns and winning their consent for this arrangement by parading around in drag as the "party of permanent revolution against European colonialism and imperialism" just as the European elites in Latin America do today.

The potential claims of their fellow Whites for independence and self determination are a wildly destabilizing hindrance to this vision, as is their most unfortunate geographic concentration in Europe, North America and Australia.

The geographic concentration is being cured by mass non-European immigration. The troublesome concentration of Whites in Eastern Europe will be overcome by conquest by the EU, and the opening up of their borders as well. Indeed the excellent adventure in the skies over Serbia followed exactly the same rules of engagement. Three thousand Serb civilians died, but only 683 Serb soldiers, more than half of whom were killed in old fashioned combat with the KLA.

Several questions naturally arise about the followers of Draper and White. Will their race forming behavior succeed? Will they survive over the long run? And is there any chance that their imperial dreams will be fulfilled?

As Sir Arthur Keith pointed out, these isolating status seekers form a cast or social class with no capacity for defense other than that provided by their overlord, the universalist state which they no longer control. They are doomed without the protection of their racial fellows.

First, as our society and economy has become more complex it has developed an overarching need for high IQ people to organize economic activity and to solve problems. In response to this complexity, our society has adopted the standardized test and now applies it society wide. Those with the requisite test scores no longer need to curry favor by adopting social attitudes favored by employers. The demand for high IQ is so great that our institutions can no longer afford to disqualify individuals based on social attitudes.

The consequence is that the attitudes which motivated Draper and White can no longer be induced by the carrot of patronage, but now must be enforced with a system of punishments that include public vilification and employment loss.

To counteract this newfound autonomy of high IQ individuals, the followers of Draper and White have adopted wholesale the censorship and punishments advocated by the inner party as a way of ensuring the silence of the talented dissenters.

But in the long run, the incentives to join the race forming liberal pack are diminishing. Thus, the followers of Draper and White are faced with the prospect of dissent, competition and riducule from within their own outer party ranks.

Second, the inner party has no intention of relying upon the outer party followers of Draper and White over the long run. The inner party does not trust the outer party followers of Draper and White, and if one credits the inner party's actions as opposed to their words, it is clear that they believe that racial cohesion is instinctive, and that the outer party will change their stripes and ally with their lesser kinsmen as soon as it is in their interest to do so.

Would that such a result were so clear!

In fact, the inner party is busy importing hundreds of thousands of high IQ Asians at a record clip to help organize and manage the United States. But for their status seeking illusions, the outer party would clearly see that they are scheduled for displacement.

Third, as immigration accelerates, the outer party followers of Draper and White will occupy an increasingly tenuous economic position as they bear the increasing cost of rewards that the inner party distributes to its affirmative action elites in its political coalition.

In the 1970's the Federal Government decided to perform a massive tracking survey of the U.S. population. They carefully interviewed over 100,000 families to identify a truly non-biased statistical sample of 12,000 youngsters ranging in age from 14 to 22 to participate in this study.

Every one of those young people was administered an IQ test. And all have been interviewed every two years thereafter in a tracking study which keeps current such data as fertility, educational attainment and income.

It is called the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 ("NLSY" 1979). The data is freely available on CD rom from Ohio state. Its data has been tapped tens of thousands of times by social scientists over the past 20 years, but never once to see how the outer party followers of Draper and White compare, in such items as income and educational attainment, to the inner party and its coalition partners when ranked by IQ.

Here are the results for individual income by IQ.

Median Individual Income by IQ by Race
NLSY 1979 Sample, 1996 Update - MALES

IQ BracketInner PartyBlackHispanicOuter Party
Top 2%69,00054,20046,00046,000
Next 8%44,00050,00043,00043,315
Next 15%48,20046,00042,00038,000

Median Individual Income by IQ by Race
NLSY 1979 Sample, 1996 Update - FEMALES

IQ BracketInner PartyBlackHispanicOuter Party
Top 2%45,350None50,00028,000
Next 8%57,55061,50048,75028,000
Next 15%20,00038,00030,00024,300

Please note that "median" means that 50% earn more than the dollar figure and 50% earn less. The income averages for the high IQ brackets are much higher than the median, because of the effects of a few million dollar earners in each category. Although the within-group patterns are similar, the median figure provides more meaningful information concerning between group comparisons. Out of 1483 black females included in the sample, none scored in the top 2% by IQ. Out of 1462 black males included in the sample, 4 scored in the top 2% by IQ, and of those, 3 came from the supplemental sample of poor blacks. Regrettably, Asians were classed as "white" by the government back in 1979, and while there are 120 Asians who can be isolated in the data by ethnic origin self identification, the sample has far too many low IQ individuals than is reasonable for this group. In contrast the 117 inner party members included in the sample are, as Herrenstein notes in "The Bell Curve" an excellent sample with an average IQ exactly equal to the known group average, and a distribution of IQs that, somewhat miraculously for such a small group, mirrors a normal distribution around that average. More will be available in a forthcoming book.

As you can see, the members of the outer party earn far less than the members of the inner party and their affirmative action coalition partners at the same level of IQ. The disparity is shocking among females. Because of the structure of the employment preferences used by public employers and local monopolies, as well as the impact of affirmative action laws on employers operating in the competitive private sphere, it is absolutely clear that the followers of Draper and White will be disproportionately and severely impacted by any economic slowdown.

Indeed, they already look like fools when the comparative data are examined.

Obviously, having allowed the inner party to take control of our political process and the media, has been a huge mistake.

Having alienated themselves from the mass of their racial fellows, they are now utterly defenseless and easy prey to those who are already in the process of displacing them.

The only question is how intense the pain must become before these outer party status seekers begin to realize that they will share the same fate as those from whom they seek to distance themselves.

Sir Arthur Keith theorizes that evolutionary psychology and group behavior are instinctive. If he is right, then the conversion to the dual code should be rapid among a majority of these alienated elites, just as the inner party clearly fears. The challenge for those of us in the real opposition will be to allow these instant conversions without recrimination, while at the same time being quite firm in the treatment of the committed enemies from among our own kind.

This will not be easy.

And in this regard, I must return to the history of the Boer War as a means of illustrating a spectacular collective failure on the part of us in the outer party to understand the potential threats that surround us.

The Boers first settled the cape area of South Africa in 1652. The British conquered the Cape area in 1814. Ten thousand Boers trekked inland from the Cape Colony and established the Orange Free State and the South African Republic. The discovery of gold in 1886 (shortly after Draper and White were concocting their lies) ended the isolation of the Boers. Of 100,000 inhabitants of their capitol, Johannesburg, in 1896, 50,000 were Euros, and only 6205 of these were Boers.

They had been overrun by immigration, and by that time were the rulers of a classic multi-racial empire.

In 1895 a band of 500 British adventurers attempted an armed takeover of the Boer republics which was orchestrated by Cecil Rhodes, then British governor of the Cape Colony, and by inner party members Barney Barnato (Barnett Isaacs) owner with Rhodes of Debeers, Alfred Beit, owner of Wernher, Beit & Co., and Lionel Phillips, owner of H. Eckstein & Co., the largest South African mining syndicate.

The Boers were fatally slow to recognize the nature of the threat. They easily defeated the 500 armed invaders, but then tried and gave very lenient sentences to Phillips and Leander Starr Jameson, leaders of the armed insurrection.

Given this tepid response, the British were encouraged to gather their forces and prepare for a full scale war to capture the Boer lands for the British empire.

The Boers could not have foreseen the intensity of the coming conflict. Indeed, the vast majority of the English living in the Boer republics could have cared less about whether those Republics remained independent of Britain. The Boers knew they were doing little to interfere with the prosperity and commerce of the English and inner party "uitlanders". Rational historical determinists that they must have been, they could see no objective reason for an attack.

They never had any reason to suspect that their people would be herded into concentration camps and that their captured soldiers would all be shot. They imagined that the British, their fellow Europeans, would base their actions on their self-interests and reject war, and even if they chose wrongly, would abide by the codes of civilized conduct that they talked so much about.

Had the Boers seen the movie in advance, they would have known that they had to find a way to short circuit the war.

They would have looked at the tiny number of individuals lobbying London in favor of war and realized that the pro-war movement was entirely "personnel dependent".

The Boers could have avoided 7000 battlefield deaths and 28,000 Boer deaths in concentration camps (26,000 of those deaths being women and children), as well as the loss of their independence to Britain by forming an "intelligence service" with no more than a few dozen operatives trained to identify accurately those creating the pressure in favor of war and then ensuring that the tiny group so identified simply disappeared. The successors in interest of this small group would quickly deduce that there is more personal profit in dealing with independent Boer Republics than in lobbying Britain to subdue them through what Lloyd George called a "war of extermination". The profiteers would quickly learn to avoid such activity.

By that course of action, the Boers could have demonstrated that they were deadly serious about their independence and survival, and anyone lobbying for their slaughter would pay the ultimate price.

The only difficult question for the Boers would have been whether this program should reach back to Britain itself to include Lord Milner, who would have to fall victim to what appeared to be an unfortunate accident.

Indeed, as long as small elites are allowed to hide behind someone else's infantry and police without any personal consequence or hardship, they have every incentive to stir up continued slaughters, and the rules of engagement developed in 1899 will remain in place for the vast armies they set in motion.

The only way to change those rules of engagement is to adopt rules on our side to preempt their application. Tiny elites must be made to understand that they personally and individually are the combatants, and that they personally and individually will suffer the consequences of their aggression.

In the face of a small but determined nation, these hostile elites will scatter like so many mice.

Thus, even after the war, the Boers should have organized an intelligence service and reached out and touched Kitchener, in retaliation for his war crimes, as well as each of the original band of conspirators. The demonstrative effect on future generations, who as we discovered in 1939 were apparently incapable of extracting the proper lessons from the Boer experience, would have been invaluable.

Our current predicament in the year 2000 would not be possible absent the attitudes and race forming behaviors of the followers of Draper and White.

I suspect that the reasonable strategy will be to identify and then convert as many of these alienated outer party members as possible in the coming years as the arrival of competing elites accelerates, and as their displacement and disadvantages become easier for them to recognize during economic downturns.

We must make a good faith effort to convert them and welcome them back into the group.

At the same time we are going to have to confront many habits of mind in ourselves that leave us so vulnerable to displacement and extinction.

We must ask ourselves why we refuse to recognize hostile group behavior. Does this refusal really benefit us? Is it really moral? If it results in our displacement and destruction, how can it be moral?

Are we serious about our group survival, or do we look upon survival as a mere sport which we will be free to walk away from following a loss?

Do we really believe, contrary to the evidence of the final quarter of the twentieth century, that we can trust the rest of humanity to shed their group instincts and treat us fairly as individuals in a New World Order?

Indeed, none of these groups sharing our land in the U.S. now treat us fairly. So why do we persist in believing they will in the future when we are reduced to a minority? All but one of these groups are quite candid in admitting that they have no such intention. Why do we not believe them?

We know what we must do to survive, but we recoil at the prospect. Why? How many hardships and humiliations must we suffer before we learn that we must resist?

And finally, when will our baseball players acquire the street smarts to say, when interviewed by the press, that like any real man they constantly think thoughts that would get them fired from their jobs, but that the reader will have to imagine exactly what those thoughts might be?

When will we begin to make the simple and obvious adaptations that are so necessary to our suvival?



October 8, 1999

Columbus's Circle

By Julia Vitullo-Martin, who edited "Breaking Away: The Future of Cities" (1996).

"They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round." Ira Gershwin didn't have to explain his words when his song became a huge hit in 1936, since everyone knew them to be true.

The problem is, they weren't--as we might do well to remember on Monday as we observe Columbus Day.

Christopher Columbus's contemporaries didn't laugh because they knew very well--had never doubted--the earth's sphericity. Medieval science had been built on the precise studies of classical scholars, much of whose work had survived through the centuries.

Not only had the ancient Greeks understood the earth's sphericity--and handed down the knowledge--but the philosopher Eratostenes had accurately calculated the earth's circumference in the third century B.C. While subsequent scholars debated many details--the earth's size, the extent of its oceans--no serious scholar believed the earth to be flat. And the great medieval religious scholars--the Venerable Bede, Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas--accepted and deepened classical knowledge with their own analyses and calculations.

How is it then that many Americans, aided by their grade-school textbooks, continue to believe that Christopher Columbus's big achievement was to prove the earth's roundness to ignorant contemporaries who feared he would sail off the edge of the earth into eternal damnation?

The myth was popularized by scientists in the late 19th century, says Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in his recent book, "Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life." Their purpose was to fell religion in its war with science. What better strategy than to attribute clearly wrong-headed ideas to a wrong-headed enemy? The beauty of the flat-earth myth was its preposterousness. Every third-grader could see how foolish it was.

According to the historian J.B. Russell, writing in 1991, the promulgation of the myth can be directly traced to two 19th-century Americans: John William Draper, a physician, and Andrew Dickson White, a scientist who became the first president of Cornell University. Each published an immensely influential book--Draper's "History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science" appeared in 1874 and White's "History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom" in 1896.

For Draper, the history of Science (always capitalized) was "a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compressing arising from traditionary faith" on the other. "Christianity and Science," he argued, are "absolutely incompatible." For White, the enemy was his fellow Protestants. It was they, in their evangelical fervor, who not only kept mankind in darkness but tried to prevent him from establishing Cornell as a secular university.

Both men seized on the flat-earth myth to help make their larger case against religion. It spread quickly. Russell found that while few textbooks mentioned the flat-earth myth before 1870, nearly all texts had it after 1880.

Those years, notes Russell, also marked the construction of the model of warfare between science and religion as a guiding theme of Western history. According to this model, religious darkness destroyed Greek knowledge and wove mankind into a web of fears based on dogma and opposed to rationality. Science became the only legitimate source of truth--witness its ancient understanding of the earth's sphericity and its triumph over ignorant theologians.

Mr. Gould calls the war between science and religion a fallacy and believes that much evil has come from it. This includes today's Darwinist-creationist battle, which can trace its bitter heritage directly to Draper and White. Draper wrapped himself fully in a Darwinian mantle, notes Mr. Gould, and regarded the struggle for Darwinism as the last phase in the long history of science's battle with religion. Is it any wonder that creationists regarded Darwinism in the same militaristic light?

The 19th-century attempt to make Columbus into an antireligious hero of rationalism is deeply ironic. As historian Delno C. West notes in his translation of Columbus's "Books of Prophecies," biblical truths held a place equal with scientific knowledge in Columbus's mind. Draper's idea that the progress of the human race demanded that science reign over religion would have been as bizarre to Columbus as the idea that the earth was flat.

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