Peter Hitchens reviews The Diversity Illusion

Peter Hitchens has written a kind and generous review of my book on his blog.

So I salute him, although I should answer the points he makes at the beginning. There is no excuse for the typo, which will be corrected in the new edition which comes out (I think) in January. The other thing is this:

And I have certain disagreements with his position. For instance, I deeply disagree with one assertion, on page 60, that ‘racism, or what anti-racists understand as racism, is a universal part of human nature’

I suppose that depends on the definition of that dreaded word. What I mean is that the current thinking about the area is that the world is divided up into racist and non-racists, and that the former are people who don’t feel great about living around lots of foreigners and people unlike them. If that’s the case, that’s very much the most of humanity; most people do feel more comfortable around people like them. So if that’s racism, it’s pretty much universal, although it’s spectral and there are very few people at either end (ie most people just want to live around people like them, but they don’t dislike others).

How much of that instinct is ingrained and how much is cultural I couldn’t guess at. The fact that no society has achieved perfect harmony suggests it’s safe to say it’s part of man’s imperfect nature. Some societies are more inward-looking and xenophobic – Japan, for example, as Peter cites, is so culturally different that even ethnic Japanese raised in the Americas don’t fit in.

As for racial harmony, I don’t think we can ever achieve it as defined by the anti-racist left, which depends on equality of outcomes and various other unachievable goals. But it all depends on perspective/ I suppose one might say that compared to most countries in time and space Britain has racial harmony; we’re not all killing each other, most people get along.

My own prediction, for what it’s worth, is that Britain won’t become violently divided by race but that most people will turn off politics and become more quietist about things, because it’s just too explosive, hurtful and depressing.

 

Comments so far

  1. William MacDougall says:

    Race has little genetic meaning and is very much a social construct.  I remember when I was ten having a friend of Japanese origin and not thinking he was in any way different.  It was only later that I learnt there was such a thing as “Orientals” or that they might be “different”, and never really believed it. Englishmen don’t much care whether the person next to them is a blond or a brunette, and generally don’t mind if he has red hair.  Skin colour could well be the same in 50 or 100 years. 

  2. Frank Messmann says:

    Mr. MacDougall is confused about “race.”  A race is simply a large,  highly inbred extended family.  It has a biological basis; that’s why medicine for particular races is being designed.

    • William MacDougall says:

      You’re mistaken.  Genetic studies show that “racial” groupings are somewhat arbitrary, emphasising one or two visible characteristics over others, often invisible.  The overlap between “races” is huge, and the characteristics chosen to define them culturally based.

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