Friday, January 8, 2010

Why I am a Supremacist

During medical school, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman was required reading. This is the story of a little Hmong girl with epilepsy. Her refugee parents preferred traditional folk remedies to Western medicine. Consequently, the child developed mental retardation. At one point, the state took custody of the child because her parents kept rejecting medical advice. Throughout the book, Fadiman laid out how the arrogance of the doctors created barriers between the medical community and the Hmong community. She also extolled cultural relativism and faith healing and endorses patient referrals to shaman priests. The book was right to advocate for a diplomatic approach to practicing medicine through cultural sensitivity and employment of the Kleinman questions. However, I am thankful that the medical establishment has discarded her oppressive cultural permissiveness. Recently, several high-profile, tragic stories have drawn attention to the ironically-named practice of “faith healing.” In one case of particularly outrageous horror, 16-year-old Neil Beagley died painfully from bladder constriction. Catheterization, a procedure so simple that many people perform it on themselves multiple times each day, would have saved his life. His parents were charged with negligent homicide.

Just as one does not choose one’s race or one’s parents, one does not choose to be brought up in a religion or culture that disallows modern medicine. Therefore, if a physician believes that the welfare of a child under his or her care absolutely depends upon an intervention which the parents oppose for religious reasons, that physician is ethically bound to treat. 90% of court decisions favor physicians in such disputes, and Prince vs. Massachusetts found that parents may not “make martyrs of their children.”

Therefore, I would like to dissent from a seemingly disingenuous defensive posture that some white nationalists and other race realists take by declaring myself a supremacist. I am at least a supremacist of Western allopathic medicine. Furthermore, some of my values have absolute applicability. Granted, I use “absolute” in a relative sense. I am not seeking to refute the whole post-modernist movement, as Edward O. Wilson once tried. Nevertheless, within the limited confines of modern human civilization, I dedicate myself to the Enlightenment, including science, medicine, and the appropriate employment of technology. Not only am I a supremacist, but I am also a conniving, swindling supremacist, in that I want Western medicine to suck the very the life from every folk, Chinese, or “complimentary” medicinal treatment. If acupuncture is any better than placebo shams, I want a big pharmaceutical company to find out why, put it in a pill form, and get filthy rich in the process.

Self-described race realist, Jared Taylor, with all due respect, seems to be playing a game. His American Renaissance Web site updates daily with media headlines and accompanying, often clever and sardonic subheadings that unclothe racial angles. Rather than expound on white culture and heritage, Taylor is confronting black people and immigrants. I vaguely remember a few cheap shots, and I think some failures in the white community could deserve similar ridicule, but basically I agree. I think white Americans have legitimate grievances with our black community, such as their rate of violent crime, and we are right to defend standards like the SAT against them. I do not currently feel aggrieved towards, say, Nepalese people. In other words, whites are right, except when we are not. We stand for some things that are greater than ourselves. Still, Taylor wishes to back away from moral judgments and to affirm unconditional love for whites, as his people and his family.

Reading these reports might give white people a sense of pride. However, it is also possible that non-white people might acquaint themselves with this information and agree. Some of them might be inspired to bring change to their own ethnic community. Others might develop a fondness for white people and wish to assimilate into a white society more so. Many persuasive arguments remonstrate against immigration law relaxation, for instance, and for those reasons, I oppose it, as well. Yet, saving one’s worst rancor for those non-whites who most admire whites seems maladroit to me.

For all the accomplishments of white people, non-white people also develop ideas and tools, and it has been our Western tradition to engage in trade and even some cultural exchange. Japan understood the value of such exchange, and they adopted American Total Quality Management, to the long-term detriment of the US auto industry. Francis Galton understood the value of trade. He felt that Chinese people made better trade partners than Africans, so he wanted to Sinicize Africa. China has successfully adopted Western science, and I just discovered that Richard Lynn has a new book, which predicts Chinese ascendence on the order of the Roman Empire due to their adoption of something like Western eugenics. Jared Taylor has paralleled his own fight against immigration to the Dalai Lama’s protestations against Chinese settlement in Tibet. Considering China’s enormous investments in Tibet, I think a race realist should admire this spread of Western standards of living.

I reject the generic humanities professor’s stock straw man for racial realism. I am not an incurious, belligerent curmudgeon who must define “Us” by defining the “Other.” I am aware of Robert Putnam’s inadvertent discovery that diversity is not necessarily a strength, but I also understand a basic truism that diversity is not always the same. The experience of diversity from working with fellow physicians feels different from experiencing diversity by living near the Rio Grande. (In fact, Putnam’s figures show high levels of trust in diverse Silicon Valley.) For those who disagree with me, I suggest a “big tent” approach. Race realism is also about science, understanding the human condition, and finding cures by acknowledging biological differences. Jared Taylor should continue to forgo sowing discord with those race realists who lack the agenda of sowing discord.

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