The Rational and Individualist Case Against Racism

I'd like to state upfront that I am not an egalitarian, which is to say that I am fully aware of the fact that people are inherently unequal with respect to their mental and physical capabilities as individuals, and I despise the politically correct way in which racial questions are often treated in public discourse. I do not support affirmative action or any attempts to force people of different racial groups to associate with eachother. However, I intend to make a decent criticism and refutation of the ideology of racism itself as well as its goals.

Like all forms of collectivism, racism treats entire groups of people as if they were individual entities in themselves. But only individuals exist, think and act. Responsibility cannot reasonably be assigned uniformly to entire races or abstract concepts. In the same way that the entire caucasian race cannot be blamed for any particular blunders done by certain white people in the past, the entire negroid race cannot be blamed for any particular blunders that certain black people may engage in presently. The notion of ancestral guilt is morally bankrupt, for it assigns moral responsibility to certain individuals who took no part in the thing in question for merely being descended from those who may have engaged in the thing in question. The notion of collective guilt is morally bankrupt, for it assigns moral responsibility to everyone within a given group for the actions of particular individuals within that group.

Racial polylogism is the view that treats different racial groups as having different logical structures of the mind, while simultaneously ignoring the diversity within a given racial group. But in reality, perhaps barring the severely mentally handicapped, there is only one fundamental logical structure of the human mind. Individuals may indeed vary widely in their mental capabilities and how they apply their mental capabilities, but this in no way validates the premise that entire races have different logical structures of the mind than eachother, it only applies to individuals. In other words, even if one could scientifically prove that one race on average has better or worse intellectual capabilities, this essentially has no bearing on the individual members of such groups, who vary among themselves in the first place. And it would do nothing to change the fact that all human beings share the same fundamental characteristics that make them human.

All human beings have a rational self-interest or incentive towards certain basic things, the most fundamental of these being maintaining their own existance and the quality thereof. Each individual is self-aware and possesses the capacity to be rational. The defining feature that sets human beings apart from other animals is our rationality and the expanded capacity for moral choice and knowledge accumulation that it gives us. All people, no matter what their skin color is or any other such unique physical characteristics they may possess, have this capacity to one degree or another. When it comes to this basic capacity, noone, no matter what group identity is attached to them, can be reasonably characterized as sub-human. The biological differences between the races can essentially be reduced to little more than miniscule and superficial physical differences in appearance, and do nothing to counteract the fact that all such people share the same fundamental defining features of being a human.

Racial identity is in many ways an illogical collectivist mindset, for one is identifying themselves with an abstraction rather than as an individual. One is actually sacrificing their genuine identity and unique qualities in order to conform to an ideal and become more uniform with respect to others. Racial identity can lead to the idea that one must act a certain way and that one is entitled to certain privileges merely for being part of a particular group. Treating people differently in terms of rights merely on the basis of what racial identity group they belong to sets up a precedent in which different groups are granted a different set of rights. Thus, racist conceptions of rights may suffer from the fallacy of group's rights just as much as an egalitarian conception does. In practise, the only significant difference between the two is that they place different emphasis on which group gets more rights then the other.

Racists tend to rely on an extreme form of either biological or cultural determinism in order to defend their premises. They assume that one's race uniformly dictates one's ideas and behavior. While cultural marxists may tend to overemphasize nurture in explaining the behavior of people from certain racial or cultural groups, racists may tend to overemphasize nature in their attempts to explain such things. The cultural determinists are somewhat correct in pointing out that people are a product of their environment, although they unfortunately take this view to illogical extremes. But it cannot be denied that there are some biological and cultural differences among the tendencies of individuals belonging to different races. However, racists tend to make the mistake of assuming that correlation equals causation when dealing with statistical data about racial tendencies, and all of their attempts to prove the inherent inferiority of certain races have been debunked scientifically.

Many racists may have an agenda of separatism between races. Some may go so far as to envision a completely ethnocentric culture in which each racial group remains completely hermetically sealed from the other. Unfortunately for the racists, however, this would be counterproductive for them. Even if it were the case that one group is indeed superior to the other, it would still be more advantageous to trade and associate with them than to completely isolate from them. In economic terms, the theory of comparative advantage proves this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Discrimination generally does not benefit the discriminator in the long run, it hurts all parties involved. In economic terms, discrimination is suicidal, because either you're lowing the amount of customers or you're hiring a less qualified worker over a more qualified one, and therefore are accepting lower productivity. Racial discrimination is a suicidal buisiness practise in a modern society.

To add more insult to injury to the cause of the racists, it is physically impossible to have complete social isolation between the races. The history of mankind is in many ways a perpetual history of migrations between territories, and as time passes society naturally, albiet slowly, becomes more integrated. While white pride groups may tend to think of themselves as ethnically pure, in actual fact the history of Europe is full of the intermingling between different tribes, including ones that were originally from places far from Europe. In a profound sense, everyone is a "mut" on some level. The consequences of inbreeding have been shown to be negative, so it may very well be the case that evolution favors racial mixing. In either case, ultimately, racial separatists are trying to accomplish something that is impossible. It is impossible to manage to stop migration of foreign peoples in its track, and it is impossible to economically benefit while persueing a large-scale discriminatory buisiness practise. The movement of people of different ethnicities across land masses and the interbreeding of people of different ethnicities is to some extent inevitable, and will only intensify over time.

In conclusion, racism is not an ideology that has reason or evidence on its side and is ultimately self-defeating.

Published Sat, Dec 1 2007 5:50 AM by Brainpolice


# racist said on 02 December, 2007 01:38 PM

But racists would criticize your opinion on the history miscegenation. Racists would claim that there is no miscgenation. They would cite genetic evidence as a proof. Racists would cite IQ tests that tend to significantly favor a particular race. As the general population considers that every race has equal features, racists would encourage separatism as a practical method of preserving one race's inherent superior mental and moral abilities. Racists would criticise the anti-racists lack of knowledge. As America becomes more multicultural however, it would be almost impossible to legislate racist discrimination. They would legislate anti-immigration laws. Some racists are anti-capitalist, but some are pro-capitalist.

# Brainpolice said on 02 December, 2007 05:33 PM

The statistics that racists tend to cite do nothing to prove that AN INDIVIDUAL from a given race INHERENTLY has hampered abilities by virtue of being part of that given race. They treat correlation as causation and tend to ignore the nurture side of the equation completely. Furthermore, even if AN INDIVIDUAL from a given race does have hampered abilities, this does not negate the benefits from associating and trading with them.

I have not made the egalitarian claim that every race has equal features. I have rejected the racist claim that everyone within a given race have equal features, or rather, that they must inherently think and act like X by virtue of being born within a particular race. And again, entire races are not uniform, no entire "race" can be categorized with having uniform mental and moral abilities. The people within a given race are individuals who vary among eachother.

I support your right to disciminate on your own property. However, I cannot help but feel that many racists are not content with merely a right to disciminate in a voluntary or propertarian context. I see many of them as demanding the right to force others to disciminate likewise, to use the state to discriminate as if it were private property and to make discrimination and exclusion of immigrants mandatory practise.

# racist said on 04 December, 2007 03:54 PM

Your argument may still be easily flunked by racists.

Some racists DO believe that every individual in a given race is inferior than every individual in some other race. Racists cite evolutionary evidence as a proof that it is impossible find any individual of a given race have better intellectual abilities than any individual of some other race. Most cite the statistic that the average IQs of Africans are only 60-70 when the average IQ of Europeans is 100. Thus, it is nearly impossible to have one African have a high IQ.

They would cite studies of IQs of adopted children, rich children. These statistics, even written by anti-racists, nearly all suggest that there is a biological and racial component of intelligence (even if hidden variables are eliminated). Many prominent anti-racists have been converted to racists.

You are right in some arguments that correlation does not imply causation. Jews are rich because they are intelligent, not because they are greedy. Altruism is detrimental for laissez-faire capitalism.

There are many anti-state racists.

Conclusion: Racism is difficult for an average person to refute.

P.S. I am not a racist. I believe that different races have different abilities -- no race is superior. Jews have superior verbal abilities. Northeast Asians are spatially superior. But in the practical sense, I do not favor ANY state discrimination nor discrimination of myself. We don't need racism, especially in this technological world. We already have genetic manipulation technologies and technologies that increases smartness. I am just portraying my knowledge of racial differences in a rude way.

# Brainpolice said on 04 December, 2007 05:03 PM

I understand that you're sort of devil's advocating, I'm not going to pull a race card on you. You're right that racists would endlessly try to cite biological and I.Q. statistics and such. It's just that even if the statistics are accepted, their conclusions do not logically follow. And I am of course very skeptical of statistical aggregation and interpretation thereof, particuarly in the social sciences.

# Brainpolice said on 04 December, 2007 05:04 PM

In response to my charge that racism and nationalism are forms of collectivism, Torsten writes:

"If that is "collectivist" abstractions, so would be the McDonalds, the Christians, the New Yorkers, and The Ford motor company employees. If according to this a "racist" or nationalist would have to be a "collectivist" with necessity, so would be any republican, good father, competent mayor, boss or pastor. Personally I think you are attaching a meaning to the term "collectivist" that is too broad (anything that is grouping people somehow together), but I still think you should start a special thread on your essay. Then we can discuss that in detail. Let us know here once, you've started this thread."

I respond:

My point is that nationalists tend to treat nations as if they were entities/personalities in themselves, and racists tend to treat races as if they are entities/personalities in themselves. In other words, the individual components of a given nation or race are ignored, while the whole is treated as being an identity in itself. A nationalist view of "America vs. Iraq", for example, treats each as a collective irrespective of its individual components. Perhaps "holism" is a better word then collectivism. All I am doing is being a methedological individualist. I believe methedological individualism makes nationalism and racism to be illogical ideologies.

Put bluntly: nations DO NOT EXIST. Individuals do. This is why I consider nationalism to be collectivist, for it anthropromorphicizes territories and treats all of those within it as being part of a uniform whole, as combining to constitute an entity. The same is true of racism. Races, in terms of an entity resulting from combining people who share certain features, DO NOT EXIST. The racist thinks in terms of an entire white race vs. an entire black race, as collective entities. This is why I consider racism collectivist. I admit that I am also critisizing them from a radically materialist perspective.

# racist said on 04 December, 2007 06:11 PM

No need to repeat. I also rejected racism as a kind of unproductive, and socialist collectivism. Sorry for articulating my inappropriate comments. Don't get me wrong: I am an empiricist, subjectivist, anti-nationalist, anti-close-minded, anti-emotionist, anti-essentialist, anti-conformist, anti-statistics, pro-creativity,  anti-statistical-reasoning, anti-taxonomy, anti-hierarchy and anti-central-planning.