“Taylorism”

John Derbyshire:

Charlotte City Council member (and Mayor Pro Tem) Patrick Cannon, who is black, sent a few emails to city hotels, and now Jared’s conference is homeless. Cannon’s behavior was disgraceful—a politician dictating which private groups with whom a hotel can do business—and quite possibly illegal, but plainly he doesn’t care. He knows he will not be called out on his actions by anyone who can cause him political harm, certainly not by his constituents.

And this, just after I got through congratulating Jared (humorously) on having garnered publicity for his conference from the Tucson shooting. The story going around—reported on, for example, Fox News—was that Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, had some connection with American Renaissance. The story was completely false. Jared Taylor himself attributed its origin to some dimwitted Homeland Security clerk getting his Jareds confused: “Jared isn’t that common a name; it’s just the sort of coincidence computer algorithms look for….”

Discussing this with a mutual friend, the friend sighed: “Jared is hopelessly ‘white.’”

We know what he means. Jared’s working assumptions are that issues of race and citizenship—“the National Question”—can be discussed calmly in rooms full of well-dressed people with good manners who share understandings reached by dispassionately scrutinizing evidence through open debate. Filling those rooms and feeding those people can arranged via private agreements with commercial interests, free from political interference and protected by authorities from violent harassment.

There is a sense in which those assumptions are indeed “white,” which is to say, of European provenance. It is true that non-Europeans can conduct themselves like that: NAACP, La Raza, or Asian American Journalists Association conferences are probably conducted with a similar sense of decorum. It is likewise true that Europeans frequently do not manage things in such a bourgeois fashion: The mostly white leftists who broke up Jared’s conference last year would be a case in point, and European history provides many others.

The genteel, Taylorish way of doing things is, in fact, unhuman. It goes against our natural propensities. Very few races or nations can maintain it for long. Most human actions are emotion-driven; most human beliefs are built on magic, superstition, wishful thinking, social striving, and personal feelings. It may be that you do A or believe B because you have been persuaded in reasoned discussion that A is a proper course of action and B is most likely true. But much, much more often, A is prompted by your deep brain stem without any conscious thought being involved, while B appeals because X, whom you love, believes B, or because Y, whom you hate, believes not-B.

“The dissident’s dream is that one day the great mass of people will come to see things his way. That practically never happens.”

Wherever the Taylor mode persists, it is because Europeans got the ball rolling, establishing the necessary rules and restraints. As a social phenomenon, science is Taylorian, and its 17th-century origins—the Royal Society and the Académie des sciences—are perfectly European. (Again, it took Europeans 2,000 years to get there. But nobody else ever got there, nor even close to there, under their own steam.)

The more “normal,” universally human way of doing things was on display in the events surrounding this year’s and last year’s American Renaissance conferences. Powerful tribal elders threaten to withhold goods they control, or fierce young braves enforce tribal taboos while the elders look on with indulgent approval. To imagine that reason and law could stand against such primal forces was naive, as well as quaintly “white.”

Jared excites strong emotions—an odd thing, as he is a polite and good-natured man whose opinions are merely unpopular, not outrageous. Any time I mention him I get emails, often from mainstream conservative types, taking him to task for something or other at considerable length. Often these emails have some point to them, but it’s always a picayune point, and I find myself wondering why it generated sufficient mental energy to produce a thousand words of close argumentation.

The reason is that Jared’s opinions violate tribal taboos. There never was a human society without taboos. Since it is not easy to tell where respect for taboos ends and everyday good manners begin, one could argue that taboo-violators are ill-mannered. (Knowing Jared, I am sure this would wound him more deeply than any accusation of “racism.”)

Jared is a type with whom I have been long familiar. He is a dissident.

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