Nihilist suicide Heisman was deep critic of liberal thought on race

The blogger Half-Sigma finds some interesting right-wing ideas in Mitchell Heisman’s 2,000 page suicide note. Heisman wrote:

[W]hat should be done if technology allows humans to give a voice to the voiceless; a means of cloning the Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons who dominated Europe until the coming of current Europeans? They will have perfectly legitimate grounds to protest the genocide of their ancestors, and rail against the present European occupiers of what was once their homeland.

If we are serious about the spread of equality and justice, perhaps we must demand that contemporary governments use technology to right this atrocious wrong and resurrect Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons from the genocidal rampages that victimized them. Cloning could be used to help them regain their numbers. Reservations of land could be set aside as due compensation. Ultimately, however, justice demands that they retake all of the lands they once occupied.

Heisman reminds me of myself: he takes a premise and follows it through to its logical conclusion in order to show its real meaning. Too bad about his nihilism, which he also followed through to its logical conclusion. Conservatism lost a potentially interesting thinker when Heisman killed himself.

By the way, Heisman’s argument is directed not just at liberals, but at the paleocons and “alternative rightists” who condemn Israel as a criminal oppressive state for supposedly having stolen the Arabs’ land. If their position is based on principle and is not just an expression of anti-Jewish resentment, these supposed right-wingers should support the re-Neanderthalization of Europe, just as they should support the re-Red Indianization of North America.

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FL writes:

With respect to your comment on re-Indianizing North America, the position of Israel’s enemies is even sillier than that, since the Jews actually do have a historical claim to the area which dates back to long before there were any Muslims or Arabs in the area.

As Half Sigma points out, if the rule is that you go by the earliest inhabitants who are still around, then the Jews should have Palestine. On the other hand, if the rule is that you go by who rules the area in the present, then the Jews should still prevail.

Israel’s enemies would prefer to pick an arbitrary “magic year,” perhaps 1925. From their point of view, ownership of land became set in stone in 1925, conveniently denying the Jews any moral or legal rights in Palestine while allowing other groups to feel comfortable about past dispossession.

LA replies:

In connection with this issue, readers may be interested in my 2004 article at FrontPage Magazine, “How Strong is the Arab Claim to Israel?”, perhaps my most frequently linked article. Going backwards in time, it looks at who were the owners of that land from the present to the ancient past.

Dan K. writes:

I am deeply surprised that you are so sympathetic to Heisman (not as a person, but to his intellectual life.) He seems like a poster boy for what happens to intelligent people when they take the scientistic materialist assumptions of modern liberal society to their natural ends. (His argument against “discriminating” against death reads like a comical satire of non-discrimination until you realize he believed it with all his heart and actually chose death.) His views on Neanderthals or Israel and whether they are conservative or not seem like trivial distractions in the face of this stark fact.

LA replies:

I quoted ONE thing Heisman said where he made a good and logical point, a point in which he displayed a type of reasoning that I value and try to do myself. Yes, and I said that “Conservatism lost a potentially interesting thinker when Heisman killed himself.” But that was not a statement of sympathy for his position and his mindset in general. I also said that he was a nihilist, which is bad. Also, I said he was a potentially interesting thinker, not that he is someone I endorse.

You’re making a mistake analogous to the type of mistake I just pinpointed in my reply to David Friedman here, that is, because I agreed with a particular thing a person said, you conclude that I am in sympathy with his point of view in general. So, to put the issue to rest, I am repelled by and I utterly condemn the overall nihilist contents of Heisman’s suicide note, from what I have gathered of it so far. But the passage I quoted was standalone, seemingly having nothing to do with the general drift of his suicide note, and I was reacting to it as a standalone statement.

Thinking people simply must resist the kneejerk, ideological thought process which tells us that if a person likes a witticism of Oscar Wilde’s, that means he is approving of Wilder’s homosexuality, or if he praises something in Atlas Shrugged, that means he is in agreement with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, or if he says that Bernard Shaw was one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived, that means he approves of Shaw’s support for Stalin later in his life.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 05, 2010 08:22 AM | Send

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