“Culturist” John Press calls me a racist

A blogger named Culturist John, who evidently is John Press, the author of Culturism, has written “An Open Letter to Mr. Lawrence Auster” in which he repeatedly calls me a racist for … well, he doesn’t actually say why I’m a racist. He does not define racism, nor does he give any examples of my racist views. Below is his article in its entirety, with my interspersed replies. (Note that in his quotations of me he incorrectly changed my lowercase “white” and “black” to uppercase “White” and “Black,” a usage which I always avoid and which, ironically, is common among white nationalists. Also, here are VFR entries, most or all of them from 2010, in which Mr. Press participated as a commenter, always pushing his idea of “culturism” and insisting that everyone become a “culturist.”)

An Open Letter to Mr. Lawrence Auster

Mr. Lawrence Auster publishes the blog View From the Right. Recently, he stated his basic credo in an article entitled “Why the Truth About Black Dysfunction is So Important.” [LA replies: it is not correct to describe the brief article as my “basic credo.” I myself described it as “a key statement of VFR’s purpose.” I said (1) that VFR’s purpose is to save the American nation; (2) that the greatest single factor driving America’s national suicide (not the only factor, not the primary factor, but the greatest single factor) is false white guilt over black inferiority; and (3) that the only way to overcome that false guilt is by understanding the truth that blacks’ intellectual and other deficiencies relative to whites are not caused by whites and cannot be fixed by whites.] As he has many followers, I think it important that I challenge his racist position with a culturist one. While I applaud his dedication, his racist suppositions set back our shared desire to defeat multiculturalism.

Mr. Auster’s writing focuses on the out of proportion level of violent crimes committed by Black people. And, he documents the double standard in reporting such crimes well. He argues that the Western belief in racial equality, leads us to conclude that all differences in attainment and violence must reflect white racism. This guilt over inequality leads us to “denial of the truth of Black anti-White violence, denial of the tyrannical murderous reality of Islam, and unquestioning acceptance of the mass Third-World immigration” destroying our nation.

As a culturist I agree with many of his premises and goals. Blaming all inequality on the West has caused our guilt and embrace of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism does cause us to ignore the perils of Islamic immigration and take the blame for the educational and economic achievement gaps between Whites and Asians and other minorities. But Auster’s racist premise destroys his usefulness. [LA replies: What is my racist premise? Press doesn’t say. I assume he means my idea (which of course is not my idea but a well-established and undeniable fact) that blacks are on average significantly less intelligent than whites. Does Press himself believe that blacks on average have the same intelligence as whites? Alternatively, does he believe that through “culturist” reforms, blacks can collectively be made to be as intelligent as whites? And is Press really such a kneejerk liberal that he condemns as “racist”—i.e., as morally wicked—anyone who believes that blacks are on average significantly less intelligent that whites? Answer to the last question: Yes, he is.]

By replacing his racist view with a culturist view—by swapping out genetic determinism for a cultural explanation—he can actually help right our nation. His views (on the racial aspect of criminal behavior) offend nearly everyone who reads them and exasperates social divides. [What is it about my views on the racial aspect of criminal behavior that is wrong or offensive? The main subject of my article was not racial differences per se, but whites’ false guilt about black dysfunction, criminality, and failure. I said that the only way to get rid of that false guilt is through understanding the truth that black dysfunction (dysfunction by the “white” standards of our society, that is) is not whites’ fault. Is Press denying that whites are wrongly made guilty for blacks’ lower performance? No, because he said himself that he agrees with me on that point. Further, if it is the case, as Press admits, that whites are wrongly made guilty for blacks’ lower performance, how is that guilt to be ended? Through cultural improvements of blacks, says Press. But what if such cultural improvements do not succeed in making blacks equal to whites in performance (as, indeed, no cultural or educational strategy has ever come remotely close to equalizing black and white performance)? In that case, the false white guilt will continue, won’t it? So Press has no solution to the false white guilt which he admits is weakening our civilization. Instead, he himself would exacerbate that guilt, by calling me a racist, because I do have a solution, which is to recognize the truth about racial differences in ability.]

[Also, I have said in numerous articles that a return to traditional morality and authority could help raise black performance, but that notwithstanding such possible “cultural” improvements, which should be pursued, blacks will never be equal in intellectual abilities to whites.]

Mr. Auster wonders why people chafe at his “endlessly repeated stories” of “black criminality and failure.” [LA replies: First, they’re not my endlessly repeated stories, but stories endlessly repeated in the mainstream media, which I link and comment on. Second, I did not say that anyone chafes at them, though Press clearly does.] It is because the vast majority of Black people are wonderful law abiding and productive citizens. [LA replies: Press lives in New York City, where virtually 100 percent of murders and gun crimes are committed by blacks and nonwhite Hispanics. For example, Heather MacDonald reports that “According to police reports filed by victims of violent crime, blacks committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009—and 80 percent of all shootings. Together, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings. Blacks committed nearly 70 percent of all robberies.” Such facts are of course never stated by the mainstream liberal media, and Press joins the liberal media in insisting that these facts should be suppressed and that anyone who doesn’t go along with their suppression is morally culpable and deservedly marginalized. Again, we see how Press is himself a promoter of the white guilt that he says is leading to the ruin of our society.] I am certainly not alone in having many Black colleagues with fabulous work ethics whom I respect and Black friends who I love. As such, his constant smear can only infuriate and alienate the majority of us who have such relationships. [LA replies: the fact that Press has black colleagues with a wonderful work ethic is irrelevant to the problem I was addressing in my article, which is that the vastly lower black performance in every significant socio-economic indicator is blamed on whites and that the burden of fixing it is placed on whites. Again, Press himself agrees with me that lower black performance is a grave problem: “Blaming all inequality on the West has caused our guilt … [and] does cause us to ignore the perils of Islamic immigration and take the blame for the educational and economic achievement gaps between Whites and Asians and other minorities,” he writes. But then he turns around and calls me a racist for referencing the very same black achievement gap that he himself acknowledges is a problem, and he uses the example of his black work colleagues to make it appear that there is no difference at all between white and black performance.]

The dysfunction in Black culture, that which leads to crime, is cultural. It only occurs in certain pockets of the population. The Black population was not as violent in the 1950s or before that. In fact, the Black marriage rate was higher, than the current rate for Whites, in the 1950s. Crime and divorce are not genetic. [LA replies: Really? When we look at the mug shots of black murderers in news articles, we see the same primitive physical type, over and over and over. Does Press really believe that this physical type has nothing to do with heredity?] These changes since the 1950s were not caused by genetic mutations.

As people cannot change their genetic make-up, Mr. Auster’s racial lens cannot effect any good policy outcomes. [LA replies: Of course it can. We get rid of all laws and regulations and judicial decisions which assume that any failure of blacks to attain equality of outcome with whites is due to racial discrimination.] On the other hand, a culturist lens can allow us to have necessary discussions about the cultural roots of social maladies. The problem now is that our society calls all judgmental distinctions between ethnic groups “racist.” Therefore, as Mr. Auster is, all who discuss such disparities are immediately and completely marginalized. [LA replies: That ideas such as mine are marginalized is not proof of the wrongness of the ideas, but of the power of the false liberal ideology under which we live. That ideology must be refuted and defeated. How can it be refuted and defeated except by arguing for the very truth which the ruling ideology marginalizes? One of Press’s problems is that he doesn’t believe in truth; he just believes in getting along.]

From a cultural vantage point, we can discuss the dangers of Islam. With this vantage point we can work to strengthen both Black and White culture (the falling off of White culture is missed [in] nearly all of Auster’s analyses). [LA replies: Of course that charge is false, I talk about the falling off of white culture all the time, and I’ve also said, over and over and over (why has Press missed it?) that an indispensable condition of raising the level of black behavior (to the extent that it can be raised) is that the standards of white behavior must be raised.] And, the overt cultural reference of the word culturist, can help distinguish this hopeful and helpful analysis from the futile and divisive racist one. Furthermore, the ubiquity of the word multiculturalism can help its opposite, culturism, spread quickly. I am culturist, not racist. And, while I appreciate his goal of defeating multiculturalism, Mr. Auster’s racist analysis undermines our progress.

[end of John Press’s article]

LA writes:

One final point that John Press and all liberals miss. Why do I keep discussing in such “uncivil” specificity the facts about racial differences? Is it because I have an agenda to put down blacks? Is it because I have some sick or immoral need to say negative things about blacks? No. It is because we live in a society which falsely believes that the races are equal in abilities, and which on the basis of that belief concludes that blacks’ actual deficiencies relative to whites are whites’ fault. Because of this untrue liberal belief which is the basis of an unending propaganda campaign against “racist” whites, there is no alternative to pointing out the truth that blacks’ deficiencies are not caused by whites but come from blacks themselves.

As Michael Levin once argued, if we saw a man who had a limp, a limp he had had from birth, we would not draw attention to it. But suppose that the man blamed us for his limp. Suppose he claimed that he had been born with a perfectly good leg and that we had crippled him and were crippling him still. Suppose he said that we owed him special favors until the end of time because of his limp which we had supposedly caused. Then, simply in order to defend ourselves from his false claims on us, we would have no choice but to demonstrate that the man’s limp was not our fault, but was inherent in the man’s leg. If the man dropped his false charge that we had crippled him, we would go back to the normal behavior of not drawing attention to his limp.

By the same token, if liberals such as John Press do not want racial differences in abilities to be discussed, all they have to do is drop their false claim of racial equality of abilities, a claim which is used to generate white guilt.

- end of initial entry -

Howard Sutherland writes:

Emotionally one would like to agree with Culturalist John that there is a cultural answer to our social problems that does not implicate race. Unfortunately, the data point in a different direction. Also, can culture and race truly be separated? Races and nations create their cultures, not the other way around. If one wants to preserve a Western or Christian culture, at what level does an influx of non-Westerners or non-Christians make that impossible? Modern liberalism seems to be all about finding out (not that preservation is on the liberal agenda, of course). I suspect that’s a question Culturalist John prefers to avoid by simply denying a racial aspect to the formation and preservation of distinct cultures.

Also, Culturalist John does not help his case by making false comparisons:

The Black population was not as violent in the 1950s or before that. In fact, the Black marriage rate was higher, than the current rate for Whites, in the 1950s.

This is entirely apples/oranges. If one wants to focus on marriage rates as indicators of social health—a good idea—one needs to make the head-to-head comparisons, both in time and space. What were the white and black marriage rates in the United States in the 1950’s—before the Cultural Revolution? What are the white and black marriage rates in the United States today—in the wake of the Cultural Revolution? Is there a disparity at each time? If so, how has that disparity changed as America has passed through the Cultural Revolution? Those would be revealing data, but I fear would point in a direction Culturalist John does not want to go.

Culturalist John calls Mr. Auster racist for seeing and mentioning racial differences. A better description would be realist; there is no suggestion at VFR that Mr. Auster is happy about the differences a hard look at racial behaviors reveals. Seeing things as they are makes them easier to deal with! HRS

Laura Wood writes:

“Culturism” is a confused and dishonest bit of public relations.

And John Press’s accusation that you hate blacks because you write about the facts of black crime is similar to a patient accusing a doctor of hating him because he diagnoses a serious illness. “You obviously hate me for saying I just had a heart attack. Why can’t you say I have “heartism” instead?” Whether your writings offend people or not has no bearing on whether they are true. And they are true. The diagnosis is correct.

Clearly many readers are not offended by what you write about black crime and realize you emphasize the point because it is neglected. The refusal to acknowledge the extent to which blacks have victimized whites is a refusal to acknowledge reality. Most blacks are not violent criminals. This is true and many blacks are hard-working, but most blacks do not admit the disproportionate harm and suffering violent blacks have caused to whites. At the same time, they do not object to the constant portrayal of blacks as victims of whites.

Press believes this sense of victimhood is cultural, not racial, even though it is always expressed in explicitly racial terms. Blacks continue to expect reparations on the basis of race, not culture. If a white person grew up in a black neighborhood and spent his life immersed in black culture, he would not be eligible for any of the racial favoritism in hiring, or government contracts, or college admissions extended to blacks. If you mugged a black in that neighborhood, you might be accused of racial hatred by the police. A black who mugged you would not face the same accusation.

This favoritism is considered the rightful due of blacks because they are black, not because they observe certain cultural patterns.

Press writes: “As people cannot change their genetic make-up, Mr. Auster’s racial lens cannot effect any good policy outcomes.”

Press holds blacks to a very low standard. Truth sets people free. Acknowledging the illness, in this case the victimization of whites at the hands of blacks, may indeed help change the culture.

Stogie writes:

Per Webster’s, racism is: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

Under this definition, merely acknowledging how races differ by IQ and/or other traits is not racism, it is “racial realism,” to borrow a term from Jared Taylor. Blacks, unfortunately, do have an average IQ of 85 vs 100 for whites, and this is probably the main factor for their social dysfunction, including the higher rate of violence among young black males. A lower IQ may result in a lower ability to foresee the consequences of sudden urges, e.g. see a pretty girl and grab her, see someone with money and rob him, get angry at someone who “disses” you and shoot him, etc.

Culturist John is well trained to think the way he does by years of immersion in leftist orthodoxy. This orthodoxy seems to say that if we do not acknowledge reality, it will go away or maybe amend itself more to our liking. Personally, I don’t give a hoot what society thinks anymore, I am tired of shrinking from the truth. Blacks, as a whole, are more violent than any other racial group, and failure to acknowledge this reality can get you killed.

Sam writes:

John Press writes:

Mr. Auster wonders why people chafe at his “endlessly repeated stories” of “black criminality and failure.” [LA interjects: As I pointed out above, they are not my stories.] It is because the vast majority of Black people are wonderful law abiding and productive citizens.

It is true that the “vast majority” of black people are law abiding citizens. But this is completely irrelevant, because we are talking about positive statistical correlations, not absolute generalizations. This distinction is so rudimentary that it should not even need to be pointed out.

But apparently, it does. To illustrate, suppose that people in the medical profession decided to stop reporting statistical correlations, and that they did so on the grounds that the correlative absolute generalizations were always false. Indeed, suppose they decided that statistical generalization were “stereotypical” and hence morally abhorrent, because they might lead people to make absolute generalizations.

Now, in this fantasy world of egalitarian medical professionals, we could not point out obvious facts which are crucial to public health. For example, we could not point out that there is a positive correlation between heavy drinking and cirrhosis of the liver, because the “vast majority” of heavy drinkers do not have cirrhotic livers. We could not point out that people who eat large quantities of cured and smoked meats are at an increased risk of stomach cancer, because the “vast majority” of people who eat large quantities of cured and smoked meats do not get stomach cancer. We could not point out that smoking is positively correlated with pharyngeal cancer, because the “vast majority” of people who smoke do not get pharyngeal cancer.

So what is the take home lesson from our egalitarian medical experts? “From a public health perspective, it does not and should not matter whether you drink heavily, eat large quantities of cured and smoked meats, or smoke.” Clearly, the public health would be substantially worse in this hypothetical world than in our own.

Karl D. writes:

I was a “Culturist” myself some years ago until I realized what I was really doing was putting my toes in the water without going fully in. It gave me the illusion of being a realist on race issues without having to throw off all the shackles of liberal thought that had been pounded in my head since birth. I think that is what we are seeing here with Mr. press. It is a way of not divorcing oneself completely from the liberal club. Culturism to me is akin to sugar free soda. It is race realism lite for those not ready or unwilling to take the plunge.

James P. writes:

John Press wrote,

The dysfunction in Black culture, that which leads to crime, is cultural. It only occurs in certain pockets of the population. The Black population was not as violent in the 1950s or before that. In fact, the Black marriage rate was higher, than the current rate for Whites, in the 1950s.

This is an invalid comparison. The proper comparison is between blacks and whites of a given era, not between blacks of one era and whites of another era.

The black never-married rate was higher than the white never-married rate in the 1950s; the black never-married rate is much higher than the white never-married rate now. The black divorce rate was higher than the white divorce rate in the 1950s; the black divorce rate is much higher than the white divorce rate now. The black out-of-wedlock birth rate in the 1950s was higher than the white out-of-wedlock birth rate in the 1950s; the black out-of-wedlock birth rate is much higher than the white out-of-wedlock birth rate now.

What this shows is that there is indeed some innate (most likely, genetic) difference between blacks and whites, and furthermore, the change in culture that has occurred over time has a much greater effect on blacks than on whites, most likely due to that innate difference.

James P. continues:

VFR readers who wish to be amused should read the biography of John Press.

Paul T. writes:

I went to Culturalist John’s site and saw this to the right of his “Open Letter” to you:

The Parallel Government Of The Entire World
All of us, every single man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth were born with the same inalienable rights; to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, if the governments of the world can’t get that through their thick skulls, then, regime change will be necessary.

Um, right; and after lunch we’ll save the rain forests. The guy also evidently doesn’t grasp the difference between “exasperate” and “exacerbate.” I don’t know if I’d trust him to distinguish “incubate” from “intubate,” either. Hope he doesn’t work in a maternity ward. Do we know whether he has any following to speak of? I’m sorry, but I just can’t take him seriously. He can call you a racist, he can call you Santa Claus, it’s a free country (or it will be after he effects “regime change”). But I don’t imagine that his views on “racism” or anything else are likely to carry much weight.

LA replies:

It’s not about Press personally, or about how much following he has. His points were points that many people would have, and were worth responding to. Also, in 2010 he commented regularly at this site.

October 11

LA writes:

Press says, “the vast majority of Black people are wonderful law abiding and productive citizens.”

Press therefore must presumably believe either that blacks’ universal ecstasy over the acquittal of O.J. Simpson in October 1995 was a further demonstration that the vast majority of blacks are wonderful law abiding citizens, or, at the least, that blacks’ universal ecstasy at Simpson’s acquittal did not suggest that they were not wonderful law-abiding citizens.

I took a different take on it at the time. I said that it demonstrated that the majority of blacks were anti-police and pro-criminal.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2011 02:57 PM | Send

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