Affirmative Action/Minority Preferences

How It Got This Bad

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, September 22, 2023

Richard Hanania, The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity PoliticsBroadside Books, 2023, 288 pp.

If you build it, they will come.

That’s the message of Richard Hanania’s The Origins of Woke. It’s not that power defeats ideology, but that power, as expressed through laws, regulations, and court decisions, can spawn ideology. It’s a message American conservatives won’t like, and it’s therefore something they need to hear.

The American Right loves to expose, explain, and deconstruct the ideological evolution of the progressives who have been defeating the Right for the last six decades. Christopher Rufo’s America’s Cultural Revolution is the latest example. Pat Buchanan’s The Death of the West inspired campus radicals of my generation. The one time in my life I spoke to the late Andrew Breitbart, he credited William Lind’s views on Cultural Marxism as what most influenced his politics. Breitbart’s own maxim, “politics is downstream from culture,” is now a slogan for movement conservatives.

Richard Hanania tells us we’re wrong — and he’s probably right. He argues that critics of wokeness are blind to why these extreme beliefs have been all-conquering. “[W]hat I found strange about the anti-wokeness side of the debate was that its proponents seemed oblivious to the extent to which the beliefs and practices they disliked were mandated by law.” (vii) Dr. Hanania argues that Breitbart’s rule can promote political passivity, because “culture versus politics” is a false distinction, especially with a government that nearly dominates the economy.

The best part of this book for rightists should be its attention to concrete power politics and specific policies as laid down by courts and bureaucracies. Dr. Hanania cites James Burnham and notes that a managerial elite was inevitable but that “there was nothing inevitable about a portion of this class taking on social engineering as a career.” (67) The best leftist organizers, notably the notorious Saul Alinsky, would probably agree with him. Alinsky was famously dismissive of ideological purity, emphasizing appeals to interest while building coalitions. Politics is about power and transferring resources to your side, not about the ways policies express a political philosophy.

Dr. Hanania defines “three pillars” of wokeness: the belief that disparities can be explained only by discrimination, that speech must be restricted to overcome such disparities, and that a bureaucracy is necessary to “enforce correct thought and action.” The first two define whether a person or idea is woke, while the third shows how wokeness is enforced. Some may protest that this gives critical theory short shrift, but that’s the point. A historical perspective, he argues, “provides many reasons to doubt theories that blame any particular philosophy or religion for what has happened.” He instead emphasizes the “primacy of politics over ideology.” (9-10) “Long before wokeness was a cultural phenomenon, it was law,” he says, with the key to its success being its “hidden, indirect nature” because civil rights law “involves constantly nudging institutions in the direction of being obsessed with identity and suppressing speech, all while it speaks in the language of freedom and nondiscrimination.” (10) It’s deceptive and thus hard to combat.

Dr. Hanania cautions us not to indulge the conservative temptation to rage against the whole system, nor to believe the system was carefully constructed to be this effective. Instead, while legislators thought they were abolishing “a caste system in the South,” “politicians and government bureaucrats in institutions like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor” got around the text of the law to achieve equality of outcome. The Supreme Court banned race quotas but blessed the concept of disparate impact, arguably the worst possible outcome because it was so vague. “Nothing is explicitly allowed, or prohibited,” Dr. Hanania says.

Republicans — notably when Richard Nixon expanded affirmative action to government contracts and President George H.W. Bush signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 — may have been worse than President Lyndon Johnson. Nixon gave protected categories (an ever-expanding group) special privileges, and the 1991 act expanded the scope of lawsuits and complaints of “discrimination” and “harassment,” and “disparate impact.” Republicans, even after the Republican Revolution, with the supposed conservative Newt Gingrich as Speaker, shied away from ending affirmative action when they had the chance. “Sometime in 1995,” Dr. Hanania says, “Republican leaders apparently concluded that winning the public relations battle over affirmative action was hopeless, and they stopped talking about the issue.” (168)

President George H.W. Bush signs the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

George W. Bush expanded the scope of disability cases even further, with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 — and got an overwhelming bipartisan majority. In all of these cases, there was seemingly no thought about the long-term consequences of providing a rich market for activists and lawyers exploiting ethnic and other grievances, nor did “free-market” Republicans seem to consider the economic costs. Dr. Hanania argues that Republicans are growing more combative on these issues, even though “wokeness” is now a powerful force with well-funded activists and secure bases in academia and the media. The woke empire was created in a fit of absent-mindedness, at least at the highest levels.

“Diversity” — a value with almost religious importance in modern America — was the byproduct of Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.’s opinion in University of California v. Bakke (1978), which permitted universities to consider race, while banning quotas. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dissent, which mocked banning quotas but allowing the same goal “through winks, nods, and disguises,” was more coherent and honest. (13) Dr. Hanania says that in the years after the decision, diversity went from almost unmentioned to a major concept discussed in the press and then the standard justification for race preferences. “We can see the invention of a concept in real time.” (13) Where did it come from? “It was basically the creation of one judge acting out of either political timidity or intellectual laziness.”

Violence also works. Citing Hugh Davis Graham and John Skrentny, Dr. Hanania argues that inner-city riots convinced Washington “to go beyond color-blindness and adopt policies like affirmative action and minority set-asides in order to buy social peace.” (14) Bureaucratic decisions from decades ago also “determined which groups were protected and which were not,” leading to such absurdities as the invention of “Hispanics” (which includes white Spaniards) and calling Arabs “white.”

Perhaps the saddest and yet most symbolic example of government fumbling is the reason why “sex discrimination” is such a force in American law and culture today: Rep. Howard Smith (D-VA) inserted it into the Civil Rights Act as part of an effort to kill the bill because he thought people would think it too absurd. Legislators didn’t understand what they were unleashing. The lesson is that if the law opens a space, power will fill it and come up with an ideology to justify it, and that ideology will be driven to its logical conclusion, no matter how ridiculous. Those who have the tightest focus on the issue and the most to gain — the bureaucrats who administer the new rules — have little reason to restrain themselves.

The government decides which categories are relevant to public life, and which are not. It then goes about encouraging a system of data collection and record keeping to justify state intervention and private activism. Law influences culture, as individuals are financially incentivized to lean into accepted identities and play their assigned roles, and may come to genuinely believe that the box they are put in has deep historical, moral, and spiritual importance. All of this happens far from the democratic process; civil rights laws as passed by Congress, incomplete and vague, serve as the justification for bureaucrats and judges to remake society. (92)

We take identity categories for granted so often that we often fail to reflect on their arbitrary nature. Some may laugh at the author’s hypothetical example of French and Italian Americans calling themselves “Romance Americans,” but that’s less absurd than Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) being lumped together and giving us campaigns such as “Stop AAPI Hate.”

Different ethnic groups can be joined together or split apart depending on the financial and political incentives, but the arbitrary nature of the process doesn’t prevent ethnic activists from taking it very seriously. Addressing the “Great Replacement,” Dr. Hanania says that “what neither side seems to have noticed is that the idea of the great replacement derives from government racial classifications and their downstream effect on culture.” (105) Thus, Arabs and Persians are “white” and therefore slow the Great Replacement. Some “Hispanics” are white, but — statistically — speed the Great Replacement. None of this makes the issue less divisive.

Is “white” as arbitrary and meaningless as “AAPI”? Many don’t think Middles Easterners are part of our race or civilization. White advocates would argue that “white” is not just a cultural but a biological category, and that the Founders wrote it into the 1790 Naturalization Act. But even if white identity were entirely arbitrary, The Origins of Woke shows that even small bureaucratic changes can produce sincere and emotional conceptions of group identity. If whites didn’t exist, the government could invent them — for purposes benign or malevolent. Dr. Hanania suggests that racial identities are likely to grow stronger with time.

Wokeness undermined representative government. What we call “civil rights” has little to do with what elected representatives thought they were voting for.

At various points throughout the debate over the Civil Rights Act, critics of the bill expressed concern that it might do x. In response, supporters of the bill would say, “no, it won’t do x,” and the two sides would agree to a compromise that involved entering a clause into the bill in effect saying that “is prohibited.” Usually within a decade, the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and the federal courts would do anyway. (39)

Wokeness leads to tyranny. Dr. Hanania explains that with the concept of disparate impact, “basically everything is illegal and the government will decide which violations it goes after.” This just doesn’t invite corruption; it practically defines it.

Finally, wokeness makes us cowards. “Businesses must display ‘EEO Is the Law’ posters, which tell the world that an employer both practices affirmative action and does not discriminate based on race,” says Dr. Hanania. “Citizens are thus socialized to engage in doublethink, not question official dogma on sensitive issues, and walk on eggshells when faced with the demands of noisy activists within institutions, no matter how unreasonable they might be.” (22)

Dr. Hanania emphasizes that he is not attempting to track every way “wokeness as law” affects our lives, but for newcomers, he will seem exhaustive. A table provides the key doctrines (affirmative action, disparate impact in the private sector, disparate impact in government funding, anti-harassment law, and anti-harassment in women’s sports), the legal basis, what it does, the way it is enforced, and its effects. Another table shows what can be done to roll back some of these destructive policies. These tables are a greater accomplishment than entire books about the philosophical problems with liberal doctrines on race. Dr. Hanania’s detailed histories of the regulations, executive orders, court decisions, and laws (which are arguably the least important in determining what really happens) are invaluable.

Dr. Hanania’s thesis isn’t totally comprehensive. If we accept that seemingly minor battles birthed the swelling cancer of wokeness, we must still contend with its larger triumph throughout the entire Western world, especially the Anglosphere. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada are worse than America when it comes to meddling in social relations for the benefit of non-whites, and there seems to be less resistance to white shaming. The rest of Europe — certainly anything coming out of Brussels — isn’t much better.

Dr. Hanania notes that wokeness in France may even be stronger than in the United States because of hate speech laws, but there is more resistance to le wokisme (considered an American cultural invasion) in elite circles and arguably less regulation of everyday speech. However, wokeness is still advancing in France alongside demographic transformation, as well as in Germany, the Netherlands, and the rest of Europe. Dr. Hanania praises France for not collecting data on race or forcing companies to do so, but while this might pose an obstacle to “wokeness,” it hasn’t reversed or stopped demographic transformation or anti-white policies. We can accept that cultural change is downstream from politics, but everything is downstream from demography. Surging numbers of non-whites will lead to politicians willing to use race-based programs to win their support and electorally overwhelm whites. Why demographic change is occurring, who is behind it, and what they hope to gain are important questions.

Dr. Hanania frankly admits that his book is directed towards Republicans because Democrats refuse to talk about these questions. “While Americans debate taxes and foreign policy, culture and identity issues appear to be what is truly motivating many of the nation’s most prominent activists, media figures, and political leaders on both sides, along with the mass of their voters,” he says. (1)

Wokeness isn’t just a reflection of institutional incentives, although one could argue that ideology tends to follow interests. Mr. Rufo’s book may have focused on ideology, and such a history is needed to explain why activists were willing to use such aggressive tactics to get Ethnic Studies departments and other programs established even before the “woke” revolution really took off. The two books are often compared, and it’s probably better to read Mr. Rufo’s book first to learn how the movement first arose, while Dr. Hanania explains how it established itself within our system.

Dr. Hanania’s argument is that there is a solution to these problems within the system, but it requires action from people who can actually get elected, make policy, and appoint judges and staffers. This may happen because fewer Republicans care about being called racist. They can even fight “wokeness” by working with the original language and intent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (Dr. Hanania thinks repealing it is politically unrealistic.) Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign — which looked more promising when this book was written — could be a herald, with his boast that the Sunshine State is the place where “woke goes to die” and his successful fights against DEI and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) policies. Leading candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote a blurb for The Origins of Woke.

Dr. Hanania’s acceptance of political tribalism might be surprising to his Substack readers and his X followers. He is openly contemptuous of the downward mobility of the Republican base, the antics of anti-vaccine activists, and of Republicans who support Donald Trump because they want to be entertained. He has also written about the ways diversity really is a strength and sees no contradiction between accepting the reality of racial differences in IQ and wanting more immigration. He is what we might call a cognitive supremacist, who wants a meritocracy of the intelligent, market access to elite human capital (and therefore relatively loose immigration), and few drags on productivity and efficiency in the interests of equity (to please leftists) or of tradition and ethnic solidarity (to please rightists). Of course, he’s not saying political tribalism is good — it’s just the way it is now, and people who want to change policy must accept it.

We may think Dr. Hanania is wrong about some things. In fact, he’s wrong about a lot of things. However, someone who accepts the reality of the racial achievement gaps isn’t obligated to embrace white identity politics, let alone become a zealot. In turn, we are under no obligation to abandon our views because we agree with much of his thesis. What he wants for “wokeness” is what we want, and his criticism sharpens our thinking.

It may even be argued that only someone like him could write this book. If the price is simply a few sneers at white working-class voters or at the far-right, that’s a small price to pay for progress. When it comes to racial politics on the American Right, those who can do something won’t, and those who would do something, can’t. Someone who really understands the importance of these issues may become a public race realist or white advocate — which means forfeiting any chance of political, bureaucratic, or judicial office. In contrast, Republicans who are in positions of power are naïve or cowardly, desperately avoiding controversy, accepting leftist rhetoric at face value, and almost apologizing for their position. That is Dr. Hanania’s story. Dedicated left-wing judges, bureaucrats, and activists take any opportunity to expand their power and shift the culture. Republicans dreamily go along with it, thinking that they are being nice or, more likely, not thinking at all. I’d prefer that people who despise me but understand this issue be in power rather than people who pay lip service to our issues but are easily rolled.

But even if it is politically advantageous, will Republicans act? It requires a great deal of public pressure on a conservative to make him do the right thing, and changes to regulations and executive orders require dedication and detailed knowledge because the bureaucracy can’t be trusted. Conservative judges have already been a disappointment. “In contrast to disparate impact, affirmative action in college admissions has been in conservatives’ crosshairs for decades, and by the time this book is released, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard may have already been decided,” Dr. Hanania says. (198) It has, and the conservatives did the same thing Dr. Hanania bemoans throughout the book: outlawed racial discrimination, while leaving loopholes that will let colleges keep discriminating by fiddling with racial identity statements and downplaying objective criteria for admission. Outright quotas would be more honest and therefore better.

Dr. Hanania’s assumption that anything can be done has therefore already taken a major hit; the conservative legal movement has already blown a priceless opportunity. Bureaucrats, activists, and institutions must be given no loopholes. The Origins of Woke amply shows why we can’t trust in their good faith or reasonableness.

Stopping highly motivated small groups who get large subsidies extracted from an easily distracted and ignorant population is a big problem for a democracy, even if it’s racially homogenous. Race makes things worse. Many non-whites think they are fighting a holy crusade against “racism” while whites, at best, are making a vague stand for individualism. An overall collapse in living standards doesn’t mean there will automatically be a successful reaction — Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are proof of that. Sometimes things just fall apart and stay that way. Wokeness could grow to the point that it chokes the whole economy. Dr. Hanania himself once suggested a “strongman” might be a way out of the mess because “liberals always win,” but this also has costs and we don’t have a strongman. Dr. Hanania now emphasizes his support for liberal democracy and insists the system offers a path to victory for conservatives, who, he argues, actually have been winning on guns, homeschooling, and other issues.

“Wokeness” may be different. The question is whether conservatives really want to win on this issue, at least enough to withstand furious opposition from a campaign to roll back so-called “civil rights.” Gun owners and homeschoolers are more committed than the average person who wants to ban guns or homeschooling. With wokeness, it’s the reverse. The fight against it is a struggle for free speech, freedom of association, economic freedom, and the marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, the media will never frame it that way and those who benefit from it will never surrender. White advocates have yet to find conservative leaders with the will to carry out policy changes. Defeating identity politics may require a countervailing movement of white identity politics.

Such a solution is unlikely to satisfy Dr. Hanania and he probably thinks it’s extreme and unnecessary. I hope he’s right and I’m wrong. The Origins of Woke may be best seen as a guide not to white advocates or even conservatives, but to liberals. It is an off-ramp for moderates who want to consolidate the civil rights revolution while reigning in wokeness before it generates a backlash in which white identitarians claim power. Rather than trying to cancel Dr. Hanania, they’d be wise to take his advice. If they don’t, we can take The Origins of Woke as a guide for where to begin, but certainly not where to end.

Why do intellectuals support affirmative action?

The Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions met with dismayed, hostile and sarcastic reactions from intellectuals, meaning the media, academics and others who make a living out of conveying ideas to the public.[1] This was predictable, but why are they like this? Why do intellectuals support affirmative action?[2]

Many do so out of an attachment to the doctrine of essential racial equality, which tells them that the races are inherently the same. Seeing that they do not perform the same, and especially that Black people do considerably less well than others, they think that Black people’s performance must have been depressed by environmental factors such as their mistreatment by Whites. To make up for this, affirmative action is needed.

This is a poor rationale for affirmative action since there is nothing to suggest that the races are inherently the same, nor is there any evidence of the supposed mistreatment. To deal with the first problem, the intellectuals call anyone who points it out a racist. To deal with the second, they go back to the Jim Crow era or even to slavery, where mistreatment can be found, and say that the present generation is still affected, therefore it must be compensated. This argument also fails, if only because it is not just Black people whose ancestors were mistreated. Everyone probably has ancestors who were mistreated in one way or another, yet we do not seek to identify these long-dead individuals so that we can compensate their living descendants.

A second rationale refers to equal opportunities. These are weasel words, which on the intellectuals’ interpretation do not denote a requirement of justice. The intellectuals will argue that not all candidates sitting a given test have the same opportunity to pass it because some of them had to stay up all night looking after their sick mothers whereas others got a good night’s sleep. The tired ones are predominantly Black, they will find, therefore affirmative action must be taken. But justice does not require equal opportunities in this sense, which would be impossible to arrange. It requires equal treatment, which can easily be arranged by having all the candidates sit the test at the same time in the same hall with the same amount of time to complete it. No more elaborate concept of equal opportunities is needed.

A third rationale refers to the presumed value of racial diversity. Black students without the test scores needed to get into college must still go there, says this rationale, so that White students can benefit from their presence. This is just silly.

The urge of Whites to favour Blacks can be strong. The purpose of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to end racial discrimination in employment. To underline this, soon after the Act was passed, President Johnson issued an executive order stating that employees must be taken on and treated without regard to race. Before long, hiring goals for Blacks were being introduced, not only at the behest of organisations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People but also by the Department of Labor itself.[3] Already in the 1920s it was customary for Black students at New York University to be marked two grades higher than Whites for a given level of work.[4]

On the day the Supreme Court announced its decision, Harvard officials sent a letter to the university community, which contained all the vagueness, evasion and general waste material that characterises politically correct language. It also invoked all three rationales for affirmative action mentioned above.[5] “Diversity and difference are essential to academic excellence”, it said. Diversity of what? Difference between what? If it meant diversity and difference of race, how can these help anyone attain academic excellence? Doesn’t Harvard know that academic excellence is attained by talent and hard work?

The letter stated that to prepare leaders for a complex world, “Harvard must admit and educate a student body whose members reflect, and have lived, multiple facets of human experience”. If one can live a facet of experience, what makes Harvard think that not enough of these facets would have been lived by a student body selected on merit? Black people might be especially unlikely to add to the total number of such facets since they are not known for being adventurous. How many of Harvard’s Blacks are likely to have climbed a mountain or even gone for a walk in the countryside? How many will have visited an art gallery or museum?

The letter went on to say that Harvard must be a place of opportunity, “whose doors remain open to those to whom they had long been closed”. Presumably by “those to whom they had long been closed” it meant Black people of the past to whom doors were closed because they were Black. Apparently Harvard finds the historical existence of such people a sufficient reason for letting in Black people who lack the qualifications required of the other races.

But affirmative action works, say the intellectuals, and point to their poster boys. An early one was Patrick Chavis, who in 1975 was among the first Black students to be admitted to medical school when had he been White he would have been rejected.[6] When he set up in practice after graduating, a journalist named Nicholas Lemann called him a living and breathing refutation of the claim that racial preferences favour unqualified Blacks over better-qualified Whites. How he thought that this had been refuted is a mystery since it is the very definition of affirmative action and its whole point. Anyway, misfortune struck Chavis when in 1997 his licence was suspended as he was deemed grossly negligent, incompetent and a danger to public health. He could not perform “some of the most basic duties required of a physician”. Two patients nearly died as a result of his botched operations; a third did. Presumably the intellectuals quietly took down that poster.

A famous beneficiary of affirmative action is Justice Clarence Thomas, who bitterly regrets accepting a place at Yale after clearing a specially lowered bar. The burden of being suspected of being less bright than his White peers is one that he had to bear for decades.

One person who escaped affirmative action is Anthony Brian Logan, who after growing up with drug addicts and criminals in his family worked tirelessly in various jobs before putting himself through a local college and starting up as a graphic designer. He went on to create a successful YouTube channel, where he puts out a video each day with excellent commentary on current affairs. In his opinion, Blacks who aspire to go to Harvard and are let in without the grades required of the other races are misguided. They find it hard to keep up and would have been better off at less well-known but perfectly adequate colleges that would not have treated them as special cases.

The fact that the intellectuals have no good argument for affirmative action does not diminish their support for it. For them it is not a matter of argument; it is a matter of fending off the thought that Black people are innately inferior to Whites, which would mean that they as Whites belonged to a superior race. To them this thought would be more than they could bear. They would see death camps on the way. Lifelong programming and continuing social pressure have prevented them from being able to see that relationships of superiority and inferiority are universal facts of life and nothing to be afraid of.

Another reason intellectuals might have for supporting affirmative action is that they believe in racial discrimination on principle. They do not share the general view that institutions should treat all alike without regard to race; they think they should have a favourite race and do all they can to benefit members of that race without a thought for the others. These are the anti-racists.

Yet another reason could be that the intellectuals want to avoid Black violence. After the Supreme Court decision, the commentator John Derbyshire wrote a piece saying three times that meritocratic college admissions were unacceptable.[7] His first justification for taking this view was a non sequitur: “The meritocratic option is unacceptable because of race differences in intelligence”. How do race differences in intelligence mean that colleges should not select applicants on merit? Derbyshire referred to a report which stated that if Harvard selected on merit, less than one per cent of its students would be Black. He didn’t say why this would be a problem.

His second justification was that if Harvard stopped favouring Black people — and he saw a loophole in the Supreme Court ruling that will let it continue doing this — “the oceans would boil and the earth would crash into the sun”. Perhaps by this he meant that if a serious attempt were made to abolish affirmative action, there would be an outcry, particularly on the part of Blacks, who might riot. We don’t want that, so colleges had better continue discriminating in their favour.

Going back to the intellectuals who passionately believe in essential racial equality, one might wonder who they are trying to benefit. They admit Black students to college on the basis that they have the intelligence that theoretically is in them but unrealised, which makes student populations look as they would do if things were as the intellectuals wished, then point to the results as though they proved that things really are this way. “Look at all these Black students!”, they say. “Who says Blacks aren’t as intelligent as Whites?” The point seems to be to allow them to perform a trick which they can then claim was no trick rather than try to help the Black students, who can only sink or swim with the intelligence at their disposal. Perhaps their passion comes from the struggle between the two sides of their double-think.

A final speculation is that contributing to these intellectuals’ inability to tolerate the thought of innate racial differences is the fact that they belong to a spoilt generation. They want the races to be the same; they don’t want to be superior. No one has ever told them that you can’t always have what you want.

[1] This use of the word “intellectuals” comes from Friedrich Hayek, 1998 (1949), The Intellectuals and Socialism, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit, pp. 9-18.

[2] By “affirmative action” this article means discrimination in favour of Black people. It does not discuss discrimination in favour of Hispanics, women or other groups.

[3] Jared Taylor, 2004 (1992), Paved with Good Intentions, New Century Foundation, p. 126. The Executive Order was No. 11246.

[4] James Burnham, 1964, Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism, New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, p. 197.

[5] The letter is quoted in V-DARE, June 30th 2023, “Nobody Wants An 0.76 Percent Black Harvard. The Oceans Would Boil, The Earth Would Crash Into The Sun” by John Derbyshire,

[6] William McGowan, 2002, Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism, San Francisco: Encounter Books.

[7] V-DARE, June 30th 2023, op cit.

Three Heroic White Films

I’ve put aside two hard-hitting essays regarding the ongoing assault on Whites in the United States because I suspect readers need a break from the relentless negative news we’ve all been exposed to. I confess I’m more than guilty of pointing out how rapidly the situation of Whites has become exceedingly bleak, I suffer from that situation in real life, and like readers, I need a break, too. So perhaps the current relative lull in The System’s assault on us will allow readers a chance to watch one, two or all three of the uplifting Hollywood films I’m going to recommend.

Thus, in this essay I will celebrate these three implicitly pro-White films that since 2016 have somehow survived the gauntlet of our modern commissars to emerge as honest, realistic stories of White men doing heroic deeds. No Numinous Negroes, no Wakanda, no “Jews to the Rescue.” Just White men like we really have been since time immemorial, placed now in modern technological settings that we White men have ourselves created. The three films are Deepwater Horizon, Sully (both 2016) and Only the Brave (2017).

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Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon (2016) trailer

The disaster film Deepwater Horizon stars three A-List actors: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich. It tells the true story of a huge oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that suffered a series of fatal explosions, resulting in a massive oil spill that made world headlines for weeks. Deepwater deals with hard men who work with their hands. They are the kind of men who keep America humming, putting gas in the tanks of the cars and trucks we drive, providing the backbone to the globe-girdling U.S. military, and keep toasty warm the homes of Americans in subzero locales such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Mark Wahlberg plays the lead with grit and seriousness. He has a man’s job to do — and he does it.

Ditto for “Mr. Jimmy,” the rig manager played by an aging Kurt Russell. No cute jokes for either man or knowing winks at the audience. Instead, they are gruff, no-nonsense employees in the high-stakes world of oil drilling, where mammoth machines can chew up a man in an instant and hellish infernos can erupt from liquid gold far under the ocean. Deepwater Horizon captures these dangers in spades and blasts them out at you without mercy.

Kurt Russel as Mr. Jimmy

Not only is there non-stop suspense and action in this flick, there is also a depiction of the unyielding business pressures to get the job done no matter the cost or risks. Here we are treated to masterful dialog by the trio of engineer Wahlberg, rig manager Mr. Jimmy, and John Malkovich as Donald Vidrine, a senior British Petroleum supervisor.

I know little about the South, but it sounds as if Malkovich is using a Louisiana Creole accent, which I found fascinating. As Mr. Vidrine, he cloaks his no-nonsense demands in folksy sayings and metaphors, which Wahlberg and Russell take in stride. I’ve already listened to this dialog half a dozen times but could stand to listen to it a dozen more times. Experience the best part here.

John Malkovic as Mr. Vidrine

Once you’ve enjoyed the theater skills of the voices and dialog, watch it all again for the attempt to give an inside view into the workings of one of the biggest corporations on earth. I don’t think any knowledgeable film buff could watch this scene without thinking of Ned Beatty’s amazing soliloquy about the world of money in the 1976 classic Network. Both speeches are pure magic.

The business considerations as cause of the disaster out of the way, we next enter into the fires, explosions, deaths & injuries, and heroics of the men on the doomed oil rig. Truly it is a glimpse of hell.

Some crewmen survive, some die, some are gravely injured. One man selflessly sacrifices his life to save fellow crewmen, the vast majority of whom are White — and male. An exception comes in the form of a subcontractor position played by Gina Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican American actress. She has one line where she clearly makes a better decision than her male boss, but when the fires rage hot, she breaks into an uncontrolled panic and is saved by a daring and level-headed White male (Wahlberg’s character).

As we will see later with Only the Brave, Deepwater honors the eleven men who lost their lives by showing their photos at the end of the film. The postscript reads: “The blowout lasted for 87 days, spilling an estimated 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.” The men lost in that disaster were not “deplorables,” “insurrectionists,” “right-wing terrorists” or “White supremacists.” They were White men like our fathers, brothers, classmates and neighbors. They equal the Real America. It is proper that they are honored in this film.

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Sully (2016 – watch trailer)

The second film of my trio is the Clint Eastwood-directed Sully, the true story of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who glided a crippled airliner away from the towers of New York City and safely landed on the frigid waters of the Hudson River. What is so wonderful about the film is the fact that it is so true to real life, something Hollywood is not always known for.

Let me explain with this little experiment. Think about the last time you walked through an American airport, particularly one that is heavily domestic. Who were the pilots in uniform you saw strolling down the corridors pulling their leather flight bags?

A Nice White Flight Crew  —  Airport (1970)

Admit it — you saw White males in uniform. That would make sense, since unlike most other professions today, piloting airplanes in America has remained in the vicinity of 95% White and male. This must gall liberals and social engineers, for these groups dream of a world of “equality,” that is, one in which White males are purged, punished, eliminated, or at least relegated to humiliating positions of impotence.

Sully came out in 2016 in the face of endless promotion of non-white diversity and “vibrancy,” going against all that Hillary Clinton and her vast entourage represented, and supported the reality that it is White males who built the public manifestations of Western civilization and to a large degree still keep it going.

Oh, how delicious it was to watch Tom Hanks as a competent, seasoned pilot, making the best decisions in only seconds.

Next to Hanks sits the first officer, played by Aaron Eckhart, who is tall, square jawed and tough. Dare I say he’s almost Aryan?

Hats off to Eastwood for casting Hanks and Eckhart as the cockpit crew of Sully. Further, most of the supporting cast is White as well. Real life, real celluloid representation. Sometimes, that’s all I can ask of Hollywood, a wish I don’t often have granted.

Actual Pilots “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey B. Skiles

Because of its unvarnished heroism, I’m going to give a somewhat detailed description of the action in Sully. It was frigid in New York on January 15, 2009. “Sully” Sullenberger sat in the left-side seat, while first officer Jeffrey B. Skiles sat to his right. Skiles was slated to fly this leg of the journey, and the plane lifted off uneventfully, turning northwest. As it neared 3,000 feet, the A320 struck a flock of large Canada geese, some of which were ingested into the two engines. The collision resulted in a full loss of power. Coming at such a low altitude over a major city filled with skyscrapers, the situation was critical.

To provide backup power, Sullenberger switched on the tail-mounted APU, a generator which provides auxiliary power. The pilots had only seconds to decide whether to return to LaGuardia, try to reach Teterboro Airport on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, or find some alternative. Drawing on his vast experience, Sullenberger determined that trying to reach either airport was a poor choice, so he opted to land on the calm winter waters of the Hudson. Passing less than 900 feet over the George Washington Bridge, the plane landed safely in the middle of the Hudson, where all passengers and crew were rescued by nearby boats.

Eckhart, Capt. Sullenberger, Eastwood and Hanks

Enjoy looking at the faces of White men like this while you still can. Unlike so, so many other “reenactment” and “based on” films and documentaries, Eastwood’s Sully panders not at all to liberal pieties, not even in minor roles such as air traffic controller or captain of a ferry boat. We don’t have the cheesy cabin ensemble of multiracial passengers, something ushered in by the likes of Airport 75 and other such dreck from the seventies. Sully is like the cast of The Waltons, imagined as if John-Boy had grown up and become a pilot like Sullenberger. No drinking, no drugs, no wild sex. Just traditional White Americans living their lives and dealing with the challenges life inevitably throws their way.

Surprisingly, despite its debut during the run-up to the Hillary-for-President season, the same press that so blatantly supported Hillary and savaged Trump as “literally the next Hitler” gave Sully overwhelmingly positive reviews. For instance, reviewer Simon Thompson awarded the film nine out of ten points, writing: “Sully is a beautifully balanced, classily nuanced and hugely engaging film that avoids all the clichéd pitfalls it could have slipped into. Tom Hanks gives one of the best performances of his career and Clint Eastwood’s direction is beautiful and rich. It’s not just a great movie, Sully is one of the best pieces of cinema that a major Hollywood studio has released this year.”

A reviewer at wrote:

As Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plain-spoken, cool-headed veteran pilot who pulled off the impossible under immense pressure, Tom Hanks once again reminds us why he continues to be Hollywood’s best personification of the all-American Everyman since James Stewart’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Who else is so good at encapsulating such red-white-and-blue values as never-say-die commitment, pride in a job well done, doing your duty no matter the cost and selfless courage in the face of disaster without being a goody-goody bore?

Even the Village Voice said kind things about the film: “This is a talky, mild-mannered drama about stoic, middle-aged white men exhibiting poise amid chaos and illustrating the sanctity of simply doing one’s job.”

If you’d like more background on Sully, see my original 2017 review here.

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Only the Brave

Only the Brave (2017) trailer

Only the Brave is another story about the lives of White men who get their hands dirty. Early on, we see a scene where a moderate forest fire is being handled by a hot and sweaty crew. Miraculously, there are no affirmative action minority hires in this scene, no tough Puerto Rican chick, no sensitive black guy. Just garden-variety White men — tough men. And the entire movie remains that way without exception. Even the men’s families are nice White people:

Like Deepwater Horizon and Sully, Only the Brave is based on a true story, the incredibly tragic demise of 19 out of 20 members of an elite firefighting crew called “Hot Shots.” On June 28, 2013, dry lightning ignited a fire near the hamlet of Yarnell, Arizona, just northwest of Phoenix. While the situations in the first two movies discussed above involved sudden accidents that unexpectedly overtook the White heroes, in Only the Brave, these firefighters knew they were always living on the cusp of danger, thus making these men the truest of heroes because they knowingly risked their lives to protect their fellow Americans.

The film is centered around crew chief Eric Marsh, played by a man’s man, Josh Brolin. At every turn, the film succeeds in portraying Marsh as a thoroughly admirable character who is a natural leader of men.

The film includes a number of softer scenes of Marsh with his wife, likely inserted to drawn some women to the film, but it is clear that Marsh’s life is out in the mountains facing fires that aim to kill him. I suppose that conflict with his wife provides some of the tension in the film, but the wife is grossly outclassed by Marsh’s masculinity and intense focus on his job. At one point, for instance, while the couple is sharing a candle-lit bath, the wife asks a taciturn Marsh, “Do ya wanna talk about it? Or do you wanna do your John Wayne thing?” Marsh remains silent.

Of course she already knew the answer. Immediately, the movie cuts back to the male action. How appropriate, though, that the wife referenced John Wayne, for this 2017 film and its characters belong back in the Wayne era when men were men and women were women. Right and wrong are clearly understood, and there is no hint whatsoever that these men’s world will soon be overtaken by foreign immigration, Black Lives Matter degenerates, or feminists running amok on the streets. America is still a White man’s country.

To be sure, these men are not cardboard characters lacking flaws. Indeed, they are human. Second to Marsh is Brendan, a young man who in the beginning of the movie is shown smoking meth, committing petty larceny, and getting one of his throw-away girlfriends pregnant. His struggle to grow into a mature man is a central theme of the movie, along with Marsh’s decision to take Brendan under his wing and keep him from reverting to an aimless drug addict. (Careful listeners will catch a fleeting conversation revealing that Marsh himself had addiction problems, so his decision to mentor Brendan is rooted in that sense of identification.)

Brendan indeed grows, slowly taking responsibility for his girlfriend and baby daughter. Like Marsh, however, his life is largely focused on the wild land, where all plant material is nothing more than “fuel” to a firefighter. None of the men here put their women or their wives above their duty and bonding with their firefighting brothers. Nineteen of them pay for this focus, too.

In short, one day the men are caught by unpredictable winds and overtaken by torch-like flames. Here it is not “toxic masculinity” that is pilloried but the very best traits in real men that are celebrated and duly honored. Death through sacrifice is the highest calling of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots.

Again out of character, Hollywood critics lavished praise on this traditional film, with the critics of Rotten Tomatoes praising in unison with average viewers the merits of the film. “Only the Brave’s impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that’s just as stolidly powerful as the real-life heroes it honors.” Another wrote that, “Only the Brave is a visually splendid, spellbinding, and surreal movie that also happens to be an emotionally shattering, over-the-top ugly-cry for the ages.”

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Viewing these films is easy with Amazon streaming rentals, but for the same price you can buy new DVDs if you still have such archaic equipment lying around. Move fast, however, for our post-insurrection respite will likely not last long. In a thousand ways, The System has announced that characters like all the White men in the films just reviewed are now Enemies of the People. In self defense, will real White American men now show the bravery and determination seen in the noble acts of participants in these movies, as well as the real men they were based on? Time will tell.


Germany Rises as ‘Eurostan’ Looms Closer

The new ‘Eurostan’ in the making: Countries impacted by the migrant crisis

The writing is on the wall. The old Germany of our Christian ancestors is in the process of being destroyed. And after Germany, Europe is the target.

The EU, as we all know who have eyes to see, has now become the United States of Europe in all but name — an undemocratic and despotic confederation of states without borders whose primary aim appears to be White Genocide — the slow and systematic destruction of the white indigenous people of Europe by means of uncontrolled mass immigration and mongrelisation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the main force behind the ongoing destruction of the Europe of our ancestors, the Europe of traditional values firmly rooted in its Christian ethos.

Under Angela Merkel’s auspices, Germany has heard its death knell. It has seen its great cities with their shimmering Gothic spires, and its peaceful towns and villages nestling in the green countryside, invaded by well over a million uninvited guests from lawless lands who have turned their nation into a multicultural zoo. German women are being raped and sexually assaulted literally every day of the year by migrants. And still Frau Merkel sits there smiling complacently amid the ruins of her country, making no attempt to turn back the tides of mounting terror. Read more

Vibrant Verse: British Poetry as Occupied Territory

The British Isles have given more than their share to science, literature and philosophy. But in other ways they have done less well, as the great Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) noted in one of his short stories. This is a German woman talking to the English spy Ashenden:

“You English, you cannot paint, you cannot model, you cannot write music.”
“Some of us can at times write pleasing verses,” said Ashenden,
[and], he did not know why, two lines occurring to him he said them: “Whither, O splendid ship, thy white sails crowding, Leaning across the bosom of the urgent West?”
“Yes,” said Mrs Caypor, with a strange gesture, “you can write
poetry. I wonder why.”
And to Ashenden’s surprise she went on, in her guttural English, to recite the next two lines of the poem he had quoted. (“The Traitor,” 1928)

Mrs Caypor was right. The British Isles have never produced a composer to compare with Beethoven or an artist to compare with Michelangelo. They haven’t even come close. But Milton compares with Dante and other great poets have graced these islands, from Burns and Yeats in Scotland and Ireland to Wordsworth and Thomas in England and Wales, from the home-grown Chaucer to the adopted T.S. Eliot. Britain has a golden poetic tradition. You can say that without hyperbole or irony. Read more

“Courageous Conversation” on Diversity

Television programming isn’t exactly something I enjoy, so the amount of time I spend aimlessly gawking at the propaganda machine is limited.  However, the perpetual frigid weather of late found me with remote in hand searching for the local forecast. As fate would have it, I tuned in just in time to view KOLR’s Courageous Conversations: Schools Foster Diversity Engagement.”  From what I gathered, the premise behind this “courageous conversation” was the excitement over the recently increased amount of “diversity” (i.e. fewer White students) within the Springfield, MO public school system.  As Lawrence Anderson, Springfield’s “Public Schools Manager of Diversity and Inclusion” says:

There are statistical trends showing our students of color are slightly increasing year after year. We are almost at a percent increasing students of color since last year.”  Anderson goes on to say, “We are at about 20 percent but nationally, things tell you that will continue to change. When I was looking and applied for the job it was at around 16 percent and that was only about three years ago.

The article makes comparisons with other public school systems in the geographic region, like Tulsa and Des Moines:

While the percentage of students who are not White continues to grow, data still shows that number is smaller than in similar cities. Read more

The End of the Story: Reversing Reality at the National Security Agency

Taking Blacks out of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – would be like taking pygmies out of basketball. You wouldn’t notice much difference. However, if you took White males out of STEM, the field would collapse. But that’s reality and what does reality matter in modern America? Here is an advert for the NSA, or National Security Agency, America’s premier practitioners of mass surveillance:

NSA advert

NSA advert (see full pdf)

Can you spot any White males? Me neither. The NSA is committed to defending modern American values, which are based on fantasy, not reality. The fantasy is that Blacks and women are held back from high achievement in STEM by the prejudice of White males. The reality is that Blacks and women are biologically unsuited to the field. Some can do well there, but their representation falls as the cognitive load rises. NSA, like all other arms of government in modern America, is committed to reversing this unpalatable reality and to punishing White males for something that isn’t their responsibility. Read more