Life Without Prejudice | The Imaginative Conservative

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“Life without prejudice, were it ever to be tried, would soon reveal itself to be a life without principle. For prejudices are often built-in principles. They are the extract which the mind has made of experience…” (essay by Richard Weaver)

Source: Life Without Prejudice – The Imaginative Conservative

Indeed. Prejudice, and its close cousin stereotype, does not exist in a vacuum. Prejudice, which simply means “prejudgement,” is most often the fruit of individual or collective experience – a recollection of and response to either one’s own experience, or that of those whom one has reason to trust, or both. It is a process of first learning, and then predicting based upon what one has learned.

Prejudices, like stereotypes, aren’t coming out of nowhere – they do not exist in a vacuum, and even basically false or incorrect ones have at least a grain of truth in them somewhere, else they would not exist. If one has no prejudices, one has either failed to learn from past experience, or one has consciously chosen to set those experiences aside. One may reasonably question whether either is a wise course of action!

This is not a radical (or reactionary) concept, nor is it anything remotely new in the human experience: as this article accurately points out,

“in the controversial literature of a hundred years ago—or even of a couple of generations ago—you do not encounter the sort of waving of the bloody shirt of prejudice that greets you on all sides now. Men did not profess such indignation that other men had differing convictions and viewpoints. They rather expected to encounter these, and to argue with them as best they could.”

In other words, the underlying assumption of socio-political argument – however vehement it may have been in practice – was along the lines of, “I understand that you have these beliefs, these prejudices, but I want to offer evidence to convince you that you’re wrong, or at least to offer additional points to be considered.” People were not, by and large, thought to be horrible human beings simply because they had – quelle horreur! – analyzed and learned from experience, and used that experience to make predictions about other people and events, which might or might not be in error.

Richard Weaver, author of this insightful article, argues that the shift in perception of prejudice as an innate human characteristic – and by and large a helpful one, although one must be open to having one’s presuppositions challenged by facts on the ground – to something unacceptable and anathema stems in large measure from the influence of communism, in its cultural manifestation: that is to say, cultural Marxism.

Weaver points out that this ideology (which, much as Islam is much more than a religion, is much more than an economic system) insinuates itself into a culture, a society, by inducing “a general social skepticism.” Not, he notes,

“that the communists are skeptics themselves. They are the world’s leading dogmatists and authoritarians. But in order to bring about their dogmatic reconstruction of the world they need to produce this skepticism among the traditional believers. They need to make people question the supports of whatever social order they enjoy, to encourage a growing dissatisfaction and a feeling that they have inherited a bad article…

“To this end, what it knows that it must overcome is the binding element, or the cohesive force that holds a society together. For as long as this integrative power remains strong, the radical attack stands refuted and hopeless. This will explain the peculiar virulence with which communists attack those transcendental unifiers like religion, patriotism, familial relationship, and the like.

“It will also explain, if one penetrates the matter shrewdly, why they are so insistent upon their own programs of conformity, leveling, and de-individualization.”

However paradoxical it may appear at first sight, he goes on,

“we find when we examine actual cases that communities create a shared sentiment, a oneness, and a loyalty through selective differentiation of the persons who make them up. A society is a structure with many levels, offices, and roles, and the reason we feel grateful to the idea of society is that one man’s filling his role makes it possible for another to fill his role, and so on…

“[T]oo little attention is given to the fact that society exists in and through its variegation and multiplicity, and when we speak of a society’s ‘breaking down,’ we mean exactly a confusing of these roles, a loss of differentiation, and a consequent waning of the feeling of loyalty [to one another, and to society itself]…

“The point is that their hostility to distinctions of all kinds as we know them in our society conceals a desire to dissolve that society altogether. And we see that practically all traditional distinctions, whether economic, moral, social, or aesthetic, are today under assault as founded on a prejudice.”

Go ahead and read the rest of the essay. It’s worth it!

 

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Banning Civil War Re-Enactments Will Only Increase Ignorance, Prejudice | The Federalist

Civil War Reenactors – Confederate

It’s a mistake to ignore the complexities of history in the name of social justice. Obscuring the past will not make our country better or more just.

Source: Banning Civil War Re-Enactments Will Only Increase Ignorance, Prejudice

“The rush to obscure the past will not make our country better and more just. It is a tremendous mistake to refuse to examine the complexities of history in the name of social justice. It is culturally suicidal to reduce life into the binary categories of ‘correct’ and ‘unmentionable.’ Furthermore, it is a mistake to fail to recognize the benefits that historical reenacting can and does bring to America.”

It is truly disgusting, depressing, heart-breaking, and yes, anger-inducing to see the depths to which we have plunged as a society in only a couple of years, to the point that the idea of banning reenactments – living history – is even thinkable.

The ignorance, arrogance, and authoritarian attitudes demonstrated by (some of) those who call themselves “liberal” or “progressive” are a disgrace to the terms. Such people, and such a worldview, have more in common with Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, or today’s ISIS than they do with classical liberalism or progressivism.

And it is appallingly ironic that some of those who claim that it’s possible, even admirable, to be “non-binary” where “gender” is concerned, have no trouble insisting on, as Ms Mussman accurately phrases it, reducing life into the binary categories of “correct” and “unmentionable.” If we continue down this path, we are doomed as a society. Doomed.

In such an environment, this essay by Anna Mussman is a ray of light and hope. Her list of the benefits of reenacting / living history to society are perfectly on-point. Kudos to her for writing this excellent essay! I just wish I didn’t have the sinking feeling that she’s preaching to the choir…

Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

Scientists who managed to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians for the first time have concluded the people of the pharaohs were more closely related to modern Europeans and inhabitants of the Near East rather than present-day Egyptians.

Source: Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Communications, admitted their sample “may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt.” Nevertheless, they concluded the mummified people were “distinct from modern Egyptians, and closer towards Near Eastern and European samples”.

“Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians,” they wrote. And they added: “We find that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and European populations. 

“When comparing this pattern with modern Egyptians, we find that the ancient Egyptians are more closely related to all modern and ancient European populations that we tested, likely due to the additional African component in the modern population.”

Some of us would not find this particularly surprising. I don’t! But the dissenter they found for this article, this Professor Stephen Quirke, “an Egyptologist at University College London,” is “quirky” all right. Regarding his comment that “When we are discussing it, we have to be much more sensitive to how these kinds of statements are read outside where we are at the moment,” it’s not hard to read between the lines: a less careful and euphemistic way of stating that would be along the lines of, “we have to be careful not to offend those people who have bought into the Afro-centric narrative.”

In other words, preserving a Leftist narrative that privileges sub-Saharan Africans over people of European and Middle Eastern ancestry with respect to the high culture of Egypt – and the “multiculturalist” (read: anti-Western) agenda that entails – is the most important consideration, even if the science clearly demonstrates that that’s a load of bull-puckey. Once again, it’s ironic how the Left trumpets “science” when they think they can use it to discredit traditionalist ideas, but abandon it in a hurry when it supports traditional understandings, rather than their revisionist agenda!

At any rate, it seems fairly clear that the primary survivors of the “original” ancient Egyptians are the Copts, who survive as an often-persecuted minority of Christians in modern Egypt, having been converted by the missionary work of St. Mark the Apostle. It should not be forgotten that Egypt was host to a thriving Christian civilization – centered on Alexandria, one of the five ancient Patriarchates and a major center of Christian learning and devotion – prior to Egypt’s violent subjugation by Islam.

And it was with that shift that the genetic composition of Egyptians, which as this article points out had remained “genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule” prior to the Islamic invasion, shifted as well.

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