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Was the Enlightenment Racist?
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Today, “racism” has been redefined as noticing reality, such as the existence of various racial groups.

The Enlightenment saw a sizable increase in Europeans’ capacity for systematic noticing — e.g., the racial groupings that Blumenbach came up with in the 18th Century are pretty similar to those Harvard geneticist David Reich finds useful today — so of course The Enlightenment was racist by 2018 science-denialist Slate standards.

 
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  1. It’s just a race to see how fast every European marker of progress and or accomplishment can be vilified because Africa.

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    • Replies: @julius caesar
    Africa is who we are.
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  2. Tulip says:

    Re: the Author of “What is Enlightenment?” itself on “race”:

    “It was Kant who first established the difference between ‘races’ and the more non-specific ‘varieties’ or ‘types’. ‘Races’, Kant said, are marked by hereditary characteristics which must be passed on to offspring, whereas the characteristics of ‘varieties’ are not necessarily transmitted across generations: “race… is an inevitable hereditary peculiarity which certainly justifies division into classes” (Kant, 2001, p.41). For Kant, the ‘races’ of humanity are clearly not distinct species, as they are capable of “producing fertile offspring through interbreeding.” (Kant, 2001, p.41) They are, rather, “deviate forms, even though they are still so distinct and persistent that they are justifiably distinguishable as classes.” (Kant, 2001, p.40)

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    While we are at it, what is the “Counter-Enlightenment” and why has so much ink been spilled on the similarities between Rousseau and De Maistre if they are so diametrically opposed? (And weren’t Rousseau and Comte influential on Maurras’s program?)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Antlitz Grollheim
    There are no neat ways to divide these things up into pretty little packages. The Arch-Reactionary Thomas Carlyle was an admirer of the Puritan firebrand Cromwell.

    Anything interesting on these subjects acknowledges the complex interplay between reactionary and enlightenment, classical and romantic, etc.; but that is, you know, hard. And takes years and years worth of study and knowledge.
    , @Desiderius
    Look up Isaiah Berlin’s essay.
    , @Bardon Kaldian

    While we are at it, what is the “Counter-Enlightenment”
     
    This is Enlightenment with more romanticism & realist pessimism simultaneously (Hamann, Rousseau, de Sade, de Maistre,..).
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  3. gunner29 says:

    Being xenophobic is hard wired into human DNA. The most dangerous thing was other humans, not of your clan. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand…

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    • Replies: @AndrewR
    They understand it perfectly well. Very few Progressives™ object to anti-white xenophobia. Progressives'™ feelings on anti-white xenophobia can be broken into four categories: intolerable/tolerable/good/necessary. The split probably comes out to <1%/10%/30%/60%
    , @AnotherDad

    Being xenophobic is hard wired into human DNA. The most dangerous thing was other humans, not of your clan. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand…
     
    Agreed. But it's not even just the negative--danger--issue. With your own people--shared language, race, religion, culture--there are huge *positive* synergies as well. Those are the people you can communicate with, have common understandings, mores and morals and--potentially--trust.

    Other peoples are not just more dangerous, but much less beneficial.
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  4. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    The whole pre-Enlightenment Prester John legend was an example of the relative lack of racism back then. Europeans assumed that there was a wealthy, advanced Christian empire in Africa that would help them fight the Muslims. The racism (using today’s definition) of Galton, Darwin, etc. came after Africa was much more fully explored.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    The whole pre-Enlightenment Prester John legend was an example of the relative lack of racism back then. Europeans assumed that there was a wealthy, advanced Christian empire in Africa that would help them fight the Muslims.
     
    The Kingdom of Prester John was originally thought to be in Asia.

    The racism (using today’s definition) of Galton, Darwin, etc. came after Africa was much more fully explored.
     
    Which is to say, better known.....
    , @Jake
    The Prester John myth is proof that whites at rock bottom are far too naive, and optimistic about 'other people,' to be racist, until they are faced up close with the realty of non-white cultures in action.

    The people who spread the Prester John myth assumed that because whites with Christianity were able to build a most impressive civilization, that blacks also would have been able to do the same.

    That naive assumption is the bedrock of all race based Liberalism
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  5. Tulip says:

    Alas, Stephen Pinker’s Enlightenment is similar to the real historical Enlightenment in the way Shangri-La is similar to the real historical Tibet.

    Kant, the author of “What is Enlightenment?” is credited with creation of scientific racism:

    “nature has prevented human beings from mistakenly exchanging one climate for another – especially the warm for the cold – through their established fitness to a specific climate. For nature, working on her own, checks this calamitous adaptation to a new region by those inhabitants of an old region whose natural dispositions have already become adapted to the old region. Where, for example, have Asian-Indians or Negroes ever attempted to spread out into northern lands?” (Kant, 2001, p.47)

    Bernasconi (2002, pp.154-5) is able to provide ample evidence of Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing for its tendency to degrade the “good race” without lifting the “bad”. To avoid ‘race’-mixing, then, is really just to act in conformity with nature. That is, one should let nature run its course “without the effects of migration or foreign interbreeding” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.157) After all, why would nature have produced (on Kant’s count) four distinct ‘races’ from an original pair if these were eventually to be reduced back to a mixture thereby undoing its work of ages?

    For Kant, not only skin colour but also those dispositions characteristic of the established ‘races’ were fixed and permanent. Thus the inherited and inevitable laziness and savagery of ‘the negro’ rendered the attempts of some well-meaning whites at civilising Africans futile. Their current character is how they must be: “The Negro can be disciplined and cultivated, but is never genuinely civilized. He falls of his own accord into savagery.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) ‘Negroes’, Native Americans and Indians cannot develop rationality as Europeans can, and must thus remain imitators of Western civilisation rather than sharing in it. Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing was informed also by his belief that this would dilute the ability of the ‘good race’ to exercise their rationality as the embodiment of their capacity for civility: “Should one propose that the races be fused or not? They do not fuse and it is also not desirable that they should. The Whites would be degraded.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) Bernasconi goes so far as to claim that Kant’s “belief that race mixing would lead to a weakening of the White race… is at the heart of his racial theory” (Bernasconi, 2002, p.159).

    Kant, I. [1777] (2000) ‘Of the Different Human Races’ in Bernasconi, R. & Lott, T. (Eds.) The Idea of Race, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    Kant sounds like he was pretty far to the right of Steve Sailer.

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    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Parts of India and Pakistan are high up in the mountains and relatively far away from the equator. And Nepal, of course, is inhabited by people who are very similar to Asian-Indians. Well before Kant was born, Asian-Indians lived in climates far more inhospitable than the one Kant lived in.
    , @Stan d Mute

    Kant sounds like he was pretty far to the right of Steve Sailer.
     
    Not really, I think Sailer acknowledges that mixing of African and European white populations will inevitably cause cognitive decline from historical/current white levels. And while I won’t pretend to speak for Steve or even claim to properly understand him (despite being both adoption and cancer twins - as a GenX, I’m indisputably wiser and smarter than any boomer), my interpretation of HBD is that the game is still in its opening moves. Whether it’s a Michael Crichton type pandemic, four billion Africans and Malthus, or any number of seismic, solar, or extra-terrestrial events, we don’t know what existential calamity may come next nor which population’s genome is best equipped to survive it. Bacteria and viruses are evolving faster than our ability to kill them. We still have no idea what calamity caused the last Ice Age to end so abruptly and raise global sea levels by 400’ in the geological blink of an eye. HBD is Nature’s hedging and our current effort to eliminate races in favor of a universal brownish commonality makes our species more vulnerable to extinction. Further, HBD is one of the things that makes us interesting as a species (imagine if some hideous malformed canine like the Pug were the only flavor of dog). Each population has its unique strengths and weaknesses - I can’t run as fast as a West African nor as far as an East African and an Oriental can whip me at ping pong. The effort to eradicate these differences will destroy exceptionalism creating slower runners and dumber physicists. And lastly, pushing back against homely fat feminists with no reproductive purpose, unhappy mentally ill queers, pathetic effeminate men, anti-Nature imbeciles, and all communists is just an innate drive like white blood cells chasing out disease from our species. All of this is rational and empirical just like Kant.
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  6. syonredux says:

    Once this is established, I will proceed to the key points which undermine the specific culpability of the Enlightenment: the universalism of its main thinkers, and the environmental and institutional theories of racial and ethnic differentiation which made up the bulk of their writings on the matter (with important exceptions such as David Hume and especially Immanuel Kant).

    Yeah, I suppose that you could say that Hume and Kant were kinda big deals……

    What role did Kant have in influencing the subsequent development of racialist ideas? This is a topic in need of further research. Many of these works on race were not translated from German until recently. Their influence therefore was confined largely to German-speaking circles, and they were unlikely to be a direct influence on the development of racialist ideas in England in the mid-19th century , nor on the “scientific racism” in the English-speaking world that developed later.

    Dunno.Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime was translated into English back in 1799….And that’s full of un-WOKE observations:

    The race of the [Native] American cannot be educated.It has no motivating force, for it lacks affect and passion.

    The race of the Negroes, one could say, is completely the opposite of the [Native] Americans; they are full of affect and passion, very lively, talkative and vain.They can be educated but only as servants (slaves) [.....] They have many motivating forces, are also sensitive, are afraid of blows, and do much out of a sense of honor.

    https://blogs.umass.edu/afroam391g-shabazz/files/2010/01/Eze-on-Kants-Race-Theory.pdf

    As for Hume……

    I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant differences could not happen in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho’ low people, without education, will start up amonst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but ’tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

    Hume, “Of National Characters”

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    This perception of Hume, is a very reasonable one from limited data he has available.

    It doesn't go anywhere to implying the philosophy of Hume (which is orientated on radical scepticism and written with many qualifications and tentative sentences) is the source of racism.

    Recent attempts I have read in the last few months, to damage reputations great philosophers Hume and Kant - another example of the American mind's smallness and lack of historical feeling, where these journalists or professors will search to find "negative" quotes from a great philosopher of the 18th century, import their current standards for "racism", and then behave surprised and angry as if they imagine these great men were a 2018 Mayor of Denver or Police Chief of Pennsylvania, and somehow a reason for contemporary public anger and political activism.

    , @Flip

    There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.
     
    You would think he would have been familiar with Marco Polo's comment on the Chinese being the most advanced race in the world.
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  7. syonredux says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    The whole pre-Enlightenment Prester John legend was an example of the relative lack of racism back then. Europeans assumed that there was a wealthy, advanced Christian empire in Africa that would help them fight the Muslims. The racism (using today's definition) of Galton, Darwin, etc. came after Africa was much more fully explored.

    The whole pre-Enlightenment Prester John legend was an example of the relative lack of racism back then. Europeans assumed that there was a wealthy, advanced Christian empire in Africa that would help them fight the Muslims.

    The Kingdom of Prester John was originally thought to be in Asia.

    The racism (using today’s definition) of Galton, Darwin, etc. came after Africa was much more fully explored.

    Which is to say, better known…..

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  8. Tulip says:

    I guess this would be Pinker’s take on the Nazi Party, too:

    “I will proceed to the key points which undermine the specific culpability of the NSDAP: the universalism of its main thinkers, and the environmental and institutional theories of racial and ethnic differentiation which made up the bulk of their writings on the matter (with important exceptions such as Joseph Goebbels and especially Adolph Hitler).

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  9. Tulip says:

    The reality of the European Enlightenment was that a lot of European intellectuals woke up after the Religious Wars of the 17th Century, and said “You know, we don’t have to go around irrationally killing each other on the basis of our theological beliefs anymore. . .” to which the reply was “Good idea, let’s just get down to butchering each other on the basis of nationality!”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    The conflicts of that era were unintelligible as a wars of religion. For instance, France backed Sweden though France was Catholic and Sweden was not.Those wars were actually almost all about who would control or keep out of the hands of enemies the vast manpower resources of the Holy Roman Empire which was the German nation. It got fed up with being divided and ruled or invaded by France, Sweden and Austria ect. That was the begining of the feeling that Germany had to unite under a central authority and sweep away all the foreign imposed trammeling of Germany vast potential power. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 was a limitation of German states like the one that ended WW1. Germany's long term trajectory has been to mobilise its abundant resources more and more by abolishing the structural legal privilege of regional interests to avoid contributing to central state spending. That is one of the main reasons Hitler was able to do so well in WW2, because the Wiemar republic had made reforms to enable the central government to raise more revenue.
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  10. @Tulip
    Re: the Author of "What is Enlightenment?" itself on "race":

    "It was Kant who first established the difference between ‘races’ and the more non-specific ‘varieties’ or ‘types’. ‘Races’, Kant said, are marked by hereditary characteristics which must be passed on to offspring, whereas the characteristics of ‘varieties’ are not necessarily transmitted across generations: “race… is an inevitable hereditary peculiarity which certainly justifies division into classes” (Kant, 2001, p.41). For Kant, the ‘races’ of humanity are clearly not distinct species, as they are capable of “producing fertile offspring through interbreeding.” (Kant, 2001, p.41) They are, rather, “deviate forms, even though they are still so distinct and persistent that they are justifiably distinguishable as classes.” (Kant, 2001, p.40)

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    While we are at it, what is the "Counter-Enlightenment" and why has so much ink been spilled on the similarities between Rousseau and De Maistre if they are so diametrically opposed? (And weren't Rousseau and Comte influential on Maurras's program?)

    There are no neat ways to divide these things up into pretty little packages. The Arch-Reactionary Thomas Carlyle was an admirer of the Puritan firebrand Cromwell.

    Anything interesting on these subjects acknowledges the complex interplay between reactionary and enlightenment, classical and romantic, etc.; but that is, you know, hard. And takes years and years worth of study and knowledge.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Tulip
    I guess Pinker was just too busy cycling and laying out cool figures and tables for his new comic book that he didn't have time to learn what the fuck he was talking about?
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  11. Was the Enlightenment Racist?

    The very name is racist. It assumes that lightening is an improvement.

    Or, in the contradictory words of the modern poetess and scientific racist,

    I’m gonna soak up the sun
    I’m gonna tell everyone
    To lighten up

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    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    Wow that's a super-racist video:
    -- lighten up -- implication of lighter better
    -- pro-tan -- cultural appropriation from people of color
    -- "soak up the sun" -- command for white people to steal global resources
    -- surfing -- cultural appropriation from Hawaiians
    -- white people in Hawaii -- cultural appropriation and colonialism
    -- "Crow" name -- cultural appropriation from Native Americans
    -- video full of mostly white people enjoying Hawaii -- segregation, colonialism, genocide, neo-colonialism
    -- bikinis -- white "cultural colonialism" and name appropriation from Marshall Islanders and referential allusion to white technological (nuclear) supremacy
    -- she's an attractive white woman -- white privilege, racism
    -- she's fairly slim -- white standards of beauty, racism
    -- she's (basically) blond -- super-duper racism

    That video had me thinking how fun it would be to be 25 again, find a slim bikini clad white girl on the beach and put a white baby into her. Leni Riefenstahl all over again.

    Crow should be jailed for hate speech.

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  12. Tulip says:
    @Antlitz Grollheim
    There are no neat ways to divide these things up into pretty little packages. The Arch-Reactionary Thomas Carlyle was an admirer of the Puritan firebrand Cromwell.

    Anything interesting on these subjects acknowledges the complex interplay between reactionary and enlightenment, classical and romantic, etc.; but that is, you know, hard. And takes years and years worth of study and knowledge.

    I guess Pinker was just too busy cycling and laying out cool figures and tables for his new comic book that he didn’t have time to learn what the fuck he was talking about?

    Read More
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  13. Dmitry says:

    Thanks. Article linked in the Tweet above – was interesting and seems above the normal level of opinion articles (look at this bibliography at the end).

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  14. Sean says:
    @Tulip
    The reality of the European Enlightenment was that a lot of European intellectuals woke up after the Religious Wars of the 17th Century, and said "You know, we don't have to go around irrationally killing each other on the basis of our theological beliefs anymore. . ." to which the reply was "Good idea, let's just get down to butchering each other on the basis of nationality!"

    The conflicts of that era were unintelligible as a wars of religion. For instance, France backed Sweden though France was Catholic and Sweden was not.Those wars were actually almost all about who would control or keep out of the hands of enemies the vast manpower resources of the Holy Roman Empire which was the German nation. It got fed up with being divided and ruled or invaded by France, Sweden and Austria ect. That was the begining of the feeling that Germany had to unite under a central authority and sweep away all the foreign imposed trammeling of Germany vast potential power. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 was a limitation of German states like the one that ended WW1. Germany’s long term trajectory has been to mobilise its abundant resources more and more by abolishing the structural legal privilege of regional interests to avoid contributing to central state spending. That is one of the main reasons Hitler was able to do so well in WW2, because the Wiemar republic had made reforms to enable the central government to raise more revenue.

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  15. Dmitry says:

    A few kind of very intelligent paragraphs in this article.

    This I was interested in:

    Enlightenment thinkers were greatly interested in the question of human progress, what today we might call development or, more narrowly, economic growth. This is often rendered in terms of a belief in progress in a way that makes it appear naive. But the analysis of Montesquieu, Smith, Adam Ferguson, and Edward Gibbon was far from naive.

    Today historians worry on social media about condemning the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.[18] To make such judgments one needs to secure grounds upon which one can make such a statement. Enlightenment thinkers accomplished this by developing various notions of “progress.”

    Belief in progress meant that Enlightenment thinkers were often confident in denouncing specific practices as barbarous and uncivilized. This shaped their attitudes to both non-Europeans and to Europe’s own past. One example of this is their contempt for the Middle Ages, as evident in Voltaire’s scathing mockery or in Gibbon’s dismissal of the Byzantine empire (“a dead uniformity of abject vices, which are neither softened by the weakness of humanity, nor animated by the vigor of memorable crimes”) or the Crusades (“the triumph of barbarism and religion”).[19]]

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  16. Hold on now. The Enlightenment would not have been possible without the ancestors of Ellis Island people, whose descendants all pioneered America by getting jobs in New York sweatshops or starting sweatshops of their own with their friends’ help, so it could not possibly have been racist.

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  17. Dmitry says:
    @syonredux

    Once this is established, I will proceed to the key points which undermine the specific culpability of the Enlightenment: the universalism of its main thinkers, and the environmental and institutional theories of racial and ethnic differentiation which made up the bulk of their writings on the matter (with important exceptions such as David Hume and especially Immanuel Kant).
     
    Yeah, I suppose that you could say that Hume and Kant were kinda big deals......

    What role did Kant have in influencing the subsequent development of racialist ideas? This is a topic in need of further research. Many of these works on race were not translated from German until recently. Their influence therefore was confined largely to German-speaking circles, and they were unlikely to be a direct influence on the development of racialist ideas in England in the mid-19th century , nor on the “scientific racism” in the English-speaking world that developed later.
     
    Dunno.Kant's Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime was translated into English back in 1799....And that's full of un-WOKE observations:

    The race of the [Native] American cannot be educated.It has no motivating force, for it lacks affect and passion.
     

    The race of the Negroes, one could say, is completely the opposite of the [Native] Americans; they are full of affect and passion, very lively, talkative and vain.They can be educated but only as servants (slaves) [.....] They have many motivating forces, are also sensitive, are afraid of blows, and do much out of a sense of honor.
     
    https://blogs.umass.edu/afroam391g-shabazz/files/2010/01/Eze-on-Kants-Race-Theory.pdf


    As for Hume......

    I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant differences could not happen in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho' low people, without education, will start up amonst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but 'tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

     

    Hume, "Of National Characters"

    This perception of Hume, is a very reasonable one from limited data he has available.

    It doesn’t go anywhere to implying the philosophy of Hume (which is orientated on radical scepticism and written with many qualifications and tentative sentences) is the source of racism.

    Recent attempts I have read in the last few months, to damage reputations great philosophers Hume and Kant – another example of the American mind’s smallness and lack of historical feeling, where these journalists or professors will search to find “negative” quotes from a great philosopher of the 18th century, import their current standards for “racism”, and then behave surprised and angry as if they imagine these great men were a 2018 Mayor of Denver or Police Chief of Pennsylvania, and somehow a reason for contemporary public anger and political activism.

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  18. — so of course The Enlightenment was racist by 2018 science-denialist Slate standards.

    So is Little House on the Prairie

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    • Replies: @res


    — so of course The Enlightenment was racist by 2018 science-denialist Slate standards.
     
    So is Little House on the Prairie
     
    So was Slate circa 1998 most likely.
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  19. Read More
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  20. There are certainly examples of racial conservatism dating from before the 18th Century. Elizabeth I was uncomfortable with the presence of black servants in England and wanted them expelled. There are accounts of 17th Century explorers/travelers in Africa referring to blacks as lazy and listless. Marco Polo conspicuously avoided sexual relations with Asian women. The successful and enterprising white slave in Giles Milton’s book White Gold refused to marry a black woman and insisted on marrying a white woman.

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    • Replies: @Crawfurdmuir
    In another example -

    In 1591 Giordano Bruno argued that because no one could imagine that the Jews and the Ethiopians had the same ancestry, then God must have either created separate Adams or Africans were the descendants of pre-Adamite races.
     
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygenism

    Depending upon whose version you favor, Bruno was burnt at the stake as 1) a protomartyr of scientific rationalism; 2) a deep-dyed occultist, or 3) one of Sir Francis Walsingham's spies. The present age would burn him as a racist.
    , @segundo
    "There are certainly examples of racial conservatism dating from before the 18th Century. "

    There certainly are, especially in Mohammedan and Talmudic literature dating back to the Early Medieval period.

    The sources you cite are Johnny-come-latelies. Of course, Europeans were the ones who abolished slavery and enforced that ban, but we get the blame for "racism".
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  21. @unpc downunder
    There are certainly examples of racial conservatism dating from before the 18th Century. Elizabeth I was uncomfortable with the presence of black servants in England and wanted them expelled. There are accounts of 17th Century explorers/travelers in Africa referring to blacks as lazy and listless. Marco Polo conspicuously avoided sexual relations with Asian women. The successful and enterprising white slave in Giles Milton's book White Gold refused to marry a black woman and insisted on marrying a white woman.

    In another example -

    In 1591 Giordano Bruno argued that because no one could imagine that the Jews and the Ethiopians had the same ancestry, then God must have either created separate Adams or Africans were the descendants of pre-Adamite races.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygenism

    Depending upon whose version you favor, Bruno was burnt at the stake as 1) a protomartyr of scientific rationalism; 2) a deep-dyed occultist, or 3) one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s spies. The present age would burn him as a racist.

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  22. res says:
    @Mike Zwick

    — so of course The Enlightenment was racist by 2018 science-denialist Slate standards.
     
    So is Little House on the Prairie

    — so of course The Enlightenment was racist by 2018 science-denialist Slate standards.

    So is Little House on the Prairie

    So was Slate circa 1998 most likely.

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  23. Tyrion 2 says: • Website

    Great idea: blind everyone so they can’t see colour.

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  24. @Tulip
    Re: the Author of "What is Enlightenment?" itself on "race":

    "It was Kant who first established the difference between ‘races’ and the more non-specific ‘varieties’ or ‘types’. ‘Races’, Kant said, are marked by hereditary characteristics which must be passed on to offspring, whereas the characteristics of ‘varieties’ are not necessarily transmitted across generations: “race… is an inevitable hereditary peculiarity which certainly justifies division into classes” (Kant, 2001, p.41). For Kant, the ‘races’ of humanity are clearly not distinct species, as they are capable of “producing fertile offspring through interbreeding.” (Kant, 2001, p.41) They are, rather, “deviate forms, even though they are still so distinct and persistent that they are justifiably distinguishable as classes.” (Kant, 2001, p.40)

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    While we are at it, what is the "Counter-Enlightenment" and why has so much ink been spilled on the similarities between Rousseau and De Maistre if they are so diametrically opposed? (And weren't Rousseau and Comte influential on Maurras's program?)

    Look up Isaiah Berlin’s essay.

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  25. Flip says:
    @syonredux

    Once this is established, I will proceed to the key points which undermine the specific culpability of the Enlightenment: the universalism of its main thinkers, and the environmental and institutional theories of racial and ethnic differentiation which made up the bulk of their writings on the matter (with important exceptions such as David Hume and especially Immanuel Kant).
     
    Yeah, I suppose that you could say that Hume and Kant were kinda big deals......

    What role did Kant have in influencing the subsequent development of racialist ideas? This is a topic in need of further research. Many of these works on race were not translated from German until recently. Their influence therefore was confined largely to German-speaking circles, and they were unlikely to be a direct influence on the development of racialist ideas in England in the mid-19th century , nor on the “scientific racism” in the English-speaking world that developed later.
     
    Dunno.Kant's Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime was translated into English back in 1799....And that's full of un-WOKE observations:

    The race of the [Native] American cannot be educated.It has no motivating force, for it lacks affect and passion.
     

    The race of the Negroes, one could say, is completely the opposite of the [Native] Americans; they are full of affect and passion, very lively, talkative and vain.They can be educated but only as servants (slaves) [.....] They have many motivating forces, are also sensitive, are afraid of blows, and do much out of a sense of honor.
     
    https://blogs.umass.edu/afroam391g-shabazz/files/2010/01/Eze-on-Kants-Race-Theory.pdf


    As for Hume......

    I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant differences could not happen in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho' low people, without education, will start up amonst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but 'tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

     

    Hume, "Of National Characters"

    There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.

    You would think he would have been familiar with Marco Polo’s comment on the Chinese being the most advanced race in the world.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.

    You would think he would have been familiar with Marco Polo’s comment on the Chinese being the most advanced race in the world.
     
    Well, note that Hume refers to "complexion" in the quoted passage, not to race per se. Cf the section where he describes the Tartars:

    On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular.
     
    This being the case, I think that it's quite possible that he was including the Chinese in the list of "white" peoples.
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  26. Was the Enlightenment Racist?

    All that whitey-white-white-white stuff was racist.

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  27. AndrewR says:
    @gunner29
    Being xenophobic is hard wired into human DNA. The most dangerous thing was other humans, not of your clan. I don't know why this is so hard to understand...

    They understand it perfectly well. Very few Progressives™ object to anti-white xenophobia. Progressives’™ feelings on anti-white xenophobia can be broken into four categories: intolerable/tolerable/good/necessary. The split probably comes out to <1%/10%/30%/60%

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  28. AndrewR says:
    @Tulip
    Alas, Stephen Pinker's Enlightenment is similar to the real historical Enlightenment in the way Shangri-La is similar to the real historical Tibet.

    Kant, the author of "What is Enlightenment?" is credited with creation of scientific racism:

    “nature has prevented human beings from mistakenly exchanging one climate for another – especially the warm for the cold – through their established fitness to a specific climate. For nature, working on her own, checks this calamitous adaptation to a new region by those inhabitants of an old region whose natural dispositions have already become adapted to the old region. Where, for example, have Asian-Indians or Negroes ever attempted to spread out into northern lands?” (Kant, 2001, p.47)

    Bernasconi (2002, pp.154-5) is able to provide ample evidence of Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing for its tendency to degrade the “good race” without lifting the “bad”. To avoid ‘race’-mixing, then, is really just to act in conformity with nature. That is, one should let nature run its course “without the effects of migration or foreign interbreeding” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.157) After all, why would nature have produced (on Kant’s count) four distinct ‘races’ from an original pair if these were eventually to be reduced back to a mixture thereby undoing its work of ages?

    For Kant, not only skin colour but also those dispositions characteristic of the established ‘races’ were fixed and permanent. Thus the inherited and inevitable laziness and savagery of ‘the negro’ rendered the attempts of some well-meaning whites at civilising Africans futile. Their current character is how they must be: “The Negro can be disciplined and cultivated, but is never genuinely civilized. He falls of his own accord into savagery.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) ‘Negroes’, Native Americans and Indians cannot develop rationality as Europeans can, and must thus remain imitators of Western civilisation rather than sharing in it. Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing was informed also by his belief that this would dilute the ability of the ‘good race’ to exercise their rationality as the embodiment of their capacity for civility: “Should one propose that the races be fused or not? They do not fuse and it is also not desirable that they should. The Whites would be degraded.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) Bernasconi goes so far as to claim that Kant’s “belief that race mixing would lead to a weakening of the White race… is at the heart of his racial theory” (Bernasconi, 2002, p.159).

    Kant, I. [1777] (2000) ‘Of the Different Human Races’ in Bernasconi, R. & Lott, T. (Eds.) The Idea of Race, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    Kant sounds like he was pretty far to the right of Steve Sailer.

    Parts of India and Pakistan are high up in the mountains and relatively far away from the equator. And Nepal, of course, is inhabited by people who are very similar to Asian-Indians. Well before Kant was born, Asian-Indians lived in climates far more inhospitable than the one Kant lived in.

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    And Nepal, of course, is inhabited by people who are very similar to Asian-Indians.

    Nepal has a sharp racial border at about one mile altitude. The East Asians (e.g., Tibetan Sherpas) don't live lower due to fear of tropical diseases. The South Asians don't have the genes to thrive at a much higher altitude.

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  29. @Tulip
    Alas, Stephen Pinker's Enlightenment is similar to the real historical Enlightenment in the way Shangri-La is similar to the real historical Tibet.

    Kant, the author of "What is Enlightenment?" is credited with creation of scientific racism:

    “nature has prevented human beings from mistakenly exchanging one climate for another – especially the warm for the cold – through their established fitness to a specific climate. For nature, working on her own, checks this calamitous adaptation to a new region by those inhabitants of an old region whose natural dispositions have already become adapted to the old region. Where, for example, have Asian-Indians or Negroes ever attempted to spread out into northern lands?” (Kant, 2001, p.47)

    Bernasconi (2002, pp.154-5) is able to provide ample evidence of Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing for its tendency to degrade the “good race” without lifting the “bad”. To avoid ‘race’-mixing, then, is really just to act in conformity with nature. That is, one should let nature run its course “without the effects of migration or foreign interbreeding” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.157) After all, why would nature have produced (on Kant’s count) four distinct ‘races’ from an original pair if these were eventually to be reduced back to a mixture thereby undoing its work of ages?

    For Kant, not only skin colour but also those dispositions characteristic of the established ‘races’ were fixed and permanent. Thus the inherited and inevitable laziness and savagery of ‘the negro’ rendered the attempts of some well-meaning whites at civilising Africans futile. Their current character is how they must be: “The Negro can be disciplined and cultivated, but is never genuinely civilized. He falls of his own accord into savagery.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) ‘Negroes’, Native Americans and Indians cannot develop rationality as Europeans can, and must thus remain imitators of Western civilisation rather than sharing in it. Kant’s opposition to ‘race’-mixing was informed also by his belief that this would dilute the ability of the ‘good race’ to exercise their rationality as the embodiment of their capacity for civility: “Should one propose that the races be fused or not? They do not fuse and it is also not desirable that they should. The Whites would be degraded.” (Kant, in Bernasconi, 2002, p.158) Bernasconi goes so far as to claim that Kant’s “belief that race mixing would lead to a weakening of the White race… is at the heart of his racial theory” (Bernasconi, 2002, p.159).

    Kant, I. [1777] (2000) ‘Of the Different Human Races’ in Bernasconi, R. & Lott, T. (Eds.) The Idea of Race, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    Kant sounds like he was pretty far to the right of Steve Sailer.

    Kant sounds like he was pretty far to the right of Steve Sailer.

    Not really, I think Sailer acknowledges that mixing of African and European white populations will inevitably cause cognitive decline from historical/current white levels. And while I won’t pretend to speak for Steve or even claim to properly understand him (despite being both adoption and cancer twins – as a GenX, I’m indisputably wiser and smarter than any boomer), my interpretation of HBD is that the game is still in its opening moves. Whether it’s a Michael Crichton type pandemic, four billion Africans and Malthus, or any number of seismic, solar, or extra-terrestrial events, we don’t know what existential calamity may come next nor which population’s genome is best equipped to survive it. Bacteria and viruses are evolving faster than our ability to kill them. We still have no idea what calamity caused the last Ice Age to end so abruptly and raise global sea levels by 400’ in the geological blink of an eye. HBD is Nature’s hedging and our current effort to eliminate races in favor of a universal brownish commonality makes our species more vulnerable to extinction. Further, HBD is one of the things that makes us interesting as a species (imagine if some hideous malformed canine like the Pug were the only flavor of dog). Each population has its unique strengths and weaknesses – I can’t run as fast as a West African nor as far as an East African and an Oriental can whip me at ping pong. The effort to eradicate these differences will destroy exceptionalism creating slower runners and dumber physicists. And lastly, pushing back against homely fat feminists with no reproductive purpose, unhappy mentally ill queers, pathetic effeminate men, anti-Nature imbeciles, and all communists is just an innate drive like white blood cells chasing out disease from our species. All of this is rational and empirical just like Kant.

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  30. @Tulip
    Re: the Author of "What is Enlightenment?" itself on "race":

    "It was Kant who first established the difference between ‘races’ and the more non-specific ‘varieties’ or ‘types’. ‘Races’, Kant said, are marked by hereditary characteristics which must be passed on to offspring, whereas the characteristics of ‘varieties’ are not necessarily transmitted across generations: “race… is an inevitable hereditary peculiarity which certainly justifies division into classes” (Kant, 2001, p.41). For Kant, the ‘races’ of humanity are clearly not distinct species, as they are capable of “producing fertile offspring through interbreeding.” (Kant, 2001, p.41) They are, rather, “deviate forms, even though they are still so distinct and persistent that they are justifiably distinguishable as classes.” (Kant, 2001, p.40)

    https://cosmoidioglossia.blogspot.com/2014/12/i-enlightenment-and-race-kant-and-ii.html

    While we are at it, what is the "Counter-Enlightenment" and why has so much ink been spilled on the similarities between Rousseau and De Maistre if they are so diametrically opposed? (And weren't Rousseau and Comte influential on Maurras's program?)

    While we are at it, what is the “Counter-Enlightenment”

    This is Enlightenment with more romanticism & realist pessimism simultaneously (Hamann, Rousseau, de Sade, de Maistre,..).

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  31. @MikeatMikedotMike
    It's just a race to see how fast every European marker of progress and or accomplishment can be vilified because Africa.

    Africa is who we are.

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  32. segundo says:
    @unpc downunder
    There are certainly examples of racial conservatism dating from before the 18th Century. Elizabeth I was uncomfortable with the presence of black servants in England and wanted them expelled. There are accounts of 17th Century explorers/travelers in Africa referring to blacks as lazy and listless. Marco Polo conspicuously avoided sexual relations with Asian women. The successful and enterprising white slave in Giles Milton's book White Gold refused to marry a black woman and insisted on marrying a white woman.

    “There are certainly examples of racial conservatism dating from before the 18th Century. ”

    There certainly are, especially in Mohammedan and Talmudic literature dating back to the Early Medieval period.

    The sources you cite are Johnny-come-latelies. Of course, Europeans were the ones who abolished slavery and enforced that ban, but we get the blame for “racism”.

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  33. Jake says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    The whole pre-Enlightenment Prester John legend was an example of the relative lack of racism back then. Europeans assumed that there was a wealthy, advanced Christian empire in Africa that would help them fight the Muslims. The racism (using today's definition) of Galton, Darwin, etc. came after Africa was much more fully explored.

    The Prester John myth is proof that whites at rock bottom are far too naive, and optimistic about ‘other people,’ to be racist, until they are faced up close with the realty of non-white cultures in action.

    The people who spread the Prester John myth assumed that because whites with Christianity were able to build a most impressive civilization, that blacks also would have been able to do the same.

    That naive assumption is the bedrock of all race based Liberalism

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  34. @Reg Cæsar

    Was the Enlightenment Racist?
     
    The very name is racist. It assumes that lightening is an improvement.

    Or, in the contradictory words of the modern poetess and scientific racist,

    I'm gonna soak up the sun
    I'm gonna tell everyone
    To lighten up


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIYiGA_rIls

    Wow that’s a super-racist video:
    – lighten up — implication of lighter better
    – pro-tan — cultural appropriation from people of color
    – “soak up the sun” — command for white people to steal global resources
    – surfing — cultural appropriation from Hawaiians
    – white people in Hawaii — cultural appropriation and colonialism
    – “Crow” name — cultural appropriation from Native Americans
    – video full of mostly white people enjoying Hawaii — segregation, colonialism, genocide, neo-colonialism
    – bikinis — white “cultural colonialism” and name appropriation from Marshall Islanders and referential allusion to white technological (nuclear) supremacy
    – she’s an attractive white woman — white privilege, racism
    – she’s fairly slim — white standards of beauty, racism
    – she’s (basically) blond — super-duper racism

    That video had me thinking how fun it would be to be 25 again, find a slim bikini clad white girl on the beach and put a white baby into her. Leni Riefenstahl all over again.

    Crow should be jailed for hate speech.

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    That video had me thinking how fun it would be to be 25 again
     
    Sheryl was well past 25 in that video. She was over 40, I think.

    Leni Riefenstahl all over again.
     
    The thought of Sheryl Crow at 101... aaaugh!
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  35. Sean says:

    Race is a wedge against nationalism. What state was organised on the basis of race by the Enlightenment, they should say who they are talking about. The British Civil war was largely due to the failure of the government to defend the British interest s against continental Powers like Austria and Spain and France. The French Revolution was to a great extent precipitated by the failure of the government to effective defend French interests against fellow-Catholic Austria; new philosophical theories were not the origin. The 1905 Russia revolution was caused by defeat in a war against Nippon and the 1918 was brought on by war against Germany going badly. Economics had little to do with China going red either, that was because Mao was the only force effectively fighting the Japanese

    Do nation states exist would be a better question. The politics of inevitable progress toward global utility would seem to indicate people must cease to believe in them. Nations are the real nuisance for Pinker and company. The worst thing about nations for intellectuals is countries are not constructed to any theory (including racial) although they are animadverted as motivated by “tribalism” and ignorance.

    Nation states just growed, rather like the groupings of termites. Mere products of natural selection blundering into advantage in the face of adversity, which usually is simple competition from other nation states. No theory is responsible for people believing in nations.

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  36. @gunner29
    Being xenophobic is hard wired into human DNA. The most dangerous thing was other humans, not of your clan. I don't know why this is so hard to understand...

    Being xenophobic is hard wired into human DNA. The most dangerous thing was other humans, not of your clan. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand…

    Agreed. But it’s not even just the negative–danger–issue. With your own people–shared language, race, religion, culture–there are huge *positive* synergies as well. Those are the people you can communicate with, have common understandings, mores and morals and–potentially–trust.

    Other peoples are not just more dangerous, but much less beneficial.

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  37. @AndrewR
    Parts of India and Pakistan are high up in the mountains and relatively far away from the equator. And Nepal, of course, is inhabited by people who are very similar to Asian-Indians. Well before Kant was born, Asian-Indians lived in climates far more inhospitable than the one Kant lived in.

    And Nepal, of course, is inhabited by people who are very similar to Asian-Indians.

    Nepal has a sharp racial border at about one mile altitude. The East Asians (e.g., Tibetan Sherpas) don’t live lower due to fear of tropical diseases. The South Asians don’t have the genes to thrive at a much higher altitude.

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  38. @AnotherDad
    Wow that's a super-racist video:
    -- lighten up -- implication of lighter better
    -- pro-tan -- cultural appropriation from people of color
    -- "soak up the sun" -- command for white people to steal global resources
    -- surfing -- cultural appropriation from Hawaiians
    -- white people in Hawaii -- cultural appropriation and colonialism
    -- "Crow" name -- cultural appropriation from Native Americans
    -- video full of mostly white people enjoying Hawaii -- segregation, colonialism, genocide, neo-colonialism
    -- bikinis -- white "cultural colonialism" and name appropriation from Marshall Islanders and referential allusion to white technological (nuclear) supremacy
    -- she's an attractive white woman -- white privilege, racism
    -- she's fairly slim -- white standards of beauty, racism
    -- she's (basically) blond -- super-duper racism

    That video had me thinking how fun it would be to be 25 again, find a slim bikini clad white girl on the beach and put a white baby into her. Leni Riefenstahl all over again.

    Crow should be jailed for hate speech.

    That video had me thinking how fun it would be to be 25 again

    Sheryl was well past 25 in that video. She was over 40, I think.

    Leni Riefenstahl all over again.

    The thought of Sheryl Crow at 101… aaaugh!

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  39. syonredux says:
    @Flip

    There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.
     
    You would think he would have been familiar with Marco Polo's comment on the Chinese being the most advanced race in the world.

    There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences.

    You would think he would have been familiar with Marco Polo’s comment on the Chinese being the most advanced race in the world.

    Well, note that Hume refers to “complexion” in the quoted passage, not to race per se. Cf the section where he describes the Tartars:

    On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular.

    This being the case, I think that it’s quite possible that he was including the Chinese in the list of “white” peoples.

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  40. MBlanc46 says:

    I can’t make a general statement, but both Hume and Kant, major Enlightenment thinkers, were what we (not you, Tiny Duck) would call race realists and Leftists woukd call racist.

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  41. Dr. Doom says:

    The Enlightenment is unappealing to the stupid to whom ignorance is bliss. Knowledge, Reason and Progress are the antithesis of primitivism and emotionalism.

    In the Land of the Blind, the One Eyed Monster is Kang. Muh Dick is the center of life. Lean back and enjoy the rapine. The Lowest Common Denominator is The Stone Age.

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  42. Ian M. says:

    The Enlightenment was very successful in attacking the Catholic Church. Prior to the Enlightenment and the rise of the nation-state, the focus of loyalty tended to be directed towards the Church and towards particular persons, i.e., the ruling monarch, and this often tended to cut across ethnic lines.

    With the decline of the Church and the royal dynasties, it was inevitable that race would acquire more salience. With the lack of a transcendent moral order supported by Christianity, racial conflict came to be viewed as a basic fundamental reality.

    One could also finger another Enlightenment phenomenon as a contributing cause: the rise of capitalism and the accompanying desiccated view of property and of man and his place in society. This encouraged and incentivized the exploitation of other races.

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  43. anon[125] • Disclaimer says:

    דָּוִד‬ has it both ways; there is no “race” but then there are different peoples. so why are people ignoreing this two-faced lie? and why is his attack on Nicholas Wade, Murray, etc. entirely ignored by correct (right?) thinking people…

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