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The Franz Boas You Never Knew
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"FranzBoas". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
"FranzBoas". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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The anthropologist Franz Boas is remembered for moving the social sciences away from genetic determinism and toward environmental determinism. In reality, he felt that genes do contribute substantially to mental and behavioral differences … and not just between individuals.

Most of us identify with certain great teachers of the past: Christ, Marx, Freud … Though long dead, they still influence us and we like to think that their teachings have come down to us intact. We know what they believed … or so we like to think. This raises a problem when we find discrepancies. Jesus was so humble that he resented being called good, since only God is truly good. But then …

Often, however, the discrepancies remain unknown. They develop too gradually for the average person to notice and are most obvious to those who least want to point them out, i.e., the successors of the great teacher. Of course, the great teacher is no longer around to set things straight.

This has happened to many belief-systems. In my last post, I discussed how the real Sigmund Freud differed significantly from the one we know. The same is true for Franz Boas (1858-1942), whose school of anthropology is as much a product of his immediate disciples—Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict—as of Boas himself.

Today, Boas is remembered as the man who moved the social sciences away from genetic determinism and toward environmental determinism. His Wikipedia entry states:

Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics. [...] Boas also worked to demonstrate that differences in human behavior are not primarily determined by innate biological dispositions, but are largely the result of cultural differences acquired through social learning.

In reality, he felt that genes do contribute substantially to mental and behavioral differences … and not just between individuals. This is apparent in a speech he gave in 1894 under the title “Human Faculty as Determined by Race.”

It does not seem probable that the minds of races which show variations in their anatomical structure should act in exactly the same manner. Differences of structure must be accompanied by differences of function, physiological as well as psychological; and, as we found clear evidence of difference in structure between the races, so we must anticipate that differences in mental characteristics will be found. [...] As all structural differences are quantitative, we must expect to find mental differences to be of the same description, and as we found the variations in structure to overlap, so that many forms are common to individuals of all races, so we may expect that many individuals will not differ in regard to their faculty, while a statistical inquiry embracing the whole races would reveal certain differences. Furthermore, as certain anatomical traits are found to be hereditary in certain families and hence in tribes and perhaps even in peoples, in the same manner mental traits characterize certain families and may prevail among tribes. It seems, however, an impossible undertaking to separate in a satisfactory manner the social and the hereditary features. Galton’s attempt to establish the laws of hereditary genius points out a way of treatment for these questions which will prove useful in so far as it opens a method of determining the influence of heredity upon mental qualities (Boas, 1974, p. 239)

We have shown that the anatomical evidence is such, that we may expect to find the races not equally gifted. While we have no right to consider one more ape-like than the other, the differences are such that some have probably greater mental vigor than others. The variations are, however, such that we may expect many individuals of all races to be equally gifted, while the number of men and women of higher ability will differ. (Boas, 1974, p. 242)

When discussing brain size, Boaz merely pointed to the overlap among racial groups:

We find that 50 per cent of all whites have a capacity of the skull greater than 1550 cc., while 27 per cent of the negroes and 32 per cent of the Melanesians have capacities above this value. We might, therefore, anticipate a lack of men of high genius, but should not anticipate any great lack of faculty among the great mass of negroes living among whites and enjoying the advantages of the leadership of the best men of that race. (Boas, 1974, pp. 233-234)

He did add that “mental ability certainly does not depend upon the size of the brain alone.” He then argued, quoting an authority, that the encephalon and the cortex develop to a greater degree in whites, especially after puberty:

When we compare the capacity for education between the lower and higher races, we find that the great point of divergence is at adolescence and the inference is fairly good that we shall not find in the brains of the lower races the post-pubertal growth in the cortex to which I have just alluded. (Boas, 1974, p. 234)

Boas would return to this topic, such as in this 1908 speech on “Race Problems in America”:

I do not believe that the negro is, in his physical and mental make-up, the same as the European. The anatomical differences are so great that corresponding mental differences are plausible. There may exist differences in character and in the direction of specific aptitudes. There is, however, no proof whatever that these differences signify any appreciable degree of inferiority of the negro, notwithstanding the slightly inferior size, and perhaps lesser complexity of structure, of his brain; for these racial differences are much less than the range of variation found in either race considered by itself. (Boas, 1974, pp. 328-329)

All of these remarks must be judged in context. Boaz was trying to stake out a reasonable middle ground in opposition to the view that human races differ not only in degree but also in kind. There is also little doubt about his opposition to racial discrimination, which he felt was holding back many capable African Americans.

But he did not feel that equality of opportunity would lead to equality of results. This was the middle ground he defended, and it is far removed from today’s middle ground. The two don’t even overlap. What happened between then and now?

Something critical seems to have happened in the late 1930s. When Boas prepared the second edition of The Mind of Primitive Man (1938), he removed his earlier racialist statements. The reason was likely geopolitical. As a Jewish American seeing the rise of Nazi Germany, he may have felt that the fight against anti-Semitism would require a united front against all forms of “racism”—a word just starting to enter common use and initially a synonym for Nazism.

Boas died in 1942 and the leadership of his school of anthropology fell to Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. With the end of the war, both of them wished to pursue and even escalate the fight against racism. Escalation was favored by several aspects of the postwar era: lingering fears of a revival of anti-Semitism, competition between the two power blocs for the hearts and minds of the Third World, and an almost utopian desire to rebuild society—be it through socialism, social democracy, or new liberalism … In all this, we are no longer in the realm of science, let alone anthropology.

Boas had sought to strike a new balance between nature and nurture in the study of Man. The war intervened, however, and Boasian anthropology was conscripted to fight not only the Axis but also racism in any form. Today, three-quarters of a century later, we’re still fighting that war.

References

Boas, F. (1974). A Franz Boas Reader. The Shaping of American Anthropology, 1883-1911, G.W. Stocking Jr. (ed.), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Wikipedia (2014). Franz Boas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "…Most of us identify with certain great teachers of the past: Christ, Marx, Freud … .

    Christ… Jewish
    Marx… Jewish
    Freud… Jewish

    Is there a pattern here? Theological and/or relating to IQ distribution? Also, there's the Old Testament prophecy of a future Jewish leader, in whom "the Gentiles/nations" shall place their hope. These are the only 3 Jews in all history in whom large numbers of Gentiles place their hopes…

    As for me and my house, we're going with Christ. The other 2 have been proved wrong too often.

    • Replies: @Honest John
  2. syonredux [AKA "marlowe"] says:

    Anonymous:”As for me and my house, we’re going with Christ. The other 2 have been proved wrong too often.”

    Think that I’ll plunk for Einstein instead.

    • Replies: @tadzio
  3. Stogumber says:

    I’ve always felt that Boas demanded the separation of cultural anthropology firstly (and rightly) for methodological reasons – cultural anthropology should become more than an appendix to physical anthropology.
    This article shows indeed how human thinking was stultified by 1930′s political fanaticism, i.e. anti-fascism; Boasians are only part of a broader pattern.

  4. @Anonymous

    As for me and my house, we’re going with Christ.

    In the first century there were more or less two schools of Christianity – a Jewish school and a Gentile school.

    The Jewish school died out – what you like about Jesus is what the Gentiles found admirable in His teachings.

  5. Carl Degler’s book argues that the Boasian school’s triumph happened before the Nazi takeover in 1933. Instead, it was the stock market crash of late 1929 that changed the ideological landscape.

    A reader sent me this picture of the U. of Chicago Social Science Research building with Boas and Galton carved on opposite sides of the doorway:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/u-of-chicagos-galton-and-boas-carvings/

    The building went up in 1929 and that seems like a fair balance.

  6. I always thought Boas was a devil, but his quotes here seem pretty reasonable.

    Boas’s Gentile colleagues and the nation in general were all part of the anti-German backlash that began in WW1.

    During the powerful anti-German backlash brought on by World War I, Boas spoke out against the banning of German culture and language. He argued that is was irrational to ban the playing of Bach, for example, simply because one hated the Kaiser. Meanwhile an administrator at Columbia University set spies to work, to ferret out instructors with pro-German sentiments. Boas got wind of this and retaliated by writing a full-length statement of his views and handing out copies to all his students. [Source]

    Nazi excesses on top of existing WW1 anti-German backlash seems to have been one of the crucial factors putting downward pressure on eugenics and reasonable race attitudes.

    P.S. That’s pretty remarkable to have Peter Frost, Razib Khan, and Steve Sailer all on one site.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As a Jewish American seeing the rise of Nazi Germany, he may have felt that the fight against anti-Semitism the idea that Jews tend to twist the facts for their own ends would require a united front against all forms of “racism” namely a united front of Jews twisting facts for their own ends

    Congrats guys, you kicked the can a century down the road.

  8. Thank you for this excellent article. I took a couple of Anthro courses in college back in the ’60s but the picture I got of Boas was the later, more PC/Meade version.

    It does show how one’s work can be corrupted when politics is injected into an otherwise objective search for reality.

  9. SFG says:

    “Think that I’ll plunk for Einstein instead.”

    Einstein’s been proved wrong already about a few things, and his theory of relativity will likely be superseded eventually. That’s science. Newton was wrong about motion, he was just much, much more right than anyone who came before.

    Interesting to note Boas was on the middle of a prior political spectrum. It kind of makes sense–the borders tend to shift over time.

  10. bb753 says:

    The only Boas I was familiar with as a student was Boas as the author of the Introduction to the Handbook of American Indian Languages, a fairly empirical primer of descriptive linguistics.
    As to the “race does not exist” cant, it was introduced by his disciples, not only by anthropologists Mead and Benedict, but also by linguists like Edward Sapir and Morris Swadesh.
    Let´s not forget Boas was also instrumental in the development of American modern linguistics, along with Bloomfield, by applying German Neogrammarian methods (Hermann Paul, Delbrück) to Amerindian languages.

    https://archive.org/stream/introductiontoh00boasgoog

  11. syonredux [AKA "marlowe"] says:

    SFG:”Einstein’s been proved wrong already about a few things, and his theory of relativity will likely be superseded eventually. That’s science. Newton was wrong about motion, he was just much, much more right than anyone who came before.”

    That’s why I’m plunking for Einstein. A vote for him is a vote for science.And Science gets better over time.

  12. syonredux says:

    Honest John:”In the first century there were more or less two schools of Christianity – a Jewish school and a Gentile school.”

    Needless to say, the Gentile school was founded by a Jew (Paul).

    Honest John:”The Jewish school died out – what you like about Jesus is what the Gentiles found admirable in His teachings.”

    Paul’s teachings are the foundation of Christianity; no one is really sure what Jesus said about anything.

  13. rod1963 says:

    Great teachers like Freud and Marx? You mean two discredited men and one of whom whose teachings have killed more people in the last century than all the wars over the last 2000 years combined? The other was a cocaine fiend whose theories were only good for extracting money out of rich neurotics.

    The author has odd taste in great teachers.

    And why the author is including Mead in any discussion is beyond me. Her main work was fabricated. Sure her works are popular among Christian hating, secular liberals in academia but the fact remains she was a lazy student and liar who just made s**t up as Chris Rock would say.

  14. Sean says:

    Was Hitler’s triumph preceded by a wave of enthusiasm for hereditarian ideas in Germany? No. Was Hitler’s fall followed by a wave of revulsion for hereditarian ideas? Yes.

    Why on earth do people think that before anything can happen, academics have to formulate a theory and hand it down to the populace. Oh but it’s academics who think that.

    “Carl Degler’s book argues that the Boasian school’s triumph happened before the Nazi takeover in 1933″

    I wouldn’t pay attention to Degler who sees intellectual revolutions everywhere, he is dreadful on the New Deal, which he thinks owed nothing to programs Hoover initiated. The idea that Social Darwinism was the received wisdom in America at some point in the past “a dark trinity of Calvinism, classical liberalism, and scientific rationalism supportive of Darwinian orthodoxy ” was the creation of Richard Hofstadter, see here. He said America outside the cities was anti-intellectual xenophobes and anti-Semitic Populists ( farmers) . Progressivism in the United States was actually conservative. It’s true there were laws for sterilising at one time in the US for hereditary (or thought to be) handicaps, but no Downs Syndrome babies are being born now in Iceland, does that make it social Darwinist?

  15. Art M says:

    Anthropology has always seemed like a joke no one could ever find the punch line to. Charles Dawson and Piltdown Man sort of set the tone for everything that followed. At best, Anthropology is really just a reflection of the current social thoughts and attitudes, and it’s use of the words “science” or “scientific” is like the use of “new and improved” in a grocery store. If, say, Astronomy were to be as sloppy with the evidence, as loose with facts, so full of nothing but guesses as Anthropology, we’d still be trying to figure out why certain other planets back up every so often. So, whatever Whosists Boaz has to say about anything doesn’t really carry a lot of weight.

  16. As a Jewish American seeing the rise of Nazi Germany, he may have felt that the fight against anti-Semitism would require a united front against all forms of “racism”

    It appears that Boas sold out his life’s intellectual work in favor of tribal imperatives – what a shame, tribe trumps mind – how backward – what a loser. Was tribal Israel worth it?

  17. This was mildly interesting but basically superficial. Kevin MacDonald has far more to say of interest about Franz Boas than any tidbit I found in this brief overview.

    In fact, Boas did champion racial equality but that didn’t stop him from being a strongly self-identified Jew. Boas’s anti-racism started and stopped with Hitler and the White race. Ethnocentrism however is universal as Boas himself understood. This fact applies to innate preferences seen among virtually all racial groups. For instance, children tend to socialize and mix with children most like themselves. Physically attractive children tend to get more love and attention from other children as well as adults. This natural propensity is neither sinister nor evil. It’s an biological expression of kinship and natural selection.

    As for Boas’ implied disdain for all ‘racism’, if he ever scolded his co-ethnics about their particular brand of racism, I’ve not heard about it.

    As for racism and the Nazis, this is way overblown. Really. Along with virtually all the wars of the 20th century, WWII was a nationalistic war. Plus, Hitler had real political differences with the Jews. It was political. It was war. Ever heard of the Treaty of Versailles? It played a major role in Hitler’s thinking. Consider also the Jewish role in the Russian Revolution and the spread of communism, not to mention the international Jewish economic boycott of Germany that began way back in 1933. History is complex whether you like it or not. And besides, aren’t Jews white? The last time I checked they were.

    During the two great wars of the 20th century, whites were killing whites everywhere one looked. France, England, Germany, Russia, Spain and America. Japan also invaded China in before WWII even began. These were Asians killing other Asians. These struggles were not about race, though ethnicity was surely there. Yes, racial differences are potentially explosive. But so are language and culture,. And don’t forget money and power! Perhaps we should sharpen our definitions here, including ‘racism’.

    Most modern wars are about nationalism, borders, power, self-governance, culture and ideology. America’s civil was was not about race. Sorry, but race (slavery) was a side issue. Even Viet Nam was an ideological struggle, not a racial one. America’s arch enemy was formerly Soviet Russia, which was full of white people then as it is now. Ideology was the problem until communism imploded.

    ‘Racism’ is used today for political purposes. The racist taboo disarms whites and continues to cloud the thinking of Jews. But it presently empowers many ethnic minorities in America. ‘Racial neutrality’ is now turning our nation into a multi-racial dystopia. Racism–and the charge of racism–is a political tool.

    As a side note, Hitler’s Germany was aligned with Imperial Japan. Racism? These two races fought side-by-side during WWII. Maybe we should put aside modern fairy tales. Indeed, Germany and Asiatic Japan (along with Italy) had political aspiration and real political grievances. Turn off your televisions, please.

    Germans and Russians slaughtered one another over borders and ideological differences. No racial killing there. Nationalism–not racism–strikes again. Add noxious ideologies to the mix (communism, for instance) and you’ve got even greater problems ahead.

    My advice: watch out for empire builders and crazed nationalists. They’re in Washington right now planning their next war.

    • Replies: @Gordo
    , @Southfarthing
  18. SFG says:

    “That’s why I’m plunking for Einstein. A vote for him is a vote for science.And Science gets better over time.”

    Yeah, true. I guess my point was that science doesn’t lend itself to Great Man Sages. Which may be your point as well, come to think of it. ;)

  19. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Mark Green (and others),

    Please drop the gratuitous insults. Yes, I know about the Treaty of Versailles. Yes, Jews are white. Yes, Jewish Americans were hostile to Nazi Germany. And, yes, history is complex. Did I ever suggest it wasn’t? As for the American Civil War, there were other factors, but race and slavery were more than side issues. Non-slaveholding southerners were afraid of abolition and the prospect of interacting with blacks as free citizens.

    Franz Boaz was an assimilationist Jewish American:

    “Boas’s published writings on assimilation were deeply influenced by his German Jewish background. In particular, his unwillingness to recognize Jewish cultural identity as a reality was central to his persistent emphasis on human plasticity and his insistence that people not be “classified” in groups.”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1982.84.3.02a00020/abstract

    I don’t know his position on Israel, but rejection of Zionism was widespread among assimilationist Jewish Americans of his time. This was partly because some feared accusations of dual loyalty, but many genuinely believed in assimilation and the transformation of Judaism into a secularized religion that one practices one day a week. It was really only with the 1967 war that Zionism became the default belief for Jewish Americans.

    Anti-racism was neither solely nor primarily a Jewish invention. It initially arose through a radicalization of the abolitionist movement in the early to mid 19th century, its adherents being overwhelmingly of WASP origin. It then fell into decline, largely in response to the failure of black emancipation and the growing influence of Darwinian thinking in the social sciences. It was this half-discredited antiracism that Jewish immigrants, like Franz Boas, encountered in the late 19th century and the early 20th. With the rise of Nazi Germany, antiracism made a resurgence, and Jewish intellectuals certainly contributed to this resurgence for obvious reasons. But it was at all times as much a northeastern WASP cultural trait as a Jewish one.

  20. B and B says:

    I never felt Boas deserved all the flak he gets, which is better directed at that cunt Montagu. He did after all mentor Kroeber.

    The problem is largely the tendency of conservatives (the usual critics of the Boasians) to pinpoint a source for the blame so that Boas becomes demonised and Montagu is misrepresented as misled by Boas. One example of this is Kevin MacDonald’s classic Culture of Critique, in which he not only demonstrated the philosemitism common in the Jewish dominated school of anthropology, but the selective use of logical fallacy and bad science to further that ends. Though the real Boas should not escape criticism altogether, he is mostly blamed for the excesses of those bearing his legacy and no one should fault his perspective that anthropology should be based upon facts and not top-down or model-led. Rejecting the simplistic stage-based evolutionary models does not entail rejecting cultural evolution, nonetheless rejecting ‘physics’ (=science) in anthropology is hardly scientific. Boas was full of contradictions, recognising civilisation as domestication yet having faith in the psychic unity of mankind.

    Chapter 2 of the Culture of Critique deserves comments as its a bit misleading, whilst Boas deserves criticism this needs to be part of a full-length revaluation not written to justify either a positive or negative conclusion.

    • Replies: @Southfarthing
  21. @Mark Green

    The Nazis would have been happier if they:

    1. Liberated Slavs and allied with them against the U.S.S.R instead of exterminating them as “untermenschen.”

    2. Allied with their Jews to build nuclear weapons before the U.S. did. Instead, they suppressed “Jewish physics” and squandered the lead their nuclear program had. Even if the Nazis had won at Dunkirk, they would still have lost the scientific war, with the U.S. being able to nuke German cities at will.

  22. B and B says:

    ‘Jewish physics’ was not just identifiable by the ethnicity of its creators, rather by an unhelpful attitude about whether physics be driven by theory or by method. Einstein and the other Jewish-German physicists built upon the past research of ‘German physicists’ (not all of them were German) who placed more emphasis upon method than on abstract theory. As such it was the approach people back then called ‘German physics’ that led the way to the atomic age and the Nazis did test nuclear warheads. I think I remember they used what we’d call ‘mini nukes’ on the Russians, though not nuclear bombs as we imagine them.

  23. @B and B

    MacDonald misleading people about Boas wouldn’t be the first time he’s misled people in pursuit of his “Jewish theory of everything.”

    My background is part Christian and part Jewish, and I love the greatnesses of both Christian and Jewish history.

  24. SFG says:

    “It appears that Boas sold out his life’s intellectual work in favor of tribal imperatives – what a shame, tribe trumps mind – how backward – what a loser. Was tribal Israel worth it?”

    You’re talking about a looming world war. He might have just seen it as being socially responsible. Mencken started soft-pedaling his antisemitism after Hitler rose to power.

    Green: Agreed. We’ve had more than enough war for a big country with no real local enemies.

  25. tadzio says:
    @syonredux

    One can suppose that you also plunk for Stalinism which the ‘genius’ Einstein supported to his death. Einstein may have been clever in a narrow range, but outside of that he was a schmuck.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  26. SFG says:

    “One can suppose that you also plunk for Stalinism which the ‘genius’ Einstein supported to his death. Einstein may have been clever in a narrow range, but outside of that he was a schmuck.”

    Sure, but that range was where he spent most of his life. He was known for his physics, not his political advocacy. They wanted to make him president of Israel, and he had the sense to turn it down.

  27. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Steve,

    Hereditarian and racialist thinking faced increasing criticism from about 1919 onward (Derek Freeman covers this in his book on Margaret Mead). But it was really the rise of Nazism that crystallized opposition to racialism and created a sense of urgency that didn’t exist before. Until the late 1930s, most people — including liberally minded people like Boas — accepted that human populations differ statistically in their mental makeup. By 1945, that position had definitely become a minority viewpoint, particularly among right-thinking people. The 1935-1945 decade had a definite transformational effect on discourse about race.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  28. syonredux says:
    @Peter Frost

    Peter Frost:”Hereditarian and racialist thinking faced increasing criticism from about 1919 onward (Derek Freeman covers this in his book on Margaret Mead). But it was really the rise of Nazism that crystallized opposition to racialism and created a sense of urgency that didn’t exist before. ”

    Yeah, I seem to recall John Baker in RACE talking about how the 1930s marked the end of the period when people felt that they could discuss race in an open manner. Once the Nazis came into power, people became quite worried about the possibility that their statements might be used to provide cover for German racial policies.

  29. syonredux [AKA "marlowe"] says:
    @tadzio

    tadzio:”One can suppose that you also plunk for Stalinism which the ‘genius’ Einstein”

    Why the scare quotes around “genius?” Do you feel that Einstein was not a genius?

    tadzio:”supported to his death. Einstein may have been clever
    in a narrow range, but outside of that he was a schmuck.”

    Which is why I said that my vote for Einstein was a vote for science. Politics is not science. It is the domain of ideology and willed blindness. Hence, I really don’t care what Einstein had to say about the issues of the day. I only care about the contributions that he made to physics. The same thing holds true for Heisenberg and Von Braun .

  30. SFG says:

    “Once the Nazis came into power, people became quite worried about the possibility that their statements might be used to provide cover for German racial policies.”

    I’ve always thought it amusing that white nationalists are so fond of Hitler, when he damaged their cause worse than anyone in history. Before the Nazis, would anyone have thought it unreasonable to question whether a small ethnic group should own, say, 90% of the newspapers, and whether that might affect coverage and slant? Even if you don’t attribute any nefarious characteristics to the group, if, say, 90% of newspapers were owned by the Irish, you’d wonder if Ulstermen were getting a fair shake in the news. But the last guy to say that about Jews started World War II, which is probably the largest disaster in history, and now…

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @Southfarthing
  31. syonredux says:
    @SFG

    SFG:”I’ve always thought it amusing that white nationalists are so fond of Hitler, when he damaged their cause worse than anyone in history. Before the Nazis, would anyone have thought it unreasonable to question whether a small ethnic group should own, say, 90% of the newspapers, and whether that might affect coverage and slant? Even if you don’t attribute any nefarious characteristics to the group, if, say, 90% of newspapers were owned by the Irish, you’d wonder if Ulstermen were getting a fair shake in the news. But the last guy to say that about Jews started World War II, which is probably the largest disaster in history, and now…”

    One can make a very good case for Hitler being the worst thing that ever happened to the idea of the nation-state in the West. Indeed, Steve Sailer has sometimes called America’s de facto open borders policy “Hitler’s Revenge.”

    So, yeah, on top of all the horrible things that he did while he was alive, Hitler also bears a good chunk of the blame for the dominance of the PC mindset in the modern world.

  32. B and B says:

    Someone should put John Baker’s book ‘Race’ online because I can’t find it. He supposedly made a claim in it about the structure of Australid brains that I’d like to see checked.

  33. Bruce says:

    It’s Peter Brimelow who coined the phrase “Hitler’s Revenge.”

    Using Carol Swain’s definitions (of white nationalist, white separatist, white supremacist) I would say that white nationalists don’t admire Hitler at all.

  34. Sean says:

    On the state level, Britain and France tended to see their Empires as a source of manpower and a trump card to play against Germany. The US was quite keen to break those Empires up.

    Nothing succeeds like success, 1919 would be the time of the Bolshevik revolution and the founding of Communist Party USA. Trotsky, writing in 1924:-

    “The care for food and education, which lies like a millstone on the present-day family, will be removed, and will become the subject of social initiative and of an endless collective creativeness. Woman will at last free herself from her semi-servile condition. Side by side with technique, education, in the broad sense of the psycho-physical molding of new generations, will take its place as the crown of social thinking. [..].

    More than that. Man at last will begin to harmonize himself in earnest. He will make it his business to achieve beauty by giving the movement of his own limbs the utmost precision, purposefulness and economy in his work, his walk and his play. He will try to master first the semiconscious and then the subconscious processes in his own organism, such as breathing, the circulation of the blood, digestion, reproduction, and, within necessary limits, he will try to subordinate them to the control of reason and will. Even purely physiologic life will become subject to collective experiments. The human species, the coagulated Homo sapiens, will once more enter into a state of radical transformation, and, in his own hands, will become an object of the most complicated methods of artificial selection and psycho-physical training. This is entirely in accord with evolution. [...]

    Finally, the nature of man himself is hidden in the deepest and darkest corner of the unconscious, of the elemental, of the sub-soil. Is it not self-evident that the greatest efforts of investigative thought and of creative initiative will be in that direction? The human race will not have ceased to crawl on all fours before God, kings and capital, in order later to submit humbly before the dark laws of heredity and a blind sexual selection!

    “It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts – literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point. Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.

  35. @SFG

    We can test the theory. If Jewish media owners were a major cause:
    1. The liberal media and academia wouldn’t be against Israel.
    2. News owned by Gentiles would be opposing rather than promoting multi-culturalism.

    I’m more concerned with liberalism in the media by people of all backgrounds.

  36. As such it was the approach people back then called ‘German physics’ that led the way to the atomic age and the Nazis did test nuclear warheads. I think I remember they used what we’d call ‘mini nukes’ on the Russians, though not nuclear bombs as we imagine them.

    Nonsense, wrong, incorrect.

  37. Flemur says:

    Most of us identify with certain great teachers of the past: Christ, Marx, Freud …

    An imaginary friend, a clever fool and a guy unfortunately influential enough to retard the advancement of psychology for a few generations.

    So, no.

    Trotsky, writing in 1924:-

    That guy shoulda been kept off the streets.

  38. I wouldn’t pay attention to Degler who sees intellectual revolutions everywhere,

    I read Degler’s book and it agrees with the quotes provided above. He mentioned Boas wasn’t an extreme nurturist. According to Degler the most radical blank slate school before WWII was Watson’s behaviorist psychology.

    Boas had sought to strike a new balance between nature and nurture in the study of Man. The war intervened, however, and Boasian anthropology was conscripted to fight not only the Axis but also racism in any form.

    According to Daniel J. Kevles’ In the Name of Eugenics the British Eugenics Society was fighting not to be associated with Nazi Germany by their opponents even before WWII started. They even tried to distance themselves from Hitler by pointing out they had a number of Jewish members.

    The entire book is available on Google Books.

    Well before Nuremberg, the reports from Germany had joined with the scientific, the political, and the religious opposition to turn the tide against eugenic sterlization. In Britain, the move to legalize voluntary sterilization failed utterly and was dead as a legislative issue by 1939. (pg 169)

    http://books.google.nl/books?id=8esnhRxBomMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:F6dgGBPEZCQC&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UGvBU5SnCoajPZfngagO&redir_esc=y

    • Replies: @Sean
  39. Sean says:
    @The Undiscovered Jew

    Not a single major Jewish thinker (Trotsky, Benjamin ect) thought Fascism stemmed from a biological hypothesis.

    • Replies: @The Undiscovered Jew
  40. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Sean,

    Fascinating quote from Trotsky. It really wasn’t until the mid-1930s that the Left identified itself with rejection of genetic determinism.

    Undiscovered Jew,

    I agree. The change seems to have begun in the mid-1930s. I arbitrarily place it between 1935 and 1945, although signs of it are apparent as early as 1933, when the Nazis first came to power in Germany. During most of this period, the term “racism” was tightly associated with Nazism, being usually synonymous.

  41. Sean says:

    Trotsky, Dialectical Materialism and Science (1925): “The German physiologist, Du Bois Reymond once envisaged philosophic thought as departing from the scene of the class struggle and crying out: “Ignorabimus!” That is, we shall never know, we shall never understand! And scientific thought, linking its fate with the fate of the rising class, replies,

    “You lie! The impenetrable does not exist for conscious thought! We will reach everything! We will master everything! We will rebuild everything!”

  42. @Sean

    Sean, before WWII the Left was hardly in a position to call the right racist. Western libs were as racist as the 19th century Imperialist right. Marx and Engels were racist. Woodrow Wilson expressed admiration for Birth of a Nation. JBS Haldane was both a Marxist and chair of the British Eugenics Society; the most poweful such society of its time. Another Chairman, Sir Julian Huxley (yes, a relation of Aldous) was a Fabian Socialist. Lord Keynes* never repented his eugenics stance even after WWII.

    As for Fascism, while Hitler’s wars of agression were undeniably motivated by his extreme German racial supremacism, the same can’t be said of other Fascist camps. Franco and Salazar were royalist sympathisers trying to hold back populist anger against aristocracy that followed the catastrophe of 1914-1918. Austro-Fascists were backed by industrialists. Pre-war Poland was a simple military dictatorship.

    @ Peter Frost

    As pointed out to Sean, there were many hereditarian liberals before the war. But there was a minority of environmentalists prior to WWII, though their strength and size varied from nation to nation. The hard socialist left of Eastern Europe never seriously believed in nurturism. Their Cold War statements otherwise were attempts to ingratiate themselves to potential client states. Nurturism has been a phenomena of the Western left.

    In the West and before anyone in power knew Hitler existed, America’s nurturists were more evenly matched against hereditarian liberals than Britain where British hereditarians faced weaker liberal blank slate opponents. Opponents there tended to argue eugenics was immoral, not that man could be conditioned to have equal abilities.

    But the BES was still back tracking from Hitler even before he could invade Poland. So it seems that Hitler was the overwhelming cause of the Western establishment’s abandonement of any healthy understanding of human differences in ability.

    The warped type of Boasian anthro that followed, the already warped Behaviorist psychology of Watson and, later, BF Skinner, as well other blank slatists such as John Dewey and Lester Frank Ward served the role of court astrologers telling the establishment what they wanted to hear but which was obviously untrue (‘Zero average human differences in ability’) and to provide an implausible cover story for the social engineering that was to come to the public.

    * I again strongly reccommend Kevles’ book to both of you. Not only is it an excellent account of the rise and fall of the British Eugenics Society, it also provides other tidbits such as early black Civil Rights sympathy for eugenics as a way to help blacks catch up with whites. If you want to jump ahead and get to the section on the BES, I suggest reading pages 160-180 and then going through the whole book.

  43. […] the first article, The Franz Boas you never knew, Frost argues that early in his career Boas believed race differences were real, significant, and […]

  44. Thanks for the info and references. This is valuable.

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