Monday, December 31, 2012

The Great Silence (On Race & Culture) Part II

In our previous post, we discussed the increasingly evident flaws in the official narrative of race and culture in America, which have led a great silence, an unwillingness or inability of most Americans to engage in open, honest discussions. From math, to science, to economics and studies of culture, all systems of knowledge and understanding are structured like a pyramid. Basic empirical and philosophical givens form a foundation, from which one systemically constructs a more advanced understanding of particular phenomena. If two individuals do not acknowledge a basic foundation for any given area of knowledge, it is virtually impossible to have a productive discussion. This is somewhat analogous to language: if we do not agree on the alphabet, we cannot form words and if we cannot form words, meaningful exchanges of ideas, via sentences, would be out of the question. For example, it was virtually impossible for Louis Pasteur to convince others of the nature and merit of vaccinations who did not first accept the Germ Theory of Disease, rather than previously accepted Miasma Theory and the concept of Spontaneous Generation. And how can you convinced someone on the hazards of price controls, if they believe that prices and wages are arbitrary, rather than fundamentally determined by supply and demand?

Regarding our previous discussion, it is virtually impossible to convince others of the power of values and cultural norms in determining economic and social outcomes for individuals and nations, if they are unfamiliar with the concept of Cultural Capital. Without a basic familiarity of how Jewish, Japanese and Armenian disaporas thrived in the face of discrimination, a discussion on the nexus of wealth, commerce and culture will be impoverished (pun intended). Those who do not understand the many ways in which Anglo-American, Latin-American and Arab-Islamic culture have shaped political and economic outcomes across the globe, will not be able to fully grasp the importance of assimilation. To put it boldly, in the absence of these givens, one cannot engage in a meaningful, informed dialogue on immigration, diversity, demographics and a host of other essential and interconnected topics. This means that we will have to hit the reset button and begin anew with a discussion of the basic empirical and conceptual building blocks that are required to construct an honest and accurate narrative that will break the great silence.

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