Tuesday, March 14, 2017

McNallen's Racism, Intro & Point Number One

After my counter-argument to his latest video, a few commenters suggested I do a similar breakdown for the other video McNallen posted a week prior. This video is jam packed with some fascinating statements and some utterly ridiculous ones, so unlike the lengthy rant of my previous work, this one will be broken up into multiple posts, because, quite frankly...

But we're gonna wade through it anyway.

Firstly, The Video In Question:

(00:00 - 00:26)
"Tonight I want to talk to you about race. Now, this is not meant to be "race" discussion, this is meant to be a race discussion. I owe it to you, my subscribers and my friends to give you a succinct, all-in-one place statement about what I believe about the emotionally laden concept of "race."
I admit, having all of it together in one place does make it easier, but as was pointed out to me, McNallen hasn't been nearly as subtle as I presumed in my previous takedown, and has been less "tip-toeing through the racialist tulips" and more "stomping around like a gut-shot rancor through a racist glass factory."

In 1996, as documented in the book Gods of the Blood by Mattias Gardell, McNallen was appalled by finding paganism populated with "liberals, affirmative-action Asatrúars, black goðar, and New Agers." This was ostensibly his motivation for founding the AFA in the first place. Think about that. Twenty years ago the idea that black people led worship of the Æsir made him so upset he went and founded his own group.

In his essay "The Browning of America," McNallen eagerly uses rhetoric that is now intimately familiar to anyone following American politics for the last year:
The transformation of America is being carried out by identifiable people and parties. It could be stopped and even reversed almost at once. Polls consistently show that the American people favor much tighter restrictions on immigration - but no one is going to ask them for their opinion. Unfortunately, the many citizens who want the doors closed are too cowed, too resigned, or too apathetic to force the issue.
And I'm not even going to dig into his 2010 manifesto, "Wotan vs. Tezcatlipoca," except to say it's more of the same race-baiting, immigrant fear-mongering we've seen grow steadily over the years. There's wrapping up Mexicans into a monolithic threat and ignoring the heavy Christian nature that dominates their culture to shoehorn in what looks like the beginnings of justification for a Holy War. (If there's enough interest in this, I can try and tackle it. Let me know in the comments!)

(00:27 - 01:00)
"Paradoxically, as my message spreads and reaches a larger and larger audience, you are likely to hear people say the most outrageous things about what I believe. So I am going to tell you, in the following paragraphs, just exactly what I think about this hot-button topic. This is the straight skinny, directly from me to you, and I invite you to revisit this video when the mobs are breaking down the door and clamoring for my head. What follows is, for me at least, definitive."
It's not a paradox if you know what you're saying is going to piss people off, you say it any way, and then they get pissed off. What you mean to say is a "self-fulfilling prophecy" that lets you play victim when called on your nonsense. I'm not putting any words in your mouth, Stephen. I've sourced everything you say, linked, stamped, and verified. It is outrageous, and you're still saying it, so reinforce that proverbial door, because
Your arguments look tasty.
(01:02 -  01:05)
"Point Number One: Race is Real"
Problem Number One: How are we defining Race? One of the trademark characteristics of arguments like this is that people end up arguing past each other because there is a failure to define terms. I'm going to have to use some assumptions and conjectures for establishing what I believe is McNallen's definition of "Race," then we'll compare that with some scientific definitions before moving on. This is necessary because he seems to be assuming we know exactly what he means. That's not how you play the game, sir!

Having listened to both videos numerous times in order to transcribe them, I feel safe in saying that McNallen appears to be defining race based on the predominance of genetic markers commonly associated with the settlement and peoples in large geographic areas, somewhat oriented along continental divisions. "White" appears to be Europe stretching from the UK in the West to maybe parts of Russia, and from the southern French border upwards. Nothing too Mediterranean, nor too Asian? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states in it's explanation of when people used outdated racial labels that "Other thinkers classified humans into many more racial categories, for instance arguing that those humans “indigenous” to Europe could be distinguished into discrete Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean races." Likely, McNallen is talking about the Nordic and Alpine "races."

The current Oxford definition of race reads:
1. Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.
‘people of all races, colours, and creeds’

1.1 [mass noun] The fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.

1.2 A group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group.
‘we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then’

[Biology] A population within a species that is distinct in some way, especially a subspecies.
‘people have killed so many tigers that two races are probably extinct’ 
So McNallen appears to be working from maybe a mixing of 1.2 and 1.4? His original fervent push for Asatrú as the correct way for Europeans to express spirituality strongly suggests a historical/ethnic bent, but both this and the other video imply he strongly believes in the biological bent of actual subspecies within humanity. He's wrong, of course, and we'll address the specifics of that as we come to each point in his statements.

(01:06 - 01:32)
"It is not a social construct. There are quantifiable differences between the races that go far beyond skin color, and affect temperament, subtle behaviors and much more. The founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, believed that there were inborn differences in the deep psychology of the various races. He makes this statement in his essay, 'Wotan' and elsewhere."
Now, Jung was a genius and his influence should not be discounted or discredited in science and modern analysis of the human psyche. By the same token, Charles Darwin was also a genius and his influence should not be discounted or discredited. However, let's look at something Darwin wrote:
…At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Prof. Schaaffhause has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. - The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Vol. 1
Jung and Darwin are both products of their time. Times ripe for scientific advancement, but times also utterly entrenched in Imperialist Worldviews. Couple that with the fact that Jung appeared to not only have been a monist at best (his theory on the Universal Subconscious), and an Atheist at worst, in the essay McNallen references, Jung directly conflates Wotan with both Christ and Dionysus, a curious syncretism that I have a hard time believing a staunch polytheist like McNallen would agree with. Also, race gets barely more than a passing mention in "Wotan," where it's used as a flimsy excuse to synchronetically match whatever Classical deities Jung wants into his Wotan archetype in order to bolster his arguments about the possession of the populace in 1930's Germany. It's an interesting concept, but it's not about race.

(01:33 - 02:05)
"On a less esoteric level, when the instinctive responses of newborn babies around the world are tested, they differ by...race. I'm talking about babies less than 30 hours old, so we can forget about socially acquired characteristics. Those instinctive reactions vary in ways that match the stereotypes of the races in question. To take just one example. Navajo and Chinese babies are more passive, less excitable than are newborns from Europe or Africa."
We're talking about babies less than 30 hours old, which means they are still swimming with hormones and chemicals from the mother's system (which have been proven to have strong affects on infants for months, not just hours, after birth). The study in question (more details below the next quote) apparently tried to account for this by verifying a standard of economic class in addition to the number of prenatal visits attended by the mother. It's not like mothers of any group can experience stressors and hardships other than economic ones, but whatever.

Some more than others.
(02:06 - 02:39)
"On a mass scale, these are the individual tendencies that shape entire cultures and civilizations. If you've got a bunch of people that, on the average, tend to behave a certain way, that's what their culture is going to look like. You could truthfully say, then, that race is not a social construct. Races construct societies. You can refer to the book Human Sociobiology by Dr Daniel Freedman of the University of Chicago for the study in question, and I will give a link to that in the description of this video."
So the study he's talking about here is in the book mentioned, Human Sociobiology: A Holistic Approach, by Daniel Freedman, found on page 114 of the original edition: "Group Differences in Newborn Behavior." What McNallen fails to tell you is that this study was done in 1974, and shows (at least in this instance), a significant confirmation bias, as the author states a propensity to view different cultural groups and skin tones as "breeds," as well as repeatedly referring to "stereotypical behavior" for these subgroups throughout his work. He even admits this bias: "My position on this issue is simple: We are totally biological, totally environmental; the two are as inseparable as are an object and its shadow." (pg 224 of a revised 2004 edition of the book, but not the study) With this kind of worldview, is there any wonder that someone who wants to tie religion to genetics so harshly would cite this study? It doesn't help that Freedman repeatedly exhibits views in his work that glamorize 'non-white'/'non-Western' cultures. For example: "I could not resist the thought that only grown-up versions of our Chinese babies could have produced art like this!" (p 153)

Many of the behaviors Freedman observes like irritability, adaptability to environmental change, etc., are exceedingly subjective, and as near as I can tell, no one has repeated his study after 1980. It's a flimsy excuse to introduce a near-Calvinistic genetic certitude into a group's future and culture, based solely on the behavior of newborns in a subjective test. Tying that premise to something as inane as Metagenetics is just sloppy.

(02:40 - 03:13)
"Along the same lines, and contrary to the nice, safe and comfortable cliche that 'No one is born racist,' studies do indicate that babies are aware of racial differences from a very early age, and that they prefer people who look like them. And that this preference is genetically hard-wired rather than taught. See the video description for a link to the relevant article."
The relevant article is here. Again, McNallen is trying to tie hard-wired genetic impulses in infants (in this case, 15-month-olds) to adult behavior. The fact that visual tribalism (preference toward adults of similar skin tone) is behaviorally present in infants should surprise no one. We're supposed to argue that a survival trait in infancy from a bygone era somehow has power over us as adults? Again, this represents a dangerous level of predestination at work within his argument.
Let's assume McNallen is right about these genetic predispositions towards tribalism and infant behavior. Not that that they indicate a "race" or "breed", but that adaptive differentiations can lead to behavioral differentiations and predispositions in social interactions well into adulthood. I disagree, and most scientists do as well, but just assume that for a moment:
What benefit does that grant us? By that I mean are we to now just give in to stereotypes that have been perpetuated not by knowledge of genetics (historically an often corrupted science) but by Capitalism and Historical Imperialism to advance their own agendas?
The question at the heart of this matter is not, "Are we different, and should we remain so because our genes and DNA tell us to?" but "Do we choose to rise above animistic impulse, or are we slaves to it?"
(03:14 - 03:40)
"A third false statement, is that when presented with a fleshless skeleton, scientists cannot determine to what race it belonged. One of the much-touted, 'Founders of Modern Anthropology', and I don't remember if it was Franz Boas or Ashley Montagu, made this assertion. But it is just. Plain. False. The truth is that forensic anthropologists correctly identify skeletons by race about 85% of the time.
The problem with this assertion is that McNallen is both right, and wrong. He is right, in that using skeletal structure scientists can identify adaptive traits that have come to dominate certain groups. He is wrong in that adaptive traits, like skin tone or skeletal structure, do not define races in humans. They reflect underlying environmental factors, not overall genetic differentiation, since adaptive traits have no real objective criteria for choosing one over the other.

Just observe the evidence for how swift (evolutionarily speaking) change can occur even within even a single group. Approximately 4000 years ago, there is evidence that almost all Scandinavians were lactose intolerant, yet that trait is a very tiny minority today. Given that most of McNallen's arguments in this subject of racial/ancestral genetics operate on a "tens of thousands of years" scale, would he argue that those currently of Scandinavian descent are no longer "pure," just because they can drink milk? What about those who show evidence of Neanderthal DNA? I doubt that even McNallen would go that far, but it's a good reminder of just how fuzzy the lines get when basing entire arguments off of a mutating, shifting structure like DNA.

I'll end my counter to Point Number One with this quote from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists:

There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogeneous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.
When you get Pwned by actual scientists.

I'm going to cap each one of these posts with a screenshot of the comments from McNallen's video, because the audience One attracts is just as telling as the argument one makes. Here, we're going to start with a doozy:
To explain: Varg Vikernes is a tried-and-true, "Blood and Soil" NeoNazi who's already served over a decade in prison for murder and continues to publish both racist and nationalistic screeds. What's telling in this screenshot are two things:
1) Stephen thanks the commenter who points out that a violent racist agrees with him to a high degree.
2) Stephen thanks another commenter who uses the echo tag openly (an online technique of Nazis and Racists to "tag" their opponents as "Jews" or "Jewish sympathizers in the media").

As I've said before, Stephen's not stupid, and he knows exactly what twisted and bloated flies he's drawing in with his honeyed, racist rhetoric. My hope with this series is that anyone not yet decided will see him for what he is.

(Part Two Here)

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