September 13, 2005

Sir Richard Burton and Victorian Elitist Realism

I'm often told that the reason we're not allowed to mention racial reality is that if the public became aware of the truth, then horrible consequences would ensue: e.g., the American people would instantly dig up Hitler's ashes, clone his DNA, and elect Hitler 2.0 as Fuhrer-for-Life. Or something like that.

But, as I've been pointing out for a decade, the mass of Americans does know the basics of the facts, and they talk privately about them all the time. And the world continues spinning on its axis.

Instead, what we're not supposed to do is write about reality for the elites interested in public policy.

This 21st Century attitude toward writing about race contrasts strikingly with the Victorian attitude toward thinking about sex, which was that the masses should not be allowed to read erotic materials, but that the policy-making elites needed hard facts. That explains why the raffish adventurer Sir Richard Burton (not the actor, but the Victorian explorer, writer, and diplomat who was a model for Evelyn Waugh's Basil Seal) was knighted by Queen Victoria three years after he published his translation of the Kama Sutra. Burton was Britain's most outspoken advocate of polygamy, the harem system, and of Eastern erotica, but he was also employed by the Foreign Office for decades. Her Majesty's Government didn't approve of Burton's enthusiasm for non-Western sexual mores, but if they were going to run the Empire, they knew they needed to understand them.

In contrast, the American elite attitude is that the worst sin is to try to understand race honestly.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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