10 Facts [You Can't Talk About]

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I read Wilfred Reilly's Hate Crime Hoax last year, and liked it. So I picked up this 2020 book via Interlibrary Loan from Boston College. (BC seems to have kept buying dead-trees books, the University Near Here has apparently stopped.)

Without further ado, here are the "ten facts" that Reilly says will get you into big trouble if you proclaim them:

1. The police aren't murdering Black people.
2. There is no "War on POC" … and BBQ Becky did nothing wrong.
3. Different groups perform differently.
4. Performance—not "prejudice"—mostly predicts success.
5. Racism didn't cause the new problems of today.
6. Anyone can be racist (and "racist" has a real meaning).
7. Whiteness isn't the only "privilege".
8. "Cultural appropriation" is not real.
9. A sane immigration policy isn't racist (and we need one!)
10. The "alt-right" has nothing to offer.

(You might have to Google "BBQ Becky".)

Let me be blunt: Reilly's thesis is overstated and sensationalistic. You'll get plenty of disagreement from some quarters for saying those things, but nothing rises to the "taboo" level.

And, for that matter, who could be against a "sane" immigration policy? That's not "taboo" at all! Neither is pointing out the "alt-right" as being entirely worthless.

But that said, Reilly's arguments are a worthwhile counter to (mostly) leftist cant. (And—again, see number ten—some rightist cant.) Many valuable points are made along the way. (Some points are made over and over again: the book does get a tad repetitive on some issues.) Most valuable are his debunkings of racial victimologists who claim that statistical disparities "prove" the fundamental bigotry of American society. Reilly notes (following Thomas Sowell) that cultural differences are often strongly correlated along racial/ethnic lines with no bigotry involved.

Reilly is also a strong opponent of the notion that Black/White IQ differences are fundamentally genetic, something a lot of "alt-right" racists have bought into. He provides evidence-based arguments the other way (the Flynn Effect, intra-racial differences). Unfortunately, Charles Murray is not mentioned at all. His book, Facing Reality covers much the same ground as Reilly's, and it would be good to tease out and discuss the issues on which they agree or disagree on.

Last Modified 2024-01-12 6:04 AM EDT