Dinesh D’Souza on the scientific basis for racism.January 17, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Ooo, I almost missed this little gem from Dinesh D’Souza’s self-congratulatory screed on townhall.com:
But wasn’t Jefferson also a man of science? Yes he was, and it was on the basis of the latest science of his day that Jefferson expressed his convictions about black inferiority. Citing the discoveries of modern science, Jefferson noted that “there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their powers both of body and of mind…as I see to be the case with races of other animals.” Blacks, Jefferson continued, lack the powers of reason that are evident in whites and even in native Indians. While atheists today like to portray themselves as paragons of equal dignity, Jefferson’s scientific and skeptical outlook contributed not to his anti-slavery sentiments but to his racism.
Now we’ve got a bit of a problem here. If Jefferson did indeed conclude that some races were intellectually inferior to others, did he reach that conclusion through a proper and correct application of the scientific method, or did he allow his own cultural prejudices to (pardon the expression) color his application of scientific principles? If the latter, then D’Souza is being disingenuous at best when he suggests that science led to Jefferson’s racism. But if D’Souza claims that Jefferson was correctly applying valid scientific methods, then that means D’Souza is claiming that racism does have a valid scientific basis. In effect, D’Souza is not just citing Jefferson’s pseudo-scientific racism, he’s agreeing with it.
Either way, it makes D’Souza look like a slimy scumball. Occupational hazard of being a professional mud-slinger, I guess. You can’t take up that line of work and keep your own hands clean at the same time.