Raciology in Russia

Raciology in Russia

I don’t want to fantasize too much about a country I’ve never even visited, but it appears that this is what government-endorsed textbooks are like in Russia.

Raciology

This image is of the English translation, of course, which you can purchase here. (Hat tip to Constantin von Hoffmeister.)

Reviewing the Russian edition in 2007, Jürgen Graf wrote,

Vladimir Avdeyev: Rasologia. Biblioteka rasovoy mysli,
Moscow, 2007, 665 pages.
a review by Jürgen Graf

Where in the world is it nowadays conceivable that a book about the inherent differences between the human races, which pays tribute to the racial theorists of the Third Reich and explicitly claims that all races are not equal, is not only openly sold in the bookstores but even becomes a bestseller? And where in the world is it possible that such a book is favorably reviewed by renowned scholars and provided with two introductions, one written by a member of parliament and the other one by a prominent representative of a liberal organization?

In Germany, Austria or France? Unthinkable! In these countries such a book would almost certainly be banned; its author would be put on trial for “racial discrimination” or “instigation of the populace”; any member of parliament who would have the audacity of endorsing its contents by writing an introduction would immediately be castigated as a “racist bigot” by the media and would have to relinquish his seat in parliament within days.

In the Anglo-Saxon world? Not impossible, but highly unlikely. It is quite true that the English-speaking countries enjoy much greater freedom of thought and speech than the German-speaking ones or France. In the USA, the First Amendment to the Constitution would certainly protect the author of such a book from legal persecution; in Britain or Canada, there are laws against “racism”, but the author of a scholarly work about race would hardly be prosecuted on the basis of these laws. On the other hand, the media would either ignore or angrily denounce his book without discussing his arguments, and he would risk social ostracism. This is exactly what happened in the United States to Arthur Jensen and Hans Eysenck, two serious scientists who had dared to challenge the dogma of racial equality. They were pilloried as “racists” and “haters” and harassed by left-wing fanatics for whom rational arguments did not count. The late biologist Glade Whitney became the victim of a tremendous smear campaign after writing an introduction to David Duke’s My Awakening. Only a handful of scholars or politicians will muster the courage to incur the wrath of the watchdogs of “political correctness”.

In Russia? Yes, in Russia all this is perfectly possibly. The proof is Vladimir Avdeyev’s books Rasologia, the second edition of which came out in late 2007 in Moscow.

Vladimir Borisovich Avdeyev was born in 1962. After acquiring a university degree in Economics, he served in the Soviet Air Force where he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. Since 1993, he has been a member of the Russian Writers’ Association; in 1991, he founded the journal Atenei together with his comrades-in-arms Anatoli Ivanov and Pavel Tulayev. Since 1999, V. Avdeyev has edited a series of books under the title “Biblioteka Rasovoy Mysli” (The Library of Racial Thought), and in 2005, the first edition of his Rasologia appeared. This book was highly successful, and already two years later its author was able to publish an improved and enlarged second edition. The two introductions were written by Andrey Savelev, a delegate of the Russian Duma {parliament) and close personal friend of Avdeyev, and by Valeri Solovei, a historian and member of the ultra-liberal Gorbachev Foundation, who aptly summarizes the book as follows:

“Humanity is entering a new epoch. The world that was shaped by the Enlightenment and Modernity using melodious words such as ‘democracy’, ‘equality’, ‘progress’ and ‘human rights’ is becoming part of a past that will never return. Together with this world, the scientific concepts and the intellectual ballast which belonged to it are doomed too. All this will be replaced by a world based on blood and soil, strength and hierarchy, which will need a new theory and new concepts.”

Avdeyev’s book is subdivided into eight chapters: 1) Racial Science and Anthropology: What are the differences? 2) The Fair Race: Historiography and Anthropology. 3) The Biological Foundation of the Northern Conception of the World. 4) Thoughts about Racial Prejudices. 5) A New Paradigm in Racial Science. 6) The Anti-Racial Myth of the “Melting Pot”. 7) Racial-ideological Neurology, and finally, the striking chapter 8, A Racial Theory of Time. The book contains a large number of excellent photographs and illustrations.

For me as a non-specialist, who only had a very general knowledge of the question, Avdeyev’s history of racial thought was particularly fascinating. I had erroneously taken it for granted that almost all racial theorists had been German and that the Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau (Essay on the Inequality of the Races, 1855) and the Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, 1899) were exceptions. Thanks to Avdeyev, who has carefully studied the writings of all the important racial theorists, I learned I was wrong: the subject of race has been dealt with by numerous and illustrious French scholars, and the study of race flourished in Russia before 1917. Who would have guessed that the term “Nordic race” was not coined by a German, but by a Russian, Joseph Denniker (1852-1918)?

There is a great irony to the existence of a volume like this. As Graf points out, Russia was once the homeland of Lysenkoism; it is now one of the few places in which one can pursue, honestly and rigorously, the study of race.

And it is in the “land of the free” that scientists like Arthur Jensen and Glayde Whitney are attacked as heretics. (In 1995, Whitney was shunned and condemned for his views on race by the Behavior Genetics Association, a body of which he was, at the time, president (!).)

The Marxian Left were not always opposed to Darwinian evolution and its implications: Marx himself believed his theory was perfectly compatible with Darwin’s, and many prewar Leftists considered themselves eugenicists. Whatever the case, by the 1930s, Communists and Western Marxists had become, almost monolithically, “environmentalist”: genetic differences, they claimed, were the stuff of Nazi propaganda; the scientists studying them should be denounced (if not shot); if you want a new plant, just change the fertilizer, soil, and pot.

After the flame of the purges and the tearing down of cathedrals burned itself out, the Soviet Union settled down as an authoritarian empire, in which free thought was possible, so long as it didn’t touch on the domain of the state. As the story goes, if one praised the proletariat in the introduction and conclusion of an essay, one could write pretty much what one pleased in the middle.

America and Western Europe, on the other hand, became countries where leftism was pursued more vigorously, thoroughly, and radically—in which the state took an interest not in owning the means of production but in stamping out racism and sexism in the minds of its citizens. It is America, and not the Soviet Union, that has more fully implemented a “universal society,” in part because its consumer-capitalist economy has proven more sustainable than the Soviets’ backwards industrial socialism.

In fearing America’s descent into “socialism,” America’s self-styled “conservatives” love to depict their Democratic enemies wearing Soviet garb or the traditional Russian ushanka. In reality, it is the late and post-Soviet regimes, and not Washington, DC, that have more evinced “conservatism,” if this term is to have any meaning beyond an eagerness to bomb Middle Eastern countries into democracy and hold mass rallies in honor of Black Marxist preachers.

Looking at the outcome of the 20th century from a Hegelian standpoint, one might suggest that it was America that was on the left—and the post-Lenin USSR, on the right—all along; tag lines like “capitalism” and “socialism” simply obfuscated the inner natures of each regime.

Whether Russia is simply behind America—and will soon follow it into cultural decadence—or is truly charting an independent course remains to be seen.

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