The Corner

SUPERIOR/INFERIOR

Good points, Jonah, and I am VERY wary of arguing a topic with a guy who’s engaged in writing a book about it.   I think the way it usually cuts (and Amy Chua says this at length, but I’d momentarily forgotten that) is that though the “sons of the soil” can see perfectly well that the “market-dominat minority” is smarter and more industrious than themselves, they take refuge in the belief that they are none the less MORALLY better in some way.  That’s how it was (and still is) with dim Johnny Prod vs. wily Pat Papist in Norn Iron.  I think that’s what you mostly get with antisemitism, too.  “You may be smarter than me and better at business and so on, but I am morally above all your wily tricks and shifty deals…”  Does that fit with your reading on the Progressives?   The old “one Englishman is worth ten foreigners” attitude was still around when I was growing up; but the people who held it were often anti-intellectual, and took pride in the fact.  Their notion of their own superiority was moral, and to some lesser degree physical. 

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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