Camp of the Saints: Why @RodDreher is wrong about race and culture

Rod Dreher recently decided to review the 1973 novel Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail.  In my estimation, this is one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, a novel that everyone should read (here’s a free PDF of the English translation), so I was pleased that Dreher was bringing attention to the novel.  Nonetheless, I am disappointed at the politically correct tone and factually incorrect nature of the review.

For instance, Dreher writes:

Raspail does not separate skin color from culture and civilization…  …Everything else in the novel ties civilization precisely to skin color.

Dreher throughout the review seems disturbed that Raspail considers race as an important factor.  Dreher seems to think that culture somehow hovers in some hyperdimensional sphere completely removed from the biological reality of race.  I know that Dreher occasionally reads HBD blogs, so I’m a little surprised that he would advocate a position so contrary to recent findings in science.

Here are some problems with Dreher’s account….

Dreher is too hung up on skin color.  Yes, skin color, or let’s just say general “looks,” are important in evolution.  For instance, in the famous Russian fox experiment, we know that when the foxes were selected for behavior it also affected their looks.  As the foxes became more behaviorally domesticated, their looks become more domesticated as well.  In short, as far as we can tell at this point, “looks” are probably in many cases tied to behavioral traits.

Nonetheless, race is more than just skin color.  It encompasses tens of thousands of years of evolution. As this chart shows, humans genetically cluster into races:

RacesoftheWorld3And you can measure the genetic distances between ethnic groups and races:

Cavalli-Sforza’s team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the “genetic distances” separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danish, and the Japanese 59 times greater. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish.

On average, Europeans are around 100x more closely related to each other than to sub-Saharan blacks. Something more than mere “skin color” obviously is going on here.

What Dreher fails to understand is the gene-culture evolution thesis.  Ancestry / race and culture are interlinked – and probably deeply so.

For instance, Peter Frost offers a succinct summary here of recent findings.

For a more detailed and theoretical account, Cochran and Haprending’s 10,000 Year Explosion is necessary reading (free PDF).  This book traces the gene-culture evolutionary history of humans over the past 10,000 years.  It is definitely one of the most influential books I’ve ever read.  If Dreher has not read it (I suspect he hasn’t), I hope he does so.  Perhaps he could even write about it at TAC.

Raspail in the 1970s was not aware of recent findings in human genetics and evolution, but as a novelist he was way ahead of his time.


Here’s a translation of an essay Jean Raspail wrote more recently:  “Fatherland Betrayed by the Republic

20 thoughts on “Camp of the Saints: Why @RodDreher is wrong about race and culture

  1. I no longer read Derher …he stuff became to politically correct for me…but his review of Camp of the Saints borderlines on hysterical… how many times does he use “white supremacist”?

    OMG, ;alksjdf;lksfd, I can’t even

      • I completely agree. I think he dreams of having a Sally Field moment when he can say of SWPLs, “They like me, they really like me!”

      • Rod might have a bit of a “Buckley” problem in the sense that he still wants to be part of the modern western “elite” which tends to believe in all this egalitarian civil rights nonsense, and they get very angry and forceful to anyone who dissents against that.

        Change the elite? Possible.

        Build a new elite? Worth considering?

        Follow the current elite? No.

        Don’t be like Rod.

  2. Pingback: Why @RodDreher is wrong about race and culture | Neoreactive

  3. He’s flailing–trying desperately to stave off (or cloak) a realization which would make him a pariah. Each post on Raspail increases in frantic tenor.

    He’s especially hung up on Raspail’s references to “black” but it’s not clear why. If you replaced every “black” with “orc” and every “white” with “Numenorean,” he would have a much easier time digesting the message contained in the book. The racial aspects–while true and real–are also convenient metaphors for forces of good and evil. Dreher doesn’t want to see that.

  4. Pingback: Why @RodDreher is wrong about race and culture | Reaction Times

  5. On average, Europeans are around 100x more closely related to each other than to sub-Saharan blacks. Something more than mere “skin color” obviously is going on here.

    Yeah! Eye color, hair texture, and sexuality.

  6. Pingback: Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Chaos Patch (#80)

  7. Pingback: On the @DavidAFrench & @NancyAFrench affair & race – #cuckservative #nrorevolt | Occam's Razor

  8. If I’ve read Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance and Before the Dawn would it be worth my time to also read 10000 Year Explosion or have I likely covered all the material to be found there?

    • There is some overlap but I’d still definitely read 10,000 Year Explosion. It’s a short, fast read. And 10,000 Year Explosion provides a better theoretical framework.


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  10. Ironically Rod joined the historical branch of Christianity most comfortable with “racism” in part because he no longer believed the universality of doctrinal claims Rome has made. Christianity is perfectly capable of acknowledging the realities of racial differences, but if it did so, it would be the kind of Christianity that offended Rod’s Bourgeoisie egalitarian sympathies.In reality, for all his carping about Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, Rod just wants a slightly more doctrinally serious aesthetically pleasing version of same.

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