The Totally Not Racist Steve King in His Own Words

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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138 Responses

  1. gregiank says:

    Well yeah. Pulling back a little there was been a lot of talk about how some people use the term racist far to often. I agree with that. Lot’s of conservatives complain they are called racist for every darn thing. Again people use the word racist far to often. But Steve King isn’t new and has a giant kit bag full of statements like this. He is an elected official who is a prominent R mouth piece on TV. He isn’t some back bencher or wing nut small town councilman. This is who he is and has been. There are his defenders and always have been. His views are indicative of at least a few others and it’s ugly ( yup i’m judgmental liberal). Again the R word is used to often but it isn’t always incorrect or impolite. Sometimes it’s exactly accurate and appropriate.Report

  2. Pinky says:

    OK, the Esquire guy was baiting King by talking about white people. King took the bait. But – why should “white people” be an insult?Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

      It’s not that the term “white people” is insulting. Its more the goals King is advocating on their behalf.Report

    • Francis in reply to Pinky says:

      well, because since well before this country’s founding and ending (more or less) just recently if at all it operated on the principle that white people were free to oppress, enslave, kill and displace people with different skin colors.

      So if you ain’t ‘white people’, when you hear people talking about all the good things white people did you may want to raise the question, “at what price?”.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Francis says:

        But that’s not how the conversation went. Esquire guy brought up white people as a negative thing first.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

          This is where reasonable discussion breaks down, Pinky. The dude’s a racist. I mean, I agree that no one can conclusively prove that he meant anything racist or white nationalist in his comments over the years. It’s certainly possible that he misspoke every single time he’s offered comments on the topic. Or that he was tricked into saying things he doesn’t believe by clever liberal reporters with a well established bias. It’s also possible that he doesn’t understand the meanings of words in the English language. Or even that for King words are “texts” and given his subjective experiences as a member of a marginalized and discriminated against group, his expressions mean something completely different than the rest of us….Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            What I’ve got my eye out for is whether “the dude’s a racist” resonates or if it clanks.

            If it clanks…Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              I hear ya on that. And it’s already well on its way to being fully clunked.Report

              • Jesse in reply to Jaybird says:

                To people like that guy, the pellet never worked in the first place.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Jesse says:

                You’re probably right about that, but I don’t think he’s entirely wrong. A while ago, hearing that somebody was a known racist had an affect on my perceptions of that person. Now it has basically zero effect until I see real evidence.

                Seeing a racist looking quote used to be good evidence, but now I need a bunch of context, because I’ve been burned there as well. So now the bar is set pretty high before the claim “racist” colors my perception at all. Someone being called a racist online or by his political enemies carries basically zero information.

                Which is a shame in this case, because King has a long history of walking and quacking like a duck. Now there’s a voting segment that doesn’t like to be called racist that will probably rally around him because they think he’s just another put-upon white guy.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Personally, I don’t care if King, or anyone else for that matter, is racist or not. Just. Don’t. Care.
                I can see his point, and I don’t need to read racism into it.

                Immigration isn’t an issue of race, people.
                I shouldn’t even have to explain that to adults.

                My own criticism of his remarks (that I have seen here– I don’t know much about King) is the materially the same as for most claims of monoculturalism; namely that it denies the influence of the Spanish in North America.
                And no, I don’t believe for a minute that the U.S. is multi-cultural in any true sense, but that the regional temperaments (and other cultural factors) are more distinguishing than racial make-up. Disjointed enclaves and diaspora populations do not make a place “multi-cultural,” and more than Lesotho part of a vibrant democracy in apartheid So. Africa.

                I think the calls of racism are really more about confirmation bias than anything else.
                Also, lack of empathy, objectification, other communication issues.Report

              • Jesse in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Weird, because 90% of the time when I see somebody claims something said is racist or sexist by a prominent person, I look and boom, they sure said something racist or sexist.

                Or, maybe, nothing personal, you’re a lot closer to the “somebody isn’t really racist unless they’re burning crosses on the front lawns of homes” school of thought than I am.Report

        • Murali in reply to Pinky says:

          esquire may have brought up white people as a negative thing first but Steve King didn’t have to say that white people are the only people to have contributed to civilisation nor did he have to say that said civilisation would collapse if it were to become majority non-white.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Murali says:

            I really believe that’s more about equating the U.S. with Western Europe than a comment of Civilization writ large.
            It’s been a long trek, from the Olney Corollary to the view that No. America really is an extension of Europe after all.
            Rather common though, these days.Report

      • Lyle in reply to Francis says:

        Earlier in the 20th century it meant if you were not protestant northern European as at the time southern Europeans were regarded as an inferior race see the 1924 immigration act.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Pinky says:

      Forget about the first sentence. What is your reading of

      I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?

      that isn’t racist.

      He is plainly wrong. The Chinese were ahead of the Euros on many, many fronts for at least a millennium. The Arabs invented the system of arithmetic and numbers that we now use, and transmitted a bunch of astronomy and medicine to us. They invented algebra. We would not have received many of the Latin classics if the Arab world had not preserved them. We were backwards buffoons in comparison. In Steve King’s rendering, we stole all that stuff and claimed it as ours.

      And in another dimension, African American labor built most of the buildings in the nation’s capital. If you don’t think labor matters, I wish you’d tell that to your voters.

      Better still, go read Guns, Germs, and Steel and get back to me.Report

      • Murali in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Minor correction: the Indians invented the decimal system and the Arabs brought it to the west.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I’d also question how much we should consider ourselves (“whites”) at the natural descendants of greco-roman civilization, in a sense that the Muslim/North African world is not. If you had asked a first-century Greek scholar living in Alexandria if he (or she!) considers themselves more part of the “Mediterranean world” (although perhaps they would not use the term that way) or more part of the world of North Germany (never mind Great Britain), how would they respond?

        Yes, “Christendom” emerged from there, in a sense, but they were not the sole descendant.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          European and derivative countries education was heavily based on the studying of Greek and Roman texts until very recently. North Africa tended to focus on its Arab and Muslim identities after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in North Africa. The Christian community in Egypt sees itself more as the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians than anything else.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        This is tough for me. I don’t want to be scared off from supporting true statements, and while “non-whites contributed nothing” is a false statement, “non-whites contributed less” is a true one. It’s also racist. It’s a screwed-up way of viewing things. The overall culture that passed through Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome (and didn’t didn’t get re-routed through Mecca) has accomplished more than any other. It also happens to be packed with pale people. A coincidence (which is a word that refers to two things that happen to be true at the same time).

        I also believe that there’s something wrong with a culture that has stopped producing babies. Babies aren’t better or worse based on skin color (unless we’re talking about being in the sun, in which case the darker ones are better). Cultures with a declining birth rate seem to be ones that have given up on existence. I can’t get upset about someone pointing that out. I doubt for the future of such cultures. The facial characteristics of children don’t concern me. The lack of integration does.

        I’m freaked out that people are denying the obvious out of fear of being seen as racist. I’m not going to stop agreeing with particular statements even when they’re made by racists. If someone says “your race is bad”, the proper reply isn’t “it’s better than anyone else’s”, it’s “there’s something wrong with you”. But in this case, the second half of the statement that King made in defense of white people was correct.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky says:

          Cultures with a declining birth rate seem to be ones that have given up on existence.

          Or perhaps that have decided the part of the world where they live is comfortably full. With the necessary infrastructure all nicely built out. Of course, I’m an old grouch. If the forecasts hold up, another million people will move to Colorado over the next decade, the vast majority to the Front Range, a strip 125 miles long and 30 or so miles wide. It seems to me highly unlikely that it will be a more pleasant place to live as a consequence.Report

        • Jesse in reply to Pinky says:

          “I also believe that there’s something wrong with a culture that has stopped producing babies.”

          Why do you immediately assume that it’s a good thing for women to have lots and lots of kids? In reality, even though it’s bad for our long term financial balance sheet, it makes logical sense to only have one kid to focus on. Like, the US birth rate has basically been around 2 give or take a few tenths since 1970.

          Also, by the standards of even 50 years ago, every part of the world aside from small pockets of Africa are “giving up on existence.”Report

          • Murali in reply to Jesse says:

            Largely because it is easier to get the balance sheet right if the ratio of working adults to elderly dependants is large. i.e. your population distribution looks like an upright pyramid rather than an inverted one. An ageing population is not a pretty thing for the finances or the dynamism of a country.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Murali says:


              There is a big difference between what you wrote and what Steve King and Pinky are stating. Steve King’s tweet was “Oh noes, white women are not producing as many babies and the United States will be overcome with lots of brown and/or non-Christian people. You know, people like Saul Degraw and that Murali fellow.”

              He sounds like Tom Buchannon from The Great Gatsby or any other early 20th century eugenicist convinced of European and Christian superiority.Report

              • Murali in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Oh Steve King is being racist as hell. Pinky is being too charitable to King, but herself only made the natalist point. I’m just pushing back against anti-natalism (which, btw, is so 30 years ago)Report

          • Will H. in reply to Jesse says:

            Declining birth rates are a result of rising standards of living, the world over.
            That’s why they’re talking about a “demographic dividend” in India right now.
            Seems like an odd thing to argue against, but I’m not a member of his constituency.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:

          ““non-whites contributed less” is a true one.”

          Prove it.Report

          • Murali in reply to Kazzy says:

            Well as an actual historical fact, the extent to which western civ took advantage of parallel developments in other cultures is rather low. There are some instances in antiquity and gun powder is another, but any familiarity with both western and non-western cannons gives you the distinct impression that the west spent more time re-inventing the wheel than learning from others. Cultural chauvinism is not a recent thing. For instance, Kant and Confucius were similar in many ways (except that Kant had weirder metaphysics) but it is doubtful that Kant read any Confucius. So, if there is a question of who we owe the current iteration of those ideas to, we owe them to Kant rather than Confucius even if the latter did deal with them first. Astronomers in ancient India may have calculated a 365.25 day year but we owe our current calendar to Pope Gregory.

            Shorter me: Did non-western civilisations develop and were they advanced in various ways? Yes
            Is our current civilisation just about anywhere in the world a continuation of those civilisations? not really (apart from scattered efforts to revive and maintain certain cultural art forms). The fundamental patterns that societies have organised themselves into are distinctively western in geneology.
            Colonialism was a complete victory for the west. All other civilisations were wiped out. All we have left are the remnant of the remnant. And in our current democratic age, it is hardly desirable to rebuild any of that which was lost.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Murali says:

              Steven King could not write this.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to Murali says:

              An honest question, because I’m ignorant as a rock on this: “Did representative democracy suitable for use in a large body politic — at least city-state and preferably nation-state — arise anywhere outside Europe or European colonies?”Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Murali says:


              Why are we limiting this to western civilization?

              King’s words: “Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

              Pinky’s words (in full): “I don’t want to be scared off from supporting true statements, and while “non-whites contributed nothing” is a false statement, “non-whites contributed less” is a true one. It’s also racist. It’s a screwed-up way of viewing things. The overall culture that passed through Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome (and didn’t didn’t get re-routed through Mecca) has accomplished more than any other. It also happens to be packed with pale people.”

              Both are attempting to argue that culture created by whites is greater and more accomplished than that which was created by non-whites, with the distinction between Pinky and King being that the latter argues non-whites contributed nothing and Pinky that non-whites contributed something but demonstrably less than whites.

              Now, how do we go about determining which of these cultures was greater and whose contributions to which were greater than the other? For something to be true, it must be provable. I don’t think @pinky can prove his claim worth a damn.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

                That’s not what I said. I said it’s about culture, not race. I said that clearly.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:


                You said, “““non-whites contributed less” is a true one.””

                I asked you to prove it. Can you?Report

              • Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

                @pinky ,

                I don’t want to be scared off from supporting true statements, and while “non-whites contributed nothing” is a false statement, “non-whites contributed less” is a true one.

                Have you watched the video? This isn’t some subtle point about relative contributions. He is asked why specific minorities within the Republican Party–actual Republicans who hold office–aren’t there to speak. And Charlie whoever from Esquire unloads on white people and then Steve King says that those other groups of people haven’t done anything anyway.

                There is a world of difference between “white men have done more” and “we only need white men.”Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath says:

                But now he’s successfully shifted the conversation. Now we’re arguing if white men have contributed more and how to determine that and what that means and if it really counts as a “white contribution” if it was accompanied by enslavement or exploitation.Report

              • Murali in reply to Kazzy says:

                We are limiting this to western civ because today, no other civilisation exists any more. If there is a question as to which cultures in previous time periods have had the greatest influence on the civilisation we currently have today, then the answer is basically Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures, not because other peoples didn’t discover anything, but because that just happens to be the causal chain that was instantiated historically. Certainly colonialism played a big role in this. But the result of that is that today everything is western civ.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Just an observation:

                To the Left, “the rest of the world” means “Western Europe,” if not “Scandinavia,” unless there is a whiff of multi-culturalism in the air, in which case, a grave concern for the various tribes of aborigines (and all other obscure sub-groups– think of all the Hopi who are left-handed!) immediately becomes an overarching issue.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:


            I googled “most important innovations in history”. This was the second on the list, and I chose it because it had a high number of innovations (the first link had 11). It works out nicely because The Atlantic is probably a source that OT’ers are comfortable with.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:


              This is your proof? Someone else’s opinion? Opinions can’t be true. Or false. Facts are true. What facts prove your claim?

              It’s okay to backpeddle and acknowledge that it is your belief and not something that is demonstrably true. I won’t hold it against you.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

                Look, if you want to say that the most important product of any culture is kanji, then darn it, you’re right that the West didn’t create it. If you want to go with a reasonable list of significant accomplishments, then you’ll be hard pressed to argue that the majority of major innovations haven’t come from white people in the West.

                I can’t prove that a certain invention or work of art is the most important. I can look at reasonable inventories of such things. If you don’t accept that as sufficient, there’s nothing I can do about it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                But none of this has anything to do with King’s statements about mekin mo’ bebbies to preserve our “culture”. King doesn’t think it’s about Western culture generally: he thinks it’s about “demographics” (ie, race) as it relates to that broader culture specifically:

                Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.

                Somebody else’s babies? WTF? That’s white nationalism, dude.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                And what makes these types of defenses of King even weirder is that conservatives have criticized whole swaths of white American’s for adopting values anti-thetical to their conception of American “civilization”. I mean, the white community is apparently over-run with a Marxist extremists trying to destroy our Holy institutions from within. Amirite?Report

              • Greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                He also had a recent statement where he said wanted us to become more homogeneous, to look more like each other. Which seems hard to spin into something benign.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greginak says:

                Actually, it means the opposite of what you imply. “If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective.”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Amazing. Not that King would say that, but that you’d believe him. It reduces his initial tweet to pure gibberish. Which (I’d like to remind you!) was exculpatory account number 3 in my list of “partisan defenses for King’s statement”: he doesn’t understand the meanings of words in the English language.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                I didn’t say I believed him, just that Greg was characterizing it wrong.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

                Just in case this point got lost in the shuffle: my gut says that Rufus is right, that King’s a racist, a fool, or a racist fool. But that doesn’t make it ok to distort the meaning of what he says, as Greg seems to have done, and it doesn’t mean that a true thing he says is false.Report

              • greginak in reply to Pinky says:

                I went to look at the quote in context again and i still think it’s bad. Homogeneous in terms of culture is not some neutral idea. At best it implies there is one culture they we all must believe in without ever defining what that is. I know this is a big question, but what is the american culture that people must assimilate to? It always seemed pretty vague and meta to me.

                And how are people who are outside the culture treated. There have been plenty of peoples throughout American history who weren’t thought to be fully american in culture. Those people at times were Catholics, Jews, Gays, native americans. In fact native americans suffered terribly from attempts to make them assimilate into American culture. They were punished for speaking their language and taken off there lands. They weren’t’ allowed to follow their cultural practices in many ways.

                So maybe he walks back the race aspect in this one context a bit but saying we should have some sort of homogeneous culture is something to be feared i think and it isn’t benign.Report

              • Pinky in reply to greginak says:

                But he wasn’t talking about assimilation in that quote. He was talking about homogeneity in looks, the homogeneity of what Joe Sal called the “mutts”. He may have been secretly thinking of a Proud White Brotherhood; for all I know he’s thinking about one right now. Your comment was about whether his statement was spinnable into something benign, and I’d bet that praise of racial intermarriage is more benign than what you’d thought of when you heard that King wanted us to all look alike.Report

              • greginak in reply to Pinky says:

                Wait? You are arguing he wants us to intermarry to the point where we all look alike and he has repeatedly said nasty things about Mexican illegal immigrants, find common grounds with very white anti muslim Europeans and talks about preserving Americanness and you don’t see anything untoward in that??? Whose color do you think is going to get bred out. He is afarid of muslims, mexicans and non assimilating foreigners coming here to swamp us. That doesn’t’ read as he is picturing a future rainbow.Report

              • Pinky in reply to greginak says:

                As I said to Stillwater, I’m not arguing that King believes it. But his statement was about the wonderful world of race-mixing, and your comment was about whether that notion [or, rather, his statement about it] is benign.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Well, instead of merely wondering what he’s talking about put the comment in the context of the debate he was currently engaged in and the criticisms he was responding to. That might help resolve the issue, rather than viewing that one quotation in isolation and constructing a possible account of the man’s worldview.

                Fact is, we don’t have to do that. We have a bunch of comments from him over the years to inform our “interpretation” (heh) of his normal English sentence. He’s a racist. He’s talked about exactly this shit for a long time now.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                You bet your cantaloupes he is racist.

                (I’m assuming that sentence has never before been said before in human history so high fives to me)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Cantaloupes the size of calves. And that’s really big, dude.Report

              • Pinky in reply to greginak says:

                Five bucks says that one of the Monty Python guys said it first.Report

              • greginak in reply to Pinky says:

                Coconuts to that i say.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

                Cue the reaction Stephen Fry had when Allan Davies said to Cariad Lloyd “That iceberg is like your clitoris”.
                (It makes sense in context)Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                We went to great lengths to assimilate the native Americans (who by the Supreme Court’s definition aren’t native Americans, they’re Indians, while we are native Americans. Go figure).

                And it was a good thing done for the right reasons, because they quickly found themselves commanding bomber wings and aircraft carrier battle groups instead of living as nomadic hunter-gatherers with flint tools.

                Europeans and native Americans freely intermarried since we set foot on the continent. We’re all family. That family also includes blacks, because we freely intermarry too. In fact, judging by Hollywood, blacks marrying other blacks is becoming a rarity. Thus, over the course of several more generations, with Indians and SE Asians in the mix we’ll be pretty homogeneous. That’s just the way our genetic history works when people mix. That’s how Europeans came to look they way they do. They got invaded a couple of times. They used to be much darker, even after the invasion of agriculturalists, but the invasion of light-skinned Indo-Europeans from somewhere in central Asia lightened them up.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Notnunderstanding the meaning of words seems a key GOP strategy these days.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:


                Which means it isn’t true. Nor false. It is an opinion, something inherently subjective. Do you admit that?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m comfortable saying that there is some objective truth in the statement that genetics is more important than bonsai.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:


              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                In addition to misspelling “backpedal,” you’ve also categorically invalidated all scientific consensus.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky says:

          This isn’t a race man. The reason people used to have lots of kids back in the day was because most people were engaged in sustenance agriculture/cottage industries and most of your brood probably died before they hit 5. People needed lots of hands for labor.

          This isn’t true anymore and we have vaccinations that prevent most people from dying before their fifth birthday.

          As to what you think is true. Prove it. Also please prove that Steve King has ever read Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, etc. A lot of people who talk about the greatness of Western Civilization seem to know damn little about it.

          The Japanese invented or co-invented the novel (The Tale of Genji). Most of our basic mathematical concepts come from South Asian and the Middle East. The Mayans also developed the concept of zero IIRC.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            What a bizarre comment.

            There are examples of innovation from non-Western cultures, but no culture has ever approached things in the systematic way the West has. You don’t get to things like polyphony and calculus on a series of one-offs. The West has also been insatiably curious.about other cultures. It didn’t cease learning and exploration the way China or Islam periodically have. The most isolationist periods or Western history still match up against the most vibrant of other cultures.

            You can argue about why, but you can’t argue about the hundreds of innovations that the West collectively made or exploited. Korea came up with double-entry bookkeeping before Italy, but they never produced a Florence. The Chinese toyed with printing presses, but never approached the literary output of the West. Farmers have studied breeding everywhere, but Mendel founded genetics.

            As for King’s cultural intelligence, what do I care? How weird is it that you saw fit to challenge me on it.

            To you and Jesse: the demographic transition is still a fairly recent phenomenon (200 years or so). It’s still too soon to judge it. Generally, cultures have stopped reproducing when they collapse, due to famine or the like. If anything, people are more fecund when prosperous. The demographic transition isn’t a matter of immunization or farming; it’s a matter of culture. It actually tracks better to dialect.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky says:

              “Cultures with a declining birth rate seem to be ones that have given up on existence.”

              This statement is absolutely bizarre to me. The West (however you want to define it) is still having children. Just not as many as they used to.Report

              • notme in reply to Murali says:

                I wonder if their invention helped them fend off the Brits when they took over?

                Is this were this thread has gone with folks desperate to provide examples of things non westerners might have invented, though it has nothing to do with the original issue.Report

              • Murali in reply to notme says:

                Right…. the ones who violated others territorial and property rights are the more civilised ones…Report

              • notme in reply to Murali says:

                So what is your point? Yes the Brits came in and took over. How is that any different than one Indian ruler taking over the territory of another Indian ruler? I guess things are only bad when westerns do it.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Murali says:

                The infinite series wasn’t a “contribution” because it wasn’t contributed. If I don’t share something, I’m not contributing it to the community, I’m just keeping that thing in my barn. If it took until 2017 to learn that the Kerala school invented the infinite series back in the 1300’s, then the knowledge certainly wasn’t shared outside the Kerala school. As the article points out, outsiders apparently didn’t speak the medieval version of Malayalam, so it was a lost or neglected piece of knowledge.

                You’d be better off giving credit to Christian Huygens who used an infinite number of rectangles to solve the most vexing problem in all of physics in 1673, finding the center of percussion of a sword through purely analytical means.Report

              • veronicad in reply to Murali says:

                @murali — There are examples as early as Archimedes of using non-terminating sequences to compute finite values. See for example,

                In any case, this is not “calculus,” not until you see the duality between integration and the derivative. That is where the magic happened.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Pinky says:

          I also believe that there’s something wrong with a culture that has stopped producing babies.

          Did Americans stop reproducing? Like just stop? Because that’d be worrisome.

          A 100 years ago, 8 kids might have netted you 2 or 3 that lived to adulthood and possibly reproduced. (And you’d be lucky to only have one wife die in childbirth).

          Now you need…basically two kids to have two survive to adulthood, and far fewer wives in the process.

          We haven’t “stopped reproducing”. We’ve stopped over reproducing. We’ve stopped pounding out a dozen kids because we needed multiple hands to keep the farm going, and attrition was going to kill off half the buggers. We now have one or two, who tend to survive to adulthood. We go through less wives too.

          Do you think human history should always been population growth, rising forever? You’d think there’d be periods were growth would be flat, or even shrink at times for reasons other than “famine”?

          Have I given up on “white” culture because I just had one kid?

          It’s pretty interesting to juxtapose that idea (“Having fewer kids than your farm-working grandparents suffering from ridiculous child mortality rates is giving up on your culture”) with the other conversations we’ve had here about automation and the future of a permanent jobless class.

          I probably should have pounded out a dozen kids in the hopes one could land a job in our robot future. Sadly, I gave up on my culture….Report

      • George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        That’s not what he means or we’d be arguing over who invented fire (clearly African in origin). What he’s referring to is our modern world. It is largely the product of the European enlightenment and the subsequent industrial revolution.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to George Turner says:

          “…go back through history…”Report

        • Don Zeko in reply to George Turner says:

          Why are you framing your parameters in that way?Report

          • George Turner in reply to Don Zeko says:

            Because it logically follows from King’s statement regarding our civilization.

            King: “This whole white people business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

            There’s virtually no question that no outside group contributed more to Western civilization than Western Europe, or we wouldn’t call it “Western civilization”, we would call it something like “Asian civilization” or “Middle Eastern civilization”.Report

            • Don Zeko in reply to George Turner says:

              So why does King think it’s important or useful to make this point and frame it in such a way as to extol the virtues of white people?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Don Zeko says:

                He’s not extolling the virtues of white people, he’s extolling the virtues of Westerners. The thing about Western culture is that it’s pretty homogeneous, even when you include the Japanese. Swedes, Finns, Italians, French, Germans, Brits, and Americans have much the same culture, pretty similar government and legal systems, and similar social mores. You could swap them around without much concern and without anyone much noticing.

                What King is talking about is the problems caused by the mass immigration of people from outside Western culture, problems seen in Europe. The Europeans went with a couple unjustified and incorrect assumptions about immigration.

                Their only real prior experience with immigration was with Jewish immigration, and none of them had ever needed to do anything in particular to get Jews to successfully integrate and become highly productive members of their newly adopted nations. That’s because Jews had been doing that for millennia, with the caveat that for much of that time they restricted themselves to ghettos to preserve their own social workings. But in the past few centuries, Jews automatically integrate and establish themselves without the need for any outside influences.

                The Europeans also saw that America’s melting pot had successfully integrated waves of European immigrants, without stopping to consider that all those immigrants were European, from essentially the same culture that America was founded with.

                Then they looked at how America had few problems integrating large numbers of Mexican immigrants, again without pausing to consider that those Mexican immigrants had much the same culture as previous Italians and Spanish who were conservative Catholics. In essence, modern Hispanic immigrants, illegal or not, are culturally very similar to Americans in the 1940’s or 1950’s.

                The US absorbed about 2 million Vietnamese, but again, Vietnamese integrate really well. Hungary’s Orban (the bad boy of European immigration), says he wants more Vietnamese because they work harder and more successfully than Hungarians, fit right in, and are just wonderful people. But he doesn’t want any Muslims.

                So Western Europe assumed that Muslims would integrate just like the prior examples I listed – but they don’t. Or at least they don’t once you stop filtering to accept only Muslim doctors, lawyers, scientists, and engineers. Once you throw the door open to all their imams, truck drivers, and bricklayers, you get Muslim culture.

                You see, in contrast to some of these other groups, large numbers of Muslims don’t integrate, they occupy. Their view is that their culture is completely superior to Western culture and that we should adapt to them, not vice versa. This view has been hammered into them for centuries. A Saudi minister for Vice and Virtue complains about this common view and says it holds his country back because they reflexively reject all Western ideas. He points out that Europe has had many generations of Muslims who are still not remotely integrated. So France has suburbs where almost no Muslim males have gone to college, nor did their fathers and grandfathers. The areas where they live are culturally not French, they are still Algerian, Moroccan, etc.

                As their numbers grow very large, what they produce is their Muslim culture from back home, in which many feel free to correct Western behavior, sometimes violently. It is for this reason that Marine Le Pen’s strongest support a few years ago was from the French gay community. To them France used to be a place where they could be openly gay. In many areas they can no longer do that because they’d be assaulted or killed. For them, they’re no longer really living in France, they’re living in Morocco.

                The same holds true for ex-Muslims who are trying to flee Muslim culture. We have loads of those and they are quite adamant that they don’t want us to import the very culture they fled. Try reading Muslim atheist blogs for a feeling of what they go through back home, or check the #exMuslim hashtag on Twitter.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to George Turner says:

                He’s not extolling the virtues of white people, he’s extolling the virtues of Westerners. The thing about Western culture is that it’s pretty homogeneous, even when you include the Japanese. Swedes, Finns, Italians, French, Germans, Brits, and Americans have much the same culture, pretty similar government and legal systems, and similar social mores. You could swap them around without much concern and without anyone much noticing

                Like…all of Western history disagrees.

                I mean unless religion and race aren’t “Western culture”.

                I mean look at the bright side, though. It appears the centuries of Protestant/Catholic wars have probably finally stopped though. So progress!Report

              • Kim in reply to George Turner says:

                Gee, I’m so fucking glad to be lumped with the people who think it’s okay to beat your child to death with a stick.
                Or the ones that think it’s wonderful to let an 18 year old have sex with his brother’s 13 year old sister, and then CALL IT CONSENSUAL.

                I doubt you know about Japanese culture very much at all, in fact.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Kim says:

                Well, you have a point. We should probably round up all the Japanese Americans and put them in camps or something.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Goddamnit, @don-zeko ! What is so difficult to understand about how explicitly naming ‘white people’ doesn’t mean he’s talking about white people or race? For fucks suck… next thing you’re going to argue that wire tapping means wire tapping. How fucking hard is it for libtards to understand that words mean whatever conservatives need them to mean in that particular moment?Report

              • rmass in reply to Kazzy says:


  3. Saul Degraw says:

    You didn’t even include the original tweet where he praised Gert Wilders.

    The idea that the “West” will be overcome by countries where most people are not white is over a century old. Perhaps it is centuries old. These were the fears that lead to Jim Crow and Apartheid, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and a whole host of discriminatory laws.

    King is more trustworthy than others for saying the quiet parts loud but to many on the left, it seems like the GOP was the party of white supremacy for decades. They are getting more and more comfortable with an open white-supremacy.Report

  4. Burt Likko says:

    Well, look, we might do gyrations to interpret King’s remarks in the most charitable manner possible, and normally I’d be totes in favor of doing exactly that. Consider, however, A Short History of Congressman Steve King Saying Racist Shit. At some point, when a guy like this says something that seems racist, charity stops being the default interpretive lens.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

      There have been numerous discussions about whether Bannon and Trump are anti-Semitic because of their various assocations. Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner at the forefront. Also Bannon’s work in Hollywood.

      But the issue here is that part of the bigots power is to decide who is in the ingroup and out group. You can be a bigot but have special pleading exceptions. Perhaps Miller survives because he is like-minded with Bannon in many ways whereas most American Jews are not. After all, Miller’s politics are decried by his own family which seems to be bog-standard liberalism as is typical of most American Jews.

      Same with Ben Shapiro.

      One of the big issues I see with civility trolling and/or tone policing or mournful calls for the survival of the commonwealth is that the person making the accusation of bigot or racist or anti-Semite will always be at a disadvantage.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Sorry, @burt-likko … NOT FALLING FOR IT!

      I see zero instances of the N-word or any derivation of the N-word. Without that, nothing he said could possibly be racist!Report

  5. Why do we care what people say on Twitter?Report

    • Jesse in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Why does something said on Twitter by a US Representative matter less than something they say in person or on TV?Report

      • Christopher Carr in reply to Jesse says:

        I don’t think it matters less. But there are 350 million Twitter users. I would estimate that a disproportionately large amounts of “news stories” I’ve read recently take the form of:

        OOMMMGGGGGGGG, You Would Not Believe What Some Person Said on TWITTETETERRRRR!!!Report

        • Jesse in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          Sure, what AltRight599 says doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

          But, this is in theory, one of the 100 or so most powerful politicians in the country. Would you be more worried about this if he said something racist on actual TV? Because guess what, has Burt Likko has linked, he’s done plenty of that too!Report

        • A quick guess would be that this happens either because journalists are lazy or news rooms are short staffed.Report

  6. Lyle says:

    King is merely following a common trend in american history to preserve the country as it was by limiting new comers. Consider the Know Nothings, the 1924 immigration act which was against southern Europeans, and banned Asians and Arabs and severly restricted the immigration of Africans. It further banned folks from entering who could not become citizens (Chinese and Japanese in particular due to the yellow peril problem) During the 1920s the KKK was against Catholics because they were going to arrange for the Pope to take over. (Interesting how far the assimilation of Catholics has progressed in 100 years to where close to a majority on the supreme court is Catholic. )
    Consider that when Emma Lazarus wrote her poem the Chinese exclusion at was in force. Of course the statue was in NYC not San Francisco… This shows that historically the US has always had a zenophobic trend and proclaiming otherwise is a best fake history and worst propaganda. The pendulum swings back and forth on this as with a lot of social issues, but Lazarus’s poem never really was real. Check history folks before speaking on cable news. (BTW the 1924 act does imply that congress could pass a law forbidding folks from some countries to immigrate. )Report

  7. Slade the Leveller says:

    We can’t restore our civilization…

    I wasn’t aware that it had fallen. Then again, what do I, a denizen of the dystopian hellhole that is Chicago, know?Report

  8. notme says:

    King is right. Take Germany and Merkel’s imports for example. What is Germany going to look like with a bunch of folks that may, if forced to, speak Germen but aren’t German in any other sense? I doubt it will be Germany.Report

    • Jesse in reply to notme says:

      Ya’ know, there used to be a group of people worried about what Germany was going to look like in the future too…if only I could remember their name….Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to notme says:

      Why do you think they won’t be German in anything but their language? German lager beer has already conquered the world so they are already German in that respect. They will eventually learn to love pretzels, sausages, and mustard. Some of them might even end liking Wagner operas.Report

      • notme in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Sure, all the Muslims Merkel imported are going to become beer drinking pork eating germans with similar social mores. Whatever.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

          How many immigrants need to go to McDonalds before you walk back this bullshit?Report

          • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            What bullshit?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to notme says:

              Your assertions that Muslim immigrants to Germany won’t assimilate aspects of German culture beyond language.Report

              • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yes, so what? Does my opinion hurt your liberal sensibilities?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

                Quite a lot of Turks have been in Germany since the early 1960’s and yet still haven’t integrated by the third and fourth generations. They’re still Turkish speaking Muslims and a great many of them support Erdogan.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                But doesn’t German not allow them to become citizens? Aren’t they sort of permanent workers with limited rights? Am i misremembering that?

                I’ll bet they all sing along though at the football matches.

                I’d love write a longer comment but i’m getting hungry. For some reason i was thinking back to this little hole the wall place in Chinatown in NY. Great burgers and fries served by good ol white americans.Report

              • Pinky in reply to greginak says:

                Lee, Kazzy, and Greg all brought up food as an aspect of cultural assimilation. Can we agree that food is the easiest thing to assimilate? Can we agree that ideology is more difficult to assimilate, and the failure to do so is more likely to result in societal problems?Report

  9. Rufus F. says:

    Is it possible that he’s just an idiot? I mean, I’ve tried to parse out what “Western civilization” looks like if we remove the contributions of people who aren’t from “Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and America” and that doesn’t equal any recognizable “Western civ”, especially because his first example is Christianity.Report

  10. Kazzy says:

    I’m going to come at this from a different angle now (one I fully confess is not original to me)…

    Let’s assume that King’s initial statements were 100% factually true: civilization was built solely on the contributions of whites and whites only.

    Okay… that is a descriptive statement. It tells us what happened.

    So, now, the question is: What do we do with that information? What does it tell us about how we should act moving forward? What prescriptions can we derive from the description?

    Your answer may be to take the position that whites and only whites are capable of contributing to civilization… that there is something inherently superior about white people that allows them to contribute and something inherently inferior about non-white people that prevents them from contributing. And with this in mind, you might argue we would be well-served to maximize the number of white people and minimize the number of non-white people so that civilization can flourish.

    This, I hope we can all agree, is pretty much textbook racism and eugenics.

    Your answer may be that there are no inherent differences between whites and non-whites but there are cultural ones and these differences explain the ability of whites to contribute and inability of non-whites to do so. From there, you might argue that we should take a similar tack as above because of these cultural differences.

    This, I hope we can all agree, is pretty much the opposite of the values our nation (a nation of immigrants) was found upon.

    Given the conclusions — the prescriptions — that King seems to be advocating, it seems he would have to not only believe his initial comments to be wholly true, but also embark upon one of these processes of shifting from description to prescription. MAYBE there is another route… but I’m not seeing one that isn’t at least derivative of these two routes.

    So, which is it, Mr. King and his supporters: Are you racist? Or do you reject the values upon which America was founded?Report

    • George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

      He didn’t say anything remotely like that. He asked which group had contributed more to modern civilization. The answer is still “none”, even if whites are just responsible for 51% of modern civilization.

      It’s nothing inherent in being a white person, it’s that Europe spawned the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Industrial Revolution. Science and technology took root, as did mass production, giving us steam ships, cars, aircraft, telegraphs, telephones, radio, and the Internet.

      Often, even people from other cultures who made major contributions did so by moving to the West, where we had large universities and research centers. Later contributors outside the West often did so in universities styled on Western ones.

      What we’ve created now extends around the world, with schools and factories modeled on the Western system. The influence of Western militaries is even more pervasive, with virtually every army in the world divided into officers and enlisted men with ranks and rank insignia that are virtually the same everywhere.

      But the reach of such systems, what we term “Western Civilization” isn’t universal. There are many areas where education is reciting the Koran. There are areas that still burn people for witchcraft. There are a lot of areas where the culture is more different from ours than Europeans were in the Dark Ages. Some of those cultures are extremely resistant to change.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to Kazzy says:

      Well, looking at this particular video*, the other participants are focused on race and race groupings as is normal for typical liberalish MSM. Some where in the discussion turns to specifically white people. As is typical in MSM they weaponize ridicule** towards their outgroup. Which is in this case is white people. The comments are made about the outgroup being:

      shout down

      which guess what, it’s a group of people at a political event. Even if we for a moment put aside the fact that the media just parsed the event as a very white occurrance, King didn’t outright start into specific race. He first acknowledged that the others at the table had started up the whole white people ridicule dance that has become signature and launched into changing context into a broader ‘western civilization’ thing that should have dissassociated race as even white people in western civilization are not monolithic.

      He would have been better off letting the table yammer it’s own racial grouping thing and let that set to piss off every person in america that doesn’t fit into the racial groupings that MSM likes to put everybody in.

      *and not having any prior experiences viewing King yammering about race
      ** typical of Rules for Radicals rule #5Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Joe Sal says:

        @george-turner @joe-sal

        “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about.”Report

        • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

          It’s a guy on live TV talking about something he didn’t expect to be, stumbling his way toward the correct formulation, which he found in the next sentence.Report

        • Joe Sal in reply to Kazzy says:

          Hold on while I check my give-a-shetter about MSMs outgroup and Kings ingroup…….

          nope, still no needle movementReport

      • Jesse in reply to Joe Sal says:

        As a white guy, I don’t feel like part of the outgroup. Then again, I also don’t think it’s the end of the world we’re getting less white as a country.Report

        • Joe Sal in reply to Jesse says:

          Oh I didn’t mean to sound like it was ‘truth’ just that this is the little dance that the partisan folks are doing. It was the job of the MSM people to paint the white folk as an outgroup, and it was the job of King to defend his ingroup as ‘the bestest ever’. And the whole thing really has no context in any sense of reality than the playing of the game.

          In a republic I would assume ‘no grouping’ to be a starting point, so no one actually feels like an outgroup. We stop playing that game. Race in itself is a social construct and one of the more arbitrary ones IMO. When you look back twelve generations, any meaning of race is truly an abstract concept.

          We’re all mutts here.Report