White Fang: not just a book, but an attitude!

Really fascinating post about Jack London by Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy, directing the reader to a Slate review on a new London biography.

Somin: “London’s simultaneous advocacy of racism and socialism was no anomaly among early 20th century Progressives. As co-blogger David Bernstein and Princeton economist Tim Leonard document here, many Progressives had a similar combination of views (see also here). Indeed, large-scale government intervention in the economy was justified in part by the supposed need to protect white workers from competition by members of “inferior” races.

Even by the standards of the time, London was extreme in both his socialism and his racism. As Hari notes, London thought that the Socialist Party was far too moderate. Very few American Progressives shared his belief that the Chinese and at least some other non-white races should actually be exterminated, as opposed to merely subordinated to whites. But the basic combination of racism and economic leftism was all too common in the early 20th century.”

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