Shaking the Kaleidoscope

Clifford Simak’s City contains a device built into a kaleidoscope – you shake it, and look through it, and it alters your mind and your perceptions.

This is not a post about Simak, or City or Classical Science Fiction, but I’ll say in passing that the device – perfectly sensible way for a writer to dramatize the changing of minds necessary to take everyone out of Earth and into space – both fascinated me and made me uneasy.  The uneasy is because I don’t approve of any kind of mind-control.  Heinlein’s mind-engineering does the same to me: that creepy feeling at the back of the skull. It fascinated me because I had never seen a kaleidoscope and well… I like shiny things.  (In fact I just realized I don’t own one, which is a little odd.)  The other observation in passing is that Simak throws out more ideas under the guise of McGuffin or plot device that could be used for short stories or novels and that I mean to – supposing I get the time – mine a lot of them.  I mean, a pattern of shiny lights that can change minds?  That is an entire story – an entire novel.  That would turn society upside down (and not in a good way, probably.)

So, this brings us to…

A kaleidoscope.  You shake it and suddenly you see things in a completely different way.  That is how I woke up this morning, and it is an inconvenient feeling, uncomfortable and prickly, like clothes that don’t fit quite right or scratch the skin.

We’ve been talking about the death of Western Civ.  I still think there is a wound in our consciousness, something that is slowly destroying our spirit.

But back up.  No, back up further.  Take the long view.  The longer view.  See it from very far away.  This is what we do as science fiction writers.  Okay, fine, this is what science fiction writers are supposed to do.  In the last thirty years or so, they’ve mostly obsessed over the trendy cause of the moment: pesticides! Global cooling! Global Warming! Women’s equality! Squirrel!

What we’re supposed to do, however, if truth be told is take the long view, look at history, visualize things as they could go/would go/would be.  In a way if Science Fiction is anything more than fantasy with machines and engineers it is the ability to shake the Kaleidoscope and see things as if we weren’t ourselves and gain a new perspective on how things move and what is really going on, even when it presents in a way that seems totally different.

So imagine you’re a thousand years in the future, and you are learning about European history.  This is important.  European.  Remember that.

The first glimmer of an European identity was Rome.  Rome was the first European entity to look beyond tribalism – yes, yes, barbarians, but all the same, they considered these people, at least after a while, as potential Roman citizens.  That was a huge step, and why every large polity in Europe since harks to Rome and tries to imitate or revive Rome, consciously or not.

We fall victims to this too.  We think of ourselves in terms of the Roman empire.  I wonder how much of this is the Soviet Union’s doing.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, the one thing they’re really, really, really good at is propaganda and the rewriting of history, partly through commanding pet intellectuals.

They loved comparing us to the decadence of Rome.  Partly because it made their people feel better about living in caves and eating acorns – sorry, that was how the Romans of the republic seemed to view virtue.  Yeah, I know, the Soviet Union was somewhat better.  Maybe.  Most of the time.

The funny thing is that we are in no way in the mold of Rome.  The Soviet Union was closer.  (Which again, from the distant future would make perfect sense.  The communists were the Red Tzars – tzar being a corruption of Cesar.  These things aren’t hard to seek.)  Like Rome it was an empire which relied on loot to make the life of its citizens back home better (it wasn’t as successful as Rome.)  Like Rome it had a populace on bread and circus (though again, at least if history is semi-accurate, not nearly as successfully) while the people who ran the society lived lives of unimaginable luxury.  (Unfortunately still rather lower than the lifestyle of our middle classes, except for power over other human beings.)

The rest of Europe is not that much different – no, please, listen, I’m not doing Europe down.  We come from them, and to an extent they were the best example of human civilization until we came along.

But all amity between colony and mother country(ies) aside, let’s keep in mind who and what we are.  We are the dregs, the rebels, the rejects of Europe.

The people who stayed behind are those who fit into Europe’s pattern, which again, comes from Rome.  Yes, yes, Rome fell.  Yes, yes, we lost technology.  But the Roman pattern was preserved, brought back.  And to an extent that was good because the Roman pattern transcended tribalism which makes Europe different from the rest of the world.  In Rome you could be a citizen no matter who your brothers, your cousins, your parents were.  This is not true anywhere else.

Europe, to an extent, ported the same pattern of citizenship, of a state that is larger than the tribe.  Of a civilization that is larger than tribes, than blood, than that kind of loyalty.

Now, view it as a journey.  Europe conquered Africa and the Americas not because it is uniquely colonialist or imperialist but because it had transcended tribalism.  Look, when conquered the “new worlds” we were slightly more advanced in weaponry than the natives, but not by that much and not by that far.  But the furniture in our heads was different.

Time and again, I read stories of colonization where the natives acted in the way that had always worked in tribal warfare: they killed everyone in the colony in a horrible way.  If they were facing a tribe the size of normal tribes, this would make colonizing their land too expensive.  It would stop colonization cold.

Only they weren’t facing a tribe.  Reports of the atrocity in European Newspapers brought the wrath of all Europeans on them.  The end was always the same.

(We’ll pretend here that I explained that Christianity hooked on top of Roman citizenship to eliminate tribalism, and that also European colonization was aided by germs and blah blah, blah.  Not germane.  We’re a thousand years in the future, the details have softened.)

Now look at the last century.  The two world wars, not as world wars, but as the wars of European Unification.  The decision of who gets to run western civ.  Then expansion, always expansion because the old European model is the old Roman model.  You go abroad and you get good things to bring home.

Only they’ve lost the plot a little (because of the horrific long civil war of the twentieth century) and they forgot that model implies conquest and despoiling.

On the other hand, the European model is going everywhere: India, China.  Yes, yes, it is our tech they use, but it is the European model of civilization.  They’re still expanding.

And that brings us to where we are.  The war with Islam is just the front in the current European Expansion.  Europe is, of course, expanding its form of government, its mental furniture, to the lands of Islam, and Islam resents it.  They are the ultimate tribalist society.

Then there’s us.  We are the other front in that war.

You see, we are part of Western civilization, but not part of European civilization.  Even our parent, Great Britain, is only half digested into Europe.  We are the castoffs, the redheaded step child.  Part of them, but not.

Part of their resentment of us over intervention in the two world wars is the resentment of parents whose kid intervenes in an argument – particularly if the kid was right.  If you view the long war of the twentieth century as a civil war, they resent we came in and settled it.

And they’ve done a lot of projecting – aided by Soviet propaganda – they call us imperialist and war mongers, because they can’t bear that in themselves.

And also they have no clue what makes us work, not really.  They don’t know why we innovate more than they do.  They don’t know why our consumer society is what is softening their politics advancement into the rest of the world.  They know it, but they resent it.

We are of them, but we are also the others.  And being the others, we must be absorbed, and we must be brought in line.  There can be no competing mental furniture, as Europe takes over the rest of the world.

Which brings us to where we are.  Since the early twentieth century, they’ve been conquering our intellectuals, our universities, convincing them the European way is better.  (And look, they’ve changed from monarchy to “democracies” of various kinds, but the same people are in charge.  The bureaucrats that have the real power are the same people – often from the same families.)  They’ve been telling them about the soft power of redistribution, of socialism, of an entrenched bureaucracy, set to encompass the world.

Intellectuals – and bureaucrats – like that.  It’s the sort of power they understand and the sort of power they crave.

And now intellectuals and bureaucrats are in power.  Europe is trying to swallow us.

It won’t work.  Of course it won’t. They don’t understand the reason the soft imperialism has worked is because we remain free to create wealth that can redound back on them in more ways than one.  (Not just aid, but us being the main consumer of the world’s goods – the engine of the world’s commerce.)  They don’t understand that, because all they understand is the old model: wealth comes from elsewhere and makes the people at home prosperous.

They don’t understand that without America it will have to be back to Roman-style (or Soviet Style) rapine and everyone will be a little poorer.  All they understand is that we make their model look bad and we must – must – be brought into line.

So – that’s where we stand.  Islam is a front in European expansion (and they’re completely dysfunctional and have nothing to oppose it, so they turn on… us – because it’s our gadgets and our wealth that are dismantling their poverty and ignorance from within.)  Curiously, we have to fight them too.

But we’re the other front.  We’re under assault by Europhiles who think that if they just bring us under control, they’ll be in charge of the world.  A sort of empire of the paper-pushers.

Even if they succeed — and they’re well on the way there — all they’ll manage is a brief period of time of increasing misery and then (and in this the Roman analogy is somewhat apt) an age of darkness.  (No, don’t want to hear it.  Yes, yes, the middle ages were not as dark as painted.  And yet, for the average peasant, they were.  No, life might not have been as blood-soaked as some parts of Roman history could be, but it was still brutal and nasty and short.  Yes, I know the works to the contrary.  This seems to be part of the European project.  As in the Soviet Union, it’s the past that keeps changing.) And then probably a repetition of the pattern all over again.

If they eliminate us, as the new model, their model will still be the best thing in human civilization.  And when civilization comes back again, it will be in their model.

I have only one question for you guys – are you going to let them get away with it?

UPDATE: Welcome instapundit readers, and thank you, Glenn, for the link!

And if ya’ll are so inclined, go and vote for me on the Gay Patriot Conservative Diva Bloggress Poll. (Or for one of the others, if you think you should.  The competition is formidable.)  Remember, you can vote once a day.

197 responses to “Shaking the Kaleidoscope

  1. No, but it’s going to be a long and uphill fight, and fought on a thousand fronts all at once.
    Not that that should discourage anyone…

    • Well, I don’t think this bunch CAN be discouraged. Odds are odd and our branch of Odds was born fighting.

      • “Born Fighting” – a title by James Webb (who while a disappointment as a Senator still occasioning writes something decent. However his version is about Scots-Irish … ;-)

        • yeah. I’d guess it also applies to us others. (Sometimes one really wants the Spanish Nos Outros — spelling?)

          • You can probably claim some Celt blood ;-)

            • No probably involved. The area was HEAVILY Celtic. It also seems we have Irish and Scottish blood more recently and I’d bet on English too, considering a branch of the family are the Brites (pronounced Britts.) (not surprising. The area was sort of where the British isles sent their ne’er do wells for a long time, before they had colonies to send them too.)

              Now there is a Celtic music festival in the region, in recognition of its having been — once upon a time — a cultic center…

              • I was looking at your neck of the woods (in Portugal) just last night. I started out looking at something Charles had posted on Facebook in Spain, they just got adventurous. If I’d have known the name of your village, I’d have found it and done a screen capture. We’re going to HAVE to get together one of these days.

                • We certainly are. But there are three villages of the same name. Before the zipcode system letters often took a tour of all three before the postman looked at the envelope and went “oh, I know that family.”

              • Two things come to mind that feed into the big mess(picture, if you prefer):
                You’d mentioned that one of the things about Rome was that anyone could become a Roman, which did not happen elsewhere; same thing here. My kids, if you count everything, are parts Scots-Irish, Cherokee, English, Kiowa-Apache and German(and if something a grandmother once mentioned is true, a bit of Swede in there somewhere); here that makes them full-blood American. From what I’ve read, one of the problems in Europe with the guest-workers(mostly muslim) and many immigrants is that they never can become French or German or whatever; a real problem because if people can’t or won’t integrate you wind up with- well, what they’ve got.

                Second, ran across this the other night:

                http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/22/gun-restrictions-have-always-bred-defian

                Very short version: in most places in “We don’t allow that here” Europe(and other places) unregistered illegal guns outnumber the legal ones, by anywhere from large margins to multiples. And in some countries they haven’t just not talked about it(ignore what doesn’t fit our picture), they change the past, rewriting the previous numbers to make it look like there’s no problem. Which means, the next European Civil War breaks out, it’s going to be even more of a surprise to the bureaucrats, both in breaking out and in ferocity(unless they get VERY lucky and people are more restrained, which I wouldn’t count on).

          • Supplying the Spanish: Nosotros.

        • Walter Russell Mead personifies this American cultural meme in Andy Jackson for good reason. The Jacksonian strain in our society is largely content to live and let live, but when the fighting starts they rise up fiercely.

    • *Grin* My ancestors have been chased or driven out of all the best neighborhoods. No way I’m moving again.

      • Ditto. Or as I tell my sons “You’re descended from all the BEST, most fierce sorts of sons of b*tches.” ;)

      • I believe we have more Irish than anywhere except Ireland, as Napoleon (I think, could have been someone else) said, “The Irish are the best d*mn soldiers in anyones army, if they could keep from fighting amongst themselves they would rule the world.”

      • Yeah. I’m descended from pirates, freebooters, debtors who were thrown off the boat by Oglethorpe and spent the next two hundred years waiting for the trailer park to be invented, and my maternal grandfather was chased out of the Choctaw Nation by a posse.

        Sometimes I feel like such a failure.

        • Some of my maternal ancestors got tossed out of Scotland for “liftin’ th’ kai” as they say, then out of Ulster, and chased out of the Tidewater and Tennessee. Others departed Alsace for religious reasons. And then there’s the paternal ancestor who petitioned the state legislature to legitimize his 20 children by his two common-law wives . . . Yeah. I’m an underachiever.

          • Well, if we’re going to brag about it, my ancestors were either deported with Zedekiah or fled with Jeremiah back when “Rex” was still a term of respect in the village of Rome. Their descendants who got to be my ancestors were those whose “not being there” skills stayed sharp.

          • Have a friend in Texas who found a document on the clan she’s descended from. Seems they were originally from a bit north in Scotland, and wound up trading lands with another clan: the other wanted some space from the border, and hers wanted closer because it would be easier to go shopping(as it were).

            Also leading to the saying that there were cattle and sheep who’d been across the border so many times they had dual citizenship.

        • Well I am related to Eric the Red–who left because of a murder. We have at least one horse thief and one witchfinder. Also Viking raiders. ;-)

  2. Gregory Peter DuPont

    I agree that the Leviathan Statists will not be successful in the VERY long term….what worries me is the damage they shall wreak as we trudge towards Damascus.

  3. Wayne Blackburn

    An interesting way to look at it. That puts the Rich in the position of the outsiders who must be conquered and pillaged in order to enrich the Leaders and the Bureaucracy.

    • Which makes sense: if all the “normal” and “correct” people are poor (relatively) or at least those who “identify with” and “understand” those “poor” [yes, this is getting memetically complicated], then people who are “rich” are the Other. In a few ways, this is the actual truth: the hereditary wealthy simply think differently than those of us who have had to occasionally choose not to by that new Ferrari in order to make the rent next month. So there is an Otherness to it. On the other hand, I’m not of the opinion that means we should steal from them.

      • Buy that new Ferrari — falls on the floor crying with laughter. Man, you sure can tell them.

        And yet, you know, I don’t envy them? I like to know there are people in the world who are better off than I, if that makes sense.

        • It makes perfect sense. For one, our brand of Odd actually enjoys the chaos inherent in that very insecurity. To a degree. Now and again. At least philosophically. It’s easy motivation when you HAVE to do something worthwhile in order to keep body and spirit together. If everything is provided, only the self-motivated do things, and they often turn to activities that – while interesting and challenging – aren’t particularly edifying. They certainly don’t often create; bring something new or beneficial into the world. There’s a bit of an edge to living with a modicum of fear, and it’s one I think a lot of us have come to appreciate, if not outright enjoy.

          We need a new frontier.

        • Perfect sense!

          “[Americans] don’t envy those who are more talented than we are or who have achieved more success, we admire them. We don’t strive to bring them down, but instead try to bring ourselves up. These feelings are rooted in the idea that those who succeed in a free society do so largely as a result of their own labors, be that through invention or hard work or good timing.” — Cong. John Campbell

          “That some are rich shows that others may become rich.” — Abraham Lincoln

          • Oh good – those quotes are able to put that feeling I have about it into words that make sense.

            All the time you see people who say something along the lines of, “Doesn’t it make you sense that [person or job type] is rich/has all that money?” And almost every time I’m thinking, “No, not really. May not admire the person or think that job is vital, but who am I to resent their success? I’d like to be half as successful.” (The “almost” qualifier because every once in awhile, there will be someone who got rich off of being hateful or an outright thief or murderer and I think that the exception is fair.)

            A surprising number of people don’t seem to get why I don’t resent “dumb” athletes and “wild” actors and “trashy” writers for making money hand over fist. I suppose I should ask if they resent poor people from hitting the lottery. I know they largely resent those who inherited money. And though I still feel the same that I don’t really care – happy for them and hope they keep it – it’s harder to put those feelings into words other people will accept.

            • I wanna be a trashy writer! They make da cash.

            • Have gone round & round with people over that; they don’t understand why I’m not resentful that someone has made themselves rich, and I don’t understand why it bothers them: someone succeeding in becoming rich IS NOT A THREAT TO ME, and I really don’t understand the mindset that sees it as such.

              Same way I see the death tax as nothing more than theft under color of law, and they see it as somehow ‘fair’ to steal a big chunk of someone’s estate. Even if it means the family business goes under or the farm or ranch has to be sold to pay the damned tax.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Now we need to convince enough people that that attitude is part of the very definition of being American, instead of the great mass of people here who have bought into the notion that they are poor because someone else is rich.

            • “Being American” is an unnatural state of mind. If the purpose were to propagate genes in a hunter/gatherer economy at full population-density capacity, it would fail.

              American memes are much superior in the modern world, where food is plentiful and wealth is more information than anything else. But getting brains evolved for Paleolithic conditions to accept them is very much an uphill battle.

              As our hostess said, we’ve been accepting slick oil as the battlefield for a few generations now. We need to get better.

      • But the Leaders (I’d call them Masters, but my mother raised me to be polite) of the chronically poor learned-victimology class are as rich if not richer than the current piss poor (there are limits) crop of leaders of the independant hard workers.

        At some point their victims are going to realize that and string them up. I just hope it’s before they’ve rioted and destroyed the means of production everyone depends on.

        • Well do I know it. I keep expecting some kind of grassroots movement aimed at all the politicians. Saw a shot recently of Obama/Kerry with a caption of something like, “2012 re-election campaign focused on convincing the electorate that rich people are out to screw them, appoints a man with a personal worth of $240 million as SecState.” And yet these people keep getting elected. Somehow, these folks have managed to snow the public into conveniently forgetting that their personal wealth precludes them from having the same concerns as the rest of us working stiffs. My mind, she boggles.

          • I’ve never had any success making that argument. The Other Side is fully aware that their leaders are as rich as Croesus, but their nobility and compassion (expressed as their party affiliation) makes them different and acceptable.

        • It certainly seems like ALL of the folks who routinely express so much concern for the poor and downtrodden are very wealthy – from the media talking heads, to the victim-group representatives trotted out every time there’s a ‘crisis,’ to the politicians, to the NGO folks, to the UN employees.

          I read something recently detailing the Non Governmental Organizations have had such a hard time with the economic downturn reducing their income from governments and individuals that they had to reduce what they’ve been spending, though not in how much they pay their employees – that’s still gone up.

          Also note the one absolutely certain way in the modern U.S. to become a millionaire is to be elected to the U.S. Senate (if by some mischance you happen to not be one already – if you are, you get MORE millions).

          The hordes of government employees who are compensated so much more than equivalent private sector workers, yet enjoy ironclad job security unheard of in the private sector, are another aspect of this. For the masses of unemployed folks in the real world, landing a Federal GS-paygrade (or SES!) job would be pretty much like winning the lottery.

          Of course they all simply deserve this due to their selfless efforts on behalf of the oppressed. It would be ridiculous to suggest they are actually the oppressors enjoying the spoils of oppression.

          • The sarcasm load in your last paragraph is making the blog buckle.

          • Mike, I’m glad I’m wearing my boots, because it’s gettin’ awful deep. :)

          • My daughter is going into showbiz, which means she has a narrow chance of making it big and becoming one of the neo-gentry’s Good Rich. If you make a fortune in sports or entertainment, somehow that is OK while making a fortune providing any other kind of voluntarily purchased product or service is exploitation. But even if she makes it, she’ll probably blow the chance by offering to sing the national anthem at a Paul Ryan appearance or something.

            Of course, as you observed, the most virtuous way to make a fortune is by Serving The People, including parlaying high office into insider trading opportunities and ways to extort good deals from industries that require your favor to operate. See Peter Schweizer’s recent book “Throw Them All Out” for far too many examples.

    • As the National Socialists discovered, it does not matter who owns the resources; what matters is who controls them. When a petty bureaucrat can determine whether you can build a house on property you own, then you do not really own it, do you? The more the political class is able to exercise control over assets, the more their rent-seeking is enabled.

      But the dumb b@stards are so greedy they will forever choke the golden goose.

  4. In the immortal words of Chesty Puller, “So they’ve got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those b*****ds won’t get away this time!”
    Just remember–Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape.

  5. Resentment – Much of Jane Fonda’s eagerness to see the U.S. of A. bloodied in Vietnam (not anti-war but anti-American though Joan Baez was anti-war) is due to the French belief Fonda acquired (through Roger Vadim and the people around French film making) that if France failed (not only as a colonial power but as a decent society with any regard for the folks France sent to hell in a very small place – the cause wasn’t progessive so the people deserved every condemnation after they lost) surely the U.S. of A. would and by rights ought to fail. Corrosive envy corrodes.

    See also e.g. The Fourth Rome – Drake/Morris ARC riders series and Kratman’s Caliphate (still free from Baen)

  6. They can have my Western Civilization when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. And it’s not just me: I gots friends.

  7. In an odd sense, there is a parallel between the United States and Islam, though not an obvious one. Look at the terminology: Muslims distinguish between the dar al-Islam, the house of peace/submission, and the dar al-Harb, the house of war. What’s the difference? What is Islam submission too? Ultimately, it’s submission to law: Despite all his ghastly faults, Muhammad was a successful judge and mediator, who got a bunch of murderous clans to agree on a set of rules. Those rules were backed up by divine authority and by claims to divine revelation—but that wasn’t unusual then: When Iceland, for example, became Christian, they agreed that they wanted to have their law, but that it had to be backed up by divine authority, and they had to agree on either Christian or pagan divine authority.

    Well, here in the United States, we have a law, the Constitution. And it defines a sphere of peace. But it does so partly because it can tolerate no rival laws. Muslims are welcome here, but they have to submit to a law that lets rival faiths preach to them, that lets people criticize their god and their prophet, that lets their children adopt other beliefs and not be killed as apostates, that lets their women go unveiled, that expects them to live side by side with Jews and atheists—just as Christians and Jews were accepted in Muslim lands so long as they accepted the supremacy of Islam. We’re rival claimants to supreme authority. We define the new dar al-Islam; when we were attacked, we declared the attackers to be terrorists, and the states that were connected with them to be outlaw nations, and got the world to go along.

    You can’t have rival laws in a contained sphere. That’s a market disequilibrium, like having widgets sell for $5 in one store and $50 a mile down the road. If a property owner in a small town refuses to call the sheriff, that’s their business, but if they shelter outlaws who raid the town, the sheriff will be at their gates. You put two laws in a confined space and they fight. And our universal law is better than theirs, in a very practical sense of “better”: It lets us cooperate more widely, it makes us richer than their caliphs were a millennium ago, it gives us technological change and an economy of creative destruction, it makes us militarily their superior. They have to regard us as a threat.

    Or so it seems to me. I’m only an amateur historian; I could be misunderstanding what’s going on.

    • I think the primary flaw in your comparison is that it ignores the fact that Islamic Law is essentially fixed in the 7th Century, while the American Constitution contains inherent structures enabling it to adapt to change. So you are comparing Fixed Law and Mutable Law although they are not at all the same.

      • I’m not sure that’s valid. At most, it’s a matter of degree. After all, for the past century or more, progressives have been bitching about the United States constitution being stuck in the 18th century, and being unfit for a modern society.

        But insofar as that is true, I would say that that’s part of how our universal law is “better” than the universal law of Islam, which I stipulated to be true; but it doesn’t alter the implications of their both being universal laws, “with all that that implies” (as Kipling said in “As Easy as A.B.C.”). You cannot have two different universal laws in the same confined space; they’ll fight. The clash of fixed and mutable law is just one form of such a fight.

        • That was simply because they wanted to ignore it. The places they DID change — the direct election of Senators and the Income Tax, have proven destructive of government AND society, or have wandered widely from what they were to be originally.

          There are major differences between the US Constitution and Islam
          – The Constitution establishes three branches of government; there is but one source of government in Islam, and that’s the Koran.
          – Elected representatives pass the laws that govern people in the United States; The Koran and the Hadiths govern EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE in Islamic Society. They are, by decree and by definition, unchangeable, since they “came directly from Allah”. If there’s a need for a new interpretation, a group of Imams decide what’s going to be, and decree it will be that way.

          If you think our government is ANYTHING like Islam, you haven’t spent enough time studying either our government or Islam.

          • and under those “cravings” about five years before 9/11, I read everything I could find about islam…

            • I went through wanting to understand Islam before 9/11. I read everything I could get my hands on that had been translated into English. At the time it had looked like the Middle East was starting to pull together– and then 9/11 happened and I realized that it was only wishful thinking on my part– made me pretty sad too.

              My brain did a wash during chemo–so I forgot a lot– Cytoxan was my nemesis.

          • Not only did the Koran come directly from Allah, but it came through one man. That makes it impossible to use different points of view from multiple authors to induce reform…. and they’ll chop your head off for trying.

    • David R. Graham

      Fine comment, thanks. The operator is the claim to exclusive validity. When adherents of a religion make that claim for the religion they claim to represent, war with adherents of another religion(s) is inevitable.

      “The West,” aka the Latin Church, is facing Afro-Mohammedan Imperialism and winding up to squash it as the parvenu side-show it is. We’ll know that is underway when al Saud is given an ultimatum: leave the Arabian Peninsula to Hashemite! The primary enemy of “the West” (a pejorative, anti-Christian term of Jewish origin) is who-else-legitimately-exists-but-me?-no-one-! China.

      Hoyt’s re-seeing of our condition also is fine. India, USA and Russia are brothers who comprise the telos of inter-national history for centuries forward. Not Hoyt’s point but mine, building on hers. Germany and Japan are tier two developers of that telos.

      Thanks, Sarah.

  8. Heh. Er, would that make those of us who live in Europe something like the fifth column? Although I have to admit my operations have been mostly restricted to writing occasional entries in different newspaper net pages opinion forums. And even that is getting rarer as more of them now require registration, which is something I don’t want to do. Not necessarily because I don’t want them to have my information, more, I’m afraid, because I have a hard time keeping all the passwords I need already in some sort of order, especially since I prefer random number/word/letter sequences nearly impossible to remember. Plus nowadays I often avoid reading those newspapers and those opinions because a lot of them are bad for my blood pressure.

    That thought of us being the others is interesting, by the way. With all this talk about ‘The Other’ and understanding him/her you find in the PC approved fiction while the fact that very often their preferred ‘Others’ are also the ones most intolerant towards other ways of thinking tends to get neglected in those stories – or approved, us seemingly being the only ones who really need to understand other ways of thinking, which, I suppose, also at the same time reduces those ‘Others’ to the level of children in some ways – it’s also rather funny.

  9. Perry J. Taylor

    Huh? Sorry, I didn’t make it passed Squirrel! :) Only joking, great thoughts. Now I’m off to see about these books you have for sale over on the right there.

  10. I have a solution — it’s just difficult to carry out. Once I finish developing my ideas, I’ll post them on my website, saving Sarah’s bandwidth.

    • And you’ll give us a link, natch — though you know, you CAN do a guest post. I reserve the right to edit, but right now I could use a few guest posts here, so I can guest elsewhere. (Oh, what tangled webs we weave …)

  11. I live and work in the belly of the beast, so I’m still in the Survive-Evade part of the equation. ;P and I do mean the belly. I’m surrounded by people who live off the carcase of racial differences. Someday, just before I leave my job, I want to point out to the sharpest ones just how they’ve been ghettoized and neutered by the powers-that-be, and that the culture they demonize is the one that respects them the most.

  12. The analogy between Rome and the US predates the USSR, may it rest in pieces. The seal of the SENATE of our REPUBLIC has FASCES on it, and it meets on the CAPITOL. But I am pretty sure Europe harkens more to Roman decadence. The decadence was not having luxuries, but idleness. We seem to work harder.

    • To an extent — yes. the founders liked Greece and Rome — but I meant the Roman decadence/Roman twilight. And I agree with you.

      • The founders of the U.S. wanted to emulate the better aspects of the Roman Republic yet very much wanted to avoid recreating the Roman Empire, and exerted extreme efforts in conceiving our original federal republican system to achieve those ends.

        They were smart, well read men (many read both Latin and classical Greek), and they did pretty well. Only by tearing down some of the built-in safeguards have we come to our current straights.

        As re the USSR and todays Russia – Russian civilization from a very early point has included a core claim to being the true heir of the Roman Empire, via the Eastern Roman Empire/Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church. If you view the post-1991 actions of the Russians through that filter, a lot of it makes much more sense.

        • Actually if you view Soviet history from about 1930 or so ti 1991 through that same filter it makes more sense too.

        • There is a reason there is a city in Ohio named Cincinnati – not only did our Founders admire the Roman legend of the general / farmer who returned to farming when war was done, but they explicitly compared General Washington to Cincinnatus and were in effect naming the city after Washington.

          • Keep in mind that when America’s Founders were laying the foundation for this nation Gibbon’s Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire was current reading. They all knew the pitfalls that befell the Roman Republic and sought to avoid those. They thus openly rejected the European model of feudalistic society which our modern elites seek to install.

          • Quite correct. A bit of obscure local lore, the outpost here, before the founding of the Columbia settlement in 1792, was called Fort Washington.

            M

  13. All our problems are the result of the printing press. Civilization progressed slowly for the better part of 8,000 years. An agrarian society produces only so much innovation. Sure, empires come and go, but how much difference does that make to the man tilling the soil? And then Guttenberg invents movable type and upsets the whole apple cart. It’s four-hundred years later and humanity is still trying to find the balance between tradition and modernity. And the ideas just keep coming! Post-modernism is nonsense. We are still pre-modern and trying to come to terms with a transition of monumental proportions. Look for the birth of true modernity in about another millenium or so. Our age shall be known as the Middle Ages Part II. And that’s why everything is such a mess. Such is life in a transitional age.

    • I’m not so keen on the title “The Middle Ages Part II”. Our audience may not understand the Roman numerals and may think they missed parts 2-10.

      What about “Revenge of the Middle Ages”? Or “The Middle Ages Strike Back”? Or “The Middle Ages Return”?

    • The more you extend your timeline, the more your perspective changes. This is good fodder for sci-fi buffs. Let’s say you’re a student of history 50,000 years from now. What’s your attitude toward the 20th century? Given the industrial sclae killing – maybe a second Dark Age? Or maybe a time of great social and technological progress? Or maybe just a transition from this to that? Let’s say we could make just one giant leap forward in any one area of human endeavor. What would it be?

      • Now there’s an idea — borrow from Spinrad’s Iron Dream and write a historical fiction set in late 20th Cent America, written in, oh, say Cent 27 (what can I say – I like 3-cubed!)

        Have some fun by mangling period details, such as putting Patton alive in 1980, treat fictional characters like James Bond as real, go full fan fic in portions.

  14. From a far future perspective . . . “The end of the industrial age was marked by wild swings of astonding impracticality, politically, economically and especially ecologically, before the information age became so widespread and successful that other countries either joined or remained mired in poverty. Entire manufacuring industries were exported to backwards countries as distributed and home fabrication took over, first in North America, spreading quickly to Japan and India, then . . . “

  15. Just a note that Russia has long seen Moscow as the “Third Rome”. In part, this comes from believing that their brand of Christianity is the only pure form left. But they also believe that they hold the moral high ground after stopping the rampaging Mongols. The lack of help from the West is, they perceive, a damning indictment of the un-seriousness of the West in helping a fellow Christian country. Kind of like the West sat back and watched the Mongols rape Russia.

    • Although of course, “stopped the Mongols” is mostly a case of “gave fealty to the Mongols until they could turn on them several generations later,” and a lot of the giving fealty was (IIRC) in the service of doing down Kyiv the Great, their economic rival, and getting rid of extraneous heirs and siblings, that kind of thing.

      Buuuuuut Russians like to remember certain things their own way.

      The other thing that’s very interesting is that, early on, Novgorod was pretty much all-merchants all-the-time (albeit the merchants were Russian Vikings) and was a fairly democratic city-state, run by a council (IIRC). They got thrown under the bus of Moscow also.

      • Russian Vikings? I think I’ve read that it was really the other way ’round. The “Rus” were a tribe of Vikings that raided down the Russian river drainages and set up as local lords.

        • Yes; basically the Danish and Norwegian branches of the Vikings turned out into the Atlantic while the Swedish decided not to try to fight past the others and turned into the interior of Russia.

  16. “Time and again, I read stories of colonization where the natives acted in the way that had always worked in tribal warfare: they killed everyone in the colony in a horrible way. If they were facing a tribe the size of normal tribes, this would make colonizing their land too expensive. It would stop colonization cold.

    Only they weren’t facing a tribe. Reports of the atrocity in European Newspapers brought the wrath of all Europeans on them. The end was always the same.

    The core of the difference between the “Western war of war” and the eastern, Victor Davis Hanson explains this in his “Carnage and Culture” – a fascinating book.

    • I have it, but it’s int he mountainous TBR pile.

      • It used to give me pause to contemplate the reality that my TBR pile was twice the size of the Average American’s Entire Library. Now the ratio is so much worse the human mind cannot contemplate such numbers.

        And that only considers the TBR pile I own! The TBR pile of books I want to own is to my TBR pile as that pile is to the AAEL.

        • “And that only considers the TBR pile I own! The TBR pile of books I want to own is to my TBR pile as that pile is to the AAEL.”

          Mine, too.

        • Mine too– you should see my BR pile (books read)– lol I had to go back and read again to remember the stories I had already read. BTW both Sarah’s and Kate’s books are worth reading again– I am hoping Kate has another Con book in the works.

          • We won’t even CONTEMPLATE the books I’ve DOWNLOADED but haven’t read yet, which would enlarge the pile a very long way. And as usual, I’ll get another half-dozen books for Christmas, my birthday, et. cetera, ad infinitum. I should reach the halfway point in my TBR pile sometime in 2263…

            All those research findings that are supposed to stretch our lifespan by centuries better get here PDQ — I need them!

            • When I am in a reading mood, I will read one 300+ book a day. ;-) There have been years that I have read a book a day–fiction. Non-fiction takes more energy for me and takes longer to read.

              • weird, with me it’s the other way around. I “rest” with non-fic. it’s the emotions that require energy.

              • If I don’t have to deal with anything else, I can read a 200-300 page book in about an hour or so. If the story grabs me, I read faster. I took a speed reading course in my teens and discovered that my usual ‘cruising’ speed, where I retain it all for at least a week, was about 450 to 500 words per minute, or most folks speed-reading speed. The Skimming and Scanning technique that they were teaching us would give me a speed of over 1000 wpm, but that’s work! I read for pleasure, not work. Since I am so fast, I can get a large chunk of a chapter read while waiting in line at the bank or grocery store. I used to out-read the buffer in my Kobo Vox, and have to wait for the page to turn. I don’t have that issue with my Samsung Galaxy SII, so my Vox is mostly retired as a reader these days.

                • Yes. I love my kindle. When we went on vacation, before, we used to have to pack a suitcase of books. Or, when it was to Denver, the first stop was the used bookstore, and we walked out with bags of books.

                  • I love my kindle too– my hubby convinced me to buy one over two years ago (almost three). It was the best purchase ever.

                    • Yep, Dan said “Stop drooling over it and buy it already. It’s deductible. So I did. Three? Years ago.

                    • Oh wow– I think my hubby used those same words– ;-)

                    • My daughter just presented me with a basic Kindle as a Christmas present. I am loading it up with materiel I need for basic research and which are free. Five and counting – many of them obscure and with print versions either rare to non-existant or rare and very, very expensive. Heck, she even crocheted me a slip-cover to put over it! Of course, it took me about five minutes to find the ones that I wanted … somewhat more than that to find the time to read them!

                    • I got my Kindle specifically to read “Unter den Halbmond” by Von Moltke (the elder), about his tours in the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s. Found several great free things, older histories, et al.

                • I read by seeing pictures and not words or sentences– I guess it is scanning. When I read non-fiction I have to read in sentences especially when I don’t know the material.

                  • Plus– there have been times that I stopped in the middle of a book to go to sleep, dreamed the rest of the story, and went back to the book the next day– I had already read the book in my dream– and it was what I was reading– YEP I have some weird experiences usually with words and stories–

                • I took a speed reading course while in High School and actually ran out of things to read. That so traumatized me that I deliberately slowed down, and an upper respiratory ailment so exacerbated my sleeping a few years back that I seem to have permanently lost 25% or more of my speed, even though, thanks to the internet, I no longer have to worry about running dry.

            • I have often asserted that I do not want to live forever, I merely want to get caught up on my reading before I die.

              The smart money ponders the parable of the Marching Chinese and bets on forever as the shorter term.

    • Perhaps the proper analogy to our modern Progressives would be to South Seas Cargo Cults? They observe the rituals which bring great wealth but do not understand the content of those practices?

  17. Pingback: Shaking The Kaleidoscope | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  18. (sigh) Added two “make your own kaleidoscope” kits to my wishlist on Amazon. :B

  19. Now look at the last century. The two world wars, not as world wars, but as the wars of European Unification.

    Quibble: Europe had been essentially unified as a family trust. Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm were, after all, close relatives, as were Czar Nicholas and others.

    WWII was the battle for supremacy between two subsets of Socialism. The Cold War was the battle between Socialism and Free Market Economies. We are now engaged in a battle between totalitarian religion and free society. Who the next contender will be remains to be determined. Think of it in terms of a prize fight: there is a reigning champion, a leading contender and an ex-champ hoping for a comeback.

    Or one could employ the analogy of a horse race, except we’ve a shortage of heads relative to the abundance of hindquarters.

  20. Visit Walter Russell Mead’s blog, Via Media, for daily reports on the collapsing Blue State (European) model. All their efforts will achieve is claiming a few more bodies to throw to the wolves while ensuring the ensuing dark age will be longer and harsher, with fewer folk holding the knowledge to turn the lights back on.

  21. Pingback: “Are You Going To Let Them Get Away With It?” | TechnoChitlins

  22. Hi Sarah
    I am alomost certainly telling you something you read, but: Steven den Beste, before he retired into anime blogging, has in his “Essential library” an essay by John Fonte called “the coming ideological war within the West”, in which is described precisely the three-cornered ideological war you describe: despotism (e.g., radical islamism) in one corner, established (US, UK) and emerging democracies in the 2nd corner, and in the 3rd corner something he calls “transnational progressivism”, with the EU as its paradigmatic example — a system “postnational”, “postmodern”, and “post-democratic”.
    With a nod to Orwell (as well as realizing that there are no greater enemies of true progress — the empowerment of mankind at the individual and collective levels — than so-called ‘progressives’) I personally prefer the term TransOC (transnational oligarchic collectivists). But quibbles aside, this is precisely what you are talking about, I believe.

  23. I hate Romans. I hate Romans the way I hate Illinois Nazis. I prefer the biblical schism between the Pharoahs and their minions who like to be the Chamberlain of the Butchers (can you just imagine the colleges of the time with their Chamberlain of the Butchers preparation and certification courses) and the morality and freedom of the patriarchs. The reason we are failing is that we are choosing between Pharaohs (Obama and Romney for instance) and not allowing ourselves to find our own sources of freedom. Like it or not modern (economically based) libertarian freedom is sorta like non-alcoholic beer.. It has the constituents of beer but not the taste or feeling.

  24. I may be the first Human Wave heretic, because despite fervently loving your several rants on the fall of western civilization, I am lining up the facts a little differently. American exceptionalism was seen in the doughboys in WW1 who opened the truck hood and all contributed to fixing it versus the Frenchies who waited for a proper mechanic. And though the Americans didn’t apply the right or the best fix, they ghetto-rigged something good enough to get going again. Thus I think McGyverism is what made us better than the Euro-weenies.

    And McGyverism is what will keep Americans on top despite the fact that Euroweenies have manipulated the electorate into false choices between voting for Santa Claus versus that nice Mormon Millionaire. The Maker movement has a lot of lefty fruitcakes, and a lot of artists, and geeks of the Richard Stallman left and the Ayn Rand right. Yet they all realize that it’s better to be a Maker than to be a Taker.

    Communism was an expression of Modernism. It grew logically out of the Age of Reason and it arrogated to itself all manner of follies, like the notion of centralized control. It failed in USSR and it’s failing in the EU as they’re running out of stuff to redistribute. It is dying and so is the Marxism of the fellas in Washington promising bread and circuses. It’s as inevitable as a 1st world birth-rate.

    The Chinese are soon going to have the power and the money because despite their commie overlords they are Making Stuff. And I believe (as a Human Wave SF Heretic) that we shouldn’t be talking old-time Secular or Religious Humanism, but we should be talking about Making Stuff.

    If you watch enough TED talks, you’ll see some completely absurd claptrap, but you’ll also see people leveraging technology to Fix World Hunger Problems and one of those problems is corruption in government. The enemies of LIberty in Washington aren’t commies so much as they are cronies. Jerry Pournelle saw this when he wrote of the Co-Do, and that’s the road we’re back on today after a too-short Reagan detour.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I’m not sure how your observations of current events are relevant to the description of Human Wave, Steve. The way I have read the descriptions, Human Wave is a way of thinking, in stories. If I misunderstand, then I invite Sarah or someone else to correct my understanding.

      However, moving from stories into real life, MacGuyverism, IS Human Wave. Again, with the caveat that this is my personal understanding, it is exactly the kind of thing that has been described. Having a positive outlook, taking what’s available, and using it to put up the best fight against what’s coming. Communism, Socialism, White Guilt, Human Guilt, Male bashing, First World Guilt, are all part of the antithesis of Human Wave, and are often main components of Grey Goo.

      In stories, it’s honor, trustworthiness, fighting the good fight, no matter the cost, and doing the right thing, come hell or high dudgeon. Taking on the Empire despite long odds, Declaring independence from Earth with odds of only 1 in 7 of success (Moon is a Harsh Mistress), and the Spartans stopping the Persians at Thermopylae. Or it might be as simple a story as the little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the Dike to keep the water from coming in.

      The idea has been that we need more Human Wave fiction to inspire more people to act in the way that they would have before the 60s turned us into insular, self-centered nits.

  25. I salute the brave spirit behind this essay. America is what you say it is — a new Rome, where a Slav and a Gaul are both equally Roman under the law of the Latins.

    Unfortunately, such a “Rome” cannot last. The Roman Empire was nothing more than a body politic within which an single ethnic and cultural group, the Romans (an amalgam of Latin tribes) was able to force the Gauls, the Slavs, and other ethnic and cultural groups to accept its own culture and laws. The moral and biological collapse of the original Roman stock destroyed this body politic. As the ability of the Romans to impose their culture and laws upon the various tribes within the Empire decreased, the loyalty of the Gauls and the Slavs defaulted back to their respective tribes. In truth, they never were really loyal to Rome at all; they were simply “under the thumb” of the Romans.

    And when the Romans were no longer willing or able to maintain their dominance, the Empire ended — dismembered by the formerly “romans” Slavs, Gauls, etc.

    The same is true in our “Rome”. The United States of America was nothing more than a body politic within which an single ethnic and cultural group, the White Americans (an amalgam of European tribes) was able to force the Hispanic Americans, the Afro-American slaves and other ethic and cultural groups to accept its own culture and laws. The moral and biological collapse of the original White stock has destroyed this body politic. As the ability of White Americans to impose their culture and laws upon the various tribes within the U.S.A. has decreased, the loyalty of the Hispanic Americans and the Afro-Americans has defaulted back to their respective tribes. In truth, they never were really loyal to the U.S.A. at all; they were simply “under the thumb” of the White Americans.

    And now that White Americans are no longer willing or able to maintain their dominance, the U.S.A. is ending — an “empire” soon to be dismembered by the formerly “American” Hispanic and Black tribes.

    Now, I know none of you want to hear this. Non of you want to believe it. But it’s the truth — and, deep down inside, in your heart of hearts, you know it’s the truth. Sure, you’ll all deny it. You’ll shake your tiny fists and rail at me for being a racist, a hater, etc. And that’s okay. I don’t care what you call me. All I care is that you listen.

    Because reality doesn’t care how you feel about things. Things are as they are, and no amount of anger or disbelief will change them. And the reality of human social relations is that proposition nations — nations founded upon ideology, political party, or constitutions — cannot survive for long. They are artificial structures, imposed upon people from without, and as such will always fail sooner or later. Every propositional state is, in the final analysis, an empire — an entity held together by naked force.

    That’s what Rome was. That what the U.S.A. is.

    But there is an alternative: nationalism. I mean real nationalism, based upon real nations — that is, people who are tied together by ethnicity, language, and culture. A real nation is organic — it emerges from the people, rather than being imposed upon them. This rooted in the rock, a nation can survive until the end of time. Prussia is gone, the Soviet Union is gone, the Third Reich is gone — but Poland is still there.

    A tide of nationalism is sweeping the world. From Scotland to South Africa, from the Middle East to the Deep South, more and more people are deciding they’ve had enough of the Empire, of whatever proposition “nation” they have been part of. This new nationalism is not born of hatred but of love — not from hatred of the Other, but love of one’s Own. As such, it is entirely in keeping with the spirit of universal brotherhood and political subsidiarity found in the Christian faith.

    By now, most readers will have clicked off this post, consigning these words to the trashbin of “hate literature”, or whatever phrase is popular among open-minded folk for unpleasant truths these days. Those of you who have read this far have proven yourselves to be truly open-minded. I ask you therefore to consider my words in the light of reality — the reality you see every day, with your own eyes, not media “reality — and decide for yourself if there is truth in what I say.

    Thank you.

    • Not hate literature. Just stupid. Sorry, but “White” is a matter of opinion and you’ve simply bought into the bullshit of race and eugenics. You too are not white, certainly not pure white. It’s CULTURE not race that makes a difference.

      You are a tribalist, a throw back to the dark ages. You are no better, just the mirror image of those who believe in the noble savage and that every race is better than Caucasians. Foolishness and pernicious foolishness at that.

      CULTURE. CULTURE is always what has made a difference.

      I regret to inform you as far as race goes I’m Heinz 57 and I can whip the intellectual ass out of any “Hitlerian Youth” male. And, dear sir, I would stake Thomas Sowell against you with all but one brain cell tied behind his back.

      “The little lizard told me he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. People who are proud of their ancestry rarely have anything else to be proud of.” Robert A. Heinlein.

    • Nice. Bring your knuckle-dragging white supremacy gleet over here, *and* use Sarah’s blog to promote the pus you squeeze out of the boil between your ears. You have totally misread what she said, and, worse, have smeared her with your pustulant attitudes.

      I would advise her to remove your entire post, on the chance your ravings are attributed to her by an internet search engine. I’m glad her moderator has at least killed the link to your blog.

      • That’s open-mindedness for you, I suppose.

        • >snort< The White Supremacist is trying to intimidate someone with this? Does it usually work? A maggot is more open-minded than you — it will hatch and feed on dead meat irregardless of what 'race' it was in life. Thus the maggot is your superior.

    • Dear me. I’ve seen more stupid rants but I don’t recall them.

      Thus far, everyone I’ve encountered with views like yours has been either running a false flag operation to cover their real agenda (which is usually controlling everyone else for their own good) or is using race as an excuse for their own inadequacies. It’s much easier to blame some mythical “other” for your failings than to face them, after all.

      Race is bullshit. The celtic peoples were culturally distinct, not ethnically distinct. In fact, a LOT of the evidence now is that the culture migrated, not the people. Oh, and those people thought of themselves as Roman for a good while after the legions were withdrawn. They continued to reckon purchases in Roman currency and to use the Roman laws. Hardly the behavior of people who went back to their old tribal ways at the first opportunity.

      I’d say more, but the extensive response I had written vanished into the WordPress memory hole and I don’t feel like doing that again.

    • You are aware that the concept of “White Americans” is a recent development and complete codswallop?

      Until the 20th Century those you presumably are calling “White Americans” were comprised of numerous European ethnicities and races: Armenians, Austrians, Basques, Bavarians, Belgians, Bretons, Bulgarians, Catalans, Celts, Chechens, Corsicans, Croats, Czechs, Danes, Dutch, Estonians, Finns, Frisians, Gaels, Galicians, Gauls, Greeks, Hessians, Hungarians, Icelanders, Irish, Italians, Jutlanders, Kashubs, Kursenieki, Lapps, Latts, Lithuanians, Macedonians, Maltese, Moldavans, Montenegrins, Moravians, Norwegians, Occitans, Poles, Portugese, Prussians, Romanians, Romny, Russ, Scots, Serbs, Sicilians, Slovaks, Spaniards, Swedes, Turks, Ukrainians, Veps, Walloons, Welsh, Yorouks and enough additional groups to embarrass the selection — all of whom would have been highly insulted to be lumped into any of the other ethnic groups and whose ancestors had been at war for centuries. Britain alone enjoys the mutual enmity of the Angles, Brits, Irish, Normans, Picts, Saxons, Scots and the byblows of Roman occupying troops.

      N.B. – this list makes no claim to being comprehensive. I am confident that Sarah, for example, could break the Portugese into multiple hostile sub-groups.

      • Three off the top of my head. And I have the blood of two of them.

        • That’s why you argue with yourself!

          • Well, you know what I say, you can’t trust me ;)

            • I believe what you say about not trusting you.

              I wanted ever so much to post a youtube clip from the original Bedazzled wherein the wonderful Peter Cook, as Satan, advises Dudley Moore’s character (“I, Stanley Moon, hereinafter and in the hereafter to be known as ‘The Damned’ – ” The damned? ):

              George Spiggott: Everything I’ve ever told you has been a lie. Including that.
              Stanley Moon: Including what?
              George Spiggott: That everything I’ve ever told has been a lie. That’s not true.
              Stanley Moon: I don’t know WHAT to believe.
              George Spiggott: Not me, Stanley, believe me!

              But sadly, the clip does not appear to be on youtube. So this Dudley Moore Christmas appearance will have to suffice:

  26. One basic point that you may wish to factor in: The West (as in a system of ideas–reason, science, industry–not points on the compass) has never fully recovered from the (dare I say it: Neo-Platonic Christian) Dark Ages. The Dark Ages of primacy of consciousness metaphysics; of an emotionalist (faith driven) epistemology; of a self-sacrificing ethics (necessary to pay (while on Earth) for Man’s evil nature & physicality (derived from the doctrine of Original Sin) to save his immortal, potentially good guy other-half (of Plato’s mind-body dichotomy turned into Christianity’s soul-body dichotomy), his soul, allowing it to enter the supernatural dimension of wonder and eternal good living called, Heaven).

    Let me restate it another, more direct, way: The religious metaphysics of Neo-Platonic Idealism (evasion), the religious epistemology of faith (emotionalism) and the Judeo-Christian ethics of self-sacrifice (rationalization) make possible the irrational politics of socialism.

    • I think you would be well advised not to assume that Rennaissance writers were doing anything but vaunting themselves by slandering others when they dubbed it the “Dark Ages.”

      • When I consider the types of folk prone, these days, to deem themselves as representing The Enlightenment …

        Puffery is clearly not a modern invention.

        • Puffery is clearly not a modern invention.
          heh, Caesar’s adventures in the Britons touched somewhat on reality.

          sorta

  27. The singularity is approaching but it wont be a machine intelligence it will be the enslavement of the masses by the elites, some say it is already past.
    Consider that you willingly place yourself into a panopticon when dealing with facebook, or apple, or google to name a few, they harvest the data you throw off and monetize that data, and it is still in it’s infancy. Why do you have to give up so much privacy to use the simplest gadget or app today? Want to store your pictures in the cloud, you give all commercial claim, much less privacy from the owner of the “free” storage viewing your pictures, why is that acceptable? Why is it acceptable for all your texts to be read by the carrier of the texts, or your emails? Each interaction with their hardware and software is a data point they feed into a hundred databases waiting to be relevant to an income stream.

    (even more radical, but still probable in the next 100 years ), Consider that we are one genome treatment on a viral carrier from being physiologically changed, even a crude concept would be to infect a significant fraction of the population and then sell them back an antidote, much less a more sophisticated application which would change people to create a class stratified society, worker bees, middle managers, administrators etc. up to the wealthy and politically connected who could gain access to defense treatments.

  28. “all they understand is the old model: wealth comes from elsewhere and makes the people at home prosperous” instead of wealth coming from habits, customs, and diligence.
    Akin to George Gilder’s observation of the source of wealth, I quote a paraphrase of it here

  29. Why on earth would anyone fear that a Europeanianization of America would lead to a Dark Age? The Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, and the Indians will do just fine, thank you very much. They have the gold and the brainpower . No Chinese in their right mind would do what the Europeans or our political class is thinking of doing here.

    They’ll be fine, and eventually, so will we. Obama’s project will fail as it must.

  30. Simak’s kaleidoscope is unusual, but not unique; Andre Norton
    and A.E. Van Vogt both used the plot device to emphasize the
    alien evil nature of their villains.
    Unfortunately, human suggestibility is all too real, as any number
    of sad historical examples attest, and American exceptionalism
    may have more to do with a stubborn resistance to groupthink
    than any other quality; Think of it as social chromatography on
    a global scale over the last few centuries, with the opportunities
    and challenges of the New World acting as a differential filter.

  31. Europe, a good place to be from.

  32. You see the European model as expanding into the Islamic world, which is what is making them so belligerent, whereas I see it in I guess the opposite way: European and American self-confidence is down because the elites keep slamming all of us with guilt, so we don’t impose our will on the world, and the Islamists are very happy to step into the resulting power vacuum.

  33. ” every large polity in Europe since harks to Rome and tries to imitate or revive Rome, consciously or not.”

    So did our Founders. They saw Rome as a model both of what to do and what not to do, and wrote about it frequently.