The Evils of Internationalism

The first time I heard of “the international” as in the communist song, it was in a Giovanni Guareschi book.  Since this was the seventies in Portugal, it tells you that at least the Portuguese socialists and communists had learned not to press that facet of their beliefs too loudly.  Certainly not to celebrate it.

I’m not sure why.  The socialism that we were taught as – as someone on this blog put it – people in the US in a certain time had civic education was very short on the HISTORY of socialism.  Possibly because well, after a while, when you study the thing, you get a feeling that there is a lot of failure of wonderful predictions.  Oh, and a lot of blood.

Instead Marxism and Marx-inspired regimes were presented as a sort of eternal ideal.  Socialist and communist revolutions were the end of history, and the countries need not be studied after that.  No, I won’t tell you how Stalin was pictured.  No, trust me, truly you don’t want to know.

But the international nature of the beliefs was still there.  After all “capitalism” and “imperialism” caused war, while socialism was for all the peoples of the world, and when it succeeded, war would be gone. (True as it goes.  Graveyards are remarkably peaceful.)

This played against the background of communist and socialist leaders constantly attacking and constantly accusing this and that and the other of being enemies.  Perhaps it is because I was born jaded, but their constant excuse that these people were brutalizing them by existing didn’t fill me with confidence.

And then there were the communists and socialists I knew personally.  Depending on their… uh… mental orientation, they viewed Russia or China as the spiritual center of humanity, and their own country as negligible.  They weren’t internationalist so much as “we want the whole world united under the Soviet/Chinese boot.”  In a way they were patriots, just not for their own country.

As one read more about what went on in the USSR’s buffer zone, and managed to listen to/read an expatriate or two, one started – well, this one started – getting the feeling that this “international” and “the world is one” thing was sort of the advance ideological wedge of truly imperialistic and expansionistic regimes, seeking to get Western democracies to surrender before a shot was fired.  The horrifying thing is how often it worked.

It has worked particularly well in the US.  This is partly because most young people in the US live in a Star Trek world.

This is not a real world, mind you, but the world peopled in their minds by their teachers’ rather odd attempts to make them culturally “tolerant.”

First of all there is much to be said against the concept of “cultural tolerance.”  Oh, sure, there is no earthly reason to despise someone for the food they eat or the clothes they wear (unless they eat live children or wear clothes made of ditto.)  There is no reason to consider some language backward (well, there are languages without verb tenses for past and future, which must be pure h*ll to manage modern life in, but that’s something else. Normal human habit in these situations is to borrow like mad.)

In fact, most of the type of thing you learn about other cultures in school aren’t something you should well… have an opinion of any sort about, unless it’s aesthetic.  I hate south American decoration on fabrics.  This doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It’s an aesthetic opinion.  I’m also not particularly fond of the things Scandinavians do with furniture.  Aesthetic opinion.  My kid likes it.  It’s… what you like.  I can say “Bah, no Swedish straight lines, thanks” when shopping for a table.  That doesn’t mean I despise the culture.  Oh, and some African carved masks give me the holly gibbies.  (Though I rather like animal carvings.  Go figure.)

None of this is lack of tolerance.  I like what I like.  You couldn’t pay me to wear a ball cap, for instance, and that’s the culture of my adopted people.

But this is all the level they can teach in school.  First of all because the units for world culture or geography or whatever start in elementary and rarely go beyond middle school.  Do you really want to discuss genital mutilation with your elementary school daughter?  I wouldn’t.  Do you want to explain how the concepts of personhood and individual value vary across the world?  Or course not.

Worse, the teachers are often fluffy internationalists, having been taught what I call “tourist multiculturalism.”  They believe that “culture” is clothes and crafts and food.  Or, as I kept running into when they told me to teach the kids their “culture” and I replied I was, that they were perfect “US Geek.” They got upset, and wanted me to teach them Portuguese culture.  (Why this would trump the culture of their father whose family has been here since the 1600s is a mystery.) They have some vague idea culture is genetic.  And they lack the historical knowledge to realize that is one of the most racist ideas ever.

Culture is not genetic.  It’s also not as plastic as people here tend to believe.  Not if you stay in your homeland, in a group. This is because it goes a good while deeper than clothes and food.  Clothes and food change.  By the time I was a teen, Portuguese wore clothes that had more in common with Paris fashion than with the clothes of grandma’s time.  And since I’ve moved here, 30 years ago, Portuguese have started eating pizza and hamburgers.  (American pizza, not the first Portuguese approximation to the dish.  Dan and I went back two years after marriage, and there was a pizzeria, and out of curiosity we went in… only there was something odd about the pizza and we couldn’t put our finger on it until it hit us: no tomatoes.  When we mentioned this to the waiter he brought us a ketchup bottle. No.  I am not joking.)

But the hardware in the head, even though these days they’re trying very hard to be European, is still closer to my grandmother’s than to that of American people the same age.  They might make the right sounds – they have US movies after all, and US books – but you scratch that, and you’ll find some curious beliefs about women and men, about female demeanor, about work and oh, tons of other things.

Because culture passes through not by explicit dictate, but by what we do and fail to do and what our kids see us do and fail to do.

Okay, so odds are a little different about it, but even we absorb a lot we don’t realize we’ve absorbed.

But America is exceptional in this too.  Of the “nations of ideas” (Dave Freer’s term) we had “earliest diversity of input”.  And because until very recently if you came here you severed linguistic ties with the mother country (okay, unless your mother country spoke English) a lot of the implied things that are passed in a language disappeared, which resulted in new legends and new stories dating back about a hundred years and sometimes less. But more importantly, it resulted in new mannerisms, new ways of viewing the world, until the only way to make sense of “culture” was rationally or at least by rationalizing.  Which makes us, as I’ve pointed out, the autistic kid of the international community.  We take “rules” and “How things are supposed to be” really really seriously.  And we act like words are the things.

This results in other people not getting us, like the fact that even my brother who is educated and has read a lot of American books doesn’t get how FREE we are, or that our press is more likely to run America down than prop her up.  He goes on the assumption of the Portuguese press, which will always chauvinistically favor/soft pedal things for Portugal.  Part of the hatred for America in the world is that they listen to the anti-American things people here say and they think “It must be much, much worse since clearly they wouldn’t report things that hurt their face.”  Or that Russian guy who predicted how America would break apart – because they take what Americans say about each other and amplify it, multiplying it by “they wouldn’t say that if they weren’t a lot worse.”  Yes, sure, Portugal is (mostly) a free country, but the culture wouldn’t let them run down their country in the world stage, in public.  In private and to each other, sure, but not to foreigners.  And they don’t get we don’t have that internal stop, which almost every other country does.

Of course, this works the other way too.

We don’t get what we’re talking about when we talk about “the international community.”  And Americans born and bred, particularly those who’ve never lived abroad, isolated from their kind, and not with special status, often fail to get that the rest of the world aren’t just Americans who talk funny and have exciting new recipes and cool clothes.

Look, the precious feminist flower who came up with the idea that we should hold male population down to 10% of the births?  How does she plan to sell that idea to Arabs?  Chinese?  Indians?  Does she think there’s a chance in h*ll of success?  (And we’ll leave alone the dystopia that would result.)

In the same way, I’ve quoted this before, but there were all the people talking about how Saddam couldn’t have a weapons program because, well, his people didn’t even have clean water.  It never seemed to occur to them that a country might prioritize weapons over clean water.  The fact that this didn’t occur to them about a country that had been attacking its neighbors for years was… breathtaking.

I’m not saying that American internationalists are the only internationalists.  There are internationalists in other countries.  But the internationalism is often a veneer.  In certain cultures – Russia, China – it’s often a cover for rampant nationalism.  It usually means “The world will be united and we’ll rule it.”  Might never be SAID, but it’s firmly there at the back of their minds, the same way a Frenchman never doubts his land is the cultural center of the world though – ooh lala – it hasn’t been for 200 years at least (and though he might make noises like he’s not nationalistic AT ALL).

But American – and some British and for the purposes of this most Canadians – are a particularly dopey form of internationalist.

Part of this is the education system which has taught them the same sort of canards I got.  “Nationalism is bad and capitalism is bad, and they cause wars.”  This is part insanity from around the time of WWI, and part … Soviet Agit prop.  “Surrender now, after all, nationalism causes war.  You’re not supposed to love your own country!”

But war shall always be there.  It’s part of being human.  Not of a nationality or a country, but of being a person with a body in a certain place.  If we ever actually succeeded in making the world into a single country, we’d just have civil wars.

Look, I’ll be blunt: there will always be something a group of people want that at the very least involves intimidating another group away from it.  If the group refuses to be intimidated, there will be war.

Most of the time, in small groups, the war is satirical blog posts, or the occasional mean joke. Move that up in size, and war is village boys who beat up boys from the next village who come to court “their” girls.  (This happened, still, in my time.)  Up another level, and there will be regional interests, at war with other regional interests.  Here in the states, that’s mostly states trying to take each other’s federal money.

BUT put it on the world stage and… well…  You have two regions which want — or need — the same thing.  Only one can have it.

Until people stop living in a material world, that’s not going to change.

Internationalism wouldn’t cure it.  And putting down your own country in favor of every other country won’t bring peace everlasting.  It just means you’re one of those people who refuses to accept human flaws and who assumes that EVERY OTHER nation is better because they show you their better faces.  (“Distance and death dress people with their most beautiful smile” I don’t remember who said it, but it applies to peoples as groups too, which is why so much nonsense is projected backwards into pre-historic people and a few fragments of bone are transmuted into some sort of matriarchal utopia, even though rational people have to know it never was.)

In the end, at the most basic level, what I’d call “decent” patriotism is the appreciation of the good qualities of your country and your people – which you’re more likely to know than any other countries or people.  And the desire to defend your country and your neighbors.  Does that lead to war?

How could it?  It leads to defense if you’re attacked, but unless your entire philosophy is the alien implant of a would-be subjugating power… how could that be wrong?  Why should you and your neighbors be especially evil, if no one else is?  Contemplate what might hide behind the artifacts, and the clothes and the neat food.  Why would people abroad be any better than your neighbors?  Do you think they aren’t fully human and are therefore incapable of human evil?  Isn’t that truly racist?  To consider your neighbors as the only humans? Think about it.

Or don’t.  After all, it’s great fun to protest the great evil of the word “bossy” or attempts to limit abortion on demand after 20 weeks gestation in the US – but I’ve noticed that none of these people see anything wrong with cultures that make women wear burkas.  Instead, they buy the pap that it’s good for the women and makes them feel “protected.” Oh, and that the women themselves want it.  (Which is why, I suppose, there are religious police armed with whips in markets, ready to punish the woman whose ankle shows.)  They will tell you how terrible it is if an underage woman can’t get an abortion without parental consent, but kids under 15 being married to old men in other countries?  Oh, perfectly fine.  It’s “cultural” see.

The fun thing about our multiculturalists is sort of like the saying that people who don’t know what to do with themselves on a Sunday afternoon think they want to live forever.  In this case, naïve internationalists who don’t even understand their own culture or how different it is from the rest of the world imagine they have what it takes to bring the world together in peace and harmony — and it’s all manageable if only they abjure any love or defense of the country they were born in.

Bah.  Innocents abroad doesn’t begin to define it.

If they ever got 1/10th of what they think they want, these people would in fact get eaten alive.  Probably not literally – but close enough.

It’s late, and I’m dozing off after a day of writing, so to get the full disconnect of our “nationalism is evil” crowd, I’ll leave you with the thought of what EXACTLY the Chinese would say to the eager young woman in charge of world reproductive policies who told them males should be only 10% of all births.

Yeah, brings a smile to my face too.

Unfortunately, though they’re unlikely to get that kind of power, the “internationalist” crowd does what it can to dismantle the very country and protections they do have.  We either teach the kids better or we won’t have a country to defend.  And no, the result won’t be a wonderful and vibrant one-world community, in which each culture has one different characteristic and every misunderstanding is easily and rationally explained.

No.  At the other end of that, lies a world in which all the innocents are dead.

For their sake, we must fight their wooly-headed ideas.

321 responses to “The Evils of Internationalism

  1. Imagine a world where men are kept secluded in Spermatoriums until their services are required. Undoubtedly more powerful or influential women will have a choice, several selections, they may choose from. It might be necessary to guard these men from lesser women.

    At this the women’s lib advocates are shaking their heads in affirmation, enthusiastically in agreement with the scenario.

    Then remind them that it has existed for years, with gender changes, in harems and purdah.

    Exploding heads all over the place! And your erstwhile narrator exiting quickly to avoid being torn to shreds.

    People find great solace in their world views, until reminded of cruel facts.

    • I highly recommend Wen Spencer’s “A Brother’s Price” for an in depth look at just such a society. Good read as well. Available from Baen of course.

      • Last night, probably about the same time Sarah was writing this, I decided to read some story that I hadn’t read (or couldn’t remember reading) in Heinlein’s anthology “Tomorrow the Stars.” I picked and read “Survival Ship” by Judith Merrill. The surprise ending was probably a surprise in the early Fifties, but it’s very trite now, in a way that fits with what was saying about gender-percentage distopia. Weird coincidence.

      • masgramondou

        Don’t think that’s a Baen book. IIRC it was published by Roc

    • There are those who would say it suits them right, after all men have done to women for centuries. These are the sorts of people who justify kindergartens being hard on boys because boys have been favored in the past.

      • That’s one thing that’s always irritated me: Men get the blame, as a gender, for all that “they did to” women. However, you never hear the same parties mention word one about all that men “did for” women, do you?

        Birkenhead drill, anyone? Ten million little sacrificial acts, performed over the years, as men suffered and died, in order to ensure the safety and comfort of their women? All the expectations built into life, that many men found horribly beyond them?

        I really have no patience for these creatures, to tell the truth. Things were unfair, in the past: That is inarguable. What they conveniently forget is that things were horribly unfair for all, not just women.

        • Men get the blame, as a gender, for all that “they did to” women. However, you never hear the same parties mention word one about all that men “did for” women, do you?

          Which is why I get so angry at their male copy cats– can we lock ’em in a room and deal with individuals as something besides a totemic embodiment of the Mythical Status Of Their Sex?

          • There’s something about the whole mindset that just leaves me slack-jawed in befuddlement. These people, male and female both, think that all the old-timers had to do was sit around and figure out how to oppress the opposite gender, when the reality was that people were too damn busy trying to survive to think that way. There was no “patriarchy”, there was no “matriarchy”, there were no vast conspiracies on the part of anyone–The way things were were just the facts of life as it was led. The roles each gender filled in society were what they were because that’s what worked, not because men set out to suppress women, or women set out to exploit men.

            I’d love to drop these precious theorists off in 18th-century backwoods America, just to watch what would happen, and see how few would last even a week under the conditions that obtained on the frontier. Likewise, let them see what life was really like in ancient Rome, or Europe during the Middle Ages. The majority of their “gender-normative” theorizing would likely wind up shoved up their fundaments by reality, and in very short order.

    • Blown heads? No, they would say that it’s only fair that now it happens to men because it happened to women in the past. Two wrongs make a right, don’chewknow. Especially if the second wrong is even stronger done in retaliation. And even if the first wrong is only perceived (Not in this case, but as a general rule….)

  2. You can’t really explain it to someone who thinks a Spring Break in Fl, family trips to Six-Flags and a trip to Hawaii qualifies them as a world traveler. Living and working overseas makes a huge contribution to one’s appreciation of the US… warts and all!

    • William O. B'Livion

      1 year in Baghdad with a 3 week vacation in Italy.

      2 years in Australia with a 10 day trip to NZ.

      Yeah, I love the country I grew up in. I don’t recognize what it has become.

      • mikeweatherford

        1) Two years in Panama, including duty as a courier all over Latin America, and a member of the Southern Command honor guard (67-68)
        2) A year in Vietnam (70-71)
        3) First German tour, Wiesbaden, Germany (71-75)
        4) Second German tour, Wiesbaden, (80-83)
        5) England, 18 months, including working as a volunteer on an archaeological dig, my wife learning to make bobbin lace, and being drug to lace festivals all over the country. 1985-87)
        6) Third German tour, Wiesbaden, (1987-89)
        Stateside tours included Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico Texas, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

        I love this country. I love its Constitution. I am NOT happy with its current government, or the stupidity of marxism/socialism, “gun control” fever, and self-loathing that so many on the Left in this country blindly follow.

        • I can’t claim your depth of experience, but for about 20 years (and several employers) I did a lot of international travel, as an engineer working with the customer’s engineers rather than a sales type. So I worked in factories, got a chance to see a lot of places, and lived/worked there for several weeks at a time.

          The things I learned:

          1) Without a much longer time in one place, I’d probably never have a really solid understanding of the natives’ view of their country and the world.

          2) Even *with* the much longer time in place, I’d never understand all of it. I remember sitting with a bunch of coworkers in the former Yugoslavia (from several different groups and now-countries) as they tried to explain the complexities that led the last round of wars. I finally asked “Is it possible to understand this without being born here?” “Yes – and I’m not sure that *we* really understand everything, either”

          3) What you see when you actually work with people (and live outside the tourist areas) is only vaguely similar to what tourists see.

          4) The more you live away from your own country the more you realize you have in common, culturally, with anyone else raised there. Much as it pains them both to admit it, a black-nationalist guy from the ghetto and a skinhead white supremacist that hate each others guts share much more of a common set of cultural references and expectations than either would share with a random citizen from either of their purported “countries of origin”.

          5) The X-American claiming to be “X” rather than “American” is a figure of fun in many countries. I confused a lot of people when I was working in Ireland because I was an American who didn’t claim to be “Irish” when asked. Folks, even if both your parents came from the same country, if you were born and raised in the US your worldview will be mostly US with an overlay of that country of origin. Even if you return to that country of origin as an adult and live there for the rest of your life you’ll always retain at least shreds of your “American” habits of thought.

          6) Even the most familiar/similar countries can sometimes make you wonder if you’ve just stepped through the fun house mirror. This can go up exponentially with less familiar places, especially since as a traveler you’re first exposed to the more familiar shell (see 3). It can be little things, like the “luxury” hotel in Serbia that had a meticulous inventory of everything in the room (including the toilet brush!) with a price listed for each item in case they disappeared. Used toilet brushes? Table lamps? It might be a positive shock – “why don’t *we* do this?” But travel enough – even between Canada and the US – and it *will* happen at some point.

          • I was born in Canada and my parents left there when I was three so I learned to talk Western Canadian. BUT, even that small difference (both parents American) made me a Stranger in a Strange Land. (3 early years outside the US)– So the couple of times I have gone to Canada, they will welcome me back– even though I haven’t lived there for almost fifty years.

          • number 6 – When we go to Portugal, my kids call this “mommy in the kitchen, eating snakes” effect. I mean, everything will seem perfectly normal and then something will be “WHAT?”
            To be fair, I get that effect now, because I was never an adult in Portugal, and it’s all different in 30 years, anyway. And yeah, we’re so different, mostly I’m American, thank you. (And I like it.)

          • It’s never the major things that really dislocate you, mentally. It’s the little ones, the unspoken assumptions that you never quite think about.

            Germany seems like America with funny spellings on the signs, and then you trip over some Polizei beating the holy crap out of some random Turks, while other “good Germans” just wander by, studiously ignoring things. Or, you start looking for something in one of the stores, and it suddenly dawns on you that the people who laid things out have an utterly different world-view about what goes where.

    • For now, I’ll have to content myself with the fact that I am blessed with the ability to learn from other people’s experiences. Sarah, Kim du Toit, Rachel Lucas, and, in a smaller way, a few others, have given me plenty to think about regarding other countries. I’d still like to visit some of them, but I think I’ll keep my home here.

    • I love Sarah’s phrase “Tourist Multicultural”. Someone visits a Potemkim resort in Cuba or spends a week at a 5 star ecotourist resort in Belize, and boom, instant expert on the third world. Which, after such a short exposure, is a wonderful place full of friendly people (insert typical lefty anti western diatribe here).
      But, you don’t get to know a country, really, until you’ve spent some serious time there, met the locals, learned a bit of the langauge, shopped the stores, get sick from local illness and really lived it.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sarah has commented about people who thought they knew more about Portugal that she did. Even to the point of telling her that she had never been in Portugal. [Frown]

  3. “Nationalism is bad and capitalism is bad, and they cause wars.” That reminds me of the time I met my first foreign student from China. It was about 1980, and I remember asking him what he thought of the Vietnam War. I was still in the throes of leftism and expected a denunciation of American imperialism, but instead I couldn’t make any sense of what he was talking about, until it dawned on me. He wasn’t talking about our Vietnam War but China’s. He was talking about the little “lesson” China tried to administer to Vietnam in IIRC 1978.

    That was one communist country attacking another.

    As for Americans who are internationalists, I keep banging on about this, but the fact is that these people are not especially attuned to the international sports scene, especially the older ones. Almost no Americans my age — I’m 63 — are soccer fans, and that’s as true of those on the left as it is of those on the right. Many younger leftists are soccer fans, but then so are many younger conservatives. It’s what they grew up with. But those younger leftists know nothing about cricket, which is huge in south Asia.

    Leftists simply aren’t principled.

    As for the treatment of women in Muslim countries, Iran under the Shah had a liberal abortion law, but it was dumped once the Muslims took over. Whenever the Dems start talking about the “war on women,” that sort of fact needs to be repeated as often as possible.

    • While I agree with you that many leftists aren’t principled (NOT all — some of my acquaintance are quite principled, and I respect them for it even though I think their ideas will lead to disaster), I just don’t see how it follows from your paragraph about sports. What point are you trying to make with that? Because I didn’t get it.

      • Why, if you are an internationalist, would you stick with our sports? Because they’re good old American sports and are therefore superior, while soccer is foreign and therefore inferior? Sure, that’s what your average American will say, but my expectation was that leftists hated that sort of thinking. I have yet to meet an American leftist who will say, “I don’t like soccer and cricket, but I will defend them against American conservatives who talk about how stupid foreigners are for liking them, because that’s hate speech. I will also work to get our media to treat them as the equals of our sports.”

        Principles often force us to do things we don’t want to do, like being against wars that America isn’t waging or condemning the Palestinians for their treatment of women and gays. I could give a dozen other examples. The failure of leftists to be principled is a basic reason why I read this blog.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’m mostly indifferent to sports. My tribalism is oriented much more towards nations and the military, the way nature intended.

          An exception is grid iron football, and this is only as an extension of other forms of tribalism. My Alma Mater has so good a team that there are nations that could not field a match, because they don’t cultivate the athletes. Note that this does not make me watch games, I just like to know that they have an okay team.

          Basketball and baseball are sports the school focuses less on. They mean little to me these days. I used to shoot hoops with some cousins, and I’ve had some that really liked the game.

        • ” I will defend them against American conservatives who talk about how stupid foreigners are for liking them, ”

          Which conservatives are you talking about?

          • Many of my relatives, for example. What shocked me was that plenty on the left were making the same sorts of statements.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Are you sure that your relatives are conservatives, and not just religious reactionaries? AKA “former Democrats who like guns and hate abortion”

              • Soccer is against someone’s religion? Best incentive yet I’ve seen to convert …

              • I’m talking about impressions I had beginning in the late 1970s. Those people are all dead now, and if they went through a phase of being Democrats, it was long before guns and abortion became a problem.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  It was in the 60s and 70s that the Democrat party became the party of Gun Control and Abortion (The Gun Control Act of 1968, Roe v. Wade was 1973).

                  I’ve met a lot of Republicans who claim to be conservatives because they’re anti-abortion and like guns, but are ardently pro-union, don’t make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration etc.

          • I’d guess it’s more an interaction of assumptions.

            There are folks even on the left who can’t stand the “foreign there fore superior” mindset, and that was even more common a couple of decades back among those heavily pushing soccer.

            I like soccer*; I largely can’t stand either the fans or the folks pushing it as the Greatest Thing Ever.

            * same way I like baseball– played in a fairly street-style, and with “don’t be a dick” as the biggest rule. Learned to play it with the Marines, and I think I spent more time flying than with both feet on the ground, and if they hadn’t been being careful…..

            • William O. B'Livion

              I played soccer as a kid, and as sports go it’s pretty decent.

              The local high school football coach (a sport I do not care for) had spent a LOT of time on his football field, and did not want it used for for the burgeoning soccer team.

              When he was informed (this was in 1982-84) that he should acquiesce and let the soccer team use “his” field because “Soccer was spreading everywhere” his response was “So is communism. No.”

              And yeah, the Marines tend to play jungle rules.

              • Having seen what soccer does to normal, track-type fields, I can’t blame him. (Especially if he’s the sort that puts a lot of personal time and money into it in an attempt to prevent injuries.)

            • “There are folks even on the left who can’t stand the “foreign there fore superior” mindset.” Sure, but I started off talking about leftists who are internationalists. And my point was that almost none, or least none my age, wanted to have anything to do with soccer, even though they were internationalists in every other way.

  4. It quickly becomes apparent that many of the folks out there speaking authoritatively about internationalism have (at best) only ever been tourists. Many have only ever been tourists in the U.S. (And failed to recognize the significant differences in Americans).

    Much like the lovely visitor lecturing us about Europe abandoning nationalism. Yeah… Call an Italian a European and see where things go in post-nationalist Europe.

    The interesting thing about culture in the U.S. is we tend (stressing the tend, here) to take what works or is interesting and leave the rest. And many folks assume everybody else actively does this as well. Ignoring the reality.

    • masgramondou

      Much like the lovely visitor lecturing us about Europe abandoning nationalism. Yeah… Call an Italian a European and see where things go in post-nationalist Europe.

      Actually I kind of beg to differ, well quibble. There is a significant chunk of Europeans who are indeed internationalists. They are mostly the “enarques” i.e. the political/bureaucratic/large company elites. These people really do believe in a single Europe and can’t understand why the proles cling to their racist nationalism etc etc. They are the same people who can’t believe that Putin is doing a Sudetenland on the Ukraine because it’s so last century and so on. Indeed they want the U.N. to actually become a true world government and take over the E.U. (and all the other countries of the world) so that they and their elitist pals from around the world can run it they way it should be run.

      • No argument with your quibble. The reality is that there’s a spectrum of attitude and belief in the various cultures of Europe. Bunch of humans, they are. And elites are their very own brand of blind idiots.

        I was more focused on the broad pronouncements such that ‘Europe has left that behind and we need to catch up.’ Uh-huh.

        I quite enjoyed the countries I was able to see, and hope to go back. But nothing I saw turned me into the sort of Europhile I see wandering about these days.

      • They’re the equivalent of our idiots.

  5. This all presumes that the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives are dumb, and many of them aren’t. Those are just another iteration of the perpetual Self Selected Elite who think they were put upon Earth by Divine Providence to tell the rat of us what to do. Like the Social Darwinists, Planter Aristocracy, and old European Aristocracy before them, they will SAY absolutely anything to get the rest of us to cease our wrong-headed resistance to their wonderful selves. The rest of the Left are, to one degree or another, the soft-headed dupes of these swine.

    As I have noted before; the progress of civilization can be measured by the degree to which the common man can tell these parasites to go climb a tree, and make it stick.

    Internationalism and Multiculturalism are excuses to avoid looking too closely at the actual effects of Socialism/Communism in the countries that have succumbed to the rot. The people who spout off about them are, more often than not, bitter partisans of their own peculiar (and usually severely dysfunctional) subculture. Their assertion that no culture is superior to any other stems, to whatever degree they actually believe it, from the equal contempt they feel for all cultures other than their little intellectual backwater (or stagnant pond)

    • Yes, there’s always a mix of the wolves and the sheep among vile progs — but what you’ll miss unless you’ve been in their midst and assumed to be one of them is the MIX of both IN AN INDIVIDUAL.
      Take my brother — please? At least ideologically — he fully believes that he should be in charge, or at least that in a just world he’d be in charge. And yes, partly the talk of internationalism and the evils of capitalist greed is to dupe others into thinking he’s superior, and as a badge to display to others. BUT as we’re seeing with this administration, repeat this sort of thing often enough and loud enough and you start drinking your own ink and believing what you sell. Because once you’re in the “elite” circles amid all the “smart people” and they’re all echoing this stuff at you, at some point you think “If all these smart people believe it–”
      This is how many of us who came from the left had so much trouble breaking with it. (I came from confused… I guess. But by virtue of where and when I grew up, I was necessarily “left” of the US.)

      • If I ever belonged to The Left to any serious degree, I don’t remember it. My Father lived his life, by preference, in the 18th Century, and was bitter in his contempt of the Academic Lefties he worked among. He was a Professor, and they were scared to death of him. I don’t say this because it makes me feel morally superior; I was just as much of an arrogant snot at 20 as anybody else – it’s a wonder nobody drowned me. But there are aspects of the Left that I will never understand because I have never had the inside view.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Not to insult your brother, but if *anyone* thinks they should be in charge because they can order the world better, then Dunning-Kruger.

        Me, I think I should be in charge because I promise NOT to order or organize the world, but rather to set certain fairly broad limits and let the world organize itself. I don’t want you to force me to live my life by your rules and I’m perfectly willing to return the favor.

        • yes, definitely. He was the “good boy” which in Portugal meant going socialist/communist. I was the rebel. eh.

        • “then Dunning-Kruger. ” Now that’s interesting. Explains a lot. Particularly, the inverse confidence levels.
          I’d imagine it doesn’t apply so much to Odds who are autodidacts. They probably didn’t rope any into their study either.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Explains a lot.

            Doesn’t it though.

            I’d imagine it doesn’t apply so much to Odds who are autodidacts.

            It depends on your definition of “odds” and just how “autodidactic”. Some folks are just absolutely sure of themselves for no good reason.

      • re: “Take my brother — please? At least ideologically — he fully believes that he should be in charge, or at least that in a just world he’d be in charge. ”

        I didn’t know my brother had a Portugese twin. Here’s my brother: a) High IQ, b) higher on narcissism scale than average, c) sneers at facts which show fallacy of his utopian ideals. Formerly a member of a 1970s “commune” in Tennessee where he fathered at least three children by two different female-free-thinking-tokers. Acts “sensitive”, but bullies his sisters and mother if he can corner them. My sisters and I won’t pick up any incoming call from his area code.

        We and our siblings were raised very modestly by conservative midwestern Democratic parents. He has been a Exhibit A in our rejection of leftism. Even my 90 year old mother isn’t able to hold her nose and pull the (D) lever.

  6. Sarah, I hate to say it, but much of two generations have already been lost, to this C–P. I know that you see hope and recovery, but some of us don’t, not anymore. The rot has set in too deep. Look at the “popularity” (sales) of Nutrisystem/Jenny Craig/etc.,People _paying_ *$300-400/month* for pre-packaged food, to “lose weight.” Spending enough to feed a family of at least two, *per person.*
    Here in Indiana, we have “Teachers and Teacher rep.’s” wanting to “stop testing of any kind.” How they can know if the child is actually _learning_ anything, without testing is left unsaid. We have people who know almost nothing about what they are actually doing, teaching new teachers, and administrating schools.
    We don’t have “the lunatics running the asylum,” we have them convincing the rest of the world that it’s a _Vacation Resort_. I’m afraid that the best we can hope for, is a relatively soft landing. As a much as I hate to say it (I have friends/family on both), we may have to write off the East and West Coasts. The majority of the residents, have so lost touch with reality that they aren’t even on our _world_ any longer. Their “reality” has only the most tenuous contact with ours. Most of the politicians in D.C. aren’t even in the same Universe as we are.
    In the problems I see coming, they have as much chance of survival as an African Pygmy, in the Middle of a Wall Street Trading floor. None. In a “depression” type collapse, the best they can hope for is catatonic, and worst is to try to “take charge.” The people who can survive, won’t allow them to. It would imperil everyone’s survival.
    So, the collapse they seem to want, will bring about the population reduction they want, just not the way they want it to.

    • “So, the collapse they seem to want, will bring about the population reduction they want, just not the way they want it to.”

      And I see that as the best possible case, at this point. :o(

      But I come here for Sarah’s optimistic pep talk, so just you hush.

    • Look at the “popularity” (sales) of Nutrisystem/Jenny Craig/etc.,People _paying_ *$300-400/month* for pre-packaged food, to “lose weight.” Spending enough to feed a family of at least two, *per person.*

      I’m sure there’s some significance here I’m missing. Please explain.

      • He thinks that people are being stupid and wasting money that “could feed a family.” What he’s failing to take in account is “people desperate to lose weight, and everything else has failed.”

        • he’s also assuming “eat less/lose weight.” If ONLY that were true. Now, JC probably wouldn’t work for me, as I understand it’s carb heavy. I once gained weight on nutrifast, because this was the nineties and it was all carbs. the fact is that humans are not simply caloric intake – exercise = weight gained. There’s how each metabolism works (often hereditary) and … hormonal balance, etc. JC and other such systems seem to work over a broad spectrum (if clearly not for everyone.) So, desperate people use them. One of my friends who is if anything TOO science savvy has tried everything else for years and yes, has iron-self-control so no, there was no sneaked food or treats. And yet, now, with a system, is finally losing weight. Since this person has my issues with carbs, if I had the money, I’d even try it. It has nothing to do with stupidity but desperation.

          • *shrug* Back when I was flying, because of my call schedule, I bought the WW meals because they were moderately healthy, low-cal, had a controlled portion size, and could be found on sale. I didn’t get enough exercise (see call schedule) and needed to keep my weight down despite grabbing “meals” with my crew. The benefits outweighed the cash cost. Plus I’ve done WW before. It works for me, or it did back 10 years or so ago.

          • It’s Lent, and for the first time in five years I am actually able to fast. (Not pregnant or the prime source of food for my baby.)

            Three fast days in, with nothing solid except for roughly a half-cup of whatever is for dinner… and my weight has gone up by almost five pounds. No change in eating on other days, and I don’t even take sugar in my coffee, and I gave up alcohol for Lent. (I don’t give up coffee because, to paraphrase Mother Angelica, it was more of a sacrifice for my family than for me.)

            Yeah, bit of a berzerk button on the whole “if you just ate less, you’d lose weight” thing.

            I suppose it’s POSSIBLE Himself is doing the “make sure your offer is an offering, not a backdoor way to get what you want” thing, but I don’t think it rises to miracle status…..

            • William O. B'Livion

              Get yourself one of those scales that do body fat analysis.

              They also do water analysis.

              I’m betting you’re retaining.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  But you must be consistent when you weigh yourself, so do it at the same time of day, drink/eat approximately the same amount, don’t do it directly after exercising, and use it in a room that is generally a stable temperature.

                  Something can be consistently inaccurate, and what is wanted here is more knowing the trend than knowing the exact value.

                  I’ve had one of those body fat scales for several years, and did exactly what that article said–I developed a pattern of usage that minimized external influences (basically get up in the morning, do the most urgent things, then get on the scale wearing pretty much the same thing every day).

                  There is simply no way that one can gain body fat while under a fast without violating the laws of thermodynamics. This is not to say that one cannot put on body weight while under certain levels of caloric restriction–the amount of energy you put in your mouth isn’t necessarily what goes into the metabolic system.

                  However when I fast I drink a LOT of coffee, tea (interestingly caffeine helps mobilize fat stores) and water. This means that by the time I’m ready to break my fast, despite not eating for 24 hours I’ve lost no weight overall, and maybe gained a bit.

                  There were clear differences day to day, with total body water being the biggest variable.

                  • Problem: I’m not comparing just “day before vs day after”– I’m comparing over time, and the human system simply isn’t that simple. In response to calorie restrictions, it can have several responses– including shutting down “optional” things.

                    Also, if I had a lifestyle where I could schedule around weighing myself, I probably wouldn’t gain weight so easily. Instead, I have a life where I have to get up an hour to an hour and a half before “normal” three days out of seven, half the time I can’t even stop long enough to drink coffee or a meal-in-a-can, and about half the time I am kept unable to even shower until two hours after “normal” wakeup time.

                    Kids, they have no respect for helping mommy lose weight. Although the baby does make for a wonderful counter-weight while doings setups.

              • Not to be confused with retentive. That would be me on a bad day.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Many years ago (allegedly) a retired gentleman was recalled to General Electric because of a malfunction piece of hardware.

          The engineer showed up, walked around the generator for a few minutes, then took a piece of chalk out of his pocket and put an X on the cowling of the device. Informed the entourage following him that there was a bad bit right under that X and it was to be replaced. He then left.

          They replaced the bearing and all was good until they got the bill–for 10,000 dollars.

          They, of course, asked for an itemized bill.

          The invoice returned said Chalk, $1. Knowing where to put the chalk $9,999.

          With Jenny Craig, WW, etc. you are not paying for the food (or at least not much). You are paying for the alleged expertise that tells you what food to eat when.

          This is fairly common today.

          • Variant of that I heard was it was a machinist, who had to diagnose the machine the replaced him, and the bill was $50,000.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Google Charles Proteus Steinmetz. There’s a couple versions of the story, some more vague than others.

        • “He thinks that people are being stupid and wasting money that “could feed a family.”

          In a nutshell, they are. There are systems like Prism that take into account carbs, calories, proteins, etc., where you weigh your food yourself and figure out the proper proportions of each course. Of course for some they simply don’t have the time, or it is cheaper to spend the 3-400 a month on prepackaged meals because they could make more than that in the time they spend cooking/weighing their food etc. But the vast majority of people are simply lazy and don’t want to put forth the effort (which is of course likely one of the contributing factors to them gaining weight) it would take to actually do something themselves, when they can just swipe their card and pick up a “healthy perfectly proportioned meal.”

          • It’s not just that. I can do low carb and know what carbs are, but you’d be amazed how many people think carbs are the same as glutten, or whatever. And cooking using low carb alternatives either restricts you to NOT eating much variety at all (and I’m sorry, you can’t carry a salad in hand as you eat) or you do as I do/did and spend two years developing alternatives. BUT this is starting from my being a foodie. I imagine for most people it’s impossible.

      • Apparently spending much more on your food than others is a bad thing. As long as it’s the person’s legally earned money, it’s their choice how to spend it.

          • This and what you (Sarah) said above was my take, but I just don’t connect that to TEOTWAWKI. People’s spending habits don’t align with best practice (as defined by…) so we’re doomed?

            I’ve never really bought into the notion that how person x spends their hard-earned paper is any business of persons y,z or any of those folks following a. It’s just not pertinent, unless you’re person x’s financial counselor.

            Now, if we want to talk about obesity being a problem and what that means about the untold wealth of our society? I could go places with that.

            • William O. B'Livion

              When those spending habits are such that cash out is larger than cash in, at some point yeah, you’re doomed.

            • yes, and I have ‘problems’ with that because i know that one part of the ‘obesity problem’ is that they are cooking the numbers. They are changing how obesity is measures, and yet comparing the new numbers to the old numbers. Also, keep in mind by some standards, Arnold Schwarzenegger was ‘obese’ when he was bodybuilding, simply because he didn’t meet their weight -for-height and body proportion numbers.

    • CombatMissionary

      It’s best to stay away from major population centers if you can. They’re the centers of lunacy and will turn to barbarism the fastest in an economic/technological collapse.

  7. “But when we disarmed, they sold us and delivered us bound to our foe.
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said, ‘Stick to the devil you know.'”

  8. The first time I heard of “the international” as in the communist song, it was in a Giovanni Guareschi book.

    “Funny” story time:

    Once upon a time, in the halls of academia (Really, a cramped seminar room with high backed chairs, a fake wood table, lots of bookshelves and too many people crammed into too little space, but it sounds so much more interesting put the other way) we were having a conversation about how the big, evil, mean, puppy-kicking, baby-hating US (that also thinks kittens are ugly) should unilaterally disarm thus providing the example for the rest of the world and achieving world peace by removing all weapons and thus all temptation to use them, and then we could have more money to give to people who didn’t work because there would be no need to pay people who put their asses on the line to defend their country…

    And I interrupted: “Yes, and then we can all hold hands and love each other and sing Internationalle.” The room went silent. Quickly. No one had quite considered how naive that sounded because they were so used to being in the leftist echo chamber that no one had ever objected to that point of view before. It got better after someone asked why Internationalle and not Kumbaya and I pointed out (with considerable sarcasm) that we couldn’t use Kumbaya because it’s a Christian song and some people might be offended. I think a few of them were offended because of the sarcasm. But I digress.

    The conversation further evolved into the United States being evil because we’re successful. Why should we have enough to eat if people in other parts of the world don’t? (Because we grew it. Because we have enough of an economy to pay for it.) How horrible is it that the US and Europe possess more web domains than the rest of the world combined? (Uhh… This matters why? The amount of websites increases daily. If other countries want more sites they can make them. No one is stopping them.)

    At the end of the day (or at least the class period) it was apparent that it wasn’t just talk. The left literally wants to ruin this country. By tearing the US (and other rich countries) down they can level the playing field. These idiots don’t seem to realize that it is possible to bring the rest of the world up, but only if they can be taught how to do it themselves. It’s not easy, it wasn’t easy for the US and Europe either, but it _CAN_ be done. Until we can get them to admit that this attitude is here to stay.

    • They think “wealth” is a finite pie. So we must tear down, for others to go up. (Rolls eyes.) This is sheer and blatant idiocy, but hey, my kid’s college Geography book said the only reason we’re rich is that we stole the wealth of poor countries. Because colonialism.

      • Rob Crawford

        I hope some day to make a vile prog’s head explode by explaining to them that the things they hate about Spanish and British colonialism were the results of Roman colonialism, and so we should really be angry at the Italians.

      • I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating;

        It only took a few decades of post-colonialist genocide, kleptocracy, and “revolutionary” claptrap to make Colonialism look pretty goddamned good.

        • I’ll say it again: I’m GRATEFUL that the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards. If they hadn’t, we would be Muslim, and no different from Malaysia or Indonesia or any Muslim country. I’m grateful the Americans got us afterward, and gave us education. Also, thank God for the Jesuits!

          The same idiots whose heads explode when I say that have no issues with Muslim colonization or the idea of the the global Ummah that the Muslims so deeply desire. Or Russian or Chinese aggression. Or Muslim aggression towards Buddhists. It’s really easy to expose leftist hypocrisy.

          (Quite honestly, at the rate the Philippines was going, China could have conquered it. They’re starting to get a somewhat proper navy and air force now though so…)

    • “we couldn’t use Kumbaya because it’s a Christian song and some people might be offended”

      Of course. You can’t refer to God and so suggest that something other than our wonderful wonderfulness and marvelous marvelousness is responsible for the perfect perfection of our state.

    • Well now, I am reasonably sure that if the US had simply surrendered to Japan immediately after Pearl Harbor WWII would have been over much sooner. Would have been a good thing, nicht wahr?
      As to world hunger, it’s not a food problem. It’s a distribution and politics problem. Each year US foreign aide, much of it in actual foodstuff, is given out to those in need, but instead of reaching them is diverted and sold to enrich the pockets of corrupt officials in the recipient countries.
      Reminds me of a tale from years back. The US donated a freighter full of bags of grain, probably wheat if it matters, to some poor starving Southeast Asian nation. Some local organizations provided the manpower to offload the bags, spraying what we were told was inspection markers to allow edible product through customs. What it actually said in the local dialect was “Gift from the People’s Republic of China.” That was one shipment I’m reasonably sure was not diverted, but reached the intended end users.

      • Labels on international aid can be interesting. A German-language instructor, who grew up there during WWII, told us that after the war many boxes of aid came from the US, their former enemy, marked “Gift of the U.S.A.” – which led to uncertainty about whether to open them because 1) they didn’t speak or read English and 2) “gift” in German means “poison”…

    • I’ve said before that anyone saying they want to “Level the playing field” is using the same verb as in “Level the building.”

  9. As many others have said, “internationalism” may have cachet attached, but those who have really lived in/seen the other parts of the world know the reality of that actually working… As for Russia/USSR and taking back Crimea, it boils down to one word- Sevastopol Russia will NOT give that up. Period, end of statement…

    • Finnish saying from the times of the Winter War: Russkies are russkies, even if you fried them in butter.

      Doesn’t matter what that country is called, the attitudes seem to stay pretty much the same. As individuals they can be the nicest people you’ll even meet, as a country, well, bully is one word which comes to mind.

    • Emotionally (and Russians are an emotionally-driven people), I can’t blame them. Sevastopol is their only warm-water major port & access to the rest of the world, PLUS the ignoble defeat of the Crimean War to avenge… All the same, I’d like to see all the ethnic Russian troublemakers in the Ukraine (esp. East Ukraine) relocated to Crimea, replaced by Ukrainian patriots. Might hold the bear at bay long enough to get the Ukraine fully into NATO.

      • I noticed Tsar Putin has been talking about Kiev being the spiritual heart of Russia and how it needs to come home. (Um, that was 1030 to 800 years ago, before the Mongols, and the leaders of Kievien Rus were Vikings. But what’s a millennium and a few details to a despot?)

        • Well, the Russians claim cultural inheritance rights to the Roman Empire ( Moscow as the “third Rome”) , and they’re pretty straight up about the Viking heritage thing as well. About the only factual heritage they reject is that of their time as subjects to the Mongols. Picking and choosing across two-plus millennia is pretty much par for the course.

  10. Fishing for an optimistic outlook, are you saying that these folks are so delusional that they aren’t really a serious threat? I’ve been doing a lot of reading from the Mises library and getting more and more depressed, so I’d love to hear a “don’t worry be happy” here.

    • The only don’t worry be happy line I can think of is: We’ve been in trouble before and managed to get out of it.

      • Things always change. If things go badly wrong the dark ages can last hell of a long time but I suppose there might be some comfort with the thought that it will never be forever. Even if it can surely feel like that to those people who have the misfortune to live in those times.

        Er, I guess that may not be the best possible ‘don’t worry, be happy’ thought.

      • As far as I can tell, we’ve been in this trouble since Woodrow Wilson and have failed to extricate ourselves yet. It’s only gotten worse and worse. If Ozero wasn’t such a buffoon, I believe we’d have full scale fascism now.

        • One can always hope that maybe the fact that he is such a buffoon, and that it is becoming increasingly obvious and undeniable enough that even supporters are starting to see it now (at least some) might be something which can perhaps change the tide. If he had only been in office for one term, or had been even marginally more competent the long term chances for that might be a lot worse.

          Trying to be optimistic here. I don’t live there, but unfortunately your politics can have quite far reaching consequences so this is something that matters to me too.

          • I think he’s the proverbial “lame duck” at this point but that doesn’t address the whole progressive “ideology” of buying their way into power. Honestly, I’m pinning my hopes on balkinization.

    • btw, isn’t von mises great? I just started reading him myself recently.

    • No. I’m saying they’re so incompetent they’re not a serious threat. And some of them will grow up now we’re talking back. Hey, I did. Also, we should sponsor trips abroad for these snowflakes. And when the chick that said we should reduce male population and her sisters says stuff like that, instead of saying “that is beyond evil” we should say “So, you’re selling this to the Chinese and the Arabs, how?” MAKE them contemplate the internal contradictions. … with GIFS if needed.

      • or at lest get them to admit that thay have no problem with sex seliction abbortion just the detials…..of hew’s in charge.

      • or point out they can get close to their desired male-female ratios the old-fashioned way – with lots of foreign wars!

    • God loves drunks, fools, and the United States?

      • Both? are you sure?

      • We are a volatile people, such that we are, easily spun up, but the mistake the rest of the world makes is to confuse that with true anger. It takes a lot to make us really angry, Pearl Harbor and 9/11 for ex, both of which resulting in the conquering of multiple countries and the only two uses of nuclear weapons in war ever. I do fear what it’s going to take to wake the world up is to make us really angry yet again.

        • If a couple of our cities get nuked. I think we’d get murderously angry.

          • It was amazing, the number of people who, in the week after 9/11, talked about making Kabul into a lake of radioactive glass…it was very much a lynch mob psychology. I credit GWB for managing a well-paced investigation of exactly what and who to credit, and so returning us to a rule-by-law psychology.

          • Yep. And, the anger isn’t only going to fall on the idiots who did the nuking, either. I can’t think of a more likely way for the various idioten on the left to suddenly find themselves on the outside, looking in.

            I’ve mentioned it before, but I had this acquaintance who’d been fairly active in the local Democratic part. He was a Scoop Jackson Democrat, so he really had no place in the party, post-Reagan. He went off so some party function back east, and came back fulminating. Turned over most of his party duties, and got the hell away from all of that. I’ll never forget listening to him predict that one day “…they’ll be hunting Democrats through the streets with dogs…”. I kinda suspect he’d be one of the ones with the dogs, too.

            US internal politics has a habit of turning on dimes, and then the conventional wisdom becomes “What? Me? An isolationist? Never… You misunderstood me…”. Witness what happened after Pearl Harbor, and how far things went afterwards. The next time around, I don’t think they’re going to be happy with building isolated desert internment camps. When you think that the enemy is as close as the idiot next door, the reaction tends to go a bit… Overboard?


            The likely reaction to someone like that being found complicit or even involved in a major attack like nuking a US city? Probably not at all “minor”, and I think we might well see something akin to a major pogrom take place across wide swathes of the US. At the least, the ideological reaction is going to be very pogrom-like, as the multi-cultural relativists get swept out of power.

            • William O. B'Livion

              LA has a subway system?

              Who knew?

              • Its even funnier if you ever rode the silly thing.

              • Its a mix of subways and surface-based light rail (and… seriously… busses running on a dedicated road, because it was cheaper than adding that planned light rail.)

                And traffic in my city (town, whatever) is all screwed up because of the Gold Line extension- which was originally supposed to have been operational in 2007.

    • For me, the best optimistic outlook comes from realizing our sources of information are biased. And I don’t mean in negative/vile prog ways, just in that the things they are measuring/observing/commenting on are systemic things (and narrow). Of necessity. In part, because as humans, that’s what we do. And in much larger and far more important part, because sociological study can make group observations and inevitably fails to make individual predictions.

      The Mises Institute is full of cogent arguments. And telling bits of information. There’s a lot of very important information available there, and elsewhere. For those of us interested in the details of how societies form, change, fluctuate, fail and succeed there’s excellent (and terrifying) data. But it’s all systemic data, socio-cultural/regional/national/etc. Regardless of how much they posit to individual behaviors, individuals confound the research.

      So, yeah, I can look at the trends and despair (and in dark moments, I assuredly do). I can realize we’re on unsustainable paths in several areas. I can savor the bleak outlook.

      Or I can realize that individuals confound the research. There are 314 million individuals in the U.S. You start counting up like- (or close enough) minded folks outside the U.S? The number gets considerably bigger. Sarah Hoyt is not the only American born on foreign shores (just our favorite) and that’s important. Going back to CONUS, the vast majority of those 314 million don’t care about politics. They don’t obsess over it, they don’t storm twitter over it, they don’t care (This is generally good, by the way, our country isn’t really supposed to be about the governing). They’re busy doing what they do to live their lives. Bobbing and weaving and dodging the BS to go on about their lives. When the economy hitches, they take several million different paths to get back where they want to be. When regulations pop up, they respond in several million ways to the new difficulties. When some politician gets a swelled head and starts preaching, they find several million different ways of ignoring (or mocking) them. They are not a system constrained to respond in systemic ways and thus constrained to fail because the system is flawed.

      Might some folks suffer systemic shocks? Sure. And they can look around and see a few million different ways to move past them. And probably see a few million different hands stretched out to give them a hand over the obstacles. Are things likely to change? When did they stop changing? Ever? Disruptions, shifts, realignments? All likely. Dissolution of the individual wills of 314 million Americans? Nope.

      Individuals will confound the research, and the expectations, in ways we cannot in any way anticipate. So, I don’t despair, I fight for culture and governance limited by the founding documents, and Americanism and moving forward. Why not? If I’m wrong, if I’m Pollyanna after all and it all comes crashing down into the long night… Well, I’ll have gone out fighting.

      But I don’t think I’m wrong.

      Individuals will confound.

      • Wow! Eamon for President.

        I think you may be right, but I’ll gladly fight beside you either way.

        • *Shudder*

          Nobody wants me for president. For much the same reasons I’m not a cop. I’m a little too — definitive in my solutions (and I recognize they contrast sharply with my considered philosophy).

          But come on up, I’ve always got space for a fellow fighter on the battlements!

          • You’ve got battlements? I’m deeply jealous. I settled for wild-lands.

            • With the proper outlook (and combat engineers) any urban area offers all sorts of suitable battlements…

              Rural areas may require a bit more engineering.


              • You can keep urban. I’ll take river, swamps and mountains. Besides, I’ve got a backhoe and I’m not afraid to use it.

                • Terrain Features of Significance. Make ’em work for their advance. And then punish them for their temerity.

                  Rural works for me. And can be made to work against them.

                  On the other hand, I’m fond of forcing them to face two fronts: Drive them out of the urban center, let ’em learn what sits behind the serenity. (Old joke/folktale*: Indian fighter’s sketch – flat horizon line, couple of small pebbles and a cactus, titled Landscape with Apaches) When they stumble back, show ’em what creative destruction means.

                  *I am trying (and failing) to establish if I heard this story in the wild or only read it in Hambly’s book. (or somebody predating her?)

                  • I’ve heard it before and haven’t read Hambly.

                    “Rural works for me. And can be made to work against them.”
                    When you get run out (or tired) of the city, come on up and help us defend the valley.

                    • Oh, gladly. Some realities dictate city dwelling, but the soul calls for the wilds…

                    • Poor girl, so confused.

                    • Any time!

                    • like chronic medical conditions.

                    • What about suburban? I’m not really a rural person.

                    • Oh, we still need cities, of a sort. Suburban is fine, city-folk are fine. Got to know plenty of good folk when I was living urbanish, in college. Got to have a place to put factories and suchlike to keep the engine of the economy chugging along.

                      Me, I like a bit of hills and woods. Clear running springs. Wildflowers and wildlife. Not so far out in the sticks I’ve got to run my own generators and stock the larder with fresh game and vittles grown all myself- that’s work, I’m naturally a lazy sort. Just at the far end of the water line is fine with me.

                    • Hey, any of you all are welcome any time you feel like visiting Maine. We’re just SW of Moosehead lake if you want to take a look, Blanchard twp. Just drop me a line

                    • Maine is on my list! I had a friend in high school from Maine, and a buddy from the Army from there (and who’s gone back to raise the wiggly ones), and some other interests and connections, so I’ve heard grand stories and want to get up that way one day.

                    • Wait till the snow melts. :o)

                    • Sounds about right to me. I take it in phases, really. Sometimes I really dig all the things a city can do for you. Others, I want the lonely hogan a goodly hike from the rutted track (that one would get old fast). Your spot out toward the end of the utility run sounds perfect…



                  • The Far Side had a version of it.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  Can I get your cellphone number? I’ve got this list…

      • William O. B'Livion

        Next year the USG will (purportedly) be letting go of it’s control over ICANN/IANA.

        How long before there’s international pressure to “turn off” domains of hate sites…let me rephrase that. How long before the EXISTING pressure by some groups to turn of the domains of hate groups gets UN/Government pressure?

        How long before things like the Mises Inst. is declared “hate speech” because it makes some people uncomfortable?

        Going to hit the gym tonight, and then go home and do some dry firing and reloading practice.

        • “do some dry firing and reloading practice.”

          Good plan! That always cheers me up.

        • masgramondou

          I know it is regarded as a truism that “the Internet regards censorship as a connection failure and routes around it”, but it is in very large part true. The problem is most of you are going to have to take lessons from Al Qaeda and the purveyors of kiddie pr0n to figure out how to locate/join/republish the internet Samizdat. Though you could ask me if that’s easier

          • Do you have some knowledge on the hardware as well as software side of that issue? Either way, I’d be interested in learning more.

          • You should blog it. I’d follow.

            • He blogs. Or at least used to.

            • masgramondou

              The problem is that once you expose the techniques the censors/spies find ways to counter them.

              • Okay, that makes sense. So write up what you have, and we’ll figure out a distribution method after. Sounds like a physical transmission would be necessary (CD/DVD/pendrive).

                • Yeah. I was really impressed [not] last night to hear an oh-so-sincere Homeland Security dude blaming the TOR system for allowing kiddie-pr0n to circulate on the ‘Net. (Um, isn’t that kind of law enforcement an FBI thing, not Hmlnd Sec? Anyway.) Because the tool is always to blame, never the sicko using the tool.

          • William O. B'Livion

            When you have a rogue nation–places like China, North Korea and such–a little censorship isn’t a problem because the vast majority of us hate that shit and won’t participate in tracking down or turning in people who violate the rules.

            When this is inverted, when those in government can pressure ICANN to simply turn off the domains it’s going to get a LOT harder.

            And yes, there are ways around this, but when those techniques are outlawed, how did it go? “Imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever”

            The same internet that allows essentially unlimited communication and provides paths around the government and main stream media sources can also be used to track and crack down on them.

            Witness the NSA (and the FBI, and the CIA, and Homeland Security and… but not as publicly).

            The only proof against censorship and oppression is constant vigilance and fighting the people who think that oppression is freedom.

            • “Imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever”

              No matter how much the government seems to be taking it as a how-to manual — 1984 is a work of fiction. The Soviet Union itself did not outlive all the people who saw it begin. (Though I’m not sure that we can accept Margaret Atwood’s theory: “However, the essay on Newspeak is written in standard English, in the third person, and in the past tense, which can only mean that the regime has fallen, and that language and individuality have survived.” On the other hand, I’m not sure there’s evidence enough to reject it.)

    • William O. B'Livion

      Most junkies don’t die from their addiction, they either hit rock bottom and kick the habit, or they get into maintenance of some sort.

      That, I think, is about as good as we can manage at this point.

      • bleak

      • What about the junkies who OD? Or die of complications of their addiction.

        • William O. B'Livion

          The key is

          Most junkies…

          >shrug< I think we'll probably die from it–at least as a nation, and then it's back to the "dark ages". After all, last week US debt finally exceeded the GDP, and there's no evidence of slowing down.

          I think "recovering junkie" is our best hope. Just like remission is the best hope of someone with stage 4 cancer.

    • OK, try this for size; The Upper Classes have always included more than their fair share of nitwits who were SURE they had the right and duty to tell the Lower Orders how to live. This has been true throughout recorded history. From a historical perspective, they are weaker than they have been at almost any other stage of history. They actually have to take the opinions of the Peasants into account, and try to win the Great Unwashed to their banners. The Military of the United States, if told to put down an uprising, might very well tell them where to go and what to do when they got there. And the Militaries of several European States (Britain and Switzerland for sure. Probably Poland and Finland. Maybe some others.) could easily do so too. Their dictate on diet, transportation, and religion are widely ignored and often mocked. They do not enjoy an large advantage in armament over the Common Herd, and wouldn’t know what to do with one if they did. They are broadly lacking in understanding of the technologies that underlie their comfortable lifestyles, and must depend on craftsmen of the Lower Orders for nearly everything.

      They are annoying, and can do society a great deal of damage, but they are incapable of running things in an emergency, incapable of sustaining themselves if left to their own devices, and are probably Zombie Chow in the inevitable Brain-Eating apocalypse.

  11. Heh. Perhaps the Chinese and Russians etc. would greet the idea of reducing males to just 10 % of populations with unbridled enthusiasm, try to get as many other countries as possible to sign the agreements, and then keep on having more boys than girls anyway while talking about their attempts to stop this (working at it, but…). And daydream of the near future when they can go and get brides to all those excess young men from the countries which now have a mostly female young population. And then also get a lots of new territory for those new mixed families to occupy. 😀

    When we are talking about cultures, and how they get transferred, well, some of you may have noticed that I profess a rather casual attitude about nudity. I just don’t particularly care. Being seen nude feels somewhat embarrassing to me now since I’m old and fat, seeing others nude, no matter what the person or persons look like doesn’t bother me at all unless we are talking about somebody I both know well and know that she would be bothered if being seen like that, and then the problem is her embarrassment, not the nudity itself.

    And that is a fairly common attitude with Finns. But it’s not even close to universal. There are also Finns who are every bit as prudish about nudity as most Americans seem to be (sorry, but to many of those of us who grew in the permissive parts of local societies, yep, prudish feels like the right word. A lot of us don’t quite get these movie scenes were somebody gets locked out of their home or hotel room wearing only a towel… er, what’s the big deal? Stark naked, yep, public nudity can get you a ticket, or if wearing just embarrassing looking underwear, but if you have a towel? Ah, yes, these weird foreigners…). There are some religious sects here which have pretty strict no nudity rules, but it’s also possible to meet individuals whose whole family is completely casual about it while they themselves refuse to even think about going to a sauna with anybody but maybe closest same sex members of their family or their spouse. Some would go to sauna, but not skinny dipping in the lake where neighbors might see them. Lots will be okay with nudity, but only in sauna and maybe going skinny dipping from it, but absolutely nowhere else, and a lot will always refuse a mixed sauna. And some will call the police if they see their next door neighbors skinny dipping on the sauna evenings (sauna and swimming go together if at all possible).

    Nope, doesn’t seem to be genetic. 🙂

    By the way, there has been some push to tighten the laws about something like that skinny dipping. I think it’s still legal when you do it on your own property (especially from sauna), even if the neighbors have a good view to where you do it, but it’s possible that is changing. One of the reasons seems to be that we are now getting immigrants who have strict rules against any kind of nudity, and there are people who are worried that the chance they might be exposed to unwanted nudity is infringing on their rights. 😦

    • William O. B'Livion

      One of the reasons seems to be that we are now getting immigrants who have strict rules against any kind of nudity, and there are people who are worried that the chance they might be exposed to unwanted nudity is infringing on their rights.

      The stupidz. It hurtz.

    • I just re-read Puppet Masters and he said some cultures and nations were safe — Finland was one of them. 😉

  12. I was on an extended business trip to London back in 1992 or so. British Museum, wonderful. Tower of London, entertaining. Imperial War Museum, not to be missed.

    But I got homesick, and tried a pizzeria near my hotel. Pretty much the same as your experience with early Portuguese pizza, but probably blander. And if I’d asked for it to be seasoned up a bit, they would probably have put curry powder on it.

    A few years earlier I was at an astronomy conference in Paris. How bad is my French? Bad enough that the Parisians I tried to talk to begged me to speak in English. But other things that stood out: You could not walk any distance within the city without serious danger of stepping in poodle crap if you were inattentive. (But the city smelled so bad you might not realize at once. I made myself unwelcome at my first hotel this way.) The food within my budget (admittedly limited; I was a graduate student at the time) was surprisingly bad. A prominent exception was the cafeteria at the observatory where the conference was being held; excellent by institutional cafeteria standards, and the cheese was plentiful and good. I don’t think anyone in the States has any idea how to cure a green brie properly, and that’s the only kind the French will ship here.

    But the other thing was walking around with a camera taking pictures. Lots to photograph there, and I was struck by the large numbers of plaques commemorating Monsieur Martin who fell for France against the Boche. Slight aside: One of the conference banquets was held in the Palace of the Senate. (“Palace of the Senate.” We could use that kind of refreshing honesty in Washington.) There were still bullet holes in some of the artwork. Since they were inflicted by the Resistance, they are too sacred to repair. /Aside. I had a good time walking and photographing until I got to Notre Dame. Eminently photogenic, except that just then a couple of buses pulled up full of elderly American tourists.

    I can see now why a lot of foreigners hate Americans. They’re not seeing the best of us.

    Internationalism, feh. It’s tough to beat, and dangerous to go beyond, the policy in the Declaration of Independence: Enemies in war, in Peace Friends.

    • That summer I worked in Canada one problem I had was that I could find no decent coffee anywhere, not even the coffee I got in some Finnish immigrant owned restaurant in Thunder Bay quite got to what I am used to. The same problem in Ontario, in northern Michigan, and in New York. It all tasted like dishwater to me. Way too much water, way too little coffee.

      • Otherwise, there were lots of small things, but I can’t remember having had anything like a real culture shock. But I did spend most of the time in areas which have large Finnish immigrant populations (which led to several of those small things, a lot of traditionally Finnish things as done by long time immigrants have evolved to something a bit weird appearing to one fresh from Finland). And the rest… movies and television series, maybe. At least half of the ones shown in Finland, then and now, tend to be American ones. And with my reading habits also more than half of the books I read.

      • Coffee is better here now. I had the same problem my first ten years here. Turns out if you’re ever here and broke and in need of a cheap cup of coffee that Dunkin Doughnuts makes the best coffee available for public sale — for a plain cup of Joe, and cheaper than Starbucks.

      • No espresso available?

      • Oh my, you were in Thunder Bay too? Did you ever get out to the amethyst mine? (My family “wintered over” in the mid-70’s. I hated very much learning that -40F =-40C from personal experience).

        • No. I heard about it, and planned to, but didn’t manage to find the right moment before I left. Besides, I wasn’t staying in Thunder Bay, we were based on some firefighter station north of there, several hours drive and no larger habitation anywhere nearby, just a very small village with a couple of stores and one, I think they are called road houses. But friends of mine in Finland had an immigrant relative who lived in Thunder Bay, both of the two other summer field assistants lived there and drove there on most weekends so I visited often too.

          Main suck was that I had the money to rent a car for only one week. Otherwise I depended on getting lifts from other people.

          • That distant relative had immigrated in the 60’s. I remember him telling that he had checked the latitude before leaving on his flight from Finland and had noticed that Thunder Bay seemed to be what to Finns seems pretty far south. And he had left Finland quite early in the spring, but since, hey, that’s south, had not taken that many warm clothes with him. 😀

          • Ah, a pity. The mine itself is not exciting–they “mine” using dynamite, so the part you see looks exactly like a gravel lot. However, they made the gravel road up to the mine out of the tailings….so it is the *prettiest* gravel road I have ever seen. Faintly lavender, and it sparkled in the sunlight. They let people go and pick up bits for $1 a pound or some such–not many gem-quality stones, because of the shockwaves from the dynamite, lots of fractures. The mine was mostly for huge slabs of crystals for buildings vs. jewelry.

            Someday, when I am Evil Overlord, I shall have a driveway of crushed amethyst…

            • Maybe you could add some rose quartz here and there…? I’m not exactly a fan of the color pink otherwise (rather the opposite, actually), but I do love rose quartz and other pink gems. And those two colors usually go pretty well together.

              Besides, that would be misleading, right? An Evil Overlord who uses lots of pink gems might be more easily underestimated by her enemies. 🙂

            • You can see miles of sparkling roads in the Adirondacks where they use gravel from the garnet mines, full of mica.

      • masgramondou

        Funniest experience ever was encountering two Finnish teenagers in the gift shop on the Canadian side of Niagara falls who decided to generally run riot and insult people in Finnish. I mean who speaks Finnish at Niagara falls?

        Well the friend who took me there was also taking his Finnish girlfriend there (and I met him and his gf in Finland) so that made three of us who could give as good as we got when it came to Perkeleen Vittupaa and the like. Never seen a pair of rowdy teens go so quiet and embarrassed so quick in my life….

        • Like when I sat in the bus in front of the two German guys who were evaluating me point by point in German, because, middle of Porto in 83, who the heck speaks German.
          Before leaving I turned around, thanked them in German and corrected one of their surmises. The red faces will stay with me always.

        • Heh. Good.

          You can find Finns, immigrants, tourists and other travelers, in the weirdest of places. I have never assumed nobody around me understands, unless I know for sure they don’t (in other words, know them), except then it’s of course not polite to talk in a language they don’t speak.

          I once embarrassed, with a Finnish friend, a couple of Austrians we had spend some time with, and who had talked a lot between themselves in German, when we started to read a couple of German language newspapers. Both of us understood enough to read German then, but we weren’t so fluent we would have cared to speak it. I assume not everything the Austrians had spoken about us had been completely polite. 🙂 Well, fact is their accent was thick enough that neither one of us Finns had gotten much more than the general gist of what some of those German language conversations had been about, but of course we didn’t tell them that. 😀 (They were men, my friend was also a woman, all of us in our mid-20’s then so perhaps not that much guessing as to the probable subjects).

        • William O. B'Livion

          This leftist f*nut I was buddies with in college (he wasn’t as obvious about it back then) was nominally jewish. He spent a bit of time in Israel, where he and his friend would insult people in English (which is probably not as safe as he thought). They got back to Chicago, and were sitting on a bus when his buddy, totally without thinking, made a comment out loud about a overweight black woman who had just gotten on the bus…

    • Rob Crawford

      ” Eminently photogenic, except that just then a couple of buses pulled up full of elderly American tourists.”

      My first and only trip outside the US was, admittedly odd — a tour group made up of people from all over the English-speaking world — but the contrast between us and the Japanese tourists was striking, I have a picture of a Japanese gentleman on the streets of Rome wearing a suit Clark Griswold wouldn’t be caught dead in, and at Pompeii, well, we had to sprint through the Lupernal or we would have been trampled, while we had all the time we wanted at the Villa of the Mysteries and elsewhere.

      Here in the US the only place I have experience with foreign tourists is at Walt Disney World — and it’s a mixed bag. At times I’ve wondered if Aussies understand queues…

      • Brits and Japanese, absolutely. Aussies, not so much. Russians, oh hell no. Americans, varies according to age and region.
        Worked several international missions with foreign teams coming to North Alabama for extended tdy. Brits first visit in March did all sorts of kidding about the pampered Americans and our insistence on air conditioning everywhere; buildings, vehicles, etc. Their next visit was in August, heh, heh, heh.
        Japanese were always very polite and reserved, but almost invariably wanted at least one visit to a gun range on every extended visit.

        • I’ve read that Swiss just do not understand queues.

        • ” Their next visit was in August, heh, heh, heh.”

          Pagett, M.P., was a liar, and a fluent liar therewith —
          He spoke of the heat of India as the “Asian Solar Myth”;
          Came on a four months’ visit, to “study the East,” in November,
          And I got him to sign an agreement vowing to stay till September.

          March came in with the koil. Pagett was cool and gay,
          Called me a “bloated Brahmin,” talked of my “princely pay.”
          March went out with the roses. “Where is your heat?” said he.
          “Coming,” said I to Pagett, “Skittles!” said Pagett, M.P.

          April began with the punkah, coolies, and prickly-heat, —
          Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.
          He grew speckled and mumpy-hammered, I grieve to say,
          Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.

          May set in with a dust-storm, — Pagett went down with the sun.
          All the delights of the season tickled him one by one.
          Imprimis — ten day’s “liver” — due to his drinking beer;
          Later, a dose of fever –slight, but he called it severe.

          Dysent’ry touched him in June, after the Chota Bursat —
          Lowered his portly person — made him yearn to depart.
          He didn’t call me a “Brahmin,” or “bloated,” or “overpaid,”
          But seemed to think it a wonder that any one stayed.

          July was a trifle unhealthy, — Pagett was ill with fear.
          ‘Called it the “Cholera Morbus,” hinted that life was dear.
          He babbled of “Eastern Exile,” and mentioned his home with tears;
          But I haven’t seen my children for close upon seven years.

          We reached a hundred and twenty once in the Court at noon,
          (I’ve mentioned Pagett was portly) Pagett, went off in a swoon.
          That was an end to the business; Pagett, the perjured, fled
          With a practical, working knowledge of “Solar Myths” in his head.

          And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth died out on my lips
          As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their “Eastern trips,”
          And the sneers of the traveled idiots who duly misgovern the land,
          And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my hand.

      • The worst Japanese tourists can certainly give the worst American tourists a run for their money. The German tourists I’ve met have been pretty good. Don’t know why that should be so. Other nationalities don’t particularly stand out either way in my (admittedly limited) experience.

        Though Set and I recently ran into a couple from Israel who were very concerned about the lightning hazard in our mountainous country. Given that being hit by lightning is one of the few hazards whose chances are less even than being blown up by terrorists, at least in Israel, he found this amusing. Nice couple in every other way, though.

        • masgramondou

          I’m told that these days the tourists everyone hates are the Chinese.

        • I noticed something amusing in Yosemite in regards to Japanese tourists. You see, there are a lot of Californians who are visually identical to Japanese tourists, but you could always tell the foreigners. They were the ones wearing street-grade sandals, while the locals all had hiking boots or at least sturdy sneakers.

      • Traveling through Italy with my Parents in 1975 was an experience. My Father was taking pictures for his “Styles” course (If you have Baroque Painting, and Baroque Theatre, then you will also have Baroque politics and Baroque Science), many of which, because of the points he wanted to make, could not be had from the souvenir shops. For a teenager, to watch his father lying down in a Roman era domed temple (no, I don’t remember details) so he could take pictures of the dome from underneath, while the Italians scratched their heads over the crazy American, is unforgettable. Luckily, I was used to my Parents being nuts, and kind of liked it by that time.

        • My kids have that attitude. The Mathematician and I could start making duck noises or imitating pterodacyls in the Natural History Museum, and they wouldn’t even look at us funny. other people would, but not they.

  13. Christopher M. Chupik

    “and for the purposes of this most Canadians”

    Wish I could say you were wrong, but not really. It’s a minor miracle we Canadians have had a Conservative government as long as we have.

  14. I play Scandie folkmusic and so I hang out with quite a few Scandie musicians and US wannabes, so, yeah, saunas and all that. I’m afraid in my mind public nudity (for me) is about vanity and embarrassment, not about taboos. I have the decency to comb my hair and wear clothes, so as not to scare the horses. Everyone else can do whatever they want.

  15. Clark E Myers

    “BUT put it on the world stage and… well… You have two regions which want — or need — the same thing. Only one can have it.”

    Luckiest Man in Denv It scales down to neighborhoods fractal all the way – me against my brother.

  16. Morbid curiosity compels me.
    I truly don’t want to know. But I must.

  17. Any interest in Communism I had died in the 8th grade when I read Mitchner’s _The Bridge at Andau_. If that many people are willing to die to get away from something . . . And that was before I got to the chapters about the prison guard.

    I enjoy Germany and Austria. I appreciate a lot of things in German and Austrian culture, and love the history and sense of place. It’s fun to see how long I can go before people realize that I’m not German. But I also know there are aspects of German culture and politics that I can’t stand (for ex. when I attended university there, women still lost their legal identity when they married. And don’t get me started on church/temple/mosque taxes.) The old tension between (theoretical) egalitarianism and aristocracy (now including Euro-aucracy) is not that far below the surface. And I know I don’t know the half of it. Yet another reason Internationalism gives me the willies.

    • Yep, ‘The Bridge at Andau’ also killed any interest I might have had in Communism also … well, that and a couple of friends in college who had left Cuba as teenagers. And then working in Vietnamese refugee settlement in 1975. I had a friend whose family were Russian Jews – she had a great-aunt who walked out of Russia on bare feet, she wanted out so badly. A friend of our family – also Russian Jewish finally brought out one of their aunts in the 1970s also. Lovely woman, named Vera. She became a kind of aunt to us.
      I knew lots of people who had fled communist countries, and had endured all kinds of hardships to get away. But I never knew anyone personally who willingly went from the US to live in a communist country as an ordinary citizen. Frankly, I wish there was a program whereby a lot of academic and social Marxists could have that experience, for a couple of years. Just as a learning experience for them.

      • Wouldn’t work. Many academics went over in the 1930’s and came back extolling how great the Soviet Union was. Of course the NKVD made sure that they go the royal treatment as the NKVD just loved to create agents of influence and traitors. It’s unbelievable how infiltrated the Democrats of the FDR administration were. It’s not a matter of who was a Communist supporter, but who wasn’t. The history continues at the Ivy Covered Snob Factories. I do think that a couple of years living as citizen in a North Korean town might not be a bad thing for our special darlings. Let them get the full Communism.

        • Yes, they’d have to live there as something like common workers before there was any chance of getting the real picture. And for several years. It’s hard to see when one doesn’t want to see.

        • Even the royal treatment didn’t keep some of them from telling the truth. Like — the Soviet Union was just a company town, large-scale.

      • In college, my wife did some housecleaning for a Russian Jew emigre – who had been carried as a young child in her uncle’s hood as they walked across Siberia to get out.

  18. “Look, the precious feminist flower who came up with the idea that we should hold male population down to 10% of the births?”

    Three thoughts came to mind on this…
    1. Hmmm, interesting idea, I might even be able to find a wife…or maybe that should be, even *I* might be able to… 🙂
    2. Outnumbered 9 to 1…I see polygamy becoming legal.
    3. Outnumbered 1 to 9…with no real pressure to moderate our “uncivilized” behavior. Who was it that warned to be careful for what you wished for? Because the 10% that’s left won’t be the leftist’s ideal of a typical wall flower metrosexual male. Has anyone given any thought whatsoever to the moderating and “civilizing” influence near parity in population has had on the male half of the race, at least here in the west?

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      It would make it difficult if not impossible for fathers to contribute materially to the welfare of their children as a general rule. This might result in a lack of male parental investment as a general practice. Which might in turn mean that male children grow up without examples of male adults. Said boys might not then make the mental leap to adulthood, and become men. (Or at least not adults as I define them.)

      Yes, as Wen Spencer points out, group discipline and commitment covers some of the space that doesn’t trend that way. If the theorist in question would tolerate that, why not the same level of commitment in male-female monogamy?

  19. Back in High School, the swaggering tough guy poseurs with their Che berets and cloisonne hammer-and-scycle-and-star pins, and the big sh*t-kicking boots would start off all manner of crap-for-brains proclamations with, “Come the revolution.” My response to them was, “Come the revolution, you, comrade, will be first against the wall.”


    • If they wanted to be real tough guys they have imitated John Wayne or Audie Murphy.

      I am aghast at how stupid some people are. Making excuses for murderous dictators? Being raptly enthused by the most murderous regimes in history? Aargh!

      • uh… John Wayne was an actor. Audie Murphy was the most highly decorated warrior in U. S. history. Who later became an actor.

        • You can still imitate him. Raoul Wallenberg imitated the Scarlet Pimpernel

        • And from real life recordings of him and reports from those that new him personally, The Duke
          A. Was a man’s man (Larry King interview of Maureen O’hara)
          B. Was a believer (his own words in private and memorably on Dean Martin’s show)
          C. Was a devout pro-American, anti-communist, anti-progressive, anti-left/liberal…but I’m being redundant (That’s from the audio of an interview that is on youtube).

          In short, he was a damn good role model when he was alive and still is today. I also agree that Audie Murphy was, and would add Alvin York as another favorite of mine.

        • Yes I know John Wayne was an actor. I picked an actor and a hero.

        • I know John Wayne was an actor.

  20. Technically speaking, English has no true past, present, or future tense! Everything is a workaround! And this is true of a lot of languages.

    Yes, the huge 2000+ page Cambridge grammatical survey of the English language does have its amusing bits. There was also a really funny thread on Language Log about what would happen if linguists wrote basic English grammar textbooks that revealed the Truth about English grammar. (Hint: lots of exploding heads.)

    And yet, people generally manage to learn to speak and write such a technically tricky language with no problems. We are a weird and awesome species.

    • I don’t know what you mean. I walked, I walk, I will walk. Maybe the word “will” in the future tense counts as a workaround, but the other two seem fine. Arabic (and, from what I’ve been told, Hebrew) has a tense for completed actions and another for incomplete actions. That seems like a better example of not having true past and present tenses.

      • Technically the present tense is “I do walk.” I forget what the dealie was with past tense. I think it was something in the perfect/imperfect?

        I’ll look up the citation.

  21. Oh, and some African carved masks give me the holly gibbies.

    *grumble* That’s the POINT… don’t know why folks keep taking “stuff that’s supposed to be scary” and trying to use it as…as… flower sprinkles or something, then acting like there’s something wrong with those who react as originally intended!

  22. Arwen Riddle

    “holly gibbies” Did you mean Heebie-jeebies? Cause Google asked “Did you mean Holly Gibbs?”

  23. Clark E Myers

    “For me, the best optimistic outlook comes from realizing our sources of information are biased. ”

    Sure a common observation as applied to individual predictions of the future. The individual gives too much weight to personal observations and doesn’t know what’s happening beyond a personal observation horizon. The heavily weighted known typically runs into unknown issues, problems if you will, and falls short while some of the unknown dominates the actual future.

    Sadly looking at the published data on food prices and what we know about feeding Egypt I’m not counting on Crimean wheat anymore than I’m looking for Libyan oil to keep gas prices down this summer. I do wish more of the sources with real numerical data – NBER National Bureau of Economic Research say – would combine with information wants to be free to make information as free as opinions. Show me the data and the model and I’ll be more inclined to believe opinions.

    “into a couple from Israel who were very concerned about the lightning hazard in our mountainous country.”

    A priori certainly true that the risk from lightning is negligible. I’ve got a ridge line at a mere 9,000 feet where I’ve often looked down briefly at lighting all around me with more bolts than I could count hitting faster than I could distinguish one from another. The general risk is low; as Bayes so kindly explains the risk a postiori given a thunder storm in the high country just might be rather greater.

    “I’ve read that Swiss just do not understand queues.”

    Maybe so, the ski lifts are certainly queued up enough for anybody’s taste.

    “Honestly, I’m pinning my hopes on balkinization.”

    Rumor says Mr. Heinlein came to believe that freedom (in his terms as he came to feel not say FDR’s) in his geographical area of concern (lower 48 and surroundings) would depend on the sort of balkanization he depicted in Friday. Some places some of the time would feel loose – which places would vary with time.

    Audie Murphy was great man – and in many ways such as making the gun a companion of his youth a fine example for growing up to greatness ( cf. Jack Kennedy as Bill Clinton’s role model – for using White House interns).

    But remember children of all ages: when it comes to putting your own location on the artillery net don’t try this at home.

  24. “Move that up in size, and war is village boys who beat up boys from the next village who come to court “their” girls.”

    I always dated out-of-town boys and it pissed me off that the guys in my school got bent over it. I never did, but I wanted to, get in their faces and give them a good shake and say… “Well! You were never going to ask me out, so I think you lost your right to care!”

    • Maybe they were waiting for you to ask *them* out. I’ve been told repeatedly throughout my life that women have been allowed to do that for the past several decades now….

      • Women have always been allowed to do so– possibly the problem is that she had no interest in doing so.

        Heaven knows that I ran into enough guys who had no interest in taking the slightest bit of effort, but resented not having me offer myself up; who want their theoretical “entitlement” from a traditional woman, but also want the girl to put out without even being asked on a date, let alone having a marriage band; who want a wife who supports them entirely, but also brings in as much pay as themselves.

        Usually the same ones whining about there not being any good, single women around, and wasn’t that interesting right before being propositioned!

        • Oh, they weren’t interested. Or, sure, maybe they were afraid of me. But it was a really tiny school. Dating guys you knew in 2nd grade when you had the accident involving peeing your pants because the teacher had put the fear of G-d into you about calling her “teacher” and she’d erased her name off the board after the first week of school… Well, it’s a bit like dating your brother or sister. Almost everyone dated from neighbor towns and schools. The few couples that formed between girls and boys from your own school were unusual… and generally lasted forever.

          None of that stopped anyone from getting territorial, though.

        • It’s a two-way street, and there are assholes driving in either direction…

          You get it from one side, we get it from another. You don’t want to have to listen to some superannuated harpy go on about how wrong it is for an older white male to be dating either a younger woman, or a foreigner of any age. The sense of entitlement emanating from these sorts is palpable, virtually a thick mist of “I deserve/I demand/you owe me”.

          What’s really amusing? Many of these women are literally some of the same ones who wouldn’t give me, or other guys like me, the time of day when we were younger. Now that they’ve spent their youth on constant partying, and having never stuck with anyone long enough to build any sort of permanent relationship, they’re resentful and hateful of anyone who’s intruding on what they consider “theirs”.

          Sad thing is, the older and now wiser males they regard as their “turf” want nothing to do with their blowsy, parasitical sort.

          One of the true tragedies of life is that the decent sorts of people have such a hard time finding each other, and the nasty types actively colonize the nice ones by ripping their hearts out, and turning them into cynical copies of themselves. Is it any wonder a lot of us just opt out of the whole mess?

          • Many of these women are literally some of the same ones who wouldn’t give me, or other guys like me, the time of day when we were younger

            Several gals here have similarly gone off on the male version here. 😀

            It’s hard to trust after you’ve been hurt, and the predators actively look for people to hurt– not that they think of it that way.

            • There ought to be a term for people who go through life vandalizing other people’s ability to trust and form relationships with the other sex. I’ve known some guys who I’ve watched in action who were virtual one-man wrecking machines when it came to that sort of thing, and women who were female versions, as well.

              What really sucks is knowing what is going to happen, warning the victims, and then getting the old “You just don’t understand him/her, they’re not like that with me…”. Sure. And in six months to a year, I’ll be listening to you crying into your beer as you rail about the “…unfairness of it all…”.

              I’ve concluded that people in relationships are essentially blind to things about the people that they are in those relationships with. Which has led me to conclude that if my friends and family are trying to tell me something about someone I’m with, I’d be well advised to listen to them…

              • “What really sucks is knowing what is going to happen, warning the victims, and then getting the old ‘You just don’t understand him/her, they’re not like that with me…’”

                What my wife heard in this situation was, “Don’t be judgmental.” But she was right, and the friend she was trying to warn had her heart broken.

  25. Of the two aphorisms of mine that I see popping up on the Net (sometimes without attribution and almost always without citation to the books they come from, sigh), I think this one is the apt one:
    “This side of the Kingdom of God upon Earth, it is a melancholy human fact that those who beat their swords into plowshares end up doing the plowing for those who kept their swords.”

  26. Reblogged this on Another Egotistical Home Page and commented:
    “Worse, the teachers are often fluffy internationalists, having been taught what I call “tourist multiculturalism.” They believe that “culture” is clothes and crafts and food. Or, as I kept running into when they told me to teach the kids their “culture” and I replied I was, that they were perfect “US Geek.” They got upset, and wanted me to teach them Portuguese culture. (Why this would trump the culture of their father whose family has been here since the 1600s is a mystery.) They have some vague idea culture is genetic. And they lack the historical knowledge to realize that is one of the most racist ideas ever.”

  27. They have some vague idea culture is genetic. And they lack the historical knowledge to realize that is one of the most racist ideas ever.

    Indeed, it’s specifically the notion behind Naziism. It’s a deadly idea, because if one has a national enemy, and culture is genetic, then so is enmity, which makes genocide not merely rational but the only way to end any long-running war: at least one of the two groups at war must be wiped out or at least reduced to insignificance.