Stop the Harmony

I was going to write about something completely different, mostly about “victimhood as saintliness” but I was listening to Waldo and Magic (Robert A. Heinlein) while cleaning the kitchen, and something rubbed me wrong. More than once, he referred to the formation of the UN as ending war; and then he mentioned “the US had an army at the time.”

And my hackles were well and truly up.

Oh, I understand how Heinlein came to make that mistake. You see, he sort of assumed that the UN would be run with American values. It was a logical mistake. At the end of WWII we were a colossus bestriding the globe. And everyone who has been in that position before imposed its values and its culture on the world.

We didn’t. Part of it might have been our administration at the time and the shameful deal that created the cold war.

Part of it might have been that we didn’t want to scare Europe and wanted to make them feel like equal partners.

I think it was a mistake, and means we’ll fight a global war again. (I might be wrong, but I think I can sniff it in the wind.)

The point is that the UN without universal values that all the world agrees on is a sheep and ten wolves arguing what is for dinner. It has become a vehicle for countries that would otherwise be totally disregarded – and which by culture should be. I mean, Iran is in charge of women’s status in the UN – to hit out at bigger, more successful countries. Also for countries to cadge Dane Geld from bigger, richer countries (mostly the US.)

One wonders how long the scam can go on, when it’s obvious that this is not a way to create universal peace, which is how it was billed. Instead it’s a rent seeking organization with a side order of “make the US feel guilty” which is necessary, of course, for rent seeking.

But that’s not the topic of this. The topic of this is the concept of internationalism.

I was talking to a friend this week, and he said the world – due to increasing connectivity – is bound to become a mono-culture. We’re already trending that way. And if it becomes a mono-culture, it will stop having “stop points” and “corrective measures.”

Look, all cultures go crazy now and then, sometimes temporarily, sometimes terminally. Sometimes they survive their insanity for a while. Rome was nutso-crazy for centuries before it died. But Rome lived in a more stable world. Europe (and at this level, Europe IS a monoculture) has been howlingly insane since WWI. I’m not sure Europe will survive. I’m not sure it would have survived this long without our financial, moral, and cultural influence making it a “satellite culture.” Frankly, I doubt it. And if we crash, they’re going to hurt worse than you can imagine. I remember living there and how much fun the seventies were because ya’ll went crazy and elected the peanut farmer. I gather they’re almost as interesting now. And of course, the Europhiles in and out of the US don’t see this. Never mind…

The point is that a mono-culture which goes howlingly insane at the same time could destroy not just civilization or culture, but the whole race.

Which is why my friend said it was important to get to space, and to create societies that aren’t so close and so easy to influence. So that – in that sense – diversity can lend strength. A world or colony could collapse, and another would go on. For the species.

I agree with him, but that’s besides the point.

I’m going to come back to the idea of the UN, of a world body that can stop wars, and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

Not only is that impossible, unless we agree on one culture (Be fair to the soviets. Their internationalism was SANE. They wanted a one-world government, and that government soviet.) but is it really desirable?

It amuses me that those who agree on “diversity” in everything are unable to see that diversity of culture and thought might be desirable. At least they are unable to see it when it violates their sacred cows.

I’m all with Heinlein when it comes to “making it one world and that world American” if we’re talking about the America of his time. But now? How many apologists for barbarism, guilty for not being a minority, cult of victimhood representatives do we need? And do we want science fiction world wide to be all wall to wall glittery hoo has?

Okay, that last was a joke, but it brings up a point. The glittery hoo ha and the rot in science fiction developed because the structure of publishing became centralized and a mono-culture and that culture Eastern Seaboard Liberal. This didn’t fit even the rest of the country and has been a resounding commercial failure. And meanwhile they, isolated from all criticism, became ever more crazy and started drinking their own ink. Which is why we have a field already dominated by women crowing about “kicking patriarchy in the balls” by giving awards the outer world ignores to people on the basis of their genitals.

THAT is what happens to cultures that are isolated and get their own feedback loop.

Now, I’m going to tell you right now that yeah, I think our culture is superior to others in some basic things, and that if I had an army, I’d march into certain countries and stop cold the brutalization of minorities (yes, sexual and orientation minorities, but also religious and ethnic minorities. Such as the killing/running off of Christians in the middle East. Or the running off of the Jews in the same place.) Because in my opinion no good comes of those practices.

It’s a good thing I don’t have an army. No, I don’t believe the Islamic womb will conquer the world. I think they’re already spiraling the drain which is what makes them so dangerous. No, I don’t believe they’re the next big thing, and history would seem to back me up. They’re not, shall we say, known for creating anything enduring or innovative. (Most of their so-called ‘inventions’ were stolen from the Persians.)

Could I be wrong? Oh, boy. Scholars have been wrong about less obvious things.

Look, I’m not saying we stop (or perhaps don’t start is more appropriate) calling them to book on their treatment of women, gays, Christians, Jews, Non-Muslim. I think we should defend our own culture and fight for it hot and heavy. To the diplomacy for other means state, if needed.

BUT I think that’s what cultures should do world wide. If you believe in your own way of living, defend it. Not in some namby pamby “everyone gets their say and we all gang up on the big guy” way, but in the real world, where we say what we mean and shame the devil (and Iran.)

I say that’s how it must be because it’s the only way that human civilization advances and that what is best for the species happens.

Maybe, as revolting as I find it, it is best for the SPECIES SURVIVAL for women to be dressed in sofa covers and treated like chattel. I don’t know. And neither do you. And neither do the people who do this.

Early signs are against it (if you believe their population figures, I have some swamp land in FL I’ll sell cheap. ALMOST no gators.) But it could be.

We don’t know. We can’t know. We don’t see with the eyes of history. We can’t see with the eyes of history. We can only make individual judgments and fight for what is right. And we can resist the attempts at all levels to make us a mono-culture.

Look, in the course of normal human thinking, there are no absolutely monolithic cultures, and enough variety will remain for some reality checking.
Even if we prevailed tomorrow and the American way as Heinlein believed it owned the world, countries would have individual quirks from their history and culture that would make things different.

It would never be as the glittery hoo Ha social justice workers want to make it, a monolithic agenda and only “right think.”

And this is a good thing, because if it were, then there would be no feed back, and we’d have a world of Glittery Social Justice Whiners for … about a generation, before the population collapsed, because after all PIV is rape. Or something.

You see how that would be bad?

Well, there are ways in which even our own culture could be bad, too, for human survival. We don’t know. We can’t know.

I agree with my friend that we need colonies, far flung and with varied experiences to be quite sure we have enough variety that the species will survive.

But until then? I say we’ve been on the wrong track with this world-unity thing. Surely war – large scale war – is to be avoided if possible. I don’t like it and neither do you.

However, the history of our race seems to show that’s how we work and how we survive.

So I say, let cultures defend themselves and their beliefs.

I say the other guys are wrong. And I say we tell them that.  I say we stop them upholstering women and treating minorities like dirt.

Let the better culture win — for a while — and carry the torch of species survival for a time.

Until we can get out of this mud-ball.

266 thoughts on “Stop the Harmony

  1. Off topic (I think) but I’m beginning to believe some Liberals “like” the treatment of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East because it makes their treatment of Christians “look OK”. [Frown]

  2. Scarily in accordance with my own thoughts on the matter…

    I think Heinlein was simply thinking in accordance with his times and milieu, when he posited a one-world government, and that he was also doing the usual American projection of internal American values onto the rest of the world–In his later works, he was a lot more cynical, and apparently didn’t believe that even the US could keep it together. If I remember Friday right, he had the US broken up into about five balkanized states.

    1. Heinlein likely imagined One World Governance according to the American concept of conjoined republics — most affairs being handled well down stream of the uber-government — and only general policies and individual rights being within the world government’s purview. After all, when he wrote that “States’ Rights” had not yet become a Godwinian* phrase.

      It is worth noting that Heinlein’s earliest works and his most significant works (that would be his juveniles, although perhaps “most influential” is the more accurate term) all recognize the dangers to individuals posed by such concentrations of power. I leave specific examplization as an exercise for the reader. (cough) Red Planet (cough) Suffice to say that Heinlein’s knowledge of America was developed before America had become the global power, and that his later cynicism was fueled by recognition of how power can corrupt. Keep in mind, also, that in his youthful naval service he had ample opportunity to observe some of the Earth’s cultural diversity, spending five years in the Pacific, from 1929 – 1934 during which period his ports of call would have included … ALSO: opinions expressed in works of commercial fiction are not necessarily those of the author; sometimes they are merely the opinions believed by the author to be held by the reading public and included to flatter that market or soften it up to enable acceptance of the ideas the author is really trying to flog.

      *Godwinian phrase: a word, term or phrase the utterance of which disqualifies its user from further participation as a respectable person.

  3. The sociologist of religion (who’s really a historian but don’t say it too loud and spook him) Rodney Stark theorized that one reason Christianity did well was because it discouraged female infanticide, leading to better sex ratios and healthier male/female relationships and a more stable sub-culture. The upper class Romans, who limited the survival of females, couldn’t compete. There are other reasons he gives as well, but his observation about “those who value women as near equals will do better in the long run” seems to hold true through today (China, India, Islamic cultures).

    I will happily defend the American version of western Judeo-Christian culture against all current comers. It provides the best environment for individuals and families to develop and grow, and encourages creativity and rewards effort. Is it perfect? Oh heck no, especially when governments and the SJWs actively get in the way. But it beats the other currently available alternatives.

    1. I’ve known evangelical Christians who were adamantly, uncompromisingly, critical of traditional Mormons or any toleration for a system of multiple wives. (The question of “saved” or not might be insulting to some but it’s sort of normal and Baptists, Catholics, and Lutherans frequently give each other the stink-eye… this wasn’t *that*.)

      I’m willing to consider that it might not be so bad being a co-wife, so long as I got along with the others, and maybe (particularly since it’s not uncommon in History) to not have a large amount of control who you were married to (and at least you wouldn’t be enduring it alone) but the criticism wasn’t from the female point of view… of how it was for women to be one of several wives… in theory at least polygamy doesn’t mean that women don’t have equal status or that they are treated badly.

      The argument was about, what do you do with the extra boys?

      What DO you do with the extra boys?

      1. You have to remember that Mormon polygamy is different from any other polygamous society in the modern world. The cornerstones of the philosophy are without delving into a long-winded discourse, A) Polygamy is only OK if God commands it, and B) God typically only commands it when there is a need to raise a righteous generation (i.e., there has been a major war and there are very few men with a lot of marriageable women). When the Mormons did it, it was about 3-5% of the men in the Church that had plural wives, the Church had gone through major persecution including being mobbed, being driven out of their homes by State Militia on orders from the Governor in the middle of winter, etc. There were a lot of widows who needed providing for, and there weren’t men to marry them. Plus, if a man felt he should marry a plural wife, he usually had to have his first wife approach Church leadership with him and say, “Yes, I, too feel moved upon by the Spirit that this is the right thing.” I once heard a talk on tape by a man named Truman G. Madsen that said at one point during the monologue that, in effect, the women who were part of polygamous marriages were more in favor of it than the men were.
        Further, to paraphrase Mark Twain, when he passed through Salt Lake City, the Mormon women were some of the ugliest women he’d ever seen.

        Mormon polygamy was more about providing support for widows and orphans than it was about orgies. There WERE no “extra boys.” That’s why it worked.
        After the Church got established in Utah, the practice was suspended. To this day, if you engage in plural marriage, you’re excommunicated.

        1. That’s more, and more detailed, information on Mormon polygamy than I’ve ever read anywhere. The general impression I’d gotten was that Mormon men were free to take as many wives as they could, with no caveats or justifications (contingent upon not getting killed by their other wives anyway).

          Given a survival situation with a dearth of suitable males, polygamy does make sense.

          1. The history of early Mormon polygamy makes for fascinating reading. While I’m not at all sure that it was really a measure for taking care of widows, it was indeed a small enough population practicing it that there were not extra boys (as the so-called FLDS do get now, having totally changed almost everything about how it was originally practiced).

            But no, Mormon men couldn’t take as many wives as they wanted. They had to get permission from existing wives and church leaders. Many of the women did indeed advocate the practice, going so far as to consider it a feminist principle. Utah territory women, you see, had the vote and were used to running things themselves a lot of the time, and the more prominent writers were friendly with people like Susan B. Anthony. They did all kinds of amazing things.

            Personally I’d never want to do it, and I think it’s a really difficult way to live. But I have enormous admiration for those women. They were tough.

            1. I joke with my wife periodically that polygamy is one of those callings from God where, if a man is dumb enough to “aspire” to it, he probably deserves to get it!

              Again, I have no idea how she puts up with me. 😉

        2. I wrote a post regarding Utah’s polygamy law (right after it was overturned) and how it related to how many Mormon’s today practice it. One of my colleagues at United Liberty emailed me to correct me, saying basically what you just said regarding plural marriage.

          It was very interesting and is part of the reason I want to learn a lot more about the Mormon faith before I use it in a book. I’d really like to dispell some of the myths about Mormons in the process.

          1. The hard part is separating the fact from the fiction and/or personal interpretation.
            Most Mormons are converted through intensely personal spiritual experiences. They tend to have confirmation bias about the Church being true.
            Most people who argue against them are either biased because they are active “debunkers” from other religions or foaming-at-the-mouth former members of the Church. As such, they tend to either have a confirmation bias about all they see proving the Church to be wicked/evil/founded by Satan/led by evil men who prey on otherwise good but deceived people, or they tend to create or perpetuate outright lies.

            For research about the experiences the Mormon pioneers went through, there are Mormon historical monuments spread out all over the country. The Church was organized in New York State, and went through movements of the seat of the Church being in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio before moving West. These sites often have missionaries running them who can tell you a lot about what the pioneers went through, though they’re obviously not historians. Utah has lots of good Church history sites, and a museum in Salt Lake City, if you can make it. Also stop at the Family History Center, they’ll help you with your genealogy, ha ha. This may be a good starting point for your research.

            A good movie about what the pioneers went through is Legacy, if you’re OK with watching a movie produced by the Church. It even mentions some history about the Mormon Battalion, who completed the longest march in the history of the US Army.

            1. I’ll have to look up that movie. Wonder if its on Netflix. If not, I’ll have to find it somewhere, because it sounds a lot like what I need. 🙂

              1. You should be able to find copies via Deseret Book, or Seagull Book online. You should also check out the movie “Ephraim’s Rescue.” It’s life-changing.

        3. “After the Church got established in Utah, the practice was suspended.” That is not an accurate statement. The practice of polygamy was ended after the US Supreme Court upheld the Edmunds-Tucker Act which prohibited polygamy with hefty fines and five year prison terms as well as dissolving the corporation of the church and confiscation by the federal government of all church properties valued over a limit of $50,000. Five months later the church leader at the time decided that the practice of polygamy was not essential for salvation and thus could be abandoned.

          1. That depends upon your perspective. The Mormons at this point had a fair bit of experience dealing with persecution by that time, and had no qualms about fighting a government they thought had overstepped its bounds. Read up on the history of the “welcome” Johnston’s Army got when it came to Utah… straw packed in every attic and under every porch, every gun loaded, people standing on the porches with matches in hand. At that time, they were prepared to fight to the death and burn their entire civilization to the ground if they felt it necessary, and all it would have taken would have been one word from their leaders. Not to mention the fact that the Mormons actively ambushed and disarmed Johnston’s scouting parties and took all their supplies away and told them to go back and tell Johnston where to go. Matter of fact, I have a friend whose great grandfather was in a courtroom, charged with practicing polygamy, facing hard prison time. The judge looked at him and said something along the lines of, “Mr. X, I see here that you’re a veteran of the Union Navy during the War Between the States. If you will renounce the practice of polygamy, in light of your veteran status, I will dismiss these charges.” This man stood there and in words not publishable in polite company told that judge where to go. He went to prison for his convictions. These people were no pushovers. They had already suffered mobbings, government extermination mandates, starvation, freezing to death, walking across the plains in the dead of winter, burying their husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in snow because the ground was too frozen to bury them, Indians, and death in the desert. They came across the plains under the worst of conditions and made a civilization in the harshest of circumstance. A simple court mandate was not going to make them abandon their convictions.

            So, maybe the court system “forced” the Mormons to accept the banning of polygamy, or maybe God told them to suspend the practice. But I do know their leaders sent them messages to the effect of, “The suspension of this practice is of God. If it was not, we would fight to the death and see our temple burned. That is not God’s will at this time. You’re free to have your opinion about it.

            1. Your previous post implied that polygamy was abandoned as part of a plan by the Mormon church which is not the case. That act “forced” the Mormon church to consider if they should abandoned polygamy. Absent that act they would not have even questioned it. I also don’t doubt that they would have fought if they had believed it was God’s will.

              1. There are some aspects to Mormon history where IMO their beliefs in what happened are flawed *BUT* this isn’t the place to debate such matters.

                In any case, Mormons are good people even if their theology (IMO) is flawed. [Smile]

                1. We’re used to people thinking our theology is flawed, or, in more cases, flat out odd. 😀

                    1. This isn’t the place *BUT* there are/were some Mormons who believed that they were the ONLY TRUE Christians.

                    2. I do believe that’s true of just about every division of every religion we could name. It’s not a Mormon thing, it’s a people thing.

                  1. “One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.” RAH. You guys are… a little odder than most (yes, I’ve studied extensively. Our best friends, whose kids grew up as the “cousins” of ours are Mormon) but who am I to judge. I was raised on a hot mess of left over Jewish beliefs the person teaching me didn’t know where Jewish (and it took me years to find and also to figure out Grandma’s confused family history that involved back-and-forth “conversions” over two centuries. We always knew mom’s side had Jewish roots, but they were actually almost conventional Catholics. Well, not quite, but you had to dig for the adaptations) and Catholicism and have formed my own rather interesting synthesis that I can live with. I’m sure not just people from other religions but anyone from either religion, if I REALLY unpacked my beliefs would get ill from laughing. (Heck, when I bring the buried assumptions into the light of day I DO.) But they work for me, and they don’t harm anyone (except maybe the boys) and they bring me comfort and allow me to be a better person than I would otherwise be. So I don’t laugh at other people’s religion. BUT “odd” — oh brother. You guys might be running neck and neck with me.

                2. Yeah, not looking for a debate here. As penance, here’s a video about what would happen if Darth Sidious went to college:

                3. Everybody’s theology is flawed. No effort of Man to express G-D’s will can attain perfection as perfection is not within Man. Any effort by the Finite to comprehend the Infinite is predestined to imperfection, to being flawed.

                  I am the sole exception to this principle. Because I refuse to tell you The Truth my expression of it remains flawless. And that’s the truth.

                  1. Don’t be silly. I’m the one who knows the Truth! [Very Very Big Kidding Grin]

                  2. No effort of Man to express G-D’s will can attain perfection as perfection is not within Man.

                    Speaking of… what landmine did I manage to step on that caused some previously polite observant Jews online to go ballistic when I expressed awe at how many of the (didn’t put it this way) “silly” laws about purity were really, really good things from a modern standpoint of understanding germ theory, and knowing what trichinosis is?

                    I didn’t say anything, but I was tempted to express my admiration for how they know all motives Himself had in making rules……

                    1. First, calling the rules “silly” is IMO part of the problem. [Wink]

                      Second, IIRC most of the more Orthodox Jews don’t see the dietary/purity laws as “health related” but as laws “setting them apart from non-Jews”. To them, if those laws are only “health related” then the laws could be dropped (which many more Liberal Jews have done). Since they don’t see the laws as “health related”, they continued to follow the laws as God commanded them to do.

                      Third, as for your unspoken remark about them knowing “the reasons God gave them the laws”, IIRC there is mention in scripture that God *said* that the laws were to set them (Jews) apart from non-Jews. IE the Laws were to show that they were God’s Chosen People. [Smile]

                    2. As I said, I didn’t use the phrase, but if you’ve got high-cost rules where the only benefit is to signal “I am not like you,” then it’s silly. Especially if it results in actual harm to people. (Wait….that sounds a lot like high school.)

                      Even not eating meat on Fridays has more than one purpose to it, as well as setting Catholics apart.

                      There is a massive difference between doing something for a reason, and doing something for only that reason and none other; God is kind of clever in making things work in a bunch of ways.

                    3. Simplest example:
                      Eye for an eye.

                      It was a restriction that made those who followed it good targets… but it also meant that they didn’t have feuds where I’m trying to wipe out your entire family because of What Your Johnny Did To Our Sally.

                      Since it’s from God, it’s also right, and it was not without cost…but it was also for the better.

                      Dietary restrictions in a time when there’s not a lot of food can mean death or at the very least ill health. They have a real cost. They also, however, bound those following them into a tighter group, made an emotionally strong foundation of belief that someone would follow rules Because It’s Right, and objectively meant that, for a baseline, they didn’t get all the nasty diseases that pigs are such a good vector for because they’re so similar to us.

                      I’ve got no issue with someone thinking that God didn’t do something for X reason, but absolutely flipping out because someone else– someone, I’ll note, who is pretty open about thinking He’s fulfilled the agreement already, so there’s huge disagreement to start with– also did it for other reasons that are in keeping with Him being a loving Father is usually indicative of some kind of psycho-huge backstory.

                      If it boils down to someone being over sensitive to a Jewish version of “Jesus was just a wise teacher,” then I just lost a lot of respect for BOTH of the folks who, independently, flipped out at the very suggestion that Himself had additional reasons.

                    4. Sorry, I thought you were talking about “actual harm” *from* following Jewish Law.

                    5. If God cannot be allowed to have any motive but group-building, then casting out lepers is quite harmful to them– and for something that was not their fault.

                    6. Rules for things like that are “health” related but Jewish Law have features that aren’t *only* about “health”. I’d note that Orthodox Jews have little problem with modern medicine practices concerning Leprosy. It’s when people tell them that Jewish Law is only about Health and they can (and should) discard matters that they see being God’s Commands to be separate from the non-Chosen people that they get upset. Just look up some of the modern “arguments” against male circumcision. Jews have been told that they are “bad people” for circumcising their infant sons.

                    7. Aaaand wordpress ate my response.

                      So, short version, not ONLY where they taking it on themselves to say that God can’t possibly have had additional reasons– and it was very obvious, both times, that it was an in addition to being obedient to Him thing– but they’re doing equivalent to a Christian throwing a fit at someone mentioning that Christian morals are an objective good for organizing a society.

                    8. Ayup — look up the actual definition of “holy” and you will begin to grasp. To suggest that such laws have a beneficial adaptive effect is irrelevant and rude.

                      Most Judaic prayer includes the phrase “אשר קדשה אותנו בתורתך” in acknowledgement of a G-D “who has sanctified up by Thy laws …”

                      I must now retire to my fainting couch in order to ponder the implications of inserting a phrase from an alphabet written right-to-left into a sentence from a left-to-right alphabet. I think this warrants a cold compress on my forehead.

                    9. You obviously didn’t go to Yeshiva. If you had you wouldn’t consider intermingling Hebrew and English in the same sentence headache inducing.

                    10. Dang right I didn’t go to Yeshivah. I would have looked silly in spit curls.

                      More mortifying than the whiplash-inducing Left-Right, Right-Left, Left Right reading demands is the realization that I somehow typed “up” rather than “us” in quoting the “sanctified us by His law” portion. Those two letters are not even at the same ends of the keyboard, for gosh sakes! I must get these fingers serviced; they are doing all sorts of improper things. (Or perhaps I just need some quiet discreet time alone with the Beloved Spouse, who has marvelous attitudes toward my fingers doing improper things.)

                    11. The “spit curls” are a guy only thing.And only a small number of boys who attend yeshiva wear them. My brother didn’t.

                    12. Coming back from a trip — don’t remember which — we ended up crossing an airport with an Orthodox family. Since our kid looked like he belonged with them more than us, we got “odd looks” all the way across the airport AND in the little transport thing. Marshall was discomfited and couldn’t figure out why he was getting odd looks. I had to explain it to him afterwards.

                    13. You’re in good company, Foxfier. Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, had to apologize for pointing out the health benefits of the dietary laws after a rabbi fussed at him. G-d made the laws and that was more than sufficient justification, according to the explanation.

                      Care for some brisket? After a three-day marathon fundraiser meat cook-off, I’m kinda brisket-ed out.

                    14. By possibly imputing to some observant Jews that they observe kashrut as as a pragmatic thing rather than as a religious duty. I don’t know why this is this way, but it’s been a sore point for observant Jews for a very long time. Never tell an Observant Jew that they are observing a commandment for any other reason than religious duty. I think they’d feel insulted and/or think you’re an idiot.

                    15. Thing is, I didn’t tell anybody why they were doing things– just observed that the rules He’d set had objectively good outcomes beyond what the knowledge of the time could possibly manage.

                      That’s why I was trying to find out if anyone had a clue why two different people would go utterly ape-shit at the idea that God could possibly hit two birds with one stone, to the point of authoritatively pronouncing what His motives were.

                    16. I know that you didn’t say etc. You can be maddeningly vague on occasion It’s a touchy subject. I don’t think that it’s a fear of assimilation that causes this to be a touchy subject, even though assimilation is not mentioned. I think that it’s perceived as an attack on their self-image.

                    17. You can be maddeningly vague on occasion


                      Sad thing is, I get this ALMOST as often as I’m told I give way too much information.

                      If I had the exact quotes– at least for my side– I’d give them; if I’d known that asking for information about why someone freaked out like I’d called their mother a whore at the suggestion that God might have a bunch of irons in the fire required citations, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

                    18. I meant that the word “you” can be vague. I didn’t mean that foxfier is vague.

                    19. I meant the word “You” second person. Not you–foxfier. It’s an attitude and a self image among the extremely Orthodox Jews. I absorbed this a young girl in Yeshiva: You do the commandments because God asked us to do so. Any other reasons are quite secondary. I think to hear an outsider say that there is another reason for observing a commandment is annoying like fingernails on a blackboard. You can’t help responding to it.

                    20. I meant the word “You” second person

                      Alright, then sorry for being angry.

                      I just hate it when people I like react like I’ve offered them mortal insult for no identifiable reason; at least with my crazy aunt I know not to mention that Jesus’ first miracle was water to wine, because her cult thinks He banned alcohol.

                      IIRC, the threat was expressly Christian and was about God moving in mysterious ways that are only obvious much later on– started with some guy’s personal “was it a miracle or was it just luck?” story.

                    21. “at least with my crazy aunt I know not to mention that Jesus’ first miracle was water to wine, because her cult thinks He banned alcohol.”

                      I’ve had someone try to explain to me that what he actually created was “new wine” not alcoholic wine. Totally ignoring the fact that the guests were commenting on how they saved the best wine tell last, when most hosts serve the best wine first, and then the rotgut later after the guests are drunk on the “best” wine and can no longer discern the flavor of the wine currently being served. :/

                    22. At least the “they had no word for grape juice, so that’s what he REALLY made” thing is kinda rational….although how an observant Jew avoided alcohol, back then, back there….

                      OTOH, they’re called the “Church of the Living Water” and use to meet in a closed bar, so at least there’s amusement.

                    23. Do you want an added bit “Living Water” in many languages means the clear liquor you distill from the grape squeezings, aka grappa, agua-ardente, etc.

        4. As an LDS man I have to admit that I am glad that I do not live in a day and age when plural marriage exists.

          1. You know, when I was writing Darkship Thieves with a more or less functional anarchy in one of the societies I thought of that “What about poli-marriages” and the character sums it up for me “Well, if people want to, but I figure in most cases they’re their own punishment.” I mean, I love my husband — madly — but two husbands? Oh, my. I’m not that sociable! And a co-wife? See where I’m not that sociable!

            1. Lackey did about as close to one as I can see– a guy kinda loves a girl, and an elf really loves her, and both humans love the left.

              Because, well, elf.

              I can see that, since it’s established that the most likely way for the girl to have kids, and they’re established as cherished, requires a human mate.

              I can’t see being that cold blooded about it, but I can’t see using IVF so I’m clearly a freak.

            2. LDS Polygamy is a fascinating subject (I’m Mormon). It required, consent from all current wives to add a new wife, some marriages were on paper only, and as far as I can tell served to build community.
              Joseph Smith had a number of marriages that were never consummated. In fact, IIRC, there was one case where the woman was married and she was sealed to Joseph. In these instances, it was a political/community thing. I suspect that Brigham Young did the same basic thing once they reached Utah. I haven’t done the research, but based on what I know of Utah culture, it created a leadership community and connected the movers and shakers. This was doubly important since the church suffered some nasty defections in the early years.
              The other big difference, despite the claims of detractors is that there was a lot more equality in these relationships than what you would see in other polygamous cultures.
              A previous poster mentioned that only about 3-5% of the population was in a polygamous relationship, I think new data tags that at about 10% and at the end, there was some (minor) trouble with excess men feeling shut out of the marriage dynamic.
              As for ending plural marriages, it helps to understand the way in which LDS revelation works. We believe in continual revelation and that the prophet can receive direct divine revelation. That said, the general pattern is to not change anything unless it has been thought through very thoroughly or when circumstances force the issue. You can see it in most changes of practice. My thought is that the church feels that unless there is a need, or they feel the Lord indicates a specific change, they shouldn’t make changes willy-nilly.
              This is consistent with LDS scripture and doctrine, although outside observers frequently interpret it differently.

              1. Joseph Smith had a number of marriages that were never consummated. In fact, IIRC, there was one case where the woman was married and she was sealed to Joseph. In these instances, it was a political/community thing. I suspect that Brigham Young did the same basic thing once they reached Utah.

                Sounds pretty classic, historically speaking.

                Considering that some of the pressures the community would’ve been facing were more like ancient middle east than, oh, current USA…. (women don’t NEED men, although I’d argue we need men to be truly happy, barring some vocations)

                The ladies my mom’s family ran into (not counting living relatives) were ones where there was massive abuse, probably a forerunner of the current crazies. The new wives were basically slaves. (Which echoes the abuses of the “political marriages, IIRC; first wife, etc.)

    2. It not only discourage female infanticide, it took to raising abandoned children.

      Turns out that if you have a pagan father and a Christian mother, you turn out Christian. And there weren’t enough pagan brides.

  4. I don’t mind the idea of everyone singing in harmony that much. (Keeping in mind that it won’t happen. Not only because there are so many discordant notes, but also because some groups aren’t even using the same scale.)

    What I find scary is that “they” seem to want everyone to sing in unison, going after anyone who isn’t singing the exact same note, even if it’s in a chord.

    (Remembering the TV show Babylon 5, that was one of the creepiest things about Byron’s group. They got together and sang in unison. Ugh. And it wasn’t even that great a song.)

    1. Especially since any real musician would use telepathy to help with complicated/fun harmonizing and accompanying and improvising. A really good band or pickup group notoriously is good at reading each other.

      1. Non-contact wideband telepathy would, for the teeps, make live music pretty much torture: Ask any musician what’s in their head in a large performance (think symphony orchestra) and they tell you “I’m counting the beats.” Basically, for a teep in the audience, the sound of the music would be overlayed with the surface thoughts of 120 people counting like mad in something like unison. When you add in the crowd-noise of the audience’s thoughts, I really can’t imagine it would be enjoyable at all.

        1. But then you’d only need one person to broadcast the count, and everybody else could take it from there. 🙂

          Musical “telepathy” of groups is pretty clearly more on the physical and math side than the verbal side. A lot of group behavior is like that.

  5. Something you said caused me to wonder: what is the current situation regarding foreign sales for US authors?
    Back in the day mid list and up hoped to make their nut on US sales and any foreign contracts were a nice little bonus. And if you managed to score a movie option you could actually pay off some loans and eat high on the hog for a bit.
    Given the amount of dreck being pushed by traditional publishing these days I wondered what effect that had on foreign sales. Seems like a decent indicator that the main stream publishing paradigm may just be a bit flawed, not that they’ll notice or correct for it.

    1. What gets pushed by international agents is the award winning stuff. With exceptions, like Larry, few of us sell well abroad, because the market has been killed. And then there’s the inexplicable. DST did very well in Japan, but they haven’t bought the others

      1. Vox Day’s publishing house has what I think is the greatest innovation, independent translators, something like twenty-thirty languages. I could be wrong; but, most US books sent out international are only in English, sometimes a few other languages and I think those are only for special books. I think that will revive the Specutive Fiction field faster than anything, especially since the GHH crowd haven’t the imagination to follow it. My only problem is that he has set the blue line above my writing level, and probably most other writers here as well, leaving us stuck in the mud with the carp.

        1. Kratman’s Watch On The Rhine and his other Aldenata books have been published in German and did very well by reports. Some have also been published in Italian, though I’m not sure how well they have done. Those are about the only books I commonly read that I can recall seeing in other languages, however. Well other than classics like Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Crisco.

  6. “Ours would be a perfect world! Why? “
    “Because it’s your idea of perfection, gentlemen – not mine!”
    (Identify the source of this quote and win a lollypop)

    The fundamental problem with monocultures is there are over six billion different versions of perfection in the world today. More if you include cats.

          1. Perfectly rational. My dog(s) are convinced I could fix these things (various) if I’d just pay attention and get it done. Now, please. Now? How about now? Maybe now?

              1. My *actual* dog is a Miniature American Shepherd nee Miniature Australian Shepherd. My *other* dog who adopts me when she’s lonely or bored is my grandmother’s Corgi. Both herding dogs, you’ll note, with their peculiar notions of what their jobs are and subsequently what mine is.

                Very much the “hey, fingers, I’ve identified this thing, and I’m pointing it out so you can fix it. So — you gonna fix it? You’re not fixing it. Maybe you didn’t notice, lemme just bring it to your attention… Fix it. — Dude.”

                They’re both quite adept at pointing their noses at things I should use my handy fingers to fix for them.

                “Hey, see this door handle, that one right — there. Yeah? Open it, ‘kay?”

                “Hey, follow me for a second, right this way, to the kitchen. See this counter? Right up there, there’s bacon. Hand me piece, will ya?”

                “It’s on the TV, chill.”
                “I DON’T CARE! FIX THE BABY!!”

                  1. Mine pretty much ignores everything but babies crying and doorbells. Sleeps through explosions, shouting, loud music, gunfire, pain, anguish and joy.

                    But not crying babies or doorbells. Because I need to be informed of those things, and then I need to fix them.

                    1. If I had a baby in the house I’d be praising his attention, as it is… I still acknowledge his attention, and thank him for noticing, and hope the baby on TV quiets down.

                      On the doorbell, I find myself wondering how bad he thinks my hearing is. I’m right here, I heard it too!

                  “It’s on the TV, chill.”
                  “I DON’T CARE! FIX THE BABY!!”

                  I didn’t know my daughter’s “kitten” was a herding dog…..

            1. Perfect example of why I believe that the joint human/dog evolution is as much a project of theirs as it is one of ours…

              I strongly suspect that we’re going to eventually turn to our now-sapient partners, one day, and hear an entirely different perspective on which one of us has been in charge, all this time.

              1. Working dogs really reinforce this thought for me, they have an identity formed of their expected work, and they’re very attuned to their bipedal partners for direction. They also have very distinct expectations for what those partners are responsible for, and are fairly insistent about it getting done.

                I’m pretty sure my dog has a name for me, and I’m pretty sure it’s some variation of “slow, but fingers.”

                In a related arena, I saw a documentary on some folks doing a series of comparative experiments with dogs and wolves. They found that wolves could be quite stubborn about trying to find the solution to get the food, obsessive about it. The dogs would work the problem briefly and then sit down and look to their handlers. What I found significant, the conclusion they drew was more consistent with my experiences than similar studies I’ve seen in the past:

                The wolves were wholly focused on getting to the meat, acting independently. The dogs examined the problem, determined it was in their partner’s wheelhouse and looked to them to do their part.

                Previous variations focused on the wolf’s independence and praised their intelligence while observing how helpless the dogs were to solve the problem. Yet, the wolves burned a lot of calories seeking success with inconsistent results, and the dogs sat on their ass and got a treat. Hm.

                Off on a tangent, your line about arguing over who trained whom is funny. I’ve got a story mapped out about uplifted dogs on a human colony, and the way the symbiosis evolves with the aquisition of intelligence. Fair bit of humor in there.

                1. I have read (translate as “I have no idea how accurate this is”) that while dogs will look in the direction a person points, neither cats nor wolves will.

                  And I will never forget our ten-year-old, never trained to hunt mutt doing a textbook “point” when she spotted a deer while we were out walking. She never told me who taught her that trick…

                  1. Watched a neat demo during one of the AKC shows: they took one of the shepherd dogs that had been on the show circuit his whole life, never seen a sheep. Stuck him in a pen with sheep and he corraled them all in a corner and lay down to guard.

                    Perfect example of his breed’s behavior.


                    1. Border Collie, right?
                      From what lore I’ve been told, and I don’t know how accurate those stories are, the Border Collie was bred as an aid to the border reivers on the Scots-English interface–The dogs were supposed to go in, round up the cattle on a raid, and then take them home unsupervised while their people did the fighting over the herd animals. There are stories where the dogs conducted the thefts on their own, as well. Not to mention, since the Border Collie was on both sides of the border, you’d have cases where the dogs would be duking it out between the raider and the raidee, completely independent of the humans. You can imagine some rather confused cattle and sheep during all this, as well.

                      There’s an apocryphal tale I heard of a successful raid, where the dogs and the people got away without problem. Following morning, they go out to find an empty paddock, missing not only the stolen animals, but their own. Seems the victimized dogs had trailed them home, and decided that they’d just return everything to where it belonged, in their home pastures… Cue the raiders going to their erstwhile victims, apologizing profusely, and asking very nicely if they could breed from those dogs.

                      We’ve got some folks out here who use a mix of Border Collies and Anatolian Sheperds/Great Pyrenees for working with their sheep and goats. The Border Collies herd, and when they run into trouble with particularly recalcitrant animals, or predators, they go get the bigger dogs to deal with it. Watching that happen through binoculars is fascinating, because it’s so close to that old cartoon with Ralph the dog and the wolf that it’s almost spooky. Big, fluffy Great Pyrenees sitting on a hilltop, overwatching it all, with the lithe little Border Collies managing the sheep… Cue the sneaking coyotes coming in on a flank, down some arroyo out of sight of the Big Dog ™ on overwatch, one of the Border Collies spotting the problem, going over to get the attention of the Great Pyrenees, and leading him around in a loop to meet the coyotes before they reach the sheep. Which is usually followed by a furball, and a bunch of dusty grey-brown motionless mounds of dingy fur on the hillsides, as the coyotes find out that a.) it’s awfully hard to bite through all that fluffy white fur, and that b.) selective breeding has equipped the Great Pyrenees with some rather large teeth, and one hell of a muscular neck. Also, when the fur on the dog is that thick, it’s really hard to bite through, and it’s also kinda loosely supported, skin-wise: The Pyrenees lets the coyote get a set, which they don’t want to release, and then uses that loose fur/skin to reach around and grab necks, which then get snapped.

                      Meanwhile, the Border Collies are moving the herd away from the trouble, doing their level best to look innocent.

                      Smart as they are, the coyotes seem to have trouble figuring out the whole bait-and-switch tag-team thing.

                    2. I — think — Pyrenees. Guard not herder. My brain is picturing a Pyrenees, but it’s been a bit and I could be wrong.

                    3. Well, according to the pictures I just looked up, the Pyrenees Shepherd is a grayish mop of a dog that looks like a miniature wookie down on all fours, and a Border Collie is a Black and White dog that looks rather like a generic dog.

                      Since WP likes to send multiple links to moderation purgatory, and I think I’ve described the Pyrenees well, here’s an image of a Border Collie:

                    4. My memory is stuck on Pyrenees, but I believe it was actually a different breed. I’ve known of and been around Pyrenees for quite some time, and my fuzzy impression is that this was a breed I was unfamiliar with.

                      Problem being, it was TV running in the background of another task and I noted the general story and glossed the details…

                    5. @Foxfier…

                      That is one of the single saddest one-sentence stories I’ve ever read. The bastards hung his dog, too? WTF? That’s like hanging a little kid for something his parents did…

                    6. Kirk, his family probably starved with children dying because he was dead. Pardon me if I don’t think killing a dog that was trained to steal– and that they had reason to expect would not only keep stealing, but would result in pups that would do the same– died.

                      No, the dog didn’t “choose” to do it, so it wasn’t his fault. That doesn’t count for much when its thefts may have also harmed or killed actual humans. (Not like the sheep they stole were just laying around.)

                    7. Funny, my dad told me when he was a kid, a neighbor family had a mixed-breed dog that had some herding dog blood in it. When the kids were walking to the school bus stop, they’d be tightly bunched in a close group, because the dog would be following and nudging one kid here, and another kid there. They never realized they were being herded because the dog was so subtle.

                    8. I’ve seen such many times. Fun to watch. Border collies are kind of famous for it, but I’ve seen my Aussie do such at the dog park with children, people and other dogs. It’s really funny when you get more than one herder in the park and they start working together. Since they’re not bunching, just grouping, people frequently don’t notice they’re being shifted.

                      But other dogs aren’t inclined to be herded, and since the people don’t notice they don’t feel any pressure to stay so it eventually falls apart.

                  2. Supposedly, chimps can’t figure out that whole “I’m pointing at that, over there…” thing, either. Which goes a long way towards showing which animal is more intelligent, in some aspects of intelligence. Some dogs also demonstrate larger vocabularies for words understood than some chimps do, as well.

                    Whether it’s mimicry, long-term association, or what have you, I remain convinced that dogs are one reason our ancestors didn’t wind up freezing to death on some lonely Eurasian steppe, back when. For whatever reason, they felt sorry for us, and helped us survive. I try to return the favor, when I can.

                    Allies, not masters and servants.

                  3. A “point” is really a bred in hesitation before a pounce which has been extended by breeding and training.

                    “Herding” by the way, is not a protective behavior. Its a hunting behavior that we as humans have adapted via breeding and training to our benefit. The herding dog is gathering prey for us.

                2. “Off on a tangent, your line about arguing over who trained whom is funny. I’ve got a story mapped out about uplifted dogs on a human colony, and the way the symbiosis evolves with the aquisition of intelligence. Fair bit of humor in there.”

                  Fair warning… I’ve got something similar going on with dogs in my little universe I’ve been writing since forever–Just so you don’t think I’ve ripped you off if we have some similarities. Assuming I ever get it down on paper, that is…

                  1. No issues, David Brin mentions in passing in his Uplift books that dogs were one of the first to be modified by humans. We’ve been breeding and diversifying the species for a long time, I suspect there’s more than couple of stories about what might be next…

                3. Please continue with this project. I really really want to read that story! Too many writers are cat people. I want to read a story(novel whatever) from a dog person!

                    1. I’ve had cats and loved them dearly, but I guess I’m really a dog person.

                      If I want to be ignored by a beautiful creature, I’ll go on a date.

                    2. Yeah, between one thing and another (Army and civ deployments and such) it had been much too long since I had a fur factory in the house. Drove to Northern OK to pick up the puff-ball and realized how long overdue it was.

                      Don’t think I could go that long without, again.

                  1. The medievals had concept of an alien race called “dogheads”. I have been tempted to write about them for some time. (Need to find the latin term.) It needs more of a concept, a twist, and maybe even a plot. 🙂

                    I think I need to take some classes on that period, (pick one) so that I can write them without embarrassing myself. Because I would like to do high fantasy with some eh, more novel thefts from the realities that were. Without getting too gross, anyway. Now, I’m missing Alexander again. He was my only dog, and only for a summer. I loved him dearly. I am a cat person, but mostly because I’m lazy.

                    1. Well, start with the Travels of Sir John Mandeville. He goes into all the Wonder-People after the itinerary for the Holy Lands. Dog headed people and all. Then of course there is Pliny the Elder’s Natural History (which does include the monsters like the people with one giant foot and the dog headed people, the Cynocephalus,) And I think Herodotus also talks about them, I know he talks about Libya and India as places where strange types are.

                4. Frankly, we don’t need to uplift dogs to have them train us. I spend about half our training sessions realizing Sunshine has taught me to use a new hand signal because she wants a different one, or to give her the treat BEFORE she finished the task. (And it’s my job to come up with new ideas when the old stuff- sit, stay, watch, fetch-gets boring)

          2. If your cat doesn’t doesn’t nip at you it is because he(she) doesn’t think you worth disciplining.

      1. So does mine. And if I happen to disagree, she just rolls over and shows me how cute she is. Cute trumps any perceived flaws after all.

          1. Pah. I’m immune to cute.

            Well, maybe not the story one woman told me of watching a chipmunk run up to her dog and roll into a ball, so the dog could bat it away with a paw, then uncurling and running back to do it again. But nothing else. Okay, maybe also the time… er… ahem.

            Wanders off, whistling.

            1. I forget the comedienne who, back in the late 80s/early 90s included a similar observation in her act about the reason Penthouse centerfolds were termed “pets.”

              1. I’m still waiting for certain crusading senators to stop beclowning themselves when they don’t know the difference between a Playboy Bunny and a Playboy Playmate.

  7. The idea of one world government sounds great. It always has. But it’s because we tend to do like Heinlein did and project our own vision of American culture onto it. The problem is, that’s only going to happen if we all have a similar starting point. Either that, or we outright conquer the rest of the world first and enforce our values, which frankly is kind of an oxymoron.

    We may have similar cultural things, such as movies and music, but that doesn’t make a culture. There’s more to it than that. It’s the reason the US and Canada, despite such similar entertain, can be so different about how they view government.

    1. We may have similar cultural things, such as movies and music, but that doesn’t make a culture.

      This is a view often misunderstood by people who mistake the veneer for the furniture.

  8. Robert was human, a giant among us and certainly a grand master, but still human and capable of mistakes. The whole theme of The Long Watch was placing the welfare of the world above that of any country. That story still chokes me up, flawed though the premise was, ie as you say a UN based on American values. Later in life I suspect he saw what the UN was becoming and I’ll bet was heartily saddened and disappointed.
    There was a brief window there at the end of WWII when an American world empire could have happened. George Patton himself proposed rearming the German soldiers and using them to conquer Russia. Of course he died soon after that in mysterious circumstances. And a war weary US wouldn’t have stood for it anyway. Then too, as you say, our own internal divisiveness would have likely wound up biting us in the rear somewhere down the road.
    Seems to me that our long term success requires us to strike a balance composed equally of unity and diversity. The US is probably the most diverse nation ever conceived to this point in recorded history, but at crunch time we have all by Ghod been Americans. Yes, I know that’s not universally true, but in general we do pull together when the issues are clear and the solution requires treasure and hard work.

    1. I know Poul Anderson started out supporting the UN, which is where the Psychotechnic League stories came from. Later he grew out of it, which is where the Polesotechnic League stories came from.

      1. Oh yes. I was just reading volume 5 of his collected works, and “The Un-Man” was a bit hard to choke down. An enlightened and secret group of verging on superhuman clones guiding us into the structure of the UN against the forces of atavism and nationalism.

        Including the scene where the hero psychoanalyzes his captors — a scene where no actual motives were imputed to them.

    2. The problem with Heinlein’s vision wasn’t that he thought American values would prevail at the UN, but that he seems to have been insufficiently aware of the diversity of values held by Americans…more specifically the fairly naked contempt of our elite culture, even then, for the sort of values that Heinlein and most of his American contemporaries held.

      The values that have prevailed at the UN _are_ (sadly) American values. They’re just the values of those folks we accept only reluctantly and technically as our countrymen, because they were born and raised here and educated in our most prestigious universities, rather than those we count gladly as such, because they believe in the ideas that built this country.

      His guess on the steps that would be taken along the path were correct. He was just wrong about the direction, because he doesn’t seem to have realized that the folks actually setting things up would be the same ones who sold out Europe at Yalta. The same group in which sympathy for communism was so rampant that it doesn’t seem to have actually made any difference how many of them were actual spies, because even those who weren’t on Stalin’s payroll were still on his side.

      This is not a new phenomenon. Such folk have been among us since the beginning. Sam Adams had some rather pointed words for such as they, at the Philadelphia State House back in 1776. The big change has been that for the last hundred years, their kind has been running the government, and for the last 50-odd years they’ve been dictating the culture too.

      1. There was a time when it looked like the UN was going to be America, only better. Unfortunately, it’s Europe, only worse.

        1. …it’s Europe, only worse.
          Actually, I’d say more like SW Asia. Or Africa. But worse.

      2. In fairness, although I doubt he would have agreed with this statement, RAH was hisself a part of that elite. Educated at was then one of America’s greatest colleges at a time when most Americans didn’t finish High School, he was also an engineer, US Naval officer and sufficiently in tune with his zeitgeist to be a successfully selling author.

        It doesn’t take an especially close reading of his works to discern his contempt for many of his fellow citizens (indeed, that is one of his attractions to us odd’ns) while still respecting their rights to hold such views.

  9. For all the surface bluster and idealistic blather I’ve never really felt they wanted a mono-culture. They want a zoo. Each little culture confined to its ‘natural habitat’ and displaying its ‘natural behaviors’ unhindered by ‘outside influence,’ leaving aside the zoo keepers and gawkers.

    Thus the nonsense about cultural appropriation and cultural imperialism and whichever the next idiotic term indicative of a complete lack of understanding of the nature and development of human cultures, nor even the slightest glimpse of the idea of the purpose of culture in human affairs.

    They, each of them, imagines themselves the lucky visitor to the zoo, tripping happily through each exhibit soaking up the ‘authentic’ ‘native’ culture and enriching and broadening their lives through their special appreciation…

    They never imagine themselves in their own little exhibit staring forlornly through the barriers at the gawkers and just glimpsing the edges of another exhibit over there. One where things might be happening. One that’s not so damn boringly stagnant.

    Stop the harmony? Stop it, frisk it, lock it up on suspicion. Human beings advance through adversity, human cultures move and form and grow through conflict, exposure, adaptation and adoption. A true mono-culture would be the death of us, but a ‘frozen’ sample of current cultures (what I think they really want) would be a crippling blow that invited our death through defeat in detail.

    1. To briefly address what might arise from my last paragraph: I’m not advocating war or any of its children. I’m advocating the free smashing of ideas together, the collision of cultures and the freedom of people to grab the things that work and go forward with them.

      In fact, I suspect the more rigidly enforced the cultural standard, the tighter the grip held on culture and the less influence outside cultures are allowed, the more likely that group is to be ‘forced’ into war. They have stopped their natural process of growth and exchange of ideas, and they will need to go out and conquer to survive. Witness the ME.

    2. I see what you mean, but I think the vileprogs are more selective about who they want in their zoo. Hillbillies and rednecks, (bitter clingers) need not apply.

      1. You think? Consider: In the absence of Hillbillies and rednecks, how will they measure themselves superior? Look at some of the dreck reality shows produced, apparently designed to show those flyover yokels in their ‘natural environment’ and hold them up for mockery*.

        I think they’d be quite happy to keep us in a zoo, it’s roaming free that gives them the shivers.

        *Doesn’t always work out as they expect. Some of those rednecks are smart and willing to poke fun at themselves and the stereotypes while showing a slice of life familiar to a great many people. They can subtly wink at the audience and the network execs miss it entirely. Big chunk of the audience is in on the joke and having a grand time. Oops.

        1. You assume they can think that far ahead.

          Besides, they will always find someone new to abuse. Just as the Stalinists could always find more kulaks and wreckers. To be sure, they will feed on their own — but that only provides justification for fervor.

          1. Oh, I’m quite certain some of them think that far ahead, and farther. They’re the same that are not blind to history, but fully aware and intent upon its repetition. They hunger for power, however ultimately transient or destructive in the long term. Immediately below them are those who don’t quite grasp the true picture, but like the edges and enjoy their elite status. These are the zoo keepers, and they have enough forethought to cage a few hillbillies for display. The question is whether they have a leash on the useful idiots.

            I don’t believe they do, but arrogance blinds them. So they will continue with their program in the mistaken belief of eventual success.

        2. And after putting us in a zoo, they’ll still expect us to save them when things go wrong… like the T Rex at the end of the Jurassic Park movie.

        3. Yeah, Eamon. There are people who think that the Beverly Hillbillies was making fun of the Hillbillies.

            1. Makes me giggle too.

              These are most likely the same poeple that think that Archy Bunker was ment to be a role model and not a caricatures, by the left, of a conservitive and the conflect of the older vs younger generation.


          1. Well, Jed Clampett was the smartest character on the show but I wasn’t sure about the rest of his family.

            Mind you, none of the “sophisticated” characters were smarter than Jeb’s family. [Evil Grin]

          2. Yep. I was pleased as a child, watching the Beverly Hillbillies. While we weren’t anywhere near the black hills, my family were identifiably similar– the sorts that grate the neighbor’s driveway, pulls random travelers out of the snow bank during Christmas, had fun with a six pack, grilling, and target practice on weekends when the weather was good, and had a few chickens etc so there’s food on the table after the paycheck runs out. Also, sold power to the neighbors from the homebuilt generator, built stills and fixed our own cars, built and rented out riverboats, ran a mini-farm, guided fishermen down the river, and fixed plows and hauled ice for the elderly without charge. Called ourselves “Hill Wilhelms”, though ironically were part Scots, too. To be fair, that part of Michigan was quite hilly, though we lived in a valley near the river.

            1. I’ve got a theory that such people come from heavily ADD stock in Western Europe. I’m pretty sure I got my ADD from my mom’s Dutch lines, and it would explain why they’re such neat people. The Dutch are probably just highly functioning ADD with symptoms that mimic OCD, hence the inability to stop cleaning. It would also explain those “Jack of all trades, master of… maybe two?” type people like me. I can’t ever bring myself to take a car to the junkyard, because I can always just fix it. Heaven help my wife if I finally learn computer repair. We’ll never throw anything away (“But honey, I might be able to use that green monochrome CRT monitor later on, when I’m completing my project for using a Zeppelin as a launch platform for my moonshine-powered rocket to launch cats into low-earth orbit! I just need to run to Home Depot, and the military surplus store, and a quick trip to the junkyard!”).

              Like I say, I have no idea how she puts up with me.

                1. “highly intelligent and bores easily” can look like ADD, but it’s not the same.

                  With ADD, until you learn coping mechanisms, no matter how interesting something is, after a while, you HAVE to stop and do something else, because the longer you force yourself to stay with it, the more your brain starts to have panic-like symptoms. There are some exceptions for full-immersion games and such, which fulfill the need for attention-switching within themselves, but otherwise, you have to have frequent breaks, or you will swear you will go gibbering-style crazy.

                  1. So, you’re saying I’m undiagnosed ADD? And so are my kids? (We tend to have “broken work times” because of panic and mind drifting no matter how interesting. If I didn’t have that, I could write a book every two weeks.)

                    I think it’s a function of the human mind interacting with industrial society which forces us into strange forms of concentration, but now psychologists are not giving the definition you gave. They’re saying “ADD people can concentrate unreally well but it’s on something that randomly captures them, not what they should be doing.” Given my husband has one of the physiological signs of ADD (and in my opinion was blatantly ADD when I met him at 18) and that he CAN concentrate on something to the exclusion of everything else, including eating and sleeping for three days or so, I wonder which definition is right, where the lines blur, and if they’re trying to force a heap of things under one umbrella.
                    Not doubting you, so much, as doubting fargin psychologists!

                    1. Oh, sure, blame us – when it is PROBABLY the psychiatrists trying to push yet another pharmaceutical with as-yet incompletely understood side-effects and interactions and AND…

                      (Sorry, sorry. Bit of a hot-button. Yeah, my day-job claim to fleeting fame is as a computer application developer / project manager, but my degree sez “Psychology” and I even began my post-collegiate career using it [Program Director, Oklahoma Prevention of Child Abuse, early 1980’s]…)

                    2. I have mentioned ere this that the single most enlightening thing I read on ADD (and I read a lot when absorbing Daughtorial Unit’s diagnosis) was a book titled A Hunter in a Farmer’s World which argued that ADD was simply an example of differential adaptation. Like Sickle Cell Anemia as adaptation to an environment in which malaria and other insect transmitted infection was common and maladaptation to other environments, ADD is ill-suited to factory-schooling, but the problem is not inherent in our square peg children, it is in our desire to fit them into well-rounded wholes.

                    3. If you tend to be better when you increase protein, cut out sugar, caffeine and some carbohydrates, avoid red dye and do aerobic exercise for 15 minutes each day, then yes, you may have it. Other indicators include propensity for addiction to caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, pornography or sex; passive-aggressive tendencies; explosive temper when interrupted on tasks you’re able to focus on; inability to socially conform; tending to talk in sentences that are apparently disconnected to non-ADDers (but which other ADDers get because they see all the mental leaps you made to connect things like welding and clipping your dog’s toenails or whatever); having EVER been called ‘brilliant but lazy’ by your teachers; picking up new hobbies or interests every few weeks or months and discarding them after a few months; getting the overall picture faster than everyone around you but not having the patience for learning details. etc.

                    4. um… well these aren’t true: cocaine, amphetamines, pornography or sex; passive-aggressive tendencies;

                      I cop to the others. Also not the disconnected sentences MOST of the time. That’s Dan. I’ve trained myself to translate before I open mouth. I also translate for Dan.

                    5. What I’ve noticed is that people with ADD will tend to have family members who are undiagnosed and who end up self-medicating without realizing it. So having family with addiction to narcotics and/or porn, etc. can also be an indicator. Didn’t mean to imply anything there, sorry. 😉

                    6. well, mom’s dad was an alcoholic and I think my brother was trifling with it for a while.
                      Everyone drinks a lot of coffee but I always assumed that was just being Portuguese. That said, both older son and I started drinking caffeine in elementary because we needed it, so you figure it. BTW does spaceship porn count?
                      I have to read while doing everything else, including cleaning, otherwise I get bored and wonder off.
                      Younger son and husband have the reverse reaction to caffeine associated with ADD.

                    7. ADD… Aspergers… High Functioning Autistic … Autistic Spectrium Disorders… from my research it looking like it’s all just a matter of degree.

                      Our understanding of how the brain works is still limited. Neuroscience is still in it’s infancy.

                    8. It certainly does appear like different points on the same scale. What I’ve tried to tell my kids (all but one have ADD to one degree or another; but we haven’t medicated them yet. Although with the one boy we have our moments when it’s a temptation!) is that it’s like having superpowers. It gives you incredible abilities, but there are also drawbacks to be dealt with, such as learning to communicate with mere mortals because they can’t keep up with your leaps of logic, learning to eat right and exercise so you’re less distractable, having to use melatonin so that you sleep at night… the hardest part is having to do detail-oriented work. My job is highly detail oriented, and I have to use Adderall so that I can review my work and catch stupid little mistakes that are obvious to ordinary humans, otherwise the details kill me every time.

                    9. Well, quite possibly. But it’s more like this: If you’re in a quiet room, with no outside distractions, and doing something that requires focus, Such as, perhaps, studying a tutorial on how to perform some sort of procedure in GIMP. One that will take an hour or so. And it’s self-paced, so you don’t get bored with it. While doing that, can you stay focused on it, so that you get through it without much deviation?

                      Or do you read, “Now switch to the third layer” and go, “Layer. Onions have layers. How to onions grow in layers? Shrek said Ogres have layers, like onions. Do ogres eat onions? Or are they like cats, and onions are bad for them? What are my cats doing while I’m in here studying?…”

                      Oddly enough, however, hyperfocus is one of the alternative symptoms of ADD. Something will capture the attention of the person, and they will be unwilling to leave it for hours, or even days. It’s not always something other than what they are supposed to be doing, but with the universe of options out there, it’s unlikely that it will be what they are supposed to be doing.

                    10. Wayne — if I could focus, it would take WAY less time to write. I’m in the middle of a battle scene and go “Wait, do swords of that type cut that? What is she wearing. oooh, I need to read on silk manufacture? Sandals!”

                    11. I specifically avoided using writing as an example, because it, itself, tends to induce such a state of scattered thought, because you are always thinking about what you need for the story. However, if you’re always like that, even without distractions such as sons coming in to ask you where things are, or husband (as you’ve told us he does) deciding to read some part of a book to you, because he finds it ludicrous), then there you have it.

                      Alternately – do your thoughts become less chaotic after massive amounts of tea? Or considerably smaller amounts of coffee? I read once that some undiagnosed ADD sufferers self-medicate with up to 50 cups of coffee in a day.

                    12. Um… Never 50, though Robert might have that many. Also, I had to switch to tea because of my stomach.

                      Okay, here’s one — I don’t work well with LONG interruptions, but I was MORE productive when they were little and I had short interruptions every five or ten minutes.

                    13. @ RES,
                      It’s funny, but I talk with a friend who also has ADD a lot. I told him that being Viking farmers would be the perfect lifestyle for the ADD sufferer. Today you plow. Tomorrow you harrow. Then you plant. Then you fix the roof. Hey, look! A new kid! The next day you’re fishing. Then you’re building a dam. Then the neighboring village ticks you off, so you’re off to pillage! Then you come back! Oh, look! Twins! Is it time to hoe? Let’s fix the tractor. Harvest time! Let’s finish the barn that we poured the foundation for a couple of years ago and never got back to! Oh, a barn raising! Oh! The twins are a couple of years old now. Time for more babies!

                      You’re never doing the same thing two times in a row or repeatedly within too short a time period.

    3. There’s a short story somewhere (Either in Asimov’s or Analog, I believe), where this guy is giving visitors to New York a tour of their cultural attractions. There’s a perpetual traffic jam, some things that the visitors sniff and feel superior over, a union wildcat strike happens right before their eyes when a guy who was not a pipefitter picked up a piece of pipe to move it, etc. But then, as the guy is feeling a little down from the reactions of the tourists, he mentions some of the things in their own territory, and they start looking uncertain and worried.

    4. They want a zoo.

      I think a food court may be a more suitable metaphor, or perhaps one of those little touristy shopping-centers where every store has an ethnic theme but the ethnicity, like the Progs’ desired diversity, is only skin-deep. I suspect if I had ever been to one of the Disney Parks I would have the perfect metaphor right to hand.

      (singing) It’s a small mind, after all, it’s a small mind after all, it’s a small mind after all, it’s a small, small …

    5. don’t forget static….the zoo exhibits also need to be always constant

  10. Monocultures are bad, in that they lack the diversity for survival. It’s true of agriculture, it’s true for environments, and it’s true for politics. What you need is a large variety of small, independent organisms/organizations, because when Bad Things ™ happen, at least some of them are going to survive. Decapitate the US, and the states will still be there, and will promptly organize new representation to the federal levels. Decapitate an empire, and the whole thing crumbles. This is the point that the EU and the UN planners neglected–Both of those structures are all about aggregating more and more power to the center, as opposed to dealing with things in a “chaotic” manner like US federalism used to do. We’re making the same mistake, just slower.

    Maybe some nice country will do us a favor and nuke Washington D.C. for us, and we can start over again. I dread the results if we have to do the same for ourselves…

    1. The ultimate results would to be the good. The process on the other hand would be extremely ugly.
      E Pluribus Unum is our motto for a reason. Out of many, one. The trick is, our diverse bits come together for a reason, a cause, solve it, then go back to our scattered individualistic lives.
      What the vile progs really want is good little worker bees toeing the line and following their enlightened guidance. See, they always know better, even when they don’t. If it wasn’t so damned destructive it would be amusing to watch as they justify all the damage their “good intentions” are causing.

      1. “The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it.

        “He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.”

        ― Adam Smith

    2. Eu system is a poorly executed versions of our US system, kind of, but based on a parliamentarian / treaty / Confederation model.

      If California colapes should Texas be forced to bail them out?

      If Italy colapeses should Germany be forced to bail them out?

      Central authority is centralized authority.

      At lest they still think of themselves as individual sepertate saverain nation states even thought they have given up a great deal pf sovereignty.

      The United States of harmony.

      If the head was cut off why would the states want to give up their autonomy for a second time?

  11. I was talking to a friend this week, and he said the world – due to increasing connectivity – is bound to become a mono-culture.

    *looks at Sarah’s site*

    *looks at the Catholic blogs she visits that have some of the same people*

    *looks at Ricochet, which ALSO has some of the same folks*

    *looks at political sites which, once again, have a lot of the same people*

    I have a hard time believing that will be so, without defining “culture” so broadly that it doesn’t tell you anything– tendency to follow rules, assumptions as to behavior, etc.

    1. Um…as in one culture combing others of some insanity like too many people or feminism where it counts, in the laws, and that we’ ‘re Damon close to. I mean we pay for and twist arms for abortions in Africa!

      1. “People making laws are insane” seems to be a constant risk of there being lawmakers– looking back, it tends to result in those laws being broken. (Which would be selection bias, since those that didn’t wouldn’t survive…..)

      1. And they got money and power– and, up to now, there hasn’t been a lot of push back because folks haven’t known about a lot of it.

        I do’nt expect that to last too well.

    2. Connectivity breeds familiarity which breeds selection and choice. Such is never a good thing when you are trying to control the residents of a country. American film and TV have taken the world by storm because the content is new, different, and rich compared to what much of the audience knows from day to day living. Of course the same applies to much of rural America as well. It’s all about the same thing as that “after they’ve seen Paree” lament popular after WWI. That genie can’t be stuffed back in the bottle. Therein lies one of the reasons the Mullahs hate us so much, and why we really are the Great Satan from their perspective. We offer things as a matter of course that the people under their thumbs would never have a concept for had we not shoved it under their noses.
      Of course the converse is also true. I can get decent Thai, Japanese, northern or southern Chinese, and regional Mexican varietal dishes right here in Huntsville Alabama. And watch the Beeb, and other foreign media outlets at my ‘puter.
      A case has been made that Americans are fast loosing their regional dialects, primarily due to constant exposure to network newscasts where everyone speaks California standard. That’s an obvious cultural change.
      My whole point to this ramble is that with communication some things become part of a world wide culture simply by selection. Ideas go viral. Thing is and what frustrates and infuriates the progs is there is absolutely no way to control the viral effect as it’s based on individual choice, something their religion considers anathema.

      1. Uncle Lar said: “A case has been made that Americans are fast loosing their regional dialects, primarily due to constant exposure to network newscasts where everyone speaks California standard.”

        People have been arguing this since Oldtime Radio days. But every linguistic study has shown that US dialects in fact keep on differentiating, that towns and city neighborhoods which used to have no distinction from their neighbors’ speech tend to develop it. California used to sound pretty much like Ohio, Michigan, or wherever the residents came from. Nowadays there’s been all sorts of pronunciation shifts, as well as that thing where “ICE cream” becomes “ice CREAM.” So even generic California sounds more and more like California now, and not like the rest of the country. (This makes it really entertaining when somebody is making a movie allegedly set somewhere other than CA.)

        People often do learn “code switching,” which is being able to talk in a more generic dialect when the situation demands, and then pop right back when talking with peers and family.

        1. The other thing is that we may be gaining in inter-regional connectivity, but at the same time we’re growing our virtual “regionalization.” There’s only so much online presence a person has time for, so each person will be part of perhaps a half-dozen to a dozen online cultures. The Trekkies are developing their own dialects, the Breitbart followers, the Sci Fi/Fantasy culture, the jaded college student culture, the mindless leftist zombie/Huffpoop culture…
          Heaven help us if we have a solar EMP that throws us into the stone age. We’ll have millions of people that are collocated geographically but can’t even communicate for a couple of years. Maybe that’s how the Tower of Babel REALLY happened? Ha ha.
          Hey, that’s a GREAT idea for a book…

          1. In Ringworld, Niven had the MC ponder that, with teleportation booths making everywhere in the world a short trip away, everywhere had become the same. I think it would go the other way. With everywhere essentially the same distance, each locality would try to find a niche to fill, and advertise their uniqueness in order to attract people and their money.

            1. Not to mention, we easier communication, but it’s increasingly among like-minded people. It’s really easy for Libertarians to cut off communication with Liberals, or HuffPo followers to cut off communication with not-like-minded-enough feminists who aren’t glittery hoo-has. More communication often leads to more SELECTIVE communication.

              1. That’s the impact of the virtual communities noted above, as seen here at Sarah’s Virtuous Diner (the sign guy made a mistake, and she decided to keep it).

                You have to interact with the people you can reach. Once technology gives you a choice, that group of people changes. The progression from locality, to the same telephone exchange, to the same Elks Lodge in driving distance, to BBS chat rooms and the web is one of wider yet more selective interaction groups.

                That why I think when we get a way off this rock to the point that the next wave of emigration kicks off, it won’t just be made up of the previous locality-based migrant groups, but also people from interest groups, fan communities and online virtual locales that go out there together.

            2. Niven’s prediction rings true for a certain caste of cultural elites — the folk who travel the world and stay at the virtually identical four-star resort everywhere they go. This applies to celebutards and bureaucrats as well.

              I wonder whether “four-star” is not actually a measure of how well a facility meets that monocultural standard.

              1. From the reviews I’ve seen on travel sites – a whole bunch. Fern bar, AC, WiFi, CNN international on the TV, staff who speak English and a breakfast buffet with American food (and other stuff). Unless it’s a foodie site, where all bets are off.

              2. It gets worse. I was visiting my parents last year, and my brother told us he had seen a documentary about the proliferation of corporate America that asserted that everywhere is starting to look like everywhere else due to the nationwide proliferation of big box stores and trendy restaurants or fast food joints. They referred to this phenomenon as “placelessness.” We immediately took it upon ourselves to drive our dad to the brink of insanity by declaring, “Look, dad! Placelessness!” every time we passed an establishment that remotely fit the description.
                It’s nice to know that, even when you have kids of your own, you can still act like teenagers and unbalance your folks mentally as soon as it’s just the old gang.

      2. Thing is that the very viral effect means there will be other cultural nodes– they sometimes will bonk into each other, but not as a matter of course.

        Contrast now to “there are three channels, and one of those is PBS” style culture.

    3. Foxfier– I have to agree. I belong to a small group of (not quite rad-trad) Catholic nerds in Chicagoland. This is a tiny little niche. And each one of us is from a different part of the country, comes from a different culture, and we can’t even order a single pizza successfully. Sure, we agree on matters of faith and morals– but even that means we have our arguments and differences. I go to mass or go to any given Catholic group and it’s like a carnival of diversity– yet we are all “oppressed and regimented”. (???) And I go to a literal carnival of diversity, and while there’s lots of pretty contrasting window dressing, most of the people are in a monoculture with a few exotic specimens to score points over. And yet, very few of these xenophiles actually treats these exotics like real people. I used to get a LOT of flack for doing so… always shouted down as a racist… somehow. You know, because I treated everyone the same, that is, by the golden rule.

      I think if we COULD travel like that, suddenly things like families would become more important, not less. People would struggle to find their heritage, because they would have to show themselves to be different. After all, LOOK AT EUROPE. They HAVE that, but can’t talk to each other because they have fetishized their differences so much.

  12. Peace if possible sounds like it could be peace at any price.

    Supposing we do see tech advancement worth mentioning in the twenty first century. Perhaps then we will also see excesses of madman that surpass the those of the twentieth, the way the twentieth’s surpass those of the ninteenth. (Hitler, and the rest of the commies and commie knock offs versus, say, Leopold.)

    This year I’ve been thinking more about what someone in 2114 might see in history.

  13. I think the thing that is torpedoing us here is a basic inability to get past primate-level binary thinking.

    When you call to defend a culture, the first and most basic thing people have to believe in their hearts, for that defense to be effective, is that the culture is *worth* defending whatever its current imperfections. But the basic conviction at the heart of Western progressivism is that Western culture’s current imperfections are *not acceptable as they stand* — their whole drive is to *improve* things for those not already at the top of the heap by correcting the sociocultural conditions that make it harder to climb the heap. Thus you wind up generating an emotional tension that is very difficult to balance — to defend a culture you have to want to *preserve* it (and are thus presumed to be OK with it as is), but to improve a culture you have to want to *change* it (and are thus presumed *not* to be OK with it as is). The more passionately you feel about either pole the more difficult it is to resolve the necessary tension with the other pole, and the less willing one is to attempt good-faith understanding of those who find their balance points in a different location.

    For myself I blame a toxic combination of pop Freudianism (which introduced the idea of unfalsifiable “subconscious” motivations as a just-so explanation for any kind of nuanced political viewpoint) and Romanticism (which convinced most of pop culture that to act with mixed motivations, or moderated balance, at all was ipso facto to act dishonestly) for making this so widespread. But the fundamental conflict is fairly universal, I think: how to defend what is not perfect without conceding your own right to disagree about what the imperfections are, and how to address them.

  14. My personal path-of-faith is as one who is charged to “walk between” — I am a Named Bard (the DreamSinger, of the lineage of Gwydion Pedarren, etc.), acknowledged among at least some faith communities as capable of representing their views and needs to other (mostly) compatible groups. I’ve had a varied and “interesting” journey to get to this point, and even as a single individual I don’t claim to have THE answers for myself, much less anyone else.

    I’ve arrived here by respecting other ways of thinking, of observing, of expressing faith — and being willing to remain faithful even when challenged to abandon some portion of my personal faith, AND being willing to re-think / evaluate my past choices in the face of new experience, or at least sources of thought and information I did not previously have. Not easy at times, esp. in the southern USA. HOWEVER, I can in good conscience and trust in my own faculties teach lessons in earth-centric religions as faithfully and truthfully as I can present the Christian version of those same lessons.

    Taking those concepts of “walking between” and maintaining the HUMAN connections to the beyond, space colonies or other non-Terra excursions**, is going to be a challenge, Really, really hope that I and those who follow after me are up to the task.

    ** “non-Terra excursions”: we write not only space-spanning fiction, but also dimensional- / alternate- / magickal- / fantasy-spanning tales. Colonies in space are not the only possible long-term-survival alternative.

  15. I see one-worldism as just another form of imperialism; the “White Man’s Burden” rewritten for the 21st century. Just because the entity wanting total dominion isn’t a country doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    1. I can remember 1976 very well. I voted AGAINST the peanut farmer. I suffered through the four years of his presidency. I had first-hand dealings with him and his administration when I was on active duty in the Air Force Reserve. Things are MUCH worse under the current administration.

      The truest statement I’ve ever heard about “one-size-fits-all” is that, no matter what it is — government, medical care, clothing, automobiles, etc. — it SATISFIES no one. The United Nations has the same problem the European Union has — it’s a government function where NO ONE is accountable to the people they try to govern. Many of the people there are appointed by governments that range from socialist to Communist, to totalitarian of one stripe or another, who have nothing but contempt for the others there, yet they all have an equal voice. It’s long past time the US left the UN, and cut all funding and support for it and all its “agencies”. They’re all filled with bureaucratic busybodies that have no other experience other than being a government bureaucrat.

          1. While I have held this opinion for several decades, I doubt it will ever come to be. Too many of our society’s managerial class see the UN as a) an alternate path to the power they pursue and b) validation by the kool-aid kids. The UN would have to become unimaginably worse than its already unimaginable presence for the USA to rise up against and reject it.

            And by the time it reaches that point too many of us will have become inured to its corruption.

  16. One of my friends once said something about the world being a better place if it was run by one world government. I said if anyone tries it, I’ll be shooting at them, on principle.

    The sort of world my own libertarian values would like to see would be a thousand tiny countries no bigger than Pennsylvania. Then at least, there would be a safety mechanism for totalitarian madness: A few at a time might go to hell in a few different ways, but there would be places to go to get away – to vote with your feet if nothing else. And the governments would be a lot smaller and closer to their people.

    Modern military forces might make that impossible, but the opposite is just asking for some Orwellian end to civilization.

    Science fiction where they assume mankind has united under one monocultural world order, whose legitimacy and right to rule is “self evident” and never questioned makes my skin crawl too.

    Why would you *want* a one-world government, unless you live vicariously through some distant state exercising unaccountable power over people? Even if it were a democracy, you would have 1/6 billionth of a say over how it was run – basically none at all. (1/150 millionth of a say is already close enough to epsilon). The people under it would be played off against each other like the provinces of ancient Persia – there would be no group loyalty to enable the various people of the world to trust each other to respect and uphold each other’s rights. (There is barely enough of that here now on the scale of the US)

    1. Going along with your comments, I don’t see the *need* for a World Government.

      That is, there may be reasons for most (or all) the world government to work together but most of the “working together” would likely involve treaty relationships along with multi-national organizations not a “world government”.

      The classic SF reason was the nations of the world having to unite against a common extra-planetary foe. Even there, the necessary would be that it would be a long term war (decades or longer).

      Since we’re not facing Ming the Merciless, I don’t see the need. [Smile]

      Still, even if a common need existed, there would have to be a “common culture/ideal” to aid in developing a true unity.

      The US survived so long because we had a common culture/ideal that linked us together.

      Obviously the world doesn’t have a common culture/ideal that would link us together.

      Ironically if we had such a common culture/ideal (without a common foe), IMO we would have less need for a World Government. [Smile]

      1. In the Ming the Merciless Scenario, it would actually be easier to get one world government to surrender to Ming than a thousand.

        Distributed processing is almost always more efficient, harder to compromise, and infinitely more flexible than the One Big Mainframe model ( “Hello, Colossus and SkyNet are not home right now, but if you leave a message after the beep…”) and that goes for governments as well.

        1. Oh, I understand what you’re saying but I’m just giving the only “need” I see for a World Government. There might be better ways to “fight” Ming but creating a WG to fight Ming is IMO makes more sense than other reasons for creating a WG.

          Mind you, a smart Ming might be making deals with some of your “thousand” governments to betray their allies. Of course, Ming might not keep those deals. [Evil Grin]

          1. Why have a WG? Flash Gordon will save us…

            “GORDON’S ALIVE?!”

            1. Flash Gordon, Agent of United Earth! [Very Big Grin]

    2. Everyone who wants one world government always assumes they’d be in the ruling class.

      Sign me up for your “thousand small governments” idea.

    3. I think that any attempt to move toward a monoculture would have to ignore some basic observable facts about how people behave in real life.

      In real life, people have always formed small exclusive groups. Whether a family, tribe, country club, ham radio club, Rotary, Masons, whatever, the basic urge seems to be to clump and differentiate. And the more they are outwardly similar, the more important their self celebrated differences are to them.

      Similarly, at least since the Babel event (wink) languages differentiate. This is quite visible in the US despite national media. In fact, I think a pretty good argument could be made that most people who move in the greater world, have at least 2 dialects in normal use, the one for their group, and one called “American standard business/media” that is used for cross-group communication.

      Most of the time, I’m pretty comfortable in Standard American. When talking to contractors in the construction industry in the south, almost all of them here use a variation of “good ole boy” so I do too. Similarly, when I’m in Southern California, there is a dialect (call it ‘vato’) common to hispanic males whether they are spanish speakers or not, that I easily slip into. It is different but similar to the dialect for that group in Texas too.

      Rap music and “urban” culture have their own dialect too. Mostly based on the n word and the f bomb, its grammar is well established even if the new words change daily.

      So I think that even if you have the ‘appearance’ of a monoculture, it is only overlayed on a wildly and fiercely diverse collection of groups, each with their own language and “givens”.


      (there’s lots of existing research available about language differentiation and I’m sure there are many here that could do a much better job than I could to cite it properly.)

      (Oh, and there was an interesting map making the rounds in the last year that looked at phone calls to see who was calling who, and it showed the US divided into 7 or 9 regions. There was a surprising consistency to the grouping geographically with very few people calling outside of the grouping.)

  17. Sarah, I have been reading short stories and editorials from just at the end of WWII, and where they are discussing the “united nations” they invariably talk about it in terms of the coalition that defeated the Axis powers – it was how they styled themselves during the conflict, and afterwards as a multinational force that could project military force to resolve problems that hopefully could be stopped cold before they became WWIII. I’m sure Heinlein (and a lot of other authors) saw the UN as a coalition that was different from the debating society of the League of Nations that couldn’t even resolve a war between Paraguay and Bolivia.
    I felt that Heinlein became less enamored by the UN in later books

  18. I’m not sure Europe will survive. I’m not sure it would have survived this long without our financial, moral, and cultural influence making it a “satellite culture.”

    Europe has not survived this long because of our influence, it has survived despite it. America’s protective cover has enabled Europe’s wallowing in bull’s merde rather than facing up to and accepting its responsibilities as an adult polity. We have fostered Euro-adolescence.

    It doesn’t help that we’re inflicting the same damage upon our own polity.

  19. One problem with monoculture is that it is inherently oppressive, forcing all people to advocate a single vision of “good.” Because “good” is universally variable, idiosyncratic to the individual (and often holding simultaneously opposing values within a single individual) any effort to impose a universal standard by necessity becomes oppressive. The more uniform the culture, the more oppressive the pressure to conform, the greater the built-up pressure for alternate values to be expressed.

    To posit a simple example, unrelated to any real-world experience, let us consider a writer, one who is foreign born and American by choice. Let us imagine this writer is female, thus both more attractive to the publishing industry’s rulers and believed more easily manipulable to conform to publishing industry expectations.

    Our imaginary author would be subjected to unbelievable pressure to conform to the industry’s standard — told to write the proper sort of books, to present herself as “comfortably foreign” and to accept the contracts, editors, agents and book covers that the “more experienced” minds deem appropriate. She is also told to present her characters according to standard industry tropes rather than letting the characters express themselves, told that certain types of characters must always be presented as victims, others must be oppressors and victims must express the reader’s own feelings of powerlessness rather than soldiering on and overcoming travails.

    Our imagined author is also told to ruthlessly suppress any experience she has with her native culture and only represent it according to the lights of editorial and publisher imagination.

    Eventually, such pressure to suppress what this author knows and believes might create such psychic trauma that our author starts unconsciously expressing her true beliefs in spite of her efforts to fit in, rather like a man who is recognized as gay by everybody but himself. Eventually, this author who would have cheerfully adapted to a culture more tolerant of true diversity would become radicalized in her alienation, might even start openly expressing her views and values on a blog, might even reject the publishing industry’s standard model almost entirely and be drawn to independent publishing merely for the freedom to express her perception of our common humanity unhindered by (ostensibly) well-intentioned advice.

    People might even be drawn to such a blog, responding to that still small voice of trumpets echoing their own feelings of oppression by a monoculture which accepts them only on the basis of their denying their own individuality.

    The thesis demands an antithesis.

    1. Nah, I just don’t see it happening, RES. You need a better main character. This one, well, there’s no pathos, no hook. Where’s the abuse? Where’s the struggle against the patriarchy? And where’d that large carp come fro— *splat*.

  20. Moved down for room:

    Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, had to apologize for pointing out the health benefits of the dietary laws after a rabbi fussed at him.

    *head desk* Heaven forbid someone speak the truth.

    1. Reminds me of high school.

      I was told I was rude for pointing out that having zero sex partners meant you had zero risk of pregnancy and STD. (Sex ed class. Yeah, I was That Guy.)

      Definitely not what I’d have associated wither gentleman with previously.

      Really wish Ricochet hadn’t deep sixed their archives, I’d repost at least one of the conversations on my side. (Haven’t asked the other guy for his permission and haven’t been visiting since the interface went all…wordpress mobile, but it was still a good convo up to that point.)

      1. High school sex ed was part of the liberal sexualization of the young campaign, part of their whole “Enabling Hedonism” paradigm. I’ve gone on at length about that elsewhere….

          1. The whole “Enabling Hedonism” theory of Liberalism is first, the liberals divide the population into the Party and the Proletariat. They keep the Proles voting for them with bread and circuses, like legalizing drugs, and promoting cheap and easy string-free sex. They’re like the “Cool Mom” who lets the kids throw underage drinking parties in her home, regardless of the real damage being done in her quest for popularity.

            (Look at the $15 Minimum Wage movement through the same light, Democrats buying votes with other people’s money, and this time, without it going through the tax system first. You can enable a LOT of hedonism by giving the kids fat wallets.).

              1. That’s because to liberals, Money comes from Banks, just like meat comes from the supermarket, And Rich people own the banks.

              2. Don’t forget the idiots who complain about women only getting paid 78% of what men make (it’s a lie, but that isn’t relevant here) then say women should be given paid-time-off during their menstrual cycles, thus providing 75% of the productivity of men.

                If we elect Hillary president (G-D forfend!) does she get to take one week in four off (and if she does, won’t she still be putting in more hours than Obama?) Don’t argue that at her age she probably doesn’t cycle any more — that’s ageist, sexist and TMI.

                1. “If we elect Hillary president (G-D forfend!) does she get to take one week in four off (and if she does, won’t she still be putting in more hours than Obama?) Don’t argue that at her age she probably doesn’t cycle any more — that’s ageist, sexist and TMI.”

                  At this point, what difference does it make?

            1. As it turns out, Aldous Huxley seems to have been more spot on than George Orwell. We’re living more Brave New World than we are 1984.

                1. I read an article on the UKIP gains. The author stated that the Labour party assumes that the working class wants their problems solved for them: live in government housing, ride government transportation to a government-managed nine-to-five. The Democrats are no different. They make the same assumption, and there is a certain class of people that just wants to get a welfare check while doing the minimum possible to get it. But Huxley understood the other half of the equation that Conservatives typically don’t get. The proles also have to be offered consequence-free, government-provided hedonism. Legalized (and probably government provided, in the end) narcotics, government mandates of social acceptance for deviants of all classes and types, abortion on demand, most likely plastic surgery/lipo provided by the government (or if they ever get it, a pill to burn all your fat), etc. Fahrenheit 451 touched on this with its themes of wall-sized TV’s, fun parks, feelies, etc. Huxley got it right with early sexualization of children and social implementation of making long-term relationships taboo and sexual experimentation and one-hour flings the norm.

                  That’s the Leftist utopia. It’s the promise of Eden. Perpetual ‘innocence,’ no consequences for our actions, all our problems solved for us. Start them early with sexual experimentation, break down the nuclear family, prevent meaningful relationships, program acceptance of being in the lower class, make consumerism more important than independence, hand out chemical stimulants like candy, encourage lots of ‘consequence-free’ sex and sexual deviancy, discourage independence and self-reliance, and when people stop being distracted from the emptiness of their totally self-involved existences, medicate them. Fill every waking off-the-clock moment with chemical stimulation of the brain via sex, drugs, adrenalin and consumerism.

                  1. this is why Theodore Dalrymple got so many patients complaining of depression when the reality was that they were unhappy because they lived miserable lives.

    2. Without presuming to read somebody’s mind, I would hazard a guess that, to their thinking, looking for objective benefits to obeying His will is a form of disobedience, distracting from the primary purpose.

      There are some areas in which I believe it better to allow people their differences rather than demand they justify those differences to me. Often it has to do with deep-seated concerns which they are invapable of expressing, such as Jewish (in this case) fears of assimilation.

      It is not necessary for me to know why your toe is sore, nor for you to justify that toe’s soreness — all I need is to acknowledge the sore toe and avoid stepping on it. The world is not rational, and only the irrational demand it be.

      1. Often it has to do with deep-seated concerns which they are invapable of expressing, such as Jewish (in this case) fears of assimilation.

        Now THAT is an aspect I can at least grasp.

        That said, I’m not going to refrain from stepping at all because someone’s foot is sore and they insist on thrusting it under any foot in the area, I’m just going to try to figure out what the heck is wrong so I have some notion of when to try to dodge that foot.

      1. There’s a world of difference between saying “Jewish dietary law has objectively good effects when followed” and “the only reason to keep Kosher is practical.”

        I have this argument tactically on the Life subject; a thing is not true just because it’s a bad choice as the sole reason for an action, although it’s good if you are using non-utility reasons to be very clear that the utilitarian reasons aren’t the only ones.
        (One of the silly examples was the “I notice everyone who is pro-abortion has already been born” being answered by finding a suicidal fetus. Not having met a suicidal fetus was not the reason they were against abortion, it was a practical and blackly humorous poke. NOT TRYING TO START AN ABORTION FIGHT, I THOUGHT THE FETUS THING WAS DARKLY CLEVER.)

        1. I understand where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t have gotten my knickers in a twist over it, others might. When I was younger I would get angry at my sister even if she wasn’t saying anything with ill intent. I would misread her and also she drove me nuts. It’s not an exactly analogy but a general one.

          1. It is helpful, and thank you.

            At least now I have some sort of an idea what direction to look, rather than being purely blindsided.

    1. Independence Day “They didn’t come all this way to start a fight.”
      Me “WHY THE HELL DID THEY COME, then? They’re the dominant species in THEIR planet. they came all this way, they WANT something.”

      1. On the subject of idiot lines from movies, there was the one from the Species movie. Roughly the line went “The aliens are too far away from Earth to want to conquer us so they must have sent that DNA in order to prevent us from threatening them”. What The Heck? The Aliens are too far away to threaten Earth but Humans can threaten them??? What kind of idiocy is that???

        1. Because Humans are just that Badass. After all, we have Chuck Norris. 🙂

          (Or the lefty version: Humanity is a threat to the universe just by existing.)

        2. Eh, the two are not necessarily the same. It may be that one species would DESTROY another, simply to prevent them from doing the same. And eventually, one of them might expand to the point that conquering might be an option.

      2. They weren’t expecting a fight, they knew they were the only ones with a can of Whup-Ass.

        1. So…. some alien species are the Can’t Get Laid crap and the Bag Of Chick’fil’a attempted shooter in space?!?!?

      3. Probably, to be sure, not a fight.

        “The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.” ― Carl von Clausewitz

  21. As to Islam, I believe that demography is history, to a great extant. Your comment that “They haven’t created anything lasting” is, I think, inapt. The Muslims as a whole dress the same way they did 14 centuries ago, believe the same things they believed 14 centuries ago, and read the same book in the same language they did from when it was first transcribed 13 centuries ago. Sounds lasting to me.

    The West believes that ideas outlast people and nations, and that is largely true. But with the tension between Islam and the West, demographics have always trumped ideas; Islam is estimated to hold sway over 25% of the Earth’s population, and by the end of this century that number is expected to be 40%. That is just by means of demographic forces, i.e. more babies born to Muslim moms than non-Muslims. But Islam is a conquering religion, so expect that Europe will be dominated by Islam in short order, as well as most of Asia. Islam will settle the hash of the immoral West, in Europe, by punshing the excesses we are currently experiencing, whether we want those excesses dealt with or not. It is only a matter of time.

    1. Check your statistics. I believe that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Africa and in China, as well as becoming very popular amongst India’s lower castes.

      Michael Ledeen reports that negative population growth is being seen in Iran and other Islamic states..I suspect Islam’s growth is occurring primarily in Western states, such as Europe’s, where they effectively exist as an parasitic culture.

      Keep in mind that the news reports and statistics produced by Islamic states are not reliable, and Western media are scarcely any better. However on Earth did we opt to populate out mainstream media with natural-born toadies, boot-lickers and quislings???

  22. Something I’ve rarely seen expressed is that successful societies believe that their culture is exceptional. Societies that don’t believe that are either trending down or already well down the pecking order. While there are numerous examples of cultures who think they are exceptional and aren’t, has there ever been culture that thought they weren’t exceptional but dominated other cultures?

  23. “Which is why we have a field already dominated by women crowing about “kicking patriarchy in the balls” by giving awards the outer world ignores to people on the basis of their genitals.”
    The science fiction field is not realy dominated by these leftist women. Its more accurate to say the bodies that suposedly claim to represent science fiction, like the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), and the World Science Fiction Society (WSFA), have now been taken over by leftist women. But if you get out into the world of real science fiction writers, you know the ones who really know how to write, and actually sell a lot of books to people, they mostly laugh at the SWFA now. They think of them as a bunch of no talent leftist hacks, who cant sell any of their books, so instead take their time dominating the SFWA, and thinking they can boss real writers around. Those real science fiction writers, plenty of whom are conservative or libertarian, ignore them, because they are too busy writing and selling books. The main drawback to this is you can no longer rely on awards like the HUGO, which used to be given to real talents, to any more be a reliable indicator of talent you should look for, since the leftist dominated SFWA and WSFA now awards it on the basis of PC idealogy.

    1. Or the nebula. I am one of the real science fiction writers, but these people have also taken over all cons and most organized fandom. It’s nasty out there. Ultimately they’ll kill what they took over. They’re that way. BUT until then they’ll tarnish the field’s image in the eyes of the world.

      1. Ultimately they’ll kill what they took over.

        Feature, not bug. They are dogs occupying mangers they never built.

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