A Very Old War

First of all, sorry this is so late, but my husband was updating my machine to Windows 10 so it was not reachable/useable by me, and I occupied myself with unpacking suitcases (one to go.  Since we spent yesterday out of the house dealing with pets/house/and such I only could do it today.) On windows ten, rest assured this was done over my kicking and screaming.  Mostly because not only do I hate having my work space disrupted, but because it did some really weird stuff to my travel computer, including making it impossible to connect to my phone as a hotspot.  So connecting from Portugal had to be done over a VM in windows seven, which I could not write on, as it didn’t have access to Word.  And it wouldn’t let me switch back and forth easily.


Because I’m that kind of a cheerful person, and because (I think I’ve mentioned it here once or twice that in stressful situations I read non-fiction because it needs less emotional involvement than fiction.  And though the trip back — economy premium on Lufthansa is more like what we think of as first class, except for the chair not FULLY reclining — was quite pleasant, I was sleep deprived and generally depressed/exhausted.)

What I’ve been reading a debunking of the myths of the “Convivencia” paradise that Al Andalus and generally Islamic Hispania is supposed to have been.

It’s not exactly a shock to me.  First of all, my preferred reading, as soon as I could read, was history, most of it written in the early 20th century, and a lot of it local histories or histories of regions of Portugal and Spain. I won’t say that the authors universally rejected the myth of Islam as a civilizing/science-bearing force.  I will say that when they applied it (in elementary school we were forced to memorize the improvements the Arabs brought to the peninsula — we did that with each invader, and boy did the area get invaded — almonds, pillows (al-mofadas), the sort of fountains that spout by themselves (you build them by making the water gravity fed from above where you want it to spout.  I’m explaining very badly, but I am still not fully sleep recovered, and there’s a hole where the name for the fountains should be, orange trees.  There might be something about the way oxen were yoked, but I doubt it. Oh, yeah, the way we write our numbers.) it left me curiously unconvinced.

It was little things, you see, having actually been born/grown up in one of the areas/near the area where this supposed paradise existed.  yeah, sure, the North of Portugal got off lightly.  We were freed fairly early on (we were a crusade land and were freed mostly by French crusaders, one of whom, having married a daughter of the king of Castille became father to our first king.)

More specifically, though there are no specific histories of the village (duh) I heard more than once from people I trusted, that we were the sort of place that got by with one or two Berber supervisors, and local toadies… er, I mean functionaries.

But Portugal is a small place, and I went to other places.  And there are things…

In a truly multicultural society, with REAL religious tolerance, the local church wouldn’t have been commandeered as a mosque (apparently this was a standard humiliation technique for captive populations.)  It was returned to use as a church, and has been such for centuries now, the interior having been ALMOST completely scrubbed clean of arabesque decorations.  ALMOST.  Why almost, you ask?  The wall near the door, around the door, where you can’t avoid seeing them as you leave, was left “decorated.”  It was left so that people would never forget.

Then there are churches that were pulled down by the Muslim invaders, and into which people were buried through all the years of occupation.  It was the only consecrated ground around, you see.  The poor bastards weren’t allowed to have their own religious cemeteries/bury their dead in peace.  Oh, and this was often in areas that were considered solid Muslim (this ties in to something else later on, so stay tuned.)

But there is more than that.  I never BOUGHT the idea that Muslims were kind and gentle overlords for a more bone-deep reason.

Look, people with ancient cultures all in the same place REMEMBER.  They remember in ways that no academic gaslighting, no professorial assurances to the contrary can erase.  For instance, do you know how you can tell which Roman emperors were considered decent by the local people?  they give their names to their kids.  Still.  Trajan, for instance.  And then there are the bad ones, that are also still remembered, but whose names are given to dogs (Nero.)  And then there are the unspeakable ones.  Neither child nor dog is named Caligula.

Well, in the local area, you find some kids named Ibrahim (though that is a bit confusing since local custom does weird things to spelling) but NONE named Mohammed.  (This might be different now, since the Conquista II — this time we pretend to be innofensive — is in progress.)  But back then there were no Moes around.

And that is plain weird in a place that has forgotten nothing.  (Seriously, there are still people around named after Roman gods, because the name runs in the family.  And Greek Heroes.  And Carthaginian heroes, too. My brother went to school with Hannibal, Hasdrubal, and a bunch of Roman historical names — I want to say Cipius, but I’m probably wrong.)

So I never bought it.  There were also very old writings with casual throw-away lines that made you go “Uh.”

None of the authors I read was trying to sell the Islamic occupation as a paradise, mind, though one of them did his best to try to convince us it was better than the Romans (maybe better than the falling apart Roman empire, but even then I doubt it.  Look, there simply weren’t enough people, at the end of 500 years of occupation, (roughly, though I REMEMBER hearing a linguist say the village was settled in the 4th century BC.  I HAVE to be wrong — or he was — since I know the village was on the wrong side of the punic wars) Roman citizenship and intermarrying who didn’t CONSIDER themselves Romans, so trying to portray the locals as impatiently waiting for someone to free them from the Romans and turning gratefully to Islam is coming it on rather too strongly. Even if there had been Carthaginian sentiment still around.  (More on that later.)  OTOH more importantly if the locals wanted to be freed from Rome that had already happened since the region had been invaded by the Suebians.  Anyway.  His thesis didn’t pass muster.

I didn’t meet the “Andalusia and more broadly Islamic Hispania was a paradise” thesis until the late eighties in, of all things, a Romance novel.

I wasn’t/still am not a romance reader, but the local Sunday supplement promoted this woman as a local writer, and I thought I might run into her somewhere (heaven knows where, since I never went anywhere writers gathered, back then) and might as well read her book.  Also it was historical and set in the peninsula, which peaked my curiosity.

The book was … very odd.  It starts with a Christian girl watching a Muslim man being burned (circa the 11th? century, dating by the royalty involved) and he throws her a little, beautiful miniature koran he wears at his neck (?) She goes on to (while hiding this) marry a (of course) brutal and abusive Lord, from whom she’s saved one night, when she’s kidnapped to become a Moorish sex slave.

Muslim culture and Al Andalus is portrayed throughout as having near modern sensibilities, hygiene, etc.  Think NYC but it raids for slaves, and there is polygamy — both of these things danced around so fast if you weren’t paying attention you might think they weren’t there.

Anyway, our kidnapped noblewoman becomes a wife of a Muslim Lord who is in all effects a sweet, gentle modern man, and she falls in love with him and converts, and it ends with a little thing about their grandchildren running to the North of Africa from the onslaught of the reconquista.

It was like reading about a parallel universe.  Oh, sure, there were some fulminating things written against bathing by less than sane hermits (and some Church fathers) but the middle ages were not nearly as dirty as we tend to think, and Christians still averaged about a bath a week, which is what populations today, who have no running hot water/central heating do, with washing of hands, face, and other crucial parts every day.  (What mom called a cat-bath.  No it doesn’t leave you feeling as clean as a full body shower, but it keeps you decently socially acceptable.)

Oh, sure, some Medieval Lords abused their wives, but so did the Muslim men of the time (and still, in mostly Muslim countries) since wife-beating is enshrined in the religion and culture.

And no, polygamy is never better for women, WTF?

Also, the historic personages I KNEW were not precisely portrayed recognizably.

Oh, also, they didn’t at that time burn Muslims for being Muslims.  The area she set the thing in (and I can’t remember where exactly, sorry, but it was in Portugal — which btw, made her ending up in Al Andalus semi-implausible — was at the time a frontier between the two civilizations.  Think of it as the old west.  There were some Muslims on the Christian side, under their parole (it was a couple of centuries before they became suspicious-persons and were forced to convert, deported, whatever) and there were some Christians on the other side (as dhimmis by that time, mostly) and there were starcrossed romances and what not, but what there wasn’t that early on was an inquisition, which crazy writer chick thought there had been. (And the inquisition didn’t burn Muslims for being Muslims, but for breaking a supposed conversion– Never mind.)

I thought this was an isolated case of insane writer (I never did meet her) and shrugged it off.

It wasn’t until the late nineties that I started running into this versoin of “but it was a paradise” everywhere.  And I started getting seriously disturbed.  I suspected (apparently rightly) that Saudi-Arabian money was softening the West to the idea that Islam was benevolent and civilized.

(By the way, no invaders at the time were benevolent and civilized, but Islam brought with it some of the dysfunctions only an invading desert-culture could bring in.  Like a tendency to cut down all trees and turn entire areas into deserts.  Or a disdain for work, and a preference for plunder and baksheesh.  Or–)

If this book — The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandes Morera — is right, then the pattern of invasion was much like we’re seeing, a lot of it having to do with the West being considered a soft target, while the West considered Islam either not that much of a threat (at the beginning, when treaties were attempted) or being softened by continuous acts of terror (like killing entire villages) so that some surrendered preemptively (not that we’ve seen anything about that.)

And the counter-offensive only got going when half the lands were destroyed and the aggression couldn’t be hidden/ignored any more.  (Part of it being that life standards in the Islamic areas steadily declined, since the dhimmis are supposed to be the ones working/paying for the Muslims to live in style, but over time dhimmis either “convert” truly or not, or run away, leaving the terminal Muslim state rather like the terminal socialist state.)

So, what can we do?

The only way we can get out of this semi-peacefully is to have Islam reform.  This won’t stop crazy acts of terror, but if Muslims can be convinced they can’t win this, and that it’s in their best interests to be decent human beings who don’t bomb and don’t support bombing (or killing, or sexually assaulting, or) other people of different religions, and there is an alternative that’s loud and open and isn’t afraid of communal backlash (the reason most decent Muslims don’t talk against acts of terror is that they are also afraid of the crazies) eventually it will become the predominant form in the west and community pressure will go the other way.

What are the chances of that? Less than zero, I’d guess.

First of all, our genuinely pluralistic society CAN’T demand forcible conversions.  (And to what would we convert them, anyway, given we are a pluralistic society.)

Second, forcible conversions SORT OF work.  Given enough time families and even regions forget they were ever anything else.  But only sort of.  See above where I said the defeat of Carthage in the punic war might have meant local sympathy with Islam (from same general region) and doors open when they arrived as invaders.  And then there is Algarve, the last province of Portugal to be freed, and a rather pleasant/touristic sea side enclave.  People there still listened to Arabic radio stations, when I vacationed there in more innocent times.  I overheard a weird remark about people down there more or less mumbling about supporting Jihad.  I hope the person was joking.  BUT they might not have been. I find it interesting that suddenly the North of Portugal, which has yes, historical charm and depth, but also has the climate of Scotland in Winter and California without air conditioning in summer is now a touristic hub, more so than the South.  I wonder if hearing Arabic singing worries tourists.  (It would worry me.)

And short of a really hard ass position, the sort of thing a civilized and decent people don’t do — like killing everyone from the same area as a terrorist, or everyone who might have known, or… — we are on a train that has only one stop.

Eventually — it took centuries before, I don’t think it will take as long now, but it might take another decade or two.  Less if the attacks keep coming closer together — the West will lose patience.  And this time we do have weapons that mean predominantly Muslim areas simply stop existing.

We are in fact, trying to convince Muslims to allow us to let them live.

And it’s not going well.

And the last thing we need — the very last thing — about this as about communism or socialism, we can afford is to be gaslighted by an industrial/media/entertainment/educational complex who is on no one’s side but theirs.

Because if we are, then when we lose patience we’re going to lose patience harder and more thoroughly and the world that emerges will be remarkably short on “convivencia” not just for Muslims (who might have all but stopped existing) but for everyone non-standard or who sticks out.

And that’s not a world I wish for my descendants.

So its time to start seeing past the lies, even when they’re so thick around us we see nothing else.  And start plotting our course with open eyes.

Even when it’s unpleasant.


440 thoughts on “A Very Old War

      1. Then you really need to get more range time in. If you talk to Larry, I bet he would add a carp trebuchet range to the mountain lair that he is building.

        1. Well, then, the obvious thing is to keep feeding us alcohol and then sending us on to visit the next place for the holidays …

  1. We’re a species addicted to narrative. First, you have the overwhelming need to throw out the invasive conqueror and you get a simple they-were-bad narrative. Then someone rich and foolish comes along and you get a romantic revisionism — the Moors were ever so cosmopolitan! It was a multicultural enlightenment when Christians were ignorant! Since there are always examples of whatever you want to find in individuals and their actions, you can write up that story, too.

    “It’s complicated and there are heroes and demons in every age” — and individualism in general — make for a less-simple, less-compelling narrative for our ingrained tribal story tellers and listeners. Good Sith and bad Jedi, intellectual and humane Muslims and cruel and vicious Christians — they’re all there. Tell their stories.

      1. You really should try Linux Mint 18 Sarah. (No kidding, it’s called “Sarah.”)

          1. Note: This is for general information. I am not handing out Linux tracts.

            Linux used to require fiddling. The first time I tried Linux (Debian), it put me in mind of the Windows 3.1 era, when we still had to fiddle with autoexec.bat and config.sys. The first time I used Ubuntu, I still had to fiddle with configuration files, but not as much. Now it’s pretty much load and go, so much so that those interested in Linux can burn the distribution of their choice to a DVD and run it from there to see how well it works with their hardware and how well they like it. I keep several versions on DVD as a fix-it tool – very handy to backup files when the OS is hosed.

            FWIW, I didn’t like it when Ubuntu changed to an awful interface, and I fell out with them for good when it turned out it was phoning home. Whether that’s changed or not, I don’t know, but I went to Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu without the habit of checking in.

            Honestly, upgrading an office laptop to Windows 10 required more fiddling than when I tried Linux, and I still have an annoying DLL error that shouldn’t be there, but is. Not only did I have to turn off the more nosy aspects of Windows 10, I had to fiddle with power settings for the laptop to go into sleep mode and wake properly. I really hope the mass update we’re doing at work tonight goes smoothly.

          2. Heh. On a good day, I merely dislike Linux, but I am forced to use it, because on a good day, I hate Windows and MacOS X with burning passions. Part of the problem, I suppose, is that I got used to Linux back in the day when I couldn’t afford to put Windows on the Frankenstein computer I owned.

            I would have to agree that computer fiddling has been reduced drastically, although I sometimes still encounter weird bugs — mostly because of hardware compatibility issues — I keep telling myself that one day, I’ll save enough so that I can drop $2k or $3k on a computer system — when that day comes, I’m going to make *darn* sure that everything on it has open source drivers, so that I don’t have to mess with stupid compatibility issues.

            I *really* wish I had the time to create my own operating system, from the ground up. (And here, “ground up” probably starts with the silicon, or maybe even likely carbon or germanium, just to keep things interesting — I’d say transistor, but I’d like to experiment even with those.) And this contradicts with my feeling that I have all too often, where I wish I would never see a computer again…


            And this reminds me: I need to find some time to draw up some non-working ternary circuits, and then hunt down an electrical engineer that can tell me what I’m doing wrong. (I already learned that if I don’t want to burn up transistors, I need three voltage levels, rather than two…which, in retrospect, makes sense, considering that I’m working in TERNARY…and that discovery has a fantastic story behind it, but since this comment is already too long, I won’t go into it right now…)

            1. This calls to mind the problems of our political system, with a choice between wholly unsatisfactory operating systems but no functional alternative in sight.

              The Devil runs this domain and his pop-up ads are everywhere.

      1. I preferred Windows 8.1 over Windows 8. 😉
        Mind you, since Microsoft offered an easy way to go to Win10 and I suspected that Microsoft wasn’t going to support the older Windows anymore, I took advantage of their free upgrade to Win10.

        Not bad so far. 😀

        1. Starting clean it was OK, but I spent a day and half trying to upgrade a machine to 8.1 while also migrating an existing users stuff over, and all I accomplished was to convince said user to switch to MacOS.

          1. I thank G*d that I didn’t try to convert my WinXP machine to Win7 or Win8.1. 😉

        2. MS is obligated to support older versions. I don’t know the date for Win 8x, but 7 is good to 2020. However, they’ve shown that they can still make life miserable with slow updates and myriad “Get Windows 10 or we’ll shoot this kitten” patches. Still, our home machines are Win 7 and GWX control panel helped keep them that way. The Y2K vintage Vaio in the shop is running Slackware Linux, with some success.

          1. The computers at my day job are all Win 7 because their electronic brains are too small for anything else. We got a frantic e-mail from IT warning us not, on pain of something terrible, not to click on the auto-update to Win 10. The old computers can’t handle the new software. I think someone did, thus the wails of pain and anguish and the “read this NOW!!!!” message.

            1. I find myself fascinated by anything that’s “Turing complete”; one thing that I don’t like about Windows is the bloat cycle — you need the latest OS because it has all teh l33t new features — but if you get the latest OS, you have to get a new computer, because an old computer can’t handle the new OS…

              It’s my understanding that every so often, someone wants to use an ancient but otherwise perfectly good computer, and the only way they can use it is to run some version of Linux on it….

            1. Actually, it’s not. It’s at least as easy as Windows, perhaps easier. But no penguin swag, sorry. I can try to find some herring if you like…

            2. Rank amateur here; converted to Debian Mint around 2010, moved to pure Debian around 2012-13. It’s not difficult from the end user side of things. Libreoffice functions like MS Office, honestly. (I mention this because most of us are writers) Firefox and Icedove function, from what I can tell, much like their Windows counterparts, and Synaptic Package Manager works a lot like an app store (except that it’s free…) . VLC media player is also much the same as the Windows version. For artists, especially drawing tablet users, I hear Debian with KDE is really good; though I hear KDE is much easier for Windows to Linux users in general. (The interface looks more familiar I guess?) Also, Krita looks more familiar to Photoshop users; though I’m fairly sure there are plenty of GIMP users here as well.

              I don’t use the terminal – except to killall something. I’m very much an end user type.

              1. The only thing keeping me from converting to Linux on a home machine is Quicken, with Intuit locked into Windows or Mac. I’ve read that Linux/GnuCash might be a good substitute. Anybody familiar with it? Looking to replace the Home and Business version.

                1. In my experience, GnuCash is quite usable but nowhere near as easy to use as Quicken.

                  1. Thanks! I’ll check out KMyMoney.

                    According to Intuit, you can “run Quicken on Linux”, but in a VM running (wait for it) Windows. They don’t believe in Wine. i was pretty good at Linux a while ago, when the Y2K was a recent memory.. Did Unixen before that, but Lord, I’m rusty.

                    1. I got a bit more out of my friend about this. Apparently before this, his father was also using Quicken, on Linux running WINE; accidentally opened his files on KMyMoney, didn’t notice a difference. There was a GUI change, he liked it better. He didn’t realise he was on a different program until he got a notification to pay for a Quicken upgrade, paid the fee, and tried to find where he was supposed to enter a serial key, and couldn’t find it.

                      There’s a Windows version you can try out if you want to try KMyMoney before you change over to Linux, my friend also says.

                    2. I looked at the KMyMoney site, and so far it looks pretty good. I’ll probably skip their Windows version; I’ve been wanting a Linux laptop to use as a sneakernet between the house w/internet and the Linux box in the too-hard-to-connect shop.

                      Quicken H&B lets me select what to export, so I should be able to get something into kMyMoney. H&B was overkill anyway.

                2. I bought a copy of Quicken Willmaker to use its “make a trust” mode. It installed and ran fine under Wine. The Wine site keeps a compatibility list. I also keep XP and 7 VMs against occasional need.

                  1. Thanks for that. 1) We’ve had “make a trust” on the Round-Tuit list.
                    2) The Wine compatibility list results are interesting in the Chinese-curse sense. Quicken Home and Business worked fine in 2012 and -13, but won’t install afterward. I have CDs for both H&B 2012 and 2015. Fortunately, I have data backups going way back. I doubt that 2015 backups can be put into 2012 without major indigestion, so I’d probably have to find which backup actually works, then manually reenter the data. I’ve done more tedious stuff, just not sure when.

                    All this will wait until I have a more powerful Linux box.

                    1. I used an older version of Willmaker. It’s one of the last ones that runs all on your computer. Somewhere along the way the newer ones started requiring continual chat with the mothership. I wasn’t happy with that.

                      The book that came with my version was worth the price of the software. Trusts are really wierd.

            3. KDE is the best GUI (IMHO). Personally, I prefer Slackware to the other distributions, because you can set it up the way you want without a bunch of noob protections to overcome.
              That said, unless you used UNIX before Linux was invented, Slackware is not a user friendly distro.

            4. It used to be. I kept a log book when I first tried Linux to keep track o modifications so I could undo stuff that didn’t work. It got much better, and today you can reliably boot from a DVD or USB without having to manually configure a thing.

        1. It isn’t the worst, except for the ‘upgrade to windows 10’ junk.

          1. There are some programs out there that block that pretty well. I’m using GWX Control Panel on mine.

        2. It’s worked well enough for me. Most of my problems with my Win7 system is hardware*. I had a video card die last year and a few weeks ago I had to replace my main hard disc. I am not upgrading to Win10. I might get it later, but I will likely dual-boot it with Linux since there are complaints about Win10 being an advanced form of spyware (i.e., sending a LOT of info back to Microsoft on your browsing habits and so on) and may use Win10 only for games that need it. Unless it scans everything as soon as you login then I might see if I can simply run games from Linux.

          Oh and the Samsung Magician software for setting up SSD’s? Leave it off. It messes with programs. Or more to the point, use it to setup settings for your drive, then shut it down. Some problems I’ve been having with NVIDIA products and Fallout 4 seem to have vanished as soon as I just exited the Magician program. I’m monitoring it and will see if it goes away for good.

          *-Oh and my keyboard had to be replaced last October or so, plus the left-mouse button can’t survive some of my games for long.

            1. That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to out a call for folks to join me in a game I found, Fallen London. It’s basically a social choose-your-own-adventure game, which I found fascinating; I was tipped off to it by an old episode of the Extra Credits show on YouTube. Victorian London, thirty years after it was purchased/stolen underground by the Masters of the Echo Bazaar. Lots of humor, tons of unique stories, interesting characterization and mechanics, and a very large dose of the “that’s creepy” end of the horror spectrum. I’ve been really enjoying it, but it’s meant to have more social interaction than I’ve been doing – I’d love to have someone over for dinner, and I could really use someone with whom to Loiter Suspiciously. 🙂 Oh, and they do hire writers. You know, if anyone here happens to know someone in that line of work. *shrug* Bit of a long shot, I know…

              1. I might be interested. I heard about it years ago, though the people who were talking about it sort of put me off the idea of playing the game (they were the sort of people who, for lack of a better way of putting it, felt that videogames shouldn’t be fun, they should be more like the kinds of works that win Hugo awards). This made me think that Fallen London would be some super boring, preachy, painful to play conceptual cluster.

                So I guess the question is, is it quick to pick up and play and something I only need to devote a few minutes to each day?

                1. It’s browser-based and turn-based. The interface is pretty straight forward to understand. Action points increment every ten minutes and accumulate up to a cap (20 for free players, 40 for subscribers), so it’s easy to drop in a few times a day rather than monitoring it all the time.

              2. I’m not very good at writing horror (even horror-flavored) fiction, alas. I’m not able to capture, to my taste, the creepy/scare feel.

                And lol, another game to devour my time? Bad Oyster-san! (I’d been actively playing for a while now on STO; especially since Agents of Yesterday came out. Pure unmitigated fan squee. And as divisive as the reboot has been for Trek fans, I have to say, Cryptic did a fantastic job of tying in the Kelvin timeline in the game.)

                1. especially since Agents of Yesterday came out. Pure unmitigated fan squee.

                  Yeah… when the redshirt died in the cutscene I couldn’t help but think “now THIS is Star Trek”. 🙂

                2. the irony of life is that I don’t try to write horror at all, but I’ve gotten complaints from writers’ groups about not billing works as horror.

                  They’ve invariably been retold fairy tales.

                    1. Especially when you get away from the pretty 20th century versions. Some of the Japanese ghost stories? Of Indian (dot) myths? Not reading them after sundown ever again. Heck, the Windigo and Skinwalker stories from North America are pretty dang spooky. (When Lovecraft uses one as a story base without a lot of tweaking . . .)

                    2. and some don’t qualify only because they move so quickly over the way the older brothers spitefully blind the young, the queen’s servants gouge out the heroine’s eyes and chop off her hands to have the “proof” she’s dead, or the servant is put in a barrel lined with nails and it’s dragged by horses up and down until she’s dead — that you don’t really have time to realize how brutal it would have been.

                    3. The classic version of the Cinderella tale always, personally, baffled me. The evil stepsisters chop off parts of their feet in order to fit into the shoe; and I couldn’t get past the ‘okay, how the nine hells is the crazy critter even supposed to WALK to the carriage, never mind the damn altar?’

                      But yeah, the casual brutality in the stories are only really noticed when it’s pointed out; and then the reader is horrified.

            2. I’m not a computer gamer, but the entire catalog of Steam games run on Linux natively.

            3. I came within a hair last week of running Linux Mint as a virtual machine, and then running a legacy program under WINE. The XP Virtual Machine available under Windows 7 Pro is going away, and that was the only way to run that program. Fortunately, I found an XP install disk with an unused product key, installed it in a virtual machine under VirtualBox, and then upgraded it to SP3 with the official file we downloaded years ago. Yes, Microsoft servers will still validate an XP install.

                1. That’s old! The 1st computer I ever used didn’t have a gui. it had a command line. You had to be careful of exactly what you typed.

                  1. Bah. Back in my day we had hand-carved wooden circuit boards and knapped-flint read/write heads…

                    1. In all seriousness, back in my day I made a sorting computer using a shoebox, a stiff wire, hole punch, and scissors. School project. It was when they stressed binary because they thought we’d all have to know it to use computers.

                    2. That’s nothing. Back in my day, we didn’t have “1”s, we had to use twigs, and instead of “0”s we used cheerios.

                  2. The first one I used was a teletype looking thing connected to a mainframe. No monitor at all. And we still had desktop calculators with Nixie tubes, and a giant working slide rule on the wall in the physics lab.

                    1. Ooh, ooh, remember 7-hole paper tapes? I used to use keypunches and collator/decollators…

                    2. I tended to snarl at the baby ITs who would ask officiously if I had made sure the machine was turned on that I had been using PCs (on and off) since before they were in diapers. My first was a BBC micro of some sort running Acorn. Yes the damn thing is turned on!

                      My father got one for his office one summer when I was working for him. I was handed the computer and a book on programming in Basic and left alone with them for several days. I still have no idea what I was expected to do with them for the department, but it was educational for me.

              1. Please tell me this VM cannot be seen from the outside world and you firewall it so it can only communicate with the things it absolutely has to. XP is infectable by just about any malware around so really really do not use it to browse random websites

                1. It’s used to run an expensive piece of software we can’t justify spending thousands to replace but can’t completely do without, either. There is no browsing going on. And yes, everything is behind firewalls.

        3. Win 7 is solid and not inherently insecure like the previous windows versions were and it doesn’t have the tablet idiocies that Win 8.x has. I don’t see any reason to update IF you expect to change computers in the next year or three. But at some point if you are sticking with Microsoft you will have to run win 10 because they are going to stop supporting the previous versions.

        4. It is what is on the computer I am using. As a guy who knows nothing about computers I find it easy to use. Unfortunately the computer has started having glitchy issues, not a windows problem.

          I have a laptop with Windows 10 and it isn’t bad, I held off on buying a laptop for a year or two, because they had all switched to Win 8, and no matter how the salesman hyped it, a minute’s use of it in the store convinced me I didn’t want anywhere near it. I despise touchscreen devices, and I certainly don’t want a touchscreen spawned operating system on a non-touchscreen device.

          1. I love touchscreen devices, with caveats:

            First, you need to be able to put a touch-screen in your lap, or otherwise hold it horizontally. It’s silly to have a touch screen on a laptop if the only option you have is to touch it vertically. (My work laptop has a touch screen, but I never use it, because it’s pointless.)

            Second, touch screens will never replace a keyboard and a mouse. They are just too convenient for certain types of input methods! Thus, a proper operating system will allow you to use a keyboard and mouse, and they should operate *as keyboard and mouse*, and not as an extension of the touch screen system. (Android violates this — you can plug in a mouse, but it might as well be your finger, for all the good it does.)

            Third, when you have a touch screen, it should be treated as a touch screen. Again, my work laptop doesn’t do this — it just uses it as an extension of the mouse. What’s even worse, if I have a second monitor plugged in, the touch screen covers the entire monitor space! Granted, I’m using an OS that isn’t designed for touch screens, and you shouldn’t have touch screens on regular laptops, but how hard could it be to just use the touch screen as a freaking touch screen?

            (Shakes head sadly.) I mourn for the current state of user interfaces. What are people thinking?!?

    1. Once it was all installed, I prefer Windows 10 over previous windows versions.

      But what I’d really like is an Amiga laptop… Or a good browser and Wi-Fi connection for my Commodore 64. Which is still in the house, and presumably still works.

      1. *grin* we have a fully functioning Amstrad. My son used it to learn to type on.

        And yeah, I actually like Win10 over previous Windows versions too. Largely for security reasons. I’m told though that Win10 is really geared toward mobile users; tablets and laptops, because of an increased efficiency on power management. For a while, on test machines, we noticed it had better power management than even Debian – though, I must in honesty note that it’s been a while since we did that, so it may have changed.

      2. For a few months back in the stone-age I would surf the internet on a C64 with a 600 baud modem. That was about as fast as I could read the internet anyways. I didn’t have a proper browser so I just told the internet server I was a VT100 terminal and then just did the conversion from raw text to hypertext manually (pictures were rare enough back then it could be managed). The first webpage, of course, was a huge PITA but before long I could just stare at the jumble of odd characters and snippits of text and figure it out as fast as the modem could take them in… “blond, brunette, redhead…”

      3. There has been an Amiga emulator for Linux for dog’s years. I think there’s a Windows port of it now. There’s a C64 emulator too. And you can run multiple VMs at once if you want to geek out.

        1. WinUAE had been around for almost as long as UAE. Amiga Forever is an optimized version thereof that comes with ROMs.

    2. I’m greatly amused that the absolute loudest screams I’ve heard about Windows 10 have been…from people who are the golden reason WHY they built it the way they did, as far as updating and such.

      I love my family. Even with their flaws…..

  2. Probably a lot of Americans were propagandized by Louis L’Amour’s non-western novel The Walking Drum, much of which takes place in Muslim lands, including Muslim Spain.

      1. Catholicism, being a human institution, has been prey to the failings of humans, and therefore has much for which it must answer.

        Compared to all other comparable institutions it stands up rather well, however, and compared to various non-human institutions with which we’ve experience it does quite well indeed.

        1. Well, the Thirty Years War did result in the creation of the modern nation state. Plus some beautiful music and cathedrals.

          I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered a non-human institution in real life experience. Imagined through books written by fellow humans, of course. You appear to have lead a much more exciting life, and must be rather more traveled than the usual to have lived amongst these non-human institutions?

        2. Please describe for the court the non-human institutions you’ve experienced. Here is a map of the galaxy. Just where did the bad being touch you?

      2. I suspect L’amour was also propagandized by the Andalusian Paradise myth. Perhaps made easier by the fact that the Middle East was, I believe, one of the few areas he wrote about, that he had little actual experience in. I’ve no doubt he knew various Muslim sailors, but primarily in non-Muslim dominated ports. Muslims in non-muslim areas tend to act decidedly differently than those in muslim dominated areas.

        1. Mightn’t the sailors have also come from those areas where folks really did the stuff like the 13th Warrior’s “Honey! It’s made…from HONEY!!!!!”?

        2. Indeed. You’re only as good as the information you can find. And if that’s been corrupted, well . . .

  3. Why force the conversion of adults? Adults are old enough to pay the price for their political choices.

    There are two houses in this world. The house of peace, submitting to the constitution of the United States of America. The house of war, adhering to forms of government incompatible with the Constitution.

    They have chosen stand against the constitution; if necessary they must be cut down.

      1. The “like button” *does* exist. It is cleverly hidden in the WordPress reader function.

        Log in to WordPress, go to the blogpost, go down to the comments (usually have to click “load more comments” and occasionally “show replies”), and look for the little star next to the comment you like. Hit that star like a lying politician. Feels good, it does. *grin*

        1. What exactly does it do, though? It certainly doesn’t show up to others, anyways I have never seen any note saying that a comment has x number of likes.

  4. I can’t help but think of the meme that wanders around the internet, showing two pictures of a group of women – one was taken in Iran in the 70’s and it’s a happy bunch of young women in modern dresses, legs showing. Then there’s the one that has them all covered head to toe in cloth, not even eyes visible, huddled together like they are afraid while walking. The pendulum has swung, and it’s still going downhill for the people caught up in the predominately Islamic regions. I’m not sure there’s a way to stop it. There probably isn’t, short of spilling more blood than I care to contemplate.

    1. Does anyone know how common the first image would have been outside Tehran itself?

      1. I have seen comparable pictures from Kabul, prior to the Soviet invasion.

        Probably just Western Lies™, of course.

        1. Pictures from Kabul in the 70s are interesting, because what they scream is not “Afghanistan,” but “It was the 70s.” You see a couple of women in headscarves, but only a couple, and no one is wearing anything more dramatic than that. With only a few exceptions, these could be pictures of Cleveland in the 70s.

      2. About as common as in Turkey before 2005. Urban areas and suburban? Common. Rural? Not as common, but even then more of the “coats and headscarf” kind of garment than the “black sack except for face” version.

      3. I lived in Tehran in ’69-70, and while the city was very cosmopolitan, there were no shortages of women in Chadors (kind of like burkas.) The Shah and his father had both spent lots of effort trying to bring the country into the 20th century. Outside of Tehran it tended to be a bit more old school, although the tourist cities of Isfahan and Shiraz were fairly relaxed.

    2. I believe the price for this conflict will eventually be measured in megadeaths. Then again, I’m a cynical optimist.

        1. The problem is our ‘progressive elite’ are indifferent to or contemptuous of existing western civilization. If they seriously confronted the terrorists now, there would only be kilodeaths. But if they continue blindly down the path they are on now, eventually, the remaining non-Muslims will get weary enough to consider the megadeath option.

          1. Already there. The question in my mind is “Is Islam the mental equivalent to rabies?”. If so, go megadeaths.

  5. If this book — The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandes Morera — is right, then the pattern of invasion was much like we’re seeing, a lot of it having to do with the West being considered a soft target, while the West considered Islam either not that much of a threat (at the beginning, when treaties were attempted) or being softened by continuous acts of terror (like killing entire villages) so that some surrendered preemptively (not that we’ve seen anything about that.)

    From what I remember of my studies of the history of Africa back in the late 80s, this was how it went for them as well. And I recall distinctly reading about the waves of jihad that would sweep Africa in various periods throughout, not because Islam was taking over, but because Islam, in areas, would start going back to its traditional ways, forget about their Islamic overlords and some Muslim Imam would alert the faithful so the pogram of getting everyone back in line would become a “rejuvenating war.” I see this happening in the Middle East now with ISIS. It isn’t that our country or any other Western entity “created” ISIS. Its that Islam is doing exactly what it has always done whenever there was a low point in its advancement. Which is why we can look at pictures of Iran back in the 70s and see women in super modern Western wear, laughing and freely interacting, and then forward to now where everyone is enshrouded in a blue sack. This is nothing new and I get so angry with the media here who tries to paw it off as “exceptional” or not that big a deal. The waves of advancement of Islam as it has pulsated through the histories of Europe and Africa is here on American shores. Its behaving no differently.

    1. Forgive me, need to correct something: I said …”but because Islam, in areas, would start going back to its traditional ways, forget about their Islamic overlords…” – I MEANT to say, because AFRICA, in areas, would start to go back to its traditional TRIBAL ways.

    2. In a lot of ways, the Islamic paradise was a plunder-based one – rather like Nazi Germany. As long as they kept expanding, conquering, plundering the good stuff and keeping the stocks of slaves coming – all good and well. But once they had scraped up everything of value, and couldn’t move on and predate on fresh pastures … well – then that is when the grand Caliphate began to shrivel and die.

  6. You can blame Gibbon, Water Scott, and Washington Irving for the “Al Andalus was soooo wonderful compared to the smelly Christians” bit, at least until the 1920s or so. Yet another bone I have to pick with the Romantic movement. (Twenty years ago or so G. G. Kaye did a decent job with historical fantasy and Romantic views of the Reconqista. As history? Nope, nope, nope. Also applies to Washington Irving and Co.)

    I found Morara very persuasive. His stuff fits what I read about with the Ottomans and their, ahem, neighbors, and with the material from German scholars about the centuries of Byzantine semi-retreat and Christian theological shifts that led to the development of anti-Nicene Arab Christianity that (I’m increasingly convinced) led to what we today call Islam. Plus what I see when the Comanches, Spanish, Anglo-Texans, Cheyenne and others bumped into each other, in terms of defining themselves more strongly as “this is what We do and who We are. Don’t do what They do.” But now I really want to track down archaeological reports and studies on Visigothic Iberia!

    1. Islam *does* have a gnosticism about it doesnt it?

      Can you recommend something by GG Kaye? What you said intrigues me.

      1. Kaye’s novel is _The Lions of Al-Rassan_. He blends El Cid, the late Reconqista, eh, about 200 years of events into a few months of story. Washington Irving’s _Tales of the Alhambra_ (1832) will give you a sense of the Romantic view of things, in small (tasty and entertaining) bites. And it is available free as well as for pay.

        1. In fairness to those authors, those romanticism were of a kind with ERB’s Barsoom and Haggard’s Kukuanaland (for that matter, the American frontier of Cooper) in which the authors indulged fantasies of places where readers were never expected to venture, and facts were essentially secondary.

        2. What I particularly disliked about the book was that the religions consisted of “we worship THIS solar body” and, for two of them, persecution. No reason for persecution, of course, they just did it.

          1. When I first read it, I enjoyed the literary play of his and doing “spot the history.” It was probably the first thick historical fantasy I tangled with, so there was that as well. Once I got beyond that, eh, there’s a reason I’ve never gone back and re-read it, unlike some novels. (He lost me with the faux-Chinese stuff. Got to page 10 of the first one and put it back on the library shelf, never to return.)

      2. For the theology and some other interesting things, Karl-Heinz Ohlig’s two edited volumes are fantastic BUT they are very dense and slow going, and you need some background in early Christian theology and Byzantine history. I’d read them in chronological order, because the first one has shorter papers.

  7. And no, polygamy is never better for women, WTF?

    One smart-*** I read did a rather elaborate thing on how Judaism removed polygamy– short version that stuck was that it required that the first wife get EVERYTHING that the second wife did and ditto for the kids, no ditching the first wife and kids for the new, but said it prettier. It then went on to say something like “and by the time of Jesus monogamy was a matter of course.” 😀
    My mom once explained that it can be less bad, in some really horrible situations– usually those with a struggling population, high accidental death rate for males, family is the only support structure and not much surplus resources.

    1. I may be thinking in shorthand and smudging it, as a warning, folks– it’s hot, I’m tired and the house is not as packed as it needs to be, but I have to sit or I’ll fall down.

    2. No, no, no, no, no. I’ve read it depicted by Heinlein and multiple spousal households run swimmingly.

      After all, we all know how easy it is to share a household with one other adult, so sharing with two must be twice as easy! (If you are interested in trying this for yourself, I have some loooooovely options available for you to purchase Nevada beach front home sites.)

      1. Not buying it. If you want to see how well Polygamy works read the early books of the Old Testament. Every single time its a charlie foxtrot. Jacob, David, Solomon, always intrigue, always fighting over who’s children get what. Please note that Heinlein himself was a serial Monagamist :-).

    3. Right.

      If you end up in a situation in which you have a sudden die-off of males within a group, then polygamy suddenly becomes a much better thing. It allows multiple women to draw support from a single male. And it also provides more women with the opportunity to have (legitimate) children who will hopefully be able to provide for their mother as she gets older.

      Aside from that, though…

    4. Monogamy is overwhelmingly the matter of course in most polygamous societies. Maintaining two households is not cheap, and there’s the little matter of surplus males.

      1. ISTR that even in the case of certain Himalayan nations, where both polygyny and polyandry are practiced, monogamy does tend to be most common.

      1. Nit, Weber’s Grayson was a situation where there were three women for every man in the planet’s population. (Minor genetic damaged caused by gene engineering to allow humans to survive increased levels of heavy metals in the environment).

        So multiple wives was somewhat necessary on Grayson.

        1. Yeah. Disaster based polygamy can work. If enough of your young men die in battle, you can have polygamy for a certain social status.

          1. Yeah, practicing polygamy absent a disaster tends to leave a lot of young men very frustrated. Bugger that.

    5. My wife’s family created a documentary about one of their ancestors, who, being a Latter-day Saint during the mid-to-late 1800’s/early 1900’s, happened to have two wives. An interesting side effect of the documentary was that it made polygamous life seem really appealing.

      After some thought, though, I realized that it wasn’t the polygamy that was appealing, it was the values exemplified by those in that relationship: hard work, education, strong family bonds, faith in God, and a willingness to do what’s right, despite how hard it seems. Indeed, two mottoes from the documentary, “Plow a straight furrow” and “There are no ‘halves’ in this family” (that is, the children of one wife are as much brothers and sisters as the children of the other wife — which was a value that one of my wife’s aunts exercised, when she married someone with two children from a previous marriage) go right to the heart of the matter.

      Although I don’t know my own family history as well as I ought, I’m just familiar enough with family stories to know that even monogamous marriages can have serious problems — and those problems occur because one or more of the participants in that marriage don’t adhere to those values…

      1. It’s useful to remember that there can be a lot more marriages “with problems” today, because the things that cause those problems don’t result in death these days. There isn’t room for the exquisite “exactly 50/50– as *I* figure it!” junk that seems to be the most common issue when even if everyone does everything right, you could end up starving. (Winter went too long, something got into the food, harvest wasn’t as good as you thought…..)

        Kinda like how we have a lot more disabled veterans these days; the guy staying across the road, you wouldn’t know he’d been blown up if he didn’t have it written across the back of his pickup. He’s healthy enough to be in a security business with the relative that lives across the road, and can do things like lift basic furniture, although he’s a lot more sensible about it than most guys my age.

        That happened in WWII?

        Probably wouldn’t have lived.

        1. From studies shown to me by a friend who was a medic from 1989-2009 (active duty then NG) they estimate a lot of them wouldnt have lived in *vietnam*. clotting agents are a wonderful thing, apparently.

          1. Hell, those Israeli tourniquets made such a big difference that between the start of the invasion of Iraq and about ’05 they went from “strange but we’ll try it to be polite” to “EVERYONE MUST TRAIN WITH THIS,” at least among the Navy and Marines.

            1. “Doc” Wohlrab was telling us in a panel at LibertyCon about how things had evolved even since then, such as how they will apply a tourniquet as soon as they see bleeding, then apply the new version of the clotting agent (which now comes impregnated in packing gauze), and THEN back off the tourniquet to see if the clotting agent would hold back the bleed, and how much better it was than even five or six years ago.

              1. what i have been told is that most of the guys you see with a leg or arm wound would have lost the limb, and most of the guys who lost a limb would not have lived.

        2. While I understand the point you’re making, one of the people I have in mind, who didn’t do so well with marriage, is one of my own ancestors, who was probably of the same generation as the husband and wives my wife’s family documented.

          I can’t remember the details, but he may have been a polygamist, and he was almost certainly a serial monogamist and womanizer. (He may have been widowed at one point, but I can’t remember for certain if the wife I have in mind died after a divorce.) He was found dead in his apartment; he died alone, and if I recall correctly, it took several days for him to have been discovered after he died. By then, my great-grandfather was four years old.

          While my wife’s family made a documentary touting the family values that made their family great, I have the feeling that, if my family made a documentary on him, it would be as a warning to others, just how bad your life can be, if you *don’t* have solid family values.

          1. Not arguing with you about the values– although being the same generation doesn’t matter if you’re not in the same area and situation, too.

            Glad your gggrand survived; “women with children to support by themselves” was a shorthand for horrific for dang good reason.

  8. More than convincing Muslims to let us let them live, we have to convince Westerners that we deserve to live, and thet, I fear, may be beyond our capacity.

    From Instapundit yesterday:
    DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students – I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know.”

    If you can afford the hour to listen to the interview whence that comes, it is worthwhile. We not only are not teaching the Truth (with or without warts) about Western Civilization, we are not teaching half-truth; more like quarter-truths, at most. We are teaching lies.

      1. There is an effort going about trying to demasculinize boys. cf. aboycantoo.

        How bad do you think it will get here in the US? There’s a high probability that there will be a civil war. If the US gets conquered and immobilized into thinking that Islam is good. And we become an Islamic countryu, I think that that will be the beginning of a new dark ages

          1. My money is on that outcome, too–Or, more likely, the resultant amalgam of what that turn into would likely be unrecognizable to any living Moslem, and indeed, considered an abomination and heresy. Only thing is, they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, because being the anaconda that swallows an elephant leaves the anaconda with just a wee bit of a problem–Especially when the elephant decides to get up and start moving around. By the time the digestion process would be over, the anaconda will be a thin, red film on the landscape.

            Islam is what it is because it is a product of the people that created it. Impose it on the people who are the descendents of the kind of misfit “don’t belongs” that came to America? Yeesh. Just the questions asked in the resultant madrassas would likely drive most of the imam-wannabes to distraction and insanity. The root problem is that the average IQ in the Islamic world, thanks to that wonderful cousin-marriage policy, is around 70. Most of the people they indoctrinate are just not that bright–Take in a population where the average IQ is 100, or better…? Yeah. Cue the transformation music, ‘cos it’s going to get all changey up in here…

            1. Most of the people they indoctrinate are just not that bright.

              I have a coworker who used to work in a country in western Africa. He likes to talk about how Islam, at least as it presents in that particular country*, is not open to questioning. There’s a large amount of appeal-to-authority — “What I’m telling you is the truth, because I’m the imam, so just accept it. Why would you question the truth?”, and so on. My coworker likes to tell the story of the imam he’d been talking to once. The imam was, of course, trying to persuade my coworker that Islam was the truth and that my coworker should turn away from Christianity. At one point, to support his arguments, the imam pointed to a bookshelf. “You see those books?” (There were about 20 or 30 books on the shelf). “I’ve read all those books!” My coworker, who had a master’s degree at the time and is now working on his Ph.D., was, shall we say, less than impressed — but the imam apparently thought it was an assertion of his intellectual superiority.

              * And, I think, around the world — but I won’t assume based on one anecdote. It’s in keeping with other things I’ve heard, though.

      2. And then they figure it out through exposure to reality, in response try to pick and choose what to believe in from what they were taught, and in come cases choose poorly.

      3. They were teaching outright lies in the 1960s when I was in elementary school.

        “John Glenn was the first man in space.” I was a space nut and already knew it was Gagarin. I can blame that on simple propaganda.

        “The Pilgrims discovered America.” It was several years before I found out differently, But that was what the books said, and we were taught that more than once over a few years. Like, WTF?! I’ve never figured out who that lie was supposed to benefit, unless both the schoolbook compilers and the teachers were so ignorant they didn’t know any better.

        “When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school / it’s a wonder I can think at all…”

        1. “John Glenn was the first man in space.” I was a space nut and already knew it was Gagarin. I can blame that on simple propaganda.

          Damn that pro-Glenn propaganda. He wasn’t even the first American in space! Heck, he wasn’t the second American either! It’s a bunch of anti-Redstone bias.

          1. Anti-Restone? As far as I know he was boosted by a Redstone. Did you mean anti-X15 bias?

            1. Shepard and Grissom’s suborbital flights were launched on Redstones. Glenn and the other orbital flights used Atlases.

            2. Nope the first two Mercury flights (Shepard and Grissom) were Redstones. But Redstones were meant as theater missiles. Ok for a suborbital hop, but for orbital stuff you needed the heavier throw weight of an ICBM like the Atlas. Glenn was the first to ride the Mercury Atlas and that took some serious guts because most of the mercury atlas tests had failed in one or another spectacular fashions.

    1. “Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished.” – Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Addresses to the German Nation, 1808. Fichte inspired von Humboldt (father of the modern research university – he put Fichte in charge of the newly-created University of Berlin), who then implemented schooling in Prussia after the model Fichte proposed.

      Horace Mann, among others, traveled to Prussia to study their model of schooling – and brought it to our shores. Before Mann, Barnwell and their enlightened buddies, there were no education departments or even ‘educators’ – just teachers and mentors. There were very few age-segregated graded schools, because people generally rejected as insane the notion students should be grouped by age rather than by what they need to learn.

      It took a lot longer to catch on here, because America already had a well developed and extremely successful approach to education (all you need to do to confirm this claim is to read some popular literature from around 1800 – the Federalist Papers, or Last of the Mohicans, say, which it is safe to say are a little tougher reads than USA Today). Church schools, non-age-segregated one room schools, learning to read from the KJB on grandma’s lap, that sort of thing.

      Since no sane parent would vote for Prussian schooling if they understood what it was they would be voting for, the dishonesty and back-room dealing (Common Core, anyone?) that so characterizes modern education was established early on. And it has worked – few today can even imagine schooling as anything other than what Fichte and Mann envisioned: little butts in seat being dumbed down to the point where Fichte’s goal – inability to think otherwise than their betters would have them think – is achieved through the expedient of rendering them incapable of thought of any kind.

          1. What the hell would the Prussians want with free citizens? Bloody bother, that’s what they are.

    2. I made a few contributions to Wikipedia. One was to put in a bit that slavery was juast about universal into the lede of the slavery article. And some others were to broaden the base of the List of Known Slaves. They hadn’t included Onesimus or St. Patrick.

      1. At least right now the wiki articles on slavery and history of slavery seem to be fairly evenhanded, mentioning things like slavery having been universal once upon a time, contemporary slavery and it being most prevalent in certain non-western countries and almost non-existent in the west, and having a picture of a chained little black boy in Zanzibar 1890, with the text ‘An Arab master’s punishment for a slight offense’. And that the word itself relates to “Slav”. White folks who were enslaved so often once upon a time that their name was turned into the word slave.

        And this:

        “While American slaves in 1809 were sold for around $40,000 (in inflation adjusted dollars), a slave nowadays can be bought for just $90, making replacement more economical than providing long term care.[43] Slavery is a multibillion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually.”

        Also mentioned is the fact that abolishing slavery permanently – at least in letter if not always in fact – happened when the evil white people started to push for it. Until that time it had been something all people everywhere did, even if some occasional kings or other rulers had forbidden it it had usually come back into practice the moment said king died or lost power.

        So – don’t the kids even read Wikipedia anymore? Even when they need to write something for school? I kind of remember seeing complaints how essays often tended to be nearly word for word copies of wiki articles back in the day when the thing was born…

          1. This is particularly true when such explorations pose a risk of discovering facts contrary to the narrative false knowledge.

  9. America is unique in that one needn’t be of a specific ethnicity to belong. One need only accept the social contract as put forward in the Constitution. Alas, we are importing folk who repudiate this convention even before they arrive. Very well. We can talk out our problems. But only if people are honest. So we elect or support honest supporters and critics.

    Who is trained – however imperfectly to honesty? I make mo assertions of homogeneity, but….

    Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Chemists, Physicists, Civil Engineers, Accountants,….

    There are people who are trained to dishonesty:
    Advertising people, social scientists, politicians, lawyers, salesmen, modern reporters, revisionist historians, medical researchers, bureaucrats….

    Can we tar the dishonest brokers? Discussions of race are difficult as long as Al Sharpton is taken seriously. Climate change is a morass largely because some of the models are copyrighted and treated as trade secrets. [Is that even science?] Or are we doomed to fight our way around lies to reach agreement?

    1. I’m sorry to have to add it, but you need to add Muslims generally to people who are trained to dishonesty. The concept of “takiyya” is specifically that of lying to and deceiving nonbelievers in order to advance Islam. Rather than be some variant, schismatic doctrine, it comes directly from Sura 3:28 of the Koran.

  10. Forget it being bad for the women, what sane man would want more than one wife? Isn’t it bad enough hearing “Sorry dear, I have a headache” from one woman

    1. Mark Twain had an excellent take on this, if not quite *cofff* drawing-room in Letters from the Earth. He pointed out it made much more physiological sense to have a male harem than a female one 😀 (At which point I would add to your comment, one woman can barely find the lost socks of one man, let alone two. Monogamy/monoandry is safer for everyone…)

      1. In Roughing It Twain also has a hilarious take on visiting Brigham Young. Not to mention his takedown of the joys of riding in a Stage Coach. Well worth the read.

    2. I don’t think it’s merely correlation that causes polygamous societies to tolerate wifebeating more than monogamous ones; I think it’s a direct effect. The men with power and influence are most likely to have multiple wives, and it’s easier to control them if they’re allowed to be abusive.

      1. Well, there’s hearsay that says that the domestic violence of lesbian couples > straight couples > male homosexual couples. If this is true and driven by biological factors, one would expect the domestic violence of a man and five wives > man and four wives > man and three wives > man and two wives > man a wife when you have statistical populations of each to compare.

        There’s some literary hearsay to support this in all the stories about one wife having the other wives and their children killed.

        Certainly made me a lot more skeptical of the harem romcom genre.

        1. Only studies I’ve heard say that lesbian relationships are higher– tends towards the tool using and emotional abuse type, which is related to some early indications it was lower. (The standard “abused partner believes they deserve it, and worse” thing.)

          From memory, the rates were very roughly the same for homosexual partners as for unmarried heterosexual couples, when you adjust for victims of past abuse. (one in ten victims of abuse become abusers themselves– again, very rough estimate) Marriage didn’t change the rates for homosexual couples; the theory is that it’s related to the open nature of many homosexual relationships, which is not common in heterosexual marriages. (In English,abuse is more common when there’s jealousy.)

        2. Certainly made me a lot more skeptical of the harem romcom genre.

          You mean the Japanese anime where the guy is generally being greatly physically abused, gets none of the theoretical advantages of being around a large number of women, and jealousy abounds as they fight over him? And at the end, he ends up with just the one gal who was so obviously right for him?

          1. I’m thinking of the ones like Campione, that imply he will have them all in the long term.

              1. There may sometimes be differences between novel versions and anime versions.

                The ones that throw away the ‘which girl’ tension with ‘all of them’ tend to substitute other methods.

            1. On a serious note, I think some of the anime with “gods” may have the multiple wife thing; that one anime where the “normal human boy” has the king of the gods and the king of the devils as neighbors has the goddess love interest girls harping on it pretty much constantly.

                  1. Plus, you might notice that where girls do that in a story, they argue about who the senior or official wife is going to be.

                    1. I’m not much for the harem type anime in the first place, and Shuffle! is about my speed– it’s mostly played for laughs, and the story mythology is really dang awesome. And has some rip-your-heart-out moments, and a few Crowning Moments of Awesome that are very Japanese.

    3. I had it explained to me that 2 wives is over twice as worse as 1 wife. But by the time you get to four wives they are so busy gossiping and arguing that the husband can slip off for days at a time and get real work done without being even missed.

      I’ve heard that they had to change the definition of polygamy away from being simply “having too many wives” because some monogamous men were also falling into that category.

      1. Worse, you are the only son and not only do you have to take care of your mother, you have to take care of all of your father’s surviving wives.

        Then you get the visit from all of your mothers-in-law. 😈

        1. Juanita Brooks’s autobiography. She talks about going with her father to visit his five (?) mothers. Her grandfather had practiced plural marriage, and when it was no longer permitted had hidden. Two of the women were pretty standard, one was a pure-blood Shoshoni as I recall, and all had their own little houses in different places. Brooks’s father visited each in turn, checking on them, and giving them the same level of respect, even the four he had no genetic connection to. She painted a fairly warm-and-fuzzy picture of the arrangement, as I recall. It’s been 14 years since I read the book.

  11. I’ve had a pet theory (that I admit is WHOLLY uneducated and based ENTIRELY on superficial appearances) for quite some time that what we’re seeing from Islam is simply a part and parcel of the lifecycle of major religions. I mean, they’re roughly 1400 years old; I’ve been told that they link a bit further back into Coptic Christianity but I don’t know how accurate that is. Where was Christianity in the 15th century? (Insert Monty Python Joke Here)

    The down side to this theory is either it’s another 500 years or so before they mellow out, which – as you pointed out – probably won’t end well for them.

    1. Except that Islam was designed to not be able to mellow. The only way to do that would be to alter the Koran, which, as the literal word if Allah, is inalterable. It’s rather like rabies – there is no cure, only preventatives. I’ll give this to old Moe- the man may have been evil, but he was a genius.

      1. Changing Islam is easy. Few people can read. Very few can read Classical Arabic. Think Beowulf. Disperse vernacular copies of the Koran. Audio-book ones too. And rather than the pseudorandom order, place the chapters in chronological order. I’d love to see the fight arguing against rational order.I know people, few will get to the end where the mass of hate is. And when people see what they are expected to believe, it will tend to a reformation. Using logic will tend to reformation and schism. It did to all of Europe.

        1. I thought the purpose of the Madrasa was to force the little children (like Obama) to memorize the Koran. In that way, reading isn’t required, and obviously a liability.

          1. Here is where you can get diabolically clever. In order to advertise for these Madrasas there has been promoted in many places the belief that if you can memorize the Koran you get into paradise automagically along with some additional ‘free passes’ for friends and family. All we have to do is promote that idea. Then have someone put together a “Learn the Koran in 90 Days or Your Money Back” DVD. and then…

            Secretly fund the production of an Arabic sex-romp comedy movie in the style of Porky’s or American Pie about a group of young Muslim men who turn their backs on terrorism and instead of getting only one free pass to heaven by being suicide bombers they each memorize the entire Koran using the accelerated learning DVD. The young men pool some of their “free passes into heaven” and offer them as prizes to the prettiest local girls. Make sure to cast really hot actresses to play some of the local girls who are engaged in the competition and have the competition “get out of hand” as all the local girls try to one-up each other to impress the young men with the free passes.

            Make sure bootleg copies of both are in every market stall in the Muslim world.

            Order our 4th consecutive World War championship rings. (I’m counting the Cold War as #3, as in Einstien’s famous quote “I don’t know what weapons World War 3 will be fought with, but World War 4 will be fought with teen sex comedies.”)

            1. Oh, and print up some “Sorry for the STD epidemic” sympathy cards for the House of Islam.

              1. Unless, of course, the “72 virgins” are actually 72 white raisins as some scholars have proposed. Or 72 Virginians, as some less scholarly sources have suggested; you spend all of eternity getting beaten up by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et al. Even if the 72 virgins actually refers to 72 sexually inexperienced females as the young bombers appear to be hoping, that doesn’t mean that they are sexually DESIRABLE females; I’m pretty sure that Sister Mary Agnes, the 72-year-old math teacher down at the local Catholic school, is a virgin.

                What I’m saying is that, if you’re a young man looking for some action, c taylor’s scheme has some distinct upsides. Maybe not as great a potential reward, but much less potential risk.

                1. Would not children who died young (high child mortality rates) not be virgins? And who but the holiest of men could be trusted to care for them for eternity?

                2. I think that the 72 are houris… I seem to remember a description of them as some sort of woman-shaped daemon whose virginity regenerated after every night.

                  I don’t remember the source, however, nor how accurate it is.

                  1. Not only houri but also perpetually fresh young boys too. I don’t even want to know what that is supposed to mean.

              2. According to Wikipedia the mooslemen believe every man who goes to paradise gets multiple ‘virgins’. Though houri may be more accurate as noted below.

        2. Few people can read.

          They don’t care. It’s memorized.

          And it only “counts” in Arabic.

          And a big chunk of the nasty is the traditional teachings around it.

          You’d have to actively wipe out the existing religion and teachers for the mellowing to work, and if you’re going to do that you may as well convert them to a faith you’re willing to follow yourself, instead of a PC’d version of theirs.

    2. In the 15th century, Christians were setting up asylums (long term palliative care– the insane asylum aspect is most recognized, but anything incurable) as part of their existing wide array of publicly available hospitals, studying a rather wide range of science, discovering new lands and setting up regular visits, printing books and inventing better ways to do so, developing the modern ideas of evidence in legal proceedings and being lied about by 19th/early 20th century pop historians.

      Oh, also fighting a defensive war against the Muslims. And having peaceful arguments about theology, including yelling their heads off at various secular powers that used it as an excuse to do what they wanted, or not do what they did want.


      I find that a lot of the time when you try to get specific details of the “Christians were just like Muslims, 500-600 years ago,” it fails in at least one of three areas: it’s not similarly common, it’s not similarly religious, or it’s not similarly factually supported. (even giving way for the whole “it was very long ago” part)


      The humans involved are the same fallen humans; the theologies, now THOSE are very different.
      One can’t just say “This guy says he’s X, and he did Y; this guy says he’s D, and he did Y. Therefore X and D both do Y.” The assumptions that they’re being truthful, that Y was really identical (classic “pushing little old ladies” story here), that it’s similarly common…. It’s a headache, to be sure.

      1. The big difference is the theology, sure there were Christians (or people claiming to be Christian) who did Y, but not because they were told to do so by God*. Muslims on the other hand do Y because Allah* tells them to do so.

        *Supported by the respective books purported to be the divine word of each religions deity.

    3. Oooh, a chance to plug some really fun reading…. TOF Spot (Michael Flynn’s blog) has a “Medieval” tag, and it’s got some great stuff.


      I get the biggest hoot out of the opening section for “Witchcraft And The Dark Ages,” which has the story of the guy who wanted a self-confessed witch to prove she could go through a keyhole before she was found guilty of being a witch… and chased her around the room with a stick, as she did not. Innocent! 😀

      The later parts are a bit darker, especially where they hit on the 15th century– but the details may interest you.

      1. Many moderns suffer from the “Cruel & Unusual” Fallacy, in which they interpret historic periods according to modern standards.

        A little knowledge of the fundamental living standards of prior periods will do much to alter your estimation of “cruel” and broaden your appreciation of “unusual.”

        However uncomfortable most Americans’ circumstances, they are lap of luxury compared to a few hundred years ago.

        1. In Embers, the author points out that the traditional “treatment” for the sincerely insane has been death. Not because people are horrible, but because the only alternative is *them* killing *you*.

          1. Yeah, life is rough when population is n and subsistence carrying capacity is n-1.

            Too few people have ever seriously contemplated a “lifeboat scenario.”

            1. *makes a face* Possibly because the stories for them are usually so dumb– they require supposedly intelligent people deliberately going into a situation where the margin of error is far, far too small. If you have the technology for X if everything goes right, then you don’t have the technology for X.

              Possibly because setting up the background would be duller reading.

        2. Oh, God – yes! This is one of the minor themes I explore in writing my own books – how very difficult it was, and how much hard work it took, to have any kind of semi-comfortable living in mid-19th century America. Water lugged from wells, meals cooked over a fire, betting and clothing hand-sewn with a needle and thread … and what an amazing advance it was, in the late 19th century – to have hot water from a boiler to bathe in, to cook food over an improved stove, and ice in an ice-box to keep cold food, light at the touch of a button (either gas or electric) – and to be able to travel by swift railroad trains. (One of the fans sent me a very nice note after reading Sunset and Steel Rails – about how I made having a simple indoor bathroom with hot water from a tap in a tub and a drain to carry it away afterwards – so revolutionary!)

          1. And yet these folks compare conservatives to Marie Antoinette (or would, if they still learn who Marie was.)

          2. How exactly do you hand sew betting? That sounds to tedious and painful to ever be popular in Vegas.

          3. Nineteenth century? Try mid-twentieth if you hadn’t gotten electricity yet. I was talking to one of my mother’s younger first cousins awhile back; he was tickled when they “got lights.” Great-uncle went to town and bought a water pump (electric, that is) and washed a line (can’t remember if it was plastic pipe or galvanized) under the road (which was not paved until twenty years ago or so). Cousin was tickled because he didn’t have to tote water to the mules every day.

            Oh, they had carbide lights at church before electricity (which is in the same neighborhood).

            1. My Dad talked about having propane lanterns hanging from the ceiling and supplied by lines running across the ceiling. It made the house really hot in the West Texas summers of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Electricity did not come into Glasscock county until after WW2. Telephone service was a very big deal that I remember happening when I was about 5 or 6.

              1. As of 2000, parts of Roberts County (eastern Panhandle) still didn’t have telephone land lines. Not certain if that has changed yet.

                1. Probably has not. There was not enough density for even a Co-op to tackle…….

              2. People tend to forget John D Rockefeller saved the whales and many American lives by his development of a cheaper, less expensive means of lighting homes. He was the Jeff Bezos of his era and they hate him for it.

              3. When my parents lived outside Galway and got a phone installed around 1980 (which was when An Post finally ran lines out that way) they were the first in the neighborhood.

                My husband, born in the ’50s, remembers one house he grew up in having running water, but no indoor toilet. When we bought our current Victorian, he commented that after having the toilet 30 yards down the hill at night in a Michigan winter, having the one bathroom downstairs off the kitchen is quite modern. (It also meant we got the place for a really good price, since no modern family wants only one bathroom and that on a different floor from the bedrooms.)

                1. My maternal grandfather refused to have an indoor toilet for over 40 years. He thought they were unsanitary. He finally relented when granny got really sick and could no longer make the 30 yard trek to the outhouse.

                2. We got running water when I was five. I think. I remember a neighbor I envied–he had an *electric motor* on the windlass of his well! Cool!

                  I knew about running water. I just thought it was boring. Flush toilets, on the other hand…

          4. I once had to explain to someone how “Now we’re cooking with gas!” came about.

            You just turned the burner on, lit a match, and turned the burner off when you were done. No cleaning the grate, hauling in firewood, getting it lit, and making the house even hotter if you wanted a cup of coffee.

    4. By 1500, the Christian West had developed Gothic architecture, universities, guilds, the wheeled plow, and folks like Giotto, Cimabue, Dante, Josquin, William of Occam, Bacon, Aquinas – there’s no comparison. You could take all the achievements and masterpieces of all 1400 years of Islam and match them one-to-one with the achievements of, say, Paris or Florence or London, and you’d run out of Islamic stuff well before you’d have exhausted the artistic, humanistic, intellectual achievements of *one* of those Western cities. It’s not close enough to be a joke.

        1. And the Lefties will claim that the Evil West has prevented the Modern Islamic World from accomplishing anything. 😦

          1. Y’know, the modern day tendency towards cultural self-hate/hate towards the West has never made any sense to me. It really hasn’t. And often invokes a “you live in Paradise and have no idea what you’re going on about” response.

            Even the most cursory examination of Islam (not the whitewashed crap) exposes it as a cult built up by making fanfiction of Judeo-Christian beliefs and traditions, made by a small, greedy and grasping man who could not achieve greatness by honest means.

              1. *gigglesnort*
                Somewhat worse, I’d say. Mohammad was a charismatic scam artist who would have revelations at the drop of a hat, most of them (unsurprisingly) giving him a ‘divine’ excuse to do XYZ thing at the time. Including abrogating things he said were forbidden previously, as well as excusing him exclusively for certain offenses (like his marrying a daughter-in-law.) When questioned, he said something to the effect that ‘it is forbidden to annoy the chosen of Allah.’ He was a thieving petty dictator whose focus was very clearly on the mortal realm and its’ pleasures and despised what he could not control. From my own observations, his creativity was limited to what he could make up to get him what he wanted, so Islam, by its dictates does not create and does not encourage growth – especially religious growth, as he forbids outright the questioning of his theological claims. This is directly a contradiction to Judaism and Christianity’s tendency to examine and argue and debate about theology (Israel – wrestles with/struggles with God… so yeah… )

                1. By amazing coincidence, that’s about the same conclusion I came to – a charismatic scumbag who came up with all kinds of rationales for scum to do what naturally scum is inclined to do.

                  Probably accounts for all those conversions to Islam in prison. The natural constituency finding its natural level, with justification for all their vilest impulses.

                  1. Well, yeah. He was probably rather observant in his envy – noticed that certain people were given respect, attention, gravitas and kudos that he craved, so he copied them. It doesn’t really surprise me that he cribbed from Judaism and Christianity; those faiths have a fairly stabilizing effect on community and interpersonal relations. Really though, from his very beginning, Mohammad was a thug who wanted more; and since he couldn’t create anything that would last (or really, create anything original) he stole his ideas, corrupted them, then made sure to destroy anything that contradicted his claims as he went once he was able to seize power (which he did by playing the victim.)

                    What have we got as proof? The fact that his followers, to this day, like to destroy the evidences of previous societies, to set themselves up as ‘having always been, and always shall be’. How, after all, can the chattel race/classes hope for better if there is no ‘evidence’ that there ever was anything different? Thus, the destruction of Petra, the blowing up of thousand-year old Buddhas, and so on.

                    Really, the false-rape accusers of our time have nothing on Mohammad, in terms of scale.

                  2. Just going to show that the adage that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it – from the first chapter of Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited page 25:

                    There is now little dissention n the belief tha by the year 100 the population of the Empire had ceased to grow and had begun to contract. The inability to hold the most outlying of the Provinces, in Dacia and Germany, is viewed as an infalliable sign of a general shrinkage. This shrinkage may have had variable causes, but the practice of infanticide – widespread and commonplace in the classical world – must surely have been one of the most important. Official Roman documents and texts of every kind from as early as the first century, stress again and again the pernicious consequences of Rome’s low and apparently declining birth rate. Attempts by the Emperor Augustus to reverse the situation were apparently unsuccessful, for a hundred years later Tacitus remarked that in spite of everything, “childlessness prevailed,” whilst towards the beginning of the second century, Pliny the Younger said that he lived “in an age when even one child is thought a burden preventing the rewards of childlessness.” Around the same time Plutarch noted that the poor did not bring up their children for fear that without an appropriate upbringing, they would grow up badly, and by the middle of the second century, Hierocles claimed that ‘most people’ seemed to decline to raise their children for a not very lofty reason, love of wealth and the belief that poverty is a terrible evil. During the third century successive emperors made efforts to outlaw infanticide, though how successful they were remains unclear. What seems certain is that even if infanticide became less important in the third and fourth centuries, the birth-rate remained stubbornly low, for the Romans also practiced very effective means of birth control. Abortion was also practiced, and caused the deaths of large numbers of women, as well as infertility in others. Quite possibly, by the end of the first century the only groups in the Empire that was increasing by normal demographic process were the Christians and the Jews.

                    Bolded emphasis mine.

                    One of the sources noted in the above excerpt is an article: “Child Exposure in the Roman Empire,” in the Journal of Roman Studies, Vol 84, by William V. Harris.

                    That description sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

                    1. From Tacitus:

                      “It was next proposed to relax the Papia Poppaea law, which Augustus in his old age had passed subsequently to the Julian statutes, for yet further enforcing the penalties on celibacy and for enriching the exchequer. And yet, marriages and the rearing of children did not become more frequent, so powerful were the attractions of a childless state.”

                      This is what fully mature paganism looks like, when the despair sets in and the pagan virtues fade. Infanticide, abortion, suicide both individual and corporate. Note also that Augustus’s motivation is said to be economic – hard to enrich the exchequer without workers or soldiers. Europe is finding this out; next up, they, like the Romans before them, find out that importing barbarians isn’t the answer.

                      The difference today is that our panty-waist pseudo-pagans skipped the whole ‘pagan virtues’ part.

                    2. My dear Draven, they’re finding out NOW. Apparently, one of the Daesh killers in Germany or France (I’m told) said that his reason for killing was because they ‘allowed’ the British to kick them out. There’s rumbles now about withdrawing from the EU from those countries so they CAN kick out the invaders.

                    3. As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou growest
                      In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
                      And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st
                      Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
                      Herein lives wisdom, beauty and increase:
                      Without this, folly, age and cold decay:
                      If all were minded so, the times should cease
                      And threescore year would make the world away.
                      Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,
                      Harsh featureless and rude, barrenly perish:
                      Look, whom she best endow’d she gave the more;
                      Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
                      She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
                      Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

              2. Not quite as surprising as you might think. I’ve read the Koran’s version of Joseph in Egypt, and it’s very much a Marty Stu story. The Potipher segment ends with Joseph being chased around by pretty much every last woman in town.

            1. It is a combination of deluded adolescence (or is that redundant?) and enemy propaganda.

            2. I think it is partially because the West was more advanced, thus the only ones that could commit ‘excesses’ on other cultures. That and the ‘humanity’ and ‘caring’ of Western civilization has increased as the affluence of the people rose.
              There is lots of angst about colonial oppression of Africa, but exactly how great is Africa working out now days without that colonial oppression?
              Much like welfare and department of education, some ideas in Western civilization seem worthy, but the devil is in the details. Don’t blame the British Empire for being brutal, realize they were the best civilization could offer at the time.

              1. Begging for their colonial oppressors to come back and save them from the Chinese, they way I hear it…

      1. And Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press. Thus setting off the Second Information Revolution.

        (and enabling various troublesome Germans to dissiminate religious tracts that set off a chain of European wars… “unintended consequences.”)

    1. Just set it up dual-boot. Or even base Ubuntu with vm Windows 10, for when you have to go microsofty.

        1. Very much so after that horrible change to the user interface. It was quite a feat to come up with a worse design than Microsoft, but by gum they did it.

      1. I used to like (and recommend) them until that Unity… thing. Atrocious UI — they managed to be even worse than Windows 8. Which as Kevin points out below, is quite a feat.

        Linux Mint is far, FAR better for refugees from Windows 8/10. It has an actual start menu that you’ll recognize, and generally tries very hard to be newbie-friendly.

        BUT if you’re doing okay with Windows 10, it’s not worth the cost of switching. I just want to say that if you ever DO decide to switch away from Windows, Linux Mint is the way to go.

        1. Ages ago when dino.. penguins barely wobbled the earth, I tried to switch from Windows (fWG 3.11) to Linux. And failed. Repeatedly. Eventually I went to Windows2000 (loathed 95 and on, mostly) and also tried again. By then I had a few advantages:

          1. Some experience.
          2. Live-in help from unix admin $HOUSEMATE
          3. KVM switch and two computers – so I could run Windows and Linux at the same time and switch between easily
          4. Experience that I should NOT make the jump all at once.

          Instead, I looked at what programs I used, and where needed switched to cross-platform programs that did the same thing. This was done slowly. It had to be, then. Now, it’s almost the default state. Then after being familiar with the programs, moving to a new OS. Finally some success, with some version of Mandrake (not Mandriva). Eventually I found I was just using the W2K machine less and less. And later realized (after a hardware failure) that I hadn’t booted the W2K machine for about a year.

          Since then, I’ve dealt with Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Xubuntu (I learned to like Xfce dealing with an aaancient laptop that could really only run odd respins of Slackware), and finally Mint (Xfce edition).

          Is it for everyone? Alas, no. The solution to getting tech support calls from The Folks was… to get them a Mac mini. Last year, Ma decided it was time for a new one (long after the expected lifespan of the first). Had one or two calls about things that had changed in all those years, and then… no issues. Really, more issues with the new phone.

          For myself? I realized just how much cussing I could do at a computer when I built up a machine for someone else and had to install Windows (7 Pro) on it. It was infuriating at every step, as I wasn’t used to The Windows Way any more. I have a laptop that could supposedly be upgraded to Win10 (from 7) but more likely I’ll finally blow that partition away and use it for another Linux distribution until I decide if I want to stay with Mint 18 (when the Xfce version is released) or go with something else. The one reason I had for keeping Win* around was to be able to update a GPS. Well, the GPS was stolen (un-updated, at least) and the phone is the GPS now. So.. so long Windows.

  12. Over on other boards I mentioned that drastic action by some specific type could be taken in answer to what might be done only to get a lecture from someone in Scotland or Wales about how my proposed solution was against the US constitution.

    ::blink:: I was talking to a German about what someone in Germany might do and making it clear it was an extreme answer. Not likely at this time but it could be done. The cautionary point I was raising is the same as you are here that given sufficient push by Islam Western culture will counter attack savagely with the trappings of civilization tossed aside. And here I had this guy lecturing me about exceeding the trappings and forms of modern US culture not even simply German culture.

  13. “And to what would we convert them, anyway…”

    Scientology. (Why take a chance on rewarding them with a religion that might turn out to be correct?)

    1. Hubbard’s group are a quarrelsome lot. The Church of Elvis, on the other hand, bothers almost nobody…

      1. Pastafarians. Actually, older son and I having discussed this decided on Mormons. Not only are we NOT mormons, but we’re rather devout in our own religion. But we think Mormons would do the best job of conversion and integration.

        1. Yikes. I’m not sure we’re up for that task. Maybe if we start with posthumous Muslims.

        2. Amusingly enough, what’s being described here actually took place in the Book of Mormon. At one point, the locals are having problems with a wide-spread secret society of robbers living in the wilderness and terrorizing the locals in an attempt to get the locals to submit. The locals eventually beat the robbers (by gathering all of their foodstuffs and withdrawing into their cities, leaving the robbers to try and figure out how to get food when they can’t rob and plunder), imprison the survivors, and then preach the Gospel to them.

          There’s still some recidivism, though the effort seems to have been largely successful as the robbers never return in the same numbers.

        3. It may have changed in the intervening years, but we had to receive special dispensation to teach Muslims when I was a missionary.
          If we taught them in the states, and they went back home, their family had a habit of killing them.

          1. ‘s what I hear from many religious aid workers in those countries, too. Some even get training to keep it from looking like someone might be getting too chummy.

        4. Not to say that I don’t support conversion of Muslims to an actually peaceful religion.
          It would just be very difficult very a wide variety of reasons

        5. The CoE diocese which covers Istanbul had issues a little while back when the Bishop, who does not live in Turkey, insisted on not only ordaining a Muslim convert, but assigning him to a Turkish church. He couldn’t understand why the local Anglicans thought this was a Very Bad Idea, given the very delicate path they must tread.

          Maybe it’s because I did my undergraduate degree in Medieval History in Dublin, but I came away with a very jaundiced view of Islam. I rather agreed with a Christian Lebanese I worked with who right after 9/11 was advocating turning Kabul (and other locations to be chosen later) into glowing green glass. If things aren’t dealt with soon, we’ll end up having to turn Mecca into an area that makes Chernobyl and it’s environs look positively cheery and inviting.

                1. I think that was a major concern of the clergy and parishoners already on the ground in Turkey.

                  I got the impression that the bishop really, really didn’t like the pushback, and there seems to have been some retaliation against one of the clergy, though said cleric is now back guiding his small flock again.

          1. I’ve given this issue some thought, and surprised myself with a conclusion. I no longer support cleansing Mecca with nuclear fire during the hajj.

            I am now of the belief that a persistent nerve agent would be a better solution. Reapply as needed. That way we can broadcast pictures and video, showing them how, in our mercy, we didn’t damage their holy rock.

            1. If we reach the point of nukes I don’t want to show them any mercy. If you have pushed us to using nuclear fire I think we should make sure you hope for hell to come soon so you can cool off.

              Then again, I come from a long line of vindictive bastards on my mother’s side. And appear to be the first male to get the gene…it’s much worse with the women (my sister got mad enough with a tenant who thought he could roll the cute blonde girl that she called in a couple of favors and had the eviction served and executed on Christmas Morning while his kids were opening presents).

              1. It has been my experience that women can be far, far more unpleasant than men, and certainly more vindictive. I don’t think my father ever entertains revenge fantasies against the department head who called him at the beginning of his vacation to let him know that he was out of a job at the end of May (instead of getting tenure in September). I, on the other hand, occasionally entertain very unChristian thoughts involving making their lives hell about the b***h who fired me because I was more competent than she was, the b***h who harassed and assaulted me at work, and the bimbo who rearended the car behind my car leaving me with permanently aching separated ribs. (It’s been 26 years. They have hurt every. single. day. since then. Yes, I get cranky.)

          2. I long ago argued we should roll the dice: Mecca and Medina should be nuked. The dice roll is if the nukes fail the perhaps Allah Akbar is true.

    2. Discordianism…they have the basic principle they just need to learn the creative trip over the destructive trip. Once we free them from the Curse of Greyface it would all be good.

  14. Sarah,
    You may have encountered the “Andalusia was civilized, and the rest of Europe was barbaric,” in the nineties, and maybe it was pushed more then, but I remember believing that in the 70’s. Like many things that people just seem to know, it was dispelled with actual historical research. Since I was a History major I tended to actually read real history, and look to actual sources. Still it was a fun narrative that made for a good exotic setting for stories. I think it was probably more pushed by the Frankfurt School than by the Saudis–at least at first. So many time travel stories about killing Hitler, but none that I know about going back and killing Marx & Engels. The only reason the left treats fascist and nazi as insults is because Hitler double-crossed Stalin.

    1. Frank, perhaps you can help me! Please. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember the Spanish teacher of classical philosophy who was teaching into his 90s. He’s the reason I was astonished the first (and second) time I heard that somehow Western civilization “lost” their philosophers but were reintroduced by the wise, benevolent Muslim overlords.

  15. Since you already know how to set up a VM… just set up your favorite OS and software in a VM and you can run it on any supported host OS. Then just run it until Hell freezes over, or you get the itch for something else.

    My fingers learned a DOS text editor thirty years ago; I wrote two books and a bunch of magazine articles with it. Yes, it’s primitive by modern standards, but it’s pretty much a direct interface from my brain to the screen. I’ve kept it across four operating systems. Right now it’s running on an emulator in a Linux terminal session.

    I’ve been running Linux for a very long time. However, I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to make the jump. Linux is full of an incredible amount of nifty toys, doodads, and sparkly things that can send you off evening-long rabbit trails.

    A friend of mine once said, “There are two kinds of people. The ones who will never wonder what’s inside the box, and the ones who can’t stand not to know.”

    I have a nasty suspicion you’re in the latter group. From your comments, you don’t need *another* thing taking up your limited time. Stay with what you know, put your time into your work.

    Build a VM, and you can put it on an SD card or thumbdrive and take your entire working environment with you wherever you go. You can back the whole *installed* system up as a single file, not just data files. If your computer goes up in flames, just buy or borrow a new one, download and install the VM manager, drop your backup file off in the right directory, and you’re rolling… and you don’t care if it’s Windows, Linux, or Apple, as long as your chosen virtual machine manager can use the host OS.

      1. I *love* VMs. They enable me to use Linux when I’m stuck on Windows (which hasn’t happened for quite a while, actually). The only problem I have with them, though, is when I have a tendency to use up all available memory.

        This often happens with my web browser, oddly enough, mostly because I open up lots of tabs with things I don’t quite want to bookmark, but don’t want to close, either…(and I have no idea why I do that…)

        It’s been a while since I’ve experienced with VMs, though. I also like them when I want to take a peak at an alternative OS (I like using them for things like Haiku and Smalltalk OS, for example), but it’s been a while since I’ve done that…

        Incidentally: consider looking into Haiku! It’s a modern version of BeOS. It’s fairly simple, so you might be amused by it, but development has been slow and applications are sparse, so you probably won’t be able to take it seriously…and because it will use up some of your time, it would probably be best not to worry about it at all…

  16. Polygamy also sucks for the men.

    Or as I put it back when a friend and I were discussing Mormon polygamy and he pointed out that it didn’t sound too bad: he’d go for a three-way.

    I responded: If we become polygamous, you’re not going to be the one getting the three way. I wouldn’t be getting it either. Not unless your last name is Trump.

    The talk then turned to the leftover lost boys of Mormonism and the Bacha Bazi of Afghanistan.

    1. Note that polygamy was given up around the same time we started to get serious about the “no alcohol” thing.

      That should tell you something about how hard it was to be a _good_ husband to more than one wife.

  17. Think NYC but it raids for slaves, and there is polygamy.

    I’m about to start a new D&D campaign and need someplace far off that the players might want to visit. Given I already have slavers (by multiple groups and for multiple purposes) I’m stealing this to create said far off place and give the humans raiding for slaves for the traditional reason a place to live.

    1. Aww, slavers—do you shoot them in the back the head before you throw them out the air lock or save the ammo? That is the question.

      1. Treat them the same as pirates.

        If they give you useful info, you can shot them before putting them out the airlock.

        Otherwise, just put them out of the airlock. 👿

        1. As I’ve said before I’m not sure anti-slavery is on the right side of history given how long slavery has existed (especially given it still exists). Our moment of moral clarity may just be that, a moment.


    Since I am the wrong kind of Jew I get the ‘Golden Age of Spain’ meme a LOT. I do not respond well to being told how wonderful life would be as a powerless minority. What totally fries my butt is the deep and profound IGNORANCE of historical reality: it’s pretty sad when a person with a college degree uses Maimonides* as an example of Jewish culture flourishing in Spain. sheesh.

    *who fled Spain as a child when the Almohadim ordered all non-Muslims to ‘convert, leave or die’.

      1. One who still adheres to the Old Testament rather than the New (aka, Democrat Party Platform.)

        1. I was going to give a long complicated answer but RES has a much better and shorter one. May I borrow it ?

          (also living in Israel makes me ‘SUPERwrong’).

          1. Juuuuuussssttttt in case my explicit permission is wanted, go right ahead.

            No credit desired (I already provide sufficient reasons for angry mobs of Right-Thinkers to hunt me down) but if you’ve the ability, toss a coin into Sarah’s tip jar, or give one or another of her books (after reading, of course) an honest review on Amazon.

    1. Sheesh. Might as well argue that the Jews were prospering in Egypt, having greatly increased in number, until that meddling moron Moishe misinterpreted his desert-born delirium.

      Speaking of which: Moron is still a Posner.

          1. I lack leisure to properly document this, but about a month back there was a report of Judge Richard Posner expressing disdain for the Constitution of the United States, asserting that its only real purpose was that it allowed judges to establish laws.

            Which might be true, except the only actual authority those judges have is that granted them in the Constitution.

            Thus, if we are not bound by the Constitution, judges have no authority to establish laws.

            That Judge Posner, chief of the … ah – in checking the Appellate Court on which he serves, up turns reporting:

            Judge Richard Posner: ‘No value’ in studying the U.S. Constitution
            June 27, 2016
            Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner sees “absolutely no value” in studying the U.S. Constitution because “eighteenth-century guys” couldn’t have possibly foreseen the culture and technology of today.
            In a recent op-ed for Slate, Judge Posner, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, argued that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments “do not speak to today.”

            “I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries — well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments),” he wrote. “Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.”

            He added, “let’s not let the dead bury the living.”

            Posner Apologizes for Saying the Constitution Is Useless
            July 01, 2016
            Judge Richard Posner wants to be clear: The U.S. Constitution is actually worth reading.

            The iconoclastic federal appeals judge from Chicago on Friday walked back his assertion in a Slate column that the nation’s founding document has no use for judges today.


            Relying on authority granted by a document of which you deny the authority reveals you to be a moron, however highly educated.

            Thus the AtH call sign (and variants) of: “Still, Judge Posner is a moron.”

            1. Oh. THAT flaming idiot. He was a subject of derision for a little while in our household. (general consensus here is: if you disdain, and want to remove the foundation upon which your house sits, then you deserve, and shouldn’t be surprised if the whole house falls down and is destroyed, with you in it. This is an observation applied to society, culture and nations as a whole.)

              Right now though, we’re sitting back, and watching the rampant stupidity going on in Europe. What’s going on in America has us mistrusting the news coming out of there. The newspapers and media trumpet how awesome it is that Hillary is in the running; we read fascinated how political the Americans in Zone Chat are – and united in their raging against Hillary. Usually when there are debates and arguments raging on Star Trek Online’s chat, there are two sides. NOBODY is defending Hillary.

              We’re kinda wondering what happened to suddenly spark that. (There was some Internet downtime where we live.)

              One particularly memorable gem was this: Bill Clinton always chose another woman – shouldn’t you too?

              1. “One particularly memorable gem was this: Bill Clinton always chose another woman – shouldn’t you too?”

                That meme was particularly popular here a few months ago, I got it emailed to me by at least three quarters of my ‘contacts’ (except work only ones, who tend to be more circumspect about political stuff) complete with supporting pictures.

                Hillary and the DNC has recently managed to tick off even more of their base by snubbing Bernie Sanders at the convention, and then taking lessons from Hillary, managed to get hacked and proof of their rigging the nomination for Hillary is being leaked everywhere.

                1. Oh, so that’s why people are pissed?

                  TBH I am of the opinion that even every single American voted, say, Trump, or Cruz or anyone else – like all of them – Hillary would win. Because rigging and cheating, and the determination to have ‘the first female American president’ crap.

                  1. I think Cruz could’ve won, Trump will lose, and the choice between Trump and Clinton is a false one.

                    Thing to remember is that we’ve all known who Hillary is for twenty years, and Democrats have known for some time that she would their candidate. The hardcore ones have already told themselves what they need to hear to vote for her.

                    Quite a few Republican voters and activists were still holding out hope for someone else when Cruz and Kasich quit on May 3. We’ve had only three months to tell ourselves the lies to get us volunteering for him, and three more months isn’t a long time to get enough in the way of turnout.

                    Quite a lot of people hate Trump and Clinton. We are probably looking at President Clinton. I need to do better in the following elections.

                    1. You’re wrong. You know how I know you’re wrong? Obama endorsed her. Everything that man touches turns to excrement, and everything he endorses, loses. Whether it’s basketball teams, or foreign elections, he’s got a knack for doing just the wrong thing. I’d have been worried about Hillary winning, had he not come out and done that. Now that he has, it’s only a matter of time before she crashes and burns.

                      Obama has the reverse Midas Touch for everything not Obama. Watch.

                    2. I dunno — she has to survive until the election.

                      I’m considering making book on how long she goes in the first presidential debate before the aneurysm makes her head explode. The first (Monday, September 26, 2016*) debate being about ninety minutes, I think the over/under is sixty-five minutes.

                      There are side bets available on which of the two goes AlGore and attempts looming over the opposing candidate.

                      *Location: Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
                      The first debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

                      I wonder whether the Town Hall debates will be accompanied by more leaks about how they’ve packed the audience with ringers.

                    3. WATCH: Clinton’s Constant Throat Clearing
                      BY: ROBERT KRAYCHIK, Daily Wire
                      Observers of Hillary Clinton over the past six months or so will have noticed an incessant coughing and clearing of her throat that has plagued the former first lady across that time frame.

                      During her headline speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Clinton noticeably cleared her throat twenty-two times. In and of itself, it could be written off as temporarily being under the weather. Given its persistence, however, questions arise about the Democrats’ presidential nominee. She seemed to have deliberately timed her throat clearing during manufactured applause directed by her audience managers.


                      Clinton suffered a concussion late in 2012. Philippe Reines, a Clinton loyalist who operated as deputy assistant secretary of state said she had fainted after being dehydrated due to a stomach virus. For some time afterwards, she occasionally wore special “Fresnel prism” lenses for treating double vision after a brain injury.

                    4. The Clintons have screwed over everyone they ever dealt with.

                      “But this time it will be different!”

                    5. Will Obama’s greater association with Clinton entirely dominate his association with Trump? Let’s find out.

                    6. I will say this in favor of the Clintons. They taught me the valuable lesson that if you control the coroner, there is no such thing as murder.

                2. Folks, I think we’re being too hard on Hillary. Between her resignation as Secretary of State in February 2013 and May 20, 2015, this article reports she made over twelve million dollars in speaking fees. That is about $6M per year, which she is giving up if elected president!!!

                  Sure, her fees will likely go up afterward, but at her age and health it is unlikely those fees will go up enough to make up her losses in foregone income.

                  In fact, it may be better for the Treasury to not elect her and avoid missing the taxes on her fees.

                  1. ahh, but she doesnt charge to speak, they just make a tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit Clinton foundation…

            2. Thank you for the explanation.
              I swear, I learn more reading this blog!

            3. This has now replaced “Yngvi is a louse” in my personal vocabulary, I’ll have you know.

              1. Let it be now acknowledged that none here will gainsay that Yngvi is a louse, has been a louse and will always be a louse.

                But Posner is still a moron.

            4. One thing I never quite figured out about him: if the constitution is meaningless, from where does his authority derive?

              1. The armed men willing to enforce his will.

                Which is arguably always true but using a Constitution to condition those men that their obedience is not to a particular leader helps avoid tyranny.

                Posner is not the kind to inspire armed men to follow him in particular nor the type to survive well when such men seize power. His delusions are very dangerous to all of us but especially to himself.

  19. Sara, you might want to read Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The History of A Controversy by Emmet Scott. It examines the thesis of a certain Belgian historian named Henri Pirenne, who maintained that th real destroyers of classical civilization were the Muslims and caused the Dark Ages.

    I particularly despise the ‘Arabs invented zero’ myth; the concept existed with the Hindus. So, I was quite delighted when I leafed through some recent second-hand purchased Childcraft encyclopedias which said that the Arabs absorbed (putting it kindly) the idea and transmitted it to the West.

        1. As far as I can tell, the majority of the Islamic “discoveries” and “learning” were either simply transmission via Arabian traders of knowledge from points East, or marginally better (as compared to most of Europe) preservation and propagation of what had been known to the Greeks and Romans.

      1. I do remember being a few days out from the Suez Canal on my last Med run. And the engineer ran in after eight o’clock reports and started frantically going through reference books on his desk. Asked “What’s up?”, the Captain had just unloaded on his wardroom because none of them could answer how they were going to read the depth on the side of the canal; they didn’t know Egyptian! As I stood there looking at him funny he said “What? You know something!” So I asked, “You know those numbers with exes and vees and eyes, what are they called?” “Roman numerals.” “And the ones we use every day are called? Brief pause, then various swear words as he rushed out to be the first to the Captain. As he ran out, several of us called after him “It’ll be in meters!” He, and the rest of the wardroom, were overthinking it, and the Captain was having fun at their expense.

        I love being able to tell relevant sea stories.

          1. BTW – anybody recall who built the Suez? What numbers would they have used when they painted the signage?

            1. IIRC It was built by Europeans (mainly French).

              Or at least, the major leadership was European.

            2. The French, who then took the first contract for the Panama Canal and had a “wee bit” more difficulty with the terrain. Volcanic mountains are harder to dig through than sandstone and sand. Who knew?
              Trivia: The opera “Aida” was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.

          2. Interesting. Well, the Suez canal has what we call Arabic Numerals on the side.

          1. A GENERAL SUMMARY

            We are very slightly changed
            From the semi-apes who ranged
            India’s Prehistoric clay;
            He that drew the longest bow
            Ran his brother down, you know,
            As we run men down to-tday.

            “Dowb,” the first of all his race,
            Met the Mammoth face to face
            On the lake or in the cave:
            Stole the steadiest canoe,
            Ate the quarry others slew,
            Died — and took the finest grave.

            When they scratched the reindeer-bone,
            Some one made the sketch his own,
            Filched it from the artist — then,
            Even in those early days,
            Won a simple Viceroy’s praise
            Through the toil of other men.
            Ere they hewed the Sphinx’s visage
            Favouritism governed kissage,
            Even as it does in this age.

            Who shall doubt “the secret hid
            Under Cheops’ pyramid”
            Was that the contractor did
            Cheops out of several millions?
            Or that Joseph’s sudden rise
            To Comptroller of Supplies
            Was a fraud of monstrous size
            On King Pharaoh’s swart Civilians?

            Thus, the artless songs I sing
            Do not deal with anything
            New or never said before.
            As it was in the beginning
            Is to-day official sinning,
            And shall be for evermore!

    1. Umm, sorry, but I’m pretty sure the concept of zero was around long before that.
      When Ogg comes in from hunting and his wife asked him, “how many deer you get?” He replied, “none.”

      1. But the symbol wasn’t. And the idea of using it to enable a position-based notation.

        Of course, the ancient world didn’t suffer *that* much for the lack. Roman numerals and their contemporaries were not meant to be used for our kind of arithmetic. In those days you *calculated* using stones (calx, in the Greek) on a counting board (ancestor to the abacus). The numerals were used to write down the results.

    2. 2shadowdance

      Henri Pirenne was a well known and eminent Francophone historian of the lat 19 and early 20th. He wrote facinating monographs. For example he states that the loss of access to papyrus caused the illiteracy of the ‘Dark Ages’ i don’t accept it but it’s very cogent.

      His classic Mohammed et Charlesmagne ( i have it in French) argues correctly to me that it was the cutting off of the Mediterrean in half that really brought about the Middle Ages. I would add that the relentless pirate raids also caused Europe to be isolated from the rest of the world if you look at the Catalan coast you see many town names with Dalt (upper) that’s because when the pirates came slave hunting to population would run up the hills and hide in upper town. Then they rebuild and salvage what was left. Kinda hard to develop when you’re constantly salvaging broken stuff

    3. Shadow dancer

      Henri Pirenne was a well known Francophone historian of the late 19/eartly 20th century. He had som interesting explanations about the causes of the ‘dark ages’. For example he argues that the loss of access to papyrus made the preservation and transmission of culture more difficult.

      Butvhis classic book makes a much more cogent argument that the Muslim cutting in half the Mediterranean that created the Middle Ages. That-though he doesn’t say so- Moslem piracy caused the Christain region to fear the sea. If you take a look at the Catalan coast there are a lot of towns with Dalt ( upper)

      When the pirates came for slave raiding people would flee up the hills and hide. Then come down and salvage the damage

      1. Indeed – along the Med coast in Spain, especially that part of it nearest to Africa, it seems that every other town is named Torre (tower) something or other, and every tall point was fortified.

        I wrote about it here – http://www.celiahayes.com/archives/927

        The post is called “Plundered” – a reminder that it wasn’t always gold and silver the raiders were looking for; but human beings, to carry back to Sale, Algiers, and other places along the Muslim-ruled North African coast, to be sold at a huge profit.

      2. The book I mentioned also notes that he made that argument about papyrus. It sort of makes some sense to me, if papyrus was the main thing that was used for writing things on during the period until alternative means were discovered that was as accessible. But that’s only part of the whole reason/argument Pirenne makes. The argument that the loss of trade caused the ‘dark ages’/post-Classical/post Roman Empire period certainly holds up. Also, there’s someone – a scientist, who analysed the same period – who made the observation that historical records throughout the era recorded huge raids and war coming from the south and making incursions into Europe (basically debunking the concept of ‘golden age of Islam’ as being a whitewash.) I forget his name but he has some of his lectures on Youtube.

        I personally think, given the Islamic tendency to destroy knowledge which would not ‘benefit’ them, that couldn’t be sold as plunder, or were in religious centers, we lost far more knowledge than was ‘retained’ by the plundering thieves of Islam.

  20. All through the Bush administration I ran into things in human garments who asserted that we were “Lashing out at the Islamic World in unreasoning anger” or words to that effect. I told such as were speaking to me directly that I could easily disprove that; Mecca did not (and still doesn’t) glow in the dark.

    Unreasoning anger is a serious possibility, though. If the Progressive Left keeps us from taking some basic, common sense actions against Islamic radicals (arresting Mullahs who preach violence, and seeing if they can be ‘skipped’ all the way to Europe springs to mind), then sooner or later the camel-pestering swine will pull off something that REALLY annoys the public.

    Then Hell is going out for a walk with the sleeves rolled up.

    (Nod to Sir Terry’s shade)

    1. It’s funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) how Progressives are outraged that the Russians (presumably) hacked their email servers.

      Their outrage over Trump’s jest about asking the Russians to retrieve Hillary’s emails is très amusant for those of us who recall Sen. Chappaquiddick’s outreach to the Soviets, in an effort to defeat Reagan’s 1984 reelection.

      1. The one aspect of the coming campaign that I am looking forward to is watching Trump play hardball with the Democrats. THEY get to ask hard questions, question people’s bonafides, and attempt dirty tricks, but they get sooooooo outraged when somebody does it back.

      2. While they’re doing it to further the aims of their country, it’s still a bit weird to see the Cheka on the side of openness…

    2. See Kratman’s Caliphate for a potential example.

      Frankly, every sane Muslim should be praying, five times a day, that terrorists never get their hands on nukes.

      1. Right there’s an old piece from The Belmont Club http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2003/09/three-conjectures-pew-poll-finds-40-of.html .
        Conjecture number 2 is
        Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam

        This is not quite stated correctly. Pakistan has likely had Fission weapons comparable to the US Nagasaki weapon since ~1998. more correct
        would be

        Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs by Islamic Terrorists will destroy Islam.

        Its an ugly argument Mr. Fernandez made, but its logic is inescapable.
        the terrorists won’t stop using weapons if they have them and there is no easy way to root them out of the culture they swim in.

        So Far Pakistan has understood this at some level and managed to keep their weapons out of terrorist hands. I fear Iran may not have such wisdom or control.

  21. The Andalusians might have been civilized, sure, but that’s hardly a guarantee of good behavior. Every totalitarian regime in history has been pretty damn civilized.

    That reminds me of this dumbass graphic novel I flipped through that was set on the eve of the Iraq War. At least three characters spouted some variant of “But it’s the cradle of civilization!” as a reason not to go to war there. I suspect the writer has a very blinkered view of what civilizations did back then, and now.

    1. Mesopotamia was the cradle of civilization. It just hasn’t changed from then to now.

      Not a joke – while there to improve my tan back in ’04, I found a village of shepherds where literally everything in the village was made if wheat and sheep byproducts. The houses were constructed of bricks if sheep dung. They cooked using dried dung as fuel. They are mutton and bread. The roofs were thatched with wheat stalks. Etc. Smell of the place after a rain was amazing. The were still using bronze shears on the sheep, handed down for generations uncounted, and occasionally repaired.

  22. Interestingly, the German and other scholars I referred to in my book recommendations have amassed a large body of evidence that there was no historical person of Mohammed, and that what became Islam only broke with Christianity in the late 700s-early 800s. And was centered on Damascus. Muawiyah (the guy Shi’ias see as the Eeeeeeevil Dude) may have laid the foundations for it in Damascus, not someone in Arabia.

    Not going to go into more detail because 1) space and 2) not wanting to lure more nuts than I may already have.

    1. Wow. I was struck hearing that there were thousands of disciples of John the Baptist there who never got the word the One John was preaching of had come. I’ve heard “The signal always gets degraded in combat,” but that’s a serious communication breakdown.

      (Improving your tan; I like that phrase. My exotic travel at government expense was limited to Dugway, Utah. Place is so small it’s commanded by a colonel.)

      1. For the John the Baptist issue– don’t forget they might have walked right into Him, and not known because He wasn’t what they expected.

        1. He wasn’t even what John expected, quite. He had to ask for confirmation once…

  23. R.E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories are an interesting way to first encounter the term “Muslim”. Pulled no punches, did he.

    As for trying to convince the Islamic world to lurch toward sanity – people might want to look up the concept of Jahiliyyah. Long story short, in Islam, any history that happened before Islam takes over a place doesn’t matter and should be obliterated. Which means that the people we’re trying to get to study Western history (for their own self-preservation) will not study it, because they think it doesn’t matter and won’t affect them.

    Also, certain factions of Islam actively want to glow in the dark. The Shia believe the 12th Mahdi won’t return until a large percent of Muslims are wiped out. So the plan being batted around is to bomb Israel and then wait for the counterstrike to kill off enough Muslims to bring back said Mahdi and allow Islam to conquer the world.


    1. What happens after Mecca, Medina, Tehran, Damascus, etc., are reduced to uninhabitable moonscapes and the Mahdi fails to arrive?

      bin Laden talked about people preferring the strong horse; I’d think that that sort of showing would prove who the strong one is.

      1. we win and there will be less terror and more peace in the world.Fighting the Islamic Menace is as necessary as fighting Hitler and Tojo were. We must prevail or we will die!!

        1. Exactly. There would be mopping up for some years or even decades, but with Mecca out of the picture, the West would have proven both our resolve and that their god was not as powerful as we are.

          I would imagine that many members of a shame culture would see fit to join the winning side and pretend, even to themselves, that that’s where their hearts had always been. As long as they continued to act that way, I’d be fine with it.

        1. I know. Just like “What part of ‘No’ don’t you understand?”

          I haven’t yet decided whether it’s willful blindness or utter stupidity. Of course this could be a case where we need to “Embrace the power of ‘And’!”

        2. Or they are rating ordinary Americans much higher in their threat calculus. Which is very defensible for those who share Ayers’ goal of offing a significant number of American adults. Even before you consider that Americans have killed more Americans than Muslims have.

          I think their calculation, assumption, or delusion that the Muslim threat is necessarily trivial in comparison is wrong, but there are other factors that have not been trivial historically. Especially where one doesn’t really understand the history.

    2. The destruction of a large number of Muslims may be necessary to end the attacks. Some fanatics will not change or have the most hostile/evil motives/actions and can only be stopped by death.The war against these folks is not incidental or small. It is a war for our survival. What we are living in now is the best the world has ever seen. We must fight and destroy our enemies to survive and to keep make things better and doing more and more new things like going to space and curing diseases etc. It’s them or us! Read Kratman’s Caliphate for a portrait of what life under Muslim rule would be like. Or the last battle Bandit Six fought in Last Cenyturion.

      1. Just the past few days. That’s like half the cast dead at this point. That’s as bad as the original Star Trek – but it was filmed 30 years later.

        1. O’Hare, Biggs, Katsulas, Conaway… criminy.

          That’s as bad as my +10 Cellphone of Doom.

          1. Conway, O’Hare, and Doyle all died at 60 and they were the old ones. Katsulas was 59 and Biggs was 44.

    1. All actors have a defining tole, and that role always has a defining moment… I’ve always linked Doyle to a scene where he wasn’t even present:

      [Zack Allen finds G’Kar in Garibaldi’s quarters]

      G’Kar: I was studying this image. Is it one of his household gods?

      [G’Kar points at a framed portrait of Daffy Duck]

      Zack Allan: No. That’s Daffy… [laughs] yeah, well, in a way, I suppose it is. It’s sort of the Egyptian god of frustration.

      1. I did like the scene where Garibaldi somehow managed to get Delenn to watch Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a Half Century!


    1. For those who do not instantly recognize Jack Davis’ name, here is a sample, artwork done for the 1963 movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World:

  24. Books mentioned in this thread so far: The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandes Morera; Louis L’Amour’s non-western novel The Walking Drum (Romantic view), G. G. Kaye The Lions of AlRassan (Romantic view), Washington Irving Tales of the Alhambra (Ditto); Karl-Heinz Ohlig’s two edited volumes on the history of proto and early Islam; Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited by Emmet Scott; Tom Kratman Caliphate (fiction); I’d also add Robert Spencer’s Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.
    If you want to read the Koran, there are a number of translations of varying quality, but as confusing as the source material is, don’t worry of parts seem odd. I personally use a translation done by two Pakistanis that the Saudi Embassy used to recommend (2001, may have changed). Why? Because it includes the major “hadith” the commentaries that form the foundation of Islamic law.

    1. For some reason Amazon will not allow me to add Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited by Emmet Scott to my wish list. Guess I’ll just have to buy it now.

      1. I had no problems. They keep moving the wishlist button, though. And I’m on Amazon.com. I’m not sure if other Amazon outlets are different.

  25. “We are in fact, trying to convince Muslims to allow us to let them live.”

    That is a tiny tidbit of genius. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

    The Japanese understood after only two nukes and an invasion. The Arabs seem a bit slow, they’ve had two full-dress invasions already.

    Perhaps after the Germans and the French are finally convinced that the Arabs are really never going to play nice…

    1. The French appear to be and at this point in history of France and Germany the former is the one I wouldn’t want to piss off.

      1. The French army gets knocked a lot, but the fact of the matter is that the rot over there is almost always at the top. The grunts tend to be pretty good, when all is said and done. It’s the leaders who are all idiots.

        And on those rare occasions when the French soldiers get leaders who aren’t idiots…

        As for the Axis in World War 2…

        Hitler wanted to go ahead and burn it all down. The German people had failed him, so they needed to be destroyed in order to be punished. Fortunately, once he was dead, cooler heads prevailed. In Japan, there’s evidence that some of the military leadership would have gone ahead and resisted to the last Japanese citizen if the Emperor hadn’t stepped in, even after the bombs. I’ve got a date with a Japanese national tomorrow (we’re going to the Reagan library ^_^ ). Every now and again I wonder what the odds of her birth would have been if we’d had to invade the home islands and massacre the Japanese en masse to break their resistance.

        1. I was working at a more basic level:

          1. The first gulf war (1991) rubbed France’s nose in the fact it is no longer a great power and they aren’t happy about it (French intelligence began very aggressive in the aftermath).

          2. They have nukes and while I have no doubt the Germany program is kept in readiness and they could do so quite easily that sitll isn’t the same as in inventory.

        2. IIRC, there was an attempted coup by junior officers to prevent a surrender. A guard who heard the broadcast rushed in, weapon drawn, and said “This had better not be a surrender broadcast.” There was some drama with the two surrender recordings Hirohito made during the coup attempt, but can’t recall exactly what.

          Odds are your friend might not be here today had Olympic proceeded. I probably wouldn’t, either – father was infantry in WWII. It gave the kids quite a pause when one had the assignment of what if the US hadn’t used the bomb, and I mentioned we, and most of the people they knew, particularly vets, probably wouldn’t be around.

          1. My maternal grandfather was in the Pacific in World War II. I probably wouldn’t be here either.

        3. Well, it probably would’ve been starvation not massacre. We’d run the numbers, and there is a decent chance we would have called off Olympic. The daily calories of the Japanese after the war got really low, even with the food aid we provided. Extend the war, go after farmers and fishers, and maybe the famine gets much worse. Of course, no nuke means no cities kept aside from fire bombing in order to evaluate nukes.

          1. Of course, starved people are easier to massacre. Which might’ve made a later invasion possible with very little loss of American life.

            Question is, would veterans returning from the war after having exterminated the Japanese be as reluctant to use force and terror against African-Americans?

            1. Bob,

              I think they still would have been reluctant. Remember that many of the returning veterans were blacks themselves. Combat units weren’t integrated in World War 2 (at least with regards to blacks and whites; I find it curious that the only non-black racially homogenous unit that I’m aware of is the Nisei 442nd RCT), but many whites knew blacks who had served honorably and well during the war.

              I think that left an impression that would continue on through the civil rights era.

              1. Lately I’ve been working at the problem of an AH where segregation continued to the current day. I think WWII veterans massacring women and children in Japan, before coming back and emptying out FDR’s camps might do it.

                1. If you’re looking for reasons that the bombs weren’t dropped, The American Catholic has a lot of articles where the question of its morality is argued (to the point of nausea) and there are a decent number of from-the-time documents to base it all on.

                  “Firebomb more cities, starve them and then we roll in and slaughter them” was pretty much the alternative offered, and I think everybody here is familiar with the “training tiny kids to hug a bomb and roll under tanks” or “give a teenage girl a stick and send her at entrenched Marines” stuff.

                  You’d have to deal with Hawaii, though– their reserve guys were mostly Japanese. And a lot of the folks who lived near camps would’ve hauled people out, if there was a thought they might be slaughtered, not to mention some of the neighbors; my dad wasn’t alive yet, but his family was near one. Most thought it was a cruddy thing, but needed.

                  Perhaps some sort of slaughter of everyone who had connections to some of the Japanese leadership, or who didn’t have veteran relatives?

                  1. The Soviet lovers apparently were fine with the idea of nuking Germany, but had problems with the idea of nuking Japan.

                    1. Comments here have a lot of back and forth.

                      If you can copy the arguments actually made by people at the time, it’ll make it a lot less of a turn-off even to folks who agree.

                      And that it’ll incidentally maybe make people realize what the alternative REALLY was, all to the good. (You’ll notice that Tom in the comments keeps hitting on how people at the time thought Japan could be defeated without the nukes, but he doesn’t use the whole post-WWII-report on what they were assuming would’ve happened to the Japanese.
                      Specifically, to “put pressure” on the civilian population via “air superiority”– that is, deliberately starving the civilians.


                    2. The economic effects of the transportation attack would have had a direct impact on the Japanese people and on their determination to continue the war. In order to bring maximum pressure on the civilian population and to complicate further the Japanese economic problems, night and bad weather attacks on urban areas could have been carried out simultaneously with the transportation attack. One of the important factors inducing Japan’s leaders to accept unconditional surrender was a realization that the Japanese armed forces had lost their ability to protect the people and that under the impact of direct air attack and lowered livelihood their confidence in victory and determination to continue the war were rapidly declining.
                      The entire point of those attacks would be targeting civilians.

              2. Actually, look up the book Patton’s Panthers. What you usually had were units where the Officers down to platoon level and the senior NCOs were white, and the rest of the unit was bvlack.

            2. Re famine softening up the Imperial Japanese military pre-Olympic, we’ve actually seen this scenario in modern times in North Korea. The Japanese would have done what the Norks have done in time of famine for the last 60 years: Fed the military first. Ruthlessly. The result would have been lots and lots of dead civilians, starting with the old and very young kids and working their way across the population from both ends.

              As long as this timeline has the Soviets still stomping the larger Japanese Army in Manchuria and northern China, and the USN blockade being effective in preventing shipments of food and shifting of troops across the sea of Japan from Korea and Manchukuo, I can’t see how the military would not basically absorb all the domestic food production from the home islands, leaving the civilians on their own to eat tree bark.

              1. Maintaining a cordon sanitaire would have proven a challenge, and left the Japanese many options for breaking it, not the least of them being negotiating a separate alliance with Russia.

                Of course, our French and British allies wouldn’t ever have had a word of criticism of such a policy, even after the Japanese propaganda ministry news feeds started releasing wirephotos of starving children and elderly.

                1. After the first few batches of liberated POWs got back from formerly Japanese-occupied China, the British wouldn’t have had a problem with the blockade. Especially since they wouldn’t have been the ones enforcing it.

                  And France? FRANCE!?

                  The French could barely field a single army (i.e. the unit of organization between Corps and Army Group) on the Western Front. Their thoughts on the situation in Japan would have been irrelevant.

                  I’ve heard, though, that the US public was starting to get a bit war-weary. It’s possible that US public pressure might have increased to negotiate terms with Japan in the event that we’d attempted a long-term blockade. And *everything* would have been on the US due to the strength and power of the US Navy at the time.

                  1. France has long been very good at criticizing the politics of competing nations, although their need for our rebuilding assistance may have kept them quiet.

                    But yes, Americans had gotten weary of the war. In Mark Harris’ Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War he makes clear that Hollywood was having difficulty selling war films by the last year of the war, and it is likely the American public would have been very susceptible to pleading to “return to normalcy” for a Soviet-negotiated surrender of Japan. Or we might have opted to maintain only a token blockade, easily evaded and a sink for corruption, a la Iraq after Desert Storm.

                    It could make for an interesting alt-Hist story.

                  2. Ah, but the Japanese on the Asian mainland only surrendered because the Emperor told them to – they were all set to keep fighting using local resources, continuing as large formations. There would be no POWS liberated from China if there was no surrender order from on high.

                    So, what if Stalin defers entering the war against Japan (or maybe he has a stroke in 1945 after the German surrender, and the next guy in line – was it Kruschev in 1945? – says “Nyet”), the US A-bomb is a fizzle (apparently due to physics, but perhaps due to the many Soviet spies in the Manhattan Project taking a more active hand)? That means the USN has to continue a close naval blockade of the home islands while LeMay tries to get Mt. Fuji to melt by firebombing everything he can reach with his B-29s, and newbie President Truman and George Marshall would be left with the Olympic go/nogo decision based on timing driven by how long it will take to shift all the US troops and landing craft over from Europe to staging areas in the Pacific.

                    Given that they were in fact doing that shift of troops in our timeline when they tried the A-bombs (relatives of mine heard about the Japanese surrender on troop trains heading from the US east coast over to embarcation ports on the west coast), and given the war-weariness already building at home, I really cannot imagine they would stop Olympic, requiring that they keep all those troops in uniform just in case the blockade fails.

                    1. The Soviets gave the Japanese a solid drubbing during their one big battle in the early portions of World War 2. During the period following that battle, Soviet equipment got much better. Japanese equipment only got slightly better. In short, given the advantages that declaring war on the Japanese provided (easy gains for the post-War international scene, and direct control over the rest of the Kuriles), there was no reason for Stalin not to declare war. Short of some weird change in history (for instance, if a power struggle had suddenly started because Stalin died in early 1945), the Soviets were going to invade northern China. And given the sorry state of the front lines in Northern China, troops were going to need to be rapidly moved from other parts of the country (where the Japanese were already losing) to try and stall the Soviet flood.

                      In short, one way or another, those POW camps were going to be liberated. The question is whether the POWs in those camps would be going home alive, or in body bags (since the IJA is well-known for having a very poor attitude toward captured POWs).

              2. Yeah, but the Japanese plans were to use the old and the young in the defense.

  26. First of all, our genuinely pluralistic society CAN’T demand forcible conversions. (And to what would we convert them, anyway, given we are a pluralistic society.)

    A worthwhile question to ask is this: Is forcing them to abandon Islam sufficient? A similar situation existed in Germany, 1945+, with the Nazis. Nazis were not forced to adhere to Christian Democrats or Social Wonkywobs or any other specific socio-political party/paradigm. They were simply forced to abandon Nazism.

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