A People Set Apart

I hate to tell you guys this, but part of what made it easy for the vile progs to take over education and turn it into the sort of brainwashing hate-your-own-country fest that you’d expect of occupiers trying to change the very essence of the country they took over, is an essential component of the national character.

As far as I can tell, ever since the Puritans formed the Mayflower compact, Americans have been obsessed with self-help and self-improvement, not just as a people, but as a nation.

As a nation, we are forever obsessed with making ourselves better, more just, more welcoming, more prosperous, more…. everything.

“But doesn’t every nation do that?” you ask.  Uh… not really.  Not so you’d notice it.  Oh, sure, you hear a lot of blather about “restoring the great glory of the nostrilian people” and whatever, but mostly what that means is not an effort at internal transformation, but more a “get in our neighbors’ faces and saber rattle, so they acknowledge how we’ve always been superior to them and full of sparklies.”

(And no, “making America great again” is not of that order.  It mostly is — like every other program of self improvement America embarks on, about changing our own fundamentals and how we operate, but now with more of a return to “things Marxists hate” like border security and actual pride in who we are (no more apology tours is not the same as getting in the neighbors’ faces and saber rattling. Okay, the elites think it is, but I think we’ve established both here and in Europe that the elites are dangerously abroad, and I mean that in every possible sense.))

I think it’s because of who we are.  Who we are as a nation, in the sense that we were founded on an idea and documents that affix that idea.  Look, yeah, other countries have constitutions (it’s a thing.  We’re the cool kids they all want to imitate) but most of them were countries and peoples before the constitution, and they’re just trying to be cool.  (Though apparently one of my ancestresses was enthralled with the first Portuguese constitution, which, like the Magna Carta gave subjects some rights. The things I learn when I’m talking to my dad.)  Also, who we are as individuals, because most of us are descended from people who left everything behind to seek a new beginning, or did so ourselves.  This means as human beings (remember we’re social Great Apes) we’re fairly weird already, and genetically as well as culturally that “Seek a better life” probably remains part of us.

All of this is fine, of course.  No, it’s actually more than fine. It’s great and makes us who we are to a great extent, and a vexation and confusion onto all the other nations.

Though frankly we also don’t understand them at any sort of fundamental level.  Those of us like me who grew up elsewhere are like voices that preach in the desert saying things like “other nations are not like us” but most of the great mass of people has no clue.  I quote this incident a lot, because at the time it made me choke with laughter and tears, but one of the idiots going to serve as human shields for Saddam actually said on television that Iraq could not have weapons of mass destruction, since it couldn’t even provide clean water for its people.  Apparently the idea that other nations/peoples have different priorities is completely foreign to most people. They should read PJ O’Rourke’s description of traveling by train in Siberia, where not only were there not enough bathrooms for even half the passengers, but the floor was raised to keep in the effluvia should someone throw up (or piss) on the floor.  Because one of the characteristics of dictatorships is that they don’t give a good g*ddamn what the people they rule over think or want.

The problem with not understanding other countries is that we also don’t see where we are different.  Which means we don’t realize the dark side of our thirst for self improvement.

Frankly, for chest beating, self-blaming, screaming about our defects to all and sundry and generally giving people abroad the idea we’re much worse than the hell holes they inhabit, NO ONE can beat the US.  Oh, okay, fine, Israel comes close and ancient Israel was about as “good” at it as we are (EVERY defeat was blamed on their having fallen short of G-d’s expectations.  And maybe it was true, but it’s not how any other country then or now reacts.)  England can at times be very self blamey.  But that’s about it.

Even compared with our Western peers (not France, because la Belle France always knows it’s better and superior to any other form of human civilization.  I mean, really) we are like the bolemic girl damaging her health with self-blame, while her peers just, now and then, go on a diet.

This made it trivially easy for the progressives who were by and large taken over by Russian agit-prop by the middle twentieth century to take over our schools and the minds of our kids and by misdirection turn us into self-enemies convinced that the US is the worst nation on Earth.

Take slavery.  Please.  We certainly don’t want it, and we’re one of the nations on Earth that has eradicated it as thoroughly as it can be eradicated from human society.  We fought a war and died in great numbers to eradicate it.

It had, of course, been a point of self-blame from the beginning.  Our constitution, based on the Natural Rights of men leaves no space for it.  That it was allowed to subsist past the founding was a real politik decision forced on the founders, one without which we would not have existed as a nation.  Which doesn’t make it right, but makes it… understandable.

The other thing that makes it understandable is that slavery is an old sin of mankind.  It probably existed amid hominid groups.  (I’m not going to say it exists among great apes.  I have a vague memory of having read an article saying it did, but it’s too long ago, and I can’t remember where, besides the fact that this “animal observation” studies are often wrong.) It is, in the end, just an outgrowth of the “band” structure of great apes, in which the leader has the power of life and death over all around him.

Slavery both hooks into the really bad parts of humans, those that want to control others and treat them as things, and in pre-industrial societies where there is a lot more boring, unpleasant or outright dangerous work than anyone today can even imagine (I remember articles about the horrors of working assembly line.  Your ancestors would have LAUGHED at those), slavery is often the way this is solved, by having people who can’t refuse to do such work.

In industrial societies, such as in the parts of the middle East and Africa where slavery subsists, it’s just because humans can be twisted and horrible, at least if they don’t make an effort to be otherwise.

However, your children likely think that America invented slavery to oppress black people, which makes America uniquely racist and uniquely evil and a terrible place that needs to atone for sins in the world.

I don’t really have the time or the inclination to go look up the dates of the abolition of slavery, but not only wasn’t America the last, slavery subsists in some countries today.

Then there is the racism thing.  Oh, PLEASE.  Americans don’t even GET racism in other countries, where often different ethnic variants OF THE SAME PEOPLE are considered wholly different races.  And for Americans looking at them (including the country I came from) they all look like cousins to each other (and no, that’s not racism.  It’s just that America has greater genetic variety and we get used to it.  Watching the Portuguese gymnastics team while I was visiting my parents, I realized for the first time how much everyone there looks… related.  Even what I used to see as pale blonds aren’t blonds.  Really.)

And if you go back and examine every place that there was a racial minority, I believe the normal reaction of the majority is to kill them (eating them is optional, though it happened in a lot of places.)

But because Americans still feel guilty over compromising their own principles over slavery, people from countries with far-worse histories can feel superior to us.  Well, if we weren’t that bad, why would we be beating our chests so hard?  And people who hate us (some of them our very own indoctrinated brethren) can use our guilt to brow beat us and turn our children’s loyalties away from us.

Take that “our founding fathers owned slaves”.  To anyone who knows any history that is “So they were men of their time and fairly wealthy?  Okay then.”  Sure, it went against their own stated principles, but in a society in which slavery is actually part and parcel of the fabric of society, freeing your own slaves might not be practical or even really possible, due to contracts, obligations, and other such constraints.

The fact that such men could DREAM of a society without classes and without slavery is what is a miracle, not that they were flawed human beings and men of their time.  Judged by that standard, I’m afraid the future will see us as vastly inferior to those 18th century men.

So — what to do?

I’m not saying America should stop trying to improve.  I do not think that is even possible, given the makeup, genetic and constitutional, of this country.

But we must always remember the past is another country (and other countries are other countries, too, and not just America with cooler food and interesting clothes.)  Declaring a moratorium on judging our own past, and taking it as writ that the founders and everyone else who made us were men (and women) of their time (it is, for instance, probably inappropriate to judge people like FDR on their eugenics beliefs or the belief that a command economy was best.  It was what was in the air at the time. It hadn’t been proven otherwise, as it has now.)  Perhaps it is a good time to think of it as “judge not, lest you be judged” and we just need to stride forward doing the best we can.

Beating our chest is not what is important.  Building a better future is.

Teach your children well.

Then get out there and build.  The funny image in the mirror is just that, projected there by neurotics and the enemies who manipulate them.

We are, flaws and all, the last best hope of mankind.  Keep it so.

 

 

431 responses to “A People Set Apart

  1. In 1952, during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, several foreign potentates brought their slaves with them to ceremony.

    Numerous nations have spent decades going through steps of legally banning slavery, then criminalizing slavery, and then actually enforcing those laws. Some of that was in the 20th century. In some cases, actual criminalizing and enforcing didn’t take place until the 1980’s. By comparison, the US abolition of slavery was swift.

    • Worst offenders – North Korea, Cuba, followed by Saudi Arabia

      • Every few years a Saudi couple visiting the US gets in trouble for the way that they treat the maid (usually Indonesian or Filipina), that they brought along with them.

      • India still has multitudes in debt bondage slavery.

    • In 1952, during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, several foreign potentates brought their slaves with them to ceremony.

      I… I did not know that. I knew it wasn’t really a solved problem worldwide but that’s still jarring.

      • Aw, c’mon; here in the US wives are, like, slaves of their husbands. Ka-thunk*.

        Let’s not talk about ISIS’s treatment of Yahzidi women and girls taken prisoner, nor Boko Haram’s treatment of captive females, nor the many Eastern European girls accepting jobs as “nannies” in the West, nor how Chinese women and men pay for their passage, nor …

        *Sound of head hitting desk.

        • I am very glad that the spouse just left for an appointment… I can’t afford to replace a monitor right now, RES.

        • No additional comment necessary at this time:

          Blame the Refugee Crisis
          On Barack Obama Rather Than Donald Trump

          [SNIP]
          Mr. Obama himself was unwilling to back up his red line, or any other Syria-related negotiating position, with a credible threat of military force. Partly as a result, the situation deteriorated to the point where, in 2016, even Secretary of State Kerry declared a genocide.

          In other words, it’s great that all these protesters at American airports and urban parks are now citing the Holocaust and St. Louis precedent to justify America welcoming refugees rather than turning them away. But where were they during the last four years when these Syrians weren’t just getting held up at American airports, but getting gassed by Bashar Assad or raped and beheaded by ISIS?

          The intensity of the protest of the refugee order, compared with the relative silence when it came to the actual genocide and chemical weapons use, is almost enough to make one wonder whether the protest is less about concern for the actual welfare of Syrians or Iraqis, and more about political animus toward Mr. Trump.

          • It’s more pernicious than that. The left’s first and foremost goal is to destroy western civilization in general and the US in particular. As such any tool useful for that is used regardless of how illogical and/or inconsistent they are. Hypocrisy and double standards are features not bugs.

        • Hell, here in the US we have whole communities where people call their partners slaves (and said partners take the label proudly) and people wear shirts like this:

          • I have a shirt rather like that. Although mine says “Why do they call it bond age when it feels so freeing?” and actually shows a woman’s arms bound.

  2. Don’t even trust the Catholic and other parochial schools on this. Keep tight supervision of what your kids/grandkids are being taught.

      • Learned from bitter experience with Catholic High School…Now the elementary schools in the diocese are all doing common core.

        • And the church has gone liberation theology. Yep.

          • Our new priest is a moderately conservative type and privately has told us he does not like this new trend. He refuses to preach the liberation theology. I wonder how much longer he can hold out as the associate pastor is very much into it.

            • YellowShapedBox

              I’ve noticed that there is not a single Catholic I know or respect who likes to talk about Pope Francis. I mean, Anthony Esolen (not merely a Catholic I respect but the greatest living philosopher I have read) does have a very serious focus on the timeless, but you’d think Francis would have made at least one of his fairly topical columns on The Catholic Thing.

              • All his political opinions are weird and orthogonal to us (partly that is Argentina), all his theologian buddies are total heretics, and he loves to insult Catholics who are already getting it in the teeth from the cool kids.

                But he can make some very cogent religious remarks, too, and he did a good job digging out some of the bad eggs in the Vatican state’s admin.

                Finally, sometimes he says stuff that is extremely hard to understand. At all.

                So yeah, he is the Magic 8 Ball of popes, or possibly he is using a reaction table and percentile dice to determine his actions.

                • If the last is the case acquiring a new gaming table mat for him should be seriously considered.

                  • Yeah. Currently we have the weirdness where, after years of digging out corrupt guys from the Vatican Bank with the help of the Aussie cardinal, Francis appoints a new guy.

                    Whose brother turns out to be the corrupt chancellor of the Knights of Malta, who has been misappropriating charity to send birth control to places where he is supposed to be sending Catholic disaster relief.

                    The Knights fire the jerk as soon as they find out, but Francis assumes the Knights are just doing it to make his new guy look bad. So Francis violates canon law and international law, not to mention the historic sovereignty of the Knights, by ordering the Grand Master to resign, all his acts to be retroactively invalid back to December, and the bad chancellor reinstated with a new Francis appointee to tell them what to do.

                    And then he,ended the communique by saving he wuvved the Knights and respected them. Yeah.

                    Needless to say, popes don’t do this kind of autocratic stuff. Not even medieval or Renaissance popes. There have been a few in the “stupid and ineffectual pope” category who tried some similar things for the sake of trusted advisors who continually lied to them, but that is the only precedent. So yeah, the whole thing is more than just annoying.

          • Once upon a time the “Establishment” looked to the Church for its moral authority; now it is the Church that feels compelled to align itself with the intellectual establishment to ensure its moral authority. To what does our Establishment look for moral guidance? To its own presumed enlightened wisdom.

            They are navigating the ocean on a cloudy night without a compass and convinced it is the World that is lost.

            • That is brilliant, RES

            • Or like an airplane in a cloud bank who’s pilot is ignoring the instruments and trusting his senses. He’s flying in circles, upside down and on the edge of a stall, but doesn’t know it.

            • To mix metaphors. It is the world that is lost, and they have flung their compass and lanterns into the sea in hopes the fog will be appeased.

              • Meanwhile, the alt-right also disdains the use of compass and lantern, and just sets off on a 180 degree course from where the left is going.

            • richardmcenroe

              I keep reminding myself the Pope is not the Church and the Church is not the Faith.

              • And the church has survived anti-popes.

                • The best evidence of the Church’s divine origin is that it has survived two thousand years in spite of the best efforts of its members.

                  • There’s an old funny story (I hesitate to call it a joke) about a pious merchant who had a Jewish buddy he was work on converting.
                    The buddy sent a message that he was gone to Rome, and the guy fell into despair; Rome is… well, Rome. Even with an freaking awesome Pope, you have lots of people,adn that means politics.

                    Well, the buddy came back and came to visit, and told his Catholic merchant buddy that he’d converted. Whole job, while in Rome.

                    The buddy was shocked. He’d been IN ROME, and still CONVERTED?!

                    Why, yes, of course. Any religion that had survived that Charley Foxtrot and still was a massive force must have God’s will behind it….

                  • Mormons have a similar joke. The fact that the missionaries (18 to 20 year old males) haven’t destroyed the Church yet…

                    • I’ve known a few. One fellow was a great kid. He went to Turin before the Olympics, broke a leg slipping down icy stairs.
                      Another was an Aussie sent to New Orleans. He was from out in the outback, rode a KX500 (“She’s half a bag o’ bananas!”) and was a crazy bloke.
                      The third.
                      Worked with him and the first in Texas, and well, he destroyed three doors (one large bay door and twice the roll up door in the fab shop) a lawn mower (ran into a fork lift at the highest speed the mower would travel) and after the third door was hit out of just plain stupidity was fired, though he was short anyhow as he was about to go on mission.
                      To Las Vegas.
                      He got sent home after 2 weeks.
                      Once, I was transferring product from a tote into drums with the tote held above the drums by a fork lift. I moved it to the next drum, cracked open the valve and: He asked if I was using that fork right now.

            • Bibliotheca Servare

              That almost sounds like scripture! Reminds me of “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11 ESV)
              Really powerful imagery.

              • As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
                I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
                Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
                And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

                We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
                That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
                But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
                So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

                We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
                Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
                But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
                That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

                With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
                They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
                They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
                So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

                When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
                They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
                But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
                And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

                On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
                (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
                Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
                And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

                In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
                By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
                But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
                And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

                Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
                And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
                That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
                And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

                . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
                There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
                That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
                And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

                And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
                When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
                As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
                The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Slightly off topic but I had to laugh at one author that I read a few years back.

    His story was from the POV of an ancient Egyptian (the story was said to be his diary) and the ancient Egyptian stopped his story to defend slavery.

    Come on, the ancient Egyptian lived in a time/place where slavery was common & acceptable writing to people who very likely had the same view, so why was he defending slavery?

    Answer, the author was afraid that his readers thought he saw no problem with slavery. [Sadly Shakes Head]

    • Good grief. When I consider how many SF novels from the Forties & Fifties defended only recognizing humans as binary sexes I find your astonishment puzzling.

    • meanwhile I’m working on a story where the heroine buys a slave. . . .

  4. Speaking of slavery… Now that the book crush is done and hopefully our esteemed hostess has had time to recover I had a question about the latest iteration of sad puppies. Would the book collection website have a way to filter searches by things like publisher, date, type? For example, I’d like to get good recommendations for ‘juveniles’ for my son in elementary school, find good indy books (I figure the old timey publishers already have a pr budget to push whatever they think I’d want at me), or discover if there are good books from what I’d assumed were ‘dead years’ of sci-fi based on the crappy stuff that was winning awards and getting publicity but now I wonder if there were hidden gems in there (retro puppy pleasing stories if you will).

    • I’ll talk to the programmer, aka, my husband. Sorry, it’s fairly delayed not because of my book crunch (I’m still in book crunch, just different books) but because Dan and I got awful con-crud, the worst we’ve got in years, due mostly to the fact that our hotel room had no heating.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      How old’s your son? I recommend Ursula Vernon’s “Dragonbreath” series for elementary boys (caveat: she is firmly and reflexively liberal, but doesn’t preach (in most of her books, Dragonbreath included)). They’re a hybrid text/comic thing sort of like the Wimpy Kid books, but there’s lots of random facts and general delight-in-words flung around, so they’re smarter and more engaging than most stuff for that age group.

      The books are about a slightly misplaced dragon (think Calvin with a looser grasp on reality) in a middle school for mundane reptiles. Magic crops up at odd intervals, usually as an excuse for an Excursion somewhere. Sample intro: “Danny Dragonbreath had a vivid imagination, to the dismay of his parents, teachers, the lunch lady, and the occasional ambulance crew.”

    • Hrm. For the grade school aged, pre-teen, early teen (of which cousins’ kids are cutting their reader’s teeth on) and even adults:

      Jamie McFarlane’s “Rookie Privateer” series. Works well for boys and tomboyish girls. A young man and his friends must defend their asteroid mining colony from pirates without much in the way of weapons save mining tools, grit, bravery and teamwork. Pulls no punches, but does not drool over the violence. Hints of romance, but without sex (kind of like old movies that way). *Very* human wave-y. Bad things happen, but the heroes refuse to become bad because the universe has bad people and bad things happening in it.

      Dave Freer’s “TOM” or “Changeling’s Island”. Either is suitable for youngsters and enjoyable for adults, too (a tough trick to pull off, but Dave has layers upon layers in those books). TOM is fantasy, a reversal in that the apprentice is a tomcat transmogrified* into a boy, with all the cattish brain still within the boy. Changeling’s Island is quite like books I read in my youth in that it tells the story of a young boy transitioning to a young man, growing into responsibility and maturity while dealing with the disasters that being the person of a country spirit brings. I’d pick these for any age, and read them to toddlers just because.

      Alan Black’s “Metal Boxes” series. This one I’d save for later (middle school perhaps, but for myself I was reading Tolkein and Kipling in grade school, so whatever works). Sci-fi, looking to be a bildungsroman-in-the-making that follows a boy growing into a man in the empire’s space navy. Ensign Stone finds the transition from his former life at home to the demands of the military difficult (he is not the best student, particularly at math), but has the benefits of a good upbringing and strong moral center that should keep him on track, but when he discovers a ring of thieves early on, he may have got more than he bargained for. Like Rookie Privateer, there is plenty of action but it is not overdone, and it gets better as the writer gets more involved in the story in later books, too (not to say the first one is bad by any stretch).

      These aren’t “children’s books” like I recall being bored by back in my early youth. But they’re good stories, and might be worth a try.

      • “The Mad Scientist Club” and “The New Adventures of the Mad Scientist Club” are great for, say, fifth graders. I think Purple House Press re-released them a couple of years ago.

    • I’d recommend Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books but that’s because I think all children should have a chance to learn more fairy tales, and older ones, than Disney offers. (In particular, ones with boys as heroes.)

      • Also the countess of Segur particularly for girls. It’s in Gutenberg

      • If they can be found I recommend some good collections of American folk tales: Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, Alfred Bulltop Stormalong, Bigfoot Wallace, Joe Magarac, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Mike Fink, Kit Carson, High John the Conqueror, Windwagon Smith and others. You should also look into the Jack Tales if both the Appalachians and of British origin.

        There is a great risk that some of these tales have been bowdlerized for politically correct modern audience, but there is every hope the tales can be found minimally adulterated. A peremptory review of this site [ http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/tall-tales/ ] seems a reasonable starting point.

        BTW, Sarah, a collection of children’s tales for the Usain children (perhaps hiding their roots as the British have been wont to do with such tales as Jack Horner) might be fun to do.

  5. other nations are not like us

    Okay, here I just have to disagree. I regularly eat at Chinese restaurants, Indian restaurants, French restaurants, Italian restaurants, Mexican restaurants and others and have found them to be very much like us. (Okay – I never ate at Arthur Treacher’s Fish ‘n’ Chips, but I am sure if I had they’d be the same.)

    So what you’re saying about other nations cannot be true.

    • Eat at the Blaue Genze [blue goose] some time, a Mexican food restaurant in Salzburg with an Austrian cook. They are really, really different from us. Reeeeaaaaally different.

      • I am sure that is just an outlier. I have eaten at International House of Pancakes and found the menu quite acceptable.

      • Chinese restaurants in Portugal serve FRIES with everything.

      • When I was stationed in Germany, the local pizza place did not cut pizzas for delivery unless you specifically requested it. Also, if we ordered a Hawaiian pizza, they would have to be explicitly asked to put the pineapple on BEFORE cooking.

        It’s like there was no common point of reference at all.

        • Corn and tuna fish pizzas in Scotland. That was . . . interesting.

          • Yeah, they put corn and other really, REALLY weird things on pizza in Romania, too. Pickled things, usually, including things that one normally wouldn’t encounter pickled. (The weirdest non-pizza related pickled thing was watermelon. Not the rind–which is a Thing in the South here in the US, apparently–the actual fruit part. Which was quite a feat, considering how very much of watermelon is, y’know, water…)

            • Corn is a Japanese pizza roping, too.

              • And German. Actually anythng in Germany advertised as “American Style” had corn involved in some way, shape, or form. They really think we like corn. I also once saw a display of “American” food in a supermarket that consisted primarily of Marshmallow Fluff and Cheez in a can.

        • I once spotted a pizza in PNG where they topped it with fruit cocktail, cherries, pears and all.

        • It was enough of a shock moving from NJ to OH and dealing with difference in pizzas. Rectangular pieces rather than pie slices, provolone instead of mozzarella, cardboard-like crust… shudder. Thankfully, a few NY/NJ style pizzerias have opened up around Cincinnati. There’s only three things I miss about living in NJ: family, pizza, and the Jersey Shore (the place, not the horrid TV show).

        • Ordered a pepperoni & sausage pizza @ the Pizza Hut in Pattaya Beach, Thailand. Got a pepperoni & sausage pizza, alright – pepperoni & Vienna sausage. Brrr.

          I wonder if Pizza Hut corporate knew they had a franchise there.

          • There was a very good pizza place in Towada City – which I remember fondly, It was halfway between Misawa AB and Lake Towada – a scenic lake high in the mountains, which was of almost unnatural beauty at any season. The people who ran the place had the crust almost perfect, the sauce also, even the cheese … but oh, the stuff they put on the top! small cubes of tofu are what I recollect. And shrimp.

      • Feather Blade

        Chinese food the way the Japanese cook it is… an experience… when one has only ever eaten Chinese food in America.

        • You haven’t truly experienced culinary horror until you have eaten “Mexican Food” prepared from military cookbooks by Japanese cooks in a US base dining facility.

          The most disconcerting thing was that they would decorate the meat loaf with glace cherries. Which I am certain looked nice in the presentation, but was somewhat disconcerting to find on your plate.

          • One can’t help but wonder if those cook books dated to the 1950s in some way. The horrors perpetrated upon American cuisine in the 1950s-1970s cannot be adequately described without pictures.

            • Glace cherries were a thing on ham, so somebody decided that meatloaf is like ham….

            • James Lileks started his blogging career by scanning and commenting on 1950s cookbooks.

              Things like “Kon-Tiki Surprise!” (a raft of chicken necks atop blue-tinted rice in a casserole)

              (and yes, food coloring was very much a thing then…)

            • This is one of the reasons that I laughed my *ss off at James Lilecks collections of horrible recipes. My mother had good collection of those cookbooks. In her defense, a great many of those recipes were good – especially the ones focusing in baking – and much better than the pictures of them allowed.
              I still shudder at the jello salad recipes, though. The ones that called for lime-flavor jello with cottage cheese and crushed pineapple are a particular horror.

              • When in eastern Tennessee the boarding school required we attend one of the three local churches for Sunday morning worship. I was among the group that chose the Methodist church with the circuit riding pastor. They would welcome us to their church suppers. There I got to view a vast array of congealed concoctions each more insanely inventive in the combination of ingredients and more garish in appearance than its predecessor.

              • What? You don’t appreciate the wonders of the lower classes finally being able to make their own gelatin dishes?

              • Dragonknitter

                My mom still makes that green jello salad occasionally 😉

                • My mom used to; it’s okay, but I’d rather have plain jello than jello with mixed fruit; then again I’m not a fan of mixed fruit from a can.

            • I have long collected cookbooks. There are some real, um, interesting -for lack of a better word – dishes presented in post-war cookbooks purporting to be authentic to what the servicemen had experienced abroad. The Polynesian, as far as I can tell, is anything but, and the stir-fries which are sauteed and then stewed in their sauce are grim.

          • 😄 Ah, “English as she is spoke: Culinary edition”

          • On cruise ships I have been on, most of the kitchen is Filipino (one cruise the were all from the same village). They do a pretty good job of cooking, but some of the disasters I remember; ‘North Carolina Style Pork BBQ’, mango salsa at the Mexican meal, Philly Cheese Steak on a baguette.

            • I know it’s not authentic, but I’m still convinced that lobster rolls would be better on sourdough.

              Yes, I am from the West Coast. Sourdough is *perfect* with seafood.

            • I grew up and lived in center city Philadelphia. Like most Philadelphians I have my own opinions about our local sandwich styles, me, I loved Hoagies. I now live in the south. I find that a baguette is the best approximation I can find locally for the proper crisp crusted soft crumbed Italian bread that I was accustomed to having for my Hoagies.

              Now you can get in a pretty good argument in Philadelphia on whether you should use sliced provolone or cheese whiz for your Cheese Steak…

          • I am currently assigned to US military duty in the Middle East that sees a rotating daily menu of ethnic favorites, all prepared by Indian cooks. Mexican they do OK as long as you accept Doritos in lieu of tortilla chips and gas station nacho cheese sauce in lieu of, well, anything. All meat is boiled to the consistency of shoe leather however, and what they do to fish will make a girl cry.

            OTOH we have Nutella donuts. Which are purest evil. Tasty, tasty evil.

        • My wife is Chinese, and I live in Silicon Valley, but I come from small-town rural America – I have a pretty good reference for both authentic Chinese and the Americanized version.

          But when working overseas I was still gob-smacked by what passes for “Chinese Food” in Korea, Japan, and the UK.

          To be fair, there’s a lot of regional variations in Chinese food, too. But I’m pretty sure that someone from China wouldn’t recognize some of the dishes in Korea or Japan that used the same name as the Chinese originals. At least the US and UK weirdness has a bit more of an excuse.

          • To be fair, Kore and Japan have as much excuse for mucking up Chinese food as the US and Canada do with Mexican

      • The “Mexican” restaurant I frequented while living in Brasov, Romania served shredded cabbage in lieu of the more usual shredded lettuce. (It was as…odd–and tough–as you might imagine.) Good food, though, but it was only Mexican in the sense that there were some elements in the recipes that might have once upon a time had their origins in Central America…

        (Bless ’em, it only took four or five visits before they stopped trying to serve us young LDS missionaries the free tuica (brain melting liquor made from, if I recall right, plums) that they usually pressed on everyone else. They thought we were Very Strange, but we were good customers, so they let it pass without comment.)

        • There are some Mexican places in the US that have cabbage on tacos. Fish tacos, usually.

        • A local Thai place served ice cream desserts. Which I loved, they used marshmallow cream instead of Kool-Whip for a topping.

          It was years before some bozo complained and they went to Kool-Whip. By then I was addicted to the hard stuff…

        • I have to admit that the chef salad (made with shredded cabbage) that one could buy at the 7-11 in Japan was quite a bit tastier than a corresponding lettuce version would have been.

    • Remove tongue from cheek and pull the other one RES.
      Unless you’ve traveled to the countries themselves and eaten side by side with the natives, what you’ve had is Americanized food with a foreign theme. Not the same thing at all, though there is some hope as the food scene here expands to actually welcome true foreign cuisine. Still terribly difficult to get good horse, dog, or cat anywhere around here so far.

      • No, no – I have been to other countries and stayed in top-rated hotels and they’re really quite like us. Sure, they talk funny but heck, I’ve noticed that about natives of Boston, New York and Chicago.

      • Authentic recipes can be an eye opener. I used to love preparing some of the traditional dishes found in “The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook,” but there were others where I couldn’t quite get past the name of the dish. Somehow I never found the courage to prepare “Gelatinous Fish Lips,” no matter how authentic it was.

        • Authentic recipes AKA “ok, we’ve scrounged some bits of beef and chicken, and a handful of rice. What can we do with it so that we have enough calories for tomorrow?”

          • I’m guessing that one of the reasons so much of British food and many older recipes regardless of country of origin are so heavily fried or fatty was that that was a cheap and easy way to get fat and calories and spread it out over the whole family while the one bringing most of the money got the actual meat.

          • Professor Badness

            Hey now. I have made some of the most surprisingly delicious meals that way.
            (And some of the worst junk too.)

        • One of my favorite buffets had an incredibly low rating on Yelp.

          Why?

          Their food was “wrong”… unless you’d actually been to Japan, in which case it was “Wow, they got so incredibly close with what you can get at a really good restaurant supply store!”

          They located next to a military base; didn’t go under until the new owners came in and “fixed” all the stuff so that it tasted exactly like every other “asian” buffet.

        • I’m a picky eater. I don’t even try.

      • Now that I’ve had time to think on it, there was this time we went to a Japanese “Steakhouse” and they seated us at the very same table as a bunch of strangers, where the chef came out and cooked the food right there in front of us, with lots of waving around of his cleavers and tossing food to people and everything!

        Very strange people, those Japanese. No wonder we went to war with them.

      • I was never so happy to be unable to digest animal protein as when, in Japan, I was presented with a fish, with head still attached, artfully displayed on a plate so as to look like it was jumping out of the water towards me.

        • I’ve encountered that here in the USA.

          “Excuse me, I really would like the fish disassembled in the kitchen before you bring it to the table.”

          • Actually, I kinda like fish with the head on (unlike baby octopus). What I don’t like is eating it in a Korean restaurant, where they expect you to clean your plate and not waste food. It activates my ancestral German mandate to clean my plate and not complain about it.

            So yeah, I ate the eyes, but only because of the invisible pressure from the restaurant and from my German ancestors.

          • I am prepared to disassemble clams and lobster, but nothing else.

      • Some years ago I saw a magazine article (in Scientific American, I think, before they became a leftist political mouthpiece) about the peasant diet in China. The most common vegetable eaten was cabbage because it returned the greatest amount of useable food for the investment of time and effort; it was usually pickled as that was the easiest way to store it. The most common grains were rice in the south and wheat in the north. The wheat was made into noodles for long-term storage. The most common meat was pork, for the same reason as cabbage–efficiency and return on investment. The pork was usually preserved by salting it. At that point I said, “pickled cabbage, pork, and noodles…who knew we Pennsylvania Dutch were Chinese?” There were some differences, of course–the most common fruit was quince rather than apple, the most common fowl was duck rather than chicken…but still, the peasant diet seemed very similar. I suspect that’s probably the basic peasant diet the world over for similar reasons.

        • It is said that the Chinese eat everything on a pig except the squeal. And they are researching the last one. 🙂

          Yeah, seeing some of the “delicacies” in some of the mainland restaraunts is eye opening. They take bug eating to levels I have never before thought of.

          • That’s what’s said about the PA Dutch, too. Just more evidence that we’re really Chinese, I guess.

            I’m of the opinion that every culture has at least one ethnic dish that people not from that culture look at and say, “nope, that’s not people food.”

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Ovinophagy is one of the major indicators that the people of the commonwealth are not human.

          • As Cohen said, when a culture can make dishes from pig’s whiskers, you know someone’s pinching the pig.

            • Or the dried skin–with the bristles still on, mind you. Slabs of fat, that I get (very popular in Romania, slabs of fat with mustard), since fat has that nice high caloric content.

              But the skin with the bristles on, just sort of gnawed on after being dried to the consistency of ancient shoe leather (ie, chewy and crunchy at once)…::shudders::

              • With the hair still on it???? That’s like they skipped two of hog killing; step one being kill the hog. Step two scald and scrape the hair off.

                And we use everything but the squeal here in the US. You can fry (or boil maybe) the skin when you render the lard or if you cook the whole hog. At least one of barbecue restaurants in town will sell you a bag of cooked skins for three dollars. And the grocery stores have pork brains, which are okay with scrambled eggs. Chitterlings are better used as sausage casings, if you were to ask me. Then there are pickled pigs feet, which I’ve never tried, but my daddy loved.

                I think pig skin has medical applications for burn patients, and replacement heart valves can be porcine.

                • A small country store not far away used to stock pickled pig’s brains in glass jars. I once bought some and sent them to a politician who annoyed me, “since you obviously have no brains, here are some for your use.”

                  I probably have a Secret Service file on that…

                  • Have you considered the possibility that no one actually eats pickled brains, and that this has historically been the sole use of pickled pigs brains?

              • On a trip back in the 80s to Ibiza Spain which, was a major vacation spot for Europeans, I had some of the best food I’d ever had. The only issue I had was with the bacon. It had a fine stubble on one edge and had a weird look/texture like it had been slow cooked in a bath of fat. 😛

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I used to work at a very (Southern) country-traditional craft show down in Georgia. I needed some help one year and dragged my Scandihoovian, Wiccan, vegetarian friend down to assist. She was OK until it dawned on her that the pork skins being enthusiastically cooked, barked, and sold three booths down were, in fact, _skins of pork_.

          • Someday at Liberty con ask my kids about “Fear Factor Soup.” It was chicken, but still.

        • There’s also classism inherent in how we view food. Bugs are a very valuable source of protein, but Americans have a very strong revulsion to them because of a holdover tendency of being horrified that someone is poor enough to have to eat bugs. (Incidentally, “lower class” food often has some of the same stigma; witness in Little Women how horrified Amy is to have her lobster escape her basket while she is on a public conveyance, because at that time, lobster was cheap, and she didn’t want to be seen as poor.)

          • I would think that some of the insect issue may arise from the fact that most insects are viewed as pests and seen as something you wished to keep out of your larder and your fields.

    • And eating at McDonalds, KFC, etc. in other countries proves it, as their menus are just like any other restaurants in those countries…

      • I cannot quite agree here – I’ve been to McDonald’s in London and they put only a couple teeny ice cubes in my coke.

        • The taste made it clear that the KFC in Tijuana in the 70s used a twelfth and maybe even a thirteenth herb or spice.

        • Ah, but no other restaurant in the UK would put more ice cubes in that that either. That’s the point.

        • Heh. You have to insist on ice in Romania (and, really, any other European culture–and apparently there are many, most of them Latin for some reason) and then you get a big lecture on how that will make you susceptible to ‘curent’ (ie, drafts) and it WILL kill you.

          You should have seen their faces when the crazy Americans went looking for ice cream in the dead of winter…

          • But the Russians have outdoor winter ice cream stands.

          • On the other hand, I have freaked out an American and had to insist on my own Americaniness by saying that drinks don’t have to be kept the temperature of glacial melt.

          • I was under the impression that most Europeans viewed ice in drinks as a rip off.

          • I had a mission companion from Germany who refused to sit down outside in the winter because cold things on the posterior region will do “things” to your reproductive system, and urinary tract. Old wive’s tale type of tradition but she refused to even consider it, especially if it was concrete or stone.

            Meanwhile, some others of us, primarily Americans, would stop in at McDonalds, get their 99p ice cream cone and then eat them outside while walking to the bus station to catch rides back to our areas. We’d get the weirdest looks for it.

      • The BLT served to the unsuspecting at Charles de Gaulle airport was, er, interesting. Apparently, the American idea of actually frying the bacon until it was crisp was unheard of. That was the first time I actually looked forward to the meal served on the airplane…

        • While I don’t have to have my bacon crispy (I prefer it just barely crispy), I do require it to have had more than a fleeting acquaintance with the griddle.

          • I’m not sure it got in sight of a griddle. Now, if it had been sashimi/lettuce/tomato, it might have been better.

        • I never missed anything so much as I did American style bacon as when I was in Europe. ‘Cause that flabby cold fatty floppy thing was NOT bacon.

      • The McDonalds I ate in in China had fried pies in taro, red bean, and green bean flavors. At least they were fried as God intended instead of baked (stupid modern Americans).

        Seriously, I contend that you can’t start to know a place until you try to accomplish something there. That explains why so many ‘worldly’ people can visit a foreign land and not have any better understanding of it… or of their own land for that matter.

      • Actually, I remember naan bread sandwiches sold in British McDonald’s. When a McDonald’s settles down in a new country, they like to cater to the locals…er, the local immigrants, actually…because naan bread is originally from India, but is probably so popular in England for much the same reason that tacos are popular in America…

      • I don’t know, the McDonald’s in France was so odd it didn’t have a Quarter Pounder with or without cheese.

        Plus all the drinks were in weird sizes.

    • “Just like us”? My friend, the Aussies haven’t figured out that pizza needs sauce, but think that a fried egg and beet are the best hamburger topping ever.
      And let’s not talk about the beer vat residue they put on toast.

      • I’ve actually heard good things about fried eggs on burgers. Never tried one, but could imagine that it would be good.

        Beets…let’s not talk about beets.

        • Fried egg on burgers is good. A 50/50 beef/bacon patty is good. Combining the two: awesome!

        • Professor Badness

          Fried egg on a hamburger is really good.
          I always hated beets until I tried them properly canned. Some friends had a surplus and gave them too us. I have to restrain myself whenever I open a jar.
          The stuff is like crack!

        • Red Robin. The Royal Red Robin Burger. I’m avoiding carbs, so I get mine lettuce wrapped and eat it with a knife and fork. Once in a while I’ll get something else on the menu, but I’m not really adventurous in food.

        • The Fork Report guy had a wonderful episode where he called an egg a flavor enhancer; there are very few savory things where it’s actually bad, but a lot of times it’s gilding the lily.

          The biggest problem is that (IMHO) the egg has to be just right– cooked, but still gooshy.

          Drooling just thinking about it…..

      • I don’t have problems with a wide range of pizza, including white pizza.

        Now that thing they called pizza which was served up at Wembley Stadium when I attended the Who concert? What I remembered of U.S. public school cafeteria pizza seemed more desirable. (Not that I ever considered eating it…)

      • Fried eggs on hamburgers ARE very tasty–they’ve become a Thing out in the American West, for some reason. Dunno if it’s a holdover from prospector/homesteader days, an import from the South, or from Australia. It’s a good one though. Not so sure about the beet, however. (Though that *would* likely go down well in many parts of the South.)

    • This would be a good deal funnier if a large swath of the Progressive Left didn’t believe what amounts to the same thing. They chatter about “multiculturalism”, but they only really know their own Philistine subculture, and if you bring up the very real and rather extreme ways that some other cultures differ from ours, they tend to rather loudly loose their minds and accuse you of being Beelzebub. One mustn’t MUSTN’T mention that the Japanese are far worse racists than we are, that the Saudis still keep slaves (no matter what civilized lies they may tell the U.N.), or that the reason AIDS is rampant across sub-saharan Africa is the widespread belief that sex with a virgin cures it (and similar medical idiocies).

      The Progressive Left may technically know how to read, but they are functionally sub-literate, insular as the worst West Virginia Hillbillies, and as intolerant as the very worst Spanish Inquisitor.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        as intolerant as the very worst Spanish Inquisitor

        Minor nit, the Spanish Inquisition was able to acknowledge that the accused was innocent of the charge against them.

        The Progressive Left would never accept that the accused was innocent of the charge against them. 😉

        • If the accused would only confess they could be granted absolution; it is the refusal to recognize one’s inherent sinfulness that denies exculpation.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            That may hold true for the Progressive Left but not for the real Spanish Inquisition.

            The Spanish Inquisition looked for real evidence for a person’s heresy.

            The real Spanish Inquisition didn’t use torture to gain confessions.

            During it’s time, if you were innocent, you were better off in the hands of the Spanish Inquisition than you were in the hands of Protestant governments.

            • That is because the Progressive Left has derived their inquisitorial form from the Soviet Thought Police, wherein the purpose of an inquisition was not determination of guilt but assertion of “Right Thought.”

              Different goals require different methodologies regardless of any superficial resemblances.

              That is also why we are now hearing so many voices of the Left decrying Trump’s policies as “un-American” in spite of their denunciation of America for practicing pretty much those policies in the past.

              Funny how no reporter ever asks them for their definitions of “American.”

      • Ummm…I’m not from West Virginia, but don’t assume that everyone from there is extremely insular. They’re not. But you’re right about one thing. The “cosmopolitan” urban left in this country are the most provincial people I’ve ever seen. The absolutely cannot accept that anyone not them could possibly be their equals in intelligence, morals, etc., much less their superiors.

        • People tend to miss the fact that The Beverly Hillbillies was mocking the Beverly Hills bien pensants, not the Hillbillies.

          The folk most inclined to miss this point were (are) the bien pensants. Apparently “right thinking” does not include being self aware.

          • Yes, self-reflection isn’t an element of the psyche of the “I’m OK, You Stink!” crowd.

          • Actually, I read an article some years ago about the steps the FDR government took to force the families that lived in what is now the Skyline Drive area down into towns. The article was in the Washington CityPaper, so you can believe as much or as little as you like. It maintained, however, that the ‘Dumb Hillbilly’ stereotype was, at least in part. created by do-gooder Progressives who wanted to be able to force the backwoods families who wanted nothing to do with Progressive society down into the towns where they could be ‘helped’. The campaign culminated in what amounted to forced relocation, which seems to have been rather a theme with FDR’s people. *spit* So, if you buy the article’s POV, the WV Hillbillies were pretty insular, and who could blame them?

            • That was more or less how they created Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park. There’s even a section on it at the Big Meadows Visitor Center, right next to the one on the segregated facilities of the early park. The interesting trick they pulled was selling the locals on Skyline Drive and publicizing the local support for it, before it was made clear to them that there was also a whole National Park and relocation associated. The locals loved it when they thought it would improve their access to the towns and get more for their produce.

              As to blaming Progressives, that’s certainly fair, but FDR really only came for the last third or so. It was Virginia Democrats (state and federal), some of whom were selling their land at good prices and others who hoped to operate concessions in the new park, in conjunction with members of both parties in Congress, that really started the whole mess and got the relocations going. There’s more to it than that – I could probably write a lengthy post on Shenandoah’s sordid history – but will leave it at that.

              • . There’s more to it than that – I could probably write a lengthy post on Shenandoah’s sordid history – but will leave it at that.

                Gee,if only you knew a place that was looking for guest posts upon whom you could grace said lengthy and mildly obscure post….

                • Err, if our illustrious hostess wishes, I could put a post together on the topic. It is only a tale of acts of deceit, corruption, and expediency by various levels of government and interested parties, and of the thousands of Americans who had their lives impacted by it.

                  • I don’t know if she specifically wishes it, but it’s a heck of a platform and I was interested when it was just “a thing that I hadn’t heard about yet,” before the tiny little plot-hooks of, what, a quarter of a dozen of the Hun-bait topics you listed.

      • Two African girls recently got asylum because they are albinos, which means that in their native country, their body parts were considered useful for witchcraft. Alas, one already lost a leg and two fingers to an attack, but now they can go to school safely.

      • To me the only thing to me that explains the amazing inconsistencies of the left, their policies and actions is a rather dark conclusion after decades of observation. Those on the left can be categorized into roughly two groups. The first are the virtue-signaling betas who are desperate to be part of the ‘cool kid’ tribe. A vapid but not very dangerous group.

        The second are haters and very, very dangerous. They hate western civilization in general and the US in particular. They despise whites as the perpetrators of numerous past and ongoing crimes against humanity (some real but mostly imagined). Any cause, dictator, villain (Soros I’m looking at you) or ideology that can damage, even destroy, the US is a useful tool to them. In their heart of hearts these people are hardcore nihilists…. a death cult wrapped in a cloak of ‘justice’ and ‘equality’.

    • That’s like a Buzzfeed list of “weird” American foods that included things like “waffle and maple syrup” chips (one of those new Lays flavors anyway). And all I can think is “you think that is weird? You’ve got SHRIMP flavored chips/crisps, and Ketchup flavored ones!” You think biscuits and sausage gravy is weird but you have beans on toast with cheese (though that doesn’t taste too bad). Or take deep-fried burger. You’ve got deep-fried Snickers.

      I’m familiar with British foods so that is who I am comparing to. I can’t compare our food to anything else. I’m pretty sure the French pastry shop in Glasgow would have had Frenchmen turning up their noses at the products because “those aren’t FRENCH foods.”

      • I remember an episode from the British comedy TV show “Chef” some years ago when the star was at a cooking competition in Paris and had lost a bottle of English wine he was going to use to showcase an all-English presentation. He went to a local wine shop and asked for “vin de Angleterre.” The counter clerk called the proprietor out from the back and asked the chef to repeat his request, then both of them started laughing uncontrollably. I thought it was pretty funny too, actually.

        • ….vine (maybe wine) of the English ground?

          • Vin (wine) de (of) Angleterre (french for England) Working on my french and at times it’s pretty straight forward other times it’s….odd. This translated would be English wine. Didn’t think they had the climate for it actually.

            • There are reports England grew wine at one point, but those come from AGW Denialists and so, of course, are not to be trusted.

            • Nice…..

              *perks up* Oooh, wait, I remember a bit about that– they had vineyards in the medieval warm period, but they’re just barely managing to get vines bred right now!

              • Though table grapes have been grown under glass for quite some time. There’s a huge grapevine at Hampton Court that’s been there for centuries, but I believe that even well-to-do rural gentry could & did afford personal scale cultivation.

      • Go to a state fair in the central plains states and you might find anything deep fried on a stick.

      • Lol, if you want to piss off a French person, tell they you really like French dressing.

        • But I don’t. I really don’t.

          O. K. as a little kid I did. Then I graduated up to Catalina. But I was still a kid, what did I know?

          Now I make my own vinaigrette. I’m usually a bit heavy handed on the vinegar.

          Sometimes I make a version where I use lemon for the acid, adding a bit of grated lemon zest to punch up the flavor. I have recipes that call for using orange juice, which look interesting, but I haven’t tried any of them yet.

    • You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Mexican food, as interpreted by Sri Lankan cooks.

      Some continuity of spices, but… The proportions were waaaaaaaay off. Refried beans treated as though they were soup concentrate, and diluted with water down to about the consistency of tomato soup, and a whole horde of other things I have managed to successfully block from my memory.

      Up until that experience, I did not think it was possible to render certain specific dishes completely unpalatable through adjustment of spice packages. I sat corrected…

    • I once saw the pizza toppings list from a place in Japan.

      How could they put those kinds of things on a poor, innocent pizza!?

        • Incidentally, their hamburgers are not half bad at all.

          They don’t make you instantly go “this is the Ur Hamburger,” but they’re quite good.

      • In the store this evening I encountered frozen pizzas… one with arugula, another with… kale of all things. Are pizza makers having a “don’t put that on pizza” contest now?

        • Doesn’t really surprise me. You see some unusual things on frozen pizzas these days. Places like California Pizza Kitchen specialize in making a ridiculous number of toppings available on pizzas, including many that are non-traditional toppings. And it’s kind of spread from that point.

        • A friend of mine in the Army started ordering some weird pizza because he was tired of everyone between the gate guard shack and his barracks room trying to mooch a slice.

          He finally settled on seafood pizza: anchovy, tuna, and something else I can’t quite recall (I’m thinking octopus?). People let him eat his pizza in peace. In fact, they insisted on it.

          • I used to get the same effect by putting jalapeno peppers, banana peppers and copious amounts of crushed pepper flakes on my pizzas.

          • had an issue with any sweet-ish disappearing. That’s when I developed a taste for too-bitter-for-then-roommate orange cappuccino, tonic water, etc. Even resorted to tonic water ice cubes at one point.

            • scott2harrison

              Tonic water today has become wayyy to sweet.

              • I quite concur. The first time I encountered Diet Tonic Water was a double-take moment. Alas, Fever Tree is pricey. Great stuff, but only for those more special occasions.

                • Fever Tree is pricey. It also produces the only Bitter Lemon I can find in the area of the country where I live. I find that Rum and Bitter Lemon with a squeeze of line is one of the true joys of summer drinking.

              • You need to cut it with gin … or vodka. Vodka works well, so long as you avoid the worst of the flavored brands (there is a certain “cherry” vodka that could be served as Robitussin …)

          • The “House Specialty” from The Wizard of Speed and Time seems very close to that description. “Holy Mackerel!” “Oh my Cod…”

  6. freeing your own slaves might not be practical or even really possible

    As there were strictly enforced laws about abandoning slaves who had become inconvenient, manumission required provision of sufficient capital to enable the freedman to establish himself as a self-supporting individual.

    As most capital in those societies consisted of land and slaves it ought be obvious where the bug in this idea of freeing one’s slaves lies. People who are accustomed to modern banking, mortgages, credit cards and other forms of easy credit are often woefully ignorant of how modern such access to capital is. Up until the 1960s “credit” was essentially something extended by merchants to their customers and not something banks offered without significant security.

    The history of credit cards
    As far back as the late 1800s, consumers and merchants exchanged goods through the concept of credit, using credit coins and charge plates as currency. It wasn’t until about half a century ago that plastic payments as we know them today became a way of life.

    Early beginnings
    In the early 1900s, oil companies and department stories issued their own proprietary cards, according to Stan Sienkiewicz, in a paper for the Philadelphia Federal Reserve entitled “Credit Cards and Payment Efficiency.” Such cards were accepted only at the business that issued the card and in limited locations. While modern credit cards are mainly used for convenience, these predecessor cards were developed as a means of creating customer loyalty and improving customer service, Sienkiewicz says.

    The first bank card, named “Charg-It,” was introduced in 1946 by John Biggins, a banker in Brooklyn, according to MasterCard. When a customer used it for a purchase, the bill was forwarded to Biggins’ bank. The bank reimbursed the merchant and obtained payment from the customer. The catches: Purchases could only be made locally, and Charg-It cardholders had to have an account at Biggins’ bank. In 1951, the first bank credit card appeared in New York’s Franklin National Bank for loan customers. It also could be used only by the bank’s account holders.

    The Diners Club Card was the next step in credit cards. According to a representative from Diners Club, the story began in 1949 when a man named Frank McNamara had a business dinner in New York’s Major’s Cabin Grill. When the bill arrived, Frank realized he’d forgotten his wallet. He managed to find his way out of the pickle, but he decided there should be an alternative to cash. McNamara and his partner, Ralph Schneider, returned to Major’s Cabin Grill in February of 1950 and paid the bill with a small, cardboard card. Coined the Diners Club Card and used mainly for travel and entertainment purposes, it claims the title of the first credit card in widespread use.

    Plastic debuts
    By 1951, there were 20,000 Diners Club cardholders. A decade later, the card was replaced with plastic. Diners Club Card purchases were made on credit, but it was technically a charge card, meaning the bill had to be paid in full at the end of each month.

    According to its archivist, American Express formed in 1850. It specialized in deliveries as a competitor to the U.S. Postal Service, money orders (1882) and traveler’s checks, which the company invented in 1891. The company discussed creating a travel charge card as early as 1946, but it was the launch of the rival Diners Club card that put things in motion.

    In 1958 the company emerged into the credit card industry with its own pruduct, a purple charge card for travel and entertainment expenses. In 1959, American Express introduced the first card made of plastic (previous cards were made of cardboard or celluloid).

    American Express soon introduced local currency credit cards in other countries. About 1 million cards were being used at about 85,000 establishements within the first five years, both in and out of the U.S. In the 1990s, the company expanded into an all-purpose card. American Express, or Amex as it often is called, is about to celebrate its 50th credit card anniversary.

    [END EXCERPT]

    • And if you are of a certain age and worked retail before credit card terminals you remember taking the customer’s card in your hand and using the top edge of it to run down the list of lost, stolen, or bad cards that was at your register (or in my case, taped to the underside of the lid of the cash box out at the gas island.) The charge slips had three copies, plus two pieces of carbon paper. Top copy for the store, middle for the customer, bottom for the bank. (This persisted after terminals first appeared because the terminals initially only gave an authorization code, which you wrote on the slip.)

      Consumers were often advised to ask for the pieces of carbon paper to destroy at home so that a dumpster diver couldn’t collect the carbons to get information for credit fraud. Some stores made this extra easy because they had a slot on the register stand for the carbons to be disposed of, resulting in plastic bags in their dumpsters full of nothing but carbon paper from credit card slips. Carbonless duplicate slips were a big security improvement.

      • And the frustration if the carbons wrinkled and you had to push really hard to run the roller over the whole lot . . .

        • And now some of the cards aren’t embossed or have the numbers not on the front, or ‘sideways’ so there is no “knucklebuster” option – though there are still times when things fail and that is the fallback. At least in some of the smaller places in $HOOTERVILLE. I mentioned such to the manager of a small convenience store and got that grump in reply.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            Legendary among us crafter-types is the guy who was sleeping in his van at a craft show when somebody tried to break in. He sat up, grabbed his knucklebuster, and slid it back and forth; the wannabe thieves took it for the sound of a shotgun being racked and fled. 🙂

    • In ancient Ireland, the currencies were silver, cows, and female slaves.

    • One of these days I need to do an article on how freaking amazing the Knights Templar were– the idea of taking the religious communication network and using it for conveying value was ground-breaking.

      • Yes, please. 🙂

      • Yeah, until the Templars turned bad. By the time Philip outlawed them in France they were like a cross between the SS and the Hell’s Angels.

        Heck, Himmler even created an SS Order of Teutonic Knights based on them…

        • ?

          There was an historical Teutonic Knights in Germany. Like the Templars, they started out as an organization of religious crusading knights. Are you sure they weren’t the inspiration for Himmler’s organization?

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Yeah, the story that the original Teutonic order had racist motivations is apparently revisionist history. The Teutonic order had a remit to convert by force of arms, and put together a state where they had a fair amount of secular power. They lost a battle against a more eastern European force of pagans and claimed converts to Christianity, and the more central Catholic church took the opportunity to redirect the order to other ends.

        • If I remember right, they were accused of it– but only by the guy who owed them a ton of money and needed an excuse to destroy them.

          • the accusations against them were absurd on the face of it.

          • Any good sources? I am currently remedying holes in my knowledge of history.

            • Crisis magazine, catholic.com anf ewtn’s Catholic Answers podcast/radio show. They all try to be fair and include sources.

              The catholic encyclopedia on the second one is a bit over a century old, but very good for finding out what the cutting edge of the last century was. (It’s really funny to read, say, the articles on Christmas– back when we didn’t have a lot of the new information showing the winter date predates the first recorded Sol Invectiva however it’s spelled celebration.)

    • C. S. Lewis has Orual dealing with her slaves, since the royal household really had too many. Of course, being queen, she could settle a lot of freedmen and freedwomen on little farms.

  7. But we must always remember the past is another country

    Back when I was studying Anthropology (nearly forty years ago) just about the biggest sin we could commit was that of Ethnocentrism — judging other cultures by how they matched our cultural standards rather than by how their mores served to function within their culture.

    Apparently we need to add Chronocentrism to the listed sins: judging past eras as if the standards of our present time were divinely handed down and presumptively obvious to one and all.

    • Chronocentrism is a perfect descriptor! Like that Egyptian character mentioned above, nothing throws me out of a story like modern mores in an absolutely impossible time frame when they are writing historical fiction or historical mysteries. If you are going to include modern mores, call it fantasy.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        On the other hand, moderns can have mistaken views about the Past.

        One author writing about a nun (pre-War Of The Roses) always included information about the history of that time when her story “conflicted” with the modern views of that time.

        • I still remember the SF writer talking about world-building who explains that Louis XIV was the Sun King but earlier kings would not have been because of geocentrism. . . .

          sigh

          Projecting her own views about the importance of centrality.

          • Wasn’t it because he’d played the part of Apollo in some courtly theatrical production or other?

            • Yeah, but why did he choose Apollo?

              the thing is that a lot of ancient kings associated themselves with the sun.

      • Feather Blade

        I was reading…Quo Vadis, I think…. several years ago, which is set in Ancient Rome (autocorrect thinks that phrase should be capitalized. I R amused) and was written in the 1930s or ’40s. One of the characters was described as “a Negro”, and I thought, “Waitaminnit, shouldn’t he be Ethiopian or something?”

        • Some of the stuff like that I just file into “this is actually written in a slightly different form of English, I have to translate either into the location version or my version.”

          Kind of like translating geek to tech to ‘Dane.

        • I love telling about the time the docent at a local museum was talking at a King Tut exhibit about the Black Pharaohs who had come down the River Nile and conquered Egypt. She referred to them as “African American Pharaohs”

          • I have an entire book somewhere which puts forth the position that ‘Afrocentrism’ is based on pre-Rosetta Stone, Rosicrucian fanasies about the Egyptian culture, amd as such a basically Caucasian Intellectual construction.

            • An acquaintance of mine is a naturalized American citizen. But since he was born in Rhodesia, his paperwork says he’s “African-American.”

              Which is absolutely true, but not what most people think, since his parents were from England.

              • Theresa Heinz Kerry is an African-American, as she was born in Africa. IIRC, she even stated such, which got her into a bit of trouble with her husband’s political allies.

                • She went to the same boarding school as my SIL, in Mozambique. My SIL was born and raised in Mozambique. She was a redhead before she inexplicably started deying her hair dark brown, after she went white.

                  • Blonde hair was a big thing in Japan for a while. It was a bit startling the first time I saw pictures or video, but hey, who doesn’t like blonde?

                    It was the ones who dyed their hair red that just looked *wrong*, though. (blue, yeah, that’s a big manga thing, and I’m used to it) But red falls into the uncanny valley somehow.

                    • I spend time in the Anime fandom. Me? I’ve seen pretty much the rainbow — sometimes on the same head.

                      I have no trouble with the whole family of reds, crayon, pinks and burgundy. Grapes, lavenders, blues and grays? I’ve them all seen done with style. Although orange isn’t a particular favorite of mine, some people do it well. It is bright green that I find a bit disturbing, very very few people have the skin tone to carry it off.

        • O yes. Am reading a story where a black is called an African at a point when “Africa” still meant mostly “the part bordering the Mediterranean.” Though only once.

          Of course, then, there’s questions of translation.

    • Because I could halfway remember enough of the quote to get the dang source. 😀

      But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross.
      http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16769/16769-h/16769-h.htm

    • I suspect that future historians will look back upon this era with amazement and disgust. They will be utterly baffled as to why the first dominant global culture suicided.

      • I contend that there is some view held widely today that will be seen as awful and near-obscene by people in the future, who will contend that if they lived now, they would not partake in such a horrible practice.

        Because different people have different ideas of what that horrible practice is, I like to theorize that it’s something totally innocuous, like bubble gum.

      • The Macedonians could not hold it together after the death of Alexander. Rome eventually wore out, fractured and became a memory. China has had more than one attempt at a great empire. England’s mighty empire has collapsed.

        The lesson generally taken is that once dominant and comfortable something becomes lost. The exact nature of what is lost has provided fodder for many a student paper and a number of books as well.

        • The lesson is that these mighty edifices are not at all stable, and should not be built in the first damn place.

          If you have a mass of little fractious polities constantly aboil with shifting changes, you have a far more stable proposition than the massive Ottoman Empire-like bullshit we keep trying for. The Romans fell not because they were not organized enough, but because they were over-organized, ossified, and unable to adapt. The moment you get above a certain size, and try to turn everything into some kind of illusory “stable” mass entity, you’re cruising for trouble. The problem with the United States right now is that we forgot this fact, and tried turning the Federal government into an “all things to all men” proposition, instead of letting the little fermentious and fractious entities we call states rise and fall within the framework.

          Federalism, in its true essence, as well as what passes for the same in the Swiss Confederation, is what we need to go back to. Then, if a state like California fails, it doesn’t take the rest of the country down with it. And, you can do as you damn well please, in your state.

        • YellowShapedBox

          Wouldn’t count the Macedonians. Alexander, egotistical scumbag that he was, said on his deathbed that the empire would go “to the strongest.” I mean, that’s beyond the pale even by Westeros standards.

    • Not to mention needing to add Anti-Ethnocentrism – judging other cultures by how they reject our cultural standards.

  8. YellowShapedBox

    I look forward to the nation acquiring the necessary hindsight to beat its historical chest about abortion. (The rest of the stuff currently going on probably wouldn’t merit more than a “whelp, that was a bad idea.”)

    Yeah. While it’s ever so tempting to defend the honor of the Founding Fathers, the past isn’t a package deal. Some things were worse, others were better, usually they’re extricable, “some aspects of the past were bad” in no way logically leads to “let’s swallow wholesale the present popular idea of what needs to happen,” and above all, the present is the only thing anyone can really effect.

  9. “But doesn’t every nation do that?” you ask. Uh… not really. Not so you’d notice it. Oh, sure, you hear a lot of blather about “restoring the great glory of the nostrilian people” and whatever, but mostly what that means is not an effort at internal transformation, but more a “get in our neighbors’ faces and saber rattle, so they acknowledge how we’ve always been superior to them and full of sparklies.”

    To my great disgust, Canada is doing precisely that this week. On the back of a multiple shooting atrocity, no less. While our PM swans about decrying Trump, our government and media continue to conceal information regarding the Quebec City mosque shooting. I see no outcry from the perpetually aggrieved either, just people blaming Trump for it.

    • Feather Blade

      …sounds like the blamers need an atlas.

    • The name of the shooter/suspect has been released. All SJW’s are cheering since it’s a young white Quebecois native that’s been implicated. Expect hate crime cries to increase from the Great White North. :/

      • Question is whether or not he’s a Muslim convert. In such cases the pols and presstitutes tend to use the perp’s birth name instead of whichever Arabic name he picked after converting.

    • They’re down to saying there’s only one suspect, that the Mohammed guy is a witness. Thing is, all, ALL, initial reports were more then one shooter. Most initial reports were three shooters. At least one report I read said one shooter stayed inside shooting while the other went out to reload. So there’s something really screwy going on up there.

      • Just about every single-shooter incident that I can remember in the past few years has had reports of multiple shooters, so either a) key information is being WIDELY suppressed (successfully) across a whole range of locations, or b) people who are being shot at are usually not in a good position to make dispassionate, accurate assessments.

        Now, this situation may be different if ALL initial reports were saying multiple shooters. But I’m still going to wait on further information before I make up my mind. For one thing, if there were multiple shooters, with one staying inside to shoot while another one stepped outside to reload, I would expect a really high number of victims — yet there were, what, fifteen people shot? That sounds too low for me to easily believe that there were three shooters.

        • Reportedly two people entered together wearing ski masks. That would be a tough one to misinterpret or see wrong.

          • As a rule, spectators typically do get things like that wrong.

            • And reporters are the ultimate spectators.

              The sequence goes somthing like: Some Dude shoots up location A; Local PD shows up and either (if he has hung around) perforates Some Dude or (if he has skedaddled) start looking for him; reporters scurrying to the scene ask the poor PD folks on perimeter duty any number of questions (“Do you have anyone in custody?”, “Was there more than one shooter?”, “Was this violent multiple murder a hate crime?”, “Was it space aliens?”) to which Officer Perimeter Duty replies “talk to the press officer.” The TV news droid then immediately does a live standup in front of the police lines, saying stuff like “Police have not denied the reports of multiple shooters…”

              You have to remember that the on-screen talent is selected for photogenics, not intellect – and while there was once an entire crew in that TV van to add some additional experience to eth young on-screen reporter, nowadays they are lucky if the reporter has someone to operate the camera for them.

            • There have been a number of studies about how witnesses to shocking crimes can get any number of things wrong. I’ve seen some classroom experiments were the professor has one or more people enter the classroom unannounced, do something bizarre and leave. The professor then has everyone write down what the observed. Few observations agreed with each other and most were spectacularly incorrect.

        • I’m pretty sure the media just make it up from thin air.

          When the military hit bin Laden it was freakin’ amazing. CNN, BBC, Reuters, al-Jazeera, NBC… all had absolutely different stories. USAF, Delta Force, US Navy, CIA, helicopters, tanks, rocket attacks, joint US/Pakistani forces, UN forces… over a few hours the stories evolved into a common narrative.

          The kicker? All the original reports were changed to match the new narrative. The first stories simply unhappened.

          • It’s the media. The same people who would call a Ruger 10/22 “a high powered assault rifle” and any revolver “a Glock”.

          • Remember the rape squad and dead body stories from the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? It turns out that the media weren’t getting direct reports, so they went for the sensation rather than saying, hey, it’s really hard to get reports out of a region experiencing a hurricane and severe flooding.

            What actually happened is about what you’d expect from a large-scale emergency shelter—the toilets got kind of gross, a lot of people didn’t sleep well, but on the whole, people behaved pretty well and remained pretty healthy.

        • The second most recent shooting in my town had initial reports of multiple shooters, partly because several concerned citizens of the college male variety got their guns and went down to help find the perpetrator.

          (No we don’t have many incidences of mass shooters, why do you ask?)

          The police were very polite when they asked, via news article, for random non- police to please butt out of such situations in the future.

          • *imagines, for a moment, the reaction of anybody she knows and trusts to get a weapon after a Mass Shooting incident*

            So, how loud was the invitation to carnal familiarity with themselves, or are you in a location so amazingly polite that they just smiled, nodded and ignored them?

            • I can sympathize with the professionals’ desire to avoid having unpredictable amateurs, with unknown levels of training, running around getting in the way. So the police’s reaction, while not the best, does have my sympathy. But the right answer is to ask that the random non-police who might intervene please contact a police dispatcher to tell them where they are and what they plan to do so that efforts can be better coordinated. And then ask them to, during the times when there’s no incident going on, come down to the station from time to time for joint training exercises; the next one has just scheduled for (date two weeks from now), and here’s the phone number to call to sign up.

              That’s what I would do if I were the local sheriff / police chief / whatever the title is, at least.

              • … just been scheduled.

                Dropped a word by accident while revising my sentence structure, and hit Post just a second before I noticed it.

              • Oh, I’ve got tons of sympathy…. But the response is still “Go have carnal interactions with yourself.”

                The population is NOT your three year old. They are to be defended, not controlled; you say something like “Hey, if you’re going to do this, then ________.”

                That’s why I have no trouble with the idea that AFTER you shoot the SOB attacking you, you put your gun down and lay down on the floor with your arms out– because they can’t know you’re not a threat.

                But you by goodness don’t say “Hey, don’t go and save people, that’s our job.” Booger yourself!

              • I’ve seen an honest-to-goodness posse. I know two who were deputized on the spot to deal with a situation. I, and three others, were called to serve as back up when the town cop walked into the store and said “I need backup. You, you, you, and you.” And there was the time I somehow ended up directing traffic at the scene of an accident.

                The common denominator is that these were initiated by, and controlled by, law enforcement. It wasn’t a group going off to act on their own. I know of some occasions where some did because they were on the spot and a cop wasn’t, like the guy who came up on a bank robbery while the robbers were discussing what to do with the tellers, grabbed his shotgun, and headed in (the robbers decided they wanted none of that and ran out the side door). The main thing that seems to have been understood is that it doesn’t do for a cop to see you holding a weapon when he doesn’t know who’s who, so you put down your weapon and back away the moment you see a cop, and you do what he tells you.

                Something worth relating was the night that Desert Storm began. A drunk hit a pole near a substation and we had to de-energize the line – just as the President was about to address the nation. Most on that circuit thought terrorists has struck, and folks were loading up to go hunt them down. We had to get word out that no, it was a drunk in a car, not terrorists.

            • The “joint training exercise” idea also has the advantage of reducing the chance for blue (literally) on blue (figuratively) shootings.

              Scenario A: you’re a cop responding to an active-shooter call. You see a military-aged male holding a pistol. You don’t recognize him. Quick: is he the shooter, or a good guy trying to help out?

              Scenario B: you’re a cop responding to an active-shooter call. You see a military-aged male holding a pistol. You recognize him: that’s Joe, who showed up last month at the training exercise. Good kid, decent shot, but has a tendency to shoot before he has really identified his target, so you ask him to stick with you and let you take the lead. And over there, that looks like Bob — veteran, shows up to every training session, really knows what he’s doing. You give Bob a nod and ask if he’s seen anything that can help you, then trust him to go off on his own while you try to guide Joe-the-amateur around.

            • Feather Blade

              how loud was the invitation to carnal familiarity with themselves

              XD. You know, that part wasn’t reported in the newspaper, for some reason.

      • As a rule when spectacular breaking news is reported, it is best to wait a day or two for the actual facts to come in before making judgements.
        Don’t fall for Gell-Mann Amnesia- remember these idiots can’t get the facts straight when calm.

    • Literal transcription of conversation last night:
      Me: “Oh, hell; there’s been a mosque shooting in Canada. Several dead.”
      TrueBlue, the Elfking: “They give any description of the shooters.”
      Me: “Absolutely nothing, just say two shooters in custody.”
      TtE: “Gang or a sect issue.”

      • This time appears to be -much- more egregious than the usual MSM malpractice, the government is actively being cute about things. This evening we finally got a name, of a guy they arrested two days ago. His social media was taken down as well, and I’m under the impression the government took it down, not his parents or lawyers. I could be wrong about that, but I’m -wondering-, you know?

        What I’m seeing here is some major stagecraft going on. They are literally playing politics with murder.

        Oh, and the gun was an “AK-47,” which in Newspeak means “we’re not telling you, peasants, get back to work.” There are -no- AK-47s kicking around loose in Canada. None.

    • I have a different thought. Let’s divide CA into coastal CA and inland CA, two different states, and then expel coastal CA from the union. No need for them to secede.

      • Nah, cut shortly above San Fran, so that RedCal has ports– and cut back in at the bottom of San Diego, Coronado is solidly red.

        Can even give them some of the parks to make up for the lost coastline.

        • I moved from San Diego, which has gone pretty Blue, to Riverside, which is inland, and if not still Red, than Purple. Please leave Riverside in the US. My husband and I are pretty tired of Gov. Moonbeam, er, Brown. (No offense meant to beautiful and harmless moonbeams.)

          • Gov. Moonbeam? He’s been anti-refugee for almost fifty years:

            FLASHBACK: Democrats Tried To Block Thousands Of Vietnam War Refugees, Including Orphans
            RICHARD POLLOCK
            Despite today’s outrage over President Donald Trump’s refugee executive order, many liberals in 1975 were part of a chorus of big name Democrats who refused to accept any Vietnamese refugees when millions were trying to escape South Vietnam as it fell to the communists.

            They even opposed orphans.

            The group, led by California’s Gov. Jerry Brown, included such liberal luminaries as Delaware’s Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, former presidential “peace candidate” George McGovern, and New York Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman.

            The Los Angeles Times reported Brown even attempted to prevent planes carrying Vietnamese refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base outside San Francisco. About 500 people were arriving each day and eventually 131,000 arrived in the United States between 1975 and 1977.

            These people arrived despite protests from liberal Democrats. In 2015, the Los Angeles Times recounted Brown’s ugly attitude, reporting, “Brown has his own checkered history of demagoguery about refugees.”

            Back in 1975, millions of South Vietnamese who worked for or supported the U.S. found themselves trapped behind the lines when the communists took over the country. Vietnamese emigre Tung Vu, writing in Northwest Asian Weekly, recalled the hardships the Vietnamese faced in 1975 as they tried to escape the communists.

            “After the fall of Saigon, many Vietnamese chose to leave by any means possible, often in small boats. Those who managed to escape pirates, typhoons, and starvation sought safety and a new life in refugee camps,” Tung wrote.

            Ironically, Republicans led by former President Gerald Ford were the political figures who fought for the refugees to enter the United States.

            Julia Taft, who in 1975 headed up Ford’s Inter-agency Task Force on Indochinese refugee resettlement, told author Larry Engelmann in his book, “Tears Before the Rain: An Oral History of the Fall of South Vietnam,” “The new governor of California, Jerry Brown, was very concerned about refugees settling in his state.”

            National Public Radio host Debbie Elliott retraced Brown’s refusal to accept any refugees in a January 2007 interview with Taft. According to a transcript, which was aired on its flagship program, “All Things Considered,” Taft said, “our biggest problem came from California due to Brown.” She called his rejection of Vietnamese refugees “a moral blow.”

            “I remember at the time we had thousands and thousands of requests from military families in San Diego, for instance, who had worked in Vietnam, who knew some of these people,” she told NPR.

            Taft recalled another dark reason the liberals opposed the refugees: “They said they had too many Hispanics, too many people on welfare, they didn’t want these people.”

            “They didn’t want any of these refugees, because they had also unemployment,” she told NPR. “They had already a large number of foreign-born people there. They had – they said they had too many Hispanics, too many people on welfare, they didn’t want these people.”
            [END EXCERPT]

            HT: Power Line

            • Circumstances were a little different there.

              The USA had horned in on the Vietnamese civil war, backed one side for a while, then took its toys and went home, leaving the people we were “helping” worse off than when we’d started.

              Taking in a fraction of a percent of the people we left high and dry was only a step above going “neener-neener.” But at least *some* of our “Vietnamese allies” didn’t get ethnically cleansed by the new Communist government.

              • Considering the same bunch of yo-yos shed no tear when Obama ended “Wet Foot Dry Foot” and Mexico sent Cuban refuges back to Raul, the biggest issue was probably they knew what Communism was like, would take one look at their crap and vote Republican.

            • A lot of Vietnamese refugees ended up in South Sacramento. We even have a Little Saigon (with, I kid you not, restaurants named things like Pho King Restaurant.) Quite a number of those refugees ended up with strawberry farms, since those are a thing that requires more labor than capital.

              Most of their children ended up in professional jobs. There are a LOT of dentists in the south part of the city with Vietnamese surnames.

              • There are a large umber of them who have settled in the Gulf States, especially Louisiana, very successfully, too. Apparently, focusing on the opportunities available to you rather than the “privileges” you aren’t offered can have quite salutary effect.

    • South Carolina tried that in 1860. The Feral Government took that badly.

      • I say let California try to secede, declare it an act of rebellion, and use the powers of sections 2 and 3 of the 14th amendment to completely reshape the government and electorate of California. We can call it the California Reconstruction.

        • That seems like a great deal of bother. Why not shut off the water tap instead?

        • No, first we demand the West Virginia option for the red counties. THEN we reconstruct the rest.

          • Courtesy John Fund at National Review Online:


            California Shouldn’t Secede from the U.S.
            It should divide in two.

            nationalreview[DOT]com/article/444384/california-secession-bad-idea-division-two-states-better-idea

            • I think several States could benefit from this. New York State should jettison New York City, for example…

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Chicago should be “kicked out of” Illinois.

                Perhaps, Indiana can kick the Gary area out to be joined with the State of Chicago. 😈 😈 😈 😈

    • Yes, and he’s the “leader” because the “News” people proclaimed him thus.

      You know, the “News” people who are complaining about “fake news”.

      • Fake News (n.):
        1) News inconsistent or at odds with the narrative.

        2) News not generated by approved outlets.

    • Hey, the Volks Deutsche expatriate has been plottening the whitening of America from his home in Europe.

      • And his mewling myrmidons are working as hard as they can to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • Ace noted the other day that a foreign country has already allowed CalExit to establish an “embassy” on their soil.

      The country in question is Russia.

      • Northern California was the farthest extent of the Russian Empire. At least, the Tsars claimed everything from the pole to somewhere near Sacramento. At this remove (from California History in the late 1960s) I don’t remember what their stance on Vancouver was. The British claimed most of the Pacific Northwest at the time.
        The Spanish (later Mexicans) claimed everything up to Oregon.

  10. Oh, yes. Even our closest (political) cousins are very different. I’ve been rereading Churchill lately – and was struck by one tossed off paragraph. Paraphrasing – “After the American Revolution, when the Empire allowed self-government in Canada, Australia, and so on… They made very sure that the central government was absolutely supreme in their founding documents.” (IIRC, that was in “The Great Democracies,” although it could have been the previous volume in “History of the English Speaking Peoples.”)

    Which is why people in those countries, although so close to us in most ways, just cannot understand why the Federal Government (or any government) cannot just decree that “hate speech,” however it is defined by government, is a crime.

    On the matter of the Founder’s slaves. Those who, like Jefferson, freed their slaves in their wills are called hypocrites. The fact of the matter is that if they had been foolish enough to emancipate them while living, their creditors would have descended upon them (just about all of the Founders that were agriculturists were chronically in heavy debt) – and their slaves would simply have had new masters. Death extinguished their debts, except where they had used their property as collateral.

    • Washington freed his slaves—contingent upon the death of his wife. After a short period of mourning, Martha Washington realized that was a Bad Idea and freed those slaves directly.

  11. [Incoming Message – Intercept from monitoring station 5523-Charlie-Foxtrot-5:]

    Declaring a moratorium on judging our own past…

    This is exactly the sort of preemptory executive action that all of us in the Progressotranzimoronotanian community have come to expect – Once again, Our Oppression is Made Manifest in the Most Blatant Fashion, by declaring a Moratorium on what makes us Special! Our Specialness is at risk! Anti-Specializians Unite! Only by endlessly hashing, rehashing, changing the facts, and then rerehashing things that happened to other people along time ago can we extract what little meaning we Specializian Progressotranzimoronotanians have in our stunted otherwise meaningless lives! To the barrica… oh, okay, I’m reminded by comrade natasha that as those of us in the Specializian Progressotranzimoronotanians community do not approve of ablism, so since most of us Specializian Progressotranzimoronotanians don’t prefer to actually get up off the couch: To Teh Twitters!! This Outrage Must Be Twitted!!! And then, Twitted Once Again!!!!

    [Intercept Ends]

  12. Russia: Serfdom first abolished in 1861.

    However, there was in the Soviet Union this quaint notion of an internal passport. Without that passport, you could not move around, and that passport had your official place of residence in it. Which was not just where you lived, but also where you could live. For instance, if a person from, say, Ryazan was found in Moscow, he’d better have an official document stating that he was there on a trip from his job, and a temporary residence document from his hotel.

    Being caught without that internal passport, moreover, was an offense punished by up to 2 years in prison (for a repeat offender).

    Anyway, peasants, who were assigned to collective farms en masse, did not have those internal passports available to them at all until 1974.

    So, to recap:
    1) Peasants were forced to live in a certain place, with no say in the matter
    2) They were forced to work there, doing the jobs assigned to them, and with no say in the matter
    3) Failure to work was a felony in the Soviet Union
    4) Peasants could not just pick up and leave
    5) If they did leave and got caught, they got criminally punished for having left without permission

    But nothing at all like slavery, right?

    • That form of Serfdom looks a heck of a lot more like slavery than the middle ages version of serfdom…..

      • Yes. Actually, I was reading of late Tsarist “serfdom” except I was noting that serfs could be forced to move, which I thought was the essence of what you could not do to a slave.

        True, these serfs had the right to marry and own property, but slaves have those rights under some legal systemsl.

        • Could not do to a serf. Sigh.

        • I think you were the person who first got me clued in that “serf” wasn’t just a synonym for “slave.”

          • From what I’ e read of history “serf”, “slave”, and “peasant” are all terms used by the Elite to desegnate persons of no account. Such persons may have more or fewer ‘rights’, depending on which term is used for them, but the terms shift definition all the time and a slave under one era and place may be notably better off in terms of legal protections and rights than a peasant from another place and era.

            Which is whi I feel all would be Elites should be refered to by the same term;

            Guillotine Bait

  13. besides the fact that this “animal observation” studies are often wrong

    A lot of times, talking to someone and finding out what they take away from watching a thing tells you a heck of a lot about THEM, not so much about what they watched.

    Yes, this does apply to me, too– it’s a matter of perspective. Just like you can tell that I’m short because I can’t see something on the top shelf, but I’ve got a great view of stuff my 6ft husband can’t see, and that I’m relatively light and healthy because “climb up on the counter to reach it” is an option, if only in my mind. 😀 You need to know enough about what they’re looking at to figure out what it would look like from where you are, and so position them relative to yourself.

    • Tired digression:
      this doesn’t mean things can’t be wrong, or can’t be right. I may say something is high up on a shelf just reach over the edge and grab, and my husband will say “look down a bit, and it’s right there,” but it’s definitely not on the floor or in a box or stuck to the ceiling.

    • If there’s ONE report of a, say, Mutagenic Rhomboid, from J. Random Public… yeah, it’s probably nothing. If there are several J. Random’s seeing Mutagenic Rhomboids at different times, then there like really *is* a Mutagenic Rhomboid in the area, despite what alleged experts claim.

      What often happens is denials, denials, denial… and then an Expert sees one or John Q. shoots one in self-defense and suddenly, “Oops, evidently ONE strayed outside normal territory…” Until the next is made hopelessly public.

      • Like the “wolves have never attacked a human in the Americas” claim, which actually meant “an expert in wolves has never witnessed an attack and been able to verify the wolf was totally healthy.”

        Until a wolf expert got attacked, and survived, and shot the wolf involved.

        Normal people had already been attacked, and died, and it was either “not a wolf” or “it was rabid” or “it was a hybrid” or….

        The rancher phrase is “they’re hard to see from the road.”

        • There’s critters in the woods that the experts say are not there. But while I’ve seen, heard, and saw the tracks and marks of the critters that “aren’t there,” I’ve never encountered one of those experts in the wild. Ever.

          • That’s actually a good thing– we didn’t have any wolves.

            Then my folks ran into a wolf expert, who the local forest service insists wasn’t actually there. My parents talk to everyone, and she was a really nice lady who was deeply passionate about her area of expertise.

            Next year, wow, it’s amazing– a pack of wolves “wandered in” to the area!

            • [A farmer I knew picks up his phone and dials the DNR]
              ” You need to send someone to come trap a She-wolf and a cub that have mange. The pack chased them off, and they are lurking around looking at my cows because they are getting hungry.”
              “Sir, there are no wolves in the U.P. of Michigan.”
              “Yes, there are, because you released them, and I hear them every night. As long as they leave my animals alone, I really don’t care. But these two are sick, and need help.”
              “Sir, there are no wolves in the U.P. of Michigan.”
              [after a few more go-rounds]
              “Fine, I tried to do the right thing, you say they don’t exist, so I will just shoot them and put them out of their misery”
              “SIR! It’s illegal to shoot wolves in Michigan!”
              “But you assured me they do not exist” [click]
              After dispatching said pair, the two very large “coyotes” (what hair was left was black on the momma) were burried on state land so the carcasses were not on the farm that the DNR never got the address of nor the phone number to (blocked number).
              It was 5 or so years later the DNR admitted to releasing the wolf pack.
              Only after a whistle-blower turned over paperwork to a group arguing about the existence.
              Most folks really didn’t care whether they were there or not, but were mad about being lied to, yet again by the DNR.
              Now, they do have trouble with collared wolves. They tend to not live long, getting shot and the collars removed and tossed into a river or lake. People learned really fast that those collared have been nuisance animals elsewhere and been relocated, some 5 or more times.
              Supposedly the same whistle-blower reported (Call in show on the radio using a voice changer) that yes, that was the case, and gave the story of one numbered collar found in a river having been on a wolf that killed several pets, a couple of cows, and some goats in Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, and met its demise in the U.P. after another caller had admitted shooting it because it was trying to get into his cow pen.
              The DNR also now has finally admitted that big cats lurk here-’bouts, too. For years they denied it, but more and more cameras and photos of evidence made them finally admit the things were here, and the numbers were likely getting higher. My uncle has land that he gets both wolves and cats crossing. At first, the deer herd improved, but the predation increased a bit too much and the deer are hurting in some areas, and Turkey populations dropped right off. Now there is pressure for hunting seasons on both predators to control the numbers better.

        • There are several states whose game/wildlife officers have official figures for various animals within their jurisdictions, which are vehemently denied people who have seen or have been attacked by them.

          Apparenty the bureaucrats believe wild animals are careful not to cross state or county lines…

          • The Armadillo (although official sightings are limited) and the Coyote are now to be seen across North Carolina. The NC State University / A&T Cooperative Extension website assures us that Armadillo may look strange, but is delicious prepared pan fried in butter.

          • When I stayed in Kanahwah State Park in WV, the ranger gave me “The Critter Talk” “If you see eyes this high it’s a raccoon, [coyote bear etc]” Then he pulls out his iPhone and pulls up photos, “And I am assured there are no mountain lions in this part of West Virginia” and shows me a pic of one on a tree limb, looking at the camera. “This is from a hunter’s tree stand just up the valley” He climbed up in the dark and never saw it until he realized the birds were quiet, and felt like he was being watched. Then he noticed the cat in the tree next to his.
            Guess the cat thought it was a good place too. They didn’t see any deer that day that came down close enough. Guy left in the afternoon and next day didn’t see the cat.
            While in Marion County campground I heard a wolf. They don’t exist either, but trust me, a large wolf howling has it’s own sound. I’d guess it was on the other side of the park from me, about 200 yards or less.

            • They don’t exist unless the Left needs them to exist…. like back in the mid-90s when US Fish and Wildlife faked up evidence of endangered lynx living in an area they wanted closed to development.

              You will never go wrong by adopting the following ground rules:
              1. The Left hates anyone not Left, and wants them dead.
              2. They will tell any lie needed to make that happen.

              • it’s why they like the muslims so much. they think the kindred methods makes them buddies. either way it ends poorly for them.

              • Rather more scary, if we’re thinking of the same event:

                the Fish and Wildlife were acting on multiple protected animal ranges, and incidentally some folks got funding for a DNA study of the animals involved to establish ranges.

                They found out that one animal had an ungodly range– can’t remember the real numbers ATM, but it was off the charts, like ten times what had EVER been observed.

                Then they somehow discovered that the animal had been dead for a decade. And was mounted. In F&W headquarters, in fact….

                Someone(s) had been swiping hairs and planting them.

        • This is similar to “unconfirmed reports of a funnel cloud”… which should be taken Very Seriously Indeed. In 2011 my folks saw the funnel touch down, but it was, for some time, an “unconfirmed” tornado. And then there was the time the damage was all from “straight-line winds”… but Pa flew over some of the affected area and asked, “How do straight line winds leave a swath of trees in a spiral pattern?”

          I will concur with the experts, however, that there are NO ‘minotaurs’ or minotaur-like creatures in the Americas. Nope, none. If you see any, consider having your dosage adjusted. }:o)

        • Or the mountain lions not in Eastern Flat State. Even though hikers in some areas are warned to beware of large predators and to make lots of noise and avoid brush (which might work for bears, but not for mountain lions. Mountain lions look at each other, smile, and say “Yeah, delivery!”)

  14. I’m not entirely on board with the argument that the Founders were simply products of their time. To some degree, perhaps. But they inherited the institution of slavery. Slavery in the US is often framed without that critical distinction. Almost as if slavery in the US sprang up on July 4th, 1776.

    Slavery, as it existed when the US was born, was a European institution, despite their oft-repeated (and disingenuous) claims of having abolished it in the homelands. Well, yeah, but all the major European powers continued the practice in their colonies/holdings (Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, etc) after the US established itself.

    Along with the evidence others have already presented that the Founders opposed slavery was the fact that Jefferson was the first Senator to introduce anti-slavery legislation in the US, and they also recognized the problems inherent in an immediate emancipation.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Point of order: Someone around here apparently dug up that the Barbary pirates had been raiding Europe for slaves in, IIRC, the 1600s. Which isn’t that long before 1776.

      • I seem to recall being informed that the stem for “slaves” was slavs. My Russian ancestors assure me this is true, but they also assure me I am cute, clever and deserving of high praise.

        slave (n.)
        late 13c., “person who is the chattel or property of another,” from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus “slave” (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally “Slav” (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.

        This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein]

        Meaning “one who has lost the power of resistance to some habit or vice” is from 1550s. Applied to devices from 1904, especially those which are controlled by others (compare slave jib in sailing, similarly of locomotives, flash bulbs, amplifiers). Slave-driver is attested from 1807; extended sense of “cruel or exacting task-master” is by 1854. Slave state in U.S. history is from 1812. Slave-trade is attested from 1734.

        Source: Online Etymology Dictionary

        • per Wiki:

          “Rule, Britannia!” is a British patriotic song, originating from the poem “Rule, Britannia” by James Thomson and set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740

          [SNIP]

          Thomson was a Scottish poet and playwright, who spent most of his adult life in England and hoped to make his fortune at Court. He had an interest in helping foster a British identity, including and transcending the older English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish identities.

          Thomson had written The Tragedy of Sophonisba (1730), based on the historical figure of Sophonisba – a proud princess of Carthage, a major sea-power of the ancient world, who had committed suicide rather than submit to slavery at the hands of the Romans. This might have some bearing on the song’s famous refrain “Britons never will be slaves!”

          [SNIP]

          According to Armitage “Rule, Britannia'” was the most lasting expression of the conception of Britain and the British Empire that emerged in the 1730s, “predicated on a mixture of adulterated mercantilism, nationalistic anxiety and libertarian fervour”. He equates the song with Bolingbroke’s On the Idea of a Patriot King (1738), also written for the private circle of Frederick, Prince of Wales, in which Bolingbroke had “raised the spectre of permanent standing armies that might be turned against the British people rather than their enemies.” Hence British naval power could be equated with civil liberty, since an island nation with a strong navy to defend it could afford to dispense with a standing army which, since the time of Cromwell, was seen as a threat and a source of tyranny.

          [SNIP]

          (As sung)
          When Britain fi-i-irst, at heaven’s command,
          Aro-o-o-ose from out the a-a-a-zure main,
          Arose, arose from ou-ou-ou-out the a-zure main,
          This was the charter, the charter of the land,
          And guardian a-a-angels sang this strain:
          Rule Britannia!
          Britannia rule the waves
          Britons never, never, never shall be African-Americans.
          Rule Britannia!
          Britannia rule the waves.
          Britons never, never, never shall be African-Americans.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule,_Britannia!

          • “Britons never, never, never shall be African-Americans.”

            [snort]

            I probably shouldn’t have, but I laughed.

        • There’s a very fun historical miniatures skirmish game called “SAGA”. If you’re into miniatures, and you ever get a chance to try it out, I highly recommend it.

          Troop quality for each nationalityin that game is divided into three types – Hearthguard, Warriors, and Levy. Those are the default names for the troop qualities, though each nationality-type calls their troops by different specific names (two of the names come from the Vikings; Viking Levy, though, are Thralls).

          The Pagan Rus troop types are Varjazi, Militia, and Slaves.

          I wonder why…?

        • Note that the Old English term for “slave” is “thrall” — the modern term got imported with the slaves.

          Which means that it’s a racial slur. . . .

      • The beginning of Robinson Crusoe tends to be expunged. In it, he’s first captured and serves as a slave, then goes to Brazil and uses slaves on a plantation.

    • I wasn’t saying they were products of their time. They were exceptional men. BUT they were bound by the structures and tech of their times.

  15. I wonder what events history will look down on my generation for. I suppose it depends on who writes the history. I also wonder how many of the events that seem earth-shattering today will be looked back upon by the people who lived through them as not that big of a deal.

    • I acquired a habit (having fallen behind) of reading news papers in order several months to years after they’d been current. It certainly impresses upoon you the false urgency of the present … and a reminder that what the newspapers are in the business of selling is advertising.

      • I’ve seen memes and claims about past events on Facebook. Gone to my Newspapers dot com subscription and searched things for their take on it then. It’s been useful.

  16. Chris Chantrill

    I’ve been reading about the Vikings. They had a nice little slave-trade business a thousand years ago along the Volga River. Imagine.

  17. Hello. A few thoughts:

    Is guilt or shame even a useful emotion? For an adult (not a child still being hopefully guided by hopefully well meaning parents) to feel? Or is it just a vestigial emotion that would-be totalitarian assholes use to jerk you around and get inside your head? I’m beginning to wonder about the whole thing, because I haven’t seen any moral evaluation in years that is actually consistent, sincere, and based on anything other than rationalization painted over opportunism.

    As for slavery: Keep in mind, the left today is on a massive quest to keep those working-men they love so much ground into the dirt with cheap labor from totalitarian hellholes (and by raping their industries and de-facto outlawing their livelihoods). They rationalize all this by fantasizing about magic robots that have made their countrymen “obsolete”. They want magic things to do their work for them for free, because they don’t want to pay free men for their time. But they’re willing to settle for less-free men doing their work for free and pretending they are things.

    • short answer: yes, because without guilt/shame there would be a lot more crime.

      • More to the point, there is a proper amount of guilt or shame. That which spurs you into action is the proper amount; that which paralyzes you is too much. Note that weaponized guilt is designed to put you into the latter category.

    • Guilt/shame is very useful as a signaling mechanism from a properly formed conscience.

      Since the folks most willing to publicly inform everybody how they should be doing would have circles run around them by an insect in a suit and top hat, it can create the illusion that it’s nothing but abuse all the way down.

  18. Alright, baby post here:
    https://foxfier.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/hail-to-the-chief/

    Dark photo because I don’t like the eyes closed pictures. 😀

  19. About constitutions: yes, some other countries have those. Or at least documents bearing that label. Some don’t, like England, where any limitations on the government appear to be merely traditions. Some documents that call themselves “constitution” are actually just meaningless scrap paper. The one of Holland is a case in point. For one thing, it doesn’t guarantee any civil liberties. It appears to, but qualified by “subject to everyone’s responsibility under the law” which translates to “void where prohibited”. And to make matters worse, one of the articles states explicitly that no court is allowed to judge the constitutionality of any law. I kid you not. In other words, these are the rules under which the government is supposed to operate, but if it doesn’t, you’re just out of luck, bohica.
    What makes the USA unusual, or most likely unique, is not necessarily the Constitution but the notion of limited government. That has been more of a theory than a reality for nearly all of its existence, but still, the fact that it IS the theory has been a bit of a moderating influence. The 2nd amendment, for example, is only barely enforced and then only in some places, but “barely” still beats “not at all” and “in no place”. Ditto other parts. Enumerated powers? 9th Amendment?
    The fact that many countries use the term “subject” rather than “citizen” also offers a clue. There’s quite a large difference between those two notions.

    • What makes the USA unusual, or most likely unique, is not necessarily the Constitution but the notion of limited government.

      A minor quibble on this. What distinguishes the US is that sovereignty rests with the people and is granted to the government to act as our agent. In all other countries (so far as I know; extensive research on this topic can be arranged, at my customary exorbitant rate) sovereignty resides in the government and is granted (gifted, lent, permitted so long as they behave themselves) to the people.

      Some do not see or appreciate the distinction, some think the American way is exceptionally stupid, but I recognize only one entity as sovereign to me and He ain”t returned yet.

      • From my (amateur) reading of history, I would say that sovereignty usually rested with a powerful Elite. A King and his Court, or a Priesthood. Sovereignty might be said to be seated elsewhere, as cover. In the United States the founders intended to place power in the hands of male persons of property or some minimum level of wealth, but it gravitated slowly to most of the adult populace, as most of the adult populace became what the founders would consider wealthy.

        In the reast of the world what has happened is that the State has wrested sovereignty from the old Elite and held onto it.

        The State is trying to do that here, and finding the populace obstreperous, ungrateful, amd difficult to cow.

    • I have seen friends, family members, and articles by conservatives that question the idea that the Court can dismiss a law that’s unConstitutional. Really? Then what is the Court supposed to do, when presented with a law that’s blatantly unConstitutional? Are they supposed to say “I’m sorry, but we have to jail you for practicing your religion, speaking your mind, and being held in prison for five years before your trial that didn’t have council, being convicted by evidence obtained without a warrant, because Congress has passed laws that said they could do this to you!” when Congress tries to do something unConstitutional?

      Now, that isn’t to say that courts can’t abuse this power — and they have certainly both ignored the fact that certain laws are unConstitutional, and have read into the Constitution rights that simply aren’t there — but the fact remains that the Courts need this power, or the Constitution itself has no meaning.

      • The debate about courts judging laws to be unconstitutional comes from the fact that such power is not listed explicitly in the Constitution. But it means the speaker didn’t read, or didn’t understand, the reasoning in Marbury v. Madison. In a very short summary: the Constitution defines how laws are made, i.e., what a law is. Something written down that isn’t made that way is not a law. And if judges have any power at all, it is to determine what the law is.
        Note that this argument would be harder to make in Holland because you’d have to argue that the Marbury reasoning trumps their Article 120 (the one I mentioned that says courts aren’t allowed to do that). I believe that could be done, but it seems no court has dared to do so.
        On the point RES made: agreed, that’s why I mentioned the term “subject” (which is an expression of the ordinary person placed below rather than above the government). That’s a very significant point. The other, though, is the theory that powers are limited to only those explicitly listed in Article 1 Section 8. For example, if the Convention had adopted Hamilton’s proposal, we would be in a world of hurt. Even though what we actually ended up with in practice is uncomfortably close to Hamilton’s evil notions.

  20. A very insightful post, Sarah. I think the kind of ‘self-improvement’ favored by most of the Progs is over the kind that C S Lewis brilliantly dissected in an essay written over 60 years ago and titled Dangers of National Repentance.

    Excerpted here: http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/50094.html

  21. Not all slavery is the same. What do you do when that other tribe keeps attacking you and trying to kill your men and take your women, and they won’t stop no matter how many times you beat them into blood and snot?

    You can kill them all. It’s self-defense, but also genocide. Or you can kill the fighters and leaders, and take the rest as slaves. (This, by the way, is how the Stockholm Syndrome kept humanity alive.)

    Which choice is better? Before you say ‘Let them kill you’, stop to think that you’re the one being attacked. You have to be the one to commit suicide. And that means letting your children get killed or turned into sex slaves.

  22. It’s Green! Reduce your carbon footprint! Show America Trump will never be your president!


    #JumpAgainstTrump
    (Note: this hashtag not endorsed by Brotherhood of Street Sweepers Local #5612)

  23. “The other thing that makes it understandable is that slavery is an old sin of mankind.”

    I have had someone flatly tell me (online) that chattel slavery, where slavery was enforced by the government. was unique to America.

    • Heck, it wasn’t even unique to the Americas.

    • Patrick Chester

      Uh… Rome? Greece? Egypt? The civilizations in what’s now the Middle East?

      These people are indoctrinated to a frightening level.

      • Broader than that. I’d speculate that it existed world wide until perhaps 500 years ago. There are plenty of references to it in the Old Testament. And it appears in Germanic societies in the Middle Ages — I remember reading some old Frisian laws on the subject. Halbrook, I think, mentions one relating to manumission, around 1000 AD, in that part of Europe. (The procedure involved the former master giving the newly minted freeman a sword and a shield, demonstrating that ownership of weapons is the mark of a free person. Justice Taney understood that, too.)

  24. Michael Houst

    I consider killing and eating racial minorities to be in bad taste.
    But then I’m more of a Howard Family kind of eugenicist. I look at different people and say to myself, “They have a better XYZ than I inherited. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to my extended family if one of my kids married him or her and had kids to add that strength to our family?”
    Alas! I’ll be lucky if I see any grand kids, much less better ones.