Cross-Culture

I am a cross-cultural being.  As such, I am weirdly aware of the various … gradations… of what is culture, what is biological and what is probably reinforced in biology by culture over the centuries.

Say you’re a woman in a country that puts women to death for being lippy.  Most indications would be that lippy women would get weeded out of the culture.  Except things are more complicated than that, when it comes to human tendencies and inclinations.  I.e. “It’s not that simple.”  You could be a suborn woman but know when to confine it to where it’s safe: say bullying your close relatives, particularly the female ones.  Or long-term-preference lippiness: zipping it until you’re the mother in law and have a couple or more daughters in law to be lippy to in safety.  The fact is if it were a single trait and immediately lethal, then there wouldn’t be women who talk back to judges and get killed for it, even now, after 14 centuries of selecting for meek.  BUT the fact is also that if you go to one of those countries, you see women putting up with things they never would in America.  Even “Strong” and “spirited” women.  Because culture is like that.  Culture sets parameters to what is even thinkable for each individual.  And then you express yourself within those patterns.  Sure you can go outside the parameters.  I did.  But even I only went slightly outside the patterns.  I think.  Well, however much I went outside was enough to make most people really uncomfortable around me.  And unless you’re planning to pack and leave, this is not a long-term survival strategy.

Then when you pack up and leave, and enter a new culture, you find you’re outside ALL the parameters.  Even in America, I sent so many mixed signals that I was often baffled by the image of me people had, until I had deconstructed further, and understood how my behavior (out of the norms for here) was being slotted into their mind’s image of the various US subcultures (more on that later) and the rest of the attributes were being filled in, even if they didn’t FIT with anything they actually saw.  It is cultural, too, to do this.  It saves time.  Say you see a young man in a suit with a Bible in hand walking down the street.  You’re going to work really hard to fit him into “missionary” even if the suit is powder blue, his shoes red, and he has three earrings.  Now, if he’s also carrying a boombox blaring hip-hop you might put him under “crazy” which is human for “can’t read signals.”

Anyway, I had to learn what signals I was giving, and also look past the signals other people gave, for “are they actually like that, or is this Portuguese prejudice?”  This was the early eighties.  I had to –among other things — realize not every guy who wore loud jewelry/clothes was gay (or low class, since in Portugal it could go either way.)  One of my fellow exchange students complained she couldn’t “read” how smart boys were because her US vocabulary wasn’t good enough to evaluate theirs.  And she couldn’t make a “picture” OF THEM.

Cultures are not innate.  Yes, I think we can all agree certain traits feed the culture/are fed by it.  And that remnants of a culture persist for a good long while, if you immigrate as a family or, as some 20th century ethnicities did, as a village.  For instance, it’s not coincidence (I think) that when I went to my kids’ departmental awards for chemistry in college, he was the only one who didn’t have a German last name.  (He does have German ancestry, but not in massive quantity and so far back it’s genetically moot.)  HOWEVER note that he got the departmental awards in Chemistry, a notoriously fussy, detail oriented discipline, while being half Portuguese, that is to say having a mother from a culture where “detail oriented” means “arrives at appointments within two hours of right time, and is within a mile of the aimed for objective.” (His father, OTOH, is a mathematician. But I’ll be honest, our family culture is more me than him, mostly because through most of our lives I stayed home with the kids.  Which means meals are “around this time” — with a four hour span — and doing the same thing every day never happens (now I am on daily meds, I have alarms on my phone to remind me.  Otherwise those never happen, either.).)

On the other hand, you can acculturate, a notoriously difficult, mind-bending process, which I underwent because I was not intending to become an hermit, and also because I wanted to fit in somewhere.  Having immigrated to a place I had A chance of succeeding, I undertook to fit in as much as I could.  Enough at least to be a normal person, even if an Odd one.  I will not detail that process here, because I’ve detailed it in another post. However, acculturation is very difficult.  It’s not impossible.  But it is internally difficult.

This is why liberals think it’s inhumane and “impossible” and “no one” should be forced to do it.  Which is why they espouse the salad bowl idea of culture, not the melting pot.

There is a big problem with that.  Well, several.  The end stage of the salad bowl is the Balkans which you might note are NOT a region known for its cutting edge science and culture. Mostly because they are spending all their time in daily fights, even when it’s not open war.

And that gets us back to culture.  Culture is, at its most basic level, a series of built in assumptions that allows people to use minimal effort in their daily lives, in evaluating people or situations.

Sure some of us who got the short end of the ethnic stick in terms of “We look like population most likely to be dangerous” have to make accommodations.  I’ve blogged here about having to pay double for son’s accommodations in a not so good part of the metro area, because son depending on lighting and how short his hair is can read Latin or black, or (mostly) a combination.  And depending on the areas in this part of Metro Denver, that can mean… the wrong side of a potential gang war, or just “suspect #1” which considering the hours medical students keep could get dicey.  So I paid extra, which annoyed me. No, it’s not fair, and it’s not a “good thing” but the world isn’t, and cultures can’t be.  Because most of evaluations are done at the gut level, and with instant looks.  And they are right most of the time for most people, or they’ll change.

I can’t for instance complain about older son being taken for dangerous, because when I was waiting for him to get home from middle school, so I could run to the post office (he hadn’t taken a key.  Those were the “losing my key once a week” years.) I stood in front of the house, on the sidewalk (we lived in downtown Colorado Springs) bag on shoulder.  And I saw this huge, over six feet tall guy, in a black leather jacket, with a two day beard growth, coming towards me.  I started to retreat inside the yard, when the guy said “Moooooom.”  Yep, older son.  But the scanning I didn’t even know I was doing had said “danger.”  (Later this happened again while walking down the street.  After that he started wearing a shirt and tie every day.)   This is not something you can control.  It’s at the back of the brain.

But in less dire/danger/whatever situations, we still do evaluations every day.  And the problem is how cultures “read” things and people can be completely different/opposite.  Part of our issue with Islamic culture is just that: cultural.  They’d never get in the pissing contest they are pushing, if they could read us accurately.  And arguably our liberals would never be pushing for peace and appeasement if they could read THEM accurately.

It’s one of those cultural traps which I have read about and which are tragic.


I think I’ve spoken before of the tragic encounter between Zulu and Boers in South Africa. Zulus were doing what they did that had won them Africa (they came from central Africa shortly before the whites arrived): Commit incredibly scary atrocities so the enemy runs/avoids combat/submits. The whites were in their head just another tribe. They could not understand the idea of a “tribe” that was starting to span the globe and which would self-identify as “tribe” in the face of a savage. So their savagery made the Europeans MORE determined to wipe them out.


We’re seeing something like that, again. Islamic CULTURES are big on bragging, exaggeration of force and intimidation of the enemy. This is functional in a desert where there’s always a lot of low-level “war.” Some atrocities, scare “the enemy” and you keep your patch, and you go on. they have a fine tuned ear for this. When the other tribe isn’t committing atrocities against YOU and particularly when they’re being appeasing/accommodating, you have them over a barrel. If you strike with showy force you can take their stuff and enslave them. NOTE most of the attacks are designed to be showy.


TWO things they don’t get: Our elites are appeasing because the elites think they’re SO powerful they can’t be touched and are oikophobes who hate their own people. AND our PEOPLE is getting pissed, really pissed.


You know the old joke? There are no Muslims in Star Trek because it’s set in the future.


This is unfortunately the likely outcome of the cultures meeting. At some point (already happening) the elites will have to fight or be replaced. And when we go to war, our power is incalculable compared to them. They think we exaggerate our strength, while, culturally, we underplay it. They don’t understand we’re holding back.

The result will be a horrific destruction of guilty and innocent alike and even people like me who look Arab/Mediterranean in a bad light will be at risk.


And they will be the victims of genocide. And the west will change for centuries, in ways I’m not sure I like.


What is irritating is seeing the beginning of this process, but I don’t know if we can stop it or change it. it would take cross cultural understanding that has NEVER happened in human history.

Now imagine that within a country.

We’re already there to an extent.  Because people live in bubbles/don’t assimilate and the industrial-entertainment complex has promoted the idea of groupings in which the individual is a widget for over fifty years, we’ve gotten used to evaluating each other on one characteristic.

Remember above, my mention of our elites?  They are the most insulated and blindest of all. They literally have no idea what their countrymen are like.  They attach to ONE characteristic and build their oikophobia on it.

These, mostly liberal, elites, have had their culture reinforced in college and by entertainment, and by living near other people who attended similar colleges.

I was reminded of this while reading a book yesterday the “liberal without knowing they are” characters (college professors with not a friend in fly over country) are about to visit a couple some miles off their big city.  The couple are “conservative” (which in this case seems to mean not liking CNN) and so they assume the couple is: Hyper religious, red necks, listen to country, close minded, etc.  It was like that whole “clinging to guns and religion” thing.  In fact the couple could be … well, libertarian.  Or even Libertarian.  The couple in fact could be like the people who hang out at the group blog I used to contribute to, Classical Values.  So Libertarian that we wondered if adult incest SHOULD be illegal as such, no matter how much it skived us.  It could be anything. BUT on “conservative” these people built up a straw man that might exist, but not very often and certainly not universally. BUT everything they learned/read/watched has trained them this is right.  Which is what cultures are like.  They are the short hand for “reading” other people and circumstances

And this, mind you, is an inability to read your OWN culture, that you were supposedly raised in.  Except there’s a whole culture now, outside it, created by “elite” institutions and people who are easily led. There is a counterculture too, created by people and people like me who attended the same colleges, etc, but didn’t buy the bullsh*t either because we’re naturally suspicious or because we had experiences that countered them.  I am routinely insulted by both sides.  Last week, it was someone ostensibly on the right, saying how you couldn’t trust anyone with a post-grad degree, who liked to live in cities and who had traveled, because they were all Marxist.  He’s obviously wrong about me, but is that the way to bet?  Yep, which is why the right-culture makes that evaluation.

Now throw in immigrants.  I was once both diverted and appalled by the account of an Arab immigrant (I think she wrote The God That Hates) who thought for years, after immigrating, that the neighbors were all spying on her.  She was evaluating the US from the perspective of an Arab who, had she had American neighbors in her native land, would have spied on them/distrusted them.  The things she read as threatening, etc, were funny as heck for those of us outside that mental loop.  (Kind of like me thinking my future and now late BIL was dangerous because he was a biker and kept his wallet on a chain.)  What finally broke through her illusion was realizing her neighbors thought she was… Mexican.

But most fits of total cultural blindness don’t break.  As I said above, I’m very worried about what is going on with Islam, because I’ve never seen two cultures resolve that kind of miss-communication without serious blood shed.  And in this case, they can’t perceive how outnumbered and out-armed they are.  They also can’t perceived that our elites aren’t our COUNTRIES (and part of that is our media.)  Or how close they’re running to the edge.

Cross cultural perception (and/or assimilation, if we’re talking immigrants) doesn’t happen on a mass scale unless it becomes completely NECESSARY for survival.

The bad news is that I don’t know if that CAN happen on the world stage.  I think those in Islam that GET us, and try to talk will get silenced by their own kind. Coming from a culture that’s more uniform/conformity enforcing than the US, but less than the Arab cultures, I know that if I were trying to warn Portuguese about this kind of misunderstanding, I’d just get called crazy and dismissed.

And on our side… Americans tend to have a happy-go-lucky idea that all humans are like them, until the illusion shatters.  And then we’re G-d’s own bastards, because when we’re shocked we react badly.  See WWI and WWII.

The good news is that nationally, partly because of the cr*p going on in the world stage, partly because technology is allowing the counter culture (the real counter culture.  US.) to have a voice, our elites and our um-assimilated immigrants are going to find themselves in one of those situations where assimilation is a life-preserving value.  Probably sooner than later.

This is good news, even if things get a little dicey for me and family (a little?  Yeah, because we ARE assimilated) for a little while, because it will stop the runaway balkanization of the country. It makes it more likely we survive. We, the US, but also by extension, we, the west.  Of which we might be the last best hope.

Even if the way there is strewn with fire and blood, and if what emerges on the other side is at least for a while more conformity-enforcing and less welcoming of individual foibles.

But when we’ve allowed leftist illusion to run rampant, there will be a price to pay.  I just hope it’s a butcher’s bill we can survive.

414 responses to “Cross-Culture

  1. Whoa! Lotta white space there at the end!

  2. Daughtorial Unit was probably somewhere on the autistic side of the scale — not so much “couldn’t read signals” as “wasn’t aware there were signals to read.” We undertook a deliberate study of the basics of subliminal signals and she can now almost pass as normal … these days that is better than 80% of her generation seems able to manage.

    • I’ve seen a book written by someone autistic that is basically a teenager’s social guide for those who can’t read signals. I need to track that down.

      • I do not believe I am or was autistic nor aspey (“merely” ignorant), but I sure could have used that book, I suspect!

        • Sufficiently high IQ/tendency to overthink will mimmic autism. You COULD read signals, of course, but is it REALLY that simple? There MUST be more to it. I’ve watched my kids do it. It would be funny if it weren’t so painfully WRONG.

          • I suppose there was that. I suspect it was so bad that had a gal been interested in… things… she might have had to rope me and tie me to the bed or suchlike before I caught on. None ever did that, btw.

            • None that you noticed, at any rate.

              • While I could (and can…) miss an awful lot, I do rather suspect that that would be something beyond my ability to overlook.

                • While there are certain aspects of personal experience I disdain discussing online, trust me, such experiences are not impossible.

                  Just sayin’.

                  • Let us assume we have slightly different settings on a detection threshold and go on.

                  • I had an instructor at prototype tell me “If you want to remember where something is, go in hull and put your junk on it. You always remember where your junk has been.” So far his advice has been accurate.

                    • External genitalia have certain advantages.

                    • The advice is both wrong and misguided. First, my junk would crush most things. Second, just last week, I had walked up and down the beach, looking for the thing, because I couldn’t remember where I had last docked my junk.

                    • Let us also note the documented inability of men to recall where they put their junk as recently as the prior evening, much less eight to twelve weeks later when receiving one of those awkward phone calls … (cuing old George Carlin routine)

                      John receives a phone call. “Hello,” he answers. The voice on the other end says, “This is Susan. We met at a party about 3 months ago.”

                      John: “Hmm… Susan? About 3 months ago?”

                      Susan: “Yes, it was at Bill’s house. After the party you took me home. On the way we parked and got into the back seat. You told me I was a good sport.”

                      John: “Oh, yeah! Susan! How are you?”

                      Susan: “I’m pregnant and I’m going to kill myself.”

                      John: “Say, you ARE a good sport.”

            • That sounds very familiar to me. 😦

            • May find someone like that at rodeo. Just get in the gate and run.

            • er… some day ask me how I got the point across to Dan. It didn’t involve that, but it had to be that blatant.

            • I had a gal lay her head on my shoulder while driving, and it still took me a month before I realized she was interested in a relationship.

              • Oh, THAT one flew right by my husband too. As did trying to snuggle while we waited to be rescued from the broken-down car. “Are you cold?” said he. And giving me his coat, he went out to look at the engine. Even though at the time he knew so much about engines (later in our early married life he did almost all our car maintenance but not at 18) that if the entire thing had been replaced with a goldfish bowl, he MIGHT not have noticed.

                • I got a story published, and a friend of mine sent me a note at how pleased he was that his first serious girlfriend had gotten published.

                  Note that while I knew he was interested, and I was interested back, we had been working together at a summer camp, so relationships were Not Done. So I had entirely missed that we actually had a “serious relationship.”

                  Not that I mind, in retrospect. Just funny.

                • *shakes head* I still learn so much about human behavior from this place. That one would *still* have gotten by me.

                  My last ex finally got through to me with the “We are dating now. No, I’m not joking or speaking metaphorically…” speech. *She* knew *I* was interested a looooong time before I knew the reverse.

                  • Actually, my husband had the “are we dating?” speech with me, because we were both of the idea that such things must be clearly stated and not implied. Of course, the fact that I’d resisted dating him for half a year because he was on a serious rebound also had something to do with it.

                    Then we told our friends, who said, “You weren’t already?”

              • I wasn’t too clueless when I was dating my wife, but I was completely clueless back in high school. My junior year, my (male) cousin, who attended the same school as me at the time, asks me who I’m taking to the prom. I tell him I’m not planning to take anyone (I wasn’t planning on going), and he replies, “Well, you should think about asking Amy* to the prom.” (Amy was a girl in one of my science classes, whom I thought was cute). It wasn’t until years later that I realized that he probably didn’t suggest that on his own — Amy probably went up to him and said, “Could you hint to Robin that I’d like him to ask me to the prom?” Missed it completely at the time.

                * Not her real name.

            • My late wife literally tripped me and sat on my chest while she explained how she felt.

          • For those of us racing desperately to catch up with our own thoughts there really isn’t much spare capacity for noticing what others are signalling? We’re too busy racing ’round third and heading toward home to notice the Third Base Coach signalling “SLIDE”?

            • Now that’s just funny right there! 😀

            • …or that there IS a third base coach…

            • There’s not being able to read the signals; then there’s reading the signals but convincing yourself that you’re not reading them correctly and thus ignore them.

              • Terry Sanders

                Oh, yeah.

              • PRECISELY. That’s my kids’ form of crazy.

              • Michael Houst

                First hand, second hand, on the gripping hand, pull off the shoes and one foot on one side, the other foot on the other side. You can be so damn smart, see all the options, have empathy for all sides to the point of being unable to choose, or even cope with them all. And God help you if your parents indoctrinated you with a value set that was completely at odds with any form of current signaling.

              • Or reading them very correctly, from a station that you would otherwise be very willing to listen to – but the person in the broadcasting booth at the time is not the usual anchor.

                Few days ago, I mentioned that this is how I was homosexual through most of college… (And THAT signal was the Comedy Channel. There are signals that I fully recognize, and just don’t care – or that simply amuse me.)

          • I’ve always suspected that the majority of autism spectrum “disorders” are simply the result of low-brainpower over-educated dumbasses trying to understand/assess the actions and behavior of people who are actually far more intelligent than they are.

            I know of several cases where someone was handed a diagnosis of autism, and what was actually going on was there was kid with an assessed IQ of about 160 plunked down in a family and social group where the average IQ was probably in the low 90s. Mom and Dad didn’t “get” him, and he seemed so out of it, so dreamy… So, they medicated the hell out of him throughout his childhood, and it wasn’t until his late 20s that he finally got out of his shell.

            Guy was scary-smart, and just completely out of place where he grew up, and the masking behaviors he’d picked up to cover all the “weird” up were things he didn’t overcome until way past his childhood. When I ran into him, he was finally starting to “run free”, and it was amazing to watch him go.

            Autism, my ass.

            • We do a great job breaking the high achievers or just different so that they turtle up. I know personally I had such bad experience with school as a kid that I bottled up with books and wasn’t til I started 911 that I broke out with select people. Society has pushed the ‘dont act different’ message to 11. Plus the autism spectrum keeps expanding and more cases are noticed that were previously just shy.

              • Pretty soon shyness will be a disorder too…

                The explosion of mental-health disorders in the DSM is downright scary, particularly since there’s no measurable basis for most of it.

                • Yep. That and the handwaving of other illnesses and arguable malpractice from doing so. Depression treatment is not supposed to consist of telling me just to go do it since I’m pulse dysphoric.

                  • Explanation please . What is pulse dysphoric? I’m some flavor of depressed and so was my father. I take meds for it.

                    • I’m being very cynical. Pulse dysphoria is the feeling that one should not have a pulse.

                • Especially when they want to use such diagnoses tp deprive you of your rights, And I seem to remember that the Soviets’ weaponization of mental health used to be one of the greatest sins of which we were able to accuse them.

                  • Two particular gems from the waning days of the Obama administration served to declare any veteran or anyone on social security who needed designated assistance with their finances to be too mentally impaired to be allowed to own a firearm. Luckily those got rescinded very early on by Congress and Trump.
                    Of course in the media it was all “Trump issues guns to crazy people.”

                  • yep. They’re trying it again, too.

                • Except, Narcissistic Personality Disorder was removed when Obama was elected.

                  • It isn’t Narcissism when you really are wonderful. It must be that we are narcissists for denying his greatness. Imagine, thinking ourselves qualified to dispute him! What gall.

                • Case in point: the nigh epidemic over diagnosing of ADHD. The symptom list reads like a description of a happy healthy kid.

                  • TBH, the symptom list reads ‘intelligent active boy” to me.

                  • One of the pernicious things about ADHD is that there really are kids who are hyperactive. I know of one person whose mother gave up trying to put him to bed, who every night would just let him run free until she found him asleep in some random place in the house, and then pick him up and put him to bed.

                    It’s one thing to find such extreme examples and to try to treat them (or just deal with it; the family gave up on medication when he pointed out the street value of the drugs they were giving him — but his adult life had a rocky start, particularly with jobs — it amazes me that while he married early, his marriage remained intact through all this) — it’s another thing to take out almost all physical activity from school, and then diagnose every boy that acts out after that as “ADHD”.

            • The “Cuckoo’s egg syndrome” is real. we have a mild case of it in this family since younger son is a standard deviation above the rest of us. Maybe two. Hard to access. BUT autism is real too, and has physical tells. It just gets overdiagnosed.

              • Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying autism isn’t real. I’m with you on the over-diagnosed by the bureaucracy, who find it easier to deal with “troublesome children” by assigning them to some category of disabled.

                Friends of the mine have a kid who would fit right into your “Cuckoo’s egg” category–I swear, that kid would be evidence in a divorce suit, were he to be evaluated solely on personality and mind. Fortunately, he’s the spitting image of his dad, so that question has never come up. But, his parents? LOL… They’re both reasonably intelligent folks, but they’re not the sort of people you expect a genius out of, and there is zero history of that on either side of the family going back a couple of generations. This kid? If he gets the right nurturing, he could be graduating college when he’s in his teens. Little bastard is smart. Socially, though? No game, whatsoever. He’s either going to burn hot, or he’s going to fizzle. I wish I could do more to mentor the little twerp, but since they’ve moved…

                • This is why eugenics doesn’t work very well for intelligence. Sometimes average mom and average dad are both exceptional in minor, unnoticed ways. BUT get their genes together and WOWZA.
                  Note none of Da Vinci’s half siblings were even vaguely notable. On either side.

                  • People who believe eugenics works well for intelligence are not particularly intelligent, no matter their IQ scores.

                    • Eugenics works perfectly for the people who impose it; they allow the swine to keep a moat around ‘the right people’, by which they mean their wonderful selves.

                      The best thing that revolting Austrian corporal ever did was put the stink on eugenics. Laster a good long time, too. Pity it seems to be wearing off.

                  • Or many other things, for that matter. Notice that the children of artist seldom match the talents of their parents.

                    • So the Howard Foundation’s attempt to promote longevity through breeding was ill-advised?

                    • Heinlein posited that particular plot device at a time when living to reach 100 still took some basic common sense, resistance to diseases, and good solid genes. The Howard plan was to encourage the marriage (breeding) of couples who’s ancestors exhibited lifespans of 100 years or greater unless ended through misadventure.
                      Ill advised? Probably so given human nature, but farmers and ranchers have been selecting for certain traits with that same methodology for thousands of years.

                    • Yes, but things like “picking for fat” is not like “picking for intelligence” — so many ways to express that.

                    • I think artists, writers and for that matter — glares at her fledgeling — doctors do what they do because they’re broken in peculiar ways.

                    • Mother was quite nearly her father’s equal in portraiture, less so in paints and music, though. I got precisely *none* of those natural talents, but I can now carry a tune if it has big enough handles. *grin*

                    • Although the famous artist and Bohemian Augustus John did have a son, Caspar, who rose to the rank of admiral and was knighted.

                      (The Bohemian was more of a driving force than the artist; he wanted to become a cadet in search of a life with rather more order than his home life.)

                  • I think that eugenics, in the sense of breeding for specific traits like intelligence and what-not, is utter lunacy. We simply don’t know enough about what even goes into consciousness, let alone intelligence. The target is pretty general, and not at all well-defined, in the first place.

                    However… I think that there’s definitely a connection between various traits that are apparently quite heritable. Broad behavioral patterns, general features of preferences and skills. You may not be a stereotypical Korean, in terms of behavior, should you be adopted and raised here in the US by American foster parents, but… You’re damn sure going to demonstrate that there is something genetic going on, when you are a math whiz and prodigy in a foster family of highly artistic mathematical dunces, and later discovering that you were the love child of a well-known Korean mathematics professor and another math professor’s student daughter…

                    While the features that make us what we are in our genes are as of yet unknown, I do believe that there is definite evidence for there being something heritable going on. Whether it’s a methylization effect, with the environment communicating to the genome, or something more deeply embedded in the genetic code itself, something is going on.

                    I’m not sure that it is accessible through what we’ve been calling eugenics, however. There has been no real program where we’ve either defined, identified, or done long-term work with the populations we’ve inflicted this BS on. However, Mama Nature damn sure has, and that’s why we are able to have these stereotypes about the different ethnic backgrounds and so forth that we do. There’s just enough there to “fool the mind”, so to speak, and make us think that there are such things as races and racial superiorities, when what is really going on is that the human animal we’re looking at is a creature whose genes have responded to the environmental cues and selections that they have, thus creating these illusory stereotypes.

                    It’s not a thing of judgment; it just is. Specific traits possessed by humans, and influenced by their biology are effective in certain specific environments; those traits that make for a superior academician are likely not those that make for a superior hunter, although there may well be some cross-connection and correlations in certain areas. The fact that your genes may suit you more for an environment where there is constant sustained conflict instead of peaceful coexistence and civilized cooperation simply means that you and your nurturers should be aware of that fact, and attempt to compensate for it with effective behavioral modification in childhood and youth. Trying to hammer someone whose genes are screaming to roam the open steppe into a culture where they’ll be expected to be an office drone in a cubicle somewhere may not be good for either the individual, the office, or the organization making the attempt.

                    • Michael Houst

                      Actually, eugenics, in the sense of breeding for specific traits like intelligence and what-not, is sound procedure. We’ve been successfully doing it with animals for over 10,000 years. You have to understand that you need a specific goal/trait to select for, you have to consistently select for it, the first several generations are going to be very random, human generations are horribly long, and humans don’t like being told whom to breed with, and how many children they have to have. If I remember correctly, higher general intelligence for the Ashkenazi took roughly 14 generations to start showing up; and that was a side effect of the selection methods those Jews were using to marry into “successful” merchant families.

                      We can select for stronger humans, for humans with greater intelligence, greater endurance, higher disease resistance, etc. But you’ll need to enculturate that concept of breeding for better people into each new generation or the entire plan goes back into randomness.

                    • but intelligence isn’t a single component. you can breed for better mathematical ability, better attention to detail, better verbal fluency. You can’t pick for ALL of them. Look, my younger son is my father come again. None of my mother or his dad seem to show. My older son, only the Lord knows. It’s not OBVIOUS. Sure, over time the family runs to verbal fluency and medicine. BUT we also throw off engineers who sometimes can’t say a simple sentence without garbling it. Same fathers, same mothers. “intelligence” has too many facets to be selected for. And things like “artistic talent” are even worse.

                    • The problem is we HAVEN’T been doing it successfully, it’s just taken a while for the problems of deliberately breeding for only a few select traits to start showing up. I’m thinking pure-bred dogs and horses here, and I know more about the dogs. Just about any pure bred dog breed you can think of has serious potential for bad genetic-linked diseases. And it applies to the breeds that ought to have a high enough population to be mostly spared, and the ones that are bred by “good” breeders, not careless ones, not just breeds with low enough population density that the problems can be blamed on low gene pools. Golden retrievers have higher risk of cancer, Collies of all types are prone to eye problems, (don’t get me started on the deliberate breeding of merles), cocker spaniels have rage syndrome, schnauzers have eye problems, kidney problems and more, the giant breeds universally have joint problems and longevity problems along with breed specific problems. If we can’t do it right with animals, we most definitely shouldn’t be trying on humans.

                    • *supporting evidence*

                      With cows– beef cows, anyways– not only are the traits a lot easier to select for, but a high risk of old-age diseases simply doesn’t matter when the point is to be butchered in less than three years.

                      And you still have huge profits from hybrid vigor, in the form of fewer dead calves and not as many health issues; if they’re too pure-bred, stuff dies.

                    • Much like Communism, True Eugenics(tm) have never really been implemented in any proper sense. Every attempt so far has been more along the lines of selective culling, as opposed to conducting longitudinal breeding experiments. The key problem has been that a.) it just takes too damn long to breed humans, b.) they’re disastrously prone to screwing around (wonder how many blue-blood bloodlines in Europe are “contaminated” with commoners?), and c.) no institution has ever existed with either the mandate or the ability to actually run such a program on a human scale. One human can drastically influence breeding animals like dogs or foxes; our lives are long enough that we can see the results of experiments within the span of one lifetime. That ain’t happening with people, and it would take an institution that could remain focused and incorruptible over the length of time it would take to actually implement a program of real eugenics.

                      In short, it ain’t never been tried, nowhere, nohow.

                      Now, there are things that you can look at, in terms of group/families that can tell you a lot of useful stuff. If you’re a person of literature, bound for a life of office work and mind labor, wanting to pass that on to your children? It might maybe not be a good idea to seek out your mate from a family background of, say, tribal highlander from the Vietnamese hill country. Sure, there may be a few sports from that population group/ethnicity that have the requisite traits and predilections to be successful contributors to your family genetics, but… Odds are, you’re going to have a hell of a time finding the needles in the haystack that are.

                      Now, that’s a purely rational “breeder” perspective. The way the human heart goes? You might meet that second-generation Hmong lass, fall in love, have her reciprocate, and then make some beautiful kids, some of whom are possibly going to be ill-adapted to your lifestyle in the here-and-now. On the other hand, post-apocalypse? They may be the hope of your line; you just don’t know.

                      If I were setting up a eugenics program, I don’t think I’d focus on things like intelligence, looks, or much of anything like that. I’d set up some sort of institution within my society that served to evaluate the performance of members, and then judiciously make sure that the people who performed properly had their genes more thoroughly spread throughout the population–Take sperm samples, for example, and that kid who gives up his life running into a burning house to save others? Yeah, him–Under the current “breeding regime”, his altruism doesn’t get directly rewarded. I’d change that, and say that his genes need to be perpetuated, and when we needed to have sperm donors…? His stuff goes to the top of the list. Effects of things like that would take a long time to show up, but with small societies, with limited gene pools? Where you’re going to have to have planned out-crosses, just to stay healthy? Well, guess whose samples are going to get passed on, with a “life performance rating” attached?

                      Over a long enough time, you could expect to see some discernible effects from things like this; you would have to be very careful to pick out which traits you wanted to focus on, and the general integrity of the system supporting it. I think that instead of breeding for “intelligence” or “looks”, I’d focus on things like character, altruism, and cooperation. Real-world performance would be another thing–It would be interesting and valuable to track and “encourage” things like better piloting skills and so forth, traits your society might need and which are rare in the general population.

                    • Assumes that genes, rather than culture, caused the heroic death.

                      Now, the breeding scheme I was taught to use would work either way: the “they’re good people” scheme. Warn your daughters away from guys who are trouble, and guys whose families are trouble. 😀

                    • Precisely. Culture is so influential in humans that at times it might be more than half the equation.

                    • @ Fox

                      I’m pretty much hypothesizing a formalization of that informal system you’re describing… Imagine the grannies getting together, and deciding that poor Teddy, who died young and without issue, really ought to get another chance, seeing as he died keeping the family reactor from going critical…

                      On the other hand, say Teddy was the idiot who tried to re-enact Chernobyl; maybe breeding from his geneset would be a bad idea, even if he was a genius-level reactor engineer.

                      Of course, all this presupposes the idea that you can’t breed for luck, and that the Pierson’s Puppeteers were nuts to try. A real-life Teela Brown isn’t something I’d expect, but… Who the hell knows. Maybe the universe does work that way…

                      Come to think of it, there was this family that my family knew and socialized with when I was a toddler. They were always entering contests, all of them, and they won a really disproportionate share of such things. Mom, Dad, the kids… All of them. Their mentality was not that they’d enter, and see what happened, it was “We’ll enter, and we’ll win…”. And, they did. A lot.

                    • No, because what you’re describing explicitly dehumanizes the individual on the most basic level — it becomes their genes, rather than themselves, which is important to preserve, and it dehumanizes the kid that results, by making them “the continuation of (hero’s) genetics” rather than “Jane and Joe’s kid, did you know his uncle was a hero?”

                    • Sometimes I know that I’m going to win before I enter the contest, and not always when it’s a performance-based contest. It’s happened often enough that I have to be careful to not assume it’s there when it’s not. That’s how gambling problems start.

                    • “Precisely. Culture is so influential in humans that at times it might be more than half the equation.”

                      I think the situation is even worse than we realize: that humans are who we are, not just because of intelligence, but because we *can* pass culture on to our generations. We have the ability to adapt to circumstances with almost no genetic reflex, along with the “curse” of having to pass on what we know to our progeny. This curse is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we can pass on bad memes to our children and allow good memes to die on the wayside. On the other hand, we not only have the ability to pass on good memes to our progeny — we are pretty much forced, every generation, to justify each meme, at the risk that if our progeny can’t be convinced a given meme is worthwhile, they’ll just drop it.

                      An imperfect process, to be sure, but it gives us a fighting chance to pass on what’s good about our culture, and to weed out what’s bad.

                      And when it comes to something like heroism, spreading stories of heroic efforts will do more to convince all of us to be a little more heroic — regardless of our parentage — than any attempt to breed heroism into our genes.

                    • Culture is to intelligence as an O/S is to processing speed.

                      Being highly intelligent defines how much data you process how quickly, but some cultures are more efficient than others in how they collect, assemble, review and collate data.

                      As well as propensity for crashing.

                  • Works both ways. I grew up in a family where Mom, Dad, and two sisters were academic geniuses (I shall be modest and describe myself as merely “bright”). Then the one “Cuckoo’s egg” that, to be very honest, is the stereotype of “Blond Ditz.”

                    Do note that the four of us “academic” types had to force ourselves to be even minimally social – but the odd one out was a frickin’ social HYPER-GENIUS.

                    Lucky for my kids I had experience with this – they’re all three different people (and I hope that they are the people that they SHOULD be, not what I WANTED them to be).

              • A proper diagnosis of autism—and my oldest has gone through this—involves actual trained child psychologists in a multi-hour testing setup. Note that he is a mild case, where the goal was to get him in the mainstream without aides by third grade. (Which we have now reached.) And he’s set for the GATE program that they have starting next year.

                However, had we had the third child first, and my eldest last (or later), we would have noticed a lot sooner. Some of the signs are unmistakeable with a neurotypical child to compare with.

                And autism =/= socially inept. It’s a sensory processing issue, and different people will deal in different ways. A friend of mine, who deals with a lot of severe autistic folk in her job, says that she knows one guy who is autistic and is incredible at relationships, because that’s his focus.

                • My youngest has a sensory processing issue that his teacher thought was autism. LENGTHY (3? days, I think) evaluation session later, we were told, no. He has the sensory processing issue, but not the concomitant brain issue, and is almost ridiculously gregarious. So we trained for the sensory dysfunction.

          • There is also the aspect of, “I’m busy here, working on this calculation of relativistic effects on the spacetime continuum, what do you mean I need to come up for air and see what’s around me?” to consider. This was me initially, then when I finally DID come up for air, it was, as you say, “No, surely s/he didn’t mean THAT; it’s too simple. What did s/he REALLY mean?”

        • Ditto. One of those kids, my sister who has taught for years said, who should have gone to kindergarten, but didn’t.

          • Hey, I did. I got kicked out for barracks lawyering. I am not joking.

            • Barracks lawyering when tiny actually is a marker for one kind of giftedness.

                • What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks went wrong with this country that we elected a lawyer named Barrack to chief executive? Charles Dickens himself couldn’t have offered a clearer ill omen.

                  • My family was giggling about Barrack. Barraca is SNAFU in Portugal.

                    • I thought that was “insane”, per an old Portuguese guy I knew who was a merchant marine… I wonder if Tony really knew, because all his Portuguese came from his family, which was fishing the Grand Banks before Columbus. He used to refer to both his wife and her goats as being “buraka”, and I thought it was Japanese because I thought it was a cognate of “baka”, which I knew from my WWII reading. He corrected me, told me it was Portuguese for crazy or insane.

                      I wonder if the dialect he knew was different, or archaic? He told me that when he visited Portugal as a sailor, he had a hell of a time making himself understood. Kind of a strange accent, with him–He spoke English with a New Jersey accent, because that was where he grew up in a Portuguese-majority fishing community, but my stepdad swore up and down he spoke everything else he knew in a pure Portuguese accent…

              • Worse, I was barracks lawyering not on own behalf but on behalf of one of the shy girls the teacher picked on routinely.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                Yes. I knew my Kid was bright from early, early on, but it was confirmed when she took it in her head to hurl her teddy bear across the grocery store aisle. “Do not throw your bear.”

                *places bear c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y on ground, lines up, kicks bear across aisle*

                “Do not kick your bear.”

                *rolls bear across aisle*

                “Do not roll your bear.”

                *multiple iterations follow*

                “Dearheart, if that bear leaves your hands again I am taking him away until bedtime.”

                Silence reigned for 30 seconds, until I could hear her being audibly smug and turned to find her marching behind me with her hands behind her back and the bear in her teeth.

                At this point, I knew I was doomed. Further experimentation has borne this out.

                • bhahahahaha

                • You are a LOT more tolerant than I am…. Little miss “I wasn’t touching the cat, the blanket was” got one look and being informed that “yes, that counts. Funny, though, and that is the ONLY reason you are not in trouble. Now don’t touch the cat, you’re hurting him and he will bite you.”

                  She still does the technicalities, but thank goodness not on safety issues.

                • I have a son like this, too. He also takes things very literally. Sometimes we tell him to do something, or not do something, and it takes us a little while to realize that he has misunderstood what we asked of him, because he took what we just said a little too literally.

                  I may be *partially* responsible for that — I’d often take things literally when joking with the kids — but only partially, because he seems to take literalness to a whole new level sometimes.

                  In some ways, it’s annoying, but others…sometimes you *have* to take something literally, or you can’t solve the problem you’re facing.

      • My sister is a speech pathologist who works with kids diagnosed with autism spectrum.
        About half her kids are true spectrum kids — often severe cases where they simply cannot control their behavior or understand how to interact with the world around them.
        The other half are basically normal kids. There are a few truly hard cases who have nothing wrong with them — they just choose to be jerks and their anti-social behavior has been pathologized.
        But most of that second group are kids with perfectly normal brains and genuinely don’t want to be jerks, but they’ve been so isolated from human interaction (primarily due to excessive screen time and lack of parental involvement) that they simply have never been acculturated. These are the ones she really worries about, as she sees our cousins allowing their kids to drift into this. A book like that would be perfect for them!

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          High functioning autism is interesting when mixed with lack of social acculturation.

      • If you can find the title I’ll see if the library can ILL a copy…

      • Please B. Durbin – if you can track that book down, please do so. I’ve got at least one daughter heading into her teenage years who could probably use some of it.

      • Oooh. Something like that would be useful, for study into ‘other perspectives.’ I’d love to know the title, if you find it.

    • Picture the Odd, alone at his radio desk, wondering where all the intelligent life is, occasionally annoyed by those flashing lights in the disance and reminding himself to look into whether they form a pattern or not someday…

      Whilst all the rest of the world has been using heliographs because that is what everyone does.

      Why no, that could not have been me as a young man. No, it was much worse, I’m afraid.

  3. So if we’re not a melting pot, and not a salad, maybe we can be stew?

    • That is the “loose society with low conformity” that’s best for odds. It might no longer be an option. It’s less of an option the more we let the left have their head.

      • Have you noticed how the left pushes the “salad bowl” analogy instead of the “melting pot” analogy, but overtly rejects any cultural groups that don’t pay them the necessary obeisance? Sort of “salad, but I really don’t like onions, so don’t let any of those find their way in.”

    • Perhaps Fondue, where the USAian Faith is the creamy, warm, cheesy, goodness that makes everything go together?

    • How about a nice chili?

      • With beans and macaroni? Why, yes, I am from Wisconsin.

        • Despite folk saying that beans would take too long, the normal method for a cattle drive was for the cook to ride ahead and set up camp at the agreed place, so he would have hours to prepare before the rest of the crew arrived. Beans in chili was perfectly possible, especially since you could soak them the night before, and they’re a great portable source of lots of good stuff.

          Macaroni—you’re on your own.

        • Even though I am a Texan, I am no chili purist. Fundamentally, chili was whatever the range cook could find to throw in the pot. Beans are perfectly fine, especially seasoned properly.

          But macaroni??!

          • See prior description of what it is.

            Just the range changed, slightly.

          • I’m Texan and always want beans in my chili but I love beans to distraction. Never met one I didn’t like (except garbanzos). But if I don’t have enough left to go around I serve it with mac and cheese. Chili (or beans) are surprisingly good with pasta.

        • Macaroni?! And I spent a few decades in WI.

      • What kind? Texan–or Cincinnati? With meat, with beans, with mac, or spiceless with dried fruit? Last mentioned is what my grandma made.I make stew that’s mostly meat, with potatoes and some carrots.

    • As long as it’s not the, *shudder*, cultural mosaic attitude up here in the north.

  4. Scot Douglas

    Rome and Carthage.

    Victor Davis Hanson’s The Western Way of War

  5. Pretty much what I’ve been thinking, for years, vis-a-vis how all this is going to play out between Islam and the West, particularly America.

    Somewhere in an afterlife, the guys running Imperial Japan are sitting there, watching this, and shaking their heads knowingly: “You have no idea of the mistake you’re making…”.

    I’m not quite sure how you go about making war on an entire religion, but I’m equally sure we’ll find a way to do it. Probably by discrediting it, and then rooting its adherents out. The Mongol lessons learned from dealing with the Old Man of the Mountain and his flock will probably be dusted off, and then applied. It isn’t accidental that the surviving bits of that particular sect are strongly pacifistic…

    • What concerns me is the currently popular equating of all religions as being the same. If *this* religion is free to practice whatever, then *that* religion must also be free to practice whatever. And, conversely, if *that* religion is forbidden to freely practice whatever they want, then *this* religion is also forbidden to freely practice. So, the ‘elite’ — if Islam is forbidden — are going to also forbid Christianity. Actually, they’d prefer to forbid the free practice of Christianity, even though it’s not Christians who are committing terror attacks all over the world. (It’s another case of what Sarah was talking about, where the elites have this certain picture in their heads that isn’t in any way accurate, but they *think* it is.)

      • We’re rapidly coming to the time where the hoi polloi are just going to quietly say, “no,” and refuse to comply with the elites’ edicts. We’re beginning to see it, but I think it will progress rapidly, especially if the “sanctuary” cities and states get away with nullifying federal laws without any repercussions.

        • I see that happening, too and more than politically. There was an essay of Victor Davis Hansen’s that Insty (I think) liked to last week – that many people are quietly disengaging from elite-driven pop-culture and creating, or recreating their own. I suppose the Sad Puppies furor is an example of this. The elite-driven entertainment institution hates our guts and insults us in every possible way … so we walk away.

        • The Western elites are also going to find that their hold on actual power is slipping away. Eventually, power comes down to “people with weapons”.
          The current batch of elites is disdainful of weapons and more so of those who use them. Destabilize things enough, let things get chaotic enough, and eventually the people with weapons gets fed up enough to toss the snotty bastidges out and take over themselves.

        • I would suggest that the election of Trump was less the hoi polloi quietly saying “no” than it was the the hoi polloi loudly saying “fuck you”

          Hope to see more of it, though I’m not a huge Trump fan.

          • “I would suggest that the election of Trump was less the hoi polloi quietly saying “no” than it was the the hoi polloi loudly saying “fuck you.” ”

            Yeah. If you offer options between more of the same that has screwed with your life and a Big Red Button, why are you surprised when it blows up in your face?

          • I am firmly convinced that the election of Donald Trump was the people of flyover country withdrawing their consent to be governed, loudly and emphatically.

            Which is why I’m convinced that any removal of Trump from power that is not achieved by 1) the 2020 elections, run in a way that cannot be claimed to be fraudulent, 2) impeachment based on evidence they will see as more than amply proving the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, or 3) his natural-causes death, will start a Second Civil War.

            • I think that the Second Civil War is already brewing. Not sure it can be prevented.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I have believed for some time that we were headed for a Cultural Revolution within ten years. Since November, I’ve begun to believe in a shooting war within four. I am not *happy* about this, but at least in a civil war you have a chance to shoot back.

              • a bunch of the people i know here in CA really think they can secede, successfully. I remind them that my great great great grandfather was one of Lee’s lieutenants, and asked them how well that worked out.

                • Yes, BUT… I don’t see the current mood in flyover country as “preserve the Union at all costs”. If CA, or some part thereof, did secede, I would bet the response from most of flyover country would be “Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.”

                  Yes, CA would then crumble under the weight of their own bad government. But that’s not the same as getting involved in a shooting war to prevent you leaving. (If anything, the shooting war might involve preventing CA from coming back.)

                  • Well, they brag about how they can grow their own food and they are x size economy (5th largest when i moved here, 7th largest now) and don’t realize that the ‘grow the food’ part won’t want to go with them. Me personally, I’d love to move to East California.

                  • This. California can go and take Hawaii with it, and very few in the remaining 48 will care. And when they crumple, we can let them back in after they’re reconstructed. Southerners would be quite happy to give pointers on that and “improve” on the experience.

                    • If Hawaii left the union it would operate identically to how it does now: fax everything, shaft everyone, export pineapples and coffee, and import everything else. Kona might go up in price by 25%. They’d make a bundle on the naval base lease.

                    • Nope, the factions wanting to leave in Hawaii? Have said point blank there will be exactly ZERO US military or any other presence on the islands. The wackier ones have talked about kicking off anyone who isn’t pure blood Hawaiian (their sucessionists tend to also be Hawaiian supremacists, and haven’t bothered to count the fact there’s less than 5,000 hawaiians who would meet their critera of ‘pure blood’). They haven’t thought the implications of ‘making the US clean up the mess before they leave’. The Air Force folk point blank said that if they were given that order, they’d bulldoze the runways that they’ve been leasing to the Honolulu international airport (which is about half of that air port’s available runways) first, and the Navy had similarly destructive plans for many of their facilities. While I entertain the possibility that the military was bluffing, I don’t think so. Without the bases their economy would completely tank.

                      (I was stationed their for 3 years over the period when we went into Iraq. There was heavy talk of succession over that one. Nothing came of it and the sane ones were very glad of it.)

                • I’m in complete favor of letting, even encouraging, California to secede, and I would like to do everything in our power to ensure that they do so peacefully. I’m even willing to let them have a few military bases, if that’s what it takes. I’d try to negotiate allowing an Eastern California to stay with the United States, if they so wish, and when I’m feeling particularly mean, I want them to do so on condition that Hillary be their President.

                  Now, whether they can successfully secede is another matter — right now, it’s up in the air as to when (not if) California’s debt will get so big, that California falls into the sea — or worse, collapse into a black hole — and the problem will likely accelerate if California secedes. But hey, if they want to go at it, then I’m willing to give it a try.

                  Now, if only we can get New York City to secede as well…

              • I agree, but still hope we can avoid it.

              • If there is such a conflict, will the Internet survive, or will I have to get all my news from the MSM?

        • Learned something; all this time I’ve had the definition of hoi polloi exactly backwards.

          • Yeah, sometimes I have to check to make sure the words I want to use actually mean what I want to say. Would that the other side bothered to do the same thing.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        That, and treating different religions like they were interchangeable, i.e. The Handmaid’s Tale, where Atwood has Christian fundamentalists acting exactly like Islamic fundamentalists, despite having no history of doing so.

        • Yes – because it is the fundamentalism, not the fundamentals, that are determinative.

          Besides, grasping the underlying principles rather than noting a superficial semblance is just sooooo tedious.

          • Nonono. It’s not that it is tedious, but they can make political hay with it. And it reinforces their opinion on when mommy and daddy forced them to go to church rather than watch cartoons.

          • This is one major difference between fundamentalist Christians and so called fundamentalist muslims. So called fundamentalist islam is MAINSTREAM islam. No questions if and or buts about that. There’s not room for misinterpretation of it either. There is no central authority for islam, and there are two major sects, with a few minor ones. But they all agree that 1. Sharia law must be established over the whole Earth, and all must submit. 2. people who leave islam must be killed- and can be killed by any muslim. There is no crime involved in killing an apostate. 3. Atheists, Buddhists, and all non-believers other then people are fair game at any time. People of the book are fair game some of the time.

            Fundamental Christianity is NOT mainstream Christianity. And there no real definition of what fundamentalism consists of. If you believe and follow all Roman Catholic doctrine- are you a fundamentalist? Used to talk about families growing up (well, still do…) that are more Catholic then the Pope. Well, with this Pope, that’s easy to do… There is no Christian sect that believes it is OK to kill apostates. There is sort of an automatic disconnect there. If they adopt that belief, they are no longer Christian. Or at least not recognized as Christian by any major Christian Church. Choosing to be Christian is a choice, there is no compelling people to become Christian. If they hear the Word of the Lord and choose to reject it, they’ll suffer for it in the afterlife. Not our job to make them suffer now. There’s that whole render unto God what is Gods an render unto Caesar what is Caesars thing that doesn’t exist in islam. The religious world is held separate from the secular world. I could go on, but everyone reading this blog pretty much knows what I mean.

            • But our enlightened elites grasp nuance in a manner far above your capacity and they find such distinctions irrelevant to their goal of eliminating all religious superstition no matter how much it encourages partisans to “beseech you, in the bowels of christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”

              • A small correction…eliminating all religious superstition except their own belief in their progressive dogma.

              • Please; “Eliminating all religious superstition” other than THEIR religious superstition.

                And if you point out that few, if any, of them know enough science, psychiatry, history, theology, or anything very much to hold any beliefs in anything OTHER than as a matter of religious faith, BOY do they get steamed!

            • Fundamentalist anything means following the fundamentals of whatever. By that definition, a good many Christian denominations that don’t think of themselves as fundamentalists are.

            • I thought the Niagra Bible Conference laid out a pretty specific definition of what is fundamentalism is. Though I guess the Five Fundamentals could count too:
              1.Biblical inspiration and the infallibility of scripture as a result of this
              2.Virgin birth of Jesus
              3.Belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin
              4.Bodily resurrection of Jesus
              5.Historical reality of the miracles of Jesus

              Also, I was under the impression that Fundamentalist was mainstream Christianity, though that may come from growing up in the South.

              As for Islamic Fundamentalism, I personally do not believe it exists any more than Sunni Christians. But then I am one of those crazy people who thinks decimate means to reduce by a tenth (and perhaps all the officers) regardless of how many times I hear our ‘elites’ on the idiot box use it to mean devistate.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I was under the impression that Fundamentalist was mainstream Christianity

                IMO Mainstream Christianity is what the News Media says that it is and the News Media prefers to say that Liberal Christianity is the mainstream of Christianity.

                • My impression has been that Fundamentalist Christianity is that sect which rejects Liberal Orthodoxy. As if Jesus’ teaching could hold a candle to the brilliance of our modern enlightened Liberation Theologians.

              • IF I recall that class correctly, there’s a couple more things fundamentalism requires (from the 19th century definition–Niagara doesn’t ring a bell, for what that’s worth in my sleep deprived state, but Scofield does):

                a literal seven days of creation, and the rapture of the Church (pre-Tribulation maybe).

                OTH, a quick look at “A History of Christianity in the World” finds your five on p. 308. That class I was trying to recall used Gonzalez’s two volume “The Story of Christianity” but I don’t have volume 2 in front of me and I have to get to work anyway.

                (And I was one of those people who until recently didn’t know that decimate literally meant kill one out of ten.)

            • “If you believe and follow all Roman Catholic doctrine- are you a fundamentalist?”

              Of course not. The Fundamentals was a Protestant book.

        • It’s just like after all the horse excrement after the Pulse shooting. It could have nothing to do with religion but was because of Republican Hate. By a guy seeped in Clinton love. Ya. Easier to attach SPLC to a terror attack than gop or Christian since early oughts iirc.

          Or that it’s legal to murder transgender individuals in red States.

          • The SPLC *does* actually have a terrorist who flat out says “I attacked these guys because the SPLC said they were OK to hate”, so that easier doesn’t say much. You’d have to get someone with a print out of a list of political opponents in the process of attacking them, and then have him describe how he wanted to desecrate the bodies of the dying.

      • The “We cannot judge their quaint foreign religious practices using our western white-priv morality” stuff is what leads to the Aztec sacrifice altar in future-Rome in The Colonel’s space series – morality is not conditional, so they don’t get a pass because they are doing something their religion says is okeydokey.

    • I think that at some point the Islamists are going to do something to REALLY piss us off (9/11 was almost there, it took the anti-american media nearly a decade to memory-hole the emotions around it and even then Obama had to sell his retreat as a new “smart” way to fight the war) and we’re going to make the rubble bounce All of it. We have the capability to completely destroy Muslim civilization, and that’s without resorting to nuclear weapons. But, given our history every other time America has been forced to destroy a civilization, we’ll step in afterwards and rebuild it into something that doesn’t need to be bombed into the Gravel Age.

  6. This is what scares me with the growing ‘two minutes hate’ and no platforming. This not only reinforces the tribalistic notions that exist in any society, but by working off the legalistic mindset where as long as the govt hammer is not directly employed you can shut out the enemy, the social lubricant that allows civilization above the troop level gets tossed out.

    So once it becomes clear that society revolves around power and control so that ‘your side’ can be unopposed and step on others, the only eventual outcome is awash in blood. And historically that is just a bad omen of the start.

    As far as assimilation, even obvious attempts should be treated as positive. I don’t mind the 84 yo Portuguese woman who if she could ever speak English has lost it to the ravages of age. One should support the malapropisms that come out of someone trying, given the bipolar highwayman nature of English language. But for those who always respond ‘but we did it that way’ back in home country should get the same response that the New Yorker in Texas gets for the same thing.

  7. ” I just hope it’s a butcher’s bill we can survive.”
    Fortunately we have a short attention span once we go to war. Otherwise there would likely no longer be a Japan or Germany.

      • Grandpa would correct anyone trying to pronounce the family name in the manner of the old country:
        “We’re American, and it’s… $AMERICANIZED_PRONUNCIATION.”

        I do not know if that was from his father and such, or if it was part of the WWI reaction to things, which did go overboard – and Grandpa would have been 6-8 yrs old when the USA got directly mixed up in WWI.

        • German-born composer Kurt Weill did the same — uponreceiving American citizenship he exchewed the Teutonic pronunciation Coort Vile in favor of the American Curt While.


          He also gave up the Beer Hall for Broadway, dropping Mackie Messer in favor of reminding us that “It’s a long, long way from May to September …”

          • I changed my name so that I didn’t have to continually correct people about how to pronounce my first name. Also, I hated my birth name. That helped.

            • My maiden name was pronounced exactly as it was spelled, and not because it was the American version. It just happened to look somewhat French, but it was Polish. (Except that a cousin tracked it to just post-Napoleonic wars, so it *might* have been French originally…)

        • Shortly after WWI broke out racing driver Eddie Rickenbacher Americanized his name to Eddie Rickenbacker.

          • For that matter, the UK royal family changed their family name from Saxe-Gothberg (sp.?) to Windsor. I think they waited until 1916 or 1917?

            (Hmm. I wonder if Paul Gazis had them change their name. He had Wilson’s plea for peace work, and an armistice / peace treaty settled in 1916. That way airships development was favored over airplane development. See http://airships.paulgazis.com.)

            Okay; back to work. Ciao.

        • Roger Ritter

          The computer scientist Nicklaus Wirth made a geeky joke out of how to pronounce his name: “You can call me by name, which is ‘Virt’, or by value, ‘Worth'”.

        • History tells something similar that happened to other German immigrant communities that were in the Midwest during WWI. My dad’s family is from one. I know that my family’s name was Americanized beforehand, when the first entered the US, but there are stories of big shows of patriotic buntings, songs and parades when some officials came investigating for pro-German sentiment at the time.

          • Zimmerman, of the eponymous telegraph fame, boasted to the US Ambassador of the 10 million Germans in the USA willing to take up arms for the Fatherland. The Ambassador replied that the USA had 10 million and one empty lamppost.

            • And that just showed how little Zimmerman knew about America. My family was as German as it’s possible to be (PA Dutch, my grandma didn’t speak English even after the family had been in the US for maybe 130 or so years because it wasn’t useful in the community), and they were proud to send their young men to the army to defend the country.

              • That in itself is interesting- the possibility that VolksDeutchen could completely wash their hands of the Fatherland and even gladly fight against it never entered Zimmerman’s mind.

                • We mentioned this, yesterday… To a degree, the Germans who came here were not the Germans who stayed in Germany, and the fact that they had fled “the old country” and growing Prussian militarism might not have been a good thing for Germany as a whole.

                  One wonders if the extremists would have gotten as extreme as they did, had the United States not stood as a pressure relief valve, and all those Germans who fled conscription had stayed in Germany. The character of the country might have been a lot different, without the sorting-out that actually took place in our history…

              • Zimmerman likely never even *met* any German-Americans other than a few Bund leaders.

                In both World Wars, German political and military intelligence was more wishful thinking than any attempt to get a true picture of a situation.

          • There is a record that we dropped the “e” from the end of our surname because it was too British.

            • More likely some ancestor simply tired of Americans calling y’all cheeky.

              • It’s actually documented in some official business with the government.

                OTOH, soon after we married, my wife became exasperated with a lady who could not correctly “get” our surname even when she spelled it out. Finally my wife said “It’s like that great big one you’re sitting on.” That did the trick.

            • We changed our name from D’Almeida to de Almeida in grandad’s time. Because though we were the poor branch, people might get confused and think we were noble.

            • I know that my g-g-g-g-grandfather changed the spelling of his last name because he was annoyed with some of his cousins.

              And shortly after, left Ireland for America (although he and an uncle ended up briefly in Hamburg, until they figured out which ship they were supposed to take).

          • “Reddig” to “Reddick” for my mother’s family (also well before the War).

            Probably wouldn’t have been necessary, in any case – just about all of my grandfather’s WW I company was American of German descent, with just an odd Swede or two mixed in.

      • That’s what scares me. Sooner or later one of these Koran-addled idiots is going to manage to make us lose our temper, which won’e be good, buy may be entertaining for those of us with sufficiently sour dispositions;

        Progressive Left anti-war idiot who completely failed to appreciate just how angry the country is “I wanna see my lawyer!”

        Jail guard, who has been listening to these puling morons for at least three days too long; “Go ahead. He’s in the cell on your right.”

        We’re going to end up in possession of what’s left of Mecca (a smoking hole in the ground) and we won’t like it.

        OTOH, the Koran-addled will like it even less.

          • And until it happens, the poor doomed bastards will go on as they have been, because they think that their continued existence means they’re winning.

            • We should’ve nuked it on 9/12. We’ve been been too nice to these savages for too long.

              • see MarkM’s post below.

              • That would have worked then. Now? I’m not entirely sure what level of power demonstration would be needed to drive home to those fools that we are perfectly capable of committing a 5 minute genocide, but that we’d really rather not, and they *really* don’t want us to change our minds about that..

        • They truly don’t understand that we can be pushed right into dropping a precision-guided nuke on the Qaaba Stone at the height of the Hajj…

          • Um… Actually, the Raqqa bunch are hoping we will nuke Mecca.

            Their apocalyptic prophecy says that when Mecca is destroyed and Raqqa is surrounded by enemies waging the final battle, the hidden imams and the prophet Jesus will come back and send all the infidels to Jehannum (Gehenna), and the Faithful will get all the eschatological goodies.

            So yeah, they are that nuts.

            • Yep. If pushed that far, Mecca will not be the only smoking, glass lined crater in the Muslim world.

      • Eh. We’ve Millie’s lots of foreigners before with only minor effects on our culture. Genocide? Eh again. Everybody is precious whether they are the last person to speak Farsi or the last person to get 20,000,000 on Asteroids at the arcade down the block. Sure, a lot of our former elites who worship group identity politics would be more broken-hearted over the former, but if things have gone that far then they are probably much more worried about dealing with not being the ruling class anymore than anything else.

    • I don’t think it’s our attention span that shortens our wars (if anything actually does — I can think of some long ones we have been involved in). It’s more that we value individuals, and it hurts to see the casualty lists even if we don’t personally know the people whose names are on the lists.

      • It’s not attention span that stops us when at war, it’s more the understanding that “we’ve beaten them, they are no longer a threat to us.” We really don’t fight for conquest, at least not since the Spanish-American War.

        • I would tend to agree with Mead’s classic article which argues that it is our Jacksonian roots which tend to dictate our behavior in war:

          Jacksonian America has clear ideas about how wars should be fought, how enemies should be treated, and what should happen when the wars are over. It recognizes two kinds of enemies and two kinds of fighting: honorable enemies fight a clean fight and are entitled to be opposed in the same way; dishonorable enemies fight dirty wars and in that case all rules are off. An honorable enemy is one who declares war before beginning combat; fights according to recognized rules of war, honoring such traditions as the flag of truce; treats civilians in occupied territory with due consideration; and—a crucial point—refrains from the mistreatment of prisoners of war. [Editorial comment – by these definitions, the Islamic movement is a classical dishonorable enemy.]

          The key Jacksonian rules of war follow:
          1. Wars must be fought with all available force.
          2. The strategic and tactical objective of American forces is to impose our will on the enemy with as few American casualties as possible.
          3. The enemy’s will to fight is a legitimate target of war, even if this involves attacks on civilian lives, establishments and property.
          4. “There is no substitute for victory”, as General MacArthur said, and the only sure sign of victory is the “unconditional surrender” of enemy forces.
          5. Once the enemy has made an unconditional surrender, the honor code demands that he be treated magnanimously.
          6. There is no point in making or keeping treaties with “savages.”

          I think Sarah might join me in suggesting that Islam has forgotten the immortal words of Tacitus – “Solitudinem fecerunt, pacem appelunt.” This is not a game. Low intensity conflict is not something we will tolerate long term. And once the dogs of war have been let loose by the West, God have mercy on anything which gets in the way of our magnificent bastards for surely we will not.

          • Why didn’t we respond to 9/11 like we did to 12/7?

            • Mostly because at the time we didn’t have a clearly-identifiable nation-state enemy. We knew somebody had flown those airliners into the WTC and Pentagon, but didn’t know who, or under whose auspices. And because we practice restraint, we didn’t just lash out at the obvious targets.

              Unfortunately, we’re dealing with an enemy that mistakes restraint for weakness. An enemy that simply cannot comprehend that a whole civilization could renounce religious warfare, to the point that we’d bend over backwards to overlook the religious motivations of the enemy and redefine them as political or economic ones that we get.

              I’m starting to worry that, when our country finally accepts that yes, this is a religious war, it won’t be just a matter of Islam being declared a pseudo-religion not covered by the First Amendment. It may well be the repeal of the First Amendment and bye-bye religious freedom. I’ve already seen some people arguing that American citizenship should be restricted to Christians only, with maybe a small cutout for Jews. But no Hindus, no Buddhists, no Wiccans, and probably not even any deists (which would’ve put Neil Armstrong in a sticky wicket if he were still living, since he was a deist and his strong moral rectitude wouldn’t allow him to pretend the observance of a formal religion he didn’t believe).

              • It was a small subset of Muslims whose goals included getting us to strike at all Muslims. Instead we attacked those who had demonstrated a willingness to support such terrorists.

                In spite of appearances, Bush did not declare a War On Terror. His administration declared a War On Terrorists And Those Who Support Them. The strategic goal was to make it clear (as Gaddafi quickly grasped) that it was bad juju for any nation to offer safe haven to Islamist Terrorists.

                Of course, starting out with a plan to drain the swamp does not always guarantee you will retain that focus when you find yourself up to your knees in alligators, especially those alligators basking in tha halls of Congress and the press rooms of America.

              • Leigh, I’ve made the argument that a Muslim living by the tenets of his religion CAN’T be a citizen, because the Koran clearly states that no oath or agreement given to a non-Muslim whether at a personal or governmental level is binding if it prevents the Islamic religion from becoming supreme.

                That makes both these clauses of the citizenship oath impossible to fulfill for a faithful Muslim:

                “”I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

                However, unlike Christianity, Islam also encourages the believer to lie about whether or not they are Islamic. That refutes your Neil Armstrong / Deist argument, because while Neil Armstrong might not be able to put his citizenship above his religion, his religion wouldn’t make it OK to lie about it, and then require he actively support killing or enslaving any non-Deists he could. As far as I’ve been able to find out, Islam is unique in that religious requirement.

                • As far as I’ve been able to find out, Islam is unique in that religious requirement.

                  Well, yes. Gaining more followers hasn’t always been the goal, it’s been get more slaves, get more territory and get more loot. I remember reading somewhere that there’s a point where they don’t ALLOW conversions and refuse to let dhimmi convert.

                  Then there’s the way the Arabs treat any black/African/non-white Muslim. Watched a documentary where several people going to the Haj were followed on the journey, and the African muslim was treated very badly to put it mildly. I was too busy laughing; but he seemed to be making excuses for their failure to behave in a brotherly manner toward a ‘brother Muslim…’

                  I was pretty much of the thought of “What did you expect? The word for your people is synonymous with ‘slave’!”

            • The people wanted to. I heard something that afternoon I’d only read, and that in conjunction with the Indian Wars. It was “Whatever it takes,” with the full understanding that if that was genocide, so be it. What I don’t think the world grasped is that our own government kept things leashed, knowing full well that we wanted war to the hilt. There’s still the sentiment “Underneath our starry flag/civilize ’em with a Krag.”

              Oddly, Arafat did. There were spontaneous celebrations among Palestinians, which his people quickly supressed. The next day he had demonstrations of support for the US. Arafat understood Americans in ways most foreigners don’t.

              • Yes, but some of us still remember that spontaneous celebration – and the degree of sympathy for his government, especially on the Republican side dropped tremendously as a result. There may well come a day that the demonstrators who cheered the World Tower going down receive that which is due them.

            • Once we clearly identified those supporting the perpetrators, I would argue we did. The government of Afghanistan which refused to hand over the planners and plotters no longer exists.

        • Terry Sanders

          Not even then. To get any popular support here, a war of conquest has to be disguised as a response to aggression. The War Hawk Senators had been pushing for the “liberation” of Canada since there was a Congress to push in. The impressment scandal was a godsend to them. And it’s been standard practice ever since.

          • Along with the Senate, the need for a casus belli(sp?) before conquest is something we inherited from Rome.

  8. Part of our problem is that Americans don’t actually do multiculturalism nearly so much as we talk it. Doing multiculturalism would entail deep studying of how various cultures are organized with particular focus on key variables, such as honor/shame or how strength is expressed — by ostentatious display or through restraint. We would then tailor our communication strategy for various cultures in such way as to facilitate their clearest possible receipt of our transmissions.

    Instead we tend to elect the Disney Small World model in which everybody is essentially the same except they dress quaintly, sing different songs and cook their food in interesting ways.

    Happily, America tends to eventually toss up a president who speaks the lingo of our challengers, giving them fair warning of our true natures even as our effeminate elites wring hands about being dangerously provocative and needing to listen to others more politely.

    Almost every Retief story is an illustration of this confusion.

    • Plus we tend to assume that other cultures are automatically equal or better in any way to Western culture. So no need for Protestant Reformation, countries should not have the equivalent of their own industrial revolution, etc. And thus are extremely patronizing and dismissive. For example, all the swpl libs going to bat that ISIS is a complete abberation of Islam, in complete opposition to someone with a PhD in Islamic studies like Al-Baghdadi

    • To paraphrase Mark Steyn, multiculturalism is all about feeling vaguely good about other cultures in order to excuse yourself from the messy business of actually learning anything about those cultures.

  9. When I was serving my LDS Mission in the UK, we were in a college town. Back in the 90s (and probably still true today) lots of Middle Eastern and Asian Muslims went to UK universities to get higher educations. On our way to visit with (we were not and probably are still not allowed to try to convert Muslims) a Muslim professor from Cyprus, we ran in to a Libyan Muslim student. Conversation started off along the lines of the “British are so decadent. We are forced to come here for our education because they are keeping us down.” When we identified as Americans (because he couldn’t tell the difference from our accents or attitudes), he REALLY started to rant and rave. Not quite “Great Satan” stuff but he was talking about Pres. Clinton and all the bad stuff he’s been doing. We stopped him short with one sentence that pretty much ended the whole conversation. All one of us said was “I didn’t vote for him,” in a pretty dismissive tone. This Libyan student honestly couldn’t fathom that an American would openly say you didn’t support the current leader of the country. The look on his face when that was said was . . . . interesting.

    • Heck, a lot of *Americans* think like that. “He was voted in, so you should give him your whole support.”

      Sometimes my reply is, “No, I didn’t vote for him, and if I can round up enough other people who don’t like him, we can impeach his ass,:

      A President isn’t my liege lord. He’s my *employee.*

      • There is a notable tendency for those taking that “He is president” attitude rather more strongly when the presidency aligns with their party.

        • Oddly enough, it was while a fellow Republican was President that I realized that the President is only President over the Armed Forces and the Executive Branch — and thus, barring federal employment or serving in the military, he isn’t my President — that I’m the President of my own life, and responsible only for what I can do.

          More recently, I realized that we probably shouldn’t say “President Trump” or “President Obama”. If we merely said “The President wants to do this”, we would be in a better position as to whether or not any particular President should be allowed to do this, for whatever “this” the President wants to do.

          This would keep us from following into the trap of “Oh, it’s Ok for President Obama to do this, because President Obama would *never* abuse this power” or “Oh no, President Trump wants to do this, and we *know* that President Trump has ulterior motives!”

    • There is an interesting issue there. From the American POV, the President is, as TRX says, an employee, and often one that even those who hired him find unsatisfactory. From the Arab perspective, however, the idea of citizens being willing to bad-mouth their leader to outsiders, whether that leader is Clinton, Bush, Obama, or Trump, is another sign of weakness, both of the leader that allows it and in the bad-mouther who’s so willing to turn on his own.

      It’s against my nature to treat any politician with kid-gloves, but I wonder if, when dealing with foreigners, perhaps I should.

      • Nope. Just because they don’t get it is no reason to pretend something is true that just isn’t. Instead, you could try pounding into their heads that our president isn’t our ruler, he’s more along the lines of the foreman our people have hired to manage the government for a limited period.

      • He’s what the people talking to the elders in the loya jirga [sp] managed to agree on, mostly. He’s not the one most would have picked, had it been their choice, but he’s the one most people in the tribes decided they could live under.

        • I prefer to think of our presidents as Least Objectionable Alternative.

          It is akin to being invited to a restaurant where you have to choose the dish least likely to make you hurl.

  10. I have to say I used to not see what was so terrible about balkanization. As a libertarian, I thought that when one group of people wanted to split off from another and go their own way, as Norway did from Sweden or Slovakia from Czechoslovakia, where was the harm? Then Yugoslavia broke up and I got a look at *real* balkanization.

    • The problem was, I think, that some people wanted to keep some ancient border lines, even though massive numbers of people from a different ethnicity then ended up in the wrong country. If everyone had simply talked things over ahead of time to discuss where the borders should be, it might have worked out much better.

      • Well, that’s the problem in Africa, too, except that the ancient border lines there were drawn by Europeans in the late 19th century.

      • Historically, giving up terrain is pretty much a non-starter

        • One example is when Malaysia expelled Singapore from their country. It seems to have worked out well. I don’t know the details, but I suspect the Malays would have felt overwhelmed with so many more ethnic Chinese in their territory.

          • I wonder how many counter examples I could come up with

            • One of the weirdest “balkanization” instances I could talk about is how West Virginia became a state, but I’m from WVa, so I have an appreciation for why something similar could never really happen again. Either in the US or elsewhere in the world.

              • Why would Virginians want to associate with you hillbillies.

                But in seriousness, that is one of the big things I see with the whole calexit thing. The resulting polities will not be what people seem to assume.

                • Basically the only reason why it was allowed to happen at all was because the Civil War was currently in full tilt and both the Union and Confederacy had bigger problems to worry about. Hell, the only reason Lincoln decided to bend around the Constitution in the matter was by figuring “we’re either going to have to fight with them, or against them, and we need all the help we can get right now”.

                  • Ya. And tbh Lincoln had a very flexible Constitution in cases.

                    • Yeah I have mixed feelings on his view of constitutionality. On one hand, he did things like suspend habeas corpus under martial law. On the other hand, judging from his writings on the subject, he was very aware of the severity of his actions and the precedent it would set, and felt that it was the least worst option out of a lot of other horrifically bad options.

                    • I think a little flexibility is in order when one faction is shredding it entirely. “Not a suicide pact” as one wag noted.

                      Lincoln’s views on the Constitution are largely unknown because it wasn’t in effect during his presidency, and not solely by his will. I would be more sympathetic to hearing the South’s arguments had they sued for dissolution of the Union, but they declared war.

                      That said, we’re traipsin’ almighty close tuh Tar Pit territory an’ I reckon further discussion best be tabled.

                    • If Lincoln hadn’t been hopelessly incompetent, there might not have been a civil war in the first place…

                    • Yeah — if only Lincoln hadn’t attempted to supply Union forces at Fort Sumter the South would have had no pretense to fire on them.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      We’re getting into Dangerous Territory here. 😦

                    • TRX, ACW is a forbidden topic here for a reason.

                    • Buchanan bears far more of the blame than Lincoln. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

                    • While agreeing that ACW is a tarpit topic, I would also point out that this is According To Hoyt, not Baen’s Bar, so Her Highness’s rules apply, not Jim’s.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      And IIRC SHE has said that discussions about the ACW aren’t allowed here.

                    • Yup. And mah lips are zipped. Ain’t gonna say a word (I actually have enough sleep to remember that, this time!)

                      Actually, it’s kind of funny. I can talk politics honestly here, religion is neither doubleplusungood speech nor preachifying… But there are no-go topics for *other* stuff. And that’s perfectly okay (and belated apologies if I did go off the ACW reservation the other day).

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Compare the first sentences of Articles I, II, and III. I take those as implying that the executive power is complete and unlimited. I also think that the executive power includes greater amounts of power as the emergency demands. Think perhaps ranging from lower than a consul to, at a level of emergency we have never and may never see, a Roman dictator.

                    • As a libertarian so-called anarcho-capitalist, I have a weird appreciation/disappointment mix about Abraham Lincoln that’s a result of a mix of public-school admiration and libertarian hate.

                      I think libertarians tend to look at history with a skewed lens, though — they realize that the United States is probably the closest we’ve come to a truly libertarian society (one where it’s possible to have a “major” party devoted to Libertarianism!), but because of this, they tend to think that early Americans were libertarians. They were not, though; they were steeped in Locke and Hobbes, among other government philosophers, and so they believed that government, to some degree, was necessary. Heck, one of the arguments against the Constitution (as given by some anti-Federalists) was that we should have a king!

                      For better and for worse, when Abraham Lincoln wasn’t following the Constitution, he was following the Lockean doctrine that sometimes you have to give up liberty in order to preserve the nation; you could even find passages in the Constitution that encode this idea. (If I recall correctly, this idea even dates at least as far back as to Roman times, where the Romans would sometimes appoint a temporary “dictator” during times of war.)

                      So while I understand why libertarians hate Lincoln for what he did, I often think they do so without considering that he was a product of his time, much like Washington and Jefferson were products of theirs.

                      Now, if only we could fix the Wayback Machine, and send Gary Johnson back in time to run for President in place of Abraham Lincoln….

                      Ok, maybe that *isn’t* the best of ideas….

    • To be fair, that one turned into balkanization with a side order of ethnic cleansing – which is never a clean proposition and almost always turns genocidal quickly.

      • The thing is, ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of WWII is a large part of why Europe has been so relatively peaceful.

    • Reading about the mess that was the pre-WWI Balkans, and knowing a bit about how Tito kept it together as Yugoslavia (basically, pit each distinct and separate group against all the others while making all efforts to keep them distinct and separate, with a thumb on the scales to keep the Serbs in charge), it is no wonder that when it fell apart it did so in such a spectacular manner. There literaly was never actually a Yugoslavia, except as the name for the Serb colonial empire.

      If there had been any there there, perhaps it would have hung together, but the entire edifice was based on mutual and opposing ethnicity-based grievances, so as soon as the central control fell apart, the whole thing was flung into bits by centrifugal force.

      I guess the bottom line is that a country needs some reason to stay a country, and the best reason for humans is a shared culture. As the latter degrades, the former gets more and more questionable.

      • The problem was that Tito’s version of the Resistance was very successful at killing off all the non-Commie groups fighting the Nazis, and particularly they attacked multi-ethnic or multi-religious Resistance groups. They also got the English and Americans to fund them instead of the previous government and army types, and to badmouth everybody else in the international press. Any leaders who escaped Tito during the war were executed afterward.

        So yeah, Tito created a lot of the problems he then took credit for “solving.”

        • Tito created a lot of the problems he then took credit for ‘solving.’

          So, just your typical Liberal political leader?

  11. Supernatural Collective Nouns (includes these classes: Spectral, Heavenly, monster, Demon, Undead, Elven, Psychotic, Mechanical, Human, Wildlife, Foreign, and Irregular) : http://wondermark.com/566/

    • I wonder about the accuracy. It’s not that I might be less than thrilled with ‘snarl of minotaur’ as at least I can see it, but that ‘fondle’ for unicorns? I’d seen ‘blessing’ for them.

  12. “And arguably our liberals would never be pushing for peace and appeasement if they could read THEM [i.e., Muslims] accurately.”

    I keep telling them to look at Muslims’ anti-progressive tendencies, but they never do.

    “The result will be a horrific destruction of guilty and innocent alike and even people like me who look Arab/Mediterranean in a bad light will be at risk. And they will be the victims of genocide. And the west will change for centuries, in ways I’m not sure I like.”

    Which is why I’ve been saying for years that we will be better off if we are firm with Muslims now, when it’s easy to do so, than later, when it will be harder and much bloodier. But our elites just won’t listen.

    • Sigh. Progressives seem incapable of connecting what happens with their having bent over and spread the cheeks.

    • Many years ago, I read a novel by C.M. Kornbluth where the Soviets take over the United States. So in one town, the leaders of the local communist party show up, happy as anything, ready to be appointed heads of the local Party administration. The Russian officer has them taken out and shot, and gives the job to one of the local business leaders. They want people who know how to keep things running and make deals under the table; they don’t want *troublemakers*! The moral has stuck with me. . . .

      • I know the Soviets weren’t particularly impressed with the German Communist during the 1945 drive to Berlin. If they were such good Communist, weren’t they already actively working against Hitler via sabotage and partisan activity?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          For that matter, Socialists and Communists who fled Germany during Hitler’s rise to power got a very cold reception by Stalin.

          IE They went to the camps. 👿

        • And as far as I understand what happened in Poland, if they were out in the woods being partisans, killing Nazis and blowing stuff up, why that just meant those people were *troublemakers* too.

          And woe betide any Soviet POW who had allowed themselves to be captured, even if they had escaped and joined the local partisan bands. I understand things went very hard for any Red Army ex-POWs.

      • That’s pretty much what I’m expecting. It’s because it has already happened, in Iran. Muslims and leftists were united in opposing the Shah, but when the Shah left, the Muslims took over and butchered many leftists. It’s hard for me to believe that almost no one on the left remembers this.

        • It’s hard for me to believe that almost no one on the left remembers this.

          Never underestimate the ability of those on the Left to “forget” unpleasant facts.

          This time it will work, for sure.”

          Marxism is the political equivalent of “Hey, hold my drink and watch what I can do with this economy.”

  13. Professor Badness

    While taking ROTC in high school, I scared my Mother repeatedly by showing up in uniform, (Air Force). Seeing a great big guy in uniform just walk through the door without knocking was very jarring.
    It happened so many times that I eventually realized that people do see the outfit before they see the person; and that extends to race, crutches/wheelchairs or any other obvious feature.

    • It is the nature of any being to look and start by making snap judgements based off attire and how someone holds himself. I have had a number of times people took me for military because of how I reacted and acted. Wrong uniform. The trick is to then use data to actually categorize them. But today we get told that certain data is not allowed.

  14. During the Watts riots, my collaborator Steve Barnes needed to rescue a friend from Compton. Being black he wasn’t afraid of the people in Compton, so he put on the proper gang colors — namely a suit and tie, to signal to the police that he was middle class and one of the good guys.

    It worked.

    Immigration without assimilation is invasion. Charles the Hammer understood that very well.

    • This is why my older son ALWAYS wears a button down and tie. Because he looks like a thug. It’s just the face G-d gave him. And my mom’s side of the family. Except mom’s side is tiny so they just look like troglodytes.
      Younger son, aka heartthrob of the b’nai b’rith doesn’t have that problem.

      • This is also why we have social uniforms and rules of etiquette, to enable us to signal we’ve attended to and (at least slightly) mastered the rules of social order and are not simply great apes dressed in a monkey suit.

        Judith Martin (Miss Manners) is wont to rant (politely, of course) about the evils done in not teaching children the rules of social etiquette in order that they might have freedom to act within definable boundaries. Instead we simply throw our feral children to the wolves, declaring their behaviour “natural” as if that were a virtue.

        Only the evil and cynical (raises hand) would dream of suggesting this as a way of enforcing the inherent privilege of those brought up within the dominant culture and holding the base knowledge of those rules as birthright.

      • It can work the opposite way. I used to wear such daily (work attire). Can’t, anymore. Apparantly I look too much like a serial killer when in nice clothes. Who knew? (not me, obviously)

      • And now I’m envisioning the Geico Caveman……

    • *laughs* Reminds me of the first flat tire I ever had!

      Just been stationed at Biloxi for a Navy tech school, took a Sunday drive and ran over a screwdriver at about 45; ended up in a rather ran-down looking area where I couldn’t see anything, pulled over, got out to look… and the church across the road let out.

      Makes a big, big difference if the dozen-plus guys are all wearing their Sunday best! The only thing distressing then was that I hated to let them change MY tire in their good clothes!

  15. What finally broke through her illusion was realizing her neighbors thought she was… Mexican.

    Oooh, that makes sense! Same way that a lot of our “Indian” actors are actually Italian– almond to olive skin, sleek black hair, no cultural markers like veiling or even something that looks like what a belly dancer might wear, and she’d probably pick colors that match her skin-tone, so she’d even look like a second generation Mexican lady, though most likely a rather skinny one.

    Someone really needs to do a line-up of groups that can pass as the other… I know dark Irish can pass as Germans, there’s a tribe in northern Japan who I thought were some sort of Eskimo (walked in during the middle of a documentary on the crane dance)

    It’d be fun. Get a body crucified, but what doesn’t these days?

    • I think those would be the Ainu people. (Couldn’t tell you how long ago I read about them.)

    • Portuguese Jews often play Amerindians in movies.
      My sons pass for everything from Cuban to Greek. Eh.

      • My part-Cherokee friend the professional tenor has occasionally passed for Arabic on stage. I don’t think there are any opera roles that are Native American, let alone tenors.

        • Rich Rostrom

          The title character (soprano) in Natoma (1911), by Victor Herbert, sung by Mary Garden at the Met.

          Chief Samoset (baritone) in Merry Mount (1933) by Howard Hanson.

          Billy Jackrabbit (bass) and Wowkie (mezzo) in La Fanciulla del West (1910), by Giacomo Puccini.

          Queequeg (baritone) in Moby-Dick (2010), by Jake Heggie.

          The title character (mezzo) in Shanewis (1918), by Charles Wakefield Cadman. Sung several times by Tsianina Redfeather, the Indian woman who inspired the work.

          The title role and some others in Montezuma (1755) , by Carl Heinrich Graun (including a tenor role).

          • Shows you what I know about opera. I’m friends with several opera singers, and will gladly listen to anything they want to sing at me, but I’m not very good at seeking out music on my own. (Comes from being the youngest in a family where the older siblings had the music devices.)

    • On The Expanse TV series, the two prominent characters of Indian ancestry (one is from a Texas-influenced area of Mars and speaks with a drawl) are actually Persian. (The older lady character has been an actor for most of her adult life, and defied her Iranian family to do so.)

      • There are tons of Asians of all flavors in my suburb of Dallas. Mars can’t be that much worse than Houston or El Paso? (jk :0 )

        • Chris Nelson

          It amaze people from the coasts that we do have plenty of international flavour in North Texas. It’s like they think the whole area looks like the Panhandle.

        • Las Vegas has a *huge* Hawaiian population. (They couldn’t afford housing at home…) That was a really useful piece of information when I was contracted to edit audio clips of the street names of Las Vegas for a phone tree. 30,000 street names. There were a bunch from Hawaii, and I was able to inform the voice talent that they followed Hawaiian pronunciation, so “Haleakala”, for example, is “Hah-lay-uh-kah-luh.”

          Very important when you have regional pronunciation.

          • Good job avoiding the hilarity of our GPS. “Expwy” is pronounced as spelled, and “Gamestop” is “Ga-meh-stop,” which is now the name of the store to us when we are feeling silly.

  16. Reminds me a bit of how Jonah Goldberg described some of the worst excesses of outrage culture as sort of an auto-immune response (I think I’ve seen that same analogy on this blog too). Isolated from the reality of how other individuals and cultures behave, they start overreacting at everything small irritant that crosses their path from their own insulated bubble. Only in this case the end stage winds up being the sociological equivalent of anaphylaxis.

    So what’s the sociological equivalent of “raise your kids on a farm so they actually get dirty instead of sanitizing everything raw”?

  17. And then we’re G-d’s own bastards, because when we’re shocked we react badly. See WWI and WWII.

    Can’t forget that little internecine conflict from 1861 to 1865. Both sides thought they were right.

    • I’ve referred to a ‘last straw’ as criticality level, which suggests (nuclear) reaction. But perhaps sociologically it’s like magnetic alignment where things are fairly random but when aligned.. or perhaps superconduction? Lower resistance.. slightly lower resistance… SAY WHAT?!!

  18. For Americans war is almost all of the time a nuisance, and military skill is a luxury like Mah-Jongg. But when the issue is brought home to them, war becomes as important, for the necessary period, as business or sport. And it is hard to decide which is likely to be the more ominous for the Axis — an American decision that this is sport, or that it is business.
    -D. W. Brogan, The American Character

    I hope we decide the issue has been brought home before losing a city

    • Terry Sanders

      Asia I understand it, the reality was worse still–the upper ranks treated it as a business, while the lower ranks treated it as a sport.

  19. Captain Comic

    “And on our side… Americans tend to have a happy-go-lucky idea that all humans are like them, until the illusion shatters. And then we’re G-d’s own bastards, because when we’re shocked we react badly. See WWI and WWII.”

    I think this is one of the most deeply true evaluations of the US spirit since O’Rourke’s “You bet no one’s invaded us.” bit.

    Might have to print and frame this one…

  20. Rich Rostrom

    I think you are falling into an error when you refer to “Islamic culture”. Islam is a religion, and is practiced by people in some very different cultures. Islam embodies a great deal from one of those cultures (Arab), and transmits into the others, so that is a common factor.

    That has become more true in the last 50 years, because of Saudi Arabia’s enormous oil jackpot. The Saudis have a lot of money to spend, some of which lavishly funds of Wahhabist missionary operations. Also Saudi religious bodies are happy to pay for Moslem religious activities in general, but on their terms. In the Third World, even in much of the First World, they are the big payrollers, which buys them a lot of influence. This has led to “Arabization” of Islamic practice, including promotion of Arab cultural norms as “Islamic”.

    But that must not be overstated.The pattern of conflict-through-bragging which you identify is very much Middle Eastern; it doesn’t apply to for instance, the East Indies, where there are no deserts, but about 200M Moslems. Nor to the 300M Moslems of Bangladesh and India. Egypt is Moslem, Arab, and nearly all desert – but almost all of its people live in the Nile Valley

    Perhaps a better handle on the subject is the “honor-shame paradigm” identified by Richard Landes of Boston University, which he discusses at The Augean Stables.

    • I wonder if anyone here remembers the attack on Mumbai.

      I found it fascinating how the local Muslims there were angry that the extremists had killed ‘their Jews’ – that they had no care for the conflicts in the Middle East, and had no wish for that to happen here, and reportedly refused to allow the terrorists to be buried on ground sacred to Muslims.

      On the other hand, there’s a grain of truth there. Filipino Islamic separatists don’t care about the Middle-East conflict either. All they care about is the money they get to fight against their own ‘Great Satan’ – usually the local majority population.

      This would seem contradictory to the Islam we’re usually exposed to, except Islam is the religion of conquest and enslavement, so it makes much more sense to focus on “local issues.”

    • It is a culture, because the religion in those areas controls EVERYTHING and has for centuries. And a lot of what is incorporated into the religion comes from the culture that predates it.
      I’m not going to argue. I believe making Islam fit the civilized world might be impossible, but if people want to give it a try, I’m not piling on them. But the culture and the religion dictating that we follow the culture. That will be out. Is out. That will lead to their deaths.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Generally I agree with you Sarah, but it’s my understanding that some Muslim areas do have some minor cultural differences from other Muslim areas.

        But as you said, plenty of the culture in Muslim areas is from their religion.

  21. I kept waiting for someone to mention Ralph Peters’ The War after Armageddon. https://www.amazon.com/War-After-Armageddon-Ralph-Peters/dp/B004IK9FJA

    • The War After Armageddon–the only book that makes the United States of Kratman’s Caliphate look cuddly.

    • There are 2 references I was expecting. From Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders, an RVS General talking about the US to the Chairman says the following:
      “America often suffers from a lack of political direction. That is not the same as incompetence. You know what they are like? A vicious dog held on a short leash— and because he cannot break the leash, people delude themselves that they need not fear him, but within the arc of that leash he is invincible, and a leash, Comrade Chairman, is a temporary thing.”

      From John Ringo’s “A Deeper Blue”, in response to a terrorist’s please that the Keldara can’t feed him to the sharks alive:
      “Wrong. We’re junkyard dogs that get kept on a leash. Because if we had our way this is what we’d do do all of you $#!@. You think you have the market on brutality. Ask the Indians how brutal we can be. Ask the Japanese. Ask the Germans. You’re finally getting a taste of your own medicine … “

  22. RE the end of Islam, read “The Three Conjectures.” It appeared on The Belmont Club under the pen name “Ticker” on Friday, September 19, 2003, but it was written by Richard Fernandez.

  23. Mrs. Hoyt wrote “… when you pack up and leave, and enter a new culture, you find you’re outside ALL the parameters.”

    Here’s another one for non-native Americans: Unless you’re part of a particularly ratified uber-culture, you will experience this if you leave, say, Encinitas, CA and go live in Jamestown, VA.

    It’s something few non-Americans get, though one of my cousin’s kids lived with my parents in California, and came up to stay with us in Washington, has a bit of a clue. And Brazil is almost as diverse as the U.S.