A Shared Framework

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I was thinking of the village today.  No, not with any great nostalgia, (except the nostalgia every middle aged person feels for the innocence of childhood.  Also, I miss grandma) and I realized that their narrative in the head was as simplified and as erroneous as any we see among millennials.

Sure, it was a different narrative. And in many ways more functional.

They studied history in school — fourth grade was mandatory — but somehow emerged with the idea that Catholicism was the FIRST religion ever. (Not just the first Christian flavor.) That Portugal was the most developed and best country in the world. That they were, in a way, chosen people.

There were a ton of other things in the “narrative and picture of the world in head” which included, but was not limited to, stuff on how and when to plant, how we wore our clothes, what we ate when, etc, etc, etc world without end.

My family was slightly askew to this: better educated, and HONESTLY just odd.  We didn’t function the same way.  But most of us faked it well enough to fit the general framework.  Well, maybe excepting me.  The village didn’t know what to make of me in their framework, so I ended up being painted by rumor as either the red woman of Babylon (which was hilarious, since I got kissed the first time at 18) or crazy, or drug addicted.  The rumors flew back and forth in contradiction.  They probably still do among those that remember me, and are left in the village.

And yeah, the narrative irritated me me as much as the left narrative does, because it wasn’t TRUE.  And being odd, I’ve got a weird passion for the truth, even when it hurts.

But today I was thinking that at least the village’s narrative was functional.  Okay, so, besides the unbending (sort of, when you grow up you find people make all sorts of exceptions, like, having a baby out of wedlock is the end of the world and you’ll be shunned forever.  Uh.  Not.  If you marry later and behave decently, then it will be expunged.  Even if you don’t marry the father of the first baby, people will forget, deliberately and not, and you’ll be an honest woman and mother) moral — and frankly behavioral — rules, which are very helpful for humans in general, because we like to fit in, there was the belief they were part of a great country, contributing to something immortal.

Look, most people in the village were going to live and die there (many my age already have) doing unimportant jobs, and being forgotten except for a name in the family tomb.  But that doesn’t matter, if you feel you’re part of something great, building the next greater and better thing.

People live like that for generations and are happy.  Self-esteem works for cultures. Because humans are creatures of the band and the tribe.  And being proud of your band or tribe encourages to behave better as a human being.

The problem with the millennial head canon, and really with the narrative that has infiltrated the west starting in the 20s and becoming dominant by the sixties, is that it’s a dysfunctional head canon.  It’s a head caonon turned on itself, eating itself from within.

I mean, it’s objectively wrong, too, a-historical and in many ways anti-historical but that’s not what makes it bad.

What makes it bad is that it’s exactly the type of narrative victorious enemies impose on the conquered (partly because it’s the result of Soviet agit-prop, so, exactly that.  Though they never conquered us, they did conquer our academia and education.)

My kids’ history books — and remember the boys are now in their mid-twenties, so this was a while ago — were all based on Howard Zinn. ALL of them. They’re all America is bad, the west is bad, white people are bad.  It’s worse now, from what I hear from younger friends.

Day after day, week after week, month after month,school year after school year your kids in public school and most private schools, honestly, are bathed in a sea of “you’re bad, the culture who created you is bad.  You’re bad for being born. You’re bad for being American.  Europeans are bad. Being rich is bad. Being comfortable is bad. Being happy is bad.”

Honestly, I’m surprised at how many kids shrug it off and go on to be happy and productive.  What is no surprise are the multiple tatooed, gender fluid, no hope of ever being anything but a mental patient numbers they turn out.  Anyone who has studied the history of a conquered country recognizes the dysfunction.

Kids find only ONE refuge: to be a victim.  Because that exonerates them.  Hence why victimhood is now the supreme good.  Which is dysfunctional, too, because victims can’t be happy or successful and must be held down forever.

One way to reject that narrative is what Europe is taking more and more, and I expect any minute now will take them to jackboots.

Europeans are as muttish as we are. They’re a mix and mingle of most of Europe.  Oh, Southern Europeans are MOSTLY Southern Europeans, and ditto North Europeans.  But not always.  Remember all those wars and invasions? the treaties? the traders? even the royal visits?  Yeah.  Primly “Every contact leaves a trace.”

But that’s not how they think of themselves.  Until very recently, and still now, but not out loud, they thought of themselves as separate RACES.  The Portuguese race, the English Race, the Irish Race, etc.

They’re defaulting to that.  Partly because they have to.  They’ve gone as far down the drain as they can without perishing entirely, and apparently there’s some kind of instinctive fail safe.   And their fail safe is kicking to “blood and soil.”  That’s fine.  I’m not one of those people who insists the solution for everything is the same world over.  Cultures are different.  Really different.  And if their new head canon allows them not to self-destruct, I’m all for it.

Obviously this won’t work for Americans.  It can’t, despite the delusions of a lot of people (a growing number, as the left has divided us into tribes, and doesn’t realize that will create real racism.  Or that accusations of white supremacism breed real white supremacism.)

Americans are not only too visibly mixed, we know it.  And the numbers of minorities (increasingly, thanks to the left anyone who isn’t NORTHERN European in appearance as well as ancestry) are too large to be submerged and subdued.

Besides, for this to happen we’d need to ditch the constitution.  And yeah, sure, the crazies say we should.  But we can’t.  Because that’s what made us a country, and what made us the best thing the Earth has ever seen, lifting up our lamp to lift the world into its most prolonged and absolute era of prosperity and safety for most humans.

But we need a narrative to save us.  Humans don’t really keep the whole world in their heads, as it is, at all times.  They can’t.  That’s not how we’re build.  We need a simple narrative to teach the children, to make them proud of who they are.

Note the first thing the left went after was the stories of greatness: the founders, our brave fighting men, the courage and honor of simple Americans.  They started with “but not…”  And then on the basis of that doubt, they demolished everything, including, ultimately the statues, because these were “slave owners.”  No allowance was made for the past or for their values and society being different, or for doing the best you can in an horrible world.

The same people who excuse all of foreigners, even stoning women to death for taking a ride in a car with a non relative, and dropping walls on gay people, also think it makes perfect sense to excoriate our founding fathers for being men of their time.

Because the conquering culture wants us utterly destroyed.  They don’t care as long as we’re gone.

Raise your children to be Americans.  Tell them stories of our great men and women and our greatness in the world.  When they bring up the vileness taught to them in school tell them those are lies, planted by our enemies, in the long cold war.  Our people aren’t perfect, no one is perfect, but we’re the best damn thing in G-d’s creation.

Without us, the light would go out. Keep the light going.

Teach them that.  Discuss it in more detail as they grow up.  Yeah, explain the flaws in the picture, but explain that the flaws don’t invalidate the picture.  Give them a head canon that emphasizes American greatness and bourgeois virtues.  Tell them the truth about the school — that it’s trying to destroy them. That if they follow the path of the schools they’ll end up dysfunctional and lost.

Build.  Build a healthy head canon now.  And pass it on.  Because without it, we’re going to end up in war and the stories we tell ourselves will be the dystopian crap that has been pushed at sf/f for decades.  (The power of the head canon is such I swear half the people who grew up reading them WANT them. Because it’s what they expected. That’s why prosperity upsets them.)

And while you can escape from physical chains, it’s much harder to escape the self-hatred that chains your mind.

 

204 responses to “A Shared Framework

  1. Some years ago there was a panel at Penguicon about “How we fell in love with the Dystopia” or some such. I didn’t go. It sort of highlighted why I hadn’t much use for most traditional modern (allegedly science) fiction (book, TV, film)… I loathed the dystopia. While I do not expect a problem-free world, the mocked “Campbellian” stories, and others, had hope even amongst the problems. Success was not a Given, but it was at least a possibility.

    Or maybe I’m just an Ancient Beast as I still have no real idea what an “antihero” is or is supposed to be, and why I might care about or for such a thing. Yes, I’ve looked it up. Didn’t help.

    • https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-we-need-utopian-fiction-now-more-than-ever-1830260945

      The article, well, let’s just say it doesn’t seem to know what it wants or how to get there, but it likes the idea. Which seems about as good a summation of utopian fiction as you are going to find.

      • Curiously… the really classic dystopias are describing attempts at utopias.

        Every time.

        • analytical-engine-mechanic

          Veronica Roth (“Divergent” and sequels) actually said (somewhere I can’t find right quick) that this series was originally conceived as a utopia, but quickly and naturally turned into a dystopia *as she was writing it*.

          One more example…
          (And I guess she deserves extra points for not trying to forcibly alter even her own story’s reality, too.)

    • The original anti-hero was easy enough to understand. It was someone who didn’t fit into the mould of a hero as described by those who threw your kind in the Labyrinth but none the less did great things. The farm boy who wasn’t handsome, wasn’t particularly strong or smart, had absolutely no noble blood in him, but still fought to save those he loved, he was an anti-hero.

      The modern anti-hero, of course, is the character whom you can only tell from the villain by the number of times his name is mentioned on the back cover. Why you would wish to invite such a creature into your brain is left as an exercise to the reader.

      • Ah so, the “everyman” or “underdog” was the original concept rather than the “white knight” or such. That makes some sense, I suppose.

        As for the second… I would say that it’s not my desire to have such lurking in my mind, but someone figures they would benefit from my being so afflicted.

        • That gave me a thought.

          Right now, when you write, some of those bad qualities could be something that are required to make people read the story. Especially those people who really NEED to have that head canon of theirs to shift.

          So somebody who you can claim as an antihero for the protagonist is probably a good idea.

          But antiheroes can grow up to become heroes… and sometimes it could be a hero who has to stealth so that he can’t be discovered by the real bad guys.

          I think I like that challenge. Writing a hero who seems like an antihero unless you really start to analyze everything he does and thinks. 🙂

      • Moist von Lipwig is the best example of an antihero that I can think of.

      • Because Elric of Melniboné is a fun enough character to read about and I have a soft spot for old, pulpy fantasy stories?

        • He is, as are most of Moorcock’s creations. I’m more partial to Dorian Hawkmoon myself.

          The crucial thing to understand is while Moorcock wanted to take a bit of piss on some conventions of the genre and had a big cynical streak he also openly recommends the Lester Dent formula. He broke his early 60k novels down along the same breaks as Dent’s 6k stories.

          So, for all Elric is an anti-hero and who does as much wrong as right he isn’t a rejection of heroism or of grey goo stories. He is taking the lesson of imperfect knowledge (from post-modernism but something important to someone as distant from PM as Hayek) and applied it to heroism.

          And he did it all while telling a rollicking good yarn.

    • anti-hero… see Bogart

      • Never watched. Was always some movie I’d heard about bad nauseum that drove me out of the room in the first few minutes.

        • Bogart was a fine actor within his limits, but I do understand the problem of movies you’ve been gushed at about.

          For all that Bogart’s version is considered the classic, the two Robert Mitchum films based on Raymond Chandler are damn good. But you have to like Noir, and it isn’t to everybody’s taste.

          • Much as I loved the Mitchum versions, setting the second in contemporary London was a fatal error. I maintain a strong argument can be made for Dick Powell’s interpretation of the character being not only best but most unexpected.

            Having read the original and viewed The Maltese Falcon I think Bogart’s performance was spot-on. Part of his problem as Philip Marlowe is that the chemistry with Lombard was so good it caused too many to overlook the gaping holes in the plot.

          • That’s one of those odd things. I can deal with Noir just fine… if by radio. Not sure about film.

            This is not the only thing like that. I couldn’t stand Gunsmoke on TV back when. But hearing the radio version, I have no issues with it. A while back I tried watching a TV episode. Nope, still can’t stand it that way.

    • It makes me think of all the recent horror movies where the protagonists were doomed from the start, and nothing they did could save them. Win or lose, make it a damned *fight*

    • A great contrast, because it comes from one man, the first three foundation novels and the last ones Asimov wrote. The early ones, especially the first two (admittedly more short story fixups than novels) wer great Campbellian works.

      The last two, with the great robotic savior and the hive mind collective human culture the great robotic savior created are a perfect sample of the trend lines in the 1980s that have devastated the field.

      • I haven’t read the original magazine stories to see if they were different, but I loathed the Foundation novels because they were set in a deterministic universe. Asimov surely knew better; it was from his science articles I first learned of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and what later became known as chaos theory.

        A lot of early SF was eaten up with determinism; even Heinlein gave it the nod in “Beyond This Horizon.”

        • You have to remember that the Foundation universe was crafted in the late 30’s to early 40’s, about two decades before chaos theory really came into being. The predominant idea at the time was that the universe WAS deterministic, that if you knew the initial position and velocity of a coin and the air it traveled through you could reliably predict heads or tails. Things like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and fluid dynamics were beginning to crack that confidence, but they weren’t really recognized as basic facts of the universe.

        • I always understood it as “Individuals can’t be predicted, but large groups of people can.” And that is a sentiment that exists even today. The problem, of course, is when you get the individual who does something unexpected, and as a result ends up influencing the group. And Asimov made allowances for that in the original novels. While the Mule was an… extremely atypical… individual, the basic idea was there that a more random person could screw things up.

          And that, of course, was why the Second Foundation was included in the setting.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IMO the Second Foundation completely “changed the game”.

            IE You say that individuals aren’t that important in the “flow of history” but that a few “wise” men can direct the “flow of history”.

            Of course, the Second Foundation is the “Secret Masters” similar to the Elders Of Zion. 😦

        • Oh, Psychohistory does not stand up in the first Foundation book by the second period.

          One of the tenants of psychohistory was it needed a large population that did not know it was being observed and thus thought it was acting independently, but by the second Seldon Crisis not only did leadership know it was being observed and manipulated but was actively refusing to act until the crisis created no option because of Seldon’s Plan.

          Ergo, they withstand being thought about no more than the first Matrix movie whose basic argument, humans as batteries, fails basic thermodynamics.

          But I still found them fun.

          • My opinion was that the machines in The Matrix kept us as batteries *because they wanted to*, and because it reduced us to slaves doing the only useful thing we could do for them.

            • I thought the first MATRIX film was visually interesting, and not much else. By the time the second came out (and that was hardly a long period) I was sick to the teeth of reading about how ‘ground breaking’ the story was.

              Excuse me? That tired old thing? I understand that film critics don’t necessarily read a lot of SF, but you’d think they could ASK somebody who does.

              I suppose there’s the chance that they don’t know anybody who would know anybody.

      • Of course, Asimov wasn’t alone among the Greats in positing an eventual human Hive Mind. Clarke had it, at *least* in Childhood’s End, also IIRC (gotta go do some re-reading) the Rama series. And Heinlein touched on it, though of course as an alien invasion (or Communist infiltration) trope in Puppet Masters.

    • I can enjoy “dystopia” if it’s not entirely distopic and is rather a starting point. I.e. “things have gotten really bad, now here’s how we’re going to fix it.”

      I can deal with a much smaller dose of “cautionary tales” but, really, most of them are awfully repetitive. It’s not exactly a subtle message they’re presenting and I got it the first hundred times.

      • On the other hand some of John Brunner’s work, such as The Sheep Look Up, are looking rather prescient now.

        • As a note, while I like Brunner, I think some those he puts the blame on for stuff is flat out wrong and I thought his participation in the nuclear disarmament movement was foolish.

          • I dunno, I recall being a big fan of nuclear disarmament.

            Provided they go first.

            After all, we had it without concern for reprisal and refrained from using it, so we can be (more) trusted to not take advantage of being the last player in that game.

    • Eh, there are two threads of dysptopia.

      There’s the prophetical warning. 1984, Brave New World, etc.

      Then there’s the pulp dystopia, to give the hero something to fight.

      • The warning is fine and sometimes a good thing, though when it’s almost all you do (Bradbury…) it does get tiresome. Something to overcome improve upon is also fine, and indeed would be the ideal, I suppose, if one must have a dystopia at all. The idea of a dystopia that is… reveled in. Now, that’s a problem.

    • Orvan I’m with you, Give me Kimball Kinnison steely eyed and straight as an arrow, Johnny Rico fighting an implacable foe, Honor Harrison with her sense of right and wrong, Samwise Gamgee sticking with his friend and master through thick and thin. I’ve read the anti heros, even enjoyed some of them Tam Olyn in Soldier Ask Not, Prince Corwin from Amber, but the newer ones seem to have no redeeming value. Reading those books it’s like rooting for Ming the Merciless or Sauron. The stories I come back to and reread are those with the real heros and that have a Story that goes somewhere.

      • Harrington?

      • Prince Corwin an anti-hero? More like a redeemed man, striving toward heroism.

        Maybe that changes in the last five novels, which I confess I’ve not yet read. Hey! When they came out my life was really busy! Don’t judge me! I will get to them. As soon as I find where they got stored when we moved twenty-mumble years ago.

        • Don’t worry too much. He pretty much phoned in the second set. None of the majors was especially worth reading about, and even Shadow was starting to look a little claustrophobic toward the end.

        • Prince Corwin does improve through his books. But not to get him to heroism. His total indifference to the little people of the Shadows precludes that.

  2. I think that there’s a big factor in the Lefty Elite worldview that Tom Wolfe identified in the Art culture; the desperate need to me in opposition to the mass taste, so that one CAN be a snob. I don’t think that’s the ONLY reason they are so opposed to pride in America, but I think it’s a factor. It feeds into the Soviet-instigated bullish*t.

  3. They studied history in school — fourth grade was mandatory — but somehow emerged with the idea that Catholicism was the FIRST religion ever.

    Er, what? How? I mean, even assuming that your not going to go into a detailed discussion of Hinduism or Zoroastrianism in fourth grade, Jesus was pretty clear about how he was creating a NEW Covenant between the people and God? Doesn’t that pretty much imply the existence of an Old Covenant, which in turn would imply the existence of a previous relationship with God?

    And their fail safe is kicking to “blood and soil.” That’s fine. I’m not one of those people who insists the solution for everything is the same world over. Cultures are different. Really different. And if their new head canon allows them not to self-destruct, I’m all for it.

    Yeah. The problem with Europeans (and really most of us mutant great apes) is that they aren’t very good at saying, “This is our soil for those of our blood, that’s your soil for those of your blood, we live here, you live there, and we’ll put the mountains between us. Good Alps make for good neighbors.” Things always seem to get ugly when Europe goes blood and soil.

    I’m inclined to agree with Mark Steyn that Europe’s future is going to be either catastrophically bad or apocalyptically bad.

    • I think that’s gonna be future in general. Europe at least has some rulers trying to head off some of the cliff. The US just mashed on the accelerator after taking foot off in 16.

    • I’m hoping for tolerable at least in some parts. As I have to live here.

      Poland is starting to look pretty good for retiring in, just hope I could get there before they leave the EU or stop allowing even other Europeans in.

      And that if I do move they don’t get run over by Russia in my lifetime. But then that risk exists with Finland too.

      • Not knocking your perspective, and I actually quite like Poland and the Poles, but “I’m retiring to one of the world’s natural invasion routes” implies a degree of trust in the stability of, well, everything, that I would find challenging.

        • I already live in one country which got torn between two others for centuries. And Russians, some of them anyway, still think this should be their territory. I doubt Poland is going to be all that much worse if things become unstable here.

          And it seem they may right now be in the process of becoming what Finns were around that time uncle Stalin thought to add this country to his empire. While modern Finns are a lot softer than their grandparents generation was.

          And if they manage to lure those American bases there…

          There seem to be several pluses when it comes to modern Poland.

    • You can’t argue with the narrative. Since religious history is one of my interests, I walked into that one several times. They acted EXACTLY like our present NPCs. Seemed to get it. Next time? As though it never happened.

      • Catholicism was the FIRST religion ever.

        I think I could make that argument, but don’t care to. Start by defining “Religion” in such manner that nothing prior to Catholicism meets the definition. Pantheistic religions have to be eliminated, of course, but those are merely “religions”, not “Religions”. Call them mythologies and toss ’em out.

        Judaism is a bit more of a problem, but as it is invested in a race you could probably define it out on basis of exclusivity. As I say, I can see the structure of such an argument (like redefining Racism so that it is not merely bigotry) but I don’t feel inclined to drink enough to push it all the way.

        • You don’t explicitly *tell* them it was the first religion. You just fail to mention any others in context.

          I had *two* high school elective courses dealing the the US Civil War. Some years later I was astonished to find that the Confederacy had its own President, Congress, etc. Nothing we’d been presented with implied the CSA had any government organization. Or a navy, for that matter…

          If I’d had cause to think about it I would have realized it on my own, but it wasn’t a subject I was particularly interested in, so it all got squirreled away in “crap I learned in high school” and ignored.

          • I “knew” because I read historical fiction from both view sides (different novels). Never historical figures, always fictional that were fighters but not part of the main armies. Interesting on how more accurate or detailed that what was imparted in actual HISTORY classes … just saying.

            • I used to be active in Civil War site preservation and with historical groups and have been fortunate enough to have had the chance to meet and talk with some great Civil War historians.

          • Good Grief! How can anyone teach a course on the Civil War without examining the Confederate States Constitution?

            Although I can tell you why…it’s absolutely damning to the Modern Official Narrative. Hint: Examine the spending provisions.

            • By being a coach who was put in front of a class that nobody could screw up, because it’s all in the book, and study consists of reading a very simplified chapter of dates then answering five questions at the end?

        • More to the subject, I read a lot of European history that talked about “the Church did this” and “the Church did that.” But a lot of things didn’t make a lot of sense; history books are like that, so I just shrugged and moved on.

          Then one day I picked up a book on the history of the Byzantine Empire on the dollar rack at a used book store. A few hours later I was *vastly* better informed than I had been just previously; *all* of the authors I had read, had conflated the Eastern and Western churches and their political and military operations.

          I’ve never been sure if it was deliberate, or if they assumed that all of their readers would be so familiar with church history it should have been “intuitively obvious” who they were referring to each time…

        • A judge in India ruled that Hinduism was not a religion. (So they could forbid Christians and Muslims political campaigning that Hindus could do.) And I had a long argument with a Hindu online who simply would not accept that it was, even though I provided many examples of religions that did not have what he claimed was necessary.

      • Since they disavow anything that was ever done by “dead white European males” as invalid, I think reminding them that the intellectual fathers of their socialist views, Hegel and Marx, are both “dead white European males”, and thereby under their own standard, socialism is invalid. Of course doublethink makes them miss the entire point.

  4. I recently had a student suggest that the world would have been better if Europeans had not spread so far and conquered the Americas, South Asia, et al. I gently pointed out that everyone was trying to conquer everyone else, and that until around 1500, the Europeans had been the defeated more often than the defeating (the Ottomans were well ahead of the Europeans in logistics until the late 1600s, and even then their troops ate better a lot of the time than Prince Eugene’s* men did.)

    *I think the real secret of prince Eugene of Savoy’s success was not military genius per se, but the ability to feed and fight an army on the Habsburg budget!

    • Might be an interesting assignment: tell the student to pick a different culture and imagine how the world would be now if that culture had been the winner. Europe became part of the Ottoman Empire? Maybe China decided to take their ships and go explore to the East? What happens then?

      • The Mongols decide not to stop in Eastern Europe (and don’t leave).

        • How about if Charles Martel had not defeated invading Islamic Army in the 8th Century. Or if Alexander the Great’s Empire hadn’t broken into bits after his death?

          • I don’t think Alexander’s empire could have been successfully governed. It was just *too* big. And it extended through some of what are the most desolate places in the world today. I would imagine that it was easier to govern the Roman Empire (more heavily settled regions), and Constantine broke that in two for logistical and administrative reasons.

            • A valid point – there is a difference between what can be conquered ad what can be administered. Alexander’s heirs were no more capable of managing an empire than were Temujin’s. Rome’s armies may have conquered the world, but Rome’s ministers held it.

            • Just because you can take it, doesn’t mean you can keep it.

              Conquerors throughout history have foundered on that one.

            • Some form of a sort of union-empire based on those mass weddings he did might work– any citizen of Area A could become a leader only if they had married one of Alexander’s generals (if pure native) or if they’d gone to the Officer School of Alexander (if mixed), and any general had to marry a local to be a governor of an area.

        • I dunno… given how bad Russia was, and pretty much always has been, if you assume that the Mongols never left Russia, and didn’t go for Islam in a big way, then *that* might actually have some promise.

          Not gonna speculate about the rest of Eastern Europe, though.

      • I remember reading a short story in a collection of alternate history stories, which I think was edited by Turtledove (I know he did one story in it, but only vaguely recollect that he was editor, could be wrong), in which Mohammad never founds Islam and instead is a merchant who travels from Asia to Europe. I suspect that the collection it was in is no longer in print, or if in print the story has been removed, because can’t have anything that could be considered ‘offensive” to Islam,

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Muhammad turning Christian is part of the back story of Turtledove’s Agent of Byzantium.

          • It’s all but stated that he’s the father of the new Ethiopian queen in the Belisarius series that Flint and Drake wrote. And Ethiopia was a Christian nation. Of course, that series has some much more significant changes to the time line…

            • No, not the father of the queen; but it’s heavily implied that in our timeline he was at least kin to her kids.

            • Time reversal: she’s of the clan that WOULD HAVE produced Mohammed. The events in that series are set approx 150 – 200 years prior to the date assigned to Islam’s founding.

          • That’s one of the handful of books I never managed to finish. Turtledove just jumped into things without enough backstory for me to figure out why things were happening.

          • “There is only one God, and Christ is His Son!”
            –from the Song of Saint Mohamed

            An interesting setting, though he couldn’t resist the usual preaching.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The short story is titled “Departures” and is in Harry Turtledove’s collection also titled Departures.

    • “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.”

      – Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC

    • The European conquest of the Americas was coming sooner or later. If not the 15th Century, then the 16th or 17th- whenever someone got around to going West.

      • NOTHING could get over the epidemic problem for the Americas.

        • The epidemics could just as easily have gone the other way, with explorers bringing nasty diseases back to Europe, where people were packed much more closely than in most of the New World, and sanitation had been an ongoing problem since Roman times.

          It was just luck that there was nothing particularly virulent to the Europeans in the New World.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IMO it was “more than luck”.

            The major plagues that hit Europe, Asia & Africa came from diseases from herd animals.

            Those diseases crossed into the human population because humans had domesticated those animals thus humans were in regular contact with the herd animals.

            While there were herd animals in the Americas, none were domesticated thus the diseases of the American herd animals never crossed into the human population.

          • Not luck. They’d eaten all their big animals, by and large, instead of domesticating them, so no zoonotic diseases.

  5. It resonates with me, so perhaps it will work to get through some skulls but… It’s no more “loving” your country to denigrate it than it would be loving your children to denigrate them. Sure, a sane parent is honest about their children’s faults but only an abusive parent takes pride in telling everyone, including the kid, how they fail all of the time and are really rather awful. If the bad stuff is the most important thing to you and you don’t like to hear people sing praises about the good things, no, you do NOT love your country. Nor do you want it to be better!

    Again… if you want your children to be better, what do you do? You don’t ever tear them down! If you want your country to be better and tear it down quit pretending that it’s not about you being “better” than those other parents (or citizens) who are less “bravely honest” about how this is the worst country on earth. You’re that emotionally and psychologically abusive parent and we can only hope that your “child” escapes you whole and healthy.

    • “Sure, a sane parent is honest about their children’s faults but only an abusive parent takes pride in telling everyone, including the kid, how they fail all of the time and are really rather awful.”

      I was behind a parent once who was verbally haranguing their kid, saying the kid was so disrespectful etc. and how horrible they were for acting that way, and the entire time I was thinking, “Where do you think they learned it, you creep?”

  6. And really, it’s trendy now, oh so trendy, to refuse to let laborers keep their “pillars of civilization” mythos. Which is *weird* because all the Marxist crap is about how wonderful it is to work in a field and break your back. But our progressives seem to have abandoned the working class (they still like the dependent classes). It’s probably as simple as frustration that laborers aren’t grateful enough and sometimes have their own ideas, but in large part it’s because of this “everyone needs to wallow in self-hatred for their privilege” stuff, and guys who dig ditches, build buildings, and make sure your garbage is picked up and your sewer unclogged, don’t feel privileged when they sit down to watch football and eat their mac-n-cheese, and they don’t feel ashamed. But they have felt *proud*, like the world would starve without them, the lights wouldn’t work and the toilets wouldn’t flush, and that they hold civilization itself on their shoulders. Which is only the simple truth. Take that away from people for some crappy SJW virtue performance and we really are screwed.

    • We pretend to work, they fail to pay us

      • Well, yes. But at least the *rhetoric* was “for the worker”. Now they don’t even bother. Heck, just try arguing that lowly work done well is a source of pride and self-respect and see what happens.

        • Heck, just try arguing that lowly work done well is a source of pride and self-respect and see what happens.

          I expect that no one is going to agree with that sentiment because if they do, the next step might be the suggestion that, hey, you’re unemployed, aren’t you, maybe you should try doing some of that “lowly” work well and see if it improves your life.

          Even back in the day when the laborers were idolized, I don’t think Marx was eager to get out of his reading room and join the assembly line.

        • The worker’s wants don’t align with the desires of the government class. And a large chunk of the govt flunkies are hired solely to hinder laborers because the educated women in particular were led around by their emotions. Plus those jobs could be done bynthe dependent class and that might lift them out of poverty

        • It’s interesting to watch people’s responses to some of the grosser episodes of Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs.”

          The viewers fall into two general categories: amused sympathy and sneering disdain.

          They generally represent people who have done physical labor, and people whose idea of “work” involves having to push the button on the microwave.

        • Because they’ve become intelligencia, and hand labor is for those too dumb to be intellectuals or artists. Think about John Kerry’s comment about the military, but apply it to all of society, and you have the mind-set. I think it is a version of the con-man’s disdain for his mark – if the mark wasn’t so dumb, he wouldn’t have been taken, so he deserves to lose his money. Likewise, if the proletariat were not so blinkered/stupid/ignorant/whatever, they’d be working with their minds and not their hands.

          As I think about it, you could argue that we are seeing a return to the old pre-modern (pre-Victorian) idea that if you have to work for your living, you are inferior to those who have landed wealth. Just substitute “intellectual” for “land.”

          • I wouldn’t say intelligence, more institutional in the sense that they checked the correct boxes.

            • I’ve noticed that, too. They detest engineers as much as they hate wrench-turners.

              • Granted it’s mutual. But meaning more that it isn’t really that they have any more knowledge or experience but that they have the right pieces of paper

          • See, that’s the difference between a leftie and a rightie.

            I don’t have a real job: ie, something you need to shower after before you do anything else. I don’t think that makes me somehow superior to those with real jobs. It does mean I am fortunate. Not that I’m lucky, as the majority of the reasons I don’t have a real job are choices I’ve made. I do acknowledge that I have certain inborn traits that acted as force multipliers to those choices, but that is all.

            But having made those choices is the only superiority I can claim and that isn’t something inherent that makes me better.

            The leftie thinks certain outcomes of those choices (a Bachelors or higher degree for example) make him inherently superior: possessed of universal better moral judgment, taste, wisdom, knowledge (of everything from Marx to plumbing), and so on.

            Their attitude was best encapsulated by a bumper sticker I saw at UConn: “George Jr. is too stupid to run a laundromat.” I suspect he would have done better than the prof driving that car because he would understand even something like a laundromat requires specialized knowledge about that specific business to run correctly. At the time I really wanted to own one and joined the national association. Most of the knowledge wasn’t hard and much as a time/money trade off. For example, my Navy mechanic work meant early on I could be my own maintenance man thus saving some cash if I gave up time.

            I doubt the college prof even knew to ask such questions. But his PhD meant he was inherently superior and could replace a laundromat manager/owner without any additional knowledge, study, work, or even clue needed.

            • I’m fungible. There are hundreds of really good history teachers who can replace me if I get hit by the beer truck on my way to church. We only have four master-plumbers in town. One of them dies, a lot of people will literally be up s-it creek without a paddle.

              I really, really appreciate a good laundromat. They take more effort than a lot of folks seem to realize.

              • It seems to be (at least for those who haven’t given it any real thought) that “The other guy’s job is easy… until it becomes his job, then it isn’t easy anymore.”

              • I really, really appreciate a good laundromat.

                And that effort is critically important if you don’t want to have to soak your clothes in kerosene or burn them after laundering.

                An amazing variety of things can survive the laundering cycle and occupy the clothes of later users.

                As HerbN noted, being able to do your own mechanical work — at the very least, maintenance — is a critical skill to keeping operating costs under revenue.

              • If only some of the folks who don’t realize the work that is required didn’t own so many….

            • An appalling number of college graduates seem to think that simply having a degree entitles them to a particular level of lifestyle, and the higher (and more useless) the degree the better lifestyle they expect.

              You might have thought that Marxists would understand the correlation of production and reward.

              • “Aren’t you supposed to follow your dreams?” as one OWS protester put it because she couldn’t get a good job in her field. (Apparently she did not realize that if your dream is “make a lot of money” you have to follow that.)

            • I’ve always been astounded that people thought George W. Bush was stupid. I was/am an aviation buff. George Jr. flew delta darts/delta daggers (F102/F106). These were a HIGHLY technical aircraft to fly. If you didn’t know your stuff you would quickly poke through the edge of the envelope and the best you could hope for was a nice ride in an ejection seat. Usually you just ended up as a smoking crater somewhere. He may have made poor choices but stupid? Hell no.

    • “And really, it’s trendy now, oh so trendy, to refuse to let laborers keep their “pillars of civilization” mythos. Which is *weird* because all the Marxist crap is about how wonderful it is to work in a field and break your back. But our progressives seem to have abandoned the working class (they still like the dependent classes).”

      I think this is a really important point, and marks a significant difference between the Old Left and the current “progressives.”

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        They need to hate the worker for being racist, so that they don’t realize that they’ve been selling the union man a load a crap, then backstabbed him when conveniently the immigrants were going to replace him, and are ticked off now that he voted Trump.

        • Actually, they simply need to hate the worker.

          For making valuable contributions to society, unlike them.

          For serving a useful purpose, unlike them.

          For being able to live a rich, enjoyable life without bothering others, unlike them.

          For finding fulfillment and purpose, unlike them.

          For not needing to feel better than anyone else, unlike them.

          For being unlike them.

    • That’s because the workers let them down. It turns out that workers were more interested in making money and joining the bourgeois than in overthrowing the system and implementing the Socialist Paradise (with the appropriate management, of course).

      • Just the kulaks and wreckers. If they had been properly deal with, all would have been fine!

        I have literally seen someone online say that Stalin probably failed through not killing enough people. (He also maintained that it was “moralism” to object to mass murder, but morally imperative to destroy “outmoded” societies.)

  7. To narrow down the focus to my own subspecies, American Jewry is largely in crisis today because too many of us no longer find our sense of self in bearing the mission of the Torah and living an ancient and noble way of life for the honor of the Almighty, but are urged to identify as and take pride in being History’s Eternal Victims. It’s a direct path to Nowhere Good, and most of our community is heading there FAST.

  8. This is the reason I’m of the opinion that the US lost the cold war, or at least to a greater extent. Russia went from despot to politbuto to oligarchy. They started close trade ties with europe that they hadn’t had before. About the sole negative was the loss of their satellite states. Meanwhile the US has lost trust in almost any apect of government, our every movement is surveilled, information is throttled and censored, and there is a distinct, separate government class with its special privileges. We fell pretty damned far while the Russians landed where they started.

    Cannot see any good outcome of any of this. Six months ago my father thought I was melodramatic because I expected a major income loss if dems won. Yesterday he didn’t disagree when I said this was all going to come to shooting. There is no common ground.

    • We allowed them to take over our educational system, which then let them take over government and business.

      The socialist meme jumped propagated…

      Reading history, I often wondered why so many formerly-flourishing civilizations simply… gave up. Traditionally it’s blamed on disease, drought, or blight… but I’ve begun to wonder if this sort of thing hasn’t happened before.

      The Left *wants* the world to go to hell. They practically squee over “climate change” and “water shortage” and “fossil fuels” and “ozone layer” and giant cockroaches attacking Cincinnati. Yes, their masters will profit, but *they* won’t… yet their worldview requires such things.

      “But there *might* be giant cockroaches… surely you can’t object to Something Being Done?!”

      Scroom. Cincinnati sucks anyway. And a pox on the blighted hell-world they’re crying for.

      • They believe the unicorn poop fallacies. Oh, we can use windmills and solar cells. Since they are told all they have to do is put plastic in the blue bin and vote socialist who will hold the big oil and gas and industries to account and make them pay the price

      • It’s the philosophes and the demand that perfect replace good, or at least functional. That “perfect” doesn’t and can’t exist is immaterial to the TrueBelievers.

        • They just can’t grok the concept of unintended consequences.

          • I’ve met some really brilliant (in some respects) liberals who almost fit that description. The see the unintended consequences of Democrat policies, but hand-wave them away (“imaginary” or “manufactured” or “only effects a minuscule number of people”) or blame them on this evil wreckers, er, Republicans.

          • Nope. Rousseau would probably have been shocked out of his stockings that Stalin and Hitler and Mao, the Gulags and North Korea are his philosophical children.

            Alas, being Rousseau, he’d probably find something to like about them.

        • Yup, this describes them well — I recently read a Facebork post from a very Lefty fellow who penned the following after his beloved grandmother recently died:

          “Honestly, it’s been a pain I’ve had for a long time, so I’m used to it. Death just pisses me off. It seems so f***g unnatural. Everyone says it’s just part of life and we need to accept it. I say that’s f***d up. Really, deeply f*d up. We shouldn’t normalize it. It’s still this alien, horrible concept to me, and it never gets easier to deal with, just… Number.”

          what kind of fantasy world do you live in (and this fellow has an MEd degree) to feel that death is “unnatural” and that we shouldn’t normalize something that is normal?
          (He is a TrueBeliever in many ways: deeply depressed at Trump’s election, and is convinced that climate change is destroying the world so badly and quickly that he won’t live to be 60.)

          • Death is the most normal thing in the Universe. The only things which won’t die are those that never lived — and even many of them die. Planets, stars, galaxies, even the Universe will die.

            Anybody refusing to accept Death as fundamental is “f***d up. Really, deeply f*d up.” I’m going out on a limb and guessing this twit eats things for his sustenance, meaning things die (even tofu) so that he can live.

            Some things, indeed, are so stupid that only the highly educated can believe them.

          • How….what…huh

            My head hurts

            • You gentlemen who think you have a mission
              To purge us of the seven deadly sins
              Should first sort out the basic food position
              Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins

              You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
              Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
              However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
              Food is the first thing, morals follow on

              So first make sure that those who are now starving
              Get proper helpings when we all start carving
              What keeps mankind alive?

              What keeps mankind alive?
              The fact that millions are daily tortured
              Stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed
              Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
              In keeping its humanity repressed
              And for once you must try not to shriek the facts
              Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts

              Gee, I miss honest commies.

          • Well, he is not wrong, per se. Intuiting the essential wrongness of death and sin coming into the world is one of the fundamental Christian religious experiences, in a negative way.

            OTOH, reinventing the wheel with so little awareness of it, and being so naive as a supposed adult… Um, yes, that is pretty weird.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            You could mention to him that C.S. Lewis felt the same way and considered it an argument for Christianity. 😀

      • “How he must’ve needed a seltzer…”

    • The Soviet Union was pretty crappy in most fields (the late Jerry Pournelle pointed out that only their nuclear arsenal made them a superpower: “Bulgaria with nukes” was how he described them). But there was one are they were very good at: agitprop.

      And to this day we’re paying for their skill in that one area and probably will be for generations to come.

      • Churchill was upset that Allied POW camps simply fed their prisoners and counted them a couple of times a day. After the war he found the Soviet camps were run as schools, drilling the POWs for hours each day on Marxism.

        The North Koreans were doing the same thing a decade later.

    • Eh. Winning a war isn’t always the best thing for a country (see France after “winning” WWI).

      But better to be France than Germany. Especially given how the rematch ended.

      • Cue the Duchy of Grand Fenwick…

        Given how US foreign policy worked when the book was written, picking a war with the USA and losing was a pretty good deal.

        Note that the US pumped billions of 1940s/1950s dollars into the former Axis nations, and told Britain to fribble off *twice* when they tried to get some of that sweet Marshall Plan dinero.

        • Those former Axis nations were needed to help contain the Soviets. Britain was already on side.

          • Ehhhhhb … I don’t know we pumped all that much Marshall Plan money into Italy. I s’pose I could look it up but why bother?

            We rebuilt Germany because that’s where all the machine tools were, the Nazis having bombed the Brits and looted France and the rest of Western Europe. Besides, they were the front-line against the Soviets and who would you want building your weaponry, German factories or French?

    • Nah. Russia’s worse off than we are in nearly every respect.
      Birthrate, economy, liberty, functionality…the only thing they do better than we do is throw their sons away.

  9. Honestly, I’m surprised at how many kids shrug it off and go on to be happy and productive. What is no surprise are the multiple tatooed, gender fluid, no hope of ever being anything but a mental patient numbers they turn out. Anyone who has studied the history of a conquered country recognizes the dysfunction.

    What is also no surprise is the number of younger, especially men given the “men are defective girls” nature of public education, who are taking the opposite tack in that everything white and western is perfect and all problems are the blacks/gays/asian/women/etc.

    I wonder, given your note that they lost against us but conquered academia is an actual parallel to 1920s Germany and yes, that dreaded phrase, the success of National Socialists.

    I know plenty of people who love to point out that the Versailles Treaty was actually less drastic than the one that ended the Franco-Prussian War a generation early when the treaty is brought up as a cause of WWII. While true, that misses the point.

    The Emperor of Germany who had abdicated was not a prisoner of the Entente as Napoleon III had been. The German army had been beaten, but not defeated. It was still an intact force that, more importantly, still occupied enemy territory while most of Germany was controlled by Germans (a small area along the French border was in Entente hands). Thus the narrative of the sold out population who hadn’t really lost the war which was used by the National Socialists (and others before them and at the same time) to claim the need for revenge and restoration.

    Thus, the treaty by treating a people who had not been conquered as though they had been sowed the seeds of radicalization among them.

    Could some of the more fringy elements (including but not limited to the Alt-Right) be a similar reaction: our headset surrendered but we were not conquered and not we are rebelling against that headset.

    • we DID conquer them, Herb. BUT the relentless “you’re all guilty” probably helped no one.

      • …and then snatched defeat from the jaws of absolute victory.

        Of course, still not as bad as Orvan’s Second Armistice post-WWII timeline…

    • You will end up with a reaction. Could range from something as minor as white males not trying to succeed, just going along, to a near strike, to outright violence. And tbh since the left has been boxing folks up it probably will end up spilling over into sex and race. When there is monolithic support for the group seen to be harming you, you will paint broadly.

      • ” white males not trying to succeed, just going along”
        But such men are VERY dangerous. All they need is to be fired up by an IDEA and then a LEADER and all of a sudden you don’t have men playing video games to amuse themselves but men playing other video games to LEARN. Then going to meeting to talk over the IDEA and WHAT SHOULD BE DONE!
        Men like to feel GOOD about themselves, they like to ACCOMPLISH things, to have MEANING in their lives. If these things are not part of their lives, they may find a way to get them and there is NO Telling WHAT that way will be.

    • Yup. The Allied naval blockade broke the Germans, not the Allied armies. The Germans figured they could trade off the French and Belgian territory they held (and the cost of recovering them by force) for reasonable peace terms. The Allies kept the blockade in place AFTER the Armistice, starved the Germans into signing a very bad treaty.

      The other factor people forget are the Communists. Who were circling like sharks, waiting for a chance to tear off a chunk. And after seeing what had happened in Russia, nobody wanted the Communists to have that opportunity. Even if it meant turning to a Hitler to stop them.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Well, this partly describes the whys of my being so badly out of step here.

      Growing into adulthood, I had few close male role models in real life, many of the men I was around in real life were veterans, particularly air force, online I had Baen’s bar. I had eyes, and I could damned well see that our modern so called cultural elites were bankrupt liars when they insisted that the evils of American culture were intolerable, but that it was racist to oppose the culture of others. I interpreted their censorship and propaganda as damage, and routed around.

      I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier. It therefore seems to me that there is one and only one valid argument on which a case for giving up strategic bombing could be based, namely that it has already completed its task and that nothing now remains for the Armies to do except to occupy Germany against unorganized resistance.
      Arthur Harris

      There are no innocent civilians. It is their government and you are fighting a people, you are not trying to fight an armed force anymore. So it doesn’t bother me so much to be killing the so-called innocent bystanders.
      Curtis LeMay

      We’re at war with Japan. We were attacked by Japan. Do you want to kill Japanese, or would you rather have Americans killed?

      Apply whatever force it is necessary to employ, to stop things quickly. The main thing is stop it. The quicker you stop it, the more lives you save.
      Curtis LeMay

      Actually, I think it’s more immoral to use less force than necessary, than it is to use more. if you use less force, you kill off more of humanity in the long run, because you are merely protracting the struggle.
      Curtis LeMay

      War is cruelty and cannot be refined. The crueler you make it, the shorter it is.
      William Tecumseh Sherman

      Various sayings of the Romans:

      solitudinum faciunt pacem appellant

      The more you sweat, the less you bleed.

      Friends come through a gate, enemies come over the wall.

      Carthago delenda est.

      These are my culture, and by default disagreement can only be motivated by racial hatred. Someone like Sarah Hoyt, whose values approximate Christian, can legitimately disagree with me on other grounds. In all fairness, I am very aware that throughout our history there have been Americans advocating mercy towards our enemies.

      • The last line of Sherman’s “War is cruelty and cannot be refined. The crueler you make it, the shorter it is.” is “war is all hell” (often misquoted as war is hell). And he was correct. As Patton put it, the goal is “not die for your country, it is to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.”

        • And if you want to see modern proof of that, look at the Israeli-Palestinian “Peace Process.”

          How many people have been killed in attacks and reprisals over the last 30 years? Can anyone honestly say that it wouldn’t have been better to have a relatively short war between Israel and the Palestinians that led to an actual victory?

          • There have been multiple wars since 1948, during which the goal of the Arabs and Palestinians has been to destroy Israel and to “push all the Jews into the sea”. As long as one side demands the destruction of Israel and the worldwide genocide of Jews, peace is impossible, no matter how many times the Palestinians are beaten militarily. Each time they get a bloody nose, they double down on “death to the Jews”.

            • And none of those wars were ever allowed to run their course. The international community would step in to pressure the side that was winning (Israel) into stopping offensive operations in the name of peace.

    • I suspect that if the Communists hadn’t been pushing hard in Germany, then the Nazis would have had a harder time ingratiating themselves with the populace.

      Also keep in mind that Japan and Italy were both on the victorious side in World War I. The excuses applied to Germany don’t apply to those two countries. And the USSR was getting a bit feisty about its borders, as well. Prior to the Operation Barbarossa, the Soviets invaded Poland and Finland, and threatened Romania into compliance over a disputed border. There’s no reason to think that Stalin would have stayed quiet forever if Germany hadn’t suddenly invaded in 1941.

      • I believe that for a significant number of Germans Communists and Jews were indistinguishable, two sides of one coin. Certainly the German industrialists viewed Nazis as a bulwark against Communists.

        Keep in mind that the unified German nation was still a very young entity, about seventy years old – easily the lifespan of a single German generation. The first forty years of that nation had witnessed prodigious success, ascent to the pinnacle of civilization, preeminent in science, medicine, chemistry, engineering, industry and (in their minds) the Arts. Then over-reach (or betrayal) and collapse. It wouldn’t have taken a Hitler to light a populous fire.

      • Actually, in “Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front”, the author makes a rather persuasive case that if Hitler hadn’t attacked in 1941, Stalin would have attacked him in late 1941 early 1942.

    • Maybe. I suspect more of it comes from “wait, people from these cultures who we are supposedly horrible to keep coming to ours. The opposite is not true.” However, thanks to being taught that cultures are all good or all bad rather than a mix, and that race and culture are the same, they became the mirror image of what they hated.

  10. With apologies to millennial Huns and Hoydens, but the joke is just sitting there, untouched by anyone, so…

    The problem with the millennial head canon,

    …is getting enough ammunition for sustained fire.

    …is the number of rounds that arrive empty.

    …is the mush filling is all on the left side, so the damn things are inaccurate.

  11. analytical-engine-mechanic

    This might just be the deepest, widest root of our whole “culture clash” or our “divided America” right now. (Which is also a very convoluted way of saying “Thank you for saying this, this way, right now.”)

    Maybe it’s “identity politics” on the most basic level *possible*. What is it, to be an American, what does it mean that *we* are who we are?
    And any answer that involves “we’re evil and deserve worse” is self-destructive and pathological. Which *cannot* be healthy, productive, progessive in a *real* sense of enabling actual progress, or (most of all)… *functional*.

    It functions, if at all, *like a virus* — politically, culturally, socially, economically, and worst of all, psychologically. Which is to say it *cannot* build or restore, only highjack and destroy. Inherently foreign, inimical and invasive.

    To the ultimate social question, how can I live *my* life in a way that benefits and advances both me and my family and our society and country at large, it has no workable, *functional* answer. (Because being American is bad, being is bad, etc., contains *no such thing* and really never could. No good in it.)

    White Privilege, Southern Original Sin, American Original Sin, You Didn’t Build That (But We Did It For You), Multi-Polygenderism — on and on and on.

    And yet it aims to replace the answers that *do* work, the social and cultural blueprints that make up the “DNA” that helped America do and become in the past — or even attacks the components of our “immune system” that kept those as intact and functional as they were. (So many of these Weird New Ideas might as well have been designed as anti-immune retroviruses, and regardless of whether the Soviets or Derrida or anyone else actually did it.)

    So, yes, we do need a narrative, or more specifically, we need traditional answers with maybe a very new twist. (The Song of Our People, pattern 2018.) The damage has to be healed.
    But I think we also need to be helper-cells in the American immune system too. Which (as loath as some of us, yes me too, are to admit it or do it) has to mean that sometimes we need to identify, then respond.
    Or become the next thing on the viral menu. And then more virus.

    John Barnes’ line is in a rather different context, but it so fits here.
    “Obsessively fair-minded people are toast.”

  12. Note the first thing the left went after was the stories of greatness

    The single trait the Left most abjures is gratitude; to acknowledge greatness is to accept a debt, to owe gratitude.

    • After long absence from these forums I am appalled to discover that the notification box still does not tick itself.

      • Tick box before posting comment.
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        Harumph.

    • Its more than that. The drive to delegitimize people like Jefferson, Washington and Franklin is that if they can delegitimize the people who wrote the Constitution, they can then delegitimize the Constitution itself, which is their goal. To them, the Constitution is a tool of white colonialist nationalist oppression that prevents the rightful “progressive’ rule of the country. The Constitutions limits on government power and protection of individual liberty and rights stands in the way of their imposing a socialist “people’s republic” (which is of course not a republic at all). It is not an accident that along with their “no borders, no walls, no USA at all” chants that they also chant “:Our revolution won’;t honor YOUR Constitution”. They openly proclaim their desire to completely replace the Constitution. It is exactly what Obama meant when he spoke of the “fundamental transformation of America”.

      • If they want to play Red Revolution, they really will get themselves in trouble.

      • There is NO better movie than 1776 to show the problems the colonies were under in trying to come together and form a country. It is close enough to the history and does show the problems they had to overcome. Especially the Slave Problem.

        A history lesion that shows WHY they didn’t abolish slavery.

  13. I’m still looking for good, readable works on American History (if they’re entertaining so the entertainment value can provide a “sugar coating” to help the medicine go down, that’s a big plus) to undo the stupid “People’s History” crap.

    • What level of history are you seeking? Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People is highly readable and rejects Zinnism. Larry Schweikart’s A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror is a readable rebuttal of Zinn’s themes. Charles Murray’s American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History (Values and Capitalism) is likely a trifle thick for casual reading.

      There is much interesting history available about particular periods of American history. Ron Chernow’s biographies of Hamilton and of Washington are very good depictions of the Founding Era, as are the various books by David McCullough and by Joseph Ellis. Interesting challenges to socialist history can be found from Amity Schlaes (The Forgotten Man), Arthur Herman (Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II) and Burton W. Folsom Jr. (Entrepreneurs vs. the State: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America, 1840 — 1920).

      For a light overview suitable for the young, try Joy Hakim’s ten volume A History of US, published by Oxford University Press, although I recommend eschewing the last volume as it is a clear example in support of the old rule about “nothing in the last fifty years is history.” While it may have “benefited” from editing since first publication it had been reasonably fair.

      • Something appropriate for Athena. Very bright (Sarah and others can attest; it’s not just the doting father)14 year old High School freshman.

        • The Larry Schweikart book is probably your best bet — quite comprehensive. Without getting too deeply into the weeds, it acknowledges what weeds are there so that the interested reader has an idea where to investigate further. You might consider getting the Zinn book to read alongside as an exercise in deciphering propaganda, although that seems cruel to a fourteen-year-old and might be held until she’s sixteen.

          The reading level is likely appropriate for her, although in my household we none of us ever matched the levels assumed by whomever assigns those things. We tend more often to be dismayed by discovering what the levels actually are: “That’s supposed to be college-level? I’d have said eighth-grade, and the slow class at that? It is 900+ pages, so you might want to look for it in hardbound if Kindle doesn’t light her fire. Amazon link to the trade paperback, with relevant notes:

          https://www.amazon.com/Patriots-History-United-States-Columbuss/dp/1595230327

          For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of “dead white men.”

          As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington; more about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II than about D-Day or Iwo Jima; more on the dangers we faced from Joseph McCarthy than those we faced from Josef Stalin.

          A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.

          About the Authors
          Larry Schweikart is a professor of history at the University of Dayton.
          Michael Allen is a professor of history at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

          Editorial Reviews

          “This book has taught me more about our history than any I’ve read in years. A Patriot’s History of the United States should be required reading for all Americans.”
          –Glenn Beck

          A welcome, refreshing, and solid contribution to relearning what we have forgotten and remembering why this nation is good, and worth defending. –Matthew Spalding, National Review

          In A Patriot’s History of the United States, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen remind us what a few good individuals can do in just a few short centuries . . . . A fluid account of America from the discovery of the Continent up to the present day.
          –Brandon Miniter, The Wall Street Journal

          No recent American history challenges the conventional wisdom of academics as aggressively as Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen’s A Patriot’s History of the United States.
          –Daniel J. Flynn, Front Page Magazine

          There are a thousand pleasant surprises and heartening reminders that underneath it all America remains a country of ideas, ideals, and optimism—and no amount of revisionism can take that legacy away.
          –John Coleman, Humane Studies Review

          You might also consider getting their companion book, The Patriot’s History Reader: Essential Documents for Every American:

          Since 2005, A Patriot’s History of the United States has become a modern classic for its defense of America as a unique country founded on principles of justice, equality, and freedom for all.

          The Patriot’s History Reader continues this tradition by going back to the original sources-the documents, speeches, and legal decisions that shaped our country into what it is today.

          The authors explore both oft-cited documents-the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation, and Roe v. Wade–as well as those that are less famous. Among these are George Washington’s letter to Alexander Hamilton, which essentially outline America’s military strategy for the next 150 years, and Herbert Hoover’s speech on business ethics, which examines the government’s role in regulating private enterprise.

          By helping readers explore history at its source, this book sheds new light on the principles and personalities that have made America great.

    • Hmm…anything written by Theodore Roosevelt is good. Samuel Eliot Morison is outstanding.

      • Morison went into great detail about what interested him, and ignored almost everything else.

        That’s not actually bad, but more useful for filling in details after you already have a larger picture.

  14. so I read “Head Canon” and my mind pictures a Bowler Hat with a miniature cannon sticking out of the crown

  15. America. E Pluribus Unum, from many, one. Was the doctrine as few as 56 years ago when I was in kindergarten. That’s what needs to come back in vogue. To do that, some court decisions are going to have to be undone, likely by amendment.

    English only. All official documents and acts in any state and the Federal District shall be conducted only in English. Ballots and voting, laws, court sessions, whatever, if it’s GOVERNMENT business in a state or the Federal District, English must be the rule of the day. Individuals are and shall remain free to speak and learn any language they want, but to conduct government business, they’re going to have to learn English. A nation divided by language isn’t a nation.

    Ethnic tracking. The government should not be in the business of ensuring diversity, especially within government. The USA is based on individual rights, not group rights. If an individual gets promoted because it’s his group’s turn, another individual has lost their rights. Group rights and individual rights are irreconcilable. You can have on, or you can have the other. But not both. All attempts to balance the two will fail. If there is a difference in group achievements, so be it. Just so the long as the best and brightest of any group are judged by their individual performance, no harm, no foul. Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome.

    There are a few more things that should be done. But those two would be a huge start.

  16. The Democratic Party’s effort to steal two Senate seats just gets uglier and uglier. A Bernie Bro is in charge of the Arizona recount:

    https://www.breitbart.com/midterm-election/2018/11/09/bernie-sanders-supporter-adrian-fontes-overseeing-arizona-vote-record-as-senate-race-flips/

  17. People’s ideas of Utopia scare me.

    The Culture. The Associated Worlds (https://eldraeverse.com/). Hell, even the United Federation of Planets.

    All of them are built on the simple assumption that there is such a thing as perfect. And, it’s a definition that we can all agree on.

    (If the world was perfect by my standards, there would be a sudden dearth of high-quality busty Scottish gingers and a serious breeding effort for pure-quill Northern German/Kyoto Japanese genetic crosses. High emphasis in breeding for flexibility, intelligence, and heightened sexual response and desire.)

    But, that leads us to that little sticking point-a definition that we can all agree on. And that’s not a little sticking point, it’s a full stop point.

    Does everyone deserve a place to live? We can agree on that, most of us. Okay then-how much space? And what kind? And where?

    Food-everybody should at least get three decent (not bad, but “good” is optional) meals a day and clean water to drink. But, how much food? And what kind? And circumstances?

    By the very definition, it’s a question of “who bells the cat?” and what rings the bells when the bell is on. And, we’ll never have an agreeable answer, not in any universe that we could theoretically live in.

    I think we can do better-we can improve the health of people in general across the board. Access to decent food, water, and law enforcement. Improvements in education and knowledge. Books that are actually readable. It will never be perfect, and God help us if it ever is because your Perfect is my kind of Nightmare. But, it can be Better.

    • All utopias are dystopias for some. If not most.

    • > it’s a definition that we can all agree on.

      With the implicit “and if you don’t agree voluntarily, you will when we get done adjusting you. It’s for your own good.”

      • All cultures do this, in one form or another. A good culture includes a “either be prepared to adjust, or leave.” Utopia doesn’t allow you to do this, you have to be a part of the system as it has been created or you will be “fixed” so that you will be a part of the system.

    • I apologize for only skimming your post but I got knocked out at this:

      “The Culture. The Associated Worlds (https://eldraeverse.com/). Hell, even the United Federation of Planets.

      All of them are built on the simple assumption that there is such a thing as perfect. And, it’s a definition that we can all agree on.”

      It was knocked out in a good way. I’m now imagining a Federation version of “Galaxy’s Edge”… where the Federation military is a real military and colonies are fraught places without the bright gleaming perfection and with a well earned disdain for the confining and controlling illusions of “civilized” worlds.

  18. The Left believes in the Perfect, the Right believes in the Good.
    The Perfect is the enemy of the Good. And always will be.

    The Perfect will do anything to achieve the Perfect because if you are going for PERFECT then the END JUSTIFIES the MEANS!!!

    If you are going for the GOOD the ENDS NEVER Justify the Means. This puts the Good at a disadvantage. But then to believe in the PERFECT, you have to be a insane. Once the wheels come off the GOOD always wins.

  19. Completely unrelated, been catching myself walking around singing this, complete with raspberries for the tuba.

    I have thus far resisted flouncing for the “super-dooper-super-men.”

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