Multi-Culti (Still Tutti Frutti)

Yesterday I recorded one of the pre-recorded panels for the virtual Liberty Con (next weekend.)

I must warn anyone who sees me, I’m not a zombie and I didn’t suddenly age 40 years. Mostly there was a confusion with the time of the panel, so I was on 4 hours of sleep after a very crazy 2 days. (Yes, I stopped coloring my hair. I planned to wait till I was 60, but the stupid covidiocy made my hair turn white, or would if it hadn’t been white since I was 28. So, whatevs. I do however look ANCIENT. I don’t know if this happens to other people when exhausted. It does to me. I first noticed it when I was 40 and wrote a book in three days.)

Anyway…. So there we are — (I have a headache today, so meandery) having the panel when Peter Grant noted every panelist had a multicultural background (I think they’re now called 3rd culture people) which makes you (he thinks) better able to write different genres.

He might be right at that. I don’t know, because I’ve never written single genre (not even before I was published) and I never consciously thought about it, but he might have a point that being keyed to evaluate people’s expectations gives you a leg up when writing a new genre, since each genre has different expectations. (Aka reader cookies.)

But I do know that being “third culture” or whatever is actually a serious problem for identifying cultural mind sets. I just — for instance — read a book by a friend in which a character is supposed to be subtly cued as black. This went COMPLETELY over my head, because it was a set of small cultural hints, which are not part of my brain-programming. (To be fair, I’m a complete dork about race anyway, which led to interesting things like my making a cover and the client being very upset because the character was ethnic. The character in fact looked like my second cousin. Then it hit me, that this is because Latin officially isn’t a race, but it’s perceived as race in the US.)

I know there are things about Heinlein books, mostly sub-culture hints, which I didn’t get till I’d come to the US and lived in three different states.

So it got me to thinking — look, it’s a disease, or a bad habit or something, okay — about the left’s obsession with multiculti and how crazy/bizarre it is.

First of all, let me get this off, right up front: America is multicultural, and always was. This has absolutely nothing to do with skin colors. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact we’re a continent-sized country with a variety of environments, which was colonized recently, and where people as a routine spit on our hands and no, not get ready to cut throats, that’s just you Sarah, adapt to circumstances.

I’m forever somewhere between annoyed and confused when Hollywood movies, or some other “cultural spokesperson” talks about the uniform and unvarying culture of America. In what parallel universe? No one who has lived in more than a couple of states can think that. And if you’ve lived in different regions of the country, it hits you even harder.

Look, sure, whatevs. We’re Americans. At least WE are, the least said about TWANLOC the best, and so we believe in life liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as equality before the law, the last of which has Earth Shattering implications for how we relate to each other and everyone else too.

So. Yeah, we’re all Americans. But in the minutia of culture, for instance in how we perceive an overdressed person coming into a building, or for instance, in personal distance observed, not to mention what is polite to say to strangers… Well…

If you think the entire country is the same, I invite you to live for a year in the deep South and then move to NYC and then go to the Mountain West.

Dear Lord, people, you have no idea of the freedom of coming to Colorado, and stopping being asked at every grocery store and casual meeting “Where ya’ll from?” Because…. yeah. No, my accent hadn’t gotten any lighter, and I probably still give subtle “outsider” vibes anyway, even now. But EVERY time I opened my mouth, from restaurants to grocery stores, to– ANYWHERE. In the South I got “Where y’all from?”

Sure, okay, they’re just being friendly, maybe. Some weren’t but that’s besides the point. The point is that every time I had to ask for a pack of gum I got reminded “Y’all not from around here.” And keep in mind I was in a large city full of outsiders. But the culture is more SOCIAL so it’s okay for people to ask things of total strangers, tell total strangers their dress is a weird color (I swear. Often) or grab your hands in a public bathroom and “heal” you because your arms are having an eczema outbreak. (Yes, I do realize that my arms are OFTEN freak-show bad, but let’s talk about it, okay? That’s bizarre.)

It was a relief to get to Colorado and find no casual comments on my hair, clothing, accent, or — Well, strangers pretty much left you the heck alone, which is good and bad. (And don’t take me wrong. I love the South which is still my spiritual home, but the places I lived in were a wee bit crazy, I guess. I don’t get that level of crazy in TN when I visit, for instance.) And I think over the last 30 years I’ve been asked where I’m from 3 times, one of which was when I was speaking French to my older son so he could practice for his final exam.

As for NYC, whenever I have to head thataway (though Atlanta is about half as bad, coming from the West) I find myself singing under my breath “don’t stand, don’t stand, don’t stand so close to me.” Even the restaurants have tables, what is considered here in Denver “on each other’s lap.” Even at a restaurant in downtown Denver on New Year’s Eve, we have more space. And dear Lord, people in my groups at least, stand in a parking lot, three to four feet apart to talk to each other. Not social distancing, you get? In Colorado that’s considered close friends. In Portugal people would be shoving their way between each of us, and asking why we were shouting at each other from a distance. In NYC probably also.

Anyway, so America is multi-culti at base line. When people move between states, they either adapt, or they get treated as profoundly weird, and if they’re engineers they probably don’t notice. Which btw, is another sub culture. As is science fiction writer. Hell fiction writer is. Science fiction writer is small, insular and we change very slowly. Whenever I look at pictures of science fiction conventions Heinlein attended, I’m struck by how I could move in that room, and know exactly how to act to be left alone, to join a group, to make friends. And some of those are near a century ago. It’s a small, insular culture, it changes slowly.

Now, you’re going to say every country has those sub-cultures. And you’d be kind of right — ish. For instance the culture in the North and the South of Portugal used to be very different pre-highway. But–

But that difference was buried under a thick layer of conformity that governs every day things.

One of the unspoken things about America is that it accepts weird more than most places. It’s the first thing that struck me. All the funny posters teachers put up. Classrooms were very individual. In Europe these people would have been out-there insane. Here they’re normal. And the same goes for ways of dressing and the leeway in how you behave. (Though you might get asked “Where ya’ll from.”)

America is large enough that there are enough people in your subgroup. (I think that if I tried to join a group of professional SF writers in Portugal, it would be me and maybe 2 people. And I’m not sure of the standards to admit those two people. Certainly not making a living from it, unless it is by grants and such.) And America gives a bit of leeway on how weird you can get before someone goes and sniffs your koolaid. Sure, that gives us some crazy-ass groups, but it mostly allows the creation of a ton of small sub-cultures. Science fiction people, makers, people who are into scrap booking, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

So to an extent we’re all more multi-cultural than the rest of the world. Which, yes, does confer some advantages, in that all of us move between one or more subcultures on the regular. It also confers disadvantages, in that subcultures can drastically misunderstand each other, and in the case of regional subcultures, moving between them is a pain. And sometimes, like Scotland, we’re a country in relentless conflict with itself.

It does confer some advantages, because we’re all at bottom and baseline American. So the variations and the ability to adapt to them keep us from getting too hidebound on the irrelevant details. “You must wear your pflark on the left side, and tie your hair on the right. It’s the fashion this year.” That’s not a thing in America, thank heavens.

But does that mean that more diversity is beneficial.

Well…. Where y’all from?

It annoys the living daylights out of me, yeah, but I know why people ask it. They hear the accent, and they’re afraid of traipsing onto no-man’s land, where a smile or a look can be weirdly interpreted, or where I’m going to take offense because their voice is too high/low or they met my eyes, or failed to meet them.

Even living aside the cheerful customs of cultures that are never mentioned in pushes for multiculti: turning women in slip-covered furniture, dropping walls on gay people (or dropping them from tall buildings, whichever), considering women whores if they are alone with their boyfriend for five minutes, considering women/other races inferior/not quite human (and trust me, it’s almost like that’s the norm in the rest of the world) different cultures have a variety of traps and stumbling blocks that won’t be obvious to the naked eye, or to people on either side of the divide. And some of them are, to American eyes, stupid-crazy and will impact one’s ability to make a living. For instance, I spent years feeling like I was being put down because I worked retail for a year. Stupid right? But it was considered “low class” where I grew up and I didn’t even realize that was there till I realized it was bothering me. (Once I realized it I got over it, and found it funny, but then I’m a little more self-aware than the average bear, for various reasons.) And keep in mind the culture I came from was solidly Western.

Is there an advantage to importing other cultures and treating everyone as equal?

Well… it’s expensive in time, money and stress. Because, look, 90% of human society is monkey ape games. Because we are built on basis of social animals, the social animal has to be appeased before whatever common purpose can be pursued. So there’s a ton of dominance/hazing/etc. in everything. People from different cultures do these differently. And the wrong cues are going to gum up the works like nobody’s business, even if they don’t result in mass shootings or something (and sometimes they do.)

This is annoying to those of us who aren’t quite human don’t read social signals well, or neglect to read them because we’re so busy pursuing whatever “the thing” in our heads is. But it’s still true and part of humanity. As is part of humanity that culture shapes these games. Which means different cultures interacting has bad side effects.

So it really has to have a big advantage.

The only advantage I can see is the chance to import the best from all over the world. The other countries brain-drain is our brain-gain.

But honestly? That’s only under the condition that those who come in are the BEST in whatever we need. And I want to point out as much as illiterate third world peasants might want to come in, and as much as we might be beneficial to them, the work and expense of integrating them make them not worth it.

“But Sarah, some of the illiterate peasants might have tons of potential. Or their kids might have, with proper nutrition.” Maybe. Look, we’re more and more out of work they can do. Contrary to what the left thinks this isn’t the thirties, when most work required neither literacy nor a familiarity with concepts of hygiene and exactness. So most third world peasants get trapped in welfare, which I’ll be honest is not beneficial to anyone, generationally. But yes, there is the occasional very bright person who was held back by their circumstances and whose family will take off like a rocket in America. The problem is finding those. And figuring out if they’re willing to work hard enough. And figuring out how not to trap them in welfare. And once we figure that out — of course, I’m one of those hard hearted Libertarians who’d cut it off, cold — let’s do the same to those people born here who are trapped in the same place. And let’s work on giving them a way out of where they’re caught. Because, look, it really, really, really, doesn’t require a high IQ to get out of the flat spot economically and culturally. It requires being allowed to and a change in culture. Oh, and incentive. And if we’re doing that, let’s do it for our fellow Americans first, and then consider how to “save the world” shall we? (And yeah, I know I’m day dreaming, because cutting off welfare will require a near-extinction event. Even though it’s needed and more than needed.)

I don’t care how, though, or how it’s determined, but to be worth the price of integrating different cultures, we have to pick people who in themselves or their descendants have a ton of potential. (And not just for captive welfare recipients who vote for the welfare givers.)

AND note that “integrating” — because if we have to live forever with encysted foreign cultures in our midst, there’s no enough pay off to offset that, EVER — the second thing that makes admitting members of other cultures worth it, is having them welcomed with an intransigent “FIFO”. Fit in, or F*ck off.

Because if we keep talking like multi-culti-tutti-frutti and keeping your “sacred” culture of origin intact are the goals, we’re just going to shatter into a million pieces.

Then the new comers won’t do well. And neither will the people who are here.

And we’ll have destroyed the one culture that matters: American culture, with its promise of freedom from the old shibboleths and crazy of historical humans.

So in the end, no matter where you came from, once you’ve been here four or five years (it takes that long, even if you’re educated/aware/trying) the answer to “Where y’all from?” should always be “America.”

Because tutti frutti is a lousy flavoring for gum, something that never existed in nature. And in cultures, it won’t exist for long. That’s the law of nature.

352 thoughts on “Multi-Culti (Still Tutti Frutti)

  1. The reason the left focuses so much on race and ethnicity is that to them they are synonymous with culture and belief systems, and that people of the same race/ethnicity MUST have the same culture and beliefs. This is due to the collectivist nature of their ideology and is the reason they so viciously attack anyone who does not conform to what they have declared the “proper” beliefs for a particular group are. It is simply inconceivable to them that people could have views that have nothing to do with their assigned identity group(s).

    1. Partly an artifact of thinking in terms of simple models, and of taking the simple models much too seriously.

      Doing all of your thinking practice using a single way of knowing can leave one a little bit rigid and inflexible.

      1. They do seem terribly partial to stereotyping people … while denouncing as racist any effort to eschew such stereotyping.

        1. Probably because once you can get everyone on board with the racism / anti-racism project as opposed to Justice / injustice; humility / pride; chastity / fornication; charity / greed; Honesty / Lying, etc., etc., etc. (i.e. real virtues and real vices)you are golden.

          Sancta Racisma is holy to all who want to pick a make-belive moral code, rather than one of which failure and success is readily determined. Once who/whom took off as a nouveaux quasi-Christian moral heresy, she or something like her was going to have to be invented.

          Endless debates about what is and is not “racism” (note there really is no clear virtue opposing it. That appears to be a feature. Try asking a committed DIE trainer “what would success look like”) rather than what is or is not truthful, or fair, or generous.

          Cannot have folks pursuing real virtue and eschewing real vice if one’s entire social projects, status, and profits depend on counterfeiting.

      2. Emphatically this.

        When i explain to regular people what economists actually believe versus what people think they do I get “it can’t be just that.”: But it is. All the math serves to cover up the fact that they haven’t moved a jot in a 100 years.

      3. But it’s SO MUCH EASIER to treat people as one-dimensional NPC’s! 😛

        1. Just so, you get nice closed form solutions and tight proofs. H-ll, everything the FED does ultimately comes down to MV = PQ and they hold V constant and forget about P. This goes back to Fisher back in the 1920’s except he didn’t think V was a constant, Friedman did. It’s not — so they stopped publicly calculating it.

          M = Money Supply
          V = Velocity of Money
          P = Price Level
          Q = Quantity of output Thus, MV = Nominal GDP.

          Strip out all th obfuscation and this is all Monetary Economics is. V is interesting since you can only calculate it by solving for it given M P & Q. V has been declining since the 1990’s accelerating after 2008. You can explain the decline in V either through demographics, low interest rates, or debt levels. We don’t have enough data to determine which, or it could be all, some, or none. I think it’s demographics since they’re harder to fudge, but they all correlate well with V and a good story can be told about any. Economics is not a science.

          I don’t know if the Matrix or Wizard of Oz is a better metaphor. Maybe Terry Pratchett ‘s Making Money. I’ll probably infuriate gold bugs, but he’s basically sound. Better than most textbooks anyway, especially if the author is out of Harvard,

          1. Thanks for this! I’m not any kind of expert, just a mom who reads a lot, but I’ve been trying to understand this for years. I had rather crudely concluded that V must be decreasing (because I knew where all the other numbers were going) but I couldn’t figure out why. If the experts don’t know either, well, that’s not exactly reassuring, but at least I’m not stupid. Or if I am, I’m not alone.

            I guess that means hyperinflation happens when V starts increasing again? Or accelerating upwards?

            1. My wife just rolls her eyes and sighs.

              V cannot be directly observed and it’s not clear it’s even a valid concept, but the key thing is the assumption that there exists an unlimited demand for credit and an unlimited supply of creditworthy borrowers. Fisher didn’t make this assumption, but Friedman did and it’s the basis of the notion that bank reserves are money. The hottest of money in fact.

              My view is that M isn’t increasing either but that could change — bank reserves are not money. Hyperinflation will come if they actually manage to increase M. The Biden Fiscal plan won’t, quite, do it. What you need to look for is a change to the Federal Reserve Act that permits them to monetize their liabilities. They’re pushing very close to the line with all the BS they’re pulling but the law still restrains them. if that restraint is removed then we are, in fact, a banana republic.

      1. I do assure you I’m focused on the population. the demographics are why they’re pushing on a string. one of the primary factors in economic growth is population, the other is productivity. financial markets or money are not factors in real economic growth, though they can damage it. That’s why I think Pratchett was mostly right.

        Still, if the FRB is able to monetize their liabilities they’ll break the currency and we’ll have hyperinflation. Credit means belief and all our money is actually credit. If people stop believing then the money dies. It’s happened any number of times.

        Interesting, at least to me, the word credo meaning belief in Latin started in finance, moved to religion, and then back. It all comes down to trust.

        1. Tell me the difference between religion, and economics as practiced by the Democrats.

          I’ll wait.

    2. Not just the left. Any flavor of racist considers that race/skin color determines the ability and value of a person

      1. The number of such racists who are not on the left (and we are using American definitions of left/right, not the Euro ones were leftist socialist ideologies are referred to as “right wing” because of their redefinition of fascism, are a small number of the total. This is because conservative/libertarian ideologies at their essence place a primacy on the freedom, liberty, agency and personal responsibility of individuals, and thus judge people based on their individual merit, not their group identity.

        If this wasn’t the case, the Democrats/left wouldn’t have to manufacture so many hoaxes and wouldn’t be harping about “microaggressions”, etc., while calling their own racism “anti-racist”.

        Also note that the vast majority of conservatives/libertarians who are not racists, scorn the racists. The Democrats/left on the other hand, defend, praise and promote racism and racists and assert that it is “justified”, with such claims that only certain races of people can be racist.

        Do not accept the American lefts’ efforts to import Europe’s definitions into the USA. Fascism is a LEFTIST ideology, including its racial group variants.

    3. A Zulu is from a very different culture than an Ashanti. Or, as one of my friends found out, a middle-class Bronx black is from a very different culture than a middle-class Angeleno black.

      1. I mean…while I will admit to being one of those very-few 90s kids that has never actually seen a full episode of Fresh Prince (look, I was too busy either watching Batman: TAS, or reading, okay? 😀 ) wasn’t that kind of the premise of that show? A lower-class black kid from a different part of the country goes to live with his upper-middle-class relatives in a totally different part of the country, and cultural clashes cause hilarity to ensue?

        I’m not sure that show could get made today….

    4. race and ethnicity is that to them they are synonymous with culture and belief systems

      And thus they repeat the mistake of the Victorian-era social Darwinists.

        1. A lot of the left has made it clear that their only real problem with Hitler is that his genocide of Jews wasn’t completed.

    5. “The reason the left focuses so much on race…” NO. It’s much simpler. My encounters with the left and from what I believe is that they are obsessed with racial differences. The Left are closet racists because this is who they are. See Biden gaffs and quotes throughout his long life.

      And because they are, they believe everyone else is! And when you tell them it’s different for oneself and others, they honestly deny it to you.

      I think Leftist racism cannot be eliminated, but only contained.

  2. Academia is a subculture.

    Lot of the folks from overseas wind up assimilating to the academic subculture to some degree.

    Leaves them very badly placed to figure out if academia is wearing out the American tolerance for their insane bullshit.

    This means that said folks are badly placed to navigate when American patience with the universities runs out.

    1. Academia is a subculture placing extremely high value on “Certificates of Achievement” – an artifact highly prized in the foreign cultures most inclined to migrate to America. Any possession of actual knowledge is totally secondary to their certificates of nobility.

      1. Those “certificates” are proof positive that the recipients have great skills in feeding professors back whatever they want to hear. University actively attempts to stamp out any and all attempts at independent thinking and critical reasoning. Those are counter to and threaten the established way of doing things don’t you know.

      2. Colleges are in the business of selling credentials, not imparting knowledge.

        Many colleges put their entire curricula online, free for whoever wants it. You can get a nice Harvard or MIT education using an internet PC at the local library. If you just want the knowledge, there you go. If you want to lever it into the job market, HR people would likely point and laugh.

        1. When massive online education became a thing back in the early 2000s, I was heartened to read that a Stanford professor of Computer Science had opened up an online class and 60,000 people signed up for it within a short time. If Stanford had woken up then (are they ever going to?), they could have charged $10 a semester hour and collected >$1 million for one class. Funding online classes doesn’t have to cost the user nearly what most of the online courses are charging. Furthermore, there don’t even have to be proctored tests. Publishing a series of problems and questions for businesses to give anyone claiming to have the knowledge from the class should filter out the poseurs. Look ma, no more professional test taking cheats! Almost all other learning areas have practical tests for practitioners, welders, brick layers, carpenters, plumbers to name a few. Why should a certificate cause a pass to be given for knowledge? The whole thing will focus the, I hate to say it, academic world on real problems and solutions, not invented problems and malutions. <= warning, word invention.

          1. As I gather, taking a test at a company you were applying to used to be a normal thing–it was a basic “do you know this” test that someone either who had gone to university OR who had self taught could manage, and so those who were self taught were not muscled out by credentialism.

            I’ve give you three guesses as to why that isn’t done anymore, and the first two don’t count.

            1. I actually took one of those for an internship because the company involved had gotten so many dud ‘engineers’ out of Stanford that they couldn’t trust a degree. So part of the interview was doing a simple circuit design and/or a bit of C+ coding and then talking it over with the interviewer. It weeded out the folks who had only retained the knowledge long enough to pass a test.

              1. But I’d bet you dollars to donuts they “aren’t allowed” to do that anymore because it’s unfair/racist/blah blah blah.

                But I’m not surprised one bit about duds coming even out of a ‘high prestige’ uni like Stanford. They were there for the university name, not an actual education, I’d bet….

                Like in the federal government, they fly jobs based on broad generalities of ‘degrees.’ Like, there’s a job I could do perfectly well from experience, but couldn’t apply because I don’t have a ‘science’ degree, and nevermind that the person that DID get hired for the job couldn’t do it at all. I hate credentialism with a passion. Prove you can do the job, and insist that serious mistakes require accountability–no matter the possession or lack of a college degree–and I think things would be a lot better, sigh.

            2. For translators it was bizarro insane, as it went into pop psychology. In the eighties. So things like at what age you were weaned, etc. (I wish I were joking, truly I do.)

            3. I strongly suspect the real reason it was brought about was because “I don’t like being beat out at tests by when *I* went to the BEST schools! (and am not )!” but naturally they used the trappings of “But it isn’t fair to !”

              That purely makes me furious.

              1. In the 60s my psychological testing prof, a former industrial psychologist, claimed that most of the testing done at that time was completely inappropriate and irrelevant or negatively correlated to future job performance.

                1. heh. Definitely academic/school tests. The old job tests..well, they might not have been able to say what KIND of employee a person would be, but they might at least let the potential employer know if they could actually DO the job. (Even if they later turned out to be a right jerk and impossible to work with 😀 )

            4. Griggs decision. Companies can not give tests that are not directly related to the proposed job (and, those that are given are challenged regularly).
              So, they used academic degrees as a substitute for basic capability.
              HUGE increase in cost to the job-seeker. Waste of productive years. No real difference in outcome.

        2. I’ve used the MIT site when we were fixing Number two son’s math. Excellent.

          An adjunct professor is paid around $3000 per course. For the price of cheap private college tuition, one could simply hire the adjunct yourself and be tutored.

          it’s a racket

  3. In S. M. Stirling’s “Island In The Sea Of Time”, a group of multi-cultural idiots wanted to “save” the Olmecs from the other time-travelers.

    It was “somewhat” funny the way that they ignored the “danger clues” about the Olmecs who they were coming to save.

    For all their belief in Multi-Culturalism, they had a rosy-colored view of the Olmecs and get hurt badly when they encountered the reality of the Olmecs. 😈

    1. For all their belief in Multi-Culturalism, they had a rosy-colored view of the Olmecs and get hurt badly when they encountered the reality of the Olmecs.

      Committed Genocide, too. Couldn’t have happened to a better culture, as portrayed, either.

      S.M. Stirling “Conquistadors” – When it is explained how the Hawaiian and Tahiti Islands were “conquered”. “The survivors were given weapons and headed off to the native islands they were driven from.” Whole thing implying “long pork” was on the menu. “Just because they lost doesn’t mean they were nice and sweet.”

      Who were the western warriors afraid of when captured by indigenous natives? Not the warriors …

      1. And need we even mention how many of their neighbors the Aztecs murdered in their ritual sacrifices?

        Of course the left now treats the descendants of the conquistadors as if they are the “natives” who were pushed out of those portions of the USA that had been conquered by Spain and were Spanish colonies before becoming independent of Spain and subsequently becoming part of the USA.

        1. Of course the left now treats the descendants of the conquistadors as if they are the “natives” who were pushed out of those portions of the USA that had been conquered by Spain and were Spanish colonies before becoming independent of Spain and subsequently becoming part of the USA.

          They’ve done something similar in southern Africa with the Zulus, whom I believe were a bunch of murderous conquers before they ran into the Dutch and the British, who were conquerers with better weapons. But because they had roughly the same skin color as they people they were killing, they’ve become “the natives” who are justified in whatever they do to those with paler skin.

          The American Left at least judges these things through a fairly simple lense:

          1) Figure out which of these people is most like us.

          2) Declare the other side to be the good guys.

          1. When the Dutch and others immigrated to South Africa there were NO BLACKS in South Africa!!!!!
            The Blacks (Bantus) were migrating South down from the North while the Afrikaners were migrating North up from the South. They meet in the Transvaal. The natives were the Bushmen who the Afrikaners hired and tried not to destroy. The Blacks moving south just hunted and killed them. The Afrikaners were NOT Colonists, they were immigrates. They formed a New African Tribe. They acted no differently than any other African Tribe. Please give an example where what they did was the same as other Tribes.

              1. Afrikaans nationalists appear to have screwed up any possibility of making a ‘whites only’ state work in South Africa. And it was the Afrikaans nationalists who were in theory trying to make that ‘whites only’ state work.

                When the one group colluded to collect political power in South Africa around the time of WWII, the specific Afrikaans politicians were still salty about about the British concentration camps for Afrikaans during the Boer War. So, they were trying to push out white English politicians.

                Then, a few decades later, they decided that they really needed the English whites to buy into their plan for a white dominant state. Did not work out.

                There’s a point in saying that genocidal racism is not much, if any, morally inferior to endemic tribal warfare.

                There are some other at least semi-valid points.

                The narrative that extends these to saying that the ‘Lost Cause’ could have been viable does not appear to be correct. Yes, it also was not correct that the forces who ‘defeated’ the ‘Lost Cause’ were in a position to secure a viable peace. Doing complex societal things to design is difficult and unreliable. You most often are able to do what you have already been doing.

                If you cannot deliver even internal peace, your moral case for waging war against endemic warfare tribal societies is weak. Yes, endemic warfare tribal societies may lack the customs which make peace possible. But, a sedentary agrarian society with a complex bureaucracy, and many other cosmetic features of civilization can also lack the capacity for peace.

                Right now, we are somewhat concerned about whether peace is possible in America. We look to historical examples for policy ideas, etc. But, selecting cases where none of the alternatives were viable may be fruitless.

                Fundamentally, we are making a statist mistake when we look for solutions in terms of racial policy. I’m definitely not smart enough to change my behavior to have a predictably different result at such a macro level. Macro level results are a distraction, that blind us to pursuing results at a smaller scale. If we think about how we invest in individual relationships, we may get worthwhile results. We cannot truly know if the USA is viable, the actions we take are a gamble, and an act of faith.

            1. Pretty much what I have gathered.
              And … in the American west, the dominant Indian tribes – the Comanche, the Sioux frinstance, got to be the dominant tribes by making war on and persecuting smaller tribes. Which is why some of those smaller tribes (Pawnee, Crow, Lipan Apache, Tonkawa, etc.) were more than happy to ally with whites, in order to get some of their own back, against a hated enemy…

              1. And the Spanish (New Mexico) had encouraged the Comanche to chase out the Apache because the Spanish thought the Apache were the greater hazard. Well, not exactly . . .

          2. Thanks to their Oppressor/Victim matrix they always consider the victorious group the greater oppressor. The idea, for instance, that Cortez’s achievement could never have been without the active contributions of tribes oppressed by his “victims” is too nuanced a thought.

          3. I do like the term, “oikophobia.” Like Father Spike in “The Screwtape Letters,” they hate anything their parents and grandparents like. Gotta keep shocking those squares.

        2. The conquistadors were in the remarkable situation where they could do just about anything they wanted to and still come off as angels next to the monsters they deposed.

          1. Very handy. But note you can blow that. The victims of the USSR were happy to welcome German armies but the Germans blew it.

        3. My understanding is that – unlike in the British colonies – the Spanish immigrants were almost entirely men. But men still want women, so the newly arrived Spaniards fathered children through native women. The result is that the vast majority of individuals of Spanish descent in the former Spanish New World colonies are descended from both the Spanish and the natives.

          1. Interestingly, the Social Ranking depended on “how much Spanish/European blood” you had.

            This was because the few Spanish women who came to the New World were married to the higher ranking Spanish men.

              1. Can confirm that it’s universal. I’ve encountered it in several different parts of Asia. Also, the fact that the idea “light skin is more attractive” has produced many of the same cultural adaptations in Asia as it did in 18th- and 19th-century England: it’s common to see women walking around with parasols. The parasols look different here than they did in England, but they serve the same function: actively avoiding tanning.

                1. Back a few years ago, I could spot Japanese tourists in Europe because the ladies all had parasols and hats, and many wore gloves as well.

                2. IIRC it was “tanning meant you work in the fields”. Thus a Social Marking.

                  1. And when most people work in an office, the social marking for not being working class is (or was until we decided that it got you cancer) a nice, dark tan.

                  2. It is particularly pronounced for women because they are most fertile at their palest. And then sexual selection takes over: pale women are attractive because they will bear attractive daughters.

          2. One of the primary causes cited for the Indian Mutiny is that the officers had become separate from their men, the vast majority of troops in India were natives. The “color line” wasn’t sharply drawn until large numbers of British women started going out to India. Before that, the British officers often had native wives. Later on, the Anglo-Indians formed a caste of their own and ran the railway.

            There’s a story that a British newspaper man called the Colonel of Gardner’s Horse (2nd Bengal Lancers) a Nr because Gardner’s grandmother was a Mughal princess. Gardner horse whipped the newspaper man to the general acclaim of all the army. The regiment, amalgamated with the old 4th Bengal Lancers, still exists in the Indian army today

            1. A fair number of today’s ‘journalists’ would be much improved by a good horse whipping. 😀

              1. After being made to walk through town barefoot, with their hands tied to the tail of a donkey.
                And you forgot “whipped, till the blood runs freely.”

            2. In fact, after due consideration, I have arrived at the conclusion that the penalties for slander and libel should include horse whipping. To be delivered by the aggrieved party, or a designated second.

              1. And so it was in civilized days and perhaps will be again. Debagging might be a useful alternative for milder cases. I commend the story of the great Colonel Alfred Wintle of the 1st Royal Dragoons (now Blues and Royals) to you. He debagged a lawyer named Nye for what Wintle thought was fraud, He debagged Nye, took pictures, and sent them to the papers. Wintle was sent to jail but appealed to the House of Lords arguing that debagging was justified and the only other alternative was horse whipping. He won. He is the only person to represent himself and win in the House of Lords. The stories about him are legion. There’s one of a young bugler of the Royals who was brought in to hospital, with diphtheria I think, Wintle ordered him not to die and the bugler said he was too afraid to not obey and so lived.

                Like Churchill’s man caught in flagrente delicto with a hooker on a park bench in the snow, it would make you proud to be an Englishman,

            3. Wahabist jihadis coming in from Afghanistan also played a partial role. Reading the background of the Mutiny is like reading a how-not-to guide: ignore complaints, override sincere religious concerns (Hindu and Muslim), cut pay for seemingly irrational reasons, blow off the people in the field who are trying to pass on warnings, punish the guys trying to help you . . .

                    1. I need to be more careful. It’s The Other Side of the Medal by Edward Thompson. came out in 1925. The mutiny is one of those events where it’s very difficult to get a balanced view. One thing it was not was a nationalist rebellion.

          3. The Conquistadors used the same method as the Romans, long before. They nominated various natives of New Spain to the King, who then granted them titles of Spanish nobility to swing their allegiance from the Old Bosses to the New Bosses. This was actually working quite well, until the Inquisitors and some braindead import/export ideas stripped the nobility of New Spain of their titles and policies changed from colonization to exploitation.

            The colonies were an economic disaster for Spain; cheap silver caused serious inflation, and imported goods from New Spain destabilized long-stagnant industries. They were like the dog that finally caught the car; now Spain had a vast overseas empire, but it destabilized the country enough that there was enough civil unrest for the monarchy to start going paranoid.

            1. Every Spaniard was rich enough not to work, so they didn’t. Before long, there was nothing to buy. The orchards died, the fields were overgrown with weeds, buildings crumbled… But we’se rich! RICH I tell ya!

              The Democrats should read about those times before they bring them back. An economy composed entirely of idle Dolists and the idle rich does not function.

              But it’s exactly what they want.
              Some folks can be taught. Others can learn by example. The rest have to piss on the electric fence for themselves.

              1. Well, that plus more than a century of silver-fueled constant European warfare. By some accounts, they had more or less run out of Spaniards by the end of the Thirty Years’ War. (And even with all that silver, Philip II still went bankrupt. Twice.)

                1. Oh, and I forgot. Right about the same time, merino sheep* overgrazing turned central Spain into something that would still pass as the Great American Desert three hundred years later.

                  * (wool being the area’s viable cash crop)

                  1. It’s worth noting that sheep, left to themselves, will always overgraze. The flocks have to be moved constantly or the land will die.

            2. Amusingly, I found out earlier today that the majority of that New World silver apparently ended up in…


              The European traders were starting to reach China in ever larger numbers, and there was high demand in Europe for silk and porcelain (tea hadn’t caught on yet in Great Britain, iirc), which could only be obtained from the Chinese. For their part, the Chinese were never very interested in European goods in large quantities (this was before opium became popular), and insisted that they be paid in silver. So a lot of silver went into China… where it stayed. Or at least, if it left the country, it didn’t return to Europe.

              1. That was probably the biggest surprise from reading 1493. IIRC China was also having currency issues — again — and needed the silver for it’s own sake, not just because they disdained barbarian trade goods.

          4. We saw a historical marker yesterday on the way to Las Crucee memorializing a Dona Eufremia. She encouraged the men in the group she was with, and at one point she and 22 other ladies undertook the defense of a town while the men were away.
            Definitely sounded like you did not want to mess with Dona Eufremia.

    2. They had the view of, “primitive people who we must treat gently so we don’t damage them.” Very patronizing, though they weren’t aware of it.

    3. “In S. M. Stirling’s “Island In The Sea Of Time”, a group of multi-cultural idiots wanted to “save” the Olmecs from the other time-travelers”
      That was a great scene in an awesome book. I always pictured Pamela Lisketter as my old kooky leftist HS English teacher.

  4. I have thoughts, including a guest post I can send you called How to Solve America’s Immigration Problem (and Save the World as a Side Effect).

  5. You weren’t a zombie and you didn’t age 40 years. Of course, this view may be tempered by the way the white mug clutched in my hand until it (alas, alack) proved to be suddenly empty was my first cup of coffee for the day.

    I’m going to have to come up with a more nuanced version of the argument… but then again, I was sitting there with 3 writers who publish in multiple genres going “I just write tactically-correct scifi with romance that doesn’t fit neatly into space opera (too technical), milsf (too much romance) or romance (too much scifi plot and reader cookies). Why am I here?”

    Ugh. If I were in a perfect world, I could get the next book copyedited and covered and released in time for Libertycon, so I could claim I’m doing it for promotion?

      1. If we were in a perfect world, I wouldn’t be reading the comments here, I’d be maintaining my perfect house, having already written on the blowing up the mall book today.

        …I did get to the gym today. And the sprained wrist has healed enough I could rack pull a bare bar. Trying to put a couple gears on it and call it steampunk… um, trying to throw a couple tens on it and call it a work set was a spectacularly painful mistake of optimism. Which is probably why I’m sitting here on the internet instead of being productive.

        1. Looks at already low step platform with block added to make the exercises easier doable. Yep, a perfect world would have made rehab less interesting and somewhat less painful


          1. Update after therapy session:

            The physical therapist had me shift to doing the exercise without trying to balance on the relevant leg. It turns a painful, near-impossible task to one that’s uncomfortable, but doable. I can live with discomfort that’s less than freaking painful.

    1. I feel you, Dorothy. Rich Groller keeps putting me on game design panels, even though I haven’t designed a game in decades and pretty much none of my games were published (perhaps not even played). Yah just gotta tapdance as hard as you can, hon…

      1. If only it had been live! Then I could have looked at the audience and said, “Are you not entertained?”

        Some things don’t carry as well on video timing, sadly.

    2. As I have aged I have been struck by how much differently “aged forty years” appears from the high side of sixty than it seemed from the low side of thirty.

  6. The panel went well, I thought… 😉 One side note on nutrition- Japanese women are now averaging taller than the men by an inch, because they have now had three generations of women with ‘proper’ nutrition, starting after WWII. It was interesting to ride the trains and see the 4′ something mamasans, the 5′ 50 somethings, and the 5’6″ or so teens actually taller than many of the men on the trains.

      1. The scots went from being the tallest people in Europe to the shortest in three generations. So much so that they had to relax the height requirements down from 5’3” and make up “bantam”battalions in WWI. Malnutrition will do that.

        My family in the US averages 3 inches taller than the same generation who stayed in Ireland or England. It’s more marked in the women.

        1. An American woman in Scotland went to Mass and realized in line for Communion that she could look over all the men before her.

          1. I don’t know about the scots, but I know from the Irish and German genes that so long as you give us plenty of food, we tend to grow REALLY tall. As in, Dad (who is the lots-of-germanic-genes one) at 6’2″ is one of the shorter ones in his batch of male relatives. He has cousins in excess of 7 feet. And Mom–she of the near-100% Celtic genes–at 5’8″ is the ‘short’ one in our family (at least of the blood-relatives. My sisters are all quite short, but they are also adopted. I, as the lone female birth-daughter, am near 6 feet…)

        2. Reportedly you can see the Roman occupation of Britain start, persist, and fade away just by looking at skeletons. As in, during the Romans everybody was shorter; there may have been more of them but they weren’t as healthy or well-nourished.

          1. With bad teeth. They can tell who came in from oop north beyond the wall by their teeth since the Romans ate little but bread.

  7. It’s been said that in order to really understand your own language, you need know at least one other. Along the same lines, in order to be properly multiculturalist, you have to have lived in at least one other for a year. No, that doesn’t mean have studied about it in college, or visited as a tourist. That means you have to have been immersed in the housing, the food, common transportation modes, the language, the music, the visual arts, everyday customs, sports, the marketplaces, government, religion, and so on. There are reasons why people do things differently there. If you’ve read enough history, you appreciate that the past is a foreign country and they did things differently there, too, and for different reasons and by different means than we do things today.

    It irritates me that people go to school and come out activists, all on fire to change the world to fit what is really the ideals of their own narrow subculture. I remember hearing a child express a vigorous opinion on something and thinking “He’s mighty sure of himself, for someone who doesn’t know anything yet”. The same could be said of many a college graduate. And, judging by the various inanities that emerge every so often from our universities, no few professors as well.

    1. It strikes me as somewhat similar to those who seem to believe that God thinks like a 20th (or 21st) century American.

      1. I think I got it from Stirling, but I like, “A fanatic is someone who believes God would agree with him if He only had all the facts of the case.”
        The Babylon Bee had a story about a Progressive activist who can’t wait to get to Heaven so he can lecture God on “privilege.” I think they’ve got the mindset nailed.

    2. various inanities that emerge every so often from our universities, no few professors as well.

      I know this isn’t what you meant, but …

      By the time I graduated for my Computer Science degree, I had over 8 years working in programming, designing software, and working with clients. Won’t say I didn’t learn anything that wasn’t applicable, to an extent, and did learn things that could be retro applied to a systems code and data structure to figure out the guts faster (not that the following list was ever available to reference). But design meetings/review, code review, design, documentation (beyond sketched on a scrap paper, napkin)? I was old enough to know to keep my mouth shut, to not contradict the professors. The youngsters would learn soon enough. Who was I to burst their bubble? One of the reasons that when IP Western Division shutdown and the opportunity to “go to college” or “go back to college”, even if it was only a few classes for “skills updating”, it wasn’t because I was pushing 40, that my response was “Oh. H3LL No.” Got them to pay for seminars instead. At least the instructors there kept to the topic.

      1. I’m sure we’ve all read the phrase in one or more books – “God save us from a newly-minted Second Lieutenant!”

        I would say that this applies to just about any useful line of work. Except that most non-military organizations don’t even try to pair their new graduate hires with a grizzled experienced NCO…

        1. read the phrase in one or more books – “God save us from a newly-minted Second Lieutenant!”

          “Aren’t they so cute!” Sgt Kerr … Might be a fan of Huff’s Valor series (don’t how realistic it all is … but …)

    3. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
      The fire of moral certainty burns high and hot, but it leaves a fireplace full of nothing but ash in the cold night of the soul. In the end, only kindness matters.

    1. To be fair, Se. Whitehouse’s membership in that “exclusive” club and its “peculiar traditions” has been known for several years* now — and woe betide the Rhode Island “journalist” so crass as to ask Sen. Whitebeach a probing question about it.

      “It’s a long tradition in Rhode Island and there are many of them, and we just need to work our way through the issues,” Whitehouse said.

      *Since at least 2017

      1. He also promised to resign the membership a number of years ago, and of course broke that promise.

        1. Oops – it’s a bit uglier than initially reported:

          Sheldon Whitehouse under fire for membership at all-white Rhode Island beach club
          Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is facing new scrutiny over his decades-long membership in an allegedly all-white private beach club, as he bills himself as a progressive and prominent critic of “systemic racism” — dismissing membership based on race as “a long tradition in Rhode Island.”

          The controversy began when Whitehouse (D-RI) was confronted Friday by a GoLocal Providence reporter, who published the video along with an article on Saturday detailing what occurred after asking about the senator’s membership at Newport-based Bailey’s Beach Club, part of the Spouting Rock Beach Association.


          While Whitehouse appeared to dismiss the club’s circumstances, his wife, Sandra Whitehouse, is one of the three largest shareholders in the club.

          When the Rhode Island senator, who was first elected in 2006, initially ran for his office, he disavowed his membership and pledged to quit the club, GoLocal reported.

          Reached for comment by The Post, Whitehouse senior spokeswoman Meaghan McCabe said that the country club was not all-white, but declined to provide further information or proof.


          GoLocal reported back in August of that year that for both Sheldon and Sandra, membership in Bailey’s “goes back generations.”

          “Their parents, both of them, and their children summered at the ultra-exclusive club and had access to socializing and building contacts with some of the wealthiest families whose ranks include multiple billionaires.”

          1. If we cannot have all-$subset private clubs, what has become of freedom of association?? Note the word “private” — this isn’t the government decreeing the limitation, nor something freely open to all the public.

            I take issue with the notion that there should be enforced association in private venues, regardless of the reasoning (such as “equality”).

              1. The natural endpoint of prohibiting freedom of association in private venues is ending freedom of association within your own home (already illegal in… IIRC Scotland? to make racially denigrating remarks in the privacy of your own home… consider who is going to report such transgressions, and weep for the families). Which logically extends to being forced to host in your home random persons of uncertain provenance.

                [Italy has already ejected a few homeowners to house migrants on their property.]

                Note that the Amendment only mentions soldiers: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

                1. I suspect it only mentions soldiers because the other practices were so bizarrely egregious for the times and place, it never occurred to them that it was necessary to specify beyond that! (And quartering soldiers in civilian homes was a common-ish practice, whereas vagrants…hah.)

                  Kind of horrifying, really, that this is a concern now.

                2. The USSR frequently allowed a family half of a room other own home when moving others in.

            1. Of course, the same people ignoring Senator Whatshisname are the ones denouncing Christian clubs on college campuses (campii?) for insisting that members and officers of the club actually be Christians, and not muslims or evangelistic athiests.

              Rules for thee, not for me. It’s an old story, but it still grates.

              1. Campi is the nominative plural, campos the accusative plural. it means field. Fields are fertilized with bull sh-t. Appropriate, no?

            2. It’s a matter of forcing the left to live by the rules they demand of everyone else.

  8. To be fair… A lot of times, Southerners asking that question want to know:

    1. Are you related to me, and I just don’t know you?
    2. Do you know anyone related to me?
    3. Are you a member of my church?

    1. The question of where you are going for vacation and whether you are going to visit relatives often uncovers that the other person is a cousin of some sort, if the town being visited is specific enough.

      I mean, the final lead investigator in the case of “the Belle in the Well” turned out to be her sixth cousin whom she’d never met and who was born after she was killed; and he had no idea he had any missing relatives, however distant.

      1. Part of the cultural difference is considering a sixth cousin to be a relative. To quote a character from one of my stories: “I think I’ve met one of my third cousins once, but I don’t remember her name. As for anything past that, forget it. You have as much chance of knowing my fourth cousins as I do. Heck, for that matter, you might even BE my fourth cousin.”

        1. The smaller the local gene pool, or the weirder the last name, the more likely you are to be concerned.

          Obvious family resemblance also makes it a bigger deal.

          1. I have a common last name, so if I encounter someone with that last name, the safest bet is that it isn’t a relative. OTOH, from Grandparents on down, that side of the family never had a lot of kids. Dad and two brothers, with three kids from two of them (Uncle W never married and was Odd by any standard). Going down a generation, two kids seems to be the norm.

            OTOH, one of my cousins from Mom’s sister had a half-dozen kids. They might take over the state…

            1. Married surname is very common. So common, given my very common first and middle name, that before medical records went computer where they can quickly verify birth date, zip and current residence, I added my maiden name as a second middle name. At least in the PNW that is uncommon. Married surname I don’t presume to be “related” unless actually know they are.

              Even though we don’t know a lot about paternal grandfather’s extended relatives, we know that between him and his 3 siblings, was the only one to have children, 7 total, 4 sons (one grandchild to carry on the family name, at 42, has no children). Trust me if there had been any relatives, that grandma knew of, they’d been invited to all family gatherings, the one surviving SIL and spouse were. This means almost everyone, while growing up, in PNW with that surname was a relative. Grandpa died in 1959, I was two.

              Now as a surname in SE America, United States, and maybe the east coast, it is a lot more common (some could have “more recently” migrated into the PNW, as, for example a few my cousins have migrated out of the PNW, but they aren’t carrying the gran-paternal surname). We know grandpa’s family has been in Oregon at least 2 generations, but we don’t know beyond that.

        2. I have about seventy first cousins. I would guess several hundred second cousins. Based on the sizes of my great-great-grandparent’s families, I once estimated some ten thousand third cousins. I wouldn’t be surprised at half a million fourth cousins.

          1. Any of my relatives would be distant; both parents and all four grandparents were only children.

        3. You have as much chance of knowing my fourth cousins as I do. Heck, for that matter, you might even BE my fourth cousin.”

          In spades. Heck I don’t even know how to calculate the familial relationship other than “cousin” for a HS classmate, eventual college quad mate. We both showed up for the Applegate Family Reunion. We are cousins through our g-g-g Grandfathers!!! Joke is we’re related to half everyone in the PNW, including N. CA if you count a 4th brother who headed to CA well after the oldest 3 came to Oregon. This is just dad’s side. On mom’s side, only half of Montana … and now one of my first cousins on dad’s side had bought a ranch in Montana. (I’d say that related to the conservative half of the PNW, but based on the cousins that I know, sigh, I know some of them have drank the Koolaide.)

          1. Our children get a great kick out of how my cousins all know precisely how we’re related to one another. We don’t have a family tree so much as we have a family stick; there’s a great shortage of last names. The rules around degrees of consanguinity and the associated dispensations were a matter of great importance and the joke about “kissing cousins” wasn’t actually funny.

            My generation in the US are all second cousins but, even so, my father was the only non known cousin in the previous generation — I found a cross but it was 6 generations back. He used to joke that he brought hybrid vigor. it’s a miracle that we don’t have eyes in the middle of our foreheads.

              1. Not a problem.

                Anyone who still carries the Applegate name is well outnumbered by the other surnames, at either the family cemetery cleanup (right now is a lot of – McKirdy, Farley, and Lovelace), or the larger annual gathering in August.

                Same with mom’s side. There are Clearman, Leaky, Jewett, and a lot of other names that show up at the “cousin” reunion in Montana, if they ever have one again.

            1. My ex-wife’s tiny town on the edge of the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota had a couple of old — um, what do you call a Native American yenta? — ladies whose social role it was to know all the relations and declare on which boy was allowed to date which girl. I think first and second cousins were right out, but the families were so tangled only they could keep track.

              1. Sounds like the Navajo. You have your born to and born for clans, and then close limits on which other clans have members who you can marry. There’s one relatively new clan made up of people who couldn’t find their families after the Long Walk to Fr\t. Sumner and then back to what is now the Navajo Reservation. But the same rules apply. It makes dating and marriage . . . complicated.

          2. The calculation is fairly easy: #of generations to the first common ancestor is the degree of cousinship; if the two are of different generations, use the smaller number. Then the “removal” is the difference in generations. For example, I went to visit a gentleman whose great-grandfather was my husband’s great-great-grandfather. The “great-grandfather” part makes them second cousins, the fact that my husband needs one extra “great” to get to get there makes them second cousins once removed.

            1. So 4th cousins … same generation, we think. Complicated because the g-g-g-grandfathers in question were still raising children (at 12 to 16 each …) as their older children were having grandchildren. Which trended down to my grandmother. She only had 6 children, but 3 batches, so that the younger two resulted in grandchildren that were same age as, or younger, than great-grandchildren.

          1. I dated a third cousin when I was in high school. She had a Polish last name so we never thought to ask.

              1. Using maximum fertility as the measuring stick, turns out 2nd or 3rd cousins are the ideal mate.

                1. If you’re a woman born in Iceland between 1800 and 1824 or 1925 and 1949, going off of children and grandchildren.

                  Which suggests a cultural aspect to me, honestly; I know that cousin marriage is common to keep resources in the family among the more well-off.
                  (since Iceland’s population was only five digits at those times, I also wonder how they defined level of cousin– with that small of a population that’s been established for a long time, it’s *odd* to only have one route of relation)

                  The thing that jumped out at me is that the “more fertile” group averaged four (former) and three kids (latter).

                  For comparison, it took until 1900 for the US’s per-woman fertility to drop below 4, and 1925 for the drop to 3 children per female birth. (Dipped until 1950, then didn’t go below again until late 60s.)

                  I of course can’t find it right now, but I do remember reading that people from *extremely* different ancestries have an extremely high rate of fertility, in addition to other effects of Heterosis. Because human, it’s not as pronounced as in animals.
                  (Human genetics are incredibly messy, even compared to wild animals– I guess because we tend to have pair mating and find exotic to be sexy.)

    2. 1. No more distant than fifty someteenth cousin.
      2. Yes, no more than fifty someteenth cousin.
      3. Odds may be very close to 0.


    3. They want to know where you are from in America. In the South, that maybe if you are a Northerner. That way they know how to treat you. They have meet a lot of Northerners and know how they want to be treated. They don’t necessarily mean “What Country” but “What State”.

        1. With that accent of yours you could have answered Georgia and the more educated could easily responded with “which one?”

      1. Nowadays, asking where someone is from is classified as a microaggression by HR.

        1. The wokeness of tech corporations — particularly those lousy with 20-somethings — is mind-boggling. In a team chat last week they were having a LGBTQ “ask me anything” hour. One particular nutso announced that everybody should use the word “partner” instead of husband or wife to be more “inclusive” (spit). And that everybody ought to have their pronouns on their profile. She’s claiming LGBTQ-ness due to her… goes and checks … “asexuality”. So. I really did not want to know that about her. What happened to keeping some things private? And how in the hell does that qualify you to be a special snowflake?? Such a bizarre world we have to put up with these days.

          1. “Partner” implies that there’s only two of you. What if I’m a pansexual in a consensual fivesome, huh? Don’t they realize how excluded I’m going to feel if they start talking about “partners” all the time? Geez, this woman might as well be a White Supremacist!

            \sarc (I almost left it off, but I realized that this is probably someone’s actual response somewhere)

            1. “Partner” specifically does NOT imply there’s only two of you. I know enough poly people to be able to say that definitively.

          2. Sounds very much like the struggle session members of a social group we belong to were dragged through by one member who felt we weren’t taking her gender identity seriously and this was “hurtful.” She also accused my beloved of homophobia….this man has baked the tarts for a lesbian/bisexual tea for years. I’m still steaming a little.

          3. When they went after Marriage instead of Civil Unions they lost that. It is husband/wife. If they had kept Civil Unions Partner would have been the default.

    4. I’ll tell you what’s interesting in respect to those questions–being a member of a Russian Orthodox church in east Tennessee. 🙂 We hardly ever ask where someone’s from, as the Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Greek, and assorted other accents are just too commonplace. But those folks who moved down from Ontario, not they seemed strange…

      Well, now that I think of it I don’t think most folks around here would ask where you’re from, as we tend to be more in the you-leave-me-alone,-I’ll-leave-you-alone camp in this part to the country.

  9. I admit, I used to ask the “Where are you from?” question even living in the Mountain West (though probably the reason I didn’t realize for some while that it might upset people is because I was indeed raised largely in the South). But mostly I asked it of folks I recognized to be of Eastern European extraction/had a distinctly Eastern European accent in the hope that they’d say “Romania” so that I could switch languages. The couple of times it actually happened they were fairly delighted to take a break from English 😀 Then someone got mad at me, and I realized that some folks might interpret it as an offensive question, so I mostly gave up asking, heh. But mostly it was asked out of genuine curiosity, because while I have a good ear for some accents, there are many I had never encountered.

    (I got asked it a lot in Eastern Europe in turn…but I figured that was because I was obviously, physically foreign, but also didn’t have an easily-placed accent. They usually guessed “British” or “German” but I figure that was the hair color more than anything. It’s pretty obvious to anyone looking that 99% of my genetics are in fact Celt…)

      1. Hey, TXRED – Is it in the FAQ to not ask Sarah to say “Moose and Squirrel”?

        1. Intelligent Sane People don’t don’t ask Sarah to do that, but I’m not sure how many of us are sane. [Crazy Grin]

          Oh, I was very tempted to ask Sarah that. 😆

        2. It probably ought to be added. And we need to update some things, I suspect. *adds to looooooong to-do list*

      2. I’ve not actually ever heard you speak in person, so I have no idea if it would code to my ear as “Eastern European” or not 😀 (I used to be pretty accurate in that the only Eastern European ones I had trouble with (in English, that is) were Romanian/Ukrainian/Hungarian–but these days who knows.)

        Although…I mean, Romanian IS a Latin language, so possibly the accent-in-English has more relation than I might think? (I always joked that Romanian is almost like speaking straight up Latin, but with a Russian accent…)

        1. Romanian is the Latin language that SOUNDS closest to Portuguese. (Spanish is closer in vocabulary but doesn’t sound it.) They also LOOK closest to Portuguese. Finding ourselves, once, behind a Romanian family at a museum was a trip. I only got like one in three words, while the kids kept arguing with me it MUST be Portuguese.

          1. Huh. That’s cool to know. That does make me wonder if the tourist we encountered late in my stay there was actually Portugese. We gave the poor lost man directions–and only after the fact did we twig that he had not in fact been speaking Romanian, but something else. We assumed Italian, but it could just as easily have been Portugese! Though he did not look particularly Romanian–which is why we immediately thought “tourist” but didn’t actually realize right away that he wasn’t actually speaking the local lingo. He seemed to understand us at least somewhat–which also possibly lends to it being Portugese 😀

            I had a weird period right after I came home where I could understand most Spanish, but could not make myself understood in return. That seems to only go one way, and depends on how close the language is to Latin (So I could understand Spanish better than French, and Italian better than Spanish. So far as I knew, though, I hadn’t gotten a chance to test Portugese…)

            1. My mom and dad, touring Rome with a group of their friends aggregated a Romanian “lost sheep” a male about their age, who kind of sort of understood their guide.
              To this day impersonations of the poor Romanian guy are a staple of my mom’s humor. Particularly when he proposed to a woman in the group….
              All Portuguese understand Spanish, but not the other way around. Period. Drives me bonkers. i know everything hotel maids say, but try telling them to keep the fricking feathers out of my room and….. blank.

              1. Oh yeah. The 8 months or so after I got back coincided with my brief stint as a part-owner (and worker) of a house cleaning business. One of our employees (we inherited her when we bought the business) spoke pretty much no English. She was a fantastic woman, great worker…and she and I spent a lot of time chuckling over the fact that SHE could make herself understood to ME, but it didn’t work much in the reverse either in English or Romanian. (She did ask me once, early on and out of curiosity I think, because it really is such a bizarre thing to have someone who can understand what you are saying in your own language–or at least most of what you’re saying–but cannot in turn make you understand them, heh.)

                Alas, I either lost the ability through rustiness (I am exceedingly rusty) or my brother and his wife speak such wildly different dialects of Spanish than I’d previously encountered (he Ecuadorian, her actual Spanish-from-Spain). I suspect a combination, as when they attempt to speak Spanish to each other, they run into dialect barriers.

            1. >> “the accent……..”

              It’s not as bad as I’d feared.

              I’d been thinking of challenging Sarah to a game or two of Inkulinati when it comes out (since she’s expressed an interest in it) but was worried I wouldn’t be able to understand her in spoken communication. But as long as she doesn’t start ranting in Portuguese I think I can manage. 🙂

                1. If you do start playing video games, trust me: you’ll find other reasons to swear in Portuguese. 😉

                  BTW, I know you’re not into VIDEO games but is your family at all into other kinds? As in board games, card games, etc.?

                  1. No. Last time we played a board game was the Christmas Holidays when we all became addicted to Up Word, which our younger son played with evil intent and as though he meant to cut our heart out and eat it.

                    1. How do you play that sort of game with “evil intent?” It sounds more like a game of Unspeakable Words.

                      Oh, well. I was going to offer you one of these extra copies of Tabletop Simulator I have lying around gathering dust, but I guess it would be wasted.

      3. I often found Brazilians sounded Slavic when they spoke English I think it’s the Portuguese palatalization and nasalization. You get that nya sound in the Slavic languages and Gaelic.

        When I’m being informal I have the same accent as Bugs Bunny, not quite as nasal perhaps but still the same.

        1. I remember overhearing a group in a local shop talking in their language and thinking they were Russian. Someone later told me they were Portuguese. I still have a hard time believing it, but I have had no other exposure to Portuguese, so I don’t really know. Very Murders in the Rue Morgue (which by the way was 1842 for those who say the mystery story genre originated elsewhere, ahem) 😉

        2. “When I’m being informal I have the same accent as Bugs Bunny, not quite as nasal perhaps but still the same.”

          Never met Mel Blanc, but my wife did know Daws Butler. He was an usher at her church growing up.

      4. Every time I hear you it reminds me of my Bavarian grandfather. Came over at 16 in 1910 but never quite lost that hint of small village Deutsch.

    1. You =could= ask “Where are you from?” in Romanian… if they respond in Romanian, all is well; if they don’t understand, you can always say, “Sorry, wrong language!”

  10. One might quibble with the ‘American culture has always been multi-cultural’ theory. That theory is definitely how it has always seemed from the inside.

    Culture may include matters such as the details of the marriage transaction, inheritance, how disputes are resolved, etc.

    For that definition, we can understand American as being a new culture or cultures, that makes multiple ‘cultures’ peacefully coexist by deciding disputes on the individual level, according to common factors or common denominators.

    European cultures came over with enough in common from flavors of Christianity to make it work. If they got rid of the folks who would not go along.

    For some generations the pagan indian cultures lacked the psychological infrastructure to make the agreements work out peacefully, but the process of getting rid of folks refusing to get along eventually changed that.

    One could argue that multi-culturalism should be used only to describe the multicultural empires where most were forced to go along with the decisions made according to the mores of the culture producing the army keeping everyone under central control.

    Anyway, we Americans think that we can live peacefully with Vietnamese, Cubans, Swedes, French, Croats, Apache, etc., because of neighbors we have peacefully lived along side for decades. But the thing is, these neighbors are not the same people they would have grown into being if they had instead spent those years in the country of origin. Someone who doesn’t speak English, worships as their grandparents did, lacks interest in weird hobbies, etc., can still have assimilated to the fundamental bits of American culture.

    Though, there has been a lot of profound disagreement about means of resolving disputes. The small r republican, small d democrat split has been pretty huge for perhaps the majority of American history.

    Current lunatics involved in current events are still playing with a great deal of fire.

  11. If you’ve lived in the same state, but in a city, a suburb, and a rural village you’ve lived in different cultures. (Yes, that’s me.). And university dominated towns, such as Ithaca, are different than any of the above 3. And I’ve also lived in 7 different states.

    As for cousins mentioned in the comments- I’ve never met any of my own second cousins, including the one who graduated from my HS the year before I did. 2 years in the same school and we never crossed paths. OTOH, I’ve met an enormous number of my wife’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins, and likely a few 4th. Her family has lived in the same area for several generations. I have to back 6 generations- on all family branches, to find someone who died within 50 miles of where they were born. Usually they’re in a different state- or province, and sometimes in a different country. Scotland to Canada to the USA (And at least one back to Canada then back here…). England or Ireland to the USA.

    As far as ethnic background- English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh as I’ve always known. And ancestry research has added Dutch, Italian, and French through Huguenots that fled to England, then emigrated to here. Thow my wife in the the mix and my kids have Bohemian- and according her grandmother – BOHEMIAN! Not German, not Bavarian! And where they’re from is now part of the Czech Republic.

    Then- we can add religious background……………..

    1. Having lived in Ithaca for 19 years… I’m glad to have escaped. I made a point of avoiding university-dominated cities when choosing a place to move to.

      1. I made a point of only looking at places with universities. I want access to a decent library; I can’t afford to buy all the books I want to read. Here in Lawrence I can use the university library for $20 a year. I just brought home two books from the 1950s (try to find a public library that keeps anything that old!), two books on economics, and two literary studies of the fantastic genres.

        It probably helps that we’re surrounded by one of the most conservative states in the country, and one that doesn’t have significant in-migration from California. We decided against Boise because Californians (other than us!) were moving there in large numbers . . .

  12. considering women whores if they are alone with their boyfriend for five minutes

    I have long deemed it one of America’s more commendable traits that we insist whores have the right to refuse service, to turn away customers for any reason.

    It’s an individual rights thing … although, in light of the harassment of Jack Phillips and push for “Transgender” rights whores might not enjoy that right very much longer. Refuse a man because he’s emitting vibes he might behead (instead of tipping) you/ Islamophobe! Refuse a oral sex to a transgendered person? Transphobe

    It’s getting so a working girl has to have a pimp to handle customer relations without getting labeled deplorable.

    BTW – medical update: still having double vision which renders reading this blog, my email, and a wide variety of other sites excessively challenging (differing focal lengths in each eye aggravate the degree of difficulty but I revisit the optometrist Wednesday to review the issue and address solutions to what is termed “sixth nerve diabetic palsy.” Adding this to my already poor typing and malfunctioning keyboard is a significant deterrent to participating in this blog (even worse than the irritated wallaby-;lynching mobs prowling about.)

    OTOH, I did have a great idea for making MRI scans less tedious: using fiberoptic cable to project cat videos above the scanned person’s face. I leave it to others to work out the details and ask no commissions (although mention in any Nobel prize Award acceptance speeches would be considered courteous.)

    1. The new dentist we’re going to has videos of cats and dogs playing above you when you’re in the chair 🙂 It’s actually kind of soothing.

    2. Weird vision? Raises hand. When I got cataract surgery, it seemed like a good idea to set the dominant (right) eye to be optimized for distance, and the left set for closeup. That worked well for several years.

      Forward a few. The retina surgeon noted that I had a dystrophy in my corneas, where lumpiness was screwing up detail. All of which can be cleaned up with a diamond burr (and *lots* of local anathesia). The normal reaction to such is to make the eyes far sighted. Cue cosmic laughter.

      The right eye now matches the left and is well optimized for closeup. (Very close to the left eye; the vast majority of the time, I read without any glasses.

      The kicker is that objects in the right eye are a lot smaller than the left eye. This makes driving a bit of a chore, especially when I’m tired. I do my best to refrain from driving after dark to make things easier.

      I still have retina issues that render straight lines as curves. Mercifully the curves cancel out with both eyes working, but the old trick to sight down a [whatever] with one eye to look for straightness doesn’t work. At all.

      1. The normal reaction to such is to make the eyes far sighted. Cue cosmic laughter.

        Mom had to have lens put in for cataracts. She chose same, distance vision. Then she had to have some sort of surgery for droopy eyes (not available a few years before she had to have this). While before all this, she was legally blind without her glasses, and has been since she was 6 or so (as in doesn’t remember ever not having glasses, young). Now there is still a slight correction to get to 20/20, legally her eyesight is well within the able to drive without her glasses. OTOH she can barely read the dashboard if she does. Instead of driving without, she instead has progressive readers with the minimal correction required for her glasses.

  13. Had a girlfriend in college who was fascinated by me talking about going to family reunions & figuring degrees of cousin-ness because her extant family tree was her parents and her brother.

    1. My husband’s family. Parents, their 4 children, and eventually spouses, and grandchildren.

      Imagine my surprise (and we’d been married 10 years by then) at FIL funeral that only his wife, children, their spouses, and grandchildren, but NOT the spouses parents and children, and … came too. Not only to the funeral but the potluck afterwards …

      Okay, it was only my mom and dad because they drove me over the mountain for the funeral VS hubby driving back from Bend to Eugene for me. YWe got a call from BIL, “come yesterday, dad had another major heart attack”, so hubby jumped in the car and straightened out a few curves on Hwy 126 (his words) between Eugene and Bend Hospital. Hubby didn’t make it there in time, but he tried. I was very, very, pregnant. His driving would have put me into labor. Don’t remember why now I wasn’t allowed to drive over myself for the funeral, other it didn’t make sense for us to have two vehicles there. But a day trip for mom and dad, there and back, doesn’t make sense either, other than they volunteered without being asked. But I still thought it rude mom and dad weren’t asked to stay for dinner afterwards … Mom and Dad understood.

      By then, I knew family dynamics were different, … but I didn’t know, if that makes sense.

      Mom’s family has been at dad’s family’s funerals, dad’s family has been at mom’s families funerals. I didn’t know anything else! This is how it works. Funerals are not in small chapels. They are in churches or masonic halls or other large venue, standing room only.

  14. Maybe. Look, we’re more and more out of work they can do. Contrary to what the left thinks this isn’t the thirties, when most work required neither literacy nor a familiarity with concepts of hygiene and exactness.

    [Insert video of Michael Bloomberg’s comments on Farming]

    1. sigh. No. But you could get someone up to line work in ten days tops.
      Restaurant work? Not if done right. Same as meat packing, etc. which is what mostly gets illegals doing it.

  15. there is the occasional very bright person who was held back by their circumstances and whose family will take off like a rocket in America.

    “Fortunately”, modern pedagogical methodology and union control over classroom curricula has all but eliminated such outliers. Harrison Bergeron has proven to be an instructional manual.

  16. Because tutti frutti is a lousy flavoring for gum, something that never existed in nature. And in cultures, it won’t exist for long. That’s the law of nature.

    Multi-Culti and bas on “Cultural Appropriation” are a deadly combo, akin to Milton Friedman’s observation about the combination of Open Borders and Welfare.

    Of course, the proponents of multiculturalism never applied any real thought to the matter, apparently imagining that “Culture” consisted of food, garb, music and dances. Such thigs as the proper treatment of women (encouraging independence vs honor-killing, to cite one example) are blithely assumed away – because they’ve never given their own cultural assumptions a moment’s thought.*

    *I realize and acknowledge that if we’re going to engage in discussion of things to which our “elites” have ever given a second thought we are going to need a much bigger blog.

    1. A couple of years ago I told the players in one of my roleplaying campaigns about the Muslim gangs in Rotherham that raped underage girls. One of them ended up by telling me that I should remember that these were men who came from a different culture. (This was a woman, by the way.) So yes, there are progressives who will defend brutal and dehumanizing acts toward young girls if the perpetrators come from a culture where that sort of thing is accepted.

      1. Cue Charles Napier quote.

        (BTW: Hey, look, it’s WHS! I used to be fairly active on the Steve Jackson forums a dozen years ago and enjoyed your contributions and our occasional colloquys. I probably had the same username there. And glad to hear that you escaped California.)

        1. I’m still there and still writing books for them. And I just ran my first face to face gaming session in over a year, for two friends who have been in Lawrence for a long time.

          Another player in that group has been critical of Napier’s actions, because people in India treat widows *really badly*; I think she thinks it would have been better not to do away with sati . . .

      2. I just read the Wikipedia entry on Rotherham last night. It is the most horrifying thing I’ve read in years, and it continued partially because the police didn’t want to be called racist.

        1. I’m afraid that Rotherham is only one instance. There have been several others and it is still rampant today. Rochdale, Huddersfield, Glasgow. 20,000 girls every year. The British establishment continues to deny it’s a problem, mostly I suspect because they share the view that the girls are just poor white slags who deserve whatever happens to them. These are 14 year old girls from broken families mostly but not all and the police routinely ignore the complaints. They’re afraid of being called racists so they condone rape. The men involved are overwhelmingly Muslim but it’s “not a Muslim problem” according to the home office and it’s a far right conspiracy according to the Guardian. The fact that Hindu immigrants with the same ethnic background don’t seem to have this problem is, of course, dismissed out of hand.

          I really hate the limousine lefty gentry class. I really, really do.

          1. Mark Steyn has had some absolutely scathing things to say on Rotherham and the rest — I cannot recall whether he’s done reporting himself or interviewed reporters who have.

            Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere
            by Mark Steyn
            Steyn on Britain
            March 19, 2018
            Eight days ago The Sunday Mirror reported on “Britain’s ‘worst ever’ child grooming scandal“. The headline editor’s sub-quotes are most prudent: This is the “worst ever” at the time of writing, but who knows what’ll come along next week? This time it’s the Shropshire town of Telford:

            Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED

            If you’re saying, “Hey, wait a minute. Telford? Surely you mean Rotherham? Or Rochdale? Or Oxford? Or [Your Town Here]?”, well, yes, this story reads (especially for yours truly, who spent several days with the poor damaged young ‘uns of Rotherham) with a certain numbing familiarity:

            “Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men.
            “The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang raped by five men.
            “Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”

            As in Rotherham and everywhere else, all this was happening in plain sight.

            [END EXCERPT]

              1. When one of the victims in Rotherham happened to meet one of her former assailants in public and angrily confronted him…

                … the police arrested her.

                Then when word of what had happened went viral, the cops hastily released her, and claimed that it wasn’t really an arrest-arrest. They’d been looking for her to interview her, see? And they were just bringing her in so that they could interview her…

                As for Telford… one of the things that I remember about that was a mother, and her daughter who’d been victimized. When the daughter broke free of the people who were abusing her, they firebombed her home, killing both her and her mother.

                1.) The girls caught up in this – so far as I can tell – don’t appear to have fathers in their homes. It’s possible that it’s just a coincidence that the examples I read about were all from homes without fathers. But I doubt it.
                2.) An article I read on Telford explicitly noted that at least one local pastor went to the cops and told them flat out what was going on. They ignored him.
                3.) There’s a general belief that one of the reasons why the authorities ignore this when it comes up is because the victims are lower class (and white, obviously; but the lower class part is just as important). Social status is much more important in the UK than it is here in the US, no matter how egalitarian the British claim to be.

          2. Muslims are behaving like conquerors — raping the defeated people’s women whenever they please. And the Brits, by accepting it (regardless of the excuse), are behaving like a defeated people.

            It should be remembered that the sword is the =least= important form of jihad.

            And if the rapists were castrated on the spot, this behavior would evaporate overnight.

          3. It’s not as systematic and public, but the abortion industry and its protectors in the US does a similar role in the US– it’s well known that the 14 year old girls coming in pregnant, or with an STD, did not get it from someone roughly their age.

            From memory, one of the buried red flags for Gosnell (abortionist/serial killer) was that a city associated doctor working with kids in foster homes refused to send girls to him for treatment because several of them came back with more STDs than they went in with, and nothing was done on his reports because abortionist.

            1. I have only seen murmurings here, so I am certain that a lid of nasty is still badly needing to be blown off our foster care/adoption system here in the US. I *know* a lot of kids are being trafficked through it, and with the full cooperation of social services. Pisses me off, it does.

              1. Every time we turn around it’s another child rape gang. Boys, girls doesn’t seem to matter. Every one of these rape gangs is protected by the authorities and when they dig they find powerful billionaires and politicians at the bottom. I’m not a conspiracy theory person by any stretch but I do wonder how much is being hidden by the gang — using one scandal to hide another, bigger, scandal. That yes, there is a Muslim problem, but that problem is being used to hide a satanist problem. Child rape and child sacrifice fits in very well with that.

                Epstein didn’t kill himself.

                1. I absolutely believe there are a LOT of wealthy/powerful/well connected who regularly indulge in the rape of children/teens and actively work to keep it on the down low (and killing them when they are inconvenient–I don’t know that I’d go full on child-sacrifice, but then again–what else would you call murdering a victimized kid who is nothing but an inconvenience?) And I, too, am not much of one for conspiracy theories in general.

                  You can SEE it going at least as far back as the 70s (and likely longer than that). Take an in-depth look at the Oakland County Child Killer case sometime. That whole thing stinks to heaven and has SO many ties with a known child pornography ring that was being operated there by locally powerful/wealthy people. I just watched another documentary on it, and the squirming and wriggling done by the current police spokeswoman about why this case remains unsolved? Quite a thing to behold, and immediately set off all my red-flag-alarm-bells of “they’re still hiding culpability in this.” Same with some very strange things related to the Johnny Gosch disappearance. A suspect/witness who CAME FORWARD and TOLD them what had happened, took them to a location where he and other kids had been trafficked…and somehow he is just “some crazy addict” that gets dismissed.

                  And I would guarantee that the vast majority of child disappearances are the result of trafficking. And yes, those kids are almost certainly dead.

                  What I cannot grasp is how so many people out there apparently come to THAT level of evil. Even most serial killers make more sense to me than child-rapists.

                  1. Why do they treat abortion as a sacrament? And look at what the Podesta brothers are into. I really believe there is a core of hard core satanism, or something that amounts to the same thing — something evil — among the powerful in the US. If nothing else, compromat is a good way to keep the initiates in line. Cough, cough Supreme Court chief justices.

                    Or, they could just be lizard people. David Eich, the lizard people guy, told me I was one when I wouldn’t let him cut in front of me in a pub on the Isle of Wight 20 odd years ago. He’s the expert and so would know.

                  2. I vaguely remember the Oakland County case. I was living in the county at the time, and reasonably close in age to the victims. My parents were of course more concerned than I was, and kept a much closer watch on what I was doing than normal.

                    1. I gather I had a similar restriction placed on me when at least one small child went missing and was found assaulted and dead soon after in Salt Lake City in the early 80s (which is when we lived there). I don’t fully remember the incident itself, but I do recall suddenly being accompanied to and from places it had not been a concern before (the little girl was grabbed when she left the movie theater to get a drink from a water fountain).

                      Frankly, listening to all the true crime stuff I do, I find it a miracle that any of us children of the 70s/80s/90s made it out alive. 😀 They aren’t kidding when they said those thirty years were the ‘golden’ age for killers. (Although now thanks to familial DNA, the chickens are coming home to roost for a lot of those killers, which i find immensely satisfying, future concerns regarding privacy notwithstanding)

                  3. The thing is, sexual preference doesn’t work the way that the LGBT activists claim, but it also isn’t a thing where someone can learn to not have the attraction/excitement associations.

                    Basically, from details that can be deduced from study of porn, we can infer that sexual excitement can be learned. Likewise, this appears to be applied for good ends with the case of very long term Christian marriages.

                    At the same time, drug use can cause brain damage, and one effect of the brain damage can be loss of ability to distinguish between targets for sexual desire. IE, sexual targeting disorders where children are in the range of targets.

                    Basically, if one has evil desires one can avoid turning them into evil actions if one grows up resolute in not doing evil, and in using an outside estimate of evil so that one’s personal tastes do not warp one’s standards.

                    A man’s interest in adult women is not necessarily evil, and a woman’s interest in adult men is not necessarily evil. Fully divorced from a resolve to avoid doing evil, those interests can easily still lead to evil. Example, a man who embraces drives and appetites, and pursues sexual acts with many women, treating them with the level of regard that he does kleenex. A man who does this, and learns to associate the acts of breaking down resistance with sexual pleasure, is going to pursue resistant women, break their resistance, and then move on to other resistant women. Leaving aside the morality, as a practical matter, this is not a sustainable way of feeding the sexual appetites possessed by the whole society.

                    So, the ‘sexual revolution’ licensed a bunch of behaviors that are not good in their results.

                    Sexual predators, in general, devote a lot of time and energy into warping the view points of others, into persuading others to enable their predation.

                    Aside from that, ambitious people are often willing to cross lines to ‘achieve’ the next increment of power.

                    Once you as a society get out of the business of regulating private morality, you open up the possibility that the nominal leadership will be coopted by sex perverts recruiting sex perverts in the service of using government to feed their own appetites.

                    Note, I am not saying that this is necessarily what happened. Here, I am only trying to speak to describing possibilities of human behavior.

                    1. No, it makes sense, and I’m pretty darned sure that a LOT of child-rapists have their origins in sexual abuse of themselves, as well as pornography and so on. (Don’t get me started on porn. Argh.)

                      And as you said: even normal desires can be turned to evil if indulged indiscriminately. This is why I really think most Christian religions at *least* have a nod towards sexual purity–no, it’s not preventing people from having fun, it’s an attempt to teach people that ‘doing what feels good’ can and all too often does lead to misery.

                      Or even taking sex out of it…my religion has a somewhat strict dietary code. Well, dietary isn’t really the right word for it. But in short: no alcohol, no tobacco, no recreational drugs (or abuse of non-recreational ones), and although it’s vague generally speaking no coffee or tea. (This one is a subject of much debate, because it is SUPER vague as in “hot drinks” is the descriptor, lol. Some folks interpret it these days as caffeine, though that is also a subject of hot debate, heh. Personally, I think Himself left it vague on purpose, because at some point we’re supposed to figure stuff out for ourselves, heh. :D) But the no alcohol bit is pretty specific (well, and no tobacco unless using it as a poultice for bruises, or doctoring cows, lol), and my usual answer to people who question “But why? A little wine, etc isn’t bad for you!” is some variation on the following: Because for some people, and no one can know who it is until they’ve already started down the road, a ‘little’ will never be enough. And God isn’t going to come and say “It’s okay for YOU, but not YOU, and YOU can have one glass every two weeks, but YOU…” etc etc, it’s just easier to make a blanket rule. I figure it’s more or less the same for the sexual rules. Some folks would do all right. Others not, and still others it would cause serious problems.

                      (And no, this isn’t gospel, nor do I expect anyone to agree with me. It’s just my take on “Why these things might be Rules from On High” and it’s NOT the “because we’re not allowed to have fun” by my book, it’s because there’s a very good reason that we might not see just now. Look at some of the dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses: diseases they weren’t aware of at that time, but which caused a lot of issues were possibly why some animals were actually labeled as “unclean” then, but aren’t really an issue now. My religion’s no-tobacco rule came down when pretty much the whole planet still thought that tobacco was GOOD for you. Which is one reason we were labeled weirdos then, and the label has stuck 😀 )

              2. During the Obama Administration the CBP collected thousands of minor children who showed up at the border “unaccompanied.” (probably abandoned). As far as I can tell, they dropped off the face of the Earth that.

            2. Project Veritas had one of their first campaigns sending in reporters posing as a pimp and his 14 year old hookers. “No problem” says Planned Parenthood, and no questions asked. Scum.

      3. I just read the Wikipedia entry on Rotherham last night. It is the most horrifying thing I’ve read in years, and it continued partially because the police didn’t want to be called racist.

        1. Objecting to sexism is racist. Objecting to racism is sexist.

          Once you concede that behavior (which can be culture) is race, you either have a choice of being racist, or of enabling a slew of horrors.

        2. To horrify you even more, Rotherham isn’t the only place in England with that problem. The others all got the silent treatment too.

          That’s one of the things you can do when your police are controlled by the central government instead of being local.

          1. Like the Democrats want to do here. Everything Must Be Centrally Controlled! With Iron Fist! Ve vill MAKE zem be perfect!

      4. Ahhh, nothing like cultural relativism. I first encountered that particular form of vileness in…I think it was a community college psychology class. Amazingly, the teacher was virulently against it (and homosexuality, as he went on a lengthy rant one day about it, heh.) As this was in Colorado (near Denver) and circa 1999-2000, I suspect it’s why he was teaching at a community college. And I suspect that, by now, he wouldn’t be considered employable at all, given his distinctly non-leftist/non-liberal views.

        But most places, ie, universities, they teach cultural relativism as a GOOD thing. You can’t call something another culture does evil, because it’s their CULTURE! Of course, calling things in OUR culture evil is totally fine. And I kid you not, I have seen it used in earnest arguments that, oh, things that the Aztecs did was totally okay, because it was their CULTURE. But of course, the conquistadors objecting to things the Aztecs did, and objecting violently, was of course evil and oppressive and wrong. (Nevermind that one could argue that it was the conquistadors’ culture that led them to object so violently. They were white and European, so of course THEY were bad and evil oppressors of the poor, innocent, and of COURSE not at all bloodthirsty and wicked Aztecs.)

        I was, and am, appalled at the very idea of cultural relativism.

        1. I like showing students pictures of the excavated skull racks while talking about attempts to, ah, rehabilitate Aztecs. It also makes a fun “OK, what if . . .” case study for the First Amendment. What do you do when freedom of religion collides with “we don’t do human sacrifice here?”

          1. Heh. I vaguely recall reading an interesting article about an odd little religion that sprung up somewhere in Florida that involved animal sacrifice. While I can no longer recall where I read it (other than somewhere in the wilds of the Internets) nor vouch for its accuracy (because Internets), I chuckled a bit about how it essentially boiled down to “no cruelty, and you can’t kill them in a residential area because that upsets people.” But the little religion was really annoyed, as they didn’t want to go have their services in an industrial area…

            It is a tricky area, although one might argue that murder of a human is always wrong, and therefore if your religion practices human sacrifice, you’d better have a reformation right quick. But on the flip side, how can one make that argument when we currently have a huge chunk of our society that worships abortion…?

            I came out of public schools having bought the line of “the Spaniards were evil bastards.” And then I started reading some history on my own, and these days I am firmly of the opinion that the Spaniards didn’t go nearly far enough ::glares in the direction of the stuff the cartels get up to down there nowadays::

            1. The Law was said to be an “anti-cruelty to animals” Law but had so many exceptions to it that it was seen as focusing Just On That Religion Animal Sacrifices.

              It went to the Supreme Court itself (with the support of plenty Pro Freedom Of Religion Types) and Florida lost in the Supreme Court.

              1. Ah! Yes, I remember that part now. They’d been waaaay too specific so it was obvious they were going after That Religion In Particular. Glad to know you got what I was referring to!! 😀

                I mean, I wouldn’t be a fan of animal sacrifice, myself, I love critters far too much. But I would acknowledge that if it’s an important part of their religion, so long as it didn’t involve torture I wouldn’t really object (just don’t expect ME to take part). But you start adding in things like torture, or human sacrifice, or forced-sex, or…at some point, I do think ‘but it’s my religion!’ wouldn’t be covered even under religious freedom laws, surely.

                I think in the US, it’s generally considered to be “so long as it doesn’t violate the laws of the land” with the addendum, as you mentioned, that the law wasn’t specifically passed to inconvenience That Religion Over There. (Alas, as I recall right, that was why the Supreme Court initially slapped Colorado down over the bakery guy–the state commission had been far too blatant in going after him BECAUSE of his religious beliefs. As they are going after him yet again, I can only hope the state did NOT learn their lesson, and still haven’t weasel-worded their complaints vaguely enough that they get slapped down again.)

                Human sacrifice, though, that’s an easy one: homicide is illegal. At least it still is, for now.

            2. “odd little religion that sprung up somewhere in Florida”

              I suspect you’re thinking of Santeria, which a) is fairly widespread through the Caribbean and b) was imported with refugees from Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, etc.

              1. Possibly, yes. As I said, I read it a long time ago, so I don’t remember if it mentioned them by name, or if it was an established religion elsewhere. I came away with the impression of “offshoot that sprang up in that area” but that just as likely might have been because “the other neighbors objected to it, and so treated it as a weird little cult.” (Which maybe it is, I don’t know much about Santeria, but then again a lot of people insist us Mormons are a cult, too, so I try not to get too label-y with other peoples’ religions 😀 )

          2. As a practical matter, freedom of religion is only possible for some mixtures of religions.

            Tolerance is a value, it can be cultural or religious.

  17. There is a local private high school (religious, natch) that is deliberately placed in one of the lower-income regions of the area. They have local businesses “sponsor” students, for which consideration the student interns for a certain number of hours per week (probably up to ten in two-hour increments.) The students have to wear business-appropriate clothing to school, show up on time, and work at their internships. This is because while this is a high school, it is very specifically addressing the issue that many of these students literally have no idea how work culture is, as they have never been exposed to it. By teaching them what appropriate work behavior is, they’re trying to make sure that these kids a) have work experience, and b) can keep a job once they get it. (Plus giving them a good education, funded by these businesses, since their parents almost certainly can’t afford it.)

    This is what’s needed. These kids have never been exposed to an environment that will allow them to succeed? Create this environment, explain it, and coach these kids through four years of skills that might help them get out of the cycle of generational poverty.

  18. I pretty consistently got asked “where are you from?” in my own hometown. In New England.

    Apes being apes, you can guess at the results.

    …Moving down South has been a significant improvement. I don’t think I’ve gotten “where are you from?” in at least a few years!

  19. California use to require a five year residency to qualify for state welfare… and most folks didn’t need it after five years working there.
    The Feds decided that wasn’t “Fair” to folks coming in from other states and CA gave in to their threats of lawsuits and lost Federal $$$$$.
    The current situation there can be traced directly from that point.

    As an ExPat Californio I really miss my home.. but since that place no longer exists I try to remember the good things and ignore the rest.

    1. Similar with the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program. It originally had a length-of-residency requirement to qualify, but a lawsuit in about year three scotched that.

  20. I’ve concluded that you can have open immigration; you can have a welfare state; and you can have financial viability. Choose two.

    As a libertarian, I would prefer to do without the welfare state. But taking the path through loss of financial viability to get there seems hard.

    1. I am of the opinion that welfare/charity ought to go back to the hands of churches and private individuals. (Though most nonprofit orgs I’ve heard about are toxic as hell…but there are good ones out there in the hands of private parties.) My own religion is big on charity/welfare–but it is also big on the individual accountability thing too. And a local bishop/branch president (who are the ones responsible for handing out the welfare, we do try to keep it to as local a level as possible) has the right (even mandate) to say “NO.” to folks who are trying to mooch.

      1. It is surely a wonderment how the directors of those ‘nonprofits’ get richer than presidents of real corporations that make genuine profits by manufacturing and selling actual products.

        1. Indeed, it is MOST interesting. And also why I, as a rule, only donate to my church’s charities–I know where all the money is going. (And while the highest levels of our church leaders DO get a living stipend–because when they get called to those positions, they are expected to quit any job they might hold and devote their full time to their church work–it’s not a fortune by any stretch, nor can one ‘aspire’ to those positions, heh. And the rest of our clergy is very much unpaid.)

          1. One moment I appreciated in Terry Tempest Williams’ book about the Great Salt Lake was when her father was called to serve in the church, and after much prayer and consideration he refused. His family needed him, and Terry’s mother’s cancer had just returned. The senior leaders agreed with his decision, and supported him in that decision. (The book and the author have a lot of flaws, but that episode is not one of them.)

            1. Yes. Although it is not often done, one IS allowed to turn down a calling. 🙂 I’ve done so myself–twice, in fact–though my bishop was not happy with me about it. (They kept trying to call me to be the ward pianist. Yes, I took ten years of piano lessons. But I also have ADD, which means trying to play when the congregation is singing is a right nightmare for me, and doesn’t go well for anyone.)

          2. A friend got a nice inheritance, and decided to donate a portion of it to charity. He was telling me how he and his wife had picked out several high-profile national charities. I had him look up how much of his donation would be absorbed by “overhead.” He was dismayed, but still determined to send the money to them. I asked him what was wrong with giving his money to some local organizations, like his own church, or setting up a fund himself. Apparently writing some fat checks was fine, but spending a few hours investigating was a lot of work. I suggested he just carry a roll of hundreds and pass them out to anyone who looked down-at-the-heels; 100% of his money would go to someone who could use it.

            He got offended and never mentioned the subject directly again, but from comments later, I’m pretty sure most of it went to the Red Cross and a couple of those “help the Africans” scams.

            1. Because he wanted the cachet of saying he donated to help starving Africans. The actual value of the donation to the Africans in question was beside the point.

  21. Last night when I was talking to mom, she reminisced about her and dad’s trip to…Enarvo? Evano? Ah, some “eh” beginning town in Portugal about ten years ago. It was over Mother’s Day weekend, so they went to church (as you do), at a Catholic church that was literally SRO: kiddles, teens, adults and elders. Which was lovely especially since the liturgy was familiar: the same as really old LCMS one, so dad could sing and say along with the other worshipers (albeit in English) and mom could give him a whispered running translation of the rest.

    And it didn’t get so many hard looks as it could have; in fact my parents were welcomed, because (mom claimed) of the the day before when they were visiting the church. The arrived as whatever the locals call the Altar Guild were getting ready for the big day. So of course, mom asked if it was an imposition; she and her husband being tourists there, because “If I were at home, I’d be doing the same job”. And then they were off to the races, chatting as they worked.

    So I asked my mom, “You’ve always said that the Portuguese were the kindest most welcoming people in Europe. Could it be because unlike in the other countries, you were partly one of them?”

    The other queer business about the open-borders multi-cultural project, the which I cottoned to way too late, is that if other world cultures embrace it you can kiss the source of all that sweet sweet Other Culture that you want to privilege over your own goodbye.

          1. And in return Portugal sends it best soccer players to play in other countries, especially England, Spain and Italy. I am expecting a lot of Sporting players to be pouched by teams in other leagues given that they won the league this year.

  22. They come here to escape from their third-world shitholes, and then proceed to re-create their third-world shitholes here. And then they condemn us for ‘whiteness’ because the same behavior doesn’t magically yield better results in a different place.
    It’s dark in here. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

    1. Californians seem to do that too. Of course these days California *is* a third world shithole. It makes me sad; it used to be a very nice state, and not only climatewise.

  23. In Portugal people would be shoving their way between each of us

    Several years ago, I watched the 1953 French film “The Wages of Fear” (tedious, very French, do not recommend). There’s a scene early on where the two leads have a conversation in an uncrowded bar by standing facing each other about six inches apart. This (and other things in the film) is apparently read by the usual (academic, American) suspects as homosexual signaling*. I’m pretty sure they were just being French.

    In “Let the Right One In”, there’s a sequence in which the boy protagonist goes to visit his birth father and his father’s male partner. To my American eyes the whole scene fairly screamed “creepy, borderline pedophilia”, but I don’t know: was that just Swedes being Swedish?

    * (And by the sort of straight women who have no understanding of male camaraderie and/or rivalry and think to this day that Wesley was pining after Angel. Eyeroll.)

    1. The American remake of “The Wages of Fear” starring Roy Scheider — inexplicably titled “Sorceror” — was much better.

    2. A lot of people see Frodo and Samwise through the gay spectacles, too.

      1. Yeah. I heard a dad at the movie theater correcting his 9- or 10-year-old son and explaining that Frodo and Samwise were military battle-buddies [my words, not his], not gay. The dad sounded a bit shocked that the kid would make that assumption.

      2. Well, there was (may still be, I dunno) an entire genre of Star Trek fan fiction based on Kirk and Spock being gay.
        I was told by someone I had reason to trust that George Lucas put the word out he/the studio would ignore Star Wars fan fiction so long as noone wrote Luke/Han stories…

        1. There is, it’s called Kirk/Spocking, and Leslie Fish was the creator, or one of the creators.

          1. If I recall my fanfiction history trivia correctly, it was the origin of ‘slash’ fic–ie, the homosexual pairing of two characters that are not, in canon, involved with one another (or even homosexual, usually)

    3. American personal-space bubbles are several orders of magnitude larger than most of the rest of the world’s personal-space bubbles.

      1. That’s the one thing I *do* miss about the ‘rona – social distancing.

        If I can touch you, you’re too close. Though nowadays, it’s more like “if I can touch you with my cane, you’re too close.”

        I still run into people who don’t have enough sense of personal space; I have no problem whatsoever pivoting around and telling them to back the hell off.

        1. Look up social anxiety task “circling” that service dogs can be trained for. Explicitly to enforce social distancing.

  24. Lived in Urban Northeast, Suburban Mid-Atlantic, Rural Mid-Atlantic University town, Urban South, Suburban South, Northeast University Seaside, and Midwestern Rural University towns. We’ve moved a lot.

    The diversity in cultures in America is staggering, and that makes it fun. And when you live in multiple areas, you see even your own childhood culture differently. If you think like an anthropologist, it makes life interesting.

    1. Oh, yeah. I told Kate Paulk years ago that she could put off getting citizenship, but the time would come she went back, and was no longer Australian.
      She went back for the Worldcon in OZ. She came back and started citizenship process. (No, it’s not automatic, but if you’re married to an American, it does happen sooner or later that you’re more American than not.)

  25. Idaho was predominantly settled by three groups in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War.

    Bummers (Those who fought for the Union, and went home to find there was no longer anything there for them. Sweethearts had married others, apprenticeships were filled by those younger, a glut of unskilled labor provided by former slaves, etc. made it a rather inhospitable homecoming. )

    Rebels who either weren’t covered under the general amnesty or who refused to swallow the dog (AKA take a public and humiliating loyalty oath to the federal government). Since Bushwhackers weren’t covered under the amnesty, Missouri was heavily over represented.

    And Mormons. Who weren’t feeling warm and fuzzy towards the federal army that had threatened to massacre them, or towards the Missourians who had driven them out with fire and occasional murder.

    As such, the first rule of Idaho culture is: you do not ask about someone else’s past.
    The second rule of Idaho culture is YOU DO NOT ASK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE’S PAST!
    You’d be amazed at how having that ingrained bone-deep into your personality trips you up when making small talk in most of the rest of the country.
    (Also, the accent is rhythm and intonation, not pronunciation. My wife describes it as a lilt, but that’s not quite it. It’s easy to miss. Unless you spend a few years away and run into someone else who has it.)

    1. It might be inaudible to you since you’re from there, but every Idahoan I’ve met over a certain age shares in the north-plains-all-the-way-to-Eastern-WA accent, that says /warsh/ for “wash”.

      1. Southern Willamette Valley … but must have picked up the “warsh” from my transplanted Montana maternal grandparents.

        Asked by sister’s east coast ex-roommates (at sis’s wedding rehearsal dinner) “How do you spell *Warsh*” when I said we lived in Warshington … and yes, I replied “W A R S H”. (Until it was pointed out, I had no clue, but still …)

      2. They say ‘warsh’ in Wyoming, too. And I’ve heard it from back-country Utahns. I think it’s as much a Rocky Mountain dialect thing as anything else 😀

  26. Off topic, but this is amusing: My VPN was set to “USA – Los Angeles”. I went to GrubHub to order for delivery, and I got a whitescreen with a bare message “GrubHub delivery is not available in your country.” 😀

    (emphasis added)

    1. Dang, LA moved to New Mexico?!?

      (New Mexico Magazine used to have a column entitled “One of our Fifty is Missing” about all the people who assumed that NM stood for . . . something other than a state. Which is why the state license plates all say New Mexico USA on them.)

      1. My VPN has a setting for Gotham City — which several sites, including BlogSpot and YouTube, seem to assume is the Czech Republic, to the extent that they translate the site into Czech, and restrict content on that basis.

      2. > NM

        I see it far more often as “National Match” than “New Mexico.”

        Just like BLM always comes across as “Bureau of Land Management.” Not necessarily any less evil than Burn-Loot-Murder, though.

        1. Hey now! DEFINITELY not as evil as Burn-Loot-Murder! Really, it’s mostly because a third are incompetent, a third are crazy, and the other third is just trying to do their job like anyone else 😀 (I work for the BLM. I don’t love it, but it’s a decent paying job with good medical insurance, and I’m not kidding about the thirds. I hope I classify as in the latter third–the ‘just trying to do my job even though it’s got frequently insane rules thanks to activists/lobbyists/politicians’ heh.)

          But yes, there is some evil going on. Nearly always in the upper echelons. Us lowbies just try to survive… 😀

          1. To me, BLM is always the Bureau of Land Management, or just “the Bureau.” Sort of like when you are talking about dams and flood “control” and someone says “the Corps,” you know it’s the Army Corps of Engineers.

            1. Indeed, it’s only after several years that my brain doesn’t go “splurb” when someone is going on about BLM, meaning the OTHER BLM. For a long time, I’d always blink and think “Come on now, we’re not THAT rowdy!”

              (You want rowdy and super crazy, you want the Forest Service 😀 )

              1. Hey. Hubby and I worked for the Forest Service … Oh wait 🙂

                /Sigh. I couldn’t resist. … In my case not true. Although some of the people I worked with … Hubby probably comes under the crazy side as he was the dangerous tree faller for the district wildfire crew that, back in the late ’70s, was repeatably deployed to the big fires, including CA. OTOH smart enough to get out after we were married and I graduated. We had met at school. We worked the same district our last season working for the forest service only because a mutual friend finally talked me into transferring districts, he’d been hard sell recruiting for months, after hubby and I started dating that prior winter (same mutual friend’s wife’s fault 🙂 ).

                1. Heh. Mostly it’s a local joke: the nearby Forest Service field office to me is *notorious* for having a higher-than-average collection of fedgov loonies. For one thing, they are all FIRMLY convinced that NO ONE should be driving on the forest service roads EVER and there was something of a local scandal because they just closed up roads without following any of the usual things they are supposed to (like, for example, discussing it with the public) and they are avoiding opening anything up by claiming they are too dangerous to drive on. Which they are, rather, because another thing the local FS folks won’t do is allow any sort of maintenance to be done on them 😀

                  I’m sure there’s more to the story than that, of course. There often is (like budget cuts or lack of staffing or some crazy mandate from the head of the Dept of Ag–we get them from head of the Dept of the Interior, after all), but all I’ve got is the oustider-member-of-the-public view of it, with a little extra detail in the form of inter-service gossip.

                  The ones I’ve actually met in person were quite nice and no crazier than anyone else who has to navigate the red-tape infested waters of government service on a daily basis. (I frequently tell people I’m trying to help figure out the right-of-way process with the BLM that they think the red tape is bad on their end? It’s just as bad or worse on the government side. We all hate it as much as everyone else does. Well. Those of us who aren’t insane petty dictators hate it, that is.)

                  1. The one I grew up around got into trouble for plowing up roads at random… they eventually had to pay through the nose, because they didn’t own a couple of those roads, and were legally obligated to keep them intact. Several leases were involved, not all of them animal related.

                    After that, it stopped being a problem. 😀

                    1. Oooh. Ouch. Yeah, that…would be bad. It’d be like us deciding to plow up a right-of-way someone’s got on BLM lands without a darned good reason and a whole lotta correspondence prior to the fact going “No, really, we’re serious, you need to remove this!” in cases of trespass or something. And generally speaking, we don’t. For example, a source of my frustration since I started this job in late 2017 is a particular shyster dude who has a number of oil-and-gas related things–including rights-of-way in the form of roads, well pads, etc–that he absolutely refuses to pay rent on, reclaim, or do any of the other things he contracted to do when the government gave him the okay to install this stuff on federal public lands. His refusal to finish the reclamation on his (abandoned, plugged, not producing) wells technically has him racking up millions in fines (against which our paltry few thousand in the right-of-way rent he’s been refusing to pay for years is miniscule) and…just won’t pay. We know he gets our letters, etc–it’s his signature on the certified mail receipts. But–and this is what people don’t really realize in light of insanity like the Bundy fiasco–the fedgov (at least the BLM part of it) doesn’t actually have a lot of teeth (ironic, really, as we are one of the few agencies that actually brings money IN to the government instead of hemorrhaging it. I don’t know WHY we can’t make this guy clean up the mess he made on federal lands, but…we can’t. And he got all his stuff before our field office policy of having the proponents bond everything (unless they’re an individual and it’s their driveway–we don’t make them put a bond on it) so we don’t even have money he had to pony up front to clean it up for him.

                      (And granted, this varies from field office to field office, which is one of my great complaints about the government. It SHOULD be “THESE ARE THE RULES FOR EVERYONE” and “EVERYONE GETS TREATED THE SAME” but noooo they’ve got that stupid phrasing about “discretion of the Authorized Officer” (ie, field managers, usually, but sometimes we’re talking as low-level as a resource specialist) that means they can–and often do–sometimes go “Eh, I’ll allow ” And if they’re like our FM, they won’t put it in writing either which is a whole other nightmare can of worms.)

                      My father works as a petroleum engineer in the same field office as me (after most of a career spent in private industry), and in all his years here has managed to get something to court only once (twice if the current investigation he’s on finally pans out)–because it was such egregious behavior (in the form of oil spill on public lands, and the company knew about it) that it couldn’t be ignored. Of course, while the company did fold as a result, and technically one of its owners was found guilty, he only got what amounted to a slap on the wrist for knowingly causing huge damage, including to watersheds in the area. Very annoying. (And while I am the first to say “I hate government overreach and there is too much regulation” there are an unfortunate number of companies out there that absolutely would do–and DO do–awful shenanigans. I just wish there were better ways to hold them accountable than “big brother”)

              2. Hey, the Forest Service can’t be THAT crazy, they hired my dad when he was a teen to blow up stuff with dynamite!

                (true story, actually…)

    2. For some bizarre reason I have not yet determined, if I let my VPN default to Denver…it thinks I’m in Germany? So the yahoo homepage is all in German. But if I switch it over to SLC, it goes back to English.

      It’s very strange, but whatever 😀

      1. Some large German VPN has a US exit through the same host or IP group. There are lists of all common VPN exit points; many web sites use those to decide if you’re coming in through a VPN, and either tell you to fribble off or to “adjust” their pages for where they think you might really be coming from.

        Lots of places *really* don’t like VPNs; some go as far as to have terms of service that forbid using a VPN.

        1. Maybe that’s what caused it. Ah, well, most of the time it’s not a problem. I’m still new to the world of VPNs (actually got it based on discussions/advice seen here!).

        1. Heh. Possibly. Though they had some really excellent gossip about Johnny Depp and a costar of his 😀 (Though the only thing I really recognized were the names.)

  27. > you have no idea of the freedom of coming to Colorado, and stopping being asked at every grocery store and casual meeting “Where ya’ll from?”
    I’ve lived in Dixie for half a century and I still get asked that regularly.

  28. I was born and raised a Connecticut Yankee, but I’ve lived at least two years or more in the deep South (Louisiana), midwest (Missouri), SoCal (LA and Sunland), Northwest (SW Washington), and two stints in the Southwest (Phoenix and Scottsdale). Different accents as well as different social norms in all. Also a wide variation in accepted dress codes for work and play, although those have loosened all over during the last 50 years or more.

    I’ve picked up phrases and pronunciations all along the way, so I have no idea how I sound now. I still remember conversing with an older woman down in Louisiana who told me bluntly, “Slow down! You talk like a damn Yankee!” I don’t anymore. 😉

  29. First of all, let me get this off, right up front: America is multicultural, and always was. This has absolutely nothing to do with skin colors.

    At the time, the big doin’ was Protestant and Catholic.

    And General Washington went bloopin’ nuclear on the whole “being stupid and attacking Catholics” thing, to the point he was fingered as a crypto-catholic.

    So, yeah: America is *AMERICAN*.

  30. When folks in Texas ask “Where y’all from?” it’s usually because they want to invite you into their group/church/sewing circle/etc. The times it isn’t, the tone indicates you’ve tried to invite yourself in unsuccessfully… As in, “be on the stage when it pulls out.”

    I’ve been down here since ’89. Love it and the people. Well, the ones in my group/church/sewing circle/etc. Nothing against the others; but I prefer folks who love America.

      1. Well, granted that Charlotte isn’t exactly Texas–and they do things a mite queer out east, as I’ve heard said–but “your kind” (I keed, I keed) is probably more popular than mine down here in Lone Star country.

        And, let’s face it, Norma’s Cafe does have pretty good pie… Bring the whole family!

  31. If you think the entire country is the same, I invite you to live for a year in the deep South and then move to NYC and then go to the Mountain West.

    Been in one place where most of the places were the same.

    When down in El Paso, in massively underpopulated outside of tiny places area.

    But even the Factory Outlets aren’t the same.

  32. FWIW, we spent the weekend at an in our state campground.

    Everybody asked where we were from… 1/2 of the campers had stickers for being bought from our camper vendor. (Ketelsen RV, they’re good folks, serve like HALF THE STATE.)

    While checking out we drove next to the relative by marriage of someone our kids had played with and I had to yell hi. At length. Husband helped. 😀

  33. When I first came to Alaska in ’64, if you didn’t look indigenous “Where are you from?” was just about always asked on first meeting. Sourdoughs were few and far between, Cheechakos, newcomers far more common. Actually in the cities, using the term loosely,
    Native Alaskans would often query one another ‘What village are you from?”

    Hey, it’s just as good a way to start a conversations as asking, “Hey, Is it hot enough for you?”, or “What do you think of them Brooklyn Dodgers?” OK, I’m definitely dating myself. -grin-

    1. Common during the ’70s Pipeline era when I was in school in Anchorage. My “um, here” answer was the unusual one.

  34. Fascinating book, Albion’s Seed, by David Hackett Fischer, chronicles how British emigrants to America from 4 different areas of England settled in 4 different areas of America and brought folkways, mindsets, and customs that continue influence those areas even today. Assimilation has not been enough to stamp out all the differences between them. The 4 areas are: Puritan New England, Quaker Pennsylvania, Virginia tidewater, and the Appalachian back country.

    1. Yes, it’s a great book. I’ve owned a copy for years, which I just lent to one of my local friends.

  35. “Latin officially isn’t a race, but it’s perceived as race in the US.”

    Sometimes it seems the “Latin” classification is just a dumping ground for ethnic odds and ends that don’t really fit anywhere else, glossed over by some kind of connection to the Iberian peninsula, no matter how distant and vague.

      1. “A” time? Common thing less than a century back, from popular fiction of the time!

        I think Chesterton mentioned it, too, at length. French race, Spanish race, etc… that idiot with the German race screwed up a lot of stuff.

  36. The healthier I feel– the younger I look and vice versa. The first two years on chemo and prednisone, I looked liked I was 90.

  37. I’m probably as multi-cultural as possible, other than living for real in all 50 states. I’ve got KS, AZ, CA, TX, TN, NC, MA as states I’ve afflicted. Offshore, color in CH, with Niedwalden, Obwalden, and Zurich as states (cantons). The cultures are all different, some dramatically so!
    MA: our neighbors wouldn’t even say hello until my wife baked a cheesecake and took it to them. Afterwards things were a lot different, the husband would actually run his 5 HP snow blower over to clear away the mess that the snowplow driver put in our drive. Moved to a “Mill Town,” and things were different again.
    NC: it’s family relations, they’re big on family relations.
    KS: I was small, but it seemed to be, “What do you do?”
    TN: really hard, “Y’all aren’t from around here!” Scary place Johnson City, TN, lived there 4 months, 7 capital murders during that time in a city of ~40,,000. Two examples: brother walked into the courthouse and, in front of the judge, shot his brother’s soon to be ex-wife because, “He was getting a raw deal.” A girlfriend got angry at her boyfriend so she and some friends kept him from getting out of the local lake, kept him there until he drowned. Cultural differences…
    CA: NoCal, Marin County, I write off as certifiably insane. I won’t comment further. SoCal, for some, perfect weather does things to your brain. I can’t explain various behaviors any other way.
    AZ: riding a motorcycle with your head in an oven, it also does things to your brain, so do orange blossoms in the spring when puberty is rampant! TX, anyone not believing in the multi-cultural idea needs to live in Dallas, then Fort Worth, then Marshall, then Houston, then San Antonio.
    CH: Niedwalden, very friendly toward Americans, very suspicious of the other cantons. Obwalden, tourist destination, you were revenue, however they could separate you from your discretionary income… Zurich, very formal, hyper cultural with Opera, Symphony, Art Museums, Art Galleries, and lots of us versus them. Them being dependent on what was being discussed, cantons: Zurich vs Basel, German Swiss vs French Swiss, or German Swiss vs Italian Swiss. International discussion: Switzerland vs EU, East vs West, now more Asian tourist invasion.
    Common thread, everywhere, us vs them. Sigh!

  38. Perfect example of how Democrats intend to use the federal government to assert totalitarian power:

    They literally plan to impose identity group Marxist redistribution of “wealth and power” and to repurpose the FTC to go after “systemic racism”, rather than abusive trade practices and genuine monopolies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

    We no longer live in a republic; it only has the window dressing of one.

  39. where people as a routine spit on our hands and no, not get ready to cut throats, that’s just you Sarah

    It’s not just you…it’s a time honored American convention as stated by America’s greatest curmudgeon (at least before my friend John) H. L. Mencken:

    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

    Although more appropriate for the age of COVIDIDOCY:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

  40. “Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.” Jonas, Michael. 2007. “The Downside of Diversity”. Copy at

    1. The results of his new study come from a survey Putnam directed among residents in 41 US communities, including Boston. Residents were sorted into the four principal categories used by the US Census: black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. They were asked how much they trusted their neighbors and those of each racial category, and questioned about a long list of civic attitudes and practices, including their views on local government, their involvement in community projects, and their friendships. What emerged in more diverse communities was a bleak picture of civic desolation, affecting everything from political engagement to the state of social ties.

      Two obvious issues that weren’t fixed by looking at write-up:

      Larger communities will have more “I saw X group” folks, but of course have lower trust.
      People who see people as other-race-group are of COURSE going to trust Other less.

      Second point is because at one point on ship– my excuse is I was literally exhausted, going on max six hours of sleep a night– I was very upset that I couldn’t think of a single “black” person I knew, or other “minorities.”

      My dear now-husband pointed out that AT2, who signed out on liberty with me regularly because we’re all part of the Geek Group, is black. Quite dark, actually, but I didn’t notice that because what mattered is that he was a great guy to be around.
      Like maybe a quarter of the geek group were *not* visible token-type minorities. Because we were all Technician types, almost. (A few MMs)
      I did hit a strata of Italians, by last name, but half of them *were* mixed-race even to the crazy race baters….

      1. “we’re all part of the Geek Group” Yup. In my experience musicians and athletes seem the most “color blind.”
        Sarah’s main point — we’re all Americans. It’s a “civil religion,” not a “culture.”
        A weird observation: people seeking “self transcendence” also exhibit a similar kind of spiritual quest — religious worship, dance clubs, raves, Woodstocks, sex, psychedelic drugs, sports, art, music, rallies of all sorts, mobs and riots, fraternities and lodges, self-help groups and programs. And that just scratches the surface. People seeking to merge them selves with a “higher” realm. I observed this first as a student studying Pentecostal church services while I earned my living playing in a night club. Except for the spirits involved the two venues were quite similar! Also, both were mostly color blind.

      2. I assume y’all were Navy? The night club I mentioned was Harold’s Club, a short distance from the naval base in National City CA.

        1. Yep, husband and I both– only time I hit that area was when I was dropping stuff off at Coronado’s calibrations lab, from China Lake.
          (VX-31, yes, it means experimental and they have a long history of really freakin’ cool stuff, I didn’t get to see anything cool and secret, but we did get to calibrate some stuff from Area 51! … it was, like, a multimeter. But Area 51! Also, a blackbird showed up once and I got to go squee at it with all the other X-Men fans.)

          I was in the area between ’02 and ’06 (not counting visiting family, the Terrifying Grandmother By Marriage lives near) when were you around?

          1. I moved away in 1964. Used to pick up our trumpet player at that base. Played a New Years Eve party there and got so drunk I fell off the stage. Ah, fond memories…. (Well I was only 22)
            I tried the IT game for a few years as well. Then built and sold desktops until the cheap laptop killed the industry. I test high in science and math, but for most of my “career” did “people” jobs that. as an Aspie, I was hopeless at.

            1. ….uh…tempted to ask if you knew a dude last name of Patrick who sank for the swim test…. (all of my uncles!)

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