Heah Come Cognitive Dissonance! :Run Like Hell

We ashen-souled columnists, the galley slaves of journalism, are accustomed to abuse from web louts, though it makes us see humanity as having the charm one associates with the underside of a theater seat. We bear up manfully under this, perhaps in the company of Mr. Daniels of Tennessee. To be fair, we get a modicum of civil and intelligent comment.

The third category we see is CDA: Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance. The majority of men cannot abide anything they do not already think and,  when asked questions they would rather not contemplate, probably lock themselves in the bathroom until the screen goes blank. Herewith some of the most studiously avoided q questions.

The Police:  A cop sees a man strike a woman in the head with a piece of pipe and grab her purse. He tries to arrest the perp, who resists. The criminal is 19, muscular, and  weighs 220. What should the cop do?

Web louts avoid the question because all available answers involve violence and the louts, who hate the police while knowing nothing about them,  cannot afford to concede that violence by police can ever be legitimate. If they did, then many cases of alleged brutality  would become legitimate. So they duck and dodge. Classic CDA.

Second question: The perp is big, stoked on PCP, has a length of pipe, and does not want to go to jail. He attacks the cop. What should the cop do when attacked with a deadly weapon?

Note to web louts only: Do not natter stupidly about cops are thugs, you don’t like cops, they are racists, Fred is a fascist, and all the other excretions of negligible minds. Answer the question.

Intelligent design. For those unfamiliar with thes particular circus, intelligent Design–ID among the cognoscenti–is the theory or, as many would have it, observation–that some biological structures cannot have evolved because they are irreducibly complex, and therefore must have been designed. This does not mean excessively complex, but that the structures in question have too many parts all of which would have to appear at once or the structure would not function, and that the parts by themselves would have no value in survival. This is furiously denied by the Darwin claque.

If irreducible complexity does not exist, then any organism can in principle be traced backward, evolutionary step by evolutionary step, to nonliving matter. In practice of course this is impossible with entire organisms. With simple processes it should be doable.

Consider protein synthesis. This is a comparatively simple, well understood.  Why is it not irreducibly complex? How can it be simplified to a preceding evolutionary form? Can we reduce the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two, allowing coding for at most sixteen aminos? Can the sugar be eliminated from nucleotides? The phosphate?  Surely simplifying an already simple process should be only an exercise for grad students. Otherwise it would seem irrem—No! No!

Immigration.The presence of any Latinos at all in America is strongly opposed by racialist groups such as the Alt-Right. These encourage the belief that Latinos are stupid, filthy, criminal, and parasitic, and seek to prevent immigration. There are forty million legal Latinos in the country, mostly citizens, who are not going to leave and cannot be deported. While it can certainly be argued that the country would be better off without them, they exist and will remain. Question for the Alt-Right:

What policy do you recommend toward American citizens of Latino descent?

Encourage assimilation? Discourage it? Poisoning? In any case, how?

Those opposed to immigration strenuously avoid the question because having a policy would concede the legitimacy, or at least permanence,  of Latino-Americans. This they cannot bring themselves to do. If they did, they would likewise concede the inevitability of  intermarriage. Eeeeeeek!

Personally I sympathize with white nationalists and think mass immigration should not have been permitted. But I also that that it was, and we have to deal with what is, not what we might like.

Illegal immigrants: The roughly twelve million illegals pose another problem. It is arithmetically very unlikely that a statistically important number of illegals will be deported or leave. If ten thousand a month were deported during Trump’s maximum possible reign, this would come to almost a million, eight percent of the illegals and substantially less than two percent of the Latino population. Question for white nationalists: What policy do you recommend toward those illegals who do not leave?

They duck and dodge on this question too because having a policy on remaining illegals–probably most of them–would be to admit that some will remain, which they will not. Questions consequent to the first would arise, such as do we amnesty them–the Alt-Right would rather take slit its throat–so they can get real jobs, buy houses, and so on, or keep them as a permanent underclass until their children, citizens, make the question noot?

Open borders: People in favor of mass immigration never put a number on what they want, without which they become moral poseurs and feel-good artists. There are probably 700 million Indians, at least 300 million Latin Americans, all of Haiti, 500 million Africans, and many hundreds of millions of Indonesians, Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, and so on who would like to come to America. Question for pro-immigrationists: Specifically, how many immigrants do you want to accept? What upper limit do you  want?

Plagiolepis alluaudi

Ants.  If you look at mammalian brains, or even reptilian ones, you see enough neurons to believe that they can manage the animal. People have about 1350 cc of brain, some whales 5400.

But consider the above ant. There is hardly any ant there. Most of what there is of the little beast consists of legs, exoskeleton, thorax and abdomen and so on. It has virtually no nervous tissue, distributed or otherwise.

Yet it effortlessly manages six legs over broken terrain (ask a robotics engineer how easy this is) operates digestive organs and such, knows how to forage for food, dig nests, care for queen and young, manage sensory organs and interact with other ants.

All of this is flat weird. Question: How can so very, very little “brain” control such complex behavior? What, as we would say in today’s digital world,is the storage mechanism? The programming language?

When I have asked this question, the response has been “Oh, Fred, ants use a different system.” That is the question, not the answer. What is the explanation, if one exists?

This question involves no web louts pr evasive politics, but there does seem to be a desire to avoid saying that there is something going on that we do not understand.

Affirmative action: This was originally sold as a temporary measure to give blacks who did not quite meet the qualifications for a job to to begin working, whereupon–so the theory went–they would study hard and catch up.  Critics argue that blacks aren’t catching up, and indeed cannot, and that affirmative action is just another entitlement giveaway to keep them from burning cities. . Proponents deny this. Question: When, specifically, should affirmative action be dropped, and how will we know when we get there?

There may be good answers to all of these questions. Specific, concrete, non-evsi have answers. I wouldlike to hear them.

 

 

 

 

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Nuclear-Powered Cars, Tesla, Al Gore, Solar Power, Elon Musk, and More: A Broad Spectrum Column

OK, I’m trying to figure out cars. Especially the electric and nuclear-powered ones. Mostly the fizzing and fuming about how great electrics are, or maybe the end of civilization, seems political. Liberals love them because they will prevent pollution, end global warming, and maybe stop hair loss. Libertarians hate them because they associate them with clean air, federal subsidies, and Al Gore. If Al Gore came out in favor of sex, libertarians would stop reproducing.

Now, according to the excellent automotive columnist, Eric Peters, nobody wants e-cars because they cost too much, don’t go far enough before the battery dies, and take to long to refill. This all seems to be true. Now, anyway. (He also says cars will be boring when they all have the same quiet, tedious electric motors. He may have something. Would you buy a Harley if it just made a gentle soughing sound?)

But all these objections come down to the battery, no? If you could make the dratted thing go, say, six hundred miles on a charge, then after a long day’s driving on a road trip, you could plug during lunch, or overnight at the hotel and have a full tank in the morning.

Maybe the batteries will never get cheap enough. Maybe they will explode like Samsung telephones or hand grenades.The longest-lived I have heard of is Tesla’s barely-over-three hundred mile version, and somehow they never say three hundred miles of what kind of driving.

Still, if I were forced to drive a Tesla (I sure as hell wouldn’t buy one for $35K, and lots more for the big battery.) I wouldn’t notice the difference ninety-five percent of the time, if at all. Few of us often drive three hundred miles in a day.

Next, China. (This column is going to jump around some. Get used to it.). The Chinese are going hard into Duracell cars, both funny little ones and normal ones, but they have a different government and different problems. One problem is pollution. In Beijing, it is said, you can cut the air into blocks and build walls with them. Since much of China is densely urban, and lots of Chinese are getting middle class and want cars, this is pretty serious. At least if you like breathing. Anyway, they have loads of e-cars, from funny little sort-of cars to real ones.

A funny little electric car. Think of the Energizer bunny. Beats a motor scooter in a rain storm. China is neck-deep in all sizes and shapes. Including trucks. 

So next year, they say, they will introduce an $8K electric car that won’t be much of a car but perfectly adequate for commuting and going to malls. To get around the charge-time problem, they are making the battery removable. In the gas station, they pull out the dead battery, shove in another, and you are refueled in ten minutes. Mostly you wouldn’t do this because you wouldn’t drain the battery in a day and at night you would plug it in at home.

Wiley rascals, those orientals.

So where does the electricity come from? From all kinds of generating plants, I guess–now. But if it came from nuclear power plants, then you would have a nuclear-powered car. See? And you would have zero pollution of the air.

You would also have much less need of any petroleum derivative, such as gasoline,  for ground transportation. Aha!

Now, I don’t know what the Chinese government has in mind. Mysteriously, Xi does not call to seek my advice. I suppose he wants to demonstrate his independence. I do know, though, that Beijing worries because it doesn’t have oil of its own.  China depends on Mideastern oil which Washington, now in the pathologically aggressive last years of its empire, could cut off.

Further, China is the world leader in small nuclear reactors (the Nimble Dragon) packaged as local power sources. This critter will be about the size of a bus, fit on a truck, and produce less than 300 MW. it will be much cheaper than big ones, and not require the overkill of a big plant in a small city. You could charge a gret passel of cars with one. I don’t know whether the Chinese have thought of this. I will take bets, though.

We have now covered nuclear-powered cars. Onward to solar energy. Again, libertarians are against it, probably because Al Gore thinks it is a good idea. For entirely un-mysterious reasons, oil companies and electric utilities are against it. Me, I am for it. It is free, and doesn’t smell bad. (This really does have something to do with cars. Sort of. Wait.)

Here in Mexico, many people, including yours truly, use solar hot-water heaters.They work fine, almost always, and provide a tremendous savings on propanel, and pay for themselves in a year or two, depending on the exchange rate. A great idea, unless you sell propane.

Others here get their electricity from photovoltaic panels. These cost more and the payback time is longer, and there are various ways you can do it–tie into the electric grid, or go off grid with batteries. But they work.

Now we arrive, again, at Elon Musk. (All roads lead to Elon, even if you need to launch a spaceship.) He is now selling photovoltaic Elon Tiles, You put them on your entire roof, which he claims is not killer expensive. Considering that three or four panels a few feet square run entire houses here, a Musk roof might power an aircraft carrier.

Of course, you may not have an aircraft carrier.

Not too surprisingly, Mr. Musk suggests that you buy one of his Tesla electric cars and charge it with an Elon Tile roof, storing the current in  one of his battery packs, which he knows about because Teslas use batteries.

How well all of this will work, or parts of it, I don’t know. Maybe car batteries have peaked out and won’t get better, and electric cars will just be look-at-me toys for the over-moneyed. Maybe Elon Tiles won’t work for some reason I can’t think of. But if I were a gasoline company, or electric utility especially, I believe I believe I would look for an anxiety-management clinic.

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Milk-Bar Clausewitzes, Bean Curd Napoleons: In the Reign of Kaiser Don

Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point.

Washington must either either start a war in Korea, or gets faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the empire this is a loss of face and credibility, and an example to others that America can be challenged.

Iran has not caved to Washington’s threats and sanctions and clearly isn’t going to. Another strategic loss, a big one, unless–the hawks seem to think–remedied by a war. Iran wants to trade with Europe and Europe likes the idea. Worse, Iran is becoming a vital part of China’s aim to integrate Europe and Asia economically. To the empire this smelñls of death. The frightened grow desperate.

China shows no signs of backing down in the South China Sea. For Washington, it is either war now, when thinks it might win, or be overshadowed as China grows.

Russia has irrevocably gotten the Crimea, is quietly absorbing part of the Ukraine, and looks as if its side is going to win in Syria. Three humiliating setbacks for the empire. Loss of control of the Mideast would be a strategic disaster for Washington.

Continued control of Europe is absolutely vital. European governments have groveled but now even they grow restless with Washington’s sanction against Russia, and European businessmen want more trade eastward. Growing trade with Asia threatens to loosen Europe’s shackles. Washington cannot allow this.

When you have militarily stupid politicians listening to pathologically confident soldiers, trouble is likely. All of these people might reflect how seldom wars turn out as those starting them expect. Wars are always going to be quick and easy. Generals not infrequently advise against a war but, once it begins, they bark in unison. They seldom know what they are getting into. Note:

The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong, by four years and some 650,000 dead. 

Germans thought that World War I would be be a quick war of movement, over in a few weeks. Wrong by four years and fantastic slaughter, and was an entirely unexpected trench war of attrition ending in unconditional surrender. Not in the Powerpoint presentation.

When the Japanese Army urged attacking Pearl Harbor, their war aims did not include  two cities in radioactive rubble and GIs in the bars of Tokyo. That is what they got.

When the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, having GIs and the Red Army in Berlin must have been an undocumented feature. Very undocumented.

When the French re-invaded Vietnam after WWII, they did not expect les jaunes to crush them at Dien Bien Phu, end of war. Les Jaunes did.

When the Americans invaded Vietnam, having seen what had happened to the French, the thought did not occur that it might happen to them too. It did.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the US in a war against peasants, they did not expect to lose. They did.

When the Americans attacked Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the Soviets there, they did not expect to be fought to a slowly losing draw. They were.

When the Americans attacked Iraq, they did not expect to be bogged down in an interminable conflagration in the whole region. They are.

Is there a pattern here?

From the foregoing one might conclude that when grrr-bowwow-woofs start wars, they seldom foresee the nature of the war or its outcome. This is particularly true of military men, who seem to have little grasp of their profession. Whether anyone else could better predict does not matter. The generals do not.

Why? One reason is that war by its nature is not very predictable. Often the other side proves uncooperative, imaginative, and resourceful.  Another reason is that militaries inculcate unreasonable confidence in their own powers. Troops cannot be told that they are mediocre soldiers, and may lose, that their publics may not support the war, that the other side may prove superior. Consequently they are told, and tell themselves, that they are the best trained, best armed, most lethal force imaginable. They tell themselves that they have great fighting spirit–cran, bushido, oorah. If this is so, they think, how can they not win?

Just now, the usual damned fools in Washington and New York contemplate wars against Russia in Syria, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Ukraine, and Iran. All of these offer superb chances for disastrous and unexpected consequences.

An attack on North Korea will be called a “surgical strike.” “Surgical” is a PR  phrase implying that no civilians will be killed, that the war will be quick and cheap. You know, like Iraq, a cakewalk. This idea has little  relation to military reality. The assumptions will be that American intelligence actually knows where the North’s missiles and nukes are, that North Korea is too stupid to put them deep underground, that Kim Jong Un won’t respond with a massive attack on the South, that he doesn’t have aircraft that can carry a nuke for a short distance–to Seoul, say, or a carrier-battle group, or to the barracks of the 28,000 GIs in South Korea, that the North Korean infantry could not get into Seoul, thirty-five miles away, forcing the US to bomb the South Korean capital into rubble.

Them is a lot of assumptions. 

Similarly, we hear that the US military could devastate Iran. Today, “US military” means airplanes. American ground forces are small, not rapidly deployable and–if I may lapse into rural accuracy–pussified, obsessed with homosexuality, girls in combat, trans this and trans that, and racial and sexual quotas in the officer corps. The Pentagon has trouble finding recruits physically fit enough for combat arms.

Pregnant-and-girl simulator, forced on American troops by feminists. The intention obviously is to humiliate, and they have succeeded. The problem is, first, that we have troops willing to put up with this and second, and far worse, is that the generals, who know perfectly well the effects of this sort of thing, have let the military become the playground of feminists, homosexuals, transvestites, transgenders, single mothers, and so on. They value their careers over the military. 

Iranians are Muslims, not pansies and not afraid to die. They might not–I would say definitely will not–cave in to  bombing. They might close the Straits of Hormuz (“Damn, sir! I was sure we could blow up all those missiles they have on pickup trucks.”) They might launch dispersed infantry attacks into various surrounding countries. Getting them out would be a hell of  lot harder than letting them in.

In all of these contemplated wars, there is the belief in the Last Move: that is, that after the US defeats the Russian Air Force over Syria, which it could, Russia would throw up its hands, go home and do nothing–instead of, say, occupying the Caucasus, which it could. Always, always, the assumption is that the other side will behave as the bow-wow-woofs think it will.

People tend to think of countries as suprahuman entities with rational minds. We say, “Russia did this” or The US decided that….” Countries don’t decide anything. Men (usually) do. You know, McCain, Hillary, generals, delusional Neocons, and Trump, who is eerily similar to Kaiser Wilhelm, another stochastic military naif with a codpiece need. These massive egos are not well suited to backing down or conceding that they have made a mistake.

This egotism is important. Washington’s vanities could not accept being humiliated, not allow any country to show that resistance to America is possible.

Suppose that the Navy fired on a Chinese ship in the South China Sea, expecting Beijing to roll over as it would have thirty years ago–but it didn’t, instead leaving a carrier in flaming ruin. This is far from impossible. Carriers can be surprisingly fragile, and China has has focused resources specifically of defeating the American Navy in what it regards as its home waters. The American fleet has not fought a war since 1945. It doesn’t really know how well its weapons will work against their weapons.

The carrier Forrestal, 1967. A single Zuni ground-attack missile was fired accidentally, hitting a plane. A huge fire ensued, bombs cooked off, 134 men were killed, and the ship was devastated, out of service for a very long time. One five-inch missile.

Times have changed. Carriers today are useful only for bombing defenseless countries. Against serious opposition–Russia and China for example–they serve only as trip wires. The carrier itself does not amount to much, but if you cripple one, you are at war with the US. This is less scary than it used to be, which is dangerous in itself, but still not something one undertakes casually.

The following news story is worth reflection:

Surprise! Boo!  “The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced”

“American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk – a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

“By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The story clearly was not written by a student of submarines or carriers, but the incident occurred, ten years ago–and Chinese submarines are getting rapidly better.

Emotionally unable to walk away from a local defeat, Washington would have to double down, likely by bombing China. The consequences would be disastrous, unpredictable, perhaps nuclear. Things soldiers do not think about: revolution when the United States, already deeply divided with the middle and lower classes pushed to the wall financially, suffer the depression that would follow on ending commerce with America’s largest trading partner–China. The lower middle class, already pushed to the wall, having no savings, finds prices going way up at Walmart. Apple stores have no iPhones. Boeing loses Chinese orders, laying off thousands. This list could go on for many pages. The elderly will remember the civil unrest during Vietnam.

If the war remained conventional, the outcome might boil down to which population could best survive privation–the Chinese, only a generation or so removed from living hard, or America’s squealing millennials, looking for safe spaces. If the Pentagon destroyed the Three Gorges Dam, and killed several million people, China might go nuclear. Note that if a few well-placed nuclear bombs shut down food distribution in the US for even a month, people in the cities would be fighting for food on the third day, and eating each other on the fifth.

This, those absurd vanities and overgrown children in New York are playing with.

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Iron Horse Nights: An American Residuum

You gotta understand about biker bars. Well, maybe you don’t, but you ought to want to at least. They are the last redoubt of American civilization in an age of Snowflakes, Cupcakes, milquetoasts, mollycoddles, and  fizzing herds of witless mall rats.

My biker bar is the Iron Horse, just across the carretera from our house. If popular wisdom holds, it was started by a guy in the nuclear-construction business who, I suppose, wanted a biker bar. Vi and I often wander over of a weekend when forty or so big-bore bikes show up and you hear Harleys starting with that explosive cough, WapAhappotatopotatopotatopotato, a sound the which there ain’t no other like. Nor better.

Usually there’s a good crowd. The Mexican bikers come in from Guad, and the gringo club, Los Gueros, appears along with wives and girlfriends. The bands are hard rock, La Maquina del Tiempo for ample, and by dark the joint thumps and roars  and and nobody can hear anybody else but they’re dancing like maniacs and don’t care. The dance floor is a concrete slab because the place used to be a warehouse I think until Chris decided it needed to be a biker bar.

Biker bars are not always well understood. Some are in truth dens of psychopaths with several teeth and witless grins auguring bodily damage. One such was the Sons of Silence, headquartered in the Berkeley Bar in Denver when I was working at Soldier of Fortune in Boulder. The Berk was not where you wanted to take your mother on her birthday. I spent time there with Craig Nunn, SOF‘s artist who later died when, drunk one night, he drove his motorcycle into a tree. The SOF staff agreed that he died as he would have wished: horribly. Working as we did for a mercenary magazine, Craig and I were thought acceptably sordid. There were some memorable nights, but I don’t recommend it.

The Iron Horse is altogether different. These guys like to ride and they wear colors but if you accidentally left your three-year-old daughter there  all Saturday night, on your return you would find her in working order and well cared for by the wives and girlfriends. They bikers of the Horse are a mixed bag but you find for example a guy who invented something about ATMs, made a bundle, and didn’t want to dress up in office drag like some sorry metrosexual. So he moved to Mexico, got a monster Harley, and actually enjoys living.

The local expat club is Los Gueros, gringos and Canadians. The name translates loosely as The Pale Ones. In the US this would have priss spigots wetting themselves about racism and inclusiveness, but Mexico doesn’t do that racial gotcha routine so they’re just the Gueros and everybody’s happy.

A degenerate in the Iron Horse. A shocking display of grotesque machismo, toxic masculinity, Jack on the rocks–self-medication, likely for feelings of inadequacy–and intransigent deplorability. Hell, he probably even like girls, though that’s pushing it.

Probably you either like bikes or you don’t. I have never had a power bike but once rode a Honda 350, which I think was the old 305 Dream bored out. It was geared low and actually pretty quick, certainly enough bike to provide a Motorcycle Experience. At night on the winding forested roads of rural Virginia the wind was chill and traffic nonexistent and you could lean through the curves and there came a wild sense of freedom and being part of the night, as if you belonged there. To stop in the darkness and just sit there astride, motor ticking over, bugs keening in the trees and trying to get laid–it was a trip.

Which I think is why guys like bikes. It is a guy thing. If a gal showed up on a bike, she would be welcome but it doesn’t much happen.  A lot of  people who are not bikers show up at the Horse and, as  mentioned, wives and girlfriends and the guys behave as gentlemen, or at least not as jerks, but it remains masculine at heart, very much so. This is refreshing in an age in which Bruce Jenner would be regarded as dangerously masculine.

Oh my god. Oh my god. Hide the children.

Bikers are a certain kind of men, as evidenced by their still being alive. Motorcycles are not for the dreamy. Bad things develop too quickly. Some psychologist did a study that divided athletes into two categories, Thinkers and Reactors. Intelligence had nothing to do with it. A baseball pitcher is a Thinker. He sizes the batter up, consults with the catcher on the type of pitch, thinks about  it and, when he is ready, pitches. By contrast, a shortstop just reacts.

This very much applies to bikers. If an eighteen-wheeler suddenly pulls across the road in front of him, a Thinker will, well, think, “Hmmm. Eighteen wheeler. Not good. I probably ought to BLAP!” A Reactor might lay the bike down and try to slide under the truck. Might work, might not, but BLAP definitely will not work. Potholes, cars that don’t see the bike, hunks of truck tire in the road–these require instant reflexes that some, including me, don’t have.

Odd things happen on bikes. A buddy of mine who later killed himself by swimming out into the Rappahannock River at night in mid-winter told me of riding–he had a 450 something-or-other–along a desert highway in maybe it was New Mexico. A terrific steady tailwind came up at the speed he was making, maybe sixty. There was thus no relative wind.  Weird. The engine started to overheat.

You gotta wonder what is happening in America. In any country there are the adventurous and the less so, the rock climbers and cavers and divers, and those who would rather spend their time in the library. Fine. I t takes all kinds. But today a guy who goes to a gym is held by much of society to be in need of counseling, or maybe estrogen supplements. If this isn’t your style, drop by the Horse some night. Bring party paraphernalia, such as a date. If you can, arrive on two wheels. Better than four.

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Working Toward Tripartite Racial Disunity: Maybe Not a Really Great Idea

Regarding Latinos not as citizens but as internal enemies of America is an idea pushed not just by many racialist websites (e.g., Vdare).but also by Donald Trump. The outlook is particularly characteristic of something called the Alt-Right, a substantial if loosely defined group who are horrified at the thought of racial amalgamation. Hostility intensifies as one moves farther along the right wing to where the feathers end and giddy space begins.

It is perhaps worth noting that the accounts of Mexico in the anti-immigrationist literature bear little or no resemblance to the Mexico I have lived in for fifteen years. The streets are not strewn with garbage, it is not legal to screw little girls of twelve years, guns for home defense are not illegal, and Mexican school children behave like everybody else’s. The racialist sites often do not check facts, do not correct false claims when notified of them, and not infrequently simply lie. Many of the leaders seem never to have been to Mexico, speak Spanish, or have the foggiest notions of the world below the Rio Bravo.

The President agrees with them. He is openly hostile to some 43 million American citizens. He has placed Mexico itself among “our enemies,” His “Mexicans are rapists” assertion resonated among Latinos much as Hillary’s Deplorables among Americans. How smart is this? 

Not very. In fact it is wrong, dangerous, stupid, and threatens disastrous consequences.

Let’s take a quick look at some numbers. Census figures show 57 million Latinos in the US,. Perhaps 12 millions of them being illegal. Trump promised to get rid of the illegals in two years, which would require deporting 500,000 a month for 24 months. He is way behind. He could also deport 125,000 a month for eight years. Do you see anything resembling this? If he deports 10,000 a month for eight years, it will come to a bit under a million–less than two percent of the Latino population,

In short, the number of Latinos is not going to change much whatever Trump does. There will be at least fifty million in the country regardless of anyone’s politics. Trump will deport enough to keep tension high but not enough to make a statistically noticeable difference. Most of the Latinos are, and more will be, American citizens. Treat them as internal enemies and they will likely become such–wouldn’t you?–with grievous results lasting for generations. This would suit the Alt-Right fine, but be ruinous for America.

There arise hard questions and curious situations. For example, the Left and businessmen do not want illegals expelled, businessmen because they like cheap labor that cannot organize, and the Left for the votes and because many think deportation cruel. The anti-immigrant people do not want to grant amnesty. This makes the illegals an underclass of twelve million unable to start businesses, go to college, or get good jobs. Brilliant. Exactly what the country needs. Further, the people who complain that the illegals are badly schooled want to deny education to undocumented children. This would produce a large number of irremediably unemployable illiterates. What a swell idea. 

Add Trump. He too quite obviously loathes Mexico and Mexicans, probably because he failed in a couple of crooked real-estate deals here. He is supposed to be the President of all Americans. He is not. When he plays to his base by attacking something like seventeen percent of the citizenry, he is doing the country no favor.

Permitting mass immigration, like importing slaves, was a bad idea, but it was done. The time to stop immigration is when it begins. When numbers reach a vague tipping point, it becomes irreversible. This has long since happened. Note that it was an inside job. Patriotic American businessmen have encouraged immigration, Congress has condoned it as have both political parties and Presidents–except Obama, who did everything he could to encourage it. The problem is home-grown and self-inflicted.

The future? Many fear that Latinos won’t assimilate, the Alt-Right that they will. The desire of the latter, often explicitly stated, is for racial purity of European stock, and Mexican girls are alarmingly attractive. While racial purity is in bad odor currently, it is actually a very good idea–if you can get it. No diversity, no racial strife, riots, burning cities, or endless anger over immigration. The white race has been by far the most successful and creative the planet has known. A desire to keep it around makes great sense. Well and good. Fine.

Unfortunately you cannot have both assimilation and racial purity. It is one or the other. If you concern is the well being of America, you want good relations with the newcomers, inevitably leading to intermarriage. If purity is your goal, you want bad relations, and the worse the better. To all appearances, the racialist websites are working toward the latter end. Trump, however intentionally, aids and abets.

A degree of friction between the races cannot be avoided. A small town in Tennessee does not like being descended upon by people of an unfamiliar culture. But the descenders have descended, with the explicit help of the federal government. They will not undescend. When a situation cannot be changed, it must be dealt with. The practical question, for anyone who gives a damn about the country, for anyone who has to live in it or has kids who will, is how to make the best of things as they exist. 

Many would say, “Stop the influx and assimilate the ones we have.” It is probably the best approach available. Yet to accept it is to concede the legitimacy of the citizenship of a minimum of  forty-some million Latinos. Racial and ethnic purists cannot bring themselves to do this, so they vituperate and vituperate. The constructive value is not clear. What do they expect to achieve?

How to assimilate Latinos? A good question, grist for another column. Everywhere I have been–LA, San Fran, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC–the problem has seemed to be solving itself. Mexicans worked as cashiers, bus drivers, waiters, and secretaries, and spoke English. But LA is not Wheeling, and California is not Arizona.

A statistic that will hearten assimilationists and revolt genetic purists is that (if Pew is to be believed) the rate of intermarriage between white and brown is twenty-six percent, higher among the second generation than the first, and higher between the well educated than the less so. For what it’s worth, Latinos who speak unaccented American English cease to seem very Latino.

Working against assimilation is that different cultures inevitably experience friction, that most of the immigrants are poor, poorly educated, young, and male, that assimilation works less well with populations large and dense enough be self-isolating, such as we see in black ghettos, and that the white-nationalists do all they can to cause antagonism.

Working toward successful assimilation is that Mexicans are Christian, heavily European in their roots, live in amity with a million American expats in Mexico, and as a race are demonstrably able to run modern cities universities, and such. Unlike blacks and Muslims, they do not see whites and Christians as mortal enemies. Much depends on keeping things this way.

But one thing I believe to be sure: Constantly attacking forty million American citizens as stupid, dirty, disease-ridden, criminal, given to rape and all the rest, will not make for domestic tranquility.

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Fun with Slavery: Dark Spots in a Shining Sea of Twaddle

Much is written about slavery and its aftermaths. A large part of this is frenetically modified history issuing from people both excited and poorly read, a comic-book version apparently intended to support agendas of the impenetrably adolescent Left. A few points:

First, slavery was always bad, frequently hideous, much worse in the Deep South than in Tidewater  or New York, and consequent to the same desire for cheap labor that now results in importing Mexicans and exporting jobs to China. Any notion that abuses were rare or exaggerated is twaddle.  A vast amount of contemporary writing documents this. The best-known account  of slavery in the South is is Journal of a Residence on a Georgia  Plantation by Fanny Kemble, a British actress actress who married a planter in, as the title suggests, Georgia. Also contemporary, and little known, Slavery as it is in America: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses. An  account of the horrific  Northern variety is  

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

Second, the slave trade being phenomenally  profitable, much like the drug trade today, many were involved who today choose to forget this: Yankees, Arabs, Jews, Quakers, and Southerners. It was strongly defended by many Christians in the South, and attacked by Christians in the North, who had no financial stake in it. Yankees owned slaves and, in the draft riots in New York in 1863, lynched and burned them alive. In this world angels are few on the ground.  The North now simply lies about it.

Not well known, by design: Wikipedia: “In 1741 Manhattan had the second-largest slave population of any city in the Thirteen Colonies after Charleston, South Carolina.”  In the revolt of that year, blacks were hanged and burned alive. In New York. Many similar things happened, now artfully forgotten.

Third, among the historically illiterate a notion exists that the South consisted of rich aristocrats living in mansions. A few, yes. Most, not even close. Poverty among whites in the South and the associated Appalachia was often extreme.

Fourth, freeing the slaves was an easy solution if you didn’t have the problem. If you were a planter with a wife and three little girls, would you give up your house and subject your family to poverty, rape, robbery, and revenge from blacks? I am not asking whether you think they should have done it, but whether in the circumstances you would do it. Another way of putting it: For what moral cause would you, today, give up your job, house, and investments, and step on the sidewalk with your family?

You might have done what many slaveowners did, what George Washington did: free your slaves in your will. (This reminds me of Saint Augustine’s cry, “Oh Lord, grant me chastity, but not just yet.”) You could thus express your opposition to slavery while enjoying its benefits.

Fifth, many today would say that Southerners deserved their problems, having brought them on themselves by enslaving blacks. But of course they did not. By 1861 most were born into a slaveholding society. Most were not enthusiastic about it, but had little idea what to do.

Anyone interested in just how divided whites were about slavery might the debates in 1831-2 in the Virginia House of Delegates. There was heated argument favoring no emancipation, gradual emancipation, immediate and total emancipation, and Lincoln’s solution of sending blacks back to Africa.

They ended by doing nothing. Part of the sentiment favoring keeping slavery came from Tidewater, where large landholders depended on slavery, and partly from the sense of having the tiger by the tail: “Dear God, what now?”

Sixth–and important–was the Haitian slave revolt of 1791-1804, of which few Americans have heard. Black Haitians butchered and tortured the whites in an unspeakable bloodbath. Southerners, well aware of this, decided that freeing the slaves would be mass suicide. As it happened when the slaves were emancipated after the Civil War, no bloodbath came. Events in Haiti provided ample reason for not taking the chance.

The sentiment was reinforced in 1831 by Nat Turner’s revolt in which slaves in Virginia revolted and butchered some sixty whites, families included. I cannot see why this was regarded as a crime. Certainly slaves have a moral right to kill their owners. If someone tried to enslave you and your family, would you kill him? I would. The slaughter did not reassure surrounding Virginians.  Again, slavery was an easy problem to solve if you didn’t have it.

Seventh, Southerners believed that they knew the Negroes and that they could not function as equals of whites and thus would destroy society. Except for ardent abolitionists–perhaps for ardent abolitionists–so did Northerners, but by then these latter didn’t have many Negroes and never expected to. Today, a century and a half after the Civil War, the Southerners seem to have been right. 

Eighth, controversy, usually witless,  persists over whether the South fought to preserve slavery. The usual approach is to quote Southern planters, politicians,  and newspapers as to the sacred quality of the peculiar institution and how God liked it. QED.

But of course these were the slave-owners, the rich, and their hangers on. They favored slavery for the same reason American businesses favor remote wars in Afghanistan: they make money at it. People do not fight bloody wars over years for the benefit of people that, after the war, they will have no desire to associate with. If you had asked a thousand Confederate infantrymen why they were fighting, do you think they would have said, “I’m fighting and dying and seeing my friends screaming gutshot so that rich bastards can own slaves while I live in a shack?”

You, the reader, probably do not favor mistreatment of women and girls. Would you favor fighting a war in Afghanistan in which America would lose over six and a half million dead–proportionately to population, what the country lost in the Civil War–to impose civil rights for women  in Afghanistan?

Ninth, hypocrisy. You, the reader, probably live (as I long did) in a society in which millions of blacks live pointless lives, shooting each other  in decaying cities with horrible schools. If you are a Yankee of the usual intolerable virtue, as so many are, note that blacks suffer these awful conditions  chiefly in Southern cities such as Trenton, Newark, Camden, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Flint, Gary, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Washington DC. What have you done about it–other than, perhaps, talk? And you are in no danger of the consequences of whatever you might propose. Southerners were.

Tenth, it is worth noting that the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, now also sold as a moral measure by the sainted Lincoln, in fact freed not a single  slave. It applied only in the Southern states, where it was intended to ignite a revolt. Slaves in the North remained in slavery. Lincoln himself said, in letter after letter after document after speech and before Congress, over and over and over, that he  would not oppose slavery in the South if only it would come back to the Union, and–yes, boys and girls–he wanted to send blacks back to Africa.

But the textbooks come from New York.

Contemporary drawing of the 1863 draft riots in New York. Hangings and burnings alive occurred in this racially righteous city.

IN fact, the North wanted no blacks of any kind, having discovered that sweating European immigrants was more profitable. If you own slaves, you have to feed them and care for them no matter the business climate. This was suited to an agricultural economy. But the North was industrial. It made more sense to pay helpless immigrants almost nothing while they lived in tubercular filth with their children working twelve hours a day and dying of preventable diseases. After all, the next ship in would bring more. In short, it was the moral equivalent of slavery but more cost-effective and without the stigma.

More from New York. Kum Ba Ya.

Eleventh, edited out of history for an American public with a bumper-sticker mind is that slavery was a product of the North. Slave ships in hundreds left from New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut for Africa. When the slave trade was outlawed in 1808, Northern slavers sold contraband slaves to the South or to the godawful sugar-raising West Indies or to South America. The North grew rich from the cotton of the South,  financed its plantations, and provided the slaves. Further huge profits came from trading in the products of the sugar plantations, which it turned into rum.

The North had tens of thousands of slaves itself. It not infrequently burned blacks alive, connived at the kidnapping of free blacks to sell to the South, returned runaway slaves. When abolition-minded whites set up schools for blacks, Northern mobs attacked them and Northern courts refused to do anything about it.   Again, Complicity is a good account.

We drift in a sea of historical fraud.

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The Worship of Ammunition: An Interlude with Moon’s Church

Having recently watched documentaries of various dismal cults, notably Buddhafields and Scientology, I bethought myself of Moon’s Church, owner of the Washington Times, and my brief association with it ages ago. Thinking that it might be of sociological or psychiatric interest, I post the following. Early Seventies. Unpublished:

 

The tall scrawny freak with the red hair converted in the spring of 1972, several months before Jerry wandered, roaring, onto the scene. I had recently graduated from both Vietnam and college and, not knowing what else to do, was living with a collection of hippies at Stafford Court House, Virginia. The other freaks were the usual unemployed prophets, fruit-juice drinkers, tarot-card readers and desert patriarchs in from communes in New Mexico. Most were sane without being extreme about it. A few were psychic train-wrecks trying to reassemble themselves, and mind-burnt druggies who had learned to package brain damage as mystical insight.

The Sixties were waning fast. The freak years had been fun for those who could handle them, but by now everybody sensed that the ride was over. Kids looked sourly at the future, judged that the market for aged hippies was limited, and wanted out. They weren’t sure how to get there.

Seeking the escape hatch, the crowd at Stafford started changing religions the way other people changed their socks. For a while the preferred faith was acid. Everybody stared for hours at patterns in the upholstery, garnering wisdom. Then Buddhism held a corner on truth for a week, but faded. Hinduism had its brief moment. A bearded seer form somewhere out West once peered into my eyes with bovine serenity and said, “Hinduism. You know it’s true, man.” His cow-like assurance was like a current of water, carrying me along so that I thought, “Yeah, hadn’t thought of it, it is true, isn’t it?”

Finally the skinny red-head thumbed to Washington with his girlfriend, who had been a Moslem the week before, and returned full of confused faith in someone called Sun Moon. At first we assumed that anyone named Sun Moon must be an itinerant witch doctor from one of the desert tribes, perhaps a protégé of Carlos Castañeda. We soon heard that Moon was a Korean guru with holdings in an ammunition factory.

“I think I really believe it,” the red-head told me regarding the epiphany of the weekend. “It’s really, like, you know, true. I know it is.”

“What’s true?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

He wanted to believe that something was true. He didn’t much care what, and anyway he could find out later. Within two weeks several others from Stafford had joined Moon’s church. They were formally committed to the worship of a Korean arms manufacturer. The idea was curious, even for the times.

The Sixties were treasure years for the connoisseur of oddities: bikers, SDSers, hopheads, hallucinating paranoiacs, anything you wanted. Moon’s church, however, seemed a genuinely new kink in the social rope. For the next several months the lunar faithful (I tried desperately not to call them Loonies) was a hobby, sideshow, and source of free meals. Seen from the inside, from the level of the sidewalks of a giddy age, they didn’t bear much resemblance to later accounts in the newspapers. They didn’t bear much resemblance to anything.

Soon the Stafford believers thumbed up to the Moonie hives at 1611 Upshur Street, NW. I went along, wondering what to expect. The Moonies were not the only new product on the faith market. There was the New American Church, which worshipped the better grades of dope, and the Hare Krishnas, who seemed to worship attention and Georgetown, and something called Maharaj Ji, such a tender golden-brown butter ball that one’s instinct was to baste him. The Moonies were the first faith to crack the defense sector however. A faith based on ammunition was categorically worth seeing.

The Moonies had rented several adjacent row houses on Upshur and, as I soon learned, held picnics to attract proselytes, of which there seemed to be a bumper crop. We arrived looking like refried death and discovered a swarm of kids in suits, ties, stockings, pretty dresses, and a state of unearthly cleanliness. An attractive girl in an up-market blue dress hailed us with a bright smile. She was pretty, deliberately pretty, which was startling in an age of funk.

“Hi! I’m Linda Marchant. I’m so glad you could come. Won’t you join us?”

I thought to myself, “Soap.” Even today people think “soap” when they meet Moonies. But the outgoing friendliness was undeniably nice, very nice. They could turn it on and off like water, but it was nice. It appealed powerfully to the lonely and confused who, however they talked of Thoreauvian independence, were getting older and suspected they had missed an important boat. This assertive gregariousness, grown devious and systematized, later become known in Moon-talk as “love-bombing.”

Under spreading trees in the back yard, girls rushed about with bowls of salad. They all looked like Heidi. The guys looked like stockbrokers. Several other freaks stood around, kind of embarrassed but kind of…you know…digging it.

We all sat. After a brief prayer to a god as yet unspecified, whose chief quality seemed to be syllabic extension (“Faa-aa-a-a-ther….”) there were a few words about the sacred mission of the United States. Characteristically the Moonies told us very little about themselves. They preferred that a recruit find out what he was committed to only after he was committed to it, an idea acceptable to a surprising number of people. The peculiar gift of the Moonies was to pursue sincerity, frankness, and a revival of ethical values by means of deception, manipulation, and a disregard of ethics.

A heavily freckled kid next to me, explaining that he was in real life in the Coast Guard, said, “We ought to put naval mortars on the roofs. For protection.” Good idea. “Protection from whom?”

“Communists. They want to break up the church. These people need military advice.”

He kept looking up at the eaves.

Shortly thereafter, in hopes of working the fertile recruiting grounds of the University of Maryland, the Moonies established a splinter cell in Hyattsville in a decaying frame house that is now a parking lot. Like most political cells, it should have been padded. They began rehabilitating the house furiously in shifts. About that time I was angling for a job as a part-time special-education-and-computer-science teacher at Suitland Senior High, and hoped that maybe some of the Stafford converts might arrange to let me stay at the new hive for a week while I found an apartment. They couldn’t unless I converted, which was too much rent. For a week I lived in the back of my 1957 Chevy, the Blue Bomb, which had a mattress running from the back seat into the trunk. By day I helped the Moonies rebuild their house The stability of the set-up was uncertain. Instead of killing the termites, I noticed, the Moonies caulked up their holes.

At a Moonie recruiting session one night in an apartment in College Park Towers, I met Jerry, a short club-footed Nazi who liked blacks and Jews. Actually he wasn’t a Nazi, but said he was, which is stranger than being one. The Moonies were hawking the Divine Principle, as they called their theology, to a gaggle of freshmen. These latter were all agog, what with being at a real college for the first time, and hearing about a genuine exotic oriental religion and all. They had never heard of anything so advanced, not even in Wheeling.

At the time Principle involved something called the Base of Four Positions, which looked on the blackboard like a baseball diamond with God on second, Adam and Eve on first and third, and humanity at home plate. The idea was that Satan, currently in the guide of communism, had long ago gained control of the earth, and God kept sending people to try to redeem it. Abraham, Moses, and Jesus had all tried and failed. (“Oh Lord, whyfore hast thou forsaken me?” was considered corroborative.) Moon by implication was the next redemptive Marine to storm ashore on the cosmic beach.

People drifted and munched on potato chips. I was bored to the point of twitching but didn’t want to go back to the Chevy. The door opened and a deep bass voice growled, possibly not intending to be audible, “Hello. I’m looking for a bunch of maniacs…wait. I think I’m here.”

Jerry was about five feet six inches tall and nearly as wide, with bushy black hair, a tangled beard, and a big orthopedic shoe. A fierce angry energy radiated from him. We shook hands–he had the delicate fingers of a pianist-and he growled, sotto voce, “You don’t look like one of these. Are you?”

“God no.”

“Let’s go somewhere and talk.”

We escaped to the balcony. Jerry then spoke roughly as follows, always in staccato bursts. “Yeah, I’m getting a Ph.D. in political science…god, it’s nonsense…quantification of political behavior. I can make it work but who cares? These crazies, ain’t they something? It’s the decline of Rome all over, the Weimar Republic gone bad…four thousand years of progress for nothing…everything is downhill, heehee. This little Nazi is sick of it…If there any hope, it lies with the proles.”

Jerry called himself a Nazi, but purely as a rhetorical device. He lacked the ideology, the mean streak, any obsession with race, in fact any of the traits necessary to Nazism, and had in most respects the politics of an angry Democratic populist. He said he had been a real rostrum-pounding right-winger in school up north, but reality had grown on him.

“Right wing politics in nonsense. So’s left-wing politics. The center doesn’t have politics…Took me a long time to see that…God, it’s awful.” He was mad at everything in general, perhaps because of a difficult life and a crippled leg, or perhaps because of excessive observation. He was too rational to be mad at anything in particular.

Anyway, Jerry was drawn to the Moonies by their psychiatric interest, by his lack of anywhere else to live, and by Caroline Libertini of the Hyattsville nest. Lib was a basic broad-hipped Italian earth-mother with bronzed skin and high cheekbones that looked almost Indian. She radiated the Italian womanly virtues, genuine in her case, like an antenna: Warmth, security, friendliness, concern, and a funny sense that you were part of her family. The lonely and shell-shocked fell in love with her, absolutely inaccessible though she was, whereupon the Moonies tried to convert them. I don’t think it was conscious tactics, but it worked.

Soon Jerry was following her around like a growling congenial puppy. Then he moved into the Moonies’ tiny unfinished basement on the tacit understanding that he might convert any day now, which he had not the slightest intention of doing. It was strange to see him stomping around the kitchen making spaghetti or acting as a towel rack for Lib, a troll among Snow White’s dwarves. Beneath the fuming, he was sociable, and they were pleasant by ideology.

The Moonies didn’t know what to make of Jerry. They themselves were given to indirection, manipulation, diplomacy, and a certain understatement of the truth. Jerry had the finesse of the Wehrmacht. Upon listening to a circuitously phrased obliquity intended to get him to do something, Jerry would amiably say, “Dumbest goddam idea I ever heard. What idiot thought of that?”

 

“Hey, Reed, gimme a hand moving my hate. Gotta lot of hate to move,” Jerry said to me one day.

By this he meant a large collection of screwy far-right books. He also referred to mail as hate: “Gotta go check my hate-box.” Soon we were laboring up and down the stairs to his bare cubby hole with some of the strangest literature known to man: Six-volume sets about the communist influence behind the fluoridation of water, and disintegrating works by obscure syndicalists. I felt trapped in a comic book: In the basement of a weird Christian cult somewhere in the nation’s capital, a right-wing troll and his accomplice, a crazed hippie anthropologist, discuss the destruction of America’s brains by toothpaste….” Jerry banged away with hammer and scrap wood. He didn’t believe in his books any longer, but he collected them as a connoisseur.

“Need some more hate shelves.”

“Jerry, this stuff is nuts.”

“Yeah, bonkers. Real loony-tune stuff. Let me show you something really wild….”

We became friends, in part because of a common fascination with the curiosities inhabiting the ground floor. We discussed them endlessly in the beer dens of the University. Jerry would sit bristling with horror and foretell the collapse of society.

“It’s all over. You see, don’t you? Cults are the sign of collapse. The Orphic mysteries all over. Except they’re sexless. Like monks. I’m going to go to Canada and live. Tell them I went to Mexico, will you?”

Sexless they were. Despite all the mass gimme-eight-hundred-volunteers weddings, mostly in the future then, they were as hostile to sensuality as the early Christians. The few married couples had pledged four years of abstinence to Fa-a-a-ther. I forget why they thought he wanted it. Dating outside the church was discouraged. So was dating inside the church.

“Oh, twaddle,” I said, “It’s just…well, auto-therapy.”

“It’s brainwashing. Just like a North Korean POW camp. You see how much sleep they get? None. They don’t sleep. It’s destroying their biochemistry.”

“Moon doesn’t make them crazy, Jerry. He just collects them. I think.”

Actually I had to admit that Jerry might be right. No sleep, constant frantic activity, the unvarying presence of the group, rigorous discipline, lots of ritual. Maybe it did gum up the old metabolism.

The Moonies were a peculiar phenomenon: Extremists of the center, militant middle-wingers. Yet theirs was a cultural, not a political, centrism. They were kids who had grown up in the optimistic brick-box suburbs of 1953 when the economy was booming and it really seemed possible that all of humanity, after thousands of generations of struggle and evolution, might finally get a washing machine. On countless Saturday mornings the Moonies had watched Superman jump out of the window in a howl of wind while the announcer intoned approvingly of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” which were then thought to be synonymous. Two Buicks and glossy teeth were ingrained in their psyches.

Then somehow they had fallen into the fetor and anomie of the Sixties. For them the age was not a time of thumbing through glowing green mountains and having adventures. They were the casualties. They had waked in too many sour crashpads, engaged in too much thoughtless sex, done too many drugs. Moon’s church was the way back. It was the faith of clean shirts and fanatical normalcy. Thus they managed to be those strangest of creature, zealots of moderation.

I was still living in the Blue Bomb when Jerry saw his first prayer session. The Moonies knelt in the living room as the spirit moved them, put their foreheads on the floor, and gasped, “Fa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a…ther!” with a little explosion on the last syllable. Then a tumult of prayer would burst from the penitent, mostly apologizing to Fa-a-a-ther for the pain caused by errant humanity. Then they looked at Jerry and me to see whether inspiration might have taken hold of us. Invariably it hadn’t. The first time Jerry looked at me in candid dismay. “This isn’t happening, is it?” he whispered.

“Why?”

“It can’t be happening. That’s obvious.”

“Oh.”

“It’s the end of civilization.”

Later, Jerry learned to grin an aw-shucks-fellers, maybe-next-time grin. The Moonies waited, figuring he had to crack sooner or later.

Washington had now discovered the Moonies and contemplated them with a pleasant sense of alarm. The war in Vietnam had grown boring. Here was a new lunacy to titillate the jaded palate of the Potomac Byzantium. With luck, the Moonies might do something horrid and interesting.

Liberals, easily puzzled by unfamiliar categories, decided the Moonies were fascists. Almost everyone assumed that they had some hidden agenda, the reason being that they had no obvious agenda. Generally ignored was another possibility, that they had no agenda at all, a suspicion supported by the eerie pointlessness of everything they did. All zealots are narcissistic tragedians, wrestling with destiny beneath their inner Klieg lights, and not especially interested in practical results. This is a truth that few in Washington could afford to concede so they figured the Moonies had to be up to something.

Actually they seemed to be engaged in the passionate, urgent, frantic pursuit of nothing in particular. Nothing they ever did had an effect. Their propaganda persuaded no one, and wasn’t well calculated to persuade. If Moonery was a conspiracy, it was a conspiracy without a purpose.

One day in late fall they came running into the house from a local shopping mall, faces red with cold, an ecstasy of self-sacrifice lighting them like bulbs.

“We’ve been having a Rally for God! It was great!”

“Yeah! People were spitting on us!”

They constantly invented new religious tics. For a while they made a fetish of standing for a second of silent prayer before entering any door. Then there was Holy Salt which they sprinkled around at times of solemnity. I’ve seen sumo wrestlers do the same thing.

One evening in winter I dropped by to see Jerry in his cubby hole and found the whole cell bundling up.

“Hi! We’re going to Holy Ground. Want to come?”

Holy Ground, it seemed, was a patch of earth on the Mall which Moon, for mysterious reasons, had declared sacred. Stranger things have happened, though probably not much stranger.

“Sure, why not?”

Off we went down Michigan Avenue. They were bubbling and happy, infused with the usual sense of warmth and illusory direction. They knew Fa-a-a-at-ther was with them, pulling them through life like a rope, and they left a broad wake of enthusiasm. At the Monument they piled out, well-groomed and middle-class and home at last from the alien ideologies of scag and Lenin. They rushed to a spot apparently located by triangulation, stood in a circle, and looked reverently at the sod. It had grass on it.

The church was starting to get a bad name, not so much because of anything it really did as because it stole children–or so the parents preferred to put it. With few exceptions the Moonies were so warped by a wretched home life that they became susceptible to Moon–but this was not the wisest thing to tell parents whose kids were buzzing and clicking.

And there was the practice of Divine Deception, which is exactly what it sounds like. Some of it was airport technique (“Hi! I’m taking a survey….”) but through the years a lot of kids would go to what they thought were summer camps, only to find out later that they were at the robot factory. Angry apostates told tales of psychological ruthlessness that wobbly proto-Moonie egos couldn’t take. The Moonies responded that anyone who wanted to could leave. Unfortunately many of those sufficiently off balance to be Moonies in the first place were not good at independent action.

The Moonies earned their worst reputation among those groups who produced the most Moonies. Jews seemed especially hard hit, perhaps because they were especially vulnerable. The Jewish Moonies, all from secular families, had the usual Moonie problems of unloving homes. They also had the additional burden of not being Jewish enough to feel rooted in it, but too Jewish to be entirely at home in the surrounding society, and not about to convert to Christianity to assuage their spiritual yearnings. So they ducked the question by joining Moon.

Kids from military families also showed in up numbers. Having authoritarian fathers possessed of a certain combative simple-mindedness and not much affection, and having gone through the terrible insecurity of moving and losing their friends every two years, they needed something warm and fuzzy to hold onto. A fair number of Catholics showed up, feeling at home in a heavily ritualized faith. So did kids from Protestant families in which a great show is made of Christianity for the purpose of browbeating the child and out-holying the neighbors. The parents were furious, twenty years too late.

For a while Jerry resisted my view that the Moonies were dynamic idlers, but the evidence kept coming in. For example, they held what everyone called a Nuremberg rally on the Monument grounds. It was wonderful. Scaffolding went up. Technicians in white jump-suits scurried about, assembling great banks of phenomenally large loudspeakers and a big platform for dignitaries. An enormous speaker’s platform went up. The reverend Moon’s face in cyanotic blue began to peer from posters on every fence in the city. Sound buses drove crazily through the streets. Suddenly in front of Woodies would come an unintelligible blare of loudspeakers. A bus would turn the corner, plastered with blue Moons. As it drove past bellowing nothing understandable, which echoed from buildings (“Arblewargmonumentwunhwarbworworworld”), scrubbed faces peered out with the characteristic crazed expression, hands waving mechanically. “Join us, join us!” The impression was of a mechanical asylum worked by a spring.

On the day of the rally the big speakers roared, perfectly intelligible from anywhere on the grounds. The technicians had not been amateurs. The grounds began to fill as an efficient Moonie organization bussed people in from Philadelphia. A hootenanny outfit began singing to pull in more audience. The chestnut smell of dope wafted about in clouds. The scale, the volume of sound, were Orwellian. The moment demanded a howling demagogue to bay hatred at the cosmos. This was it, everybody figured with a little frisson. The Moonies were going to demand that Nixon be made Reichschancellor. Instead, the political speech was brief, a hiccup in the hootenanny, and said America was a great country and the world depended on us, and now have a nice day and back to the music. That…was…all. I walked through the crowd, mostly hippies and inner-city blacks, and asked what the rally was for. Hey, man, I don’t know, wanna toke?

I didn’t know either. Neither, I think, did the Moonies.

One night Jerry and I were sitting in my largely bare apartment, drinking beer and trying to figure out Moon’s Barbie Dolls. He started talking about himself, and I suddenly realized why he knew so much about nickel-and-dime politics. He was a celebrity of sorts. A few years back on the strength of his then-impeccable conservative credentials, Jerry had gotten a job with Liberty Lobby, which exists in the airy region where the right wing runs out of feathers and empty space begins. Discovering a lot of virulent anti-Semitism in the Lobby’s files, he had decided that Liberty Lobby was nuts, stolen the files, and given them to Drew Pearson.* There was a certain brutal directness in Jerry’s approach to things. The resulting expose had somewhat tarnished his reputation in the circles of the loon Right, and left him unsympathetic to cults, political or otherwise.

Who did he like, I asked? Well, just sort of folk, he said. Especially the under-folk, such as blacks, and those who had otherwise suffered discrimination-you know, Italians, Jews, Poles, Indians, and so on.

God, I thought. I’m living with a liberal Nazi.

The ferment rose again at Upshur Street. The Moonies were gearing up to smash world communism. The trouble was that, being mostly kids, they identified communism with the student Left, the only Left they knew. Consequently they attached great importance to the Trotskyite left-deviatonist schismatics of the International Bracero Labor Party’s Maoist-revanchist wing, consisting of two half-literate sociology majors who were about to graduate and become management interns. The central hive on Upshur Street seethed with excitement. They began having workshops on the techniques of political action. Jerry and I showed up for one of these.

We got a chilly welcome. Friendliness to the Moonies was a political technique only, their real interest being their spiritual scar tissue. They got real cold real fast.

“Are you expected?” asked a prim girl who reminded me of a motel manager. All Moonies reminded me of motel managers. I’m not sure what brought on the freeze, but I think too many hippies had learned that you could, as at the Salvation Army, get a free meal if you listened to the prayers.

“We’re from Hyattsville,” I said, thinking it would be adequate explanation.

“Who do you wish to see?”

“Barry Cohen,” I told her, Barry being head of the Hyattsville cell.

“One moment. I’ll check with Mr. Cohen.”

Mister Cohen? Another administrative lunge. First names were too informal for a movement that saw itself as a spiritual IBM. The frost princess finally let us in. The basement was full of folding chairs. A fellow with a flip-chart was lecturing approximately as follows:

“To be effective we have to know the enemy and how to counter his techniques. The communists and their allies use street theater, for example, a powerful technique. What do you do when you see three SDSers dressed as Vietnamese peasants with American soldiers beating them? We have to learn to speak effectively, how to handle hecklers. And remember, it won’t be easy or pleasant. We will be abused, even beaten up. Possibly some of us will even lose our lives….”

Hard and lonely work, I thought, but somebody’s gotta do it.

“Martyrs looking for a stake,” growled Jerry. “It’s the end, I tell you. This stuff is spreading.” Jerry’s problem was that he took the collapse of civilization personally.

To demonstrate counterhecklerism, the instructor appointed some Moonies to simulate the SDS and launched into a speech on American values, a big Moonie theme.

“And save….”

“Fascist pig! Fascist pig!” shouted the heckler-appointees, warming to the role. The speaker, demonstrating correct countermeasures, waited in lofty silence and continued with heightened feeling.

Jerry was chortling with delight. “Aw right! Belt out that hate! Let’s hear some good hate!” The Moonies weren’t sure what to make of this, not understanding that his was the technical appraisal of a student of maniacs.

“Hate! Hate! Hate!” shouted Jerry encouragingly.

“Stop giggling, dammit,” I said, “or they’ll turn on us.”

The Moonies thought they were combating communism, but really they were just scraping up fill dirt for the inner emptiness. None of it mattered at all.

Nothing lasts, not even the end of civilization. One day Jerry got seriously fed up with political science and decided to go to Florida and live by tuning cars. Exposure to a political-science department will make any sensible person want to work with engines. My teaching job ran out. For that matter, the Hyattsville hive was showing sings of falling apart: Only the hardy can stay with a cult for long.

One last time Jerry and I sat in the apartment with a case of beer, trying to understand Moon’s giddy sideshow, lobbing the empty bottles across the room into a cardboard box.

“Its the age of the cult, amigo,” he said. “They’re starting the slide into the mist. The whole show’s gone bonkers…If there’s any hope, it lies with the proles.”

The next day he disappeared southward. I never heard from him again. I packed the Blue Bomb for a drive to California, planning to go on to Taiwan and learn Chinese. For several years I heard nothing from the Moonies. Then in maybe 1979 I bumped into Diane Something-or-other in Dupont Circle, a nice kid from the Upshur Nest. She wore a turban and spoke of her devotion, to Islam, which had given meaning to her life. Her eyes were unhappy and she was looking a bit old for that sort of thing. Moonies? Oh, she had passed that stage. We said we should have lunch soon and, by tacit agreement, didn’t.

*Drew Pearson was a noted political columnist.

 

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China Tech: Interesting Bits and Pieces

To one watching the advance of Chinese science and technology, or to me anyway, several things stand out. First, the headlong pace. Second, the amount of it that appears aimed at making China independent of the West technologically and getting the United States off Beijing’s back. Third, the apparent calculated focus. It looks like intelligent design, as distinct from America’s competitive scrabbling for profit by special interests, the hope being that this might inadvertently benefit the country as a whole.

In short, the Chinese seem to Have Something In Mind.

As I have mentioned before, China came out of nowhere to become the world leader in supercomputers. Also in high-speed rail, of strategic importance in its plan to united Europe and Asia economically. Heavy investment in solar power offers to ameliorate its dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf, vulnerable to blockage by the US Navy. Then there is  DF21D terminally guided ballistic missile, specifically intended as a carrier-killer in what China regards as its home waters. The list could go on at length.

In much of America, the Chinese are dismissed as being “unable to innovate,” inventiveness being thought of as unique to white men. Thinner ice has perhaps never been trod. 

The Chinese are smart. They are certainly capable of high-grade engineering and scientific research. (Eg., Beijing Genomics Institute) The line between imaginative engineering and invention is blurry. Note that on the numbers China can potentially bring to bear five times as many engineers as America can and, while they are well short of this, twice as many would be–is?–the beginning of a new world. 

While Beijing works to benefit China, rapidly increasing its techno-industrial clout, Washington spends insanely on weaponry. It is trying to apply a military solution to a commercial problem. America crumbles economically, politically, culturally, but has the very best bombers.

Example of non-inventiveness:

Step One, From a while back, “China Activates World’s Longest Ultra Secure Quantum Communication Network..” Beijing to Shanghai.

Quantum communications is based on the behavior of entangled photons. Said behavior is obviously impossible, but apparently nobody has told the photons, so they do it anyway. (Unless all the world’s physicists are smoking Drano. This possibility is worth considering. If interested, quantum entanglement. Also Quantum Key Distribution.) The point is that if anyone tries to intercept the transmission, it becomes obvious. A weakness is that you need repeaters every sixty miles, which reduces security.

Unless you do it in space:

Step Two: China launches world’s first quantum satellite. Having done the landline, they move to orbital experimentation.

Step Three, Bingo!  “China Just Took the Lead in the Quantum Space Race”

This being a big deal, I clip from Asia Times:

On Thursday, a team of Chinese scientists released findings from a breakthrough study that makes China the indisputable leader in the field of quantum communication, an achievement that could be of immense strategic importance.

The study, led by Pan Jianwei and published in Science magazine, successfully demonstrated the ability to distribute entangled photons across unprecedented distances, from space to earth, opening the door for the practical application of cutting-edge, ultra-secure communication.

The unprecedented distance was 1200 kilometers. Beijing  might be regarded as trying to establish world-wide communications secure against NSA and, eventually, a whole internet proof against Fort Meade. Whether one regards this as engineering development or innovation doesn’t seem to make much difference.

Chinese Solar-Powered Plane Flies at 65,000 feet”

It apparently could stay aloft for months. The stories dealing with it suggest that the purpose might be long-term surveillance of countries, meaning spying. In any event, it is a neat technological trick, especially from people who can’t innovate.

Then we have, from Phys.org,

“China launched its most powerful rocket ever on Thursday, state media said, as the country presses on with a program which has seen it become a major space power.”

The point here is not that China is ahead of America in space–it isn’t–but that it is coming on fast. Engineering, engineering, engineering. Dismissive Americans point out that the US was on the Moon in 1969 and that China is piggybacking of American technology. True. And Irrelevant.

From the National Interest: “The World’s New Leader in Super Deadly Hypersonic Weapons: China?”

Chinese Quantum Radar 

Quantum radar is another application of entangled photons. The link gives a semi-technical overview. The important point is that in principle it allows detection of stealth aircraft.

The Chinese assert that they can now detect stealth aircraft at 62 miles with enough accuracy to compute a fire-control solution. This means that radar stations with slightly overlapping fields of detection, say a hundred miles apart, could detect incoming aircraft with easily enough time to shoot them down.

If this report is true, it is potentially devastating for the US Air Force.  So far as I am aware, Chinese claims of technical results have heretofore been accurate.

The Air Force has invested very, very heavily in stealth. In bombers, the hugely expensive B2 and the planned hugelier expensiver B21 are dead meat if detached. In fighters, the F22 and the F35 Bankruper—Lightning II, I meant to say—will lose their main selling point if detectable. The F35 in particular has made compromises in performance to make it stealthy and, if detectable, is just a so-so fighter. 

Next: “Enter the Nimble Dragon: China sees nuclear future in small reactors”

SMRs (small modular reactors) have capacity of less than 300 megawatts (MW) – enough to power around 200,000 homes – compared to at least 1 gigawatt (GW) for standard reactors….”

China is aiming to lift domestic nuclear capacity to 200 GW by 2030, up from 35 GW at the end of March, but its ambitions are global.”

Small reactors (a bit larger than a bus) are important if you want to electrify a remote city without the overkill of a standard plant or the expense of long transmission lines. China is not the only country working on mini-nukes (or on anything else mentioned in this column), but it can now play with the big boys. Again, small reactors are an abrupt entrance into a major technical field. Note “global ambitions.” A Reuters piece describes “an ambitious plan to wrest control of the global nuclear market.” Planning and doing are not the same thing, but if I were a nuclear market, I would be uneasy.

For whatever reasons, the American media do not much cover technological advance in China. Ignorance? Arrogance? Is it just the American tendency to regard the rest of the world as unimportant? Maybe a little attention would be a good idea. A steady stream of advances comes out of the Middle Kingdom. In some fields, the Chinese lead the world. In others, they are behind but not be much, and gaining. Could be important. Especially if they learn to innovate.

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GIGO and the Intelligence of Countries: Disordered Thoughts

Apologies to the reader. Perhaps I wax tedious. But the question of intelligence is both interesting to me and great fun as talking about it puts commenters in an uproar. It is like poking a wasp’s nest when you are eleven. I am a bad person.

Clearing the underbrush: Obviously intelligence is largely genetic–if it were cultural in origin, all the little boys who grew up in Isaac Newton’s neighborhood would have been towering mathematical geniuses–and obviously the various tests of intellectual function have, at least among testees of similar background, considerable relation to intelligence. Some individuals have more of it than others. For example, Hillary, a National Merit Finalist, scored higher than  99.5 percent of Illinois and can reliably be suspected of being bright. Some groups are obviously smarter than other groups. Mensans and Nobelists are smarter than sociologists. Of course, so are acorns.

But knowing that a thing exists and measuring it are not the same thing.

Years back, Marilyn vos Savant had a quiz column in which a question was: “Two bugs in a jar reproduce, doubling their number every minute. The jar is full in an hour. How long does it take to half fill the jar?”

I will speculate, subject to correction, that to anyone who has worked with computers, at least at the register level, the answer is obvious on inspection.  I will further speculate that those of equal intelligence, including mathematical ability, but graduates of liberal arts, will have more trouble with it. The nature of a base-two exponential expansion is probably not obvious to someone who has never seen one.

If this is so, it would seem that experience affects the ability to solve problems such as one finds on tests of mental ability. Does this increase constitute an increase in intelligence?

Children in my demographic cohort were steeped, boiled, drowned in problem-solving and manipulation of symbols. The alphabet. Writing. “Mommy Beaver has three sticks and Little Baby Beaver has four. How many….?” Long division. Linear simultaneous equations in two unknowns. Derive the quadratic formula. Division of fractions. Endless word problems: If a tank is three-quarters full when it contains ten gallons, how many gallons….All of this by the eighth grade.

Would this lead to better performance on standardized tests, to include most IQ tests, compared to that of our (imaginary) identical twins raised in the Appalachian backwoods? Whatever the difference, it would be due to experience or, if you like, culture.

Virtuosity in taking tests is similarly affected by experience in taking tests. Like most in my generation, I was subjected to unending tests: an IQ test in the second grade when my teacher thought me retarded (as many readers still do). Some sort of Virginia test. PSATs. NMSQT. SATs. GREs. Marine Corps General Qualification Test. FSEE. And so on.

As I suppose others did, I learned the technique for acing tests. Run through all the questions rapidly, picking the low-hanging fruit, putting a tick mark by those questions not instantly obvious. Run through again, answering those of the tick-markeds susceptible to a minute’s thought, double tick-marking the really difficult ones. Then to the really hard ones and finally, with an eye on the clock and knowing how the tests are scored, eliminate one or two answers on the remaining ones and guess.

People who don’t know this, and try to go straight through, may not even finish.

Among the lumpen-IQatry, the tendency is to regard SATs, NAEP, and so on as surrogates for IQ, and thus for intelligence. This is error. The SATs in particular are not intelligence tests and were never intended to be. Their function was to measure the student’s ability to handle complex ideas in complex normal English, which  is what college students used to do. The tests did did this well. The were not intelligence tests as their scores were functions of at least  three things, intelligence, background, and experience in taking tests. IQ =  f(a,b,c…)

Of course vocabulary is part of normal English. Consequently the famous objection that a ghetto kid would not know the word “regatta,” making the tests unfair, makes no sense. He would also not know “expurgate,” “putrescent,” “turpitude,” or “exponent.” However intelligent, he would not be ready to read university texts.

Today many students take SAT-prep courses which seem to raise scores quite a bit.  If so, this largely invalidates the tests and very much works against those who cannot afford or have not heard of the prep courses.

Curiously, people who you would expect to solve problems readily sometimes don’t. When I was maybe sixteen, in its letters columns New Scientist asked, “why does a mirror reverse letters from left to right but not from top to bottom” Obviously a mirror does not reverse letters, but for a couple of weeks readers advanced theories as to why they do. At least one of these involved considerable mathematics. This surprised me since the dim presumably do not read New Scientist.

Now, countries. Equatorial Guineans are said to have a mean IQ of 59. In the absence of demonstration to the contrary, I am perfectly happy to believe that they are not very bright. (The CIA Factbook puts literacy there at 95%. You figure it out.) However, the distribution being symmetrical, more than half of them have an IQ under 60. This is in the realm of serious retardation. A substantial fraction would be below 45. Is this plausible? How can they remember to find their way home at night?

Maybe they have a lot of homeless. Someone should study This.

Oddities abound. For example, purebred Mexican Indians are said to have a (mean) IQ of 83, indicating borderline retardation and suggesting that they should be at very low levels of intellectual achievement. They are. OK. So far, so good.

Colombians are said to have an IQ of 84. They run a modern country with all the credentials of airlines, telecommunications and the like. That one IQ point must be a pretty strong one, with a gym membership perhaps anabolic steroids in the medicine cabinet. Or maybe the scale is phenomenally non-linear. Or something.

American blacks are said to be at IQ 85. Being more intelligent than Colombians, they should certainly be able to run modern countries–unless maybe their one IQ point difference runs backwards. It begins to look as if each IQ point needs to be examined separately for individual behavior. And of course if blacks can run complex enterprises, that they don’t must be due to white privilege or slavery. Gotcha.

Then the Irish, long said to have a mean IQ of 86 (before being promoted to 100, perhaps for good behavior) had a First World European country. We conclude that IQ has no reliable relation to national outcome.

Curiously, in the third century BC the purebred Mexican Indians invented writing and  an exponential-positional number system, and made extraordinarily accurate astronomical observations. This would seem peculiar in the mildly retarded, but perhaps these were really smart mildly retarded Indians. Now, in the past, any time I have suggested that Mexicans might have done anything requiring intelligence, I have been assured by commenters that only white Mexicans could have done it. All right, I concede the possibility that only white really smart mildly retarded purebred Indians invented writing.  What else could explain it?.

Look, I have a disordered mind. I can’t hello it.

Now, unless we believe that an 83 IQ is sufficient to invent number systems–do we?–something must have drastically lowered the intelligence of those white purebred Indians. What? Since we are all good Darwinians, there must have been strong selective pressures for stupidity. This suggests a very modern organization of society. Here we enter the ghostly realm of genes assumed to exist acted upon by selective pressures that can neither be measured nor shown to have existed to produce effects which cannot be correlated with the pressures that may or may not have existed. 

But these are deep waters better left my superiors.

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Oncoming Racial Doom: The Clash of Cultures

Curiously, what made me give up all interest in the problems of blacks was not their virulent racism, the horrendous rates of crime, or the parasitism. Instead it was the assaults by blacks and their fellow travelers on Confederate monuments, particularly in New Orleans. Similarly, the banning of the Confederate battle flag at Gettysburg, for God’s sake. For reasons doubtless opaque to the historically ignorant, this annoys me.  Why should the least productive, most criminal, most dependent of the population rewrite history that in any event they don’t know? The erasure of the South and the Confederacy by people most of whom couldn’t spell it, of Washington and Jefferson and Lee by grifters, race hustlers,  wanton illiterates and the Brownshirts of Black Lives Matter…enough.

How many think this but won’t say it?

Now I find the black mayoress of Baltimore–a city lovely and livable in the time of Mencken before being made a decayed war zone by blacks–threatening monuments in that city. Enough. Too much.

I was not always sick of the misbehavior of blacks. In the now infinitely remote early Sixties, when I was a student in the last all-white class in Virginia’s rural King George High–graduated ‘64–integration was just beginning.  To the  extent that I thought about race, the question was abstract, a matter of moral principles, of  ideals and fairness, unrelated to an actual people with actual characteristics who might not integrate well. Blacks had been mistreated. If given the opportunity they would rise and join American civilization. That they might not occurred only to those with experience, which did not include me.

When my parents, wiser than I–if it is possible to be wiser than a seventeen-year-old–said that integration would not work. I didn’t believe them.

Time went by, and it didn’t work. Trouble began. Blacks became hostile, .demanding this and demanding that. Neighborhoods became dangerous. Schools, newly mixed, encountered The Gap, intractable and immortal,  that is the heart and cause of our racial disaster.  The riots arrived. Racial attacks on whites became common, covered up by the media. This censorship possible in the days before the internet.

The country began, though I didn’t recognize it at the time, as n.either did the country, treating blacks as a different category of humanity who could not be expected to obey the laws and rules or the expectations of civility.

For a while my sympathy held.  I was very young. Further, I had no experience of a school with a large black population. I justified the behavior of blacks as consequent to former privation. Surely it would change. 

 It didn’t. Years passed. We saw  corrupted schools, lowered standards, white flight, and journalistic dishonesty. More cities burned.

 For decades white America made a desperate attempt to raise blacks to the level of the First World. It didn’t work. Instead saw a dragging down  of society to the culture of the ghetto. Blacks were behaving as usual as spoiled brats. Anything that upset them, as everything did, any expectation that they behave, led to cries of racism and depredations by such as Black Lives Matter.

As I  mentioned, my parents had said that blacks were could not function in the First World. It seemed that they were right. Desegregation had not worked, nor integration, nor quotas nor affirmative action nor Head Start.  What didn’t work was turning blacks into members of a European civilization in which they had no interest. It would have worked no better had blacks lived in China, Japan, or Russia.

Nothing worked and nothing is going to work. There is clarity in this realization, a clarity to admitting what is actually happening. It avoids tortured reasoning to show  that the dysfunction of blacks is due to anything and everything but blacks themselves. One need not make endless excuses for endless bad behavior, for the crime and dependency, the racial attacks, and the degradation of society.

The culture of the ghetto opposes everything usually believed proper in an advanced  society: high academic standards, equality of opportunity, good English, minimal obscenity, equality under the law, low rates of crime, reasonable self-reliance, freedom of speech. Black culture, intensely racist, encourages none of these and opposes most. It is tribal, based on identity, instead of principle. 

For many, this is a difficult realization. Decades of unrelenting propaganda have trained us that blacks bear no responsibility for anything. Are they gunning each other down in city after city? It is because of guns, though whites have guns and do not kill each other. Do they perform abysmally in schools that they themselves control? It’s because of slavery, though there hasn’t been a slave in the country for 150 years. Are they irresponsible in their reproductive habits? It’s because of poverty, although they are not poor.

In this they differ from the rest of humanity as I have known it. I have lived in China, Thailand, Mexico, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and have traveled in some fifty other countries. All shared what might be called the core values of civilization. Blacks seem not to. Yes, many exceptions, varied degrees, but as a culture, they were, are, different. Would that it were not true, but it is.

Look at the foundations:

Education is the keystone of any modern civilization. Blacks alone care nothing for it. Exceptions, yes, but again, overall? No. The countless schools entirely controlled by blacks are the worst in America. They do  not improve.

Fox News:  “6 Baltimore schools, no students proficient in state tests” (of reading and arithmetic.)

Maybe the mayoress of Baltimore should pay more attention to this and less to statues she doesn’t like. She will not. If she were going to, she would have.

Accounts like the foregoing are routine, normal, expected. We have heard them for fifty years. Usually they include boilerplate about terrible obstacles, murdered relatives, addicted mothers, incarcerated youth, etc. These accounts invite pity and try to blame everything on whites. There is mandatory wonderment: What can be the cause of the academic gap? Doubtless white privilege, slavery, invisible discrimination, microaggressions, something, anything but blacks themselves. But whites can’t make black children do their homework, their daughters of thirteen avoid reproduction, their young males refrain from  killing each other. Whites are not their mother.

75% of black California boys don’t meet state reading standards

What is going on here? Learning to read is not difficult. Elsewhere poor people, people of color–I loathe that phrase–and poor people of color do it routinely. According to the CIA Factbook, literacy in Thailand is at  97%; Malaysia 95%; Mexico, 95%; and Colombia, 95%. The possible reasons for not learning in twelve years what white and brown kids do in three are low intelligence and lack of interest. Take your pick. The failure to learn imposes a heavy burden on society. Wild thought: Make welfare dependent on literacy.

Ask yourself, “Now what?”

Whether academic failure is cultural or genetic makes no difference, since neither is subject to change. Instead of requesting more rigorous textbooks and disciplining their children to study, blacks insist that courses be enstupidated for their benefit, that they be admitted to schools and courses for which they cannot qualify, that they get grades they did not earn. This is now normal. Nobody, black or white, liberal or conservative, expects blacks ever to do anything for themselves.

Of course one might ask why blacks would have any interest in most of what has been taught in American schools.  Europeans trace their intellectual  lineage from the invention of writing in Sumeria in the mid-Fourth Millennium BC through Greece, Rome, the Renaissance, their  literary heritage from  the Gilgamesh Epic through Tolkien. Blacks had no connection with this and did none of these things. It isn’t of their culture.

Cities have been the heart of the intellectual and artistic in all civilizations, as for example  Athens, Rome, Florence, Vienna, New York. By contrast, blacks have destroyed city after American city after American city. Trenton, Camden, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Gary, Flint, St. Louis, New Orleans, Milwaukee. At one time in all of these one could live, walk at will, send one’s children to the schools. Now, no. Violence, crime, racial attacks,and  illiteracy drive the civilized to remote suburbs. This is  not my culture and I see no reason to apologize for it.

Manners have been part of all civilizations. Civil societies everywhere impose a degree of control over obscenity. Everyone knows about sex and excretory functions. We leave them out of conversation. We can speak a sentence of three words without saying “motherfucker” five times.

Some perfectly ordinary rap “lyrics”:

“Then you roll your tongue, from the crack back to the front

Then suck it off ’til I shake and cum nigga

Make sure I keep bustin nuts nigga

All over your face and stuff”

 

This offal is excused because “it is their culture.” Exactly. When you cannot control abominable behavior by one group, you cannot control it for any group. Here is perhaps America’s gravest problem.

Virulent racial hostility–i.e., racismis deeply ingrained in black culture. Blacks hate whites, Asians, Hispanics, and Jews. Not all blacks of course, or to the same degree, but it is the centerline of black culture. It is what counts and shapes the future. 

Anyone doubting the universal racial hostility of blacks might read White Girl Bleed a Lot, or Chinese Girl in the Ghetto by Ying Ma. She arrived in Oakland with her family, dirt poor, speaking no English.  She recounts–as do many white kids in black schools–endless racial abuse, taunting, stealing of food by blacks. (All on her own, incidentally,  she worked her way up and ended with a law degree from Stanford.  Apparently she found no lack of opportunity.)

 

One may see the depth of the hostility in the regular practice of making heroes and martyrs of blacks, usually criminals, killed by white police while utterly ignoring the many hundred of blacks killed every year by other blacks. This is a memorial to Freddie Gray of the Baltimore riots.

Headline: “Trayvon Martin’s parents accept posthumous aeronautical science degree”

A measure of the fairyland world of American politics is hat a criminal, killed attempting to beat a security officer to death, should solemnly be awarded a posthumous degree in something he probably could not spell. It is amusing–why not quantum chromodynamics?–but pathetic. The canonization reveals the separation from reality of, apparently, most of an entire race.  It is of one cloth with affirmative action and racial quotas. No substance, much pretense.

 

Parasitism

Dependence on whites is the backbone of black culture. Free breakfast for their children, free lunches, subsidized housing, free housing, AFDC, affirmative action, racial quotas, waivers. Nobody, not blacks, not whites, not the most dewy-eyed liberal expects blacks ever to live without charity from whites. Don’t believe me? Ask an ardent civil-libertarian when he expects blacks to have caught up and not need affirmative action. Never. It is just another entitlement. Whah mah free stuff?

Political correctness ensures that we cannot even talk about the problem. If  you suggest that blacks stop shooting each other, you are a racist. If you suggest that they study, you are a racist. If you suggest they get married before reproducing, you are a racist. It will continue until either America slowly deflates or hell breaks loose.

 

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