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Sikh Temple Shooting: Who Are the Sikhs?

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At this writing, little is known regarding the shooting yesterday at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple in which seven people died, including the shooter. We do know that police were called at about 10:15 AM. Upon arrival some police officers began immediately helping a wounded victim. At that point the officers were ambushed by the perpetrator, and one was shot multiple times. A second officer shot and killed the shooter. Of those killed, four were inside the temple; two, plus the shooter, were outside.

But what are the basic premises of the Sikh religion?

Basic to the system of panentheism, of which the Sikh religion is a part, is the belief that a divine exists, suffuses every element of nature, and extends beyond it in space and time. In panentheism, believers assert that God pervades the cosmos. “All is God.”

The Sikh religion, the fourth largest in the world, centered in India, is more specific. The origins of Sikhism are found in the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev who said that “Realization of Truth is higher than all else; higher still is truthful living.” Sikhs strive to achieve the qualities of a “saint-soldier.” A Sikh must have the courage to defend the rights of the wrongfully oppressed or persecuted, regardless of race, place of origin, creed, or gender.

In Sikhism, the Supreme Being is termed Vahiguru. The figure “1” signifies the universality of God, who is shapeless, timeless, and sightless. Before creation, Sikhs believe, nothing existed except God and “hukam” which is interpreted as God’s will, or order. And when God willed, the cosmos was created. Vahiguru then nurtured “enticement and attachment” to maya, or the human perception of reality.

Guru Nanak Dev said God is not wholly unknowable. He is omnipresent in all creation and visible to the spiritually awakened. Through meditation, Guru Nanak continued, comes communication between God and human beings. Readers may be interested to learn that Nanak taught that there are many worlds on which God has created life.

Sikhi is strict. Followers may neither cut their hair nor shave. Ordinarilly Sikh men wear a lavish turban, and always a beard. Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are forbidden. We note that some Sikh followers allow the use of cannabis for the purpose of meditation.

In Sikhism, couples maintain a faithful relationship. They must refrain from premarital or extramarital sexual relations. Forbidden are pilgrimages, fasting, circumcision, and grave worship (the practice of a wife throwing herself of the funeral pyre of a dead husband). Animal sacrifice is also forbidden. As a saint-soldier, a Sikh is encouraged to live not as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monk, nun, or celibate. However, obsession with material wealth is discouraged. Gossip, lying, and slander are not permitted. In the words of the Guru Granth Sahib, “Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your service is useless and fruitless.”

Mughals, who were Muslims, ruled India in the 17th century. Hindus and Sikhs were humiliated and prevented from conducting their religious practices. Mughals took Hindu and Sikh women as their property, and attempted to force all to accept Islam. The non-Muslims were sometimes killed in this process. But Sikhs have always believed in a right to practice the religion of their choice, and the need to fight against tyranny.

In an interesting albeit grotesque anecdote, Jahangir, the fourth Mughal emperor, was obsessed with the notion of forcing Guru Arjan Dev Ji to practice the Islamic faith. In 1606, still defying the emperor, that Guru was put to death by being boiled in a cauldron and being placed on a hot iron plate.

President Obama has expressed his sympathy to the survivors of the Wisconsin shooting. In the coming days, we expect more details will be forthcoming.

Photo credit: Katu.com, and the Milwaukee Journal

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • aj

    great article.

  • Igor

    Excellent article, thanks, John.

    During the English occupation of India The Raj complained that (IIRC) the Sikhs were 10% of the population and 90% of the hanged. But that may be apocryphal. The point is, their opposition to injustice is strong.

  • STM

    Good piece John.

    Here’s my two cents’ worth:

    The bizarre thing about people like the shooter is that they don’t know – or possibly don’t have the wherewithal to care or investigate – about their own history when it comes to the history of others.

    As an Indian national group of the old British Empire, Sikhs have long been integrated into virtually every facet of life in the Commonwealth nations and now of course in the US … that is, the English-speaking nations, who all draw on the same common thread and a belief in personal freedom and equality and justice and democracy.

    They are also regarded as exceptionally brave. They formed a part of the Indian Army, which was really the British Army of the East, and fought for freedom against tyranny on two continents and alongside the western allies – because they were PART of the western allies – for the entire duration of both world wars.

    They suffered horrendous casualties in WWI both in Europe and in the battles against Germany’s allies, the Ottomon Turks, in the middle-east, and the story was much the same in WWII. As part of the British 14th Army, Sikhs numbered heavily among the Indian soldiers who liberated Burma from the Japanese and they were involved in some of the most savage fighting of the war in the far east, including the meat-grinder battles around Imphal and Kohima during which they literally crushed Japanese will to keep fighting.

    They also fought in the middle east and Italy during WWII against the Germans and Italians, including at some landmark allied victories, including El Alamein, which led to the total collapse of the Nazis and the fascist Italians in North Africa.

    It is no stretch to say that many Sikhs freely gave their lives to keep Americans free – and every bit as much as Americans’ fellow countrymen did, since the cause was the same and so was the hateful ideology of the very same enemy.

    For its part in all that, the Sikh Regiment and Sikhs serving with others were among the most decorated of the old Indian Army regiments prior to 1948.

    They were also highly active in the 19th century in fighting the Raj in India, but the clever British, recognising their martial qualities, thought it might be a far better idea to let bygones be bygones and have them on the same side.

    Today, in Britain, it’s a common sight to see British-born Sikh police officers in dark blue turbans with the police badge placed on the front – a nod by the British to religious sensitivities but neverthless the most obvious sign that while Sikh communities keep largely to themselves socially and marry amongst themselves, they are also highly integrated into British society, including the playing of sport – mainly cricket, at which many of them excel. One of India’s top players, Harbhajan Singh, is known throughout the international cricket community as “The Turbanator” for his lethal bowling prowess.

    In Australia, a Sikh community on the mid-north coast of New South Wales near Coffs Harbour, north of Sydney, has been there for a century, and is not only wholly integrated into the life of the region, but also highly regarded for the hard work of its members and their hugely successful contribution over many years to civic and business and community life as a whole in one of the most stable and wealthy of the English-speaking modern democracies.

    They own and operate many of the world’s most profitable banana plantations in the area, and it’s great to hear people wearing Sikh turbans speaking with broad Aussie accents – and rooting for Australia, not India, when the two nations play each other at cricket.

    I remember soon after 9/11, some idiot murdered a Sikh in the US because he was wearing a turban, and of course, anyone who wears a turban has to be a muslim, and therefore agin’ us, right?

    I suspect there might be a bit of that ignorance playing out here.

    While there are fundamentalists of every religion causing strife (and yes, there are fundamentalist Sikhs), it’s hard to imagine that these people had done anything wrong – except to look different – as they went about their quiet, respectful worship in a place they thought might have offered them some respite from similar hate killings they’ve experienced in their own country.

    And therein lies the problem here.

    It’s the looking different bit …

    Angry white extremists please note: the wearing of a turban isn’t indicative of anything, really. It’s not much different to a Christian wearing a crucifix.

    And it’s particularly bizarre to target a people who have loyally stood at the side of the US and its people for 100 years, standing up against the very same hateful and tyrannical ideologies, and have paid heavily for that commitment in blood.

    Now they’ve paid with a bit more and needlessly, and of the innocents, this time.

    Nothing will ease the pain of this community in their chosen home.

    But let’s hope that other idiots contemplating such horrors do their homework first, and in doing so realise the folly of carrying that much hate and putting it to foul use, against whatever national or race group doing them no harm which they might choose to target.

  • John Lake

    “In Des Moines on Tuesday, Romney mispronounced the word ‘‘Sikh’’ (seek) as ‘‘sheik’’ (sheek), a word with an altogether different meaning. A sheik (sheek) is an Arab leader. Sikhs (seeks) trace their religion to South Asia.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    While I deplore what’s happened to the Sikhs – I remember one being murdered here in Seattle not long after 9/11 by a real red-blooded “American” out to “defend the homeland from the Muslims” – I cannot fault Romney (who I really don’t like) for his mispronunciation. It wasn’t until the current tragedy that I myself knew the proper pronunciation – I’d been pronouncing it as “sickh”.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn, do you really think it is the same thing? Romney is running for an office that has implications in the lives of everyone on the planet. If you were doing so, wouldn’t you hold yourself to a higher standard?

    (Marginalization is part of what allows the world to carry on in its pathology. Romney demonstrates that he is a product of and identifies solely with the dominating culture and likely not able to see its impact on marginalized cultures. It makes him a tool. A tool who wants to have the greatest say possible about how the world effects marginalized cultures worldwide. That is an indictment of him as a dangerous man in my book. So, in my book, his is not at all comparable to your own unfamiliarity, which does not worry me in the least.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Great article, John. We need more like this, imo.

  • Singh

    I’d like to say canabis is NOT allowed in meditation there are some “Sikhs” who do yet we do not recognize that as part of our religion. The only time drugs are allowed are for medical purposes. I’d like to add that Sikhs have been subject to injustice by the Indian Government as well as they are, AS WE SPEAK, making drugs available to Sikh youth to pretty much mess with the current generation of Sikhs.They have also supported a holocaust of Sikhs in 1984. In three days there were over 100,000 reported deaths, which means there are clearly much more. They fail to recognize it, yet it has happened. Sikhs have defended India for hundreds of years, and more Sikhs lost their lives in the fight for India’s independence than any other group in India. They defended woman’s rights, minorities rights, and even Hindus and Muslims for hundreds of years, and Sikhs came up with many of the principles in the Declaration of Independence hundreds of years before our fore fathers did. Overall, Sikhs are just as American as we are. Nicely written article though….

  • John Lake

    I suspect the source for the cannabis matter was quite outdated. Perhaps several decades ago that use was more tolerated. Or there is the chance that that author was just a tad hostile. I was going to eliminate that reference, but by the time I made that decision, the article was already locked down by the editors at BC

  • Igor

    Apparently this murderer Page was a white supremacist.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Yes, but whatever we do, we Must Not Suggest that it was right-wing terrorism in any way – that would be politically incorrect, you know.

  • Igor

    There’s no reason to treat radical rightists with kid gloves, they never hesitate to abuse everybody else.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I was being facetious. Personally, I’d love to see the Rabid Right held to the same standard they try to hold everyone else to.

  • STM

    How you pronounce Sikh probably isn’t that much of an issue, to be honest.

    It’s the ignorance around who they are and what they represent that is the issue.

    It must be galling to Sikhs themselves – whose principles and beliefs dovetail perfectly with ours because they are ours – to find themselves targeted by idiots in the US who know little about anything beyond their own borders and who think because Sikhs wear turbans, they must be muslims … and therefore “need killin’.”

    The sad part about that train of thought is that most muslims except the islamofascists who want to kill us don’t “need killin” either.

    Like I say, Sikhs are totally integrated into the life and community of most Commonwealth nations – that is, the English-speaking nations apart from the US.

    And they are generally upholders of the same democratic values of religious tolerance and democracy and freedom that the rest of us believe in.

    In other words, they’re on our side.

    Which in my book makes ‘em good guys.

  • John Lake

    I wonder,would it be a good idea for the American school system to devote additional effort to teach the elimination of blind prejudice?

  • Igor

    I’ve known a number of Sikhs over the last 50 years and always found them to be admirable. I also notice that in the British troops Sikhs are the only ones allowed to wear their turban instead of standard issue headgear.

  • STM

    And in the cops, Igor. You’ll see plenty of British-born or naturalised Sikhs in the UK police forces, not just in the British armed forces.

    They wear a police-issue turban.

    No one baulks at it in the UK military, because the Sikhs were part of the British military in India for 200 years … when they weren’t fighting against the British.

    Like I say, they suffered horrendous casualties in two world wars – fighting on our side against the Turks and Germans, then the Japanese AND the Nazis and fascists.

    It’s a terrible thing that many Americans in their patriotic fervour simply wouldn’t identify that, or understand or know of (and only because they’d not have been taught) the sacrifice of the Sikhs against various lots of rather hateful ideology that have attempted to impose their evil will on everyone else in the century just gone.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Like the Gurkhas, the Sikhs have long been widely respected as a bunch of tough hombres. It’s no coincidence that Conan Doyle chose them to be Jonathan Small’s co-conspirators in The Sign of the Four. Probably something to do with the beards and the way the turban across the forehead makes them look as if they’re permanently scowling. :-)

    But they’re decent, quiet, upstanding people who’ve integrated into British society perhaps better than any other ethno-religious group. If you follow English Premier League footie on the telly, you will notice a group of them sitting behind the dugout when Manchester United are playing at home, calmly looking on as Sir Alex has another one of his wig-outs. They’ve been season ticket holders at Old Trafford for years.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    From the BBC comedy classic Goodness Gracious Me, here’s more helpful information about Sikhs.

  • John Lake

    Sir Doyle, my favorite.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    “Sir Arthur” is the correct style, John.

  • STM

    I was watching Fox and Friends a few years back and the tall blond guy was interviewing a British parliamentarian peer … and calling him “Sir Smith”, instead of “Sir John”.

    They weren’t the actual names, but you get my drift.

    So the tall blond guy was interviewing this British guy in London, on video link from New York, with the Houses of Parliament in the background, and to his credit, “Sir Smith” answered all the questions to the best of his ability without correcting the tall, blond Fox host, and importantly, without giving the American guy any clue that he’d got the name all wrong and thus saving him any embarrassment on worldwide TV.

    A lovely, if small, piece of classic English diplomacy and stiff-upper-lip keeping in the tricky maintenence of their special relationship with their cousins across the pond.

    Doc is right about the Sikhs … they are tough hombres, which is why the British set up an entire regiment for them in the army.

    They are also lovely and charming people … and they’d only slit your throat if you were on the wrong side.

    I know lots of them in Australia, especially with the large, century old Sikh community on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

    A lot of their kids move to the big smoke from the country to work in Sydney r Brisbane.

    My fave was a guy named Tommy, the owner of a curry joint up the road from my old place, who always managed to throw in something delicious for free AND give us a discount because we were regular customers.

    Loyalty counts for everything.

  • STM

    Americans have much to learn about many of their English-speaking cousins from across the globe. Yes, even many Indian Sikhs speak English as a first language.

  • STM

    Here’s a good one following on Doc’s theme:

    The Asian Top Gear sketch from BBC’s Goodness Gracious Me

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    @ #22:

    Shall we confuse our Seppo friends further by pointing out that if a man is a peer, rather than a knight, he is referred to by his last name rather than his first?

    As an example, older Americans like John may remember Lord Carrington, who was Mrs Thatcher’s foreign secretary at the time of the Falklands War and later became Secretary-General of NATO.

  • STM

    No, possibly not a good idea. Thanks to the link for Goodness Gracious Me.

    Forgot all about that. What a classic show.

    But will our Seppo friends understand that that show is about Indians taking the piss out of themselves as a transplanted ethnic group in British society, and all the cross-cultural confusion and hilarity that it creates??

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    @ #24: LOL. I thought about posting that sketch as well, Stan.

    Perhaps a little bit of Bhangraman instead?

  • STM

    Lol. Classic. I have to depart Doctor, time to go to work. Cheers mate

  • Igor

    The PBS series “Imagemakers”, which features short 15 minute dramas and comedies, has a video about a Sikh-American family driving their SUV through a remote area in the SW USA and having car trouble. There is drama as the young son begs his father to remove his turban so that a passing car will stop to give them aid instead of zipping past afraid of the ‘terrorist’ and his family.

  • STM

    Americans really have to get to know their turbans, Igor.

    A tea-towel wrapped around your head, which was the favoured headgear of blokes like the late Osama bin Laden and many of his late or locked-up mates and is probably perfect if your address is a cave and you have no shampoo, are completely different to the turbans worn – almost with military crispness – by Sikh men.

    You can usually tell by the rest of the kit, too. Sikh blokes are usually pretty well turned out sartorially and the older ones tend to wear suits, ties and very shiny shoes.

    And they do love a nice cup of tea, too.

    Decent and polite and respectful and tolerant folks, is how I’ve always found them.

    Let’s hope more Americans get to know them; I have a feeling they’d like them too.

  • John Lake

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Country of the Saints from
    A Study in Scarlet
    “You mean.. Mommies a deader, too?”
    One of the more moving passages in literature.

  • STM

    I realise this is probably the most inappropriate forum for these sketches, but I guess laughing is a good way of showing murderous racist idiots that theirs is a lost cause.

    Another hilarious Goodness Gracious Me sketch from the BBC

  • Igor

    It’s hard to find a group more undeserving of hatred by Americans than the Sikhs.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    If Mel Brooks can make comedies about Jews being persecuted by the Nazis, then I’m sure there’s room for a little British-Indian humour here.

    I’ve probably posted this before, and it doesn’t have any Sikhs in it this time, but this is my absolute favourite Goodness Gracious Me sketch.

  • Zingzing

    Doc, look up the “the inquisition” bit from history of the world pt 1, if you haven’t seen it. I love Mel Brooks. American comedy has a lot of things to be proud of, but Brooks goes for that base level stuff, and he does it well. There’s also the “hitler rap” music video, which is completely tasteless and all the better for it. Obviously, Brooks could do tasteful stuff if he wanted to (although that usually on a film studies level), but he usually went for the gut instead of the brain… What I like about British comedy is the cerebral qualities of it, the wordplay, the conceptual absurdity…

    Mel Brooks gets by for me partially because I’ve been watching his stuff since I was 10 (a babysitter let my brother and I watch blazing saddles on one of the most informative nights of my life [she also uncovered my dad’s meager porn collection]), but this goodness gracious me stuff isn’t doing it for me. The social commentary I can see, but the presentation is rather obvious.

    Some of my favorite shows of the moment is “the thick of it” and its film spin-off “in the loop,” and the creator’s American show “veep.” have you seen any of those? “in the loop” is one of my favorite movies ever, and it is certainly the sharpest script (or improv) I’ve ever seen. Also Martin Mcdonagh’s films and plays. That man is just funny, but he also has a lot to say.

    I’m just looking for more shit up my alley, if you’ll ignore the phrasing.

  • STM

    This one is MY favourite, and won awards in the UK as one of the top 10 comedy sketches of all time.

    The scene: It’s Friday night in Bombay. All the gang has been out getting tanked up on lassis, so what do you do, without fail, just like every other Friday?

    A: Stop on the way home and grab yourselves “an English”.

    While there, mispronounce the waiter’s name, act like a boor, order 24 plates of fries, 12 bread rolls – and order the blandest thing on the menu while causing as much drunken trouble as possible.

    Watch as the tables are turned …

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    LOL. Another classic, indeed.

    I always used to go for a kebab, myself. Or, now that I’ve transplanted myself to California, a Mexican.

    Wonder if there’s a TV show in northern Cyprus about a bunch of lads and lasses in Larnaca who hit the chippy after a hard night at the hookah bar?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Before Goodness Gracious Me there was The Real McCoy, a sketch show that looked at immigrant life from a black perspective.

    They had a character called Mr Frasier, who was God’s gift to women (but only if the women in question were blind and deaf). Funnily enough, years after I emigrated there was a personal trainer at my gym who was the spitting image of Mr Frasier (minus the sticking plaster and with a slightly better hairdo).

    Meera Syal, who went on to star in Goodness Gracious Me, can be spotted in a couple of the sketches.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    zing: Haven’t seen any of the shows you mention, but am a huge Mel Brooks fan, even his later stuff when he started to more or less rip off Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker.

    I seem to remember you had a stint of living in the UK, and wonder if you were there during the time when a show called Drop the Dead Donkey was a big hit?

    DTDD was a topical, satirical sitcom set in a Murdoch-esque cable newsroom. What gave it its edge was that each episode was not recorded until the day before it aired, so that the writers could insert a generous helping of topical jokes into the script. Result: total hilarity to the point of bedlam. I bring it up because it seems like the sort of show that would have been right up your, ahem, alley.

  • Zingzing

    Doc, I lived in England 1999-2000, but we didn’t really have tv. “in the loop” is on netflix instant, so if you’ve got it, watch it. Trust me. I’ll search this donkey stuff. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to introduce a political comedy fan on to “the thick of it” or ” in the loop.”. It doesn’t matter if you watch the latter first.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    zing, the problem with watching Drop the Dead Donkey now (and there doesn’t seem to be a whole heck of a lot of it on YouTube) is that the satirical edge is gone.

    Even when Channel 4 would re-run episodes a few months after the original airing, they had to insert a voiceover at the beginning explaining what had been in the news that week, otherwise nobody would get the topical jokes. 20+ years on, they’re even more stale – although the characters are great and the interplay between them is still very funny.

  • Dan

    I congratulate the author for an informative article without resorting to the type of malignant anti-white smears subsequently engaged in by some of the more bigoted BC commentators.

    We may never know whether the perpetrator ‘mistook sikhs for muslims’ or even if his targets were religous or race based at all. It could be that the victims were random, simply in “the wrong place at the wrong time”. The latter seems to be a common conclusion when whites are the victims of non-white peoples.

    To offer a slight balancing effect on sikh historic perspective, there is the 1985 bombing of Air India 182 that constitutes the largest mass murder in Canadian history. Canadian authorities determined the main suspect to be the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa. 329 souls were dispatched, 280 of them Canadian.

    If those 280 hadn’t had their voices taken from them it might be illuminating to ask them if they felt “enriched” by sikh diversity in Canada.

  • Zingzing

    No one but Dan can congratulate someone for not being racist, then go on a racist screed without the slightest awareness of his own hypocrisy.

  • Dan

    If the simple citation of a historic event becomes commonly refered to as a “racist screed” then racist screeds won’t seem as offensive anymore.

  • Zingzing

    The third paragraph isn’t racist, but the fourth is. And it’s not really offensive anymore (at least from you), it’s just numbingly sad.

  • John Lake

    Thanks for the nod, Dan. I’m not likely to stoop to anti-white bigotry, as I happen to be of the white race. Time may prove we are not as superior as we think.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “We may never know whether the perpetrator ‘mistook sikhs for muslims’ or even if his targets were religous or race based at all.”

    Considering the guy was a white supremacist and talked about “racial holy war” with an old Army buddy, I think we have a good idea.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    the type of malignant anti-white smears subsequently engaged in by some of the more bigoted BC commentators.

    I think Dan must have been reading a different comments thread than the rest of us.

    Either that, or his persecution complex has just had its spinach.

  • Zingzing

    By dan’s standards, the races should be judged by the acts of a few, and I do believe the white race would have a bad time if that were true. A very bad time. He should hate all white people given his logic. But they’re the saints without fault in his book.

    Such a standard is stupid, ignorant, illogical, racist lunacy. And a waste of a life.

  • STM

    Lol. Dan comes out of the woodwork once again, with his “I’m only sticking up for whites hat on”.

    Yes, he’s right: there are some lunatic fringes everywhere, including among the Sikhs. But there are others Dan might know more about …

    Example: Timothy McVeigh and his mates, or those nice militant right-wing Germans who killed 60,000 mostly white British civilians during their Blitz on Britain in WWII, in a war started by the aryan-supremacist believers of the master race theory.

    Good job the Sikhs didn’t buy into it and stuck with the Poms.

    Quite a few Nazis who ended up face to face with Sikhs probably realised much too late and with their last breath that if love of nothing but strength and hatred of your fellow man were going to be the basis of an all conquering ideology, they might not have been part of the master race at all.

    Thousand year Reichs only have the wow factor when they last longer than 12 years.

    Dan’s ideology of white is better rests where it belongs: in the dustbin of history, along with that of Adolf Hitler, Stalin and the Bolsheviks, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Pol Pot, Mao, Phillip of Spain and the inquisition, the Prussian and Japanese militarists, Europe’s absolutist monarchs, and the rest of their ilk who thought one people could dominate another because they were in their own view far “better” suited to lord it over everyone else.

  • Igor

    Meanwhile, in a couple days we’ll have the verdict in the Breivik case from Norway.

    BBC

    The trial of Anders Behring Breivik has ended in Norway with a walkout by families of victims in protest at his attempts to justify the massacre.

    As he took the stand to explain why he had killed 77 people last July, some 30 people filed out of the courtroom.

    Saying he had acted to stop a Muslim invasion, he asked to be considered sane and to be acquitted.

    Judges will deliver their verdict on 24 August. The prosecution is asking for Breivik to be deemed insane.

    Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client had been driven by extreme politics.

    “The mother of these actions is not violence, it is an extreme, radical, political attitude”

    Breivik, 33, admits killing 77 people and injuring 242 on 22 July when he bombed government buildings in Oslo before shooting young Labour Party supporters at a camp on the island of Utoeya.

    “It’s not about his mental health – it’s about us never seeing him on the street again”

    The BBC’s Lars Bevanger, who was in court, said the group felt there was no more that Breivik could add.

    “He has a right to talk – we have no duty to listen,” support group member Christian Bjelland said.

    Taking the stand, Breivik spent 45 minutes going over his reasons for the attacks.

    Reading from a prepared statement, he attacked everything he disliked about his country, ranging from non-ethnic Norwegian contestants being allowed to represent Norway at Eurovision to the effect of the TV series Sex And The City on public morals.

    Citing statistics about Muslim birth rates, he said he had made his attacks to prevent Norway from becoming a “multicultural hell”.

    22 July 2011 attacks
    Victims of the 22 July attacks in Norway

    8 people killed and 209 injured by bomb in Oslo
    69 people killed on Utoeya island, of them 34 aged between 14 and 17
    33 injured on Utoeya
    Nearly 900 people affected by attacks

    “The mother of these actions is not violence, it is an extreme, radical, political attitude, and his actions must be perceived from the point of view of right-wing extremist culture,” he said.

    A mother who lost a child on Utoeya said all the focus on Breivik’s mental health had been draining.

    “It’s not about his mental health,” she told the court. “It’s about us never seeing him on the street again.”

    YAHOO

    For survivors such as Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, the most pressing need is to hear the verdict after a trial that went into every detail of Breivik’s bomb attack in Oslo that killed eight, and his shooting dead on Utoeya island of 69 people, mostly teenagers.

    “After Aug 24, we can be done with it,” Gunaratnam told Reuters.

    With what witnesses described as a “joyous battle cry”, Breivik arrived at the island youth camp of the ruling Labour Party dressed as a policeman. He regarded his victims, the youngest of whom was 14, as brainwashed “cultural Marxists” whose support for Muslim immigration threatened Norwegian ethnic purity.

    Gunaratnam, aged 24, escaped the massacre by jumping into icy lake waters and swimming for her life. She survived because Breivik was busy shooting her friends in the head at point blank range, presuming she would drown.

  • Dan

    “I’m not likely to stoop to anti-white bigotry, as I happen to be of the white race. Time may prove we are not as superior as we think.”—John Lake

    John, I hope you’re not offended that I detect some unexamined assumptions in your reply. I’ve always welcomed thoughtful, reasoned, critique of my own presumptions and if nothing else, have used the experience to solidify my perspective. That is the spirit that I continue in.

    First of all the word “superior” has some powerful emotional connotations inspired by a largely fictional prevailing narrative of victims and oppressors. It is also a clumsy word to describe the many varied racial traits that make up the whole of human bio-diversity. There aren’t many traits that are universally accepted as “superior” even within races. So “superiority” is more often a matter of opinion.

    One trait I consider superior– in my opinion– is the white race’s ability to build and maintain successful civilizations. I think it is pretty clear by now that cities and institutions etc. reflect the genetic endowments of their creators. This is why, for instance, European societies are similar in structure with social safety nets, lower levels of corruption, and generally, an adherance to rule of law. Whereas Haiti reflects the types of societies found where Haitian peoples ancestors come from. You can also see the correlation in many once great American cities(Detroit etc) where the transfer of power to minorities, and the population shift to majority non-whites corresponds with the fiscal collapse, rates of crime, instability, and general unlivableness of the city. Sikhs and other non-white peoples emigrate to majority white populations for a reason. It is not the other way around. Is it because they find white societies superior to their own?

    As an aside, I would call it a profound realization that, whether one is in favor of it or not, integration has always required governmental force to be achieved. Whenever whites are free to choose the schools their kids go to, the neighborhoods they live in, the organizations they belong to, they almost always choose segregation. Often at great personal sacrifice and expense. If diversity were truly a “strength” wouldn’t people naturally seek it out? Some do, of course, but migration patterns show whites moving out when non-whites move in. Then the pattern is repeated after non-whites follow.

    There is a trait that seems mostly confined to whites that I would consider them grossly inferior at, and it is a very important one from a Darwinian survival perspective. You could call it racial solidarity, or racial awareness. You earlier said that you were’nt likely to “stoop” to anti-white bigotry since you were “white yourself”. In my view, white ethno-masochistic pathology is virtually the only threat to racial survival for whites.

    Other races and mixed racial groupings don’t suffer from this pathological defect. They clearly have a healthy regard for their race and are often unapologetic about it being a central feature. That’s why, for instance, conservatives like Colin Powell support arch leftists like Barrack Obama. It is why college educated blacks across the country cheer the OJ Simpson verdict. Their racial solidarity trumps their aversion to seeing murderers go free.

    Finally, you say “Time may prove we are not as superior as we think.” Perhaps that is true and we are headed toward a utopia of sorts where racial preference and discrimination toward whites will no longer be needed to achieve “equality” however that is defined, but what if the opposite happens? Will whites be able to opt out to persue their own interests as a racial group? Or will they simply face genocide, as many white farmers in Rhodesia and now South Africa have?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Do yourself a favor and read – really READ – Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, wherein (if you’ve got not only the intellectual wherewithal but especially the humility required to show that yes, other people know better than you when it comes to why civilizations succeed or fail) that the success or failure of civilizations has absolutely SQUAT to do with race, but mostly to do with location.

    Location, location, location.

    And how about we discuss civilizations? Which civilization has had the longest period of peace in human history? Here’s a clue – it wasn’t a white one – it was the Japanese. And which civilization required written exams for civil servants as a requirement for employment 2000 years before Christ? Not a white one – it was the Chinese.

    The Chinese were sending entire treasure fleets from the Kamchatka Peninsula all the way to the Middle East at a time when the Europeans were struggling to send single ships from Scandanavia to North Africa. The only reason the Chinese chose – CHOSE – to stop ranging the high seas with technology significantly beyond that of Europe was because of a lightning bolt that destroyed the palace of Emperor Zhu Di, which the people believed was a sign to stop being such an extroverted nation.

    AND if you really want to discuss the superiority of civilizations, Dan, guess who taught the West that it was indeed okay to BATHE more than twice a lifetime? The Asians did…so if you really want to stay true to your white heritage, stop taking baths.

    And I’d love to show you Singapore so that you can see how clean, how safe, and how modern a city can be, and much better so than ANY city in America…or have you walk down the streets of Shanghai where in the past 30 years they’ve built twice as many skyscrapers as New York City has ever had.

    Dan, I used to be like you – I was racist but I still thought myself a nice, considerate person – but then I joined the Navy and saw the world, and found out that racist claptrap I’d been taught since my youth was exactly that – claptrap. It’s long past time you saw past your own skin color, too.

  • Igor

    @52-Dan is wrong: most people have a natural curiosity and attraction to the exotic: tall people marry short, curly haired seek out straight haired, white seeks out dusky skin, etc. Statisticians call it “regression to the mean”: phenomena tend back to average, or mean, characteristics.

    It is governments that enforce segregation, witness the actions of Southern US governments both before and after the Civil War. A large part of that was to enforce political-economic strictures that would keep whites properous while their black slaves worked for no wages and lived in mean circumstances.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    I have to strongly disagree with you that it is governments that enforce segregation, for the laws that those governments enforce almost always reflect the social mores of the population.

    And while your mention of “regression to the mean” has some merit, in my experience, the more homogeneous the population (or the greater the level of social separation of different ethnic groups therein), the more prejudiced the population generally is against those who are different.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    the laws that those governments enforce almost always reflect the social mores of the population

    So, I guess women didn’t want to vote and gays don’t want to get married.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Could you please walk me through how law gets made so I can see how public opinion is used to make it almost always reflect the social mores?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Those who make laws must take a poll of the people, right? Or maybe they consult a psychic.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    ‘the social mores of the population almost always reflect the laws that those governments enforce’

    That makes much more sense. Must have been a puzzle.

  • STM

    Dan’s wrong: The Sikhs haven’t simply moved to Europe and the US (mainly to Britain) – they were moving around the old British Empire and later the Commonwealth for many decades. And not just in mainly anglo countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    They’re to be found as native English speakers in good numbers in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, the West Indies, Fiji, and East Africa (notably what is now Uganda and Kenya, where they formed themselves from the late 1800s or so into hard-working and successful communities) and of course, South Africa.

    And there they remain, except in situations where life had become so unpleasant they’ve moved again, either back to India or to another English-speaking country.

    They have had a large community in Australia for over 100 years, on the east coast near Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

    Prior to that of course, it was the British who moved to THEIR country in large numbers during the colonisation of India.

    The Brits are pretty good judges of character. Generally – and knowing their turbans, as they do – they have a good opinion of Sikhs. Sihks are highly valued members of the police and the military in many of those countries (although I can’t see too many US police forces offering police-issue turbans … yet).

    As for Dan’s mixing of blood: Sikhs assimilate, but they rarely intermarry. They keep to themselves on a social level; even 100 years later in Australia, it’s unusual to be find Sihks marrying or even having relationships in any numbers outside their own communities.

    BTW Dan, by your standards, America can’t really be considered a “white race”. As a genuine anglo of pure northern european background, I wouldn’t consider any white American to be a pure white example of the so-called white race.

    There has been far too much intermarrying and sexual intermingling of people from all over the world in the US for that to be the case.

    Only genuine native-born anglo saxons, celts, norse, Germans etc – can lay claim to that.

    Compare the number of people in England or Scandinavia with blue eyes compared to the numbers per head of the white population in America.

    It’s far too late already for those white americans fearful of such things; it’s already bastardised. It’s an immigrant society, and many of the immigrants have been southern European or hispanic or judaic, which of course have more than a sprinkling of North African and middle-eastern and Arabic blood.

    That’s especially true of hispanics and southern Europeans.

    As an American white, it’s quite likely people like Dan already have some “black blood”, or at least non-anglo saxon or northern european blood.

    Better get your DNA checked, Dan, just in case. That’s the only way to be sure.

    Mines good, but then I’m not worried about it.

    Dan, do it for your own peace of mind; being that worried about it, we don’t want any nasty surprises do we?

  • STM

    In 50 years, the US will be a totally mixed race society. “Pure” whites will only be able to exist in the US in gated communities that have strict rules on intermarriage.

    Better get building guys if you want to keep that tainted love from taking hold!

  • Zingzing

    Cindy: “So, I guess women didn’t want to vote and gays don’t want to get married.”

    Women did want to vote, and it became more and more socially acceptable that they should have that right, so they got that right.

    Gay people want to marry, and it’s becoming more and more socially acceptable that they have that right as well, although on this one, the gov’t is actually a step ahead of the social acceptability in some areas. In some areas, they reflect the continued bigotry of the people, to the benefit of no one and the detriment of people that some other people consider to be below them.

    “‘the social mores of the population almost always reflect the laws that those governments enforce”’

    You should be able to see the pitfalls of this. In parts of Africa, newspapers call for the murder of known homosexuals. Should social mores always decide law? You’d be crazy to suggest so. People are fucked up sometimes.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    As an aside, I would call it a profound realization that, whether one is in favor of it or not, integration has always required governmental force to be achieved.

    Not really: only if your ruling class spends centuries impressing upon the populace that it’s only right and proper that you and Mr Washington who sells newspapers on the street corner don’t live in the same neighbourhoods and don’t interact at all except in cases of practical necessity.

    There were populations of African and Asian origin in Elizabethan London, for example, and complete integration (albeit on a small scale) up to and including intermarriage doesn’t seem to have been a big deal at all. With the proviso that he or she ought to be a Christian first, it was taken as read that an immigrant had the same rights and responsibilities as a native. (Had Shakespeare lived 200 years later Othello, with its depiction of interracial marriage and a black man commanding a European army, would never have been written.)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Sihks are highly valued members of the police and the military in many of those countries

    There was a bit of a kerfuffle about that, Stan, as I remember, when the first Sikhs applied to join the police in the UK, because of the religious requirement to wear the turban and because of the helmet being a standard and integral item of constabulary equipment. It may look silly, the reasoning went, but it serves a vital protective purpose and it won’t fit over your turban. Sorry, lads, we’d love to have you in the force but it’s safety we’re talking about here.

    At this point the Sikhs pointed out that somebody trying to clobber a bloke wearing several yards of intricately wrapped cloth on his head was likely to have about as much success as if the clobberee was wearing, let’s say for the sake of argument, a police helmet.

    Hence, as you say, Sikh officers have worn navy blue uniform turbans complete with chequered band ever since.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Those who make laws must take a poll of the people, right?

    More typically they restrict themselves to a poll of those people whose opinions they want to hear.

  • STM

    Yes, quite right Doc.

    The other thing is, if I were worried about keeping my “whiteness” as a blood heritage, there’s no way I’d have a child with an American, even if they claimed to be of all-white background, because given the country’s immigration history and the documented history of conjugal relations between whites and blacks and hispanics over the past 300 years or so, you just can’t be sure of what’s in the mix there.

    I certainly wouldn’t let my sister marry an American if I were worried about that.

    On the plus side, reconnection of the loose wire between brain, mouth and ego would be good … as would highly athletic coffee-coloured people (african physical superiority) who are far less hyper than they are now (“manana”) and who eat more vegetable protein (beans) than those planet-destroying meat proteins (cows, pigs) – that could only be a bonus.

    I used to think I wouldn’t see it in my lifetime, but it’s already happening right across the US, in every city and in every walk of life, as Dan points out, and of course given the numbers, it’s all-consuming.

    Americans of all persuasions – including those who believe in Dan’s world view – must grasp this unchangeable truth or suffer the inevitable damage wrought in the process because of an inability to accept the inevitable.

  • STM

    Doc,

    Sikhs have been serving in turbans in the Malay (now Malaysian), Singapore and Hong Kong police since the 1850s, and in the east African colonies (now Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya) they began serving as officers in the police in the 1890s.

    So that’s over 100 years of service in Britain’s colonial police, and then later to the present day in those of the independent nations post colonisation.

    Last time I was at Changi Airport in Singapore I saw Sikh police officers and customs officers and Gurkha special weapons police officers toting H&K sub-machineguns inside the airport. So there’s two vestiges of empire still in existence in one former colony today.

    Sikh police officers have been wearing turbans on the streets of London since 1950, when they were among those who began attending police courses for colonial police in the UK, which is also about the time they started to arrive in numbers in Britain.

    I believe they were employed by the Met and other police services as civilian employees prior to the Home Secretary’s ruling on turbans in the late 60s.

    I certainly remember them in England in the 1960s while I was at school there, and was “taken into custody” by one when I lost my mother at the markets.

    After making sure I was OK back at the police station, he went back out to look for her and eventually located her.

    So my experience there has been good.

    And yes, you are right – yards of tightly wound turban, especially the way the Sihks do it, is as good as a wooden top any day.

    Probably better, even, as it might have a tiny bit of bounce on the bonce.

    It shits me no end that these good people are being mistaken for “muslim terrorists” in the US by idiots who’d be even more dangerous if they had an extra half a brain cell.

  • STM

    The Gurkhas in uniform looked small and nuggety, BTW … and flinty-eyed and confidently dangerous.

  • troll

    …like Igor’s phenomena I suffer a regression to the mean when I read racial segregationist nonsense like Dan’s considered opinions – and here I’m trying to turn over a be nice leaf…but it’s hard to look away from intellectual train wrecks

    short of banning human offspring altogether how about a government reinforced taboo surrounding intra-racial breeding?

  • STM

    Troll: “intra-racial breeding”.

    It’s been quite successful among some secluded white communities in the Appalachians and other similar places that time forgot.

    I did see a good show on TV a while back about white folks in the boondocks of Tennessee.

    They weren’t trailer trash.

    You need a trailer for that.

    I seriously couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I wondered whether they could …

    Interesting though, especially given that some of them were white supremacists.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Women did want to vote, and it became more and more socially acceptable that they should have that right, so they got that right.

    On what planet, zing?

    Do you even see the irony in your acting as if women were outside society when your so-called “socially acceptable” (to whom? men? those with power?) ideas about women voting were in place.

    And they didn’t GET the vote, because people changed their minds. They fought to over turn the government rule.

    Same with gay people. (forking invest in A People’s History of the United States, would you for Pete’s sake?)

    “‘the social mores of the population almost always reflect the laws that governments enforce”’

    You should be able to see the pitfalls of this. In parts of Africa, newspapers call for the murder of known homosexuals. Should social mores always decide law? You’d be crazy to suggest so. (zing)

    I did not say “should” reflect I said “do” reflect. zingzing, if i say eating fruit is good for you you can pull up a picture of a diabetic and justify that it is not. But allow me to express some examples where laws (and beliefs related to laws) are adopted by people because they (the people, not the laws) emerged (at birth) into a world, by which laws they are goverened:

    The Law should be obeyed. (Who dare put herself above The Law?)

    Voting is the way things should be done.

    Private property is normal, natural, okay, a right.

    Schools are the best way to educate people. Children should go to them.

    We should follow the rules.

    The police are necessary. (sometimes paired with…The police are there to help us.) (singing, ahem: the policeman is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, he’s in your neighborhood…

    etc

    My main argument with people is that they (we) have adopted the rules of this culture without challenging them. Other people in other cultures believe in stoning women to death. Why? Because it is “the law” (more complex than this, but close enough) in the culture they landed in! And they don’t challenge their laws (or beliefs) any more than we do.

    You don’t REALLY think we are better or smarter or different than the people of any other different culture who do the same thing, do you?

    Ask yourself this: Which came first, the zingzing or The Law. Then, tell me what influenced whom.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    65 – That sounds about right to me, Dr.D.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “On what planet, zing?”

    this one…

    “And they didn’t GET the vote, because people changed their minds. They fought to over turn the government rule.”

    you could say it that way. but the fact remains that someone up there in the gov’t (all men, of course,) had to be convinced that that right was, in fact, a right. it became socially acceptable, or maybe inevitable, after many years of debate. i think you’re (probably deliberately) missing my point if this is what you get out of what i had to say. because…

    “I did not say “should” reflect I said “do” reflect.”

    ah, well that does make a difference. i thought you said “That makes much more sense” (in #59) in a “that’s the way it would be in a perfect world” kind of way, but i see i was mistaken.

    we’re arguing the same point, methinks… laws don’t and shouldn’t always follow social mores, i say, and should challenge those who are wallowing in moldy bigotry, etc., but the people should also challenge bad laws. sometimes, the law is ahead of social mores, and sometimes, it lags behind. i believe from your last few paragraphs that you agree. but i wonder why you thought i disagreed… did you read what i wrote? i wonder if the froth got in your eyes before you got there.

    “(forking invest in A People’s History of the United States, would you for Pete’s sake?)”

    i’ve read it twice. the first time, i was completely enamored. the second, i was a little disturbed. it seemed nearly as bad as a right-winger cherry-picking history for bits that supported some huge overarching theory that wouldn’t necessarily hold up everywhere in history. i don’t think he’s far off the truth, but i don’t particularly like the way he presented it at times. and i don’t like the way some on the left hold it up as some sort of holy text. i have conflicting feelings about it at any rate.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    So, I guess women didn’t want to vote and gays don’t want to get married. Could you please walk me through how law gets made so I can see how public opinion is used to make it almost always reflect the social mores?

    Cindy, as Zing pointed out, in both cases it was only after they became socially acceptable to most of the people that such became law.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Cindy –

    Then as now, women made up a slight majority of the population, and there were many (though not most) men who supported women’s suffrage. I didn’t say that most voters supported women’s suffrage – I said that most of the population supported women’s suffrage. This proves my point – unless you want to believe that most women of the time didn’t want to be able to vote.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am making the point that we are indoctrinated into our social culture which is hugely guided by laws which generally serve those with power, having been created by them, and which we simply accept as reality.

    (That there is opposition, rebellion, challenges to indoctrination and that the effects are mishmashed throughout has been taken into consideration.)

    Are you saying that too, zing?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    and which we simply accept as [a part of what we think of as] reality

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    the fact remains that someone up there in the gov’t (all men, of course,) had to be convinced that that right was, in fact, a right. it became socially acceptable, or maybe inevitable, after many years of debate. i think you’re (probably deliberately) missing my point if this is what you get out of what i had to say. because…

    I am not trying to deliberately miss your point. I think we are at odds, I guess.

    Who decided it was not already always socially acceptable to all the women? Or don’t they count?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Slavery was likely not socially acceptable if you count the opinions of the slaves.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    We are in agreement. My wording was confusing. I was arguing a different point.

    Now I must go, because I have a headache from thinking about this. And I do not want to get started on whether or not children make up the realm of what is socially acceptable or is it at all times always defined by what those in power decide, because then I will be here all day long.

  • Zingzing

    “Are you saying that too, zing?”

    Not really. But I thought you were making a different point than you did. I was only arguing that laws shouldn’t always follow social mores. This cultural indoctrination thing is another kettle of fish. Of course we’re somewhat indoctrinated by our culture. It’s culture. That’s what it does, that’s what it is. It’s not always a good thing, and it’s not always a bad thing.

    As for your bits on women and slaves, I do think you’re missing my point. Or you’re trying to shift the conversation somewhere else. The point is that the laws (on female suffrage and ending slavery) were not changed before those things were socially acceptable, they changed after. There’s nothing more to the point than that. I only mentioned it as an example of how sometimes the law can follow social mores to good ends, in order to contrast it with how sometimes the law has to reject social mores for the greater good (as in gay rights).

    I don’t know why you think we’re at odds, at least about the point I was making, before you changed the topic of conversation. I haven’t said a word prior to this comment about social indoctrination, yet apparently I believe all sorts of stuff which seems to exist in your head. I’m not sure what those things are, although I gather it’s something you think wrong.

  • Zingzing

    I guess you could say that, as in the case of gay rights, I think the law should go beyond the social mores and grant them their rights before that is deemed acceptable in all areas… And in the future, the social mores may deem gay rights obvious… And then one has to question whether it was the law that changed the social mores. In this case, I’d be fine with that, but I can see how you could create another law, one not so noble, and in time it could be accepted just because it is law. That I wouldn’t like so much.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Zing –

    I guess you could say that, as in the case of gay rights, I think the law should go beyond the social mores and grant them their rights before that is deemed acceptable in all areas

    It’s already that way, and such is the case with all social advancements. Why? Because no social advancement is ever acceptable in “all areas” regardless of what the law says. What makes the difference is that the majority of the population making the choice that the time is right for such a social change.

    This is not to say that all those social changes are good or right, the prime example being the social changes in Germany during and after the Weimar Republic. Most truly traumatic times in a nation’s life heralds a sociological change, for good or ill. Right now we’re all watching a significant social change in the Republican party – which does represent tens of millions of Americans – to positions that Reagan would never have supported i.e. voter suppression, no abortion even in cases of rape or incest (which is now an official Republican position), fiscal stimuli by the government is never good (Reagan and Bush 43 both did them), corporations are people and money is free speech, torture is a good thing…

    …and only time will tell if Romney will win and try to impose all these beliefs on the rest of the American people.

    But I should have qualified my statement that the laws generally stem from the social mores, for such is of course not the case in tyrannies and dictatorships – Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Arhipelago and A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich show this to devastating effect.

  • Dan

    Glenn #53 White Europeans used to bathe twice in a lifetime? Really? Whether they needed it or not?

    Igor #54 You are mistaken. You seem to be talking about the phenomenon of “opposites attract”. “Regression to the mean” is something else entirely.

    StM #60 Never said anything about sikhs emigrating to only white countries, or any other of your fantasy thoughts, words, or miscellaneous nastiness that you attribute to me. You are quite bizarre. I doubt if it is possible to engage you in any meaningful way, but as I explained to Dreadful on another thread when he threw out the canard about race being distributed along a continuum ergo, it is so mixed up as to have little significance, That the existence of a color continuum among the visible spectrum doesn’t preclude the existence of primary colors.

    furthermore, you have very little understanding about the significance of race and current scientific research. I remain unimpressed with your bellicose ignorance of the subject. Or your obvious inferiority complex in regard to American exceptionalism. lol

  • Dan

    “Not really: only if your ruling class spends centuries impressing upon the populace that it’s only right and proper that you and Mr Washington who sells newspapers on the street corner don’t live in the same neighbourhoods and don’t interact at all except in cases of practical necessity.”—Dreadful

    “not really” doesn’t apply. Either government force has been used to force integration or it hasn’t. Even if what you say is true (it’s not, there’s been constant propaganda bombardment cheerleading racial integration for many years) government coercion has always been used in direct contradiction of the founding principle of freedom of association.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    YES, Dan, your white ancestors and mine used to consider baths a very bad thing. Why don’t you read about it so you, too, can stay true to your oh-so-white heritage:

    Before the Middle Ages, public baths were very common, as was the general public regularly taking time to bathe in one way or another. Even during the 4th and 5th centuries, Christian authorities allowed people to bathe for cleanliness and health, but condemned attendance to public bath houses for pleasure and condemned women going to bath houses that had mixed facilities. However, over time, more and more restrictions appeared. Eventually, Christians were prohibited from bathing naked and, overall, the church began to not approve an “excessive” indulgence in the habit of bathing. This culminated in the Medieval church authorities proclaiming that public bathing led to immorality, promiscuous sex, and diseases.

    This latter “disease” point was very common; it was believed in many parts of Europe that water could carry disease into the body through the pores in the skin. According to one medical treaty of the 16th century, “Water baths warm the body, but weaken the organism and widen pores. That’s why they can be dangerous and cause different diseases, even death.” It wasn’t just diseases from the water itslef they were worried about. They also felt that with the pores widened after a bath, this resulted in infections of the air having easier access to the body. Hence, bathing became connected with spread of diseases, not just immorality.

    For most lower class citizens, particularly men, this resulted in them completley forgoing bathing. During this time, people tended to restrict their hygienic arrangements to just washing hands, parts of the face, and rinsing their mouths. Washing one’s entire face was thought to be dangerous as it was believed to cause catarrh and weaken the eyesight, so even this was infrequent.

    Members of the upper classes, on the other hand, rather than completley forgo bathing, tended to cut down their full body bathing habits down to around a few times per year, striking a balance between risk of acquiring a disease from the bath vs. body stench.

    This wasn’t always the case though. As one Russian ambassador to France noted “His Majesty [Louis XIV] stunk like a wild animal.” Russians were not so finicky about bathing and tended to bathe fairly regularly, relatively speaking, generally at least once a month. Because of this, they were considered perverts by many Europeans. King Louis XIV stench came from the fact that his physicians advised him to bathe as infrequently as possible to maintain good health. He also stated he found the the act of bathing disturbing. Because of this, he is said to have only bathed twice in his lifetime. Another in this “gruesome two-some” class among the aristocracy was Queen Isabel I of Spain who once confessed that she had taken a bath only twice in her lifetime, when she was first born and when she got married.

    To get around the water/disease and sinful nature of bathing, many aristocrats during the Middle Ages replaced bathing with scented rags to rub the body and heavy use of perfumes to mask their stench. Men wore small bags with fragrant herbs between the shirt and waistcoat, while women used fragrant powders.

    Amazingly, this complete lack of personal hygiene in most of Europe lingered until around the mid-19th century.

    ==================================

    Okay? So…Dan! How ’bout that superior white heritage?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Dan –

    Historical fiction is fiction, but when it comes to the better writers, much of what’s contained in such works is historical fact. James Clavell was one of the best. I suggest you read Clavell’s Shogun or Tai-Pan so that you can get an idea of the clash of races and cultures, and how the different races and cultures all had good points and bad.

    They’re both very, very good books – Tai-Pan is one of my all-time favorites – because they’re both very, very enjoyable.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    as I explained to Dreadful on another thread when he threw out the canard about race being distributed along a continuum ergo, it is so mixed up as to have little significance, That the existence of a color continuum among the visible spectrum doesn’t preclude the existence of primary colors.

    And as I think I responded (though I may not have been bothered by that point – my memory fails me), what we consider primary colours are arbitrary. Red, blue and green are “primary” to us because they are the colours our eyes can detect. There isn’t anything special about those particular wavelengths.

    “not really” doesn’t apply. Either government force has been used to force integration or it hasn’t.

    Ah, the false dichotomy so beloved of those of a certain political outlook. I’m not disputing that governments have been known to force integration: my “not really” was in refutation of your claim that integration has always required government intervention.

    Even if what you say is true (it’s not

    You seem fixated on the American experience over the past 200 years as if it applies to the human condition in a blanket way. People of minority “races” have been present in most human societies (albeit, as I said, often on a small scale due to the lack of mobility prior to the industrial age), quite often without the dominant culture feeling the need to legislate either for or against them.

  • John Lake

    Our government wisely forced integration. It has worked well, and that’s the bottom line.

  • zingzing

    dan, you suck. also, you believe that your race is deserving of its own space even if other people decide they want to live there. that, at the least, is your “problem” with other races. that’s where you draw your colored line.

    but why do you think they should be “honored,” i suppose, with that space? what have they done to earn it?

    did they discover it? no.

    did they cultivate it first? of course not.

    did they claim it for some nation that you belong to? maybe, but i seriously doubt it.

    did they first plant their homes upon it? it’s a possibility, but that doesn’t include your neighbor’s yard.

    do they have some perpetual special right and privilege that someone else shouldn’t have? that wouldn’t be american. or human. or just.
    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • troll

    …laws and mores influence each other – is there reason to think that one is historically or logically antecedent even in particular cases?

  • STM

    Dan: “American exceptionalism.”

    American bullsh.t …

  • STM

    Oh, sorry, Dan, let me be clear here, just in case you were in any way mistaken as to my intent.

    I’m not trying to engage you in any meaningful way. I couldn’t give a rat’s.

    I just find your scientifically unsubstantiated views on race atrocious and appalling, and if I’ve wasted any of your valuable time by having you read even one of my bizarre and meaningless posts, that’s a win-win.

    It’ll be all white on the night.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    91 – Probably not. I had something in mind to do with subcultural values vs dominant cultural norms. I think. I don’t really remember what I was thinking. I think I probably went in a circle and got confused and gave myself a headache.

    Perhaps there is a better way to think about whatever it was than like a chicken and an egg.

  • Zingzing

    Oh, comments editor… You destroy my fun.

  • Dan

    “YES, Dan your white ancestors and mine used to consider baths a very bad thing. Why don’t you read about it so you, too, can stay true to your oh-so-white heritage…Okay? So…Dan! How ’bout that superior white heritage?”—Glenn

    You’ve been duped again Glenn. It made the Top ten myths about the middle ages
    : “Not only is this a total myth, it is so widely believed that it has given rise to a whole other series of myths…in fact, cleanliness and hygiene was very highly regarded so much so that bathing was incorporated into various ceremonies such as those surrounding knighthood. Some people bathed daily, others less regularly but most people bathed”

    “I suggest you read Clavell’s Shogun or Tai-Pan so that you can get an idea of the clash of races and cultures”—Glenn

    I would suggest you learn from the many times I’ve demonstrated your fallacious beliefs and aquire a little humility before condescendingly recommending reading lists for broadening my horizons.

    “And as I think I responded (though I may not have been bothered by that point – my memory fails me), what we consider primary colours are arbitrary. Red, blue and green are “primary” to us because they are the colours our eyes can detect. There isn’t anything special about those particular wavelengths”—Dreadful

    You didn’t respond, If you would’ve, I’d have told you that the use of colors was a metaphor for race, and the thing that is special about primary races is tens of thousands of years of geographically separate differential evolution.

    “Ah, the false dichotomy so beloved of those of a certain political outlook. I’m not disputing that governments have been known to force integration: my “not really” was in refutation of your claim that integration has always required government intervention.”

    feeble refutation attempt. There has never been large scale integration without the force of fines and imprisonment. As I said, when free to choose, most people self segregate by race.

  • Dan

    Zingzing #90 Another meltdown eh? Funny how in modern liberal mythology it’s always the “racist” stupid white hick who throws the bigoted tantrum while the honorable “progressive” calmly uses facts and logic to “speak truth to power”.

    So much for modern liberal mythology.

    “I’m not trying to engage you in any meaningful way. I couldn’t give a rat’s.”—stm

    Well, try or not, you’re not capable. That’s what bigotry is. It is a willful ignorance. I’m perfectly open to persuasion, that’s how I got to where I am now. Your admitted meaningless hostility simply validates what I already have come to accept as truth.

    “Our government wisely forced integration. It has worked well, and that’s the bottom line.”—John Lake

    I guess you could force a woman to have sex with you, and at least one of you would think that it “worked well”.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    You didn’t respond, If you would’ve, I’d have told you that the use of colors was a metaphor for race

    An exceptionally bad one.

    and the thing that is special about primary races is tens of thousands of years of geographically separate differential evolution.

    With the exception of a few geographically isolated populations such as the Australians, this is entirely untrue. The most recent common ancestor of all living humans probably lived only about 3000 years ago.

    There has never been large scale integration without the force of fines and imprisonment. As I said, when free to choose, most people self segregate by race.

    This is an odd claim considering your insistence that the forced segregation of the 19th and early 20th centuries was replaced by forced integration. Where are your exemplars if, as you say, people have been forced to live, work and study together ever since they stopped being forced not to?

  • zingzing

    dan: “Funny how in modern liberal mythology it’s always the “racist” stupid white hick who throws the bigoted tantrum while the honorable “progressive” calmly uses facts and logic to “speak truth to power”.”

    what’s illogical about the part of #90 that remains? and what makes you think you’re “power”? gimme a break. you’re about the lowest of the low these days, and you’ll only get lower. unless there’s some giant race war and you turn into hitler and shit your shit all over human civilization. then you’ll be “power.” now, you’re just a sniveling little vestige of the past. power? ha. jesus, dan, i really hope you haven’t deluded yourself into that shit as well. maybe you used the wrong cliched phrase.

    the other part was quite funny, but i admit it did get rather insulting, although the best line, i thought, was “i hope [your non-white neighbors] throw you a bbq and i hope you hate it,” which brings to mind a wonderful visual image in my mind. then there was a giant ripoff of princess bride’s “to the pain” speech, but SOMEONE decided it was went beyond the pale. i don’t see how calling a racist a racist is an insult, even if you think it “hurts.” the truth does hurt, dan. and you are logically, empirically and truthfully a big ol’ racist.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Dan’s actually right about medieval hygiene. People did bathe much more often than they are generally depicted as having done, and even cleaned their teeth (with a rag and perhaps an abrasive agent like ashes). Personal appearance, especially for women, was no less important than it is to us moderns. There would have been nothing more off-putting than your date stinking like the local bog at the end of a long hot sticky summer, and even peasants took measures against such embarrassment, even if it just meant a dip in the village stream.

    The Black Death was the event that really caused the penny to drop that there might be a link between hygiene and disease, but even so, soap had been known in Europe since at least Roman times.

    Roman baths had been built to last and still functioned perfectly well hundreds of years after their builders had left. if you were lucky enough to live in a town that had one, chances were you would use it.

    Stories about monarchs who never or rarely bathed probably originated in propaganda concocted by their political enemies: the casting of aspersions on one’s cleanliness being – as it is today – a supreme insult.

  • STM

    Doc, even today Europeans are known for not, ah, (how do I say this politely), bathing quite as much as they should. It’s not for no reason that a certain people have been known almost universally out there in the colonies until the past couple of decades as “soap dodgers”. The Romans might have left rule of law in a certain island nation shaped like a witch taking a dump, but when it came to bathing, in Bath, no one did. Lol.

    Widespread use of one liners such as “I’m as dry as a pommy’s towel” might be the clue on this.

    The French are even worse.

    And Dan, don’t make the assumption that everyone who doesn’t agree with your warped world view on race is a liberal in the narrow American sense of the term.

    You don’t have to be a namby-pamby “liberal” to find views such as yours dangerous, offensive and appalling.

  • Irene Athena

    Cats instinctively clean themselves. Human babies — black and white — cry when they want their diapers changed. This is evidence that perhaps the desire for cleanliness is innate for our own species, too.

    However, a desire for cleanliness does not equate to the availability of the means for achieving same. European bath houses closed down not because white Europeans weren’t interested in cleanliness, but because the big fires required to heat all that water all too frequently got out of control and burned down whole towns, where most of the buildings were made of wood. The growing population building all those wooden houses resulted in deforestation, and that in time caused a scarcity of firewood to heat even a small amount of bath water.

    The expense of the scarce firewood notwithstanding, poorer Medieval Europeans would manage to bathe somewhat periodically, even if it meant that members of the whole family, one after the other, had to use the same bathwater, and only enough of that to fit in a barrel. The youngest were the last in, and by that time, the water was so filthy that people perhaps needed the reminder “not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

    So yeah, I got all that information (except for the baby with the bathwater part, which I made up) straight off the ‘net, just like y’all did. I have never actually smelled a medieval person, at least not an alive one, and neither have any of you. The eye believes what it sees, the nose believes what it smells, but the ear can only believe what other people say.

    Now on to Australia, and an article called, “Do we really need a daily shower or bath to stay healthy? Or are the techies the smartest of us all?” STM sounds like a bit of a cleanliness supremacist to me, but perhaps he has reason to. A 2006 study of Australians reveals that “the land down under” may be the cleanest country on earth, where 62 per cent of people shower once a day, 29 per cent twice a day, and nine per cent shower three times a day. That adds up to at least one shower a day for every Australian. I am not sure whether aborigines were included in the survey. Aborigines aren’t as wealthy as most other Australians are, but if an aborigine has access to water and soap, I’d imagine he’d be as likely to use them as any other poor person, specifically, a Medieval peasant, would be.

    So, to come full circle, there are many feline breeds, but they all like to keep clean. As to the relative intelligence of breeds and races, I will close with the wise words of cat breeder Norman Auspitz:

    “As a rule, people seem to think the more active breeds have higher intelligence than the less active breeds. I will tell you that in feline agility, all breeds have done very well or very poorly as the case may be.. Having said that, there is no certified measure of cat intelligence and this general rule may be very anthropomorphic… until there is a credible definition of what might be meant by cat intelligence and a way to measure it, any comment anyone will make about the subject is, at best, speculation.”

    Carry on, argumentators. God bless you, everyone.

  • troll

    Cindy #94 – I agree

    hi Irene – I trust all’s well with you and yours

  • troll

    personally I study TPB for its game theory related content – see esp the ‘where’s the poison’ experiment

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Irene, I saw that explanation for the origin of the expression “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” myself elsewhere,but was sceptical of it. The source I saw claimed that because it was expensive to heat water (was it? depended on where you lived and how easy your access was to something that would burn – wood, peat, coal etc), the entire family would have to share the same tub and went in in order of precedence: Dad first, then Mum, then the kids and finally the babies. Then the filthy water would be thrown out, first checking to make sure you hadn’t inadvertently left Junior inside.

    Anyone with any experience whatsoever of babies should realize that doing things in this order would make little sense. Washing the baby would be your priority (ensuring that it had finished crapping and weeing before placing it in the water), since once it was clean and content it would go to sleep, leaving everyone else to do their ablutions in peace.

    The actual origin of the phrase is a 16th century German satire that includes a woodcut of a woman performing the proverbial foolishness. It wasn’t introduced into English until 1849 when Thomas Carlyle quoted it in one of his essays. It was supposed to be a metaphorical admonition against overreaction, and would apply quite neatly to certain BC commenters…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    The most recent common ancestor of all living humans probably lived only about 3000 years ago.

    I’ve really gotta take exception to this one, since there were humans in the New World as early as 50,000 years ago, and 40,000 years ago in Australia, and in the Old World, of course, well over 100,000 years earlier than that.

    So if the most recent common ancestor of all humans was only 3000 years ago, either that man (or even more incredibly, that woman) was Marco Polo, Magellan, and Gene Simmons (or Catherine the Great) all wrapped up in one superhuman package…

    …or the author of that study really didn’t think things all the way through. Mesuspects (okay, that attempt at a new word doesn’t work) that said author might have been a ‘Christian’ fundamentalist trying to prove that it was possible that all humanity could indeed have been descended from the eight survivors of Noah’s flood in spite of the mountain (Everest? Mons Olympus? I can’t think of a metaphor great enough) of evidence against it.

    It is interesting to note that the DNA of all humans living today point to one single woman – “mitochondrial Eve” – a woman who lived something like 200,000 years ago.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doggone it. Olympus Mons, NOT Mons Olympus. My apologies to Heinlein, who’s surely cursing me from beyond the grave….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Dude.

    You really should check your references a little more closely. For instance, the SAME reference that said the Europeans’ aversion to bathing was a myth also said the following were myths, too:

    The death penalty was common in the Middle Ages Gee, ever heard of the Inquisition? How about looking up a history of religious persecution in Europe, because the death penalty was applied not only to individuals, but to entire peoples – look up what happend to the Huguenots, for one example.

    The poor were kept in a state of near starvation – YOUR REFERENCE goes on to state: This is completely false. Peasants (those who worked in manual work) would have had fresh porridge and bread daily – with beer to drink. In addition, each day would have an assortment of dried or cured meats, cheeses, and fruits and vegetables from their area. Poultry, chicken, ducks, pigeons, and geese were not uncommon on the peasants dinner table. RIIIIIIIGHT!

    The Middle Ages were a time of great violence. Really? Dan, you’ve GOT to learn to take those crap-tinted glasses off, because they’re making you believe all the B.S. that you’re reading in your own personal echo chamber.

    Women were oppressed in the Middle Ages Um, Dan…there’s this little something your references are missing – it’s called SCHOLARSHIP. Here’s some prime examples of scholarship, including the transcript of the trial of Joan of Arc (which YOUR reference holds up as a prime example of women’s equality in the Middle Ages).

    And the NUMBER ONE REASON why your reference is so erroneous? Because ANYONE CAN SUBMIT SUCH A LIST regardless of qualifications or scholarship or the lack thereof.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And one more for Doc Dreadful –

    Okay, I’ll agree that Europeans bathed more than twice a lifetime…but really, where do you think the phrase “the great unwashed” came from? I mean, this article places its origin at 1830, but there’s probably a good reason why the phrase struck a nerve.

    That, and the public baths – were they really open to everyone, particularly in times of disease (which were fairly often)? And more tellingly, were they free to all and sundry? Or would what passed for the upper- and middle classes have pushed for there to be even a small fee in order to keep the lower classes out? Even in America in the 1800’s, baths in bath houses cost money…and the fact that there were bath houses at all in Europe and America means that baths were not something commonly available to the Great Unwashed whose primary concern was finding food.

  • STM

    Irene, we have to shower more than once a day in this country. I’ve recently moved interstate and arrived in my new home in summer. Although it’s on the coast, it’s also not far from the desert – and I lost count of the days that I walked out of the house into a 40C wall of dry, throat-parching heat.

    At the other end of the spectrum, where I lived before was on the same latitude but on the Pacific, so you can imagine the combination heat + humidity. When it’s still 90 per cent humidity in the middle of the night and you’re struggling to sleep, you tend to work up a sweat. I gave up on our airconditioner in the middle of the night last year and ended up driving round the block with the car airconditioner at full icy blast to cool down, followed by a cool shower, then flaking out in front of the airconditioner in the lounge.

    Only to wake an hour later.

    Doc, I’m only joking about pommies not having a tub. It’s a very old joke.

    BTW, I’m watching the new southern hemisphere four nations Rugby Championship. The Wallabies got smashed 22-zip by the All Blacks earlier in the night in Auckland, but here’s a turn-up: the Springboks were behind 13-3 to the Pumas in Argentina when I switched off the Teev heading for the bedroom via blogcritics.

    Do you you reckon a program that takes in Buenos Aires-Auckland-Sydney-Johannesburg – literally a trip around the globe – in one hit might be the longest regular season home and away trip in the history of sport??

    The Boks and the Pumas played in South Africa last weekend; this weekend they’re facing off in South America.

    Not bad air miles.

    Argentina look pretty good, too, considering it’s their first season in the competition. They were frustrating the hell out of the Boks at the breakdown and winning a lot of the contests – bit of fisticuffs too -and not giving the South Africans any space to run the ball.

    So much for that. Time for some sleep. Must try to get my head down before the wife gets up for work or I’ll get a bollocking for staying up all night watching football … she can’t work out what the attraction is in 80 minutes of grown men smashing into each other.

    Her view: “Boys and their balls …”

  • troll

    …ah medieval Europe – I remember it well

    we burned heretics to heat our bath water

  • STM

    “we burned heretics to heat our bath water”

    But forgot the soap …

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Only heretics used soap, sir.

  • Irene Athena

    Conservationists are still busy working out the ethical kinks.

  • Irene Athena

    STM: Australians, as well, could conserve by changing their national attitude to one of appreciation of their surroundings as a giant Bikram Yoga room, open 24-7, for free. I don’t think I could do it, although Australia sounds like a nice enough place to make acclimation worth a try. (And thanks for saying hi, troll.)

  • Irene Athena

    Finally Dr. Dreadful, no, “anyone with any experience whatsoever of babies should realize (#105)” that babies are never “finished crapping and weeing (#105,#2,#1)” particularly in circumstances under which an unanticipated excretion event would be least convenient; hence the wisdom of letting continent family members bathe first! Anyway, we agree on this point: medieval people from all classes appreciated a bath when they could get it, even if it required, as my source on medieval history maintains, members of the whole family having to share the same bath-water.

    It’s interesting that the discussion on medieval hygiene led to your mentioning Thomas Carlyle. In an essay about slavery that is quite germane to the conversation BC has been having with Dan throughout the years, Carlyle was the first to use the English translation “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The source you quoted mentions that Carlyle’s intent was to warn people that in their zeal to fling out the dirty bathwater of slavery, they should avoid methods that would, in the long-run, hurt slaves who were flung out of the system with it.

    I looked into more of Carlyle’s writings on slavery. He was criticized for expressing concern that British abolitionists, once they had freed blacks from the shackles of slavery, would consider their work done, while the freed slave would have to fend for himself, with no experience of how to make it on his own in a white society that was, in the main, still hostile to him. It touched a raw nerve in some of the people who, while being ardent in their abolitionist views (once these views finally became fashionable) didn’t do much to alleviate the horrific living conditions of the free working class whites who lived right around the corner from them.

    I don’t know enough about Thomas Carlyle to know where his views would fall along the continuum of modern white views on race relations today. Currently, at one extreme is the hateful “lynch them all” viewpoint, one is Dan’s more moderate belief that all races would be happier if they lived separately and that efforts to do so should not be thwarted, another is the view that blacks and whites have can learn to live side by side, and even form fully functional interracial families. Within that part of the spectrum are people who contend that such blending should proceed naturally as hearts are changed, and others who insist government sanctioned integration and affirmative action are needed. At the far left extreme you have those who hold to a hypocritical neoliberal agenda that promises prosperity to blacks in the US and around the world, an agenda that ends up enslaving blacks, chaining them within a system of dependence domestically and to insurmountable debt abroad. As a slave-holder, Carlyle, with his views on putting the brakes on slavery slo-o-owly, could be perceived as being as self-serving as the neoliberals who pretend to care about the plight of blacks. On the other hand, his criticisms of a certain kind of abolitionist could be applied to neoliberals today.

    Hi to everyone else. I should go now I suppose.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, go! And take your soap with you!

    :)

  • Irene Athena
  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I’ve really gotta take exception to this one, since there were humans in the New World as early as 50,000 years ago, and 40,000 years ago in Australia, and in the Old World, of course, well over 100,000 years earlier than that.

    Glenn, you’re not thinking this through.

    Like all the rest of us, you’ve got two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents and so on… until by the time you go back 38 generations – about 1000 years – you end up with over a trillion ancestors.

    Obviously, the world population in the year 1012 was slightly less than 1 trillion. If you were able to trace every single thread of your lineage, and assuming you didn’t get hopelessly confused in the process, you’d find the same ancestors cropping up time and again, through multiple lines (or perhaps that should be balls of yarn) of descent.

    While it might seem implausible that you, a European, could share a patriarch in common with a Kalahari Bushman, all it would take is (for example) one of your European antecedents to have been a sailor whose ship anchored on the West African coast to take on water, and his captain to have given him shore leave, and for him to do what sailors generally do when they’re in port, and suddenly his genes are all over Africa.

    Furthermore, you were born and grew up in North America, as were – I’m assuming – at least a generation or two of your forebears, so the odds of you having ancestors in common with native Americans are even shorter.

    Certainly humans were much less mobile going back more than a couple of centuries, but all it takes is a teaspoon or so of sperm… and you and I and zingzing and Dan and Irene and Oprah Winfrey and Julius Caesar are distant cousins – many hundreds or thousands of times over.

    Mazel tov.

  • STM

    Irene, I’d bet London to a brick that term might have been around a bit before Carlyle.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    LOL – actually, the only thing stopping me from seeing Wicked this fall is funding….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    No, I understand what you mean – I really do. You are describing a sort of “six degrees of separation” that applies to genetic distribution – remember the conquests by the Huns and the Mongols. A certain horny toad named Genghis Khan is estimated to have 16M descendants today. My son doesn’t look half-Asian, but let him get his hands on a battle axe and a hardened hide-and-fur helmet with horns on it and I bet you’d see a predatory grin on his face and the endless steppe in his eyes.

    But then there were peoples that were never “discovered” until the 1900’s – like in the Amazon – and other peoples who refused contact with outsiders, like the Japanese – whose royal family can trace all its ancestors back 2500 years IIRC.

    IMO, the scientist is – has to be – referring not to any real likelihood, but more likely the most recent time that such a progenitor could possibly have existed, and the more distant the time in the past, the greater that likelihood becomes.

  • Dan

    “An exceptionally bad one.”(the analogy of using the visible electromagnetic spectrum to help understand race)—Dreadful

    It was your analogy not mine. lol. Even though I would agree that you typically are quite weak (often needlessly inchoherent) at analogising, I thought that you stumbled on to a good one this time. Particularly since it lended me the opportunity to so elegantly refute the point you were making.


    With the exception of a few geographically isolated populations such as the Australians, this is entirely untrue. The most recent common ancestor of all living humans probably lived only about 3000 years ago.”—Dreadful

    Having a common ancestor does not mean that population groups didn’t live tens of thousands of years in evolutional divergent isolation. Nor, does it mean that the occasional European adventurer who mated with the natives erased the genetic distance between population groups.

    “This is an odd claim considering your insistence that the forced segregation of the 19th and early 20th centuries was replaced by forced integration. Where are your exemplars if, as you say, people have been forced to live, work and study together ever since they stopped being forced not to?”—Dreadful

    You’ve never heard of school bussing, disparate impact law, fair housing act etc.? On the other hand, in some sense forced segregation was never forced. If white integrationists didn’t like it that they couldn’t drink from the colored water fountains, they could move North. Today, no such option for segregationists exists.

    “what makes you think you’re “power”?”—zing

    You misunderstood. I was saying that unlike your moronic fantasy, I, and race realists in general, speak truth to power. Of course truth is power, so in that sense I am power. That is why you can only call me a “racist”, poop your pants, have the comments editor wipe it up, then come back and try to hint at what you are so proud of.

    “Dan, you’ve GOT to learn to take those crap-tinted glasses off, because they’re making you believe all the B.S. that you’re reading in your own personal echo chamber.”—Glenn

    Glenn, you’ve already admitted (to Dreadful) that you were wrong about European middle age bathing habits. That means I was correct to say you were wrong. Let’s reflect on this for a moment before jumping to other arguments. You know, it could be Glenn, that you fell for such a ridiculous notion because you are indoctrinated in ethnomasochism. You want to beleive that whites are historically evil, dirty, stupid, and oppressive. That would make you, for pointing out that evil and not contributing to the continual relative suffering of non-white people, a really good guy!

    You see that is how I think it works Glenn. You are predisposed to believe any anti-white crap you hear. No matter how logic tortured. You probably believe, for instance, that black men were routinely lynched for ‘just looking at a white woman the wrong way’ or that white bankers refuse making loans to non-whites (and the profits that come with them) because of racist hatred.

    How are you able to rationalize continually comming up factually wrong yet arrogantly moving on to the next attack?

    “Currently, at one extreme is the hateful “lynch them all” viewpoint, one is Dan’s more moderate belief that all races would be happier if they lived separately and that efforts to do so should not be thwarted”—Irene

    Thanks for putting some distance between my viewpoint and “lynch them all”, but just for clarification, I would be in favor of all people being free to choose any type of population mix they prefer to live in. It’s a big world, I would never wish to restrict integrationists dream society. It still astonishes me that complete freedom of association is a considered a bad thing for many people.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But then there were peoples that were never “discovered” until the 1900’s – like in the Amazon – and other peoples who refused contact with outsiders, like the Japanese – whose royal family can trace all its ancestors back 2500 years IIRC.

    Glenn, you’re looking at things through white-tinted glasses. That “uncontacted” Amazon tribe trades with other neighbouring Amazon tribes, who trade with yet other tribes, and so on until you come to a tribe that does have regular contact with the outside world.

    See how it works?

    One proof of that particular pudding is that a recently “discovered” people living in a remote part of Peru, despite supposedly never having encountered civilization before, nevertheless could be clearly seen in the aerial photos taken of them to be using steel machetes.

    As far as Japan is concerned, the peoples of those islands have waged war and invaded other nations, and been invaded themselves, numerous times over the past two and a half millennia. And if the Japanese imperial family really can keep track of every single one of its ancestors back over that period of time, then I’m sure various entities like IBM, the CIA and NASA must be very interested indeed in whatever supercomputer they’re using…

    The one case in which one might be able to make a case for no contact with outsiders until recent times is, as I said before, the indigenous Australians. They inhabited an isolated continent and were not, as far as we know, seafarers. But even then, there are certain tales of sailors being marooned on uncharted coasts as a punishment for some deadly serious crime, and then, decades or centuries later, of the first European explorers in Australia encountering aboriginal tribes some of whose members had blue eyes and unusually pale skin…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Glenn, you’ve already admitted (to Dreadful) that you were wrong about European middle age bathing habits. That means I was correct to say you were wrong.

    I said I was wrong about “twice a lifetime”…but then I pointed out indications showing that no, I was NOT wrong. But you didn’t see that part, did you? You saw only the part you wanted to see and ignored the rest. Therein lay the roots of your racism.

    You probably believe, for instance, that black men were routinely lynched for ‘just looking at a white woman the wrong way’ or that white bankers refuse making loans to non-whites (and the profits that come with them) because of racist hatred.

    “Routinely lynched”? No, not “routinely”, but there’s quite a few documented cases of black men being lynched because of rumor or obviously false accusation. See here, here, and here. When it comes to banks not making loans to blacks, see here.

    Dan, I went to an all-white school in a county that was (and is) 71% black – it was part of the ‘academy’ system that Senator John O. Eastland (who was twice President Pro Tem) put into place after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in order to preserve segregation of schools. Even in 1984 – twenty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act – I saw in the town where I graduated high school (Shaw, Mississippi) “White” and “Colored” entrance signs above the two doors to the town’s only doctor’s office. Last year, a poll showed that 46% of Republicans in Mississippi said that interracial marriages should be banned. Earlier THIS MONTH a church in Mississippi refused to marry a couple – because they were black!

    Dude, it’s YOU who needs to wake up. I’ve SEEN these things – I’ve LIVED them, and while I was growing up there, I never realized the racism for what it was. Why? Because when a child grows up in a place, no matter how bad that place is, he sees it as ‘normal’ and ‘not so bad’. It was only after I traveled other nations and learned other cultures and experienced real life away from the racist echo chamber that you inhabit that I learned how wrong it all was.

    Again, Dan, I was once like you…but my eyes were opened. Yours are still shut.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    One proof of that particular pudding is that a recently “discovered” people living in a remote part of Peru, despite supposedly never having encountered civilization before, nevertheless could be clearly seen in the aerial photos taken of them to be using steel machetes.

    Hm. I was not aware that our aerial photography was so good that we could tell whether something shaped like a machete was made out of steel or wood or whatever. But that’s just a snarky retort that I couldn’t resist, and I’d have to give you this one.

    As far as Japan is concerned, the peoples of those islands have waged war and invaded other nations, and been invaded themselves, numerous times over the past two and a half millennia.

    And what likelihood do you think there was that Japanese soldiers were allowed to bring non-Japanese women back to the Japanese mainland? You know as well as I do how xenophobic they were, and how said xenophobia was enforced by law.

    No, Doc, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. I could buy 10,000 years, or perhaps even 6,000 – after all, as Diamond pointed out in his book, the language of Madagascar was not African, but was instead based on an Indonesian language. That in and of itself would lend itself to your view. But 3K years? No.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    And what likelihood do you think there was that Japanese soldiers were allowed to bring non-Japanese women back to the Japanese mainland? You know as well as I do how xenophobic they were, and how said xenophobia was enforced by law.

    What difference would that make to the model? Did Japanese law mandate that soldiers were only fertile when they were on home soil? Or that invading armies became impotent to a man as soon as they set foot in Japan?

    Come on, Glenn…

    I could buy 10,000 years, or perhaps even 6,000 – after all, as Diamond pointed out in his book, the language of Madagascar was not African, but was instead based on an Indonesian language. That in and of itself would lend itself to your view. But 3K years? No.

    Chang’s model – here’s a link to a Science Daily article about his research – takes into account geographical isolation, cultural taboos against interbreeding and many other factors. He built on an earlier, deliberately simple model which determined that, all things being equal, the most recent common ancestor of all living humans would have lived only 1000 years ago. Things in the real world not, of course, being equal, when Chang added in a number of wildcards he came up with the 3000 year figure.

    From what I can gather, it’s actually a mathematical impossibility for us all not to be interrelated as recently as that. If you stretch out the timeframe, you end up requiring more unique ancestors than there were humans alive at the time.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    It was your analogy not mine. lol.

    Yes, and it was a very apt one until you appropriated it for your own misguided ends, glossing over entirely the bit where primary colours are an illusion generated by the human visual processing mechanism, as is the perception of visually distinct races among the human species.

    (LOL.)

    Even though I would agree that you typically are quite weak (often needlessly inchoherent) at analogising

    Any analogy can be made to seem weak if one’s opponent has already made up his mind to find holes in it, because he will find them. No one situation is ever going to be an exact match for another. If you’re waiting for me or anyone else to come up with a flawless analogy for, oh, anything at all, you’ll be waiting a long time. It’s technically possible, but in such a world we’d all be sitting at our keyboards typing things like “An argument on Blogcritics is like an argument on Blogcritics”… Brilliant stuff, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Having a common ancestor does not mean that population groups didn’t live tens of thousands of years in evolutional divergent isolation. Nor, does it mean that the occasional European adventurer who mated with the natives erased the genetic distance between population groups.

    I never claimed either of those things. But it does throw another spanner in the works of your model of humankind as divisible into neat, tidy racial categories.

    You’ve never heard of school bussing, disparate impact law, fair housing act etc.?

    You misunderstand my question. Let me put it another way: if forced segregation (e.g. designated separate schools for whites and blacks) was immediately replaced by forced integration (e.g. bussing), what evidence is there that, absent these external influences, people naturally congregate with others of their own race – if, as you claim, there has never been an absence of those influences?

  • STM

    If Dan wants to see the other side of his picture – how so called “interbreeding” between different races, in this case maori/polynesians and British anglo-celts, can lead to a race of superhuman ubermensch – he needs to watch the All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team, going full tilt sometime to get an idea.

  • STM

    It is truly frightening stuff …

  • STM

    OK Doc, with your 3000 years or so, where does that leave indigenous Australians?

    We know they have been on this continent for a lot longer than that. Tools, artwork, middens and human and animal remains discovered by archaeologists prove that.

    I know you gave yourself an out on that, but if they have been around for much longer than 3000 years, and there has been plenty of interbreeding of races on this continent, then a lot of Australians can chase their ancestry back a lot longer than that.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    It certainly is, Stan. As an analogy, if you can imagine 15 All Blacks bearing down on you at top speed, you will get some idea! :-p

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    (That last one was in response to 130…)

    Like I said, the Australians are the one genuinely isolated outlier. I don’t think even the Polynesians made it to the great southern continent, and you know what phenomenal travellers and explorers they were.

    Even so, all it takes is the occasional lost wanderer landing up on the beach, and the local tribe taking him in, and him catching a twinkle in the eye of one of the young Sheilas; and for this to happen even just once or twice a century; and to remember that he has brothers and sisters and cousins back where he came from, as does the young Sheila; and suddenly you’ve got a few robust bloodlines between the land Down Under and the rest of the world.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    What difference would that make to the model? Did Japanese law mandate that soldiers were only fertile when they were on home soil? Or that invading armies became impotent to a man as soon as they set foot in Japan?

    What you’re missing is that the model would essentially require a one-way transfer of heritage from Japan, but not into Japan.

    Like I said, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. You know the respect I have for your gray matter and common sense, but I will not agree on one 3K-year-old person being a direct ancestor of all humanity. Uh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen. The real age of exploration isn’t even a thousand years old yet.

  • STM

    Doc: “15 All Blacks bearing down on you at top speed”.

    They’d scare the shit of me long before that; about the time they run out of the tunnel would do it. If you had to stare down a Haka just before kick-off, that would completely do your head in.

    You’d know you were in for whole world of pain. I don’t know how non-Kiwi rugby players even have the balls to get on the paddock against the All Blacks, truly I don’t.

    Will Carling when he was captain of England said they tossed up a few ideas in the pub one night about how to respond to the Haka.

    Carling’s idea was that the Poms could possibly reply with a bit of Morris dancing. Lol.

    I know why they they made a joke of it – because if they weren’t laughing, they’d be crying.

    Cheers Doc.

  • Irene Athena

    In retrospect, I’m really sorry I linked (#118) to that “I’m melting” video jokingly. There is nothing funny about being a heretic who has decided to hate God.

    Sometimes, though, it is hard to know what the truth is. One looks back at beliefs one held at one time, which have since been abandoned, and wonders how many other opinions will, in time, also be changed, as one’s understanding and compassion are broadened.

    We all are wrong about some things, I suppose, and we all need mercy every day, no matter how close we think we are to “having the mind of Christ” in all things. Maybe there is no such thing as a humble heretic. Maybe humility is the thing that distinguishes a heretic from someone who is confused, but knows he is confused.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    What you’re missing is that the model would essentially require a one-way transfer of heritage from Japan, but not into Japan.

    No, it wouldn’t. All the model says is that we’re all 100th cousins or so. It doesn’t matter which direction the genetic transfer happens in, and even if it did, you’re forgetting that Japan has been invaded itself as well has having invaded other places.

    I will not agree on one 3K-year-old person being a direct ancestor of all humanity.

    Oh no, Glenn. It’s not one person. It’s everyone in the world who was alive at the time – at least, everyone who succeeded in leaving at least one bloodline down to the present.

    The real age of exploration isn’t even a thousand years old yet.

    This is where your imagination is letting you down. The model doesn’t require explorers or adventurers, just a group of people who occasionally intermarry with the group of people at the other end of the valley, who intermarry with the tribe from over the hill, who trade with the boatmen from downriver, who have a political alliance with the band of fishermen who live a few miles down the coast, who… and so on.

    In just those five generations (a century or so), you’ve already spread your genes a few hundred miles from their starting point. And that’s not even taking into account the relationships all those groups of people down the line have with yet other groups.

    Even the distance between landmasses isn’t much of an obstacle: think of, for example, the trade routes between the Middle East, East Africa and India, and between India and the Far East, that have existed for centuries, perhaps millennia.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    (I’m reluctant to acquiesce to the agreeing to disagree thing in this instance, Glenn, because I feel you’re missing out on the fascinating elegance of the thing.

    You may be having a hard time getting your head around the concept because of the habit most genealogists have of tracing ancestry back primarily through the male line. One can hardly blame them: they’d go mad otherwise.

    Still don’t believe me? Try tracing every single ancestral line in your family. Start with your father’s and mother’s families. Then their parents’ – all four of them. Then their brothers’ and sisters’. Then the families of the people they married.

    And so on. You’d have hundreds of people before you’d barely got started; and if you were truly determined to surf the wave of insanity to the break, you’d find the same bloodlines starting to pop up again and again before you’d gone back more than a dozen generations or so.

    We tend to think of familial descent in terms of a tree, when really it’s more like a vast and hopelessly entangled spider web.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Doc –

    How did we get from

    The most recent common ancestor of all living humans probably lived only about 3000 years ago.

    to

    It’s not one person. It’s everyone in the world who was alive at the time – at least, everyone who succeeded in leaving at least one bloodline down to the present.

    ?

    Maybe it’s just me, but those two look like a square peg and a round hole to me.

  • Irene Athena

    Dr. D and Glenn. Am I understanding this correctly?– I think I hear Dr. D saying that for any TWO people alive today, there is a common ancestor who lived about 3000 years ago. Two different pairs of people living today might have two different common ancestors, but both of those common ancestors would have lived around 3000 years ago.

    And what I think I hear Glenn saying is that there is a Mitochondrial Eve, who is the most recent common ancestor of ANY human being alive today. She lived a very long time ago, but not so long ago as the woman we’ll call Adam’s Ribbian Eve, who was the ancestor of Mitochondrial Eve. Every one of Adam’s Ribbian Eve’s descendants, except for Mitochondrial Eve, had genetic lines that died out after a certain number of generations.

    Mitochondrial Eve is the only one among her sisters whose direct descendants are alive today. (And similarly, there is a Y-chromosal Adam, who is not the first human male, but rather, the most recent male from whom EVERY human being alive today descends.)

    Glenn’s claim and Dr. D’s claim are not incompatible, as far as I can tell.

  • Irene Athena

    “most recent common ancestor of ALL human beings alive today” is what paragraph two should say.

  • Irene Athena

    See? I made the same typing mistake that I think Dr. D made, except he at first said “ALL” in that first sentence Glenn quoted, when I think Dr. D meant to say, “ANY.”

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Irene, what I am (or rather Dr Chang is) saying is that there was a point about 3000 years ago at which a person lived who is the direct ancestor of everyone alive today. In fact, mathematically, it seems to me that many or most of that person’s generation would hold that status.

    But I think you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head as regards what I think Glenn is thinking of. The difference between the most recent common ancestor (the most recent person from whom all living humans can theoretically trace their lineage, and had contemporaries from whom some living people are descended) and the identical ancestors point (the generation comprising only (1) people who are related to everyone alive today, and (2) people who have left no living descendants) is subtle, but important.

  • Irene Athena

    Well, no, the article that Dr. D linked to does say, in 2004, a professor in the Department of Statistics at Yale presented mathematical models showing that “the most recent person who was a direct ancestor of all humans currently alive may have lived just a few thousand years ago.” (Italics mine.)

    The claim that the most recent common ancestor (Mitochondrial Eve) lived 200,000 years ago was made in 1987, but was disputed by the 2004 model.

    The accuracy of the estimate depends, in part, on the validity of the assumptions made when the mathematical simulations were run. One assumption made with the earlier 1987 estimate was that genetic mutations occur at a steady rate.

    There are problems with that assumption:
    “There are many variables that can affect the mutation rate of mtDNA, including even the possibility that mtDNA is not always inherited strictly through maternal lines. Recent studies show that paternal mtDNA can… alter the maternal mtDNA through recombination. Such recombination would drastically affect the mutation rate and throw off date estimates.”

  • Irene Athena

    I hadn’t read your comment before I posted mine, Dr. D. I think everyone’s head hurts now!

  • STM

    Doc: “the direct ancestor of everyone alive today:.

    Well that’s where it really falls down Doc, for instance if you get someone out in the bush here who is a full-blood indigenous Australian.

    So you then go from 3000 years back to 50,000 years.

  • STM

    And with no one else involved, of course, outside this continent.

  • Igor

    Talking about Racism, and it’s evil twin Fascism, here’s what Toni Morrison has to say (courtesy of Jennifer Stone):

    Toni Morrison – racism and fascism

    Citation: The Nation May 29 1995, v260, n21, p760(1)
    Author: Morrison, Toni
    Title: Racism and fascism.(excerpt from a March 2, 1995, speech
    at Howard University) by Toni Morrison

    Let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.

    Something, perhaps, like this:

    1. Construct an internal enemy, as both focus and diversion.

    2. Isolate and demonize that enemy by unleashing and protecting the utterance of overt and coded name-calling and verbal abuse. Employ ad hominem attacks as legitimate charges against that enemy.

    3. Enlist and create sources and distributors of information who are willing to reinforce the demonizing process because it is profitable, because it grants power and because it works.

    4. Palisade all art forms; monitor, discredit or expel those that challenge or destabilize processes of demonization and deification.

    5. Subvert and malign all representatives of and sympathizers with this constructed enemy.

    6. Solicit, from among the enemy, collaborators who agree with and can sanitize the dispossession process.

    7. Pathologize the enemy in scholarly and popular mediums; recycle, for example, scientific racism and the myths of racial superiority in order to naturalize the pathology.

    8. Criminalize the enemy. Then prepare, budget for and rationalize the building of holding arenas for the enemy – especially its males and absolutely its children.

    9. Reward mindlessness and apathy with monumentalized entertaimnents and with little pleasures, tiny seductions: a few minutes on television, a few lines in the press; a little pseudosuccess; the illusion of power and influence; a little fun, a little style, a little consequence.

    10. Maintain, at all costs, silence.

    In 1995 racism may wear a new dress, buy a new pair of boots, but neither it nor its succubus twin fascism is new or can make anything new. It can only reproduce the environment that supports its own health: fear, denial and an atmosphere in which its victims have lost the will to fight.

    The forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems are not to be found in one political party or another, or in one or another wing of any single political party. Democrats have no unsullied history of egalitarianism.
    Nor are liberals free of domination agendas. Republicans have housed abolitionists and white supremacists. Conservative, moderate, liberal; right, left, hard left, far right; religious, secular, socialist – we must not be
    blindsided by these Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola labels because the genius of fascism is that any political structure can host the virus and virtually any developed country can become A suitable home. Fascism talks ideology, but it is really just marketing – marketing for power.

    It is recognizable by its need to purge, by the strategies it uses to purge and by its terror of truly democratic agendas. It is recognizable by its determination to convert all public services to private entrepreneurship; all nonprofit organizations to profit-making ones – so that the narrow but protective chasm between governance and business disappears. It changes citizens into taxpayers – so individuals become angry at even the notion of the public good. It changes neighbors into consumers – so the measure of our value as humans is not our humanity or our compassion or our generosity but what we own. It changes parenting into panicking – so that we vote against the interests of our own children; against their health care, their education, their safety from weapons. And in effecting these changes it produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being for a product – a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car – or kill generations for control of products – oil, drugs, fruit, gold.

    When our fears have all been serialized, our creativity censured, our ideas “marketplaced,” our rights sold, our intelligence sloganized, our strength downsized, our privacy auctioned; when the theatricality, the entertainment value, the marketing of life is complete, we will find ourselves living not in a nation but in a consortium of industries, and wholly unintelligible to ourselves except for what we see as through a screen darkly.

    Toni Morrison, a member of the Nation’s editorial board, won the Nobel Prize
    in Literature in 1993. She is the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.

    Archives Available at:
    archives

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Irene, what I am (or rather Dr Chang is) saying is that there was a point about 3000 years ago at which a person lived who is the direct ancestor of everyone alive today. In fact, mathematically, it seems to me that many or most of that person’s generation would hold that status.

    Let me get this straight – it seems to you that many or most of the generation of the ‘most recent common ancestor’ would also hold the status of the ‘most recent common ancestor’????