The Sun is Setting on Our Traditions

Autumn Fundraiser 2013, Day 1

Ah, the lovely fragrance of traditions — apple pie and Chevrolet fumes, right? At least that was our American 20th century version, complete with the flag unfurling in the smoky air of burned hot dogs. Hand me a Norman Rockwell painting someone… we can discuss the everyday objects he illustrated that have since disappeared, taking with them some of the artifacts of our “culture”, things we thought were permanent. But hey, we were Americans. Naïve. A young country full of optimism.

We’re older now, and thanks to our “leaders”, far less optimistic.

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These posts for our fundraising are difficult to start sometimes. Life keeps interfering, and besides, it’s difficult to ask for money.

Tip jarHowever, our agreement with our readers, made back in 2008 — that in exchange for your robust support we would keep the blog free of advertisements — has worked well. Along with our savings (a project sadly interrupted by unemployment) and the Baron’s freelance computer jobs, it is your generosity which keeps us going. Each quarter I am amazed that your gifts work out to be what we need at the time. (For the longer term we’re trying to set aside some from each quarter to get the roof over the Baron’s office repaired. The carpenter gave us a heads-up on that and I want to stay ahead of the snow or rain.)

Sometimes I flirt with the idea of doing an Amazon ad somewhere at the bottom of the page. But that’s simply because I’m over there to do my incidental shopping, like vitamins and the drops for the Baron’s eye. I think of Amazon as the WalMart for those of us who don’t get out much. Recently I noticed our friend, Fausta, has a button on her blog that links to her Wish List; that might be fun. At the moment, our List serves as a place to stash reminders for things I need or want. I looked at the list the other day and when I saw the book on salt, put there in a moment of curiosity, I thought to myself, “Oh my word. I’m turning into Fjordman!”. I mean really, a book on salt? Does that not tell you Fjordman is in the room??

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The Baron is going along with my request for the theme for our 2013 Autumn Quarterly Fundraiser. To be sure, the subject of “culture and traditions” is a bit wooly at best. Since he hasn’t any recipes to share, he’s not sure where I’m steering this or whether he’ll have anything cogent to add. He’s right to be doubtful about this; I share the same uncertainty, since I’m hacking a path through unthought knowns and asking that you help shed some light here, too.

The idea for this for this one is both to use traditions as our theme and to share ideas about what makes a shared culture evolved gradually from a variety of sources. In other words, we need your input. No doubt we share many of the same mental constructs built over time. Just by thinking about the things the Baron and I talk about between the two of us, or the ideas and experiences our readers share in their emails and comments, it’s obvious we’re living in a cultural storm. Our once-firm foundation is shaken. It’s enlightening to read other bloggers and websites to see the level of confusion and anger we’re all experiencing.

It’s obvious we’re in flux: just look at the increasing erosion of our formerly broad acceptance of what constitutes agreed-upon public symbols. Mrs. Obama’s possible sneer, “it’s just a flag” at the 9/11 ceremony disheartened many. If the First Lady finds the American flag detestable, where do we go from there? If the President slams shut the door of the White House against the public, are we now a homeless people? [His spite backfired; he thought Americans would blame Congress, but they know how his mind works now. Thus he may be forced to open the doors of The People’s House soon. Crow is a hard dish to get down. Be sure to look at that image at the top of the link.]

Sometimes it seems as thought we’re being fitted for straitjackets which will permit the lobotomies in which “Consensus” will be inserted and Common Sense removed. Even as we fight back against these Tailored Truths regarding, oh, maybe…

  • global warming “climate change”
  • safe pollution levels
  • the national “danger” guns represent
  • the received wisdom regarding “renewable” products and energy
  • what constitutes acceptable public moral behavior
  • what constitutes “gender”
  • the mortal sin of “white racism”, neither forgivable nor redeemable
  • illegal immigrant “amnesty”

…and so on. The list is huge; I’m hoping readers will add to it. I haven’t even touched on the spectrum of religious faith — from atheism through agnosticism and onward across the hundreds of denominations we Americans create and renew endlessly. To call it “diversity” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Notice the scare quotes. It’s difficult to write a sentence about our current culture without resorting to a kind of shorthand; we use these symbolic pointers to signal to others that we don’t really buy the gospel according to the Marxists-in-charge. And the Marxists do the same thing, marking up words like “liberty” or “Constitutional Rights” or those “gun freaks” and “bitter clingers”. Tedious, innit?

One sure sign of the extent to which the cultural consensus is being set upon and fragmented is the growing reluctance people on the Right experience about voicing opinions: the penalties for even mild dissent within our ranks can be stiff, never mind what the collectivists have to say. I’m talking about dissension inside the tent.

Closer to home (our Gates of Vienna home), the fierce cordon sanitaire set up around Diana West continues to be instructive. We ought to be used to it by now, but the invocation of silence is even more disturbing than the invective used against her. The Center for Security Policy is giving Diana West an award in New York City this week. What do you want to bet that many of those who would have been there in normal times will suddenly find themselves otherwise engaged on the date of the award? This is one of the ways you can discern how money or power can be leveraged to diminish anyone who dares to break with the Consensus. Obviously, there is more than one Consensus — really, do you see the similarities to the way Americans divide and dissent into ever smaller “houses of faith”? Remember the old joke about the Jew on a desert island who built two synagogues so he’d have one he wouldn’t be caught dead in? It’s become like that.

If nothing else, this sad episode has demonstrated that Marxist behavior has thoroughly infiltrated the Right. Arm-twisting and air-brushing are now as unbridled among Conservatives as they are among the Left. Of course it was always that way, but was it this pervasive?

Fear is rampant; integrity is in short supply. If so-called conservatives feel free to make demands on others regarding exclusive “allegiance-or-else-the-outer-darkness”, then any purported honor on our “side” is gone. Whenever you see someone disappeared, delinked or otherwise thrown under the bus or pushed down the memory hole because they deviated from the pushers’ Doctrine, then you know you’re in the presence of a totalitarian. Totalitarians on the Right have always existed, we just didn’t want to admit they infested our ranks.

When such things happen, there are a number of predictable responses. Some folks stand around to watch whoever it is swinging from that crane. Others turn inward, toward their families and networks of friendships. But even those are becoming problematic: many politically divided families will be gathering on Thanksgiving with a strong rule: NO political discussions during the meal please. Others have since broken their lances over one another’s head and refuse to convene anymore.

Even friendships go by the board. A personal anecdote: some women friends of long-standing gathered to visit with a mutual friend who was dying. She had chosen to die at home, so we were taking turns keeping watch. In the living room, the occasional bursts of desultory conversation sometimes turned to politics and, yes, it was the usual socialist/collectivist bromides, with Greek chorus agreement of invective against Them. These were well-intentioned women, and all but the woman dying and I were well-paid government employees. Our worlds had intersected when we were younger so we’d gathered again as death summoned us.

Unfortunately, someone noticed I wasn’t joining in these conversations and one questioned me directly about my thoughts on what was being discussed. Replying that I didn’t usually discuss my political views or my sexual preferences, I went on to say that the contrary conclusions I’d come to had begun with reading economic philosophy in an attempt to understand some of the problems I saw. How’s that for generalizing? Quickly, eyes glazed over: Economics? Philosophy? — these were my friends but I could see the gears grind. And then I said the unmentionable: that I was praying for our mutual friend. When the veneer really began to crack, I lightened up by adding that whether one believed or not, prayer certainly gave us something to do while we waited. Nervous laughter…

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Isn’t it alarming that politics has become the vying of different state religions, with the high priests politicians arrayed against one another? Now it’s political philosophy that causes fierce rants against heretics, with baby killers and gun nuts on separate ramparts, easily identified by he slogans on their t-shirts. On other walls other warriors contend — the collectivists vs. (sneer) Tea Party “populists”.

In this poisonous atmosphere, which extends into cyberspace (maybe even especially here, since so much fury and vitriol has the advantage of being anonymously fired off), some of us have been repeatedly forced to choose: either convert to the same Thought Doctrine as one’s opponent (former ally, even), or they will retaliate by using some kind of leverage to silence the errant. Thus you have a growth industry in revenge: boycotts, public shaming, bullying — whatever works to bring opponents to heel. In the case of my dying friend and those who were waiting with her, I was the odd woman out. However, because we had a shared history of former good times, and because our friend was dying, somehow it stayed civil; stiff and strained but civil. You won’t be surprised when I say I don’t hear from them much anymore. Politics has so frayed the social fabric that there’s not enough material left to sew into any meaningful pattern.

You all know our opinion of television and the poisoned air it has created in modern culture. This phenomenon is partly due to the now-accepted 24/7 pressure of and by commercial television to generate “news”, to excite and distress us at the same time. Mass media must continually push its Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling alarm or… guess what? We won’t bother watching. Its continued existence depends on selling stories — and the state forms of communication are still selling something: the opinion of the state. This pervasive, intrusive medium of communication bears a large part of the responsibility for the degradation of the culture. However, all forms of media only serve to hasten a process that has been going on… for how long, do you think?

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For the sake of this week’s discussion of traditions and culture — or Tradition and Culture — let’s begin…somewhere. How about the publication of The Communist Manifesto and Engels’ “Communist Confession of Faith”? That was a crucial node point — in Europe at any rate. It would be a long while before America began to feel the collectivist urge.

However, if we look at parallel times — the mid-19th century — for Americans the emphasis was internal. Until the great sea change of intellectuals washing up on our shores in the 1930s — those refugees from the mortal fields of Europe — we Americans were content to do, mostly leaving the more effete pursuits of “book learning” to the old folk in the Old World.

The beginnings of American modernity lay not with the union of workers or with collectivization. Instead we created the first truly modern and horrific war. Our four years of feeding the mechanized mass killing machine (which also began the obvious erosion of our Constitution by President Lincoln) annihilated the cream of our male population: at least 700,000 lost their lives, and the shadows of that holocaust, largely unrecognized but still in effect in the north, remain with us today. [As a point of comparison, if the war were fought with today’s population, the death toll would be more than six million.] Some fifty years on, our massive train of mechanized death was to converge on the same track with Marxism, and millions would die even more anonymously throughout the course of the 20th century — what we grew up thinking of as “modern times”. Only they’re not modern anymore.

But how many of us now even remember that our first holiday of the summer, Memorial Day, grew out of the Civil War? In some states, it was first known as Decoration Day, a time set aside to visit our soldiers’ graves, to clean and refurbish them after the winter passed.

It is hard to leave the comfortable place we grew up, replete with Memorial Days and Fourths of July and long summer vacations, but that place is fading fast. For many it is gone; for others it never was. The 20th century, that brief hegemony of the United States, is irretrievably past, and the things and people we honored and cherished are passing into oblivion too. Time does that to each generation, but for us it is particularly difficult because we lack our previous optimism, the one that nourished us all our lives, the one that said the future would be an improvement on the present.

The knowledge that it will not be drives our despondency and/or panic. While the low-info folks watch TV, we wonder about the future being put in place for our children, and we simultaneously loathe the crony capitalism that is crashing around us and feel helpless to stop the steamroller of socialist collectivism. The wish to build a fence ’round what remains, to guard the periphery, to protect our children — all these desires and fears fuel our days. We are torn between conflicting ideas: to build a fortress based on what we know, or to be like Samson and bring down the temple on us all.

The vast majority of America’s population could be called The Bridge (more inclusive than the bulge of boomers that followed World War II since it includes those born before the War as well as those born thirty or forty years following). They are us — people who used to ‘dial’ phones, who remember the first clunky desktop computers and keyboards, but also can recall life before the mendacity of our institutions was exposed.

But what lies ahead? No one can tell us, though many are willing to point to coming events that portend great change. Here are just a few, gathered up from an email sent to a subscriber the other day:

  • Are you worried about the increasing world population? Don’t. Somewhere around 2050, when we’re gone but our descendants will be here, a dramatic decline in world population will occur. Or begin to occur. The Chinese know this, which is one reason they’ve eased off their draconian one-child-per-family law. What can the developed world expect? No one knows. The only template we have is from a very different time: the Middle Ages, when the globe lost possibly a third of its population. No one knows for sure.
  • The fact that our country is divided into strange federations and what that portends for the future (see the map at the top);
  • Within those federations, the City vs. the Country Divide (as also in ancient Rome). How will our leaders address the tensions and the flow of supplies from one, each to the other. For sure, those federations who establish a robust peace between city and country cousins will flourish;
  • The fact that “globalization” ain’t gonna happen. It was a 20th century myth;
  • the necessity to harden our skies against rogue EMPs and disruptive sun flares. The former would be catastrophic; sadly they are more probable than a solar flare. Given the level of hostility shown by both North Korea and Iran, the U.S. is a likely target, and the consequences would be dire. Fixing this problem is neither difficult nor expensive. Because of the puzzling inertia of NERC it will need to be a state-by-state initiative. As Maine has shown, it can be done.

Finally, I want to leave you with some thoughts regarding that map I linked at the beginning of this post. It was the premises of the essay which went with the map that decided me on discussing my concerns about our future, and later on, sharing some of our mutual traditions. The map itself is ingenious and, I think, accurate. His conclusions are predictably those of a collectivist, so there we part company. That doesn’t mean I don’t value his map; it just means I won’t be getting the book. Not even if it were free.

This author of this book, quoted at length in The Washington Post review, says:

The borders of my eleven American nations are reflected in many different types of maps — including maps showing the distribution of linguistic dialects, the spread of cultural artifacts, the prevalence of different religious denominations, and the county-by-county breakdown of voting in virtually every hotly contested presidential race in our history… Our continent’s famed mobility has been reinforcing, not dissolving, regional differences, as people increasingly sort themselves into like-minded communities.

Where I disagree with him is his tired old meme about the violent south. He conveniently overlooks the killing streets of the urban areas in the north to make his claim about Southern honor violence. And what does he think those many, many deaths in Chicago’s streets are about? Right. Honor.

His is the opinion of an outsider, a progressive collectivist who probably doesn’t own a gun. Just a guess…

The reviewer of the book says:

The clashes between the 11 nations play out in every way, from politics to social values. Woodard notes that states with the highest rates of violent deaths are in the Deep South, Tidewater and Greater Appalachia, regions that value independence and self-sufficiency. States with lower rates of violent deaths are in Yankeedom, New Netherland and the Midlands, where government intervention is viewed with less skepticism.

States in the Deep South are much more likely to have stand-your-ground laws than states in the northern “nations.” And more than 95 percent of executions in the United States since 1976 happened in the Deep South, Greater Appalachia, Tidewater and the Far West. States in Yankeedom and New Netherland have executed a collective total of just one person.

I’ll bet any Southerner would point to the thousands of ugly deaths in Dr. Gosnell’s “clinic” in Philadelphia as a counter to his tired contention. Oh wait. The death of viable babies in abortion clinics don’t count as murders in Yankeedom…

Goes to show it all depends on what the definition of “is” is. Ask the Clintons.

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37 thoughts on “The Sun is Setting on Our Traditions

  1. I believe that there is a direct link between Lincoln and Bismarck… And by teleological association Hitler.

    The ACW was a cull of the warrior caste (South White Male).

    Without that war I doubt Germany would have gambled on unification via war with France. Without that I doubt ww1 could have happened.

    • What was the name of that ruler, ? Jude the Obscure? You, Napier are King of Follow-the-Dots=Hither-and-Yon.

      How about some sources with those assertions?

      • Sure.

        The Prussian military looked at the Union army and modeled their policy for German unification on the grand strategy employed by Grant’s war machine.

        Bismarck in particular picked off Denmark’s Scheswig-Holstein then neutralized Austria and performed the killing blow against France in 1870. This all happened after Prussian observers returned from watching Grant corner Lee and Sherman burn down the south.

        At this point the French are burned up with revanchist hate for the Second Reich. The Germans became the masters of Europe and their military looked invincible. All the seeds for the two world wars were sown when Prussia surrounded the French at Sedan and besieged Paris.

        The Prussians modeled their bid for military, diplomatic and cultural dominance in imitation of the Union as it was conceived of by Lincoln and imlimented by butchers like Grant and Sherman.

        Had the Confederacy been allowed to go it alone or had fought the Union to a standstill the Prussians wouldn’t have dared to attempt the series of wars that resulted in the unification of the German statelets. The General Staff in Berlin would have scoffed and shelved such ideas.

        • The Confederacy was an agrarian feudal area, a regression to medieval times.

          Had the British not started it on the road to perdition with its demand for cotton and tobacco and its requirement that the indebted landowners take slaves (before the English got religion and outlawed slavery because the profit was gone for the ships’ investors), the South’s history would still have been slower, simply because of geography – wet, humid, hot and full of pestilence – the south was hard to liven in before the advent of air conditioning.

          The rest of the country was fast moving ahead of the South; people were betrayed by politicians who wanted war for their own reasons.

          de Tocqueville warned as much long before the the war started in Charleston.

          Sherman’s aggression was unforgiveable and Lincoln should have reined him in. However, less inflammatory language please – this use of “butcher” got by once but not again…

          Links from the New York Times don’t count as real reportage.

          • Not so. The Confederacy was fueled by the Cotton Gin. They also purchased first rate equipment from Europe duty free until import tariffs were slapped on by the Federal Government to encourage northernindustry.

            It wasn’t Feudal by any means. You don’t understand what feudal means if you think that the Confederacy was a Feudal entity.

          • A link that denigrates Lincoln in the NyT is, I suspect, a highly unusual editorial line for the NYT. I’m surprised they actually let that bit of reportage about Lincoln to get through.

            Lincoln was the great centralizer. Just. Like. Bismarck.

          • Stop. Quit.

            You’ve got almost 200 comments approved so far, and in a fairly short period of time. Given that much energy it looks like it’s time to start your own website, where you ride the comment threads all you want and make whatever assertions seems right to you.

            But not here. You’ve simply worn out your welcome with the cumulative negatvity of your posting. It’s sucking our energy at this point.

            If you were a cheeful commenter, it might not be so wearing. But that’s not the case…


  2. “Somewhere around 2050, when we’re gone but our descendants will be here, a dramatic decline in world population will occur. Or begin to occur.”

    Being a young ‘un, I’ll probably be alive then. What’s the basis for this theory?

    (Good article, I’ll try to get a donation through soon.)

      • Boy, I’m glad y’all are going to be around. I’m hearing from some younger ones more frequently. Gives me hope…

        Start with Gregory Copley. See the book, Uncivilization, on our sidebar. Usually I skip around in books – impatience, ADD, whatever…

        But Copley’s book? No skipping around. I am reading it carefully straight thru for the second time.

        No prescriptions from him, but plenty of descriptions, at the same time there are no “Horrors! We’re Doomed!” appendages to his information.

        On pg 123ff, he says we need to get over thinking about linear progression vis-a-vis population…he cites UN stats about the decline beginning in ~2050, but reminds us we don’t have a template for this so who knows? He also notes that the US Census Bureau (as usual stuck on stupid) persists in linear predictions. Population growth or decline – human or otherwise – is a geometric progression…

        “UNcivilization:Urban Geopolitics in a Time of Chaos” is only available in hardcover. I am going to write his group, ISSA, and complain about that. I’ve addressed his work in several posts, but as an aside. We really need to do a whole post on his observations.

        No wonder the Australian govt has given him a number of awards. Excellent work.

    • I have a great idea for preventing the demographic collapse of America! First we make abortion punishable by death.
      Then we revoke all civil rights for women.
      Then we lower the marriage age for women to 9. (although 14 might work)
      Then we revoke those silly notions about “Women’s Rights” and make all women legally the property of their father, which would be transferable to their husbands upon their marriage.
      Then we make it illegal for women to leave their homes unless they are accompanied by their father or an older brother.
      Then we require them to wear garments which would cover them from head to toe, except for a narrow vision slit with a mesh covering allowing them to see, but not to be seen.
      And then we keep our immigration policies exactly the way they are now.

      • We’ve already stolen Algebra, Astronomy, Coffee, Goat farming, Rolls Royce Merlin engines and Cable TV from the Muslims (none of which the West would ever have developed on their own, even a gazillion years after the Greeks, the Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution).

        Now you’re saying we should steal their Secret Plans for Demographic World Dominance too? Haven’t we taken enough from the Muslims already?

        • Actually I think we’ve taken far too much from the Muslim world already.
          But the Rolls Royce Merlin engine?
          (And don’t forget sandbags.)

          • “Actually I think we’ve taken far too much from the Muslim world already.”

            The double entendre, we stole that from them too. “Islam is a religion of peace”, “Jihad means striving”.

            And yes, Gabriel did provide the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the design for the Rolls Royce Merlin Engine. Don’t be led astray by infidel history.

        • Where did you find this [material with which I find myself in disagreement]? Dead head no heart Islam doesn’t have a clue. Do more research on the maudlin muslim MO (modus operandi that is.)

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  4. Do you remember Alvin Toffler *The Third Wave*? I’ve been revisiting it recently and I find it gives a very useful long perspective. Each ‘wave’ is a set of large-scale techno-social changes: first agriculture, then industrialisation, then the electronic age. The nation state (as opposed to the tribe/ warlord’s fiefdom) and the nuclear (as opposed to extended) family are characteristic of the Second Wave. The Third Wave seeks to replace the culture of the Second Wave with something new – decentralised, individualistic, post-national, anti-authoritarian – but above all, NOT Second Wave. Hence the otherwise inexplicable alliance with the First Wave culture of Islam. Hence also the relentless destructiveness (edgy, transgressive, subversive, ugly, brutalist) of Third Wave culture. Apart from cinema, where new heights really have been reached – maybe because the public has a say.

    • Well written.

      But is the digital age different from the industrial age? Or is it just a part of the second wave?

      • We are extensions of our tools, or vice versa. The connections, electric and electronic, are so pervasive that life in the West is no longer conceivable without them. For better or worse, we made a Faustian bargain way back then, and our advancements, improvements, and further advancements are like Topsy – they “jes’ growed”.

        Humans don’t think ahead much, and we have poor recall. We’re always in the present moment, but also not here at the same time as we’re planning our next whatever…

        Millions of people are trying to figure a way out that doesn’t cause a collapse. I pray the Israelis are working on it. Everywhere else is too ossified with regulations to be of much use. Israel, living on the edge of possible extinction, has that presence of mind that “execution-at-dawn” brings.

        May it be enough to salvage us. Though I doubt anyone will be gracious enough to say thanks. It will be deemed a nefarious plot, if it does work, and a stupid failure on Israel’s part if it doesn’t.

        We are up the creek right now; most of us haven’t even begun to notice the paddles are gone. That’s a blessing in a way. Otherwise the panic would be both immense and unhelpful.

        • I am not convinced we have progressed beyond the Neolithic anyway.

          Occasionally we get beyond the tribe, then the civilization collapses and begin to re-tribalize.

          Islam itself appears to be the agent of the retribalization of nation states.

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Bosnia-Whitechapel or a Rohinga-Wolverhamptonor a Bradfordistan.

  5. Well, here goes with a dissent. I hold that ‘global warming’ is altogether real, is man-made, is on track to interfere with crop yields within one or two decades, is causing sea levels to rise (so far, just a nuisance unless you live in Nauru or coastal Bangladesh, but it can get much worse), and is amply proven.

    I see these opinions as rising out of a combination of my technical education and propensity to look for evidence and proof, and out of conservative leanings which incline me to accept as fact whatever fact may be, whether it’s congruent with any prevailing received opinion.

    I fully realize that some on the left have lied about and exaggerated the dangers from global warming. No, it won’t cause earthquakes. No, the Himalayan glaciers will not be gone by 2035. But I’ve seen some skillful dodging and weaving on the pages of the Wall Street Journal—not outright lies, but selective emphasis of points that don’t really add up to the conclusion one is invited to reach. Not when unmentioned evidence that points the other way is put into the scales.

    I also hold that it is dangerous for the “right” to put eggs in this basket of global-warming pooh-poohing. The long standing tradition of jury trials that a witness who is proven false in one thing may be deemed false in all things will kick in here if, and I think when, my side (on many other issues) is proved wrong on this one.

    So my plea and advice is that this issue be put on a side table, and not be made a central part of the “faith and doctrine” of conservatism.

    • Good point.

      My problem with the anthropogenic GW thing is this: only Europeans and Americans pay any attention to the idea.

      Everyone else couldnt give a damn. The post industrial west isn’t the problem. I’m for strict population control in Asia and Africa for other reasons, but the Danes, French, Canadians, Irish…etc etc have not “caused” this and should not feel guilt.

      • There are a whole lot of number crunchers, demographers, and social scientists out there who are telling us we suffer from the myopia of presentism. They claim that our demographic collapse, based solely on the age range & numbers of the people we have in the world right now, is a mathematical certainty.

        Since much of what they claim has been borne out in other areas, I trust them. The fact that China is easing its “one child” says they believe it…and don’t want it to happen. Ditto, Russia, Singapore, etc.

        European women are not replacing themselves. Neither are Iranians, population in free fall. Japan is creepy about it. As Goldman pointed out in his book, only religious Americans and Israelis are at replacement levels.

        I forget what he said about the underclass implosion. I think it has to do with the fact that entitlements are going to disappear. Our wealth has been destroyed…welcome to fiat money reality, folks.

        • White girls have been tricked into low birthrates.

          It’s never been explained as a “survival of your people” sort of thing.

          Lay Back and Think of England meant something.

          • Golly gosh. That sounds very familiar.

            As I read the list I think of our hot humid VA summers. Egads.

            You’d think those Saudis would at least let the women wear white in that climate.

      • only Europeans and Americans pay any attention to the idea.–not true. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, even China, are fully paid up believers–the Japanese shovel billions into it.

    • I hold that ‘global warming’ is altogether real, is man-made, is on track to interfere with crop yields within one or two decades, is causing sea levels to rise (so far, just a nuisance unless you live in Nauru or coastal Bangladesh, but it can get much worse), and is amply proven.

      Climate change is indeed real. No problem there. This current “pause” is a problem for the agw folks, though. It didn’t fit their models very well.

      Some warming would be a good thing: longer growing seasons for one thing. Imagine Greenland green once more.

      The extent to which mankind makes a permanent, long-lasting dent one way or another is open to question. It smacks of hubris to me to claim our powerful abilities in the face of natural events like, say, Krakatoa.

      The rush to find replacements for fossil fuel energy is causing a stampede of beta-mode experiments that are doing damage we haven’t even adequately assessed yet.

      I mentioned the topic in passing as part of a much larger conversation. It *is* on a side table until the Greens want to push on it, to impoverish us all with carbon taxes, etc. Lucky Australia is going to get the damage rescinded. I wish we were so fortunate.

      China is the greatest offender when it comes to pollution and will continue to be so until the fossil fuels have been all used up and the thorium, etc is gone. By then perhaps the Israelis will have come up with some robust answers to the problem of energy.

      Of MUCH greater and more imminent concern is the shortage of worldwide water supplies during our continued population growth. Until that growth stops and begins to decline, there will be much mass movement and conflict.

      When the population does decline – and it’s surprising to see the UN actually on board with this idea – we are in uncharted areas but one thing is for sure: AGW will be truly moot. It simply won’t matter…

      • If China moves to an economy that uses more thorium and less coal, it might not be “green” by the lights of the Sierra Club, but fissioning thorium produces no CO2.

        China is indeed the biggest producer of CO2 today. With 3 times as many people as any other nation save India, this is hardly surprising. The US, India, Europe, Russia, and Japan are also significant contributors of CO2 emissions. All, or almost all, of us are going to have to ramp down those emissions if world CO2 levels are to stay below the IPCC recommended not-too-terribly-dangerous level. (500-600 ppm, somewhere in there.)

        I see water demand as important but not independent of warming. Crops need more water when it’s hot.

        I see the hubris charge as—-it’s complicated. On the one hand, it’s a heady business to imagine one’s species as capable of fundamentally remaking the whole earth’s climate. That sort of thing, heady visions of power, can be unhealthy. On the other hand, as a purely factual matter, I’m afraid we really can do it, and are on track to doing it. We’ve cleared whole continents of most of their forests. We’ve exterminated species right and left. We’ve leveled mountains just to get at the coal or whatever under them. We’ve fished the oceans so near to empty that it takes about 100 times as much work to catch a ton of what fish remain as it took 150 years ago. And we emit so much CO2 that only very refined measurements can detect the secondary contributions of volcanoes. The graph of CO2 concentrations measured from the summit of Mauna Loaw in Hawaii shows a smooth upward drift atop the annual variation due to Northern-summer growth of plants and Northern-winter dieback and decay of leaves etc.

        Coming to grips with the kind of power we now have? A sobering business. It reminds me of a time much earlier in my life when a friend asked me to say which of her two beaus she should marry. My hands just shook. There it was, the power to say. Mine. And I had no idea who. God help me if I’d had to make the decision. But now, we as a species are stuck. No one else will decide in our stead. There is no going back from that bite of that apple.

        But as with the marriage, I do think the decision matters. Things will not turn out the same either way.

      • Once more it is the political knee Jerk that creates more problems than it solves.

        IF Man made GW is problematic then we must indeed do something about it, but first we need to understand exactly what is causing the problem.

        But first we need to follow the money to ensure we are getting good value.

        I agree, potable water is humanities’ real problem, but there is no easy money to be had, and therefore no point in overblown, fear mongering publicity.

        ‘Carbon’ is a get rich quick scheme for ex-politicians who have managed to pyramid sell the idea across the globe, so the science is obfuscated by greed.

        Unfortunately, CO2 is water soluble, and theres a huge great lake out there. Worse still, the solubility in that lake varies with water temperature, so it is continually absorbing and emitting CO2.

        Then there is methane, also given off by all living things. And maybe the main culprit is humble water, clouds have a remarkable effect on sunlight….

        The science is NOT settled, even if the kick-backs are.

  6. I found this screed to be disturbing. I thought this fall’s fund raiser would highlight the good things about our various cultures in order to bolster those that have been so beaten down of late…
    Instead, you write a very dark letter and leave no room for optimism.
    I was prepared to submit many examples of western cultural history via cooking.
    When we sit down with family members and friends to share cultural dishes it brings us closer together.
    I guess I misunderstood and I can take my 60 year old cook books and chuck them.

    • Good heavens, Babs. ONE INTRODUCTORY POST out of the eight that will be in this fundraiser and you’re ready to chuck your cookbooks? Cookbooks which, by the way, are even younger than many of the folks who read Gates of Vienna?? I made this same point to you when you mentioned them at first.

      Did I give you the idea that our fundraiser was going to be eight days of recipes? Seriously? And how, precisely, would you format such an undertaking? For that matter, past Day Two or so of such a regimen, how many people do you suppose would still be dropping by here? [Which is not to say I wouldn’t love to do a foodie blog, but that’s not happening at GoV]

      This initial post is meant to describe some of the problems we face right now. IOW, situational awareness is essential, even where people disagree on the components of the situation and what kinds of awarenesses are called for.

      I also wanted to lay out the territory – thus the map – to show readers a different way of viewing the composition of the United States. From there- IF you read what the cartographer had to say about those sections he describes – I plan to discuss differences in food, culture, speech patterns, etc. That’s the plan, but it’s open to change.

      And I hope Europeans add to that, since their peoples are the fundament of these layers of the U.S. he draws.

      Nor do I find what I said disturbing, with “no room for optmism”. I am most assuredly optimistic that the gravest danger we face – the destruction of our electrical and electronic connectivity by solar flares or insane actors like Iran – is also the one most easily remedied. And we don’t have to wait for the behemoth federal government to act. Each state can protect its own hardware and grid w/o waiting for permission. Maine is doing that.

      Again, situational awareness is critical to survival, and EMP attacks are high on the list of things to attend to.

      But if we can’t discuss such things because it “disturbs” people, what then, for heaven’s sake?

      In order to competently discuss/highlight the “good things about our various cultures” we have to begin with a primary skill set, i.e., some knowledge about where and what those various cultures are and what our current issues are which serve to divide us.

      By all means, write about the things you want. In fact, I offer you the platform to do so. I’m glad that when you sit down with family and friends to share cultural dishes it brings you closer together. A guest post describing that experience would be most welcome.

      However, for many people, that’s not happening anymore. I get emails from people who are lonely and isolated, afraid to say who they are for fear of being shunned and isolated. Like a bank manager in Berkeley who has to pretend in order to hang onto his job and has not been able to find anyone safe enough to talk to. Multiply him by dozens and you have some idea how difficult it has become to sit around the table eating apple pie and talking about how wonderful things are…

      One of our volunteers has to be very careful what he signs on for because of the mail it could generate – e.g., magazines, or “suspect” return addresses like, say, The Republican National Committe. His his intrusive neighbors would make his life very difficult in their small community if they suspected him of straying from The Consensus.

      Surely you have been following the on-going story of Diana West’s ordeal? She was completely blindsided when the folks on our side either attacked her or left her in isolation without their support. These were her colleagues – e.g., Allen West, who called her his “sister”…until the price of sharing their last name became more than he was willing to pay. So he, and others, have abandoned her because of her opinions in a book.

      I repeat my invitation: a platform from which to write a post on the pleasure inherent in the gathering of family and friends to share good food and good conversation. I would welcome the chance to read about it and to post it. Around a thousand words would be good, but you can go longer if you want to expand on your subject.

      In return, I would ask that you read my posts more carefully. I wasn’t prescribing anything dark, Babs, I was describing some of the things I’ve studied, most of them contentious. Those subjects are smack dab in the middle of the fault lines – tectonic plates of differences that continue to rub against one another. The big change has been the extent to which those in charge want to increase the tensions and differences…they are playing with dynamite and they know it. They don’t care.

      I look forward to your post.

  7. A fine essay and a pleasure to read, even if I may demur on a few things here and there.

    Dymphna, have you ever read “Masters of Deceit” by J. Edgar Hoover? It’s a great overview of that one great horn of the modern problem (Communism/Fascism; the other horn being the global revival of perennial Islam).

    • No, but I vaguely remember running across it…couldn’t have been in the library since he was verboten by then…He was right about a lot of things, which is one reason he’s in the gulag with John Birch, et al.

      The character assassination was pretty intense.

      OTOH, his surveillance was most unconstitutional, and his ‘plants’ to prove what points he wanted to make…umm…a man presidents avoided.

      • Given what Diana West and Stanton Evans have rediscovered about the termites in the woodwork, and given that Hoover’s priorities seemed to have been right side up, it may be he was driven by exigent circumstances in the interest of salvaging.

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