Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Noonan: where were and are the adults?

A snippet:

With all the therapy in our great therapized nation, with all our devotion to emotions and feelings, one senses we are becoming a colder culture, and a colder country. We purport to be compassionate--we must respect Mr. Cho’s privacy rights and personal autonomy--but of course it is cold not to have protected others from him. It is cold not to have protected him from himself.

Read the whole thing

Discussions - 128 Comments

"There is one indisputable fact about Monday’s shootings at Virginia Tech: if Seung-Hui Cho had not been allowed to immigrate to the U.S. in 1992, he would not have been able to murder 33 innocent people here in 2007."

http://www.vdare.com/pb/070418_vt.htm

Here's another "indisputable fact"--had he not been allowed to buy guns the shootings wouldn't have happened either. Do I support gun control? Of course not. But the argument that gun laws are to blame is no more or less ridiculous than the claim that the murders were the product of our immigration laws.

"I prefer dangerous liberty to peaceful slavery"--Thomas Jefferson

Moser,

Actually your claim is fallacious. It would have been quite easy for him to buy a guy illegally in Virginia, especially around the DC area. The third-world invasion is the greatest threat facing us today. As Jean Raspail said in Camp of the Saints, "the best conservative fiction ever written," we can either take a stand against this invasion, or watch ourselves be destroyed.

Hasn't it been pretty clearly established that it's easy to get into the country illegally as well? You'll counter, of course, that it's our government's responsibility to enforce the laws. Fine--but how can you logically claim that it's possible to crack down on illegal immigration, but then throw up your hands when it comes to enforcing gun laws?

John, most countries manage to control their immigration, but not the U.S. This is willful, and it's because our elites (both Left and Right) benefit from having millions of non-natives here as voters and cheap laborers. And it's been that way since the late 1880s.

On the other hand, my feelings about this particular nastiness depends very much on whether or not his parents were Christians. The fact is, hundreds of thousands of Koreans have come to the U.S. because they are Christians (and are not particularly well-received in their homeland). Korea's about a third PROTESTANT...which shocks most people. Our missionaries did a bang-up job in Korea, and so I view a lot of Korean immigration as "coming home to roost." In short, the West did what it could to turn these people into people "like us," and so we probably have some obligation to provide them with safe-haven.

I don't see this as fundamentally a debate about immigration--you may well be right about the need for greater controls. What I object to is this slimy attempt to politicize what happened at Virginia Tech, as if the murders had anything to do with the killer's ethnicity. From what has come out about Seung-Hui Cho in the past few days, he seems like a socially maladjusted loner who was picked on and swore revenge against the "rich kids." In other words, he wasn't fundamentally different from the white losers who shot up Columbine High School.

John Moser writes: Here's another "indisputable fact"--had he not been allowed to buy guns the shootings wouldn't have happened either.


You're twice mistaken. First, a person bent on killing can borrow or steal a gun; he doesn't have to buy one.


Second, you're confusing "not allowed" with "prevented." It was already the case that Cho was not allowed to bring a gun onto campus: There was a rule against it. But he was not prevented from doing so: It is virtually impossible to enforce such rules.

Well, maybe, John. But have you noticed that when "white kids" do the killing then they are "Christian Identity" or "SkinHead" types...just another manifestation of racist Amerikkka. On the other hand, here's a greencarder who despised Christians and capitalism...and people like you resist the "slimy attempt" to call this what it was...murder related to identity politics (fueled by insanity, I'm sure). Also, he said he was doing this for his "brothers and sisters" who had been "f...ed" by "us." What did he mean, John? And did he kill any east Asian types (I haven't heard of any, but then again I haven't seen a full list of victims).

Bottom line, John...you should be more open to this "slimy" interpretation. Our enemies on the Left would be miles down that "slimy" road by now if this guy had been some John Smith loser from Nowhere RedAmerica. YOU SHOULDN'T LET HIS RACE OR HIS IMMIGRANT STATUS INNOCULATE HIM AGAINST "SLIMY" INTERPRETATIONS, IN SHORT.

And, let me add, having a "green card" means you are a GUEST in our country. Your rights are restricted, and any crime can get you deported. Such people much be on their best behavior...we have the right to expect that. Was the guy insane, and should we forget about his "guest" status? I honestly don't know...he was rational enough to chain people in the slaughterhouse...he was rational enough to send the world his "message"...he was rational enough to off himself rather than face the consequences of his actions. So...I just don't know...he clearly had a least one foot in THIS reality.

Today is the 8th anniversary of Columbine. What is the slimy interpretation of that one? Those kids were White, but I am sure that their ancestors had gotten through the immigration sieve at some point: methodical Germans, or drunken Irish, or perhaps emotional Italians.

I'm sure that they weren't purebred American, like Dain and Paleoconservative.

I remember very well after Oklahoma City, when we were all certain that was the work of Muslim terrorists. When it became apparent that the perpetrator was American Whitebread, THAT was when we began parsing out the good militias from the bad, the Skinheads from the White Aryan Youth.

As long as the bad guys are THEM, people don't mind painting them with a broad brush, and citing evil and anti-American mores. But, when the bad guys are US, then we start analyzing, and making picky little distinctions.

Social psychologists refer to the phenomenon as "outgroup homogeneity," and it is generally described as a cognitive element of prejudice.

Please pardon my error. I meant to refer to "Real Conservative," and not to Paleoconservative. Ironic, given my message, I suppose.

Fung, what I see is someone (i.e., yourself) who will quickly take the "slimy road" whenever it is useful as political ammunition, but abhors the tactic in this instance because it gores a few Leftist sacred cows (i.e., diversity, anti-religion, anti-capitalism). Can you give me a good reason why we should tolerate the shellacking the Right takes whenever a Klebold commits an atrocity, but abstain from the same tactic when the shoe's on the other foot? Take your double-standard and...well, you get my drift.

As for your sarcasm about my ancestry, KMA. My folk have earned the right to be here in myriad ways, including being a part of the Founding, and we've been law-abiding throughout (as far as I know, no criminals in the line). But I know how people like you think...the only people who need to justify their existence are white folks. We are the only ones who don't contribute to "diversity."

As for out-grouping, that's human, and the Left specializes in it. Why shouldn't you people take some responsibility for filling this guy's head with anti-corporate, anti-religious propaganda? As an English major, I'm sure he got a triple dose. Why is that kind of indoctrination exempt from criticism, but militias (for example) are not?

I can only read Noonan with a barf bag in my hands.

Peggy Noonan is the Blanche Dubois of the Conservative movement.

Holy mackeral! if Seung-Hui Cho had not been allowed to immigrate to the U.S. in 1992

Dude, the guy was brought here by his parents when he was 8. He was 23 when he committed the murder. I think if you do the math, you have to go back long before 1992.

In addition, the guy's sister graduated from Princeton and now works as a consultant for the US State Department. And Cho's parents run a dry cleaning business in D.C.

Cho came here under legal immigration.

If you have a problem with immigration such that you'd like to slam the immigration door shut and you're willing to use Cho as an excuse for that, I'd like to recommend that you seriously consider getting some therapy.

I understand that the therapist who saw Cho has suddenly had her calendar free up. Give her a call.

On the other hand, here’s a greencarder who despised Christians and capitalism...and people like you resist the "slimy attempt" to call this what it was...murder related to identity politics (fueled by insanity, I’m sure). Also, he said he was doing this for his "brothers and sisters" who had been "f...ed" by "us." What did he mean, John? And did he kill any east Asian types (I haven’t heard of any, but then again I haven’t seen a full list of victims).

As if the only ones who hate Christians and capitalists are foreigners! Just so you know, dain, his victims included an undergraduate from Vietnam, a graduate student from Indonesia, and a couple of faculty members from India (quick, someone tell the folks at VDARE!). The entire list may be found here.

There’s no evidence that by "brothers and sisters" he meant Asians; considering he referred to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as "martyrs," it’s more reasonable to assume that he was talking about his fellow social misfits.

Moreover, even assuming Cho was motivated by "identity politics", where do you suppose he came by them? Surely he didn’t carry them with him from South Korea, which he left at the tender age of eight. If the problem is "identity politics," he got it from American culture. He wasn’t carrying it around in his non-European DNA.

By the way, anyone who likes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is bound to love Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints.

Tell me, John Moser - why are you such a bigot?

Dain,

What you see in this case is frankly not very much. You began with race and that is where you are stuck. Go ahead and hide behind "the Right," but frankly, I was not criticizing the Right, just now, I was criticizing individuals (you and Real Conservative) who wait for about a half a beat before you start with the same old saw: After MY family got here, we should have burned the ships.

And thank you for setting me straight regarding the outgroup homogeneity effect: "As for out-grouping, that's human, and the Left specializes in it." And I thought MY error was ironic.

I have to go teach. To summarize what I think about your argument, and your timing:

Yuck.

Fung

I have to go teach.

John Moser

If the problem is "identity politics," he got it from American culture.

I wonder if there is some connection there?

I'm not surprised that the guy killed Asians (I knew about the Indians)...his motives were cryptic, but my point is (and remains) that, since the "racial" question has become de rigeur for white perpetrators of such crimes, turnabout is fair play. Moreover, given that the Left typically lays such crimes at the feet of "rightist" institutions like militias, talk radio, churches, etc., then that too is open to question for this murderer. Why is this so hard to understand? If the Left can use Klebold or McVeigh to undermine gun ownership, for instance, why shouldn't we use Cho to undermine those things we dislike about America? Seems fair to me.

And John, your point about picking up identity politics here rather than in Korea is utterly true, but why should that support immigration? Immigration constantly renews identity politics in this country...if it dried up, so would much of the energy in such movements.

Also, John, I know you like to paint me as an anti-immigrant partisan, but I think you are a pro-immigrant partisan. I'm not sure why your stance is more legitimate than mine.

"If the Left can use Klebold or McVeigh to undermine gun ownership, for instance, why shouldn't we use Cho to undermine those things we dislike about America? ...turnabout is fair play."

Fair play? Is this a rhetorical game to you, dain? When the Left uses those examples it's being stupid (I think you would admit the same), and now you want to claim the right to be stupid? If it's invalid when the Left does it, it's invalid when anyone does it. This isn't a playground game where being fouled gives you a "free hit" on the other guy. This is a discussion where a stupid argument is always a stupid argument, and I have no idea why you would aim to be as logical as the Left if you view the Left as illogical.

Also, John, I know you like to paint me as an anti-immigrant partisan, but I think you are a pro-immigrant partisan. I'm not sure why your stance is more legitimate than mine.

I refer you back to what I wrote in #6 above:

I don't see this as fundamentally a debate about immigration--you may well be right about the need for greater controls. What I object to is this slimy attempt to politicize what happened at Virginia Tech, as if the murders had anything to do with the killer's ethnicity.

If the Left can use Klebold or McVeigh to undermine gun ownership, for instance, why shouldn't we use Cho to undermine those things we dislike about America? Seems fair to me.

It's not fair to hard-working, law-abiding Asian Americans, just as the anti-gun argument isn't fair to hard-working, law-abiding gun owners. As "Boo" says, just because the other side uses specious arguments is no reason for us to do likewise.

Immigration constantly renews identity politics in this country...if it dried up, so would much of the energy in such movements.

Nonsense. It's been 200 years since large numbers of Africans arrived in the United States, and identity politics constantly come into play where blacks are concerned. And what about women and gays? Even if we sealed off the borders entirely tomorrow, identity politics would stay with us.

Well, Fung, after hearing so much of his irrefutable logic, dain finally did convince me that we do need to close the borders down. Not only that, but we should have done so a long, long time ago.

Here, I think he's just about to teeter out of control. It's funny to hear him talk of Christians like they're "his people" (along with the silly "...my feelings about this particular nastiness depends very much on whether or not his parents were Christians." Question: What if one was Christian and the other non-religious?) when he appears to be simply a right-wing agnostic, who awkwardly steers clear of agreeing to basic tenets of Christian faith, while cheering on those who have accepted them (as long as their interpretations of their faith lead them to his special brand of right-wing conservatism).

It's also odd to see him rail against "anti-corporate propaganda" when he has himself gone off on many a tirade here at NLT that could easily be seen as "anti-corporate." I guess he means anti-corporate propaganda that orginates from left-of-center, not from Pat Buchanan or Lou Dobbs.

t's been 200 years since large numbers of Africans arrived in the United States, and identity politics constantly come into play where blacks are concerned.

This, oddly enough, is supposed to be an argument in favor of immigration into the US of more people from different ethnic groups and cultures.

It's not fair to hard-working, law-abiding Asian Americans

Cho was not hard-working, law-abiding, or Asian American. He was a law-breaking pychopathic Korean national. Why you refuse to acknowlege the last point is a mystery.

just because the other side uses specious arguments is no reason for us to do likewise.

I'll accept any arguments from you, specious or otherwise. They would be a major advance over such odd non-sequiturs as "anyone who likes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is bound to love Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints." By the by, what is Israel's immigration policy? How many Koreans live there?

Better yet, what is Korea's immigration policy, and how many potential Klebolds live there.

Actually, there is a greater proportion of Koreans on the Federal dole than whites, and it's even worse among our Chinese immigrants. Also, given the gummed up way crime statistics are reported in this country, we don't really know how law-abiding each specific ethnic group happens to be.

We DO know that Hispanics are much more prone to criminal behavior, but the real question (and challenge) for you immigration apologists out there is this: Name me a country were diversity's benefits have outweighed its political liabilities (and don't say Switzerland -- that country is a segregationists' heaven). I guess you could say the United States, but there's a REASON that the Northeast, North Central and West Coast are liberal today. And where are the conservatives? In the South and West, places dominated by the old British/Celtic stock.

John Moser, you claim to be conservative, but what you support it destroying the conservative base of the country. Really.

A third-world invasion of the West is taking place, and it is real, very real. There are two sides. You can either be on the side of the patriots, opposing this third-world invasion, and trying to save Western man and his civilization. Or you can be on the side of the third-world invaders. As a Euro-American (i.e. white), I see it as my moral imperative to protect Western man and his civilization. You choose which side you want to be on. There is no "middle ground" or "third side." Like the Classical Greeks, I believe tribal loyalties are very important, and that any sane society is built upon them.

"Needless to say, turnabout (or reciprocity as it is known to trade economists) is not fair play. When, in researching Alien Nation, I asked the South Korean Embassy whether it was possible for an American citizen to immigrate to Korea, I was told flatly: S Korea does not accept immigrants." http://www.vdare.com/pb/070418_vt.htm

I'm trying hard to picture Mark Steyn, David Frum, and Mark Levin arguing that demography is destiny, and then secretly huddling together to read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I suppose my imagination is just not vivid enough.

I forgot Tom Sowell, another racist/anti-Semitic anti-immigrant type. What does he have against brown-skinned people I wonder?

"By the by, what is Israel's immigration policy? How many Koreans live there?" Very good point. You see, fifth columnists like Bill Kristol (1) support spending billions of U.S. dollars to defend the borders of Israel, and (2) simultaneously support the open-borders, third-world invasion of the U.S. Sounds a bit like treason, doesn't it?

We seem to have gone off the rails once again.

OK, the anti-immigration argument might, and I say might, carry some validity when you are talking about national security issues, but everyone who wants to come in is not a national security problem. Hardly anybody coming in is a national security problem. We get those who are and we have to deal with them.


My husband's grandfather was an Italian immigrant who came here, alone, when he was twelve years old. This was in 1907, and anti-Catholic, anti-Italian sentiment ran high in parts of the American public. It wasn't easy getting started here, but he sent money home and eventually he went back and brought his family over, because to him, life was so much better here than there. He became a citizen, married, had seven children, and three of his sons went to war for the US in WWII. All were productive tax-payers; Frank, Pete, Joe - they all Americanized their Italian birth names, except for Carmen. Those kids raised nice American children who they named Tommy, Billy, Patty or Mary Lou.

When he died, the family found a box of his important documents, including citizenship papers. They found a pamphlet, distributed by the DAR (!) of our nation's documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and I don't remember what else. This pamphlet was in Italian. It was more important to know what it was to be an American than it was to know the language or customs. This well-worn pamphlet was something he kept all of his life, inside his Italian language Bible.


Catholics, in that day, were considered aliens and subversive of American culture. It was the alien invasion of the day. Today we are relieved to have them on the Supreme Court, because they are the most protective of traditional American freedoms.


If other countries do not accept others as immigrants, who cares? Tell me about how great those other countries are, please. Tell me that those other nations keeping themselves ethnically "pure" has done them wonders in any terms at all. Why do you think people want to leave those places and come here?


dain, most of the liberals I know are WASPs. You can't just make this about groups. The guy who shot up Virginia Tech was a person and even his family didn't know what to do with him. He was a problem and no one dealt with him very well. It is a pity, but our problem is in how we treat the mentally ill in our midst, not about ethnicity.

My concern is that conservatives play by the "Marquis of Queensberry" rules while the Left engages in seasoned streetfighting. I'm no longer willing to be a noble loser -- to win in THIS world, we have to adopt some of the tactics of our enemies. If using Cho to make a point about immigration, or permissiveness, or university indoctrination is plausible, it should be done. Perhaps the deaths of all these people might accomplish something -- as it stands, neither the Left nor the Right want to touch this. Essentially, they died in vain.

As for Professor Moser and anyone else who wants to take the high road, my advice is to go have your effigies carved in marble so there will be something left of us after we go the way of the dodo.

So the immigration question, the threat of aliens (which according to this thread is what the VT shootings are all about), makes civility and indeed politics fit only for suicidal sissies and their "neocon" fellow travelers. This vision is almost as dark and troubled as the VT shooter's.

I'm not sure I follow you, Steve. What's "dark" is how the political and economic elites of this country have ignored the people's clear will on immigration. Since elites control "politics" in this country (and yes, I'm afraid they do), then just about the only way to get the people's desires "out there" is through broad popular mood -- and that requires symbolism and, yes, hyperbole at times.

As for "civility," I thought I made myself clear -- civility when practices by only one side is stupidity, pure and simple. You get your a$$ kicked every time. Bringing a chess set to a knife fight is dumb, really dumb.

"I'm no longer willing to be a noble loser."

Please be sure that you keep your nom de guerre. I don't think the rest of us will recognize you if omit the nobility of your prose. Who will tell me to "KMA?" Or call me a traitor? Or invite me and all my anti-white friends to board your train to Treblinka? Or who will carry the banner of racists, and jack-booted right-wing authoritarians against poor and disadvantaged of all colors?

Please, Dain, think twice before you throw away your carefully cultivated nobility! As you have probably imagined, once your sole (pun intended) strays even a millimeter from the narrow, tortured,lonely path you have trod lo these many years -- once the evil in you gets an unhindered view of the freedom and license enjoyed by the unrestrained, libidinous creatures whom you have nobly tolerated like lice in a powdered wig -- once you muck about with the rest of the swine -- there is no going back.

We beg you, don't lose your nobility!!

dain - Real Conservative took you down a false trail, in my opinion. The VT shootings were not about immigration or permissiveness or university indoctrination, in my opinion. You say making one or another of those connections is "plausible" and that it should be done, evidently because the enemy is at the gate. I disagree. I don't think we as a society are in a "knife fight."

Fungus, you know, perhaps I have dipped down into the sludge occasionally, thereby tarnishing my otherwise noble reputation. I wonder who taught me such behavior. You've got a lot of nerve, brother.

Kate, I won't argue by anecdote or isolated example. I'm sure your Italian ancestors were fine people...I'm not arguing they weren't. But as a social and political matter, it took "us" (i.e., Anglo-Saxon civil society) about a century to fully digest all the white ethnic groups that came here, and these were people with whom we had a common religious and regional history. Today, however, we are approaching record levels of "percent foreign born," and of course this means MILLIONS more than in the past. And, mind you, these are people MUCH different from the old European stock, and they are coming at a time when pressures for assimilation are at an all-time low ebb.

Why does it matter? Well, there's a wealth of social science demonstrating that ethnic pluralism/diversity has many bad social outcomes. Just as an example, Mr. Liberal Political Scientist Himself, Robert Putnam, has been forced to admit that diversity is bad for social capital, or the essential bedrock trust that makes large-scale society possible. So, please, let's not argue what is obvious. The current level of essentially uncontrolled immigration will prove bad for America...and you'll notice that no one has yet taken up my challenge to find a happy example of a polyglot nation.

Steve, I'm sorry, but I disagree. We ARE in a knife fight, and guns can't be far behind. The Right needs to get serious...I mean, look at Bush. All his gentleman-like qualities have gained him very little political capital...indeed, his refusal to defend himself in Clintonesque style has cost him his Presidency (IMO).

Kate

but everyone who wants to come in is not a national security problem.

Nobody is saying that they are. But the people coming here are not the random individuals that you suggest. They carry with them different ideas and a different culture. This has all sorts of consequences for the United States in terms of what sort of country it will be.

It makes no sense for Republicans to oppose (for instance) big government, or abortion, or high taxes, or the UN, or any of the other manifestations of liberalism, while at the same time going to extraordinary lengths to fill the country with people who support all these things. There is no mystery about how immigrants vote - they vote Democratic by a large margin. People are not individuals, in spite of what the people at Ashbrook may think.

Tell me that those other nations keeping themselves ethnically "pure" has done them wonders in any terms at all. Why do you think people want to leave those places and come here?

There are those who think that the people in a country should have some say in whether or not the compostition of the country will be changed. It's that whole democracy thing. I'm not sure why you object to it.

In any case Mexico is not ethnically "pure", and Mexican's come here because they can have a better life, at our expense. This is rational behavior on their part. It is irrational behavior on ours. We get nothing out of the deal.

If other countries do not accept others as immigrants, who cares?

You should care. Why don't you?


In agreement with Russell Kirk, I think that _Camp of the Saints_ is the best conservative novel of all time. Unlike neocon / leftwingers like Strauss et crew, Jean Raspail is actually trying to conserve something; western man and his ancestral traditions. We are under attack, friends, and there is no other way to put it. They third-world hordes are at the gate, they are arriving daily, and it will be up to patriotic Americans, when the day comes, to drive these invaders into the sea.

I don't think there's much hope for a reasoned discussion at this point because we disagree about whether western man and his ancestral traditions are a matter of race (white) or ethnicity (Anglo-Saxon). The "paleo" or historical premise says yes to that. As one of "Thomas's" left-wing fellow-travelin' Straussians (the real ones will be surprised!), I think not. The American constitution may or may not be intact in a hundred years, but I don't believe the outcome will depend upon whether we as a people are mostly Anglo-Saxon (we're not now) or white.

That said, it is possible to have a reasoned debate about the rate at which immigration and assimilation can and should proceed.

dain, most of the liberals I know are WASPs. You can't just make this about groups.

If this were true then indeed we would have nothing to worry about. But this sort of anecdote is really unhelpful. The fact is that election results can be predicted to a high degree of accuracy based on the religious and ethnic composition of the electorate.

White Protestants vote Republican by about a 2:1 margin. White Catholics split their votes pretty evenly. Hispanics vote Democratic by a 2:1 margin. Blacks give 90% of their votes to the Democrats. These ratios are remarkably constant over decades, centuries in some cases. The GOP has been the Protestant party and the Dems the Catholic party since the Civil War.

The results of America's immigration policy can be predicted with close to mathematical certainty, and it spells disaster for the Republican party.

Steve Thomas

.. we disagree about whether western man and his ancestral traditions are a matter of race (white) or ethnicity (Anglo-Saxon). The "paleo" or historical premise says yes to that.

That is not an accurate description of the debate, IMO. The issue is one of human nature. Are people essentally interchangable units, or do they bear a culture which guides their lives and which differs from one people to another?

Why is Mexico Mexico, America America, Germany Germany? According to the theory of universal human nature all countries should be much the same.

Last I checked, western man is in fact white. I'm not sure why that fact disturbs you.

I suggest you try this book. The people writing here are not "paleos" in the sense that I suspect you are using the term. Do you consider Tom Sowell and Mark Steyn to be paleos? (And why is everyone here so completely hung up on labels like paleos and neocons? You people are weird.)

The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations is another worthwhile read. There is a large body of scholarly research on the role of culture in human affairs and its impact on every aspect of our existence. The theory of human universalism is at best a polite fiction.

John - You worry about immigration's impact on the Republican Party? Is that it? Your colleagues are worried about Western Civilization! (Or are they the same to you?)

Dain, It takes no nerve at all to call a hypocrite a hypocrite. The difference between us (in the present context) is that I wasn't just wringing my hands about getting my psyche bruised by the mean old liberals who refuse to reciprocate when I behave nobly. I wasn't pretending to be a gentleman. You were.

And, back to the bigger picture, I pointed out that you were using the agony of numerous families (once again) to make your tired, old, racist point. Then you were complaining about the Left's dirty tricks.

Steve Thomas

Demography is destiny. People are policy.

If you are indifferent to destiny and policy then I'm not sure why you bother to read and write here.

If you are not indifferent to destiny and policy I suggest that you start taking a hard look at the probable results of Americas immigration laws. Perhaps you have done so and find them to your liking. That is a respectable position. Pretending they have no results is not.

I'm not sure which "colleagues" you are referring to. I suggest that you stick to making your own arguments and allow me to do the same.

John - Thanks for the bibliographic tips. We seem to read the same books.

I am not disturbed that western man is white, nor am I disturbed that western man is also non-white. In general, I like American immigration laws.

Nor am I indifferent to destiny and policy.

I admit that these matters -- perhaps including your idea of "destiny" -- are matters of "democratic faith" in Patrick Deneen's sense. As a white male, I also admit that when I see only white folks hour after hour, day after day, like Ishmael (in Moby Dick) I feel as though I want to knock somebody's "top hat" off. When that happens, I find solace in Sam's Club here in town, where I find hard working Mexicans and Somalis shopping to make their small businesses successful. What a country!

Fung, the truth is, your "anti-racism" is full of racist assumptions, and I think you know it. Moreover, the science of "diversity" supports my position, not yours. Again, your crappiness as a behavioral/social scientist is quite amazing...the sad thing is, you spend your professional days as an advocate creating ammunition for the culture war, and people are stupid enough to pay you money to do it. Pitiful.

And you're right not to pretend to be noble...you aren't. Few on the Left are...you'd need a sense of honor and duty to be noble. And brother, you ain't got either of those things.

As a white male, I also admit that when I see only white folks hour after hour, day after day, like Ishmael (in Moby Dick) I feel as though I want to knock somebody's "top hat" off.

I know other people who feel this way. There was this one guy who lived in Manhattan, then moved to Long Island when he got married. Even though his new neighberhood was pretty mixed, it was not as mixed as his old one. This freaked him out. He actually wanted to live in a place where he was a minority. It's not enough to see some people from different ethnic groups around. He needs them to be in proportions which suit him. I gather you are like that also. The idea of simply moving to a foreign country never occured to you?

This is all very interesting from a psychological standpoint, but discussing your strong desire to be around people of other races is probably beyond the scope of this forum. Let me suggest that you think it through and leave it at that.

You claimed above that " it is possible to have a reasoned debate about the rate at which immigration and assimilation can and should proceed." Reasoned debate is only possible when people are proceeding from certain shared axioms.

One of the defining characteristics of people from different cultures is that they work from different foundational axioms. This tends to make reasoned debate highly difficult, and is the reason that multicultural states have a poor track record in history.

I don't know what your particular policy goals are. I'm assuming that you are a Republican and want most of what the GOP supposedly stands for.

If you can explain how the immigration into the US of people who will vote Democratic advances the ideas of a colorblind society, or limited government, or lower taxes, or reduced spending, or limiting abortion, or any of the other policy goals of the Republican party, I'd be much obliged.

Dain, Only a Bushie comfortable with double-speak could swallow your claim that anti-racist arguments are in fact racist. While you are taking longer than most to wake up, the rest of us have seen through the "catastrophe is progress," "war is peace", No WMD means some WMD" tactic for a while. So, no dice on that argument.

Second, what "Science " of "diversity" are you talking about? Have you been hanging with some diversitologists? Have you been reading up on diversitudology? Where does one obtain a degree in your new science?

Not that you care, and not that I should dignify your salvos with any response, but you have no idea how I spend my professional days.

And you have not sufficiently responded to my accusation that you have used every calamity in the news over the past five years to add grist to your racist mill.

War, hurricanes, mass murder, poverty -- it doesn't matter. You gloss over the real issues, and the pain and suffering of thousands, just so you can fly your racist flag. It is disgusting behavior. The science of disgust validates my point.

I find hard working Mexicans and Somalis shopping to make their small businesses successful.

I can't help noticing that you refer to tham as Mexicans and Somalis, not Americans. I think its pretty clear that their main attraction to you is that they ARE Mexicans and Somalis, not Americans, and not their supposedly hard-working or successful attributes.

What a country!

The definition of a country is that it is a place inhabited by people of a particular nationality. Since you are plainly enthused by the presence of people of other nationalities, perhaps it would be more apt for you to exclaim "What a non-country!"

I think it is also pretty obvious that from your standpoint, genuine assimlation would be a bad thing. It would eliminate the sheer difference which is for you the appealing aspect of the immigrants. If they beome indistinguishable from other Americans then we'd just have to search the world to find more exotic people to satisfy your desire.

All of you have missed the real key. What did all of the mass killers have in common?

They were men.

If we would just take all of the males from the ages of 15 to 26 and confine them to the Dakotas for the duration, the country would be a much safer place.

Fung

The science of disgust validates my point? I try to just ignore you, but this piqued my interest. What exactly is this science of disgust? Do you have a degree in it? Where is it taught?

John

As it happens, I'm not in favor of "multiculturalism" (insofar as it is at all a coherent idea). I used the terms Mexican and Somali for ease of identification. I expect that in due course they will become Americans, with the usual help from their children. I am all in favor of assimilation -- though I'm not sure what "genuine assimilation" means. "Difference" remains: as anyone who enjoys adventures eating out knows. You want only Anglo-Saxon food? - see Martin Mull's outrageous "History of White People," which as I recall was too much even for HBO.

I'm not in favor of trying to make America another Austo-Hungarian or Ottoman Empire, or even a Roman Empire. I fully subscribe to the idea of American exceptionalism

I was writing not as a partisan, but as a nationalist: see Walt Whitman. You miss what American nationality consists of; it is wonderfully ambiguous and inviting, and it admits of constant enrichment; it finds unity in plurality, as Whitman knew.

If I were going to advise the Republican Party, I would advise them to disown you, lest they find themselves a permanently minority party, to our detriment.

As for the proper rate of immigration, let's see if we share a premise. My premise is that immigration, like chocolate and bourbon, is a good thing, but that too much of a good thing is bad.

Funny, one of the few people who use racist and classist language on this blog is...dah-dah...Fung! He pretty much hates white folks...that's been true since I've had the misfortune of interacting with him.

I also know that he's a lame teacher of that lame discipline known as psychology. The only "scientists" in this group are the evolutionary psychologists, but Fung pretty much disowns them, I'm sure.

No, I'm afraid Fung is not a nice guy, no, not at all. He substitute words like "racist" for reasoned debate, and in general can't find his own a$$ which both hands...even in broad daylight.

John, Read Dain's comment #46.

As for trying to ignore me, read your own comment #18 and then my subsequent response to it.

Susan,

Good point!

I suppose its a good point as long as you are unaware that the Dakotas are a part of "the country", as it seems our good professor is.

I wonder if that really is the man-hating raging feminist Susan Brownmiller, or just a slimy little troll using her name. Guesses, anyone?

If I were going to advise the Republican Party, I would advise them to disown you, lest they find themselves a permanently minority party, to our detriment.

You seem long on an eagerness to disown people, and short on any semblence of reasoned thought. I asked you a question in #48. Would you like to take a stab at answering it? In non-mystical terms? No "unity in plurlaism" or "pluralism in unity" slogans please. And no arguments based on how much you like Indian food.


Given that my position is shared by people such as Tom Sowell and Mark Steyn, how large do you think the Republican party is going to be once we are all booted out?


My premise is that immigration, like chocolate and bourbon, is a good thing, but that too much of a good thing is bad.

Sorry to have to break this to you Steve, but that is a conclusion, not a premise. It illustrates what I said before about how reasoned discussion is impossible when people simply declare their own opinions to be unarguable axioms.

If some immigration is a good thing, and too much is a bad thing, then you need to be able to support this contention with some sort of argument, buttressed by statistics if possible. You are simply tossing out your opinions here. I know what you think. I'm asking you why you think it, and why you reject what you read in "Culture Matters" and "The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations". Pick up your game please.

I'm not in favor of trying to make America another Austo-Hungarian or Ottoman Empire, or even a Roman Empire.

The policies you desire would have exactly that effect. Your own description of your attitudes towards people of other cultures indicates that you would in fact love the idea of an Austo-Hungarian empire. Think of all the cool different people you could meet. That's what your life is all about, isn't it?

You people need to wake up. As Russell Kirk said, _Camp of the Saints_ is the greatest conservative novel of our age. Jean Raspail was a conservative in the truest sense: he wanted to conserve Western man and his ancestral traditions. We are under attack. The third-world hordes are invading us daily. If you do not make a stand now, Western man and his ancestral traditions will be wiped out.

"We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him." - Professor José Ángel Gutiérrez (founder of La Raza and friends with GW).

Assimilation is a joke. It's a lie. People can't assimilate to a tribe to which they do not belong. You people are buying into the left-wing / neocon notion of a "proposition nation." It didn't work in the USSR, and it won't work here. A real nation (as the Lation natio suggests) is of a tribe where the citizens view themselves as being biologically related. This is how America used to be. Just read John Randolph. It might be possible to have various tribes in one confederation, like the U.S., but it will not be a nation in the classical sense. And it certainly won't be a "proposition nation." Mind you, even Greek democracy and Roman republicanism were both predicated upon the tribal system.

Kirkian Conservative

I'll assume that you are not a sock puppet mocking Kirkian conservatives. Which is a large assumption.

The entire point is to wipe out "Western man and his ancestral traditions", as you put it. Announcing this as if it is some astonishing insight makes you look silly.

No, I don't see any great conspiracy here, and talk about "wiping out" and "enemy at the gates" just delegitimates perfectly legitimate concerns about how diversity works in practice. Notch down the hysteria...if both sides of a debate rely on emotion then they talk passed one another.

And John, your post (#59) was really quite good. Mr. Thomas isn't a conservative...I don't think he even pretends to be one. But he does pretend to be a thinker...your points are well-made. Don't you just love academic liberals? Their notion of "diversity" consists of humble 3rd World graduate students and cuisine!

dain, I don't really care whether he is a conservative, a word which is lacking in real meaning. But rational people have some understanding of means and ends. If Steve supports certain ends (like lower taxes) then he ought to be giving some thought to how that can be attained. As best I can tell, he's not.

Needless to say, anyone who comes out with lines such as "As a white male, I also admit that when I see only white folks hour after hour, day after day, like Ishmael (in Moby Dick) I feel as though I want to knock somebody's "top hat" off." is an outright racist bigot.

It is fascinating that he does not realise this, that in fact he seems to be slapping himself on the back over the fact that he does not look at people as people but as white or black or brown people. Once in a while the mask slips and these people let their true selves appear.

Like many other people, I suppose, I like NLT because of the bluntness of the exchanges and sometimes because of new questions.

I have been wondering whether there is anything new in the responses we have seen to recent immigration, whether they are different in any way from historic responses to Irish Catholics or Russian Jews. Maybe nativism is just nativism: as American as apple pie.

The biggest non-European population that America had to swallow was obviously Africans. Ralph Ellison's classic ">">http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,943970,00.html?internalid=ACA"> statement of the two-way process is perhaps relevant: two-way, because the cultural influence went, and goes, both ways.

It may be that the anxieties of some cultural conservatives come from the realization that newcomers inevitably change the existing culture. Think how rich the American language has become because of the addition of Yiddish words: schmuck, for example. But language and cuisine are less important than the political culture. So the question is, have newcomers from outside Europe (especially Great Britain) changed the political culture for the worse? My hunch is the contrary.

I have also been wordering whether the rate of immigration is now, and has always been, the key question. Do continuous, large flows of immigrants from particular places get in the way of newcomers' joining their new political community in ways we would like?

I am sorry to be coming back to this so late. How do you guys have time to carry on a written quarrel like this all day long?


dain, that wasn't my family, it was my husband's. The other side of his family came from Poland. I tell you, integration takes much less time than you think. Both of my in-laws were the children of immigrants and except for the gustatory inclination to ethnic foods, you would have a hard time discerning their ethnicity. Both sides of my family have been here forever, except for the German component, who still managed to be here early enough to serve in the Civil War. As to your reference, it is a study of the way things are now, but not how things were. I agree that people do not trust one another now, but do not think that is simply about diverse nationalities among neighbors. We have a peripatetic population and people never have time to get to know their neighbors. "In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.” so it is an era wherein people do not trust their neighbors, but the reasons are broader than suggested in this study.


John, the point I was trying to make was that America has always had people with different ideas and different cultures coming in. We used to handle that differently, attempting to assimilate them, especially in a political sense. The kind of country that we are is partly because of that mix that we were.

Do you think that we, the U.S., I mean, would be democratically inclined to keep all immigrants out? I find that hard to believe. And if other countries keep immigrants out, why would I bother caring as they are not my business?

Dain, old buddy -- you are truly coming unhinged.

First, what has that link to do with my attitude towards white people? It is about fundamentalist Christianity and its ties to government.

Second, you can claim all sorts of knowledge about me you want, but your accusations about me look pretty silly when the truth is known. I will assume, from now on, that your grasp on other realities is as ethereal as your fantasies about me.

Third, I don't pretend to be nice -- around you, to you, or in general. But YOU have claimed in front of all of us that you are tired of being a "noble loser." So now, we must regard you as merely a loser -- casting off the heavy mantle of nobility.

Don't you at least have the grace to feel silly?

Kate - Time?: yard work on a gorgeous day, with time out to digest invective.

Interesting post, yours.

So the question is, have newcomers from outside Europe (especially Great Britain) changed the political culture for the worse?

That will depend on your political inclinations, obviously. It seems pretty clear that the New Deal owed a great amount to the waves of immigrants who arrived at the end of the nineteenth century and WW1. Whether that is for the better or the worse will depend on your view of FDR and the New Class he ushered in. Jewish influence in America up until recently has been in the service of some very questionable ideas. But hey, they gave you the word schmuck! That counts for something I guess.

The biggest non-European population that America had to swallow was obviously Africans.

And how is that working out?

My hunch is the contrary.

And you base this hunch on what? BTW, I notice that you point blank refuse to answer the question I posed to you in #48.


Kate

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here. The kind of country that we are is partly because of that mix that we were. That is rather stating the obvious. The country that we are today is made up of lots of people who really don't like each other. Maybe you have not noticed the bitter hostility between different camps in this country. Before we fall all over "ourselves" trying to add yet more groups to the mix, maybe we should expend a little effort in establishing some consensus. At the moment there is no "ourselves", no "we", for the newcomers to assimilate into.

Should they assimilate into the gay culture? The Jewish culture? The Christian culture? the liberal culture? The conservative culture? The libertarian culture? You are presuming the existence of an American identity which outsiders can join. No such identity exists. Look at Steve as he vainly attempts to describe it; it is "wonderfully ambiguous and inviting, and it admits of constant enrichment; it finds unity in plurality, as Whitman knew." A slimy, tentacled alien from Antares could be squeezed in under that umbrella, let alone the entire population of Earth. And as long as the alien had good cusine I'm sure that Steve would welcome him.

Whitman wanted to abolish all countries. Steve does too, though he is being coy about saying it. What do you think, Kate? Shall we eliminate America and just let the whole world live as one mass state? The time to decide is coming up very quickly.

Fung, you actually personalized something that was meant more broadly...I'm tired of our conservative movement being "noble losers." I'm not a loser...just look how I kick you around whenever we argue ;)

I know that you are a professor of psychology...you've said as much. Also, we know you have inclinations toward MoveOn.Org lunacy...that too is established. What more needs to be said...you are a garden-variety, wine-sipping pseudo-intellectual who calls white folks "bubbas" (which is in your post that I linked to...reread it).

Kate and Steve,you have impressions, but current research clearly demonstrates that great diversities of people do not benefit a nation. Don't believe the statistics? Well then just look around: Iraq, Bosnia, Russia, India. Los Angeles is slowly becoming unliveable...London is the most surveilled city in the world (I wonder why?). Wake up and smell the coffee folks (and yes, I know that that was a cultural import, but cuisine has always been one of the few pluses of great diversity).

As for polity, the old Democrat Party's base was white ethnics (working class) and Southern populists (the later because of linger resentments about the Civil War -- hatred of the GOP, regardless of platform, was epidemic prior to the Democrat's embrace of the Civil Rights Movement -- seen as more Yankee interference). Finally, finally, finally the South broke away from a decaying Democrat Party, and the ethnics slowly realized that their interests as tradition-minded white folks were not being served by the Democrats. Of course, this took enormous economic change and a very long time...time and change we will not have to digest all these new folks (particularly the Hispanics...all the other groups are just a garnish). Again, time to wake up. If you want to preserve what's best about America, the flow of people must be slowed down (and no, I've never advocated completely ending immigration...that would be impractical).

Everyone:

Regarding the rate of immigration, you should watch this video. It's the best video I've every seen. As a matter of fact, many of my liberal friends, after watching it, changed their views on immigration.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4094926727128068265

dain - Putnam's work is in play on the "diversity" front, and his findings, whatever they are exactly, can obviously be mobilized in the immigration debate. I can't tell from the FT piece what exactly those findings are. If there is a real study, I have not read it. Do you have a citation?

Associational life in civil society is either in disarray, or it is changing, or both: that's been the debate. Putnam originally pointed at many explanatory factors for the loss of social capital. Are we now to conclude that immigration is more important than TV or suburban sprawl or patterns of work or even changes in political party operations?

Steve, I will look...he's mostly a book writer, so this may be in progress. Nonetheless, the findings were two years old before he went public...he really is quite liberal, and this distresses him.

Is it more important that suburbanization, etc.? I suspect so. I think perhaps the biggest factor in the loss of social capital was married female employment (puts the zap on extracurricular meetings), but "diversity" in the residential setting if probably a close second.

I'm not sure why people find this hard to believe. Even that wonderful discipline, psychology, tells us that it is SOP for people to judge strangers by their appearance (among other things). Prejudice is hardwired, and it's not going away. Education can help us suppress it, but it might well take something like a police state to suppress it enough to negate its influence in social life.

"Fung, you actually personalized something that was meant more broadly...." This is one of your gifts: when confronted, you hide behind a whole movement, or party, or perspective. In fact, exactly what you accuse ME of, even though I haven't spent more than 10 total minutes on MoveOn.org. The right wasn't writing, you were.

You interpret Psychology the way many select pieces out of the Bible, decontextualize them, then use them to bolster their biased arguments.

Finally, I don't call "White people" bubbas, I call willful racists bubbas. Again, you try to deflect criticism aimed at you personally to a whole race! It is YOU who behave in a disgusting, bullying manner, then claim nobility. No one else. By the way, psychology DOES suggest that first appearances are important for building judgments, but psychology ALSO suggests that we can use subsequent information to change, augment, and sharpen initial perceptions.

Prejudice is only hard-wired among those who are hard-wired in other ways, as well: incapable of formal thought, incapable of entertaining the perspective of outgroup members, incapable of introspection, and incapable of thinking for themselves in unique or creative ways that were not handed down by some authority figure.

The good news is that such people comprise only a portion of our society. They would like us all to think that they are representative of human nature, but they are not.

John, as the DAR knew in 1907, the America to which anyone assimilates is one of ideas, as exemplified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in their pamphlets distributed to immigrants. Evident, too, is a (mostly) free market system and a requirement to learn the English language. (Whatever you guys say about polyglot nations, we really aren't one.) When was there ever a period when we were a gloriously unified bunch of people?

I wouldn't eliminate America because I prefer to live under a government of ideas, rather than one with a nationalist identity based on blood ties. Perhaps because my blood is a little mixed and because my children's blood is certainly mixed, the America I see is one where all other countries dissolve into a union. Each element contributes something, and even an alien from Antares might be at home if he understood some basic principles of a free society and was willing to abide by them. He/she/it would certainly have to put up with some prejudice based on his/her/its appearance, because people are, admittedly, just like that. But if he/she/it were willing to tolerate that negative aspect of living here, he/she/it might do quite well.

Here you go.

Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity

"A bleak picture of the corrosive effects of ethnic diversity has been revealed in research by Harvard University's Robert Putnam, one of the world's most influential political scientists.

His research shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone - from their next-door neighbour to the mayor.

This is a contentious finding in the current climate of concern about the benefits of immigration. Professor Putnam told the Financial Times he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it "would have been irresponsible to publish without that".

Translation - he suppressed his own findings in an effort to find a more PC explanation. Sounds like an academic to me.

I'm not sure why we are hung up on this point. The immigration fans for the most part are well aware of its implications. They simply happen to like those implications. There are exceptions, people like Kate, who oppose abortion and don't understand that immigration is keeping and will keep it legal. But my guess is that those people are a minority.

Don't feed the troll.

Evident, too, is a (mostly) free market system and a requirement to learn the English language.

I'm not sure what part of the country you live in, but in the North East you'll be hard pressed to hear people speaking the English language, and immigrants dislike the free market system. I don't know why you think that people who vote for ALMO in Mexico are going to come to the US and suddenly adapt the outlook of Ludwig von Mises, and I imagine you don't know either.

I wouldn't eliminate America because I prefer to live under a government of ideas, rather than one with a nationalist identity based on blood ties.

You are eliminating America as a government of ideas. You are replacing it with an America which looks much like so many others in the world - a corrupt oligarchy in which a wealthy ruling elite keeps the people divided in order to preserve their own power. The alternative to a country with a nationalist identity is a multicultural empire. I have no idea where you get this "blood ties" nonsense from.

The people running the country are not anxious to change the culture of America because they like Indian food or Mexican music or "government of ideas". They want to do it so that they can solidify their

hold on power.

"In these talks with the congressmen, this author encountered an unexpectedly large amount of sympathy for the proposal to extend amnesty to existing undocumented immigrants, and to even increase immigration from Mexico. Interestingly, several of them were proposing amnesty with us even before it became Fox’s official policy (this was duly reported back to the campaign). Though I was not empowered to negotiate, only discuss, inevitably a staple in the conversational menu with these congressmen included immigration. This enthusiasm cut across party lines and across the "conservative-liberal" divide, though the underlying arguments by the congressmen seemed to vary."


"Among several congressmen and other political operatives I encountered, a certain admiration for the long-ruling Mexican political class was discerned. Sometimes they would confuse us with members of the then long-ruling party (the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI) and would talk at length about how they were "given the royal treatment" in the ranches and yachts and other perks of the Mexican political class. "Your leaders sure know how to live it up," exclaimed one congressman approvingly. Others would marvel at how the ruling party could govern for so long despite their abuse and without voter reaction. "If I did one-tenth of what they got away with, I’d be dead meat at election time," mentioned another one."

"At the same time, several congressmen mentioned how happy they were with their Hispanic constituents. The more usual compliments included: "They are grateful for whatever you give them;" "they never give me problems, I love going to their barrio;" "they are loyal;" "they are a gentle people;" and "they make ideal constituents." Referring to the mostly white population of his district, one congressman apologized for his "redneck" constituents who "don’t understand" the importance of increased immigration. Another congressman spoke of the consequences immigration would eventually have for his competing party, in that it would "disappear, once and for all."

To sum up, Kate, you don't seem to understand that is is precisely ideas that I'm arguing about. People come with ideas already built into them. If you think the ideas in America are bad and need changing then bringing in new people with new ideas makes perfect sense. If you think the ideas in America are pretty good then it makes no sense to do so.

You are opposed to abortion, correct? You want Roe to be overturned? The effect of immigration is to elect Democrats and preserve Roe. Steve and Fung understand the cause and effect here. They like immigration because they like the results they expect from it. Whats your excuse?


When was there ever a period when we were a gloriously unified bunch of people?

the America I see is one where all other countries dissolve into a union

You contradict yourself here, and argue that America is both a melting pot and a mosaic. It cannot be both.

Perhaps because my blood is a little mixed and because my children's blood is certainly mixed

I hope you'll forgive me if I tell you that I really don't care about your or your childrens blood. I'm not Steve Thomas. I do care about what people think, since what makes different cultures different is that they think different things.

Sorry, Kate, but can you name me a successful (i.e., longlasting) nation that relied only on a shared set of abstract ideas? The problem here is that we Burkeans see society in a completely different light; society is organic, growing out of allegiances that are hardwired by human nature (e.g., family, clan, ethnic/linguistic group, religious affiliation, then nation...all are nested, and the primary allegiance starts at the bottom). Promoting sharp disconnects between primary allegiances and higher identities (like nations) is begging for trouble. Now, Fung and his ilk can pound away and slap that label of "racist" on all who hold this view, but it's a reasoned view derived from empirical observation. In short, those who disagree have a the burden of proof...people have organized themselves in the Burkean fashion time-out-of-mind. That's the fact.

John, if you mean "don't feed Fung," Fung isn't a troll. He's a jerk, but he isn't a troll. Trolls pretend to be someone else, and they engage in sniping rather than reasoned discourse. Fung only does the latter.

And so, Fung, you claim that my point was personal...eh, BS. In the second half of the sentence I refer to "we." It's a willful misreading. And, as to use of the term 'bubba', that word has a specific meaning. So, according to Fungus, only lower-class white boys can be racists ('bubba'=lower-class white=racist). Thank you for making my point -- you think only whites can be racists, and therefore you out-group them with nasty epithets. You are a bigot, in short...fundamentally no different than your local Kluxer or Salafist mullah. I've said it before: Man, you got worms in your brains.

Trolls pretend to be someone else

You are thinking of mobys or sock puppets. Fung is a troll. Steve thinks the same way but is a lot more interesting about it.

I don't see why a "Burkean" wouldn't recognize the distinctive fact of American citizenship, in ">">http://www.ashbrook.org/library/18/burke/speechconciliation.html"> this spirit. Burke "got" historical differences between political communities and their sources.

Imagine Burke's contempt for this statement: People come with ideas already built into them.

Sorry, partner, but as much as I admire your postings here, I have the jargon correct, at least for the most part. I guess both sock puppets and mobys are kinds of trolls, but Fung is more honest than that, and he's not always offensive. Few of our trolls spread supposedly rightwing (dis)information, so we don't have mobys for the most part. As for sock puppets, aren't we all (except those who use the real names)?

dain, we live in a society that has managed to stay together based on an abstract nationality that has nothing to do with the natality inherent in that word. God knows it hasn't been perfect and so do I. However, here we are and I hope we keep at it. It has been the grandest experiment in history, and, clearly, it might yet fail. However, we really can not separate geographically this time, with the types of divisions we have. I think we are stuck with each other.


You are right. I do not see that people are hard-wired with a set of ideas. Political life might be easier if people stayed the same, but they do not. The statistics on the numbers in given categories might be similar, but the constituents of those categories may not be. We seem to have a stable number of poor people in America, but the numbers of people who remain in poverty over their lives are few. People change in many ways with time. Marriage takes you into different clans, people move to get better jobs and form new friendships and allegiances, people change religions, or acquire religion, people get money, lose money and get money again. People are not static over time, but full of change.

We must live in different Americas, John. I live in Northeast Ohio. In my town, I never hear anything spoken but English. There is a large Hispanic community in the city north of mine, and up there I hear them speaking Spanish among themselves in stores, but English to the cashiers. There are students for whom ours is a second language at the community college where I teach, but they are all trying very hard to learn English and appreciate my help in their effort. These students are at the college to "make it" in America's free market system, as they and the other students have been told that they must. Some of them are conservative in their politics, and some of them are not, just as in the "American" student body.

But I forget, I must not speak from personal experience.

When was there ever a period when we were a gloriously unified bunch of people? Yes, I was speaking contradictorily there, because in one place I was speaking of our history and in the other place I was speaking of the hope of what we might be as a nation, given that are and have been a nation of immigrants - even me and my ancestors.


I write here what I think will effect the abortion debate, and think it will have effect regardless of place of national origin or even political party.

Steve, Thank you. That was a comfort. I thought I must not have ever understood Burke at all, if dain was right.

First, John spoke of ideas coming as baggage with immigrants, not me (although he is correct about that in a narrow sense...I suggest you examine marital relations among recent Somali immigrants/refugees if you doubt it). Second, this text by Burke you point to...I see nothing in it to gainsay what I mentioned about nested allegiances. Indeed, he says "wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you." He is talking about the greater nation of Britain, folks, the nation, not governments. What can you be thinking?

Kate, I'm a bit ashamed of you...have you ever read Burke, or have you simply taken other peoples' word for what he says? Burke believed that peoples (real flesh-and-blood peoples linked by centuries of interaction and intermarriage) form institutions, and that time selects for good forms and against bad forms (a kind of pre-Darwinian social evolutionism, which explains why CONSERVATIVES are also gradualists). Thus, TIME and SOCIAL ORGANIZATION and DEMES are the quintessential Burke. I've said nothing that isn't true to his philosophy.

Kate - There's a Kirkian Burke.

And what's that supposed to mean, Steve?

dain, I wrote that in reply to Kate, before your comment came up. So it was not directed at you or meant to undermine your earlier comment. I meant simply that there are different interpretations of Burke, which is perhaps not surprising given the man's output, rhetoric, and range of interests. Perhaps I also meant to say that my Burke, the Burke that helps my side of the argument, distinguished between French political rationalism and the American case -- though 1775 is obviously prior to the Declaration.

In a deeper sense, your remarks on Burke bring to my mind English thinkers prior to Burke who liked Tacitus and traced English liberty to an ancient Saxon constitution.

dain, you can be ashamed of me. My education has been largely self-directed. Most of what I have read has been about Burke, as you suggest, and what I have read of him in latter years has been what he wrote in support of the American Revolution or against the French one. I have a paperback book downstairs on my shelf that I haven't opened since I read it over twenty years ago (after buying it from a remainder shelf for $.50) with a title that indicates that it contains all of the most important of Burke's speeches. I read it, as I read for most of my adult life, for the pleasure of finding things out and with neither direction nor instruction as to meaning. The speech that Steve linked to is probably one of those. My reading of Burke was that he had a more liberal (in the old sense) inclination to natural law as an innate moral sense in man and that, therefore, people chose better forms of government and that when they didn't it was an abandonment of sense and good Christian principles. Reason and history had something to do with it, too. I certainly grant that you know more about Burke than I.


It seems absurd, sometimes, the things I chose to read for fun or curiosity and hearing later how I "ought" to have understood those things as compared to how I actually understood them.


I really feel uncomfortable being asked to examine marital relations among Somali immigrants. Must I?

You do know how to "avert wrath." All is forgiven, and I regret chastising you. Do read more of Burke when you get a chance...fascinating stuff.

RE: #72. I just watched the Roy Beck video, "by the numbers." It is indeed very effective, part of a network of advocacy against post-1965 policy.

Last comment is too cute... By "effective" I mean clever and smooth, with great production values. (Machiavelli embraced effectiveness; Leni Riefenstahl was effective, too. Effectiveness tells us too little.) Sometimes I tell students that federal budgets are political philosophy by the numbers. The same is true here. The immigration debate can get out of hand - ugly - unless people on all sides take this kind of effective advocacy seriously and look closely.

I am going to try another approach, here. Part of the discussion between Kate and John/Dain is regarding the existence or lack of existence of an American Culture.

Kate and Steve both suggest that it DOES exist, that it consists of values and ideals, and that it can survive (maybe even thrive) our existing immigration trends.

Dain suggests that nations cannot survive based on ideals.

To some extent, the argument about culture must become distinct from an argument about nations and societies, and I don't mean this to be merely a theoretical or academic observation.

Society and national interest must be pursued intentionally and deliberately, with concern about taxes, security, and the well-being of persons. But cultures emerge, and, like personalities, probably cannot be intentionally or deliberately crafted. I have been reading Viktor Frankl, lately, and he suggests that self-actualization cannot be achieved if it is made an end in and of itself. It must be a side effect of self-transcendence.

I believe the same may true of culture, and of the American Way of Life. If we try to craft an American Way of Life, then it will be a product, and will be inauthentic, like a tourist attraction, or a stereotype.

If I am right, then arguments about the effect of policy on the American Way of Life become immediately mired in the law of unintended consequences. If I am right, then the American Way of Life has emerged, as it has always emerged, from people engaged in the process of living, and not as a carefully constructed "society."

dain, thank you for the forgiveness and I will read Burke when I can and when I can find direction as to what to read, besides finding my book downstairs. Am I very wrong in my untutored understanding of Burke?


Steve, yes, I see what you mean by an effective video. Mr. Beck says that he is not showing us conjecture, but the facts. How is projecting the future not conjecture? As to the numbers, the population of the world is growing and I don't see how that stops at our borders when we are still the land of opportunity.

Yet, we really ought to have a better immigration policy. We attract the best and brightest. Wouldn't a merit-based system work better? I DO know immigrants, some of whom are very idealistically American, and some who aren't. If we are not replacing ourselves physically, don't we need the former type of person?

I agree, Steve. Although I am frequently accused of race-hatred on this blog, the fact is I do believe there is "room at the table" for people different from outselves. Only, like good guests, they must attend in reasonable numbers. Both social science and commonsense clearly indicate that populations have a far easier time assimilating strangers in smaller numbers. I really fail to understand how anyone could seriously advocate the kind of immigration numbers we are experiencing today...it's truly crazy.

My last bit was in process while while those last two posts went up. I missed them, but I think I accidentally responded to dain's.


Fung, people being people, how do we ever craft society? As far as I can see, any and every attempt at a constructed society has been a failure. The American Way of Life as I have lived it was different when I lived in New York City as compared to little Hambden, Ohio. Both have been authentic experiences. The American Way of Life: Colonial Williamsburg as lived was certainly messier than Williamsburg as re-enacted. The former was real, the latter populated by actors, and we are never actors in life, but participants in it. I am being simplistic, but do I get your point?

Unintended consequences. Is there a law for that? I would that life had more intended consequences!

Part of the discussion between Kate and John/Dain is regarding the existence or lack of existence of an American Culture.

Kate and Steve both suggest that it DOES exist, that it consists of values and ideals, and that it can survive (maybe even thrive) our existing immigration trends.

Actually, Kate and Steve suggest no such thing. Steve is quite explicit about the fact that he has little or no interest in ideas, but is concerned about race first and foremost. Kate seems preoccupied with her blood. I have seen nothing at all in the position of those favoring immigration to indicate that they have any interest in values and ideals, which are topics they never discuss. It's all about race for them. Perhaps that is their value and their ideal.

cultures emerge, and, like personalities, probably cannot be intentionally or deliberately crafted.

The pro-immigration people are attempting to do exactly what you say cannot be done, intentionally and deliberately create a new American culture. Any such project should at least begin with an explanation of what deficiencies are felt to exist in the country at present. Then we could move on to assessing whether particular immigrants meet our needs.


At present we are still stuck at arguing over whether they should even be a discussion. If we can some get agreement that there should be then we can move on to actually having it.

Kate

People are not static over time, but full of change.

That depends on how you use the word "time". Over thousands of years, yes, there is significant change. Over periods of twenty to a hundred years, no, there is little change.

Blacks have been voting Democratic for the past eighty years. White Protestents have been voting Republican since the party was founded. I realize that you want to believe that people are all the same and that anyone can be anything. Viewed on an individual basis that may even be true. But viewed in the aggregate it is not. Look at the world around you and you don't find people randomly distributed in different occupations without regard to race, religion, or ethnicity.

I really feel uncomfortable being asked to examine marital relations among Somali immigrants. Must I?

If you want to insist that people are interchangable and that culture does not matter, then you must.

Correction, John...white Northern Protestants have been voting for the GOP since the 1860s. Southerners, who are also overwhelmingly Protestant, have only begun voting for the GOP since the 1960s, and then only because of the Kennedy/Johnson push to remold Southern society. This is why the only Democrats to win the Presidency have been Southern boys since the mid-1960s.

John,

I guess I was referring to Kate's statement:"the America to which anyone assimilates is one of ideas, as exemplified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in their pamphlets distributed to immigrants." from her comment #78, or when Steve said: "The American constitution may or may not be intact in a hundred years, but I don't believe the outcome will depend upon whether we as a people are mostly Anglo-Saxon (we're not now) or white." in comment #40.

As for your point, I am not sure exactly what you mean. Right now, the default mode seems to be a pretty loose immigration policy. but, if that is the status quo, then it seems to me that those who would CHANGE immigration policy are the ones who are trying to engage in experimental social engineering.

Kate, Certainly there are important variations in the way we live the American way of life, but are there not also important commonalities, such that New Yorkers and Hambden-ites have more in common than they have with, say Laotians, or Georgians?

My point is that we can directly and intentionally pass laws and rules, in order to affect subsequent behavior, but I don't think that we are likely to directly affect culture in the ways that we intend to.

John, please, calm down. My comment about the Somalis was a laughing response to dain, and he knew it. I meant nothing serious in it. I am sorry for the confusion.


I think individual people are full of change, and think we can extrapolate that to "people" in the aggregate. Do you really think that people and society do not change over even brief periods? It seems to me that we are always going through dramatic changes in all sorts of ways. The world seems a much smaller place than it was when I was young. I do not think that is just my perspective, but that it has to do with technological changes, which change how people see one another and think about things. I think more people of different races, religions and ethnicities are in more varied occupations than was true when I was young. I would include gender in that, too, although for my values and ideals I would see more mothers home with their children. I am glad that the fact that women are capable is recognized now. Anyway, what are we looking back to as being better once, if nothing has changed?

Fung, Which Georgia did you have in mind? State or country?


Yes, there are important American commonalities. I was equally comfortable in New York as I am in Hambden. On the other hand, I have never lived in Laos and can not be sure that i would not find commonality there. Yet I feel fairly sure I would not be so comfortable.


As to your next point, I think surely laws are passed and there are unintended consequences to them. As in anything else, we can't know what happens next. We can make laws restricting immigration, and illegals come over the border.


All afternoon and evening I've been thinking about what you wrote that you have been reading in Victor Frankl and had to look up "self-transcendence", which I remembered as a term from much younger days. I found a confusion of definitions. The way you put it up there in #94, the context, reminds me of an essential ideal of Christianity, that you die to yourself and live in Christ, and thereby become complete. You find yourself by losing yourself in a God's higher purpose. Does this relate, or am I making connections that aren't there?

Anyway, as it relates to America, we must have some sense of higher purpose, or we lose sense of ourselves as a people. We get a taste of it during something like the events of 9/11, but we lose it so quickly, it makes the head spin.

To address Fung and Kate, what I'm saying is that sharp diversities in terms of skin color, religion, language and other ascribed characteristics make the emergence of culture problematic. What emerges is far from optimal...indeed, it is fragile and easily rent asunder. Why? Because in-grouping and out-grouping are hardwired. People have always found enough cultural commonality to trade with one another, but that hasn't stopped them from slaughtering one another when circumstances change. I mean, take an honest look at America...is our diversity really the wellspring of our strength?

Please be a little more circumspect and a bit less idealistic. We are talking about the future, and if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that once you change the demography you change the destiny.

dain, I am insisting that America's ideas and ideals are the well-spring of our strength. I will admit that we are little weak just now, because those ideas and ideal are not well-articulated in society, and as in John Moser's recent post, they are even undermined in our educational system and media. That is poison and a shame and a pity. I do not see that the source of the poison has anything to do with race or ethnicity, except as a side effect of those when some people feel excluded or marginalized by society.


When you speak of demography and destiny, I think of the Roman Empire. Is that what you have in mind? In relation to empire and a devolution of culture, I read something by a Brit who said that the true place to find English manners today was in India. I have a student from India or Pakistan, I am not sure which, and he addresses me as "Respected Teacher" which I rather like. Most of my students call me by my first name, which I do not mind, but this student's manners are a pleasant anomaly.

Kate, in the recent pro-immigration rallies in California, why did many of the demonstrators display the Mexican flag? Why was America the IRA's principal source of cash? I knew a guy who was a dual citizen of Taiwan and the United States. He made his career here, but later became some kind of politician in Taiwan. When he died, he was buried here.

My point? People do bring baggage with them, as well as divided loyalties. Often, their American-born children are radicalized by our educational system, and they become even more divisive than their parents. With all due respect, Kate, I think you are burying your head in the sand just a little on this issue.

Dain- About the hard-wiring of the in- and out-grouping. I assume that you are referring to something like skin color, since this country and this culture were developed in the context of diversity: White people from Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Hungaria, France, Italy, Russia, all (eventually) overcame their differences to participate in the industrialization and the settling of the country.

I mention this because we have a long history of White - on --White warfare, where the only way to tell the good from the bad guys was by the colors of the uniforms, or the language in which "fire!" was shouted across the battlefield.

So, if you are suggesting that outgroup aggression is triggered somehow by differences in skin appearance, I would counter that such aggression is small potatoes compared to that caused by differences among identically appearing people, but who differ in values, religion, and desire for resources.

Despite a long history of French-British hostility, and Catholic-Protestant aggression, however, it is rare these days in my environment to hear racist epithets or jokes about those "White" minorities that were so troublesome to the less recently arrived, even when I was a kid.

My point is that we can learn, and have learned to overcome or transcend those hostilities in a culture of progress and tolerance. Perhaps, in another 50 years, the "hard-wired" hostilites that you and John observe between Christians and Muslims, between Anglos and Hispanics, etc., will also have faded.

Kate, In my view, you are describing something very similar to what Frankl described. His secular critics believed that he flirted too closely with religion, and that he was, in fact, talking about God, when he suggested that we have to discover meaning.

But, to put the issue as I would put it: If I aim for self-actualization, then my concerns are simply too self-related and too self-conscious -- too constricted -- to achieve what I am aiming for. Instead, self-actualization is a by-product of self-transcendence; it occurs when the range of our concerns is outside of ourselves.

In religious terms, I would compare it to a difference between (a) the "salvation" that results from instrumental religiosity and (b) the salvation that results from spiritual religiosity.

Put a slightly different way, the person who keeps asking "Am I saved, yet?" "Am I having a peak experience now?" will never get there.

Finally, I am suggesting a similar dynamic with the deliberate pursuit of cultural characteristics.

Man, Fung, don't you know any social psychology? Ever heard of Turner's salience theory? If not, look it up...I don't have time to teach you your own profession.

But for anyone who is swayed by Fung's statement, the fact is that people out-group rather automatically, and they will select whatever trait is salient...income, religion, etc. In an American context, one reason the white ethnics have been able to partially "melt" is because of the presence of people who are even more different (blacks, Hispanics, Asians). The big status line in America is race because it is the most obvious/salient; in Northern Ireland, it's religion because that's most salient.

So, what does this mean. First, white folks have slaughtered one another, and we've done a better-than-average job of it because of our technological capabilities (and that's all...there is nothing special about our bellicosity). Second, we have reached the END of redefining what is salient. Unless we are invaded by Antareans or something, the skin-color dividing line is pretty stark (unmistakably salient). Inviting lots of non-white people in under these stratification rules is just nuts. And the liberal "faith" that we can educate these tendencies away goes against all our empirical evidence.

It's funny, but whatever Dain writes, it always ends up sounding like WHITE POWER! WHITE POWER! WHITE POWER!

Dain, I expect you are referring to SCT, or Self-categorization theory, which is much more complex than the little piece that you have selected and then distorted.

SCT is about the dual roles of the group in supporting identity:(1) As a member of the Republican party, I gain status and power via party identification, and (2) as a better-than-average Republican, I gain status and power via distinctions between myself and the rest of the Republicans.

But, what happens when the Republicans become the party of corruption and malaise? then, I lose status, causing me to "redistrict" the boundaries and salience of my affiliations. Now, I am a conservative, much more than I am a Republican.

SCT is about the complex interplay between identity and the changing salience of characteristics that define in-groups and outgroup. Another example might be the fluctuating value, of late, attached to terms like "fundamentalist religion." Before the Taliban became a household word, fundamentalism was a good way for some American individuals to support and assert their own identity. Now, that word tends to be "downplayed" a bit, and other aspects of the same groups will be made "more salient."

But, SCT does NOT support a genetic explanation for racism.

SCT is a next-generation of social recategorization theory, which is a literal redistricting of "what we call us/them." According to SRT, we start by hating "them" because they are lazy. When "they" are demonstrated to be industrious, instead of lazy, then we say, "Well, that is not a good example of "them," by virtue of their industriousness, they must be "Us wannabees." In this way, for instance, Hillary Clinton's femininity is challenged when she proves a formidable opponent. suddenly, she is not a good example of a woman. Her womanness is "less salient."

I don't see any real contradiction here. The underlying assumption is that the more conspicuous the category, the more likely it is to become salient (and therefore bundled with social identity). Traits that are more-or-less socially defined, and therefore "visible" only within social contexts(e.g.,like political identity) will certainly be more fluid than "hard" or ascribed statuses like gender or ethnicity. So, however much some might try to "categorize away" Hillary's status as female, ultimately she will retain it, and people will behave towards her as a "female."

That is essentially my answer: White ethnics were preferable to others as immigrants because their differences were easily "disappeared" with time. That will not and cannot happen for conspicuous statuses like gender or ethnicity, and so these statuses will continue to drive in-grouping and out-grouping, and unlike gender, ethnicity has no natural interdependencies that ease social tension.

Well, there IS a contradiction, because one overarching observation is that categories ARE fluid. For example, In terms of gender, the recent literature suggests that the male-female gender dichotomy is much more like a continuum, with all sorts of real values in between (See Sandra Bem, for instance) and from chromosomes to genes to hormones to external genitalia to body type to sexual preference to gender identity, there are many, many variations.

The same is true of "races." How dark is Barak Obama? How White is Lena Horne? How descriptive is the term "Hispanic," an more? Geneticists show that there is more genetic difference among apparent races than there is between them. So, over time, Bullworth's prediction may actually come true. (I realize that is small comfort to you, but it doesn't bother me. My heritage is already pretty mixed up, and if my descendants are darker than I am, well, good for them.)

apart from those observations, SCT is all about the fluidity of categories and their saliences, and NOT about the ultimate rigidity of any of them. As you and I have both observed, we have quickly become experts in distinctions among Arabic and Farsee, Persians and Iranian, Indian and Pakistani, Sunni and Shiite, Islamic and Islamist, Neocon and Paleocon, Democrat and Democratic, and so on. We can (and do) adjust the salience of skin color when it suits our purpose.

What has really blurred the distinction between different "white" ethnic groups has been intermarriage. I remember that in the 1950s my father was really ticked off when my younger sister (of "pure" German heritage) married someone of Polish origin. Now everyone you meet is some mixture of ethnic background. There's no reason why the same thing can't happen between people of different "races" today.

Sorry, Don G., we wrote simultaneously, or I would have acknowledged your very good point.

Yea, Don, great point...except that the status barriers have to go down before that "intermarriage" rate becomes significant. As I've said, what allowed that to happen was that differences in Christian religion and ethnic heritage lost their salience in the wake of America's much deeper diversity. I also note, Don, that only about 5% of American couples are interracial, and probably half or more of those are between people who don't have enormous phenotypical differences. In short, I doubt you can expect intermarriage to "save the day" here, particularly not with the Left constantly pushing "identity politics."

Fung, I'm sure you folks can prove virtually anything using captive freshmen. But racial differences aren't that fluid, even if you "nurture" psychologists desperately want to believe that. If you insist, cite the "research" you are referring to...I'll be glad to gut it for you. 95% of research in psychology is crap, so it won't be hard.

What percentage of American couples in 1907 were inter-ethnic? My guess is that probably no more than 5 percent were. We managed to survive somehow.

Zyphur, Michael J., Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, US, 70118, Source:American Psychologist, Vol 61(2), Feb-Mar 2006. pp. 179-180.Abstract:: Although a variety of studies have indicated that using statistical clustering techniques to examine genetic information may allow for geographically based groupings of individuals that tenuously map onto some conceptions of race (Pääbo, 2001), these studies have also indicated that the amount of genetic variation within these groupings is significantly larger than the variation that exists between them (even after controlling for "unused" portions of the human genetic sequence). However, irrespective of these problems with the concept of race, the study of race holds a prominent place within the social and behavioral sciences........

Smedley, Audrey, 3000 Chapel View Drive, Beltsville, MD, US, 20705, asmedley@mail1.vcu.edu Source:American Psychologist, Vol 61(2), Feb-Mar 2006. pp. 180-181.

Abstract: Responds to M. J. Zyphur's (see record 2006-01690-012) comments on the original article by A. Smedley and B. D. Smedley (see record 2005-00117-003). Race, as people live and understand it, inhabits a dimension of reality that transcends biology and cannot be reduced to genes, chromosomes, or even phenotypes. A biological or genetic view of race cannot encompass the lived social reality of race, nor does it represent biogenetic variations in human populations very well (Marks, 1995). As Zyphur notes, biogenetic variations in the human species were produced by evolutionary forces as different groups interacted with and underwent adaptation to the natural environments encountered in their migrations. ….Biogenetic variation has continued to increase as individuals once widely separated meet and mate. Quite apart from the controversy over races as biological taxa, the idea of race as it is known and lived in American society is composed of social values and meanings imposed on this biological variation over the past three or four centuries. As a social construct, race refers to an ideology. Since the 18th century, Americans and many other people in the world have been conditioned to believe that race as biology is the main source of human identities.

:Brodwin, Paul, Department of Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI, US, 53201, brodwin@uwm.edu Source:Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Vol 29(2), Jun 2005. pp. 139-143

This introduction discusses both the specific topics of the articles covered in the journal and the broader issues they address. The articles, covering genetics and collective identity, open up two issues in the cultural study of biotechnology. First, they show what happens when people turn to molecular genetics to answer questions about collective descent, group boundaries, and ethnic or racial membership. From a range of disciplines, the articles' authors explore the potential of new genetic knowledge to transform long-standing notions of social coherence and belonging. Second, the collection in this journal probes the uncertainty of professionals who produce genetic knowledge, but then quickly lose control over its interpretation. We learn much from the articles about the "rough edge" of population genetics, where lay and professional expectations sharply diverge .


I hope you can educate me as thoroughly as you did regarding "Salience Theory."

Why are you referring me to a comment on a article? And why to the author's reply...don't you know what research is? It uses theory and empirical observation to assess truth claims; these 2-page pieces you refer me to do not do that. Moreover, throwing out the umpteenth critique of "race as a social construction" or noting that Census categories don't capture it very well are just so lame. You aren't dealing with an undergraduate, my boy...you'll have to do better.

Now, let's try again. Cite me some honest-to-God empirical research that demonstrates the pliability of phenotypic differences. Show me that skin color, body shape, hair, and other outward differences can be "disappeared" by (fill in the variables). Show me a place were the biological fact of race or gender play no social role.

P.S. It would be very nice if you could produce some research that transcends the university setting. As I've said repeatedly, captive freshman suffer from desirability bias, and they represent no population I'm aware of.

Don, I don't know what ethnic intermarriage looked like in 1900, but I can tell you there is a thing called "homogamy," whereby people select mates based on similarity. So, I would predict interethnic marriages even to this day match skin color, social class, and religion (e.g., Polish Catholics marrying German Catholics - British Protestants marrying Scandinavian Lutherans). Betcha.

Fung, Thank you. I have known A LOT of Christians and understand that distinction completely. There is a further one, that some who have a spiritual experience think, or feel that it is about them, and feel entitled as a result. Christians who live expecting to "get" from God are never as content as those who expect to give to God and enjoy the giving. For the former, Heaven is an entitlement, and for the latter it is a side issue, like a pension or a bonus for doing a job they would almost prefer to do for free they enjoy it so much.

dain, yes, I know that for some people America is a marketplace, but not for all. Did I seem to mean that all were coming as idealists? I did not mean that. As I wrote in comment #96 ... we really ought to have a better immigration policy. We attract the best and brightest. Wouldn't a merit-based system work better? I DO know immigrants, some of whom are very idealistically American, and some who aren't. If we are not replacing ourselves physically, don't we need the former type of person?


I think you generalize too broadly on this issue. In that, I am generalizing, because you don't always do that (see your comment #95) just sometimes and some days when you are driving a point home.


So, the abstracts cited above do not count? The census bureau does not allow for many variables in how they count race. But, genetically, are our racial backgrounds evident? I have wondered, because of the migrations of people groups, slavery, rape of the conquered, how we could ever really know what our racial backgrounds are. I am rereading Puddin'head Wilson when I do not feel compelled to read something else like my re-discovered Burke book, and looked at a photo of Nikki Giovanni the other day, and was wondering about how "pure" any race might be. Also, "Hispanic" is about language, and not about race at all and they are a pretty mixed bunch, already.


You do not expect empirical evidence from me, so I am free to wonder.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

dain, I post my comment and find that. How lovely, and yes, indeed. Thank you.

I thought St. Paul captured your point about givers and takers just perfectly (at least, it popped into my mind as I read your post).

For everything there is a season. Someday, if immigration moderates, I'll be more sanguine about the future. Right now we are headed for a train wreck.

Dain, What kind of an idiot are you? These are abstracts, my friend, and not the papers themselves. One is from a literature review, and the other responds to that first one. The third is another review of the literature. If you READ the ARTICLES themselves, you will find more empirical research described than you can stomach.

You have done this before, and I have fallen for it before, so shame on me.

You brought up psychology, and tried to use it to argue against me. You incorrectly referred to your argument as "salience theory." When that didn't work, you decided that all psychology was "crap," and then asked for some articles, promising to critique them. I provided abstracts (in addition to the reference information)and you didn't recognize what they were. The PDF versions of those complete articles are available, but I didn't think you would need me to wipe your behind for you, or to paste the entire articles onto NLT. You don't know what you are talking about.

For some arcane reason, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but every time that I do, I end up participating in the embarrassment that seems to follow you around like a cloud.

Let's try this: First, this entire debate began when I suggested that you exploited the deaths at VT to hawk your racist bile. So far, you have done nothing but support my initial claim.

Second, you keep suggesting that apartheid is the way of the future. Why don't you tell US what society reflects your ideals so successfully that you would prefer to live there than here? If the USA is making such abysmal decisions regarding immigration, where will you go?

Third, you present your biased interpretations of snippets of news reviews of research as though you actually understand science. Instead of understanding, you possess an undifferentiated contempt for all that you don't know. That is pathetic.

Au contraire, monsieur! I DID read them...they aren't abstracts or literature reviews...the first is a "note" on prior research, the second is the author's response to the critique. The last is just the editor's preface to a special issue of the journal focusing on race/ethnicity and categorization (I also browsed that issue...unless I'm interested in the Jewish genes of some African group, not too helpful).

Now, instead of playing games, go find some research...with real subjects, real variables, real hypotheses. You have made a strong claim that race is 1) socially constructed, and 2) that it is flexible (i.e., it fades over time, I suppose). Please demonstrate that...it's not rocket science.

As for my "vision of the future," with reasonable diversity people can find accommodations...usually some form of segregation. That's what we have in this country today, it's what Switzerland has. Am I "advocating" segregation? No, I'm just saying that that is the way people deal with extreme diversities. And since I don't favor a strongly segmented society, nor the police state that would be required to force people to mix, then I opt for immigration reform. Savvy?

As for psychology itself, my version of salience theory is the correct one. Perhaps Turner got too much "heat" for his original version and "PC'ed" up his "new and improved" version, but the original is best. And why would the assumption that phenotype is NOT related to the likelihood of salience be a necessary part of the theory? That's illogical. Indeed, if Turner denies the fact the phenotype will play a large role in categorization, then some clever Darwinian needs to fix his theory. Why do you think I said that only the evolutionary psychologists were worth a damn? It's because they have a coherent paradigm to work from. Much like any constructivist view, your "view" of salience theory cannot explain why some traits become salient and others not. I think you're the idiot.

You are right: I am not dealing with my undergrads -- they know how to read a reference page. they also know an abstract when they see on. I cut and pasted the actual abstracts into my comment. THAT COMMENT CONSISTS OF THREE ABSTRACTS OF ARGUMENTS AND REVIEWS OF THE LITERATURE. EACH ONE IS FOLLWED BY A REFERENCE PAGE SUPPORTING THE ARGUMENT.

I wrote a little play, called "Pud'nhead right-wing authoritarian" (hat tip to Kate).

Dain: This ____ (fill-in-the-event) proves my point about everyone who looks different from me being inferior to me.

Fung: Wow. That sounds racist.

Dain: You traitorous, White-hating, liberal, stupid, crappy social scientist, you! You are the racist, because you hate all White people!

Fung: No. I hate racism, and I hate what racism does to people.

Dain: Even Psychologists support my point! Haven't you ever read Smith's theory about how people like Dain are better than other people?

Fung: Well, I have read Smith, but he never said.....

Dain: Who cares! All psychologists are crap, because I am not a psychologist, and that makes them different from me! Ha ha! Strauss-Burke! See? TurnerDain racist brown Smith. Got it? Mein Kampf, train-to-Clarksville (Hat tip to Peter) foolish Straussian love is never having to say you have a cherokee in the closet. hee hee! i win.

I encourage anyone who has the resources to link to Fung's citations and decide who is correct. Since I actually read them, I do not fear begin found wrong on this (because I won't be). I must conclude that Fung may teach, but he must not research...he doesn't have the foggiest notion about research literature.

As for your little play (hey, didn't that crazy who killed all those people at VT also right bad, venomous plays...hmmm), you've misrepresented me at every turn. I will consider myself properly "out-grouped." Hate away!

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