Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,547 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. I agreed with the article until he blamed everything on the republicans. The democrats are just as neoliberal and neocon as the republican party.

    The only difference between the two parties is the culture war. And when it comes to the culture war, the identity politics of the democrats are actively hostile to the working class, white poor and their values. If you are gay, trans, black, atheist or middle/upper class female, then the democratic party will fight for you on cultural issues at the expense of the poor working class whites.

    It is the divide and conquer strategy used in the culture war while the ruling elites, both democrat and republican, unite on their neoliberal and neocon policies to the detriment of everyone but the top 10%. Bernie Sanders is the only one I have really seen to break the mold of identity politics and simply state he is for the American underclass regardless of color. Of course, since the mainstream media ignores him, his message may as well not exist.

  2. B) Taking quite a few biological courses in the past year, I’ve learnt that we don’t know crap about anything. We just recently (past 5-10 years?) learned that smoking affects methylation on your DNA, which can affect your children’s intelligence. From my professor, it can be up to as much as 6 IQ points…Which might not seem like much, but were measuring on a scale of “figuring out the world” to “I can make that better.”

  3. In re “Scottish Immigrants”, I just thought I’d mention I was researching Captain David Peeples for my family tree. Of course, I ran across your article. Cap’n Dave was my Grandfatherx9. So I guess that makes You and I …umm… oh, nevermind. – Joseph D Peeples, Jr (jpeep1@gmail.com)

    • It’s nice to meet you. Have you been doing genealogical research for a long time? Or did you recently start?

      I’ve been researching my mom’s family for years. But I’ve only done a little bit of work on my dad’s side, which includes Peeples/Peebles. I have that line more or less figured out, as there is a fair amount of info available.

      Have you seen the genealogical book on the Peeples/Peebles? My dad randomly met a distant relative in South Carolina who had a copy of the book and my dad turned it into a PDF. If you don’t have it, I could send you it.

  4. So… people say Sanders can only win white voters, but he just SMASHED Clinton in Hawaii, and Hawaii is LITERALLY the least white state in the country.

  5. A result of our fame-obsessed culture. Average Americans know the names, likes, dislikes, habits, and foibles of the Kardashians but can’t tell you the names of their senators, SCOTUS justices, or even how the political process works. Trump is the extension of this taken to the Nth degree. He’s a narcissistic reality show star who, in my opinion, only wants to be POTUS to satisfy his own monumental ego. And the American public is eating it up with a spoon.

  6. hmmmm….

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/09/west-hidden-tribalism-150909140315465.html

    vs hddchick

    “this is the working hypothesis of the blog, then: that long-term mating patterns in human populations can affect the selection for certain social behaviors (in particular, altruistic behaviors) since they can alter the genetic payoff (the inclusive fitness) of those behaviors (via kin selection). change the long-term mating patterns of a population, and you change the selection pressures for altruistic behaviors. please, keep in mind that this is an IDEA and not any sort of confirmed biological theory.

    much of my blogging has involved discussions of this idea as well as the compilation of “circumstantial evidence,” as it were, in support of — or negating — it. the broad social behaviors found in some populations appear to support the idea. for example, europeans (especially europeans from the northwest corner of europe, minus the irish, scots, and welsh) have been avoiding close kin marriage since sometime in the early medieval period. these same europeans — “core” europeans — exhibit very low levels of nepotistic altruism and are oriented toward the commonweal rather than some form of extended family: their family structures are based upon the nuclear family rather than larger extended families or clans; corruption and nepotism are low; civicness is strong; and universalistic sentiments are strong. on the other hand, populations in the arabized world (the middle east, maghreb, mashriq, pakistan, and afghanistan), have been practicing close kin marriage since at least the time of mohammed and likely even longer. these populations exhibit very high levels of nepotistic altruism and are oriented toward the extended family or clan rather than the commonweal: their family structures are based upon the extended family and clan; corruption and nepotism levels are high; civicness is weak; and particularism, rather than universalism, is strong. i’ve come to refer to these sets of behaviors as clannishness.”

  7. So Hillary thinks she can beat the republicans (whether Trump Cruz or Kasich) but can’t handle Bernie’s tone lololol.

  8. Of course the comments are full of pro-Putin and Russian comments LMAO.

    I’m not judging. I know there are alternative views and I myself do not know much abotu the conflict. I am open to alternative views on it :/

  9. So that white nationalist BS set me off, so… rant coming

    Something set me off, but it unleashed more layers of hidden anger at a smaller scale as when friend died. But I feel angry that I’m in college and where I am, angry, angry, angry, upset.

    Also I realized that there’s a costume design major at some schools, LOL. But really, that sounds okay. I would be okay being a seamstress and costumer with a theatre or movie group of something, making peoples’ costumes. I am someone who likes to make things with my hands. Whatever. I’m just saying that it’s a pre-professional major.

    I’m just saying that I feel like the kids in my class who went to tech school are better off than me. They all have jobs in the fields they majored in, guaranteed student internships, etc. I’m majoring in theoretical BS and getting rejected from internships left and right.

    But “smart” people go to college right? Tech, practical school is for the “dumb” people right? Well I qualified to join MENSA but I’m still deep down a handwork person. I’m not “cerebral” by choice, I don’t even like school and I never have. I’d rather make stuff with my hands.

    I have resolved a lot of it, but the anger is still sort of there at high school. Last night I was thinking about how I destroyed my artwork in high school and I wanted to cry in shame. And I told you I hate elite-college liberals and the way they treat Asians under a guise of progressiveness, and there is still a lot of pain there because a lot fo the destructive stuff I did and thought as a response to that. And at that age I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to see it for what it is. I say that the stuff they do and say about kids would make a kid cry, well it would. It no longer makes me cry at 22 because I am older and “wiser” now. Now I only disdain and laugh at them cynically. But I’m still on the wrong path anyway, losing sight of things.

    • I have read that even science and tech jobs are getting harder to find. There are so many qualified college grads and so competition is high. But also corporations maybe aren’t investing as much into R&D as they have at earlier times. This partly has to do with the Great Recession, causing companies to invest their money elsewhere.

      Plus, there is the corruption in our society that is problematic, such as drug companies spending more money on lobbying and advertising than on R&D. Bribing politicians and manipulating the public has become as or more profitable than ensuring a company has the best product.

      I doubt any of that comforts you. My point is just that you are far from alone. Unemployment is high right now for many fields, even those that seem more practical. This is only going to get worse with combination of globalization and automatization. The average person is becoming less relevant to the economy in general and to profits of companies in particular.

    • I still hear people argue that she should be president because she sounds presidential. What does that even mean? I assume they say this because she is capable of telling lies with a straight face. But I’d like to think there is more to being a president than that.

      • economically, HRC is barely different than republicans. That goes for the majority of the democratic establishment.
        Socially, she is obviously far more liberal. The problem is that with constant conservative economics, you still lose your social rights. Just slower. Without realizing it. Atleast trump would be a catalyst to fight against.

        • But far more socially liberal than who? On average, the American public is more liberal than someone like Hillary Clinton and most other professional politicians. That is what I’m always surprised by when looking at polls. It almost never gets discussed or even mentioned in the MSM. When comparing Clinton’s political record to public opinion, she ends up looking like a right-winger, even on many social issues.

          • I’ve been following public opinion closely for decades. I know most people, especially in the mainstream, are unaware of what most Americans actually believe and support. I’ve written many posts over the years about how politically left are Americans, specifically to the left of politicians in both parties. I was just reading a book that discusses this data.

    • I never understand why people delete social media accounts. If you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to delete anything. Simply stop visiting and commenting at the social media site. Deleting an account is melodramatic. Besides, most people probably end up creating a new account later on, after they get over whatever was bothering them.

      • Probably. She’s left and returned before, though I didn’t know her then. But I’m actually crushed, lol. Sad 😦

  10. So the white working class cares for dignity. Are white working classes really fiscally right, or are they just alienated from the left for cultural reasons but are still “left” economically? I’ve seen that white working class can be economically left but have conservative sensibilities socially? Either way, he is it the poor whites who pull the “welfare blood suckers!!!” Shit?

    Btw the progressive movement has a long history of racism. Economic justice maybe, but racist.

    What appeals to poor whites? Poor whites aren’t really mainstream republicans it seems given voter turn out and trump popularity

    • I don’t think the white working class is particularly conservative about most things, at least in terms of actual issues. Their conservatism is more symbolic and cultural, which is to say they are easily manipulated by rhetoric that contradicts what they say in polls they support and want.

      Working class whites, for example, are less pro-war that the political elites in either party. That is because many poor whites are actually in the military and don’t want to die or have their children die for corporate interests.

      Poor whites may be ignorant and heavily propagandized. But they aren’t as stupid as those in power like to think.

      • I’d make two points. First, Trump supporters like his economic populism. He says many of the same kinds of things as Sanders, such as being critical of free trade agreements that cause loss of jobs. As crazy as he sounds, Trump often states things more honestly and rationally than most other politicians, although the standard of most other politicians is an extremely low standard.

        Second, most poor whites don’t support Trump. The fact of the matter is that most poor whites, like most poor people in general, don’t vote. They are politically disfranchised: as felons (war on drugs having targeted the poor), because of voter suppression tactics, and generally as a result of knowing the ruling elite ignores them no matter what. It is hard to blame them, as studies show that politicians generally only do what the wealthy want them to do. We don’t have a functioning democracy and this is obvious to the poor.

          • Trump isn’t dominating Republicans in a direct sense. He simply figured out how to game the mainstream media. He bypassed the normal modes of partisan power.

            Sanders is not a media mastermind. Nor does Sanders have endless personal wealth to do with as he will. He is forced to use different methods.

  11. Perhaps. I don’t know.

    I am lookjg at Canadian MFA programs. I figure there’s mo job security anyway, the world is so uncertain you might as well do what works for you. This is a freelancing age. So I’m seeking out graphic design and other art work, but I keep getting rejected from internships for lack of experience. I graduate in December and I have next spring off. Not sure what I can do then. I may take a seasonal job with winter recreation then enter grad school that fall.

    https://m.facebook.com/aimementoring/photos/a.10150193411171844.342372.362258071843/10154221140816844/?type=3&source=48

    • I have a friend in Portland, OR. She has a degree in graphic design. But it apparently is hard to find work. She also doesn’t have enough experience because she was out of the job market raising a kid for a number of years.

      • To be honest I prefer moving to the southwest and the desert than Canada. I already live in the depressing northeast. I’m afraid of getting depressed again, and the weather in the arid west helps me. I spent a week in Utah and the climate I enjoyed. I’m more motivated to move to Canada due to this election, as well as the cheaper tuition and frankly, better social system.

      • Also, the links also depressed the shit out of me. The Canadian white nationalizt ones. Lately that type of rhetoric has set me off a LOT. Not sure why. It’s just driving me crazy every time I see it.

    • Yep. That is one of the reasons I despise Clinton. She is no better on domestic issues or even social issues. She has a long political record of being on the wrong side of history, even if she’ll sometimes say the right thing to win votes. No genuine liberal or progressive can in good conscience support Clinton.

  12. I don’t know. It sounds stupid, but her deleting her account, I really feel like all emotional progress I’ve made this semester was undone. Like a facade just collapsed.

    I’m legitimately crushed, lol.

    Also, reminded of the phenomenon of feeling crushingly lonely among many people. I haven’t felt lonely in a while, but it just came crashing back. The feeling of being lonely in a crowd so to speak. Lonely while talking to others. Lonely, lonely.

    I’ve never connected to someone with that type of depth, to be honest. That’s just how online works. You can say stuff onliej you can’t say in real life, there are too many hurdles to wade through. I don’t go that heavy in with real life friends, even. I legitimately feel like the closest I’ve never connected with someone was online.

    • So this person isn’t someone you know in person? You’ve never met her IRL? I understand making close connections online.

      There are some online friends who I’ve known for years and yet have never met them. There is one person I have a good friendship with and I’ve maybe know her for a decade online.

      But I’ve never known anyone who has deleted their social media account. If someone did do this and it made me sad, I suppose I’d ask them why they did so (assuming I had some other way to contact them).

      • She spent her reddit time posting in a subreddit for a certain demographic as a sort of therapist and myth buster, so I imagine she thought r was taking up too much time. She like me is one of those empathetic types who wants to help and can get sucked in so yeah.

        Though I met her on another subreddit lol and we exchanged a lot of stupid shit, rather than always serious. And yeah, we were open to meeting up in LA where she lives. I imagine she’ll be back just don’t know when.

        I mean I could attempt to find her on Facebook but that would creep her out considering we never exchanged facebooks or even names.

  13. I’m going through a rough patch right now, but racial nationalism is absolutely depressing the shit outta me. It’s driving me nuts. I resent feeling like some “invader” by some people because my skin is different, even if I know that it is human nature. You know?

    I struggled with this in high school, internalizing racist peoples ideas of me being inferior an an invader on their pure snow white stock or something. I thought I was over it, but I guess not.

    I hate the sentiment of the good conservative, norman Rockwell painting past being tarnished by colored invaders these people expouse.

    Human tribalism is the bane of our existence.

    • By the way, Norman Rockewell intentionally included diversity in many of his paintings. It’s just those paintings with diversity tended to be ignored by the mainstream.

      Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America
      by Jane Allen Petrick

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E6IZYQC/

      “Norman Rockwell’s America was not all white. . .

      “As early as 1936, Norman Rockwell was portraying African-Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans with empathy and a dignity often denied them at the time. And he created these portraits from live models.

      “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America chronicles for the first time Norman Rockwell’s portrayal of multiculturalism in America, a portrayal that, up until now has been, as Norman Rockwell biographer Laura Claridge puts it, “bizarrely neglected”. “

  14. I feel like anti-Latino sentiment has died down since the 2000’s. I dunno, just a hunch. I feel like Latinos have become more “accepted” and integrated since, 2008 or so when I first noticed this stuff.

    • It has. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. They are already the majority in some states. Republicans are beginning to realize this. That is why they are now putting up Hispanic candidates, something that never would have happened at an earlier time.

  15. I know most Canadians aren’t that way. But it still jars me. You know? I know most Canadians aren’t race-nationalists. Still.

    When I Was in HS I internalized that shit, I felt like I deserved to be treated like shit because I wasn’t white. Like I was the guest who should just be grateful to be in the house, ya know? Not that this place is my home too and I should be their equal and that people should be welcome no matter their identity.

    And I feel this way in Asia too. I think people of different backgrounds should be accepted there if they are respectful of the local environment. I would accept a black or white as Chinese.

  16. Lol, I know Canada is officially mosaic, but I always stereotyped Canada as white English and French and some natives, so I guess that’s why it’s jarring. If thee people were talking abotu the American southwest I would not react the same way because I never had an image of the southwest as a “white” place but always a mixed place with heavy, noticable Native and Mexican cultural influence on the landscape. And it’s true! That is the southwest, even Utah.

  17. Still, Canada isn’t really my ideal, I’m looking into Canada depending on this election, cheaper schools, and also due to it’s different social structure where it’s more social democratic than the USA. But I don’t look forward to the Canadian climate, lol. I actually would like to move to the arid west, still. The southwest or mountain west. If Mexico wasn’t dangerous and didn’t have drug cartel problems I would also look into Mexico.

    I’m actually afraid most, of 1: depression that is only worsened by Canadian weather, and crushing loneliness. Those are my biggest fears, feeling isolated and lonely, and to feel this way in a Canadian climate just worsens it for me.

    That’s how I feel now, I feel like deep connections were suddenly cut off from me and the facade suddenly fell and reality sets in that I am isolated in a crowd, like an invisible wall.

    And that’s all you really need to be happy, really. Deep connections. It doesn’t matter introvert or extrovert. You need people you can truly connect with, who really understand and get you. Everything else is secondary in terms of happiness and contentment.

    • I don’t mind Midwestern winters. But I don’t know that I could handle anything further north. I too deal with depression. There is nothing better for depression than being able to enjoy the outdoors. It’s hard to get motivated to do something physical outside when the weather is crappy.

      For a short period of time, I lived in Arizona. It was too arid for my preference (I also got lonely). The green Midwest is home to me. I had the same complaint about South Carolina, where the clay and sandy soil didn’t allow for any green lushness. In the Midwest, when spring hits you fucking know it, as the whole world turns bright green. It puts me in a good mood.

      I moved back to Iowa City, IA because of the reasons you give. This is home to me. It’s where I spent some of my most formative years. I have deep roots here and strong connections. This is where my childhood friend lives. I’ve known him since 3rd grade and we still hang out on a weekly basis. Plus, most of my immediate family lives right around here.

      To me, one of the most important things in the world is a sense of connection—of home, family, friends, and community. It’s about having a sense of place, not just the people but a visceral and emotional connection to the immediate world around you, a profound sense of familiarity and intimacy, of knowing you belong.

      • Midwest is too flat for me. The northeast and upper south are still “home” I guess, but because my parents are immigrants I don’t have family networks here. The USA is definately home, but I hardly have family roots somewhere, so I could really move anywhere and set up shop.

        All I really hope is to have deep connections, friendship really, anywhere. But right now I am seeing the southwest and mountain west as greener pastures.

        • “Midwest is too flat for me.”

          Depends on which part. I live in eastern Iowa and it is fairly rolling. It’s because there are tons of rivers, streams, and creeks around here. Illinois is the same in its eastern and southern regions. All of southern Midwest is rolling, related to all the flowing water. Plus, massive amounts of limestone in southern Midwest (and upper South) create beautiful terrain, rock formations, and caves.

          What is flat is northern Indiana, northeastern Illinois, Western Iowa, etc. There are flat parts of the other nearby Midwestern states, although I’m not familiar about which parts are flat and not. Wisconsin is probably less flat in its eastern section, as there is a bunch of water up there as well (Madison is a popular city among the political left crowd I know). Minnesota and Nebraska might be the flattest states in the region.

          I was born in Ohio. It has some beautiful hilly areas. It is the northernmost tip of Appalachia. In fact, I was born pretty much right outside of the border to Appalachia.

          “The northeast and upper south are still “home” I guess”

          I love the upper South. That is beautiful country. I consider my ancestral homeland to be Kentuckiana, as that is where so much of my mom’s family came from going back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.

          There really is no physical or cultural differences between the southern Midwest and upper South. I’ve heard Southern accents all the way into southeastern Iowa, although that is the furthest edge of it. My mom grew up in central Indiana and she had a Southern accent when she was younger.

          I don’t know the Northeast all that well.

          “But right now I am seeing the southwest and mountain west as greener pastures.”

          My friend loves Portland, OR. She grew up here in Iowa City, IA. Portland has the lushness of the Midwest, but with milder weather—less snow and instead endless rain and wetness (and mildew), with the only rainforests in the US.

          I have some family in Oregon as well. It does seem to be a popular state, partly because of the weather, but also because of the culture. The only problem is they have a high unemployment rate for some reason or at least they used to. My friend says that homelessness is becoming a major problem in Portland, as the city is growing fast and I guess the economy isn’t keeping up.

          I spent sometime driving through California. There are some nice areas, but it is a crowded state and now droughts are a problem, along with wildfires. Utah could be decent, as it is surprisingly progressive in certain ways.

          One of my all time favorite states is North Carolina. That place is beautiful. There is also an interesting culture there—a strange mix of conservatism, progressivism, and alternative. I’ve heard people call Asheville the Portland of the East Coast. I spent several summers near Asheville which is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no worries about flatness there.

          • The furthest south I’ve been is Virginia, so I can;t comment on NC. I’ve been to West Virginia though, and they have southern accents. But appearently, not as thick as Alabamans do according to my dad. The northeast is the Appalachians basically, whether New England or the larger Mid Atantic states like NY and PA. MD also is mountainous in the western portion, Virginia of course. I love the Shenendoah valley, it’s beautiful. I like the town of Charlottesville where UVA is, though it’s too isolated for me. Even NJ has mountains in the eastern part as it borders the PA poconos. On a clear day, you can go to the top of a taller NYC building and see the rolling hills in the distance, and even PA. NJ is pretty “narrow”, it only takes like an hour to drive across. There are of coures the tidewater regions of DC, MD, DE, that extend to Virginia. It gets greener and lusher the further north you go entering into New England, and the Appalachians get taller, occasionally resembling the rockies even. Once you enter into Maine and northern New England, the vegetation starts to change as you’re on the border of a warm summer humid continental climate into a cool-summer humid continental type.

            I love American climactic diversity, LOL. No offense to Canada, but they can’t rival our diversity that way. Especially since we have AK and HI, you literally get freezing tundras, deserts, humid subtropical, tropical, humid continental, mediterranean, highlands, Marine West Coast, and literally most of the climate types in one country. HA! Take that Canada!

          • Droughts are an issue across the southwest. CA is an interesting state, the population centers are crowded, but there are also vast stretches of nothing as well. It’s like China, in that way. CA is also very climatically diverse. Day to day life, water issues aren’t THAT noticable. It’s a slow decline I suppose, like a boiling frog. Just like how USA standards of living are slowly declining, because if it suddenly declined you know all hell would break loose. Slow decline is how the masses are kept complecant.

            The biggest problem isn’t California’s crowdedness, but the crowdedness paired with it’s notorious car culture, IMO.

            In contrast, Japan makes California population centers look like open country space, but Japan also has some of the most efficient public transportatino system in the world. Japan is crowded, but arguably, I would say it has a better standard of living that much of CA, in some respects. Crime rates, inequality, are better in Japan.

            Water issues will only get worse as a trend, not just in the southwest, for worldwide. I would be surprised if water becomes the new oil. People doing stupid shit for it.

          • I spent spring break skiing in Utah. I enjoyed it, like I said, I am looking at the arid Mountain west and southwest, including UT, CO, AZ, NM, NV, CA, etc. the altitude was a bit hard when it came to exerting yourself; Hiking up mountains was hard and I don’t think I’m in bad shape 😛

            The mountains are beautiful and frankly, you don’t get that type of majestic beauty in the East. Of coruse there is also more danger, as well. In winter, and in summer (hiking, MTB, etc.)

          • There are lots of nice places. My all time favorite is southern Indiana, bordering Kentucky. It is the largest limestone deposit in the world and is near the surface. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in limestone country. Water carves right through it.

            There are creeks where there is a walls of stone on either side, and the creeks of course are filled with smooth stone. It is absolutely freaking gorgeous. And even in the middle of summer it is cool down in the water and rocks. The creeks even carve right under the ground with caves that run for miles popping back out somewhere else.

            It is the general area of the last major Native American battles, the last stand to hold back the tide of whites. It is the kind of wilderness that you often see in movies about Woodland Indians. It was the hunting territory of the Shawnee. Some of my earliest ancestors ended up the area as Indian fighters, sadly.

            That part of the country has some of the best weather as well. It’s moist and even humid, but it doesn’t have the overbearing heat like in the Deep South. When I lived in SC, people mostly stayed inside all summer long with the air conditioner running full blast. The humidity in places like Kentucky and Iowa are the highest in the country, and yet you don’t feel it to the same extent. It’s mostly that everything tends to stay moist, even if not as drenching wet as western Oregon.

            Maybe you’d rather have the aridity of the West. Out West, there is only a thin coastal region of wetness and much else is desert and dry grasslands. It’s a stark contrast with lots of rain on one side of the mountain ranges and no rain on the other side. Wetness is more evenly distributed in the upper South and lower Midwest. Iowa used to be almost entirely wetlands before it was mostly drained for farming. Limestone country doesn’t have the wetlands, but the rock structure has its own way of capturing and holding onto water.

            I’d probably like the Northeast for similar reasons. But I don’t know if anywhere in the US can compare to limestone country.

  18. Our media is terrible. And now so are it’s viewers. But what comes first, chicken or egg.
    I’ve seen it as a steady decline over the last 30 years. The media has gotten worse and worse. So has the education system. It’s no surprise that people who are educated by this system are now entertained by it.
    It also doesn’t help that the baby boomers are the most irresponsible parental generation we’ve ever had.
    There’s a lot behind it. But I blame the news for when the news is bad.

  19. Sounds dumb but yeah, white nationalist rhetoric is really depressing me right now. It makes me want to stay in the USA because itd not only the rhetoric, but possible internalization of that rhetoric. I see the USA as a diverse place, whereas I stereotype Canada as a freezing cold, very white place. Pair the stereotype with white nationalist rhetoric and I want to avoid Canada lol. And I kno that most Canadians are not this way, the problem comes from me “internalizing” it. I almost feel like I don’t deserve to be in Canada lest I dilute the martyr kind whites who’ve let me in; lol. The fact that most Canadians are nice makes it worse. This shit is toxic Ben, toxic.

    That was me in high school:

    • My longest and closest internet friend is Canadian. She was born elsewhere, but I think she has spent most of her life there. She is one of the nicest people I know. You could talk to her about Canada, as she is helpful person. She has traveled around a lot as well and so she has a good sense of different places.

      • Yes, I know most Canadians are nice and aren’t “oh no white genocide!” types. But the links I linked yesterday for some reason keep bothering me. And, the fact that most Canadians AREN’T like that for some reason makes me more put off, like I’m internalizing the narratives, like I said. It’s a weird “you’re so nice, I don’t deserve your kindness!” thing. I don’t like seeing the world in such tribalistic ways.

        • I get your response. I just thought that she might be a good person to talk to. After all, she is a longtime Canadian citizen who came as an immigrant when she was younger. I suppose she is fully assimilated to Canadian culture, but she might have some sense of what it’s like for someone not born there.

          • No no no, just by being nonwhite, I am tainting pure white Canadian normal Rockwell painting culture. Dosent matter what I do or how I act. I am not white and therefore my existence on Canadian soil is a travesty!!!!!!

            😏😏😅😅😆😆😆😆

  20. Btw, the white nationalist rhetoric of only western nations being diverse and that you damn Asians/Blacks/Etc just need to be grateful cause the west is the least racist and too accepting BS. These guys have a weird oversimplistic (and distorted) white martyr view of the world and it annoys me.

    Btw, our ideas of race are themselves western ideas. People in different areas of the world really don’t see race the same way, westerners, Americans, do. The idea of “racial purity” is itself a pretty western one, one-drop-rule, pure blood, hierarchy based on race, it’s western. There is cultural chauvinism and ethnocentrism in Asia, but it’s not so super hung up on race, blood, purity, that the west seems to struggle a lot with. Even the Japanese/Koreans learned their “eugenic, pure race” shit from the west. Especially the “one drop rule” hangup. That’s a really western thing.

    That’s not even going into the fact that the most ethnically diverse nations aren’t in the west.

  21. I think it’s weird that that french-canadian nationalist posts on a white nationalist site, when everyone knows that french canadians have the most issues with white anglo canadians. Even he admits that the hardcore Quebec nationalists prefer french-speaking nonwhites over Anglophone whites, “regrettably.” I’m not sure how he plans to reconcile all of that. He wants a pure white Quebecois French-Canadian Quebec, but white nationalism and ethnocentrism goes against this. Quebec history basically has the most bad blood with Anglo white Canadians and that is the French Canadian sentiment, I guess he wants Quebecois to instead replace this historic anomosity with animosity towards nonwhites instead, and to embrace white Anglos? I guess his logic is that they’re the same color so yay? Or perhaps that Anglo Canadians can become French Canadians because they’re still white, but nonwhites look too different for him?

    Francophone culture is a bit different than white anglo-american/canadian culture. They have their own issues with racism, but they don’t have the same one-drop-rule hang-ups. Their relationships and history with other groups, native americans, is slightly different.

    Shit, any cursury glance of the history of white europeans shows that a unified white nationalist people is laughable.

    • “Shit, any cursury glance of the history of white europeans shows that a unified white nationalist people is laughable.”

      Yep. That is true. But from the perspective of one who isn’t a white nationalist, I find that the diversity in white identities and racial orders to be fascinating. I came across an example of that a while back in relation to the colonial history of Florida. I wrote a post about it. It was one of the places escaped slaves would go to.

      • Well, that’s what I mean. A quebec nationalist all about preserving white French Canadian people contradicts white nationalism frankly. My guess is that he’s okay with non-frenc whites because he thinks they look alike anyway so they can just easily blend in if they learn french. It’s funny though, because ethnic french DO look different from Anglo-Germanic stock people. The facial structure is pretty different.

        So I guess, for him, french is cultural, not genetic, though this only extends to ppl with similar skin color. That’s why he wants the French Canadians to embrace Anglo Canadians over francophone nonwhites.

  22. Man I really am American. I know this because at the edges of America like northern New England, it’s pretty damn easy to feel like I’m at the edge of the world even though a whole nother country is right there, LOL.

    Seriously though. If you’re in northern New England, VT, NH, ME, it feels like the edge of the world. It feels very “north.” But it’s not actually very north at all. In vermont I feel like I’m on the northern edge of the world, and the rural population makes that feeling even more appearent. But… actually, Montreal is right across the border, LOL. I’m not even anywhere CLOSE to the arctic when I’m in “northern” USA, LMAO. Same if you go to the upper rockies like Montana and Wyoming, Idaho. It feels like the northern edge of the world. But in actuality, Canada is right there and even if you’re in buttfuck Montana where there is no one there because you’re on the edge of the world… actually, Calgary and Edmonton Alberta are there. LOL.

  23. I think white nationalists project their very western (or perhaps, North American specifically) views of race onto other people. Racism exists everywhere, but it looks different in different places. WN’s seem to think everyone has the same concept of race as them and that outside the west, everyone else is some type of pure-blood nazi obsessed one-drop-rule black/white/yellow racial hierarchal view just like they do, And the martyr whites are being kind and going against that.

    BS

  24. Never been to the Midwest, maybe someday. I would like to travel a bit after graduation, though I graduate in December :p Not even abroad, just to see North America frankly.

    Yes, I know that of the west. I’ve been to oregon, and one side of mt. Hood is the green Marine west coast climate, and the other side is arid. Literally :p

    Arid ness attracts me mosty for the sunny climate. The price of a green landscape is many cloudy and rainy days. I find the warm arid sun comforting when depressed.

    Native American history always makes me sad thinkig about it. They’ve REALLY been through shit. The state of natives today is really sad to see, frankly. I don’t mean that in a patronizing way. They are also a very forgotten people, here and in Canada.

  25. I was thinking, but Hillary Clinton isn’t necessarily a worse person than other politicians. Or even a bigger liar. She just lacks the charisma to “get away with it” so to speak. Politicians lie, but Clinton absolutely SUCKS at lying, that’s her problem. She dosent necessarily lie more than others, she is just bad at faking sincerity.

    I think her problem is that she isnt merely un-charismatic, but she’s actually anti-charismatic. The vibes she emits are actually off-putting, versus just neutral or in the case of charismatic people, attracting.

    • I’ve said that. I don’t think her husband, Bill, is any better of a person nor better in terms of actual policy. But he has charisma. In politics, charisma will take you far.

      I almost feel sorry for HIllary. She tries so hard. You can tell it really bothers her. She has seen what her husband was able to get away with. And she probably wonders why everyone is so hard on her.

      About your last point, you might be right. That seems a good way of putting it, anti-charismatic. There are plenty of politicians who lack charisma and most of them are standard boring politicians that no one pays attention to.

      That isn’t Hillary’s problem. She has a way of attracting attention. But no one loves her. I doubt even her supporters find her an inspiring person. And if not for her husband, she likely never would have made it this far in politics. She apparently was smart enough to realize she needed to hitch her career to someone who is charismatic.

      • Sexism may also play a role. I don’t dount that there are double standards and that some shit thrown at hillary is sexist.

        HOWEVER, I also believe that if Hullary was male, she would not be where she is today, not the democratic front runner currently, etc. I truly believe that if she was a man, she would be far more of a nobody.

        In addition, I don’t think her career would be where it is today if she was not married to bill.

        On your Marriage comment; I do wonder if at this point, the Clinton marriage is more out of convenience than love. Supposedly bill still cheats as always, and we all know how much hillary craves climbing the political ladder, in which having the Clinton name dosent hurt.

        I think it’s possible that Clinton is truly baffled at why she isn’t more popular, why her efforts keep failing and are starting to fail again. She is very much deep into establishment territory, a reality tunnel so to speak. It’s possible she isn’t self-aware about why antiestablishment candidates are taking off, because frankly, she lives in a elite corrupt bubble with yes-men. It is her reality. She is very much he politican equivalent of the spoiled, sheltered kid in a reality tunnel.

        I almost feel bad for her. Almost.

      • It probably does bother her that she can’t seem to get away with shit that other politicians can. I’m sure, and I think she likely believes as well, that at least some of it is rooted in sexism.

        Otoh, I’m not sure how self aware she is of her issues and how she comes across, reality tunnels, etc. She knows she isn’t charismatic, but does she know or care why she’s anti-charismatic? I don’t know.

        And I tigbk women can definatelt be charismatic. There are many charismatic women. But sexism in behavior standards/double standards do exist. THat dosent negate the fact that hillary isn’t someone to admire, though.

        It’s also possible to be charming but not charismatic. To be likable but not inspire devotion or following, etc. Problem is that Clinton is anti-charming, too.

        I don’t think trump is charming, but he’s definatelt charismatic. Sanders isn’t particularly charismatic, but he is likable. Trudeau is both charming and charismatic, as well as good looking. The bad thing about having this trifecta, is that it easily masks his policy flaws and lets him get away with things a less charismatic and good looking person would not.

      • I remember hearing Nader give a speech for his 2000 campaign.

        He explained that his lack of charisma was intentional. What he found is that it is easy to rile up a crowd. But in his long history in politics riling up crowds rarely led to real change. It can end up backfiring as riling people up distracts from the issues.

        He might have had a point. Sanders apparently has used Nader’s strategy to keep the focus on the issues and not on himself as a charismatic leader.

        The problem with Clinton is that she lacks substance. And her political record is atrocious. Without charisma, she ends up looking like a less-than-worthless candidate, especially compared to someone like Sanders who comes off as sincere, trustworthy and likable.

        Sanders is not a great speaker at all. He struggles to get his points across sometimes. But part of that struggle has to do with Chomsky calls the propaganda model. Trying to explain a view that isn’t already in the mainstream requires more time and effort, which is how the mainstream excludes new views.

        Fortunately, next to Clinton’s unappealing persona, Sanders being unpolished ends up just making him appear even more like the real deal. Against a normal charismatic candidate, Sanders would really be struggling. Instead, the only charismatic candidate is Trump who acts like a buffoon, making charisma look like at worst demoagoguery and at worst a sad joke.

        Sanders doesn’t need to be charismatic. He simply has to not be anti-charismatic.

  26. You know, I getting worked up about tribalism, racism, etc, and we’ve talked at length about disability, cures, etc…

    But, you know who some of the least tribal, least judgmental, most accepting people I’ve know are? The intellectually disabled! If I were to name a group of people as the least racist, tribal, judgmental, accepting of people, it would be ppl with Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, autism, etc.

    The special Ed kids are some of the nicest, least judgmental, people I’ve known.

    And while even kids have implicit racial biases, studies have shown that kids with Williams syndroek don’t show any, though they do show gender bias.

    • I’m sure there is much to be learned about human nature by those such as those kinds of conditions. I’ve sometimes thought that there is no normal psychology. I’m not a neurodiversity advocate. But I’ve come to suspect that our ideas of normalacy are highly biased by our culture. Studying ancient and non-Western societies, it’s apparent that human nature can express in many ways. Race and racism seems so real simply because it is the only culture most of us ever experience.

    • That lady must live around here. There is always a ton of research going on at the university. I hadn’t heard of this particular case.

      The amygdala doesn’t just deal with fear but also disgust. Our understanding of such things is likely to have massive impact on our society in the long term. We might find non-invasive ways to effect how the amygdala develops.

  27. That is the American narrative with any large scale societal problem though- we try to pin the fault on the individual even if there are hundreds of thousands of individuals with the same problem, it must be the fault and responsibility of the individual. We do that with poverty, illness, all kinds of stuff.

    • American hyper-individualism is dependent upon dismissing the individual in a sense. The individual becomes an abstraction, taken out of the concrete conditions of the real world. To dismiss the problems of individualism, the individual gets symbolically represented as a label, demographic category, and identity politics: class, race/ethnicity, gender, religion, political ideology, political party, etc. In a hyper-individualist society, the actual individuality of most people becomes irrelevant. Only the privileged elite are allowed to be individuals.

  28. In the end, I think the white nationalism is at the core, driven by insecurity in their features. They see the features that are fairly unique to Europeans like light hair and eyes as recessive and therefore easily “lost.” That is what drives them. It’s why they are white nationalist instead of just ethnocentric. It’s why non whites could act as assimilated as it gets and it still dosent sit well with them. A half white half nonwhite kid probably won’t have blue eyes, for example. Though, it’s not uncommon for half white half nonwhites to have green, hazel, or light brown eyes, as they’re intermediate in dominance…

    Funnily, blonde hair and blue eyes are pedastalized, but red hair is even rarer and it isn’t. Red head men are even butts of jokes, not seen as sexy, etc. What is weird is that green eyes are intermediate in dominance between brown and blue, but they are the rarest color.

    The thing is, traits don’t “die out.” The genes are in the population the same. If people with the blue eye gene reproduce, even with a non white, the gene is still carried just the same, and therefore can show up anytime.

    Genetic engineering may cure their angsts. I think as GE becomes mainstream we will see people selecting for light eyes and hair.

    I think contrast is really cool personally. A dark person with light eyes, a blonde person with dark eyes, for example. A pale person with dark hair (which describes many East Asians lol), etc. Blue/green eyed black people are cool looking to me. I knew a pale as fuck, redhead Irish girl with dark brown eyes. Looks cool.

    As a straight girl, I’m indifferent to eye color and exclusively prefer dark Hair in men, so…

    • “Genetic engineering may cure their angsts. I think as GE becomes mainstream we will see people selecting for light eyes and hair.”

      To a certain part of the population, this will freak them out. They will no longer be able to tell for certain what race/ethnicity anyone is. The whitest-looking person in the world could secretly be ‘black’. Or worse still the children of supposedly pure Aryan stock might choose to have their genetics altered to look black. It would be the ultimate nightmare for ethno-nationalists and racial supremacists.

  29. Something else… White nationalists are motivated to ‘protect’ their recessive traits like light eyes skin and hair, but…

    A trait that is somewhat unique to East Asians, monolids, is also recessive and only occurs in about half of East Asians at most. But this trait isn’t considered desirable in mainstream today, and eyelid surgery and eyelid tape is very popular among East Asians. It wasn’t always this way, but it’s the way now. East Asians don’t like monolids. I personally don’t have them, but for those that do, eyelid tape (a way to temporarily get double lids) and surgery is popular.

    I’m just contrasting that white nationalists are narcissistic about their traits, bit Asians not theirs. In addition to eye surgery, nose jobs to make noses taller and more like European noses are also popular.

    http://www.drjohnleesurgery.com/double-asian-eyelid-gallery.html

  30. A good comment.

    Clinton is smart, no one doubts that. But she’s a perfect example of how complex and multifaceted intelligence is and the limits of IQ intelligence alone. And, like many politicians, she is cynical, and not as smart as she believes.

    Social finesse is a stereotypical female strong suit, but it dosent seem to be her strong suit. In some cases, she almost seems a bit asperger-like. Social finesse, social awareness, and emotional intelligence don’t seem to come naturally to her. Or perhaps they’re just hidden and not able to sprout under her ego?

    In terms of Myers-Briggs I’m pretty much certain she is a T over F, at least

    • A major problem is that there is a gender bias. The women who are most successful are those who are more stereotypically masculine. There was as study done about this in relation to feminists. It’s the danger of identity politics in general, as those who are the strongest advocates and representatives end up being too different from the average person.

      It’s not just that Clinton is a wealthy, powerful white professional politician that disconnects her from the experience of so many women. Older women were taught women simply had to be aggressive to win in a male-dominated world. But younger women, I think, don’t find as appealing the attitude of winning-at-all-costs. It doesn’t represent what they think of as feminism.

      Even older women are starting to think that there has to be more to feminism, a politics with better balance for real women trying to live their lives. I saw an article about an older woman who is supporting Clinton, but who found appealing that Sanders positions were actually more supportive of what mothers’ need. Feminism that excludes motherhood as centrally important is a feminism that excludes the experience and struggles of a lot of women.

      This is partly a class issue. A wealthy woman like Clinton can pay for her kids to attend private schools. She can pay a nanny to take care of her kid and a maid to clean her house. Most women find themselves with not such luxury and are forced to try to do so much on their own. Sanders is arguing for a higher minimum wage and universal childcare, which will primarily effect women. And of course, innocent women and their children are disproportionately harmed in the wars Clinton loves so much. Tough-on-crime laws and mass incarceration also end up harming women and the communities they live in and harm their children by targeting them with the school-to-prison pipeline.

      There is more to feminism than breaking the glass ceiling for rich white women, while leaving most women to struggle. Someone like Clinton has absolutely no grasp of intersectional issues.

      This might relate to the study done that showed wealthier people never develop the ability to empathize and read the emotions of others, as poor people have to do in order to survive. Wealthy people are used to being deferred to, as is evident by Clinton’s behavior. She isn’t used to being challenged, especially by other women who understand the problems that, from her gated mentality, she can comfortably dismiss.

      • BTW, I’ve said that with my now gone internet friend before, but for CLinton type women, LEAN IN women, they are often climbing the ladder on the backs of underprivileged women. Like you said, nannies, and such. It is important to note that nannies are often underprivileged women, as well.

        When we think of human trafickking, we think of prostitution. But another profession that women are often trafickked into is nannies and childcare. Women taking nanny jobs abroad, often leaving their own children behind, to make money. These women can be exploited, have their passports taken, unpaid, basically modern day slaves. Nanny-slaves basically. It is an issue just like sex trafickking.

  31. I would class charisma and charm in the style department. And human nature as it is, it goes a long way, often taking precedent over substance. The ideal is to have both of course.

    By the way, I don’t think Sanders is particularly charismatic either. He’s impassioned and a passionate orator, but he’s not charismatic. He has to draw people in based on content over style. On the other hand, trump is charismatic.

    • There is a couple of things this article misses.

      In high inequality states, the poor tend to identify as Democratic. But they are also the least likely to vote. If everyone voted in supposed Republican states, they’d be Democratic states.

      Trump actually gets disproportionately fewer poor whites and disproportionately more middle class whites. It is the middle class whites who fear falling into poverty and so Trump’s populism appeals to them. Poor whites, like poor people in general, have mostly given up on US politics long ago.

      The author needs to get his facts straight before trying to explain them.

  32. “Working class people don’t have the time to read economics books, or history books related to the economic changes that have taken place over the past few decades. They have to rely on narratives, imagery, vague statements and promises to figure out who the “best” candidate is.”

    The political system has become so complicated, so twisted and corrupt that many people simply don’t have the time to research the truth. It triples the difficulty when the media (who is supposed to tell the truth) is part of the complicated machine.

    • During the Populist Era of the late 19th century, many lower class Americans educated themselves. But the world has become so much more complex. That complexity is intentional. It’s similar to how the complications of tax laws were created as loopholes for the rich. The rich can afford tax lawyers to figure it all out and end up paying little in taxes. The system is meant to overwhelm the average person and make them feel helpless.

  33. The article would make some sense if Trump was drawing his support almost exclusively from poor white males, but that’s not the case. His polled support is extraordinarily broad — he draws almost equally from all demographics. This is one of the reasons why he has had so much success — one cannot assemble a racial/ethnic/gender coalition against him. His wide demographic spread does not support the author’s thesis.

    I think that his broad support comes from his nationalism. Nationalism is a bad word on the left, but it shouldn’t be. His positions stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the Presidential field, all of whom are globalists. To avoid confusion, let me provide working definitions. A globalist is someone who seeks to balance the interests of their own country with the interests of the rest of the world. A nationalist is someone who seeks to put the interests of their own country ahead of the interests of the rest of the world. In many cases, advancing the interests of the rest of the world advances the interests of the United States as well, but the nationalist sees helping the rest of the world as a means to an end — advancing the interests of their own country.

    Donald Trump is clearly a nationalist. That’s the primary source of his appeal.

    His supporters know that companies are sending manufacturing jobs overseas, bringing in cheap imported foreign labor legally to replace them in the domestic workforce, and standing by while floods of illegal aliens self-import themselves to undercut their job opportunities. Trump promises to oppose all that and try to reverse it. Maybe that’s impossible, but maybe that isn’t. Trump says that our trade agreements are one-sided against us and are fueling the exodus of American jobs. His followers believe him, and he gains a lot of support from his promises to renegotiate our trade agreements to improve the value of American labor by American citizens in America.

    Trump spends a lot of talk promising to build a wall. Yet if you read his policy papers he also talks about mandatory instant employment verification to make it virtually impossible for illegal aliens to get jobs with fraudulent paperwork. The latter would be a hundred times more effective than the wall, but doubling down on the wall is a sign of commitment to his supporters. He’s essentially promising to do something about illegal aliens financially undercutting the citizen labor force, and continuing to support the wall is how he signals to his supporters that he is serious about addressing the problem.

    There are a few other key issues in which Trump clearly differentiates himself from the rest of the field. Opposition to TPP, opposition to Common Core, his call to defeat and destroy ISIS.

    But to return to the article itself, this may be hard to accept, but no one cares about class in America except for leftists. America is full of people who see themselves not as members of a poor/working class. They see themselves instead as middle class people who are currently struggling. They hope to do better some day. They don’t hate rich people and don’t care to demonize them. They understand that in a free market rich people can become poor and poor people can become rich. They understand that it is Socialism that cements people into those classes. Socialism is all about keeping the rich people rich and keeping the poor people firmly in their place, while ostentatiously showering them with benefits and handouts that really came out of their own pockets.

    The Trump phenomenon is really a throwback to the old-school American dream as opposed to the thin gruel of a compromise offered by the modern welfare state, where all the jobs disappear but you get a welfare check instead. Heck, what’s the difference? A check is a check? Trump’s supporters are the people who care about the difference, and that turns out to be a whole lot of people. People the author clearly doesn’t understand.

    • Few Americans want the welfare state, both left and right, rich and poor. It was created to prop up the corporatist order, to keep the masses just comfortable enough not to revolt. It’s the bread part in the bread and circus equation.

  34. Poor whites don’t vote in general. I the elections though, at least in the northeast, I see Bernie taking the poor white vote on the democrat side and trump on the repubs side. I don’t see hillary ever gaining votes among rural whites democrat to republican or independent.

    The state of poor whites is truly sad right now. The drug abuse is INSANE. Here it looks bucolic from the outside, but drug abuse is so rampant inside those cute country towns.

    This is one of the best and most cogent articles I have ever read. Thank you so much for writing it. I particularly appreciate you having represented the perspective of a working class white person. We too often don’t get to hear that perspective except in trite sound bites about government being the enemy or “takers” and “moochers” ruining America. I have often yearned for an intelligent white working class perspective on how the Republican and Democratic elites are killing the middle and working classes. Your piece is so powerful and factual. I wonder whether working class whites will read it. There is another set of data that I want to offer you in addition to the incredible Martin Gilens data. You may already be aware but I feel that it aligns perfectly with your argument. Angus Deaton and Anne Case, also of Princeton have published white working class mortality data showing a dramatic increase in death rates for poorly educated white Americans. The causes of death are still being explored but it appears that many of these deaths are being driven by drug and alcohol abuse and suicide. The root causes may be a profound despair that has overtaken white working class America as they recognize that the American Dream has become unattainable. Raj Chetty’s data (Stanford) shows that social mobility in America is quite low and has been low for some time. He argues that if you want the American Dream you are better off moving to Canada (twice the social mobility of the U.S.). Finally, the Washington Post published data on the Republican primary that shows that those counties with the highest white working class mortality had the highest support for Trump.
    Something is happening in white America that seems quite unprecedented. Perhaps due to the lack of well-honed critical thinking skills, white working class frustration has identified Undocumented immigrants, Muslims and blacks as their enemies and thus are looking to Trump as their spokesperson rather than Bernie despite Bernie’s offer of clear and relevant policy solutions. Your article brilliantly portrayed their reality with the Tyson chicken story and perhaps the fervent anti-Muslim sentiment comes from having their sons and brothers sent to seemingly endless wars in the Middle East where Muslims have been enemies (and allies). They blindly blame Muslims for the deaths, maimings, brain injuries, and PTSD of their family members rather than being able to critically assess US war policy.

  35. I think western culture, especially American culture, has this deluded mindset that human emotion is this binary state between happy and sad. Just because you’re angry doesn’t mean you can’t be happy and vise versa. You’re supposed to be both. If you’re only feeling one and not the other, it means something is wrong with you. All anger and no happiness means choking yourself on emotional poison, but all happiness with no anger means you’re indifferent to the injustices and suffering of others.

  36. That really is the heart of this.
    American racism against Asian-Americans started in the 19th century and persisted into the 20th, mainly as abuse directed at Asian-American laborers in Hawaii and the American west.
    But what we have to recognize is that almost all the modern-day stereotyping and outright racism towards Asia (and thus Asian-Americans) comes from war.
    The Spanish American war framed Filipinos as child-like savages who had to be educated and brought up to civilized standards. It is speculated that this is where the slur “gook” came from.
    WWII had a race-war subtext soaking through every major power and conflict. German propaganda framed it as an Aryan war against degenerate races. Japanese propaganda contextualized the conquest of Asia as the liberation of Asia from white powers. The United States framed the Pacific war as a fight to destroy the yellow Jap. Interestingly in WWII we saw a shift in the propaganda regarding the Chinese, as they became de facto allies. The “How to Spot a Jap” pamphlet (1942) portrayed the Chinese with more western, and therefore “better” characteristics: taller height, whiter skin and with less Asiatic faces than the Japanese.
    The Korean War did nothing to help, combining the stereotypes of WWII with echoes of the Spanish-American war, teaching the public that zipperheads had to be saved from their own asian-ness.
    The Vietnam War cemented the image of the inscrutable yellow dirty gook. If you’re 20 you might have encountered less of this, but the rest of us grew up with blatant and open racism stemming from this war.
    My point is: Asian-Americans aren’t merely considered perpetual “foreigners,” Asian-Americans are considered perpetual enemies and competition. Yellow Peril hysteria is alive and thriving.
    WWII scared the shit out of white society, as did the Russo-Japanese war. Remember, Japan did not attack with improvised bombs or other primitive weapons, Japan attacked with aircraft carriers. The growth of Japan through the 1980’s only deepened the distrust. Ever notice that there are no feel-good “you folks accomplished stuff too” campaigns for Asians in public school? That there is no celebrated Japanese inventor or scientist taught in American schools? Yet in the media today it is still in vogue to publish stories about how “weird” and “wacky” inventions are from Japan. The racist subtext is hardly below the surface: Japan/China/Korea scare white America, so their technological power must be belittled. You’ll never read an American high school textbook that teaches that Jokichi Takamine isolated epinephrine, which is used worldwide to treat life-threatening allergies to this day. But you will read endless stories online, every week, about “wacky” Japanese inventions- the more scatological or sexual the better. Americans will flip out about phony “used panties” being sold as novelties in the backs of sex shops in Japan, but never question how telling it is that America is the home of edible panties. America has such a weight problem that we eat our sex toys.
    While there were bursts of Asian immigration to the states prior to the 1950’s, most were quite limited and heavily regulated. The first modern burst of new immigration to the mainland came from the loosening of restrictions for war brides in the 50’s. The first Asian-Americans many white Americans encountered were former citizens of a broken enemy. Japan is framed as a broken emasculated country even today. Respected publications like the BBC repeat the myth that the Japanese youth, both men and women, are sexless demoralized and perverted, implying they are still refugees without generations of adults to bring them up “properly.” Surprisingly it was the “wacky Japanese” source of Kotaku that wrote the best and thorough rebuke of this stereotype, pointing out how almost all these news stories are based on one flawed study where basic terms like “sex” were poorly translated. e.g. the term that English language readers interpreted as “sex” was actually a term that meant “anonymous casual unprotected sex.”
    With waves of war brides, refugees and child adoption the perpetual enemy stereotype was set in stone. Asian men are to be defeated, Asian women are to be “conquered” and Asian children are to be “saved.” The slurs, pop culture references and contemporary reinforcement of these stereotypes all originate in war.
    Chinese sovereignty and military strength encourages this outlook.
    To be fair, of course the Chinese government and their foreign policy should be as eligible for straightforward criticism as any other nation. Anti-Chinese sentiments are not uncommon among Asian countries involved in the evolving South China Sea dispute, for example.
    But when these criticisms are voiced in America, they are almost always accompanied by a shallow outright reinforcement of racist stereotypes, stoking the coals of Yellow Peril hysteria.

    • There is one thing I’ve rarely seen mentioned. I’ve only come across one article that discussed it. Trump has disproportionately smaller percentage of the poor working class. His largest support is actually from the lower middle class, the population that isn’t poor but fears becoming poor. These are the people who are experiencing downward mobility. The already poor are used to being poor and Trump’s populism doesn’t have quite as strong of an appeal to them.

  37. I’m struggling with depressive mood, and I’m also forgoing doing my schoolwork and procrasticating to play around on photoshop instead. I figured digital art is more in my future than geography. I’m bad at photoshop. I’m working on it!

    However, I’m in a depressive cycle right now. And I know it’s weird, but the Canadian white nationalist stuff, paired with my desire to go to Montreal, IS really depressing me right now. It’s sending me into despair, really. I feel really overwhelmed.

    I feel really, really shitty right now.

    • The main thing I’ve learned in life is that I might as well just learn to deal with the shittiness. I spent years trying find a solution to my depression. But there is no solution. I will be depressed until I die and that is just the way it is.

      I wasted too much of my life obsessing over my depression. Then I realized that I might as well obsess over something more interesting and fuck everything else. So, I spend my time doing what I enjoy, no matter what anyone else thinks.

      I may not be the most functional person in the world. Even so, I get by and I have a sense of purpose. Worrying about it is pointless. There are bigger things to worry about, such as climate change. If you’re going to worry, go after big game. It at least puts one’s life in perspective.

  38. BTW, with the poor whites feeling like no one cares about them. I grew up near working class whites despite being middle class, even upper middle some years. But in a way, I can identity with their sentiment, as an Asian American. Because, just like poor whites are left out of mainstream liberal narratives (who a supposedly for the downtrodden!) so are Asian Americans.

    Just a video, my parents used to play this song a lot. It always makes me think of time travel for some reaosn.

  39. It’s weird, but I have upper middle class friends and these days my family fluctuates between middle and upper middle class. Despite being able to afford it, I don’t live particularly lavishly compared to them. My friends are always on family vacations to so many locations, but I’ve never actually travelled on a family vacation whose sole purpose was family vacation. Of course I’ve travelled with my family, but it was often tagging along for business trips, and such. My parents are workaholics.

    My dad is a professor at a local school, and this would be our sole income, basically. It would make us middle class. The reason why we are upper middle class some years is because my parents co-run a business on the side, which takes up all their time. They are workaholics. So essentially my parents are able to make an upper middle class income these days, but not really enjoy it the way other upper middle class people do.

    • My family is similar.

      Both of my parents came from working class communities and neither was rich growing up. They were fortunate to come of age during an era when there were many opportunities, including cheap college and high employment. They got into professional careers, my dad like your dad became a professor and my mom like your mom also worked. My parents were also workaholics.

      The vacation thing is a little bit different. I never saw that as a class issue. We’d go on vacations, but we always drove. My mom never likes flying. We never went on expensive trips, though. We went to some of the same places my mom went to as a child when her working class family went on vacations.

      Maybe the difference is that my parents were used to traveling a lot. They were forced to move around because of my dad being in the military and then later for my dad’s career. This forced us to have to travel regularly just to visit with extended family. Most of our vacations involved stopping by to see family in some other state.

      It’s not as if we were traveling the world. I’ve never even left the US.

    • “Despite his last six wins in a row, Sanders has been largely ignored by the network. CNN continued to run segments on an upcoming travel show even as the large mob chanted outside the building.”

  40. Well, Hillary is certainly a high IQ person. She is literally the perfect example of the limits of IQ, at least.

  41. I’m sorry, but your comments on the victims of Sandy Hook and other tragedies are a moral outrage of obscene proportions. I am utterly incensed by these cold and callous remarks. I was prepared to support you a year ago, Secretary. I was looking forward to it, even. I thought that you had performed adequately in your duties and your record, even if I supported President Obama in 2008. I was never in love with your policies, but I sure as hell knew that you were a hell of a lot better than Ted Cruz. That’s not a high bar to hit, but today, with this remark, I don’t think I can confidently make that claim anymore.

    Secretary, the children that have died in shootings across this country are not tools to be exploited for political gain. To invoke their name in the context of an election cycle is utterly despicable and is an affront to human decency. These are kids unjustly taken from this world decades before their time by crazed individuals who are mentally ill in the worst ways possible.

    And not only do you dishonor these children, but you exploit their parents in their darkest hour. You call up their parents to express sympathy? Why? So you can turn around on the news and have them talk about how you’re doing a good job “working for their vote”, as one mother in Wisconsin remarked? In a time of great personal tragedy, you want to exploit their grief and their rage as a way to win their vote? How callous, how cruel, how amoral of a person do you have to be, Secretary, to stoop to such a base level?

    And this isn’t just an isolated incident, either, is it, Secretary? We saw that second debate. How you invoked the greatest tragedy this country has faced in the last 20 years, the terrorist attacks on September 11, as an excuse for taking money from Wall St. and other corporate interests. Is there truly nothing sacred to you? Do the dead who lost their life deserve no rest? Or must their names, their faces, and their memories be constantly dredged up to evoke fear and anger into the hearts of the American people.

    Even that wouldn’t be the first time. Remember 2008, when you wouldn’t drop out of the Democratic Party, because Barack Obama might be assassinated? You know, just like Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, and his brother before him? I’m surprised you haven’t yet invoked the assassination of Dr. King yet this political cycle. Or maybe you have and we just haven’t heard it yet. At this point, no act of callousness or exploiting tragedy would surprise me anymore, though it would amaze me to see just how far down the pit of depravity you will descend.
    Have you no shame, Secretary? Do you hold anything in this world sacred? Or have you truly become a Superpolitician with no conscience or no empathy. If so, I’m sorry, but it’s time that we bring you to heel. I’m sure you understand.

  42. RT airs America’s dirty laundry while hiding Russia’s, and US networks air Russia’s dirty laundry while hiding America’s. Thats why it annoys me to no end that RT stories always get that “hehe, thats just Putin’s propaganda!” dismissal on Reddit, while reports from CNN are given legitimacy even though they are stooges for the American corporate-political establishment as much as RT are stooges for the Kremlin.

  43. I think, as a millennial, I grew up post-Cold War, so I don’t have an instinctive aversion to “socialism” or any collectivism or basically, any sense of nationalization or safety net. All I know is that this anti-socialist freedom loving economy that I am growing up in is resulting in a shrinking middle class, uncertainty, feeling lied to, etc.

    Look I grew up in a “college or flipping burgers” culture. Now I realize that college isn’t for me despite me finishing a degree. I feel like I would have been better served at a technical or professional school and doing apprenticeship. This is where I part from Bernie. I think the college-as-default culture is the problem and free college won’t change that. I am also against the cultural idea of college being for smart people and blue collar or technical or professional or arts work is for dumb people.

    I also think a big problem with inflating college costs, is due to the frankly, RECKLESS spending habits of colleges these days. Bloated administrations, increasingly country club campuses, BS spending on new logos and website interfaces when the old ones weren’t broken. Bernie needs to address this and reign in reckless college leadership if he wants my support in that regard.

    My parents think Bernie sounds nice but in practice would cause mass starvation and death just like the Cultural Revolution, but that is on them. They’re people who don’t care about corruption or anything, just making money. My dad’s reaction to my anger at Arizona was the usual discomfort at seeing negative emotion in me and wanting me to stop thinking about it because it was making me upset, and the solution to any negative emotion is to suppress it and focus on happier things smdh. They’ve also “made it” but many people won’t. My dad may be a state’s rights don’t tread on me type whose reaction to Arizona corruption and my idea of an outside, federal or even international probe is STATE’S RIGHTS MUH SOVEREIGNTY but that’s not me. I have no issue with a consistent election across all states, no this retarded caucus/primary/open/closed variation by states and convoluted delegate system. Ever notice how fucking needlessly complicated the USA system is?

    • As a Genxer, I agree with everything you say. I’m specifically on the younger end of my generation. The Cold War didn’t as fully warp my brain as it did for so many other Americans. It is amazing how much the Cold War mentality has had and continues to have. It’s a mental disease.

    • I’ve about given up on politics. The system is too rigged to matter at this point. And the people who should care, including many supposed liberals, embrace willful ignorance because they are afraid to face the problems of our society. As for many left-wingers, they are too often some combination of dogmatic and cynical. There are few people who are able and willing to confront the problems while radically imagining something different. Nothing is going to likely change until the system entirely fails and we are forced with the decision to change or die.

  44. Hey Ben, sorry if this is inappropriate place to write this. I was doing research on general american accent and seen that you’ve wrote a couple pieces on it and was wondering if you could answer a couple questions on it if possible. Thanks.

    In the 30’s to 60, there was the transatlantic accent, but I was wondering when general american became the norm for tv / movies? thank you.

    sorry if this is and inappropriate place for this. I didn’t want to post in blog entries that were 3+ years old.

    • By the way, where are you from. I’ve done a lot of genealogical research. I associate the surname Dalton with the Upper South.

      There were a lot of Daltons in Kentucky and some in Southern Indiana as well. I think I’ve come across the name quite a bit in North Carolina. But I don’t recall the name from when I lived in South Carolina. It certainly isn’t common here in Iowa.

      • Terre Haute, Indiana. It’s central Indiana. My family actually has ancestry that goes back to northern kentucky. SO very nice guess on that.

        I kinda was asking this question because obviously when you watch the old black and white tv it’s mid atlantic. I also noticed in a lot of 80s tv and movies they use the new york accent. All the main tv shows (family matters, silver spoons, alot of movies from that era bttf, gremlins/etc) So I’m not sure when it became this defacto accent. I figured you would might know.

    • New York was the original media capital of the US. It was a culturally diverse place for centuries and had been highly capitalist-driven since the Dutch colonial era.

      Netherlands was a major publishing center in the past because of the freedom of the press there (it’s where John Locke escaped for a time), but I don’t know if any of that influenced the New Netherlands colony. The Dutch did have some influence on the New York accent, including some common words used such as ‘stoop’.

      Many of the early movies probably were made in places like New York City. Or else the Mid-Atlantic in general. It made sense. That was one of the largest concentrations of population in the country and that had been true since the colonial era. After centuries of immigrants mixing, a specific accent began to form, although Trump’s upper class accent is far different from Sanders’ lower class accent (still both use some of the same words in a similar way such as ‘huge’ as ‘yuge’).

      So, when did the dominant accent change in the media? Good question. The first movie shot in Hollywood happened in 1910. That was a silent movie and hence accent wasn’t yet an issue. It would be a couple of decades before films with found became common. I was reading that it was WWI that disrupted the film production in other countries. With California becoming an emerging center, the studio system and star system developed there.

      Following the Civil War, the population on the West Coast had been growing at a fast rate. The numbers moving there increased vastly with the Great Depression. Many of those who ended up in California came from the Midwest, the area of the greatest population and the origin of what has come to be called Standard American English.

      The far Middle West accent had already established itself as important. The earliest radio broadcasters that reached the largest numbers of listeners came from the Midwest. When so many Midwesterners moved to California, they brought their accent with them. Midwestern broadcasters like Ronald Reagan sometimes became movie stars. Consider also the stereotypical California surfer dude made famous through Hollywood movies. Many of the movie stars and movie extras were of German and Scandinavian ancestry, which had been concentrated in the Midwest.

      The boom of the military industry and population in California after WWII made it an even more important cultural center. California even became the center of a religious movement that would take the country by a storm, the new mega-churches that reached massive tv audiences. One of these California preachers was Robert H. Schuller who was born and raised in Iowa.

      I suppose it took decades for the new accent to become more common mainstream media. By the 1990s, Standard American English definitely had won out as the new dominant accent for the country. It was becoming more common in the 1980s tv, such as with Roseanne which began in 1988. New York City is still a major media center, but it is mostly now known for print media. Even so, there remains a media nostalgia in making movies about New York City, whether or not they are still made there.

      That is the best explanation I can muster at the moment. Any other questions.

  45. Thanks. Even Rosanne doesn’t sound all GA to me. And John Goodman sounds southernish. Was just wondering. I notice some say that after 60s black and white tv it became standard. But I really don’t see that to be the case at all.

    • The Roseanne cast had a diverse group of actors. Roseanne was born in Utah, but when she was still young she moved to Colorado which is partly in the Midlands dialect region—her accent is a mix. Several of the other people on the show were born in the Midwest, specifically 3 from Illinois and 1 from Michigan. A few were from California and probably spoke more General American, although it’s been a long time since I’ve watched the show.

      John Goodman was born in St. Louis, Missouri—what many would consider as culturally part of the Midwest, although there is a Southern influence in Missouri. I’ve even heard a Southern accent in southeast Iowa, from someone who lived just across the Mississipi River.. Western Illinois and northern Missouri are part of the specific subset of Midlands dialect (i.e., pure General American) that has become so well known in the mainstream media.

      It’s a very small area that this specific accent is found in its purest form, with Iowa at its center—including central and southern Iowa, northern Missouri, northwestern Illinois, and eastern Nebraska. The further you get from this area the less distinct is the General American accent, but it is part of the larger Midlands accent which cuts a wide swath across much of the country, starting in Pennsylvania and at its western most reach extends down into northern Texas where a bunch of German-Americans settled.

      My mother grew up in the Midlands region, central Indiana to be precise. Even she had a Southern-like accent when she was younger, the Hoosier accent that is akin to what is heard in the Upper South. She lost it early on in and now speaks General American. As a speech pathologist, it was part of her job to teach students to speak General American.

      I spent many formative years right in the heart of the heart of General American. Even after spending years in the South, it didn’t take long to start speaking General American once I was back in Iowa.

      Another early show to consider is Happy Days. It was set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of the actors was from Wisconsin. Some others were from Minnesota, Oklahoma, illinois, and California. There were a few New Yorkers in that cast as well.

      Oddly, one of the spin off show from Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, was also supposedly set in the same Milwaukee location. But it’s cast was overwhelming from New York. Another spin off from Happy Days was Mork & Mindy, which was supposed to be set in Boulder, Colorado. The two main actors were from Illinois and Michigan, Robin Williams being from Chicago. Of the rest of the cast, two were from Ohio, two from Texas, and one from New York.

      From my childhood and young adulthood, there were shows like The Wonder Years. The main actor and the actress playing his mother were both from Illinois. By the time that show was on, it probably didn’t matter where actors/actresses came from. Most of them were learning to speak General American. It was probably in California, not the Midwest, where most people in entertainment media learned to speak General American. A Southerner like Stephen Colbert is a good example of losing his regional accent in order to speak General American, although he probably didn’t need to go to California.

      If I had to guess, General American came to dominate news reporting and Hollywood movies before it came to dominate tv shows. I’m not sure why that might be. If that is the case, your guess would be as good as mine. One guess might be that tv shows never drew as large of audiences and so General American was less important. New reporting once it became national, on the other hand, demanded an accent that was understandable to the most people. Hollywood movies likewise had larger and more diverse audiences.

      General American simply happens to be the accent most Americans can understand the most easily and clearly.

      • Would you say the old mid-atlantic accent you hear in very old movies has any trace of GA whatsoever? I’ve noticed some say it’s a mash of Royal Pronunciation and GA. I think it mostly sounds british, but I could be wrong. It’s not entirely like RP.

        • I honestly don’t know how long General American as we know it took to develop. Was it already fully formed by the late 19th century? Or was it further influenced by the immigration during the world war era?

          The Midwest region that most closely resembles General American is part of the Lower Midwest. It is the furthest westward point of Midwestern settlers that primarily came out of Pennsylvania. I don’t know how much the Pennsylvanian influence on accents was carried that far west. The specific area of General American had a fairly late date of settlement by immigrants, mostly German and Scandinavian, along with Czech and much else.

          The earliest General American would have been heard in media was probably over the radio, both for news and sports. I’ve never come across a survey showing the rates of General American accent in different sound media over time. It seems to have had to do with media becoming ever more national. The earliest movies probably were made for a mostly coastal audience. And the earliest tv shows were still focusing on regional audiences.

          I’m curious about how and when this transition happened. But I haven’t yet seen a detailed analysis of it. No one even seems fully sure the origin of General American, besides it being a mix. There is much speculation, of course.

      • “As a speech pathologist, it was part of her job to teach students to speak General American.”

        Just wondering, what era was this? I just find it odd when I watch so much 80s tv and movies, GA isn’t used. What did she teach them for? And was the GA that she taught the one that you mention today? was the accent even remotely similar to what we consider GA today?

        Just interested, as for the longest time I really thought it came into effect right after mid-atlantic went out of style.

        • She started work in the late 1960s and continued until the 2000s. So, she worked in the precise period of General American taking over.

          I should point out that there was an exception to teaching students GA. If there accent was considered a part of their culture, she wasn’t allowed to teach them to speak GA. But I don’t know how it was determined which accents were protected and which were not. I do know that while in the South she claims she wasn’t allowed to teach ‘proper’ English to black children, maybe because it was considered racist.

          This process of teaching GA probably was slow to take hold. For many Americans like my mother, GA was learned by going to college. I’m sure the GA accent is disproportionately found among professors.

          As for your specific questions, I’d have to ask my mother. I’ll see her this week and so I’ll try to get some answers out of her.

        • I talked to my mother. We talked a bit about the changes in her own speech.

          She doesn’t clearly remember having a Southern accent or rather a Hoosier accent, but it clearly can be heard on an old audio of her from back in the late 1960s, in the time of her life when she had recently finished college and had begun her career as a speech pathologist.

          I asked her if her professors spoke General American. She said that they probably did. She does remember when she was younger that she pronounced in the same way the words ‘pool’, ‘pull’, and ‘pole’. And, when she was in college, a professor corrected her for saying ‘bof’ in place of ‘both’. My mother still will occasionally fall into Hoosier dialect by saying ‘feesh’ for ‘fish’ and ‘cooshion’ for ‘cushion’.

          For the most part, my mom speaks General American these days. There is no hint of a Hoosier accent. And, around strangers, she is probably more careful in not using those Hoosier pronunciations. But, even as late as the early 1980s, some people in Illinois told my mother that she had what to them sounded like a slight Southern accent. For the time we lived in Illinois and Iowa, we were in the area of General American which probably helped my mom lose what little she had of her childhood dialect.

          I also asked my mother about her career as a speech pathologist. She said that early on she never thought anything about dialect, either in her own speaking or that of students. She did work for a few years in the Deep South before I was born, when my dad was stationed at a military base. She would have corrected both black and white Southern children without any thought about it. Compared to Deep Southern dialect, I’m sure my mother even when young sounded Midwestern.

          It was the late 1980s when our family moved to the South Carolina. My mother said that is the first time she was told to not correct the dialect of black students. She still did tell her black students the different ways to pronounce sounds and words and she modeled General American, but she couldn’t technically teach them proper English. At that time, she also wasn’t allowed to work with kids who had English as a second language, for there were separate ESL teachers. Yet, back in the early 1980s, she worked with some Hispanic students in order to teach them proper English.

          Until South Carolina, she says she never gave dialect much thought. It seems that the language professions were rather informal until later in her career. She spent the longest part of her career in South Carolina where she worked for two decades. Her field had become extremely professionalized at that point and all the language fields were territorial about the students they worked with.

          So, my mother’s own way of speaking English changed over her career as the way she taught language changed. By the end of her career, she says even a speech pathologist from the South and working in the South with Southern students would have taught General American, at least to white students and probably informally to black students as well. She said that speech pathologists ended up teaching code switching, in that they taught kids that there were multiple ways of speaking words.

          I would add, however, that my mother’s career wasn’t directly involved in dialect and accent. She was a speech pathologist which means she largely focused on teaching articulation. She never thought of it as teaching kids General American, even if that was the end result.

          The field is interesting. When my mother started, it was called speech correction. Then early in her career it was called speech therapy. But now it is speech-language pathology. The change of name correlated to changes in what was being taught in the field.

          I don’t know if General American itself changed over time. It’s interesting to note that the earliest speech centers and speech corrections/therapy schools in the US were in the Midwest—such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Right here in the town I live in, Iowa City, was one of the most influential programs and one of the main professors in that program was born in Iowa City (Dean Williams who worked with my brother’s stuttering). So, it appears at least some of the speech fields in the US developed in or near the area of General American dialect. Maybe that is because of the large non-English immigrant populations that settled in the Midwest.

          My mother went to Purdue. I would note one thing. The head of her department was a New Yorker, but he got his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa here in Iowa City.

          Here is something that might amuse you.

          My mother began her education when the field was in transition. Speech corrections/therapy had only been a field distinct from psychology since after WWII, although the program at Purdue started the same year my mother started school, 1963. When she got her masters degree, 1969-70, they had just begun teaching transformational linguistic theory. She says it was highly theoretical and way over her head. Do you know who was one of the major influences on this development? Noam Chomsky. So, my mother learned a bit about Chomskyan linguistic theory back in the day.

          By the way, listening to Chomsky speak, it definitely is more or less General American. He grew up in Pennsylvania. It was Pennsylvanian culture that some argue was the greatest influence on Midwestern culture. This is because so many early immigrants entered the United States through Pennsylvania and from there settled in the Midwest.

          I don’t know if any of that answers any of your questions. I get the sense that in the past no one thought about General American. It was simply considered proper English, at least by the mid-20th century. I have no idea when it first became considered proper English in the US. If I had to make a guess, the world war era probably helped to establish and spread General American since so many soldiers would have come from the Midwest, the largest concentration of population in the country. It might be similar to how a distinct Southern accent didn’t exist until the Civil War when Southern soldiers fought together and came to share a common identity.

          If you have any other questions, I could ask my mother. It is a fascinating topic. I think I’ll have to write a blog post about it.

    • Just wondering, did the people that rose up in the 60’s go conservative over time? Are these people now voting for Trump today?

      • Many of them did go conservative. But also the 60’s was when the new conservatives began seriously organizing. It would be interesting to know who Trump supporters voted for in the past, especially when they were young.

        • Do you think it’s even possible to reform this system? Noam Chomsky says that anytime progress is made the leites try there best to beat it back then best they can.

          • I often doubt reform is likely, if not entirely impossible. But it’s either reform or revolution… or else catastrophe. I do think that change is inevitable, whether willing and non-violent or by other means.

            It’s not simply that there might be a populist uprising. The entire system in so many ways is unsustainable. If not revolution or civil war, then world war. If not world war, then climate change. Change that inevitably will happen may not be ‘progress’, per se. But it will force us out of this rut.

            We are at a game changing moment, although the historical moment might take a while to fully transition. I’m not one who puts my faith in technological salvation. Even so, technology might radically alter, for good or ill, the conditions and options before us.

            The future, at this point, is unpredictable. All that we can know are some of the factors that will help to force change, whatever the end results.

            Out of curiosity, what kind of future do you see? And what kind of future would you like to see? I’ve always been biased by my having regularly watched Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was in high school.

  46. I gotta jet soon, and I’ll answer what you asked me later.
    I would like to ask you another question, Do you think Bernie Sanders is a sheepdog? Knowing everything you know about him yourself, please take a look at these two great articles about why the article authors think Bernie Sanders is a fake:

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-hillary
    and
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/22/bernie-sanders-the-candidate-who-came-in-from-the-cold/

    • I tend to see much of this as thinking too narrowly and simplistically.

      Clinton doesn’t have the nomination in the bag. According to some calculations, neither Sanders nor Clinton is likely to win enough delegates to be automatically nominated. This means it will go to the convention:

      http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2016/04/29/will-happen-democratic-convention/

      “And finally, things are going to become very, very interesting when the super-delegates and the DNC are forced to choose, publicly, whether to hand the nomination to Clinton and watch the millions of independents walk away, along with millions of former-democrat Sanders-supporters, basically handing the general election to the neo-fascists Trump or Cruz — or, to hand it to Sanders, a leader who will have the support, not only of the entire Democratic Party, but of millions of Independents, Green Party voters, and — yes, indeed — even Republicans defecting from the extremist GOP. That will be the most interesting part, I think. I’ll see you all in Philadelphia.”

      Sanders isn’t a Democratic sheepdog for the simple reason vast numbers of his supporters aren’t Democratic sheep. His campaign is more comparable to that of Nader in 2000. What people forget is that most of the people who voted for Nader weren’t Democrats and likely never cared about the Democrats. More Democrats ended up voting for Bush than Nader.

      Yes, Sanders is running as a Democrat. But, in the end, that is irrelevant. There has never been a time in living memory when so few Americans identified with either party. The very demographics Sanders attracts are the same that hate both parties.

      All of this misses the point, from my perspective. The main reason I’ve supported Sanders is that he would change and reframe public debate. He has already achieved that. I have little faith in the functioning of US democracy. I honestly don’t think it matters too much who is elected president. The corporatocracy and bureaucracy of the shadow government/deep state will go on functioning as it always has.

      Even Trump wouldn’t likely be able to alter anything, no matter how stupid and crazy he acted. I worry more about Hillary Clinton because she is a political insider and so she has a long history of working with the very ruling elite is destroying our country. A Clinton presidency is an untreatable slow-growing cancer that will kill the patient in the near future, but it will give them enough time to put their affairs in order before they die. Trump might be a shock to the system, like radiation that might eliminate the cancer or kill the patient, but I’m not even sure Trump will manage to shock the system.

      No party is going to save us, not even the Green party. If we seriously want reform to avoid revolution, we’ll have to organize entirely outside of the system.

      • Do you think non-violent secession into much smaller more managable countries could work? Say maybe states combined into populations of less then 10 million?

        • I’ve wondered if that is the direction the world is heading in. I suspect that, if democracy has any hope, it will be at the local level of small-scale self-governance. No one has yet figured out how to have a society that is both large and free at the same time.

          This might be where technology could play a role. For smaller societies to operate, the providing of clean water, healthy food, sustainable energy, and industrial products would have to be done at the local level. Communities and the societies based on them will have to become independent at a basic level of meeting all or at least most of their own needs.

          This will force everyone to be less wasteful of resources. Water, in particular, likely will become the most precious thing in the world. It might determine which societies survive and which don’t.

          Eventually, we’ll hit a crisis point that will force change—a do or die situation. People will do what they must to survive and it won’t likely be a happy time to live through. I have little faith that many will have enough foresight to plan ahead for tough times, besides a few well functioning social democracies such as in Scandinavia. Such planning has to happen at the collective level for individuals will have little hope of surviving on their own, if and when the situation gets bad enough.

          In countries not so lucky to be Scandinavian social democracies, those who might fare the best are the poorest. They are used to dealing with shit and surviving. The poorest also tend to have the strongest and largest local social networks, as the poor tend not to move around as much and so have lifelong interdependent social networks involving community, family, friends, and church congregations.

          I’d like to think a transition could happen while being non-violent. But that would require us as a society and as global humanity to face our problems. I don’t see that happening. Most people aren’t able to admit to even the simplest of challenges to society. Here we are in this country arguing about who is going to be the next president of what at times feels like the sinking Titanic.

          • You see a pretty apocalyptic future. From what you’ve read/or your own views, do you think the combination of oil scarcity along with climate change which is happening now, that this current order will change no matter what in the next 20 years?

          • I can be apocalyptic at times. More than anything, I foresee drastic changes. But there are too many unpredictable factors. Technological advances could prevent the worst results. But hope of technological salvation doesn’t seem like a wise bet.

            Yeah, I do think oil scarcity and climate change will have an impact in the near future. I don’t know how big of an impact. We are heading for massive changes. But changes at this scale could happen tomorrow or a century from now, depending on various factors.

            The largest challenge, of course, is climate change. And it obviously is related to issues of energy and pollution. We are already seeing the changes happening.

            Large parts of the Middle East right now are experiencing mass drought (same as with Australia and the western United States). That is the cause of much of the violent conflict, social unrest, and refugee crisis. That is the region that was known as the bread basket of the world for most of the existence of civilization. Now many countries there can’t produce enough food to feed their own people. Think about that.

            As weather patterns shift, the present bread basket of the world, the US Midwest, will likely become less productive. The new bread basket might shift to Canada or even Russia. American power, from early on, was built on agriculture. Our society would collapse, if we suddenly couldn’t feed our own people.

            This might not happen in our lifetime. But it will happen.

          • Also, I’ve always felt imprisoned when I look at the US flag. I look at that flag and always wondered why the US flag is praised yet the Confederate flag is the only flag of the two that is hated. Their both terrible. One founded on war, genocide and expansion. And the other founded on keeping the instution of slavery intact. Tear them both down I say. I don’t know whjy anyone has “allegiance” to either. All the native americans that died under the red white and blue and all the americans that were killed by being brainwashed by empire. And all the people that have been killed under it for the past 200 years based off the lie of spreading american values around the world. I absoultey hate the US flag. It should be looked at the same way the nazi rags are looked.

          • I’m rather indifferent about nationalism. America, at best, represents some inspiring ideals. It’s not all rhetoric and lies. Early on, someone like Thomas Paine actually believed in the ideals he argued for. Then again, Paine saw himself as a global citizen, even as he loved his adopted homeland of America. But, sadly, we don’t live in Paine’s America for the most part. Those aspirational ideals have become failed ideals.

            I don’t have a strong opinion about the Confederate flag. I spent much of my youth in the heart of the Deep South. When I was in public school in Columbia, SC, a short distance from my house the state capital still flew the Confederate flag. Confederate flags were everywhere. Even kids at my high school had Confederate flag stickers on their trucks.

            About the past, Southerners were as imperialistic and expansionistic as Northerners. The Civil War happened because the Southerners largely dominated and controlled the federal government since the American Revolution. Southern slaveholders attempted to spread slavery across the entire country by forcing slave laws onto free states and territories. That led to a political backlash that set the stage for violent conflict. Attacking Fort Sumter was the South’s last attempt to assert their power over the nation, the equivalent of challenging someone to a duel.

            Southerners didn’t actually care, on principle, about states rights and secession. States rights were first used by Southern states to declare their right to steal Native American land, which was legally a right only the federal government had. Only the federal government could make or break treaties. When the South seceded, the State of Jones attempted to secede from the Confederacy. In response, the Confederacy utterly and hypocritically destroyed the State of Jones.

            Many Southern slaveholders were also always looking to take over other countries, from Mexico to Cuba. They did successfully take over a large swath of Mexico, although they failed in their aspiration to make Cuba into a new Southern slavery stronghold.

            Such concentrated power is rarely used toward freedom and justice, no matter who wields it. Even good intentions can’t change that simple fact. The Articles of Confederation was the only hope for a free society. But, instead of reforming that political system, the imperialistic pseudo-Federalists seized power and sacrificed the ideals so many revolutionaries fought for. The Anti-Federalists turned out to be right about so much of what they warned about.

  47. For me, the only way we can stop the machine is to think about acting locally. And that’s going to mean breaking up the US into smaller countries. I think if we broke up the US is smaller countries, say with populations of 7-8 million (which is near the size of the scandinavian countries), then it would be much, much easier to have democracy. Anytime in US history when progress is made the elite do their best to beat it back. Over the years they’ve deregulated the banks, enforced the war on drugs to control blacks and the hippies(one of the people on nixon’s team admitted this: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/ ) and sent jobs overseas to the third world. Not to mention we’ve been in perpetual war since the founding of this country. I’m int he camp that I just don’t want to be connected to the US in any way. It’s too big, too powerful and too unresposive to people’s needs to be reformed.

    Look at Iceland, it’s a country of 300,000 and it was easy to kick out the corrupted and jail the bankers. That’s damn near impossible for a country of 300 million. I can’t protest in DC or wallstreet because it’s so far away. I think with being the size of a scanadniavian country, it would be so much easier to bring pressure to politicians.

    I stand by what I said about the US flag, man. Do you honestly not think that rag shouldn’t be thought of the same way as the nazi flag? That flag started with 13 stars, and extended to 50 stars by war, genocide and imperialism. It didn’t just go from east coast to west, but went to hawaii and all the way to the Philippines.

    • We are basically in agreement. My view is that society over time will likely head in the direction of increasing localization. I could see that happening in many ways and leading to different possible results.

      I don’t have a strong opinion about the “United States”. In a basic sense, any nation is an abstraction, along with the geographic borders that form it. That is particularly true for large, diverse countries. There is nothing, besides military power, that unites the vast populations spread across the so-called United States.

      About flags, I simply have little opinion. I’ve never felt much response to flags, either positive or negative. They just don’t mean anything to me. It is a symbol for an abstraction.

    • I’ve always been fond of ‘American’ as an identity. I like the vagueness of it. Technically, anyone anywhere in the Americas, North or South, is an ‘American’. The vagueness of such an identity matches the broad sweep and confusion of so much that has gone into making the world we know here in the US and other nearby countries.

      The original concept of the United States of America was a federation of nation-states, not itself a nation-state and certainly not an empire. I like the idea of a federation, especially with the future vision of a Star Trek Federation. We live in a world where everything anyone does in any part of the world likely effects others elsewhere in the world. A federation is one way of dealing with externalizations and other non-local problems without giving up local autonomy and self-governance.

      A good start in this direction is to resurrect the Articles of Confederation. Any nation-states would be allowed to join, even if they aren’t in the Americas. One could think of it like the ancient Greek city-states. They shared enough in common to allow peaceful trade and travel and to work together when they needed, even in successfully fighting off massive empires. Yet they maintained their independence as separate communities and governments.

      • And in my view, that’s why they’ll never be reform within the US. Too many people brought up to worship a cloth or the US. despite it being a destructive force for so many people. Not only inside, but outside the US as well.

        • Despite my idealism, I’ve never been a utopian. The cynical side of my personality is quite strong, sadly.

          It seems to me that people will change when circumstances force them to change. That is what seems true to my observations of people and what seems true to my readings of history. When the circumstances aren’t conducive, change is impossible. But when conducive, change becomes inevitable.

          My main focus in life has never been politics. Social science is a much more interesting and satisfying field of study. I want to understand what makes people tick, both individually and collectively. Before we can attempt to change politics, we have to know what is even possible within human nature. That is a lot trickier than it first seems. It is what most of my reading and writing is dedicated to.

          Also, we have to deal with the physical and environmental reality that we exist within. The earth is a singular biosphere and there is no way of getting around this basic fact. That was one of my first main insights at a time when I was becoming aware of the larger world. Some of my early serious essays written in high school were on the topics of pollution and overpopulation. There is no way of getting around externalities in the world we live in, and the problems and challenges involved are near endless and at times near incomprehensible.

          At the same time, I’ve maybe always had a tendency toward views akin to libertarianism and anarchism. I’m not radical by nature, but there is something about many radical views that appeals to me. I like the notions of independence and autonomy, freedom and liberty, and anything else along this line. This way of thinking obviously lends itself to politics of democracy, self-governance, and localization.

          Going by your comments here, you have a similar propensity for such a worldview. Have you ever looked into the Articles of Confederation? They were radical for their time and still are radical for our time. They expressed a mix of Quaker constitutionalism and a fierce Anti-Federalism (AKA actual Federalism). This is because they were written by someone raised as a Quaker who then had his words edited a bit by the Anti-Federalist spirit.

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/the-radicalism-of-the-articles-of-confederation/

          One of my second cousins is a right-wing libertarian and Tea Partier. He was born and raised near you in the great state of Indiana, the home state of my parents as well. I’ve talked with him a fair amount in recent years, as he was the first one to do genealogical research on my mother’s side of the family.

          He is about my age, which is to say a GenXer (by the way, if you don’t mind my asking, how old are your or what is your generation?). We grew up in different worlds, but we also grew up in the same mass media. He too watched Star Trek: The Next Generation when he was younger. Both of us are fond of the vision of a futuristic Federation. It simultaneously appeals to his right-wing views and my left-wing views, oddly as that seems.

          It always takes an act of imagination to conceive of a another possibility of human society. To take a real world example that I mentioned, there are the ancient Greek city-states. That was an entirely new way of organizing communities and governments. They were even able to form alliances and act in war not unlike how the American colonies did in fighting the British Empire, and they were able to do so for the same basic reason of a certain amount of shared culture along with an intertwining of trade and travel.

          So, we do have a basis for envisioning this other possibility. At the same time, we know the dangers. The Greek city-states and American colonies were dependent on slave-based economies. Also, after a period of independence for both, they respectively led to imperialistic tendencies when a ruling elite gained too much power and local autonomy was lost.

          Another example is that of the Basque Republic.

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/who-are-the-basque/
          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/revolutions-american-and-french/

          The Basque inspired John Adams in his thinking about American republicanism. As for your own thoughts, this should fit right in. You have to understand that the geographic area and population size of all the American colonies combined was rather small. And the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, intended the former colonies to become independent nation-states (maintain their own armies and raise their own taxes). There was nothing inevitable about the US having expanded in imperialistic fashion. Yet that is what happened.

          The Basque Republic had similar problems. They were a well established republic for centuries. They fiercely fought for and successfully defended their independence. Just like the Greek city-states, the Basque managed to keep many empires at bay. Even so, they ended up falling to Napolean’s imperialistic aspirations.

          Dealing with empires from without and the imperialistic-minded from within is a tough and endless challenge. I’m not sure how we deal with this. As I see it, climate change might be the one thing that will finally force us to organize and operate society differently. I guess we or the generations following us will find out.

  48. In the near future, can you do and article on climate change? where you see where we as a world are now and where will be in the near and distant future in regards to this. Thanks.

    • I have written about climate change in the past. But it always feels pointless. A while back, I wrote some posts about climate change in terms of human nature. That is what has been interesting me lately. Even dialects interests me because of what they say about culture, its defining qualities and how it shifts over time.

  49. Just wondering, but why did you decide to drop out of college? And why did you not in the years that followed never think about returning? I ask this because I dropped out of college too. And and considering returning. Did you ever consider maybe giving it another shot? Or get a degree or major into something? From the sounds of looking at various blog post you’ve made, it sounds like you came from a middle class background. Did you just not want that type of job that would consume your life, and decided to go for something more moderate so you wouldn’t be exhausted? Would really like to know. Thanks.

    • I dropped out because of learning disability and severe depression. I did return to a community college for a second attempt. But then that didn’t end well when I attempted suicide.

      I obviously failed in that attempt. I’ve come to accept my fate in life and have come to a certain sense of purpose. I do what I can with what talents I have. The problem is my mind doesn’t work normally. I’m a convoluted, obsessive thinker. School has never worked out well for me.

      I do more or less come from middle class background. My father was a professor and my mother a public school teacher. That is why I have a love of learning. But my mother grew up working class and she instilled in me a working class attitude toward life. It doesn’t bother me to have a working class job, just as long as I have my books and my writings.

      Your last question gets at my experience. I’m easily overwhelmed. I’ve learned my psychological limits. So I keep my life simple. I’ll go on doing my thing until I can’t. Depression might eventually get the better of me. But that is why I don’t think much about my personal future. I stay focused on what interests me in the present.

      It’s not a bad life. Many have it worse. I try to keep it all in perspective. Life sucks. It’s just the way it is. But the world is also a fascinating place. My curiosity keeps me engaged.

      That is all there is to it. I work, I read, and I write.

        • I’ve thought we’ve been in a cold war for years.

          The entire war on terror has been part of a larger strategy. It really isn’t about terrorism or even just the Middle East. Like during the first cold war, the Middle East was a chessboard for global superpowers and their militaries. Proxy wars were essential because it allowed struggles for power to happen without any direct attacks on the superpowers themselves. Millions of innocents could die, just as long as they weren’t imperial subjects of the respective military forces.

          There is also a new kind of war going on that is partly propaganda and public perception control. It involves the national and global media. But in this age of technology it also involves attempts to control and manipulate the infrastructure of the internet and the companies involved. It involves governments trying to control info, to gather info, and to keep others from getting info. This is the preparatory stage before a cold war potentially turning into a hot war.

  50. In the end, if Bernie does end up endorsing Clinton, do you think there’s a possibility that all of this that has been going on with Bernie could end up being wasted? Do you know any Clinton supporters? and if so, why do they support her? For certain aprts of the population do you think Hillary will be able to get away with certain things if she becomes president because she’s a woman? Do you think this could be very dangerous?

    • I’m not sure what wasted even means under these circumstances.

      As far as I can tell, we haven’t had a functioning democracy at least since 2000. I don’t get the sense that it functioned all that well before then either. But starting in 2000, there has been constant election irregularities and a refusal to investigate them, such as the shutting down of the election in 2000 by not doing a full recount. If this were a third world country, a major international organization would have stepped in years ago to monitor our elections.

      I do know some Clinton supporters. I live in a liberal town. There is strong Sanders support here. But the problem is that this is a middle class town with people living mostly comfortable lives. When push comes to shove, most of them would vote Democrat no matter what. Sanders does have strong support from lower income voters and they aren’t as likely to simply submit to the Democratic party out of blind loyalty, as they have too much to lose in giving up on the hope of real reform.

      Hillary will be able to get away with many things others could not. It’s not just about her being a woman, but specifically a woman who is a Democrat. Any Democrat would be able to get away with things Republicans couldn’t. For example, only a Democrat like Bill Clinton could push as far right such policies as tough-on-crime and welfare cuts. I think it was Corey Robin who was righting about this a while back in his blog.

      Let me give you another example. What we think of as Reaganomics with tax cuts and deregulation actually began on the prior Democratic administration, under the kindly Christian paternalism of Jimmy Carter. But it’s not even just the Democrats exactly. It required Reagan’s social liberal attitude and sunny optimism to push Carter’s policies to the next level. People forget how socially liberal Reagan was, a former progressive Democrat who never lost his devotion to FDR. It was Reagan who for the first time ever had an openly gay couple stay over night at the White House. Could you imagine the outcry of a Democrat doing such a simple thing?

      You are getting at the point of why I fear a Hillary Clinton presidency. She is the establishment. And she would put a positive spin on the establishment. As a woman, she would be given endless excuses and rationalizations by so many on the political left. She knows how to say the right things when she has to. She is a talented professional politician who knows how the play the game. As a political insider with immense wealth and power, she’ll be able to push the government even further right into corporatism.

      Even the political right will support her, even if mostly behind the scenes. They’ll put on a good show of disagreement. Yet, on every major policy that benefits big money, there will be no attention brought to it and no obstruction.

      Hillary Clinton would be able to promote Republican-type policies to a greater extent than any Republican president ever could. I don’t want a Trump or Cruz presidency, but I honestly have no reason to think they would be more dangerous than Clinton. Trump has even advocated some policies, like universal healthcare, that are far to the left of Clinton. As for Cruz, he is an outsider who is disliked by insiders.

      We have a government ruled by a bureaucratic shadow state. Nothing happens that those behind the scenes don’t want to happen. Presidents at this point are mostly figureheads. That might not be the case for an insider like Clinton, though, as she is part of the ruling elite who makes the decisions. Everything will continue down this corporatist path, if she is elected. All else is distraction.

    • Here is the thing about Hillary Clinton. She came around to supporting same sex marriage in 2013. That is only a few generations behind the curb. She is no where near being a civil rights leader. She at best follows along behind, long after it’s become clear a position is majority public opinion.

      But that is only social issues. She is even worse on economic issues, an area which she blatantly defies the beliefs and values of the majority of Americans in everything she does. Most Americans want progressive taxation (i.e., tax the rich more), more corporate regulation, less ‘free’ trade neoliberalism, a strong social safety net, well funded public institutions and services, etc.

      The social issues are only a bone that professional politicians will occasionally throw out. You see the same thing with Republicans outwardly supporting some civil libertarian issue that won’t actually change anything about the corrupt political system or improve the lives of average Americans in any way.

    • It still is well within the realm of possibility that Sanders could win the presidency. It has already been predicted through a mock presidential election that has been accurate in the past.

      http://amusmentic.com/university-with-100-accuracy-record-predicts-bernie-sanders-will-be-americas-next-president/

      Even if that does happen, it doesn’t really change anything. Sanders would be less likely to make things worse, to the degree he might have real influence within the bureaucracy.

      But it is unlikely he’d end or reign in any of the corruption and begin to turn things around. I’ve become almost certain that we are beyond the possibility of reform. That train left the station long ago. We have to ride this out to wherever it will lead.

  51. I’ve wondered if you’ve read in your political readings, that this current capitalism is about to collapse.. I get the sense that we may be in the late stages of capitalism and that this current capitalism that we live under is unsustainable. As in maybe int he next couple decades it might collapse. Have you read anything like this? What are your thoughts on it?

    • Yep. I’ve read about such things. It relates to capital realism. I have some posts about that topic. Capitalism is just a word. It’s the whole system and paradigm that is unsustainable, no matter what one calls it.

      As I see it, even the ideologies that attempt to criticize capitalism end up being part of the failure. We are lost in a dense fog with no ability to see outside of it. I doubt there is any way to know what else might be possible until after it already arrives.

      It isn’t just a problem of conservatives and right-wingers. Nor even of the mainstream in general. Even radical left-wingers I know seem unable to genuinely envision something capable of challenging the status quo. Our collective imagination is shackled.

      We will be free of this prison when an earthquake causes it to collapse all around us. That earthquake could be many things: climate change, world war, plague, economic breakdown, etc. It is impossible to know what might be the tipping/breaking point. But we’ll know it when it arrives.

      Then and only then will we have the proper motivation to consider something entirely different. Of course, at that point, it might be too late to do any good. Humans can be immensely innovative when pushed to the edge. But innovation will only go so far. We could create a situation to which there is no solution and no salvation.

      I’d rather avoid such a scenario, if it were avoidable. I just don’t think it is avoidable at this point.

      • In terms of climate change, are we pretty much guaranteed to be seriously screwed? Even if we wwere to stop emissions tommorrow?

        • It seems that we are screwed, going by what we presently understand. Even if we stopped emissions yesterday, there still would be major repercussions.

          There is a lag time to climate change. It’s what we have already done that will create problems. As for what we continue to do, that will just make it worse.

          The question now is how bad will it be and what options are remaining. It’s not clear that any good options are likely. We are looking forward to a rough ride.

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/climate-change-refugees-and-terrorism/

          https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/maybe-we-really-are-screwed/

          • Thanks for the links. How far away into the future do you think we are until we reach apocalyptic planetary warming? I’ve read as soon as mid century.

          • One of the most dangerous aspects of climate change is that it is unpredictable. All that we know is that normal patterns will shift and extreme weather will become more common. This has already begun. I’m not sure there will ever be a single moment of apocalypse. It will more likely be a slow but steady increasing of problems that keep pushing the social order beyond our capacity to cope.

            It’s the secondary problems that will hit us like a ton of bricks: starvation, refugees, wars, revolutions, etc. In response, governments will turn authoritarian and social control will be enforced at any and all costs. People will become desperate and turn on one another. We are already seeing these secondary problems. The refugee crisis and terrorism will only increase. Large numbers of people are being pushed to the edge. Entire regions are being destabilized.

            We are at the threshold. The unwinding is in process. But it could be a long process. The biosphere is a large, complex system. What finally triggers an entire climatological realignment is anyone’s guess. We do know that there are triggers for realignment. Our weather patterns are based on particular mechanisms. The salt in the oceans maintain a conveyor belt that draws warm water into colder regions. This makes North America, Britain, and similar places warmer than they otherwise would be. As ice melts, it lessens the salinity of the oceans and this will cause the conveyor belt to stop. Once this happens, a new ice age would begin.

            Even then, ice ages often develop over long periods of time. There are certain circumstances that create more sudden changes, though. Major forces such as a large asteroid of super-volcano can almost instantly force climate change. We see the evidence of that with Mammoths that were frozen to death while in the middle of chewing on flowers. But the kind of climate change that humans are causing is unlikely to happen that quickly.

            Anyway, we will see climate-related problems increase in the coming decades. At the same time, humans will be implementing vast technological innovations, along with biological manipulations (from genetic engineering to biological weapons). Some countries likely will even attempt climate engineering and weather warfare. The ultimate result of all this craziness is probably beyond our capacity to imagine. The world will be turned upside down.

            It’s always possible that our present civilization will manage to maintain itself for the lifespans of present living generations. It will get ever more chaotic and unpleasant. But full collapse might be a fate left to future generations. Some people are hoping by that point we will have colonized space. Good luck with that.

  52. How much of and impact do you think something like Fukushima will have on the world? Have you done any research on that topic? It’s still leaking 5 years later. Some of called it worse then that Ukraine disaster back in 1986.

  53. Without the tentacles of capitalism spreading worldwide in the fashion that it does, would this neoliberal capitalist order were in now collapse?

    • By various means, the entire system is being artificially propped up. It isn’t sustainable. But it’s lasted this long by externalizing costs, not just onto the ecosystems and the biosphere or even on poor people and third world countries, but also by externalizing costs onto future generations. Those who benefit from the system have always assumed that others would have to pay the costs.

      The rest of us let them get away with it because we benefit from these externalized costs. Living in a Western developed country, we don’t have to directly experience the consequences of pollution in third world countries and foreign wars for resources. Among the older generations, they don’t have to worry too much that these costs will be seen in their lifetime.

      If we actually had to pay the full costs for everything, prices for everything would obviously increase. Then our standard of living would go down. Few people would be able to afford to eat fast food, meat, produce shipped from far away, etc. Few people would be able to afford to own a car, own a house, live in the suburbs, etc. There would no longer be large box stores filled with cheap goods. We’d be forced to buy more locally and more people would grow their own food.

      Every aspect of our lives would be impacted. That is why even good liberals mostly ignore the stark reality. Acknowledging these problems makes people uncomfortable. No one will deal with these costs until they can no longer be externalized, when the chickens come home to roost. That is why the younger generations are more concerned, as they are the ones who will see the costs in their lifetimes, although it might take the generations following the to see the full costs.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/an-invisible-debt-made-visible/
      https://www.exposingtruth.com/new-un-report-finds-almost-no-industry-profitable-if-environmental-costs-were-included/
      http://arstechnica.com/science/2009/10/counting-the-hidden-120-billion-cost-of-us-energy-economy/
      http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/AlaskaCoal/CoalTrueCost.html
      http://www.foodpolitics.com/2011/04/externalized-costs/
      http://greenplug.nu/congressional-report-singles-out-walmart-as-a-drag-on-us-economy/
      http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/oil-gas-crude/461

      • I know it’s unpredictable, but I wonder if we will see these changes in the not so distant future? This system is unsustainable. But I really wonder if it’s something that will still be around, in say, 20-30 years.

        Do you think the US advantage of the petro dollar system would really affect the US economy if the US didn’t have the petro dollar system?
        Kinda off topic… but how do you foresee Russia in the 21st century? Do you think they may become a great super power again? Do you think the US’s heyday is about to end?

          • I’ve heard of the environmental problems in China. I knew they were bad, but not exactly how bad. That is an example of a country that has built immense industrial wealth through externalizing costs. The costs will be so high that entire regions of the country might be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. That depresses me. It’ short term gains at the cost of long-term destruction. That is not a good deal, no matter how one measures it.

        • We are already seeing major climate changes. There are increasing droughts, floods, major storms, record heat waves, etc. Over the past half century, the warmer climate has led to an increase in weeds such as poison ivy and pests such as mosquitoes. This has led to diseases such as malaria spreading into places not seen before.

          It’s only going to get worse. In the coming years and decades, we’ll be seeing more examples of what we’ve already been seeing. Each heat record will be beat by ever new heat records. The number and severity of storms will increase. It will be a gradual worsening. But the changes might not be noticeable to the average person, except for those older enough to remember when things were different.

          My mother, for example, remembers poison ivy being rare when she was a kid. Indeed, studies show that poison ivy has proliferated as it loves warmer temperatures. But to kids these days, all they’ve ever known is a world full of poison ivy. Even many older people wouldn’t notice the changes, as the changes happen so slowly. Each year, there is slightly more poison ivy. Few people would be paying close enough attention to notice, unless they happen to regularly work outdoors in fields and wooded areas.

          I imagine climate change could be immense over the next 20-30 years. It can’t get much worse before it will be impossible to ignore even by the most dogmatic denialist. Recent polls show that the number of Americans concerned is growing rapidly. But the thing is most people might be too distracted by the secondary issues of war, refugees, and all that. They’ll be so busy reacting to the problems at hand that they won’t have time or energy to think about the ultimate causes of it all. People will simply notice the world getting worse and worse.

          In some ways, I wish collapse would come sooner. Then maybe we’d have an opportunity to build a new kind of society. What I worry about is that humans are so innovative that we could keep the whole thing teetering on the edge of collapse for a long period of time. This would only make the inevitable collapse even more catastrophic or even apocalyptic. A series of small collapses over time would be easier for humanity to handle than one massive simultaneous collapse of the entirety of civilization.

          US petro dollar? I’m not sure it matters. The US dollar used to be backed by gold. Then that disappeared. Now it’s oil. But in reality it isn’t even oil. What backs US currency is military power. The US has more bases in more countries in every region of the world than has ever been seen before with any previous empire. The world backs the US dollar because the collapse of the US likely means the collapse of the global order as we know it.

          I’m also not sure the fate of individual countries is the significant issue. I don’t see any major changes to any country likely to happen without a world war or some equivalent upheaval. All countries are interdependent in this age of globalization. Still, even if the present global order is maintained for the near future, there could be many changes in who has the most power and influence.

          It’s interesting that you bring up Russia. There are some predictions that climate change could cause Russia to have more productive farmland. In the future, as in the past, agriculture will be the most important factor behind wealth and power. That is the trouble China faces, as they can’t feed their own population. Because of this, China wouldn’t be able to sustain itself during a long-term war without conquering and controlling foreign territories. The US could face the same situation if climate change hits the American Midwestern breadbasket.

  54. If the US were say to be blocked from being the hyper power that it is by Russia or China, do you think the ruling class will take a gamble with world war 3?

    • Without a doubt they would gamble nearly everything to maintain or gain greater power.

      I suspect we might be coming to an era that will consist of winners dominating in ways never seen before. And the losers will be entirely fucked over. As climate change increases, every major power will be attempting to secure their position and ensure they aren’t on the bottom of the shit pile.

      I see the Chinese government setting themselves up for putting everything on the line for their shot at global power. That is why the US is surrounding China right now with bases, naval ships, and amassed weapons. Everyone is preparing for all out conflict of the likes never seen before. WWIII probably has already begun and we’re just waiting for the trigger to bring the contest for power out into the open.

      • You probably know the US spends more than the rest of the world combined on military. What do you think will be the results of world war 3? Mutual destruction?

        • Yep. The US does spend a lot on military. It’s the largest and most powerful military that has ever existed. Mutual destruction does seem likely. It’s not going to be like past wars, not even past world wars. There has been a half century of weaponry development and much of it has been kept top secret. When world war erupts, we will all of a sudden see new technologies never before revealed. Every major country is holding its cards close to the chest. With the destruction that could be unleashed, it might be a very short war.

          • Obviously like you said, certain things are kept top secret. Do you think Russia’s military is capable by your readings on it? I know some like to joke that russia is a joke in the post soviet era, and that their military is outdated. But it’s pretty impressive how they handled the Syria situation there.

          • I don’t pay much attention to Russia. I occasionally read about it. From what I can tell, I wouldn’t underestimate them.

            Anyway, it isn’t simply the military capacity of any given government. World wars are about alliances. If enough countries from enough parts of the world allied together against the US, it would force the US to simultaneously fight on too many fronts. The US wouldn’t likely win such a war, unless the US too could gather many allies from all over.

            But I wonder if one of these days the US might find itself with fewer allies than would be optimal. The US has depended on maintaining power by other governments allowing them to have power. Without support of so many other countries, the US would be in a severely weak position with a military spread too thin.

  55. Do you think by mid-century that the oil era will be over? Will this current oil order that we’ve had since the start of the 20 century end in the next 30 years?

    What do you think of Vladamir Putin? Do you think it was a good thing to a certain extent that two super powers during the cold war kept each other in check? WOuld you say with the collapse of the soviet union that the US is allowed to act more aggressively?

    Would you rather live under the soviet ideology or the current one the US has? Just curious on this.

    • I don’t see the oil era lasting much longer. There will be fighting over the last easily accessible sources of oil. To control the last of the oil will be a great advantage in the coming conflicts. But one way or another, every country will be forced to wean itself off the oil teat.

      I have no particular opinion of Putin. But I do have an opinion about the Cold War. I don’t think it was a good thing whatsoever. It mentally deranged multiple generations. We might have dealt with some of our problems if not for the fear-mongering distraction and propaganda manipulations of the Cold War.

      It is true that the collapse of the USSR led the US to get arrogant and aggressive in a way that isn’t healthy. But that doesn’t mean the Cold War wasn’t dysfunctional as well, just in a different way. What was needed was more than two global powers to keep each individual country from becoming too powerful and imperialistic. It’s similar to why the only way for democracy to function is to have more than two viable political parties.

      Your last question is impossible for me to answer. It’s like asking me whether I’d rather eat cowshit or bullshit. Uh, no thank you! If there isn’t a third choice, then I resign from the human race.

      • As always, thanks for responding to my questions. I really appreciate this. And the in-depth answers you give.

        How do you foresee the US and world operating in the post oil era? Do you agree with those that say we might revert more back to how we used to live before oil? Or do you think technology will make it so we never really go back to that way of living again? I think it’s kinda obvious we wont go back to living like we did on during the 19th century (like say how they lived on the tc show little house on the prairie.) But I really wonder what profound affect the post oil era will have on society. On how we live and whatnot. What society in general will be like.

        • I see many possibilities. There are many technological advances that could allow for entirely new ways to organize (socially, economically, and politically), specifically at the local level.

          But I don’t know how people at the local level will be able to deal with global problems that are outside of their control. Not just climate change. Also mass weapons that could decimate entire populations.

          No matter how independent and self-sufficient a community might become, there are endless vulnerabilities that are hard to prepare for and defend against. The world could become an extremely dangerous place. Humanity might be forced into a much more primitive lifestyle, where those who most isolate themselves will be the most likely to survive.

          It’s pretty much impossible to imagine what the future will look like. The equivalent of centuries of change could happen in a short period of time. Human nature itself might be permanently altered, something like the supposed ending of the bicameral mind.

          Then again, there could be a continuation of the world we know. It might take new directions, even as much from the past is carried forward. Technology always could save us from total disaster. I wouldn’t rule this out, although neither would I bet on it being the most likely outcome.

    • I don’t see collapse as necessarily coming so quickly, if it is to happen. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of the present system nor underestimate human ingenuity in maintaining the system. We could hobble along for longer than many could imagine or might prefer.

      The question, to my mind, is can we keep the whole thing from collapsing until we come up with some genuine solutions. Without genuine solutions, collapse will be inevitable. A combination of climate change and world war might force the issue before we are ready. In that case, collapse could come in the near future.

      • That’s what I worry about. Human ingenuity. The petro dollar is what allows the US to spend so much more on militarism. I wonder if the US lost oil/dollar hegemony if their would be some way to replace that, which would continue US hyperpower policies.

  56. Many americans will say war is bad. Many will disagree with what we are doing all over the world. Many disagree with the war on drugs. And you could say to a certain extent looking at someone like bernie sanders and how certain parts of america have gotten behind him.

    But why are americans so passive? Why do you think they don’t get heavily involved with politics? Is it ignorance? lack of time? apathy? Most people seem to be against what the ruling class is doing in so many areas, but all they do really so go to rally’s and chant slogans. Do you think some of this is because they don’t know how exactly to respond? There’s just so much ignorance towards our political class that it’s so frustrating that we continue to go ona bout this. And I would think many would know that the way we live our lives is comptlely unsustainable.

    • Political rhetoric and propaganda are more powerful than is generally appreciated. This includes the propaganda model of the media. And it’s actually in a relatively free society like ours that social control through perception management is so important.

      Most Americans are brainwashed. It’s a rare person who wakes up from the dream and looks at the world around them with open eyes. I wish I knew how to force people to awake. But it’s a mystery why some wake up while others go on dreaming.

      I’ve been trying to understand this for years. I’ve been developing a personal theory. I call it symbolic conflation. There are a number of posts about it on my blog. If you’re interested, just use the search function below and you’ll find them.

  57. Do you think the ruling class of this country is very racist? I’m sure you know the effects on the war on drugs. Do they look at blacks as ways to make a lot of profit? Blacks since the start of the US experiment have never really gotten free. What was once the cotton plantation is now the industrial prision plantation.

    • There is some overt racism. But more than that it’s how the system is designed. Racism is built into the very structure and so racism is the default mode. It’s inseparable from classism. All of its mixed together and isn’t dependent on the obvious bigotry of individuals. It’s the entire worldview of Social Darwinism that is at the foundation of this country. Racism and classism always operate in our society.

      • When you look at America’s past, jewish people used to be treated very badly. But it look like int he past 40 years that has changed a great deal. Just being 2 percent if the US population, they are 40 percent of US billionaries. I always wondered what changed in US society to cause this? If you remember when WW2 started, it was not fought to save jewish people as it’s propagated today. In fact FDR and his administration made them turn around when they wanted refuge from nazi europe. I just wonder this because blacks and hispanics were treated like shit back then and still are. Whereas it’s kind of a 180 for jewish people, Compare today to back then and theres a world of difference. I always wondered why this was the case.

        • There are many factors for what changed.

          Many of the Jews that did manage to immigrate to the US during or after WWII were probably on average slightly wealthier than Jews that were unable to leave Europe. Much of the Jewish intellectual elite from Europe (professors, scientists, etc) ended up in the US. This WWII influx maybe bumped up the average class status of American Jews.

          Blacks and Hispanics obviously have a different history. But you see a divide even comparing blacks with slave ancestry and blacks who are recent African immigrants, the latter tending to be wealthier and more well educated than the average American.

          The problem for the African immigrant, though, is they are still black. Unlike many Jews, they can’t pass as white. And the darker their skin the more racism they’ll experience. The same skin tone racism applies to Hispanics. Few Jews have skin that is very dark. It really is that simple.

          • WASP used to just include americans of english ancestry. What changed to make it include basically all whites that werent from eastern or southern europe later on?

          • I have a ton of posts around here about racism, ethnocentrism, immigration, and related issues. I love writing about that kind of thing. Maybe later on I’ll try to find some of the posts that might interest you. But I got to be going to bed right now.

  58. Do you know if any countries in the past 8 years has used depleted uranium for it’s wars? I know Bush did in the iraq invasion, but wasn’t sure if it’s been uses since.

  59. Thank you so very much! I been also trying to find out if they have been used in the eastern ukraine war that is going on.

  60. By the way, what accent would you say William Shatner uses as Captain Kirk? Is that GA or not? I notice that Captain Kirk the character is from Iowa.

    • I have no idea. Do you mean his acting voice or his normal voice? I’m not even sure what his normal voice was like before his acting career? His acting voice is odd. People love to mock his artificial speaking style.

      Shatner is Canadian. But he has been in the US a long time. Many Canadians do speak in certain ways that is similar to GA, such as the whole rhotic thing.

      Even though he isn’t from Iowa, many other actors have come from here. It is supposedly the most GA state in the country, at least the bottom two thirds of it. Here are some lists of famous Iowans:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Actors_from_Iowa
      http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_place=Iowa,%20USA
      http://www.ranker.com/list/iowa-film-actors-from-here/reference
      http://www.biography.com/people/groups/born-in-iowa
      https://dmlocalhistory.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/iowa-hollywood-connection/

      • I’m talking about the voice he uses in the Star Trek movies. I’m just really not sure if it’s GA or not. And sometimes actors or actresses have to study a areas accent when they get casted for a part. Just noticed that Captain Kirk was originally from Iowa.

        • I doubt Shatner ever bothered to study Iowa dialect and accent. Many people argue that he doesn’t even really act. He plays all his roles the same way. It is a good question what his way of speaking would be considered. I don’t know how typical he sounds compared to other Canadians. Like the US, Canada has different regional accents, although it also has an equivalent to GA that is common. I’m sure there have been articles written about the origins of Shatner’s speaking style.

          • Ok, thanks. you can delete this random left field question about william shatner if you want off here. sorry for asking something so out of left field. just wondered if you felt he spoke GA or not. All I wanted to know 🙂

          • You’re free to ask whatever you want, left field or otherwise. It is the Open Thread, after all. That is what it is for. It’s a free for all. You could ask the silliest questions in the world or even post a rant here, if you really want. I don’t mind. It takes quite a lot of effort to irritate me enough that I wouldn’t approve a comment, although these days I find myself less tolerant of dogmatic bullshit.

            A race realist posted a couple of comments in my blog this past week and I wasn’t in the mood for it. So, I just didn’t approve the comments. It didn’t seem like there was any point. If someone’s comments aren’t worthy of a response from me, then they aren’t worthy of being posted in my blog. It’s one of the only rules I keep for my blog, as I do like to respond to comments and yet I have no interest in trying to interact with people who are beyond all rational, open-minded discussion.

            You’ve posted nothing that falls into that latter category. You simply have questions. I like questions. It demonstrates a mindset of curiosity. And that is a good thing.

    • I do look at articles from websites such as you mentioned. I also like news media such as Thom Hartmann.

      I’m fairly random in my news viewing, though. I used to spend more time intentionally looking at news. These days, I mostly see what people I know post about in social media and blogs. When I happen to be looking at an article, I’ll check out what else has been recently put out by a news source.

      But I must admit that I’ve felt less drawn to news, as it depresses me. And when I get severely depressed, I get irritable and cynical. I don’t like the person I become when depression overwhelms me.

      • That’s exactly how I get at times. But I just feel there needs to be something done to end the american empire. The sooner the better for not only us, but for the rest of the planet.

        • Knowledge is important. But I’ve come to conclusion that knowledge alone doesn’t motivate positive change. Nor does grassroots organizing.

          The largest protest movement in US and world history wasn’t able to stop the Iraq War, despite even the CIA knowing there were no WMDs in Iraq. It wasn’t lack of knowledge or lack of will to protest.

          For a society to change, it must happen at the level of the mind and imagination, in how people think about, perceive, and relate to the larger world. It requires a total paradigm shift.

        • My personal obsession is with what makes change so hard and what sometimes makes massive changes possible. That is why I study history and the social sciences.

          Three historical periods have interested me the most: (1) the Enlightenment Age and early modern revolutionary era, including the late Reformation such as the revolutionary English Civil War; (2) the Axial Age with its emergence of present forms of urbanized multiculturalism, syncretistic universalist traditions, and individualistic worldviews; and (3) the ancient Bicameral Age with its first major civilizations.

          With each of these ages of transformation, it wasn’t just the social order that was altered. It seems the very sense of identity and reality shifted to a new alignment. The shift in mindset was a process that happened over centuries before it became fully apparent in the outward social forms. That is what happened with the American Revolution. People talked about the pivotal new ideas and views for generations upon generations before revolution was possible.

          The Bicameral Age is the most fascinating, though. It appears that the most pivotal change in the human mind happened with its ending. We moderns can comprehend those of the Axial Age, but before that the world of those ancient humans seem bizarre to us. Many have tried to explain what that world was and what caused it, bicameralism being one theory among many.

          On a related note, my personal theory is what I call symbolic conflation. I’ve tried to make sense of a cognitive puzzle that I’ve seen in so many others. There is a disjuncture within the conscious mind that makes it nearly impossible for the individual to see the source of their own thinking. There are those in power who have learned to manipulate this weakness, but even those in power probably don’t really understand it.

          Maybe having dealt with my own problems makes me so obsessed about all of this. I’ve long tried to change myself, mostly having failed. Change at the personal level is only possible to the degree that it aligns with the paradigm within which one exists. All of us are born into worlds we didn’t create and which shape us. Rat park research is a good example of this. Our inability to change as individuals is inseparable from our inability to change as a society.

          Yet history shows that change does happen and often dramatically. We eventually hit a breaking point that forces a new way of being or else collapse… or sometimes both. I’m curious about what creates the conditions for profound systemic change that cuts to the heart of our humanity. What opens the mind to entirely new possibilities?

    • Not really. It will take outside forces or conditions to end the American Empire. It doesn’t necessarily have to end violently, but the American ruling elite won’t give up power willingly.

      • Do you think without certain interventions by the state, the 60s revolution would of been more successful? I noticed you said this would be the case in a previous essay about ww1 era american and if it wasn’t for political repression.

        • We’ve had an oppressive government intervening since the beginning of this country. Consider such things as Shays’ Rebellion. The American Revolution continued long after the ruling elite declared it over.

          The US government has always been this way. It was seen with Reconstruction, during the Populist Era, the early Civil Rights movement, and the 1960s. When the ruling elite feel threatened, they come down hard with any means necessary.

          It is hard to imagine what this country would have been like without centuries of oppression. There have been brief moments of greater freedom when the ruling elite loosens its grip.

          That happened with the early Cold War. Up to that point, there had been systematic oppression of the Civil Rights movement and it was brutal. There was such international pressure about this hypocrisy that the Civil Rights movement was allowed to win some victories. But it didn’t take long for several convenient assassinations to occur and COINTELPRO went into full force.

          Only when the ruling elite is in total fear of losing power will they relent.

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/revolutionary-class-war-paine-washington/
          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/7854/
          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/paine-dickinson-and-what-was-lost/
          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/the-radicalism-of-the-articles-of-confederation/

          • I’ve noticed you’ve praised Lincoln in the past. I’ve read many that say he was a tool for the political elite of the industrial north that wanted to bring it’s way to the cotton based south and spread they’re industrial tentacles. And this was a major reason for the war, not that they gave a crap about the north. Howard Zinn’s book says most northerners didn’t care about slavery and it was about saving the union for them.

          • Lincoln was a mixed bag. And, in some ways, an unusual guy for his time. I’m not sure I exactly praise him. I just find his life to be interesting.

            He was heavily influenced by the founding generation. He was born just months before Paine died and the last of the founders died in his teen years. He had a radical streak, including religiously heretical view inspired by Paine, but he learned to hide this side of his personality. He figured out that to have a political career he needed to appear respectable.

            Still, this didn’t stop him from associating with radicals, including putting radicals in his administration, including a Marxist. It might have been from that Marxist or else from reading Marx himself (whose writings were regularly published in the most read Republican newspaper) that Lincoln learned of the Marxist theory of labor value.

            Yet he always had a capitalist and industrialist friendly side of his personality. He even worked as a lawyer for railroad companies in winning cases to take the land from small farmers. He definitely saw industry as the future of the country and did what was in his power to make that future a reality.

            The Civil War was about slavery from the perspective of the Southern elite who wanted the war. The slaveholding South had controlled the federal government since the country was founded, but they began losing their grip in the decades before the Civil War. As a last ditch attempt at regaining power, they tried to enforce slave laws onto the entire country, including free states and free territories.

            When that led to a backlash, the South felt on the defense, which oddly put them on the offense. They attacked Fort Sumter, a military base, which is an act of treason and pretty clear declaration of war—-it could even fairly be called a terrorist attack. The federal government had few options in how to respond. It wasn’t explicitly about slavery for the federal government. It’s simply they were attacked, not unlike on 9/11, and so they responded to that attack.

            It was simply about defending the country from those who threatened to tear it apart. I personally think the country might have been better off if the South had been allowed to secede. They had no constitutional right to secede, but that is irrelevant. If they didn’t want to be part of what the country was becoming, maybe they should have been allowed to leave. I doubt many of the founders would have agreed. Southerners like Washington and Jefferson would have seen secession as a failure of all they fought for. Then again, someone particularly like Washington was for all intents and purposes an imperialist.

            The Southern elite were wrong in trying to force slave laws on the entire country. And they were wrong for committing a terrorist attack against the government. But that is all the more reason they should have been allowed to go their separate way. The South has been a hindrance on American progress ever since. There would never have been a Southern Strategy without an American South. By keeping the South as part of the country, the whole country has become a plutocracy like the South. I think even the South would have been better off if they had been forced to deal with their own problems, instead of becoming the greatest welfare queen region of the country.

            Maintaining the union came at great cost, far beyond just the loss of lives. The Civil War pushed us further away from the original vision as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. But it fit well into the pseudo-federalist vision of the Constitution.

  61. So you think without international pressure things like segregated signs or women in the workforce would of been blocked? I always thought that the 60s revolution was partially successful. Not fully, but certain things about that era changed the US. Women int he workforce, signs with segregated messages collapsed. Didn’t medicare and the Great Johnson society come out because of that era?

    • Yep. The US has always been heavily influenced by international pressure. The 60s revolution was partially successful. COINTELPRO, like anti-communist witchcraft trials, could destroy lives and organizations. But it couldn’t stop the larger changes that were happening, not just in the US but also the world. Real changes do happen.

      For example, blacks have more rights than they had in the past. Even so, there are more blacks in prison right now than were in slavery at its height before the Civil War. Plus, there are more mentally ill people in prison than ever before.

      I would point out that it was always whites who were the major focus and beneficiaries of government assistance, from the New Deal to the War on Poverty. It’s no accident that so many minority workers were excluded from social security, government housing loans, CCC, etc. And no accident that the poverty programs were first implemented among whites in Appalachia, not among blacks. Many young poor whites were able to escape Appalachia in a way that wasn’t possible for blacks facing systemic and institutional racism.

      The Great Society was happening at a time of Civil Rights victories, while also at a time when forces were beginning to destroy minority communities and turn them into ghettoes and battlefields for the war on drugs. Our society has simultaneously gotten better in some ways and worse in others. But with neoliberalism and climate change, it’s hard to see how it all adds up to a positive end result.

      LBJ was a racist, by the way. It was only political expediency that led him to support some civil rights policies. It was a way of defusing social unrest and creating more voters for the Democratic party. But he had no interest in actually helping blacks. While the federal government passed some important civil rights bills, the CIA and FBI were attempting to destroy very black leaders and civic organizations that had forced the government to pass those bills.

      In the process, democracy was undermined for generations to come. Hardly a victory. Yet neither a total loss.

    • I agree with the author’s view, except for one statement:

      “also known — quite accurately — as the War of Northern Aggression”

      It was the South that attacked a military base. That was a terrorist attack and de facto declaration of war. No reasonable person would expect a government to not to respond to being attacked.

      It’s easy to argue that there had to be better ways of responding and avoiding war, no matter how much some Southerners wanted war. But it’s also easy to argue that the South Carolinian government could have turned over the treasonous terrorists to the federal government in order to avoid war. The point is that they wanted war.

      If the South really wanted secession, there are better ways of going about that than attacking the federal government. Such an action makes a civil war nearly inevitable. Before that attack, there might have been possible genuine public debate about secession. But the attack ended that possibility.

      Ever since the coup that took over the federal government with the Constitutional Convention, there had been civil unrest at the state level. The South wasn’t even the first area to suggest secession. There had already been public debate about secession in states outside of the South. It was a debate that needed to be had.

      It’s too bad the South fucked it up by turning it into a contest of brutally violent power. When the South attacked the government and dared them to attack back, what did they expect would happen? They got exactly what they wanted, a great self-righteous bloodbath.

  62. Hey Ben, I was wanting your opinion on how to deal with this: Earlier I shared this list to 14 fascist points: http://www.ellensplace.net/fascism.html and how the current US has all of these points. And even you stated that the fascist won here along time ago. I do agree with this. But how do you convey this to people without being looked at as a conspiracy theorist or like your odd? Many think that if Trump is elected then the US will go fascist. But we are already there. And I need a way to say this in a way that doesn’t make people roll their eyes.

    I say things like for instance:
    The US has a culture of excessive flag waving combined with milaitarism
    The racist war on drugs
    The racist police war against the poor and minrotiies.
    The Racist foreign policy in the middle east
    The might makes right ideology. Solving problems with violence and milaitarism.
    Never ending war on terror where we use miliatry violence on america’s enemies. This has been going on since the US’s foundings.
    Corporations that have huge influence on our government
    The support of torture
    A corporate controlled media that is never called out by either party.
    The war on whistle blowers that expose state secrets (Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning/etc) These people are branded traitors.
    And upcoming democractic candidate (hilalry Clinton) and repulbican candidate (Donald Trump) that has said they would use nuclear weapons on america’s enemies.
    Both political parties supporting theocratic dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and supplying billions in military arms to this dictatorship.
    Economic sanctions on america’s enemies (Cuba, Iran, Russia)
    Both parties supported building a wall (Al-thought I guess trump you can say goes overboard with this)

    I mean, both parties support these policies and have for a long time. So what make Trump really all that different from the democrats that make people say that he’s a fascist? Why can’t we realize that were a fascist country now and have been for a long time? How can we convey this to the average person without being looked at as crazy? I think you said this accurately – that propaganda has been extremely effective.

    • You can go a number of routes. There is always the listing of traits of fascism. But I don’t think many people will bother to read a list, as the average person is too lazy. That would only work if you could somehow make the list compelling, which would be quite the challenge.

      Another possibility is to point to the known history. Much of this knowledge is well within the mainstream. The US government and US corporations have a long continuing relationship with fascist countries, going back to before the Nazis. Also, the Nazis were inspired by Anglo-American thought, such as eugenics first being developed in England and the US. In the early 20th century, the economic and political elites in the US were often rather open about their support of fascism. It wasn’t a secret. It’s also not a secret that the US government protected Nazis and hired them to work for the US government.

      A different take on this is to avoid all the theoretical and historical aspects. When the word ‘fascism’ is used, people’s brains tend to shut down. It is hard for people to think clearly and objectively about such things. It’s like how Hitler pops up in internet comment sections and it just leads the comment in question to being dismissed. Other words have less baggage. Corporatism is another word for fascism, a word that Mussolini used. The advantage of ‘corporatism’ is that it makes clear that corporations are central to it. Most people have an understanding that big biz is part of the problem, even if they don’t recognize it as fascism. Corporatism offers a frame that is easier to understand.

      You could also simply talk about aspects of fascism and authoritarianism in general. Most people understand cronyism, both as political cronyism and capitalist cronyism. And most people understand plutocracy, Social Darwinism, etc. A less well known label is banana republic, although it can be useful for that reason. One way or another, you need to get around knee-jerk thought patterns.

      Communication is difficult. I’m always thinking about that. I know how often I fail to communicate well. I wish I knew how to break through the brainwashing of propaganda. It’s powerful. That is the reason I’ve been trying to get at a deeper level. That is what my purpose in writing about what I call symbolic conflation. I want to understand what makes rhetoric so compelling to the point of creating a reality tunnel.

      I wish I could be of more help to you.

      • “In the early 20th century, the economic and political elites in the US were often rather open about their support of fascism. It wasn’t a secret. It’s also not a secret that the US government protected Nazis and hired them to work for the US government.” – Is there that much difference today? Look at some of the brutal dictatorpships that are supported by US arms around the world.

        Thanks for your help. I think it’s going to take the end of the oil era for their to be a change to this society. I think you said it best in and article sometime earlier this year that you wrote about how the elite count on oil for everything to keep hold of their power. But then when I start thinking about this I sink into more depression because – as you stated – humans can be very innovative, and I have no doubt the political elites will spend billions to try to find alternative ways to keep control and pour massive funds into these alternatives.

          • They’re trying to regime change Russia now. They were successful with this back in the 90s with Boris Yeltsin. Russia and China may have to go to war with the United States to keep their sovereignty. Noone may be around to tell about it if this does become the case. But I do wonder if the ruling elite of said countries will end up choosing war with the US knowing that if they don’t that they’ll see their countries destabilized and broken up into smaller countries. Many believe this is what the US is strying to do to these countries now. If this were to happen then certainly it could keep the US as the hyper power that it is now.

            John Pilger talks about this here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/27/why-the-rise-of-fascism-is-again-the-issue/
            “Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.”

          • I’m sure the US government is doing everything in its power to maintain its power. As in the past, I’m sure that involves undermining the power of other powerful countries, whatever it takes to accomplish that.

    • That’s Trump for ya. Clinton, even with her flip-flopping, has a very consistent political record. The problem is it’s consistently horrible. OTOH Trump could be and do almost anything. He might end up playing the entire GOP as a bunch of fools. He is the ultimate troll.

      But maybe the target of his trolling is the political system and not the public. Maybe he just wants to fuck it all up, just because he can, as the ultimate media spectacle with Trump as the star of the show. It would feed his ego to destroy the GOP and put the whole political elite into a hissy-fit.

      There are those in the establishment who think they understand him. They want to believe they could work with him, either controlling or manipulating him. And Trump might lead them along for a while. Let a few political insiders onto his staff. But if he gets the presidency, all bets are off and he could fire his entire staff on the first day he enters office.

      It’s amusing. I just can’t take US politics seriously anymore. It’s not a democracy. It’s pure entertainment. But it’s even its entertainment value wears off quickly. We’re just fucked, no matter how this plays out.

      • Yeah, but I’m definitely in the Jill Stein camp now. I can’t take a guy seriously that is as random as Trump. The guy has said we need to make “deals” then goes on to threaten the nuclear option. Says he wants to have good relations with Russia then demonizes countries like China and North Korea. Then when I thought Trump might be kind to social programs, this happens.

        Trump is just too random for me. I’m not going to support him in any way. I always thought his racism and sexism was horrible, but a t least he showed some consistency in trade deals, some social wefare. but this makes me in the Jill Stein camp now. At least with Hillary I by and large know what I’m getting. Trump’s randomness is too scary for me. I don’t think a person like that should be president. Just my two cents.

        In the end he is going to protect the 1 percent. And he has consistently LIED through his campaign. I jsut can’t behind a guy like him. At least HIllary doesn’t hide her sleaziness. To me I’d rather have that than a guy with a giant ego and a constant liar.

        Hillary Clinton is at least true to herself. I think as bad as she is, Trump represent the absolute worse of US politics. Yes, even worse then Hillary. Why would anyone want to support a consistent liar over anyone?

        btw: I notice Sam Clovis works in Iowa, your opinion on him?

        • I’ve always been in Stein’s camp. My support for Sanders is situational and tactical, based on the specific goal of shifting public debate. But my heart is with Stein. And likely my vote will also be with Stein.

          About Clovis, I can’t say I know who he is. I asked my Republican father and he didn’t know about him either. So, I did a quick web search. He looks like a standard social conservative. The one thing that stood out to me is that leaked emails reveal that he used to hate Trump, but now he supports Trump.

    • I don’t follow Russian politics closely. I wouldn’t know what might be behind the criticisms of those Russian students. But I sympathize with the fear and outrage that video seems to express. If I lived outside of the US in a country that wasn’t allied with the US, I’d be quite worried about American military belligerence and imperial expansionism. Then again, if I was in Russia, I’d feel highly critical of Putin as well.

  63. Back to a GA question. I was watching the movie ghost busters 2. I noticed that Bill Murray is from around chicago illinois area. Would you say Bill Murray speaks GA or not?

    • I haven’t listened to Bill Murray’s voice all that closely. But I’m familiar with it from having watched his movies my entire life. I’d consider Bill Murray to be speaking GA in the broad sense. He speaks basically the way people I know speak from this part of the Midwest. I too spent some of my childhood in a Northern suburb of Chicago.

      Not everyone from Chicago would speak GA, as there are probably still many ethnic neighborhoods there and maybe some ethnic suburbs as well. Murray is Irish, but you don’t hear any Irish accent from him. I’m not sure how long his family has been in the US and in the Midwest.

      Here is one thing I found:

      http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/midwestern_accent

      “The Inland North consists of western and central New York State (Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, Jamestown, Olean); northern Ohio (Akron, Cleveland, Toledo); Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing); northern Indiana (Gary, South Bend); northern Illinois (Chicago, Rockford); and southeastern Wisconsin (Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee). This is the dialect spoken in America’s chief industrial region, an area sometimes known as the Rust Belt.

      “Erie, Pennsylvania was regarded as an Inland North city by researchers in the first half of the 20th century, but it never underwent the Northern Cities Shift and now shares many features with the rest of Western Pennsylvania.

      “In suburban areas, the dialect may be less pronounced, for example, native-born speakers in Kane, McHenry, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties in Illinois may sound slightly different from speakers from Cook County and particularly those who grew up in Chicago.

      “Many African-Americans in Detroit are multidialectal and also or exclusively use AAVE, but some do use this dialect, as do almost all people of non-African descent in and around the city. “

      • Sigourney Weaver is from New York yet she sounds nothing like what I think of New York to me. Don’t actors/ actresses sometime have to change their voice when they go into and acting career?

        When your mom taught people to speak GA was this mostly for teachers and students? Did she ever teach actors or actresses GA? I think I asked you this, and I think I remember you saying yes, but I do wonder what we think of as GA today was different back then? Was GA always the midlands? I think I remember reading somewhere that GA used to be in Michigan. I’ll see if I can find anything on this.

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