Backup!

OK, waka wakans, I can use a hand here. I am once again working till at least midnight, and have no time for a post. But I would like it if you would visit this thread at Dennis Mangan’s, where I am alone under heavy fire, and have no time to respond. Go forth, and comment away; the topic is complex and important. But I warn you: think before you post. Be rigorous, be coherent, be consistent. Show ’em what we’ve got.

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32 Comments

  1. LOL says

    You’re swatting the hornets nest dude. Those guys are Stormfront minus the balls to call themselves Nazis. I can’t even call most of them conservative… there are so many extreme right wing statements made in that blog community it seems more neo-fascist than anything. Glancing over the posts I see admiration expressed for the Spanish inquisition, calls for a racial civil war… these guys are nuts. I wouldn’t even bother attempting a nuanced, realistic conversation.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 1:05 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    It is indeed a lively crowd over there, though far from a stupid one, and they do acknowledge a genuine problem: a weakening and splintering of Western culture both here and in Europe. Diversity easily enough becomes fracture. What has made America strong is precisely that idea emblazoned on our currency: E pluribus unum — but what we seem to be getting more of these days is just E pluribus pluribus. There was a time when assimilation was the foremost goal, and fondest hope, of arriving immigrants; their presence was celebrated only to the extent that they succeeded at it, and in this has been the key to America’s enduring, plywood-like strength. But this has changed: it is not unity, but difference, that is celebrated, and even the most intolerant are to be tolerated. Even the essential glue that once held the American laminae together — the English language — is everywhere losing its grip.

    Meanwhile, we are the destination of choice for everyone everywhere in the world who hopes for better circumstances, and as a result our social services are being bled to exhaustion by an invasive shadow population, as anyone who lives along our southern border will tell you.

    So I agree with the folks at Mangan’s that there are real problems. My disagreement with them is over exactly what aspects of our culture we wish to preserve, which threats are real and which illusory, and what ought to be done. I would like to think we can actually have a civil conversation, but that might not work out.

    I’ll say this: a Western culture that only has room for the Duke of Wellington, and not the Duke of Ellington, is seriously missing the point.

    Oh, and just by the way: fascism was really a movement of the Left, not the Right.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:04 am | Permalink
  3. “Those guys are Stormfront minus the balls to call themselves Nazis. ”

    Typical, no arguments given it’s just assumed that anyone who does not think that all humans are exactly alike is a Nazi. I’d say something stronger to this commenter but I have to be polite to my host.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink
  4. historian says

    fascism was really a movement of the Left, not the Right.

    Not quite true. Fascism bills itself as a “third way”, by appealing to a strident nationalistic patriotism of the right, with the social populism of the left.

    Right wing – Nietzschesque strong over the weak

    Left wing – Egalitarian “people of the world unite”

    Fascism – Both, often tilting toward right-wing, at least in promotion of ideals.

    In the end, all is moot because such politics amounts to mere window dressing for the machinations of dictators who behave similarly.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  5. “I’ll say this: a Western culture that only has room for the Duke of Wellington, and not the Duke of Ellington, is seriously missing the point.”

    Malcolm, who is saying that anyway? That’s like saying that anyone who likes tacos is wrong to oppose millions of Mexicans coming to live here, or that anyone who thinks Confucius a significant figure must also favor mass Chinese immigration. You must know better than that.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  6. bob koepp says

    I don’t get this argument, but then, I don’t get political borders, either. So why are millions of people trying to make their way to the US? If, in situations similar to theirs, we would act with similar intentions, then we’re just as “problematic” as they are. Those relatively few who come with the intention to parasitically attach themselves to our social programs do indeed, have ill-intent — but maybe those social programs are ill-designed if they embrace the ill-intended.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  7. JW says

    Wait, before you get into an honest academic debate about the problems of racial or cultural diversity (academic, because my guess is that we are talking about things that very little can be done about at this point in our history), don’t we have to have a coherent, morally justifiable theory on who *owns* this land we stand on? If you and I and our friends are having a discussion in *my* house and you can’t stand the fact that I’m being a party pooper, how ridiculous would it be to ask *me* to get the hell out?

    Please let me know if my question is ridiculous. I most certainly would like to know.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  8. “don’t we have to have a coherent, morally justifiable theory on who *owns* this land we stand on?”

    Yes, we have one. It’s called “sovereignty”.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  9. JW says

    Hi Dennis, care to elaborate? You do know that “morally justifiable” includes the *history* of one’s actions?

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  10. Since every nation in the world has been founded and/or sustained with violence, and if one must justify one’s situation according to history, then no nation in the world has a right to defend its borders. Is that what you’re saying? Also, I do not *know* that “morally justifiable” has anything to do with the history of one’s actions. So long as I pay my rent I have a right to live in my house no matter what I’ve done in the past.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  11. JW says

    “So long as I pay my rent I have a right to live in my house no matter what I’ve done in the past.”

    That has to be the single most ridiculous statement I’ve read in some time. I’m afraid your entire set of views –if you want to defend it as a logically coherent set of views — are extremely shaky at best.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  12. Stormfront is a white supremacist website. The folks arguing against Malcolm are not white supremacists because they note that East Asians typically outscore whites on IQ tests. I suppose that this makes them ‘yellow’ supremacists.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  13. JW says

    Oh, then I guess they are my newest best friends. =)

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    Apologies to all for sitting on the sidelines. I was in the office until nearly two a.m. last night, and back at my desk at 9:30 this morning. I’ll join in, both here and at Dennis’s, later.

    Let’s try to keep it civil, and assume that we are all intelligent non-Nazis. There are reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue; let’s try to explore them without being scornful, as that gets us nowhere.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  15. Subotai says

    I can’t help but notice that none of the deep thinking intellectual giants here took Malcolm up on his suggestion. Instead you prefer to hang out here together and snigger amongst yourselves.

    The one exception – some brave soul who cut and pasted some pro-immigration clips. Bravo!

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  16. JW says

    Yes, Subotai, that’s true. It should suggest to you that rational argument is not the main powering engine of discourse in our society. That is partly the reason why I think this is a very futile exercise. We can barely come to an rational agreement on some of our most important issues *amongst* ourselves, and here you are thinking that rational disinterested argument will have any effect on who can and cannot *live* in the country!

    Perhaps I should stop reading blogs so much? It does afford me so much pleasure however.

    Posted January 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  17. Jacob says

    Sorry, Malcolm. I won’t be joining in. I don’t enjoy talking to people who’ve decided that they already have the answers, no matter how intelligent they are. One only has to see how you’ve been treated by that crowd. Perhaps if I had an abundance of time to fight the long defeat.

    For all their discussion about the need for cultural homogeneity, they are themselves participating in the kind of self-reinforcing myopic discourse fragmenting American society into ideological enclaves intolerant of dissent. In any insular community, prestige may often be gained by expressing ever more extreme versions of generally accepted view points. They implicitly recognize this in some of their comments to you.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 3:30 am | Permalink
  18. Jacob’s comment is an example of the fundamental dishonesty coming from the leftist crowd. They’ll sit here and call us Nazis like the first commenter did, and then, refusing to debate us, say that we think we have all the answers. How has Malcolm been treated by the crowd, Jacob? Has anyone called him a Nazi and a Stormfront member like I’ve been called here? You’ve got a lot of fucking nerve saying something like that.

    I repeat, as I wrote in reply to Malcolm, that no one is talking about cultural uniformity, and any representation to that effect is fundamentally dishonest, a lie even. You guys seem to be pretty good at lies and innuendo, however, since you can’t argue you spit out your contempt. In any case, if you had thought for 2 minutes – a long time for you Jacob, I realize – you would understand that in this day of global communications and the internet, cultural uniformity is hardly even achievable by North Korea, much less a country like the U.S., even should it be desired.

    “self-reinforcing myopic discourse fragmenting American society into ideological enclaves intolerant of dissent”: this is just so hilarious coming from someone like Jacob, someone who sits here and sneers from a distance, looking down his nose at people who disagree with him, and refuses to debate. And that “intolerant of dissent”: who is exactly intolerant of dissent, when you people sit here wetting your pants at having to hear something you disagree with? Now that Obama is president, people like Jacob or LOL will presumably stop saying that “dissent is patriotic”.

    By the way, Malcolm, as you know I moderate comments at my blog, and I never would have allowed any as shoddy and malicious as the first to appear.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  19. LOL says

    “By the way, Malcolm, as you know I moderate comments at my blog, and I never would have allowed any as shoddy and malicious as the first to appear.”

    O RLY?

    Then about those comments I’ve read about deporting blacks, shooting liberals, and racial civil wars about?

    Oh…I guess since you agree with it, then its not malicious. Grow a spine. Maybe that’s too much to ask. Grow a skin at least.

    Your whole blog is an exercise in pointless provocation and for disenfranchised bitter curmudgeons to pat each other on the back and tell each other that they’ve got everything figured out. If only unenlightened liberals (to them: the rest of the world) would listen to them! Gee, I wonder why nobody does…
    You can tell how hungry they are for someone to actually listen to them by begging for a “debate”. As if a true debate is arguing over internet blogs. lol. What a nerdy dork thing to think. Go evangelize your views in public if you want debate, and be sure to wear clothes you don’t care about.

    “In any insular community, prestige may often be gained by expressing ever more extreme versions of generally accepted view points. They implicitly recognize this in some of their comments to you.”

    ^Dennis Mangan ‘s blog is a case in point for this phenomena

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  20. Jacob says

    Mr. Morgan, thank for making a fool of yourself. Innuendo, insult, assumption, hubris. No thanks.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink
  21. bob koepp says

    I think it would be advisable for everybody to take a step back, draw a deep breath, and maybe count to ten. Whether here or at Mangan’s place, criticism directed at commenters (whether direct or via snarky asides) is unhelpful. Criticism of the actual content of comments, which is desirable, doesn’t require reference to persons.

    p.s. I’ve stayed out of the “debate” because my views on this matter are greatly influenced by my anarchistic leanings; making it unlikely that a discussion could proceed from shared assumptions.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    Gentlemen!

    I would be very grateful if we could all simmer down. I realize the tone of this thread is no different from what typically happens everywhere in the blogosphere when difficult questions of politics and religion come up, but it doesn’t have to happen here.

    Dennis Mangan, an intelligent, thoughtful man whom I consider a friend, is surely no Nazi — the suggestion is absurd — and not even a typical conservative. Organizations like Stormfront, as Jeffery Hodges points out above, not only consider race the most essential of human characteristics, but also insist, to the point of violence, on the axiomatic inferiority of all non-whites. Neither Dennis nor any of the commenters at his website are presenting or defending such views. Meanwhile, Dennis, himself a non-believer, disagrees with the view held by traditional conservatives like Lawrence Auster (and many white-supremacy groups, including the KKK) that Christianity is an essential structural pillar of American culture, and necessary for its survival. Read his reasonable (and, I am sorry to say, in contrast to the discussion here, unfailingly civil) debate with Mr. Auster on this topic, here and in subsequent posts.

    The questions raised here are real and important. So brutal and ugly is the history of racism that even to consider the possibility that there might be innate differences among human groups has become, it seems, a kind of thoughtcrime. I can feel the strength of this social conditioning in myself. But if we are to understand ourselves, and to make social policy that is effective in the real world, rather than some imaginary Utopia, we must declare no topic off-limits for critical examination. I am fond of quoting Churchill’s maxim that “you have to look at the facts, because they look at you.”

    So if we are going to discuss this topic, let’s try to be rigorous and clear-headed, and lay off the personal attacks. It is light we are interested in here, not heat.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    Ah, Bob, I see you posted your comment above just as I was drafting my own. Thank you.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  24. Subotai said:

    “I can’t help but notice that none of the deep thinking intellectual giants here took Malcolm up on his suggestion.”

    Just for the record, I’m a shallow-thinking intellectual dwarf, so don’t look at me!

    But if you want to argue about fan death…

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  25. Jacob says

    Reactionaries, conservatives, racists, and religious fundies are not the only ones participating in “the kind of self-reinforcing myopic discourse fragmenting American society into ideological enclaves intolerant of dissent.” Clearly the left (multifaceted as it is) has its own enclaves, fundies, and extremists. I worry about them too. I worry most about our ability to hear each other. And the ability to resist reading in a comment more than is there.

    If I take what some call liberal positions on an issue it is because I believe those positions are justifiable. I try to remain open to changing my views, as I have done on more than one occasion. Calling me names won’t do it though.

    Immigration is an obvious strain on a society. But I must categorically reject the kind of racist general anti-immigrant talk referenced in this thread. Policy cannot be founded on such sentiments.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  26. JW says

    Hey Prof. Hodges,

    Fan death is REAL.

    http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2009/01/fan-death-is-real.html

    =)

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink
  27. Malcolm says

    But this is precisely the point, Jacob: the very issue under examination is whether the strain on the unity of American culture is so severe that it now warrants exclusion of immigrants on the basis of race. Like you, I don’t think it does, but you must realize that simply to announce that “policy cannot be founded on such sentiments” is not an argument; it is simply begging the question. What is needed is to explain why policy should not be founded on such sentiments. They may be morally axiomatic to you, but even moral axioms can lead to contradictions and inconsistencies that must be resolved by more radical examination, and that is the case here. At worst, it does us no harm to inspect the foundations of our sentiments every so often, in the changing context of history.

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  28. JW, I saw that post, but I think that “The Korean” is pushing the issue into extreme improbability. His explanation could only be of an diminishingly improbable event, not one that would give rise to a popular belief.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 25, 2009 at 1:55 am | Permalink
  29. Alex says

    If we suspend judgment on the cultural contribution of the ‘indigenous’ Indian inhabitants, it’s a commonplace to observe that American civilization was created by several generations of mainly European immigrants. This historical fact, if it is a fact, puts unequivocal opponents of further immigration in a difficult moral position. In the crude vernacular, some Americans seems to be saying to many would-be Americans, “We’ve got ours chum, but you not welcome to share it…….”

    However, the case is complicated by the likelihood that if requests for permanent residency in the United States were coming from let’s say Ireland, Scotland, or the Scandinavian countries, the American people would have little compunction in denying them. The source of so much liberal guilt on this issue is that maximum immigration pressure is coming from places like Mexico…… So the modern liberal message on the Statue of Liberty might no longer read give me your huddled masses, but give me your racially oppressed and economically deprived non-white masses.

    This selectivity is bound to cause fear of cultural transformation in conservative MIddle America. And, in any event, there must be a finite limit to the number of immigrants that can be assimilated even in a country as big and as rich as America. Economic arguments probably trump cultural considerations in the argument to limit or stop further immigration.

    Posted January 25, 2009 at 4:34 am | Permalink
  30. JW says

    Hi Prof. Hodges, Hope you’re enjoying your lunar new year’s..I unfortunately have to go to work tomorrow. Pascal, Mr. Pollack’s favorite Christian author, had a little something to say about the dissemination of popular beliefs which originate in improbable events. The money quote:

    “For people commonly reason thus: “A thing is possible, therefore it is”; because the thing cannot be denied generally, since there are particular effects which are true, the people, who cannot distinguish which among these particular effects are true, believe them all. In the same way, the reason why so many false effects are credited to the moon is that there are some true, as the tide.

    It is the same with prophecies, miracles, divination by dreams, sorceries, etc.”

    Posted January 25, 2009 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  31. Thanks, JW. Pascal is always appreciated. I’m just not sure that this insight applies in the case of ‘fan death’.

    I suspect that the belief in fan death derives from prior superstition about wind. My wife tells me that Koreans believe that wind on a baby’s head can cause illness and that other ‘evils’ are due to wind. Of course, one can always find a rational-sounding reason for such beliefs.

    (Compare with the Western fear of ‘drafts’ of air in a house.)

    For The Korean to be right about the genesis of a belief in fan death, then some medical expert in the 1950s or 1960s in Korea would need to have done a study and concluded that fans can in fact kill people by disturbing the air ‘cocoon’ that envelopes them at a body temperature that enables them to maintain their ideal body heat. This ‘knowledge’ would then need to have become commonly known among Koreans. There was no such expert study, so far as I know.

    Empirically, people wouldn’t generally have concluded that fans can kill simply by blowing air within a closed room since fans don’t obviously do this — else people in lots of other countries would have noticed.

    It seems to me that The Korean is merely rationalizing a folk belief.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted January 25, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  32. I am pleased to think the issue is already beyond discussion. We are a multi-cultural nation; and the worlds’ populations are becoming more homogenous every week. Most Americans that I know are of mixed cultural backgrounds and many of mixed racial backgrounds. This makes them far more interesting and well-rounded by-and-large…

    Just as mutts are often the smartest dogs – Intermingling of breeds and other forms of “husbandry” has granted us better livestock and will probably do well to help propogate the best of our species as well

    A mixture of racial atributes has proven to be a great blessing for our nation. We are beyond the basic us/them of racial attributes- Proven by the fact that we now have a mixed-race prez. Those who would differ just no longer matter. History has moved on beyond narrow-minded criteria.

    The problem of immigrants not being a boon is also not one of lacking education and other forms of “know-how”… We need to welcome those who will help build – not those who will take without giving back. That being said, I have seen a huge influx of Indian/sub-continentals into Plainsboro NJ. They are not good neighbors and do not wish to become citizens. They do not try to become part of the larger community. They send huge amounts of money out of the country- which is a serious drain on our economy! They are far more interested in taking wealth out from the USA than adding anything to our society… And of course there are many exceptions to that scenerio as well…But that is not a racial issue. It is cultural. They just happen to be darker skinned than Anglos…

    So for me the test should be demonstrating a willingness to become part of the sollution, not part of the problem, and what would that test be?

    Maybe a ban on sending money out of the country for those entering our borders? It is easy to just say ” no darkies” or whatever the simple-minded may utter…But silly in the extreme. Race is a simple-minded approach to anything. we have intermingled too well to be seperated now anyway!

    That we are all one on a molecular level is worth noting; we are all in this together as one world no matter what we think. That is just the way of it. We can not seperate ourselves by any criteria from being Earthlings. I think it far more important to figure out how we are to make this crazy-quilt of a human race work together than blame-game our socio-economic problems onto each-other…

    Teaching civics 101 may be a good start for all youngsters who get schooling here…But that is another issue – Love to all- Pat

    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink