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July 03, 2008

Comments

Snap!

So by reading the aforementioned article and your article I should hate all rich people. Or at least rich people who vote Democrat or Republican. Not a lot of hope and change going on for this late night post!

I think the culture of rich people is a joke (golf, dinner parties, awards banquets), but I'm not vengeful or anything. Someone's gotta keep the gears of Wall Street turning or I wouldn't get a paycheck.

Maybe he's an old punker dropping 'The The' references into classic schtick?

Note: Whenever I hear the name Victor Davis Hanson I think of the drag queen Vaginal Cream Davis. And Victor Delta Hotel. And dumbassery.

Maybe he meant "ho polloi" as in "the ho people?" If you know what I mean (and I think you do).

Actually Hansen is afflicted with a common right-wing malady, namely, 'up-is-down, war-is-peace, liberals-are-fascists' syndrome.

The truth is, if you tell me your income, I can tell you who you're voting for. Even a five-year-old knows people vote their interests.

Of course, if I wanted to hide the fact that my agenda is built entirely around a welfare program for the rich and powerful, I'd be making stuff up about rich elites supporting Obama as well.

Goes with the territory.

Someone's gotta keep the gears of Wall Street turning or I wouldn't get a paycheck..

Read this for a different perspective.

The truth is, if you tell me your income, I can tell you who you're voting for.

That's why all those poor Southerners and lower-middle-class Midwesterners vote Democrat. Ooops, wait.

In a perfect world with perfectly informed voters, everyone SHOULD vote for the own interests! The problem, as always is ignorance, not self-interest.

So, in Hansen's view, rich people are either guilty selfish assholes trying to salve their consciences a bit by voting Obama, or openly selfish assholes voting for McCain and telling the world to go fuck themselves?

Of course, it's also possible that even if you're rich, you recognize that it's in your self interest to live in a prosperous society where half the population isn't disaffected and struggling to survive.

now this is snark i can believe in!

somewhat On T, TBogg had an "I Was a Teenage V.D. Hanson" contest a couple of years ago. here's the winner. and here's my entry.

"So by reading the aforementioned article and your article I should hate all rich people."

How's that again?

"The truth is, if you tell me your income, I can tell you who you're voting for."

The truth is that this is false.

Not enough to spur them to action, of course, but it casts a pall over their Kobe beef and Breton lobster.

Piddlefish. The best lobster is caught in the fertile breeding grounds downstream from Ellesworth, Maine and served in a lobster roll at the McDonalds' across from the Bangor airport. (Extra Value Meal only $5.99!)

cleek, I'm not sure I think "d"'s effort was better than yours. Yours has a certain gay insouciance that seems very vdh.

aimai

"Yours has a certain gay insouciance that seems very vdh."

That's a certain homosexual insouciance.

cleek, I'm not sure I think "d"'s effort was better than yours. Yours has a certain gay insouciance that seems very vdh.

thanks. i suspect D's promise of bong hits and jello shooters helped in the judging.

I admire VDH's ability to type while McCain's gray pubes tickle the inside of his nose.

Sorta like a rather brilliant philosophy professor with her finger on the pulse of the popular culture writing about "The Rolling Stone," huh?

Well, the Dr. Hook lyrics are 'on the cover of the Rolling Stone'

While it pains me to agree with VDH on anything, I really don't see how his analysis of this particular socio-economic slice of the electorate (i.e. upper-middle class people with a bit of conscience), while not being incredibly original, is so terribly off. The prospect of gradually moving a little bit in the right direction without personally having to sacrifice anything is indeed very appealing to this sub-group. Conversely, if Obama promised real change that would actually affect these voters' lives, like e.g. a sorely needed reduction of the CO2 output (US = 20 tonnes pp vs. UK = 10 tonnes pp) or dismantling the military-industrial-security complex, then most of them would at least think twice before voting for Obama and he would probably loose. That's we he won't even think about doing that and therefor he can realistically only be regarded as the lesser evil or 'as good as it gets' in mainstream politics

Wasn't arete the Greek word for "excellent" ? Sorry, it's been a long time. BTW, you can get a lobster roll at the McDonald's in Ellsworth ! :-)

Ok this is at least tangentially a post about money and I don't see an open thread so I am going to ask a question to anyone who may know the answer.
Is there a finite amount of money in the world? I think there is. If not, how does real 'new' wealth get generated?

A distant cousin in-law of mine did well for himself. He has been generous enough to provide my family with a week in the Hamptons, free of charge. I am writing from a Hamptons internet café and feel that I have a bird’s eye view of the subject matter, and would like to comment.

The new posting rules kind of creep me out though. I have seen similar power grabs in government by marginal bureaucrats intent on silencing dissent. Hilzoy’s 4:27 response demonstrates either an unwillingness or inability to provide the requested examples of the hatefulness that was cited as a reason for the rules change. Instead there is some nebulous charge of the guilty parties being ‘outrageously and insultingly sexist’ and unwilling to defend their views.

I therefore respectfully request a thread to provide a forum to defend my thought processes on why government policy should favor marriage, working fathers, and nurturing mothers. Something tells me I won’t get it.

Regardless, I intend to comment on the topic at hand later today. My comment will be directed at the all-white demographic of finishing school Hamptonite Obama supporters, who show no sign of either mining, farming, or manufacturing background. My comment will be intended to illustrate how the absence of the traditional human experience of physical work can negatively affect the mind. I will reference local print media to support my conclusions.

This comment, if made, has the potential of being deemed disrespectful of college-educated white Hamptonites. My understanding is that, since I am more than willing to defend my viewpoint, this is permissible under the current posting rules.

Hilzoy, if your understanding differs from mine, please respond within three hours and the comment will not be made. Looking forward to a potential opportunity to defend my views on rich Obama supporters as well as traditional gender roles and healthy families.

BOB: If you're willing to defend your views, then it's fine with me. This seems like a fine thread to do it on.

Can we get a thread on the importance of gender roles in sustainable societies tomorrow?

I therefore respectfully request a thread to provide a forum to defend my thought processes on why government policy should favor marriage, working fathers, and nurturing mothers. Something tells me I won’t get it.

That's odd, BOB: I'd always figured you for a Republican, and Republican government policy is explicitly anti-marriage (hell, the Republicans routinely run anti-marriage legislation as a campaign strategy) and anti-nurturing mothers - AFAIK Republican policy is explicitly against federally mandated paid maternity leave, for example.

I'm fine with fathers working, whether as unpaid childcarer for their own children or in paid employment, but as far as I know Republicans are at best neutral on that: Republican policies tend to support high unemployment and oppose fathers caring for their own children.

Some new, strange party, more far right than the Republicans?

The new posting rules kind of creep me out though. I have seen similar power grabs in government by marginal bureaucrats intent on silencing dissent.

Power grab? Um, you do understand that hilzoy et al. actually, like, own the blog, right? How much more power than that can they grab here? They could ban me under a novel "no Irish" rule if they so desired and I couldn't say boo about it.

I therefore respectfully request a thread to provide a forum to defend my thought processes on why government policy should favor marriage, working fathers, and nurturing mothers. Something tells me I won’t get it.

I can teach you to run your own blog, Bill. It's free and everything.

My imagination is racing at this moment.

BOB, I've defended your presence here so I'm going to allow myself the privilege, if you don't mind, of imagining Colonel Kurtz making his way down some Belizean river, emerging from the sweltering jungle into the mangroves and ending up somehow at an Internet cafe at the eastern end of Long Island, distastefully sipping upscale coffee (and liking it, bring me one of those croissants, and now as I was saying "the strength .... the strength to do that." ) to narrate his view of the peculiar flora and fauna of the Hamptons.

It's going to be like reaching page 72 of "The Great Gatsby" and suddenly having a harmless and non-lethal Pol Pot character appear to load the Hampton denizens in their tennis whites, expensive sweaters loosely tied around their necks, and cigarettes held aloft, into open-air trucks for the long ride to man the mines, farms, and the factories.

The women will be confined to designated lactation zones for around the clock nurturing.

Not that I mind nurturing, lovey.

I've always thought the problem with the Kurtzs and the Pol Pots of the world was their moms worked and their dads split their time between their golf game and getting the shopping done and dinner on the table before Mom got home to ride roughshod.

"SUVs (Mercedes rather than Yukons) are no rarer in Palo Alto than in Fresno, while such progressives are just as likely, or more so, to abandon the public schools, to keep their children out of East Palo Alto or away from the Redwood City ho polloi, and sent off to and on their way at elite prep and public schools."

See, the thing is that voters Palo Alto passed overrides in 2001 (75% in favor), 2005 (74%) and earlier this month (77%) raising their own tax rates to fund the school system. The city has some of the finest public schools in the country - and roughly 98% of school age children in Palo Alto attend the public schools, including the children of many of the tech magnates. The locals have stuck with the public schools despite a court-ordered busing program that moves about 550 students from neighboring East Palo Alto, the sort of program that resulted in white flight elsewhere in the country.

And Fresno? The schools are fairly terrible. Only about 80% of school-age children living in the FUSD attend the public schools. Enrollment continues to decline.

Now most of that, of course, is a function of radically different demographic profiles. And the inequalities in our public education systems are disgraceful. But my point is that Hanson is trading in stereotypes, not facts. He hasn't the first clue what he's talking about. He chose to pick on Palo Alto for its liberal leanings, but he didn't bother to check his data. If he had, he would've discovered that those liberal views (an emphasis on the importanceeducation, a willingness to raise taxes to fund valued public services, an openness to racial integration) are at least partly responsible for producing one of the finest public education systems in the nation.

What Hanson misses, as Hilzoy rightly notes, is that voters aren't generally bound by their economic interests. That's why evangelicals vote for Republicans, and college professors for Democrats. The real splits among affluent voters are generational (younger voters are far more socially liberal) and occupational (professionals tend to be Democrats, businesspeople lean toward the GOP). But don't expect a faux-populist like Hanson to get that.

B.O.B, feel out of place a little? Don't worry, the worst that can happen is getting a nasty stare from a local waiter when you've undertipped.

Hil: Interesting typo. Redwood City ho polloi? I don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but Barack's half-black. So hoi polloi are becoming ho polloi?

I will say that, ignoring the political affiliations of the privileged, raising the capital gains tax on financial instruments to parity with the current highest marginal tax rate would, to my mind, get these people out of the country clubs and back to the garden, tending the arugula and the baby asparagus.

They could sell the surplus.

Maybe I'm Pol Pot.

Observer: Good points. In my state, voters squash just about any tax increase for schools but reserve the right to whine about the quality of the schools.

John Elway, the ex-football player for example, hates taxes and grumbles about the public schools, saying throwing money at problems solves nothing. I notice however that he had a problem with finding a place to live and founding a good restaurant.

Solution: throw money. He's got a good arm.

Incidentally, Hanson's remark about taking money from "top yuppie joint incomes" could hobble the underground economy in the Hamptons, but it would incentivize more useful crop production.

"He chose to pick on Palo Alto for its liberal leanings, but he didn't bother to check his data."

Hey, he's a neocon. Similar things going on in San Francisco: kintergarten enrollment to San Francisco jumped 10% this year, my local elementary school saw a 69% increase in applications.

But hey, VDH wouldn't let a wee thing like data get in the way of his pop psychology of why affluent tech folks in the SF Bay Area. For instance, it couldn't be influence of immigrants (1/3 of tech workers in the Bay Area are immigrants) being repulsed by the GOP's xenophobia (particularly the California GOP anti-immigrant crusade in the 1990s). Or that the tech/biotech industry is more export-orientated that most other industrial sectors, and so are more tuned into what the rest of the world thinks of us.

Or more simply, that a lot of people who became affluent in tech companies almost became affluent by accident (and with a fair bit of luck): they didn't hit Wall Street to make the big bucks, and are still living pretty modest livestyles, and hence are less sympathetic to the anti-tax crusade of the GOP.

While it pains me to agree with VDH on anything, I really don't see how his analysis of this particular socio-economic slice of the electorate (i.e. upper-middle class people with a bit of conscience), while not being incredibly original, is so terribly off.

Oh, it's terribly off, which is not the same as saying that there are no Liberals anywhere who ever symbolically salve their consciences to any degree by supporting, especially ostentatiously supporting, Obama or other Democrats. That's why Hilzoy's response was so devastating, so SNAP. I know it's shocking to think of, but Professor Hanson is commenting in bad faith.

Get ready for an ocean of this kind of crap, not that it ever really stopped. Republicans built their rhetorical power partly on expired cliches about liberals, and continue to use them even though the situation which grew those cliches has been gone for many decades already. It's that curious trick Rights have of playing the underdog and opposition and vicitm notwithstanding having held power for 35+ years - of, in fact, completely eliding themselves from the world they are describing. Talk about Contextomy! Now they will get to return to their rightful place, the place they feel most comfortable: the political minority. Like I say, expect lots of this stuff in the coming years.

Something funny happens when cliches are so specific and old that nobody directly remembers their provenance. The cliche becomes something else - a complete abstraction or symbol. Think of a kid who's 8 years old now hearing a piece of music with record (vinyl) scratches blended into the mix, or sees film grit and grain in a video. Chances are good that they will perceive those devices as intended: conveying some sort of stylized 'oldness'. But do they know what an actual vinyl recording is, or a 16mm film? Same with these latter day commentators. Even David Brooks, who supposedly had liberal parents, has to use 'sociological data' pulled out of his butt, because he's just rationalizing an opinion, an opinion which must not be scrutinized critically. Professor Handjob isn't even as good as Brooks (yikes). Much of the stock anti-liberal stuff from the 60s was pretty divorced from reality too - the John Bircher/Goldwater variety - and even the 'Limousine Liberalism' trope the wise Professor and the dynamic yet discreet Brooks are dealing in was as much 'mythic' as true even in the 60s. But at least they had some sort of political frission back then, because...it was back then.

These people are acting in bad faith, and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Liberals' stubborn tendency to mistrust post-modern ways of thinking. They bring up reasons Liberals need to soul-search, and we Liberals do it.

Dispassionate self-examination is much too important to be left to the prompting of these guys. They aren't interested in dispassionate anything, for us or for themselves.

great post, Hilzoy.

ps And, yes of course people vote beyond their short term interest sometimes. duh.

My comment will be directed at the all-white demographic of finishing school Hamptonite Obama supporters, who show no sign of either mining, farming, or manufacturing background. My comment will be intended to illustrate how the absence of the traditional human experience of physical work can negatively affect the mind.
It sounds like BOB will be suggesting another communist China import to the body politic, "reformed through labor".
My comment will be intended to illustrate how the absence of the traditional human experience of physical work can negatively affect the mind.

Yes, but how does that explain you?

(Obviously, this critique does not apply to me at all, on more than a few bases....)

Rule #1 in evaluating punditry in service of the Republican machine: Assume it's projection unless there's actual evidence otherwise. It works, time and again - it's the guys cheating on their wives and covertly practicing fetishistic sex in unsafe ways who go on loudest about the sanctity of marriage, the closet atheists who rant about protecting America's Christian heritage, and on and on.

So. We have here a man denouncing Demcrats as actually uncaring SOBs who like to dress up our callousness in the raiment of compassion. Diagnosis: Hanson's feeling guilty about not doing some good deed he could and should have.

I am writing from a Hamptons internet café and feel that I have a bird’s eye view of the subject matter, and would like to comment.

I live in a town with a very generous population of the 'subject matter'. No birds eye view needed.

There are lots of wealthy people who are politically liberal. There are lots who are quite conservative.

The thing about being wealthy is that, no matter which way the political tides run, you're probably still going to be wealthy and, generally speaking, fine. Either way, your quality of life is not going to be that much different.

So, yes, if you want to look at it that way, you could see a wealthy person's liberalism as kind of an indulgence on their part, as some kind of flimsy 'niceness'. There's less at stake for them, personally, then for other folks, at least as regards their pocketbook.

Or, you could consider that, as hilzoy suggests, many wealthy liberals are liberal because they think liberal policies are better, even if they are less advantageous to them, personally.

See, wealthy people are lucky that way. They can take the hit and not feel it all that much.

Plus, astounding though it is to comtemplate, some folks are just inclined to do the right thing, whatever they understand that to be, regardless of how it plays out for them, personally.

Funny, that.

Personally, I don't much care if a wealthy person is liberal out of sincerely held conviction, or just out of some neurotic desire to be one of the 'nice' people. No doubt you can find examples of both, although IMO the latter are actually not that common.

All I know is that given the choice of a 'limousine liberal' and an 'I've got mine, you get yours' conservative, I'll go with the limousine liberal every time.

There's nothing wrong with nice.

Thanks -

That would be an improvement over the "destruction through/by labor" so popular with movements much closer to the "conservative" philosophy [/snark].
The Elder Cato (very popular on the educated right) wrote a manual on how to work slaves to death most efficiently (i.e. with maximum labor extracted at minimum cost).

The last one was referring to JayS at 12:18

My comment will consist of three parts:

(1) Local Magazines;
(2) Roadside observations;
(3) Conclusions

I am willing to defend my observations and conclusions.

Local Magazines

These observations reference the June 15-30 issue of Hamptons Cottages and Gardens and the June 6-12 issue of Hamptons. These two were chosen because they were the ones on the table at the house.

Both magazines seem to be intended to sell luxury products to people of means who either summer or aspire to summer in the Hamptons. In reviewing these magazines, the advertisements were analyzed. Models were sorted by race with the following results:

Hamptons Cottages and Gardens:

White Models*: 18
Hispanic Models: 0
Black Models: 0

Hamptons:

White Models: 43
Hispanic Models: 1**
Black Models: 0

* These models, without exception, were tall and thin.
** The Hispanic model’s back was to the camera. She was dressed as a maid in a Ritz-Carlton ad.

Beyond the advertising, the bulk of the coverage was on eco-friendly architecture and photos of society people attending charity events. This link allows you to view some of the charity events. The faces are worth viewing. The weekend’s list includes:

Longhouse Reserve (event for designers)
Denim and Diamonds Gala (American Cancer Society)
Good Ground Gala (Preservation Society)
East End Hospice Gala (hospice care)
Elaine Bensen Gallery (art benefit)

Roadside Observations

To gauge reality on the ground, I made notes during an eleven-mile drive from Westhampton to Riverhead on who was working and who was riding bicycles, by race. The observations are a random sample taken over a short drive in the middle of a workday. Work is defined as providing force through a distance (i.e. sitting in a car didn’t count):

Workers:
White: 6
Hispanic: 26
Black: 3

Bike Riders:
White: 20
Hispanic: 0
Black: 0

This B.O.B. person reads an awful lot like Drum's "Norman Rogers." Doppelgangers?

"therefore respectfully request a thread to provide a forum to defend my thought processes on why government policy should favor marriage, working fathers, and nurturing mothers. Something tells me I won’t get it."

Gee, Bill, I've never asked for a thread here to provide me a forum, and I wouldn't expect to get it. Why on earth would you expect someone else's blog to do that for you?

Here's a wacky idea: write on your own blog. Not enough people reading it? Try to be more interesting. Keep in mind that blogdom is almost pure meritocracy.

And no one would object to your linking on an open thread here to your piece on your blog. I'm sure as many people would read it as are interested.

Given the infrequency and irregularity of open threads on ObWi, I doubt anyone would object to a short drop-in of your link on an off-topic thread, if that's all that's available, though of course I speak only for myself in offering that opinion.

"The new posting rules kind of creep me out though."

So comment on that thread, then.

Me, I'm really alarmed at the possibility of you making a "power-grab" at The Brick Oven: who knows what you might do with that concentration of teh awesome power?

Conclusion

My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates requiring the development of food storage and sheltering techniques. These techniques would have required a certain degree of community orientation beyond that of their hunter-gatherer ancestors due to a rise in specialized skills (heat, fermentation, clothing, shelter, etc.). This community orientation would have been further bred into the European genome with the advent of industrialization and mechanized warfare.

I believe that the community orientation that Europeans seem to possess (see historic European conflicts vs. the tribal conflicts being witnessed in the Middle East for another datapoint), is the basis for the guilt that idle white people feel in the presence of working minorities. At least I know I feel guilty when people around me are working and I’m not. Maybe it’s just me.

So a vote for Obama is one way for wealthy white people to reconcile the images they see in their magazines, and at their socials, with the images they see from the public right-of-way. Obama recognizes this and is playing them like a violin. I concur with Hansen’s conclusions and predict that Obama will do well in the Hamptons.

"One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I took the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you'd say. Now where were we, oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because if the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones."

These observations reference the June 15-30 issue of Hamptons Cottages and Gardens and the June 6-12 issue of Hamptons. These two were chosen because they were the ones on the table at the house.

Science!!

Next up, Bill discovers that, by some odd coincidence, all the models in the ads in Ebony and Jet are black. Then he googles "marketing" and "demography," slaps himself on the forehead and chuckles.

Work is defined as providing force through a distance

In what significant ways does this not apply to riding a bicycle?

Ah. Bill, if you don't know what kind of cooperation is required for temperate and equitorial hunting and gathering, you could just say so. That is to say, your premise is wrong. Really, really, really wrong. Your foundation is bogus; anything built on it will be wrong only by accident.

One can in any event disregard the evolutionary psychology fairy tales and look at this very moment. This year, today, as we speak, minorities in America are worse off in many ways than white people are, thanks both to officially sanctioned discriminatory actions and the voluntary discrimination of the private sector. Black people in particular are less likely to be hired than equally (or less) qualified whites, less likely to get loans and mortages on the same resources as white applicants, more likely to be targeted by the police, convicted on weak evidence, and sentenced to longer terms in prison, and on and on.

White people should feel guilty about the suffering of our minority fellow citizens because we could fix a lot of that, and too few of us are willing to. In particular, champions of letting injustices go uncorrected because they're all worried about super nanny states and such should feel guilty because they're condoning discrimination for bogus reasons. What our hypothetical ancestors did has nothing to do with it - the fact is that a lot of whites let fellow citizens suffer unnecessarily right now, and that's worth some guilt.

Re: ‘Write it on your own blog.”

Hilzoy and crew run a very good blog, which I enjoy, and I do not presume any standing to tell them how to conduct their business. They have done a very good job and their popularity reflects it.

But when I, as husband and father of daughters who I would die for, am called a ‘outrageously and insultingly sexist’ person, which I am not, it kind of pisses me off. Especially when there is no forum to defend myself.

See the Catholic Church-1500s and Salem. Thus the respectful request.

The snow-white pharaohs of Egypt and moon-pale priest kings of Mesopotamia were famed for their organisation talent in their cold and harsh lands where the sun only shone at noon on midsummer solstice. The mere idea that any swarthy Semite or Hamite could have built those large structures is of course ridiculous. Another proof that Däniken is right and that the ice age was not that long ago as those godless evolutionists want to make us believe.

Vezain the Aryan –
and now, the Jewdan –
tha Jewdan –
und da striff da sour crout mit da Jewdan –
und de liverwurst mit da Jewdan –
ay tha flutzen zect eida, mit da Jewdan –
ay tha flutten zect eida, mit da Jewdan –
ay tha flutten zacta flairten –
und da strangulation mit da ulten zecta flayten –
und da blaitzen zacta ailden berzick, berzack –
da jewdan –
ooh tha Jewdan.

For what it's worth, and I've e-mailed Prof. Hanson about this, high-paid professionals earn a lot of regular income but relatively little capital gains income (or, at least, not nearly as much as the very wealthy). The Bush tax cuts on regular marginal rates benefited those people, but not nearly as much as the cuts in capital gains taxes benefited the very wealthy. And all the while, America's tab with the Chinese banks continues to accumulate, and will have to be paid one day. Accordingly, it is not so clear that the urban professional class is acting against its interest in supporting Obama.

gwangung:

"Yes, but how does that explain you?"

Good question. Walker Percy would point out that man (the human race and its individuals) can explain everything in the universe, except man.

I can tell what's up with you, or at least have an opinion. ;) But I'm entirely flummoxed by myself.

No one should take this as an opportunity to tell me about myself. I like a good mystery.

While I'm at it, which of the denizens of the Hamptons will look to the west tomorrow morning, and having observed (hypothetical)that Manhatten has gone up in a gigantic fireball, will be: 1. shocked and depressed
2. frightened to death, or 3. spellbound and secretly thrilled, having put down their vodka tonic and finally having a moment of true clarity and having been rescued from boring self-sunkedness?

This is fun. (the thread, not Manhatten going kablooey) I'll stick with more modest thrills.

John, that was a really good Lost in the Cosmos vibe. As someone's occasionally tried to write in the style and utterly failed, I tip my hat to you, or would if I had a hat to tip. I think tipful thoughts, at least.

Is there even one regular commenter here who thinks Bill's "analysis" is anywhere close to correct? That it is not a complete and utter joke?

"My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates"

Good to see that you're consistent in attributing beliefs and ways of thinking to 19th century "race" concepts, and using that as a basis for drawing conclusions about individuals and groups you see around yourself.

In other words, you look at people, believe you know their "race," believe you know why they act as they do because of their genetic heritage, which you attribute to their "race," and draw conclusions about them as individuals based on those "deductions," in accordance with your Racial Theories.

We already knew this was how you thought, but it's interesting to see you lay it out for us.

Please forgive the defect in my mind that encourages me to look at your views this way; I just can't help myself, due to my being a Jew!

My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates requiring the development of food storage and sheltering techniques.

I shouldn't, but I really can't resist.

The oldest agricultural community in the world (oldest known to archaeologists) is Jarmo. People were farming at Jarmo in 7000 BCE.

Jarmo is in Northern Iraq, otherwise known as Mesopotamia, otherwise known as the cradle of civilisation... because that's where the people who farmed and built the world's oldest cities lived, and also where the unknown genius* who invented the form of writing which ultimately developed into the characters we now on this blog use to read. We know nothing about these originators who invented agriculture, cities, and writing - but for one thing. No, BOB: they weren't white.

I am beginning to wonder if Brick Oven Bill is actually an Onionish parody of a racist sexist homophobe: he seems too perfect to be real.

*We know of only two other places in the world, in all of human history, where someone had the concept of writing down symbols that meant words - spontaneously, without ever having seen or heard of such a thing. None of these unsung geniuses were white.

D.N.F.T.T. ! ?

"But when I, as husband and father of daughters who I would die for, am called a ‘outrageously and insultingly sexist’ person, which I am not, it kind of pisses me off."

Cite?

For extra credit, please explain what having daughters one would die for has to do in the slightest with whether one can have sexist thoughts or not, or behave in a sexist fashion or not. Is it your claim that you never, ever, have a sexist thought, or act or speak in a sexist way? If so, that certainly puts you up on me, since I notice myself having a casually sexist thought at least several times a week, if not most every day, at the least.

And those are just the ones I notice.

Bill: the sexist comment was not about you, nor did it pretend to be. I made up sexism precisely because I didn't think we'd had many commenters around recently who had been accused of being outrageously and repeatedly sexist, so I assumed (silly me) that t was unlikely that anyone would think it was about him or her.

"D.N.F.T.T. ! ?"

Perhaps, but, eh, it's about to be a slow long holiday weekend, so one might as well bat the mouse around.

Happy 4th of July!

On the other hand, when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one who got hit.

Hilzoy, I agree with you on most things, but you're dead wrong about "hoi polloi". Yes, "hoi" translates to "the" in Greek, but that's irrelevant. When a foreign word or phrase is imported into English it takes on its own meaning. You can't just translate it and apply grammatical rules to the translation. By the exact same reasoning you'd have to say "the elixir" is wrong, or "spaghetti" has to take a plural verb, and so on to the point of absurdity.

The best reason to say "the hoi polloi" is because it sounds right, and it sounds wrong without the "the". It sounds right because it is right. "Hoi polloi" has been in the English language for centuries, and as an English phrase it has its own idiom. That idiom dictates that it requires a definite article.

The first use of "hoi polloi" in English was in 1668, in John Dryden's Essay of Dramatick Poesie. Dryden used "the". So did Lord Byron. So did Sir Arthur Sullivan.

The idea that "the hoi polloi" is redundant is a modern notion, based on petty false analysis and no appreciation for how language really works. It is used by intellectual fools as a tool for demonstrating their superiority over common sense.

I work in one of the richest towns the U.S. in Northern New Jersey. The area is full of rich liberals with huge amounts of stinky old money. The towns in that area are reliably Democrat and they use their cash to prevent consequences of voting for Democrats at the state level from affecting their towns.

As I drive home through Chatam, Harding, Madison, and Chester (feel free to look up real estate values even in this slow market) I see Obama and other Democrat signs and stickers.

When I finally get home - farther north and west - to where the actual middle class lives, Republican stickers are far more common.

markdlew: yeah, but 'hoi aristoi' is not an idiom, and it would have been just as easy to write 'Obama and the Aristoi'. It's just baffling to me.

I guess I’m now supposed to say something else to defend myself. So here it goes.

You can observe Hamptonite behavior in Central America as well. I made reference previously to an automobile crash I witnessed that killed a family this January. The people running around gathering tools from vehicles (including ourselves) to try to extricate people from the cab were of European descent.

To be sure, many local villagers were also trying to help. But most the persons helping from the highway appeared to be American and Canadian tourists and businesspeople. The people driving by without looking appeared to be local workers.

I don’t know if it is genetics, or environment, or something else. Perhaps my observations are simply statistically insignificant. That is entirely possible.

However I predict that Obama will poll better with rich white people than he will with working class white people. My prediction is based on a premise of idle minds looking to assuage guilt associated with wealth and privilege.

Quick, somebody go tell the Inuit they're now honorarily white.

What sort of pseudo-intellectual quackery is this? ("Now, in new kiwi flavor!") Okay, I'll go along with the vitamin D thing, but the inbred ability to build structures and store food? WTF?

My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates requiring the development of food storage and sheltering techniques.

Briefly: plenty of non-white people live in cold climates, and have done for as long as anyone keeps track of these things.

You also have to store food and shelter yourself in hot places.

As others have pointed out, human communities larger than the hunter-gatherer style clan, along with specialization of labor, appears to have emerged with the advent of settled agriculture. The earliest examples of this are almost all in areas that we don't think of as "white" or "European".

Thinking that complex differences in behavior are genetically related to skin color seems, to me, to make about as much sense as thinking they are genetically related to shoe size. Maybe less. But, that's just me.

Not that I think any of this will make a dent in your thought process, but there it is.

Thanks -

VDH can be a pompous windbag. I read that post this morning, too.

Surprised to say when I read a recent editorial and came away wondering if VDH Hates America or not.

Hard to tell anyway. But if he thinks things are so bad here and that America is doomed, he can always move to France.

I hear the Freedom Fries are reeeally good over there.

Hilzoy, "the Aristoi" would not mean the same thing as "the hoi aristoi," because it would lack the satiric play on "the hoi polloi." IIUC, Hanson is using this formation to suggest that certain rich people are foolishly acting as though they were part of the hoi polloi, and/or that they are as easily duped as the hoi polloi are supposed to be by those who use that phrase. By using "hoi" instead of "the," he neatly summarizes his thesis in his title.

I’m not a skin color expert Russell, but I’d think pigmentation would have more to do with sun exposure and/or sexual preferences that it would have to do with community orientation theoretically imposed by cold weather. I bet if we looked into the history of the East, we would find that ancient Japanese communities were more complex than their southern Malaysian counterparts.

And I disagree with your argument that warm-weather food storage required widespread specialization. My understanding is that the ancient Mayans had access to year-round agricultural lands and year-round Caribbean seafood. I think they even had potatoes back then (something the Europeans didn’t), so food storage would have been relatively easy.

Could be wrong on the Mayan potatoes.

I now have to go off-line and engage in social activities. Please do not consider a lack of response on my part following this post to be a refusal to debate. I’ll check back later tonight or tomorrow.

I bet if we looked into the history of the East, we would find that ancient Japanese communities were more complex than their southern Malaysian counterparts.

Funny, a similar thought occurred to the folks who brought you the Greater East Asian empire. They were wrong too.

My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates requiring the development of food storage and sheltering techniques. These techniques would have required a certain degree of community orientation beyond that of their hunter-gatherer ancestors due to a rise in specialized skills (heat, fermentation, clothing, shelter, etc.).

Do you honestly think that "food storage" and "heat, fermentation, clothing, shelter, etc." were exclusive to those living in colder climates? Fire wasn't invented in Europe, and neither were clothing or shelter. And the idea that food storage in a cold climate required some sort of evolutionary leap (or was even more difficult than in temperate climates) is laughable. Europeans did not invent ice...

Is there a finite amount of money in the world? I think there is. If not, how does real 'new' wealth get generated?

I would ask this: do you think that there's the same amount of money in the world now as there was in 10,000BC?

On the other hand, when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one who got hit.

Unless they are White Cold Europeans. Then, they all yelp. Or feel guilty about not being hit. Or something.

"However I predict that Obama will poll better with rich white people than he will with working class white people. My prediction is based on a premise of idle minds looking to assuage guilt associated with wealth and privilege."

If your prediction is right, will you take that to mean that your premise was right?

I respect the fact that you observe what's going on around you to draw conclusions (like the magazines vs. driving down the road - that was a good observation). I just think you need to tighten up your idea of what it's valid to conclude.

My premise is that white people evolved in cold climates requiring the development of food storage and sheltering techniques. These techniques would have required a certain degree of community orientation beyond that of their hunter-gatherer ancestors due to a rise in specialized skills (heat, fermentation, clothing, shelter, etc.). This community orientation would have been further bred into the European genome with the advent of industrialization and mechanized warfare.

1)In any environment, primitive human numbers would either be suppressed (eg by intraspecific conflict) or be fluctuating near carrying capacity. In either case, humans would be faced with significant challenges requiring cooperative effort. Is cold such a different challenge than a desert or a grassland? Understand that HG groups and agricultural villages are common across the planet- do you hypothesize that social groups were different in 'cold Europe'? How? And why is 'cold Europe' different in development than 'cold Asia' or 'cold North America' or 'cold South America'?
2)If this is the case, please explain why both agriculture and pastoralism develop (asawct) in the fertile crescent and take millennia to spread into northern europe? Likewise, the other markers of civilization (eg cities) appear in the Middle East (and SE Asia and China) long, long before they spread to the relative backwater of northern Europe? Why even in Europe the most advanced civilizations prior to 500AD were found around the warm Med instead of the cold Baltic Sea?
3)Understand that there has been precious little evolution in human stock since the Industrial Revolution, and that it's not clear why postindustrial selective pressures (please, understand Natural Selection before trying to repond) would've favored collective thinking or action. As related social groups are submerged into large unrelated groups, I would expect decreasing utility from kin selection for group-benefiting activities (such as being a soldier).

And I disagree with your argument that warm-weather food storage required widespread specialization

What kind of "widespread specialization" does it take to dry strips of caribou or fish meat?
And, certainly some warm-weather areas require food storage- those where the limiting factor for food is either seasonally climatic (eg monsoons) or part of an animal migration (eg N American Indians and the salmon runs). Consider the extensive rice terraces of SE Asia, or the irrigation works of the early Nile valley- these were efforts that did require specialization and communal action, and there are no comparable Northern European food-related structures that I can think of until much later in history.

Europeans did not invent ice...

Hey, Lutefisk and gravlax is evidence of superior breeding and civilization. Take that, you hoi polloi!

:)

I’m not a skin color expert Russell, but I’d think pigmentation would have more to do with sun exposure and/or sexual preferences that it would have to do with community orientation theoretically imposed by cold weather.

Um, no.

Try again. There's this thing called research where you, you know, actually look things up and see where people have done experiments and studies and all that. Most of it is even available on the internets.

You know what the internet is, don't you? That way, you can use the hard work of people who bothered to find out what actually occurred, instead of pulling it out of thin air.
Pulling it out of thin air is not mark of a person who deals with the real world.

I immediately mark anyone who cites Victor Davis Handjob approvingly as a hopeless wingnut. Handjob ranks right up there with the Kagans and Bloody Billy Kristol as a totally discredited fraud. When the authorities finally catch him on a highway with a teenaged hooker in his trunk maybe even the Little Green Shitballs folks will realize what a lunatic he is.

Although they don't seem to have helped my grammar.

BOB,
Also, could you define the region you consider to have been cold enough for this sort of development- are we talking about Greece and Italy and Spain? France and Germany? Poland and Russia? Scandinavia and the British Isles? (My blood hails from the Ukraine and Scotland by way of Nova Scotia and Florida, Im wondering if I qualify, or just half-qualify, or what).

I knew I should have referenced "lutefisk and gravlax is" with that crack about my grammar. OTOH, perhaps the intervening comments add to the humor.

Obviously I and my ancestors didn't make and eat enough of the stuff to complete the evolutionary process:)

I must say I guessed wrong in the "reformed through labor" comment. Since it's in the genes, the reformation process is likely a lot more long range.

Carleton, I bet BOB still believes in Piltdown Man, and for much the same racist reasons as the scientists who were originally taken in by the hoax believed it.

The idea that "the hoi polloi" is redundant is a modern notion, based on petty false analysis and no appreciation for how language really works. It is used by intellectual fools as a tool for demonstrating their superiority over common sense.

As opposed to this comment, which has nothing at all to do with demonstrating the superiority of the poster to the "intellectual fools" who surround him/her.

We should all be truly grateful that such magnanimous majesty, so empathetic with the failings of ordinary mortals, has condescended to dwell among us.

We should all be truly grateful that such magnanimous majesty, so empathetic with the failings of ordinary mortals, has condescended to dwell among us.

At some point, banning is going to be the kind and gentle thing to do.

MoeLarryAndJesus, while I don't disagree with the sentiments you expressed, the posting rules prohibit profanity. This has less to do with prudishness of any sort, and everything to do with the fact that many people (including some of the staff) on this site browse at work.

Garry Farber: You know, this is a sign of the times. When I saw your "Garry Hussein Farber", my *first* thought was: Oh he's doing some kind of ironic thing about having an Arab middle name. My *second* was HOLY BEGEEZERS we have a man running for President whose middle name is Hussein!

I'd really love it if people would stop arguing with BOB.

Hospitality includes the ability to respond to an outlandish and offensive remark as if it might be a misunderstood comment worthy of response, and ObWi is lovely in that way, but we are way, way past that point. BOB has been very careful not to antagonize specific people here (unless you count the part about how we shouldn't come around his place because he's got a gun), but that's no reason for the other posters to cooperate in turning every other thread into an extended debate on whether Muslim brains taste better with tahini sauce because sesame only grows in moonlight, etc.

BOB has a blog. The Internet has not seen fit to engage him in "discussion" there. People here are generally nice and have been very indulgent, so of course he's doing this here instead of on his blog.

Thanks for your thoughts, Ara. It's "Gary," by the way; no offense taken -- just letting you know.

We are all Hussein now.

Some of us, anyway. Not that I'm remembering all the time.

"I'd really love it if people would stop arguing with BOB."

Blogs are read by far more lurkers than commenters; comments are of benefit to lurkers far more often than they are of benefit to those the comment is ostensibly directed at.

At least BOB isn't claiming that the lurkers support him in email. (Cue Jo Walton.)

But most the persons helping from the highway appeared to be American and Canadian tourists and businesspeople. The people driving by without looking appeared to be local workers.

As a contrary data point, I have seen umpteen jillion auto crashes in America, particularly when I lived in the Metro DC area, and I have never seen a single person not involved in the accident stop and try to render assistance.

(see also Genovese, Kitty)

(yes, I know, but look it up anyway)

I don’t know if it is genetics, or environment, or something else. Perhaps my observations are simply statistically insignificant. That is entirely possible.

blind . . . squirrel . . . nut . . . something . . .

most the persons helping from the highway appeared to be American and Canadian tourists and businesspeople. The people driving by without looking appeared to be local workers.

I don’t know if it is genetics, or environment, or something else. Perhaps my observations are simply statistically insignificant. That is entirely possible.

On two separate occasions, many years ago, before cell phones, I developed car trouble while travelling on the highway far from home. Both times many drivers, some of them possibly tourists and businesspeople, whizzed by, and both times the individual who stopped and helped was an old black guy in a pickup truck.

I don’t know if it is genetics, or environment, or something else. Perhaps my observations are simply statistically insignificant. That is entirely possible.

Gary, I'm not sure what you're getting at with your remark about lurkers. Do you mean that if someone makes unconscionable remarks, we should always try to rebut them, lest the lurkers be misled? Given BOB's persistence, I don't see how that isn't just a recipe for Obsidian Wings II: All Tasty Muslim Brains, All the Time. I can filter out BOB's contributions, but then I'm still reading through pages and pages of perfectly nice people trying to explain how up isn't down and sesame doesn't only grow by moonlight and apocalyptic xenophobia isn't a virtue. These remedial humanity lessons may or may not be of value to the lurkers, but they make ObWi a much less interesting place to my eye.

NB, this is not directed at the moderators - I'm not asking for more policies or bans or anything like that - I'm just asking everyone else, PLEASE DON'T FEED THE ****ING TROLL. Even if he's not exactly the usual kind of troll and is sincere in his beliefs - I don't see how the effect on the group is any different.

I dislike VDH's politics intensely, but it is a cheap and dishonest shot to say he is an "alleged" former Classics professor. He published quite a bit on military history, and I imagine moved into Republicanism via links to the Kagans (Donald Kagan father of Kim was also a less than stellar professor of Greek History - specifically thinly veiled rewrites of Thucydides). I'd suggest that it would be more classy to delete the "alleged" and face the fact that, unpleasant as he is, VDH really was a Classics professor. Yes, his Greek in the quote is wrong, and it should be "hoi", and yes, you can't really combine two definite articles, be they in different languages or no.

Hob- I think that tends to happen when most folks agree with the initial post. If there were a good debate going, the troll hunting would often fall by the wayside in my experience.

Also, I just realized another wonderful aspect of BOB's theory. Bob is arguing for a genetic component as the basis for the guilt that idle white people feel in the presence of working minorities.
BOB, how could that (ie a genetic drive) possibly be reconciled with the long history of white people seeking out labor/servants/slaves from minority groups. Say, for example, slavery in the Americas from the 1500s-1800s. Were all those white folks really, really uncomfortable all of the time? 'cos if they were, I can't think of a shred of evidence suggesting it.

Hob- ok, really I like this because it (ie troll baiting) is an ongoing experiment in the flexibility of the human brain. Either that, or BOB is really having one over on us.

"Do you mean that if someone makes unconscionable remarks, we should always try to rebut them, lest the lurkers be misled?"

Not at all. Honestly, if I wanted to say something like that, I'd say it. And I especially didn't say anything about what anyone should do, let alone what anyone should always do.

I simply was pointing out that responding directly to the person whose comments are being responded to isn't always the primary benefit or motivation of a responder.

skepticus is right, Hanson's work in classics is actually quite interesting. Unfortunately, he's written a lot about war, and I suspect that he has a rather romantic notion of it as a test of manhood and such, which is why he transfers those notions to the war we are involved in now.

At least Bill has not yet warned us of the impeding Chinese invasion by rowing boat (expected strength: 200-300 million) that has been postponed until now only becasue of the 2nd amendement. [I read that very argument yesterday in a discussion of the topic. I did not make the "rowing boats" up]

I’m supposed to defend myself. So I’ll defend my guilty subconscious on the allegation of the sexism allegation:

Hilzoy 1:34 said:

I assumed (silly me) that t was unlikely that anyone would think it [charges of sexism] was about him or her.

Hilzoy, I have been critical of the decision of 1920 and have proposed stripping your right to vote because of your gender. I have openly pondered submitting to Allah’s will as a NAMOLDI Muslim for the express purpose of taking katherine as a bride along with two high school cheerleaders. I have expressed a certain sense of awe for Islam’s ability to keep their women quiet, indoors, and away from the driver’s seat.

I consider these positions to be more ‘traditional’ and ‘respectful of other cultures and religions’ than ‘outrageously and insultingly sexist’. I believe that women have played an equal, if not superior role to men, in the founding and building of America. But jeez, what does it take to get labeled as a misogynist in a liberal leaning online forum these days?

Thus my flawed assumption. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

More Defense.

Carleton Wu said:

I like this because it (ie troll baiting) is an ongoing experiment in the flexibility of the human brain.

Carleton, I have absolutely no educational background in human genetic history (I’d be happy do discuss the theory of sewer slopes if you are looking for an academic discussion). But I find it to be an interesting topic, probably worthy of discussion. You’ve challenged me on cold weather evolution. My best answer for any differences you perceive would be that tundra would facilitate food storage and that the relatively straight forward process of fire could transform frozen flesh to food. I am open to any other theories.

Someone else referenced a previous statement I made regarding my home defense plans. They did not reference the fact that I clearly stated that those plans were reserved for a breakdown in society and that I extended an invitation to the person in question to come over for pizza so long as Costco was still selling cheese.

Carleton: Hob- ok, really I like this because it (ie troll baiting) is an ongoing experiment in the flexibility of the human brain. Either that, or BOB is really having one over on us.

Judging by the last two comments I think the last is most likely. I'm fairly sure now that BOB is a fictional construct, someone trying to pose as a right-wing, racist, Islamophobic troll.

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