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September 16, 2021

Comments

It is not unreasonable to start a policy discussion, as McKinney did, by saying "I don't like the current policy" or "the current policy isn't working."

But once somebody offers several possible alternatives, as nous did, there's some obligation to either select the option you prefer, or start on specifics of which bits of each one (and the current policy) you dislike.** Or just walk away with engaging -- although that does risk your future criticisms being taken less seriously.

But some indication of features that you think a policy should have are necessary, if the goal is to figure out what would work better.

** If you think that the goals of a good policy, "What is it we're trying to accomplish?" are in dispute, it's fine to staet on that discussion first. But again, with some specifics. And perhaps even comnents on the virtues of those goals.

nous asked McTX: So what is the policy suggestion for how to handle this?

McTX replied: Shouldn't the answer to this question come from the current administration?

So, guess who wrote the following:

You're coming across as an apologist, answering a question with a question
Or check back up the thread. I'll wait.

--TP

Bibliophilia was mentioned.

I sublet my apartment from my collection of books and make room for myself as they allow.

The arrive in bundles weekly, like refugees, some from abroad, and squat among or squeeze in between the native books, with equanimity.

Some dozen or so of them, my well-used, frequently reread and now physically disintegrating-to-dust favorites .... Madame Bovary, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, The Moviegoer, Love In The Ruins, Flannery O'Connor's stories, Moby Dick, The Adventures of Augie March, Robert Frost poems, etc .. it's hard to narrow this list down .. ... huddle together on their own shelf for support, like my now 32-year old son's two favorite threadbare childhood teddy bears do on his dresser at his Mom's house.

I've replaced most of them with newer copies, but will never get rid of them.

In other news, mostly for Donald from the other thread about our foreign war policy ... several conjoined reviews of recent books which join my non-fiction shelves as soon as I return from an impending trip outta town:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/did-making-the-rules-of-war-better-make-the-world-worse

Also, from BJ .. e-books and libraries.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2021/09/19/weekend-read-the-surprisingly-big-business-of-library-e-books/

Screw e-books. A personal opinion.

Gimme the real tactile, fragrant, sacramental object.

I am conservative that way.

"So on the whole, while not a fan of US border policy under either guy (or at all, in recent memory), I prefer Biden's."

This can't be emphasized enough.

Trump and his admirers are fucking killers.

Any return to their tactics of abject incompetent cruelty will be met with insurmountable violence.

IMO Filkins did a good job with those book reviews in pointing out the seams and disconnects in their arguments while conveying their main points.

I was, for example, glad that he took the first book to task for not considering the role of technology in the extension of war. I'd been thinking that the whole time he was summarizing the argument. I'd add that one of the biggest drivers of that change has been communication technology, which has not just transformed war, but also political oversight of war and media coverage of war.

The laser guided smart bomb footage we saw over and over in the first Gulf War both created a powerful spectacle and set the impression of the great precision with which war could be waged.

And video games piggy back on this impression and increase it.

Unless that person wants to be unnuanced, if one wants to draw a line between Afghanistan and Del Rio, Texas, I think that person has to explain how an operation run by the US military as part of foreign policy and a domestic situation within the borders of the US that is being dealt with by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement are basically the same thing. Because if that were the case, then anything done by, say, Western civilization, would be subject to criticism.

Nuance, it really is tough. So tough that I recommend one not bite hooks...

It is not unreasonable to start a policy discussion, as McKinney did, by saying "I don't like the current policy" or "the current policy isn't working."

Actually, what I said was that Biden does not seem to have a policy for the border, nor does he seem to have a coherent policy in other respects. It isn't complicated.

Asking me, in response to my comment, what I think the policy should be is dodging the question.

I guess that was a rhetorical question? I don't see any actual questions there to dodge.

I was trying to locate an actual subject or object for a discussion.

Biden doesn't to have a policy to stop people from walking through another country.

incoherent!

Someone is concerned that all those people will crowd him out of his place under the bridge...

Actually, what I said was that Biden does not seem to have a policy for the border, nor does he seem to have a coherent policy in other respects. It isn't complicated.

OK, you're saying that Biden should have a policy. Can't see anyone here (well, maybe Charles) arguing against that.

But at some point you have to lay out what that policy should have as its goals. And what you think the policy should be. Do you have a problem with that?

Yeah, you can say that coming up with one is what politicians ("the administration") are for. But since they are no smarter than the rest of us, and are supposed to represent us, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to figure out what kind of policy we want them to come up with. At least in broad outline.

0.025s of Google's time will give anyone who wants to know quite a lot of info about what Biden is doing at the border - and you can learn what Republicans who are paying attention think about Biden's policies.

but, claiming he doesn't have one, or that it's incoherent, is a Republican-driven message that nicely ties-in to the also-Republican-driven message that he also doesn't have a foreign policy.

it's a coherent message.

i expect to hear the word "incoherent" a lot from Republicans.

it's the "arrogant" of today.

An American success story, later to be diagnosed as an American autopsy gone bad:

https://www.mediamatters.org/tucker-carlson/tucker-carlson-says-militarys-vaccine-requirements-are-plot-purge-sincere-christians

As opposed to the conservative movement plan to murder all insincere christians, swarthy gents with low testosterone and, girly boys, not to mention girls on their way to aborting fetuses fathered by republicans with little dicks who like a little rapey action.

Well, at least Biden isn't "uppity".

I agree with wj: citizens *should* make policy suggestions. Some will be good, some will be bad, some (mine!) will be considered nutzo. But that's what it takes to explore the phase-space.

But some people just want to come here and bitch about stuff.

Pick your sides, motherfuckers:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/09/out-of-state-snitch-contacts-stasi-to-enforce-fugitive-uterus-act

Thank God Republicans armed us.

I read this

in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Lou Barletta, who is running for governor after losing a Senate race two years earlier, said he “had to consider” whether a Republican could ever win a race again in his state given the current administration of elections there.
And I said to myself: the guy might have a point. If by "the current administration of elections" he means "votes being counted honestly", you can see why he would be concerned. Life is tough that way, when you decide to embrace insanity.

Meanwhile, on the covid front, this
California has the lowest coronavirus rate in the nation. Here’s what we know

The per capita infection rate in California is half, or less, the rate in places like Florida and Texas. Also, within California, red counties are in far worse shape (not just higher infection rates, but ICUs flooded, etc.) than blue ones. Hmmm....

I'm back in the classroom on Monday and very thankful for CA's low rates of infection, mask mandates, and vaccine requirements. The university faculty I know in other states are filled with a lot more dread of a breakout.

Mostly though, all of us are bravely facing our wyrd, because what else can you do but quit*.

*Happening a lot, and even moreso with graduate teaching assistants and adjunct faculty who might not even have health coverage or sick days (paid or otherwise).

even moreso with graduate teaching assistants and adjunct faculty who might not even have health coverage or sick days (paid or otherwise).

Perhaps covid will motivate a long overdue revision of how non-tenure-track teachers are treated.

The per capita infection rate in California is half, or less, the rate in places like Florida and Texas.

Alabama COVID death count for the year is currently higher than Alabama birth count.

they still don't get it.

Mississippi surpassed my home state in per capita COVID deaths last week to take the top spot in the nation. New Jersey, the former number one, was hit particularly hard in the beginning of the pandemic before anyone knew much about the virus, before treatments had improved, and, obviously, before vaccines had been developed. Probably before anyone knew it was even circulating yet.

Southern states and a few Western states continue to surpass the Northeastern states that were hit hard in the beginning in per capita deaths and cases. It's like watching a morbid bubble sort.

Perhaps covid will motivate a long overdue revision of how non-tenure-track teachers are treated.

Not so far, judging from the UC system's response.

Tenured faculty get it, but the administration has too little contact with classrooms and students to see anything but the enrollment and budget numbers.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2021/09/21/the-gops-faux-outrage-over-haitian-migrants-at-the-texas-border/

Ted Cruz, a subhuman murderer, sez this is all Joe Biden ‘s fault. Time was around here we had conservatives who wouldn’t put Cruz out with raw sewage if he burst into flames. I guess we can upgrade Cruz’s end now to having his self-arsonist burning ratfucker flesh quaffed by only the very best of the purest, filtered, treated sewage.

I counsel standing as far away from Cruz as possible. There’s a drone missile with his name on it and the resulting conflagration will burn everyone in his vicinity.

“They still don’t get it”

It takes awhile for a population under siege from mass murdering tyrants to regroup and rise up to butcher and slaughter the genocidal filth killing them. Just so, the victims of serial killers can pile up for some time before the perps
are apprehended and brought to justice and executed.

It’s just a matter of time until the American conservative movement embodied in the Republican Party meets its savage end at the vengeful hands of those who survived their fucking hate and bullet-headed malignant stupidity.

Hoping GftNC's month is going as well as circumstances allow and missing her input in the conversation.

Amen

Indeed.

what they said

Fifthed.

Sixthed.

yup

Yes.

[excuses dwindling]

Chinese President Xi Jinping used his speech to the United Nations General Assembly to announce a major new step towards controlling global emissions. After reiterating his own country's climate pledges, Xi said that China would start making it easier for other countries to keep emissions in check: new support for renewable energy projects and an end to construction of coal plants.

Well, I'm not cheering them on, but China is probably going to kick our butts.

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/understanding-belt-and-road-initiative

Xinjiang has a large Turkic-speaking Muslim population which has grown increasingly frustrated with Beijing’s rule. Since the 1990s, Xinjiang has also become the main source of terrorism within China. “Aspirations towards greater autonomy or outright independence have never been far from the surface of political life in the province”, notes Andrew Small, a leading expert on China–Pakistan relations.[21] The spread of radical Islamism in Xinjiang is adding further complexity to an already tense situation.

The ruling Communist party regards Xinjiang’s separatist movement as an existential threat to the party state. Beijing believes poverty and underdevelopment is at the heart of rising militancy in the restive province and that the best strategy to address the root cause is integrating Xinjiang with the neighbouring region.[22]

A former Chinese ambassador to Islamabad, Lu Shuling, argues the construction of the Port of Gwadar is economically vital for landlocked Xinjiang, which is 4000 to 5000 kilometres away from China’s coastal ports. Lu believes the port will significantly reduce the transport costs for the province. He further argues that the economic benefits of the corridor will help to solve Pakistan’s and Xinjiang’s political problems: “The best medicine to address the terrorism problem is through tackling the incubator of terrorism, namely poverty.”[23] The head of the Chinese Central Bank in Xinjiang has made a similar argument, noting that better connectivity between the province and the Central Asian region will bring both “economic and national security dividends”.[24]

Beijing believes poverty and underdevelopment is at the heart of rising militancy in the restive province and that the best strategy to address the root cause is integrating Xinjiang with the neighbouring region.

No doubt it is comforting for them to believe this. Rather than address the fact that the major causes are a combination of two other factors.

First, the CCP objects to any organization which is not subordinate to it. Which definitively includes anything resembling organized religion. Islam may not be as hierarchical as, for example, Roman Catholicism. But it easily qualifies as an unacceptable threat. (As did Tibetan Buddhism. That's why virtually all the monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. And why they attempted to replace the Dalai Lama with the subservient Panchen Lama.)

Second, China continues to view all non-Han with . . . "contempt" is not to strong a word. Ask the Tibetans or the Vietnamese.

Here's a fun bit of reverse psychology:
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2021/09/22/funeral-home-ad-spreads-message-for-the-unvaccinated/

A (supposed) funeral home in North Carolina put up a big advertisement on the side of a truck parked where folks were tailgating before Sunday's game. The banner:

Don't Get Vaccinated
With a link to a website for vaccinations. An intetesting approach to getting a conversation started. After all, when was the last time you saw an ad for a funeral home?

That's why virtually all the monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

During the Cultural Devolution, they destroyed much of their own culture. Many of the remaining temples are neglected shambles.

Second, China continues to view all non-Han with . . . "contempt" is not to strong a word. Ask the Tibetans or the Vietnamese.

And that is different from the US in what way? We just had one regular here (admittedly an outlier, but opinions vary) tell us about the "indigenous, non-capitalist, non-white" in Afghanistan.

Yes, there is a sense of Han superiority. It should look very very familiar...

During the Cultural Devolution, they destroyed much of their own culture. [emphasis added]

Are you claiming that it was Tibetans spontaneously doing the destruction? Seriously?

The weird thing is that the main source of domestic terrorism in the US is a subset of the in group rather than one of the out groups.

Are you claiming that it was Tibetans spontaneously doing the destruction? Seriously?

No, I am claiming that, during the Cultural Devolution[intentional misnaming], China destroyed much of its own culture while it was destroying other cultures.

Thanks for the clarification. That, I totally agree with.

lj, the theoretical difference is that America got conquered by the 'white race' (thus proving the inferiority of the natives) while the 'true' Chinese are (in their own mind) the original natives. I have even heard of claims made in China that they are a different subspecies of human that developed independently (and even earlier) than those European upstarts, so literally a race apart.
I am inclined to see more parallels to Aristotle than 'modern' racism.
Of course one does not need to be the actual top dog to feel superior to everyone else, as some 'stone age' tribes of today will tell you.
It seems to be a general human trait with culture only influencing how far up one holds one's nose and how impolite one expresses one's own superiority to the inferior others.

China has something of a tradition of rulers ordering "Destroy everything antedating my birth and destroy all records that anything existed before I became ruler!". Mao was a copycat.

Monotheistic religions occasionally have the same attitude.

We just had one regular here (admittedly an outlier, but opinions vary) tell us about the "indigenous, non-capitalist, non-white" in Afghanistan.

No bad faith here with this selective, out-of-context quote.

Yes, there is a sense of Han superiority. It should look very very familiar..

The difference, to my mind, is that we do fold new people (aka immigrants) into the mix. Not without resistance, and not quickly, to be sure. But the immigrants we were objecting to become, in a couple of generations, part of the generally, though certainly not universally, accepted American population. (And join in on the objections to the next set of immigrants.)

In contrast my sense is that non-Han have never gotten accepted in China as Chinese. By any significant part of the Chinese population. Hard enough to get accepted if you are Cantonese.

The best medicine to address the terrorism problem is through tackling the incubator of terrorism, namely poverty

I can't think of a reason why anyone should believe that.

I can't think of a reason why anyone should believe that.

Political convenience comes to mind....

The weird thing is that the main source of domestic terrorism in the US is a subset of the in group rather than one of the out groups.

i'd say that's because Republican mythology has it that adherents are a persecuted minority, who need to fight the evil oppressive liberals for the soul of the country. they aren't just people who have policy disagreements, they are the only rue Americans, and they're outnumbered by the perfidious Democrats.

Dems are like "Damn, Republicans suck!"

Republicans are like "We are the only true Americans and nothing is more important than Taking Back Our Country!"

The difference, to my mind, is that we do fold new people (aka immigrants) into the mix. Not without resistance, and not quickly, to be sure. But the immigrants we were objecting to become, in a couple of generations, part of the generally, though certainly not universally, accepted American population. (And join in on the objections to the next set of immigrants.)

Leaving aside the American Indian tribes (who are our own analog to Tibet). The Indian Wars ended in 1924.

Seems a better comparison than how we treat immigrants.

Seems a better comparison than how we treat immigrants.

We certainly treated the Native Americans badly. Still do, in many respects. (See the requirement, in some states, to have a street address in order to vote. Even though lots of homes on the reservations do not.) So if you are trying for "We're just as bad as they are", it works.

But if you're comparing the treatment of immigrants, which I was, it's not even close.

Sure, but these are conquered territories, not areas with high percentages of immigrants.

And I’m not excusing China’s horrible human rights violations. Those are terrible and they need to stop. I’m just suggesting that our moral high horse is not very high or very moral, and perhaps a bit of humility and contrition is warranted on our part?

How dare you insult the most American of horses? ;-)

[even if it's just another imported one since the natives, then still recent immigrants, managed to get rid of the indigenous ones at the end of the last ice age]

I’m just suggesting that our moral high horse is not very high or very moral, and perhaps a bit of humility and contrition is warranted on our part?

probably.

but nobody else's horse is actually very high. America's aren't exceptional in that way, either.

But if you're comparing the treatment of immigrants, which I was, it's not even close.

But for the Native Americans, we're all immigrants historically - some willing and some not. (Yet, only certain types of immigrants are the right ones for becoming really real Americans.)

Well, I suppose the question is this. How far back in history do we wish to go in deciding who has a right to be somewhere? After all, all of us are descendants of homo sapiens who overran and got rid of the Neanderthals, the Denisovans, etc. More recently, the world is full of people who invaded (not immigrated, invaded) someone else and settled in the new location.

In fairness, any time we start down this path we really should be explicit about how far back in history we are going to draw an arbitrary line -- saying, the distribution as of this moment is definitive of who belongs where. Is my lifetime definitive? Or yours? Or the foundation time of my government? Or the (notional) foundation time of my nation? Pick any one, but be explicit which it was.

500 years!

500 years!

Which has the merit of being a round number....

Though it may not be apparent, I wrote it in hexadecimal notation, so keep that in mind.

Thanks all, for kind remarks. I try to drop in and keep up with what's going on, but may not be properly able to take part for another six weeks or so. I do miss it...

No bad faith here with this selective, out-of-context quote.

Given that you've never retracted it, nope. I thought you'd be flattered that I took you as a representative of the American "we're number #1!" type.

In fact, the confusion about Alabama and Atlanta also should be made mention of here, you were quite willing to use some Asian women as a trolling point without even taking the time to get where they were from correct.

But to some more serious commenters. wj, I'm sure there is an element of Han superiority involved and as I said, I'm not cheering China on. But it does seem like a step up if they are, if even in rhetoric, trying to alleviate poverty rather than selling them Stinger missiles. Even if you don't think it is a step up, you might have to grant that it may work better.

And given the way white fragility went down here, I'm not sure we (note the inclusive first person plural there) have any room to talk.

And if you want to draw a line, how about 2020?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/04/native-americans-coronavirus-covid-death-rate

If you wanted to use AlaMcT's benchmark of shortly after the Atomic Bombs were dropped
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_termination_policy

If you want to be a bit more generous, 1900?
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/newly-discovered-b-c-graves-a-grim-reminder-of-the-heartbreaking-death-toll-of-residential-schools

wj, I realize there may be a bit of collateral damage in this comment, and my apologies for that. But reaching for Han superiority to dismiss the Belt and Road initiative doesn't really do much for me. It seems pretty obvious that China is serious about it and it will reshape a lot of things. "They are just doing it because they think they are better than everyone else" defines almost every major initiative in human history....

This might also bear

https://warontherocks.com/2021/08/driving-a-wedge-between-china-and-russia-wont-work/

The assumption that the United States can drive a wedge between China and Russia is flawed. Unlike in the past, the Sino-Russian relationship is not hierarchical and does not require Russia’s unquestioning deference to China’s wishes. The two countries are miles apart ideologically, and neither expects the other to embrace the same worldview. Finally, China and Russia work hard to avoid frictions, both because they have no desire to see these frictions exploited by third parties and because they understand — rightly — that they are destined to be neighbors. If history has taught them anything, it is that it’s much better to be good neighbors than to be at each other’s throats.

*nuclear submarines* *cough*
https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/secret-us-uk-australia-deal-stabbed-france-in-the-back-1854118-2021-09-18

France accused the US of stabbing it in the back after a new 'anti-China' alliance was announced between the English-speaking US, UK and Australia.

I love the qualifier of 'English-speaking' in the subheadline.

I love the qualifier of 'English-speaking' in the subheadline.

While Trump was in office and Brexit was proceeding, I (possibly more than once) said that I expected Trump to push very hard for a new NAFTA where NA was now North Atlantic, and a new NATO, and in both cases the founding members would be the US, the UK, and Canada. If one wanted to stretch, I understand that almost everyone in Iceland is fluent in English, as are India's elite.

As I said I see parallels to Aristotle. He was absolutely certain that ethnic Greeks were superior to all other humans beings and thus entitled to be rulers (and the others should be happy to be their slaves). But he was no propagandist for genocide or even mistreating those that bowed to Greek superiority.
The Han Chinese seem to me also more of a people that would prefer to rule over a productive realm (of alive even if inferior) people) than to kill everyone not of the tribe and thus having to slowly refill the population deficit with one's own. Pure pragmatism. Dead or starving peasants are unproductive and all to often unruly.
But of course there is also the willingness to crush any resistance seen as a threat to the system. But a credible threat of (state) terror is better than to actually have to follow up on it.
So, genocide is not the first and preferred option as was so often the case with European expansion/colonialism (including the permament filiations like e.g. America or Australia) but just one possible if regrettable tool.

Somewhat vaguely related to the current discussion—


Loomis is an idiot.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/09/saadi-yacef-rip

I think Westerners should be much less quick to get on our high horses about violence against civilians conducted by terrorists, given our own record , but Loomis is still an idiot.

Yeah, I saw that. A great example of the fusing of some important points with the total inability to back down. He gets ripped in the comments, but I think that's what he wants.

Yep, that's what he wants

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/09/melvin-van-peebles-rip

But it does seem like a step up if they are, if even in rhetoric, trying to alleviate poverty rather than selling them Stinger missiles. Even if you don't think it is a step up, you might have to grant that it may work better.

My, possibly incorrect, impression was that Lu Shuling was talking about Xinjiang, rather than one of the countries under the Belt and Road initiative. (So the Singer missile sales option really isn't on offer.)

I agree that allieviating poverty has much to recommend it. But compared to ceasing efforts to destroy the local culture (and/or population)? Not really likely to work all that well.

The assumption that the United States can drive a wedge between China and Russia is flawed.

The good news is, we don't need to. Just refraining** from pushing them together would be sufficient. Russia can work up a negative reaction to China's ambitions in Central Asia without our help.

** I do realize that "refrain" isn't something that our foreign policy folks relate to very well.

But compared to ceasing efforts to destroy the local culture (and/or population)?

That's something I've been thinking about. Yes, I agree that destroying local culture is not good. But there is also the fetishizing of 'authentic' culture in a way that any attempts to adapt it is 'destroying' it. The previously mentioned Loomis has a number of posts on this, and I think this is the most recent

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/05/alice-waters-and-reductive-views-of-food-cultures

One big important point here is that Alice Waters does not have the lock and key to defining legitimate food cultures. People create food cultures all the time out of what is available. A lot of our food discourse revolves around authenticity politics and no one imbibes this more than Waters. But food is one of those things, like language, that is always changing. It wasn’t necessarily better in the past (and in the U.S., absolutely was not better in the past) and it might or might not be better in the future, whatever “better” means here. But there are many paths to a food life. Even if I might make fun of bad condiments.

Not saying that complaining about using the wrong cheese on a philly steak is equal to destroying buddhist monasteries, but it does link to my hobby horse of the Puritanical nature of US culture, which is often talks about local culture, but rarely bothers to figure out what it is.

China is dealing atrociously with Tibet because they are resisting and I really doubt they can deal with a Muslim population that really wants to be muslim. It may well be that every putative empire needs to be convinced that they are the only game in town.

I agree that destroying local culture is not good. But there is also the fetishizing of 'authentic' culture in a way that any attempts to adapt it is 'destroying' it.

My personal view is that anyone's local culture should be free to adapt as its members want. New food, new music, new business practices, new language even. However, nobody should be forced, from outside, to change. With a major caveat when that local culture includes repressing local subgroups (gender, ethnic, religious, etc.).

So if China was forcing a local culture to stop repressing, for example, women? I'd have no problem with that. But forcing the local culture to change religion or language? Definitely problematic.

As I say, a personal view.

“ A great example of the fusing of some important points with the total inability to back down”

Yeah. It’s frustrating to me because there are some good points to be made on the topic of Western hypocrisy regarding terrorism and asymmetrical warfare and some others in that thread make them, but Loomis’s own moral stance is incoherent— if you defend targeting children then what exactly are the moral values you are fighting for? Several others point out that it isn’t a coincidence that terrorist “ liberation” movements , when successful, often lead to dictatorial governments once they take power.

Several others point out that it isn’t a coincidence that terrorist “ liberation” movements , when successful, often lead to dictatorial governments once they take power.

As we are seeing in Afghanistan currently, those movements tend to end up with a large number of folks (specifically young men) who have no skills beyond combat. That means that there aren't a whole lot of folks who know how to run a new government. Which, in turn, means that the government which is most likely to work, at all, is one which mimics the very hierarchical military structure that they are already accustomed to.

In fact, I think that there's an argument to be made that there is only way you get from a liberation movement to a non-dictatorship. That's if the leader, especially the military leader, of the movement is willing to step aside. And throw his personal prestige behind a tradition of regular turnover at the top.

But forcing the local culture to change religion or language? Definitely problematic.

Well, that latter category, think of the internet and how it makes it so English is the preferred medium. Or at least the Roman alphabet. Here in Japan, I get frustrated with token attempts at multilingualism, and an absence of real consideration of a true multilingual society looks like, but China is in a lot of ways a lot more multilingual that the US.

You are concerned with Cantonese, but watching interviews with wuxia stars, you see them being asked in Putonghua and replying in Cantonese. Now, I don't know if it is because they are stars or cutting the translator out of the interview. But Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat's Mandarin were pretty bad in the Crouching Tiger movie but I don't think Chinese blew off the movie because of that (though, like Japan, I imagine the success of the movie had them not voice their complaints as loudly) There are also Wong Kar-Wai's films where the actors speak in the two dialects seamlessly. So I don't get the automatic rejection of people who don't speak Mandarin with a perfect accent like you often get with English. I mean, there are accents that work in American movies but there are others that don't.

This is an interesting article
https://theasiadialogue.com/2015/06/12/multilingualism-discourse-and-identity-in-china/

The writer points out that diversity is going to naturally conflict with notions of political unity, but they don't have to decide between one of the other, if they can find a way for the two to co-exist, they might be able to get further than the US. In fact, Chinese discourse on multilingualism is on languages as 'resources', much like it is in Salt Lake City,

(cf. https://le.utah.gov/~2021/bills/static/HCR022.html btw, the two sponsors pictured are Republicans)

but that idea of linguistic diversity as a resource has not permeated in other places in the US.

Once there were official versions of the US national anthem in many many languages (including native Hawaiian) with an extra push during WW2. The idea was that every person in the US should be able to join in the chorus meaningfully, even if they did not (yet) speak or understand English.
These days it's a goal of the Right to make singing it in any language but English American at least a misdemeanor, if not an outright crime.

Afaik, many would actually support that if it would stop 'patriots' with no singing talent from butchering it on a regular base. ;-)
Personally, I think the choice was a dreadful one in the first place (both tune and text) given the many much better alternatives. But I believe we had that discussion here already several times.

The words maybe, but don't mess with the harmony!!!

https://www.openculture.com/2015/07/stravinskys-illegal-arrangement-of-the-star-spangled-banner-1944.html

After reading this:

As you might expect, Stravinsky’s version on “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t entirely conventional, seeing that it added a dominant seventh chord to the arrangement. And the Boston police, not exactly an organization with avant-garde sensibilities, issued Stravinsky a warning, claiming there was a law against tampering with the national anthem.

I was a little disappointed at how normal sounding it was. I'm surprised the Boston police, in particular, could even hear the difference. I would expect that they would lack fine-tuned ears and musical knowledge as much as avant-garde sensibilities.

I guess I was hoping for a mash-up of the Star Spangled Banner and the Rite of Spring or something.

But forcing the local culture to change religion or language? Definitely problematic.

Well, that latter category, think of the internet and how it makes it so English is the preferred medium. Or at least the Roman alphabet.

I would suggest that there is a significant difference between forcing someone to change their language, and them choosing to use another language for some purposes. I don't know how things stand in other English speaking countries. But in the US, it is routine for state governments to provide forms and documents in multiple languages, and to accept forms filled out in them.

A couple weeks ago we had an election where the ballots were printed in English, Spanish, and Chinese. And available, on request at the polling place, in a half dozen additional languages. (Federal law requires all election materials be provided in any language spoken by more than 5% of the population.)

As for the Internet, lots of material is available in English simple because it is the most widely used (at least as a second language). The only place the script used in English has been required is in domain names (e.g. obsidianwings.blogs.com).

ICANN has a big project in progress (I know, because I've been working on it the last 6 years) to make domain names available in other languages and scripts. Working out what symbols are needed is a big task. Figuring out which ones can be mistaken for each other is substantially larger. (If you saw a letter I, where the dot had been replaced by an acute accent, would you even notice? Not to mention Cyrillic letters which are identical, visually, to C or O. The list goes on and on.)

hsh, I had the same impression.
But good ol' Igor did also compose stuff in a more old-fashioned way, more in tune (pun intended) with traditional tastes in music.
As did many Russian modernists, if the need arose. Not surprising actually since they all learned their trade from Rimsky-Korsakov or one of his master students and thus knew how to do it.

I would suggest that there is a significant difference between forcing someone to change their language, and them choosing to use another language for some purposes.

There's that nice soft Western force of 'hey, we were here first'. No one forces you to use X, why should you be upset? You are on ICANN, what if _any_ consideration to the question of which non roman symbols to use had been considered when all this started? This is why it's so hard to convince people that discriminiation can be structural, it can't be 'blamed' on anyone, but it is still there. Which then gets some to thinking that each district only needs one voting station, everyone can drive, right?

There is, of course, a question of how much accomodation needs to be made and how much diversity should be taken into account. But failing to even acknowledge that this is a problem is where a lot of this gets started in the first place. And this doesn't even get to the problems of people arguing in bad faith. That the Chinese have seen this play out enough times might make the push for 'Han superiority' a bit more understandable.

China has also the advantage that people could communicate reasonably well in writing even if their dialects were mutually completely unintelligible. A nonphonetic writing system has at least that. Imo still not worth it, if one actually wants everyone to learn (and quickly) to read and write. But China couldn't obviously copy the Korean model. Why btw are the Koreans so low on the hierarchy scale (of both the Chinese and the Japanese)? Just because the country was a colony of both for some extended time periods?

You are on ICANN, what if _any_ consideration to the question of which non roman symbols to use had been considered when all this started?

At the very start, only English letters (specifically lower case English letters) got used. Which, for a US government project, was hardly surprising. Especially since, at that point, computers used an American standard keyboard, which doesn't have a whole lot of additional possibilities. It was a couple of decades later than ICANN came into existence. And, fairly quickly, started work on allowing more symbols in domain names.

The first question was, necessarily, what languages should included. (I suppose other, non-language, symbols could have been included. But "no emoji!" had a lot of support.) After some consideration, the limit was set a "living languages" -- i.e. no hieroglyphics. Unless someone accidentally missed something, the scripts of all of those languages got included.

The next had to do with what symbols within those scripts got in. First, punctuation marks got excluded. (I think that overbroad, but....) Then capital letters got excluded, on the grounds that, in the original English setup, only lower case was used. For alphabetic scripts, most of which are only used for a single language, that reduces the repertoire issue to a matter of consulting a grammar school text book. (For character-based languages, the experts tried to identify the set of characters that anyone with a high school education would know.)

But for the Latin script, things are more complex. For openers, we've got some 400+ living languages which use a derivative of the Latin script. (Mostly involving one of some 20 diacritic marks added to one of the basic letters. I'd bet that even the highly educated folks here have only ever encountered half of those.) The further decision got taken to restrict the languages considered to official languages (ones in which a government does business) plus those with at least a million native speakers. Arbitrary, but that was the decision. That got us down to some 200+ languages.

To the original 23 letters used in Latin, a few new letters got added (e.g. W, thorn, sharp S). But then, one (or, in the case f Vietnamese, 2) out of the possible 20 diacritic marks get added to various letters. That got the number of symbols for the Latin script up to 215.

I know, too much information for the question asked. Sorry about that.

The essence of the origin is that nobody, at least among those working on the ARPANet) anticipated the growth of the Internet that actually happened a couple of decades later. When the DNS (Domain Name System) was created/designed, it was expected to be used by a few US universities and US government labs. So, not really a sign of ethnocentricism to use only English.

Yes, the past is a different country. But if the US had been more multilingual, or just some of those people working on it at that time, might it have not considered some of those issues? It's a really good thought experiment.

There's the scene in The Martian when Matt Damon's character gets the camera going and begins by setting up a Yes/No question. One of the guys at the space center says
Thirty-two minute round trip
communications time. He can only ask
yes/no questions, and all we can do is
point the camera. This won’t exactly be
an Algonquin round table of snappy
repartee.

Of course, this being an American can-do flick, the character uses hexadecimals to increase the number of characters that can be transmitted. Which suggests that the best solution would be to send anyone working on these issues off planet, put them in a life or death situation and say 'ok, solve that...'

But again, I didn't say anything about ethnocentrism, I just pointed out how it was structural. And if people understand the structural issues, it becomes a lot easier to work the problem.

I'm not demanding we get domain names in Old English glyphs or hierogylphics, but if you want to raise Han superiority as an issue and link it to standardization of a national language, it is a bit hypocritical. Especially given the treatment of Native American languages in the US.

Why btw are the Koreans so low on the hierarchy scale (of both the Chinese and the Japanese)? Just because the country was a colony of both for some extended time periods?

Yes, though it might have been different (or not as bad) had the country not been split in two post-war.

I do get this vague impression that Japanese are "afraid" of Koreans in the sense that they would lose in a contest with them. There is a phrase that says something like 'If it's 1 Korean vs. 1 Japanese, the Japanese will lose but if it is 10 vs. 10, the Japanese will win' It's a bit like Liebling's, “I can write faster than anyone who can write better and better than anyone who can write faster,” but the Japanese version has a sense that (like most thoughts of outsiders) that they have some abilities that have to be acknowledged and if you were to contest on those grounds, you'd probably lose. So the key is to dismiss or diminish those domains.

I harshed on Loomis, so I should put this up

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/09/bullying-is-the-point

These people are bullies. The way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them and never, ever back down. This is how people should have repsonded to Donald Trump from the beginning. This is why one should never apologize when you get attacked by the right and it’s why I’ve never apologized for anything I’ve ever said when I’ve been attacked by fascist websites. It’s the only way to respond to them that doesn’t lead to more bullying and also that keeps your own dignity. These cowards in Texas don’t want to have the trials. They don’t want the constant publicity. So give them the trials and publicity if you can and are willing to take what is most certainly a very real risk. This is why Dr. Alan Braid is such a hero. He’s willing to take this risk and invited it. Good for him.

This is not to discuss the Texas abortion law, but to say that in this case, I think he's most definitely right. And if one takes a look at his history.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/12/on-metaphors-and-violence

I had forgotten that he was from Springfield Or and was a student of Faith Zuranski and I think he was an undergrad when I was a grad student at UO.

This isn't to say that he's somehow justified, but it does help fill in the context.

Well, that latter category, think of the internet and how it makes it so English is the preferred medium. Or at least the Roman alphabet.

when you invent the internet, you don't also invent a method of encoding all the world's written languages on the internet because you'd never finish the internet part of the job.

that comes later.

Someone should use the TX abortion law to sue in-vitro fertilization companies for thawing/flushing unused embryos more than 6 weeks after they were fertilized.

Plus anyone that doesn't want to pay their "freezer bill" for keeping the embryos on ice *forever*.

The TX GOP has just handed the world a big hammer: use it on them.

Loomis is an idiot.

With all due respect, Donald, I disagree. Throwing the blanket of "moral clarity" over every act of violence is an act of intellectual violence.

The whole topic of "justifiable violence" is fraught with contradictions and tragedy. Most of us pick and chose a side. Inconsistency is built into the cake. The real moral problem is when that terrible decision is reached absent a moral calculus and a sense of real regret, or acknowledging responsibility.

ha ha. TX is dumb, and the GOP is dumber.

The Texas secretary of state’s office announced late Thursday it will audit the results of the 2020 election in the state’s four largest counties, hours after former president Donald Trump called on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to conduct one.

The office released a statement Thursday night that asserted the secretary of state has the authority under Texas law “to conduct a full and comprehensive forensic audit of any election” and that it had “already begun the process in Texas’ two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties — Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin — for the 2020 election.”

service your idiot master, Abbott. please him well.

bobbyp, I'm glad you highlighted that, it made me think about the language. Loomis is not, by any stretch 'an idiot', though it is interesting that I didn't think anything about agreeing with Donald when he said that (and think that he has a point). Like I said, I think there are some things that explain his rage and his presentation on the blog, and it's possible that he's totally different if you were to meet him. (or maybe not, who knows?)

Now, I don't think Donald is dumb for expressing his frustration with Loomis, he does seem like he is constantly looking for a fight. But I think that he brings out, in the bright light of day, some things that we might not wish to talk about. But you have to separate out that rage to get to it and sometimes, it is just too tiring.

Loomis is an idiot.

he's a very specific kind of idiot. he's smart, but he's also hyperbolically intolerant of viewpoints that aren't his own. and he loves to flatly state his controversial opinions as fact, knowing this will piss off some of his readers.

so maybe not so much an idiot, but a jerk.

and he's a big part of why i don't bother with LGM anymore.

[and i wrote that before clicking the link and seeing he's at it again]

But you have to separate out that rage to get to it and sometimes, it is just too tiring.

Nah. I find it bracing, but like they say, opinions vary. His take on good liberals putting their kids in "good" private schools as indicative of racism is an example of a discussion that is, IMHO, valuable to have...no matter how tiring.

As for "terrorism", I tend to feel that is generally (note the term..not the same as "always") in the eye of the beholder, and quite situational.* As a general principle it is to be condemned as beyond the pale, but context is important, too, and simply writing "terrorism" off to make a high moral point is, to me, not really getting to the heart of what is essentially a human tragedy...i.e., our apparently innate cruelty and insatiable need for dominance.

Thanks.

*I recall Camus having something to say about this...and lo! He mentioned Algeria from time to time.

If this actually came to pass, how many here would eschew violence under any circumstances?

Usually, it is an easy decision (peace, bro'), but not by any means always. It's the "not always" situations that are intriguing. I rely on Clint Eastwood movies and cleek for guidance (/snicker).

Glad you brought up Camus, bobbyp, he's one of my touchstones. Probably a good time to reread Les Justes...

If this actually came to pass, how many here would eschew violence under any circumstances?

It will be a tragedy if the Count's words become prophetic. I really, really wish I was sure that it wouldn't come to that. However, as things have developed, I still think it improbable, but not impossible.

Probably a good time to reread Les Justes...

give The Plague a try. it's amazing how 1947 sounds just like 2021.

lol, cleek. well done.

If this actually came to pass, how many here would eschew violence under any circumstances?

We've had a violent riot that attempted to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power, and was prevented from doing so basically by sheer luck and the diligence of a handful of Capitol cops. We have a memo from the former POTUS's legal advisor explaining how the VPOTUS could throw out electoral votes until his client prevailed, in spite of actually losing the election. And, the VPOTUS was pressured to do exactly that, and was apparently talked down from the ledge by Dan Quayle.

The phrase "If this actually came to pass" doesn't quite capture the situation. A more accurate way to put it is "If this is successful next time". Because these people are not done with this crap. And somewhere between a quarter and a third of the people in this country would support it.

So, think about it in those terms, and see where you land.

I don't have an answer, personally.

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