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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Late-stage imperial transition

This is a useful summary of the axiomatic foundation of Yuval Hazony's The Virtue of Nationalism:
The order of tribes and clans is the proto-political order. The state developed out of the weakness of this order, because this order of tribes and clans is held together in a way that makes it difficult to achieve peace, because you have these warring tribes and warring interests. It is also difficult to achieve justice because you have capricious leaders and you have a system where it is very hard to achieve justice where people are fundamentally at war—because justice becomes weaponized and justice cannot really arbitrate when there is no fundamental peace at the root of society. And so, there is a need to move beyond this tribal order. This proto-political order then leads to the development of the state, whether that is a free state as different tribes join together willingly, or a despotic state as certain tribes dominate over others and establish rule through military might.

Now, these different sorts of institutions can be distinguished from each other. So, a family is not like a business. A business is held together by financial interest. Within them individuals are fairly dispensable. You can hire and fire, and little loyalty exists. People are not going to work for their business at great personal sacrifice themselves, not usually. Except in certain extreme cases, people do not have a deep sense of loyalty to their company or to the boss that they work for. Families, however, are different. They pass on a legacy from generation to generation, and there is a sense of deep loyalty and mutual connection within these contexts.

The empire is a state that is, in principle, boundless. It is an amorphous collective. And so, it does not have the same structures of loyalty at its heart. There is a difference between tribal order and the order of the empire that is not just one of scale. So, it is not just that we relate on a very local scale in the tribe, or the clan, or the family, and then that is just scaled up and up until you get the nation, and then the empire. Rather, the empire is a fundamental shift in the notion of order. It is the difference between loyalty to familiar individuals, to one’s neighbors, and loyalty to the abstract imperial project, its ideology, and to a generic humanity—a humanity that is not particular, that is not the humanity of one’s neighbor but is just a humanity in general, an abstract humanity. It is often an ideologized humanity, a humanity that appears as such within an ideology that can often exclude certain people as falling short of the true reality of that humanity.

The tribal person who places loyalty to their family and their clan over loyalty to empire will be seen by an imperialist as pathological. Tribal order is vulnerable, as I have already noted, to war, to capricious rule, and to injustice, and to the inability to obtain justice. Imperial order, by contrast, establishes an expanding realm of peace at the cost of independence and self-determination. The principle of the unity of humanity encourages violation of the boundaries of other people in order to expand rational government order over all of them. And so, the empire works in terms of abstract and universal categories of humanity. It works in terms of concepts of justice that are universalized and detached from any sort of distributive sense of justice. It is universal human rights, that sort of thing.

And an empire will usually have a particular ruling nation at its heart. Even as they champion the universal interests of humanity, the domination of one particular group or the hierarchical superiority of that group tends to be advanced.
It's a long piece, but well worth reading. I think the key to understanding the fate of the U.S. empire going forward is that it no longer has its original ruling nation advancing its interests, but a replacement foreign nation doing the same. The ritual of genuflection before AIPAC performed by Republican and Democratic politicians is one indication that this transition has already taken place, the control of the financial and cultural high ground is another, and the growing number of anti-BDS laws is a third. As, of course, is the pious fiction of "Judeo-Christian values" so fervently avowed by conservatives.

The transition from native to foreign elite is a normal development in a late-stage empire and customarily precedes the gradual decline and collapse of the empire. Philip the Arab became the first non-Latin emperor of Rome in 243. Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders, was crowned the first Latin emperor of the Byzantine emperor in 1204.

Marcus Julius Philippus was born in Arabia the son of Julius Marinus. Philip entered a military career and was on the campaign in 243 AD against the Persians led by Shapur. Timisitheus was the Praetorian Commander in charge and he successfully defeated the Persians at Rhesaina. However, Timisitheus suddenly became ill and died during the campaign. Philip I the rose to the rank of Praetorian Commander under Gordian III. Philip was more interested in taking the throne than in destroying the Persians.

Philip’s intentions were clear. Her instigated whatever he could to create disloyalty among the troops against the 19-year-old emperor Gordian III. In a last and sad attempt to maintain locality, Gordian III addressed his troops. He finally told his men to chose between himself and Philip. He gamble failed and the troops openly selected Philip and Gordian III was murdered. Despite a monument being raised to Gordian III on the spot that he died, and his body being taken back to Rome for burial, Philip never looked back.

Philip was eager to take the reigns of power in Rome so much so that he quickly agreed to a peace treaty with the Persian king Shapur. The terms were widely viewed as a sign of defeat on the part of the Romans. Philip gave Shapur a down-payment of 500,000 denarii in addition to an annual indemnity. No Roman emperor had ever agreed to such a deal, but Philip was more interested in getting to Rome....

The reign of Philip I marked the true collapse of the denarius as a regular issue within the monetary system. As inflation soared, the denarius no longer became a viable denomination and it was virtually replaced by the antoninianus. All subsequent reigns that followed Philip I issued denarii very sparingly if at all.

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63 Comments:

Blogger SonofLonginus March 05, 2019 8:43 AM  

What’s your current timeline estimate for The Collapse?

Blogger Meanoldbasterd March 05, 2019 8:53 AM  

You're not paying attention, it's ongoing.

Blogger pyrrhus March 05, 2019 8:53 AM  

Armstrong's AI continues to indicate that the US will start breaking up just after the 2032 elections..

Blogger Jack (LJCSOGHMOMAS) March 05, 2019 8:56 AM  

I don't know if he has talked about this topic before, but it appears that Jordan Peterson is using your talking points on corporate cancer.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/jordan-peterson-and-tyler-cowen/

Blogger dc.sunsets March 05, 2019 9:19 AM  

One wonders how many of those now in the US Congress openly hold dual citizenship or privately consider themselves equally devoted to the lands of their parents/grandparents.

As one state legislature after another moves to adopt the de-industrialization mantra embodied in the Watermelon New Deal, it is clear that the US electorate can be easily manipulated into destroying everything on which this debt-enabled delusional Plenitude rests.

Gee. It's almost like "someone" is spiking the drinking water with cognition-impairing poisons...

Blogger Astin joshua March 05, 2019 9:29 AM  

Insightful.

Blogger Johnny March 05, 2019 9:29 AM  

Whatever is going on we are not being governed in our interest. That is the starting point, the rest is detail.

My understanding of Rome is that around the time of the Caesars the army became professional, and came to represent its own interests ahead of everything else. And that largely held up. Fair in a way, they were the 'workers' who actually brought in the tribute, but not so good for governance.

Blogger CM March 05, 2019 9:29 AM  

By what he's saying, I am drawing a distinction between patriotism and nationalism (finally). Patriotism appears to be about that shift away from loyalty to people and the order that holds them together to that of the order of empire.

A person who upholds the empire is patriotic. Does that sound right?

Boy would that tie Buckley's knickers in a knot.

Blogger dc.sunsets March 05, 2019 9:31 AM  

De-policing to "eliminate" imprisonment of minority men for crimes they commit (and they ironically victimize minorities.)
"Diversifying" the military to the point where a group of 1950's era Boy Scouts armed with 15th century weapons could overrun any of the military academies.
Exporting the vast majority of US manufacturing.
Promising to replace the concentrated power of petro-fuels with diffuse, capricious "renewable" sources, sending the country's electric grid into a tailspin, attempting to "save the world" by making Americans live like it's 1799.

Is this what happens when weakness is feted to the level we see now, that any success whatsoever "must" be dismantled and destroyed so that we can all be happy in our equally-distributed incapability?

Nothing sets up failure like success. Apparently the USA will need to see its economy, political structures and culture degrade to almost zero before this theology of weakness-worship is cast aside, its priests and adherents pushed into the wasteland where they belong, to reap the full effect of what they worship.

Strength doesn't get overrun. It dies from within.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia March 05, 2019 9:34 AM  

Reading The Virtue of Nationalism now, and it's eye opening. I love you Vox, I really do, but this mild mannered, soft spoken kippah wearing father of nine Israeli scholar is going to do more to advance the cause of nationalism than all of us put together.

The logic, precision, and incisivenss of his arguments cannot be denied.

That being said, he does allow for assimilation, at least implicitly up to where I am at in book, with his reference to Ruth the Moabite, as an outsider who pledges herself to the Tribe.

When your outsiders are not "all in" with the Tribe, trouble comes a'knockin.

Blogger OGRE March 05, 2019 9:39 AM  

That was a very interesting read, thanks for sharing. Roberts adds some cogent points at the end regarding the effects the economic structure has had in attacking the base of the national order. I'd add my own point that the liberal focus on individualism found a fertile soil in the Protestantism of the early US, whereas the Catholics maintained the view of the individual belonging to a community and--at least officially--the principle of subsidiarity. (I say that as a protestant.) But neither the Protestant nor Catholic Churches have been a sufficient bulwark against the march of globalism as it comes from both the capitalist right and the communist left.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 05, 2019 9:43 AM  

I think the key to understanding the fate of the U.S. empire going forward is that it no longer has its original ruling nation advancing its interests, but a replacement foreign nation doing the same.

You will note there is not a WASP on the Supreme Court.

Not one.

The WASPs are basically extinct as a powerbase anyway.

Blogger Johnny March 05, 2019 9:51 AM  

I see what has gone wrong with our governance as a collection of thing. For starters and probably most important, class interest among the rich and the politically connected. Add to that aggravating factors. International trade and its institutions along with outlier groups that don't identify with the majority gaining access to power. You let it all stew for a while and you have what we have now.

Blogger VD March 05, 2019 9:53 AM  

What’s your current timeline estimate for The Collapse?

2033. Why do people keep asking me this? I have not changed my prediction of 2033 for 15 years.

Blogger judgeholdem1848 March 05, 2019 9:53 AM  

Funny how the "no justice, no peace" mantra is self-defeating on first principles.

Blogger RusticFederalist March 05, 2019 9:55 AM  

Septimus Severus was at most half Roman from his mother's side. His father was a Berber from the Carthaginian city Leptis Magna. Septimus' grandfather had attained Roman Citizenship when Trajan awarded it to the entire city. Septimus Severus murdered plenty of full blooded Romans and Latins to claim the imperial throne in 193 in the Civil War called the Year of Five Emperors. Septimus changed the political nature of the Roman Empire to a less free, more dependent state. The weaknesses Septimus made to support his dynasty's rule contributed to the Crisis of the Third Century. The prime example is how his destruction of Byzantium allowed Gothic invaders to sail through the Sea of Marmara into the Mediterranean Sea.

Septimus' Syrian wife bore him Caracalla as an heir. As a political expedient Caracalla disastrously conferred Roman Citizenship on all free men in the Empire. After Caracalla, the throne passed to his maternal cousin, Elagabalus, a young transexual cult leader who attempted to impose his Syrian religion on the rest of the empire. While Elagabalus distracted the empire with his theatrics and deviancy, the government was managed by his mother and grandmother.

Blogger VD March 05, 2019 9:55 AM  

A person who upholds the empire is patriotic. Does that sound right?

Yes. Patriotism is loyalty to the state. Nationalism is loyalty to the nation.

Blogger Unknown March 05, 2019 9:57 AM  

When it comes to Rome, we could probably find an even closer connection to America's current circumstances by looking at the late Republic. Will Durant made mention of this in his book "Caesar and Christ", that by the time of the Gracchi, the old Patrician stock that founded Rome and led her to glory had died out from war and sterility, and had been replaced by a new elite filled largely with professional moneylenders, who were happy to sell citizenship to new immigrants - from recently conquered territories - so they could secure their votes! Sounds somewhat familiar.

Blogger VD March 05, 2019 9:57 AM  

The logic, precision, and incisivenss of his arguments cannot be denied.

You haven't finished it yet.

That being said, he does allow for assimilation, at least implicitly up to where I am at in book, with his reference to Ruth the Moabite, as an outsider who pledges herself to the Tribe.

And therein lies the flaw. As I said, it's a 8 out of 10. His identity impinges his logic, precision, and incisiveness throughout.

Blogger RusticFederalist March 05, 2019 10:04 AM  

VD wrote:What’s your current timeline estimate for The Collapse?

2033. Why do people keep asking me this? I have not changed my prediction of 2033 for 15 years.


I have asked before. I am less intelligent than you. I do not remember things as well or as confidently as you. I also hope you have noticed something that will give a chance to spare the estimated megadeaths. That is why I asked before. Maybe some people are similar to me.

Blogger CM March 05, 2019 10:06 AM  

That being said, he does allow for assimilation, at least implicitly up to where I am at in book, with his reference to Ruth the Moabite, as an outsider who pledges herself to the Tribe.

Even the hardcore Faith & Heritage guys make room for this, but there's a huge caveat... that way is very narrow and few will travel it.

Ruth denounced everything - family, religion, culture. Not many are willing to do even a third of that.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 05, 2019 10:09 AM  

My fav Roman emperor was Julian the Apostate, by definition a religious extremist who sought to bring back the old religion and martial vigor and then marched off into Mesopotamia wasted his army and what was left of it killed him, always reminded me a bit of Shrub Bush the Younger, but without the happy ending.

Blogger Mark Stoval March 05, 2019 10:16 AM  

"Patriotism is loyalty to the state. Nationalism is loyalty to the nation." -- VD

Exactly so. Nationalism is loyalty to your extended family. For this reason, the nations may choose different forms of governance. Some will want kings and such, and others something different. Different forms can work for different nations because the people of each are different. (ie African/Japanese)

But the Empire, democratic or not, is death to the people. If only these things were understood.

Blogger VD March 05, 2019 10:19 AM  

I also hope you have noticed something that will give a chance to spare the estimated megadeaths.

Fair enough. That's a good reason.

Blogger Fozzy Bear March 05, 2019 10:26 AM  

That being said, he does allow for assimilation, at least implicitly up to where I am at in book, with his reference to Ruth the Moabite, as an outsider who pledges herself to the Tribe.
There was only one Ruth, not 30 million. Sometimes quantity has a quality all of its own.

Blogger dc.sunsets March 05, 2019 10:28 AM  

If only these things were understood.

If people actually learned from history then Utopia would be but a question of arrival time.

The saddest attribute of humanity is that even peeing on the electric fence doesn't dissuade the herd's members from doing it again and again.

(To put it more scientifically, whatever action plan decided by the Impulsive Mind becomes unquestionable if it's also blessed by whatever popular madness exists, even if that action plan is openly suicidal. Each man may *have* a deliberative mind, but few actually use it. NPC's are, by definition, directed entirely by the herd's mental map, the set of behavioral instructions provided by the CENTRAL processing unit. It is the metaphorical embodiment of those who do not think for themselves. This is Nock's "masses." This is why history has cycles. Anyone expecting this to change will be disappointed.)

Blogger Desdichado March 05, 2019 10:30 AM  

Fozzy Bear wrote:There was only one Ruth, not 30 million. Sometimes quantity has a quality all of its own.
Plus the fact that Ruth never became Jewish. She was a Moabite with loyalty to Israel. Her descendants were Israelites, but she never was.

Blogger Crew March 05, 2019 10:42 AM  

This is opposed to imperialism, which seeks to bring peace and prosperity to the world by uniting mankind, as much as possible, under a single political regime.

A single, world-wide political regime is clearly anti-Scientific, because, after all, there are many species in the world and they have never needed there to be only one species. It's all according to St Darwin!

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 05, 2019 10:42 AM  

"2033. Why do people keep asking me this? I have not changed my prediction of 2033 for 15 years."

As I recall, that prediction is based on the usual life of fiat currency, not on current events? No basis for updates, if so.

Blogger Crew March 05, 2019 10:46 AM  

2033. Why do people keep asking me this? I have not changed my prediction of 2033 for 15 years.

Saw an article in the last few days that claimed Russian military power would peak in 2028 and Chinese military would peak in 2030.

However, I expect US military power to continue to decline and we may see more carriers decommissioned ...

Blogger Damn the torpedos March 05, 2019 10:52 AM  

Vox would you recommend young men follow your lead and jump ship to Europe?

Also would you recommend marriage first and then jumping ship to Europe or the other way around? It occurs to me that if I marry into a European nation any resulting kids will have a shot at having a strong national identity.

Blogger OneWingedShark March 05, 2019 10:54 AM  

dc.sunsets wrote:One wonders how many of those now in the US Congress openly hold dual citizenship or privately consider themselves equally devoted to the lands of their parents/grandparents.
There's a petition addressing this subject on the Whitehouse web-site: Dual-Citizenship of Public Officials Creates Conflicts of Interest.

Blogger VD March 05, 2019 10:56 AM  

Vox would you recommend young men follow your lead and jump ship to Europe?

No. The Europeans don't want Americans who wouldn't defend their country any more than Texans want Californians who wouldn't defend their state.

Blogger Balkan Yankee March 05, 2019 10:57 AM  

2033 roughly coincides with the solar minimum expected between Solar Cycles 25 and 26. If Zarkova's model is correct, expect cold times and shorter growing seasons about then. And lots of Canadian migrants. Except you, JBP . . .

Blogger JohnofAustria March 05, 2019 11:15 AM  

Gorsuch.

Blogger SonofLonginus March 05, 2019 11:20 AM  

Don’t be pedantic. I mean if it’s sped up, what the rough estimate for The End is, that sort of thing.

Blogger Crew March 05, 2019 11:42 AM  

2033 roughly coincides with the solar minimum expected between Solar Cycles 25 and 26.

And if you go look at the data available, there will be 8 or 9 years in a row where the Earth will be further away from the Sun than average during perihelion (ie, Northern Winter) ... and during Northern summer we are at aphelion. From about 2022 to 2030.

The ice and snow may accumulate ...

Blogger Mark Stoval March 05, 2019 11:53 AM  

@26

Thanks for the reply. It made a lot of sense to me.


Blogger xevious2030 March 05, 2019 11:59 AM  

Vox, your observation and consideration is clear, and the rest of this is not a reflection on that.

At a glance of the quotes from the summary, “when there is no fundamental peace at the root of society,” is a bit off, at least at the face value of the quotes. The distribution/monopoly on the use of violence and applicability of such is about as close as it gets. There are the improper definitions applied to scale, but those are understandable with appropriate mental substitution. The ideologizing and falling short are a matter up and down scale. And “the order of tribes and clans” is a collection of states, each tribe and clan is, if it is an autonomous political community (manages public affairs). Another state may develop out of this collection of states, but the wording of the summary confuses the nature of the collections (autonomy of public affairs, whether tribe, clan, or empire) with the functional mechanism (style of government) and size (sheer population) of the collections. In this, it tends to equate scale with familiarity, which, in a suburb, tends to break down with the next block over, to put it in a more blatant and crude example. Typically an empire is indeed lead by a separate nation or members thereof, though an empire may also be composed of a single nation. In a more general sense though, it is workable. I’ve used a hard 2x4 to hammer effectively upon occasion, when necessary, to complete a task, which was good enough.

To put it another way, for the US, empire or otherwise, survival as more than in name, is going to require the nation to re-assert and re-impose autonomy through one of the variety of mechanisms available, and in a zero sum fashion.

Blogger Doug Cranmer March 05, 2019 12:04 PM  

"And lots of Canadian migrants."

No. We'll be fine. The ones heading south will not be real Canadians. Do with them as you like.

I can see slavery coming back as a practical manner. Why not?

Blogger Nate73 March 05, 2019 12:05 PM  

>He finally told his men to chose between himself and Philip. He gamble failed and the troops openly selected Philip and Gordian III was murdered.

Can't tell if last Roman patriot or incel supreme gentleman.

Blogger Jack Amok March 05, 2019 12:15 PM  

...loyalty ... to a generic humanity... not the humanity of one’s neighbor but... an abstract humanity...an ideologized humanity... that can often exclude certain people as falling short...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Citizen of the World. Loyal not to his neighbors but to an abstract fellow traveler in Rio, Madrid or Stuttgart, who conveniently don't see how badly he treats the waitstaff at the local restaurant.

Blogger justaguy March 05, 2019 12:16 PM  

How much after the civil war did the United States think of itself as a tribe? During the first Irish migration before the war, we certainly thought of ourselves as a tribe and very anti-Irish. After the Civil War, and the use of many "other tribes" and the conquest of art of our tribe-- did the US still think of ourselves as a tribe? I do not know the answer, or even know how to measure the answer (look to lots of big paper headlines?)

Looking at a couple of the books about the 6 or so different cultures/tribes of America- isn't a credible hypothesis that the US was several tribes that allied and are not splitting up. One tribe is bringing in other tribes to ally with? There is a tremendous difference between the culture/political thinking of the Northeast tribe from that of the conquered South, and still more from the mid-west/northern (like VD). Pick your own 5-7 tribes and one can find support for the thesis. Sames a UK versus Wales/Scotland, etc.

This perspective makes a difference in how one views finding/collecting with the right tribe-- one that intrinsically has the same norms.

Blogger Primus Pilus March 05, 2019 12:27 PM  

"Ruth denounced everything - family, religion, culture. Not many are willing to do even a third of that."

The majority of Western women have done all of the above at this point.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella March 05, 2019 12:50 PM  

Please revise that to : Texans do not want Californians. At all. In any form, shape or semblance. If you are a lotus-eater who wants temperate weather then you do not belong in Texas. You can't take it. You will have weak kids who weaken the kids around them.

Second: America was a big, loosely interlocked group of families that landed on the East Coast and moved across the continent over the course of 400 years. They all had about ten kids each, and some would stay and some would go. Any national dispute, up to about 20 years ago, I could think back to some family reunion or another, and I'd have the 'type' of person under discussion- SJW, damnyankee, descendant of slave-owners, gay Episcopal priest, farmers, factory workers, factory manager, store owner- and I could understand what the reporter wasn't mentioning. Now? I can't do that. That, to me, says there's a lot of people who moved into the sponge of loose affiliations, and have overflowed.


Some of those people brought the unfortunate circuses: divorce court, myriad religions, tech distractions, crude music, treacherous politics.

Blogger Birdman March 05, 2019 12:56 PM  

Are you being ironic?

Blogger xevious2030 March 05, 2019 12:56 PM  

@43
That was one of the really interesting things of the US, it was a collection of a number states, with a common defense and a federal agreement between states. Each state, could in theory, function as a tribe, and numerous states could individually function as an agglomeration of tribes. They didn’t need to split. With hostile and closed localities, movement across states did not require formality of limitation. Seasonal migration from outside the united states was not necessarily a detriment. With increasing federalization, improved mass movement, more centralized immediate mass idea communication, industrialized agriculture, and distant financing, this system of barrier broke down, turning the country into more of a single state with few protections for their locality collection (tribe, clan, whatever) across the once more pronounced political boundaries. Even the reconstruction, as prominent an influence as it was, was only temporary. Given the increased speed of transmission/communication (in various forms), and increases in productivity (workers per unit produced), the choice may be between a multitude of the single nation-state-country variety and a breakaway civilization (of tiny autonomous/authoritative upper-class and huge mesmerized underclass).

I'm not very familiar with the inns and outs of the UK variety.

Blogger VFM Bear March 05, 2019 1:02 PM  

Doug Cranmer wrote:"And lots of Canadian migrants."

No. We'll be fine. The ones heading south will not be real Canadians. Do with them as you like.


I would strongly recommend reading the ingredient list and country of origin of any soylent green you might buy at that time.

Blogger Jack Amok March 05, 2019 1:04 PM  

With increasing federalization, improved mass movement...

Nah, it was expansion that broke down the working agreement between North and South. Neither side trusted the other with Federal power, but as long as things were mostly balanced (something the Founders worked hard to do) it was okay, but westward expansion kept putting stress on the balance, hardening hearts and increasing animosity.

Blogger Crush Limbraw March 05, 2019 1:06 PM  

While we enriched ourselves, my Silent generation and DaBoomers reaped all the benefits and creature comforts provided by Western Civilization - and left a legacy for our kids and grandkids - a country and all of Western Civilization on the verge of collapse.
So - what will we do for an encore - eh?

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 05, 2019 1:14 PM  

True words..
" It is also difficult to achieve justice because you have capricious leaders and you have a system where it is very hard to achieve justice where people are fundamentally at war—because justice becomes weaponized and justice cannot really arbitrate when there is no fundamental peace at the root of society. And so, there is a need to move beyond this tribal order. This proto-political order then leads to the development of the state, whether that is a free state as different tribes join together willingly, or a despotic state as certain tribes dominate over others and establish rule through military might"

As I see people getting giddy about Occasional Cortex possibly being in trouble for some money moving crimes, I think "nothing will happen™".
And because of this very thing. War.

What I think needs to happen is that people need to realize it's not just the judge, or the AG, or the prosecutor, or the senator, etc. It's the PEOPLE who voted for them and they need to be recognized as "enemy people". I see a lot of conservative hang-wringing - assuming there is anything else they do with their hands though we can take a good guess - about "getting the word out" or "educating people" as if that is going to matter one bit. It's not. Those who are not out to see your doom out of spite or some programmed revenge will still not care because they don't think deeply enough nor have the attention span.

As soon as the intended targets realize what they are really dealing with, the better they will know what the battlescape is.

Blogger pdwalker March 05, 2019 1:42 PM  

@pyrrhus: Armstrong’s AI?

Blogger xevious2030 March 05, 2019 2:36 PM  

@49
Expansion was a matter of scale. But as #45 put it, “America was a big, loosely interlocked group of families that landed on the East Coast and moved across the continent over the course of 400 years.” Generally speaking, that is a pretty darn good description. In the Civil War, it was not unheard of for brother to go fight brother, or in the case of my family, family members (from the same State) fighting against family members. Generally, it was not tribe against tribe.

I mentioned “they did not need to split,” and the Reconstruction. But I’ll ask the question. Is expansion actually what broke down the agreement? What actually put stress on the balance? Expansion may have been a means, but it was not the answer to either question. And since then, aside from slavery, what has changed that facilitated the blurring of boundaries, at the level of being an exception to “they didn’t need to split” standard? My examples in #47 are about reach.

Blogger PJW Gent March 05, 2019 2:41 PM  

Crush Limbraw wrote:While we enriched ourselves, my Silent generation and DaBoomers reaped all the benefits and creature comforts provided by Western Civilization - and left a legacy for our kids and grandkids - a country and all of Western Civilization on the verge of collapse.

So - what will we do for an encore - eh?


What do you THINK sex, drugs, and rock and roll did to the American social structure as well as the Cold War and Vietnam and every post Kennedy president until Reagan. It was a tumultuous 25 years that we will never recover from. Once they removed Kennedy, who was trying to bypass the Fed and reign in the CIA, it was all downhill from there. Boomers were bad, yes, but they just surfed the wave that was already breaking on the American shore. Their opt-out, self-congratulatory hedonism was almost inevitable.

Blogger Mr Darcy March 05, 2019 3:07 PM  

@53 xevious2030:

Here's one fascinating answer:

https://www.biohistory.org/

Blogger tz March 05, 2019 3:13 PM  

Even Glenn Greenwald has noticed the AIPAC tail wags the US dog.

Blogger xevious2030 March 05, 2019 3:32 PM  

@55
Not familiar. After glancing, it would likely take me way off topic, and as such probably way off the purpose of the allowance for us to comment here. Briefly though, as curtsey, interesting, see some likely problems (some useful, some not). And thank you, I’ll look more into it.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella March 05, 2019 5:16 PM  

#53, I can't be certain and specific, so this is just a mischief post. But: if you look at the history of Exodus from the viewpoint of the Egyptians- they had a stable agricultural society, and then these nomads filtered in, took over positions of authority, even when they were criminal (!)- and these nomads introduced slavery. It's in Exodus. They don't call it slavery-they call it 'every farmer working to put grain in the granary against some famine that the pharaoh dreamed about.' But it's not- compensated labor, which is a good start for slavery.

Then they keep showing up,until they are an entire region. And then one of their admins (moses) teams up with other 'thought leaders'- and tries to break away, with a lot of the piled up treasure of the nation. And it's an agricultural nation- that takes a lot of time to pile up treasure. All sorts of military and admin drama and trauma happen and then the nomads leave.

Well, if you're reading the Bible, you're reading the very self-serving version told by the nomads after they leave. And we're talking about nomads that maybe aren't as empathetically aware, or socially astute as one may wish. I mean, I'm at the point of thinking Potiphar's wife might not have had the hots for the hairy little pool boy. But she was wearing a miniskirt tunic and that meant she was asking for it, right? I'm not declaring that, but it's certainly in the realm of the possible.


Anyway: that's a sidetrack. Egypt continues. I've read scholarly papers suggesting that this interlude was incredibly traumatic for Egyptians, enough to change their theology. They had a temple for the first born son built, and it had worshippers for half a millennium. We haven't had an America as long as they worshipped at the shrine of the boy who would be king but died. Egypt continued on for thousands of years. Stable, continuous, one trauma. Like, the nightly journey by the king to kill Set to protect the land was to protect the Egyptians from the bronze serpent that Moses had raised up like a standard in his camp. No clue, but it's certainly....

Okay, so now take any nation after that. Persia had enough Jews show up that one girl got married off to the main king, and then arranged a massacre of their regular citizens: Esther and Purim. Russia had enough Jews show up that they have an entire autonomous region set aside just for Jews. That region kept serfs. They also had an incredibly traumatic 1917 revolution that killed off 96% of the native religious: the Orthodox priests, monks and nuns. And the rulers, and the peasants.

Now go look at the leading members of the Confederacy. And the name of the people who smuggled in the final boatful of slaves. Not Christians. There were Christian slave owners. After the War, they tended to go teach their slaves how to read, and so on. The ones advocating for war, rather than negotiation, weren't really from founding families.

If you look at our civic religion? The Civil War was incredibly traumatic. People infiltrated in, then took over administration, despite being criminals, and then tried to exit with as much of the laid up wealth of the host nation as possible. They are now tearing down the statues of veneration of that trauma.


If you look at the 1960s, 1970s, the anti-war activists and the bomb throwers weren't really from Christian families. TV had a 'massacre' where they got rid of all the explicitly moralistic "Christian-ish" shows and brought in prog lefty shows- none of which had half as much audience. No one cares about any Norman Lear show except as a trivia question.

Blogger Stilicho March 05, 2019 6:13 PM  

State or empire are subject to the same potential for injustice as that ascribed to tribe/clan... more so in fact, due to the fact that a foreigner will be ruling over most of the tribes. Likewise, a tribe ruling itself is just as capable of justice as a state. Again, more so, due to the close relationships of a tribe promoting justice via commonality of culture, interests, and familial relationship.

Blogger Jack Amok March 05, 2019 9:16 PM  

But I’ll ask the question. Is expansion actually what broke down the agreement?

Missouri Compromise, Bleeding Kansas, Compromise of 1850, Southern adventurism in Latin America... no need for you to speculate, it's all well enough documented, but I'll spell it out one more time:

Neither side trusted the other with power in Washington D.C., and expansion threatened to upset the balance of power in Congress. Efforts to preserve it collapsed when Lincoln was elected and the South, assuming they'd lost the Federal government to the Yankees, declared independence. The North, not wanting a land border with a hostile power that within a few years would control most of Latin America, and not wanting to lose
markets for the manufactured goods, went to war to stop them.

Blogger xevious2030 March 06, 2019 10:29 AM  

@58

First paragraph, in a sense. Some details and some corrections, but close enough. Joseph was sold as a slave, so the 7 and 7 years was not the beginning of slavery. Probably the beginning of the Egyptian land being owned by the state. Lots of 99 year contracts in ancient Egypt, which indicates a lack of perpetual father-to-son inheritance style slavery.

Read the Alhambra Decree (Spain, 1492), it was the motivation. It’s really tame. Really tame. And the motivation for the expulsion is hated and lied about to no end.

I wouldn’t put your post in the mischief category. Had the actors you focus on not been involved, it is possible the Civil War might have not occurred, and the issue may have been solved a bit later and without the bloodshed or attempt at separation. Don’t know, possible. Bad actors (and ongoing influence) aside, I’m looking at the perspective that, because of reach, the core US may have to look at zero sum, that you are with “us,” or you are out and need to find somewhere else to live. The bar phrase, “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

Paragraph 4. Had an interesting e-mail conversation with one of the American world expert professors on ancient Egypt (well, he was a dullard, but it was interesting what he did and did not see, like a color blind person not having an otherwise typical response to the color red right in front of them). Fixating on the term ra meses in the Bible, the convention of “written” presentation and ordering of Egyptian hieroglyphs in a sentence by prominence and not necessarily sound order, the notion of ra meses was not the name, but a condition (children of Ra) different from Meses Ra (Ra’s child), coupled with every other pharaoh with a “Ra” in the name having the “Ra” pronounced at the end of the name in English translated lists, not the beginning, and that ra meses in the bible may have been speaking of pharaoh as one of the people attributing lineage, not his formal name. That if this was the case, then the timeline of kings could shift slightly. And this shift would allow the unseen deity in the sky, the one that would tolerate none of the others (and a very notable death of the firstborn in line), to coincide with the Exodus, and the vizier (general concept) that gained the ear of pharaoh and even ruled in place of pharaoh (Imhotep) to coincide with Joseph. He dismissed it out of hand, said the timeline of the Bible just didn’t match reality.

Blogger xevious2030 March 06, 2019 11:16 AM  

@ 60 Did the North want to end all slavery in the US? Yes. Did the South want to keep its slavery? Yes. Did Lincoln have the Constitutional authority to end slavery himself? No. Did expansion change that situation of slavery in the South? No. Did the South reject the compromises you mentioned? No (which is why I did not mention them, not because I did not understand them as part of your argument). Even so, the South left the union. The South was concerned the federal government would extend its reach into the intrastate affairs of the individual States of the South (expansion or not), not because the country was expanding. Trust had nothing to do with it, both sides knew the intentions of the other.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella March 06, 2019 4:52 PM  

#61, I read a big paper, grey scale, squinty, about "epepi" as Moses' name. which means "pretty baby" which is an attribute of Moses at birth, or something like that. Like I said, the Exodus is from the POV of the people who left, not the people who remained, and continued on in some fashion even unto today. I'm more sympathetic to Egyptians than nomads, just in terms of technical excellence in the fields of making stuff.


The United States had agreed to let slavery die on the vine. A trading boat full of slaves showed up, and the usual suspects bought the slaves, even though everyone had agreed to the rules of the game BKA the Constitution. It's really kind of pointless to really ascertain who is responsible for what technical detail, overall, except to be aware of tendencies, because nobody in their right mind wishes to be a Kosovaran bitching about some lost battle 700 years earlier. We have bigger fish to fry: the stars await.

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