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31 July 2010

Comments

Todd Juvinall

The example of Yugoslavia comes to mind for me. We see the result of a neutral central government, using force to maintain a boundary. When the people had enough they split into ethnic an cultural boundaries, of course after destructive violence and genocide. America was the place of promise for people escaping those places where a Yugoslavia was predominant. Our problem now is approaching critical mass.

We have removed shame from the culture so the 60's hippie philosophy of anything goes is predominant. The fact we incarcerate people at high levels is because of this philosophy and the lack of consequences for even the most heinous crimes. The fragmentation of our culture into its component parts, rather than the assimilation into a "American" culture is leading to demise if we don't turn things around.

George Rebane

Yes, the Balkans have been a poster child of the failure of unassimilated multi-culturalism. The remaining fragmentation yet to occur is the total break-away of the Muslim Kosovars from Serbia, which is still creating international heat and could break into renewed violence if the Orthodox Serbians insist on reinstituting their provenance. Stratfor has an update on this here http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20100722_kosovo_consequences_icj_opinion

Fred

An interesting and thoughtful comment. During our travels in the western United States over the past five or six years we have frequently wondered why our country has so many prisons. The large number of prisons and imprisoned is indicative of something fundamentally wrong. Something is terribly out of balance when we incarcerate so many of our citizens. I wasn't aware of the ranking numbers mentioned in your post. Your comments provide a useful structure for thinking about this problem.

Todd Juvinall

When a man puts sand in a bog on his own property and is prosecuted and jailed for that, then one can understand why we are so messed up.

Paul Emery

I agree that it's a good idea to cut back on the number of laws. Let's start with the de-criminalization of marijuana by supporting Prop 19 in November's ballot. It's the so called marijuana initiative , a bit of a oxymoron. Polls are pretty even on this right now and support is strong from the Libertarians. Less laws, less government.

D. King

George Said...

"Yes, the Balkans have been a poster child of the failure of unassimilated multi-culturalism."

I was in that war and am still licking my wounds.
(will be for the rest of my life!)

Heavy post George.

Anger precludes me from engaging in a rational
discussion of this subject.

Paul Emery Said…

“Let's start with the de-criminalization of marijuana…”

Cool dude. We can drive down the price of Mexican pot.
Pass the Doritos bromigo!
Hey Paul, George "The Pusherman" Soros agrees with you!

http://tinyurl.com/2a8pakv

Paul Emery


George

I have questions about this statement

"Again, to the extent that we continue to promote non-assimilating cultures and invite the increase of such populations, we must increase the domain of common rules, i.e. government, into literally every aspect of our lives."

First you're observation seems to imply that someone or something will make the determination about what cultures are non-assimilating. Are you prepared to name some of these cultures?

Once they are identified then what course of action do you propose that will avoid you're theory that "In such a state of affairs liberty will have been sacrificed for equality at some putative common denominator level"

The Balcans, in my opinion are a different situation than our country. I'll chip in on that when I have time.

Paul Emery

sp Balkans- I need a proofreader

Mikey McD

actually the legalization of pot will actually increase the number of laws (and GO's to enforce them). Instead of 1 law making it illegal, now they will micromanage when, how, where one can medicate oneself. War on drugs has been an utter disaster and unquestionable waste of time, money and effort.

Todd Juvinall

That is true Mikey, they just trade cops for revenue agents. Both pack.

The Balkans are a perfect example of what our country is becoming. Prove me wrong Paul.

Paul Emery

Mikey

Prop 19 has nothing to do with medication. It legalizes recreational use of marijuana in the state of Calif subject to local jurisdiction. Of course, it will still be illegal on the Federal level but hey....let's here it for states rights. Currently the polls show this to be a very close race. Can you explain how legalization will create more laws?

Paul Emery

Todd
I don't pretend to be a historian but let me try to explain as best I can.

Balkanization refers to the break up into ethnic and religious territories of the former country of Yugoslavia which was largely a manufactured Confederation of independent states and territories that had massive cultural and religious differences that evolved over hundreds of years. The Ottoman empire controlled Orthodox Christian states such as Greece and Serbia for hundreds of years leaving a legacy of hatred and revenge that continues to this day. At the end of WWII Tito was a communist strongman leader who kept the Confederation together as a defense against Stalin who wanted to gobble up Yugoslavia like he did the rest of Eastern Europe. True, Yugoslavia was a Communist Country but if maintained a certain amount of independence from Stalin and, under Tito pursued to a considerable degree, it's own path.

Stalin was aware that the "country" of Yugoslavia was a hotbed of ethnic and religious differences that he didn't want to deal with so he allowed Tito and Yugoslavia to continue their independent path.

Tito was a dictator but also a national hero from his years as a freedom fighter against the Nazi's in WWII and he was able to keep the country together until he died around 1981.

Without a dictator such as Tito to hold things together Yugoslavia dissolved and after much conflict that continues to this day, reverted back largely to ethnic and religious boundaries.

That is a completely different history than what we have since, with the exception of Native Americans we all came from somewhere else and we do not have hundreds of years cultural and religious territories to deal with.

I spent several time in Yugoslavia in 1982 shortly after Tito's death and even then the question was only when things would explode.

The closest thing we have to that situation is our history with Mexico which could possibly be discussed in that context. Native Americans nations were victims of America's Manifest Destiny, as it was taught to me in school, meaning they were a weaker nation over run by a more powerful ambitious nation.

My history may be a little incomplete but I hope you see my point

George Rebane

Paul, there is no implication in my essay that such an agent either exists or is necessary to make such a determination. The current rate of incarceration, the population of our prisons, and the militant demands for extended rights to fugitive illegal aliens in our country attest enough that the non-assimilation of cultures problem is already mature and growing in America.

Each society with a dominant culture has a natural assimilation rate for impinging cultures. If the rate of immigration is below this, then the new cultures will be assimilated and the society remains stable. If that rate is exceeded then the new cultures will not assimilate and, as they grow, will each seek peerage with the existing culture(s).

I can propose no “action” to counter this state of affairs beyond what you find on these pages. A logical and probably futile attempt would be to seal our borders to a trickle, and hope that we can slowly assimilate those already here. But this would require a broad acceptance of the thesis that I have presented in this post. As long as the left dominates, this will not be possible.

Paul Emery

Thanks George for explaining you're position. Assuming this is a long term problem and not a recent one I need to ask what did the Republicans do about it when they controlled the Legislature and Presidency for six years?
Blaming it on the dominate left seems to ignore the inaction during this time unless you consider the Bushies to be part of the left. Where was the outrage when Bush ran for re-election in 2006?

George Rebane

I cannot argue for the Bush (or any preceding) administration. My published record shows that I believe that Bush and his predecessors were wrong about illegal entrants who are fugitives in our country. (The labeling of them as 'illegal immigrants' is destructive to solving the problem and leads to conversations like this one.) As an immigrant who became a naturalized and assimilated citizen, my outrage toward illegal entrants and unassimilating cultures has been longstanding and constant. I cannot speak for the others, but I am passionate about America and its progress as a exceptional sovereign nation-state that continues to serve as a beacon to the world on the art of the possible for beneficial governance.

Todd Juvinall

Paul Balkanization was there way before Yugoslavia. I use Yugoslavia as an example of Balkanization.

Regarding your term "legislature" for the federal system. I believe it should be Congress.

RL Crabb

A purely American culture may be harder to achieve in the 21st century. The world is moving, much more so than at any time in history.

An interesting example might be the Sikhs, who live in great numbers just to the west in Yuba/Sutter counties. I don't spend much time down that way, but when I do visit, I see a lot of turbans. They appear to have a regular slot on public access TV in that area also. Anyone had any experience in that area?

George Rebane

Bob, a fellow exec with me at Bizrate.com was a Sikh. We were friends and had many stimulating lunches together. He wore a handsome turban and had never shaved his beard which he did keep meticulously trimmed. (The Sikhs tuck their long parted beards up into their turbans.) This man was a gentleman's gentleman, educated and well read. He was also a loyal American and wanted to make sure that no one mistook him for a Muslim. While totally assimilated in affairs of the daily round, he and his ethnic fellows did fastiduously follow their traditions, which, of course, required them to spend their 'off hours' within communities of their own culture. But I had not the slightest doubt that, would America come under assault, he'd grab gun or cudgel and man the ramparts by my side.

Russ Steele

I highly recommend reading Mexifornia, by classicist, military historian, and farmer Victor Davis Hanson for an understanding of the problems that we face in California. From a Claremont Institute review of Mexifornia here:

He concludes we are faced with four choices. Of the first two, we could insist on rapid cultural immersion; we could take massive steps to close the border. Given current inaction, neither seems realistic. But Hanson prefers a third alternative: do both. The "more radical and holistic solution would be to adopt sweeping restrictions on immigration and put an end to separatist ideology along with the two-tier legal system for illegal aliens." Given our failure of nerve, we are faced with the horror of the fourth possibility: Mexifornia—an "apartheid nation, with great distances between its elite and mass, which threatens all prosperity and turns the state into the poorest part."

George Rebane

For a broader view, 'The Next 100 Years' from Stratfor's George Friedman.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/02/the-next-100-years.html and http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/great-divide/

Paul Emery

Todd

In the context of the conversation you asked me to prove you wrong. I was using the term Balkanization to refer to the chaos that occurred In that part of the world when Tito died and there was no powerful central government to hold Yugoslavia together and it broke apart into smaller countries with largely pre 20th Century boundaries. I am not aware of that word being used to describe what happened there hundreds of years ago. You said "The Balkans are a perfect example of what our country is becoming." We don't have the hundreds of years of territorial and religious history to support that point of view.

George Rebane

The fragmentation of a territory into contentious small nation-states and/or fiefdoms is referred to as balkanization (lower case). The Balkans (upper case) were balkanized already in ancient Greece days.

The North American continent has centuries, if not millenia, of balkanized history. That was the way of the Indian nations as they constantly fought each other. This territory has been one contiguous nation-state for only an instant in its long history of being inhabited by humans.

Mae

George,
Thank you so much for this insightful and eloquent post. I plan to share it with family and friends. I'm so tired of feeling continually on guard just raising my family. From the height of my retaining walls to the helmets my toddlers don't wear when they ride their bikes, I'm constantly breaking the law. I give birth in secret so CPS won't take my kids when I refuse the hep c (an std) vaccine for my newborn. This disgusting state of affairs erodes human dignity and squashes any strivings for self-reliance. It makes me ill. Maybe Bolivia would be a better place to raise children in the principles of freedom.

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