It’s Human Nature

In most of the world (the exceptions being parts of Europe, North America and Northeastern Asia). The single most important value is group loyalty. The particular group that one should be loyal to differs from society to society. It might be the extended family, the clan, the tribe, the caste or religion (those usually overlap and different loyalties are triggered at different times). But absolute loyalty to the group and acting on its benefit as the highest possible value is the defining feature of a probable majority of humankind.

Most of us outside this worldview usually don’t understand it or assume that it’s easily mutable (it’s not) and that individualized personal morality is an attractive alternative to it (it’s not). Keeping this in mind, the political and social problems in much of the world easily clear up. This doesn’t mean that solutions are easy to find, just that the nature and/or causes of much dysfunction throughout the world makes sense in a way that it doesn’t if you don’t understand how group loyalty works.

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Going About Integration the Wrong Way

It occured to me, somewhere about the 83,458th time I heard or read about the difficulties of, need for and success of “integrating refugees” in Western Euroe that this gives a rather large clue as to Western (esp Northwestern) Europe’s problems with immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. Although it’s been going on for over 50 years (at wildly fluctuating rates) no one can seriously make the case that it’s been very successful in economic or social terms.

The problem is that groups like refugees or Muslims or women or young men or left-handed people do not integrate. Only individuals can integrate. First the individual has to make the choice to do so and then they have to follow through even when it’s not easy. And indeed some individuals in this most problematic of migrant groups do choose to do so and a good percentage of those are relatively successful. Those who will choose to integrate don’t need rules to be changed for their religion or their original culture’s ideas about the social relationships of men or women or anything else.

But too much of European policy actively discourages individuals from integrating just by changing rules of employment or dress codes or holiday schedules or by insisting on culturally appropriate educational content. The last is the worst, part of the traditional bargain of immigration is that the new country gets to socialize the children born there while European multicultural policies prevent that from happening. Preventing integration  might not have been the goal of multicultural programs but it’s clearly a major part of the results. Things won’t get better until the disaster so far is recognized. But there is no will in the political class to do so (probably because they are not directly affected so they don’t realize how bad things are at street level).


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Were Feminism Went Wrong

To put it as succintly and bluntly as possible, Second Wave femimism encouraged women to stand up and be strong and look at the big picture while not obsessing about trivia. Third Wave feminism is all about being weak and obsessing about trivia instead of the big picture.

Who (besides a deeply damaged individual looking for validation anywhere they can find it) wants to be part of that?

I’m not saying that was he plan but it’s been the practical result.


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Gee…. Think There’s Maybe a Chance? :)

Oh no! Feministing might have to close it doors! I don’t know whether to laugh or….. laugh even louder. I remember when it was just kind embarassing. I understand the basic idea, give earnest young people a place to express their earnest young (and often very wrong) ideas and pretend to take them seriously.

But… the execution always seemed awful too much third wave self-absorption and the advent of transmania didn’t help (a bunch of women carrying the political water of biological men). That was actually kind of funny conceptually and I used to regularly read it for schadenfreude purposes.

But in more recent times it’s just turned into all hectoring identity politics all the time and has become really boring. Wrongheaded or absurd I can take, but boring? Count me out and I won’t miss it.

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Immigrants and the Non-Immigrantly Mobile

There’s a big part of my personality that’s into taxonomy as a way of figuring out things and having a frame of reference. But so much modern media and zeitgeist is against having a frame of reference (as opposed to contextless slogans and hashtags and freeflowing emotional gook).

The weird insistence on referring to the Mexican national and felon who killed Kate Steinle as an ‘immigrant’ is a point in question. In what universe is this guy an ‘immigrant’? Similarly to the hoary old cliche ‘America is a country of immigrants’ which has actually never been true in any important way.

Some time ago for completely different reasons I had come up with a taxonomy of people who move to other countries for non-trivial amounts of time.

This is just a first approximation and a fair amount of people (and some groups) don’t fall neatly into one group or another and the names are idiosyncratic but i think it’s not a terrible starting place to start talking about these issues as much as that flies in the face of the present zeitgeist.

The primary division is between what might be called the voluntarily mobile versus the non-voluntarily mobile

Voluntarily Mobile:

Settlers want to create a new society in a new place. Cults can be seen as a type of domestic settlers who separate themselves without travel in order to try to create a new society.

Colonists set up “satellite” versions of their home cultures (something like a franchise) seeking to maintain its language and social culture and political organization. With time a new culture will probably develop and may seek independence.

Diasporists move to existing societies but remain apart from them, usually for religious reasons. The difference between them and colonists is that they are not necessarily trying to establish any kind of political organization apart from that needed to mediate with the host society.

Pioneers expand existing societies by settling in new areas (close to the original society) which may or may not be inhabited by others. There may be attempts to assimilate or displace those already there.

Colonialists seek to bring new areas under their economic, political (and/or cultural) control. There may or may not be attempts to assimilate the indigenous population.

Ex-pats live temporarily (or permanently) in a different country without seeking citizenship or any kind of deeper participation in the local society. There may be some level of temporary engagement but identity in all its more important forms remains with the home country.

Gastarbeiters move temporarily to another country to work for higher wages than they can earn at home. The original intention is almost never to stay permanently (though this often happens).

Resource seekers move in order to take resources from the target country either through exploitation of social benefits or outright crime. They do not usually seek (legal) employement.

Immigrants set out (or decide) to join an established society that they were not born into, the process involves transferring their political loyalty and patriotic feelings to the new society. They expect their children to be more like their new countrymen than themselves (or accept that this will happen).

Wanderers don’t quite know why they’re where they are. They tend to have high hopes of joining a new society but have problems following through. They are often a kind of non-professional ex-pat moving locations priodically looking for a place to fit in.

Involuntarily Mobile:

Refugees want to escape war or oppression or who are forcefully expelled (en masse) from their homeland.

Asylum seekers face individualized oppression in their home countries and seek refuge in another. Defectors are a class of asylum seeker, since the attempt at defection itself would bring about oppression if they are returned.

Exiles find themselves abroad and unable to return to their country and/or are stripped of citizenship and forcefully expelled.

This is not exhaustive and as I said, many to most people don’t fall completely in line with any single group but the list can start as a way to start untangling the motivations of different mobile people and groups and might help as a tool in setting policy.

I don’t know if those involved with migration studies use any kind of typology like this. I can simultaneously imagine both that they do (and use their own typology) or that they don’t (and reject any kind of typology).

In a day or two I’ll have a post on how to apply these categories to specific cases.

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Where Has Archer Been All My Life?

Why come no one told me about Archer before? I only recently discovered it and now I’m hopelessly hooked. The US had a major spy fad, inspired by the success of the James Bond movies, in the mid 1960s at a critical stage of my development. There was the Man from U.NC.L.E. and The Saint and I Spy and Get Smart and lots more. In all of these the Secret Agent was a debonir gentleman cad living a jet set lifestyle. The enemies were rival spy organizations as much as foreign governments and I found the whole concept replete with gadgets and secret organizations to be incredibly fascinating.

Archer is a simultaneously a send up, deconstruction and loving homage to the genre. A lot of the humor comes from juxtaposing office politics in the second tier spy organization ISIS and the petty grudges of the characters who’ve worked with each other for years and know each other’s dirty secrets.

Livin’ the Vida Spy

It’s set in a weird anachronistic time (rather like the movie Blue Velvet or Hollywood Western Serials) with elements and technologies and politics of the past and present cohabitating (the USSR or something like it is a thing and they all have modern mobile phones which are actually a lot more advanced than the secret phones the 1960s spies used. The animation is deliberately crude (with 1960s style characters in a 1970s grubby decor) and weirdly static like the Marvel Super Hero cartoons form the 1960s.

And it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in many years, almost every episode I’m laughing so much that I have to pause because my head stoppage means I start coughing and can’t breathe. I find relentlessly cynical and negative characters to be hilarious (my favorite characters on the Simpsons in its heyday were Mr Burns and Marge’s sisters) and this show is brimming with them. The funniest is probably Archer’s alcoholic and acid tongued boss (and mother) Mallory. Often the caustic delivery combines with the static animation to make it even funnier. I’m sure most people will not like this as much as I do because I can’t imagine anyone liking it as much as I do right now.

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Doing Trump Favors and #KatesWall

The jury in the Kate Steinle case might not have thought that’s what they were doing, but that’s the probable outcome. An illegal alien who’d been deported multiple times was released from custody to prevent another deportation (heck of a job sanctuary cities!) and then accidentally shoots and kills a citizen and is found innocent of all but a relatively minor offense.

What this ultimately does is put a human face on Trump’s wall, actually two faces the productive law-abiding citizen adn the criminal illegal alien who got away with killing her. I notice that #KatesWall is already a thing on twitter (though twitter probably hates that). Nothing motivates Americans like individual cases so we’ll see where this goes.

You can argue that a wall wouldn’t have kept out a low life like Garcia and that might be right, but at this moment people are going to be lining up and making a stand behind one of those two faces and it’s not looking for Garcia Zarate’s side. The worst part is the Dreamers would end up as collateral damage and a lot of that will be on those who were more anxious to keep Garcia Zarate in the US, a place he had no legal or ethical right to be in, than in looking out for citizen welfare.

And note that the New York Times (an objectively terrible newspaper by most formal journalism standards) refers to a repeat felon who’d been deported multiple times as an ‘immigrant’. In what universe is this lowlife an immigrant and not a simple illegal alien. Poorly thought through good intentions do a lot of damage. We’ll see how much more damage the good intentioned people (on both sides) do now….


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