On the Malleability of Cultural Traits – a Look at Irish-British and German-Americans
Authored by Mike Kimel
The way the immigration process was structured from 1921 to 1965, 70% of immigrants to the US came from Britain, Germany and Ireland. In a recent post I noted that the proportion of great writers to scientists in Ireland tended to be a lot higher than for Britain and Germany. I also noted that these cultural traits persisted for a long time, and even survived immigration; the ratio of great Irish-American writers to scientists is higher than the ratio of great British-American or German-American writers to scientists. I also noted some evidence that the same is true in Argentina among populations descended from Ireland, Britain, and Germany.
Assume for this post that STEM has been as important to economic growth as it appears. Then, as a country, we probably would have grown more quickly if there had been fewer immigrants from Ireland and more from the UK and Germany. Alternatively, as a country, we probably would have grown more quickly if more immigrants arrived in the US with a STEM background, which of course would have required more vetting of the immigrants. Another way we could have grown more quickly would be if immigrant children, as well as the native born population, grew up with increased likelihood of going into STEM vocations.
Since the writer to scientist proportion is lower among Irish Americans than among British and German-Americans, the lower hanging fruit, so to speak, probably lies there. At the margin, German-Americans are already picking STEM over writing, whereas their Irish-American counterparts are more likely to have gone the other way. Even making an assumption that seems entirely unwarranted to me, namely that there is some intrinsic reason why the descendants of Irish will, on average, do more poorly at STEM vocations than the descendants of British or German people, it is still likely that Irish-Americans constitute the lower hanging fruit when it comes to STEM.
To put things a different way, growth would have been faster had we, as a population figured out how to reduce the writer to scientist ratio, and doing so among Irish-Americans would have been more beneficial than doing so among British- and German-Americans.
So what drives more people to do X rather than Y for a living? Sometimes it just happens, courtesy of progress and technology. For instance, the American labor force working in agriculture has gone from upwards of 90% around the time of the Revolution to below 2% today. In turn, the share of American kids who plan to become farmers when they grow up has dropped at roughly the same pace.
But such changes can also be engineered. Through the careful application of petro-dollars, liberally marinated over a few decades, our Saudi allies have gotten a lot of people to live a fundamentalist lifestyle. They did so, in part, by creating a lot of employment for clerics throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. Similarly, the Soviet Union generated a fair amount of demand for political commissars (and at one point, for biologists steeped in the Lysenkoist school). And in today’s world, when your reservoir of Juche runs low, just head on over to the, ahem, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The DPRK has got plenty of experts who can fill absolutely all your Juche needs, from applied to theoretical.
There are plenty of levers – money, time, religion, politics, outright decrees – that have been used to change cultures throughout the world. Any and all of them can be used to change the ratio of writers to scientists among the Irish diaspora or in most any other group of people you can name.
In follow-up posts, I want to look at factors that affect whether a given attempted cultural change of this sort succeeds or fails. After all, many such attempts have failed, and the consequences are often disastrous.
I’m an Irish/American. When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. Instead, I became a scientist. Had no idea that this was somehow going against the grain.
I’m curious to know which Irish, English and German Americans you may be referring to. By focusing on their possible cultural difference you enter a realm of almost infinite variables, especially if each groups cultural distinctions are to then be compared with their fore fathers in Europe. BTW, how will you go about describing and defining those cultural variables? And when it comes to cultural characteristics there is also the time frame to keep in mind. A bit puzzling, isn’t it?
Of course the problem is they won’t stand still. Those pesky Irish, English and Germans marry each other and people from all over the world. Should there be a law against that?
Remember Sputnik? Naw, you’re too young. When that happened every high school kid in America was counseled to go into engineering and a lot of them did only to find out partly through school or a career that they really didn’t like engineering and they tried to do something else.
Not sure whether you consider MDs non-scientists/non-STEM professionals, but I can tell you that I have known MANY MDs of Irish ancestry. Check out the list of doctors practicing at any hospital in metro Chicago, and you’ll see a slew of Irish surnames.
Here’s betting that that’s true also of metro Boston and NYC.
Courtesy of my wife, our son has some Irish genes. He’s only in first grade, but I think he might grow up to be a scientist.
I am merely pointing out some high level patterns of behavior that seem to roughly correspond with certain cultures. Details aren’t really that important to me in this context. In other posts I discussed the implications of some of these high level patterns. In this one I noted that cultures are malleable. As I noted in this post, I am headed toward discussing the conditions under which cultures can be successfully changed. After all, if a population that shares a culture generally underachieves or is known primarily for negative interactions with police, then perhaps a positive change would benefit the individuals who make up that population as well as the rest of society.
Forcing people to do something for which they aren’t suited will be covered in future posts. And intermarriage is probably something I should have mentioned on this post as leading to changes in culture.
I hesitate to say anything for fear a judge somewhere made a pronouncement. Legalities aside, in common parlance, MDs are considered practitioners, not scientists. The main reason for this is because, in large part, what they do isn’t science. There are no hypotheses, no real experiments, and no development of data in order to see the world. Doctors also aren’t mathematicians, engineers, or technologists, so medicine is not STEM.
(And to anticipate a question that may come, economics also doesn’t qualify as a science or as a part of STEM.)
That said, there are medical and biomedical scientists and researchers – some of them have MDs. But the typical hospital or clinical scrubs-wearing dude or dudette is not a scientist.
Doctor thingee is correct. Usually the best treatment is never 100% but a preponderance of success in applying the same treatment typically gives way to an excepted treatment. Stats again.
It appears again you are pointing in a direction
“After all, if a population that shares a culture generally underachieves or is known primarily for negative interactions with police, then perhaps a positive change would benefit the individuals who make up that population as well as the rest of society.”
I assume you mean that perhaps a positive change by the police would benefit the individuals who make up that population as well as the rest of society. I agree!
But I’m a bit confused about how people who aren’t good at the STEM subjects and don’t choose them academically at a high rate manage to get into medical school at a high rate and then do well enough there to graduate, sometimes with a high enough class ranking to get into prestigious residency programs.
“I assume you mean that perhaps a positive change by the police would benefit the individuals who make up that population as well as the rest of society. I agree!”
Actually, that’s not what I meant. If you go back and read the police shootings, and look at the numbers, the positive change has already happened. It results in more deaths, particularly among the non-criminal elements of such groups.
“But I’m a bit confused about how people who aren’t good at the STEM subjects and don’t choose them academically at a high rate manage to get into medical school at a high rate and then do well enough there to graduate,”
First, I don’t recall stating that Irish Americans are proportionally more or less likely to become doctors. My post is about share of the population going into X or Y.
Second, your comment relates to an earlier comment that there are a lot of Irish American doctors in Chicago, Boston & NYC. Assuming your observation is correct, it isn’t a surprise. Chicago and Boston are among the top large cities when it comes to share of the population that is Irish American according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_large_Irish-American_populations) and the rest of the list all seems to be in New England or the Midwest making the three cities you mention natural magnets. It’s likely there are fewer Irish American doctors in Los Angeles as a percentage of the population. Conversely, I assume there are relatively few doctors of Somali extraction, but many of those that there are practice in Somalia or cities with large populations of Somali extraction.
Third, calling someone a great writer is not, to my knowledge, code for “stupid.” As noted a few times in this post and earlier posts, there is nothing, to my knowledge, in “Irishness” that precludes going into STEM. That is a big part of the point of these point.
Fourth, if people of Irish extraction extraction are proportionally less likely to go into STEM, it stands to reason they will be proportionally more likely to do other things. I noted writers earlier. Perhaps they are also more likely to be doctors.
Fifth, given that doctors are not STEM, the fact that a group of people are less likely to go into STEM doesn’t say they are less likely to go into a particular non-STEM field.
You know, Mike, I’m not the one who said that Irish Americans generally don’t do that well in STEM subjects and don’t choose STEM majors. You are. I realize that there no longer is a major called pre-med, and that students who plan to apply to medical school have majors that run the gamut, but they have to take a pre-med curriculum that is chock full of things like organic chemistry (known unfondly among pre-med undergrads as “Org”), and they do have to be good at math. And as I understand it, the first two years of medical school require courses such as anatomy and physiology.
So, pardon me, but I do wonder why, throughout this series of yours, you’re incessantly changing what you claim, and pretending that you didn’t claim what you clear did.
As for your protestation that OF COURSE there are a lot of Irish-American doctors in the large metro areas where there are a lot of Irish-Americans is comical. Most Americans think that the most common European ancestry in this country is British, but actually it is German. So OF COURSE there are more German-Americans in STEM professions in this country than there are non-German-ancestry Americans. Bet you’re counting those in Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas in your statistics, aren’t ya? Your post is about share of the population going into X or Y, after all.
Another hallmark of your posts and comments is your sweeping generalizations and statements appear to mean one thing but then you say they mean something else. I knew full well, of course, that the individuals you meant by “then perhaps a positive change would benefit the individuals who make up that population as well as the rest of society,” you meant blacks, not cops.
But there’s this little problem in that there is more than one type of negative interaction with police that blacks are known for. Two of them are exponentially more traffic stops than members of other races, and exponentially harsher sentences for criminal convictions and guilty pleas for crimes ranging from trivial misdemeanors, to drug crimes to assaults, to murder. Another is physical force used against unarmed drivers and pedestrians, including those who are shot while walking away from the cop, with his hands up.
Judging from your surname, you are at least partly of German ancestry. Thus your talent at math, right! And at reading statistics, right? Not to mention that you’ve never been late to work in your life, or have taken a sick day.
But what you’re not good at is actually discerning even glaring distinctions, such as the one between warranted and unwarranted negative interactions with police. (Maybe your son will be better than that, given that he’s partly Irish, and therefore will be talented at distinguishing various possible meanings in particular words. And maybe talented at logic, too!)
As for the population that shares a culture generally underachieves, and who perhaps should make positive changes, including considering going into STEM professions, that’s hard to do when your elementary and high school doesn’t competently teach math and science, and your high school doesn’t have advanced math or science classes, and you can’t afford college anyway.
What bothers me most about these posts is that they purport to make claims based on data but always, always make claims instead based on things that have nothing to do with data other than that you throw in some statistic, then some words and phrases that are preposterously generic or that are susceptible of more than one meaning and that you use first as meaning one thing and then as meaning another—and that for those reasons and others, these posts are just so baldly pointless.
Is the subject, STEM academic majors, or is it STEM careers? “E” in STEM means Engineering, but doctors aren’t scientists and instead are practitioners, so they don’t count. But engineers and computer tech folks are overwhelmingly practitioners rather than scientists too. Yet they do count.
And wellbeing is now defined rather narrowly, to exclude, say, small business owners whose business isn’t in science, technology or engineering. This is just nutty.
Can’t wait to see what you next deny saying but that you did say, and what new use of a word or phrase you claim was your original use of the word or phrase. And what statistic you say is relevant to something, or shows something that is not or does not.
Interestingly enough my Internist at the VA who is a Resident trained at U of M did not take Organic Chemistry which was a surprise to me as I did my year in Inorganic Chemistry.
Mike this may help you or hurt you. Joel Garreau “300 Million and Counting.” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/300-million-and-counting-133184973/?no-ist assimilation over generations of immigrants into the US social mainstream.
I left out a phrase:
“Fifth, given that doctors are not STEM, the fact that a group of people are less likely to go into STEM doesn’t say they are less likely to go into a particular non-STEM field other than as per my fourth point immediately above.”.
I would suggest that our policies of the past almost 50 years that has doubled the people living in poverty will certainly decrease those who entering the STEM fields. Thus seeing a further decline of our nations standing on the world stage regardless of race.
The benefits of importing immigrants specializing in STEM field will not offset the effects of our bad policies.
The economic policies we have followed over the past generation and change have made life more precarious for a large segment of the working class. But I would say that the immigration policy has contributed to that process. I haven’t seen numbers, and perhaps I am wrong, but I would imagine that the proportion of the native born population that has a STEM background exceeds the proportion of the immigrant population that has a STEM background for immigrants since 1965 or so. I would also suspect that with some very notable exceptions, there is a qualitative difference in the ability to apply STEM skills productively. Put another way, while we get some of the best of the brightest, and we get many people that are hard working, we get a lot of jihadis, criminals and unproductive people too. (I provided figures in an earlier post I don’t have the time to search for at this point.)
There seem to be cultural factors in excellence, having to do with national self-image. Not differences in their genetics , but in the fields their people think of as respected and appropriate.
Those in turn reflect the qualities various cultures deeply respect. Meticulousness. A sense of beauty. Gregariousness. Patience. Learning. Skill at war. Family and human relations. Care for those in need. Clever negotiation. Insight. Curiosity. Many more.
But respect for various qualities comes from below (the individuals choosing their careers) and above (the organizations supporting or hiring members of those fields.) With that in mind, it seems to me you could determine what fields are respected by their members versus what fields encouraged by the deciders, by checking the prosperity of people in various fields.
So, you might find that in the US the caring fields of teaching, child care, farming, and fine arts are deeply respected by their practitioners, but nearly disregarded by the deciders, because many people are doing them even though they are under- or un-paid.
Conversely, people in the exploitative fields of finance, war, public relations, and sales* are very well rewarded, arguably rewarded in inverse proportion to their service to the general good, but do not draw the high numbers of participants** nor the respect of the culture at large, despite their efforts to present themselves as admirable and essential.
In this four-cell grid of “love your work” versus “make big profits”, there are two more cells — people who are highly paid for doing what they love, and people who are underpaid for doing something they dislike.
By definition, the first cell cannot be crowded. It requires skills that are rare or highly honed, and at the same time so admired that many people (or fewer wealthy people) gladly pay to see them exercised. A few artists struggle into this cell, but they are the vast minority. In here, love of their work is secondary to luck and self promotion in arriving here — they can carry that love with them, but it isn’t sufficient in itself to arrive here.
Dismally, the fourth cell of low-paid, disrespected, take-this-job-and-shove-it work is bulging at the seams. Sure, some people love the service industries, enjoy caring for the young or very old, like the social contact of the cash register — but even those rare few are worn down by the pinch of financial and time pressures in their lives.
What you refer to, Mike, in your overview of national talents, seems to be what their people would be doing and excelling at if they were given the free opportunity to choose. What are America’s core respected fields?
Not literature nor STEM fields, though I am not sure if this might be changed over time. Art, science and literature were respected when I was a young student in the US, but this seems to have died of neglect, or even malice. Many Americans seem to deliberately self-identify as uneducated, uncultured, unlettered.
At present, the choice of what is respected as excellent seems deeply distorted in the US, and distorted not by undue respect (for, say, superb novelists or world class philosophers) but by decider’s disrespect for socially beloved and necessary roles like teaching and mutual care, coupled with the decider’s undue and narcissistic respect for their own skills in manipulation and control.
Juche***, by the way, seems to be a concept Americans would respect under a different name. But at present, true self-reliance and self-direction of national priorities in the US is practically impossible, though far more feasible than in North Korea.
* NOT front line retail, but the owners and executives — the deciders
** in part limited because the structure precludes mass entry, but also due to moral repugnance
*** I had to look it up. Thanks, Mike.
Thank you for this, Noni. But we’re dealing with an ever-moving target here. Expect Mike to deny that he said any of the things that you’re responding to.
Seriously; he keeps doing that.
Thank you, Noni. I was wondering if anyone could notice that the ideology supporting STEM as not being the ‘be all’ for a society’s wellness.
Um … yeah.
Thx for the comment and my apologies for not being able to do it justice.
As stated in the post, I am assuming in this post that STEM is a key driver we want to maximize. My main point is that cultures are malleable. We could select different traits to favor.
As to Juche… from what I can tell it’s application in N Korea is the same as as the word “democratic” in the country’s name.
I have stated multiple times that Irish Americans are proportionately less likely to go into STEM. I have also stated multiple times (including in this post) that I don’t see any evidence that Irish Americans would be any worse at STEM than, say, British and German Americans. I cannot stop you from misinterpreting what I write though. If you want to conclude from any of this that I have said that the most popular hobby in Ireland is rubbing yourself down with cheese, have at it.
Here’s a STEM story. Sort of. A man in my racially and economically mixed neighborhood, who is black and who told me a few days ago that he’s 50 years old, is originally from San Diego. He was born there and grew up there, and for a while owned two pet shops, businesses he started after he’d worked for a while for a moving company. He had mentioned to me a few weeks ago that his two pet shops in San Diego “were taken from” him. He didn’t elaborate.
His mother’s family is from this town, and after he lost his businesses he moved here when his grandmother died and left him her home, where he’d spent several summers as a child.
We’d become friendly over our shared antipathy toward people who maltreat animals, and recently struck up a conversation initially about cicadas and then about insects generally, including what natural products can fend off mosquitoes and ticks. It turns out that he’s what amounts to an amateur etymologist. He has an encyclopedic knowledge about many types of insects, including termites and how to keep them away, and including various types of cicadas (who knew there was more than one type?!). He’s also an avid fisherman and knows the details of mating of various species, what types of meat they produce, and other things. He’s fascinated by snakes and knows tons about them. One of his pet stores specialized in snakes. Talking to him, I felt like an ignoramus.
When I asked him, he told me that he’d had no formal education in any of this; he’d just picked it up because he was interested in these things. Obviously, had he gone to college, which he did not, he would have chosen some branch of science related to insects or snakes or some such. I don’t know why he didn’t, but I can guess.
Meanwhile, he mentioned to me that a friend of his, about his age and also black, has a degree in horticulture from the local U. the friend lives in the neighborhood and has a business growing a certain type of spicy pepper and, separately, one breeding a certain type of fish for food. He sells both to restaurants. That friend also, he told me, for decades held the university’s record in some track and field event (I don’t remember which one). In other words, he was able to get that horticulture degree because he had an athletic scholarship.
You can draw your own conclusions about what my intended point is.
But I continue to wonder why you think some jobs, like medicine, that require extensive academic background in math and science, don’t count in whatever your idea of the advantages of a STEM career are, but other jobs, like engineering, do count toward that—even though neither one is actually a career in science or math.
I also continue to wonder why you think scientists have happier lives than, say, English Lit professors or accountants. Or whatever your actual intended point is at the moment.
Mike .. what’s the point your trying to get to with cultural differences?
Sounds like you might favor eugenics perhaps… pretty much as practiced by the National Socialists (who promoting the purest of pure Germanics — aka a fictional Aryan race.
Or perhaps you just oppose, cultural and/or racial diversity in a society or in particular the US’s society …. stick to the Northern European heritage types I suppose.
Is it your thesis that human kind should divide itself along some cultural value system that you believe has the most merit for a society and everybody who doesn’t value what you value are therefore secondary or tertiary classes or cultures?
And IF that’s what you’re actually leading up to then pray tell what gives your value system any more “rightiousness” or value than anybody else’s?
Why don’t you wait and see what comes out of this?
“I also continue to wonder why you think scientists have happier lives than, say, English Lit professors or accountants. Or whatever your actual intended point is at the moment.”
Boy, can’t pull one past you. I thought I disguised my whole point to which I was going to build up over the next few weeks, namely that scientists, particularly those who aren’t Irish, are much happier than English Lit professors, particularly the Irish ones. I figured by not mentioning happiness at all, or even implying it, nobody would guess. What tipped you off? It was the cheese, wasn’t it?
Seriously. How am I supposed to respond to this whole happiness thing you’ve pulled out of thin air?
(Sigh.) OK. (Another sigh.) (Deep breath.)
Not long ago, I had post looking at terrorism and culture. See, it seems that in the past decade and a half or so, the West has had issues with some immigrant groups which have gone on to blow up a fair number of people. (And yes, I know, you can find examples of terrorists who aren’t members of those groups, but that isn’t an argument in favor of importing more terrorists.) Other members of some of those same groups have also gone off to fight for such friends of the Western Culture as ISIS and al-Shabaab.
You may think it provides some comfort to the parents of their victims if you tell them only a Nazi could possibly want to find ways to get extremists to give up on their goal of slaughtering or subjugating women who don’t wear burkas, gay people, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, people they consider apostates, and pretty much everyone who isn’t part of their group. Personally, I view that as example #8,491 of “the road to hell is paved good intentions.” And yes, I happen to think killing people because they refuse to conform to your religious beliefs is a value system that should be opposed. It says a lot about you if you don’t.
Mike, you still haven’t answered what the point is you are trying to get to with cultural differences?
I’ve offered some of my suppositions of what you might b trying to get to, but they are purely my w.a.g.s … but you can enlighten me with where you are trying to go with this cultural differences stuff.
What you are doing in any event is inferring or explicitly saying some cultures in your opinion are “better” than others, which then requires that you think your opinion counts more than somebody else’s opinion.. like those people of cultures that aren’t the one’s you believe are “better”. On whose or what authority do you think your opinion has any more validity or “rightiousness” than anybody else’s?
Yours were “not” suppositions, those were accusations. You are being an a** with your pseudo-intellectualism. At least be truthful and admit to what your intent is here. Mike is saying nothing of the sort in relation to your broad based accusations. There is nothing being said that some cultures are better than others. There are different routines in various countries when compared using the other as a base.
There is no righteousness here.
You’re being a bit harsh in your reply to Longtooth. Frankly I too was beginning to wonder where Mike is heading with his line of thought, and especially with his use of the word culture. It keeps sounding like he’s edging towards those other “trigger” words often used in these types of discussions like ethnic or racial. Cultures just sounds less offensive.
Mike, I’m curious to know, what is your operational definition of “…high level patterns of behavior”? Maybe you should focus more on individual opportunity rather than culture. This sentence is suggests that some genetic component is about to explain the differences in cultures, if they really even exist to begin with. “I also noted some evidence that the same is true in Argentina among populations descended from Ireland, Britain, and Germany.” You might want to take a look at the common ancestry of those three national groups. They all share lines from northern Germanic (Saxons), Danish (Angles), Frankish and Jute tribes.
It’s a quagmire as an area of study Mike, and I think you should back away from something you seem uninformed about.
Longtooth is being a troll. He is interested in other than a honest dialogue here. If you look you will see my comments in two previous posts on culture and my experience in various countries. My experience has been similar to what Mike’s wife has experienced in other countries, some more demanding and others less demanding of meeting schedules.
Longttooth and Jack,
OK. Society makes determinations that some behaviors or goals or traits or whatever name you have are desirable and some aren’t. President Obama has launched initiatives to get more kids involved in STEM. A few of them are targeted specifically toward minorities, and at least one is targeted very precisely at minority boys in particular. Similarly, collectively we decided a couple of decades ago that we wanted to do something about crime in the Black community. (The Congressional Black Caucus was heavily involved in figuring out what to do, I might add.) The actions taken have led us to where we are today, with the BLM and guys taking a knee at football games. One couldn’t predict the football game protests, but one could predict everything else. But the point is, society makes determinations of what is desirable through its representatives. Right now, on the two issues I mentioned, that is: “more STEM good, more crime bad, more police shootings bad.” Note again – this is just my restatement of stuff our leaders and society tell us. This isn’t e making some grand pronouncement and expecting everyone else to follow along. Longttooth’s critique that is is a Nazi thing to change a culture – well, take it up with Obama. He’s the one with a soapbox saying which directions are desirable. I don’t have a soapbox.
Now, as I’ve pointed out in other posts, the the “more crime bad, ore police shootings bad” are internally contradictory given the way people behave. So I am trying to figure out how to square the circle. And it comes down behavior. I’ve pointed out that there are patterns of behavior, on crime, on education, on terrorism for example, that seem to follow certain cultures. (You don’t have Buddhists being interviewed on TV saying “when I heard about the massacre I prayed it wasn’t a Buddhist.”) Some of these traits persist for generations, as noted in these posts.
So…. if society has desired outcomes, and we see patterns of behavior that go against these outcomes, either the patterns have to change or the desired outcomes won’t be achieved. That’s where we are in this series of posts, and in the next few, I will discuss what is possible and what isn’t, but that isn’t my final destination.
As to it being a quagmire. Sure. But the swamp needs to be ventured into, and who else is doing it? So I am going out on a limb. Find the right person, convince him or her to do it, and I’ll shut the hell up on this topic. Because frankly, it isn’t comfortable to discuss with all the insults being hurled. Because from where I sit, I see generations of programs that have been tried and failed. It’s a waste of time, resources, and worse, by being failures, these programs have not gotten us to the outcome society claims to want. And the programs Obama has launched will fail in exactly the same way, and for the same reason. Maybe if open our eyes and act as if reality is actually real it might be possible to achieve outcomes that make us all better off.
Mike perhaps the answer is in how the government either assimilates the populations or doesn’t determents whether the majority of the populations displays good or bad habits. Just as the police has become more of an occupying force than peace makers.
We can see that terrorists are a product of two governments supporting separate religious sects beliefs.
I think I remember in original post more STEM coming from Ireland; where the economy fails to offer opportunity.
Relative to Germany and Britain it seems the writer to scientist ratio is higher in Ireland.
I do believe government has a role to play in assimilation as you state and how the government appears to citizens. The next post specifically on this topic will be on that topic.
Mike it seems that I misunderstood; thought that more STEM were leaving Ireland, than the Germany and Britain.
Mike the use of terrorism is cross cultural though time .. no culture has is any more or less prone to use it.
I remind that the genesis of the colonial anti-British rule was augmented in a very large part by colonial “secret organizatoins” opposed to British rule (not just the “taxation without representation our cleansed history books relate). One of these, among many others were the “Sons of Liberty”. These groups used terrorism … you need to read a bit more history.
Europeans have used terrorism for centuries… both state sponsored and by local / regional organizations. The Inidians (of India) used it against GB for decades before the British pulled out.
There’s no cultural relationship to terrorism.
I stated in the post and previously that cultures change with time even if some of these cultural traits can persist for quite a while. But it is cold comfort that a culture that generates a lot of terrorists today will be peaceful in two generations since a lot of people will get killed in the meanwhile. Hence, figuring out how to speed up the process and make it stick has value. Similarly, if the goal is create more STEM expertise in the Black community as per Obama’sinitiative, then it would be useful to understand what would and what wouldn’t be likely to achieve that outcome. Ditto crime.
I’ll be clear on this Mike, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. I mean that literally. The Irish produce more literature then do the British and the Germans, which both produce more STEM participants? From there the discussion meanders to terrorism and culture. And some how you’ve learned/decided(?) that Argentines who emigrated from those three countries share the same cultural inclinations as their fore fathers.
I especially liked this declaration, “Many Americans seem to deliberately self-identify as uneducated, uncultured, unlettered.” I can just imagine their inter cultural conversations. Yeah man, I hated high school and I’m pleased as punch not to be able to read and to be as uncouth as the next guy. And Run seems to think that this all some how relates to production line performance.
No one is studying cultural differences? No one is studying productivity? Or is it productivity in the work place? And is no one studying how those parameters interact? There must be 1000 libraries in this country alone filled with the minutia of comparative sociology.
That the government doesn’t know how to solve poverty and its effects on people should be no great surprise in our, dare I say, culture. We don’t care about the poor other than on the most superficial basis. And why have I jumped from cultural traits to poverty? It’s a which came first question, but maybe you should look into the effects of poverty on the development of ethics, as in one’s personal ethic. And I’m not referring to altruism.
No, you are wrong. It was an example of slack time. It was part of an earlier discussion on work. You wandered in on a later part of the discussion.
I may not know what I am talking about. Blogging can be the equivalent of thinking aloud sometimes.
Note that I said nothing about the Irish producing more literature. I kept using words like proportionately and ratio for a reason. I made an observation. If it is wrong, show me. But as I noted on another thread, Irish-American museums and websites seem to have an easy time listing first rate writers, but barely mention scientists.
The quote you noted above is not mine.
“No one is studying cultural differences? No one is studying productivity? Or is it productivity in the work place? And is no one studying how those parameters interact? There must be 1000 libraries in this country alone filled with the minutia of comparative sociology.”
And yet words like racist and even Nazi were flung my way for doing it. Seems a bit odd.
So if cultures change with time, then how do you define a culture? What time period defines a current culture? Two weeks? One generation? 10 generations?
Moreover isn’t is also the case that some elements of cultural traits persist for several centuries, while other aspects may change more frequently? I submit as just one obvious example of centuries of a society maintaining cultural traits that the southern US former confederate states have retained a cultural racist, xenophobic, “individualism”, State’ Rights identity for over 200 years, despite losing the Civil war, despite 100 years of federal constitutional law, and despite over 50 years of the Civil Rights Act
So what definition of culture are you using and which traits over what time frames? You think culture changes in a decade or two? Get a grip!
Mike did you ever consider that perhaps the reason the Irish didn’t develop as many STEM types has more to do with their strong religious upbringing, identity and educational system…..which was by the clergy or clergy determined teachers and administrators.
If you’re defining “culture” as religiosity or as a dominant determinant of religiosity then you’re not talking about a culture but of religion…… perhaps just one element of a culture.
I of course agree with Jack… and have tried to provide the substantive questions to youi n my responses since the get-go on your first post on general topic eh so you could figure it out for yourself. You’re apparently too obtuse.
My point in the past few posts (i.e., before this) is that cultures or traits do seem to persist in groups of people, and they persist both temporally and geographically. Moving someone to the US doesn’t change his/her culture. And yet, as per other posts, we want or expect people’s culture to change. And we have more and more immigration from places whose culture is not entirely compatible with our own.
For example – if you tell Americans “there will be more immigrants from countries where bacha bazi, honor killings, female genital mutilation and waging war on infidels are acceptable, and we expect the new immigrants to maintain those traditions in the US for a few hundred years” there will be resistance. However, our immigration policies in recent decades have been to allow more immigration from such places, and to pretend those traditions will go away as soon as the immigrants breathe American air. Our likely next President, Mrs. Valens, er, Clinton, will likely increase this trend. So figuring out if there is a way to change these cultural norms quickly may have some value.
I am not defining cultures as religiosity. I did note religion can change culture. And yes, there are elements of culture.
I note also that there are cultural traits even with existing populations we may want to change. Think Obama’s STEM initiative which goes against many cultural norms.
Mike, I’ll try to make this brief
You stated: “And yet, as per other posts, we want or expect people’s culture to change.”
“We” is an awfully inclusive term. Who specifically are you referring to be “we”. Do you mean some particular group of US citizens? If can you be more explicit in which group? or do you mean the human race in general? Sounds more like you’re referring to your personal opinion of which you include “we” to mean others with whom you associate and know who hold the same opinion.
“…expect people’s cultures to change.” Why expect people’s cultures to change, MIke?. For what or whose benefits or what reasons for changing them?. It certainly seems to me that people decide to participate and maintain their culture because it provides them a benefit they prefer over their alternatives in their culture. Why would “we expect” them to change their culture? Sounds like an “us v them” argument.. which is promotion of divisiveness isn’t it?
Next, you stated a hypothetical:
” if you tell Americans “there will be more immigrants from countries where bacha bazi, honor killings, female genital mutilation and waging war on infidels are acceptable, and we expect the new immigrants to maintain those traditions in the US for a few hundred years” there will be resistance”.
Hypothetically Americans .. meaning “we” Americans in context of your statement, if we “expect new immigrants to maintain…[listed specific] traditions… for a few hundred years, then [Americans] will have “resistance” presumably you mean resistance to immigrants with those [listed specific] traditions.
You are aware of course that you have specifically targeted a) Muslim cultural elements, b) western to eastern central African cultural elements, and misconstrued the element “waging war on infidels” to be unique to Muslims, when in fact it’s a religious trait common to almost all religions… not the least of which is the Christian religion.
Bacha bazi – pedophila, especially homosexual pedophilia, predominantly a cultural element of Afghans. This is a sexual mores cultural element.
Honor killings – an element of Islam religion. According to Sharif Kanaana, professor of anthropology at Birzeit University, says that honor killing is:”
“A complicated issue that cuts deep into the history of Islamic society. .. What the men of the family, clan, or tribe seek control of in a patrilineal society is reproductive power. Women for the tribe were considered a factory for making men. The honour killing is not a means to control sexual power or behavior. What’s behind it is the issue of fertility, or reproductive power.”
Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing (see Culture section)
Female genital mutilation – Promoted exclusively by women. Common reasons …cited by women in surveys are social acceptance, religion, hygiene, preservation of virginity, marriageability and enhancement of male sexual pleasure.[ Most of central Africa, western to eastern, practice this cultural element. From as many > 95% in some nations to as few as 25% in others, averaging perhaps in the 50% – 60% range overall, practice this tradition in age 15-49 (per 2015 UNICEF). Egypt & Sudan for example are 87%; Mali 89%; Mauritania 89%, Somalia 98%, Nigeria 25%, etc.
Indonesia the incidence of 49% of girls 0 – 11 years old … older girls and adults data not available .. obviously at least this percentage if not substantially greater. Since Indonesia is a strong Islamic culture, the this cultural element of Indonesians is dominated by religious mores.
Waging war on infidels -An infidel is anybody not belonging to a group, principally a specific religious group. Muslims and Jews are infidels to the Christians; Christians and Jews are infidels to the Muslims, etc. The Christians have practiced waging war on infidels with the Christian Crusades; waged war on the infidel Jews with pogroms, both state and religious sponsored, and by the Nazi’s in the 1930’s and ’40’s as I’ sure you are very well aware.
So waging war on infidels doesn’t follow any particular cultural element at all, but is solely a religious practice. Furthermore, the only warring on infidels being conducted in recent times is not a war on infidels at all, but is rather only the propaganda tool used by terrorist organizations in the ME and their extremist religious sympathizers elsewhere, operating under the populism of “religion” If there is a “war on infidels” then it is only by an extremist religious sect
We have the same extremist religious “war on infidels” sects in the US operating under the auspices of Christianity … infidels are the Muslims to those extremist religious groups. Trump is a major promoter of this sect… in fact, even if he makes believe to the public that he’s talking about US “safety and security”, he’s actually practicing ‘war on the Islamic infidels” In fact, to the extremist Christians of these sects, I myself am a known infidel.
The KKK (among others) is a very well known extremist religious group who have warred against non-Christians and still promote it. They are very well known to promote anti-Semitism and practice it as well.
Anti-Semitism is as prevalent by Christians as Muslims, and is a “war on infidels” by both these religions. So don ‘t confuse and conflate cultures with religious belief systems, Mike, or “warring on infidels” to be a uniquely Muslim religious belief when in fact what you’re referring to are extremist terrorist groups seeking to take control of territories and gov’ts using populism of religion as their propaganda tool.
In the US there’s a similar kind of “war on infidels” in the sense that a very large plurality of whites believe blacks and Hispanics are racial infidels (not belonging to the group of whites defined by those whites of European ancestry). And as you are also well aware that particular “war on infidels” has gone on for a couple of centuries already and is still going strong. The lynching’s and blatant abuse of juris prudence aren’t prevalent anymore, but they’ simply been replaced by abuse of police “enforcement”, and the “war on drugs” which is and has always been to war on blacks.
“We Americans” like to say our culture doesn’t practice pedophilia either, but we do practice it and always have, and just like to say we don’t. Pedophilia of the homo-sexual variety is a human trait, across all cultures over all time. It was practiced widely and openly without being considered “abnormal” in ancient Greece for centuries. Is it part of our culture.. of course it is as it is in every society across the span of humans. Since it’s against the law and penalties are stiff, it just goes underground, but to think it isn’t part of our culture is purely wishful thinking fantasy.
On female genital mutilation — n those cultures which practice it widely and there are many (Africa, Indonesia predominantly) the worst part of to those cultures is that the non-practicing cultures call it “mutilation” which from their point of view is a gross misconstruction.
Who get’s to say whose cultural elements are “bad” and whose are “good”? Traditions run deep in societies. If they weren’t considered beneficial to those societies they would have long since abandoned them. A perfect example in the US is our “individualism” and “racist” culture… we retain them only because “we” benefit from them… of course it’s at somebody else’s expense but that hasn’t forced “us” to abandon those cultural elements, now has it?
The fact that’s its women of promote and maintain the practice of what we refer to as female genital mutilation should make you stop and wonder why women in those cultures that practice it consider it a benefit.
That you don’t or I don’t or your wife doesn’t or mine doesn’t consider it a benefit is purely a matter of choice. It wasn’t until the mid-1980’s that it was even against the law in the U.S. and doctors here practiced it on women into the 1960’s — about the same time the youth of our nation started the 1960’s cultural revolution …. that coincided with the availability of “the pill” to most women, which freed them from fear of un-wed pregnancy and/or pregnancy interfering with educational aspirations or retaining their jobs, and thus also freed them from social (aka religious) stigmas. And it wasn’t long after that when Roe v Wade abortion rights were made the law of the land… which occurred about the same time as the Supreme Court banned state laws from prohibiting inter-racial marriage in the famous Virginia case (Love v Virginia?).
The point is only that there are still a large proportion of the US cultural element that would like to ban women’s rights to abortions, restrict availability of the pill or other medical methods of preventing pregnancy. Did our culture change in the 1960’s or did it just split into two cultural groups based on religious beliefs of “chastity”, “no sex before marriage”, etc. Much if most of the religious and social stigma of un-wed pregnancy and motherhood is now gone from our society (though I’m sure it still exists in some quarters).
BTW, the “pill” was a huge economic benefit to the US as it enabled millions upon millions of women to enter and remain in the workforce, which drove demand for goods and services up, which spurred increased production and with it increased demand for employment, etc. in a pretty decent example of a beneficial cycle. I’m not at all sure the “pill” was the genesis, but it certainly had a lot to do with it.
So it seems to me that you just “happened” in your hypothetical to select cultural traits which exist in only either blacks in Africa or Muslims, and then threw in “warring on infidels” as if this was a cultural element of Muslims when it is certainly not (though it’s a populist propaganda promoted by Christian extremists and xenophobes). And you used this hypothetical as a reason to opposing immigration from these two groups.
Sounds like pretty racist and a Christian infidel belief system to me.
I am glad you were brief. Thanks for the history lesson on infidels.
– Mike’s comment: “And yet, as per other posts, we want or expect people’s culture to change.”
– Longtooth’s Comment: “We” is an awfully inclusive term. Who specifically are you referring to be “we”. Do you mean some particular group of US citizens? If can you be more explicit in which group? or do you mean the human race in general? Sounds more like you’re referring to your personal opinion of which you include “we” to mean others with whom you associate and know who hold the same opinion.
– Longtooth Comment: That you don’t or I don’t or your wife doesn’t or mine doesn’t consider it a benefit is purely a matter of choice. It wasn’t until the mid-1980′s that it was even against the law in the U.S. and doctors here practiced it on women into the 1960′s
– Longtooth: Sounds like pretty racist and a Christian infidel belief system to me.
So what are you indicting, the system or Mike? If it is already against the law in the US, then society has decided this is the desired behavior (even if it was decided in the eighties) it(we) wish(es) people to follow. Or are you in support of murder, female mutilation, pedophilia, etc. because it is a religious/cultural practice outside of the US and can, or should be practiced in the US as a result??
Before I answer, I hope you’ll indulge me in a few questions.
1. Where are you located? I get the feeling it’s the US, but what part of the country?
2. I am trying to understand the name “Longttooth” and in particular the double t.
I won’t cover the same points as run, but I generally agree with what he wrote. I would add a few things.
1. The US already has laws against, say, genocide or human trafficking. However, if you are a human trafficker, you will not be allowed into the US. (See moral turpitude here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1182). If you are found, years after being granted citizenship, to have committed genocide somewhere across the globe, you will get deported. The fact that there are laws against X doesn’t mean that immigration law allows people who have committed X but don’t do it in the US. I for one would support keeping out people who rape small children and if that makes me a Nazi in your book, so be it.
1a. If you cannot figure out who the “we” is, note that it is the rules against admitting certain groups of aliens into the country are the law of the land. It isn’t me and a few buddies that I am referring to as “we.”
2. Say you have the Hatfields and the McCoys going at it in this country. How does that justify bringing in a third party that has an antipathy toward both the Hatfields and the McCoys? Are we really better off with a multi-sided battle than just a two sided battle?
3. Similarly, the fact that there are already child molesters in this country doesn’t justify, say, importing pedophiles from Western Europe, so why would it justify bringing in pedophiles from Afghanistan? Is the fact that they’re from Afghanistan the clincher?
4. Same argument as 2, but applied to religious extremists?
5. The fact that pedophelia is pushed underground rather than completely eliminated is a problem, but it may be the outcome that generates the least amount of child molestation given the current makeup of our society and the level of monitoring of citizens we are willing to tolerate. (I hope we can agree that any reduction in the amount of child molestation that goes on is a good thing.) But if you increase of ratios of pedophiles to non-pedophiles, you will increase molestation, and not just proportionately to the rise in pedophiles. Think networking effects. Heck, get enough pedophiles together and maybe they start thinking about a change in the law.
6. Your “war on the infidels” comment… Sure, but if I hate, hate, hate Elbonians (from the Dilbert comic strip – they don’t actually exist) it isn’t a problem if there are no Elbonians around. On the other hand, if I hate, hate, hate Elbonians and I move to Elbonia, it will inevitably lead to friction. One imagines the Elbonian citizens would be asking their government what the heck it was doing letting me in.
Let me put things in a TL;DR format: It’s bad enough this country produces a Dylan Roof, but that it does produce a Dylan Roof isn’t an argument in favor of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik .
What? Longttooth–and I, and Jack, and several others–are arguing for Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik? Wow. Who knew? Not us, and on that I think I can speak for all of us.
But please, do explain that allegation–maybe something that isn’t along the lines of, There are millions of Muslims in this country who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Two of them–children of immigrants–committed acts of terror, one of them motivated by religious ideology, the other by the fact that he was gay and that he was trying desperately to prove to his religious-Muslim father that he was straight. Three others engaged in purely religious-ideologically motivated terrorism, two of them who had emigrated from Azerbaijan as children, the other who immigrated here with the purpose of committing a terrorist act. Ergo, Longttooh and the rest of us are arguing in favor of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
As for the provenance of Longttooth’s handle, I’ll take a stab at it. The expression “Long in the tooth” means it or he or she has been around for a while and is past its or his or her prime. Longttooth is, I guess, in his late 60s. The “tt” is probably the result of a typo when he was registering here.
Yeah. I was surprised to see Longttooth take it to its logical conclusion too, but there you have it. I note he/she also had this statement:
So you can throw FGM onto the pile too.
Now go back to this:
Follow it with his/her commentary about bacha bazi, how women in some cultures are the ones support FGM, etc., I for one would be divisive and tell people to leave such practices behind when they come to the US. As I said upthread, if being against child molestation makes me a Nazi in your book, so be it.
It was Longttooth who took it to what you characterize as its logical conclusion? I thought it was you who took it to that conclusion. And who claims that that conclusion is logical.
Holy cow, you guys still at this?
In every nation, some things are givens, and some things are decided. The “givens” restrict what the “decideds” can be, but there is still a lot of leeway.
Not understanding the pressures of the “givens” means that deciders can go badly awry, though with the best will in the world. One clue that this is happening is when someone says “If only everyone would just…” Everyone won’t. Get used to it.
I daresay there are countries where stability and even survival depends upon the subjugation and control of women. Women, their children, their work, and their stabilizing influence, are absolute essentials. There are ways around this to mitigate the most brutal manifestations, but its hard to put those in place if the brutal ways have become normalized.
Similarly, there are places (probably the same places) where the control and direction of the energies of young men are also essentials.
“In the wild,” (that is, before humans lived in large, fixed communities) it seems that humans lived rather like lions — stable groups of females, with a single male playing king of the mountain as their consort, while male cubs were driven out when they came of age. In this scenario, it pays the lionesses to be patient, tough, and aware of the long term effects of their behaviour, while it pays the lions to be jealous, contentious and violent.
Fast-forward to humans with cities. Now, it pays the lions extra well to be violent and contentious! Just wait around for some other lions to build up a good city and a big pride of ladies, then march in and kill off the resident consort and get all the benefit of their work with none of the boring parts.
However, this now changes the role of those pesky cubs that were previously driven away. Exiling them simply built a circling pool of resentful boys hanging around waiting to kill off the consorts, while at the same time robbing the community of defenders. So, it suited the new rulers (and the community itself) to keep the boys around in armies and suchlike, and just deal with the natural results of half the population genetically primed to fight each other for all the available ladies. (At least till they mature and take up model railroads and fine woodworking.)
Refusing to acknowledge this built-in tendency of male aggression and female patience even in the face of male aggression, is to try to build a society using lumber already cut and fitted for another purpose.
Viewing male aggression in our species as an anomaly is to treat it as an option, not the “given” that it is. (The same, of course, with the female “patience” that tolerates such violence as the price of survival.) But if we take these as given, we can cushion their destructive impacts via cultural norms that defuse anxiety and jealousy, support rationality and charity, while redirecting all that energy into other, less destabilizing channels (until the model railroad hormones click in.)
But this only works if we recognize what we’re doing.
If you want to argue that all cultures are equally good, then you are arguing that the cultures that practice child abuse and FGM are as good as the one in which we live in. If you are against keeping out people with those cultural traits, and against making people who have those cultural traits change their behavior, then you are in favor of these practices occurring here.
If you don’t like the implications of what you are arguing, that’s for you to deal with. (Well, you and the victims that result whenever you get your way.) It’s on you to live with the implications of what you defend or to change what you are defending.
What is the measure for a good culture or society? Is it the Christians slaughtering other Christians in the Holy Land on crusades? Is it in the US where we allow whole cities to remain economically walled off by a SCOTUS decision? Is it Israel being able to take over Palestinian lands or shooting fish in a barrel in the Sinai?
As I said before and Joel Garreau pointed out, immigrants do assimilate into the US over time, a generation or two. First generations typically have more children with it decreasing in later generations. Prejudice in some people does not disappear; but, it does die off over time. The South will change as more people and northerners migrate to those areas. AZ and CO are definitely moving in that direction. What existed for a hundred or so years is evolving.
I have to laugh at my Repub acquaintances in Michigan living in lily-white Livingston County, the richest county in Michigan. They were nervous over a light rail system going in connecting Howell (Livingston County) to Ann Arbor to Detroit. God forbid a Black person might make it out to Livingston County, a county which has a Black population of < 1%. The I96 and I 94 corridors run east to west and west to east in Michigan. Many minorities have cars and they will migrate into other areas of the state slowly placing a strangle hold on Michigan. They do not need light rail, they have cars. Newspaper editorials in Livingston County asking what the citizens of it think about police brutality in the county are silly at best as we are 96% designated White and less than 1% Black. How do we know? We do not. The same holds true for the nation with a growing population of Hispanics which tentatively will be ~ 40% of the US population by 2050(?). I wonder what laws will be passed going forward? Things will change . . . "Future Shock" for many who can not adapt.
Noni – careful. That sort of talk will bring down the wrath of those who know we are all the same.
I agree with most of what you say. As I noted, cultures change with time, with intermarriage, etc. But in the meantime, before they change, some traits are traits we collectively consider undesirable. We collectively pass laws against them. For example – child molestation is against the law. Now someone can object and say that it has a special name and a special place in the culture of one or another country, and that it is discriminatory to prohibit the practice, but I don’t think that holds water since we’re against child molestation no matter who is doing it.
Now, a different but more severe issue is that cultures can be slow to change. If fighting the infidels is prevalent in a community, and the practice persists for a few generations, it pays to ask whether it is worth paying the price of tolerating that behavior for twenty five years or more. The author of the Constitution himself was the first to state something along the lines of the Constitution not being a suicide pact.
Similarly, if a population doesn’t assimilate well, it should be a consideration. It is a privilege and should be treated as such.
Note that I am not anti-foreign. I did grow up in South America. And that informs my views. I think Argentina and Brazil and every other country should have the right to know that if they are allowing foreigners into their country, those foreigners will not appreciably impose costs on the existing population. And in that respect, we are no different.
Beverly got it right .. “tt” in my handle is a typo… should be obviuos as rational assumption.
On your other question, my location is irrelevant.
I will only note you adroitly didn’t anwser my relevant questions regards cultures and elements thereof.
It appears to me that you make an assumption that the culture you prefer is the right (“good”) one and the cultures or elements thereof you don’t prefer are “bad” ones. You’re certainly entiled to those beliefs.
But so am I entitled to mine. For example I find the US’s culture of racism and xenophobia to be the trait which will bring the nation down entirely, and the same goes for the culture of “individualsim”. I find these US cultural traits to be “bad” ones. You may find them to be “good” ones. Certainly we have a near 50% of the US voting population believving these cultural traits are “good” ones.. perhaps more than 50% even, so I may in fact be in the minority in my beliefs, but I do think the consequences of believing they are “good” cultureal traits will bring the nation to it’s own self-destuction due to these cultural traits.
Though these cultural elements are internal to us, they might change with more immigration of other cultures unlike are own. I take it as a given that those cultural elements which don’t serve a society’s best overall interests will diminish (but probably never be entirely eliminated) with time. The only question is what time it takes and whether the democratic process or our constitution will allow it to change, or force it to change, or do its damndes to keep as the status quo “forever and ever. Amen.”
I learned a strong lesson in culture by the time I was 15: Do not judge other cultures as being “good” or “bad” or worse than your own… that is the culture which indoctrinated you. It will never serve your nation’s bests interests.
I believe the vast majority of our citizens who are not immigrants of recent vintage or children of those immigrants, are among the most provincial, close-minded, and resolutely scared to death of anything that remotely sounds like it might change their cultural comfort elements… that which they are accustomed. The propagandists promote the fears, uncertainties, and doubts of change to insure or attempt to insure there will be no change. Cultures which cannnot or do not adapt to the forces of change with time die a slow death…arguing to the very end that the changes are killing us as they slowly die off.
Noni used an analogy that fundamentally says cultures do what works for them, but with changes to adapt.
Like I said, the nation is changing. 40% of the US population will be Hispanic by 2040. The nation is not going to collapse by your reckoning, White Anglo-Saxon whose families hail from the Mayflower on Plymouth Rock (Malcolm X had it right) will be in the minority and even so now. You have nothing to base your opinion on other than supposition and conjecture like your last exposé. The nation is changing whether you agree or not.
You take it upon yourself to invade my email address with your nonsense and then you evade the issue with superfluous nonsense (redundant alert). The nation is already changing and they the minorities today will be the drivers of the future. Now you change your tune. “are among the most provincial, close-minded, and resolutely scared to death of anything that remotely sounds like it might change their cultural comfort elements,” what an epiphany, when did you awaken to this?
I lived it and you in your CA comfort, you sneer at people and at those who may have doubts. Now suddenly you are conciliatory. What a change in venue. Mike was honest and you are not. If you care to screw with me, have at it. I am not as polite as Mike. I am not a doctorate
I thought I did answer the question. But your assumption is correct. I do think certain elements of our culture are better than competing elements in other cultures. For example, as I have noted several times, I appreciate that our culture is vehemently opposed to child molestation and FGM. I think being opposed to that is a good thing.
Second, there is a way to measure the desirability of a culture and that’s by how many people want to live there. Even the child molesters and FGM enthusiasts want to live here. But very few Americans would voluntarily and permanently move to places where bacha bazi and FGM are part of the way of life. And in general, the economy is a function of the culture of a place.
Cultures that keep women uneducated and locked in the house, and systematically molest to little boys don’t thrive even when they strike oil. You may not have a problem with importing those practices to the US, but bear in mind, even disregarding the human cost, it will eventually affect the economy.
As I said before, if being opposed to child molestation makes me a Nazi in your book, fine. But as to your views that child molestation is just a cultural factor that we should be willing to respect and accept, and this is with every bit of politeness I can muster, sorry, but in my opinion you need help.
He is not going to answer your questions or statements. He is a chameleon. He blends with th environment he inhabits and hides.
You asked me: “So what are you indicting, the system or Mike? If it is already against the law in the US, then society has decided this is the desired behavior (even if it was decided in the eighties) it(we) wish(es) people to follow. Or are you in support of murder, female mutilation, pedophilia, etc. because it is a religious/cultural practice outside of the US and can, or should be practiced in the US as a result??”
Societies do indeed decide what is desired behavior …. I don’t think I’ve disagreed or said or implied otherwise.. indeed I’ve explicitly stated that societies maintain their traditions and cultures because it serves their benefits considering their alternatives in their societies.
The key word you used though was “desired” while I used the term “benefit”. There’s no relationship that I can find between the two terms. You may assume that because its desired it’s also beneficial… I don’t make that assumption — in fact I find it ludicrous to even logically think, much less assume, there’s any relationship what-so-ever.
You have inadvertently though come to the crux of Mike’s issue, which is precisely the issue I’ve been responding to.
The issue is who among societies and cultures and nations decides what’s “right” or “good” or “wrong” or “bad” and those characteristics then become inscribed in laws which carry either incentives to for more of the same or penalties for less of the same (depending on what’s “good” or “bad” respectively).
Mike is giving his opinions of what he considers “good” cultural elements, and those he considers “bad” ones. By inference you have done the same. I note your statement/question to me:
“Or are you in support of murder, female mutilation, pedophilia, etc. because it is a religious/cultural practice outside of the US and can, or should be practiced in the US as a result??”
Murder? — state sponsored, Absolutely NOT. Do you know any culture that supports murder that isn’t of the state sponsored variety? I don’t know of any. That said, then why is it that the US is the most culturally murderous one on the globe as indicated by statistics (for advanced and most other nations)? If we “say” our culture isn’t a murderous one then it flies in the face or reality and thus we’re in denial as a nation. But there are two cultures in the US on this (as in many other splits): One culture has no problem with providing the easy means to make murder prevalent and that same culture supports state sponsored murder (though they like to refer to it as “capital punishment” or “policing enforcement use of deadly weapons”… it sounds better and justifiable). The other culture has a major problem with allowing the means that support the prevalence of murder to go unchecked and that same culture opposes state sponsored murder and “policing enforcement use of deadly weapons”..
So it seems to me that our (US) culture both condones and supports murder on the whole (otherwise we would have long sense revoked the 2nd Amendment of our constitution). We must therefore find it “desirable” even if we like to “say” its not “beneficial” to our society. This like so many other splits in our culture — or shall I say dual cultures — is a matter we have chosen to ignore — lots of lip service, no changes in laws to prevent or mitigate it.
Female Genital Mutilation? — First though I won’t characterize it as “mutilation” any more than circumcision, ear, tongue, navel, and nipple piercings, or tattoos are mutilations. I figure this is up to personal choice … not the state’s business or anybody’s but the families involved at all, any more than I think abortion choice is the state’s business. If you use the term “mutilation” it implies and infers a pejorative conditions or behavior, and I would agree perhaps that use of crude procedures might be considered “mutilating”… just as I would consider crude “wire hangers” used to abort as “mutilating”.
Pedophilia — This is a cultural trait across humanity. The differences are therefore in national laws and traditions of nations or ethnic groups. The laws hinge on “age”… so that in the US it’s some lower age limit, and in others its some other lower age limit. Furthermore it’s gender asymmetric as culture elements go — western cultures actually condone and even encourage females practicing pedophilia on younger males… though evolutionary anatomical factors play a larger role in the lower age limits of males than of females.
So if pedophilia is a cross cultural element of all cultures, depending on what age is defined as “pedo”, and which ages apply to male “pedo” and female “pedo”, then it has nothing to do with cultures and only to do with laws. Those laws seek to limit the prevalence of some fraction of humans that get their kicks (endorphin secretions, psychological benefits) from sexual interactions with “pedos” of whatever age they find that satisfaction.
More importantly however I think you and others need to distinguish between pedophilia and child sexual abuse.. they are not one in the same. Child sexual abuse is a power & control thing. Pedophilia is a sexual attraction thing… not something that can be legislated. The behavior manifestations can be legislated against but the underlying reasons for it cannot be — just as there are people we term sociopaths who we cannot discover until after the fact…. and who are naturally so inclined as best psychologists understand.
The general term is “deviants” which just means they are a relatively smaller proportion of humans… though pedophiles, judging from it’s prevalence in former societies and in current ones that don’t have strong laws or enforcement against it, it’s apparently not nearly a small enough proportion to classify as “deviant”.
So to answer your question, I’m opposed to child molesting, just as i’m opposed to rape, but cannot be opposed to the fact that the human race contains a high proportion of people who are sexually attracted to children of ages usually before puberty. I can’t oppose it because it would be the same as opposing the fact that a high proportion of humans have blond hair or have whites skin. It’s a fact of real and large proportions of humans.
But I am opposed to pedophiles who take advantage of pre-pubescent children who do not find the experience comfortable or “good” or are predisposed to understand it as “bad”. I make a distinction for example between a pedophile who likes to associate with pre-pubescent’s but doesn’t sexually molest them and those that do.
I am reminded of the laws against homosexual acts that “culture” dictated was “bad” and punishable as a severe crime and the fact that it is a natural part of a large proportion of humans .. when in fact homosexual behavior was and always has been a prevalent part of all cultures over all time, simply because it’s a normal part of a larger proportion of humans.
With that in mind, then when does a society decide some normal human behaviors of larger proportions of humans are “bad” and therefore should be legislated against by criminal laws and when do they become accepted and decriminalized and not socially “deviant” behaviors? Who get’s to decide “right” and “wrong” and is that beneficial to the society as a whole or is it only beneficial to some fraction of society?.. largely in my experience dictated by a religious belief system which stems from some religious leader’s opinion from yore or biblical antiquity on the basis that they received this from speaking with their god…. hence the “ultimate authority”. For the most part it’s a control thing… wanting behaviors to conform to what one group thinks is beneficial them even if it’s not beneficial to anybody else. We can use interracial marriage as another example, or “sitting in the back of the bus” as another if you want to go into this in more detail… both considered to be on the authority of someone’s god.
What you’re in essence condoning is that if you were taught it is “bad” or “not good” or if the laws prohibit some behaviors as “bad” and others as “good”, then that defines absolutely what is “good” and “bad”, as if there’s some god that is the ultimate authority to justify these distinctions. I make no such pre-conditions on whether something is “good” or “bad”.
Civilizations (short of chaos) require behavioral rules of cooperation which ultimately boil down to the rules defined by wealth of the minority (which translates to might makes right). I abide by the rules because it serves to avoid the alternative of chaos which is generally, though not always, worse. Or to be precise I abide by the rules that I believe serve the interests and cooperation of the whole in support of a non-chaotic society and do not abide by those rules which do not serve those interests. I do make small exceptions… I speed over the speed limits on highways, but rarely in neighborhoods — I’m deathly afraid of a kid running out from behind a car or a momentary lapse in my attention with a similar result — I could never forgive myself in either event. Other transgressions? I used to drive while heavily intoxicated… I finally decided it was dumb…. I was never arrested for drunk driving and only stopped for it twice —Interestingly in both cases the police officers escorted me home (I drove my vehicle behind theirs).. and in only one of those cases was I ticketed (driving 35 in a 25 zone — reality was 60 to 75 mph, going through multiple stop signs, reckless driving, and failure to stop for police.. but it all occurred at 3 a.m. and there were no other vehicles on the road-ways in that neighborhood… zero.. and besides that I didn’t have a means of posting bail either.. and I was 6 sheets to the wind… could barely stand when I got off my motorcycle).
So I’ve made some small transgressions of law and order or two continents… but have been lucky so far (story of my entire life is pure luck).
And perhaps that’s why I sympathize with all the ones that haven’t had all that much good luck… since it’s pure chance, why should they suffer for it?
Do not tell me what I already know. I do not care what you sympathize with. I do not care what you experienced. You think you are the only one who has lived life? I do not care what assumption you make about benefit or desire. It is coming regardless of what you think.
Quit this blown out verbose nonsense. What the hell do you teach???
I think the thread has gone far off the course that Mike had set for it. I had not expected this “conversation” to degenerate into the minutia of the sexual peculiarities of some cultures, as with the discussion of pedophilia and genital cutting.
Mike was, I think, heading towards a discussion about cultural characteristics that might account for differences in work performance efficiency, or the lack thereof. As I had much earlier suggested even that road was cluttered with more uncertainties than a blog site discussion can cope with.
Suffice it to say that production efficiency is the result of good management. Cultural traits or characteristics are relevant only when making comparisons across cultural lines. And why bother? As noted productivity is the result of good management regardless of cultural, ethnic or racial differences between the workers.
Management practices by the Japanese in China, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, etc. have produced greater efficiencies than what could have been expected in those countries. Those were where the plants I set components to, toured, presented in, and corrected material and transportation issues. Yes it is management and it is also the change in work habit and practices which results in increased throughput. These plants making wire harnesses for automotive are extremely labor intensive with females dominating the work force with their hand dexterity in assembly. You walk into a plant and suddenly 2000 sets of eyes are upon you, the westerner. It can be trained into a worker.
In my next post, expect some data on the effect of immigration upon economic growth, with an attempt to account (in a primitive way) for culture. I need to write things up, but unless I made a mistake, I think we will be able to conclude that despite the cluttering, the effects are such that they do matter. That’s the “why bother” piece.