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#1 2004-02-20 22:03:06

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I'll probably regret doing this but... I happened to be watching Dennis Miller's show on CNBC last Night, and they had actor John Rhys Davies (Gimli, LOTR) on, who recently made some rather un-PC remarks regarding Europe's changing demographics. Among them are such nuggets as:

"I mean? the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.

And there is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren?t bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well.

By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. You look and see what your founding fathers thought of the Dutch. They are constantly looking at the rise of democracy and Dutch values as being the very foundation of American Democracy. If by the mid-century the bulk of Holland is Muslim?and don?t forget, coupled with this there is this collapse of numbers ... Western Europeans are not having any babies. The population of Germany at the end of the century is going to be 56% of what it is now. The populations of France, 52% of what it is now. The population of Italy is going to be down 7 million people. There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western civilization in Europe that we should think about at least and argue about. If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn?t matter too much. But if it involves the replacement of Western civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss?because, godammit, I am for dead white male culture."

In essence, I think he's right. This is a conversation that westerners need to start having. I expect people are probably going to call me all sorts of nasty things for saying I agree with the sentiment and that's fine, but I'm interested to hear other viewpoints on this.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#2 2004-02-21 12:10:49

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

*Well, maybe not entirely related to your post, but here's my thoughts:

I think I've mentioned a kazillion times that a *very* close ancestor of mine was Native American, so...(and my father's entire family were Czech [Slavic]; Hitler would have had my rear-end kicked into an oven for certain).

Well...I've never even been to Europe so I don't know why the population growth (or lack of it) is different within ethnic groups.  I think if a culture/civilization is valued and considered worthy (wherever it may be found), people will work to maintain/preserve it (and hopefully NOT at the expense of other people).

I have a problem with people who bash an entire race (and specifically a gender) based on bad things which have happened...when there were/are also GOOD things which came from that ethnic group.  I enjoy electricity, indoor plumbing, cooling and heating, modern supermarkets, eyeglasses, sterile and anesthetic surgical suites, etc., etc.

I think of Thomas Paine...Good old Thomas Paine, the first *white* man in Colonial America to go on public record (newspaper) calling for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade; he denounced it as inhumane, a crime, etc.  He also believed women were intellectual equals to men and called for social reforms (including education) for us; he also denounced cruelty to animals and called for an end to dueling.  He helped to negotiate peace treaties with Native Americans (for the benefit of all parties)...immediately shortly after leaving England to come here!

There are many other examples (Dr. Benjamin Rush, for instance; Voltaire; etc).

Must all white men be collectively damned?  I don't believe in collective guilt or collective punishment. 

Were wrongs committed in the past?  Sure were.  Yep.  But there were also lots of good white men who have contributed very positively to society.  There's a saying I can't entirely remember right now...something like "No one remembers when I do something right; but when I do something wrong, no one forgets."

Why can't we all learn from the past?  And what good does trashing an entire ethnic group's gender do?

Besides, my father was white...and he was a very good person.  He was compassionate, had friends (yes FRIENDS) who were black, Latino, etc.  He worked hard, would give you the shirt off his back.  When a couple in my hometown adopted two Korean girls, my parents introduced my sister and I to them (went the extra mile to see to it that they had friends, a level of acceptance -- Roberta is still my closest and best friend to this day).  I remember being in the grocery store with my father, when a particularly poor family in the area passed by; he'd grab and buy a big bag of candy, pay for it, and give it to the mother for her children (they couldn't afford it).  I remember my father choking back tears when he talked about little children in Korea who were cold and hungry, near the Army base he was stationed at in the early 1950s; he talked about them having no coats, just thin clothing, and it was cold out -- and how he and other guys would toss apples and oranges over the fence for them to catch and eat (which was against Army regulations).  Etc., etc. 

As much as I regret it and wish it were NOT so, someone (so far, all throughout history that we know of) seems always to have the upperhand.  When the majority power goes down (wherever it is found and whatever group of people makes up the majority power), another rises in its place.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Hmmmm...Orwell's _Animal Farm_ comes to mind...especially that last chapter (a pig dressed in human clothing and standing on hind legs).

There are other issues at stake (as regards Western culture and democracy) here as well...like militia gun nuts (ala Timothy McVeigh) "home grown" here in the U.S.A., who think the Feds are always out to get them (paranoid dingbats) -- who will bomb buildings packed with civilians, babies and children to "get back at" the Feds.  I believe I'm beginning to see why democratic societies generally have not lasted more than, what -- 200 to 300 years?  There are a myriad of factors involved (few of them pleasant).

I really doubt there's a proverbial pot of gold at the end of anyone's rainbow.

--Cindy

P.S.:  Cobra, what the heck does "Carpe Terra" mean?  I've always wanted to ask, never got around to it.


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#3 2004-02-21 19:17:51

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I suppose what I'm really concerned with is that much of the progress made in this last 500 years, more depending on your perspective, is the result of European civilization. Liberty, government for the people rather than the rulers, human rights, to a large degree science... all are spawned from the culture of, let's face it, white Europeans. It's a tiny slice of human history and I don't see any reason to assume it's permanent. Losing it would be a tremendous loss. Allowing it to be lost when we don't have to, that would be a profound crime. A Taliban-esque Germany or Britain isn't totally outside the realm of possibility in the next century or two if we just ignore the situation. Maybe our best days are behind us, but we don't have to just accept it.

There are other issues at stake (as regards Western culture and democracy) here as well...like militia gun nuts (ala Timothy McVeigh) "home grown" here in the U.S.A., who think the Feds are always out to get them (paranoid dingbats) -- who will bomb buildings packed with civilians, babies and children to "get back at" the Feds.

While I'm saying things that offend, I've always wondered what the outcome of the trial would have been if McVeigh had bombed an IRS office, after hours. I don't think I'd convict.

P.S.:  Cobra, what the heck does "Carpe Terra" mean?  I've always wanted to ask, never got around to it.

Carpe, Latin for "seize" or "grab." Terra, "Earth," "land," "ground" depending on your translation.
So it's open to interpretation. "Seize the land" or "Seize the world," depending on how imperialistic you feel at the time. cool


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#4 2004-02-21 22:57:52

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I suppose what I'm really concerned with is that much of the progress made in this last 500 years, more depending on your perspective, is the result of European civilization. Liberty, government for the people rather than the rulers, human rights, to a large degree science... all are spawned from the culture of, let's face it, white Europeans. It's a tiny slice of human history and I don't see any reason to assume it's permanent. Losing it would be a tremendous loss. Allowing it to be lost when we don't have to, that would be a profound crime. A Taliban-esque Germany or Britain isn't totally outside the realm of possibility in the next century or two if we just ignore the situation. Maybe our best days are behind us, but we don't have to just accept it.

*Well...nothing is impossible.  I see your concerns and viewpoints.

I'm especially glad for the Enlightenment philosophers.  England began lifting restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press in the 1600s.  Around that same time Amsterdam became known as the place to go if you wanted your materials printed without getting tossed into the hoosegow (Voltaire relied on printers in Amsterdam *alot*).  The spirit caught on in France (actually IGNITED is a better word), and it's interesting to read the struggles with censorship, oppression, etc., which Diderot, Voltaire and Company had to contend with.  The Enlightenment really took off in France; Montesquieu's _The Spirit of Laws_ shaped much of our U.S. Constitution (and later Bill of Rights); Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were among some of our founders who happily admitted borrowing heavily from Montesquieu.  I feel we who enjoy today's rights and freedoms owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the 18th century French philosophers...yes indeed. 

In spite of their troubles, however, my Enlightenment-era brothers were generally big-hearted fellows.  Like Thomas Paine mentioned above, many called for social reforms:  Abolish slavery, better education and social status improvment for women, etc., etc.; Voltaire even decried the oppressive treatment of the Native Americans...from his chateau in France!  I wish the policy makers of yesteryear would have read them and paid attention...maybe some "sins of the fathers" could have been avoided being "met" on us today. 

I did see a documentary last evening, about how Western ideals are catching on in Iran.  The more aggressive students (promoting social change, progressive policies, etc.) believe, however, that their theocratic government is merely allowing an illusion of "relaxing the laws" (women can wear their scarves pushed back and show their entire faces, couples can hold hands in public, Western music is allowed to a point) so the people will be more content; superficial progress, in other words, while the brass tack issues are ignored and thus little genuine progress is being made.  However, Western ideals are known there...and people are responding, especially the college students.

I'll quit rambling in a minute.  I recall (sorry if this sounds corny) a little parable by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh which does come to mind when discussing really serious issues.  "Good, Bad:  Who Knows?"  The parable relates the story of a young man very dear to his elderly neighbor, like a son.  The young man goes away, falls into a series of adventures and misadventures, which the old neighbor hears about from the boy's father.  The boy's father laments each seeming misadventure as *bad* and each seeming adventure as *good*...at each turn of fortune the elderly man replied, "Good, bad; who knows?"  It turned out sometimes the seeming misfortunes were blessings in disguise and, conversely, sometimes the seeming fortunes turned out to be detrimental (and sometimes each WERE what they appeared initially to be).  At one point the boy got a break; the father enthused that situation would secure his son's good luck forever...the elderly neighbor replied again, "Good, bad; who knows?"  Turns out the boy was killed by persons who seemed to help him secure his fame and fortune, and who double-crossed him. 

I don't think the story is intended to lull folks into an intellectual slumber (I suppose it could be construed that way).  IMO it points out the sometimes surprising -- even cavalier -- nature of consequences and how things work themselves out. 

I hope this makes a bit of sense. 

Along side of that, I am a proponent of studying cause and effect (to do otherwise would be foolish, IMO).  I think the wisdom of Solomon is also key, i.e. "The wise man looks ahead and considers his steps, whereas the fool rushes blindly forward and stumbles."

It's a real balancing act for sure.  :-\ 

I think Western ideals (democracy, liberty, freedoms and human rights) have a good, solid foothold -- good, deep roots...and barring some tremendous catastrophe (like an all-out horrendous nuclear war on Western soils), I'm confident they will carry on (thrive) in some fashion and perhaps even strongly in the future.  But I think a bit of change -is- inevitable.  To what degree is anyone's guess.  Maybe we'll beat the "300 years and you're out" thing after all.  smile

While I'm saying things that offend, I've always wondered what the outcome of the trial would have been if McVeigh had bombed an IRS office, after hours. I don't think I'd convict.

*Erm...well, I would have convicted him for the scenario you present.  We can't have people going around destroying public property wantonly...tax payers get stiffed for it.  Not to mention it's chaotic behavior which doesn't build or maintain civilizations either.

Carpe, Latin for "seize" or "grab." Terra, "Earth," "land," "ground" depending on your translation.
So it's open to interpretation. "Seize the land" or "Seize the world," depending on how imperialistic you feel at the time.  cool

*Hmmmmmm.  I don't think I've ever really felt imperialistic (except when my husband is hogging the bathroom!  Get out, sheesh, what are you -- my sister??!!) but to each their own.  :;):

--Cindy  smile

[http://www.constitution.org/cm/sol.htm]Montesquieu's _The Spirit of Laws_


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#5 2004-02-22 07:02:21

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Cindy--

I recall (sorry if this sounds corny) a little parable by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh which does come to mind when discussing really serious issues.  "Good, Bad:  Who Knows?"  The parable relates the story of a young man very dear to his elderly neighbor, like a son.  The young man goes away, falls into a series of adventures and misadventures, which the old neighbor hears about from the boy's father.  The boy's father laments each seeming misadventure as *bad* and each seeming adventure as *good*...at each turn of fortune the elderly man replied, "Good, bad; who knows?"  It turned out sometimes the seeming misfortunes were blessings in disguise and, conversely, sometimes the seeming fortunes turned out to be detrimental (and sometimes each WERE what they appeared initially to be).  At one point the boy got a break; the father enthused that situation would secure his son's good luck forever...the elderly neighbor replied again, "Good, bad; who knows?"  Turns out the boy was killed by persons who seemed to help him secure his fame and fortune, and who double-crossed him. 

I don't think the story is intended to lull folks into an intellectual slumber (I suppose it could be construed that way).  IMO it points out the sometimes surprising -- even cavalier -- nature of consequences and how things work themselves out. 

I hope this makes a bit of sense. 

Along side of that, I am a proponent of studying cause and effect (to do otherwise would be foolish, IMO).  I think the wisdom of Solomon is also key, i.e. "The wise man looks ahead and considers his steps, whereas the fool rushes blindly forward and stumbles."

It's a real balancing act for sure.  :-\ 

I think Western ideals (democracy, liberty, freedoms and human rights) have a good, solid foothold -- good, deep roots...and barring some tremendous catastrophe (like an all-out horrendous nuclear war on Western soils), I'm confident they will carry on (thrive) in some fashion and perhaps even strongly in the future.  But I think a bit of change -is- inevitable.  To what degree is anyone's guess.  Maybe we'll beat the "300 years and you're out" thing after all.

First of all, let me thank you for such an intelligent, well-thought out post  smile   Once again, I agree with the points you bring up wholeheartely. 

The way I see human history and the rise of Western Civilization in particular...yes, the "white man" is at the center of the greatest civilization the world has ever known, beginning with the Renaissance about 500 years ago, which eventually led to democratic reforms, the implementation of Enlightenment principles, etc, and so on until the rise of the American super-state in the 20th Century.  But the "white man" just didn't make all this happen on their own.  The tenets of our present society (and all the things it has given us) stems from the rise and fall of other civilizations that have come before us, like the ancient Egyptians (they were learning to how to build 400-foot tall pyramids, not to mention mastering the art of agriculture in a desert, while the "white man" were still beating each other up with wooden clubs...lol.)  Then the Egyptians faded away, to be replaced by other great civilizations, such as the Greeks, the Romans, etc.  Let's not forget about the Islamics, too, around the time of the Middle Ages, they were on top of things with their knowledge and study of science, math, etc.  And isn't it funny that one thing that unites the *entire* world is the common use of the ten digits of "1,2,3..." for our numbering system, which was invented by the Arabs...which has proven far, far superior to the old Roman numbering system. (Which I've always thought they were "stupid" and very confusing...which is why I thought the Saturn V was the letter "V" instead of the number 5 when I was a little kid...even today, I still sometimes think of "Saturn V" letterwise, as opposed to the proper name "Saturn 5"...hehe.)  The Chinese too, as well, have made contributions to the world "basket" of knowledge...like rocketry...lol (fireworks...and they were invented a *long* time ago...)

So basically, the "white man" has taken advantage of the knowledge afforded by various generations of civilizations that have risen and fallen over the history of the human race and essentially built what we have now, which is the modern, technological world of the 21st Century.  But this is not to say that the age of the white man will last forever, indeed, it would be highly foolish to ignore the repeating patterns of human history, and not see that what generally rises, generally falls, or at that it at least gives way to something else.  I'm not saying that the U.S. will be giving way to a resurgent Chinese civilization in the next couple of decades (although it  sometimes seems that way, with everything you see in the stores Made in China, etc.), but I am saying that we do have to consider where we are and how we got here, and what's to prevent people from doing it a "better" way...which may be quite different than what we're used to.  That's generally the type of thing that starts wars, and we've got them going on right now, with no immediate end in sight. 

So with the rise of the Muslims / Chinese / Indian / other 3rd world nations/blocs, the "white man" as we know it could very well be highly marginalized over the next century, especially with globalization of trade, the shift of jobs to lower-cost regions, etc.  While this may benefit the world overall (like reducing proverty), this may very well lower living standards in the U.S. and Europe, especially with our own demographic buldge to deal with (Boomers.)

So who knows?  It certainly is a very real concern, although answers are going to be mighty tough to find...lol.  But as Cindy related to in that parable, what's "bad" (like a major economic depression) could actually turn out to be "good" (like the implentation of social programs and infrastructure that spanned generations.)  And likewise, what's been "good" for us (our vaunted standard of living) could turn "bad" on us due to rampant materialism, laziness, lack of challenges, etc.) which I honestly think are leading to many of the problems we're seeing today, especially among the youth.  If kids can have everything they want, and don't have to really worry about making a living (with all those rich parents standing by with their open billfolds, this is *especially* true in Arabic countries), no wonder why they go beserk with radical ideas, violence, etc...they've got nothing to live for in life.  To me, *that's* the problem we've got to deal with on a global basis...and that's going to be a tough one with all the material bounty we have in this modern age.

Gee...don't know what got into me this morning with all of this writing...  I'll stop here before I crash the board...lol.

B

Post Edit....As for convicting someone for blowing up an IRS building, I side with Cindy on that one too.  Destroying things is simply that...destruction, and it's a very serious crime.  That's not what we want, regardless of how much we all despise the IRS..lol.

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#6 2004-02-22 10:14:56

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Good post, Byron.

I certainly was not trying to suggest that other cultures are worthless, but socially not one has moved away from authoritarian rule on its own, for example, aside from our own. Some have had "progress" imposed on them by "whitey," who has always been rather good at such things. I wonder how secure our western social and political framework is in other cultures. While civilzation will certainly continue, will it be in a desireable manner? Will the resulting culture and society be one worth fighting for or against? I don't claim to know, but there are legitimate concerns.

So with the rise of the Muslims / Chinese / Indian / other 3rd world nations/blocs, the "white man" as we know it could very well be highly marginalized over the next century, especially with globalization of trade, the shift of jobs to lower-cost regions, etc.  While this may benefit the world overall (like reducing proverty), this may very well lower living standards in the U.S. and Europe, especially with our own demographic buldge to deal with (Boomers.)

There's another factor to consider. While competition between "blocs" is a natural part of human history and good in many respects, what we are seeing now is not only the rise of competeing "blocs" but the systematic erosion of our own. It is not simply that the traditionally white European population is losing influence, but that is being displaced by other peoples.

In modern times, which is to say the last two centuries or so, how many times have the Enlightenment ideals or something comparable took hold? The American Revolution was the first real effort to realise to these ideals. That one example inspired others, the French effort took quite some time to work itself out. England wasn't too bad to start with, the rest of Europe needed still more time. Germany had to have representative government militarily imposed on it twice before it took hold. No where else in the world were such concepts born or nurtured. They have been exported forcibly to many corners of the world with varying success, but are alien elements within the culture. Take Japan for instance, their present western system of government is in marked contrast to everything in their history and culture. We have deluded ourselves to believe that everyone wants "democracy," but it may not be anywhere near true. If we lose the people who created the culture, we may very lose the culture as well and all that has been achieved socially could revert back to other, far more established forms. The type of society we take for granted is an exceedingly rare anamoly in human history.

What is it about this topic that makes everyone write such monster-sized posts?

Oh, historical tidbit. What we refer to as "Arabic" numerals were actually invented by the Hindus of India, not by Arabs. Europeans first learned of the system through Arabs using it, and assumed it to be of Arab origin. No one bothered to correct them...

Post Edit....As for convicting someone for blowing up an IRS building, I side with Cindy on that one too.  Destroying things is simply that...destruction, and it's a very serious crime.  That's not what we want, regardless of how much we all despise the IRS..lol.

Yeah, I suppose. Maybe one of those EM Pulse bombs that just fry the computers and wipe the data. Computers are cheap. Then we could go audit them! big_smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#7 2004-02-22 11:42:25

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

*Yes, good post Byron.  I too thought about the contributions you point out on the parts of the Arabs, Chinese, Egyptians, etc...but I wasn't sure of my facts, etc., so left it out. 

Going back to the "Good, Bad:  Who Knows?" parable, I don't mean to sound oversimplistic about it.  I believe the Holocaust was BAD.  I believe Thomas Paine's pamphlet _Common Sense_ was GOOD.  The fruits borne of both events bear them out (by their fruits you will know them). 

But some events are so complex and their outcome not so easily foreseeable...I guess that's why I like to keep that parable in mind, and try not jump to conclusions and etc. (which I'm not always successful at, granted...and some issues are not in the "gray zone" anyway).  Arrrgh.

And I think that's enough from me for a while.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#8 2004-02-22 13:26:37

RobS
Banned
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I think people worry about Islam far too much. I teach Islam at DePaul University in Chicago; I am a religious studies professor. People on this list have been talking about the "rise of the Muslims"  but Muslims legitimately have talked about the rise of the Europeans. If you could fly over the world one thousand years ago, you would find Christian Europe an immensely backward place with no cities, no universities, very limited literacy, very limited trade, extensive piracy and highway robbery, decaying Roman roads and bridges, and widespread ignorance and superstition (belief in witches, for example). At the same time the Muslim world was more or less unified. Baghdad had a million people; Muslim Spain had two or three cities of 100,000 plus. The Muslim world was filled with highly educated people, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. About this time a Jewish boy named Maimonides left his Cordoba in southern Spain (a city with street lights and police!) and moved to Cairo, where he became the chief judge of the Jewish community and a great theologian. His brother became a great merchant, sailing from India to Egypt and making lots of money; he died in a typoon on the Indian Ocean. At the same time any cousins of theirs in France (if any bothered to live in such a backward place) would not have even heard of India. The Muslim world was a great, tolerant, wealthy, sophisticated place. Jews faced more pogroms in medieval Europe than in the medieval Middle East.

But times changed, and historians still can't say exactly why. The Mongol invasions of the 1250s devastated the Middle East and set back Muslim civilization drastically. Because of its forests and its geographical remoteness on the western end of Eurasia, the Mongols were unable to disrupt western Europe. The Crusades brought Muslim (and Greek) learning to the west and opened new trade routes, triggering an economic and cultural transformation. The Greek philosophers were translated into Latin, first from Arabic, then from Greek. Aristotle, previously of no interst to Christianity because of his seemingly pagan attitudes, was rediscovered, partly because Avicenna (Ibn-Sina), Alghazales (Al Ghazzali), and Avveroes (Ibn-Rushd) had used him to produce great monuments of Islamic philosophy and theology. Aquinas produced a new synthesis of Catholic theology--the standard today--based on Aristotelean ideas and some influence, frankly, from Islamic philosophers.

All things seem to go in cycles. After the Mongol invasions of the 1250s, Islamic science and philosophy never recovered. The Islamic genius went into mysticism and mystic philosophy. Meanwhile, in the west, a new cycle of scientific discovery was beginning. An arms race with the Ottoman Turks pushed it, with bigger ships and cannons being built every decade, and the Turks racing to catch up. Perhaps they would have discovered the Americas if their fleets had been based on the Atlantic rather than in the eastern Mediterranean. It is partly an accident of geography that western Europeans discovered the Americas. Obviously, that discovery wasn't going to come from landlocked country or one with a seashore far from the Americas. As for Africa, it is a high continent with rivers that tumble vertically to the sea and thus are not navigable; it has few natural harbors compared to Europe; and it is cut off from the rest of the planet by the Sahara desert, one of the world's most formidable transportation barriers. Hence urbanization there proceded more slowly than elsewhere.

So the Europeans discovered the Americas, and a consequence was the "rape" of the resources there and the flooding of Europe with hundreds of tonnes of Mexican and Peruvian gold and silver. This prompted a huge increase in the money supply; inflation; and vast economic development and urbanization. The result was more cities, more universities, more scientists, more, better weapons, and thus more resources for conquest. The resulting cycle peaked about 1900, when Europe had managed to conquer most of the planet. But since then the rest of the planet has been catching up and colonialism has been gradually dismantled. By the middle of this century, China will probably have the world's largest economy.

For the Islamic world, the last two centuries have been a profound culture shock; they went from the center of civilization to a dominated, colonized area, and it was brought about by a bunch of people whose revelation was superceded by God's last prophet (to put it in Muslim terms). The result has been resentment, xenophobia, and opposition to many things European (including a lot of good things).

But don't assume that stance will continue. My classes at DePaul University are filled with dozens of bright young Muslim Americans of Middle Eastern and Indo-Pakistani background. They like freedom and want to be successful as computer programmers and businessmen. Their parents generally are members of some of the wealthiest immigrant groups in the US (Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian immigrants are some of the wealthiest minorities in the U.S.). Many are Republicans. I've never met any bomb throwers. I've met more Muslim kids with boyfriends and girlfriends than ones with traditional views of marriage.

Are there fanatics in the western Muslim communities? Of course. But there are fanatics in every group, are there not? Oklahoma City was not bombed by Muslims, but by fanatic Euro-Americans of Christian background. I worry more about the Christian right, frankly, who has managed to get us into a war without international support on partially fabricated and misjudged evidence, delaying economic recovery by about two years in the process, and creating the largest government debt in history.

I don't know the European situation as well, but I get to France almost every year. Near as I can tell, the French are better off letting their Muslims wear the hijab. That will keep them in public school. Ban the hijab and you will drive the Muslim kids into private Muslim schools where their education will not be as inclusive or as French.

All of Europe is now experiencing the difficulties of adjusting to diversity the US faced in the nineteenth century. I hope they will discover that diversity works. So far, by and large, I think they have been.

        -- RobS

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#9 2004-02-22 18:24:09

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.

Holy $#&* what a loaded statement. I am not reading the rest of this post (or the following posts) simply because this is totally without merit. You want true democracy, look at American Indians.

I'm reminded of a famous quote. Think real hard about it before you come to conclusions.

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#10 2004-02-23 16:24:20

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Quote 
True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.


Holy $#&* what a loaded statement. I am not reading the rest of this post (or the following posts) simply because this is totally without merit.

This nit-picking of flawed wording in one sentence in order to duck the issue reeks of intellectual laziness.

And yes, I'm trying to provoke you. Make an effort, man!

Good post, Rob. Actually, most of the Muslims I've known are similar, well-adjusted "Americanized" people just looking to get by like everyone else. But there is also a very different culture below the surface. The Western nations are letting people in faster than they can assimilate them.

I'm not saying an immediate moratorium should be enacted or anything, but there are valid questions. It's very possible that nothing significant will be lost, but then our ideals may be more fragile than we think.

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

In English, to a reporter informing the people throughout the Empire of what was going on, for a society that just accepts the right of people to know. If it could have lasted another couple generations, maybe the caste mentality of India would have been wiped out instead of resurging. Untouchability is a dreadful condition in the social order.

Maybe, just maybe all nations and peoples tend to revert to their cultural roots, in which case we may have cause for concern.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#11 2004-02-23 16:46:42

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Is Islam really a "non-Western" civilization? Isn't Islam a daughter religion of Judaism? Christians, Jews and Muslims all consider Abraham a common prophet and accept the Book of Genesis as sacred, no?

With the boundaries of "dar 'al Islam" (apologies to RobS if I butcher the concept) Islam can be astonishingly tolerant and open minded.

Also, don't strains of Buddhism rival the best of "the best of the West" concerning issues of personal dignity and freedom?

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#12 2004-02-23 16:53:26

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Also, don't strains of Buddhism rival the best of "the best of the West" concerning issues of personal dignity and freedom?

Though they were never really enacted as the basis of the state on a large scale. To my knowledge, at least.

With the boundaries of "dar 'al Islam" (apologies to RobS if I butcher the concept) Islam can be astonishingly tolerant and open minded.

Can being the operative word. And then you have to want to submit in the first place. Personally, I like it here in Dar al-Harb myself.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#13 2004-02-24 00:51:34

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Cobra - - I offer no personal opinion on this article. Although I have been impressed with Samuel Huntington in the past, I havent made up my mind about this book, yet.

Anyway, pleasant reading. . .  big_smile

[http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms. … ry_id=2495]http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms. … ry_id=2495

The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves?from Los Angeles to Miami?and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril.

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#14 2004-02-24 02:09:37

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

This nit-picking of flawed wording in one sentence in order to duck the issue reeks of intellectual laziness.

It doesn't take much effort to realize the general direction of his argument. I've heard it many a time before by "western civilization"-philiacs.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#15 2004-02-24 05:32:20

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

This nit-picking of flawed wording in one sentence in order to duck the issue reeks of intellectual laziness.

It doesn't take much effort to realize the general direction of his argument. I've heard it many a time before by "western civilization"-philiacs.

*I guess about the only additional thing I have to say in defense of Westernism is that, as a woman, I can't think of any other time, place, or culture/society I'd rather live in than here.

I have more rights and privileges as a Western woman of the 20th and 21st centuries than womankind has ever known.  Unless there's some lost history back there...

Even in 18th century France and England, women were not allowed to discuss current affairs, politics, etc., in the coffee houses...that was for men only.  The salon ladies of France were wealthy and well-connected, and hosted superb dinners.  They were in on the chit-chat obviously...but they were the privileged *few*.

And here I am yapping with fellows on this forum day in, day out.  I don't take it for granted.  wink 

--Cindy  smile


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#16 2004-02-24 05:46:22

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

This nit-picking of flawed wording in one sentence in order to duck the issue reeks of intellectual laziness.

It doesn't take much effort to realize the general direction of his argument. I've heard it many a time before by "western civilization"-philiacs.

*I guess about the only additional thing I have to say in defense of Westernism is that, as a woman, I can't think of any other time, place, or culture/society I'd rather live in than here.

I have more rights and privileges as a Western woman of the 20th and 21st centuries than womankind has ever known.  Unless there's some lost history back there...

Even in 18th century France and England, women were not allowed to discuss current affairs, politics, etc., in the coffee houses...that was for men only.  The salon ladies of France were wealthy and well-connected, and hosted superb dinners.  They were in on the chit-chat obviously...but they were the privileged *few*.

And here I am yapping with fellows on this forum day in, day out.  I don't take it for granted.  wink 

--Cindy  smile

Great point, Cindy.

Heck, it wasn't until the year 1920 when women had the full right to vote in the U.S. 

Even though I'm a male, I'm still *highly* grateful to be living in the midst of Western society rather than somewhere(when) else...do a bit of traveling to third-world countries like I have, and you'd know what I mean.

B

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#17 2004-02-24 16:38:26

DonPanic
Member
From: Paris in Astrolia
Registered: 2004-02-13
Posts: 595
Website

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

LO

"I mean? the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.
And there is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren?t bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well.

First of all, these TRUE democracies previously turned slavery into an industrial business, runned off colonialism quite lately, and by the 60th, some black men where still burned live in US racist southern states, right ?
Says a turkish born man to his family members, in Turkey :"France is closer to Islamic rules than Turkey is, because social safety and help to the unemployed fit better with islamic charity duty"
Did ethnic minorities in USA turned to be ennemies of USA ?
Most of the former immigrants inroot themselves in their adoption country and get quicly the same behaviour as the natives.
There is a average tendency to watch statistic curves as if the phenomenas drawed by those curves were to maintain without any feedback, what is false.
So, at middle range, natal behaviour of immigrated populations in Europe will come closer to the natives average one,
and no one can say if native Europeans will not have an increasing natality in the future.
Right now, for what I can see by myself, living in one of the Paris districts which has among the highest immigrant origins rate, Ramadan and Islam have been a discovery for the youth, and somehow a fashion, enthousiasm has already slightly shrunk since two years, and I guess that with time and routine, teens will get tired with Ramadan fasting, and if going to the mosque turns to be a duty, they could like better to spend time with friends.
I would like to remind that "judeo christian" civilisation has also relied on arab transmission of grec science, that Islam is derivated from jewish religion and Christianity, and that Jesus is among Islam prophets.
Therefore, here we fear much more to suffer from poor economics than from some kind of civilisation clash.

I don't know the European situation as well, but I get to France almost every year. Near as I can tell, the French are better off letting their Muslims wear the hijab.

The veil affair, implies quite a little number of teen girls, trying to defy existing publics schools rules forbiding to wear anything else on the head than hair ribbons (for girls ??? ) and anything that claims religious beliefs. Government turned the rules into a law, this to remind that schools are places for studies, not to pray, what churches, temples and mosques are made for, and that France's laws is that faith is a private affair.
At school, pupils' education, behaviour and security are fully under scholar authorities responsability. Taking part to swimming lessons is a full citizen obligation in order to be able to rescue someone in danger, religious dresses "traditions" cannot be used as a valuable reason why to escape these lessons, rescuing anybody in danger is a higher duty than so-called religious prescriptions, french law orders to anybody to rescue anybody being in danger, not to act so is considered as a major fault, a crime, and everybody will agree that this is a fair law anywhere on the planet.
Don't you agree with that, RobS ?
Out of school, pupils act and dress the way they want, they are under their parents' responsability.
In the Universities, students, when over eighteen, are free citizens and dress the way they want.
This law had been made unavoidable by these teen girls attitude, refusing muslim clerics advisories telling them they should submit to these one century old rules, and because not any public authority can bend in front of a handfull of school age stutborn opponents.
Let me say I don't think this is led by a racist or antiethnic attitude, as public schools cantines offer substitutes for pork to jewish and muslim pupils.
This law has been supported by a majority of islam country born citizens, specially women who see in the hijab wearing by children who never even knew what Islam was before they suddenly decided to wear it, a regressive attitude and mainly a public show for an a political extremist islamic provocation. And as a result, a possible rising of french extreme right racist party.
Precision, I teach experimental sciences in many children schools, and I can tell that all the boys, inside the buildings, are naked head and hold their caps in the hand, as well as I do, this is just a polite behaviour.

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#18 2004-02-24 21:29:08

Gennaro
Member
From: Eta Cassiopeiae (no, Sweden re
Registered: 2003-03-25
Posts: 591

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Simply guess I have to reply on this issue sooner or later. I got started at it a number of times already, just to waver when I thought I'd be able to do it in a more coherent and effective way. I'm not sure this will be one of the better attempts.

First I'd like to emphasize that Cobra is spot on in what's happening to Europe and he's absolutely right in fearing it. Obviously he's a man with guts for even bringing the subject up, no less press it, not merely making an effort to circumvent it. If you're intent on bringing him down for it you have to do it to me too.

My country, Sweden, has the highest refugee per capita immigration in the EU and the experience is not a happy one. In fact, the actual non-European immigration is even higher than shown by EU statistics since more than two thirds of asylum seekers in Sweden are granted permanent residence on grounds other than asylum (kinship being the most prevalent).
This type of policy has been effective for roughly two decades now, while violent crimes, rapes and gang-rapes (the latter almost exclusively perpetrated by non-European males on ethnic Swedish females) have sky-rocketed. To me that's a strange way of showing gratitude.
Moreover, the financial cost of this "humanitarian", in essence pointless - since so few are actual refugees, immigration policy is enormous, due to the generous social security system (built for entirely different applications), but no certain statistics exist. Breeding and unemployment levels among immigrants are high while education remains low (many don't even care to learn the language even after years in the country). The constant dismantling of law-enforcement, education, health-care and care for the elderly and defense, despite some of the highest taxation rates in the world is no less a writing on the wall.
If continued at the present rate, ethnic Swedes will also be a minority in about 50 years in their own lands.
It's nothing less than a demographical catastrophe in the making.
But the immigrants will integrate/assimilate with the majority culture, won't they? Frankly, no, that's not what's happening. On the contrary, segregation seems only to be increasing in accord with the constant influx of culturally very dissimilar newcomers. The ethnic enclaves, where you can live for your entire life, exclusively socialize with the in-group, go to mosque, watch native satellite television and live on Swedish social security are constantly growing.
Although polls regularly reveal that the population majority wants to restrict immigration, no referendum has ever been passed on this unique transformation of Swedish society, so basically it's perpetrated above and against the will of the people.
As for 'official' society, the politicians all wear blind-folds, the press has put the lid on and mass-media and certain state-funded pressure groups will harrass anyone for trying to bring up the issue outside the boundaries of accepted PC-discourse, branding individuals for "racism" and thought-crime.

If this is what you want in America, then go ahead, because it's what you're going to get.

For Europe as a whole, Sweden is but an extreme example of the prevalent rule. Some people on the board might like to think that because the US was successfully built by immigrants there's nothing to worry about. But then you forget that almost all of those immigrants shared basic European values and were generally bent on contributing actively to society. Experience shows that this is far from the case to a comparable degree regarding mid-east and African populations (rant if you will). Besides, education in analphabetic herdsmanship is hardly what's required in an advanced state of industrialized capitalism, anyway. It won't bring you any space programs either.

As for Muslim culture, history and civilization, I won't go into that right now. Safe to say what's priceless in European civilization, among other things, in my mind is not democracy; it's rather the sense of honesty about reality which has resulted in objectivism, free inquiry, civil rights and the scientific method. Whatever?s beneficial about Islam (where neither a distinction is made between political philosophy and religion) the mullahs and imams don't seem terribly concerned about that.

I'd hate for this proud ship to go down. Whatever its faults, the demise of the occidental mind would be a terrible loss for our societies, humanity and for this planet as a whole. Further, I want my children to live in a safe, generous society like the one I was born into and if nothing else because this is my country, which I hold dearer than anything on this Earth.
It just seems so hard sometimes to get people to see the obvious.

This is how I feel:
:bars2:

EU asylum statistics:
[http://www.ecre.org/factfile/realfacts.shtml]http://www.ecre.org/factfile/realfacts.shtml

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#19 2004-02-25 05:29:29

DonPanic
Member
From: Paris in Astrolia
Registered: 2004-02-13
Posts: 595
Website

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

LO
Gennaro, I understand your point of view, as for a small population country, shock of a massive immigration wave is tough to deal with. Non native criminality rises high because they do not belong to the richest classes. If laws criminalise prostitution, will not prostitution criminality automaticly rise, and be a foreigners' affair, as swedish born citizens do not have to prostitute ?
The slight desagreement I have is that Europe is threatened in its social laws by an aimless so called "European Community" led by a mad ultra libelarism spirit, trying to destroy all national intitutions such as the national railways companies, saying they are monopolies and ignoring deliberately that these so called monopolies are public services and are under concurrence of road or air transports.
Tenth of british citizens died because of british railways privatisation.
I really do regret that Sweden doesn't get more involved in european institutions, we need your help to counterbalance ultraliberalism to get more an human, democratic and social Europe !

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#20 2004-02-25 06:01:50

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I'd hate for this proud ship to go down. Whatever its faults, the demise of the occidental mind would be a terrible loss for our societies, humanity and for this planet as a whole. Further, I want my children to live in a safe, generous society like the one I was born into and if nothing else because this is my country, which I hold dearer than anything on this Earth.
It's just seems so hard sometimes to get people to see the obvious.

Yeah, no kidding.  I had no idea that Sweden was being overrun by a flood of immigrants.  Having some of the world's highest taxes and having the social benefits of your country dismantled due to to the increasing demand has got to be making more than a few people angry.  So what gives?  Are people not urging the national government to *do* something about it?  Or are people just too ignorant to realize what's happening with all of these people coming in, etc.?

Sounds like an unfortunate situation... ???

B

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#21 2004-02-25 06:46:59

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

But the immigrants will integrate/assimilate with the majority culture, won't they? Frankly, no, that's not what's happening. On the contrary, segregation seems only to be increasing in accord with the constant influx of culturally very dissimilar newcomers. The ethnic enclaves, where you can live for your entire life, exclusively socialize with the in-group, go to mosque, watch native satellite television and live on Swedish social security are constantly growing.
Although polls regularly reveal that the population majority wants to restrict immigration, no referendum has ever been passed on this unique transformation of Swedish society, so basically it's perpetrated above and against the will of the people.
As for 'official' society, the politicians all wear blind-folds, the press has put the lid on and mass-media and certain state-funded pressure groups will harrass anyone for trying to bring up the issue outside the boundaries of accepted PC-discourse, branding individuals for "racism" and thought-crime.

*But no one will ever accuse the Saudis, for instance, of being "racist" or of "thought crime."  They are incredibly wealthy -- and incredibly exclusive, as are other oil-rich Arab nations (who don't give a hoot about their cousins in the poorer Arab nations, so far as I know).

Only whites can be racist, right?  tongue

I too, like Byron, didn't realize the situation in Sweden. 

I have, too often for my comfort, read and heard Middle Easterners trying to play on the African-American slavery guilt here in the US to get their way.  I'm like, "You're African now?  Arabs were brought to the US on slave ships in the 17th and 18th centuries???!" 

I don't recall that. 

By the way, I studied (electively) an extensive course in high school -- "Black History" -- written entirely by a group of African-American professors.  They were fair and balanced (i.e., they recognized and discussed white people and organizations opposed to slavery and who worked to end it, and who assisted African-Americans in obtaining their rights, etc.), I thought; an excellent course. 

A friend of mine, now deceased, was discussing the Mexican-American border issue, influx of illegal immigrants, etc.  Betty had compassion for these people, etc.; but like she said, if all wealthy and powerful nations allowed flood after flood of 3rd-world citizens in, eventually it would all capsize and we'd be a 3rd-world nation eventually too.  That makes sense, doesn't it?

I understand everyone wanting to better their situation; that's human.  But when it comes at such a great expense to others...

And besides, if Western $$ (prosperity and wealth) alone is "good enough" but they don't want to even somewhat assimilate into the culture, yes -- that portends a lot of problems as well.  Western culture is what has created this wealth and prosperity to begin with; they are inextricably tied into one another. 

It's also important to remember that the West was not always wealthy and prosperous; even 200 years ago most white Westerners were poor beyond belief, going to bed hungry every night, trying to scrape out an existance, dealing with famines and plagues, etc.

::EDIT::  Heck, we don't even have to go that far back.  Both sides of my family were POOR.  My father, as a kid growing up in the Great Depression, recalled having basically only potatoes to eat, meal after meal.  They were so poor they ate off pan lids.  sad  My mother recalled the floors of her childhood home freezing with ice in the winter time, after her mother had mopped the floor.  My great-grandmother often went without meals so her children could eat.  Etc., etc.  My sister and I are of the *FIRST* generation on both sides of the family to have it good -- modern conveniences, extra money in the bank, hot meals 3 times a day if we want it, etc.

Instead of overwhelming this side of the globe, they need to work WITHIN their own nations to help bring them up -- with improvements and etc. 

And people must start saying NO to guilt induction.  The sins and crimes of the past can be admitted to and denounced (rightfully so); but it's yet another crime, IMO, to allow people to guilt induce and guilt induce just to get their way and to take advantage at the others' expense.

An unfortunate situation all the way around. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#22 2004-02-25 17:08:22

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Excellent post Gennaro. I didn't realize how bad it had become. Now I'm even more concerned. Has the whole world gone mad?

::EDIT::  Heck, we don't even have to go that far back.  Both sides of my family were POOR.  My father, as a kid growing up in the Great Depression, recalled having basically only potatoes to eat, meal after meal.  They were so poor they ate off pan lids.    My mother recalled the floors of her childhood home freezing with ice in the winter time, after her mother had mopped the floor.  My great-grandmother often went without meals so her children could eat.  Etc., etc.  My sister and I are of the *FIRST* generation on both sides of the family to have it good -- modern conveniences, extra money in the bank, hot meals 3 times a day if we want it, etc.

I'm thinking that may be part of the problem. We have so many people making policy who grew up with all these convenieces and can't entirely conceive of it all going away. They don't understand what we, collectively as a society have been through and don't appreciate what we have. It appears that many believe we can rectify all the wrongs in the world by allowing everyone in it to share in our bounty whether they've earned it or not. Whether the appreciate and are grateful for the opportunity or not. Can we really expect that we won't suffer tremendous losses in doing so?

Before anyone objects too strongly, I suggest driving a new Mercedes through a high-crime urban area, at night, stopping to ask everyone you see if they'd like a ride and giving every one that accepts a c-note. I bet you'll have no money and no car before morning. Might even have a cozy little chilled room with a toe-tag.

Maybe we should just close the door and drive.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#23 2004-02-26 06:03:07

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

I'm thinking that may be part of the problem. We have so many people making policy who grew up with all these convenieces and can't entirely conceive of it all going away. They don't understand what we, collectively as a society have been through and don't appreciate what we have. It appears that many believe we can rectify all the wrongs in the world by allowing everyone in it to share in our bounty whether they've earned it or not. Whether the appreciate and are grateful for the opportunity or not. Can we really expect that we won't suffer tremendous losses in doing so?

You've made a very good point there, one that Alan Greenspan emphasized yesterday, telling Congress that we are "overcommitted" at this point with Social Security obligations for the soon-to-be retiring Boomers.  I'm like, with everyone living longer, etc, what's so bad about raising the retirement age (one of his suggestions) or limiting benefits to younger workers (another of his suggestions), who still have plenty of time to save for retirement and so forth.  But unfortunately, Greenspan is saying things the pols don't won't to hear, so the chances of the government actually heeding his advice is abysmally low, imo.  The question is thus:  What happens when the U.S. Treasury finally runs out of money and/or credit sometime in the future, when it's already too late to make long-term structural changes to the system?

Maybe we should start teaching basic economics in the schools, so the kids will at least have some idea of what they should expect when they grow up (like knowing that money *doesn't* grow on trees, etc).

B

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#24 2004-02-26 15:20:17

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Maybe we should start teaching basic economics in the schools, so the kids will at least have some idea of what they should expect when they grow up (like knowing that money *doesn't* grow on trees, etc).

B

*Agreed, Byron.

Reminds me of my sister-in-law's son, who around ages 16 and 17 just couldn't understand why his mother couldn't afford a fancy new sportscar (for him), expensive home, clothing from Dillard's, etc., etc., on her secretary's wage of $6.00 per hour.

Mario is bright and intelligent...and though very young at the time (he's 23 now), I should think he could have figured it out (pencil and paper, anyone?).

Rosemary went to the trouble of buying him a used Toyota pickup truck -and- paying insurance for it; how she managed that I'll never know; her purse must have been screaming in pain.

The gratitude he showed?  He told her one blistering hot summer day to *walk* to the store for milk -- he wasn't going to drive her (her car was broke down).  Nice, huh?

All of his $$ from working at a burger joint went to buy expensive gifts for his girlfriend, and Tommy Hilfiger items for himself.

He's since learned.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2004-02-26 16:19:15

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: Race and Culture - A Changing Europe - Opening a mighty can of worms...

Maybe we should start teaching basic economics in the schools, so the kids will at least have some idea of what they should expect when they grow up (like knowing that money *doesn't* grow on trees, etc).

B

That is an excellent idea. And while we're at it we could teach math, and English, and science and history and, dare I say it, Western Civilization. big_smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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