Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Idle moments

I am between projects, though researching transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans. There is not much of this type of inheritance in offspring apparently, most of the DNA methylation being stripped in several events between germline and embryo. The politically correct/multiculturalist/leftist remnants in various fields lost their communist sympathies after the brutal totalitarian interpretation of Marx made by Soviet and Chinese governments became clear, but they seem hopeful Lamarckism (I would summarize Lamarckism as the hope that the natural selfishness of humans can gradually be educated out of future generations in a communist society; I note that Jesus accomplished this goal through a process the description of which is avoided at all costs by the pc/mc axis) can be salvaged through finding any evidence of epigenetic inheritance. That makes reading the relevant molecular biology textbooks difficult, there being a conscious effort by the authors to conflate epigenetic inheritance in mitosis, i.e., the preservation of DNA markers in cell division, e.g., in an organ the cells remember that they are part of a liver, say, and actual passing of environmental experience of a mother or father to their sons and daughters. 

I read American political scientist Samuel Huntington's 2004 essay, "Dead Souls: The Denationalization Of The American Elite," over the holidays (holidays meaning the Christian celebrations around the conventional birth of Christ and the New Year's celebration following). I was surprised to find most of the things I am worried about were covered by Huntington, in particular the divergence between the concern of the core of America with the deterioration of the existing patterns of language, culture, association, religion and national identity of people living in America and the interests of a cosmopolitan elite who see the world as simply a general trough for them to feed on while the masses of particular nations tates toil away.

The title of Huntington's essay comes from an 1804 Walter Scott poem, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Scott asks

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,

As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentred all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung. 

The connections are obvious, but also there is the synchronicity between Scott "introducing the figure of the minstrel as intermediary between the period of the action and the present," and the fact that in my early years I was a modern-day minstrel. I was not the black faced variety, though I often thought of my situation as similar to the experience of black folks in a white society, the differences being more subtle than color, more color of soul and intellect in my own case. My black friends and acquaintances over the years, at least those who I trained with might find that amusing in readily apparent physical terms. 

I note that decades ago I lost a couple of black friends after having to fight a black man (one of my more memorable bouts, the assailant, a huge fellow towering over me, ended up on the ground without my having actually having struck him, but I was in top martial arts form those many years ago). I was really devastated that they turned on me. I guess there are racial stereotypes among all groups. It is of course generally true that American black folk are a little better equipped physically so I assume there must be some typical dismissal of whites in that area, which is dangerous when interacting with white policemen and policewomen, as I have noted before---you must respect the badge, regardless of who wears it. On the other hand, my sensei was a black combat veteran who was always pleased (often amused) when I surprised the unwary. 

But back to Huntington's essay, for Americans, the identification with their country is far more than simply their familiar land. America was created by settlers with Anglo-Protestant culture and political values. The resulting government and society (at least until recent decades of decay) was demonstrably different than other countries in the present or past of the world. As an engineer and citizen-scientist (that is, academic pursuits where perverted intellects cannot make a living through sophistry), among other callings, I find it insane that it is not obvious, as Huntington points out, that had America been settled in the 17th and 18th centuries not by British Protestants, but by French, Spanish or Portugese Catholics, the result would have been Quebec, Mexico or Brazil, not America. I might add that it is odd that our media never asks why it is that Muslim refugees must try to enter Western countries rather than those dedicated to Islam. 

There was also an unusual silence in the media for several days following the immediate fall of Afghanistan after we left last year, aside from some half-hearted proposals to blame America for "not having tried hard enough" to show that poor country how to be a democracy. The irony of us attempting to teach anyone that lesson at the moment is not lost on me. What is the difference between Afghanistan and America? Did they lack money (we spent trillions there), weapons and training (again we were more than generous for twenty years), education (the best multicultural politically correct education possible)? Best for the media to transition immediately into stories about the miserable time the people there are having with the return of their local psychopaths (the Taliban) to power and avoid any discussion of why the country collapsed so quickly.                       

In the past, immigrants to America and their children "achieved wealth, power and status in American society precisely because they assimilated themselves into the prevailing American culture." The American ideal of "God and country" means something quite different from the phrase used to justify murder (often mass murder) by members of other cultures and religions. It means we see the world in terms of evil and good and are not confused at all as to what those terms mean. However, the radicals of the 60's are now tenured professors who viciously reject any colleagues who deviate from their pc/multicultural/atheist line and silence any students who question this stance. They are succeeding in destroying the assimilation of immigrants. The result is low percentages of the non-white population who consider themselves patriotic or even identify as Americans, much less who say they are willing to fight for America. Huntington quotes polls from decades ago: 75% immigrants, 67% blacks and 52% Hispanics answer yes to that question--those percentages have almost certainly decreased. 

In 1998 the differences between the general public and foreign policy leaders ranged from 22% to 42%  on most foreign policy issues. Similarly, the public is greatly concerned about the effect of unrestricted immigration (particularly in light of the perverted education the incoming people receive in our universities and media), but few of those in foreign policy elites share these worries. In fact, the corporate masters of our elected officials routinely use foreign labor to avoid paying proper wages to their employees, technical or unskilled. 

I suppose I cannot entirely blame the Trumpites for being disgusted with the political system that now offers them only a politically correct multiculturalist party line or corporate whores as potential representatives. They accordingly have embraced a grotesque parody of anything that characterizes the best in American leaders in history. What I do hate is the Trumpite refusal to at least try to find a decent man to follow. The anti-intellectual anti-achievement masses have discovered themselves and the result is a pending collapse of the Republic. The laws of a civilization do not govern behavior so much as codify the moral convictions of the people. When those convictions are lost to desperation and suspicion of anyone claiming the right to teach, there is no law, at least there is no law (or question of fact) to dilute the animal passions which often motivate men when left to their own devices (as John Adams was so aware).

Speaking of the collapse of the Republic, the Democratic party is slowly coming to the realization that a number of states are methodically setting up the means to discard the vote of their populations in favor of the preference of the fanatics who have infested the applicable state legislatures. There will be much talk in coming weeks, but the fact is that Senator Manchin is committed not to the United States, but to the demands of his local population. One could argue that was representative democracy at its best I suppose, except, as our Framers knew, the goal must be to elect the best men of a population, not the most servile. Manchin's neighbors back home want only to obstruct any and all attempts by the current President to govern and have no interest in assuring that elections are conducted with integrity (quite the opposite). Without Manchin's vote (and perhaps another ringer), the Senate cannot abolish the filibuster, much less pass a voting protection bill. I say again that the President (and whatever Congressional support possible) is going to have to make some hard decisions in coming months. The threat to the Republic has never been greater. Perhaps the Civil War was a more obvious threat to unity, but the current pathology can result in the dismantling of the democratic process of the country itself. England descended into totalitarianism in 1653, but recovered by 1660 (to a constitutional monarchy more or less), primarily because the Leader (Oliver Cromwell) died and a successor with sufficient strength did not appear. Would America fare as well if democracy is corrupted? There is a terrifying array of totalitarian surveillance technology available today compared to means of control available in 17th century England. 

Also, there are at least two powerful enemies of the United States just waiting for any further sign of weakness that would permit a decisive attack without fear of intolerable retaliatory destruction. This is not the same America that fought WWII: In 2017 a Russian reminded me of that fact when I asked him (I had been commenting, at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on a new American technology that would adjust multiple nuclear warhead trajectories as they neared the target, improving accuracy to the extent that it might be possible to destroy an enemy's nuclear silos) whether it was not obvious that Putin had no valid reason to fear a first strike by the US when America had shown no interest in that option when it was the sole nuclear power at the end of WWII. Interestingly, the Russian told me incidentally that were he an American he would vote for Trump over Clinton, but preferred Sanders. I appreciated him educating me that the Battle of Stalingrad had really been won to the north of the city (rather than by the brutal urban fighting by the determined defenders) where Russian regular forces endured massive losses but stopped most of the German Army from entering the city (until the Germans could be encircled and defeated subsequently).

Well, I am old and I suppose it should not be as significant to me that the world, my world, should disintegrate at this late date in my own life. However, it does get to me. I would estimate that at least half of my groaning in the night is spiritual anguish over what is happening to humankind, in particular America (the other half a natural outcome of a life of physical damage, motorcycles, martial arts training, wild life, etc.). I pray for the good people, that small number that always gladden the heart when encountered. I don't see a benign way out of the mess we are in, but I am only human (apparently a rare attribute these days).

I was recently moved to tears by the story of the Ritchie Boys (a CBS 60 Minutes presentation), many of whom were Jews who fled Nazi persecution, who trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland and provided interrogation and clandestine services to our Army during WWII. The emotion was pride that such men had lived, as well as sorrow over what would be their fate in a world where America has been destroyed from within.