July 20, 2012

Diversity before Diversity: Thomas Babington Macaulay on the Scottish Highlanders

Prince Charles in a kilt
One of the themes of my "Diversity before Diversity" series is that it's simplistic to assume that white attitudes toward blacks in the past also applied to white attitudes toward other races. The reality is much more complex. Attitudes varied both by race and by time and place. 

American Indians, for example, tended to inspire in whites both more fear and loathing and more admiration than did blacks. 

For example, consider the two best-known novels by the major American novelist of the 19th Century, Mark Twain. In Huckleberry Finn, Jim, the runaway slave, is portrayed with affection. In Tom Sawyer, however, the villain Injun Joe, a half Indian-half white, is portrayed as frightening and evil. Twain, being a Westerner, knew Indians and did not like them. 

In contrast, James Fenimore Cooper, born in Cooperstown, New York, wrote The Last of the Mohicans in New York City.

The general pattern was that the more distant a white American was in location and time from large numbers of Indians, the more he admired them. Over time, the Romantic view of Native Americans became predominant in white America as the threat posed by Indians evaporated.

This pattern was not unique to white-Indian interactions. It had previously been observed in attitudes of the English and English-speaking Lowland Scots toward the Highland Scots. 

In 1855, Thomas Babington Macaulay, the British politician and poet, published the third volume of his History of England. It includes a portrait of the Scottish Highlands, home of his ancestors, and of the changing opinions toward Highlanders of the English and the Lowland Scots (collectively, "the Saxons") that is perhaps the most brilliant lengthy passage in the intellectual history of diversity (emphasis on lengthy).
It is not easy for a modern Englishman, who can pass in a day from his club in St. James's Street to his shooting box among the Grampians, and who finds in his shooting box all the comforts and luxuries of his club, to believe that, in the time of his greatgrandfathers, St. James's Street had as little connection with the Grampians as with the Andes. Yet so it was. In the south of our island scarcely any thing was known about the Celtic part of Scotland; and what was known excited no feeling but contempt and loathing. The crags and the glens, the woods and the waters, were indeed the same that now swarm every autumn with admiring gazers and stretchers. ... Yet none of these sights had power, till a recent period, to attract a single poet or painter from more opulent and more tranquil regions. Indeed, law and police, trade and industry, have done far more than people of romantic dispositions will readily admit, to develope in our minds a sense of the wilder beauties of nature. A traveller must be freed from all apprehension of being murdered or starved before he can be charmed by the bold outlines and rich tints of the hills. He is not likely to be thrown into ecstasies by the abruptness of a precipice from which he is in imminent danger of falling two thousand feet perpendicular; by the boiling waves of a torrent which suddenly whirls away his baggage and forces him to run for his life; by the gloomy grandeur of a pass where he finds a corpse which marauders have just stripped and mangled; or by the screams of those eagles whose next meal may probably be on his own eyes. ... 
[The poet Oliver] Goldsmith was one of the very few Saxons who, more than a century ago, ventured to explore the Highlands. He was disgusted by the hideous wilderness, and declared that he greatly preferred the charming country round Leyden, the vast expanse of verdant meadow, and the villas with their statues and grottoes, trim flower beds, and rectilinear avenues. Yet it is difficult to believe that the author of the Traveller and of the Deserted Village was naturally inferior in taste and sensibility to the thousands of clerks and milliners who are now thrown into raptures by the sight of Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond. 
His feelings may easily be explained. It was not till roads had been cut out of the rocks, till bridges had been flung over the courses of the rivulets, till inns had succeeded to dens of robbers, till there was as little danger of being slain or plundered in the wildest defile of Badenoch or Lochaber as in Cornhill, that strangers could be enchanted by the blue dimples of the lakes and by the rainbows which overhung the waterfalls, and could derive a solemn pleasure even from the clouds and tempests which lowered on the mountain tops. 
The change in the feeling with which the Lowlanders regarded the highland scenery was closely connected with a change not less remarkable in the feeling with which they regarded the Highland race. It is not strange that the Wild Scotch, as they were sometimes called, should, in the seventeenth century, have been considered by the Saxons as mere savages. But it is surely strange that, considered as savages, they should not have been objects of interest and curiosity. The English were then abundantly inquisitive about the manners of rude nations separated from our island by great continents and oceans. Numerous books were printed describing the laws, the superstitions, the cabins, the repasts, the dresses, the marriages, the funerals of Laplanders and Hottentots, Mohawks and Malays. The plays and poems of that age are full of allusions to the usages of the black men of Africa and of the red men of America. The only barbarian about whom there was no wish to have any information was the Highlander. ... 
In the reign of George the First, a work was published which professed to give a most exact account of Scotland; and in this work, consisting of more than three hundred pages, two contemptuous paragraphs were thought sufficient for the Highlands and the Highlanders. We may well doubt whether, in 1689, one in twenty of the well read gentlemen who assembled at Will's coffeehouse knew that, within the four seas, and at the distance of less than five hundred miles from London, were many miniature courts, in each of which a petty prince, attended by guards, by armour bearers, by musicians, by a hereditary orator, by a hereditary poet laureate, kept a rude state, dispensed a rude justice, waged wars, and concluded treaties. While the old Gaelic institutions were in full vigour, no account of them was given by any observer, qualified to judge of them fairly. 
Had such an observer studied the character of the Highlanders, he would doubtless have found in it closely intermingled the good and the bad qualities of an uncivilised nation. He would have found that the people had no love for their country or for their king; that they had no attachment to any commonwealth larger than the clan, or to any magistrate superior to the chief. He would have found that life was governed by a code of morality and honour widely different from that which is established in peaceful and prosperous societies. He would have learned that a stab in the back, or a shot from behind a fragment of rock, were approved modes of taking satisfaction for insults. He would have heard men relate boastfully how they or their fathers had wreaked on hereditary enemies in a neighbouring valley such vengeance as would have made old soldiers of the Thirty Years' War shudder. He would have found that robbery was held to be a calling, not merely innocent, but honourable. He would have seen, wherever he turned, that dislike of steady industry, and that disposition to throw on the weaker sex the heaviest part of manual labour, which are characteristic of savages. He would have been struck by the spectacle of athletic men basking in the sun, angling for salmon, or taking aim at grouse, while their aged mothers, their pregnant wives, their tender daughters, were reaping the scanty harvest of oats. Nor did the women repine at their hard lot. In their view it was quite fit that a man, especially if he assumed the aristocratic title of Duinhe Wassel and adorned his bonnet with the eagle's feather, should take his ease, except when he was fighting, hunting, or marauding. To mention the name of such a man in connection with commerce or with any mechanical art was an insult. Agriculture was indeed less despised. Yet a highborn warrior was much more becomingly employed in plundering the land of others than in tilling his own. 
The religion of the greater part of the Highlands was a rude mixture of Popery and Paganism. The symbol of redemption was associated with heathen sacrifices and incantations. Baptized men poured libations of ale to one Daemon, and set out drink offerings of milk for another. Seers wrapped themselves up in bulls' hides, and awaited, in that vesture, the inspiration which was to reveal the future. Even among those minstrels and genealogists whose hereditary vocation was to preserve the memory of past events, an enquirer would have found very few who could read. In truth, he might easily have journeyed from sea to sea without discovering a page of Gaelic printed or written. The price which he would have had to pay for his knowledge of the country would have been heavy. He would have had to endure hardships as great as if he had sojourned among the Esquimaux or the Samoyeds. Here and there, indeed, at the castle of some great lord who had a seat in the Parliament and Privy Council, and who was accustomed to pass a large part of his life in the cities of the South, might have been found wigs and embroidered coats, plate and fine linen, lace and jewels, French dishes and French wines. But, in general, the traveller would have been forced to content himself with very different quarters. In many dwellings the furniture, the food, the clothing, nay the very hair and skin of his hosts, would have put his philosophy to the proof. His lodging would sometimes have been in a hut of which every nook would have swarmed with vermin. He would have inhaled an atmosphere thick with peat smoke, and foul with a hundred noisome exhalations. At supper grain fit only for horses would have been set before him, accompanied by a cake of blood drawn from living cows. Some of the company with which he would have feasted would have been covered with cutaneous eruptions, and others would have been smeared with tar like sheep. His couch would have been the bare earth, dry or wet as the weather might be; and from that couch he would have risen half poisoned with stench, half blind with the reek of turf, and half mad with the itch.
This is not an attractive picture. And yet an enlightened and dispassionate observer would have found in the character and manners of this rude people something which might well excite admiration and a good hope. Their courage was what great exploits achieved in all the four quarters of the globe have since proved it to be. Their intense attachment to their own tribe and to their own patriarch, though politically a great evil, partook of the nature of virtue. The sentiment was misdirected and ill regulated; but still it was heroic. There must be some elevation of soul in a man who loves the society of which he is a member and the leader whom he follows with a love stronger than the love of life. It was true that the Highlander had few scruples about shedding the blood of an enemy: but it was not less true that he had high notions of the duty of observing faith to allies and hospitality to guests. It was true that his predatory habits were most pernicious to the commonwealth. Yet those erred greatly who imagined that he bore any resemblance to villains who, in rich and well governed communities, live by stealing. When he drove before him the herds of Lowland farmers up the pass which led to his native glen, he no more considered himself as a thief than the Raleighs and Drakes considered themselves as thieves when they divided the cargoes of Spanish galleons. He was a warrior seizing lawful prize of war, of war never once intermitted during the thirty-five generations which had passed away since the Teutonic invaders had driven the children of the soil to the mountains. That, if he was caught robbing on such principles, he should, for the protection of peaceful industry, be punished with the utmost rigour of the law was perfectly just. But it was not just to class him morally with the pickpockets who infested Drury Lane Theatre, or the highwaymen who stopped coaches on Blackheath. His inordinate pride of birth and his contempt for labour and trade were indeed great weaknesses, and had done far more than the inclemency of the air and the sterility of the soil to keep his country poor and rude. Yet even here there was some compensation. It must in fairness be acknowledged that the patrician virtues were not less widely diffused among the population of the Highlands than the patrician vices. As there was no other part of the island where men, sordidly clothed, lodged, and fed, indulged themselves to such a degree in the idle sauntering habits of an aristocracy, so there was no other part of the island where such men had in such a degree the better qualities of an aristocracy, grace and dignity of manner, self respect, and that noble sensibility which makes dishonour more terrible than death. A gentleman of this sort, whose clothes were begrimed with the accumulated filth of years, and whose hovel smelt worse than an English hogstye, would often do the honours of that hovel with a lofty courtesy worthy of the splendid circle of Versailles.  
Though he had as little booklearning as the most stupid ploughboys of England, it would have been a great error to put him in the same intellectual rank with such ploughboys. It is indeed only by reading that men can become profoundly acquainted with any science. But the arts of poetry and rhetoric may be carried near to absolute perfection, and may exercise a mighty influence on the public mind, in an age in which books are wholly or almost wholly unknown. ... 
There was therefore even then evidence sufficient to justify the belief that no natural inferiority had kept the Celt far behind the Saxon. It might safely have been predicted that, if ever an efficient police should make it impossible for the Highlander to avenge his wrongs by violence and to supply his wants by rapine, if ever his faculties should be developed by the civilising influence of the Protestant religion and of the English language, if ever he should transfer to his country and to her lawful magistrates the affection and respect with which he had been taught to regard his own petty community and his own petty prince, the kingdom would obtain an immense accession of strength for all the purposes both of peace and of war. 
Such would doubtless have been the decision of a well informed and impartial judge. But no such judge was then to be found. The Saxons who dwelt far from the Gaelic provinces could not be well informed. The Saxons who dwelt near those provinces could not be impartial. National enmities have always been fiercest among borderers; and the enmity between the Highland borderer and the Lowland borderer along the whole frontier was the growth of ages, and was kept fresh by constant injuries. One day many square miles of pasture land were swept bare by armed plunderers from the hills. Another day a score of plaids dangled in a row on the gallows of Crieff or Stirling. Fairs were indeed held on the debatable land for the necessary interchange of commodities. But to those fairs both parties came prepared for battle; and the day often ended in bloodshed. Thus the Highlander was an object of hatred to his Saxon neighbours; and from his Saxon neighbours those Saxons who dwelt far from him learned the very little that they cared to know about his habits. When the English condescended to think of him at all,—and it was seldom that they did so,—they considered him as a filthy abject savage, a slave, a Papist, a cutthroat, and a thief.
This contemptuous loathing lasted till the year 1745 [when Bonnie Prince Charlie, Pretender to the throne lost by the Stuarts in 1688, led an invading Highland army to within 100 miles of London], and was then for a moment succeeded by intense fear and rage. England, thoroughly alarmed, put forth her whole strength. The Highlands were subjugated rapidly, completely, and for ever. During a short time the English nation, still heated by the recent conflict, breathed nothing but vengeance. The slaughter on the field of battle and on the scaffold was not sufficient to slake the public thirst for blood. The sight of the tartan inflamed the populace of London with hatred, which showed itself by unmanly outrages to defenceless captives. A political and social revolution took place through the whole Celtic region. The power of the chiefs was destroyed: the people were disarmed: the use of the old national garb was interdicted: the old predatory habits were effectually broken; and scarcely had this change been accomplished when a strange reflux of public feeling began. 
Pity succeeded to aversion. The nation execrated the cruelties which had been committed on the Highlanders, and forgot that for those cruelties it was itself answerable. Those very Londoners, who, while the memory of the march to Derby was still fresh, had thronged to hoot and pelt the rebel prisoners, now fastened on the prince who had put down the rebellion the nickname of Butcher. Those barbarous institutions and usages, which, while they were in full force, no Saxon had thought worthy of serious examination, or had mentioned except with contempt, had no sooner ceased to exist than they became objects of curiosity, of interest, even of admiration. Scarcely had the chiefs been turned into mere landlords, when it became the fashion to draw invidious comparisons between the rapacity of the landlord and the indulgence of the chief. Men seemed to have forgotten that the ancient Gaelic polity had been found to be incompatible with the authority of law, had obstructed the progress of civilisation, had more than once brought on the empire the curse of civil war. As they had formerly seen only the odious side of that polity, they could now see only the pleasing side. The old tie, they said, had been parental: the new tie was purely commercial. What could be more lamentable than that the head of a tribe should eject, for a paltry arrear of rent, tenants who were his own flesh and blood, tenants whose forefathers had often with their bodies covered his forefathers on the field of battle? 
As long as there were Gaelic marauders, they had been regarded by the Saxon population as hateful vermin who ought to be exterminated without mercy. As soon as the extermination had been accomplished, as soon as cattle were as safe in the Perthshire passes as in Smithfield market, the freebooter was exalted into a hero of romance. As long as the Gaelic dress was worn, the Saxons had pronounced it hideous, ridiculous, nay, grossly indecent. Soon after it had been prohibited, they discovered that it was the most graceful drapery in Europe. The Gaelic monuments, the Gaelic usages, the Gaelic superstitions, the Gaelic verses, disdainfully neglected during many ages, began to attract the attention of the learned from the moment at which the peculiarities of the Gaelic race began to disappear. 
So strong was this impulse that, where the Highlands were concerned, men of sense gave ready credence to stories without evidence, and men of taste gave rapturous applause to compositions without merit. Epic poems, which any skilful and dispassionate critic would at a glance have perceived to be almost entirely modern, and which, if they had been published as modern, would have instantly found their proper place in company with Blackmore's Alfred and Wilkie's Epigoniad, were pronounced to be fifteen hundred years old, and were gravely classed with the Iliad [e.g., James MacPherson's hoax epic Ossian, published around 1760]. Writers of a very different order from the impostor who fabricated these forgeries saw how striking an effect might be produced by skilful pictures of the old Highland life [e.g., Sir Walter Scott]. Whatever was repulsive was softened down: whatever was graceful and noble was brought prominently forward. Some of these works were executed with such admirable art that, like the historical plays of Shakspeare, they superseded history. The visions of the poet were realities to his readers. The places which he described became holy ground, and were visited by thousands of pilgrims. 
Soon the vulgar imagination was so completely occupied by plaids, targets, and claymores, that, by most Englishmen, Scotchman and Highlander were regarded as synonymous words. Few people seemed to be aware that, at no remote period, a Macdonald or a Macgregor in his tartan was to a citizen of Edinburgh or Glasgow what an Indian hunter in his war paint is to an inhabitant of Philadelphia or Boston. Artists and actors represented Bruce and Douglas in striped petticoats. They might as well have represented Washington brandishing a tomahawk, and girt with a string of scalps. At length this fashion reached a point beyond which it was not easy to proceed. The last British King who held a court in Holyrood thought that he could not give a more striking proof of his respect for the usages which had prevailed in Scotland before the Union, than by disguising himself in what, before the Union, was considered by nine Scotchmen out of ten as the dress of a thief.

And yet, while Macaulay's portrait of changing Saxon views of Highlanders brilliantly anticipated changing white views of Native Americans, the accomplishments of the Indians themselves did not follow the trajectory of Highlanders, who rapidly became among the most successful ethnicities in the Anglosphere. A group's history is not just a product of the views of others, but also of their own performance.

131 comments:

Anonymous said...

As almost spoke to the late great 'Marty'
"Boy, that Macaulay - he sure can wroit!"

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, my first thought was to spend a couple of hours extra polishing drafts of my introduction so I don't look like a completely awful writer next to Macaulay, but then I decided it was hopeless, so why bother?

Anonymous said...

Highlanders, who rapidly became among the most successful ethnicities in the Anglosphere.

I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?

Anonymous said...

Most successful ethnicities in the world you mean.

Anonymous said...

http://musicalassumptions.blogspot.com/2012/07/freakonomics.html

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Read about my cycle tour criss crossing the Highlands of Scotland, and the McKenzie country.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=1928&v=2y

Anonymous said...

http://paintedmatter.com/jollydays/2012/07/david-brooks-elites-and-the-meritocrats/

Anonymous said...

The Pathans of Britain, perhaps - although I don't know if the Celts routinely tortured captives to death.

"There was among the Pathans something that called to the Englishman or the Scotsman - partly that the people looked you straight in the eye, that there was no equivocation and that you couldn't browbeat them even if you wished to. When we crossed the bridge at Attock we felt we'd come home."

http://www.khyber.org/publications/016-020/colonialencounter.shtml

Simon in London said...

Great stuff Steve, thanks! :D

"Few people seemed to be aware that, at no remote period, a Macdonald or a Macgregor in his tartan was to a citizen of Edinburgh or Glasgow what an Indian hunter in his war paint is to an inhabitant of Philadelphia or Boston. Artists and actors represented Bruce and Douglas in striped petticoats. They might as well have represented Washington brandishing a tomahawk, and girt with a string of scalps."

A searing indictment of Mel Gibson & Braveheart! Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

"I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?"

The first wave were 'Saxons' like Adam Smith, but you will find names like MacDonald (my own clan via my mother's paternal sept) and MacGregor on the frontiers of empire, as soldiers and administrators as well as engineers. Highlanders were particularly valued as soldiers - still are today - one reason being that their loyalty to their clan chief transferred to the British monarch. They fought fiercely for King George in the American War of Independence.

By contrast, the Scots-Irish Border Reivers with their strong concept of individual liberty and lack of clan loyalties proved prominent among rebel forces; Scots-Irish (my mother's maternal line, and the Ulster culture I grew up in) make great frontiersmen settlers but seem less bound by feelings of loyalty, as both the Mexicans (Texas) and the Union (Confederacy) found out.

dearieme said...

"Were the Highlanders really successful?"

Consider Macaulay.

Anonymous said...

Esquimaux?

W Baker said...

Macaulay laments the typical Englishman's ignorance of Scot's history; asserts the Scot's ignorance and lack of written word; and then proceeds to tell his readers all about the average and corporate Scot(s). From where he found his evidence about these 'heathen', he never mentions.

Reading TBM makes one want to use semicolons like we use full stops nowadays - to say nothing about Latinized word order....

Charlesz Martel said...

I can't source this, but I've always heard that the Scotch were disproportionately overrepresented among the U.K.'s great men, and that they had a higher average IQ, as well.

Aaron B. said...

So the question burning on everyone's mind- when are the Scots going to be allowed to build tax free casinos in the UK?

Reg said...

"Highlanders, who rapidly became among the most successful ethnicities in the Anglosphere.

I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?"

Ere ye daft laddie? Connor MacLeod became the 'One'!

AMac said...

Macaulay ... wow! Thanks for the excerpt, Steve.

Hillbilly Mike said...

"I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?"

As an Ozark Hillbilly, I can say "yes". From an artistic perspective there are more live theater seats in Branson alone than on the entire East Coast. From a warrior's perspective, we have been the backbone of the America Army since its founding.

Crank has taken its toll, of course, ("Winter's Bone") but it too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

"<>

**
'I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful'?"

I was thinking exactly the same thing. I thought the Scottish Enlightenment was largely a lowland Scottish phenomenon, and for the most art left the clannish highlanders behind. Even by the late 19th century, the estates of even the rich Scottish highlanders were far poorer than their English counterparts to the south, in part because of the less favorable Scottish climate.

Or perhaps Steve means descendants of the Scots became very successful in England and in the British colonies. So many prominent, influential "Englishman"(too many to name) had partial or full Scottish ancestry. The same is true for so many successful Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders.

Yet the vast majority, as far as I can tell, originated in the Lowlands(granted, it has a much larger population than the Highlands); the Scots-Irish were originally from the Lowlands. The bulk of Scottish immigrants to the Americas and Australia and New Zealand were largely Lowlanders.

Do the numbers, and you start realizing just how incredibly influential the Scottish have been in building the modern world. And it all started with a relatively tiny population, in a relatively poor country just a few centuries ago.

beowulf said...

"When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian Ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return, and that this is not natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho' ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them."
Benjamin Franklin
http://www.historycarper.com/resources/twobf2/letter18.htm

Black Death said...

Karl May was a German writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He wrote dozens of novels centered in exotic locations, most of which he had never visited. A favorite theme was the American West. These stories featured heroic, noble Indian characters such as Winnetou, chief of the Apaches, who became blood brother of Old Shatterhand, a white man. May's highly romanticized stories were immensely popular in Germany and throughout Europe and led many who read them to view the Indians as noble savages, horribly abused by the white "intruders." Quite a bit different from the way Mark Twain viewed them, except Twain had actually lived among the Indians and May never did.

Anonymous said...

I always come here to read the interesting ideas, but certainly appreciate the humor (which appears effortless and probably is). I honestly never even considered the quality of the writing - it's certainly more than adequate to convey the ideas. Do people come here expecting higher writing quality than that?

Reading isteve for writing quality is a bit like reading Asimov for character development, except I've never seen anyone criticize Steve for writing quality.

Harry Baldwin said...

Twain has extremely negative things to say about the American Indian--perhaps because the Indian had already become a romanticized race in his time and that irritated him. Someone has put together a
compendium of his scorn.

On the other hand, Twain was
favorably impressed with the Chinese immigrants he met in mining towns and in California. Here is an excerpt from "Roughing It":

"They are quiet, peaceable, tractable, free from drunkenness, and they are as industrious as the day is long. A disorderly Chinaman is rare, and a lazy one does not exist. So long as a Chinaman has strength to use his hands he needs no support from anybody; white men often complain of want of work, but a Chinaman offers no such complaint; he always manages to find something to do."

Peter A said...

A lot of problems with this post.

"The general pattern was that the more distant a white American was in location and time from large numbers of Indians, the more he admired them."

This is only true beginning in the 19th century, once American Indian civilization had already become severely degraded. In the 17th & 18th centuries it was quite common for white settlers to "go native." What seems to have happened, in New England at least, is that the more succesful elements of American Indian civilization merged together with the Puritans. There is a lot of native American blood in old New England families.

" Highlanders, who rapidly became among the most successful ethnicities in the Anglosphere."

Really? But much like American Indian, their modern descendants in their native territory are a mess. Scotland today is one of the poorest most violent places in Northern Europe. The succesful ones left and blended into Anglo-Saxon society (much like the American Indians).

Michael said...

I see this romanticism in my own family. I'm about 50% Scottish, 35% early English settler, and 15% Danish/Swedish mix. Yet in my family, we consider ourselves mostly Scottish. Similarly, of the Scottish side, we're only about 1/3 Highlander, but that's what we focus on. So, when we celebrate our heritage, we dress in kilts and tartans.

ben tillman said...

Thank you for presenting that passage. It was a pleasure to read; I was unfamiliar with Macaulay's gifts as a writer.

Anonymous said...

I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?


The things you think you know just aren't so.

"The son and eldest child of Zachary Macaulay, a Scottish Highlander who became a colonial governor and abolitionist, Thomas Macaulay was born in Leicestershire, England. He was noted as a child prodigy."

Ed said...

Why were nineteenth century writers so verbose?

The passage is obviously so wordy as to be unreadable by twenty-first century era of constant media distraction standards. But its also extemely wordy as to be almost unreadable compared to the twentieth century or the eighteenth century. Think of how an English writer would have made the same point in the 1930s or 1770s.

It also strikes me that Macauley's first point, that you can't appreciate a beautiful natural setting if you are constantly worried about being robbed or even killed, also applies to urban environments. There seems to be a hard-to-hit sweet spot between urban and suburban environments that are safe, but boring and ugly, filled with pre-fab buildings and chain stores on the one hand, and urban environments with well crafted older buildings where you are constantly worried about being assaulted. Likewise overdevelopment can ruin the countryside, but for the reasons Macauley states underdeveloped countryside sucks even more. There seems to be no escape from going to one extreme or the other.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I appreciate you posting that section of his book. It was very interesting.

Auntie Analogue said...

I was struck by Macaulay's phrase "unmanly outrages to defenceless captives," which nails Bush's and Cheney's contemptible ordering of Americans to torture enemy captives. At least the "Saxons" of Macaulay's account didn't hide their "unmanly outrages" behind the abhorrent oleaginous casuistry for which Bush and Cheney paid bevies of mercenary attorneys to produce for them to cower imperiously behind, as if those two exemplars of Western manhood were juvenile delinquents cowering smugly and provocatively behind the diaphanous petticoats of prim, tut-tutting women.

regular joe said...

Steve, regarding the accomplishments of the Highlanders versus the Indians...are your sure. Are you not evincing the confusion Macaulay denounces? Smith and Hobbes etc were lowland Scots, not Highlanders. The confusion is increased by lowland scots having adopted the Tartan, like certain Harvard profs from Oklahoma having family lore of Cherokee roots. Can you name successful actual real Highlanders?

Bill said...

Moving description. Uncanny how much the culture he describes has in common with Tacitus' Germania, and Parkman's Iroquois (The Jesuits) for that matter.

Gives one pause to realize how recently and reluctantly one's ancestors were dragged out of barbarism.

JayMan said...

I talk about the Scots and the Highlanders for a bit in my post about the evolution of regional differences in IQ in Europe.

Richard Lynn pegged the average IQ of Scotland today at 97. But it's unclear if that was the case back in the days before the Highland Clearances.

Rachelle said...

I think you might be assuming that all Scots are Highlanders. I think the The Lowland Scots are genetically closer to the English than to the Celtic Highlanders. Hume--himself a Scot--remarks on this in his History of England.

As for the American Indians [many loathe the 'native American' tag created by Washington bureaucrats], they have always had a measure of status never achieved by Blacks. See de Tocqueville on the three races in America, for example. As for the savage races, Parkman quoted some colonists as describing Indians as 'wolves with the minds of men'. Blacks, on the other hand, were only barely regarded as human. By the way, Indians got here on their own; blacks came as cargo. Maybe that has something to do with attitudes.

Geoff Matthews said...

I do agree with anonymous 12:58. Adam Smith, Robbie Burns, David Hume, James Watt, James Clerk Maxwell, Walter Scott, John Baird -- all lowlanders.
I'm sure that there are prominent Highlanders, particularly in the British Military, but the greatest Scotts were lowlanders.

Geoff Matthews said...

BTW, normally, for passages that long, I'd skip over them. But I found that writing engrossing. Not many people can 'wroit' like that in this day.

Anonymous said...

That was too much quote.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, thanks.

janus said...

Holy Christ, this is like all of history in a nutshell, At least Western history. A giant nutshell. Maybe a coconut shell.

Dutch Boy said...

Years ago I read "The Light in the Forest", a novel by Conrad Richter which had been sanitized by Disney for a movie in the 1950s. The actual novel chillingly conveys the murderous loathing the 18th century frontiersmen had for the Indians and vice versa. Richter relied on contemporary accounts from the 1760s for his plot.

smead jolley said...

Now see, that last sentence just shows how full of hate you are.

Anonymous said...

You might also add the Little House books by Laura Ingles Wilder. In real life, Wilder had very close contact with Amerindians (in both Kansas and South Dakota) and tended to paint them in a very negative light. In one of the books, the mother advises the children to avoid Indians at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Michael Landon (aka, Eugene Maurice Orowitz) perverted the books and made the television very PC where the poor Amerindians were unfairly being harassed by whites. In the books, however, the Ingles were both attacked and robbed by Amerindians.

Whiskey said...

It was mostly Lowland Scots that became successful. Edinburgh was known as the center of the Scottish Enlightenment.

And, even during the worst of the Red Stick Wars (basically elements of the Cherokee conducting terror campaigns against Whites and anglicized Cherokee) ... men like Andrew Jackson adopted Cherokee infants.

Twain, as a boy in Missouri, knew well the half-Indian men who were prone to drunkeness and violence as a matter of course, and did not like them much.

Anonymous said...

"I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?"

In the movie Highlander.

Anonymous said...

Macaulay knew something about colonisation. Ask the East Indians.

Baloo said...

You're on a roll, Steve. I've riffed on this and linked here:
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2012/07/scotland-legend-and-truth.html

Steve Sailer said...

"Can you name successful actual real Highlanders?"

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Anonymous said...

The successful Scots were mostly lowlanders. During the 1700s , the highland rabble were driven off the land, sometimes by their own kin, and were replaced with sheep. Some of the highland descendants play hockey today, others watch NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

That silly book "Albions Seed" has done immense mischief, as shown by the widespread belief in HBD-land that the Scots, and Scots-Irish, were neither Scottish nor Irish. They were really English!

Smith (as in Adam Smith) is an English surname. Scott (as in Walter Scott) is a Scottish Gaelic (or "Highlander" to you lot) surname. Burns (as in Robert Burns) indicates a Scottish-English mix.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there would be commenters who'd know this: what are the stereotypical personality differences between Scottish highlanders and the Irish? Are they very similar?

Simon in London said...

Scottish post-Pictish ethnies:

South-West Scotland, inc Glasgow around the Clyde: Celtic Romano-British 'Welsh', eg William Wallace. Thus ethnically linked to Cumbrians, Welsh/Cimri, and Cornish. Nowadays Glasgow has a big southern-Irish population, dating from the 19th century, which partly accounts for Glasgow's reputation for violence and drunkenness even by Scots standards.

Lowland Eastern Scotland up through Aberdeenshire, inc Edinburgh: Saxon, the native surnames are often the same as those you see in Yorkshire, eg Cruickshank - 'bent leg'. They tend to be a tall rangy people, rather quiet, pleasant enough but suicide is sadly common.

The West Coast and Highlands: Gaelic, conquered by the Dal Riati invaders from NE Ireland, and historically closely linked to northern Ireland. You see Gaelic names all over these parts, but actual Gaelic-speaking Scots are a tiny minority today.

The MacDonalds' Lordship of the Isles included northern Ireland and western Scotland. My mother is a McBride, a sept (sub-clan) of the
MacDonalds originally from Donegal in NW Ireland/west Ulster, she is from Londonderry. I believe her family were Presbyterian, many McBrides (sons of Bride/Brigid, a Catholic Saint and Celtic goddess) are still Catholic. However, I was recently in Huntly on the western edge of Aberdeenshire/eastern edge of the Grampian Highlands, reading a medieval account of the heroic lowlanders of Aberdeenshire's defense against the dastardly invading Highlanders - Highlanders led by the MacDonalds.
The MacDonalds formed the left flank of the Highland army at Culloden, and sensibly refused the order to charge the English line, so many survived the battle.

Refusing suicidal orders is quite a Scots-Irish trait. Contrary to myth, the Scots-Irish are not exclusively descended from Border Reavers and such, the Scottish-Irish link goes much further back, as my own ancestry demonstrates. To this day there are very close links between western Scotland and northern Ireland, closer than between northern and southern Ireland.

Finally, there are some areas with Viking place names on the far north coast, but the Scots claim the Viking invasions were unsuccessful. They say that about everyone inc their own Saxon ancestors. :/

Simon in London said...

anon:
"what are the stereotypical personality differences between Scottish highlanders and the Irish? Are they very similar?"

Hmm - it's a bit hard, because there are not many communities that can really be presented as true Highlander in descent, these days. I can speak somewhat of the west-coast Scots including the sparsely populated Highlands.

I think actual Highlanders and indigenous Irish from northern Ireland are extremely similar. Both are more violent and less easy-going than the southern Irish. They are fierce, not as disciplined as the Ulster Protestants, who kept the ferocity while adding some English discipline.

Highlanders historically don't have the same orneriness and love of individual liberty that the Protestant Ulstermen or American Scots-Irish do. In the American War of Independence the Highlanders were fierce Loyalists and many fled to Canada after the war, wereas the Scots-Irish were prominent among the rebels.

Ulstermen (Protestant & Catholic) and Scots Highlanders can hold their drink better than the southern Irish (who are terribly vulnerable to alcohol), but not as well as the English.

Anonymous said...

"I thought the successful Scots were lowland Scots. Were the Highlanders really successful?"

The lowland Scots were originally Saxons separated by geography who developed their own nation. The key factor in terms of Scottish vs English contributions to the industrial revolution is religious denomination.

The Scottish presbyterians were fanatical about literacy as were some English denominations like the Quakers. If you look at relative contributions you'll see groups like the Quakers massively over-represented too.

So you have the same population across southern and central England and lowland Scotland with a literacy filter applied over the top and it's that filtered group who made the industrial revolution.

(The literacy / educational filter also applied to the elite 5% (or so) as well so they would have done their bit regardless of denomination.

However, the Highlanders, being more recently a clannish raiding culture would have had (imo) a much higher proportion of killers. As well as a higher proportion of impulsive killers (bad) they would also have a higher proportion of self-controlled killers (partly good) who obviously make the best soldiers - hence their disproportionate role in first the British military and later in the US military.

So i think the answer to the question is yes but not till the culture itself was tamed and only the good aspect - the controlled aggressiveness part - incorporated into the main culture.

(I think clannish raiding cultures are liable to be romanticized over time because those cultures will breed particularly masculine individuals (alongside large numbers of impulsively violent ****heads) but only after the culture has been tamed and the actual raiding part is no longer happening.)

#

"as shown by the widespread belief in HBD-land that the Scots, and Scots-Irish, were neither Scottish nor Irish. They were really English!"

The Scots-Irish in Ireland are a mixture of (mostly) Scottish plus some Irish and English.

The Scots-Irish in *America* are a mixture of Scots, Irish, Scots-Irish (see above) and English borderers.

#

"what are the stereotypical personality differences between Scottish highlanders and the Irish?"

They were probably very similar *at the time* hence why they fought each other constantly whenever they weren't fighting among themselves.

Anonymous said...

To me the most interesting aspect of this isn't the ethnicity angle but the geographical one.

Populations are shaped by their geography.

The thing the various elements that make up the (American version)of the Scots-Irish demographic have in common is they were from the more agriculturally marginal and therefore raiding parts of Britain and Ireland.

The geography created the environment for a raiding culture to develop and the raiding culture created the environment for selecting "raider" traits - both good and bad.

In a way one of the advantages Britain had over countries like France through being on the fringe of Europe was having a large fertile farming area with a high population density as the core (like France) but at the same time being next to a pool of much lower population density but higher aggression people on their western flank who could be incorporated into their military.

Which makes me wonder what would have happened if there had been a deliberate policy of incorporating native Americans into the US military in the way England first then Britain incorporated Scots, Scot-Irish, Irish, Sikhs, Gurkhas etc?

Anonymous said...

Macaulay knew something about colonisation. Ask the East Indians.

The real Indians.

Duke of Gloucester said...

Why were nineteenth century writers so verbose?

The passage is obviously so wordy as to be unreadable by twenty-first century era of constant media distraction standards. But its also extemely wordy as to be almost unreadable compared to the twentieth century or the eighteenth century. Think of how an English writer would have made the same point in the 1930s or 1770s.


Oh, just stick to "tl;dr" and stop parading your lack of taste, you poltroon.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"The Scots-Irish in Ireland are a mixture of (mostly) Scottish plus some Irish and English."

Hmm, maybe. But we can point to the Dal Riati and claim that the 'Scots' originally came from Ulster, anyway! :)

There is definitely a leavening of Saxon - lowland-Scots and English-borderer - in the Ulsterman DNA (in the Catholics too - look at Gerry Adams' surname); but also lots of Gaelic Scots and northern Irish, and those two are not always easily separable.

Anonymous said...

"Why were nineteenth century writers so verbose?"

Macaulay was not verbose. Yes, its true he could have written it in powerpoint bullets so dummies like you could understand, but then you weren't - and aren't his audience.

Its really amazing how many people who post on the intertubes can't appreciate fine writing, read for context, recognize sarcasm, irony, or humor and just in general are dull, literal-minded idiots and Gradgrinds.

Anonymous said...

One of the more humorous things is the way in which Southerners now assert they're all "Scot-Irish" or "Scottish" or "Celtic" - 'cause its so cool be thought "Celtic".

Yet, in the 19th century they Southerners all asserted they were of English decent, the "Cavilers" to the Northern Yankee "Round heads".

Anonymous said...

If you back and read some 19th stuff on the '49ers in California you'll see that plenty of Easterners came to California & Nevada with a "Lo, the poor Indian" attitude. This attitude quickly went away upon contract with real, live, Indians.

PublicSPhere said...

Steve's feel for literature and history really sets him apart from most bloggers in this vein. Lots of people blog about IQ and Olympic records, but how many will regularly cite Macaulay and Evelyn Waugh?


Peter A, citation for the admixture of Native Americans and Puritans?



John Burrow has nice things to say about Macaulay in A History of Histories.

"Where he was exceptional was... in the emotional range and depth, the almost pictorial vividness and concretness, and the dramatic intensity of his historical writing."


Ed, I have to disagree with you.

"There seems to be a hard-to-hit sweet spot between urban and suburban environments that are safe, but boring and ugly, filled with pre-fab buildings and chain stores on the one hand, and urban environments with well crafted older buildings where you are constantly worried about being assaulted."

How long have you been reading Steve? Unfortunately, all you need is well-crafted older buildings in an environment without too many Non-Asian Minorities (i.e., Portland, Ore., or Pittsburgh), and you're perfectly safe.

"Why were nineteenth century writers so verbose? The passage is obviously so wordy as to be unreadable by twenty-first century era of constant media distraction standards. But its also extemely wordy as to be almost unreadable compared to the twentieth century or the eighteenth century."

It may be wordy in the sense of "lots of words," but every one of them is carefully chosen and well-placed. It's not "Wordy" in the way that an insecure or undisciplined writer is wordy. It's just a different rhythm than we are used to, like switching between merengue and waltz.

Anonymous said...

As long as the Gaelic dress was worn, the Saxons had pronounced it hideous, ridiculous, nay, grossly indecent. Soon after it had been prohibited, they discovered that it was the most graceful drapery in Europe.

As they say in this benighted era: LOL. It's worth noting that Macaulay's History was one of the bestsellers of the 19th century.

Anonymous said...

Nowadays Glasgow has a big southern-Irish population, dating from the 19th century, which partly accounts for Glasgow's reputation for violence and drunkenness even by Scots standards.


I'm not sure where this myth of the southern Irish as drunkards comes from.

Alcohol related deaths are rather low in Ireland.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/alcohol/by-country/

and Irish alcohol consumption per person is within normal European margins, which means high by world standards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption

Ireland has less violence and drunkenness than Scotland.

Rachelle said...

Just a note--Macaulay's series of essays originally published in the Endinburgh Review also make clever, witty and entertaining reading.

The comment above about Scots and violence was interesting. Even today Scotland has one of the highest murder rates in Europe. Wonder what it would be if the Highlands hadn't been harrowed after Culloden?

Anonymous said...

Simon in London

"There is definitely a leavening of Saxon - lowland-Scots and English-borderer - in the Ulsterman DNA (in the Catholics too - look at Gerry Adams' surname); but also lots of Gaelic Scots and northern Irish, and those two are not always easily separable."

Yes i agree. The point i was trying to make was that the *clearcut* distinctions people focus on between the separate ethnic labels from that part of the world are a bit bogus but also more importantly (to me) they muddy the critical point from an HBD point of view (imo) which is their more recent descent - or the more recent descent of some strands in their makeup - from a raiding culture which is mostly related to the physical geography of that region where England, Scotland and Ireland intersect.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure where this myth of the southern Irish as drunkards comes from."

Isn't there a theory that populations who were the last to have a diet dominated by grains have lower alcohol tolerance so pastoralists and hunter gatherers (or people who were more recently the same would have lower tolerance).

Which makes me wonder if Arabs banned alcohol before Mohammed?

Anonymous said...

"Yet, in the 19th century they Southerners all asserted they were of English decent, the "Cavilers" to the Northern Yankee "Round heads"."

"Round Heads" was a reference to Puritans. Southerners did not believe themselves to be English, but rather as descendants of Norman settlers to England. Why, I do not know. In fact, some contemporary literature even posits the civil war as a latter day racial conflict between "Normans" and "Saxons"....Southerners have a long tradition of denying any Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Not romantic enough for them, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I remember once browsing a book on the Magna Carta. It was really a book about that whole period in England, the decades around 1215. The author said that the English of that time regarded all Celts as disorderly, as incapable of orderly, peaceful, organized life, of political stability. We tend to think that the Middle Ages were disorderly in general, but apparently the medieval man himself perceived regional and ethnic differences on that point.

Anonymous said...

Rachelle
"The comment above about Scots and violence was interesting. Even today Scotland has one of the highest murder rates in Europe."

I think it will prove to be the same with other populations from the more marginally fertile fringes with a relatively more recent history of a clannish raiding culture.

Hence why extremely violent black underclass gangbanger types complain about Somalis being too violent and the tragedy that will unfold in all those nice midwestern towns when all those adopted kids grow up.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a theory that populations who were the last to have a diet dominated by grains have lower alcohol tolerance so pastoralists and hunter gatherers (or people who were more recently the same would have lower tolerance).



I've heard of it. Assuming it's correct, the fact remains that the Irish are the same people, genetically speaking, as the rest of the people in the British Isles. They're not the Iroquois Indians. They've been eating grains as long as everyone else in Europe.

Anonymous said...

Southerners did not believe themselves to be English, but rather as descendants of Norman settlers to England.


That sounds implausible. Got a cite?

Anonymous said...

"Even today Scotland has one of the highest murder rates in Europe."


It most certainly does not.

Would it kill you people to look up the data before you express your opinion about what the data is?

Anonymous said...

That sounds implausible. Got a cite?

http://www.ambrosebierce.org/journal4schaefer.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.ambrosebierce.org/journal4schaefer.htm

Looks like junk to me.

"Whereas in the 1840s many Southern writers had endorsed the notion that all white Americans shared a common “Celtic-Anglo-Saxon” lineage, a myth promoted by Thomas Hart Benton and other proponents of Manifest Destiny, by the next decade contributors to DeBow’s Review, the Southern Literary Messenger, the Southern Quarterly Review, and many similar journals were strenuously differentiating between themselves as Normans and Northerners as Saxons."


So all he's saying is that at one politically expedient point in time, some small handful of people in the South claimed that they were "Normans". They were not, of course, but that's besides the point.

Anonymous said...

Which makes me wonder if Arabs banned alcohol before Mohammed?

Weren't Arabs of Old Mediterreanean stock, e.g. having very high alcohol tolerance?

I could see steppe nomads as Tatars and the original pre-1071 Turks having little alcohol tolerance, and thus finding Koranic prohibitions useful.

(Modern Western Turks are ethnic Greeks, BTW. I'd like to see their rates of alcoholism compared to those of Turkmenistanis.)

Anonymous said...

"the Irish are the same people, genetically speaking, as the rest of the people in the British Isles"

Yes, at base, like the English borderers were genetically the same *overall* as the southern English except (maybe) with different trait frequencies in those areas related to being from a raiding culture.

.
"They've been eating grains as long as everyone else in Europe."

To the same extent? I think NW Euros in general ate grains less than more southerly groups for longer with Ireland at the end of the spectrum. Northern latitude plus high rainfall = bad for crops, good for cattle-raising hence Irish (and Cornish) butter.

http://www.gidoctor.net/celiac-sprue.php

"What is the difference between wheat allergy and intolerance to wheat? ... This condition is particularly common in people of Irish descent."

This isn't an "all Irish are x" thing. It's frequencies. You only need a small difference in trait frequencies between two groups for a caricature to develop. If 2% of one group are intolerant of alcohol and 4% of another then that's all you need imo.

I think this stuff is potentially quite important because we all have a kind of generic diet now whereas we might be better adapted to what our individual ancestors ate e.g. olive oil might be better for people with a lot of Italian ancestry and butter might be better for people with a lot of NW Euro ancestry.

etc

Anyway it's just a theory. I agree the difference between English vs Scottish vs Irish on this must obviously be a lot less than Euro vs Iroquois, Aborigine etc.

#

"Southerners have a long tradition of denying any Anglo-Saxon ancestry."

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the English borderers considered themselves distinct from the southern English because if the raiding culture leading to selection for raiding traits is correct then they would have been distinct *in the frequency of those traits* if not in terms of Y DNA, blood group etc.

There's even a possible hint of it still today in the standard north-south insult of "southern poof" (effeminate) vs "northern monkeys" (primitive).

Yesterday's Dog said...

"You might also add the Little House books by Laura Ingles Wilder. In real life, Wilder had very close contact with Amerindians (in both Kansas and South Dakota) and tended to paint them in a very negative light. In one of the books, the mother advises the children to avoid Indians at all costs."

Arguably, Indians are even more "off limits" for any negative criticism than blacks in this day and age according to the self-elected elites, yet Laura is a saint to feminists and Derb an irredeemable wicked racist for saying essentially the same thing; And arguably Derb's comments are more relevant in this day and age. Maybe that's the reason for his persecution by the thoughtpolice.

elvisd said...

Southerners did not believe themselves to be English, but rather as descendants of Norman settlers to England.

Next time I'm bending the elbow at the Rusty Bucket Lounge, I'll ask the boys their take on the Norman blood they must feel coursing through their veins.

Anonymous said...

Whether Norman or Caviler - the 19th Century south did NOT see themselves as Scottish, or Scot-Irish or Irish.

Now they're all Celts and Scots.

Anonymous said...

Around these parts you often hear how whites love nature, whereas Blacks/Jews/Asians/etc. hate it. As Macaulay points out, this supposedly innate white love of nature is actually very recent.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

That silly book "Albions Seed" has done immense mischief, as shown by the widespread belief in HBD-land that the Scots, and Scots-Irish, were neither Scottish nor Irish. They were really English!"

Not english, but anglo-saxon. What evidence do you have that Fisher is wrong? He undoubtedly spent more time studying the matter than you did.

"Smith (as in Adam Smith) is an English surname. Scott (as in Walter Scott) is a Scottish Gaelic (or "Highlander" to you lot) surname. Burns (as in Robert Burns) indicates a Scottish-English mix."

Scott is certainly a scottish name, but Walter isn't - it's germanic. And Robert isn't anglo-saxon; it's norman-french.

Jason Sylvester said...

I recognized the Macaulay passage immediately: I have it bookmarked in my twenty-year old paperback copy of The History of England, the abridged version.

I read the book only a couple of years after all the "Dances with Wolves" brouhaha, when the worm had truly turned and it suddenly seemed natural for movie audiences to cheer the heroic Indians on as they rode down and methodically murdered U.S. Calvary troopers (which is what the audience in the theater I was in actually DID - and this was in deep-Red Oklahoma City, not Madison, Wisconsin).

I remember (approximately) thinking when I read that passage in The History, "that's just what has happened here when it comes to the history of the Indian Wars - Custer's out; Red Cloud's in."

In my abridged version there is a footnote inserted by Hugh Trevor-Roper who edited it: at the commencement of the paragraph beginning "This contemptuous loathing lasted till the year 1745," he has appended the following note: "After the suppression of the last Jacobite Rebellion, in 1745, when the army of Highlanders supporting the Young Pretender reached Derby, the British government passed a series of acts to modernize the Highlands, to destroy the power of the chiefs, and to break up the tribal organization."

There are parallels with the United States government's interactions with the American Indians at points in our history there, too.

I grew up less than a quarter of a mile from the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation in Concho, Oklahoma, so I spent a good deal of my formative years in fair-to-middling contact with Indian people (try calling your average, rank & file Indian a "Native American" - he'll likely laugh in your face and roll his eyes). This comment has already gone longish, so I'll only say: like all long-term interactions with racial/ethnic groups not your own, especially when you are often the only Paleface in the room, it's complicated, to borrow a phrase from Mark Zuckerberg & Co. That's NOT to say bad or even unpleasant - in fact, often just the opposite - but... complicated.

Steve Sailer said...

Jerry Pournelle identifies as Norman.

Anonymous said...

"Weren't Arabs of Old Mediterreanean stock, e.g. having very high alcohol tolerance?"

Hmm, dunno. I thought they were desert pastoralists i.e. likely to have very low alcohol tolerance - at the time.

.
"Whether Norman or Caviler - the 19th Century south did NOT see themselves as Scottish, or Scot-Irish or Irish. Now they're all Celts and Scots."

I think the critical point is the desire to be "other" whatever other happens to be fashionable at the time.

Anonymous said...

try calling your average, rank & file Indian a "Native American" - he'll likely laugh in your face and roll his eyes

So what in hell do you call him?

Maybe "Native American" isn't the best phrase, but its so much more accurate than using the name of an inhabitant of a country of a different continent.

Then again, how many white people have any connection to the Caucasus?

Anonymous said...

Jerry Pournelle identifies as Norman.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought he was of Cajun or Quebecois origin. The name sounds French.

Anonymous said...

Around these parts you often hear how whites love nature, whereas Blacks/Jews/Asians/etc. hate it. As Macaulay points out, this supposedly innate white love of nature is actually very recent.

... and largely a result of being apart from nature, more specifically its more unpleasant and dangerous aspects.

People that had to run one, or two, or ten, miles to the outhouse don't romanticize it.

Anonymous said...

"So what in hell do you call him?"

You call him by the name of his tribe. Native Americans aka Indians aren't anymore alike than Europeans are.

Rachelle said...

Scotland's murder rate 2nd highest in Europe at least in 2005:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/sep/26/ukcrime.scotland

And: "Scotland has the highest homicide rate in Western Europe and the sixth highest in the world." http://www.glasgoweastlibdems.org.uk/ Though centered in Glasgow.

Also this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/4631857/Scotlands-murder-rate-is-fastest-rising-in-Western-Europe-UN-finds.html

Simon in London said...

Love of nature seems to be a Germanic trait. On a cold rainy day in Richmond Park, a mini-wilderness in SW London, the only people you will see out and about are Germans and very wealthy English.

Anonymous said...

"Though centered in Glasgow."

Very much so - which makes it even more distinctive. The Glasgow police are probably some of the scariest in the world too.

Anonymous said...

"As long as there were Gaelic marauders, they had been regarded by the Saxon population as hateful vermin who ought to be exterminated without mercy. As soon as the extermination had been accomplished, as soon as cattle were as safe in the Perthshire passes as in Smithfield market, the freebooter was exalted into a hero of romance."

That's the key. Same principle applies to predatory animals. And if animals or maurauders would ever come back, the nostalgia would die very quickly.

Anonymous said...

"Scotland has the highest homicide rate in Western Europe and the sixth highest in the world." http://www.glasgoweastlibdems.org.uk


When I encouraged you to look at the data, I meant look at the data, not read articles in the worthless news media.

The homicide rate in Scotland is 1.9 per 100,000. That is not very high in general terms - the homicide rate in the US is 5 per 100,000.

It is pretty high for "Western" Europe, which is a new qualifier you just now introduced. But it's not that high for Europe - the overall homicide rate for Europe was 3.5 per 100,000 in 2010.

So no, Scotland does not have "one of the highest murder rates in Europe". And Europe has an unusually low murder rate by world standards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Anonymous said...

What evidence do you have that Fisher is wrong? He undoubtedly spent more time studying the matter than you did.


I have the evidence that he uses the term "Scotch-Irish" to refer to people who (according to him) are neither Scotch nor Irish!

He also uses the term "Cavaliers" to describe staunch republicans like Madison and Jefferson, which is pretty hilarious if you know what "Cavaliers" signifies in English history.

Do you have any response to these points?

Anonymous said...

People that had to run one, or two, or ten, miles to the outhouse don't romanticize it.


If you live in the country, the outhouse is never miles away. It's that bush just over there.

Anonymous said...

Whether Norman or Caviler - the 19th Century south did NOT see themselves as Scottish, or Scot-Irish or Irish.


Now they're all Celts and Scots.



They don't see themselves as "Scots-Irish" even today. The state with the most self-described "Scots-Irish" in it is California. There's not that many in the Old South.

Onestra Miheola said...

"Around these parts you often hear how whites love nature, whereas Blacks/Jews/Asians/etc. hate it. As Macaulay points out, this supposedly innate white love of nature is actually very recent."

I don't know, judging by literature and art, Europeans have long had an appreciation of nature.

But it is true that blacks aren't too fond of camping or walking around in the sticks. To them, this is either a reminder of slavery, or that given the rates of poverty, etc, they are a bit too close to homelessness.

Anonymous said...

I think NW Euros in general ate grains less than more southerly groups for longer with Ireland at the end of the spectrum. Northern latitude plus high rainfall = bad for crops, good for cattle-raising hence Irish (and Cornish) butter.


Ireland has essentially the same climate as Britain, being situated at the exact same latitude and almost the exact same longitude.


This isn't an "all Irish are x" thing. It's frequencies. You only need a small difference in trait frequencies between two groups for a caricature to develop.


No such "small difference" have yet been established, so it's premature of you to try to propose a (faulty) hypothesis to explain it. I repeat, it would be very odd if, within the British Isles, a place with a uniform climate and history of crop growing amd a uniform genetic base of people, some people turned out to be very sensitive to alcohol. Logically, it does not make any sense.

There's also the fact that there is zero empirical evidence to support such a contention.

Ireland, and England, have an excellent climate for growing crops, perhaps the best in Europe. It never gets very hot, it never gets very cold, and there is plenty of rainfall. Both Ireland and England have a long history of established settlements - Stonehenge in England and the even more impressive Newgrange in Ireland were both built around 3000 BC, and are the not the work of hunter-gatherers or pastoralists.

Your theory is devoid of both fact and reason.

Anonymous said...

Southerners did not believe themselves to be English, but rather as descendants of Norman settlers to England.


Tom Jefferson believed himself to be a Anglo-Saxon. In fact he was an intent student of Anglo-Saxon language and law. TJ could fairly be described as an "Anglo-Saxonist".

ben tillman said...

I read the book only a couple of years after all the "Dances with Wolves" brouhaha, when the worm had truly turned and it suddenly seemed natural for movie audiences to cheer the heroic Indians on as they rode down and methodically murdered U.S. Calvary troopers (which is what the audience in the theater I was in actually DID - and this was in deep-Red Oklahoma City, not Madison, Wisconsin).

You might want to consider the possibility that lots of those in the crowd actually had significant Indian ancestry. Do you know anything about Oklahoma besides the political party supported by the majority of its residents?

Anonymous said...

Scotland has the highest homicide rate in Western Europe and the sixth highest in the world.



Homicide rate by country.

1st Honduras 87 per 100,000
2nd El Salvador 71 per 100,000
..
10th South Africa 32 per 100,000
11th Dominican Republic 31 per 100,000
..
19th Mexico 19 per 100,000
..
28th Estonia 7.9 per 100,000
..
24th USA 5 per 100,000
..
31st Finland 2.1 per 100,000
..
somewhere down in about fiftysomething-place - Scotland 1.9 per 100,000.

You probably have to go to the Daily Kos to meet people as adverse to reality as the commenters on this blog.

ben tillman said...

Arguably, Indians are even more "off limits" for any negative criticism than blacks in this day and age according to the self-elected elites....

Actually, Indians are next to last in the pecking order, just ahead of Whites. Look at the Seinfeld episode "The Cigar Store Indian".

Whites and Indians are the groups with the only claims to ownership of this country, so there is an inherent conflict of interest between Indians and the usurping cultural Marxists.

Glaswegian said...

"Very much so - which makes it even more distinctive. The Glasgow police are probably some of the scariest in the world too"

Where the heck do these daft comments come from?

Anonymous said...

"So all he's saying is that at one politically expedient point in time, some small handful of people in the South claimed that they were "Normans". They were not, of course, but that's besides the point."

Exactly. That they claimed it was my point. I never implied they actually were Normans, just that Southerners have a long history of romanticizing themselves to have more exotic ancestry than many of them actually possess. That when they talked of being "cavaliers" they were considering themselves some sort of new world psuedo aristocrats.

And then post civil war, as stated earlier, they all decided to be Scottish and Irish (some really were, but it's definitely exaggerated.)

Anonymous said...

How about gay before gay?

Anonymous said...

That they claimed it was my point. I never implied they actually were Normans, just that Southerners have a long history of romanticizing themselves to have more exotic ancestry than many of them actually possess.


I don't think you have successfully established that Southerners as a group actually believed that they were "Normans" in the period before the Civil War.

You might as well cite Whiskey's prolific comments history to demonstrate that in 2012, "white Americans" believed that blacks have pure testosterone flowing through their veins.

Anonymous said...

"Ireland has essentially the same climate as Britain, being situated at the exact same latitude and almost the exact same longitude."

Simply wrong.

http://allinoneholidays.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/neerslagkaart-europa-alicante.jpg

Ireland and the west, especially south-west, of Britain have a very distinctive and unique climate ideally suited to cattle-raising *especially* in the time of Stonehenge and Newgrange before crops had been fully adapted to that climate.

(I would suggest it's *why* Stonehenge and Newgrange exist.)

Hence the higher rates of things like wheat allergies and extremely high rates of lactose tolerance.

Those last two are facts.

The thing about alcohol tolerance may fit with the last two facts or it may be bogus. However i think it is reasonable enough to be worth investigating for social policy reasons just in case.

#

"Where the heck do these daft comments come from?"

Working with them and others from around the world. There's nowhere in the world (until recently in other UK cities) where the police deal with as much violence without guns.

(When i say scary i don't mean in a stupid way. I mean taking a cleaver off someone without any hesitation with just a little wooden stick.)

#

"The homicide rate in Scotland is 1.9 per 100,000. That is not very high in general terms - the homicide rate in the US is 5 per 100,000."

In UK and northwest european terms, the west of Scotland and the area around Glasgow is particularly different from both the rest of the UK and the rest of Scotland. I think it is because the people are more recently descended from a raiding culture.

Your mileage may vary.

David Davenport said...

That they claimed it was my point. I never implied they actually were Normans, just that Southerners have a long history of romanticizing themselves to have more exotic ancestry than many of them actually possess.

That they claimed it was my point. I never implied they actually were Normans, just that Southerners have a long history of romanticizing themselves to have more exotic ancestry than many of them actually possess.


I don't think you have successfully established that Southerners as a group actually believed that they were "Normans" in the period before the Civil War.


Protestant denominations in the 19th c. American South tended to be socio-economically stratified, with Anglican/Episcopal being top of the status heap. A social climber in a boom town such as Charleston or Natchez, raised Baptist or Preybyterian or Campbellite Baptist and whose grandparents came from Ulster would move up to an Epsicopal church.

He or his wife, who probably heard about Cavaliers from, say, "Godey's Ladies' Book" magazine, might concoct a fake family tree, claiming to be descended from English aristos of impeccable Norman pedigree.

The popular literature of the time was full of Cavalier and Norman bull. The novels of Walter Scott were very popular in the antebellum South. You'll notice that Mark Twain like to parody Scott.

They don't see themselves as "Scots-Irish" even today. The state with the most self-described "Scots-Irish" in it is California. There's not that many in the Old South.

You're wrong about that. It's not a coincidence that that the school color of the U. of Tennessee is Big Orange. However, I grant you that many older stock white folk in small town CA tend to strike me as homefolks ... ethnic Southerners, that is. Even if they've lost the accent.

David Davenport said...

Suggest topic for an iSteve piece:

"D. W. Griffith's Hollywoodland, and the popularity of the Ku Klux Klan in Los Angeles of the teens and 1920's."

David Davenport said...

Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


SIR WALTER SCOTT

Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his enchantments, and by his single might checks this wave of progress, and even turns it back; sets the world in love with dreams and phantoms; with decayed and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of government; with the sillinesses and emptinesses, sham grandeurs, sham gauds, and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society.

He did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote. Most of the world has now outlived good part of these harms, though by no means all of them; but in our South they flourish pretty forcefully still. Not so forcefully as half a generation ago, perhaps, but still forcefully. There, the genuine and wholesome civilization of the nineteenth century is curiously confused and commingled with the Walter Scott Middle-Age sham civilization; and so you have practical, common-sense, progressive ideas, and progressive works; mixed up with the duel, the inflated speech, and the jejune romanticism of an absurd past that is dead, and out of charity ought to be buried.

But for the Sir Walter disease, the character of the Southerner-- or Southron, according to Sir Walter`s starchier way of phrasing it-- would be wholly modern, in place of modern and medieval mixed, and the South would be fully a generation further advanced than it is. It was Sir Walter that made every gentleman in the South a Major or a Colonel, or a General or a Judge, before the war; and it was he, also, that made these gentlemen value these bogus decorations. For it was he that created rank and caste down there, and also reverence for rank and caste, and pride and pleasure in them.

Enough is laid on slavery, without fathering upon it these creations and contributions of Sir Walter.
Sir Walter had so large a hand in making Southern character, as it existed before the war, that he is in great measure responsible for the war. It seems a little harsh toward a dead man to say that we never should have had any war but for Sir Walter; and yet something of a plausible argument might, perhaps, be made in support of that wild proposition. The Southerner of the American Revolution owned slaves; so did the Southerner of the Civil War: but the former resembles the latter as an Englishman resembles a Frenchman. The change of character can be traced rather more easily to Sir Walter`s influence than to that of any other thing or person.

...


www.twainquotes.com

Anonymous said...

FYI: Sir Walter Scott's romaticised versions of the highlanders and James Fenimore Cooper's romanticised Indians.
A number of scholars have claimed Cooper was seriously in thrall to Sir Walter's romanticised accounts -- to the extent that Cooper's Indians are just highlanders in warpaint.
The equation between views of these two people may be even more extensive than you suggest, given Cooper's and Scott's influence on American/British culture.

Anonymous said...

> Jerry Pournelle identifies as Norman.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought he was of Cajun or Quebecois origin. The name sounds French.


Uhumm:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normans

The link Steve gave with the list of Norman names at the bottom:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Norman

The spelling of these names was not standardized until surprisingly late. The same person might sign his name with different spelling at different times, apparently sounding-it-out is not all that new... So you will find lots of variations in spelling.

There are more people than you might think that identify as Norman (or having Norman family links) in a genealogic sense, but of course it's probably been 500 years or a good bit more since any group actually thought of itself as solely Norman.

Indeed I don't know if you can think of Normans as an actual ethnic group in the sense that you can think of most ethnic groups. More like a proto-ethnic group, a group of related extended families that never quite became a traditional ethnic group because they had too much get-up-and-go. Probably has to do with a culture that was at the core dervied from a number of Viking fleets that ran out of gas around the same place... with no women. But with a military culture, a willingness to use violence, familiarity with the latest military innovations (many learned from the Arabs and others they often fought), an appreciation of the value of learned men, and an eye to improving their circumstances. More like an army than an ethny.

It seems to me the Normans have the honor as qualifing as the original Evil Western White Guys On Who To Blame It All. (The *&^%^ blame the *&^%^ who blame the (&*&^ who blame the English who ultimately blame the Normans!)

But the West would be really, really different without them.

Check out this map from Steve's name link, Antioch is interesting. (It also suggests why there are theories that Normans had a good bit to do with the Little Renaissance):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Normannen.png

Here's another map of what is probably the high-water mark of what you might be able to call the Anglo-Norman Empire:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angevin_Empire

You can pretty much see what caused the Hundred Years war (which probably was crucial in forming the national character of England and France (and maybe Italy during the off years) and that of the West itself).

Oh, and of interest to Steve, one reason some Norman families stayed prominent for so long is they practiced cursorial marriage (cousins marry each other back each generation, so you get a family tree that looks like stacked X's).

Steve Sailer said...

I should say more surely that Jerry identifies _with_ the Normans.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"They don't see themselves as "Scots-Irish" even today. The state with the most self-described "Scots-Irish" in it is California. There's not that many in the Old South."

My wife has been watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, which led us to discussing the roots of the Hells Angel culture in Scots-Irish war veterans returning to Bakersfield and other Scots-Irish Californian towns after WW2. I'm not sure anyone has made this connection before, but isn't the Hells Angels nomadic culture of honour and violence uncannily reminiscent of those 'Born Fighting' Border Reivers?

Simon in London said...

David Davenport:
"You're wrong about that. It's not a coincidence that that the school color of the U. of Tennessee is Big Orange. However, I grant you that many older stock white folk in small town CA tend to strike me as homefolks ... ethnic Southerners, that is. Even if they've lost the accent."

Lots of the inland South from the Appalachians westwards were first settled primarily by Scots-Irish, though with lots of English, Welsh etc coming in behind I'm not sure that they ever made up the majority white population of any State. They'd definitely be the majority population of east Tenneessee where Knoxville is, but when you add in mid and west Tennesee I think they were culturally but not numerically dominant.

The coastal South was never Scots-Irish: Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, southern Alabama, and most of Mississippi. These are the "white trash and Cavalier" territories of Gone with the Wind Southern Romance. They had most of the money and nearly all the cotton. I think of it as Moll Flanders country, Moll is a 'white trash' London criminal who becomes a 'Cavalier' Southern aristocrat, so she covers both aspects.
If anyone in the Tidewater South ever claimed the South was Scots-Irish, I've not heard it.

Kylie said...

"But it is true that blacks aren't too fond of camping or walking around in the sticks. To them, this is either a reminder of slavery, or that given the rates of poverty, etc, they are a bit too close to homelessness."

You have got to be kidding.

Despite what many here seem to think, I have not found that blacks tend to put everyday events into historical contexts nor do they think metaphorically.

My observation has been that blacks generally don't see any value in anything that can't be put to immediate use (e.g., nature, high art). Thus, they will go fishing in hopes of catching food they can eat but they won't go strolling or hiking along a river bank just to enjoy observing the flora and fauna found there.

Camping in particular seems absurd to them. Why should they exert themselves to pitch a tent in the wilderness, collect firewood, etc. when they can rest comfortably in an urban setting and having the necessities of life given to them?

Generally, blacks' thought processes are far more immediate and concrete than some here think. Judging by their words and actions, the metaphorical, the long-ranging, the abstract seem to play little to no part in their thought processes.

pat said...

Just this week I watched The Last of the Mohicans on one of the cable movie channels. This was the original Randolph Scott version.

I wanted to see it because when the Daniel Day Lewis version was released a few years ago I was inspired to read the book. To my surprise the movie was not much like the book at all. I discovered that the Michael Mann / Daniel Day Lewis version was not based on the book but on that earlier film.

I never particularly like Randolph Scott when I was young. Now that I know that he was the gay lover of Cary Grant I find it even harder to accept him as a Western hero. Compared to Lewis, Scott is more decorative but oddly passive. Both films are quite similar in their narrative structure but the later film presses harder on the genocide issue. The newer film is very effective in portraying the end of that particular set of Indians.

The historical facts are not entirely consistent with the lesson that evil white men killed all the Indians. The Hurons had been warned not to dig up the bodies of the Europeans because many of them had died of smallpox. But they did, and smallpox decimated the Hurons and Mohicans too.

Anyway the real revelation is in Cooper's original book. This is the famous book that was written because Cooper finished reading another novel and told his wife that anyone could write a novel that good. To which she said something like - "Oh yeah, show me". Thus was born the first American best seller.

One thing Cooper got wrong was the hero's name - Natty Bumpo. Sounds like a comic supporting character name not the name of the protagonist. In the earlier film he is always called "Hawkeye"- a nickname. In later novels he is nicknamed "Deerslayer". In the 1992 film they call him Nathaniel Poe. Anything is better than Natty Bumpo.

But the biggest difference between the eithteenth century novel and the twentieh century movies is race. In the books Natty is constantly pointing out to the other characters that he has no Indian blood. He is very careful to ensure that although he knows Indian lore he is no half-breed. He continulaly proclaims the purity of his blood. He was afraid of any hint of a racial taint. He might admire the noble red man but he wouldn't want one to marry his sister.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"People that had to run one, or two, or ten, miles to the outhouse don't romanticize it."

Ten miles to the outhouse? Luxury!

Anonymous said...

"but isn't the Hells Angels nomadic culture of honour and violence uncannily reminiscent of those 'Born Fighting' Border Reivers?"

Now you mention it.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say how awesome that Macauley passage is. The first half in particular distills a large chunk of world history.

Truth said...

"Whites and Indians are the groups with the only claims to ownership of this country,"

There can really only be one claim to ownership of anything, so who is it? The inhabitants or the jackers?

Melykin said...

I think Macaulay may have exaggerated the wildness of highland people somewhat. Three of my grandparents were from the highlands and I have traced records back as far as 1770. Just the fact that there were written records of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths going that far back suggest the region couldn't have been quite as lawless and wild as Macaulay suggests.

I have found death notices in clippings from newspapers in small towns in Caithness from the 19th century. As far as I can tell my ancestors were stodgy and straight-laced Presbyterians who wrote flowery, verbose obituaries by the early to mid 19th century. My grandmother, who I remember, and who spoke Gaelic, was born in 1882 in county Sutherland. She was not the least wild or lawless.

If things had been as wild in the 18th century as Macaulay makes out how could people have changed so quickly?

Anonymous said...

"If things had been as wild in the 18th century as Macaulay makes out how could people have changed so quickly?"

Genetics. The impulsive wild ones got culled leaving only the self-controlled wild ones to breed.

It's why you have cop families.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

There can really only be one claim to ownership of anything,..."

You obviously don't understand the meaning of the word "claim". Get a dictionary, schmuck.

David Davenport said...

... Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, southern Alabama, and most of Mississippi

Where most of the honest common people were Presbyterians or Baptists, or some offshoot thereof.

Richer people may have been Anglican/Episcopalian, but some of them fancied up their family trees and didn't grow up Episcopalian.

Also, "Tidewater" refers to the Atlantic coast, never to the Gulf Coast.

Anonymous said...

I love the Calvinist touches, Catholicism is synonymous with Pagan beliefs and a lack of civilization. Rome, Florence, and Paris must have been just like the wilds of Scotland, huh, Thomas, How very objective.

Skeptical Economist said...

The Scotch are a violent crowd... I dated a Scotch-Irish girl once. I pointed out some of this history to her. She responded with a death threat.

Someone in her family was involved in an attempted murder (a very famous one). Her comment was "I told her not to hire the hit man". She wasn't kidding.

Her life was a maelstrom of strife, turmoil, threats of violence, violent death, etc. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that he extended family defeated Hitler, Tojo, etc.

In truth, I admired her and her family for their many virtues. They were and are, the sort of bedrock Americans who have built and sustained our country for hundreds of years. Ferocious in war and hard working / educated in peace? You bet. Calm and tranquil? Not exactly.

Simon in London said...

David Davenport:
"Also, "Tidewater" refers to the Atlantic coast, never to the Gulf Coast."

Yes, but the Tidewater culture moved west along the coast, coarsening as it did. At least that's what Jim Webb teaches us. :)

There is a difference between say southern Alabama and east Tennessee, or Mississippi and Kentucky, though I have to say it's really not all that big a difference from what I've seen. There were some differences in eg race relations, but all of them are far more alike than any are to other bits of the US I've seen, like New Mexico, San Francisco and (ugh) Las Vegas. I like the South a lot better than what I've seen of the rest of the USA, also, though I would like to see those New England townships some time - I find safe places are always interesting, and the South is not particularly safe in general.

Charlotte said...

Yesterday's Dog said...

"You might also add the Little House books by Laura Ingles Wilder. In real life, Wilder had very close contact with Amerindians (in both Kansas and South Dakota) and tended to paint them in a very negative light. In one of the books, the mother advises the children to avoid Indians at all costs."

Arguably, Indians are even more "off limits" for any negative criticism than blacks in this day and age according to the self-elected elites, yet Laura is a saint to feminists and Derb an irredeemable wicked racist for saying essentially the same thing; And arguably Derb's comments are more relevant in this day and age. Maybe that's the reason for his persecution by the thoughtpolice."

This seems a strange opinion to take from Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her mother disliked Indians, and recalled the terrible Indian uprising of 1862 not far from her home; Laura's father, Charles Ingalls, seems to have admired Indians and often mentioned their good points. Laura herself saw a trail of Indians moving past their home soon after the whole family had very nearly been attacked (they'd heard war cries all night, and saw an Indian brave ride by whom her father identified, but no historical reference can be found of him). Apparently this guy calmed them down and later they left the territory. Wilder describes the Indians in moving terms, admired what she thought was a wild and free existence, and still recalled, many years later, a little Indian baby she wanted. She asked her Ma to get the baby, and Ma huffed and went inside chiding Laura with the reminder that she already had a baby sister.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote quite objectively about Indians, such as she knew them. A few times the family did live around Indians, and were visited by a couple braves on dress parade, wearing skunk skins, but that was the exception. Most of the Ingalls homes were not located close to Indians, and Laura actually did not encounter them too often. One did come in to the general store in the fall of '81 and warned the homesteaders about the extreme winter that was on the way. That winter became "The Long Winter," one of the last 3 books Laura wrote.

Anonymous said...

Diversity before Diversity: Danny Barcelona

Louis Armstrong's long-time Filipino-Hawaiian drummer.