July 7, 2012

Syrian general defects

Where did he defect from, the spa? In this 2011 picture, 47-year-old Gen. Manf Tlass looks like a Belgian TV star trying to hustle a movie deal at Cannes by renting a yacht slightly bigger than he can actually afford, what with how much he has to pay daily to have his hair carefully tousled. From Wikipedia:
Tlass was born in Rastan in 1964. He is the son of former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass.[5] His family was the most famous Sunni family in Syria, known for supporting the Alawite-dominated regime.

Over the years, I have had a hard time paying attention to Syrian politics because I get distracted by how the players look. The current dictator is kind of an odd-looking Will-Ferrell-plays-Inspector-Clouseau-type, and his father, the previous dictator, looked like a Wisconsin high school principal.

One theory -- I heard it from J.P. Rushton -- is that ruling castes tend to get fairer over the generations because powerful men use their power to marry fair wives. That's likely true of the current First Lady of Syria, but I can't recall if anybody has systematically investigated this idea.

116 comments:

IHTG said...

While I agree that the Arab ruling classes seem fairer than the population they rule over on average, the "fair" types are nevertheless fairly (heh) common amongst the rabble.

So it's not a Mexico-like situation where the rulers and the ruled look totally different.

Gordon said...

Yes but how many Wisconsin High School Principals would slaughter ten thousand people because they did not share his opinions on the Blank Slate theory?

Anonymous said...

Asma al-Assad is so fine.

Anonymous said...

Syria is a true semitic country.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some Vandals made into what is now Syria?

Anonymous said...

Lebanon and Syria have had so many groups pass through- Kurds, Assyrians, Turks, French,Armenians-no telling what DNA is there.

John Mansfield said...

Mitt Romney's father George gets a lot of notice, a rugged, manly-looking, mostly self-made success. So where did Mitt's softer handsomeness come from? Well, his mother Lenore was a hopeful actress under contract with MGM. George said his biggest sales success was convincing Lenore to leave Hollywood to be his wife.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/us/politics/political-lessons-from-a-mothers-losing-run.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

spandrell said...

Ottoman caliphs sure got ever whiter. Suleiman the Great looked quite German and it was only 50 years after consolidating the empire.

Anonymous said...

Well, Jeb and George P. Bush would certainly be an exception to that.

Anonymous said...

I knew a Lebanese woman who said that Lebanese and Syrians had some French ancestry from the Crusaders.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Syrian phenotypes are interesting. I married into a Syrian immigrant family and a lot of them could move to Des Moines without getting a second look. Crusader blood? Return immigration from the Caucasus? I haven't read any explanations.

Harry Baldwin said...

In the post on Enrique Pena Nieto, someone commented that Mexico now has the hottest First Lady. I'd say Asma al Assad has her beat hands down.

Anonymous said...

O/T but can somebody speak to the suggestion in this AP story that Israel gives higher salaries for its mandatory military service (2-3 years) to Jews who marry and have children:

"And as those who are married and with children are entitled to higher salaries — the military would face another financial burden."

Does the U.S. government offer this kind of incentive to procreate? Do U.S. servicepersons with children receive higher salaries? Does Israel give higher salaries to Jewish and Arab Israelis alike or only Jewish Israelis?

This quote by an Israeli is also interesting:

"You have to understand, we are part of the Jewish army," said Aharon Grossman, a 30-year-old student at Mir Yeshiva. "Some people serve in tanks. We serve in yeshiva."

Anonymous said...

The Aga Khan line comes to mind. What a bizarre situation. The Aga Khan is the leader of millions of Pakistani Ismailis and even collects tithe but after generations of marrying European women, this South Asian royal family literally looks like an affluent family in Stockholm. Do Pakistanis find it strange that they can still claim leadership over them?

nyc social diary pictures

Dutch Boy said...

I believe I read that he has been living in Europe for a while (the climate is healthier there for Syrian generals).

Dutch Boy said...

I believe I read that he has been living in Europe for a while (the climate is healthier there for Syrian generals).

William Boot said...

He looks like Rupert Graves, the guy who plays Lestrade in the BBC Sherlock.

Anonymous said...

Syrians and Lebanese mostly look pretty white, with the elites looking whiter still from more European admixture. Go a google image search for "Khoury" which is a surname you almost exclusively find among Levantine Christians (it means "priest.") The pictures that pop up almost all look like slightly exotic-looking white people.

sunbeam said...

It seems like it isn't as cut and dried as marrying "fair wives."

I've been trying to find a quote I once read about how the slavery system would have ended in the South regardless of the Civil War. I think it was by Sherman, so I've been googling him, getting lots of pictures of his face.

It doesn't seem like whatever crimes they've committed, what kinds of atrocities. Modern people just look like hollow men compared to the pictures from the past. Race doesn't matter. I think Idi Amin looked as much like a clown as the guy you've pictured here.

Sherman looked like a hard-ass. This guy never will. Honestly gravitas just seems like it is not a feature modern life is conducive to. Or else modern people don't lead the kind of lives that carve marks in people's faces.

Strangely enough I think Chuck Norris could play Sherman, at least if he didn't have to act. Maybe he could, it's not like he would have to show a range of emotions. If I were making a Civil War movie I would cast Chuck Norris as Sherman. He's just perfect for it. And from what I've been googling the man spoke in one liners anyway.

Sorry for the digression, but this modern age... even if they kill me I kind of have a hard time not laughing at them. It really is hard to take things seriously anymore, it seems like a total blur of idiocy brought to you in excruciating detail by modern media. You know "Full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing," that kind of thing. No matter what any of them say, of whatever political affiliation, it seems to me that things have a life of their own now.

Whatever the truth of the great men theory of history, I think we are now in a "when it is steam engine time, it is steam engine time" phase of things.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

This could very well be a manifestation of Janissary or White slave genes in the Syrian population. Or, perhaps, remnants of Crusaders or French colonialists.

I know several blonde-haired, blue-eyed Syrians, both male and female, here in Orange County, CA. They look Slavic or Scandinavian.

BTW, the Lebanese, whom I'm intimately familiar with, absolutely hate the Syrians and look down on them as the "hillbillies" of the Levant. As both Lebanese and Syrian women are known for their stunning beauty, I think it's just a case of jealousy.

Citizen Sane said...

Syrians seem, in general, a bit lighter in complexion than the average Arab. A result of the more temperate climate of Syria? Or perhaps some European admixture?

Anonymous said...

In the movie this general will be played by Tim Robbins.

He can ride into the movie in a little envirofriendlyelectric -shriner car.

Anonymous said...

Sailer is a tabloider at heart. 1000s die but he fixates on cracking jokes about looks.

Anonymous said...

The Syrian president reminds me a bit of John Cleese.

Anonymous said...

Actually, watching Syrians on the TV, I'm surprised about how fair the general population is - especially the kids who are often blond haired and blue eyed. From what I've seen there isn't a great deal of difference, phenotypically between Syrians and Europeans. One can't say this about 'other Arabs' such as Saudis, for example.
Another point is that where I live in London, England there seems to have been seems an influx lately of many be-chadored women who are non-English facially, but very light of skin and light of hair and even eye. If they are Syrian women, I do not know - but seeing that London has the whole world flung at it, I wouldn't be surprised.

Anonymous said...

LOL

Anonymous said...

That little block of the Middle East compeised of Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria was home to the Crusader Kingdoms for a couple of centuries which salted the gene pool with a lot of fair people. I've known a lot of Lebanese who look like Europeans. The elite will have the ability, as you pointed out, to select for pale women from the local pool and from Europeans which further enhances the effect. My recollection is that Daddy Assad had blue eyes.

Anonymous said...

I think a substantial number of german army officers went there after WWII

Matt Parrott said...

"One theory is that ruling castes tend to get fairer over the generations because powerful men use their power to marry fair wives. That's likely true of the current First Lady of Syria, but I can't recall if anybody has systematically investigated this idea."

For the love of God, systematically investigate it!

Anonymous said...

Turkey and Syria where fairly white all around until the dusky Arabs and Turks rode in. The lower class still is, but the upper class quickly became dominated by Greek and balkin people, some kidnapped to be soldiers and some who came voluntarily for the money. The ottoman rulers of the area were more than 90% white European by ancestry even in the 1600s. Also many attractive pale slavs from russia were kidnapped for use in upper class harems over the period from around 1000 to 1700. Syria in particular was for hundreds of years one of the richest and most urban areas of the world and attracted massive euro immigration and white slaves.

Anonymous said...

Hi, from back in the day when young boys read National Geographic, it has always stuck in my mind that a small percentage of the Syrian population is blond. The photographers were quite helpful in this regard, the girls looked cute in their paramilitary parade garb.

Syria was once one of the richest provinces of the Roman empire and its long-time capital of Antioch (now north of the border in Turkey) was once the third largest/richest city in the Roman empire.

The Crusader States encompassed Syria, it's one of the few places the crusaders were successful and established a government that lasted some 250 years, the "Principality of Antioch". "Most of the crusaders who settled there were of Norman origin and/or from southern Italy..."

Krak des Chevaliers, the famous headquarters castle of the Knights Hospitaller, is in Syria, as is the Hospitaller castle Margat, the Templar castle Chastel Blanc, and Saladdin Castle, among others. The last major Templar base on the mainland was at Tartus, Syria (fell in 1291), which I now notice borders the Alawite Mountains.

One could start a rumour, you know, Templars, Templar camp followers, taking refuge in the mountains, mysterious Alawaites (as in Assad's ethnic minority Alawaite government, which it appears traditional Islamists hate...).

Anonymous said...

If you want to see lots of photos of what the mexican upper class looks like try the photoblog mirreybook.com. You can also see the extent the young upper class likes to travel and is so fluent in english their txtmsg speak has an English word every few lines.

Anonymous said...

Hi, there appears to be an ethnic and illegal immigration angle to the Syrian situation, according to this story:

"..in late 2011 Assad offered “Syrian Arab” citizenship to 300,000 ethnic Kurds and allowed Kurds in Syria to open six Kurdish language schools in the region. They were permitted, for the first time, to teach students in their language and fly their flag. Cagaptay and others interpreted the move as an attempt to placate a potential foe in the roiling, multi-ethnic state of Syria.

In addition, beginning in March 2012, Assad welcomed the PKK back to Syrian soil. Cagaptay reported that some 1,500-2,000 PKK troops moved from the Qandil enclave along the Iran-Iraq border to Syria."


I was not aware that Kurds are the largest minority in Syria:

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

"As a result of government claims of an increase in illegal immigration, the Syrian government decided to conduct a general census on October 5, 1962...

According to Refugees International, there are about 300,000 stateless Kurds in Syria; however, Kurds dispute this number and estimate about 500,000. A recent independent report has confirmed that there are at least 300,000 stateless Kurds living in Syria...

"Kurdish leader Mashaal Tammo was gunned down... "My father's assassination is the screw in the regime's coffin. They made a big mistake...""

not a hacker said...

He's a dead ringer for Lou Piniella.

Difference Maker said...

I thought of mentioning thia yesterday but I see the thunder has been stolen.

Of course it is Crusader blood, who at that time were more Frankish than French, and they settled the land with colonials. But I go back to not the Romans, but the Greeks, for whom Syria was the heartland of the Seleucid Empire, and well colonized with Macedonian military settlers, who in those days were perhaps a fairer people.

As well, the Mitanni, going back even further. An Indo-Aryan people

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, the Assad men have a definite bit of John Cleese about them.

beowulf said...

I think we can all agree that Bashar Assad and Rand Paul are the two most famous Ophthalmologists in the world.

What exactly is our beef with the guy? As Arab leaders go, he seems to be above-average and he poses no security threat to us (or for that matter, Israel). its like there's some kind of curse where we must overthrow at least one government a year or face a plague of locusts or something.

Anonymous said...

About those ethnic Alawites like Assad....

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

"Traditionally Alawis have lived in the Alawite Mountains along the Mediterranean coast of Syria. ...

Alawites are reported to celebrate certain Christian festivals, "in their own way",[43] including Christmas, Easter, and Palm Sunday, and their religious ceremonies make use of bread and wine (without alcohol).[33] According to Matti Moosa:

The Christian elements in the Nusayri religion are unmistakable; the celebration of Christmas, the consecration of the Qurban, that is, the sacrament of the flesh and blood which Christ offered to his disciples, and, most important, the celebration of the Quddas (a lengthy prayer proclaiming the attributes of Ali and of all the biblical patriarchs from Adam to Simon Peter, founder of the Church, who is seen, paradoxically, as the embodiment of true Islam).

Alawis have their own scholars, referred to as shaikhs,...

As of 2012, the Alawis comprise the entirety of the top military and intelligence offices...."



Apparently the Alawites (aka Nusayris) were once a despised minority in Syria (they seem to be 12% to 20% of the population?). Daniel Pipes has an interesting 1989 essay, The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria, in which he concludes, "It appears inevitable that the 'Alawis - still a small and despised minority, for all their present power - will eventually lose their control over Syria." He has added a 2010 reference to The Fatwas and the Nusayri/Alawis of Syria, Yvette Talhamy, April 2010, which from the abstract describes how the Alawites went from being "... heretics outside Islam" to being recognized as "... part of the Muslim community..."

Steve, I'm sure you could write a killer movie script, better than that Da Vinci thing, lots of tie-ins to modern times... cut me in on a small percentage, ok? ;)

Dutch Boy said...

Syrian y-chromososme DNA haplotypes are 28.5% European type: I (Nordic) 5%, R1b (Italo-Celtic,Germanic,Hittite,Armenian)13.5%, R1a (Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Indo-Iranian) 10%. The Kurds are also somewhat European-looking and have 45% European-type Y DNA.
http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_y-dna_haplogroups.shtml

Glaivester said...

"Tlass was born in Rastan in 1964."

Wait a second - Tlass was born in one of the greatest arcade games ever made?

Anonymous said...

Slavery over the course of more than a millenia also played a role, with african slaves going to the lower classes, in diverging the ruling elite from their people.

Anonymous said...

Assad looks somewhat like Sailer.

Anonymous said...

http://kurdistancommentary.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/assad.jpg

Sailer or Assad?

Anonymous said...

Assad should change his name to
Ass-head and come out for same-sex marriage. The West will suddenly be on his side.

Steve Sailer said...

"Assad looks somewhat like Sailer."

We're pretty similar in height.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7/7/12 6:44 AM
This quote by an Israeli is also interesting:

"You have to understand, we are part of the Jewish army," said Aharon Grossman, a 30-year-old student at Mir Yeshiva. "Some people serve in tanks. We serve in yeshiva."


That's an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israeli who is being quoted. Most Israelis who are not ultra-Orthodox Jews would not agree with him. Israeli government welfare spending to support the large families of the ultra-Orthodox is likewise not popular among secular Israeli Jews.

Anonymous said...

The Phoenicians came from Syria, and many Europeans are descended from Phoenicians.

Anonymous said...

Syrian y-chromososme DNA haplotypes are 28.5% European type: I (Nordic) 5%, R1b (Italo-Celtic,Germanic,Hittite,Armenian)13.5%, R1a (Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Indo-Iranian) 10%. The Kurds are also somewhat European-looking and have 45% European-type Y DNA.
http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_y-dna_haplogroups.shtml

The origin, distribution and relationship of the Y-DNA haplogroups in your post is more complex than the simple caricatures you've stated. The closest relative of Haplogroup I is the Middle Eastern-origin but widely diffused Haplogroup J, and not just because they are neighbors in the alphabet. Some clades of Haplogroup I are also found at appreciable concentrations outside of Scandinavia, for instance in the Balkans. Likewise, if you've been following Dienekes' site, some recent research suggests that Haplogroup R1b may be a relatively recent entrant to Europe even though it is now the most common haplogroup in the western portion.

Y-haplogroups are useful for tracing migration effect on populations since they are not subject to genetic recombination. However, they are not particularly good for defining the genetic relationship between populations because they represent such a tiny part of the genome. Analysis of whole-genome DNA with the ADMIXTURE program shows that the Syrians are similar to other Levantine populations: Dodecad ADMIXTURE analysis

Get Off My Lawn! said...

What exactly is our beef with the guy? As Arab leaders go, he seems to be above-average and he poses no security threat to us (or for that matter, Israel). its like there's some kind of curse where we must overthrow at least one government a year or face a plague of locusts or something.

We claim to be after Assad because he's a brutal dictator who "murders his own people." Meanwhile, such things go on in Africa all the time, and we just tut-tut unless it reaches Rwanda-level horror (or unless a celebrity latches onto the cause).

What I would really like to understand is what Assad did to make the BBC so mad at him. If you think American media are anti-Assad, you should watch BBC World News. Normally, I prefer the Beeb's news programs, leftist though they are, because their content seems to be aimed a more intelligent audience than CNN or Fox, not that this is a difficult feat. Also, these days, it is the only place to go to escape 24/7 election coverage. But, anyway, the BBC folks really have it in for Assad. EVERY news show contains an anti-Assad piece, usually as the lead story and often featuring Hillary Clinton's latest Assad-bashing. It's puzzling to me that a British news network gives more air time to the American Secretary of State than to their own PM. Why are they so obsesseed with Syria?

Gringo said...

beowolf
What exactly is our beef with the guy? As Arab leaders go, he seems to be above-average and he poses no security threat to us (or for that matter, Israel).

Assad's alliances with Hezbollah and Iran are the issues.

agnostic said...

Nothing to explain here. People in that part of the world have always been light.

Everyone except for one commenter is confusing Levantines with people from the deep southern Saudi Arabian peninsula, the Central/East Asian Turkic homeland, and the pre-Aryan Indians.

The Levantines probably got their start where the lighter Euros did -- Neanderthals. Their range covered the Levant, but not any of the three other, dusky regions listed above.

Steve Sailer said...

Bashar Assad looks like a tall Edward Norton.

Anonymous said...

Darn! I recommended isteve to a rather well-read friend a couple of months ago. I claimed Sailer was one of the most insightful observers of the modern world. Since then all I've seen is Sailer descend into puerility. I've come to rue my decision to recommend his writing. Can you not cut back on quantity to improve quality, Steve?

- Entitled FOB brown.

Anonymous said...

I've always been very impressed with General Sherman. Here is an amazingly prescient quote from him:

"On hearing of South Carolina's secession from the United States, Sherman observed to a close friend, Professor David F. Boyd of Virginia, an enthusiastic secessionist, almost perfectly describing the four years of war to come:

You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it... Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail."

And another of my favorite quotes from him:

“Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.”

Anonymous said...

I've always been very impressed with General Sherman. Here is an amazingly prescient quote from him:

"On hearing of South Carolina's secession from the United States, Sherman observed to a close friend, almost perfectly describing the four years of war to come:

You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing!


It was Sherman (and Lincoln), not the Southern States, that drenched the country in blood. The South wanted independence, not war. The North chose war over peace and freedom. Liberty and self-determination are hardly a crime against civilization. And to think we just got done celebrating July 4...

Anonymous said...

Gringo said...

"beowolf
What exactly is our beef with the guy? As Arab leaders go, he seems to be above-average and he poses no security threat to us (or for that matter, Israel)."

Assad's alliances with Hezbollah and Iran are the issues.


So, again, what is our beef with the guy?

Anonymous said...

I've always been very impressed with General Sherman. Here is an amazingly prescient quote from him:

Prescient only because he and other Northern warmongers possessed the power to make their prediction come true.

Anonymous said...

Most Israelis who are not ultra-Orthodox Jews would not agree with him. Israeli government welfare spending to support the large families of the ultra-Orthodox is likewise not popular among secular Israeli Jews.

It's popular enough that it is enshrined in public policy.

ATBOTL said...

"One theory -- I heard it from J.P. Rushton -- is that ruling castes tend to get fairer over the generations because powerful men use their power to marry fair wives."

Syrians look more European than other Arabs because Syria is closer to Europe.

The above mentioned theory breaks down because you can't find examples of it actually happening on a large scale. A better explanation is that fairer men from the north repeatedly conquered darker people to the South. We know that happened a lot, in various parts of world.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Yes but how many Wisconsin High School Principals would slaughter ten thousand people because they did not share his opinions on the Blank Slate theory?

I think you'd be surprised that the answer is "nearly all of them, even if they themselves don't realize it". They just don't have the power yet.

Certainly the marxist massacres of demonstrated the complete willingness of dweeby intellectuals to put millions to the sword in the name of abstract political theories of human equality/egalitarianism.

Anonymous said...

US basketball Olympic team: blacks are 100% (if Obama is a first black president then surely Blake Griffin is black).

How come no one is worried about diversity to make out team stronger?

Anonymous said...

"It was Sherman (and Lincoln), not the Southern States, that drenched the country in blood."

Actually, it was the South;they were the ones who were trying to secede.If they had stayed put, no Civil War.


"The South wanted independence, not war. The North chose war over peace and freedom. Liberty and self-determination are hardly a crime against civilization."

MMM...the South went to war over "liberty and self-determination." One of the funniest lines I've heard all year.


"And to think we just got done celebrating July 4...""

The American Revolution was a monumental mistake; had North America stayed British, slavery would have ended in the 1830s and the Kaiser would never have dared to cross eyes at the Anglo-American Empire.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Prescient only because he and other Northern warmongers possessed the power to make their prediction come true."

Well of course.Real nations do not allow component parts to secede. Back then, the USA was a real nation, led by real men. Hence, the exactness of Sherman's prediction.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Well of course.Real nations do not allow component parts to secede.

Wow, bravado!

Real men expect to govern themselves. The South was led by real men.

Back then, the USA was a real nation, led by real men.

There you go again! A real nation is equivalent to One People. Given events, that obviously was not a property of the United States in 1860.

Hence, the exactness of Sherman's prediction.

Complete non sequitur.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it was the South;they were the ones who were trying to secede.If they had stayed put, no Civil War.

If the North had respected liberty and the South's desire for self-determination, then no Civil War.

Anonymous said...

MMM...the South went to war over "liberty and self-determination." One of the funniest lines I've heard all year.

It may not be what you learned in grade school and in your impartial media institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, but it is the truth.

Anonymous said...

"US basketball Olympic team: blacks are 100% (if Obama is a first black president then surely Blake Griffin is black)."

You missed Kevin Love, who's the best power forward in the NBA. The team has 1 and a half white players.

Anonymous said...

Real nations do not allow component parts to secede.

Component parts do not attempt to secede from real nations. Ergo...

Anonymous said...

MMM...the South went to war over "liberty and self-determination." One of the funniest lines I've heard all year.

"It may not be what you learned in grade school and in your impartial media institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, but it is the truth."

Hardly. It's propaganda. Confederate apologists simply can't bring themselves to utter the "S" word. Unless, of course, by "liberty and self-determination" you mean the liberty to maintain a slave-society...


Syon

Anonymous said...

Real nations do not allow component parts to secede.

"Component parts do not attempt to secede from real nations. Ergo..."

Hardly, dear boy/girl/indeterminate:

Real nations are defined by their willingness to use force to maintain their unity. After all, a law is meaningless if no one is willing to enforce it.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"If the North had respected liberty and the South's desire for self-determination, then no Civil War."

Dear boy, there is no such thing as self-determination. It is all a matter of will. Which fellow will blink first.In this case, it was the South.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Real men expect to govern themselves. The South was led by real men."

No one governs themselves themselves, dear boy.We are all governed.As for the South being led by real men, poppycock.A real man has brains and balls.The South was led by clueless ninnies, without an ounce of brains among them, not even Judah P. Benjamin.



"There you go again! A real nation is equivalent to One People. Given events, that obviously was not a property of the United States in 1860."

Hardly, dear boy. A real nation is defined by its willingness to fight to preserve its territorial integrity (hence, the USA, given her present lack of willingness to defend her southern border, is no longer a real nation).


"Complete non sequitur."

Hardly. Sherman knew that the Union was led by real men who would not allow the break-up of the nation.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Hardly. It's propaganda. Confederate apologists simply can't bring themselves to utter the "S" word. Unless, of course, by "liberty and self-determination" you mean the liberty to maintain a slave-society...

Liberty is the freedom to rule oneself. In real nations, the people rule themselves through their general will, and are not ruled over by others.

You have implied yourself that the United States is not a real nation (despite being willing to impose force to maintain itself). I think it's interesting to consider how the Civil War and attitudes like yours may have contributed to the present state of affairs. (Surely many readers here feel that this country does not represent them; some even speak of secession. See Steve's recent Derbyshire post.)

Forcing a large territory to remain shackled to another territory against its will is not a recipe for self-determination or real nationhood. In a real nation, the people consent to be associated with one another, even as they approve or submit to laws that have coercive power.

Anonymous said...

Dear boy, there is no such thing as self-determination. It is all a matter of will.

Hardly. Define "it."

Anonymous said...

Which fellow will blink first.In this case, it was the South.

The South never blinked.

DaveinHackensack said...

"The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail."

Clark Gable's character said essentially the same thing in Gone with the Wind.

Anonymous said...

You missed Kevin Love, who's the best power forward in the NBA.

I did. Damn. Really, really should be more attentive. The point stands but of course nowhere as starkly.

Anonymous said...

Queen Rania of Jordan is also good looking.

and don't forget Muhammed Ali of Egypt who was an Albanian:


Muhammed Ali

Anonymous said...

"The South never blinked."

Of course they did. They surrendered.The big blink, so to speak.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Hardly. Define "it.""

"Self-Determination?" That's what dictionaries are for! The key point, though, is that there is no right to self-determination. Force makes rights.

Syon

Anonymous said...

He looks like the twin brother of Portuguese soccer coach Jose Mourinho.

Joe

Anonymous said...

"Liberty is the freedom to rule oneself."


No one rules oneself, dear boy; we are all ruled.



"In real nations, the people rule themselves through their general will, and are not ruled over by others."

When have "the people" ever ruled themselves? there is always an elite of some kind. As for the "general will" (touchingly Rousseauian of you), that is simply the imposition of the will of the majority over a minority.



"You have implied yourself that the United States is not a real nation (despite being willing to impose force to maintain itself)."

My whole point was that the USA is no longer willing to use force to maintain herself (cf the frontier with Mexico).


"I think it's interesting to consider how the Civil War and attitudes like yours may have contributed to the present state of affairs. (Surely many readers here feel that this country does not represent them; some even speak of secession. See Steve's recent Derbyshire post.)"

I rather doubt that the USA has ever represented me. after all, I think that the American Revolution was a colossal mistake..

"Forcing a large territory to remain shackled to another territory against its will is not a recipe for self-determination or real nationhood. In a real nation, the people consent to be associated with one another, even as they approve or submit to laws that have coercive power."

All this talk of the people! I would dearly love to meet the people someday...

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Nothing to explain here. People in that part of the world have always been light. ...

The Levantines probably got their start where the lighter Euros did -- Neanderthals. ..."


I keep forgetting that's why Jesus was blond and blue-eyed. Just another Neanderthal for Jesus here.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I think of ruling families getting fairer, I think of Aga Khan IV, whom someone already mentioned. The hereditary leader of millions of Ismaili Muslims, he resides in Europe, far from most of his "flock"; his paternal grandfather was Iranian, his paternal grandmother Italian, and his mother is English (I think). Here is a picture of the family at his son's wedding. Doesn't " Islamic religious leader" come to mind on seeing it?

Anonymous said...

"Yes but how many Wisconsin High School Principals would slaughter ten thousand people because they did not share his opinions on the Blank Slate theory?"

A frighteningly large number, actually.

Anonymous said...

He looks like Eric Dane from Gray's Anatomy.

Anonymous said...

"is that ruling castes tend to get fairer over the generations because powerful men use their power to marry fair wives"

If they choose the most attractive women over enough generations the men eventually lose their chins.

Anonymous said...

In T.E. Lawrence's book, "Seven Pillars," Lawrence details his entry into Ottoman held Damascus. Lawrence thought that his mastery of the Arabic language along with his flowing robes would conceal his true identity as an Englishman.

Lawrence mentioned that people would think of him as a "Circassian", from the Caucasus Mountains area.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The American Revolution was a monumental mistake; had North America stayed British, slavery would have ended in the 1830s and the Kaiser would never have dared to cross eyes at the Anglo-American Empire.

The British monarchy by that point was already illegitimate and politically emasculated. So once you're already at democratic rule, the right of secession can be taken as a given because, as you end up acknowleding, it's really just a question of force at that point. Democracy is only a thin veneer for the exercise of raw power: we just count who can muster the bigger army and everybody goes home instead of fighting.

The point you're missing is that a coherent nation wouldn't need force to maintain its existence. The Amish, for example, are still Amish despite the fact their patriarchy doesn't mow down dissenters with machine guns.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing to explain here. People in that part of the world have always been light."

Yeah, why does everyone think that this requires an explanation? Why do we assume that the Levant wasn't pretty white 1,000 or 2,000 years ago and it had to be Crusaders or WWII Germany military officers or something? Maybe the Syrians used to be even lighter but were darkened by Gulf Arab invasions and black slavery.

Reg C├Žsar said...

The Syrian president reminds me a bit of John Cleese.

I was saying that about his father 20 years ago. Hafez was all the more Cleesian. Does Damascus have a Ministry of Silly Walks?

BTW, isn't John the only male Cleese on the planet? His grandfather made the name up, and John has no sons nor brothers, nor uncles nor male cousins IIRC.

Anonymous said...

As someone pointed out earlier, Middle Eastern Christians tend to look whiter than there Muslim neighbors. Egyptian Christians look a bit darker but still seem lighter than Muslim Egyptians. Since they've probably had few converts since the Muslim takeover (a Muslim converting is punishable by death), these populations are probably pretty representative of the local genetic makeup c. AD 600. African slave imports and concubines have probably darkened the Muslims a bit.

Anonymous said...

Gordon sed

Yes but how many Wisconsin High School Principals would slaughter ten thousand people because they did not share his opinions on the Blank Slate theory?



I don't think I'd like to be pals with Bashar, but I only recently understaood what transpired in Hama back in the days of his daddy. Seems the Israelis and US were meddling by supporting the Muslim brotherhood. Back then it was the Cold War, so I can imagine daddy got a simple order from Moscow, and took care of things quickly. Most probably the USSR was not interested in another Afghanistan.

Nowadays, it seems the same crowd is meddling again, but my guess is that daddy was more ruthless and efficient than his spoilt son, which is why it is taking so long for him to sort the the thing out. His dead brother made a more ruthless impression, maybe that's why he's dead, perhaps the Israelis did not like him that much.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Gnostic:"The point you're missing is that a coherent nation wouldn't need force to maintain its existence. The Amish, for example, are still Amish despite the fact their patriarchy doesn't mow down dissenters with machine guns."

Last time I checked, the Amish lack the ability to "mow down dissenters with machine guns." They are a subaltern people existing within the greater American hegemon. It would be rather interesting to see what their attitudes would be like without that exterior entity...

Syon

Anonymous said...

Anti-Gnostic:"The British monarchy by that point was already illegitimate and politically emasculated."

"illegitimate?" I'm afraid that I don't understand your reasoning there, old man. As for politically emasculated, well, it had certainly been reduced to a ceremonial role (one of the innumerable ways in which Britain is superior to America is that the British have separated the ceremonial, the monarch, from the political, the pm).

"So once you're already at democratic rule, the right of secession can be taken as a given because, as you end up acknowleding, it's really just a question of force at that point."

And this differs from an autocracy how? Seeing as both are reliant upon force.



"Democracy is only a thin veneer for the exercise of raw power: we just count who can muster the bigger army and everybody goes home instead of fighting."

Indeed.

Syon

Kylie said...

"All this talk of the people! I would dearly love to meet the people someday..."

That's the last thing anyone with any sense of self-preservation would love to do.

Anonymous said...

All this talk of the people! I would dearly love to meet the people someday...

You should get out more.

Anonymous said...

I rather doubt that the USA has ever represented me. after all, I think that the American Revolution was a colossal mistake..

This doesn't follow.

Anonymous said...

My whole point was that the USA is no longer willing to use force to maintain herself (cf the frontier with Mexico).

Sure it is. Per the Civil War, it's about territory, not people.

Anonymous said...

When have "the people" ever ruled themselves? there is always an elite of some kind. As for the "general will" (touchingly Rousseauian of you), that is simply the imposition of the will of the majority over a minority.

And so the majority's will prevails in governance, and its people are therefore self-determining.

Anonymous said...

The key point, though, is that there is no right to self-determination. Force makes rights.

I didn't say there was right to self-determination. Self-determination means a people's liberty to govern itself.

And in point of fact, force doesn't make rights. The source of rights is controversial. Rights derive from compacts, explicit or implied. They may also exist inherently, in the case of natural rights.

Anonymous said...

"The South never blinked."

Of course they did. They surrendered.The big blink, so to speak.


To surrender following a prolonged, bloody war is not to blink. To blink means to back down before engaging in real conflict or enduring real danger.

Anonymous said...

I searched for comments about race and the Aga Khan but couldn't find much. I could only find one magazine article that directly addressed the issue and it wasn't written by a South Asian: “For all appearances, the Aga Khan looked and acted like a rich white man, down to his thousand-dollar suit and his mannerisms and his Prince Charles-like English accent.” http://www.theasiamag.com/people/the-prince-on-pakistans-invisible-throne

Makes me realize that South Asians are able to absorb white people into their cultural fold as eagerly and without questions as Latin Americans.

IHTG said...

Makes me realize that South Asians are able to absorb white people into their cultural fold as eagerly and without questions as Latin Americans.

Compare that with the fate of "Glubb Pasha" in Jordan. Who remembers the French and British mandates?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"To surrender following a prolonged, bloody war is not to blink. To blink means to back down before engaging in real conflict or enduring real danger."

Hardly, dear boy; it proves that they were not willing to fight to the last men. Hence, they blinked at the prospect of annihilation. Of course, most people behave in a similar fashion. Even the Japanese blinked at the prospect of atomic devastation (of course, it did take two bombs).

Syon

Anonymous said...

anonymous;"I didn't say there was right to self-determination. Self-determination means a people's liberty to govern itself."

People don't govern themselves;they are governed by elites.

"And in point of fact, force doesn't make rights."

Force makes everything. War is the father of all things.


"The source of rights is controversial. Rights derive from compacts, explicit or implied. They may also exist inherently, in the case of natural rights."

There are no natural rights; all rights are artificial.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous;"And so the majority's will prevails in governance, and its people are therefore self-determining."

Hardly. Its people (the majority) are governing all those who are in the minority (unless you live in some fantasy land where 100% of the people agree on everything).It is all about imposing your will on some one else.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Sure it is. Per the Civil War, it's about territory, not people."

And territory must be defended from invasion in order for sovereignty to be maintained....and the USA has failed to defend its border for several decades now.Hence, the USA is no longer a nation;it has surrendered to Mexico.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Syon:I rather doubt that the USA has ever represented me. after all, I think that the American Revolution was a colossal mistake..

Anonymous:"This doesn't follow."

My interests are overriden; hence, I am not represented by the USA.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"You should get out more."

I do get out quite a bit. Sadly, I only see individuals; the chimera known as "the people" remains elusive.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"That's the last thing anyone with any sense of self-preservation would love to do."

But what a way to go!

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Makes me realize that South Asians are able to absorb white people into their cultural fold as eagerly and without questions as Latin Americans."

I know a blonde white American woman who married an upper caste Indian living in the US. She recently delivered a baby boy and his wealthy parents in India are thrilled. Whitish Indians love to bring European blood in. Look at Rajiv Gandhi and his Italian wife.

Anonymous said...

"Rajiv Gandhi and his Italian wife."

After Rajiv was assassinated his Venetian wife entered Indian politics and became the leader of the ruling party. She is now one of the people running the show in India and is determined to make her son (who looks like a white guy) becomes PM.

His picture. I wonder if the Indian public and especially elite leadership would be perfectly happy if he married a European woman.

avery said...

"Makes me realize that South Asians are able to absorb white people into their cultural fold as eagerly and without questions as Latin Americans.

Compare that with the fate of "Glubb Pasha" in Jordan. Who remembers the French and British mandates?"

They do. Americans don't, of course, unless they've read up on it. But elswhere, it's pretty well recalled.

Anonymous said...

Elite Jordanians like to absorb white women into the cultural fold.

King Hussein married the daughter of a British officer and their son in the current king.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Tiber backwashed into the Orontes?