A cleith ailpín.

Independent.ie reviews what sounds like an interesting book, Irish Speakers, Interpreters and the Courts 1754-1921 by Mary Phelan, which describes the wretched history of the suppression of Irish:

In 1737 (shortly before a famine that killed at least 300,000 people), the British-controlled parliament on Dublin’s College Green took a key step towards making Irish speakers feel like foreigners in their own country. The Administration of Justice (Language) Act decreed that from then on, all court proceedings would be carried out in English and English only. Gaeilgeoirs were entitled to an interpreter, but only if they could prove to the judge’s satisfaction that they did not have more than a few words of the ‘correct’ tongue.

What did this mean in practice? Phelan answers that question with extensive reference to jury records, newspaper reports and Dublin Castle correspondence. Her narrative may be a little for academic for general readers, but it certainly proves the truth of an astute observation by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu: “A language is worth what those who speak it are worth.”

Some of the stories Phelan has dug up are surprisingly comical. In one case at Limerick assizes, a man was accused of assault with a “cleith ailpín”, which the judge misheard as a “clean napkin”. He praised the prisoner’s “humane tenderness” and told the jury to acquit, whereupon the courtroom erupted in laughter. One of the lawyers had to explain that a “cleith ailpín” was in fact a shillelagh or cudgel and “would have felled an ox”.

Mostly, however, the 1737 Act operated as a blunt instrument of power that almost certainly led to many miscarriages of justice. There was no proper training for interpreters and no written code of ethics to guide them on how the law should work. Any Irish-speaking witness suspected of being really bilingual, Phelan writes, “faced a hostile environment where they could be intimidated, bullied, threatened that they would not be allowed expenses, charged with perjury and even imprisoned for contempt of court”.

Sure enough, Foras na Gaeilge defines cleith ailpín as “club, cudgel, knobstick”; cleith is ‘pole,’ but I’m not sure what ailpín means.

That review comes courtesy of Trevor Joyce, who also sent me a link to The Snowman – Cork Style, a five-minute video full of fine dialect and lots of cursing (I plan to start using “Fuckin’ hell, it’s Baltic!” myself). Go raibh maith agat, a Threvor!

Comments

  1. Jen in Edinburgh says

    It seems to be a form of ailp=knob, rather than anything to do with Kenneth and his ilk.

    https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/ailp

    There’s nothing particularly Irish about ‘Baltic’, although it is a great word!

  2. It seems to be a form of ailp=knob

    Ah, that would make sense.

  3. a little for academic

    Looks like Swedish, as in:

    Till dig som skyndar hem litet för tidigt från jobbet för att hinna till träningen,
    =
    To you, who hurry home from work a little too early to be in time for training,

  4. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    British-controlled parliament

    I have my doubts whether the parliament was British-controlled. I think it more likely that it was run to serve the interests of the wealthy landlords, who were, of course, Protestants and English-speaking, but who regarded themselves as Irish, the Irish of the “ascendancy”.

  5. Jen in Edinburgh says

    Even better, Norwegian, where it’s for rather than før 🙂

    But sadly I think it’s just a miscorrection, with ‘for’ getting into the wrong place and then duplicating itself instead of moving.

  6. I also have trouble with this description. Isn’t Ireland one of the British Isles geographically?

  7. Jen in Edinburgh says

    If you’re just trying to stir up trouble – because that’s one of the classic lines for it – please go away and come back after Christmas. I want my goodwill!

    If not – yes, in the sense that it was one of the islands of the people who called themselves Priteni and Cruithne and so on.

    But that’s the only case I can think of where ‘British’ doesn’t mean ‘relating to Great Britain’ (or more loosely to the United Kingdom, after 1801), so I can’t see any likelihood of confusion.

    (I mean, the islands were British before the Anglo-Saxons came along, and naming now might be easier if they hadn’t pinched the Celtic name for their later empire – but we have what we have.)

  8. “The British” normally only refers to people from Great Britain, and specifically to the political unit formed from Scotland and England. That Ireland is one of the British Isles is irrelevant for that usage.

  9. I see. Then it’s very misleading. Perhaps we should rename everything British to “Great British” to avoid confusion.

  10. I agree with Athel. The first thing that struck me was the quite nutty anachronism of British-controlled parliament.

    the 1737 Act operated as a blunt instrument of power that almost certainly led to many miscarriages of justice…Any Irish-speaking witness suspected of being really bilingual…“faced a hostile environment where they could be intimidated, bullied, threatened that they would not be allowed expenses, charged with perjury and even imprisoned for contempt of court”
    and
    the wretched history of the suppression of Irish

    Life was grim all over. The implied conclusion, ‘suppression because they had it in for the Irish’ is another historiographic anachronism. The first chapters of Thomas Kenneally’s The Commonwealth of Thieves describe the injustice (by our standard) and cruelty (by anyone’s) of the 18C English legal system. Kenneally uses it to show that being sent to Australia (or America) wasn’t a bad alternative to being hanged at home but it also shows that justice dispensed in Ireland would have been similar to what went on in Somerset, where my Australian ancestors were being suppressed at the time (they, doubtless, spoke funny too), or London, where injustice & the condition of the prison infrastructure were far worse.

    please go away and come back after Christmas
    (On the other hand, I think the linguistic side of this piece is a so much more interesting discussion than ‘attitudes to Irish history’, so I’d be very happy to have this comment die a quick death.)

  11. “The British” normally only refers to people from Great Britain, and specifically to the political unit formed from Scotland and England.

    Really? Does David Eddyshaw know this?

  12. Jen in Edinburgh says

    I don’t think Wales had any separate standing within the Parliament of England in 1707, or in the union, which is always talked about as being formed between Scotland and England. It certainly didn’t get any place in the Union flag!

  13. Technically, even if you regard the Irish House of Commons as elected by Irish landowners, the Irish legislature was largely British-controlled inasmuch as (1) the Commons could be overruled by the Lords, most of whom were English absentees and (2) all bills had to be approved in advance by both the British privy council and the Irish privy council. Note also (3) whereas the Westminster system has an executive which is responsible to the legislature, the Irish executive was appointed by the English executive without reference to the Irish parliament and (4) the Irish judiciary was appointed by the Irish executive (5) Irish court decisions could be appealed to the British Lords

    Points (2) and (5) were largely fixed by the Constitution of 1782, but points (1) (3) and (4) remained until the union of 1801.

    “GB” is the standard non-inflammatory way for people in Northern Ireland to refer to the island to their east, since “Britain” and “Great Britain” are both [in slightly different ways] problematic.

  14. Life was grim all over. The implied conclusion, ‘suppression because they had it in for the Irish’ is another historiographic anachronism.

    Oh, come on. You can’t say things like this and then expect us to forget politics and concentrate on language. The English have been suppressing the Irish since the 12th century; perhaps the name Oliver Cromwell rings a bell? The brutality of the English in Ireland was practice for their brutality against Native Americans when they invaded these parts; see Alan Taylor’s American Colonies, especially p. 123:

    Contrary to the Black Legend, the English treated the Irish no better than the Spanish treated the Guanche, and they offered no prospect of fairer play for the Indians of Virginia. Indeed, the conquest and colonization of Ireland served as the English school for overseas empire, the English equivalent of the Spanish invasion of the Canaries. In Ireland, the English developed both the techniques and the rhetoric of colonial conquest. In Ireland, the English learned to consider resisting peoples as dirty, lazy, treacherous, murderous, and pagan savages, little if any better than wild animals, and to treat them accordingly.

    I mean, you can paper over anything from Tamerlane wiping out the entire populations of cities to the slave trade by saying “Eh, life’s tough all over.”

  15. J.W. Brewer says

    As to “tough all over,” it would be useful to have a sense of how courts elsewhere in the British Isles at the same time treated e.g. Welsh-speaking witnesses. Or how French courts of the day treated e.g. Breton-speaking witnesses, etc. The general tendency of centralizing/modernizing regimes to marginalize regional/minority languages in the interests of standardization/rationalization/etc. is imho a different phenomenon from specific animus against some specific ethnic group that speaks such a language (although of course both factors could be present in a given situation).

  16. PlasticPaddy says

    @hat, ajp
    I would agree with Hat in the sense that the Crown “rules of engagement” were different (and applied with less leniency) in Ireland, and the sympathy of the executive was with rogue governors and not with the oppressed Irish peasantry, who, because of their ethnicity or religion were for centuries unable to obtain legal sanctions and recompense for the infractions of these governors.
    I would agree with AJP that there was no monolithic policy and no attempt at ethnic cleansing and that many abuses were not peculiar to Ireland but could also be found in England, Wales and scotland (where enclosure was pursued with grim vigour). I would say also that, after they no longer felt threatened by Papish plots, the London government was generally averse to exemplary OTT punishments in Ireland of the type employed against “natives”. An exception was the militarily unnecessary shelling of Dublin in 1916.

  17. That’s not my understanding of Irish history.

    Those Protestant settlers in Ulster, land for them had to be vacated by previous owners, if it’s not ethnic cleansing, then the word has no meaning.

    That it happened in 17th century doesn’t unmake it ethnic cleansing.

    Now, it’s true that afterwards there was little desire for additional ethnic cleansing (I imagine due to very high rate of Irish demographic growth).

    Perhaps it’s even a virtue of sorts to avoid committing genocide and ethnic cleansing for entirely pragmatic reasons of economic self interest.

    Many crimes against humanity could have been avoided that way.

  18. Nothing Cromwell did was different to or worse than what happened during the Thirty Years’ War, namely Catholics against Prods with as much cruelty, death & destruction as poss. That’s how Seventeenth Century Europe conducted campaigns. It’s too bad the Thirty Years’ War isn’t covered by more British, Irish or American secondary school History curricula. Everyone’s got a bee in their bonnet about some historical injustice; I stop listening when it’s borrowed to generate hatred in the cause of some current political goal.

  19. I’ve read about the Thirty Years’ War, thank you very much. I have said nothing about any current political goal, but I stop listening when people whitewash cruelty by pointing to other examples of cruelty.

  20. I know you’ve read about it. I meant, obviously, that if someone (not you) is taught that Oliver Cromwell & his band of men were inhuman, without having any contemporary history to compare it to, then that someone is merely forming a grudge from which no insight will be gained. Better to study History, otherwise what’s the difference between Cromwell & Hitler if all beasts are equal? Cromwell got rid of the monarchy, maybe Hitler was on to something…

  21. Oliver Cromwell

    was exhumed, posthumously executed for high treason, his body hanged “from morning till four in the afternoon”, cut down, head severed by eight blows and placed on a 20-foot spike above Westminster Hall and displayed for thirty years.

    Oliver Cromwell’s head was finally buried three centuries in 1960.

    That’s what English justice thought of Oliver Cromwell and his men.

  22. And good enough for him too.

  23. Oh really? How trite & what rubbish. (Not your comment, Language.) Here’s what the Oxford DNB has to say:

    After his death a wooden effigy of Cromwell with a wax mask lay in state at Somerset House vested with his robe of estate, a sceptre placed in one hand, an orb in the other, with a crown laid on a velvet cushion a little above his head. The ceremony was modelled on the lying-in-state of James I. Thus was Cromwell crowned in death, his scruples no longer carrying weight. The fact that it was not Cromwell himself was because he had been incompetently embalmed. When the body began to putrefy it was decided to proceed rapidly with burial; it was secretly interred, probably on 4 or 5 September in Westminster Abbey. It was thus the effigy, not the corpse, which made a sombre and ill-planned progress on 23 November through the streets of London—largely deserted, say the contemporary diarists, all predisposed to wish it so—so that it arrived at Westminster Abbey at nightfall; and no one had organized candles. So there was no ceremony in the abbey. The coffin was placed on a sumptuous catafalque—again based on Inigo Jones’s design for that of James VI and I—in Henry VII’s chapel in the abbey.

    There Cromwell remained—his body and his effigy, presumably—until after the Restoration. Then the vengeful Convention Parliament decreed that he, like others who signed the king’s death warrant, should suffer the fate of traitors. It was decided that Cromwell, Ireton, John Bradshaw, and Thomas Pride should be exhumed and their bodies desecrated on the twelfth anniversary of the regicide, 30 January 1661. For reasons never adequately explained except by conspiracy theorists, Cromwell’s body was removed from the abbey on 26 January and moved to the paddock behind an inn in Holborn. From there it was taken to Tyburn on 30 January. Unsurprisingly it has long been claimed that this was to allow another body to be substituted for his actual body (Bradshaw’s body was brought directly from the abbey, his grave being opened only on 29 January). A body purporting to be Cromwell’s was hanged in its cerecloth for several hours, then decapitated. The body was put into a lime-pit below the gallows and the head, impaled on a spike, was exposed at the south end of Westminster Hall for nearly two decades before being rescued during the exclusion crisis. Descendants of his daughter Mary have the best of several similar claims that the bodies were exchanged and that Cromwell’s undivided body lies in their family vault in Newburgh Park, near Coxwold in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Another, and stronger, tradition has the skull rescued from Westminster Hall in or about 1688 and surviving with a fairly complete itinerary—as a fairground exhibit, or one brought out at dinner parties in great houses—until it was acquired by Cromwell’s descendants and by them donated to Sidney Sussex, Cromwell’s college in Cambridge, where it was interred in an unmarked grave in 1960.

    Posthumous reputation
    Cromwell’s reputation has ebbed and flowed. Since the death of the generation that knew him as their head of state more than 160 full-length biographies have appeared, and more than 1000 separate publications bear his name. In 1929 Wilbur Cortez Abbott, limbering up to produce his four-volume, 3400-page, 2-million-word edition and commentary, The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, produced a bibliography of 3520 pamphlets, books, and essays in which Cromwell makes a prominent appearance. An updated list would probably be in excess of 6000 items. There was a crescendo of interest in the later nineteenth century, triggered by the appearance of Thomas Carlyle’s edition of Cromwell’s letters and speeches in December 1845.

    It had not been ever thus. In the immediate aftermath of Cromwell’s death several journalistic biographies appeared, together with Henry Daubeny’s edgy attempt to find thirty lengthy parallels between Cromwell’s life and that of Moses. There was then a moment of republican scorn in the winter of 1659–60 which was overtaken by sensationalist synthetic royalist rage. This reached its apogee in James Heath’s Flagellum (6 edns, 1662–81), but from the 1660s Cromwell’s name rather dropped into the background. Fewer titles invoking it appeared between 1663 and 1700 than in the years 1660–63. The whigs did not seek to rehabilitate him and the tories used him as a bogeyman more than as someone whose career needed rehearsal. When there was a brief revival of interest in the 1690s it took the form of hostile parallels between Cromwell and William III: such parallels were promoted both by Jacobite authors and by those deist-republicans around John Toland who re-edited the work of Edmund Ludlow to highlight the parallels between the two military ‘tyrants’.

    As personal memory faded and death carried away those who could testify from experience, and with the tracts of the 1640s and 1650s locked away in private libraries and little known to a new generation of pamphleteers, Cromwell became less known than at any later period. When Britain became once more sucked into major wars in the 1690s with the mobilization of huge armies and a financial and administrative revolution to sustain them, memories of the previous military dictatorship were revived by the publication of the memoirs of many of the men at the heart of the period: to those of Bulstrode Whitelocke (1682) were added between 1696 and 1704 those of Richard Baxter, Edmund Ludlow, and Denzil Holles, and Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion. This represents a wonderful cross-section of opinion. All (with the exception of Ludlow) were men who both admired and deplored Cromwell. Their memoirs set the tone for eighteenth-century discussions. Gentlemen of letters were unanimous in seeing him as dangerous and fanatical, although the degree of his self-interested dissimulation differs as between the unrelieved contempt of the tories and the regretful whigs. John Hampden and John Pym, fortunate in the time of their deaths, were the respectable witnesses against royal and episcopal tyranny. As David Hume put it, Cromwell was the ‘most frantic enthusiast … most dangerous of hypocrites … who was enabled after multiplied deceits to cover, under a tempest of passion, all his crooked schemes and profound artifices’ (Richardson, 64–5). There was a blunter, unvarnished literature generated within and for the dissenting communities that recognized his strivings for a religious liberty grounded in religious and civil egalitarianism. There were, above all, three biographies, by Isaac Kimber (1724), John Banks (1739), and William Harris (1762), which were never noticed outside dissenting circles but may well have been influential within them. Thus while it is not easy to find Cromwell being evoked in any systematic way in any political campaign during the radical awakening of 1770–1830 (although the bogey of regicide was used by government agents against both the Wilkites in the 1770s and the Foxites in the 1790s), Elizabeth Gaskell could write that in the nonconformist villages of the West Riding in the 1820s the phrase ‘in Oliver’s days’ denoted a time of prosperity, and in 1812 an anonymous threat was sent to the government noting that ‘it was time a second Oliver made his appearance’ (Richardson, 99).

    The transformation of Cromwell into a dominant figure in British public memory can be closely linked to the publication of Thomas Carlyle’s Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell in December 1845. It was to remain continuously in print in inexpensive editions for exactly 100 years. At a conservative estimate more than 100,000 copies were sold, and many were handed down from generation to generation. Thomas Macaulay had begun the process of rehabilitation twenty years before, but Carlyle’s edition took the world by storm. It is a passionate defence of Cromwell’s sincerity, of his faith in God, in his living out his vocation and his mission. Carlyle’s Cromwell had a contempt for democracy, an unreflective belief in spiritual aristocracy, a rough-tongued, cloudily articulated integrity. Deficiencies of scholarship and Carlyle’s own obtrusive interpolations disfigure his text, but did not dull its impact. It emboldened the views of Congregational historians like John Forster who had earlier taken a more cautious line on Cromwell. Now—in the best available summation of Carlyle’s Cromwell—he hailed the new Cromwell as:

    no hypocrite or actor of plays … no victim of ambition, no seeker after sovereignty or temporal power. That he was a man whose every thought was with the Eternal—a man of a great, robust, massive, mind and an honest, stout, English heart.

    Lang, 133–4

    One unintended consequence of Carlyle’s edition was certainly to make Cromwell the champion of a particular denomination—Congregationalism—and of its history. His preference for a broad national church with a public ministry within which the great majority would hear the word of God, sing his praises, and submit themselves to gentle correction for their sins passed the Victorians by. He became first and foremost the spokesman for Victorian middle England and of responsible self-reliant nonconformity. It is striking that when in 1899, for the very first time, commemorative events to mark a major Cromwellian anniversary were held, they were all organized through and controlled by the Congregational and Baptist churches. At the London ceremony David Lloyd George proclaimed that he believed in Cromwell because ‘he was a great fighting dissenter’ (The Times, 26 April 1899, 12). Rather more preposterously, another nonconformist MP, R. W. Perks, claimed on the same occasion that:

    the modern equivalent of the seventeenth-century Puritan, was the possessor of the Non-conformist conscience, who now raised his voice against the desecration of the Lord’s Day, against the gambling saloon, the drink bar, the haunt of vice, and the overwhelming power of brute force.

    The Times, 28 April 1899

    In addition the tercentenary of 1899 also stabilized Cromwell’s academic reputation. Both Samuel Rawson Gardiner and Sir Charles Firth wrote biographies. Supervised by Firth, Mrs S. C. Lomas re-edited Carlyle, checking and correcting his transcriptions and adding more than 200 pages of material that had come to light since 1845. It was unfortunate that this edition—welcome though it was and is—appeared more or less simultaneously with a truly scholarly edition of the speeches by C. L. Stainer (based on an Oxford DPhil dissertation). That edition remains the benchmark and finally gained acceptance when used as the basis of Ivan Roots’s popular edition in 1989 (though without Stainer’s scholarly apparatus). This, together with the new editions—mainly by Firth—of many little-known papers in which Cromwell played a prominent part (the Putney debates, rediscovered by Firth in 1890, and the memoirs of Lucy Hutchinson and Edmund Ludlow), brought a new solidity to Cromwell studies. In the course of the twentieth century the American scholar W. C. Abbott undertook a fundamental new edition of all Cromwell’s words on the page and in reported speech. Unfortunately, his scholarship was sloppy, his way of organizing the material requires the patience of saints from all its users, and Abbott became one of several leading scholars shallowly convinced that Cromwell was a forebear of the Fascist dictators. So a great opportunity was missed. Since 1945 Cromwell biographies have become gradually more sympathetic in tone. Even Christopher Hill, who in God’s Englishman (1970) portrayed a Cromwell who came increasingly to betray the revolution he had done so much to create, rooted himself firmly within Cromwell’s own terms of reference and self-representation. For that was the key. The twenty most widely read biographies—from John Buchan’s and Antonia Fraser’s accounts aimed at a general readership, through Robert Paul’s account, which echoes at a high level of sympathy and engagement the denominational tradition of the nineteenth-century Congregationalists, to those aiming principally at a student audience (the most recent of which are those of Barry Coward, Peter Gaunt, and J. C. Davis)—work within a very clear set of conventions. The authors have read all the letters (some 500 of which can be confidently said to have been Cromwell’s own work), twenty major and many minor speeches, and the much less reliable summaries by others of what he is reported to have said. They weigh the evidence of his self-representation against the testimony of contemporary tracts and of personal memoirs. All the serious biographies have drawn on very similar bodies of evidence. And although the judgement of the vast majority of his peers is harsh in its assessment of his honesty, integrity, and credibility, historians have opted to take him much more at his own valuation, finding in his words an openness and striving that usually appeals and just sometimes appals.

    Yet throughout the period during which Cromwell’s reputation in England was gaining ground, his name was becoming reviled in Ireland. For the first 200 years after the conquest he had been subsumed in Catholic—at least in English-language Catholic—writing in a long list of English men of violence, and in ascendancy writing his religious fanaticism relegated him as hero to a status far below that of King Billy. But with the recovery of Irish-language folklore in the nineteenth century, and with the emergence of a new kind of Irish nationalism, Cromwell was demonized. This new harsh view was adumbrated in J. P. Prendergast’s The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland (1865), and reinforced by Father Denis Murphy’s Cromwell in Ireland (1883), a book which became the basis of a century of Irish school textbooks, popular novels (of which Walter Macken’s best-selling Seek the Fair Land, 1959, was the culmination), and popular songs (such as ‘Once upon a Time’, sung by Sinéad O’Connor at a demonstration outside the British embassy in Dublin in August 1989).

    Cromwell was memorialized not only in print but on canvas, in woodcut and engraving, and in marble and bronze. He is one of the most familiar of Englishmen, more familiar to more people certainly than all but a handful of English monarchs or British public figures. The first statue of him by Matthew Noble was erected in Manchester in 1875 followed by three more statues in his tercentenary year: the Hamo Thornycroft statue erected outside the palace of Westminster after testy parliamentary debate in 1899; in Warrington a statue presented by a local businessman, which shows Cromwell addressing his troops and Scottish prisoners after the battle of Preston, a statue which inappropriately has ‘Holy Bible’ engraved on the back not the front of the book he is holding; and perhaps the finest of them all, the statue by Frederick William Pomeroy in St Ives, raised opportunistically after the town council of Huntingdon had declined it. The statue by Thornycroft of Cromwell, Bible in one hand, sword in the other, which has stood on Cromwell Green since the tercentenary of his birth in 1899, is one of the most visible and noticeable statues in the country. The contemporary portraits by Robert Walker (two of them), Samuel Cooper (four miniatures), and Peter Lely have been endlessly reproduced not only in lives of Cromwell but in lives of the men and women of his time. They in turn inspired many of the 750 engravings listed by W. C. Abbott in his catalogue which includes work noticed by him in 1930. The vast majority show him as a soldier, as a martial man of God, evoking (sympathetically or unsympathetically) his puritanism, either through the characteristic plain style of his collars protruding from his armour or his holding of a Bible. There was at least one Victorian Staffordshire pottery figurine manufactured as a chimney ornament; but it does not seem to have caught on. More surprisingly he is memorialized in stained glass, in prominent windows in the Victorian Congregational church in Trumpington Street, Cambridge, and in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford.

    Cromwell is memorialized musically. A folk-song bearing his name was edited by Benjamin Britten in 1938. A nursery rhyme which can be first traced back to the late seventeenth century begins ‘Oliver Cromwell lay buried and dead, hee-haw, buried and dead’, and tells how his wraith rose and ‘gave a drop’ to an old woman gathering apples that had fallen on his grave. The most extraordinary musical evocation is undoubtedly the rendering of a John Cleese prose poem by the Monty Python team (on the recording Monty Python Sings, 1989) that tells the life of Cromwell set to the music of a polonaise by Chopin.

    Cromwell is memorialized institutionally. Isaac Foot, a prominent Liberal politician of the 1920s and 1930s, established in 1935 the Cromwell Association. It has always had a membership of hundreds rather than of thousands, but it has worked effectively to extend knowledge and understanding of Cromwell and of his age. It has erected memorial plaques on battlefields and other Cromwellian sites; it has promoted publications about Cromwell and has held competitions to encourage the study of Cromwell by adults and children; and it holds an annual service of thanksgiving by the Thornycroft statue. The association in its early days collected many artefacts associated with Cromwell and these, together with a larger group owned by his descendants, form the basis of the collection held by the Cromwell Museum, which is in the Huntingdon schoolroom he once attended. The house he owned in Ely is also a museum, and an information and education centre. The Cromwell Association and the Cromwell Museum jointly set up a website in 1999 which promotes his memory and jointly co-ordinated the activities of more than thirty museums, galleries, and sites during the Cromwell quatercentenary year. It is doubtful if any other non-royal Englishman is so diversely commemorated.

    Cromwell is also memorialized by name. George V prevented Churchill, as first lord of the admiralty, from naming a battleship the Cromwell in the First World War, but royal influence was less persuasive elsewhere. The first colleges established by the Congregational Church for training ministers in Australia, Canada, and South Africa bear his name. More than 250 roads in Britain bear his name, in all the metropolitan boroughs except for Birmingham and in most county towns; a great majority of these roads and streets comprise Victorian or Edwardian terraces, the backbone of late nineteenth-century nonconformity (though Cromwell Road in South Kensington was given its name at the suggestion of Prince Albert). No lay person other than Wellington approaches him in this respect. On the other hand, on the 400th anniversary of his birth on 25 April 1999 only three inns and public houses bore his name, although there were more than 400 websites on the internet bearing it. These included one devoted to Cromwell as an exemplar of good family values, one devoted to exploring his institutionalized violence against the people of Ireland, several devoted to making available key passages from his letters and speeches, and one devoted to commemorating a black slave who had been given the name Oliver Cromwell and had been decorated for his courage in the American Civil War.

    Cromwell’s role in fiction is also extensive. The earliest play bearing his name was George Smith Green’s Oliver Cromwell: an Historical Play (1752), followed by the anonymous Cromwell, or, The Days of the Commonwealth (1832). He is the hero of Victor Hugo’s melodrama Oliver Cromwell (1828), although it seems that a 1923 London production was the play’s first staging in England. Six other plays that either bear his name or in which he is the central figure were staged in the West End (most of them in the 1920s). He was the anti-hero of Henry William Herbert’s Oliver Cromwell: a Historical Novel (1838), and he had more than a walk-on part in Alexandre Dumas’s Vingt ans après (1845)—a sequel to The Three Musketeers, Captain Marryat’s children’s classic, Children of the New Forest (1846), James Kirke Paulding’s The Puritan and his Daughter (1849), by an effectively anti-British American writer, and G. J. Whyte-Melville’s Holmby House (1860). In all of them he is a grim, unsmiling, self-righteous puritan, a literary equivalent of ‘When did you last see your father?’ In contrast most Victorian realizations of civil-war scenes in which he appears, such as Daniel Maclise’s Interview between Charles I and Cromwell, Ford Madox Brown’s Cromwell on his Farm, or Edward Croft’s Cromwell after Marston Moor show him as grim, determined, but virtuously purposeful. Although actors playing Cromwell have appeared in a number of feature films (such as Alan Howard’s portrayal of him in The Return of the Musketeers), only one feature film has been made specifically about him—Cromwell, which improbably cast the Irish tearaway actor Richard Harris as the hero (although Alec Guinness’s charismatically prim Charles I stole the show). But Cromwell has been the subject of much television drama, from John Hopkins’s Cruel Necessity in 1962, in which Patrick Wymark bore an uncanny likeness to him, onwards. Between 1985 and 2006 at least nine programmes devoted to him were produced for British terrestrial television. He remains one of the most recognizable of Englishmen.

    Conclusion
    Recognizable for what? Cromwell was not a great thinker. In 1638 he told his young cousin that ‘if here I may serve my God either by my doing or by my suffering, I shall be most glad’ (Letters and Speeches, 1904, letter 2, 13 Oct 1638). It was his motto and his epitaph. He did not enjoy power. It was thrust upon him. He was not especially intelligent, and was quite unintellectual, lacking a deep understanding of law, of the classics, of theology. He had a deep sense of being propelled by God into leading his people towards a promised land. He had an imperfect sense of what the promised land would look like, and only a magpie instinct for picking up the latest bright and shiny idea of how to make the next move towards it. Those whose ideas he took up all too briefly felt the warm glow of his approval. He then moved on to the next idea, and abandoned the people as well as the ideas that had not worked. This is why he was so resented and so distrusted by those he affirmed and then abandoned—John Lilburne and Charles’s intimates in 1647, the Independent politicians in 1648, Sir Henry Vane in 1653, Thomas Harrison in 1653, John Lambert in 1657. He could never make the adjustment from war where the objective was always clear and the victory unambiguous. The pragmatism and compromise of the political arena constantly dismayed him and ground him down. All this cost him in personal terms. He yearned to ‘keep a flock of sheep under a woodside’, to emulate Gideon who led the armies of Israel and then returned to his farm. But God would not let him go. God would have him serve. And still there was before him the mirage of a perfected humanity. He had seen that corrupted institutions could not deliver a humanity more obedient to the will of God. He was called to overthrow tyranny and pride and replace it with humility and a common concern to share the fragments of truth that so many men of goodwill had been granted. But instead pride and self-interest kept on taking over. As he climbed another barren hill and peered over the next sun-baked valley, the mirage reappeared. What makes Oliver Cromwell endlessly appealing and endlessly alarming is that he was true to his own vision. He never doubted his call to service or to salvation. He knew enough of the Bible to know that all those whom God called, he chastened. The fierceness of his determination to free all those whose sense of God shared elements of his own experience drove him into uncomfortable action. He was not wedded and glued to forms of government. He was not bound by human law. If God called upon him to be the human instrument of his wrath, he would not flinch. His sense of himself as the unworthy and suffering servant of a stern Lord protected him from the tragic megalomanias of others who rose to absolute power on the backs of revolutions. Cromwell’s achievements as a soldier are great but unfashionable; as a religious libertarian great but easily mis-stated; as a statesman inevitably stunted. No man who rises from a working farmer to head of state in twenty years is other than great. To achieve that and still to be able to say that ‘if here I may serve my God either by my doing or by my suffering, I shall be most glad’ is a man of towering integrity. He was to himself and to his God most true, if at great cost to himself and others.

  24. (I think the DNB article is by John Morrill though some of it may be by others.)

  25. J.W. Brewer says

    T. Carlyle was not only a Cromwell fanboy but a Napoleon fanboy. Had he lived a century later he would no doubt have been a Lenin/Stalin fanboy (although that would hardly have made him stand out very much from the intellegentsia of that age). A century and a half later and he might have developed an ironic hipster fascination with Charles Manson.

  26. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Let us not forget that Cromwell probably gave us the useful phrase warts and all;

  27. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    fanboy.

    Not far from where I live there is a restaurant in Cassis called Le Bonaparte and in the same street there is a plaque to tell us that the great man sojourned there.

    Even closer to where I live there is a Place Robespierre, in Mazargues (walking distance when I was younger and fitter). I think that the restaurant now called La Place Gourmande used to be a pizzeria called Le Robespierre

    About ten years ago the main street in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife) was called La Avenida del Generalísimo (no need to specify which Generalísimo it referred to). However, they seem to have changed the name, as Google Maps can’t find it. At that time I was told that Santander was the only other city in Spain that still had anything commemorating the great man, but when we were at a meeting there a couple of years ago I looked and didn’t find anything.

  28. historians have opted to take him much more at his own valuation

    The more fools they. Do they try that tack with, say, Stalin?

  29. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like mass murderers, whatever their excuses and self-valuations.

  30. David Marjanović says

    Barry Coward

    …Are all cowards cowherds?

    Place Robespierre

    The attitude of Parisian street names to history appears to be “history is good”. There are streets named after major figures from all epochs of French history.

    What makes Oliver Cromwell endlessly appealing and endlessly alarming is that he was true to his own vision. He never doubted his call to service or to salvation.

    I’m a scientist. I don’t find a lack of doubt appealing at all.

  31. Ditto. In fact, I find it scary.

  32. David Eddyshaw says

    As Auden has it:

    When statesmen gravely say, “We must be realistic,”
    The chances are they’re weak and therefore pacifistic:
    But when they speak of Principles—look out—perhaps
    Their generals are already poring over maps.

  33. Are all cowards cowherds?

    Maybe people named Coward are, I don’t know. But coward < Fr coue ‘tail’ + -ard ‘derogatory suffix’, possibly from the idea of turning tail. Cower on the other hand < LG or Scand., and is cognate to G kauern ‘squat’ and Du koeren ‘keep watch’.

    As for Cromwell, he is after the eponym of Cromwell’s rule: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken”, or in more modern terms “Don’t use a Bayesian prior of 1 or 0 unless dealing with mathematical facts.” His conviction of the rightness of his cause is perhaps necessary in any general, and while nothing can excuse his war crimes in Ireland, he fought the Irish not because they were Catholic (the sacked towns were Protestant strongholds) but because they were royalist.

    Indeed, Cromwell was certainly the most religiously tolerant man of his age: he systematically protected Quakers and Jews from the wrath of his Presbyterian allies Many Independents detested Quakers because their faith seemed a parody of Independency, but Cromwell believed in the Inner Light, yet certainly did not think that God’s will had been revealed to him and him only. To compare him with Stalin or Mao is absurd. Lastly, while he confiscated Catholic properties (many of them granted by the crypto-Catholic Charles), he allowed the open sacrifice of the Mass in Britain, which is more than any other British government did before 1778. Full political rights for Catholics came in 1829, and for Jews in 1858, but complete equality only in 1890.

  34. I was not surprised that, by the twentieth century, Cromwell was considered by many in Britain to have been a major hero of the Parliamentary system. What was unexpected was the specific quote used by Leo Amery, one of the Conservative defectors during the 1940 Norway Debate in the House of Commons that brought down Chamberlain’s government.

    The debate lasted for several days and included a number if famous speeches, including what may have been the last important Parliamentary speech by David Lloyd George, who had been a margins figure even within the Liberal Party for many years, but who was called upon for his expertise on the handling of wartime coalition government. Many British heroes were quoted in the course of the debate, but supposedly the highpoint was the conclusion of Amery’s speech, quoting Cromwell.

    However, the quote he chose was from Cromwell’s dismissal of the Rump of the Long Parliament. This was hardly a triumph of legislative supremacy. It was part of a military coup, removing one of the last obstacles to Cromwell’s assumption of absolute power.

    Amery’s speech finished:

    We are fighting to-day for our life, for our liberty, for our all; we cannot go on being led as we are. I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

    At the cost of invoking that undemocratic episode, however, Amery was able to do something not normally permitted in the House of Commons. By quoting Cromwell, he skirted the rule against addressing any member except the presiding officer, and Amery is supposed to have pointed straight at Chamberlain sitting on the front bench as he said, “In the name of God, go.”

  35. To compare him with Stalin or Mao is absurd.

    No it’s not, unless you think mass butchery of royalists is somehow more excusable than mass butchery of “rich” peasants.

  36. You can compare anyone to anyone, someone recently compared Donald T. to Jesus C. The quality of comparison, is another matter (I won’t elaborate, fine distinctions of savagery is not an appealing subject).

    I don’t know how it was in 1940, but now MPs are perfectly capable to address any other member in the chamber, at least in the third person. “Mr. Speaker, is prime minister aware …” or even “Mr. Speaker, I am telling the honorable member for Pennington Poodle … ” Ian Blackford seems to be forgetting to prefix his invectives even with “Mr. Speaker”

  37. Let’s judge Oliver Cromwell by standards of his own time.

    Did he kill more people than Charles I?

    Or Charles II?

    The answer is Yes on both counts.

    Incomparably more, I would add.

  38. I can’t let drama queen Leo Amery out of this thread without noting that his younger son, Julian, Air Minister under MacMillan when I was young, had a brief affair at university with the much older Barbara Pimm, and that his other son, John who was hanged at the end of the war as a traitor, was released by Italians into the British 20 year-old hands of Capt. Alan Whicker of Whicker’s Island (Monty Python). These details are both from Wikipedia.

  39. Did he kill more people than Charles I? Or Charles II?
    Cromwell’s far from the only one to blame for Charles I’s execution. Cromwell didn’t kill Charles II.

    I don’t know how it was in 1940
    Yes, these conventions are meant to intimidate the uninitiated but they eventually change or run the risk that no one will understand what the hell is going on. Nancy Pelosi was incanting “Present one” at the Trump impeachment and I’d like to know what that’s about. All I can find is a half-hearted definition, “refusing to move to next activity unless present one is completed,” but it’s not in the context of Congress.

  40. YES, Cromwell’s in the set of leaders who ordered unbearable deaths, along with Harry Truman, Churchill, Stalin et al. NO, Cromwell’s not in the set with Hitler, Idi Amin & Mao of dictators whose behaviour was only malevolent, thereby crippling their countries for years after their deaths. If Cromwell’s to be lumped with Stalin & Mao rather than say with George Washington & co, then it’s hard to explain why Oliver Cromwell was the name of the largest ship in the Connecticut State Navy during the American War of Independence (from Britain, in case you’ve forgotten) and when the world’s largest aircraft carrier is the USS Josef Stalin, I’ll change my mind about the lumping. Until then, John Cowan is the only one here apart from me saying anything sensible. I’m either a) shocked at your (pl.) lack of historical skill, nuance, reason, insight, knowledge etc. or, b) John & I are the victim of a severe trolling – and yet surely Language doesn’t troll his own posts?

  41. In Soviet Union, by the way, Cromwell was a good guy – successful revolutionary and beheaded king Charles, almost an English Lenin!

    Cromwell’s Irish atrocities were usually not mentioned (and anyway, Irish rebels wouldn’t get any sympathy from Soviet authors being reactionary and royalist and Catholic).

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if Cromwell was a hero in the Communist Oceania of Orwell’s “1984” too.

    As you know, sort of predecessor to the Big Brother.

  42. Stu Clayton says

    The only parts of 1984 worth reading are the two chapters from The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, that are reproduced there. Almost no one I have spoken to about them over the decades had a clue what I was talking about. All they remember is that long-faced Winston and his soppy lucubrations about love and democracy. The novel might just as well have been titled Snowflakes in Distress.

    There is nothing about Cromwell in them. But then Goldstein is the Party’s bad guy – the Cromwell of this comment thread. I just learned that the chapters are supposed to be a pastiche of Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed.

  43. and yet surely Language doesn’t troll his own posts?

    Of course not. I am a strict pacifist, and I lump all mass murderers together, whatever their ideologies and whatever uniforms they wear (supposedly making their bloodshed A-OK).

  44. And please don’t bother explaining to me why pacifism is a silly idea and can’t possibly work in the real world; I’ve heard it before, as I have about anarchism, another of my crackpot beliefs.

  45. David Eddyshaw says

    “Tell me, Mr. Strachey, what would you do if you saw a German soldier trying to violate your sister?”

    “I would try to get between them.”

  46. One of my favorite anecdotes! (I’m also very proud of Jeanette Rankin, who was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars.)

  47. In my conscientious objector petition half a century ago, I quoted Tolstoy but probably not Strachey. (I still have my CO draft card.)

  48. David Eddyshaw says

    I am, incidentally, grateful to Jen in Edinburgh for elucidating that Kenneth I was in fact Son of a Little Knob.

    Those Picts didn’t mess about when it came to onomastics.

  49. PlasticPaddy says

    Re anarchism, in the end of le Guin’s book a man from whatever she calls the Galactic Federation wants to live on Anarres. One of his colleagues said that humans had already tried anarchism (but preferred their current approach). His response was that he himself had not tried it.

  50. Of course pacifism is the only sensible belief for five year-olds and up. As a pacifist I can still see enough differences among the dead folk that I don’t confuse Oliver Cromwell with Mao Tse Tung. And paradoxically (in this thread at least), in the late 1960s heyday of his western popularity people thought Mao was cute & cuddly whereas no one ever said anything remotely like that about Cromwell. He’s an asshole, they both were, and yet it hasn’t stopped historical discussion.

  51. David Eddyshaw says

    whatever she calls the Galactic Federation

    Ekumen (no doubt from οἰκουμένη)

  52. # Rankin, however, believed that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack because he wanted to bring the U.S. into the European war against Germany #

    I have seen that interpretation of USA tactics prior to WW2 maintained by a number of writers. Is it a reasonable take ? The Americans had imposed an embargo against the delivery of oil to Japan, no ?

  53. It’s not pacifism, it’s insufficient appeasment.

  54. PlasticPaddy says

    Re Cromwell, I believe that he is viewed more positively in England than he will ever be viewed in Ireland. This is not because Irish are ignorant of their own or of European history (although some may be, or have a simplistic or tendentious view of events and of rights and wrongs). It is because Cromwell means something different in England, just as Napoléon means something different in France.

  55. Pacifism and anarchism go nicely together. One of the functions of a government is to protect its subjects from violence. If you remove the government than pacifism is a must. OTOH having both a government and not allowing it to go into even defensive war seems to be strange.

  56. What’s wrong with the aggressivists protecting the protesting pacifists ? Surely we can move beyond the minimalist saving clause for women and children ?

  57. and yet it hasn’t stopped historical discussion.

    Who’s trying to stop historical discussion? I’m just saying Cromwell is not somehow redeemed by the fact that he was Not as Bad as Stalin.

  58. January First-of-May says

    YES, Cromwell’s in the set of leaders who ordered unbearable deaths, along with Harry Truman, Churchill, Stalin et al.
    If Cromwell’s to be lumped with Stalin & Mao rather than say with George Washington & co

    You seem to include Stalin on both sides, which somewhat dilutes your argument to me.
    (Though only somewhat: the Russian opinion on Stalin is highly divided, because it’s undeniable both that he committed many atrocities – some are still disputed, at least in terms of whether they were deliberate, but many aren’t – and that he led the Soviet Union to its victory in the Great Patriotic War, against a clearly far more evil leader.)

    Cromwell and Napoleon is a surprisingly good analogy, though not necessarily a better one that Cromwell and Robespierre. Lenin might be a better fit than Stalin as well. I’m inevitably reminded of Wang Mang and Akhenaten.
    One person that (IMHO) Cromwell probably should be lumped with, but probably never would be, is William the Bastard (the guy who ended up left standing after the 1066 mess-up).

    And the more I think about it, the more I’m wondering if the true good analogy is Ivan the Terrible…

    EDIT:
    I’m just saying Cromwell is not somehow redeemed by the fact that he was Not as Bad as Stalin.

    …Well, certainly not any more than Stalin is somehow redeemed by the fact that he was not as bad as Idi Amin or Pol Pot.

    (Stalin is slightly redeemed by being not as bad as Hitler, because Stalin actively opposed Hitler; I am not aware of anyone actively opposed by Cromwell who was noticeably worse than Cromwell himself – though some would probably say Charles I.)

  59. If I lived in a world where everyone was as repelled by organized violence as I am, I’d be happy to sit around parsing the differences between the various grades of murderers, as Dante did those of the sinners in Hell. Alas, in the world I live in, people are generally content to use Hitler/Stalin/Mao as high bars to show that their preferred mass murderers (usually, for some reason, of their own nationality) are Not That Bad.

  60. Well, yes, the US deliberately provoked Japan into war.

    And for very good reasons.

    Without the US oil embargo, Japan would have joined the German invasion of Russia by attacking Soviet Far East sometime in autumn of 1941. Or maybe even in winter.

    That would be at the peak of the battle of Moscow which was saved only by arrival of fresh Siberian divisions.

    Needless to say, Japanese entry in war against the USSR in 1941 would have been disastrous and Russia very likely would have lost the war.

    And with Russia out, the Axis win WWII.

  61. and that he led the Soviet Union to its victory in the Great Patriotic War, against a clearly far more evil leader.

    It is not really undisputed that Stalin deserves credit for leading the USSR to victory, given how much of the groundwork he laid for Germany’s early success by allying with Hitler against Poland, providing massive material support to the Nazis in 1939-40, his destruction of the General Staff in the purges, the massive damage he inflicted upon Ukraine in particular, and the USSR in general, through collectivization, and his refusal to listen to intelligence reports in early 1941. I suppose there is a good argument that no other ruler would have been ruthless and energetic enough to save the USSR from the dilemma that Stalin had led the country into in 1941, but I am not sure “leading the country to victory” is really the best term for the horrific price the USSR had to pay.

    (Weird historical fact I just learned from Wikipedia – Stalin had 30,000(!) Soviet officers executed during the Battle of Moscow for cowardice, sabotage, etc.) “Only” 22,000 Polish officers were murdered at Katyn.)

  62. No it’s not, unless you think mass butchery of royalists is somehow more excusable than mass butchery of “rich” peasants.

    I do not. But I repudiated the comparison while talking about fanaticism, not about mass murder. Cromwell was not only not a killer on the Mao/Stalin scale, he wasn’t a fanatic on that scale either.

    John Cowan is the only one here apart from me saying anything sensible.

    I certainly don’t go that far, and this is not merely a topos of modesty. I think Hat’s argument is wrong, but not senseless.

    His response was that he himself had not tried it.

    ObPedantic: Ketho (the man in question) makes both remarks:

    “My race is very old,” Ketho said. “We have been civilized for a thousand millennia. We have histories of hundreds of those millennia. We have tried everything. Anarchism, with the rest. But I have not tried it. They say there is nothing new under any sun. But if each life is not new, each single life, then why are we born?”

    As a pacifist I can still see enough differences among the dead folk

    Just so. I became a pacifist the hard way, after learning painfully that I myself was not to be trusted with violence (I overreact) and extending that view to everyone else. There’s an anecdote about three ministers in heaven. One brags about the huge churches he founded and the hundreds of thousands of souls he brought to salvation. Another talks about how as a missionary he had fed the starving and clothed the naked throughout all of some benighted country or other. The third says nothing, and the first politely asks him how many souls he saved.

    “One.”

    In the same way, the murderer of one is as bad sub specie aeternitatis as the murderer of tens of millions, and both are undoubtedly going to Hell, but in practice there is quite a difference between them (“in theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they are quite different”).

    (By the same token, I think Hat’s wrong about special punishments for hate crimes, which he says make no sense: the villain’s motives do not affect the victim, who is just as injured or dead. But after all the victim of an accident is just as injured or dead, but we don’t punish people for kicking a stone that brings down an avalanche. See Arendt or Nozick on how crimes are against the community, not just the victim, and how genocide is against the whole world, not just the victim community.)

    no doubt from οἰκουμένη

    No doubt whatsoever: she said so not only extra-fictionally but within the Canon itself, specifically LHoD: “Ekumen is our Terran word; in the common tongue it’s called the Household […].” It was after all her father who introduced the term oikumene into cultural anthropology in the sense of “all the world known to a particular culture”.

    Genly Ai goes on (quoted for truth):

    […] the Ekumen is not essentially a government at all. It is an attempt to reunify the mystical with the political, and as such is of course mostly a failure; but its failure has done more good for humanity so far than the successes of its predecessors. It is a society and it has, at least potentially, a culture. It is a form of education; in one aspect it’s a sort of very large school — very large indeed. The motives of communication and cooperation are of its essence, and therefore in another aspect it’s a league or union of worlds, possessing some degree of centralized conventional organization. It’s this aspect, the League, that I now represent.

    “The Ekumen as a political entity functions through coordination, not by rule. It does not enforce laws; decisions are reached by council and consent, not by consensus or command. As an economic entity it is immensely active, looking after interworld communication, keeping the balance of trade among the Eighty Worlds. Eighty-four, to be precise, if Gethen enters the Ekumen. . . .”

    “What do you mean, it doesn’t enforce its laws?” said Slose.

    “It hasn’t any. Member states follow their own laws; when they clash the Ekumen mediates, attempts to make a legal or ethical adjustment or collation or choice. Now if the Ekumen, as an experiment in the superorganic, does eventually fail, it will have to become a peace-keeping force, develop a police, and so on. But at this point there’s no need. All the central worlds are still recovering from a disastrous era a couple of centuries ago, reviving lost skills and lost ideas, learning how to talk again. . . .” How could I explain the Age of the Enemy, and its aftereffects, to a people who had no word for war?

    Cromwell and Napoleon is a surprisingly good analogy

    Indeed. Both of them were definitely in it for the welfare of their people, and firmly believed that they knew what best served that welfare. In Cromwell’s case, if the people were Catholic or Royalist, that was because they didn’t know what was in their own best interest, an argument that has been heard on all sides of politics from that day to this. But before Cromwell it was hardly heard at all, for the notion of popular welfare simply did not enter into the minds of monarchs.

    Well, yes, the US deliberately provoked Japan into war.

    In the sense that they undertook warmongering actions like the embargo, yes. But I don’t think the U.S. thought that Japan would actually go to war over it, as it was obvious to all that they had no hope of winning. (I have heard it said that the senior officers knew very well from the beginning that the war was hopeless, but they could not say so without losing face before their militant juniors.)

  63. the horrific price the USSR had to pay

    This kind of rhetoric ultimately amounts to “Russia should have surrendered like France”.

  64. David Eddyshaw says

    for the notion of popular welfare simply did not enter into the minds of monarchs

    Not for the want of their being told, at least in China: one feels almost sorry for King Hui of Liang after Mencius has finished with him.

    https://ctext.org/mengzi/liang-hui-wang-i

  65. One of the most vivid illustrations (from modern times, at least) of the royalist principle that no considerations of popular welfare could ever be as important as the king’s personal authority comes from how retributive justice was meted out to the Roundhead leaders after the Restoration. After some hundreds of thousands of deaths in Great Britain, and even more in Ireland, Charles II and the Convention Parliament issued blanket pardons to everyone involved, except anyone involved in his father’s execution. And, as noted above, they really went overboard by exhuming Cromwell and some of the other commissioners from the king’s trial, so that they could be posthumously violated. A king’s life was just considered incomparably more important than anyone else’s.

  66. I repudiated the comparison while talking about fanaticism, not about mass murder. Cromwell was not only not a killer on the Mao/Stalin scale, he wasn’t a fanatic on that scale either.

    I don’t give a damn about fanaticism. Be as fanatical as you like, so long as you don’t harm other people with it. If you start killing people, your fanaticism is irrelevant to me; you’re a murderer.

    I think Hat’s wrong about special punishments for hate crimes, which he says make no sense: the villain’s motives do not affect the victim, who is just as injured or dead.

    But that’s not my main problem with it, which is that it will inevitably be used to support the majority, who can apply the idea to their own benefit. To quote Wikipedia, “In fact, the case in which the Supreme Court upheld hate crimes legislation against First Amendment attack, Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993), involved a white victim.”

  67. David Marjanović says

    now MPs are perfectly capable to address any other member in the chamber, at least in the third person.

    Strictly in the third person, though. Just this October Bercow scolded someone, in the third person, saying they should “not let the word ‘you’ invade this chamber like a foreign body. ‘You’ refers to the chair.”

    Yes, these conventions are meant to intimidate the uninitiated but they eventually change or run the risk that no one will understand what the hell is going on.

    “I move to strike the last word” appears to mean “let me talk for 5 minutes now”.

    the Russian opinion on Stalin is highly divided

    China has simply decreed that Mao was “70% good, 30% bad”.

    But if each life is not new, each single life, then why are we born?

    Why not?!? Non sequitur.

    Both of them were definitely in it for the welfare of their people, and firmly believed that they knew what best served that welfare.

    Type IV antiheroes, then?

    This kind of rhetoric ultimately amounts to “Russia should have surrendered like France”.

    I’ve only seen it used as criticism of Stalin’s specific tactics.

    he only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars

    I don’t know what it looked like at the time; but in hindsight, the US shut both World Wars down by entering them. They’d both have kept going a lot longer otherwise than the few months they did.

  68. Paraphrasing Palmer and Colton: American intervention in the First World War was decisive, but it came so late, after all the other powers had been struggling for so long, that only the very beginnings of it were enough to decide the outcome.

    By the late spring of 1918, a quarter million fresh American troops were landing in France each month. The Germans had tried to capitalize on their victory in the east by throwing everything they had into the Spring Offensives, hoping to end things before the American reinforcements became insuperable. Besides Allied victory, the American troops also brought with them, unfortunately, a lot of flu infections. It was a tragic coincidence that the most virulent flu strain ever reliably recorded happened to emerge at a time of massive troop and population movements and when the medical systems of many European countries had been stretched far beyond their usual capacity.

  69. On a seasonal note, what should I chance to see in my facebook feed today but a meme consisting of a 17th-century portrait of the Lord Protector with the accompanying text “WISHING YOU THE KIND OF CHRISTMAS THAT OLIVER CROMWELL WOULD WANT TO OUTLAW.”

  70. This kind of rhetoric ultimately amounts to “Russia should have surrendered like France”.

    I think “the horrific price” refers to the Soviet democide, not the war.

    it will inevitably be used to support the majority, who can apply the idea to their own benefit

    Law without justice always does that, so it makes no difference. But if justly applied, there’s certainly no reason why someone who kills a white person because they’re white should be advantaged over the opposite.

    Type IV antiheroes, then?

    Well, that’s the debate: was Cromwell an Unscrupulous Hero or a Well-Intentioned Extremist?

    Why not?!? Non sequitur.

    “If our lives are no different from the lives that came before us, if we learn nothing (and forget nothing), what’s the point?”

    The US shut both World Wars down by entering them

    In Europe, maybe. But the war in Asia took the U.S. four years.

  71. I’ve only seen it used as criticism of Stalin’s specific tactics.

    People who use it are not usually known for wishing stronger and better Red Army, so that’s the only logical conclusion to be drawn from such arguments.

    Anyway, realistically what kind of losses Russia could have expected in a war with Nazi Germany under any other management?

    Let’s first detail these losses. There was a lot of Soviet and post-Soviet propaganda which for some unfathomable reason sought to inflate already high number of Soviet casualties using terms like “demographic losses”, “unborn children”, “higher than usual mortality level” etc.

    But using normal approach commonly utilized to determine war casualties in other countries, we will arrive at something like 16 million dead (lower than Brezhnev’s 20 mln and current official Russian 27 million).

    It is comprised of:

    1. KIA, dead from wounds and unaccounted MIA – about 8 million.
    2. Soviet POW who died in German and Finnish concentration camps – over 3 million. (out of total 5 mln Soviet POWs, Germans starved to death two third)
    3. Soviet civilian losses both in occupied territory and extra mortality due to war in the Soviet-controlled territory (including about 1 million Soviet civilians who died from starvation in besieged Leningrad) – about 5 million in total (split roughly in half between Soviet-controlled and Nazi-occupied territory).

    Looking at the first number, while it is very high compared to losses of Western allies, it is comparable to German military losses, estimated at 4-5 million dead (including losses of German allies). Absolute majority of these losses took place at the Eastern front and were inflicted by the Red Army.

    It’s very hard for me to imagine how even better and smarter Red Army command could have achieved losses which would be less or even only slightly higher than those suffered by Wehrmacht.

    So we are still looking at over 4 million casualties, realistically maybe 5-6 million vs. 8 million actual KIA.

    Maybe 20-30% less casualties could have been possible with better military decisions or strategy, I don’t know.

    If you are fighting a land war with Wehrmacht for four years that’s the kind of casualties you are going to have.

    Going to deaths of Soviet POWs, they were caused entirely by German racist policy which maintained that Russians and people of the Soviet Union were subhumans who didn’t deserve the same treatment as POWs from Britain, US or France and so it was OK to starve them to death.

    Same with civilian deaths on the occupied Soviet territory (most of it is accounted by deliberate Nazi genocide).

    It can be argued that with better Soviet leadership, defeats of 1941-1942 could have been avoided and there wouldn’t be so many Soviet POWs in the first place and Germans wouldn’t occupy so much Soviet territory.

    I am skeptical of such claims. Wehrmacht was simply stronger and better than the Red Army, its soldiers and officers were better trained and better educated and it had more industrial potential at its disposal (all of continental Europe occupied by 1941).

    Not lose immediately and keep fighting, drain enemy resources, learn how to fight better and win in the end.

    That’s the only thing Red Army could have done against Wehrmacht and that’s what it did.

  72. David Marjanović says

    “If our lives are no different from the lives that came before us, if we learn nothing (and forget nothing), what’s the point?”

    Why should there be a point?

  73. Some people (unlike thee and me) apparently feel the need for a Higher Purpose in their lives.

  74. the need for a Higher Purpose in their lives

    Not a Higher Purpose, just a purpose. What’s the point of being a scientist if all facts and generalizations have already been discovered, or a writer if everything has already been written? I imagine that the “end of physics” in the 19C was pretty damned discouraging until radioactivity etc. appeared on the horizon.

    “I move to strike the last word”

    Each new amendment to a bill in committee, however trivial, gets ten minutes debate (half for, half against), and this one is so trivial it isn’t even opposed, much less voted on.

  75. January etc. You seem to include Stalin on both sides, which somewhat dilutes your argument to me.
    2 sets.
    Leaders who ordered unbearable deaths: Stalin & Cromwell.
    Dictators whose behaviour was only malevolent: Stalin, but not Cromwell.
    – That was my point.

    Plastic: @hat, ajp
    I would agree with Hat in the sense that the Crown “rules of engagement” were different (and applied with less leniency) in Ireland, and the sympathy of the executive was with rogue governors and not with the oppressed Irish peasantry, who, because of their ethnicity or religion were for centuries unable to obtain legal sanctions and recompense for the infractions of these governors.
    I would agree with AJP that there was no monolithic policy and no attempt at ethnic cleansing and that many abuses were not peculiar to Ireland but could also be found in England, Wales and scotland (where enclosure was pursued with grim vigour). I would say also that, after they no longer felt threatened by Papish plots, the London government was generally averse to exemplary OTT punishments in Ireland of the type employed against “natives”. An exception was the militarily unnecessary shelling of Dublin in 1916.

    Thanks, that’s a good summing up.

    Pad: Re Cromwell, I believe that he is viewed more positively in England than he will ever be viewed in Ireland. This is not because Irish are ignorant of their own or of European history (although some may be, or have a simplistic or tendentious view of events and of rights and wrongs). It is because Cromwell means something different in England, just as Napoléon means something different in France.

    Language: people are generally content to use Hitler/Stalin/Mao as high bars to show that their preferred mass murderers (usually, for some reason, of their own nationality) are Not That Bad.

    Perhaps I imagined it, but I’d thought Plastic also said something about the the bias in secondary teaching of History in different countries. I remember my O Level History master (in his twenties, I’m guessing ) telling us that nobody in England really cared when they lost the American colonies because they were far too caught up with the French threat. Now there’s probably an element of truth, but it’s still a quite outrageous piece of chauvinism to teach 14 year-olds. We were taught nothing about Cromwell in Ireland and if English people know more know it’s thanks to the internet and the IRA. This kind of thing happens in schools all over the world, I think. Norway was the hero of everything my daughter learnt at school here, it never put a foot wrong and was only taken advantage of. I’ve no idea how you prevent history becoming propaganda, but the problem ought to get more attention. On the other hand, the best books on the English Civil War are by English people: The World Turned Upside Down – Radical Ideas During the English Rev. and God’s Englishman: OC & the English Rev. both by Christopher Hill, being the first that come to my mind.

  76. I’ve no idea how you prevent history becoming propaganda, but the problem ought to get more attention.

    I agree. One of the formative experiences of my early years was attending an international school in Tokyo where my best friends were a Panamanian, a South African, a Pakistani (who would become a Bangladeshi in a few years), and… I forget where the other one was from. Anyway, one of our pastimes was to dig up the worst things we could find in the other guy’s history and hurl it at him, whereupon he would return the favor: “Slavery!” “Black Hole of Calcutta!” etc. You learned a lot of history that way, and also learned that everybody slants history to favor their own group.

  77. Russia has (or had) a Committee on distortions of history (or some such) modeled on a similar Polish one with the goal to prevent history as taught in schools and portrayed in the media from diverging from propaganda. AFAIK the committee did nothing in particular (and did it very well).

  78. David Marjanović says

    What’s the point of being a scientist if all facts and generalizations have already been discovered, or a writer if everything has already been written?

    If everything has already been discovered or written, and we know it today, then I, for one, simply wouldn’t be a scientist or for that matter a writer. But if parts have been forgotten, they need to be rediscovered or redone.

    Apart from that, science isn’t the discovery of facts and generalizations, but their interpretation and prediction.

    Dictators whose behaviour was only malevolent: Stalin, but not Cromwell.

    I’ve heard that Stalin’s private letters show he really believed he was doing the best for the Working Masses or whomever.

    Norway was the hero of everything my daughter learnt at school here, it never put a foot wrong and was only taken advantage of. I’ve no idea how you prevent history becoming propaganda

    Austria appears to have done it. I was taught in school that Austrians were overrepresented in such jobs as concentration camp guard, and that the “Austria as the first victim of National Socialism” model that – unbeknownst to me at the time – earlier generations had peddled was quite inaccurate.

    I suppose the absence of patriotism helps.

  79. David Eddyshaw says

    I suppose the absence of patriotism helps

    To use “patriotism” in this way is an unnecessary concession to the scoundrels. Genuine patriots, in their love for their country, wish their fellow-countrymen well: they are therefore greatly distressed to see them fall victim to propaganda designed to exploit their worst impulses and their ignorance: on the contrary, they wish (for example) to see their fellow-citizens clear-eyed about their own history and the crimes committed by their forebears (or by contemporaries taking their name in vain) and determined to set things right.

    Other forms of “patriotism” are mere imposters. “My country, right or wrong” is only an acceptable formulation if it entails “So, when my country is wrong, I will nevertheless not write it off, but remain committed to it and fight to make it right.”

    Conceding the word “patriotism” to the racists and national fantasists allows them to perpetuate their favourite line that internationalism and patriotism are antithetical: the reality is that they are as antithetical as altruism and rational self-esteem.

  80. nobody in England really cared when they lost the American colonies

    That’s about like saying that nobody in the U.S. really cared when they lost the Vietnam War. The length of time was about the same (the beginning is fuzzy in each case), the number of deaths within a factor of two (though allowances must be made for the state of battlefield medicine), and the investment of treasure probably comparable in relative terms. Both losses involved huge losses of prestige for the regime as well as the country.

    It should also be said that one of the main reasons for “declaring victory and going home” in the American War was the Franco-American alliance, along with Spanish and Dutch support for breaking the embargo. It may justly be called a world war.

  81. I’ve heard that Stalin’s private letters show he really believed he was doing the best for the Working Masses or whomever.

    I’m reasonably sure he did. There are actually very few mustache-twirling “Mwa-ha-ha, once again I am making the world an eviler place!” villains in history, as opposed to melodrama. “Ce qui est terrible sur cette terre, c’est que tout le monde a ses raisons.”

  82. David Eddyshaw says

    As I understand it, Stalin’s mass-murderous assault on the peasantry was driven by the belief that traditional peasant social organisation was irredeemably incompatible with the further progress of the Revolution (bearing in mind particularly that the Revolution had already markedly deviated from the Marxist script by kicking off in a country which you could hardly describe as being in the final stages of capitalist development.)

    He was probably quite right about that.

  83. David Marjanović says

    Genuine patriots, in their love for their country, wish their fellow-countrymen well:

    But then patriotism becomes an unnecessary concept: why stop at the borders of one’s country?

    There are actually very few mustache-twirling “Mwa-ha-ha, once again I am making the world an eviler place!” villains in history

    Sure, but occasionally you come across narcissistic sociopaths who genuinely don’t care about the effects of their actions on anyone but themselves.

    And then there’s Stephen Harper.

    bearing in mind particularly that the Revolution had already markedly deviated from the Marxist script by kicking off in a country which you could hardly describe as being in the final stages of capitalist development

    Yes, the great Leninist heresy…

  84. Of course, the basic sin (or error, depending on how you look at it) of believing that the future bliss of Humanity justifies any amount of suffering and death caused to mere humans in the present goes all the way back to the Jacobins, followed by Marx and his epigones; Herzen demolished it eloquently a century and a half ago, but who listens to the voice of reason when the voice of fanaticism is so much more fun?

  85. The concept of doublethink seems ludicrous to some first-time readers of Nineteen Eighty-Four, but if you read some of the memoranda and correspondence from the members of the Stalinist Politburo, the doublethink is all over the place.* On the one hand, they accept that they are deporting and executing thousands upon thousands of innocent people; there are often explicit statements that no evidence is actually needed against individuals suspected of wrecking or other crimes. Yet a paragraph or two later, they will write about how every last person who has been punished by the regime was a known and confirmed enemy of the regime. Stalin knew that the main purposes of the purges were to prevent anyone from become powerful enough to threaten his rule and to keep everyone utterly terrified of displeasing him; but he also genuinely believed that there were constant conspiracies against him.

    Whatever other effects Stalin’s leadership had, the fact that Stalin purged the Red Army in 1938 led to serious problems in 1941. The purge fell most heavily on the most innovative commanders. The Civil War veterans who were set in their ways were easier to control than the upcoming new generation pushing for changes and greater motorization. At the trial of Mikhail Tukhachevsky, who was the strongest advocate for modernization among the top ranks of the Red Army, he was accused of intentional wrecking. Semyon Budyonny submitted testimony that Tukhachevsky’s attempts to try to move away from horse cavalry to tanks and mechanized infantry could not possibly be anything but an intentional attempt to undermine the Soviet Union’s military preparedness.

    * Orwell obviously never got to read the documents from the Kremlin archives, but he must have encountered the same kind of thing, on a lesser scale, in Spain.

  86. David Eddyshaw says

    why stop at the borders of one’s country?

    Quite so! no reason at all; but it’s not the stopping: you have to start somewhere.

    I remember a very nice young British aid worker I met in Ghana, who was very taken with Ghana and the Ghanaians (the country and its people are indeed easy to like.)
    What bothered me about him was that this seemed for him to entail taking a very negative attitude to his own country (he was seriously talking about giving up UK citizenship and adopting Ghanaian citizenship instead.)

    This seemed to me (despite the many undoubted genuine charms of Ghana and its people) to be a symptom that there was something of fantasy about his love affair with the country: if you can’t find it in you to love your neighbours whose culture and language you share, you are probably deluding yourself if you think you can really love people you know much less well (as opposed to your imaginary idea of them.)

  87. I agree with David Marjanović. Patriotism isn’t loving your fellow man, nor even loving your fellow countryman, it’s all about loving your country. So, fine when it’s in a good cause, like Keep Britain Tidy!, or keep calm and have a cup of tea, but betraying your friends to the authorities for political reasons because you love your country or sending your children to their deaths in battle because you all love your country are not good enough causes. That’s what Johnson (S. not B.) meant with Last refuge of a scoundrel, when people are calling themselves ‘patriots’ you’d better start running.

  88. if you can’t find it in you to love your neighbours whose culture and language you share, you are probably deluding yourself if you think you can really love people you know much less well (as opposed to your imaginary idea of them.)

    I agree.

  89. David Eddyshaw says

    Patriotism isn’t loving your fellow man, nor even loving your fellow countryman, it’s all about loving your country

    In that case, we need to reclaim the word. There are precedents …

  90. Trond Engen says

    AJP: Norway was the hero of everything my daughter learnt at school here, it never put a foot wrong and was only taken advantage of.

    Well. Norwegian history education does acknowledge e.g. the hardships of the Sami and other minorities during the assimilation policy. But one might say that the attitude is “Look how good we are at acknowledging responsibility.”

    I agree that Norwegian elementary history education generally still clings to the nation-building myths from the 19th century, though decreasingly so, and maybe depending on the teacher. My son’s secondary school history classes presented 1814 as a Danish plot to twist Norway from the hands of Sweden, something I had thought was my own idio-logical hobbyhorse.

  91. You guys didn’t study Marxism-Leninism deeply enough. Take out your notebooks, let us begin.

    In the first instance, anything of any interest has a bearing on class struggle. And I mean anything.
    In the second instance, the class struggle of the proletariat is led by the Communist party.
    In the third instance, any personal troubles and even death are relevant only in their relation to the class struggle.
    In the fourth instance, any considerations of the plight of people without its relation to the class struggle is bourgeois humanism and is a form of the oppression by the ruling class, because it deflects from the class struggle of the proletariat.

    What do we conclude from that? From that we conclude that killing, starving, dispossession, forced relocation, and imprisonment of millions of peasants is a historically justified if it leads to the victories of the proletariat under the leadership of the Communist party. And this is the ultimate humanism.

  92. David Eddyshaw says

    nation-building myths from the 19th century

    I remember a (generally quite good) school history of Rome which, in discussing the Roman imperial expansion in the couple of centuries after the Second Punic War, said something about “Rome (like Britain) acquiring an empire by accident” (as opposed, one gathered, to anything so vulgar as deliberate aggression.)

    Even as a callow youth it did occur to me that (a) this was a somewhat tendentious reading of Roman history and (b) there was a certain chutzpah in whitewashing our own imperial past by making a dubious analogy with a completely different sort of polity and whitewashing that.

  93. David Eddyshaw says

    @D.O.:

    I think that’s pretty much what Hat was saying (though he can speak for himself.)

    Sincerity is doubtless, in itself, a virtue; and, as a matter of fact, the end can justify the means. However, faced with the effects of certain means, to persist in the idea that they are still justified by the end results in sincerity becoming not a mitigating but an aggravating factor in judging guilt.

  94. “Mwa-ha-ha, once again I am making the world an eviler place!” villains in history, as opposed to melodrama. “Ce qui est terrible sur cette terre, c’est que tout le monde a ses raisons.”

    “Fuschia Chang on Evil”, by Hattic-friend Mark Rosenfeld.

    “My country, right or wrong” is only an acceptable formulation if it entails “So, when my country is wrong, I will nevertheless not write it off, but remain committed to it and fight to make it right.”

    Carl Schurz told the U.S. Senate back in 1872: “The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” The last sentence has become a sort of slogan of civic/liberal nationalism. GKC said something along the same lines: “‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”

    Schurz was a German refugee, one of the men of ’48, and the first German-born member of the Senate; I mention this because the U.S. was his country of choice (or perhaps expediency at first) rather than one he was born into.

    But then patriotism becomes an unnecessary concept: why stop at the borders of one’s country?

    In the end we won’t:

    “Gentlemen, I’ve been with the Envoy, I’ve seen his ship that crossed the void, and I know that he is truly and exactly a messenger from elsewhere than this earth. As to the honesty of his message and the truth of his descriptions of that elsewhere, there is no knowing; one can only judge as one would judge any man; if he were one of us I should call him an honest man. That you’ll judge for yourselves, perhaps.

    “But this is certain: in his presence, lines drawn on the earth make no boundaries, and no defense. There is a greater challenger than Karhide at the doors of Orgoreyn. The men who meet that challenge, who first open the doors of earth, will be the leaders of us all. All: the Three Continents: all the .earth. Our border now is no line between two hills, but the line our planet makes in circling the Sun.”

    And from the same, up on the Ice:

    “Hate Orgoreyn? No, how should I? How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe [his political rival who arranged for his exile] talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession… Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate.”

    ObDigression: I’ve always thought that Poldark should have remained in the new U.S. after the war (about 20% of surviving British forces did), though if he had we should certainly not have the Chronicles. He would have made a fine American. But I understand why he didn’t, based on the above: love for Cornwall that does not stop at the Tamar (though it certainly did not go so far as London, much less the London Government).

    ObDigression²: Who knew that William Golding, author of the novel Arlodh an Gelyon, was a Corn? (Even if he was woefully ignorant of Opticks.) Not I.

  95. I think that’s pretty much what Hat was saying (though he can speak for himself.)

    Yup.

  96. David Eddyshaw says

    @JC:

    Well said. And thanks for invoking GKC, who (for all his foolishness) exemplifies (at his frequent best) exactly what I mean: love of the general arising out of detailed love of the particular. I don’t trust any other method.

  97. January First-of-May says

    “Fuschia Chang on Evil”, by Hattic-friend Mark Rosenfeld.

    Mark Rosenfelder, IIRC.

    (And it’s scary how much the guy in the second comic resembles Trump. He even looks a bit like Trump – especially in the fifth panel. Not in the fourth, though.)

    [EDIT: on second thought, maybe I’m just seeing Trump everywhere.]

  98. Yes. When Blake wrote in the margin of Reynolds on art, “To Generalize is to be an Idiot. To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit — General Knowledges are those Knowledges that Idiots possess”, he goes a bit far, but in the Augustan age that’s understandable.

    Gordon Dickson on humans (in the future): “The first protective unit was the family, among humans. Then the clan, the tribe, expanding out and out, to include the nation and the nation-group. Including more and more people in the not-stranger category. Until we finally began including the whole population of the world in one self-protective group.” —The Alien Way

    Jan1May: Rosenfelder, yes. I think the caricature is meant to be of Newt Gingrich: the date is 1996, when he was Speaker of the House.

  99. David Eddyshaw says

    To put it a bit differently:

    That “patriotism” which Samuel Johnson rightly identified as the last refuge of the scoundrel, as seen around us in the UK, in Hungary, in the US, in Russia, in China, and growing like a malignant polyp in the colon of the world elsewhere, is not patriotism at all. It bears much the same relation to patriotism properly so called, as an inflatable sex doll to an actual woman.

    (Feel free to adjust the analogy to your own sex and proclivities. I apologise to the readily offended for my Calvinist bluntness.)

  100. At the trial of Mikhail Tukhachevsky, who was the strongest advocate for modernization among the top ranks of the Red Army, he was accused of intentional wrecking. Semyon Budyonny submitted testimony that Tukhachevsky’s attempts to try to move away from horse cavalry to tanks and mechanized infantry could not possibly be anything but an intentional attempt to undermine the Soviet Union’s military preparedness.

    In 1930, Tukhachevsky proposed a plan of military modernization of the Red Army which demanded enormous increase in Soviet armored forces. Chief of Staff Shaposhnikov criticized the plan and pointed out that “to accumulate about 142 thousand tanks, i.e. to increase our current production against its maximum capacity by 24 times is impossible either physically, financially or technically. France and America will have in stock maximum 7000 tanks by 1933”

    Stalin then had a pleasure to join the critique with

    You know that I greatly respect Comrade Tukhachevsky as an unusually capable comrade. But I did not expect that a Marxist, who should not tear himself away from the soil, could defend such a fantastic “plan” so out of touch with the ground. In his “plan” there is no main thing, i.e. there is no account of what is really possible in economic, financial and cultural aspect. This plan fundamentally violates any conceivable and permissible proportion between the army as a part of the country and the country as a whole, with its limits of economic and cultural aspects. The “plan” is confused by considering only the point of view of “purely military” people, who often forget that the army is derived from the economic and cultural state of the country.

    How could such a “plan” arise in the head of a Marxist who has gone through the school of the Civil War?

    I think that Comrade Tukhachevsky’s plan is the result of a fashionable fascination with “leftist” slogans, the result of a passion for paper, clerical maximalism. Therefore, the analysis has been replaced in it by the “game of numbers”, and the Marxist perspective of the growth of the Red Army – by science fiction.

    To “implement” such a “plan” means to ruin both the country’s economy and the army. That would be worse than any counter-revolution.

    It is gratifying that the Staff of the Red Army, for all the danger of temptation, clearly and definitely dissociated itself from Comrade Tukhachevsky’s “plan”

    While Tukhachevsky clearly was not a German agent, he doesn’t appear to be much of an improvement over the commanders who replaced him.

  101. David Marjanović says

    I remember a very nice young British aid worker I met in Ghana, who was very taken with Ghana and the Ghanaians (the country and its people are indeed easy to like.)
    What bothered me about him was that this seemed for him to entail taking a very negative attitude to his own country (he was seriously talking about giving up UK citizenship and adopting Ghanaian citizenship instead.)

    What bothers me are the sweeping generalizations he seems to have made about two whole countries. People just aren’t uniform like that.

    In that case, we need to reclaim the word.

    I still can’t see why.

    “Rome (like Britain) acquiring an empire by accident” (as opposed, one gathered, to anything so vulgar as deliberate aggression.)

    Rome acquired most of its empire by anxiety: the only way to make sure neighbours would keep quiet was to conquer them, often after trying 2 or 3 other strategies. Rinse, repeat on the new neighbours created by this strategy. The great exception to this is Caesar weeping that Alexander had conquered the world at his age, and then conquering Gaul.

    Britain…?

    as an inflatable sex doll to an actual woman

    “Physics is to mathematics as sex is to masturbation.”
    – physicists’ saying

  102. David Eddyshaw says

    People just aren’t uniform like that.

    Very true; nevertheless countries do have individual characters, for all that individuals vary all over the place, just as towns and indeed families have individual characters. Autre pays, autres mœurs.

    I still can’t see why [we need to reclaim the word].

    For much that reason, love of one’s own country is not a meaningless or a fatuous concept; and that is what “patriotism” means. Personally, I see every reason to dispute with those who imply (or outright proclaim) that love of one’s own country implies denigration of others and/or wilful blindness to the faults of one’s own, still more with those who seek to draw distinctions on imaginary “racial” grounds between fellow-citizens. Alas, this is very much a live issue in our own politics. The unprincipled rogues who have induced a majority of my fellow-countrymen to vote against the own interests by deliberately stoking xenophobia with lies should not be permitted to redefine “love of country” on their terms. Perhaps the words we use ought not to matter; but they do, and the bad guys know it and exploit it. Implying that we are against “patriotism” plays right into their hands. We need to say loud and clear that it is they who are perverting patriotism.

  103. For much that reason, love of one’s own country is not a meaningless or a fatuous concept; and that is what “patriotism” means.

    I understand loving people you actually know, and I understand loving an area (whether city or pays) that you are intimately familiar with, but I don’t really understand loving an entire country except in the invidious right-or-wrong sense. I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad, just that I don’t understand it, and I am made nervous by the very frequent use of that (putatively noble) feeling to embroil people in stupid wars.

  104. David Marjanović says

    those who imply (or outright proclaim) that love of one’s own country implies denigration of others and/or wilful blindness to the faults of one’s own

    (For the sake of completeness, I should mention – as I once did in a longer thread about nations and patriotism – that it’s perfectly easy to engage in the opposite, hate of many or all foreign countries without any particular love for one’s own. In Austria that’s a niche large enough for a political party that has twice participated in government.)

  105. I know I have mentioned “The Patriot Game” before (and recently), but one of the things that makes it effective is the apparent ambivalence about the IRA struggle expressed in it’s first lines:

    Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing,
    For the love of one’s country is a terrible thing.
    It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
    And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

    Since the song ends with Fergal O’Hanlon left to bleed to death by his IRA compatriots, one might conclude that terrible is meant in the sense of “frighteningly bad.” However, the original lyrics by Dominic Behan (younger brother of Brendan Behan*) do not bear out any meaning of terrible except just “frightening”; the original verses include one that calls for shooting Republic of Ireland police officers, for example. However, I have never heard a performance of the song that includes this verse. Behan himself later moderated the lyrics, and most American versions follow, more or less, the way the lyrics were rewritten by the Clancy Brothers.

    * Near the end of his life, when he was living mostly in New York City, Brendan famously said: “To America, my new found land: The man that hates you hates the human race.”

  106. David Eddyshaw says

    I don’t really understand loving an entire country

    Yes; actually a key point which I had been glossing over. I mean it (at least in part) in the CS Lewis sense:

    Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

    I should immediately say that taken as a definition of what we are to understand by “love” in general this is problematic in many ways (as I think Lewis himself appreciated); it’s quite useful as an explanation of what I mean in this context, though. “Ultimate good” is the point at issue (and in dispute.)

    My own ability to “love” an entire country even in this perhaps somewhat technical sense is pretty limited; but that is a fact about me, not about the issues involved. And I think I would interpret Hat’s comment basically as supporting my contention that any worthwhile and positive patriotism has to start local and generalise from there (as far as one’s magnanimity can support it.)

    The contrary position (on the good-guy side) is that what truly matters is abstract justice. That’s all very well, but seems to be a weak motivation for actual action in practice, and is easily perverted into the sort of focus on “ultimate good” which justifies present genocide. It also leaves the good-guy side very vulnerable to the sort of appeals to emotion which the xenophobes regard as their very own tunes. We don’t need to leave human feeling to the enemies of humanity.

  107. The unprincipled rogues

    Who got their playbook from my country, a place that independently invented civic nationalism (the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had certainly been civic nationalist two centuries earlier) and has actually fought a civil war between (among other things) civic and ethnic nationalists.

    I note that both Plaid Cymru and the SNP proclaim their civic nationalism, whereas the BNP, falsely so called, is decidedly English ethnic-nationalist. Catalan and Corsican nationalism is likewise civic, There is even, I find, a civic nationalist party in Cyprus of all places: the Union of Cypriots, which began as a purely Turkish Cypriot group opposed to the Turkish occupation, which they consider colonial. It has now widened to include Greek Cypriots: it supports a unitary state rather than a federal one, and wishes to return to “one nation, one flag, one homeland and one state” but with two languages, religions, and cultures with equal status.

    I don’t really understand loving an entire country

    The U.S. is on the border between country and empire, and that may be part of the issue.

    “The man that hates you hates the human race.”

    As all nations are represented here, this has a certain plausibility to it. I often in international online fora find myself being assumed to be an American patriot in the bad sense, and I have to explain that I have a special detestation for the current regime: for its specific bad policies; for its shedding a bad light on my country, whose reputation was bad enough before; and for doing the same for my city, about which I am strongly patriotic, particularly since (as Labov said) it is a “sink of negative prestige”. Indeed, that may be one of the emotional purposes of patriotism however civic: defense of the homeland against those who go too far in condemning it.

  108. David Eddyshaw says

    I note that both Plaid Cymru and the SNP proclaim their civic nationalism

    Yes, indeed; and a good part of the reason for the success of the SNP (as fact which speaks well for the Scots.)

    The distinction between civic and ethnic nationalism is very useful. What I mean by “patriotism” is not far from your civic nationalism; and the whole logic of that kind of nationalism is to trancend ethnic nationalism not only internally but internationally. I would only maintain that it would be most securely rooted in a local feeling of community, generalised wider and yet wider, rather than in an abstract ideology.

  109. David Marjanović says

    it is a “sink of negative prestige”

    Well, it is both Metropolis and Gotham City – much like all of its predecessors all the way back to Babylon, at least.

  110. And I think I would interpret Hat’s comment basically as supporting my contention that any worthwhile and positive patriotism has to start local and generalise from there (as far as one’s magnanimity can support it.)

    I definitely believe in starting local, but I don’t understand why it’s desirable to extend one’s fond feelings only up to a national border. The locus classicus of the stupidity of that sort of thing is WWI, when the socialists who thought European war would be impossible because the workers’ loyalty was to other workers rather than to nation-states were grievously disappointed: “Within days of the war, nearly every established Socialist Party in Europe voted in favor of the war.

  111. David Eddyshaw says

    but I don’t understand why it’s desirable to extend one’s fond feelings only up to a national border

    I don’t advocate stopping at national borders at all, and indeed specifically maintain that fond feelings of a nature to lead to such an outcome are not the sort of fond feelings that one’s fellow-countrymen should be comfortable with being on the receiving end of; they imply that you feel fond of your fellow-countrymen in proportion to their insularity, ignorance and narrow-mindedness. Insofar as a Trump or a Johnson can be said to feel fond of their fellow-countrymen at all, this would in fact describe their attitude. I suppose a conman may have a sort of affection for his marks, just as huntsmen claim to respect the fox.

    However, I think appropriate love of one’s fellow-countrymen is a valid step on the path; I agree that it is hard to love an entire country, as you rightly say, at least without large helpings of self-delusion; a fortiori, is it not hard to love the entire human race? Baby steps …

    Patriotism is without question not enough: it does not follow that it is nothing at all. And it deserves to be rescued from the perverts.

  112. @David Marjanović: In Brainiac’s first appearance as a Superman villain, Metropolis and New York were different cities. (Brainiac used his shrinking/teleportation ray to collect samples of important cities from various planets—including the Bottled City of Kandor from Krypton—and both Metropolis and New York were among the cities he stole.) In the earliest days, if Metropolis was to be taken to be a specific city, it was actually Cleveland, where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster lived when they created Superman.

    Gotham City, on the other hand is unambiguously New York. Washington Iriving called New York “Gotham” in his humor magazine Salamagundi, alluding self-deprecatingly to the (real of feigned) stupidity of the folk of Gotham in Nottinghamshire.

  113. David Eddyshaw says

    (real or feigned) stupidity

    Real, I’ve no doubt: the area is close by the ancestral seat of the Eddyshaws/Eddishaws/Eddershaws, all of whom are of the same origin. We began as a spelling mistake for Hithersay, believe it or not. Not everyone is capable of misspellings of this magnitude.

  114. David Eddyshaw says

    Actually, I may take to claiming that it is pronounced “Hithersay”, to add a touch of class. “Featherstonehaugh”, nothing.

  115. I don’t advocate stopping at national borders at all

    No, I understand that; what I don’t understand is that you seem to feel national borders are a natural stopping-place on the way to Universal Humanity. Perhaps that’s because you’re from the sceptered isle, where borders are either natural (it’s an island) or of such long standing that they seem natural. I wonder if you’d feel the same way if you were from Lwów/Lemberg/Lemberik/L’vov/L’viv, where every few years you wind up in a different country without having to move.

    Look, the very idea of loving everyone in a country is just as absurd as that of loving all humanity; it’s not some kind of stepping stone. You can’t (in any meaningful sense) love people you don’t know; you can have a sort of abstract benevolence, but I don’t see why that’s any more difficult for all humanity. I know you don’t advocate stopping at national borders, but you seem to feel there’s something natural about it, and it doesn’t seem that way at all to me.

  116. And again, the main practical result of patriotism is wars.

  117. J.W. Brewer says

    Re the rhetorical distinction between ethnic and civic nationalisms — per the most recent stats I could quickly google up, approximately 88% of the population of Scotland is Scottish-in-an-ethnic-sense. I expect that the 12% that isn’t is not evenly distributed throughout all the parliamentary constituencies but is (compared to the national average) overweight in some and underweight in others. Is there actual empirical data suggesting that the SNP’s vote share is as high among the 12% as the 88%? Certainly in Wales the constituencies where PC does well are the ones where it seems reasonable to suppose that the percentage of the population that is Welsh-in-the-ethnic-sense is even higher than the (reasonably high) national average. In any event, I must say I have grave difficulty believing that a significant number of Scottish or Welsh persons would be sufficiently motivated by “civic nationalism” to seek such a dramatic change of political status as independence from the UK. The more parsimonious explanation is that they’re just ethnic nationalists (a rather widespread human condition, at least in recent centuries) who feel the need to dissemble (and perhaps in some instances to dissemble to themselves) because ethnic nationalism has recently become viewed negatively in certain quarters. “Civic nationalism” as a thing seems to me more the exception than the rule cross-culturally, and tends to arise only when functionally necessary, i.e. to supply a common bond in a polity that is manifestly multi-ethnic (like the US or perhaps Switzerland) or a polity that wishes to become increasingly multi-ethnic via conquest and subjugation (like France). Essentially all the erstwhile SSR’s that asserted or resumed independence after the demise of the USSR did so on ethnic-nationalist grounds, and one can hardly blame them for having found the particular brand of civic nationalism offered by the Soviet regime too unsatisfactory to convince them of the superiority of the genre.

    Re hat’s claim that a “nation” is too large to love, whereas a town or “pays” might not be — nations obviously differ rather dramatically in scale. The U.S.A. for example has over 100x the population of Wales and is even more grossly disproportionate to Wales in acreage. And Wales is larger than some fully autonomous EU members like Luxembourg or Malta, which are in turn larger than historicity-challenged pocket-sized polities like Grand Fenwick. OTOH, even the USA has less than 5% of the population of the entire planet, so if one assumes that many human beings find it difficult to move in a single step from love of their fellow Grand-Fenwickites to indifferent universal love of the entire worldwide species there may be several intermediate levels of scale in between the Duchy of GF and the United Federation of Planets that may be comfortable for different sorts of folks.

  118. David Marjanović says

    The SNP may have started as an ethnic-nationalist party, but nowadays it’s simply a left-liberal party that figures it can’t achieve its goals in a country where the Tories can outvote it in Parliament.

    The logic is actually quite similar to that of Labour Brexiteers who feel that the EU is a hopelessly, terminally capitalist project that cannot be reformed from the inside.

  119. As Kipling put it:

    The men of my own stock,
    They may do ill or well,
    But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
    They are used to the lies I tell;
    And we do not need interpreters
    When we go to buy or sell.

    The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
    But I cannot tell what powers control–
    What reasons sway his mood;
    Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.

    The men of my own stock,
    Bitter bad they may be,
    But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
    And see the things I see;
    And whatever I think of them and their likes
    They think of the likes of me.

    Ethnic nationalism is natural by default. Civic nationalism only becomes possible when you get used to “the stranger within my gates” and they are not that strange anymore.

  120. The Scots and the English are OK for inclusion in respective civic nationalisms.

    “Four hundred years together” should do it.

  121. Lars Mathiesen says

    They tell the lies I am wanted to? What sorcery is this? Danish has an adjective vant til = ‘accustomed to’ with a frozen participle of vænne, is this a cognate or something else? The sense is pretty clear from the (anti-)parallel next line.

  122. David Eddyshaw says

    The metric I have in mind in maintaining that a country can be a half-way house between loving a community and loving humanity is not population size but cultural similarity.

    It is surely a fact (if a regrettable one) that we find it easier to empathise and sympathise with those most like ourselves. Good people work to transcend this; even they (unless saints) have to work at it.

    I would be the last to maintain that we should stop at that point; I maintain that a genuine desire for the welfare of your fellowcountrymen (i.e. patriotism) entails wanting them not merely to be happy but to be good; a “patriotism” that encourages them to be racists or fantasists is therefore a perversion. It is this very perversion that seeks to usurp the name of “patriotism” on all sides around the world.

    As C S Lewis rightly says somewhere, love cannot be described merely as a desire for the loved one to be happy: no true lover wishes to see the beloved happy in degrading or shameful ways.

  123. David Marjanović says

    Ethnic nationalism is natural by default.

    Ah, but what is an ethnos?

    Enfin, la corrélation entre langue et ethnicité est une question complexe dans les peuples que nous pouvons observer à notre époque, et il n’y a pas de raison de penser qu’il en allait autrement aux époques anciennes. Pour un cas que je connais de première main, notons par exemple que l’idée même d’un “peuple japhug” semblerait aux locuteurs de cette langue complètement grotesque et incongrue (voir même offensante; ils se considèrent tous avant tout comme tibétains). Pourtant, nul ne peut nier la réalité de l’existence d’une langue japhug. En outre, le monolinguisme qui est devenu récemment une norme dans certains pays d’Europe n’était pas nécessairement pratiqué dans toutes les sociétés anciennes. Dans une société comptant une proportion importante de bilingues (ne connaissant pas tous forcément la même paire de langues), la connaissance d’une langue n’était qu’un élément parmi d’autres, peut-être pas le plus important, de l’identité ethnique, pour autant que cette question même ait eu un sens.

    no true lover wishes to see the beloved happy in degrading or shameful ways

    What does that even mean? If the beloved feels degraded or ashamed, they’re probably not happy; if they don’t, does it matter what the lover thinks?

  124. David Marjanović says

    (Link to source added; the edit button doesn’t appear, probably because I went elsewhere while submitting the comment.)

    Ethnic nationalism is natural by default.

    Ah, but what is an ethnos?

    Enfin, la corrélation entre langue et ethnicité est une question complexe dans les peuples que nous pouvons observer à notre époque, et il n’y a pas de raison de penser qu’il en allait autrement aux époques anciennes. Pour un cas que je connais de première main, notons par exemple que l’idée même d’un “peuple japhug” semblerait aux locuteurs de cette langue complètement grotesque et incongrue (voir même offensante; ils se considèrent tous avant tout comme tibétains). Pourtant, nul ne peut nier la réalité de l’existence d’une langue japhug. En outre, le monolinguisme qui est devenu récemment une norme dans certains pays d’Europe n’était pas nécessairement pratiqué dans toutes les sociétés anciennes. Dans une société comptant une proportion importante de bilingues (ne connaissant pas tous forcément la même paire de langues), la connaissance d’une langue n’était qu’un élément parmi d’autres, peut-être pas le plus important, de l’identité ethnique, pour autant que cette question même ait eu un sens.

    no true lover wishes to see the beloved happy in degrading or shameful ways

    What does that even mean? If the beloved feels degraded or ashamed, they’re probably not happy; if they don’t, does it matter what the lover thinks?

  125. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    The person in an abusive relationship may feel “happy”. I think the key here is that both partners are not in control and that this has more negative physical and mental consequences usually for one partner. If you as an outsider feel love (or even sympathy) for that person I believe it does matter and you are entitled to intervene.
    Re the word ailpín, the surname O’hAilpín also means a fat person, so I suggest a connection with *leyp (which could non-controversially result in German Laib, although DWDS says this word is untraced). I am just not clear about the mechanics, as PIE p disappears or mutates in Celtic, so somehow the p had to be voiced or the word had to be borrowed.

  126. Lars Mathiesen says

    wanted/wonted — I just didn’t make the connection because I’ve only encountered it for things a person is used to doing, rather than experiencing. The basic adjective (PG *wanaz, ON vanr) seems to have had both senses, but as I said it’s mostly the experiencer sense for the modern Danish noun vane and derived verb vænne.

  127. a “patriotism” that encourages them to be racists or fantasists is therefore a perversion.

    But what about a patriotism that encourages them to go fight other people for the good of their own people? That’s a far more common problem.

    wanted/wonted — I just didn’t make the connection

    I didn’t make it either and was just as confused as you; I assume “wanted” was a typo, and it’s the worst kind, the one that’s hard to notice and fix.

  128. Well, it is both Metropolis and Gotham City – much like all of its predecessors all the way back to Babylon, at least.

    Well, Hattically speaking, the Boston accent spread to cover half of Massachusetts, up to the natural boundary of the Connecticut River, though it has receded eastward since. The NYC accent is found in only a few locales in New Jersey and none in the rest of New York State. I was born only 35 minutes by car from where I live now, and my accent certainly belongs to the general area, but it has little of NYC in it. “Sink of negative prestige” is actually a remark that Labov made on various occasions.

    Metropolis and Gotham City have moved around a lot over time, but are generally considered adjacent places separated by water. That link claims that the original Metropolis skyline was Toronto’s, where Shuster (the artist) was born.

    A variously attributed comparison is “Batman’s Gotham City is Manhattan below 14th Street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November [alt. rdg. November 28], and Metropolis is Manhattan between 14th and 100th Streets on the brightest, sunniest July day of the year.” As someone who has lived below 14th Street for forty years, I’m here to tell you that it’s nothing like that bad.

    We began as a spelling mistake for Hithersay, believe it or not.

    Surely a deliberate attempt to evade the attentions of Government? Your ancestors may have been stupid like a fox, as the original Gothamites were: they acted crazy to prevent a highway (which they would have to maintain) from running through the village at a time when madness was thought to be highly contagious. (Old Gotham is pronounced with GOAT, which indeed is the etymology, and [th], whereas New Gotham has LOT and /θ/.)

    the main practical result of patriotism is wars

    As well say that the main practical result of marriage nowadays is divorce.

    Is there actual empirical data suggesting that the SNP’s vote share is as high among the 12% as the 88%?

    I don’t have that information: nobody records electors by ethnicity, though there may be exit poll data for what it is worth. This Excel spreadsheet contains the complete returns for all candidates for all constituencies; this page gives summary information for ethnicity and identity from the 2011 Scotland census (the most recent). The smallest percentages of people reporting a Scottish national identity or Scottish ethnicity are in the four cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

    I then sorted the 59 constituencies where an SNP candidate stood (every seat in Scotland, none elsewhere) by increasing percentage of votes cast, and picked out the 17 with one of the four cities in their names (this may be too small or too large). The ranks of these constituencies in the total order are 1, 2, 13, 18, 24, 32, 33, 37, 38, 39, 41, 44, 47, 48, 57, 58, 59. The smallest share of SNP votes (25.4%) was in Edinburgh South (Labour); the greatest share (50.0%) in Aberdeen North (SNP). The median percentage for the 17 was 47.7%; for the rest, 45%. Someone more ambitious than I can run tests of statistical significance and effect size (both or neither, please).

    The SNP is by no means so dominant in the Scottish Parliament (63 of 129 seats chosen by the mixed-member proportional system) as they are in the Scottish constituencies of the UK Parliament (48 of 59 seats chosen by FPTP); indeed, they are presently in a one-party minority government, with “confidence and supply” support from the 2 Green MSPs, meaning that the Greens will vote with the SNP in motions of no confidence and in money bills, but not necessarily otherwise.

    In the five Scottish Parliaments so far, there have only been 4 members of “ethnic minorities”, but this may exclude non-Scottish Britons. And of course one may be of pure Yoruba ancestry and have a Scottish national identity, or even claim Scottish ethnicity.

    The SNP may have started as an ethnic-nationalist party

    I haven’t made a deep investigation, but I find no evidence of that. The SNP results from the 1934 amalgamation of four separate groups dating to the 1920s, none of which seem to have been ethnic nationalist. The WP article on Scottish nationalism plainly states that it is civic nationalism.

    Ah, but what is an ethnos?

    I take it to be much like a religion (indeed, at one time all religions were ethnic) or certain other things: I belong to the hacker tribe, because I say I’m a hacker and other hackers agree, and that suffices. This tribe has common values, sacred books, culture heroes, etc., as the link shows; but there is no analogue of “blood and soil” among us.

    “Four hundred years together” should do it.

    Alas, it has not quite done it for African Americans, who are still widely treated as undesirable foreigners in a land they have a longer claim to than most white Americans.

    somehow the p had to be voiced or the word had to be borrowed

    The legendary first king of Scots was Kenneth (I) McAlpin, Cináed mac Ailpin in Middle Irish, Coinneach mac Ailpein in modern Scots Gaelic. But he himself was probably a Pict (contra legendary claims that he was a Gael and exterminated the Picts, or at least their aristocracy), and therefore I would guess that Ailpín is a lightly Gaelicized Brythonic name like Pádraig < Welsh Padrig < L Patricius ‘patrician’.

  129. As well say that the main practical result of marriage nowadays is divorce.

    So what is the main practical result? Standing for the anthem? Don’t say “obeying the laws” or something of that nature, because people do it from fear of punishment, not love of country.

  130. Eh, never mind, there’s not much point discussing it. The belief in the necessity and value of the nation-state is as deeply ingrained as belief in religion used to be, and neither of us is going to change his mind.

  131. David Marjanović says

    The person in an abusive relationship may feel “happy”.

    Point taken; I agree that (potentially) brainwashed people should not be considered happy just at face value.

    “Batman’s Gotham City is Manhattan below 14th Street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November [alt. rdg. November 28], and Metropolis is Manhattan between 14th and 100th Streets on the brightest, sunniest July day of the year.”

    That’s what I was thinking of! 🙂 Couldn’t remember the details, or where to find it.

    “blood and soil”

    Incidentally, the Nazis didn’t come up with that. Oswald Spengler did – and for him this was a pair of opposites which pulled people in opposite directions!

    (“Culture” and “civilization” were another pair of opposites for him. The downside of expressing new concepts in old words.)

    Standing for the anthem?

    That’s another thing absent in the patriotism-free countries. But then, the US is unique in playing the anthem before every ball game, instead of just those where the national teams of different countries compete, so there are far fewer opportunities to hear an anthem elsewhere.

  132. One of the many things that annoy me about my sort-of-native land.

  133. Stu Clayton says

    voir même offensante

    It’s voire même offensante, or simply et même offensante here. Beware taking your cues from careless furriners or their copyeditors ! Only the best is good enough – that means books printed at least 30 years ago, no internet.

  134. a pair of opposites

    Well, yes; after all ius sanguinis and ius soli are literally ‘by right of blood’ and ‘by right of soil’.

    playing the anthem before every ball game

    In If I Never Get Back, the time-travel baseball novel, the time traveler (to 1867) asks “Will they play the national anthem?”

    “The which?”

    “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

    “Oh, the national ballad. What for? This is a ball match, not the Senate.”

    At which the time traveler thinks: “At least one bit of jingoistic idiocy hadn’t yet lodged in the national psyche.”

    my sort-of-native land.

    You are a U.S. citizen by right of blood, I by right of soil. (Army bases are not extraterritorial.) But you are almost certainly a natural-born citizen, in case a Draft-Dodson movement appears from nowhere.

  135. Army bases are not extraterritorial.

    It was an army hospital — I don’t know if it was on an army base — and it was extraterritorial when I was born. (Though not as a personal favor to me, unlike Princess Margriet of the Netherlands: “The maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which Princess Margriet was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government.”)

  136. in case a Draft-Dodson movement appears from nowhere.

    They tried that a half century ago; I told them if drafted I would refuse.

  137. Stu Clayton says

    He plied his craft
    To dodge the draft,
    And ‘scaped the Cong –
    Can that be wrong ?

  138. @David Marjanović: After Spengler’s “blood and soil” phrase was coopted by the Nazi agricultural ideologue Richard Walther Darré* (minister of food and agriculture from 1933–1942) with his 1930 book Neuadel aus Blut und Boden, misinterpretation of Spengler’s intent has been pretty much universal (outside of some scholarly discourse).

    As I commented recently, A. E. van Vogt seemed to misunderstand almost every bit of science he tried to incorporate into his writing. That was also true of Spengler’s views on history—the “blood and soil” aspects, in particular—in The Voyage of the Space Beagle. However, one of the things that makes this the author’s best work is the fact that he treats the Spenglerian ideas as merely an interesting way of looking at things, not a immutable principle of existence. Part way through the story, the Nexialist protagonist Elliot Grosvenor (who is not necessarily smarter, just better informed and trained than the rest of the spacecraft crew), wonders whether there might be a more cohesive way of describing the historical data than Spengler’s.

    * Richard Walther Darré executed the usual Nazi ratline trajectory in reverse, being born in Argentina and then emigrating to Germany in 1911.

  139. I told them if drafted I would refuse.

    I believe you said “If drafted, I will not run; but if deployed, I will not serve.”

    I was too young for the draft and too old for the later just-in-case draft registration. By the same token, I entered high school the year in which final exams were abolished and left the year before they were restored. My father topped this by being too young for WWI and too old for WWII. My brother, on the other hand, simply broke out in hives every time the draft board summoned him; evidently he was allergic to them.

    it was extraterritorial when I was born

    The U.S. bases on Okinawa have extraterritoriality of jurisdiction: that is, Japanese law does not apply and U.S. law does. But ius soli citizenship applies only in the 50 states and such territories as Congress extends it to, these being D.C., Guam, the Northern Marianas, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. American Samoa is excluded, as are the various uninhabited islands, and certainly no U.S. bases have ever been included, nor did birth in the Philippines grant U.S. ius soli citizenship at any time.

  140. Ah well then, I was lied to as a wee lad.

  141. @John Cowan: Citizenship for those born in the District of Columbia may be clarified by statute, but it is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, just like that of people born in the fifty states (and subject to their laws).

  142. David Marjanović says

    misinterpretation of Spengler’s intent has been pretty much universal

    Yes, of course. I only meant to bring that up as a fun fact.

  143. Another fun fact. In Russia they used to admonish misbehaving youth “In the Army, they will teach you to love your country!” mixing up two well-worn ideas, that the Army is a way to instill some discipline into young men and that (oh, well) official patriotism is more or less about (being ready to fight a) war.

  144. Вот так.

  145. The maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which Princess Margriet was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government.

    The WP article points out (what I never knew) that the ward did not become Dutch territory: the ius sanguinis Netherlands doesn’t care where you are born, only who your parents are. It was to make sure she wasn’t accidentally a Canadian citizen. Consequently, Canada declared the ward terra nullius, like Sealand or Antarctica.

    Citizenship for those born in the District of Columbia may be clarified by statute, but it is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Is there case law about this? 8 CFR § 215.1 (e) says “The term United States means the several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Swains Island, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (beginning November 28, 2009), and all other territory and waters, continental and insular, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” This is definitive, but doesn’t give any sources. WP says that D.C. is quasi an organized incorporated territory, but quasi is not echt. (In any case, if D.C.’s status were a result of being incorporated, uninhabited Palmyra Island is also incorporated; it is part of the former Territory of Hawaii but not the State, which raises the question of the citizenship status of anyone born there.)

  146. @Johm Cowan: No, there is no case law, since this has never been a live controversy, owing to the statutory situation. The issue might have been debatable as an academic question in the past, between 1868 and 1961. However, my understanding is that with the apportioning of presidential electors to the District of Columbia according to the Twenty-Third Amendment, an argument that the District is not part of the United States for purposes of the Fourteenth is now practically universally considered untenable.

  147. JC: The WP article points out (what I never knew) that the ward did not become Dutch territory
    Yes, you did. On the evening of 29 June 2018 you said it was extraterritorial. Ha, I love this, it’s like Woody Allen & Marshall Mcluhan.

    I thought I made a recent comment with a video link to one of the nurses about Princess Margriet’s birth, but I can’t find it. The nurse says she still sees Princess Margriet occasionally in Ottawa, and that because she spent her first few years there the Princess still thinks of herself as a Canadian.

  148. Brett: Thanks.

    AJP: What we (or I certainly) have learned on this thread is that a place may be extraterritorial for some purposes but not others. And certainly I had no clue that Canada could simply declare part of its territory Not-Canada as opposed to transferring it to a different sovereignty. If someone had rushed into Queen Juliana’s room and stabbed her, I think Canada would still have treated the room as domestic for the purpose of enforcing its criminal laws. Indeed, in England piracy used to be charged as “committed on the high seas in the county of Middlesex”.

    I note however that I gave Hat substantively the same explanations about his birth back then. “♫ I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the corners of my trousers rolled. ♫” (Blues melody by Joseph Zitt)

  149. And I’ll forget it again!

  150. As an (adoptive) Ottawan I always understood this story more as a gesture of friendship and goodwill than an actual legal maneuver. Even the most expansive view of jus soli excludes children born to foreign diplomats, and the same principle a fortiori applies to children born to sovereign rulers. In any event the hospital – like much of Ottawa – is located on unceded Algonquin territory, which lends the whole affair a vaguely burlesque feeling – symbolically giving something that isn’t yours to someone who does not need it.

    Still, it makes for a good story – Canada not only sheltered the Dutch royal family during the war, Canadian troops actually liberated the Netherlands itself during the final phase of the war. Given all that, it’s nothing short of incredible that the first order of business for the newly reconstituted Dutch state was to immediately set about re-invading their former colonies, against the express wishes of the local population – to say nothing of basic human decency. Such a classic “learned nothing and forgotten nothing” moment.

  151. the same principle a fortiori applies

    I’m not so sure. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (born 1927, elevated 1950, died 2016) was a natural-born American citizen; in principle he could have been both King of Thailand and President of the United States at the same time. His father was not King of Thailand then or ever, nor his mother Queen, so there is no question of not being subject to the jurisdiction. (I can find no evidence that the king ever renounced his U.S. citizenship.)

    symbolically giving something that isn’t yours to someone who does not need it

    As WP documented, Canada didn’t give the territory to anyone: they retreated from it. Legalistically, that may have left it in Algonquin hands, but since that’s a ius sanguinis society, the birthplace of the princess wouldn’t matter to them any more than to the Dutch.

  152. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    I have never managed to confirm it, so it may be just a myth (but why would anyone invent such a weird myth?) but I was once assured that a small park in London is legally in the city of Cambridge and under the jurisdiction of the Cambridge police.

  153. PlasticPaddy says

    “Ely Place is sometimes claimed to have been an exclave of Cambridgeshire due to that county containing the medieval abbey at Ely, and Ely Place having been the site of the London residence of the Bishops of Ely… However, Ely Place was never formally part of the county of Cambridgeshire, or outside the Metropolitan Police area”
    Source:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Place

  154. it’s nothing short of incredible that the first order of business for the newly reconstituted Dutch state was to immediately set about re-invading their former colonies, against the express wishes of the local population – to say nothing of basic human decency.

    SS Freiwilligen Legion Niederlande (1941)
    SS-Freiwilligen-Standarte Nordwest
    SS Volunteer Grenadier-Brigade Landstorm Nederland
    4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland
    23rd SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nederland
    34th SS Volunteer Grenadier Division Landstorm Nederland

    In total, 25,000 Dutch volunteers of Waffen SS divisions participated in German invasion of Russia (and some Dutch units also fought against partisans in Yugoslavia).

    What exactly Russia has done to the Netherlands to deserve this remains a mystery to this day.

  155. PlasticPaddy says

    @sfr
    Not Russia, Spain. The Dutch national anthem has a line “I am of German blood”, line 2 here:
    https://www.lyricsondemand.com/n/nationalanthemlyrics/netherlandsnationalanthemlyrics.html

  156. Ely Place was never formally part of the county of Cambridgeshire, or outside the Metropolitan Police area is a Wikistatement not a properly researched fact, see here for another view:

    Passing through the ornate iron gates, separating Ely Place, this quiet little cul-de-sac off Holborn Circus, from the hustle-and-bustle of the City, is like entering a mysterious “fourth dimension”, the name of which is “dislocation”.
    Very few people know that the straight tree-less lane, the former residence of the Bishop of Ely, is not geographically part of London. It is a little corner of Cambridgeshire, still enjoying freedom from entry by London police, except by the invitation of the Commissioners of Ely Place – its own elected governing body. The results of the latest elections, duly dated and certified by “J. Franks, Esq., Clerk to the Commissioners”, are duly displayed on the notice-board of the magnificent St Etheldreda Chapel – the oldest Roman Catholic church in Britain – halfway up the street.
    One of London’s best-kept secrets, self-governing Ely Place is a living anachronism from medieval times when the influential Bishops were determined to remain in their Cambridgeshire diocese even while on ministerial missions in the capital. They bought the street and proclaimed it part of Cambridgeshire. In the local pub (through which, incidentally, the border runs), one can view a stack of recent letters addressed to “Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Place, Holborn Circus, Cambridgeshire”. Until 1960s, the licensing hours of the pub were controlled by Cambridgeshire authorities.
    The Commissioners of Ely still employ several beadles, who make sure that the street gates are closed for cars and bicycles after 10pm. The beadles are also responsible for keeping the place clean. Until fairly recently (20 – 30 years ago), the beadles used to announce time and weather on an hourly basis, but this practice was stopped after someone complained of the noise they were making. Strange, that, for there’s only one official resident left in Ely Place these days: Father Cunningham, the ageing priest of the church of St Etheldreda, commonly known as “St Audrey”. This is, by the way, where the word “tawdry” originates: there used to be cheap market stalls near the church (to raise money for its upkeep) where lots of trinkets were on sale. The stuff was mostly tacky and useless…
    For over 500 years, a Strawberry Fair was held in Ely Place on every second Sunday of June. That was because the Bishops of Ely had their orchards and strawberry plantations (mentioned in one of Shakespeare’s tragedies) in the vicinity of Ely Place. Sadly, the last of such fairs took place last year: I was told, there were no more funds to keep it going.

    Souces:
    -own research
    -“Curiosities of London” by John Timbs, 1885
    -“The Companion Guide to London” by David Piper, 1968
    -Streets of Old Holborn by Steven Denford and David Hellings, Camden History Society, 1999

  157. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Thanks PlasticPaddy and AJP Crown. The moral of the story is that when one is in doubt about something one should ask about it at LanguageHat. Someone will know or be able to point to sources of information.

  158. That’s why I keep the place going. How else am I going to learn all this stuff?

  159. is not geographically part of London

    Surely, according to the account, it’s geographically part of London, but not legally.

  160. Roger C, that’s one of several things I thought were phrased badly (I fixed a few spelling typos). The poor guy was rambling a bit, unaware that his words would soon be scrutinised by the likes of us, and I am the last person who can object to a little light ramble.

    Also he begins with “Ely Place, the last privately owned London street.” Surely that can’t be true. What about Kensington Palace Gardens, isn’t that privately owned? What about the passages that developers allow us to walk through as a tradeoff for a few extra floors on their skyscraper?

  161. J.W. Brewer says

    Having been accommodated by Canada in the matter of the above-referenced royal birth, the Dutch proved accommodating in return (albeit to Scotland rather than Canada) when it came to … let’s call it quasi-extraterritoriality. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Court_in_the_Netherlands

  162. An even better approach when one is in doubt about which answer is correct is to post one of them confidently, whereupon all the Geek Answer Syndrome sufferers will swiftly correct you. Of course, this is very close to trolling, but none of Us would do that.

  163. ha ha!

  164. David Marjanović says

    in principle he could have been both King of Thailand and President of the United States at the same time.

    As we’re learning, never mind the Emoluments Clause.

  165. @ Stu Clayton

    # Rankin, however, believed that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack because he wanted to bring the U.S. into the European war against Germany #

    I have seen that interpretation of USA tactics prior to WW2 maintained by a number of writers. Is it a reasonable take ? The Americans had imposed an embargo against the delivery of oil to Japan, no ?

    It’s a take based on sheer ignorance. The Tripartite Pact was a mutual defense treaty. If the US attacked Japan, then Germany and Italy would be obligated to declare war on the US. But none of the three nations were obligated to declare war on countries attacked by one of the other nations. Neither Germany nor Japan declared war on Greece when Italy invaded it in October of 1940 (about a month after the Tripartite Pact was signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan). When Germany invaded Yugoslavia and then Greece in April of 1941, Japan did not declare war on either country.

    So if Japan attacked the US, Germany and Italy were under no obligation to declare war on the US, so the whole “Roosevelt wanted to bring the U.S. into the European war against Germany” argument is nonsense. (In addition to the stupidity of starting an entirely separate war against Japan if what you really want to do is fight Germany.)

  166. Stu Clayton says

    (In addition to the stupidity of starting an entirely separate war against Japan if what you really want to do is fight Germany.)

    If I remember correctly, the reason given for that was that popular opinion was strongly opposed to the USA getting involved in the European war. Roosevelt is being accused of a ruse.

  167. @ SF Reader

    Well, yes, the US deliberately provoked Japan into war.

    No, they did not. One could certainly argue that the US was willing to accept the possibility of war with Japan, but there was no sense in which it was “deliberately provoking” it. (Unless, I suppose, you subscribe to the idea that Japan had every right to try to conquer China, and anything less than passive US support for that goal constituted a casus belli.)

    And for very good reasons.

    Without the US oil embargo, Japan would have joined the German invasion of Russia by attacking Soviet Far East sometime in autumn of 1941. Or maybe even in winter.

    Are you implying the US acted in late 1941 so as to selflessly aid the Soviet Union? That’s more than a little hard to believe.

    Japan’s willingness to go to war with the Soviet Union was largely done away with by the border clashes (“Battles of Khalkhin Gol”) in 1939, when their forces were pretty comprehensively defeated by the Soviets. After this, the Army-supported “Northern Expansion Doctrine” (Hokusin-ron) lost out to the Navy-supported “Southern Expansion Doctrine” (Nanshin-ron), focused on acquiring colonies and resources in Southeast Asia. Japan was very clearly not interested in attacking the Soviet Union, and would not have considered doing so unless the Soviets had been comprehensively defeated by Germany.)

  168. if what you really want to do is fight Germany

    United States in 1941 was in no position to fight Germany.

    On the ground, anyway.

    What they could do was to help Britain and Russia with military supplies which they did and it didn’t really require declaration of war at the moment. (I suppose state of war with Germany had to be declared by 1943 or even 1944)

    My theory is that by drawing Japanese aggression to the south, the US wanted to ensure Japan does not invade Russia to help Germans which really, really could have resulted in fall of the USSR in 1941-1942 and this would have made ultimate victory over Axis impossible.

    The timing of the oil embargo coinciding with the American fact-finding mission to Moscow in July of 1941 (to find out whether the USSR can hold against Germany) is very suggestive.

  169. Unless, I suppose, you subscribe to the idea that Japan had every right to try to conquer China, and anything less than passive US support for that goal constituted a casus belli.

    I am not interested in moralistic arguments.

    In pre-war era, things worked very simple.

    The United States did not like Japanese aggression in China , but did nothing except issuing empty protests for a decade.

    The reason was obvious – real action would have led to war with Japan and the US didn’t want war.

    In summer of 1941 this was over – America now wanted war with Japan and got it by hurting Japan where it really hurt.

    Moral arguments are not relevant. As far as I am concerned, it would have been perfectly OK if the US war against Japan started with surprise preemptive attack by US carriers against Japanese navy base in Nagasaki.

  170. per wp “The 1859 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica asserts that Royston Park (now Caroline Park) outside Edinburgh, the city residence of the Viscount Tarbat, was … considered part of Cromartyshire” — this is less surprising than Ely Park given that Cromartyshire was a patchwork of exclaves in any case.

    An even better approach when one is in doubt about which answer is correct is to post one of them confidently, whereupon all the Geek Answer Syndrome sufferers will swiftly correct you.
    Cunningham’s law

  171. Lars Mathiesen says

    The Wikipedia article on Ely Place does have sources, and if something like Walter Thornbury, “Old and New London, vol. 2 (1878), ch. LVIII (pp 514-526) doesn’t contain the word Cambridgeshire, that’s as close to negative proof as you can come. If you ask me. It does mention the beadles.

  172. David Marjanović says

    Just don’t overdo Cunningham’s Law to the point of engaging in a Gish Gallop, because most people just flee when they see a stampede like that.

  173. As we’re learning, never mind the Emoluments Clause.

    The Emoluments Clause would almost certainly be inapplicable. Bhumibhol would not become eligible to be President until 1962, at which point he had been on the throne for 12 years. At that time, his fortune was divided between his personal property and the property of the Crown Property Bureau, but the distinction is arbitrary (and the present king abolished it last year): both sources of income were entirely at his disposal. So he would not, as President, receive either his title or his fortune from any prince, king, or foreign state, not even himself.

    There is some precedent: the 8th through 12th Lords Fairfax of Cameron in the Peerage of Scotland were American citizens by birth, and the 10th Lord was in fact an elected member of the California State Legislature. The 12th Lord renounced his American citizenship to take his seat after being elected a representative peer (not all Scottish and Irish lords were entitled to sit in the UK House of Lords, only those elected by their peers). The 10th Lord’s title did not prevent him from being elected in 1854, as he had assumed (but ignored) it in 1846 on the death of his grandfather.

    there was no sense in which [the U.S.] was “deliberately provoking” [war with Japan].

    I believe that there was, namely that the oil embargo of 1941 was a de facto distant blockade, and not only an act of war but an illegal one under international law as then understood.

  174. I believe that there was, namely that the oil embargo of 1941 was a de facto distant blockade, and not only an act of war but an illegal one under international law as then understood.

    Yes, this is my understanding. Ever since I learned about it, I have rolled my eyes at people who express indignant outrage over Japan’s dastardly “unprovoked” attack.

  175. Lars: if something like Walter Thornbury, “Old and New London, vol. 2 (1878), ch. LVIII (pp 514-526) doesn’t contain the word Cambridgeshire, that’s as close to negative proof as you can come.

    No, there are lots of refs to Ely Place but Cambs appears only on p.383, in the section on The Charterhouse. (In 1561, Elizabeth I made a four-day visit which is said to have crippled Lord North, who lived there, though unfortunately Thornbury doesn’t explain the circumstances. She appointed him Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire & The Isle of Ely as compensation for the crippling. North lived there in privacy until 1564, when he died.)

    Poor Thornbury died aged 48 at the Camberwell House Asylum, of overwork. I expect the Asylum, with its grass tennis courts would have featured in the later volume on the Southern Suburbs, written after his death. It looks like a terrific book. Have you referred to it before, Lars?

  176. Lars Mathiesen says

    No, I got the link from the WP article on Ely Place and only looked at chapter 58.

  177. I think “crippled” might refer to North’s financial rather than his physical condition. When Elizabeth I came to stay at your house, you generally wound up as bankrupt as a cash-poor landowner can reasonably be. It might also be political: the lord-lieutenantcy was apparently a compensation for being removed from the royal council as a matter of the change of reign, perhaps because she thought him too old for the duties of a councillor.

  178. That was my interpretation of “crippled” as well.

  179. What exactly Russia has done to the Netherlands to deserve this remains a mystery to this day.

    It is not really a mystery what motivated the Dutch fascists. In the 1930s the USSR was seen by many European conservatives, especially Catholics, as the locus of evil where Bolsheviks conspired to spread their ideology of godless Communism throughout the world. There were certainly Dutch and French volunteers who signed up with the SS because they thought they were on a crusade to save Western civilization. Nazi propaganda constantly tried to sell the invasion of the USSR to ordinary Germans and the occupied peoples of Westen Europe as a „defensive“ war to protect innocent god-fearing European families from the Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy.

  180. John & Brett: “crippled” might refer to North’s financial rather than his physical condition.

    Thanks, that would make sense. I had an image of him staggering around emptying ashtrays after four days and nights of partying. But in that case, it’s Queen Elizabeth and cash for titles, which I thought was a more recent transgression.

  181. There were certainly Dutch and French volunteers who signed up with the SS because they thought they were on a crusade to save Western civilization.

    The Dutch also invaded Russia as part of the Grande Armée of Napoleon a century earlier.

    Don’t know what they were saving Western civilization from back then.

  182. The list of POWs captured by the Red Army during Nazi invasion of Russia includes:

    Germans 2.389.560
    Hungarians 513.767
    Romanians 187.370
    Austrians 156.682
    Czechs and Slovaks 69.977
    Poles 60.280
    Italians 48.957
    French 22.120
    Yugoslavs (mostly Croats) 21.822
    Moldavians 14.129
    Jews 10.173
    Dutch 4.729
    Finns 2.377
    Belgians 2.010
    Luxembourgers 1.652
    Danes 457
    Spaniards 452
    Gypsies 383
    Norwegians 101
    Swedes 72

    When I saw the list for the first time, I was bewildered what possessed the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to invade Soviet Union.

    Fortunately, it turns out they didn’t. The Germans occupied the duchy in 1940, annexed the country to Germany in 1942 and conscripted Luxembourgers to Wehrmacht as citizens of the Reich.

    Same probably goes to assorted Poles (from Silesia and Posen) and French (Alsace and Lorraine). The rest are presumably either Waffen SS volunteers or conscripts from armies of German satellites.

  183. There were Danish & Norwegian regiments in the the Nordland Division of the Waffen-SS, Swedes and others also took part. They fought to the last in tanks at the Battle of Berlin in May 1945. It’s hard to know what motives they had for joining but I’m guessing anti-Soviet feeling was the main sentiment. My wife had a very nice great aunt who’d married one of these men after the War. As a teenager he’d lost an arm in Russia and wore a black glove, rather like Dr Strangelove. I do wish I’d asked him about it, but it seemed awfully rude to bring it up on the occasions I met him.

  184. Norway ruled by Quisling government was a Nazi satellite state. Norwegian fascists wanted to ask Germans to give them a colony in north Russia, for example in the Kola peninsula and Archangel region. The Norwegian settlers would become the ruling class in the new colony and Russians would work for them as slaves.

    But nothing came out of these plans, because the Red Army offered exceptionally strong resistance in the Far North and the German-Finnish forces didn’t advance more than 30 miles into Soviet territory in three years of fighting.

  185. the very idea of loving everyone in a country is just as absurd (…) You can’t (in any meaningful sense) love people you don’t know

    It sounds like there is a weird misconception here and I find it surprizing that no-one seems to have disagreed. In my understanding patrioticism is not the love of any individual persons at all, it is the love of your people/country’s culture and your state’s organizational practices — laws, institutions, rights, agreements, customs, beliefs, values — i.e. the social frameworks that allow people to flourish.

    Insofar as every border implies a change in some of these, it’s also often trivial that the patrioticism of someone who does love their country ought to scale down with every substantial border crossed. Though a lot of it also comes down to the fact that people usually do not have thorough knowledge of, and hence will not entirely understand the benefits provided by, social frameworks they do not live under.

    (This last point is the prime reason I would not consider myself “a patriot”. Comparatively Finland is a pretty good country to live in, but it is not clear to me if it could be declared a better experience than it is to live e.g. in Norway as a median Norwegian, or in Estonia as a median Estonian.)

    Don’t say “obeying the laws” or something of that nature, because people do it from fear of punishment, not love of country

    People obey most of the laws they live under because they agree with those laws and consider them good (a fact that is fairly directly built into democracies, though other feedback mechanisms also into other societies to some extent). Obeyance from fear of punishment is a minority corner case. I would be quite surprized to hear that anyone present would love to steal, assault or vandalize; or even just fraud, embezzle, or drive drunk; and only abstains out of a fear of punishment.

    It is surely a fact (if a regrettable one) that we find it easier to empathise and sympathise with those most like ourselves. Good people work to transcend this

    No, nobody works to “transcend this” in fully general. Empathy / sympathy always must be in proportion to similarity to ourselves. Humans are physiologically unable to extend to, say, an individual Yersinia pestis bacterium, or an individual epithelium cell in someone’s colon, any kind of meaningfully same empathy as to their friends and family.

    Of course there’s clearly an implicit “… with those humans” in this statement. One of the most major drops in empathy (probably the first warranted major discontinuity at all) clearly falls between humans and nonhumans. It seems to me though that the further recognition that we afford some lesser degree of empathy also to various nonhuman lifeforms implies that it is also at least meaningful to reserve more subtly different distinctions in degrees of empathy for different humans. For that matter, it seems obvious to me that everyone in fact affords some amount more empathy to their friends than to their enemies, and that there is no fundamental problem in this at all.

    What I will agree is that good people work on establishing empathy in accordance to actual differences, which are often far less than what is perceived from a distance.

  186. Norwegian settlers would become the ruling class
    Goodness, no. Apart from the one or two crazies you’d find anywhere, even as far back as the 1930s & 40s colonialism or to be a ruling class is about as far from a Norwegian aspiration as it’s possible to get. Independence is what Norwegians want more than anything. Norwegians & Swedes did and still to some extent do see Russia as a threat of invasion. Very few as a proportion of the pop. became followers of Quisling or joined the Waffen SS, but to the extent that they did the Russian threat was by far their greatest impetus. Rather than expecting you to take my word for this I ought to provide some sources but it’s New Year’s Eve & I can’t be bothered. 🙂

  187. In my understanding patrioticism is not the love of any individual persons at all, it is the love of your people/country’s culture and your state’s organizational practices — laws, institutions, rights, agreements, customs, beliefs, values — i.e. the social frameworks that allow people to flourish.

    Culture does not follow borders, and it’s nonsense to suggest that people love “organizational practices.” It’s amazing to me, the contortions people go through to justify the self-evidently absurd idea of “loving one’s country.” It’s pure ideology, like the late unlamented divine right of kings.

  188. Sasha Sokolov, it turns out, was born in Ottawa in 1943, just like Margriet. I presume his birth didn’t involve any extraterritoriality, and it may have made it easier for him to move to Canada in 1977.

  189. Too right, Language. I’m 100% with you on this.

  190. it’s nonsense to suggest that people love “organizational practices.”

    Take socialized medicine in Germany. I love it, and for that reason alone would never move back to the States. There are many such “organizational practices” here that I would not want to do without. [die ich nicht missen möchte]

    I once read a paper about economic practices in Egypt. It claimed that the middle classes are swiming in money, but won’t take it to banks because they don’t trust them, nor the legal system and its organisations. Foreign investment in the country was said to be hampered for similar reasons.

  191. I wasn’t aware of Norwegian fascist plans to colonize Russia until I’ve read this on Dagbladet:

    Quislings drøm om norske kolonier
    Norske toppnazister ville overta store landområder i Sovjetunionen. Befolkningen skulle bli arbeidsslaver for norsk «adel».

    https://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/quislings-drom-om-norske-kolonier/70252066

  192. Norwegians & Swedes did and still to some extent do see Russia as a threat of invasion.

    I’ve met a few Swedish ultra-nationalists online and discovered that their greatest wish is to avenge defeat of king Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava in 1709.

    I suspect that’s the main motivation of all Swedish volunteers who joined foreign wars against Russia since 1809.

  193. I’m glad to see you subscribe but you ought not to believe everything in Dagbladet.

    their greatest wish is to avenge defeat of Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava in 1709.
    More evidence that children don’t learn enough about the Thirty Years’ War.

  194. More education on the subject is likely to lead to Swedish ultra-nationalists dreaming to avenge death of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden during the battle of Lützen in 1632.

  195. Take socialized medicine in Germany. I love it, and for that reason alone would never move back to the States.

    But it’s the socialized medicine you love; if Germany dropped it and some other country picked it up, you’d be just as happy with it there. That has nothing to do with this alleged “love of country.”

  196. Trond Engen says

    I don’t think there’s doubt that some in and around the Quisling regime dreamed of an empire. And they may even have dreamed of popular support for it. Imperial fantasies were pretty mainstream on the political right and center all over Europe, and whether or not one really believed in empire, nationalist movements were seen as a way to channel the frustrations of the masses in a more morally healthy direction than socialism, at least until the growth of fascist(oid) regimes gave a need to reassess and draw limits. Norway’s occupation of East Greenland could serve as an example of both aggressive imperial ambitions and retreat to support of international law.

  197. Take socialized medicine in Germany. I love it, and for that reason alone would never move back to the States.
    Not intended as a trap, but is it the German socialised medicine you love and so wouldn’t move on principle or the fact that you’re covered there and not in the US? I hate the US system, but thanks to Columbia U. getting me coverage despite a so-called “preexisting” condition being a bad bet for my future health, I always had top-quality treatment there.

    East Greenland could serve as an example of … aggressive imperial ambitions
    Haha. Tell Trump.

  198. David Marjanović says

    Norwegians & Swedes did and still to some extent do see Russia as a threat of invasion

    Sweden reintroduced conscription a few years ago for that very reason.

    (A better excuse, perhaps, than Austria’s for keeping conscription: if conscription is abolished, so is civilian service, and heaven forbid the government pay ambulance drivers enough to live on.)

    Take socialized medicine in Germany.

    Or Austria. So many Americans can’t imagine how a single-payer model (“M4A”) could ever work… it’s right here, and it’s so much simpler than the German patchwork!

    I’ve met a few Swedish ultra-nationalists online and discovered that their greatest wish is to avenge defeat of king Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava in 1709.

    They should play more football.

  199. Stu Clayton says

    if Germany dropped it and some other country picked it up, you’d be just as happy with it there

    Socialized medicine developed here over 150 years, along with other social, political and economic phenomena. It was not bolted on overnight, and for the same reason is unlikely to be unbolted overnight.

    In the USA there have been attempts to bolt it on. They have not succeeded. All it took was executive orders counteracting the previous executive orders. Soon it will be back to coathangers, if the godly get their way.

  200. Russian invasion of Sweden is pure fantasy due to lack of any conceivable reason to do so.

    Norway, being front-line NATO member and clear threat to the home base of the largest Russian fleet, has more reasons to fear.

    But unfortunately it’s not Russian invasion they should be afraid of. Russia lacks sufficient manpower for effective invasion and occupation of the country and anyway is significantly outnumbered by NATO forces in Europe.

    So, if WWIII breaks out, Norway is likely to be a target of several dozen tactical nukes.

    That’s about the most realistic threat Norway faces from Russia.

    Poland is even in greater danger. Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave surrounded by NATO members Poland and Lithuania is impossible to defend due to heavy imbalance of forces in favor of NATO and all indications are that Russians don’t even plan to hold it using conventional weapons.

    Instead, tactical nukes will be employed from Day One to stop NATO invasion. That’s the scenario played in several recent Russian war games (Polish press claimed that Russian air force even simulated nuking Warsaw at these war games).

    It’s all very depressing stuff and won’t make a good TV series.

  201. Socialized medicine developed here over 150 years, along with other social, political and economic phenomena. It was not bolted on overnight, and for the same reason is unlikely to be unbolted overnight.

    Good lord, talk about missing the point.

  202. Nationalism and patriotism probaby can be better seen in a better light for countries under the colonial rule. India was ruled by British more or less reasonably, but many were unhappy. I really don’t know what they were unhappy about in particular, but it pretty much doesn’t matter, they were unhappy because they were ruled by a foreign power.

    Just the same, Republicans probably hate to be ruled by Democrats, democrats hate to be ruled by authoritarians, and everybody hates US health care system.

    Speaking of which. Brexit. Listening in, I picked up on some side points irrelevant for my narrow interests, but relevant for Brits and one of them is that the love their NHS. And most Americans love their health insurance. It seems just as crazy as patriotism. Universal love for their health care systems.

    Happy New Year for everyone exept Jews, Muslims, Indians, Chinease, Persians and all the rest.

  203. Happy Easter, D.O. I enjoy your slyly amusing comments.

  204. So do I.

  205. Andrej Bjelaković says

    People obey most of the laws they live under because they agree with those laws and consider them good (a fact that is fairly directly built into democracies, though other feedback mechanisms also into other societies to some extent). Obeyance from fear of punishment is a minority corner case. I would be quite surprized to hear that anyone present would love to steal, assault or vandalize; or even just fraud, embezzle, or drive drunk; and only abstains out of a fear of punishment.

    I think THIS is a weird misconception, and I find it surprizing that no-one seems to have disagreed.

  206. I disagree, but I would, wouldn’t I?

  207. It has a lot to do with whether you believe the system of laws under which you live, and the enforcement system for them, is on the whole just or unjust, and this is obviously an area in which people’s perceptions as well as their experiences vary, not only between countries but within a country.

    Balthazar’s smile was quite warm when he turned it to Mackay. “But they are also a people who cherish their laws. Which they enact themselves, you know, with scant respect for lineage and rank. From what my daughter has told me, they are the most inveterate republicans since the ancient Greeks.”

    Balthazar spread his hands, as if demonstrating the obvious. “This is why, I think, that their instinctive response was to protect us, along with our goods. The law was being broken, you see. Their law, not the crown’s.”

  208. Thanks! I am looking forward to it.

  209. David Marjanović says

    Socialized medicine developed here over 150 years

    My impression is that most of it was bolted on by Bismarck more or less overnight…

    Russian invasion of Sweden is pure fantasy due to lack of any conceivable reason to do so.

    Yeah, I can’t come up with one either.

    And most Americans love their health insurance.

    Most don’t, but they provide the very Austrian argument that they’re afraid whatever would replace it would be worse. It took them years to warm up to “Obamacare” – it only became popular after Obama was gone.

    I think THIS is a weird misconception, and I find it surprizing that no-one seems to have disagreed.

    Most people are happy to commit crimes that are, or seem to be, victimless. Speeding for instance. Or – did you know that fireworks are, by default, completely outlawed within city/town/village limits in Austria, with no exceptions for New Year’s Eve? On New Year’s Eve, that law is broken on such a massive scale (as I just witnessed two hours ago) that the police has never bothered to try to enforce it. The TV news once said “the law is being broken every second here”.

    But, really, there are not many sadistic sociopaths who enjoy inflicting pain or death on people.

  210. Stu Clayton says

    My impression is that most of it was bolted on by Bismarck more or less overnight…

    Sure, he kick-started it. He did so to take the wind out of the sails of the socialists and worker organisations, and strengthen state control. That was his plan, at any rate. Things didn’t work out as he hoped, later he spoke no more about it.

    So we have socialized medicine because Bismarck bolted the scene.

  211. David Eddyshaw says

    People obey most of the laws they live under because they agree with those laws and consider them good

    I think to appreciate the force of this remark (which is not weird, but substantially true) you need to live for a while in places where the chance of being apprehended by the police for a crime is remote. These are by no means invariably hotbeds of uncontrolled violence and robbery, and nor is this invariably the result of amateur vigilante law enforcement. Most people are not sociopaths or sadists, as DM rightly says.

    The non-weirdness of the statement is possibly easier to see from the converse fact that when governments are foolish enough to impose laws which do not meet with widespread consent, they are either unenforceable or enforceable only by the kind of widespread state-sponsored violence that most modern Westerners are happily unfamiliar with.

  212. David Eddyshaw says

    Love for the NHS

    When I lived in Ghana, if you were seriously ill and had no money and no relatives to pay on your behalf, you died.
    There are still a few elderly folk around in the UK who can remember the same state of affairs here.

    If you live in any rich country where none of your fellow-citizens have to fear bankruptcy and/or avoidable death as a consequence of illness, count your blessings. Praise your own country’s system by all means, whatever it may be, with my blessing, and count it a matter worthy of civic pride, because it is.

    If you live in a rich country where this is not the case … perhaps your patriotism is less solidly based than mine?

  213. you need to live for a while in places where the chance of being apprehended by the police for a crime is remote.

    I was once researching crime statistics and learned that for every 1,000 rapes committed in the United States, 384 are reported to police, 57 result in an arrest, 11 are referred for prosecution, 7 result in a felony conviction, and 6 result in incarceration.

    Which means, if I calculate correctly, that in America 99.4% of rapists avoid prison sentence.

  214. Andrej Bjelaković says

    But, really, there are not many sadistic sociopaths who enjoy inflicting pain or death on people.

    With this I can agree.

  215. Stu Clayton says

    Whatever the caculation, the conclusion is untenable. It should be: “x% of those somebody claims to be rapists were sentenced to prison for rape”.

    The use of statistics here is an attempt to distract attention from the fact that the authors of the statistics have arrogated to themselves the functions of police, judge and jury all in one.

    Note I am saying only that that particular argument is untenable. It does appear to be the case that rape often occurs and is ignored “for systemic reasons”. I’m not sure how such a general claim might be “shown to be true”.

    On the basis of my experience with code reviews, I have occasionally claimed in discussions that many programmers seem to be incapable of logical reasoning and do not know their tools. I have found that this argument leads to an accusation against managers. “It’s the system”: so now what ? Well, I continue explaining things to individual programmers over and over, with modest success. I don’t know how to change the system except step by step, one on one. I guess I’m just not a megalomaniac.

  216. David Marjanović says

    Whatever the caculation, the conclusion is untenable. It should be: “x% of those somebody claims to be rapists were sentenced to prison for rape”.

    If you’re trying to imply that some bizarrely high proportion of rape accusations is made up, that isn’t tenable either. Study after study has shown that most rapes go unreported – mostly because the survivors* assume, quite correctly in most cases, that the whole police & justice system is too patriarchal to believe them and will instead try to shame them.

    Most or all of these studies have been conducted in the US, which is noticeably more patriarchal than the rest of the West; but what little is known about that rest isn’t encouraging.

    * Somehow, the word victim has acquired a bizarre negative connotation in America. I think it refers to “not taking personal responsibility”, i.e. a moral failure to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, and the word survivor is necessary to remind people that sometimes you really are powerless against things happening to you.

  217. Stu Clayton says

    If you’re trying to imply that some bizarrely high proportion of rape accusations is made up, that isn’t tenable either.

    I certainly am not trying to “imply” anything of the kind. A few sentences on I say as much: “It does appear to be the case that rape often occurs and is ignored ‘for systemic reasons'”.

    If you’re looking for my sympathy with a cause, you can have all you want from me for free. But you can’t rely on everything I write being sympathy tricked out in statistics.

  218. the whole police & justice system is too patriarchal to believe them and will instead try to shame them.

    Japan journalist Shiori Ito awarded ¥3.3 million in damages in high-profile rape case

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/18/national/crime-legal/japan-journalist-shiori-ito-wins-rape-case/

  219. Here’s a new book on Cromwell and its Guardian review, which doesn’t mention Ireland.
    “No man in uniform has ruled Britain since Cromwell,” Lay points out, took me back until I realised she means politicians not heads of state. Even so, Churchill often looked as if he’d just been shopping at an army-surplus. As well as being a real colonel and an hon. air commodore, he’s dressed here as the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a command right out of Mapp & Lucia if not Gilbert & Sullivan.

  220. Stu Clayton says

    Mapp & Lucia are the best. I read them all for the third time a few months ago.

  221. I know you like them too, that’s why I mentioned them.

  222. David Marjanović says

    I certainly am not trying to “imply” anything of the kind. A few sentences on I say as much: “It does appear to be the case that rape often occurs and is ignored ‘for systemic reasons’”.

    Not mutually exclusive, so thanks for the clarification.

  223. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Depressing example of blaming the victim in a very recent court case in Cyprus, where a woman who accused a group of about a dozen Israeli men of a gang-rape was later accused of inventing the whole story and is now in gaol. I don’t have any independent knowledge of the facts, but it does appear that she had a very unfair trial.

  224. David E. First of, з Новим роком, з новим щастям.

    I totally agree that health care is hugely important and all. But so are water treatment and sewage, fire alarms and food processing. And no one seems to be exercised about those. I even don’t know whether a water treatment facility in my area is publicly or privately owned. Until, of course, something goes sideways and than the outrage is directed more along the lines of who to blame. Here in US vaccination is awarded some public discussion, but not much.

    The difficult questions about health care in WEIRD societies are about the point in which a chance to prolong patient’s life against costs tips from allowing to denying treatment. I don’t see why public or private ownership of the health care system makes systematically better decisions.

    This is not to deny that US system is completely and utterly nuts.

    Yours truly

  225. PlasticPaddy says

    @ac-b
    A case with some similarities occurred over twenty years ago, in the same place.
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/irish-woman-jailed-in-cyprus-for-false-rape-complaint-1.95303?mode=amp
    I would be worried by two things (a) statements by authorities that there had been a lot of false claims (it should be excluded that a few individuals in the state prosecution office and the police are disproportionately represented in cases of false claims) and (b) attempts by foreign governments to interfere publicly in the administration of justice (there are diplomatic channels and an appeal process).

  226. @AJP Crown: Your comment about the British head of state being a “man in uniform” reminded me that George VI, although he was nominally a field marshall, admiral of the fleet, etc., preferred when he was in military uniform to wear his earned rank. There are some famous pictures of the king on a visit to Montgomery’s command, where Monty is of course wearing his field marshall insignia, but George is wearing the shoulder insignia of a major, since that was the army equivalent of his earned rank in the navy.

  227. a woman who accused a group of about a dozen Israeli men of a gang-rape was later accused of inventing the whole story and is now in gaol.

    Most of rape nowadays involves drugging the victim, so she usually ends up having very vague memories of the exact circumstances of the crime.

    Accusing innocent men is exactly what can be expected in such cases.

    Police should do their work and find the real rapist.

    Blaming the victim seems really low.

  228. Brett: George VI preferred to wear his earned rank
    Huh. I didn’t know about that. Good for him, poor man.
    Monty was like Patton and Churchill in mixing his own ensemble, in his case the enormous beret with the two badges, Tank Corps & FM, and the battle blouse. And Churchill liked best working in the nude, not just with Roosevelt but everywhere; at Chartwell, for ex. I wonder if he had eczema.

  229. Churchill liked best working in the nude

    And LBJ liked talking with people while sitting on the toilet; the two of them could have had some lively tête-à-têtes.

  230. There’s an alternate history story in that, taking place entirely in Churchill’s and Johnson’s shared bathroom.

  231. David Eddyshaw says

    @D.O.: Thanks, and the same to you!

    I totally agree that health care is hugely important and all. But so are water treatment and sewage, fire alarms and food processing.

    Absolutely; my own focus on health is a déformation professionnelle, and I don’t disagree at all. (Though, as it happens, my very first paying job was in a sewage works … happy days …)

    To illustrate the truth of your remark, where I worked in Ghana there was almost no trachoma blindness. Although I would love to take the credit for this, the reason was in fact that many years previously an extremely well-thought-out aid programme had sunk wells in practically every village of the region. If people can readily get water, they wash their faces (as opposed to the case of a village I visited further south where every single drop of water in the seven-month dry season had to be brought by the women from the well eight miles away, setting out long before dawn to avoid the worst of the heat. You don’t waste water on luxuries like washing your face in those circumstances.)

    I don’t see why public or private ownership of the health care system makes systematically better decisions.

    Again, I have no real quarrel with this on ideological grounds; it’s essentially a practical question, and the answer is highly dependent on the exact circumstances. Though the US approach seems to be to prove the value of “socialised medicine” by reductio ad absurdum of the contrary approach, as you imply.

  232. John Cowan says

    It’s the kind of thing you can expect from a First World country with a large Third World country inside it.

  233. Judging by current trends, soon it will be a Third World country with a large First World country inside it.

  234. Seong of Baekje says

    Study after study has shown that most rapes go unreported – mostly because the survivors* assume, quite correctly in most cases, that the whole police & justice system is too patriarchal to believe them and will instead try to shame them.

    Surely the main reason why most alleged rapes do not end in a conviction is because rape is a notoriously difficult crime to prove, not because of “the patriarchy”.

  235. Lars Mathiesen says

    I’m sure that if the police and courts would apply the same diligence and standards of evidence to reported rape cases as to reported bodily injury cases, the conviction rates for the former would go up drastically. And a rape is a particularly nasty form of injury, so there’s no excuse for not doing that.

    When you look at the numbers, it’s very hard to believe that the system is not biased against rape victims. On the other hand, I think that whoever is blaming ‘the patriarchy’ are doing themselves a disservice because it derails the discussion — it must be possible to fix the system without assigning blame for its old state to any particular group. (As a matter of political expediency, that is — it is glaringly obvious fact of history who the designers of the old system were, and how self-serving they were).

  236. J.W. Brewer says

    Sex crimes (and allegations thereof) have a number of unusual features which make them a suboptimal starting point for more general ruminations about crime and the extent to which obedience to the law is motivated by fear of punishment versus correspondence to pre-existing social/moral norms. Probably better to pick a boring but commonplace crime like motor vehicle theft, play around with some statistics and how they have changed over time, and built up some theory from that. Or maybe that will simply show that there’s no one pattern — motor vehicle theft tends not to have an underreporting problem but does have a low-clearance-rate problem, i.e. most instances reported to the police do not result in the identification and arrest (much less the conviction) of the alleged perpetrator. But the ubiquity of insurance probably has a lot to do with both of those facts, as well as the big-picture emphasis on discouraging future motor vehicle theft via technological changes rather than investing more resources on catching and jailing current perps.

  237. the extent to which obedience to the law is motivated by fear of punishment versus correspondence to pre-existing social/moral norms
    The Cyprus case (it’s in the NY Times & Guardian) is extraordinary: British woman accuses 12 Israelis of rape. At the same time, Cyprus is renegotiating its foreign policy to be on better terms with Israel-Netanyahu. Cyprus doesn’t want that scuppered so tells the judge to make the case disappear. But the judge imprisons the victim, turning the case into front-page int’l news because of changing social/moral norms.

  238. David Marjanović says

    a boring but commonplace crime like motor vehicle theft

    For diverse values of “commonplace”! The largest single reason why it’s so common here is clearly that it’s no big deal to drive a car through two whole countries in one day. That impossible in North America, so there are places in the US where people just leave their cars unlocked, and when you remind them that they left their car unlocked, that’s an insult to their status as adults, rather than an instant trigger of a panic attack as it would be here.

  239. Culture does not follow borders

    Sure does, once considering also borders other than those of legal states — those between religions, between ethnicities or similar groups (such as “race” in the US understanding), between economic classes, between castes or clans where applicable…

    State borders of course are often the inverse: drawn to follow culture.

    pure ideology

    No more so than e.g. anarchism or universalist liberal humanism. “This position is an ideology” doesn’t even read as a critique to me, at most an Argument From My Opponent Believes Something.

    Even then I do not accept any binary division between worldviews and ideologies anyway (there are differences in degree of course). Tangenting on another recent discussion, this is one of the most important lessons introduced by postmodernism: there is no objective perspective from nowhere, everyone has a worldview that colors their perception. Accusing someone of seeing things through an ideology requires being specific about why this should be a problem.

    Most people are happy to commit crimes that are, or seem to be, victimless.

    Granted. But then, measured both by count within the legal code or the effort spent on policing them, legislation on victimless crimes is a small minority. Even more generally laws commonly protested as unjust (which may very well be the main reason for people to ever find themselves on the receiving end of law enforcement) are only a peak on top of an iceberg of many, many other tacitly agreed-with conventions.

    Looking up some for the sake of example — I see no reason to squibble with the Finnish laws on e.g. oil waste fees, industrial machine safety, school shooting investigation boards, or limits on excessive fertilizer usage. On my fifth roll I have gotten the relatively lengthy law on income tax on business activity, where I could likely find reasons to fine-tune details. But even here, lots of other things I am sure are in place for a good reason, such as decreeing movie production subsidies to be untaxed or business debts’ interests to be tax deductible, or setting up procedures for business mergers. The bulk of law simply consists of “here’s some common understanding to ensure societal transactions will proceed smoothly” and is not at all caricaturizable as little people being Kept Down by The Man.

  240. Sure does, once considering also borders other than those of legal states

    But it’s legal states we’re talking about! It’s as if in a discussion of medicine you objected to “This substance attacks and destroys cell walls” with “Oh yeah? What about prison cells?”

    No more so than e.g. anarchism or universalist liberal humanism.

    Of course not, but nobody seems to be arguing that either of those is so deeply ingrained in humanity, so inevitable, that it’s inconceivable we could do without them. (What made you think I was employing “ideology” as some sort of curse word?)

  241. John Cowan says

    Ideology, I would say, is the worldview of a group, whether a nation, a political party, or the Church Marxist in which Sartre is said to have died.

  242. David Marjanović says

    Most people are happy to commit crimes that are, or seem to be, victimless.

    Actually, what seems victimless is very different in – barely – different cultures.

    In Paris, pedestrians cross red lights routinely, and the drivers let them.

    In Vienna, pedestrians cross red lights after they’ve convinced themselves there’s no traffic during half a minute.

    In Berlin, pedestrians don’t cross red lights for several minutes. It’s about being a role model for “the children”; whether there are any children in sight is not relevant.

  243. It’s not just a national thing, how jaywalking is perceived. Different cities in America have totally different rules about crossing against the light. When I went home from college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had to consciously remember that drivers in Oregon were not inclined to be accommodating of pedestrians crossing out of turn.

    @David Marjanović: What I remember about Wien is that there are crosswalks specifically for bicyclists, not pedestrians. I don’t know whether they exist elsewhere, but they were common on der* Ringstrasse.

    * I habitually refer to German-language street names with German articles. I think the reason is that by including “-strasse” in the name, I am implicitly speaking German. If I were giving the names in English, I would have to change, for example, “die Ed Baumgartnerstrasse” in Salzburg (my favorite German street name) to “Ed Baumgartner Street.” So, since I feel the street names are code switched into German, my sprachgefühl requires a dative, even though the governing pronoun was the English on.

  244. David Eddyshaw says

    In Paris, pedestrians cross red lights routinely, and the drivers let them.
    In Vienna, pedestrians cross red lights after they’ve convinced themselves there’s no traffic during half a minute.
    In Berlin …

    In Tokyo

    赤信号みんなで渡れば怖くない

    as Beat Takeshi reminds us.

  245. David Eddyshaw says

    For the metre to work, I think you have to read it

    Akashingo
    Mina de watareba
    Kowakunai

  246. John Cowan says

    In NYC, the safest place to cross the street is generally in the middle of the block. The speed limit is only 25 MPH / 40 km/hr and most streets and avenues are one way, so you can see the car coming and plan whether to to run across, retreat, or stand your ground (which is not as stupid as it sounds). In fact, most pedestrians who get hit, get hit by cars they can’t see turning the corner with the light. (Uniquely in the U.S., NYC bans right-on-red-light turns, which if allowed would make things much worse.)

    In most places in Manhattan, though, there are so many pedestrians at corners that cars can’t use their greater mass to intimidate them, because they have to move so slowly anyway. On the river, though, it’s a different story: whoever has the higher max gross wins, and be damned to the official right-of-way rules.

  247. January First-of-May says

    In Paris, pedestrians cross red lights routinely, and the drivers let them.

    In Vienna, pedestrians cross red lights after they’ve convinced themselves there’s no traffic during half a minute.

    Moscow is probably more similar to Paris in this regard, for relatively mild values of “routinely”.
    (That said, I’ve never been to Paris – or Vienna, or Berlin, or indeed anywhere west of the Vistula Spit – so I cannot confirm it any more precisely.)

     
    I distinctly recall having heard (and read) that – in Russia, at least – if a pedestrian does cross (on a zebra-stripe crosswalk) at a red light, the drivers are supposed to let them; of course they might not necessarily be able to stop quickly enough (and some might not bother stopping in the first place), so it is still advised to check for lack of traffic.

    In practice, this mostly means that 1) pedestrians (occasionally even with children!) cross on red all the time when there’s obviously no traffic expected for a while, and 2) if a particularly slow pedestrian doesn’t manage to cross all the way while the light was green, they can almost always just continue walking under technically-red light while the cars honk at them.

  248. In Berlin, pedestrians don’t cross red lights for several minutes. It’s about being a role model for “the children”; whether there are any children in sight is not relevant.

    In Hamburg too. This has come up before, probably because it’s so fucking strange. Thirty years later I still remember a young man standing waiting for the light to change in an otherwise deserted suburban neighbourhood and giving me a dirty look as I crossed against the light. For me, “The children” is merely the laying on of a guilt trip…

    my sprachgefühl requires a dative, even though the governing pronoun was the English on

    …And while I was living in der Grottenstrasse, the governing pronoun went from the English in to the American on. How did that happen? When I left London everyone said in Oxford Street. I go back, and suddenly everyone except me is on Oxford Street and I’m sounding like Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter.

    By coincidence I just read that Jerry Rubin had died. Not yesterday, but in the 1990s when he was run over jaywalking across a three-lane street in Westwood, LA where he’d recently moved. And California drivers are SO much more careful about pedestrians than New York drivers are. My wife said the worst were the London drivers, who actually accelerate when they see someone ahead on a zebra crossing (this is true).

  249. the drivers are supposed to let them

    {recalling driving school lesson on this subject many decades ago}

    Student: what do you I mean I have to let the pedestrian cross? He is breaking the rules! It’s red light for him!

    Instructor: then what do you suppose to do instead? Hit him with a car?

  250. @AJP Crown: I think the change from “in Oxford St.” to “on Oxford St.” is one that can actually be blamed on American influence.

  251. Andrej Bjelaković says

    My wife said the worst were the London drivers, who actually accelerate when they see someone ahead on a zebra crossing (this is true).

    During my first visit to my relatives in London I was struck by how as soon as I would approach the zebra crossing the very first car would immediately slow down. I thought “This would *never* happen in Belgrade”. On the other hand, that one time I was in Thessaloniki, I had to wait much longer than I would in Belgrade.

  252. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    California drivers are SO much more careful about pedestrians than New York drivers are.

    That was certainly true when I lived in Berkeley. As I valued my life I learned very quickly how to recognize plates from New York, Massachusetts or New Jersey from 100 metres away.

    As for London, when we first came to France 33 years ago I thought the French drivers much more hazardous than those in England. However, French driving has improved a lot in those years, whereas British driving has become steadily more aggressive. Here in Marseilles most (but not all, alas) drivers are very tolerant of what other road users do. If someone cuts in front of you you just let him (or her, I suppose, but it’s usually him) and think he was probably in a hurry.

  253. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    I still remember a young man standing waiting for the light to change in an otherwise deserted suburban neighbourhood and giving me a dirty look as I crossed against the light.

    I had a very similar experience in Basle* when I went there to give a seminar. After dinner two English post-docs, a Swiss guy and I were walking back to my hotel, at about 11.30 at night. There was no traffic, and, being British, we saw no reason to wait for the green man before crossing the deserted street. The Swiss guy saw matters differently.

    *As with “in Oxford Street”, the British spelling has virtually disappeared in favour of “Basel”, but I’m from the middle of the 20th century. The French call it “Bâle” and pronounce it accordingly.

  254. I’d noticed that the French-ish pronunciation of Basle had pretty much gone. It might have been an EU decision. From my own driving experience when I lived in SF I was sure Berkeley must be super safe for pedestrians. That was until last year when my good virtual friend the occasional commenter here, poet, former Paris Review Poetry editor and finder of fantastic unknown photos for his blog Beyond the Pale Tom Clark was run over and killed crossing the road outside his house in the Berkeley hills.

    @ Brett, yes, I’m sure it’s American influence but I wonder why this preposition switch in particular happened. Can the cause or causes be narrowed down? Say, to one or two memorable speeches on TV or in films that might have sparked it? Or to cheaper travel allowing more transatlantic tourism to rather than just from the US? Etc.

  255. Lars Mathiesen says

    Under Danish rules of the road, drivers have an absolute duty to give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, never mind if there is a light for the crossing and what it is showing. Crossing on a red light is a misdemeanor, but that doesn’t give drivers license to break the law that applies to them. (There are supplementary rules about how suddenly the pedestrian is allowed to enter the crossing, if you jump in front of a bus at speed you cannot expect the driver to be blamed if they hit you).

    (The first thing my driving instructor told me was this: There are no rights in traffic, only duties, and the first duty is to show consideration for other road users. “Right of way” is not a concept: maybe the other guy has vigepligt = ‘duty to give way’ but you have to be ready to react if they don’t abide by that duty).

    Anyway, one of the big differences between Stockholm and Copenhagen is jaywalking — the ‘law abiding’ Swedes basically only respect actual cars, while Danes (myself included) can be seen waiting without any other traffic in sight. For us it’s a way of showing solidarity.

  256. Tom Clark was run over and killed

    Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that.

    It’s about being a role model for “the children”

    What a lot of malarkey. That may be the verbalized excuse, but we know the real reason. Ordnung muss sein.

  257. Stu Clayton says

    No. Nobody here says anything, or even furrows their brow, when you jaywalk without any children around. I know this because I do it all the time, and watch for reactions. They don’t jaywalk themselves, because they have interiorized the behavior of waiting.

    They just stand and wait, like our dog Sparky does sometimes for reasons that I mostly can’t guess. He doesn’t do that because Ordnung muß sein, at any rate. And he doesn’t do it in order to set a good example for me.

    I encourage you to consider the differences between intention and serving a purpose.

  258. And he doesn’t do it in order to set a good example for me.

    How do you know? Maybe he does!

    I encourage you to consider the differences between intention and serving a purpose.

    I have no idea what that means.

  259. Stu Clayton says

    See Zweckbegriff und Systemrationalität, 1968, by Alfred E. Luhmann.

  260. Sparky doesn’t do that because Ordnung muß sein
    Jack does. He was born in Iceland and has never been to Germany but he is horrified when rules are broken, particularly by Topsy (Tops was the more morally responsible dog but cut through protocol she didn’t see the point of).

    Also on Ordnung, I’ve mentioned before that Kensington & Chelsea council removed all the ‘furniture’ for regulating traffic in Exhibition Road in London, pedestrian crossings and islands and whatnot, and ever since it’s been much safer and better looking, with cleaner air.

  261. David Eddyshaw says

    I’ve actually seen signs at crossings in Germany explicitly telling the punters to show a good example to children by their road-crossing-discipline. This was in the south, mind, where people are perhaps less Anglo-Saxon about such things than in the more depraved north.

    Germans seem to have the same attitude to the German-speaking bits of Switzerland that everyone else has to the Germans. More German than the Germans …

  262. I’ve actually seen signs at crossings in Germany explicitly telling the punters to show a good example to children by their road-crossing-discipline.

    As I say, I’m sure that’s a common rationalization, since an appeal to Ordnung is no longer as comme il faut as in bygone days of yore, but I’ve spent time with Germans and seen their horror at the idea of violation of such norms, and they never said anything about the kiddies. Also, see AJP’s comment about the young man giving him a dirty look as he crossed against the light. I’m quite sure that young man wasn’t thinking about misled children.

  263. In the place I live, pedestrians show all sorts of behavior when crossing streets, which can be best described as “whatever one feels like doing right now” (that includes waiting for the green on an empty street) or maybe people behave consistently, but differently, but more interesting behavior is anticipatory crossing, that is beginning to cross the street 5-10 seconds before the lights turn. I believe, it is common practice in many other places as well. I personally sometimes wait for the green light on an empty street not because of any old ordnung or any young children, but because I do not want to extend any mental energy on assessing the risks.

  264. but because I do not want to extend any mental energy on assessing the risks.

    Now that’s a motivation I can understand.

  265. The scariest place I ever tried to cross streets was Taipei. The major intersections were an unceasing flood of traffic in all directions at once, and pedestrians just plunged into the maelstrom and miraculously emerged on the other side. Since I had no alternative, I joined in the fun and managed to escape intact in body if not in mind.

  266. Stu Clayton says

    but because I do not want to extend any mental energy on assessing the risks

    That’s interesting to hear. It is exactly the reason why I myself usually wait at lights, especially when out with the dog – except in the early morning when there’s no traffic.

    I acquired that habit years ago as a defense against absent-mindedness – or rather always thinking about some math or programming problem, and thus being blinded by science.

  267. John Cowan says

    In California, at least as of when I was living in Berkeley in the Sixties, California drivers had an absolute duty to stop for any pedestrian anywhere in the roadway, and they obeyed it to the letter. If I so much as put a foot into the gutter on a large divided highway, all traffic going in that direction screeched to a halt. It was bizarre to my New Jersey-trained self.

    Then again, a few years before that I ran crying to my mother because I had dropped my yellow plastic shovel into the gutter in front of the house I grew up in, telling her that I couldn’t retrieve the shovel because I wasn’t allowed to go in the street. She soothed me and said I could certainly step into the gutter (we lived in the last block of a dead-end street), and I got my shovel and was comforted.

    AJP: I think it’s my non-visualness (in the forms of face blindness, being unable to visualize more than the simplest geometric shapes, being unable to pick out objects against either a busy or a minimally contrastive background, and so on) that makes me so fussy about my word choices, and annoyed when other people, as it seems to me, ignore what words I actually used, causing me to protest “I didn’t say that!” A command like “Go put this on that”, even when accompanied by pointing, leaves me basically helpless: which this on which that? And I need a pretty specific description, and may even need to find “this” by feeling around for it even when it is, as they say, in plain sight. I can’t do Where’s Wally/Waldo?, even as still pictures in books, to save my life.

  268. I am currently in Leipzig and first thing I saw when I left the train station today were pedestrians crossing a street while the pedestrian light was red. I tell you, Eastern Germany seems quite the lawless place…
    Back in 1989 when I first visited Poland, us Germans quickly learnt from the locals to ignore red lights when crossing the road. We always joked that we’re in a Socialist country, so red must mean “forward”!

  269. Stu Clayton says

    I think it’s my non-visualness (in the forms of face blindness, being unable to visualize more than the simplest geometric shapes, being unable to pick out objects against either a busy or a minimally contrastive background, and so on) that makes me so fussy about my word choices, and annoyed when other people, as it seems to me, ignore what words I actually used, causing me to protest “I didn’t say that!”

    I’m certainly fussy about my words, so I wish I had such a good reason. I’m able to do those things you can’t, but I must admit that as a rule the visual sits in the last row in the theater of my mind.

  270. John Cowan says

    For me it’s somewhere out in the lobby, or behind the projectionist, as you please.

  271. January First-of-May says

    We always joked that we’re in a Socialist country, so red must mean “forward”!

    When I was in second grade, there was (as I recall) a street near my school where the pedestrians crossed on red and didn’t cross on green – due to how nearby traffic lights worked out, there was actually more traffic on pedestrian-green than on pedestrian-red.

    I’ve seen many streets where pedestrian-green didn’t stop the cars (sometimes due to cars doing the right-turn-on-red maneuver, sometimes just because the drivers in that neighbourhood didn’t care), and I’ve seen many streets with long periods of (essentially) no traffic due to blocking lights despite pedestrian-red, but I don’t recall having ever found a street with both of those again. The confusion stayed in my mind so much that it’s one of the only things I still remember from second grade.

  272. David Marjanović says

    It’s not just a national thing, how jaywalking is perceived. Different cities in America have totally different rules about crossing against the light.

    Same in Germany. I’m told the attitude in Hamburg is more like that in Paris – the people there are seafarers, and there’s always enough space to get out of each other’s way on the high seas. Berlin, on the other hand, is culturally Prussian.

    …and now I see AJP Crown has had the opposite experience. Huh.

    there are crosswalks specifically for bicyclists, not pedestrians. I don’t know whether they exist elsewhere

    All the bigger cities in western Europe, at least, have both.

    Here in Marseilles most (but not all, alas) drivers are very tolerant of what other road users do. If someone cuts in front of you you just let him (or her, I suppose, but it’s usually him) and think he was probably in a hurry.

    Oh yes. They ignore all rules and drive exclusively by common sense. I’ve personally witnessed that when the light turns red, the first few drivers ignore that and go ahead. If everyone did that, it wouldn’t work; but not everyone does it, just the first few, so it works.

    Conveniently, they’ve got a 13 (département Bouches-du-Rhône) on their numberplates, so the rest of the country knows to treat them as unpredictable.

    During my first visit to my relatives in London I was struck by how as soon as I would approach the zebra crossing the very first car would immediately slow down. I thought “This would *never* happen in Belgrade”.

    Or Vienna.

    It might have been an EU decision.

    Ha! Even if Belgium legalized pot, the EU wouldn’t dream of daring to regulate that kind of thing.

    What a lot of malarkey. That may be the verbalized excuse, but we know the real reason. Ordnung muss sein.

    That goes without saying.

    I’ve actually seen signs at crossings in Germany explicitly telling the punters to show a good example to children by their road-crossing-discipline. This was in the south, mind, where people

    haven’t completely internalized Prussian culture and therefore “need” to be reminded.

    we’re in a Socialist country, so red must mean “forward”!

    They actually tried to introduce that in China during the Cultural Revolution…

    I’ve seen many streets with long periods of (essentially) no traffic due to blocking lights despite pedestrian-red

    In Berlin it’s common for all lights at a crossing to be red at the same time for what feels like a minute.

  273. But Berlin, you say, is culturally Prussian. Why would they do that? In a more hectic place it might be a reasonable thing to do, like “everyone calms down now”.

  274. In Beirut, the principle for driving is the same as described for Marseille – just look ahead, if there is something else (a car, a scooter, a pedestrian) in front of you, and try not to hit that. Besides that, there are no rules. Mostly works totally fine, but when it goes wrong, you get some gruesome accidents, especially on the highway when it’s not clogged and people driving at high speed don’t correctly estimate whether they will or won’t collide with a vehicle coming across their path.

  275. PlasticPaddy says

    The “all 4 lights red” serves two purposes; (1) cycles are longer and (2) diagonal crossing pedestrians cross in one cycle. However non-diagonal crossing pedestrians have to wait longer (sometimes several minutes in Dublin). This encourages jay walking (not that Dubliners need encouragement).

  276. Andrej Bjelaković says

    Re: Berlin, during our four day stay last year we were under constant impression that bicycles are much more dangerous than cars (from a pedestrian standpoint that is).

  277. David Marjanović says

    Why would they do that?

    No clue. There is no Tokyo-style diagonal crossing.

    bicycles are much more dangerous

    Yes: lots of people bike, but the bike lane network is an appalling patchwork. Fearing for their lives on the streets (quite understandably), many bikers take to the sidewalks (which is illegal, funnily enough) and forget to ring.

  278. David Eddyshaw says

    In Kano, traffic lights are purely decorative.

    A friend who worked at the university, which involved crossing a major main road on his way to work every day, said that the only viable way to negotiate the traffic-light-controlled junction was to keep moving forward in all circumstances and to pray continually.

  279. Lars Mathiesen says

    For a Dane, the bike lanes that are just painted in the middle of the sidewalk, like in Berlin or Vienna, are very dangerous: bikes belong in the road or on separately paved lanes between the sidewalk and the car lanes, so it’s hard to remember that bikes can come barrelling down the middle of the sidewalk.

    (This also means that bike traffic doesn’t usually flow in places where a zebra crossing makes sense. Major crossings may have blue painted bike lanes which cars are not allowed to block (and the color also warns the car drivers), but even where a bidirectonal (car free) bike path crosses a road, the lights and road markings are set up like a crossroads, not a pedestrian crossing).

  280. JC: I think it’s my non-visualness

    “Differently visual.” Artists’ eyesight problems have been utilised to the artist’s advantage. Monet’s cataracts is the most famous example. I’m sure artists’ brain quirks are equally significant, though harder to assess maybe. I suppose you have so many other interests that taking up the visual arts just isn’t going to happen, but don’t imagine you’ve nothing to contribute in that department. (And I wish I had your language gifts, of course; but be careful what you wish for, I suppose. We have to work with what we’ve got.)

    David: I see AJP Crown has had the opposite experience. Huh.
    Yes, but I should probably stop speaking on behalf of all Hamburgers. My experiences occurred mostly in the boring genteel western suburbs, not down the Reeperbahn.

    the EU wouldn’t dream of daring to regulate that kind of thing.
    The spelling and pronunciation of Basle, no, I’m sure you’re right. I shouldn’t have said that, but I’m guessing there was an EU influence on British euro-naming choices after the mid-1970s.

  281. A friend who worked at the university, which involved crossing a major main road on his way to work every day, said that the only viable way to negotiate the traffic-light-controlled junction was to keep moving forward in all circumstances and to pray continually.

    The Taiwanese Way!

  282. John Cowan says

    “Differently visual.”

    Except for perfectly ordinary nearsightedness, I don’t actually have a problem with my eyes. I see what you see, but my brain/mind doesn’t interpret it the same way, or at all. “Seeing, I see not.” I suppose there may be visual artists like me, but I certainly don’t know of any. Though I occasionally think that abstract expressionism is a joke by one of Us on the rest of you, I’ve never actually met another person with quite my problems.

    I have always been fascinated by optical illusions, and although some of them affect me, others don’t, like the Müller-Lyer illusion. This one in particular may be because my myopia is much worse in one eye than the other, so I have to “think about it” to have depth perception. Gale often tells me I’m color-blind because I don’t know as many color words as she does, and there are some I have read without knowing what they meant. But tests show that I am not; we simply disagree on whether turquoise may be justly described as blue.

    (ObHat: Color words sometimes undergo semantic shift because people no longer understood their meanings but only their connotations: livid has shifted from ‘very dark blue’ to ‘red/purple’ to simply ‘pale’ because these colors are associated with strong emotions like anger and fear, and in French kaki is ‘army green’, though where there’s ambiguity it can be called kaki vert.)

  283. David Marjanović says

    whether turquoise may be justly described as blue

    Here in Berlin I was very surprised a few weeks ago when I was told to ask people in “light blue” shirts that were turquoise. For me that’s like calling pink “red” or “white”.

    Color words sometimes undergo semantic shift

    Another reason are the usual things that happen to loanwords. Pink has made it into German, but denotes at most the more saturated, even purplish hues of pink, if it hasn’t drifted into light purple altogether.

    An example of what you bring up may be the obsolete word purpurrot: I’m not sure if it implied a classification of purple as red or instead to the color of the replacement for actual purple dye – scarlet. Though scharlachrot also exists.

  284. John Cowan says

    Pink is named after the common name of Dianthus plumarius and closely related species, but these can come in any of several colors.

    When I used crayons a lot, I was always fascinated by the “red purple” and “blue purple” ones. But after all, purple (considered as a subtractive color) is blue+red, so it’s reasonable that some has more red, some more blue.

  285. blue+red
    translates to sinipunainen (sininen ‘blue’, punainen ‘red’):

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sinipunainen

    Colours in Finnish:

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/violetti#Finnish

  286. Colours in Finnish

    See LH posts from 2004, 2011.

  287. The colour pink is named after the common name of Dianthus.

    Good heavens, I never knew that. I’m sure most gardeners think that pinks (aka carnations) are named after the colour, but of course with lavender and violet the flower came first.

  288. John Cowan says

    And in turn the flowers apparently are named that because the edges look like they’ve been cut with pinking shears, those zigzag-bladed scissors that can be used to cut woven fabric without it unraveling so much.

  289. And pink v. “In early use: to ornament (cloth or leather) by cutting or punching eyelet holes, slits, etc., esp. to display a contrasting lining or undergarment; to perforate. In later use: to cut a scalloped or zigzag edge on (a piece of fabric)” is “Of uncertain origin. Probably an imitative or expressive formation.”

  290. David Eddyshaw says

    Kusaal has three colours (red, white, black.)

    Nobody needs more than that. It’s just a manifestation of colonialist hegemony.

  291. John Cowan says

    Then there are the languages with only light and dark.

  292. How do Kusasi people describe blue or yellow things?

  293. David Eddyshaw says

    By comparing them to things which are blue or yellow, like the sky or egg-yolk. There are quite a number of more-or-less standard colour expressions of that kind, often with parallels right across West Africa: “grey”, for example, is very often “like ash”, “green” is “like leaves”, and “brown” is “like earth.” Three-colour systems are quite widespread in West Africa generally (though not universal.)

    It’s not that Kusaal only has three colour words: it’s that any given colour can be correctly described by one of the three basic words; you can be more specific if you want. It’s like in English, where only a real pedant would insist that it was actually wrong to call something ultramarine “deep blue”; “ultramarine” is thus not part of the core colour terminology.

  294. David Eddyshaw says

    To be a bit clearer: unless you want to convey something more specific, darker blue things are “black”, while lighter blue things are “white”; more orangey yellows are “red”, while paler yellows are “white.”

    To that extent, the translations zin’a “red”, pielig “white”, sabilig “black” are actually somewhat misleading, though they do convey what the prototypical referents correspond to in English. But between them, zin’a, pielig, sabilig cover the whole range of perceived colour.

  295. I wonder why they chose red. Perhaps there weren’t many reddish things handy to use as examples, so they required a separate name. You’d think ‘like the night’ would work for black.

    Gold and silver don’t have names in our system except by comparison to the metals.

  296. David Eddyshaw says

    There is actually a universal hierarchy cross-linguistically: if a language has only three basic colour terms, they are always (prototypically) black, white and red.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_term#Basic_colour_terms

  297. Stu Clayton says

    Pus and cloud lining. Blood red.

  298. David Eddyshaw says

    The stuff about “as languages develop” at the link (and in the original Berlin and Kay paper) is of course, bollocks (there’s nothing “undeveloped” about Kusaal, for example.) But as a statement of synchronic fact it seems valid.

  299. Trond Engen says

    Light, darkness and strong colour, respectively. Red is the most pervasive colour, as anybody with a washing machine will know. And it’s no coincidence that it’s red that became colorado in Spanish.

    We should be able to test this further by finding younger, etymologically more transparent names for colours that were added to the scheme later.

  300. Stu Clayton says

    If the pervasiveness of red was known in prehistoric times from experience with washing machines, that is indirect evidence for early influence by advanced civilizations. Either aliens or household appliance salesmen travelling through time from the future.

  301. David Eddyshaw says

    I think that is exactly what we see: orange in English, for example.

    It’s true in Hausa, where “brown”, for example, is pretty clearly from the word for “earth”, whereas the white/black/red words are unanalysable.

    Miya (a tiny Chadic language of Nigeria of which there just happens to be a splendid grammar by Russell Schuh on my bookshelf) has native words for white/black/red and has clearly borrowed other basic terms from Hausa.

    This

    https://s-a-c-s.net/wp-content/uploads/ICPcol.pdf

    is quite interesting, BTW, although the author is clearly one of those who quite rightly uses PowerPoint as a help to his lecture rather than an attempted transcription of it.

  302. Geoffrey Sampson was critical of Berlin and Kay in 1980. How has the debate moved on in the last 40 years?

  303. PlasticPaddy says

    The blood spilled out onto the snow, and a raven came down to eat the bloody snow. And when she saw this, Deirdre cried out, and went into a faint. Leabharcham thought she had been upset at the sight of the blood, but Deirdre told her nurse that she had fallen in love with these three colours, and she would only give her love to a man with hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood.

  304. January First-of-May says

    We should be able to test this further by finding younger, etymologically more transparent names for colours that were added to the scheme later.

    This is of course slightly obscured by the fact that color names, just like other words, can be replaced; in particular, somewhat famously, the Red Square in Moscow was probably not actually named for its color – the modern Russian word for “red” still meant “beautiful” four centuries ago (and technically still does in some archaic fixed phrases).

  305. Goodness. Is that why the Bolsheviks chose red as their colour, because of its Russian connection to ‘beautiful’? (I find white a much more appealing choice for a political party.)

  306. David Eddyshaw says

    Talking of Sampson, this is not only intrinsically interesting but touches on many of the points we’re talking about:

    https://www.grsampson.net/AGal.html

    I get the impression that there actually hasn’t been much progress on these issues over the last forty years, partly because they are difficult, but more particularly because they impinge on deeply-entrenched positions about the degree to which language is biologically innate, where the dominant school of linguistics is firmly convinced that the debate is over, so further research would merely divert valuable resources from the Great Common Purpose.

  307. Russian red is a bit of a red herring (and red in the Red Square, which could have been mistakenly taken for the color of the Kremlin wall, is another story as well, after the “new” brick wall was constructed under Ivan III it was periodically painted white. The civil war goes on…). Slavic word for red is chervien’ (čьrvi̯enъ, as Wiki puts it), which, in addition to color red, also gave name to June or July and was used for gold as well. Surprisingly, the word is presumably connected to the word for worm (cherv’) because the red coloring was taken from some worms. Talk about ancient laundromats!

    Addendum: Russian red actually supports the theory that red is the default color. The word for paint (that is adding any color) is kraska (something that makes things beautifully red). The word for color comes from flowers.

  308. David Eddyshaw says

    In re Whorf, I was just reading John Ellis’ Language, Thought, and Logic, which I looked for after seeing it positively mentioned by MAK Halliday.

    It’s a frustrating book. He has a lot of enjoyable Chomsky-bashing, but is annoyingly prone to condescend to practically everybody, including his four heroes, Saussure, Wittgenstein, Peirce and Whorf.

    For all that, it’s interesting. He adopts a basic position which is basically the antithesis of JC’s beloved Natural Semantic Metalanguage. For him, the primary function of language, presupposed by all other functions, is not communication, but classification. Moreover, this classification is not on the basis of equivalence, or even Wittgensteinian “family resemblance”, but on the basis of cultural function (he tends to use “weed” as his go-to example: weeds have nothing much in common intrinsically among plants, but are united only by the fact that farmers don’t want them there.) Given this premise, he does a fairly good job of undermining a lot of mainstream linguistic theorising; but his notion of “classification” ends up doing a great deal of work and he never seems to get very far with telling us anything very helpful and positive about how he envisages it actually working, beyond saying it’s intimately bound up with particular cultures and ways of life (which is how Benjamin Lee gets into his pantheon.)

    Some of his facts (where he descends to individual examples) don’t seem to be all that factual, which is also annoying. Interesting book, nevertheless.

  309. David Marjanović says

    kraska (something that makes things beautifully red)

    Or, originally, just beautiful?

    a man with hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood

    Huh. Snow-White: weiß wie Schnee, rot wie Blut, schwarz wie Ebenholz – skin white like snow, lips red like blood, hair black like ebony. (Even though rabenschwarz is a fixed expression.)

  310. she would only give her love to a man with hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood.
    That trope is still alive in the Brothers Grimm version of Schneewittchen (Snow White), where the queen wishes for a daughter weiß wie Schnee, rot wie Blut und schwarz wie Ebenholz (“as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony”) after she observes a drop of her blood fall into the snow while she sits at a window with a frame made of ebony.
    EDIT: When I wrote this, DM’s comment wasn’t there yet. Ninja’d again…
    Bolshevik red flags: red flags were used by European Labour movements already in the first half of the 19th century and subsequently by Socialist parties, and are not an invention of the Bolsheviks

  311. Or, originally, just beautiful?

    No idea. My null hypothesis (“null” like in know nothing) is that there was a period of confusion (aka polysemy) between beauty, color, and red.

  312. David Eddyshaw says

    How many colour words can be reconstructed for PIE? (LH seems as good a place as any to ask …)

    “Red”, at least … (though I suppose one has to be careful not to beg the question by assuming that the etymon actually meant “red” in the SAE sense ab initio)

    A very quick look at the dictionaries suggests that all three of “red”, “white” and “black” can be reconstructed to Proto-Oti-Volta, but that Proto-Western-Oti-Volta innovated a new word for “red” (the cognate to the “red” of the other branches still occurs in the verb “redden”, though.) Western Oti-Volta has a fair bit of idiosyncratic vocabulary.

  313. John Cowan says

    Per Wikt, we have *bʰleg-, *bʰerH-, *h₁rewdʰ-, *ǵʰelh₃-wos, gʰreh₁-/ǵʰreh₁-, *bʰlēw-, *bʰleg-, all of them quite recognizable still. Gray is a doublet of green, as is grow. Orange is securely < French < Occitan or Italian < Arabic < Persian < Skt < Dravidian. Both purple (which has a doublet porphyry) and violet < Greek < some Mediterranean substrate language(s), perhaps Semitic. If pink (which we discussed recently) is ultimately < L pungo, it is IE, but the Germanic side probably isn’t.

  314. David Eddyshaw says

    Guthrie’s Proto-Bantu has only “black” and “white.”

    http://www.cbold.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/Docs/Guthrie.html

    Neither is cognate with the Oti-Volta forms, but Bantu is a subgroup of a subgroup and there’s plenty of scope for postulating simple accidental loss: the group has contrived to lose the inherited word for “child”, for example, very plentifully attested elsewhere in Volta-Congo.

  315. John Cowan says

    Oops, the first color should have been *ḱwey-tós, which you have to grimm to make sense of it. Cut and paste disease on my part.

  316. David Marjanović says

    Bolshevik red flags: red flags were used by European Labour movements already in the first half of the 19th century and subsequently by Socialist parties, and are not an invention of the Bolsheviks

    There is the idea, though, that communism became so popular in Russia and China in part because of the cultural significance of red in both places.

    *bʰerH-

    The story of brown and “brown” as part of the SAE color conspiracy.

  317. David Eddyshaw says

    It’s interesting that colour words don’t seem particularly stable over time, relatively speaking; I suppose that is counterintuitive only because we have internalised a historically recent model of “colour” which gives us the impression that the concept is simpler than is actually the case (cribbing from the Sampson article about Gladstone above.)

  318. David Marjanović says

    *ḱwey-tós, which you have to grimm to make sense of it

    That’s actually not enough, you have to kludge it, too: *ḱw(e)y-t-nó-s > *hwi(ː)t(ː)a-z.

  319. John Cowan says

    WIkt accounts for the /t/ in Germanic by supposing the existence of a variant *ḱwey-dós. But by make sense of it I simply meant ‘recognize it’, not ‘account for its form’.

  320. Stu Clayton says

    John Ellis’ Language, Thought, and Logic

    David E, we are of an age and maturity to recognize this title as a calque on that of another book furorious in its day. I still have my Penguin edition somewhere, on its cover a photo of the author sitting with his dog on his lap. I remember it as a poodle, but that appears to be embellishment on my part.

    The good old days were sometimes very very good, and sometimes they were naughty.

  321. Stu Clayton says

    An impudent calque.

  322. David Eddyshaw says

    To be fair, Ellis himself explicitly names Ayer as the inspiration for his title (though Ayer gets the same sort of de haut en bas treatment as everyone else.)

    Far and away the best calque-title of a philosophy book is of course Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia.

  323. Stu Clayton says

    That’s way up there in the politeness sweepstakes, of course.

    On the Continent, they order these things more roughly and verbosely. Proudhon’s Système des contradictions économiques ou Philosophie de la misère was turned into Misère de la philosophie. Réponse a la philosophie de la misère de M. Proudhon by Groucho.

  324. David Marjanović says

    Shades of Tahāfut al-falasifa and Tahāfut at-tahāfut.

    WIkt accounts for the /t/ in Germanic by supposing the existence of a variant *ḱwey-dós.

    That’s the first time I encounter the claim that there was a suffix *dó-. Sanskrit, I just looked it up, has both śvetá- and śvítna- (though I have no idea what happened to the latter’s accent).

  325. Sense and Sensibilia as the title may have been the invention of Mary Warnock’s husband, the philosopher Geoffrey, who edited Austin’s lectures for publication after Austin’s death. I like that better, too: it’s a bit smug as Austin’s own coinage and I don’t think he was. Austin titled his lecture series prosaically, “Problems in Philosophy”.

    Le Corbusier’s Vers Une Architecture was first translated in 1927 as ‘Towards a New Architecture’ and there are now literally millions of architecture & planning books with subtitles starting with Towards… or Towards A New… Postmodernists intended it ironically.

  326. Stu Clayton says

    Have you read Backwards From A Postmodern Architecture ?

  327. Backwards would have been a good pomo title. Also a good porno title – I see that pomo is easy to confuse with porno at first glance. A minute gap between r & n makes all the difference.

    Sideways is a good title. Sideways To Architecture. Now I just have to write it. Mostly pictures.

  328. Backsides From A Postmodern Architecture

  329. Twirling, Twirling, Twirling Towards Robert Venturi

  330. Trond Engen says

    My test is not good. As the example of colorado and krasnyj shows, basic words are prone to replacement by generic terms. Also, even if the colour words were present in PIE, we can’t know if they were real colour words or more general adjectives that became specialized later.

  331. David Marjanović says

    *h₁rewdʰ- was probably a stative verb “be red” at first (making a root aorist).

    (Not sure how to find that paper now. It’s in open access and treats the whole Caland system.)

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