The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Russian Reaction BlogTeasers
My American Decade

sf-bay-ocean-flag

The SF Bay Area.

As I am leaving the United States for an indeterminate period of time, now would likely not be a bad time to share some of my impressions of what is still, when all is said and done, an extraordinarily effective, dynamic, and successful nation.

It would be redundant to compare to simply compare it with the two other countries that I have extensive experience of – that is, Russia and the United Kingdom – because I have already done that, and at great length (the whole thing together runs to 37,000 words), in my 2011 series of posts Comparison of USA, UK, Russia:

Though some of my assessments will have inevitably changed since then, it would not (yet) be worthwhile to repeat this exercise today.

Instead, I will take a look at America as it was in space and time during the 2006-2016 time, especially relative to how it was perceived by West Europeans.

All the photos are my own.

***

America in Time: The Obama Decade

If I had to summarize the changes the US has undergone in the past 10 years in one short phrase, it would be the following: It has become a European country.

To see why this is so we must go recall the zeitgeist of the early 2000s.

The intellectual class on both sides of the Atlantic viewed Europe and America as two separate civilizations. America was a bunch of theocratic yahoo cowboys rampaging through the Middle East, while European intellectuals huffed about things like “pooled sovereignty” and “unity in diversity.” In Robert Kagan’s famous formulation, Americans were from Mars and Europeans were from Venus. Although Francis Fukuyama was an American, it was a frequent wisecrack that it was in fact the European Union that was leading the world to the “end of history,” while it was America that insisted on clinging on to the outdated rudiments of the traditional nation-state, which amongst other things were held to include: Guns, family, religion, patriotism, fertility, militarism, and a distinct lack of homosexualist hystrionics.

Perhaps the most quintessential case for this was made by T.R. Reid’s book The United States of Europe. He argued that the EU was emerging as a superpower rivaling the US, held together by an emerging “Generation E” of yuppies from Paris to Berlin (*soundtrack*) that saw themselves as Europeans first and were rapidly integrating through the trifecta of Eurovision, Erasmus scholarships, and Eurail (much more eco-friendly than the American Canyonero!).

That was ten years ago. Geopolitically, we now live in a world where the EU is in the midst of what might be a slow-mo disintegration, with the 2000s dreams of the Euro displacing the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency now taken up by the day to day emergencies of managing periodic fiscal crises and exit referendums. In contrast, the US withdrawal from Iraq and the shale oil revolution under Obama have vastly strengthened its geostrategic position. So it is extra ironic that it is the cheese-eating surrender monkeys who are today the most active at pushing the now recalcitrant cowboys into new Middle East military adventures. After all, it was Sarkozy who provided the main thrust in favor of the Libyan intervention, and his successor, the socialist Hollande, responds to terrorist attacks by renewing calls for the ouster of… Syria’s secular President. And if you had told a Bush-loving Republican in 2003 that their party was now the anti-war party, at any rate relative to HRC’s Democrats, then his head would have exploded.

freedom-of-speech-pew-poll

Culturally, the crazy evangelicals of yesteryear have been displaced by equally sanctimonious SJWs as the prime exporters of American inane drivel to the outside world. This is not something I noticed until just a few years ago, as I was finishing my last university course, when an SJW harangued an anthropology professor for not including a “trigger warning” before showing a clip from a spoofy 1950s scifi B-movie about Neanderthals (the whole sad and funny affair: Triggered by Neanderthal Man).

But it should not have come as too much of a surprise, because this was merely the results of shifting public sentiment making themselves felt on the far right hand side of the “social justice” quotient bell curve. Whereas support for free speech – that is, the ability to make potentially offensive statements about minorities – is almost universal amongst older Americans, millennials are converging to European norms in this respect; some 40% think government should be able to restrict such speech.

In much of Western Europe, this is the norm. One of the few ways in which the US is actually genuinely exceptional is in its support for freedom of speech. In Europe, the sweeping protections afforded by The First Amendment are seen as undesirable, or even as a sign of backwardness. Though we (that is, Americans) might commisserate with the latest poor bastard in Europe fined or locked up for posting a rant against refugees on Facebook, the banal fact is that those laws appear to enjoy the support of most Europeans according to just about any opinion poll. I recall a poll showing that even most Front National supporters in France are okay with laws against hate speech. And most likely the US will continue “converging” towards that. After all, today’s campus Pink Guards will be ruling over the country in another generation, while Trumpland is dying and getting replaced by the mulatto-gamer underclass.

This is reflective of a more general leftwards shift in America during the past decade. Let’s take U.C. Berkeley. It has a proud tradition of sticking it to the Man, or rather of not letting the machine operate. There is a bookshop called Revolution Books near Telegraph Avenue. Bob Avakian’s Maoist cultists pop up to give a lecture every so often (and even get an audience). Now the student body is nowhere near as Leftist as popular culture makes it out to be, but still, it’s safe to say that the #BasementDwellers are a solid majority there.

spirit-of-2011

Stick it to the Man! 2011 protest against tuition fee rise.

99-revolutionAgitation.

99-leader

Me in front of the 99%.

All of this was mildly transgressive in five years ago. But you can’t shock or “trigger” the Man with such antics nowadays. You now have to go hardcore:

spirit-of-2016

Alt Right Safe Space @ Berkeley, 2016. Aloof shitlord looks on smugly upon a triggered Antifa activist.

I am aware, of course, that Berkeley is hardly representative of America, but still, general trends do tend to get reflected at both the tails and the middle. And it’s undeniable that in this sense too American politics has become much more reminscent of the European norm.

Traditionally, you have the moderate liberal (Democrats) and the oligarchic conservative (Republican) wing facing off each other.

But in 2016 the traditional bipolar system of American politics splintered. The European-style Social Democracy represented by the Bernie Sanders movement and the neoliberal wing of Hillary Clinton now contend for leadership of the Democratic party. Meanwhile, the traditional alliance of the oligarchs, the evangelicals, and ‘Murica! patriots has been shattered by the ascendacy of nationalism channeled by Donald Trump. Both the Democrats and the Republicans now have unprecedented numbers of “dissidents” in the form of the Berniebros and the #NeverTrump’ers, respectively.

This diversification of politics is of course typical for Europe. As Leonid Bershidsky noted, a true multiparty system in the US would divide the political system into five distinct blocs: Clinton democrats, Sanders socialists, Rubio/Bush moderate conservatives, Cruz Bible-bashers, and Trump nationalists. It would also, barring major changes in voter alignment, keep “dangerous” nationalist candidates out of power; for instance, the Front National in France seems to be essentially capped at 30% of the popular vote. It is in some ways hugely ironic that it is the Electoral College system, considered by many political scientists as a system that favors moderate candidates, might now become the biggest enabler of the emergence of a truly nationalist (or socialist) leader of not just a major Western nation but of the major Western nation – and perhaps also represent the last chance for America to escape its Brazilification in the coming century.

For a long time the US has had a reputation as a very religious country. Up until the 2000s, belief in God in the US was almost universal, whereas wide swathes of Europe are either agnostic, “spiritualist,” or in the case of East Germany and Estonia, outright atheist. This started changing, and very fast, by the 2010s, especially amongst millennials. Whereas disbelief in God was a mere 4% in the 1990s and the early Bush years, according to the World Values Survey, but by 2010-2014 it had soared to 11%, which is close to the level of Spanish unbelief in the 1990s. (Incidentally, Unz Review commenter Lazy Glossophiliac noted that today Spaniards give the “leftiest, cuckiest answers” in many international public opinion polls. A harbinger of America’s future?). Between 2007 and 2014, the share of unaffiliated increased from 16% to 23% in the US, including a doubling in outright atheism (albeit from a very low base).

Another element of America’s Europeanization was the surge in support for gay marriage, which with its legalization now makes America more “progressive” on this question than Merkel’s Germany (which up to now only has civil partnerships). Throughout the 2000s, the most conservative US states were about as “homophobic” as Russia; today, almost half of Mormon Utah supports gay marriage. Nowadays US officials proclaim that “human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights” with the zeal of the converted to the slack-jawed yokels that haven’t yet gotten the memo.

Ergo for drugs. Marijuana is now legal or decriminalized in about half of the US states, which is a similar proportion to that in the European Union.

Whereas much of Europe has been very liberal since the 1980s, it has if anything started going in the other direction in the past decade. For instance, it was long typical for French women to go topless at the beach for a generation now, but this has started becoming rarer, especially amongst the youngest cohorts. Different reasons have been proposed, from the politically correct (more smart phones with cameras) to the less so (ogling Muslims). Or maybe the liberated women of the 1960s had fewer daughters than modest Catholics. Whatever the case, millennial Americans and Europeans are converging – from opposite directions – on their degree of social liberalism.

gun-fired

At least there’ll still be guns. Maybe. My favorite is the Beretta M9, better than any of the Glocks IMO. Also the Desert Eagle is very overrated.

There is convergence in corruption. During the 2000s, there was an impression that the EU (if not national European governments) had cleaner, better institutions than the US, at least according to the intellectual talking class. Though they might have had a point. It was the “heckuva job, Brownie!” of Bush’s America versus the EU’s torpedoing of GE chairman Jack Welchs’ attempts to flout antitrust regulations through a big merger, thus frustrating a man who had always gotten his way in the US by calling up the right people. But today senior EU officials are openly bought up by Goldman Sachs. Whatever edge the EU might have had in this respect in its halcyon days has surely disappeared.

All these trends are even reflected in a sort of demographic convergence. Peaking in 2007, American fertility rates have since dropped from 2.1 children per woman to 1.8 children per woman (0.1 children lower for non-Hispanic Whites). France is now significantly higher. I wonder what Mark Steyn will make of that! On the other hand, in the space of a couple of insane years, Europe has essentially doubled the size of its prospective future NAM underclass with Merkel’s decision to throw Europe’s doors open to “Syrian” “refugees.” While America’s longterm transformation into La Raza Cosmica is now all but inevitable – a development already reflected in these elections, in which at the risk of triggering pretty much everyone I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians – Europe has likewise made its longterm transformation into Eurabia move from the realm of nativist alarmism to something resembling an actual possibility.

Though I suppose all things considered I suppose that life will be better in the country of La Raza Cosmica than in Eurabia.

***

americana

America in Space: Country Review

This next section is a series of snapshots of the US during the time I’ve been here.

san-francisco-karlin

 

San Francisco.

San Francisco – 8/10

The Bay Area is where I spent most of my time in the US. It is pretty much ideal, even if that also makes it by far the most expensive macro-region of the US.

It is also the second major intellectual center of the US after the North-East – and perhaps the most quirky and creative one.

This is reflected in the sheer number of idiosyncratic and interesting groups and people that make this region their home from futurists to food optimizers.

transhumanist

 

AK talking about cliodynamics, February 2014.

Futurists/Transhumanists

The focal point of global futurism and transhumanism, from the large scale to the small. Here is just a very partial list:

  • Health Extensions Salons – Bring the latest research to the public.
  • Hank Pellissier’s Brighter Brains conferences on futurism and intelligence (I got the idea of Apollo’s Ascent thanks to being the speaker at one of them).
  • All sorts of magazines and journals: KurzweilAI; H+ magazine; transhumanity.net; etc.
  • Scott Jackisch’s Bay Area Futurists – Weekly meetup.
  • MIRI (Machine Intelligence Research Institute) – Solving out the values alignment problem (or in plainspeak trying to figure out how to prevent computer superintelligence from killing us all). Highly mathematical!
  • Mike Johnson’s Qualia Research Institute – would ems actually have consciousness?
  • An informal group of psychonauts exploring the “qualia-states” of LSD.
  • The undisputed center of the “rationality” movement – CFAR, LessWrong, Effective Altruism.
  • Calyco and 23andme
  • Alcor in neighboring Nevada.

Reaction

To be sure, all the above are “tilted” towards the reigning globalist ideology – suffice to say that in the recent gubernatorial elections, the two most popular candidates were both ethnic minority female Democrats – but even in the world of conservative political theory California has far more weight relative not just to its heartlands in “flyover country” but even to the ossified dinosaur think-tanks of Conservatism Inc. within the Beltway.

Here is a recent article on this from The American Interest: How the Golden State Became the Intellectual Capital of Trump’s GOP.

trump-effective-altruism

An effective altruist Trumpist? Me at EA Global 2016.

Many of its characters will probably be familiar to many of you – Ron Unz, Steve Sailer, Razib Khan (who is leaving), and for that matter, your humble servant.

It is also, of course, the major focal point for neoreaction, hosting the NRx founder Mencius Moldbug himself, the Thiel network, a good percentage of the “techno-commercialist” faction in NRx and the Future Primaeval blog, and social gadflies such as Michael Anissimov and Rachel Haywire.

Although B.W. Rabbit is based in Arizona, it is also curious to note that the great bulk of the “Alt Left” movement – the tiny group of thinkers combining leftist economics with HBD, sane views on gender relations, and a penchant for futurism – such as Robert Lindsay and Robert Stark also make their home in the Golden State.

Food Optimization

On a side note, even the two biggest interest new trends (or fads) in food – the paleo diet and meal replacements – are based in California.

Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey, and Chris Kresser, all of them very prominent paleo advocates, live in California.

It is also home to Soylent and many other Silicon Valley meal replacement companies (I first tried out MealSquares before they went into mass production at a party hosted by a futurist/NRx figure).

Vibram shoes are a California product, as is their most prominent advertiser, Tim Ferriss.

Final Comments

Now to be sure, none of this is meant to be an endorsement of any of the above groups and ideas – though I do think that some of them are extremely legitimate and important, some others have a distinct whiff of quackery about them (in particular I am extremely skeptical about meal replacement).

Still, this is a very formidable concentration of very strange and interesting characters that you probably won’t be able to find nigh anywhere else.

swordsman-karlin

Recreating late medieval swordfighting techniques in Mountain View.

fort-russ-karlin

Fort Ross – Russian outpost in California in the early 19th century. A net drain on the treasury, its last governor Alexander Rotchev attempted to get Mexico to recognize it as Russian territory, which Mexico only offered to do in exchange for Russia’s recognition of its recent independence; Nicholas I refused, and so it was sold to incoming Anglo settlers. Makes for a fascinating 20th century what-if scenario had NorCal become Russian territory.

Favorite restaurants in Berkeley:

  • House of Curries (Berkeley) – On College Avenue. Favorite Indian. Had a couple of other Indian favorites, but they’ve since closed.
  • Great Wall (Berkeley) – Chinese
  • Mount Everest – Nepali (esp. the Himalayan garlic butter soup)
  • Chez Panisse – Huge in the world of cooking, with a price tag to match. But worth visiting at least once.
  • Mission Heirloom – One of the first “paleo” restaurants, inc. Bulletproof Coffee.
  • Favorite cafes: Lindgren’s, Spasso, and A Cuppa Tea.

Perhaps the biggest problem “everyday” problem in the SF Bay Area is public transportation. East Coast cities, primarily populated during the Age of Rail, are pretty good at this; the new cities of the American West and South, children of the Age of the Automobile, are nigh unlivable if you don’t have a car. San Francisco emerged at the intersection of those two periods, and with a public transport system to match: It exists, but it’s not that great. BART has long wait times, looks dilapidated, and is constantly wracked by strikes even though its employees are extremely well compensated.

Los Angeles – 5/10

los-angeles

Not really into the world of fashion and entertainment so it doesn’t have much for me. That said, I did greatly enjoy the Universal Studios theme park – had no idea prior to this that anyone had combined 3D movies with physical motion, so that was a very awesome and novel experience. If all films were shown like that I’d visit the cinema more than twice a year.

The Hollywood sign is one of those things that you only visit to tick off an item on the bucket list.

The city’s Armenian community is pretty visible, though that was likely due to me having made my longest visit there on the centenary of the Armenian genocide.

San Diego – 7/10

san-diego-karlin

Visited for one day. I liked the aircraft carrier.

Las Vegas – 7/10

gambler-karlin

At the poker tables.

One of the few places you can visit just for the hotels:

  • Paris – 7/10
  • Luxor – 7/10
  • Bill’s Gamblin Hall – 8/10
  • Orleans – 6/10
  • Stratosphere – 8/10

Best morning breakfast place ever: Crepe Expectations.

Disappointment: Bachannal Buffet at Caesar’s.

I found that the easiest tables out of all the places I visited were at the Luxor, though ironically I lost the most money there (but regained it and considerably more at The Stratosphere).

Housing is very affordable in Vegas, so there is a category of young get-rich-quick types who swot up on the theory, rent a place, and discuss the “fishiest” places by day before going out to the casino with a big delegation of visiting Arabs during the night.

vegas-karlin

Stratosphere Insanity ride.

Very colorful city. Even the homeless are much more creative than usual: “Kick me in the nuts for $20.” “Why lie I need $$$ for booze and burgers.”

That said, I suspect I’d get bored there if I had to stay longer than a couple of months.

California – 8/10

Overall, I do think California, especially NorCal, is the best state – lots of things going on (see above), and a stunning variety of climes to choose from, all within driving distance, from the sun-drenched coasts of Santa Barbara to the slopes of Tahoe and beyond.

The exception is Sacramento. It has a nice railways museum, but otherwise it’s a desert dump full of politicians and crazy Ukrainian Baptist sectants many of whom somehow came to the US in the 1990s (I was once driving with a woman and she wouldn’t put on a seatbelt on the logic that God would look after her. I did convince her otherwise by the following logical argument: “But what if God happens to be looking away at a particular moment?”).

I don’t know if this will be the case indefinitely; the demographics suggest not, not just in terms of immigration but also emigration (noticed many of my peers going to places such as Colorado, North Carolina, and even Austin).

wonderland-summer

Summer Sea (Santa Barbara).

wonderland-winter

Winter Mountain 1.

wonderland-winter-2

Winter Mountain 2.

The Mountains – 7/10

I visited most of the Mountain states – Utah, Montana, Colorado, etc. – though just as a tourist, so my impressions aren’t exactly representative.

mountain-karlin-2

Tahoe.

Still, they seemed to be very civil, high S factor communities – the sort of high-functioning communities you tend to get when you combine Anglo institutions with German human stock. In one Montana town, a stranger offered us a ride to a bar that was rather beyond walking distance in the cold and gloom; afterwards, it emerged he was also the Mayor.

ski-marx-engels

Black slopes – Marx and Lenin. As I recall, they were just opposite of a super-elite resort that only accepted skiers. Probably not entirely coincidental?

Amtrak

This is a genuine national treasure that rather few Americans seem to appreciate (apart from the Amish, who account for up to a quarter of all passengers when traveling around Pennsylvania).

But thanks in part to government subsidies, a transcontinental rail journey is still possible, and that is exactly what I did in 2013.

railway-americana

There are viewing cabs for when the landscape is interesting.

beer-kindle

… Cheap beer and ebooks when it is not.

Seattle – 5/10

seattle

Clean, anodyne, hipsters but employed, Space Needle, that tunnel “decorated” with gum.

Famously has the world’s first Starbucks (the only one with uncensored nipples), less famously has the Piroshky Piroshky bakery (I still recall the smoked salmon pie).

By far the most interesting thing about it was my visit to the Boeing Everett Factory just north of Seattle. It is possible to just stand on a platform and look down on the workers “toiling” in the vast space below – apostrophes because the actual pace of work seemed to be very lackadaisical. As I recall only perhaps a quarter of them looked like they were actually doing something concrete. Many others were just wandering up and down, chatting with their coworkers, drinking coffee. No uniforms. Definitely not how I imagined the place. But it might well be that this kind of approach is more efficient – after all, American manufacturing workers are some of the most productive in the world (far above what their levels of human capital would seem to indicate).

Portland – 6/10

Not so clean, very rainy, and the hipsters are less employed and have more tattoes (one of them is Stalin’s granddaughter). On the upside, it’s a major beer and whiskey center, and they love their guns.

Chicago – 7/10

chicago

The Heartland: Cheap, walkable with antique-like metro system (the first in the US), home of the skyscraper, simple working class types with fewer hipsters, vibrant nightlife.

Urban area in the center was renovated, the strong rustbelt impression – cracked pavements, crumbling bricks, rusted waterside – given off as the train arrives to the contrary. Third biggest city in the US, but much cheaper than either SF or New York.

Main difference relative to the West Coast is already visible: African-Americans replace Asians as most visible minority, though Hispanics also becoming very visible (smoked weed with a group of Mexicans). Met an online friend there who was quite happy with life in the Windy City.

Pittsburgh (Rustbelt?) – 3/10

pittsburgh-grim

Pittsburgh 2013 – patriotic poster by a deserted potholed road. Looks like a scene from a Michael Moore movie.

Touching Appalachian greenery interspersed with scenes of industrial decay and ads exhorting you to sign up with the Imperial Guard.

All in all, about as appealing as a provincial Russian town (i.e. not very).

That said, I did meet up with and have a very good conversation with one particular Russia blogger, who was then at the University of Pittsburgh.

Washington DC – 5/10

washington-dc

Al Jazeera bus.

Downside: A swamp, not just metaphorically but literally.

Upside: I did actually like the grotto-like metro system, which has a certain brutalist charm. Tons of museums, embassies, think-tanks, historical monuments, political goings on, and of course good restaurants for all the politicians and lobbyists.

Two are of particular note:

  • Russia House – The best Russian restaurant I’ve ever been to. (Full disclosure: Owned by Edward Lozansky, who invited me to D.C.).
  • Rasika – Two words: Palak chaat.

I recounted my trip to Washington D.C. in more detail here: The World Russia Forum 2013

New York – 7/10

new-york-ship

New York.

One of the worst metro systems ever – many delays, rats scurrying about. Obeying traffic laws is optional. But lots of excellent museums, as befits America’s first metropolis, and of course Broadway; a visit to a play is incumbent on any one-time visitor.

new-york-2

Central Park.

new-york-nightlife

Nightlife is …mediocre.

Boston – 5/10

boston

Too clean, too civilized.

Also having lived in Britain it’s impossible to be impressed. The 18th century architecture is viewed as “historic” in the US, as are the pubs, but they are entirely typical in Britain, even in “industrial” towns like Birmingham or Leeds.

The Boston of Fallout 4 is an improvement on the current one.

That said, I was only there for one day, with no chance to visit any of the historical museums, so I can’t say I got the full impression of it.

***

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Review, The AK, Travel, United States 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
29 Comments to "My American Decade"
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
[Filtered by Reply Thread]
  1. Do you think a war with Russia will be good for reaching Singularity, since that means America will get to use all the resources of the world by itself?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    not with nukes on the table.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are only available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also only be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/american-decade/#comment-1640734
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Very fun read and I learned a lot — Ronald Lindsay is in California! — great to hear your perspective and its also terrifically funny — you in the cowboy hat on AMTRAK for example – thanks

    Read More
  3. Welcome back.

    I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians

    Stroessner vs. Evita.

    One of the worst metro systems ever – many delays, rats scurrying about. Obeying traffic laws is optional. But lots of excellent museums, as befits America’s first metropolis

    This is all true. I’m going to guess that the picture looking south from Central Park was taken in 2012, although 2011 is possible too. That big unfinished skyscraper on the right was in a more completed state, though still not entirely done, when hurricane Sandy hit us in October of 2012, snapping a crane that sat on top of it.

    A bit more about the subway: you’ll see about 1.5 homeless guys do their spiel in your train car per hour spent there. Since a train car is a captive audience, we get a lot of preachers too, mostly middle-aged Jamaican women. Trains get rerouted all the time. You thought you were going to the Upper East Side? Psyched! If there’s a sick customer, the train stops at the next station and then waits for the ambulance. All the trains behind it stop too. That’s a 15 to 20 minute delay. Happens about once a week to a daily commuter.

    Sometimes in the summer you run into a car just as the doors close and then you realize that the AC is broken, so in about 10 minutes you might become a sick passanger yourself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    >> I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians

    Stroessner vs. Evita. <<

    That's a great analogy. Perhaps Trump is closer to Berlusconi.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m going to guess that the picture looking south from Central Park was taken in 2012, although 2011 is possible too
     
    2013.
  4. A Polish friend toured the East Coast with his band a few years ago, and told me I’d hate DC because it looks totally European, they even have cops on Segways. I think that works as a short summary.

    (I lived in Texas for a while, spent about two months in all other states put together, so I’ve never been anywhere near DC.)

    Read More
  5. Good luck with your return to Russia, and thanks for this perceptive overview.

    Particularly the observation that Trump and Clinton are both very Latin American politicians. That’s bracing clarity.

    And kudos for using Whelan’s “Trantorian Dream” as a presentation slide. One of my favourite images.

    Read More
  6. In the conclusions section of your 2011 post comparing the US, UK and Russia, you said that the girls in Russia were “more open”. What did you mean by that?

    Read More
  7. @Glossy
    Welcome back.

    I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians

    Stroessner vs. Evita.

    One of the worst metro systems ever – many delays, rats scurrying about. Obeying traffic laws is optional. But lots of excellent museums, as befits America’s first metropolis

    This is all true. I'm going to guess that the picture looking south from Central Park was taken in 2012, although 2011 is possible too. That big unfinished skyscraper on the right was in a more completed state, though still not entirely done, when hurricane Sandy hit us in October of 2012, snapping a crane that sat on top of it.

    A bit more about the subway: you'll see about 1.5 homeless guys do their spiel in your train car per hour spent there. Since a train car is a captive audience, we get a lot of preachers too, mostly middle-aged Jamaican women. Trains get rerouted all the time. You thought you were going to the Upper East Side? Psyched! If there's a sick customer, the train stops at the next station and then waits for the ambulance. All the trains behind it stop too. That's a 15 to 20 minute delay. Happens about once a week to a daily commuter.

    Sometimes in the summer you run into a car just as the doors close and then you realize that the AC is broken, so in about 10 minutes you might become a sick passanger yourself.

    >> I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians

    Stroessner vs. Evita. <<

    That's a great analogy. Perhaps Trump is closer to Berlusconi.

    Read More
  8. I very much liked your summary on the changes in the US in the last decade. It was pretty much my impression as well. As a teenager I was one of the few Germans to like Bush (even though he started those failed interventions, but I was young and naive back then ;) ).
    I was also pretty much anti-China back then (they are the reds after all and about to take over the West), however my sentiment turned quickly as I grew up, as Obama turned the US towards the left and as I learned about HBD. It will be interesting to see whether Trump will be able to turn the US around again and does the right thing of splendid isolation and noninterventionism.

    Anyway, as I also became a demographer since then, my take on the marked fertility decline in the US during that time is that declining fertility among Hispanics played a big part in this. Under Bush’s housing bubble, Hispanic fertility stayed 2.8ish, but during the crisis and due to a fall in immigration, they quickly dropped to 2.1. Among Whites there was some decline as well that might be attributed to secularization and the US becoming more European, but it was only a small decline (from 1.88 to 1.76). Obama in the end brought down fertility rates of all nonwhite groups to all-time lows.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    Whites as currently defined in US statistics include Arabs, Iranians, Turks and even Afghans.
  9. @Cicerone
    I very much liked your summary on the changes in the US in the last decade. It was pretty much my impression as well. As a teenager I was one of the few Germans to like Bush (even though he started those failed interventions, but I was young and naive back then ;) ).
    I was also pretty much anti-China back then (they are the reds after all and about to take over the West), however my sentiment turned quickly as I grew up, as Obama turned the US towards the left and as I learned about HBD. It will be interesting to see whether Trump will be able to turn the US around again and does the right thing of splendid isolation and noninterventionism.

    Anyway, as I also became a demographer since then, my take on the marked fertility decline in the US during that time is that declining fertility among Hispanics played a big part in this. Under Bush's housing bubble, Hispanic fertility stayed 2.8ish, but during the crisis and due to a fall in immigration, they quickly dropped to 2.1. Among Whites there was some decline as well that might be attributed to secularization and the US becoming more European, but it was only a small decline (from 1.88 to 1.76). Obama in the end brought down fertility rates of all nonwhite groups to all-time lows.

    Whites as currently defined in US statistics include Arabs, Iranians, Turks and even Afghans.

    Read More
  10. Well, that’s a surprise. For some reason I have always pictured Anatoly Karlin as an older guy with a long beard like Leo Tolstoy.

    :)

    Happy travels, Mr. Karlin. Many thanks for all the good reads.

    Read More
  11. I thought Pittsburgh had successfully reinvented itself as a kind of Appalachian Portland? Never been to that region myself though.

    Read More
  12. Did you visit anywhere other than Tahoe while in the Eastern Sierras? Did you head further south to see the continental U.S.’s highest peaks (namely, Mt. Whitney)? If not, you missed out! Tahoe is pretty drab compared to the central and southern Sierras.

    Read More
  13. ‘Trigger warning’ for a movie with Neanderthals? Good grief, who is this young generation that will be the future captains of industry and politicians?

    They won’t be able to survive an extended work day, let along a crisis requiring clear thinking and resolve w/o reaching for their Play Doh and calling on a service that provides ‘comfort’ dogs to soothe their frazzled neurons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CK
    In any generation there are very few Captains and fewer Generals. There is never a lack of parasites and politicians in any generation. The captain of industry who invents the most efficient way to provide those comfort dogs on demand will reap the benefits of the educational endowment of this generation; and a lot of money.
  14. You missed the museums, culture and architectural treasures in Pittsburgh; all that steel money went towards endowing 150 years of classical music and out of date paintings and architecture. I used to go to the Leonard Bernstein conducted symphony for $5. Westinghouse and Google people are around somewhere if you’re looking for people to talk to. I thought it was much better than Bay Area for these things, though otherwise it has the disadvantages of a much smaller urban area.
    Also, La Limes has vastly better food than Chez Panisse.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I was in Pittsburgh for less than a day so I could only catch fleeting impressions.

    Haven't been to La Limes. People go to Chez Panisse for the experience, and because its founder Alice Waters is a big figure in the world of cuisine. Since the set menu varies from day to day, it's advisable to go through them before making a reservation.
  15. I recently took a drive through bible belt areas I had not seen in thirty years, and was surprised to see a number of billboards advertising sex shops. Yep, the times in the US of A are a’ changing!

    As for your characterisation of California, it really only applies, as you note by ‘especially’, to NorCal.

    Read More
  16. @Greg Bacon
    'Trigger warning' for a movie with Neanderthals? Good grief, who is this young generation that will be the future captains of industry and politicians?

    They won't be able to survive an extended work day, let along a crisis requiring clear thinking and resolve w/o reaching for their Play Doh and calling on a service that provides 'comfort' dogs to soothe their frazzled neurons.

    In any generation there are very few Captains and fewer Generals. There is never a lack of parasites and politicians in any generation. The captain of industry who invents the most efficient way to provide those comfort dogs on demand will reap the benefits of the educational endowment of this generation; and a lot of money.

    Read More
  17. @Glossy
    Welcome back.

    I will note that both HRC and Trump are both ultimately very Latin American-style politicians

    Stroessner vs. Evita.

    One of the worst metro systems ever – many delays, rats scurrying about. Obeying traffic laws is optional. But lots of excellent museums, as befits America’s first metropolis

    This is all true. I'm going to guess that the picture looking south from Central Park was taken in 2012, although 2011 is possible too. That big unfinished skyscraper on the right was in a more completed state, though still not entirely done, when hurricane Sandy hit us in October of 2012, snapping a crane that sat on top of it.

    A bit more about the subway: you'll see about 1.5 homeless guys do their spiel in your train car per hour spent there. Since a train car is a captive audience, we get a lot of preachers too, mostly middle-aged Jamaican women. Trains get rerouted all the time. You thought you were going to the Upper East Side? Psyched! If there's a sick customer, the train stops at the next station and then waits for the ambulance. All the trains behind it stop too. That's a 15 to 20 minute delay. Happens about once a week to a daily commuter.

    Sometimes in the summer you run into a car just as the doors close and then you realize that the AC is broken, so in about 10 minutes you might become a sick passanger yourself.

    I’m going to guess that the picture looking south from Central Park was taken in 2012, although 2011 is possible too

    2013.

    Read More
  18. @Scott Locklin
    You missed the museums, culture and architectural treasures in Pittsburgh; all that steel money went towards endowing 150 years of classical music and out of date paintings and architecture. I used to go to the Leonard Bernstein conducted symphony for $5. Westinghouse and Google people are around somewhere if you're looking for people to talk to. I thought it was much better than Bay Area for these things, though otherwise it has the disadvantages of a much smaller urban area.
    Also, La Limes has vastly better food than Chez Panisse.

    I was in Pittsburgh for less than a day so I could only catch fleeting impressions.

    Haven’t been to La Limes. People go to Chez Panisse for the experience, and because its founder Alice Waters is a big figure in the world of cuisine. Since the set menu varies from day to day, it’s advisable to go through them before making a reservation.

    Read More
  19. I am a mid term Bay area resident of Russian descent (in part): I can not share your optimism about CA, esp. Silicon Valley – though I work with many high IQ peers they are in general so radically undeveloped both intellectually and culturally that it is depressing. Narrow specialization makes for wasted lives. In fact I find the cluster of artists and more normal folks down in, say, the Monterey area generally far more interesting to talk to. And the restaurants are just as good…

    I am, however, thrilled to see your Berkeley restaurant list include the Nepalese place – I have reason to visit that block from time to time and have often thought about dropping in. Now I am certain that I will. I don’t recall if you have already left, but we have enjoyed the Greek restaurant Pathos quite a bit. Russia in any case has always struck me as a richer place for mind and culture.

    Read More
  20. @colm
    Do you think a war with Russia will be good for reaching Singularity, since that means America will get to use all the resources of the world by itself?

    not with nukes on the table.

    Read More
  21. I know the bay pretty good, and the picture is over the transom view heading north north/east into the Berkeley marina.
    Berkeley and Oakland sit on some of the greatest environments ever. Before it was over populated.

    Even as late as 1890′s, read Jack London’s books on the fishery in the bay, and farms in Berkeley!!!

    and Richmond, before Henry Kaisers train loads of non union ship yard workers… !

    The SF Bay area, is one of the most awful cases of environmental destruction on Earth! The bays waters are so polluted, but then they are a great sewer too. A great place to drop effluent…gee who would do that? Not to speak of the lack of a will to thoroughly treat millions of acre feet of sewage from the ever growing burb/surrounds.

    Wild life be damned, longlost the salmon, &etc.

    Read More
  22. “Whatever the case, millennial Americans and Europeans are converging – from opposite directions – on their degree of social liberalism.”

    Karlin’s self-importance neglects the Trump Counte-Revolution beginning. It is far larger than Trump (I guess ) could compass.

    These damned fereiners…. it will be nice not to have to read your glib idiocies. Joe Webb

    Read More
    • Replies: @edNels
    Glib idiocies... That's a keeper..

    I think maybe I'm a potential member of your club.... I am pissed off too! I would type more info. but the gaddamed keyboard is problematic.. space bar don't work right.. (what a pain...!).
  23. I just skimmed your series of insta-takes on America… Thanks for the witty evaluations. I am about to read it in a more leisurely way. Good luck in Russia. One thing people rarely discuss is that everything in America takes place at a lower latitude than Europe. And how about that London with its mild weather is only 250 miles south of wintry Moscow? I think of Vladimir Putin and his fellow rulers of Russia looking down and downward on nations and peoples to the south of them and having a good laugh. Considering them superficial and inferior peoples from Southern climes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    They understand your point well in Aberdeen. As the saying goes, a Scotsman who departs Southwards for England raises the intelligence of both countries. (Does this apply in Canada, a lot of them were Scots?).
  24. @Clyde
    I just skimmed your series of insta-takes on America... Thanks for the witty evaluations. I am about to read it in a more leisurely way. Good luck in Russia. One thing people rarely discuss is that everything in America takes place at a lower latitude than Europe. And how about that London with its mild weather is only 250 miles south of wintry Moscow? I think of Vladimir Putin and his fellow rulers of Russia looking down and downward on nations and peoples to the south of them and having a good laugh. Considering them superficial and inferior peoples from Southern climes.

    They understand your point well in Aberdeen. As the saying goes, a Scotsman who departs Southwards for England raises the intelligence of both countries. (Does this apply in Canada, a lot of them were Scots?).

    Read More
  25. Main difference relative to the West Coast is already visible: African-Americans replace Asians as most visible minority, though Hispanics also becoming very visible (smoked weed with a group of Mexicans).

    Chicago has always had a huge Hispanic population and today is approx. 1/3 Hispanic in population.

    Read More
  26. @joe webb
    "Whatever the case, millennial Americans and Europeans are converging – from opposite directions – on their degree of social liberalism."

    Karlin's self-importance neglects the Trump Counte-Revolution beginning. It is far larger than Trump (I guess ) could compass.

    These damned fereiners.... it will be nice not to have to read your glib idiocies. Joe Webb

    Glib idiocies… That’s a keeper..

    I think maybe I’m a potential member of your club…. I am pissed off too! I would type more info. but the gaddamed keyboard is problematic.. space bar don’t work right.. (what a pain…!).

    Read More
  27. […] Anatoly’s article at the Unz Review on his American Decade Why Anatoly is leaving the United States and going back to Russia How the United States is becoming more like Europe T.R. Reid’s book The United States of Europe, where he argued that the EU was emerging as a superpower rivaling the US, but has latter been disproved How during the Bush era Americans perceived Europeans as “Cheese Eating Surrender Moneys,” but latter Sarkozy ended up being the architect of the war in Libya How American politics now resemble Europe in the sense there are five distinct blocs: Clinton democrats, Sanders socialists, Rubio/Bush moderate conservatives, Cruz Bible-bashers, and Trump nationalists. Anatoly’s pre election article US Elections 2016: Let’s MAGA, Not War Anatoly’s political views, which are fairly socially liberal(except for rejecting poltitical correctness, and radical feminism), and economically centrist, and close to Rabbit’s AltLeft The pros and cons of economic automation Transhumanism and Zoltan Itsvan California is home to Ron Unz, Steve Sailer, as well as the “Alt Left” movement(the tiny group of thinkers combining leftist economics with HBD, sane views on gender relations, and a penchant for futurism ) The futurist scene in the Bay Area including Scott Jackisch’s Bay Area Futurists meetup, Health Extensions Salons, Mike Johnson’s Qualia Research Institute, Effective Altruismthe, and the “techno” faction of NRx […]

    Read More
  28. […] Anatoly’s article at the Unz Review about his American Decade Why Anatoly is leaving the United States and going back to Russia How the United States is becoming more like Europe T.R. Reid’s book The United States of Europe, where he argued that the EU was emerging as a superpower rivaling the US, but has latter been disproved How during the Bush era Americans perceived Europeans as “Cheese Eating Surrender Moneys,” but latter Sarkozy became the architect of the war in Libya, and arming Syrian rebels Another element of America’s Europeanization is the decline is social conservatism, the surge in support for gay marriage, and drug legalization Anatoly’s political views, which are fairly socially liberal(except for rejecting political correctness, and radical feminism),  economically centrist, and closest to Rabbit’s AltLeft U.S. Millennials More Likely to Support Censoring Offensive Speech, especially among university students who are the future elites The decline in American fertility rates toward European levels How American politics now resembles Europe in the sense that there are five distinct blocs: Clinton democrats, Sanders socialists, Rubio/Bush etablishment conservatives, Cruz Bible-bashers, and Trump nationalists. Anatoly’s pre election prediction article US Elections 2016: Let’s MAGA, Not War, and Trump’s support in the rust belt Trump’s economic policies as a hybrid of supply side economics, and economic nationalism, and the similarities to Putin’s economic policies in Russia The GINI index of income inequality The pros and cons of economic automation, and the basic income Transhumanism, Zoltan Istvan, and his book The Transhumanist Wager The Bay Area where Anatoly spent most of his time in the US, and how it’s pretty much ideal, but also the most expensive macro-region of the US California is also home to Ron Unz, Steve Sailer, as well as the “Alt Left” movement(the tiny group of thinkers combining leftist economics with HBD, sane views on gender relations, and a penchant for futurism ) The futurist scene in the Bay Area including Scott Jackisch’s Bay Area Futurists meetup, Health Extensions Salons, Mike Johnson’s Qualia Research Institute, Effective Altruism, and the “techno” faction of NRx Mass Transit, Bay Area Rapid Transit, how older cities tend to have more integrated transit systems, and why conservatives oppose mass transit Global Warming, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius who discovered climate change, debunking climate change deniers, and whether it will benefit arctic regions such as Russia Observations on other American cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh Anatoly’s experience ridding across the nation on Amtrak Architecture: Skyscrapers, Brutalism, architect John Portman’s 70’s Neofuturism, and Rabbit’s ideal city based on the film Logan’s run America’s great wilderness and National Park System […]

    Read More

Comments are closed.