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From the New York Times:

Spanish Thrives in the U.S. Despite an English-Only Drive
Leer en español

… Linguists trace some of the coveted vibrancy that Spanish now enjoys to decisions made well before Spain began colonizing the New World in 1492.

As the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes explained in “The Buried Mirror,” his book about the Hispanic world, the 13th-century Spanish king Alfonso X assembled a cosmopolitan brain trust of Jewish intellectuals, Arab translators and Christian troubadours, who promoted Spanish as a language of knowledge at a time when Latin and Arabic still held prestige on the Iberian Peninsula.

So Spanish isn’t anti-Semitic, it’s vibrantly diverse and diversely vibrant.

But Spanish is also good because it’s not diverse. It’s centrally organized by the King of Spain:

Alfonso and his savants forged Spanish into an exceptionally well-organized language … Even today, Spanish remains mutually intelligible around the world to a remarkable degree, with someone, say, from the Patagonian Steppe in Argentina able to hold a conversation with a visitor from Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s largest oil exporters.

Equatorial Guinea, the land of the future …

• Tags: Vibrancy 
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Commenter Romanian calls our attention to this relevant passage from Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire about the decision of the Emperor Valens in 376 A.D. to permit — and even assist — the crossing of the Danube, until then the frontier of Roman civilization, by German barbarians.


In the opinion of Gibbon, the subsequent defeat and death of the Emperor Valens at the hands of the Germans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 marked the beginning of the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Gibbon narrates:

In the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, which may justly be dated from the reign of Valens, the happiness and security of each individual were personally attacked; and the arts and labors of ages were rudely defaced by the Barbarians of Scythia [Huns] and Germany [Goths]. The invasion of the Huns precipitated on the provinces of the West the Gothic nation, which advanced, in less than forty years, from the Danube to the Atlantic, and opened a way, by the success of their arms, to the inroads of so many hostile tribes, more savage than themselves. … But the attention of the emperor [Valens] was most seriously engaged, by the important intelligence which he received from the civil and military officers who were intrusted with the defence of the Danube. He was informed, that the North was agitated by a furious tempest; that the irruption of the Huns, an unknown and monstrous race of savages, had subverted the power of the Goths; and that the suppliant multitudes of that warlike nation, whose pride was now humbled in the dust, covered a space of many miles along the banks of the river. With outstretched arms, and pathetic lamentations, they loudly deplored their past misfortunes and their present danger; acknowledged that their only hope of safety was in the clemency of the Roman government; and most solemnly protested, that if the gracious liberality of the emperor would permit them to cultivate the waste lands of Thrace, they should ever hold themselves bound, by the strongest obligations of duty and gratitude, to obey the laws, and to guard the limits, of the republic. … As long as the same passions and interests subsist among mankind, the questions of war and peace, of justice and policy, which were debated in the councils of antiquity, will frequently present themselves as the subject of modern deliberation.


But the most experienced statesman of Europe has never been summoned to consider the propriety, or the danger, of admitting, or rejecting, an innumerable multitude of Barbarians, who are driven by despair and hunger to solicit a settlement on the territories of a civilized nation.

Gibbon published Volume II in 1781. A lot has happened since then.

When that important proposition, so essentially connected with the public safety, was referred to the ministers of Valens, they were perplexed and divided; but they soon acquiesced in the flattering sentiment which seemed the most favorable to the pride, the indolence, and the avarice of their sovereign. The slaves, who were decorated with the titles of praefects and generals, dissembled or disregarded the terrors of this national emigration; so extremely different from the partial and accidental colonies, which had been received on the extreme limits of the empire. But they applauded the liberality of fortune, which had conducted, from the most distant countries of the globe, a numerous and invincible army of strangers, to defend the throne of Valens; who might now add to the royal treasures the immense sums of gold supplied by the provincials to compensate their annual proportion of recruits.

As the New York Times explained this week, mass migration across the Danube offers the receiving country “an opportunity to rejuvenate its aging demographics and ensure its economic prosperity …”

The prayers of the Goths were granted, and their service was accepted by the Imperial court: and orders were immediately despatched to the civil and military governors of the Thracian diocese, to make the necessary preparations for the passage and subsistence of a great people … The Imperial mandate was at length received for transporting over the Danube the whole body of the Gothic nation … A probable testimony has fixed the number of the Gothic warriors at two hundred thousand men: and if we can venture to add the just proportion of women, of children, and of slaves, the whole mass of people which composed this formidable emigration, must have amounted to near a million of persons, of both sexes, and of all ages. … their gay and splendid apparel, their robust and martial figure, excited the surprise and envy of the Provincials. … An undisciplined and unsettled nation of Barbarians required the firmest temper, and the most dexterous management. The daily subsistence of near a million of extraordinary subjects could be supplied only by constant and skilful diligence, and might continually be interrupted by mistake or accident. The insolence, or the indignation, of the Goths, if they conceived themselves to be the objects either of fear or of contempt, might urge them to the most desperate extremities … a spirit of discontent insensibly arose in the camp of the Barbarians, who pleaded, without success, the merit of their patient and dutiful behavior; and loudly complained of the inhospitable treatment which they had received from their new allies. They beheld around them the wealth and plenty of a fertile province, in the midst of which they suffered the intolerable hardships of artificial famine. But the means of relief, and even of revenge, were in their hands; since the rapaciousness of their tyrants had left to an injured people the possession and the use of arms. … “That successful day put an end to the distress of the Barbarians, and the security of the Romans: from that day, the Goths, renouncing the precarious condition of strangers and exiles, assumed the character of citizens and masters, claimed an absolute dominion over the possessors of land, and held, in their own right, the northern provinces of the empire, which are bounded by the Danube.” Such are the words of the Gothic historian, who celebrates, with rude eloquence, the glory of his countrymen. But the dominion of the Barbarians was exercised only for the purposes of rapine and destruction. … The imprudence of Valens and his ministers had introduced into the heart of the empire a nation of enemies; … One of the most dangerous inconveniences of the introduction of the Barbarians into the army and the palace, was sensibly felt in their correspondence with their hostile countrymen; to whom they imprudently, or maliciously, revealed the weakness of the Roman empire. A soldier, of the lifeguards of Gratian, was of the nation of the Alemanni, and of the tribe of the Lentienses, who dwelt beyond the Lake of Constance. Some domestic business obliged him to request a leave of absence. In a short visit to his family and friends, he was exposed to their curious inquiries: and the vanity of the loquacious soldier tempted him to display his intimate acquaintance with the secrets of the state, and the designs of his master. The intelligence, that Gratian was preparing to lead the military force of Gaul, and of the West, to the assistance of his uncle Valens, pointed out to the restless spirit of the Alemanni the moment, and the mode, of a successful invasion. … The boldest hopes of rapine, perhaps of conquest, outweighed the considerations of timid prudence, or national faith. Every forest, and every village, poured forth a band of hardy adventurers …

Two years later in 378, the migrants killed Emperor Valens at the cataclysmic Battle of Adrianople.

A great number of brave and distinguished [Rome] officers perished in the battle of Hadrianople, which equalled in the actual loss, and far surpassed in the fatal consequences, the misfortune which Rome had formerly sustained in the fields of Cannae.

That was Hannibal’s greatest victory over the Romans, 594 years before Adrianople.

… Whatever may have been the just measure of the calamities of Europe, there was reason to fear that the same calamities would soon extend to the peaceful countries of Asia. The sons of the Goths had been judiciously distributed through the cities of the East; and the arts of education were employed to polish, and subdue, the native fierceness of their temper. In the space of about twelve years, their numbers had continually increased; and the children, who, in the first emigration, were sent over the Hellespont, had attained, with rapid growth, the strength and spirit of perfect manhood. It was impossible to conceal from their knowledge the events of the Gothic war; and, as those daring youths had not studied the language of dissimulation, they betrayed their wish, their desire, perhaps their intention, to emulate the glorious example of their fathers. … A formidable tempest of the Barbarians of Germany seemed ready to burst over the provinces of Gaul; … But the effects which were produced by the battle of Hadrianople on the minds of the Barbarians and of the Romans, extended the victory of the former, and the defeat of the latter, far beyond the limits of a single day. A Gothic chief was heard to declare, with insolent moderation, that, for his own part, he was fatigued with slaughter: but that he was astonished how a people, who fled before him like a flock of sheep, could still presume to dispute the possession of their treasures and provinces. …

Valen’s successor Theodosius the Great (ruled 379-395) stabilized the situation by practicing divide and conquer tactics with the fractious barbarians, recruiting some to uphold his power:

An army of forty thousand Goths was maintained for the perpetual service of the empire of the East; and those haughty troops, who assumed the title of Foederati, or allies, were distinguished by their gold collars, liberal pay, and licentious privileges. Their native courage was improved by the use of arms and the knowledge of discipline; and, while the republic was guarded, or threatened, by the doubtful sword of the Barbarians, the last sparks of the military flame were finally extinguished in the minds of the Romans. Theodosius had the address to persuade his allies, that the conditions of peace, which had been extorted from him by prudence and necessity, were the voluntary expressions of his sincere friendship for the Gothic nation. … The advocates of Theodosius could affirm, with some appearance of truth and reason, that it was impossible to extirpate so many warlike tribes, who were rendered desperate by the loss of their native country; and that the exhausted provinces would be revived by a fresh supply of soldiers and husbandmen.

They’re demographically vibrant!

The Barbarians still wore an angry and hostile aspect; but the experience of past times might encourage the hope, that they would acquire the habits of industry and obedience; that their manners would be polished by time, education, and the influence of Christianity; and that their posterity would insensibly blend with the great body of the Roman people.

A decade and a half after Theodosius’s death, the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410, the first time Rome had been sacked in 797 years. And then the Huns arrived, and then the last Roman emperor was deposed in 476, and there was a Dark Age or two.

Notwithstanding these specious arguments, and these sanguine expectations, it was apparent to every discerning eye, that the Goths would long remain the enemies, and might soon become the conquerors of the Roman empire. Their rude and insolent behavior expressed their contempt of the citizens and provincials, whom they insulted with impunity.

But everything has worked out fine in the long run, so letting the Barbarians cross the Danube in 376 A.D. was a good idea and a good precedent. Publishing his first volume in 1776, a mere 1400 years later, Gibbon could look back on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire with witty equanimity. Why can’t we look back on 2015 with the same ironic detachment?

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Adam Nagourney reports in the New York Times:

Los Angeles Mayor Sets Sights on a Bigger Stage 

… None of which is to say that Mr. Villaraigosa has recaptured the electric popularity that he enjoyed in the flush of his initial election, as a mayor of Mexican descent in a city with a vibrant and expanding population of Mexican-Americans.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Vibrancy 
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In Time, Joel Stein writes a column packed with traditional iSteve themes:

I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison, N.J. The mostly white suburban town I left when I graduated from high school in 1989 — the town that was called Menlo Park when Thomas Alva Edison set up shop there and was later renamed in his honor — has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the U.S., as familiar to people in India as how to instruct stupid Americans to reboot their Internet routers.

My town is totally unfamiliar to me. The Pizza Hut where my busboy friends stole pies for our drunken parties is now an Indian sweets shop with a completely inappropriate roof. The A and P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. … There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime. …

I called James W. Hughes, policy-school dean at Rutgers University, who explained that Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 immigration law raised immigration caps for non-European countries. LBJ apparently had some weird relationship with Asians in which he liked both inviting them over and going over to Asia to kill them.

After the law passed, when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to ATT, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

… Unlike some of my friends in the 1980s, I liked a lot of things about the way my town changed: far better restaurants, friends dorky enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me, restaurant owners who didn’t card us because all white people look old. But sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy.

To figure out why it bothered me so much, I talked to a friend of mine from high school, Jun Choi, who just finished a term as mayor of Edison. Choi said that part of what I don’t like about the new Edison is the reduction of wealth, which probably would have been worse without the arrival of so many Indians, many of whom, fittingly for a town called Edison, are inventors and engineers. …

Unlike previous waves of immigrants, who couldn’t fly home or Skype with relatives, Edison’s first Indian generation didn’t quickly assimilate (and give their kids Western names). But if you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, J.P. Stevens, which would be very creepy of you, you’ll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians. Their assimilation is so wonderfully American that if the Statue of Liberty could shed a tear, she would. Because of the amount of cologne they wear.

And here is a another good column by Joel Stein: “How Jewish Is Hollywood?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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You can’t get much more diversely vibrant than this story from the Washington Post:

Two more suspects were arrested Friday in the beating death of a District pizzeria owner whose slaying was linked to an immigration scam, police said.

The victim, Shahabuddin Rana, 44, who was found dead Aug. 18 inside his Pizza Mart in Northeast Washington, had agreed to pay a woman $500 a week to marry his brother, a Pakistani national, then reneged on the deal after the wedding, police said.

Police identified the suspects as Leon Robinson, 25, of Northeast Washington, and Isaiah Genus, 26, of Southeast Washington. Both were charged with first-degree murder. The alleged wife-for-hire, Shanika Robinson, 26, of Capitol Heights, was charged with first-degree murder last month.

The three are accused of killing Rana inside his pizzeria, in the 2300 block of Fourth Street NE, after he refused to continue paying Robinson to stay in the sham marriage, which police said was intended to help Rana’s brother get a green card.

In a court affidavit, police said Rana became upset when he learned that Robinson “was having sexual affairs” with other men. The affidavit says that Rana informed Robinson that she would not be getting paid anymore.

Police allege that after beating Rana, the three set his body on fire and stole cigarettes, cigars and about $2,000 in cash from the pizzeria …

• Tags: Vibrancy 
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Here’s an editorial from the Dallas Morning News that I swear I’m not making up:

Editorial: So much vibrancy to build on

The trick is getting diverse groups to building [sic] a community together

The beauty of the neighborhoods that run from Jefferson Boulevard toward Wynnewood Village is how they mirror Texas’ future – and capture the state’s biggest challenge. Plurality will become the new reality, creating an ethnic vibrancy but making it hard to build a community out of so many different kinds of people.

You see this reality writ large in this stretch of Oak Cliff, where middle- to upper-middle-income, mostly Anglo folks live alongside poor, working, mostly Latino families. You find tree-lined, prosperous neighborhoods like Elmwood and Wynnewood, along with blocks of proud working-class neighborhoods. The hodgepodge of backgrounds and incomes coalesces into a vibrancy that North Texas neighborhoods often miss.

Vibrancy is what happens when longtime Cliff dwellers bump up against the surge of gay couples fixing up their Wynnewood homes not so far from Latino families imbuing Jefferson Boulevard with a gritty mercado atmosphere.

Vibrancy is what happens when white-collar professionals and blue-collar laborers sit shoulder-to-shoulder at restaurants like the Charco Broiler, Tops Cafe and El Ranchito.

Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap: A campaign by The Dallas Morning News editorial board to lift the southern part of Dallas.

And vibrancy is what happens when agencies like Casa Guanajuato serve immigrant families a few blocks from historic, big-steeple churches like Cliff Temple Baptist.

The trick is building a community so everyone wins – rather than turning it over only to the poor or the affluent. Striking a balance will require smart economic strategies, improved schools and an attentive City Hall.

Consider Jefferson Boulevard, which many consider the spine of Oak Cliff. There are about 160 shops along its 11 blocks between Zang Boulevard and Edgefield Avenue. But 18 of those shops pawn merchandise, offer ready cash or loan money. Another 20 sell outfits for brides, quinceañeras or parties. And 15 stores provide styling for hair or nails – or, if you’re in the mood, a tattoo.

Undoubtedly, a market exists for dresses for that big occasion, ready cash or looking nice. But a thriving boulevard needs a broad range of stores to attract a broader range of shoppers. Retail feeds off other retail. And Jefferson lacks that element. Along this stretch, for example, there’s only one diversified department store.

In other words, the gays actually find Jefferson Blvd. to be not vibrant, but tacky.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Vibrancy 
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The eastern half of the San Fernando Valley has had a big influx in just the last few years of people from a big swath of the planet running from, roughly Moscow to Yemen. Lots of them are good eggs, but a few have definitely made the place more, uh, colorful. For example, there was this gang who kidnapped and murdered five fellow ex-Soviet immigrants from a luxurious house in the hills of Encino.

And now, from the LA Times:

Yana Kovalevsky made a colorful entrance. Not long out of the hospital, she hobbled into her neighborhood Starbucks for an interview on a purple-and-pink-striped cane. A blond-and-brown-streaked wig roosted on her head.

Under the wig, her scalp was a patchy landscape. A traumatic shedding had left the locks that once cascaded to her elbows struggling to regrow.

She needed the cane because a nerve-pinging disorder that somehow combined pain and numbness had turned her legs to rubber.

Last February, during a visit to their native Russia, Kovalevsky, a 27-year-old North Hollywood social worker, and her physician mother became critically ill from the effects of thallium. Their ordeal made worldwide headlines because thallium is a rare poison usually associated with political assassins and murderous inheritance seekers, not with the likes of Yana and Dr. Marina Kovalevsky.

It remains unknown how they came to ingest the tiny but potentially lethal amounts of the heavy metal. Among the other unanswered questions is who targeted them and why — if the poisoning was intentional, as mother, daughter and their doctors now believe. …

A decade and a half before they were poisoned, the Kovalevskys had been an unheralded part of another international story — the emigration of Soviet Jews. They had followed Marina‘s brother Dr. Leon Peck, a fellow physician, to the United States. Peck had been a refusenik for 10 years before he received a visa to leave Russia in 1988. The Kovalevskys got out in 1991, settling in Los Angeles and then moving to Louisiana, where Marina, 50, completed a medical residency. They returned to California, where Marina established a family practice out of a West Hollywood storefront.

She is now back at work and has declined to be interviewed, pleading for privacy. Yana said her mother’s reticence hardened after FBI agents investigating the poisoning queried her about the Russian American medical community, which has been a focus of insurance fraud inquiries.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Crime, Immigration, Vibrancy 
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Have you noticed that whenever some writer uses the words “vibrant” or “vibrancy,” he is almost guaranteed to be yanking your chain? It’s just like how for so many years the phrase “in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate” always preceded utter bilge.
Through the magic of Google, I found that I have published the word “vibrant” (in a non-mocking sense) once, for which I profoundly apologize to all my readers.
In contrast, Google says that the Wall Street Journal’s has used “vibrant” 84 times. Here are some examples I gleaned from Google without subjecting myself to actually reading these WSJ opinion pieces:
“…President Bush is determined to keep the dynamism vibrant, and to encourage and empower the poor to take part in it, rather than to suggest they are …”
To use “keep the dynamism vibrant” and “empower the poor” in one sentence, hoo boy, that’s some fancy writin’! (By the way, what kind of “dynamism” is not “vibrant?” “Listless dynamism?” “Lethargic vibrancy?”)
“… The Iraq I saw was a society on the move, a vibrant land with a hardy people experiencing the first heady taste of freedom…”

… and that is to reveal Baghdad as it truly is, a vibrant city, able and ready to welcome the world business community, …

So, when your windows rattle in Baghdad, that’s not a car bomb or IED going off, that’s just the local vibrancy manifesting itself.

Back home in the USA, things are a-quivering, too:

… The new creative class craves a vibrant nightlife, outdoor sports facilities and neighborhoods vibrant with street …

… We have a vibrant Islamic community of emigrants from across the world. …

… Like California, New York City can boast a vibrant immigrant community and is a magnet for …

Whenever I read about “vibrant immigrant neighborhoods,” I wonder exactly which ones has the writer has been to, if any. Come to the vast immigrant neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley and check out the vibrancy: there isn’t any. They’re boring, tacky, and low-brow. There’s no culture beyond the video store. It was like that before, too, but 35 years ago we expected the place to improve a little with time, not regress.
And sometimes the political is personal:
But as times have changed, so have I. Today, as the father of two stunning daughters, and husband of a vibrant, sexy and successful wife who has …
Perhaps this gentleman’s vibrant wife will induct her stunning daughters into the intimate secrets of personal vibration and soon all three will be happily vibrating away.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Vibrancy 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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