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From the Email Bag: Fighting for Your Country, Fancy Asians, and Catholics On the Court
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Fighting for your country. In the July 13th Radio Derb I mentioned a recent David Goldman column.

As David Goldman points out over at Asia Times, there’s not much point spending a ton of money on defense if your people aren’t willing to fight, and NATO’s people mostly aren’t.

David shows results of a recent poll on the question: “Are you willing to fight for your country?” Just eighteen percent of Germans said “Yes.” In the Netherlands the figure was fourteen percent, which is practically a lunatic fringe. For Britain, 27 percent; France, 29 percent.

For Finland, bless ’em, it was 74 percent. Quote from David: “One wonders what would happen if Finland were to invade the Netherlands.” Perhaps they should give it a try. The figure for the U.S.A., in case you’re wondering, was 44 percent.

Several listeners were curious about that poll. Well, the original is here. It’s not actually that recent, from 2014. It should also, as several bloggers have pointed out, be taken with a degree of skepticism. “Fight for your country” can be understood a number of ways. If the question was more specific, I’m sure you’d get quite different percentages, for, e.g.

  • Take up arms to fight an invading foreign army,

as against

  • Take up arms and go off to fight in some distant foreign place because your country’s leaders assured you it was in the national interest to do so.

Even after making all allowances, though, David’s point still stands. We, the U.S. taxpayer, are shelling out billions every year to defend foreigners who are not much interested in defending themselves.

Fancy Asians v. Jungle Asians. I passed comment on the cautious loosening-up of Japan’s very strict immigration policies.

Japan, meanwhile, as reported here last month, is opening the door a crack to more foreign workers. The Economist ran a story about this last week, noting that, quote: “Pressure from business lies behind the change in attitudes.” No kidding.

The Japanese businessfolk are particularly interested in taking more low-skilled workers, The Economist tells us. Quote: “The number of these has been rising fast. Almost a third of foreign workers are Chinese; Vietnamese and Nepalese are quickly growing in number.”

Chinese, Vietnamese, and Nepalese, huh? Why no Sun People? No Somalis, Guatemalans, or Haitians? Get with the program, Japan; bring in some real diversity.

A listener reminds me of the Old Asia Hands’ distinction between fancy Asians and jungle Asians.

Fancy Asians are the pale-skinned, small-featured, gracile, high-mean-IQ peoples of Northeast Asia: Japan, Korea, North China. Jungle Asians are the darker, stockier, less cognitively-outstanding peoples of places like Cambodia and the Philippines.

So the Japanese, by The Economist’s report, are only opening their door to other Asians, fancy and jungle varieties both.

Eh, maybe. Having knocked around Asia considerably myself, I’ve not often found the fancy/jungle distinction very relevant. There have been times, to be sure: among the hill people of Laos, for example (definitely jungly), or as a guest in the student dormitories at Beijing University (fancy — BU is China’s Ivy League).

There’s been a lot of mixing-up, though. The Southeast Asian “jungle” countries all have big overseas-Chinese minorities, including fancy North Chinese. (Living in Thailand 46 years ago and trying to learn some of the language, I was amused to hear native Thais refer to their overseas-Chinese neighbors as “white.”)

Conversely, the Chinese population itself has a jungly component, especially in the south. Cantonese people, for example, when in a literary mood, call themselves “Yut” (粵), after the peoples — likely of a jungle-Asian type — who inhabited their region before it was incorporated into the Chinese Empire 2,000-plus years ago. Of course, after all these centuries of national unification, plenty of southern jungliness has percolated up to the north, and vice versa.

Author (World on Fire, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and Yale Law School professor Amy Chua personifies the contradictions. By looks and résumé you’d have to say fancy Asian, without a doubt. Prof. Chua’s parents come from the Philippines, though; and their ancestors were Hokkien from South China. The Hokkien speak a language as distinct as Cantonese, and their remote ancestry probably has just as large a jungly component.

The Judeo-Papist Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh, our President’s nominee for the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, is a Roman Catholic, like retiring justice Anthony Kennedy. So if he is approved, the Court will continue to be composed of three Jews, five Roman Catholics, and one Episcopalian.

I wondered aloud about this.

Surely I can say though, with no malice at all, that the preponderance of RCs on the Supreme Court is a bit odd, in a nation founded mainly by Protestant gents, where until very recently — well within my memory — the ruling class was designated WASP, the “P” standing for “Protestant,” and the election of a Roman Catholic President was considered a noteworthy social advance.

I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation of it. The Jews one can understand: They’re smarter than the rest of us. I don’t know of any evidence that RCs have higher mean IQ than Protestants, though, and it doesn’t seem very likely.

Several listeners offered explanations. I thought this one the most plausible (slightly edited):

I would point out that it is Roman Catholicism as well as Judaism, the two religious traditions predominant on the Supreme Court, who’ve historically maintained casuistry [“the resolution of particular moral dilemmas, esp those arising from conflicting general moral rules, by careful distinction of the cases to which these rules apply” — Collins Dictionary] in a prominent place in their theological ethics and teaching. This is best known among Catholics with the Jesuits, though it’s not exclusively their domain, and Jesuit practices and education have reached out into the wider Roman Catholic world. Among the Jews, case-based argumentation and reasoning is the basis of halacha.

It’s merely a matter of historical coincidence that the core idea of Anglo-American common law, the development of rules from analysis of the outcomes of specific past cases and their application to novel present cases, mirrors the case-based ethical reasoning common in Judaism and Catholicism.


Keep in mind that when you’re talking about Supreme Court justices, you’re talking about people who are supposed to be at the apex of abilities in a very narrow intellectual specialty. Any advantage that selects for and would promote ability in this very narrow field might make a difference at the margin.

This listener also reminded me that Neil Gorsuch, the one Protestant on the Supreme Court, was raised a Roman Catholic and educated at parochial schools.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Military, Asians, Immigration 
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  1. Anon[680] • Disclaimer says:

    Even after making all allowances, though, David’s point still stands. We, the U.S. taxpayer, are shelling out billions every year to defend foreigners who are not much interested in defending themselves.

    Why should they be? The U.S. has taken up that responsibility instead.

  2. Bill says:

    This is best known among Catholics with the Jesuits, though it’s not exclusively their domain, and Jesuit practices and education have reached out into the wider Roman Catholic world.

    This reads as if it was written by a Jesuit or by someone educated by them—it implies without quite saying so that Jesuits have some important, honored place in the development and use of casuistry in Catholic thought. Casuistry is much older than the Jesuits and is/was an important tool in Aristotelian and Thomist ethics (and was used by Aristotle and Thomas). The Jesuits are more famous (especially among Protestants) for folding, spindling, and mutilating casuistry to the point that it became a dirty word. It is certainly Catholic, though, so the argument goes through.

  3. Wallfacer says:

    Why not call them Ice Asians and Sun Asians? It’s an interesting topic.

    China and Japan are both racially quite mixed. In China you have a huge amount of diversity especially in the mountainous areas located around and south of the Yangtze River, as those used to be inhabited by the Baiyue and other barbarians. The kingdom of Chu in the eastern Zhou period was a semi-barbarian state for centuries until its final assimilation in the Han period. “Pure” Chinese are probably a minority, living mostly in the northern provinces and Manchuria.

    Japan is a mixture of Pacific islanders — that is, the native Jomon people — and the Yayoi immigrants from mainland Asia. If you look up these terms you can find picture contrasting two Japanese women who display their respective features. My guess is that the Yayoi are closely related to the “original” Chinese and Koreans. This would make sense since the Japanese suddenly developed agriculture and sophisticated government after the Yayoi arrived.

    Koreans and Vietnamese both seem to be the result of settlers from China mixing with local tribes. Being long-time neighbors to Chinese empires has endowed them with an atmosphere of “civilized periphery” combined with a fierce, but misconceived ethnic nationalism. Contrast this with Japan, which is more geographically isolated and more confident in the independence of its own culture and ethnicity. Where Koreans and Vietnamese rebelliously abandoned Chinese writing (to the detriment of literacy and connection with their history), the Japanese retained kanji and are even expanding the number of characters required in public education.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  4. @Wallfacer

    Just a day and a half in Seoul was enough to show a visitor that there were two strains of Korean. One looked about halfway between Chinese and Japanese, the other seemed a bit bigger, and could pass for Mongolian or other steppe tribesman. Or even American Indian.

  5. Daniel H says:

    OT: at Christmas time Derb always mentions his fondness for Turkish Delight and his vexation on not being able to find it. Well, Derb, I entered a Greek grocery in Astoria Queens today and they had about 15 boxes on display. The real stuff,apparently, made in Istanbul. The name of the store is Green House Farmers Market, 2233 31st street, Astoria NY.

  6. I’ve mentioned this on other comment threads, but the lack of legal educational diversity on the U.S. Supreme Court is both more troubling and more difficult to explain (for me) than the religious homogeneity. Kavanaugh is yet another Yale law graduate, meaning all the Supreme Court justices got their legal education at either Harvard or Yale (Ruth Bader Ginsburg appears to have attended Harvard but graduated from Columbia); this has been true since the departures of William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor (both Stanford Law graduates).

    There is something seriously wrong with a system that selects its highest court from such a narrow range of candidates.

  7. Are the Japanese letting in ice people? Aren’t there SA farmers who could use a new home?

  8. I find jungly Asian girls sexier.

  9. Dumbo says:

    Why should an atheist care about the religion of supreme court nominees?

    The U.S. is not “defending” anyone in Europe, they are an occupying force promoting globalization and end of borders. If anything, they are helping do destroy Europe. Kosovo, anyone? What have American troops done to “defend” Europe? From whom? Russia?

    I can see the point of young people not wanting to defend Germany, France, etc. What does it mean to “defend Germany”, to defend the current government? To defend the national suicidal status quo?

    “Ice people” an “Sun people” is a silly nomenclature.

    I don’t like the Chinese. I would classify them as “jungle” (another silly nomenclature). Koreans are slightly better. From Asians, I really like only the Japanese. There really is a big difference between them and the other Asians, even the Chinese.

    Bye bye.

  10. Derbyshire, Kevin DeLeon of California (politician) has a Chinese mother. Do you consider him fancy?

  11. When Neil Gorsuch was nominated I looked up and read his 1 published book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. I was underwhelmed. Poorly written tedious arguments against Richard Posner’s opinions on that subject. Trump picked him for ideological reasons. Remember the weird SC justice pick by George W Bush of Harriet Myers! She had an undergraduate degree in math and a law degree from a law school in Memphis and was an evangelical convert (according to Wikipedia).

  12. @Father O'Hara

    Do you junglin’ in jungle Asia. Do not import your Asian poontang.

  13. @Bill

    The argument would go through a bit better if….

    1) American Catholic parochial schools and universities were actually still Catholic. Get real, people. If you think 2018 Notre Dame is even remotely as solidly Catholic as it was before the Rockefeller’s moneyed it up, you’re nuts. Just look at Peter Strzok if you want to see a Modernist “Catholic” education at work.
    2) The liberal “Catholic” justices actually behaved like Catholics. Thomas and Scalia aside, most of these Catholics are phonies.
    3) The majority of American Catholics still rejected the heresy of Americanism

    Today’s American Catholic is yesterday’s liberal WASP. (And I hope that someday alt righters will stop using “WASP” like it’s a good thing) That explains the whole life story of a man like Ted Kennedy, who by no means should EVER have been granted a Catholic burial.

    As for other, non-Main Line Protestants, they can’t get on the Court because those who actually believe what they say generally don’t have the money or the prestige or the – ahem – “ethical flexibility” of our establishment to really rise in the DC swamp. DC is open almost only to Jews, phony Catholics, WASPs, and a few token minorities. I’m sure someone produced by Baylor Law School is smart enough to be a really good judge, but that will never happen.

  14. As a lawyer with a Jewish mother and an (Irish) Catholic father, I should be a shoo-in for SCOTUS. Somehow, the call hasn’t come – yet. I have Irish intelligence with Jewish charm, can argue the testes off a brass monkey and look the part as if from central casting together with the requisite modesty and humility needed to con the Congress critters.

    Derb, what can you do to help a loyal reader reach his demographic destiny?

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    , @Truth
  15. @Achmed E. Newman

    Probably couldn’t release that song now because Cultural Stereotyping.

    Same Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut” song.

  16. Derb, re: the religion of SCOTUS justices, here’s my thoughts.

    1. When the Democrats are picking, their most politically-connected credible choices have usually been Jews. Jews disproportionately dominate the field of law, and are very influential at the top of the Democratic Party. Sonia “affirmative action choice” Sotomayor is the outlier here.

    2. Committed Republicans nowadays are, by and large, either evangelicals or Catholics. Catholics, with their older tradition and sophisticated knowledge of Latin and natural law theory, have provided much of the intellectual pedigree of the modern conservative movement, while evangelicals act as the activists and foot soldiers. Furthermore, American Catholics are more of a distinct voting bloc than your old-line-American Episcopalians and Presbyterians*, and so nominating a Catholic historically has gotten a president more political capital.

    *sorry Baptists and Methodists, y’all don’t produce many lawyers with the legal resumes to make it to consideration

  17. @jim sweeney

    Don’t know what Derb’ll say, but my advice is go get a law degree from Harvard or Yale.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  18. @Diversity Heretic

    And don’t drink it away after. Got a friend whose ancestry is Mexican-Sephardic-Irish-Catholic. His father was a Park Ave. lawyer who drank himself to death.

  19. Truth says:
    @jim sweeney

    I have Irish intelligence with Jewish charm,

    Yo Dillon, was this a joke or a Freudian Slip?

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  20. @Anonymouse

    I am not disagreeing with you here, I have not read the Gorsuch book, but Posner is well known to people who care about this sort of thing as a guy who really really wants to be an intellectual and who has done everything it takes to be seen that way, but who is sort of , despite lots of energy, and extreme ambition, just some old guy who has, at best, superficial and easily seen through cleverness, and who is pretty much as dumb as a rock.

    That being said he is a big fan of cats so there is that, and anyone who has lots of opinions may be right much of the time, so there’s that too.

  21. Hibernian says:

    Given the prominence of Jews in the entertainment business and Irish Catholics in law and politics, I’d say Irish intelligence and Jewish charm are real things. Obviously many here would disagree on both counts.

  22. Art Deco says:

    Harriet Miers graduated 1st in her class at Southern Methodist law school and had been managing partner of a firm with > 200 attorneys in it. She was taking a bath financially working in the public sector. See Thomas Sowell on the significance of her evangelical affiliations: they demonstrated that she was not a social climber, and that’s just the sort of person you want on the court. See also William Dyer on Miers: the Court needed to be leavened by people who had been working lawyers and familiar with branches of law that none of those on the Court in 2005 were specialists in.

  23. J1234 says:

    “Fight for your country” can be understood a number of ways. If the question was more specific, I’m sure you’d get quite different percentages, for, e.g.

    Take up arms to fight an invading foreign army,as against

    Take up arms and go off to fight in some distant foreign place because your country’s leaders assured you it was in the national interest to do so.

    This is an interesting conversation that’s more complex than someone like myself – a midwestern conservative – would’ve thought not so long ago. In my late teens, I’d considered going into the US Air Force, but family circumstances arose so that I stayed around home to help out while going to college and earning a diploma. My path never led me into military service, which, for many decades, left me with a feeling that I’d shirked my duty.

    That feeling eventually changed. After GW Bush’s folly into Iraq made me rethink what it was to be a conservative and an American (at a fairly profound level) I started feeling less bad about not having a military service record. This was helped along by subsequent prominent politicians overusing the phrases like “that’s not who we are” and “that’s not what America is,” most often when aligning themselves with causes or viewpoints that I wasn’t aligned with at all. It made one wonder about what the collective values of our society actually were. Pat Buchanan was the first writer who gave me an inkling of what true conservatism is about…and that it has little to do with attacking countries that haven’t attacked you first, as the case seemed to be in Iraq and Vietnam and (for the most part) WW1.

    Before my aging WW2 vet father died this year, he related some previously undisclosed info about his father, who was seriously wounded in WW1. (Both Dad and Grandpa were conservative Republicans.) My father said his dad was extremely upset about the drift towards war in Europe in the late ’30’s, just 20 years after the horrific debacle in Europe he’d experienced first hand. He was also upset that his son – my dad – had joined the US Navy in 1941, six months before the outbreak of WW2. So it turned out that Grandpa had been (essentially) part of the America First movement that I’d read about in history books; a person opposed to America’s involvement in foreign wars and entanglements. This is a conservative legacy I can connect with.

    While I’m appreciative of the service of all US military veterans, I’m inclined to dissuade my 16 year old son from pursuing a career or stint in the military, as I don’t want his life to be little more than fodder for slimy unworthy US politicians who have personal, business or political vendettas to carry out against foreign leaders or nations, e.g. “We came, we saw, he died.”

    I truly hate to say it, but I want to prepare my kids for the alternate possibility that it may be necessary to take up arms against people who call themselves “Americans” or “U.S. citizens,” because it’s much more possible for people disguising themselves as one of us to politically and constitutionally oppress us as no foreign power can, or ever could.

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