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OCTOBER DIARY: [9 ITEMS] the End of Fukuyama: Leafblowers: Another Moving Story, Etc.
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The End of the End of the End of History?

The most-discussed geopolitical essay of the past forty years has been Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History, published in the Summer 1989 issue of The National Interest. Fukuyama of course upgraded it to a book: The End of History and the Last Man (1992).

Fukuyama’s essay and book are not as unreservedly triumphalist as they have sometimes been made out to be. He is a political scientist of depth, with a solid grounding in history and philosophy. He does, though, have a way of expressing himself that sometimes leaves you—well, me—wondering what the heck point he’s trying to make.

For example: He started off the original 1989 essay by telling us that:

The century that began full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy seems at its close to be returning full circle to where it started: not to “an end of ideology” or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as earlier predicted, but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

Say what? If, at the end of the 20th century, mankind was returning full circle to the “self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy” that was current (although by no means universal) around 1900, might not Fukuyama’s readers reasonably expect the 21st century to be blighted by political horrors like Leninism, Hitlerism, and Maoism, as the 20th century was?

Whatever. Once you get into the weeds about what Fukuyama was actually saying, and engage with his admirers and detractors, you have opened the door to a lifetime of disputation. My main point here is that Fukuyama’s argument was taken to be triumphalist.

This was especially the case with his book, which came out the year after the Soviet Union disintegrated and just months after Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour pointed China in the direction of economic liberalization. For a while there in the early 1990s, it was really possible to believe that humanity at large had turned some decisive corner away from despotic government towards open societies everywhere.

Then came the 2000s: Islamic terrorism, the rise of Putin, and the clear determination of China’s leaders that economic opening not be accompanied by any serious political reform. Fukuyama’s triumphalism, or what had been popularly taken to be his triumphalism, now looked naïve. We started seeing articles (and eventually of course books) under the title “The End of the End of History.”

Growing national wealth and autocracy have proven compatible after all. Autocrats learn and adjust. The autocracies of Russia and China have figured out how to permit open economic activity while suppressing political activity. They have seen that people making money will keep their noses out of politics, especially if they know their noses will be cut off. New wealth gives autocracies a greater ability to control information—to monopolize television stations, and to keep a grip on Internet traffic—often with the assistance of foreign corporations eager to do business with them. [The End of the End of History by Robert Kagan; The New Republic, April 23, 2008.]

Whether or not the credit for early-1990s geopolitical optimism properly belongs to Fukuyama—please don’t email in to argue the matter—that optimism may be making a comeback. Political Scientist Richard Hanania opened the month with a Fukuyaman bugle call at his Substack account.

After scoffing at the notion that Muslim fundamentalism is any kind of threat to advanced nations, Hanania glances at present-day China and Russia, then tells us:

Although we have three months left, I think that regardless of what else happens 2022 will be notable for being the year that both of these threats to liberal democracy collapsed. And the fact that they collapsed in such different ways indicates that there is something extremely robust in Western societies that will allow them to dominate the world for the foreseeable future. [The Year of Fukuyama by Richard Hanania; Substack, October 1st 2022.]

Hanania then takes on China and Russia at more length—considerable length: the piece is nearly 4,000 words. Some samples for the flavor.

China?

Noah Smith last year noticed the crackdown on business and asked whether perhaps Xi simply isn’t very competent. But it may be simply a matter of him not caring all that much about economic growth. If you assume his priorities are maintaining control over a passive citizenry, he looks like a genius.

Russia?

As the West cuts it off from advanced technology and Europe finds alternative sources of energy, Russia is certain to remain a poor, backward country indefinitely into the future, regardless of whether it adds a few million more pensioners in the Donbas.

Is it possible “to create a great power dictatorship that combines social stability, economic growth, and the ability to inspire others to accept, or least respect, its model of societal organization”?

I think if you cloned Lee Kuan Yew and put him in charge of modern Russia or China, you would see great successes. But critics of democracy have to keep bringing up Lee Kuan Yew because there have been so few like him. Despite history providing us with hundreds of dictators to learn from over the last few centuries, it says something that those partial to monarchy or technocratic authoritarianism are forced to keep talking about a man who was in effect the mayor of a city-state.

What do I think of Hanania’s neo-Fukuyamanism? I’m doubtful. As we have seen in the last couple of decades with the rise of smartphones and social media, it is information technology that’s driving the great social changes of our time. It will inevitably drive political change, too.

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Big Data combined with Artificial Intelligence hold great promise for totalitarian governments. After another decade or two of development in those fields it will be possible for the authorities to know, at any moment in time, precisely where every citizen is, what he is doing, what he is saying, and who he is in company with, and thence accurately to predict whether he is a threat to the party-state. This has been the dream of despots since time immemorial. China is already well on the way there.

Still, I am glad to know that the wheel Francis Fukuyama got turning 32 years ago still has some angular momentum. I look forward to the first opinion column titled “The End of the End of the End of History?” No, wait a minute: I just wrote it.

Invaded calm

It’s October and the leaves are falling. Having fallen, they have to be gathered up and disposed of.

Here Satan saw an opportunity. Into the world he sent gasoline-powered leaf blowers to deprive us of our peace and, he hopes, eventually drive us all mad.

In my own suburban neighborhood the landscaping firms start work around eight a.m., mowing and blowing. The noise, most of it from blowing, is deafening; the Prince of Darkness is smiling.

Sure, I own a blower myself. It’s electric-powered, though—nothing like as noisy as the gas-powered models. In any case I hardly use it. For my paltry one-sixth of an acre, an old-fashioned leaf rake does the job almost as fast, and gives me some exercise. (One of my neighbors has a cordless, battery-powered blower that is very nearly silent … but doesn’t blow very hard.)

The English poet John Betjeman had a friend named Martyn Skinner, also a poet, who left his suburban home to seek peace and quiet in the countryside. Betjeman made gentle fun of Skinner in a 1961 poem, contrasting the noise of the countryside—tractors, motor-bikes, trucks grinding up narrow country lanes “in bottom gear,” low-flying planes—with suburban tranquillity.

Return, return to Ealing,
Worn poet of the farm!
Regain your boyhood feeling
Of uninvaded calm!

(Ealing is a very pleasant middle-class London suburb where I lived myself in my student days. However, it is not in fact the suburb Skinner left. Betjeman just needed a suburb, and I guess Ealing offered a tempting rhyme.)

Obviously there weren’t gasoline-powered leaf blowers in 1961 suburban England. Old Scratch was busy with earlier projects: brutalist architecture, perhaps, or post-modernist philosophy.

A Moving story (sequel)

In last month’s diary I told of my adventures with some big, heavy, old-style furniture pieces my wife wanted installed in our bedrooms. The chest and two bedside companions were successfuly wrestled into the house, up the stairs, and into place, mainly by my muscular son and an equally muscular friend of his. But then:

There remains the dresser—or, as it has come to be known in our household, the Beast. At month end it’s still sitting there in the garage, grinning insolently at us. The engineering consensus (me, our son, his friend) is that it’s too big for stairs, landing, and doors. Measurements appear to confirm this. What to do?

That was the state of play at the end of September. I measured and remeasured for every conceivable angle: there was no way we could get the Beast up our stairs.

The only way to get it into our bedroom was through a second-floor window. The main house windows were too small, though. The only windows big enough to feed the Beast through were the west-side sunroom windows—the ones facing right here. It would fit, I checked, and there is a wide-enough door direct from the sunroom to the master bedroom. Still there were difficulties to overcome: a not-very-robust fence and gutter, the sunroom wall likewise, lots of greenery, the too-close proximity of our neighbor’s house.

As narrated in my October 7th podcast, a Radio Derb listener leapt to the rescue. A ladder was strategically placed, with suitable protections for fence, guttering and sunroom wall against the weight of the Beast. The Beast itself was cushioned and furnished with mover’s straps. Sawhorses were set up in the sunroom to receive the Beast.

Our benefactor—may his tribe increase!—took the mover’s straps up to the sunroom window, where my son and his buddy were stationed.

With he pushing from below and they pulling from above, the Beast came up the ladder and through the window, to rest on the sawhorses inside the sunroom.

From there it was an easy lift to the master bedroom, where the Beast now sits happily in place.

(The door at the right there goes out to the sunroom. And yes: My lady hangs bright red tassels off light fixtures and door handles. It’s a thing she does.)

Heartfelt thanks to all who helped, especially of course our generous listener. And nyah-nyah to a different friend of Junior’s—a guy whose job involves frequently moving heavy things around—who had assured Junior the thing was impossible. This is America, pal, the Can-Do nation. Nothing’s impossible. USA! USA! USA!

No laughing matter

Frans Hals’ portrait of a Laughing Cavalier, painted in 1642 when Hals was in his early forties, is one of the world’s best-known paintings.

I engaged with it in my childhood: at some quite early point therein, when I was already addicted to jigsaw puzzles, my Aunt Muriel gave me a several-hundred-piece one of Laughing Cavalier which, to my great pride, I completed.

Somehow I accomplished that and then passed through the subsequent seven decades without noticing, or having been told, that the Cavalier is not laughing, only smiling.

Art historian Robin Simon explains in the October issue of Literary Review while reviewing a new biography of Hals.

The funny thing about the Laughing Cavalier is that the cavalier isn’t laughing at all. He has a merry eye but is surely smiling, not laughing, beneath those famous whiskers. And that was just as it should be in 17th-century Haarlem, at least if you were of some social standing. Hals loved to show his sitters in good humour. Along with the legendary brushwork, this is the most distinguishing feature of his work. But heaven forfend that his sitters should actually laugh. Remember the advice of the 18th-century Lord Chesterfield to his son: “I would heartily wish, that you may often be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh while you live. Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners; it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things; and they call it being merry. In my mind, there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter.”

There was a crucial distinction between smiling and laughing and it had long been entrenched in European societies. We seem to have forgotten it, but it is one of the secrets to interpreting Hals’s art, where posh people smile and the lower classes laugh—indeed, in Hals’s pictures, they are often laughing their heads off. Hals never blurred the distinction.

So people of quality in premodern Europe (Hals’ dates are 1582-1666) did not laugh. Only proles laughed. Perhaps this was one of the restraints that was dropped with the rise of the Romantic Movement.

How manners change! If you could arrange for a time machine to drop you among 17th-century European gentlefolk, you’d find the company disconcertingly joyless, if not downright weird: nobody ever laughing, just … smiling.

Bookstores not yet extinct

A year ago I lamented the loss of my village’s bookstore, and the decline of bookstores in general.

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October 19th I had a dinner date at NYU in downtown Manhattan. I took the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station, walked the long 34th Street block to the Broadway Local subway station (still the BMT to us subway veterans), and boarded a train to take me to 8th Street as usual.

Thinking idle thoughts somewhere around the 23rd Street stop, I got to wondering if The Strand was still in business. It was New York City’s foremost independent bookstore way back when time began—which for me, so far as New York is concerned, was 1973. I hadn’t paid the store a visit for years, though; since moving out of the city in 1992, I think.

I still don’t own a smartphone. If I had one, I suppose I could have satisfied my curiosity online. In lieu thereof, and being early for my dinner date, I got off the subway at 14th Street to take a look. The Strand is at Broadway and 12th; I could walk the five short blocks from 12th to NYU.

Yes, The Strand is still there, and thriving.

At six o’clock on a weekday evening, it was crowded. Too crowded: after fifteen minutes happy browsing I headed to the checkout line with a book I wanted to buy. The line snaked way back through the store, though, and wasn’t moving much. I was no longer early for my dinner date and had five blocks to walk. I conscientiously took the book back to the shelf I’d found it on and bailed out.

I’m glad to know The Strand is still there, bucking the trend. And yes! they still buy used books. Gotta get down there with a few truckloads of mine

The transience of earthly glory

Standing around having pre-dinner drinks with some extremely smart people, the topic somehow came up: How far back can we trace the idea of romantic love? What was the earliest recorded instance?

One of the company promptly offered Jacob and Rachel (Genesis 29:xviii). The historicity there is dubious, but it was a sufficiently good answer that the conversation stalled.

Among the company was classicist Josh Katz, who was fired from his tenured professorship at Princeton for Wrongthink earlier this year, to the everlasting shame of that university and its spineless woke-enforcing president Christopher Eisgruber.

I happened to know from a previous conversation that Josh Katz has studied the Hittites and engaged with their language at some level. Trying to keep the topic alive, I asked him: “Are there love stories or love poems in the Hittite language?” He said yes, there are.

The conversation then went off in other directions and I didn’t pursue the matter. I was, though, glad to learn that the tender passion was known among the Hittites.

I’ve been nursing a mild fascination with the Hittites since reading Eric Cline’s 2014 book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.

Of all the great and potent empires of antiquity, theirs is the least known or remembered.

For centuries—all through the middle and later second millennium B.C.— they ruled over most of Anatolia. In the early thirteenth century B.C. they even took part of present-day Syria and pushed south down the east-Mediterranean coast towards Palestine.

Unfortunately this was just when Egypt under Rameses II (Yul Brynner to movie buffs) was pushing north up that same coast. Armies of the two empires met at the Battle of Kadesh, the earliest great clash of national armies for which we have reliable documentation. (The result was a tie.)

Thinking about the Hittites induces melancholy. Untold millions of people much like you, me, him, and her, living and loving, working and fighting, praying and worshipping, reading and writing, plotting and scheming, singing and dancing, befriending and betraying, for hundreds of years; yet we have forgotten all about them. The Hittites don’t even occupy tiny neglected corners of our minds, as the Egyptians and Babylonians do. Only one Hittite person is much known by name (see below) and he only to, I would guess, some single-digit percentage of present-day Americans.

This is doubly unfair because the Hittites were linguistically closer to us in common ancestry than Tutankhamen or Hammurabi. Their language was Indo-European, like ours but unlike Egyptian or Akkadian. The Hittite word for “water” was wātar; their verb “to be” was es-, close to Latin esse from which English gets “essence”; “woman” was guen-, close to Greek gyne and English “queen” … and so on. (I’m working from the lexicon here.)

It’s not as if the Hitties left us nothing at all. There are some fine ruins and lots of literature.

And then of course there’s their DNA. Like the ruins, it’s been knocked about some; but—also like the ruins—it’s still very informative.

That’s by way of advertising Razib Khan’s current series of posts on the population genetics of Anatolia. Nobody does pop-gen like Razib. Sample:

Of course, there are 22 references to the Hittites in the Hebrew Bible. These figure most prominently in the story of Uriah, a Hittite soldier whom King David explicitly ordered be put in harm’s way in battle so the king could take Uriah’s widow, Bathsheba, for himself, after Uriah’s death. [2 Samuel, Ch. 11.] But now we know the truth is that the “Hittites” of the Bible actually hailed from small Luvian and Aramaean statelets in Syria that had once been under the rule of Hatti [i.e. part of the Hittite Empire], but carried on independently until their 8th century A.D. [Razib surely means “B.C.”] conquest by the Assyrians (imagine colonial Italian Libya as all that was left of Italy after World War II). These Neo-Hittite principalities were of little account in the Bible, so early 20th-century archaeologists were shocked to discover they were the rump of a great civilization that had dominated Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Anatolia.

If the ancestors of the Hittites (and Luvians, Palans and Lydians) did arrive in the western and central regions of the [Anatolian] peninsula from the east before 3000 B.C., then they were the last major genetic input to the peninsula until the Byzantine loss at Manzikert opened up the interior to Turkic pastoralists at the end of the 11th century A.D. [Hittite Words, Byzantine Walls: what the West as we know it owes Anatolia’s empires, by Razib Khan; Substack, October 17, 2022.]

Disappointment of the Month

That was the 39th Annual Oyster Festival in the township of Oyster Bay, eight miles east of us, October 14th and 15th. We’d never attended the Oyster Festival before and thought it high time we gave it a try.

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What mainly disappointed was, there were no oysters to be seen. I like oysters. I was looking forward to oysters. What’s the point of calling something an Oyster Festival if there are no oysters on offer? We spent an hour and a half strolling among the crowds in streets lined with stalls selling tchotchkes, T-shirts, toys, and snack food, but … no oysters. Yo, guys: perhaps you should rename your township Tchotchke Bay.

True, we only arrived late on the 15th when things were starting to wind down. And on top of that, we had to cruise around for half an hour to find a parking space. And some of the snacks were delicious, as are the horseradish pickles we bought a jar of. (Sorry: “of which we bought …” aw, the heck with it.) The crowds were in high spirits, and it’s hard to feel sour amid throngs of people having a good time. Really, though: no oysters at the Oyster Festival?

There were no rides, either. I didn’t mind that, but it must have made the event boring for little kids.

At least my own municipal pride got a boost. Our township’s festival is way better. Наш лучше! (That’s what we media professionals call a segue. It’s also the punchline of an old Cold War joke: next segment.)

Spooks to crooks

Warning: I’m about to opine on movies, about which I know next to nothing. I have a handful of favorites I cherish, but most movies send me to sleep. I should really leave the movie criticism to Steve Sailer. However, the Mrs and I rent a DVD from Netflix for weekend watching, and where’s the fun of having an opinion column if I can’t occasionally bring forth an opinion from out of my own personal zones of ignorance?

Our mid-month rental was John Wick, a 2014 revenge flick starring Keanu Reeves. Eh, not bad; although Wick’s pistol marksmanship was improbably better than that of the umpteen villains shooting at him simultaneously.

Those villains were Russian gangsters, which I thought interesting. There were Russian movie villains way back in the Cold War years—Rosa Kleb!—and I guess Russians made such good villains Hollywood couldn’t let go of them. Back then they were intelligence operatives, now they’re gangsters. Spooks to crooks.

There is something about the Russian language and accent that makes it work. What Vladimir Nabokov called “my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue,” while perfect for poetry, can easily be made to sound dark.

It’s those palatalized consonants, I think: ny—, ty—, vy—, and the “hard ‘l ‘ ” that sounds like you’re swallowing something with difficulty, and “the sixty-one vowel” (ы) that non-Russians can never get right.**

The sounds of Russian can threaten as well as soothe, transmit a cruel sneer as easily as a sweet lisp. Yes, Russian is the ideal language for villainy.

I’m sure someone must have plotted the trajectories of movie-villain ethnicity down through the decades. Brit villains have held steady, I think. Nothing—well, nothing not Russian—says “villainy” like a dry, sarcastic, upper-class Brit accent. Anthony Hopkins was the last one to register with me, but I’m sure the line continues. Nazi villains of course long outlasted the actual Nazi Party: there were some in The Sum of All Fears (2002), if I remember right.

Did the early-21st-century panic about Islamic terrorism offer us any Muslim villains? I had given up on movies by that point, other than to please my wife. I remember Arab terrorists in True Lies, but that was mid-1990s, before the panic.

Probably our neurosis about race is in play there. To show Muslim movie terrorists would be islamophobic—eeeek! Best to keep the villains white. Blacks in today’s movies are solving crimes or putting astronauts in orbit. Chinese? Not since the 1960s rash of Fu Manchu flicks; and the villain there was Christopher Lee—a Brit in yellowface.

I predict that Russian movie villains will lead the pack for many more years yet, with Brits and Nazis in supporting roles, nonwhites nowhere to be seen.

—————————
** “Make an ‘oo’ sound but with your lips shaped for an ‘ee’ sound” were the instructions I got from my own Russian coach. Uh-huh. Having—at an early age, under the patient guidance of my older sister—mastered the art of patting my head while simultaneously rubbing my tummy, I thought a mere manipulation of the vocal apparatus would be a breeze, or a brыze, but … it isn’t.

Oh, the old Cold War joke? It was a spoof on the fact that in Soviet propaganda to their own people, everything Soviet was superior to its American equivalent. So:

Boris is a senior Soviet official, a Politburo member. Nadya is his wife. Boris acquires a mistress, one of the dancers at the Bolshoi Ballet. Nadya finds out from a third party. Confronted, Boris confesses but won’t give any further details.

The next time Boris and Nadya attend a performance of the Bolshoi together, when the corps de ballet is on stage facing the audience, Nadya scans them with her opera glasses looking for the pretty ones. “Is it that one with dark hair third from the left?” she asks Boris.

“No,” he replies, “that’s Polyansky’s mistress.”

She continues scanning. “Is it that very blonde one just right of center?”

“Yes,” says Boris. “That’s the one.”

Nadya gives a sigh of satisfaction. “Ah! Nasha luchshe.” (Ours is better.)

Math corner

The Pan-African Math Olympiad. Nationwide and international math competitions offer us race realists the opportunity to sit back, relax, and shoot fish in a barrel.

In between the nationwide and the international competitions there are what I guess we should call “continental” ones, like the annual Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO). The winners of the 2022 PAMO were announced back in July; I apologize for not having posted sooner.

Morocco’s national team achieved outstanding results at the 29th edition of the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad, placing first in both the individual and team categories.

Moroccan student Mouad El Noua won first place in the individual category with a score of 24 out of 24. The Moroccan national team ranked first in the teams’ category, alongside Tunisia, with both teams receiving a score of 152. South Africa finished third with 119 points. [“Morocco, Tunisia Win Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad 2022” by Sara Zouiten; Morocco World News, July 5th 2022.]

Oh, that South African team? Here they are.

And let’s not forget “the top young mathematician in Africa” back in 2016.

Progress on the Riemann Hypothesis? Nine years ago here at VDARE.com I reported having attended a dinner for Prof. Yitang Zhang, a number theorist who had just resolved a long-outstanding conjecture in that field.

I found Prof. Zhang to be a cheerful and engaging fellow. Math is his whole life, though. A total loner, he cares nothing about money, status, or academic rank: he just wants to solve math problems. Another Paul Erdős, in fact.

In 2016, Zhang was made a tenured professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But he didn’t have many teaching tasks, and he just liked to stay at the school and think. He also had no research pressure, because he didn’t need to publish papers continuously to receive more funds.

In fact, after becoming famous, loneliness was Zhang’s normal state, but he still maintains strong concentration and acumen. He dedicated all his remaining time to the major problem he had been determined to work on since his youth—the Landau-Siegel zeros conjecture. [“Mathematician Yitang Zhang’s Pursuit of the Landau-Siegel Zeros Conjecture“; Pandaily (a China-tech webzine), October 18th 2022.]

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Well, in a (Chinese) online forum, Prof. Zhang says he believes he has resolved the vexed issue of Landau-Siegel zeros. If he has—we’ll have to wait a few weeks for his paper to be formally published—then his result will have implications all over number theory. It might, for example, resolve—that is, either prove or disprove—the fabulous Riemann Hypothesis.

If you have an hour and nineteen minutes to spare you can watch a YouTube clip of Prof. Zhang talking about Landau-Siegel zeros at the Institute for Advanced Study here.

Brainteaser solution. Instead of a brainteaser this month, here’s a solution to a brainteaser.

I introduce the solution thus.

—————————

In the Math Corner of my January 2021 Diary I included the following brainteaser, which I’d found in the “Problems” section of the January 2021 MAA Monthly. The problem was submitted by Jovan Vukmirovic of Belgrade, Serbia.

Problem: Let x1, x2, and x3 be real numbers, and define xn for n ≥ 4 by xn = max{xn−3, xn−1} − xn−2. Show that the sequence x1, x2, … is either convergent or eventually periodic, and find all triples (x1, x2, x3) for which it is converegent.

I added the following comments:

Well, that caught my eye so I fiddled with it for a couple of hours … and got absolutely nowhere. Usually I can at least glimpse a way to the solution, even when I can’t be bothered to slog my way through to the end. Here I got no handle on the thing at all.

The time lag between a problem’s being posed [i.e. in the MAA Monthly] and its solution being posted is considerable; average about fifteen months, I think. So if you are stumped by a problem in this January 2021 issue, you’ll probably have to wait until Spring of 2022 to be destumped

So now I have to wait until next year for a worked solution, unless some reader more mathematically adept than I am—not a high bar—can help me out.

No reader could; and the time lag on this one was actually twenty-one months. A solution appeared in the October 2022 MAA Monthly.

I can’t truthfully say I’d been holding my breath those twenty-one months. After that early fruitless fiddling I’d forgotten all about Vukmirovic’s problem. Seeing the solution in this October 2022 issue, though, I thought I should present it and pass some general comments.

—————————

That’s the introduction. I’ve copied it over from here, where it is followed by the full solution.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History, Ideology • Tags: Francis Fukuyama 
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  1. Notsofast says:

    hey, for all you leaf blowing and raking idiots, how about just letting mother nature take her course and allowing them to return their nutrients to to the soil from which they came? nothing more american than leaf blowing.

  2. China is already well on the way there. [Orwellian Totalitarianism with the help of electronics, bringing bad things to life.]

    Indeed. You’ve written that you have read Kai Strittmatter’s We Have Been Harmonized. That book will scare the bejesus out of any freedom-loving individual. Peak Stupidity went hog-wild with a 4-part review: Part 1 – – Part 2 – – Part 3 – – Part 4.

    Regarding the leaf blowers, I can barely recall the taunts of “get a rake, man!” in the early 1980s. About 5 years ago, when my latest cheap China-made rake was breaking, I quit raking cold turkey. I went electric too, and cordless. That latter was only due to that I blow off the roof a couple of times a year. (2 minutes of fun beats 10x that much in non-fun sweeping.) As much as a cord model is the ultimate in simplicity and lack of expense, I didn’t want a cord to catch something and send me to my death.

    Now, the battery gives me a 30 minute union break every 18 minutes, the break interval dwindling to 7 minutes after 3 years, at which time I got a new $100 battery. My yard is just a tad bigger than yours, but I have trees that drop the utmost in biomass for a 7 month period!

    I will see if I can read Mr. Cline’s book on the sudden decline of the Hittites, though it’s number 2 or 3 in line. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Finally, I’m glad the couch made it inside. I hope you or whoever can sell it with the house. I am neither a Communist nor an Agenda 2030 Globalist, but sometimes I do wish we would all just buy and sell furnished places. It’s not usually the people that desire all the fancy stuff that are the ones moving it around. (I helped a friend of mine move to 4 different places in the same city, and each time there was that same 25 lb bag of rice …)

  3. @Notsofast

    Not with the leaves I’ve got, unfortunately. They would kill the lawn completely. They become mulch for the areas with the bushes.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  4. meamjojo says:

    It’s October and the leaves are falling. Having fallen, they have to be gathered up and disposed of.
    ——–
    No you don’t. You can leave them on the lawn to rot and return their nutriments to the soil, which is the cycle of how Nature works.

    Why You Should Leave the Leaves
    Savvy gardeners know that keeping fallen leaves on their property benefits wildlife and the environment
    Laura Tangley | Garden for Wildlife | Oct 01, 2015
    ….
    https://www.nwf.org/Magazines/National-Wildlife/2015/OctNov/Gardening/Leave-the-Leaves

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Yes, there’s really “something extremely robust in Western societies”, only that those aren’t real free and open ones, but totalitarian in their own specific way as “the dictatorship of the minorities” (© Wolfgang Gereon).

  6. Lord Chesterfield to his son: “I would heartily wish, that you may often be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh while you live. Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners; it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things; and they call it being merry. In my mind, there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter.”

    Someone please forward this sturdy bit of advice to one Tucker Carlson, whose infernal, high-pitched cackling makes me especially grateful for written transcripts.

    Congrats on the Transposition of the Beast. I might myself have called it impossible.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Verymuchalive
  7. I concur with the whining about leaf blowers.

    Writing about Big Tech censorship and control in “totalitarian” China and Russia without mentioning the Exceptional! deployment in the USA is typical cluelessness (or fealty?) from Mr. Derbyshire.

    Yet he’s still Dissident, Right?

  8. dearieme says:
    @HammerJack

    Frequent and loud laughter seems to be his bugbear.

    Perhaps he would permit a chuckle occasionally?

    If even a chuckle were to be banned I’d treat that as Chesterfield’s Offence.

  9. Mr. Derbyshire, I also wanted to comment on that amazing period at “the End of History”. I don’t think it was ended as late as the 2000s with 9/11. There was that couple of years of the downfall of the Soviet Union and East Bloc. At the end of that there was the big Tiananmen Square protest.

    You may be a big China hand, I know a little, but 98% of Americans were not keeping track of Chairman Deng’s reforms and what-have-you. What most of us (I didn’t know much about the place either then) were aware of was just that big protest with the mobile statue of liberty and the tanks eventually rolling in. Before the whole thing was broken up, one could be forgiven for thinking that the huge turnarounds of the arch-enemy USSR and ending of the 40 year-long Cold War and then the quick transition of the formerly mysterious political black hole of China was The End of History.

    Then, New York businessmen looted Russia, the “peace dividend” from what we thought would be a wind-down from the Cold War was squandered by the Neocons, instead of being disbanded, NATO was used to push Russia into a corner, continual war in the Middle East was implemented, and the goodwill toward America built up around the world from America’s long defense against World Communism was blown… all that started slowly during the 1990s, but built up steam after the Balkins and then, yes, 9/11.

    Yet there were those few years from ’87 through the mid-1990s, when the End of History hadn’t ended yet. Here’s a song from right there, right then:

    “Right here, right now, watching the world wake up from history.”

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  10. dearieme says:

    We make leaf mould from our leaves. But when we lived in Oz we paid people to take our gum leaves away: recalcitrant buggers, eucalypt leaves. And when you rake them you can find snakes wriggling out. In Oz you must treat all snakes as venomous unless you have awfully good reason to know otherwise.

    A question for Aussies: do leaf blowers annoy the snakes and make them more aggressive?

  11. John

    Since you mentioned leafblowers……

    For years, there was a setup right by the boat ramp 25A Cold Spring Harbor…..crystal clear spring water up from aquifer through a pipe and gaucet…..Cold Spring Harbor-Woodbury-Syosset were built right on top this aquifer….

    For years, the Korean Foreigners who now own Syosset would bring their plastic and glass containers and fill them up ….It looked as if the Syosset Koreans believed this acquirer water had salubrious and magical power….

    One hot summer day, a sweaty unbearable August day…Pepe the leaf-blower and his leaf-blower Pepe friends stopped by for a drink to cool off…..

    The dirty shirts came off…and the Pepe and friends washed them selves off-which included rubbing up against the faucet….

    After the the showered themselves off…one by one…the Pepes opened their mouth and clamped on with their lips onto the faucet for a suckle…..

    I never had the heart to tell the Syosset Koreans about their precious aquifer water….

    Not too long afterward….the Town of Huntington sealed of the aquifer spout because it was considered a health hazard…

    The Wealthy can push Pepe the Leafblower out of their neighborhood….but the Rivers of Raw Sewage…Leprosy….and tuberculosis is coming..…it is surely coming for Martha’s Vineyard-flowing over the brick walls…the continuity equation guarantees that this is gonna happen……Such Foolish Creatures the very Wealthy….gurgle…gurgle…on the raw untreated sewage….gurgle…gurgle…gulp…..

  12. John

    The Proctor High School Fight…..Asian kid defeats the Somalian….

    Utica was demographically annihilated by serial rapist Bill Clinton’s Invade the World Invite The World Nation Destroying Policy….

    John Zogby lives in Utica…..Bill Clinton used to call John Zogby’s 90 year old mother for advice…..

    Utica for years was called the armpit of New York State…It wasn’t always that way from Colonial Era America thru the 1950’s……..The Negro Great Migration North destroyed Utica+serious fucking Mafia problem in the 1970s……and now it’s got a growing tech hub….to be handed over to Greater China and Greater India….something called the H1B visa program…Have you heard of this thing called the H1B Visa Program John?

    I think Annette Funicello went to Proctor High School…

    Bill Clinton

    John Wayne Gacey

    Paul Pelosi

    Underneath the Floorboards

    The smell of decomposition

  13. KenR says:

    FWIW, this weekend marks the oyster festival of Urbana, Virginia. It’s a locally famous and long-running oyster festival. Urbana is, however, a small tidewater town. Nevertheless, it has its charms and there will be oysters. Lots and lots of oysters!!!

  14. Then came the 2000s: Islamic terrorism, the rise of Putin, and the clear determination of China’s leaders that economic opening not be accompanied by any serious political reform.

    Or, the Chinese Way was, “We will compromise our economic sovereignty but never our political sovereignty.”

    When the West speaks of ‘democratic reforms’, it usually means loss of national political sovereignty and rule by flunkies of WEF, an outfit taking its orders from Jews.

    By the way, even though the Communist Party did remain in power, there were big reforms in governance in China. China since the1990s isn’t like Maoist rule with capitalism. It’s not like Soviet rule under Brezhnev where reform was impossible. While politics is hardly free in China, real changes were made and considerable experimentation took place in political culture and succession.

    After the Maoist hell, China feared the rise of a strong leader and prior to Xi had been headed by men who were given 10 yrs. This was indeed advantageous in preventing a new cult of personality. On the downside, there was no inspired national leadership since each leader was expected to leave after 10 yrs, so they focused mainly on management and not on vision and meaning.
    I’m doubtful Xi will be wise visionary leader, but he has given shape and purpose to China’s place in the world whereas earlier leaders were mostly about getting along with the West deemed dominant.

  15. The century that began full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy seems at its close to be returning full circle to where it started: not to “an end of ideology” or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as earlier predicted, but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

    Say what? If, at the end of the 20th century, mankind was returning full circle to the “self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy” that was current (although by no means universal) around 1900, might not Fukuyama’s readers reasonably expect the 21st century to be blighted by political horrors like Leninism, Hitlerism, and Maoism, as the 20th century was?

    Come on. What he meant was obvious. He was saying the West had all these good ideas about progress in the early 20th century but there were still too many opposing forces both among the reactionaries and radicals. Thus, liberalism was thrown around a seas of aristocratic tendencies and radical visions. Liberalism had to swim alongside the aristocratic sharks who brought about WWI and then with fascist sharks that gave us WWII. Then, it had to contend with communism. But aristocracy is gone for good, fascism was totally defeated, and then communism went away too. So, finally at the end of the 20th century, liberalism was the only ideology standing and thriving.

    So, liberalism had been a promise of the future in the 2oth century but not a certainty. But because the US won out at the end of the 20th century, liberalism was proven correct. It was the last man standing.

    Where is Fuku wrong?

    Fascism was defeated militarily but not ideologically. Unlike communism that lost out in peace time, fascism lost in war. Given the recent developments in China and Russia, fascism works, even though no one calls it that.

    Also, the triumph of liberalism has a lot to do with US being a bountiful country with vastness of resources. Without the US, could liberalism have won? And did the US grow powerful due to liberalism? Partly, as liberalism allowed free enterprise and etc. But autocratic Germany developed rapidly in the 19th century, and if US had been colonized by autocratic Germans than by liberal Anglos, me thinks it would have done just as well economically if not better.

    Finally, the liberalism failed in the West because Jewish tribal supremacism took over. Jews don’t serve liberalism but make it serve Jewish tribal supremacism. This isn’t a workable formula for long. Jews deracinating non-Jews while demanding they support Jewish supremacism.

    Globo-Homo isn’t liberal. Tolerating homos is liberal. But celebrating homosexuality and making it compulsory to bend over to globo-homo is degenerate tyranny. It’s a new theocracy of perversion.

    And there is the black factor. Whatever their ideology, blacks destroy civilization. Blacks can choose Christianity or paganism or capitalism or communism. What they do to civilization is what they did to Detroit and have also done to Minneapolis.

    This has been made even worse by Northern White Protestant mentality of puritanism that seeks new redemptions. Jews offered BLM and globo-homo, and soulless northern European post-protestant types are now puritanical about those new gods. Such isn’t true secularism and liberalism.

  16. lloyd says: • Website

    “With he pushing from above and they pulling from below.” As John Derbyshire was an English teacher in China, that is an excellent example of the atrocious state of English grammar in East Asian countries. East Asia, indeed all countries not ex British colonies, assumed every Western Graduate would be an expert in the English language. They were half a century out of date.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  17. DanFromCT says:

    When does Mr. Derbyshire believe it’s time to stop the limp-wristed academic twaddle and take to the streets as the Dems do? To paraphrase Lenin’s reply to Kautski, “Why should we reply to Kautski? He’ll reply to us, we’ll have to reply to him again, and there’ll be no end to it. It will be sufficient that we denounce Jews as the enemy of mankind and everyone will at once understand everything.” The Jews are primarily responsible for sexually mutilating the most innocent of our children—the very citizens most deserving of America’s love and protection—and the Republican response is talk intended to prevent reaction. Any disagreement?

  18. @Notsofast

    I’ve just had a brilliant idea. Why not take a leaf-blower and reverse it? Suck instead of blow. Instead of blasting leaves and dust every which way, you could collect everything in a bag and empty the bag into the trash box. So simple! Why nobody ever thought of this? I am be billionaire!!! We call it Leaf, Sucker!

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  19. Why don’t gas powered leaf blowers have silencers, like automobile engines do?

    Yes, I’m aware that it is the long snoot that accounts for much of the noise, since it is a resonance chamber of more or less exactly the right length for dominant frequency of sound for the engine running at constant speed.

    But surely that too could be engineered to attenuate the sound somewhat, with baffles and such?

  20. Mark G. says:

    Putin is a corrupt authoritarian but not as bad as Lenin or Stalin. Xi is a corrupt authoritarian but not as bad as Mao. We didn’t reach the end of history, but we did reach the end of Marxism. Marxism has been discredited by its failure wherever it was tried and will not be making a comeback.

    We are now closing in on another failure, this time in the U.S. This is the failure of the big government liberalism that started with the Progressive movement at the beginning of the 20th century and picked up speed with FDR and LBJ. Signs that this wasn’t working as advertised first started appearing in the seventies. This was a period of rising crime, increasing inflation and the appearance of nonstop budget deficits. It resulted in the election of the reformer Reagan.

    Reagan failed. The public wasn’t really ready to accept the reforms needed and accompanying pain and decided it wanted to kick the can down the road. Since that time the can keeps getting bigger and harder to kick. After the 2008 financial crisis and the failed Middle East wars, an increasing number of people here realized that reforms were now urgently needed. This resulted in the Tea Party movement and then the election of Trump. Trump, like Reagan, didn’t succeed but we are seeing now the final discrediting of big government liberalism. The country grows angrier as it watches rising crime, increasing levels of illegal immigration, high inflation, large yearly budget deficits, decreasing life expectancy, a foreign intervention that may lead to World War III, and a Covid response designed to maximize profits for big pharma and the medical cartel. Government officials have responded with attempts at censorship and gaslighting the public. This isn’t working and the Democrats are about to get a shellacking in the upcoming election.

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  21. My leaf blower has a reversable flow and a bag attachment to become a leaf sucker. And I don’t have one, but the lawn sweepers I’ve seen on youtube seem to work well if you have a fairly flat yard. Principle is the same as the old carpet sweeper.

  22. @Mark G.

    This isn’t working and the Democrats are about to get a shellacking in the upcoming election.

    So what?

    It’s all working just fine for the Establishment as long as naive Americans keep kicking that can (of shellac, aka Red+Blue politics) to the next Most Important Election Ever.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  23. dearieme says:
    @lloyd

    “With he pushing from above and they pulling from below.”

    Do you prefer the rather slack

    “With him pushing from above and them pulling from below”

    or the correct but rather old-fashioned

    “With his pushing from above and their pulling from below”?

  24. He is a political scientist of depth, with a solid grounding in history and philosophy. He does, though, have a way of expressing himself that sometimes leaves you—well, me—wondering what the heck point he’s trying to make.

    Thought this too when reading him. A bit rubbber-gumm-like, his mind at times. Seems to be an Asian thing to me. The gey zone instead of the black and white contrasts of traditional Western thinking.

  25. @Badger Down

    That’d be just a big Shop-vac, Mr. Down, but with a bigger container. I think it’s easier to use a mulching mower than to vacuum a whole yard. (Keep in mind that air can’t flow in the way it flows out.)

    I hate the noise as much as anyone*, but I will say there are some advantages over raking beyond saving labor. Rakes will tear up some of the shoots from the centipede style grass. Trying to rake leaves OUT of shrubbery or over monkey grass or flowers also tears things up.

    Finally, it’s not much fun to rake a cat, but blowing a cat (or your kid) with the leaf blower? Priceless! They do get wise quickly, as with the squirting water straight up in the air, and telling the cat it’s fixing to rain bit.

    Want more fun? If you have something that’s not burning well, such as the half-rotten stump pieces I had, put the blower up to the lame-ass fire you have. It’ll sound like a jet engine. Also, you can fill the wheelbarrow with fireplace ash, and then aim in with the blower.

    .

    * And for Piltdown Man, whatever baffles you have will reduce the energy (1/2 mv^2) of the air flow. Baffles are great for things (like guns) in which the outward air flow is not the main point.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  26. Political Scientist Richard Hanania opened the month with a Fukuyaman bugle call at his Substack account.

    After scoffing at the notion that Muslim fundamentalism is any kind of threat to advanced nations….

    I’m sure there were Romans who scoffed at the notion that Rome would fall to barbarian tribes, but it happened all the same.

    I stick with the prediction based on what Mark Steyn has said, that Muslims will outbreed us in the West and that we (that is, our elites) don’t have the will to prevent their imposing shari’a on us. Just last night I listened to a liberal woman saying she was glad her three kids weren’t going to have any kids because things are too awful (in terms of climate change and so on) to bring any new humans into the world.

  27. “How far back can we trace the idea of romantic love? What was the earliest recorded instance?”
    Silly bugger. ‘Love’ started long before humanity. It was always about survival. It was always about the female of the species choosing the best male for her children.
    Which is why rich men choosing dumb women ain’t really going to work that way.

    • Replies: @JustAnotherPerson
  28. @JustAnotherPerson

    What is going to happen has already happened; it is that there will be a huge vaccuum of knowledge between the man (or woman) who had the brains to make it; and their offspring. Who don’t.
    ‘Many an empire has fallen when the leader has tried to pass on his vision to his undeserving progeny.’
    You can see that happening all over the world; especially in America.
    Put your feet on the street to prevent the coming nuclear war. Nobody is smarter than you when you want to prevent war!

  29. @Achmed E. Newman

    Then, American Jewish banksters looted Russia, the “peace dividend” from what we thought would be a wind-down from the Cold War was deliberately destroyed by the Neocons, instead of being disbanded, NATO was used to push Russia into a corner, continual war in the Middle East was implemented to make the Middle East safe for Israel – it didn’t – and the sufferance of America built up around the world from America’s long defense against World Communism was blown… all that started quickly, after the Ziocon takeover of US Government in 1993, and has continued ever since, especially after the 9/11 Zionist false flag.

    There. Fixed it.

    One thing I do agree with Paul Craig Roberts. The Ziocons have cheated America and the World out of 30 years of (comparative) peace, when we could have been rectifying our own internal problems.

  30. @HammerJack

    Tucker Carlson?
    Infernal high-pitched cackling?

    Kamala Harris, I’ll grant you. No written transcripts desired or required.

  31. Anonymous[287] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Eco-lover morons are too simple-minded to understand concepts like allelopathy.

  32. Anonymous[287] • Disclaimer says:
    @meamjojo

    Nature with a capital N, huh? Got ourselves a grade-A neopaganist dipshit here. All the turds from the stray animals and homeless people everywhere provide more nutrients for soil than leaves ever did. Most suburban soils have too many damn nutrients to begin with.

  33. @Achmed E. Newman

    The solution is to run over the yard twice. Once mulching, then collecting the 1/7 of the original volume of leaf.

    • Agree: Old Prude
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