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With the world becoming so stupid, by design, there is no mind or focus left to pay attention to any of the arts, so beauty is increasingly perverted and language sickens, by design.

Numbed by nonstop media sewage, just about every man is divorced from his own thoughts even, so of course he can barely read anything, much less understand it. There is no reflection or contemplation left, and even remembering is difficult.

Since all serious writing is neglected, Norman Lewis is just another ignored writer. Still, I want to draw your attention to one of his most resonant passages. It is pertinent now.

The setting is Naples in 1944, a war-torn, starving city where “the Middle Ages had returned to display all their deformities, their diseases, and their desperate trickeries.”

Lewis is in a restaurant that’s freezing and stinks of sewers, where horsemeat is served as veal. All the other diners are dressed in coats made from stolen blankets, but they are the lucky ones, for they can afford to eat:

No attempt was made to isolate the customers from the street. Ragged, hawk-eyed boys — the celebrated scugnizzi of Naples — wandered among the tables ready to dive on any crust that appeared to be overlooked, or to snatch up leftovers before they could be thrown to the cats. Once again I couldn’t help noticing the intelligence — almost the intellectuality — of their expressions. No attempt was made to chase them away. They were simply treated as nonexistent. The customers had withdrawn from the world while they communed with their food. An extraordinary cripple was dragged in, balancing face downwards on a trolley, only a few inches from the ground, arms and legs thrust out in spider fashion. Nobody took his eyes off his food for one second to glance down at him. This youth could not use his hands. One of the scugnizzi hunted down a piece of bread for him, turned his head sideways to stuff it between his teeth, and he was dragged out.

Suddenly five or six little girls between the ages of nine and twelve appeared in the doorway. They wore hideous straight black uniforms buttoned under their chins, and black boots and stockings, and their hair had been shorn short, prison-style. They were all weeping, and as they clung to each other and groped their way towards us, bumping into chairs and tables, I realised they were all blind. Tragedy and despair had been thrust upon us, and would not be shut out. I expected the indifferent diners to push back their plates, to get up and hold out their arms, but nobody moved. Forkfuls of food were thrust into open mouths, the rattle of conversation continued, nobody saw the tears.

Lattarullo explained that these little girls were from an orphanage on the Vomero, where he had heard — and he made a face — conditions were very bad. They had been brought down here, he found out, on a half-day’s outing by an attendant who seemed unable or unwilling to stop them from being lured away by the smell of food.

The experience changed my outlook. Until now I had clung to the comforting belief that human beings eventually come to terms with pain and sorrow. Now I understood I was wrong, and like Paul I suffered a conversion — but to pessimism. These little girls, any one of whom could be my daughter, came into the restaurant weeping, and they were weeping when they were led away. I knew that, condemned to everlasting darkness, hunger and loss, they would weep on incessantly. They would never recover from their pain, and I would never recover from the memory of it.

Since it’s so richly evocative, we can go on discussing forever, but here’s my poor take on it. First of, what would you have done? Lewis took Lattarullo out because he knew his friend was hungry, and they ordered macaroni, so it wasn’t like they were whooping it up.

Still, Lewis had money, presumably enough to buy all six girls dinner, but what about all the hungry scugnizzi? They weren’t just swarming outside the restaurant’s door, but all over Naples, and what about the child prostitutes, who weren’t just starving but routinely raped?

Since no one can save everybody, even if he wants to, he should help whomever he can, you may be saying, but are you doing that, and to what extent?

Like all those diners hunched over his miserable food, we are basically hoarders, all of us, for we just love to commune with our private pleasures as we withdraw from the world. We’ve earned these respites from our own suffering, damn it, for each of us is shortchanged and starving, if only figuratively.

What you have in Naples is a collision between the haves and have nots, and it’s so jarring because, normally, restaurants are the most segregated places. Menus placed outside prevent the insufficiently funded from entering, but even without clearly stated prices, the riffraff know better than to march into an establishment that’s too finely appointed.

Even lowest end eateries are exclusive, however, for in each society, there are indigents who can’t afford to eat anywhere, including at home, if they have one. Every city, then, has echoes of Naples in 1944. The abjectly poor, we will always have, nearby enough.

So what, you may be saying, most of the poor are that way because they have made bad choices, have dissolute habits or are just plain stupid. They can’t compete. Society would be better off if its losers would just die off, a natural process, and hasn’t this how it has always been?

ORDER IT NOW

For nearly all of human history, the poor have always bred less, had fewer surviving children and be the first to die from any disease, or just starvation, and this is great, argues Gregory Clark in A Farewell to Alms, for it allows survivors to enjoy a higher standard of living.

Society is dragged down by its weakest members, and none is more of a burden than those who contribute nothing, such as the very old or disabled, like those weeping blind girls in Naples. Thank God there are plagues to flush down shitholes these useless eaters.

Clark, “If we understand the Malthusian model we see that the plague was not the harsh judgment of a vengeful Old Testament God on a sinful Europe, but merely a mild reproof by a beneficent New Age–style deity. We saw that the plague, by increasing death rates at any given material living standard, raised living standards all across Europe in these years.”

Instead of fearing the coronavirus, we should rejoice and welcome another visit by this beneficent New Age Goddess. Let us pray she won’t hesitate to give our messy house a thorough cleaning. Soon, there will be more of everything to go around, except traffic jams.

If you’re knocked off, then you’re already on your last crippled or gangrened legs, morbidly obese or astoundingly unlucky, but life is riddled with dangers. Shit happens. Be a good sport.

Aren’t you exhausted? I am. So many lives are being ruined. As we put on masks, our rulers take theirs off. Shielded from us losers, they keep on feasting as we stumble about, as blind as ever.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Coronavirus, Poverty 
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  1. Polemos says:

    Thank you for going on. You might be blind but not for a lack of vision. You might be silenced but not for a lack of words.

  2. Lewis’ book Naples ’44: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/28/naples-44-norman-lewis-rereading

    Bleak, bleak, bleak.

    I was a kid in the 1970s in one of the US’s semi-states, Hawaii. I can tell you, you can be skinny and starving and no one will give a fuck about you. Not your school teachers, not other kids, not neighbors, not relatives, and not your parents if they can possibly squirm out of it.

    Intellectually, I know it’s the norm for parents to sacrifice themselves to feed their children, say “I’m not hungry” or “I ate earlier” while they give the last slice of bologna and bread to their hungry kid. But that is something I will never understand at the gut level. My parents were overweight; we kids were skinny as rails.

    If you’re a kid and smaller and weaker, you deserve what you get, which is not much, or nothing. That’s how American culture works.

    But indeed, as the Middle Ages returned to Naples, the evils of the Age Of Manifest Destiny may well return to the US multiplied, and we will deserve it.

    Whites are not worth saving. Iks who can read and drive cars.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  3. Soviet Russia in the 1960s and 70s did not have abject poor like the blind girls and the scugnizzi.

    Russia did in the 1990s. Lots of them.

    Soviet Russia, for all its faults, fed its people. Not much. But enough. The poor are not always with us. They are with us because we allow it.

  4. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:

    At the HSM-51 change-of-command ceremony the other day. No masks! No social distancing! All y’all gonna get it now!
    Or maybe not. (koff…)

    • Replies: @Morton's toes
  5. HalconHigh says: • Website

    Linh…My name is William. I am 65 years old living in Glendale, AZ.
    Have been reading you for years and love your insights.
    Wish you were still here in the good Ol’ USA but hey, you tell it like it is and y’know how they hate that.
    Looking forward to your next article.
    Thank You

  6. Franz says:

    Society would be better off if its losers would just die off, a natural process, and hasn’t this how it has always been?

    William Kristol said exactly that about the beleaguered American working class just before some of them voted (to zero effect) for Donald Trump.

    Kristol said: “Why don’t they just die and get it over with?”

    Soon, he’ll be taking off his mask, step over the corpses and say, NEXT!

    There’s us mere mortals and the permanently immune.

  7. Levtraro says:

    In a truly natural world, the blind girls would be food. So even in that scene from Lewis, there was still a lot of humanity. Also, this virus has taken a lot of wealthy people out, at least at the start, because wealthy people travel more and meet with lots more people than average joe.

  8. For nearly all of human history, the poor have always

    bred less,

    False. The bottom 2 quintiles have always had the highest fertility rates. That’s an empirical regularity in demography (rising income ‘flattens the curve‘ of population growth – even more than female education).

    had fewer surviving children

    False. The bottom two quintiles have historically had ~30-50% attrition (so 6 pregnancies would result in 3 or 4 kids who survived past their 5th year), but the survivors-per-family would still outnumber survivors-per-family from the top 3 quintiles, combined.

    and be the first to die from any disease, or just starvation

    True, and true – so long as you’re focused on urban poor, whose living conditions involve poor hygiene, and a lot of vermin and squalor.

    Rural poor tended to have a much better time of things at all levels: lower infant mortality; smaller families; lower disease burden and less starvation (because of more capacity to grow their own food). Better living conditions than their urban counterparts, too. That’s true even to the present day.

    The best historical example is the Black Plagues – they crushed the urban poor, but resulted in over a century of real income growth for low-skilled rural labour (because of a huge increase in bargaining power as a result of scarcity).

    Even today, it is mainly urban poverty that is strongly linked to obesity, diabetes and metabolic disease. Rural poverty is less linked to diseases associated with poor nutrition, and more linked to disease associated with depression, alcoholism and drug abuse.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @gT
  9. swamped says:

    “Since all serious writing is neglected, Norman Lewis is just another ignored writer. Still, I want to draw your attention to one of his most resonant passages. It is pertinent now”…as perchance may be another even more ignored writer of the same era, Kurt Eric Suckertt, son of a German father & Italian mother who used the pen name, Curzio Malaparte; who also experienced Naples during the War as an officer in the newly formed Italian Co-Belligerent Army (formed to fight alongside British and American troops against the Germans). A few years afterward in 1949, like Lewis, he produced another, even more neglected, reportorial style novel of war-torn Naples too, called ‘La Pelle’ (The Skin).
    In one of his own resonant passages Malaparte muses: “But after the liberation men had to fight in order to live. It is a humiliating, horrible thing, a shameful necessity, a fight for life. Only to save one’s own skin. It is no longer a fight against oppression, a fight for freedom, for human dignity, for honor. …I preferred the war to the plague. ..The plague had been able to achieve more in a few days than tyranny had done in twenty years of universal humiliation, or war in three years of hunger, grief and atrocious suffering. These people who bartered themselves, their honor, their bodies and the flesh of their own children in the streets – could they possibly be the people who a few days before, in those same streets, had given such conspicuous and horrible proof of their courage and fire in face of German opposition?”
    And then in a later passage, Malaparte laments:
    “The imbeciles and the madmen, together with the partisan groups, had taken to the maquis and were fighting at the side of the Allies or swinging from the lampposts in the city squares. But the wise and the prudent, all those who one day, with the danger over, would laugh at us and our mud-spattered and bloodstained uniforms, were there in their secure hiding places, awaiting the moment when they could come out into the square uttering cries of ‘Long live freedom!’”

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  10. Escher says:

    Great article as always.
    The ruling class has now finally stopped even pretending to care about the common folk, funneling trillions to bail itself out from its risky bets, while throwing a few crumbs at the hoi polloi.
    Unlike the kings of yore, they don’t even consider their countries and fellow citizens as a patrimony to be protected and nurtured.

    • Agree: MrFoSquare, nokangaroos
  11. I love the current “we’re all in this together” knee-jerk propaganda.
    We maybe able to scientifically establish that the worse things become the LESS we are “all in this together”.
    (reminds me of a UK Blitz story — they played up “togetherness” then too. London, a 5 star restaurant is serving delicacies to our betters. The Germans, rude & Ill -mannered as usual, decided to chuck around bombs here & there, with all the general precision of a farmer throwing seeds, shouting: chook-chook-chook! Here chook ! (1).
    One bomb hit the restaurant. Naturally, a catastrophe. Dead & dying all over.
    This caused some consternation , even excitement amongst the local hoi polloi. They went through that place like a storm of Fagans & Artful Dodgers. Greasy smoke. Fire. Long flickering shadows….. And.
    The tell tale sound of approaching ambulances, fire engines. “Set to lads,
    Lasses !” Wallets- Purses – Watches -cuff links…. It’s said that in their impatience they simply cut fingers off to expedite the removal of valuable rings. [I suspect they weren’t too fussy about the “living/dead distinction either])
    Ah, togetherness….
    Believe it or not, this bit of “news” was suppressed by Churchill’s government, also. Bad for morale, dontcha know?
    (1) chook = chicken.

  12. Thanks Linh. No one is talking about the final results of this lockdown. You just have.

  13. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:
    @alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

    Were your parents white?

    Are you?

    Did iks read to you and drive the cars you stole?

    Finally, was the sole the lesson your fat, selfish, Spamaholic parents taught you…to hate Mr. Charlie?

    Really?

  14. Dumbo says:
    @swamped

    I was going to mention Malaparte’s masterpiece “The Skin”, but Swamped got there first. An amazing book, that goes over some of the same harrowing scenes as Lewis in war-ravaged Naples, but in a more surreal or baroque manner. (I didn’t read Lewis’s book, but it seems to be more “journalistic” in style).

    I disagree with Linh here. The moral thing would be to help the girls, if at all possible. You can’t help all, of course, but you can help some. Cynics are represented by that scene on Buñuel’s film “Viridiana”, where a man helps a dog tied up only to find another dog tied later on, the implication being that “you can’t help everybody”. Well, yes, but at least he helped one dog. Buñuel was an atheist and an anti-Christian. And yet for a while he believed in even more inhuman and cruel systems, such as Soviet communism.

    Life is tough. There is no need to make it tougher. Darwinism is a bad moral guide, and an incorrect scientific theory as well. This thing about “survival of the fittest” is bollocks.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  15. ” For nearly all of human history the poor have always bred less…”

    I would ask for just one example to prove the above statement but the use of the word “always” implies that this is the rule and not the exception so to ask the author for a cite to substantiate the veracity of the entire comment would probably be more appropriate. I don’t expect to get one by virtue of the fact that it does not exist.

    What I have noticed in Western society for at least the last generation is that every welfare recipient, meth head, wastrel and recidivist criminal of any race has several children either by the same partner or by several others, many times not keeping in contact with them let alone raising or supporting them. These children almost always become tax eaters not tax payers.

    By contrast normal law abiding, tax paying and industrious couples compromise on only a single child or more recently decide to have no children at all. It is too expensive and career limiting a proposition to the point of survival not necessarily material advancement.

    The horrible paradox however is that the super wealthy are doing everything to destroy the working couples previously known as the ‘middle class’ (but in reality are sliding towards being working poor) and fomenting social constructs that empower the human garbage previously known as the poor and by this I mean poor by choice and/or opportunism.

    So no, I can’t really shed any tears in present circumstances that author may have been trying to invoke by using WW2 Italian urchins as props. The middle class are now the blind little girls in more ways than one.

    Cheers-

  16. @obwandiyag

    My wife born 1963, grew up in Soviet Union and looks back on it with fond memories! No poverty, free higher education and healthcare, No crime, etc. Not bad……

  17. @Tom from southern France, x-USA

    Also, I might mention, if you are enjoying Linh as I do., please consider going to his web page and donate what you can to this amazing writer, who obviously needs your contributions to survive and continue traveling and writing…..enuf said….Tom

  18. @Kratoklastes

    Diabetes is not linked to Italian-Americans, Jews, Irish, Russians or white urban ethnic groups (Most of whom are dwindling now except Jews in NYC). Its associated with blacks because they cannot process sugar as easily and acquire it through a non-stop diet of sweets and carbs.

    Diabetes affects poor whites in rural and exurban areas more than urban ethnic whites because rural whites have some degree of Native American blood and Native Americans develop diabetes. Similarly, Mexicans are Indian (Or mostly) and they develop diabetes as well.

    Also, rural whites, despite living in agricultural areas, have a terrible diet.

    Drug abuse rates are lower in urban areas among whites because US cities no longer have a white underclass. The Italians and Irish have all moved to the suburbs. There is not much of an urban white underclass left. Only blacks and Mexicans.

    Whites in rural areas are depressed because they live like the Waltons or Jason Voorhees.

  19. Ko says:

    You have the knack to move emotions Linh.

    That piece brings out the reality of how overwhelming it is for most people to care. Those who aren’t abusive ignore those who are while the weakest suffer the wrath of impoverishment and cruelty.

    In Burma, following Cyclone Nargis, misery upon misery was added to the stifled lives of everyone under the knife of the dictatorship. During my second week in country, I helped a student get into the American Center school. His sister claimed he’d taken three placement tests and passed each one yet he was never admitted. I met him, and it was clear why he was not selected by the elitist teachers and the two Georgetown U Fellows. He was plainly ugly, Chinese-Burmese with greasy hair, warts, and moles. I tested him and he was clearly smart, skilled, and able to succeed. I went to the local staff and found a way to have him admitted, they just added to the roles upon my request and the reason for the request.

    His sister was grateful and insisted on treating me to lunch at a popular a Chinatown street side noodle shop. She asked if I wanted chicken or pork, I had what she ordered and it turned out to be pork intestines with veggies and noodles. Of course it tasted like pigshit and I could barely suffer eating the bountiful bowl. As I fidgeted, a woman appeared near the table and watched me. I noticed she had a few plastic bags with liquids, veggies, maybe some meat. My host told me she was poor (an understatement) and she had five children to feed, no husband. I gave her my soup and bought her a big portion of rice and meat to take home. It was the first time I opened my eyes to real poverty and hunger. And there was no shortage of it in Burma in late 2008.

    Everyone at the noodle shop ignored the woman, and I noticed that first. Later I realized most were overwhelmed with poverty and the poor. Indifference ruled yet there was at least Buddhism that maintained human decency and though millions hungered, none starved.

    I hope Americans can avoid such a fate. I seriously doubt most can survive.

  20. Roger says:

    Is Linh Dinh being honest or is this a satirical, sarcastic comment about human nature?

    “Since no one can save everybody, even if he wants to, he should help whomever he can, you may be saying, but are you doing that, and to what extent?”

    I would ask him the same question. What exactly are you doing to alleviate the misery of those around you? Or are you just stuffing your face while ignoring the suffering who cross your path?

    “Society would be better off if its losers would just die off, a natural process, and hasn’t this how it has always been?”

    This is a supremely arrogant statement. There is no compassion shown here for the “losers”, many of whom are in that position, not because they are losers, but due to uncontrollable circumstances. In 2016, Hillary Clinton expressed the same attitude, but used the word, “deplorables”.

    “For nearly all of human history, the poor have always bred less, had fewer surviving children and be the first to die from any disease, or just starvation, and this is great, argues Gregory Clark in A Farewell to Alms, for it allows survivors to enjoy a higher standard of living.”

    Whether the first part of this statement is true or not is irrelevant. What is evident is that a person who exhibits this type of attitude is only concerned with his own well-being. If someone who is poor, destitute, and starving dies, then my prosperity is enhanced. This sounds exactly the same as Ebenezer Scrooge said in Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol, about letting them die and decreasing the surplus population.

    “Society is dragged down by its weakest members, and none is more of a burden than those who contribute nothing, such as the very old or disabled, like those weeping blind girls in Naples. Thank God there are plagues to flush down shitholes these useless eaters.”

    Ditto. Cold, heartless, cruel. The real measure of a man is how he treats those weakest members, the very old, the disabled, the helpless. There are only two possibilities here, in varying degrees: the one expressed in the comment above and the one spoken by Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) For those who condemn me because I have invoked “The Name”, let me remind you that Christ changed the world. Linh Dinh will never, ever, do that.

    “Instead of fearing the coronavirus, we should rejoice and welcome another visit by this beneficent New Age Goddess. Let us pray she won’t hesitate to give our messy house a thorough cleaning. Soon, there will be more of everything to go around, except traffic jams.”

    Ditto again. Yeah, let us welcome this “goddess” of culling so that the ones who are left can be richer in material goods. Yeah, let us bring back Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party because the “goddess of culling” isn’t being thorough enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah! However, let us pray that “we” don’t get tagged in the process. After all, it’s the other ones who need to die, not us.

    I hope this is satire. If it is not, but Linh Dinh’s actual attitude, then he ought to come to grips with the certainty that he will die one day and the very real possibility that he might be culled himself, poor, miserable, and starving for eternity.

  21. Dumbo says:
    @obwandiyag

    Yeah but they also put people in the gulag, sometimes for very petty reasons, so there’s that.

    Also the situation in Naples during the war was definitely not normal by any means. I’m sure in Leningrad during the siege it wasn’t also very nice.

    Communism sucked, period. Post-modern capitalism also sucks, but for other reasons.

  22. TG says:

    An evocative and intelligent piece. Indeed.

    But I think you misunderstand Malthus. Indeed, the Black Death did create a high standard of living in the Middle Ages, because it culled the population and – importantly – kept on culling it for generations. The physical standard of living in late medieval Europe was significantly higher than in modern Bangladesh and Pakistan etc.

    But the Black Death was unusual: it killed quickly, it did not leave the survivors infirm, and it did not cull the weak, it whacked everyone pretty much equally. It is not applicable today.

    Remember that Malthus said that outright famines are not what generally controls population growth – it is the raw weight of misery pressing down, it is chronic malnutrition causing women to not be fertile, or increasing the susceptibility of children to common diseases. It is brutal grinding poverty that is the Malthusian catastrophe, and it is real and it is happening now. Letting poverty grind people down will not result in more for everyone else, because it is a constant pressure. If those little blind girls die, they will just make room for another six cripples to barely survive…

    We know why places like India and Pakistan and Bangladesh etc. are so miserable: populations pressing up against their limits. But the real villains here are those oligarchs whose only god is cheap labor, who in order to boost their fortunes have lied and propagandized and demanded that populations continue to grow. Suppose that in that restaurant scene, the human misery had been deliberately created by some rich banker, in order that there be enough downwards pressure that he could find any number of desperate people to work for him at a bare subsistence wage, because the alternatives are worse… and as these scenes are replicated across the world, as they multiply even, bear in mind that the circumstances creating this are deliberate.

    Hopeless cripples starving to death are themselves not profitable for the rich, but they prove a useful pressure: work for me for a bare subsistence wage or that’s where you are going.

    Malthus was right. If people have more children than they can reasonably support, they create brutal poverty. Always have, always will. The anti-malthusians who demand that people breed like rodents, trumpet that “people are the ultimate resource.” Sure, if you consider people to bene more than cattle.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Dumbo
  23. Dumbo says:
    @Roger

    I think, or I want to think, that he was being satirical, his negative view of Christianity notwithstanding. Although I am not really sure what was the general point he was trying to make with this. Corona is far from being a plague and the situation in Naples in 1944 was far worse than today.

    • Replies: @Roger
    , @Truth
  24. The U.S. army has always been somewhat strict on rape, but never on prostitution….even child prostitution. Whether it was Naples, Berlin, Tokyo or decades later in Saigon, no one gave it a second thought if their comrades ran train on a ten year old in exchange for a can of Spam.

    Word was in post-war Munich, a woman would cost you ten cigarettes, but a pre-pubescent girl just 5.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  25. You can’t help everyone and even helping one is not easy if one’s resources are strained. But you can help to create a social arrangement where the most desperate are taken care of so that nobody needs to be asked to “help” anyone and have to make the harsh and cruel choices of who to help and who to let down to drown in the quagmire of illness and starvation. But then, nobody seems to be bothered much about changing society for the better and most are satisfied with the selfish ways in which the world is run which benefits few at the top and not the masses who go along with it. Some just ignore the suffering, and others love it as long as they’re not the ones needing that helping hand, for obvious reasons, as it makes them feel better than the unfortunates and especially when they can feel somehow morally, ethically or religiously elevated by helping one or the other in dire need with their “charity”. Earning merit or paying the toll on the stairway to Heaven with their paltry good deeds. Such are the ways of men.

  26. @TG

    Absolutely untrue that Dhaka or Mumbai are worse than medieval Europe. I’ve been to both countries. Everyone in Dhaka and India has power, AC’s in most places, running water (They drink it, I wouldn’t), a motorcycle and antibiotic.

    The average middle-caste Indian is about on par with the poorest trailer park residents in the Flyover. I’d say the absolute poorest whites in Appalachia have a lower standards of living that the average merchant-class Indian living in a Mumbai flat. And Brahmins…they live better than most middle-class Americans in Mumbai or Dubai penthouses.

    Even Dhaka has its nice areas. The infrastructure is bad, but no worse than Detroit or Flint.

    Okay, there are many homeless people in India. But there are homeless people all over US cities as well.

    See, that is the thing about Americans. They don’t realize-as an expat does-that the developing world is catching up. Or how far things have gone downhill since the late nineties.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  27. @Carolyn Arash

    Half the girly bars in Angeles city are run by US former serviceman married to mama-sans. R Lee Ermey, the famous “Drill Instructor” from the movies, made his money running prostitution bars for serviceman in Okinawa and Manila-he stumbled into acting in Philippine B Movies in the seventies long before his career in the US began as a second career.

    And there are also US servicemen who appeared in porn films while still in the military overseas. John Holmes got his start in gay loops in Germany while in the Signal Corps.

    Angeles city became a hub of prostitution because of US military.

    One problem that this creates from Germany to the Philippines are children of prostitutes.

    • Replies: @Carolyn Arash
  28. @Dumbo

    Yes it all sucks. But you can get locked up in jail in the west for the pettiest of reasons too, expressing wrongthink and whatever else. But at least the old USSR took care of people’s basic needs, and that is what any half decent state should be able to do.

  29. @Dumbo

    Well I think nobody should be individually asked to help anybody. Surely the state and the churches/temples are there for that: to help out the poor and needy. Why else do people pay taxes and make donations in the churches/temples? So that they’ll be accosted by beggars outside the town hall and church? Something is seriously wrong with this society and fixing that should be the priority. But of course nobody cares and so it goes on, paying taxes so that the cop can clobber you with his truncheon when you protest anything, and making donations to churches/ temples so that the priests and abbots can drive bigger cars and pay for their house extensions. If those in government and in the religions don’t care you can’t expect ordinary citizens to care and they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if they don’t fork out for some more charity. That said, it’s not that I haven’t given to beggars or helped individuals when I could and it’s better to help personally than to contribute to some scam charity and support its high earning and high flying operators.

  30. gT says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Perhaps what is meant here is from the beginning of the industrial age. The urban rich procreated and their children generally survived because they had access to healthcare and clean water and surroundings. The urban poor procreated when not working 20 hour days in the factories and their children generally died because they didn’t have access to health care and nutrition. Surviving children had shorter life expectancies, they started in the factories from like 6 years old. The HBD bunch think that such circumstances resulted in average I/Q’s increasing overall because only the rich survived, while now the average I/Q’s are decreasing because too many of the poor are surviving because of all the vaccines and charities and welfare and do-gooders. The rich then married young, like 16 to 18 years old for females.

    Touching on what you mention about the Black Plague there, in some circles it is thought that the decrease in population numbers enabled those remaining to have more wealth and thus leisure time which enabled them to apply their minds and hence the Renaissance. Of course others say it was the fall of the Byzantine Empire which kicked off the Renaissance.

    As an aside, in my younger days I used to crawl to the pub every night, but I’ve had to leave some pubs because while I was putting down draft after draft, to the extent that some said I should just put in an intravenous drip to the kegs, some others around me seemed to be sitting with a single beer the whole night. The worst was when some blokes seem to have gotten kicked out by their wives and were staying on the streets, shooting a few rounds of pool enjoying life is no fun when you notice old acquaintances settling down for the night on the pavements across the road from the pub. The pubs in the richer areas though were boring, blokes not drinking much because they care about their health and weight instead of living for the moment, and less fun females.

  31. g b says:

    Enjoy reading Linh’s work. There is always a line or a para that is profound, as in this case, the ending.

  32. @Dumbo

    You fucking loser. You belong in a gulag. You prefer people starving in the streets to gulags. Bah. You have brain damage.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  33. @Tom from southern France, x-USA

    A majority of residents of Russia today look back at the Soviet Union with fond memories. The only ones who don’t are those who didn’t experience it.

  34. @Roger

    Of course he is being sarcastic.

    One cardinal characteristic of people in the modern day who spend too much time on computers and not enough reading books is that everything is flattened out to the literal level. Not only irony, but allusion, style, subtlety, intimation, all are lost to simple-minded souls who cannot even identify the most painfully obvious sarcasm–and forget anything more subtle.

    Go back to school. Read more books. Big thick ones by great writers. Read Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde. Read Dostoyevsky. Gore Vidal. Read writers who employ irony. You need it.

    • Replies: @Roger
  35. Dumbo says:
    @obwandiyag

    I think that you suffer from bad reading comprehension or low I.Q. People are and were not starving in the streets in the West. People were starving in Naples in 1944, not because of “capitalism”, but because there was a freaking war going on.

    What about the thousands (millions?) of peasants who died of hunger in Ukraine during Holomodor? That was worse than anything that ever happened in Naples.

    The only good thing I have to say about Communism is that, ironically enough, it retarded in large part the process of cultural degeneration that affected the West during the same period: immigration, homossexualization, feminization, Eastern Europe was saved from all that (although they had their own forms of degeneracy in architecture and art, with “social realism” and all that. But some Soviet films are good or interesting).

    It’s funny, but despite the Revolution, Soviet Russia and Eastern Germany were in a way more traditional societies than those in Western countries, at least since the 60s.

    Also, usually you have to trade freedom for safety/equality, but you can’t have both. So it’s a delicate balance.

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  36. Dumbo says:
    @TG

    Malthus was right. If people have more children than they can reasonably support, they create brutal poverty.

    Yes, but you never can be sure when you can “reasonably support” and when suddenly you can’t. Plagues and wars and economic crisis can come when you least expect it.

    I think children were more an asset than a cost in rural life until the 1800s, where they could help the parents, but less so in cities. Industrialization changed all that. Children are increasingly a huge cost, especially considering the costs of modern higher education etc. Urbanization reduces natality like nothing else.

    he anti-malthusians who demand that people breed like rodents

    I don’t think any people in the world right now are “breeding like rodents”, except for Orthodox Jews and Africans, and if would be nice if we could make them stop…

    • Replies: @Pericles
  37. Dumbo says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    But there are homeless people all over US cities as well.

    Some homeless, even in the U.S., are really desperate, but others not so much. I mean besides the very poor and the mentally ill, there are also homeless “as a lifestyle”, particularly in California, like some hippie-ish young people, druggies etc. Or if not, people who cannot afford the huge costs of living in San Francisco or L.A. but prefer to live there even if in a car or a tent instead of in, say, Peoria. But they are not starving, actually a lot of them are even obese.

    Although increasingly I am seeing middle-aged (white) homeless people who are clearly not drug addicts or insane, just people who lost their jobs or have no families to help them.

    However, it’s also a big city phenomenon. You don’t see homeless people in small or medium-sized cities. I think the reasons are obvious.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @ken
    , @anon
  38. Roger says:
    @Dumbo

    I am with you. Thanks.

  39. Roger says:
    @obwandiyag

    You know absolutely nothing about me except what I wrote above. You have no knowledge of me, who I am, what I am, what made me what I am, how smart or stupid I am, my education or lack of it. Nothing. For all you know, I might have already read the books you recommend. In fact, my library and reading history might be more extensive than yours.

    You know nothing, yet purport to tell me what I need and where I am deficient?

    • Agree: Current History
    • Replies: @obvious
  40. @Anonymous

    Were your parents white?

    – Father, yes, pure WASP, the American version of being prime SS material.

    Are you?

    – According to DNA tests, yes. I seem to be part Lithuanian Tatar on the maternal side though.

    Did iks read to you and drive the cars you stole?

    – Yes, my Ik-who-could-read father actually did read to me. We had a ton of books before we became so poor they were sold off, traded off, stolen, or simply left behind in one of our many moves. My father was very literate, and loved reading things like Kipling’s Just-So Stories to me when I was a little. He could certainly read. He was also thoroughly an Ik. He didn’t care how many meals we missed so long as he never missed one. I remember not eating all day, coming home and there’s Dad with a plate of spare ribs, which he silently ate in front of me without offering to share one bit. WASPS == IKS.

    – As for stealing cars, I wish! I didn’t have a driver’s license until I was about 30, and I wish I’d had the guts and skills to get into the criminal world.

    Finally, was the sole the lesson your fat, selfish, Spamaholic parents taught you…to hate Mr. Charlie?

    – Haha SPAM was below my father’s station (although apparently he liked the menu at The Columbia Inn, which hardly served anything healthier) and I think Mom was neutral on it. You’ve got to understand it was 1 can SPAM or 1 can tuna for 4-5 people and that was considered a good meal. As for hating Mr. Charlie, if by that you mean Japs, nope, Japs taught me to hate Japs. These days I’m pretty Jap-neutral, as here on the mainland they’re not the power structure. I like to think I’m an equal-opportunity hater, in that I hate anyone who’s not my tribe who’s got any power over me. If life has taught me one thing it’s – *be where your tribe is strong*

    • Replies: @Truth
  41. IvyMike says:

    Most of art and culture is created by the lower class and expropriated (destroyed) by the consuming class.
    Isn’t the introduction of the weeping blonde girls laying it on a little thick?

  42. Biff says:
    @Roger

    I hope this is satire.

    Well maybe, he’s writing from the standpoint of society’s general attitude towards the weak, and down trodden, and that society includes “you”. Get it?

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Roger
  43. utu says:
    @obwandiyag

    Soviet Russia first starved millions to death while exporting grain. Soviet Russia rounded up all orphaned kids (besprizornye) whose parents Soviet Russia first murdered and sent them to god forsaken places. Soviet Russia after WWII rounded up all invalid veterans and sent them to camps to die. The orphaned kids and invalid veterans wandering around cities did not fit the image that Soviet Russia wanted to project. Soviet Russia was a big Potemkin village and useful idiots and agents like Walter Duranty helped to sell it to silly communists and their red diaper babies in the West.

  44. @Anonymous

    If you could provide more linkage for that image it would be helpful. Google image search on helicopter marine strike squadron warlords does not pull it on the first page.

    • Replies: @CCZ
  45. @Dumbo

    When I was a young man in America in the nineties you never saw middle-aged white people homeless in America. In the Clinton era when I lived in America, only druggies and hardcore winos were homeless.

    Why are middle-aged white people homeless now in America compared to when I was young in the nineties? Can you tell me that?

    America seems to becoming more similar to India this way.

    Not everyone can live in rural areas. If you’re born in the city its hard to move to the sticks and live on a dirt road one mile from the crossroads in a drafty old farmhouse with 40 inches of snow in the winter. Especially if you’re not a farmer or taxidermist by trade.

    America when I went overseas was the height of first world infrastructure and wealth. Not for everyone of course, but now its is becoming a third world country.

    Why?

    And why don’t Americans notice this?

  46. @Biff

    Even you must have noticed that in the Asian country you call home, the ruling elite are Chinese.

    I should know. Younger foreigners like me marry them, but Chinese girls are not interested in men over 45 with beer bellies and grey hair like yourself.

    So of course the Chinese girls won’t even look at over-50 white males. You have to marry poor farm girls who need buffalos.

    My point is that every society has weak and downtrodden and they are always always native, and the race at the top is some alien market-dominant minority.

  47. Pericles says:
    @Anonymous

    The commenter seems to hate lower class whites while defending lower class jews. But I guess he could also be a self-hating white.

  48. @Jeff Stryker

    Americans just don’t notice or care what happens in other countries. Every European I meet has noticed the fairly shocking degradation in infrastructure over the past 30 years.

    On the other hand the richest parts of America – the wealthy suburban enclaves outside Boston, NYC,, San Franciso, LA, DC and even the wealthy towns in southern NJ – probably have the highest quality of life anywhere in the world. Beautiful downtowns, interesting shops and restaurants, even excellent public schools. For the top 10 percent of Americans life has gotten better and better.

    Maybe that’s the problem. There is no civic spirit anymore, and no real sense that Americans constitute a nation. The 10 percent are happy to welcome ambitious Indians and Chinese into their ranks and throw the rest of America to the dogs.

  49. Pericles says:
    @Dumbo

    I don’t think any people in the world right now are “breeding like rodents”, except for Orthodox Jews and Africans, and if would be nice if we could make them stop…

    Europe is getting the Middle East and African overflow. Mostly African countries in the top but also some ME shitholes like Afghanistan.

    For instance, in Sweden the median person is 41.2 years old (so half the population are younger, half older); in the US 38.1 years; in Israel 29.9 years; in Iraq, 20 years; in Afghanistan 18.9 years, and in Niger, a desert shithole, 15.4 years.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_median_age

  50. Linh,

    1) You’ve delivered a savage indictment here of ruling-class greed and contempt for society’s elderly and infirm in an alternative reality in which the broad ruling-class response to the pandemic prioritizes continuity of economic activity (their revenue streams) over public health. Who would have thought, ahead of the emergence of this life vs. livelihood dilemma posed by the characteristics of this virus, that governments by-and-large would take the course of extreme measures to protect public health against growing grass-roots recalcitrance to the measures?

    2) Thanks for the introduction to what appears by quick survey of reviews on Amazon a fascinating work, A Farewell to Alms, by Gregory Clark. Notwithstanding your muckraking here, Linh, there is no link whatsoever from hypothesis of how humans came to be the highly prosocial animals that we observe ourselves to be (in varying degrees within societies as Clark observes) to advocation for “culling” of the less fit from the population. You are a scrupulous writer, remarkably vivid and engaging in your second language; you could learn something from a scrupulous thinker such as Clark.

    • Replies: @Polemos
  51. @ Dumbo,

    You are correct in that the one redeeming quality that Communism had was that it forestalled the degeneracy that had already had a python type grip on the Western world. I would never had noticed how bad things were here unless I had the fortunate life experience of going to the ex-Soviet Baltics starting in 1990 for business and pleasure visits.

    The women were absolutely stunning even though they had limited access to cosmetics and no funds or opportunity to indulge in high fashion clothing. They would get access to a recent western fashion magazines and in many cases sew their own clothes to fit the current trends. They would make themselves as beautiful and feminine as they could to become appealing to men not necessarily to compete with other women (but women are still women so maybe a bit). The most exalted woman by looks, family connections and career would still be a splendid cook and take pleasure in feeding her man. My favorite visuals from that era was the sight of mini-skirted belles negotiating cobble stone streets while wearing high stilletos.

    At that time they were appalled upon seeing their western counterparts more commonly known as land whales flaunting their obscene asses in yoga pants and wearing sandals. Western men were already conditioned to think that this was normal.

    Unfortunately by now a generation has passed and the local womenfolk have embraced the degeneracy in body, mind and spirit due in no small part to the ubiquity of the internet and i-phones. Added to which their diet was supplanted by processed food which is to my mind the dominant cause of worldwide obesity. Occasionally I lurk at blog commentary among their youth and notice that young girls parrot all the current SJW issues and absolutely love rap music. All this makes me more sad than angry. I truly feel sorry for young people today. But like zoo animals that are born in captivity at least they are not tormented by memories of how things were and could have been.

    Cheers-

    • Agree: John Achterhof
    • Thanks: Current History
    • Replies: @Dumbo
  52. Dumbo says:
    @Timur The Lame

    Thanks.

    Occasionally I lurk at blog commentary among their youth and notice that young girls parrot all the current SJW issues and absolutely love rap music. All this makes me more sad than angry. I truly feel sorry for young people today. But like zoo animals that are born in captivity at least they are not tormented by memories of how things were and could have been.

    In the regions of former Eastern Germany, which I visited not long ago, teenagers constantly listen to rap music and wear dreadlocks or other dreadful hairstyles. Both men and women tend to dress very slovenly with tracksuit pants and running shoes, but at least the girls don’t dress so much like sluts as in America. There’s graffiti everywhere and many young people have tattoos. Still, I don’t think it’s as far gone, culturally, as the U.S. (yet)

    Yes, it’s sad for young people today, who don’t know any better, and maybe never will.

    • Replies: @Piglet
  53. @Jeff Stryker

    The 70s German writer – I thought the last name was something like Ruminegge (can’t find it on google) – wrote that in the first two post-war years in Germany her family subsisted primarily on prostitution. Mostly her mother and older sister plied the trade, but when things got really bad she would go out as well. Had sex with 50-60 men during that period, about 3/4 being American servicemen. She was 11 years old.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  54. CCZ says:
    @Morton's toes

    March 12, 2020

    Photographs:

    The "Warlords" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 held a Change of Command Ceremony at which Cmdr. Justin D. Banz was relieved by Cmdr. Jason P. Russo.

    Posted by Naval Air Facility Atsugi on Thursday, March 12, 2020

    • Replies: @Morton's toes
  55. @CCZ

    On Mar 12 the gestapo had not established complete hegemony in my county either. I went to Sunday church service that week.

  56. Roger says:
    @Biff

    Well, maybe, before you include me in any society of your definition, you ought to explain what that society is. What does society’s general attitude towards the weak and down trodden look like, anyway?

    • Replies: @Biff
  57. Linh Dinh: “With the world becoming so stupid, by design, there is no mind or focus left to pay attention to any of the arts, so beauty is increasingly perverted and language sickens, by design.”

    There’s no design, any more than when a school of fish turns and starts swimming in a different direction, it’s “by design”.

    Linh Dinh: “Even lowest end eateries are exclusive, however, for in each society, there are indigents who can’t afford to eat anywhere, including at home, if they have one.”

    Very damn few of such indigents in the USA, which disgracefully has one of the most obese populaces in the world. The gov’t really missed an opportunity here. It turns out the best advice it could have given these Yankee fatsos and hamplanets is to go home, shelter in place, and STOP FUCKING EATING until their weight has dropped back into the normal range. For a lot of them, this might take at least a couple of weeks, or even a month or more.

    This whole bizarre rant seems oddly suffused with a kind of secular Christianity, ascribing a value to life, and especially showing a concern for “the poor”, that is entirely unwarranted. People are scum, and life is war. They constantly try to exploit one another; constantly seek their own advantage. It has always been so, and always will be so. All history testifies to it; all literature illustrates it. The greatest favor you could do most of these miserable bastards is ending their lives.

    • Agree: commandor, Adûnâi
  58. @Carolyn Arash

    Well, by 1984 when I was 10 and we were visiting our German relatives they lived in a nicer neighborhood than my own in Michigan.

    East Berlin was different of course.

    And US GI’s have been making problems in Germany since forever. Richard Pryor stabbed a fellow soldier. Jeffrey Dahmer may have begun his killing spree there. It goes on and on.

  59. Hi Lin;
    Thanks for every last essay. Note: in Montesquieu’s day Englishmen on the continent were regarded as something of a curiosity. They were notorious for committing suicide for no apparent reason.

  60. @Roger

    A Dickens character you might bear in mind is Mr. Pecksniff. Mrs. Grundy comes to mind as well. Nowadays, folks like you are called “Karens”, ¿no?

    • Replies: @Roger
  61. ken says:
    @Dumbo

    At the soup kitchen/shelter the first thing most homeless do is look for a place to charge their cellphone. Most are in close contact with family. Many have the option of getting home if they want to. The rub is that they won’t give up their drug of choice, ie go to detox/rehab or won’t consent to getting back on their pysch drugs.

    • Replies: @Piglet
  62. Piglet says:
    @Dumbo

    I lived for many years in West Germany in the 1970s and 1980s and I remember it as a country that was clean, orderly and safe, where people dressed well and generally behaved themselves, and kids went to school where they actually learned something useful. I was told at the time that youngsters received seven years of English language instruction in school and it was quite common to meet young Germans who spoke excellent English (as opposed to we Americans, who often had only a marginal grasp on English, unable to speak or write well).

    For years after returning I took evening German classes to keep up my proficiency in anticipation of returning one day for a visit. One of the instructors I had was an American fellow married to a German woman who was, at that time, back in the States for a while. The thing I remember most about his classes was learning of a German rap group called The Fantastic Four (Die Fantastischen Vier) and he showed us one of their YouTube videos. You can view one here that appears to have been filmed in the former East Germany, a depressed area that serves as their version of today’s Detroit:

    The instructor gave us the lyrics for the “song” the group sang (a lot of ooking and eeking in German) and said this was how German young people spoke these days, and if we could understand what was said in this group’s videos, we would be able to understand today’s young Germans.

    I’ve found pictures of areas I’d known that show them now full of trash and graffiti, and I was absolutely appalled to see how far the country had declined. A long-time Bundeswehr friend, now nearing retirement, acknowledges that it’s not the same country I knew and loved when I lived there. Add to this mix the introduction of millions of Mideastern and African predators imported by Mutti Merkel and my desire to return has certainly been quashed. I’m afraid that, if I went back for a visit, I would be horrified to see what has become of Germany.

  63. Piglet says:
    @ken

    I recall an article in the Washington Post years ago about a homeless guy who had been murdered. He had family in the area and they did their best to help him, but he just wouldn’t accept it. His adult kids even set him up in an apartment, got a job for him, etc., but within a week he’d gone back to living in the streets. For most of us it doesn’t make sense, but for some it’s where, deep inside their heads, they belong, and that’s where they’ll go. Eventually someone else murdered him and it was all over. I suspect there are many others out there who are the same way, and no amount of outside intervention will change their ways.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  64. @Piglet

    …When you meet a 30 year old homeless addict, he has made life hell for his family for about 10 years. He usually started at about age fifteen and quickly dropped out of school and by eighteen was committing crimes to support his habit. His parents had to bail him out of jail. He stole from them and everyone else. He went through rehab a bunch of times and finally his family could not afford it any longer. If he was a she, then she resorted to prostitution and was busted. Its hard for any man to accept that his daughter was a street whore to support her habit. Every single addict you ever meet on the streets has put his or her family through hell before finally, aged about thirty, they decided the situation would never change. Usually it doesn’t with crackheads or heroin addicts. Speed freaks and drunks can get clean, but crack heads and heroin addicts will usually relapse anyhow.

    …Some middle-aged men just lose everything. They get a bad divorce, they lose their job as a result of downsizing, cannot pay the property tax on their house.

    …Some are former engineers or military men who cannot bring themselves to work at a teenager’s job. Its hard to want to work in a Dairy Queen when you’re fifty years old and once commanded a platoon.

    …Some people just have such a terrible attitude they cannot hold a job. I knew a guy named Sean like that. Quite intelligent. He had a bad attitude. He would beat up his bosses. He was donating blood at one point and beat up the plasma worker claiming the guy was coming on to him and was banned from donating blood.

    …Some people just cannot get up in the morning. Or they do for a while and then cannot and don’t show up for work and are fired.

  65. @ken

    Just like the USA empire…slowly then all at once….

  66. Roger says:
    @Montefrío

    A statement this silly doesn’t deserve a response and this is all you’re going to get. We are done.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  67. @Roger

    Linh Dinh may not be a Christian but the bulk of his writings indicates that he does care for the downtrodden, and has spent his life associating and identifying with them. So it must be satire.

  68. Roger says:

    Well, yes, that was my first thought, but it should have been made plain so that there was no question. There was no need to create a false impression.

    • Replies: @Polemos
  69. @Commentator Mike

    Clearly Mr. Linh has empathy and sympathy but Mr. Linh is also an expat.

    Expats-I’ve been told-have a certain component of their personality missing.

    As young people and kids, we never developed the bond with others in our environment that would compel us to stay there no matter what. There are certain Brits and Americans we refer to as “Townies” (At least Americans do) who could never bear to move anywhere because they have to see their sports team play every Friday. They have to attend school reunions.

    Expats ask themselves “What will I get out of this?”

    If you don’t care about the people you grew up with, if you don’t care about finding a job there, if you feel that the struggles of others are beneath you and like Linh or myself you have no kids…what will stop you?

    • Replies: @Current History
  70. Truth says:
    @Dumbo

    Corona is far from being a plague and the situation in Naples in 1944 was far worse than today.

    Um hum. But far better than 2021

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  71. Truth says:
    @alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

    As for hating Mr. Charlie, if by that you mean Japs, nope, Japs taught me to hate Japs.

    LOL, “Mr. Charlie” means “The White Man.” You rarely hear that outside of dixie.

  72. Dumbo says:
    @Truth

    Er… Why? Do you have any insider preview of what’s to come?

    Anyway, I think Linh was referring to the post-corona economic situation.
    Which we still don’t know how bad will be.

    • Replies: @Truth
  73. @Commentator Mike

    Actually he’s probably non-religious and just a decent human being.

    Christians don’t give a shit about the poor or anyone they can’t profit from.

  74. Polemos says:
    @John Achterhof

    Regarding 2), what do you take to be Linh’s thought?

    • Replies: @John Achterhof
  75. @Truth

    Oh! OK! Well Charlie certainly has taught me to hate Charlie. Well, WASPS anyway. White Catholics I’ve met (and I work for one now) have been pretty decent.

    I really think Protestantism is a great evil that was unleashed upon the world …. I saw something recently about how Calvinists in Holland or somewhere found some convoluted reason that chattel slavery was OK and were early in the Africa to Americas slave trade.

    The ultimate expression of Protestantism are things like Ayn Rand-ism, Libertarianism, and Scientology. Everyone is an individual locked in battle with everyone else, family means nothing, charity is weakness, etc.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  76. Polemos says:
    @Roger

    He gave you the false impression?

  77. Truth says:
    @Dumbo

    You add up all the variables and it’s “the end of the USA”, but man what a wonderful 244 years.

  78. @Polemos

    Linh’s thinking seems to be that Clark’s thesis developed in A farewell to Alms – that the spread of diseases through 19th century industrial society, disproportionately afflicting the poor, had the effect of “downward mobility” of “middle class values” – is morally wrong and Clark is probably in favor of taking this new opportunity of long-term broad-society improvement by letting the vulnerable poor get whacked yet again. I get it that Linh has a well-developed fraternity with all those scratching out hardscrabble lives that he’s gotten to know in bars and markets over the world. But science and scholarship is unsentimental work; it is not morally right or wrong; it’s not supposed to be edifying; its proper measure of value is in accuracy at what it aims to describe. Policies of government, by contrast, while informed by scientific understanding, derive from moral values and principles.

  79. Biff says:
    @Roger

    What does society’s general attitude towards the weak and down trodden look like, anyway?

    • Replies: @Adûnâi
  80. alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit: “I really think Protestantism is a great evil that was unleashed upon the world …. The ultimate expression of Protestantism are things like Ayn Rand-ism, Libertarianism, and Scientology. Everyone is an individual locked in battle with everyone else, family means nothing, charity is weakness, etc.”

    If describing the world as it is is evil, perhaps there’s a grain of truth in what you’re saying. But then it’s the world itself that’s evil, including the fantasies of an afterlife that only distract people from pursuing their individual interests inthis life. Peddling those fantasies is the stock-in-trade of religion in general, not just Protestantism. It generates and enriches a priest class. Slavery existed long before Protestantism, and as for family unity, brother has been slaying brother since man first walked the earth. Likewise with parents and children. When their individual interests don’t coincide, there’s frequently violence or at least chicanery between them, and that’s been true forever.

    Collectives are one and all a scam that only conceal individual interest. Get back to me when you can find even one that isn’t run to the profit of a ruling oligarchy that administers the collective. Recently I re-watched Bob Guccione’s 1979 film Caligula, which purports to give a realistic account of life in pre-Christian Rome, at least according to some of what Suetonius says about that emperor. The Roman state was formally a collective (res publica), and yet this didn’t stop the Roman oligarchs from ruthlessly pursuing their own individual interests. It certainly it didn’t stop Caligula, who ascended to head the Principate by killing Tiberius, his grandfather; and Tiberius himself had killed Caligula’s mother and brothers. These are the usual goings-on in royal families.

  81. @Jeff Stryker

    Expats ask themselves “What will I get out of this?”

    Everyone asks themselves “What will I get out of this?”

    Expats simply tend to be people who have a greater desire to see and experience other parts of the world. And, like may other things that people do, it can easily become a lifestyle if there is no great call beckoning one back to their homeland.

    Women have always been my magnet and in my travels my girlfriends were always foreign women so, because of them, I ended up living in their countries often for longish periods of time. I have now lived in Brussels for nine years because I married a European woman who has to live here because she works for the EU. By the way, Trump is right about Brussels being a “dump”, any Western city with a 30% (and growing) Muslim population tends to turn into a dump; there isn’t a city to prove it’s otherwise. From the city of Brussels, alone, three hundred local “youths” (read: local Moroccan-“Belgian” punks) joined ISIS, which is more than all the Muslims who joined ISIS in all the states in America combined…but I’m digressing.

    Being an expat is very easy these days, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition anymore. Unless you are absolutely broke, you can always head back to your home country for a visit; flights are cheap and the USA is never more than 24 hours away from any place where you happen, as an expat, to be living.

    As an expat I visit the USA once a year, every year, for about five weeks to see family and a few old friends while simultaneously doing a one-month American Southwest road trip where I hit all my favourite National Parks and wildlife areas. I car camp, cook over a campfire, wash off in streams, drink cold beer beneath millions of stars sparkling in the total blackness of a Utah/Colorado/New Mexico/Arizona/Wyoming night sky, listen to coyotes yipping, hike, see a bear or two, take pictures, and just enjoying the very best parts of America which are its unpeopled wilderness areas. This is the same America I remember as a kid (growing up in Los Angeles) where my family went for lots of weekend, and longer, camping trips in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s the only part of America that hasn’t changed, it’s America’s best part, it’s America’s soul, and it’s still beautiful.

    If you don’t care about the people you grew up with, if you don’t care about finding a job there, if you feel that the struggles of others are beneath you…what will stop you?

    I’m an expat yet I care about the people I grew up with and I care about their struggles. How can the struggles of friends or family ever be consider to be “beneath” anyone? It’s just that they live their lives and deal with their own problems while I live my life and deal with my own problems. I didn’t leave the USA because I didn’t care about my country or the the people who lived there, I left because I wanted to see the world. I like that I had traveled hard with a backpack and sleeping bag for over thirty years (sleeping 99% of the time in inexpensive hotels), I like that I have seen over 120 countries, I’m very glad I had sex with many beautiful women from all over the world, and I’m proud that I was able to finance it all (and get a lifetime pension to boot) by doing highly paid, mega-houred, seasonal civil construction work in Alaska.

    I enjoy reading your comments Jeff Stryker, along with others comments, but I have to say that everyone’s reason for living their life is their own including those living their life as an expat. Your reasons were quite different than mine starting with leaving the USA for work. You had your great opportunity to “get out” and seized it.

    • Agree: John Achterhof
  82. @Dumbo

    Also, usually you have to trade freedom for safety/equality, but you can’t have both. So it’s a delicate balance.

    The reason you can’t have both is that if you are trying to set up a non-capitalist, non-Jew-owned-central bank economy, a necessity for an economy that is geared to properly rewarding the people who do the work, then the CIA will be trying relentlessly to subvert it, to overthrow it to sabotage it in any and every way possible. Hence the need for security servicemen under every bush. It’s simple really.

  83. anon[203] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dumbo

    I like to think of the ‘Homeless’ as professional stoners. When I returned to So Calif. from the military after 25 plus years, noticed motel rates had gone crazy and the kind of bums that grandma used to support in shame were now pushing shopping carts. There is a correlation there; at one time rents were such that white women with kids could get section 8 and have various bikers, friends with children and boyfriends under their roofs. Wasn’t uncommon to have black ewe or black sheep in such a circumstance. Not good for social mobility, but this was one of the results of the 60s Great Society programs; people could become perpetual teenagers. Jack Webb warned us about this on his lame ass TV shows. Now that rents have gone up, landlords aren’t likely to rent to those people; Section 8 is pretty much a ghetto only thing now, and poor whites have had to either move back to Arkansas or compete with Mexicans for housing. Those that would rather get high then work consistently have a choice of all or none then; either move to a lower rent market and accept coolie wages, or slide into the new forms of homelessness, as the older family members have passed on and the aunts and uncles and cousins lack the resources and/or desire to support or assist them.

    This also illustrates the crux of the liberal white suburbanite’s fears. The regression, not just to the mean, but to the 1930s genesis. We have to recall that California was pretty much vacant till not only the war years, but the Dust Bowl and Depression. Poor and desperate workers fanned out to mining camps, migrant farming communities and eventually factories throughout the hot, dry and dusty West. Most of these nouveau bourgeois yuppies and hipster wannabes can trace their roots to a grandparent that busted his or her ass along side a Mexican in the fields, a redneck in a factory or had to go overseas in a hellhole thanks to Uncle Sam. The last place they want to go is backwards. Just like the trailer park girls with pretenses of Royalty (Read the Duke’s Children; best read to understand the phenomena), this history must be stamped out. That long suffering peasant that sacrificed for his lineage is to be reviled and purposely forgotten, lest some shadow pass over the perfection that is one’s facebook page. The homeless then are not only a reminder of, but a fear of these frauds. By rejecting their heritage, they inhabit a world where the homeless are allowed, but feared. ‘There but for the Grace of a non-existent God’ is the basic tenet. Unlike the Mexicans that have little or no compassion due to the reality of their circumstances, the neckbeard and his ilk fear that they too might end up in a tent because they really have no skills to bring to the market, having rejected that path as being beneath their brilliance and liberal arts degrees. The adage the college has ruined many a good truck driver has never been more appropriate, though I can’t imagine today’s pseudo-intellectual being much a of truck driver. Nonetheless, living beyond one’s means and resorting to a gig economy in order to live in a ‘Friend’s’ rerun fantasy has led to a Depression that will rival the 30s. The tech geeks that seem to be running our country have no idea what will happen, their faith in AI is absolute. Those of us that have been overseas might have different ideas about that, but we shall see. The bottom line is that in the near future, men will have to become men again, as the sacrifices made by those of the ‘Greatest’ (and last realistic) generation have dried up and require renewal. People will have to get real jobs, have real skills and accept that life sucks and your kids come first. Which is why all those pesky immigrants are so annoying; coming from war zones and depressed economies they have retained the values of family, and unlike our propagandized generations, they actually revere grandpa for busting his ass to provide for his family, rather than pretend that work is for others. No amount of drugs and debauchery can fill in the spiritual hole that those that reject their forebears have. To despise one’s ancestors is to ride the razor’s edge between egocentric narcissism (Selfies and FB pages) and a shopping cart. I some how feel that today’s digital generations are ill equipped for that choice.

  84. @anon

    Good post. Indeed, growing up in the 1960s/70s there were certain expectations of what you were supposed to know. I remember my dad showing me how to find a leak in a bike inner tube when I was about 8. I thought fondly of that process when I was checking out a couple of tubes yesterday. Dad made a big deal of it, going up to the corner gas station and using their water tank, and going through the careful process of applying the patch using his “Monkey Grip” patch kit. You were expected to know how to handle carpentry tools, basic things about cars, just lots of handy stuff and my dad was a white collar worker. If you were a gal (although it was fine if gals wanted to know about bikes and cars, and boys wanted to cook) you could handle yourself pretty well in the kitchen. Gardening, weeding, doing laundry, all sorts of handy things that were just taken for granted that you’d know.

    But now you’ve got a lot of kids who know how to program a computer (lousy, low-paid field) but can’t change a tire, get a bike chain back on the sprocket, replace a radiator hose, tell a weed from a useful plant, etc. And take away their smartphone-pacifiers and you’re gonna see a lot of genuine mental illness.

    Jeff – Nope Rand was an atheist Jew I believe, but Protestants believe in the same things (greed, punching down etc). L. Ron. Hubbard too – not a Christian but believed and espoused all the things Protestant Christians hold dear, so types like these and Protestants got along like bread and butter.

  85. Adûnâi says:
    @Biff

    A general difference between ancient Greco-Roman virtue and modern virtue can be glimpsed through the ancient sculpture, the Dying Gaul. The sculpture portrays a wounded “barbarian”. Whereas moderns would tend to imitate Christ in feeling compassion for the defeated man, its original pagan cultural context suggests a different interpretation: the cruel defeat and conquest of the barbarian as the true, the good, and the beautiful.

    © Mitchell Heisman – Suicide Note.
    https://chechar.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/heismans-suicide-note-3/

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  86. @Adûnâi

    Who the f*** is Mitchell Heisman? I’d never heard of him until you brought him up. He doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. A Jew who offed himself on Yom Kippur in front of a whole bunch of Jews in protest at life being meaningless. And here you are promoting this anti-Christian garbage spewed by an enemy of Christ. Charles Martel and numerous other Christians who knew very well what they were fighting for also showed no mercy to their enemies in a life and death struggle. What’s Christ got to do with it? Keep on spitting on the graves of the great warriors of Christendom.

  87. Adûnâi says:

    > “Who the f*** is Mitchell Heisman?”

    A Jew who told the truth. One of his ideas was the designation of suicidal Christian axiology as out-group altruism – a perversion of the original Roman ethos of in-group altruism.

    Another great Jew was Marcus Eli Ravage. His writings were spread by the NSDAP propaganda in the early 1930s.

    https://chechar.wordpress.com/?s=marcus+eli+ravage&submit=Search

    > “And here you are promoting this anti-Christian garbage spewed by an enemy of Christ.”

    Jesus Christ was a dirty kike.

    > “Charles Martel and numerous other Christians who knew very well what they were fighting for also showed no mercy to their enemies in a life and death struggle.”

    Everything good Christians ever did was because they were not full Christians, but half-heathens or half-atheists. De Robespierre cut off heads because the clerics and the priests were not Christian enough.

    • Replies: @obvious
    , @Commentator Mike
  88. obvious says:
    @Adûnâi

    what’s it like to be a mental patient on the internet?

  89. @Adûnâi

    Vlad Dracul Tepes certainly never bought into this interpretation of “suicidal Christian axiology as out-group altruism” and was as cruel to enemies of Christendom as could be. You claim that he and other Christian heroes and martyrs weren’t true Christians when I could claim that some of these modern types like the Pope and the bishops are traitors to true Christianity. We’ll just have to disagree.

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