Is and Ought

I was chatting with a colleague the other day. She knows her science very well and she is no kind of moralistic posturer. Nevertheless she came up with the kind of knee jerk in the conversation with which most of us are familiar.

She was talking about some television redneck who apparently said, in a prominent outlet, that the lives of American Black people were not so bad.I recalled something I read years ago from a group at, I think, Ohio State University. (I may have this completely garbled.) Their finding, from skeletal remains, was that the US Black slave population was better fed and in apparent better health than northern factory workers. I pointed out that the redneck may not have been utterly nuts.

She looked at me in horror and said “would you want to be a slave?” I have no ambition to be or to have been a slave but that has nothing on earth to do with data about comparative health and nutrition of the populations in the discussion. She knew better of course, especially when I pointed out what a silly thing to say that that was. Even competent intelligent people like her have trouble keeping straight in their heads what ought to have been and what actually was. Are the human sciences, so called, forever condemned to putting up with this sort of reaction?

Imagine a biochemist, say, who told his colleagues that he had discovered a new mechanism of oncogenesis. They reacted in horror: “how would you like to have cancer?” We can’t imagine such a response from scientists yet in the human social and behavioral sciences it happens every day.

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126 Responses to Is and Ought

  1. Jason says:

    That “look of horror” is so common among so many “educated” people today. It is usually followed by a vicious denunciation of the person who brought up the Hate Fact. I believe this is very similar to cult behavior – much more than we realize.

    Political Correctness is not like a religion. It literally is a religion. It activates the same part of the mind that would be triggered if you spit on a Nativity Scene in front of a devote Christian.

    • PC combined with so called hermeneutics of suspicion/demystification.(see Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, later Paul Ricœur etc.). There is always an intolerant racist hidden under every rock; hence any – most often verbal – sign of intolerance and one is obliged to interpret the contention with suspicion and somehow show how upset one is,

    • reiner Tor says:

      It reminds one of the Bolshevik anti-Trotskyite witch-hunts, even the ritual of criticism of the culprit, then his confession and self-criticism and begging for forgiveness, his being punished nevertheless, etc. were all similar. I read somewhere recently that the expression “politically correct” itself originated in the USSR in around 1930, and then was used extensively by Maoists in the 1960s, and was imported to the Western world by the 1960s counterculture. In any event the whole thing totally reminds me of the ersatz religion of Marxism-Leninism.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m guessing this sentiment is why we can’t have an honest discussion about race either. Or IQ. Or a variety of other topics. However, what’s interesting to me is that even times when I’ve mentioned something about race around non-White people they get uncomfortable.
      I’ve also noticed that Liberals get super uncomfortable when you tell them that IQ is a meaningful predictor of success in life. If your IQ is really low you’re fu$ked… and if it’s really high the sky’s the limit. Liberals, however, blame all the problems of the poor not on low IQ, but on the educational system, their parents, racism etc. etc.

      • Hugh Mann says:

        Yet at the same time intelligent liberals are very aware of intelligence, who has it and who hasn’t. Try debating on an academic left blog like Crooked Timber and you’ll soon find someone telling you how dim you are (this may just be me, though).

  2. Is psychology possible? For many practitioners, much of the time, no. They cannot detach from their preferences and their moral imperatives. Rushton and Jensen called it the Moralistic Fallacy, which seems good enough. Perhaps we should name it again: The Posture Principle?

  3. IC says:

    Indeed, emotional part of human beings can be double edged sword. Science needs cool head to think regardless of final findings or outcome. Mild degree of autistic personality or psychopath might be useful in scientific thinking.
    When people are totally emotional driven, they only cherry pick whatever they feel good about. Such people are impossible to be scientists. Also simple people have hard time differentiating fact from opinions. To them, popular and authorative opinions are the truth.
    Yes, truth is difficult to be recognized in such enviroment for most people.

  4. Sid says:

    Who would want to be a factory worker in Dickensian working conditions?

    • gcochran9 says:

      A lot of people did, obviously. It beat being a landless farm laborer: if it hadn’t, nobody would have signed up for it.

      • Sid says:

        I would rather burn the roof of mouth eating hot pizza than I would rather have my eye gouged out, but I certainly don’t want to burn my mouth. The point is that while being a factory worker in the 19th century was not the worst situation to find yourself in, it was still dreadful, by and large. (This is backed by the point made above that Northern factory workers often had poorer nutrition than contemporary slaves.)

      • Absolutely. Getting off the land and under cover was desirable. Wages higher and more consistent.

      • TWS says:

        Weren’t cities still population sinks at that time? It might not have mattered at all whether or not you worked in a factory.

        When I traced my ancestors, the only Europeans were soldiers, farmers, explorers/settlers, lumbermen, etc. The only exception were lace workers and that was only one line back in the 1600s.

        My point is that you would think more than one line out of dozens (no recent inbreeding for me thank you), would have been city people of one kind or another. Just my experience but maybe it was a lot more healthy to be an American slave than any kind of European city dweller.

    • I consider it significant that of the many worse lives one could live than being a factory worker – as witness the many who gave up other lives worldwide to have that one, as greg noted – you clearly still consider it the one unacceptably bad life that we have to moan over. It seems a triumph of cultural tradition (you did go immediately to the literary reference) over actual comparison.

      • reiner Tor says:

        I guess I’m not the only person here to whom the meaning of Sid’s comment was obvious, but people react to him as if he was really considering 19th century factory workers the worst of all worlds.

        He simply meant that when the person asks “would you want to be a slave?”, the proper reply is “Who would want to be a factory worker in Dickensian working conditions?” In other words, yes, being a slave was bad, but being a factory worker was also very bad, so we’re comparing two very bad options here.

  5. James says:

    This post is completely ridiculous, you need to stop and think before you spread stupidity. YES slaves were mostly taken care of, fed, clothed, given medicine etc…BUT why was that the case? because their owners wanted a return on their investment…Do you want a sick malnutritioned slave out on your plantation who could die at anytime or a well fed, healthy and strong slave that will do hard work for you for years?…The response about whether you want to be a slave is completely relevant and different from asking someone if they want cancer. Like are you for real for comparing the two?…The fact that human beings were bought/sold and were treated as lesser than whites and where not free to live their own lives as they chose is WRONG no matter what so called conditions they were in.

    • Anthony says:

      Are the human sciences, so called, forever condemned to putting up with this sort of reaction?

      Apparently so. See above.

    • Ian says:

      I treat my domestic cat as something lesser than human. In spite of this, a domestic cat lives several times longer than a stray cat. Yes, it’s also true that I can’t ask my cat how she feels about her degraded condition. I can test, however, what happens when I leave open the door of my apartment. Apparently, she has reconciled herself with the idea of being a mere pet for a human: it could be worse for her.

      • James says:

        You just compared human beings to your cat…’nough said!

      • ziel says:

        Analogies to animals is never permitted when discussing humans?

      • Ian says:

        Ziel, of course they are permitted, but only when humans, preferably white ones, get the worse part in the comparison.
        In any event, James, the point is the one explicitly remarked by Mr. Harpending in one of the comments below: it’s not a matter of moral evaluation, but of stating a fact, no matter how disgusting it may seem to our sensitivities.

      • kai says:

        I love the cat comparison…But it is also true that people (at least the modern ones) enjoy the feeling of beeing “free” (wheather they really are or not is another problem), so material well being is only part of the equation. Not sure there is a equivalent to this feeling for cats. Probably the hunt: getting feed without efforts should be rewarding and certainly is more efficient….but they still clearly enjoy hunting even when it is worthless energy expense.
        The human equivalent for your cat coming back would be to know if nothern factory workers, given the opportunity, would choose to be slave in the south. Not sure if this has been a possible choice (or “free” men deliberately choosing slavery for increasing material comfort – maybe in some antique civilisation?).

        Freedom is nice and all because everybody expect to succeed, or at least not fail, compared to others. Everybody feel above average, at least for some things…Reality is often less nice though, I suspect slavery may start to look like an option when free society is too competitive and you are among the loosers, either from lack of talents or opportunities. Especially in a civilisation where slavery is somewhat socially acceptable, i.e. carry no more stigma than economic failure.

      • Ian says:

        The human equivalent for your cat coming back
        Of course, you’re absolutely right, Kai.

      • Jody Neel says:

        “You just compared human beings to your cat…’nough said!”

        This is one of my pet peeves – people who treat comparing the same as equating. Happens a lot and it’s just dumb.

        For example if I wrote, “a human is a lot smarter and worth much more moral consideration than a cat,” I would be *comparing* a human and a cat, yet expressing the same sentiment that James has apparently endorsed.

    • Richard Sharpe says:

      The fact that human beings were bought/sold and were treated as lesser than whites and where not free to live their own lives as they chose is WRONG no matter what so called conditions they were in.

      James seems unaware that just as many white people, if not more, and mostly white women at that, were enslaved by various groups in and around the Middle East …

      Perhaps they were also treated as lesser than whites … oops.

      Check Peter Frost’s blog for the details.

      • reiner Tor says:

        A lot of Hungarians were surely enslaved by the Ottomans when they occupied large swaths of Hungary in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was something like 350 years ago.

        Besides, the majority of Hungarians were serfs at the time, which meant they couldn’t move out of their villages without permission from their lord. In the second half of the 18th century the situation got so bad that the Austrian empress (and Hungarian queen) Maria Theresa ordered that Hungarian serfs had to work no more than 104 days (without a yoke – meaning if the serf had no animal) or 52 days (with yoke – meaning he had an animal which had to work for the lord) per year. If you take into account that most agricultural work needed to be done in the summer, you get an idea that those 104 days essentially meant half of the work year when the serf had to work for the nobleman owner of his village. He wasn’t considered a property, he wasn’t a slave, but he was quite close to that. Serfdom persisted in Hungary until 1848. This was just 17 years before the liberation of all American slaves.

      • Gringo says:

        Check out White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves. It is the tale from the 18th century of the enslavement of a Cornish boy by Islamic pirates, and his escape years later.I bought it for $1 at a local book store.

      • James says:

        Being unaware of the possible fact that white people were enslaved does NOT mean I support it…this is a pointless statement…Slavery is/was WRONG regardless of which race is/was doing it…this article is about the black slavery is it not?

      • reiner Tor says:

        Slavery is/was WRONG regardless of which race is/was doing it…

        Nobody said slavery was right. But your reaction is totally irrational. It’s like someone proposing lung cancer patients have a higher chance of survival than in the 1960s, and you coming up with the “lung cancer is VERY BAD, it still KILLS YOU most of the time, would you like to have cancer?” question.

        this article is about the black slavery is it not?

        No, actually it is about people’s reaction to true statements like “black slaves were better fed than Northern factory workers”.

        The fact that Northern factory workers weren’t the worst off whites also means that many whites had it even worse.

      • James says:

        “No, actually it is about people’s reaction to true statements like “black slaves were better fed than Northern factory workers”.

        The fact that Northern factory workers weren’t the worst off whites also means that many whites had it even worse.”

        I am not disputing this fact, I am trying to enlightened you as to why this was the case. Slaves were only taken care of so they could WORK…are you really gonna sit there and tell me that Northern factory workers would have gladly traded places with slaves? Given up their freedom and be forced to work on plantations and possibly be beaten for not meeting a quota or for leaving without permission or even worst lynched? Be treated less than human…Anyone that thinks bringing up such silly facts like these without considering the context of these facts is hopelessly blind…

        • gcochran9 says:

          Actually, there is pretty good reason to think that slave mortality was worse than average white mortality. Just how much worse is under dispute: I’ve looked at this a little, enough to be sure that at least one of the positions in the argument is demented. Possibly both sides are wrong… But it is quite likely that Northern factory workers were the worst off whites. Not so much because they didn’t get enough to eat, but because they tended to live in cities, which were pestholes back in these days. In New York, circa 1850, you had to worry about cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, influenza, typhoid, and diptheria. All more common there than in rural areas of the North.

          We know for sure that the lowest mortality was in rural areas of the North. we also know that the South was intensely rural: the only biggish city was New Orleans.

          Similarly, one problem that slaves had to endure was generally living in the hotter parts of the South, where tropical diseases were more common. Blacks are more resistant to malaria and yellow fever than whites, but that hardly means that they didn’t pay a price. In places like the lowlands of South Carolina, it seems likely that blacks had lower mortality than whites in those same lowlands – but that doesn’t mean that those South Carolinean blacks did as well as whites in Massachusetts or Wisconsin. Or, maybe, even as well as whites in Appalachia.

          Location, location, location.

    • harpend says:

      Of course it is wrong IMHO. But that has absolutely nothing on earth to do with whether or not the statement is true.

      • McCarthy says:

        But Harpend, virtually no statement is ever made by a human in a vacuum. We are sentient beings with purposeful actions and memories of history, and context always matters. If your statement had been made with respect to some inanimate object, no one would bat an eye. This is why the analogy to cancer does not work. Making reference to a subject (slavery) that has tons of history and context behind it is a different matter. You probably have the luxury of making an objective statements about slavery because in all likelihood you have no recent ancestor who was sold.

        Let me suggest an analogy that is apt. Imagine a woman has recently been raped. And then you make some statement to the effect that her chance of getting a disease from the rape is less than getting infected with another disease by daily kissing her husband. Let’s suppose that statement is empirically true. Would you you surprised if that woman or someone else expressed horror at your empirically true statement?

      • Matthew Walker says:

        @McCarthy,

        Do you have some reason to believe his colleague had recently been enslaved?

      • Asher says:

        @ McCarthy

        For purposes of science, there is no such thing as a subject – we’re all just nothing more than objects. The entire notion of a subject is something that lies outside of science.

    • thinkingabout it says:

      I agree. the cancer analogy makes absolutely no sense. People living in prisons probably enjoy better health, nutrition and safety than many of the urban poor in the ghetto. So what? Not that I support PC, but please let’s not start making arguments that slavery was somehow a good thing. Yes blacks lived better lives in america than in Africa but that is beside the issue. You could kidnap several Amazon tribespeople from their huts and plop them into NYC apartments, they would have a much better lifestyle. But I doubt it could be considered the right thing to do.

      • ziel says:

        The point isn’t about whether it was right or wrong – we all agree it’s wrong. It’s whether you can discuss facts about slavery dispassionately. You apparently don’t think so – you seem to feel that mentioning a fact that does not suggest that slavery was horrible is not acceptable. That’s the point about ‘is vs. ought’.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        Not that I support PC, but please let’s not start making arguments that slavery was somehow a good thing.

        You are putting words in other people’s mouths. I don’t recall that he said that “slavery was somehow a good thing.”

        That’s pretty dishonest, IMO.

      • TWS says:

        No because they’d probably die the first time they met someone with the flu. But that doesn’t matter. Because you are a living illustration of the point of the post.

      • thinkingabout it says:

        The “Is” here is a pointless “Is”, unless it is meant as a “nudge-nudge-wink-wink slavery was not all bad” sort of thing. It’s like a dispassionate observation saying the life span of black men serving life sentences in prison is higher than that of black males on the streets. May be true. But so what? It contributes essentially zero to the discussion. It carries as much value as saying black males in prison wear more red t shirts than black males on the street. It is a directionless, formless, inane statement. Unless put in its right context. And we all know what the context is.

      • Matthew Walker says:

        @thinkingaboutit,

        You can only think of one reason to discuss the matter, and you can’t think of any reason why the factoid in question wouldn’t mean slavery was a good idea.

        Your imagination has interesting limits, but not everybody shares them.

      • TWS says:

        No they don’t. You’ve obviously never seen the inside of a prison. And again another person illustrates the point of the original post.

    • TWS says:

      James is being a slave bad? Sure, not the same every-time and everywhere but the fact that its morally wrong doesn’t change historical facts.

      Does pointing that out make it an ethics test rather than an historical fact? No. Facts are facts.

    • Matthew Walker says:

      He was not saying slavery was better than factory work. He was saying precisely what he said, not one word more: that slaves appear to have been physically healthier on average than contemporary factory workers. You seem to believe that is correct, though you go much farther than I would in imputing rational behavior to slaveowners. Some were very, very bad, you know. And all owned slaves.

      You’re arguing with the implications YOU see in that neutral fact, not with anything he said. It’s common on the left now to regard liberty-talk with contempt and to insist that material well-being is infinitely more important than petty freedoms. “Free to starve! Free to die of a treatable illness!” We’re told that too much choice is bad for people, it makes them unhappy. Of course, this logic is generally invoked in the service of justifying more power and wealth for government officials, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sincere.

      I have no idea what our host thinks about liberty vs material well-being, but he certainly triggered an interesting defensive reaction in your mind.

  6. nooffensebut says:

    “I recalled something I read years ago from a group at, I think, Ohio State University. (I may have this completely garbled.) Their finding, from skeletal remains, was that the US Black slave population was better fed and in apparent better health than northern factory workers.”

    This graph of height during the industrial revolution supports this. Also, I reported on a study of such cadavers that suggested that whites of that time had more skeletal fractures. The author assumed this was evidence of more fistfights among whites, but the largest gaps were for things like vertebrae fractures, and virtually no gaps existed for cranial fractures and nasal fractures. Blacks have stronger bones due to skin color and vitamin D. All gunshot wounds were among blacks. I used this evidence to counter Steven Pinker’s ridiculous claim that “the racial disparity in American homicide has not always been with us.” Prior to Watson’s Watsonization, Pinker wrote that “Groups of people may differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments.” Post-Watsonization, Pinker fell for what I call the “idiot test,” which is repeating the copy-and-paste error that claimed more Chinese people have the warrior gene than other racial groups in order to support the notion that “the Warrior Gene theory is staggering around with possibly fatal wounds.”

    • Richard Sharpe says:

      All gunshot wounds were among blacks. I used this evidence to counter Steven Pinker’s ridiculous claim that “the racial disparity in American homicide has not always been with us.”

      I don’t understand. Unless there is evidence that blacks had (easy) access to firearms, that fact could be interpreted to mean that they were shot by whites at that time.

    • reiner Tor says:

      Blacks have stronger bones due to skin color and vitamin D.

      I thought darker skin means less, not more vitamin D. It also means less skin cancer.

      • nooffensebut says:

        “Unless there is evidence that blacks had (easy) access to firearms, that fact could be interpreted to mean that they were shot by whites at that time.”

        There is archival evidence that newly freed blacks armed themselves more than whites. When the first Census data on crime by race came out in 1880, blacks committed 54% of unlawfully concealed weapons charges, 75% of exhibiting a deadly weapon charges, and 83% of shootings. Generally, most violence at the time was intraracial, but Pinker’s own source said Philadelphia blacks “were more likely to commit both intraracial and interracial homicide.”

        “I thought darker skin means less, not more vitamin D.”

        It depends on which vitamin D. Powe et al just found that blacks have low 25-hydroxyvitamin D, low vitamin D-binding protein, and high bone mineral density. Low binding protein leads to higher bioavailable vitamin D, which is a lipophilic hormone. Blacks and whites had similar bioavailable vitamin D levels. Gutierrez found evidence that blacks require less vitamin D for optimal calcium metabolism.

    • Julian says:

      I wrote to Pinker about the error in relation to the Chinese and MAO-A. He wrote back indicating he would correct the error in future editions of Better Angels.

      • nooffensebut says:

        Thanks for doing that. Pinker wasn’t the only guilty party by a long shot, and even though I heard he corrected it, the myth is still spreading. Wikipedia wouldn’t even let me put the correct value in because everything in print is true according to Wikipedia. The existence of a violence gene is a very inconvenient fact that many have been trying to bury by various means. Daniel MacArthur and company assured us that MAOA literature “will soon be forgotten” and that “signs of this are already starting to appear.” These mystical signs didn’t foresee the positive meta-analysis by Byrd and Manuck.

    • little spoon says:

      “Their finding, from skeletal remains, was that the US Black slave population was better fed and in apparent better health than northern factory workers.”

      Yeah, I was wondering about the validity of the comparison. Blacks look like they can get pretty far on pretty little when it comes to nutrition. You see the childhood famine victims of Mali grow up to become 6 ft tall broad shouldered dudes.

      Is the inferiority of northern skeletons a result of the robustness of the skeleton or evidence of disparity of living standards?

      • Harold says:

        According to the chart of human heights at wikipedia the average height of rural adult males in Mali was measured in 1992 as 1.713 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in).

        It also has black American males 20–39 at 1.780 m (5 ft 10 in) and white American males at 1.789 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in) both as measured in 2003–2006.

  7. JayMan says:

    “Are the human sciences, so called, forever condemned to putting up with this sort of reaction?”

    Yes, for better or for worse. (Hence this post, Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit « JayMan’s Blog). Being a good scientist is very, very hard and takes a special kind of mind. Since the whole point of moral beliefs is to regulate our social world, they are deeply enshrined as if they were written in the stars.

    Of course, I don’t know if this is always a bad thing. Having people be mindful of the implications what they find is helpful, even if it does mess up the act of science as well.

    • reiner Tor says:

      Having people be mindful of the implications what they find is helpful

      No it isn’t. If you don’t know what’s truth, how can you remedy it? Moreover, it’s highly unlikely that the remedy will be found by the same person who finds the facts in the first place. So this means just slower (or backwards moving) “science” or rather pseudo-science, where nobody is helped.

      Recently the Strasbourg court ordered that Slovakian Gypsy children should no longer be discriminated against. Apparently a majority of Gypsy children were found to be mentally retarded and hence sent to special schools for the intellectually disabled. The Court found that this was in violation of something (Human Rights, Equality, Dignity, or whatever), so they ordered the practice to be stopped. Now because I suspect the majority of Gypsy children really did suffer from general learning disability (as well as probably a general lack of motivation to learn anything at all at school), the Court was effectively demanded that a large number of mentally retarded children be sent to normal classes, where they will not only hinder the school work of others, but they will also not learn anything, because they would probably also need the special expertise of teachers in special schools.

      So the result will be worse for both the Slovakian (white) children AND the Gypsy children. But at least we won’t hurt their feelings. (They didn’t care in the first place. It’s all about the feelings of the Court judges and other liberals, who never run the danger of THEIR children having to attend classes with those Gypsy children. Also, in the rare case that their children happen to be intellectually disabled for whatever reason, THEY will never be deprived of a special school.)

      • JayMan says:

        You’re missing my point. Only a tiny minority of people, even scientists (especially in the social sciences) can be dispassionate and benign truthseekers (like myself, Dr. Cochran, & Dr. Harpending, etc…). And this will always be so. So, if there can’t be more such people, it might not be the worse thing that that reaction is common.

        It speaks to a larger aspects of Northwestern Europeans (and similar individuals from other groups).

        “No it isn’t. If you don’t know what’s truth, how can you remedy it? Moreover, it’s highly unlikely that the remedy will be found by the same person who finds the facts in the first place. So this means just slower (or backwards moving) “science” or rather pseudo-science, where nobody is helped.”

        “So the result will be worse for both the Slovakian (white) children AND the Gypsy children. But at least we won’t hurt their feelings. (They didn’t care in the first place.”

        Sure, political correctness has its downsides and inefficiencies. We all agree on that. Is any likely alternative that much better? That much is far from clear at the moment. But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

      • Lokke says:

        There is a reason for why myth is necessary for morality. What is peculiar about late-stage liberalism is not that it is based on myth, but rather that it is self-dissolving, a suicide mythos if you will.

  8. Patrick Boyle says:

    People in America don’t think about slavery except in the context of black slavery in the deep South on plantations. But black chattel slavery in America was for a very short period right at the end of the very long slave period.

    Slavery is a Neolithic Revolution institution that lasted until the Industrial Revolution. Abraham Piersay brought black slaves to Jamestown in about 1620, The Emancipation Proclamation was 1865 so blacks were only slaves for about 245 years. That’s less than 3% of the slave period which had begun maybe 12,000 years ago with agriculture.

    My namesake Saint Patrick had been a slave in the sixth century. Almost all peoples except a few scattered hunter-gatherers were slaves for thousands and thousands of years. Generally only when a people developed their military capabilities they could then stop their people from being enslaved. The Germans are the obvious example.

    Black Africans weren’t really discovered until the fifteenth century and became a major source of slaves only in the seventeenth century – when slavery was near it’s natural end. Even without Wilberforce and the American Civil War field slaves wouldn’t have lasted much longer – maybe a century. Free men are more efficient and tractors even more so.

    Frederick Douglas, the greatest black leader of the nineteenth century, also stated that the lot of the black slave in America was superior to that of the free Irish peasant. The indentured Irish on the Mississippi were reserved for the most dangerous jobs. The masters didn’t want to risk their blacks.

    White people nowadays think the song ‘Old Man River’ is history. It’s in fact purpose built propaganda designed to deceive. The blacks in the story and the play were not slaves. Hammerstein added that to the musical adaptation. Emancipation had been more than a generation earlier. Stevedore jobs were highly competitive in the late nineteenth century. They paid well and were often unionized. Blacks had trouble getting them. Most of all that ‘tot that barge and lift that bale’ stuff was done by whites.

    • agnostic says:

      Most law abiding citizens are very likely descendants of thousands years slavery in civilization. Basically civilized people are like domesticated animals through slavery to select for ability of obedience and hard working.

      This seems inevitable outcomes for people living in highly productive societies. Like book “world until yesterday” by Diamond, inequality is hallmark of civilized large societies. Trouble makers will be eliminated over thousand years selections. But such societies are peaceful and wealthy despite of inequality (with slave, poor, middle class to wealthy elites). He makes fun of ideology of libertarian or anarchist as impossible dream except moving to hunter-gatherer society.

      Only small hunter-gathers or tribal societies can provide true egalitarian social structure within. However, such small tribal societies are the products of low productivity or poor resource. Tribal people constantly face threat from neighbouring tribes with high degree of paranoia (xenophobia) toward strangers. There is no trust to anyone outside their tribe. Tribal war is chronic with little peace. Genocidal wipeout is common feature. They can not afford to keep slave alive due to low productivity. Certainly racism is relic of tribal mentality.

      Like business, small partnership can function in equality. Large corporation function in hierarchi from minimum wage workers to multi millionaire CEO (McDonald or WarMart), which mirror civilized society. Disobedient trouble makers will be fired from the corporation. Without welfare, jobless will lead to starvation or criminal behavior which will be dead end biologically in good old day.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “Black Africans weren’t really discovered until the fifteenth century and became a major source of slaves only in the seventeenth century”

      Arabs and Egyptians were slaving in Africa for thousands of years.

      • Patrick Boyle says:

        Africa of course had had it’s own local domestic slavery since agriculture was introduced but it was small scale and not highly organized. Tribes who fought each other enslaved the losers. But this is very different from the large scale mass slave societies in the north around the Mediterranean.

        There are depictions of blacks in New Kingdom frescos but Numidians were never a major source of agricultural labor or slaves except perhaps in ‘Aida’.

        All this changed after the Age of Discovery. The Portuguese brought Africans to Lisbon as slaves in the sixteenth century and began large scale commercial slavery in the seventeenth. This was the big change. Africans became a slave providing people the way the Slavs had been a millennium earlier. Black Africa had been isolated by geography for most of recorded history.

    • aisaac says:

      It’s a myth that slavery was near its natural end around the time of the Civil War. The right to own slaves was in the CSA’s Constitution, so it would have required a constitional amendment to ban it. It would have been difficult to get the supermajority needed to voluntarily give up what the South fought an incredibly bloody war for in the first place. Maybe it would not be as economically important now, but neither are guns and lots of old-stock white folks are very attached to them anyway. The CSA would have been too big to bully economically like South Africa, and, unfettered to the Union, there would have been no liberal judges to force them to do anything they didn’t want to do (recall that civil rights were almost entirely forced on the South by Northerners only 50 years ago).

      The most plausible scenario in which slavery is outlawed in the CSA would be one where getting rid of slavery is a requisite for recognition from foreign countries or part of a peace deal with the USA – which would have required that they did better on the battlefield than they actually did, but not so well that they could write their own treaties. The result would have been Jim Crow, but with no liberal judges to force integration in the ’60s. Maybe decades of egalitarian propaganda would do the trick (CSA folk would probably watch American movies and TV just like everyone else, and many of their elites might go to Harvard and Yale just like other elites), but we’d be getting toward the end of the 20th century, at least, before that could have the desired affect.

      • Patrick Boyle says:

        Myth? Just about every advanced nation on Earth dropped slavery in the nineteenth century. Only America did so with a big war. Many if not most of the Founding Fathers opposed slavery. It was unpopular in the US everywhere except where it was an economic necessity. And then the economics changed.

        In the 1930s John Rust invented the cotton spindle. This set off the Second Great Migration when blacks abandoned the fields to go north and west. Even if slavery had persisted from 1865 till 1910 (The First Great Migration) in the CSA it would surely have died out then. That’s only another forty five years.

  9. Steve Sailer says:

    The slave obsession is growing (e.g., Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave). It has something to do with Obama being President.

    • ziel says:

      And the insanity is just spreading. Witness Maureen Dowd’s latest column on the horrific treatment Irish servants – and her ancestors particularly – endured under their British tyrant-employers and how despicable it is that Downton Abbey whitewashes this reality.

      And of course the Ani DiFranco insanity – is there no end to this madness? I’m waiting for some Republican politician to use a “whipping” metaphor and be roundly denounced for so insensitively appropriating such a painful reminder of slavery.

    • TWS says:

      You mean being the decendant of slave owners and slave traders makes people reflect on slavery? Or perhaps siding with traditionally slave taking and holding Muslims draws that attention. I can’t imagine what else it might be.

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      I’m sure you’re right about Obama Steve, but the movies have been getting slavery wrong since long before we had a mulatto President.

      Ridley Scot’s big hit Gladiator gets Roman slavery all wrong. During the Antonine period slaves had rights. Female slaves could not be forced into prostitution and males could not be forced into being gladiators. If the Russell Crow character Maximus didn’t want to be a gladiator he should have just quit.

      Gladiators were indeed slaves who were whipped and branded but it was still a popular career choice for free Roman men. It was ‘show business’ and gladiators were the ‘rock stars’ of the age. Roman magistrates had to work hard to keep free men from selling themselves into slavery so as to get to be gladiators.

      The latifundae of the Late Republic had been very harsh and cruel but by the Early Empire urban slavery was a progressive institution that provided education and business apprenticeships for a large proportion of poor Romans. Magistrates had to restrict manumissions.

      And of course there never were any Roman galley slaves like in Ben-Hur.

  10. Julian says:

    A couple of papers that may be of interest to you or Greg.

    Correlation of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism with latitude and
    a hunter-gather lifestyle suggests culture–gene coevolution and
    selective pressure on cognition genes due to climate
    ANTHROPOLOGICAL SCIENCE, Vol. 121(3), 161–171, 2013

    https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/correlation-of-the-comt-val158met-polymorphism-with-latitude-and-a-hunter-gather-lifestyle-suggests-culturee28093gene-coevolution-and-selective-pressure-on-cognition-genes-due-to-climate.pdf

    Factor Analysis of Population Allele Frequencies as a Simple, Novel Method of
    Detecting Signals of Recent Polygenic Selection: The Example of Educational
    Attainment and IQ. Piffer (2013) – Open Access, Open Review Journal

    http://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/factor-analysis-of-population-allele-frequencies-as-a-simple-novel-method-of-detecting-signals-of-recent-polygenic-selection-copy.pdf

  11. teageegeepea says:

    To play Devil’s Advocate, asking whether someone would like to live a slave’s life is at least on point regarding a dispute over the quality of said life, unlike the cancer example. But my guess is that the “redneck” you were referring to is Phil Robertson, who talked about the lives of sharecroppers from his youth rather than slaves.

  12. To be fair to her, life expectancy, nutritional quality and stature are poor proxies for quality of life.

  13. Gilbert P says:

    Is this James for real? Right on cue.

    But the STEM crowd here, Henry notwithstanding, may not realise that humanities and social science undergrads are grilled, drilled and critiqued endlessly on the limits of ‘so-called’ objectivity, truth, science, etc. The student MUST bring to their perspective a ‘social conscience’ – really a kind of holiness – or ELSE.

  14. VJ says:

    How many responses here, and only one (!) glancingly touches upon the central contention on the issue of slaves. The cite is there somewhere. The gent’s been mentioned. It’s not hard to find. But it may not tell you all that is claimed for the cite. It’s a very complicated issue in econ-history. But the general discussion is not hard to find or access. That’s been going on for oh, 30 years!

  15. Greying Wanderer says:

    The cultural Marxists were correct in their analysis of how to transform a society.

  16. Jaim Jota says:

    Of course everybody will be scandalized by harpend’s trying to inject doubts in people’s minds. Is there anyone who has not seen with his/her own eyes the true and horrible reality of only twelve years of slavery? How can an otherwise honest scientist bring up one improbable “fact”, most probably a fabricated “factoid”, against the visceral, vital and soulshaking reality of the potent portrait of slavery and many other undeniable movie and textbook true documentaries and testimonies? Well cared healthy slaves! Who has ever seen one?

  17. Redheaded says:

    AFAIK, there is no know case of Northern factory worker coming to the Southern plantation and volunteering to be slave. If only they could read these studies…

    • TWS says:

      You are aware people voluntarily indentured themselves for years at a time? They were virtual slaves for that time and often treated worse. The frontier in America eventually made that a less attractive option. I have at least one ancestor who was abandon by his father and made an indetured servant. He was not listed as a ‘freeman’ until he was 32, 17 years after being indentured. And he was still part of the masters household on tax rolls so yes it happened.

  18. thecivilizationalist says:

    OT
    West Hunter – In an earlier post, you were proposing a theory of how pathogens were responsible for male homosexuality.
    I have a different theory, that also explains the inter-relations between homosexuality and paedophilia – http://humancivilizations.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/male-homosexuality-as-a-sexual-competition-reduction-mechanism/

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • teageegeepea says:

      If you don’t already know his thoughts on group selection, then come back when you have read them.

      • thecivilizationalist says:

        I have read his views here: http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/group-selection-and-homosexuality/

        What he is missing is that the probability of individual selection among lower order males is very low in a typical polygynous tribal environment. Under such a circumstance, the genes for ‘homosexual imprintability’ can be naturally selected via group selection mechanism for the purposes of increasing social harmony. Such a gene would not retard individual selection of the higher order males, because this gene would not be expressed as homosexuality among the higher order males.

        • gcochran9 says:

          The hunter-gatherers we know about – and remember, everybody’s ancestors were hunter-gatherers – aren’t very polygynous, and it seems that in most such groups, homosexuality is completely unknown.
          Except for not bothering to learn the ethnographic facts, and not bothering to learn how the math works for the Price equation, you’re doing fine.

  19. mmolehill says:

    In the American south a slave was a valuable piece of property. In the industrial north workers were dispossable trash. But to acknowlege that would interfere with the leftist narative that slavery was the worst. evil. ever.

  20. Yes, science should only be about what is the case. What ought to be is politics. The problem is that, unlike morality or religion, science is a recent, purely cultural innovation, and it doesn’t come easily. So when it’s morality vs. science, morality usually wins. In a science like physics it’s not an issue since the subject of study isn’t human behavior. The main limiting factors are pure ingenuity and of course money and technology. But in the social sciences PC is a major impediment to making them more consilient with biology. Unfortunately, I can think of several reasons why this won’t change anytime soon:

    1. If a scientist makes a politically incorrect claim, he opens himself up for attack. He may be able to defend himself on scientific grounds, but the public probably wouldn’t understand it. Remember when Gould called Wilson a fascist? The problem is that, when it comes to funding, it helps when the public doesn’t see you as a fascist. So in that sense, PC is adaptive. Of course, the public does learn, but it takes a long time.

    2. Even scientists are only human, and according to evolutionary psychology, the human mind is modular. However, there’s no Cranium Commando that picks a module; instead, modules pop into action automatically, depending on the situation. One of these modules is what Robert Kurzban calls the Press Secretary in his book “Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite”. This module goes into action whenever a reputation is on the line, and it’s strategically ignorant. I think this explains knee-jerk reactions pretty well when we talk about human behavior.

    3. From what I have seen in the literature over the years, I have to agree with JayMan that the list of those who can research human behavior, and stay focused on the science, is very, very short. It never ceases to amaze me how even the most brilliant and accomplished scientists suddenly become quite irrational when the issue is certain aspects of human nature.

  21. P P O Ojala says:

    Peasants were basically just free range slaves. The masters let the peasants do what they want and collect the fruits when they felt like it.

    The finnish word for cattle is nauta, that is related to nautinta meaning to hunt and later nautinta-alue “nautinta-area” the area from which the tribe had the right to hunt, fish and taxate from. Today nautinta means enjoyment as in enjoying the fruits of the labor of others. Robbing free peasants is the equivalent of owning slaves in a more organised society.

    • P P O Ojala says:

      Amusingly finnish word for slave “orja” comes apparently from the same indoeuropean word “aryan” for “man”.

      • TWS says:

        Is the ‘j’ pronounced like the y in aryan?

      • Paavo Ojala says:

        TWS: ‘j’ is indeed pronounced like the y in aryan. It is probably just a funny coincidence that the eastern tribe of finns, karelians, are known in finnish as karjalainen as in “karja”=livestock karjalainen resembling closely arjalainen=aryan. Apparently finnish “nauta” (germanic nauda or something) is a different loan from the similar nauttia (from njuta in swedish).

    • athEIst says:

      Latin[edit]Verb[edit]taxāte

      1.second-person plural present active imperative of taxō

      So “taxate” is a verb, just in Latin ,not English.

      • athEIst says:

        Verb[edit]present active taxō, present infinitive taxāre, perfect active taxāvī, supine taxātum

        1.I feel, I touch sharply, I handle.
        2.I charge, I twit, I reproach, I censure.
        3.I rate, I appraise, I value, I estimate.
        4.I judge, I compute, I reckon, I estimate

        So “I charge” comes close.

        P.S. “I twit”??

  22. teageegeepea says:

    I’ve found economists who calculated that freed slaves earned more of the share of agricultural product (and apparently in absolute terms even when factoring in the smaller total output) as laborers (even as sharecoppers/tenant farmers) than they received as slaves. Is there a problem with the calculations, do earnings map poorly onto health/wellbeing, or what?

    • Yes, freed slaves come from a population with an on average low time preference, high impulsivity etc.. They spend all their money right away and can’t afford food later, otherwise provided by the owner. There is more fighting going on, otherwise prevented by the owner And so on. You get the picture.

  23. monk says:

    “Their finding, from skeletal remains, was that the US Black slave population was better fed and in apparent better health than northern factory workers.”

    In this blog post

    thosewhocansee.blogspot.com/2013/12/whence-housing-segregation.html

    There is this quotation from Collins, W.H., The Truth About Lynching and the Negro in the South, New York: Neale Publishing Co., 1918:

    “According to De Bow, the mortality of the free Negroes before the [Civil] War was a hundred per cent greater than that of the slaves. It even appears that the death of the Negroes in the South at that time was less than that of the whites. In Charleston, S.C., the average death-rate from 1822 to 1861 was 25.98 a thousand for whites and 24.05 for Negroes. About the same was true of some other cities. From 1865 to 1894, however, the average death-rate at Charleston was 26.77 a thousand for whites and 43.29 for Negroes.

    Again, in thirty-three Northern cities the death rate among Negroes was 25.1 a thousand and 15.7 among whites, while in twenty-four Southern cities the death-rate was 29.6 for Negroes and 16.9 for whites. … Thus, it is seen that the death rate among Negroes is not far from twice as great as among whites, but contrary to the general impression it is less in the North than in the South.”

    Which supports the idea that Blacks enjoyed better health while enslaved than when free. Not your point but equally politically incorrect.

  24. rottmayer says:

    One of the most notorious slave users were the Arabs – but because of there “rough” approach no descendants are available these days….

  25. Jaim Jota says:

    The captains of slave ships worried much about the physical and mental health of the cargo, as any loss would be charged against their profit. Mouths were hygienized once a week with vinegar. Food was varied and fresh. At the table, a supervisor marked the rythm of taking the food to the mouth and masticating, to ensure that everybody was eating and not fasting. Singing and dancing was encouraged to combat melancholy and depression (suicide was a main cause of losses, second to epidemies). Fetters, chains, floggings were rarely employed, because of they damaged the future farmhands . Everything was done to put the farmhands on land on the best possible condition and sell them at the best price. Legally they were slaves, but from a practical point of view, they were valuable farmhands, they only made possible the cultivation of malarial lowlands. Of course movies on well managed agricultural work dont sell tickets, movies on (inexistent) sadistic pornographic plantation owners do.

  26. Greying Wanderer says:

    @Patrick Boyle
    “There are depictions of blacks in New Kingdom frescos but Numidians were never a major source of agricultural labor or slaves except perhaps in ‘Aida’.”

    1) The genetics of Egypt, Arabia and the Middle East say the opposite.
    2) Everywhere you had sugar plantations you had slavery.
    3) There were slave-soldiers too, mostly taken as young boys – lots of them – like an earlier version of Janissary.

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      You seem to be agreeing with me about my major points. Why so aggressive?

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        I’m not agreeing at all. I’m always aggressive.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        To be more specific

        1) “Black Africans weren’t really discovered until the fifteenth century and became a major source of slaves only in the seventeenth century”

        2) “Black Africa had been isolated by geography for most of recorded history.”

        Out of Africa
        Genetic back migration into the Horn of Africa
        Axum-Sheba
        Records of Nubian slave trading from Southern Egypt
        Arab slave trade
        SSA admixture in Arabia / Middle East
        Land route between Egypt and the West African gold-fields
        Connection to East African gold fields and Zimbabwe
        Black slave-soldiers / mercenaries used in Arab / North African armies
        The massive slave trade centered in pre-reconquista Spain
        Repeal of slavery laws in places like Saudi Arabia only in the 1960s
        etc

        plus loads more

        The idea that Black Africa was isolated from the Eastern Med / Egypt / Arabia nexus is nonsense.

        3) “The Portuguese brought Africans to Lisbon as slaves in the sixteenth century and began large scale commercial slavery in the seventeenth.”

        Wasn’t there a massive slave-trade of Europeans centered in pre-reconquista Spain. It seems odd they wouldn’t raid or trade for African slaves too.

  27. Jaim Jota says:

    Greying,

    It happens that only Africans are capable of hard physical work in the tropics, and specifically in malaria infested lowlands. Africans were introduced everywhere to these ecologycal niches, from Brasil, Panama, Haiti, South USA, but also in Greece, Italy and so. In Israel we have the Jisser A-Zarka village built in a coastal swamp and peopled by Africans brought in by the Arab landowners to man their sugar plantations (in the 1947 liberation war, they fought with the Haganah and were not deported).

  28. dave chamberlin says:

    Cochran has read tons of history and i have read my fair share. The soft people living today (excluding god awful places like Subsaharan Africa) are ignorant, by and large, of just how bad people had it preindustrial revolution and how horribly they treated one another. Slavery is held up as lowest of the low as indeed it is, but history by and large is romanticized with lots of lies like the phrase “the good old days.” Good old days my ass, you should be very grateful you live today. I am surprised how ignorant people people are to this fact. The history we are taught rarely emphasizes the daily lives of normal people and unless you seek out books that delve into this area it is easy to generalize that life in “the good old days” just meant more chores. We were very very different, death, physical pain, violence, hunger and suffering, they weren’t just on the TV or delayed till we were old and worn out. I think people living today hold slavery as a symbol of just how terribly we can treat one another without realizing that excluding the rich a whole lot of normal folk were eating the same shit sandwich in days of yore. Think of how much you love your children, then imagine that half of them dying before age 10. Think of your last toothache and imagine it gave you years of pain because Dr Rustypliers yanked out all but one rotting root that festered for years.

  29. IC says:

    Curious, how did slave owners get rid of aging slaves due to low productivity?

    • panjoomby says:

      joseph ellis in his book on george washington (“his excellency”) said a third of washington’s slaves were elderly & no longer worked. in that sense, if your owners were nice/well-off, slavery allowed for retirement. responsible owners worried about whether their charges could make it in a free environment. it turns out nowadays fully 50 – 60% of them can. sorry for the very ballpark-y figure there.

      • TWS says:

        Reports of former slaves were nearly universal in their treatment my their former owners, “marse always looked after us even when we was old.” “We never was hungry or cold etc.” Americans can be very sentimental. If we were like Romans English would be spoken everywhere and every living soul from Morocco to India would be Christian.

        We aren’t and wrren’t Roman

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      Cato the Elder recommended selling them or killing them. Not a nice guy the elder Cato. He thought those to put their old slaves ‘out to pasture’ were sentimentalists.

      • IC says:

        As effecient slave owner, you should keep your slaves the same way for your horses. Keep them healthy and well-fed when they are young and productive. Eliminating them when they are old and non-productive.

        “Their finding, from skeletal remains, was that the US Black slave population was better fed and in apparent better health than northern factory workers.”

        This finding can have many potential explanations.
        1-harpen’s “redneck may not have been utterly nuts”. Well-fed slaves are more productive. Very likely.
        2-racial difference in bone structure. Easily researched to confirm or reject.
        3-age difference in death. Again easily to prove or dis.
        4-enviromental difference between south and north. Need to look into southern poor white data to compare.
        Other readers can add more……………

  30. reakcionar says:

    Even competent intelligent people like her have trouble keeping straight in their heads what ought to have been and what actually was. Are the human sciences, so called, forever condemned to putting up with this sort of reaction?

    Trying to discuss slavery, women’s rights, Trayvon Martin or any other politically incorrect topic in a calm, logical and scientific way with a person of liberal-left inclination today is a little bit like discussing how a human infant cannot pass through a non-deflowered vagina or sperm cannot magically grow inside a womb, therefore immaculate conception and virgin birth is impossible – with a 15th century Catholic. That 15th century catholic could be an intelligent and competent person, but it’s very unlikely you would shake the foundations of his religion with a simple logical argument.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of scientific giants from the past, like Isaac Newton, could keep their minds straight in their field of expertise, while being almost insane on the religious fields of their lives. What in human nature has changed so dramatically in the last few centuries that we should not expect the same kind of behavior today?

    • TWS says:

      Your wrong a non-deflowered vagina can accomodate a baby it would be more painful but hardly impossible. And the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary mother of Jesus, not Jesus. A thirteenth century man did not believe it was ‘God’s sperm’ but the Holy Spirit and understood it was a supernatural event.

      If you do not understand your own examples or female anatomy perhaps your time could be more constructively spent?

    • People 500 or even 2000 years ago knew that virgins did not give birth – knew it as well as we know it. Joseph certainly knew it,as he was minded to have Mary sent away quietly rather than going through with the marriage. Why else would he do that, unless he knew that virgins ordinarily did not give birth? They believed that one particular pregnancy was a miracle. They knew many fewer details about conception, but their general overview was as sound as ours. They knew the laws of nature. Only those who know that the sun rises in the east would be surprised to see it rising in the west. A person in 100 AD who thought miracles impossible in this universe would not believe in that miracle or any other, regardless of evidence. One who thought them possible might credit that particular one, or might not. The situation is no different today.

      Your argument is in fact rather stunningly stupid, yet I doubt you will be able to figure that out, no matter how many times it is explained. Carry on seeking out the least-able of those who disagree with you then, like a AA pitcher hanging out at the junior high to feel talented. You can read about them in the papers all the time, and I’m sure it makes you feel comforted.

      • reakcionar says:

        Maybe my example was flawed (and I am sorry if it sounded offensive to anyone Christian), but I can’t see anything wrong with the statement about the religious aspect of slavery, what was my main point. History of slavery has a very mythological thing to it, it’s a part of modern “Political Correctness theology” and it’s reasonable to expect a very emotional response when discussing it even with an educated upper class person. In other words, if you examine skeletal remains of southern slaves and find they were well fed, that is a discovery that is contrary to religious beliefs of most of educated and intelligent people today, and if those people want to keep their faith strong, they must resist the temptation to review your research in an honest way.

        Here’s a real life example: I have a colleague at work, quite an intelligent engineer, but a militant atheist. When Mandela died she spoke of him as a saint who brought salvation to his people, and even my mildest criticism of him was met with anger and aggression. In her world of beliefs, Mandela is a saint person whose wonderful deeds are not to be discussed, while at the same time any catholic priest or a nun are by definition thieves and liars and should be hanged on the nearest lamppost. If she were to admit that Mandela wasn’t a saint, she might go down the slippery slope of doubt and disappointment which will lead her to not believing the PC narrative – and she knows that no respectable person would do that. In retrospect, what I did there was a rude attempt to try to shatter her religious beliefs and make her doubt the sanctity of her beloved supernatural person.

        If you think there’s a fundamentally different reason why intelligent and competent people today hold all sorts of insane magical beliefs and stop themselves from examining purely scientific data on the ground of feeling bad about it, I’d be more than glad to hear it.

      • Ian says:

        People 500 or even 2000 years ago knew that virgins did not give birth
        … Saint Ambrose being the exception: “It is said that vultures ‘do
        not indulge in conjugal embraces’ or in any sort of union or nuptial tie. They are said to conceive without contact with the male seed and that without the union of sexes they generate offspring that live to a ripe old age.” It’s on his Hexameron.

  31. Richard Sharpe says:

    I’m surprised that you haven’t been purged yet.

  32. Greying Wanderer says:

    Random off-topic thought

    If you set up a model of hominid/human expansion where you have a large land-mass on a north-south axis separated into five latitude bands: inland tropical, inland sub-tropical, inland mid-latitudes, inland northern latitudes, inland cold, and you say the rules are

    1) The humans/hominids start in the inland tropical band.
    2) The humans/hominids can only move into a different band if they have adapted to food-getting in that band first.

    Then they’d be stuck.

    If you add a sea along the edge of the land-mass and five extra regions along that edge i.e coastal & tropical, coastal & sub-tropical, coastal & mid-latitudes, coastal & northern latitudes, coastal & cold, then sticking with the same rules the humans/hominids could move
    -start inland tropical
    -move to tropical & coastal (cos already adapted to tropical food-getting)
    -adapt to coastal food-getting
    -move to coastal & sub-tropical (cos now adapted to coastal food-getting)
    -adapt to sub-tropical food-getting
    -move to inland sub-tropical (cos now adapted to sub-tropical food-getting)
    -move to coastal and mid-latitudes
    -adapt to mid-latitudes food-getting
    -move inland
    etc

    So seems likely to me human expansion would always be water-led whether coastal or large lakes and rivers as as long as the expansion restricted itself to the water vector they could adapt to the other conditions later.

  33. Greying Wanderer says:

    Second one

    Unless i’m misunderstanding the number of genetic mutations are used as a way of genetic dating, molecular clocks etc but on here and elsewhere I’ve read that the rate of mutation may be influenced by
    1) climate
    2) effective population size (also related to climate)

    So taking the land-mass mentioned previously with five latitude bands:
    -tropical
    -sub-tropical
    -mid-latitudes
    -northern latitudes
    -cold

    and giving them a number to represent temperature 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 and also saying population size (in HG times) in that sequence of latitude bands went something like low to medium to high to medium to low again with the numbers 1, 2, 3 attached to low, medium, high and add the two numbers together then the respective mutation rate modifiers would go
    tropical: 5 + 1 = 6
    sub-tropical: 4 + 2 = 6
    mid-latitudes: 3 + 3 = 6
    northern latitudes: 2 + 2 = 4
    cold: 1 + 1 = 2

    obviously the actual numbers and relative weighting of temperature and population size could be very different but if these two factors, temperature and population size or even just one of them, are factors then shouldn’t the rate of mutation in the colder (and consequently lower population size) climes be lower?

    This seems to me to be potentially important when it comes to DNA dating. There might not be one molecular clock but instead numerous regional molecular clocks?

  34. monk says:

    above poster should be named ‘bot’!

    • dave chamberlin says:

      bots and trolls
      and fools of all stripes
      preaching to choirs
      and endless gripes

      it’s the internet man
      and get a grip
      for whatever was written
      we will soon outstrip

      and in the place of books and news
      shall be a broad range
      of whatever you choose

      but now and then
      the wise shall gather
      and look on through
      the endless blather

      together they will share
      the truth without varnish
      and their combined efforts
      will never tarnish

  35. GoneWithTheWind says:

    What is missing in this discussion is that TV redneck wasn’t talking about slaves or blacks living under Jim Crow and he was talking about blacks that were his friends and fellow workers in the fields. That is he lived the same life they did. AND he only opined that during that period in the late 60’s before race baiting and welfare destroyed the black community his friends were happier. I lived in the old South in the 60’s and I can attest to the truth of this observation. Not that they were treated perfectly or that it was nirvana but simply that before the left and welfare destroyed the black family they were happier.

  36. Citizen AM says:

    Geez, were slaves well fed and cared for, duh, they were fricking money- how much wealth did Jefferson have tied up in his slaves- including those who were literally related to him. And yet they were sold to pay his debts on his death.

    Most of the wealth of the south was in slaves. They literally grew and tended their own food, so starving them would be stupid beyond belief. Now, while they were growing their own food, they also grew cash crops, and performed cash labor for the master, so starving them would be dumb again from an economic viewpoint. Further, allowing the old to sit around in a slave society with plenty of food growing ability allowed built in baby sitting and training, while tying younger generations into staying to care for the old rather than escape North.

    The arguments above about killing off the old slaves would ferment much more rebellion (something that plagued Rome- Cato the Elder was an aspie moron with that sentiment).
    Now, beating them, controlling them, and ruthlessly repressing any chance of rebellion while feeding them would be perfectly consonant with good economic management.

    Any other dumb ideas along this line….

    • GoneWithTheWind says:

      Another dumb idea: Most Southerners did not own slaves, perhaps 5% were slave owners. Most slaves in the U.S. were brought here before we were even a self-governing country in much the same way drugs are brought here today. Most slaves were brought here by English and Dutch sea captains not by Americans and not by the choice of Americans. There were more white slaves in Africa during this period then there were black slaves in the U.S. ALL African slaves were captured by Africans and sold to African Arabs who then sold them to European ship captains who transported them here to be sold in a sleazy slave market. Slaves are still held in Africa and the U.S. was the first (and perhaps the only) country where the citizens stood up and fought a war to end slavery. Slavery was a normal or typical condition in all of history and it was the white European immigrants to the U.S. who ended it. But all of this is so not politically correct, true but flies in the face of the story the left would have you believe.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Something like 30% of southern families owned slaves. But you can get a smaller number if you count the fraction of white southern individuals that owned slaves, because most children didn’t own any, nor most women. In a typical example, a man in Texas had a farm near Waco with seven slaves. He had two sons, 17 and 21, that owned slaves. Both fought for the Confederacy. They weren’t slaveowners – yet.

        Brought in like drugs? no: drugs are illegal, slavery was not.

        They were brought in because of consumer demand in America: nobody forced people to buy slaves.

        Arabs were often involved in the slave trade to the Moslem world, not much in the trade to the Americas.

        England banned slavery well before the US, without a war. Of course, this was easier: slaves were not such a big part of the British economy.

        You are a misinformed person.

      • GoneWithTheWind says:

        I don’t know where you got the 30% number but it is a pure lie.
        YES they were brought in against the will of more then half of Americansa and sold to a very tiny minority of Americans, just like drugs.
        Indeed! Consumer demand, just like drugs. You are making my arguement for me.

        Arabs/muslims were involved in 100% of the sale of slaves destined to the new world. Talk about misinformed! In fact Arabs/muslims were involved in 100% of the slavery in Africa and that includes all the white slaves brought there from Europe.

        England banned slaves!?! In everyone of the territories they governed? Could you be wrong again?

        What strikes me as ODD is nothing I said was wrong or making excuses for slavery and yet you stil insist on promoting the neo-politically correct view of slavery. Why is that? You seem to be searching for someone to blame. And yet everyone who was to blame for slavery is long dead just as anyne who was a slave is long dead. So what is yur preoccupation with this gig? Can’t find enough real problems in the present day to worry about you have to search history and dredge up “facts” that suit your agenda? Why is that? You need to discover that because you seem to be way too hung up on this history and rewriting of history.

        • gcochran9 says:

          The 30% number is correct. based on the 1860 Census – nothing very complicated about it. Actually, 30.8%.

          You are mistaken about Arab participation in the Atlantic slave trade. They ran the trade across the Sahara, and out of the Indian Ocean ports, but played little role in the Atlantic trade. Christ, I thought everyone knew that. But then, I think that about a lot of things, and I am always wrong. And of course there were no white slaves brought over from Europe, least of all by Arabs. Are you another of those pesky visitors from alternate histories?

          The British Empire abolished slavery in much of the empire in 1833, and in the rest in 1843. You could look it up.

          Accuse me of lying again. It’ll simplify things.

  37. Lokke says:

    The most striking thing is that she was most likely referring to Mr. Duck Dynasty, who, needless to say, said nothing of the kind.

  38. Anon1 says:

    Does anyone have any idea what article on the condition of slaves vs. Northern factory workers he is referring to? I would love to read it.

  39. Luke Lea says:

    You might have replied, “Would you want to be a 19th century proletarian?

  40. j3morecharacters says:

    I have doubts about the magnitude of Arab slave trade across the Sahara. The market town where most caravans ended and started was Timbuktu, so the cost of transport to the Mediterranean coast would make all traffic unprofitable. Arabs were involved in the Indian Ocean trade, based in Zanzibar. Africans were not particularly valuable till the tropical agriculture in Cuba and Brasil – European demand for colonial products – African West Coast labour supply triangle was established by Portuguese conversos.

  41. Neil Craig says:

    Nonetheless no history of Northern whites running away to sign up for slavery, which suggests so factors not preserved in the bones (su7ch as whipping) may have provided a disincentive.

    However it is a matter of record that the cost of slaves often exceeded that of service contracts of European bonded immigrants. This suggests that the slaves were not casually, at least not by anybody who valued property, mistreated and indeed that the main driver of southern slavery was that in the malarial states, they tended to live longer & were capable of working more effectively than whites.

  42. Gottlieb says:

    The word useful idiot, should mean something to you with this dialogue that reported. Well, your friend is not an full idiot, but it should be a like 35% idiot. There is only one kind of stupidity, as Paul Cooijmans said, we can find people who score high on intelligence tests (this should indicate something close to intelligence) and be a sophisticated stupid.
    The main idea of stupidity seems to refer , in my opinion , for a lack of conscience . Typical leftist or stay-at – home with high academic status diplomas in hand , exhibit a kind of dysfunction of systemic consciousness or inability to find neutral systemic standards . This stems from my theory about extreme individualism , where people lose the ability to perform long-range interpersonal connections (aka stereotypes) , resulting in the presence of statistical patterns that corroborate the fact for example , blacks on average are less intelligent than whites .

    The rhetoric of the Useful Idiot makes sense given that by 2010 , the tribal process in which leftist scientists began to play the careers of their ideological pupils , especially in the humanities , but this is more impression than the reality occurred . Many humanists have decent human brains also.
    These liberal students of ‘diversity’ and political correctness humanists do not represent the intelectual elite of the human sciences in any way. What happens is that the human sciences, and where it develops the culture and politics of nations, is much more vulnerable to the power exchange than ”hard science”.
    Consciousness is related to our self, to others but also our dynamic reality where the constant demand and building systems is required . Thus we can choose who is more fit to be our friend for example.
    Only a theory . I’m assuming that blind beliefs of liberals ( not all of their beliefs , are blind or wrong ) are the result of their own natures , directly predisposed to individualism .
    Being a full individual , I see all the step as individuals , so there are no races , types of personality or intelligence , only self sufficient individuals who are born empty and build upon the environmental circumstances .
    But to understand the anti – white racism of liberals seems to be more complicated .
    Well , have a deficiency in your conscience makes you stupid. No there are no (probably) rational reasons to explain the liberal hatred for whites and ‘for themselves’ (I speak specifically of white liberals ) .
    Maybe white liberals do not see psychologically as white or as part of a race.
    Metaphorically speaking , individuals who are born empty and they do not feel part of an ethno- historical community may not have a past . If there is no cultural continuity , there is no past , present or future. I as a conscious being of humanity’s past , I’m not the same as self – individual, who live in the present and I am self centered . Past is tradition, extreme individualism is egocracy.
    Liberals seem to be unaware about the dynamics of the time , and this fits in perfectly with what I read on neuropolitics , where people who are more ‘right – brain’ oriented , tend to have difficulties in relation to the perception of time . This explains the great ease with which they are manipulated on history and also the inability to see patterns of behavior of groups and much less to plan the catastrophic consequences of high immigration worldist third . Liberal open-minded see a small world, where what matters are the tete-a -tete or first-person interaction , everyday events and self – experience interactions ( I know a black guy who is very smart ! Type ‘ ‘ liberal argument ” that aims to counter the differences in intelligence between races ) .
    Chinese and other Asians tend to give preference for minimalist traits . White liberals can be the exact opposite , for them each and every individual would be like a float .

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