Friday, November 17, 2006

Not Their Tribe

The Arts & Humanities crowd in America do not support OIF, or indeed nearly any war, because they do not perceive their tribe to be in danger.

There are numerous American tribes, and we all belong to a few. Usually, we will have one as our primary identifier. James Webb, just elected Senator from VA, wrote Born Fighting: How The Scots-Irish Shaped America, which is a powerful defense of the oft-maligned Southern, Appalachian, South Central US culture. Webb’s point is that this culture has fought our wars and continues to fight them – it is absolutely the case that the Revolutionary War could not have been won without them, for example – and is defined by honor, duty, country. Other tribes, particularly the Arts & Humanities crowd, deride them for their cars, their music, and their accents. Actually, the A&H crowd pretty much derides anyone who tries to do entertainment or academics that’s not under their supervision.

On the negative side, this Scots-Irish/ Appalachian/stereotypical Red State culture is historically racist (or more exactly, very tolerant of racism), suspicious of outsiders of any color, and violent. While this is less true now than previously, some remains.

Arnold Kling, over at TCSDaily, writes about “trust cues,” of the different groups, and in particular identifies some of the verbal cues of the Business Tribe. Such cues declare “I am part of this group. To lose that status would be painful for me. You can trust me to obey certain norms.” Such trust cues apply only for the specific tribal rules. Business trust cues don’t indicate whether you can trust the person with your wife or what his politics are.

Black voting patterns are tribal in this larger sense. Being loyal to “the community,” giving back to “the community,” remains important. White liberals like to note that black theology stresses social action and justice. Which would be more convincing to me if the justice sought didn’t always involve a large percentage of other black people. The black social action which defends Hispanics or American Indians exists only in the context of defending African-Americans, with others as throw-ins. It is invisible otherwise. Ironically, this larger tribalism may be a result of slave owners making extreme effort to destroy tribalism in the African sense. Slaves were split up from their historical tribes so they could not communicate with each other and become dangerous. Mandingos and Bantus lost their historical importance. Had these persisted, the national rivalries we see resolved in America – Poles & Germans, or Serbs & Macedonians as comfortable neighbors, shaking their heads at those idiots in Europe – might have taken place among Africans as well, as they are with Caribbean blacks now. That sort of natural accommodation might have be better. But because white people saw blacks as “all of a piece,” they came to see themselves that way.

There are regional tribes: Joel Garreau convincingly describes Nine Nations of North America. Texas conservatives are not the same as New Hampshire conservatives, as my second son is finding out. They are an affiliated tribe. They like making noise. We like being left alone. Or perhaps, their other tribal identifications are very different from what you find in New England. Libertarians in New England are geeks who really care about the Tenth Amendment; the same party in Arizona tends toward people who also belong to NORML. There are religious and ethnic tribes as well.

Many people straddle tribes, or move fairly easily in more than one. Many more think they move easily but don’t. The entire cultural weight of the LL Bean catalogue was founded on the illusion that even though you’re a chieftain in the (Preppy) Business Tribe of suburban Boston or New Haven, you can still mix naturally with hunters, boat repairmen, and dog breeders in Maine. The balancing act for those trying to rise in the Business Tribe is difficult. You actually might mix well with the lobstermen and pie-bakers – because they really are your relatives. There’s just something humorous about wearing the look that is supposed to be an imitation of the relatives you are trying to hide, so that you can assume the appearance of unassuming wealth.

Come to think of it, the Arts & Humanities tribe tries to do that on their vacations also. It’s no accident that there are lots of books about people having profound thoughts while hiking in the wilderness. That group doesn’t hunt or fish much, however.

There is an element of choice. Many of us have family from several tribes, and at some point choose to align more with one. My wife and I aligned early with the Arts & Humanities tribe, and both have our jobs in its offshoots. Our closest friends haven’t tended to be from that group, and our allegiance to it has waned, but that alignment shows in our two older children. We belong to some older version of that tribe.

Each tribe has at least some disdain for the others. The A & H tribe looks down on the others, despite its shameful dependence on the Business Tribe. Most other tribes look at the A & H with suspicion, enjoying the shows and magazines, sending their children to the colleges, but wondering whether these people are quite stable and sensible. Couldn’t all this talent and energy have gone into something more, well, important? Businessmen are regarded as being removed from emotions, relationships, and “real life.”

Strong crossovers provoke both respect and nervousness. A friend who is both a Poli-Sci professor and a parish minister laments that the Poli-Sci professionals regard him with suspicion because of his MDiv; church folk treat him tentatively at first because of his PhD. Austin Bay is a retired Air Force colonel, and also a PhD in English from Columbia. People just don’t know what to do with that. They ask test questions upon meeting him, hoping to establish which tribe he identifies with. To many people, it is crucial to know what tribe you identify with.

Though the military draws from all the national tribes, it draws least from the Prep School and A & H tribes, and draws most from the Western, Southern Heartland, and Rust Belt workingman (especially ethnic) tribes. Also, the military specifically inculcates a value common to those groups, mutually reinforcing it: we are all Americans, leave your differences at the door, we have to work together. As I noted in an earlier post, some groups find it infuriating that others split themselves off, claiming a primary allegiance elsewhere. “Proud to be American,” their bumper-stickers read. No hyphenated Americans, please. The Prep and A&H tribes tend to be internationalist, and worry about displaying the flag. They believe that Transnationalism is a higher calling, and the mainstream clergy, drawn heavily from A & H, believes transnationalism is more holy . This gets a lot of dressing in religious language, but is essentially a merely tribal value. A & H values the opinion of Brussels more than Nashville. So do their pastors.

Few writings in recent years have provoked more anger than Michael Moore’s screed immediately after 9-11. His comments that the terrorists should have targeted Texas rather than New York, because “these people didn’t vote for Bush,” was a clear statement that his identification was not with the US as a whole, but with his particular subgroup. His statement was interpreted, rather accurately, as “I don’t care if people from your tribe die. I care if people from my tribe die.” This sentiment of not merely disagreeing with other large tribes in the American coalition, but actively unfastening oneself from their fate, is growing in Blue America, and may be dominant in the A & H tribe.

Contrast this to the country music song “Have You Forgotten,” referring to the destruction of the Twin Towers:
Have you forgotten, when those towers fell
We had neighbors still inside goin through a livin hell.

The A&H tribe in NYC doesn’t think of Biloxi as “neighbors.”

The fact that the 9-11 attacks took place in NYC created some temporary realignments, but Arts & Humanities quickly quarrantined the victims as “Business” and were able to avoid connection. By defining themselves out, what they define as their tribes are indeed not in much danger. Why stir up trouble, George Bush? We’re not going to be losing our sons unless it’s a very large war.


Anonymous said...

WOW AVI, just WOW!!!

Anonymous said...

When you referenced the LL Bean catalog, I picture of John Kerry rushed into my head. You nailed it with him!

Otherwise, I agree with the first comment!

Anonymous said...

A moment of genius and clarity there, AVI. Well done.

Anonymous said...

" Arts & Humanities quickly quarrantined the (911)victims as 'Business' and were able to avoid connection."

This, of course, is a bit of extreme mendacity...a lie apparently rooted in some pretty quirky, self-serving ideology and/or personal animus. If it's based even on anecdotal evidence, nothing is offered save the assertion itself.

It helps, when making such observations, not to just pull one's perverse, bigoted or insular biases out of one's butt . And, of course, the accusation is as ugly as it is unsupported. Stunning stuff...

References (not that such things matter):

Anonymous said...

Thought experiment - loog at one of those "red state/blue state" maps from the 2004 election cycle and ask yourself where future terrorist attacks will likely occur. Then ask yourself if your concluding thought makes any sense...

Ben Wyman said...

Hey, Anonymous! Haven't seen you since the 9-11 conspiracy theories post! Good to have you back!

I was thinking about maybe going to see Bobby and doing a review. Any chance you could swing by and leave me some info in the comments section? Thanks.

Also, AVI - fantastic work. You're one of the few people who could unravel that as logically as it was done.

Anonymous said...

Your title should be: Village Sage.

Very, very nicely done. My "tribe" is the Marines. Joined at 17 and did 32 years. We, as you know, are into merit and not all those other things. Yes, other negatives creep into our "tribe" from time to time, but we mostly hold our truths pretty tightly.

For the past ten years I've been in the academic "tribe". Nearly all of them either shun me or are puzzled by me. Nearly NONE at the college level (and K-12) have ever served in the armed forces. Most either think nothing about America's Armed Forces, or openly dislike them.

OK, sorry to ramble. Terrific piece. Was WW II (generally speaking) the only (and last) time Americans really identified with each other? Can a nation with so many tribes actually survive?

Anonymous said...

"wyman" - thoughtful response. don't follow "9/11 conspiracy posts" or anything related to such, so I've got no idea what you're on about. You apparently don't either.

kender said...


Since your links are (mostly) dead I can only guess that they lead to several pages that you claim refute the authors post.

How the link to the imdb page about the Oliver Stone movie 9-11 refutes anything here is beyond me, and one can only guess after reading your comment that you are of the A&H tribe, and weakly trying to defend the fact that your tribe did indeed try to sever itself from the other tribes in America after 9-11.

This article (much like Bill Whittle's essay "Tribes") hits the nail on the head, and your testy comment and sad attempt at refuting this post shows how accurately AVI has defined your "tribe."

Anonymous said...

Any of those links can be pasted into your browser and open up pages that, cumulatively, certainly put more perspective on the quoted assertion than your lame regurgitations. apparently spend most of your day running a little extremist echo chamber on the internet and are a particularly pernicious example of the the more general phenomomen of self-imposed insularity that the essay alludes to.

Anonymous said...

Apparently an earlier post in which I apologized for the "anonymous" tags, because I hadn't figured out that there's an "anonymous" default here was lost.

I have no desire to trade insults with the likes of "kender". Just thought that maybe someone who happens on this might want to thing twice about certain of the wilder "group" slanders contained in that essay.

I'd at least expected a serious fellow like Kender to pull out a Ward Churchill quote to prove the dominant reaction of the "Arts & Humanities" types to the 9/11 deaths.

One thing about sites like folks deserve each other and apparently need the collective comfort of circling your wagons around crackpot notions.

Have fun...

Anonymous said...

In traditional societies, one's membership in a "tribe" (or clan) was based on blood relationships. The past 150-250 years in Western society saw the rise of the nation state as a substitute tribe claiming primary allegence. However, in may sectors, this primary tribal allegience to the nation state is weakening or has broken down

Your article here is a perceptive narrative describing the kinds of new tribal identification many here are trying to establish in the shadow of this development. I would note that traditional blood-relation tribes are also making a comeback.

Anonymous said...

Reg and Anonymous --

I haven't a clue where either of you live or how much you travel (or how often you get out, for that matter), but I travel around the country a lot, especially to big cities, and recently moved to the southeast from the Bay Area.

That said, I run into evidence all the time that supports the content of AVI's essay. Not links, just real, live, honest to goodness human beings. Lots of 'em. People.

This belief liberals have of "just say it ain't so and the truth will go away" is amusing, at best, and it seems to be indigenous to all forms of leftist.

AVI -- Spot on!

Anonymous said...

I travel a lot - and spend considerable time in the "small city" midwest...but that's not the point. It would be useful if anyone wants to respond to me, that they actually respond my criticism of a specific assertion in the longer essay. I'm not surprised no one has...

It was a crazy, nasty, completely impossible-to-defend characterization of a how people who are motivated by an "arts and humanities" perspective feel toward the people killed on 9/11. If you want to defend that statement fine, but don't avoid my criticism of the comment by attempting to muddy things up by referencing the validity of the fairly banal issue of tendencies to "group-think" according to regions, experience, occupation or whatever. That wasn't the area of my criticism.

This kind of response is typical - it happened in GMs blog where my specific criticism of a linked comment was, essentially, simply ignored in favor of pillorying me by generalization, ad hominem and misdirection.

Which is why this will be my last attempt to engage this crowd in anything that might reek of "nuance" or more complex patterns of thought than the bizarre, self-serving slander that was contained in the bit I quoted.

GraniteDad said...

Aww, c'mon Reg. Stick around. I enjoy it more when I can make snide comments about both AVI and his posters (postees? post-its?).

Anonymous- try to keep up with us here. Read the archives. If Enlightenment's 9/11 rant doesn't make you laugh, I'll eat AVI's slippers.

Anonymous said...

reg: "This, of course, is a bit of extreme mendacity...a lie apparently rooted in some pretty quirky, self-serving ideology and/or personal animus. If it's based even on anecdotal evidence, nothing is offered save the assertion itself."

reg essentially asserts that because some members of the Arts & Humanities "tribes" have done some "artistic" works regarding 9/11 than AVI's assertion that the A&H tribes is "extreme mendacity [...] and [...] self serving." But that is, at best, a straw man argument in my opinion.

AVI's overall argument is not regarding 9/11 but is regarding the military in general, war in general, the Iraqi war in particular and the concept of service to others.

Avi also states "Each tribe has at least some disdain for the others," and then reg goes on to prove that very point.

Anonymous said...

This is a great read,
simply outstanding!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

When one strips away the gratuitous insults, anonymous/reg's complaint seems to be that I made a generalization that was unsupported; that because I did not prove my generalization, that it could be no more than my prejudices, and therefore is no more than my prejudices.

This is in a limited sense quite true. I have not surveyed the arts and humanities crowd exhaustively with professionally-designed questions to tease out what they really mean, nor have I identified research of someone who has. My conclusions were based on who I have met and what I have read. Both of these necessarily retain the subjectivity of choice.

Nonetheless I believe I cited some evidence, and will add to it. If reg is going to require that I must supply proof, rather than evidence, for my assertions, then he will be able to retire from the field happy each time that he has successfully defeated me, and retain his own impressions as fact, with or without proof, or even evidence if he chooses.

Already cited: I mentioned the rant of Michael Moore, clearly one member of the A & H tribe. I noted that this is my own tribe by history, and that I work almost entirely with people from that tribe. I am a psychiatric social worker, and thus spend much of my workday with people who might fairly be said to represent that tribe. I was a theater major at an eastern liberal-arts college. I spent a short time at a fancy prep school. My online family political debate round robin includes a law professor uncle, a theater professor brother, sons that are history and film majors, respectively, and a well-read uncle from NoCal who is a MENSA officer. I am married to a librarian and have librarians, fiction authors, social workers, crossword addicts, poets and poetry reciters, used booksellers, and newspaper editors throughout the family. Note the use of the Princeton/Oxford comma, for example, which is still universal on one side of the family. These are my people. They might think I have left the tribe, but I clearly grew up in it.

My observations, then, are not without merit, however limited they may be.

As further evidence I would cite the recent best-sellers Keeping Faith and AWOL, which make similar points. I would add the fairly common knowledge that ROTC is banned from Ivy League (and many other) colleges, the geographic distribution of military enlistment, and the social statements of the mainstream denominations. I also recommend the remarkable posts and discussions over at neo-neocon's blog. I consider her perceptive abilities much superior to mine.

The counter-evidence seems to be that there are A & H people who are not reflexively prejudiced against the military. I grant that, but contend that all current evidence suggests they are in the minority. As tad mentions in the comments, and numerous OIF veterans attending college report, there is vast misunderstanding, prejudice, and hostility in academia against the military. Unless someone shows me counter-evidence that the A & H crowd sympathetic to OIF are in fact the majority, I will retain my belief that the evidence is overwhelming in my favor on this.

I would concede that the cities house a great deal of the A & H crowd, and cities are likely terrorist targets. I don't consider this evidence against my observation, but for it. My closing statements suggest that this tribe does not believe they and their children are in danger unless George Bush stirs up their enmity. It is other people's sons who go abroad, and their tribe would be safer if we weren't so concerned with defending our interests.

copithorne said...

You didn't actually quote Michael Moore. If you find the actual quote, I would be interested in seeing it. I looked for the quote myself and I couldn't find it. I'm pretty sure you've mischaracterized him.

And I hear more often Bill O'Reilly inviting the terrorists to blow up San Francisco. Or Ann Coulter inviting the terrorists to blow up the New York Times. Or the state department. Or white powder in the mail.

More to the point, your argument contains the unexamined assumption that: supporting the military = supporting starting a war in Iraq = keeping us safe.

We now know that it is the doctrine of the United States intelligence services and the majority of the American people that the war in Iraq has made us less safe. So, being concerned with the safety of our fellow citizens would lead most people to opposing a war in Iraq.

It is also because I value the lives of my fellow citizens that I do not want to see them killed and maimed in Iraq. That seems to me to be a more natural and straightforward expression of my fellowship with members of the American military than putting them in harm's way.

I find Michael Moore's work to express a profound fellowship with the American military and if you go to his website, you will find the testimonials of many soldiers to that effect.

Anonymous said...

AVI - since you saw fit to react - I hate to rain on your self-defense, but the Michael Moore comment has nothing to do supporting your allegation that sparked my objection. I made a specific criticism of a very clear statement on your part. It was that the "A&H" crowd disconnected in some sense from the 9/11 dead, considering them "Business" - by your implication the A&H tribe voted the 9/11 "Business" victims off of their island. If that's a misreading of a clearly articulated charge, correct me.

You are welcome to defend other aspects of your essay at length - much of which I consider "conventional wisdom" and some merely tendentious and/or predictable - but I didn't write a critique of the entire piece so I'm not sure why they'd be directed to me. I objected to what I take to be a key observation toward your conclusion - one which I believe is provably false, unless one falls back on anecdotal episodes like the Ward Churchill flap and attempts to stretch them as representative of people you identify as "Arts and Humanities". As I said, I consider it a particularly ugly charge.

I don't understand why you folks have seen fit to conflate my objection to that accusation with more general observations on the "tribe" metaphor that, frankly, I have no interest in arguing over.

I find that when one reads a piece and suddenly happens on an extreme generalization that could fairly be termed completely nuts and deliberately slanderous, it does tend to mar the whole and the author loses my respect, if not my attention in this case.

You may be sincere in believing the piece of it I quoted, but you can't defend making what I take to be a particularly foul accusation with not a single piece of evidence supporting it by claiming that other things you wrote in the same piece might make more sense. (Michael Moore's quote, however offensive in it's own terms, contains no aspersions on the 9/11 victims. It was stupid and callous, but it was a slam at Texans.)

Obviously contempt for liberals is part of your ritual around here, but it might be helpful if you at least apprehended what this one actually said before you guys get your panties all twisted.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, if that observation I quoted was based on "who you have met and what you have read" how about some specifics from those encounters that substantiate the charge that A&H types consider the 9/11 dead some "Business Other". All of the personal biography is pretty darned tedious and proves nothing. You want to hear about my experiences in the rural midwest, or working blue collar or about my kid in the military ? I didn't think so...

Anonymous said...

I also have no idea what the Princeton/Oxford comma is. I'm not college educated, so you have to cut me some slack.

Anonymous said...

"Mandingos and Bantus lost their historical importance. Had these persisted, the national rivalries we see resolved in America – Poles & Germans, or Serbs & Macedonians as comfortable neighbors, shaking their heads at those idiots in Europe – might have taken place among Africans as well, as they are with Caribbean blacks now. That sort of natural accommodation might have be better. But because white people saw blacks as 'all of a piece,' they came to see themselves that way."

For what it's worth, that paragraph is also completey bizarre. The argument that the reason black people have evolved a "group consciousnouss" in the wake of their 400-year history in the United States is because the tribal divisions between Mandingos and Bantus weren't respected by their slave masters is, to say the least, myopic. The issue with African-Americans isn't that whites have seen them as "of a piece" but because white people have seen and treated them, often brutally, first as chattel and then as inferiors. Perhaps there would have been a certain genius had the owners found a way to preserve tribal rivalries among Africans forced into slavery, but I doubt it would have made much difference in black perceptions of their condition and certainly would not have made black people more integrated and less "tribal" today, as you seem to imply. I'm assuming that you made that statement from some kind of personal experience or reading or whatever as well.

In my own experience, I've learned there are, in fact, deep class divisions among black people as well as lingering "color caste" issues among many. My sister-in-law habitually refers to her "light skin" as an asset compared to most of the rest of the family. This distasteful nonsense quite obviously mirrors the historical attitudes of the dominant group and the sexual arrangements inherent in slavery, Thurmondesque rape-and/or-hypocrisy, etc. So, yes, black consciousness is symbiotic of white in a significant sense, but your attempt at explaining why blacks still often function politically and culturally as a "tribe" strikes me as completely clueless.

I couldn't help but go after that, since the "essay as a whole" seems to be what you guys are in love with...

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. What some of the commenters need to realize is that often essays are exploratory rather than trying to reach a conclusion, at least when I write. Much of what I write is my thoughts and observations but I like nothing more than someone to show me where I'm wrong or help refine my thoughts.

I identify strongly with the Southern good ole boy tribe and the conservative/libertarian tribe. Growing up in the South, it is natural that I grew up to be a Southern good ole boy. My identification came from my Midwestern and Northern relatives making fun of my accent, saying "y'all", etc. That's how I learned the difference between "damn Yankees" and good ole boys.

But there is an interdependence between the tribes that is good and necessary. Just as a person can't be all things, neither can a tribe. We need all these tribes in some form but we also need them to appreciate each other.

The blue collar career path is a good example. We need good plumbers, good mechanics, good carpenters, etc. I know lots of people who have been quite successful in those areas and with better incomes than many college educated persons.

bs king said...

Man, I go on vacation for a couple days and miss all the fun!!!

Anyway, AVI, strong post, but I'm not big on the conclusion. I found that a bit of a logic leap in an otherwise brilliant post. I'm not actually sure I disagree with it even, except I felt that to peg all the blame on the A&H crowd missed the mark a bit. Bush has been one of the biggest group jumpers ever (a born and bred Connecticut/Yale A&Her identifying as a cowboy????) and I think he has some residual antagonism towards those who surrounded him at Yale. I think he added to the split that followed 9/11. On that day, we were all one, and while I will put some blame on my crowd for segregating themselves for the reason you state, I don't think he strove for unity there. He built his image on shunning that sort, and it winds up showing in his devisiveness. Unless you really believe that liberals are out to maliciously destroy America, I think it takes two to tango. Percentage of blame can be argued over, but I think it's fair to note that Bush never tried to get the support of those who he knew wouldn't agree with him. Some view that as his strength. That's fine. Either way, I think there were two parties involved in the splitting off there, not just one.

Reg, I have nothing useful to say to you, but I do find it fascinating that you've used the words mendacity, insular, pernicious, tendentious and conflate, but ask for slack on the Princeton/Oxford comma.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I never heard of any such thing as the "Oxford comma", so I must be semi-literate and inarticulate.

I read a lot of books, but none of them has ever referred to the Oxford Comma. Struck me as an arcane reference for effect. Not mendacious, but more than a tad pretentious.

Anonymous said...

incidentally, bsk, I was being sarcastic/ironic in that last bit and thought your comment on the essay was thoughful...

I get accused a lot of not being kind to people in these discussions, and wanted to make sure you didn't assume I was just being dismissive or a jerk.

GraniteDad said...

Well, Reg, if you're not going to be pedantic and a jerk, I'm not sure we can keep you around. It's a lot more fun if we all get fired up and shoot our mouths off.

That's why we love it when copithorne stops by. He's currently our resident pedant from the left. We're looking for a resident pedant from the right, prefereably a monarchist.

GraniteDad said...

Arrrgh! Speaking of being pedantic, I just noticed I misspelled preferably. Figured I'd better call it out before BSKing caught it.

GraniteDad said...

Reg- can you clarify something? You talk of Ward Churchill, but I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make. Is it: 1. Ward Churchill may be an idiot member of A&H, but I don't think you should take him as representative of A&H or 2. Ward Churchill didn't really say anything wrong, but right-wingers say he did?

If it's 1, I'm certainly sympathetic to the argument, even if I don't feel it is ironclad. It's hard being a relatively well-reasoned person sometimes- there's always some idiot in your tribe making you look bad (trust me- I went to a Baptist high school. I know what it means to be embarassed by your tribe).

If it's 2, I think you'll have a hard time proving that this was all blown out of proportion by a bunch of freepers. Even using solely neutral or left-of-center sites shows that the guy really did mean what he said.

Defending the Eichmann comment:
“When you knowingly accept the collateral effects of business practice as usual, projected by the United States into the rest of the planet, and even if you don't agree with it, contribute your expertise, your technical ability, your proficiency to furthering the process of extermination of masses of children, for your own personal gain and benefit, to fit into the structure, without challenging it, you are, in the Hannah Arendt metaphysical sense of Eichmann, Eichmann.”

Talking about businessmen in the WTC (he does mostly exclude babies, first-responders, and blue-collar workers):
“As for those in the World Trade Center, well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire, the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved and they did so both willingly and knowingly.”

Also, for everyone, here’s a really fun article.
I’ll bet Enlightenment visits this site often.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Copithorne, you can run down Moore's comment here:
or by googling "michael moore" "voted against Bush."

It is not the "doctrine of the United States intelligence services" that Iraq has made us less safe. You may be referring to the EIF report that acknowledged that OIF may have created an increase in the number of terrorists. If you agree with that, you might want to check out the full recommendations.

Testimonials from some soldiers on Moore's site are not an indication that they are representative of large swaths of military opinion. You might try your theory on returning vets and see how it goes over.

reg, there are, as you say, the Ward Churchill "little Eichmanns" quotes, and people certainly kept inviting him to speak and paid him money for it. There was a thread at DU after he became news about whether the WTC was a legitimate target. Also, there is this quote:

Referring to the World Trade Center towers, Norman Mailer declared: "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed." He wondered: "What if those perpetrators were right and we were not? We have long ago lost the capability to take a calm look at the enormity of our enemy's position."

At Smith College, where my brother taught, such a view would not even be remarkable.

If your contention is that my statement is an exagerration, because not everyone, not even a majority of the A & H crowd, would articulate that sentiment, I would concur. If you are contending that it is a great exaggeration, I would not concur.

As to black political tribalism, I was not trying to claim that the entirety of black solidarity and cohesiveness was a result of forced tribal separation. I think this type of misinterpreatation of what is intended by statements other people make may account for why you get in these tussles with them. Social and political phenomenon are multidetermined, and abstract discussion about causes is impossible without generalizations.

Bethany, I think those shoes are on the other feet. It is the A & H crowd that regards Bush as a traitor for leaving the tribe - his statements criticising them were mild, and late in coming.

I think the unity was brief, based on emotion, and destroyed almost entirely by the Democrats. By Feb '02, they were condemning him in the Senate. I think W did a remarkable job of trying to get people on board, both in and out of the country.

Anonymous said...

I am just a simple country boy living in the city, so I need some help when dealing with wordmasters.
My question is, What the hell is OIF?
I can unscramble some of the fast forward initials, but OIF is past me.

Anonymous said...

The "Anonymous" who doesn't know what OIF is, is my uncle. He is anything but a "simple country boy" and is in fact, a retired chemist of outstanding ability with a number of patents under his name. He is also quite liberal and frequently takes me to task for my conservatism but I love him anyway. I won't name his name, that is up to him, but he has, in general more brains in his pinky than most have in their craniums. And no, I don't have any x-ray or other medical proof of that statement, it is a generalization of his exemplary intellect.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Operation Iraqi Freedom. I apologized over at GM Roper's.

I also have an intelligent, liberal uncle, and father-in-law. I don't think Roosevelt Democrats, who think that Kennedy was really taking us somewhere, will ever change their minds about Republicans.

Anonymous said...

While it is CERTAINLY true that all sorts of professions, trades, clubs, groups and "tribes" have their own lingo,I find it both sad and dangerous that more of our citizenry have no real notion of its own military and the PEOPLE therein.

OIF, indeed!

SSNs and SSBNs...what are they? What's the difference?

How about MIRV? SIOP? NATO? Say, did you know the Warsaw Pact no longer exists, and why? Speaking of borders (OK, only I am), has anyone here actually ever seen the Iron Curtain? Yep, I have and that is a story that would make the ACLU break out in hives.

I read that Congressman Rangel is going to introduce legislation to bring back the draft. How about that! Will it include women?

So, all sorts of people watch the most horrifically violent movies, listen to graphically violent "music" and then find our military too, uh, militaristic. Gad, our military, as a general statement, are probably more law-abiding and less violent than most other "tribes".

BTW, go to a "peace-demonstration" and just verbally disagree with the advocates of peace. It will not be minutes, but seconds, for them to become aggressive and non-peaceful. Ironic, eh?

dicentra63 said... can solve your acronym-deciphering problems.

I am also an A&H type by temperament and background (including five years at Cornell in a doctoral program in the humanities), but I have to concur with AVI: the A&H tribe doesn't believe that the War on Terror is a real war.

Pelosi: It's not a war to be won but a situation to be addressed/solved.

Kerry: reminiscing about the good old times when terrorism was a law-enforcement problem, and how we should go back to that

I don't see how anyone who has spent any time at all in the blogosphere can conclude that the A&H tribe largely doesn't take this current war seriously. I have seen dozens and dozens of accusations of hawks being hysterical pantswetters, assertions that if we leave Iraq, "they're not coming after us," and jaw-dropping apologetics for Iran's oppresive regime.

To the A&H trolls here: It would be much easier to take you guys seriously if you didn't start your arguments with such obviously incorrect assumptions.

I mean, if you're going to defend your tribe, prove that the A&Hers are right, not that they don't believe what they obviously believe.

Anonymous said...

I have to use Anonymous because I don't know how else to get my comment accepted.
And may I say that GM Roper, who is affectionately known as Guy in our family, was a bit over the top in his description. However, he was on point about my liberalism. I do enjoy reading the blogs of those of conservative? bent. And AVI I guess you have nailed me in the Roosevelt Democrat generation. I voted Republican once. and that was for Eisenhower, who as a General, planner and ability to choose subordinates was unexcelled.
Other than that, you all do keep me informed as to the thinking of the "far side"

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anonymous - you can keep signing in as anonymous, with some signature on the bottom, as Bubba B does. The danger in signing on as anonymous is that we had a rambling, disconnected conspirazoid sign in anonymously not so long ago, and the gallery here immediately wonders if every anoymous is the one who signed himself "enlightened."

Poor reg actually makes a good point here and there, but shoots himself in the foot by putting in four posts in a row, reminiscent of the guy who hangs up the phone, calls back, and starts "and another thing..." Plus people would rather encounter evidence that they're stupid than simply be told "you're stupid."

Anonymous said...

AVI, you're sayin' what I've been thinkin' and feelin' for a long time. If I had to pick one, then of course I'm in the A&H tribe, but am disaffected from most of its members.

Ben Wyman said...

I love the Oxford comma. It's actually a very famous argument over whether it needs to be placed their or not. You just haven't heard it referred to as such. Neither had I, until AVI and I had a conversation about it a few months back and he called it that. Which is probably why it hopped up in debate.

No need to get all shirty about it.

Anonymous said...

Failure to agree with them is 'heresy'. Failure to behave properly is a 'sin'.
have lost or abandoned religion in the traditional sense by now, or have retained only a tenuous, formulaic connection, or have veered off into various unsatisfying concoctions of "spirituality"....................................

Unknown said...

,,,,is this still active....I hope so.....go to in book search type in Adventures of Woods and Seas......I'm the author..the dude that wears multiple tribal may see sample chapters...........the vast range.....later Rich