Political books 18

Deer Hunting With Jesus                  Bageant, Joe                 Nov 2008
The Decline of American Power      Immanuel Wallerstein   Nov 2008
The Political Mind                            George Lakoff              Nov 2008
Born Fighting                                   James Webb                  Nov 2008



Deer Hunting With Jesus                  Bageant, Joe                 Nov 2008

Introduction  On Nov. 2, 2004 millions of Americans woke up to a new order.  The Democrats sunk into a deep Prozac-proof depression.  What happened?  Two years later they regained a majority in Congress.  

Joe Bageant grew up in Winchester, Virginia - in the middle of red-neck, fundamentalist, anti-evolution, Christian conservative culture.  After working "out West" for 30 years he moved back to his home town (in 1990) and fond memories.  It took him about 3 months to realize that all his old neighborhood was having a a very hard time.  Wages, education, security, and employment are low.  His town has been going down hill for more than 30 years.  There is still a serious culture of race awareness but poor whites are the only group that is growing in number and getting poorer.  

Are we working class a middle class?  Depends on how you define it.  college degree?  If so 3/4 of us are working class.  Power?  Bosses have it, workers don't - 60% of us are working class.  In the past members of the potential left supported labor; now liberals view the working class as angry, warmongering bigots, happy pawns of the American Empire.  How did they get that way if they truly are?  The "liberal elite" doesn't see themselves as elitists.  The elites are both liberal and conservative, are kept in their place only by the labor of the working classes.  Very few Democratic leftists know that much of the working class hostility is based on revenge for liberal snobbery.  Liberals have been too smug but many working-class have been stupid about believing the lies of Karl Rove, Pat Robertson, and George W. Bush.  The author wants to introduce the "liberal elite" to the working-class.  How can we win votes for liberals if we don't understand vast numbers of the voters?

C1  American Serfs
 INSIDE THE WHITE GHETTO OF THE WORKING POOR  

Working class culture in rural Virginia.  The suppression of education, the careful rigging of the economic system so that it is almost impossible to accumulate capital.  The compliance of Democrats after 1947 in letting the economic system favor capital.  The lack of concern with the welfare of individuals.  Clinton and the NAFTA problems.  The exploitation of workers by small businesses and suppression of Unions.  

C2  Republicans by Default  REDNECK PRIDE AND FEAR IN AN AGE OF OUTSOURCING  

40 years ago Bageant worked at the Rubbermaid factory in Winchester.  The work was hard but reasonably well paid with benefits.  Now the workers are very poorly paid, have few benefits, and no job security.  They face unrelenting Republican propaganda.  There is a tremendous amount of ignorance caused by poor school systems and a society that does not reward or support knowledge.  There is also trust in a system that fails to support them when they need it.  

C3  The Deep-Fried, Double-Wide Lifestyle  WHATEVER IF TAKES, THE MORTGAGE RACKET WILL PUT YOU UNDER YOUR OWN ROOF  This chapter was obviously written before the banking and mortgage collapse.

 He is documenting why the mortgages collapsed.  Mortgages are very easy to get.  There is extremely little investigation as to the ability of the person to pay it.  Then the mortgages are sold to brokers and thence to ..., nobody really cares.  He examines the predatory lending and selling techniques that are used.  He is (writing in 2007) clearly predicting a crash.  He discusses the mortgage of Tommy Ray.  He got a loan for a $79,000 trailer.  It was for $130,000.  The lot, septic tank, driveway, power, etc. made up for the rest.  The day after he signs the contract it will be worth less (resale value) than $65,000.  Over the life of the mortgage Tommy will pay about $260,000.  And Tommy is happy because it is the best deal he can get.

C4  Valley of the Gun
 BLACK POWDER AND BUCKSKIN IN HEARTLAND AMERICA  

A description of his first deer hunt.  He discusses the nostalgia and the practical value of meat hunting.  The memories of the guns and the hunting trips, the beating of the bushes as a child, the first time he was allowed to clean a gun, the first time his father took him out to target practice, the gun safety lessons, the memories of the first hunts, the realization that Grandfather had gone out with this same gun and brought back food for the family.  This is a tradition that came to America with our Celtic and Germanic settlers.  These were the ancestors of the people who settled the American wilderness and moved west in the forefront of the wave of settlers.  Many of the later arrivals, those from the European cities did not have this tradition, most of their descendants never left the cities.  These traditions are still causing a cultural split.  These same early settlers carried with them a fundamentalist Protestant religion.  Guns and fundamentalism have been together ever since.  

A long and somewhat rambling chapter on the culture of guns in American life.  I think his main message is that liberals who ignore it or mock it are doomed to failure.  As long as there is an America that celebrates the 4th of July and the Constitution in the same way that we do today these people will be with us and be a major part of our country.  They are the descendants of those who created our nation.  There are definitely some nuts among them but many people participate in the broader culture and they cannot be ignored or mocked.  

C5  The Covert Kingdom
  THEY PLEAD UPON THE BLOOD OF JESUS FOR A THEOCRATIC STATE  

The political movement we call the religious right, based largely in fundamentalist churches, has deeply changed American politics.  Let's not kid ourselves: every person reading this will be contending with it in many ways for the rest of their lives.  There will be no exceptions. --Fred Clarkson, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.

A visit to the church where his brother Mike, the fundamentalist minister preaches.  Similar preachers at independent Baptist churches are typically poorly educated, perhaps a two year stay at a Bible college, no especially close ties with a larger church group, and most of the "theology" depends on the interpretation of the paster.  They are very sure that God exists, more than almost any other groups.  Fundamentalists have three things in common: they are white, they are working class, they have only high school educations.  Some fundamentalists would scrap the Constitution and replace it with "Biblical Law" - the rules of the Old Testament.  Others believe that we are entering the End Times (ignoring the fact that all such predictions for the last 2,150 years have failed) and see a nuclear holocaust as a necessary precursor.  Bageant describes a number of particulars and people involved in End Times theology.  

He goes on to describe the social environment of these churches and how much they provide to their believers.  He describes their approach to education (home schooling) and Christian colleges.  Check out http://www.raptureready.com which is described as the "Dow Jones industrial average of end-time activity" and "prophetic speedometer".  He describes a very hell-fire and damnation church.  Is the best predictor of social class religious belier?  Very likely - religious zeal seems to be concentrated in lower-class and working-class whites.  This was recognized as early as 1820 and is still growing strong today.  However we are adding new things, "rapturing up" has joined the vocabulary as well as "blood of Christ".  

Bageant sees three religious Great Awakenings in our past, one in 1730-40, one in 1820-30, and one in 1880-1900.  Is this a part of the fourth?  If so this may be the most extreme of all.  The transformation of apolitical Christians into Christian political activists.  This is not a monolithic movement, there are many different subgroups that differ in ways that only a misguided expert could understand.  However they can be beaten back to their original apolitical existence through victory at the polls (it will probably take more than just one Obama win).  Check out http://www.wellstoneaction.org and/or http://www.Talk2Action.org.

C6  The Ballad of Lynddie England  ONE FOOT IN ULSTER, THE OTHER IN IRAQ  

What is with the soldiers at Abu Ghraib?  Why are they so mean?  The Scots-Irish brought a lot of interesting sports with them over to America.  Things like bear baiting, cockfights, eye-gouging contests and other fun things.  They just grew here and Indian-killing was added.  Lynddie England was born in Fort Ashby, West Virginia - right down the tracks from Winchester, the author's home town.  Most of our military comes from small towns like these and it offers the best opportunity for young adults.  Check out http://www.bilmon.com for some of their cultural heritage.  He blames much of it on King James (you know - of the Bible) and a noted homosexual.  

Bageant offers a sort history of the Scots-Irish including a semi-quote from George Washington calling the residents of Winchester, VA "one of the most ignorant, mean-spirited, and predatory places in all the colonies" but they still helped him get elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses when supplied with enough barrels of rum.  He describes how the Scots-Irish have been manipulated by themselves and by clever (and amoral) politicians in every way imaginable.  Lynddie England didn't have a chance.  It was just her bad luck to be the one with the leash and the boyfriend with a camera.  She is no better and no worse than millions of others.

C7  An Authorized Place to Die
 THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM ON LIFE SUPPORT  

An introduction to Romney, West Virginia, a white slum.  Romney has a hospital, assisted living center, and a nursing home, and foreign doctors.  A litany of problems with our health care system.  Recommended book: Maggie Mahar, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much.  The local Winchester Medical Center is the largest generator of bankruptcies in the area.  

The bias of Social Security.  It was designed in the 1930's, most women did not work.  For that time it was OK.  Now it is not.  An example: if two high-school educated people join the work force at age 25 and both work their expected Social Security payments will increase 74% over a what one of them would pay.  However their benefits will increase by only 17%.  The difficulty of obtaining the right kind of care.

C8  American Hologram
 THE APOCALYPSE WILL BE TELEVISED  

Nearly half of the US population is functionally illiterate.  Many of them can pick out a few key words, significant numbers (game scores, interest rates, etc.) but they could never write or completely understand the full paragraphs themselves.  The evils of watching too much television and lack of sufficient education to successfully live in a technological society.  

The following are a number of web sites that the author listed.  There is no guarantee of their being correctly typed or that they are still in existence, check for yourself.  

http://www.counterpunch.org    http://www.energygrid.org    http://www.coldtype.net    http://www.dissentvoice.org    http://www.onlinejournal.com    http://www.smirkingchimp.com    http://www.cjonline.org        http://www.alternet.org   http://www.worldnewstrust.com     http://www.peaceand justice.org   http://www.Bartcop.com   http://www.enrevanche.blogspot.com  http://www.tinyrevolution.com    http://www.peakerengy.blogspot.com    http://www.people.tribe.net    http://www.talk2action.org    http://www.fairshot.typepad.com    http://www.happyfeminist.typepad.com    http://www.stupidevilbastard.com    http://www.opednews.com    http://www.sarvinilll.blogspot.com    http://www.peakoil.com    http://www.jdeanicite.typepad.com    http://www.idleworm.com    http://www.theamericanmuslim.org    http://www.wealthbondage.com    http://www.williambowles.info    http://www.thehollwoodliberal.com    http://www.adreampuppet.blogspot.com    http://www.taylor-report.com    http://www.badaattitudes.com    http://www.alternativesmagazine.com    http://www.benedictionblogspot.com    http://www.zionsherald.org    http://www.cjonline.org    http://www.yruicareport.com    http://www.orbite.info    http://www.peacebang.blogspot.com    http://www.blog.wirearchy.com    http://www.selvesandothers.org    http://www.mickeyzn.net    http://www.swans.com    http://www.moonofalabama.org  http://www.theunknowncandidate.blogspot.com    http://www.thomasmccay.blogspot.com    http://www.blondesense.blogspot.com    http://www.unknownnews.net    http://www.narconews.com    http://www.electricedge.com    http://www.theriverblog.blogspot.com    http://www.allspinzone.blogspot.com    http://www.usiebadrak.com    http://www.abigfatslog.blogspot.com

I found this a very difficult book to report.  My preference is books that specify a problem, discuss how different people react to it, and how to solve the problem.  This book describes a series of facts, and he does a very good job of describing them - at least as far as my observations confirm them.  

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The Decline of American Power      Immanuel Wallerstein   Nov 2008
            Subtitle:  The U.S. in a Chaotic World

I was not thrilled by the book.  As usual the descriptions were glowing and filled with all the big and correct words.  The text did not support this.  Many of the chapters had no notes.  The book is primarily a compendium of articles previously written and it has no consistent theme or message.  I was full of hope when I saw one review discussing "visionary originator of world-systems analysis" but the reviewer must have been talking about some other work.  I saw no evidence of "world-systems" or "analysis" - even though the words were used in the text.  It seemed that every time he started talking about world-systems analysis he gave up and described the next step as unknowable because of the chaotic nature of the system.  This is pretty much the antithesis of of a systems analysis.  The more I got into the book the more it seemed that there were a lot of big words thrown together for the sake of appearing intellectual.  Pardon me for saying such a thing but I thought it was a waste of time and paper - at least for me, it probably made him some money.

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The Political Mind                            George Lakoff              Nov 2008
      Subtitle:  Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain

Introduction:  Brain Change and Social Change  Radical conservatives have been fighting a culture war, and the main battlefield is the brain.  They are trying to change America to fit the conservative moral worldview.  American values are fundamentally progressive, centered on equality, human rights, social responsibility, and inclusion.  America was founded on progressive values taken from the Enlightenment and the theory of conscious, literal, logical, unemotional, disembodied, universal reason.  Most progressives today have yet to realize that this was a great advance over the Divine Right of Kings but more is known today.  Conservatives have gained an advantage.  I don't know how many of them are really "up" on the recent findings of cognitive science but they have been quick to take up the findings of advertising.  Many of the "laws" of successful advertising have been adopted by them to the practice of politics.  Most progressives have felt that this "dishonest" use of mental manipulation is morally beneath them and therefore haven't learned much of anything political since the 1750's.

The failure to advance past Enlightenment disembodied reason has many bad effects for liberals:
As the author travels around the country he is asked many questions, many over and over.  Why are the Democrats such wimps?  What divides them?  What do they believe anyway?  Why are conservatives so much better at getting their ideas across?  Why haven't Democrats been able to accomplish more since they took over control of Congress in 2006?  Why do poor conservatives vote against their interests?  Why hasn't democratic populism worked?  Now that the public sees global warming as real, why isn't it given a much higher priority?  Why do Democratic candidates come out with a list of detailed programs, while Republicans don't?  This book is an attempt to answer these questions, but not in terms of normal political "facts".  It is an attempt to answer them in terms of cognitive and neural science.  

The link between universal reason and democracy was made by the following assumptions:
Note that Al Gore's book is called The Assault on Reason and Robert Reich's book is called Reason.  In the eighteenth-century view, reason was assumed to be:
Unfortunately these are all wrong!  Check with Antonio Damasio in Descartes' Error and Drew Westen in The Political Brain.

Part I: How the Brain Shapes the Political Mind
 Our knowledge of the mind and brain has expanded rapidly in the last 30 years, almost nobody has been able to fully keep up.  This book is Lakoff's attempt to spread some of this knowledge around.  

C1  Anna Nicole on the Brain  Its been a while now, Who is Anna Nicole Smith?  She was a poor girl, presumably not terribly bright, very attractive but not incredibly so.  She wanted to make it big, but how?  She decided to make it by selling her body but it wasn't quite good enough.  Our problem here is in deciding how to analyze her.  Was she nothing more that the heartless, ruthless, manipulative Gold Digger or was she the Innocent Ingènue?  She had clearly had elements of both.  Many people were on one or the other side of the issue.  As soon as we select one of the sides our selection supports similar factors and it tends to suppress contradictory arguments.  Her life, like most of ours, was filled with contradictions and competing elements.  Unlike most of ours, her life was written in LARGE LETTERS, and many people selected specific aspects of it to relate to.  People projected their hopes, fears, successes, failures, etc. on her and saw her life in terms of how it related to their lives.  People see politics, politicians, and celeberities as narratives for their own life.  To really understand politics you have to understand the relationship between the narratives of others and the narratives of our own life.  

This is neither inherently good or bad, it is a fact that this is how humans interpret and interact with the world.  It is only when this fact is used to manipulate in contradiction to the facts that it becomes good or evil.  Example: During the first Gulf War, GHW Bush tried a self-defense narrative.  "Saddam Hussein is threatening the United States, he is choking off our oil lifeline."  Antiwar demonstrators countered with "No Blood for Oil" and it worked.  Immediately thereafter the story changed to "The Rape of Kuwait", a rescue narrative.  Through a number of falsifications (lies) this story was sold to the American people and it worked.  The same techniques were used during the second Gulf War.  The first story was that 9/11 was a criminal act but this quickly changed to "War on Terror".  Then the Self Defense narrative using WMD's was pushed but when WMD's could not be found it changed to the rescue narrative with the innocent people of Iraq becoming the victims.  

One of the reasons that these narratives are so important is that to understand what is truly happening to others is that the same mental circuits that are used in the understanding of others are used in the production of activities within ourselves.  A way of understanding this is that the same part of the brain we use in seeing is also used in imagining that we are seeing, in remembering seeing, in dreaming what we are seeing, and in understanding language about seeing.  This can be very powerful.  Probably the most important demonstration of this is 9/11.  Even though only a few thousand people were directly involved in the events of that day, the broadcast images spread throughout the world almost instantaneously and effected billions of people.  No one who saw the images of that day will ever forget it.  The Republicans were very quick to use these images to support their view that we should go to war with Iraq.

One factor that I haven't emphasized is how conservatives believe that government should not be involved in everyday life other than with military force, police, and supporting our (conservative) leaders.  Lakoff brings up three items that were in the news as he was writing this chapter.  1) Blackwater mercenaries killing civilians in Iraq, 2) the Presidents veto of the SCHIP bill, and 3) the FDA not having the resources to monitor food and drug safety trials.  Each of these involve cutting resources from government agencies and programs so that they money can be transfered to private programs.  

C2  The Political Unconscious  Politics is about moral values.  All political leaders presents their policies on the grounds that they are "right" or moral.  How can they be so different if they are all right and moral?  Obviously they have differing opinions as to what moral values are and how they are to be evaluated.  Why don't we, and our watchdogs, the press, ask these questions.  The answer is fairly simple.  The conservatives think that the correct questions are being asked.  They have been working for the last 30 years to ensure that their followers, the American public as a whole, and the press have been asking the questions that they want asked.  The American public doesn't think very deeply about these issues and assumes that the press will ask the questions in their name.  Most of the Old Enlightenment liberals do not realize that the world has changed in the last 300 years and are still asking questions in the same manner that they used to 30, 40, and 50 years ago.  The press has learned that by using the same language as the conservatives they are more likely to get good interviews and that raises come with good interviews.  It has only been in the last few years that New Enlightenment liberals have begun to realize what is going on.

My first thought is that conservatives are much more business oriented.  When some of them realized that you could "sell" politicians in the same way you could sell soap they started using the same techniques.  It worked.  Liberals, not being so much into "sales", see this as a moral or world view issue.  They know (or at least think they do) how people think, it is the same way they have ever since Plato and Descartes.  Most never, ever, put their beliefs to the test.  Another problem is that many Americans, including most of the press, believe that there is a simple belief structure for political beliefs.  They believe that there are strong conservatives, strong liberals, and everybody in between who simply falls along a continuum between the two end points.  Again, it was only a few years ago that a few Democrats started realizing that this is totally untrue.  Perhaps the Republicans believe this, but whatever they truly believe they are certainly not going to tell the Democrats where they are going wrong.  The conservatives have been very careful about their language.  When discussing immigrants they always use the terms illegal immigrants, not illegal employers or illegal consumers.  Illegal immigrants are always somebody else.  If you were to admit the possibility of illegal employers or customers it would become obvious that we are all involved and that it takes three to play this tango.

All progressive (liberal) policies have at heart a single moral value, empathy, which has to be combined with responsibility and the strength to act on the empathy.  Empathy with respect to government has two intertwined roles, protection and empowerment.  Protection in a progressive environment implies protection for all people, all of the time.  Not just military, police, and fire but social security, disease control, etc.  Empowerment implies all of those things that government can and should do to make our society run well.  There is always a conflict between public and private providers of service, especially discussing empowerment.  Lakoff's idea for solving this conflict is that where there is no moral mission involved, and when the life-affirming role of government is not at stake then private providers should be used.  For example if a government agency needs a private vehicle to move some of their staff, there is no reason why a private provider (Hertz or Avis) should not be used.  But when the issue is one of testing for dangers, excessive vehicle emissions, drug testing, etc. then the staff and the facilities used should be government controlled.  Another way of looking at this is that if the profit motive of a business might be used to effect the report then the profit motive should be removed and replaced by a governmental agency.  

Neoliberal Thought:  Today's progressive thought begins with empathy combined with responsibility and strength.  Neoliberal thought overlays progressive thought with Old Enlightenment views of reason.  It is conscious, logical, literal, universal, unemotional, disembodied, and has the function of serving interests.  Neoliberal thought sees emotion as irrational and therefore ineffectual and weak.  Emotion and empathy are never discussed openly.  The very real needs of people are never really discussed except via statistics that presumably demonstrate the need for a program.  Many people just can't make an emotional connection based a few statistics isolated from some real emotional appeal.  And if they do the presentation is typically one of isolated needed programs which are seldom integrated.  Lakoff calls these issue silos.  Another point made in the previous section is that conservatives tend to attack these programs by what Lakoff calls privateering - the destruction of the capacity of the government to carry out its moral mission combined with the privatization of government functions with no public accountability and the enrichment of the associated corporations.  

It is possible for people raised on neoliberal thought to change their thought patterns to ones that more clearly match modern day reality.   Lakoff has several suggestions but it is difficult.  

Conservative thought tends to be based in authoritarianism.  It begins with the notion that morality is obedience to an authority.  This in itself is not necessarily bad, if the authority is constantly required to demonstrate ability.  However all too often authority figures are only asked to demonstrate their ability once and perhaps in an area unrelated to their position of authority.  In these cases the authority becomes self-perpetualizing.  All to often institutions come to be personified.  We assume that the values that are promulgated in an institution are truly based in the results of unbiased evaluations.  This is very often completely untrue.  

Terms like "conservative", "liberal", or "progressive" do not do justice to the complex reality of our politics and our experience as humans.  People have many views on many subjects.  It is ridiculous to assume that any one simple label can reflect the true reality of our existence.  Almost all people have views that some would call "conservative" and "progressive" at the same time.  And even if we don't hold contradictory views at the same time, we certainly are able to understand "conservative" and "progressive" views as held by others.  We are all biconceptuals to a certain extent.  The way brains work, when you have learned something, it is learned permanently unless the brain is injured.  The only way to change someone's mind is to learn something new.  Then these new "facts" or relationships can compete with the old "facts".  The most effective way to change someone's mind is to keep bombarding their mind with new "facts".  

C3  The Brain's Role in Family Values  There are many seemingly strange things going on in American life.  For example, why does a conservative in Iowa feel threatened when gays get married in California or Massachusetts?  Why doesn't a conservative government take better care of veterans and why don't veterans and their families rebel?  Why do many progressives object to the death penalty but support abortion while many conservatives support the death penalty but object to abortion?  These were some of the questions that Lakoff pondered while he was developing his hypotheses.  Considering how politically sensitive some are he makes a considerable effort to explain that his hypotheses are strictly descriptive of how people operate, and not prescriptive.  He has no power to make people behave in any particular way.  

He then goes on to describe the Strict Father Model and the Nurturant Parent Model.  These are described in virtually the same way that they are described in his previous books.  He then goes on to discuss the brain's role in metaphorical thought.  Metaphors are mental structures that are independent of language but that can be expressed through language.  Most metaphors are unconscious and automatic.  Simple metaphors express a very simple relationship.  An example is the temperature rose.  The original relationship is that you feel warmer as the mercury in the thermometer gets higher.  For those born after mercury thermometers were used, the number on the dial gets larger as the temperature gets higher.  Complex metaphors link together two or more such simple metaphors.  As a neuroscientist would say, "Neurons that fire together wire together."  If these neural circuits are activated time after time the synapses get stronger and stronger until a permanent circuit is formed.  This is called neural recruitment.  

Note that there is no mechanism brought forward to erase memories.  This is because memories cannot be erased without physical damage to the brain.  This does happen but the likelihood of collateral damage is very high, certainly higher than any ethical doctor would risk.

Since almost all people are brought up in families, the first metaphors are related to family life.  Later on as we join other groups and form new families these early metaphors are evaluated and interpreted in slightly new ways, but the old linkages we first learned in our first family remain the most important.  This is one of the reasons why conservative organizations focus so much on families and family values.  These are the keys to much adult behavior.  

C4  The Brain's Role in Political Ideologies  We evaluate moral information based on two separate processing steps.  The first is dramatic narratives with roles like hero, villain, victim, helper, etc.  The second is our emotional structure which links the dramatic narratives to positive and negative emotional neural circuits.  Narratives are brain structures that we can live out, recognize in others, and imagine because the same brain structures are used for all three kinds of experiences.

Morality is fundamentally about well-being.  It is very closely related to the activation of positive and negative emotional pathways.  It starts out very early in childhood.  One example is eating.  If we eat some spoiled or rotten food we typically spit it out.  When our mother tastes it she reacts, "Oh Yuk, thats bad, get rid of it," frowns, etc.  We learn her reaction.  With good food we keep it down, she smiles, we smile, etc.  With such simple beginnings we learn good and bad.  

A related but much more advanced issue is what he calls Moral Accounting.  If you harm someone you are expected to "pay them back".  Moral Accounting is also the basis of the philosophy of utilitarianism, the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number.  An outcome of this that can be very negative is the Moral Order metaphor.  Some people will rank moral worth in terms of some external system.  The most common is power.  Some examples are God above Man, Man above Nature, Adults over Children, Men over Women, Whites over Non-Whites, Straights above Gays, Christians above Non-Christians.  This tends to be more common among those who have a Strict-Father morality.  As an aside this formed the basis for the belief that "nobles" are more worthy than "commoners", sometimes called "The Divine Right of Kings".  This was one of the major causes of the American Revolutionary War.  A reaction against this is often unrecognized.  It is the Reverse Moral Order metaphor.  It is the basis of the belief that the oppressed are more moral than their oppressors.  It forms the reasoning behind the belief that suicide bombers or other extreme violence is justified against oppressors.

Experiments have shown brain changes when people have been asked to imagine giving money to charity compared to keeping money to oneself.

Empathy can have a major effect on political behavior.  Following 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, Bush was very high in the polls.  Then Katrina hit New Orleans with all of the pictures and stories of suffering.  Bush was seen as callous and uncaring because of the slow national response.  This was the beginning of the end of his popularity.   Then when the VA Walter Reed Hospital scandal occurred Bush's popularity dropped to almost unprecedented lows.  

Lakoff goes on to discuss differences between the Strict Father and the Nurturant Parent morality with respect to several issues:  the Terri Schaivo case, obedience to authority, masculinity, punitiveness, drugs, and Scooter Libby.  How the brain acts to create biconceptualism and how this can be very confusing.

Part II: Political Challenges for the Twenty-first-Century Mind  For the past 40 years conservatives have been applying the lessons learned from advertising to politics.  It has been working very well.  Now that progressives are beginning to understand what has been done they have the opportunity some of the new lessons being learned from the cognitive science.  The question now is what are these lessons and how can they be applied.
  1)  There is a New Enlightenment consciousness - learn what it is, how it differs from the Old Enlightenment, and how it can be used effectively.
  2)  Dealing with traumatic ideas - within a few days of 9/11 the Republicans had created the narrative that they wanted leaving the Democrats wondering what happened.  In the future we need to be prepared to counter interpretations that are self-serving and come back with out own.
  3)  Framing - framing is the way humans perceive the world.  It is vitally important.  If a suitable frame does not exist it may be necessary to create one so that important truths are visible.  Be prepared to counter conservative framing traps.  Be aware that frames precede policies.  Frames must be in place and be used before a policy has any meaning.
  4)  Stereotypes, they are very powerful, you must recognize them quickly and confront them if necessary.
  5)  Accountability - this term is used differently in conservatives and progressives.  We must make sure that accountability always means that leaders are accountable to the public.  Conservatives always try to imply that the public is accountable to the leaders.  
  6)  Contested concepts - our most precious ideas, freedom, equality, fairness, opportunity -- are contested.  There is a very general shared version which is too general to be of much use but then conservatives and progressives have their own versions.  We must always make sure that the progressive version is put in the public mind.  If we allow conservatives to define our terms we will always loose.
  7)  The main lesson is that we must continue to get our message out to the general public.  Conservatives have been doing this for 40 years and they have become very good at it.  We really need to get out there.

C5  A New Consciousness  Empathy and responsibility are at the heart of the moral vision on which our democracy is based.  We must understand real reason and systemic causation.  

The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads, "We take these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  However these truths were not always self-evident.  They did not become so until more than 100 years after the Enlightenment.  While revering the brilliance of the document we should not limit our understanding to 1776.  We have learned much since then and our politics must likewise change.  Probably the most important changes we must accept are that empathy is the basis for the New Enlightenment and that the whole world is linked together in one ecological whole.  

C6  Traumatic Ideas: The War on Terror  9/11 is probably the greatest failure of progressive politicians in recent history.  During the first days after the event, Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, referred to it as a "crime."  Shortly thereafter the Bush Administration changed it to "War on Terror."  This was the first step in all of the evils that resulted from the War on Iraq.  The Bush administration was ready for this with plans dating back to 1997.  The whole of the Democratic Party was caught flat-footed by this and it wasn't until the elections of 2006 and 2008 that they showed any recovery.  The question now is were the election results caused by the utter failure of Republicans to govern effectively or have Democrats become any better at conducting campaigns?

C7  Framing Reality: Privateering  When an important truth is unseen because it is unframed and unnamed, the progressive task is construct a conceptual frame and a name so that it can be seen.  Again, without a frame and a name it is very difficult to even think of it.  Once you have the frame and the name you can begin to discuss it.  A current conservative practice fulfills this requirement.  It is the practice of destroying (from within the government) the governments ability to perform some critical mission, and then when the mission becomes essential, the function, that was a part of government, can no longer be performed so it must be contracted out to a private corporation, typically at much more cost than the government service would have cost.  Lakoff calls this "privateering" as a blend of "privatization" and "profiteering".  

The current best examples are the company that used to be known as "Blackwater", the remainder of the Food and Drug Administration, and the health care system.

C8  Fear of Framing  Democrats, especially those in Congress, are still stuck in Old Enlightenment reasoning.  They by and large do not know how to use framing and live in terror of Republicans catching them in frames that they don't really understand.  Republicans, or conservative journalists, are great at asking double bind questions, you know, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" and Democrats are typically unable to answer these.  You have to know what you believe in and not let yourself get trapped.

C9  Confronting Stereotypes: Sons of the Welfare Queen  Ronald Reagan is the poster boy for this technique.  He invented the "Welfare Queen".  She never existed and Reagan lied about her but this doesn't matter.  With enough repetition millions of people believed in her and Reagan used her to great advantage.  She is technically not an example of a "frame", she is a "Prototype", a member of a group that stands for the entire group.  Of course she was an imaginary member of a group that never existed but for someone who is a strong believer in Strict Father Morality she is someone who could have existed.  Again, the best defense against this type of tactic is an immediate attack on the truthfulness of the attacker, exposing the motives of the attacker, and facts telling the real story.

C10  Aim Above the Bad Apples  Similar to stereotypes.  This comes out of accountability.  When conservatives efforts go bad one of the most common responses is to find someone to blame.  A very common technique is to find a low level worker and blame everything on them.  The prototype here is the Abu Ghraib scandal.  A few low level enlisted people were blamed for all the problems (the rotten apples) while the majority of the higher level officers who should have been responsible were absolved of any crimes.  

C11  Cognitive Policy  One practice that conservatives have engaged in for 30 - 40 years but progressives have not is what Lakoff calls "cognitive policy."  For all this time they have been pushing conservative ideas like private medical and retirement accounts, school vouchers, a flat tax, faith-based solutions, etc.  All of these are aimed at reducing government power and the transfer of tax dollars to private contractors.  Unfortunately progressives do not seem to understand what they are doing and have no defenses against this.  Progressives usually become interested in a single program and focus on that to the exclusion of all else.  He describes a proposal called the Sky Trust that is designed to overcome these problems.

C12  Contested Concepts Everywhere As mentioned above there are a number of concepts that are contested.  They are generally accepted but since they are so important people continually think about them and talk about them.  As such they are viewed in many different lights and there are always differences in their evaluations.  Lakoff wrote an entire book, Whose Freedom?, on this topic.  The important facts at this point is to realize that there are differences in how people understand these terms and that if you let conservatives define all of the terms they will win all of the arguments.  If you listen to a conservative and his argument sounds OK but the conclusions are not the same as you as a progressive would arrive at - they are probably using a different definition someplace along the line.  You need to go back, evaluate their argument, and see where their conclusions begin to differ from yours.  That is a very good clue as to where the differences lie.

There are two other terms that are usually not considered "contested concepts" but where conservatives and progressives differ in rather significant ways.  The first of these is accountability.  To progressives it means accountability to the public on the part of those in charge.  Conservatives see it completely differently.  For them it means that those in charge are the moral authorities and that all those underlings are accountable to them.  A very related term to accountability is authority.  To conservatives authority is given to those in charge and it must be obeyed.  For progressives authority and respect have to be earned and continually questioned.  The second term that is interpreted very differently is causality.  For conservatives (strict father model) causality is direct and individual.  When there is a problem it is the direct result of an individual failure.  For progressives (nurturant parent model) causality is sometimes direct and individual but it is also often systemic.  A specific example would be a criminal act.  The conservative would say, "Bad people, Lock 'em up and throw away the key."  The progressive might say, "A culture of poverty, discrimination, and lack of education."  Another common example is global warming.  Conservatives will reject the truth of the observation and if pressed really hard they will blame almost any cause other than human causality.  

Part III: The Technical Is the Political  
One of the problems with political thought is that the Old Enlightenment view of reason is still very much accepted in many technical disciplines, especially the social sciences.  Many of the more influential progressive policy makers have been trained in the social sciences and they still are not current in cognitive science.  Until more of them become aware of these new advances progressives are going to be at a severe disadvantage.

C13  Exploring the Political Brain
 Much research on brain function is carried out by fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which is a way of measuring how much oxygen is used by brain tissue.  As such it is probably the most "hi-tech" field in the brain sciences.  Cognitive semantics and its use of sophisticated computer models is probably a close second.  Other areas typically use much more common experimental methods and questionnaires, sometimes in concert with fMRI studies.

C14  The Problem of Self-interest  An examination of some of the problems of conducting studies and designing policies when there is incomplete information and when different models (Old vs. New Enlightenment) are used in different aspects of thinking about problems.

C15  The Metaphors Defining Rational Action  The problems in determining what is rational and what is not.  How do we make sure that the metaphors that we use in defining our ideas are captured in the models that we make reflecting them.  When is game theory appropriate to use as a model and when is it not appropriate?  The problem with over simplification.  A chapter more concerned with model building and associated difficulties thanwith political problems between conservatives and progressives.

C16  Why Hawks Win  The findings of Daniel Kahneman who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.  He is a cognitive scientist and he showed how inadequacies of the rational actor model interfere with analysis of economic behavior.  His research shows why hawks have an advantage over doves in matters of peace and war.
  1)  Optimism bias:  most people are optimistic and overconfident that they will win.
  2)  Fundamental attribution error:  people tend to overemphasize personality-based explanations, rather than situation-based explanations, for the behavior of others but not for their own behavior.  He caused the problem and is therefore bad, I am good so therefore I will win.
  3)  The illusion of control:  people exaggerate the amount of control they have over outcomes where in fact outside and random factors are very important.
  4)  Reactive devaluation:  a proposal is worth less because the other side has offered it.
  5)  Risk aversion:  People tend to avoid an absolutely certain loss in favor of merely a potential although perhaps larger loss.  "If we back out now we lose all chance of winning."
  6)  The salient exemplar effect:  citing a well-known example of a rare phenomenon tends to make people think that the phenomenon has a high probability.  The attacks of 9/11 made people in Iowa and Ohio think that there was a high probability that they would receive a terrorist attack.  

The Old Enlightenment analysis would suggest that we are completely rational so we do not have to worry about this type of irrational behavior.  New Enlightenment analysis says that we realize that we are susceptible to irrational behavior so we should review our actions very carefully.  

C17  The Brain's Language  Again, a chapter more related to theorizing in linguistics as opposed to discussing politics.  It does devote some time to the discussion of the term "tax relief" and to some rather hard line comments about why conservatism is destructive to democracy.  If you are going to use any of these statements you had better be prepared for the hornet's nest of rebuttal you will be getting from conservatives.  I believe that these statements are probably accurate at least with regard to very hard line conservatives but the controversy you will create will alienate many people.

C18  Language in the New Enlightenment  Again, a chapter much more devoted to theorizing and internal politics of the linguistics community than discussing models of political behavior.  Interesting if you have any exposure to linguistic theorizing (which I do to a very limited extent) but very marginally interesting if not.

Afterword:  What If It Works?  It is impolite but I get the feeling that the last few chapters were motivated by a need to put more words down much more than the need to get a new concept across.  This is the third book in a very good series and most everything that needed to be covered had already been covered.  

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Born Fighting
                   James Webb                  Nov 2008
            Subtitle: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

Part One: Ruler and Rednecks
C1-1  Big Moccasin Gap
 A trip from Arlington VA to Alley Hollow, VA close to Big Moccasin gap leading into Tennessee.  It is a journey to visit the grave site of his GGGrandparents.  He compares the private quest to the journeys of his "people"; those whom we now call the Scots-Irish (incorrectly the Scotch-Irish - Scotch is a whiskey).  They originated as the Celtic people of Europe.  Many moved across the Channel to England and then north, into Scotland and northern Ireland.  When the Romans came, some were conquered but many would not submit and were driven north.  They successfully mounted a final stand around what is now the border between Scotland and England.  Hadrian finally built a wall from coast to coast to keep them from continuing border raids into Roman territory.  Here, many years later, Webb stands at the grave sites and thinks of what has been called "The Pioneers Creed"  "The Cowards Never Started.  The Weak Died Along the Way.  Only the Strong Survived."  

These people - of Celtic and then Scots-Irish descent have played a major role in English, Scottish, and Irish as well as American history and culture.  This book explores this history, the interaction with surrounding cultures, and speculates as to how they will continue in the future.  

C1-2  The Radical Individualists  The Scots-Irish are everywhere but we (and very often they) don't know it.  They don't go for group identity politics and aren't likely to join a union.  Joining a group and putting themselves at someone else's collective judgment makes about as much sense as letting the government take their guns - and that will never happen.

Their ancestors lived and fought along the Scotland - England border.  Many moved, or were transported to, the Ulster region of North Ireland.  The early American arrivals mostly came across the North Atlantic in small boats, many dying along the way, often in extended family groups.  The earliest landed in New England and settled in the mountains of New Hampshire with later arrivals settling along the Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia and Alabama.  

The Scots-Irish fought the Indians and the British, comprising 40% of Revolutionary War army. The blazed the trails west and provided at least a dozen presidents.  They formed the bulk of the Confederate Army (although most did not own slaves) and much of the Union Army as well.  

There were three distinct types of English speaking immigrants to America.  The very civilized English to New England who organized clearly defined townships in an urban setting.  Everyone was treated equally and all had small plots of land and our premier educational institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.) were created very early.  The settlements in Virginia clearly set out to further the English social system.  There were three distinct classes with the lower treated very much like serfs from earlier English history.  The Scots-Irish were completely separate.  They rejected the settled, regimented life of the New England towns and they likewise rejected the Virginia aristocrat-tradesman-serf environment.  Many writers attempt to lump them all together but this is simply incorrect.  It is also common to lump them together with the Irish Catholic migrations.  This is also incorrect.  They were culturally divergent (Protestant vs. Catholic) and the Irish Catholics settled primarily in the large cities.  

As the various experiences of living in America and moving from place to place have changed many of the old ways so the attitudes of the descendants of these Scots-Irish have changed.  However some of the basic mind-sets have not changed and in fact are expanding.  This may become clearer as we expand the story to see where this culture originated and how it changed.

Part Two: The Making of a People--And a Nation
C2-1  Hadrian's Wall
 The Celtic peoples have a long history but until about the fifth century AD they did not write any of it down.  The records we have are contained primarily within records of the Romans.  When the Romans started their conquest north of Italy they conquered all of the tribes they came across.  The Celts were a part of this.  Their problem was that they were loyal to the leaders of the tribe and not to the nation.  The Romans were always able to mass sufficient force to beat any given tribal force that opposed them.  In the end they only had three choices.  To submit to Rome, to die on the battlefield, or to flee north.  In 55 BC the Romans invaded England.  The same pattern of tribalism vs. the Roman Empire continued for over 100 years.  in 71 AD the Romans headed north to conquer southern Scotland.  They were more or less successful but raids continued and their Legions pulled back.  Then in 122 AD the emperor Hadrian visited England and built the first of the walls across the country that bears his name.  20 years later another wall was built north of this was rapidly abandoned because of Celtic attacks.  Repeated raids by both sides continued until a particularly vicious blowup in 208 AD prompted the Romans to greatly expand and reinforce the Wall.  There was a general peace that lasted for at least 100 years and by then the Romans were leaving England.  North of Hadrian's Wall the Scots were never conquered but south of the wall the English had a succession of rulers, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and finally the Normans.

C2-2  Tribalism Versus Feudalism: The Celtic Tie of Kinship  All of the different rulers of England generally accepted the Roman style of powerful knights and kings, their retainers and soldiers, and a large, very downtrodden class of serfs.  The Scots remained tribal and very primitive but men were allowed to follow whichever leader they preferred.  They were mainly composed of four different peoples.  The original Picts, a large tribe called the Scotti that originated in Ireland and migrated to Scotland, the Britons, a Celtic tribe that originally lived along the Scotland-England border around Hadrian's Wall, and in the southeast were the Angles, a Germanic tribe that was well established in the Edinburgh area by the seventh century.  The Scotti generally conquered the other tribes by the ninth century and by 1100 were generally united in a loose kingdom called Alba.  

The uniting as a kingdom allowed the rulers to look outward and they generally liked the control of the Norman leaders of England.  The Scottish nobility quickly took on the attitudes of the English nobility but the clans and tribes still maintained their loyalty to their leaders.  Only when the local agenda matched the agenda of the royalty did the system work the way the royalty wanted.  

C2-3  Braveheart  Ignoring a bunch of history, in 1286 Margaret, at age three, became the only direct heir of King Alexander III of Scotland.  King Edward I of England wanted to marry her to his son, Edward II.  In 1290 while Margaret was traveling from Norway to Scotland she died.  Frustrated, Edward I choose a weak ruler for Scotland and then when he objected to some of the conditions Edward I decided to invade Scotland.  In 1296 Edward I entered the richest city in Scotland, Berwick, and killed approximately 17,000 people - virtually everyone in the city.  This had the desired effect on the Scottish nobles, they fled.  After several other battles the Scots were beaten and the "king" surrendered.  

At about this same time a talented commoner by the name of William Wallace emerged as a leader.  He and his troops defeated a much larger English army in Sept. 1297.  The chased the English out of Scotland and carried out raids into England.  In 1298 William again invaded Scotland but this time members of the Scottish nobility betrayed Wallace, his army was destroyed and he barely escaped with his life.  Wallace avoided capture for five years but then he was betrayed again, captured, and taken to England.  On Aug. 13, 1305 Wallace was tried, sentenced, and executed.  However within months of Wallace's execution another, Robert the Bruce, a member of the nobility, took over the leadership of the Scots.  

C2-4  Bannockburn  Robert the Bruce was the man who finally united the Scottish nation, led the troops in victory against the English, and laid the foundation for the Scottish character.  However from a personal standpoint he was a shrewd, ethically conflicted and violently dangerous man.  He did not support Wallace but when Wallace was executed he was quick to take over the position of military leader.  He first killed John Comyn, his primary rival for the throne and then had himself coronated at Scone in a private ceremony.  Many Scots of the time opposed him because of these actions and because he did not support Wallace.  When King Edward of England heard of this he swore to never rest until he had fully conquered Scotland.  Edward sent an army north and quickly defeated Bruce's small army.  Then Edward hanged all the captured prisoners including three of Bruce's brothers and captured his wife and daughter.  

Bruce never quit and with the English atrocities he started winning support from Scottish people.  King Edward sickened and died and his son, Edward II was a much less skilled leader.  Bruce's skills as a fighting leader improved and as he started winning small battles more and more of the powerful Celtic families came over to his side.  Over eight years he slowly captured all of the major castles in Scotland except for Stirling.  In early 1314 he laid seige to Stirling.  Edward II sent a major army to it's rescue.  In the final battle on June 24, 1314 by clever plans and placement of his troops, Bruce's army of around 10,000 defeated an army of more than 30,000 English troops.  King Edward II retreated to Stirling Castle and then escaped over the border to England.  Edward II tried to use the authority of the Pope to subdue the Scots but this too was a failure.  In 1320, Bruce's Chancellor wrote to the Pope

For so long as one hundred of us shall remain alive we shall never in any wise consent to submit to the rule of the English.  For it is not for glory we fight, for riches, or for honours [sic] but for freedom alone, which no good man loses but with his life.

Webb holds this to be the central defining feature of the Scots.

Part Three: The Ulster Scots  
C3-1  The Ulster Plantation  In 1610 King James I of England (of the Bible and Jamestown) and who also ruled as James VI of Scotland, made a decision to form a Protestant plantation in Ireland.  For centuries the English had problems with Ireland similar to their problems with Scotland.  Then with the Protestant Reformation these problems began to escalate.  In 1561 Jesuits from the Catholic Church, often with the support of the French and Spanish, tried to influence the Irish to reject the English even more than usual.  Queen Elizabeth in the 1560's and 1570's tried to increase English settlement in Ireland but these efforts were not very successful.  After the failure of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Philip II decided to place Spanish naval bases in Ireland.  The first effort was to support Hugh O'Neill to lead a rebellion.  In 1601 Philip II sent a Spanish military expedition to Ireland.  This endeavor was as much a failure as the Armada was earlier.  The English defeated both O'Neill's army and the Spanish army.  

The English army laid waste to much of Ulster and many were brought over from England to repopulate the area.  Since there had been much commerce between Ireland and Scotland in earlier centuries, many Scots came over and settled for the promise of the vacant land.  Instead of producing a compliant Protestant population, the settlement of the Scots produced a Protestant population that was ready to fight over any perceived affront.  This policy produced a festering wound that has yet to heal.  

C3-2  Border Warriors--The Bible Beaters  Although it was settled that Scotland was an independent country in 1314 the border fighting never really stopped.  The culture of the peoples on both sides of the Scottish-English border was much more warlike than the commercial culture of the rest of England.  

Another factor that contributed to the Scots culture was religion.  By the early 1500's the Catholic Church in Scotland had become very corrupt.  People all over Europe were rebelling against the Church.  Martin Luther of Germany was of course the most well known.  John Calvin of Geneva has been called the founder of the modern Christian evangelical movement.  As far as the Scots were concerned, John Knox was his most important follower.  Knox, an ex-priest, was a Scot.  He and his followers rejected the idea that anyone could intervene between an individual and God except Christ.  Church leaders would be elected by the congregation and no-one could tell an individual church what they could do.  In England the King (or Queen) had authority over the Church but in Scotland the local Kirk had some authority over local government.  

C3-3  The Problem Children of Ulster  During the 1600's there were numerous uprisings and small actions throughout England and her possessions.  Some were about secular power but the most vicious were related to religion.  For the purposes of this story one of the important effects was the forcing out of English settlers from Ulster leaving behind primarily the Scots. Between about 1715 and 1775 large numbers of Scots-Irish from Ulster and Scots from Scotland emigrated to America.  

C3-4  Londonderry.  The Boyne.  Exodus  Further descriptions of the troubles in the 1600's and 1700's - primarily in Ireland which led to the large emigrations to America.

Part Four: The Spirit of a Revolution
C4-1  Roots
 The chapter starts with Webb standing at the grave of Thomas Lackey, his GGGGG-grandfather who was born in Ulster in 1732.  He mentions a book, History of the House of Ochiltree, published in 1916 by a small press in a Kansas town.  There is a Google scan of it on the web.  He discusses family histories and short stories of his ancestors.   In many ways they were a part of the history he presents in parts two and three.  

C4-2  Pioneers and Radicals  After the passage of the 1704 Test Acts which restricted the authority of churches other than the Anglican, Scots-Irish Presbyterians started leaving Ulster.  They came in "parcels" of 600-800 people, first to ports all along the Atlantic coast but by about 1720 most came to Philadelphia and then traveled west to the Lancaster area and then south.  By 1775 there were probably more than 500,000 immigrants and their descendants in the Appalachian area.  This was perhaps half of the Scots-Irish of Ulster.   This group were not welcome in New England or New York but they were welcome in Pennsylvania.  However his welcome did not last long as the new immigrants and their children were prone to "squatting" or perhaps "homesteading" on any unused land.  

The early aristocratic settlers had developed large estates along the coast.  They were presiding over a feudal system.  When new Scots-Irish immigrants starting "squatting" on their land they were not amused.  They pushed the new settlers back into the ridges and "hollers" of the Appalachians.  They were welcomed in that they acted as buffers between the estates and the Indians but they were not liked because they did not take orders well and they tended to cause wars with the Indians.  There were many political complications between the Scots-Irish and the "ruling classes", both in England and in America.  One of the end results was that there was a large supply of hardy hunters who had a very healthy hatred of the English who were more than ready to take them on again in the War of Independence which was rapidly approaching.  

C4-3  Preachers and Warriors  The settlement along the Appalachian frontier was very different from the other American settlements.  In New England the towns were carefully plotted out, the southern coastal plantations were laid out in a manner similar to England, a very class oriented society based on slave labor.  Appalachian settlements grew one cabin and vegetable patch at a time.  Towns arose from trading posts or trail intersections.  However there was organization.  The Presbyterian Kirk and the local militia.  The settlers were interdependent.  Often groups of families would travel together and settle in near proximity, "raising" barns, cabins, and church meetinghouses together.  Ministers would remind the settlers of their history and decry evil government (for many years Virginia would not allow anyone who was not an Anglican to hold office or preside over weddings, and it collected a tax for the Anglican Church).  The Presbyterian Church was often the only community gathering in these communities.  As time went on many of these churches became Baptist - even more strongly following John Calvin.  

In 1754 the French and Indian Wars began to heat up.  These, mainly Indian vs. settler battles continued until after the Revolution.  The Scots-Irish settlers were essentially fully militarized for 20-25 years by the time of the Revolution.  While the intellectual arguments for liberty came primarily from the elites in New England and the coastal plantations, the political will to fight the English came in large part from the Scots-Irish.  This fact was not lost on the English.  

While many fought all through the war, many in the Appalachian Mountains did not join in because they feared that the settlements would be attacked by Indians if the militias were to leave and travel to the coast.  Some also felt that the colonial elites were controlling the war and they had no interest in dying for them.  These groups mainly stayed home until 1780.  In February 1780 the British began their Southern offensive.  On May 12 they captured 5,500 Continental soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina.  In an effort to subdue the countryside they stated raids and on May 29 Col. Tarleton captured group of retreating colonial soldiers.  Instead of taking them prisoner they were all killed and/or left to die on the battlefield.  Approximately 250 were killed.  This became known as "Tarleton's Quarter", an early version of "Remember the Alamo."  This finally provoked the local militias to act.  

In three major engagements the Americans defeated three British armies, completely destroying two of about 1,000 troops each and forcing the third to retreat.  Then when the British were defeated at Yorktown they were forced to end the Revolutionary War.  The irony of this is that the British were winning.  It wasn't until they tried to "punish" the rebels (an early version of "Shock and Awe) that they truly woke them up just like they did with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.  

Part Five: Rise and Fall: The Heart of the South
C5-1  Westward, Ho
 Following the Revolution the American frontier moved westward following the Wilderness Road that Daniel Boone pioneered, the Louisiana Purchase, Andrew Jackson's Indian campaigns which opened up settlement in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and then the removal of the Spanish from Florida and their settlements along the coast.  The main settlers of these areas were the Scots-Irish and the population increase was mainly by reproduction so the culture expanded as well as incorporation of outsiders by marriage.  Immigration was very low from 1775 until after the 1820's and most of it was from Ulster or the Scottish-English border area.  The culture changed; most no longer thought themselves as Scots-Irish whose ancestors fought at Londonderry or the Boyne, they thought of themselves as Americans who fought at Cowpens and King's Mountain.  They continued to believe in the value of the individual and what he accomplished instead of how much money or influence he had.

C5-2  Old Hickory  Andrew Jackson was the first self-made man of the people to ascend to the Presidency.  His parents came from Ulster and he was orphaned by 14.  His mother and two brothers died during the Revolution.  Jackson was a horse racer, a brawler, a fighter, a lawyer, a brilliant military commander and a superb politician.  In his first run for the presidency he won the popular vote but the House of Representatives gave the office to John Quincy Adams.  He came back and beat Adams by 650,000 to 500,000.  He remade the Democratic party into a populist party.  Probably his most important actions were ridding the government of policies and practices that unduly favored the aristocracy and his firm passion that the Union of the states was permanent and must never be allowed to dissolve.  

A specific act was the veto of the renewal of the Second National Bank, a private monopoly insulated from competition by federal law.  Another was when South Carolina, led by Vice President John C. Calhoun, threatened to secede if tariff laws were not changed.  Jackson quickly stationed troops in South Carolina and threatened to send 50,000 more troops within 40 days and another 50,000 shortly after that.  He also sent trusted advisers to support opponents of Calhoun and pushed a bill through Congress to authorize him to use force in South Carolina if necessary.  Calhoun resigned and South Carolina backed down.  However when Jackson left the presidency there were no leaders capable of stopping the slide of the Union towards war.

C5-3  The Winds of War  Many see the Civil War as being a simple matter of evil slave owners against god fearing Abolitionists in the north.  In reality some of the people who made the most money from slavery were northern shipowners.  Less than 1/4 of the whites in the south owned slaves, less than half of these owned more than 5 slaves and only about a tenth owned more than 20 slaves.  The true power in the south was only the four or five thousand large plantations and of these probably not more than 500 controlled most of the politics.  

Most of the Scots-Irish never owned any slaves, were poor, uneducated, and lived in the backwoods areas.  And (reading between the lines) were easily led by the educated planters into believing that the growing Republican party in the north was poised to invade the south and change their way of life.  

C5-4  Attack and Die  The north should have won the Civil War in a few weeks if not a few months.  Why didn't it?  In population the Union outnumbered the Confederacy by 2.5:1, in free males of military age by 4.4:1, railroad miles 2.4:1, wealth by 3:1, merchant ships by 9:1, industrial output by 10:1, farm acreage by 3:1, livestock 1.5:1, corn 2:1, and wheat 4:1.  "But the south was superior to the north in the intensity of its warrior ethic."  Morale was very high in the Confederacy until the very end of the war.  The Confederacy drew its 750,000 soldiers from a population of 8 million, the Union drew 2 million soldiers from 22 million.  Interesting side-note: The Confederate Battle flag was drawn from the St. Andrew's Cross of Scotland.

There is a major myth surrounding the Civil War.  It is that southern soldiers fought to preserve slavery.  They did not.  1) Very few of the soldiers owned slaves.  2) These soldiers knew that slave-owners in Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky (slave states that remained in the union) were allowed to keep their slaves when the war began.  3) They were aware that the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan 1, 1863) specifically exempted slaves in the North as well as slaves in the South that had already been conquered.  4) Many of the more educated leaders in the South believed that the 10th Amendment gave their states the right to secede.

So why did they fight and fight so well?  Their leaders convinced them that this was a war of Independence in just the same way that the Revolutionary War was.  Their Scots-Irish tradition for 2000 years had bred into them a resistance to outside aggression.  When the South fired on Fort Sumter to begin the war there were eight slave states in the Union and only seven in the Confederacy.  But when Lincoln called for an invasion of the South, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas left the Union.  The states with Scots-Irish heritage that remained in the Union reacted with outrage.  The Governor of Kentucky replied that his state would furnish no troops "for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States."  When Lincoln did not banish slavery in the Union, Kentucky decided to remain neutral and announced that her borders would be defended against invasion by either side.  Then on Sept 4 the Confederacy occupied Columbus, Kentucky.  On Sept 11 the legislature demanded that the Confederates withdraw.  When this was not done on Sept 18 Kentucky joined the Union and authorized a military force to expel the confederates.  Kentucky stayed in the Union and 2/3 of its soldiers fought for the Union.  Many "southerners" and others from slave owning states fought for the Union because the South invaded their states.  

There are two great defining characteristics of the Scots-Irish culture, loyalty to strong leaders and immediate fierceness when invaded from the outside.  

Part Six: Reconstruction. Diaspora. Reeducation?
C6-1  The Mess the Yankees Made
 A long complex chapter.  Once the Union won the war, Lincoln was killed - ending his plan for reconciliation -, and Reconstruction got going - the North ruined the South for 100 years.  Most of the evils of this area, Jim Crow, lynching, poll taxes, segregation, etc., were direct results of the mess we made of the South.  The Scots-Irish culture sustained itself in poverty and multiplied with the excess population scattering itself throughout the nation.  

C6-2  Fight. Sing. Drink. Pray.  Again, a complex chapter.  There are too many points to make in enough detail to fill a single chapter but it is probably necessary to make them.  Perhaps it should be done in hypertext - so that one could explore a single topic in depth if one wanted, but not get in the way of a smooth narrative if one didn't want.  Fighting: Scots-Irish have always been represented in the military far more than their numbers in the nation would warrant.  Many of our greatest military heroes and leaders have been Scots-Irish (Douglas MacArthur, John J. Pershing, Alvin York, etc.).  

Many of our country music stars, the Carter family, Jimmie Rogers, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and more were of Scots-Irish ancestry.  The Bible Belt had its origin in the Calvinist doctrine of literal fundamentalism.  He ends the chapter with a discussion of the Scopes Trial.  Drinking is sort of a given except in certain of the religious circles.

C6-3  Poor but Proud--and Stubborn as Hell  The Great Depression of the 1930's hit everybody hard but it hit the south was hit the hardest.  It wasn't that the standard of living went down so much, it's just that their standard of living was so much lower than the rest of the US before the Depression.  In his second term Roosevelt asked the National Emergency Council to report on the economic conditions of the South.  Their report on July 25, 1938 is a chilling indictment of the treatment of the South by the rest of the US for the 75 years since the Civil War.  It tells how the financial interests of the North and the political interests of the South (primarily Democrats) conspired to keep the South as a third world country within the US.  This is almost exactly what John C. Calhoun had warned against in 1832, over a hundred years earlier.  

The chapter ends with a description of the life of Webb's grandfather, Birch Hays Hodges.  This life very well illustrates the evils of the system.  I found it telling that one of the main characters was A. P. Mills, the father of Wilbur Mills.  Hodges exposed the business practices of A.P. Mills and for this he was "Black Balled" meaning that he could no longer find any sort of a job in the area.  

C6-4  Hillbilly Highways  FDR did many things, and did not do many other things, but one thing he did do was to bring the South into America as a full partner.  A major element of this was WW II.  The construction of many military facilities in the South, helped by the seniority of southern politicians, brought many new people and many new jobs to the South.  It also sent many southerners to jobs in the north and the west coast where they learned new skills and a new sense of worth.  Again he uses as examples his parents and grandparents as they lived through the Depression and the war years.

The final part of the chapter examines Scots-Irish culture and how this has spread widely through America and how it has been misunderstood by many, especially those on the Liberal Left.  It easily gets confused with race and class issues.  Their resistance to authority, their willingness to fight, their easy acceptance of drinking and fundamentalist religion leads many, especially educated, upper-class liberals to dismiss them as nothing more than "rednecks".  Many others in the past have made this same mistake.  

Part Seven: Reflections: The Unbreakable Circle
C7-1  Glad Soldiers, Accidental Scholars
 Life as a military brat and as a young soldier.  His father was in the Army Air Corps and then the Air Force during WW II and then the Korean War.  His father was then stationed at Vandenberg Air Base in California and later at SAC at Offutt in Nebraska.  Webb went to school wherever his father was stationed then to USC for a year and then the Naval Academy.  He then received combat training, went to Vietnam, was injured in 1969 but the injuries never fully healed and he was released as a Marine captain in 1972.  

As an example of the political situation his father was working within the Pentagon helping to establish satellite communications with Vietnam.  When Webb received his orders for combat his father put in his papers to retire from the Air Force, saying that he "couldn't bear to watch it" while still wearing a military uniform.  He was reacting to the actions of the McNamara handling of the Pentagon.  He was telling Webb that this strategically botched war was not worth his son's life.  At this point the son, the author, went on an served as it was his life's goal.  

C7-2  The Invisible People  He forcibly makes the point that the upper, elite classes supported their country during WW II but they did not support it during the Vietnam War.  One statistic was that Harvard lost 691 alumni during WW II but only 12 during Vietnam, Princeton lost six and MIT lost two.  He states that the conflict was not really about the war or politics, it was about privilege, class, and culture.  Throughout the book he points out that the culture of extreme independence has shaped the Scots-Irish.  It is still shaping their response but that as well as the positive aspects there are many negative aspects.  It is very difficult to achieve political power when you cannot cooperate.  

C7-3  Rites of Passage: The Legacy of Camel Six  An intensely personal chapter.  He talks about the Scots-Irish heritage and how it is passed on, through marriage, through the military, and by father to son.  I almost felt like I was intruding into a private family gathering when I read it.

C7-4  Kensett, Arkansas  This chapter is just as personal, but it is about his grandmother instead of his father.  Again, intruding into family, but this family portrait is just a little further off.

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