Open letter to my classmates as Harvard Med School '68:
It has been a giddy experience watching HMS ’68. So much political savvy, personal energy and raw brain I have never seen in so concentrated and extensive form before. If love is the recognition of the best in oneself in another, then I would fall in love with you all but of course I did long ago. Don’t feel too flattered; I’m an affectionate kind of guy anyway. You knew that.
At the moment I am thinking of three kinds of motivation that call to one once immediate needs are met: love, status and principle. As you know, fruit flies, voles and probably quail make love their primary drive. Mice and humans are driven by status. Oh, you didn’t know? Well I have put the evidence together here http://nobabies.net/YouTube%20links.html Ignore the shows with titles other than “Terror.” Otherwise follow the links and watch the shows. That should not take much more than 8 hours. Attend closely; I don’t repeat myself. Then go to http://nobabies.net/movie%20scripts.html and spend another 8 hours reading over the scripts. Another 16 hours should suffice to run down and read the primary references. In a week you should have it done. It took me a thousand weeks of doing nothing else to put it together. After that, and only after that, you will be prepared to think about people and any other complex life form.
I shall assume you have done your homework and proceed.
So where do principles come in? We generally think of principles as being the product of the Enlightenment, well evoked by the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
Don’t think that European civilization has any unique claim on such things. The Enlightenment as late as the early 1800’s cherry picked scripture to attack the institution of slavery until England became the first country to undertake its systematic elimination. English society flourished from 1066 so by the 17 century was 535 years old. I find scriptural events and dates most problematic prior to the reported division of Israel and Judah in the time of Rehoboam in 931 BC. Judah fell to Babylon (after a time as a client state and then rebellion) in 722 BC. That’s 334 years. That’s an amazing length of survival as societies gp. As you should have read, survival past 300 years is most rare.
Now scripture prior to Rehoboam has many problems, but it seems to be to be the product of people making an honest effort to get the story right. The Hebrews of the time were literate people – they invented the alphabet, which was a great democratizing accomplishment for literacy – and the notion that they cut everything before Rehoboam out of the whole cloth does not appeal to me. I rather think that their society did indeed go back for centuries. So the two societies, Hebrew and English, shared a couple features: they were very old and they developed principles. Let me postulate that enlightened principles can only develop over a long period of time. But since they have appeared more than once, they are a property of the universe. (That’s beyond the purview of the “Terror” talks, but I’m working on it.)
Principles are thus different from liberal teachings. Liberal views are political. They are based on violence. It’s easy to see with mice; humans are more (only a little more) subtle. We all remember the day when liberal became high status. The supreme court integrated the schools not because segregation was unfair, much less widely disliked, but because “separate but equal is unconstitutional” meant we must have a national society. That was true on paper only until some courageous people in Little Rock put it to the test. President Eisenhower sent in storm troopers. Well now, there’s nothing better for your status than having an army at your back, particularly if it is the entire US military. Formerly status was largely based on the war winning power of US industry, but that was now taken for granted. Status was based on being accepted as liberal. Status was based on a political alignment that has come to dominate North America, Europe and some smaller powers.
What does this have to do with separating children from parents at the border? The principle, and I trust you do not object to me adding it to the historic principles of the Enlightenment, is one must care for the helpless, in particular children. Well and good, and of course I am aboard. So how does this principle play out? I suspect that child abuse is all too real. And child trafficking is real. At least it might be. And is there child trafficking for the purpose of abuse? Like Burns’s field mouse I can only guess and fear. But I don’t need to know. I just need to know that it would be against my principles. And it’s easy to prevent.
Render the borders hermetically sealed. You owe it to everybody in the country; they all have things of value, which they may or may not be willing to share but which they have every right to preserve just as much as they can preserve something like a house. So any border leak that circumvents law is in principle like letting a pyromaniac run loose. Yes, I know that in this case rule of law might be expensive.
Then when any adult offers to bring a child into the country or take one out, they are stopped at the border, questioned, cheek swabs taken, kinship established or not and appropriate steps taken. This might not prevent child trafficking of children by their parent, and if anybody has any ideas I’m all ears. As for other child trafficking, it stops right away. That’s all I want, unless some other country would like help setting up a similar program.
Don’t think you are doing people a favor by letting them immigrate. As your studies should have shown, by drawing them out of their own villages you are – to put it bluntly – killing their children. There may indeed be monsters out there who would accept such a devil’s bargain, and you might be happy to live beside them. But doing it in secret, not letting them know as we now know, or will within a week, the consequences of their choice is not giving them the freedom of choice. My principles dictate that freedom is utterly important, and that requires that choices be informed.
I clearly see the political voice, the grooming of liberal credentials, in the debate, but I fail to see the principles addressed.
There is another issue your studies should bring to mind. We all remember the Franny Moore’s clinic when we learned that the LD50 of a fall is about 4 stories. It may seem superfluous, but the thing about a fall that kills you is not how for out you jump but how many floors you fall. And as you know from your reading assignment, people or any other animal that mates outside its ring of kin, will suffer a fertility loss. The size of that ring is, to our shame, unknown. In humans I suspect it is one or two hundred families. Most of as are so enamored by ideas of race and ethnicity we promptly think, “If marrying a little way too far out is bad, then mating waaay out must be a lot worse. But past tenth cousins the dose response curve levels off. It makes no difference between tenth cousin or 1,000th cousin. In one generation there is no cap on outbreeding. What kills a population out, and yes human populations regularly hit zero birth rate and go extinct, is number of generations the madness persists. The LD50 turns out to be – drum roll – about 4 generations – cymbal crash. Of course that’s just a coincidence.
So let us say you have a government you despise. Don’t worry about it. The elite have probably been high status or a couple of generations. Generally they will have been marrying for status, and outside their kin circle, for a couple of generations. They will die out. You and I might not live to see it, but your grandchildren will. If there is time, the elite might return to marrying in their kin circle. European royalty seem to have. But generally the best approach if you are among the elite – as of course we all are – is to work for a society where the rule of law is strong and where democratic institutions are well supported. It won’t save our regime, but it will make the transition easier, which is a good thing.
Populism means support for the concerns of ordinary people, and to me any politician of any other stripe is a crook. But I quite understand that populism can be considered the first descent of the slippery slope to nationalism. I suppose everybody his noticed a tide of populism sweeping the US and Europe. The only surprise is that people claim to be surprised and fling their self-respect, resources and opportunities in the way. Do you remember Li’l Abner and the turnip termites that would come through and devastate the Dogpatch turnips? Once the termites were coming in darkening the sky far to left and far to right to the zenith. One stalwart farmer blazed a way with his blunderbuss and shouted in triumph, “I got one!” Of course the populists will face their doom as well, unless somebody – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – warns them. Don’t look to me. I am just the oracle. Surely everybody has enough classical education to know that getting the word from the oracle is just the beginning of trouble.
Speaking of transitions, I checked out a commentator who is even more bitter and pessimistic than I. He thinks we liberals have already been subverted by the plutocrats, whose agenda is: 1) Bomb, brutalize and butcher Arabs until they hate us (Of course we remember that our old ally Saddam Hussein asked our permission before invading Kuwait and then got Desert Storm up his buhonkus. It’s not paused since then.) 2) Throw wide the doors of immigration by Muslims, leaning on liberals the support the program 3) Continue to lean on us to prevent any effective prevention of the inevitable crimes of hatred – no, drat my newspeak – hate crimes mean objecting. What’s the word I’m looking for? 4) Continue until society disintegrates for a couple of years. 5) Be welcomed as saviors by imposing the repressive regime that restores civil order. 6) Pick us up one by one at night and quietly murder us; after all we shall be known as effective and thus dangers to the state. I say, “Picky, picky; sticks and stones.”
(I am leaving out a bit that contains doctor stuff. )
. Now go do your homework and see what you are going to do about it.