Sunday, June 06, 2010

Recent Developments In Ukraine

Natalie, who blogs at Bird Brain, keeps close tabs on events in Slavic countries. Back in February she posted on the Ukrainian elections, and has recently posted a follow-up article. With her permission, I am re-posting the entire essay here:

Recent Developments In Ukraine

I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts section for quite a long time now. I wondered if I was ever going to get to post it, but then I saw headlines in the Russian media to the effect that Yanukovych has been in power for 100 days now, so I figured that would be an appropriate occasion to post it. I have not covered every single thing about Ukraine, but the major, important stuff is here. I have been thrilled with Yanukovych so far — I’m not “frightened“ of him as The Economist says I should be.

Ukrainian politics never ceases to fascinate me. The elections were quite interesting and politics in Ukraine have been quite interesting since Viktor Yanukovych’s inauguration.

The inauguration

The inauguration was on February 25 and I neglected to post about it (it was during that time when I got really busy and couldn’t blog for a bit), so I’ll say a bit now. It was actually a bit funny — I know that presidential inaugurations are not typically described that way, but something quite silly happened during Yanukovych’s. He got out of his car that had brought him to the Verkhovnaya Rada (Ukrainian parliament) building. He walked from the car up the steps and right as he got to a second set of doors, they started to close, so he ended up having to halfway open them himself as two soldiers also pushed them open. I cannot do it justice, so watch the embedded video below (or go here to watch it larger).

The rest of the inauguration was quite nice. My favorite part was how the parliamentarians on the right side of the room enthusiastically stood up at certain points during the inauguration.

The new coalition and prime minister

In Ukraine, as in many other countries, there are a plethora of political parties in parliament. A group of these parties forms — it’s called a coalition — and creates a government, headed by a prime minister. The new coalition in Ukraine is a tad less than ideal, I confess. It is comprised of Yanukovych’s party, the Party of Regions, Vladimir Lytvyn’s Lytvyn bloc (Lytvyn is the current speaker of the Verkhovnaya Rada), and the Communist party. Though I may not agree with Lytvyn on everything, he is much more amenable to me than the Communists, and I am a bit annoyed that they are included in the new government.

The new prime minister is Nikolai Azarov. He is quite the interesting character: a Russian-born, Russian-educated, Russian-speaking man who holds a doktor nauk degree in geology and mineralogy (remember, doktor nauk is the degree that is a level above a Ph.D.). He was born Nikolai Pakhlo but apparently took his wife’s last name when they married (which, if I am not correct, is as strange in Ukraine and Russia as it would be in America). He is a close associate of Yanukovych.

Yanukovych nominated three candidates for prime minister: Azarov, Aresniy Yatsyenyuk (a very young and endearing man — his website is, how cute is that?) and Sergey Tigipko. Yatsenyuk refused the post because he wants to be in the opposition in parliament. This is probably a smart move — Yatsyenyuk is still quite young (he’s 35) and could have a future in politics. We should keep an eye on him.

The issue of the state language of Ukraine
- - - - - - - - -
Right now, Ukraine is in the rather odd situation of having both a president and a prime minister who speak much better Russian than Ukrainian. The issue of whether Russian should be an official language has come up, especially since Yanukovych promised during his campaigning to make Russian a second state language. Unfortunately, there is an obstacle to this because the Ukrainian constitution apparently says that Ukrainian is the only official language of Ukraine.

Lytvyn has spoken quite ambiguously and diplomatically about the situation. According to him, the Ukrainian government should not oppress the Russian language, but it should not necessarily give it equal status with Ukrainian, either. I am interested to see the outcome of this entire linguistic struggle.

NATO Membership

In short, Yanukovych is keeping his word on this: the new coalition has said it will pass a law banning Ukraine from entering any military alliances, and the bill just passed today. This is an excellent move.

Gas Issues With Russia

It’s amazing what can happen when a president who is actually willing to work with Russia. Russo-Ukrainian relations have improved greatly since Yanukovych came to power. Russia and Ukraine have agreed on a new, lower gas price. Those annual gas wars that were happening during the Yanukovych years have probably come to an end.

The Black Sea Fleet in Crimea

It’s so funny to write “Black Sea Fleet” because I’m so used to hearing it in Russian: Черноморский флот. There was controversy over whether the Fleet was to stay in Crimea past 2017 or not, but now Yanukovych and Medvedev have come to an agreement. The Fleet will stay in Crimea for twenty-five years past the previous lease. And in return, Russia lowered gas prices for Ukraine, as previously discussed.

The Golodomor

Under Yushchenko, the Ukrainian government pursued the policy that Stalin engaged in genocide by creating the great famine (Golodomor) in Ukraine during the early 1930s. This was a blatant falsification of history because Stalin was engaging in class war against the richer peasants (called the kulaks). The policy was not aimed specifically at the Ukrainian people and there were others who suffered in the famine. Yanukovych has reversed his country’s government’s policy on the Golodomor, saying that it was not genocide.

The bottom line is that I like Yanukovych very much. I think he is an excellent president for Ukraine.


Félicie said...

The test of Yanukovich's government for me is whether they will give the official status to the Russian language. Russian is an original, historically established language in that area. It is the native language of at least one half of the population. It's inconceivable that it is not recognized.

What does it mean that Russian should not be oppressed? Russian schools have been closed down. How is the next generation learn Russian literacy?

Anonymous said...

Actually, this language issue is vital. The recognition of a second language as official is the typical Western degeneracy. Certain things should be enforced, like language, culture and religion within the borders of a country.

Also, it's quite funny that Ukraine in exchange of having Russian troops within its borders for lower gas prices. I guess Ukraine is heading back to being a joke of Russia. Being in alliances = wrong. Being occupied = good. I'm glad my country squashed this idiocy in 1990 about Russia. The only reason we're in NATO, for example, is due to Russia pulling moves like the one with Ukraine.

Félicie said...

Vanilla, you don't know the full story. Ukraine got a territory "for free" that far exceeds the spread of the Ukrainian language (which is in itself the 19th-century invention of Ukrainian nationalists paid by the Austro-Hungerian goverment). Russian is the indigenous language of Ukraine, with many famous writers and poets hailing from the territory that is today's Ukraine. It's like banning Swedish from Finland, except Russian is much bigger in Ukraine than Swedish is in Finland. If there is a question of leaving only one language in Ukraine, then it should be Russian.

Kozak said...

Geez, Baron, thanks for publishing the Russian imperialist view. "Working with Russia" always means capitulation, in this case extending the lease of the Black Sea Fleet. Meanwhile, Yanukovych is also gagging the press, returning corruption to university admissions, etc. As for the Holodomor, it did affect other nationalities Stalin hated, but the fact is that the Ukrainian-Russian border was closed to Ukrainians in 1933, and the same suffering did not visit Russian villages within sight of the border.
@ Felicie - wow. Even the Soviets didn't say Ukrainian was invented in the 19th century. Are you really accusing Shevchenko of being an Austrian agent? And if Russian is really the indigenous language of Ukraine, why did Khmelnytsky (who spoke Ukrainian, Polish, German, and Latin) need an interpreter when he went to Moscow in 1648?

Baron Bodissey said...

Kozak --

I like to celebrate diversity -- diversity of opinion, that is.

Russophobia is widespread in the media among both liberals and conservatives. As an alternative, a little Russophilia won't hurt anybody.

Maybe Natalie will show up and argue her case with you point by point.

Félicie said...

To substantiate what I wrote, here is the link to the book on the history of Ukrainization, "The Second Invasion of Janissaries (sp?)" for those who read Russian:

The part that is especially relevant to the history of the creation and consolidation of the Ukrainian language is part 4. Perhaps those who are curious but don't speak Russian can try to use the Google translation tool.

Kozak said...

Sorry, Felicie. I'd love to debate, but I only read Ukrainian. :) That Russian is giving me a headache. Anyway, the word "Galicia" seems to come up a lot. What does that have to do with Kotliarevsky, Hulak-Artemovsky, Shevchenko, and all those guys from Russian Ukraine who wrote in Ukrainian?

Anonymous said...

Felicie, Russia also took a part of my country and gave it to Ukraine. If we're to discuss territorial claims, I want that back. But yes, a country has to enforce it's own language over everybody regardless of which language that is. Since I'm not Ukrainian, I could care the less what language that is. They could even make up a new one for all I care.

And by the way, you should pick a non-political organization that studies the origins of the Ukrainian language, not one that has an interest. I mean, direct written evidence of Ukrainian exist from the 16th century. And it depends on how you want to look at things. Morally, Russians have no claim related to Ukraine due to how the use of Ukrainian and Ukrainians were persecuted. And legally, the Ukrainian government is sovereign.

Baron, sadly Westerners don't really understand the politics of the region nor its history properly. And I mean both sides.

Kozak, do you have any information that the other guy was really clean? I mean, in former Soviet block countries all politicians are dirty and just preach claptrap.

Kozak said...

The other guy was a woman, Tymoshenko, and she made her fortune in oil and gas, i.e. unclean. BUT, under previous president Yushchenko university entrance was cleansed of corruption (by using exam scores as sole criterion), press was a lot more free, and police were not obnoxious on streets. Tymoshenko was prime minister when this all happened.

Anonymous said...

The other guy I meant was Yushchenko.

Baron Bodissey said...

RV --

Baron, sadly Westerners don't really understand the politics of the region nor its history properly. And I mean both sides.

Yes, I agree. And I'm one of them. That's why I don't write much about the former USSR -- I leave that job to people who know what they're talking about.

I restrict myself to areas where Russia's overt behavior goes against my country's interests -- e.g. selling advanced weaponry or technology to Iran etc. -- or issues that have regional strategic significance and are fairly straightforward, such as the natural gas pipeline through the Baltic.

Knee-jerk Russophobia is pointless. Russia's leaders are shrewd operators who ruthlessly act in their own country's best interests, and that's something I wish our leaders would learn to do. The fact that Russia's interests and ours don't coincide is to be expected; it's normal.

What's not normal is to expect other countries' leaders to act altruistically, against their interests, towards one's own country. In fact, that is a delusional state that borders on insanity.

Conservative Swede said...


What's not normal is to expect other countries' leaders to act altruistically, against their interests, towards one's own country. In fact, that is a delusional state that borders on insanity.

Nevertheless, Americanism (both in the US and abroad), since the dawn of the American Age from WWI, is entirely built on this insanity. And this is why the United States is bound to fall and disintegrate.

When it comes to Russophiles, I have never seen this mistake. However, more often than not, I have seen people, whose minds have been formatted under Americanism, misinterpret the Russophiles as doing this mistake. But this is since their minds are stuck on America as the ideal image, and misinterpreting the Russophiles as putting Russia in its place (it's an inability to think outsides ones own premises). But nothing should replace the United States. When it's gone, it's model will be gone too, and there will be nothing like it again.

However, as we know from market economy, every agent working strictly from its self-interest often have good effects for others too, and for the common good. Increasing productivity and making better products are done out of self-interest, but the dynamics of the market makes it better for all. In a similar manner, Russia increases the quality of the "diplomatic market", by acting sensibly from their own interests. And this puts some amount of pressure on the West to shape it up. It's important that Russia is the only European people who does not bend over to America. In this way it is a model example for all white nations, something to duplicate, exactly since its not altruistic.

By the end of the scale, the Vietnam invasion of Pol Pot's Kampuchea is a good example of how someone else's self-interest can serve yours too. Vietnam had no altruistic intentions whatsoever in invading Kampuchea. Still it was amazingly good for the Cambodian people.

It's good to have China and Russia around, and not only the West and Islam. As I have always said about Africa, they cannot rule themselves. It's a choice of whether they will be ruled by Islam, China or Europeans. Europeans has always been the best choice for them. Likewise, if we follow the development of the West along the tangent line, into it's extreme conclusion, we might end up with the choice of being ruled by Islam, China or Russia. I don't really think it will fully come to that, but it's a useful perspective for the bigger picture.

I'm aware of how different peoples around Russia have diametrically opposite views about Russia. From the Ossetians or Armenians seeing her as their protector, to the Polish who deeply fear her. In some cases this demarcation line goes right through a people, such as for Romania and Moldavia.

This is the natural order of things, once the Wilsonian order fiction is removed (so I have no issue with the difference of opinion). And there is an historical background for why certain people see Russia as their protector (and yes Islam was involved). And history still happens.

Conservative Swede said...

I might as well provide this article here too, for background:

Raymond S. Kraft : Weaponizing Civilization

Conservative Swede said...

I wrote above:
But nothing should replace the United States. When it's gone, it's model will be gone too, and there will be nothing like it again.

I understand that some, especially those who have been formatted into American national identity, will perceive this as very hard words. But considering what we said about insanity above, it's a clear-cut logical conclusion. And we always have to follow logic where it takes us.

However, the inevitable break-down of the United States is no more the end of America, than the inevitable break-down of the EU would be the end of Europe. The Americans will just have more soul-searching to do than the Europeans (who already know who they are).

The US as an institution is comparable to the EU (and in fact far far more worse). Also several state organizations in Western Europe had better fall also (and NATO and the UN of course). It's the peoples that are important, and that we should care for. Not the national and international institutions of the order of insanity.

Zenster said...

Conservative Swede: The US as an institution is comparable to the EU (and in fact far far more worse).

Which handily explains how Europe improved this entire world's quality of life by inventing the automotive assembly line, integrated circuitry, lasers, nuclear technology and microprocessing computers not to mention playing a decisive role in ending two global conflicts; Both of which began in… well, let's leave that part out for now, shall we?

Anonymous said...

Zenster, you realize that WW2 was the natural consequence of the way WW1 ended, right? It's not that hard to see.

And improving the world's quality of life is useless. It matters how it improved the life of certain people, which are your ethnic group or group in any way. And the United States' way of handling WW1 led to WW2, after which the US exported certain ideals to the rest of Europe along France and it was busy destroying all the 'evil empires'. From an European point of view, the United States involvement into both European affairs and the ideological world has been a huge disaster. And the way America has been since the civil war has been a huge disaster for white Americans too. I really don't get why Americans are attached to a political entity and a legal fiction which American citizenship is(and that's what citizenship in any propositional nation is). I mean, I do get it, but normally it wouldn't make sense.

Another thing, Europe didn't invent anything, neither America did. Certain people and groups of people invented something. Not Romania made the first jet plane, a Romanian did. And by the way, I love some of the ideals that the United States was founded on and I do think that if certain things along America's history would have been different, we wouldn't be having this problem.

For example, I do want America to go bankrupt. I do like quite a bunch of Americans, but in order for certain things to be preserved, the current American way must be destroyed. It's like that thing with the king is dead, long live the king. America must die, long live America. And just like the current America needs to be destroyed, so does the EU, UN and so on need to be destroyed.

Zenster said...

rebelliousvanilla: And improving the world's quality of life is useless.

Which is why all of the European colonial ventures should have based themselves on the impeccable Spanish model of looting without any establishment of industrialization.

That way the entire Third World could be filled with backward, corruption-riddled hellholes like Mexico, The Philippines plus nearly all of Central and South America.

Just imagine the tremendous moral authority Europe might otherwise wield if only it had followed the Spanish colonial model instead. That Europe flagellates itself (and the White race), for having uplifted so much of the developing world is its own problem.

I'll just say that the United States could have done far worse than it did. Also, do not mistake me as a fan of altruism. Beyond everyday "traffic light etiquette" enlightened self-interest is all that we are obliged to display.

Unfortunately, you cannot lift current events out of their historical milieu as if they were some isolated diorama. However pathetic the dimensions of White Man’s Burden − as imposed by Politically Correct Multiculturalism − have become, would it have benefitted Euro-American culture to follow, for instance, Genghis Khan’s example or Islam’s, for that matter? What would the world be like if we had? Would the Magna Charta ever even have come into existence?

If the White race had followed that less altruistic path, exactly how much of modern civilization and reality, as we presently know it, would simply wink out of existence? Are you prepared to accept the implications of that? Especially you, as an independent-minded young woman, who would likely end up being the toy of some warlord at best (once he had taught you to hold your tongue).

Yes, we need to moderate the effects of misplaced religious altruism and neutralize corrosive Gramsci-style Communist infiltration. Yes, things could be a lot better. Then again, we could all still be living in wattle-and-daub huts had not some truly noble and enlightened people implemented the Social Contract long before there was any measurable reward for doing so.

You cannot have it both ways. Pick one only.

Baron Bodissey said...

CS --

Sorry: I was out of town and missed your comment when it came in.

Yes, I agree -- the American model has to fail. But remember: it is the Wilsonian model that must fail. The trouble started in about 1913, but the original, republican model is quite workable, at the state level.

Which brings me to my second point -- rather than disintegrate, with luck the USA will devolve to its original form; i.e., it will return sovereignty to the several states, or the people themselves.

Anonymous said...

Baron, try the Civil War, not the Wilsonian model and 1913. And the problem is part of the founding American exceptionalism ideals too.

Baron Bodissey said...

RV --

Sorry, but you're wrong about that one. The Civil War enhanced the power of the Federal Government, but it did not change the (republican) model of governance. That began in earnest in 1913, with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the institution (via Constitutional amendment) of the income tax.

Those two momentous events changed the nature of the republic, and the centralization made possible by Lincoln allowed Wilson, FDR, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and now the Almighty Hussein to transform the Republic into the Multicultural Sinkhole we all live in today.

I repeat: the model of governance itself did not change essentially until 1913. It's been all downhill since then. Reagan just eased the slope a little bit for a few years.

Sean O'Brian said...

One thing I've noticed about the concept of American exceptionalism, as I've seen it discussed on the large neoconservative blogs, is that it is almost always used as a launching point for flights from reality. Especially in regards to immigration-related issues.

The thinking goes something like this: the result of pressure applied to country x will differ from the result of the same amount of pressure applied to country y because country y is exceptional. For a concrete example, I'm thinking of the blogger Bryan Preston's hysterical overreaction to an honour killing in his home state of Texas a few years back.

However this is presumably not how American exceptionalism has traditionally been understood in the past. (How old is the concept of American exceptionalism?) This aberration should probably be called American exemptionalism and it would be worth making a distinction between the original concept and the un-reality bubble into which it has morphed.

Baron Bodissey wrote:

"Those two momentous events changed the nature of the republic"

Do you think that republicanism in itself may engender any fundamental problems? I hardly ever see this discussed anywhere, it is usually only democracy that comes in for criticism.

Here is Shakespeare's Coriolanus warning the Romans:

They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his 'shall,'
His popular 'shall,' against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece. By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base; and my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by th' other.

Does that not sound like a dead ringer for your country's Supreme Court? That they have essentially accrued legislative power to themselves in the confusion of the 'balancing of powers' and which branch does what? I don't know any of the details but this is the impression I have gleaned from my small reading on the subject (from blogs).

Baron Bodissey said...

Sean --

Do you think that republicanism in itself may engender any fundamental problems?

No. The only problem with a republic is that it's inherently unstable. Like a radioactive isotope, it tends to decay into something else. In the case of the Romans, it decayed into an empire. In our case, it decayed into democracy, which is even now decaying into empire.

No non-tyrannical governing structure seems to be inherently stable. A constitutional monarchy is pretty good, but without religion to give it legitimacy, it, too, tends to decay into democracy.

As for the Supreme Court -- the intention of the original structure was to have all three branches as co-equals, with the executive and the legislative having the same constitutional veto as the judicial. This was very effective at restraining the concentration of power in any single authority -- see Andrew Jackson.

But those days are over. Congress and the President, for the convenience of being able to disclaim all responsibility for politically nasty decisions, long ago ceded their Constitutional authority to the Supreme Court. For all practical purposes we are now governed by the nine justices of the Court.

The government has been operating extra-constitutionally since at least Woodrow Wilson's time -- almost a hundred years.

Anonymous said...

Baron, the power of the federal government is deeply irrelevant in the end. Some European countries had centralized monarchies. I won't really explain why it was a mistake since I had a comment before deleted for saying it here. The American civil war equals the birth of civic nationality and multiculturalism. If we were discussing economics, I agree. Wilson was horrid, but Wilsonian ideals are usually related to his rights of self-determination and other stuff like that. Sure, the Fed and the income tax were stupid mistakes that lead to a lot of ruin for America. Especially since you weren't blessed with having a great national bank board like my country(the macroeconomic policy adviser said the government should sack 40% of the public employees, the bank stonewalled the government wanting to raise taxes and told them to cut wages and benefits).

Sean by exceptionalism I meant the ridiculous notion that everybody can be an American, regardless of where they're from and whatever else and that America can be recreated everywhere on Earth. I wasn't referring to neocons making exceptions for countries they like.

And since government is a necessary evil, any form of governance is flawed. I prefer constitutional monarchy and then constitutional republic. And besides, the Roman republicanism is different than the American one. Romans didn't make everyone citizen, remember?

Baron Bodissey said...

Rebellious one --

Your comments are often 100% spot-on, but when you wade into American waters, you sometimes get in a little over your head.

The federal government is most emphatically not irrelevant, because it is in the process of destroying the national economy, which will include all the states. That is very, very relevant indeed, IMHO.

The Constitution granted it exclusive power over the coinage, and now it has debased the currency. This will eventually destroy the existing political system in the USA, at least at the federal level.

And you are wrong: The Civil War did not give birth to Multiculturalism. The 14th Amendment (and other postwar legislation) were simply utilized 100 years later to justify the Gramscian project. The same thing could be said of the Commerce Clause -- it is now used to justify every tyrranical action by the feds, including all the multiculture. That doesn't mean the Framers gave birth to Multiculturalism, now, does it?

And besides, the Roman republicanism is different than the American one. Romans didn't make everyone citizen, remember?

Absolutely correct. And, in effect, neither did our Republic for its first 130 years. The universal franchise was the beginning of the end, when mixed with fiat money and the income tax. These are the Three Pillars of Governmental Evil.

As a result, for 80 years the people have been voting themselves the contents of the public treasury, and it is now almost empty. Time to pay the piper.

Anonymous said...

The federal government in relation to the economy is irrelevant in the things I was talking about. I even gave you the counterargument of other centralized countries with idiotic governance that didn't really became suicidal.

The results of the Civil War created a cultural myth. The Commerce Clause didn't. And I do agree with you about the commerce clause and how stupidly it is being used. lol

Baron Bodissey said...

RV --

I can see that there is no point in arguing with you. Like many Europeans, you think you understand America, but you don't, not always. And you don't know what you don't know.

The Civil War did not create that myth -- the myth came much later, and was constructed around a newly-minted "memory" of the Civil War period.

I live in this country, remember? I had ancestors who fought in the war, and our family was impoverished in its aftermath. The stories of what happened are only two generations removed from me, in effect, because my cousin Mary (first cousin, twice removed; in other words, my grandparents' generation) was told the stories of the War by her aunt, who witnessed the burning of Richmond.

So I have some idea of what happened, culturally speaking, from 1865 onwards. My information comes from good sources, but I realize that's not enough to convince you.

You simply know more about the USA than I do, and we will have to leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Baron, Emma Lazarus' poem was written in 1883 and engraved on the Statue of Liberty in 1903. The American exceptionalism that anybody can be American and the rest is older than Wilson's era. At least since 1883.

And the Frankfurt school didn't put a spin on anything. It's not like the 1960s isn't a natural progress of the 1860s.

Baron Bodissey said...

RV --

OK, now I think we've arrived at the heart of the problem. Let's see if you have any willingness to concede a point about America to an American.

Emma Lazarus' poem represented the earlier myth. That "wretched refuse" myth had NOTHING to do with Multiculturalism.

The "huddled masses" who came here were expected to assimilate and become Americans, just like the rest of us.

That myth was still fully in operation when I was a kid, right up until the mid-1960s. I had a Chinese boy and a Jewish girl in my class, and what we celebrated was not their diversity, but the fact that they were exactly like the rest of us. The Chinese kid looked different, and the Jewish girl went to temple instead of church, but otherwise they were just like us.

Now, don't argue with me about how true all this was. It doesn't matter how true it was, it was the myth, and we all shared it.

It remained in force until roughly 1968 -- by then I was living in England, so I'm not sure exactly when the meme changed. But by the time I came home in the early '70s, Black was Beautiful.

Prior to the 1960s, American exceptionalism was not based on Multiculturalism, but on assimilation. Unfortunately, the fact that it all depended on an openness to foreign immigrants made us such easy pickings for the neo-Marxists later on.

And we didn't realize that the dream was false, because (with the exception of the black slaves), almost all our multiculture had come from Europe, and Europeans really did assimilate readily to the USA.

Then Ted Kennedy and his pals made us open the gates to everyone from all the Third World hellholes, and his Gramscian buddies taught us that expecting them to assimilate was racism. The rest, as they say, is history.

Anonymous said...

Baron, that's my whole point, actually. Just like social liberalism is the natural progression of social liberalism, multiculturalism is the natural progression of American exceptionalism and hence it's birth is there. I'm not saying that the United States were a multicultural country since its creation, obviously. But all the national myths since the civil war lead to it. The problem wasn't even just giving blacks citizenship, the problem was considering them your co-nationals. Actually, the whole immigrate and assimilate model is the way you open the door for multiculturalism. The whole problem was that the system was unstable - all it took is knock over the old European elements of America and get where we are.

Oh, and another thing, most Americans can't even pass the citizenship tests of their own country - hardly grounds to make me cede points about their own country to them. While you're not one of them, it's still a logical fallacy to appeal to this. The truth of a position doesn't rest there. :P

Baron Bodissey said...

Sorry, RV dear, but it's a logical fallacy for you to assume that you know more about American culture than a well-educated, thoroughly-informed, and politically active American, which describes virtually all Americans who read this and similar blogs.

You are right about the average American being ignorant of the civics of his own country, thanks to the last two generations of PC educational policy. But even he understands American culture better than you do, because he has always been in it. He may not be able to articulate his knowledge, but he understands it better than any foreigner, no matter how well-read and well-traveled.

I realize how hard it is to let go of the conviction that you know more than others, but there are times when it may be the wisest and most prudent course.

As for American immigration traditions leading inevitably to Multiculturalism, I'm not sure that's true. Without the intervention of Marxism, things might have gone differently.

In any case, that's simply an assertion on your part. It seems rather Hegelian to me. Do you have evidence that might help demonstrate the inevitability of it all? I'm not convinced.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if you're American or not is irrelevant to the argument at hand. Assuming it to be is a logical fallacy, called appeal to authority. It's the same as quoting a scientist and claiming that he is right since he is a scientist. He is right if he is right.

Baron Bodissey said...

Rebellious --

No, that's wrong. You're making a categorical error.

This would only be the fallacy of arguing to authority if the issues were demonstrable facts which could be ascertained and cited. For example, suppose you cited US government debt statistics from 1933, and I told you that you were wrong because I'm an American and I know better -- that would be arguing to authority.

But you're not citing objective facts. You're raising cultural issues that are quite subjective and open to varying interpretations. When you make an assertion about America that is plainly not true, I know that it is not true because I am well-steeped in American culture.

Many foreigners assert things about the USA that are quite laughable, yet they believe that they are true. Sometimes you're right about us, and sometimes you aren't. Your own errors may be superficially more plausible than most people's because you are intelligent and well-informed. But they are still errors.

Asserting that "Emma Lazarus' poem was written in 1883" is categorically different from asserting that "the American civil war equals the birth of civic nationality and multiculturalism". The former is an easily verifiable (or falsifiable) statement of fact, whereas the latter is a personal opinion, and depends on a complex cultural analysis that is always open to varying interpretations. It can neither be proven nor disproven.

I believe that you are mistaken because I have access to a greater range and depth of data about the topic than you do, and my synthesis draws me to more reliable conclusions than yours.

You are, of course, free to make broad, sweeping cultural analyses of America and reach erroneous conclusions of any sort, no matter how outlandish, and I cannot "prove" you wrong.

And I could do the same concerning Romania, but I won't, because I'm not so foolish as to believe that I understand Romania better than Romanians do.

Anonymous said...

Baron, if I'm wrong falsify my statement. If you said something outlandish about Romania, I'd explain the reason why what you said is wrong, not just say that you can't understand it because you're not Romanian. So yes, it's an appeal to authority(being American can be considered authoritative on this matter and by saying you're right because you're American you make the typical A says that B is; A is authoritative and therefore B is - in this case you by your quality of being American say that I'm wrong, you are American therefore you have authority over American issues and due to this you are right and I am wrong). Just like I wouldn't be right because I'm Romanian, nobody is right because they're in a certain category.

So I'd never claim that something about my country is in a certain way because I'm Romanian and non-Romanians are wrong. It's a defective induction.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

In hoc signo vinces


I for one enjoy reading your comments and appriciate your academic gift but sometimes you have to lift your eyes from the text book and look at the world through squinty-eyes and apply some fuzzy logic. :)

Baron Bodissey said...

RV --

This will be my last attempt, and then I'll give up, because arguing with you seems fairly pointless. You simply won't concede the possibility that someone might know more than you do about a particular topic, or be able to reason at least as lucidly as you do based on the same facts.

Re-read what I said above. I get the impression that you didn't really pay attention to what I was saying.

Your argument, by its very nature, is not falsifiable. It doesn't rely on empirical facts that are demonstrable and can be verified, nor does it consist of deductions based on empirical facts. It consists of your opinions, which you assert as if they were objective facts.

"The American civil war equals the birth of civic nationality and multiculturalism" is not a factual statement. It is not verifiable, and is not subject to proof or disproof. It is your opinion, to which you are of course entitled.

Therefore I'm not arguing to authority, because facts are not at issue, merely opinions based in personal viewpoints and preferences.

Nevertheless, my analysis is more likely to be right, because I have more knowledge and understanding of the topic than you do. However, what I say still remains my opinion, and is thus no more provable than your assertions.

The difference between us, of course, is that I don't confuse my opinions with objective fact.