Re: [evol-psych] Discussing America....
- At 03:32 PM 12/27/2007 -0800, Peter McCusker wrote:
If Julienne only defines "culture" as highly educated with an appreciation for the arts and sciences, most people anywhere don't have "culture". I used the word with a broader meaning.
I don't discount the influence of many European countries (and let's not forget the rest of the world, too),
Yes - look at the scientific and philosophical contributions of India, the Arabs, the orient, etc.
but none have had more effect on the rest of the world than the USA and other English speaking countries. I should give more credit to the United Kingdom for not only founding the US, but also speading English around the world in its glory days. I'm no linguist, but I understand that English is the richest language in the world in part because it absorbed so much into its vocabulary from other languages. The USA is a melting pot of people and ideas from around the world in which their influences have been integrated into new art and cultural (broad meaning) forms that much of the rest of the world now seems to enjoy.
Let me ask: Are French movies watched in Russia? Is German music listened to in Latin America? Do South Africans appreciate Japanese art?
Yes, yes, and yes. I'm a bit stunned that you ask.
I think I can reasonably claim American "culture" is far more influential than that of other countries outside thier own borders.
I will admit Americans are terrible at not learning other languages and doing so would create a more complex intellect, as do many other intellectual stimulants. When I was travelling through France years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with a young French lady while riding the train for two hours who insisted on speaking English with me so she could practice her English. French didn't interest her at all.
The French usually prefer to speak English because most
Americans speak French so poorly.
Most people around the world live in proximity to other languages and almost naturally learn them as part of their day-to-day lives. Americans don't have that luxury, nor is it that easy to travel to French Canada or Spanish Mexico, our nearest non-English neighbors. Anglo-Canada doesn't seems much interested in French Canada, either, and there is a secessionist movement in Quebec. In an attempt to preserve the French language there, the provincial govenment has passed laws requiriing the use of French in advertising to try to prevent English from taking over.
The US is actively campaigning to NOT tolerate other
Give us Americans credit for having a ding-bat President who can actually speak Spanish!
"Ding bat"? That's astoundingly mild a description for a man
who has wrought so much death and destruction worldwide.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to travel to Europe until many years after I tried learning other languages - and then I only had some lessons as a teenager and young adult when it becomes somewhat late for learning a language fluently. What was really sad for me was the fact that my mother was a native German, but she was afraid to speak German with me out of fear that it would confuse me as a little kid. Can you believe it? I could have been fluent in German today.
I met quite a few Australians while travelling in Europe (usually in Britain and Ireland) and many told me they not only wanted to travel, but they actually want to leave their country. Now, I'm curious. How well do Australians learn other languages, that is, are they any better than Americans?
Well, I don't know how they are nowadays, but, growing
up in Australia, I had French and Latin in 7th grade (class).
My grandfather was very serious about languages, and gave me some
19th century volumes - one in French.
People still want to come the the USA to avoid political oppression and many still come here for better economic opportunities. That's what our immigration issues are about today.
Every Empire has its downfall eventually.
I don't recall penal colonies in the USA. I think that was an Australian thing.
Well, it depends on who wrote the history. Americans know
about Australian penal colonies, but American penal colonies
are a big dark secret - at least to Americans. However, read below.
"The area now known as Georgia, was also settled, though its beginnings were as a penal colony similar to what was established by the English in Australia. Prisoners bound for Australia were originally meant for Louisiana..."
"...A penal colony is a colony used to detain prisoners and generally use them for penal labor in an economically underdeveloped part of the state's (usually colonial) territories, and on a far larger scale than a prison farm. The most well known was Devil's Island in French Guiana. The British Empire used its colonies in North America as such for almost 150 years and parts of Australia for a further 75 years."
"The British used North America as a penal colony both in the usual sense and through the system of indentured servitude. Most notably, the Province of Georgia was originally designed as a penal colony. Convicts would be transported by private sector merchants and auctioned off to plantation owners upon arrival in the colonies. It is estimated that some 60,000 British convicts were sent to colonial America, representing perhaps one-quarter of all British emigrants during the eighteenth century.
When that avenue closed in the 1780s after the American Revolution, Britain began using parts of modern day Australia as penal colonies. "
BRITISH CONVICTS SHIPPED TO AMERICAN COLONIES
In 1769 Dr. Johnson, speaking of Americans, said to a friend, Sir, they are a race of convicts and ought to be content with anything we may allow them short of hanging. In the latest edition of Boswell, who chronicled this saying, it is explained by the following footnote: Convicts were sent to nine of the American settlements. According to one estimate, about 2000 had been sent for many years annually. Dr. Lang, after comparing various estimates, concludes that the number sent might be about 50,000 altogether.1 Again, in the Encyclopædia Britannica, under the article "Botany Bay," we read: "On the revolt of the New England colonies, the convict establishments in America were no longer available, and so the attention of the British government was turned to Botany Bay, and in 1787 a penal settlement was formed there." In keeping with these statements is a conversation related in the autobiography of Dr. Francis Lieber (p. 180). The scene was a breakfast in 1844 at Dr. Fergusons in London. "I remarked how curious a fact it was that all American women look so genteel and refined, even the lowest; small heads, fine silky hair, delicate and marked eyebrows. The Doctor answered, Oh, that is easily accounted for. The super-abundance of public women, who are always rather good-looking, were sent over to America in early times."
These English views of the United States in the colonial period as penal settlements and convict establishments move incredulity and indignation in Americans, with whom Plymouth stands for a colony of conscience, Massachusetts for an asylum of martyrs, and Virginia for the old dominion of high-bred cavaliers. But a student who would nothing extenuate nor set down aught in malice " falsa dicere, nec vera reticere " is bound to ascertain how far a convict element really pervaded our early plantations.
In this research he will find little help from our standard histories. Bancroft, in 1887, conversing with the present writer, freely admitted that, when speaking of felons among our settlers, he had been very economical in dispensing the truths he had
1 Boswells Johnson, II. 312; Penny Cyclopædia, XXV. 138.
discovered. Having a handful, he had opened only his little finger. He wrote too early to expect that American eyes could bear the light of full disclosures. Writing of the early Virginians, he said: Some of them were even convicts; but it must be remembered the crimes of which they were convicted were chiefly political. The number transported to Virginia for social crimes was never considerable."1 Most other writers have held that, among transports shipped to America, political offenders formed a large majority. Such criminals it was felt were less likely to be stained with moral guilt, and it was patriotic, if not natural, to exaggerate their number.
It seems certain that among the felons sent to New England, by far the largest element was made up of prisoners taken in battle. A letter from Rev. John Cotton to Cromwell, dated Boston, July 28, 1651, states that sundry Scots taken by him at Dunbar, September 2, 1650, had arrived there and been sold, not for slaves to perpetual servitude, but for six or seven or eight years, etc. That the word sundry meant one hundred and fifty we learn from the British Calendar, Domestic Series, for 1650. On September 19, the Council of State ordered 150 Scotch prisoners delivered to be sent to New England by John Foot; on October 23, it was ordered that they be shipped away forthwith, and, on November 11, that they be delivered to Augustus Walker, master of the Unity, for transportation to New England.2 In 1650 Dr. Stone, a Massachusetts agent, bought several Scotch prisoners from Tothill jail, London. Again, of the prisoners taken at Worcester, September 3, 1651, two hundred and seventy-two were shipped to New England on the John and Sarah from London, and arrived in Boston the following spring. Their names, derived from the Hutchinson Papers, were printed in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (I. 377)3
The number deported to Virginia from among the Scotch made prisoners at the battle of Worcester was much smaller than is generally stated. Thus, in Ballaghs White Servitude in the Colony of Virginia, a recent issue of the Johns Hopkins press, we read (p. 35): Of the Scotch prisoners taken at the battle
1 History of the United States, I. 443.
2 It is possible that Foot and Walker each brought over 150 Scots, so that the whole number of Dunbar prisoners transported was 300.
3 These Worcester prisoners are described through mistake by Winsor as having been made captives at Dunbar. Memorial History of Boston, I. 304; IV. 659. Both references are to the same misnomer. According to the latter, in 1652 the John and Sarah arrived bringing 272 Scotchmen who had been taken prisoners at the disastrous battle of Dunbar, etc.
of Worcester sixteen hundred and ten were sent to Virginia in 1651. Bancroft gives some countenance to such an assertion. But Bruce, though he loves to swell the number of political transports, says, in his Economic History of Virginia (I. 608): After the defeat of Charles II. at Worcester, his soldiers who were seized on that occasion were disposed of to merchants, and at least sixteen hundred were thus conveyed to America. The Parliamentary fleet in which they were transported sailed first to Barbadoes. . . . We have certain information of the arrival of only one hundred and fifty Scotch servants in the Colony when the fleet arrived in 1651. There is no certainty, however, as to even the handful which Bruce specifies. According to the Domestic Calendar for 1650, the Council of State, on September 19, really ordered nine hundred Scotch prisoners to be delivered to Samuel Clark for transportation to Virginia, and two hundred to Isaac Le Gay for the same purpose, but on October 23 it ordered to stay these prisoners, till assurance be given of their not being carried where they may be dangerous. Furthermore, Gardiner, the latest and most accurate historian of the Commonwealth (I. 464), declares there is no proof that these political felons were sent abroad at all. All we know is that certain Bristol merchants who had contracted to transport a thousand of them to New England, broke their contract. Those unfortunates, he thinks, may have been sent back to Scotland, in accordance with another order which he cites.
Regarding men implicated in Monmouths rebellion, Ballagh says (p. 35), "a number of them were sent to Virginia in 1685." Bancroft was of the same opinion, and says the suppression of Monmouths rebellion gave to the colony useful citizens with a page more of declamation (I. 471). The truth is that not one of Monmouths 841 condemned men was sentenced to Virginia or shipped thither. Macaulay, Mackintosh, and the Calendar all agree that their destination was Jamaica, Barbadoes, or any of the Leeward Islands in America. If any were carried to Virginia, it was the remnant that did not prove salable on the islands. Hottens list mentions Barbadoes and Jamaica often but Virginia never as to Monmouths men.
It seems well established that some political convicts had been introduced into Virginia in the time of Charles II. Thus Bruce relates (I. 611) that in 1678, when the uprising in Scotland had been suppressed, a considerable proportion of the prisoners
1 Macaulay, History, I. 602; Mackintosh, History of the Revolution of 1688, p. 703; Calendar.
were shipped to America. The king in that year addressed a letter to Lord Culpeper, ordering him to permit Ralph Williamson to bring into the colony and to dispose of fifty-two persons implicated in the insurrection, and Culpeper was still further directed to suffer Williamson to land all others guilty of the same offences in Scotland who might be hereafter delivered to him. At the same time, as Bruce adds, the king ordered his provincial officers to treat as invalid all Virginia laws which prohibited the importation of British felons. Such laws may have been suggested by the chronicle that after the fall of Drogheda in 1649 the surviving prisoners were shipped across the Atlantic; that the next winter two vessels set out from London, with prisoners designed for the plantations in Virginia; that in 1653 Richard Netherway of Bristol was permitted to export from Ireland a hundred Tories, who were to be sold as slaves in Virginia; and that other batches, some still larger, of Irish unfortunates were there imported. Yet no proof appears that any of the Drogheda prisoners were transported to Virginia. Cromwell himself mentions Barbadoes as their destination.1 The Scotch prisoners in the Preston campaign of 1648 were sent to Barbadoe.2
Some of the men at that time brought into Virginia from New York as convicts were felons only in the eye of martial law. Thus, previous to the year 1665, the English invaders of Long Island attacked New Amstel on South River. Many of the Dutch colonists they sold as slaves in Virginia.3 Other convicts guilty of no moral transgressions came from other colonies. Thus, the General Court in Boston ordained that Quakers who had not wherewithal to pay their fines (and they were enormous) should be sold for bondmen or bondwomen to Barbadoes, Virginia, or any of the English plantations.4
After the Mar and Derwentwater rising, in 1716, two shiploads of defeated Jacobites, "out of His Majestys abundant clemency, class of political offenders would have come to both Virginia and New England, " and that in great numbers, through the Conventicle Act of 1664. But that law, which expelled from England a noble army of martyrs, expressly forbade t; were deported, eighty in the ship Friendship, and fifty-five in the Good Speed, and were sold in Maryland.5 A most desirableransporting them to either Virginia or New England, and so they were consigned
1 Carlyle, II. 66.
2 Gardiner, Civil War, III 448.
3 N. Y. Colonial Docs., II, 369.
4 Besse, Sufferings of Quakers, I. xxxi.
5 Scharf, I. 385.
signed to the torrid sugar islands.1 If cargoes could not all be sold there, there is reason to think that the remnant in some way was carried on into continental colonies.
Some political offenders in the eighteenth century were, no doubt, sold into a longer or shorter American servitude. The Historical Register for 1718 notes (p. 46) a trial in the Admiralty Court of Mutineers on "a ship bound to the plantations with thirty prisoners taken in the late rebellion at Preston, whom they set ashore at St. Martins in France," etc. Again, the Gentlemans Magazine states, on May 31, 1747, that 430 rebel prisoners from the jails of Lancaster, Carlisle, Chester, York, and Lincoln were transported this month from Liverpool to the plantations. Eight of them were drowned by a boat over-setting, not being able to swim because handcuffed. This number, with the rest, makes above a thousand rebels transported.2
But throughout the whole colonial era a large class, and probably a majority, of the convicts shipped to America were not political offenders. Details on this matter will be sought in vain where we have reason to look for them. Thus Hottens table of contents includes serving men sold for a term of years," but never shows that any one of them was a felon, except politically. Mr. Bruce, however, in his admirable Economic History of Virginia, devotes many pages to an inquiry how far the company under which the first plantation was made had been willing to accept criminal or dissolute persons for transportation (I. 589-600). He cites a declaration of that company in 1609, that they would accept no man who could not bring testimonials that he was moral and religious.3 Yet in a sermon before that same company the next year, the preacher did not deny that they sent base and disordered men, but added that, The basest and worst men trained up in a severe discipline, a hard life, etc., do prove good citizens.4 The companys declaration must have been of a piece with the more modern law that no man not of good moral character shall be licensed to keep a saloon. In the next year, 1611, Governor Dale wrote from Virginia begging the king to "banish hither all offenders condemned to die out of common goales, and likewise to continue that grant for three years unto the colonie (and thus doth the Spaniard people his Indes) it would be a readie way to furnish us with men, and not allways with the worst kind of men, etc." He goes on to show that criminals would be better colonists
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That and his violent and bloody, he was a despot of course, response to the Shia/Kurdish uprisings after Desert Storm account for the bulk, up to 2/3 according to declassified Intelligence analysis, of the ‘300,000’ figured attributed to Saddam and the Baathists’ 35 yrs in power to justify/explain the 2003 invasion.
Considerable truth to your post below though a few questionable statements.
A quick note on Saddam 'gassing his own people', which is often used as one of the supposedly most horrible things he did. The Kurds were in revolt and have always wanted an independent state. Do you think for one second that the US government faced with the revolt of a third of its people, would not use military force to 'kill its own people'? They wouldn't use gas, just bombs and bullets, but to me how you kill someone is irrelevant. There is really no nice way to kill someone.
Anyone remember the Civil War? Didn't the US then 'kill its own people' right and left?
As you say, the hypocrisy is endless.
Let's not forget that the Kurds tried to side with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and allowed at least one invasion of Iraq (in the course of the war) to quietly pass through its territory (a raid by the Iran side). Some of the gas attacks were against the Iranians who were in Kurdistan, the last (1988) was most probably just payback.
The Kurds would be invaded by Turkey the minute they had independence, of that could have been no doubt. If Southern Kurdistan became independent then there would be a natural push for Northern Kurdistan (Southern Turkey) to follow suit and the Turks wouldn't allow that for a minute - invasion would have be a necessary preventive measure (and the oil? - oh that would be merely coincidental...)
Robert Karl Stonjek