Category Archives: History

Rewriting History

Is it possible that Hillary! is being less than truthful about her and Rwanda?

I think it’s a lot more likely that she either didn’t advocate action on Rwanda at all, or did so only in passing. If so, this would have to be the definitive example of her attempt to claim responsibility for everything good that happened during her husband’s presidency, while disavowing all responsibility for his mistakes. This was, in my opinion, the most shameful moment of the Clinton administration. It ought, by rights, to have a place in Hillary Clinton’s “thirty five years of experience working for change.” Or perhaps she might claim that she wasn’t that interested in foreign policy at the time, or that for whatever reason she just didn’t pick up on the genocide in Rwanda until it was too late to act. That would at least be honest.

But if, in fact, Clinton missed the chance to urge her husband to help stop the Rwandan genocide, then she should not pretend that she was, in fact, right there on the side of the angels all along. That’s just grotesque.

In a related question, do bears defecate in the sylvan wilderness?

“Grotesque” doesn’t start to describe the former First Couple.

Back To The Drawing Board

Lileks:

I just remembered that I called the Bob Davis show this morning to talk about the new theory re: Moses and the Ten Commandments: dude was high. Apparently a professor somewhere has suggested that the entire experience was the result of a mushroom or some such ceremonial intoxicant. I called to say I didn’t believe it, because if Moses was tripping we wouldn’t have ten commandments. We would have three. The first would make sense, more or less; the second, written half an hour later, would command profound respect for lizards who sit on stones and look at you, because they’re freaking incredible when you think about it, and the third would be gibberish. Never mind the problem of getting the tablets down the mountain – anyone who has experience of watching stoners try to assemble pizza money when the doorbell rings doubts that Moses could have hauled stone tablets all the way down.

Confused

Selena Zito writes that all of the remaining presidential candidates are Scots-Irish.

Really? This is the first I’d heard that Hillary! was of Scots-Irish descent. I’d always assumed that she was from Puritan stock. That’s the way she’s always acted. And Obama is obviously, at best, only half Scots-Irish.

Zito doesn’t seem to quite get the concept, either:

How can there be such scant understanding of a 30 million-strong ethnic group that has produced so many leaders and swung most elections?

Perhaps because political academics and pollsters parse the Scottish half off with the WASP vote and define the Irish-Catholic half as blue-collar Democrats. They are neither.

There is no “Irish-Catholic half” of the Scots-Irish. Scots-Irish aren’t Irish at all. Neither are they Scottish. They were mostly Anglo-Saxon, not Celtic. They were also a violent people with an honor culture, mercenaries from the border area between England and Scotland. As the article notes, they were sent by the English to colonize Ulster, to get them out of Britain after the war between England and Scotland was settled and they had no more need for them. The ones too violent for Ulster were shipped off to America, so they’re a double distillation of the most violent culture that the British Isles produced. After they fought (mostly for the South) in the Civil War, many of them headed out west.

People who think that America is too violent blame it on the proliferation of guns. But they confuse cause and effect. We have a lot of guns because we have a lot of Scots-Irish (aka rednecks). But it comes in pretty handy during war time.

What Happened Ten Thousand Years Ago?

…that caused the apparently contemporaneous development of agriculture on opposite sides of the world?

…fresh evidence, in the form of Peruvian squash seeds, indicates that farming in the New and Old Worlds was nearly concurrent. In a paper the journal Science published last June, Tom Dillehay, an anthropological archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, revealed that the squash seeds he found in the ruins of what may have been ancient storage bins on the lower western slopes of the Andes in northern Peru are almost 10,000 years old.

Are You Better Off?

Year US Life Expectancy at Birth
1905 47.8
1975 72.5
2005 77.9

Five and a half years extra life expectancy after 30 years. Not bad. An extra 30 after 100 years. Nice. I guess the combination of stress, pollution, moral decrepitude, corroded job protections, declining medical care and all the other crises of the day are actually coincident with increased lifespan. Don’t be optimistic about it; it’s not fashionable.