The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

LV-36

I got Matthew Kressel's King of Shards in the mail last Saturday and I am still working through it. I posted a placeholder partial review at Ace's / Muse's book thread. Since then I've read more into the book, and looked up some interviews that Kressel has given - the one to Dudycz Lupescu being a standout.

Basically the Shard multiverse isn't the Jewish Narnia; it is a Jewish-Liberal Narnia. Which is no Narnia at all.

Part of what keeps the demiplanes ("shards") back, says Kressel, is that such planes accept slavery and despotism. I am on board with the former; in our world, machines do much of our work, such that slavery isn't even needed, and those machines were developed in states without a tradition of slavery. However the book relates another tale in which a city slaughtered a group of agitators who dindunuffins except ask for democracy. Kressel missed a fine opportunity to illustrate how a democracy might be corrupted in a corrupted Shard.

That is, if you're a non-liberal cynic, that's a miss. Kressel himself is a stolid idealist, whose protagonist starts out working a homeless shelter in Manhattan. But Kressel cannot even imagine what the many cynical characters in his book might say. (Perhaps he should have consulted Lydon.) Guh! Democracy good! Every buddy know dat!

And then there's the lamedvavnik who serves as the epic hero. Judaism does allow for a heroic / epic fantasy about a devoted, wise minority keeping the cosmos alive. In fact, we already have at least one of these tales, in the genre of apocalyptic / dystopian science fiction: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. (The Lamed-Vav thesis even has some sociological support, in the Pareto Principle.) But the lamedvavnik in Kressel's narrative, Daniel, doesn't support the worlds in any way except by the Content Of His Character. He's a fine fellow, and I'm sure that his shelter is wonderful, but this ain't Rearden Metal. Kressel has failed to convince me that Daniel is a Secret King.

Add to this, as I noted in my pre-review at the HQ, that I'd already docked some points against Kressel for mistakes elsewhere here. I was wondering if Kressel was just a standard-issue nitwit. After pondering for awhile I retract that. Instead I must impute these authorial slips to moral incuriosity. Kressel is not of the Thirty Six himself, and he isn't wise enough to recognise such a one if he sees one, and he doesn't have the work ethic even to fake it.

All this means the book's whole premise is broken. I recommend that Jews look elsewhere for their CS Lewis.


posted by Zimri on 19:39 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Import-Export bludgeon

A couple years ago, conservatives on Capital Hill raised to our attention this slush fund called the Import Export Bank. Rafael "Ted" Cruz Junior, running for President at the time, led an effort to be rid of it.

Today, Mr Cruz and other Senators, including unfortunately one of mine from Colorado, want to use this bank to trammel American free speech and free association.

Now look: I am a Zionist. In fact I am Israeli enough by blood that I could have easily claimed Israeli citizenship when I was younger - a stint in their army, a little snip-snip, done. And I have opposed a boycott against this nation in the strongest terms within our Constitutional limits.

But jerks playing the boycott game at the individual level is a case for reverse-boycotting at the individual level. It is not a case for Federal law. It is especially not a case for using the Import-Export Bank as a tool to that end. To the extent it can be used as such a tool, it is exactly the reason a principled conservative should be redoubling efforts to be rid of it.

Cruz, for whose delegates I voted in the Colorado Assembly last year, is not behaving like a principled conservative. He needs to back out of this horrible bill.


posted by Zimri on 19:19 | link | 0 comments

Fear

The Declination writes about how the Left enforces its narrative: through charges of racism. If you are tagged with this charge, you lose money. Only people with financial independence can weather such a storm. In my case, I've frequently seen the need to lock out my blog; the last time I did that was, I think, 2011-12. So I can attest, if not directly to the social-price he mentions, at least to the fear of it.

Yesterday my place of employment invited a policeman to speak about active shooters: prevention and defence. I didn't have a problem with the latter (a Houston video, no less!). On the former, though, the cop offered some profiling statistics. 70% of these shooters are outsiders acting out a "Family Snapshot" video: I don't really hate you; I don't care what you do. Since that left 30% coworkers or former coworkers he asked us to be aware of some warning signs.

Among those warning signs was Trump support. Oh, the cop didn't call it that; he called it racism from youngish white males with a sense of entitlement and cognitive-dissonance. Especially if they are having Personal Problems.

Allow me to suggest that one way in which to add to a young man's Personal Problems is to tell him, not only that his views are evil, but that airing such views in any public venue is going to make him a target for the police. If he has paranoia now, imagine how much that will multiply his paranoia if he is told, not only that he has no friends, but that he cannot find friends.


posted by Zimri on 10:28 | link | 0 comments

Life under a vampiric boyar

I sometimes air out my thoughts in other comment fora before posting them here. Up to 2006 I was still using Usenet. In 10 January of that year I posted some thoughts on a work of Vampire Lord fiction: Barb and JC Hendee's Dhampir. I didn't finish reading it, which is why it ended up as thoughts-in-progress over there instead of here. I doubt I ever will finish this book because it's just not that good. But I did note one of the subplots / flashbacks:

- in which the vampires are ruling peasants from the castle they recently took over. The vamps spruce it up to look even better than it did under the previous lord. There's a wonderful D&D campaign setting buried here: In this valley, the peasants suspect their lords are undead. But no-one is killed, even if every now and again someone might wake up woozy and anaemic. The lords levy lighter taxes on the peasants' produce than do other lords, and they don't bang the farmers' daughters like other lords do. They adjudicate trials fairly between the people. If anyone from another valley, or some cleric, came in to smite the unholy darkspawn, the locals might well retort that the lords are THEIR darkspawn and that they should rather be ruled by vampires than by Vlad the Impaler down the road.

First, let's observe that I accepted stationary-bandit theory before Moldbug made it great again. More to the point of today's posts I'd intuited that Vlad's eternal curse would NOT be vampirism. Vlad wasn't one to shear his sheep just to keep himself in clover.

Now, some boyar of a sleepy Austro-Hungarian province, gone decadent and bored... that much, I could see. I'll go further: Wooden-Stake Vlad, Vampire Hunter.


posted by Zimri on 10:02 | link | 0 comments

Retelling the Vlad Dracula epic

Earlier I argued for Vlad the Impaler as one of history's tragic heroes. Bram Stoker was mentioned; and if I hadn't made it clear, I approve of Stoker's choice to make him a gothic antihero. Vlad had few friends in life and, if he had Done Something Wrong and if the fate of antiheroes is to be locked out of both heaven and hell, then his fate as an undead spirit damned to his own castle seems a natural one.

What I am less certain of, is why Western artists tend to blame the Church for his posthumous state. Granted, Vlad in life acted with a savagery that would not pass muster under normal Christian conditions. But I have not found evidence that the Orthodox or Catholic Churches, ministering to Wallachians under fifteenth-century Balkan conditions, had complained about what Vlad did.

Yet in the Keanu Reeves "Bram Stoker's Dracula" from way back, and in Castlevania now, the theme is always how Judgey and Ignorant is Duh Churrrch. Do these bigots even know what "Christianity" meant in Wallachia at the time?

It is a disservice to the Church, to Vlad, and to history to make Duh Churrrch the reason for Vlad's downfall, if he is even to have a downfall. Vlad didn't run up against Duh Churrrch's arrogance. Vlad didn't even run up against simple peasant ignorance; if anything the Wallachian peasantry loved this guy, for reining in their blood-sucking boyars. (They still do, I hear.) Vlad's foil was the Turk, foe to the Church as much as to Wallachia. Vlad's nemesis was the temporal enemies he'd made along the way. And if Vlad had a final judge, it was God Himself.

Given all that, the only movie to do Vlad right that I've yet seen is Dracula Untold. (I exclude attempts at actual history like Hudson Street's graphic novel.)


posted by Zimri on 09:11 | link | 0 comments

Vlad III, failed Charlemagne of the Balkans

Among Netflix's exclusives this year is an American-anime based on Castlevania, itself a game based on the Dracula cycle. I figure it's worth a post here. But first I want to get into the Dragon of the Romanians himself as I understand him.

I always liked the story's villain; and I mean "always" near-literally, from an extreme early age, when it was first parodied on Sesame Street as the muppet Count. I think it was that the draculya had found a way to turn his loneliness into a gothic charisma. On the distaff side, Disney managed the same feat with the Snow Queen. (This was the part of the movie I liked.)

As far as I know, the Dracula story was first told well by Bram Stoker. He noted that the monster had once been human; he chose Vlad III "Tepes" as his base. The historical Vlad certainly acted like an antihero.

Vlad's base lay within a horrific neighbourhood: the Moesian theme, after the Moslems had neutralised the great Balkan citadel of Constantinople (to the extent the city itself was still there, it no longer controlled the crossing). Every tribe in that naturally disunified region then had to decide if they were to accept their new Ottoman masters, or else to throw in with one of the European powers - the khans of the Pannonian Plain being the most likely. In short the Ottoman seizure of Thrace had thrown the Balkans into the Dark Age of Henri Pirenne.

Vlad's people were what Germans called "wallaces" - the Celto-Latin peasant stock left over from Rome. It was Vlad's thought that he could hold Wallachia against both powers, the Turks and the Hungarians. To do that Vlad had to unify his own realm. This meant politically, against his own scheming boyars; and perhaps religiously, against outside Islam(s) and the various non-Romanian national churches. Although I haven't read that the latter was as salient for him as the former (we're getting to that next).

Back in the Dark Ages out west, when state-creators went about their work, they sometimes did it the hard way. Charlemagne, for a start, had shed the blood of the Saxon man. There were those in Romania who admired the Great Karl and named cities "Cârlomăneşti" (I know not if before or after Vlad).

So that's what Vlad did, except without Karl's imperial ambitions. Vlad has got worse press than Karl's got, for basically incidental reasons: some of Vlad's victims (like Karl's) were ethnic Germans with friends back home; his time was almost in the printing-press era; and he didn't succeed to the point his descendants could print a counter-narrative, until recently.


posted by Zimri on 08:40 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chappaquiddick

What Edward Kennedy did to Mary Jo Kopechne under that Chappaquiddick bridge was awful, and I have made many a mordant joke at his expense over the decades. I always thought the Kennedy cult in Boston suburbia was creepy, and as you might guess I don't much agree with Kennedy politics either. Edward's career as whole shows he was a bad man with no loyalty to the American people. I'd mainly taken all this for granted to the extent this blog has historically cared more about that drunken namesake across the pond. It was 18 July as of the moment I write all this (I am front-dating it because I already posted much stuff for one day) so, the Incident is being noted again. With moralism.

This week, for whatever reason, I am not feeling the urge to hurl stones at Ted's jamra. I ask my readers to look in the mirror and question the face looking back at them, what they would have done. Consider when you do so how you have acted in similar situations.

The later Kennedy boys grew up in a family where most of the women 'roundabout were whores. They liked their money, power, and fame and were pretty loose about how they got it. I'm sure Kopechne had her reasons for getting into that car alone with the Heir To The Crown. I'm unsure they were good reasons.

When a man doesn't meet many good women, but meets plenty of bad ones, it does things to his head. If he's been brought up with a lot of "Camelot" bullshit I imagine it's worse. Worse still if he's been told he is the fourth best hope for the family. (People know Jack and Bobby; they sometimes forget Joe Junior.)

Incidents like Chappaquiddick can happen over mere moments: one bad call and your options narrow, sharply. Maybe you had time to save her. Maybe you didn't. Maybe you had the chance and you spent fifteen seconds too long to make up your mind. Or ten. Or five. Which timespan do you think qualifies one as a bad man?


posted by Zimri on 06:30 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Netflix doing well

The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix is doing well. (I am not linking, because of that ironic paywall. So here's Steve's former Unz housemate Razib again.)

I was on Netflix my last year or so in Houston (2009ish). I'd rent the DVD and in between getting the DVD I'd go to Redbox. I caught up on a lot of movies this way. Then I moved and was living the Hobo Lifestyle for eleven months, so had to cancel the subscription; and around this time, coincidentally, came the Great Fail when Netflix moved online and changed their pricing model. So I never bothered re-upping.

Lately I've noticed Netflix producing their own movies and tv-series: stuff like 13 Reasons and, lately, Death Note. Stuff aimed at latter-year high school kids, and college undergrads.

If you do this semi-competently - Mean Girls comes to mind - you don't lose money.


posted by Zimri on 20:01 | link | 0 comments

Trump: have a chat with Sessions plz

Jeff Sessions is a creature of the 1980s deepfrozen and now revived into a high post in a Republican Cabinet. This isn't as great as it sounds.

Sessions wants an end to legal marijuana, which legalisation I voted for (although I don't inhale); he wants DARE back, which didn't work at the time; and now he's going for asset-forfeiture.

I am not saying that Sessions is all bad. I like his work against Mara Salvatrucha, especially. I am also not disputing the scourge of escapist self-medication, particularly in the Upper Midwest. I am saying that his DRUG WAR HOO-AH attitude is stupid. It isn't what Trump's base voted for, at least not in reference to Reefer Madness, and it's not going to hurt Trump's enemies. A few raids gone bad and Trump's enemies are more likely to gain some new recruits.

So I would like our President to talk with this guy and to tell him to, like, mellow out, dude.


posted by Zimri on 19:51 | link | 0 comments

Tap water

The rundown on Eurasia: if you're in the West, you can Drink The Water. The West for our purposes includes Israel, South Korea, Japan, and certain citystates like Brunei and Singapore. (link from hbd chick)

I note here that Hungary is not a Western nation; which might be a point of pride to this Finno-Ugric people, if it pertained to anything else. Ditto those Serbs. They need to get on the ball here and clean sh!t up - literally. Also, there aren't any African countries with safe water. Something tells me matters were better in the 1970s in two (southern) African countries in particular, but... well, I'm legally obliged to say no more.

From my personal perspective, I never drank from the tap in Houston if I could avoid it; and I always told them to hold the ice in my drinks. I didn't care if the State and Federal inspectors assured me it was safe; I didn't believe them. After I moved to Boulder County - now, I drink from the tap all the time.


posted by Zimri on 19:30 | link | 0 comments

Aliens on Mars

Dana Rohrabacher is asking the wrong question. [h/t Razib hat-tipping some twitter timewaster.]

If there ever was life on Mars and it had reached by itself a civilisation, we would see a preponderance of evidence in the form of tel(l)s. Up to the early 1990s we hadn't sent rovers, just those stationary Viking probes; so this was still an askable question. This is not the case now.

The question to ask now is: if there is alien evidence on Mars. Not indigenous Martian civilisation, but colonies planted at pinpoint sites on the frozen anoxic desert. Colonies from Wolf 128, say.

Yeah, I am a Starflight fanboy, shut up.


posted by Zimri on 19:24 | link | 0 comments

Monday, July 17, 2017

Aslan did not visit Charn

Where we left off on CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, I noted a lack of evidence that Aslan had ever visited the world Charn. I also noted that Charn was a land of Lilith's children, or at least that Charn lay under their rule. Lewis tells us in that first book that Jadis was a lilitiya. Lewis implies the same of her sister and their most-relevant ancestors.

I left with the question whether Aslan ever preached to the Children Of Lilith. I may have the answer: Lewis, accepting Jewish tradition, had read further into its implications. In Judaism, the mainline are sons of Adam. This includes Jews, Samaritans to an extent, and maybe Esau / Edom. It doesn't include those other gentiles.

But, I hear you interject, it says right there in Genesis that we're all sons of Adam. Even in the Tradition monsters like Jadis are from Adam; so what gives? Well, that part of the Bible wasn't written for you; it was written for Iron Age Semites, and in Semitic culture there are sons and there are sons. The heirs, natural-born or not, are marked as Ben or Bar or Bin or what have you. The physically-begotten children are, in Arabic anyway, Walad. Robin Hobb would term that last a "fitz" - an acknowledged natural-born son who is not the heir.

Ishmael is the Bible's most famous fitz, born to Abraham and his Handmaid. Those born to the Adam-Lilith union follow the Ishmaelite pattern. The Banu / Bnai Abraham are the heirs of Isaac; those others are just Walad.

The citizens / subjects of Charn are para-human, in this logic. Aslan won't minister to Charn any more than He would minister to the local zoo.


posted by Zimri on 18:55 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Decolonialising Guam

Guam is eyeing the exits. A native raises a good point: A process of decolonisation that must follow the rules of the coloniser is not decolonisation, it is an extension of colonisation.

The facts are that Guam is "Austronesian", a Chamorro island. But as these things go, like on Fiji and on Hawaii, the 'Nesians aren't the majority in their own homes anymore. Some have offered for the Chamorro to retake at least the franchise but, of course, this was deemed "racist". Funny how that "racism" slur always serves the American ruling-class: against Chamorro there, against whites here...

If we weren't worried about "racism", the way forward be clear - stick Guam with Hawaii. If anyone in Guam is on Federal aid and they're not native 'Nesian, extract them from the island and repatriate them elsewhere.

'Merka still keeps the Naval base, which we need. The working Chamorro are free of at least the non-native deadwood. Hawaii deals with the social problems left over.

Actually the non-Polynesian deadbeats in Hawaii, too, should be hauled off those islands. The US guarantees that no citizen shall starve - fine. Why should Federal taxes be levied to house bums on a damn tropical resort?

AFTER LOOKING AT STATS 10:30 PM: Hello First-Nation visitors. I think you'd shown up before I posted this post, but I didn't know so... synchronicity.


posted by Zimri on 13:39 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The unfinished cosmology of CS Lewis

CS Lewis as early as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe hinted at a multiverse theory for God, man, and the worlds between them - al-samawâti wa'l-ardi wamâ baynahumâ, as Andrew Eldritch might say. The first human(oid)s in Narnia were from two founding populations, the people of Eve and the people of Lilith. When The Magician's Nephew retconned Narnia's origin, the former are clarified as from Earth. As for the latter...

In Wardrobe, God's avatar comes to all worlds to redeem their people by means of his own sacrifice. This has happened first on Earth. The children of Eve in Narnia were Christians (Nephew explains how); so the Narnians under the White Witch (a Lilithi herself) know of Christmas, but are caught in an eternal 24 December. Then Aslan returns, and in a few months reenacts the Passion at the Stone Table. When men from one world visit the other, they don't proselytise; they compare notes, and maybe the one adjusts the other. This is arguably more a Mormon christology than a Christian.

In Nephew, we discover a third world: Charn, implicitly Lilith's land and now almost dead. A temple is visited, which honest natives of this land had erected; in it, statues illustrate the history of the land's kings and queens. At no point do we learn that Aslan had ever visited Charn.

We do learn that when a world has gone without Aslan for too long and too thoroughly, it dies. This much is illustrated in The Last Battle wherein Narnia's turn comes.

Those two books which, literally, bookend Narnia open some fairly important questions. The people of Charn understood ethics, if not morals precisely. If Aslan didn't visit the place, why is that? Does God intend His grace only for the children of Eve - excluding Neanderthals? UPDATE 7/17: Ayep.

Even in Mormonism, Christ did not die and return in that religion's new world. Shall Christ return to Earth here in another form? Do we... choose the form of our reconciliator?


posted by Zimri on 12:47 | link | 0 comments

The Wood Between The Worlds as primary setting

CS Lewis in The Magician's Nephew introduced The Wood Between The Worlds. He pretty much lampshaded it as a plot-device: the action wasn't happening there (and magic couldn't function!), but it was needed as a nexus for travel between worlds. Tim Burton used something like this in Nightmare Before Christmas. Grossman tried to use it in The Magicians as well but Viking's lawyers forced him to reskin it as the "Neitherlands". Several other nexi have featured in Dungeons & Dragons.

The Wood device is related to the Library Of Babel concept, a nexus of infinity. Michael Ende adapted this much in his Temple of a Thousand Doors; and there is in fact a library in Grossman's Neitherlands. However for Lewis - and, for different reasons, Grossman - the Wood is finite or at least countable. It joins worlds that do or, in Charn's case, used to, exist. God, who is lawful so countably-infinite, has built the worlds and links those He chooses. God's imagination is greater than ours but, if lacking mathematical limits, does follow metamathematical rules.

It occurs to me now that Frederick Pohl's Gateway station is the Neitherlands of sci-fi. If a corporation were to discover portals to other worlds but nothing about why and how such portals could exist, Gateway is the company village this corporation would establish in the Wood.

The reason Pohl's Heechee books don't work after Gateway is because the question of Gateway is the question of all existence. Lewis had an answer, whether or not we agree with his answer. Grossman doesn't have an answer, and doesn't attempt it. When Pohl wasn't trying to answer the Gateway's questions, he wrote a psychological study based on 1970s mores, successful as such. When Pohl expanded his ambition, he failed.


posted by Zimri on 11:32 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Jewish Narnia

It has been seven years since Michael Weingrad challenged the Red Sea Pedestrians to do high-fantasy or epic-fantasy; to give to the Jews an epic of their own like Lewis and Tolkien wrote two for the High-Church British.

Three years ago, I opined that Lev Grossman was posing his Fillory as the Narnia As Seen By Jews. At the time I misstated this as such an attempt at "The Jewish Narnia". Since the Magicians Season Two is out on DVD / blueray today, I did a little rethinking and researching on that. Yeah, those concepts are entirely different.

Someone who set himself to write The Jewish Narnia would have to proselytise or at least explain and defend Judaism. As for Grossman himself, it turns out he is not actually Jewish. He is mixed Jewish and Anglican, and was raised secular. For a year or two his parents sent him to Hebrew school, I guess so he could make up his own mind. (A familiar theme in this blog...) The same holds for Neil Gaiman.

Grossman like Gaiman cannot write a Jewish Narnia himself. This stuck him with rebuilding a shade of the old Narnia, for dislocated Anglophone foreigners to stumble through. This is the only story Grossman is currently able to tell. I actually enjoy his story, and I appreciate it for what it is - which is more than I'll say of Gaiman. But Grossman can offer no comfort to the Jewish soul. Nor, really, for seculars'.

Since all that, actual Jews have gotten busy answering Weingrad's challenge. In 2015 Barnes and Noble pointed us to five recent Jewish fantasy epics. Of these, several look like Jewish ripostes to the Christian mediaeval tradition, which just gets us back to Grossman's nihilism. But Matthew Kressel's The King of Shards might actually be the real thing.

UPDATE 7/26: No. Oh G-d no, it is not.


posted by Zimri on 17:58 | link | 0 comments

Monday, July 10, 2017

We wuz kangs

One Henrik Palmgren went on Lana Loktoff's show for Red Ice TV, an outpost of the White Right. In it we learn that Red Ice doesn't like the Out Of Africa theory. They base their shpiel from Pallab Ghosh, ''First of our kind' found in Morocco', BBC 7 June. Who almost certainly does not endorse any of this.

This segment was, they tell us, from episode 39 of Weekend Warrior, a live show available to Red Ice Members. I know of it because Red Ice has offered it to us normies here.

Loktoff's most salient argument is that there must have been other lineages that died out, parallel to the "mtDNA Eve"; Eve's lineage was just the lucky survivor. Mainly Loktoff doesn't like that whites (whom she finds most beautiful of all races) come from brutish forebears of ANY sort, black or Neanderthal. She uses the word "eerie" a lot.

I quit watching this silliness when the two got to musing about aliens, around the 7th minute or so. If I wanted to hear about whites as xenomorphs, I could go look up a Nation Of Islam channel on Yakoob.

Anyway: this new find in Morocco precedes Mitochondrial Eve. What this Moroccan dead guy did not do, was contribute to modern human DNA independently of Eve, in measurable portions. He might at most complicate the question of Eve's own ancestry. And besides, last I looked, Morocco too was in Africa, 200000 years ago as much as today.

No matter how we look at this, the founding population of modern non-African humanity, at least 90-99% of it, still derives from a band of migrants who skipped from the Horn Of Africa to the Yemen in 60000 BC or thereabouts. We're all just discussing which Africans at this point.

And I don't see how Red Ice can prove from this new evidence any validation for the unique beauty and heritage of the Great White Race, leaving aside Loktoff's feelz. Remember that the ex-African migrants are also the ancestors of Asians and Tamils, and not just of them but the Sentinelese and the Australian Aborigines . . .


posted by Zimri on 18:25 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Transferring Forgottonia

The state Illinois has run out of Other People's Money and the knives are out. One interesting article came here from Kass in Chicago: divvy Illinois' territory between its neighbours. I suggest starting according to historical precedent.

Some time ago I read about states-that-weren't; among these was a section of Illinois, 'Forgottonia'. The state 'Illinois' is called that because the middle third of it follows the Illinois River on both east and west sides. The west bank of the Illinois, all the way to the Mississippi (the border) was, historically, the Military Tract of 1812; it got tossed into Illinois in 1818. Since then the old Tract has been ignored by Chicago and Springfield. Local sleazebag Dick Durbin recently used it as his springboard into Congress where he can ignore it full time.

My suggestion is for Illinois to sell this land back to the US military. The two parties can agree on what amount of state debt the tract is worth, in men and land. The Feds can then immediately turn around and offer this tract to Iowa and/or Missouri over to the west.

The name of the 'Illinois' remnant might become less accurate, since now it will be wholly on the eponymous river's eastern shore; but Mississippi is almost all on the east side of that river too.


posted by Zimri on 14:17 | link | 0 comments

The Jews did not aid the Muslims in Spain

When I got Larry Gonick's Cartoon History Of The Universe part 3, it mentioned the Islamic invasion of Spain. Gonick assumed a consensus of late 1990s history-books, that the Jews had acted as a quinta columna. Gonick didn't deny it; instead, he excused it. Naturally the White Right has its own take.

When Gonick was writing, Norman Roth had already called shenanigans. The fact of eighth-century 'Islamic' Spain is that it was a damned mess. The first 'Muslims' who showed up were a ragtag band of Berbers and Arab adventurers, who did a lot of plunder but not a lot of ruling. The Arabophones left no contemporary records and precious little in the way of hadith. The Berbers were illiterate and the Jews were near-silent.

To the extent there was a common-tongue it was probably North African Romance (h/t zeca). Accordingly there survives a Hispanic Christian chronicle in Latin. But it mainly seems to be a translation of a Damascene Muslim text, with a very few local notices added in.

Last year I found some contemporary records of what was going on in late eighth-century Spain, over in France. The most credible military powers in Spain appear to have coalesced as an Umayyad exile-state, running the courts according to Awzaite jurisprudence. Azwa'i over in Syria was the last Umayyads' jihad-state jurist. Where did that leave the Jews under his legal system... er, badly.

Gonick's excuse for that Jewish collusion he'd assumed was that the old Visigothic king of Spain had been a bigot. And hey, why not; I am not here to defend Dark Age monarchy. But the Muslims were bigots too; Suras 3-5 were all in the Qur'an by the turn of the eighth century. If Umayyad jurisprudence was bad for the Jews in the 760s AD, it was probably bad in the 710s as well.

Given this model, one should expect a lot of silence from Jewish sources as they tried to avoid getting killed by any of the factions ravaging the Spanish countryside. This silence is exactly what we find. Maybe we could assume, with Andrew Anglin, and even with Larry Gonick(!), that modern Ashkenazi Jews hate Teutonic Christians just so much that Jewish treachery is to be suspected in the absence of evidence. But we are dealing with a different time in a different place with different Jews under different circumstances. So until further evidence comes to light I am siding with Norman Roth.

UPDATE 7/16/2017: Rep. Scalise followed Gonick's example.


posted by Zimri on 13:37 | link | 0 comments

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