Author Archives: Fred Reed

FRED REED: Peering under the Rock: Checking the Origins of American Foreign Policy

China, Communism, Education, Foreign Policy, FRED REED, Russia, War

The encirclement of Russia by NATO (i.e. America) is ‘very roughly equivalent to having Russian forces in El Paso Tijuana, and Toronto’

BY FRED REED
Given that pushing a third of Americans are functionally illiterate or close, that twenty percent think that the sun revolves around the earth, and  seventy percent cannot name the three branches of the federal government, it isn’t surprising that few have much idea of how the war in Ukraine came about. What does surprise is that so few of the intelligent and schooled have much more grasp. Many of these, friends, say that Putin tries to reconstitute the Soviet Union, that Russia is a threat to NATO, that Putin is (sigh) Hitler, and everything from inflation to falling hair is Putin’s fault. No.

Let’s look at things from the point of view of people who pay more attention:

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and Reagan promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move eastward. As a well-known Russian has said, the United States is not agreement capable. It soon began moving NATO eastward, increasing from thirteen countries in NATO to thirty today in an obvious military encirclement of Russia. In 2014 the US attempted a coup in Ukraine aimed at putting an American puppet in Kiev but it didn’t work and Russia retrieved the Crimea. For the next eight or so years NATO, meaning America, trained Ukrainian forces in preparation for the war we now have. This is well known to military analysts and students of eastern Europe.

During this time Russia said over and over and over and over that it wasn’t going to allow Ukraine in NATO, de facto or de jure. This would put American forces on Russia’s border and in Crimea, as well as American naval forces in Sebastopol. American hypersonic nuclear missiles would have been about five minutes of flight time from Moscow.

Look at a map. Note where the Ukraine and the Crimea are. Note that America was wooing Georgia for membership in NATO: More encirclement of Russia. And after Georgia, Azerbaijan, giving American forces access to the Caspian and Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Astrakhan in Russia, and the northern coast of Iran.

This would be very roughly equivalent to having Russian forces in El Paso Tijuana, and Toronto. Do you see why Russia wasn’t going to do this? Which Washington knew, but kept pushing. This gave Russia a choice between two very bad ideas. First, let the Ukraine into NATO, a great victory for Washington, or, second, fight, hoped to be an even greater victory. This was all well understood, calculated, and apparently led by Vicky the Newt Nuland of the State Department.

In Washington, sophisticated people of my acquaintance have never heard of any of this. It isn’t that they disagree, but that they just don’t know. The power of the media to control thought is astonishing.

Why does Washington keep this war going? The proximate answer—as what’s-his-Raytheon, the Secretary of Defense has put it—is to rope Russia into a long, debilitating war that would exhaust it, end it as a world power, and overthrow Vladimir Putin.

The gravy on this sirloin was that, or so it was hoped, it would firm up Washington’s control of Europe, make Europe buy more American costume-jewelry weaponry, force Europe to buy high-priced American LNG, and bring more countries, such as Sweden and Finland into NATO. Also, and here we come to the Big Picture, or part of it, the war would end Nordstream II forever.

Blocking the completion of Nordstream II, the Russian under-Baltic gas pipeline to Germany, has been a high-profile goal of American policy for years. How many Americans have heard of it?

Why block the pipeline? Because Asia is rising. Asia is rising fast. Not just China, but the whole shebang. China alone has four times the American population, superb universities, several times as many engineering grads annually, the world’s best civil engineering and, in addition to being almost every country’s largest trading partner, is the world’s largest market for almost everything. In many fields it is still behind America, but the gap closes. Washington knows this, and knew that the pipeline would tie Germany into the growing Eurasian ecosystem.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, its plan to link all of Eurasia—not Asia, Eurasia—into one huge trading bloc, is working, or at least the connectivity is happening. Here we could name many of its new, recent, or underway rail links—China-Vientiane, Pakafuz, China-Mandalay, Lanzhou-Tashkent, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Jakarta-Bandung, the now-old Nairobi-Mombasa line.  If Asian countries link up and develop commercially, they will dwarf the United States. So much for empire.

Washington has pushed Russia, China, and Iran together into a de facto alliance. This was stupid. The first rule of empire is “never let your enemies unite,” but the US, perhaps not realizing that this is no longer 1955, seems to believe that it can overcome all of them at once. Now India informally leans East, saying that it will trade with Russia, no comments from Washington needed. Trade corridors in Asia open apace, for example the INSTC, the International North-South Transport Corridor, sort of Mumbai-Chabahar-Azerbaijan-Russia. Don’t even think about China’s heavy commercial investment in Latin America and Africa.

Nordstream II was part of a growing connection between Asia and Germany that Washington could not allow. It didn’t, as blowing up the pipeline showed. This was done apparently by England on Washington’s orders. It illustrates American desperation to prevent Europe, a football being fought over by East and West, from engaging commercially with Asia.

The list of Asian advances in commerce, technology, and connectivity could go on for hundreds of pages, and has, in many books. The bottom line, as we say, is that Washington is looking down the barrel of a gun. It has to stop the growing integration of the rest of the world by any possible means as the days of American supremacy wane. The United States has, or may have, a narrow window of opportunity to maintain hegemony. The first step is to exhaust Russia with the current war and then move on to strangle China.

Can it do this? We shall see, but it seems unlikely. The US can compete with China neither in manufacturing nor in building infrastructure—rail lines, cities, ports—for countries around the world. At home it faces poor and declining education, huge trade deficits and national debt, growing poverty as Washington prioritizes its wars over its people, massive corruption, an evaporating technological lead, crime and social disintegration, and domestic disunity. The military with its vast network of bases around the world swallows resources that might alleviate some of the foregoing.

China’s main weaknesses, apart from the Straits of Malacca in a world war, are Taiwan and semiconductors. This Washington understands.  The details of the “chip wars” are complex. In a nutshell, America either makes the machinery needed to manufacture semiconductors, or controls the countries that do—chiefly the company ASML in the Netherlands, TSMC in Taiwan, Tokyo Electron in Japan, and South Korea. It prohibits the sale of advanced ships to China. However, control over the main countries in the chip business arouses hostility since companies do not like losing a vast market to further Washington’s global ambitions. Pushback by the industry, including in America, grows.

Regarding Taiwan, Washington seems to be playing the same game it played with Ukraine. China has said, over and over and over and over, that Taiwan is part of China. Under the famous One China policy, which kept the peace for decades, the US agreed that Taiwan was Chinese and Beijing tacitly agreed not to invade. Now Washington is salami-slicing the One China doctrine out of existence, first sending Pelosi to Taipei, then Congressional delegations, then sending arms, and in general ignoring Chinese objections. These are intentional provocations aimed at making Taiwan a de facto independent state. Washington’s intense interest in Taiwan exists because Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest and most advanced chip fab, is there. America currently cannot make advanced chips. It’s greatest nightmare is that China might get control of TSMC.

This will eventually force China either to give up Taiwan, which it won’t, or fight. Washington will then, as in the Ukraine, accuse Beijing of starting the war, perhaps send the Navy to defend the island, and supply weapons so that the Chinese can kill each other. Here again the US seems to think we live in the Fifties and the Navy is a fearsome force that will intimidate Beijing. It isn’t. See here:Pentagon, Chinese analysts agree US can’t win in Taiwan Strait.”

None of this is original with me, secret, or hard to find. It is, however, suppressed by the highly controlled American media. Few notice.

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm in the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

* Credit of image as screen pic

 

FRED REED: The Immigrant Thing: Latinos (Mostly), the Racial Right, and Wokismo

Conservatism, Donald Trump, English, IMMIGRATION, Latin American, Literature, Race

Young Mexican women are often horribly pretty and, when speaking unaccented American English, are exotic as potatoes. Same-same Asians. Love it or hate it, this battle is over. (Fred’s pretty doctor is pictured below, origin ‘east of the Suez’)

By Fred Reed

Startlingly, at least in today’s political climate, we will begin with the facts of immigration: America is eighteen percent Latino and climbing, six percent Asian and climbing. (Blacks, thirteen percent, cannot reasonably be called immigrants.) Given that over half of sub-eighteen children are not white, it is mathematically inevitable that before long most Americans will not be white. One may think this good or bad as one chooses. It will happen anyway.

Here we come to the fractured politics of the Great Squirrel Cage North of Mexico. On one hand we have vaguely defined groups who collectively might be called the Racial Right. They oppose immigration and immigrants, unless they are white, and say things like “Keep America American,” meaning what they regard as American. Their influence is limited because (a) immigrants, especially Latinos, have too many votes to be ignored and their numbers grow (b). America depends too heavily on its immigrants, Latinos in agriculture, construction, and service industries, East Asians and Indians in high-tech, and (c) the immigrants just aren’t behaving badly enough to engender a salubrious hostility. Not enough whites are upset enough to favor anything dramatic.

Yet coming from what passes for the Left in America is alarm over White Supremacists, White Nationalists, the Dissident Right and suchlike horrors, probably involving, oh God, Trump supporters and threatening racial Armageddon. Boredom can be intense in the bleak suburbs of Washington and one takes one’s excitement where one finds it. Actually the Racial Right is little more than a pastime without practical import. Immigrants are assimilating unnoticed and this will continue. No amount of fizzing by nativists will change this. Further, the mainline White Nationalists, as distinct from disturbed men playing with guns in the woods of Idaho, are not dangerous. For the most part they are not even bad people. This, I know, will disappoint the pseudo-Left. Well, you can’t have everything. That’s just how life is.

For what it’s worth, years ago In Washington, DC, I spoke to a convention of American Renaissance, a major White Nationalist group, who wanted to know about Mexico. Outside a clutch of yahoos and dingalings picketed against the fascist nightmare within. I entered with trepidation. As it turned out, the center of gravity of this unholy sabbath  were worried white dweebs in late middle age, concerned about the direction in which immigration was taking their country. Agree with them or not, Nazis they weren’t. They, I think, are the backbone of anti-immigrant forces, not the KKK.

The politics of tortillaphobia can be confusing. In those days one of the Racial Right’s objections to Latinos was that they were not assimilable. Now the objection is that they are. When you peeled back the stated aims, their desire was and is to maintain the genetic purity of the white race. In today’s Woke climate, this idea is shocking, appalling, unacceptable and so on and so forth, though of course most ethnic groups don’t like to see their women marrying out. Anyway, preventing intermarriage—nativists prefer the slightly obscene sounding “miscegenation”—is a lost cause. Young Mexican women are often horribly pretty and, when speaking unaccented American English, are exotic as potatoes. Same-same Asians. Love it or hate it, this battle is over.

It comes down to this:  If you want to promote the domestic tranquility, you favor assimilation. If you want to preserve the genetic purity of whites, you want the worst possible relations between whites and everybody else. No compromise is possible. It’s assimilation or purity, but not both. In fact, whether we want it or not, it is going to be assimilation.

In the political climate of today, nativism seems more a profound disgruntlement than anything practical. Its stated aims are either impossible or would be largely ineffective. For example, closing the border may be possible in a few years, or may not, but the sixty or seventy million Latinos north of the border are, well, north of the border. Can anyone within shouting distance of his right mind believe America is going to deport millions? And anyone who thinks America is going to break into three racially defined countries needs to stop smoking that Drano.

Curiously, assimilation will be as disastrous for the woke as for the racialists, though they may not be aware of it. The woke want to see themselves as champions of oppressed People of Color (POCs) and for this to work they need a constant supply of such. The problem is that these wretched people won’t stay oppressed. Most flavors of peoples of color have already turned traitor and become prosperous and even sometimes Republican. The Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Japanese and so on are not all programmers at Google or owners of start-ups in Silicon Valley, but close. They have jumped ship, so to speak, and are no longer fit object of the adolescent maternal instincts of the Woke. So the Woke never mention them. Successful immigrants are an embarrassment to them.

That leaves Latinos as the only suitable immigrant objects of Woke solidarity with the oppressed. Wokesters consequently grasp at Hispanics and lump them in with blacks, with whom Latinos have little in common, as maltreated POCs. By so doing, and carefully ignoring nonconforming people of color such as the Chinese, they can maintain their vision of wicked white colonialists and slave-owner wannabes brutalizing heartwarming nonwhites.

But now the damned Latinos are assimilating! Yes, leaving the plantation, the ungrateful wretches. And marrying Anglos and speaking native English and getting white-collar jobs and otherwise engaging in class treason. And if you ask a statistically valid number of them what is important, they will say things like jobs, the economy, medical care, schooling for the kids, conservative morality, and strong police forces. They don’t see any advantage in being oppressed. Thus assimilation and prosperity among Latinos threaten the pseudo-Left’s hold on its largest client group.

Problems of nomenclature can arise. I confess that I was at first puzzled when reading of BIPOCs. What were these, I wondered? If there were BIPOCs, were there monoPOCs? Would little short POCs be smallPOCS? Was there a vaccine? Should India’s population be measured in gigaPOCs? These were deep waters. (BIPOCs turned out to be black, indigenous people of color, I think.)

Much of Racial Right thought is backward-looking conservative romanticism doused liberally with sheer fantasy. They long for an all-white America that hasn’t existed since 1619, when their revered ancestors imported black slaves about whose progeny they now complain mightily. They say for example that America would be much happier if all white. This is true but irrelevant since it isn’t.  For the record, an all-white America would not have had slavery, perhaps the Civil War, Jim Crow, racism, burning cities, race riots, horrendous rates of crime otherwise unknown in the developed world, affirmative action, or Floyd. And if wishes were horses….

The Racial Right’s opposition is equally deep in fantasy. While the Woke offer themselves as being of the Left, they in fact are neither Leftist nor liberal, but practitioners of an intense class snobbery. The Left historically was the party of the working man. This was true of Marx. (“Workers of the world, unite.”) There was Saul Alinsky in the dismal stockyards of Chicago and authors like Upton Sinclair (The Jungle) and John Steinbeck (East of Eden, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row supporting the white working class.) The pseudo-Left of today scorns working men, who they label Deplorables. They consist heavily of well-off, highly educated coastal elites who loathe working stiffs whom, they suspect, voted for Trump.  They love blacks with an almost humid intensity but wouldn’t go near South Chicago in an armored bathysphere and their kids go to pricey private schools. The traditional Left would detest them.

The racialists are hardly less hypocritical. They proclaim their love of America, yet loathe the thirteen percent who are black, eighteen percent Latino, six percent Asian, two percent Jewish, and the (wild guess) fifty percent who are Democrats. They sound suspicious of Catholics and of South and East Europeans, though this may be a holdover from the Nativist Revival of the Twenties. But they love America, or at least enough of it to fill a small gymnasium.

A belief crucial to the sense of wellbeing and contentment among the pseudo-Left is that America is sordidly and irrevocably racist. Is it? At least sixty million Latinos live in America, most of them citizens, with virtually no race riots or, in most places, much interest. Inattention is the highest form of acceptance. California has more Mexicans than whites, so would you not expect trouble there if there were going to be trouble? Nada. There is no Knockout Game among Latinos. They don’t push Asian women in front of subway trains. Nor are whites lynching browns, or doing much of anything about them.

Americans seem more opposed to immigration than to immigrants. They want to close the border but not to drag the third-grade children of illegal immigrants from school rooms and leave them on the sidewalks. Only far out on the Right Wing, where the feathers run out and giddy space begins, do we hear calls for massive deportation. Given the enormous scale of the influx, the paucity of animosity is remarkable.

The Racial Right suffers an ongoing erosion by events. When I left America for Mexico twenty years ago, there was across Wilson Boulevard in the Virginia suburbs of Washington a restaurant called the Asia Café. The waitresses were young Asian women, Malays, Viets, that sort of thing, and the manager was a Japanese woman. I asked one what she did during the day. Oh, she said, she was studying computer security at a local university. Another had a similar answer, which I have forgotten. Up the street was a Vietnamese restaurant that was engaging in the Asian practice of keeping labor costs down by employing the daughters as waitresses. After years of dining there it occurred to me to ask the same question. One replied that she was a wide-area network engineer. The other said that she had gotten a Master’s in biochemistry but you couldn’t make money that way so she was in dental school.

An internet friend once offered to arrange an appointment for me with a high-end ophthalmologist. This turned out to be Yassine Daoud, Lebanese and a star surgeon at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. A former street urchin in Beirut (really), he got to Hopkins by a combination of brains, luck, and Harvard med. On another occasion I had an appointment at EDOW, Eye Doctors of Washington. The doctor was Deepika Shah, by a brown cast and name or origins somewhere east of Suez. University of Virginia undergrad, Penn for med school, impressive resumé. Also pretty. (Look, I’m a guy. Deal with it.) Her insurance woman was named Martinez.

(Very Pretty Doctor)

On the same trip the assistant manager and a teller at my bank were Mexicans, perfect but slightly accented English. Later, in Austin, the recommended ophthalmologist was Annie Chan, Chinese, and her support staff were two Mexican women. Nobody seemed outraged by this. In practice Americans seem to accept anyone who speaks English, obeys the laws, behaves civilly, and has a job.

Here it is worth noting that the objections of the Racial Right to immigrants are rhetorical. Websites that verge on being official voices of White Nationalism, notably American Renaissance and Vdare, have not the slightest whiff of calls to violence. They are not Nazis, do not advocate actually doing anything, such as boycotting immigrant businesses. One reads in the media of racist attacks on Asians. These are committed by blacks, not White Supremacists or Latinos. Again, regarding immigrants, the Racial Right seems more in the nature of a hobby than an onrushing wave of, well, anything.

This information will arouse despondency in the woke for whom alarm at imagined brown-shirted hordes seems also to be a hobby. Nativists themselves may be mellowing a bit regarding immigrants. For long years, and still to some extent. The racialist, Republicans all, wrote that Latinos were criminal, carried thirteenth-century diseases, couldn’t read, didn’t speak English, were infested by lice and bedbugs, and were not assimilable. They then wondered why Latinos didn’t vote Republican. Today one hears less of it, vehemence being more directed at blacks and their crime.

The future? Sez I, the country will muddle along as it now muddles, boringly. Blacks are a different question, but, regarding immigrants, there just isn’t enough racism to satisfy either the Woke or the Racial Right.  You can’t have everything.

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Buy Fred’s Books! Solidly Built. You can squash bugs with them.

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm in the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

 

FRED REED: Toward Being Burned At The Stake Over Evolutionary Theory

Argument, FRED REED, Intelligence, Reason, Religion, Science

Am I, Fred, to believe a questionable theory on grounds that it can’t be proved?

By Fred Reed

Toward Being  Burned at the Stake

There being millions of things in the world about which to know, and limited time and energy with which to know them, it is not surprising that few really have much grasp of evolutionary theory, and so accept it because, well, everybody does. Further, its more ardent advocates, who do know much about it, can be vicious in its defense, to the point of forcing dismissal of colleagues who express doubt. Overall people accept it as they accept that the earth is round. Yet there is in fact much doubt and often disbelief about many of its elements, much of it among mathematicians and physicists.

The following are bits and pieces that I have found interesting and think that others might. They do not all deal with formal evolutionary theory, though some do. Others are only tangential, some more speculative than others, and few if any are probative of anything. Yet some may think them interesting baubles.

On chemical origins: I was probably in college when I found myself asking what seemed to me straightforward questions about the chemical origin of life.

In particular:

(1) Life was said to have begun by chemical inadvertence in the early seas. Did we, I wondered, really know of what those early seas consisted? Know, not suspect, hope, theorize, divine, speculate, or really, really wish.

No. We have no dried residue, no remaining pools, and the science of planetogenesis isn’t nearly good enough to provide a quantitative analysis. The less we know, the more leeway we have to believe what we want to believe.

(2) Did we know what sort of seas would be necessary for life to come about? No, we didn’t, and don’t. Note that biological reactions depend heavily on things like temperature, pH, molarities, chirality, and oxidizing or reducing environments.

(3) Had the creation of a living cell by chance been replicated in the laboratory? No, it hadn’t, and hasn’t. Evolutionists will point out that it is hard to replicate in a laboratory a process that took a billion years and oceans full of sea water. True, but am I to believe a questionable theory on grounds that it can’t be proved?

(4) Could it be shown to be mathematically probable that life would form, given any soup whatever? No, it couldn’t, and can’t. (At least not without cooking the assumptions.) Note that we have no idea what it is that we think formed, which makes the calculations yet more difficult.

(5) Can we design on paper a molecule or complex of molecules that (a) might plausibly come about by accident, (b) metabolizes, and (c) reproduces? No.

Well, I thought, sophomore chemistry student that I then was: If we don’t know what conditions existed, or what conditions are necessary, and can’t reproduce the event in the laboratory, and can’t show it to be statistically probable—why are we so very sure that it happened? Would you hang a man on such evidence?

Many years have passed since Watson and Crick elucidated the design of DNA in 1953. Biochemistry is now a mature and sophisticated science. How many more years, decades, or centuries must pass without these questions being answered before we suspect that they can’t be? How long can we be told that the check is in the mail before we conclude that there is no check?

Christianity and Creationism obsess evolutionists, who  imagine themselves to be in mortal combat with these. This is peculiar to them. Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC. Astronomers pay not the slightest attention to creationists. Nobody does—except evolutionists. We are dealing with competing religions—overarching explanations of origin and destiny. Thus the fury of their response to skepticism. Their anger is like that of Nine-Eleven conspiracy theorists when told that, actually, it happened as it seemed to.

Traits evolve, we are told, that promote survival and thus reproduction. Sometimes this makes sense and can be demonstrated, notably when the necessary genes are extant in the population. Think of Darwin’s finches. Sometimes it doesn’t. For example, if intelligence is adaptive—i.e., promotes survival–why didn’t it evolve earlier; and if it is not adaptive, why did it evolve at all? From evolutionists you get various unsubstantiated answers, such as that intelligence is of no use without an opposable thumb, or speech, or something.) Here we see the common evolutionary belief that vague plausibility unsupported by evidence is an adequate foundation for belief.

An interesting question, though probative of nothing, is why a brain that evolved for poking mammoths with pointed sticks is so well adapted to computational fluid dynamics and the writing of concertos.

Intelligence is said to increase rates of survival and thus of reproduction. Psychometrists point out that in the United States the very bright tend to go into fields requiring intelligence, as for example the sciences, computing, and law. They live together, work together, and marry each other, thus tending to concentrate intelligence instead of making it general in the population. They also produce children at below the level of replacement. (We thus conclude either that intelligence does not increase fitness or that fitness leads to extinction.)

In human populations, daily observation tells us that men prefer cute, sexy women to strong, smart, and ugly. It then becomes crucial for evolutionists to show that cute and sexy are more fit than strong, smart, and ugly.  Good luck.

Evolution is said to come about through one of two mechanisms, either the very slow (and improbable, I would say) accumulation of mutations over millions of years, or the concentrations of genes already in the population (such as the beaks of Darwin’s finches). The second is much, much faster as any dog breeder will tell you. Selection, whether natural or directed, can produce conspicuous results in a few generations, depending on the intensity of the selection.

Here we encounter an evolutionary mystery. The genes already exist in the population for the astonishing vision of Ted Williams, the endurance of marathon runners, the general physical plant of Mohammed Ali, the intelligence of Gauss, and so on. Are these becoming general? Reading Xenophon, Juvenal, Vergil, the work of Archimedes suggests that people were as smart in classical antiquity as they are now. So it goes with the other qualities. If these have not increased, one must conclude either that they do not confer fitness, or that fitness does not become general.

Then there is the vexed matter of consciousness.  What is consciousness? Does it have a derived definition, like f = ma? Or is it an undefined primitive, like “line” or “point”? With what instrument do you detect it? Is something either conscious or not, or do you have shades and degrees? Is a tree conscious, or a rock? How do you know?

In an evolutionary context, did the first (probably imaginary) living molecule have a teeny weeny itsy bity consciousness, just a smidgin? Or did awareness not evolve until the time of trilobites? Why would it evolve at all?

Does consciousness have physical existence? If it does, is it electromagnetic, gravitational, or what? If it doesn’t have physical existence, what kind of existence does it have?

Does consciousness interact with matter? It seems to. When I drop a cinder block on my foot, it certainly interacts with my consciousness. And if I consciously tell my hand to move, it does.

But if consciousness interacts with matter, then don’t you have to take it into account in describing physical systems? If it does not interact with matter, then something exists beyond physics, no? Eeeeek.

Speculation disguised as science flourishes in pop-evolution. For example, some say that consciousness is just a side-effect of complexity. Then is a federal tax form conscious? How do we know? Complexity defined how? If a man is conscious because he’s complex, then a whole room full of people must be even more conscious, because the total complexity would have to be more than any one fellow’s complexity. The universe has got to be more complex than anything in it, so it must be motingator conscious.

Nonsensical “Just So” stories about evolution are often taken seriously by intelligent people. For example, human beings are conspicuous in the natural world for being weak and slow, and for having poor senses of smell and hearing. Why? Evolutionists have multiple stories. One is that because humans walk upright, they can see farther on open veldt and thus have substituted vision for other senses that just are not necessary.

This makes no sense, which doesn’t seem to matter. Obviously being able to detect approaching predators at night by smell would be a great advantage. Lions are the color of dirt and dead vegetation and use both. Horses, which have good vision, and eyes at about the level of a human’s, have an excellent sense of smell. This story doesn’t live up even to the usual evolutionary standard of vague plausibility.

Another example of fabulistic thinking is the explanation of the poor olfaction of humans as saving energy. According to this story, a better sense of smell  would require larger olfactory regions in the brain and, since a surprisingly large proportion of the body’s energy is expended by the brain, these larger olfactory regions would increase the need for food and cause starvation in time of famine.

Does this make sense? No.

Consider. Rats have a much better sense of smell than do humans, which they use in finding what they regard as food. A rat’s brain weighs two grams, a human’s about 1350. Let us assume that a rat’s entire brain is dedicated to smell, which of course it isn’t. Adding all of a rat’s brain to the human would increase its size from 1350 to 1352 grams, an increase of 2/1350 or .15%. Since the brain uses 15% of a human’s energy budget, the overall increase in energy requirements is 2/1350 X 100 X .15, or .02%. Not 2%, but .02%. This minute increase cannot possibly offset the advantages of an acute sense of smell. Similar calculations could be made regarding hearing which in humans is greatly inferior to that of dogs.

Why are there so many traits that have no obvious value yet seem to be the result of multiple genes and thus the consequence of considerable evolution? For example, kidneys have well developed nerves. Kidney stones are agonizing. Yet there is absolutely nothing an animal can do about a kidney stone. How do those nerves increase fitness? Traits that do not increase fitness, remember, die out.

Then why does homosexuality in males not disappear? Judging by ancient literature, it is as common now as it was then. What is the reproductive value of not reproducing? I can invent desperate and imaginative answers. Maybe homosexuals are homozygous in some undiscovered gene that is highly beneficial when heterozygous. There is no evidence for this, understandable because I just invented it, but why let such considerations inhibit a good story?

The list of inexplicable traits could go on. Masochism. Schizophrenia. Migraines. Suicide (though I suppose that a suicide bomber can be said to effectuate the widespread dissemination of his genetic material).

There is the question of the noise level in evolution. Consider the epicanthic fold that makes East Asians “slant-eyed.” I have read various evolutionists arguing that it evolved to protect the eyes against the cold winds of frigid north Asia or, alternatively, to conserve energy. No evidence was given for either understanding. Nor did the advocates say how many mutations were needed to bring about the fold as almost certainly no one has the slightest idea. But, the evolutionary principle being that those mutations flourish that promote survival—we have to accept that the first fellow to have the fold had more children because of it than his fellows who didn’t. Are we to believe that such a minute difference would have any effect at all?

For the fold to become fixed in the population—that is, for everyone without exception to have it—it would have to have a lot of survival value. Yet traits such as very high intelligence remain rare. We conclude that if you want to survive, it is better to have an epicanthic fold than to be smart. Evolution is ever fascinating.

The study of evolution of entire peoples is called “population genetics” and endeavors to show that populations evolve according to Darwinian principles. Much of it makes sense, and much doesn’t, or at least involves mental contortions to accept. For example, Henry Harpending, a population geneticist at the University of Utah, once told me, “In population genetics, “fitness” means the rate of reproduction, nothing else.” This means that a genetically retarded ghetto woman who has thirteen equally retarded children by twenty-five drive-by fathers is more fit that a Fields Medalist at Harvard who runs triathlons and has two children. It also means that reproduction determines fitness instead of fitness determining reproduction.

It seems somehow counterevolutionary that populations able to support more fecund reproduction don’t while those least able to support children have them in abundance. A great many advanced and prosperous countries breed at below the level of replacement, as for example Japan, China, and Europe. Meanwhile sub-Saharan African countries explode despite poverty and very low measured IQ. Yet the countries presumably of greatest fitness, themselves in numerical decline, send food to these less fit countries genetically unrelated to themselves. Odd.

Fans of evolutionism often say that that declining populations come about because of contraception, as though it were an outside influence like drought or epidemic. But to say that contraception causes declining populations is like saying that spears cause hunting. People wanted to eat, so they invented spears. They wanted not to reproduce, so they invented contraception. The desire not to have children comes from within, not without, and therefore must have evolved. This amounts to saying that there is an evolved drive not to evolve. Isn’t this fun?

To evolutionists I say, “I am perfectly willing to believe what you can actually establish. Reproducibly create life in a test tube, and I will accept that it can be done. Do it under conditions that reasonably may have existed long ago, and I will accept as likely the proposition that such conditions existed and gave rise to life. I bear no animus against the theory, and champion no competing creed. But don’t expect me to accept fluid speculation, sloppy logic, and secular theology.”

I once told my daughters, “Whatever you most ardently believe, remember that there is another side. Try, however hard it may be, to put yourself in the shoes of those whose views you most dislike. Force yourself to make a reasoned argument for their position. Do that, think long and hard, and conclude as you will. You can do no better, and you may be surprised.”

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm in the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

 

FRED REED: America’s Unable To ‘Absorb’ A Russian First Nuclear Strike

China, EU, Europe, FRED REED, Russia, War

America is fragile. The country can handle normal and regional catastrophes. But nuclear war is neither normal nor regional.  Very few warheads would serve to wreck the United States beyond recovery for decades.

By Fred Reed

Pleasurable excitement ripples through the usual boredom of Washington, and the resident curiosities enjoy exquisite frissons, over the possibility of nuclear war over the Ukraine. Some official of the EU, or maybe it was the mediocrity in the White House with the truculence problem, but anyway one of the geniuses ruling the planet’s fate has said that if Russia used nukes, the Russian army would be destroyed, grrr, bowwow, woof. Exactly how it would be destroyed, the sayer didn’t say. Anyway, the threats and counterthreats swirl around the idea that a nuke war between Russia and the West might occur. Maybe, with tactical nukes in the Ukraine, about which nobody gives a rat’s nether region. The world is full of damned fools.

But:

The general staffs of both Russia and China are, whatever else you may think of them, sane. They know of America’s massive nuclear forces. They are not going to launch an atomic war. Sane behavior cannot be relied on with Washington’s second-rate lawyers, but the generals in the Pentagon are not crazy. They like hobbyist wars and big budgets, but if Biden ordered a nuclear strike, they would be likely to suddenly remember that Congress has to declare war and, seeing that their radar screens were empty of incoming missiles, and say, “Mr. President, we are not authorized to do that.” And recommend a committee.

What would such a war be like? Let’s guess.

America is fragile. We don’t notice because it works smoothly and because when a local catastrophe occurs—earthquake, hurricane, tornado—the rest of the country steps in to remedy things. The country can handle normal and regional catastrophes. But nuclear war is neither normal nor regional.  Very few warheads would serve to wreck the United States beyond recovery for decades. This should be clear to anyone who actually thinks about it.

Defense is impossible. Missile defenses are meaningless except as money funnels to the arms industry. This is not the place to go into decoys, hypersonics, Poseidon, maneuvering glide vehicles, bastion stationing, MIRV, just plain boring old cruise missiles, and so on. Coastal cities are particularly easy targets, being vulnerable to submarine-launched sea-skimming missiles. Washington, New York, Boston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle for starters, all gone.

A modern country is a system of systems of systems, interdependent and interconnected—water, electricity, manufacturing, energy, telecommunications, transportation, pipelines, and complex supply chains.  These are interconnected, interdependent, and rely on large numbers of trained people showing up for work. Modern warheads are not the popgun squibs of Hiroshima. Talking of repair any time soon after the nuclear bombing of a conurbation is foolish because the city would have many hundreds of thousand of dead, housing destroyed, massive fires, horrendously burned people with no hope of medical care, and, in general, populations too focused on staying alive to worry about abstractions like supply chains.

The elimination of transportation might cause more death than the bombs. Cities, suburbs, and towns cannot feed themselves. They rely on a constant, heavy influx of food grown in remote regions. This food is shipped by rail or truck to distribution centers, as for example Chicago, whence it is transshipped to cities like New York. Heavy megatonnage on Chicago would disrupt rail lines and trucking firms. Trains and trucks need gasoline and diesel which come from somewhere, presumably in pipelines. These, broken by the blast, burning furiously, would take time to repair. Time is what cities would not have.

What would happen in, say, New York City even if, improbably, it were not bombed? Here we will ignore the likelihood of sheer, boiling panic and resultant chaos on learning that much of the country had been flattened. In the first few days there would be panic buying with shelves at supermarkets being emptied. Hunger would soon become serious. By day four, people would be hunting each other with knives to get their food. By the end of the second week, people would be eating each other. Literally. This happens in famines.

Most things in America rely on electricity. This comes from generating plants which burn stuff, usually natural gas or coal. These arrive on trains, which would not be running, or in trucks, not likely to be running. They depend on oil fields, refineries, and pipelines unlikely to function. All of the foregoing depend on employees continuing to go to work instead of trying to save their families. So—no electricity in New York, which goes dark.

This means no telephones, no internet, no lighting, and no elevators. How would this work out in a city of high rises? Most people would be nearly incommunicado in a lightless city. Huge traffic jams would form as people with cars tried to leave—to go where?—as long as gasoline in the tank lasted.

Where does water come from in New York? I don’t know, but it doesn’t flow spontaneously to the thirtieth floor. It needs to be pumped, which involves electricity, from wherever it comes from to wherever it has to go. No electricity, no pump. No pump, no water. And no flushing of toilets. River water could be drunk, of course. Think of the crowds.

In all likelihood, civil society would collapse by the end of the fourth day. The more virile ethnics would surge from the ghettos with guns and clubs to feed. Police would have disappeared or be either looking after their families or themselves looting. Civilization is a thin veneer. The streets and subways are not safe even without a nuclear war. The majority would be unarmed and unable to defend themselves. People who had never touched a gun would suddenly understand the appeal. If you think this would not happen, give my best to Tinker Belle.

Thus it would not be necessary to bomb a city to destroy it, only to cut it off from transport hubs for a couple of weeks. An attacker would of course destroy many cities in addition to necessary infrastructure. Those who plan nuclear wars may be psychopaths, or just insular geeks fiddling with bloodless abstractions, but they are not fools. They have carefully calculated how to most seriously damage a target country. In no more than a couple of months, perhaps two hundred million people would starve to death. Do you think this fantastic? Tell me why it is fantastic.

Parenthetically, in my days of walking the E-ring in the Pentagon, I read manuals on how to keep soldiers fighting after they had received lethal doses of radiation. They don’t die immediately and, depending on dosage, might be administered stimulants to keep them on their feet, or so the manuals said. These manuals also discussed whether these walking dead should be told that they were about to die. The authors used the evocative phrase “terrain alteration” to describe landscapes with all the trees lying on their sides, and we have all heard of “overkill.” After a nuclear war, millions would slowly die of radiation—read up on Nagasaki and Hiroshima—and burned corpses would rot in the streets, too numerous for burial by survivors with other things on their minds.

How would the next season’s crops be planted? Answer: they wouldn’t be. Where would fertilizer come from? Parts for tractors, trucks, harvesters? Making these requires functioning factories which require electricity, raw materials, and workers. If the attacker chose to hit agricultural lands with radiation-dirty cobalt bombs, these regions would be lethal for years. Nuclear planners think about these things.

Among “defense intellectuals,” there is, or was when I covered such things, insane talk of how America could “absorb” a Russian first strike and have enough missiles in reserve to destroy Russia. These people should be locked in sealed boxes and kept in abandoned coal mines.

Note also that Biden, Blinken, and Bolton, bibbety bobbety boo, and their families, live in DC, the priority target. While the rats are aboard the ship, they won’t sink it. If they are discovered boarding a Greyhound out of Washington at three a.m., dressed as washerwomen, it will be time to worry.

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Buy Fred’s Books! Solidly Built. You can squash bugs with them.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm in the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.