college pt 2
Going to College Part 2:
First let’s assume that you were an overachiever. Your GPA and SAT’s are good, and leave you with a number of options of institutions begging for you to bring them your brainpower. Even though you have options the decision is not simple. There are a number of qualities in a school to measure. The decision is also going to involve a measuring of yourself, what is it you are looking for? I’m going to try to give some simple advice.
First pick up your copy of the US News and World Report’s annual college “rankings.” Buy one cherry red bic lighter hereafter referred to as “official report demystifire.” Take your official report demystifire and use to make the report glow. Bury the ashes in a discrete location in the woods where no unsuspecting high school senior will stumble upon them and be deceived.
In all seriousness the college guide isn’t useless. If you have no idea what a sort of basic list of the academically respected institutions in the United States is the report might be useful. You can get a rough idea of which schools are generally well regarded.
The problem is that rather than open student’s eyes to the sheer number of fantastic higher educational institutions in the US, the report tends to close students minds to a slew of top notch schools that aren’t one of the top 10 or top 5 or top 3. Fabulous education in this country doesn’t end in with Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Do a quick check for me. Look back over past issues of the report, and see how much movement there is in the top ten. Now check to see how much the different schools stats changed? The basic numbers they play with stay pretty much the same. US News just loves to recalculate them every year, emphasizes slight different things, to make you think that this year Harvard finally beat Princeton.
What you really need to do is decide what it is you want
from your education. Do you want an intense educational environment with close access to faculty? A major research institution is probably not the place to go for that. Try a liberal arts college. Do you want to be lost in the crowd of students, but still attend a top-notch school? A major public institution is a great place to do that. Do you want to live near a city? Do you want a classical education? Do you want significant freedom to make your own curriculum? Do you want a diverse student body?
If after compiling your list you don’t find the Chosen Few at the top of US News’s ridiculous rankings doesn’t fit you want then so be it. Go somewhere else. If Princeton hits all your priorities, then gun for Princeton. But don’t fall prey to the stupid idea that you must
attend a top 10 or top 20 institution to benefit from your education. If you aren’t happy where you are you won’t a) receive the education you deserve or b) perform to your best abilities. Every year top graduate and professionals programs admit lots of students from outside the Chosen Few, though they are often in that grouping themselves. That’s because they know that finding top students isn’t about merely searching the “top institutions.”
Enough for part 2, I’m sure you await part 3.
1: Spelling perversity intentional.
On a budget
So far I've done fabulously on a budget. I haven't eaten out in, well, days. This is pretty shocking. I have been cooking and making my lunch, and I must pat myself on the back (commence "happy dog" face).
What will I have for lunch today? PB&J, an apple, a diet cherry coke, and a snickers.
Sounds like a plan!
Trader Joe's sells peanut butter breakfast cereal.
Exciting, I know.
I passed my field exam. I passed. I did it. I'm not dead.
another victory for the civil rights absolutists
The United States in currently at war with the Abu Sayyaf Group
, a brutal band of radical Filipino Muslims. U.S. Special Forces troops are on the ground in the Philippines, fighting and dying to bring these terrorists under control; American soldiers and marines are believed to be facing combat with Abu Sayyaf members in Afghanistan.
And yet, shockingly, while we know that Filipino radicals are at war with the United States
, ethnic Filipinos
are known to be living well within a fifty mile radius
of our nation's capital.
Enough is enough. Michelle Malkin is right
: we need to stop playing politically correct games, and protect our nation. I call upon our leaders to immediately evacuate all ethnic Filipinos from the Washington, D.C. area, and relocate them to camps in the desert. Let's not let the civil rights absolutists win another round.
advancing the debate
For just $1,500, you too can attend the Center for Popular Culture's Restoration Weekend
, November 11-14, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. (But don't try to go on the cheap -- go ahead and pony up for the full Platinum experience. Your $20,000 donation guarantees reserved seating at all meals.) Confirmed speakers for this exciting event:
Center President David Horowitz
Senator Zell Miller
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Jeff Sessions
Victor Davis Hanson
R. James Woolsey
General Thomas McInerney
An exciting opportunity to debate Muslim internment with Michelle Malkin, David Horowitz, and several United States senators! So don't delay -- get those checks in the mail!
so he was totally like, not like breathing and stuff?
You're right: I haven't been posting. Our reader(s) are probably in a lather, panting for new material. I just hope their collective sorrow doesn't have an impact on the economy.
In the meantime, however, I will share the thing I overheard today as I walked past the UCLA hospital. Picture a scary-young guy in a white lab coat, walking down the street and talking on his cell phone. And he's saying:
I'm totally sorry I haven't, like, called? But, like, we have a new like attending? And he's totally, like, busting my balls?
This is why I try not to get sick.
Cheers! Here's to a new year!
Time is winding down and my stomach is winding up. I feel that school officially starts on Monday – with our TA conference – even though classes proper start on Thursday. This is the last day of summer, and it’s just a little sad.
Some new years goals:
I have decided I am a person riddled with insecurities, about my personality, my intelligence, and almost every other thing under the sun. Not that this is any revelation to anyone that knows me. Grad school does not help these insecurities – period. The environment isn’t designed for someone like me and I have decided I must consciously adapt. So goal one, all important, is to work against my insecure tendencies. I made it here and I can do this, and it will work out simply splendidly - period. Goal two is to start thinking of myself as a historian. (This goes hand-in-hand with goal one, I guess.) There is a third goal: I will no longer mentally make excuses for myself. Excuses are for wusses. Michael Benson’s recent post has reminded me exactly why I’m here. When I get bogged down in the millions of things and mini-stresses, I forget that I love this. This is fun – I laugh out loud at times, or my forehead will get all creased, when I'm reading books. What a good life, to be able to read these books as a living. The trees are tall, but on those rare occasions when I manage to climb one, I can see the forest.
Coffee will be my medicine – pulling me through.
I also reconfigured my room to start fresh. Last year I over-read in my room, hit a breaking point, and could not concentrate there anymore. Now I have it configured in a fabulous way that is colorful and bright, saturated and partitioned, and simply perfect. My friend Kristi said it looks like all it needs is a harem. I got more pillows (now I have six, and yes, I use all of them). The television has been officially banished to the living room. And the refrigerator is stocked full of raw ingredients, bell peppers to tofu to tortillas to cilantro, and cooking will be the name of the game. Anindita has agreed to teach me to cook Indian food once every two weeks (my mom is sending spices) and I have put myself on a strict financial budget of $50 a month for frivolities like eating out, going to the movies, and buying snacks.
Coffee purchases have an unlimited slush fund to draw from.
To end I would like to quote a very wise movie, because it just seems appropriate – and keeps me going through the worst of times: tomorrow is a new day… with no mistakes in it… yet.
Good luck everyone on getting psyched for the new school year.
Why go to College?
This is going to be the beginning of a two part series on the topic of what to get from an undergraduate education. In this first section, I’m going to suggest that most people don’t think hard enough about what they want from their education. In the second section I’m going to give specific advice for a) the student who has a good record after high school and b) for the student who has a bad record after high school.
Most people are told to go to college for one simple reason—money. Lots of statistic will be shown to indicate the a college education will put you on to a path of being rich, powerful and happy, while failing to attend college will force you to live out of the back seat of a Ford Pinto. Students are told that a paycheck will follow college, and high school is necessary for college. Follow the rules and get rich!
First, I’d ask how much money do you want and how badly do you want it? It’s not uncommon for driven people to work 80 hours of their week. Is it worth it to you to spend all your time doing a job you hate in order to have a few more bucks the couple hours a week you actually get to enjoy it?
Second, if you really want to be super rich following all the rules is probably not going to get you there. Your college education is likely to matter very little, so there is no need to be fancy about it. You are going to need lots of luck, lots of ambition, and a willingness to take big risks. That includes dropping out of school when the opportunity presents itself.
But is there some other reason to go to college? Yes. You could go to college to get an education
! I know it sounds strange, but in college they have people called professors and things called books. These are designed to impart knowledge. The unexamined life…
I can honestly say that the education I received has absolutely changed my view of reality. There is a whole world of thought out there just waiting for eager minds to tap it. Going to school as a hurdle to future success is unlikely to help you discover this world. Rather, it’s likely to make you view every class as a game to be defeated towards a slip of paper. You will spend your early twenties, postponing your life rather than living it. That’s a bad position to be in.
But, if you go to school to learn, nearly every assignment will be engaging and interesting. The challenges will be their own rewards. I encourage you to think hard about what it is you want from life. Knowledge isn’t everything, but neither is money.
Malkin, Racism and Profiling
Chris Bray has said that Michelle Malkin “drank from a poisoned well,” by gleaning her argument from the research of racists. I intend to make his argument more concrete. Malkin’s reading of evidence is similar to the way Dwight Murphey has read evidence both on sabotage and internment and on lynching. The deeply flawed way Murphey reads the evidence, leads one to conclude that his methodology must be informed by racism or he must be extremely naïve. Malkin makes exactly the same mistake on internment that Murphey makes both on internment and lynching. This mistake informs most of her analysis and in the end undercuts her argument for “reasonable” profiling measures today. How can we trust the advocates of profiling measures to be “reasonable” when they fall victim to pseudo-academic and racist propaganda?
I’m not calling Malkin a racist. Indeed my argument presupposes that she isn’t. What makes the point so devastating for the profiling position is that she has fallen prey to the mistakes of racism without being racist herself
. She demonstrates that otherwise reasonable people are easily influenced by the propaganda surrounding race.
Any serious historian must in the course of their analysis engage in serious questioning of their documents. What kinds of biases are built into a particular source? Who is recorded in this document and whose views are left out? How was the document produced? These are just some of the questions one must ask when reading a document.
For illustration, party sources during Stalin’s dekulakization campaign (which starved 4 million people to death) are going to complain about the figure of the kulak. The kulak they will say is undermining the process of collectivization, a process that will be good for all of Russian society including the peasants. It would be a mistake to infer from this that a) the kulak (a supposedly bourgeoisie peasant) existed or that b) resistance was due to false consciousness created by kulaks. When one reads these documents, one must understand the bias inherent in them, and try to adjust for it.
Dwight Murphey doesn’t appear to do this in his book on lynching. I say appear, because my library doesn’t carry his book (the press that published it isn’t very good—more on that in a bit) so I’m relying on a review. According to the reviewer:
It is easy to lose sight of another important aspect of lynching – that it was by no means random killing but punishment for specific crimes. Many participants knew the accused and could determine his guilt. Even opponents of lynching rarely argued that the victims were innocent; only that courts rather than mobs should enforce the law and that lynch mobs could commit unspeakable cruelties.
Of course, historians of lynching know that African Americans were almost always accused of a crime, quite frequently the rape of a white woman, before the lynching began. It’s a major logical leap to conclude that either a) the rape actually occurred or that b) the supposed rapist being lynched was actually the guilty party rather than who the community wanted
to be guilty. The closeness of the relationships within communities would tend to create more not less prejudice as jealousy over successful blacks who didn’t “stay in their place” was frequent. In short that conclusion only follows if we take the evidence at face value, ignoring all the problems with it, and ignoring other evidence (like the context of racism).
Why would Murphey (and his reviewer) be so dense as to argue for such a reading? One answer is that they are both incompetent. Another (perhaps not exclusive) possibility is that they are predisposed to believe such a reading. The group that published Murphey’s book, the Council for Social and Economic Studies is listed
right next to American Renaissance where the review is published by the Southern Poverty Law center for web sites that legitimate racist thinking. The center has a full article featuring American Renaissance. The Southern Poverty Law Centersummarizes
an article by Richard Lynn:
Blacks are not only less intelligent than other races, Lynn asserted, but also "more psychopathic." Putting a new twist on the "science" that once supported slavery, Lynn concluded that because of their "psychopathic personalities," blacks are more aggressive than other races, less able to form long-term relationships, and more sexually promiscuous, reckless and prone to lying.
If Murphey believes that African Americans were pre-disposed to rape, he might very well take the evidence at face value, and ignore previous scholarship that doesn’t share his assumptions.
The argument for internment rests crucially on the MAGIC cables. These cables were decrypted transmissions sent from consulates back to Japan. There are a number of potential problems with these cables:
1) It’s not clear which, if any cables, relating to domestic sabotage the key figures were reading and when.
2) Those responsible for recruiting spies tend to exaggerate their progress. The cables are very vague as to what exactly has been done. Consequently, it seems likely that vaguely positive language like the statement that “we will continue to keep contact” with the Nisei is purposefully evasive for the purpose of seeming to do more than is actually being done.
3) These documents were all translated, and obviously any translation ought to be checked, particularly if the entire argument rests on the veracity of that translation.
4) They are not consistent with the rest of the evidence we have including the lack documented acts of sabotage and by the lack documents found in the archives in Japan outlining American espionage and sabotage organizations.
Yet Malkin chooses to ignore these problems. She reads the MAGIC cables just like Murphey reads accusations of rape. She reads them uncritically and without substantial evidence from other documents (other than a few anecdotes). She neglects to inform the reader of the massively documented racism at the time, and she fails to address previous scholarship in a meaningful way.
These errors combine to produce her factually inaccurate contention that internment was “not based primarily on racism and wartime hysteria.” I don’t have space to entirely debunk that claim here, but luckily Eric Muller and Greg Robinson have already done so more than adequately
But remember her larger goal is to convince people like me who are on the fence about the issue of profiling that it is in fact sensible. I worry that race is a category we have a tendency to abuse and consequently I wonder if I can trust those who want to use it to do so responsibly.
Malkin has managed to convince herself that the eviction and incarceration of 112,000 Japanese Americans was a legitimate use of profiling. She has done so by mimicking the arguments published by racist organizations. She has done so by reading the evidence in a way that doesn’t bear close scrutiny. She has done all of this without being a racist. She has done this despite apparently being intelligent.
Can I trust someone like Malkin to responsibly profile? If I can’t trust her, whom can I trust?
first in a series
Before Michelle Malkin, there were Keith Robar, Lillian Baker, Roger McGrath, David Lowman, and Dwight Murphey. In the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting short excerpts from the work of folks who broke trail for Michelle "W.J." Malkin's In Defense of Internment
. Today's lucky winner is...Keith Robar
. (Audience claps politely.) Take it away, Keith:
Preparing three meals a day for a large family month after month was a heavy burden for the Japanese housewife. Mess halls were the answer to a prayer for her. Nitpickers tell us that the practice of communal dining resulted in breaking family ties, and, in addition, they never pass up a chance to make disparaging remarks about the food. Family ties probably were "loosened" a wee bit, and that was very likely a "plus" as the Issei family heads were inclined to be a bit autocratic. Food served in the relocation dining centers was raised, prepared and served entirely by the evacuees themselves. That should have given the critics a clue as to where to direct their finger pointing.
-- Keith Robar, Intelligence, Internment, & Relocation: Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066: How Top Secret 'MAGIC' Intelligence Led to Evacuation
(Seattle: Kikar Publications, 2000). Pg 125.
Fascinating! But what about the barbed wire?
The Still Pictures branch of the National Archives has about 3,500 photos of the then relocation centers filed in thirteen large boxes. Several of these prints are included to show that the fences to which the Japanese objected were simply the three-strand cattle fences found all over the United States. AJA ["Americans of Japanese ancestry"] might have had a case had the fences been designed to confine people, six feet high and topped with razor wire. As it is, however, our Japanese friends come across as nit-picking whiners, willing to go to any length to make the rest of the nation feel guilty. Fortunately a few people with personal knowledge of conditions have recorded their observations on the barbed wire issue.
People go under, over, or through the wire. The wire nonsense has become a rallying cry or buzz word and one is expected to have an emotional fit when they hear the term "barbed wire." At that point all thinking stops. Without the fencing to control the cattle herds the citizens in the relocation centers would really have had something to complain about. If just one barefooot youngster had had the misfortune to step up to his ankles in a fresh one you can bet the evacuees would be screaming at the center administration for fencing.
Enjoyably, Robar frames that narrative with a terrific opener: "AJA preoccupation with barbed wire is an obsession." And what does that tell us? It could only lead to this, of course: "Remember what Adolf said? Present your own side of the story in the best possible light -- and repeat often!"
Coming later this week, when I feel like typing it: The Vast Japanese Conspiracy to manipulate Congress and the media...People with suspiciously Japanese-sounding names go to work for the committee investigating internment...A commission member is revealed to have once spoken to a group that was once (in 1953!) said to have communists in it...Another commission member is revealed to be a Jew...and Japanese-Americans at hearings of the commission are revealed to have been "completely out of control, a ravening mob
In a future episode, Lillian Baker reveals that the Reagan White House was stuffed full of radical leftist, politically correct minions of the Vast Japanese Conspiracy!
All this and more! Stay tuned!
noted without comment. well, okay, maybe with a tiny little comment.
Maybe they could start a fan club
This post goes out to all my homies taking the US field (qualifying) exam as we speak. 8 hours. 20 -40 pages typed. 3 centuries. 2 questions. no books or notes. a lot of adrenaline.
ROCK ON! Only 6 more hours to go... only 6 more hours...
my letter to the us "news" and world report editor
John Leo can't have the vaguest knowledge of history if he believes
that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed "most of the U.S. fleet," leaving the Pacific Ocean "a Japanese pond."
The Navy offers this information
on the attack. Visit that page, and you learn that there were more than 90 ships anchored at Pearl Harbor, and 21 were damaged or destroyed. "American technological skill," the Navy site explains, "raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor." Among the three ships not recovered were the USS Oklahoma, "raised and considered too old to be worth repairing," and the "obsolete" USS Utah, "considered not worth the effort." One hundred and eighty-eight aircraft were destroyed -- a serious loss, but nowhere near crippling to a nation with the industrial capacity of the United States.
Most significantly, the Navy reports, the "Japanese success was overwhelming, but it was not complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which by a stroke of luck, had been absent from the harbor. They neglected to damage the shoreside facilities at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, which played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II."
After the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, an Army report
explains, the Imperial Japanese Navy then "dispatched large forces to seize the Philippines, Malaya, and the Netherlands East Indies and prepar[ed] plans for new bases from which to strike Australia and India." And the U.S. military knew exactly what the Japanese Navy was doing, since the U.S. had broken Japan's codes. The only attack of any significance on the western United States was an attack on the Aleutian Islands, which was met -- to go back to the Navy report -- with task force of "5 cruisers, 14 destroyers, and 6 submarines." This was, you'll note on the Navy website, the task force assembled for one of the Pacific Fleet's second-priority missions.
Compare the description offered by the Navy and the Army to the picture painted by John Leo: the Pacific Fleet destroyed, the west coast undefended, and the Japanese Navy bent on attacking the west coast.
Pure, ahistorical, unsupported fantasy. Like everything else in Mr. Leo's column. A correction, and an apology, are warranted.
Fall has arrived.
When getting out of my car in Los Angeles an hour ago, I felt a gust of wind, I heard the rustling of trees, I saw brown leaves twirl on grey concrete in the first steps of their season-opening dance. This summer the air hasn't rustled anything for as long as I can remember -- not palm leaves nor my hair. Ensconced in my bedroom I can still hear the schwish of an Eastern wind which must've errantly made its way here. Surely I know this is a sign of some malevolent natural disaster to come... Earthquake, thunderstorm, tempest... But now, now I feel safe, miniscule, innocent, young. I am transported into a time where even I didn't live, with cobblestone streets and yellow-glassed and dirty gaslamps in Boston, where a few months later T.S. Eliot could have written his Preludes. The faint whisper of pumpkin pie calls and my anxious stomach churns in concert with this false memory. It has been caramelized, this memory, a feeling which never existed; there were no Cokes or failed harddrives or even Los Angeleses. Only small towns and tall trees, and a single candle resting in a jack-o-lantern casting comforting shadows as it flickers barely out-of-sync with the aperiodic whooshes. And cast a few stars in the sky.
Maybe I do miss home a little.
I want this
why hasn't anyone been fired yet?
couldn't be any more clear. (Requires free registration
Nothing is Made Well
the mind of a malkinite
Over at Eric Muller's blog
, steadfast Michelle Malkin supporter W.J. Hopwood derides
another poster for mentioning Fred Korematsu
-- and explains the sickening truth about this perfidious Japanese:
That's right, boys, them bastards was tryin' to sex up our womenfolk.
Korematsu defied the evacuation mandate, not because of personal conviction about civil rights, but because the order got in the way of his romance with a Caucasian woman whom he planned to marry.
String 'em up, Sheriff Hopwood.
and then there are these...
More pre-Malkin revisionist books
Baker, Lillian, American and Japanese Relocation in World War II; Fact, Fiction & Fallacy, Webb Research Group, Medford, 1990.
Baker, Lillian, The "japanning" of America: Redress & Reparations Demands by Japanese Americans, Webb Research Group, Medford, 1990.
Baker, Lillian, Preface by Kiyoaki Murata, Dishonoring America: The Falsification of World War II History, Webb Research Group, Medford, 1994.
after original post...)
Baker, Lillian, Concentration Camp Conspiracy: A Second Pearl Harbor, Afha Pubns, 1987
(another addition; this book
, by the author of this article
[byline at bottom] also includes a chapter on internment):
Murphey, Dwight D., The Dispossession of the American Indians - & Other Key Issues in American History, Scott-Townsend Publishers, August 1, 1995.
In a comment below, Joe points (thanks!) to a useful Mother Jones story
that describes Lillian Baker and discusses some favorite themes of internment revision:
Most Japanese Americans were never forced into the camps -- they received a "government invitation to sit out the war in a Relocation Center."
Barbed-wire fences around the camps were strung up to "keep out the neighboring farmers' cows" and armed guard towers were used only as lookout sites for dangerous brush fires.
The camps were so nice that East Coast Japanese Americans unaffected by the West Coast "relocation" were clamoring to get in.
pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
After a week of substantive criticism regarding her arguments of military necessity and German/Italian equivalence to Japanese-American internment, Michelle Malkin breaks a long silence on her internment narrative...
...with this deeply lame non-sequitur.
curiouser and curiouser
Michelle Malkin's In Defense of Internment
was released in August.
Curiously, though, one reader managed to review it in July
, -- a guy named "Bob," a well-familiar name to people who've been reading the comment threads on law school professor and legal historian Eric Muller's blog
posts about internment. If you click on the link to that July review from "Bob," note that "Bob" manages, right at the top, to link twice to the Athena Press
-- publisher of, yes, a book on the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War. (Notice also that there's no reason to believe that "Bob" had read the book; his "review" is a long rant about internment and politically correct academics, and doesn't say a word about the content of Malkin's book.)
In any case, the other book was written by David Lowman
, also an internment apologist (and a former intelligence analyst) who also uses MAGIC intercepts to make his case. Interestingly enough, the left-wing, mainstream media was reporting on David Lowman and the MAGIC intercepts kind of a long time ago (emphasis added):
The New York Times, May 22, 1983
1941 CABLES BOASTED OF JAPANESE-AMERICAN SPYING
By CHARLES MOHR, Special to the New York Times
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, May 20
Before interning 120,000 Japanese-American citizens and alien residents in World War II, President Roosevelt and some of his top advisers may have seen decoded Japanese diplomatic cables boasting that ethnic Japanese had been ''utilized'' for espionage, according to a former intelligence official.
David Lowman, a retired special assistant to the director of the National Security Agency, said the diplomatic cables intercepted and decoded by American cryptanalysts in 1941 might not have justified the relocation and internment for more than two years in grim internment camps of Japanese-American citizens and resident Japanese aliens living on the West Coast.
"I doubt that it does justify it," Mr. Lowman said. But he said he believed the evidence cast doubt on the fairness and judgment of the recently established Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.
The nine-member commission, created by Congress, said in its first report in February that Roosevelt had political and racial motives in approving the internment, that officials were influenced by ''war hysteria,'' and that there had been no military necessity and no valid intelligence information to justify the relocating.
The commission is to report June 22 on its recommendations on possible financial compensation for about 80,000 internment camp survivors and their families. Some Japanese-American organizations have asked for billions of dollars in compensation.
'No One Knew for Certain'
Mr. Lowman, who in the 1970's worked on the declassification and publication of the decoded Japanese cables, said that Roosevelt, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and a handful of other officials were on the limited distribution list of the cable traffic.
"Anyone reading this flow of messages during 1941 could easily conclude that thousands of resident Japanese were being organized into subversive organizations," Mr. Lowman said. "Today we know that the Japanese Government misjudged the loyalty of Japanese Americans completely. But at that time no one knew for certain."
Another apologist with a book on internment, Keith Robar, also uses MAGIC cables to make his case. Robar's been at it for a long time, too. Like Malkin, he also thumps on the themes of "pro-Japanese Kibei" and the equivalence of German and Italian detentions to that of Japanese-Americans:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 12, 1990
Please acknowledge a gross error appearing in the Aug. 27 story regarding California Assemblyman Gil Ferguson's Japanese-American relocation resolution. Quoting the article: "However, no one of European descent was interned in camps." In reality, before the war ended the FBI had arrested and interned 1,225 Germans and 367 Italians, sometimes even in the same camps.
In fact, a man named Arthur Jacobs is plaintiff in a U.S. District Court suit now pending which would enjoin the federal government from paying $20,000 to Japanese-Americans relocated to camps during World War II. Jacobs, as the 12-year-old son of German-Americans, was interned with his parents at Crystal City, Texas, alongside Italian-Americans and Japanese-Americans. Jacobs claims that Public Law 100-383, the "Japanese money bill," violates terms of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which guarantees equal application of the law, by not redressing him and his class.
The Seattle Times, August 19, 1996
The Aug. 2 Times editorial appears to include several misstatements of fact. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 was an exclusion order only and was held by the Supreme Court to be a legitimate exercise of the presidential war powers. No Japanese American was "summarily arrested" under this act.
Was the evacuation "based solely on their ethnicity?" Of course. The Japanese navy was expected to attack somewhere along the Pacific Coast momentarily and General DeWitt did not need a potential 5th column of thousands of disloyal ethnic Japanese in his rear as well. About 7,200 members of Zaibei Heimusai and 4,800 members of the Imperial Comradeship Society had pledged to do sabotage, specializing in railroads and harbors and several thousand fanatically pro-Japanese Kibei were also ready to cut our throats. Our intelligence services were keeping a number of other subversive organizations under surveillance as well.
To say, as you did, that the order was absurdly unconstitutional is simply absurd. Editors do not determine constitutionality. The Supreme Court does and did, in four World War II cases. At least you are correct in observing that "there was a war going on." You might have added that we were losing at the time and the issue was in doubt for some time. All actions taken by the government at the time must be evaluated on the basis that they were wartime measures and would have been unthinkable in peacetime.
Our constitutional rights are precious, but you must first have a country in which to exercise those rights.
A few tentative thoughts. First, Michelle Malkin is clearly peddling some old goods in a new, flashier package. She's not the first person to write about MAGIC decrypts -- the New York Times
beat her by twenty-one years -- and she's clearly advancing a story, and an agenda, that a few people in particular have been circulating for a very long time.
Malkin proudly says that she researched and wrote her book in a little over a year, and apparently as one item on a very long list
Guess what? I had my second child while I was writing this book and the columns, and celebrated my 11th wedding anniversary, and baked cookies every now and then, and managed to go fishing every once in a while. Impossible? Not when you have made a living in daily journalism the past 12 years and are used to real-world deadlines.
And I have a pretty good sense of why it was such easy work.
You can buy Malkin's book. Or you can buy the old ones from Robar and Lowman -- overlooking Lowman's statement of doubt in 1983, I suppose. (At least Lowman is capable of experiencing doubt.)
But the thing that's finally most interesting is that, while Malkin is making a cut-and-paste version of the books by Robar and Lowman, both of those folks long ago offered information, very publicly, that brings the whole project into clear relief.
Lowman said, in 1983, that "Today we know that the Japanese Government misjudged the loyalty of Japanese Americans completely." His subsequent claim, that "at that time no one knew for certain," is not totally unreasonable, given the qualifier for certain
, but is (I'm repeating myself
) easy to complicate
. (Just keep scrolling down when you click on that last link -- there are five consecutive posts that are germane.)
Robar said, in 1990, that the FBI during the war the "had arrested and interned 1,225 Germans and 367 Italians, sometimes even in the same camps." I don't think he got the numbers right
, but they're close enough to make the point: German and Italian enemy aliens
were arrested and interned for cause, in limited numbers
were taken from their homes en masse, 112,000 of them.
Not hard to understand, unless you're trying to pump up a desperately thin book with a self-consciously controversial argument.
and a urine-stained bathrobe
testing the malkin narrative
Michelle Malkin likes to note that Germans and Italians faced domestic internment by the U.S. government during the Second World War. In the politically correct academy, the story goes, the leftist professors only want you to hear about the Japanese who were thrown into camps; if they mentioned the Europeans, it would damage the story they want to tell about race and America.
For anyone who wants to test that argument, I recommend a set of documentary sources that should be widely available at research libraries across the country: German-Americans in the World Wars
, edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann (München: K.G. Saur, 1995).
Right now I'm looking through Volume 4, Section 1, Part 1. a few things worth noting:
1) There are a number of documents from 1941 -- well before
December 7th -- in which officials in the Justice Department, including FBI officials, discuss the likelihood that war is coming. In light of the expected
conflict, they have begun preparing lists of people who they suspect of harboring dangerous sympathies for Axis powers. See the telegram from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to regional SACs, hand-dated June 15, 1940, on page 1523, for example, or the memorandum from Hoover to Assistant to the Attorney General Matthew McGuire, on the next two pages. The government knew that war was likely, for a year before it came at the very least; they suspected that there might be Axis spies and saboteurs among the domestic population; and they were hunting them carefully long before war broke out. Having carefully prepared lists of suspected spies and saboteurs, the government used the blunt tool of mass detention only on Japanese-Americans, but not
on German-Americans or Italian-Americans, who were arrested and interned on individual suspicion of Axis sympathies or activities. Individual arrests were possible in all groups, but mass detention was used for one and not the others.
2) On December 15, 1941, targeted arrests were well underway. A Border Patrol memorandum from that date lists the number of arrests made so far for three groups: Germans, 874 arrests; Italians, 126 arrests; Japanese, 1065. (The memo appears on page 1572.) Targeted, careful detentions, for reasons of military necessity
, were well underway. Potential spies and saboteurs were being located and arrested -- as they should have been. No one in the academy, at least that I know of, complains about these arrests for cause.
3) But Germans and Italians were ultimately targeted in very different ways than Japanese, despite being handled the same way for the first three months after Pearl Harbor. On page 1577, see the Justice Department memorandum listing detention numbers: Germans, 1243; Japanese, 1206; Italians, 235. More or less equivalent treatment, on the same basis.
And then something changed, yeah? The volume I'm describing provides copy after copy after copy of detention memoranda; figures for German and Italian internees remain fairly steady. The Japanese appear alongside the Italians and Germans, and then begin to disappear from the later pages of the volume -- because the government began to treat them differently, and started a new bureaucracy to do so.
4) There's also a terrific document that appears on 1874-1876: the minutes of a meeting held by prisoner spokesmen at a detention camp for enemy aliens on June 8, 1943. Sample item: "Detainee musicians are of the opinion that the pianos need tuning again."
A handwritten note scribbled on the final page: "Clay for Tennis Courts -- will probably be available about 6/16/43 -- CMB is attending to it."
I don't want to make too much of this, but it's funny to see on the page. Uh, sir? The enemy aliens are complaining about the piano tuner again.
5.) Finally, let's put this thing to rest. Turning to another book, the 1943 "final report" on Japanese internment prepared by the office of General J.L. DeWitt (reprinted by Arno Press, New York, 1978), we find a memorandum on pages 27-9 in which Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy provides legal guidance to DeWitt about how to implement Executive Order 9066. Page 28 lists categories into which detainees (and a final set of people who should not be detained) be grouped:
Class 1 Japanese Aliens
Class 2 American Citizens of Japanese Lineage
Class 3 German Aliens
Class 4 Italian Aliens
Class 5 Any persons, whether citizens or aliens, who are suspected for any reason by you, or your responsible subordinates, of being actually or potentially dangerous either as saboteurs, espionage agents, fifth-columnists, or subversive persons.
Class 6 All other persons who are, or who may be within the Western Defense Command.
Notice that there's a category specifically for "American Citizens of Japanese Lineage," but no category for "American Citizens of German Lineage" or "American Citizens of Italian Lineage."
This is not a close call. Japanese-Americans were treated much, much differently. Period.
"an enemy race"
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEFENSE COMMAND AND FOURTH ARMY
Presidio of San Francisco, California
Office of the Commanding General
February 14, 1942
Memorandum For: The Secretary of War, (Thru: The Commanding General, Field Forces, Washington, D.C.)
The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become "Americanized", the racial strains are undiluted. To conclude otherwise is to expect that children born of white parents on Japanese soil sever all racial affinity and become loyal Japanese subjects, ready to fight and, if necessary, to die for Japan in a war against the nation of their parents. That Japan is allied with Germany and Japan in this struggle is no ground for assuming that any Japanese, barred from assimilation by convention as he is, though born and raised in the United States, will not turn against this nation when the final test of loyalty comes. It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.
-- Appears in General J.L. DeWitt's Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942
. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943. Reprinted by Arno Press, New York, 1978. (33-4) Emphasis added; excerpted from section (2) of the memorandum.
A last huzzah
I'm going to Berkeley this weekend with my friend Ben from college. We leave tomorrow at dawn. (I think.) I miss my friends up there.
Right now, as this hot and windless summer transitions into fall, I'm getting nervous for my American History friends -- they have all been studying uberhard this summer for their qualifier exam (September 22nd). My nervousness is exacerbated because I see them in me. I will be taking my exams in a few months.
My desk is cluttered and will have be cleaned before school starts. Printer ink, two mix CDs, a few books, tons of printouts, my personal organizer. I've created this alcove in my room to house my desk, but it gets hot back here without air circulation. It's hard to imagine spending hours here, tap tap tapping away on the keyboard, but I'm not claustrophobic, and I'm not going to be terrified of school. I've never been that way before and it won't start now. Rock on.
I started this new book (Science at the Bar
). I'm only a couple chapters in, but so far I am enthralled in the subject matter. I've wondered how courts do their finding of fact when it involves science matters (both civil and criminal) -- and so far, this book has been pretty illuminating on that front. The book has begun to trace changes in the courts as technology advances -- and I hope it continues the process of rooting the analyses historically.
I am excited to read Bush's and Kerry's response to the questions posed by Nature
when I return from my trip. I have a feeling that the responses will be general (there was a strict word limit) and in many cases, ambiguous. And, I guess, reading between the lines, generally the same.
My next book will be a Bancroft winner, I think (The Origins of the Urban Crisis
, by Thomas Sugrue). I still have to finish Constructing Quarks
by Andrew Pickering, though. Decisions, decisions. My opinion of those as they come along. And I still have 300 pages to go in the latest book to be unjustly attacked by the New York Times (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell
). I don't agree with the reviewer at all -- but to each her own. Taste can be a funny thing.
Friends will be returning in the next week or so and hopefully my life will revert to a state of academic normalcy. As much as I'm terrified, I can't wait.
So this movie I made a long time ago is apparently going to be finished. Finally my friends have put their buts in gear. If we put it online I'll like it from here (just so all 4 readers know).
not that racism had anything to do with the reasoning behind internment
"Because of the ties of race, the intense feelings of filial piety and the strong bonds of common tradition, culture, and customs, this population presented a tightly-knit racial group. It included in excess of 115,000 persons deployed along the Pacific Coast. Whether by design or accident, virtually always their communities were adjacent to very vital shore installations, war plants, etc. While it is believed that some were loyal, it was known that many were not. To complicate the situation no ready means existed for determining the loyal and the disloyal with any degree of safety. It was necessary to face the realities -- a positive determination could not have been made.
"It could not be established, of course, that the locations of thousands of Japanese adjacent to strategic points verified the existence of some vast conspiracy to which all of them were parties. Some of them doubtless resided there through mere coincidence. It seemed equally beyond doubt, however, that the presence of others were not mere coincidence. It was difficult to explain the situation in Santa Barbara County, for example, by coincidence alone.
"Throughout the Santa Maria Valley in that County, including the cities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe, every utility, air field, bridge, telephone and power line or other facility of importance was flanked by the Japanese." --
General J.L. DeWitt, Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943. Reprinted by Arno Press, New York, 1978. (9)
Hard to argue with evidence like that, isn't it? They're a tight-knit race. And it doesn't seem like a coincidence that they live near a bridge and some phone lines.
Well, hell. You got me. Round 'em up.
beating the dead horse
...because the jockey keeps refusing to believe that she can't still ride it.
Just keep scrolling down.
Malkin and Conservatism
Conservatives ought to think very carefully before endorsing Malkin’s book and her basic argument. Deceptively it wraps a position deeply at odds with much conservative commentary in patriotic garb. For an illustration here is a comment by Kristjan Wager (whose politics, liberal or conservative I do not know) from isthatlegal
I think Richard is right in his argument that you need to dismiss Malkin's whole point - that there could be any reasonable cause for internment of people who haven't committed any crime (or treasonable act), and who haven't been charged, much less convicted, of any crimminal act.
If you do that, you not only commit a grave injustice, you also go against the morale, and legal, premisses the Western World is based on.
This is precisely this position that Malkin would castigate as “civil rights absolutism,” a clever phrase that cloaks the rejection of the core values of many conservatives.
F. A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom
worried that increasing statism in Western Democracies would undermine freedom in the Western World. He was at the beginning of the so-called totalitarian thesis that viewed Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany as flip sides to the same coin. By losing sight of constitutional individual rights these critics warned, the West could wind up looking truly terrible indeed. Andrzej Walicki made the point very forcefully in his historical assault on Marxism entitled Marxisn and the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom
It is well known that the most inhuman policies, including genocide, can be implemented by resorting to scientific methods, or can even be legitimized by invoking the authority of “science,” as happened with the Soviet dictatorship. “Scientific Marxism” could be used (and was used by Stalin) to warn that excessive zeal in implementing the policy of “dekulakization” might prove counterproductive; at the same time, however, it provided this same policy with a quite convincing "scientific” justification. The only safeguard against tyranny is the institutionalization of the rule of law…
(emphasis added p. 383)
Scientific management of the economy to the detriment of individual rights would undermine the very basis of freedom, so the argument went. Dekulakization, it should be remembered, in fact starved 4 million peasants to death supposedly in the service of some greater good. Individual rights must temper the desire for greater goods, lest that desire slide off into insanity. This idea has sat at the core of much conservative (and even some liberal) thinking since the Cold War.
Remember now that Malkin has chosen to defend racial profiling by defending internment.
Her argument (based on flawed evidence) is that the greater good of the whole populace demanded the abrogation of the individual rights of some of the population. The state's desire to strip 112,000 people of property and liberty could be justified by the greater good of the war effort. And let’s remember this was at a time when the invading armies were far (more than five thousand miles in fact) from the gate. Malkin has even concede that the probability of invasion was “low.”
She could have argued that racial profiling is not a violation of individual rights. But she has here cut herself off from such a position. Rather she has argued that individual rights should not be absolute. Which, in my view, is just another way of saying that they are not rights but temporary privliges that can be taken away for the good of the nation. This is a coherent position. It’s also a position that is uncomfortably close, not to Hayek and free market conservatism, but to fascism.
Those who would disagree with her she brands as civil rights absolutists. Yet I think, before being frightened at the word “absolutist” one might ask whether they consider these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…
new(ish) scholarship pleasing yes
"sublime insanity" and the defense of internment
During the Cold War, and in the unstable geopolitical climate since the Cold War came to an end, scholars of military strategy have studied an important question regarding deterrence and weapons of mass destruction: a rational actor can be prevented from an attack by the threat of massive retaliation -- but how do you deter a non-rational actor?
Looking for examples of recklessly irrational military behavior, analysts turn to an interesting example. Here are the opening paragraphs of an essay by Scott D. Sagan
, "The Origins of the Pacific War," which appeared in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History in the Spring of 1988 (available through JSTOR):
"Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad," declared Congressman Hamilton Fish on December 8, 1941, the day after infamy. Minutes before, Franklin D. Roosevelt had asked Congress to declare war on the nation that had just launched the "unprovoked and dastardly" attack on Pearl Harbor, and Fish, an ardent isolationist, rose to support the president's request. "The Japanese," he said, "have gone stark, raving mad, and have, by their unprovoked attack[,] committed military, naval, and national suicide."
Although others did not quote the classics, this madness theme was echoed throughout American newspapers that day: "sublime insanity," declared the New York Times; "the act of a mad dog," the Los Angeles Times announced; "an insane adventure that for fatalistic abandon is unsurpassed in the history of the world," argued the Philadelphia Inquirer. In December 1941, most observers agreed with Winston Churchill's statement that, since American military potential vastly outweighed Japan's, the Tokyo government's decision to go to war was "difficult to reconcile...with prudence, or even sanity." (ellipsis Sagan's)
Here's a little more detail from the New York Times editorial that ran on page 22 of that newspaper on December 8, 1941:
Whether Japan has yielded at last to pressure from Hitler, who has obviously wished for many months to deflect American power from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or whether this is primarily and essentially an independent Japanese adventure, launched by a military clique in Tokyo whose powers of self-deception now rise to a state of sublime insanity, we cannot know until events have given more perspective. It is possible that the second hypothesis is the more credible one -- since Hitler, much as he may wish to direct our attention to the Pacific, can scarcely desire at this time the open and formal entrance of the United States into a war which will certainly and automatically find us openly and formally at war with Germany as well before that war is finished. These are conjectures of great interest and importance. But they do not count in the face of explosive facts. The only thing that matters now is that a deliberate attempt has been made by an enemy Power to destroy the defenses of America.
To that we will reply. We will reply with our full force, without panic and without losing sight of our objectives. We will make war upon Japan and we will put an end to these interminable and unbearable threats of Japanese aggression. But in making war on Japan we will not overestimate the ability of Japan to do us harm; we will not mistake the lesser danger for the greater danger, and we will not forget that Hitler, and not Tokyo, is the greatest threat to our security. The real battle of our times will not be fought in the Far East. It will be fought on the English Channel. We can count on our government to recognize this fact. We can count on it to plan a strategy of war which takes account of the imperative necessity of maintaining an uninterrupted flow of strength to the main battlefront in Europe. If Hitler is smashed, the situation in the Far East will take care of itself automatically. But if Hitler wins in Europe, we shall be in deadly danger, even if we have crushed Japan.
So how much of a threat did Japan, with its terrifying fifth column of Japanese-Americans (who didn't actually attack anything or anyone, and later reported dutifully for removal and internment), threaten the country?
Here's a final hint. The historian Roger McGrath has written about the internment in terms that would be well familiar to Michelle Malkin; six months before her book came out, McGrath published an essay
that may as well have been the Reader's Digest version: "What MAGIC reveals is stunning: hundreds of resident Japanese were acting as spies, feeding information to Japan."
But McGrath has also written
about his own World War II childhood on the coast of California:
Unless somebody was alive at the time and old enough to appreciate the event, or knows someone who was, it is difficult for anyone today to understand the fury and rage that swept through America after the initial shock wore off. On the Pacific Coast, fear of a Japanese invasion was widespread. For many Californians, during the early months of 1942, it was not if but when and where. In Pacific Palisades, where my family lived, men and boys, carrying deer rifles and shotguns, patrolled the bluffs, night and day, and scanned the beaches and the sea for Japanese submarines and landing craft. Other men patrolled the streets at night, checking for light leaking from blackout curtains.
Nations that expect to be attacked on the coast don't send kids out to the bluffs with dad's rabbit gun. If the government had genuinely expected, based upon MAGIC decrypts, that "submarines and landing craft" were coming in an invasion that would be supported by a fifth column, then real soldiers, with real weapons of war, would have been dug in along the coast -- supported by artillery, above beaches clogged with heavy obstacles. McGrath, an internment defender, tells us that everybody knew the Japanese were coming, and the MAGIC decrypts told top officials that the Japanese were preparing a fifth column attack in support, and boys with shotguns stood ready to keep the Japanese from taking Brentwood. Birdshot does wonders against landing craft.
There was, in short, fear in the streets. Popular sentiment -- popular hysteria, wholly understandable and wholly unsupported -- was that the Japanese were a threat to California and the entire western coast. I'll take McGrath at his word: fury and rage swept through America.
The government knew better. And Michelle Malkin should have known better.
Perhaps historians should also be studying how they can deter non-rational actors.
cognitive dissonance (cont.)
Let's edit out all the middle stuff, and review just the first and last paragraphs of a story
from today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer (emphasis added):
LAS VEGAS -- President Bush, accused of shirking his duties in the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War, expressed pride in his military experience yesterday in a campaign speech that triggered rounds of thunderous applause from thousands of National Guard officials....
The Democratic National Committee unveiled a video, part of what it has dubbed "Operation Fortunate Son," portraying Bush as a "son of privilege" who avoided combat in Vietnam through political connections and an appointment to the Guard. The DNC announced that it will try to make Bush's National Guard service a campaign issue every day until the election.
The leadership of the Democratic Party is taking their organization down the path of the Whigs. I've never seen a group of people work so hard to wander off a cliff. Bush and his campaign staffers must laugh and laugh and laugh, and wonder: Lord, what did we do to earn this wonderful gift from you?
Bush should send his entire advertising budget to the DNC for their own use. I can't imagine a better way to beat them.
"just as divisive and destructive as jim crow"
An astonishingly foolish, wildly exaggerated, historically ignorant speech
last week from John Kerry:
In the hardest passages of the long march for civil rights -- amid lynchings and beatings and unyielding discrimination, the stalwart foot soldiers of justice did not look around and say, as we have heard so often from Washington these days, that we've turned the corner or that the job was getting done or that this was the best that we could do. Like us, they were a generation of optimists. They believed that America's best days lay ahead...that America could always do better. Against all odds, they saw a new dawn of liberty. They had a dream of a more perfect union - a dream of one America.
But that dream -- our dream -- is dim and denied in the Washington of today. 140 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it is time to again emancipate this land, to live up to our ideals; it is time for a new moment of conscience in America.
The fact is, the wrong choices of the Bush Administration -- reduced taxes for the few and reduced opportunities for the middle class and those struggling to join it -- are taking us back to two Americas -- separate and unequal. Our cities and communities are being torn apart by forces just as divisive and destructive as Jim Crow -- crumbling schools robbing our children of their potential...rising poverty...rising crime, drugs and violence. I say again: Where are the deeds? Where is the substance in our faith?
Say what you want about Bush, but "taking us back to...separate and unequal"? Does he know what kind of world
he's really talking about, here, when he talks about the era of separate but equal -- and calls for the resurrection of emancipation
conservatives for massive central government and limited local sovereignty
What Michelle Malkin believes
John Hawkins: Do you believe that police departments should be involved in rounding up illegal aliens?
Michelle Malkin: They should cooperate with the INS. Sniper suspects John Muhammed and Lee Malvo would probably still be on the loose if the Bellingham police hadn't called in the INS, which obtained Malvo's fingerprints.
John Hawkins: Do you think we should use the military to control the Mexican border?
Michelle Malkin: Yes. Every measly "No Entry" sign should immediately be replaced with an armed National Guardsman--at least until 100,000 new Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents are trained and ready to be deployed.
I continue to believe that Malkin can be, and eventually will be, criticized sharply from the right. Note that, on the topic of internment, Ann Coulter wrote a column
last year that suggests how such an attack might proceed:
The left's exquisite concern for civil liberties apparently did not extend to the Japanese. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt rounded up Japanese for the internment camps, liberals were awed by his genius. The Japanese internment was praised by liberal luminaries such as Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black. Joseph Rauh, a founder of Americans for Democratic Action – and celebrated foe of "McCarthyism" – supported the internment.
There was one lonely voice in the Roosevelt administration opposed to the Japanese internment – that of J. Edgar Hoover. The American Civil Liberties Union gave J. Edgar Hoover an award for wartime vigilance during World War II. It was only when he turned his award-winning vigilance to Soviet spies that liberals thought Hoover was a beast.
Liberals deemed it appropriate to throw Japanese citizens into internment camps on the basis of no evidence of subversive activity whatsoever.
There's no reason to allow Malkin to hide behind the screen of the "leftist academics are attacking me for speaking the truth" argument. In Michelle Malkin's work -- there's something offensive for everyone.
Stop, Drop, and Roll: Fire
I'm back. The harddrive is dead, long live the harddrive.
I recently finished a fascinating read on the history of the transistor. I think it was published in 1997. It could serve well for a nightstand read or an in-depth academic endeavor.
Here are three paragraphs of a fake book review I wrote on it:
Written by two highly-capable historians, Crystal Fire is an undertaking to reconstruct the events which led up to the development of the transistor. That little device which revolutionized every aspect of the way we live has a story behind it, a story which Riordan and Hoddeson deftly relay to illuminate the inner-workings of scientists as social beings working in a social world. Intertwining the lives of three principle characters -- John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley -- the excitement of discovery, the human toll of a giant personality, and the bricoleur work still done by scientists in mid-century America shine through.
The war had an indelible effect on the structuring of AT&T and the scientific community at large. Federal monies poured into AT&T, and at the war's end, reorganization was necessary to keep the competitive edge. An institutional renovation was called for at Bell Labs and a solid state physics laboratory was founded to be lead by Shockley and chemist Stanley Morgan. Both Bardeen and Brattain joined. Personality clashes emerged as competing ideas were bandied about, patents were disputed, and struggles for scientific independence occurred. Shockley, as the department's leader, had his own notions of what would make a successful device, while Bardeen and Brattain held tightly onto others. Eventually Brattain and Bardeen's device proved most realizable and was produced. However Riordan and Hoddeson make an important observation of a photograph taken for the cover of Electronics in 1948; even though the work for the transistor was pioneered by Bardeen and Brattain, the photograph showed Shockley at a laboratory bench working with his hands, with Bardeen and Brattain peering with curious faces over Shockley's shoulder. This photograph's reversal of roles encapsulates in one image what happened in the story of the transistor. Shockley garnered the credit while Bardeen and Brattain were standing in the shadows.
To sum up Crystal Fire in one sentence would be difficult -- and not do this scholarship justice. It does more than touch upon many themes (post-war science, industrial workplaces, public perception of scientists, the nature of everyday scientific practice, commercial competition); it integrates them into a fluid, engaging, and complicated narrative where personalities and foibles play as important a role as developing scientific theories. Though one can argue that this is merely a microhistory, I understand it as more. It demonstrates for me that by inscribing complex people into the development of the transistor, science is done nonlinearly in fits highly contingent on these people and their interactions, and on their presence at a particular moment in time.
I guess with that I'm done. Not that anybody really notices.
Michelle Malkin is taking hits, accusing her attackers of political bias
, and slugging on. This is a familiar story
, and we can predict the general sort of ending
Must...tear self away...from blogs. Must...fight...impulse to...procrastinate...
as if we needed any further proof
If I weren't a bad person, would I borrow a Yo La Tengo CD for weeks on end
without returning it?
and the lamb laid down with the lions
Roger D. McGrath received his Ph.D. from U.C.L.A., back in the late seventies. Today he is a lecturer at Cal State Northridge and Pepperdine University
. (No way to link directly for CSUN, so go here
and type in "McGrath" to see him listed as a lecturer there.)
Like Michelle Malkin, McGrath believes
that the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was justified by military reality. Like Malkin, he argues for this conclusion using decrytped Japanese government transmissions: "What MAGIC reveals is stunning: hundreds of resident Japanese were acting as spies, feeding information to Japan."
McGrath has some other interesting beliefs
, and he keeps company
with the interesting people who share them. And I'm not the first person to notice
To buy tapes of McGrath's lectures ("The Reconquista of California," for example) to conferences put together by Jared Taylor's American Renaissance magazine
, visit this online store
. While you're there, be sure to check out some of the other lecture tapes (clarification added after the original post: from lectures given by other speakers
at the conferences) that are available for purchase:
"In Search of the African IQ"
"The Biological Reality of Race"
"Is There a Superior Race?"
"Racial Partition of the United States"
"Multiculturalism and the War against White America"
"Moral Aspects of Racial Consciousness"
"The Second Mexican-American War"
"Immigration: The Silent Invasion"
"Saving Our Civilization"
"If We Do Nothing"
"Ethnic Nationalism and Genetic-Similarity Theory"
...And so on.
Michelle Malkin is in sympathy with some people who -- well, let's put it this way. Go back to this link
, the one to Roger McGrath's story about the white sprinter. And then scroll up the page until you see the photograph that is captioned, "Kept out until McCarran-Walter, 1952."
What do you think these folks see when they look at this face
I love the post on this website
that purports to be based on the wisdom of Professor McGrath (emphasis added):
Here are some facts from Roger McGrath, who taught history at UCLA, that are of interest to me since my family is from the Charleston area (Edisto and Seabrook Islands): 'In 1860, some 3,000 blacks owned nearly 20,000 black slaves. In South Carolina alone, more than 10,000 blacks were owned by black slaveholders…In the 1850 census for Charleston City, the port of Charleston, there were 68 black men and 123 black women who owned slaves." He then mentions that only 5% of white Southerners owned slaves, which coincidentally is the same percentage of the slaves brought to the New World who were purchased on these shores. Some who have been raised on Harriet Beecher Stowe fiction still believe that Southern slaves were brutally mistreated. Actually, when the slave trade was ended in 1808, slaves became too valuable even for hard labor. They were treated so well that after the War many longed to be enslaved again. The dangerous work, such as digging ditches and felling trees, was left to immigrant Irish, who cost planters nothing if they died on the job. This is precisely why Irish in New York rioted in the streets when drafted into the War, shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Union soldiers had to be dispatched directly from the Battle of Gettysburg to quell the rioting. These Yankee Irish were not about to give their lives to free blacks, because they knew blacks would compete with them for jobs. And with planters robbed of the incentive to protect their slaves, blacks were forced into a harsh market, race relations quickly degenerated, and the KKK thrived. Oh, but don’t expect to hear any of this at your local high "school."
the fundamental problem with the theory of a japanese-american fifth column
Another reason not to take your history from lazy nutcases:
"Championed by the brilliant, indomitable commander of the Combined Fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Pearl Harbor strike summed up Japan's basic strategy: a quick, limited war of conquest between India and the international date line, followed by a strategic defense and a negotiated peace with the Allies."
-- Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America
(New York: The Free Press, 1994). 420.
"From January to March 1941, the principal planners of the United States Army and Navy met with their British counterparts and hammered out the broad contours of an allied strategy for victory in a war the United States had not yet entered...The major challenge was Hitler's Germany, for only Germany had the manpower, industrial might, and military capability to ensure an Axis victory. Italy and Japan could not long survive with Nazi Germany destroyed. The defeat of Germany, therefore, received the highest priority. The 'ABC-1 Staff Agreement' (March 1941) represented a military strategy that meshed with the established policies of the United States and Great Britain, i.e., that the course of world politics depended upon the mastery of Western Europe and the northern half of the Western Hemisphere. 'Germany First' would be the centerpiece of Allied strategy."
Yeah, U.S. military planners were just frantic
over the Japanese threat to the West Coast of the United States.
My computer has been a little haywire lately. Now I get the dreaded "click click click" of death for the harddrive. Right now I'm trying to back my stuff up before I take it to OfficeMax and scream. Munch's painting will be no big loss when they see the strong display of my existential angst.
But on the bright side,
well, there is no bright side.
I feel like Chris should be writing this article. But, allow me to pile on in bitching out the ineffectual anti-Bushism of the left.
Dave Shulman has an article in this week’s LA Weekly that compares Bush to Nixon. Now, I actually think there may be a productive way to do that (more on that in a second), but Shulman contents himself with the cheep shot:
As schemish[sic] ad Nixon was in his day, his schemes weren’t shit compared to those of the current Mofo-in-Chief’s puppet masters. As Jeffrey points out, if Nixon were president today, there wouldn’t be any Watergate scandal because with the Patriot Act in place, it would all be legal.
We don’t have evidence that Bush has abused executive privilege in anything like the same way that Nixon did in Watergate. We just don’t have any reason to suspect that Bush broke into Kerry campaign headquarters, that he has a staff of plumbers who play dirty and illegal tricks, or that he uses the FBI to target his enemies. Far-fetched conspiracy theories about how he could
be doing this will only convince those who take as a presupposition that Bush would if he could. Needless to say, I doubt anyone who isn’t already voting against him believes that.
Shulman also fails to back up any of his Patriot Act speculation with concrete facts; he seems content with wild conjecture. If he wants to argue that the Patriot Act does this, he ought to cite specifically what provisions of the act could have been used in what way by Nixon to cover up Watergate. This might have even been an interesting article, but it’s not one that Shulman wrote.
Nixon is actually a perfect launching point for an interesting editorial on Bush that could have been politically effective. Dissatisfaction with Bush’s foreign policy generally is a key issue the Democrats are banking on in this election. Nixon would have been a fantastic contrast to Bush in making such an argument, because Nixon managed to score some foreign policy points that look good from both sides of the isle in retrospect.
“Say what you will about Kissinger,” a professor of mine once said, “but he managed to keep both China and Russia closer to the U.S. than they were to each other—and that was an achievement
.” By capitalizing on the Sino-Soviet Split, Nixon managed to score a major strategic victory in Cold War foreign policy, by escaping the very dogmatic anticommunism that helped kick-start his political career. American policy makers for far too long lumped China and the USSR together as a simple block of undifferentiated communism, and consequently failed to recognize the very real antagonism between them and attendant opportunity for a diplomatic strike; divide and conquer may be an old strategy, but it’s still a very effective one. Nixon saw the world in various shades of grey rather than white and black, good and evil, for us and against us. That ability helped him separate from the USSR the most populous nation on the planet.
Compare that ability (one that I think was also evident with Bush I) with Bush’s most recent neoconservative vision. Honestly after 9/11 I was surprised and impressed with Bush’s foreign policy. It was restrained, intelligent, effective, and unwavering. But, I think particularly after the Axis of Evil concept, Bush has slipped into the kind of dogmatism Nixon was so adept (in his later years) at dodging. His ability to piss off “old Europe,” the lack of WMD in Iraq, and consequential increase of anti-Americanism in the Islamic world have displayed none of the savvy some conservative leaders in the past have demonstrated.
Arguing in this way can appeal to moderates. It’s not a vicious and unsupported imagining of Bush’s corruption. By giving credit where credit is due, one can critique Bush without seeming like an ideologue. If the goal here is to win an election, rather than cathartic whining, this tactic seems more promising.
1: Or at least the parts of the Islamic world that aren’t getting rich selling oil to the States, and robbing their populations of the proceeds of what ought to be a national resource.
Dood, I Totally Suck
Ever re-read something you wrote and thought, “how could I have ever written something that bad?”
I have. I just wish I didn’t do it so damn often.
second in what i predict will become a series
Michael posted a question, a few days ago, asking what the word "capitalism" meant. He's right: it's used to mean pretty much anything -- presence of markets, presence of profit, presence of an accumulative "mentality," presence of wage labor, presence of three croissants and a bucket of Coronas with lime. It means so many things that it means nothing.
So I'd like to ask the same question about the word "conservative." What does it mean? I propose that, this will sound familiar, the word now means so many things that it means nothing.
Batshit lunatic Paul Craig Roberts
is "conservative." So is the unfailingly responsible and levelheaded Eugene Volokh
. Michelle Malkin is "conservative." So is Robert Conquest. Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan are "conservative." So are Condaleeza Rice and George Will. The Chamber of Commerce is "conservative." So is American Renaissance.
Can a word that lumps together so many people, with such different beliefs, mean anything at all?
You can guess how I'd answer that question. We ought to abandon altogether the reductionist categories of "left" and "right," "conservative" and "liberal." They're Manichean relics of the Cold War, and do more harm than good.
I was once working on a story
for the libertarian magazine Reason
, and got the sociologist Herbert Gans on the phone to do an interview. The folks at Reason
are as far from the Rick Santorum right as you can get: they oppose the drug war, see no reason why government should be in the business of favoring heterosexual relationships over homosexual relationships, and tend to be skeptical of the use of military power. I once stood in the Reason
offices and listened as an editor discussed the reason he was back from jury duty so quickly: he had explained to a judge that there was just no way
he could convict someone for possessing drugs or guns, since there was no way that he could regard mere possession of either to be a crime.
So I get Herbert Gans on the phone, and tell him who I am and why I'm calling. And he hems and haws, and finally says that he's willing to talk to me...
Even though I write for a right-wing publication
ding ding ding ding ding!
Attention, ladies and gentlemen:
Our baby blog had a commentor today who was neither my dad nor one of the bloggers.
It's up to Michael and Sam, but I propose that we send Tamara a fruit basket or something.
Ok, I admit it. I’m nuts. I’m insane, rediculus, over analytic.
Never ever ever ever send me a gift certificate unless you have realized this. Because, well, I will
be insane in your establishment.
Case in point, I was given a coupon for a “free dessert” at Café 50’s. I like their milkshakes, and I really like free. So Pete and I saddled up, and headed on over.
After we had already bought our damned milkshakes, they told us our coupons were only valid with a “food purchase.” The exact wording in little tiny letters was “valid with food purchase.” I have two problems with their interpretation of what the means:
a) It says it’s valid with a food purchase. That in no way implies that it’s not
valid without a food purchase. To use formal logic , because A --> B does not mean that NOT A --> NOT B. They used “if” when they should have used “if and only if.” The coupon should have read “only
valid with a food purchase.” Now, I know what you are saying, shouldn’t I assume that it’s not valid unless otherwise specified? But that would imply that if the statement weren’t there at all, I should assume the coupon is worthless.
b) Is a milkshake not food? If it’s not food what kind of substance is it?
Well, nobody seemed very impressed with my arguments but me.
Run Run Run Run Run (Velvet Underground)
Due to sleep schedules and the like I have been jogging in the evening recently. In order to reduce my chances of being run over by a car, I am not wearing headphone. It’s an entirely different experience.
See with my headphones on I never really notice when I get tired. I can lose myself entirely in Aphex Twin’s ambient musings. I can glide along, floating on his music, until a 75 year-old woman who can’t see over the steering wheel tries to run me down on the way out of her driveway. Or until someone in a dodge pickup leans out of the truck to threaten to run me over. Ahhh, Los Angeles.
Without the headphones, I suddenly realized how much longer it takes me to get tired than it used to. I made it about a mile and a half, and had to stop at a stoplight. Suddenly, I noticed that I wasn’t out of breath. I was shocked and amazed.
Oh yeah, I may post something this evening about why Malkin has convinced me profiling is a bad idea. I’m still working out the tightest way to express my ideas…(I promise it won’t be as bad as my capitalism post, which was nearly unreadable, but I swear the argument is good).
Democrats are gloating
over new attacks on Bush's Vietnam-era service in the National Guard, resuming the old cry: Draft dodger, draft dodger, draft dodger.
Signs all point to a new offensive from the Kerry campaign on the "issue." Kerry apparently regards this as "hitting back." Kerry is a combat veteran, Bush pulled strings to stay out of Vietnam.
Okay, folks, let's review. Bill Clinton avoided military service in Vietnam. He ran against George H.W. Bush, a combat veteran, and won. Then he ran against Bob Dole, a (grievously wounded) combat veteran, and won. In both instances, voters overwhelmingly chose the candidate who avoided service in Vietnam, rejecting the person who served in combat.
How effective a campaign message is "I was in combat, and my opponent avoided service in Vietnam"?
How long is the Kerry campaign going to fuck this corpse? Haven't they noticed that it's cold and stiff? Haven't they noticed that they've already done the "draft dodger" thing, and they're losing?
Yes, the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth campaign damaged Kerry. That doesn't mean -- does not mean
-- that similar attacks on Bush will damage him. Why? Because Bush has never bragged about his National Guard service, never pumped it up, never played it as a campaign issue. He has acted like it doesn't matter. (For good reasons, really.)
Kerry rode into the Democratic National Convention with his swift boat crew, saluted at the lectern, and reported for duty.
One has presented his Vietnam-era service as the reason (really, the
reason) why he should be elected; attacks on this candidate's Vietnam-era service speak to the way he's presented himself -- to who he thinks he is, and who he says he is.
The other candidate has said that, hell yeah, I was drunk until I was forty. Attacking him for youthful irresponsibility is not...going...to fucking work
We might as well skip the rest of the campaign. How fucking tone deaf can these folks be?
Mark, thinks that somehow the phrase “respectfully demand” in the letter
muller signed justifies conclusions like this one:
the Committee demands additional media resources to offer proper criticism to what it perceives as wrong views. Instead of allowing free, private parties to select views in the marketplace and engage in debate, the Committee wants to determine proper views for us. They seek to impose a regime of pre-selection. We wouldn't (or shouldn't) allow the State to do this, so why should we allow other self-appointed authority figures?
My response is this:
Let's try a hypothetical (taken partially from my experience):
I used to work for a construction company. We had a carpenter working who was truly a gifted craftsman. He had spent years perfecting his craft, and did beautiful work. In short he was a woodworking expert.
Now let's suppose a local TV station invited the purveyors of some shoddy work on to TV to demonstrate their products. They make mantelpieces. Their method is more or less to glue some pre-fabricated crap onto the wall, not bothering to check to make sure it fits properly. Consequently they are much cheaper. But not only are they cheaper, they claim to be just as good as carpenters. They are, of course, wrong. Let’s say the TV personality closes like this:
Announcer: So, the lesson here is that there is no point in doing a custom job, when we can get something as good for half the price.
Shyster: That’s right!
Now, imagine this particular carpenter is angry. The claim is untrue, and obviously untrue. So he gets together with some friends and forms an organization called “Carpenters for Justice” and they send a letter to the station that includes these lines:
It is irresponsible of your producers to permit Shyster’s biased presentation of events to go unchallenged as factual. We therefore respectfully demand that you formally apologize to the carpenters who have been slandered by Shyster's reckless presentation and invite a reputable carpenter to present a more even-handed view of the evidence.
Are they demanding a “criticism regime,” with respect to carpentry?
And don’t forget, these guys are in a union with political power. They are also armed with many sharp tools. That is probably more threatening than historians.
it's all about my needs
looks like some hella-fine new scholarship, and I want it.
Thanks to this website
, I now have decided on my critereon for voting in the '04 presidential election.
And I would like copy an email I received along with this weblink
"when i die i want to be turned into an emerald and used in a promotion for Lucky Charms." -M.B.
I, naturally, chortled.
What is Capitalism
Today I finally made up my mind about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I don’t know what capitalism is.
Sometimes it seems to mean more; more stuff, more labor, more money, more transportation, more guns, more butter. The obvious question is, more than what? How much do we need to churn out before we become capitalist? Now I don’t mean to say that because we don’t know a precise number that the distinction is invalid. I hate this kind of argument, and I think it’s false. But still, I don’t know how to begin to find the place where more is enough. And there seems to be no agreement as to where and when it is enough. 1650? 1720? 1800?1830? 1870? 1890? 1920? 1950? 2000? In each period the amount increases drastically. Which period is enough? Or at least, which periods and places can we eliminate
At other times capitalism is concomitant with the birth of greed. Capitalism happens when people start to want stuff. This could obviously go hand in hand with our definition of capitalism as “more.” But note here that we have shifted subtly. If a society had lots of stuff but people didn’t want it, would that society be capitalist? And conversely if people really really want things, but there are very few things to get, is that society capitalist? In short are these two definitions sufficient, necessary, or necessary and sufficient?
I could go on here, adding things people study to tell whether or not a society is capitalist, including contracts, wage labor, ownership of the means of production and plenty more. We could simply say capitalism exists when all
these things are present. That would be fine. But here is the rub; sometimes we seem to study one single definition of capitalism and determine a given society does not posses that property. We the say that society isn’t capitalist. We then sometimes make the odd leap to arguing that some other aspect of capitalism also did not exist, because the first property does not exist. Here we make the implicit assumption that these things are all connected, that if one does not exist the rest cannot, and if one exists the rest must exist. If that were the case, why do we fill out this long list at all? Shouldn’t we just pick one of the definitions and look for that, as if it exists the rest would necessarily exist as well? Are these properties independent of one another or not?
1: I’ll put the claim into more formal language for the skeptical. We say that some property A does not exist. We infer from that some other set of properties, let’s say B and C also don’t exist. So NOT A --> NOT B AND NOT C. This would indicate that B OR C --> A (because if A is not true we know both B and C to be false, since one of them is not false we know A is true). We then repeat this exercise looking for B so that NOT B --> NOT A AND NOT C. Then we look for C so that NOT C --> NOT B AND NOT A. We have now effectively shown that A --> B AND C and that B --> A AND C and C --> A AND B.
booing the ap
is true, somebody needs to be fired.
There is always a fly in the ointment. In the case of my new apartment that fly goes by the name of Verizon.
We called Verizon. We gave them our address. We asked for phone service and DSL. They agreed. Yay!!
But the phone mysteriously never worked. And the e-mail confirming our DSL never came. This appeared to be bad news. I checked the wiring of the phone lines, and near as this amateur can tell everything is set up correctly. But we don’t seem to have the phone number we are paying for.
Then the e-mail came. Our DSL kit had shipped! Confetti fell from the ceiling. Pete and I spontaneous hugged and cheered for joy. But, as we read through the e-mail we realized there was a problem. They shipped our kit to the wrong address.
So we had to call them. But we don’t have a phone. So we had to use a phone booth, and poor Pete spent an hour outside in a hot so-cal September communicating with every tentacle of Verizon’s corporate sprawl.
The experts at Verizon have concluded that—wait for it---they are not expert after all! They have no idea what’s wrong. But they will send another expert to our apartment sometime tomorrow. What time? Oh…ANYTIME.
And, just for kicks, we should probably figure out how to get our DSL kit that they shipped to the wrong address ourselves. They know that we sit on our asses and twiddle our thumbs all day, so they have decided to help us out.
What’s that annoying buzzing I here? Oh, it’s just Verizon.