June 13, 2013

The culture that is Mexico

From the Los Angeles Times:
Driver's ed in Mexico City: White knuckles all the way

Mexico City doesn't require adults to pass an exam for a driver's license, but there are driving schools for 'nervous people' who are afraid of the wild roads. 
STORY AND PHOTOS BY RICHARD FAUSSET
REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY
Pedro Cervantes was speaking with his teaching voice. It was clear and almost mystically calm — the kind of voice you'd want talking you through the emergency landing of a passenger plane: 
This is the steering wheel, he said. Hands at 10 and 2. This is your gas gauge. 
Cervantes was in the passenger seat of a red, four-door Nissan compact from the Harvey Driving School, giving Patricia Sanchez, 52, her first lesson in how to drive.

Or, more specifically, how to drive in Mexico City, a seemingly infinite maze of daredevils and incompetents, of axle-bending potholes and curb-hugging taco stands, of signless seven-way intersections and baffling multidirectional traffic circles, of tamale vendors on tricycles and cops hungry for bribe money.

My dad and I drove around Mexico City in 1975. One day we tried to get to the Palace of Fine Arts, a vast marble theater so heavy it had sunk two dozen feet into Mexico City's dry lakebed since it was built in the mid-1800s. We could see it looming over the lesser buildings, but the randomness of the street layout made it hard to approach. Finally, we discovered a six lane boulevard leading directly to the Palace. As soon as my dad turned on to it, a policeman blew his whistle. Suddenly, six cars abreast came roaring at us -- it was a one-way street.

The traffic cop was standing right under where the One-Way sign should have been. He, or a predecessor, probably took it down to increase business. Police sergeants auction off the most lucrative corners in Mexico City, so the lowly patrolmen who win the rights to a tourist-heavy spot like this have to be enterprising just to break even on bribe rake-offs, much less turn a profit.
It's a place with 4.5 million motorized vehicles, a place where someone is killed or injured in a traffic accident every hour, yet adults don't have to take any sort of exam to receive a driver's license. 
... After an out-of-control gas truck crashed and exploded May 7, killing 26 residents of suburban Ecatepec, newspaper columnist Sergio Sarmiento suggested that Mexicans, who are understandably fixated on the drug-cartel-fueled culture of violence in the country, should also focus on the culture of negligence. ... 
But Sanchez, a retired social security agency worker, soft-spoken, with pink lipstick to match her nails, was looking for some peace of mind. 
On the side of Cervantes' Nissan, blocky yellow letters spelled out: 
"ESPECIALISTAS EN PERSONAS NERVIOSAS." Specialists in nervous people. 
... In Mexico City, driver's exams for adults were phased out in 2001 after widespread corruption was discovered among test administrators. These days, aspiring license-seekers can simply show up at a government office with an ID, proof of residence and 626 pesos, or about $50. 

Robert Kaplan wrote in the Atlantic once about how he was surprised to find in Eritrea in northeast Africa that you couldn't bribe anybody to get your driver's license, you had to take a rigorous driver's ed course then pass an honest driving test.

But, when he thought about it, Eritrea's high level of honesty and competence made sense because Eritrea is sort of the Prussia of Africa, a small country that fought Ethiopia for its independence for three decades and then fought a couple of tank wars with Ethiopia mostly because it liked war and liked the nation-building effects of war.

Eritreans treated each other as fellow citizens in a perilous joint enterprise. Mexico, in contrast, has been independent for 200 years, and there's little point in fighting either America or Guatemala.
City officials recently announced that an exam of some kind will again be required for adult applicants next year. That should be good for business at the capital's 29 licensed driving schools. For now, many of their customers are adolescents, who must show they took a driving course to qualify for a license. The rest are adults like Sanchez, the personas nerviosas. 
She had paid 1,000 pesos, or about $80, for three two-hour lessons, consisting of a one-hour review of the controls, five hours of hands-on driving and a photocopied sheet of paper with basic, seemingly random tips: "Don't look at airplanes," "Don't put your faith in good luck."

Harriet Doerr's acclaimed memoir/novel, Stones for Ibarra, about a WASP couple moving to Mexico (played in the movie by Glenn Close and Keith Carradine) to restart a family gold mine lost in the Revolution is basically about how:

A. Mexicans always put their faith in good luck.

B. Mexicans never have good luck.

Just about every chapter ends with some poor Mexican getting maimed or killed, and somebody else saying, "Oh, that happens at this fiesta every year. It's tragic, but what are you going to do?"
Traffic laws were not part of the curriculum, Cervantes said. There simply wasn't time. 
Basically, it is "a course in how to survive," the instructor said, laughing. 
... It's unclear whether the return of the driving exam for adults will have any effect on Mexico City's driving culture. What would be considered bad driving in other countries — the rule-bending, bumper-riding and lane-drifting — is simply business as usual here....
Pedro Hoth, Mexico City's former international affairs coordinator, believes that Mexico City's driving style is rooted in the age of conquest, when only the Spanish and their allies had the right to ride a horse. Having a horse meant having a special claim to power. 
"Today the automobile is the substitute for the horse, but the attitude is the same," Hoth wrote in a recent email. "It's a kind of Jekyll and Hyde syndrome, this arrogance that many drivers experience once they get behind the wheel. The inside of the car becomes a space of arbitrary power."

This kind of automotive caballeroism is pretty common around the world. Driving around the English Cotswolds -- the most genteel landscape in the world -- was pretty harrowing in 1987, with normally polite Englishmen tailgating and honking on the winding lanes,  transformed into The Humongous and Wes by the act of getting behind the wheel, liberated at last from the stifling class system.

The one place back then that automotive caballeroism didn't seem common was in my native Los Angeles. Angelenos drive fast, but other than maybe on Mulholland Drive, with its impatient Porsche drivers, there was little sense that owning a car made you better than the common man.

That's because practically everybody in the Los Angeles of my youth owned a car: capitalist egalitarianism, Henry Ford's dream. It turned out that some minimum level of general prosperity, Los Angeles in 1962, say, is actually conducive to safety, public order, manners, and responsible behavior.

Our elites have been trying to fix that problem ever since.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

The US elite are fanatically in favor of importing the people who have created a society like this. It can't end well.

Anonymous said...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/steven-spielberg-predicts-implosion-film-567604

Anonymous said...

Since the US has apparently decided to join the third-world we should have public service announcements on social changes to expect. One thing would be increasingly crappy driving, that combination of caballero machismo and "It's God's will" that predominates in Mexico. Expect an increasingly aggressive randomness to traffic movement and correspondingly high insurance rates.

Anonymous said...

Eritreans treated each other as fellow citizens in a perilous joint enterprise. Mexico, in contrast, has been independent for 200 years, and there's little point in fighting either America or Guatemala.

Steve - that's getting perilously close to Spengler's Rosenzweigian hypothesis: That the pagan state must either conquer, and survive, or suffer defeat, and perish.




Brett_McS said...

Reminds me of great scene in Naked Gun with the beyond calm driving instructor "now normally you would not be going 65 mph the wrong way down a one way street".

The most polite drivers I have every come across are in the English midlands, Derby, to be specific. Chip and Dale have nothing on those guys.

Graham Asher said...

"Driving around the English Cotswolds -- the most genteel landscape in the world -- was pretty harrowing in 1987, with normally polite Englishmen tailgating and honking on the winding lanes, transformed into The Humongous and Wes by the act of getting behind the wheel, liberated at last from the stifling class system."

Do you have any evidence that the class system is any more stifling here than elsewhere? I look to you, Steve, for comment that goes beyond clichés. I know from personal experience, and I believe that statistics back me up, that England is an unusually socially mobile society. There is class system, or at least a perception of one, and perception and reality are the same thing when it comes to class, but whether it is stifling is debatable.

Rohan Swee said...

I've always been fascinated (and often terrified) by the cultural differences in driving. Why do otherwise sane human beings become demon-possessed loons as soon as they get behind the wheel? And just as wealth, not poverty, is the anomaly that needs to be explained in comparative economics, sanity, not craziness, is the anomaly that needs to be explained in comparative driving. I'd guess prosperity explains some of the difference, but not all.

(A friend's recently-arrived Indian colleague was intrigued by the orderly behavior at 4-way stop intersections in our town. "That would never work in India," he said.)

bluegrass said...

I work with around five mexicans, 2 old black guys, and an older white guy at a thoroughbred horse farm.

My skill set is above the Mexicans, but below the two old black guys who had been doing this job since the early 80's.

I'm white and in my early 20's, and mostly work with the Mexicans unless I have to do work that involves: going to Auction/working with the farrier or vet/ handling any kind of paperwork.

There is one English phrase all my Latino buddies use: "its ok."

They say it constantly. There all nice, easy going, but everything is "its ok."

Tractor break down? "No, no senor, its ok."

They'll then try and spend the whole day loafing around fixing it.

They get the job done, but the idea of improving something doesn't really cross their minds.

As long as everything is bueno, the its just: "it's ok."

Anonymous said...

I've driven in Mexico several times. Outside of Mexico City, it really wasn't that different from driving in the U.S., and much easier than driving in the UK or Costa Rica, two other places where I have driven thousands of miles. Probably slightly easier than France, but comparable. In Mexico City itself, the trouble was not the traffic, which is typical big-city congestion and aggressiveness, but the terrible layout of the main roads. It's super easy to get lost.

Even having said that, I'd rather drive in Mexico City than in Boston.

Mr. Anon said...

".....Patricia Sanchez, 52, her first lesson in how to drive.

But Sanchez, a retired social security agency worker,....."

A 52 year-old retired government worker? Mexico appears to be following the Greek model, which served that country so well.

x said...

eritrea is like the north korea of africa ive heard. it scores consistently lower on press freedom indexes than even that paranoid oriental marxist-leninist state. maybe the government officials there don't take bribes because they're afraid of what might happen to them if they do.

Jeff W. said...

Back in the 1960's and '70's, I thought that Detroit drivers were good drivers. Detroit was a middle-class city then. Today I hate to drive in Detroit.

Also, back in the day, people did not think you had to be stone-cold sober in order to drive. I would say that police state style DUI repression has also not improved the driving experience.

John said...

Well, I haven't driven in Mexico, though I have bicycled there, briefly and uneventfully; I have bicycled long-distance in Brazil and Uruguay, however. And my conclusion is right there in the title of this piece: it's Mexican culture. Uruguay has the same cultural inheritance, freebooters-on-horses, yet motorists seem civil. Brazil has a different colonial history, yet its roads are very hazardous. The key may be Uruguay's egalitarianism, though this is certainly not the capitalist kind. The country, quite unlike both Mexico and Brazil, LOOKS nice; maybe that's infectious.

Slovenia looks nice too, and having hiked and bicycled extensively there too, I can report its motorists act reasonably serene. Car ownership is anything but universal, and Communism should have given everyone a what-the-hell-we're-all-going-to-die attitude, yet if Slovenes feel a suicidal frustration with their lot in life, or with the people they have to share that life with, automobiles are not the instrumentality of it. Turks drive terribly, and aggressively - if a Turk thinks you've forgotten he's a jerk, he honks his horn, and then you remember - yet to the extent they've confided their discontents in me, these have always been personal, not national or religious: family stuff or work stuff. Anyway, back to the original thesis: yes, Mexico is bad medicine and I don't want it here.

Anonymous said...

The Palacio de Bellas Artes was built in the 1930's.

When I first moved to a mid-sized city in Mexico about 10 years ago, I paid about 10 bribes (mordidas)to traffic cops in six months, usually less than 10 dollars. I was shocked when I was driving around Mexico City a little later and got pulled over and released with no bribe. The cop just confirmed my pickup was legally in the country. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I've put over ten thousand kilometers beneath my bicycle wheels in every district of Mexico City. It feels safer than American cities because you can't get anywhere in Mexico City without paying attention to everything going on around you.

Drivers will cut you off; most intersections don't have stop signs or lights. One seven-way crossing between busy streets I crossed every day had no lane markings except a few arrows which actually recommended crossing in a way that would guarantee collisions if you followed them. Potholes are deep and gigantic but speed bumps are even higher and larger and very, very common. People will cut you off if there's even a few inches of space.

The most dangerous thing is inattention, so Mexico actually feels pretty safe for all its size. And the streets are not as wide as they would be in the USA so traffic mostly ends up being pretty slow.

I've also driven a car in Mexico and it was stressful enough that it changed my driving for years. The amount of attention and agression you need to balance to get anywhere is like a deep anti-meditation. It can change who you are inside. I recommend the bicycle instead.

Steve, what were you thinking? In 1975 the Palacio de Bellas Artes had its own Metro stop. Nobody with a lick of sense drove a car there. I can tell you it's even less car-friendly today, and it's a good thing, too. Driving a car to dead center in a city of 20 million is loony.

Hunsdon said...

How odd. Police sergeants in Kazakhstan do the exact same thing.

Hacienda said...

What you say is very true. Mexican culture is bad for driving. But WASP culture is bad for living.

pat said...

Off topic:

Time to put your movie reviewer hat back on and write an analysis of Spielberg's and Lucas' predictions about the near term future of cinema.

Albertosaurus

carol said...

Our elites have been trying to fix that problem ever since.


aided and abetted by the bohemian left...go figure!

pat said...

When I was teaching driving in the sixties I was struck by the racial and sexual differences in driving students.

In almost every other aspect of life, someone has already commented on sex and race. But I may be the first person to do so in driving instruction. Finally I have an original comment.

Asians are so damn civilized that you can actually teach a driving lesson with a Japanese child in the back seat. In those days before seat belts the little kid would bounce around like a shuttlecock, but wouldn't make a peep. You can't do that with a Mexican mother and child. It would be worth your life.

Males are much harder to teach to drive than females because of upper body strength. Like most commercial driving schools we didn't have full dual controls. Putting in a second steering wheel is very expensive. But splicing a second brake into the brake line is quick and cheap.

The main thing a driving teacher does is to save the student from killing him/herself. The car will teach you to drive, not the instructor's explanations.

Male student's are much more confident - which doesn't matter all that much. But when they try to run into parked cars or bridge abutments - as they frequently do - you have to break there grip on the wheel. Women are easy to overpower, but a teenage boy fights back more effectively as he tries to kill you both.

I taught a number of Mexicans in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish but we advertised that we spoke all these languages (International Driving School). So I taught in Spanish. I also don't speak Chinese or Japanese but these nationalities are easier to teach irrespective of communications. I don't ever remember a black driving student.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Wow, so little regulation. Dream of conservatives or libertarians.

Alfa158 said...

I used to work with a Mexican American engineer who was born in the US and utterly naive about the old country. He recently visited relatives in Baja, his first trip to Mexico since he was a kid, and came down with an eye-opening case of culture shock. At one point he drove through an unmarked dirt road intersection in the middle of nowhere and was pulled over for running the stop sign. There was no sign but the cop told him that everyone knows there used to be a sign there, and my colleague had to pay a $15 'fine'. His relatives laughed at my colleague's naivete because they said everyone also knows that running that virtual stop sign only costs $5. The cop was taking advantage of the gringo with the California plates.

rob said...

I've idly wondered about the selective effects of cars. People who die in car accidents are disproportionately young. It's obvious that variation in personality and abilities influences has some influence on who dies.

With any luck, driving will kill off the drunkest, most aggressive, and dumbest Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there's a correlation between a bad driving culture and a country's low IQ. High IQ is required to understand why it's sensible to obey traffic laws.

Luke Lea said...

Peter Hetzler describes a driver's ed course in China that was very similar. Can't remember which of his travel books, maybe Country Driving. All three are excellent. You probably learn more about Chinese society reading him than actually going to China. One of the things I came away with was that while the Chinese are high intelligent when considered one, two, or three at a time they can be absolutely crazy when there are a thousand or more.

Anonymous said...

http://www.fandor.com/films/highway_patrolman

Dutch Boy said...

Reminds me of the old Disney cartoon in which Goofy is kind and gentle Mr. Walker until he gets behind them steering wheel and becomes the demonic Mr. Wheeler.

Old Rebel said...

In 2003, my wife, daughter, and I spent 3 weeks in a small village south of Mexico City.

Riding in a cab in Mexico City will MAKE YOU a "nervous person." The traffic is as nightmarish as the article describes. And while careening the cab from one certain death to another, the driver impassively kept one hand on the wheel as he sipped a soft drink.

We survived and made it to our destination. During a tour of the picturesque village, the guide pointed to a nearby hill and said we must avoid that area. My wife asked if there were ever killings in the village.

"Why, yes," he said. "Just last week, a man was found on the railroad tracks with a bullet in his head."

This puzzled my wife. "But wouldn't the police figure out he was killed by a gun, and not hit by a train?"

Our guide frowned, as if to say, Doesn't she understand? Instead he replied, "It was the police who did it."

Dr Van Nostrand said...

ugh War Nerd? You should know better than that Steve. I didnt read what he writes about western conflicts but he pretty much gets every detail wrong in the wars of Asia and Africa.

The guy is a rank amateur and writes like a Tarantino fanboy

Anonymous said...

Well, you have to give them credit for figuring out how to scam the IRS:

illegal immigrant tax fraud

Power Child said...

Are there any studies investigating the relationship between stature and driving ability across various sizes of vehicles?

Anonymous said...

Demographic change

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/white-deaths-outnumber-births-for-first-time/2013/06/13/3bb1017c-d388-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

Anonymous said...

Steve - that's getting perilously close to Spengler's Rosenzweigian hypothesis: That the pagan state must either conquer, and survive, or suffer defeat, and perish.

"Spengler" aka David P. Goldman and Rosenzweig are idiots. Mexico hasn't perished. It's still there.

Marlowe said...

Wow, so little regulation. Dream of conservatives or libertarians.

Yes, the problems of Central & South America obviously stem from a historic absence of strong government.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


"Spengler" aka David P. Goldman and Rosenzweig are idiots. Mexico hasn't perished. It's still there."

But how exactly is Mexico pagan? It dia del Muerta type Catholic appropriation of Aztec festivals is really not all that different from how Catholics dealt with the Celtic Samhain.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Do you have any evidence that the class system is any more stifling here than elsewhere? I look to you, Steve, for comment that goes beyond clichés. I know from personal experience, and I believe that statistics back me up, that England is an unusually socially mobile society. There is class system, or at least a perception of one, and perception and reality are the same thing when it comes to class, but whether it is stifling is debatable."

I lived in Dubai where there is a large British expat population and also worked for company run by English Catholics and they complained bitterly about the disparaging treatment recived at the hands of the Anglo Norman Protestant types to the extent of losing a business deal because the potential upper class clients frowned their nose upon but ended giving the contract to a company run by Indians and East Europeans!

But he went on to say that it would never happen "back home" as that type of blatant classist behavior would be frowned upon.

I was surprised to find upper class Brits in Dubai in the first place. They usually come for some R&R and fly back. In general the great chunk of Brits rhere are middle class noveau riche

fnn said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/white-deaths-outnumber-births-for-first-time/2013/06/13/3bb1017c-d388-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

Deaths have exceeded births in Germany every year since 1971:
(...)
In 1964, births exceeded deaths by 486,985, the highest postwar surplus. By 1972, deaths in Germany exceeded births by 64,032, and deaths have surpassed births every year since. In 2010, the difference between births and deaths stood at -180,833. Only a positive balance of net immigration has forestalled a much more rapid population decline.
(...)

Just putting things into context.

Steve Sailer said...

In that 1975 trip, we drove to Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, and driving outside Mexico City was a pleasure.

I also drove in an RV from Houston to Acapulco in 1979 with a bunch of Rice students and, although there were several moments we almost died, those were mostly our fault. However, driving a giant RV all the way across Mexico City was an ordeal -- kids were assigned to pull in the external folding mirrors whenever it appeared likely that the mirrors would hit the mirrors on other vehicles.

Steve Sailer said...

In general, Mexico is an outstanding piece of real estate -- quite possibly better than the U.S. on average per square mile. The combination of low latitude and high elevation makes the climate very pleasant nearly year round across surprisingly large parts of Mexico.

The general crappiness of Mexico may be, in part, a defense mechanism to keep Americans out. If Mexico were a well run place, it would fill up with Americans, both retirees and enterprising families, like the Romneys over a century ago.

Steve Sailer said...

"Steve - that's getting perilously close to Spengler's Rosenzweigian hypothesis: That the pagan state must either conquer, and survive, or suffer defeat, and perish."

That's the apocalyptic mindset that leads to all the serious books with titles like The End of This or The Death of That. (My favorite title was "The End of Food.") That kind of thinking sells, but it's usually not a good guide to the future.

It's the mirror image of the utopian thinking that Mexicans will suddenly turn into highly productive members of the upper middle class just by crossing the border into America.

In reality, most things more or less keep on keeping on.

Marlowe said...

Mr. Sailer lived a real 1970s road movie (it sounds a bit like Race with the Devil crossed with Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia). I'm impressed.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Sailer lived a real 1970s road movie (it sounds a bit like Race with the Devil crossed with Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia). I'm impressed."

Mexico in the '70s was not that dangerous. I picked up hitchhikers in Sonora back then but I wouldn't ride a rocket sled through there now.

peter fallow said...

@Graham Asher:

Please explain why you view English/British society as economically "mobile." Here in the U.S., to the extent we'd have an opinion, our perspective would likely be colored by the following:
(1) probably every historian we've ever been introduced to in college has remarked on English social stratification, with a focus on the importance of accent (2) the famous American social mobility (pre-1990) was strongly tied to technology, and when we think of English technology we think of the MG; (3) to all appearances England has a more virulent "chav" culture than we do - why wouldn't this be a reaction to the perception that birth is still what matters?

mel belli said...

I like Albertosaurus but I don't believe his driving school stories for a second, especially since he didn't have any blacks.

bigot said...

Has anyone heard the term "Taco Vendor" since 1980?

Dahlia said...

Steve,
I think you could say almost the same thing about Appalachia. So many call it "God's country" because of its astounding beauty, but architecture-wise, the Cotswolds it ain't!
The crime is low and the roads are good, though.

Anonymous said...

Hacienda:"What you say is very true. Mexican culture is bad for driving. But WASP culture is bad for living."

MMM, the evidence of immigration works against that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

As some commenter said here a few weeks ago, the only problem with Mexico is it's full of Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

Real Mexican culture: Leftist teachers doing what they do, mowed down by out-of-control tar truck:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_MEXICO_PROTEST_ACCIDENT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Steve Sailer said...

"Real Mexican culture: Leftist teachers doing what they do, mowed down by out-of-control tar truck:"

Oh ... man ... I'll have to post that one.

Anonymous said...

Oh ... man ... I'll have to post that one.

If you do, some more info:

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=14091&ArticleId=807102

This explains that the truck's brakes failed.

http://www.quadratin.com.mx/principal/Bloqueaban-autos-de-manifestantes-rampa-para-frenado/

This local report fills in some interesting details. You'll have to trust my Spanish.

The toll booth was located downhill. (for some unknown reason, they seem to do that a lot in MX) The runaway truck ramp placed just before the toll booth was blocked by vehicles left by ... the protesting teachers killed in the accident!

Anonymous said...

"Spengler" aka David P. Goldman and Rosenzweig are idiots. Mexico hasn't perished. It's still there.

No, I was talking about Eritrea.

But as I was typing, I was also thinking about the example of Mexico: The other half of Spengler/Rosenzweig says that [ultimately] only the people of God will survive.



Anonymous said...

That's the apocalyptic mindset that leads to all the serious books with titles like The End of This or The Death of That.

Well, except that some things do come to an end.

Ancient Babylon is dead and gone.

Ancient Egypt is dead and gone.

Ancient Carthage is dead and gone.

Ancient Greece is dead and gone.

Ancient Rome is dead and gone.

The Ancient Persia of the Sassanids is dead and gone.

In what we now call Turkey, both Ancient Troy and the Eastern Empire are dead and gone.

And at current fertility rates, Japan and [at least metropolitan] China are walking ghosts of nations.

As is most of Blue State America - in large swaths of Vermont, they're shuttering elementary schools left and right for lack of students.

By contrast, some peoples will no doubt persist beyond the coming depopulation and collapse of nations, but the question is, as always: WHICH PEOPLES?!?

And that's precisely what Spengler/Rosenzweig tries to predict.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a study of changing opinions vis-a-vis Spengler once his identity was revealed. I must say that I would never have guessed that he was a Jewish investment banker from his "closeted" writings. The stuff he wrote about Benedict didn't even read like neocon catholic stuff like Wiegel. It read like a traditional catholic like Patty B.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Well, except that some things do come to an end.

Ancient Babylon is dead and gone.

Ancient Egypt is dead and gone.

Ancient Carthage is dead and gone.

Ancient Greece is dead and gone.

Ancient Rome is dead and gone.

The Ancient Persia of the Sassanids is dead and gone.

In what we now call Turkey, both Ancient Troy and the Eastern Empire are dead and gone.

And at current fertility rates, Japan and [at least metropolitan] China are walking ghosts of nations.

As is most of Blue State America - in large swaths of Vermont, they're shuttering elementary schools left and right for lack of students.

By contrast, some peoples will no doubt persist beyond the coming depopulation and collapse of nations, but the question is, as always: WHICH PEOPLES?!?

And that's precisely what Spengler/Rosenzweig tries to predict."


Good old Spengler.....Some ruminations on a cranky internet seer...

1. All nations/peoples die. History is merely the obituary of nations.

2.Kindly note the qualifier that you used: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.Since Greece and Italy are still with us, so are Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.If modern day Rabbinic Judaism can be regarded as some kind of living extension of the Kingdom of David, why can't modern Greece be regarded as the living continuation of Mycenaean Greece?After all, the cultural differences separating a modern Greek from his Mycenaean ancestors are no greater than the ones separating a modern Israeli from his Davidic progenitors.

SYON

Dr Van Nostrand said...


1. All nations/peoples die. History is merely the obituary of nations.

2.Kindly note the qualifier that you used: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.Since Greece and Italy are still with us, so are Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.If modern day Rabbinic Judaism can be regarded as some kind of living extension of the Kingdom of David, why can't modern Greece be regarded as the living continuation of Mycenaean Greece?After all, the cultural differences separating a modern Greek from his Mycenaean ancestors are no greater than the ones separating a modern Israeli from his Davidic progenitors."

Eh? Seriously are you this thick. Its because Greeks no longer worship Zeus and Athena but a foreign Asiatic.
The cultural differences are considerable indeed ,Greek was very effected by Turkish culture,customs,cuisine and genetics.
Italy succumbed to the barbarian demographics when most of the Romans went the way of the Etruscans

Anonymous said...

"I must say that I would never have guessed that he was a Jewish investment banker from his "closeted" writings."

Please tell me you were being ironic there.

"Spengler" was screamingly obviously "Scotch-Irish" long before his real identity came out. It was speculated on for a very long time before the facts came out, precisely because it was so obvious. Catholic? Are you kidding me? A "Scotch-Irish" trying to fool Catholic readers, sure (seems to have worked on some), but his "Scotch-Irishness" was there for all to see who were paying attention.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


1. All nations/peoples die. History is merely the obituary of nations."

Actually its mostly these Western and Near Eastern nations which have died.Upon Whose legacy Western civilization is built.
The only one of these who managed to resurrect itself is Israel and this lot here can't stop bitching about it for some reason.

Japan,Korea,China,India,Sri Lanka,Thailand are pretty much the same people with the same culture and traditions for millenia.

Even Zoroastrians are eyeing a comeback in Iran and Uzbekistan-their traditional stomping grounds.

Its the European pagans who are stumped. I think this is what Spengler was getting at with their hostility to Israel. Just plain resurrection envy.

Captain Tripps said...

Places I’ve driven (outside the USA) ranked from most to least orderly drivers:

1. Germany (by far)
2. Holland
3. France
4. South Korea (by far the most congested, but orderly)
5. Scotland/United Kingdom/Australia (after you get used to driving in the left lane with the steering wheel on the right in the vehicle)
10. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
100. Turkey.

Turkey was by far the most chaotic; there are lanes marked and traffic signs and lights, but drivers seem unconcerned with observing them. The general rule seems to be, He/She who makes it to the intersection/turn first wins. Sounds a lot like what people are describing in Mexico City. For some insight see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E50tFVGx1GU

And here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCftQWjJLQI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vDU3eUbCk

I’ve also driven in Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan, but can’t really compare it with the others above because it was in military convoys, where you always have the right of way. But, all three of those fine countries were very similar to Turkey in my observation.

Mike said...

I finally left LA recently due to (mostly) the sheer insanity that is happening on the roads. I make most of my money in LA so deciding to move was a big deal.
People tell me "oh, LA has always had crazy driving". While true, the level of craziness and where it is happening is very different. You may have seen routine suicidal driving in Hollywood but by the time you crossed into Studio City people were mostly calm and relaxed. That is gone.
On a visit back there to my business last month I was literally chased down by an Armenian in a large BMW after HE cut ME off. He blocked a busy intersection and acted like he wanted to fight. As a trained boxer I let him yap for a little while and then got out of the car and asked him if he really wanted to fight. He muttered something about being "too busy" and sped off!
People will blast their horn at you for anything: let someone waiting to turn go, crossing on an amber light, not driving fast/slow enough. When in LA I drive a very intimidating vehicle. People used to be (rightly) scared of hitting me. Now they try to bully me out of the way driving a Prius.
I think the future has finally arrived in the city of LA and it looks like too many rats in a cage. People are perpetually angry. Whenever I hear the cliche of the "laid back Californian" I know the person talking is an idiot. There is nothing laid back about California life anymore.

pat said...

Mel Belli thinks I'm making up my driving school story.

It was International Driving School in San Francisco on Geary Boulevard near Park Presidio in 1965.

Almost all of the students were middle aged women. I don't remember any blacks. But there may have been one or two.

I tried to unionize the business. The owner had issued a memo that the normal work week was 12 hours a day six days a week. When he called me at home one Sunday to come in, I decided to see if I could interest a union in the driving school business. In Los Angeles private driving schools were all unionized - or so we were told. The AFL-CIO wasn't interested but the Teamsters were. I secretly handed out cards.

But I quit in October because I had tickets to see Lohengrin with local boy Jess Thomas and the owner wanted me to work that evening.

Need more details?

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Scoff all you want that is fine. Admittedly many people on this board live to sniff out Jews so I will no be as observant as they but I don't believe you can read his article about the Catholic Church and Beethoven and honestly claim the he was obviously Jewish.

Anonymous said...

DVN:"Eh? Seriously are you this thick. Its because Greeks no longer worship Zeus and Athena but a foreign Asiatic."

Yes, dear boy, and the Jews currently practice a religion that in no way resembles what went on during the Kingdom of David.



DVN:"The cultural differences are considerable indeed ,Greek was very effected by Turkish culture,customs,cuisine and genetics."


Yes, and the Jews have been massively affected by Gentile culture, customs, cuisine and genetics.


DVN:"Italy succumbed to the barbarian demographics when most of the Romans went the way of the Etruscans"

MMM, which is why modern Italian is not related to Latin? Seriously, dear boy, do some elementary research.

SYON

Anonymous said...

DVN:"Actually its mostly these Western and Near Eastern nations which have died.Upon Whose legacy Western civilization is built.
The only one of these who managed to resurrect itself is Israel and this lot here can't stop bitching about it for some reason."

Yes, the moaning of certain cretins over the resurrection of Israel is sad....of course, the Greeks and Italians have needed resurrections; they simply endure.

DVN:"Japan,Korea,China,India,Sri Lanka,Thailand are pretty much the same people with the same culture and traditions for millenia."

Frozen like flies in amber, eh?Gues that the industrial revolution still hasn't reached there yet. Also, the newspapers must stop lying about Islam having reached India; obviously, they are still completely Hindu...

DVN:"Even Zoroastrians are eyeing a comeback in Iran and Uzbekistan-their traditional stomping grounds."

MMM, how heartwarming

DVN:"Its the European pagans who are stumped."

Pagans are more than stumped, dear boy;they have been Christianized.


DVN:" I think this is what Spengler was getting at with their hostility to Israel. Just plain resurrection envy."

No, more like Spengler absorbing weird mystical notions about Israel.Many Jews feel that way. Even my grandfather, a thorough-going rationalist, liked to think about his links to King Solomon..

SYON

Dr Van Nostrand said...


DVN:"Eh? Seriously are you this thick. Its because Greeks no longer worship Zeus and Athena but a foreign Asiatic."

Yes, dear boy, and the Jews currently practice a religion that in no way resembles what went on during the Kingdom of David.

DVN: No longer any animal sacrifices but that change is part of an evolution within the religion ,not a complete rupture with old gods as happened with Greeks and Romans



DVN:"The cultural differences are considerable indeed ,Greek was very effected by Turkish culture,customs,cuisine and genetics."


Yes, and the Jews have been massively affected by Gentile culture, customs, cuisine and genetics.


DVN: Less so than Greeks and Romans.
They kept what had defined them-their religion which Greeks failed to do.
That was always more important to them than cuisine and yes they have maintained most of the rules of Leviticus when it comes to their food.
Greek food on the other hand might as well be considered halal!



DVN:"Italy succumbed to the barbarian demographics when most of the Romans went the way of the Etruscans"

MMM, which is why modern Italian is not related to Latin? Seriously, dear boy, do some elementary research.

DVN: Are you really this retarded?
Linking a language with an ethnic group and attempting to prove an undying connection between the two is a serious fail

SYON

Dr Van Nostrand said...


DVN:"Actually its mostly these Western and Near Eastern nations which have died.Upon Whose legacy Western civilization is built.
The only one of these who managed to resurrect itself is Israel and this lot here can't stop bitching about it for some reason."

Yes, the moaning of certain cretins over the resurrection of Israel is sad....of course, the Greeks and Italians have needed resurrections; they simply endure.

DVN:"Japan,Korea,China,India,Sri Lanka,Thailand are pretty much the same people with the same culture and traditions for millenia."

Frozen like flies in amber, eh?Gues that the industrial revolution still hasn't reached there yet. Also, the newspapers must stop lying about Islam having reached India; obviously, they are still completely Hindu...

DVN: There is pedantry and there pedantry to point of idiocy ,take a guess as to where you fall in?

DVN:"Even Zoroastrians are eyeing a comeback in Iran and Uzbekistan-their traditional stomping grounds."

MMM, how heartwarming


DVN:" I think this is what Spengler was getting at with their hostility to Israel. Just plain resurrection envy."

No, more like Spengler absorbing weird mystical notions about Israel.Many Jews feel that way. Even my grandfather, a thorough-going rationalist, liked to think about his links to King Solomon..

DVN: Your granddad may have been a kook but he is far more sensible than his self proclaimed rationalist grandson.

Bruce Musto said...

Yeah, that's exactly what conservatives and libertarians are trying to achieve, driving insanity. That's the goal. Do you ever stop to think before you say anything? Were you born stupid or have you spent years working on it?

Anonymous said...

Yep, driving in Mexico is insane. Gringos always shit their pants over it. Funny to see people get agitated over things they can't control due to their neurotic dispositions. I suppose complaining about it makes them feel better somehow. The total inability of yankees to adapt is a perpetual source of hilarity in the third world.