Friday, July 1, 2016

There Will Always Be Frontiers


Bob Wallace and I have a lot of things in common. I'm just a few years older than he is, and we're both from the Great Midwest. He grew up by the Mississippi, Huck Finn style, and I grew up by the Wabash, more like an Edward Eggleston or James Whitcomb Riley character — or maybe even Vonnegut.

The most important similarity, though, is the reading we both did when we were younger. We were both science fiction fans, which you'll know if you read both blogs.

There are three types of science fiction fans who start reading the stuff when they're young. All three are characterized by having a lot of imagination and therefore being drawn to writers who also have a lot of imagination. Then differences kick in. The first group loses its imagination and drifts away from science fiction. Sad, but it happens a lot. The second group keeps its imagination and continues to be interested in science fiction bet doesn't grow any further.

The third group, which includes Bob and me, keeps the imagination, but also develops a critical faculty and begins to see the holes in the logic that a lot of science fiction writers exhibit. And, therefore, we tend to develop a taste for science fiction that is more realistic, and to be more critical ourselves about what we do read. For example, many of us continue to enjoy and appreciate Robert Heinlein, but at the same time we see the impracticality of many of his social ideas.

So you can see why Bob Wallace's thinking appeals to me.

And Bob isn't just critical of science fiction writers, but also of much of the conventional wisdom of our time. And one piece of such wisdom is multiculturalism, which states that all cultures are of equal value. Idiotic when stated that way, but the idea permeates our culture and informs our political policies, both foreign and domestic.

Bob Wallace is not a multiculturalist, and in this essay from his blog [link], he explains how Western Culture surpassed the Chinese and Indic Cultures in the exploration and exploitation of the New World when an objective observer would have expected New Bombay instead of New York and Lord Confucius instead of San Francisco.

The Great Frontier

The Great Frontier is the title of a classic 1952 book by Walter Prescott Webb, in which he writes of the effect of frontier on the Europeans who moved to North America.

That frontier, they found, was incredibly rich, and populated by about one million hunter-gatherer Indians, who were busy bashing out the brains of the babies of other tribes and not much else. Growing a little corn, perhaps.

The frontier changed the mentality of those who encountered it.

I was raised near the Mississippi River. I can remember (as still happens today) barges chugging up and down the river. The county I am from is the largest grower of horseradish in the world, and down the street from me (once you cross the railroad tracks, which a method of mass transportation) was a large fishing lake. Even as a kid I thought, "There's a lot of stuff here." Imagine what the early Americans thought - "Game! Fish! Riches just lying there if you just develop it!"

I used to sit on my front porch, even as a teen, and wonder about everything I was looking at. I could see the smoke from the steel mill down the street. Or the power lines that transported electricity. The brick house I lived with, with central AC and gas heat. All created by those investigating all those frontiers.

There is still frontiers even today. The ocean, about which even today we still know little. And space. There's always frontiers, except today they require advanced technology.

I used to wonder why other cultures didn't find and develop North and South America. Not any more.

The Chinese, the Muslims, the Indians (dot, not feather) should have developed technology sufficient to explore the world. But they didn't. Instead they went backwards - a lot. And they went backwards on purpose. That's what the "elites" decided. And it was the common man who paid for it.

Those cultures were ruled by the parasitic 1%, who sucked up the wealth of the productive people, leaving them impoverished, so they could live in idleness and luxury. They had centralized, oppressive states.

Europe, instead, had hundreds of decentralized kingdoms. If you didn't like one, move to another. And if you still wanted more, the time came you could move across the Altantic to the Americas. Millions did, including my Scots-Irish-German ancestors. And somehow, the Scots-Irish ones ended up moving from Appalachia to the Midwest. I have no idea what they were looking for - new opportunities, I suppose.

There will always be frontiers, for those who seek them.
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Quibcag: I just can't resist using this rendition of Kagura, from Gin Tama (銀魂 Gintama, lit. "Silver Soul"), drawn originally by VileDante.

2 comments:

  1. To explore, you can't be a conformist. You don't want to find something that might change things - because something new might be for the better or worse and it is hard to know in advance.

    Eastern culture is conformist. Sony is the only innovative company I can think of. Samsung doesn't know what to make until Apple or some other company creates it. The Japanese copied US innovation and for the most part stopped.

    Western culture - until the globalists appeared - rewarded successful risk taking. Not everyone would do so but enough would. Now there is a bureaucratic maze to suppress innovation.

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  2. If, as some claim, all cultures are equal, why do we not honor this practice?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qhapaq_hucha

    Luke

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