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Samizdata quote of the day

First female POTUS will be a Republican. There have been two female Prime Ministers in UK now, both Conservative Party. And whilst I adored Thatcher & loathed May, neither made being female a political issue. There is a lesson there, one the Identitarian Left will not learn.

– Perry de Havilland

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Fraser Orr

    And that person, after Trump’s second term, may very well be Nikki Haley, who would not only be the first woman president, but the first Indian President, the first Sikh president and the first from South Carolina since Democrat Jefferson Davis.[*] That may very well cause the intersectionals to self destruct in a pretzel of internal contradictions.

    [*] Davis was actually born in Kentucky so I am fudging a little here for rhetorical purposes. My father always taught me that you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky, and entered the US Army (as a West Point graduate). He left the Army (after eloping with Colonel Zachary Taylor’s daughter), and settled in Mississippi, where his wealthy older brother gave him a plantation.

    Davis had no connection to South Carolina. No President has; and only one Vice President – John Calhoun. There has been only one Presidential candidate from South Carolina: Strom Thurmond, who ran as a spoiler in 1948.

    So Haley would definitely be the first from that state.

    (Sanders would be the first from Vermont, and Biden the first from Delaware. So much for the importance of home state electoral votes. I would further note that Biden, and Palin and Cheney earlier on, were Vice Presidential candidates from 3-EV states, which was practically unheard of in earlier elections.)

  • lucklucky

    Identitarian Left will not learn.

    Also works with idolitarian

  • So much for the importance of home state electoral votes.

    Oh, I don’t know. Fauxcahontas coming 3rd in her home state of Massachusetts told us everything we needed to know about her. I think that was kind of important in it’s own right.

    The problem with the Democrats is that the female candidates seem to think they are owed a presidency. Whereas with the Republican candidates, if one ever wins through to the nomination, she will have done that on merit. Might take a while though, since both the Killary and Fauxcahontas campaigns have kind of poisoned the well in that regard.

    Who wants to elect their mother-in-law to the Whitehouse?

  • Jacob

    Who wants to elect their mother-in-law to the Whitehouse?
    Though that does not apply to Palin.
    So, to be elected President you need to be tall and good looking. The taller candidate usually wins. That is as good a criterion as any.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The Fount of All Knowledge has this to say about Nikki Haley:

    Haley identifies as a Christian, but attends both Sikh and Methodist worship services.

    Whatever! The most interesting contest would be if the Republicans nominate Haley and the Democrats nominate Tulsi Gabbard, possibly the only Dem. candidate in this cycle who is neither a crook nor a commie.

  • In 2008, Walter Williams (or it might have been Thomas Sowell but I think it was Williams), blogged an annotated list of the first black US man or woman to achieve various things. The first black student to get a US university degree was not some average just-scraped-though guy – he was a very good student. And so on through the list – in sport, in medicine, in field after field, the first black this and the first black that were not average, let alone AA, candidates – they were above average.

    Margaret Thatcher, first woman UK prime minister, fitted Williams’ criteria, but she could almost never point this out. You can’t say, “Oh it’s impossible for women to get ahead – the glass ceiling, you know!”, when you are prime minister. And if no-one asks you – and the ‘feminists’ of her day took immense care never to ask her – then she could hardly say, “I had to be better to be as good” without sounding boastful. Just once – on “Desert Island Discs” – she was asked in a sane and courteous way and (mildly) agreed that she’d had to work harder to work her way up through the Tory party to minister.

    Because Thatcher was ‘better to be as good’, our first female prime minister created the situation in which Nigel Farage could correctly comment (when the Tory race was down to May and Leadsom) that it was “wonderfully banal” that we were about to have our second female prime minister. “No-one remembers who came second” (says Charlie Brown at the start of a Snoopy cartoon by the end of which he wishes he hadn’t said it 🙂 ). Whoever comes second can be average or worse than average and it doesn’t matter.

    I believe Williams’ concern was that the first black whatever being better added to the moral capital of blacks and of anti-racism, and ensured that the second and subsequent black whatever could be equally as bad as the worst whites. To have the first black president be an affirmative-action candidate – a man whose skin was black but whose CV was as white as a blank sheet of paper as regards reasons why he should be president – and, as was inevitable of a product of the notorious Chicago Democrat machine, not so empty of reasons against – meant that electing and maintaining him would spend black and anti-racist capital, not add to it, and leave the true ‘first’ black president (i.e. the true ‘normalising it’ black president) yet to come.


    Side-remark one: thinking about Perry’s post and comments above, I wonder if the hating-her 80’s feminists, by making it almost impossible for Thatcher ever to discuss the ‘better to be as good’ aspect of her career, actually did her a favour.

    Side-remark two: I’ve never seen it discussed, but just maybe it was not only (though it was that) Heath’s sexism and/or his personal antipathy and/or his awareness of her talents that led him to warn, when her becoming minister was bruited, “If we let her in, you realise we shall never be able to get her out.” How it might ‘look’ to discard the ‘minority’ minister in the cabinet was a thing even then.

  • Jacob

    Obama was elected **only** for the color of his skin. He wasn’t, even remotely, a typical “African American” i.e. descendant of slaves. (Though he was half African).

  • [Obama] wasn’t, even remotely, a typical “African American” i.e. descendant of slaves. (Jacob, March 6, 2020 at 11:20 am)

    Given the obvious historical probability that Obama’s paternal ancestry was heavily of Swahili collaborators with the Arab slave trade, he was peculiarly untypical, not just not even remotely typical, in that respect.

    In one way there is a mild similarity. Swahili is not a native African language. It originated on the East African coast but a significant fraction of Swahili vocabulary derives from Arabic, because its origin was as a trade language developed so Arabs could communicate with their African subordinates and trade partners there – a fact unhesitatingly confirmed by e.g. Kenya today, though what the trade overwhelmingly was is not always so swiftly mentioned. (Of course, the Arab slave trade is better termed the Arab slave raid – it largely had to be, for reasons some may recall my discussing in old threads. Arab ‘traders’ – raiders – led the Swahili-staffed caravans into Africa to attack villages and seize captives.) Although first-language-Swahili-speakers in Africa were far more the Arab traders’ African employees in enslaving other africans than themselves slaves, there is a strictly-linguistic analogy between those US African slaves who spoke a pidgin of English as their first language in e.g. 1770, and those east-coast Africans who spoke the Arab-African hybrid Swahili as their first language in e.g. 1870.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In Germany, too, the first woman Chancellor is a Christian Democrat, not a Social Democrat. (I forgot to mention this in my first comment.)

    In reply to Niall’s remark on Obama:

    a man whose skin was black but whose CV was as white as a blank sheet of paper as regards reasons why he should be president

    Actually, if you look at Obama next to his Kenyan relatives, he looks pretty pale — and his relatives are not black either iirc; or rather, they are Black but their skins are dark brown. (Same story with me: I am White but my skin is not white, as i can easily find out by putting my hand on the blank sheet of paper mentioned by Niall.)

    And wrt Heath’s fears about Thatcher:

    “If we let her in, you realise we shall never be able to get her out.”

    There was a post last year about this being a reason for caution about female and minority candidates.

    Less seriously, there was also an entry in The Secret Diary of John Major (in Private Eye) to the effect that he could not understand why people complain that there were no women in his first Cabinet: after all, there was only one woman in the previous Cabinet, and people seemed to be happy to get rid of her.

  • if you look at Obama next to his Kenyan relatives, he looks pretty pale — and his relatives are not black either iirc; or rather, they are Black but their skins are dark brown. (Snorri Godhi, March 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm)

    Further to mine at March 6, 2020 at 11:37 am, for obvious reasons, the Swahilis as well as the Swahili language tend to some admixture of Arab with their African ancestry.

    (Since Obama’s mother was white, he would naturally look paler than his African relatives. The issue of who in the west actually is black versus who identifies as black politically is a huge one in itself – one that, for now, I gladly leave to any other commenters who are interested.)

  • James

    The likelihood of any Republican POTUS after Trump is slim given how well the Dems have proven at importing a new electorate (with special thanks to Reagan for flipping permanently flipping California and NY blue).

  • Chester Draws

    The likelihood of any Republican POTUS after Trump is slim given how well the Dems have proven at importing a new electorate

    During the presidency of W, it was a Democrat trope that the Republicans were allowing illegal immigration to keep wages down to help the rich. And they had a point too — big business was not particularly interested in stopping immigration. That’s why, until recently, almost all mainstream Democrats opposed illegal immigrants in no uncertain terms.

    Bill Clinton: “All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.

    Barrack Obama: “Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.”

    That is why the US still makes it very, very difficult to enter legally, whereas not particularly difficult to enter illegally — neither party actually support immigration reform. The Republicans have been just as likely to offer amnesties as Democrats. They both stupidly block the other when bipartisan actions might help to resolve the issue.

    Painting the influx of illegals as due to Democrat pandering is quite wrong. It’s just as much Republicans at fault.

  • Jacob

    “The issue of who in the west actually is black”… is indeed a difficult problem… a very RACIST problem. How do you determine who is “minority” for affirmative action purposes or for “diversity” quotas?

    How do you determine who is Indian i.e. Native American for purposes of sharing casino income from Indian Reservations?

    And, for that matter – how do you determine who is female? It is not as straightforward as it once was…

  • NickM

    In answer to your last question:
    You don’t – or else.

    I dunno if this is the Mail being the Mail but if it isn’t (and it doesn’t feel that way to me) then this might be worth following up.

    It is deeply sexist – to everyone. It is also, more fundamentally, a total departure from reality. It is the Tlon of Borges made flesh and blood. It is fundamentally philosophical idealism not just becoming more important than reality but replacing it. Note how Dr Poen was not accussed of being factually incorrect but of being offensive – of offending feelings, not reality.


    If you haven’t read that (and it is not enormous) I rate it as perhaps the most important short story ever written so I highly recommend it – as I do all the works of Jorge Luis Borges.

    Although, despite my love of Borges, it can’t help but be pointed out that Monty Python said it specifically in the case of sex/gender/identity rather more pithily…


    I guess, even more so, and very generally, did Dr Johnson kicking his stone…

  • Knocko

    In reply to Rich Rostrum:
    Although their political careers were lived elsewhere, Vermont can claim Arthur and Coolidge each as a native son. Also there were rumours aboot Arthur; some claimed he was born in Canada.

  • NickM

    Short answer…


    A longer one is that we are no longer allowed to…


    …because if reality (only biological females menstruate) hurts feelings it is wrong even if it is correct in that old-fashioned anatomical style.

    This is not just a different opinion but a challenge to the very nature of reality. It is the idea that the hard facts of science (and Dr Johnson’s stone) don’t matter if they hurt your feelings because your feelings trump the science, the reality, the experience, the truth.

    As usual Jorge Luis Borges saw it coming and saw it early…


    PS. 1962 is the date of “Labyrinths” which is the collection translated into English. I dunno when the original Spanish text was composed.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – as other comments may have mentioned above (I have not carefully read all the comments)….

    The “Identitarian” (Frankfurt School of Marxism – “Critical Theory”) could not care less about the rights of women (see the leftist indifference to the rape “epidemic” in Sweden and other Western European countries), or the rights of homosexuals (“Gay Bashing” is fine by the left – as long as certain people are doing the “bashing”), or the rights of black people (see the leftist indifference to black people being pushed out of certain areas of American cities – by the influx of illegal immigrants from Latin America, and NO the left do not really care about the hispanic illegal immigrants either, they just want to USE them for illegal voting and-so-on) or any other of the “victim” groups they PRETEND to care about.

    The question to the “Identitarian” (Frankfurt School of Marxism – “Critical Theory”) left is not “how to we get a women President?” (they do not care about that), the question for them is “how do we USE women to advance the Progressive agenda” – ditto how do they USE other “victim groups” (racial, sexual preference, religious – whatever) for the “Progressive” agenda of Collectivism.

    Nothing else matters to the people behind the “Identity Politics” tactic (for tactic is what it is – and has always been), they do NOT care about the groups of people they pretend care about.

    So there is no “refusal to learn the lesson” Perry – because the “lesson” is something the leaders of the left do not give a toss about.

    The objective is, and has always been, to have a boot come stamping down on the face of liberty – for ever.

    Once that is understood everything the left does makes sense.

  • Paul Marks

    Of all things I found the “Oscars” informative – in giving the prize for “best picture” to the worst film they could find (“Parasite”) the left (who have such massive influence over the big corporations and so on) were making an interesting point. The point being that they no longer had to back a good film that pushed the “Social Justice” Collectivist line – a badly made film would do just as well (and they wanted us to KNOW that).

    Ditto with Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr Who and-so-on – once the politics of the people who made such shows might have been leftist, but they felt the need to make the shows as entertaining as possible, the story and acting, and so on, were important to the people who made the shows.

    That is no longer true. Today the story, acting and-so-on are bad – if not deliberately bad, then no serious effort is made to make them good.

    Only the politics matters now (nothing else) – and the left want us to KNOW that only the politics matters. They are now so confident of their power (in both the government and the “private” Corporate bureaucracy) that they make no serious effort to entertain (to “win over” people) now they COMMAND, they THREATEN.

    Oppose their commercial products or their government policies and you are a RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBE, TRANSPHOBE, ISLAMOPHOBE and-so-on. And all the institutions of power (even political parties supposedly in opposition to the left) will nod with agreement – and demand brainwashing (“Diversity Training”) to get any resisting human in line with the Collectivist Agenda.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “This is not just a different opinion but a challenge to the very nature of reality. It is the idea that the hard facts of science (and Dr Johnson’s stone) don’t matter if they hurt your feelings because your feelings trump the science, the reality, the experience, the truth.”

    You can add ‘traditional beliefs’ to that list. Science moves on, and comes to new more complex conclusions about how sex and gender work, but if they conflict with long-standing traditional norms that people feel deeply attached to, and have spent millenia violently enforcing on those dissentients who don’t fit into their beliefs about reality, then tradition can trump science and reality, too.

    The reality is that in every historical age, men of science (or natural philosophy) have believed many things that are simply not true. And every single age has believed that it was the truth, that they had reached the pinacle of knowledge, and laughed at the ridiculous error made in all previous ages. There is no reason whatsoever to think that the present age is any different. This is a lesson that humans never learn.

    “As usual Jorge Luis Borges saw it coming and saw it early…”

    As usual, science fiction and fantasy writers are writing about the world as it is, in their present day, but translating it to another world so that we can see it more clearly. Borges didn’t see it coming – it was already there. It has always been there. Writers of the fantastic write about the things that surround us that we don’t see. Humans are virtually blind – they walk through a world that is mostly constructed in their own heads. They build a mental model of the world, and then tweak bits of it based on observation where they notice it because the conflict is too great, but it is the model they live in, not reality.

    The story of Tlön is about this mental model people live in – Borges is imagining an imaginary nation without it. He discusses the problem of identity. You lose a coin, and some days later you find a coin in the same location. Is it the same coin? Maybe, maybe not. But in your mental model, it’s the same coin because that’s what you was expecting. That’s how your mental model is constructed: it’s made up of single objects continuous through time. But how much of what you just saw is reality, and how much is built a priori in to the model? If you suddenly notice several days later that the coin has a different date on it, and it’s actually a different coin, has reality changed?

    Coins are fairly simple – let’s consider people. You know a child. He goes away. Several years later an adult appears, calling himself by the same name, having many of the same memories. Is it the same person? He looks different. He sounds different. He’s much bigger. Clearly a lot of the atoms you are looking at now could not have been there before. He has many new memories, and has forgotten many of the old ones. His personality is completely different. Is it the same person?

    In conversation, he mentions that he was sick and had several organ transplants. He now has the heart of a young woman, the kidney of a black man, and the liver of a Frenchman. Is it the same person? Is he part-French? Is he part-black? Is he part-woman? Is he part-stranger?

    We model the world using entities that retain their identity, their invariant properties over time. If you’re born French, you stay French, and you’re all French. If you’re born of the black race, you stay black, and you’re all black. If you’re born John Smith, then John Smith you remain entire until the day you die. The way our brains model identity cannot cope with ‘invariant’ properties changing. It rejects reality, and finds some way to approximate it in its own model of reality, in terms it can accept.

    The woman’s heart turns into a man’s heart; it changes its fundamental nature during the tranplant. It’s John’s heart now, not Jane’s. In the same way, the food we eat stops being food and becomes ‘us’. It changes its eternal nature.

    But why this way round? Why does John not become Jane when he gets her heart? Why is it not that Jane’s heart got a new body when her old body died? Why does the identity of the heart change to match the body, and not the identity of the body to match the heart? Objectively, there’s no difference in reality between identity passing with the heart or with any other organ. But that’s not how we see it. This is because we also model the body as a posession of the mind. When definitions of identity become confused, we retreat to the fortress of the brain. You can transplant any other organ of the body, and remain ‘the same person’. Only when we transplant the brain/mind does it get messy again.

    We see only what our mental models of the world allow us to see – what can be fitted in using it’s mechanisms and entities. Picking on the case gender conformity, one of the first examples we know of was Moses. Before his amies invaded, people took a rather more relaxed attitude to gender roles (Leviticus 18:27-28 etc.). Since then, people saw what they expected to see. Moses wrote a book, containing a new model of reality, and it spread. In the new mental model of the world, men were men, and women were women, and anything that confused that neat and tidy picture was an Abomination against God. (Deuteronomy 22:5, Corinthians 11:6,13-15.) What people before Moses had seen as normal and unremarkable, people afterwards saw as *obviously* an abomination. “How could anyone sane and not sunk in wickedness and depravity possibly think it wasn’t?” “Women wearing trousers?! Women cutting their hair short?! Abominations! Stay in your category!” But what were they actually seeing? Reality? Or model?

    The ‘Moses model’ of gender identity cannot cope with people who are a mixture of both. A man’s body with a woman’s heart, a man’s body with a woman’s brain, it doesn’t compute. The model of reality rejects it. “Pick one”, it says, “You can’t be both”. You’re either French or you’re not. You’re either ‘black’ (or ‘hispanic’, or ‘Asian’) or you’re not (“no, that’s just a heavy suntan” it says, “you’re still white underneath it”). ‘You’ are what my model says you are.

    We build our world internally using categories with sharp boundaries that are immutable and absolute, and when reality disagrees with them, we reject reality. And any inconvenient-reality people who fail to fit into our neat categories about how the world works get ground up in the gears. So it always was.

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Paul Marks (March 7, 2020 at 9:09 am), you may be mistaken in attributing conscious and clear intent to the PC entertainers’ sacrifice of entertainment value. Firstly, the demand for political orthodoxy quarrels with ability. Hannah Arendt (‘Origins of Totalitarianism’) notes that ideologies tend to replace people of ability, even when supporters, with “those crackpots whose lack of imagination is the surest guarantee of their reliability” (quoted from memory), while C.S.Lewis, describing the same thing fictionally in ‘That Hideous Strength’, remarks that “It was not that the progressive element [of the fictional college] wanted to appoint nonentities but the demand for reliability was cruelly limiting.” (again, quoted from memory). I’ve noted here, for example, how the lack of cognitive diversity harms the PC’s ability to make their own points. The worse it gets, the worse that gets for them.

    Secondly, cancel culture is most dangerous to those who live near it. Cancel culture is snitch culture. The very people who see a more entertaining way to sell some PC message they agree with may fear that suggesting it would make them look less woke. And as for arguing that stridency is less persuasive – what could be more suspicious (so more dangerous). When denunciation is so cheap, those who could help sell the PC message may stay silent or even leave.

    So while there is of course an assertion of power, of hoc volo, sic jubeo in the loudness of PC in the makers of all the films and series you name, there is also get woke, go broke. The beeb might lose its license fee. The starwars franchise is not what it was. Many a woke film underperforms. The aggressiveness of these people is not an unmitigated expression of their confidence.

    The politically correct are bad winners – which is why they may yet lose.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall – I do not think I am mistaken about much of the stuff we face being on purpose.

    I repeat I think the left (the people who have such power even in private business Corporations now) actually want us to know they are doing this all on purpose.

    For example, the same political points could be made in fantasy and science fiction shows (and non fantasy and science fiction shows) without them being as bad as they are – they could be much better than they are and still make the same leftist political points.

    I think real effort is made to make such products as “Doctor Who” as BAD AS POSSIBLE. The writing and the acting. Ditto many other products.

    They want us to crawl – they want us to beg. And after we crawl and beg they will kill-us-anyway (we will just have made it more pleasurable for them).

    They want us to pretend that stuff is good (pretend out of fear) when they have deliberately made the stuff as bad as possible.

    In Ayn Rand’s book “The Fountainhead” a group of “intellectuals” have a chat after witnessing the read through of a play.

    The play is (I admit) not deliberately bad – it is just written by a cretin. But the leftists decide to make the play a success – BECAUSE it is bad. They want to show their power – and they succeed in their aim.

    I think we have reached that point in the Disney Corporation and the other mega corps. I have looked into the eyes of people who praise the new Star Wars films (and “Star Trek Discovery”, and “Picard”, and so on) they are NOT praising these things because they like them – on the contrary, they know they are praising rubbish.

  • Paul Marks

    Still Niall – let us hope that you are correct and I am mistaken. The survival of the West may well depend on you being correct – on the leaders of the left being incompetent (mentally closed off), rather than the highly intelligent beings-of-evil that I believe them to be.

    Nullius in Verba

    Thomas Reid answered your question – the person is the same, because the SOUL is the same. And as Alexander of Aphrodisias (the great Commentator on Aristotle) pointed out – one can believe in the soul (the person – agency, the “I”) without believing in God or the survival of the soul after the death of the body.

    “But David Hume held that a thought does not mean a thinker – that there is no real “I” “.

    Yes I know that David Hume held that, he was either mistaken or pretending.

  • Paul Marks (March 11, 2020 at 3:41 pm), your comment reminded me of an analysis of communist acts in North Korea and elsewhere. The visitor spent a long time looking at the Pyongyang shop through which fake North Korean customers endlessly traipsed past fake shop assistants while no-one ever bought any goods, wondering who were the targets of this potemkin display. At first glance, the obvious answer was visitors like himself: naive westerners were to look briefly – too briefly to spot no actual sales to locals ever happened – and return to say they’d seen a well-stocked shop with customers in Pyongyang. But he decided the real targets were the native North Koreans. Being forced to participate in so crude a lie humiliated them, which made them less rebellious.

    So I don’t dismiss the Rand incident of making the bad play a success to demonstrate power (and I think, to reassure themselves their propaganda is legitimate because its targets are weak – lack standards). And I don’t dismiss the idea that some PC might praise junk knowing it is junk. When Conquest remarked that Orwell’s three IngSoc laws in ‘1984’ (‘War is Peace’, etc.) left out a fourth:

    Rubbish is Art

    I’m sure he included a conscious component in that.

    However, as long as the world elsewhere is not under their control, I think there is one thing they both hate and fail to anticipate:

    Get woke, go broke!

    I am sure that Nissan did not want to have to close comments so soon on the Brie Larson ad. I am sure that Gillette did not want to post such a loss after their similar ad. And I am quite sure that Hollywood hates it when their woke remakes experience dire release-weekends. They don’t (just) hate it because of the losses. They hate it because they know it mocks the narrative – because (pace the Ayn Rand incident) it shows their power is limited.

    So I think both things are happening. They would indeed knowingly have us cheer rubbish pretending to be art, but the effort so limits their mentalities that they inflict defeats on themselves at times, and are genuinely surprised when the lipstick they put on their pig does not prevent us spotting rubbish. And beyond that, I feel sure that some of the worst rubbish is stuff they quite genuinely thought was art.

    My 0.02p FWIW.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, my 2¢ agrees with your tuppence. *g*

    (In the sense of your remark, if not financially.)