Category Archives: History

Animal’s Daily Ben Franklin News

Before we begin, check out the latest installment of Season of Ice over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  I’ve long been an admirer of the great Benjamin Franklin.  I’m especially fond of his (apocryphal) quote, “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  He was America’s first international celebrity; a publisher, editor, scientist, bon vivant, lady’s man and diplomat.  Truly a Renaissance man.  And now, from Kite & Key Productions, is a video making the case that Franklin gave rise to the spirit and character of America.  Excerpt:

It’s a real testimony to America’s obsession with our Founding Fathers that nearly 250 years later … we’re still fixated on these guys. Alexander Hamilton gets the biggest Broadway show of all time. John Adams gets a best-selling book and an HBO series. George Washington gets … ok, for real though, does anyone know what this is supposed to be?

Now, those guys definitely deserve the attention, but let us put in a word for the man who gave us our name here at Kite & Key…

[Yeah, think about it for a second. Ok, got it? Good. Now you can stop sending us emails about it.]

That’s right, our guy: Benjamin Franklin. Now, we’re not gonna tell you that he’s the greatest American ever — everyone knows that’s Dolly Parton

— but he may just have been the most American American ever.

Here’s what we mean: Chances are that almost every trait you think of as part of our national character … is something you can find in the life of Benjamin Franklin.

America is a country where you can rise from nothing to achieve great things, right? Well, that describes Ben pretty well.

One of 17 children, his formal education only went up to the age of 10 — although people ended up calling him Dr. Franklin, because he nevertheless got an honorary doctorate from Oxford, in addition to honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard.  And at 17, he got his start when he ran away from Boston — violating an employment contract with his own brother — to start a new life in Philadelphia.

So yeah, he started his career as a fugitive … also pretty American.

And in short order he turned into a big success. Between his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and his best-selling book series, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Franklin did so well as a publisher that he was able to retire by the age of 42.

Benjamin Franklin wrote essays on farting.  He recommended that young men married older women, citing “experience” and noting that “…all cats are grey in the dark.”  When on a diplomatic mission to France during the Revolution, the widower Franklin reportedly cut quite a swath through the ladies of the court.  He was a guy any red-blooded American today would love to set down and have a beer with.

The synopsis concludes:

So, yes, the father of our country was a strapping military man who carried himself with grace and dignity. The mind behind the Declaration of Independence belonged to a country gentleman with the heart of a poet. But the real seeds of our national character … go back to a fat dude with a mullet who just kinda did a little bit of everything. Which is about as American as it gets.

God, is this a great country or what?

It still is.  It’s come a long ways since the days of Dr. Franklin, and not always in the right direction, but yes, it still is a great country.

Check out the video.  It’s worth the watch.

Rule Five World Ending Friday

I recently finished reading Peter Zeihan’s recent book The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization, and I certainly found it thought-provoking.  Mr. Zeihan is a senf-described Green, a “small-d” democrat, but primarily a researcher and geopolitical analyst, specializing in demographics – and regardless of Zeihan’s political leanings, demographics don’t lie.  I recommend everyone read this work, and think on the conclusions presented therein.  Selected excerpts, with my comments, follow.

Modern petrochemicals are responsible for the bulk of what we today consider “normal,” comprising the majority of the inputs in food packaging, medical equipment, detergents, coolants, footwear, tires, adhesives, sports equipment, luggage, diapers, paints, inks, chewing gum, lubricants, insulation, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and the second-largest component of material inputs in paper, pharmaceuticals, clothes, furniture, construction, glass, consumer electronics, automotive, home appliances, and furnishings.  Oil-derived transport fuels do constitute the majority of oil use – nearly three-fifths, to be specific – but petrochemicals account for a full one-fifth.  That’s about as much as the Persian Gulf exports in a typical year.

Peter Zeihan may describe himself as a “Green,” but he is not blind to the role petrochemicals pay in our modern society.  And it is the end of our modern society that he writes of; he is predicting a major demographic crisis, one that will bring the existing global order to an end to be replaced by something…  else.

But there’s a bright spot in Peter Zeihan’s reckoning.  Sort of.  The United States.  Yep, us – with our 31 trillion in unfunded debt, with an entire generation (mine, the Baby Boomers) about to retire en masse, with our own dysfunctional government, with a deep state run amok – we are the bright spot.

So, yes, American Boomers aging into mass retirement will break the bank.  But between their smaller relative size as compared to global norms and their offspring’s increasing contribution to the government’s bottom line, their financial hammer blows are nothing compared to the meteor swarm of challenges that will utterly destroy the governing systems of countries as diverse as China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Iran.  Meanwhile, American Millennials’ very existence means the United States will at least in part recover from its financial crunch in the 2030s, and probably its labor crunch in the 2040s.  But for the rest of the world, it will never get better than it was in the 2010s.  Never.

In Zeihan’s view – a view I share – much of the world is about to succumb to a demographic crisis.  But in this book he lays out all the implications of that demographic crisis, including the global collapse of markets, of supply chains, of transports, of the entire world marketplace; in other words, the end of globalization.  The US is well-placed, as our demographic crisis is not as severe as most of the developing and developed world, as well as vast territory and ample resources, many of which we have left untapped.

Zeihan also sees the end of the Pax Americana, a world in which the United States largely withdraws from enforcing the global peace.  Consider the implications of that; the United States Navy currently maintains safe travels for all shipping in the world’s oceans.  Withdrawal of that guarantee, and global shipping will greatly decrease, in the face of hostile nations and even piracy.

I’m not so sure about the latter.  Both major political parties seem willing to keep shoveling billions of taxpayer dollars into Ukraine, unfairly invaded by the dying giant Russia but also one of the most deeply and fundamentally corrupt governments in Europe.

But we also still maintain the world’s only Navy with global reach.  We maintain ten Nimitz-class nuclear carriers, and one Gerald R. Ford-class ship in service and four more in construction.

The air wings of those ships alone pack more striking power than all the air forces of the rest of the world combined.

Granted much of our military is a woke mess right now, but that can be fixed; that must be fixed.

The demographic problems, though, are headed our way.  China, in the next fifty years, may cease to exist as a nation.  Ditto Russia.  And while Zeihan writes of the demise of Europe as a discrete set of cultures, he does not discuss what is likely to replace it; a Muslim caliphate, courtesy of the EU’s unchecked immigration policies and generous social welfare programs.

I recommend reading this book.  You may not agree with all of Peter Zeihan’s conclusions; I don’t.  But it’s worth reading, and thinking about, nonetheless.

Animal’s Daily Reparations News

Recently, in a discussion over the newly-minted King Charles III’s multi-billion dollar inheritance, British royal commentator Hillary Fordwich had some interesting remarks when CNN commenterdroid Don Lemon asked her about using some of that wealth for “reparations.”  Here, watch:

In case you don’t want to watch Don Lemon beclown himself in that video – I can’t blame you – here’s the text of her reply, from the story linked above:

Her response was epic. After initially giving the impression that she agreed with Lemon, she schooled him royally.

“Well, I think you’re right about reparations in terms of if people want it, though, what they need to do is you always need to go back to the beginning of a supply chain,” Fordwich replied. “Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa, and when it crossed the entire world, when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? The first nation world to abolish it, it was started by William Wilberforce, was the British. In Great Britain, they abolished slavery.”

She continued, “Two thousand naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people, they had them on cages waiting in the beaches. No one was running into Africa to get them. And I think you’re totally right.”

The look on Lemon’s face was priceless. Fordwich succeeded in agreeing with him, although for different reasons than he was obviously suggesting. And she wasn’t done with the lesson.

“If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages?’ Absolutely. That’s where they should start. And maybe, I don’t know, the descendants of those families where they died at the, in the high seas trying to stop the slavery, that those families should receive something too, I think, at the same time.”

After she was done, Lemon sat there, stunned for several seconds, before responding, “It’s an interesting discussion, Hillary, Thank you very much, I appreciate it.”

In plain English – American style English, that is – Don Lemon just got his ass handed to him.  In thin slices.

In 1800, slavery was legal pretty much everywhere.  I’d like to think that it would have eventually been outlawed in the civilized world even if Great Britain had not led the way, but the fact is that they did, and the fact also is that a lot of African slaves were sold into slavery by their own people.  The fact also is that this is a practice than continues in sub-Saharan Africa to this day.

But that doesn’t fit The Narrative.  And shallow, weak thinkers like Don Lemon are all about The Narrative.  Once in a while, it’s nice to see that exposed.


Animal’s Daily Past is Prelude News

Before we begin, check out the first in a new series over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  Bob Riel’s Quest for the Presidency: The Storied and Surprising History of Presidential Campaigns in America presents an interesting picture of the history of Presidential elections and what the 2024 contest might look like.  Excerpt:

Among elections of more recent history, that of 1968 is likely the best-known. There was a Hollywood movie about it just last year, concerning the riots at the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago. These protests showed how deeply divided the Democratic Party was over the Vietnam War; though the party nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, many Democrats opposed President Lyndon Johnson’s policies on Vietnam. But most readers will not know or remember that both parties saw tumultuous primary seasons that year, that Mitt Romney’s father ran in the Republican primary, or that controversial segregationist George Wallace ran as a third-party candidate, trying to outflank both GOP nominee Richard Nixon and Humphrey on issues such as civil rights and economics. Riel details how Wallace knew that he could not win but understood that if he could garner 10-15 percent of the popular vote nationally, he might deny either candidate a majority in the Electoral College. From there, the race would be decided by the House of Representatives, which could put Wallace in position to play kingmaker, since he would have congressional allies in the Southern state delegations. Wallace won only five states in the end, however, and failed to accomplish his goal.

Riel uses these stories to demonstrate how often political realignments happen through elections, such as the 1860 election that established the Republicans as a major party, or the 1932 election that helped enshrine the idea that the federal government had a duty to help people in need. Sometimes an election’s consequences don’t become apparent until years later. Barry Goldwater lost big in 1964, but 16 years later, Ronald Reagan won decisively on the platform that Goldwater had introduced.

Riel also stresses that the United States is going through a tumultuous political period. He recognizes that presidential elections will continue to be divisive and produce strong emotions on both sides, but the country has held elections through wars, riots, and economic collapse. Past elections can offer useful lessons as we grapple with today’s challenges.

While the article is interesting – and the book is now on my ‘to-read’ list – I’m not sure how predictive an analysis of previous elections, especially presidential elections, will prove to be in 2024.  Why?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

First, we’re dealing with something new here:  A sitting President that is clearly and unarguably impaired, who nevertheless insists he will seek re-election.  There are good odds he’ll be removed from office for one reason or another before 2024, but his replacement will be a cackling imbecile whose approval ratings are about as high as syphilis.

We’re also dealing with an abrasive billionaire who managed to rock the political class back on its heels in 2016 who is likely to try to Grover Cleveland himself into another term.  While his first term was good for the economy, he faced brutal non-stop attacks from the legacy media and agents of the Democratic party (but I repeat myself) and while he promised to “drain the swamp,” the swamp seems to have survived his first four years just fine.

The field may well welcome a wild card in 2024.  In any case, this year’s mid-terms may give something of a preview.


Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale, The Daley Gator and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

Over at PJ Media, Rabbi Michael Barclay had some interesting things to say about current affairs.  Excerpt:

A criminal is wrongfully killed, and “peaceful demonstrations,” which are actually violent riots, break out nationwide. The flag of a radical and violent group is placed next to the national flag on government buildings. Out of fear of being canceled and losing business, individuals and corporations succumb to publicly supporting this violent organization. Mandated behavior is compelled upon threat of arrest by the political elite and leadership. Despite objections from parents, schools begin teaching an alternative “history” and embrace prejudice, anti-Semitism, and sexual permissiveness as part of the school curriculum.

A President overreaches and takes on “emergency powers,” which create an authoritarian regime that demands supportive behavior and calls any criticism “disinformation.” A new agency of the government is created to “fight this disinformation”… an agency that even has access to armed personnel. This new agency is led by a fanatic who is arguably delusional in their own self-perception and fully committed to stopping the dissemination of any information that is not part of the authoritarian narrative. And through it all the media is a willing accomplice, even striking against other media outlets that try to present opposing views.

Sound like a brief recap of the recent past in this country?

The challenge is that this is actually a description of the development of the Nazi regime in Germany almost a century ago.

If this scares you, it should.

It’s been said that history may not always repeat, but it often rhymes.

Of course, there’s a reason that Godwin’s Law is a thing.  And the Left is far, far more prone to falling afoul of this than the Right; after any significant event in the political world, you can almost set your watch by the hysterical screech of “Nazi!” that follows.  But there’s a difference between the late Weimar Republic and our current situation today, and that can be summed up in one word:


Say what you will about the Germans in the Nazi Party in the 1930s, but they weren’t stupid.  They knew what they wanted and they were willing to climb over piles of bodies to get there.  Whereas the current political Left in our country right now is about at the Keystone Kops level of ability.  Hell, for that matter, when you’re talking Congress, most of the Right is little better.

Our current political class is much more likely to stumble us into ruin that deliberately direct us there.  But when you consider the likely destination, how much difference does that make?


Animal’s Daily 1914 News

Are there parallels between today’s situation in eastern Europe and the Europe of 1914?  History may not always repeat, after all, but it frequently rhymes.  David P. Goldman thinks there are such parallels.  Excerpt:

World War I had no good guys and no winners. France rightly sought the return of the provinces Germany had annexed in 1870. Russia rightly feared that German influence would sever its industrial centers and tax base in the Western parts of it its empire; England feared that Germany would encroach on its overseas empire; Germany feared that Russia’s railroad system would overcome its advantage in mobility and firepower. None of them wanted a war, but each of them decided that it was better to fight in 1914 than fight later at a disadvantage.

Historian Christopher Clark in his 2013 book The Sleepwalkers forever buried the black legend of German aggression in 1914, with proof from Russian archives that the Czar’s mobilization – with French incitement – provoked the outbreak of war. There’s no hero to cheer, no villain to boo in the first tragedy of the 20th century, just mediocre and small-minded politicians unable to step back from the brink.

All of them acted rationally in the pursuit of their vital interests, but at the same stupidly as well as wickedly, and the ensuing world wars undid the achievements of a thousand years of Western civilization. We look back to 1914 in horror, and wonder how the leaders of the West could have been so pig-headed. Nonetheless, we are doing it again today.

That should be an object lesson for today’s Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin acted wickedly, and illegally, by invading Ukraine, but also rationally: Russia has an existential interest in keeping NATO away from his border. Russia will no more tolerate American missiles in Kyiv than the United States would tolerate Russian missiles in Cuba.

The United States could have averted a crisis by adhering to the Minsk II framework of local rule for the Russophone provinces of Eastern Ukraine within a sovereign Ukrainian state but chose instead to keep open Ukraine’s option to join NATO. That was rational, but also stupid: It backed Putin into a corner.

I’m not so sure keeping that option open was rational, but I wholeheartedly agree it was stupid.  And I’m not 100% certain NATO is still relevant, although it’s vastly more relevant and useful than the UN at this point.  Frankly, Ukraine isn’t any of our damn business.  Is the Russian invasion a bad thing?  Certainly.  Are there any compelling U.S. interests involved?  Not so that I can see.

Look, Russia is likely due for a scrambling overhaul in any case, and within a generation.  Putin won’t live forever, the Russian GDP is roughly the same as Spain’s, and the Russian people aren’t having babies.  A poor state whose people aren’t reproducing isn’t a recipe for long-term success; at this point it would seem Russia is doomed for the ash-heap of history in time, Putin’s desire to resurrect the Soviet Union aside.  But now we are involved, and without one U.S. soldier involved, we are paying the price – at the gas pump and, with the latest boom in inflation, everywhere else.

Goldman concludes:

In Chinese official media, there is a grim discussion of the parallel between Ukraine and Taiwan. We misjudged Putin, just as he misjudged us. No sanctions or denunciations will hold back the Russian Army. We should not misjudge China. Sometimes an uncomfortable status quo is infinitely preferable to a roll of the dice on peace or war.

Especially when the folks you’re rolling dice with have nuclear warheads on intercontinental launchers.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I didn’t know this until the other day, but Heels-Up Harris is not the first “Person of Color” to be Vice President. From Wikipedia:

Vice President Charles Curtis.

Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860 – February 8, 1936) was an American attorney and Republican politician from Kansas who served as the 31st vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 under Herbert Hoover. He also previously served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1924 to 1929.

A member of the Kaw Nation born in the Kansas Territory, Curtis was the first person with any Native American ancestry and with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach either of the highest offices in the federal executive branch. He is the highest-ranking enrolled Native American ever to serve in the federal government. He is the most recent Executive Branch officer to have been born in a territory rather than a state or federal district.

Turns out he wasn’t 100% Native, (who is anymore?) although he was 3/8 so than Liawatha Warren:

Born on January 25, 1860, in North Topeka, Kansas Territory, a year before Kansas was admitted as a state, Charles Curtis had 38 Native American ancestry and 58 European American ancestry.  His mother, Ellen Papin (also spelled Pappan), was Kaw, Osage, Potawatomi, and French.  His father, Orren Curtis, was of English, Scots, and Welsh ancestry.  On his mother’s side, Curtis was a descendant of chief White Plume of the Kaw Nation and chief Pawhuska of the Osage.

And he was a Republican.  Use that, True Believers, next time you hear a lefty crowing about Heels-Up being the first “Person of Color” to hold a job once famously described as being with a “bucket of warm spit,” which now that I think on it, may actually make her uniquely qualified, being of little more value than that herself.

And so…

On To the Links!


Inflation is costing the average American family an added $375 a month over last year.

Dolly Parton is Magnificent.  She surely is; a great talent and truly, sincerely a good person.  There are still a few around.

Elon Musk let’s Biden)’s handlers) have it again.

$7 a gallon gas, brought to you by the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.

Funny how this never happens up here in the Susitna Valley.

If I find this horrible, is that kink-shaming?  Probably not – it’s not kink-shaming when the “kink” is literally murder.

Yeah, but I bet it won’t last.

Good luck with that.

No shit, Sherlock.

No shit, Sherlock Part Deux.

I love a happy ending.

If America were invaded, Republicans and independents would stand and fight.  Democrats would run.  Draw your own conclusions.

Is Ukraine really winning?  They seem to be giving it their best shot, but the old soldier in me says they still have an uphill fight.

DeSantis for President, 2024, please please please!

The Dow has been taking a big dump lately.  Hang onto your 401ks, at least until the Imperial City decides to confiscate them in the name of “fairness.”

This Week’s Idiots:

Chuck Todd is an idiot.  And it’s schadenfreudealicious.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s

Stacey Abrams is still claiming to be the Governor-in-Exile of Georgia – and she’s an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Donna Brazile is an economic illiterate, and an idiot.

Some ideas are so stupid, you’d have to be an “intellectual” to believe them.

Salon’s Kathryn Joyce is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Leber is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik is an idiot.

Jonah Goldberg is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

A while ago I posted a video from Tom Petty, who we lost much too soon.  In that post mentioned his long-term friendship and sometimes partnership with Stevie Nicks.  Their styles and voices went together well, and I’ve long thought it was kind of a shame they didn’t work together more.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers collaborated with Stevie on a number of projects, but my favorite is from Stevie’s first solo album, 1981’s Belladonna.  The song, of course, is the classic Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.

And, without further ado, here it is.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We’re seeing hints of spring up here in the Great Land, with temps in the upper thirties and forties and quite a bit of melting.  That’s not to say that we won’t see some sub-zero temps yet; this is Alaska, after all, and we can see nighttime lows below zero into April, as we did only last year.  But for now, it’s pretty balmy for early March, and things are pretty drippy.

Still a lot of snow piled up, though.

With spring on the way, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. are thinking of booking a May halibut/Pacific cod/rockfish charter out of Seward or Valdez.  It’s not cheap, typically running over $300 per person, but that’s a whole day fishing for the delicious flatfish, cod and the rather odd-looking rocks.  There’s nothing like good homemade fish and chips.  Plus a (cold) day out on the water is good for what ails you.

And we had company the other day.

That’s how it is here, at any rate – spring comes to the land and all thoughts turn to fishing.  There are a bunch of wondrous lakes, rivers and streams close by where one can pull up fat trout, delicious salmon and delicate little grayling.  It’s a great place to be outdoors.

And so…

On To the Links!

It’s true:  Democrats are now “the Establishment.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Practice saying “President DeSantis.”

Biden(‘s handlers) have no chance at redemption.  They’ve fallen too far, too fast.

What do you do when the nuclear option is actually the nuclear option?  And Putin has his nuke forces on high alert.

Panache.  And more.

And on that note, the Blessings of Ste. Javelin.

No shit, Sherlock, Part Deux.

Seattle is nearing Third World Shithole status, and this guy has the film.

Trump is back.  Honestly I’d rather see DeSantis run in 2024, but I’ll take another Trump run, just for the lulz.  And honestly, who are the Dems going to run against him?  Biden will be drooling into a sippy-cup by 2024.  Kamala’s approvals ratings (and her IQ) are somewhere between dryer lint and verrucas.  Will Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, First of That Name, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, try for a third failed run?

The red wave is forming in Florida.

You can’t make this shit up.

When you’ve lost George Stephanopoulos…

Should we kill every mosquito on Earth?  Probably not possible, but get back to me in mid-June and I’ll be willing to give it a try.  Our Alaska mosquitoes are so big they show up on air-traffic radar.

Yeah, it’s probably too late.  Besides, by the time the mid-terms roll around, Biden(‘s handlers) will be looking at Jimmy Carter’s record with envy.

Tyrannosaurus rex may have been three species.

Stone Age totty:  The Venus of Willendorf revealed.

Exit question: Are voters as stupid as Democrats think they are?  Well, sure, enough them are.  Look at Congress right now.

This Week’s Idiots:

John “Lurch” Kerry is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Idiot Eric Swalwell couldn’t even manage to kick a Chinese spy out of his bed, but wants to kick Russian students out of the United States.

The Guardian’s Moira Donegan is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Politico’s John Harris is an idiot.

The American’s Erwin Chemerinsky is an idiot.

I saved the best for last:

Heels-Up Harris (Repeat Offender Alert) continues to prove she’s an idiot.  Best reply:  “Obama picked Biden because Biden was the only Senator dumber than him. Biden picked Harris because….” A heartbeat away, folks.  A heartbeat away.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Trains figure quite a bit into American folk and country music, more so back in the days when they were still a primary passenger service.  Probably (in my opinion, anyway) the best American train song ever written is Steve Goodman’s City of New Orleans, written in 1971 and recorded most famously by Arlo Guthrie in 1972.

My best friend from school (and still to this day) spent a career as a trainman, later a conductor, on the old Illinois Central.  One of his career goals had been to, one time, serve as conductor on the City of New Orleans, which ran from Chicago to New Orleans.  It’s not well known, and nobody ever wrote a song about it, but that same train, on its return trip, was known as the City of Chicago.

Anyway.  Here, then, is the famous 1972 Arlo Guthrie recording of City of New Orleans, one of Guthrie’s best pieces and probably the best train song ever.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Dog Trade News

My old bird dog, gone 22 years and I still miss her.

Before we get into doggie talk, go check out my latest advice column over at Glibertarians!

The relationship between humans and dogs is unique, and probably well worth an entire post on the topic.  Dogs were almost certainly the first domesticated animal; they are still the only animal that appears to have self-domesticated, as both sides gain from this special relationship.  Dogs truly are Man’s Best Friend, and it seems now that around 2,000 years ago in Scandinavia, they were a valued trade item.  Excerpt:

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show that even though ancient Siberian human populations remained genetically isolated for a very long time, their dogs interacted with outside dog populations at least 2,000 years ago, possibly even thousands of years earlier.

“By creating genetic records of the ancient dogs alongside other archeological findings, we were able to see a movement of dogs, potentially as goods that have been traded like a commodity. Possibly because of new human activities, and we believe the dogs could have been used and traded for hunting, herding or sledding. Dogs were vital to the way society was running, so it also tells the story of why they were domesticated in the first place,” explains postdoc at GLOBE Institute Tatiana Feuerborn, lead author the study.

“At the same time, it looks like the human populations were more or less genetically isolated and did not mix with outside populations. We do not see that with dogs, which indicates that dogs were traded rather than moving with people. So there definitely were interactions between populations in these areas of Siberia.”

What’s interesting about this is that the people evidently didn’t intermarry, but did trade one of their most valued assets – dogs.

That’s not all that unusual.  In the years after Commodore Perry forcibly opened up Japan for trade, there was growing commerce between the Land of the Rising Sun and the Western nations, but little if any interbreeding.  There are probably other examples.  Point is, the neat thing here is that, because of the DNA evidence from dogs, we know now that populations we thought had no interactions were actually engaged in trade.

It’s another data point showing that human behavior and human history is frequently more complex than we thought – and, as they have been doing for millennia, it was the dogs that showed us the way.

Rule Five H.L. Mencken Friday

Last Sunday was the birthday of Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken, a man whose written words I’ve read, pondered and quoted at length.  Here, from Issues & Insights, is a neat tribute to the man and his thoughts.  Excerpt:

Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, born Sept. 12, 1880, was a newspaperman, essayist, satirist, social critic and perhaps America’s most outspoken defender of liberty in the first half of the 20th century. Reflecting the difference between what was defensible as consistent with preserving our rights and what government did, a major theme of his writings was that “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

On his birthday, it is worth remembering some of the reasons Mencken offered to justify that shame, since, by his standards, our government is even more shameful today than when he wrote.

The basis justifying shame in our government lies in the appropriate role of government:

The ideal government of all reflective men, from Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone – one which barely escapes being no government at all.

Good government is that which delivers the citizen from being done out of his life and property too arbitrarily and violently – one that relieves him sufficiently from the barbaric business of guarding them to enable him to engage in gentler, more dignified, and more agreeable undertakings.

The problem is that our government has exploded in a torrent far beyond those proper bounds:

Law and its instrument, government, are necessary to the peace and safety of all of us, but all of us, unless we live the lives of mud turtles, frequently find them arrayed against us.

All government … is against liberty.

Here’s my favorite bit from Mencken:

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself … Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.

All government … is against liberty.

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.

I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

All government is against liberty.  Some governments, of course, are wont to move harder against liberty than others; as far as the United States have fallen on the freedom scale, we’re still a long ways from North Korea.  But the arc of government always bends in that direction.

In spite of my usual optimism, I’m not sanguine about the future of the American republic.  Why?  Because I’ve read a lot of history.  It is in the nature of government to grow always larger and more intrusive.  And, as Mencken points out, all government is against liberty.  It’s a ratchet, not a dial, and thus only moves the one way.  I’m not saying that a return to traditional American liberty-based government is impossible, but I wouldn’t bet a nickel on it happening.

What’s surprising these days is that it all seems to be happening so quickly.  Actions by government – mass lockdowns, imprisonment of political dissenters, corruption of the military, partisan prosecutions by Imperial law enforcement -just seem to be spinning out of control.

Maybe, given honest elections, we could hold the bad things at bay a little longer.  But we can’t rely on honest elections any more, either.  Meanwhile, we can look back on Mencken’s work, realize once again how prescient he was, and wait for the next shoe to drop.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.